The Lord Prepares Groups of People

TheSaviorKirtlandTempleI was pleased to be asked to substitute teach Gospel Doctrine class this week. It is about the closing of the Kirtland period, the first missions of the early Saints to Canada and later to England, then the exodus from Kirtland. Of course that exodus was not as dramatic as leaving Nauvoo, but it was nevertheless undertaken under duress, especially by the prophet Joseph.

Preparing to Teach

I enjoy teaching the gospel whenever I’m asked, just as I enjoy speaking in church whenever I’m asked. I have found over the years that I tend to over-prepare. I probably spent twenty hours this week reading various sources of church history, but mainly in The Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney. I was amazed to read again the way the Lord prepared groups of people for the missionaries.

Entire Congregations

Both Heber C. Kimball and later Wilford Woodruff, converted and baptized entire congregations of hundreds, including most of their ministers. At one point in time, it was estimated that a full 80% of the church membership had descended from one of these early English converts. I know that’s true in my wife’s family. I, on the other hand, still consider myself to be a first generation Mormon.

A True Believing Mormon

While my wife’s family is from Utah – and wow there are a lot of them - I’m a California boy. I only bring that up because I tend to think of myself as not your typical Mormon. Although I have described myself as orthodox and conservative everywhere I write, I like to think that I’m more open-minded about some things. Let’s take Denver Snuffer for an example. Uh-oh, I know what you’re thinking.

Books from Denver Snuffer

When I first encountered the writings of Denver Snuffer, I knew right away that the Lord had either asked him or inspired him to write his books, or both. There’s just something about his style, his tone, the authority with which he writes, the depth and the importance of his subjects that causes him to stand out in my mind as someone who has something special and something very different.

A Divisive Individual

So I began to mention him on my blog, write a few reviews of his books and generally bring him to the attention of my readers. I was amazed and shocked by the response of some who found that my suggestion of even considering his legitimacy could have any merit. “How could you be such a fool, Tim? How could you be duped by someone who is an obvious charlatan and one who will lead you astray?”

Read the Material First

They didn’t use those exact words, at least not in the public comments, but in essence, that is what they were saying. Invariably, when I asked if they had read his material, almost all those who were opposed to his ideas, had not gone directly to the source. They were only responding to what they had read from others. Occasionally I’d have an intelligent private dialog with a few who had taken the time to read.

Beware of False Prophets

I have found that when people comment on Denver Snuffer on my blog, they tend to fall into one of two groups. The first believe he is another Warren Jeffs, Jim Harmston (died June 2013) or some other recent wanna-be prophet claiming that the LDS Church is apostate so they start their own. Most have no idea what Denver Snuffer has written. The second group has taken the time to seriously read his writings, consider them, pray about them and attempt to improve their lives by following his suggestions.

Stay Active in LDS Church

I guess I tend more towards the second group. I have read most everything he has written, or at least enough to know that the man is not inspired from the wrong source. There is some real substance to what he has written. Some of it is above me - way above me - but most of what he writes makes sense, especially the part about staying active in the LDS Church. I like that because I have lots of friends at church that I love dearly.

Private Discussion Groups

There are a number of online groups that discuss Denver’s writings, some public, but most private. I confess I belong to a few of them. I don’t contribute much there. I prefer to write on my own blog. This has always been my own spiritual journal so to speak. I have a separate journal that I have kept all my life, but I use my blog to “push the envelope” on spiritual areas I’m pondering so I can get feedback.

A Year-Long Lecture Tour

If you know anything about Denver or follow his blog, you know he has announced a series of lectures beginning on September 10th in Boise, running in various Intermountain West cities and ending in Phoenix a year later on September 9th, 2014. I’m glad they are being recorded because I would very much like to attend one of them but it doesn’t look like he will be making a visit to California on this road trip.

More and More Missionaries

One of the things Denver has pointed out is that the gathering of the elect in the very last days is a two-fold project – one conducted by the institutional LDS church – and one conducted by the angels of God. I am convinced the missionary changes announced last year by President Monson and which are already bearing fruit, at least in the number of missionaries we send out, is not the final gathering prophesied in the scriptures.

Hastening the Work

I believe it is simply a hastening of the work. The Lord is using the LDS Church to gather the elect. There is no doubt about that. But the Lord is also causing something wonderful to happening to various members of the church that puts them in another group – a group that is being prepared to be taught by angels and to eventually receive an audience with the resurrected Lord in this mortal life.

A Movement in the Church

I am being contacted by more and more individuals who want to talk privately about Denver and what they sense is happening in the church today. Some dialogs are via email, some on the phone, but all focus on the fact that we each want to receive a personal visitation from the Lord. Do you remember the terrible controversy this created when George Pace was rebuked by Elder McConkie for even suggesting such a thing?

An Audience With Christ

Maybe you’re too young but I remember it well. It put a real chill and damper on the church for a long time of anybody bringing that subject up again in Gospel Doctrine or a priesthood quorum. It’s almost as if we now give lip service to the idea of knowing the Lord, but we dare not say that we can indeed “know” Him, as in, have an audience with Him while in mortality. Why is that idea so bothersome to some people in our church?

Teach by the Spirit

I’m rambling and I know it. It’s late and I’ve got to get to bed to be ready to teach the gospel tomorrow. Although our block meets at 1pm, I still want to review the material I have prepared and petition the Lord for strength to teach by the spirit. I never want to be so married to the order or the exact content of my prepared material that I miss when the Lord whispers that I teach something a little differently that I had planned.

To my Regular Readers

Let me end by throwing this out there for discussion. Now I know I don’t have as many readers as I used to since I was dropped by ldsblogs.org, but the numbers show a couple hundred visitors a day – most who get here through a Google search on Denver Snuffer - in addition to a couple hundred subscribers who get my posts in an email or on their reader. I would like to know what you think about this.

A Risk of Missing Out

Specifically, what if the Lord really did appear to Denver Snuffer as he claimed? What if the Lord really did ask him to write his books? What if he is now asking him to take the message more directly to the LDS people via this series of lectures he is conducting over the next year starting in September? What if the Lord really does intend to see how we will respond to the message of this man some call an apostate?

Gathering the Elect

Did Jesus come from within the established ranks of the Jewish hierarchy when he came in the Meridian of Time to teach His gospel and establish his church? What if, just what if, the Lord really is sending Denver Snuffer out on these lectures to seek out and find those from within the church that are ready to be taught by angels and to receive an audience with the Lord? What if the Lord wants you to know something more?

Comments

goodfighter said…
The church has to "play it safe" in a lot of ways - largely because it's so huge and global now. They can't be saying yes this guy's okay, no this guy's not. So they stick to straight, simple doctrine. But of course there's so much more to learn about and we're given the gift of the Holy Ghost to help us recognize truth. Learning new things re-energizes and helps us see the bigger picture - we don't need church approval for everything we study. I don't think God intended that.
Granted, some people get shaken by everything -maybe they shouldn't reach out for more knowledge than they can process. I get kinda worn out of people (my family) who hold up their fingers in a cross (not literally) at me when I even mention something from Life Everlasting....geesh...only certain spirit stories are allowed.... The apostles may offer caution but that's fine. They know more than they say too. They have to teach "so they cannot possibly misunderstand" (H.B. Brown) because some saints "fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions." (JS) ANYWAY I see absolutely no reason why God couldn't have appeared to Denver and prompted him to write the books and teach stuff. If he's not asking us to follow him in place of the prophet, I don't see a problem. Listen and learn with the spirit. :)
Janet Owens said…
Tim,
I like your blog. You are honest and candid with what you know and what you don't know. We should all ask. We have been commanded to ask, knock, and seek the face of the Lord always.
Our ultimate goal is to be reunited with God our Father. We have been taught that from Primary. The scriptures teach that we should do it in this life. "Now is the time for men to prepare to meet God."
He does not command us to do something without preparing a way for us to accomplish the thing he has commanded.
What a glorious promise that Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their abode with us.

Some time ago I promised that I would share what I know about the veil. Here are my thoughts.
The marks on the veil of the temple are the same as the marks on our garments. The veil is the flesh of our bodies. We need to over come the carnal desires of our bodies to rend the veil of our flesh to unite our spirit with the Spirit of God. We were once with Him (premortality). Now that we have a body we need to learn to overcome our sensual, and carnal nature to reunite our will with his.

I feel like I was lead to Denvers books. I have read most of them. I go back to them again and again. I have heard him speak. He is a better writer than orater. I plan on going to Boise. There is a danger in getting off the straight and narrow path when we study what is not approved by the correlation committee. But the danger for the Saints is to not receive the "greater knowledge" promised, that will ensure their calling and election.
I bear testimony that it is not only possible for us to see Jesus Christ but that it is critical for us to go to the veil and receive the light and knowledge that will save us.

Don't worry about being dropped by LDSblogs.org. As you draw nearer and nearer the opposition increases.

Any chance you would invite me to participate in the private bogs discussing Denver's writings?

Your faithful follower. Janet
I believe I was led to Denver's books & have felt prompted to share them with others from time to time.
Tom Irvine said…
I do not take a position on Denver Snuffer or Mel Fish. I have not read their books or attended their workshops, lectures, or healing sessions. But I feel a sensitivity toward them.

Here is a quote from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin:

Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.

This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children.

(End Quote)

In my own case, I am publishing an online translation of the Book of Mormon in Hebrew (easily found via a google search), with full disclaimers that it is my own work and is NOT endorsed by the LDS Church.

I make no claim of having any great spiritual experience in this regard, but I have been guided by the "Still Small Voice."

- Tom Irvine
Hi Janet,

I'll send you a private message with the information.

Thanks for hanging in there with me as a reader.

Tim
Love your comments. How I wish more people had this kind of attitude about seeking and obtaining more knowledge. I think over the years we have been scared off by well-meaning people who love us because they are afraid we will join some cult or give money to something like that. Hey, aren't we already accused by that as we pay tithing and attend church services on Sunday? There is so much more out there and WE are responsible to seek it out. It cannot and will not be taught in your Sunday School class. I'm taking a risk today by sharing a quote from Heber C. Kimball that's not in the lesson manual, but I felt the Lord telling me that someone needed to hear it. We'll see how it goes.
Hi Tom,

I didn't know that about your project translating the Book of Mormon into Hebrew. I spent an hour reading all about it this morning. I am so impressed. Our High Priest's Group Leader teaches at the local Rabbinic school in Los Angeles. I'll bet he knows about your stuff. He is on the church's board for Interfaith relations with the Jewish community where we take Rabbis on tours of the temples before they are opened.

Shalom
OrkneyOctopus said…
Joseph Smith made pretty clear that we should seek an audience with the Lord, but he made clear a bunch of other things we also ignore, like the reality of the spirit world and our unwitting interactions with spirits of all stripes. In my sacrament meeting today, an 11 year old girl quoted Joseph Smith extensively on the subject, as have her siblings in recent talks in Primary. But since her family is known for being fairly outspoken about what many see as uncomfortable issues, like unconstitutional meddling at various levels of government, in all probability she was ignored as well.

I have your blog, among other things, to thank for getting me thinking about some of those ideas, and pointing me toward other sources with similar ideas. So thanks :)
goodfighter said…
Tim and Tom - off topic from Bro Snuffer, but regarding the Elder Wirthlin quote - thank you! It is one of my crusades to try to help members be more open and accepting of those that don't fit some mold that surely did not come from Christ. I used to feel I must be doing something wrong/don't quite fit/am missing something because I don't get all weepy, I'm not very squishy and sweet, I don't talk to all children like they're 3 (sorry), and I have yet to feel the Spirit as a burning in my bosom (I feel it more often in my legs, as a matter of fact - I take it as God's sense of humor with me....) There is definitely room for many personalities in the church. I have an older book that I love by Roger Terry called "No more stereotyped Mormons" (from a BY quote) - a section in there helped change my understanding of God and therefore, my life.

What does the HP Group leader teach at the rabbinic school?
Cody Hatch said…
I read Denver Snuffer's books by complete chance several years ago and have read each one as they've come out. The books are fantastic and I have no doubt he was called by God to write them and remind us of the promises made in the scriptures. I don't understand the controversy surrounding his writings because that is all he did - remind us of the promises made in the scriptures, and the scriptures are replete with the promises Denver discusses.

I think it is very worthwhile to discuss what Denver talks about and I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Good grief, even Alma, in chapter 13, discusses these things openly to unbelievers. To be honest, it's the most important thing we can contemplate and live for in this world.

I've rambled on long enough. Thanks for your blog. Also, can I please get an invitation to those discussion groups you mention, or at least a list of them?

Thank you,
Cody
jared91 said…
The restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith by the appearance of the Father and the Son is either true or not.

The Book of Mormon is what it claims to be or it is a fraud.

These two claims, and a few others I won't take the time to list, are simple and straight forward. The Lord's provided us with everything we need to find out if these claims are true (Moroni 10:4-5).

We're taught that the most important order of business we can do as church members is to diligently seek for the companionship of the Holy Ghost (the 1st comforter) 1 Nephi 10:17.

Nephi teaches us a few things about the process by asking a question and then answering it:

And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? 2 Nephi 31:19

The strait and narrow path is defined in 2 Nephi 31:17. The strait and narrow path is located after entering the gate: the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

Remember the question Nephi asked: "I would ask if all is done?"

Note carefully his answer.


19 Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 31:19 - 20)

We're taught to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ...feasting upon the word of Christ...

As we do this we will have manifestations of the Spirit, in other words, the companionship of the Holy Ghost. As we grow in this gift it will show unto you all things what ye should do 2 Nephi 32:5.

When the time comes and we're prepared to receive the 2nd Comforter this marvelous blessing will be ours.

The problem many church members have is that they lose a firm grip on the iron rod (the word of God) and take hold of other "books" instead. This causes them to be less steadfast in Christ as they feast on the words of men. Instead of being born again they are spiritually still born.

Those who are determined to hold the iron rod with grow in testimony and be converted. When converted they don't fall way (Alma 23:6).

I urge all to embrace the Book of Mormon's teachings and feat on the words of Christ instead of the words of men.

The words of Christ are easy while the words of men create a heavy mist of darkness.
Yes, the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith by the appearance of the Father and the Son really did happen. Yes, the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be – a record of the ancient inhabitants of America translated by the gift and power of God.

You are correct. The Lord has told us how to know for ourselves if we can rely upon and accept these claims as trustworthy. They are indeed straightforward. You are also correct that we can and should receive the Holy Ghost, who will teach and guide us unto all truth.

Yes, we absolutely must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. If we do so, and endure to the end, the promise is sure: We will have eternal live. This is a wonderful promise. Thanks for sharing it.

I especially appreciate how you emphasize we must feast upon the words of Christ. In other words, we must search the scriptures for answers to our questions. That is where they will be found. It is wonderful that the Lord has given us these clear doctrines in the Book of Mormon.

Yes, as we feast upon the words of Christ, we will have manifestations of the Spirit or in other words, we will enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. This gift – the Holy Ghost – will prompt us in all things that we should do. I see only agreement with everything you have shared.

I like what you wrote, “When the time comes and we're prepared to receive the 2nd Comforter this marvelous blessing will be ours.” I totally agree with this. It absolutely takes preparation. I know I’m not prepared, or at least, if I were to judge my own readiness, I would say I'm not ready.

You are correct that there is a big problem with many members who lose their firm grip on the iron rod. In other words, they stop reading or studying the doctrines of the gospel the Lord has revealed to guide us safely back to His presence.

That’s a sad commentary of the results of taking hold of other books instead of the iron rod. I hope that’s not happening but we all know it is. Thank goodness we can also rely on the word of the Lord in which He advised us to seek wisdom out of the best books.

In other words, holding fast to the iron rod and seeking wisdom out of the best books should not be, and according to the Lord, is not mutually exclusive. In fact, we are commanded to do so, that is, to seek wisdom from the best books. I thank God for this clear direction from the Lord.

I join you in your urgent plea that we not lose our hold on the iron rod as we study from the best books. I know the Lord blesses those who remember Him as they seek wisdom from the best books as he has commanded. Such diligent seekers receive life and eventually are born again.

It is a marvelous thing to be converted with such power that we don’t fall away. This is a result of the baptism of fire and being born again. Again, I endorse your plea that we all feast on the words of Christ as well as follow the Lord’s commandment to also seek learning from the best books.

It is a wonderful thing that the words of some men are inspired and full of light. I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost who teaches men to know when another man is speaking or writing under the spirit of inspiration. Sometimes, he even testifies they have been commanded to write what they have written.
Nonrandom Set said…
I am intrigued by much of what Denver Snuffer says, but I still feel slightly uncomfortable with some of it. I suppose I don't think I have to take a position on it right now.

I do have more qualms about the spiritual healing stuff (though I don't have any specific knowledge about Mel Fish other than what you've shared on your blog).

I am curious though, if there isn't some tension between the two for you. I get the sense that Denver Snuffer would not have positive things to say about teaching evil spirits to go to the light (that's just my rough understanding).
Denver has said that nobody speaks for him, but I'll let you guess who wrote this paper, which you and I previously discussed in the comments back in March in my post, All Are Invited to the Feast. You'll have to decide for yourself. You know the source - Doug Mendenhall's book, Conquering Spiritual Evil.

I've always wanted to ask Denver what he thought about the Unclean Spirits blog. I have gone back and forth on what the anonymous author of that blog shares. At first I thought the author was Mel Fish or another spiritual healer I know (he doesn't like to be called a spiritual healer, but that's what he does) from Southern Utah.

My opinion: Denver would say Mel got many things right, but then got some very important things wrong. It would be interesting to get the two of them together in the same room. It may have already happened. Doug Mendenhall can tell you more about that. You'll have to ask him privately: halmendenhall at yahoo.com.
Jared said…
And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:118)

I've always wondered about this verse-it starts out with "as all have not faith" then discusses learning from the best books-what are the best books?

In my opinion, "best books" would certainly be referring to books that are faith promoting. In other words, books that don't created doubt. I don't think D Snuffer's writings when viewed in their totality qualifies as faith promoting. He creates doubt and confusion mixed with truth and intriguing thought.

His message seems to be: I've seen Christ and He has called me to correct the errors the apostles and prophets have created--hear my words.

For now, I am watching to see what develops in the D Snuffer saga.
Hi Goodfighter,

Believe it or not, he’s an adjunct professor – you won’t find him listed as faculty – at the American Jewish University. He teaches classes on comparative religions for rabbis in training. Obviously he specializes in Mormonism. Used to teach weekly - I think it’s less frequent now that he’s retired. He also serves on the Southern California Public Affairs Council. He arranged to have five rabbis tour the Draper temple before it opened back in March of 2009. Great guy.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705292225/Rabbis-tour-of-LDS-Church-sites-in-Utah.html?pg=all
Ruth said…
Having read Bro. Snuffer's works I find myself in group 2 with you. I have asked The Lord and have been encouraged to continue to read. Evidently there is indeed something there we are to pay attention to. I'll look forward to hearing him speak.
Hi Ruth,

I've decided that even if he doesn't make it to California, which I doubt he will - we're the land of the heathens here - I'm going to plan some sort of reason to get up to one of his Utah or Arizona lectures just so I can see the man in person. I mean, I've written so much about his stuff, I feel like I know him. God bless.

Tim
Brady Curtis said…
I too would like to know more about DS discussion blogs.

Denver's message rekindled a seeking-to-see-the-savior faith that I once had when I first discovered the gospel.

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