Defining Bounds the Lord Has Set

PtHG_GoodreadsOf all the comments in my recent posts on Priesthood, this one got me thinking, pondering and praying. I have split Darin’s comment into a few paragraphs. I was especially interested in the third paragraph because I have heard it before from someone I love dearly. I don’t find Darin’s comments offensive. In fact, I’d like to share my conversation with the Lord about them.

On 5 June 2014 at 9:33pm, Darin said
“You quote Snuffer as though he was Joseph Smith or the prophet, be careful. You can see why Snuffer got in trouble. People begin quoting him like he was in charge and was The Prophet. This is not good.

“You have some good ideas, but I implore you to follow the twelve and the FP, as they will lead you in the ways of salvation. Be careful in not going beyond the bounds the Lord has set.

“So if all this does not happen to us in this life are we just damned? Should I live my life in depression because these things have not happened to me or even some of the most righteous people I know?

“I am not a new comer to all this, meaning I have studied and thought and prayed on these things for years. I am not saying you are totally wrong, but straying a little can take you far off the path. There is great wisdom in staying with the main part of the church and its appointed and known leaders. Best wishes to you.”

Endurance to the End is Enough

I’ve heard Darin’s excellent point in the third paragraph phrased this way: “Can’t we just endure to the end? The Lord doesn’t want to talk to me. I’m not a prophet. I’m just a regular member of the church. I’ve been baptized, endowed and sealed in the temple. I go to the temple as often as I can. I try to fulfil my callings and be kind like the Savior. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”

We Determine How Well We Endure

As far as I have been able to determine, the answer is up to us. We determine what it means to endure to the end. We decide if there is more to the temple than we have received. I know the Lord is pleased with any efforts we make to follow His example. Any relief we can give to the poor, the hungry, the suffering is met with appreciation by the Lord and our Father in Heaven.

Use Temple Instruction at Home

Isn’t it possible there is more to the temple than we receive there? What if the Lord intended for us to practice some of the things we are taught there, such as the True Order of Prayer, in our own homes? Is that going beyond the bounds the Lord has set? And, by the way, who is it that determines what those bounds are – the Lord or the Prophet? Should they be one and the same?

Here are the Keys of the Priesthood

When I prayed about a response to Darin, the Lord reminded me of section 121, which has been a part of the dialog in the last two posts. The phrases that came to mind are found in verses 41-42: “ persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge...” Then the Lord surprised me with some additional insight.

The Powers of Heaven Defined

Part of the dialog on priesthood revolved around the word “powers.” We have discussed not just power in the priesthood but powers of heaven. What are the powers of heaven? We determined there are at least angels, archangels, principalities, powers, dominions, thrones, cherubim and Seraphim. Above those are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, which we strive to be.

How to Relate to True Messengers

The thought that occurred to me in prayer was this: How do I relate to the powers of heaven? We teach the right way to deal with our fellow man is by using the guidelines in verses 41 and 42. If you back up and look closely at verse 36, or parse it, as someone we know is wont to say, you’ll find it includes instructions on how to relate to the powers of heaven, including true messengers.

The Way of Life and Salvation

After all, isn’t that the first step we should be taking – to receive true messengers from God? As far as I remember, it is these messengers who will lead us in the way of life and salvation. Have I prepared myself to receive true messengers? Do I know what I would ask of them if given such an opportunity? Would I be kind to them, gentle and meek? Will I persuade them to help me?

Do Not Violate Sacred Obligations

Going back to the title of my post, you will note I’m discussing some aspects of the temple in this post. In fact, I have discussed the temple many times on my blog, including the True Order of Prayer. As I pointed out in that post, I asked the Lord if it was OK to share my thoughts on the subject. The Lord said yes. To me, that was evidence I had not violated any sacred obligations.

Blogging as a Gift of the Spirit

I feel the same way with each of my posts lately. I pray about each one of them. I ask the Lord what he would have me share. I seek inspiration as I write. I believe writing in an informative, uplifting and inspiring manner is one of the gifts of the spirit we should seek. I know some people are uncomfortable with some of the things I share. Again, who is setting the bounds?

Testimony of Jesus Spirit of Prophecy

Now for my responses to Darin: Yes, I do quote Denver Snuffer as if he were a prophet of the Lord. That’s because anyone who has a testimony of Jesus and speaks in His name under the power and influence of the Holy Ghost has the spirit of prophecy and is therefore a prophet. I know what you mean by THE prophet. Perhaps we could discuss this to better understand.

Would God that all were Prophets

Just because President Monson is an inspired man whom we sustain as a prophet, seer and revelator does not mean that there are no other prophets. This is obvious because we also sustain the other members of the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers and revelators. Does that mean only they can receive revelation?

God Speaks to Many People

Of course they’re not the only men to whom the Lord speaks. We agree they are the only ones the Lord will inspire with direction binding upon all members of the church. But this doesn’t mean there can’t be other prophets who deliver messages from the Lord. It is up to us to decide for ourselves if we accept messages from others who claim they have a message from the Lord.

Don’t Put Limits on the Lord

I know this is a hard concept for members of the church to accept, but it is true nonetheless. I know what you’re thinking. Follow the Prophet. Amos 3:7. If the Lord has a message for us, he will deliver it through the President of the Church. Wait a minute. Not so fast. Don’t put limits on the Lord. I know he doesn’t want us to be confused. That’s why we have D&C section 28.

Write Not by Way of Commandment

The story of Hiram Page, the seer-stone incident, is instructive for all who write under the spirit of inspiration or revelation. In D&C 28, Oliver was taught “…thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church…” He was instructed to take Hiram Page aside and teach him this principle.

Write by Way of Wisdom

I’m glad we had this little incident early on in our church history. It has helped tremendously when others have claimed to speak on behalf of the Lord by way of commandment. And that’s the key here. What Denver Snuffer shares in his books, on his blog and in his lectures, as far as I have been able to tell, is not by way of commandment, but by wisdom, for us to consider.

Lead us to the Lord’s Scriptures

Just because I can quote Denver Snuffer doesn’t mean I can’t also quote President Monson or any one of the fifteen men who lead this church. Besides, quoting Denver isn’t so hard. Anyone can do it. Just look up a keyword on his blog and there you go. I quote Him because I find his words to be enlightening, uplifting and instructive. They have turned me to the scriptures.

Controlling What Members May Publish

You wrote Denver got into trouble because people began quoting him. I don’t think that’s why he was excommunicated, unless you know something I don’t. He was cast off because he would not withdraw Passing the Heavenly Gift from publication. You can read the letter from his stake president on Denver’s blog. Even his stake president referred people to Denver’s blog for details.

Press On Until We Meet With the Lord

I finish this post the way I started, by referring to that third paragraph in Darin’s comment. I hear you, Darin. I don’t think we should choose to live in depression if we feel our prayers haven’t been answered and we haven’t been visited by the Lord. I think we should continue to humbly petition the Lord to help us prepare to come into His presence either in this life or in the next.

Appetites and Passions, Not What we Write

I appreciate the reminder from Darin to not go beyond the bounds the Lord has set. I’d like to open the dialog with that thought. It has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since two fellow bloggers were excommunicated for referring to PtHG and writing they found good in the book. I feel the same way. I found wisdom there. Is Denver’s book beyond the bounds the Lord has set?


Log said…
The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth; and if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
Tim Malone 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.
johnD said…
I’ve read three of his books, including PTHG and also found wisdom and the spirit in his work.
After 60 plus years of milk and years of the brethren doing our thinking and offering vicarious spirituality, “these discussions” I believe are critical to the spiritual health and growth of the members of the church, starting with these few. I feel it could be a large contributor to the spiritual revival we desperately need!
dan said…
Okay Bob F... your.comments are the kind of spiritual insight that I am always searching for. I thank you for sharing them. This is the beautyof Tims blog. I am 44 and after a long sleepwalk through life living off of milk from the leadership of the Church I discovered the writings of Denver Snuffer and Tims blog. My entire spiritual life has changed so dramatically it is as if I am a whole new creature! I believe this is exactly what my purpose is in this become a whole new person...a person who loves light and truth and knowledge. I love the Brethren and I still value the milk... I just cannot deny the mighty change that has occurred in my life. I have a whole new approach to scripture study and desire to find any and all truth. Tim... you are such an inspiration... so many wonderful insightful thoughts that challenge my mind and make me want to find more. I really do feel alive in the gospel.... awakened from my long slumbering walk of life. I actually feel like I want to shout. Hallelluja and haven't done that since the dedication of the Portland Oregon Temple back in 1989. Great comments Bob...Great blog Tim...Life is good ...all we need to do is have more faith than fear and our Father will do mighty things with us in this life.
Karl said…
There are some great comments here, so thank you and I will throw in my mite: Re Denver Snuffer: Denver resonates with a significant class in the church that have been "seekers" in the traditional sense, and have been choking on the milk. For decades, church leadership has continued to dumb down the program, almost to a doctrinal nullity. This results in replacing Joseph Smith and his actual teachings, with more mainstream Protestant Christian ideas. When Denver not only acknowledged that Joseph Smith was right, but that ANY man can do it, (and that he did it) that is powerful spiritual medicine. This was the case with the Second Comforter and his first 8 books of so. However: PTHG, in my opinion, is a different matter. Denver shifts from doctrinal exposition to historical exposition: it is inexplicable why he would do this, but he did. Trying to discover spiritual truth by historical means I believe to be nearly impossible. This is not a problem unique to Mormonism--try to create an accurate history of anything is fraught with huge problems. Further, after reading PTHG 3 times and starting to for a 4th, it was opened to my spiritual mind that Denver just plain has his exposition wrong on every crucial point he tries to hang his theory on. I believe his analysis from that point on is hopelessly in error. And I think his treatment of the presidents from Brigham forward is about on par with the most rabid anti-mormon treatments I've read of the brethren. However, to be clear I do not think Denver is a bad person. Furthermore, since when did we close the door on all dissenting interpretations and opinions of Mormonism, but the narrow, orthodox, Wasatch Front view which has dominated the church since the 1920's? When did we start tossing out members, for a difference of opinion, rather than what they actually DO? Where is the charity, kindness and persuasion of the Priesthood in this matter? If Denver or others hold unorthodox view, so what? Who is harmed by this? Has our leadership become so thin-skinned, that no criticism can ever be voiced? The central government of the U.S. is rightly criticized for a 100-year tradition of progressivism, which has resulted in a central government so bureaucratized and full of itself, that all 3 branches of government can run roughshod over the rule of law, including constituttional law, at it's will and pleasure. We need to ask the question in Mormonism: Mormonism is now so deeply intertwined with the U.S. culture: is modern Mormonism, which has become strongly centralized and bureacratized, simply becoming a reflection of the wider culture around it? If the same problems of centralized power are part of Mormonism now, then is there any possibility of correction? After all, just as on the U.S. central government, once organizations are heavily bureaucratized, they don't take criticism very well. In fact, dissent and criticism are treated with contempt and even violence at times. There are a great many Saints who yearn for the real thing: which is the Holy Spirit as their actual guide to get them back Home. Perhaps the real point of Denver and others like him is to move us out of our dependence upon, and idolatry of the brethren (many in the church are perfectly content with this arrangement), and get us moving on our own spiritual feet, in a direct relationship with the Lord via the Holy Ghost.
Log said…
Perhaps the real point of Denver and others like him is to move us out of our dependence upon, and idolatry of the brethren (many in the church are perfectly content with this arrangement), and get us moving on our own spiritual feet, in a direct relationship with the Lord via the Holy Ghost.

That is pretty much what I think. The facts as related in PTHG are facts indeed, but the connections between them and conclusions based thereon are supplied by the reader, not Snuffer. Whatever one's worst nightmare is concerning the Church, PTHG is designed to draw it out of the reader, and to cause the reader to inquire of God.
Karl said…
Thanks. While I think we differ perhaps on how well Denver has done, I think we agree that the reaction of leadership to him indicates a basic problem that has developed in both the perception of lay members to the leadership and vice-versa and the way they are interacting. I guess I'm at a loss, however, to see anyway out of this bureaucratic conundrum. Personally, I am at peace with allowing leadership to go forward and do their own thing; my focus has increasingly become one of being solely concerned with how I am doing as an individual at trying to establish my connection with heaven. Do you agree that that needs to become our focus? Best regards.
Adam said…
I think we agree that the reaction of leadership to him indicates a basic problem that has developed in both the perception of lay members to the leadership and vice-versa and the way they are interacting. I guess I’m at a loss, however, to see anyway out of this bureaucratic conundrum.

I hope they could repent for exercising unrighteous dominion over Denver and give D&C 121:41-46 a try. To that end, I put Russell M. Nelson and Truman S. Hunt's names, along with Denver's, on the prayer roll every time I attend the temple.

Personally, I am at peace with allowing leadership to go forward and do their own thing; my focus has increasingly become one of being solely concerned with how I am doing as an individual at trying to establish my connection with heaven.

My approach too.
Log said…
That's pretty much my assessment and approach.
Jared said…
It doesn't look like Darin has even read PtHG. Hence, his comments seem a little bigoted, don't you think?

Why should anyone follow the Twelve or the FP? Where is that in scripture? It is certainly not in Amos 3:7. I thought we were supposed to follow the Lord. I encourage those who wish to follow Twelve and the FP to do so. Time will tell where that gets you.

Why do we call the president of the LDS church "the Prophet"? He is the president of the High Priesthood within the church, that is all. He has never displayed the fruits of being a Prophet, Seer, or Revelator. I wish he would.

This culture of personality surrounding "the Prophet" is idolatrous. It will only end in tears.
Tim Malone said…
I spent some time researching the phrase, "the bounds the Lord has set." While I found it in a few General Conference talks, A BYU speech and an Ensign article or two on, I could not find any reference to it in scripture. Of course we know the original temple reference.

I've come to the conclusion this is one of those phrases that has been taken outside the original intended context of controlling "desires, appetites and passions," and applying it to something, anything the individual wants to emphasize as being controlled by the Lord.

Since there seems to be a current emphasis in some individuals wanting to control what others write or share, this phrase and others like it have come into play and are being misused. To be specific, if someone thinks it's wrong to read a book, they employ this phrase.

If someone thinks it's wrong to write about certain subjects, they employ this phrase. If someone is uncomfortable with a certain way of thinking, they may employ this phrase. I know the Lord places bounds upon us in certain areas, but I don't think it's in what we read or write.

Obviously there are exceptions to that. I don't think the Lord is pleased with those who read, write, view or engage in pornographic behavior. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the law of chastity for instance. These are great comments so far. Thanks everyone for your feedback.
Lizzie Nelson said…
Tim, good example of "metatext" if I understand it correctly. Daymon Smith would be delighted.

I am one who also shouts from the rooftops with joy in finally finding people who are curious about the gospel and who are seekers, and who love the truth. Not just the convenient truth, but the truth which seems to have been misplaced.

Thank you Tim and many others, for places such as this where discussions can be had of the deeper things of the gospel.
Lizzie Nelson said…
I know, I know.....why did I have to get Mr. Grouch Face assigned to me as my icon. I know it's not your fault Tim.

I guess I'll just think of it as my game face when I'm trying to be courageous in the face of danger.

If I actually knew how to register and put my own icon in there, I would.
EKB said…
Apparently "seeking the face of the Lord" was a hot button issue in the early century or two after the ministry of Jesus Christ. According to ancient text scholar Margaret Barker this is what separated a Jew from a Christian. Christians believed one could see the face of God and Jews felt this was heresy. (Pages 9-11 starting with the title 'The Faces' but better to read the whole article for context and for other really good insights. The article talks about the Jordan Codices which are plates that were possibly produced by early Christians.).

A neighbor told me that our stake president asked everyone during his temple recommend interviews what seekIng the face of the Lord meant to them. In an entire year of asking that question not one reported that they believed it meant they could see the Lord in this life. Answers included feeling the Spirit and having a testimony that others such as Joseph Smith have seen the L
EKB said…
Lord. (sorry for two accident with my phone). Anyway...I don't know what the stake president's intentions were with his question. I assume they were good. My point is that perhaps we place inappropriate "bounds" or "stakes" when we choose to NOT seek the face of the Lord.
Lizzie Nelson said…
In reading the Old Testament this year, I am amazed how many times it mentions something about seeking the Lord or seeking the face of the Lord. I think we've glossed over a lot.

Many are waking up. Even if you don't seem to make it yet, don't be discouraged. As long as you are in the process of seeking the Lord's face, then God can work with you.
Lizzie Nelson said…
EKG, I felt your comment was so worthwhile that I reposted it with your name, on LDS Freedom Forum. I hope you don't mind. Great information that you referenced.
Lizzie Nelson said…
Woops. Not EKG, but EKB. Sorry.
EKB said…
No, I don't mind and I'm glad you felt it was worth while. And I also agree with what you said about not being discouraged in the process of seeking the face of the Lord.

A few days ago I listened to Phil Mclemore ( discuss this issue and his thoughts were very good. He emphasized the importance of developing a relationship with the Lord in which you come to know Him as you are known by Him. This intimate relationship IS the objective. A "sighting" of the Lord would simply be a by-product of a oneness of heart with the Lord. I like this focus.
Lizzie Nelson said…
EKB, I'm a member of that group too!!
Kathryn said…
Lizzie Nelson Go to to get your own Gravitar or personal Image if you do not care for the one Tim has selected for you.
Log said…
When one claims to have achieved a certain level of knowledge in, say, mathematics, it is easy to see if they have the knowledge they claim by setting a math problem before them and seeing if they can do it.

If someone claims to have knowledge of a foreign country, one may compare and contrast their descriptions of the terrain with books, or travel there oneself to confirm.

And, if someone claims to testify of a path they claim leads back to God, I want to know what experiential basis they have for the conclusion they are testifying of - and nothing short of having stood in the literal presence God suffices to justify the claim. Anything short of a description of one's experiences, which constitutes the declaration of a witness, is not testimony, but dogma, even if we routinely use the word "testimony" to describe "dogma".
Log said…
"But, Log, what if someone believes really, really strongly that a fact beyond their experience, and therefore beyond their knowledge, is, in fact, true? Can't they testify of it then?"

Such is not testimony, though, but dogma; honest men will not portray belief, supposition, or opinion as fact.
Eric said…
>> "God lives, Jesus is the Christ"

I completely agree. I mention this because I've noticed that here I generally have a tendency to address areas that I question, but in the eternal scheme of things are relatively minor issues.

That having been said . . .

>> ". . . have your calling and election made sure, through a holy ordinance that takes place in the temple of the Lord."

I can agree with this IF "the temple" is referring to the worthy human soul, which is infinitely more valuable, more "of the Lord," than a manmade edifice.

>> "Can Christ personally give this ordinance to us? . . . I assume like all ordinances it is given by a mortal"

The scriptures record the Lord giving the promise of eternal life to people such as the brother of Jared, Alma, the 12 Nephite disciples, & Joseph Smith.

Although the brother of Jared was on a mountain, as far as I can recall, none of them were inside a manmade edifice at the time.

Another example of the Lord performing an ordinance: Esaias received the Holy Priesthood "under the hand of God" (D&C 84:12), & not under the hand of mortals such as listed in the previous verses.

>> "The Church (the Apostles – the True Massagers) have NOT lost the Fullness of the Priesthood"

Perhaps one way to try to help Tim (& maybe others) would be to reconcile that statement with D&C 124:28.
Jared said…
I never cease to be amazed the way people wrest the scriptures and the words of the endowment to reinforce their own agenda which has little or nothing to do with the quotation in question.

Per the temple ceremony, the "desires, appetites, and passions" are that which is to be "kept within the bounds the Lord has set." Those bounds were set millennia ago in the 10 Commandments and in the teachings of the Lord in the New Testament. They talk about how we love people, how we treat people, how we check our feelings and desires. There is nothing about loyalty to the church or an institution, not writing or publishing unapproved material, etc…

“Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.” (Alma 13:20)

“AND now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee.” (Alma 41:1)

Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me. And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.” (D&C 10:62 - 63)
Julie said…
Several people have now referred to a mysterious secret extra temple ordinance called a "second anointing." I find this really bothers me. I don't believe it exists. I have not heard a single firsthand claim of it ever happening--it is generally brought up when others are talking about the Second Comforter, as a sort of consolation prize--"but the Church DOES have the authority to make your calling and election sure! Jesus Christ doesn't have to be personally involved in that process!"

Are there any clear explanations from authoritative church sources that such an ordinance exists, and if so, what is needed to qualify for it? If there aren't any explanations, then I'm sorry, I will have to remain skeptical. I am troubled that some people seem to believe that there is an inner circle of elite righteous people, regulated and administered by mortal men, that is so difficult to get into, no one within the church ever talks about its existence, even though it is supposedly the objective we are supposed to strive towards after receiving all the other priesthood ordinances.
Ben said…
Wikipedia has a pretty good article on this:
Michael A. Cleverly said…
From Studies in Mormon History on the BYU library website:,+second+anointing%22
doctorandrose2 said…
doctorandrose2 = Darin (sorry for any confusion). I found several typos errors in my post. I hope it still read okay. A question seems to be being asked here, which is: "Can a person work (be) "outside of the Church" and still receive a fullness of the blessings (priesthood),,a fullness of the gifts, and full salvation?" If the answer is yes, then why was the Church restored? It seems that many are questioning "The Church," yet is not Christ its Head? How can you have loyalty to one and not the other? Is not this a slippery slope?.You can't have two systems working at the same time. Those individuals seeming to have "hard feelings" toward the Church and its leadership, it seems to me they have the idea that The Church is a place to get the ordinances and then move on to higher things (now I don' need The Church - I have what I need). Does that delegate The Church then to just a social club with old power hungry and paranoid leaders who are trying to steal all the Priesthood Power and Authority to themselves and have all us shepply blindly obey and follow them, because they want power and to be in control of all information (revelation) coming from the Lord. The answer is NO. But many comments on this blog seem to be hostile towards "The Church" and its leaders, seeming to say the answer to the above question is yes. Tim, I do not feel you think this way. I have read your posts on how you love the Church and need it. I speck of many of your readers.
Adam said…
Doctoreandrose2 asked:

A question seems to be being asked here, which is: “Can a person work (be) “outside of the Church” and still receive a fullness of the blessings (priesthood),,a fullness of the gifts, and full salvation?”

Considering that the Lord himself has said that he has reserved "holy men that ye [the church] know not of" (D&C 49:8) how could anyone in good conscience answer your question with a definitive no?
doctorandrose2 said…
Yes, very good information. Here is a lesson about "Calling and Election" form an LDS Lesson Manuel. The very beginning of the lesson is very interesting. It states:

Caution: Exercise caution while discussing the doctrine of having our calling and election made sure. Avoid speculation. Use only the sources given here and in the student manual. Do not attempt in any way to discuss or answer questions about the second anointing.

It looks like I need to exercise this caution about the second anointing from here on out. Here we have in this lesson,an "official" reference to the "second anointing." Yes, it seems to be real, but it is sacred (the very most) and therefore is to be spoken about with care. Avoid speculation.

Jared said…
There is only one person who can make your calling and election sure, that is Jesus Christ. That is the whole crux of the doctrine; if God promises a blessing, it must be fulfilled, for God cannot lie. This is the "more sure word of prophesy," when God Himself speaks.

A priesthood holder can pronounce upon another their calling and election, or their promised exaltation; but it is not "sure" until the Lord personally ratifies it to the individual.

If you have any doubt as to whether your calling and election is sure, then you are not sure, are you?

There is only one keeper at the gate and it is not the church. The church has no power in heaven, only on earth.

The church cannot make your calling and election sure; that would make the church equal with Christ, which it obviously is not. I am continually amazed at how often church members seek to supplant the role of Christ with the LDS church--this is sheer idolatry, even blasphemy!

There has been a lot of discussion here about apostles saying this or that, as if their's was the ultimate authority. What nonsense! One apostle can ordain another person an apostle; but that ordination is not complete until it is ratified by Jesus Christ with His hands upon that person's head. This is the doctrine advanced by Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses during the ordination of apostles. You can call a man an apostle all day; but it is only an earthly title with earthly authority unless God makes it more than that. We have numerous records of modern "apostles" and church presidents openly stating that they have never seen angels or Christ, much less than being ordained by Him. That we are strong-armed into sustaining these men "as prophets, seers, and revelators" is absurd. Absurd is the word.

Why do so many of you keep calling Tim to task when you haven't done your homework? He has. You haven't read the works of Denver Snuffer; you haven't studied the issues. He has. You do not have a studied right to an opinion. He has. All you can do is quote modern church leaders. bla! bla! bla! Church leaders do not make scripture; the Holy Ghost does that. It doesn't matter what you think; it only matters what God thinks. Stop equating church leaders with God.
Julie said…
Wow, guys. I had no idea this was so prevalent, and no one has ever bothered to find source material before. Thank you--I will study this carefully. Now that I know the ordinance exists, I am even more disturbed that something obviously so important is not generally available to church members anymore. The initiatory and endowment ceremonies are "secret", but yet people are aware of them, know how important they are, and clearly understand what they need to do to qualify. When it comes to the second anointing, it seems clear to me that it is an essential ordinance, without which we cannot be exalted, so why is it so secret and exclusive that virtually no one in the church knows it exists, and therefore doesn't know to ask for it or what to do to qualify? What is the procedure for obtaining it?
Julie said…
I completely agree with you. That's why the idea of a Second Anointing ordinance is so disturbing to me--either it's an example of the Church pretending to a priesthood authority it doesn't have, or it does have it but guards its blessings jealously rather than sharing them, the way priesthood is meant to be used. No matter how I look at it, the idea of the second anointing happening today just feels wrong to me. And if it exists and is still performed today, how can it be any more binding than any of the other priesthood ordinances we perform today, if all man-administered ordinances still have to be ratified by God anyway?

There just is no substitute for going to God directly, is there?
Jared said…

John Pontius addressed the issue of the Second Anointing in a few of his firesides. (Of course, not all of his firesides are available for download now. I might have the cheek to change that though.) Pontius said that General Authorities, Mission Presidents, and people who had given years of loyal service were selected for this ordinance. Part of the ordinance is received in the temple, the rest is completed within the home. In one case he knew of, the wife refused to complete the ordinance at home. She didn't want anything to do with it. And the husband, a former Stake President, etc..., had no desire to receive the Second Comforter. Pontius asserted that the Second Anointing, as performed within the temple by the brethren, is completely unnecessary. Snuffer also asserts that it is unnecessary and ineffective in PtHG. J. R. Clark received this ordinance and he was still terrified to die. One must connect with Christ, the true vine. Only He gives peace and the assurance of salvation.
Log said…
Lest any claim *I* am partial...
There is only one keeper at the gate and it is not the church. The church has no power in heaven, only on earth.

Please see, among other references, D&C 1:8, and D&C 128:14. I'm too lazy to look up others involving the keys of the kingdom, but, rest assured, they exist.

One apostle can ordain another person an apostle; but that ordination is not complete until it is ratified by Jesus Christ with His hands upon that person’s head. This is the doctrine advanced by Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses during the ordination of apostles.

The current ordination lacks that verbiage; and weren't you just saying that citing men as if theirs was the ultimate authority is nonsense, idolatry, and / or blasphemy?

We have numerous records of modern “apostles” and church presidents openly stating that they have never seen angels or Christ, much less than being ordained by Him.

And we have Judas, who was an apostle. Are you sure that having seen and been physically ordained of Christ is really an issue?

That we are strong-armed into sustaining these men “as prophets, seers, and revelators” is absurd.

If it is an issue to you, would not the proper course be to inquire of God whether X is a prophet, seer, and revelator? Nobody and nothing prevents you from answering with a straightforward "no" when asked whether you support and sustain X as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

Why do so many of you keep calling Tim to task when you haven’t done your homework? He has. You haven’t read the works of Denver Snuffer; you haven’t studied the issues. He has. You do not have a studied right to an opinion. He has. All you can do is quote modern church leaders. bla! bla! bla! Church leaders do not make scripture; the Holy Ghost does that. It doesn’t matter what you think; it only matters what God thinks. Stop equating church leaders with God.

Charity entails forbearance.
EKB said…
This comment is in the wrong spot...I can't tell on my phone easily how to reply to a specific person's comment. Let me just say though that I am STRUCK with such powerful and tender feelings for Tim's situation of turning in his recommend. HERE is deep experience (as mentioned by Log). This is sacrifice and integrity and power and pain and suffering and desires for harmony with the Lord and with his fellow man. I am in awe. May the Lord bless you and keep you, Tim. May God and angels surround you with comfort and love. You are an admirable and exemplary person in my view. By this I would not suggest to anyone that this is THE way to deal with a similar situation, but it is clear that this was a heartfelt desire to align one's heart with God's will at the expense of one's mortal interests. Bless you, Tim.
jmhiatt said…

According to your line of thought then why do we need priesthood at all? Why would priesthood need to confirm members after baptism and invite them to receive the Holy Ghost? The priesthood can't force that to happen anymore than the ordinance for the second anointing. It's the same with all ordinances performed as they are all invitations to receive the promised blessings, not the actual blessings. This concept has been discussed on these blogs. The problem is that we, members, are believing that the ordinances are the actual reception, not the symbols of something much greater to be received from heaven. It is simply up to us to explain with love and understanding how this process works. There is no reason to get overly reactionary at this.
Jared said…
Maybe we need to spend some time defining priesthood. This term is used so broadly. There are many priesthoods. What are they? Which one are we referring to at any given time?

What priesthood does the church have?
What priesthood do church officers have?
What priesthoods do individuals have here on earth?
What priesthood is had in the Church of the Firstborn?
What priesthood does Christ have?

Who owns priesthood?
Who holds priesthood?
Who controls it?
How does it work?

How do we gain priesthood?
How do we loose priesthood?

Does President Monson have the same priesthood as Joseph Smith Jr.? or Joseph Smith Sr.?

What priesthood does Denver Snuffer have?

What priesthood do woman have?

What priesthood do temple ordinance works have or use?

Does your cat or dog hold priesthood?


What about this priesthood business?
Karl said…
Jared, You need to be careful about your conclusions about how C&E is received and the validity of the 2nd Anointings as currently administered in the temple. There is precedence for C&E being made sure, by ordinance, by Joseph Smith, since he adminstered the 2nd anointing to some 20 couples in Nauvoo. Then right before leaving Nauvoo, BY administered it to a couple hundred couples in Nauvoo. Further, be careful about what you claim: "ordination is not complete until it is ratified by Jesus Christ with His hands," You would have a difficult, perhaps impossible task to support that statement, which was in the original charge as given by Oliver Cowdery. That standard has never been accepted as doctrinal or necessary to be a legitimate Apostle. Further, Pontius claimed the 2nd Anointing was not necessary to have your calling and election made sure. He did NOT, as you imply, claim that the ordinance was invalid. Also, Snuffer implies that the 2nd anointing ordinance is invalid, but never comes right out and makes the charge. Reuben Clark was not "terrified" to die; actually he stated that he was not aware of any major sins in his life. You may be confusing this with Charles W Nibley, who stated he would be terrified by the appearance of an angel. It is not necessary to see the Lord in order to be a true and legitimate apostle or prophet. Yes, of course it would be desirable (as for all of us), but it is not a requirement. If you can find the scriptural support for the assertion that it is, then let me know. Knowing by a manifestation of the Holy Ghost is sufficient to fill any office in the church.
Karl said…
Julie, The 2nd anointing ordinance was originated in Nauvoo, by Joseph Smith, and given by ordinance to about 20 selected couples (members of the Holy anointed Quorum). It was extended by Brigham Young to more couples in Nauvoo, and was quite actively administered until about 1920 or so, at which time the recommendation for it's administration was restricted to the Twelve (instead of Stake Presidents). The ordinance then almost ceased until the early 1970's, when it was fired up again, I believe, by Spencer W Kimball, and it's administration has been fairly frequent since then. There are a number of books that outline the history, which you can see intros on Amazon.
Tim Malone said…
Thanks Jared, for asking these pertinent questions. Oh, how I would love to see the answers. Oh, that I had the time to answer them myself. God bless you my friend. I look forward to the discussion. If none entails, I will answer them, even though I know it will take hours.
Jared said…
We keep on referring back to what is accepted by the establishment religion. Who cares? Who cares what a committee thinks? I don't.

Titles really do not impress me.

I maintain that an apostle ordained by another apostle is different than one ordained by Christ.

Even if Joseph Smith conferred calling and election, which I know he did as well, that does not negate the need to have such an ordinance to be confirmed by the Lord, one way or another, giving the recipient sure knowledge. It is not "sure" until the Lord makes it "sure." Even if it is Joseph Smith acting as voice; he is still only a man. I think the world of Joseph Smith; but I don't think he's God.

The Second Anointing is only relevant if it is confirmed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, like any other ordinance.

I only meant that Pontius did not consider the Second Anointing as crucial to ones spiritual progression.

You are not damned because the institution does not notice you and select you for this ordinance. On the contrary, I think the institution is under severe condemnation for administering that which is holy to the unworthy.

The Second Anointing is the church's private Rameumptom. They gain false security and a false sense of holiness from this ordinance. There is no replacement for a real connection with God.
Jared said…
I like Star Trek, especially Star Trek the Next Generation.

Speaking of Star Trek, I often wish I had Commander Data next to me to use his android brain to access all of the records we have from church history, the scriptures, journals, etc..., to come up with some more answers. So much of what we say here is conjecture. We challenge and even accuse one another of this and that; but it is just so hard to actually winnow through all the information to find out what the records says. Worse still, there appears to be so much contradiction. As mortals we want everything cut and dry, systematized, and concisely defined. It MUST NOT have been meant to be that way. I think we are supposed to feel our way forward with faith, not with sure knowledge. What a pain, huh?
Jared said…
Speaking of fears. I have found that life is so much more enjoyable when I give up my fears, especially fears of what man can do.

What if I get excommunicated? So what?

What if I get fired from my job? So what?

What if my wife dies? Well, NOT so what. But I know the Lord will do His will for my best good and take care of me and my family.

I am not going out of my way to receive adversity, far from it; but I am working hard to have real faith in my Savior's care and not to fear man anymore. This is one reason why I am becoming more vocal here and putting my name on my face.
doctorandrose2 said…
May I offer this to the discussion as to whether it must be the Lord himself or one of His servant that lays their hands upon your head and "seal" a blessing on you. You all should be familiar with this scripture:

D&C 1:38 - "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."

Why is it that some of you can't believe that our current Apostles have seen the Lord, and had Him seal or ratify their ordination to the Apostleship by another living Apostle? Here is a little story to prove the point:

(7-6) Luke 6:13. What Is an Apostle?

One of the most important things to know about apostles is that they are called to be witnesses of the Savior. This witness may come in several ways. (See item 9-8.) Of this Elder Harold B. Lee has said:

“May I impose to bear my own testimony. I was visiting with one of the missionaries some years ago when two missionaries came to me with what seemed to be a very difficult question, to them. A young Methodist minister had laughed at them when they had said that apostles were necessary today in order for the true church to be upon the earth. And they said the minister said: ‘Do you realize that when they met to choose one to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judas, that they said it had to be one who companied with them and had been a witness of all things pertaining to the mission and resurrection of the Lord? How can you say you have apostles, if that be the measure of an apostle?’ And so these young men said, ‘What shall we answer?’ I said to them: ‘Go back and ask your minister friend two questions. First, how did the Apostle Paul gain what was necessary to be called an apostle? He didn’t know the Lord; had no personal acquaintance. He hadn’t accompanied the apostles. He hadn’t been a witness of the ministry, nor the resurrection of the Lord. How did he gain his testimony sufficient to be an apostle? Now the second question you ask him: How does he know that all who are today apostles have not likewise received that witness?’ I bear witness to you that those who hold the apostolic calling may, and do know of the reality of the mission of the Lord.” (“Born of the Spirit,” Address to Seminary and Institute Faculty, 26 June 1962.)
Log said…
Why is it that some of you can’t believe that our current Apostles have seen the Lord, and had Him seal or ratify their ordination to the Apostleship by another living Apostle?

They don't claim to have. No claim to examine; nothing to believe.

I bear witness to you that those who hold the apostolic calling may, and do know of the reality of the mission of the Lord.

If you understood what this meant, you would not have cited it. It actually undercuts the point you would like to make in a fundamental way.
Log said…
Here's how the quote from President Lee ends.

I bear witness to you that those who hold the apostolic calling may, and do, know of the reality of the mission of the Lord. To know is to be born and quickened in the inner man. (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 64–65, emphasis added)

To have the sitting President of the High Priesthood say sitting apostles "may" not have been born again - which means baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost - is very interesting indeed.
Log said…
Does it matter whether those who hold the apostolic calling in the modern Church have been physically ordained by Christ? It has been asserted, without scriptural justification, that an apostle who has not been physically ordained by Christ is, by some unspecified metric, "different" than one who has.

I do not know whether that is the case or not. Moreover, I don't know whether the sitting 15 apostles have seen or been physically ministered to by Christ or not. Just because they haven't said so doesn't mean they haven't been.

I don't know if it matters whether they've been born again or not. I would prefer them to have been born again, and I know the Lord has made that a scriptural requirement for any calling in the Church - but I know some who have not been born again who have callings in the Church.

I would definitely prefer them to have been not only born again, but to have what Peter describes as "the more sure word of prophecy" which is not to be confused with merely having undergone an ordinance administered by men in earthly temples (and, because it can be confused with precisely that today, I cannot take claims to possessing it at face value). I would definitely prefer them to have stood in the heavenly temple and to have seen the vision of all. But my preferences aside, the apostles of the mortal Christ were, to a man, unholy and carnal men who possessed and experienced none of these things until the day of Pentecost. This did not stop them from working miracles and from preaching the gospel of the kingdom with authority from God.

The greatest prophet born to woman was not baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost in this life, apparently (Matt 3:14). What, one wonders, should be made of that?

Caiaphas, the high priest who delivered Christ to the Romans, prophesied in the course of his office (John 11:51). What, one wonders, should be made of that?

I mentioned a while back that there are exceptions to very nearly every rule one wants to set within the gospel. The only absolute that I know of is that whosoever believeth on Christ shall be saved, and whosoever believeth not shall be damned. But even that gets more complicated when we see that the categories of "saved" and "damned" overlap.

Don't be so sure you know the score, if you don't have it directly from God.
shylohw said…
Julie, if you want to read more about this, look into the early church records. I would recommend to you some books by Devery S. Anderson and Gary James Bergera... Joseph Smith's Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845, The Nauvoo Endowment Companies 1846-1846, and for information about what has happened to this ordinance through the years, Development of LDS Temple Worship 1846-2000, A Documentary History.

As I understand it, to obtain the ordinance now-a-days, you would have to be recommended by your Stake President to an apostle. It is invitation only. It is usually only given to older couples. You cannot seek for it. I've wondered for a long time at its seeming disappearance, and there could be a lot of reasons. I suspect there is a worry that some persons might not truly be prepared for what this ordinance entails, seek it, and be condemned for not living up to its requirements. Besides, the Church is so large now, I can't imagine them trying to accommodate and keep track of more ordinances. Maybe it's for the same reason we don't hear that we should seek the literal face of the can be done in the next life...... Who knows, really?

Regardless, it's fascinating to learn about, about. Personally, it bothers me that it must be recommended by a SP. I know there are some great SP's who may be very close to the spirit, but in all actuality, what SP knows each member in his stake, and knows their spirituality enough to recommend such a thing? It kind of seems like a club of sorts. What happened to "We desire all to receive it"?
Jared said…
What does it matter? I'll tell you why it matters.

These 15 men who preside over this church require, under threat of church discipline, that you and I sustain them AS prophets, seers, and revelators!

It doesn't matter to me whether their spiritual experience is as basic as the next man's, I have no problem with that; but when they hold a gun to my head and force me to sustain them as something they are not, or they will close the temple to me, deny me of my right to exercise my priesthood, and have me ostracized by my family and community--then I get pissed!

This is forced perjury. They have perjured themselves!

If I understand correctly, this is why Tim gave up his recommend.

Yes, it matters!

A church, millions strong, sustains them as prophets, seers, and revelators. They are treated and revered as such. And you don't think it matters if they haven't even been born again?

Think man! Think!

Do you know what a seer is? To be a seer is a very big deal! This goes way past calling and election, the Second Comforter, all that...

Our entire modern day church is built upon this claim! This is the culture. It's huge!

Does that matter?

It matters to me.

That is why ordination is only that--an ordination. As things stand, to be a prophet, seer, and revelator in this church are only fancy titles--without substance!

Are they apostles? Yes. They've got the credentials as far as millions of people are concerned.

Again, the problem goes back to definitions. Define apostle. Obviously, there are many definitions here. It's just that mine is evidently much more narrow than many others'.

Our marketing point, as a church, is that we are led by prophets, seers, and revelators, with keys and authority and all that. It's all hyped up. Then they turn around and say that an actual audience with the Lord is not needed. But they claim the titles anyway. It just doesn't make sense.

But I just keep going along with it, like a good little Mormon boy should. Why? Because so far, that is what the Spirit keeps telling me to do.
Log said…
Inquire of God. Ask specific questions. Make it a matter of fasting and mighty prayer. Persist until you are answered.

Luke 18
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
Karl said…
The scriptural definition from D&C for apostle I think is: 1. special witnesses of Christ's name (27:12), 2. quorum equal in authority to the first presidency (107:34), 3. keys to proclaim the gospel (107:35), 4. regulate the church (20:42) 4. a travelling high council where stakes are not organized. Notice that none of these duties require that a person have seen Jesus Christ in vision or in the flesh. They do, however, require that these men be ordained and set apart, by one holding actual authority (currently the President of the Church) to hold the office and to be legitimate apostles. These conditions cannot be met by a lay member--even one who has been personally ministered to by the Lord. So, I agree it would be great if the current 12 have all been ministered to personally, and that is a great goal for all of us, but for your own sake, please reconsider your insistence that they are not giving a valid apostolic witness if they don't meet this criteria. Best regards.
Not Mahonri Moriancumer said…
The scriptural definition from D&C for apostle I think is: 1. special witnesses of Christ’s name (27:12), 2. quorum equal in authority to the first presidency (107:34), 3. keys to proclaim the gospel (107:35), 4. regulate the church (20:42) 4. a travelling high council where stakes are not organized.

I can't speak for Jared, but...

Among those who can trace their lineage to Joseph Smith, there are, at least, the following (alphabetical) 59 living members of First Presidencies and Quorums of the Twelve Apostles upheld by the common consent of their respective members:

Neil L. Anderson; Gary Argotsinger; M. Russell Ballard; David A. Bednar; Paul Benyola; Linda L. Booth; Smith N. Brickhouse; Don Burnett; Joseph Calabrese; Barbara L. Carter; Bunda C. Chibwe; Richard T. Christman; D. Todd Christofferson; Quentin L. Cook; Stassi D. Cramm; James Crudup; Ralph W. Damon; Donald Dunn; Duane L. Ely; Henry B. Eyring; John R. Griffith; Robert D. Hales; Lane Harold; Jeffrey R. Holland; Philip R. Jackson; Richard C. N. James; Ronald D. Harmon, Jr.; Robert R. Murie, Jr.; Frederick N. Larsen; Thomas M. Liberto; Paul Liberto; Leonard A. Lovalvo; Placido Koyoc Matu; Rick W. Maupin; Mike McGhee; Brian McIndoo; Donald E. McIndoo; Carlos Enrique Mejia; Thomas S. Monson; Alvin J. Moser; Russell M. Nelson; Dallin H. Oaks; Jeffrey R. Oldham; Robert Ostlander; Susan D. Oxley; Boyd K. Packer; Paul Palmieri; Terry W. Patience; L. Tom Perry; Roland L. Sarratt; Peter Scolaro; Richard G. Scott; William A. Sheldon; Arthur E. Smith; Isaac Smith; Mareva Arnaud Tchong; Dieter F. Uchtdorf; James A. VunCannon; and Joel Yates.

For a Church whose PR campaigns markets our claims to having living prophets I'd really like our 15 to be "more living" than the other 44 living men (& women!) above who can also trace their keys(tm) to Joseph's keys(tm). I'm sure many of them legitimately have a testimony from the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ too.

Is it wrong to long for the day when special witnesses could again unequivocally declare "He lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father-- That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (cf. D&C 76, emphasis added).

Enough skim milk lest we drown and die of malnourishment. In Joseph's day new converts were given meat. Let's have our prophets prophecy! Let's have our seers see! Let's have our revelators reveal!

May we all know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, is my prayer.

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