Monday, June 28, 2010

A bit of a detour

I received the following question:
"You refer to D&C 84:26 which tells us that the "lesser priesthood ...holdeth the key of the ministering of angels.." and imply that every deacon in the church holds the key to the ministration of angels. That does not sound right to me. I believe the "key to the ministration of angels" in Section 84 and the "three grand keys whereby (one) may know whether any ministration is from God" D&C 129:9 are one and the same. If so, there is no Aaronic priesthood holder in the church today who has the key the the ministration of angels as those grand Aaronic keys are only given to Melchezidek priesthood holders in Holy Places."
My response:
The Endowment has two portions:  An Aaronic portion and a Melchizedek portion.  Brigham Young commented that the Aaronic portion should be given first, and separate from the rest. Then after proving oneself faithful and trustworthy, the Melchizedek portion would be received. We've never done it that way. However, if it were to be done that way, then those holding the Aaronic Priesthood, possessing the associated keys, would have the key to the ministering of angels.

Now, apart from that, before Joseph received any priesthood he entertained angels.  Aaronic Priesthood keys may give one a right to seek such a visit, may give a basis for such a search, but possession of such a key alone will not force it to happen. Nor does the absence of such a key prevent it from happening.

In effect, what we sometimes view as hard and fast rules are more like rules for polite conduct. It is the way which things "ought" to occur. But the Lord is not powerless to work around it anyway.

There is almost no hard and fast rule. Just as soon as we think we've figured out what the Lord MUST always do, we find out that He has a work-around plan that opens up any number of other possibilities as well.

D&C 84 is correct. And such a key does belong to the Aaronic order. However, the "key" referred to is to be found in the Aaronic portion of the endowment, which permits you to recognize a true messenger should one visit with you. However, as D&C 129 also reports, if the messenger does not have a body, he will nonetheless deliver his message.

As to questions about the church and its current "failings" I am not inclined to make a list.  Salvation is not "corporate" anyway. Whatever the church does or doesn't do, salvation is an individual process to work out person by person. If you say: "The church is perfect!"  Then I wonder how that saves me. Am I not imperfect? Does the church's perfection aid me in any respect unless I will repent and return? Also, if you say: "The church is a corrupt mess!" Then I wonder how that damns me. Am I not still required to follow the Master? Was Peter perfect? Was Paul? Did their quirks and imperfections damn those who came forward and accepted baptism, received the Holy Ghost, and lived the Lord's commandments?

There is a great disconnect between the church and Zion. But there is an even greater disconnection between the church and an individual's salvation. We rise or fall based upon what light and truth we are willing to receive. Those who have the most should have the greatest capacity to help, encourage, and raise others. Sometimes the church puts on display the meanest of conduct. The most petty and self-serving of behavior. That does not relieve us from living as we should.

If a person trusts the church to save them, they must be shaken and brought to see the foolishness of their false belief.

If a person despises the church, they should be taught to show patience and charity toward their fellow Saint.

Sometimes you and I need to speak of the church's perilous and foolish conduct.  Sometimes we need to think of the church's vital and continuing role.

As reasonable people we should no more entertain the myth of church perfection than we should view the church as an abhorrent enemy to our salvation. It is neither. It is a tool. It serves an important role. Ultimately, however, the church should not (and indeed cannot) come between you and the Lord. No-one belongs there.

When the church tries to insert itself between you and the Lord it deserves criticism; even censure. When the church makes a well-intentioned mistake, the mistake should be noted and avoided. But frank discussions about those things do not weaken the church or the faith of those who engage in the discussion. It means, instead, that people care and take seriously the subject of their salvation.

I have no interest in leaving the church. Nor do I have any interest in leading it. Each of us has a duty to proclaim the Gospel, and having been warned, to warn others. (D&C 88: 81.)  Elder Ballard told us to use the internet to share the Gospel. The article is in the July 2008 Ensign. Basically, this blog is Elder Ballard's idea.

My view of sharing the Gospel is not, however, to defend the indefensible, or to dress up swine and decorate them with jewelry and pretend we aren't debasing either the pig, the clothing or ourselves. There is so much mischief going on inside the church right now that I don't think 500 General Authorities can get control over it. It is a run-away train. Between correlation, and the organizational systems in place, it is almost dysfunctional. 

The management structure for the church's various departments is similar to what one would see in General Motors or Black & Decker.  Each "division" is separately accounted for and needs to justify its expenditures based upon performance. Measurable results are expected. The goal of course is salvation. However, goals such as "increasing faith in Jesus Christ" are used to justify expenditures. Then polling or focus group information is used to show the goals are being met. The lengths to which charades are enacted inside the Church Office Building are painful to many of those who work there. Agreements to keep information confidential has not prevented private sharing of the frustrations lived inside the great white building downtown.

The justification for Correlation is set out by them (the Correlation Department which oversees all manual writing) in the Gospel Doctrine Manual on The Doctrine and Covenants and Church History; lesson number 42. In there the following quote appears:  "Explain that the purpose of Church correlation is to preserve 'the right way of God' (Jacob 7: 7.)"  The quote is taken from Sherem, the first anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon, who is bringing an accusation against Jacob. Sherem, the anti-Christ accuses Jacob of perverting the right way of God by teaching of Christ. It is this accusation which the Correlation Department has lifted and used to justify their own actions.

Sherem was stricken and died. May those who use his words to justify their own failures share a similar fate when the coming plagues arrive. If his words are good enough to justify their actions, then his fate is good enough for them to share.

Correlation has robbed the church of vitality, deprived the Saints of power, and created an environment in which oppression and abuse is inevitable. Seeking to have true doctrine is no excuse for suppressing discussion, enshrining a militant orthodoxy, and following down the same path that destroyed Historic Christianity's connection with God.

Well, I'm off topic and not doing any good with this. So let's return to a discussion of the scriptures. If we want light, we find it in the Book of Mormon.


  1. Thank you Denver. I've been feeling so battered. Your comments are refreshing. I remember Jeremiah saying something like:

    What profit is it to speak the word of the Lord? It is a snare unto my soul. I shall never speak the word of the Lord again. None will listen and it brings nothing but death to me.

    Or Elijah's answer to the Lord saying, "What are you doing here?" Elijah says, "I have come to die, I alone am left that hear the words of the Lord."

    Or Jonah's "How can you let them live when they will soon disperse Israel? I am miserable under this hot sun"

    Yet they kept opening their mouths anyway after their exaggerations.

  2. Simply look at the word translated as "church" and we see it means "called out believer".

    Hence, all churches who have at least one physical human being in them must be a "true" church because they "exist".

    What sets churches apart is their "doctrines".

    Therefore, as stated by Snuffer, the Church can not save anyone--only the adherence to correct doctrines.

    I cringe when I hear people in fast meeting testify the "know the church is true" when they don't have the foggiest idea about it.

  3. Several years ago I gave a blessing following a procedure that was different than the one stated in the Handbook. The Stake president sent his two councilors to instruct the priesthood on the "correct" procedure. After "our" private meeting, both councilors went home agreeing with the way I performed the blessing.

    Sometime later I gave another blessing in a similar manner. This time the Stake President himself came to do the dressing.

    After telling me the procedure in the Handbook was "revelation" because it came out under the names of the First Presidency, he demanded my Temple Recommend.

    We had a lengthy discussion in which I disagreed with him and how it was I came to do as I did. To his credit, one month later he came to me asking me to come see him so he could give me a new recommend

  4. Anon... what kind of blessing did you give and how did you give it?

  5. I'm not sure why the phrase "the church is true" should bring such revulsion. I don't think people who say that are attempting to testify of the correlation committee, or the deseret mutual corporation, or even the printing office. Its a paraphrase of scripture that Lord is the founder and head of the church and that they find the gospel (even sometimes mixed with error) taught here.

    I think if the Lord himself can testify that the church is "true" (the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth), then I think that's an appropriate expression, even if there is more to learn about what it really means.

  6. Ben, is it possible the Lord negated that statement a year later with D&C 84:54-57? Truth is things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come. That was true when it was true. Has the Lord reaffirmed it through revelation? Did Brigham Young's grand Priesthood revitalization work to restore that designation? Did it succeed or fail? Haven't we been striving even until Pres. Benson to remove the curse? I guess a better question is, can both statements be true at the same time? Can the only true and living Church be under condemnation, or does that negate it being true at that moment?

  7. How about D&C 136, 1847?

    "Now, therefore, hearken, O ye people of my church; and ye elders listen together; you have received my kingdom."

    I am of the opinion that both can be true. I believe the church can be chastened and in need of repentance and still be considered the Lord's "true" church. Joseph Smith was chastened repeatedly by the Lord, and yet remained his true Prophet, even in his imperfection.

    It is true in the sense that the true priesthood authority of God resides here, the ordinances of salvation are performed, including baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, the saving ordinance of the temple.

    I worry about the overly, almost constant negative tone regarding the church that exists here. It tends to make us focus on the most negative aspects of the current organization and leadership methods.

    There is so much good that the church as an organization does, despite the imperfections. Missionary work, temples, humanitarian, the large work of translating the Word of the Lord into many, many languages.

    President Benson, while a member of the Twelve, delivered this charge,

    "Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head--even Jesus Christ."

    I don't say this to minimize the real problems and condemnations we have upon us as a church. I am with Denver in almost all of the critiques of the institution of the church as it exists now.

    That said, I think there's something out of balance when every 2-3 weeks we have to have a post saying that Denver really does sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, and hold to his membership in the Church. This to me shows too much criticism, negativism is directed to the Church and those who we sustain as Prophets, Seers and Revelators.

    I LOVE the light I find here, this has become the only blog I read faithfully each day. I even love the personal chastening and corrections I find here. I don't like the evil speaking and fault finding from a position of assumed superiority.

  8. "I guess a better question is, can both statements be true at the same time?"

    I believe the answer is yes and would point to D&C 105 [in 1834] which reads in part:

    "I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now. ... I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation; ..." (emphasis added).

  9. Denver mentioned the correlation committee using a quote from Sherem to prove their point. I wonder about that and when leaders of the Church say that "All is well" or "We don't need any more revelations". Why use such quotes when the original scriptural author spoke so negatively of such ideas?

  10. OK. I see where each of you are coming from Ben and Michael. That is where I stand at the moment as well. I have used that phrase true and living in my testimony many times. I am contemplating definitions, though. I'm willing to admit the Lord may have His own definition of those terms. The most crucial thing in my opinion is to learn how to recognize the right Spirit to get answers in the first place, then ask Him what He thinks about what He said all those years ago, and if He still thinks that today, if Pres. Benson was speaking from his opinion, or by the Spirit. In order for the Lord to answer those questions, one has to allow for all the possible answers to be sincerely accepted, with a willingness to completely change one's outlooks on life depending on the answer before asking. That is imperative in my mind, or else we are just old bottles not ready for new wine. I am equally as sincere in my willingness to accept the affirmative answer as the negative on all those questions. Are you?

  11. Funny, but as of today there are only two current manuals that cite Jacob 7:7...

    * The Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine manual that uses it to justify correlation as Denver mentions; and

    * The Primary 4 manual that cites it appropriately ("What were some of Sherem's lies? (Jacob 7:7, 9-10, 19)").

    Talk about rich irony!

  12. DKD.

    In the first instance a friend who was 50 miles away ask me and another of my friends to go give a blessing to his wife's mother (who was not a member).

    Later that evening he called me and correctly told me the time when we gave the blessing. He said he knew because he "felt" it over 50 miles away. The lady was bleeding to death and the doctor's with all their knowledge and medicine could not stop it.

    One half-hour later all bleeding had stopped and she was released the next morning. According to the doctors, she was "perfectly fine".

    1. I anointed with oil followed by the actual blessing.

    2. My friend sealed the blessing and but not the anointing.

    3. The laying on of hands was done a particular way.

    Why? The oil is a "helps". It helps focus "faith" and therefore does not need to be "sealed".

    What needs to be sealed is the blessing itself.

    The "handbook" sequence is:
    Anoint -> Seal -> Bless (optional seal)

    What I did was: Anoint -> Bless -> Seal Blessing

    You might not think there is much different, but there is; and when you think about it, follows the pattern in the Temple.

    Under the first sequence there is only one performing witness--the one who blesses after the anointing and sealing of the anointing. He singly blesses and may seal the blessing himself.

    Under the second sequence one anoints and blesses, then the other seals the blessings thus establishing "two witnesses".

    According to the laws of the priesthood the word of two witnesses establish a "fact".

    Then I followed that with these instructions:

    I told my friend who was the son-in-law of the lady to make a record of what he knew to have happened.

    I told my friend who helped me with the blessing to make a record of it in his journal

    I made a record of it in my journal.

    This last part is to fulfill the requirements of D&C 128:8-9

    "Now, the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven ... It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of-—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?"

    The second instance was similarly done. This time the person was dying from a heart failure. He went home later that day, much to the amazement of family, friends, and doctors.

    Other than being an administrator and a recorder in both cases--it was the workings of priesthood authority, faith of the individuals and the laws of heaven that lead to the rapid healing and recovery of the individual.

  13. Don't forget to look at the context of our scripture WHEN the Lord said "it is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth...".

    It was at a time when the church was led by a prophet who spoke to God face to face and opened the heavens often. A prophet who was a member of the Church of the Firsborn... which church you have to commune with to be a part of. Duty of the church is to make telestial people terrestial as it does... but was to also be funneling many to become called and elected to celestial status, just as Joseph was.

    Stone is right... no matter what celestial doctrines the church gives up on or feels oppressed by the wicked outside world to live... correct doctrines must be learned and lived.

    So... what about those who learn the further light and knowledge of principles formerly lived by this church that no longer are?

  14. Anon... thanks for sharing. Very interesting. I hadn't thought of it in that way. Thank you again. :)

  15. For Ben and others:

    I draw attention to "true church" comment because young and old do it routinely and have no idea of the difference between (a)the doctrines principles of the gospel and (b) procedures and practices of the institution.

    Secondly, Ben, there is a world of difference between "cringe" and "revulsion". I'm pretty sure, by re-reading my post, I did not use "revulsion".

    The Church organization without question can help make a bad man good; and a good man better.

  16. Stone- I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. I used "revulsion" not just for what you said, but from what I've read previously about those words. I probably should have chosen more carefully.

    I would argue that in general when used as part of a testimony, people are referring to your (a) definition when speaking of the true church. Perhaps they don't fully understand the difference you've outlined, but the basic understanding doesn't automatically make it wrong.

    MJ: I would still argue that in this church, and in this church alone, will you find authorized legal administrators who can perform the ordinances of salvation. In this church you find the Book of Mormon and Revelations taught (even if at a basic level that we all wish was deeper).

    If we don't believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still has the Lord's sanction, and is led by Prophets and Apostles who are called of God, and that the President of the Church is the legal successor to Joseph Smith and retains all the keys of presidency that he bestowed on the Twelve before his death; if we don't believe that the Church is "true and living" and is still "his" (the Lord repeatedly refers to us as "my church" in the D&C), then I'm really not sure why we would want to belong to such an organization.

    I recognize all of the imperfections, difficulties, mistakes, etc. that exist in the Church both at the individual and organization levels, both at the local and general levels, but I still find the Lord's spirit here. I still find the Lord's servants here.

  17. TO anonymous:

    Sheer genius--sheer genius

    Establish a "fact of law" by performing accordingly and let the operation of law cause the blessing to be fulfilled. After all, aren't the laws of heaven obeyed?


  18. Anonymous,

    When your stake president returned your temple recommend after having revoked it...did you ever receive an explanation as to why he decided to return it? Did he pray about it, decide you were justified, decide it was wrong but not worthy of revoking temple privileges, did he get counsel from higher authorities on the matter? Do you know? Just curious.


  19. Ben,

    I empathize with many of the feelings you expressed. When truth is spoken that condemns my behaviors or false beliefs I may hold, my natural reaction is to reject that truth, and to condemn the speaker of that truth for their harshness in speaking "hard things" against me (1 Nephi 15:1-3). It takes effort and humility to be receptive to, even grateful for, truthful words of reproof (Proverbs 9:8-9).

    You stated that you "love the personal chastening and corrections" you find here, which indicates to me that you understand the value of the principle taught by Proverbs 9:8-9, and that you are striving to live by this principle. As far as I am able to ascertain, your intention is to express that you appreciate the chastening that you acknowledge as applicable to yourself personally, but feel concerned about what you have perceived to be a "negative tone regarding the church" and "too much criticism, negativism ... directed to the Church and those who we sustain". On the other hand, you also stated that you are "with Denver in almost all of the critiques of the institution of the church as it exists now". So it seems that you agree, for the most part, with the critiques that have been raised, but perhaps feel that it is too much, too fast. I empathize with this feeling as well; at times it seems that it may be "more than we are able to bear" (1 Nephi 15:1).

    As I see it, Denver faces a difficulty that others have experienced in the past; Mormon lamented that "when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it" (Moroni 9:4). This is an extremely problematic dilemma. If he speaks indirectly or devotes most of his blog talking up the many good aspects of the Church (and there is plenty of that information readily available elsewhere) most of us will tend to continue as we are, thinking "all is well in Zion", and ignore the need to change, to repent, to improve individually and collectively. In contrast, if he speaks with directness then many of us who need to hear it will be "[cut] ... to the very center" and take "the truth to be hard" (1 Nephi 15:2).

    I have asked myself the question, if nobody speaks up about things that may be in error, how will be able to recognize the problems so that we can each do our part in taking action to make improvements? And when a few are willing to speak up, if we disregard them or if we successfully seek to silence them, what will be the consequence? The Book of Mormon is filled with devastating, heart-wrenching examples of those results.

    I think it is important to acknowledge that Denver has gone out of his way to recognize many good things about the Church, and about the Church's leaders. For example, on April 6th, 2010, he devoted a blog post to an explanation of why he admires President Monson, including recognition of President Monson's sincere "lifelong ministry to the widows, elderly and fatherless". Furthermore, Denver has emphasized his own imperfection and inadequacy in many blog posts, including the one from May 4th, 2010 titled "I am a fool" in which he states "I do not blame anyone who questions my right to give answers. I renounce any authority over anyone." So personally I don't take what he says as being given in the spirit of "a position of assumed superiority", but rather as just an imperfect person doing the best he can to encourage other imperfect people to turn to Him who is the true source of truth and salvation, the Savior.

    (to be continued in another post)

  20. (to Ben, continued from another post)

    If Denver were "evil speaking" and mocking the leaders of the Lord's church, as many others have done throughout history, I would be concerned about that; "Fools mock, but they shall mourn" (Ether 12:26). But as a contrived, oversimplified example, consider the following question: if the bishop of my ward states that "2 + 2 = 5" and then I state that "it is my opinion that 2 + 2 = 4", am I guilty of evil speaking of the Lord's anointed leader of my ward? Is it possible that I can hold, even vocalize, a differing opinion, and yet still sustain him?

    If the Lord were to narrow down His list of candidates for leadership positions in His Church and constrain it only to those who would not make any mistakes, the list would be empty; "there is none good but ... God" (Mark 10:18). As President Monson stated in the First Presidency message from this month in the Ensign magazine, "The Redeemer chose imperfect people to teach the way to perfection. He did so then. He does so now... He calls you and me to serve Him here below."

    Brigham Young said, "What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire of themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path that the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually" (JD 9:150).

    If I have a belief that the institution of the Church, or the leadership of the Church, or both, are virtually infallible, and if Denver or someone else helps me see that this is a false belief, a false tradition of my fathers, then if I am wise this can be a reason for me to feel love and appreciation toward whomever helps me to correct my false belief, since when you "rebuke a wise man ... he will love thee" (Proverbs 9:8). If I am "trusting [my] eternal destiny in the hands of [my] leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in [my] salvation", and if someone condemns this error in me, and if I accept it in the spirit of loving reproof of myself (Helaman 15:3) rather than as evil speaking of Church leadership, and if the Holy Spirit confirms to me this need of discarding a false belief and tradition held by myself, then this loving correction can help me to overcome something that might otherwise "thwart the purposes of God in [my] salvation". If a barrier to my salvation (in the form of a false belief) is removed, and if thereby I am able to progress toward my exaltation by learning to trust in and depend on God and none else (2 Nephi 31:21), then that is something for which I can be eternally grateful.

    I am interested in seeking the truth, though it may be difficult to bear at times. "For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day" (D&C 45:57).

  21. Karen,

    No explanation. But I was also recommended to become a temple worker too (I'd gone to the temple with the SP many times). Weird?

    I have to think he received something from someone.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Anonymous, a few things.

    I generally have no problem with Denver's usually measured critiques of the church. I have never, and do not consider the church, its leaders, or programs infallible.

    Generally, my comment about "assumed superiority" is directed at commenters, not Denver. This attitude seems to arise frequently here, assuming superiority over the unenlightened, unwashed masses with whom they are forced to share a 3-hour block.

    My argument is that, yes, sometimes the criticism and negativity toward the church goes to far, to the point where one wonders why it would be necessary to maintain membership in an organization that willfully misleads, deceives, etc. The leaders of the church still hold the positions of legal administrators for the Lord, Joseph Smith taught that "there is no salvation between the two lids of the Bible without a legal administrator." The institution, even with all its problems, still fills a vital role.

    I don't put my faith in the leaders, I believe the Lord is the head of the church and I trust that He established it as the vehicle and tool to spread his Gospel throughout the world. I expect His hand to still guide, chasten and correct the fallible, imperfect, erring earthly church in its mission.

  24. M. Hudson-

    I'm with you on correlation. They seem to be the main members and upholders of the first quorum of the wannabes.

    I have an acquaintance that many years ago was asked to participate in a committee tasked with creating new lesson manuals for the young men and young women organizations. All members of the committee were called by General Authorities and set apart to the work. My acquaintance spoke about the inspiration they were receiving in preparing a strong, scriptural and doctrinal based lesson plans, which relied on the teachers to gain the spirit to teach the subjects (the lesson manuals only had one page per lesson, as I recall).

    The whole operation was sunk because of correlation employees, even though the General YW/YM Presidencies and their supervising General Authority approved of their work.

    Those organizations are still, years later, laboring with the really awful manuals that this committee was called to replace.

  25. M. Hudson--

    You should publish your booklet as a book. Based on how you've described it, I'd certainly buy a copy. :)

    Just slap the standard boilerplate disclaimer that your booklet is not an official publication of the Church (blah, blah, blah) and call it good.

    You can find example wording in the front of any book published by Deseret Book.

  26. This is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s book “En Enemy Hath Done This” (emphasis added):

    “There are some regrettable things being said and done by some people in the Church today. As President Clark so well warned, “The ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep’s clothing because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood… We should be careful of them.”

    “Sometimes from behind the pulpit, in our classrooms, in our council meetings, and in our Church publications, we hear, read or witness things that do not square with the truth. ... Now do not let this serve as an excuse for your own wrongdoing. The Lord is letting the wheat and the tares mature before he fully purges the Church. He is also testing you to see if you will be misled. The devil is trying to deceive the very elect.”

  27. Ben, when you said, "Generally, my comment about "assumed superiority" is directed at commenters, not Denver. This attitude seems to arise frequently here, assuming superiority over the unenlightened, unwashed masses with whom they are forced to share a 3-hour block." you assume too much and sound very judgmental.

    Everyone of us, you-me-everyone, has our own insights. Because someone presents their insights, you can not assume they think they have a "superiority over the unenlightened, unwashed masses".

    If all were said and done, I'd probably the most simply-minded among those on this blog. I may be different, but that makes me neither superior or inferior.

    Smile, enjoy the words blogged here, love and live a bit.

  28. There is a big difference between having a principle revealed & taught vs. being worthy to live it.

    One can know about Charity & yet not earn it, one can have a testimony of Christ & not be valiant in it, one can know about plural marriage & not be worthy to live it, even if they think they are.

    Just because the Lord teaches & establishes a Celestial principle for a time, doesn't mean the Church membership is worthy of it to continue. Celestial principles demand a very high level of righteousness to understand & be worthy to live. It is very rare to find a man who is worthy of such today.

    Whenever I hear someone talk of how the Church has abandoned some of these higher 'Celestial' principles, it seems they always assume it's because of the Prophet & leadership, never do I hear them suggest that it could be (as I believe it is) the members fault because of unworthiness that such principles are not being lived at this time.

    Even a Celestial principle like plural marriage becomes one of the worst of sins if lived when a person isn't worthy or authorized to do so. Again, just because the Lord has taught it & let some people live it in the past, doesn't mean anyone can live it whenever they want, even if they think they are worthy.

    M. Hudson,
    That must have been hard to have happen to you. I know of others who have been told similar things about wonderful works of truth they long to share. Only the Spirit can tell us why the Church does what they do.

  29. (Forgive. I posted this on question earlier on the wrong post.) If, therefore, a person is keeping, perfectly, the first two ordinances of the endowment, should they not be receiving angelic visitations? Wouldn't this be a rather accurate way to assess our level of obedience? Also, if we are not receiving angelic visitations, couldn't we correctly presume we are not being obedient enough in these areas?

    June 28, 2010 10:30 PM
    Post a Comment

  30. LC, concerning your blog of June 29, 2010 10:55 AM, is there, of necessity, a correlation between obedience and angelic visitations; especially since one, upon "receiving the Holy Ghost" has an assigned guardian angel (I hold the 'receive ye Holy Ghost' as the assigning of a guardian angel) to reveal--in whatever form--the things a person needs?

    Unless it were some special task, can you list some circumstances that would require an angel (or something beyond your personal 'Holy Ghost' power) to appear?

  31. Stone - You present a provocative question that I had not considered. Thank you.

    It seems that often in my reading of Denver's books he poses the question of "Are you receiving these manifistations and if not, why?" It seems from all I have read (not only of Snuffer's material, but others as well) that the closer we come to the Lord the more spiritual manifestations/gifts we have. Also, it seems logical that a person wouldn't go from feeling/hearing the voice of the Lord to having an audience with him without having first been taught by other heavenly messengers.

  32. LC blog date [June 29, 2010 2:03 PM]

    If you were to pierce the veil, who do you suppose might be the first "angel" you would see?

    I'd recommend guessing -- your own personal "Holy Ghost" -- your Guardian Angel. After all, isn't by the revelations of the "Holy Ghost" you can know the truth of ALL things?

  33. Stone - yes, I think you must be right. I have my ideas about who that might be. However, it leaves me still wondering about my original question. It may seem over-simplified, but the more I consider it, I believe that having or not having these visitations is a way to monitor our level of obedience.

  34. Denver, I've noticed some doctrines represented in the endowment with such a very brief, passing visual or action that I can't help but wonder if it was highlighted more in earlier days. I wonder if the importance of the doctrine is then lost on many, many people. To the Church's credit, though, it is still there. Have you experienced that? As for things that may be missing, well, I'm young and would never figure it out from going to the temple (because it wouldn't be there anymore, obviously ;-). I don't like sifting through disrespectful sites for curiosity's sake, so I know the Lord provides other solutions for "need to know" information. I still have possession of that hope, despite my recent tangos in the comment sphere.

    Stone, I've come to like your posts more and more. I identify my line of reasoning with yours more where I thought at first I didn't. If you recall, I had an earlier post where I thought we differed. I thought you were advocating fundamentalism. Sorry for judging you. What, may I ask, did you mean by having to practice the higher laws if you didn't mean fundamentalism? Or did you? You may not have wanted to share, but I figure it's better for me to ask than to assume.

    Last, Jesus told His disciples to call people hypocrites when they try to judge you while sharing the Gospel. It has to be done with pure love, though, with the disciple sticking around for support. His purpose for telling them to say that, and His reasoning for doing that Himself, was to try and heal the heckler, not to defend themselves.

    Some people here seem to label that practice as evil speaking, or assume you think you are better than other Church members because you are sharing the Gospel with a fellow Church member instead of a non-member. I can't tell for sure, because the mudslingers have stayed Anonymous mostly, and use the sharp barb of implication (that I'm using right now), which isn't a sure bet they were referring to my posts. I would respond to them individually, but it is hard to keep track of who is which Anonymous, and if they are really referring to me. I think they prefer to hide, and I will let them.

    Either way, I admit that blog commenting is a hard forum to accomplish this mandate of the Savior's. I apologize if my love for the members of the Church and its leaders have not been felt. I take full responsibility for the restraints that posting puts on us. May we all find that peace that passes understanding so frequently until we become fellow-citizens with the Saints and more.

    I will watch some of your comments with deep interest, but I may be doing so more from the sidelines from now on. I gather some will be quite happier to hear less of me, but I don't mean to flatter myself. I say that so others will know I haven't been silenced with the shame some people here try to impose on others. I would just rather utilize face to face reasoning to be able to share my tone of voice and not be mistaken more. Happy commenting people!

  35. (To be continued)

    Zang & Family: First let me assure you that you must judge me -- everyday we must make hundreds of judgments. Bottom line--isn't learning to judge the reason we are here? How can you judge without performing some kind of judgment? I know you know Matthew's famous chapter 7, verse 1-2 quote.

    In the NJB, verse 2 clearly indicates it is the "standard" used for your judging that is most critical. Hence in the JSIV, we find "judge not unrighteous judgment." BTW, this is supported in Lev. 19:15 and Prov 31:9.

    Judgment of me is easy, I accept truth from whatever source and value it more than a particular "dogma."

    I'll address your comments directed at me in a following.

    If you like, I could shot you email.

  36. (Zang: Continued - 1)

    Zang: "Stone, I've come to like your posts more and more. I identify my line of reasoning with yours more where I thought at first I didn't. I had an earlier post where I thought we differed. I thought you were advocating fundamentalism."

    A: Both mainstream and fundamentalism are fraught and besieged with troubles.

    In my opinion and from a "purist" point of view, in many doctrinal issues, the "fundamentalists" have maintained "original intent" by using "original meaning" and are thus on the high ground.

    Personally I disdain contorting the scriptures to wrestle from them something they say not. Especially when that "something" is used in an attempt to "lord" over me. I am like Brother Joseph, I love "liberty of thought".

    Up until the doctrinal reconstruction period (1890-1930) of Mormon Doctrine, the power of the religion was it's speculative nature.

    The power came from the use of the heart and the head. With the introduction "strange doctrines" that have become orthodoxy and the rise of the anti-intellectualism atmosphere of the mainstream, that power has been lost.

    Sadly, I, as many others have found while attend meetings etc., it has become like a "feel-good" social club.

    When I lived in Washington, I was told by the Bishop to sit-down and shut-up as the members have paid their tithes and come here to be comfortable.

    Fundamentalism still, although in a guarded form, has that speculative nature.

    On the other hand, mainstream LDS have done better socially, including but not limited to financial concerns.

    The real question in both cases is, "At what expense?"

    (to be continued)

  37. Ben, where else in the world can we take a terrestial people and help them advance themselves? The church is the mission field. The spirit is there when truth is taught. That is why we continue to belong to it. The Lord will clean things up collectively. But don't forget that He uses many to speak and act thru to clean us up individually.

  38. (Zang - Continued 2)

    Zang: What, may I ask, did you mean by having to practice the higher laws if you didn't mean fundamentalism? Or did you?

    A: I accept many fundamentalist doctrines, just as I accept many mainstream doctrines; I accept priesthood where ever priesthood exists.

    What's interesting is you can go join any other church (at least outside of Utah) and not be excommunicated; but not so with fundamentalism (where I live, we have a member who is the preacher at another denomination).

    The question is: Why?

    Short answer: the mainstream church is, in my opinion, threatened by the fundamentalist movement for 2 main reasons (a) fundamentalism continues to be a backdrop of a history which the mainstream wishes to rid itself; (b) fundamentalism presents an alternative chain of priesthood authority from the same source.

    (a) above is quite obvious. In the past, certain doctrines were taught as being "essential" for exaltation; on a personal level, most notably Celestial Plural Marriage and receiving the 2nd anointing, or what is called "higher priesthood blessings" and are now taught as not only "not essential" but "not needed in this life". New inductees to the temple are now told "made such" will be in the next life.

    On a societal level, again most notably, the political concepts of "Zion" and the economic principles of a "United Order."

    (b) above notably deals with the character and nature of God embodied in the Adam-God doctrine [fundamentalist]-theory [mainstream] and the issues surrounding priesthood.

    Point in case, the mainstream teachings there are 2 priesthood orders in the church, namely the Levitical (Aaronic) and Melchizedek.

    Yet, even a precursory investigation of church history reveals Joseph taught there were 3 orders.

    Fundamentalist can simply ask, "where did the Patriarchal order go?" and most mainstreamers go, "Say what?" Its because they have never heard of it.

    Another relates to "keys" and lines of authority, etc.

    In the church, if you ask for your line of authority, what exactly do you get? Do you really get your "line of authority" or something else? Answer, "Something else".

    If you want your line of authority, you have to ask for your "true line of authority" (they know perfectly well what you mean, but look at you hard anyway--you should try it).

    Demonstration: If I had the melchizedek priesthood conferred upon me and ordained to the office of elder by my dad, then later was ordain a high priest by a apostle, what is my line of authority? Answer: Through my dad. Why? Because it was he who conferred the "priesthood" upon me. In the latter case, I received no priesthood, just a different set of "keys".

    It is only by a study of history that correct understandings may be arrived at. Since we have sanitized our history, how much of it will we repeat?

    Enough for the apostasy for told in 3 Nephi 16?

    And if so?

    I am reminded to copy your words:

    "I know the Lord provides other solutions for "need to know" information."

    Do you suppose the Lord provides other solutions for other problems?

    Lastly, be of good cheer.

  39. I spent many hours pondering and reading old comments and posts here, and I think I have assumed too much, especially about commenters. Text can be a tricky way to communicate, I think that in a discussion we generally assume the worst tone for people we are reading, and assume we are putting things most delicately and clearly when we write. This of course, leads to misunderstanding and generation of heat when neither side intended it in the beginning.

    In any case, I still stand by my words that I think the church is a sanctioned institution in its vital role, as Denver put it. Outside of that vital role on the other hand...

    I do wonder sometimes about tone, but that's generally in the posts not the comments, and Denver is usually good about clarifying if we just hang with him.

    In any case, we who are gathered Israel, identified with the gentiles, who are church members are certainly in a lot of hot water. We've got the "curse" of the gentiles on one hand and the violation of the covenant on the other, the signs of the times certainly don't bode well for us. Time to stop playing around, start taking things seriously, and repent.

  40. Ben, I have a sharp tongue at times, but I mainly mean it against myself. My initial reaction is being upset with myself for holding views that now seem detestable. I don't always do a good job at showing I mean my old self. And I get over being upset with myself and find peace. I'm just not that quick at it.

    On the other hand, Jesus dealt with people who had a hard time looking in the mirror. He was the Mirror. He reflected their true selves and mimicked their behavior, but not to mock them. He appeared deranged and ugly at times because He lived among a deranged and ugly tempered people. They killed him for it because they hated themselves.

    Mirroring is hard to do on a blog. People assume mocking. Who can blame them? They can't see the other person's facial features and the love in their eyes.

    But back to the Master Mirror, I would guess then that it would be quite an accomplishment to see as we are seen and remain with Him. Even a simple smile from Him would mean worlds.

  41. Article on Public Relations.

    This is not tongue in cheek, this is completely sincere: do you ever think the Lord would want this department of the Church to include the goal that we want to maintain to the public that we are peculiar? The other possibility is that the peculiar view is unavoidable if we are living right, no public relations needed. Yet another view is we are viewed as peculiar and that is understandable, yet not ideal, and the public relations is a good thing. I'll let everyone else decide for themselves. In this article, public opinion polls are certainly relied on heavily. That may be helpful, that may not be helpful (if it is used as the sole basis of information for decision making excluding revelation). Do we assume either way or should we pray and ask if any decisions resulting from this, on a case by case basis, are by direct revelation? Please don't assume what I would answer to any of these questions.

  42. Hi Stone,

    You Said: "New inductees to the temple are now told "made such" will be in the next life."

    I don't follow the "made such" part. Can you elaborate enough for me to link it in my mind? The sentence is throwing me off and I can't figure out what part you mean.

    Good points, mainly.

    And, you said: "In my opinion and from a "purist" point of view, in many doctrinal issues, the "fundamentalists" have maintained "original intent" by using "original meaning" and are thus on the high ground. "

    I think I can project my thoughts into the framework you create with the "purist point of view" idea, but I'm still inclined to think that fundamentalists haven't maintained original intent or original meaning as a group. I don't think they reach a high ground in that regard.

    They may think they are making Abrahamic sacrifices by refusing to go the second mile with the Gentile nation and with the Gentile Church, but they also impose this Abrahamic sacrifice on their community members before some of them have a choice in the matter, simply because they are part of the group. As a group religious tenet, that seems to fit under the definition of abominable that Denver outlines, just like some of our traditions in the LDS Church do. I refer people to Denver's D&C 132 posts way early in his blog.

  43. Zang, concerning your post of June 30, 2010 3:48 PM, where you stated:

    I don't follow the "made such" part. Can you elaborate enough for me to link it in my mind? The sentence is throwing me off and I can't figure out what part you mean..

    In the Endowment, you were called to become a King and a Priest and upon proving worthy, at some time in the future, you would be "made such". Those going to the temple for the first time are now being told, up front, it will not be in this life.

  44. Zang your comments are well taken. And what you have described is exactly what Isaiah says in Chapter 28: "For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean."

  45. Hi Stone,

    Very interesting. I love it when a good scripture paints a picture worth a thousand words. So, whatever you wanted to shoot over to me in an email, I'm interested. Go to my blog at and post a comment anywhere and I'll just read it without making it public. Leave your email address if you want a response.

  46. Denver said:

    Also, if you say: "The church is a corrupt mess!" Then I wonder how that damns me.

    If the Church denies truth or teaches untruths, and we look to it for the standard of doctrine (Eph 4), then yes it can certainly damn me or retard my progress.

    If I look to the Church for essential ordinances, and it either does not offer them any longer or has by unfaithfulness lost the privilege to authoritatively offer them, then yes, it can certainly damn me.

    Unless there is another source for truth and ordinances. Where else can one go?


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