Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Master’s Houses

All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitudes in parables, and without a parable spoke he not unto them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

—Matthew 7:8 RE

Christ’s parables reveal and conceal, teach and train, uplift and upbraid, all with the purpose of helping us repent and come unto him. Each has lessons for each of us and personal applications. They can be wonderful keys to self-awareness.

In the parable of the sower, our Lord gave four locations in which seed landed when sown by the sower, together with the outcomes for each location. Unable to grasp the meaning of what the Lord had given, the disciples asked him why he spoke in parables. He replied as follows:

Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given; for whoever receives, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever continues not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he has. Therefore, I speak to them in parables because they seeing, see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning them, which says, By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 7:2 RE)

This statement from our Lord makes it clear the parable is a tool with at least three functions:

  1. To reveal truth to those willing to receive and act on it.
  2. To conceal truth from those who are unwilling to receive, understand or act on it. 
  3. To divide those who will receive and those who will not.

The Lord then continues, speaking specifically to his disciples: 

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. And blessed are you because these things have come unto you that you might understand them. (Matthew 7:3 RE)

These disciples had recognized and followed the Lord when others had not. They recognized his words as originating from a divine source. They were his sheep because they heard and recognized his voice. They fit the definition of righteousness in that they received and obeyed the Lord’s word, even when apparently issued from a Galilean carpenter’s son. 

Christ next explained to them the parable of the sower, noting that the four locations for the seed represented four types of people, categorized by the way they received the word. Given his immediately previous explanation of those who receive and those who do not, this expansion of the parable can be seen as a further clarification regarding those who do and do not receive the word. Simply put, some receive the word in the beginning but for various reasons never become fruitful. And among those who do produce fruit, there are marked differences in the quantity. 

It’s interesting, I suppose, to read the parable and its explanation, then move onto the next one. But is this all our Lord intended? Wouldn’t it be far more profitable to do some introspection and soul searching as a result of this parable? Wouldn’t it be useful to consider carefully which group you fit into, and what evidence says so? Ultimately, will pondering and prayer make this parable a tremendous boon to self-awareness and understanding? 

It’s natural to think oneself in the group that bears fruit—even prolifically. But my own consideration of the parable convinces me I am in some ways the wayside, the stony places, and the thorns. I don’t know that I can point to any fruit worthy to be laid up agains the season. (See Jacob 3 RE). The parable hits a bit too close to home for comfort. 

I don’t fit neatly into any single one of the categories. All are instructive to me and help me to be more aware of my faults and needed improvements. 

The Master’s House

I’d like to suggest we give the same sort of consideration to the Parable of the Master’s House. But first some background. As you probably recall, when the Lots statement of principles was completed and taken to the Lord for his approval, several remarkable things happened.

  1. The Lord gave an extended and detailed parable for us to consider, now commonly called the Parable of the Master’s House.
  2. He accepted the Lots statement.
  3. He approved the Lots statement to be added to the scriptures. 
  4. He gave important counsel to us all regarding how we treat one another. (See T&C 176)
  5. Then, six months later, he approved the scriptures containing the statement and claimed them as his own in a seven-fold declaration. At that point he took possession of the scriptures, including the Lots statement, as his own word. (See T&C 177)

Each of the above is very significant (as are all the Lord’s acts and pronouncements.) For all the difficulties and troubles encountered in the process of creating the Lots statement, for all the hurt feelings, pride, penitence, tears, trials and trouble, the fact that the Lord accepted and approved it is remarkable and significant. He claimed the scriptures as his own, including the Lots statement, in the following language:

These scriptures are sent forth to be my warning to the world, my comfort to the faithful, my counsel to the meek, my reproof to the proud, my rebuke to the contentious, and my condemnation of the wicked. They are my invitation to all mankind to flee from corruption, repent and be baptized in my name, and prepare for the coming judgment. (T&C 177:3)

Naturally, the process of arriving at and creating the Lots statement could have and should have gone better. But with the Lord’s acceptance, approval, and taking of ownership of the statement, he brought the effort to a close and encouraged us to reflect and improve. 

The parable of the Master’s House begins and ends with two questions: What have you learned? and What ought you to have learned? As an aid to considering these two questions, the Lord gives a parable tracing the story of three groups who responded to the Master’s command to build a house: The  wood workers, the brick makers, and the stone haulers.

The wood workers interpreted the command to build a house in a place where there was no stone to mean there must be trees, and they therefore brought woodworking tools and hastened to the site. When they found there were no trees, they returned and joined the stone haulers. Interestingly, they attempted to dissuade the brick makers from even going to the site, insisting that hauling stone must be the right approach.

The brick makers were not deterred and arrived at the site with no pre-conceived notions of how the house would be built. They simply obeyed and went to the site the Lord had chosen. Upon finding nothing with which to build the house, rather than abandoning the site and joining the stone effort, they considered the Lord’s command and placed trust in him that he chose the right place. Upon clearing brush and dirt to prepare for construction, they encountered clay with which to make bricks and they started building. 

The stone haulers decided that the Lord’s command to build a house in a place where there was no stone implied they must bring their own stones with them. They commenced the arduous and backbreaking process of hauling stones the long distance to the site. The wood workers, having found no trees, soon joined them in hauling stone. 

When the brick makers discovered the clay and began to build the master’s House, they sent messengers to the stone haulers to come join the effort underway. 

They said, Come now quickly with us, for we have found clay to make bricks at the place the master has chosen, and with you we can accomplish what the master commanded. Many were willing, and some were offended, and some wanted to stop all effort, and return to their master and tell him his command was too great. They argued among themselves, and for a moment forgot their master’s command, and forgot those who were laboring to make bricks from clay at the place the master had chosen.

After a season of quarreling and disputing, some said, We have neglected our master’s command long enough. We go to help make bricks of clay to build our master’s house at the place he has commanded. Seeing some depart, those who remained called for all to reason together because the labor was hard and the loss of even a few made moving stones even more difficult. Soon, many others went to join in making bricks. A few others returned to complain to the master. Another few continued to move the stones with little hope to complete their labor to build their master a stone house such as he had before. (T&C 176:8-9)

Here are some observations to consider:

All three groups started with good intentions and potentially workable approaches. But like the parable of the sower, we find further divisions among the stone haulers when they heard the news that the solution had been found and construction was underway and had started without their stone.

  • Many were willing to accept the brick approach, and joined the effort.
  • Some were offended, which really makes me question why. I’m left to assume they were so invested in their approach that hearing of another approach that was actually successful caused them to be offended, rather than glad. I therefore conclude they were more devoted to the approach they had chosen than they were to seeing the house built. They were more invested in being right than being obedient. 
  • Some wanted to stop all effort (including the actual construction on the house) and return to complain to the master. This is curious to me because there was an effort that was actually succeeding. Therefore the complaint that the command was too great was patently false. These folks wanted to lie to the master and prevent anyone from succeeding if it was not done their way. They literally wanted to halt the master’s work and actively work against it. They were, in this sense, anti-master.
  • Naturally, arguments ensued, which were not productive at all. The quarreling and disputing did nothing to advance the master’s work, and only wasted everyone’s time while neglecting the master’s command. Disputation is never productive.
  • Finally, some tired of disputing and decided to withdraw from disputing and instead assist in the successful labor. 
  • Of the remaining stone haulers, some went to complain to the master, and some kept up the doomed stone moving effort despite the fact that the house was being built without them. It appears they were more devoted to moving stone for the sake of moving stone than they were to keeping the master’s commandment. 
  • Ultimately some of this group were so stubborn and insistent on hauling stone, that they were found still dragging their stones along after the house was completed and the master’s command was satisfied! Naturally there is no logic to these actions, and we are left to conclude they were simply too invested in hauling stone to care about anything else. 
  • The servants who had completed the house took up a new labor with the stones to pave the road leading to the house, so the labor of the stone haulers was not lost. The master praised the effort and accepted the house and the road. 
  • Ultimately, the stone effort, though not contributing to the house at all, did serve to pave the way for people coming to the master’s house. In this way, it was a blessing to others.

OK, with all that to consider, we’re left asking where we each fit into the parable. Here are some general observations:

  1. There were many approaches attempted to fulfill the Lord’s command in the Statement of Principles project. Each had its proponents and its detractors. Some insisted there must be only one way and if theirs was was not adopted by everyone they would attempt to shut down the project and prevent anyone from succeeding. 
  2. Some, upon learning their approach was not getting traction, insisted that all work must STOP immediately so we could complain to the Lord. Literally.
  3. Ultimately a successful approach was found and many joined in supporting it. This does not diminish the other approaches in any way, as there was honor in all of the labor by all of the groups. Really the method was never the problem; rather the issue was all our hearts. 
  4. Some refused to join the successful approach or accept it upon completion, finding fault with the method used or the content of the outcome. Some continued hauling stones, so to speak. 
  5. And yet, the Lord finds honor in all who labored faithfully, even in hauling stone rather than building the house. 
  6. The challenge we all face is how to take those efforts that ultimately didn’t reach completion (stones) and use them in a positive way to pave the road to the master’s house. The Lord urged us to see honor in the work of others. To me, this means that all the efforts were valuable and instructive, and can pave the way for our ascent to the master’s house if we will use them in that way. But to do so, they must be laid down and considered without attachment. You can’t pave with stones you aren’t willing to lay down.

Like the parable of the sower, I see myself reflected in the various groups. In some ways I was a stone hauler, in some ways I was a wood worker, and in some ways I was a brick maker. I believe everyone involved likewise fits multiple categories. I’m specifically not pointing the finger at anyone and placing them into any category or another. That is an exercise for each of us to do on our own, privately weighing our own hearts, with the Lord’s help. 

Since there is need for but one house, if that house is the Statement of Principles, that project is finished. There is not need for another, nor need for ongoing work on what the Lord has already accepted, approved, and claimed as his own. In that sense, the house is completed and accepted, and we should celebrate having completed the master’s command.

On the other hand, if the parable also has application to the actual Master’s House, meaning the temple to be built, then the parable takes on whole new levels of meaning we should consider. 

The Master’s House

Today, March 1, 2023, is a significant date. It marks the conclusion of 40 years of ministry for Denver Snuffer, whose ministry began on March 1, 1983. The number 40 is significant enough, often being associated with testing, trial  or probation, and with new beginnings and change at the conclusion of the 40-unit period. For example, the children of Israel wandered for 40 years in the desert, and at the conclusion of that period, experienced a new beginning in the promised land. Christ fasted for 40 days, and at the conclusion of that period began his public ministry. 

It’s reasonable to expect change, perhaps a new beginning, at the conclusion of this 40-year period. Will the Lord look upon his covenant people and find a people who choose to not dispute? People who love one another and labor willingly alongside each other? People sufficiently humble and prepared to build the Master’s House? 

Starting tonight, and going into tomorrow morning, March 2nd, Jupiter and Venus will experience a conjunction. These are the two brightest lights (other than the moon) in the night sky. They represent the divine masculine and the divine feminine, whose union is the root of all creation and new beginnings. This is the third major celestial event involving Jupiter since the 2017 sign of the woman announced the birth of God’s kingdom and the renewal of the Lord’s covenant. I believe such a sign overhead on the first day after the 40 year completion is highly significant and holds forth the possibility of a new beginning in the Lord’s work now underway. 

But the road to the Master’s House must first be paved with the stones we no longer care to haul. We must be willing to lay them down—all of them—to free our hearts and minds for a greater work. For me, at least, this involves laying down our disputes, contentions, hurt feelings, pride, ambition, fears and sorrows left over from the Statement of Principles project, considering it closed and completed, and allowing it to pave the way to something much greater. 

Make no mistake—disputes only last as long as there is someone willing to dispute. It is a choice, and we can choose to lay those stones down, to forgive, love, and move forward together in peace. I believe the time to do that is now. Today. Not tomorrow, or next week, or next year. We may well miss the opportunity of a lifetime because we’re still hauling stones instead of building the Master’s House. In the parable, there is a sharp demarcation drawn showing we can’t do both, and we must decide which we value more. 

I pray we will value the Master’s House more than hauling stones. I pray we will all take time today for introspection, consideration of the Lords word, repentance, forgiveness, and pleading to heaven that we might be found worthy servants to build something much greater than a paved road.

The more one contends with others the more he is taken captive by the spirit of contention. Everyone becomes subject to the spirit they submit to follow. Those who are prone to contention become more contentious as they listen to that spirit. Eventually they are overcome by that spirit, and it is a great work involving great effort to subdue and dismiss that spirit from the heart and mind of the victim. There are many who dispute the inspiration others have received. There are two concerns with the decision a good person makes to dispute with others: First, the Lord’s example is to refrain from disputing, as He did. When confronted, He would respond, but He did not go about picking a fight with others…

Second, the Lord has given the Doctrine of Christ in scripture. Just before the Doctrine of Christ, He says what His doctrine is not: Neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there hath hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who is the father of contention; and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another, but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (3 Nephi 5:8). And then He proceeds to declare His doctrine of Christ. The more contention and disputation there is with one another, the better the people become at contention. Rhetorical skills are polished. That spirit of contention can take possession, and when it does, one is hard-pressed to be a peacemaker with others. 

—Glossary, “Contention” 

And I give you these commandments because of the disputations which have been among you. And blessed are ye if ye have no disputations among you. 

—3 Nephi 8:9 RE


  1. Mutual agreement was never reached, therefore the commandment was not completed. From T&C 157:55:
    "But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, for if you cannot do so, you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands."

    What are we not able to accomplish because we didn't reach mutual agreement? Those who point to it being completed like to point to things that come afterward, but that explanation would mean the Lord changed His mind and didn't require what He originally commanded. This is the same type of justification the LDS use in the face of D&C 124.

    Sure we have a document but we didn't get mutual agreement.

    This article was much more well reasoned than the last one but it doesn't address a dangling unfulfilled commandment.

  2. Forgot to sign my name to the last comment.

    Kevin Gillman

  3. Today feels like an important day. I really enjoyed your post and your insights on the parable, the 40 year anniversary, and the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus

    In the story of the converts of Ammon the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi laid down their weapons of war. That is what we remember, but they laid down a second thing as well. If you can’t think what that thing is then you may want to go back to the text and make that part of your scripture study today because it is that second thing they laid down which is the more important.

    Best wishes to all on the first day of the third month .

    1. Great idea! Thank you, McKay!

  4. Hi Kevin,

    I went into this project expecting that we could ALL be in agreement. Every single covenant holder. That there were such fundamental and universal principles to which we all subscribed that nobody would disagree.

    I was wrong.

    The Lord’s definition is this: As between one another, you choose to not dispute.

    He never states that 100% is required. Mutual agreement is between those who choose to not dispute. The fact that there are those who choose to dispute, does not change the mutual agreement of those choosing not to do so.

    In real life, as in the parable, there are always some who cannot or will not choose to not dispute. There were some who literally tried to hold the entire covenant body hostage for their single “vote” as it were, claiming it was their way or failure for us all. Their arguments were likewise based on the “100%-or-nothing” interpretation.

    What is the Lord to do with such people? If mutual agreement means 100% of everyone, including the hostage takers, how is the master’s house ever to be built?

    As Denver pointed out at the last conference, 100% is impossible. We don’t even know how many have been baptized, let alone how many have accepted the covenant. Therefore we can literally never know if we have 100% agreement. There could always be someone, somewhere, choosing to dispute. Only the Lord knows ALL hearts, and he accepted the document. He would not have approved it to be added if it did not meet the requirement in his eyes.

    You propose that the only way this command could be completed would be that the Lord must have changed his mind on the requirement. Such a supposition requires that the Lord see things your way, which naturally he does, of course. Right? Except that he accepted the effort, taught us important lessons, asked us to reflect, and claimed the effort as his own.

    Did he lie? Did he “change his mind?” Or was he realistic enough to accept the mutual agreement of as many as could be persuaded through lengthy and intense effort, prayer, fasting and discussion, and note those who still chose to dispute what he accepted and claimed as his own?

    I’ve tried to be as kind and generous as I know how in pointing out a few uncomfortable truths, using the parable rather than my own words. In the end, there were a stubborn few who were still hauling rock after the house was complete. Perhaps they insisted the house could not possibly be complete because it didn’t include their stone. They were wrong. They no doubt could have come up with arguments and interpretations why the stone must be included. (The master’s prior house was stone after all!). They were still wrong.

    And though those stubborn stone haulers failed to contribute to building the master’s house, they did improve the path to it. But they had to lay down their stones. I suppose there could still be a stubborn few out there, standing around on the path, holding their stones, and shouting at passers by that there’s no sense in going up to the master’s house, because it isn’t finished. Hell, they could even argue with the master that he’s dwelling in an incomplete house, whether he thinks it’s finished or not.

    Kevin, at this point, your dispute is not with me. It is with the Lord. If you feel he accepted, approved, and claimed the Lots document in error, your task is now to convince him of that, not me.

  5. Brother Gillman,

    I believe that you are incorrect. Mutual agreement was achieved or at least was achieved by the vast majority of people in the movement.

    Section 174 defines mutual agreement.

    “ As between one another, you choose to not dispute.
    When the definition was given, it was accompanied by the realization the Lord could have disputed every day of His life with someone. He deliberately chose to not contend. He was not an argumentative personality.”

    It’s been years. Let’s move on. Choose not to contend. Time to build the real house :)


  6. Hi Adrian,

    Thank you for laying out the Lord’s wording when He accepted the scriptures and used the word “my” in reference to them. Although I have agreed that the task of writing a statement is completed and accepted by God as “ours” with the Lots document, I did not consider the idea that His “my” later would also include the SoP that was in our scriptures at that point. I found that very helpful.

    I found myself saying some amens as I read this this morning. Including what you said here: “The challenge we all face is how to take those efforts that ultimately didn’t reach completion (stones) and use them in a positive way to pave the road to the master’s house. The Lord urged us to see honor in the work of others. To me, this means that all the efforts were valuable and instructive, and can pave the way for our ascent to the master’s house if we will use them in that way. But to do so, they must be laid down and considered without attachment. You can’t pave with stones you aren’t willing to lay down.”

    I agree this is a challenge we now face, and that it involves both the stone carriers and the ones who have already completed their work who have compassion. I see your compassion in this article. You are saying in it what the compassionate ones say to the stone carriers. I like that you mention introspection. Certainly, introspection is necessary if stone carriers can be expected to repurpose their stone. It’s probably also necessary for those who have completed their work in order to have compassion on those who disagreed with them and be willing to begin a new labor with them. I do wonder if these two sides are willing to forgive each other, and if praying together to get into alignment with God together will also be part of the new labor. Maybe it will be much simpler than that. I don’t know. I would like to understand what the reality of making use of the stones will look like. Regardless, I agree this is a challenge we all face.

    -Sarah S

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I love this! I agree, it could be very simple. I hope it is!

  7. Really awesome post.

    One other interesting symbol is in paragraphs 8 and 10 of the parable:

    "The messengers told their weary, fellow servants — now moving a great mound of rock — that while they were still distant from the place chosen by their master, work on his house had begun."
    "When the house of brick was complete, all the servants returned to tell their master as they were commanded. Returning, they came upon the place where those few remained faithfully moving stone. Many had compassion on their fellow servants and began a new labor with them..."

    A great mound of rock doesn't become a path by simply putting the the mound down. The path took "new labor" to accomplish.

    A stone path requires preparatory ground work, carrying each part of the rock mound to it's place, and careful placement before there is a path.

    I imagine this labor looking something like suffering with someone for a long time, being kind, not envying, and not being puffed up, seeking not our own, not being easily provoked, thinking no evil, and rejoicing not in iniquity, but rejoicing in the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things.

    Whew. Sounds like a lot of work!

    1. Well said, Chris. Thank you for the great reminder!

  8. The parable Build a House, like many of the Lord's words, could very well be dynamic across time and based on individual light/understanding. It could be illustrating past events, current events, or future events. I believe it at least applies to the SoP because it was that question that generated the parable. One possibility is that it describes the process for the actual building of the Lord's house, or temple, as you've suggested. If you take that interpretation, it is not until the house is finished and the servants are returning to tell their Master that they come apon their fellow laborers still moving a great mound of stone that a new labor begins. The thing that initiates or motivates the new labor with them is the "compassion" they had for their fellow brothers and sisters. Compassion is often used in conjunction with the Lord healing people in the scriptures. It's an interesting word and attribute of the Lord.

    This begins a new labor (labor indicating work, possible difficulty, and longsuffering to accomplish) to construct a road. We do not know what the new labor is or what the road may be. But it serves such a positive purpose it gets singled out for praise by the Lord at the end as He accepts both the House and the Road. Was it the road itself, or the compassion that led to the joint effort to serve others that pleased the Lord? There is much to ponder on this parable.

    I believe it is prophecy as much as it is history and we should keep an open heart and open mind about how the Lord will fullfill His strange act to bring about all things for His glory.

    1. Absolutely, Russ. Well said.

    2. You are correct about it being a prophecy Russ. It is nice that so many people clearly understand prophecy to such a sufficient level that they are able to teach everyone what, why, how, when, and where it has/is/will be fulfilled.

  9. We are so amazed at the Lord's continued grace in going forth with His work to vindicate His promises to the ancient fathers.
    Never in a million years would we have anticipated all of His works and His signs unfolding in such a marvelous way.
    We rejoice that we are allowed to live in this day and see and hear what we have been allowed to see and hear. It is all so delightful and terrifying at the same time.

    Jon and Tina

    1. A wonderful reminder of what's truly important, Jon and Tina. Thank you!

  10. Hi all
    My wife and I were involved from the very beginning of the project. As we were driving to the first meeting (of the sop project and we were pretty new and didn't know what to expect) I had a very clear imression that it was not the end result that was important but the process that was the most important part to the Lord and what would be learned. We were involved in all the meetings up until the result was not approved by someone, or some few within the movement. Those of us involved at the beginning were a little taken aback by the fact that what we had worked so hard on was rejected by someone or some few even though we all had felt that our document was approved by the Lord, or at leas was sufficient for His purposes. There are a few from the original group who are among those currently disputing, but the majority have chosen not to dispute. I have no dog is this fight, and am completely supportive of what the Lord has accepted. Even the result of the scripture project was not perfect in His eyes, however, the effort was sufficient for the need right now. Thank you Adrian for you words and research, it is greatly appreciated.

    1. Thank YOU, Jeff. It appears the Lord is more concerned about intent than actual results. Though imperfect, he accepted what we as a people were able to offer. I'm grateful he did.

  11. From the first time I read this parable I believed and accepted I was one of those stone haulers. Since that time I continue to understand why that is so even more. The stone-haulers had something in common with the tree-cutters in that they both assumed to know what the Lord wanted done and how he wanted it accomplished. While the stone-haulers were "slow to move," the tree-cutters moved in haste. Both groups did not have success, even after combining. The brick-makers thought to at least go and see, and then determined to prepare the ground removing all kinds of debris, digging, plowing, leveling. This work describes the scripture committee to me, because what they accomplished has allowed the scriptures to be cleared and opened more--the foundation upon which our lives can now be built, or in other words, the Lord's house. I believe that the clay would not have been discovered if we hadn't had the restored edition of the scriptures brought about.

    Speaking for myself and my own experience in the SoP matter, I interpret the stone I was trying to haul as my (at that time) hardened heart. It was indeed heavy and a burden to move during that momentous time. I was finally able to move my stoney heart prior to the final vote and have already placed it down as part of the path to the Lord's House. I was then and am now at peace within myself and everyone else concerning the SoP.

    What ought I to have learned? That when Christ presents an opportunity to do his work or participate in a group effort, and I sense a desire to contribute in some certain way, I should participate to whatever degree I feel led to without contention, jealousy, or tearing down the work of others.

    I've been reading through the compilation of the SoP projects (In Their Own Words) and it has been enlightening for me. I can see that there were two clear opportunities for me to participate in the creation of our statement of principles, but due to the hardness of my heart I missed both of them. What could my contribution have been? Would anything have been different? I won't know now, but I am at peace with that because I have gained some wisdom and understanding that I did not have before.

    I am grateful for the faithfulness of those whose hearts were not stones. I am certain there are probably levels of interpretation to the parable, but I take to heart the Lord's words when he said I am to use the scriptures to correct and guide myself. I am seeking to do just that.

    1. Wonderful insights, Lori! Thank you for sharing them!

  12. Lori,

    Thank you for sharing your heart, insights and testimony.

    Janeen Carter

  13. Thank you Lori. That’s truly beautiful. Aaron

  14. Thanks Adrian, for this post. It fills me with hope and optimism about the Lord's work. On a regular basis, I review everything that has happened over the last 10 years and I think how grateful I am that God brought to my awareness what he was doing, that I could be baptized again, that I could receive the covenant, that I could participate in the discussions we had as we were trying to come up with something to present to the Lord for his approval. I'm grateful for the Lot effort and document and that the Lord accepted it.

    In some form or another, I see myself in all the groups in the parable, not because I was necessarily personally tied to one or another, but because each effort, at some point seemed at least reasonably promising. At the end of the day, I just wanted something that I thought the Lord might accept.

    I have to say, though, I was most excited about the Lot proposal. I loved the idea that the content for it had been there all along, right under our noses, and all we had to do was assemble or compile it into something that captured what the Lord was in the process of doing and what he was inviting us to embrace. It felt like a relief to offload the burden onto the Lord in the sense that we could simply let him be the voice. I loved the idea of using his words.

    But, with all that preamble, what I really wanted to comment on is the following from the Book of Mormon, which I feel is pertinent:

    "I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you... ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. ...after ye have arrived to the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God, and that I, the Lord, did deliver you..."

    The Lord had already prepared the way before us. This is what ultimately made the burden light, in the preparation of the final document. He's the one who provided. And in the end, there was no way for any of us to claim any sort of ownership in the content of the final document, because it was all his words.

    At the end of the world, every knee will bow and acknowledge dependence on Him. Every chosen people we read about in the scriptures were brought through a journey in which they could not deny the Lord's hand - that it was the Lord that brought them safely through, and not their own power or capacity.

    This happened with the children of Israel, crossing the Red Sea on dry land, being provided manna in the wilderness, and having their lives spared by simply looking upon the brazen serpent; the Jaredites, who had to place their lives entirely in the Lord's hands as He caused the winds to blow in the direction of the promised land; Nephi and his family as they were likewise brought across the great deep.

    We should be grateful to be held in the palm of the Lord and we should be eager to look for his salvation as he prepares the way before us and makes things available for us. We should rejoice in the works of His hands and not our own hands. Each success we have with something we believe to have come from our own hands only perpetuates the myth that we can be the architects of our own salvation.
    In the end, we have to accept his salvation and not the works of our own hands, which become our idols:

    "I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I did them suddenly and they came to pass. Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, and your brow brass, I have, even from the beginning, declared it to you; before it came to pass, I showed it to you, lest you should say, My idol has done them, and my engraved image and my molten image has commanded them."

    1. You make some great points, Ryan. I can see myself in each of the groups in the parable, and I believe everyone is in each in one way or another. And yes, it was always meant to be a light thing. It was always our own hearts that were hard, not the assignment.

    2. Great points Ryan. In the end, all glory must go to the Prince of Peace for bringing Zion, who is Christ.

  15. I still secretly wonder why we needed a new set of scriptures to please the Lord when Denver was able to pierce the veil with the old ones. Why we need a Temple when Denver was able to approach the Lord without one.

    It seems like instead of going up the Holy Mount to meet God face to face - we've been "wandering in the wilderness" (i.e. distracting ourselves with perfecting scriptures, talking about the Temple, drafting agreement proposals...etc.).

    Personally, I have observed that most all of us are really just afraid of going up the mountain (alone) and seeing the Lord face to face. It feels like we've spent all this time in meetings and drafting proposals when all that effort could have been spent piercing the veil. One single moment in the presence of the Lord would have ended all disputations among every one of us.

    But we have looked at the effort that would have taken and have chosen the easier route - meetings, proposals, analyzing parables, more discussions, more plans, more strongman...more...more. We need less. We just need Him.

    1. Every new dispensation was coupled with a recovery, or preservation, of the record(s) of God's people. Our scripture recovery effort and acceptance, particularly of the Book of Mormon, was enough that God extended His covenant to us. Both events were no small thing. And yet the scriputers are sufficient for the work underway--the full recovery going back to the beginning is still future.

      The temple to be built in the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills at the end of time has been prophesied of since the beginning of time. Both are great works that have/will have the hand of the Lord directly involved in them.

    2. Hi Anonymous,

      I believe your comment is born of a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Lord is trying to accomplish. If the Lord’s purpose were only individual redemption, perhaps these group efforts would not be necessary or relevant. But individual redemption is not the Lord’s purpose, nor the focus of the Father’s work, now underway.

      Joseph Smith was clearly working on group efforts, including gathering, scriptures, and temple. Those efforts continue.

      When you look at the prophecies, including the Lord’s own words, they always seem to deal with groups, not individuals. The restoration of the covenant, the gathering of scattered Israel, the establishment of a city of peace, the prophesied temple—these are all group undertakings involving the Lord’s people, and not redeemed individuals.

      Peter and Paul both knew the Lord personally, both had been redeemed, and been in his presence in his glorified state. And yet—they had problems getting along. If only a moment in the Lord’s presence were enough to immediately harmonize all opinions and change everyone into beings ready for Zion, then surely Peter and Paul would have been all buddy-buddy, without any differences nor disagreements between them.

      The Lord is preparing a people to dwell in peace together. This necessarily requires group efforts to refine and change us. The effort to recover correct scriptures resulted in the Lord offering a covenant. The covenant brought a restoration of membership in the house of Israel. It is the House of Israel who will build a temple, and it is to that Temple the Lord will come to restore what has been lost and prepare a people for his return in glory. The “solitary monk” model of individual redemption accomplishes NONE of these things.

      The Lord’s scriptures, the Lord’s covenant, the Lord’s temple—these are not distractions from the Lord’s agenda. These ARE the Lord’s agenda.

    3. Hello Anonymous.

      I too struggled with that question for quite some time. I think it is an important question and one worth everyone's time and careful and ponderous exploration to understand and receive personal revelation about. I found the six-part temple podcast series very helpful. I have needed to listen to it or read it several times, but the answers I sought are there. Also, it goes without saying, the word of God and the prophecies concerning New Jerusalem and Elijah.

      I believe you are correct that each individual needs to enter the presence of the Lord in this life (redeemed) as part of their own personal journey upward. DS's talk "Civilization" also cemented that understanding for me, and help me recognize that it will be those individuals who successfully cooperate together and achieve the required House of the Lord--an opening between the Heavens and earth.

      I consider the high-quality of the New Jerusalem is going to be based upon the righteousness and holiness of the people who cooperate together to build it. Looking to our past and noticing what happened in Kirtland, which is the only latter-day place where a temple had been accepted by Christ as His House on earth, in Nauvoo, and now SLC, I can see that the people individually and collectively struggled despite having been given so much light and revelation and even for some, the presence of the Lord. All three places have not produced the needed individuals and group, however few in number. Will this time prove differently? I pray it will be so, even if I remain unworthy, i.e. unprepared.

      I am personally feeling intrepid, hopeful yet intrepid, about building a new temple because I can see the odds are not great if it is a group of non-redeemed individuals involved.

    4. ^Lori Taylor
      I apologize for neglecting to add my name to the anonymous response to the first anonymous.

  16. I very much appreciate the posts and discussion above. We should never forget the value of humility. My wife and I were blessed a few years ago to be rebaptized. We are far away in Missouri and have no fellowship or family we can meet with. We read and follow activities at conferences on line; but how we miss fellowship. Many of you meet and see one another regularly. What a gift. I was once very proud and forceful in my opinions, and finding ourselves alone has brought me low. I don’t know if the thought of fear and trembling occurs often to everyone but it has become my life in seeking the Lord. Loneliness is both a conduit to inspiration, and often a harbinger of self-doubt. I have talked enough but my point is treasure one another and be humble in seeking consensus. We are all beggars before the Lord and totally dependent on his mercy. I hope I can meet you all someday and I pray for you. Please remember those like us who are alone in our search and miss the company of our brothers and sisters. My wife and I are so grateful we stumbled upon Denver’s books years ago and grateful for Jeff traveling so far to baptize us those few years ago.
    John Cato

    1. John would you and your wife be interested in a zoom Sunday sacrament mtg?

    2. That is very kind of you, and would be a blessing to us.

    3. I think we have found a solution in our area. Thanks so much.

  17. For those of us who joined the movement after the Statement of Purpose, I understand someone wrote a book about the process and had it available on Amazon. It might be helpful if we could learn about the process that everyone went through. Could someone please share the name and author of the book? Thanks so much.

    1. It's called, "In Their Own Words: A History of the Removal of Section 20" by Lori Larsen. Here's a link to it on Amazon:


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