Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Man Who Finds Fault with the Church - In Context

Joseph Smith said: “I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the KIngdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” 1  

This famous statement, made by the prophet on 2 July 1839, is often quoted to members who are critical of you [general authorities] as a warning that criticism can lead to apostasy. But this twists the original meaning and purpose of the statement. 

Joseph Smith did not say these words to church members who were critical of their leaders. He said them to church leaders - to apostles and seventies - who were critical of church members. 

He warned leaders of the church not to put themselves above others, not to condemn others, not to find fault with the church, not to say that members are out of the way while leaders are righteous.

The whole article is worth reading: Dialogue: A Plea to the Leaders of the Church, by Paul Toscano

Random Thought 3

The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know anything. I had an experience [several] nights ago wherein I saw and felt the darkness and filthiness I reside in, that we all reside in - yet so many of us (myself included) think we have Light. It was disheartening, to say the least.

During that same experience, I reached out to the Holy Spirits that reside in us and found spirits that were willing to help, and power came and helped out with the thing I was concerned about.

It is like a paradox. Everything.

We are dark. We are Light. (Varying shades, spiritually speaking.)
We have to have faith in God to know God but we need to know Him to some degree before we can have faith in him.
We have to give up our lives to live.
We have to sacrifice everything to have everything.
We have to experience hell to experience heaven.
And probably a thousand other things.

I honestly believe that the Reality we left behind more closely resembles our dreams than it does our waking lives.

Random Thought 2

The fact that the Bible has been mistranslated, altered, torn apart and put together again really makes it difficult to trust the book. Add metatext in the form of headings and footnotes, then it is even more difficult to trust the "truths" in the book.

On top of that, we often take our metatext Bible and imprint it onto the Book of Mormon so that it may not say what we think it says. *Sigh* This waking up and seeing scriptures with new eyes is not so easy to accomplish at times.

Random Thought 1

Someone asked: What false religious traditions need to be shed?

The answer given:
That we need a middleman between us and the Lord.

That all is well in Zion (heck, the fallacy that the church IS Zion).

That every man who had the title of prophet, seer, and revelator since JS has communed face to face with the Lord (perhaps even every Thursday), and they can do no wrong, preach no falsehoods.

That the priesthood line of revelation takes precedence over the personal line of revelation.

That angels and Gods need not visit the common people because anything that needs to be revealed will be revealed to prophets, seers, and revelators only.

That men hold the keys to heaven.

That all has been revealed that needs to be revealed so we don't really need revelations, visions, angels, etc.

That the Book of Mormon is talking to and about people who are NOT members of the churches that claim Joseph Smith as their founder and the Book of Mormon as scripture.

Inside the mind of a "Snufferite"

These may be difficult to understand because they are taken out of context. I apologize for that. They are pieces of postings by a certain Random poster.

And the fact that there are many offended by him, ... is a witness that he is a true prophet. True prophets do not make one "feel good" - neither do they offer praise to those God has told them do not deserve it, no matter how much it may offend. In fact, many prophets have been killed because they said things that the religious found offensive.
So many times, when the discussions turn to DS [Denver Snuffer] and whether he is a prophet, etc., I wonder why we are discussing it. It is rather like getting a letter from a far-off relative (God) and dissecting the envelope, the paper, the ink, and the handwriting (the messenger) then dismissing the message because the envelope was pink, the paper was plain, the ink was green, or the handwriting looked rushed. #

I think the point is to go to the Lord ourselves and find the truth. I think we were never meant to lean on DS, but to hear and recognize when he is speaking the Lord's words and go from there. DS is insisting that we learn to walk, then run, then fly whereas the church seems to insist that we are best off kept in a playpen 24/7 so that we don't get hurt (led astray). #

I think Denver is good at bringing a lot of things to light. I think he is inspired. I think the Lord tells him a lot of what he says. At the same time, it all boils down to "What is the Lord telling me?" The path, though similar to all others in some respects, is still a lone path and has many aspects that are unique to each individual. #

Yes, and this is why Denver is not part of my decision [to leave the church or to stay in it] - except as a concern that the leaders were so blind to have cast out a true messenger. Whatever I choose to do, I will do because God told me. I am seeing that my decisions are mine to make, with God's input. #

DS is A prophet, not THE prophet. "The prophet" is currently a title held by the current president of the LDS church. When he dies, another man will hold that title. DS is not a leader of any organization, church, or movement. He is simply a man who was sent by God to deliver messages, which is what scriptural prophets have done since the beginning of time. As all true prophets do, DS points past himself and to Christ.
So, the answer to your question is no. No one on here believes that DS is "the" prophet.
However, many do believe he is "a" prophet (including myself - but only because I recognized the words of the Master in much of what he has written and said, and because God has told me so). #

Not a rebuttal, but this comment brought about this response in my soul: "I don't care what Denver says. I don't care what he thinks about me. Denver is nothing to me. Yes, I find his words valuable if they are the words of the Lord, but I don't intend to show Denver anything. If the Lord should intend for me to shout praises to Him and DS happens to be in the room, fine by me. If it is in the privacy of my own room, fine by me. Same with declarations of accepting a covenant offered by God."
Let DS sit down like he wants to and another man stand up and speak the words of the Lord and if the Spirit moves us to speak up and say that we view ourselves as less than the dust of the earth and we want to know what we can do, then I say we should speak up - without caring what the speaker thinks and without fearing what [someone] will chastise us about it. #

The following post was in connection with the one above:
My post was just my reaction in light of [ ]'s fervent protection of DS - or contempt for us (I'm never sure which). In fact, none of the posts I made on this thread today were directed toward the people I quoted. 
And [ ], you don't really need to feel contempt for me. I do a good job of that on my own. It still doesn't change the fact that, whether he agrees or not/whether he likes it or not, DS is a prophet of God. That puts him in the same category as other scriptural prophets. Will he fall? I have no idea. That is his choice, his business. But he is what he is - and people will react to that, both pro and con, in ways they have reacted since the times of Adam and Enoch.
We are supposed to be offended at the man. He does try. "Proud descendants of Nauvoo." Words to the effect of "you're all damned," "nobody will listen," "only a very few will come to Zion and it won't be Gentiles," and so forth. He seems to do his best to make people uncomfortable, perhaps even angry.
As for myself, I already know that I don't measure up, that I am in sore need of repentance, that I am less than the dust of the earth. I also know that my Savior loves me. He loves me enough to visit me in dreams, and to bring me to angels in dreams to discuss my future with me and allow me the choice to live or die (we call it dying; they didn't). My Lord and my Father love me enough to show me in a dream that I don't measure up so much that when He called me His daughter, I did not believe Him. I "knew" that I was not His. I let Him know he had the wrong girl (in the dream I was a teenager). He told me that even if He had the wrong girl I was still His daughter, and if the other one (He knew she was me) showed up, she would also be His daughter. And what He was doing for me He would continue doing until I was healed and whole, and fit to live with Him. #

It IS discouraging, imo, to believe that so many will not make it. I counteract that by focusing on Christ and not on His servant. The servant does not know everything. He does not know me. He does not know if I will make it or not. He shares what he is told to (with, perhaps, the exception of things like "D cup"  @-) ). What God tells me may not be the same as what He has told someone else, even a true messenger. (I am not talking about commandments and such; I am talking about personal information, personal commandments - which the messenger did address in one of the lectures when he pointed out that we had different lives and what we had to do would be different than him - or something like that.)
I had a dream when my oldest two were little. I was in a house or apartment with a huge glass window. There was a storm raging outside. Every time I focused on the storm, it would break in, crashing through the windows and unleashing its fury in my home. Every time I changed my focus to my little family, to my own life, the storm would back out, the windows would heal and seal, and we would be safe again.
To me, that dream was telling me to focus on my own things, my own life and let the outer world howl and rage. I think it can apply to times I feel discouraged or depressed. I think it can apply to focusing on how many will not make it. All I can do is the best I can do and that will have to suffice, even though my best is not very good. (Christ needs to take up a lot of slack in my life.) #

e-eye: Denver is not the Lord's prophet set to guide his church.[/quote]
Denver would be the first to agree with you 100%. And I also agree with you 100%. #

[quote]I have always considered DS a peer.  He's not above me and I'm not above him - we have parity.[/quote]
Exactly my present point of view, but it was different when I first began to extricate myself from following the brethren. It was only natural to turn that onto DS, but I worked on changing that paradigm because I believed it was a damning one. I think those who listen to that man are on various parts of the path. Now, I see that he is simply a peer who has had more experiences than I have, who has more understanding at the present, and has been told by our common Parent to teach his siblings so that they might also "grow up" so to speak.
Meanwhile, whenever I go to the lectures, I usually end up learning some awesome things from my friends. Every person I have ridden with to the lectures has had some great insights that I had not thought of before. Like { }, DS isn't the only reason I go. I go because God provides the way and who am I to argue with Him? I go because I love to mingle and fellowship with like-minded souls. I go because it feeds me in more ways than one. I go because it strengthens bonds between myself and whoever I converse with.  #

Oh that I were an angel and could have the wish of my heart.

New Order Mormon is full of people whose shelves have broken. Their eyes have been opened, and they are right about so many things.

I wish I could help them. I wish I could help them understand that not everything negative they read "proves" the Book of Mormon false, that Joseph Smith Jr was a lecher, and so forth. I wish I could open up their eyes to the incredible information in the Book of Mormon. I wish I had more knowledge - and the power of convincing people to believe and know the truth. Below is one of my recent attempts to share.

[name of poster]: Why would any loving personal god allow truth to be mixed up with lies and pollution to the extent that "his children aren't even aware and have no method of waking up" except randomly a few may wake up?  That is an unreasonable definition of a "loving god" at least for me. 
How exactly are we supposed to discover mysteries for ourselves if we can't tell truth from the lies we are swimming in?  How do we wake up?  Are we supposed to rely on god's special messengers?  If so why aren't we all special messengers so we don't have to be confused by special messengers who are murderers in their hearts?  In your assertions (in my unlearned opinion) the result is god is either a trickster who mixes truth and error for fun, an absentee watchmaker, or not at home.  But maybe I am too blinded by the error I am swimming in to see another alternative.
You have a lot of good questions.

I think we are given inklings that things are not right, but we ignore them because we think the church is right and we are wrong.

I think if we read the BofM, doing all we can to ignore everything we have been taught it says and means, that we will probably understand God better.

Some things that come to mind:

Lehi was not a "special messenger" even though we are taught at church that he was a duly appointed prophet of God, legally put into the hierarchy of his day. In fact, he was an apostate (which is probably why two of his sons kept wanting to kill him). The people at Jerusalem were righteous, according to Laman and Lemuel. "Our father hath judged them."

I see a parallel to us. The LDS people are righteous. The NOMs have judged them.

"Why have you polluted the holy church of God?" Moroni asks us who believe the book (e.g. "Mormons"). He calls us wicked, perverse, and stiffnecked, and asks, "Why have ye built up churches to yourselves to get gain?" "Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?"

He says we walk in the pride of our hearts. Mentions very fine apparel, envying, strifes, malice, persecutions - that every one of our churches have become polluted because of the pride of our hearts.

I have been quoting from Mormon 8, and in verse 35, Moroni tells us he's speaking to us as if we were present because he has seen us. Us. Mormons. Us. All of the offshoots that hold the BofM to be a sacred book.

If we read that as it says, we see that our church is polluted, greedy, and changing God's words. We, according to the book as I read it, are about to lose the gospel because we have rejected the truth, we have rejected the fulness.

It is a scathing rebuke. So is some of what Nephi says when he notes that in our day people will say, "All is well in Zion. ... Zion prospereth." He knew full well it wouldn't be Zion, but that we would consider ourselves as such. (2 Nephi 28)

I honestly believe that the answers to your questions lie in the book that tells us (all who are offshoots of JS) we are not as good as we think we are, and answers lie in realizing that there is no middle-man between you and God. False prophets in sheep's clothing, even if they think they are not, are never going to give us true answers. They don't know the true answers - or feel threatened by the true answers.

And, in regards to the sanitized idea that God will never speak to a man outside the duly organized hierarchy: Jesus was considered apostate. Samuel the Lamanite was a total outsider. Abinadi was not part of the religious hierarchy. Abraham looks to me like he started his own church. Joseph Smith was outside that church (the last "duly authorized" one being what became the Catholic church, near as I can discover, and all other Christian religions being offshoots of that church).

Anyway, the answers are inside of us, if we can cut out the jibber-jabber. We each are connected to God, and it doesn't matter if someone disagrees with our path.

The actual right each person possesses is the right to live and believe as they think God (however they determine who or what s/he is) would have them live and believe, and no more. I should not be telling you what to think or be. Neither should a church - or any individual or entity be telling you that. The idea that there is a man who has all the answers has caused a tremendous amount of damage, both physical and spiritual/emotional.

I don't know if I have answered your questions, but that is the best I can do.

The Blind Spot

I believe there are messages hidden in nature that reflect truths. For example, birds singing in the dawn while it is still dark remind us that Christ rose from the tomb "while it was yet dark."

This morning I have been thinking about the blind spot. Our eyes have a blind spot.

How to find it with your thumb.

More info:
Experiments with the blind spot

Wikipedia on the blind spot

Seeing your blind spot in action

And one last one.

We don't usually know we have a blind spot unless we are taught about it, except for those exceptionally curious folk who search to know everything about everything.

Apply this to our spiritual lives. Apply it to how we live, how we view God, how we view ourselves: We don't usually know we have a blind spot unless we are taught about it, except for those exceptionally curious folk who search to know everything about everything.

A lesson on pride fits in here somewhere, but I think there is more to it than that. Ignorance. We often think we know so much, that our own perception is accurate and that we are seeing the whole picture. The lesson of the blind spot is that we don't see it all. We don't know all that we think we know. We have a flaw that is invisible to us.

It would do us good to be exceptionally curious, to leave no stone unturned, to bravely face what we think we know and find out what the truth is.