Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Name of Jesus Christ, Part 3:
Gospel of Giving and Getting

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 
—Luke 6:46

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Prosperity Theology

Now that we’ve discussed using the name of Jesus Christ in praying and teaching, it’s time to delve a little deeper into one of the most popular misuses of His name. 

Known as “Prosperity Theology,” this popular Christian belief system teaches a very different gospel than what Christ taught. Here it is in a nutshell, from Wikipedia:
Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) is a religious belief among some Christians that financial blessing is the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations (possibly to Christian ministries) will increase one’s material wealth.

Based on non-traditional interpretations of the Bible, often with emphasis on the Book of Malachi, the doctrine views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver his promises of security and prosperity. Confessing these promises to be true is perceived as an act of faith, which God will honor.
The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God’s will for his people to be happy. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession, and is often taught in mechanical and contractual terms.
Prosperity churches place a strong emphasis on the importance of giving…church leaders often claim a specific blessing can be exchanged for the money being donated to their ministry…
Congregants in prosperity churches are encouraged to speak positive statements about aspects of their lives that they wish to see improved. These statements, known as positive confessions, (distinct from confessions of sin) are said to miraculously change aspects of people’s lives if spoken with faith. Prosperity churches also encourage people to “live without limits” and cultivate optimism about their lives.
There are so many scriptural problems with these ideas, I can’t even take the space to begin to outline them all. So I’ll summarize by noting that Christ, the most righteous of all, was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. To know him is to follow His path, including the absolute requirements of righteousness, sacrifice, patience, suffering, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit. The gifts and promises offered by our Lord have little to do with this world.
My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36) 
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
The Prosperity Gospel has jettisoned the old-school teachings of sacrifice, repentance, patience, righteousness, and working out your salvation with fear and trembling. The new ideas are much more palatable: It’s all yours for the taking, and you just have to step up and claim your blessings. Or better yet, buy them with money. The dominant idea is that Christ’s gospel is about health, wealth, prosperity and comfort, rather than the dismay of sin, separation from God, the horror of hell, and desperate need for repentance. 

No, siree. This new gospel is one of ease and comfort. You deserve it all, and you deserve it now! Doesn’t it sound appealing?

There’s no need to become something; you already are something. There’s no need to seek what you already have. There’s no need to change; you’re just fine as you are. In fact, you’re much better than fine, once you discover “who you are in Christ!” The “old covenant” is done away! Jesus is in you and you have a “new covenant” with God! He is bound by this covenant, and all that’s required of you is to confess it and believe it. So ask whatever you desire! Even confession is changed into a positive statement of the blessings you expect to receive in your Christian lifestyle. Forget all that negative stuff about sin and dismay!

Sorry, I kind of got on a rant. Let’s come back to reality with some C. S. Lewis: 
Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get neither comfort nor truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

Ya Gotta Give to Get!

At the root of the Prosperity Gospel, you’ll find the idea that you must give to get. Almost universally, when you hear this stuff preached, there’s a donation requested—complete with a website or toll-free number. Of course the money gets called all sorts of things…pledges, covenants, tithes, love offerings, consecrations, ministerial support, vows, faith offerings, buy my book or trinket. (Or any other euphemism you can think of for “pay me to preach!”) Operators are standing by, credit cards are accepted, and yes, they take Paypal. 

Billions of dollars are raked in every year by those who violate the Book of Mormon injunction that ministers must not be paid, but should labor for their own support. (See Alma 1:26, Mosiah 18:24-26, 27:5) The examples are as numerous as they are egregious. 

Allow me to share just one:

James Orsen “Jim” Bakker was a successful televangelist in the 1970s and 1980s. He and his wife Tammy Faye Bakker founded several Christian television shows and the PTL (Praise the Lord…or Pass the Lucre?) Television Network. They also created Heritage USA, a Christian-based 2,500-acre theme park and resort, which rapidly became the third-most successful theme park in the USA. Their massive television audience, satellite distribution system, and 24-hour daily broadcast schedule brought in “donations” of over $1 million per week in its heyday. 

The message then, as now, was that by giving to support the “ministry,” you will buy blessings from God, who is obligated to return to you much more than you give. It’s not about giving for the sake of giving, or even giving to do good. It’s the gospel of giving to get. Because, after all, you cay buy anything in this world with money. So send in your check, and tell God what you want, because good things are coming your way!

With all that cash flow built on the name of Jesus Christ, the Bakkers took 1980’s-era conspicuous consumption to a whole new level—with mansions, cars, jewelry, travel, clothes, toys, and excess just for the sake of excess. Their ostentatious displays of wealth were proof their preaching was true, and they took no shame in showing it off—and defending it all by pulling snippets of scripture out of context, and preaching with passion and charisma.

That's me on the left.
But it all fell apart when sexual scandal and financial mismanagement caught up with the Bakkers. Promises made in return for donations never came to fruition. Heritage USA resort memberships were oversold by double, but never delivered, and the theme park was wiped out by a hurricane. The IRS presented a bill for $6 million in unpaid taxes, and audits found that two sets of books were kept in an attempt to disguise the fraud. In the end, $92 million could not be accounted for, and Jim Bakker, the most successful Christian minister in history, was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for fraud and conspiracy.

While in prison, Jim did something he had never done before in his life. He read the Bible all the way through. He then wrote a book renouncing his prior teachings on prosperity theology. In his book he said that actually reading the Bible made him realize he had taken certain passages out of context and used them as “proof texts” to back up his prosperity teachings. He wrote:
The more I studied the Bible, however, I had to admit that the prosperity message did not line up with the tenor of Scripture. My heart was crushed to think that I led so many people astray. I was appalled that I could have been so wrong…
The Bakkers’ empire and its derivatives yet live on, and there are many willing to preach to you the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture, in exchange for your money. They seek gain and popularity, but not the welfare of Zion. Most of their preaching consists of vainly telling you stories about themselves and their good works, so you will envy, and seek to emulate them. The name of Jesus Christ is, hands down, the most powerful get-rich-quick tool ever wielded by smiling scumbags in expensive suits. 
He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. (2 Nephi 26:29)
Yes, this really is for sale
Take a look at this list of the book titles written and published by just one such minister of darkness:
  • How to Be Rich & Have Everything You Ever Wanted
  • How to Pay Your Bills Supernaturally
  • Strike It Rich
  • How To Receive & Keep Your Healing
  • God's Miracle Plan For Man
  • Oh Lord I Pray, Send Now Prosperity
  • Fear No Evil
  • How to Kick The Devil Out Of Your Life
  • God's Million-Heirs
Too egregious? Let’s tone it down a bit. How about these from another minister?
  • Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential
  • Good, Better, Blessed: Living with Purpose, Power and Passion
  • It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor
  • Living in Favor, Abundance and Joy
  • I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life
  • Break Out!: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life
  • The Power Of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today
Boy, that last title even uses one of the the names of Jesus Christ—I Am.” As in, “I  am making a hell of a lot of money selling a false gospel! (pun intended.)

The author of that last list of books, by the way, draws no salary for preaching. Instead, he lives off his book sales, which have earned him a net worth of around $57 million (as of 2012). He and his family live in a home worth over $10 million. That stuff he preaches must be true, because it sure seems to be working for him!

Prosperity Tithing

Of course, the prosperity gospel hasn’t touched the LDS people, who instead live the Lord’s law of tithing, right? We give because it’s a commandment, not because we expect something in return…don’t we? (Ahem…temple recommend.) Which made it all the more surprising when Wendy Watson Nelson, wife of President Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, taught the following in an appearance with her husband at BYU Hawaii in January:
When we’re desperate to have more money, we eagerly follow the Lord’s law of finances—which is, of course, tithing! Consider President George Q. Cannon’s approach to tithing when he was an impoverished young man. When his bishop commented on the large amount of tithing poor young George was paying, George said something like: “Oh bishop, I’m not paying tithing on what I make. I’m paying tithing on what I want to make.” And the very next year George earned exactly the amount of money he had paid tithing on the year before!
So let me get this straight…if I pay more tithing, I’ll make more money as a result? Yep, sounds like God’s plan all right. Makes me feel sorry for all those poor suckers who struggle to get by. They must not be paying enough tithing.

Sister Nelson and her husband, on the other hand, are doing just great, living in a million dollar home, and may use your extra tithing to fly first class to Europe

Works Every Time

We humans are a predictable lot. What worked 2,000 years ago still works today, because it’s just as appealing to the natural man now as it was then. Check it out:
3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people. 
 4 And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life. 
 5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. 
 6 And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching. (Alma 1:3-6)
There it is. The prosperity gospel. Blessings and money, rejoicing and popularity, ease and salvation for all. 

Courtesy of Nehor, the anti-Christ. 

When Nehor encountered the true word of God, as is too often the case when false beliefs are challenged, he became enraged and added murder to his list of accomplishments. 
 9 Now, because Gideon withstood him with the words of God he was wroth with Gideon, and drew his sword and began to smite him. Now Gideon being stricken with many years, therefore he was not able to withstand his blows, therefore he was slain by the sword. 
 15 And it came to pass that they took him; and his name was Nehor; and they carried him upon the top of the hill Manti, and there he was caused, or rather did acknowledge, between the heavens and the earth, that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God; and there he suffered an ignominious death. 
 16 Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor. (Alma 1:9, 15-16)
Oh, Satan loves to trot this “gospel” out as often as possible—because it works every time. Even after Nehor’s death, the teachings lived on, most notably in the city of Ammonihah, which is worth looking up (See “Desolation of Nehors.”)

Nehor’s teachings live on today as well—too often among us—though we have been warned and ought to know better. How we desperately need discernment! It’s easy to see when it’s laid out this way, but much harder to discern when you hear a message that appeals to you and tells you exactly what you want to hear.

Only Two Churches
And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)
Consider the following, which I quote from another blog:

There are and always have been two churches only…Either you belong to the elect family of Christ, the Church of the Firstborn, or you don't.  All other religions and philosophies are false.

Therefore, based on what Nephi says above, unless we are part of that body of believers whose Father is Christ, and who posses a covenant from Him that they will be His, we belong to the whore of all the earth, a church of abominations.

[This] all-inclusive great church is comprised of all philosophies, all belief systems, all unbelief systems, all rationalizations, all theories and vanities that distract people from repenting and following Christ. These vary from very good things that are uplifting, and possess even great portions of truth, to the degrading and perverse. This all-inclusive church is a “whore” because she is completely indiscriminate and open for all to have her acceptance and affection. She welcomes you. The only requirement being that you have false beliefs.

She will make you rich, or she will make you covet riches.  If she gives them to you it is to corrupt you. If she withholds them from you, it is so you will lust and envy what you do not have.

Look at her list of trade goods, given in the description of her fall by John the Revelator:
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.  (Rev. 18: 11-13)
The final two on the list are the reason for the other items. The earlier ones lead inevitably to slavery and loss of the souls of men. The devil, who founded her, is not interested in anything other than slavery and the loss of your soul.

The whore does have her allures, doesn't she? How many of us are in her embrace, speaking of love and Jesus and the joy of the Saints, while remaining wretched, poor, foolish and lost? She offers you vanity as a religion. “Vanity” because it is vain, or without any effect to save, i.e., without power. Only a form of godliness, nothing real.

Such powerful deception as is implied in these verses demands our attention. It ought to force us forward to seek and obtain a more sure word of prophecy, so we know our God and covenant directly with Him. It should make us refuse all the imitations, all the deceptions, all those who pretend to speak truth.
(Quoted from this July 8, 2010 blog post by Denver Snuffer, emphasis added)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about health, wealth, happiness or power. When rightly pursued, it does lead to joy and peace, but these often arrive patiently packaged in a wrapper of suffering and sacrifice. Prosperity is fleeting, deceptive, and most often, counterproductive to the quest for redemption. Don’t be taken in by those who cannot lead you to Christ, yet freely preach appealing falsehoods in His name. 

Another photo from my mission. Click to enlarge.

Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.

O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!

Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
—Helaman 12:2-5


Postscript December 23, 2016: The LDS Church's new self-reliance program continues the prosperity theology apace. Here's a screenshot from page 12 of the newly published My Foundation for Self Reliance manual:






58 comments:

  1. I'm really embarrassed to admit this, but there was a time when I honestly believed that if Jesus was alive today, he'd be rich.

    What a shameful thing that I could have been so flattered by Babylon that I could even entertain the idea, let alone straight-up believe it. What a way to justify my own greed and desire for more more more!

    This has been an excellent series so far (I guess it is possible part 4 will be awful, so I'll withhold my judgment on that). Thanks for putting it together. Jesus clearly sees this topic as useful and important as many of our scriptures speak about the topic of taking on his name or doing things in his name. Yet — at least in our western culture — it is difficult to understand what that fully means.

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  2. "...that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25
    Although I think you are correct in asserting that the joy that comes from living the gospel of Christ is often wrapped in challenge.
    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. A post for our time, Adrian. What you’re teaching is so at odds with the attitudes found in most of the Western Christian world including the American LDS world—that you’d be labeled a heretic if not an apostate were they to find out about you!

    I love C.S. Lewis’ insights. Here’s another from Mere Christianity that supports the notion that the way of God is not without sacrifice, radically redefined understanding and a dose of pain:

    “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

    By this reckoning the gospel of prosperity is thinking small, or, as my buddy, Donna, likes to say, “majoring in the minors.” The Nelsons’ $1 million home looks stunning in a directory of local upscale homes but becomes worse than meaningless beyond this telestial world. $13,500 plane tickets? Hopefully the Nelsons won’t join Jim and Tammy Faye some day in being being consumed by regret at the good they might have accomplished with a more thoughtful, generous path. (A terrific shot of y'all posing in front of the Heritage USA sign!)

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  4. The prosperity gospel has done wonders for people like Thomas Monson. He's been professional clergy for most of his life and now stands as Corporate Sole over a multi-billion dollar corporation. That's a long way from living in a cave or wandering the desert for years.

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  5. "Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people."

    We know that God does prosper those who are obedient to Him. This is a main message of the BoM, namely that "Inasmuch as ye keep the commandments of God, ye shall prosper in the land."

    So no doubt this post doesn't impugn the reality of the blessings and promises of God to us with regards to being blessed with all aspects of prosperity, as Mormon notes God does in Hel 12 above.

    So what then is the intent of this article?

    I think Adrian does make his point at the end, "The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about health, wealth, happiness or power. When rightly pursued, it does lead to joy and peace (and I would add, 'and often temporal success'), but these often arrive patiently packaged in a wrapper of suffering and sacrifice. Prosperity is fleeting, deceptive, and most often, counterproductive to the quest for redemption. Don’t be taken in by those who cannot lead you to Christ, yet freely preach appealing falsehoods in His name."

    So I think a major point, in summary, is that it's not required to give to an institution (any incorporated church), or a man (Nehor or Jim Bakker) to obey the law of tithing.

    The Gospel is not Giving to Get. We should give out of love, with no thought or expectation of return. But the Lord has said through a true prophet, "that which ye do send out shall return unto you again," (Alma 41:15). And there are many, many other scriptures which talk about temporal blessings. Look at Abraham's holdings. "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which hath given will he pay him again." (Prov 19:17), or from Mark 10, "28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

    29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

    30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions..."

    We have the testimony of the Nephites and Jaredites that because of their obedience they were blessed above all nations of the earth.

    So be prepared for blessings that often come for obedience, but know that it ends often in spiritual destruction. It is often counterproductive to the quest for redemption. Thus the Law of Consecration is given to counter the temptation to have pride.

    One empowering thing I've learned is that I can pay tithing directly to the poor, and do it anonymously, and not give it to a corrupt and apostate institution that is casting out the righteous from among its ranks in many instances.

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    Replies
    1. Great thoughts, Underdog.

      One clarification I might make is that when we think of "prosper in the land" we have a certain picture in our head of what that means. We automatically go to worldly blessings, when that may not be the case at all.

      The righteousness=material blessings argument was precisely the one King Noah's wicked priests used in Mosiah 12:14-15 to convince Noah he was right and Abinadi was wrong.

      Which of them prospered?

      I don't believe material prosperity is a sign of righteousness, or even a consequence of righteousness. In Christ's parable, Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, while the rich man suffered in Hell. Lazarus was denied even the most basic blessings of life, health, wealth, or comfort. And yet, he was prospered.

      Perhaps it's useful to think of "prosper" according to the 1828 definition: "To favor; to render successful." What does it mean to be favored of God? What sort of success might He give to those who keep His commandments?

      With that definition in mind, Abinadi was prospered, and Noah was not. Lazarus was prospered, the rich man was not.

      Isn't it interesting how thoroughly we've redefined "prosperity" to exploit our worldly desires, lusts, and ambitions? As with most things, Satan has been quite successful in this. Even prosperous.

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    2. I hear where you're coming from. Maybe this is something you've figured out, where I haven't. I can tell you that I have pondered this question for many, many years. I have heard some Mormons state smugly, "Worldly wealth is a sign of obedience to God," and they drive home their point with a corollary, "If you're not wealthy, it's a sign that you need to repent." I think that's nonsense. While it COULD be true, it's not an absolute rule. I know that when I'm not repenting I'm poorer, and when I do repent (turn to God and His righteousness) I'm richer. I know that's true in my life.

      I agree with you on this point, that material prosperity is not an absolute sign of righteousness, or even a consequence of righteousness. That can't be an absolute truth. Because Satan is more than happy to give great wealth or even a little wealth to people to keep them content and not searching, to keep their minds from questioning, from seeking. It's a proven simple technique which Satan delights to employ. Give them bread and circuses to keep the masses asleep.

      There are many more wealthy, wicked people than there are wealthy, righteous people. And there are many "poor" righteous people as well. There are exceptions galore on both sides.

      However, Mormon does state with great clarity so there can be no misunderstanding, "Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art..." So we learn here and know by personal experience that God DOES IN FACT bless one temporally for obeying his word. One cannot dispute or refute this based on this verse alone.

      If Christ is the prototype of the saved man, then we know that He the prototype of a successful man as well. And we know He is the Creator and owner of "worlds without end." That is temporal wealth unimaginable. He is the Son of a King. He is a Royal King, who possesses such wealth nothing on earth can compare.

      That is a fact. But...is ANY temporal wealth whatsoever required to be saved? No. Not one mite is required.

      So as far as a quest for redemption, temporal is a complete and utter non factor, with one major exception.

      Wealth of some degree (it's all relative) allows one the time to study, and to think. Anybody can prove this point based on their own experience. Even a squirrel could testify to this. He works hard putting acorns in storage, then has time to contemplate life during the colder months.

      Time is required for salvation, it is required in one's quest for redemption, yes? Yes, we know that this is a probationary time granted us. Time is a gift. And Satan, as we would expect, seeks to deny us the great gift of time. He inspires suicide and homicide to cut short our time. He inspires governments to oppress the people in every way. He wants Third World countries all over the globe. He wants people working from sun up till sun down. He doesn't want people to have time to think or pray or ponder. He wants wives working. He wants families separated. He wages war on time.

      And what's one of the most valuable, if not THE most valuable thing MONEY or temporal wealth can buy? TIME!

      So in other words, God wants us to have time (it's His gift to us after all), and Satan wants to deny us time.

      Temporal wealth buys time. A life of poverty where you have no discretionary time minimizes the opportunity to study and ponder and pray and COME UNTO CHRIST. Let's face it, no doubt Brother Joseph Smith and Brother Denver Snuffer would say that possessing time was absolutely critical to their spiritual progress. Is it not self evident?

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    3. For you to write this invaluable blog, you could not do it without time. If you were in a state where you had to work 16 hours a day to survive and then go to bed hungry or be worried about feeding your children, you'd be at a disadvantage to someone who had time to read, ponder, and pray in a quiet place. Not that you can't think of an exception where people do pray while they work, etc. But the point is TIME is precious. Temporal wealth buys time.

      In summary, God wants us to have time. Satan doesn't. Therefore, God wants us to have wealth for the purpose of having time. The fact God has blessed us with time proves that He wants to bless us with wealth, which buys time. But He's clear about the sacred nature of the gift of wealth, as quoted by Jacob, "ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them" AFTER "ye have obtained a hope in Christ" (Jacob 2:19). And when you do receive wealth, your responsibility will be to "clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, liberate the captive..."

      If I'm way off base, and I'm misunderstanding, please help me understand.

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  6. An interesting story. One of the couples I home teach is elderly and fairly low income. The brother just had an expensive medical procedure and can't pay the co-pays, and they haven't been paying tithing first, and so usually they haven't been paying tithing at all.

    The bishop recruited me to help counsel them, in my role as HT. The instruction is to persuade them to pay their tithing to the church first, and then if they don't have enough for other essentials, then the church can help with that.

    I only bring this up because it seems like "giving to get".

    I am pondering this principle. Don't we give to "get to know the Savior." Don't we willing "give" whatever (money or service) with the expectation that we will "get" a reward in the eternities. Isn't the promise of eternal life the biggest example of "getting"?

    Didn't Joseph Smith say "that some people entirely denounce the principle of self-aggrandizement as wrong. 'It is a correct principle,' he said, 'and may be indulged [in] upon only one rule or plan--and that is to elevate, benefit and bless others first. If you will elevate others, the very work itself will exalt you. Upon no other plan can a man justly and permanently aggrandize himself'" (quoted in Andrus and Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet, 61).

    Furthermore, Joseph states, that the "...first great principle that ought to occupy the attention of mankind, that should be understood by the child and the adult, and which is the main spring of all action, (whether people understand it or not,) [it] is the principle of improvement. The principle of increase, of exaltation, of adding to that we already possess, is the grand moving principle and cause of the actions of the children of men. No matter what their pursuits are, in what nation they were born, with what people they have been associated, what religion they profess, or what politics they hold, this is the main spring of the actions of the people, embracing all the powers necessary in performing the duties of life."

    Concluding, Mormon suggests we can "give to get" profit ourselves, "For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift (Moroni 7:6-10).

    So I'm wondering out loud, it seems the scriptures teach that it is RIGHTEOUS to "give to get" because as long as one "offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, ...[and does] it with real intent," [then] it [will] profiteth him..." Moroni 7:6.

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    1. Interesting quotes, Underdog. I think it's worth considering how quickly we assume these principles are speaking of money (or power, health, or whatever else we desire.) But let's stick with wealth for a minute.

      If the streets of heaven are actually paved with gold, does that mean we're expecting God to give us more pavement if we give some away?

      It's dross. What is lower than the pavement under our feet? What could possibly be less relevant to our salvation and God's work and glory?

      3 Nephi 13:
      19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
      20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
      21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

      Riches do have their uses. One is to test and try us. The other is to bless the poor. But the Lord is very particular about how they are sought and how they are used.

      Jacob 2:18-19
      18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.

      19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

      We ought to consider what it actually means to "obtain a hope in Christ." It's something more than wishful thinking or a desire. It involves very specific events, knowledge and standing with God. Those who obtain such a hope would only ever seek riches for the intent of blessing others.

      Note: Of course we have to earn our daily bread by our sweat. That much is obvious. When I refer to worldly "riches" I'm referring to surplus beyond our needs.

      The real wealth is laid up in heaven.

      D&C 11:7 Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

      Delete
  7. I find it interesting that you criticize the home of a man who was a world renowned heart surgeon...if you look at the Zillow source it's a modest home in size. My guess is that when it was purchased in 2006 it wasn't 1 million...but who cares?!? He worked hard during his career as a surgeon. And the first class flights I find a childish criticism as well. How many days of the year do they spend traveling... A LOT! That's time away from family...and crammed up in an airplane. My guess is that they've probably racked up some good frequent flier miles and get some good upgrades. It seems a little bit picky to be going after a man for these kind of things. Is your home that small??

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    1. Jonah, I wonder how much money Elder Nelson makes as a salary for his "service"?

      How do you feel about laborers "for Zion" getting paid? Are you okay with that?

      The financial books are closed. The apostles may be making millions. But members have no right to see the numbers? How is this remotely just and honest?

      Are you okay with the apostles getting paid big salaries, if so, how do you justify your viewpoint using Scriptures?

      Is it picky to ask this question? What would Elder Nelson say? What does an intellectually honest LDS say?

      Delete
  8. Underdog...there seems to be a disconnect for you. He was a HEART SURGEON. He did well for himself prior to his service in the church. Probably invested well and as many of his generation are able to support themselves because he was wise during his years of employment. A concept that is hard for many to understand today because the economy is different and people are generally not good savers like our parents and grandparents were. sure things like travel expenses etc are paid for but not a mortgage. There are good reasons for keeping books closed...to someone who is looking for reasons to criticize, find fault and ways to justify feeling angry I can see why you'd think they're closed to hide something. For others like me, it's just smart. I don't need to justify my viewpoint with scripture because I, like you, believe they should not be paid high salaries...and I'm confident they are not.

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    1. Since we really KNOW almost nothing about LDS finances, most everything is a guess and wishful thinking. For example, we can assume (or wish) the leaders only receive modest stipends, live off their savings, and neither they, nor their families benefit financially from their positions. This is, of course, the picture you wish for, without any evidence to back it up, because the evidence is hidden.

      What little evidence has leaked out paints a very different picture. Actual evidence shows luxurious lifestyles with many benefits to leaders and their extended families. They live lifestyles that would surprise you.

      Of course, your next question will ask for the evidence, but rather than present it all here I a comment thread, I'm going to suggest you research it yourself if you're interested. Find out what mission presidents are "paid," and how they are instructed to hide their income from tax authorities. Look into the homes and vacation homes of the upper leadership. (I didn't even mention Nelson's vacation home.) Find out about the expensive condos given as gifts, the family connections to the companies benefitting financially from doing business with the church, the expense accounts, free college tuition, servants and modes of travel.

      Even without these, ask yourself if the Book of Mormon allows for a full-time clergy at all. Scripture is clear: the ministers are to labor with their own hands for their support. The greatest is to be the least and the servant of all.

      Delete
    2. Jonah,

      Savings from his professional career is another topic. Agreed.

      You talk about people who are "looking for reasons to criticize, find fault and ways to justify feeling angry."

      Do you see the inherent flaw in your worldview that questioners or whistleblowers are bad?

      Do you think Edward Snowden was a spy and wrong for exposing crimes in government? You probably believe he should be punished.

      Isa 29:15: Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

      A warning to the LDS leadership: "Turn, all ye Gentiles (Mormons), from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings..." (3 Nephi 30:2)

      "There are good reasons for keeping books closed..."

      That is what criminals claim. Furthermore, what is use of common consent if there is no transparency?

      Please be honest and make the obvious concession on this point or you lose credibility.

      And if you make the concession that does NOT mean you're apostate. Asking questions and pointing out departure from scripture isn't apostasy. It's courageous.

      Delete
    3. Underdog...I agree there is an important place for questioners and whistleblowers. But I also think that a common tactic for those who have been offended or are falling away for other reasons do use criticism and find fault to justify their anger. You honestly think opening up the books would make people who feel like you feel better? So what if there are no hidden salaries as you claim? You'd just find something else to criticize and be upset at! So what does it help?

      Delete
    4. Jonah,

      So you agree there's an important place for whistleblowers, but your (our) church leadership doesn't. Are whistleblowers and questioners encouraged?

      We know many people who testify to have seen the Risen Lord are being cast out. Why? For whistleblowing of course.

      Someone once said the truth is really said in the words after saying "but" (see what you said above after saying "but"). So what you really believe is that Adrian, or me, or Brother Snuffer feel offended, are falling away, or are angry.

      But Adrian has testified otherwise. Brother Snuffer wrote this: "Some recent comments and emails have accused me of becoming increasingly hostile and angry about the LDS church. These accusations came as a response to my recent post that said the church's press release about the hierarchy not being involved with discipline was "a lie." I was not angry when I wrote that, and do not intend to insult anyone. It happens to be true, and since I am acquainted with the facts, I believe I have an obligation to disclose the truth. In the long run, the LDS church is benefited by the truth, even if they can't see it now. So here are the facts:..."

      You can read how one "whistleblower" was treated at this link: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-facts.html?m=1

      Finally, I'd like to turn the tables on you, with the hope that you will consider the tables should be turned and ask "Is it I?"

      You seem reasonable. So here goes:

      In Alma 10:26 Amulek says, "For behold, have I testified against your law? Ye do not understand; ye say that I have spoken against your law; but I have not, but I have spoken in favor of your law, to your condemnation."

      Brother Snuffer and Adrian likewise speak IN FAVOR of the Gospel. They are not angry or uncharitable. They forgive those who have been unfair and unjust and hurtful towards them and their families.

      But look who IS angry! It's people who use unrighteousness dominion to cast out men and women of God. Elder Nelson is specifically named. We see smiles on TV, but inwardly what is he really?

      The angry are those who condemn whistleblowers, like you. The people of Ammonihah were angry. So much they said the men of God were lying and speaking against their law, and so much that they cast them out and then killed supporters. Read Alma 10 and apply it to you.

      Delete
    5. I'm not angry. I'm sad and worried for people who are loosing sight of the truth. You believe that's me I believe that's you, so we'll just have to agree to disagree and see how it all plays out in the end won't we. but I think that you should be willing to scrutinize the lives of those who you are now following and judge them by the same standard you are placing for the leaders of my church which you criticize. Adrian won't even answer my simple question or post some of my comments. Why?

      Delete
    6. Jonah, I didn't post your prior comment (not comments) because it was off-topic, petty, and frankly did you no credit. I have no interest in making you look bad.

      And I have no reason to contend with you. As I've said, please feel free to believe whatever you choose about LDS church finances and leadership. I wish you nothing but good.

      The point of this post is the erroneous belief that righteousness gives one the right to expect or demand health, wealth, ease or comfort as part of a gospel contract with God. A corollary to that false gospel is the idea of giving donations with the expectation of receiving financial benefit.

      When those who directly benefit from the donations preach this gospel, it ought to bring up important questions for us all. Of course, they realize this, and tithing is therefore emphasized more at the local level than at the general level where it might reflect poorly on the leaders pleading for more money. I therefore find it interesting that when the prosperity gospel was preached, it was Nelson's wife, rather than Nelson himself, who preached it.

      Plausible deniability is the term that comes to mind.

      If you intend to judge people by the same standard you may start by asking who is paid for their ministry and who is not?

      Who has staff, servants, body guards, lawyers, PR people, and surrogates vs. who has to face their detractors on their own.

      I could continue the list, but it will be easier to just refer you to this link:

      http://www.totheremnant.com/2015/01/prophets-part-4-presidents-popes-and.html

      I don’t begrudge anyone the right to have whatever they desire. But I DO have a problem when it is obtained with the widow’s mite, especially as a result of preaching falsehoods to solicit donations.

      Delete
  9. There may be things that surprise me and then again there may not. You, too, may be wishful thinking that there is more to it than there really is so you can feel good about your criticisms. So what if someone who is well off does give them a gift to show their gratitude...but their heart is in the right place and they expect nothing in return? Is that the evil you're speaking of? It really is not hard for me to believe that most of these men worked hard and saved and live a comfortable life now because of discipline they had on their younger years. I know my father who is retired make 3x's my salary a year purely off his investments he made when we were young...he also lived modestly and doesn't have a mortgage, car payments etc...so he can afford a lifestyle that I can't right now. And you never answered my question...how small is your home? As small as Elder Nelsons?

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    1. Jonah, in the absence of any evidence at all to back up your claims, you can choose to fill that vacuum by believing whatever you choose to believe. I pointed out 2 facts about one church leader. You can draw whatever conclusions you feel are warranted. I also pointed out facts about other people who claim to minister in Christ's name, and get gain by doing so, but you have not jumped in to defend them. If it's OK for Nelson, it's OK for them as well, wouldn't you say? Why aren't you defending Tilton, Osteen, or Baaker?

      As for my home, it is worth substantially less than Elder Nelson's. But it is utterly irrelevant to this conversation, as I don't receive any money for ministering. Those who do receive such support necessarily put themselves in a different category, as they are getting financial gain by using Christ's name.

      Delete
  10. Well said. You should check out John Oliver's episode on this topic:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/08/17/comedian-john-oliver-takes-on-the-prosperity-gospel-by-becoming-a-televangelist/

    Vaughn

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  11. Anyone interested in the history of officially-sanctioned priestcraft in the LDS church might find D. Michael Quinn's up-coming book, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth and Corporate Power" interesting. Quinn compiled his information from thousands of pages of hand-written notes he took in the church archives. By their actions over the years it would seem that church leaders have been enthusiastic believers in the theology of prosperity.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Mormon-Hierarchy-Wealth-Corporate/dp/1560852356/ref=pd_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=51CNjGncVeL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR108%2C160_&refRID=1PHZ6HC8FNZHRVR5YEF4

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  12. Taking the BoM words at face value, it seems to clearly promote a prosperity gospel, as underdog mentioned. This shouldn't be surprising though, we all look forward to our "treasures in heaven"

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    1. Again, I think it comes down to how you define "prosperity." Helaman 12:2 clearly states that material wealth and prosperity cause people to turn away from God. Seems odd that God would use these things as a reward.

      Delete
  13. I thought this was a beautiful post and it really got me thinking. And the thing I have been thinking lately, that is really frustrating me, is that Zion is a lost concept for the church. We don't even come close.

    There is a man in my ward who is dying of liver disease. (the kind you get without ever having drunk alcohol. It's pretty rare. He also broke his back a couple years back, which is how they found out about the liver disease.) Everyone in my ward loves him. If we were really a Zion community, all of our tithing money would be spent on them, paying their bills and supporting them so his wife could stay home and take care of him. His wife works morning, noon, and night it seems, trying to keep it together, but they are barely making it, if that. Their situation is devastating and terrible. I suffer in my heart for them constantly because they are our friends.

    And there was no poor among them.

    This may seem off topic, so let me bring it around to the subject. The money we give the church does NOT go toward supporting the weak and the poor. It angers me to no end! And if you do want help from the church, they make it so difficult. I had a friend recently tell me that they needed help with food when her husband lost his job. The whole process, with the way the church does it now, was utterly humiliating, she said. They sat there watching every little thing she wrote down, as though she were going to ask for too much. The whole thing was a really negative experience for her. One she never wants to repeat.

    It shouldn't be that way. We should be able to use our money as a way to help those right here at home, those we know and love.

    Things are coming to head though. It's obvious. The signs are there for those who have eyes to see. The Lord is going to crack down on the dishonest way his money is being spent. By the way, have you seen the great and spacious building--uh, I mean the City Creek Mall the Church built? I hear it's pretty spectacular.

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  14. That's too bad about your friend, but I think it's a problem of lack of sensitivity and proper training rather than church policy. I think sometimes we forget that the welfare program is set up to help in a time of need not sustain a lifestyle. I've had to handle welfare needs in a couple of different wards and in one I never felt like anyone was taking advantage of the system, and in the other it was a common occurrence...people lived way beyond their means and then needed help because they had not prepared for a rainy day. And we don't need to wait for the church to help...some of the greatest acts of sacrifice and service I've ever seen are when people have rallied on their own to help out a friend in need like the man in your ward.

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  15. There are so many problems with this post!

    The title of this post could easily, be "Guilty until proven innocent!" OR "Because someone else did something bad, you must have too!" I'm sorry Adrian, but this is a VERY judgmental post that weakens your influence with LITTLE to back it up!

    You draw many conclusions based on assumption, without any actual sources other than others with similar bias and prejudicial opinions.

    The post started out in a good direction but quickly escalated to a jury judgement without a trial!

    You wrote: "Since we really KNOW almost nothing about LDS finances, most everything is a guess and wishful thinking. For example, we can assume (or wish) the leaders only receive modest stipends, live off their savings, and neither they, nor their families benefit financially from their positions. This is, of course, the picture you wish for, without any evidence to back it up, because the evidence is hidden."

    That quote by you should have been enough for you stop and to realize that your post was also lacking any evidence to back it up.

    You have NO idea about Elder Nelson's financial history! Here are some things that you should consider (that to me seem logical enough to not write such an article with so very little actual facts to back it up.)"

    How much did Elder Nelson make during his career?
    How much did he save, invest and sacrifice during this life?
    How much did his investments earn?
    How much life insurance did he receive when his wife passed?
    How much wealth did his new wife have before marrying him?
    Did she receive insurance money or other benefits from her previous husband?
    How much has he personally donated?

    The answers? You don't know!

    Regarding the plane trip. It's probably a safe assumption that the church purchases more plane tickets than any other single organization on earth. But if not, it's a very large amount. How do you KNOW that the leaders don't occasionally travel first class on air mile credits?

    The truth is, you do not know. that's why this post is so troublesome and disingenuous. This is just a hit piece.

    Critics of the church are the only ones wanting "transparency" for church expenses. Even if they did, the pertinent information would be lacking in order to determine the what and why - and all that would happen is an increase in blog posts like this of false accusations- which is not in keeping with one of the commandments.

    I'll be surprised if you allow this post!

    Remnant of Joseph

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    1. Hi Remnant.

      There are over 3300 words in this post. You’ve condemned the entire post, declaring “There are so many problems with this post!” and “You draw many conclusions based on assumption…”

      You then proceed to mount a benefit-of-the-doubt defense of Elder Nelson. What are some of the other “many” problems you see? Which of my “many” conclusions do you disagree with?

      This post is about prosperity theology and only tangentially mentions Elder Nelson in a single sentence, after highlighting false doctrine taught by his wife.

      Based on that single sentence, you have condemned this entire post. Clearly, the issue for you is defending Elder Nelson, not discussing the idea of prosperity theology. And that’s your right. You’ve made your defense, and I’ve posted it.

      But because you make no attempt to defend Bakker, Tilton or Osteen, who are much more directly discussed in this post, you show your true agenda, which is loyalty to a man because of his position. This is idolatry. And this is the very reason D&C 52:39 requires no professional clergy. It leads to idolatry.

      If Nelson deserves your defense, so do the others. God is no respecter of persons. You should not be either. If it's OK for Nelson to receive money, it's OK for the others as well. Then it just becomes a discussion of what amount is appropriate.

      It's like haggling over price with a prostitute. The price doesn't change the profession. In fact, in Satan's economy, the "cheap" whore is actually less desirable than the costly one.

      The Book of Mormon makes it clear that gospel ministers are not to receive money for ministering (see Alma 1:26, Mosiah 18:24-26, 27:5.) We know that Nelson (and all the other “red chair” leaders) are paid. The church says so. This ought to concern us.

      I realize these are uncomfortable topics, but they are worth considering. Rather than dismissing my entire post because of a single sentence, perhaps you should consider whether it’s appropriate for the LDS church to have professional clergy at all.

      Delete
    2. To Remnant of Joseph,

      I am impressed Adrian posts contrarian comments. He's practicing what he preaches about transparency. In 2 Nephi 26, a chapter dealing with Satan's influence in corrupting churches in the latter days, Nephi says in verse 23, "For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness." Adrian demonstrates he's not working in darkness by keeping you silent. Now the Church (the apostles) DO do that. They seek to silence those who ask questions, and seek to silence criticism of how finances are handled by keeping membership in the dark by not being transparent.

      It wasn't always the case. The books used to be published. And in fact, up until fairly recently.

      You said, "Critics of the church are the only ones wanting "transparency" for church expenses."

      Please ponder for a moment...

      1) Do YOU really not want transparency for how YOUR tithing money is spent? Do you?

      2) Are you okay with $3-5 billion being spent on a mall?

      3) Are you okay with a paid ministry at the very top, which contradicts the Lord's will (Adrian quoted several scriptures, if you don't know them.)? If so, what amount of salary is okay with you?

      I challenge you to answer these questions above. Go on record.

      Assuming you're a person of truth, integrity and humility, you will answer the way any honest person would answer and you naturally WOULD like to know how sacred money donated often at great sacrifice is spent, and you would NOT approve of violating the Lord's commandment that the laborer for Zion not be paid. And you certainly would NOT be in favor of billions of dollars being spent on a retail mall.

      If so, now YOU are a so-called "critic." News flash: the Lord wants critical thinkers. The blind following the blind is not a good idea, right?

      Corrupt people don't like light, they prefer the dark. Don't you really prefer the light?

      Our Lord said in John 3:

      19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

      20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

      21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

      Delete
  16. Adrian-

    The "benefit of the doubt defense" ought to be the stance of anyone who is being accused of something without ANY evidence! That is called bearing false testimony, and I will stand up for anyone in the same position.

    The article in general would have been good until you throw your anti-LDS spin to it, referencing and linking to another blog that is tantamount to conviction without trial. It's pure hearsay or gossip! I throw out the entire post as I would if eating a delicious soup up until even the smallest piece of dung is dropped inside.

    It might have been less "tangential" had you not linked to another post so full of one-sided and biased dogma.

    Label my reply how you will. I do not worship or consider Elder Nelson an "idol". I do respect him! And will defend him or anyone else where treated in such a manner as you are, passing judgement on him and the church and the members because of a limited & biased perspective.

    The truth of the matter and what I find so interesting is that even though you have literally NO evidence for your accusations or innuendos of abusing power for money, you attack me for defending someone by giving them the "benefit of the doubt"! But it's that you seem to have no doubt (if you did, would you have posted this?), even though you admit you "know almost NOTHING about LDS finances, most everything is a guess". Unbelievable!

    I don't disagree with your posts from the Book of Mormon that Priests are to provide for themselves. However, D&C 42:71-73 does give room for it, but of course you imply and "Undergog" accuses that the church is going against the Lord's will on this matter. Not considering D&C 42, I can see where you might think this, but of course that would be a limited perspective.

    You fail to acknowledge that circumstances have changed. Even in the earlier times of the church, shelter and mainly food were all that was required to be self sustaining. In our day, it's different. A Bishop is not full time. (it can feel like it) but even for the Bishop and his counselors, D&C 42 gives room for the possibility for paid clergy. However, a Bishop has time to provide for himself. But with full time leadership, we can't expect the same. I personally have NO problem with the top leadership receiving compensation for sustaining their full time efforts and I don't believe it goes against God's will.

    Unlike days past, to go without "purse" or script isn't possible nowadays with a world-wide church.

    But there again, I believe your bias instantly looks for problems and then creates them whether real or not.

    To the meat of your article, I don't think we can dispute that the Lord does bless those who serve & obey him or that he wants to. I believe your intent is that we can easily get away from truly serving him and going through motions for the "payout" vs out of love and faith, and I would agree with that. I don't however, believe Elder Nelson flying first class or having a nice house is truly relevant to the actual topic since you have no evidence.

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    1. Hi Remnant,

      I merely pointed out that Elder Nelson lives in a luxurious house and flies first class to Europe (at least sometimes.) If you view these as accusations, then I have provided ample evidence these things are true. I'm sorry if you are uncomfortable with these facts, but they are facts. Your last sentence, therefore, makes no sense to me.

      Similarly, there is ample evidence available of other leaders living luxurious lifestyles and bestowing favors on their friends and family, derived from their positions. I have not pointed out such evidence here, and I invite you to investigate it for yourself. There's plenty to see if you care to look into it.

      I believe anyone who receives money for ministry ought to be transparent and open to scrutiny. We ought to be told their salaries, perks, and benefits. We ought to be able to see the no-bid contracts that go to family members and cronies. We ought to know about the royalties they earn by selling books through church-owned Deseret Book. Are these unreasonable things to wonder, when it is the members' tithing money paying for them?

      (By the way, I'm very curious about the Pseudonym "Remnant of Joseph." I'd love to know the meaning behind it. Drop me a private message about it if you're so inclined.)

      Delete
    2. Remnant of JosephMarch 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM

      Adrian-

      The "evidence" being not that he does have a nice car or flies occasionally in first class, but the evidence that that backs up the implication that (according to the other blog you linked to) the tickets for first class are $13,000 each and this "luxury" is all paid for by tithing. My point is that you really have no proof to back up the implication. He could have and more than likely already was wealthy because of his career, combining wealth with a new spouse, etc. And whether the first class tickets cost the church extra or not, and if so how much, you really have no idea. That's the evidence I'm referring to!

      Delete
  17. Remnant of Joseph,

    People are neither guilty until proven innocent nor innocent until proven guilty. They are either guilty or innocent. The US decided for its judicial system to approach a case as if innocent until proven guilty to best provide a fair review.

    There are some things we do know:

    - The church has put all contributions into one fund for awhile
    - Nelson demands all members in Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bolivia, etc. pay ten percent of their income to the church, promising them blessings of financial prosperity
    - Nelson receives money from those tithing funds, and it probably isn’t less than what the average family in Honduras makes
    - Nelson advocates investing church money into many for-profit ventures as well as lavish buildings

    I agree with you we don’t know everything, but what we do know is bad. Most of what these people do with money are works of darkness.

    Please consider that the early church always was transparent about all its spending and funds.

    Would you or anyone else really rather not at least know how the church uses your donation money? When I donate money to any group, I want to know how it’s spent. If they’re unwilling to divulge that, then I believe they have something to hide. Because if they were proud of how they spent their money, they’d tell everyone how well they spend donations.

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    1. Remnant of JosephMarch 17, 2016 at 5:23 PM

      Benm-

      "Fair Review" being the key. Let God judge. But don't pretend to accuse or even spiritually convict someone especially publicly without KNOWING or having ANY evidence proving guilt. The mere accusation whether true or not can be damaging!

      Honestly, I'm struggling with why we're having a conversation about someone being guilty or not on a "guess" as Adrian commented. If it is a guess and nothing more, judgment should withheld.

      Regarding the things "we do know".

      - The church has put all contributions into one fund for awhile

      How do we know this? (sources?)

      - Nelson demands all members in Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bolivia, etc. pay ten percent of their income to the church, promising them blessings of financial prosperity

      "Demands?" I don't mean to argue over terminology, but I'm reading into your comment as if it's an ultimatum. Not sure if you realize but this is a teaching of the LDS faith in ALL countries. But no one forces it?

      - Nelson receives money from those tithing funds, and it probably isn’t less than what the average family in Honduras makes

      You don't "know" this is true. If so, please provide sources. I'm sure you realize that Elder Nelson does not live in Honduras and that the cost of living is greater here. Are you suggesting he should only be paid what the lowest paid tithing contributor make? or that he shouldn't make anything?

      I'm sorry Benm but your comments "what we do know is bad." such as what? please name something.

      you stated "Most of what these people do with money are works of darkness" Such as what? please again, name anything that you KNOW about Elder Nelson or any of "these people"!

      Unfortunately, you've become an example of my comments above to Underdog. You've been swayed to believe certain things with absolutely zero to back it up except hearsay, gossip, rumors, stories and innuendos from blogs and websites. You're filling in the gaps with your own narrative, which is guesswork.

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    2. All their financial works are works of darkness. They continue to keep all of us in the dark. Let’s not pretend the church’s financial dealings are not done in the dark. Do you think they’ll give you the breakdown if you send them a letter requesting for it?

      Why the darkness? Why the hiding? Have we not “learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion”? Seems to me that transparency and common consent are the best weapons against this. If a man with a little authority (as they suppose) does *not* immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion, then he is the exception. Why then must we enable those undoubtedly exercising unrighteous dominion by condoning and defending this financial darkness?

      You’re right the brethren do not force anyone to pay their tithing… unless a person wishes to be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. Because, as it turns out, the LDS church openly teaches the highest level of salvation requires an endowment and sealing in LDS-owned temples, and it turns out those require a member to affirm they are a full-tithe payer. And “full-tithe payer” is taught plain as day by these men as meaning one-tenth of increase.

      As for where the tithings funds go, take a look at the bottom of your tithing slip: (see http://i.imgur.com/3avWh.jpg for the previous version side-by-side). You will see by the legal disclaimer at the bottom that it doesn’t matter any more which fund you donate to, they reserve the right to pool and use it however the church wants. Why do they need this legal disclaimer unless they really plan to use donations from any category however they want?

      All evidence points toward the church moving toward pooling all donations into a single fund that they reserve the right to do anything they want with. Even the darkness surrounding their finances suggests this, because otherwise they’d be heralding their honest donation usage.

      For the record, yes I think it’d be appropriate to call me out as a dick if I took ten dollars from a nearly starving family in Honduras (after promising them financial prosperity for giving it) and then putting it in the funds that pay for my US of A style living or one of these fancy-ass temples. Our scriptures warn of this very act: God considers it robbing from the poor to take from them and then use that money to build fine sanctuaries (2 Nephi 28:11-15).

      Here’s a question to ponderize: can you name a single religious organization more interested and more active in building lavish sanctuaries than the LDS church?

      Finally, I do know the salary given to LDS apostles is more than the average wage in the Dominican Republic because that isn’t even enough for them to just eat (http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/poverty/2014/7/1/51975/Average-wage-in-Dominican-Republic-not-even-enough-to-eat).

      Adrian is more kind in the way he talks with people, and I admire him for that. But what in God’s name are church leaders thinking when they can take something from people living in that kind of horrifying poverty and then turn around and build the nicest mall in the western US? (Actually, as Adrian pointed out they were thinking the same damned thing as Mr. Bakker).

      By the way, I happened to be in that mall a day ago with a homeless woman, and she told me they don’t allow her in there. They kick out people who look like they may be homeless.

      Honestly, two years ago I was defending every action of the church and its leaders, too. It took a bonafide revelation to knock me out of my sleep.

      I mentioned in an earlier comment that I am not proud of it but at one time I bought so much into this prosperity theology that I believed if Jesus lived today he’d be a wealthy and financially successful man like our leaders. I believed with all my heart that if I did what God wanted he’d make me rich too, and I could finally one day proclaim I had been “blessed” too.

      Thank God he woke me up from that lie!

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    3. Benm-

      I'm assuming you are member or from the sounds of it were a member. Does your Bishop work in darkness? Does he publish all expenses for all to see? Does he share how much welfare help is given and to who? If he were to do this, do you think it would cause problems? would some members feel that others weren't deserving? Would the members have enough information to really understand the Bishop's decision? Would he then need to justify every decision? Would some members feel that certain expenses by the auxiliaries were not really needed and feel that their sacred donations weren't being used properly? What about the stake? Who sees the stake budgets? Are they done in darkness? How much time would the Bishop or Stake president have to deal with this "transparency"? If you can't recognize the issues this would create no matter how good intentioned and in tune to the will of the Lord, then there really is no point in arguing the point any further.

      On the one hand you either trust the leaders or you don't. That is the real issue. If you don't, then I understand your predicament. Either way, by being obedient to God's law, you can proclaim your obedience and let the Lord deal with others as He sees fit without using them for a reason to limit your blessings and your own progression.





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    4. Dare I Say Something?March 18, 2016 at 5:06 PM

      Remnant of Joseph-

      Your simplification really brings up some important questions: is "God's Law" really just "Obey your Leader" and does God reward everyone for obedience alone? What if that obedience is to a leader or organization that is apostate? How has that worked out historically for every other dispensation? Why is our dispensation any different?

      I don’t want answers to these questions, these are just things to ponder.

      I believe that we limit our own progression when we rely on or proclaim strict obedience to anyone or anything other than God. I don’t believe God “limit(s) our blessings and our own progression” as you claim. I believe that He wants to give us everything, but we limit what he can give us because of the decisions we make.

      I really do believe that “by the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things.” All things means ALL THINGS, not just some things based on our position or standing in the church. We really can connect with God, hear his voice, and obey only him. I believe this is precisely what Lehi did when he (disobeyed his church leaders and ultimately) fled Jerusalem. This is what his son Nephi did when he killed Laban and stole the plates…etc. This list goes on and on and is a recurring theme throughout the scriptures.

      I see little evidence that God rewards anyone for strict obedience to anyone else or anything other than himself, and I have little reason to believe that our dispensation, or our generation, is any different.

      I’m not suggesting that obeying the church leaders is bad per se, I’m only suggesting that it’s bad if we rely on them to connect with God for us, so we don't have to.

      Simply put, the extent to which we obey someone or something other than God himself is the extent to which we choose to damn ourselves.

      How would your world be different today if Joseph Smith had just 'proclaimed obedience' to his church leaders and let the Lord bless him for it?

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    5. Dare-

      Good questions. I agree with the majority of your post. Here are some points to consider in response to your comments:

      What do we do about tithing if we don't believe in the church? Is it still a law we should follow? If we don't, can we receive the blessings we would have had we followed? (there is a law irrevocably decreed in Heaven...) Is this obedience to an organization or to the Lord?

      Our dispensation is different, because it is the LAST dispensation.

      "A gospel dispensation is a period of time in which the necessary priesthood authority, ordinances, and doctrinal knowledge are found on the earth to implement the Father’s plan of salvation for His children. Essential to the establishment of a dispensation is an authorized servant of God, a dispensation head, who holds and exercises the authority and keys of the holy priesthood."

      Can you clarify, who is this Priesthood leader? Does Denver Snuffer claim to be this person? My understanding is that he's not said this. Are you declaring this to be Denver Snuffer? If not, who is it? What ordinances are being done, and where?

      Joseph Smith stated, as recorded in TPJS 228: "You will receive instructions through the order of the Priesthood which God has established through the medium of those appointed to lead, guide and direct the affairs of the Church in this last dispensation: and I now turn the key in your behalf in the name of the Lord, and this Society shall rejoice, and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time henceforth, this is the beginning of better days to the poor and need, who shall be made to rejoice and pour forth blessings on your heads."

      In the above quote, he states two important things. 1) that this is the last dispensation (dispensation of the fulness of times) and 2) that instructions will come through the order of the Priesthood by those that are appointed to direct the affairs of the church.

      further in D&C 27:13, the Lord states to Joseph Smith, "unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;"

      Also, in an epistle to the church, Joseph Smith wrote: "for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times." (D&C 128:18)


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    6. Dare I Say Something?March 19, 2016 at 1:31 PM

      Remnant of Joseph -

      These are all the exact same assumptions I made my entire life, until I started considering some things, namely, what does it means to be "the last" dispensation? Does that really mean that there won't ever be another one? I assumed so, but it's not necessarily the case.

      Consider this... the last meal I had was a turkey sandwich. It was my last meal, in every sense of the description—right now. Does that mean I can't eat again? No, it does not.

      When it comes to dispensations, it's no different. In fact, I would suggest that as much as you believe the dispensation of the fullness of times is the last dispensation, you yourself believe in yet another dispensation to follow, the millennial dispensation and the reign of Christ personally on the earth.

      So, I don't believe that we can hang our hats on the idea that this is the last dispensation, after which, nothing else will follow. And actually, I don't think either of us actually believe this is the case.

      As for your questions regarding Mr. Snuffer holding keys, I'm not aware that he has claimed any, and as far as I know, we are still in the dispensation of the fullness of times, as you believe. However, I do grant God the latitude he deserves to perform his work however he sees fit, and I don't pretend that this must happen through an earthly organization like the church. In fact, if the pattern of God holds true, it won't be done through an organization or a clear family line.

      I fully believe that God can bring to pass another dispensation if he sees fit or if the need is there to move forward his work. He can do this however he sees fit, and just because there were promises made to one generation at one time, does not mean that those promises must be fulfilled or even be extended to other generations. If one people does not live up to a covenant they are offered, I certainly don't think later generations can assume the same promises will hold for them.

      Most of what was promised to the church at the time of Joseph Smith has not come to pass, and in some cases the saints have received the opposite. I think we should be very cautious about extending those same promises to ourselves, assume that the promises and covenants are still in tact.

      I will also note that I’m open to the idea that God is working, right now, outside the church and that we may, in fact, have crossed a line into a new dispensation, though none of us recognize it at all. How many of Christ’s disciples recognized what was actually happening, right before their own eyes? It’s easy for us to look back now and draw a line and say, that right there, that’s when it happened. But, was it so obvious at the time? Has it ever been in any dispensation?

      I don’t think so.

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    7. Remnant of JosephMarch 19, 2016 at 2:59 PM

      Dare-

      If you re-read the quote by Joseph Smith, he didn't simply say "the last dispensation" he said "THIS LAST dispensation". Here it is again:

      "You will receive instructions through the order of the Priesthood which God has established through the medium of those appointed to lead, guide and direct the affairs of the Church in this last dispensation:"

      It's a far stretch to imply that he's referring to the dispensation in which he's living as the previous dispensation in past tense! You're basically saying he said this: "in the future, you will receive instruction from those who lead the church in this last dispensation until the next dispensation."

      That idea doesn't work, especially taking into consideration what I quoted above from D&C 27 & 128 that the last dispensation would be a uniting of all the dispensations and Joseph stated that this dispensation of the fullness of times was just now beginning to usher in.

      When Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he told Nebuchadnezzar, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. … The visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” Daniel said the king had seen a frightening image with a head, torso, arms, legs, and feet. A stone was cut out of a mountain without hands and rolled forth, and eventually that stone collided with the image, breaking it into pieces, “and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”

      Daniel explained that the image represented future political kingdoms and that “in the days of [those future] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: … but it shall break” these kingdoms into pieces and consume them. “And it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2)

      If you believe what Joseph Smith taught, the stone cut out of the mountain is the restored gospel/church. How does it stand forever, given there's an apostasy somewhere in the middle?

      In another revelation given through Joseph Smith, in D&C 66:2 he said: "The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth."

      I'm still waiting for someone to give a coherent explanation supported by scripture of a latter-day apostasy of the actual church and not individuals...

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    8. Dare I Say SomethingMarch 20, 2016 at 2:05 PM

      Remnant of Joseph,

      I am not going to pretend to know what God has in store, every whit, regarding dispensations and his timing. I only think it’s plausible that what we think we know as absolute fact may not necessarily be the case.

      I will note that it seems clear that in your mind the church and the gospel are one in the same. I don’t believe this is true. The church and the gospel are independent and are not the same thing. I believe that the dream you mentioned above refers to the gospel, perhaps even the priesthood, but not the organization of the church.

      We see in JSH 1:69 that the John the Baptist, when ordaining Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood, says that it “shall never be taken again from the earth…” He does not say that it won’t be taken from the church. This is important to note for several reasons, however, it’s not an argument worth having at this time. The simple point is, it could have multiple means and we can assuming it means all kinds of things, none of which may necessarily be the case.

      I absolutely believe in an ongoing restoration, there is still much to restore, and I am simply open to the possibility that this will happen outside the church organization.

      God has a funny way of fulfilling prophecy.

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  18. To Remnant of Joseph,

    I have to give you credit for answering the questions, on record, so to speak. You seem reasonable to me.

    In 1) and 2), you said you're okay with lack of transparency and the spending of 3-5 billion dollars for commercial endeavors because you trust the leadership. And you justified the mall because it is paid for by church investments.

    Can you reasonably separate church investments from tithing? Surely you agree that any and all investments started with tithing? In other words, isn't it all sacred money, and furthermore, shouldn't it be used as you and I know both know the Lord would use it -- for the relief of the poor and suffering?

    The trust you place in man is impressive. Is this impressive trust a potential stumbling stone? Please read Jacob 4:14-17 and ask if your trust in man may be "looking beyond the mark". How is your strong trust or faith in man different from the reason for the fall of the Jews?

    I'm still an active latter-day saint serving in a leadership position, and I can tell you that I have repented, and continue to repent of my idolatry. Speaking just for myself, I can tell you that I had gotten lazy, that I had somehow along the way assumed the president of the church was a true prophet, seer, revelator, and translator, and that he could be trusted 100%. I had "outsourced" my duty to get personal revelation to a man, after all, back in my subconscious mind, I thought he can't possibly lead me astray! Even though I prayed daily, I had largely stopped asking God for revelation, or more accurately, I had gotten complacent and lazy with regards to heartfelt and regular prayer to know God's will.

    I wasn't always like that. As a new convert 3 decades ago, I was taught there is a personal God, my Father in Heaven, who listens to and answers prayer. From Him I received a witness the BoM was true, and Joseph was a true prophet. But through the years I had strayed from the glorious truth in James 1:5.

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  19. To Remnant of Joseph (continued):

    I strayed so much that I realized I was practicing idolatry. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." He says, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."

    I realized that I was depending on men "dressed in white robes" metaphorically and literally. They frequently spoke to me in General Conferences and bade me to follow them (1 Nephi 8:5-8), and I learned I was in a dark and dreary waste spiritually. Now that I am back to praying to God and awakened to my awful situation, I'm out of the darkness, and as Lehi did, I'm focused on the "tree, whose fruit is desirable to make one happy."

    Instead of finding fault with an example this blogger cited, why not consider the overall message of coming unto the Lord, and seeking Him, and not relying on your trust in an unnecessary intermediary - man. Won't you agree that if all 15 apostles died instantly, that your personal salvation would not be impacted, because there is no required intermediary, except Christ? Christ employees no servant at the gate. He is our Savior, He is our Judge – not any man.

    Going back to Elder Nelson. He orchestrated Brother Snuffer's excommunication. The details are here: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-facts.html?m=1.

    I do wonder how a seemingly good man (Elder Nelson) can justify treating another man, who testifies he's seen the Living Christ, with such a lack of charity and lack of justice, and then not end there, but publicly lie about what happened via a press release, hiding behind “the Church.” This lie and Brother Snuffer’s unfair excommunication and persecution by at a min Elder Nelson is a major event in Church history because this man, Elder Nelson, does "take" (is not given but takes) the name of the Lord routinely and claims to be His especial witness, but if he isn't a special witness and persecutes those who ARE special witnesses, then he does "take the name of the Lord in vain", which is a gross violation of one of the Ten Commandments.

    You said, "I have found different answers than you and many of the disgruntled that are now fighting against the Lamb and his Saints." I quote the Elder Nelson example above to show that HE is the one fighting against or persecuting the saints, and kicking against the pricks (DC 121). Amen to his priesthood by the way for those actions. The Lord said that, not me.

    You said, "I believe it's because of a few key concepts that you and the like (Adrian, Denver etc.) misinterpret from the Book of Mormon that have caused you to approach the church critically." Like what?

    You said, "I know the leaders of the church many of them in the history of the church have said and done things that were not correct. Generally, these were done by individuals and not as a church.

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  20. Remnant of JosephMarch 17, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    Underdog-

    Whether the initial investments were started with tithing or not, I don't know. They may have been and more than likely were. They also might not have been. It appears that the money will be there with interest in order to help the poor if that's what is decided.

    Honestly, I'm not fully sure I believe it's the churches sole job to relieve the poor and suffering (nor the governments). That's really our job. I do believe in the law of the fast and fast offerings and I definitely believe we should help the poor with these funds from the storehouse. If the world practiced this alone, there would be no lack for food. However, sometimes in our culture I believe that we don't help the poor because "I've paid my offerings" or "I paid my taxes" and they'll get their help attitude. That is one of the cultural bi-products. We're all expecting someone else to take care of our neighbor.

    As it relates to the topic of the post, the best way (in my opinion) to help the poor is to teach them to live the gospel. I think we all agree that blessings will come to individuals and nations as they exercise their faith and obey the laws of the gospel. (Mosiah 2:22) Should we supplement that? yes!

    I really don't think your scriptural reference of Jacob 4 is applicable to this conversation. In my opinion, this is more of a statement for those that look for the mysteries or exciting, or deeper things without focusing on the fundamental & plain things at the same time and therefore, become blinded. (and honestly, I would flip this verse around at those who are attacking the church for reasons before mentioned.)

    I'm curious as to your calling in the church? Do you have a temple recommend and if so, how do you justify that with your comment about the Prophet?

    I believe your "outsourcing" your duty to get personal revelation to a man is unfortunately true for more people than it should be. Not that I don't believe we should follow the counsel given, but that we should seek our own revelation. Of course, with this comes many of the deceived and loony among us, with their so called "revelations" which is probably why we've seen an emphasis on following the prophet while also emphasizing discerning & recognizing the spirit, but I concur with the core of your comments.

    We need to be careful however to assume our prophets are not receiving or sharing revelation for the church because they aren't prophets - apart from us. In other words, in times past, revelations were withheld because the overall righteousness of the people, not necessarily because of the prophets themselves.

    Adrian and others recite that we're all remain under condemnation for not remembering the Book of Mormon and perhaps that could be one of the reasons additional revelations are not flowing like we'd expect or hope.

    I do believe growth of the church has been more stagnant because of blogs and commentaries similar to this, that cast a negative light and cause doubt among believers. MOST of the commentaries are fully one sided, hearsay, lacking real sources or aren't vetted.

    However, I do believe great things are around the corner and that all things will be cleared up soon - prior to the Lord returning.

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  21. To Remnant of Joseph:

    You said, "I'm curious as to your calling in the church? Do you have a temple recommend and if so, how do you justify that with your comment about the Prophet?"

    Yes, I have a temple recommend. The standard is remarkably low to get one. It's sad how men can use it for leverage to get people to be obedient to them. I sustain the president of the church and hope he fulfills his duty to be a prophet. Not sure what comment of mine you are referring to.

    My calling is irrelevant. There are many bishops and stake presidents who believe the restoration has stalled and that the Lord and angels are personally ministering again, fulfilling their office to call people to repentance. Many who are awake choose to remain in the church to help preserve the restoration. We care. We love the Church.

    You didn't clarify how Brother Snuffer is misinterpreting the BoM.

    You and I will have to disagree on the transparency question and that it is okay to spend BILLIONS of dollars on retail enterprises which not only is an incredibly risky business decision and which could jeopardize the Church's solvency, but is BUSINESS and not remotely related to the mission of the Church. You sadly defend the Brethren here when they are worthy of the strongest rebuke.

    Your best explanation as to why church growth is stagnate is because of blogs like this which causes doubt?

    That's remarkable. These blogs surely have a miniscule to non existent readership compared to the millions of members.

    But doubt in what?

    These blogs encourage faith in Jesus Christ and strongly condemn the idolatry of "trusting in the arm of the flesh" instead of the correct priority of trusting and worshipping God.

    You have ignored Elder Nelson's unrighteous and ignominious persecution of Brother Snuffer. The details are at the link I provided.

    You are wildly missing the mark of this blog. You're focusing on hearsay and incredibly minor examples like Elder Nelson's home value and first class tickets. Who cares about that?!

    Can you focus on the mark and not on tangents? You spend your energy on insignificant leaves and not the taproot. You do know the taproot?

    Final question: do you defend the Brethren's secret re-videoing of Elder Poelman's 1984 censored talk? And do you agree that separating the institutional Church from the restored gospel is critically important?

    This blog argues IN FAVOR of the gospel but condemns the apostasy underway. You seem to conflate the two and defend the obvious apostasy, which is historically routine and predicted in Scripture!

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  22. Underdog-

    I replied to you before I realized you had sent a second continuation email.

    Frankly speaking, I'm confused to why you would want to remain a member with a leadership calling, when you believe the church has gone apostate and that there are no prophets leading the church, leaving you to question and critique their every move.

    I believe the Lord will work it all out. After all it's his church.

    Your comments (and I could be reading more into it) infer that the the church doesn't have a significant role to fulfill, as if the church is not connected to returning to Christ. I for one, disagree. The church is the vehicle for him fulfilling his covenants to the House of Israel. The Church and the properly authorized priesthood ordinances are the symbols of the Lord remembering his covenants and is what the gathering is all about.

    I read Denver Snuffer's post regarding his excommunication and there is no clear evidence that ties Elder Nelson specifically to this. There is hearsay, stories, suggestions, but I heard Elder Christopherson's name and Elder Whitney L Clayton's name but there was no literal connection to Elder Nelson.

    I did feel for the Stake President to be put in this position, but ultimately, he made the decision. He didn't say who specifically encouraged or pushed. The truth is, we really don't know and neither does Denver. So from what I read, to call it a "lie" that Elder Nelson did when in fact there nothing substantial to support it, follows the similar pattern of "proof" I found on these blogs.

    Denver had the opportunity to retract his book. He chose not too. He was given opportunity to stay in the church. HE ALONE chose not to follow the counsel given. To point this to anyone else is weak.

    I have read some of Denver Snuffer's books. Mainly excepts and much of his blogs. He seems like a great guy, although misguided from my perspective.

    I will say, that I found numerous errors in his doctrinal interpretations of which do bear the fruit of a supposed "servant" meant to do the Lord's will. Below is just one:

    1.) In 18 verses, chapter one he quotes 3 Nephi 26:9. Denver makes the assumption that the "greater things" which Jesus spake unto the Nephites are included in the sealed portion. Nowhere in the Book of Mormon is this coo-berated. In fact, we learn that the sealed portion contains the the history of the world from the beginning even until the end as revealed to the Brother of Jared. And that Ether sealed them up and later (Ether 4) Mormon translated them and was commanded to seal them up again, attaching them to the Book of Mormon abridgment. Nowhere does it say that Mormon included with his abridgment the Large plates. In fact it says there wasn't room? Does it make sense that he would abridge the plates and then include the large plates with the record? No, he left the greater things Christ taught off of the abridgment.

    So it would be safe to conclude that he "greater part" is not referring to the words spoken to the Brother of Jared, which is the sealed portion but instead is the "greater part" that Christ spake to the Nephites which is contained on the Large plates and that these plates are included with the whole collection, including the brass plates.

    The order is this: 1) If we believe in the Book of Mormon then 2) the rest of the plates (full collection unabridged) will be shown (in the Lord's due time -which is approaching quickly) and if we believe that, then 3) we'll be given the sealed portion. (again in the Lord's due time).

    At some point between 2 & 3 the records of the lost tribes will come forth. This is all pre-millennial.



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    1. I should have included that it's not just blogs like this but all of the enemies of the church creating their web of blogs and websites to ultimately fight against the church and it's teachings which lead to Christ and the covenants.

      I would prefer to focus on the mark, but detractors tend to throw in the tangents.

      In my comment above regarding 18 Verses, is just one example of Denver's doctrinal misinterpretation. Not a huge one, but one that may actually big bigger than you realize. I've found plenty on his blog. One of the big ones, is the one you allude to in your last comment that Latter-Day church apostasy was predicted in scripture.

      Before I make assumptions, why don't you lay this out for me so I can be sure we're on the same page. Where is this predicted in scripture? I'm pretty confident I know the scriptures you're gong to reference but let's be sure. And then I'll share with you why I think they've been misinterpreted and causing many to go on the path you imply to the church in general.

      Regarding Poelman's talk, here we go again. Who censored it? Poelman said that he was told that parts of it might send the wrong message to certain factions. Because of this he suggested re-taping it. Or do you have any evidence to the contrary?

      Separating the institutional church from the restored gospel is critically important. The one requires the other. I understand what you are suggesting and the intent of Bro. Poelson's message and I would agree with it. However, the church is a necessary part of the restoration and the two are intertwined. The restoration means little without the church.

      Delete
    2. To Remnant of Joseph,

      I have taken my lunch break and got to get back to work. Sorry, but I will respond later in more detail if need be. Or perhaps others here will.

      Those scriptures are so abundant. Yes, no doubt you know many or all of them.

      Off the top of my head, what about DC 101:43-62? What about Joseph Smith "Last Vision", if I may call it that?

      Every other chapter in Isaiah comes to mind.

      What about Ezekiel 33:25-34:31?

      How about Isa 28:1?

      How about Micah 3:5-11?

      What about what Jesus told Joseph Smith in the grove? Ouch! The Isa 29 quote.

      There are lots and lots, not just the standard ones we quote to investigators, but yes, all those too.

      Delete
  23. To Remnant of Joseph,

    Brother Snuffer's first-hand testimony is not hearsay. "It is not true that discipline involving controversial members is exclusively the responsibility of "local leaders" acting independent of influence from the hierarchy. The hierarchy imposes their will from the top-down by instructing the local leaders on what they must do. In my case the news came directly from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the twelve, who presides over the Strengthening the Members Committee. Usually the news comes through Elder Whitney Clayton, one of the seven presidents. He was also involved in my case, but the original pressure came through Elder Nelson directly."

    I see now reason to not believe Brother Snuffer. Some discernment is required here.

    You said, "Frankly speaking, I'm confused to why you would want to remain a member with a leadership calling, when you believe the church has gone apostate and that there are no prophets leading the church, leaving you to question and critique their every move."

    I'm not questioning or critiquing every move. I really only read / listen to their GC talks. You do ask a good question about my desire to remain with an apostate church. I have nobody else to fellowship with, and I do believe there is some value, at least socially, esp for my kids. However, the risk of being influenced by incorrect traditions (a main warning from the BoM) being taught is a growing concern of mine. In my part of the vineyard, I know of no other folks who have heard the testimony of Br. Snuffer. He's not widely known, thanks to the efforts of the Brethren for excommunicating him and many others, like Adrian.

    Like any corrupt institution, whistleblowers are harshly persecuted. I expect that will ultimately be my fate too, or I may resign.

    You and I, and you and Br. Snuffer/Adrian have much, much in common. Faith in Christ, and serving Him alone is what we agree on.

    It seems odd to me that you attack modern "Abinadi's" like Br. Snuffer, and you defend the very unjust persecution of these good men which the Lord so harshly condemns in DC 121. It seems odd to me, IF you are focused on Christ, why you would defend lack of transparency. It flabbergasts me that you want to pretend that Elder Nelson is perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing in Brother Snuffer's persecution. What about all the other similar persecutions. Testimonies are abundant from the ex’d members that a purge is underway.

    You think Christ endorses these persecutions of saints?

    (Part 1 of 2)

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  24. You said, "Denver had the opportunity to retract his book." He chose not to retract it. True. So you're okay with threatening someone's eternal salvation (the Church's view) because they write a book that has a different interpretation of history from the church's mainstream narrative? What about a civil and meaningful doctrinal discussion? What about Denver's powerful testimony? Why not correct him or help him understand where he is erring?

    This morning, I was a sub for early morning seminary, and the scripture block was Isaiah 1-2. I made the point to 20 youth in attendance that we LDS frequently do not apply the Isaiah or the BoM prophecies to ourselves. So I said, let's look at Isa 1. I remarked, "When Isaiah says the people of Israel are apostate, I betcha there's not too many Mormons who would say that applies to us. So let's read Isaiah 1 and see if any of you have the opinion that Isaiah couldn't possibly be talking about us Mormons. And then we read..."The vision of Isaiah...(v 1)…hear O heavens...the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." (v 2).

    I said to the class, "These verses couldn't be talking about LDS, right?"

    Continuing, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib (feed trough), but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." This could NEVER apply to us Mormons. I asked, “What does your dog do when you put food in his empty dish?” He wags his tail and is happy, they said. I continued, “But look at what Isaiah said...he says Israel reacts quite differently. Let’s keep reading.”

    "Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupter: they have forsaken the Lord the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One unto anger, they are gone away backward."

    This could never apply to us Mormons, I told them. Right? Not a word of protest. Like they're under a spell.

    In v. 5: "...the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." v. 6: "From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it..."

    I asked the class about the symbolism here. What is "the head"?

    Nobody answered. Silence. I asked a couple more times, and waited quite a while. No response. So I said, "I won't answer either. But you should ponder what this means, and liken the scriptures to yourselves. Like I said to you. We Mormons don’t apply these to ourselves, but OTHERS. We don’t liken these sayings to us. But they are specifically spoken to us.”

    I give the same invitation to you. Liken Isaiah to you. I have likened several scripture to you above, and you have said I’m quoting them out of context. Your sincere rebuttals are Exhibit A. You are a more sophisticated Seminary student who cannot bring yourself to think these scriptures apply to you/ us as a a people.

    You are prone to defend the persecution of people like Denver Snuffer. So we agree to disagree. I find those persecutions hardcore, irrefutable, powerful witnesses that something is wrong with "the head" of the Church. My discernment easily works for me on this one. You judge otherwise. Fine. We agree to disagree.

    But what about the 1984 Elder Poelman incident? If you understood Elder Poelman's quite-clear original talk, I think a light would come on. But the point seems to escape you.

    Sincerely,

    Underdog

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    Replies
    1. Underdog, I can tell I'd like you were we in the same ward or lived near each other. I hope you stay in the church!

      It's interesting that you consider my comments akin to "persecuting" Denver Snuffer. But I see it the exactly opposite. In fact, it's Denver Snuffer and his followers that are constantly writing and persecuting the Church, it's leaders and the "blind" members. I simply am defending. Who's really being persecuted here?

      The church isn't writing about Denver Snuffer or Rock or Adrian. But instead, all three and more are writing very unfair posts about the church, leaders, etc., which mostly are opinion and unsubstantiated when it really comes down to the personal attacks. I've found that if you look hard enough with a critical eye you can make anyone out to a villain. The problem with your message is that it's very difficult to distinguish from the hard core anti's. In fact, the topics and messages are often the same, so much so that you appear as teammates.

      I've said nothing evil of Denver Snuffer. I've simply said I think he's misguided and misinterpreting scripture. But from the other side, we hear descriptions about our leaders of the church such as "evil", "corrupt" "dishonest" "crony" implications to being "perpetrators" "stealing from the poor" and on and on. Really, who is persecuting who? Could these scriptures be referring you?

      I come on defending the unfairly accused and wanting to discuss scripture. But from the other side, there are simply criticisms, accusations, name calling and outrage.

      there are plenty of scriptural interpretations that I believe Denver Snuffer has completely wrong and it's because of these misunderstandings that he's truly missing the picture.

      Most of the scriptures you referenced, I don't believe are in reference to an apostasy of the Latter Day Church. There are too many other scriptures that refute the idea. (I'd be happy to share and discuss these with you. Perhaps we'd be better doing this offline) For example, D&C 101 I believe is actually referring to the redemption of the church back to the Lands they were removed from -to Zion, the New Jerusalem but not a restoration of the church or doctrines but a redemption in the eyes of the world in preparation for the lost tribes. This is one area I've studied & prayed about extensively and honestly speaking, I believe I understand what is to happen, and how.

      It is a completely new paradigm, one that does not agree with Denver Snuffer nor has been related by the church -yet, but fits neatly in relation to all scripture and makes so much more sense than what Denver or others seem to be prescribing.

      In fact, there are too many things that I believe Denver has incorrect for it to be possible for him to understand the whole picture. There have been a very few (one or two) in the church that have also concluded in my opinion incorrectly on some of these key scriptures, but what I have concluded is that these were that person's view, but have not been presented or supported by the church, even though culturally many have adopted the ideas. I'd be happy to share these as well.

      We'll have to find a way to chat about these things not so publicly. (Don't take that as wanting to work in the darkness =)

      Take care!

      Delete
  25. To Remnant,

    You asked, "I'm still waiting for someone to give a coherent explanation supported by scripture of a latter-day apostasy of the actual church and not individuals."

    Moroni says in Mormon 8:
    36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even EVERY ONE, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
    37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
    38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?

    He says "every church." Is this coherent enough of an explanation?

    Can you concede Moroni might be talking about the LDS Church?

    I think you are conflating "church" with "individuals". They are not separate, but one in the same.

    There are so many scriptures that talk about latter-day apostasy. In fact we are OVERWHELMED with such scriptures.

    DC 65:2 (not 66 but 65:2) is true. The gospel will and is rolling forth and will smash all man-made institutions, including ESPECIALLY the incorporated LDS Church.

    3 Nephi 16:10 clearly speaks of Mormons apostatizing, or sinning against the gospel, even rejecting it.

    So the great battle ground for souls will be inside the LDS Church. YOU have the opportunity now to stop and consider if the restoration has stalled due to pride. V. 13: "But if the Gentiles (YOU/ME) will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel."

    Brother Snuffer's message is to return to Christ. The Brethren are increasingly preaching, "Follow the prophet", or get on Old Ship Zion. There's a big difference.

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    Replies
    1. Dare I Say SomethingMarch 20, 2016 at 2:22 PM

      Underdog,

      I would add 2 Nephi 28

      Especially verse 14:

      “They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.”

      All have gone astray, except for a few, and even those few do err because they are led and taught by the precepts of men.

      This sure sounds to me like the problem is the leaders, not the individuals.

      Delete
  26. “Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.” (D&C 112: 24–26.)

    If this isn't referring to latter-day apostasy, perhaps I don't know what apostasy is. How interesting that the emphasis here is in those who have used the name of Christ, but have not known him.

    As I recall, this fits the self-proclaimed description of Elder Oaks perfectly, when not long ago he used almost these exact words to describe his (and the other apostles) experience with Christ. That meeting is affectionately referred to as "the Boise rescue" and was delivered in my stake center.

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  27. All fast offering funds now go Salt Lake. They no longer stay local.

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  28. Hugh Nibley in "Approaching Zion" talks alot about the prosperity ethic, its root in eatly puritanism, and how our 'zion' (what, Zions Bank? ZCMI?) Is rooted in babylon. Good read, I highly recommend.

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  29. The Restoration has been kick started again, by the Lord, through Denver Snuffer; look into it, if you have not already.

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