“Church launches new resources on freedom of religion”

 

It’s in the First Amendment for a reason.

 

 

This is a significant development regarding a really important issue that, in my concerned opinion, will loom larger in coming years than many anticipate:

 

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/religious-freedom-resources

 

Some claim that concerns about religious liberty in America are groundless, merely paranoid and alarmist.   Perhaps they’re right.  Let’s hope so.  But, if I recall correctly, the common saying or rule isn’t “Eternal somnolence is the price of freedom.”

 

 

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  • Ryan

    Meanwhile, that well-known and controversial anti-Muslim pastor in Florida has just been arrested as he prepared to burn Qurans.

    I’m sure that law enforcement there will be able to point to some sort of technicality in justifying the arrest, but we all know what it’s really about.

    Welcome to the New America.

  • Loran

    I just cut and pasted this from Dr. Peterson’s Facebook page as is, as it pretty much encapsulates what I want to say at the moment, and I say no reason to alter it as an intro to a further discussion.

    Every year, year in and year out, we must all go through the dreary, tedious ritual of the war against Christmas, Hanukkah, and Easter from the secularist Left and the militant atheists (an integral aspect of the Left, in most cases). For decades we’ve seen the extra-constitutional legal gymnastics surrounding the school prayer issue grounded in a wholly novel modernist interpretation of the separation clause.

    The most serious present threat to religious, speech, and associations freedom is, in my view, the homosexual lobby and homosexual marriage movement, who’s constitutional predations promise to be the most far-reaching.

    The most recent foray into constitution-shredding by those who think that some animals are more equal than others is the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist being sued by a homosexual couple for declining to provide flowers (from his own private stock, paid for with his own money, on his own private property) for a same sex wedding on the grounds of conscience.

    http://www.worldmag.com/

    With any number of other florists around willing to provide the flowers, the couple decided to sue him for “civil rights” violations (of course). You see, liberty to get married to someone of the same sex isn’t enough. Freedom, in a heterodox, open, pluralistic free society isn’t enough. No. Until and unless everyone can be forced by the mailed fist of state power to become complicit in the lifestyle choices and values systems of all others, will such be satisfied, and perhaps, not even then (we all understand what the idea of the “celebration” of “alternative” or “non-traditional” lifestyles implies for further cultural drift, do we not?).

    This, of course, is only the most recent episode in a growing roster of such attempts at outright denial of religious, speech, and associational rights:

    http://www.charismanews.com/

    http://www.usccb.org/

    http://www.nationalreview.com/

    And, we should never forget this celebrated case, a watershed, in my view, regarding the feudal model of social order now being constructed by the cultural Left and its various constituencies:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/…/

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/…/

    What we have here is, of course, not really anything to do with “anti-discrimination” as a general principle but simply government enforced and sanctioned legal discrimination against selectively targeted groups who discriminate, in the minds of “the Anointed,” in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons, as the Enlightened see it, and in behalf of other selected groups who’s idiosyncratic ideologically constructed civil meta-rights; “rights” based in lifestyle or personal value system, trump, in most cases, the broader unalienable rights of the surrounding citizenry as understood in a constitutional sense.

    It is, in other words, the naked wielding of political and judicial power in a pitiless war for the crumbs of the “civil rights” table controlled by the state and federal judiciary. It is a war of all against all, and the model of social order implicit in it is not representative democratic but essentially feudal.

  • GoodWill2

    It must be very gratifying to the LDS Church leadership to announce support for a “freedom of religion” campaign on the very day they excommunicate Denver Snuffer for practicing his.

    • IamMeWhoareYou

      Perhaps you misunderstand what “freedom of religion” means.
      Mr Snuffer is free to believe what he wants. The LDS Church (or any other Church) does not have to include someone in their membership that teaches against them. His freedom is not infringed by excommunication.

      • GoodWill2

        Perhaps you misunderstand what “truth” is. Or you’ve forgotten what is the divinely appointed means by which all truth is to be ascertained and established. (Hint: It’s not “follow the prophet”.)

        I don’t dispute the right of church leaders to excommunicate whom they will, only the irony (coincidence?) that a PR piece on “religious freedom” would be issued on the very day news would be generated about LDS leadership excommunicating (infringing upon the religious expression and activity of) one who merely suggested that maybe the Church’s history has been misinterpreted and its doctrines, ordinances and practices changed, abandoned, and repudiated. (I think the evidence regarding the latter is rock-solid. Should this really be that hard to confirm or disprove?) Snuffer has made his case using the Church’s own scriptures, published histories, journals, etc.

        Did you read anything from the same scriptures, histories or sources that refutes his suggestions or destroys his arguments?

        Bring forth your strong reasoning!

        I have encountered no counterarguments to his theses other than the (obviously false) assertion of ecclesiastical infallibility.

        Dan Peterson has promised to provide us something that substantiates the case against Snuffer’s “teachings”. (That, and “sacred verses”.)

        Oh goody.

        • IamMeWhoareYou

          Since I did not mention “truth” nor my definition of it, I must point out that your claim of me misunderstanding truth must come from whatever you have imagined in your mind that I understand about truth.
          As far as Mr Snuffer’s suggestions or arguments, I don’t have an opinion because I have not read them, nor do I care to waste my time on them.
          I see that you have conceded my point though, thank-you for that.

          • GoodWill2

            If that makes you feel like a “winner”, I’m happy to oblige.

            Knowing the truth is more important, however, than knowing the definition of “religious freedom”. With no disrespect to you or to what you already known to be true, I invite you to do a little more research. I have not found the effort to be a “waste”, by any means.

          • GoodWill2

            Perhaps I wasn’t clear. The truth of (former) Bro. Snuffer’s claims is what is at stake here, not the exercise of his freedom to practice his religion. (He obviously didn’t consider that “freedom” to be more important than “the truth”.)

            If Mr. Snuffer is right, we all need to speedily repent and come unto Christ.

            If he is wrong, well…then “all is well in Zion”. You may move along. Nothing to see here.

            He left it to you to be the judge of that.

          • IamMeWhoareYou

            Jesus I know, Paul I know, and Thomas I know, but who is Mr. Snuffer to tell me (or anyone) that I need to repent.

            Just another person trying to sell a book.

          • GoodWill2

            Perhaps he’s just another “Abinadi”, another “Samuel the Lamanite”, another “Amulek”. Someone to cast out and throw stones at.

            (By the way, all the proceeds he receives from his books are donated, I’m told, to the LDS Church’s missionary fund.)

          • IamMeWhoareYou

            You choose very bad examples to compare to Mr. Snuffer.
            Abinadi taught the same things as did the Living Prophet of his time (Mosiah) in fact Abinadi’s one convert (Alma) later worked and taught with Mosiah. Samuel also taught the same things as the Living Prophet of his time (Nephi). And last but worst example Amulek, well he was actually a missionary companion of the Living Prophet. Do you see the difference?? I think better examples for Mr. Snuffer would be Oliver Cowdrey,or Marin Harris. They were believers who thought that the Living Prophet had gone astray from what they felt were his original teaching. Hopefully Mr. Snuffer will follow in their footsteps and eventually see the error of his ways and come back into full fellowship in the church.

          • GoodWill2

            I’m certain Denver Snuffer would love to see the error of his ways! Please show him (and me) where he is mistaken and he (and I) will gladly repent.

            He also has said he does not want or require someone to speak on his behalf. (I hope he forgives me for defending his positions here. My effort is to “exercise” my understanding of what he has taught and to introduce it into the “mainstream” of Mormon dialogue. But his own words speak for themselves.)

            If (when) you choose to become acquainted with Snuffer’s efforts, you will discover, first and foremost, that he wants to bring all men unto Christ. In so doing, he encourages Latter-day Saints to attend their meetings, continue to pay tithes to the LDS Church, remain faithful, serve, and continue to pray for, support and sustain those charged with overseeing the Church. He does not prefer following the teachings or commandments of mere men, however, to following God. (And neither do you, I suppose.) He differentiates between the “doctrine of Christ” (which never changes) and “Mormon doctrine” (which is constantly changing…at an accelerating pace!). Modern efforts at “correlation” have prevented newer (and younger) members of the LDS Church from discovering or recognizing that Mormonism today is very different from the faith first restored by Joseph Smith. (As a somewhat older, perhaps more “informed” member of the Church, I am inclined to agree with him.)

            So your analogy is somewhat skewed.

            You suppose that the president of the LDS Church today is akin to a Mosiah, a Nephi or an Alma. Relying upon available evidence, however – including recorded church history, LDS scriptures, and testimonies of the principals involved (namely, the LDS leaders themselves) – Snuffer asserts that this is not the case: that “the fullness of the gospel” Joseph Smith endeavored to deliver to the Saints, including priesthood keys and authority, was not effectively transmitted to later office holders. (That’s why the leaders of the Church today do not do as Mosiah, Nephi or Alma did.)

            The saints rejected “the fullness of the gospel” at Nauvoo, Snuffer suggests. Consequently, they were cursed, afflicted, smitten, and “moved out of their place”, driven into the wilderness. (This is portrayed by the modern Church as a “victory march” of “faithful” pioneers, who trekked westward to claim their “promised land”. Indeed, it is a lot like over-zealous Zeniff and his followers, who sought to reclaimed Nephi-Lehi but, likewise, suffered deprivations, schisms, external controls, conflicts and apostasy.) The gifts of the Spirit enjoyed during Joseph’s day are now rarely (if ever) evident among us. The heavens, together with our canon of LDS scriptures, have effectively remained closed with Joseph’s passing. Cut off from revelation and explicit divine guidance, the Church has taken on a hue – foreseen and forewarned of by Nephi (see 2 Nephi 28) – of “historical Christianity”, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

            In short, we have gone astray. In that respect, Denver Snuffer’s testimony is like that of Abinadi, Samuel the Lamanite, and Amulek.

            Snuffer sees the Church’s current state as a problem, but not an insurmountable problem. (You should read his blog!) All we need to do is believe, repent and come unto Christ. He has written several books explaining precisely how to do that: how to come into the Lord’s physical presence while in this life. He has accomplished the feat and invites all men to do the same.

            Those who oppose Snuffer’s teachings and testimony have effectively driven him from the Church, but not from the faith. He believes the same gospel that Joseph Smith believed. He has experienced (to some extent) what Joseph Smith experienced. The modern LDS Church no longer believes, teaches or practices the faith of Joseph Smith. Snuffer was excommunicated for writing a book that persuasively explains how we got into this mess!

            There are those in the LDS Church at the highest levels who do not want you to know what he has written.

          • IamMeWhoareYou

            The whole argument boils down to I know that the president of the LDS Church today is akin to a Mosiah, a Nephi or an Alma and he does not. Is he perfect? No neither were any of the Prophets. Every other point boils down to that. If he is teaching otherwise then I can see why he was excommunicated and I do not see any reason to read his blog.

          • GoodWill2

            “Jesus I know, Paul I know….”

            You do realize you’re quoting a devil, right?

          • IamMeWhoareYou

            Yes I do. My point is that even the devil knows who has authority and who doesn’t. Think about that.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m not quite sure that I see the binary opposition (either “Mr. Snuffer is right” or “all is well in Zion”).

            I doubt very much that the Brethren think that “all is well in Zion.” Neither do I. Our eyes are open, and we’ve read the Book of Mormon. We know what the relevant passage says.

            The options aren’t (a) the Church is in apostasy or (b) the Church has attained perfection.

          • GoodWill2

            You are to be forgiven, Bro. Peterson, for not knowing Snuffer’s thesis because you haven’t read any of his books (even though he mentions you several times in Passing the Heavenly Gift).Snuffer’s a relatively obscure figure in the LDS cosmos (even more so now that he has been excommunicated). His main point isn’t that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. (Everybody knows that!) It’s that the “fullness of the priesthood” was not transferred to Joseph Smith’s successors. What Brigham Young (and others) received, more or less, was a priesthood with authority sufficient only to administer in outward ordinances (including temple rituals), but lacking real power.

            With the lesser priesthood, legitimate priesthood authority can be conferred and administered (as you have explained) regardless of the virtue or righteousness of the administrator – since the outward ordinance can be completed even by a sinful administrator. (Think “evil” priest offering a burnt offering or performing a baptism. The fire still burns and the water still gets wet.)

            But the “power” and “authority” of the greater priesthood comes only from God. Said “authority” may only be exercised upon principles of righteousness. (Otherwise there is no real power of godliness manifest unto men in the flesh.) Because Mormons, by and large, do not have real power, the terms “power” and “authority” have been conflated to imply that all priesthood authority connotes actual power (when obviously it doesn’t). Indeed, real power in the priesthood always is forfeit whenever conjoined with sinfulness (which is most often the case).

            Real “power in the priesthood” is conveyed directly from God by His spoken word. It cannot be conferred by man through any ordinance or transmitted by the will of men in any council. It is without father or mother, beginning of days or end of years. (See JST Genesis 14: 28.) Occasionally, someone in the church accesses real priesthood power and authority by actually coming unto Christ, and thus God’s power is manifest in the flesh. (But that’s rare.) Otherwise, as Moroni warned, all is vain. (See Moroni 7:37.) It’s all “just for show”, having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

            Snuffer’s thesis, in effect, reduces current LDS leadership (at all levels) to a priestly class on par with an Aaronic order, preoccupied with administrating outward ordinances, rituals, and sacraments (not to mention running businesses, managing finances and administrating the operations of a world-wide, would-be Fortune 500 enterprise…“waiting tables”, as it were) while disregarding accountability for insuring that the power of the priesthood be evident. Indeed, in the Church “authority” alone is now equated with “power”, whether that power is manifest or not. (When was the last time any priesthood holder was observed conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost after the manner of Peter and John in Acts 8:14-20?)

            The present regime employs “Babylonian” management and marketing tools, techniques, and strategies, constantly polling and morphing to suit the whims and wants of membership (and the world-at-large) to maintain “market share” and grow numbers. Doctrine is secondary, and can be changed to suit the times. Giving people what they want is now called “inspired leadership” or “revelation”. External measures and controls are emphasized. (In its current iteration, the modern LDS leadership inverts D&C 121:41-42 to read “all power and influence can – and must! – to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood”, rather than “only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge”. Too often you will hear “I hold the keys. I am the priesthood authority here. You will do what I say or risk excommunication”. In other words, exercising “control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men”.

            Nowadays, that control extends all the way to LDS Church headquarters. Very little can be done anymore at any level in the Church without getting prior “priesthood” approval that extends all the way to the top. Man has replaced God. This is the very definition of “priestcraft”.

            The prophet-leaders of old literally stood in God’s presence and endeavored to bring all men unto Him, placing themselves between man and God only when intercession was necessary. The current regime, having never entered into God’s physical presence themselves, know not how to teach others so to do. (Denver Snuffer says he does.) Indeed, they teach it needn’t be done at all, but can wait until the next life. They substitute for the real thing an ordinance they call the Second Anointing, which endeavors to certify that one has had one’s “calling and election” made sure. There have been those, however, (as Snuffer illustrates) who have received this ordinance only to die in their sins, addled with doubts and uncertainty about their standing before God.

            That’s because their calling and election wasn’t “made sure” to them. They never really came unto Christ, to know Him in fact, not just in fancy.

            LDS leaders almost invariably teach that which is virtuous, lovely, of good report or praise-worthy. They preach from the scriptures. They supply what we want: religion. But there is not a Nephi, an Alma or an Amulek among them. Not a real prophet, seer, revelator or translator who entertains angels, sees visions or utters prophecies of Jehovah, who leads the armies of Israel by the Almighty, who hears the word of the Lord even with hand to back and mouth to ear. That is true even more so today than it was last week.

            No, our current “prophets” – good, decent, sometimes inspired men that they are – are more likely to lead us into Nordstrom than back into God’s presence. They know this. That’s why they had to excommunicate Denver Snuffer.

          • Anyotheruser

            If that’s Snuffer’s thesis, he really needs to reread Section 84 – that Same Priesthood that his without beginning of days or end of years was was received by Moses under the hands of Jethro. And it is ‘in the ordinances thereof’ that the power of godliness is made manifest.

            Also, far from “in the Church “authority” alone is now equated with “power””, the opposite was taught at General conference just last year: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-powers-of-heaven?lang=eng . Accusing the brethren of teaching something when they teach the opposite is kind of bearing false witness. As is accusing them of excommunicating people for fear they’d lead them into God’s presence.

          • GoodWill2

            I am not authorized (nor would I be) to speak on Snuffer’s behalf. (He has written eight books explicating his views. A single blog post by me cannot do his message justice.) However, I may speak from my own understanding and attempt to cover the gist.

            The LDS Church teaches Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood authorities were delivered (restored) to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in May and June of 1829. However, this priesthood delivered to the saints did not constitute a “fullness of the priesthood”, since by 1841, when the revelation known as D&C 124 was received, the “fullness of the priesthood” had been “lost”, or “taken away”, and needed to be restored.

            28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood. (D&C 124:28.)

            The power of godliness is manifest in the ordinances of the priesthood precisely in three ways: (1) divine power is displayed (Elijah calls down fire from heaven; the sick are miraculously healed: the Holy Ghost is given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, etc.); (2) the sinful are converted unto righteousness and the ungodly are made holy; and (3) God Himself is revealed when the “fullness of the priesthood” is received (and vice versa). Moses, indeed, was ordained and initiated in the rites of the priesthood by Reuel (Jethro), the priest of Midian. But Moses received the “fullness of the priesthood” from God Himself, by His own voice, by entering into His presence. It has always been thus. Without the fullness of the priesthood, no man can see the face of God and live.

            Joseph sought to deliver this “fullness of the priesthood” to the Saints in Nauvoo, even as Moses had…

            “…plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments[.]” (D&C 84:23-27.)

            This is basically what we have now.

            Our temple ordinances used to seal up men and women to exalted fathers, who sit enthroned in glory. But not any more. We now do biological and ancestral “sealings” to people who never embraced the gospel while living. The branch has thus been severed from the Vine. How then are we to be individually “sealed” to the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to their God, that the whole earth might not be smitten with a curse at His coming? One wonders.

            Jehovah offered to deliver the “fullness of the priesthood” to the saints if they would erect a temple unto Him wherein the required ordinances might be delivered.

            31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
            32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124:31-32.)

            Three and a half years later, the Saints still had not erected a house unto God (though they had erected several fine shops, houses and other structures for themselves). Joseph and Hyrum were then taken from them and with their departure the “fullness of the priesthood” and the knowledge and keys Joseph sought to impart to the saints were lost. The temples rites and ordinances Joseph delivered to Brigham Young in the red brick store at Nauvoo were inadequate to introduce anyone actually into the Lord’s presence. (If the red brick store were an adequate venue to restore said fullness, why would a temple need to be built?)

            The Lord had promised:

            45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
            46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
            47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
            48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord. (D&C 124:45-58.)

            From the last day in November, 1845, though the first week of February, 1846, Brigham Young conducted a small number of saints through an endowment ceremony in the partially completed (and undedicated) Nauvoo temple. He delivered only an abbreviated form of that endowment (lacking the “fullness of the priesthood” Joseph sought to deliver). Failing to do as the Lord commanded, therefore, the saints (as a church) were “rejected” and subsequently “moved out of their place”, suffering the cursing and wrath of God, being driven in the dead of winter from Nauvoo. A small party of saints were sent back to finish the temple (to fulfill the commandment), but they never completed the job. Dedicating the unfinished temple anyway, the structure was never used by the saints again. It was almost immediately destroyed, first by fire, then by tornado, and lastly, by man, so that not one stone was left standing upon another. Unlike with the temple in Kirtland, the Lord was never reported to have visited the temple in Nauvoo. It was not hallowed ground. He never received it.

            Lacking the “fullness of the priesthood” by which Brigham Young and others could enter into God’s presence, the Church floundered in the wilderness. This was not the triumphal entry of the twelve tribes into the promised land, lead by Joshua. Neither was it Moses leading Israel, heavy laden with the spoils of Egypt. This was the opposite. The saints had no where to lay their heads and were driven out of their own land. They were cursed. Thousands died along the way. Brigham, himself, was stricken with cholera and carried by wagon to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, where the saints starved, were smitten and afflicted, and suffered. Nevertheless, by great effort, suffering and sacrifice – far greater than what the Lord had initially required of them in Nauvoo – the saints survived and eventually prospered and retained a portion of the gospel delivered to them. Many of the doctrines taught by Brigham Young were later repudiated by his successors and the ordinances he introduced were substantially changed, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, to be fulfilled prior to the Lord’s coming:

            5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
            6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. (Isaiah 24:5-6.)

            That the “fullness of the priesthood” be delivered unto men in the flesh is vital to the efficacy of the church and the salvation of mankind. Otherwise, none will be able to see the face of God and live or endure the Lord’s presence at His coming.

            Joseph foretold that the Lord God “will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God”. We may presume this servant of Jehovah will come from outside the established hierarchy, inasmuch as…

            “…that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God [not following God's instructions exactly], shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning….And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High[.]” (D&C 85:7-8,11.)

            Just in case you’re wondering if Snuffer now qualifies as one “cut off from the church”, the only “membership roll” that matters in the hereafter pertains to the Church of the Firstborn. It’s called the Lamb’s Book of Life. Those welcomed into God’s presence are ceremoniously enrolled therein. The Savior Himself conducts that ordinance (again, by which the power of God is made manifest). There is no doubt when one truly receives one’s calling and election “made sure”.

            By the way, Elder Packer conceded the modern LDS Church has been more adept at conferring priesthood authority than conveying actual priesthood power. This concession only recognizes the problem; it does not rectify it. Fortunately, the remedy does not require reorganizing the Church, replacing the Brethren, or doing any such thing. It only requires coming unto Christ. By piercing the veil and entering into God’s presence, the “fullness of the priesthood” is restored. This knowledge and privilege is attained in steps, literally by passing by the angels and the gods, in so doing.

            To receive anything less than this is to embrace “another gospel” than that which was first preached unto you. I therefore recommend you do a little more reading and fully come unto Christ.

          • Anyotheruser

            “I therefore recommend you do a little more reading and fully come unto Christ.”

            I recommend a little humility about recommending others do a little more reading and urging them to repent.

            So what you said reflects your views, not Snuffers. Then it’s your claims that “Indeed, in the Church “authority” alone is now equated with “power”, whether that power is manifest or not.”. And that’s your claim – not that there’s sometimes a disparity between power and authority, but that the Church teaches otherwise and falsely. I demonstrated that claim was false by referring to Elder Bednar’s talk – and then you point to another talk that shows what you claimed was untrue, as if that was a defence, and then go around recommending others do a little more reading!

            You keep referring to Section 84 to defend your concept of the ‘fulness’ of the Priesthood – but as the very quote you use makes clear, it is speaking about the Melchizedek priesthood. Your reading is mistaken. Your reading of Section 85 is likewise mistaken: “putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God” is a clear reference to 2 Samuel 6:7 – it’s the impudence of thinking to steady God’s work that is mentioned here.

            So your claims are either mistaken, asserted on your own non-existent authority (there’s a bunch of stuff up there you just claim), or are knowingly false.

          • GoodWill2

            I regretted the arrogant “tenor” of my last sentence almost immediately upon sending it – and tried to amend it, but the “edit” button wouldn’t work for me. The concept is true, however. We ought to read more (since great information is now available to us) and we really ought to fully come unto Christ.

            Seeking Christ’s face continually and striving to come into His presence in this life has several salutary effects, not the least of which is (the potential to realize) redemption from the fall. Quite frankly, we are dissuaded as a people from doing so by a thousand unprofitable preoccupations, unintentional misdirections, disincentives and dissuasions, the principal being the vain notion that we have already “received” and have “fully come unto Christ”. We stop receiving when we stop asking, seeking, or knocking. Some people erroneously mistake the appetizer for the feast! They are so delighted to receive anything from God that they fail to realize the Master intends to give us much, much more, here and now! Continuing to ask and receive – and learning to do so – is vital to our progress. Otherwise, we are damned.

            I have tried to explain why so few will greet Christ at His coming. Though all the earth shall see Him (from a distance), those who have not been purified by Him shall be consumed in His presence. We have been warned. Neither the prophet nor the priest shall escape, who have not prepared or used their time wisely. (There is also the matter of our temple ordinances, but that is beyond the scope of this comment.)

            There are those who reject the higher priesthood, even as there are those who have stumbled at the gate. We must enter in at the gate, be baptized by water, and receive the Holy Ghost, by which we come to see and hear and know for ourselves, not relying upon any other. (If you have not experienced this gift, so that you can see and hear and know for yourself, then you have not entered in at the gate, but are yet lingering “outside”, perhaps soaking wet.) For the Holy Ghost is a revelator. You must be baptized with fire. You must hear and know the Savior’s voice for yourself. (I mean this literally.) But this is not all. Many have heard His voice who will yet be damned to hell. It is Christ who calls us forth from the grave. How will we come forth if we are unacquainted with His voice and have not disciplined ourselves to obey Him? (Those who remain in their graves until the end of the world do so because they have not yet taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, have not received the testimony of Jesus, have not learned to obey His gospel and do not know Him. Slow learners all.)

            I confess, I am a “slow learner”, too. I hope not too slow.

            Christ is the True Shepherd. His sheep hear His voice. Those who know Him hear Him and recognize His voice. At first this happens by “feeling” His words. Having proven faithful to obeying this “feeling”, one is granted to “hear” His voice, audibly (if you continue to seek after and obey Him). You may also see Him. His glory can pierce you to the very core. You can witness for yourself His gentle manner, His keen wit and humor, His compassion, His loving kindness and humility. You may even hear Him speak to you – and learn from Him that you are redeemed. You may know Him and not merely rely upon the precepts of men or the scraps of testimony left behind by others who have seen and heard and known Him for themselves. This is Snuffer’s message. And it’s mine. (Snuffer has a lot more to say than I do, for he has experienced more than I have.) But I know this much is true, for myself.

            Your link to Elder Bednar’s talk was not fully displayed on Dan Peterson’s blog (so I couldn’t follow it, unfortunately). But thank you for clarifying the matter. I have since read the talk you referred to.

            As I said, I do not speak for Snuffer, but can only speak for myself, coupled with what I have understood him (and others) to say. (If I have misunderstood or misrepresented anyone, I stand to be corrected.)

            If you cannot endure the Lord’s presence now, you are not prepared to endure it then. (And, thus one may know one’s current standing before God. This ought to give each of us pause before recommending that others refrain from obeying God and “[s]ay nothing but repentance unto this generation” (D&C 6:9, 11:9).) If you think you are ready to meet Him, then knock! Ask Christ to open the door! If He doesn’t, then know you are not ready. The door remains mercifully closed. You need to do some more work (repent). If you do not receive anything from Him, it is because you do not ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ. He keeps His promises.

            But know this: if He opens not the door, you are damned. There is no other way.

            The Lord at His coming will preserve everything that can endure a terrestrial glory. If you cannot come into His presence now, what does this say about your current state? It means you are living by telestial law. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the best thing this telestial world has to offer! Christ has more in store, however, for those who will receive it.)

            Elder Bednar quoted David O. McKay stating that the Church’s distinguishing characteristic is “priesthood authority” conferred at the hand of angels. Clearly one cannot have any priesthood authority (as one supposes), without receiving revelation – else how may one know what God intends for any of us to say or do on His behalf? For this reason Christ established His church upon this “rock” – namely, priesthood authority conferred and confirmed by continuing revelation.

            Those who access divine, continuing revelation are alone equipped to access true priesthood power and authority. Those who are duly ordained and apply the teachings of the scriptures – even the scribes and pharisees – exercise a minimum of priesthood authority, when they act in righteousness. But those who act sinfully have no real authority, regardless of ordination. Those who have real authority – who have access to personal, continuing, divine revelation – alone have power to call down fire from heaven, heal the sick or confer the gift of the Holy Ghost. So the bar to real priesthood authority and power is set very high. It cannot be conferred by man nor handled by men, save upon heavenly principles of righteous. Priesthood power and authority come only from God.

            By the way, I remember reading decades ago how Joseph Smith responded to the same question. He said (if I recall correctly) the Church’s distinguishing characteristic was that Latter-day Saints enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost (conveyed, of course, by priesthood ordinance enabling continuing revelation), while others do not. (Perhaps you can find the quote.)

            I’m confident everything Elder Bednar stated is true. But you may not have noticed one glaring omission from his talk. He did not affirm that “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood”. For thus is the mantra of modern Mormonism: “All power or influence [in the Church] can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood.”

            Elder Bednar stated: “Men who hold the priesthood should not only receive priesthood authority but also become worthy and faithful conduits of God’s power.” So true! Perhaps some may not have correctly inferred from this statement, however, this additional truth: that unrighteous priesthood holders possess no real power or authority. They may sit, as Caiphas did, in Moses’ seat, and give orders. They may tie up and fetter with ropes and chains and beat others into submission by (supposed) “priesthood authority”. They may even excommunicate as they see fit. But exercising any “control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness” invalidates the priesthood authority of any man. (D&C 121:37.)

            Elder Bednar stated:

            “One of the great experiences of my life was observing my dad receive the authority and, ultimately, the power of the priesthood. I share with you this pointed lesson I learned from my father to emphasize a simple truth. Receiving the authority of the priesthood by the laying on of hands is an important beginning, but it is not enough. Ordination confers authority, but righteousness is required to act with power as we strive to lift souls, to teach and testify, to bless and counsel, and to advance the work of salvation.”

            Conferral of priesthood, ordination to office, and setting apart for a calling (these are generally regarded as interdependent) establishes “who’s boss” in LDS hierarchy. (That wasn’t always the case.) The modern implication is that priesthood ordination alone somehow confers or bestows “authority”. (It doesn’t.) Setting apart to an office or calling in the Church – with or without the priesthood – coupled with sustaining by common consent of the membership does establish “authority” in the Church. (Brigham Young, for example, was never “ordained” or “set apart” to be a prophet or President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was elected and sustained by the common consent of the membership. This was “enough” to give him “authority” over the Church, regardless of his “priesthood” ordination.) Likewise, a Relief Society president may have “authority” in her calling without ever holding “priesthood”.

            Ordination to the priesthood alone doesn’t confer any real “power” or “authority” over men anyway. The priesthood operates among men “only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; [b]y kindness, and pure knowledge” (D&C 121:41-42). True authority in the priesthood doesn’t come from men, nor can it be conferred by man. It comes from God.

            That’s why – with the exception of protecting His Father’s house – Jesus was so humble and meek, always inviting, but never coercing the souls of men. (He was more forceful with demons! And cleaning His Father’s house, however.) He granted requests, but didn’t make demands. When He “reprov[ed] betimes with sharpness”, He did so only “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 121:43). Even His energetic rebukes were guided by heaven.

            Elder Bednar referred to the priesthood authority and power exercised by Nephi, quoting (in part) the following:

            17 And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.
            18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.
            19 And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.
            20 And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus. (3 Nephi 7:17-20.)

            “[T]he people saw…and did witness” not only the efficacy of Nephi’s words, delivered to him by angels, but also his works – the miracles he did, even raising the dead. That power and authority are not evident in the LDS Church today. It hasn’t (by and large) been received from heaven. It is possible to receive it, however. But it cannot be conferred by man with any mortal ordinance alone, nor controlled by men, save upon principles of righteousness. True power and authority in the priesthood comes ultimately and invariably from God Himself. No one who doesn’t know Him – and so purifies himself to become like Him and be “one” with Him – may receive or exercise this power and authority. (John 3:2.)

            No one.

            All of our problems and deficiencies can best – and only – be resolved by fully coming unto Christ.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m aware of Snuffer’s basic thesis, and I reject it. And, from what I understand of it, I don’t find his excommunication even slightly surprising.

        • DanielPeterson

          Dan Peterson owes you nothing, OW2. He has a life, and he does what he chooses to do.

          Stop being an obnoxious pest. Stop hounding me. You’re free to comment, but it would be much better if you tried not to be irritating.

          There will be an article, shortly, reviewing some of Mr. Snuffer’s work. It will be critical, and, having read a draft of it, I’m not surprised that Mr. Snuffer was excommunicated.

          I, personally, have paid next to no attention to Mr. Snuffer. I hadn’t even heard of him until fairly recently, and, even then, it took me a while to realize that his name wasn’t a joke. I have nothing invested in him, one way or the other.

          • GoodWill2

            Bro. Peterson, I’m very sorry. Really. I appreciate the forum you give me to “speak my mind” and I know (and am grateful for the fact) that you are very busy and, thus, able to share with us your wealth of knowledge and inspiration. (I mean that sincerely.)

            I also appreciate the clarification you have given about your awareness (or lack thereof) of Denver Snuffer. I didn’t know how familiar you were with his work and I wished to draw out from you any arguments you might have to refute his conclusions (or inferences). I’m sorry I “hounded” you in the process. I apologize.

            I’m looking forward to reading the paper. (And the verses. :o)

    • DanielPeterson

      This is a profoundly confused statement, GW2.

      • GoodWill2

        Please explain.

        • DanielPeterson

          The Church’s action in Mr. Snuffer’s case had absolutely no impact upon his religious freedom.

          • GoodWill2

            Of course not. How silly of me! The Church to which Denver Snuffer belonged for 40 years, in which he faithfully served, still believes in and supports, to which he paid tithes, in which he raised his family, by which he was baptized, ordained in the priesthood and sealed to his wife rejected him, denying him the opportunity to take the sacrament, speak or pray vocally in appointed meetings, or participate in Church-authorized priesthood ordinances or temple worship. His freedom to worship or practice his religion hasn’t been infringed in the slightest!

            Snuffer actually references Daniel Peterson in his book Passing the Heavenly Gift (see pp. 321-323 and 336). Bro. Peterson is quoted arguing that “[u]nless and until superior priesthood authority withdraws permission to exercise priestly functions, a legitimately ordained holder of the priesthood may continue to perform valid priesthood ordinances — however unrighteous he may personally be, however dead to spiritual
            promptings, and however unlikely it may be that he will ever
            actually exercise the priesthood
            ” [emphasis mine]….because the alternative is so unthinkable: that
            priesthood keys and authority could otherwise be lost…to us!

            Of course, that could never happen to the Mormons! We couldn’t possibly be so wicked as to forfeit any
            keys or priesthood authority! We’re the Lord’s “chosen”! This is the “last” dispensation! Even though Nephi warned us (in a book only we would read!) that ALL the churches of our day (including ours, presumably) “have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted…because they are taught by the precepts
            of men” (2 Ne. 28:11, 14).

            Most of the principal writers of the Book of Mormon entered into the Lord’s presence while in their flesh. They were ministered unto by angels. They testified of Christ and of their experiences with Him. They knew Him! They saw Him! They heard Him! When possible, they touchedHim! They received revelation directly from Him (and from His true messengers). These “special witnesses” didn’t teach false doctrine, their own beliefs, heart-warming homilies or the precepts of men. They delivered the word of the Lord.

            Which of our LDS apostles and prophets in the past 100 years have so done? Who among them has stood in the divine council and testified to the fact, boldly and passionately (as true messengers do)? Who, indeed,
            is a “special witness” on par with Lord’s ancient priesthood
            holders?

            You must answer that question for yourself.

            As Mormon explained (via his son, Moroni), if these things are not found among us now, it is because of unbelief and all is vain (see Moroni 7:37).

            For faithfully delivering this message, Denver Snuffer was excommunicated.

          • Anyotheruser

            If you’re arguing that excommunication is a violation of religious freedom then you’re wrong – it is an act of religious freedom and freedom of association by a wider religious community.

            Excommunication as a means of church discipline is also discussed and used within the Book of Mormon.


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