Keys, Keys, We’ve Got Keys

KeysOfTheKingdomI re-read Denver’s Orem talk on the priesthood again tonight. I picked up some clarifications about sealing powers (pages 35-37) but found myself struggling with his discussion of keys (pages 32-34). The printed version of the talk is a little different than the recorded version. (Might be less on Doug's page.)

The Keys of the Kingdom

I remember this section specifically in the recorded version because it sounded like he was doing a little dance and jingling a ring of keys from his pocket or something. If you were there, tell me what he did. He said, “keys, keys, we’ve got keys,” in what sounded like a theatrical voice.

Discussion of Section 128

The thing that got me thinking and what I want to point out is his emphasis on items other than keys that he spoke about in this section. He mentioned dispensations, rights, honors, majesty, glory and “power of the priesthood.” And then he astounded me with this amazing quote:

Dispensations and Rights

“Now you tell me, you declare to me, what are your dispensations? (I have one, and Joseph had one, but do you have one also?) Tell me what your rights are. Can you even tell me what your keys are? […] You tell me what they are.” Who is he talking to here – you, me, the Brethren?

Understanding Keys is Important

“Stop proclaiming that you own them, and tell me in plainness so as to persuade us all they both matter to salvation and you understand them enough to explain exactly what they are!” […] If you got them and they affect salvation, you ought to understand them.” OK, that makes sense.

Honors, Majesty, Glory and Power

“If you trust you need to have them for salvation, then you should be able to explain them; because a man cannot be saved in ignorance, after all. […] Tell me what your honors are. Tell me what your majesty is. Tell me what your glory is. Tell me what the power of your priesthood is.

Keys Alone Are Not Sufficient

“Because if keys alone were sufficient, I rather think that Joseph Smith who understood what he was writing, would not have gone to the trouble of parsing through the words: dispensation, rights, keys, honors, majesty, glory and power, if it was all speaking to exactly the same thing.”

Denver Snuffer Claims a Dispensation

The subject of keys was introduced as he read section 128, verse 21. But did you catch what he said? Denver said he had a dispensation. I can barely explain what a dispensation is, or at least what I’ve been taught it is, and here Denver Snuffer claims he has been given a dispensation.

We Hardly Comprehend Things of God

Page 33: “You hardly comprehend the things of God. You simply do not know how great things God has done for us. You remain content to allow conceit and foolishness to lead you from error to error without any fear that you are losing your souls.” OK, now he’s really got my attention.

You Must Receive Revelation

Page 34: “…the things of God are not to be taken lightly. Nor are they given to you merely by study. You also must receive revelation in order to understand revelation. The scriptures are a launching point to take your mind upward. You must commune with God to understand the things of God.

The Institution Will Not Save Us

“No man, or committee or organization will ever save you. Nothing some financial institution managed by lawyers, bankers, managers, businessmen and professors offers will matter in the afterlife. The only things which will matter there will be what you secure for yourself from the Powers of Heaven while you live here.” Wow. He lays it on the line here, doesn’t he?

Denver Wants to Get Us Thinking

Before he leaves the subject of keys and launches into an amazing presentation on the various kinds of sealing powers, he says something that I know some people will find offensive. But I want you to consider it and tell me what you think. Is he being controversial here on purpose?

Temple Recommend Worthless at Judgment

“When the Judgment comes, you will not be able to hand a Temple Recommend to your … Judge and have him respect a mere man’s judgment of you. All that document proves objectively is that you paid money to the church. It is a receipt.” I’ve never looked at it like that, have you?

Dare to Ask How Tithing is Spent

“And you don’t even know what your money got used for, because you do not even dare to ask the question of your leaders about how the money was spent.” Wait a minute, we do know and they have told us. The money is used to build temples, meetinghouses and operating expenses.

Subjective Nature of Temple Questions

“For the rest of the Temple Recommend questions, they are merely subjective in nature and allow the vain, the misled and the blind to announce their purported ‘worthiness.’ All of that is a mirage which will pass away when you depart this life.” OK, good point. They are subjective.

Invitation to Dialog

Disclaimer: These are simply a few of my study notes as I try to understand things I deem to be important. I have obviously quoted the words of a man who has been cast out of our Church for teaching these and other similar things. I am not trying to teach them to you. I am not asking you to believe these statements. I simply want to discuss them in an effort to understand them better.


Mic said…
“When the Judgment comes, you will not be able to hand a Temple Recommend to your … Judge and have him respect a mere man’s judgment of you. All that document proves objectively is that you paid money to the church. It is a receipt.”

I thought D&C said that the leadership of the Church had the power of binding and loosing?

How can DS believe that, if he believes what he says here?

I admit to being confussed, and look forward to whatever comments others can offer.
Hermit said…
Karl -- I read all of your post! And my heart was filled, feeling God's love for all his children! Thank you:)

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)

Are you open to discuss some of what you shared? Or would you rather leave your comments as a statement of truth? I've learned much from the discussion of others :)
mjc said…
I did not even try to read everyone else's responses. It made me too tired. LOL What I have found is DS is very blunt and to the point. I don't know if what he says is true (fact by fact) but he definitely gets me thinking.

Ever since I started reading his books, I have prayed more, felt the spirit more, and have been a better person, wanting to find out the mysteries of heaven for myself. The one thing here that did make me stop and think is what he said about temple recommends. Plainly stated, what he said is right. You can't hand that recommend to the Savior someday and have it mean anything.

Your actions, your heart, your feelings will be proof enough for him if you are worthy. I have known people who attended the temple and weren't worthy at the time. I bet all of us can name at least one person who has done that.

It's going to be between you and the Savior someday and you'll both know in that moment if you're worthy to be in his presence. I'm sure there will be people who are offended by DS's comment because they are not stopping to consider what he's really saying. Every time I see someone's "hot under the collar" comment, I think, the wicked take the truth to be hard. LOL

I also don't think you can compare DS to Pontius. They are different people, have had different experiences and have different paths they are to live. I would hate to think that DS was sent to declare "truths" and because we were afraid to think about it, like so many in past times with prophets and even the Savior, that we were left behind.
Anyway, that is my two cents on your blog post.
Annalea said…
Without reading any of the above responses, I'd like to share what I know:

Keys are only authority in that they are knowledge.


Doctrine and Covenants 84:19: And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

Luke 11:52: Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Doctrine and Covenants 128:14: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as are the records on the earth in relation to your dead, which are truly made out, so also are the records in heaven. This, therefore, is the sealing and binding power, and, in one sense of the word, the keys of the kingdom, which consist in the key of knowledge.

Doctrine and Covenants 128:11: Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living.


What was the whole focus of the events in the Garden? That Adam and Eve would gain knowledge. That they would have a key to unlock the fullness of life experience. That knowledge was the most powerful thing they could possibly possess. Satan had advantage over Eve in the garden (the ability to beguile her) because he had more knowledge than she did.

Joseph Smith also used the word key in terms of knowledge (if I'm remembering correctly--I can't find a source for this at the moment): in teaching how to understand revelation, he said the key was to ask yourself what question the revelation is answering. That stuck in my mind because his use of the word "key" was only in reference to knowledge, and not authority as it is used today.

Joseph also taught that those who have more knowledge have more power:

"A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God." (History of the Church, 5:588.)

Knowledge is power. "Key" is the way to express knowledge that brings power.

And I can say, in my life, knowledge of the Truth--of Jesus, Himself--has been the key to unlocking the emotional and spiritual prison I've lived in for decades.
jonnylingo said…
Karl, where has Pontius claimed to receive the same blessings as Snuffer? In the "Triumph of Zion" which John published in 2010 He says, "In all, it took fifteen years of climbing the ladder of belief to arrive at what is, at least for me personally, the greatest gift I can receive while still a mortal, which is to finally stand in the presence of Christ and to personally request a place in the latter-day Zion. It is a joyful destination yet before me." (Pg xv) Here brother Pontius said he was still waiting to receive Christ. Did he ever claim to have received the second comforter? On unblogmysoul Pontius stated "I also candidly give to Denver the benefit of any doubt that he may truly be called to say things that I am not. When I speak with him I feel the Spirit, I feel his goodness and his faith, and believe that he has seen what he claims. But for me and my house, we will stand in our Holy Places, and wait."
Hermit said…
Razor sharp commentary! There are things that individuals can not discern until after the trial of their faith. No one successfully navigates this path solely with a library card. First, comes the step, THEN the "comfort" necessary to keep stepping.
MarrkinPNW said…
Yea, it seems that often when I contemplate or think about keys, what comes to mind is the phrase from the Hymn "O My Father" (292); "...until the key of Knowlegde was restored...", linking keys with gaining or receiving knowledge.
Perhaps the most important key of the institutional church is the key to receive the ordnance of Confirmation and to "receive the Holy Ghost" (in accordance with the 4th Article of Faith), as the Holy Ghost is the main giver and teacher of knowledge and understanding, without which true understanding of the scriptures and of prophets is not possible, whether they be dead prophets (such as in the scriptures, or Church history), or living ones (whether they are in church administration, or simply people who testify of Christ per Numbers 11:29) .
D said…
Are you saying you also reject Joseph's first vision since he had no other witnesses there? And Denver Snuffer's theophany as well since, as far as I know, he was alone?
log said…
I know more than I have written.
Steve said…
DS is fascinating and I will reserve judgment about his character and motives until I attain further light and knowledge (keys?). I have, however, been thinking a lot about his commentary on dispensations. It is still a bit confusing to me, but I'm beginning to think he defines dispensation as the establishment of a close relationship between God and man. Not man in the plural sense, but man on an individual basis. If DS says he has his own dispensation, then I think what he's saying is he has a real, personal relationship with God. Face-to-face kind of stuff, something more than a feeling. The LDS church, like other Christian faith systems, generally accepts the following traditional theological definitions of dispensation:

a) the divine ordering of the affairs of the world;
b) an appointment, arrangement, or favor, as by God; and
c) a divinely appointed order or age: the old Mosaic, or Jewish, dispensation; the new gospel, or Christian, dispensation.

We should also remember there are other definitions of dispensation:

1) an act or instance of dispensing; distribution.
2) something that is distributed or given out.

Rather than looking at dispensation as applying to a time period or a collective swath of people, perhaps little old me, child of God, can have a dispensation. That is to say, a real, personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.
David P. said…
I believe these things "dispensations, rights, honors, majesty, glory keys, and “powers of your priesthood"etc. are the names of things that commence after coming into direct contact with the Lord, and are the covenants or assignments of work for one to complete or engage in on the Lords behalf at his bidding . This is whats come to my mind as I ponder these things, any thoughts? Thanks. David
Steve said…
David, yes, I could buy that. Some believe Joseph Smith was using lots of different words to describe the same thing. However, I can conceive the possibility that "dispensations, rights, honors, majesty, glory, keys" etc. are distinct and highly nuanced concepts.
Hermit said…
As some have pointed out, it may be important to discern whether or not DS is on Father’s errand? Consider…

How does one receive priesthood? What really is priesthood? To what degree must an individual experience Father in order to do the work of Father, be a “true messenger,” voice a true message, extend priesthood, keys, and covenants (in anticipation of their fulfillment)? Can an individual who has not experienced the fullness of the priesthood, extend or facilitate those blessings, covenants, priesthood, and / or keys to others?

Did you catch what appears to be happening in the progression of DS’s talks? What is happening (see pgs 4-6 in the “Priesthood” talk)? What does it mean when someone is authorized to speak in the name of Father? What is the difference between someone who is authorized to perform an ordinance, to deliver a message, and / or extend a covenant vs one who “appears as an angel of light” or a deceiver? How does one discern a true messenger? How is priesthood from Father transferred?

Ultimately … what is being extended as Denver speaks? And not a portion, remember, as he speaks he is no longer talking about the “two” priesthoods, but "therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, [notice now the reference is in the singular, implying it speaks now about the singular, fullest manifestation which comes from the Father]” (pg 5). As Denver uses his key(s), what doors are being opened for those who have ears to hear? What is once again being restored, offered by Father?

What fruit might one expect to experience, if in fact DS is a true messenger? Where would one expect to see the fruit? If “keys” really are knowledge, what might one be expect to do with the transmission of priesthood and keys which appears to have taken place?

Have I misunderstood? Thoughts?
Brad said…
DS and 'Dispensation'
When DS mentioned a 'message' in the smoke on the cover of PTHG my son immediately looked at the cover and said there was the number '5' in the smoke. Since the subject of the book discussed the four phases of LDS, I assume the '5' means something is coming or may already be here. Just saying. It reminds me of Giliadi's interpretation of the 'great and marvelous work'.
mjcunningham said…
I think you're looking too hard. LOL If there is a five at all, it's looks too vague to be sure. In my opinion, it's just a picture of smoke. But that is just me. I think that sometimes people look too hard for some hidden message.
Bill Berrett said…
Denver Snuffer had said there is a hidden message on each of the book covers with pictures. If not a 5 what is the hidden message? It is just interesting to consider that we may be in a new dispensation where the full gospel is going back to the real house of Israel.

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