Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Be ye therefore Wise as Serpents, and Harmless as Doves

On March 19, 2017 it was announced that there was a scripture project underway that would restore to us a set of scriptures which would involve attempting to correct as many errors as possible in the texts of the Bible, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price.  This project was going to undertake printing for the first time in history the full Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. As I was sitting in a conference in St. George, Utah hearing about this project I opened up the group’s website on my phone and scrolled through their first edition which had already been printed and was online.  I was a bit shocked to find that the group had inserted documents written by members of their committee.  The head of the committee had just announced that they were going back to the most extant sources for the writings of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and that anything not written by them was being given serious consideration to remove from the scriptures.  This meant removing things written by Oliver Cowdery and Sydney Rigdon, two men who were pivotal figures in early Mormondom, two men who had seen Christ and angels. These men’s’ writings were being replaced by writings from this scripture committee by men whom I had never heard of before.  In the following days I investigated whether or not these men had seen Christ or angels.  To me it would be audacious to remove the writings of men who had only to replace them by men who had not.

One of the documents which had already been inserted and printed by the committee was a Governing Principles which contained those things which we, as fellowships, were following as principles for our day. When I read the Governing Principles I was shocked.  Shocked at the assertion in the document that it had been “revealed” through “angles” yet contained elements that were found nowhere in scriptures or teachings of Denver.   I become further concerned when I found out that this was an overstatement of how the document came about; the author had never seen Christ or angels but rather took Denver’s teachings and other scriptures and rewrote them in his own words, adding his own flair and interpretations.  This concerned me because words matter.  Words matter a great deal.

In the Garden of Eden God commanded Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree.  When Adam gives the commandment to Eve he adds that Eve cannot even touch the fruit or she will die.  This seemingly inane addition by Adam might just be the reason that Eve fell.  When Lucifer approaches Eve bearing the fruit in his hand Eve realizes that he is still alive even though he is touching the fruit.  Therefore, when Lucifer tells Eve that she will not die if she partakes (eats) of the fruit she believes him.  Thus, it is that if Adam had been exact in repeating the commandments of the Lord we may have a very different story of our founding grandparents.

Since March 19 I have been trying to persuade people that the words in the Governing Principles document matter.  They matter a great deal.  It has been said that if there are errors in the document that Christ will correct the errors in Zion. By the time he does those errors will have become ingrained false traditions which will be much harder to overcome.  We should desire to give the Lord as faithful and error free document as possible.  In the Answer to Covenant the Lord stated, “I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you.”  It is easier to stay right when you start right.

I have also heard it said that this document doesn’t matter because we don’t have to live by it, it is not commandment which we will be required to follow. However, in the Answer to Covenant the Lord stated, “I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, … I require it to also be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow.”

On March 20, 2017 I was awoken in the early morning hours and asked to write my own version of a Governing Principles document.  You can read it here. I have since come to understand, through the Prayer for Covenant and Answer and Covenant that the document is required by the Lord to be written by a group of people and not an individual, therefore, my document does not fit the qualifications of the Lord.

In the ensuing months the original Governing Principles has undergone editing, voting, name changes (it is now titled the Guide and Standard), and endless debates.  I attended a June 10, July 2 and Aug 5 attempt at having a group of people edit the original Governing Principles document led by the author/scripture committee member.  It has been an ugly process wrought with contention, manipulation, calculation and basic Gentileness.  The Aug 5 meeting became particularly ugly with those who felt the original document was revelation straight from God literally yelling at those in the room who did not.  In order to have peace many of those against the document accepted it. The Aug 5 document was presented to the general body and voted on and received about 91% acceptance from those who voted.  However, there were some in the movement who had concerns enough that they refused to accept the document.

The scripture committee decided to leave the document out of the new scriptures until the body of believers could agree to or write an agreeable document. In October an effort was brought before the people to use a system of lots to organize a committee to write a new document.  The process was a far reaching and amazing one with almost 200 names submitted to choose from.  7 people’s names were chosen: 6 men and 1 woman.  This committee agreed to use only the words of the Lord in scripture as well as teachings of Joseph Smith and Denver Snuffer.  It took them 3 days and 3 nights to complete their document.  They pulled from dozens of documents which had been compiled by believers like me who had written our own and submitted them for the group to consider.  It is a document which contains only words from true messengers and does not include the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

The 7 who wrote it took it to the Lord and asked if he accepted it.  He did. They then put it to a vote for the people to choose whether or not they would accept it as their Guide and Standard.  It received a 93% acceptance rate.

We, as a people, breathed a collective sigh of relief.  The task the Lord had given us was complete. Two days later the scripture committee decided that it would only be fair to give the people a choice between the Original, the Aug 5 and the new document by 7.  This stirred up the people again.  We were finally working together peacefully for the most part and this new move by the scripture committee stirred up controversy, mainly because they took it upon themselves to decide which documents qualified.   Two days later the scripture committee decided to table the vote and to table the efforts until the people can learn to get along, even though the scripture committee admits that it is a very small group of dissenters.

As I have contemplated these events I have considered the reasons behind people’s choices of documents.  For some they are waiting on the Lord, they have asked but have yet to receive an answer.  I can respect that. For some they are concerned that if the original or Aug 5 is not chosen then we will be rejecting the revelations that the author received. Even though I believe that they are being misled I can respect their desire. For some it is about whose assignment it was to begin with and that we must respect the efforts of that person.  Even though I believe that it was always in the Lord’s heart for this assignment to be given to the entire body, I can respect these people’s stance. For some it is about choosing to hear the words of the Lord as revealed through his authorized servants and not adding to or taking away from those words, faithfully capturing the teachings given to us today. I respect this and agree with it.

If we are ever allowed by the scripture committee to choose between documents, let us be wise in the choosing; focusing on content rather than process or assignment.  In the end it is the content that matters, after all.

Jesus Christ stated, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 KJV)

As we study the documents up for voting, we should keep this perspective in mind, “is there anything in these documents which could lead to false traditions or practices?”  Most of us have come from an LDS background and know how easily false traditions creep in.  We followed “faithfully” a Word of Wisdom. In order to have a temple recommend we had to “obey the Word of Wisdom”, however, what we were required to obey was not even in the actual document, it was man’s interpretations of the Word of Wisdom. We would be foolish to think that we will not do the same thing with this Guide and Standard.  It is human nature, after all, and we have not yet conquered the natural man.

We need to make an educated, even a wise, choice.  As we choose we need to keep in mind that what we choose we are required to follow, we have been commanded to be wise in word and kind in deed to ourselves and to others. Let us educate ourselves and choose the document with the least amount of errors in the content.  Words matter after all.

If we ever get to vote, hopefully for one last time, on the statement of principles which we will adopt as our Guide and Standard, let us be wise as serpents as we study the content of each document, and harmless as doves as we interact with one another. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Historical Events

This past several months has been quite the Spiritual ride.  So much has gone on that I just haven't been able to take a moment to breathe nor to find words to succinctly put it down.  Very historic events have taken place which I have been somehow allowed to be part of. Perhaps one of these days I'll be able to find the words to write posts about each event, but until then I'll put in the links:

March 18-19, 2017: Doctrine of Christ Conference in St. George, Utah; new scripture project announced; opportunity to be offered a covenant in September. link  and here and here

March 20, 2017: wrote my own Guiding Principles which you can read here

April 21, 2017: submitted my Guiding Principles to scripture committee

May, 2017: began our own scripture project with several friends; was told it would be a mistake and could delay the Covenant so we shut it down on May 28, 2017

June 10, 2017: first “Governing Principles” meeting

July 2, 2017: second “Governing Principles” meeting

July 23, 2017: A Prayer for Covenant; you can read it here

July 29, 2017: An Answer and Covenant was announced; you can read it here

August 5, 2017: third “Governing Principles” meeting

September 2, 2017: new set of scriptures was canonized (we were unable to be there for this historic event due to family conflicts); you can read about it here

September 3, 2017: the Lord once again extended a Covenant as in times of old to a repentant group of people; some were gathered in person at the venue in Boise, Idaho; others watched remotely from a live stream via computer/internet.  Those who wished to enter into the covenant simply stood, after the Answer and Covenant were read, and said “yes”. Those who did not want to enter the Covenant remained seated. We were able to be in attendance and we entered into the covenant.

September 21, 2017: Denver C. Snuffer began a lecture series aimed at the Christians. First lecture of three was in Cerritos, California. You can watch it or read it here  These lecture are live streamed via internet for those who cannot be in attendance in person.  My husband and I watched this lecture at home.

October 19, 2017: Denver C. Snuffer gave his second lecture in Dallas, Texas. You can watch it or read it here  My husband and I were able to attend this lecture in person.

Nov, 2017: The People are still working on trying to compile a set of Governing Principles, now being called the Guide and Standard or Statement of Principles to be added to the scriptures.  The first three attempts were considered failures (June 10,  July 2, Aug 5) and none of them were taken to the Lord for His approval.  The body of believers has fractured and confusion reigns over this tiny issue. A group of individuals, seeking peace have worked on a compromise between the “warring” factions: those who want the “original document”, those who want the “Aug 5 document” those who want only those people who have been “called by God” to write a document, etc.  The compromise can be read here

A vote was taken for this proposal with about 477 voting in total and about 86% agreeing to the drawing of lots to form a committee to write the document.  Those who are chosen agree to use only the words of the Lord as revealed in scripture and through the His servant Denver C Snuffer.

Nov. 12, 2017: the drawing of lots was held via live stream internet meeting.  As I watched I had a feeling come over me that what was going on was an historic event.  The numbers were posted here  Both my husband and I were relieved that our numbers were not drawn.  We will spend the week in prayer for those who have been now asked to accomplish this task.  The group of 7 have one week to comprise the Statement of Principles, the body of believers will then have a few days to review it and then it will be given to Denver C Snuffer to take to the Lord for approval. We are hoping that it will be accepted by Him.  I believe that if the body of believers cannot accomplish this task before the new scriptures are set to be printed in December that the Lord will put us under condemnation as sometimes the only way to get a people to repent is through discipline.  Hopefully, I will be able to update this blog in the next few weeks with good news: that we have finally accomplished this light task that Lord has given us.

Nov. 16, 2017: final talk of the lecture series will be held in Atlanta, Georgia; we will be there. You can watch it live here

Monday, July 10, 2017

Equality-a Standard for all Fellowhips

And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. D&C 38:25-27

Is it possible to truly be one, to have equality among a group of individuals?  In our corporate, climb the ladder, mind frame we seem to always want someone “in charge” of a project, we want to lay claim or ownership to an “assignment”. If a body is of equals, with no president, no one in charge, will they be able to “keep order”? Can we govern ourselves? Must we always require someone to govern us? Can we submit to the Lord alone and regard each other as entirely of one body, one people, acting with respect and without compulsion?

I was present at a gathering of individuals last Sunday. The purpose of the gathering was to continue editing and working on a document that had been written as an assignment from a committee to an individual.  Some of those in attendance were there because they had been “called of God” while others were there because they had been called by the author of the document. What struck me as significant was how often throughout the day people referred to this project as “John Doe’s assignment”.  I kept thinking, “that’s a corporate America way of thinking, this is all of our assignment since God called all of us to work on it.”

At one point in the day we broke into smaller groups of 8 to 10 people.  The group I was in also contained the man who was considered by some as The Assignment Guy.  For the first couple of hours our group just went in circles, another man, who also believes in equality, had ‘taken charge’ of the group and was facilitating the discussion. After two plus hours of going in circles and not getting anywhere we took a break to individually pray and re-center ourselves.

When we came back together, it was suggested that we stand in a circle, holding hands to connect physically, while we connected spiritually.  We poured our hearts out to the Lord, begging Him for guidance and direction.  No one was in charge.  Everyone prayed when moved upon by the spirit and when thoughts or impressions would come into a person’s mind they would leave the prayer circle and write it down on the white board or a window until a couple of hours had gone by and the white board was filled as well as two large windows.

No one critiqued or edited or criticized anyone else’s writings.  Some were full sentences, some a few words.  Once we all felt that we’d “received” all that God had for us at the time one of our group, who had thought to bring a laptop, sat down and began typing up all the disjointed writings.  We then, as a group of equals, were able to put all the bits and pieces of personal revelation together to form a whole revelation.  It was an amazing and beautiful experience. This only happened once we all accepted the ‘assignment’ from the Lord and acted as equals, respecting each other’s bits and pieces of revelation; when we became of one heart and one mind with each other and with the Lord.

Zion is not just an idea that will happen sometime later and someplace else.  It is a fact that it will happen when (and if) there are ever people who will give heed and obedience to the abundant teachings and commandments we already have before us. Voluntary cooperation is harder than obedience to control and dictate. But control will not bring Zion. Since the only thing worth our effort is Zion, we must choose voluntary cooperation.

A Standard for All Fellowships

The first great commandment is to love God. Worship God. I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by me, and all things testify of me. If you love me keep my commandments. All who keep my commandments and obey my voice shall see my face and know that I am.  My sheep hear my voice and hearken to the voice of my servants.

The second commandment is like unto the first, love your neighbor as yourself. Every member of a fellowship has equal value. Who can measure the worth of a soul? Who can place a value on a child of God? Are not all my children? Did I not come to save every man and woman? Treat others my way. I am no respecter of persons. Let all things be done in charity.

Unity and love within a fellowship will create a connection with God. We are all broken parts of a greater whole—God’s family—the purpose of gathering together is to repair the family of God. Fellowships are where God can put the pieces back together. When we come together to worship with an eye single to the glory of God, then it is God who unites. Progression is rapid when labor is performed by mortals who work together.

Should the Lord send an angel to govern the affairs of men? Why should I send an angel when a group of broken individuals can come to the same understanding by joining together in love and meekness? Fear stops the flow of communication with God and destroys all relationships. Abuse is rampant and fosters fear. All are broken; only love, true forgiveness, and the atonement can break the chain. Implementing the Atonement of Jesus Christ in ourselves, our families, and our fellowships overcomes fear and heals all wounds.

The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth. Light, like a candle, can pass God’s glory to others.  Just as the sun rises to warm all the earth, light shared through love proceeds from within our hearts to draw in and unite all people. Light is given to all fellowships liberally that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom. Otherwise there remains a scourge and judgment poured out upon the children of Zion.

When we lean on our own understanding we fail to connect with God and fail to fulfill the measure of our creation. Christ animates us as individuals and fellowships if we allow Him to do so. The words of Truth flow when the Spirit of God is animated in believers who speak and act according to the power of godliness. Faith is a principle of action and power. Unified actions, like prayer, ordinances, worship, song, coordinated dance, and physical labor can help a group achieve the flow of the Spirit. Revelation is God’s experience given to animate action in us— giving mere mortals the power to progress in their ascension to godhood.

Be of good cheer! The Lord will provide; do not fear. Have joy. Fellowships exist for the purpose of restoring the family of God and to prepare us for Zion. Our oneness testifies to the world that God is REAL. If you are not one, you are not mine.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles for Fellowships
Joseph Smith, Jr. stated, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves[1]
Denver Snuffer, Jr. stated, “When it comes to the history of scripture, corruption happens every time there is an apostasy. Each new dispensation is responsible for fixing the canon in order to reclaim truths, to correct errors and to adopt guiding principles applicable to their day.[2]
The scriptures, as well as inspired teachings from His servants, should be the source by which any individual as well as any body of believers governs themselves. The following “Guiding Principles for Fellowships” compiled by Whitney Horning April 2017 is not a quintessential document, but is rather an example to teach us how guiding principles can be found within the scriptures as well as other inspired writings. The following principles are direct quotes taken from scripture, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. and the following talks from Denver Snuffer, Jr.: his 9th lecture given on July 26, 2014 in St. George, Utah titled “Marriage and Family”, his 10th lecture given on September 9, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona titled “Preserving the Restoration” and his talk given on March 19, 2017 at the Doctrine of Christ Conference in St. George, Utah titled “Things To Keep Us Awake At Night”.

Getting Started:
True religion, when it is present on earth, always exists as a community of believers. Community is required. If we don't have a community then we cannot be willing to mourn with those that mourn. We cannot comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We cannot stand as a witness to one another of God at all times and of all places. (Mosiah 18: 9 LE) We cannot bear one another's burdens that they may be light, (Mosiah 18: 8 LE) as is required by the Gospel and by the covenant of baptism. None of this can be done without fellowship between believers. However, we do not need a new church. The only thing we need is a community of fellowship. Legal entities, whenever they are formed, become prey to the law. Men who have ambition can control legal entities.
We need to have a renewed community. Not an organization, but a fellowship. Not a hierarchy, but a group of equals. The community needs to be renewed.
Before the Lord’s appearance to the Nephites, society broke down into tribes consisting of family and friends. Immediately before the Lord’s return we should expect something similar. Therefore, part of the preparation by God’s house for coming social chaos is likely to include some preliminary preparations by families and friends to fellowship with one another in local gatherings. Only by independently functioning can they hope to prepare for social chaos prophesied to accompany Zion and precede the Lord’s return.
Every denomination in the world may be represented among your fellowships. This is not designed to limit the possibilities of shared faith, but to greatly expand them.
If you don't have any wisdom to impart to one another, get together and pray. Get together and read the scriptures.
Appoint among yourselves a teacher and let not all be spokesman at once, but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken, that all may be edified of all and that every man may have an equal privilege.” Doctrine and Covenants 30 (RE)

Teaching Children:
You have a duty to teach your children, and it is a duty imposed upon the “parents in Zion,” it is non-delegable. You have to do it. You and I cannot delegate the responsibility we have.
Have your children study scripture. Teach them to use written copies of the scripture… Get them their own copies and have them study them. Ask them to research subjects using their scriptures. Walk them through the parables of Christ and teach them to see symbolism as something familiar. Get them to consider analogies and types as tools used in scripture. Help them to reason a problem through using the scriptures as a guide.
“And again inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands when eight years old, the sin be upon the head of the parents”  Doctrine and Covenants 73 (RE)

Priesthood Ordination and Certification:
I asked the Lord that priesthood get extended beyond the confines of the men who have continually abused and neglected it. I was told that priesthood is confined to men because of the Fall and the conditions ordained by God at that time. Until we reverse things in the Millennium, that is the way it is going to remain, as to the ordinances thus far given in public. I asked the Lord to change that order. It is not going to change. I then asked the Lord that if only men were to hold priesthood for our public ordinances, then could only women vote to sustain them. The saying pleased the Lord, for it was already in His heart. But He said to me, "There shall be a minimum of seven women to sustain the man in any vote, and if the man is married, his wife shall be one of them."
Before sustaining, in any fellowship group, you should first ask if any are opposed. If there are people who are opposed, they should be given the opportunity to explain the reasons before there is any further vote taken, so that they know why there is opposition. Those who vote to sustain should consider the opposing views and the opposition’s reasons, and deliberate about that before they go forward. But if seven women are still willing to sustain, go forward.
All of the women who vote to sustain should not only sign the certificate, but also put it in your diaries and in your journals. Let the records be kept so that if anyone questions, there will be an abundance of witnesses.
When you ordain someone to serve in these fellowships you should ordain no one to an office, only confer the priesthood. Have no offices. Let everyone be equal. Be without ranks. Keep your lines of authority. It will reckon through the one ordaining. But power can only come from Christ. Wait until the Spirit ratifies your ordination before you act. Do as Alma did, and ask Christ to give you power to baptize.
If someone is ordained to priesthood for the first time within your fellowship after April 2014, they should reckon their line of authority in these proceedings for this fellowship.
There are three steps:
The first is ordination. Any man holding priesthood can ordain another man. Man alone can do      this first step
                The second, if you’re functioning outside of a family, is sustaining, which requires seven women.
And thirdly, and this can be done at any time, confirmation must come from heaven. Heaven must ratify
All these should precede performing any ordinance in a fellowship. You should keep a record of the line of authority from the one who does the ordination. I would have in my possession a written certificate signed by the seven women proving the sustaining vote, and everyone involved should record it in their personal records, particularly the day when the Lord confirms the authority to the man. The priest ought to keep that in his personal record.

Baptism has always been required from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each generation. If He acts again now (and He is), then we need to recognize that and respond. Baptism is a mandatory sign of penitence; turning and facing God, and then walking in a new path. From the days of Adam, it will continue through the end of the millennium. Whenever there has been believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to perform the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith.
Any who desire to be baptized, should be baptized. If you have this power given to you by Christ and anyone comes to you, baptize them. Refuse no one. Freely give what you received from God. Do not charge to perform an ordinance. The ordinance is between them and God. They need to have it performed between them and someone God has asked to do it.
Before baptism, teach them the Doctrine of Christ. “Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me, and I bear record of the Father and the Father beareth record of me and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me, and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men everywhere to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved, and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me and is not baptized shall be damned. Verily, verily I say unto you that this is my doctrine and I bear record of it from the Father” 3 Nephi 5 (RE)
I would recommend if at all possible that water for a living ordinance be performed in living water. I would not perform this in a font constructed by man, I would use the things God created. Use what He created. I recognize that there may be circumstances where that becomes impossible.
A messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." Joseph Smith History May 1829 (RE)

Baptism prayer:
"…and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." 3 Nephi 11:24-25 (LE)

Age for baptism:
 “You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women and children which have arriven to the years of accountability.” Doctrine and Covenants 56 (RE)
“for this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, and their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old and receive the laying on of the hands.”  Doctrine and Covenants 73 (RE)
And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying, Listen to the words of Christ your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. The whole need no physician, but they that are sick. Wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin. Wherefore, the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them… it is solemn mockery before God that ye should baptize little children. Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach: repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin…And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold baptism is unto repentance, to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins, but little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world…Little children cannot repent. Wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy. And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption…For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law, for the power of redemption cometh on all they that have no law. Wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent, and unto such baptism availeth nothing; but it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit and putting trust in dead works. Moroni 8 (RE)

Recording of Baptism:
And the book which was the Book of Life is the record which is kept in heaven… that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven . Now the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the Priesthood by the revelations of Jesus Christ wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on Earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on Earth shall not be recorded in heaven.” Doctrine and Covenants 51 RE
After you have complied to have power to baptize, and taught the Doctrine of Christ and they have repented, and are being baptized, their name must be recorded. You choose recorders in your fellowships, and a recorder to compile the names from all the various fellowships. Someone has to keep the names in a record. Faithfully record the name every time there is a baptism. There will be various recorders in various locations. The various recorders need to submit them to a single central record keeper on an annual basis. You do not record their email addresses, vital statistics, phone numbers, or any contact information. Only names. There should be annually complied, a single volume, that will be deposited in a temple. Ultimately there will be a temple built.

Only an antichrist would forbid you from partaking of the Sacrament in the way commanded by your Lord. That is an abomination. If you get together, even if it is only in your own family, partake of the Sacrament together. Let no one forbid you from partaking in remembrance of Christ. He commanded that you do it. Follow the pattern that is given to us.  One of the things that used to be practiced, and has been abandoned, but should now be renewed among you, is that when the Sacrament is blessed, kneel. “Kneel with the church” is how the verse in D&C 20:76 (LE) explains it. It is in the scriptures before you. Follow them. You can use wine. Or, if you are opposed to alcohol, alternatively you have some medical condition that prevents you from using wine, then use grape juice. Not water. Use red grape juice. Use the symbol of the blood of our Lord. Red wine is bitter for a reason. Partaking of that bitter wine in remembrance of the blood that was shed is appropriate.
Sacrament prayer-bread
O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son and always remember him and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” Moroni 4 (RE)
Sacrament prayer-wine
O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” Moroni 5 (RE)

Verily I say unto you, It shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties and shall observe this law or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. And I say unto you, If my people observe not this law to keep it holy and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon that it may be most holy, behold verily I say unto you, It shall not be a land of Zion unto you. And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen.” Doctrine and Covenants 94 (RE)
In Grand Junction I spoke about tithing. I talked about organizing yourselves, collecting your own tithing and managing it yourselves, to assist the poor who are among you, and to do this by the voice of your own local group. Do it by common consent. Provide for those who need housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education and transportation. Do it by the voice of united agreement of you all in small groups in which all know one another.
Tithing is for the poor. It is not designed to pay for a professional clergy class. If we have no buildings more money can go to assist with the needs of people. In this day, and in this economy, anything that can be done to assist with the poor is a good thing.
I want to remind you that if you do that, none of it should go to the priests. None of it should go to anything other than helping the poor.
No general fund exists between fellowships. Each fellowship is independent in their funds.  No general fund is collected even at conferences. The relief of the “poor among you” refers to the individual fellowships.  If there are “no poor among you” then excess donations should go to the temple but may be shared as your fellowship determines by common consent.

" And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and it was soAnd I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone, Wherefore, I will make an help meet for him… And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and I took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof, and the rib, which I, the Lord God had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2 (RE)
"And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth. And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land…” Genesis 3 (RE)
Even if you are in a fallen world, among a fallen people, who are proud and who are arrogant to think themselves more than they really are, if you will love your wife, and if your wife will love you, you are in the image of God and that will be preserved unto all eternity. No matter what else you may have to go through between now and then, that's what He's trying to preserve. That is the image of God.
Notice that the image originally created of the image of God, the man and the woman, that is, Adam and Eve, is now replicated in the children of Adam and Eve. These children imitate the same pattern; two and two. They are necessarily male and female if they going to produce offspring. If they beget sons and daughters, they have to be male and female. It was not one on three, it was two by two. It was the man and the woman. That is the image of God, and no other image is offered to us in scripture, it simply isn't. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage in the scriptural model. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage because how else do they produce offspring? How can you obey the first commandment to multiply and replenish the earth if there is same sex marriage? If the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth arises within the context of marriage, necessarily it requires there be the man and the woman.
The image of God includes necessarily, offspring. As a separate and single individual you are finite, each of us is finite. But when you put together the man and the woman, it is in the image of God because they become potentially infinite. Despite the fact we are in mortality, we become infinite, meaning we have no end, by multiplying.
"Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife, and concubines he shall have none, for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me, thus saith the Lord of hosts." Jacob 2 (LE)
Joseph Smith said, "If a man commit adultery he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom." History of the Church 6:81
Adultery is one of the things so threating to the foundation of society that it is forbidden in the 10 Commandments.
I would include within the definition of the adulterous, as did the Lord, those who commit adultery in their heart, (Matt. 5:28; 3 Ne. 12:28; D&C 63:16 LE) hence, the need for men to reject polygamy. It is adultery in your heart to continue to entertain the possibility that you will one day have multiple wives.
Zion is going to require strong, happy and noble marriages, worthy of enduring beyond the grave. I suspect that if someone repents, even if they keep their marriages intact, but teach their children to forsake this system of multiple wives, that Zion is going to include them. Some who have awakened and decided the practice, and the continuation of taking yet more wives, needs to end, will be accepted by the Lord. It would not surprise me to find out there will be those who have plural wives within Zion. But it will not include those who still believe in continuing the practice, perpetuating the practice, or adding additional wives, it will be those who have awakened. Once awakened, stop it in the children. But do not destroy the families.

Faith is not produced by signs, but signs follow those who believe. (D&C 63:9 LE) That is why Pharaoh was never impressed by the things God did through Moses. Signs are inconsequential. Signs are not controlled by men but are God’s to give as God determines. (D&C 63:10 LE) And signs are not supposed to be the subject of boasting. (D&C 84:73 LE) Some of the most remarkable signs that have been given to me are only silently recorded in my journal. Signs exist—they have been given to testify of this work. Many of the signs recorded in the lives of believers may be unknown to you, but there are signs in rich abundance among believers today. The adulterous are the ones who seek signs, according to our Lord, and He said it twice because Matthew’s account includes him saying that to two different audiences on two different occasions. (Matt. 12:39; 16:4 LE) Adulterers are sign seekers.

We do not need numerous temples, but we will need one to which Christ can come. We will not need to perform endless work for the dead until first there has been a covenant made for us. We must be first connected to the fathers in heaven. Only then can we do something to liberate the dead.
When a temple exists, there will be a box in the main courtyard where people can make donations. Donations to the temple will go for two purposes: First is maintenance and repair of the temple. Second, it is a general fund for the poor. That fund can be called upon by any fellowship needing assistance with their poor. Anyone who is part of any fellowship is entitled to a request for assistance from that excess temple fund.
The temple by its nature is general, and the one place that involves all believers wherever they are located throughout the world.  When the temple is functioning, there will be general conferences regularly conducted there.  It should be expected also, when the temple is fully organized and operating, that there will be observances of festivals and feasts. However, in the present state of things, these are not expected observances.

Funds donated to build the Temple
All money donated will be fully transparent.  In time every cent donated will be fully accounted for. The Lord requires a record of donations and expenses. They are to be gathered and ultimately maintained at the temple, and will be open for inspection… “Do not expect to eat the bread of wear the garment of the laborer in Zion.” (D&C 42:42 LE) If you oppose the work, if you stay your hand, if you refuse and others do the labor, don’t expect to eat the bread or wear the garment.

We must overcome “jarrings,” “contentions,” “envyings,” “strifes,” “lusts” meaning ambitions, and “covetous desires.” These conflicts need to be worked out before any gathering. Before any gathering, we must be put through a refining process. We must grow; we must rise up first, before God will gather us to Zion.
Zion will include people who are willing to receive revelations from God and obey commandments.  He provides a blessing to them: “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 shall also be crowned with blessing from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time-they that are faithful and diligent before me.” (D&C 59:3-4 LE) Scriptures are needed for Zion.
Zion can only come about as a consequence of consecration and sacrifice, and not as a result of seeking to get gain. In fact, when you are in the employ of the Lord you ought to be sacrificing, it should not be gainful; it should cost you in order to serve. To accomplish purity, there are absolutes that are necessary. Sacrifice is absolutely necessary, and equality is necessary as well.
Every time there is a covenant, there is always a land given to man as part of His covenant. This is the land God covenants He will give to the people who receive the covenant, including the Gentiles, in whose ears this first shall sound. Coming into the covenant is not possible because we are not yet proven. It requires more than has been given at present, but it will not be given until first we accept and act on the Doctrine of Christ. It is possible to come in and become part of His church, as He calls it. That is a heaven-recognized group, not something men control. It must be done in His way, according to His commandments, practiced in purity before Him. It is possible, if you follow as instructed today, to become part of the church He recognizes and will preserve. But coming fully into the covenant spoken of in this verse (3 Nephi 21:22 LE) will require more than can been given right now. It will require a covenant. It will require adoption. It will require sealing. It is what Joseph looked forward to have happen at some point in the future during the days of his prophecy. Although Joseph qualified and bound some few with him, it was not possible in that day to fulfill this promise. In our day, we will not even learn enough about it to attempt to practice it until after we have eliminated jarrings, contentions, envyings, strifes, lusts, and covetous desires from us. Then we must become of one heart, having no poor among us. Gentiles have never accomplished that. Some few, however, are prophesied to accomplish this, and to be given the covenant spoken of here.
"And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst. And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day…" (3 Nephi 21:26 LE)
It is not going to happen in haste. The work of the Father in those nations, to allow for the possibility of gathering, will require destroying a great deal of political, social, and military obstructions now preventing such a gathering. These obstacles prevent preaching to those who would gather, if they could hear. The work of the Father is going to bring this to an end. All the scattered remnants will be brought back again. The original unified family of God will be restored again. The fathers will have our hearts turned to them, because in that day, once it is permitted to get that far, we will be part of their divine family again.
Christ will come. Once the covenant has been renewed, the city of Zion will follow. The Lord will come, and then the final stage begins. "…even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance. And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward." (3 Nephi 21, LE)

[1] In "The Organization of the Church," Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851, p. 339
[2] “Things to Keep us Awake at Night,” Denver Snuffer, Jr., March 19, 2017 Doctrine of Christ Conference

Saturday, May 20, 2017

We Still Weep for Zion-for Zion has fled

As we’ve been focusing on the scripture project, which we hope will bring about receiving a covenant from the Lord, Jesus Christ, I’ve begun to realize something: there is currently no scripture canonized today that teaches a people in word and by example how to bring about Zion.

The last time Zion was accomplished was in the days of Melchizedek with Salem, the City of Peace.  The only other time Zion has been accomplished was previous to Salem with the City of Enoch.  The scriptures contain references to these cities, but no actual recordings from the participants about how they governed themselves other than what little is said in scripture, “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” Moses 7:18

The Old Testament begins with the book of Genesis, “written” by Moses, or as some scholars believe, by four different sources, the “Yahwists”, “Elohists”, “Deuteronomists” and the “priestly document”. Whomever it was written by, one thing is certain, the Old Testament recorders lived long after both Zions had fled from the earth.
“And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.” (Moses 7:69)

We do not have any actual existing records in today’s known world of scripture which was written by any of the Patriarchs or “Fathers in Heaven”.  Because of this we do not know how to organize ourselves under a Patriarchal system where all people are equal and function more as a family rather than an institution.

After Salem, the City of Peace, the people of the Old Testament failed to bring about Zion.  The people of the New Testament failed to bring about Zion.  The people of the Book of Mormon came very close in 4th Nephi  but in the end failed to bring about Zion.  The people of the Doctrine and Covenants failed to bring about Zion. These groups all failed because they organized themselves into institutions that were hierarchical rather than equal.

Is it wisdom in the Lord to keep the ideals, principles and guidelines followed by the people who were successful in bringing about Zion hidden from the world?  If we had the records from Adam down to Ephraim (the Fathers in Heaven) would the world have even more pretenders?  Would the knowledge damn us even more? Would it be used by conspiring men to enslave us even more?  Or is it that we are too stubborn and stiff-necked to even understand the patriarchal model at all and therefore it is kept hidden from our view out of mercy in order to spare us greater condemnation and judgement?

All we know for sure is that both Enoch and Melchizedek preached repentance unto their people. Their people repented from all their wickedness and peace was established.

Today we have been sent a true messenger from the Father.  He has been sent from the Fathers clothed with power and authority as an authorized servant to give us a message.  The message is to repent! But it is also about how to govern ourselves so as to bring about Zion.  As my family and I have been repenting and implementing the teachings we are learning, I am beginning to see how bringing about Zion can take centuries to accomplish.

One of the difficult struggles I have been witness to lately is that of equality: what it means and how we go about implementing it.

One of the lessons God has been teaching me lately is that Equality is not just between men but also extends to women. “ God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27  I have been greatly blessed to be married to a man who has treated me as his equal and walked side by side with me throughout our journey on this earth.  I generally associate with other men who treat their wives and other women with respect and equality.
Recently I have interacted with men who are all so busy trying to be equal with other men that they trample on the tender hearts of women.  Men may have knowledge but without the wisdom of women there is not true equity. Recent events have left me feeling that far too many men do not see women as their equals in spiritual matters.  Interactions with men outside of my family and friends have left me feeling unappreciated, overlooked and minimized.  Some interactions have even left me feeling embarrassed and humiliated.

This has caused me to think about the women mentioned in scripture from the Old Testament to the Pearl of Great Price.  While there are stories about women there are no books which have been penned by women. As I’ve pondered on this, I thought about all the women of great faith, even prophetesses whose stories are in the scriptures.  Surely, some of these women wrote about becoming daughters of Christ and receiving His testimony.  This world has been a male dominated world since sin was introduced.  Men are generally the ones who form committees to compile and canonize scripture, therefore, it only makes sense that men, threatened by and jealous of women having greater light and knowledge, would remove any writings penned by women.

As I have been pondering the current scripture project and the desire for equality among believers, the Lord has whispered to my heart that one of the tests underway in regards to equality is whether His Daughters will rise up and whether or not His Sons will allow us to.  It is not just equality between men that God desires for us but equality among all people, male and female, young and old.
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am” D&C 93:1
For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:11

 Unless we take seriously that women are created equal to men we will continue to fail to bring about Zion.

Part of this responsibility lies on the shoulders of the women; we must rise up; we must speak up; we must expect respect and equality and we must extend it to each other.  Christ wants His daughters to speak up, to be more involved. If women cannot learn to respect and treat other women with equity we can never hope to be treated as such by men.  If we cannot learn how to be equal we will never bring about Zion.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Test is Upon Us

The test upon us is so multi-faceted and so complex that none of us can see the end from the beginning.  We are pushing ourselves up hill and that hill is getting steeper by the minute.  So many obstacles will appear in our path back to God, some that will feel like they are going to destroy us or throw us off track and some that we misinterpret and think that they are put in our path to keep us from damnation when in reality they are there to help us come closer to God.

To have all things in common: being in harmony or in common with the mind and will of God.  When a group of people are all in harmony with the mind and will of God, then that group of people, no matter how small, have all things in common, they are of one heart and one mind with God and now with each other.

There are two tests right now that are affecting the majority of people who have woken up to their awful state and have separated or begun to separate from the LDS Church: the temple and the scripture project/offered covenant.

The temple: I understand concerns on not only the cost of the temple but also wondering if we even need one.  I understand the fears that it might turn out to be the most costly, lavish temple in existence (research Solomon's temple, for an example). Those are valid concerns. If God commands it to be built a certain way, a certain dimension, with certain materials, in a certain location and it ends up being incredibly expensive, say the most expensive temple built by man to date, how will we react? Will we declare the temple not of God based on the cost of the project?  Will the cost of the project determine if Denver Snuffer is a "fallen" servant or a "righteous" servant?  One of the common mistakes those of us who have "woken up” are making is that we are throwing everything that is similar to the LDS Church out of our lives.  One of the reasons that the LDS Church is the great whore of all the earth is precisely because she mimics the real thing so closely; there is a razor edge dividing the two which is why it is so confusing and compelling.

The scripture project/covenant: there are beginning to be more and more voices against Denver Snuffer in this scripture project.  Other men who claim to have seen Christ who are turning many away from the path that Christ, through His authorized servant, is trying to take people on.  They have some legitimate arguments.  These men claim that Denver once was on the right path with waking people up from their idolatry, but is now "fallen" or "misguided" as he has turned the people towards "covenanting with him" and not going to God directly. These men are claiming that men do not make covenants, God does and that men do not need a temple, they can rise up on their own and come back into God's presence without the aid of a temple. These sentiments leave me wondering if people really read and understand the teachings of Denver.  It would behoove anyone confused by these men to go back and study the scriptures as well as Denver’s lectures and blog.

A few weeks ago I was praying about some things in regards to the scripture project.  I received a clear answer that one of the many parts of the test underway is for God to see who we, individually, will accept as God's authorized servant.  God revealed to me that many people have been back into His presence and that He has other servants, but that he has only one authorized servant at this time who has been commanded to do this scripture project. John the beloved and the Three Nephites are authorized servants, and interestingly enough, John the Beloved's newly revealed testimony will be included in the new scriptures.

Common consent, or to have all things in common begins with being in harmony, or having commonality with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  Part of knowing the Lord is knowing the mind and will of the Lord and then doing it. If God has sent an authorized servant to us today, then in order to be in common with God means that we need to come to a harmony with Him on who He has sent us and the messages coming through those individuals and then doing what those servants ask of us.

The tests are going to get harder and more difficult, the path steeper and more difficult to climb.  As we continue to strive to follow Christ, to be One with Him, we need to trust Him, Jesus Christ, that He will not lead us astray.  He will never interfere with our agency. He has sent us a servant who has power and authority and is above all else a teacher, that man's name is Denver Snuffer.  I do not believe that I can see Christ, that He will appear to me, if I reject His authorized servant, because recognizing any and all servants He sends to me is acknowledging and seeing God in my life.  

When the flood is raging around you, keep holding on to Christ. Even if you don't understand the obstacles He is placing before you and you can't see the end from the beginning, hold on to Him.  Continually pray that your heart may be softened.  Put your trust in God.  Love him.

We are literally in a lone and dreary world.  Like Adam and Eve we have been praying for true messengers from the Father who can teach us words of eternal life.  Christ has sent us a true messenger.  That messenger can help guide us in our ascent back into the presence of God where we can talk with Him face to face. The Children of Israel did not want to go up onto Mount Sinai to see God because it was terrifying; there were thunderings and lightenings and earthquakes. The people thought they would suffer all manner of pains and die.  It is no different today.  The tasks we are asked to accomplish are getting harder and more difficult, the mountain is being shaken.  I, for one, keep being shaken.  This has not been an easy path for me.  When the temple fund was finally announced, I balked.  I wanted nothing to do with it when I saw the suggested donation amount on Go Fund Me.  I took it to the Lord.  He has softened my heart.  I do not understand yet what the end will be, but I keep praying that He will guide me in this process.  I had finally settled down into some semblance of peace again when the scripture project/covenant was announced.  Once again, I was shaken.  Once again, I have taken it to the Lord and He has been good to me and answered just enough of my questions to keep me going, but not so many that I can see the end.  I still have moments of struggle.  I go to the Lord and to the scriptures at these times.  If anything, these obstacles present to us a chance to turn to the Lord in all energy of our souls, to pray, plead, beg for answers and guidance and comfort from Him.  

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were reading Doctrine and Covenants.  In my head I was complaining about the length of the sections. The next morning I was contacted and asked to submit something to the scripture committee that I had previously written.  I did not want to do it for several reasons.  I went to the Lord in prayer for an entire day and night.  I felt that I was supposed to send it in, but was uncomfortable with how long it was (10 pages!), so I kept editing it, trying to cut it down in length.  As I would ask God for his help, he'd gently remind me that He was the one who gave me the scriptures and quotes to begin with.  I kept complaining, "But, it's way too long."  Christ gently let me know that it hurt His feelings that I wouldn't want to hear from Him as much as possible.  Fast forward a couple of more days and I was praying and seeking guidance on a different matter, the Lord was silent and I was getting frustrated at His silence (which is usual for me) when he replied that I complain when He talks too much (the length of the scriptures) and I complain when He talks too little (not answering me personally). It was a gentle rebuke and offered me a chance to repent. I was humble by it.

I believe that the answers as well as the comfort and understanding we all seek can be found in the scriptures and the teachings of God's authorized servants. If we are frustrated that God is "not talking to us" then go to the scriptures.  He as spoken abundantly in them. We need to continue to pray that our hearts may be softened and that we may hear and recognize the word of the Lord and then have the courage to go and do it.

The tests are upon us.  The exciting, yet terrifying thing is: we get to choose!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned…the perfect way to test these? Put a covenant on the line!

When I attended the Doctrine of Christ conference in March of 2017 held in St. George, Utah a scripture project was announced.  I’ve written about that previously under the title “Accepting an Offered Covenant”; you can see that post here .

At that conference a document was proposed to be added to the scriptures.  It was titled “Governing Principles” and was drafted in order to instruct people all over the world how to worship Christ.

When I saw the article and the title, I rebelled.  I have just come out of an institutional church that governed everything I did, down to the minutiae.  Immediately, one of Joseph Smith’s teachings came to mind, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (emphasis added)

As I began reading this document I found several items that I did not agree with nor did I feel they were scripturally accurate.  I took this matter to the Lord.  I was deeply concerned and in turmoil over the idea of accepting a set of scriptures containing a document with which I did not agree.

I have been waking up in the early morning hours between 3:30 and 4:30 quite often over the past several months.  It has been a good time to pray and write.  The house is quiet with no one needing mom’s attention. It is a time I can converse with the Lord.

The morning after coming home from the conference I awoke early and was complaining to God about the need to be “governed” by a document with which I did not agree. He calmly asked me what I would write. When I told him, he encouraged me to do so.  I spent the next several days drafting my version of a guide for fellowshipping.

It’s difficult to put into words, and keep this post from becoming enormously wordy, what has transpired with the scripture project over the past month and a half.  Suffice it to say that the committee printed in the first draft edition some of their own writings including “Governing Principles” mentioned earlier.  This opened the door for a lot of personal submissions, some that were closer to the crazy end of the meter, a “recipe for disaster”.  This began serious debate: “what is scripture” and “who is authorized by God to write it”.  People were emailing serious concerns to the scripture committee but feeling dismissed by them.  I was one of those people. 

We were alternately moved upon by the spirit and our own consciences to push the committee to tighten their standards of what is scripture and then felt chastised for “complaining” when Denver would write a blog post chastising complainers.

Things came to a head April 19, 2017.  A small group of us had decided to draft a petition in order to call for several items of immediate action:
  ▪Reconstruct the restoration-era scriptures insofar as is possible;
▪Add contemporary content that few would quibble with (e.g., writings by authorized servants: Denver, translation of John, Joseph Smith) 
▪Pause before moving forward in adopting other “scripture” in order to determine the best approach (e.g. writing from others in the assembly or on the scripture team)
Suggested process for arriving at final set of RE scriptures:
▪All legitimate concerns or suggestions that are submitted should be compiled into the list for voting (no selective filtering).
▪Anything that is new to the scriptures (post-Joseph, not Denver) should be, de facto, put up for comment and vote, not automatically added to the scriptures as “examples” to the rest of us and definitely not because the author is on the scripture team.

We were willing and ready to begin our own scripture project if the current committee continued to dismiss our attempts at common consent.  Denver Snuffer heard about our efforts and called for an emergency meeting at his law office in Sandy, Utah. A representative for the committee attended as well as several people involved with our petition.

The meeting was rough but inspiring. We were all called to repent.  We were all able to understand each other more fully. We were all taught some true doctrine by Denver. During the meeting I was asked by Denver to submit the paper I wrote titled “Guiding Principles” to go up against “Governing Principles” in order for the assembly of saints to have a choice. I was not sure I wanted to do so and I did not commit to sending it in at that time.

One of the stories Denver shared a few times was that of the saints in Joseph Smith’s day complaining about the introduction to the doctrine and Covenants which the scripture team at that time had been tasked with writing.  The people rejected their document and called for Joseph to write a new one. Denver pointed out that this began dependence by the people upon Joseph which darkened their minds.  Denver does not want to repeat history.

The following morning I was contacted by a person who had been in attendance at the meeting.  They were excited because they had realized that morning that we had not repeated history: the people do not like the document the scripture team wrote (Governing Principles) and instead of going to Denver to write a new one, I had gone to the Lord and I had written a new one.  Denver was thrilled that “I did not repeat history” and in addition he was even more thrilled that the work was done by a woman!  They asked me to send in the guiding principles document I had compiled and they wanted my name on it.

I felt overwhelmed by the prospect. I spent that day and the morning of the next praying about what to do. I chose to send it in on Friday the 21st. I attached my name to it with the full realization that this may result in my excommunication from the LDS Church.

Sending in my document has opened a door to help others see that they can have a voice in regards to the scripture project.

Things did not change immediately following that meeting.  I have had two phone calls with a member of the scripture team. These calls were beneficial to both of us, I was given more light and understanding into the choices, decision and labors they are doing on our behalf and they were able to better understand the views of the assembly of saints.  Last Sunday, April 30, I received a phone call asking me how I felt about the team putting together a new committee that would be responsible for drafting a replacement document for Governing Principles and my Guiding Principles. This new committee would be formed out of representatives from any fellowship that felt inspired to be a part of it.  I was elated!  This idea felt right.

It has been two weeks since that emergency meeting and there has been a transformation in the attitude of the scripture team as well as the body of believers.  A lot of personal revelation has been received, a lot of direction on how to proceed. As well as much needed guidance on what exactly is scripture and who is authorized by God to “write” it.  The scripture team issued an apology to the body of saints.  It was beautiful and humble and has given us much needed hope in this process.  With that apology they tightened the parameters of what types of submissions should be considered for inclusion in the scriptures.  They also announced the formation of a new committee which had been discussed with me that morning on the phone.

If we are to have any hope of establishing Zion we must learn to work together, to have common consent, to have charity, love and compassion for one another, to have equality, long suffering, gentleness and persuasion, to have love unfeigned; this scripture project has been a wonderful tool for Christ to begin to teach us how to accomplish these things.  There is nothing like offering a covenant to get us learning and growing in earnest. We have a long way to go, but we have begun.