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Saturday, March 25, 2017

California dreaming

A new study published in Nature suggests that a large section of California could drop nearly instantly into the sea in the next large earthquake.

The significance of this study is that it shows that vertical drops are very much possible in that region during massive earthquakes.

God's warning to that region shows incredible mercy and patience. Scientists for as long as I've been paying attention have affirmed that:

  1. California will not drop into the sea during an earthquake--it is impossible.
  2. Large fissures do not occur as a result of earthquakes--it is impossible.
  3. Earthquakes cannot trigger adjacent faults--it is impossible.
  4. Very large earthquakes (mag. 10 or higher) are impossible.

Yet, scientists have in fact proven that:
1. There is a high probability that large segments of California will drop into the sea during an earthquake.

2. Earthquakes can cause large fissures in the ground. This should have been well known for a long time, as the New Madrid quake in the early 1800s caused large fissures for many miles which can still be seen, where water and sand exploded from the ground.

3. Earthquakes can trigger adjacent faults. (Check out the video halfway down this page)

4. Larger earthquakes than seen in recorded history are possible. This is due to the fact that previous calculations assumed only one fault triggering at a time. The energy of a quake is a factor of the fault length and displacement. If multiple faults trigger at the same time, the energy could be much larger than anything seen in the last 150 years. Other research suggests that earthquakes are probably correlated with the earth and sun's electromagnetic relationship, and recent changes to both mean a higher potential for more powerful and more frequent earthquakes than exist in our historic knowledge.

What to expect when you are expecting

Geoscientists have been consistently wrong about their assertions of what is and isn't possible. Why trust them when it comes to fatality estimates, particularly when they have a vested economic and social interest in downplaying risk? Imagine what would happen to their reputation, employment, and the local economy of these areas if they said that the >99% chance of a  large earthquake in these regions (yes, that is what they are saying) would cause millions of deaths?

Why are their estimates so consistently low? Whether talking about the Cascadia subduction zone or the San Andreas areas, their death estimates are in the low tens of thousands. Yet, they are expecting millions of people to be displaced. Why? Because their homes and places of work will be totally destroyed. Does that add up to you? Will tens of millions of people happen to be outside when the quake strikes and manage to get to high ground in the 15 minutes they have before the first tsunami hits? Will there be no additional deaths due to the lack of medical care for the millions of wounded, clean water, and food for months after the fact? Will there be zero deaths due to rioting, looting, and other malfeasance?

In 1906, there were 400,000 people living in San Francisco. The earthquake caused over 3,000 immediate deaths, with more from the fires that occurred afterward, which raged for four days. Even forgetting the inevitable fire that comes after gas lines are ruptured, and ignoring the fact that small wooden homes are much more resilient to earthquakes than large concrete buildings, using the same percentage for the modern population of San Fransisco, that would be 6,277 deaths. But that is just modern San Francisco, which is just 3 miles x 3 miles. Unlike in 1906, the Bay Area is now home to more than 7 million people. That's 525,000 deaths with the same percentage.

What about Greater Los Angeles, an area scientists predict will be hit by a big quake and which is also sitting on a bed of criss-crossing faults? 19 million people, 1.4 million deaths.

None of these figures factor in swaths of the land dropping into the sea, tsunamis, fires and violence after the quake, lack of food/water, etc.

Trust the Lord

The Lord has been warning people of the coming west coast catastrophe for a long time through dreams and visions. Recently, he was purported to have said that the trigger event for that catastrophe would be the United States turning its back on Israel. That happened just a few months ago when John Kerry orchestrated a UN resolution to divide Israel, and the US opted not to use its veto power to block it. It is time to get ready for this event. If you live in California, I would definitely consider moving if I were you.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Responses to St. George Conference and Thoughts on the Movement from Others

All:
After my post two days ago, I was contacted by at least half a dozen people from the Denver Snuffer movement expressing concerns about the new developments there. I have no desire to insert myself into this beyond what I have been told to do and discharged. My spiritual time is of great importance to me, and is being spent in a way that will benefit many more people than spending it on this issue. To balance my desire to remain aloof and the fact that the various Snufferite blogs (by definition) will not give audience to dissenting opinions, I will create this single post and add to it anything that appears reasonably well thought out and respectful. I would highly encourage you to provide your name with what you write, so that you provide people an opportunity to answer you. Rumors and gossip will not be posted. Entries will be given a heading. My email is 2robsmith@gmail.com.

A letter from a group of fellowships

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and a small, loosely-knit fellowship of believers who have been continually seeking Christ in this rapidly declining world. Those in my fellowship have maintained ties and associations with other groups gathering towards what we have believed is a common goal. We’ve enjoyed the felicity shared with these groups and have been greatly blessed by these associations.

We have all read and benefitted by the works of those vocal in this movement; namely that of Denver Snuffer. Obviously, against all of his initial pleadings otherwise, he seems to stand as the ensign or model figure in the awakening of those in and out of the Latter-day Saint community, re-centering our worship on Christ and none else.

A core of his shared message revolves around the need to remove any semblance of a “strong-man” organization, the need of diffused fellowships without any central control, and the woes and stumblings of the LDS church; namely their erred transition to a correlated structure over the past ½ century. We all agree with his observations and recognize both the failings of the LDS church as well as our need to put it and all other worldly organizations into proper perspective; centering our minds, hearts, and souls on Christ, leaving these secondary organizations in the periphery.

Yet the topics and grand announcement of a restoration scripture project made during this past weekend’s conference has raised a flag of warning and concern, as we perceived a great shift in Denver’s message and that of the collective conference. As he recounted the experience of how the project came to be it felt more like a retelling of an LDS church correlation committee meeting than one of a divinely inspired project of which we all are a part. Scriptures attaching meaning and fulfillment were all applied in hindsight while the committee's process became glorified in the re-telling.

The process reminded me personally of a quote made by Elder Russell M. Nelson when talking to BYU Hawaii students regarding the children of same-sex Mormon couples desiring baptism. This quote comes from the Salt Lake Tribune:

"Each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation," Nelson, next in line for the Mormon presidency, told the faith's young adults in the first official explanation of the hotly debated policy's origins. "It was our privilege as apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson."

Nelson explained that revelation from the Lord to his servants is a sacred process.

"The [three-member] First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together and share all the Lord has directed us to understand and to feel, individually and collectively," he said. "And then, we watch the Lord move upon the president of the church to proclaim the Lord's will."

He said that protocol was followed when Monson, in 2012, announced lower minimum ages for full-time Mormon missionary service and again late last year with the new policy on same-sex couples and their children.

Another similar quote by the late Gordon B. Hinckley in 1994, wherein he talked about the process used when major action is taken by the church:

“I add by way of personal testimony that during the twenty years I served as a member of the Council of the Twelve and during the nearly thirteen years that I have served in the First Presidency, there has never been a major action taken where this procedure was not observed. I have seen differences of opinion presented in these deliberations. Out of this very process of men speaking their minds has come a sifting and winnowing of ideas and concepts. But I have never observed serious discord or personal enmity among my Brethren. I have, rather, observed a beautiful and remarkable thing—the coming together, under the directing influence of the Holy Spirit and under the power of revelation, of divergent views until there is total harmony and full agreement. Only then is implementation made. That, I testify, represents the spirit of revelation manifested again and again in directing this the Lord’s work” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 74–75; or Ensign, May 1994, 54, 59; emphasis added).

Much of Denver’s talk echoed this type of mindset and described model followed by the current LDS church. Here are some quotes from his talk, "Things to keep us awake at night” (transcribed from the audio). The bold words emphasize the similarity of the correlation committees process:

"As it turns out each group had faced essentially the same group of questions but they'd reached slightly different conclusions for good and sufficient reasons to them. But as they reasoned together....one group had concluded that the catechisms, the questions and answers ought to be eliminated ....one gave voice to the argument .....he found value in ....so as a consequence of that discussion ...one group was aware ....and the other group was unaware of that...and therefore they reached agreement that was the way it ought be done."

We don’t disagree on the premise of the scripture project. We are humbled and grateful for the hours of work each of those on the respective committees have donated to this great cause. Our concern lies in the following:

1) The committee members. We do not want to condemn or judge. Plainly said, we are concerned by the reputation of some of the members associated with the project from personal experience with them. It brings to mind the words of Alma to his son, when he said, “O my son, how great iniquity ye brought… for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.” (Alma 39:11). We have discussed this and feel to not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” However, if this project had been undertaken with common consent, we feel it would have started with the election of a committee instead of having a group of individuals take it upon themselves to work it out.


2) Denver concludes by saying: “Sustaining is planned to happen at the next conference after a chance has happened of a review of the material. This is necessary for the gentiles to claim they have accepted a covenant and a law (2 Ne. 30). Everyone is free to vote when we have reached the end of the line. And they're free to reject it. But if there is some small group who are willing to enter into that covenant, whatever that number is, that will be sufficient. And I hope those who remain opposed will allow those willing to enter into a covenant to depart in peace. Because we've allowed the LDS church or any of the other various sects of Mormonism to depart in peace. I hope that those willing to vote are likewise given the opportunity to depart in peace.”

This quote says that we have a vote, but alludes that to voice disagreement with the process demonstrates opposition and a lack of desire to enter into a covenant. Which is not the case. It feels like those who have concerns with the process aren’t being persuaded (D&C 121), but rather cornered into accepting things as they transpired as totally and wholly inspired. A brief paraphrase of the message is, “we’ve done this work. Accept it and be saved. Reject it at your own peril.” That doesn’t sit right with us.

Our group patiently waits upon the Lord, while filling our time with doing good and helping those around us. We are excited by the prospects presented in the conference and have petitioned the Lord for guidance in this matter. The result of that petition is this letter.

It is not our intent to criticize or complain; but to highlight some incongruities with the way it came about in direct contrast to many of the principles taught by Denver during his 40 Years in Mormonism lecture series, along with others who have been sharing similar concerns.

If you would like specifics on places wherein contradictory comments have been made, we would gladly work on compiling such. However, we felt it shouldn’t be necessary as all of those involved on the committees are most likely aware of these comments themselves.

Thank you for hearing us out as we all strive to come to a unity of the faith.

Signed

-A fellowship of believers

Leo Ebbert

In 3 Nephi, Christ declares his beautiful doctrine in stunning simplicity: "repent, be baptized in my name, and become as a little child”. He repeats it. This was given after warning them against disputations/contentions and preceding another stark warning:

"And whoso shall declare more or less than this and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil and is not built upon my rock, but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation and the gates of hell standeth open to receive such”.

My summary of Christ’s words might look like this: “Don’t dispute and contend, that’s not of me. What is of me? Repent, get baptized (in every way, not just water), and be like a child. Don’t try to turn my doctrine into anything more or less than this, that’s not of me.” The two warnings bookend his remarkable doctrine. We (myself included) violate those two warnings with dreadful consistency, disputing amongst ourselves on a regular basis and as a group, making changes to His doctrine.

Christ warns again after giving the people bread and wine. He tells them to do “these things” is to be built upon his rock. "But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation”. There’s that phrase again: “more or less”. Maybe Christ isn’t kidding. Maybe the repetition is because he knows how quickly we embrace more and cast away so we have less.

He expounds on his warning further by saying we have to “watch and pray always lest ye be tempted by the devil and ye are led away captive by him.” What is the temptation of the devil that Christ is warning against? The temptation to add to Christ’s commandments and to take away from them. That is exactly how the devil ensnares us. It takes very little and we are so eager to accept it. Christ is warning against “religion” essentially, the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. That is what men and devils offer. Christ is warning against setting aside his simple doctrine for more or less. Read Christ's words and then ask yourselves whether what is being offered through these conferences is "more or less" than what Christ declared. The answer apparently matters a great deal.

The day after Christ taught his disciples about his doctrine, the disciples gathered with a large body of people and "ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken, nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken”. These disciples seem to have taken Christ literally. How childish of them! Or maybe “childlike” would be a better word. They apparently weren’t willing to add, remove, or substitute one word from what that the Lord said. Is it any wonder, then, that Christ’s promise to baptize the disciples by fire and the Holy Ghost was vindicated almost immediately after these disciples taught in this way? They were encircled by fire, angels descended, and Christ also was in their midst in glory, ministering to them. Christ's promise came to pass!

The disciples went on to preach with incredible success after Christ ascended again to his Father, converting literally the entire land of people to Christ. The scriptures say that “as many as” the disciples taught and baptized by water were baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. Why were they so successful in comparison to us? Why do we lack so completely the promised fruit whereas it overflowed for them? Could it be our penchant for more and less?

Even despite the teachings of Jesus, the people were not initially above disputations. They disputed about the name of their church. The disciples called upon Christ for help in settling the dispute. Christ is exasperated by this. How could the people dispute over such a thing? Don’t they know they have to be called after the name of Christ? The Lord then gives us a way to know whether a body of believers is really His or not. A simple test. The first part is "if it be called in my name, then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel”. So the name matters. What do we call ourselves? The remnant? Little zion? Restorationists? The doctrine of Christ fellowship? Maybe the last one fits.

But there is another part to the test. Christ says "if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel, then will the Father shew forth his own works in it. But if it be not built upon my gospel and is built upon the works of men or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you, they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh and they are hewn down and cast into the fire…”

Well that wipes out a lot of groups that use the name of Christ in vain. I don’t think many of us would dispute that the dead religions of the world lack the works of the Father and are filled instead with the works of men or the devil. Can we apply this test to our own fellowships? Can we apply it to the conferences? Can we apply it to the scripture project or the temple fund? Are those works of the Father or of men or of the devil? How do we know? The answers matter a great deal.

Christ prophesied to the people of Bountiful concerning we Gentiles. We’d be given chances to embrace His gospel in its fulness. He offered this hope concerning us: "For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.”

Christ’s hope was that we wouldn’t “harden our hearts” but instead “come unto [Him]”. Consider those phrases in the context of D&C 84 where the Lord says the Israelites "hardened their hearts" and thus were cursed to not enter His presence. Later in the same section the Lord says "whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.” What the Lord says next is well known to anyone acquainted with this movement--the infamous condemnation the Lord issued against the early Mormons:

"And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written”

It appears that Christ considers the Book of Mormon to be our covenantal scripture. And His hope for us is that we will remember it and actually do what He commands therein. I suspect if we did, the Father's works would be manifest among us.

How different might our fellowships be if we learned from the failures of the past…if we chose to not harden our hearts and instead come unto Christ through his plain doctrine. What if we decided not to reject the words of plainness? What if we decided not to demand religion? What if we ceased from the works of men and devils and waited instead on the works of the Father? What if we said no to more or less than what Christ asked?

How did the people at Bountiful succeed at establishing Zion? Did they gather funds for a temple? Did they petition for "governing principles"? Did they have a trademarked logo? Did they undertake a scripture project and demand a vote on it? How did the people know that those 12 disciples were really Christ’s servants? What fruit came when the disciples ministered? Did the people ask to see their certificate first? Did the people ask for the names of what mortals were vouching for them and their authority? Or were they judged on the fruit of their ministry? What was that fruit? Did the people bring about the works of the Father, the works of men, or the works of the devil? Is it coincidental that nearly the same pattern we see in 3 Nephi played out in the book of Acts, albeit with less success?

"And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost. And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written. And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another. And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them. And they who were baptized in the name of Jesus were called the church of Christ."

Mormon makes it sound so simple. What if it really is? We all must judge. As was once said, “the game is afoot”. I pray we may all be brought to Jesus.

From a Nonremnant Observer

Upon examining Denver Snuffer's recent new translation/revelation of the Testimony of St. John, I have noticed quite a few contradictions between it and the JST of John.

The contradictions and discrepancies between the JST/KJV, and TSJ (Denver's work) begin from the very first verse and are manifested throughout the entire book.

The terminology that Denver uses also seems very odd. It's nothing like the language structure of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, or the JST/KJV of the Bible.

While there is certainly new doctrine introduced in Denver's TSJ, it appears to replace existing doctrine rather than simply adding new information. Which is in stark contrast to Joseph Smith's translation/revelation of the Bible.

Joseph made minor corrections, which were sometimes very significant. He also added new information. Sometimes the information he added was small and other times he added a lot. He did not to my knowledge replace previous information with completely different information. Nor did he remove any stories. In Denver's TSJ the entire story of the woman taken in adultery is removed.

Some of the new doctrine in the TSJ includes the need to find and follow true messengers, having to see God face to face in this life to be saved, and Christ having progressed from being an ordinary man to Godhead.

All of these things are things Denver was previously teaching, based on his interpretations of the scriptures. In certain places these Denver doctrines appear forced into the TSJ.

There's also the issue of Denver essentialy inserting an account of the Savior having his hair cut as part of ending a Nazarite vow. The Savior being a Nazarite is not supported anywhere in the scriptures. The scriptures say he was a Nazarene (meaning from Nazareth).

Denver claims he was inspired to retranslate the gospel of John to replace the current JST version in the new remnant edition of the scriptures. Does anyone know why he felt a new translation was in order?

Also, if he truly did receive a revelation giving him a more correct translation of the Testimony of John, why is it now being included in the remnant Pearl of Great Price and not replacing the Testimony of John from the JST?

Feedback on my prior post

Hello Rob,

I have cc'd Denver on this email. 

There are some inconsistencies in your post, "We follow a man whom we call prophet". You struck from your original post somethings that are provable. For lack of time to cover all of them, re-consider two based on the following:

1. Your words:

You echo Denver Snuffer's claim that he did not form a church, and is not the leader of a new church. Why do you insist on setting up what he himself will not, and making him what he himself has refused to be? While I don't personally care whether or not someone starts a church, I find the claim inherently dishonest. While we can play Bill Clinton and redefine the word "church" to mean something other than what everyone considers it means, let's avoid the label and examine the facts.

Denver's words: 

Transcribed from the talk by Denver Snuffer, Things to keep us awake at night. 13 minute mark. (punctuation and emphasis mine): 

"Joseph restored the Book of Mormon as his first assignment. But he was required also to revise the Bible. Joseph referred to the revision of the Bible using the term, "the fulness of the scriptures". The Book of Mormon he called "the Book of Mormon". The revision to the Bible he called, "the fullness of the scriptures". In the minutes of an 1831 conference Joseph made this statement: "God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the church. Said the Lord would cut his work short in righteousness and except the church receive the fulness of the scriptures, they would yet fall."

"The fulness of the scriptures or the Bible he was then revising, has never been fully in print. Even the version that has been published by the RLDS church misses several of the revisions Joseph made. All of them and in addition, a handful of revisions that Joseph made orally during talks that he gave in the Nauvoo era, for the first time, are published in the new set of scriptures in the volume, the Old Testament and half the volume called the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. 

The fulness of the scriptures, without which the church would fall, are for the first time now available."
_________________________

A. Contrast with Denver's words spoken in Lecture 8 Transcript – A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit (Given in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 25th, 2014), page 27:

"I'm not going to start another church, and I don't intend to compete with the Latter-day Saints, and I don't intend to overthrow them. That is God’s work, and it will be up to Him to decide how useful the various Mormon churches are to His purposes. But it is clear to me we do not need another church. The only thing we need are penitent people. The only thing we need are people whose hearts are right. If someone is here from a Baptist church, then go attend your Baptist Church. Go attend your Mormon church. There's good in all churches, but study the doctrines of the Restoration and get to know God, and then go and do what He would have you do."

Consider...

Joseph said that "God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the church. Said the Lord would cut his work short in righteousness and except the church receive the fulness of the scriptures, they would yet fall."

It is clear from Denver's words. He is calling this body of believers, and using scriptures to back his claim, a church. 

Additionally:

Joseph referred to the fulness of the scriptures as the Bible. Why has this scripture committee gone beyond the Bible and called it "the fulness of the scriptures"? 

2. Your words:

Everything that has the trademarked logo has been approved by this group him

Denver's words:

"An important step has been achieved. A new website titled “Born of Water” is now live. The website allows anyone located anywhere in the world who desires to be baptized to identify themselves. It is all confidential.

The website also allows those with authority to baptize to identify themselves in a confidential submission. Those qualified to baptize can then determine if they are able to assist someone in need of baptism. If they are able and willing to help, the baptizers can send a contact through the site to the one wanting baptism. This way those in remote locations will be able to receive baptism.

The logo on the site is shaped like two hands reaching upward, forming the image of a dove. The eye of the dove is a mark on the wrist of the right hand. The colors in the corners of the mark are the colors of the veil in the Tabernacle of Moses and Temple of Solomon. It is a trademarked, copyrighted and servicemarked registered image that is the property of Adrian Larsen. He alone can give or revoke permission to use the image that is his property."

The logo will appear on three sites: Born of Water, Recorder’s Clearinghouse, and for a time on this site to acquaint people with the logo. The logo is a way to vouch for a site’s privacy and safety. If the logo is authorized for use, the public can be confident it will not take them to a site of a hostile group, commercial enterprise or specious origin. It is a way to identify authenticity.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The parable of military obligation

There was once a man who joined the army. He had been told good things, and had a desire in his heart to serve. He was told that to join the army, he had to sign a contract that would span a considerable amount of time. At the time, that didn't concern him. He thought only of the positive points: serving his country, getting a good paycheck, getting free tuition, and getting a signing bonus.

When he shipped to basic training, he was surprised to find it wasn't as challenging as he expected it to be. While he did get plenty of exercise and training, he couldn't help think that he could have gotten in much better shape if he had taken the same 10 weeks to push himself at home. Almost immediately, he started noticing that while some of the policies in the army made sense, a lot did not. Many were clearly designed for the lowest common denominator, and he felt they slowed him down from what he could otherwise do. Others were clearly wrong. For the first time, he felt a little uncomfortable about having signed a contract. While what he saw in basic didn't repulse him enough to want to quit, it did make him wonder what he had gotten himself into.

After finishing basic training he went to job training school. As he was learning his trade, he kept thinking about better ways to do his job. Every time he tried to do something better than what the manual said, those in authority over him would correct him and tell him to do as he was told. At first, he figured they must know better than he does, as they had rank and he did not. Over time, as he got to know his sergeants better, he realized that they did not know better than he did. In fact, it seemed as if they had stopped thinking for themselves a long time ago. He wondered if there was anything they wouldn't do if they were commanded to do so by their superiors, no matter how wrong it was.

When he finished his job school, he was shipped to the middle east. There, he took part in many missions. As he considered the situation, he realized that what he had been told about the wars was very different than what was actually happening. He was not there to liberate these people, but to conquer him. He saw some of his friends get wounded and some die, and he wondered what they had given their limbs and lives for. He realized that whatever this was, it certainly was not defending his country.

He came home disillusioned and aloof. He found solace in the fact that he hadn't understood what he was getting into when he joined the army. He realized that he couldn't have known that he was being lied to. He realized that those who had signed him up might not have known that they were lying, although he knew some who clearly knew what they were doing was wrong but didn't want to give up their promised retirement, which brought them great comfort. When his contract was up, he rejoiced in his freedom. Never again would he sign away his free will. He refused to willingly reenlist, knowing that while God may be merciful for what he ignorantly did, surely he would not have mercy on him he reenlisted knowing the moral hazards of military service.

He realized that the best way to defend his country was to buy his own rifle, buy his own ammunition, and train his body, mind, and skills to do exactly what he intended.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"We follow a man whom we call a prophet"

Edit 3/23/2017:
I received a response from Denver Snuffer on this post, which was forwarded to him by a reader. I have appended his responses to the end of this post with his permission. I have struck out and added (in italics) to reflect the corrected points. I make no argument with anything Denver said in his responses, and find them to be humble and charitable, as all his correspondence with me has always been.

Edit 3/34/2017:
I added the questions/comments Denver was responding to in his second email after realizing that some of his followers will mistakenly think he was talking about me, when in fact he was talking about them.
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This post is exclusively written to the group that call themselves "the remnant" who are from the LDS background (many other non-LDS Christian groups call themselves the remnant as well).

First, I insert this post in its entirety:
There is still a lot of confusion about the mechanism of salvation. Though we read and understand that Christ and Christ only is the gateway to salvation, we still struggle to understand what that means.

What does it mean that Christ is the only way to be saved? Does it mean that we can use him to be saved like a man uses a hammer to build a house? Is he our tool? The scriptures suggest quite the opposite.

But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

A potter does not merely create but also finishes his works. If salvation comes through Christ, it comes through yielding our hearts to him--completely and fully. That is how he can finish us without violating our free will. Believing in him is not a practice of mere confession with the lips, but of yielding our hearts. And it isn't a vacuous, passive position.

You can't yield your hearts to someone you don't know. Knowing Jesus requires seeking him, and that requires exercising every mechanism available to learn more about him.

Salvation is an awfully individual affair. No one can seek Jesus for you, and no one can know him for you. Nevertheless, the Christian world spends all or nearly all of their religious effort trying to get to know Jesus through someone else. For most Christians, the time they spend in the audience of a pastor, priest, pope, elder, friend, or anyone else far exceeds the time they spend in the audience of God himself, in prayer or in solitary scripture study.

This presents a dilemma. On one end of the continuum, we have the option of locking ourselves in a room with the Bible until we meet God. On the other, we have the option of locking ourselves in a church pew until we meet God. It turns out that either option will result in the same fruitless experience (though I would prefer the former rather than the latter). Why? Because of how ministration works.

God lives in a glory defined by the laws he lives. Truth produces glory in and around those who accept and live it. The higher the truth, the more the glory. Normal people cannot go to where God is. As Jesus told the Pharisees:

Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. (John 8:21)
In order to ascend to where God is, you have to live the law the God lives. This is true of any being: in order to ascend to the level of glory they enjoy, you have to live the law they live.

So how do you learn what those laws are? If it were as simple as reading the Bible, or finding a minister, we would have millions and millions of people ascending to where God is. How many people have you met who have been in God's presence in heaven? Where, then, is the disconnect? Clearly, only a very small minority of people have God's law. Or, as Jesus said,

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14)
So where is it to be found? Paul gives us a clue:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
How can you know a law unless you hear it? "...how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Romans 10:14-15)

Scripture gives us example after example of how God dispenses truth. Every man comes into this world possessing a certain state of glory. God reveals truths to these people of the level that they already possess. In order to ascend in truth, we must encounter higher truth than we possess. This elevated truth very rarely comes from God himself, except in the form of the Holy Ghost confirming truth to us. Instead, we must a) seek out and b) accept the teachings of people who possess higher truth than we do.

Obtaining truth from God happens by degrees. Jethro provided Moses with instructions that helped Moses advance from where he was before he met him to where he was after he met him. Moses did not stop there. Moses continued to obtain more truths that Jethro himself did not know, and thus was able to obtain more glory than Jethro possessed. We are surrounded by Jethros in our life. If we recognize and sort through what they say that is true and what they say that is error, we can catapault ourselves closer to God in a much faster manner than if we were left to our own devices, much like a spaceship can use the gravity of a planet to slingshot to its target much faster than it could with its own engines. But making the error of making the true messenger our target will end in the same catastrophe of making the planet the target: crash and burn instead of upward progression.

Teachings can be true or false. Teachers are neither.

There are several ways we can misunderstand the way this works. God makes use of vessels to do his work. Sometimes these are righteous vessels (like Isaiah), and sometimes these are wicked vessels (like Nebuchadnezzar). Most times, however, they are a little righteous and a little wicked (like Gideon, who did some things right and some things wrong). The righteousness of a man does not indicate that anything he says is true. The Bible is full of examples of true messages from God being delivered by men who were not worthy of emulation. On the other hand, the wickedness of a man does not indicate that a particular belief he has is not from God. The high priest who killed Jesus delivered a true prophecy (see John 11:49-51)!

We ought to assume that God will use anyone and anything around us to teach us all the truth we are willing to receive. We ought to prove all things, instead of just assuming something is false because it doesn't agree with what we currently understand. In fact, if we expect that there are things we do not yet know, and glory to which we have not yet attained, we ought to assume that the space between where we are and where we want to be will be spanned by new truth that will necessarily clash with what we currently understand, for if it did not, would we not already embrace it? We ought to avoid dismissing people out of hand because they believe differently than we do. Did Moses dismiss Jethro out of hand when he possessed truth that Moses had not yet heard? No. Rather, he proved all things, and found that much of what Jethro taught was useful to advance his own understanding.

Jesus himself was dismissed as wicked by the majority of people that witnessed his mortal ministry. Isaiah said that Jesus "hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2) There was nothing overtly obvious about Jesus' true role that would have caused people to listen to what he said. Instead, those who followed him did so on the merit of his message.

When we dismiss truth presented to us by our fellows, we are cutting ourselves off from the blessings God intends to give us. I have personally witnessed many occasions where someone I know has prayed for certain blessings or deliverance from God only to reject the person he sent to provide the requested blessings.

We should not look for true messengers, or disqualify messengers as false. We should not listen more to people (ministers, spiritual giants, popes, priests) we assume are righteous. We should not listen less to people we assume are wicked. Instead, we ought to try all things and hold fast to what is true.

By testing all things, you are relying on the Holy Ghost for truth, and not man, despite recognizing that God might be sending you new truth via association with other individuals who know something that you don't. <end previous post>

I write to draw your attention to the fact that you are based on the same LDS doctrine that you have claimed to reject: "We follow a man whom we call a prophet."

You would roundly deny that fact as an accusation, and rebuttal with the claim that you are focused exclusively on "the doctrine of Christ." I would ask you the following:

1) There are constant fruits that God gives for repentance. Where are yours? Can you honestly say that you are closer to God because of your doctrine than you were before? Are you more repentant than ever before, or are you simply looking for some new thing that fits the pattern the LDS church has trained you to look for?

2) There are several things that distinguish your doctrine from other sects: The consideration of Denver Snuffer's revelations and opinions as the supreme authority in doctrine, the requirement of having 7 supporting women to baptize, the organization of "fellowships", paying of tithing into fellowships, saving money for a temple, and the creation of new scriptures. Which of these tenets are authorized by "the doctrine of Christ" verse?

You echo Denver Snuffer's claim that he did not form a church, and is not the leader of a new church. Why do you insist on setting up what he himself will not, and making him what he himself has refused to be? While I don't personally care whether or not someone starts a church, I find the claim inherently dishonest. While we can play Bill Clinton and redefine the word "church" to mean something other than what everyone considers it means, let's avoid the label and examine the facts.

There is a tendency to hear this group described as communal. This is not true. "The remnant" is not a communal group, but a group of people seeking to correlate themselves.correlated by Denver Snuffer. Everything that has the trademarked logo has been approved by this group him. Normal people cannot call remnant conferences. When conferences took place at the mesa in Colorado and in Idaho Falls, though organized and attended by remnant folks, they were not listed on the conference website.

What about doctrines? Why are revelations from Is Denver the only ones recognized? Is he the only person receiving revelation? If so, wouldn't that indicate that his doctrine is incapable of bringing a person to the point of receiving revelation for themselves? Since revelations always come with the Holy Ghost, that would not be a good indicator. Suppose there are others receiving revelation. Why no mention of them? Why aren't there revelations going into the new publication? Why aren't there bloggers like Adrian Larson championing their every word?

You say that you are preserving the restoration. This is a claim worth examining [see here and here]. Yet, not one of your distinguishing doctrines came from Joseph Smith. Not one. The closest thing you have is the idea of a temple, but you a) disregard Joseph's accompanying teaching that the Lamanites will build it and b) disregard Joseph's accompanying teaching that only the righteous will enter Zion (it is not a come as you are and be perfected later experience). If your mission is to live what Joseph preached, why are you picking and choosing which of his teachings to live?

If your claim to validity is fidelity to what Joseph preached, how well do you emulate what Joseph taught? When Joseph preached, he said:

"If you will obey the Gospel with honest hearts, I promise you, in the name of the Lord, that the gifts as promised by our Saviour will follow you, and by this you may prove me to be a true servant of God." (Joseph Smith quoted in Hyrum Andrus, "Joseph Smith's Idea of the Gospel")

What fruits do you have that indicate you've got the restoration right? Where are the fruits?

Some people in the movement honestly admit that they have not encountered God. Others claim to be, because they have had some supernatural experience. People seem unable to distinguish between truth and error. They do not realize that there is opposition in all things, and that Satan is a great counterfeiter. They do not heed the admonition to judge a tree by its fruits. The clearest fruit is repentance. Because people are disconnected from God due to their lack of true repentance they rely on Denver and set him up as the Israelites did with Moses. Where is the focus on repentance? Where is the care for the poor (external to the hand-picked fellowships)? Instead, you have new ordinances, new rules, new scriptures, and a new building fund. Like the Saints in Joseph's day and the Pharisees in Jesus' day, you have swallowed a camel but omitted the weightier matters.

Those who have recovered and are living Joseph's doctrines surely should have the experiences he had. Which of you regularly entertains the Lord and his angels? Which of you walks with the power to heal the sick? Which of you ranges the earth to bless to Lord's children temporally and spiritually?

What is the true contribution of the restoration? If we had to boil it down to one thing, what would it be? In my view, it is the evidence provided by Joseph's connection to heaven that all men are capable of coming into God's presence if they can sufficiently break free of the false traditions of men, take God at his literal word, and seek him with all their heart, might, mind, and strength. This is also the lesson found in the lives of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others. The strength of a godly movement is its contribution in breaking down false traditions, not its construction of new ones. If it weren't for the false traditions, the Book of Mormon--an excellent tool in tearing them down--might not be necessary. Isn't is odd that those who focus the most on doctrines purportedly revealed by Joseph later in his life have failed to achieve the experiences he had as a young man without any of those?

If you claim to validity is not what Joseph preached, but new revelation from heaven, why claim that your validity is based on Joseph's dispensation? Why put new wine in old bottles? Are you seeking God, and evaluating each message from every purported messenger for his voice, or are you wholesale swallowing everything that comes from Denver Snuffer, or worse--that which you claim comes from him, but is orthogonal to his real message? Do you seek the voice that calls you to change, or the voice that asks for small modifications and offers the same social patterns you have learned to love in the LDS church? Do you accept Denver's teaching because the Spirit witnesses of their truth, or because you are impressed by his claims of heavenly visitations? There will be many prophets in the last days. Some of what some say will be true. Some of what they say will be false. All of what many say will be false. If you can't recognize someone claiming to be a prophet, why would you bother to determine if what they say is true or false? If you believe someone just because they claim to have gone to heaven, you are in a position where you would be fully deceived by the priests of Pharaoh and other servants of the devil who nevertheless worked much mightier miracles than that. Are you aware that men are constantly lured from the straight and narrow path by soothing messages and the drive for community, and that those on the true path will always be lonely outcasts who have successively left the consensus position?

I'm not really sure why people in this movement are so intent on insisting that they don't have a prophet and they aren't a church. They certainly regard one man (and only one man's) connection with God as superior to anyone else's. If that is not a prophet, fine, but it doesn't change what you are doing. They certainly control what events, practices, and doctrines define the group. That is correlation. If you don't like calling yourself a church, fine, but it doesn't change what you are doing.

If you are bothered by the fact that you are in fact a church and you do in fact regard a man as a prophet, then you should stop being a church and regarding a man as a prophet. If you do not have a problem with that, you should stop hiding the fact and publicly lying about it.

I want to state outright that I hesitate to write this post because it could be misconstrued as being directed towards Denver. He has always been kind to me, and I have no reason to think he isn't sincere. I take him literally when he has--multiple times--asked people to go to God, not take his word for it, and not set him up as someone special. While I recognize that most of what It seems that what is wrong with this movement comes from his sycophants and not him., he often contradicts his own words when he claims a dispensation, claims to be or allows others to claim he is the one mighty and strong, modify scripture without dictated revelation, encourages people to canonize his writings, and allows a small group of people to control the tenets of this group.

Denver, You have taken upon yourself everything that made Joseph Smith fail. You've raised up a mediator to serve as your god. people to whom you are a God, a people incapable of connecting with God directly. Instead of emulating what brought Denver a connection to God, you've made him your connection to God. Will your end be any different than the followers of Joseph Smith in his day? making yourself redundant, you've made them reliant upon you. Choose one or the other: be the strongman you claim to abhor or abdicate your claims to authority and return to teaching by persuasion and reason. You can't have it both ways. 

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First response from Denver:
Your latest post got forwarded to me. I responded and sent you a copy of my reply. Keep up the good work.

He does make good points; ones I have also made.

And it is incorrect that I have every claimed to be "mighty and strong" and equally incorrect that I have not denounced it.

The scriptures project was spontaneous and independent of me. I only learned of it when it had been completed, following over a year of work by two independent groups, neither of whom were called or asked by me.

The conferences are independently organized and I have nothing to do with them other than being invited to speak. I've spoken at several conferences that were not put onto the conference website--Moab for example. At that one I was likewise an invited guest.

I do not own or control the logo. That is another group. I cannot use it without their permission. They can give permission without consulting with me.

The concepts are good. The specifics that are suggested by Rob Smith are in error.

-Denver

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Second response from Denver:

[In response to my comment that those close to him are hijacking what he does, and asking why he doesn't correct them:]
...Human weaknesses abound. It is not always good to confront and condemn people. Sensitive egos can be crushed, and must be handled with care. Hard and arrogant souls can be unwilling to even hear what is said. Every soul matters to God, and we have to deal with others as valued sons and daughters of a Father who cares as much for them as for any of us. As Joseph commented, "only fools will trifle with the souls of men." So we can't trifle. We must be serious and cautious. Each individual will react differently because they have different needs.

I have found that over time people expose themselves and what is in their hearts comes out in full display. Sometimes it requires years. Since I have nothing of value to offer anyone, no position, no opportunity for advancement, and I hold no office, eventually the vain and ambitious tire of sacrificing to help things along. They go off on their own and gather their own following. I don't try to reclaim them (or their followers). I'm content with stating clearly what I have given to me from above, and let everyone choose for themselves how they respond.

[In response to my comment about the treatment I get from many of his followers:]
It is unfortunate that people hate others because of disagreement about religious views. It is better to have religious views than to lack them. Even if we don't agree on everything, I would hope people who agree on many things could find a way to rejoice in agreements, and be kindly disposed about their disagreements.

Oddly, I get treated better by secular ex-Mormons than by Mormons. They are more generous in their views. It is tragic to think that religion closes minds, but it does.

[Returning to original point:]
I've repeatedly said (not sure how many time now, but it is often) that I have no spokesman. I try to put everything down in a written and edited transcript to state what I mean and to cite scripture to support ideas that are confirmed by scripture. Therefore what anyone else says is not something I have ever advocated be taken as what I say.

[In response to my asking whether the mention of the new name is a claim that he is the Davidic servant:]
The disclosure of the new name was accompanied with NOTHING that promised I would accomplish anything. Nor was it accompanied with any claim it conferred authority. In the account I think it reflects poorly on me, and on my reaction, and great credit on the Lord. His cutting rebuke was given in mildness and shows the great contrast between a foolish and ungrateful man (myself) and a kind and patient Lord.

All my best;
-Denver

Monday, March 20, 2017

New wine, old bottles

21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.

22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
(Mark 2)

What is the cloth? What is the garment? What are the bottles? What is the wine? In what context were these parables given?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Matthew 8:19-20: The Son of man hath not where to lay his head


19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8)

In this passage, Jesus is getting ready to depart the multitudes on a ship with his close disciples. A man tells him that he wants to be his disciple, and wants to follow him instead of remaining behind (verse 19). Jesus provides a very interesting reply in verse 20. The man, a scribe, had spent his whole life in consummate religious practice. Beyond living what he supposed was the law of Moses with zeal, he spent an inordinate amount of time memorizing and copying the rules that comprised his religion. Now, seeing greater light and truth in what the Lord taught, he sought to swap out the Master for meta-Moses, while leaving the scaffolding of his religious understanding intact. He was looking for another religion that he could live in the same way as he had lived Phariseeism, but with modified content.

The Lord Jesus' reply is wonderfully rich. He is telling the man that not only will the content need changing, the system itself is faulty. When a man follows the Lord Jesus, he must let go of the idea of a static religion. The Lord brings his true disciples up from one understanding to another. Climbing the next step up a ladder not only requires placing your hand on a higher rung, but also removing your foot from a lower rung.

The scribe said he wanted to follow Jesus wherever he went, but what he meant was that he wanted to follow him to the next landing. He wanted to shoehorn the gospel of Jesus Christ into the framework he had learned in Phariseeism, but God will not be put into a box. The gospel is progressive, and true disciples must be willing to let go of past traditions and systems in order to move forward.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Power in the Blood

There is instructive symbolism in the blood of the Lord Jesus. Presently, the Lord does not have blood. His tabernacle is sustained by the spirit. When he was a mortal man, his blood sustained him. It was pumped through his body by his heart. The physical heart is a pumping muscle. When we talk about the soul, the actuating link between the body and the spirit, we call it our heart (and sometimes our mind). The soul is what causes the spirit to have dominion over the body. In our lives, we are meant to practice the subjection of our bodies to our spirits. Our eventual destiny is to live in a tabernacle fully sustained by our spirits.

When Old Testament priests conducted a sacrifice, they would splatter the blood of the sacrifice onto the person who brought it. What they were being shown was that the blood of Jesus Christ serves to cover their sins from the judgment of God. Justification is the forgiveness of sins. The Lord's blood paid for all the sins of those who will turn from them to him. The use of blood as an instrument of justification is ironic, given that Adam and Eve inherited blood through the fall as a consequence of their sin. The blood of every man save one is a symbol of their sin. The blood of the Lamb of God is the exception. In being the only blood unpolluted by sin, it is the evidence that all mankind can, in fact, keep God's commandments with perfect obedience. In this way, the blood of every man can be offered up as a clean offering to God if they repent and follow the Lord with all their heart, might, mind, and strength. In this case, the justification of the Lord cleans their blood from its sin.

Some speak of being clean from "the blood and sins of this generation." This is a blessing given to those who, having had their own blood cleaned from their own sins, have worked diligently to preach repentance to others. The Lord pays the price for the sins of all those who will repent and heed him, but those who do not must pay the price of their own sin. In the same way, saviors on Mount Zion bring salvation to those who will repent and heed them, but those who do not will bear the burden of their own sins. The preacher is free from the responsibility of the sins of those he preaches to. He is free from their polluted blood.