Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Driving Test

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed through faith on his name; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
—Romans 1:2 RE

As I’ve considered the various discussions swirling around the Guide and Standard prepared by the seven chosen by lots, I’ve learned much, and considered things I hadn’t before. I truly appreciate the discussions taking place and the points being presented. I would like to address a couple of thoughts the Lord’s spirit has pressed upon my mind and heart as I’ve pondered and prayed about these things, particularly in light of the current vote taking place.

First, I think it’s important—no, it’s critical—to understand what the Guide and Standard is, and what it is not. Let’s start with what it IS.

The G&S is a statement of universal principles and truths required of ALL who would follow Jesus Christ. It covers the doctrine of Christ, which is mandatory for salvation, including faith, repentance and baptism. It teaches of the Holy Ghost, which leads into all truth. It lays out the correct performance of ordinances, which must not be changed. It describes how to obtain priesthood authority to perform these mandatory ordinances. It teaches the Lord’s requirement to care for the poor and seek Zion.

These things are not optional. If you would be saved, you MUST subscribe to, and do, these very things. Therefore, I view the G&S as a how-to manual, for those interested in following Jesus Christ.

OK, fair enough?

Now, let’s talk about what it is NOT.

The G&S is not a missionary tract. Its purpose is NOT to introduce people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is most decidedly NOT the first thing you would hand someone when introducing them to the gospel.

Remember, the word “gospel” literally means “good news.” The good news is that Jesus Christ offers salvation and escape from this fallen world of darkness. He offers forgiveness and redemption to all who will come unto Him. He offers eternal glory in His kingdom, and membership in His family to all who are willing. He provides the path and the means to become what He is. That’s the good news. That’s the Gospel. 

And that’s NOT what the G&S teaches—because it’s not supposed to. Like I said, it’s a how-to manual, not a missionary tract.

So, suppose someone becomes interested in following Jesus Christ. Suppose they believe and accept His promises when they hear them preached, and want to know how to get started. Well, THEN the G&S becomes applicable. Because, after all, they “know nothing, as yet, of [His] work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them.” It doesn’t say they know nothing of His gospel; rather it has to do with the requirements of the work now underway. They must know something of the gospel first, before they will ever be interested in participating in the work now underway.

Rules of the Road

I compare it to learning to drive.

Think about it—why does anyone want a driver’s license? Is it because they’re excited to merge? Interested in school zones? Delighted with the idea of stop signs?

No. That’s not it. Heck, I don’t even like speed limits.

No, people seek a driver’s license because it represents freedom, escape, and power. It gives one the right to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, which provides all sorts of benefits and blessings. And that’s what we all really want, after all.

So, once someone has decided to seek a driver’s license, the next step is the “how to” stuff. They get a driver’s manual and study the laws, rules, and requirements to obtain a license. They learn how to go about this “driving” business. The driver’s manual serves as a guide and teaches the standard that is required of all drivers. It shows the way to properly and safely receive all the benefits of driving.

Ultimately, they will be tested to see if they understand and obey the laws and principles of proper driving.

If someone had never experienced automobile travel, and was not interested in obtaining its benefits, would you introduce it to them by handing them a driver’s manual? No way! You might talk about the speed, convenience, comfort and safety of being able to cover large distances quickly and with little effort. You might give them a ride in your car so they can experience the benefits second hand, through you. Only when they decide they really want the benefits for themselves, will they become interested in learning the “how to” stuff and the rules of the road. And then they’ll need the manual, so they can learn the universal principles and laws that apply to all drivers, regardless of what kind of car they drive, or what color.

OK, so do you see where this is going?

We, as covenant holders, have been tasked with taking the gospel to Christ’s other sheep. As such, we will need to preach the gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ. And if we are smart, we will preach it in meekness, humility, and wisdom, adapting our teaching to the culture, knowledge and traditions of our hearers, giving them the utmost respect. Obviously, this will require deep knowledge of, and respect for, each of the groups being approached.

And one size will NEVER fit all.

There is NO document that can be prepared as an introduction to the Gospel for all the varied cultures and nations where remnant sheep are located. Each will have to be approached individually, uniquely, and respectfully. Should any become convinced and converted to Jesus Christ, only then will the G&S become necessary or appropriate. At that point, it will show them the basic, universal steps ALL must take to follow Jesus Christ, regardless of culture or tradition. And at that point, such a guide will be welcome and gladly received.

Therefore, to those who feel this G&S is not a suitable missionary tool to other cultures—I agree with you! Couldn’t agree more, in fact. I don’t believe this is, or was ever meant to be, anyone’s first introduction to the miracles and marvels of Christ’s Gospel. Those who are called to teach and write will have to tackle the further responsibilities of teaching the Good News to all the various remnants, using the most suitable approach for each audience, much like Paul—who became as a Jew to gain the Jews, and became as the weak to gain the weak, and became all things to all men that by all means he might save some. (1 Corinthians 3:7 RE)


Now, as we all ponder and pray about voting this week, I’d like to share a few thoughts about that, as well. And again, I want to focus on what this document IS and ISN’T.

What it IS—is a statement of the universal laws and principles required of all who would follow Jesus Christ. Everything in the statement can be traced back to the covenant we have agreed to. It is a restatement of the things with which we already agree. And it ought to be considered as such.

What it IS NOT is a referendum on who is important, who is not, who gets to write, who doesn’t, how they’re chosen,  other documents previously written, prior votes, prior authors, or anything about winning and losing.

Though we all are tempted to look at this document through the lenses of fear, heartbreak, envy, or even ultimatum, those are not the terms upon which it is offered. It stands alone, independent of whatever has gone on before (though it does rely heavily on the principles espoused and explained in prior documents.) We all ought to consider the document by itself, on its own merits, as it relates to the Lord’s requirements, and independent of ANY other consideration.

Read through the Guide and Standard. Is there anything written there with which you disagree? Is there anything there you have not already covenanted to do, live, and obey? If so, what is it?

Do you disagree with the Doctrine of Christ? Baptism? Caring for the poor? The Sermon on the Mount? Priesthood requirements? Marriage between one man and one woman? Seeking Zion?

Obviously, put in those terms, we all agree. We already have. By agreeing to the covenant, including its requirement to guide our lives by scripture, we have already agreed to these things.

So why do we yet disagree?

What I have to say next may not be comfortable. Please understand these thoughts are offered reluctantly, in humility, and only because the Lord has tasked me with speaking truth, which, sadly, is often uncomfortable. No offense is intended to anyone, so I pray you will not take offense at anything I say next. If something pricks your heart, please consider why it does, and whether there is validity to the point that bothers you. And let’s stay friends. Fair enough?

I find it compelling that this Guide and Standard is assembled entirely from direct quotes. Everything it expresses, it expresses in the Lord’s own words, given through His servants, and vouched for by Him. This follows Christ’s pattern—He who frequently taught from and quoted scripture, and continues to do so.

These are HIS words, and I believe the revelation in which He approved them. I know His voice, and it was our Lord who spoke. If you oppose these things that He has spoken and approved in the G&S, you are opposing the Lord’s words. There’s just no way to soften that truth.

Therefore, consider this:
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you disagree with the process used to create the document, you are still opposing the Lord’s words.
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you have issues with the people who conceived of the process or participated in the writing, you are still opposing the Lord’s words.
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you believe false rumors about secret meetings involving those you envy, you are still opposing the Lord’s words. 
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you couldn’t persuade others to agree with your idea or proposal, you are still opposing the Lord’s words.
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you prefer a worthy prior effort or a different document, you are still opposing the Lord’s words.
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you believe the Lord’s universal commandments, expressed in His own words, are culturally insensitive, or even offensive, you are still opposing the Lord’s words—of which we must not be ashamed.
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because they lack polish and skilled writing, you are still opposing the Lord’s words.
  • If you oppose the Lord’s words, because you believe your own idea is the only correct approach, and that any and every other approach is automatically wrong, you are still opposing the Lord’s words.
  • And finally, if you oppose the Lord’s words, because you object to quoting the Lord’s servants when they speak His words, you are still opposing the Lord’s words. (And I covered the validity of quoting the Lord’s servants in my prior blog post. If you accepted the covenant, you accepted the servant who delivered it.)
Therefore, as you consider how to vote, I would urge you to consider ONLY what is written in the document, laying aside history, hurt feelings, and personal preferences. These are the words of Jesus Christ. If you are inclined to reject them, please consider that decision, and your reasons, carefully.

I had no hand in writing this Guide and Standard, and have nothing to gain by promoting it, other than a clear conscience. I say this in love and concern for all my covenant brothers and sisters, and I say it in a desire “to assist all others who covenant to likewise accept this standard to govern their lives to keep the Lord’s will” as I am required to do. 

At the September conference, we heard the following words:
There will be more grafting and further pruning. As more is revealed and therefore more is required, some will find the “digging” and “dunging” too much to bear and will fall away; or in other words will be pruned despite the covenant.
Though the pruning must continue, I despair at the thought that any, having come this far and sacrificed this much, would jeopardize their relationship with Jesus Christ by rejecting His words.


Of course, neither I, nor any other mortal, can judge anyone’s heart. Your covenant and your standing, are strictly between you and the Lord. You accept or reject Him yourself, and no man has power to cast you out. But I do know He is a man of laws, that He sets standards, and that He can only guide us when we’re humble and repentant, soft hearted and willing to sacrifice, “relying wholly upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save.” In the end, Christ must dispense justice to all who will not receive His mercy:
Wherefore, the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God or to be cast out because of that justice of which I have spoken. Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous and also from that tree of life whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits: yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. (1 Nephi 4:5 RE)
It’s my prayer that we can ALL, and yes, I mean all of us, recognize this Guide and Standard as an accurate representation of what the Lord requires of those who would follow Him, and that these principles cannot and will not change. I pray we can be of one heart in this thing, desiring only to receive and obey “commandments not a few.” I pray we can put an end to our disunity and unite in Christ’s doctrine and law.

Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion who have obeyed my gospel, for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the Earth and it shall bring forth in her strength. And they also shall be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few and with revelations in their time, they that are faithful and diligent before me. 
—D&C 71:1 RE

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gratitude and Encouragement

Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets? And will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him, and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption which hath been laid for you? Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection which is in Christ will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God? 
—Jacob 4:1 RE

On this day of Thanksgiving, we find ourselves filled with gratitude beyond measure. How is it possible that we’re even alive to witness such days as these—prophesied and anticipated for thousands of years, and now happening before us, and to us? 

All that remains is for us, as His people, to adopt this statement by mutual agreement as our guide and standard. After so many months of so much hard work, and heartache, by so many, we are finally to the point of having an accepted document! What a happy day this is!

We realize some still have broken hearts. We know, and love, people who do not approve of the process used to create this document. We recognize some of our brothers and sisters yet prefer some other statement or statements. We have even seen ultimatums advanced by those who will refuse to accept anything other than their preferred document, no matter what.

In the spirit of love, unity, and humility, we hope to persuade all our brothers and sisters to consider agreeing with the adoption of the Guide and Standard written by the seven chosen by lots. We believe there are good reasons to do so, and that doing so will please the Lord. Here is some of our thinking.

  • The Guide and Standard statement is true. We find nothing false or misleading in it whatsoever. Having looked at numerous statements, this is honestly the first one we’ve read that didn’t give us any cause, at any point, for concern about the accuracy of the information presented.
  • The statement consists 100% of the Lord’s words, spoken by prophets, both ancient and modern. 
  • The Lord Himself has spoken and claimed the words as His own. Therefore, rejecting these words is, in the end, rejecting Him. We hope to persuade any who feel to reject these words that they ought to reconsider. 
  • The Lord didn’t say we had to approve of the process by which the document came about, or the people who did the work. It’s probably safe to say every covenant holder would have preferred a different process and a more direct route. But the condition of our hearts required a lengthy period of struggle before some of us would be willing to humble ourselves. Some still are not willing, though we’re delighted to see that number shrinking daily.

Now, having covered these few, general notions about the Guide and Standard, we’d like to address a couple of specific ideas that are still causing disagreement.


Some have expressed concern about including words written by men, or specifically by Denver Snuffer. They’ve suggested that the inclusion of such words constitutes idolatry and makes Denver a strongman. 

But we believe such a view demonstrates an incorrect understanding of both idolatry and the actual definition of a strongman.

Every word of scripture, and frankly every written word of Jesus Christ, came through a mortal. Every word we accept as coming from Christ is, in the end, the word of a man. We certainly do not idolize Alma, Matthew, Abraham, Paul or Enos by quoting the words of Christ they recorded. Why should it be different when it comes to the words of a witness who is still in mortality? 

Did the Lord make any distinction regarding His words recorded anciently versus those recorded recently?

It seems that He lumped together ALL His words when he spoke the following:
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself. And though the heaven and the Earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same. For behold and lo, the Lord is God and the Spirit bears Record, and the Record is true, and the Truth abides for ever and ever. Amen.  (D&C 53:7 RE)
All who accepted the covenant accepted the following statement:
Do you believe all the words of the Lord which have been read to you this day, and know them to be true and from the Lord Jesus Christ who has condescended to provide them to you?
If you said Yes, think about the implications. Every one of those words came through Denver Snuffer. And yet you covenanted to accept them as the Lord’s own words. Was that an act of idolatry toward Denver Snuffer? It is not logically consistent to claim those words from Denver are not only Christ’s words, but also scripture received by covenant, but then turn and claim we must not include other words of Christ, delivered through Denver, in the Guide and Standard. If you accepted the covenant, you accepted Denver as a suitable vehicle to deliver Christ’s words. 

This does not mean anyone worships, idolizes, or looks to Denver Snuffer as a strongman. (Nor could they, since he refuses to accept the role of a strongman.) But it does mean we, as covenant holders, accept Christ’s words, as delivered by one Christ sent.

This requirement is found throughout scripture. For example:
Behold I say unto you that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord, I say unto you that all those who have hearkened unto their words and believed that the Lord would redeem his people and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you that these are his seed; or they are heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now are they not his seed? Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy that has not fallen into transgressions — I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began — I say unto you that they are his seed. And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation, and said unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. (Mosiah 8:7 RE)
Rejecting living messengers in favor of dead ones is nothing new. The Jews did it to both John and Jesus. The Christians did it to Joseph Smith. The Lord even addressed this rejection in a revelation to Joseph and Oliver:
Verily, verily I say unto you, If they reject my words and this part of my gospel and ministry, blessed are ye, for they can do no more unto you than unto me; and if they do unto you even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory. But if they reject not my words which shall be established by the testimony which shall be given, blessed are they, and then shall ye have joy in the fruit of your labors. (JSH, April, 1829:7)
Fortunately, we have the Book of Mormon to inform us of a better way:
And again my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children. And I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption. (Alma 9:9 RE)
When a priest of the Holy Order is sent to teach, it is ALWAYS for the purpose of pointing to Christ. Accepting the words of such a priest is not only required, but actually VITAL to salvation. 

When the angel visited Joseph Smith in his bedroom, “He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ, but the day had not yet come when They who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people, but soon would come. (JSH Sept 1823:4)

That didn’t mean Christ would come here to speak again; rather it meant in a day “soon to come” Christ’s voice would be heard again, spoken by a messenger He sent. That day is now upon us. If you refuse to hear Christ’s words spoken by one He sent, you will be cut off from among the people. (And please don’t shoot the messengers; we’re only quoting scripture. If you have issue with this statement, take it up with Nephi, Luke and Moses. Better yet, take it up with the Lord.) 

Denver taught this concept as well. Because one sent by Christ is among us, the kingdom of God is among us: 
In the talk given about Priesthood in Orem I read a quote from Joseph Smith about what is needed for the kingdom of God. Joseph said, "Whenever men can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from God, there is the kingdom of God; but where these are not, the kingdom of God is not.” If you can find anyone sent by God, there is the kingdom of God. It was good doctrine when Joseph declared it. It is good doctrine when Abinadi declared it in the Book of Mosiah. It is still good doctrine when I declare it. 
Any of you who will hear, and then hearken to their words will become His seed. Someone must be sent. Then you must hear it. Even then it does you no good if you will not hearken to it by acting in faith. It is by harkening you obtain faith, and faith permits you to meet God. You will find redemption, you will hear His voice, and you will become a holy vessel because His word will reside in you. (Lecture 7, p. 66)

I recognize that I am not the best messenger. I wish I had the voice of an archangel. I wish I could do something to soften the hearts of you all. Some of you will never respond to the Lord because you cannot overcome your preoccupation with me. That saddens me and I regret that deeply. But that is your choice, and you can choose differently. (Lecture 7, p. 74) 

Woe unto all those who say, If you really are who you say you are, when the voice of God is sounding in their ears. They would have rejected the Lord as well. They would have crucified the Lord as well. They are not His sheep because they do not hear His voice. If they were His sheep they would hear His voice. If we are required to develop the attributes of Christ, how is it possible for us to do so, unless God patiently tries to persuade us to voluntarily be like Him? How can you hope to be like Him, if you refuse to be persuaded? 
God came as one of the weak things of this world. The only way He is ever going to invite you is through one of the weak things of this world, speaking in weakness, asking you to be persuaded. It doesn't matter how earnest I am, I know my standing before God. What matters is your willingness to be persuaded. Over that I have no control, and want no control. I simply put the case as the Lord has put it to me, in the hopes that what He has to offer, and what He says need to be said will get through to you. Your relationship and your accountability is not to me, it's to Him. Therefore, be persuaded. Please, for your own sake, be persuaded. (Lecture 8, p. 33)

As Joseph put it: “His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath.” (TPJS, p. 18)

Copy and Paste

Some have criticized this statement because it consists exclusively of direct quotes, copied and pasted from elsewhere. This is a valid point and ought to be considered. 

When you think about it, such an approach is not ideal. Obviously, getting such a collection of pull quotes to flow properly and read well is nearly impossible. Certainly a polished, well-worded essay would be more pleasing to read. 

But on the other hand, with so much contention about WHO would do the writing, rather than the content, it became, literally, impossible for anyone to write a statement and get it accepted. The pride, jealousy and hard hearts among us ruined the possibility that someone could write a beautiful essay and get it accepted by the body.

Given such a difficult situation, the cut-and-paste solution is nothing short of brilliant. By using the direct words of Christ, acknowledged by Him as His own, the seven have all but eliminated any possibility of anyone arguing against the actual words themselves. Yes, the document could flow more smoothly; but it couldn’t be better sourced or more true. The Lord admonished us to be wise in word. These words are the His, and therefore the wisest words of all.

And by pulling relevant quotes from other sources, the document provides ready access, as well as reference, to vital issues, most important for all Christ’s followers to understand. Yes, we could expect new converts to search through thousands of unfamiliar pages seeking these things themselves. But providing this direction is a helpful kindness. The Lord commanded us to be kind in deed, and this document fulfills that commandment. 

The Issue of Lots

We’ll be honest: we would have preferred another method of selecting who would prepare the statement. If all our hearts had been more humble, perhaps we could have accepted the efforts of someone who stepped forward with a commission from the Lord to complete the labor. Perhaps we all could have focused on the message and not the messenger. Perhaps we could have put away jealousy, jarrings, and contentions from among us. 

But the fact is so many chose to contend, rather than unify. In such a situation, choosing by lot is a scripturally sanctioned option for breaking a deadlock and removing emphasis from WHO does the writing. And in this case, the results of the lots were not only remarkable because of their improbability, but also have proven to be inspired by the Lord, who led the chosen group to success and approval.

Ideally, we will all grow spiritually to the point that we won’t need to draw lots in the future to break an impasse. But for now, at least, the method was successful. We ought to thank God. 


As we each consider whether we can personally accept the document as the guide and a standard of our faith, we just want to offer a few reminders: 

  • Remember, this has nothing to do with whether you would prefer another document, different content, or a better-written statement. It only has to do with the document in front of us.
  • Likewise, it has nothing to do with what went on before in this effort. Some may still have hurt feelings, or may still prefer another approach. But those are other issues and have no bearing on the document before us. 
  • As you read through the Guide and Standard, is there anything there you cannot agree to live by? In fact, is there anything there you have not already agreed to live by? Aren’t ALL these principles already contained in the covenant?
  • Is there anything there that is untrue, or that will lead someone away from Jesus Christ? 
  • And if these are Christ’s words, both claimed and approved by Him, can you safely reject them? Will your logic hold up at the bar of God when you confront the Lord who mercifully, kindly condescended to offer you membership in His household, only to be rejected because you did not value His words, or did not like the one he sent?
  • If these are Christ’s words, rejecting them is a supreme act of ingratitude. On this day of all days, don’t we all hope to demonstrate our gratitude to our Lord?

We believe these are the words of Christ. We believe He has approved them. We have heard His voice, both in the document, and in His words of approval. We plead with all our covenant brothers and sisters to accept this effort and adopt it by mutual agreement. 

In closing, we express our gratitude and thanksgiving to our Lord, who has provided the means for all of us broken, but newly grafted, people, to yet accomplish the works he has asked of us. We rejoice that He speaks! We receive His words with gladness, and pray that they will take root deeply in our hearts. We pray the grafts will take nourishment from the roots, and yet bear much fruit.

With love and gratitude to all,

Adrian and Tausha Larsen

And if ye shall believe in Christ, ye will believe in these words for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me, and they teach all men that they should do good. And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye, for Christ will show unto you with power and great glory that they are his words at the last day. And you and I shall stand face to face before his bar and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness. And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day. 

—2 Nephi 15:2 RE

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Guide and Standard Progress: Taking it to the Lord

The Lord’s requirement that we adopt, by mutual consent, a statement of principles still stands. This requirement is so vital that the Lord has made future assignments and blessings conditional upon successful completion of this first command to His covenant people. Nothing more will come until we complete this task.

Fortunately, completion is looking increasingly possible. The seven chosen by lots have posted an update on their efforts, and we're very pleased to see the progress they are making. We also appreciate the humble, serious and inspired way they have approached this work. 

The document they produced contains principles all covenant holders have already agreed to, expressed in the Lords own words from scripture and His authorized servants. We think it therefore likely that all covenant holders can adopt this document as a guide and standard for our faith.

As the seven prepare to take the fruit of their labors to the Lord for His input, they have extended an invitation for us all to join them in fasting and prayer that the Lord will answer. We intend to unite with all others who wish to fast, pray, and exercise faith in the Lord to provide His part.

If you are so inclined, please join in fasting and prayer on Wednesday, November 22. (Which is very appropriately the day before Thanksgiving!).

Here’s the link to the update posted by the seven.

If you have not yet read their document, please take a few minutes and do so. We believe you’ll find it is a beautiful, inspired expression of true principles; that it is wise and kind; that it is faithful to truth; and that it is expressed in the Lord’s own words. We support this document and hope to see it adopted by mutual agreement.

Adrian and Tausha Larsen

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Preliminary Guide and Standard Completed

We are pleased to report that the seven chosen by lot have finished their preliminary Guide and Standard. Below is the letter they wrote about their efforts, and links to what they have produced. One of the seven asked us to post these things here. 

We have read their proposed Guide and Standard, and we like it very much. We applaud and appreciate their excellent work, and pray we will all unite in support of this document.
—Tausha and Adrian Larsen

A Plea to Covenant People and Believers Everywhere

Dear brothers and sisters,

The Lord said: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)

As the group of individuals chosen by lot, we want to be clear that we desire peace, with no recognition for the fruits of the hard work contributed by many. After our assignment is complete, we hope to assign the credit to the body as a whole, and not to any individual.

We wish we had not been tasked with this responsibility. We wish you could be in our place. We wish we could support and accept your efforts to compile exactly what would please you; that would be our preference, but we trust in the Lord to work with weak things. Many of you may have greater insight, input, skills, understanding, or inspiration. We have felt sincere heartache trying to please many, and mend some of the hurt the process has caused.

The Lord said: Although a man may err in understanding concerning many things, yet he can view his brother with charity, and come unto me and through me he can with patience overcome the world. (A&C)

Some in our group have participated in the other efforts and labors in producing a Guide and Standard dating back to the start. As a group we had already been willing to accept the documents presented previously, and willing to take those to the Lord. We would accept a document drafted by you as acceptable to present, but literally the lot fell to us to be in this difficult position. We will view you with charity as the Lord requests, please see it in your heart to do the same for us. 

If you have been hurt, or find yourself rejecting how all of this came about, you are not alone. We are all marred from head to toe with how the world has treated us. No matter the reason for the hurt, come back and labor with us! The time is short and the Lord comes quickly, please come with charity for your brother, forgiveness in your heart, and let us work together. Let us meekly present a statement to the Lord so that He can give us His part. Please don’t turn away in anger or frustration, but please, let us all labor together. If we lose ourselves for a brother or sister, we will find ourselves in Christ. Let us make our hearts right, making this, and future labors a light burden to bear as we lift with love, and refuse to accuse.

We have completed our initial assignment. We were charged, through the drawing of lots proposal (see here and here) as well as the United Proposal, to use the words of the Lord and His authorized servant in our day in the creation of this product. This was our path forward.

Our methodology was to review all of the documents already created (as well as the Answer and Covenant) to select the best scriptures and quotes that as accurately, clearly, and succinctly summarized a few of the principles spoken of in the Answer and Covenant. To those who wrote in their own words: we thank you for your beautiful language and hope the scriptures we chose most accurately reflect what you were saying.

To see an “inside” look explaining our approach and methodology, here is a very brief video clip from our first call together. This starts immediately after the opening prayer. As a quick background, we had been discussing together via Slack what path to take going forward, and Jeff Reber had written to us all what I have summarized above.

Video Clip

You can see that within minutes we were unanimously agreed on how to proceed. Our work was simply to use your work. You were the researchers, writers, compilers, editors. You spent months fasting, praying, meeting together, reasoning together. You wrote again, changed items, updated, and labored. All we have done is woven together everything you already did into a short document. Let all the credit go to you, and the glory to our God. Our names will not appear on the document, or even any hint of a reference to us, or “seven lots” or anything of the kind.

We then spent three days and three nights beginning to end until this initial task was complete. Due to the time zones in which we live (from the west coast of the USA all the way to the United Kingdom), we were working 24 hours a day to completion.

Our end goal was to create a product broad enough to teach simple principles and let the people govern themselves. We know there are many strong opinions out there and we want all to be free to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. We expect and desire the Lord to ultimately edit and change our work according to His will. This is a living, breathing document, as greater light continues to be given we expect the document will be added upon. For now, we simply wanted to present a document mutually agreeable to us according to His commandment and for His consideration.

What now commences is three days and three nights of your feedback. Every single sentence of our document is a quote. If you see errors or mistakes please tell us. We expect only small adjustments to the content as needed. Although there are seemingly endless scriptures and quotes that could be added, brevity is favored. The document itself can be read in less than twenty minutes. 

If you want to talk to us, we can be reached at

Please click here to view the Preliminary Guide and Standard 

Please click here to download the PDF of the Preliminary Guide and Standard

As a side note, one of our original members, Doug Larson, began to suffer from a significant medical condition and voluntarily excused himself from participating further. This was a difficult decision for him, and he provided us his thoughts before leaving the group, to be replaced by Kirk Strong. We kept in touch with him throughout our time working, and publicly express our love for him and thank him for his contributions to us.  We have shared with him, before anyone else, our completed work. He responded: “I have read it and it looks good. You have faithfully gone through and shown that each of the principles listed are indeed spoken by the Lord and His servants.”

At the end of his correspondence, Doug says, “I stand with you seven. Let’s see what the people think and then what the Lord has to say about it.” We couldn’t have said it any better.

Your friends,

Jack Hinkle, St. George, Utah
Jason Carlson, Dallas, Texas
John Webster, Cedar City, Utah
Jeff Reber, Beaver Creek, Oregon
Jonathan Dippold, Bury St. Edmunds, England
Shalyce Woodard, Clinton, Utah
Kirk Strong, Orem, Utah

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vote Results and Details

The results of the vote are in and can be viewed at this link:

Voting Results and Next Steps

The Recorder has set up the facilities for submitting names and documents.

Details are Available at This Link

Please note that all submissions must be made by this Sunday, November 12, at 7 PM Mountain Time.

I pray this effort will produce a result that meets the Lord's requirements and received His approval.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Call for Vote

There is a call for a vote by the body of believers concerning a new proposal to complete the Statement of Principles. I support this effort, which is summarized in the following graphic:

Click to View Larger Image

I believe this proposal has many strengths:
  • It breaks the deadlock created by numerous competing proposals and documents
  • It respects and incorporates all prior efforts and documents
  • It invites participation from all who are called of God
  • It lets the Lord choose who will complete the assignment
  • It provides a clear path to completion
  • It honors the Lord's requirement that the statement, when complete, be adopted by mutual agreement
Before this proposal can proceed, the voice of the people must speak in its favor. A vote is currently underway to determine whether the voice of the people will support this procedure. I intend to vote in favor of this approach, and I encourage everyone to do likewise.

Here's the link where you can vote.  Please note voting closes Wednesday, November 8.

I pray this proposal will succeed, that the seven selected will hear and heed the Lord's voice, and that we all will unite in supporting a statement of true principles.