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REUNION TALK May 16, 2016: Pointing to Zion – Four Scriptures

I would like to open today with a “Thus Sayeth the Lord” moment.  Thus sayeth the Lord… “I love you!”

Last week, actually about 10 days ago, I was struck by the need to pray for those among us whose spouses do not believe the same way.  Then, when we arrived here, we see that Brett and Samantha (Corbridge) are also concerned about these things as evidenced by the books they have given us: Unequally Yoked.  I, then would like to encourage us to pray for those.  It is such a difficult situation!unequally yoked

I don’t receive much in the way of visions, but I do feel things, and I hear the voice of the Lord.  I often have “get up and write” moments while I’m praying.  The following is an excerpt from one of them:

“It is time for the work to commence.  You are not yet completely prepared for the work I have for you to do.   Do not fear that you must experience my suffering.  I drank of the bitter cup that you might not have to.  The fact that you are willing, even if filled with trepidation, is what is important.  This willingness qualified you for the work.  I am so glad to have you with me.  The blessings that await you are greater than you can imagine.  The compassion that is within you – the pure love of Christ, must come to the forefront in your life – it must define you.  I will grant unto you the ability to discern those who are in need, to whom I would have you minister, but you must consciously seek.  Your work is to minister, not to administer.  Leave that for others, even as I do.  Your message to the world is of me; of my love, compassion and mercy.  Your message is a message of repentance, but not even so much a message of warning, but more of an invitation to come unto me and receive of my love.  Love is indeed the power that governs my creation.  You can see that, and you must share it – by word and by deed – with the world in these last days…these very last days.  Cast out all feelings that are not of me.  You are getting much better at this – at recognizing them and rooting them out, but you must be even better; even perfect.  It must become natural, instinctive so that it is part of you, that it defines you. March 26, 2015

my journey to the fullness imageFor those who do not know me, my name is Scott Stover, although I may be better known in these circles as “Jules’ step father”.  I mention this not only because I hope you think it’s funny, but to help frame my confession that she and my wife, Diana dragged me into this whole “gathering” thing kicking and screaming. I could resist Jules well enough, but resisting my dear, sweet wife was a whole other matter.  Resist I did, though, until I was forced on September 10 of last year (2014) to ask the Lord Himself whether Denver Snuffer was a true messenger.  I was told unequivocally, “Yes”.  I learned then that asking the Lord for knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but it sure made life around the Stover home a lot more peaceful.  It was shortly after then that the Lord further told me, “Denver’s message is not about the Church, it is about ME!”

In 1997, toward the end of a series of what I consider to be miraculous manifestations, I made my first ever promise to God – at least, the first one that I’ve kept.  I promised that I would “seek to know Him.”  He then proceeded to seal that promise with the final manifestation.  It wasn’t until much later that I connected that promise with the words of John 17:3:

For this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sen

It was only recently that I realized that, in sealing my promise to seek to know Him, the Lord actually sealed me up unto eternal life.
grand mesa 3Why do I tell you this?  I tell you this because it is central to my message to you today.  While Denver opened the scriptures in a way I had never been exposed to before, the message was always there – in the scriptures.  We just needed to receive it.  I just needed to receive it.  I’m thankful to Denver that he helped me realize that.  This message, the message of the scriptures, is the Lord saying, “Come! Know me!  I will give you rest – even unto eternal life”.  The invitation is essentially the same invitation and promise that the Lord made to me on that cool November morning in 1997.  Christ doesn’t make idle promises.

I have come to realize that the promise of Zion is itself a type and shadow of Christ.  I believe that to know Zion is to know Christ.  In a very real sense, they are inseparable.  The invitation to Zion has been offered to His people since the Garden of Eden.  With rare well-known exceptions, His people seem to have rejected it.  The Israelites rejected it in the desert of Sinai.  The Jaredites rejected it on the American continent, as did the post resurrection Nephites and, most recently, the Latter-day Saints.  How many times has the Lord said, “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land”?  Then there’s the converse promise, “and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments, ye shall be cut off from my presence.”  Since “prospering in the land“ and being “cut off from my presence” are presented as counterpoints, one might well assume that to prosper in the land – the opposite of being cut off from His presence – actually means to dwell in His presence.  One thing I’m sure of – “prospering in the land” has precious little to do with accumulating wealth or wearing silver and gold and fine-twined linen.  No, I believe every time the Lord made this “ye shall prosper in the land” promise, he was inviting His people to Zion.  In my mind, the scriptures themselves scream “Come to Zion”.  The message of Zion is overall a message of peace, love, rest, and redemption.  In the context of this mortal existence, babylon is the great lie.  Zion is the great promise.  Zion is the promised reality for those who would follow Christ.

So, how do we hope to realize Zion?  We are told in the scriptures that Zion is the pure in heart, where there will be no poor among us, and where Christ Himself may come and dwell.  Personally, as I’ve contemplated what kind of changes must take place in my own life in order for me to be able to participate in such a community, I’ve been overwhelmed.  Just implementing Zion in my own family – a real work-in-progress – is hard enough.  Shedding the decades, the centuries, the millenia of indoctrination in the ways of babylon is a daunting task that is not to be taken lightly.  Only with the greatest faith, knowing that, as I said, Christ doesn’t make idle promises, am I able to resist running off into the night screaming in despair and embracing once again the familiar comforts of pride, fear, self-reliance, and the accumulation of wealth.  Satan is indeed a masterful liar.

As I’ve contemplated these changes that must be accomplished if we are to come together as a Zion community, I’ve settled on 4 scriptures – indeed 4 among many – that I think point the way and illustrate the reality of what we must seek.  Before I continue, I want to make it clear that these are thoughts I have constantly about myself.  They are indicators of how far I have to go; of things I have to work on. Please do not assume that, just because I talk about it, I have this whole Zion thing nailed, or that I’m even close.   If they happen to have a familiar ring for you, well, so be it, but I in no way intend to be making accusations or pointing fingers at anyone.  That said, I still suspect that you’re not much different from me and that we will all find these challenges very familiar.  Now, the 4 scriptures.Grand Mesa 1

I begin with 3 Nephi 11:29:

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. 

In my mind, this conjures of the whole idea of competition, something that is a cornerstone of western society.  It has been drilled into us from our earliest memory that we only have worth as compared with others.  Competition and comparison in our society is perpetuated by things like grades in school, sports, and the accumulation of wealth.  Although this scripture says that contention is of the devil, and clearly the devil can have no place in Zion, our culture is imbued with the spirit of competition.  This idea of competition clearly must be left behind.

What fosters competition and thus contention?  The answer to this is extremely complex, of course, but we may start by examining the second of the four scriptures.  This is D&C 67:10-12:

 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.

 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.

 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.

You know how sometimes you read a scripture, and even though you may have read it dozens of times before, this time it just takes on a whole new meaning?  Well, in this case, that time was probably somewhere in late 2011. I was stunned.  Here was the Lord boldly inviting us to see His face, and giving us a recipe as to how – very similar to D&C 93:1.  Since then, the significance of this scripture has been revealed to me countless times, in greater and greater detail and clarity.  The depth of the phrase “jealousies and fears” is endless.  Every time I react to a situation with contention, I can trace it back to “jealousies and fears”.  Every time I feel anxiety, I can detect the “jealousies and fears” that are behind it.  Resentment?  Jealousies and fears.  Covetousness?  Jealousies and fears.  Lust – after ANYTHING…Jealousies and fears.  Anyone want to venture a guess as to what was behind the jarrings and contentions and envyings and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires that polluted the inheritances of the Saints in Missouri?  (D&C 101:6)  That’s right – “Jealousies and fears”.  Now, let’s take this a step further.  In Moses 7:16, speaking of the people who fought against God during Enoch’s day:

And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.

To me, this means that the Lord will dwell with us in Zion.  In D&C 67:10, stripping ourselves of jealousies and fears is a pre-requisite for being able to see his face “not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual”.  Imagine, then, what it would take to be able to dwell with Him in Zion.  I submit that “jealousies and fears” is the opposite of “pure in heart”.

Jealousies and fears implies a mistrust of the Lord.  They imply a lack of gratitude and of a testimony of who we are as God’s children.  They deny the atonement, and thus deny His sacrifice.  Faith, hope, charity…these replace jealousies and fears.  There can be no place for such things in a Zion heart.  I have also learned to recognize that most such sentiments can be traced to one of the greatest lies ever perpetuated by Satan – the lie of personal property or ownership.  This is the idea that our “stuff” is ours and we have the right to use it as we choose.  This leads us to the 3rd scripture, D&C 70:14, which says:

Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

grand mesa 2This is another of those scriptures that I read in the last couple of years and went, “Wow! – How did I miss that before?”  It appears that a lot of people have missed this one, because I never hear it used in any discussion about anything.  Good Grief!  It pretty much tells us right there that if we continue to hold onto our temporal things – if we continue to perpetuate the concept of personal ownership of property – the abundance of manifestations of the Spirit will be withheld.  I’m in awe of this scripture.  Right here, in exactly 25 words, is the explanation why we no longer speak in tongues, have visitations from angels, experience miraculous healings…all the gifts of the spirit mentioned in so many places.  (1 Corinthians 12, Moroni 10, Mormon 9).  This, my friends, simply because we cannot seem to overcome the idea that our stuff is ours.  Well, it’s not.  None of it is ours.  We are only stewards, and the only “right” we have over our “stuff” is the right to do with it as He commands us.  Until we learn this – and it is a terribly difficult thing to learn – we will never be able to dwell in a Zion community.  We will NEVER, as a community, be able to welcome Him to dwell among us.  There will be no place for Him to come, because our inheritances will remain forever polluted by our pride and jealousies and fears.

The 4th scripture is also one that is very familiar to us all.  It is from D&C section 121:41-46:

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

I could talk all day on this section of scripture.  When I was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood in June of 1999, I was asked by my stake president, Stephen Scott – a man for whom I have great love and respect – if I had anything to say.  I opened my scriptures and read this. When I was finished I simply closed the book and said, “Gentlemen, this is the kind of man I want to be”.  That desire has never left me.  The more I have lived, the more I have learned that this is a synopsis of the Gospel itself in…let’s see – that’s 181 words.  Not quite as economical as D&C 70:14, but still pretty succinct if you ask me.

As it pertains to Zion, we absolutely must adopt the spirit of this scripture.  We must learn to understand that everyone is on their own journey, learning the things they need to learn in the way they need to learn them.  We must assume that everyone is doing their very best to follow the Savior, even if it is obvious to us in our perfect wisdom that they are misguided.  J  We must realize that the Savior grants them the same understanding, mercy, kindness, and patience that He grants to us, and that we have absolutely no right to usurp that through our own short-sightedness and selfishness – even our jealousies and fears.  The patience of Job will be an understatement.  Zion will be filled with people like me who have really good desires, but whose execution is far from perfect.  After all, I only know of one person whose execution approaches perfection, and she sleeps beside me every night.

Let’s further re-examine verse 45:

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

Now, let’s recall that Christ will dwell among us when we have established a Zion to which He can come.  When that day comes, I want to be able to look upon His face with confidence; not arrogance, but confidence…confidence in my own integrity, in my charity, and in His love and mercy.  I don’t want to be cowering in a corner afraid to face Him.  By the time He comes to Zion, I pray that the doctrine of the priesthood, the fullness of the priesthood, shall have distilled upon my soul and simply be a part of me – that it shall actually define me, as His love defines Him.  I want to look into His eyes and see them smile, and I want to be able to fully drink that smile – the living water – into my soul.  The instructions are there – given to us with unmistakable clarity.  Truly, if we will follow them, we shall never thirst.

So, I think in these four scriptures we can get a pretty good idea of what is going to be required of us as builders and residents of Zion.  We must reject contention, largely by stripping ourselves of pride, jealousies and fears.  We must divorce ourselves from the adversary’s lie of ownership of stuff and replace that with a cheerful stewardship over the blessings that have been showered upon us.  If we get this far, we may be prepared that our bowels will be full of charity towards all men, that we might receive the fullness of the priesthood and endure the presence of God.

My friends, these are not easy things to do – they are not overnight changes.  In my case I have spent more than 62 years learning and practicing the lies that Satan would have us believe.  I’ve given these things much thought because I don’t know how in the world I’m ever going to measure up.  Still, I can’t turn back.  I’ve quoted before the image I got from one of Annalea Eastley’s blogs a couple of years go – that of standing at a cliff, gazing into the unknown.  Beyond is either certain death or eternal life.  As she told the story, she finally took a few steps back, and ran forward, leaping into the abyss, trusting that not only would the Lord catch her, but that she would soar on the wings that the Lord provided her.  Annalea – I think this story gets better every time I tell it!  This is our story, brothers and sisters.  If we want Zion, we will have to leap into the unknown.  Babylon would have us believe we are leaping into darkness.  We’re not!  We’re jumping into the light.  We must choose light – every hour of every day.  We must leave the fall behind us.  We must refuse to own it.  Christ died that we might be redeemed from the fall.  Let us cast it off!  It does not have to be part of us!  We are not sinners!  Hear me world!!!  WE ARE NOT SINNERS!  We are a Zion people! I pray that we will embrace this gospel of peace and love and march to Zion – wherever we may find it – wherever the Lord leads us.

If we are to build Zion, we must love.  We must love as Christ loves.  There will be people who will need to control.  We must love them.  There will be those who will be crippled by fear.  We must comfort them.  There will be those who have various things to learn.  We must teach them.  The promise of Zion is the promise of Christ on this earth.  To know Zion is to know Him.  I covenanted almost 18 years ago that I would seek to know Him.  Little did I know that, in keeping that promise, I would be standing here today among so many of His true followers.  We have His sure promise that if we will keep His commandments, we will prosper in the land.  The Lord does not make idle promises.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

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4 comments on “REUNION TALK May 16, 2016: Pointing to Zion – Four Scriptures

  1. I love the pictures that you included in this post. Did you take them, and are they all of the Grand Mesa? I was at my Nephew’s High School Graduation and it was wonderful hearing the Superintendent speak of how he will be praying for all the students tonight and shared the prayer that he was guided to write down and quoted 2nd Timothy. It was great to hear truth and light in a “Education/Secular Setting”.

    Make sure to give some more details about this weekend as well. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! Love, Sister Sally

  2. I felt the substance and the light of truth in your remarks, Scott. Your comments on our addiction to our physical belongings reminds me of a little card I designed for my Gospel Doctrine class and posted on Scribd:

    • Thanks so much, Horst. Yes – I like this very much! It is so hard to learn, though.

      WHEREAS the bearer of this title
      is a highly favored son or daughter
      of God, BE IT KNOWN that he or
      she has the right of stewardship
      over any and all resources of the
      mortal realm that may come his
      or her way by any means including
      but not limited to creation, inheri-
      tance, purchase, trading, gifting,happenstance, borrowing, theft,
      plunder or deception. Choose well

  3. There’s a back side to the card as well. And, yes, giving up our addiction to our belongings is remarkably difficult.

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