What Kind of God?

(Warning: This is a very autobiographical post and therefore may only be of interest to family and very, very close friends. 🙂 )

Lately when I have been praying and pondering many, many things, I keep getting this question coming to my mind as an answer to my thoughts and prayers: “What kind of God do you believe in?”

Having recently turned 60 years old (which actually stuns me, but seems a much younger age from the perspective of actually being it than it ever did when I was actually young 🙂 ), I have done a lot of looking back over my life and thinking about what the Lord has taught me all along, and what beautiful, although difficult, roads He has guided me through all my life to get me to realize things He wants me to learn this time around.

So, here is some of what I have been thinking.

I think I was born loving Jesus.

From my birth until the age of about 10, I lived a fairly sheltered life surrounded by people who I knew adored me. In my memories of those years there is some angst from periodic sickness, and emotional trauma from empathic sharing of others’ agonies, and self inflicted pain when I perceived I might have hurt someone else in some way (I was super sensitive).  And when I was grown I learned that the adults around me were actually suffering things I can hardly imagine, and I consider them heroic for trying to keep me and others safe through that, but mainly it was a time of peace for me to grow and learn in.

And it was so much about Jesus. I really trusted Him. I knew He loved me. I loved Him, and I loved everyone around me. Love was just the norm of life. And although there was so much cool stuff I looked forward to in life, like becoming a famous horseback rider (nope), Olympic swimmer (nope), doctor (became an occasional actor/writer/teacher/director/farmer and other stuff instead), a wife (did that), and a mother (did that), I knew in my child’s soul it was all really about love, every bit of it. And it was an intense, total willingness to sacrifice everything for others type of love that I knew was what we all wanted and needed. Jesus type love.

Here are some of my main memories from that time. When I was tiny I loved the song “Jesus Loves Me.” In my baby book (which my Mom kept quite extensively, since I was the first child 🙂 ), it says that when I was 3, that was my favorite song. And I remember that I loved it. I know lots and lots of other songs about Jesus and God that I love. But recently, in agony in the night, that is the song I still have sung to myself for comfort.

“Jesus loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so.”

Be like a little child. “Jesus Loves Me” is what I sang, and sing, in the dark nights.

This might give you the impression that my family was especially religious. They weren’t. We were Baptist, and I remember going to church, but don’t remember if we did every Sunday when I was very young. I remember being baptized when I was 10, and that the nice Reverend Klingbeil (don’t know how his name was actually spelled) came to our house and asked me to read the Gospel of Mark (because it was the shortest gospel) in preparation for that. And then I remember him baptizing me in a font at the church wearing hip boot waders, which was cool. But all of that was what you did. It was just the expected thing. When I was a teen and lived in a different place with my Mom and Stepfather, I rode a bus to church that the local Baptist church sent around to take kids whose parents didn’t go to church.

But my Mom did believe in God. I think my Dad did too, when I was little at least. But I don’t remember talking a lot about God or anything like that in the home. It was accepted that we believed in Him, but there was not a lot of talk about it. I did say a rote prayer at night, mostly with my Mom, as I remember. Something like this:

“Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

God be with me through the night

And bless me with the morning light

God bless . . . . . . . . . . . . .”

And then I would list all my family, including extended family. Then Mom would tuck me in and leave, and then I would pray in my mind to God about whatever I was concerned with.

I always saw God (Heavenly Father) and Jesus as two different people. I didn’t realize until I was much older that I was supposed to believe they were the same Being. I had missed that teaching somehow :). I remember arguing with my Stepfather (who was Catholic) when I was maybe 12 or so that it was ridiculous to think they were the same Being, since Jesus wouldn’t have been praying to Himself, etc. But the nature of them is the same, I believe. So what kind of god Jesus is, and what kind of god Heavenly Father is would be the same, as far as answering the question.

I have also thought a lot about the literature I read, sometimes over and over, and loved the most in my life. The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre (about learning to open your heart and love, even after and through adversity) and Little Women (I wanted to be Beth because she was so totally good, but I was more like Jo) were probably my most favorite when I was young. I loved fantasy and sci-fi in my teens and adulthood – like the incredible The Lord of the Rings, the story of struggling through everything impossible and being willing to sacrifice anything for good and others. I loved Ender’s Game, but the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, blew me away – speaking the dead person’s truth, every bit of it, the good and the bad, and really seeing them and all their struggles and reasons for their choices. Such an amazing way to learn about non-judgement and love, and how to see people as God does. I remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as I was sitting in a light booth doing lights for a play, and almost not being able to do my cues in time because of my tears from reading the truths about Christ in that book. And then the miraculous Les Miserables, which is all about non-judgement and love and God. And A Christmas Carol! What a beautiful story about redemption. The Lord certainly used those books and others to illustrate to me in a very inspired way what the scriptures are saying about His nature.

So, let’s jump back to my early Christmas times, a very big deal to me. My Mom was a brilliant and “magical” sort of person. She believed in so much cool stuff: angels, aliens (she and Dad totally saw a UFO along with lots of other people at the same time), Bigfoot, maybe even fairies, etc. She kind of believed in almost everything. There were times in my life when I saw that as a negative thing, but I have come to believe it was positive, for many reasons (which is another topic and too much of a tangent to go into now).

Because of this, my Mom made Christmas magical when I was little. Santa Claus was so fun, and I never regretted “believing” in him, because of the good things it actually taught me (which is a sort of long philosophical discussion that I will leave aside).  I know lots of people think it is wrong to teach of Santa Claus as being “real,” and even that Christmas is too rooted in Pagan stuff to even celebrate it at all. I totally respect those feelings. We are all differently situated.  My friend, Jeff, would say everything is perfect as it is for each of us.  And, for me, Santa Claus and Christmas have only been positive. I liked getting presents, of course. But I absolutely loved giving presents, and I loved the idea that miracles can and do happen. Christmas is the spirit of love and giving and the miraculous to me.

I remember being super sick one Christmas Eve. I had this terrible pain thing in my intestinal tract that plagued me periodically for years when I was young. It was happening on that Christmas Eve, and I could not sleep from the pain, and it was a panicking thing because no one knew yet what was wrong with me, or how to stop the pain. I remember my Mom standing with me at the window of my bedroom, looking out at the snow on the ground and trees, sparkling in the moonlight. She had her arm around me and was talking about the beauty we were looking at and magical things that I don’t remember. What I do remember from her is a feeling of joy and love and the spirit of the miraculous that should be felt on that particular night. I don’t remember what gifts I got that year. But I remember that time with Mom and the great comfort it gave me in my pain.

I also remember our little Nativity set. I loved that set! I loved to set it up every year. I had a certain way it needed to be. My younger brother also apparently had a certain way it needed to be, because my Mom said every time one of us would go past it, it would be rearranged :). I especially loved the sheep. There were two individual sheep in the set, and a shepherd with a lamb carried around his neck. Maybe that is what made me love my real sheep so much when I was grown and had a farm. Sheep really are gentle souls, and a great symbol for the Lamb of God.

And the music! Christmas music is, and always has been, such a joy to me! It needs to start in September. My birthday is Sept. 20th, and I always thought Christmas music should start just after my birthday. My first 10 years were spent living mostly in New York, so by my birthday it was getting cold, and that meant I needed to think about Christmas, of course :). My favorite Christmas songs have always been the Jesus and Angel songs. I loved “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” when I was little. I knew it was true that those Angels came and announced Jesus to the shepherds. Miraculous! Right now this is probably my favorite Christmas song (except maybe for the Hallelujah Chorus):

The point this is leading to is that my earliest memories are very much inundated with Jesus. And to me, from my experience with Him back then, He is love and joy and miracles. He is also freedom.

When I was a teen the Lord wanted me to learn some more great stuff. He blessed me with a whole lot more truth, and a whole lot more experience – a lot of experience in the Telestial Kingdom, or the world in which we now live. And that experience has to come through that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that got us in this place originally. For many years I learned that way, and I learned lots of super great stuff, until it was clear I was insane – insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Okay, that’s a tiny bit of a joke :), but not totally.

Joseph Smith talked about teaching correct principles and letting people govern themselves. God does the same. He follows what He teaches us to do, by using persuasion Himself, and not force. We teach that free will is paramount, that Satan is the one who wanted to take that from us, and yet we often perpetuate Satan’s agenda without even realizing it. We become unintentional Pharisees. God presents light and truth to us, and then we choose to implement it, or not. And so, by our own choices and experience we learn what we want, we learn what is really good for us. And if we continue on, we also come to learn that what we want is to return to the Tree of Life after the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has beaten us :).

So, for several decades I was working for Tree of Life stuff using Telestial means – thinking if I just did everything a little better, or just did more of the good stuff, just worked harder and harder, and on and on, and did more and more of what people told me I should, I would get there. At one point, towards the end of those decades of learning, I accepted a calling that was literally killing me in almost every way and which I finally came to realize was not at all something the Lord had asked of me. I did it because I was very used to following people, even when it overrode what God was telling me. With that experience, and also a miraculous moment when I made a small step towards following the Lord over the “arm of flesh” and the Lord literally changing in an instant how I understood that concept (of not relying on the arm of flesh or following men), I began another phase of learning what kind of God I believe in.

But I already knew some of the possibilities available in this life. That was one thing I learned as a teen, that Celestial possibilities actually exist here. And I had studied everything I could find about those possibilities and prayed about them, and for them, for decades.

So then, after decades, the Lord apparently felt I had been in roughly the same situation long enough for what needed to be learned there, and he began to gently show me what I was believing and doing that was wrong. And that was when a whole wider view of what God is began to open up to me.  And I learned that I needed to learn to totally listen to Him, and let no one get in between me and Him.

In answer to God’s question to me about “What kind of God do you believe in?” I have had to look back at what I have learned so far about what I believe His nature is and how I believe He works with us.

So, here are some of those things I have learned so far and believe about God (and when I say God, I actually believe God is Father and Mother together, but that is another post, too) and how He (they) works:

God is not trifling with us. Joseph Smith said that, and I believe it. Life is hard and intense. He doesn’t let us put ourselves through this stuff lightly. I word it that way (“put ourselves through”) because I believe we came here to learn, and that for agency to be preserved, that we don’t get put through rough stuff in order to learn without having agreed at some point in our existence to learn it in whatever ways necessary.

God does not force us, ever. He persuades us with gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned.  He helps us when we ask, and gives us what we want, although He prepares us for it first, if need be.

God cares about our hearts being right first, more than our minds (although eventually the goal is to be of one heart AND one mind). I believe this scripture:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

The Lord recently said this: “Be of one heart, and regard one another with charity. Measure your words before giving voice to them, and consider the hearts of others. Although a man may err in understanding concerning many things, yet he can view his brother with charity, and come unto me and through me he can with patience overcome the world. I can bring him to understanding and knowledge. Therefore if you regard one another with charity then your brother’s error in understanding will not divide you. I lead to all truth. I will lead all who come to me to the truth of all things. The fullness is to receive the truth of all things, and this too from me, in power, by my word and in very deed. For I will come to you if you will come unto me.” 

God does not want us to add to or take away from His doctrine, and according to Him, this is all that is:

3 Nephi 11: 30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 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 stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

As soon as we start enforcing other teachings or tenets, etc. (even if they are good, and we are sure the Lord thinks they are good to do, or not do) as our requirements for people to be “allowed” to do the things the Lord asks them to do (like being baptized), then we are “adding to” and have overstepped our bounds.  We are to be equals.  “Equals govern themselves, not others.”

God is quick to forgive. Men are not able to forgive us, or delay our forgiveness, in place of God. We are absolutely required to forgive each other, but we are not the arbiters of God’s forgiveness. The best scriptural example I know of this is Alma the younger:

“And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart, O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who art in the gall of bitterness and art encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And O, what joy and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain.”

God (Jesus) wants us to live the Sermon on the Mount (and the Sermon at Bountiful in the Book of Mormon where He reiterated the same things), a small portion of which says this:

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

There is lots of other stuff in the Sermon that seems impossible to live while we are here in “Babylon.” Even a long time ago I used to wonder why religious institutions didn’t model this. I thought if they would model it, I could learn how to do it, but they don’t. I was sad about that and just figured it must be impossible living in this world. But now I believe until some few do begin to do it, we will always live in this harsh and terribly fallen world.

God wants us to be like a little child. That is why I think when He has asked me what kind of God I believe in, He has taken my mind back a lot to what I already knew when I was a little child, and have sometimes since forgotten and made complicated by the burdensome requirements of what was actually a “false” God that I didn’t really believe in.

There are a lot of things He has reminded me of, but mainly He has reminded me of this:

God is love. It all does come back to this. And though this seems a simple statement, people who all think they believe this can arrive at different interpretations of what that means they should do. Often we believe that control of others is love. We will “make” people be good because we love them. But even when we look at this Telestial world, not even thinking about God, we can see that human beings do not do well when their freedom is taken away, nor when they take away the freedom of others. I think that is because it is an eternal truth that the type of beings we are, are harmed and diminished by lack of freedom to choose for ourselves.

Another thing I have learned in my life is that I don’t know much.  The more expanded my view becomes, the less I realize I know and understand in the vast scope of things.  In fact, it seems that often whenever I have felt most sure of my great knowledge and understanding is the very time when I have actually been possibly the furthest from really understanding God, so I pray to always be teachable, and not hard hearted and full of unbelief (believing things that are wrong).

But these things that I do believe God is, are what I have been thinking about when I wonder what He thinks about things, or what He wants me to do. Because I need to be like Him. Because God is love, and all that encompasses, and I want to be that, too.

Merry Christmas to all!

God bless us every one!

And as Bill and Ted said: “Be excellent to each other!”

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A Talk in Los Angeles

If you live near Los Angeles, there will be a free lecture from 7:00-8:30 pm on Thursday, September 21, 2017, at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts at 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos, CA 90703 in the Sierra Room.  It should be extremely interesting!

You can read more about it here and here.

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A Day of Joy

Last Saturday evening Vaughn and I were sitting outside in a beautiful backyard with many good friends listening to an astronomer talk about some of the wonders in the heavens.  One of the things he mentioned was that the day spanning from noon that day until noon the next day was a holy day on three calendars (which all count the days from noon one day to noon the next day).

Also, each day is associated with a star.  The star that day was associated with represents the birth of the Kingdom of God.

The name of the star means “Joy.”

Within that day, from noon Saturday until noon Sunday, we participated in things that are likely the most important things to happen to us so far.  On Saturday, we accepted the recovered scriptures that I talked about in my last blog post.

On Sunday, we stood and said “yes” to a Covenant the Lord offered.  Here are the words of that Covenant:

“First: Do you believe all the words of the Lord which have been read to you this day, and know them to be true and from the Lord Jesus Christ who has condescended to provide them to you, and do you covenant with Him to cease to do evil and to seek to continually do good?

Second: Do you have faith in these things and receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern you in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts and deeds?

Third: Do you agree to assist all others who covenant to likewise accept this standard to govern their lives to keep the Lord’s will, to succor those who stand in need, to lighten the burdens of your brothers and sisters whenever you are able, and to help care for the poor among you?

Fourth: And do you covenant to seek to become of one heart with those who seek the Lord to establish His righteousness?”

Since Sunday, and accepting the Covenant the Lord offered, there has been a calm within me of a quality that I don’t remember ever feeling before.

My gratitude to the Lord for the careful, gentle way He has led me throughout my life is huge.  It is a marvel to me to look back and remember all the things the Lord has shown me to lead me along to this, which is what I have desired, but knew not where to find it. Now, on to living it!

It is a great joy to me.

Here are the video recordings of the two meetings I was at over the weekend.  The first was Saturday afternoon at a park in Boise, ID.  The second was Sunday morning at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise where the Covenant was offered:

Saturday meeting

Sunday meeting

More about the whole thing can be found here.

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What I have Wanted

I haven’t written on my blog in a while. I work a lot, and so it is hard to find time to write, even though I have lots of interesting stuff (at least interesting to me 🙂 ) that I would like to talk about.

The last several years have just been incredible. I am so grateful for the path the Lord has taken me on. I can look back now, even over my whole life, and see Him leading me along to help me understand stuff.

He has also shown me how little any of us actually comprehend the way things really are. We think this one tiny life and our very limited senses and minds are pretty much what we have. But even in this very limited state of being here, we have more senses and more ability to connect with spiritual things, or mysteries, or whatever we want to call the things we usually barely have an inkling of, than we mostly know.

I don’t claim to know much. I do know more than I did, but I also realize, more than I did before, how little I actually do know. And through experience, I know that some of what I think I know now will eventually be shown to me to be an incorrect understanding; usually what happens is I will see that it was such a small and narrow piece of the truth that it gave me the wrong impression of how it fit into the whole. All truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. But we, at best, only see a tiny slice of that whole.

And because of the limitation of language, what I just said is perhaps a jumble, because getting what is inside my mind and heart to the outside in some understandable way is so hard.

So, here is some more concrete stuff that is happening right now. I said all that other stuff because this stuff happening is perhaps the major thing in this life I am living right now; perhaps it is the main turning point that all of the things the Lord has been teaching me my whole life have been leading up to. I sense that it is. And so I need to share it.

The stuff I will link to in this blog post is long, but worth taking the time to read.

About a year and a half ago, I think it was, some people started feeling that they needed to recover the scriptures, and all the things that can be found and verified that Joseph Smith actually said. Two separate groups were inspired to begin this. A lot of great stuff had been discovered through the Joseph Smith Papers project, and by historians who had gone to original, contemporary source documents to find out as much as possible what was really said/written by Joseph Smith, and what was even added or changed in the Doctrine and Covenants. Much was left out and some was changed to even mean the opposite of what was actually said at first.

I heard about this project a while ago, and was excited that the D&C was going to be corrected (because I was already aware of some problems, but in no way have the ability or time to do the research necessary to figure it all out). I had also heard that all of what Joseph did with the Bible, was going to be put in, not just the parts that the LDS scriptures include. I already had been reading the edition of the Book of Mormon that Royal Skousen did, where he tried to recover the best possible version of it, figuring out and correcting transcribing errors and problems with punctuation (which was originally all put in by the typesetter), etc. I found out this group working on the other scriptures was dealing with those issues, too. Wonderful!

In March of this year there was a meeting to talk about these scriptures. Rather than explain everything about this in my own words, I will link to talks about it. So, here is what we learned about this project at that meeting:

http://scriptures.info/Downloads/Official%20Announcement.pdf

You can find the actual scriptures, and more about the project, here:

http://scriptures.info/

We also learned at that meeting that we would have until the beginning of September of this year to peruse these scriptures, and let the group know of any mistakes or issues we saw in them, and that we would then be asked to accept them, and we would also be offered a Covenant from the Lord.

So, this is huge. I have known for a few years that the Lord is doing something big right now.

I was very excited after the meeting in March. A lot has been going on since then with the whole project. And there was a lot of speculation about the nature of any Covenant, and even a lot of fear about that. As I would ponder and pray about it, the Lord would keep saying to me not to fear, that if it was from Him it would be right.

So, a prayer was made to the Lord for a Covenant. Here is the prayer:

http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Prayer-for-Covenant.pdf

I read the prayer. I prayed for the same things myself. And an Answer came, with a Covenant. When I read the Answer and Covenant, I was stunned and filled with joy. It was clear to me this was the Lord speaking, because even though I have not seen Him, I do know how He speaks to me and how it feels to my mind and heart when it is the Lord. I keep wanting to read this over and over, because it is marvelous to me.

Also, when I read it the first time, the Lord said to me in my mind “See, you didn’t need to be afraid.” I didn’t need to be afraid because this is Him, and this is how He deals with us, and the words are beautiful to me, and He knows what we all need to hear and to do. When you read this, you will see that He is calling us to repentance strongly, and over and over telling us to LOVE each other.

This is the Lord I know. The Covenant is at the end of it. The things in the Covenant are what I have always wanted to do – how I have always wanted to be. The promises from the Lord in it are wonderful:

http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Answer-Covenant-1.pdf

I will be at the meeting in Boise in early September. I intend to accept the Covenant from the Lord. I pray He will help me keep it.

This is what I have wanted as long as I have known such a thing was possible. This is what has a chance to lead to Zion.

There is a lot more to all of this, of course, and you can read more about it here in another talk that was given at the March meeting that tells a lot about the history of the scripture project, but mainly things about how the Lord has always dealt with people, and what is happening now, and what is coming up:

http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Things-To-Keep-Us-Awake-At-Night-edit-2.pdf

There have also been things preparing many people for all this for years. If you have any interest in all of that, let me know.

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Rise Up

We are in the midst of a marvelous time.  A quote from my favorite talk:

“I bear witness of Christ. I have seen Him! I know He lives! I know He is coming in judgment, and I know that before His coming, He has wanted some things to be declared. I have been as faithful as I can be in declaring the things asked of me. I sense keenly my own inadequacy. I beg you to overlook all that and not let me become a stumbling block. Look at the scriptures, look at the words of Christ, look at the explanations we got from Joseph, look at the things that are true, and go to Him in faith believing.

I began with a description of Him. I want to repeat that. The Lord is affable, but He is not gregarious. He is approachable. He is not aloof. He is patient and He is willing to guide and willing to teach. He is intelligent, but He [is] not overbearing. He is humble and approachable in His demeanor, even though His power is absolutely undeniable. Therefore, He is both a Lamb and a Lion. If you come to Him in the day He offers redemption to you, you will be coming to the Lamb. But if you wait for His coming in judgment, you are waiting on the Lion, and you will not like what you will see.

I asked you to remember He is quick to forgive sin. He allows all to come to Him. He is no respecter of persons. I said that when I began, I’m saying it again as we end today.

He is real! He lives! His work of redemption continues right now, just as it continued throughout His mortal life, just as it continued as He hung on the cross, just as it continued in His resurrection in Palestine, and as He came to visit with the Nephites. He ministered to other sheep, and He has called other people. There are, in fact, holy men who ye know not of who still remain on earth.

If there was anything more I could do or say that I thought would convince or persuade you to believe in Him, I would do it or I would say it. But despite it all, I realize some of you are going to walk out of here thinking that I’m just another one of these latter-day blowhards. That is all good and well. Please however, give heed to the scriptures I’ve read, the words of Joseph I quoted, and the fact I do have a witness that Christ is approachable. He is every bit as much alive today as when He was when He walked on the road to Emmaus. He is every bit as willing to come and redeem you from the Fall as He was willing to redeem others before. His work and His glory culminates with your redemption. His success is redeeming you. You think the scriptures give you hope of eternal life. That is true. I have used them today to show you how great things the Lord has done. The scriptures testify what I am saying is true.

If you think, ‘Well, He is aloof and He is distant, and this is an impossible high thing to achieve.’ The fact of the matter is, it is a greater achievement on His end to redeem you, than your end to be redeemed. There is more anxiety, more desire, and more rejoicing in heaven when He redeems someone from the Fall than there is here.

He came, He suffered, He lived, He died, He did what He did in order to lift all of Creation, and you are inextricably connected to Him. Therefore, trust that. Receive Him. It may start very slow, very small, very distant. Act on that, hearken to that, it gets louder. You will never wind up in the company of Gods and angels, if you are not willing to have faith in those preliminary things you first receive. Ask. Then go and do what He asks.

When I first got an answer to prayer sitting in a barracks in New Hampshire, if I hadn’t acted on that I would never have beheld the Lord, much less been taught by Him. But I did, and I do. Whatever He still asks of me, I do. It does not matter how unpleasant I find it, or how reluctant I may be. I go and I do. You need to do likewise. It may not even make much sense to you when you’re going and doing. You may think you are offending when you absolutely do not intend to do so. You may find the people you love rejecting you.

I lost friends and was rejected when I converted to Mormonism. Then I found a new family in the faith I accepted as a nineteen year old. After forty years I was rejected by that new family. I have laid everything on the line for the Lord twice now in a single lifetime. I cannot tell you what sacrifices He may ask of you, but whatever He asks of you, that do you.

Let me end by bearing testimony and witness to you, that the things I’ve been saying, beginning in Boise and going on through Phoenix, the beginning date, the ending date, the content, the fact that there are 10 of them, the timeframe in which they are being delivered, the fact He wanted us to begin on the first day of the 40th year, and He wanted us to end on the last day of the 40th year, those things are not my doing. He is the author of this all.

Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen ‘in your heart’ is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth.”

I was present at this talk.  I have listened to it several times since, as well as the other talks alluded to in the above excerpt.  I have learned so much from it, and my soul rejoices in all the things the Lord has taught me over the past several years through many different people and experiences.  My heart aches to somehow be able to tell everyone I love all of it, and discuss it all with them.  But I have learned that is pretty much impossible, especially unless people ask and want to know.  Agency is so important.

So, all I can do, I think, is share some small bits of things I love.  And if anyone wants to know anything more about any of what I love and think about and believe, they can ask. Please feel free to ask.  And the more I learn the more I realize how little I know :).  So, whatever anyone says, we always have to ask the Lord what is true.  And be open to the fact that what we think, or are even sure is true, may not be true, or may be perceived incorrectly.  Or that we might be conflating true things with things that are not true, and therefore mistaking where the truth actually is. For example, consider that maybe the Church and the gospel are not the same thing.

If our hearts are not soft, if our necks are stiff, it is very difficult for the Lord to get us to see the truth and see our errors.  Because He will not take our agency, to believe what we want, away.

One big thing I have learned is that we damn ourselves, and what that mainly means is we stop learning.  We do that often by thinking we already know.  Either our pride in what we know, or our fear of encountering something that might shake our faith or cause us to doubt, causes us to put up walls (or set up stakes as Joseph Smith put it) around what we think God will do or not do, and around what we will listen to, or read, or study, or even pray about.  And so we stop our own progression, and therefore damn ourselves.  I try not to do that anymore.  But I know it is hard.

J. Reuben Clark said: “If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.” 

Joseph Smith said: “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”  

The scriptures tell us to ask, seek, and knock.

I am part of an online group of friends.  We consider ourselves like a family.  Most of us have met in person now, some of us quite a few times, although we live in many different states, and even one of us is out of the country.  We love each other.  When we started, our commonality was a belief in the Doctrine of Christ and a desire to seek truth wherever it could be found, and also a desire to care for each other.  We also have all experienced some level of pain or sacrifice or even persecution for what we believe.  For several years now we have supported each other emotionally, spiritually, and physically – even caring for the financial needs of each other when we have needed help.

I mention this because we are an interesting sort of rabble :).  Aside from the commonality of believing in, or wanting to believe in, the Doctrine of Christ, we pretty much disagree to some extent on lots of issues, and we are not afraid to talk about it.  And boy, do we talk about it :).  We discuss and debate and persuade.  We cite scripture and relate experiences, and we love, and we forgive.  We cry, and we laugh.  We commiserate, and we pray for each other.  We partake of the Lord’s Supper together, and we sometimes chat late into the night about silly or sensitive or even shocking subjects, or what ever comes into our minds.

I mention this also because when I think about it, this amazes me.  It is something that I have not experienced in a group before.  It is not an idyllic wonderland, because we are human and have made mistakes, and sometimes been offended, and gotten mad, and been sad.  But generally we have gotten through that stuff, and mostly we have hung together and forgiven.  And I feel more free there than in any group I can imagine, because the level of judgement of each other is so low.  The goal there is to not judge (again, we do not exhibit perfection, but the effort is great), just to LOVE.  To deal with each other as D&C 121 says, to persuade, and be gentle, and meek, and have love unfeigned, etc.  And everyone wants to learn and to do what the Lord wants, and the level of fear of learning new truth, and finding out we are wrong, is low. I, for one, have learned so much!  Lack of fear and great love is so conducive to learning.

We have some in the group who have seen the Lord, and some have seen angels, and some have heard the voice of the Lord, and some have been taught in dreams and visions, and many have had other great spiritual experiences, and we have all learned from each other, and no one is in charge, and no one is better than any of the rest of us.  And we all know we have so much to learn, and so much unbelief to overcome.

So, this all has to do with the quote I put in this post because it is about being free to seek truth so that we can rise up and be like Christ and actually know Him, and follow only Him.  We can help each other do that.  We have to let go of fear and hold on to love.  The Lord loves us and wants us to find truth.  Truth is delicious to our soul.  Hearing the same thing over and over is not edifying to us.  But learning more and more is progression and is wonderful to us!  But it is impossible if we dam ourselves up behind tradition, and philosophies of men mingled with scripture, and loyalty to false hierarchies, and unbelief (which is believing in wrong things).  Because then we have damned ourselves.  And if we are not learning more, we are losing what we do know:

2 Nephi 28:29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

The rest of the talk excerpted above can be found here: http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/07-Ephraim-Transcript-Christ.pdf

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The Testimony of John

Since it is almost Easter, I wanted to post an excerpt from The Testimony of John (John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah).  I love this book.  If you read the whole of this book, you can see it is about ascension through following in the pathway of Jesus Christ.  The complete text of The Testimony of John can be found here: 

http://scriptures.info/Scriptures/pgp/john/

Here is an excerpt, which is the last chapter which takes place after the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ:

“The first day of the week Mary the Elect Lady went in the early morning while it was still dark to the burial sepulcher. She saw the stone was rolled away from the sepulcher, and two angels sitting on it. Then she ran to Simon Peter, who was with the other disciple Jesus loved, and said to them, They have removed the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we do not know where he is now established. Peter and the other disciple departed for the sepulcher, running together. The other disciple outran Peter and arrived first at the sepulcher. And he bent down, and looked in, and saw the linen burial cloths. But he did not enter the tomb. Then Simon Peter joined him, and he went into the sepulcher and saw the linen burial cloths, and also the shroud that covered his body. It was not lying with the other burial cloths. Instead it was folded and set down alone. Then the other disciple who arrived first, also entered the sepulcher, and he saw the empty tomb and believed. They still did not understand the prophecy that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples departed to return home.

“But Mary stood outside the sepulcher weeping. And as she wept, she bent down and looked into the sepulcher. She saw two angels in white, the one at the head, and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. They asked her, Woman, why are you mourning? She answered them, Because someone has removed the body of my Lord, and I do not know where he is now. After she said this, she walked away and then saw Jesus standing in the garden area. She failed to recognize that it was Jesus. Jesus asked her, Woman, why are you mourning? Who are you looking for? She assumed he was tending the garden, and answered, Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where he is, and I will claim him. Jesus said to her, Mary.

“She raised her face, recognized him, and addressed him, Greatest of Teachers, which is to say, My Lord. They embraced and Jesus told her, You cannot hold me here. I need to ascend right now to my Father. Go to my followers and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.

“Mary the Elect Lady came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

“Later on that same first day of the week, in the evening, when the doors of the room in which the disciples were meeting were closed and locked because of their fear of the Sanhedrin, Jesus came and stood in the middle of this group, and said to them, Peace be with you. And when He said this, He showed to them His hands and His side to prove it was He. Then the disciples were overjoyed, as they beheld their Lord. Jesus repeated to them, Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. And after He said this, He breathed upon them, and said to them, I convey to you the Holy Ghost. Whoever’s sins you remit, they are remitted to them; and whoever’s sins you retain, they are retained.

“But Thomas called Didymus, one of the twelve, was absent when Jesus visited them. The other disciples relayed to him, We have seen the Lord. But he responded, Except I also see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And eight days after this, His disciples were in the same room again, and Thomas with them. Again the doors were locked, and again Jesus came and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be with you. Then He said to Thomas, Reach out your finger and touch my hands. Reach out your hand and feel my injured side. Do not be faithless, but be believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you believe. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe.

“And there were many other signs that His disciples witnessed that testified of Jesus, but which are not contained in this account. But what is recorded is to testify that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that you may obtain eternal lives, worlds without end through His name.

“I am the one who has testified in this account. And after the many other testimonies of Him, this is my testimony most recent of them all: I saw his glory that He was in the beginning before the world was. Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for He was the Word, even the messenger of salvation- The light and the Redeemer of the world, the Spirit of truth, who came into the world because the world was made by Him, and in Him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by Him. Men were made by Him. All things were made by Him, and through Him, and of Him.

“And I, John, bear record that: I beheld His glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father. He was full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth. He came and dwelt in the flesh, and lived among us.

“And I, John, saw that He received not of the fullness at the first, but received grace for grace. And He received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until He received a fullness. And in this way He qualified to be called to become the Son of God, because He received not of the fullness at the first.

“And I, John, bear record, and lo the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a dove and remained upon Him. There came a voice out of heaven saying: You are my Beloved Son, this day I have begotten you; for I was there with John the Baptist when he baptized Jesus.

“And I, John, bear record that He received a fullness of the glory of the Father. And He received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with Him, for he dwelt in Him.

“The Father testified of Jesus also on the Mount, when He was transfigured before us, and the glory of heaven was upon Him, and we saw Him enter the heavenly realm. The Father testified also when our Lord prayed for those who do follow Him. And the Holy Ghost has and does testify of Him to all who receive Him. Therefore, we know by irrefutable evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, sent to fulfill prophecy, and to lead all who will follow through the path of His Father.

“After this Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is an account of that event: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael from the city of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others, also disciples. Simon Peter said to them, I ascend to the deep. They responded to him, we go with you. They went forth, and entered into the ark; and they could not grasp anything.

“But at the horizon of the morning star, Jesus stood at the sacred entry; however the disciples could not recognize it was Jesus for the glory about Him. Then Jesus asked them, Children, have you celebrated the ritual meal? They answered Him, No. And He directed them and said, Approach the veil to the east and you will find what you seek. They approached the veil as instructed, and now they were overcome by the multitude of what was received. Therefore the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he quickly clothed himself (for he did not wear the apparel), and cast himself into the great deep. And the other disciples came into the ark and parted also the veil (for they were not bound by the limits of this world).

“As they ascended, they saw a fire burning at the offering place and the Flesh Offering was upon it, who is also the Bread of Life. Jesus said to them, Rise above the flesh you now occupy, and Simon Peter ascended, and drew the veil open, and there were ministering a hundred, and then fifty, and then three; and for these many who they beheld, yet the veil remained open.

“Jesus said to them, Come and eat the food of the rising sun. And none of the disciples asked of him, What name is now yours? knowing that it was their Lord. Jesus then served to them His flesh and blood, and they were filled by His Spirit. This was now the third time Jesus ministered to His disciples following His rise from among the dead.

“After the meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? He answered him, Yes, Lord. You know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they are growing. He asked him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? He said to Him, Yes, Lord you know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they increase. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? Peter was concerned because He asked him for a third time, Do you love me? And he said to Him, Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Care for my lambs as they are added upon. In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, when you were progressing, you dressed yourself, and went where you chose to go; but as you approach the end of the path, you will have to let others stretch out your hands and likewise nail you, even if you plead to have the bitter cup removed. This He said to foretell the sacrificial death that is required for endless glory. And then He added, You must follow after me.

“Then Peter turned and looked at the disciple whom Jesus loved, who was behind. This was him who was next to Jesus at supper, and had quietly asked Him during supper, Lord, who is the one that will betray you? Peter saw him and asked Jesus, Lord, and what will become of this man? Jesus explained, I said to him, John, my beloved what do you desire? And John replied, Lord, give to me the power that I may bring souls to you. And I said to him, In the name of Father Ahman I commit to you that because you desire this you shall tarry until I return in my glory.

“And for this reason the Lord said to Peter, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? For he desires from me that he might bring souls to me, but you desire that you might come to me in my kingdom. I tell you, Peter, yours was a good desire, but my beloved has undertaken a greater work on earth. In the name of Father Ahman I say to you that you shall both have what you requested, and you both will have joy from what you each requested.

“Now, therefore, know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Walker in the Path who has proven for evermore that Father Ahman sent Him into the world to prove His Father’s path.

“In addition to this account, many other things were done by Jesus, which, if they were all written, that library would fill the entire cosmos. Amen.”

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My Favorite Talk

I have heard many wonderful talks in my life.  Almost all of the best ones have been in just the last few years, when life has been very difficult, but also very exciting.  It has been exciting because of the things the Lord has been teaching me and helping me to understand.  I am so grateful to Him.

The talk I have loved the most is one I attended personally a couple of years ago.  It is called Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man.  It is by far the most beautiful exposition on the Savior I have ever heard.  It is long, about 3 hours to listen to, but so worth taking the time.

I am going to put a few excerpts, but these are just a tiny glimpse of all that is in this talk.  I hope you will want to take the time to listen to the whole thing, or at least read it.  At the end I will give links to the audio and written versions.

When I heard this talk the Holy Ghost bore witness to me that what was being spoken was truth.  That the message was from the Lord through someone He asked to give it.

Here are the excerpts with page numbers, so you can find them in the transcript:

I want you to keep three truths about Him in your mind as we begin today. Those truths are:

-He is quick to forgive sin,

-He allows all to come unto Him,

-and He is no respecter of persons.

In most cases it is our disrespect for ourselves that impedes coming to Him. We tend to think we aren’t good enough. However, because He is quick to forgive sins, it really doesn’t matter if you are not good enough. One of the first orders of business when you come into His presence is that He forgives you. He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, but He has the capacity and the ability to forgive sin. Therefore although your sins may be as scarlet, He can, He will and He does, make you white as snow,  no longer accountable for your limitations. Therefore you needn’t fear, but you can approach boldly, our Lord. (p.2)

If you will receive it, faith in Him comes by hearing the word of God. Not by a pretender, not by someone guessing, not by someone offering up their theory of how the scriptures ought to be understood. Faith does not come by hearkening to someone citing you a bibliography. Faith comes only by hearing the word of God delivered as He would have it delivered, by whomever it is that He may choose to deliver it.

If you receive God’s word sent by someone He sends, then you might have faith, and that too in the Son of God. Then you also might receive Him. But if you will not, if you will harden your hearts, if you will blind your minds, if you will not receive what He offers from His mouth in your day, then you do not have faith in Him. You will fall short of that faith required to become His son and His daughter.

It is that way, it has always been that way, it will always be that way. There is no other test. (p.49-50)

I only offer you the Lord. I ask you to give heed to Him. I will tell you no man can be trusted for all men are weak.  Even Peter, the night of the Lord’s trial, was a broken reed. If you put your weight on that, it would pierce your hand. That is what men are, but not who our Lord is, for His course is straight. He does not even cast a shadow to the right or left, for His course is true.

He was “despised and rejected of men,” and that will always be true of both Him and His word! That will be true of whoever follows Him! They, like their Lord, will be despised and rejected of men.

He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” It was necessary for Him to be so, that He might know how to understand us. He grieved because He knew what He offered mankind, and none were (or are) willing to receive it. It was necessary for Him to experience sorrow and be acquainted with grief.

“We hid as it were our faces from Him,” that is, we turned from Him. We will not give heed to what He offers. We prefer vanity to truth, pride to humility and we refuse to repent and return to Him. 

“He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” The only person who has ever lived who deserved respect, and we “esteem him not.” Still today we do not value what He offers to us. We prefer worldly success and proof that “Zion prospers” to satisfy our pride. We think only the respectable and prosperous can be true. Therefore we have no regard for what He offers.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” See He was, “smitten of God,” because He was cast out of the synagogue. They were looking to stone Him. Why would they have expected God would honor a man who had been cast out of their synagogue? How could they know when He departed salvation likewise departed from them?

“Smitten of God and afflicted, But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Do not think you can follow that Master and be spared His path. He will let you understand what it means to follow Him. That understanding will come through experiences to help you relate to, and understand our Lord. You will endure affliction to know Him. If you are comfortable, He will make you uncomfortable. Then come to comfort you. If you are certain, He will make you uncertain. If you think you have it all figured out, He will offer up a contradiction, and leave you to struggle. Then when you can bear the contradiction no more, in the agony and anguish of your uncertainty He will delay the answer a little further still. He will delay until your heart is finally soft enough to come to Him in meekness. Then He will speak to you the words you need to hear. Sometimes, only just in time.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” All those variances we have taken off of the correct path, He paid the price to forgive. (p.57-58)

This is the Son of God about whom the scriptures speak. This is the Lord who is asking you to come to Him. He is not aloof and He is not distant. . . . He will speak to you, every one of you. What He has to say to you is far more important than anything I can say. But I can bear testimony of Him, and I can assure you He will not leave your petitions unanswered. I can also assure you today is once again a day of salvation, and He has set His hand again.

No matter how unlikely it may appear, no matter how much reason there is to be skeptical, no matter how many more signs you think may need to be fulfilled, I’m telling you He has set His hand again. The heavens are opened for business, and the question is whether you are interested in becoming a customer or not. (p.61)

What was the Fall of man? It was to be cast out from the presence of God. What is the redemption of man? It is to be brought back into the presence of God. Today is the day of redemption. Today is the day of salvation, if you come back into His presence.

Look at Ether chapter 3 beginning at verse 13: “When he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.”

This is the gospel of Christ. What is it you must know to have eternal life? You must know Him. “And this is life eternal that you might know Him.” This passage in Ether affirms that because the Brother of Jared knew these things, Christ came to him. Christ returned him to His presence. Christ redeemed him from the Fall “Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall.” This is Christ speaking in the first person. He is defining what it means to be redeemed. Who is better qualified to define what it means to be redeemed than the Redeemer? Reconciliation comes through Christ. Reconciliation comes with Christ. Reconciliation is by Christ. And Christ has the power to redeem you all. (p. 67-68)

He is real! He lives! His work of redemption continues right now, just as it continued throughout His mortal life, just as it continued as He hung on the cross, just as it continued in His resurrection in Palestine, and as He came to visit with the Nephites. He ministered to other sheep, and He has called other people. There are, in fact, holy men who ye know not of who still remain on earth. (p. 76)

Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen “in your heart” is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth. (p.78)

 

Here is the link to the audio:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgSsTk8ORyg

Here is the link to the PDF transcript, which is where the quotes above are found by page number: http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/07-Ephraim-Transcript-Christ.pdf

For other formats of this talk, you can go to this link: http://denversnuffer.com/40-years-in-mormonism-lecture-series/

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