Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Master’s House

I set out to discuss the parable of the Master’s House, but there’s just too much to write. So I’m doing it by video. Here’s part one:





Part Two Coming Soon

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Seven Hosannas

On the eighth day shall be a holy convocation unto you and you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. It is a solemn assembly and you shall do no servile work therein.
—Leviticus 11:9, RE


Today was the last day of the Jewish feast of tabernacles, also called the feast of Sukkot. Today was also the day the covenant people of God adopted a Statement of Principles to serve as a guide and standard, as He commanded nearly two years ago.

The seven-day Sukkot observance required the people to dwell in “tabernacles” or booths made of tree branches. This was to remind them of their ancestors dwelling in booths in the desert for 40 years, after incurring the Lord’s condemnation. I’ve certainly felt the Lord’s condemnation over the last several months as we’ve failed as a people to accomplish the “light thing” the Lord asked of us.

After the seven-day Sukkot observance, which includes a celebration of the harvest, the Sukkot temporary booths are taken down, symbolizing returning from exile, back to the Lord. This particular day, today, the seventh and last day, is known as Hoshana Rabbah, and it has special meaning.

It is known as the last of the Days of Judgment, which begin on Rosh Hashana, or the first day of the year. Tradition holds that while the judgment of God for the new year is sealed on Yom Kippur, (the day of Atonement) it is not "delivered" until the end of Sukkot, i.e., Hoshana Rabbah, the last day of Sukkot, which is today. During the intervening period between Rosh Hashana and Hoshana Rabbah, one can still alter the verdict and decree for the new year. One can still repent and find favor with God. Hence, the day is started with special prayers for forgiveness, as was the conference.

In other words, according to this tradition, today was the last day of the year in which the Lord’s judgement decree could be altered, before it became sealed and permanent at sunset.

The Statement of Principles document was adopted a little after 4 PM today. Sunset occurred at 7:11 PM. It appears we made it by about three hours, and that the Lord’s judgement of us as a people, as outlined in T&C 157 and noted by Gordon when he took the vote, could yet be changed until that point. I pray it was.

I thank God for what occurred, as well as the evidence of changed hearts, respectful disagreement, and widespread unity. Perhaps, as a people, we are showing some slight progress.

This day is traditionally celebrated by making seven circuits around the synagogue while reciting seven Hoshanas, or Hosannas, as we spell the word. (Hosanna comes from the Hebrew word for “save” and can literally be interpreted as a prayer for a savior or for salvation. “God Save Us!”)

This act brings to mind the seven circuits around Jericho, which brought down the wall, and is meant to symbolize removal of the wall between us and God. I pray the completion of this assignment will demonstrate our desire to obey our Lord and no longer be separated by our disobedience.

The day after Sukkot, which is tomorrow, Monday, October 1st, is called Shemini Atzeret. It is a day of holy convocation and solemn assembly and pause to contemplate the spiritual lessons of Sukkot, or separation from God. It is also a day for a special offering made to God by fire. (Leviticus 11:9 RE)

I pray the Lord will accept our offering, forged in the fires of our own refinement, not only of the document He requested, but also of a broken heart and contrite spirit. God Save Us!

HOSANNA!
HOSANNA!
HOSANNA!
HOSANNA!
HOSANNA!
HOSANNA!
HOSANNA!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Question of Process

Background: I've seen a number of communications from people who take no issue with the Lots Statement of Principles document, but who intend to dispute its adoption because they do not agree with the process by which it was created, selected, or adopted. The point of these various communications is to suggest that it is not the document, but the process, which is the higher objective of the Lord, and that we have still failed to create a process that  pleases the Lord.

Some offer various solutions that involve starting over, organizing a new effort, changing the approach to "include everyone", and going through another lengthy process to create a document in a way "everyone" approves. They cite the first 8 pages of the Answer and Covenant as justification for this view, by claiming the current process has mistreated and compelled, and trampled the agency of those who disagree. Claims of unrighteous dominion have been leveled. 

Karen Strong has written a response to these ideas, that I believe is worth sharing. She makes some excellent points regarding the process; and these are points we need to keep in mind as we choose whether to dispute or not dispute the adoption of the Lots statement. Here is what she wrote (slightly edited for grammar and clarity):

I don't argue the importance of us all needing to work on the things expressed in the first 8 pages of the Answer.  But the suggestion of the authors is that the process by which we have gotten the Lots document has been coercive in some manner, and judgment is made that hearts have been wrong, or the counsel of the Lord in the first 8 pages ignored. I disagree with the premise that the process of the lots was a failure on our part as a people, or in the eyes of the Lord.

Of all the efforts that have been attempted, this method was the most inclusive, the most "permission seeking," the most "counsel seeking," and the most unbiased of any and all methods suggested to date.

The covenant body had already spent an entire 7 months in discussion, including using fellowship reps at meetings all summer, and two movement-wide petitions to the Lord to "know His part," before the proposal was finally written up to use the method of lots.

After the proposal was written, weeks were spent informing people of its existence. This was followed by a movement-wide vote in which every individual was able to speak for themselves as to whether they felt it was a method worth using.  The voting showed 87% agreed with the proposed process.  That was not "forcing" a method or a document upon anyone, but was rather merely asking if the people were willing to give it a try.  No one else had even attempted to get permission from the body before proceeding. Not even the fellowship rep effort did that---we were just "told" that's what was happening.

After permission was granted, EVERY covenant holder had a both the right and the invitation to submit their name to be drawn. No other method has figured out a way for every person in the movement to be put on equal footing, to respect each person as having equal ability and qualification to be chosen. This method respected even the quiet and meek among us, and allowed God to choose, rather than simply handing control to those who are most vocal. This was one of the most important issues to me, because I knew certain voices who were dominating the issue, even among the fellowship rep meetings. This approach put even the most humble among us on equal footing with equal opportunity.

Remember, too, that the method honored those among us who felt they had been inspired or "told" to write a SofP, too.  All of those people were asked to submit their previously written documents as a means of giving "counsel" to the seven who were chosen by lot. (And the seven read all the submissions and used many of the ideas they expressed.)

No vying for position was possible with drawing lots. It was left to the Lord, and the Lord alone. Interestingly, He drew from all around the world to represent us. The seven literally became representatives of the covenant body to fulfill the assignment. From England, to Texas, to Washington state, and from northern to southern Utah, the Lord chose those whom He would. Is it somehow more noble or superior if we choose our own representatives, rather than allowing the Lord to choose?

After the rough draft was written, input from the entire body was also sought for 3 days. No other document has done that either. And almost every suggestion the body offered was heeded, unless it went contrary to scripture.

In addition to the above outline of how inclusive and objective this "process" has proven to be, it turns out to be almost a perfect reflection of what Denver suggested in his "Dances with Wolves" podcast, as a way to come to a decision when nothing else has worked (which nothing had---even the fellowship rep attempt had failed).

Various authors have written to promote a future system of having representatives for fellowships make decisions--and yet what we got with the Lots was representatives for the entire covenant body chosen, not by voting, but by the Lord, through lot. No favoritism or power could be exerted in who was chosen as representatives. 

The authors suggest moving forward with a system that entails having a fellowship rep who speaks for the rest of the fellowship. There are several problems with this--I will address just a couple.

First, we are not trying to come up with a governing body for fellowships. A means of communication may be worthwhile, but a governing body presents numerous challenges. (We should remain flexible for whatever future assignments may be in how they are resolved.)

Next, I see a major flaw in relying upon a fellowship rep. system as described. It is like having a Senate without a House of Representatives--which a student of US Government realizes is a real imbalance of power.

The Senate was created to ensure that small states had as much say as larger states. The House ensures that the actual numbers of people aren't swallowed up by small states either. There is balance.

In this movement, no two fellowships are the same. There are very large fellowships, and there are fellowships that consist of a single individual. (I know, I've been on the fellowship locator and found many such "single individual" or family fellowships.) Therefore, having one rep per fellowship necessarily creates an imbalance of representation.

Experience from the summer of 2017, where we sent fellowships reps, proved to be fatally flawed.

There were people who created fellowships just before the meeting, so as to be able to come as a rep and participate.  Such a system does nothing to prevent any person seeking more power and a stronger voice to create their own fellowship for the objective of "being heard." This is an imbalance of power, as opposed to those who may be in fellowships of 20-40 people (like mine).

There were also, reps who were told things by their fellowship, only for the fellowship to learn after the fact, that their rep did not actually represent what the fellowship had agreed upon, but came with their own agenda. We've had enough of this sort of thing in America. We do not need this in this movement, in my opinion.

And do not be fooled, sending reps did NOT prevent the meek and humble from being overrun by the vocal. The exact opposite occurred. There are always those voices who will dominate in a group. Also, the meek and humble are least likely to volunteer to represent the fellowship. Interestingly, in comparison, the lots method allowed all to have an equal chance of being chosen as the covenant body rep.

I was a witness to the complete opposite occurring with the seven chosen by lot.

In stark contrast to what occurred with the fellowship rep attempt in the summer of 2017, I was a fly on the wall to every discussion had by the seven. Never have I seen such respect between individuals. There was complete calm, everyone spoke in turn and had equal say, there was no vying for power, every decision made was done in unanimity, there was the presence of the spirit that was so strong it permeated our home the entire week. I FINALLY had hope for Zion from what I saw happen.  I think there must be something that occurs when individuals feel the Lord has asked them to do something, versus when we take it upon ourselves to do something---because the humility and unity of those seven during that week was palpable.

The final document was again presented to the people for their approval. 

So as not to infringe upon anyone's rights, opinions, or ability to mutually agree or not---the final document written by those whom the Lord had chosen to represent the covenant body in doing this work, was again submitted to the people for their examination and acceptance or rejection.

93.3% of over 500 people (more than had been involved in any other effort) gave their approval.

Yes, 6.7% did not agree.  Those individuals were reached out to and spoken with if they were willing.  Every attempt was made to answer questions, satisfy concerns, and gently persuade. (I have a $42 international phone bill to prove it!  LOL) In the end, NO document is EVER going to get 100% acceptance.  That is just the nature of working with a group of 500+ individuals.

These individuals represented by that 6.7% are important.  They are covenant holders of value.  But they are given the opportunity to still state they do not prefer the document, but choose to not dispute. We've all been given a way to accommodate our personal preferences and still be found agreeable--by a generous Lord.

Yet people keep accusing others of not having their hearts right. 

I keep hearing people say our hearts are not right.  Whose heart among those who participated in the effort to do this work by lots was not right? Are you really willing to make that judgment? None of those who proposed the idea of lots were even allowed to submit their names into the lottery. How could their heart be but filled with a desire to follow the inspiration they were given? There was nothing in it for them except to serve and follow the impressions they got.

I witnessed the hearts of the seven, and I give my witness their hearts were right, as the presence of the spirit bore witness to that.

Many of those who supported the lots had been supportive of every effort and attempt by other covenant holders to try to figure this out before. They were not stubborn. Many of those involved were individuals whose very concern was that the humble and meek among us were getting trammeled upon by the vocal and were asking the Lord how that could be rectified.

A word of caution.

I understand that we all wish that there was a perfect solution to this whole thing--something to happen that would suddenly allow us all to be on the same page and see this exactly the same way. I think we assume that this would be evidence that our hearts were finally right.

We have been asked to work on our hearts. This is going to be a long process that isn't achieved in a year, or two--and will never be achieved by some among us. We've been told this already (i.e. there are tares among us). I do not know whose hearts or right or whose are not; but I do see some evidence that suggests people are misjudging those involved in the lots and the process.

In the end, we have not been asked to mutually agree upon a process anyway, but to mutually agree upon a statement of principles. I believe it has been a manifestation of the hand of the Lord that He inspired the Lots method and all that it entailed--and that He bore witness of His approval of the process by the Dances with Wolves podcast--Perhaps just in the nick of time for everyone in this movement to reflect upon before this coming Sunday's vote to adopt. He is a God of miracles, after all, if we will have eyes to see it.

What shows more about our hearts? To continue to haggle over a dislike of this or that in a process that you may or may not be right about--in fact, you may even be fighting against the very thing God gave us to solve the dilemma we faced? Or to say, I accept the flaws and inadequacies of my brothers and sisters, but accept in good faith that their hearts were right and I can support this document that contains the words of the Lord and His servants. If the Lord rejects the work, He will let us know, but I can unite with my brothers and sisters, and lay my personal preferences aside, with the knowledge that even I may be operating off opinion, rather than truth, in what I think.

Which of those two is really what the Lord would have us do?

Sincerely, and with pleading in my heart that we cease the finger-pointing, and finding fault with those who seek to do the Lord's will and be on His errand, and prayerfully unite with one another--asking the Lord if that would please Him to see us do that.

Karen Strong

Monday, September 24, 2018

Two Announcements

Updated Statement of Principles Announcement

There's an update on the upcoming sustaining vote for the statement of principles posted on the Scriptures Project Blog. Please take a look:

http://scripturesproject.blogspot.com/2018/09/updated-statement-of-principles.html

==================

Also, I was asked to post the following regarding Dr. John Pratt's sacred calendar discussions. I'm somewhat familiar with John and his writings, and I highly recommend learning from him if you're interested in the sacred calendars and the heavens.

John Pratt - Weekly Sunday Zoom Meeting - Sacred Calendars

We would like to invite everyone, in all fellowships, to a weekly online ZOOM meeting with John Pratt to discuss sacred calendars. These ZOOM meetings are intended to be a series of ongoing discussions to teach us about the sacred calendars and their relevance to our day. John has mentioned that these tutorials were designed and prepared to be presented sequentially as "later tutorials may depend on remembering what was taught earlier."

SUNDAYS at 8 PM, Mountain Time

ZOOM MEETING INFORMATION

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

https://zoom.us/j/640043351

Telephone:

US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 640 043 351

International phone numbers available:

https://zoom.us/u/acBexdeQRz

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

4th Address to Christians

The 4th Address to Christians has been posted on the Christian Reformation 500th Anniversary site. I’ve listened to this address and highly recommend it to all believers in Christ. Please share.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Making Peace


If you will hearken to my words I will make you my people and my words will give you peace. Even a single soul who stirs up the hearts of others to anger can destroy the peace of all my people. Each of you must equally walk truly in my path, not only to profess, but also to do as you profess.
—T&C 157:19

The Scriptures Project website has posted an announcement about a sustaining vote for the Lots guide and standard. Here is the link. I hope you’ll read it; it contains important information about what the upcoming vote does and does not mean.


I’m very pleased and relieved to see this development. I believe the steps taken to approve the process, obtain the Lord’s part, do the work, and receive the Lord’s approval of the document have all represented the will of the people, and that the document produced meets the Lord’s requirements.

In making this statement, I fully recognize that not everyone agrees. I have covenant brothers and sisters, whom I love, that feel differently than me about this process and this document. Some are dismayed at the prospect of completing the assignment in this way, and my heart feels for them. In that spirit, I want to offer a few thoughts to my friends who see things differently.

Love

First, people who love each other disagree. They even do things that the other wishes they would not do. Our God, who loves us, does things that we would prefer He not do, and with which we don’t always agree. This is not a sign that He doesn’t love, value, or cherish us. Likewise, if your brothers and sisters vote to adopt this document, even when you prefer they not, it doesn’t mean they don’t love or value you.

Now, here’s a bit of tough love: Asserting that somebody doesn’t love you because they think or do things with which you disagree, is manipulative. To say that the group not agreeing with you means the group doesn’t love you, or that you are not precious, not important, or even that you are somehow more Christlike than the rest of the group is just plain wrong. This manipulation needs to stop, in all its forms, including the veiled “we don’t yet love each other” which is just another way of judging others’ hearts as unloving.

Others could just as easily throw back the very same. Is it evidence that you don’t love the larger body if you don’t agree with them? Are they not precious to you? Are they not important? Let’s agree to stop accusing one another and stop judging each other’s hearts. People who love each other disagree, and that’s OK. Mature, rational adults don’t use “you don’t love me” as a way to compel behavior.

Ok, the tough love portion is over. Sorry I had to point that out, but I did it because I care, not because I don’t.

Now for some thoughts that can be expressed in a much less pointed manner.

Voice

You have a voice! I’m aware that some still feel they have not been heard and that they therefore “have no voice.” I disagree. I hear you. I’ve heard many of you, including everyone who has commented here, those who have reached out privately, and those who have made their opinions public. People are much more aware of your feelings and opinions than you realize or give them credit for. If the majority of your brothers and sisters don’t see things the way you do, it does not mean they don’t hear you. It simply means they see things differently.

One unfortunate aspect of human nature is that we tend to equate understanding with agreement. It’s possible to understand and hear one another, to value one another’s opinions, but still disagree at the end of the day. If you assume this means you have not been heard, you will continue trying to “make your voice heard” until people change their thinking to agree with yours. But that won’t happen. At some point it’s time to realize you HAVE been heard, loved and valued, but you have not persuaded and it’s time to move on. And that’s OK. We don’t always get our way.

Elites

We also need to shun the claim that there’s some secret group of “elites” who run things and impose their will on the rest of us “little people.” I can speak from experience because I get regularly accused of being, and associating with these alleged “elites.” Here’s some perspective: I know people in this movement who work tirelessly, sacrifice greatly, and pour their heart and soul into serving the body in ways that few realize. Most of them go unthanked, unnoticed, often unappreciated, but not unaccused. If they happen to accomplish something, we all have cause to celebrate and be grateful, not find fault. It does no good to accuse those who sacrifice and labor on our behalf simply because they did it and we didn’t, or they didn’t do things the way we would have. Let’s remember the Lord’s admonition:
As a people you honor with your lips, but your hearts are corrupt, filled with envy and malice, returning evil for good, sparing none, even those with pure hearts among you, from your unjustified accusations and unkind backbiting. 
Nor is it enough to say you love your fellow man while you, as Satan, divide, contend and dispute against any person who labors on an errand seeking to do my will.  
Let your pride, and your envy, and your fears depart from you. 
There’s no need for, and no place for, an “us vs. them” mentality among those who seek to become one.

Cut Off ?

And finally, just this: If the upcoming vote sustains the Lots document, it doesn’t mean anyone has been rejected, cut off, excommunicated, thrown out, or any of the other silly assertions that get made. Such assertions are just as manipulative as the idea that disagreeing with someone means you don’t love them. Nobody is getting cut off or excluded, and nothing changes, except we will have completed the Lord’s assignment in a way most of the body doesn’t dispute. Some will yet dispute, and that’s OK. We still move on together, learn from our mistakes, and do better on the next assignment.

In a parallel example, early on, a number of documents were proposed for inclusion in the scriptures. There was an open vote to determine which ones got in. Some documents made it, some didn’t. And I disagreed with some of the outcomes, as did plenty of others. But we all took it in stride and moved on. Nobody was cut off, unheard, unloved, or undervalued just because the outcome didn’t go the way they preferred.

Why should this be different?

The Lord tasked the body with writing a document. The body voted on a method of doing so, which included the Lord’s selection of who would do it. Those selected faithfully performed the assignment and produced a document that the vast majority of the body find acceptable, as evidenced by the Phoenix vote. If it gets adopted, like the other documents, I hope nobody takes it as a personal affront or act of cutting off.

Adopt

Think about the word “adopt.” As with adopting a child, it means to take what is not your own, and embrace it, making it yours. It is an act of supreme love, commitment and sacrifice. Does adopting a statement carry the same connotation? I believe it does, particularly when the statement may not be the one you created, or prefer. Those who let go of their own preferences and adopt a statement that is not their preferred approach perform a more exemplary act of sacrifice and love than the rest of us. I believe the Lord used that word, “adopt” as an invitation to do just that.

I pray for an end to disputation and a completion of this assignment. I love and pray for my brothers and sisters with whom I don’t agree, and I hope you will love and pray for me, and for those who, at great personal discomfort and sacrifice, are seeking to complete this assignment in the way they believe the Lord requires. When they stand to ask for the body’s opinion, I pray we will all be kind and respectful to them, recognizing they are standing as servants and not masters.

Many among us are willing to accept a document that is not our favorite, in the spirit of adoption and choosing to not dispute. They are humbly choosing to submit to keep peace and put on display their soft hearts. Would it not please the Lord if we were all to do this because of our united desire to obey His commandment to us? Is it also not a thing of the heart to choose to not dispute? And does that not reflect the unity of heart the Lord requires of us? In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ teaches us "And blessed are all the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (3 Ne 5:10)

I hope we can be the children of God.

Repent, therefore, like Peter and end your unkind and untrue accusations against one another, and make peace.
—T&C 157:10

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hope


As discussions about the Statement of Principles project continue, I thought it important to highlight a couple of items, particularly in light of Denver Snuffer’s recent podcast, “Dances with Wolves.” 


When I first heard the podcast, I thought it was a very interesting way to make group decisions, by appointing one to act as “chief,” hear all sides, listen to counsel, and make the decision on behalf of the group. I realize people may see such an approach as a method for making a decision regarding the Statement of Principles as well, and I wanted to share a couple of viewpoints from others on this topic.

First, there’s a new post from Chris Hamill over at the Scriptures Project blog. It’s brief, so I’m quoting the relevant part here:
I received an email from someone who was present when the Dancing with Wolves podcast was recorded and they asked for clarification from Denver on how the decision-making example applied. They said this was Denver's response, “The answer about problem solving was independently asked and answered and involved how a group of people, like a fellowship, could avoid conflict while attempting to reach a decision. It was in that context that the question was asked and answered. I'm not sure that it could be possible to have a group of hundreds, or over a thousand, to have any meaningful use of that method. Too many voices would be involved.”
I did some calculations regarding the time and logistics of attempting the method with a large group of, say 50, and found the process would be very lengthy. Likely 6-8 hours if it runs efficiently (because meetings always run efficiently, right?) If you increase that number to a couple hundred, the entire process becomes, for all intents and purposes, impossible. It is simply not possible to hear from that many people, weigh that many viewpoints, and make an informed decision in any kind of reasonable time frame, if at all. I heartily agree that the “Dances with Wolves” (DWW) method is best suited to a small group of intimates.

The Spirit of the Approach

A better thinker than me has looked at the process through a different set of lenses and written a very insightful series of comments on the One Year blog post, detailing how the spirit of the DWW method has already been followed, and all that remains is for the decision to be made. I reproduce this person’s anonymous comments here, with my comments inserted in blue.
It is interesting how we all see the same thing differently. Last November, after months of dialogue, we were at an impasse on the GS issue, and a solution was put forth to cast lots to allow a group to be chosen by God, and without bias, to resolve the matter. The solution they came to garnered 90+% support in both a November vote and a Phoenix Conference vote. (I’ll here clarify that both the process, and the product received overwhelming support in open voting. This means before the task was undertaken, nearly 90% of the people who cared to vote agreed to choose representatives by lots to complete the work. Then when the product was finished, about 93% voted in favor of adopting it.) Yet because "some people refuse to lay down for the heart of the community, their own heart," the vote to sustain was delayed and printing never happened.
Ten months later, we have now heard a podcast that may have been directed at the GS issue, or may have been merely directed toward fellowships making decisions; and the concept is put forth to cast lots using colored stones. Now people are excited about the solution and its prospects of success, while they ignore that such a method has already been used, and reject the result that came from it. I guess the assumption is that since Denver made the suggestion, and not just ordinary covenant body members, it is now a whole different ball-game. Now it will actually work.
Someone pointed out to me today some interesting parallels between what happened with the November Lots, and the model that was proposed in the podcast. Here are a few parallels:
Parallel #1 - An impasse is reached in making a decision.  
November 2017: The covenant body wrestled over what exact wording was to be used for the GS document. And they wrestled over "who" would be able to write it. Many felt they had been "called" and many had written what they believed to be inspired documents already. There was no apparent way to resolve the debate. A clear impasse existed. 
Denver's Podcast: “The Book of Mormon says , It’s not often that the voice of the people are going choose error. Well the voice of the people in the context of making a decision--- If a decision can be made in no other way (an impasse), should be heard in this kind of a cooperative, enlightened outpouring of viewpoints however diverse they may be, however difficult to reconcile they may be....I think it is ONE model that can be experimented with..." 
[When an impasse comes, it didn't say this model is THE only way that this concept can be done---rather “one model,”---leaving open something akin to it.] 
Parallel #2 - Those that feel inspired are able to contribute/give counsel. 
November 2017: The Lots invited EVERYONE who had felt inspired to write a GS document, to share their inspired input---what they felt God had told them in answer to their prayers and personal communication with God---as a means to draw insight and counsel from in making the decision on what to include in the final GS version written. [The white stones] (I’ll add that a great many documents were shared with the lots group, providing inspired input and counsel to their labors.) 
Denver's Podcast: "Everyone acknowledging that if you've gotten a prayerful answer it is important for you to come and to voice that prayerful answer in order for the decision that gets made...to have some enlightenment." [The white stones] 
Parallel #3 - Lots are drawn in both models to choose roles. 
November 2017: Seven lots were drawn to decide who would take on the responsibility of writing the final GS for the entire body. In this scenario, this would be like having 7 people holding the black stone together. After studying the inspired documents [hearing from the white stone holders], these will be the ones making the final decision. (In this process, which was completely public and transparent, the Lord demonstrated his ability to cause astronomically unlikely things to happen, like a husband and wife both being consecutively drawn from hundreds. He also demonstrated afterwards, His ability to remove one from the committee. Thus, by showing His power to control the exact makeup of the committee, he demonstrated His involvement with abundant clarity. Signs follow those that believe, we exercised our faith, and signs followed.) 
Denver's Podcast: Stones were drawn to choose who would be chief, spiritual advisor, and voice input. The chief listened to everyone, but made the final decision. 
Parallel #4 - One voice comes prayerfully prepared in the role of wisdom. 
November 2017: When the time to approach the Lord arrived to see if He had accepted the final Lots GS; the only woman among them was chosen to give voice to the prayer and received the communication from the Lord that conveyed His acceptance. The spirit manifested to each of them, that the words she shared were of God. 
Denver's Podcast: "If you are the medicine man come prayerfully. Prayerfully participate. Advise based upon the wisdom of God." He quipped that eventually maybe the role of the spiritual advisor should always be a woman.  
Parallel #5 - The drawing of lots to make decisions eliminates an hierarchy and allows for equality. 
November 2017: Every covenant holder was invited to participate, had an equal chance for selection, was invited to contribute their wisdom through submission of documents and analyze and give input into the rough draft version [another chance at holding the white stone]. Upon completion of the task, the Lots counsel disbanded. They were temporary; for a "one time" assignment and decision making role. (I’ll add that since the Phoenix conference, the Lots committee has since done nothing to campaign, promote, or compel adoption of their document. They did the work assigned and disbanded. This demonstrates meekness and fidelity to their assignment.) 
Denver's Podcast: "Within community, no one gets to control. Authority is equally distributed." "We do something like that [the model he gave] which is transitory and temporary."  
Notice, his point is not that we must do exactly this process, but something like it---something that keeps the decision making power temporary. 
Parallel #6 - Success depends upon the hearts of the people being able to compromise. 
November 2017: Many soft hearts were exhibited with a willingness to accept and support a scripturally based process, founded in equality, that allowed a small group to be chosen to listen to the voice and input of the people as expressed after 9 months of discussion and through their contributed documents. Though an imperfect document was produced, the vast majority were able to set aside personal preferences, or opinions, and see that the effort satisfied the Lord's instructions and requirements. A small number felt that to agree with something different than how God had answered them, would be to compromise the truth as they saw it.  
Denver's Podcast: "...we don't get there [being able to make a decision by the voice of the people] by having forceful and intransigent minds, insisting that when they see a truth, it is all the truth, it is the only truth, and it can never be compromised, modified, or altered in any particular because it is their truth." "Some people refuse to lay down for the heart of the community, their own heart." 
Could it be possible that the very ideas shared in the podcast were not meant for us to start the GS all over and follow as an exact model; but rather given as a general concept---that can be used, or something "like that" in a myriad of decision making challenges? And is it possible that in regards to the GS matter, we actually already have followed something very “like that” model---but we've been so blinded with our own insistence that the truth be as we see it, that we failed to see the beauty of exactly what was accomplished?  
If our hearts are intransigent (unwilling to compromise or moderate a position; unreasonable), then it won't matter if we sit in a circle with white, black and blue stones and create another variation of what was already done with the Lots back in November. Someone may still say the outcome doesn’t reflect their vision and find fault yet again. Maybe it isn't that we were being told we need to try something that we haven't tried; but rather that we were so blinded that we failed to see the beauty of what happened all those months ago.

That concludes the anonymous comment. I’ll add a concluding thought or two.

Prior to the Phoenix conference, a three-step process was proposed to determine the voice of the people regarding this assignment. Step one involved a runoff of available documents, and the lots document rose to the top with a clear majority. Step two involved asking who would support it (regardless of how they voted in the first step) and who would not, followed by hearing the objections of those who would not, in a face-to-face setting, together with attempts at persuasion.

Both of those steps were completed, and both gave overwhelmingly strong preference to the Lots document, according to the voice of the people. Those two steps chose the document and attempted to persuade. The Lots document has clearly been chosen by the voice of the people on two separate occasions: the initial vote conducted via the internet in November receiving 93%, followed a conference vote held with all qualifying documents, where it had 90-95% approval of those in attendance.

Step 3 required a sustaining vote to canonize the document, once chosen. That step was never completed because the conference organizers didn’t want to further damage the spirit of the conference with continued contention on Sunday. That step is the only one remaining to be completed.

There have now been two separate, organic processes, by two separate groups, that have come together to bring the process this far (the Lots group efforts, and the efforts prior to and at the last conference). Both achieved the same result: approval in the mid-90% range. Both involved legitimate, open votes, followed by a lengthy process of outreach to hear opposing viewpoints. We not only have the voice of the people, but we actually now have two witnesses, satisfying both the law of common consent and the law of witnesses. This is extremely significant.

Are there other documents that meet the Lord’s requirements? Absolutely! Are some better written or more beautiful in expression? Possibly so. (Some say Paul’s document is, for instance—and it well may be added to the appendix as a useful missionary tract.) But the people have spoken, the Lord’s hand was manifest by signs, His approval was granted, the applicable laws have been satisfied, and the process of producing and selecting a document is complete. All that remains is to canonize the statement, with a simple sustaining vote, as the Lord has required. 

I realize some may yet choose to dispute. I empathize with those who so desperately desire to become one in heart prior to writing a statement, though I see things differently than they do. I believe we are already one in heart, at least in the basic principles, by virtue of the fact that we all agreed to the covenant. Are not our hearts one in those principles it espouses? And so, can we not state them with one heart? Obviously, we will not become Zion in one step. This assignment is one small step towards becoming more fully what the Lord wants us to be.

I have spent a great deal of time over the last year listening to other viewpoints, hearing objections, and seeking common ground. But I have yet to hear any dispute based on the actual content of the document. I do not know of ANYONE who disputes the principles written in the Lots document. Every dispute I have heard has to do with a side issue, but not the document itself. The document teaches true principles, will bless, benefit, and inform those who know nothing of the Lord’s work now underway, and is the de facto guide and standard to which we ALREADY AGREE.

Therefore, shall we not add it to our scriptures and complete the Lord’s command? A sustaining vote is all that remains, and it will be published. The assignment will be complete, and we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, give each other a hug, and prepare for the next assignment the Lord will give us. This thought fills me with such incredible hope.

As you contemplate how close we truly are to completion of the Lord's assignment, and how much we all truly agree on the foundation principles that unite us, please take some time to read the following important resources:

1. Statement from Chris Hamill on the Scriptures Project blog. If sustained, the lots document will be added.

2. Letter from the Seven chosen by lots regarding their efforts.

3. The Lots document (with minimal formatting for ease in reading)

4. The Lots document (same content, but formatted for appearance, if you prefer)