I’m really not sure what I’m going to write today, but I know I need to write. There are several things I want to share – thoughts I have been pondering, knowledge I’ve been given, questions I have. This may be structured like something of a potpourri, or musings, or wanderings, but there really is a theme that ties them all together. That theme is:
Where is this all leading?!!!
I want to begin with some thoughts about Denver Snuffer. Do we realize what a sacrifice Denver has made for us? He was thrust into this celebrity status because He obeyed the word of the Lord. He is considered by many (including me) to be a “true messenger”. Others call him a “prophet”. Some say he is “The only” prophet on the earth at this time, perhaps even the first true prophet since Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He has been called an Elias, which he may well be. Hundreds, if not thousands who have received his message (actually, the Lord’s message) have left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or have been disciplined by the church. In my own mind, the narrative of the church, the entire basis for its existence, lies like a shattered mirror at my feet as a result of my recognition of the truth in Denver’s message. I personally am at times saddened, at times enraged, and at times liberated.
Have we considered, though, the personal price paid by this courageous man? I began to realize it as a result of the controversy surrounding rumors that he was not personally invited to the Grand Mesa Reunion. Now, I DO NOT know the details or reasons why, or even if such rumors are true. As I contemplated the issue, though, it became obvious that no matter where Denver goes, he would be a distraction. Assuming that this reunion is a celebration of the Savior as claimed, and which I firmly believe it is, Denver’s presence would – through no fault of his own – eclipse the focus on the Savior. He would be the draw – not the Savior. If he spoke, He would be the headliner. People would flock to the event just to see Denver.
Denver can’t speak or write anything without some considering it to be gospel – even the word of the Lord. We’ve placed him on a pedestal from which he may never be able to descend. I heard recently that, when Jules Linda Martindale raised the question of women performing baptisms, there were those who went to Denver to find out what he thought. Good grief! You know what I did? I asked the Lord. After all, THAT is core of Denver’s message, isn’t it? – that we need to take things to the Lord. At times, it seems like we have just traded one arm of flesh for another; one prophet for another; one body of culture, tradition, and policy for another. This is NOT Denver’s fault! It is completely contradictory to his “true message”.
I want to make perfectly clear that I respect Denver very much. I am so thankful for the way in which he has unfolded the scriptures to us. He has opened the door, and many of us have walked through it. On the other side, we will find light and truth, even the Savior. Those who continue to cling to Denver the man, I fear, will not find the same things. I am completely unqualified to judge to what extent this might apply to any individual, but as a general observation about those who have received Denver’s message, I can definitely say that it applies to many – and even one is too many.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Linda Jules Martindale is my step daughter. We have a very close relationship. It was with great interest, but not surprise, that I read her post in a Facebook group about women conducting baptisms. My initial response was pretty casual. I frankly had more important things on my plate, and it wasn’t important to me. However, after Keith Henderson’s blog post, I decided to pray about it. I prayed, “Will women baptize?” The answer came surprising easily and clearly – “Yes” (kind of like when I finally asked if Denver was a true messenger). Then I asked if they should be baptizing now. The answer came this way:
I saw a plate – a relatively large serving plate 18 to 24” in diameter – that was painted with scenes that I knew represented the history of man’s relationship with God since the Garden of Eden. The only image I discerned was that of Adam and Eve, but I knew the rest represented the combination of truth, lies, doctrine, disbelief, and unbelief that hinder us today from truly understanding the nature of God. This plate was being used to serve the sacrament bread. I understood that the sacrament represented all ordinances. I was then given to know that the sacrament bread is better served on a white plate. At first, I thought, “I need to write a blog on this”, but then thought better of it. I did share with my family, however.
This morning, I was given to understand the meaning of white. (I assume at least a casual familiarity with the principle that visible light is actually the light that is rejected from a surface.) I was told, to summarize, “The white plate, my white robes, the white of the temple of the New Jerusalem are all white because white represents the reception of all color – of all light. In other words, no light is rejected. Black, on the other hand, is the rejection of all color, or all light. Light is truth. Thus, white represents the acceptance of all truth, darkness the rejection of all truth.” The spirit continued, “The only reason to reject light and truth is because of fear. Perfect love casteth out fear. Light is love. You must reject fear if you are to receive light. You must be willing to receive all light and truth if you are to receive me, otherwise you will be burned at my coming.”
The white plate thus represents all truth, free of fear, and this is the context within which all ordinances must be received. To the extent that we continue to offer up the ordinances on a plate that is colored, colored because some light is being rejected, we can never receive His fullness. I leave it to you to interpret what this means concerning women baptizing, as well as what it might mean for you, your family and the community. I am still sorting it out myself. This, however, leads to the third item I wish to discuss.
Where is this all leading?
This movement, which, in my experience, is commonly called “The Remnant”, is a wonderful thing. We’ve cast off many of the false traditions of the past in favor of the scriptures and personal revelation. We look seriously toward a gathering of Zion – with all the personal and social changes that are requisite if such a society is to ever become reality. We are at least trying to reject reliance on the arm of flesh as counseled by Nephi in his great “Psalm of Nephi”, more specifically 2 Nephi 4:34.
I’m on board, enthusiastically, with love, compassion, understanding and sustaining of all those who would gather to Zion. However, sometimes it seems that, as I said above, we are just trading one tradition for another, one prophet for another, one set of commandments for another – keeping the ones we like and rejecting the ones we don’t.
Diana and I were driving in Southern Utah (or maybe it was Northern Arizona – I forget) last December when I said to her, “You know, I just sense that there is so much more to this gospel. I don’t know how I know, I just do. We haven’t even scratched the surface”. I believe Joseph was really trying to restore this fullness – including the missing parts – but the restoration was hijacked by those who needed a church, complete with the traditions of the past 2000 years – 2000 years’ worth of traditions, mind you, that had yielded diverse churches built up onto themselves to get gain. The restoration, as others have already declared, was interrupted. We get to start it again.
We get to question all things. We get to go to the Lord and ask for the ministration of angels and personal visitations from heavenly beings and healings and tongues and baptism by fire and all the miracles that we have been promised since the beginning. We get to receive counsel directly from the Lord. In order to do this, though, we still have to shake off false traditions. I don’t know how to do this, and most certainly not how to tell someone else how to do it, but I know that if we don’t figure it out, we’re just going to have a different version of what we had before – and we will once again be bound in chains we formed ourselves, prevented from receiving the fullness by pride and fear.
I’ve already ‘fessed up” my relationship with Linda Jules Martindale, so I can share openly that I think maybe she’s onto something in her blog, “Journey to the Fullness”. She’s not another Denver. She’s not to be followed, but if we don’t learn from each other as well as from the Lord, we will never progress to the principles that will be required if we are to establish Zion and receive of the fullness of the gospel. There are many of us who have been given knowledge and understanding that will lead us to Zion, and we must share and learn freely and openly.
I also want to publically thank all the Saints who failed to establish Zion while Joseph was alive. I want to thank those members of the 12 who “apostatized”, as well as those whom I think hijacked the restoration. I want to thank them for showing us that ordinary men and women can do spectacular things, even if they are spectacular failures. I want to thank them for falling prey to jarrings and contentions and envyings and strifes. Through their sacrifice, they have laid out a blueprint for us today – a blueprint showing us very clearly what pitfalls we need to avoid! If we fail this time around, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. You know – I can’t help but think that those good people who struggled and failed (did they really fail?) are actually cheering for us to succeed this time. I think they’re cheering in hope that their efforts won’t have been in vain.
Where is this all leading? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that we cannot afford to just recreate what has been created before. Even considering the Cities of Enoch, Salem and the post resurrection Nephites – this has never been done before. Never before has this combination of circumstances existed on this earth, and never before has a group of Saints like us been called to do something so extraordinary. We must break out of the chains that have bound us and reach for the heavens! We must seek earnestly for pure, white truth – the truth that rejects no light. We must cast aside fear and jealousies and receive the fullness. We must take our Savior at His word and believe His promises. The glory that awaits us is beyond our imagination. Again, I don’t know all the secrets or the how-tos, but I am learning to see the future with greater and greater clarity. It will be realized one step at a time – often into darkness where the light has not yet been revealed. Still, I believe Him. He has promised. The Lord does not break promises. Oh, the Glory that awaits us!