Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fall Conference Call for Breakout Sessions

I was asked by the conference organizers to post this announcement:

As part of the Fall General Conference, there will be 2 sets of breakout sessions. The organizing committee has decided to make an open invitation to the body of believers to submit ideas to lead a session or suggest a topic that someone else might lead. If you are interested, please follow this link where you can review the guidelines and submit a proposal. 

For those unaware of the conference itself, please see the main page at this link.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Commemoration

And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.
—3 Nephi 4:6 RE

As I covered in my previous post, June 27, 2019 marked 175 years since the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. In keeping with its new policy of not commemorating significant events in church history, the LDS church did nothing to commemorate the death of its founding prophet. 

June 27th passed without any official commemoration by the largest of the branches claiming Joseph Smith as their founder.

The next day, June 28th, the Lord gave his own commemoration, though it was more of a demonstration, really. What did the Lord do, you ask? 


According to a report from the Nauvoo Mercantile:

NAUVOO: Just shortly after 2pm, the Nauvoo Temple was struck by lightning. The statue Moroni atop the Temple tower took a direct hit from a lightning strike while a severe thunderstorm passed through the area. The shock of the deep boom startled those attending the Temple as well as most citizens in the entire city.  
"I was actually looking up at the tower exactly when the strike happened" said Alex Claiborne, a visitor to Nauvoo who was just across the street as it happened - "there was smoke coming off the Moroni statue." 
Today’s storm moved quickly and darkened the skies over Nauvoo as it  crossed several cities in the area. 
There is no report yet as to the extent of the damage.

The timing cannot be coincidence. In fact, it's mind-blowing. (Sorry again, Moroni.)

When the LDS temple at Bountiful, Utah took such a hit in 2016, the damage went all the way to the footings of the tower, and required over a year and a half, and millions of tithing dollars to repair. Though I don't expect such extensive damage in this case, it nevertheless remains to be seen just how emphatic was the Lord's commemoration of the deaths of the prophets.

Meanwhile there IS in fact an emphatic commemoration planned soon at LDS, Inc., for a significant anniversary. It was announced on June 26, and updated June 27. The celebration is for Russell M. Nelson's birthday. This star-studded gala event will feature a huge lineup of performing artist and stars, and will be held in the 21,000-seat Conference Center. In addition to the live celebration at the Conference Center, the program will be rebroadcast in seven languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Mandarin and ASL. So...it's not like the LDS church doesn't know how to celebrate a life.

Addendum: 7/7/19

An expert in sacred calendars let me know some important information about the timing of this event. The lightning strike occurred on the following dates and calendars:



The date of the strike was the 6th on 9 separate calendars! If the number 666 is bad, then what is the number 666,666,666? A threefold 666?

I asked this expert how often such an alignment might occur on 9 sacred calendars, all of which operate according to different days, weeks, months and years and cycles. He calculated such an alignment will occur approximately once in 10,000 years. In other words, this is an absolutely unique day in all history. 

The timing, date and location of the strike were absolutely surgical. This was NOT a random act of nature. 

Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against my anointed, says the Lord, and cry, They have sinned! — when they have not sinned before me, says the Lord, but have done that which was meet in my eyes and which I commanded them. But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves, and those who swear false against my servants, that they might bring them unto bondage and death, woe unto them because they have offended my little ones. They shall be severed from the ordinances of my house, their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall famish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them.
—T&C 138:13


PS: In my last post, I mentioned I had one more important warning to discuss. This is not that warning. This is just a follow up to the prior post.


Summer Conference

I was asked to post the following announcement:



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Without Foundation

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation, that when the Devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall.
—Helaman 2:17 RE

One hundred seventy five years ago today, two saints were murdered in Carthage jail by the conspiracy of those who once had been, and still should have been, their friends. This event encompassed not only tragedy, but also intent. The killers killed for a purpose.

Unfortunately, this murderous offense to God and man was not an isolated incident, but rather is renewed and continues even today by those who were once their friends, and still should be their friends. It is still done with intent, to fulfill the purposes of those who yet carry on the murderous combination of Carthage. 

Ignorance

Before the blood of the prophets had even dried on the ground, the sinister combination that sought their deaths began the machinations required to rewrite history, seize power, and capture the loyalty of deceived followers—all while using the name and reputation of Joseph Smith as their primary claim to legitimacy. The ruse worked remarkably well, taking in a solid half of those who believed Joseph’s words, and spiriting them off to Brigham’s desolate kingdom in the Rocky Mountains. 

As Joseph and Hyrum’s blood cries from the ground for vengeance, the burning questions remain: How could this have happened? How is it even possible that half of Joseph’s followers so quickly believed exactly the opposite of what Joseph believed, taught, lived for, and died for? Why did they thereafter sacrifice so much in the service of a hollow relic? How could they accept Brigham’s invented doctrines and foolish errors when they had once been so enlightened?

The simple answer is ignorance. 

The more complete answer is this: Those who control the information, control the population. In the 1840’s and 1850’s, information was hard to get, but easy to control. Brigham had the records doctored and re-written. Journal pages were left blank and filled in years later. Journals were completely re-manufactured to teach the opposite of true events. Affidavits were sworn decades after the fact, purporting to represent true events, yet contradicting earlier records. Even Joseph’s revelations were re-written and presented as genuine, commanding adultery as a sacrament, and threatening those who refused. 

My point is that Brigham and his successors created a false narrative, which stood up pretty well in the information vacuum of the 19th century. By the 20th century, the lies were so well established that nobody even questioned them. With all who had known Joseph dead, Brigham’s version of history stood as “gospel.” 

Polygamy. Blood atonement. Adam-God. Endless work for the dead. Blood oaths. Sealings. Word of Wisdom. Adoption. Garments. Priesthood. Home teaching. Worthiness interviews. Temple recommends. All these ideas were invented or distorted after Joseph died, yet blamed on him as their originator. And though the distortions couldn’t darken all the light in what Joseph taught, the vestiges that remained became twisted, weakened, and nearly powerless.

Lies and the Lying Liars who Lie Them

And now the largest branch of Mormonism has a problem. The information age has caught the conspirators with their pants down, and parts of the truth have begun to emerge. The tampering, perhaps adequate for the 19th century, cannot withstand 21st century scrutiny. Scholars, temporarily allowed in the secret archives, revealed in shocking detail a much different narrative than the one that made Brigham rich. So the LDS church quickly closed them again and doubled down on the pretend narrative. But it was too late. More historical records have emerged, telling an ugly story of lies and deceit by the church. Tens of thousands have left, and the departures accelerate. Many remain for social or family reasons, but no longer believe. It’s painfully obvious to anyone who cares to study the issues, that the LDS church lied for decades, then lied about lying. (Ask yourself why historical records must be hidden, never to see the light of day…?)

In desperation, the powers that be continued and magnified the one lie that people still bought—namely, that it is all the fault of Joseph Smith. The horrors of polygamy, the control, the lies, the wealth, the exploitation. Yep, all Joseph, and he was a prophet, so everything is fine. Nothing to see here. Move along.

The Toxic Problem with Joseph Smith


So now, having duly blamed Joseph, and taught millions to do the same, the LDS church has painted itself into one hell of a corner. It’s become increasingly clear that Joseph Smith did not practice plural marriage or have sexual relations with multiple women. In fact, the undoctored and contemporary historical records indicate the opposite. DNA evidence has destroyed all claims of offspring. Joseph fought polygamy, and did all he could to stamp it out. He publicly railed against it. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants of Joseph’s lifetime unitedly and unequivocally call polygamy a crime. Joseph publicly declared that he neither approved nor practiced this wickedness, and he excommunicated any who did. He rallied others to help him root polygamy out of the church, which crusade cost him his life.

And now the LDS church repeats the lie that Joseph publicly declared and taught against polygamy, but privately practiced it. They call their founding prophet a liar, a hypocrite, and a base deceiver. And so they’re stuck. Without the unique contributions that came through Joseph, the LDS church is the same as any other typical denomination of apostate Christianity. 

The LDS church claims every shred of their priesthood, unique scripture, and legitimacy in God’s eyes, came directly from Joseph Smith—even as they call him a liar and deceiver. They say he told the truth about the first vision, the angel, the gold plates, the Book of Mormon, the revelations, the priesthood, and the church, but lied about secret adultery and sexual wickedness. Trouble is, people just aren’t buying it any more. Anyone with two brain cells simply can’t base their entire religious structure on the teachings of a man their own church tells them is, unequivocally, a liar and a fraud. What insanity! How ridiculous! How could anyone believe such foolishness?


This brings us to the point of this post. The LDS church has destroyed their own foundation. They’ve jackhammered away at it for years until they’ve finally succeeded in completely destroying it. Their false caricature paints their founder, and therefore their entire kingdom, as a fraud. In repeating the Carthage murders, they’ve killed themselves in the crossfire. The massive building, great and spacious though it is, floats precariously in the air, in much the same way that bricks dont.
And I also cast my eyes around about and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building. And it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female, and their manner of dress was exceeding fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come up and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit, they were ashamed because of those that were a scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost…And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building, they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also. But we heeded them not — thus are the words of my father — for as many as heeded them had fallen away. And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father. (1 Nephi 2:11-12, RE)
Let’s analyze what Lehi saw.

First, the building, great and spacious, has no foundation. It floats in the air and is built not upon a rock, not even upon a sandy foundation, but actually upon nothing at all. Though the LDS church is massive, powerful, and inconceivably wealthy, there is nothing whatsoever holding it up. The idea of a floating building defies the natural laws that govern buildings; the idea is illogical and impossible—just like the notions they now teach about Joseph Smith.

Next, note the well-dressed people inside. Their manner of dress is “exceedingly fine”—the old and young, men and women, all dressed in their Sunday best. As I’ve noted before, no other church dresses as well as the LDS church. Next Sunday, drop in on the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and non-denominational Christians, and you’ll find jeans, T-shirts, even shorts. But at the LDS church you’ll find people who dress in a way that is quite remarkable and worth noting for its uniqueness. 

Further, consider the pointing and mocking. You can’t point and mock unless you’re better than others, right? So claiming to be the Lord’s one and only true church is required if you want to mock those on other paths. Also note the effect of the mocking; it drives even believers off into false paths where they are lost. Anyone who gives heed to the LDS church and its toxic teachings will conclude Joseph was a fraud, reject his teachings entirely, and will wander away to seek something else. The LDS church is the greatest, most powerful anti-Mormon organization in existence today, bar none. “For as many as heeded them had fallen away.” The mass exodus is being caused by the church itself, and not by its “enemies.” 

Let’s look some more at this strange building with no foundation:
And the large and spacious building which thy father saw is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God and Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the holy ghost beareth record from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and for ever. (1 Nephi 3:17 RE)
Note that sword of justice. It will become important in a minute. But first, let’s hear more from Nephi about our day, as well as a word or two about foundations:
And the gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and the miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. And there are many churches built up which causeth envyings, and strifes, and malice; and there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the Devil. For he is the foundation of all these things, yea, the foundation of murder and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord until he bindeth them with his strong cords for ever. (2 Nephi 11:15 RE)
It turns out that great and spacious building has a foundation after all! It’s founded on murder and works of darkness! Or in this case, on killing the prophets, 175 years ago today, then perverting their teachings to get gain.

But it won’t last.
And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded, but it is the kingdom of the Devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh. For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world and to do all manner of iniquity — yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the Devil — are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake. They are those who must be brought low in the dust, they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet. (1 Nephi 7:5 RE)
Wherefore, all those who are proud, and that do wickedly, the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, for they shall be as stubble. And they that kill the prophets and the saints, the depths of the earth shall swallow them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, and mountains shall cover them, and whirlwinds shall carry them away, and buildings shall fall upon them, and crush them to pieces, and grind them to powder. (2 Nephi 11:10 RE)
This is clearly NOT the sort of building you want to “get above you” (you know, like...floating in the air!) The cry for vengeance will eventually be heard, and the building will fall, crushing all, even the very nation, that upheld it.
And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints which shall be shed by them shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avengeth them not. Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shewn unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you — which are built up to get power and gain — and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the eternal God shall fall upon you to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you, that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or woe be unto it because of the blood of them who have been slain, for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who build it up. (Ether 3:18 RE)
Photo by Brecon Bennett
If you look closely at that last paragraph, you’ll see it is a chiasmus, reflecting that what once was, will be again, and that the destruction will certainly come. The sword of justice is the central theme, in flashing neon letters! Will you awaken to a sense of your awful situation? The blood of the murdered prophets demands vengeance! All who participate in and build up that secret combination of lies and deception will be destroyed. 

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, but this is a most serious warning. If you support such a combination with your time, money, talents, loyalty, or labor, you are participating in the conspiracy against Joseph Smith. The sword of justice hangs over you; the building will fall and grind you to powder. Flee while you yet can, and get your name off the passenger manifest of the hell-bound ship of fools. 

Harsh?

I realize this isn’t my normal tone. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t write things like this. But the cry of the blood compels me to raise the warning voice and add my witness: God will hold to account all those who have called his prophet a liar and rejected the very words of Christ sent into the world through Joseph Smith. I beg you not to make that mistake.

Years ago, I wrote that the building was burning. Today, I warn that it is falling. God’s patience, tempering his wrath for 175 years, will find its limit; the sword bathed in heaven will come down upon the wicked. If you reject the one God sent, it will fall on you. Even as the building occupants double down on claiming Christs name in vain, the condemnation of 1832 and the banishment of 1844 remain in full force. 

Killing the prophets is serious business, requiring three and four generations before God will even attempt His work again. But as awful as it is, the anti-Joseph conspiracy, then and now, isn’t the fiercest wickedness practiced by the occupants of the great and spacious building. I have one warning left to raise before this portion of the blog is complete, which I will do in my next post. 

Until then, I’ll raise my voice in crying unto heaven with the blood of the prophets, slain 175 years ago today.

And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel, then will the Father shew forth his own works in it. But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men or upon the works of the Devil, verily I say unto you, they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire from whence there is no return, for their works do follow them. For it is because of their works that they are hewn down. Therefore, remember the things that I have told you. 
—3 Nephi 12:4 RE

Thursday, June 20, 2019

September General Conference: Keeping the Covenant

The Boise Believers fellowship will be hosting a general conference September 20-22 in Boise, Idaho. The theme is Becoming one in Christ: Keeping the Covenant. Everyone is invited to attend.

Please see this website for details:



I say unto you, be one, and if you are not one, you are not mine.
—Teachings and Commandments 22:7

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Day of Fasting and Prayer to Prepare for the Temple

I was asked to post the following announcement:

Greetings brothers and sisters!

This message is reaching you today to ask you to join a general day of fasting and prayer as we, as fellow believers in Christ, seek His guidance and revelation on "preparing every needful thing" in advance of a command to build a temple. This day of fasting and prayer will be held on June 27.

Lately, Denver Snuffer has spoken on more than one occasion about the need for preparing for a temple. For example, in the podcast entitled, Temple, Part IV he said:
I do believe that when the command [to build a temple] is given, that the command to build the temple is not going to give us decades to respond. I think that when the command is given, we’re expected to act with some dispatch to accomplish what has been requested of Him. And so, I am personally grateful that there is no command out there at present to do so, because I don’t know how we would accomplish it. We’re not supposed to do it in haste, but we’re supposed to prepare every needful thing. And preparing every needful thing— we might be in a time when it’s far more convenient to accomplish it now than it will be later, under more pressing circumstances.
This appears to mean not just to save money (and it certainly means that), but also to literally prepare. But, prepare what? In the absence of a command to actually build or construct a temple, how can we know what to prepare?

Perhaps guidance can be had in the answer the Lord gave us regarding the Guide and Standard that was presented for his acceptance: "What have you learned? What ought you to have learned?" These questions are followed by a parable. Interestingly the parable is framed from the standpoint of constructing a "house" for a "master." How often have we heard the temple described as the "House of the Lord," or a "house" where our "master" can come, dwell and teach us?

In the parable, we learn that the very first thing that the servants did, when commanded to build the house, was to divide into groups that "reasoned among themselves" how to solve several obvious obstacles to the construction of the house. Some gathered, some hastened, some bickered and quarreled. Eventually the house was completed, and the efforts of all were honored by the master. However, he did chastise them, and it seems that the master was telling his servants that the effort was far more difficult than it needed to be: "There is but need for one house," said the master. "When I ask you to labor, do so wisely."

How can we be "wise?" According to the Glossary in our new scriptures, "Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge. Nothing in this world is more desirable than acquiring wisdom--understanding and putting knowledge to wise use. Zion will require the wisdom to use pure knowledge in meekness, humility and charity."

The same Glossary states the definition of "Knowledge" simply: "To have been visited by the Lord."

In the parable referenced above appears a reference to our future need to construct a temple. It is possible that the lesson we ought to have learned is not to reason among ourselves in splintered groups, making the task much harder than it ought to be. Perhaps what the lesson we ought to have learned is to seek knowledge first. To ask, as a people, the Lord about what he would have us do. Without knowledge, we cannot act wisely.

Let us, as a people, come together, and ask the Lord, in fasting and prayer, what it is he would have us prepare while we are in a season where we can make preparations? While we can prepare the needful things? Please join us as we hold a general fast and prayer day, in which we express our united desire to prepare every needful thing, and ask the Lord identify for us, be it as individuals or through his servant Denver Snuffer, what He would have us do.

Love and Blessings to you all!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Joseph Smith Restoration Conference Recordings

The recordings of the 2019 Joseph Smith Restoration Conference are now available. The conference was a wonderful event, and I was very pleased to attend. There was a palpable spirit of unity and acceptance among all the attendees. Enjoy!



Thursday, June 13, 2019

Be Ye Kind Youth Conference

I've been asked by the conference organizers to post the following announcement, as well as a request for registrations. If you're going to attend, please register right away. The organizers need an accurate headcount to complete their preparations.


Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even for Christ's sake God hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 1:12 RE)

Dear Restoration Youth,

As the hearts of those in this world continue to grow colder, as we were told would happen in the Last Days, it is more important than ever to be kind to ourselves, and to others. Christ’s example is one of forgiveness, charity, love and encouragement. We are all seeking to be more like our Savior, but at times, being kind can be difficult. In a world where we interact with our family, friends and peers every day, it’s easy to forget how to be kind when we feel justified in our anger.

Luckily, there are skills we can each learn that will help us be kind, even when it’s hard. At the Be Ye Kind Youth Conference, we’ll focus on developing a culture of Zion, which is one of kindness. You’ll have the opportunity to make new friends and connections with other youth your age and participate in fun activities. Saturday events will include a workshop that will explore the 3 main principles of kindness, fun water activities, and a delicious meal/dessert. Sunday events will be centered around service and sacrament. We’ll end the conference with a potluck dinner and a family dance open to all. We look forward to seeing you, and to a great weekend together!

When: 
  • Saturday, August 3rd: 9:00 AM-7:30 PM 
  • Sunday, August 4th: 10:00 AM-9:00 PM (potluck at 5:00 followed by the dance)

Where: Barker Family Park, 2900 N 1000 W, Ogden, UT 84414

Who: All Restoration youth ages 12-18

Registration: Cost is free. Please visit https://www.beyekindyc2019.com to register.

Schedule: The full conference schedule is available at the conference website: https://www.beyekindyc2019.com

Things to Bring:
  • Sack lunch (both days)
  • Notebook or journal
  • Sunscreen/hat
  • Bug repellent
  • Camp chair
  • A t-shirt and shorts that can get wet (Saturday only)
  • Towel (for drying off after water games)
  • Water bottle

More Volunteers Needed!

The youth conference organizers are looking for more adult volunteers to make this event a success. If you have any availability to help during either Saturday or Sunday, please reach out to the conference organizers at beyekindyc2019@gmail.com. Thank you for your kindness and help!

-The Planning Committee

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How Long? Part 7: It’s Happening

I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God has wrought toward me. How great are his signs, and how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
— Daniel 4:1 RE

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

I started this series of posts to discuss the fervent desire we all have, to see the Lord’s work progressing and the prophecies fulfilled. In this series, we’ve considered things that may be holding back our progress, and we’ve discussed important things we need to do.

To wrap up this series, I want to take a look at where we are, what’s going on, and what we should expect. In doing so, I hope to perhaps offer a better perspective so that we, individually and as a community, can exercise greater faith.

In part one of this series, I said the following:
Tremendous things have happened, and many of us hope more will happen soon. Look at all that has come in a few short years: The gospel taught with clarity and power; a new dispensation with renewal of baptism and worship; new scripture giving us the most accurate accumulation of Christ’s words to date; a covenant established by God; new words from Jesus Christ and John; incredible light and knowledge pouring forth; thousands awakening and arising. These are tremendous blessings, which ought to fill us with gratitude.
I want to add one more bit of clarity to the above thought. This from Denver Snuffer:
Mankind is approaching the moment in which the Lord is about to return (see Matthew 11). All of the signs that He speaks of will occur in one single generation, and the signs have begun to appear. This means those now alive are living within a generation in which a great deal is to occur. As it was in the days of Noah, so is it about to be — on the one hand, dreadful things are coming; but it also means that prophets are again going to be among man, people with messages that come from the Lord. (500th Year Reformation Talk One, 9, Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 21, 2017, emphasis mine.) See also “Signs of the Times” in the Glossary of Terms
Total Solar Eclipse 21 August, 2017
Did you get that? The signs have begun, and will be completed in a single generation. We have slipped over the horizon into the unavoidable completion of the Father’s work and the Lord’s return. It is underway and cannot be stopped. The remaining question therefore, is not whether the prophesied events will happen in this generation, but rather, who will be involved in bringing them about. Will you? Will I? That’s entirely up to us. Each of us must choose, and the time for choosing is now.

Signs, you say?

Given that the signs have begun, it’s reasonable to ask, “What signs?” Here are a few I’ve mentioned over the years:

Blood Moons
Gaining Light
Show of Force

Here’s a must-read from John Pratt:

Kingdom of God Born

And here are a few more great reads over at Bare Record of Truth:

Great American Eclipse
Four Destructive Forces 
End Time? 
Return to Light 
Super Full Blue and Blood Moon 
3rd Month, 3rd Day, 3rd Hour and 3 Birds

I’ve found all these signs absolutely delightful and awe inspiring. But amazing as they have been, perhaps the most cosmically significant event that has taken place thus far in the ongoing restoration, is the Lord’s offer of a covenant and its acceptance by several hundred willing souls. This event is a milestone in the Father’s marvelous work, as outlined by Jesus Christ:
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)
This last labor in the vineyard, this marvelous work now underway, has begun among the gentiles, just as prophesied:
The Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the gentiles which shall be of great worth unto our seed…And it shall also be of worth unto the gentiles, and not only unto the gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of Heaven unto Abraham, saying, In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed…wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel. (1 Nephi 7:3 RE)
The restoration of this covenant and its acceptance by some few gentiles means the Lord now has an active, living covenant people again on the earth. This milestone of the marvelous work was heralded by signs in the heavens above and in the earth beneath. Take a look at this remarkable timeline put together by Vaughn Hughes.

As impressive as these signs are, though, it’s important to remember that signs follow faith, but do not produce it. I think the fact that signs come by faith is best illustrated by the chain of events leading up to the covenant.

The process started many years ago with the beginning of the Joseph Smith papers project, but we’ll pick it up more recently, when a few independent individuals and small groups recognized the need for a more accurate collection of scripture and began working toward that end without knowledge of each others’ efforts. These individuals and groups worked for months, even years, before two groups finally announced their work within a week of one another in December, 2016. 

When these two groups found they had been working on parallel projects, they decided to join forces and compare notes. Soon others joined, and what had been a small, private effort turned into a much more extensive group effort to recover the most correct collection of  scripture possible.

This effort caught the attention of heaven, and rightly so. Such a thing had not happened since the days of Joseph Smith, and not on this scale since the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon. Heaven took notice when believers on earth valued scripture enough to act in faith and sacrifice, to seek to recover what was lost. 

The effort, of course, encountered opposition from fools and knaves, but it also found support among believers who valued the Lord’s words enough to seek all of them that could be obtained—including a wholesale recovery of the written testimony of John the Beloved. The work continued for many months, encompassing many thousands of hours of combined effort. 

Meanwhile, another man had listened to the voice of inspiration years before and secured the scriptures.info web domain, thus providing a suitable location for the new scriptures to find their electronic home.

As all this activity, effort, and sacrifice drew toward completion, Denver Snuffer came to realize a prayer for acceptance of the effort by the Lord would be necessary. He attempted to write such a prayer, but ultimately the Lord gave the revelation known as the “Prayer for Covenant.”



Shortly thereafter, the Lord answered the prayer and offered his covenant to the body of believers. Some labored together to organize a conference for the purpose of accepting and canonizing the new scripture effort, and enter into the covenant with the Lord. This occasion would also mark the first time any body of believers accepted the Book of Mormon by covenant. The scripture project itself is a sign that the Lord is again laboring in the vineyard.


The day the scriptures were canonized, a different kind of labor began, 260 miles to the East, as the earth shook, touching off a swarm of earthquakes leading up to a great sign in the heavens, 20 days later. 
And the woman, being with child, cried, travailing in birth and pained to be delivered. And she brought forth a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God and his throne…the woman—who was the church of God—who had been delivered of her pains and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ. (Revelation 4:1, 3 RE)
These immense signs, signifying events prophesied for thousands of years, came AFTER all the required faith, labor and sacrifice were present and completed. They confirmed the faith of those who paid attention, and meant nothing to those who did not.
Signs, wonders, types, and shadows are nothing if they fail to get mankind to look at the underlying reasons for them. They are not the real thing. They merely point to the real thing; for that, it is left between each individual and the Lord. Some few will see it as it really is. They will not be limited by the failures of the generation they live in. (Glossary: Law of Moses)
What About Now?

And now, this brings us back to current events, and what is now happening. My purpose isn’t merely to draw your attention to past signs. Rather, I hope to draw your attention to the LACK of signs in the current, day-to-day labor of seeking to become fit for a new kind of civilization. It’s possible—even tempting—to find discouragement in the apparent lack of new signs and wonders as we all labor to do and be what is required. Some have, and some yet will, conclude this effort is not the Lord’s, and will not lead to the hoped-for conclusion. Faith and patience are difficult, whereas our worldly culture has taught us to seek immediate gratification. 

Remember, faithful labor and sacrifice took place for YEARS—unheralded, unrecognized, quietly and in private, among numerous believers—before public signs and wonders confirmed the outcome of all that faithful labor, culminating in the covenant. Some concluded, during the intervening years, that nothing was happening, and that whatever efforts took place must therefore be misguided. They insisted on signs before they would believe. They were wrong. 

So Here’s my Point:

Much more is coming, and is, in fact, now underway. Just like the events leading up to the covenant, things are now happening behind the scenes—unheralded, unrecognized, unknown to nearly all, but privately recorded in journals and in the hearts of believers. The Lord’s work continues at an astonishing pace. It WILL all happen in this very generation. Signs have, do, and will follow these efforts, many of which are, and will remain, unknown to the general body of believers, but are most certainly directed by the Lord, whose timing is exquisite and perfect. Therefore, when the time is right, some things will be more public. But until then, we must continue in faith and patience, trusting the Lord is able to do his work and knows precisely how to do it.

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming “nothing is happening,” but instead rejoice at all that has happened thus far, and practice faith in the Lord that he will yet fulfill all his promises. If we wish to witness the ongoing marvelous work, the most important things we can do are humble ourselves, repent, faithfully do what the Lord has asked, and continually ask “What lack I yet?”

Consider where you were and what you believed ten years ago. And five years ago. And even last year. Could you have ever anticipated this? By small and simple means are great things brought to pass. Expect the unexpected. 


Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel.
—1 Nephi 7:3 RE

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Restoration Conference 2019


What Unites Us is Greater Than What Divides Us

Date: Saturday June 8, 2019
Location: Boise, Idaho

To all Restoration Branches:

We are delighted to invite all churches, branches, and groups everywhere, with ties to the original restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, to participate in a gathering to promote understanding and fellowship.

This conference is open to all people who rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus Christ restored through Joseph Smith. We, a group of fellow believers in Boise, are hosting this one-day conference, and inviting speakers from all the various groups who wish to participate. The purpose is not to evangelize or convert one another, but rather to understand one another and seek common ground. We will also worship through hymns and music, and a fellowshipping potluck dinner after the conference at a local park.

Schedule:

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM Music and Speakers
12:30-1:30 Lunch Break
1:30-5:30 Music and Speakers
6:00 Potluck Dinner

We look forward to increased understanding and friendship between the various groups, based on our shared beliefs. We'll see you June 8th!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Oops--Makeup Vote

There's an important note over at the Scriptures Project site, regarding a vote that somehow got missed. Please take a moment to read the note and read T&C Section 174 so in preparation for voting next week.

Read the Note at This Link

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How Long? Part 6: Commanded

Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required.
—T&C 157:56
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Now that we’ve examined a couple of the Lord’s gentle invitations to us, let’s turn attention to the marvelous revelation commonly called “Answer to Prayer for Covenant,” now found in T&C 157 and 158. In this document the Lord offers an immense amount of counsel, advice and reproof. In terms of sheer volume, the last revelation I can think of that gave this much direct instruction is the Sermon on the Mount, or the Sermon at Bountiful.

Take a look at these statements:

  • For you to unite I must admonish and instruct you 
  • Wisdom counsels mankind to align their words with their hearts
  • I speak these words to reprove you that you may learn, not to upbraid you so that you mourn. I want my people to have understanding. 
  • I desire to heal you from an awful state of blindness so that you may see clearly my will, to do it 
  • Can you not see that your works fall short of the beliefs you profess? 

Notice the mercy of our Lord as he instructs us. By rights he could thunder down commandments upon us with a voice to shake mountains, but instead he patiently, kindly explains his need to teach us, and as the master teacher, he takes upon himself responsibility for our understanding.

An analysis of the revelation shows a hierarchy in the sorts of statements the Lord makes. He offers explanations and instructions to teach us, gives imperative statements telling us what we must do, and issues direct commandments. Commandments are, of course, the most forceful statements, carrying an additional weight of condemnation for those who do not obey. 



The balance between statement types in this revelation indicates the Lord’s preference to teach, instruct, inform, and correct—rather than command and condemn. As he stated:

I have given to you my doctrine, and have also revealed teachings, commandments, precepts, and principles to guide you, and it is not meet that I command you in all things — reason together and apply what I have given you, and it will be enough. (T&C 157:45)

Let’s examine our Lord’s words, grouped by types of statements.

Imperatives

Here are some of the imperative statements the Lord made, directly telling us what we must do, and often coupled with a principle to be understood.

  • Repent, therefore, like Peter and end your unkind and untrue accusations against one another, and make peace
  • Each of you must equally walk truly in my path, not only to profess, but also to do as you profess 
  • All must come unto me or they cannot be saved
  • But remember that without the fruit of repentance, and a broken heart and a contrite spirit, you cannot keep my covenant; for I, your Lord, am meek and lowly of heart. Be like me. 
  • Forgive one another. Be tender with one another, pursue judgment, bless the oppressed, care for the orphan, and uplift the widow in her need for I have redeemed you from being orphaned and taken you that you are no longer a widowed people. Rejoice in me, and rejoice with your brethren and sisters who are mine also. Be one. 
  • I descended below it all, and know the sorrows of you all, and have borne the grief of it all and I say to you, Do my works and you will know my doctrine
  • Flee from the cares and longings that belong to Babylon, obtain a new heart 
  • Let not your hearts remain divided from one another and divided from me
  • Be of one heart, and regard one another with charity. Measure your words before giving voice to them, and consider the hearts of others
  • Study to learn how to respect your brothers and sisters and to come together by precept, reason and persuasion rather than sharply disputing and wrongly condemning each other, causing anger. Take care how you invoke my name
  • 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
  • Do not murmur saying, Too much has been required at our hands in too short a time
  • Receive my covenant and abide in it
  • But again I say, Judge not others except by the rule you want used to weigh yourself
  • Let your pride, and your envy, and your fears depart from you
  • Cry peace. Proclaim my words. Invite those who will repent to be baptized and forgiven, and they shall obtain my Spirit to guide them. The time is short and I come quickly, therefore open your mouths and warn others to flee the wrath which is to come as men in anger destroy one another
  • Be comforted, be of good cheer, rejoice, and look up 
  • Teach your children to honor me
  • Seek to recover the lost sheep remnant of this land and of Israel and no longer forsake them. Bring them unto me and teach them of my ways, to walk in them
  • Labor with me and do not forsake my covenant to perform it
  • Study my words and let them be the standard for your faith 
  • Love one another 

Wow, that’s quite a list, but I find it absolutely beautiful. Our Lord, who is meek and lowly of heart, uses persuasion and kindness to instruct us, hoping we will deduce correct behavior on our own. He avoids harsh commandments, choosing instead to plead and teach. 

Expansions

    Next, let’s examine three “expansion” statements, wherein the Lord starts with a true principle and expands it to a more comprehensive understanding

    • It is not enough to receive my covenant, but you must also abide it.
    • 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. 

    Do these remind you of the Sermon on the Mount? “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time…but I say unto you…” 

    Promises 

    In our next category, we have conditional promises, teaching the results of doing what the Lord asks:

    • If you take upon you my covenant, you must abide it as a people to gain what I promise 
    • Come to me and I will make sins as scarlet become white as snow, and I will make you stand boldly before me, confident of my love.
    • If you return good for evil you will cleanse yourself and know the joy of your Master. 

    My People

    Next, we should look at several of the Lord’s statements concerning those he claims as “his people.” (emphasis mine:)

    • Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required. 
    • If you will hearken to my words I will make you my people and my words will give you peace. 
    • Repent and bring forth fruit showing repentance, and I will establish my covenant with you and claim you as mine. 
    • 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.
    • All you who have turned from your wicked ways and repented of your evil doings, of lying and deceiving, and of all whoredoms, and of secret abominations, idolatries, murders, priestcrafts, envying, and strife, and from all wickedness and abominations, and have come unto me, and been baptized in my name, and have received a remission of your sins, and received the Holy Ghost, are now numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.

    Commandments

    Now, having examined the above teachings, promises, and instructions, we notice the conspicuous absence of commandments, or to be more precise, the absence of statements directly expressed as commandments. To me, this indicates two things. 

    First, we’re not there yet. Commandments are a blessing to those who will obey them, but a cursing to those who will not. Our Lord seeks to bless, not curse, which means the absence of commandments reveals much about our spiritual development. The Lord said this about those who come to Zion:
    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 its 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. (T&C 46:1)

    The second thing I take from the lack of commandment statements is our Lord’s desire to teach us correct principles in hopes that we will govern ourselves. If he has to command our behavior regarding basic principles, we are clearly not prepared for higher commands to do things like gather to a holy city. We ought to take this opportunity to demonstrate our ability to internalize his teachings and govern ourselves. 

    And finally, having examined all the other types of statements, let’s look at the only two that the Lord actually expresses as commands. Given the scarcity of this sort of language in this lengthy revelation, we should take excruciatingly careful notice of these items—always remembering that commandments bring into sharp relief the difference between cursings and blessings. Commandments come with consequences. 
    So I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you.
    In the events surrounding the Lord’s requirement that we write a statement of principles, much improper behavior was manifest. A fair bit of the teaching and instruction in this revelation sprang from the obvious deficiencies in our behavior as a group who claims to be his. So after teaching extensively, the Lord let us know how far we had tested his patience when he issued this direct command to behave properly. Frankly, it reminds me of how I’ve sometimes had to deal with squabbling children. “Can’t you just be nice to each other?” usually followed by, “Do you want me to stop this car?”

    The Lord expresses his other commandment more subtly, and by so doing, demonstrates his brilliance. Here it is (emphasis mine):
    Whenever I have people who are mine, I command them to build a house, a holy habitation, a sacred place where my presence can dwell, or where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister, because it is in such a place that it has been ordained to recover you, establish by my word and my oath your marriages, and endow my people with knowledge from on high that will unfold to you the mysteries of godliness, instruct you in my ways, that you may walk in my path. And all the outcasts of Israel will I gather to my house, and the jealousy of Ephraim and Judah will end. Ephraim will not envy Judah and Judah will not provoke Ephraim.
    Notice three things. First, when the Lord has a people he claims as his own, he always commands them to build a temple. “Whenever” is all inclusive. Therefore, if we are indeed “his people” then we are commanded to build a temple. It’s that simple. The only way to avoid this commandment is to not be “his.”

    Second, notice the Lord’s extensive explanation about why a temple must be built, and what he intends to do there. He doesn’t simply demand a house, but rather offers immense blessings through its functions. The temple is NOT for him, though it will be his. The temple is, in the end, for us. Did you notice that list of promised blessings? 

    • A sacred place where my presence can dwell
    • Where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister
    • [Where I can] recover you
    • Establish by my word and my oath your marriages
    • Endow my people with knowledge from on high that will unfold to you the mysteries of godliness
    • Instruct you in my ways, that you may walk in my path

    If we truly understood and appreciated the full implications of what the Lord offers, we would view this command with very different eyes. 

    And third, notice that the Lord speaks of this commandment as an established condition, to inform us it is indeed required of us. “Whenever I have people who are mine, I command them to build a house.” He does not give the time, date, location, etc., leaving those specifics for the future. This is brilliant on his part, because once he provides those particulars, the clock starts and it’s do or die time. Literally. Such conditions accompanied the command to build the Nauvoo temple, and it turns out the clock was set for 1255 days, or just under three and a half years. Those days expired with the neglected temple incomplete, the Saints scattered, and the accompanying curses lasting to the third and fourth generation. Such will be our fate if we similarly fail.

    When the detailed command comes to us (and it will), the clock will start and we must succeed or be destroyed. Such dire circumstances may motivate many of us to action, but perhaps too late to accomplish what is required. Therefore the Lord shows exceeding mercy by informing us of this commandment without yet attaching the particulars. This gives us extra time to prepare—if we are wise enough to do so. 

    Not Yet Commanded?

    Sometimes we speak of a future point, “when the command comes to build a temple,” expressing ways in which we will change and behave at that point. When the temple fund was established more than two years ago, to begin gathering funds in preparation for the project, some opposed the very existence of the fund, based on the objection, “we have not been commanded to build a temple!” The corollary to that statement was usually along the lines of, “When there’s an actual command, then I’ll donate. Until then, I see no reason to so so.” Other criticisms of the effort generally followed as well. 

    I hope you see where this is going. We have an actual command. All who received the covenant in September, 2017 and since, are now, currently, at this moment, under command to build the temple. It is only the Lord’s mercy that has prevented the clock from starting. If we are not engaged in that effort, we are failing to keep the covenant.

    So what should this mean for us? Let’s go back to our lesson from my last post on deductive and inductive reasoning. Here’s the chain of deductions I apply to myself:

    General principle: The Lord’s people are always commanded to build a temple. 

    Specific application: I made a covenant to be included among his people. Therefore I am commanded to build a temple. Building a temple will require a substantial amount of money, even before the site and other particulars are known. Gathering substantial money will take time. Therefore, I should use the time available to donate all the money I can and prepare for the time when the particulars are given. 

    The next logical step tells me that gathering and donating funds will require sacrifice on my part. This is good news, because this is the only means by which I can gain faith: 
    Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. For from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy Eternal life, and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do His will, he does know most assuredly that God does and will accept his sacrifice & offering, and that he has not nor will not seek His face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on Eternal life. (Lectures on Faith 6:7)
    Once the temple particulars are given, the clock will start and both blessings and cursings will hang in the balance. Before that happens, we should do all we can to be ready. If we fail to prepare now, the sacrifice required to hurriedly prepare under threat of condemnation may prove too sore a trial for us to complete. Therefore, those who consider themselves the Lord’s people, should be sacrificing NOW to amass the funds necessary while there’s yet time to do so. 

    This is one of those “anxiously engaged in a good cause” moments. NOW is the time for sacrifice and preparation. NOW is the time to show our understanding and acceptance of true principles. Will we allow ourselves to be guided by gentle nudges, or will we require thundering commands to rain down upon us like fire and brimstone, to our likely condemnation? 

    The choice is ours. Time is limited. It ALL hangs in the balance.


    I will visit my house, which the remnant of my people shall build, and I will dwell therein, to be among you, and no one will need to say, Know ye the Lord, for you all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 
    —T&C 158:15 (emphasis mine)



    Postscript: For more information about the temple, I highly recommend reviewing Denver Snuffers temple podcast series that begins here: Temple, Part 1

    And his blog post: Why a Temple?

    And my blog post series that begins here: The Temple, Part 1: House of Glory