Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hope


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


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

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

The Spirit of the Approach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


55 comments:

  1. Adrian,

    You mention the anonymous comment in "The Spirit of the Approach". This is the comment which includes "some people refuse to lay down for the heart of the community, their own heart" and mentions the Lots SOP getting 95+% of the votes. This comment is found on the earlier post in your blog.

    I respectfully ask you please include my response on that other blog post to that anonymous comment.

    Since I voted for the Lots SOP in phoenix, my voice carries unequal weight by Anonymous' definition, and by that persons logic I am not one who refuses to lay their heart down. However, I reject that label for myself and I openly admit I am one who refuses to lay their heart down.

    In the spirit of being consistent, forthright, and showing by actions (not just words), you are interested in the Truth, please also include my response to that Anonymous comment on your other post.

    Please either include my response or block me from posting on your blog. Either action will show your real intent, which I believe at this moment is sincere and genuine desire for the Truth and unity among us.

    -Jay

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    Replies
    1. Jay. Easy, dude.

      Couple of things.

      First, you posted this personal note to me as a comment. Therefore, the only way I have to reply to you is to post this personal note for all to see, then respond publicly. I don't even have your email address. This is outlined on the sidebar of the blog, under "About Comments, and just above "Contact Me," which is the right way to do this.

      Second, I don't have any unapproved comments from you. Therefore, if you submitted something I didn't post, I never received it.

      Third, I DO show your comment appearing just below the Anonymous comment to which you refer. It is right under part 1 of the Anonymous comment, which is right where you put it. I have no control over where it goes. You do.

      So...in summary, I have no idea what you're talking about. Please clarify, and feel free to use the "Contact Me" tool on the sidebar of the blog.

      Once you've read this personal note, feel free to delete your comment above, and I'll delete my response.

      Thank you!

      Delete
    2. Hi Adrian,

      I'm assuming "easy dude" refers to me speaking truthfully about my own frowardness. I respectfully decline. I will not take it easy on myself because I have no evidence and no right to do that yet. In fact, the Answer to the prayer for covenant has Jesus Christ himself telling me I'm yet nothing. So I have the words of the Master to back up the statements about myself.

      My comment was intended to be public. I'm interested in things being out in the open. I will say though you posting my comment and then publicly writing your own response speaks volumes to your open and sincere heart. I will also not "take it easy" in also saying I greatly love everything you have and continue to contribute to this movement. You are vital and precious to this movement. Period. That is how I really feel Adrian. Those words align with my heart.

      What I'm talking about is that you have quoted a comment from a previous post, in this post. That anonymous comment openly and publicly declares the 95+% among the group who voted Lots as somehow sacrificing their hearts to the movement which implicitly (almost explicitly) says the others or those who objected did not. That idea, which is quoted clearly in this post, is a lie. Adrian there is no other way to put it. It is NOT Truth. This accuses those who did not vote for the Lots SOP. I voted for the Lots SOP, and would be willing to vote for nearly anything so long as every single other member agrees to have it in the printed scriptures before me, and I'm publicly telling you right now that I AM THE PROBLEM. I am not agreeable. And I'm saying that having voted for the lots document. I admit freely I was wrong and blind and arrogant in doing that. Therefore, to post my response to the blog post you quoted from is to provide the full picture in our quest for Truth.

      I am squarely in the 95+% who voted for the lots, and I also admit truthfully that I am the problem. Any person in this movement who even feels in their heart to the slightest degree that those who didn't vote for the lots is somehow any less agreeable than themselves, accuses those people. That idea and spirit divides. It does not unite. That is precisely what the spirit of the accuser does. So when I state publicly I am not agreeable and I am arrogant as a member of "team lots", anyone who accuses those who didn't vote for lots because they have somehow not sacrificed their hearts ALSO ACCUSE ME. And they would be RIGHT, because I am not yet what I must become to live among anyone in peace. BUT, it also means they accuse themselves because I VOTED FOR THE LOTS SOP. I am in their lofty group.

      Adrian, we will not have one heart and one mind, nor will we ever love one another with actual unfeigned love, so long as we continue to accuse each other. It is not possible! That IS what is happening with this "silent majority" who view themselves as the sheep among wolves. "God's people" among the contentious and forward. This belief is an imagination of their hearts.

      I am not accusing you, Adrian or anyone else of anything. I , alone, take full credit for us not yet having a completed and mutually agreed upon SOP. If this Truth is problematic or difficult for you or anyone else to deal with, feel free to prevent me from posting here. You would be completely justified and "right" to do so. Cast me out. I know many who would quite like that. But remember, I voted for the lots SOP and would be willing to accept nearly any SOP so long as every other member of this movement agrees to have that SOP printed in the scriptures.

      Moroni wrote "see that you do not judge wrongfully, for with that same judgement which ye judge ye shall also be judged". Anyone can judge me however they would like, but remember I voted for the Lots SOP.

      This us vs them mentality must stop.

      I love this group Adrian. More than I am able to express with words. My only desire is for our united success.

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    3. Jay,

      Thank you for your follow up comment. As for the prior comment that you said I didn't post, I'm still confused. Was it indeed posted? Or have I missed something?

      Delete
    4. I was hoping you could edit into the post or something. It is a very important Truth in light of that Anonymous assertion.

      I touched on most of it in my follow up so no need to do anything.

      Thanks for putting up with me. I'll shut up now.

      And you don't need to block me to shut me up. If you ask me to stop sharing stuff on your blog, I would stop immediately.


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    5. Jay, I have no intention of blocking your or "shutting you up." Such a thought has not entered my mind. Yet you keep bringing it up. I find that odd.

      In the absence of any answer to my repeated question as to the missing comment you say I didn't post, I'll just assume it was posted after all and stop worrying about it.

      Thanks!

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    6. Open Mind,

      I am the anonymous who wrote the piece Adrian published. That was done of his own accord. He does not know my identity, and so I just wanted to make that clear first off.

      I want to address your concern that I am being accusatory by applying Denver's quote to those who continued to oppose, once the voice of the people had been manifest through the Lots process.

      My only intent was to show how I saw direct application in what Denver explained, to the process that had already occurred with the Lots. For me, that is part of the correlation I see in what Denver explained.

      To put the quote in context, Denver lays out the entire DWW process and then explains this:

      “By passing responsibility out among various people (the black stone holder role; which I correlate with the Lotsters) so that everyone gets to feel the awful weight, the terrible disappointment, the frustration and the learning that comes from having to make a decision after everyone has given their input. Because some people simply refuse to lay down for the heart of the community, their own heart. They refuse to be soft-hearted, open-hearted, they insist upon by the hardness of their hearts that they get to establish rule. The antecedant to that is the accuser of the brethren. “ Then he goes into the BofM quote about the will of the people choosing that which is right, and such a method as DWW being a wonderful means to ascertain what that will.

      Here, Denver is explaining how difficult it is to be the one who draws the decision making lot, because no matter how hard such people will try, there may be those within the community that don’t have compassion on the difficulty they face and the honest effort they give to listen, but instead, continue to oppose the decision; which in essence is a form of saying they get to rule. They don’t want to submit to the rule of the temporary decision maker; they want to rule by having their will done. They don’t accept the decision made. It is these individuals that in actuality risk becoming, or obtaining, the spirit of being an accuser of their brethren. Not the one(s) who were laden with making the decision; but the ones who refused to ever come to peace with the great weight and challenge that such a position was for those who were obligated to carry it, and hold no respect for the outcome.

      The DWW method Denver described, or any version of it (which I try to show is manifest by the Lots) will never work unless everyone in the community has a heart that is willing to accept whatever the outcome of the black stone holders is. If after a decision is made, there is a constant outcry that they were not heard, or they were not understood---then no method will ever succeed. At some point, everyone in the community must choose not to dispute the decision of the black stone holders that were chosen to play that temporary role, for any given situation.

      If you think about it closely, it’s really quite remarkable how closely what Denver describes corresponds with what has been done. Even the definition of mutual agreement was given in the middle of the vote for the lots document. It was as if God was doing all in His power to help us see that this was a means given to us by heaven to achieve our assignment---All we had to do is individually choose that we would not dispute the decision of the black stone holders. Could we have compassion for the weight they carried? Could we rouse charity up in our hearts for the burden they held and lend our support. Or would we insist that they did not hear, did not care, and continue to be more concerned with our own perspective being met, than with learning to share the weight of such a task by becoming cooperative with it, and the decisions such a method produces?

      Again, the quote is Denver’s. He applied it to those who could not go along with the black stone holder’s decision, and insist on their way. I merely pointed out the parallel.


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  2. Thank you for this well thought out summary of where we stand in completing this first (hopefully of many to come) assignment/commandment from the Lord. We look forward to a sustaining vote and the completion of this assignment. As Chris Hamill stated so eloquently in his recent "Clarification 2": "And until we legally bind ourselves to a statement of principles by a sustaining vote, we cannot...claim any rights or blessings resulting from obeying the Lord's command to produce such a statement and then add it with our scriptures. We have yet to sign on the dotted line."

    We look forward to "signing the dotted line" with our sustaining vote and receiving the blessing the Lord has in store for those who obey His commands.

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  3. Thank you for your post, Adrian.

    I, too, have hope we may be able to finish this assignment so many have labored over for so long and see it published in the scriptures.

    The only way the Lord's people will every be able to achieve Zion is by obeying God's immediate commands to them. I pray we might move forward, honor the voice of the people, and allow those who choose to be mutually agreeable to do so in peace. Thanks again.

    Matt Lohmeier

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  4. (Part 1 of 2)
    I haven’t chosen to comment publicly about the Guide and Standard assignment since the first of the year when I thought it had been completed, but I feel prompted to do so now to state my agreement with what Adrian has written here and offer my own personal reasons why I believe he is correct in terms of the need to hold a final sustaining vote at the upcoming conference and with regards to recent blogposts and podcasts about how to resolve an impassable solution within a group (people are now calling it Dances with Wolves or DWW…..which I find humorous).

    1. I try not to react too quickly to any kind of news because I’ve often been too hasty in my life to assume I understand it correctly and then jump to an incorrect conclusion. However, after giving recent podcasts, emails and blog posts considerable thought, I think the DWW concept may have been intended for various purposes unrelated to the GS, but that it can also be directly correlated to the lots process and even argued that perhaps ahead of its time, it was in exact shape and form of the DWW concept as discussed in your blog post. In each circumstance, lots are drawn and we as brothers and sisters place our faith and trust in the one(s) selected to make the decision. What continues to amaze me about this “remnant movement” is that so many claim to want to be gathered as a people in Zion where they consider the brother or sister on their left or right as their own, and yet they refuse to allow that person to be their voice. It’s like being in a prayer circle where everyone has a chance to pray and afterward saying to the person on your right…”hey, I really didn’t really like the way you prayed and the tone of your voice while you spoke, so I want to cancel your prayer and submit another as a replacement,” as if a prayer can be cancelled by an mortal. In the DWW model, it would be akin to having one who drew out the white stone demanding they exchange with the person who had the black one. Don’t we trust that the Lord knows the intent of every heart and takes note of why we feel the way we do?

    2. At the time the Phoenix vote occurred last March, I didn’t’ fully realize what was trying to be accomplished. At that point, I felt the people had clearly spoken and that the only hold-up was convincing the scripture committee that it was ready for publication… so I felt the vote in Phoenix was unnecessary but I wanted to show support for others who likewise wanted to conclude the matter. Only recently was I given the understanding that after the second part of the vote Saturday night, a list of reasons those opposed were advancing was to be gathered and read to the those assembled in Sunday and then with those things made clear and public, the congregation was to make the decision to either sustain or not sustain what had been approved the day before. It makes complete sense and in the spirit of cooperation that we allow this group to finish that third part after a long season of pause and reflection.

    ...more

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  5. (Part 2 of 2)

    3. I have taken to heart the recent Scripture Project update posts in which Chris Hamil has both offered his apologies and further clarifications about where we need to go from here to finally include a document in the RE scriptures for publication. I think we have a real shot here in a couple weeks to do what he is suggesting needs to be done. If we proceed in this manner, and there is still a clear majority in favor of supporting what had been accepted six months ago, we will have finally brought an end to this long chapter in our history. However, if the sustaining vote does not carry, and the people wish to start all over again for an undetermined period of time until future processes can generate a document with as much acceptance as what we have recently experienced, then I for one will most certainly respect that decision and support the ongoing effort.

    4. What I’m not in favor of is another situation like we had in Phoenix where a very peaceful meeting and process was molested by loud and angry voices. I get that there are those opposed and they have valid reasons for that opposition, but we don’t have to raise our voices and stomp our feet to stand and be counted. We can participate peacefully and show our children how peaceful public discourse can work. I would just suggest that if we go forward, those who feel they cannot control an outburst please recuse themselves before the voting takes place and make their vote known respectfully and politely just prior.

    5. Regarding the Paul Durham document 2.0, I too like the content and feel it would certainly satisfy all requirements as a Guide and Standard. I also liked Paul Durham 1.0 and felt likewise about several others along the way (like the August 5th document). The obvious issue I see with putting that on the table at this point is that in fairness, we would then have allow others to come up with a 2.0 or even another original of their own. I don’t think we all want to do that again, but I could be wrong and if so, we can certainly go back to square one. There has been some talk of possibly including a document such as Paul’s as a missionary tract in the Appendix. That’s well and good with me too, but then again, why just that one? For the time being, I feel we should simply allow those who have asked for time at the conference to conclude their business and see what happens from there without regard to competing business. We can then deal with things from there.

    Finally, here is the one thing about this entire project that I have still not been persuaded of by anyone at any time no matter how many have tried. After we have all come together as a people numerous times to offer up our best wisdom, understanding, experience and subsequent documents, how is it somehow more noble, godly and valiant to remain opposed and demand others take the same view, than to willingly concede the discussion to the collective views of the group? While I dare not speak for the entirety of those who have voted in support of the lots document, I am willing to bet my life that even though there was a clear indisputable majority from the online voting last November, if a different document had been selected in the Phoenix vote, those same people would have stood to accept and sustain that one. Again, these are just my person views and I don’t intend to defend them here or anywhere else. I’m sure many would take issue with them, but I’m just offering them up as part of the discussion.

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  6. May the Lord bless you, Adrian, and all of us as we try to figure this out and come to Him.

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  7. I voted for the Lots document and love Paul’s also. I would willingly vote for either of those today. But my concern is about our hearts and the lack of trust we have in the intentions of each other; becoming one with love unfeigned. It seems we’re more interested in checking that Statement of Principles box than we are about becoming one regarding it. BOTH are Required of us. My belief is the current priority should be becoming one on the Statement of Principles BEFORE voting on it. But if the majority needs to get this done now and worry about becoming one on the subject later, I’ll so no more about it!

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  8. I do not understand why there is this perception that we must all be of one heart and one mind right away with this first assignment?

    I agree with the Book of Mormon which teaches that usually the majority voice of the people chooses righteousness. I also agree with this post and the analysis - that in a miraculous way the process followed to produce the Lot Statement of Principles actually mirros that described by Denver in his DWW podcast. Even though Denver has clarified that that process is not feasible in making decisions in a movement-wide capacity or for large groups. Large groups - describes the process for what we are dealing with regarding adopting a statement of principles but despite that - it appears it did work in this case.

    The Lot document contains teachings and principles that we all agree with and which brought us all in unity together to take the covenant. But as you will recall there were many who were re-baptized in this movement who then did NOT receive the covenant with all of us. Why? Well, clearly we were NOT all of one heart and one mind. But none of us who went forward to take the covenant refused to accept the covenant because some of our friends did not feel to do so. Why did you move forward without endless discussions and attempts to persuade those who chose not to take the covenant? Why were you all willing to move forward despite those among us whose hearts were not on the same page as yours was? Why, therefore, treat the adoption of a statement of principles any differently? Why shouldn't the large majority of the body who agrees with adopting the Lot document as a Statement of their Principles not be allowed to move forward despite some few whose hearts are not in the same place as they are regarding this one issue? You didn't choose not to move forward to take the covenant despite others not being quite ready did you?

    Those who mutually agree with the principles enumerated in the Lots document can move forward to adopt it, many not agreeing but nevertheless choosing to not dispute it and we can be obedient to the Lord's immediate commmand and receive the blessings.

    Again, why the dispute of this document which contains teachings and principles that brought us all together in the first place to receive the covenant? Where is the God-given reason and logic in that position? I don't understand it.

    Let us accomplish this assignment from the Lord. The Lot statement meets the requirements. Those who do not agree can maintain their position and intellectual integrity and we can all still move forward. No one will be "excommunicated" and we can all still love one another and continue to work on becoming one.

    It is a process - not to be expected to be of one heart and one mind right away with this first assignment. As long as there aren't any teachings or principles in this Statement of Principles which are opposed to God's work in this new dispensation - why the ardent opposition to it's adoption?

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  9. Simple question - don't we want to know the "Lord's part"?

    "…Pray together in humility and together meekly present your dispute to me, and if you are contrite before me I will tell you my part."

    I am still interested in the Lord "telling us His part" - I don't believe we have "presented any dispute to Him" as of yet, that I am aware of...

    We haven't received "His part" yet have we?

    With this, wouldn't it then make it impossible for us to know "His part" if we won't act upon His invitation?

    Don't we want to "know His part?"
    I do...

    Shouldn't we approach this invitation with Nephi's attitude vs. Laman's attitude?

    "...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

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    1. People have forgotten that this WAS done on TWO occasions prior to the Lots proposal being made.

      First, for several weeks straight there was a united prayer given 24 hours a day. I believe the Spanish Fork fellowship instigated it. It was passed around as an invitation as well as things are able in an unorganized movement. But it found it's way to my email, and I'm a nobody.

      This was last September if I recall. It ended on the day the "Revelation 12 Sign" was given (September 23rd). In this case, the entire intent of all prayers was to bless and help us as a people to know how to resolve the GS issue. People signed up to pray in 30 minute segments, and someone in the movement was praying every minute for the entire few weeks.

      Shortly after, on October 7, is when the idea was proposed by Steve Van Leer to use only the words of Christ, Joseph or Denver in the content. What I see as the first part of the Lord answering us.

      On October 8th, the day after Steve proposed the idea, another covenant wide prayer meeting was held. It had been announced for a time period. I believe Taylor Child organized it. It was a zoom meeting and anyone interested could participate. A number of people that wanted to prayer did so on behalf of the entire body. They were randomly chosen by computer, in which order they would pray.

      Again, the entire prayer meeting was to fulfill the aspect of the Answer where we were asked to come to the Lord to know His part.

      Several weeks later, the idea for the Lots process was conceived and presented to the people.

      You see, there has been a lot more obedience to what the Lord has asked us than people remember. All were welcome and invited in BOTH of these efforts.

      So the reality is we've done this. We've taken the Lord up on His offer, and He responded. He was and is always true to His word. He gave us His part, and it manifested itself in the Lots proposal and execution...and miraculously, we find out 10 months later that what He gave us conforms almost perfectly with the DWW concept for smaller groups.

      Personally, I accept His answer and see His hand involved with us through the entire thing because of the very fact that we followed the course He asked of us.

      Delete
    2. One more thought:

      Perhaps the problem is that we go into things with expectations that we have on HOW the Lord will answer us.

      When what He ends up doing doesn't conform to what we had anticipated, we simply fail to recognize what He has done and been doing all along. He patiently waits for us to recognize His hand (and perhaps with the DWW, He helped us along in seeing it).

      It isn't that one's heart wasn't "right" per se, if they have opposed this effort---I think everyone's "intent" has been pure. It's just that we sometimes don't see the whole picture because we are focusing on our expectation of things.

      Having incorrect expectations is something I've personally learned creates more consternation that probably anything else.

      Perhaps if those who have felt the Lots did not meet their expectations of what the Lord would do to help us resolve this matter would be willing to consider how this two united group prayers to Him fulfilled His invitation to us in the Answer; and He REALLY did answer.

      I hope that doesn't sound offensive to anyone. I'm actually trying to express my complete understanding of how this has been unseen by some as the Lord's answer to us, and hope that we can somehow all unite together this conference to sustain the Lots document.

      Delete
  10. The Lord gave His part with the signs attending the Lot process and the Spirit poured out upon those chosen by Lot's to complete this assignment. He also provided his part by giving a revelation to the woman who voiced the prayer to obtain the Lord's acceptance which He did via His Holy Spirit.

    There was a time last year where Denver was willing to take a document to the Lord to learn his part but only AFTER the body had chosen an agreed upon document. Again, "agreed upon" does not and never meant unanimity, but "as between one another, you choose to not dispute". All it requires is a body of people who choose to not dispute. An overwhelming majority of the covenant body selected the Lot Statement of Principles. The voice of the people have chosen the document. Why not allow it to be adopted so that the servant could then take it to the Lord and the majority of the people were wrong - let us be chastised and corrected so we can repent and "go back to the drawing board". Or, alternatively - the Lot Statement of Principles could very well be completely acceptable to the Lord and we will be blessed for acting on it and moving forward.

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  11. I am not aware that we have "…Pray[ed] together in humility and together meekly present your dispute to me" - have we? ...I really don't know the answer to this question, but I haven't seen it yet.

    Shouldn't we simply follow the instructions in this simple invitation from the Lord and gather these disputes? I honor every dispute and believe that we should treat them with great respect.

    The we have an offering to present to the Lord so He can tell us His part.

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    1. I do recall there have been several efforts to do just this, including invitations to join a day of prayer and fasting on multiple occasions.

      There are enough unique disputes and enough disputers that the practicality of doing this personally over every disagreement is, well, impossible.

      You only have a dispute if you choose to dispute.

      The entire quotation is:

      Study to learn how to respect your brothers and sisters and to come together by precept, reason and persuasion rather than sharply disputing and wrongly condemning each other, causing anger. Take care how you invoke my name. Mankind has been controlled by the adversary through anger and jealously which has led to bloodshed and the misery of many souls. Even strong disagreements should not provoke anger nor to invoke my name in vain as if I had part in your every dispute. Pray together in humility and together meekly present your dispute to me, and if you are contrite before me I will tell you my part.

      Asking the Lord to act as referee (as if He had a part in our every dispute) is presented as a last resort for those who cannot disagree respectfully and come together by precept, reason and persuasion, and who continue to let anger and jealousy hold sway.

      I believe it is presented as a method of working out a dispute between two people, and doesn't adapt well (if at all) to a group of hundreds.

      I disagree with people over this issue, but I have no dispute with them. If they can persuade a majority, I have no intention of disputing that, either. It takes two to dispute, and I have none.

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  12. The efforts and trials have been significant thus far - but I still desire to take Him up on His invitation to "tell us His part." I believe that we have not received that instruction.

    From what I have been able to gather from over the past year - I believe that the answer to the questions below are still "no":

    - Has this people acted upon the Lord's invitation and instructions to receive "His part"?

    - Have we gathered all of these disputes as a people and presented them to the Lord?

    - Has the Lord told us His part?

    If the answer to any of the questions is a "yes" (and it very well could be...) then I still haven't seen any tangible produce from those efforts. If there is produce, I desire to gather it so I can be faithful to the invitation.

    I believe that a faithful and careful obedience to the exact words of His invitation is required. The words are directly from His mouth of course.

    Nephi's attitude in approaching an assignment/invitation, I believe, is a key.


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    1. How would that take place? Who will receive the answer and in what form? David has been forbiden to participate in this assignment - so who is going to receive the revelation from the Lord for the collective whole who ask for the Lord's part?

      Is it possible this already occurred with the inspiration of the Lot process, selection of the participants by drawing of lots and the inclusiong of the entire movement in that effort?

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  13. As pertaining to the Guide & Standard and our “Mutual Agreement” as a people –

    With this counsel directly from the Lord, doesn’t he expect us to:

    1) Actively reach out / seek out all of the different people/fellowships that are not in mutual agreement
    2) Gather any-and-all of their important “disputes” into one document
    3) Present the list of “disputes” from our people to the Lord, to His servant David, to inquire of the Lord?

    The scriptures clearly establish the pattern that God always has His spokesperson to ask & receive for His people. There are many, many examples of this in the scriptures. With the scripture references and statements by Joseph Smith, I do not believe we would be inappropriately asking Denver (David) to be involved in out Guide & Standard commandment - we would simply be asking for the delivery and response from the Lord, to His people, according to what the Lord counseled us to do in T&C 157:54.

    The Words of Joseph Smith
    12 May 1844 (Friday Morning). Temple Stand.'
    Thomas Bullock Report
    I testify that no man has power to reveal it, but myself, things in heaven, in earth and hell—and all shut your mouths for the future—I commend you all to God, that you may inherit all things—& may God add his blessings. Amen.

    T&C 29:1-2
    1 Oh hearken, you elders of my church, and give ear to the words which I shall speak unto you, for behold, verily, verily I say unto you that you have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand. And this you shall know assuredly, that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations, until he be taken, if he abide in me.
    2 But verily, verily I say unto you that none else shall be appointed unto this gift, except it be through him, for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power, except to appoint another in his stead. And this shall be a law unto you that you receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you, as revelations or commandments. And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. For verily I say unto you that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate, and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive, through him whom I have appointed.

    Also, here is the definition of “Mutual Agreement” in the T&C Glossary:

    Mutual Agreement
    http://scriptures.info/scriptures/tc/glossary/mutual-agreement

    It states the invitation from the Lord again in the glossary.

    Should we not gather all of the fellowships/people again, for the purpose of gathering all of our disputes (that we are having trouble to resolve) and have the Lord “tell [us] [His] part?

    Denver would not be involved with the G&S/SoP at all - but only be acting in his role as a spokesman as clearly taught in the scriptures.

    There is no other appointed by to Lord to present our gathered disputes...

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    1. Glen,

      I perhaps placed a reply to much of what you have stated about coming together to resolve our disputes by asking the Lord His part, too far up in this thread. I am not sure whether you have even seen it, as I wrote it after most of your comments were already posted. My response is posted under your first comment above as AnonymousSeptember 16, 2018 at 2:06 PM. I hope you will consider the efforts described as legitimate.

      In response to what you've stated above about Denver getting involved: I think the point of the whole exercise that we've gone through is to figure out how to go to the Lord without Denver's involvement. Two movement wide efforts manifest this effort to ask the Lord His part, as described above.

      When do we reach a point of deserving the Lord's ire because we ignore what He imparts to us after we inquire? He gave us an answer that treated us all as equals and allowed the work to be done while taking into consideration the views and ideas of everyone who wanted to give counsel. What more do we want?

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    2. LOL - tough to keep track of which "Anonymous" is not some other "Anonymous"

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    3. Glen, I like your proposal. How would we go about doing that at this point?

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    4. I also like your proposal Glen. However, I have a question for you. Before I ask it, let me frame it with context.
      In 3 weeks time, those who are now actively campaigning will hold a vote. Are you among those who feel that to vote in any other way than to sustain the ‘Lots’ document, is to be froward?
      Because in my view, advocating that to resolve the disputes in the manner the Lord has prescribed in the Answer, and yet saying that if the lots holds the majority then such work (to resolve the disputes regarding this topic) would be pointless, is counter-effective.
      The work to come together and be unified in a desire to find resolution to the disputes that exist is going to require strength. It is going to require resilience and diligence.
      So to propose such a thing, and yet to later be willing to go back on that work because those who do not want to receive the Lord’s part bypassed that effort and just got their document into the scriptures, to me seems mutually exclusive.
      So I ask you: if people desire to come together with you, are you willing to wrestle the Lord’s part from Him (with them) that He has promised to give?

      To anyone else who likewise would like to follow the Lord’s instructions given in the Answer, and participate in the work of studying how to respect one another as brothers and sisters, laying down your fears, coming together to pray meekly, humbly and with contrite hearts in order to ask the Lord for His part, should also answer this question as well.
      Not to me, but to the Lord. Because He is the One who sees all. He is the One who knows our hearts individually and will watch as us we are tried before Him.
      Those who are requesting a vote be had, are bypassing the important work of resolving disputes. Therefore supporting such an effort, is to vote to circumvent the plans of the Lord in accomplishing His purposes. It is to Him that you are to be accountable.

      I know there are anonymous folk on here who will chirp in with arguments against what I am saying. They will say that the work to resolve disputes and obtain the Lord’s part is already accomplished: yet those who seek the Lord, to establish His righteousness still remain among those who have revelations yet that go unheard.

      They must bring their revelations. We must accommodate their revelations with ours and vice versa if we are to claim that we seek to be of one heart. I seek to silence nobody, but to work with anyone who is willing to come together and WORK as the Lord prescribes in the Answer and Covenant.

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    5. This will be my final plea on this blog.

      I just received an extremely troubling message indicating the upcoming silent vote at the upcoming conference. The outline of what is to be done with the essentially already decided vote is as mainstream lds church as anything this group has yet done up to this point. It is as anti Zion as anything that has yet to be done among this group, and it terrifies me.

      Again, I voted for the lots SOP in phoenix and would be willing to accept almost anything so long as every other covenant member agrees. By your own definition (and not mine) I'm way more agreeable than any who will only vote for the lots SOP at this point. Even this remarkably dark and stupid upcoming vote in Layton happens, if every other covenant person does agree, I will still easily vote for the lots SOP. I would love for that to happen.

      Voting to cast out and ignore many of those who are described in the Answer to the prayer for covenant as "humble, patience, and easily persuaded" (I'm not one of those, I'm in team lots) by this impatient and forceful silent vote will indicate anyone's clear desire to place their own will above Our Lord's commandment to us and His will for us that we love one another. It will begin the process of self elected pruning. You will not be pruning who you think you are pruning. Again, I am squarely in "team lots" but I cannot bear the thought of moving on without those most precious and needed among us.

      The reason I post this here on Glen's post is to now beg anyone if they won't listen to me and think I'm stupid, to PLEASE accept Glen's proposal. It is infinitely more wise, thoughtful and more based in the scriptures than this already decided silent vote. I know and trust Glen. He was the first to baptize me. His family is unspeakably precious to me. Please listen to him.

      His suggestion is based in a sincere refusal to place his will before the Lord's. His suggestion lovingly considers the ideas of our brothers and sisters who have valid reasons for not voting for the lots SOP. It is by far the most loving and considerate functional suggestion I have seen anyone make. I think his method does not make anyone feel like they are not cared for or scared to speak up. It is surely impossible for anyone to feel heard or loved with this upcoming vote.

      I personally know a man who stood in phoenix to oppose simply because the Lord told him to in support of our brothers and sisters. He did not want to stand. He is remarkably more agreeable and less contentious than any of you think you are. He has received angry and accusatory emails from some among your lofty group.

      If self elected pruning does begin, you will see the Spirit of Our Lord and the Spirit of Wisdom withdraw from among you. As you get together after the conference you will begin to see yourselves drift further apart and further from one heart and one mind. This will be the fruit of your own choices and decision to ignore Jesus Christ's commandment to us. It will be non reversible without painful and sore repentance.

      This is my final plea on this blog.

      -Jay Todd

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    6. E and H-

      As our desire is to "know the Lord's part" in all this, we simply thought to gather a small group to reach out directly (if possible face-to-face, even via video conference) to those who have a "dispute" or "do not agree" or are "not on the same page" etc. and simply explain our understanding Lord's invitation in the ANSWER TO PRAYER FOR COVENANT to:

      "…Pray together in humility and together meekly present your dispute to me, and if you are contrite before me I will tell you my part."

      ...and as we desire to receive "the Lord's part" we are now actively:

      1) Reaching out and seeking out all of the different people/fellowships that are not in "mutual agreement", who have a "dispute" or "do not agree" or are "not on the same page" etc.

      2) Gathering any-and-all of their important “disputes” into one document

      3) Seeking to present the list of “disputes” from our people to the Lord, to His servant David, to inquire of the Lord

      Please let me know if you would like to be a part of this effort and we can begin this gathering process and can take as much time as needed to consolidate all of these "disputes."

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    7. Glen, before you go too far down this road, I think you should ask Denver if he is willing to take a list of disputes to the Lord. I would be extremely surprised if he agrees to. As far as I know, he has uniformly turned down every other request to get involved in the process (and I know of several.)

      The other thing you should do is legitimately address the concerns of those who feel we have already gone to the Lord as a people and obtained His part, which was clearly manifest. Do you dispute with them? Have you taken that dispute to the Lord? How recursive is this?

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    8. Edwin-

      I believe that I should only care about if I am froward. I don't believe that it is my part to determine if anyone else is in that category.

      My heart is, there are brothers and sisters that I deeply love, who have not arrived at the same conclusions as I have. My love for them is compelling me to reach out, persuade, teach with pure knowledge, hear their complaints, and do it all with patience. I truly believe their perspectives are extremely valuable. (In fact, I believe that hearing all of the "disputes" will be a key so we as a people can move forward.)

      I believe that the Lord expected our predicament and offered us a way to remedy the problem by receiving his counsel and telling us His part.

      Despite the fact that I believe that we already have an acceptable Guide & Standard, my heart goes out to those that are out on an island of sorts, with important perspectives, with need to be embraced. It doesn't matter to me the depth of the bovine feces I will be stepping into to reach out and to gather their disputes.

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    9. Adrian-

      Yes, but prior to asking Denver I would like to first have faithfully fulfilled the Lord's assignment/instruction to first gather the disputes. Then we will have an offering to present to the Lord and then ask Him for His part.

      Delete
  14. I believe he has stated that he is willing to take an agreed upon document to the Lord, but only after the body has adopted a statement in a conference. What's wrong with allowing the majority's choice to move forward, knowing that there are disputes and then allow God to accept or correct us with the adopted document? Denver has also stated that unanimity is likely never possible in large groups and that decisions must be made which, of necessity, means that there will be some minority that doesn't agree, but can still move forward choosing to not dispute - laying aside their own hearts for the overall heart of the majority.

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  15. Opposition is part of the universe we live in. I believe we are charged by God with circumstances that require all of us to act in the presence of opposition. Meaning opposing forces. That is how I believe you show faith. That is what defines the character. It’s a matter of correctly identifying the force opposing God and then act in faith in spite of it; because it’s not going to suddenly go away with the next new idea.

    I’ve reasoned it through and been diligent and prayerful in my studies and research of all that has gone on over the past year+. I’ve followed opposing views far down each respective path. Some views left my mind in darkness. Some views brought light. Some continually confuse me. Some views had great light and were very Christlike but were not the relevant (or plausible) group action at the present moment with where the topic presently stands. It could have been, but as we know this could have been done a while ago. I think we all recognize the right choice may change depending on circumstance or decisions of the body. Who can doubt the need for wisdom?

    I see the body of believers has had many options and, for me, the correct choice right now given all the votes and lot process and what happened in Phoenix is to go with the LOTS. This process showed equality and respect. I voted for that method originally and trusted the outcome to God. I still do. After all that had happened we offered a reasonable and public method (lots) for God to show us His part. Each has to decide if worked. I believe it did. God can correct where we err. This stuff is living and changing. So right now with what I know, it’s Lots. When offered a chance I hope all factions come together.

    I have compassion for other views and see no reason why any need to depart or be upset if they don’t like the lots doc. I say let’s let it play out and see what follows. Is it all perfect? Likely not. We have a chance to show oneness of heart. We have yet to do or sustain or adopt anything that God can then work with. After a while that seems more and more unacceptable for rational and intelligent beings to stalemate long term when the assignment was a light thing that could have been done long ago. So I support making a decision to come together and pick ourselves and each other up if/when needed. The time is far spent.

    My personal SOP preference is irrelevant. I vote lots and vote to sustain. I seek harmony. Let’s come together at this next conference! Just doing that would be a step of showing progress in becoming of one heart.

    Taylor

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  16. I’ll support the Lots document as a replacement to section 20 and as a fellowship guide.
    I’m wholly unconvinced it has much to do the Statement of Principles. I don’t think we yet know what the Lords part is in that (the Statement of Principles), because our hearts aren’t right, we don’t trust nor love one another, we’re just bent on getting a box checked, not in becoming united in the Lords work now underway!
    But I’ll go along as Denver suggests;
    “I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my view be followed. For me, harmony between brethren is more important than getting what I think best to be followed. I believe harmony can lead to much greater things than can merely enforcement of even a correct view. I know how difficult it is to have a correct view, because of how often I have been corrected by the Lord. Sometimes I am humiliated by my foolishness when the Lord reproves me. Humiliation can lead to humility, but my experience is that the humiliation is accompanied by shame, whereas humility can proceed with a clear conscience.
    My experience with others leads me to conclude that if we can have one heart first, eventually we can likewise come to have one mind. But if we insist on having one mind at the outset, we may never obtain one heart together.”
    — Denver Snuffer

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  17. Adrian- you said: "I have spent a great deal of time over the last year listening to other viewpoints, hearing objections, and seeking common ground. But I have yet to hear any dispute based on the actual content of the document."

    I have, repeatedly, and to you directly, stated that the Lots document is not what we've been assigned to do. I have been completely and totally disregarded in my assertion that the Lots document is a "how-to" guide for operating a fellowship. It is not a statement of principles. We have not completed the assignment we've been given. That is why we cannot come to agreement on the document. Most, if not all, people continue to refer to this process as "the GS process" or the "guide and standard" document. THAT IS NOT OUR ASSIGNMENT!!!!

    A statement of principles is precisely that: We believe this, and we believe that. Articles of faith-like. Short, straightforward, not subject to interpretation or editorializing. Each person will have an opinion on how to implement the principles, hence the difficulty in coming to agreement. Everyone will implement a principle according to the dictates of their own conscience; however, a commonly held principle, such as we believe in following the doctrine of Christ as set forth in Third Nephi, is not refutable or subject to variations of opinion on how to IMPLEMENT the doctrine of Christ.

    We have misunderstood the assignment. We have done it incorrectly. This is why we cannot agree.

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    1. Chris, thank you for this. I should have been more clear in my assertion. What I had in my mind was that I have not heard anybody disagree with the principles written in the document, as in, "this sentence is wrong" or "this item is false and I do not agree with it."

      I get that your point isn't about the statements being true or false; rather they are the wrong statements entirely because they do not meet your definition of "principles."

      I can definitely see where you're coming from, and how an articles-of-faith like document would meet the more pure definition of "statement of principles."

      My only counter thought is that the more purely we state principles, the less information we convey. In the most extreme, I've seen a serious proposal for a one-sentence statement. The trouble, as I see it, is that too little information limits the ability to "bless, benefit and inform" those who "know nothing, as yet, of [the Lord's] work now underway." So I believe some "how to" information, particularly concerning those items that are new and unique to this dispensation, is helpful and warranted.

      But your point is taken, and I agree in principle with you. In the pure definition, this arguably is not a "statement of principles."

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    2. Denver has stated multiple times that nobody, including this group, has a clue as to what God is doing now.

      Therefore, the group who will be blessed, benefited and informed the most by the statement, is us, providing we don't throw out the opportunity to receive blessings, benefits and information from the Lord.

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    3. Adrian- thank you for your reasoned response. I would only say this: what you "believe" to be warranted and helpful, and what the Lord has assigned, may not be the same thing. I am merely trying to point out why we cannot agree on a document, and you have made my point entirely. What you "believe" and what I "believe" and what Mandon below "believes" are all different, and that is why we cannot come to a conclusion. We simply need to put in writing that which we all share as common principles. Otherwise, there will never be a unity of heart on this matter.

      With that being said, I don't wish to come across as contrary, and will get behind whatever comes of this sloppy process.

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    4. Well put, Chris. I think it's ok if you and I see things differently, and it certainly doesn't call into question hearts or motives. Just beliefs. I like that.

      I also appreciate your desire to get behind whatever comes of this. That says a lot about your heart. Likewise, if the body were to adopt a simple "articles of faith" type statement of beliefs as you propose, though I would not fully agree, I would get behind it. And we would move ahead together. Whatever comes of this, I like your reasonable approach to it all. Thank you.

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    5. Chris,

      I have a thought to share about your comment, offered for your consideration.

      You are right, the assignment was to write a statement of principles AND "When you have an agreed statement of principles I require it to also be added AS a guide and standard for my people to follow." With the follow-up caution that it is to bless, benefit and inform those who know nothing as of yet of His work now underway.

      The interpretation of "what" actually satisfies being a statement of principles and the appropriate content, is a matter of opinion, and varies across the entire covenant body. Because the assignment is done in a manner that one person deems to not be a statement of principles, does not mean that others to not view it as such.

      While I respect your right to hold your view that that the Lots is not a statement of principles, for many, it reviews the principles that we have been given as a continuation of what Joseph gave us, and the introduction into what is being asked for those who accept this new dispensation as a basic set of principles to be followed, that guide and help them get started.

      It is not a missionary tract. It is intended for those who have been introduced to the idea that God is moving His hand again, have expressed desire to follow Christ, and want to know how to begin to walk the path that has been laid out for us (in it's most basic level to begin with) in this dispensation. Certainly there is more to come.

      Is there anything found in that document that did not come from the Lord as its source? Is there something in the instruction we received from Denver as to how we are to do things in this dispensation that you intend not to comply with, even if you don't view them as "principles?" Do you intend to tell people, of any culture and background, that they do not need to have priesthood to baptize? Do you intend to perform ordinances outside of your family without being sustained by seven women? Does He expect all future followers of Christ in this dispensation to do as instructed by His servant, regardless of their cultural background? Will a Hindu convert desiring to baptize others be exempted just because they are from a different background? Do you take these words as coming from the Lord through a dispensation head, or merely suggestions to follow if it feels good? Personally, I take all the instructions we have been given, as the first basic principles to be adhered to by all who accept the work that the Lord has begun in a new dispensation.

      To me, I give my brothers and sisters leniency and do not desire to make them an offender for a word. The manner in which people have tossed around the terms Statement of Principles and Guide and Standard does NOT necessarily mean that they do not understand the assignment (even if their perspective of what satisfies the assignment differs from someone else's). Some of it is just chalked up to the ease with which things can by typed. It's pretty easy to type GS...and people know what is being referred to when that is done. I for one have done this many times, and I know full well the assignment first mentions the term statement of principles; but it will be added as a "Guide and Standard," too...so choose what term you want to use; it is my belief that everyone knows what is being referred to and we ought to give people mercy and the benefit of the doubt if they chose, for brevity, to say GS in place of SofP.

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  18. I am not exactly sure what to say here. I have been torn up about this. I stood up in the conference in Phoenix and voiced my objection for the process which has been undertaken with this guide and standard. I'm reading the comments here and see people talking about the contention that those few brought to that meeting in Phoenix. First of all I never met any contention from my comments. The Lord told me to stand and he put the words in my mouth to say. I don't expect anybody to believe that or accept that. Since that day I have studied the answer to the Covenant with a fine-tooth comb. The Lord gives us a page-and-a-half of instruction before he says anything about the Covenant. In that page-and-a-half of instruction it is all about loving each other. Loving each other in the true order meaning I love you expecting nothing in return You Love Me expecting nothing in return. Love is one way. To truly be able to love each other we have to expect nothing in return from each other. The Lord also loves us in this way. He loves us regardless of what we do. Now I ask this question are we loving each other like the Lord asked us to do? I know I'm failing. I am fine what using the document that everybody else wants, but I am not fine with this whole mentality of well 95% voted yes so that 5% can go away. The term mutual agreement that the lord gave us would actually mean 95% voted yes and 5% can be encircled and loved and treated like equals even if they believe something completely different than us. If we cannot love each other for our differences then do we really have a covenant anyway? I'm not a smart man, I'm not extremely knowledgeable about the scriptures like some of you. But I do know what it feels like to be cast out, and I think a lot of you do too. Let's not make the same mistake. If it's about just a document, fine I accept whatever everybody else feels like, but I believe it's about a whole lot more than that to the Lord. I believe he would have us love each other unconditionally over a document any day. I really sincerely want to love you all. I don't want to fight with you or dispute with you. I want to wrap my arms around all of you I want to grasp hands and sincerely pray with each one of you. If that's contentious then I am so sorry, maybe I'm not meant for Zion. I love you, I will try to love you more.

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    1. Mandon, thank you for what you expressed here, and your reminder about the primacy of love. Even if we disagree, I love you.

      I'm mystified by this idea that selecting a document by the voice of the people equals cutting off or casting out those who disagree. What the...what? I have no intention of cutting off or casting out anyone. If we disagree on this document, so what? I bet we disagree on a lot of things. And I bet we also agree on a lot of things. Nobody is being asked to go away.

      I believe part of the difficulty with completing this assignment is the idea that this is the end-all, be-all litmus test of who gets to be counted among the believers. That is, of course, false, but it leads to difficult emotions and fear.

      Nobody is casting you out, brother, and speaking for myself, I value and cherish you, regardless if we see eye to eye in this matter.

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    2. Adrian
      If our hearts aren’t right we will not have Zion, Statement of Principles or no. And what good is SOP if we don’t have Zion? And if we don’t get our hearts right now, when? And if not for this what? And yes, people have been asked to leave.
      As the days go by the more I believe what we have received thus far, starting with the Jeff Savage document down to Paul Durham’s are replacements for D&C Section 20, “fellowship guides”.
      I don’t think we yet know what the Lord means by a “Statement of Principles” and we have all been charging the pass trying to make it our version of section 20.
      Do you really believe some Native Americans or Hindus are going to see the Lots document and just go WOW this is it, this is what we’ve been waiting for, this is what we want to do every Sunday?
      The Lots document and most of the other 30 or so will help ex-Mormons or maybe even some Christians get a fellowship up and running ok, but, is that really what the Lord had in mind for a Statement of Principles?
      Have we ever engaged in conversation, fasting and prayer to study out what it is?
      Are we so Hell bent on rushing the pass and getting that box checked we have no time to pursue with open minds but instead want to blot people’s names out to shut them up? Is that how Zion looks??
      As I said the other day, I think we are just now to the point of making real progress, but do we have the patience and love in our hearts to do it?
      What could possibly take priority over getting hearts right on at least one thing?

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    3. John,

      In answer to your question, "Do you really believe some Native Americans or Hindus are going to see the Lots document and just go WOW this is it, this is what we’ve been waiting for, this is what we want to do every Sunday?"

      No. No, I don't believe that at all. And I think it's a mistake to confuse this assignment with a missionary tract. It is not a missionary tract, nor designed to convert people, as far as I can see in the Lord's word.

      I believe this document is to guide those who are already converted to Christ and want to know what he requires of them, as a starting point.

      It's silly to even think a single document could be made to appeal, as a missionary tract, to such disparate groups as Native Americans, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, for example. Obviously, each missionary effort will be carefully tailored to their traditions and ways of thinking.

      I believe coming together, dropping our disputes and agreeing to adopt a document we may not all agree with IS IN FACT a sign of a heart that is right. As you continually talk about getting hearts right, you realize of course, that you are simply accusing everyone of having their hearts not right. Is that your place to judge?

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    4. Our hearts"as a people" are not right per the Answer and Covenant that's what the Lord thinks about "us"and judging from our situation I would agree with Him! And He went further and said "we" honor Him with our lips.
      I'm not trying to cause contention, its just for the first time since we received this assignment we have real participation and attention and, I believe, an opportunity to do so much more than produce a document.

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    5. Part 1

      Reading through all of these comments, I am genuinely baffled that there is a repeated assertion that people will be "cut off" if they oppose what the majority wants.

      It has been said that if something is repeated often enough it becomes truth (at least for those who keep repeating it). For me, this repeated assertion is coming across as fear mongering (probably unintentional), and a false solicitation that seeks to make those who believe the work has been done, and only needs to be sustained, to feel "guilty." I say it is false, because the idea is just not rooted in anything that the Lord has said.

      If this is a genuine belief that is held by those who keep saying this, I ask to be shown me where it has been stated BY THE LORD that you will be cut off if you oppose what the majority wants?

      Over the last year, I have heard reasoning expressed that one will be "cut off" because if a document goes in the scriptures that they don't think is right, it will invalidate their covenant made pertaining to the scriptures, because they do not agree with something that will now be placed in them, so it invalidates their covenant.

      How can this possibly be what the Lord is saying? This is creating an expectation in our own minds that does not coincide with what the Lord has said.

      I personally had things included and remain in the scriptures that I voted against last summer. Some were added by only 51% approval. I never thought to dispute and argue with my other brothers and sisters whose opinion differed from mine. I accepted their will as being as relevant as my own view, and chose to not dispute. When the covenant was offered, the Lord also stated the scriptures are imperfect. Yet we all covenanted to accept them, even in their imperfection. Why are people thinking that the SofP/GS document is the end all of whether they can stick with the covenant? Why is it’s imperfection more relevant in their minds than the imperfections already existing in the scriptures? Getting “cut off” if this gets sustained, just doesn’t resonate with me as being an idea that is rooted in reality/truth---but rather based in a false expectation, repeated so frequently, that it has taken on a life of its own.

      I also keep seeing people say it is evidence that we do not love one another, or regard one another as equal, if we disagree and don’t wait to complete this until everyone is in unanimity. I ask each of you who says this---have you ever disagreed with your spouse, a child? Did it sever your love for them? This just doesn't resonate with me as a manifestation of whether I have love for someone, or view/treat them as equal. We simply disagree on a matter.

      Both of these repeated concepts seem rooted in an idea that we HAVE to be in 100% unanimity in order to complete this task. I do not believe this to be true. It has never been stated so. The only requirement was mutual agreement, and the Lord defined that. I've heard people's definitions interpret that to mean we must all still end up agreeing and seeing it the same---but those are man's interpretations and not the Lord's precise words. His precise words allow for us to see it differently, but agree to come together on moving forward, despite seeing it differently.

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    6. Part 2

      If a document gets sustained for inclusion that you do not prefer---or even hate---or even think doesn't fulfill the assignment---you have been given an "out" by the Lord already. He basically told us that we could think the document stinks, but choose to not dispute any further about it. A person could actually even justify, with complete integrity, a vote to sustain, even while completely hating the Lots document, only as an expression of desiring to not dispute further.

      Why won't we take the spirit of what Denver taught us in DWW and apply it to this situation? Why can't we see that the black stone holder has to make a decision that will impact the entire community, and in the end, someone's 'counsel' (or even multiple people's counsel) will seem to have been disregarded in whatever that decision is. All of the ideas being expressed by those who oppose are NOT something new. We have heard all of these points for almost 18 months. These points were already considered when the work was done. No one was ignored.

      I honestly ask, without ill intent, why it is so difficult for people who have felt opposed to a position that the larger community has agreed upon, to show the Lord that they can refrain from being froward. Being froward is more than just being contentious. Denver’s definition included being stubborn. It also includes being "habitually disposed to opposition." The Lord has given us six months since explaining that concept to us, to let it rest upon us. I believe the Lord is waiting to see if we can end our tendency of always looking for a way to find fault with what has been done (even if sincere), and the faithful attempt of those were chosen by Lot to act on our behalf (after hearing our counsel), and He is watching to see if we can apply the epilogue: “I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my will be followed.”

      For me, if I were in the shoes of one who was considering whether to stand and oppose the efforts produced by my brothers and sisters, I would seriously contemplate what it is that I want to show the Lord before doing so. One can remain determined that we haven’t been heard, assuming your fellow covenant holders have ignored you, or you can attribute the best of intentions on their hearts, too, and thank the Lord He has given you a way to agree with your brothers and sisters, by allowing you to declare, “I don’t agree at all, but I agree to remain with you on this walk and no longer dispute the matter.” Wow! What a merciful God we have who has given us each a way to agree without infringing upon our conscience!

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    7. John,

      Your assertion contains the following implications:

      1. In the 14 months since the answer was received, we've made no progress in our hearts.
      2. Despite untold efforts, discussion, prayer and labor, we have not yet had real participation or attention to this matter.
      3. The 95% who agreed to not contend in Phoenix did not have their hearts right.

      These are some harsh assertions. Perhaps they are correct. I hope not.

      You also imply that getting our hearts right "in at least one thing" requires more than agreeing to not contend over this one thing. What, exactly, will satisfy the conditions you have in mind so our hearts can be "right?"

      The Lord's condition, for this thing, is that we adopt by mutual agreement, which means we choose to not contend. That is His requirement. What is yours?

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    8. Adrian
      I’ll apply Denver’s DWW analogy to the Statement of Principles dilemma; the low scoring law applicants weren’t wrong or right, nor were the high scorers. The firm in the end needed both. I think it’s very possible to date we’ve seen only the involvement of just one of those groups (for the most part). I think both are involved now or trying to be in the Statement of principles discussion. We need to make sure from here forward we do a better job making choices like this one listening to all sides.

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  19. Even though I have written a Statement of Principles which might conform with Chris VanCampen's view, because they were modeled on the simple statements of the Articles of Faith, I tend to disagree with Chris about what is required in the Answer. In T&C 157: 55 it says "When you have an agreed Statement of Principles, I require it to also be added as A GUIDE AND STANDARD for my people (those of the covenant) to follow...and therefore THE GUIDE AND STANDARD is to bless, benefit and inform them (those who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway).

    In my view if the Statement of Principles or G&S or whatever you want to call them is to be added [to the scriptures] it is primarily for "God's people" to use as they work with those who know nothing yet of this work. It is to help us (who know) to not forget the salient points as we work with them (who don't know).

    I also am mystified by those who claim this exercise has anything to do with one party or another being cut off or cast out, be they for or against. If someone assumes this is so, and elects to not associate with those of a different opinion, that is their choice, and has nothing whatsoever to do with any other or how they necessarily view things. In fact I would go so far as to say it is a passive aggressive form of coercion to try to make the other party change their view. And if that doesn't work, it is a form of self selection trying to be made to look like the other guy did it.

    Also, in my view the objective of all of this has very little to do with what has been written or what will/will not be selected for inclusion. It has to do with whether we can live in peace in spite of whatever conclusion is reached. Peace and Mutual agreement or lack thereof are not synonyms nor necessarily antagonists.

    Chris, next time you are in town stop in and I'll give you another bottle of wine!

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  20. Just think of how much knowledge has been given us in the last year alone, we’re growing in light and truth, or should be, in ways that were almost impossible prior to Gods new work. So, how some of us responded to this Statement of Principles assignment has evolved and for me completely changed in the last year. We aren’t going to just fall into a Zion people by voting on this or that and feeling we have a gun to our head because we’ve taken 14 months too long. Of course we don’t have time to waste, but it did take 100’s of years for Enoch to get it done. I’m trying to not look at this as a race, which is my natural tendency, but as a battle and the idea is to get as many home alive as possible, by whatever means, however long it takes.

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  21. John - maybe this first assignment was meant to go exactly like this and to have some minority viewpoint have to learn to be able to move forward and not dispute? Afterall, you reminded us of this quote from Denver:

    “I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my view be followed. For me, harmony between brethren is more important than getting what I think best to be followed. I believe harmony can lead to much greater things than can merely enforcement of even a correct view. I know how difficult it is to have a correct view, because of how often I have been corrected by the Lord. Sometimes I am humiliated by my foolishness when the Lord reproves me. Humiliation can lead to humility, but my experience is that the humiliation is accompanied by shame, whereas humility can proceed with a clear conscience.
    My experience with others leads me to conclude that if we can have one heart first, eventually we can likewise come to have one mind. But if we insist on having one mind at the outset, we may never obtain one heart together.”

    I'm sure before it's all said and done - EACH OF US - will be on the side of the "minority viewpoint" in some decision or other that must be made. Can we live in peace and "choose to not dispute" throughout? I hope I will be able to when it's my turn.

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  22. The comments above from some unknown anonymous are exactly how I feel so I will reference them as my own in attempt to remove myself from the silent majority and weigh in on the matter.

    I love you all and sincerely hope we embrace each other no matter which statement of principles document is accepted in the end. No need to fall upon our own swords here or strike others with them... lets beat our swords in plowshares and grow some barley together for mild drinks!

    http://www.totheremnant.com/2018/09/hope.html?showComment=1537213125612#c2715289590035767907

    http://www.totheremnant.com/2018/09/hope.html?showComment=1537213168312#c5950817745313704748

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  23. Those links didn’t work, sorry. The comments are the ones on this post from anonymous on Sep 17 2018 at 1:38 PM & 1:39 PM

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