Wednesday, September 5, 2018

One Year

He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me. And he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. 
—John 9:8 RE


Note: I wrote this post on September 3, but circumstances prevented me from placing it here until now. 

One year ago today, an event prophesied and anticipated from the foundation of the world took place: the Lord offered His covenant to all who would receive it, in anticipation of completing His Father’s work and returning to reign on Earth. I doubt most of us who accepted the covenant last year fully appreciate the significance and importance of this step in God’s final labor of the last days. This very event was prophesied by Jesus Christ Himself:
But if they will repent and hearken unto my words and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance. (3 Nephi 10:1 RE)
In the very next breath, our Lord explained the covenant’s significance, why it is required in our day, and how it is the foundation of the completion of the Father’s work:
And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of Heaven come down among them and I also will be in the midst. (3 Nephi 10:1 RE)
I was privileged to close the meeting where the covenant was offered with prayer, which began with the words,“We Rejoice!” and truly, we did. I was doubly privileged to commemorate this occasion last night, in a place I consider sacred, with dear friends and fellow covenant holders, in a way that was very meaningful to me. This one-year anniversary gave me many reasons to ponder, consider, and repent.

One year along, I wish to share a few thoughts, primarily directed at myself, but applicable to us all, so I’ll use “we.” 

Have we taken to heart the commands, the chastisement, and the counsel the Lord gave us? Here are some items from the Answer and Covenant:
If you take upon you my covenant, you must abide it as a people to gain what I promise. You think Satan will be bound a thousand years, and it will be so, but do not understand your own duty to bind that spirit within you so that you give no heed to accuse others. It is not enough to say you love God; you must also love your fellow man. Nor is it enough to say you love your fellow man while you, as Satan, divide, contend and dispute against any person who labors on an errand seeking to do my will. How you proceed must be as noble as the cause you seek. You have become your own adversaries, and you cannot be Satan and also be mine.  
Over the last year, have we become less adversarial toward our brothers and sisters? Have we made progress in learning to love one another? Do we yet carry the spirit of contention? How do we proceed in a cause as noble as Zion?
I desire to heal you from an awful state of blindness so that you may see clearly my will, to do it. I promised to bring unto you much of my gospel through the Book of Mormon and to provide you with the means to obtain a fullness of my gospel, and I have done this; yet you refuse to receive the truth even when it is given unto you in plainness. How can you who pursue the truth yet remain unable to behold your own weakness before me? 
How clearly do we see our own weakness? Have we become better this year at receiving truth given in plainness? How do we “receive” truth in the way the Lord desires?
I speak of you who have hindered my work, that claim to see plainly the beams in others’ eyes. You have claimed to see plainly the error of those who abuse my words, and neglect the poor, and who have cast you out, to discern their errors, and you say you seek a better way. Yet among you are those who continue to scheme, backbite, contend, accuse and forsake my words to do them, even while you seek to recover them. Can you not see that your works fall short of the beliefs you profess? 
Do our works yet fall short of the beliefs we profess? Do we yet hinder the Lord’s work? Do we forsake the Lord’s words, or do we do them?
It is not enough to receive my covenant, but you must also abide it. And all who abide it, whether on this land or any other land, will be mine and I will watch over them and protect them in the day of harvest, and gather them in as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. I will number you among the remnant of Jacob, no longer outcasts, and you will inherit the promises of Israel. You shall be my people and I will be your God and the sword will not devour you. And unto those who will receive will more be given until they know the mysteries of God in full. 
I will teach you things that have been hidden from the foundation of the world and your understanding will reach unto Heaven. 
The Lord has kept His promise, and revealed things that have been, quite literally, kept hidden from the foundation of the world, despite our unworthiness and lack of preparation. Most notably, the “Holy Order” and “Our Divine Parents” talks offered an incredible flood of new light and truth not seen in this world since Joseph Smith lived and taught. Do we appreciate the significance of what has been given, or even the fact that it has been given at all? It would require many pages to adequately express the importance of just these two talks alone, but that will have to wait for another day. 

Here’s my point: The Lord keeps His covenants. Do we?

After a year, what fruit exists to recommend us as the Lord’s people? Has a year made a difference? If so, in what ways? Are we really any better now than we were a year ago?

Trigger Warning: Statement of Principles

Perhaps my most urgent concern is that we’ve failed, and continue to fail, to keep the most basic commandment the Lord gave us. I’m referring, of course, to the statement of principles the Lord required us to write and adopt by mutual agreement as a guide and standard, then add to our scriptures. Unfortunately, the entire subject has become so toxic I hesitate to even bring it up.

With these thoughts heavy on my heart, I received, moments ago, a letter from my friend Paul. In it, he addressed the statement of principles in a much better way than I can. With his permission, I include below a portion of his letter, (with my added comments in red):


The Lord was very specific in His instructions about a Statement of Principles in the “Answer and Covenant”: 
1. You are not excused from writing a statement of principles that I have required at your hands. 
This is a commandment, and it must be obeyed. There is no excuse for not obeying, and those who intentionally prevent or oppose the Lord’s work will be held to account for doing so. 
2. I forbade my servant David from participating, and again forbid him. 
David has kept the commandment, even as we have failed to do so. Perhaps this is why the Lord trusts him and not us.
3. But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, for if you cannot do so you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands. (Mutual agreement has been defined : “As between one another, you choose to not dispute” [T&C 175:1]. “Simply put, even if we disagree, if we choose to not dispute, we have mutual agreement.”) 
The definitions of “statement” and “principles” are so basic and fundamental the the Lord left no room for us to gainsay what He really meant. These terms have been discussed at length. Likewise, “adopt” and “mutual agreement” have been well defined. There is no point in further arguing the meanings of these words. We should, instead, get to obeying them.
4. 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. 
The Lord spoke these words in the context of other items that were to be added to the canon of scripture. Merely pasting a statement in the back of your own scriptures makes a mockery of this commandment and its purpose, which will be detailed in a moment. The statement must be canonized. 
5. Remember there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them—so I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you. 
This statement is not for us or about us. It is for others. You cannot bless, benefit, and inform those who, as yet, know nothing if you merely tape a piece of paper in your own scriptures. This must be published. Period. 
Likewise, the statement must include information about the Lord’s work NOW underway. Therefore, merely quoting scripture that has been available for hundreds, or thousands of years, does not fulfill the requirement. We must inform others of the Lord’s CURRENT work, including the new dispensation, requirement of rebaptism, gathering in fellowships, the expected temple, and the new covenant. Those who argue otherwise would deny blessings to people who, as yet, know nothing and need to be informed. 
6. Do not murmur saying, Too much has been required at our hands in too short a time.  
7. If your hearts were right it was a light thing I have asked. 
Thankfully, the Lord has not **yet** given us a deadline, though we’re now more than a year on, and still unable to complete this “light thing.” Which is, frankly, shocking. As I have written before, we ALL agree on certain principles, by virtue of the covenant itself. This is a fact. And yet, incessant arguments continue over those very same principles we have already accepted by covenant. This is a problem of the heart. Until hearts are right, or broken, we will continue to fail. 
8. You hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves you could have finished this work long ago. 
Exactly.
9. Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required.
The Lord had more than just a little to say. These are clear instructions. They total nine separate directions. He was not constrained by the number of words or a limited vocabulary. The Lord chose His words very carefully. By last count, the Lord delivered more than 6,300 words in the “Answer and Covenant.” If He had wanted His covenant people to merely copy scripture that was already accepted as canon, He would have said so. His command could have been one instruction in the place of nine. Instead of the commandment to write, He could have commanded us to copy. For example, if he had wanted a Statement of Principles that only encompassed the Doctrine of Christ and the Beatitudes, or the Ten Commandments or King Benjamin’s address or whatever, then He certainly could have made that abundantly clear. It would have been astonishingly simple—something along the lines of, and making no presumption here to speak for the Lord—“Write a Statement of Principles that consists only of the Doctrine of Christ and the Sermon on the Mount.” Instead, He gave completely succinct and unambiguous instructions, which included a commandment “to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you.” And this “writing” is to be for the benefit of those who know nothing, as yet, of His work now underway, and this guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them. 
Those among us who “desire to be [His] people [will] accept and do as [He has] required.” When the Lord says He require[s] a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, it is only “my people” who will then accept and do as [He] has required.” The Lord is not forcing or compelling anyone to accept and do as He has required. Those who accept and do as He has required may be a relatively small number indeed. I hope and pray that it includes you and me. 

That’s the end of Paul’s letter, and all I can say is, “Amen, brother Paul!” Perhaps part of this assignment is designed to draw into sharp relief our own hearts, so that even in our blindness, we can perhaps discern whether we are His people, even as we display it clearly to the angels who are taking note. I am left to conclude, from the Lord’s own words, those who will not accept and do as the Lord has required are not claimed by Him as His people. A sobering thought indeed.

“Do not forsake my covenant to perform it”

It seems to me this assignment can only be completed by people who have certain qualities:

Love: This assignment is to bless and benefit others. If we love the Lord and love those who need the information, (the first two great commandments) we will speedily do as He has asked. If we refuse to do so, we do not love Him (or them.) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” 

Unity: Our Lord said, “Be one. And if ye are not one, you are not mine.” The Lord has asked us to unify around a basic set of principles with which we already agree. This is the lowest, most basic foundation for unity he could have possibly given us. And yet—and yet—we have not come to agreement. Clearly, we cannot accomplish the other works the Lord will require if we can’t even unify on basic principles. I’ll add that the issue isn’t that we don’t believe enough of the same things; we do. The issue is our hearts and our refusal to drop our arguments. So long as ego and emotion trump principle, the disagreements will continue.

Agreement: The Lord set the bar for “mutual agreement” very low. In fact, we don’t even have to agree! We simply have to “choose to not dispute.” This is a choice. And likewise, disputing is also a choice. The Lord has clearly defined the choice He would have us make, and it is to not dispute. Choosing to dispute is choosing to disobey Him. 

Here are some words spoken by the Lord’s servant a year ago when the covenant was offered:
But the path to Zion is to be found only by following God’s immediate commands to us. That is how He will bring it. He will lead us there. There is no magic, there is no sprinkling fairy dust that will take you to where God is. It does not and cannot happen that way. He will lead us, teach us, command us, guide us, but we have to be the ones who become what He commands. We have to be the ones who do what he bids us do. (Denver Snuffer, Covenant of Christ Conference, Opening Remarks, September 3, 2017)
When will we do what he bids us do? When will we keep this first commandment He gave His covenant people? There are new believers who have already been harmed by the lack of a clear statement. I’m currently involved in a project to provide copies of the Restoration Edition scriptures to a number of new believers overseas, who likewise need the statement the Lord has commanded us to write. And yet, the scriptures I’m sending contain no such statement, so they will be left unblessed, unbenefited, uninformed.

Through this process, a number of very good statements have been written and garnered widespread acceptance. The Lots document process was approved by a vast majority of believers before it ever took place, then the Lord’s hand was manifest in the process itself, and the final product gained wider acceptance than any other effort. Ultimately, however, those who control publishing the scriptures have opted not to include any statement to which even one person objects, regardless of the nature of their objection. (IMPORTANT UPDATE: I am wrong in this assertion about even one person objecting. I leave it for reference, but it is more correct to say, "those who control publishing the scriptures have, thus far, declined to publish any statement.") This is a difficult issue, and I’ll admit, I have no idea how to solve it. No matter what statement gets presented, someone will object, and perhaps not even over content, but over some other point.

Therefore, we’re back to the idea that those who will accept and do what the Lord has asked are His, and those who will not, are not. If we love Him, we will not “hinder and delay,” but will find a way to keep His commandments, and soon. 

My friend Paul, who wrote the letter above, has also written a statement of principles. I find it very good, and I gladly support it. You can download a copy of it here. Every principle it contains is true, and I simply can’t fathom how any who claim to be the Lord’s covenant people could oppose any of the principles it contains. One year on, and still failing, will we finally drop our disputes?

I’ll close with another quote from one year ago, today:
I have been ashamed of us because of recent events. Subsequent to the Lord’s Answer, we have continued to be quarrelsome, bickering and unkind to one another to such a degree we certainly must offend the Lord. I thought God would be so disappointed with us that it was wrong to proceed and therefore I prayed to call this off. To my surprise Lord did not expect us to do things right at first. He expects us to learn how to do things right. Failure is part of learning.” (Denver Snuffer, Covenant of Christ Conference, Opening Remarks, September 3, 2017)
We have spent a solid year failing in this thing. What have we learned? The Lord is patient, but for how long? How can we claim to be His, but do not the things which He says? These are questions that I’m pondering very seriously today. I invite you to ponder them as well.

And why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whoever comes to me and hears my sayings and does them, I will show you who he is like. He is like a man who built a house, and dug deep and laid the foundation on a rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house and could not shake it, for it was founded upon a rock. But he who hears and does not is like a man that, without a foundation, built a house upon the earth, against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
—Luke 5:13, RE

123 comments:

  1. Amen. Thank you for this. I have found most of the events surrounding the SOP for the last year to be very unsettling. I also find the "past it in" solution to be lacking and not fulfilling the Lord's commandment. I can agree to anything that fits the Lord's requirements, as outlined in the Answer and Covenant. I am willing to be persuaded. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt, bury our weapons of war and get this done.

    My biggest concern is how. Online interactions have proven to be a disaster. Perhaps every fellowship can form their own SOP, and then a general SOP can be created from that? Kind of like the federalism originally intended in our nation, as Denver has talked about in "Constitutional Apostasy."

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  2. Amen to your comments here, Adrian and to Paul's letter. Nailed it. We have plenty of proposed statements. (including one more!) Only one thing seems to be needed: a vote where no one chooses to dispute the outcome. It has been attempted multiple times, most recently at the Spring conference in Arizona. Each has failed. Perhaps this is why the scriptures committee has not added one--and rightly so. The burden does not seem to be on that small group of dilligent volunteers but on the congregation of those who would be the Lord's people. Us. As you said, we continue to fail at this simplest commandment. The Lord's servant David has not. If we do not complete it as commanded, the consequence will rest upon our heads and not his. This is certainly wisdom in the Lord.

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  3. Blair, your suggested process is exactly what was done a year and a half ago at Jeff Savage's encouragement. (and references in the Prayer for Covenant) It has been repeated with variations and yielded an impasse at every turn. I agree with Adrian--what lacks is not a statment that satisfies the Lord's criteria. What lacks has been entirely within our own hearts.

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  4. One last tangential comment: there has been much discussion lately about an anticipated command from the Lord to build a temple. The Lord's is quoted above as saying that "if you cannot [complete this assignment] you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands." Those other works might include any commandment to build a temple. How could we as a people be qualified for that expected command if we cannot complete so simple a command as this? The Lord has already answered the question: we cannot.

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  5. Reading this makes it pretty clear to me that we as a group have a compass that apparently points south. It's also clear that God knows this and has taken this into account for his purposes. At some point we will need to move forward with something, even if there is an extremely upset, vocal minority who choose to continue to contend. I fully expect that if we do successfully push through the adversity, and we actually do obtain agreement from the scripture committee to include a statement in the scriptures, it may go all the way until the very last moment for God to intervene and correct our mistakes.

    If we don’t, or can’t ever get it close enough to the finish line, the correcting hand of God may not appear. I pray we can move forward in faith, understanding that all we can do is our best and that if there are flagrant mistakes or omissions that need to be corrected at the last moment, God has the power to do that as needed.

    My hope is that we can agree not to contend and actually complete the assignment soon, presenting ourselves ready for correction instead of failing to ever even complete the assignment. Time is passing and for better or worse, we are on the clock.

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  6. Vaughn, I entirely agree that the problem is our own hearts. At what point to we try again and test our hearts? When that time comes, what method will we use? Is there a better way than what has already been tried, or do we tweak previously used methods?

    From my perspective, what was tried a year and a half ago was lacking in that not many even knew what was going on, and it was prior to the Answer and Covenant.

    I'm not opposed to trying again. I'm not opposed to trying a different way. I don't want to keep banging my head against the same wall, but I also don't want to fail to keep a direct commandment from the Lord.

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  7. What a great tribute and reminder of the covenant offered a year ago! It is good to re-read the Lord's specific words to us and to reflect on the past year.

    I especially like the "Trigger Warning!" But in all seriousness, I have read the statement of principles Paul wrote, and believe it fulfills every command given by the Lord to complete this assignment. Maybe starting with a new and fresh document without a bunch of baggage behind it is the way to proceed.

    I agree with Paul's statement: When the Lord says He require[s] a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, it is only “my people” who will then accept and do as [He] has required.” The Lord is not forcing or compelling anyone to accept and do as He has required. Those who accept and do as He has required may be a relatively small number indeed. I hope and pray that it includes you and me.

    It is also my hope that after a year of reflection on our failures, and having some time for our hearts to be healed, that we can finish this assignment and show the Lord we love Him by obeying His specific command to us.

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  8. Part 1
    Think about this: The definition of “mutual agreement” as given by the Lord is the exact same thing as how He defines His doctrine--

    “T&C Section 174
    Answer given to Denver Snuffer Jr., 29 November 2017, in response to a request to understand how the Lord defines “mutual agreement” as used in the ANSWER TO PRAYER FOR COVENANT.

    As between one another, you choose to not dispute.”
    ------------
    “3 Nephi 5
    He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger one against another, but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”

    Now let’s look at this commandment: “But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people”

    To adopt literally means: to (ad) choose (opt). So we could replace the above to say: “But I require a statement of principles to be: to choose not to dispute.”

    Isn’t this the doctrine of Christ? Yes, the points can be elaborated, but when it all boils down to a single statement, it is to choose not to dispute or contend. Therefore, adopting it is an action, a conscious choice. It doesn’t matter what version of the “statement” is used, the bottom line is that the Lord wants us to stop fighting, to stop accusing each other and to not only canonize this statement in a book, but to LIVE it. As Paul says to the Corinthians, the doctrine is to be “written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in fleshy tablets of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God, who also has made us able ministers of the new covenant — not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.”

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  9. Part 2
    Why would we put something in writing that we have not experienced? Mutual agreement, then, is to live His doctrine. It is to follow the Sermon. This, I believe, can be expressed in a number of ways by individuals, according to their language and understanding. Here is something I came up with which helps guide my dealings with people (and I’m not just talking about fellow covenant-holders):

    Principles which guide my interaction with others:
    I
    I will ALWAYS act kindly towards others, no matter what the situation. This includes friends, family, business associates or those deemed annoying or hostile towards me.

    II
    I will ALWAYS assume that the other person is sincere and telling the truth. It is not my job to make people accountable for deception unless I have stewardship over them (like being a parent, boss, mentor, and so forth).

    III
    I will remember that sending love in turn creates love. (Love begets love).

    IV
    I will respond not only with kindness, but acknowledgment, interest and support for what others share with me, trying to see things from their perspective.

    V
    I will pay attention to feedback, even if given in a hostile manner; I will be contrite when a person is willing to help me see a different perspective; and I will recognize others’ efforts, responding with thanks and gratitude or apologizing for offenses if necessary.

    VI
    I will pray in my heart for each person with whom I interact and remind myself of the love and gratitude I have for them, (expressing that love or forgiving if the occasion warrants it).

    VII
    I will turn complaints into compliments, anger into agreement and exclusion into acceptance.

    VIII
    I will learn to discern and speak the love language of others, whether that is serving, sacrificing, offering encouraging and affirming words, giving gifts, spending time together, minding to small details, not judging them because of their choices, or anything else I recognize as their native ‘tongue.’

    IX
    I will remember that opportunities to live and love authentically cannot be contrived; they are organic and will come at the most unexpected times and sundry of ways. God can see my heart, and if I have any other intent than to love, it will be known to Him.

    X
    When I follow the doctrine of Christ (in other words, please God through “faith” in His word), I will expect to see a “sign” afterwards, which is to not only confirm my hope, but to be followed up by “mighty works” and tasting the “fruit” of my labors.

    I can witness that following these guidelines (which are basically just iterations of His doctrine) has made a difference. And we are promised that if we do follow His doctrine, we can then look for God to give us a sign that He is pleased, in whatever form that takes (be it feelings, music, nature, “coincidental” events or something else) and keep watch for communications which are sent, using the scriptures as a Urim and Thumim to interpret the meaning. Then if we continue to nurture the seed planted while developing our gifts of discerning God’s voice, mighty works and miracles will occur (God will dispense His gifts).

    PS – Take a look at THIS LINK to see the doctrine of Christ in action.

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    Replies
    1. Douglas,

      I LOVE the list you have here, and I've shared it with others, while also attempting to live it myself.

      As for boiling it all down to a simple statement like "choose to not dispute" I believe that idea falls short of the requirement given in this statement:

      "Remember there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them—so I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you."

      I believe more education in the path forward is needed for those who know nothing of the Lord's work now underway. Christ's doctrine, for instance, contains more than merely not contending. If we call something Christ's doctrine while failing to inform of the need for belief, repentance, baptism, and receiving the holy ghost, for example, we will be guilty of declaring "more or less than this" and establishing it for his doctrine. The gates of hell stand open to receive such. So...let's not do that.

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    2. Part 1
      Adrian,
      Let’s look at what you quoted with Paul’s statement in mind that “the letter kills, but the spirit gives life,” and instead of the necessity of writing the law “on tablets of stone,” having it “written on fleshy tablets of the heart.” In other words, let’s see how simply living the doctrine of choosing to not contend (and everything that follows) looks when we actually engage, instead of talking about what should be written in our scriptures (the letter of the law). I would like to use Ammon and his encounter with Lamoni and his father as an example.

      Here is what you quoted: “Remember, there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them—so I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you.”

      When Ammon went to teach the Lamanites the gospel, he was captured and brought to Lamoni, their leader. The reason is because Nephites and Lamanites were enemies, and Lamoni was surprised that someone would have the stones to step foot in their land. Ammon didn’t contend with Lamoni, but served him (his enemy). Ammon’s diligence in serving Lamoni resulted in Ammon being brought to the court, because Lamoni was confused, or at lease awe-struck by his diligence. This opened the door for Ammon to “inform” Lamoni, who knew nothing of God, but only a “Great Spirit.” Ammon then spoke his language in ways he could understand and relate to. He went on to bless and benefit Lamoni’s people.

      A similar type of experience happened with Lamoni’s father, who was awe-struck not at the service of Ammon, but the love Ammon had for Lamoni. His father spoke a different "love language" than Lamoni, and Ammon was able to hone in on that and speak in that language to bless and benefit Lamoni’s father and all his people. They understood that one guiding principle (to not contend) so much so that rather than attack their brothers, they laid down their weapons in the ultimate act of peace.

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    3. Part 2
      Among all the people spoken of in the Book of Mormon, there are none who understood his doctrine better. They lived it, which prepared their children and made it possible for the Lord to visit the Nephites without destroying all in the land.

      Just think, it all started because Ammon lived the doctrine of do not contend. One simple statement. He “knew not” what he was going to do when he entered the land. Meaning, he didn’t have a huge book of how-to guidelines. He just went to bless them, and the rest came to him in the moment.

      In regards to repentance and baptism… well, what is the spirit of those things? If there was any time I may have offended, attacked, accused or cast out another, and then I live the doctrine of “do not contend,” then the spirit will move me to apologize, to serve, to understand and to befriend those I have previously berated. Is this not repentance? Is this not turning toward Christ? And if I am immersed in the name of Christ, then this guiding principle becomes my lifestyle. My every thought becomes about living His doctrine. Is this not baptism (by immersing) in His name? Sure, go get plunged in water by someone who has authority, but that is the outward performance. That is the letter. Paul says the letter kills. The spirit gives life.

      Lastly, I promise that if you live the doctrine of Christ (however you want to define it) and watch for signs that the Lord is pleased (which we are promised follow believers), you will come to understand how the Holy Ghost works. Not only that, you’ll be blown away by it.

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    4. Part 3
      The Lord emphasizes the point of “the spirit brings life” in Joseph’s day when He proclaims that the children of Zion are under condemnation because they do not “do” according to what He has written:

      T&C 82
      And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation rests upon the children of Zion, even all, and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do, according to that which I have written, that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s Kingdom.


      This thought is brought up again in our day in both the prayer for the covenant and the answer to that petition.

      Prayer for a Covenant
      We are mindful that in 1832 the gentile saints were condemned for vanity and unbelief because they treated lightly the things they had received, and they were warned by you that they would remain under condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments, not only to say, but to do. You commanded the gentiles that they bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom, and if they failed to do so, there remained a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon those who claimed to be the children of Zion.


      Answer to a Prayer
      For the sake of the promises to the fathers will I labor with you as a people, and not because of you, for you have not yet become what you must be to live together in peace. If you will hearken to my words, I will make you my people and my words will give you peace. Even a single soul who stirs up the hearts of others to anger can destroy the peace of all my people. Each of you must equally walk truly in my path, not only to profess, but to do as you profess. The Book of Mormon was given as my covenant for this day and contains my gospel, which came forth to allow people to understand my work and then obtain my salvation. Yet many of you are like those who reject the Book of Mormon, because you say, but you do not do.

      Delete
    5. Part 4
      It is my belief that we have failed to insert the guiding principles into the canon with agreement because we do not understand them. The only way to understand is to do them. And if we cannot do the one fundamental action behind His doctrine of ridding ourselves of (such things as) contention, then we will never come to agreement.

      • When a person blesses their adversary, then more often than not, the “enemy” becomes a friend and loved one.
      • When a person walks a mile with another who asks, they begin to take on the perspective of that person, and develop empathy for their opinion and struggles.
      • When a person does not accuse or point out the sins or devils within another individual or collective, that enables them to receive grace from God to move out of their own darkened state.

      “Doing” the doctrine will bless and inform far more than writing it in a dead set of scriptures. Just like Lamoni and his father were to Ammon, people will be attracted to those living the principle of “not contending.” Sure, there are addendums you can list which might help with the specifics, like I have with my own 10 guidelines. Each one of those came out of living the principle. Let me tell you, there was plenty of heartache along the way as I saw my weakness. But my guidelines don’t have to be yours. Go out and bless those you have previously cursed and accused. See what happens. Look for the signs which follow those who believe. After all, the Lord said in the testimony of St. John (chapter 10), that if we love Him, we will stand ready, watching for every communication He will send. This directly ties into the Holy Ghost revealing to us the “record of Heaven.” And not only that, it is the key to the Second Comforter:

      If you love me, stand ready, watching for every communication I will send to you. Remember that I will ask the Father, and he will provide to you another Comforter, that he may be by your side endlessly. You will obtain the record of Heaven, the truth of all things which is denied to the world because the world refuses my Father, and therefore they do not know him. But you know him, for he is with you, and shall provide answers to guide you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will stand at your side also.

      To you, Adrian, or anyone reading this (you know who you are), go live the doctrine and the fruits will follow. You will become “learned” in the ways of Heaven and the Holy Ghost and, indeed, the Second Comforter. You will realize that opening the windows of Heaven IS as simple as ceasing our fighting, not being jerks to each other, and blessing those we are used to condemning. Do His will and you will know the guidelines. Do His will and you will know the doctrine of peace. Do His will and you will lift the curse upon the children of Zion.

      Now about the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, How has this man become learned, having never been educated? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory. But he that seeks his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

      Delete
    6. Adrian,
      This might not be seen because it is already buried deep in the comments, but I thought I would clarify something.

      You mentioned that it is important to you that the scriptures are printed out and accessible in a physical form, as if the digital scriptures are less than ideal.

      Paul, in his epistle to the Romans says:
      O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments, and his ways past finding out. For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to him and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
      I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God is.
      For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another, having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us; whether prophecy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, on ministering; or he that teaches, on teaching; or he that exhorts, on exhortation; he that gives, with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.


      And Jacob says:
      Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him, and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him. Wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.

      As I have stated previously, the scriptures are a tool to "find out" what is being revealed to you. That is why I love the digital version so much. When the Lord sends a communication, I can do a quick search and then discover what is being said.

      If, however, I had to thumb through the pages each time God was trying to tell me something, it would be an arduous task. Therefore, I don't use the scriptures without having them tied into a communication from God, and thankfully, today's technology allows me to quickly access His word. I hate to say it, but a dead book would be cumbersome and require me to memorize a great amount of information. Seminary was bad enough for that. I'll take the easy and light approach, and it's called "smart phone."

      Delete
  10. I have to respectfully mention that "mutual agreement" and "choosing not to dispute" are not synonymous terms. "Choosing not to dispute" has definite overtones of sumitting to the will of the majority. I believe you are (no matter how well intentioned and sincere) confusing democracy with mutual agreement for the sake of "moving ahead".
    I do not know what others have heard from the Lord on this issue, but I have clearly been prompted to recommend for the G&S the sermon at Bountiful, which the Lord Himself (while in the middle of delivering His sermon) paused and stated the following:

    "And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you and the law is fulfilled. Therefore, come unto me and be ye saved, for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (3 Nephi 12:19-20)

    "Mutual agreement" does not equate to "a majority", despite what the majority may believe. If the Lord had meant a majority, I believe He would have chosen that word.
    James Russell Uhl

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    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for pointing this out. I really appreciate your thoughtful comment. But your difference of opinion is not with me; it is with the Lord. As you're probably aware, our canonized scriptures contain the following statement:

      "Answer given to Denver Snuffer Jr., 29 November 2017, in response to a request to understand how the Lord defines “mutual agreement” as used in the ANSWER TO PRAYER FOR COVENANT.

      "As between one another, you choose to not dispute."
      (T&C 174:1)

      I get what you're saying and why, but in this case, evidently the Lord is being very specific about what he means, and we are not at liberty to impose a different definition.

      One other point to keep in mind: I believe the word order matters. It's easy to get the order wrong and subtly change the meaning. I did so in the first draft of this post, and you did so in your comment.

      "You choose TO NOT dispute" and "you choose NOT TO dispute" carry different connotations. The first, which is the one the Lord used, implies there is reason for dispute, and an active choice to not engage in it. If there is no disagreement, there is no need to choose to not dispute. So disagreement is implied.

      Maybe I'm making more of it than is there, but to me the meaning feels different. It's clear the Lord is allowing for disagreement, and in fact expects it, while requiring us to make the conscious choice to not dispute. Much like he did throughout his life. He could have justly disputed every day, and always been right, but he chose to not dispute.

      I'm not sure what that has to do with democracy, or the lack thereof. It has to do with our hearts.

      One final point: merely quoting the sermon at Bountiful, as you suggest, does absolutely nothing to meet the Lord's requirement to inform people about the Lord's work now underway. It merely quotes what has been available for 188 years, and is not unique to this dispensation. And I'm not sure how we add to our scriptures what is already there. As was addressed above, the Lord's requirements are clear that we write to inform, and we add.

      Delete
  11. For what it is worth, I think the "A Statement of Principles rev 2 2018.09.06" document does a good job of succinctly describing how many within the the Fellowships of the Remnant would aspire to be perceived.

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  12. I understand the Scripture Committee is working very hard on the text to fix some punctuation issues and polish everything properly before publishing the leather-bound, onion-skin version of the scriptures. I applaud and deeply appreciate their efforts, and look forward to a more convenient and lighter weight set of scriptures.

    Here's the trouble, though. Eventually, some group may finally comply with the Lord's command, and get something added to the scriptures that the committee will agree to print. This will make any other set incomplete, including the one that is about to go to press.

    Given the price of the leather set, I don't intend to purchase them until they are complete, as the Lord has required. It's just too much money to spend on an incomplete set. Until then, I'm happy to continue using my paperback set, which I have had spiral bound with heavy covers.

    I hope the required statement is adopted and added soon.

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  13. I thought you supported the Lots guide and standard. Did God say it was finished? If the answer is correct (that was received by that group), how can it be rejected? At least by those who believe it was approved by God.

    I was one of those who supported Jeff's original. I supported the variations made by the groups last summer. I wonder how many times we can reject what God has given and still be given something else. Isn't there a scripture about that?

    I have since received an answer that one has met the requirement of the Lord. I feel I can use that. I don't feel like I have to say which one. I got an answer and am using it. Can I not move forward now or am I stopped because the group at large is still discussing this and not satisfied it has been completed?

    Wouldn't the Lots supporters need to stand by theirs or be rejecting Gods answer (if they believe it came from Him, how do you reject it?)? The same with those of the Nonmancaaf group. Is there something noble in rejecting God's words? Is the more noble cause to reject everything until we all agree? If that is the course, just do Log's. He will disagree with all unless it is his. OR are some people expendable? Can a committee or group cut me off (or others) for not agreeing? Yes, of course. Been there, done that with the church. But NONE can cut me off from God and His approval. It is His mind I seek.

    Is the scripture committee the ones to decide what is acceptable? Would my dependence on them be any different than the LDS church saying I am dependent on them? Why should a committee decide for me or anyone else? There were already votes. Twice Jeffs was voted upon. These were rejected. At least by most it seems.There have been other votes.

    Aren't all of us free to choose? Or are we bound together as a group and damned if we don"t all agree?

    I don't know what to make of the different standards out there. I don"t know what to think of you promoting yet another. I do believe we must act as agents free to choose. I choose not to dispute and I choose to not dispute. I choose to let everyone choose for themselves.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Yes, I supported, and still support the Lots document. I also find Paul's document very good and I support it. As well as other documents. I believe there have been several that meet the Lord's standards.

      I think the point of the exercise, or at least one major point, is to be unified around a statement of principles. That's why everyone choosing a different one doesn't fulfill the assignment. Unity is the key, and if we can't be unified in the principles of Christ's gospel, then what do we have, exactly? How can Zion come?

      Delete
  14. My remnant circle is admittedly small, but those I have talked to are willing to accept an 80% solution. I find it significant the Lord himself stated the scriptural records "yet lack many of my words, have errors throughout, and contain things that are not of me" (A&C p2), yet still stated on p6 that "with these additions, what you have gathered as scriptures are acceptable to me for this time." The Lord is willing to work with imperfect documents, even as important as the scriptures, so this suggests I should be able to as well.

    I agree with above statements regarding a vocal minority. Almost to a person, those I have talked to strongly wish to avoid contention and want to have it done. Of course there is no small amount of SoP fatigue, but I don't consider an attitude of wanting to expeditiously complete this task as 'giving in' to an inadequate document, but rather expressing a desire to live together in peace (or at least without dispute!).

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  15. Adrian:

    Thanks for bringing this up. It’s true that many still can’t stomach the topic but we ignore it at our peril. This week a number of us met in Ogden and tried to dust off the topic and try again to slug through it. It began with visiting, eating, telling stories and we all agreed on being willing to disagree without contention. I think we did well in that regard. But boy did we disagree.

    We disagreed on
    ⭕️ Whether it was very important to carry out the assignment on the Guide and Standard. In a private conversation with one individual I learned more than one there was not really sold on the whole assignment.
    ⭕️Whether the assignment were already completed. Some felt it was done and past.
    ⭕️Whether a single G&S was required movement-wide or whether several G&Ss would meet the requirement.
    ⭕️Whether the G&S needed to be printed as part of the scriptures or whether adding it could mean something as simple as inserting it in the scriptures as many have already done.
    ⭕️ Whether sufficient time had passed to allow another go at completing the assignment or whether nerves were still too raw
    ⭕️ Whether earlier attempts were foolish attempts to rush too fast or were to be commended
    ⭕️Whether an online effort was acceptable or whether this assignment required being physically together to accomplish the Lord’s assignment
    ⭕️Whether we should refrain from telling others “the Lord told me...” or whether God was giving individuals assignments on the G&S which the greater body should get behind.
    ⭕️we could not even agree that several documents could meet the Lords approval of our assignment. The organizer of the event expressed the idea that there is only one true document and somebody needs to get a revelation to get it.

    Let me respond to your comment (especially the part about having no idea) “Ultimately, however, those who control publishing the scriptures have opted not to include any statement to which even one person objects, regardless of the nature of their objection. (You overstate here. There is general agreement that unanimity is not what the Lord requires of us at this time). This is a difficult issue, and I’ll admit, I have no idea how to solve it. “

    The scriptures committee has been disbanded (although editing continues by volunteers) so “those who control publication” is limited to Chris Hamill. All you have to do to get a Guide and Standard published with the scriptures is to convince Chris to publish it and that’s not as difficult as you might imagine.

    Before the Phoenix conference six months ago the organizers of that effort (including me) proposed a three step process and did not announce it until “those who control publication” agreed in advance to publish if we went through the process we proposed. The rabble at step 2 was so ugly and boisterous and disruptive to the spirit and flow of the conference that the conference organizers chose to shut it down and step 3, the final sustaining vote, was not allowed to be carried out Sunday morning. If it had been and the congregation had sustained the leading G&S by vote, the Lots document would have been published. We had the publishers promise on that.

    The obstacle we now have is that the subject is so toxic that Conference organizers may not even entertain the idea of allowing G&S business to sabotage the spirit of their conference. Who can blame them. That would not prevent some very brave soul from organizing a general conference for the express purpose of sustaining a Guide and Standard to complete the assignment and get it published.

    That’s how you get it published. I believe it’s this simple: propose a fair process, get Chris’ word in advance that if that process is carried out with a certain outcome that he will publish it in the scriptures. If there is no angry disputation, no froward protests, a fair process approved in advance, Chris will publish. I feel certain of that.

    McKay

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    1. McKay,

      Thank you very much for the clarifications. Obviously, I had some information wrong regarding the scripture committee, and I welcome the correction.

      This gives me hope. Perhaps a process can be decided to adopt Paul's statement and the work can move forward.

      I'm saddened to hear of the numerous disagreements that still plague the body, but perhaps we can agree to not dispute anyhow.

      Delete
  16. I just read the statements written by Paul. Well done. I agree with them.
    Let's move forward.

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  17. I have mentioned this before, and still believe it to be true, especially after reading Paul's document, and many of the comments here.

    Let us return to, and review, the Answer and Covenant, in the which we were given the actual assignment to create this document. We have not been given an assignment to create a “Guide and Standard” at all. What the Lord requested of us is a “statement of principles.” This statement of principles, once agreed upon, is required to be added to scripture as a guide and standard for the Lord's people to follow, and is “to bless, benefit and inform” those who “know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway.”

    Could it be that the reason we cannot come to an agreement is that we do have not been completing the correct assignment? Is not a “statement of principles” more closely akin to what Joseph Smith laid out in the Articles of Faith? A “statement of principles” sounds more like a mission statement than a guide to creating and operating a fellowship.

    It appeared that Denver, wittingly or not, was telling us we are attempting to do the wrong thing when he said the following: “People are very different, one from another... it's important preserve their differences. It's important that people have the gifts given to them by God preserved and not suppressed because someone doesn't like the way that their gift gets expressed...

    Zion is going to have people whose artistic outpouring is going to be fabulously different from one another...

    “Why would we ever want to have a studied school of artistic discipline that produces nothing more than some uniform product when beauty and artistry can find so many unique forms of expression? “Why would you want to go to a fellowship meeting in Uganda, a fellowship meeting in the Philippines, and a fellowship meeting in Spain, and hear the same lesson on the same Sunday everywhere throughout the world? That is managerial overkill designed to destroy the unique spirits of the sons and daughters of God.”

    At that moment, when Denver uttered those words, we all applauded, perhaps thinking that he was talking most likely about a religious organization we may have belonged to earlier in this life... but what if he was talking about us? What if he is telling us that no prescribed format of operating a fellowship is required? The process that has led to much contention and difficulty within our movement is, I have come to believe, based upon our attempting to complete an assignment that has not been given us.

    Therefore, let us re-consider that which we have done thus far. I would posit that each and all of the documents that have been created thus far should be set aside. A very simple mission statement upon which we can all agree ought to be a very “light” thing to do.

    We are all humble followers of Christ. A statement of our Christ-centeredness, based solely upon the Doctrine of Christ and his two great sermons, on the Mount and at the Nephite Temple, seems like it ought to reflect the will and desire of all of us. Those ought to be our shared principles. Those would be principles that we could share with others who are not aware of this work, to inform them with love and care what the movement is about.

    Because, after all, is this movement about anything other than coming unto Christ? If we can agree upon that, anything else that we do can be operated under those simple principles.

    Thus, I have read Paul's document, and I feel that everything through number 20 should comprise our Statement of Principles. Beyond that, I think is extraneous and should be omitted, as it is not a part of the assignment.

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  18. I am grateful we are considering it a Statement of Principles, as asked 6 times. The definition of which is a groups beliefs and intents. Which beliefs and intents would bless and inform others who know nothing about this work? A Statement of Principles has a definition that can easily be looked up. It is as if we have looked beyond the mark to write a Guide and Standard which have been clearly already defined as the scriptures. They are our guide, they are our standard works to which a Statement of Principles our beliefs and intents are added to. As we ponder what a Statement of Principles looks like it will become clear. I believe Denver pondered over a definition of words for 2 months before he prayed for another 2 before he got answer. Maybe we can begin by pondering what is a Statement of Principles.

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  19. Hey Adrian,

    I wonder if your statement that it "isn’t for us” is entirely accurate, but maybe in some measure it could be for us. Certainly it means all the mass of humanity who as yet knows “nothing” concerning the work the Lord is doing. But I am intrigued by a few statements made recently at the Centerville gathering:

    “I don’t care how much you think you know about what God is up to, I guarantee you that unless God has shown it to you plainly as He has done to Joseph at the beginning, you’re not going to figure out what God is up to. There’s a reason for that.” 18.08.04 Remembering the Covenants Conference Transcript, p 3

    “In the covenant things were set in motion that will vindicate those promises. Not all of what is happening to do that can be known publicly. It’s not necessary that it be known but there are things taking place, no matter how diminutive it may seem. God will vindicate His words.” p 4

    “Much of what those people who claim they understand and they can espouse to you their exegesis of scripture, their analysis of what the scriptures really mean, and their more obscure passages mean, are really like the magicians trick in getting you to focus on one thing while something else is really taking place.” p 1

    “When you find those with ambition, even if they start out on a good path, the thing that the powers of this world desire above all else is to get a good person for a good reason trying to achieve a good result to resort to compulsion in order to achieve it.” p 1

    Around the same time as you were writing your article, a number of those who are also part of the covenant body (from all sides of this issue) met to try and heal wounds, to gain understanding of one another, to knit hearts together. It was largely successful. For the most part we met as equals. There was little done by way of compulsion, although, that spirit still haunts this movement. The Lord is working with us - working to persuade us gently to seek his part. The petition was made at this gathering that he show us his part. I’ve had a suspicion that the Lord has given his part to us in large measure. I’ve looked back at talks given by the Lord’s servant in the time since this task has fallen to us, and I’ve seen the Lord’s part interwoven in all of them. I believe in this way, the Lord has allowed his servant to keep his commandment to not participate, and yet communicate to us his part. I feel to thank my Lord for such tender mercies, and to recognize his voice and his part, and apply it to my continuing efforts.

    If I could add anything to this conversation it would be to suggest everyone go back and look for the Lord’s part, setting aside your own agenda, your own part, your own perspective, and search for what the Lord is communicating to us. There is a wealth of hidden, and not so hidden, treasure.

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  20. Update: Wow, I did not expect the large response to this post. Not only have the comments been active, but I've also received a number of texts and emails from people who don't want to post their comments publicly. This is clearly an important issue to many people. And that's great!

    Here are the general trends in the communications I've received:

    1. People are enthusiastic to finish this assignment and publish a statement in the scriptures.

    2. Paul's statement has been well received and widely supported. There is also still considerable support for the Lots document.

    3. Some still provide lengthy explanations, attempting to show the Lord's words mean something other than their plain meaning. ("write" doesn't mean "write", "add" doesn't mean "add", "statement" doesn't mean "statement", etc. You get the picture.) Though these folks are passionate, they are few. Personally, I don't see what's wrong with simply taking the Lord at His word and doing the thing He has asked. Is there a need to manufacture justifications for doing something else? And further, who is harmed if we simply add one of these statements?

    4. There's a fair bit of frustration as well. People report feeling powerless to accomplish the Lord's assignment for various reasons, including froward people, publishing control, or no central mechanism to come to mutual agreement. Many who desperately want to finish the assignment have no idea how to proceed, and are gun shy from previous efforts that have turned ugly.

    5. And finally, some people consider the work is already finished and we need to move on to other things and forget about the Statement of Principles assignment. I understand their feelings, but still think we need to canonize a statement.

    OK, that's what I'm hearing. I'm very heartened that so many yet care and are willing to consider what needs to be done. What do you think?

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    1. I am enthusiastic to finish this assignment and have a published statement in the scriptures.

      I really like what Paul has written and I am glad to support it's adoption as a statement of principles.

      Please, please, PLEEEASE!!! let's not try to start all over again.

      I share the belief that a statement of principles must be published in the scriptures.

      I agree with taking the Lord at His word and not redefining what He said.

      Whatever mechanism is used to determine acceptance, can we get a commitment beforehand that once the process is finished the outcome will be published?

      If strong feelings are expressed by anyone during whatever process is used please could we each individually decide before hand to allow everyone else free expression and no matter what irritation we personally may feel with their expression not voice our irritation or even be inclined to answer a perceived charge against ourselves or our opinions or points of view?
      All manner of lies and falsehoods and evil were spoken of against the Savior by the Sanhedrin and He allowed it. Let's walk His path.

      Could we not try and "convert" each other? If I remember right the tool of persuasion allows others to remain thinking differently than ourselves without our continued insistence that they listen to our points.

      This is what I think.

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  21. I just wanted to add my voice to the record:

    1. I wholeheartedly accept Paul’s statement and would love to see it published.

    2. Everything he states under “Guide” IS, in fact, what we are now doing in our day as fellowships specifically BECAUSE the Lord has called another servant. Without this servant, these guidelines would not have been renewed and clarified. These ARE the very things we all DO have in common, no matter how diverse each fellowship is. These fundamental principles ARE the backbone of the Restoration movement, and in my opinion, are non-negotiable. They are the standards the Lord has created. We have been commanded to share them with those who do not yet know the work under way.

    3. This (or a similar statement) must be canonized in order to fulfill the Lord’s requirement. Any other justification simply falls short and ultimately aids our condemnation and ultimate failure.

    4. The Lord is very clear in what He is asking. I believe we should proceed according to His words as plainly given, and trust that He will correct us should He be displeased with our efforts.

    Thank you for bringing this up again, Adrian. Thank you, Paul, for being willing to facilitate another go. I pray that this time we can follow through with the commandment and therefore qualify for more to be given.

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    1. I am in agreement with this.
      I also agree with what was stated above in the comments about the Lord accepting, for now, scriptures that are incomplete and still have errors. They are sufficient for His purposes at present.
      I believe since we are all broken that any adopted statement of principles will be imperfect. If it is sufficient for the Lord's present purposes that is all that matters with respect to the actual statement of principles.
      I believe the Lord will treat it just like the scriptures; He will accept it for now.
      It really is His work and if what we adopt and canonize in good faith is not sufficient I share the belief of others that He will correct us.

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  22. I’m delighted by your post that triggered this flood of thoughtful responses, Adrian. The G&S is a starter assignment for individuals exercising their agency in a shared purpose and group project. That we are still stronger in our ability to fault one another than our ability to choose not to disagree is frustrating. The history of disagreements over the matter has diminished my faith in us while strengthening my faith in the Lord. I was ready to support the original effort followed by the subsequent efforts. We’re attempting something that is currently clear only to him. How do we gain the perspective that makes almost any of these efforts acceptable to the Lord? By asking ourselves the questions you raise then acting as the spirit directs.

    I’m really liking Paul’s effort. A truth-seeking friend from outside the LDS tradition discovered the renewed restoration, accepted baptism then accepted the covenant offered in Boise. I rejoiced in his company at our fellowship get togethers. After a while he parted ways with us, though, apparently unimpressed by our fixation on the LDS world we’re leaving behind. Paul’s effort at the G&S might have helped us and our friend in better connecting with each other. We struggle to imagine the world from anything other than the LDS traditions and world view that we and our ancestors grew up in. Our friend had studied a broad variety of religious traditions and probably could have taught us more than we taught him.

    The good news is, our friend appears to be coming back. I’ll be interested to see if Paul’s take on the G&S proves useful in reconnecting us with James. But what of the thousands of souls around the world that the Lord has prepared whom we will never meet in person? While the great sermons on the celestial way will remain the gold standard for humble followers of Christ, I see deep value in offering newcomers a way to orient themselves to what the Lord is bringing to pass right now. I agree that we would do well to take the Lord at his word and canonize a G&S.

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  23. This is the way I see it at present. A large percentage of people do not want to hamper the work and will agree to most of the choices out there. But we also have enough people in two camps.
    Group one. “THEY” are screwing up Zion because they just can’t seem to accept the OUR G&S, therefore they are self-selecting out of Zion. We’re done with this job, let’s leave these people to their own devices and move on with building Zion!
    Group two. “THEY” are using compulsion and unrighteous dominion. “THEY” are the self-supposed elites trying once again to jam something down our throats!
    Zion won’t be comprised of “US” and “THEY or THEM”.
    As Louis Neagle said at the get-together last Sunday, “it’s a couple hundred of us against the world”. And of course, we have Satan working to divide the covenant people into “US” and “THEM.”
    We need to “actually” be precious to one another! We had people that sacrificed 15 hours (one way) of travel to be there last Sunday in an effort to move this forward. The hearts are there, the trust isn’t.
    This is one of those assignments where the “process” is actually more important than the end product. It can’t be a lets getterdone and get in line with us or else attitude! Nor can it be; if it’s not a solution from “US” its unrighteous dominion from “THEM”!
    So, what’s the solution? Many at the meeting feel we need to spend more time eye to eye, heart to heart. We need to get to know one another and gain some trust. Maybe it is.
    Now, having said all that, I personally have “CHOSEN” not to dispute, I would gladly get behind (and have) the Lots document. But maybe we need something fresh like Paul’s, I personally would absolutely agree to it.
    OR, maybe we take this, as was suggested by many last Sunday, one step at a time, start with and canonize a basic Statement of Principles and build on it over time as trust grows and further light and knowledge comes.
    One suggestion, we take the “Fellowship Guide” out of the document and have it “start” as just a basic Statement of Principles, for now.
    I also like McKay’s thought of calling a conference for this and this only. One filled with fasting and prayer. Eye to eye, heart to heart!

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    1. John,

      I appreciate your perception of the situation and your thoughts about a resolution. I agree that it's all about our hearts.

      I guess I'm still baffled by the Lord's statement that this is a light thing we could have already accomplished, contrasted with the continuing refrain of "we need more time." Do we murmur when we say the Lord has required too much of us in too short a time?

      Mostly, I'm looking at the past year, saying, have we used the year to come to more understanding, trust and love? If not, will another year somehow make that better? Or will it take 5 years? 10? And are we actually moving together or moving further apart? These are questions that trouble me.

      We all agree to the principles. That's not the issue. By virtue of the covenant, we agree to these things. So why can't we simply drop our disputes, shake hands, and move on? Why does that take years? I ask this in all seriousness because I really don't understand why we "hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves you could have finished this work long ago."

      Is more time the answer? Or is repentance?

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  24. The Cause Of Zions, Statement of Beliefs adopted at their conference. Simple and clear Statements.


    https://thecauseofzion.org/writings/08-18-18-08-19-18-general-report/

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  25. This comment from Adrian caught my attention: "Yes, I supported, and still support the Lots document. I also find Paul's document very good and I support it. As well as other documents. I believe there have been several that meet the Lord's standards."

    It seems, whenever we have voted, we have voted for our favorite, or perhaps our top 2 or 3 choices. What if what we did was gather every single one that has ever been written (insofar as we can) and have everyone select *all* the ones they find acceptable for fulfilling the Lord's requirements. Each of us could select any or all of them. If, out of that exercise, there's even one document that everyone is okay with, we just go with that.

    As for who should be considered part of the required group of mutually-agreed individuals, isn't the whole exercise only relevant to those who not only accepted the covenant, but also wish to adhere strictly to the requirements the Lord gave in the answer and covenant? It seems that any who wish to adhere exactly to what the Lord laid out in the answer and covenant should be amenable to the idea of defining mutual agreement as deciding to not dispute. This is so small a requirement for mutual agreement that anyone who decides to accept the A&C and take the Lord at his word will be content to accept a statement of principles that is not necessarily their favorite.

    And any who wish to add to or take away from the requirements the Lord gave in his A&C essentially reject the A&C and therefore likewise reject the Lord's requirement to prepare a statement of principles. They are thus relieved of the requirement to prepare a statement of principles; they are free to pursue a new answer and covenant from the Lord and leave the rest of us to pursue what the Lord has asked in this answer and covenant. I don't mean this to be as harsh as it might sound.

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    1. Ryan. I love your logic. That is a sincere statement by the way.

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  26. One brilliant aspect of this:

    "...What if what we did was gather every single one that has ever been written (insofar as we can) and have everyone select *all* the ones they find acceptable for fulfilling the Lord's requirements. Each of us could select any or all of them. If, out of that exercise, there's even one document that everyone is okay with, we just go with that."

    ...is that we escape from this oppressive and progress-inhibiting fear of a "minority" supposedly having to cave or submit to a "majority". Any sense of "minority" and "majority" is completely absent or invisible in the above approach.

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  27. I apologize if I'm babbling now, but the thoughts just keep coming. In context of everything I've written above, what if we were to shift our paradigm altogether from "which is my favorite" or "which do I want", to "which of all the proposed statements meet requirements set out in the A&C"? Then, there are no teams, no contest or competition, no promoting, campaigning, debating, etc. We dispassionately go through every statement ever proposed and ask does this meet the requirements outlined in the A&C. Every single statement that we believe meets the requirement, we give it a thumbs up. Those that fall short, we give a thumbs down. If there's even one document with all thumbs up, then we take that.

    I know as I write this that it may sound naive. I know there will be different interpretations of what the Lord is asking in the A&C. But, if we can reverse the paradigm from "what is my single favorite" to "which of all these meet the requirements in the A&C" then maybe we can come to a reasonable agreement on what the Lord is asking for in the A&C. In the end, I'm willing to take 10 that I don't like, but which meets the requirements in the A&C, at the cost of giving up my 1 favorite that might not meet the A&C requirements. Isn't this all that should matter, that it meets the Lord's requirements?

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  28. Another statement of principles conference is needed. The one last week was just a start. This time with more ramp up time and a whole weekend with no talks, just getting together eye to eye heart to heart, praying together, discussing and reasoning with one another. Let the spirit be 100% in charge of the agenda. But we need to attend with the attitude the it could very well be me that needs to change, not just THEY, THEM or THOSE PEOPLE. This is after all a test on how we communicate and work with one another. If I have ANY amount of poison in my heart towards another covenant neighbor I’m NOT Zion ready! Do we really care what’s in our covenant neighbors’ heart? Ae we precious to each other?
    Perhaps by the time we leave, we will be “US”, the Lords “COVENANT PEOPLE” ready for more work in the Lords Vineyard!

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  29. Hi Adrian,

    I perceive you have a rather soft heart. You mention “Our Divine Parents”. Before giving that talk, Denver said, among a few other things, “I think some topics are of such immense importance that no single person ought to be given the responsibility of trying to say something true and valid and holy, due to the inadequacy of all of us and in particular due to the inadequacy of myself” .

    There yet remains a widespread problem of worshipping Denver Snuffer. All the blogs and all the posts relating to this “movement” focus on Denver. Denver himself does nothing but repeatedly point us AWAY from him and TO Jesus Christ and yet it is ignored by nearly all. Do you know what he meant in those words before the “Our Divine Parents” talk? What was he talking about? Is it possible those remarks were important?

    Most of us come from an extraordinarily horrible culture where one single strong man is worshipped. I get it. I was there. We haven’t broken free by and large. We still have our “majority” wandering in darkness wishing Denver could tell us which guide and standard to pick. You can feel the frustration of most everyone at not just being able to either whip the “minority” back in line or just move on without them. It’s Mormon 2.0. It’s antiChrist. We have not yet become what we MUST be to live together in peace. From my observations, not even close.

    There is one who will not relent to any other guide and standard beside a particular one. I don’t even have to mention a name because everyone already knows and if I even said this precious brothers name it would envoke feelings of rage from nearly everyone “read:majority”. He is precious to Our Lord. Not to us.

    If 499 people are in agreement and 1 is not, then 500 people are in contention.

    Our Lords path is straight and narrow indeed. In this situation, that path is for the 499 to take accountability for their own contention and lack of harmony and accept the plea of the one, who is not on his own errand. Hard words I know. But Nothing else would fit the pattern.

    If all agreed to the one, refusing to leave a single sheep behind, we would keep Our Lord’s great commandment and show we are ready to sacrifice our own pride and our own will’s to the Masters. If we Love Him, we will keep His commandments indeed.

    But what do I know, I’m not Denver Snuffer and don’t worship him (though I do love him) and therefore couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about.

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    1. Part 1

      OpenMind,

      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts!

      Is it true there is just ONE man who is choosing to dispute? Or are there others? I would find it amazing and great news if there's just one left who is disputing.

      You said that the disputing "one" is "not on his own errand." Does he (and even you, you can speak for yourself) believe he's commanded by God to choose to dispute? What are the "hard words"? Is it that assertion that he's commanded of God (on God's errand) to dispute, or are the "hard words" that those otherwise in harmony must choose a path of accepting the "plea of the [disputing] one"?

      What is your relationship to this man who chooses to dispute?

      I really do appreciate your logic that we could all wrap this up by having the 499 choose not to dispute the demands of one man, even if many think his ideas are misguided, miss the mark, and his motives are questionable. After all, he confessed himself that he IMMEDIATELY (same day or next) regretted taking the covenant and wished he hadn't done it! In other words, he doesn't want to be of the covenant, he wants no part of it, but asserts he is in bondage, and HAS TO remain faithful because he made the covenant, however grossly mistaken he was at the time.

      But your logic I do appreciate. We COULD submit like a little child to this man's will. And all this could be concluded as soon as the word could be disseminated to all involved, probably in the next week or so. That would be a "light thing" and certainly doable. It would be an act of compassion and service, just as a family with many children might acquiesce to the selfish demands of the youngest child who demands everyone go see the movie he wants to see, when everyone else doesn't want to and prefers other movie options. Choosing to submit would be an act of love, and certainly the youngest child would be happy and satisfied with getting his way. It might even be the Lord's will that the other children capitulate in an act of selfless service. Though good parenting principles, of course, would dictate that never be the rule of thumb, as such surrendering rewards selfish and otherwise unbecoming behavior of the child. But for ONE TIME, the Lord might very well be pleased, as the contention would vanish FOR THE MOMENT, and harmony would be restored instantly. Of course, wise parents and older children would see the future, that the objections of the self-centered child would yet surface again and again, until he matured and realized his behavior is out of line and he learned how to discipline himself.

      However, the relevant question is, what did the Lord require? He said in the Answer (Section 157:55):

      "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. Remember there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them — so I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you."



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    2. Part 2 of 2

      There are several purposes in this document. I'd like to focus on one necessary and required purpose, the one of "informing" people who know nothing of what's happening today.

      I ask, how does the "the one choosing to dispute", how does his proposed draft meet the requirement of "informing" "others who know nothing...of my work NOW UNDERWAY"?

      By definition, if he's excluding the latter-day work (truth) that's pouring out through His servant, David, and limiting his proposed content to scripture over 2,000 years-old, how does that "inform" people today of what's happening TODAY?

      There's a new dispensation underway. That's a pretty big deal. THAT is the very thing that MUST be mentioned, and yet "the one" wants to exclude the indispensable, thus DISOBEYING the Lord's requirement.

      The Lord said, "Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required."

      This man who chooses to dispute doesn't have this "desire". He is ON RECORD as saying he does not want to be part of the covenant, or "to be [part of His] people." He said he made a mistake. Why is it that his voice is part of the conversation in the first place? Why does he just not depart in peace? Why do the rest even listen to him? It's not authoritarian to say "you're not part of the group. You have agency. We respect it. You're free to go! Your vote does not count. We're not listening to you anymore."

      I am not plugged in at all with what's going on out west, so if my understanding is out-of-date, then I'm happy to stand corrected. But these are my thoughts based on the information that I have.

      Now if he has changed his mind, then we're back to square one, but the question remains, how does excluding certain revelations (through David) "inform" others of what's happening TODAY?

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    3. It seems to me that if (1) he does not want to be part of this covenant and (2) the only statement of principles he's willing to accept is one that doesn't satisfy what the Lord asked in the answer and covenant, then he's relieved of any obligation to be a part of this effort. If he doesn't want to be a part of the covenant, then he must think there is something illegitimate about the answer and covenant. If it is illegitimate and false, then in fact he is bound to nothing and nobody. The answer and covenant is nothing more than words on a page written by a man. There is no covenant. He is completely free to go his way.

      By definition, there is really only any requirement of those who believe the answer and covenant is good and of God. Everyone else is relieved of any obligation. That's the way I see it.

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    4. If disagreeing with another is the same thing as being contentious, then our Lord was often guilty of being contentious throughout his life...

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    5. OpenMind

      While I think Paul’s rev 2 document mentioned in Adrians original post so far best fits the answer and covenant requirement, your idea is really provocative.

      Even though to some the SOM and DOC may not fulfill the requirement as well as other documents....yet by adopting it, with the intent to go contrary to this world and go after the “one” I believe we would invoke a higher law that would oughtweigh anything it lacked. And very well may produce yet more revelation more informative than any SOP document. It would show by actions something noteworthy. More noteworthy than a majority vote.

      I like Paul’s rev 2. But if given the chance I’d go for invoking the higher law. I’d rather get corrected while attempting to go contrary to this world than going with it. I believe God can correct us regardless, so why not aim as high as we know how? Then let God add what HE thinks is missing?

      Taylor W.

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    6. Part 2

      When considering “the least of these”. Who could possibly be more “least” than someone who had regrets about the covenant at all but still says they are part of it?

      I say we do this unto the least of these and therefore do something to the Lord

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    7. Hi Underdog!

      I appreciate your sincere thoughts and comments. I will answer one inquiry:

      “What is your relationship to this man who chooses to dispute?”

      Though your question is poorly and inaccurately worded, it is honest and sincere.

      He is my brother and equal.



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    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    9. Thank you, OpenMind, for answering that question.

      Could you address my other ones too? I'll paste them below.

      You said that the disputing "one" is "not on his own errand." Does he (and even you, you can speak for yourself) believe he's commanded by God to choose to dispute? What are the "hard words"? Is it that assertion that he's commanded of God (on God's errand) to dispute, or are the "hard words" that those otherwise in harmony must choose a path of accepting the "plea of the [disputing] one"?

      If I were to prioritize, it would just be the first question.

      Thank you.

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    10. Sure Underdog2,

      First, I did not refer to him as one disputing. That's your word.

      I can't speak for him, but He was been very open and very articulate on the "guide and standard" website, however as that has now been taken down or made private (i.e. brought into darkness, correlated, take your pick), you would be unable to review it.

      I can say his words did align with his heart, and he was not actually disputing. In fact, he wrote more on that forum than almost anyone else, and I never read a single accusatory or remotely malignant comment from him toward anyone. I also saw the numerous both accusatory and angry comments directed toward him personally.

      My own view and experiences would be irrelevant and subjective for you. I would leave the matter for you to judge as you will. I will only say I am persuaded by Our Lord's second great commandment in the law.

      I used "hard words" as it is a scriptural term and was describing the feelings of the hearts of many who read that post.

      The Lord stated in the Answer to the prayer for Covenant that we are yet nothing special and he is now only laboring with us for the sake of the promises made to the Fathers. As far as I know, that is still His description of us. We are seeking to become one, so to apply any reference or distinction to any part of us is in opposition to His Will. Any who think they are now "in harmony" with this SOP commandment believe so contrary to His Words and are arrogant and worshipping an imaginary being of their own making. They can advance all the worldly learning and justification they'd like. They can produce a thousand "Declarations" stating their own goodness and humility and status as "God's chosen" in direct contradiction to His own description of them in the imagination of their hearts.

      When one begins to refuse to accuse others and instead look only in the mirror, something Holy is born in them. I am no less responsible for our lack of harmony on the SOP commandment as anyone else. I am no greater than another.


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    11. @OpenMind, just for the sake of accuracy, an archive of the complete Guide and Standard Blog is available on the restoration archives website. It can be reviewed by anyone who wishes to review it. Here's the URL: https://restorationarchives.com/blog/index.php/2018/08/09/guide-standard-archive/

      It sure seems like some of these comments (on every side of the discussion) are quickly deteriorating into accusations and punches being thrown around solely to score "points" for one side or another.

      Perhaps we all can dial back the inflammatory rhetoric a bit? Let's let love and gentle persuasion be our only tools here.

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    12. @OpenMind

      Would you share your name? I think it helps these conversations be real and authentic when we can use each other’s name and perhaps recognize them at a conference or chat group or fellowship meeting.

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    13. Hi Taylor,

      I first want to clarify something. You mentioned in one of your posts to me that this was my idea to refuse to leave this man behind. That is not actually true. This idea came from a prophetess among us. I simply recognize and take counsel from Wisdom. Denver has prophesied that though things in the world are going to start degrading, because Heaven is again open for business there will be prophets (plural) among us again. That is ALWAYS the pattern. The word "prophets" does not exclude women. There are prophets among us. Denver is not alone in possessing a message direct from heaven. That is a really good sign.

      I only hesitate to share my name because I do not want or deserve any positive credit for anything of value which comes through me. I only accept the negative, for which there is plenty.

      I did share my name on the guide and standard blog when you could still post. My name is Jay Todd and I live in Tucson, AZ presently. I am not special in any way.

      I'm sure we have likely met, though the first contact I had with the "movement" was when I attended in Boise. I was kind of late to the game. I remember faces long before I put the names to people.

      As I perceive you have a very soft heart as well, I just want to make it very clear that I am firmly within the Lord's classification that we are yet nothing special. I think that is mostly why the Lord is able to share with me some of His unfeigned love for those who many view as troublesome or "forward" among us. I know I am no greater or better than them. I know they are precious to Him. If they cannot be accepted among this group, I certainly cannot be. That is the Truth. Otherwise I'd have signed the Declaration.


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    14. Hi Jay (OpenMind),

      Thanks for sharing this point about being nothing special and how we are each no better than even the least of those counted among us, or even those not yet counted among us. I think this is a valid point that is worth more reflection.

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    15. Jay, thank you. I'm glad to meet you and know your name.

      I'm Taylor Ward. I live in Kaysville Utah.

      And I appreciate your clarification. We're indeed nothing special yet. But.... I've seen some very very hopeful discussion just over the past 24 hours that quite honestly is exciting. It aligns with things you have shared here. That discussion is still just in the beginnings but there's promise. I see hearts showing signs of life and unity and folks who are willing to show the Lord we can keep the covenant. And in an honorable way, worthy of informing other people about.

      I'm honestly hopeful. The Lord said he would labor with us. And I don't think He undertakes something without first counting the cost. So apparently we are worth it to Him. All of us. That gives me hope.

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    16. Nice to meet you Taylor!

      Your words bring so much joy to me thank you.

      I hope greatly to attend the Layton conference and meet you in person and more incredible people like yourself, however my wife Heather will be 8 months pregnant and we will just have to play it by ear.

      And I don't mean to appear negative. Sometimes boldness is required unfortunately. I do have much hope also because I know who is in charge of all this.

      It just pains me to think there will be further pruning. I really hope there will be no pruning required among this group because don't I know I'll be the first to go and I desperately want to live among every single person I have met in this group. It's a miracle to me I can say that honestly. Even the ones who don't like me, because who can blame them for that!

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  30. If 499 people are in agreement and 1 is not, then one person is in contention

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  31. Do we have to agree on just one statement? As a compromise, couldn't we just give an introduction of what the Lord asked of us, and then follow that up with several versions of what most fellowships like? That would show that we're not correlated into having to agree with one overall majority, and let minority know they've been heard. Let's publish multiple versions to make everyone happy, and move on to what's more important.

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  32. Thank you the timely reminder that one year has past since we had the privilege to stand and say "Yes" to the covenant.

    I would love for as many to come together in person...(please no more internet keyboard clacking) but real time face to face experience to see what miracles can happen.

    I trust the Lord when he said..."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."

    When we have a conference for the Statement of Principles, let it be one that has equal if not more time on our knees praying together as a covenant people to the Lord than there is time for an individual to stand up and offer his own understanding and position on what or how things pertaining to the assignment should be done.

    With all my love and respect to all...

    Lynette Norton

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  33. I finally just read the statement that Paul wrote up and I think it's perfect. I'm behind this 100% and I think it satisfies what the Lord asked in the answer and covenant. I would love to see this one published. I love the "refreshed" version of Joseph's articles of faith. It preserves what Joseph wrote and it "renews" it in the sense that it incorporates or alludes to what's happening right now. What it says to me is that this that the Lord gave to Joseph is still as relevant to us today as it was then and perhaps more so since the Lord is moving his hand again right now to accomplish his purposes. He is offering still now what he tried to offer the gentiles almost 200 years ago. I think the statement of principles at the beginning and the subsequent "guide" completely satisfies what the Lord is asking for in the A&C. It fills me with hope, happiness and anticipation about what the Lord is doing.

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    1. Hello Ryan,

      For some reason there is no "reply" button below your comment above which starts "It seems to me that if (1) he does not want to be part of this covenant".

      I'm curious if you have considered the possibility that he does not want to be part of this group because of the way WE have treated him? With possibly one exception, he has been accused and attacked more than anyone. Instead of treating his reaction as a reflection of him, have we tried to consider he might be important and loved by Our Lord and him feeling so unwanted might be a reflection of US?

      Does it say something about us if we have people wanting to leave? Shouldn't a fruit of us becoming Zion be that people wouldn't think of leaving and instead would flock to us?

      What would happen if people watching us now, who at the time of the Covenant may have "yet know nothing of the work now underway", see a group of over 1000(?) people humble themselves to agree with one person as an act he is precious to them? Do you think the outcasts of other groups would consider that maybe they could find true acceptance and Love among this group?

      I believe it is beyond dispute that this would put us in an extremely "foreign" category as to this world. I thought that is what we were after.


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    2. Hi OpenMind - I'm sorry, I just barely saw this. Amazing that this comment thread is still going (or maybe it shouldn't be such a surprise). If there are people who have treated him (I believe it's Jared?) poorly, then I think that's not in harmony with what we should be striving for. But, I'm under the impression this is unrelated to the regret Jared expressed for taking the covenant. I believe he said he knew it was a mistake the moment he took the covenant. That would have preceded any mistreatment he seems to have experienced, which only came later during all the debate and discussion about the statement of principles.

      If Jared is operating under the Lord's influence, as an instrument in the Lord's hand, then our Lord is a mysterious and unsearchable God indeed. Jared made it clear in the following post what it is that's in the Lord's heart: http://logscabin.blogspot.com/2018/05/this-is-all-very-simple.html.

      If this is of God, then the Lord has told us that unless the Gentiles adopt the rock of Christ as the only document satisfying His requests in the answer and covenant, then we belong inextricably bound to a single fate. And that's to be overrun by the remnant of Jacob, in fulfillment of Book of Mormon prophecy.

      I agree that we must abide by the principles of the rock of Christ to escape such a fate. The question, however, as it concerns the statement of principles is this: Do we need to adopt the rock of Christ as the only statement that will satisfy requirements the Lord gave us in the answer and covenant?

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  34. I appreciate this timely reminder that we yet have work to do. As I reflect over my own views on this project, I have been perfectly fine with almost every iteration that came forth from any group. My challenges were always the process. It has always felt haphazard, ad hoc, with little or no measurement to see whether those who accepted the covenant were involved. My issues have always been tactical. We desperately need a little more organization and transparency. I think the problem may be solved, along with other issues that may come forth in the future. But I think we will have to solve how we communicate and operate structurally if we are ever to do so.

    My thoughts on moving forward include these steps. I'm not married to them, I'm simply trying to throw out a starting place for dialogue.

    1. We need to know who has taken the covenant and who has the intention to vote for the project.

    2. We need to make sure that every qualifying individual is part of or considers themselves part of a fellowship group that is also part of the covenant.

    3. The process of agreement can then start with fellowships meeting together and coming to mutual agreement over a G&S. I would support using the LOTS document or original one as a starter, but maybe fellowships come up with their own. The standard will be as Adrian has suggested. We may all not agree, but if the fellowship can agree TO not contend over the final outcome, then it can be forwarded to the next step.

    4. Through representation, the fellowships arrange a meeting where a single individual takes their version of the G&S to the meeting to a central meeting where differences are hashed out similar to the smaller groups. Once a qualifying document comes forth, it is presented to the entire covenant.

    5. Each fellowship then has an opportunity to veto the central project. If any one fellowship vetoes the project, the central committee's job at that point is to meet in love and compassion and work out the differences with the group.

    6. Once every group is aligned, it goes to a vote in a conference. At that time, individuals (who were involved from step one) can vote to veto the project. In between sessions, meetings will be held to come to a consensus with those who oppose the project in its final state. This may include prayer circles and involving the Lord.

    7. After all of this, if there are still people who chose to contend, and cannot accept the mutual agreement of the rest are welcome to submit their final vote. It does not cancel the project, but at this point, it can almost safely be said that every effort was made to reach out with love and concern to those that opposed.

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    1. Great points, Peter. It may be right that the G&S is an assignment addressed to the Lord's people as identified as those who take the covenant. This brings up an interesting question: Do all future group decisions need to be made by covenant holders? There is a document going around that took some language that I wrote along with another fellowship's input. For some things I prefer to avoid putting my name on it, and if they are good thoughts, ideas will take on a life of their own. In this case, the person in question somehow got that unfinished confidential doc and claimed their own inspiration connected with Jewish calendar dates and alignment with the stars and communication from Jesus. I don't like the original thoughts being included in that mess of a document, so I'll come out and take ownership of the material that was copied wholesale.

      I wrote this on 7/11/18 a month before the moiety doc was contemplated and two months before it was circulated. The main point in responding to you is that after deciding on the G&S (which may be for covenant holders only to vote in), the larger principle for interacting across fellowships could included baptized or unbaptized persons as well, depending on the decision's relevance to the group or sub-group in question. Like your list, this list is just an attempt and unfinished. It may be too formal. There are good principles in there, though, related to how Joseph Smith thought of the kingdom of God including non-members. However, this is just borrowing principles and not suggesting we are creating a council of 50 like the other doc circulating. I hope these ideas can be divorced from that doc and considered in more broader applications as principles. It may also be valid to let everyone vote at all times and allow for dissent and majority rules. I'm game for a lot of different ways to tackle common consent.

      What is a fellowship?



      A fellowship is two or more people gathered together in the name of Christ (Matt. 9:14 RE).



      For purposes of councils of two or more fellowships, a fellowship must have at least seven women and at least one man to have representation on the council and to be defined as a voting fellowship.



      What constitutes membership in a fellowship?



      Fellowships gather to support those who believe in the doctrine of Christ as outlined in the Book of Mormon. This is their stated purpose.



      However, there is no belief requirement, baptism requirement, tithing requirement, covenant requirement, priesthood requirement, or any other requirement to belong to a fellowship beyond recognizing the stated purpose of fellowships, even if you don't believe in the doctrine of Christ.



      A person who does not support the stated purpose of fellowships and actively seeks to undermine other people's belief in the doctrine of Christ as outlined in the Book of Mormon should be invited to leave the fellowship. But again, non-believers who support others in their belief in the doctrine of Christ are welcome in fellowships.



      What qualifies a person to represent a fellowship? Who in the fellowship can sustain them as representatives?



      Anyone who has arrived at the years of accountability, male or female, priesthood or no priesthood, covenant holder or not, baptized or unbaptized, believer or non-believer, can represent a fellowship if the whole fellowship mutually consents to have that person be their representative. The kingdom of God includes members (T&C 1, Part 10:21) and non-members alike,[1] but it is encouraged that fellowships pick representatives that are upright and honorable, old enough to hold sound council, and who avoid frowardness (Proverbs 2:32; T&C Glossary of Terms: Frowardness).


      [1] Council of Fifty, “Record,” 11 Apr. 1844, vol. 1, pp. [116]–[121], Church History Library, in Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846, 97–101.

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    2. (Since writing this, the moiety doc writer agreed to be more forthcoming that some of their document uses language from what I wrote above and what other fellowships worked on...regardless of authorship, it is easier to consider the two different approaches now. If their anonymous effort takes off and brings unity, that's great. If some initial ideas like the ones above help with baby steps, that may be a different route to take, too. Also, Denver's "Dances With Wolves" podcast offers the next step of how to vote, whether that includes individuals or representatives from fellowships, or a combination of the two picking randomized spots)

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  35. Should I have used 99 and 1 instead? I seem to remember Jesus giving a parable using these numbers, which may have some relevance here. I used 499 and 1 because Denver used those numbers when he said if all are in agreement but 1, then they are all disputing (at least I recall he used those numbers) I should have used the Saviors numbers and not Denver’s (see I suck too) Though It’s the same exact concept as the actual numbers are irrelevant.

    Since almost no one listens to anyone except Denver I’ll use his words. He stated in Boise, describing the latter day day Zion, that “what is to be created is something so foreign to this world, that there is nothing in the world to tell us how we are doing”

    Can you think of a single solution to this statement of principles MORE foreign to this world than what I described in my last comment?

    What we have thus far tried has been a series of attempts which could literally not be LESS foreign to this world. A majority vote? Really?! Nearly every public decision in this fallen world is literally done with a majority vote.

    We’ve yet to wake up.

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    1. "Can you think of a single solution to this statement of principles MORE foreign to this world than what I described in my last comment?"

      :ThumbsUp: We could call it the "George Principle" from the Seinfeld episode where the loser George becomes a winner by doing the exact opposite of his normal actions.

      Wouldn't it be funny if all of us inhabitants of Babylon, educated by Babylon could only leave it by doing the opposite of what we think. :)

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    2. OpenMind,
      I'm trying to have an open mind myself. I have read many suggestions that a majority vote is somehow "of the world," and that another method that is foreign to this world should be used.

      However, I've yet to see a concrete suggestion of how a decision could be made by the body of covenant holders WITHOUT a majority vote. What is the mechanism? How is it to take place? How do we know what the decision is?

      Perhaps I don't have much of an imagination, perhaps I am not close enough to the Lord (which, of course, is the case), but I am having a really hard time with this. Do we all fast at the same time about it, and then act? I believe this has been tried, but it still needed to come down to a vote of some kind.

      How else can a decision be made by a group of people, even people who KNOW the Lord, without them indicating their assent in some way (also known as a vote)?

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    3. Hi Blair!

      I commend your open mind and heart. Your words align.

      You raise some very valid points. I wish I had the answers my friend. But I don’t and don’t claim to. I am acquainted with who does have the answers though I have no idea why or how I have that acquaintance.

      All I can tell you is with what has been shared with me, the idea of ANYONE being cast away or feeling like they are unwanted is physically painful to me. Since I am dead certain I am nothing, I can easily conclude those feelings are not mine. The contrast between the Love our Lord has for Jared Livesay and the feelings of this group as a whole toward him are as the daylight is from the dark night.

      Regarding the technical details you have brought up, I have complete confidence the Lord knows precisely what HE is doing. When we have become what we must become and enough natural fruit exists, His hand will be revealed and we will have total and complete agreement, though it may be His purposes to try our patience even longer as further pruning may be needed. I constantly beg and plead for Him to continue to be merciful and patient with us. He greatly desires that not a single soul be pruned away.

      I can also assure you brother that the technical details are NOT where the difficulty lies for us to become one and move as a group from where we find ourselves presently to what our Master wants us to become. If we could all see each other through the Masters eyes, coming together on this SOP would become the easiest thing you can imagine. The fact we cannot is undeniable evidence of what we yet lack.

      I truthfully don’t see how it’s even possible at this point with the gulf that exists, and I’m eternally grateful I’m not in charge.

      I have seen natural fruit beginning to grow though. Christ is performing miracles, and not so much the outward ones that can never produce saving faith, but the inward changes that are infinitely more difficult to accomplish. He is mighty to save. Trust must be in Him and Him alone. Denver would be the first to tell anyone if they have an ounce of trust in him, they are an idiot. We take to heart what he says and are wise to do so as he speaks under instruction and is not on his own errand, but then we should also take him seriously when he directs our attention away from him.

      It must be complete unity (I.e. one) so you could I guess call it a vote in some sense, but an inherently divisive term like “majority” will have no business there. By the time the group is where they need to be, I think a vote will be a very poor word. What you will find is a large (hopefully) group naturally on their knees in gratitude for the mercy shown to them.

      By that point, if a single soul among them declares they will dissent to every SOP except a certain one or leave, everyone else would rather submit their wills to save the one because they will finally comprehend the worth of the one. And they will submit readily and easily. It will be a Light thing indeed.

      Christ said “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me”. We do not take that passage nearly literally enough.

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    4. Thank you, Open Mind.

      I also don't care for the idea of casting anyone out. However, in the last year as I have tried to follow and participate in this issue, I have not read that anyone would refuse to fellowship with anyone else that did not agree to the same SOP. I have only read accusations by individuals that a majority seeking to print an SOP over their objections was somehow casting them out. I don't believe that adopting a Statement of Principles will cast anyone out, though some may (and apparently have) 'leave' over it. (inasmuch as it is possible to leave an organization that never existed).

      Since we don't have Zion yet, no doubt we have far to go before we have complete unity.

      However, I have witnessed countless attempts to talk things over and try to find language that would allow everyone to agree. At the same time, I have witnessed many people refuse to bend over the smallest details. It really is disheartening, but I am hopeful that it will get better.

      I must disagree with your statement that if our hearts are right, we would all rather submit our will to a single person who declares that he or she will dissent to every SOP except for one or leave. If this were the case, then surely we would have all submitted to the adversary before this mortality.

      Making sure our hearts are right means that everyone must change. Everyone must accept that they can be wrong. Even the one. The only person this does not apply to is Our Lord. Everyone else on this earth is fallible.

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    5. Blair,

      Comparing any among this group to the adversary!? You've really lost me there. I'm wholly unable to follow that line of thought with all due respect to you.

      We aren't submitting our wills to another person. We are showing we love and care about our brother or sister and we are demonstrating all are precious. This would, by definition, be submitting our wills to Our Lord's who told us in The Answer to the Prayer for Covenant, paragraph 3, "my will is to have you love one another".

      I've heard a great number among us accuse those who objected in Phoenix and ridden them off as froward or contentious (heck see "The declaration"). With what I have been shown, I can tell you beyond any doubt that is a lie. That idea is from the adversary. It is NOT Truth. Some of the best and LEAST contentious were among those who objected. I promise you that Blair. I know several of them so deeply and I can tell you they are light years more Christlike than you can imagine without knowing them. I can tell you without a shred of doubt that many of those who stood or objected in Phoenix were among those referred to in the Answer to the prayer for covenant as "humble, patient, and easily persuaded".

      How do I know? Because I asked specifically to see their hearts because I was unsure how to judge the matter and I cared about them. I received an answer to that prayer. I beg you not to hold anyone in this group in anything but the highest regard in your heart.

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    6. OpenMind,
      Please don't take offense or think that I am accusing anyone. I was responding to this statement of yours:

      "By that point, if a single soul among them declares they will dissent to every SOP except a certain one or leave, everyone else would rather submit their wills to save the one because they will finally comprehend the worth of the one."

      My point was that imperfect mortals submitting their will to another imperfect mortal is not supported by scripture, and in fact, scripture seems to point at the opposite.

      Your suggestion that I am comparing anyone in this group to the adversary is both wrong and hurtful. Please don't twist my words. I was talking about your statement, not any person.

      I was not at the Phoenix conference, so I can't speak to that. I can only speak to what I have read online. I have not accused any who have opposed prior efforts of anything.

      When you say that they are "light years more Christlike than you can imagine," I believe you. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assume that everyone is further along the path to God than I.

      I think that adopting an SOP should show love, yes. And that love should be shown by all sides. However, adopting one particular SOP over another is not an indication that anyone does not love anyone else. Does my choice to say both sacrament prayers at the same time before taking part of either mean that I don't love those that operate differently? Of course not. All it means is that I choose differently.

      I have read all of the proposed SOPs. I see value in all of them. However, I also agree with the assessment of others on what the Lord has required of us, and I want to fulfill his requirements.

      I believe everyone in this movement has love towards everyone else. They just don't know how to communicate and come to a unified agreement.

      The problem is, there have been many who have either opposed everything without putting anything else forward, or they hold to one SOP that many believe does not meet the requirements.

      How do we get past this? Do we need to come together first to agree on what the Lord's requirements are? Perhaps.

      I get what you are saying about showing love toward all. I agree that we all need to do that. As we work toward that, we still have the nuts and bolts of how to do this thing that the Lord requires of us.

      Let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume that we all have Christlike love for one another, and work out this problem. What is the process? What do you propose? If you propose that we all just agree with Jared Livesy, then state that. Let's get all the propositions out in the open so that we can coalesce them into one SOP that fits the Lord's requirements.

      Delete
    7. Blair,

      I apologize for my poor assumptions. I took your words "I must disagree with your statement that if our hearts are right, we would all rather submit our will to a single person who declares that he or she will dissent to every SOP except for one or leave. If this were the case, then surely we would have all submitted to the adversary before this mortality." as comparing anyone who didn't fall in line with the supposed majority to the adversary. I can see now I misinterpreted you. I truly am sorry. I wish we could speak face to face more often but we all have responsibilities and lives to live.

      Since Jared Livesay has not said anyone needs to agree with him in any way shape or form, I will definitely not say that.

      I propose everyone gets on their knees and pray and ask specifically that they can stop accusing anyone both consciously and subconsciously. There is a very good reason Christ expounded on Satan as a title that means "accuser, opponent, or adversary" in the Answer to the prayer for covenant BEFORE he said anything else which directly related to the specific prayer.

      Even thinking in your heart that someone else is the impediment we have to achieving unity on this SOP is by definition an accusation. It places you in a superior or elevated position to someone else based on you subjectively perceive as them being "forward", or contentious, or simply not right because they don't see your position the way you do.

      Our Lord is no respecter of persons. This is literally true. He was the only human being who actually had the eternal right to claim he was superior to anyone else, and yet he knelt to wash the feet of others, healed the sick, and gave His life UNJUSTLY for all. Had he elected not to save all of mankind, he would have been "right" by every single definition. We rejoice because He DID redeem Israel. He is the prototype. To state or imply or believe someone else is the problem here besides myself and I'm somehow justified is to literally mock and scorn Christ and point to Him as the problem. I'm not being dramatic or hyperbolic here. When Christ taught "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" he meant PRECISELY that.

      When asked the (singular) great commandment in the law the Savior responded:

      "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

      The second is LIKE UNTO IT. Thy shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

      If we all pondered over those two statements for 1 week with the question in mind: "why would the first commandment be LIKE UNTO the second", eyes would begin to open the way they need to be opened for any group to become "of one heart and one mind".

      Why did He respond with two commandments? Since "like unto" means "equal" in this context, was it two different ways of saying the same thing?

      Sorry for my long response Blair. You just seem very sincere and open. We just need to take the scriptures far more seriously and far more to heart. Specifically the lectures on Faith and "Our Divine Parents" are critical.














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  36. This is exciting to me. Ive been so grateful for the things that have been taught over the last year and for the time given to reflect and act on the covenant. I need to read Paul’s statement still, so I won’t comment on that. But, I have thought of something that might be helpful. Many of us are on the outskirts of the world, and often don’t hear about developments that happen until it is too late to help or gossip has already spread (good and/or bad), that can create conflict where none is needed. Can we have a central spot to check in (either on this blog, or wherever), so that we all can be up to speed on what’s going on. I think this may help with future communications with one another...

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  37. Adrien,
    Thank you for taking time to kindly address my thoughts.
    Choosing "not to dispute" and choosing "to not dispute" mean different things to you. OK.
    But instead of parsing words, should we not address the real issue...people are fixated on their own particular version of a Guide & Standard and choose to dispute anyone who does not agree?
    Why not remove the proposed standard from the realm of disagreement and use the Lord's own Guide & Standard, as given to His earlier people?
    The Lord, in both His mortal ministry and in His post-resurrection ministry, chose to deliver a resounding GUIDE & STANDARD to His followers: The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at Bountiful.
    Certainly those two sermons are readily available for all to read in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. Does that make them outmoded for our day? And how many people actually DO read the sermons regularly and attempt to live by them? How many people understand that the Golden Rule, "do unto others as ye would have done unto you", THE BASIS FOR ALL CHRISTIAN LIVING, is the summary statement for those two sermons? The Sermon at Bountiful ends at 3 Nephi 14:11, and the next verse says, "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets." (The Golden Rule).
    It was no accident or co-incidence that the Lord chose those words as His summary statement. They summarize His plan for all CHRISTIAN LIVING.
    Should we insist on improving on the Lords own Guide & Standard with the words of men?
    His words clearly do meet His requirement. As Denver stated in his Prayer for Covenant: "You required a unified statement of principles for us to adopt." That does not mean His people must CREATE any new principles, it only wants a unified statement of principles they agree to live by and present to the world as their guiding principles and standards to live by and invite all men everywhere to also adopt in order to live in peace and harmony.
    In the Lord's answer to Denver's prayer, He said, "I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people...a guide and standard for my people to follow."
    What better statement of principles for us to live by as His people could we adopt than His own words as He dictated them in the Sermon at Bountiful, which He summarized as the Golden Rule, the recognized standard for Christian living?
    Why is there any dispute or disagreement on this matter?
    James Russell Uhl



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    1. Hi James,

      Though I absolutely agree with you on the primacy of Christ's Sermon, I don't believe it meets the requirements He has asked of us. Specifically:

      1. The Lord commanded us to "write." To me, this implies an act of creation, synthesis, and expression. Merely copying what he wrote does not constitute "writing."

      2. He wouldn't have to tell us to be "wise in word and kind in deed" as we write if we are merely copying. He gave us guidelines for how to approach this writing assignment. The assignment is for US to write. The Sermon was what HE wrote. In academic circles, what you propose is called "plagiarism." If this were a college writing assignment, how foolish would we be to simply turn in a chapter from a book the professor wrote, and call it our own writing?

      3. He commanded us to "add." His sermon is already in our scriptures. It is not "adding" if we use something that is already in there and canonized.

      4. The sermon does not inform about the Lord's work "now underway." There are important, unique things happening in this dispensation that have not happened previously, and that need to be understood by those who wish to participate in the Lord's work in the vineyard. The sermon is a personal guide for living and being like Christ. It is a most valuable standard for our personal lives. But I don't think copying it, or pointing to it, at all satisfies the letter or the spirit of what the Lord commanded us to do.

      5. We already adopted the Sermon by mutual agreement when we adopted the scriptures. Why, then, the additional commandment, and the Lord's nine specific statements? I don't believe the Lord wastes words.

      Even the distinction between "choose to not dispute" and "choose not to dispute" is significant. One recognizes our agency and the need for affirmative choice "choose TO" and one is an act of being passive, and choosing by default--a choice made by not choosing--"choose not."

      I believe we need to be supremely attentive to the Lord's words and how carefully we interpret them.

      Though the Sermon is wonderful, it is clearly not what He had in mind when he gave us this assignment.

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  38. Adrian,
    I sincerely apologize for misspelling your name on my latest post.
    Thank you again for posting my thoughts.
    James Russell Uhl

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    1. Believe me, James, it happens a lot! No offense taken! Thank you!

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  39. The Lord's people are only those who "mutually agree" to not contend or be froward about what is proposed. Those who are contending don't qualify as His people. This is a righteous and clear method the Lord has set forth to choose from those who have been called. If we intend to be His people we will obey his commandment to fo contend but to accept with love hand thus become his people. Let us agree!!!!

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  40. One of the problems in my view is the demand that a document be accepted as perfect and error free. For instance the Lots document was presented as the voice and will of God, containing no errors, omissions or possible falsehoods. If the same qualifier was put on that document (with some humility that there may in fact be things in it which may need to be corrected by God), as was put on the scriptures themselves, then it may have been accepted.

    The Lord himself stated the scriptures "yet lack many of my words, have errors throughout, and contain things that are not of me" (A&C p2), yet still stated on p6 that "with these additions, what you have gathered as scriptures are acceptable to me for this time." The Lord is willing to work with imperfect documents. The scripture committee shows humility by admitting errors and omissions even unintentional ones. Can we admit the same potential failings with this document?

    Also, since mutual agreement is not to dispute, then we should vote accordingly. We have always voted to accept a statement, instead of voting to agree not to dispute. In other words, asking if I agree with the content may get a “no” response. Then asking me if I would accept it anyway, also gets a “no” response because I said no to the first question for doctrinal reasons. How can I then accept it anyway when I disagree? But if the second question was, “even if you disagree with part of this document can you agree not to dispute about it”, in every case I personally could have answered yes because I wouldn’t have been asked to go against my belief. We are asking the wrong question. We could theoretically have a 50-50 split and still “mutually agree”. This would allow people to register their no vote if they had questions or disagreed, and still allow them to mutually agree. No one has ever asked me if I mutually agreed. They only asked me to accept even if it went against my knowledge. Asking someone to go against their belief to achieve faux unity is an attempt to exercise power and control over another and we all know where that leads. Let’s not do that.

    Finally, I have read the most recent document put out by Paul, and my family and I can wholeheartedly get behind it. My personal preference is for Jeff Savages document as he is the only one I know of who was asked by the Lord through Denver to to the work. He took months to prepare, went on a high mountain and received the Word of God there. I can accept either one though at this point. Paul’s document seems to me to achieve the maximum result to what the Lord asked us to do. I can sustain each and every point.
    Jonny



    the Lord himself stated the scriptural records "yet lack many of my words, have errors throughout, and contain things that are not of me" (A&C p2), yet still stated on p6 that "with these additions, what you have gathered as scriptures are acceptable to me for this time." The Lord is willing to work with imperfect documents, even as important as the scriptures, so this suggests I should be

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    1. Johnny,

      I really like this. I definitely agree with you.

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  41. I find the Remnant Movement fraught with a lack of communication. And it would seem a lack of the Holy Ghost, if all involved; if all had the Holy Ghost, there should be little to no division; and really no contention but by some few or more.

    I do not see a remedy, not until the Zion or a place of resort is had and the time to move there is called. Not sure what the answer is, except to have a man or men called by Christ to administer a theocratic system. I guess we need the two spoken of in scripture.

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  42. I find the Remnant Movement fraught with a lack of communication. And it would seem a lack of the Holy Ghost, if all involved, all had the Holy Ghost, there should be little to no division; and really no contention by some few or more.

    I do not see a remedy, not until the Zion or a place of resort is had and the time to move there is called. Not sure what the answer is, except to have a man or men called by Christ to administer a theocratic system. I guess we need the two spoken of in scripture.

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    1. Frustration. How do you hit "like" in a comment section? Want to.

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  43. Regardless of our motion one way or the other at this moment, we will likely provoke correction from God (T&C 157:58). That is probably a consequence of our yet unchanged hearts. I’m inclined to agree with Taylor above and say we may as well be corrected as we give up our preferred document in order to “agree with our adversary” than to be chastised for getting our way uncharitably. In my experience, it’s always better to be corrected for a lack of knowledge than a lack of humility. My wife sometimes reminds me that often the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want. How’s that for an oxymoron? Or is it oxymormon?

    Hopefully we aren’t chastised in the same way the early saints were (T&C 156). Yikes man.

    A useful post from the good ‘old days. Ch-ch-check it out:
    http://denversnuffer.com/2010/10/3-nephi-12-25-26/

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  44. Taylor and Christopher
    I love the intent and find myself inclined to agree, however.
    I also know a man who took the covenant who also says the Lord told him that the covenant was not from Him, therefore an abomination. Nor does He approve of the new scriptures and that absolutely no statement of principles is required.
    He was also told that since we don’t have the Holy Ghost and apparently not very bright, all further tithing donation need to be sent to his personal PayPal account, he will distribute them from here forward.
    Oh, and one more thing, he says, the Lord also told him he’s required to take another wife, so this coming conference in Layton please bring your attractive young daughters ages 18-25.

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  45. John Dutson I totally get it. I find some approaches so distasteful and so off-putting it makes me pause and consider the unique opportunity for sacrifice that just such a situation offers. If we do it unto the least, we do it unto God. A situation perhaps seemingly so deserving (perception) of being called even less than "least". Wouldn’t heaven would notice that?

    But to your point, this for me would be a one time thing. I do not believe this would lend credibility to all of this person’s views on everything nor empower them to control. Christ’s death and submission to the errant leaders did not lend credibility to the Religious leader’s views. Perhaps it did to some, temporarily, but His resurrection and history prove otherwise. He changed everything. This would have to be done for God, and God alone with the intent to live a law. Its possible in this case because the demanded SOP only contains scripture. To adopt it would be an act of sacrifice for many, upon which it would seem to fall to the Lord to respond to the law that was obeyed.

    It would be a deliberate (for some) laying down of a Doc that perhaps in fact better fit the requirements, to invoke another law. Christ disobeyed some instructions to fulfill higher ones. This would be in mirror of something like that.

    Truly this SOP thing is a task worthy of those hoping to be called Children of God. I like Paul's doc from the OP best, or Jeff S's original. But for where things are at present I like acting like Christ and making sacrifices to show it even better. Stuff like this would demonstrate we do not fall short of the beliefs we profess. And I really like that idea.

    I'd rather hear from the Lord that we stupidly left stuff out, than hear that we utterly failed to stop saying one thing, but doing another. I.E. saying we follow Christ but yet not willing to sacrifice for the irritating and obstinate among us, as He did. If we did, then my conscience would rest and allow all burden to shift back to God to intervene because we, in our deeds, complied with a law ordained before the foundation of the world.

    All that being said, I can’t say how many folks would consider this. It would of course have to be voluntary, and bottom up. So it’s possible these ideas get us no closer to a solution. I admit that. And yet, in theory, in hope, in intent, in desire, it does line up with what we all hope to become. Right now, as a whole we haven’t accomplished anything worth informing people about. So what’s “underway” has only potential. I mean majority vote may work…… but it isn’t really worth telling the world about. If we want to move quicker, I believe we have to take bigger steps. But I don’t know how to do so as a group. I'm open and willing.

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  46. John, you make some persuasive points. And there's always going to be risk when a choice of faith needs to be made.

    In Taylor’s spirit of choosing one law over another-

    I was thinking about the garden conundrum last night. Adam and Eve were given two commandments: 1) don’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (yet) and 2) multiply and replenish.

    One of the commands was transgressed initially by Eve, and Adam was left with a couple options: 1) keep the command to not eat the fruit and stay in the garden without Eve, then making it impossible to fulfill the command to multiply and replenish with all of its ramifications  2) transgress to stay with Eve and multiply and replenish.

    The interesting thing is that only one of these options provides a savior, since the Lord had to have been born as a result of all the multiplying and replenishing. Adam took the fall for Eve (and all of humanity) and God provided a savior. The other way would have resulted in the immediate discontinuation of mankind, a dead Eve, an immortal and eternally single Adam, and no savior to fix the gosh awful mess.

    Do we take the fall? Or chill in paradise? Neither is bad. You keep one commandment either way. One sounds way more appealing. One is eternally better, though.

    Just thoughts.

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    1. Guys, when I said I loved the intent and inclined to agree, that point was NOT being facetious. I love the fact we, well, some, are at a place where we feel it’s ok to openly discuss. Progress is actually being made!!! I just need more time to consider the realities of it! If someone disavows the covenant and wants not to be considered a part because it is not of God, where do we stand on their decision? Do we honor it or still include them as a part and therefore honor their disputation?

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    2. John I could tell. You come across sincere. I wish I knew the answers to your questions. My only answer is to let those types of questions be the Lord's problem. I try to limit problem to following Him and do the things he asked. He does the gathering. He does the proving.

      Eventually I suspect/hope there will be an SOP conference exclusively for this topic and set up ground rules and fair and reasonable options, so the body can make some decisions. Clearly not everyone will be 100% thrilled with any outcome. We can do our best, make our best decision, and then all collectively pray for mercy and God's correction. Which I believe we would get, since the Lord said he would labor with us.

      I offer prayers for progress.

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  47. Please explain something to me. Why were we able as a people to so easily adopt Joseph’s letter to Silas Smith as scripture while rejecting the song sung in tongues (as two examples) yet we are snagged on this statement of principles? Same people, same hearts, both about what to include in scriptures. I think I’m missing something. Help me see what I’m missing.

    McKay

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    1. Because the words "mutual agreement" weren't included in those?

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  48. One thing is for sure, if you were God and you wanted to determine who could live in peace, this would be a great way to find out.

    I find that God’s hand is in most everything I do or I decide. Why not let Him choose? Can we all agree to include the versions that qualify (meet the requirements) of the request for a Guide and Standard, then we pray, fast and then we draw them by Lots?

    It gets us a G&S and all we have to agree on is to use the Lots method of selection.

    We could draw them at the Conference. And all would need to abide by the result, including whoever is responsible for publishing them in the Scriptures.

    Just a suggestion. I would agree to any G&S that meets the Lord’s requirements.

    Just a thought. Thanks, Lisa

    Who would dispute this method of selection? Are we willing to put our faith where our mouth is?

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  49. http://atbmblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/touch-truck-for-enlightenment.html

    A short parable/allegory.

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  50. Adrian,

    Thank you for bringing this topic back up. It sounds like many of us have recovered from our PTSD. ;)

    There are a lot of great comments on this thread. My only contribution would be to ask whether this scripture might be applicable for those of us who seek to lay a gift (a completed G&S) on the altar:

    "Therefore, if you shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, or if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift before the altar and go your way unto your brother, and first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (RE Matt. 3:19)

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  51. After listening to the various discussions regarding the G&S at the one-year feast in Ogden a couple weeks ago, participating in the comments of this blog here (where I think great progress in our hearts has been seen) and having listened to Denver’s Dancing with wolves podcast this morning, to now have a vote in the upcoming conference in two weeks on the Lots G&S seems wrong, I don’t think we’re ready! To me it ignores the wise advice and concept advanced from Denver on this very dilemma! I think an entirely separate conference needs to be held with time to prepare. I’m certainly open to persuasion but that’s my gut reaction at this moment!

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  52. I guess the easy road is out, per Denver’s last post. :) But there has to be a solution to overcome those who draw a line in the sand and will not move one way or the other. Personally, I lay my will or gift on the altar. The most important thing to me is that we be unified. So how do we select a leader and a medicine man or woman for this issue? It would surely be easier if we were closer in proximity. I may or may not be at the Conference, I’m still waiting for an answer. But maybe those who are there can pass a hat with buttons. Clearly we have to reason with each other. However, someone (an interim leader (s) may have to make a decision to proceed without every person in agreement. Whoever they are, they have my support. On another note, please don’t mistake my lack of wording tact as combative or divisive. I don’t feel that way at all. Sometimes I reread my text and go, what was that? Sincerely, I love you all of you and just want our collective success. I don’t consider myself anyone of any relevance at all. Trying to do my part and help move us along, however awkwardly. Thanks for your patience! Lisa

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  53. I love Chris's post about the SoP and share those concerns. As noted above, the Dances with Wolves podcast seems to offer a feasible mechanism which, like the lots idea, offers a way for God to intervene as well as a real hope of a resolution to the impasse.

    I like the idea of getting used to using the suggested method on a less crucial issue before resolving the SoP decision. Let's walk before we run. The initial issue could include something such determining where the next conference should be held, or how the button method would be applied to the SoP decision-- i.e. issues such as who will participate in the cirlce? Convenant holder individuals? Non-covenant holder individuals? representatives from fellowships?

    This way, we progress toward the resolution of the SoP issue but in a methodical manner.

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  54. 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. 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 hear 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]

    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]

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    1. Your implied premise in paragraph 1 that everyone who voted for the lots SOP is agreeable and everyone who did not is froward because they “refuse to lay down their hearts” is completely false.

      I voted for the Lots SOP in phoenix. I am telling you I was and am wrong. I was hard hearted. I was and am arrogant. I refuse to accuse any who opposed as if I am somehow in a different “class” of covenant member. So I am in your 90+% “majority” who voted for the lots group. I’d be willing to accept nearly any SOP so long as every other covenant member placed it in their scriptures before me. And I’m telling you publicly and truthfully that I am not agreeable. I was and still am the problem. Any who accuse those who do not bow down to the majority as somehow contentious or not agreeable also accuse me who DID vote for the lots SOP. Therefore by accusing someone in your lofty and somehow justified group you accuse also yourself.

      No SOP will be unanimously accepted by all of their own free will so long any anyone accuses anyone else either publicly or in their heart.

      One heart. One mind.

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  55. Part 2

    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.

    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.

    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 to agree with something different than how God had answered them, would be to compromise the truth as they saw it.

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  56. Part 3

    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.

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    1. Anonymous,

      Brilliant insights! It appears to me that the lots process, in every particular, satisfied the spirit of what was proposed in the podcast. It's also clear that both the Lord's hand and the voice of the people have been clearly manifest.

      All that remains is to publish what the people have already overwhelmingly selected, produced, and approved.

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    2. Your analysis is brilliant! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this all out in such a well organized and easy to follow format. I believe the Lots process was inspired.

      I'd like to add that those holding the white buttons, have had many opportunities to voice their concerns, and maybe it is now time for the chief to make a decision. The Lotster's could also be viewed as Medicine Men, listening to the concerns of others for many months, but one (a woman) was chosen to be the spokesperson. What happened so many months ago was truly beautiful. Maybe it's been there all along.

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    3. Anonymous,
      I agree with many of your points. I think there are interesting similarities between Denver's podcast and the Lots process.

      That being said, If it makes anyone feel better, I have no problem doing it all over again. I don't think that would reflect poorly on the Lotsters or the document they produced. I think it would say more about us as a people that we are willing to try again if it would satisfy more among us.

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  57. This assignment, this whole exercise isn’t about “a document”!
    This is about bringing a covenant people together and learning how to become one. Obviously, we haven’t done that yet! So, any failures need to be seen as a work in progress getting us to that lofty, only twice in recorded history status. I see no reason to quit now! We just need to regroup and move forward, together. No more they, them and those people, just us a covenant people who not only trust the Lord, but each other’s hearts and intentions. Not an easy task for those raised in Babylon.

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    1. But by the same token, the document isn't merely a red herring, designed to bring about this result, while being, of itself, unimportant. There is a specific commandment given, and we cannot claim we have obeyed the specific commandment until we have done as directed.

      My wife, Tausha, offered some wise words that I share here:

      It appears that some believe this writing assignment is THE tool to make us a Zion-like people, as if it is the end-all-be-all exercise in transforming our hearts and making us become of one heart and one mind in one fell swoop, when reality it is just a little stepping stone along the way. We have all learned a little bit more about dealing with, and communicating with, and loving others through this assignment, and that is all good, but there will be other future experiences that will help further us along in our quest to become Zion. It CANNOT be done on one step, and we cannot neglect to obey our Lord because we are waiting to complete a process that is designed to take many years (becoming one.)

      So let’s just finish this assignment, and pray that the Lord will continue providing assignments and experiences to help us become (line by line and precept by precept) His people of one heart and one mind!

      In the covenant offered we stood and covenanted to SEEK to become of one heart with those who seek the Lord and to establish His righteousness. It’s OK that we aren’t there yet if we are seeking to become just that. So let’s finish the assignment and have faith the Lord will guide us there.

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    2. Adrian
      In my view this has turned into an us versus them scenario. I agree, this NOT going to be the end all, magic wand we're now all one when we finish assignment.
      I wonder though if, as good little gentiles, we have missile lock on the document and NOT learning from the assignments experience. That the process is just as and in my opinion, more important than the finished product.
      This assignment has made it abundantly clear we have a long way to go in becoming one. I believe we need to use this as a place to start. It’s rarely a bad thing to start off right and success can breed success. When we begin to trust each other, things can begin to move forward at an accelerated pace. I think getting together and on the same page on how we intend to move forward, starting here and now makes sense.
      As I have said many times, I'm not geared to disputation, it’s not my way, I'm fine with more than one of the documents, I just worry we’re missing the point of this experience.

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    3. There were people, you know “them” who threw a wrench in the works, and if not for “those people” we would have a SoP in the scriptures. HOWEVER, we would be poorer for it in my opinion. They believe they were following the spirit others do not. I say they were, for the very reason it has caused us to address some serious issues that need attention before we move forwards!

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  58. John, there does seem to be 2 different camps. Please correct my understanding if it is off.

    One camp feels the urgency to obey the Lord's command and finish this assignment. They are ready to "Choose to not dispute," and get a replacement for section 20 printed in the onion skin scriptures.

    The second camp would rather wait to obey the assignment by spending time healing wounded hearts and starting over with a new process that is more inclusive. Time does not seem to be a concern because the most important issue is our hearts.

    I would like to suggest that choosing to not dispute is also an issue of the heart. I believe this shows the Lord we are willing to let Him heal our wounds and that we value obeying His commandments.

    I reiterate my points above that there will be more opportunities for learning how to work together as a people to become of one heart and one mind. This is a process that will take time. So at this point do we choose between obedience or the command to become of one heart and one mind? To me it seems the latter will come eventually, so why not choose to obey now?

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  59. Tausha
    I believe I understand both camps. To be honest, my natural default mode is let’s get thing done already and move on!!
    But I’m also trying rethink my way of doing business and consider the possibility that there could very well be truth in both camps.
    Now, I’m also very much one who believes this needs to be our priority as a people and should be given our full attention, all of us, not just some, all. For the first time I think this assignment has everyone’s attention and we are all fully aware of our failings.
    Why not have a conference in the next few months where we plan and prepare in advance, to not only fulfill this assignment, but prepare and agree upon the path for future assignments while we are all fully aware of our plight. A conference where there is NOTHING else on the agenda but the “mechanism for making decisions going forward, starting with the statement of Principles?

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  60. Personally, I'm of the opinion that there could be a middle ground between these two extremes that have been brought up. If the group doesn't think that the prior attempts were sufficient to finalize a document already, why not draw lots to select a decision maker and a counselor who will review where we are right now, and decide on the path forward from here. Just to be clear, if they deem that we need to start over, so be it... but if they deem that enough has already been done and we are ready to publish OR that we can start with what we have and move forward, this could still honor the efforts already complete AND start us close to the finish line instead of reverting all the way back to the beginning.

    I'm persuaded by the comparison with what has already transpired and a potential new effort that would be started... I think all (or at least most) of the work has already been done.

    I'm quite content to simply be an "indian" in this matter.

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  61. I agree with Cameron. I don’t think because we institute a chief and and a medicine man into the process, that it will negate what we have already done. What it does do is give someone authority from the group for someone to make a decision.

    The problem is that we have some who don’t agree and a scripture committee who is not comfortable still having people who don’t agree, as we need to have mutual agreement. So we give a couple of worthy people authority to make some decisions for the group. They would be tasked with bringing us together by reasoning with those who still disagree. And determining if those who refuse any compromises are indeed hard hearted and can be overruled by whoever is given the authority from the group by Lots to make the decisions. These decision makers would continually rotate as Denver has suggested so we continue to maintain equality. Then there is a way to move forward. Currently there is no way to move forward, only rehash what we have already done with no real progress being made with a G&S or with achieving unity. Thanks, Lisa

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    1. So, apparently, it’s hopeless, what possible good could come out of Gods people coming together for a conference to break bread and dedicated to talk about the mechanism we plan to use for making decisions going forward and this particular dilemma we currently face? The only thing that could come of it is hard hearts and rehashing the same old stuff? We’d rather spend our time sitting all day in conference listening to talks? So, it really sounds better to take the questions of not only the S o P but how we plan to make decisions going forward and cram it into 15 minutes and the end of the day sitting and listening to talks? That’s the answer? That’s the commitment we have for Zion, listening to talks?
      I’m here to tell you, if we don’t deal with this dilemma, presenting a Statement of Principles to the Lord will be nothing but an empty gesture, honoring Him with our lips, certainly not our hearts!
      I fear these words of Denver will prove to be prophetic.
      “He doesn’t want the present assortment of people to be allowed to build His house...He doesn’t want the rebellious or froward to know where to go or be to interfere with the peace of that land” Denver Snuffer’s blog 4-11-18
      I pray I'm wrong!

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  62. I propose the SoP be decided by dance off.

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    1. So you're proposing Keith Henderson gets to write the SoP for us, then?

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    2. Everyone who cares practices their dance moves. Extra points for a group. The winner chosen by applause measured by a decibel meter. Winning person/group decides the SoP.

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  63. There is truth to what Jared has said about the Rock of Christ. The law of Christ, or the sermons at Bountiful and the Mount absolutely should be a Guide and Standard of this people, but so should the Doctrine of Christ. The Answer and Covenant is the doctrine and law of Christ set in words for us in our day for our peculiar circumstances.
    So, can we have only one standard that guides us? If it’s the Answer and the Covenant does that mean the Law of Christ or the Doctrine of Christ isn’t?
    All need to be a Guide and Standard in our lives.
    So, what about a Statement of Principles? Can a Statement of Principles or a replacement for Section 20 also be used as a Guide and Standard? And particularly for those who know nothing about the work that now underway?
    Of course!!

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