Monday, January 26, 2015

Bishops "court"

January 22, 2015

The Bishop called again yesterday (the next day after his first call) and set up a meeting for last night at 7:45. Wow! That was quick. So we went. 

He asked me many of the same questions as he had on the phone the day before. 
Bishop: how did you come to the writings of this man Denver Snuffer and when? When did you begin to meet in this group? How often do you meet? Do you partake of the sacrament? 

Me: well, Denver really had nothing to do with my approach to God in the beginning. I came across a talk by one of the a Quorum of the Twelve, Bruce R. Mckonkie, called the 10 blessings of the priesthood. The last three I believe are, to be sealed up unto eternal life, to have ones calling and election made sure, and to approach the throne of grace and see and speak to God face to face. This was a prophet seer and Revelator, remember! Later, I came across Abraham 1:2-4:

2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.

4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.
Abraham 1:2-4

I paraphrased the above scripture, and told the bishopric that I too was a follower of righteousness, and desiring to be a greater follower as Bruce R. had spoken of, and now Abraham was saying the same thing and more, I decided that if God were no respecter of persons, I too might do as James directs (James 1:5) and ask God for greater light and truth concerning the fathers and the rights of the priesthood of the fathers from Adam down. 

I also quoted Ether 3:13:
Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

What is happening here? I asked. How is it that the Brother of Jared is redeemed from to he fall? Well, the scripture is clear, he is redeemed from the fall when he enters into the Presence of Christ! This is the same thing that Bruce R. and Abraham, and Joseph are all telling me! Maybe there is something here I need to pay attention to! 

Then, upon reading the lectures on faith I realized that to obtain these blessings I must sacrifice everything. All I had and all I was and am, I must be willing to offer up. How could I think to be saved in the Kingdom of Heaven with those saints that had offered their all, their lives, their possessions, they were sawn asunder and crucified upside down; how could I think to be comfortable or saved if I had not offered the same offering and sacrifice? 

I mean, what was it Abraham was sacrificing when he took Isaac up the mountain to  kill him? Sure it was his son, his birthright son, but Abraham was also offering up the very blessings and covenant that he had just received from God a short time earlier! Abraham was sacrificing his very salvation and exalted promises when he offered up Isaac, because how do you have posterity as the sands of the sea if you murder the only birthright son? So coming upon all of this material in the scriptures, because this was in 2005, and I wouldn't come across the writings if this man Denver Snuffer for another 5-6 YEARS! I didn't read his first book until either late 2010 or 2011. I was lost in all this stuff, all alone until like a ray of light someone showed me Denver's first book, The Second Comforter Conversing with The Lord Through the Veil, and when I got that it was very helpful (huge understatement!) in sorting some things out and correcting some things I was doing that was preventing me from going any higher. 

So I just continued in this space of time before I came across Denver's writings, seeking God. I asked for the same manifestation that Joseph, Nephi, Abraham and Mahonri received, and Bruce R. promised. And I offered up all I had to The Lord. And you know, I don't know if I thought He'd really take it, but I offered it all and He took me up on the offer. At the time I was living in Camelot (that's what I called it) I had a huge house worth $700,000, half paid off, I had all the trappings, I mean I had a boat, and a classic 67 Camaro, a 40' 5th wheel, filled with toys and quads and motorcycles, a cabin on 25 acres, I had standing in the community and in the ward, I was living in Camelot! I was on top of the world. And I offered it all up. And in His Mercy, He took it all, and it was and is all worth it and I'd do it all again to know The Lord, and I do know The Lord, because He has come to me and He has sent His angels, and I too can testify that I KNOW Joseph saw what he saw because I have had my own first vision experience and I have seen and therefore know some things as a result of that. But that doesn't really make me so special as you might think, and I mean that! We all should have a first person witness of what Joseph saw. We all should be witnesses to that, and we all can be. I am no one special and I still suck, but The Lord will talk to you guys if you will make the attempt to get to know him, but you know, if people ask about going on this path, I discourage them from do so, because it will require all of you and once you begin you can't go back, so if you're going to proceed then be ready to go all the way, and you've got to be willing to give up what The Lord requires of you. 

So I've given it all up and I will give whatever The Lord requires, even if you cast people like me away, if I have to choose then I choose The Lord. If Joseph were here today I'm not even sure he would be welcome. Look, you think I'm crazy and hearing voices and talking with God and seeing angels, but isn't that what Joseph did too? Why aren't we seeking that? I remember one story about Joseph getting a fistful size piece of bread and a cup of wine each, and taking the sacrament with some guys and then he laid down on his back and told them to lay their heads on his arms, and they all looked up into Heaven and Joseph called down angels! Who doesn't want that? We should all be doing that. Let's do that together. (I nodded to the bishopric inviting them to partake of the sacrament with me; they just stared at me like I was crazy!) You see, the fruit is the test. How do you know the truth of things unless there is a test?

When The Lord began to instruct me using the scriptures to be baptized and partake of the sacrament, I resisted. I refused for some time to believe I should proceed and I required more information from Him. I fasted and prayed for months to know His will. I told Him how could I do such things without the key holder? I grew up in the church you know. I knew I wasn't supposed to do such things, heck, they won't even let families do it at family reunions, although they used to, and they used to do sacrament twice on Sundays, so The Lord pointed out it was a policy not HIS doctrine. How could I know I asked? "You have My word before you, will you wrest it to your own destruction?" The Lord has a way with words ya know? 

What would you all do? The Lord asked me, "are you going to obey men or Me?" What would you do? I told The Lord I lacked authority to perform the ordinances, and The Lord, in His own voice declared to me from Heaven giving me authority and Power to baptize and to bless and administer the sacrament.
 (See JST Genesis 14: 28: "It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, NOT BY MAN, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;        
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. JST, Genesis 14:28-29.

 So this cannot be given from one man to another "although it may be conferred upon them it is true", it cannot come and does not come with any power at least, until one hears it from Gods own voice to the individual.

This is a private worship. This is not public. I have never criticized the church publicly. And if I have taken note of problems in the leadership or institution in private, it is because I believe it useful to see things as they really are so that I don't misplace my trust and begin to believe again that God has given his power to man which the most correct book condemns.

"5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and HE HATH GIVEN HIS POWER TO MEN"; 2 Nephi 28:5, emphasis mine. 

I do not question your keys and authority, nor do I question the church's. Go your way in peace and exercise your authority, that is a public service and duty and I do not question you or the church in how or what way you perform things, but I'm pleading with you to please leave me alone and let me go my way in peace, and worship God privately according to the dictates of my own conscience. When. Joseph gave that he was referencing action to cast out a man who "erred in doctrine". 

Joseph said, when a brother Brown was being threatened with excommunication for his error in doctrine: 

"I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine."  

Here Joseph equates being allowed to remain in full fellowship with "being a good man", not according to "erring in doctrine".  You can see the similarities with this story and Article of Faith 11:

"We claim the privilege of worshipping the Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how where or what they may."

Bishop, you don't have to take any action against me. You don't have to listen to some higher-up telling you you must take action. I am no threat to you or your keys or the church. I am an innocent man and am worthy to hold a temple recommend. Let me worship in private with the authority given me, and I will let you exercise you public keys to the ward. We don't need to be at odds. I don't want to nor have I ever fought the church. I want to be a Mormon and seek the face of God privately. 

We still believe the idea that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book and a man will get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other. Joseph also said the nearer a man is to God, the clearer are his views and perceptions. So if obeying the precepts are what brings me closer to God and being closer to God gives me clarity, then I am going to obey the truest books precepts. 

So after The Lord gave me authority to perform ordinances, The Lord told me to test the fruits of doing them according to Alma 32. (See Alma 32) And what's the test of Alma 32? It's to plant the seed or to do something, and then watch it to see if it grows, or expands the soul, and whatsoever expands the soul is good. So I tried the word of God to see if there was fruit, or if my soul expanded upon performing the ordinances, and I can tell you from first hand experience that my soul has expanded because of my following my Lord and Savior down into the waters of baptism, and then partaking of the sacrament with bread and wine as the scriptures outline with specificity to do. The scriptures say, "by their fruits shall ye know them", and the fruit of following the doctrine of Christ and performing His ordinances as He ordained them and doing them "oft" as He commanded, (see Moroni 6:6) has born wonderful fruit. 

So I ask again, please let me go my way in peace and worship God in a private transaction between myself and The Lord, and I will continuer to not challenge yours or the church's keys and authority to officiate publicly. I do not see these as contradictory. One is public, the other is private. Please have mercy on me and just let me go. I expect you to allow me a temple re come d and full fellowship. I can answer the temple recommend questions with a clear conscience before God. 

So the question is, can the church just let people pursue Christ by following the precepts of the most correct book, or will they cast them all out? I'm willing to see the foibles of men and still sustain them, fulfill callings, pay tithing, and serve when I can within the church. Are men perfect? All would agree no. So why do we expect them to never lead us astray? Of course they could make mistakes, but that doesn't really bother me, because my faith is in Christ, and not men. I can remain faithful to the church, pursue God privately, why can't the church allow this? I am no threat to yours or the church's authority. I have no desire to lead or be promoted up the ladder of leadership. I just want to be a Mormon and pursue God as outlined in the scripture, and since the church is not teaching what the scriptures teach, why are they bothered if I pursue those things privately, in what are for all intents and purposes, different ordinances completely, than what I am offered within the church? I am not complaining they are doing it differently than scripture, but I do claim the right to pursue Him according to scripture even if the church isn't. That does not make me apostate. 

The Bishop then read article of faith 5 and 6 and told me the church believes these are the correct way to see authority. 

I agreed, and mentioned that Paul was called and ordained by God outside the then existing twelve apostles and so if we are following that model, we should expect for apostles to arise directly under Gods hand outside the quorum of twelve today. If you want to follow that model, I completely agree, but you cannot use it to say God can't do his own work, whenever He wants to, with whomever He wants to. 

As for laying in of hands, whose hands? What does it mean to be called of God? Have you been called of God? By prophecy? Who would be more "by those who are in authority" then angels and God Himself? So if you want to say that's the law of the church, I agree, but let's not say "called of God", and then you quote me some man who ordained you with no mention of God or prophecy or laying on of hands by angels like Joseph was. Those are two different things. 

The Bishop said, "I understand what you're saying, but that is not the current doctrine of the church. You must get in alignment with the current doctrine or we will have to escalate action against you."  

I replied, so the current doctrine isn't scriptural? Shouldn't we go by the "most correct book"? 

Bishop: "we don't go by what is in the scriptures, we go by what is in the current doctrine of the church."

Me: you mean the handbook? Of which I don't have and haven't read? 

Then they invited us out of the room for them to deliberate. This was the first moment we realized we had been on trial the whole time! No one mentioned they were questioning us to make some judgement on us, we had simply been asked in to "talk". 

We returned and they handed down the verdict:

"Informal probation, no sacrament (private or public), no priesthood functioning (private or public), no speaking up in meetings, and he asked for my temple recommend. 

I said, "I do not consent to giving you my recommend. I am worthy to hold it, correct?" And the Bishop nodded yes. "So I cannot give it to you as you are asking for it unjustly, and I am an innocent man, worthy before God and you to hold it, so I cannot in good conscience give it to you"

"As to my priesthood, D&C 121 says, 'the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected to the Powers of Heaven.' As recent as right before this meeting The Lord told me, 'your connection to Heaven will not be affected in this meeting', so you cannot really take away something that you are not involved in anyway. That priesthood I hold is inseparably connected to God, and you are not a party to that, so I will be keeping my priesthood thank you. 

I told you before in our phone conversation and again tonight that I was in a 40 sacrament fast, and to stop would require me to break covenants with God. So if you are requiring me to chose between God and your judgement, then I will follow God. I will abstain in the public meetings as you request, but privately I will continue to do as God directs."

He replied as to me not giving him my recommend: "this isn't about your worthiness to hold a recommend. It's about you doing things that are not in line with the current church doctrine."

I said, "you mean the handbook? Because I'm simply following the scriptures, and I have done so while remaining in honor to the church and my covenants therein. This is a private matter between me and God."

He said, "you must conform to the current church doctrine not what's in the scriptures, or we will escalate this to a disciplinary court, well, that's a negative way to say it, it's really more of a council of love, because we love you to death. We just love your family! (This was the second time I had ever met with him! It was "love feigned", because love never was between us. We simply don't know each other)

He said they would give me two weeks to think it over and then they wanted to meet again. 

I agreed cheerfully, and said, "we don't need two weeks, I am following The Lord, but anytime you want to talk I'd be happy to do so"


  1. I'm inspired by your commitment to follow God and not man. Even if you are cast out, if it is for the Lord's sake it will be a blessing. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matthew 5:10-12

  2. John, I am going through a similar action. Here is a paragraph from my last letter to my bishop:

    Let me ask you, Bishop. What harm would there be in me having a temple recommend? We’ve already established that I love and cherish the temple. I have not and would not do anything to desecrate it. I never did and never would promote any questionable doctrine in the temple. I attended and served with great love and respect. In whatever discourses I might have had on Facebook in which I am accused of promoting false doctrine, I can assure you that none of it would in any way convey disrespect for the temple. My attendance is certainly not going to distract from the spirit in the temple, and I am quite confident that my service there actually enhanced the experience of the patrons, because I served with great love and reverence. In short, if I were to stand before the Lord Himself, and if he were to ask me, as President Wilson so often does, “Do you have a testimony of Jesus Christ as your Savior”, my answer would be a resounding “Yes!” Then, when he said, “Are you worthy to be in the temple”, my answer, likewise, would be a resounding and enthusiastic, “Yes!” Furthermore, He has told me Himself that I am worthy to be in His house.

  3. I thank you for your testimony of the Lord and sorrow for the blindness of others.

  4. Do you have a source for the Monson talk? Don't see it in April 2010. (all four talks).

  5. Hi Tyson, I posted this on the other post comment section as well, but in case you don't see it I'll post my same response here. Hope it helps.
    Here is the quote from President Monson about his testimony of Christ. I paraphrased it as I could not quote it it entirety and this interview was all completely off the tip of my tongue. No notes, no preparation, just rapid fire Q&A. It is not exact, but I believe my paraphrase gets to the nut of his testimony. He definitely uses an "as if" type mentality as Denver Snuffer has outlined in Passing the Heavenly Gift, with his usage of Joseph's vision of Christ making it sound like he has had the same vision, but the whole thing is based on Joseph's and "others" eye witness accounts, not his own. His testimony is as "one of His special witness on earth", whatever that means. Denver also covers that in the same book. Sorry for no references there, but Denver hasn't put it up on kindle for me to copy and paste!! Basically Denver points out that they use "as if" and this "special witness" phrase to make it seem like more has been received without perjuring themselves before God. Good luck with that! Here it is. Let me know what you think of my paraphrase.

    "I have read—and I believe—the testimonies of those who experienced the grief of Christ’s Crucifixion and the joy of His Resurrection. I have read—and I believe—the testimonies of those in the New World who were visited by the same risen Lord. I believe the testimony of one who, in this dispensation, spoke with the Father and the Son in a grove now called sacred and who gave his life, sealing that testimony with his blood. Declared he: 'And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father.' The darkness of death can always be dispelled by the light of revealed truth. 'I am the resurrection, and the life,' spoke the Master. 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.' Over the years I have heard and read testimonies too numerous to count, shared with me by individuals who testify of the reality of the Resurrection and who have received, in their hours of greatest need, the peace and comfort promised by the Savior." (He is Risen!, Sunday Morning Session, April, 2010 Session; footnotes omitted.) ...

    As one of His special witnesses on earth today, this glorious Easter Sunday, I declare that this is true, in His sacred name--even the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior--amen.
    He Is Risen! April GC, Monson

    I just am not willing to put something into his mouth he refuses to clarify or comment on. Reminds me of a classic dialogue:

    Buttercup: "I got married today"
    Wesley: "did you say I do?"
    Buttercup: "well we sort of skipped that part"
    Wesley: "well if you didn't say it, you didn't do it, isn't that right prince Humperdink?"

  6. Bishop: "we don't go by what is in the scriptures, we go by what is in the current doctrine of the church."

    The church has really changed. When I was a teenager, the general authorities' attitude was that if what they said didn't square with scripture, we should discard it. Now, we should discard the scriptures.