Please spread the word if you are in the Los Angeles area:
Please spread the word if you are in the Los Angeles area:
As we talked about before, Denver Snuffer mentioned in his outline of how to preserve the Restoration that a new temple would need to be built:
“Heaven will look for a temple in Zion to accurately reflect the pattern of heaven. When they see it has been built, they will come to embrace its builders and kiss their necks (Moses 7:63). They will only come when we are their sons and daughters, fully restored to the Family of God, united with them in belief, covenant, knowledge, and filled with the glory of God, which is intelligence.” p. 144.
“There is nothing special about us, but there can be. We do not need hundreds of temples, but will need one to which Christ can come. We will not need to perform endless work for the dead until first there has been a covenant made by God with us. We must be first connected to the fathers in heaven. Only then can we do something to liberate the dead.” pp. 526-527.
Much is said about the revelation in D&C 85 about the one “mighty and strong,” (which we believe could be referring to Christ Himself) but not much is mentioned about Joseph Smith’s inclusion of a reference to Ezra. The pertinent part of the revelation reads:
And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, he will also fulfil. And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High; Therefore, it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest, as will be found recorded in the second chapter and sixty-first and second verses of Ezra. (D&C 85:7-12).
In ancient times, citing a simple reference often served as a means by which to call to mind a host of related ideas from the setting and context of the quote that was briefly stated (see Jesus’ use of the first verse of Psalms 22 to call to mind the fulfillment of verses 7-8 and the rest of the Psalm while hanging on the cross — Mark 15:34).
Could Joseph Smith’s reference to Ezra 2:61-62 be using a similar technique to bring to mind a relevant storyline for when his prophecy was going to be fulfilled? Included below is the full story of the time when the Jews returned from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, but were halted by opposition:
¶And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name: These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.
¶The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
¶And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments. So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities. And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening. They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
¶Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off. Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
¶And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue. Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort: Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites, And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and at such a time.
¶This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at such a time. Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. Now because we have maintenance from the king’s palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king’s dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king; That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.
¶Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time. The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them. Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
¶Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.
The prophet Haggai declared the Lord’s response to the situation.
Haggai (words of the Lord in bold italics)
In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
¶Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
¶Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord. Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.
¶In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord: Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the Lord. Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
¶And again the word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.
Part of Haggai’s prophecy could have been fulfilled when Jesus accepted the temple of Zerubbabel (later called the temple of Herod) as his house.
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Mark 11:17).
When Moses said to reject prophets who speak falsely in the name of the Lord when their prophecies don’t come to pass, the reverse is also implied: that a true prophet with a message from the Lord will have prophecies that do come to pass.
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22).
Sometimes pieces of their prophecies come to pass while other parts refer to more future events (see 3 Nephi 15:6), and sometimes they are fulfilled more than once in a crescendo of relevance to the words spoken, kind of like themes. In the case of Haggai, the Lord accepted the house spoken of, as well as caused a great earthquake at his death, “Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.” Despite this prophecy having end of days language, these facts about Jesus’ mortal ministry time period could already lend credibility to the idea that Haggai was a legitimate prophet. The question remains, do we face similar circumstances today, and do the principles involved in these scriptures apply when a current temple fund is suggested, and opposition is mounted, including cries that the poor will not be supported if a temple fund is established? According to the Lord in Haggai’s prophecy, the Jews of that day faced poverty because they were slow to build a temple. Modern-day revelation says:
Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name. (D&C 124:39, emphasis added).
Based on this modern-day declaration, Denver Snuffer added, “God’s people are always required to build a temple. Therefore, there needs to be preparation for the coming commandment” (Denver Snuffer, Temple Fund Website).
Donations to the current temple fund effort can be made at thetemplefund.net.
I was interviewed on Shawn McCraney’s “Heart of the Matter” internet TV show about this site and the fellowship movement.
The LDS Church makes a lot of use of councils and committees. From the Ward level all the way to the First Presidency, projects and ideas are discussed, debated, and planned ad nauseum until, generally speaking, consensus is reached. In the higher councils, unanimity is required based on scriptural precedent (see the D&C 107 verses below). Yet, many decisions contradict scriptural absolutes, and much time is wasted in meeting after endless meeting, until mediocrity wins out, and until debate gives way to settling on the least common denominator, or the path of least resistance. At other times, a strong-headed chairman/chairwoman makes the final decision despite whatever good advice the council comes up with, making it even more of a waste of time as the heavy hand of a leader with an inflated ego imposes his or her will. It leads one to ask, is there any use to councils and committees in the first place?
In the fellowships of Mormon Christians who meet outside of LDS jurisdictional control, there is sometimes the perfectly understandable and natural response to reject all things LDS, to allow for a fresh start at preserving the Restoration. Yet, this approach can easily throw the baby out with the bath water. If we took the time to forgo the initial revulsion we legitimately feel concerning recent wounds and fresh memories of things done the wrong way, we might see some important elements that ought to be included in what we are trying to preserve, instead of discarding them outright.
Here are some scriptures supporting councils and work in committees:
And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen. (D&C 26:2)
And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other—A majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise—Unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were righteous and holy men. (D&C 107:27-29)
The second reference is in the context of introducing the duties of the councils of the various bodies of General Authorities in the LDS Church, but it shows a useful procedural option for any relevant council, if unanimity is the chosen standard. Another procedural option is the democratic approach, with a majority ruling. Unanimity has the attractive quality of ensuring nobody goes home disappointed, and to outsiders, it looks very impressive when a council achieves it. This fact has the very real danger of puffing up the members of such a council to prideful boasting and self-congratulatory rhetoric about the soundness and quality of their decisions. Therefore, to alleviate this danger, the scripture in section 107 further states:
The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long-suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; Because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. (D&C 107:30-31)
The fact that the decisions need to be righteous is so important that the revelation includes provisions for vetoing bad decisions.
And in case that any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness, it may be brought before a general assembly of the several quorums, which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church; otherwise there can be no appeal from their decision. (D&C 107:32)
The phrase “otherwise there can be no appeal from their decision” should not be read as there is an expiration date on the veto power for any given decision, but that this is the only procedure by which to obtain a veto against decisions by quorums of General Authorities in the LDS Church. Also, “general assembly” should not be read as an assembly of general authorities only, but a general assembly that is church-wide, such as a general conference, where all the members can vote (even though this is not in practice in the LDS Church today). We touched on these points before, but keep the principles in mind as we discuss their application to fellowships where there are no offices and no general authorities.
Presiding Authority in Councils and Committees
Even by the time of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, the word “preside” had become corrupted.
PRESI’DE, v.i. s as z. [L. proesideo; proe, before, and sedeo, to sit.]
1. To be set over for the exercise of authority; to direct, control and govern, as the chief officer. A man may preside over a nation or province; or he may preside over a senate, or a meeting of citizens. The word is used chiefly in the latter sense. We say, a man presides over the senate with dignity. Hence it usually denotes temporary superintendence and government.2. To exercise superintendence; to watch over as inspector.
Christ mentioned this as a phenomenon among the Gentiles.
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25-28).
However, the word history shows the prefix and suffix denote “to sit before.”
preside (v.) 1610s, from French présider “preside over, govern” (15c.), from Latin praesidere “stand guard; superintend,” literally “sit in front of,” from prae “before” (see pre-) + sedere “to sit” (see sedentary).
In some circles, “preside” takes on the original definition of “to sit in council,” and functionally, they are discussion facilitators, with the role switching on a yearly basis. Frankly, this role can switch from meeting to meeting. The person who presides is not allowed to vote during their tenure. They are supposed to announce the will of the council once consensus is reached, without modification, and see that proper principles are employed in the decision making that all have agreed to beforehand (like the doctrine of Christ, for instance…they only veto if the decisions go against that).
The president, since they are excused from voting, has a role to watch and see that D&C 107:30 is carried out, that, “The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long-suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; Because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord.”
In other words, a group can pick someone to watch out for deviances from the scriptures, while the rest are free to openly discuss and debate, and they switch off who “watches” over the scriptures from time to time. This fits the model of a teacher, with not all being spokesman at once (D&C 88:122), as found in the pattern of a president in a school of the prophets: “And this shall be the order of the house of the presidency of the school: He that is appointed to be president, or teacher, shall be found standing in his place, in the house which shall be prepared for him” (D&C 88:128; see also vs. 127-141).
That role has definitely been corrupted in the LDS Church. Even still, the president suggesting scriptures that are being deviated from can only suggest and the council takes up their suggestions in their debate…a president still shouldn’t vote–ever. It doesn’t elevate anyone to fill that role no more than it does to pick someone to record the minutes of the meeting. That’s how the United States’ Constitutional Conventions were run at times, but the rules of order that developed reverence and respect for the role of the “chair” have led others to believe that puts honor on the person itself, and not the role, and even the President of the US is now more powerful than he ought to be. Today in the LDS Church, D&C 107:30-31 is ignored out of ignorance and out of an idolatrous worship of unanimity. Unanimous voice is useless without D&C 107:30-31, and becomes an iron band, with all future councils respecting the decisions of past councils, no matter how erroneous, until a reformer swindles their rhetoric to make it sound like they are still in conformity (So let it be written, so let it be done). They never realize they can discard unrighteous decisions by assembly of other quorums to recognize the faults. There is no need for unanimity for unanimity’s sake. But, there is a need to be unanimous in the principles of righteousness as they apply to any council decision at hand, even if that means undoing previous council decisions as they are discovered to be unrighteous. It turns out that the Lord’s example is the most righteous, with presiding “authority” being synonymous with servitude, and not decision-making power.
No Offices Needed
In this suggestion, there is no need for offices in the fellowships. I think each individual fellowship is getting better, but when we communicate across fellowships, it is sometimes the wild west. The problem is, when more than one fellowship is involved, committees could be an efficient way to facilitate cross-fellowship projects, but committees face the same problems we had in LDS world. To avoid potential abuse, committees could be seriously limited in their power by making them temporary, and by shifting responsibility, with common consent being fixed in general conferences of the fellowships. There would be no offices, only functions and assignments. There are various ways to organize that fit well within certain contexts. Manifestations of organizational particulars are changeable, but scriptural principles for how to organize are more intriguing. Today in fellowships, we are opting for less efficiency, which means a lot less risk. It doesn’t mean we can fault the scriptures for advocating the opposite in different circumstances. We can fault the abuses that have crept up around them, and point to a better scriptural precedent, and leave efficiency behind to a large degree. Efficiency is incredibly tempting (note the storyline in Star Wars with Senator Palpatine getting Senate support for Clone War military powers for efficiency’s sake, but never relinquishing those powers after the emergency). However, we have so much to do to organize our own personal lives first. Denver Snuffer rightly observed: “Rebuild faith through repentance. Once the inward part has been cleansed there will be time to worry about the outward part” (Preserving the Restoration, p. 230).
However, we don’t need to be completely inefficient when we organize. Anytime something smacks of being LDS 2.0, people raise a cry of “You are correlating,” or “You are worshiping Denver Snuffer.” Sometimes fear of change stifles all change. It is clear efficiency is a risk / reward scenario. The greater the efficiency, like concentrating decision making into smaller groups of people, or in one individual, the greater risk for abuse. We should be wise if we think there is any benefit to temporary committees. Being “president for a day,” or having a committee exist until a task is complete, means no offices are needed, and the potential for abuse is limited. Or, shorter terms, such as one year, or for the duration of a project, can be adopted. Personally, I like having some chaos, and the slow inefficiency of switching roles each meeting, so as to allow for anyone interested to fill a role and learn something from it. It is more like a “function need” than an office. However, sitting around like the Quakers with nothing facilitated until someone is moved to say something can become stagnant and boring. Any ideas generated under this model often get squashed quickly by contention and unbelief, with the consensus moving towards not saying anything at all, and not getting anything done.
Here are some of the ways Joseph Smith tried to tackle ecclesiastical balance of power:
TPJS,>>>By Mutual Consent
Section One 1830-34, p.23
The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties; for to give the Bishop power to say how much every man shall have, and he be obliged to comply with the Bishop’s judgment, is giving to the Bishop more power than a king has; and, upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs, and the Bishop be obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion, and make a slave of the Bishop. The fact is, there must be a balance or equilibrium of power, between the Bishop and the people; and thus harmony and good-will may be preserved among you….
Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the Bishop in Zion, and then receiving an inheritance back, must reasonably show to the Bishop that they need as much as they claim. But in case the two parties cannot come to a mutual agreement, the Bishop is to have nothing to do about receiving such consecrations; and the case must be laid before a council of twelve High Priests, the Bishop not being one of the council, but he is to lay the case before them.
We don’t have to recreate Joseph Smith’s organization style that pandered to a desire to implement the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church. We can and should use, however, principles from the Restoration to organize in ways that are more mature, and less structured.
Secrecy in Councils and Committees
And lastly some thoughts about common consent, and the justification for temporary secrecy in a council, even though the danger of secret combinations are evident throughout the scriptures (i.e., it’s the purpose of the secrecy that counts). There is a dichotomy between being secretive for the right reasons versus being secretive for the wrong reasons, which hinges around the purpose for the secrecy, and the duration of the secrecy. If a general conference of the fellowships decides by common consent to create a committee, the committee is accountable the whole time to the general assembly of people, but this model sometimes engenders too much strife and efforts fall flat due to lack of motivation and opposition.
If a group does good of their own desire, keeping it secret doesn’t mean it has to represent an insider clic or evil secret combination…it could represent their desire to work unimpeded from the temptation to not complete the task. As soon as you announce you are doing something, the motivation to complete it waxes cold, or opposition and contention and misunderstanding can quash it.
After the task is complete, like Denver Snuffer’s example of a prophet completing the task to be able to later be given the title “prophet,” then all can consent to the finished work as “good” or acceptable. Thus, common consent is preserved, and the dilemma of a committee being appointed by a general conference, that fails to produce the desired outcome, is avoided. We wait until we get the desired outcome from independent fellowships or smaller cohorts and–after the fact–consent to accept their production. An example of this dilemma is found in the Council of Fifty records, where a committee was appointed to revise the United States Constitution. They hemmed and they hawed, gave excuses for its lack of completion, then finally asked Joseph Smith to take over by being on their committee, to which he refused. Then, the revelation that the whole council was the Lord’s “Constitution” (as opposed to Joseph Smith singularly) came, and the project ended as later Joseph Smith was martyred in part over their presumptuous appointment of Joseph as a king to the council. Obviously many judged Joseph Smith for having secret Council of Fifty meetings, and Anointed Quorum meetings, all while others used the secrecy to promote legitimacy for the spiritual wifery doctrine.
We ought to steer clear of judging others as being presumptuous for trying to do good. Let God judge the motives, and let common consent judge the outcomes. To judge them beforehand is to provide opposition to a potentially good endeavor, and squash it before it has born fruit. Or, in Joseph Smith’s case, produce a martyr instead of the kingdom of God.
If it is a wicked endeavor, the fruits will display themselves soon enough, without our meddling. Let’s consider how difficult it is to complete something for the Lord with Satan opposing us at every turn…consider how hard it was for Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon, then apply that logic to the Council of Fifty.
On the other hand, an example of this working well is the production of the Spanish version of the Second Comforter. Also, the production of some good conferences, including the one in Boise. Doubtless, some of our efforts will fall flat, but there is no need to condemn those who have failed in some material aspect. We get to try again.
Another project that’s been announced is the compilation of a pure form of standard works scriptures set. We ought to uphold those involved with our faith and prayers, (even if we don’t know who is working on it), since they’ve announced their intentions at the last general conference. It sounds like a huge undertaking, and we should assume the best of those involved, and judge only the product after they are done. We can always accept or reject their efforts, but praying for them allows for the best possible outcome due to our combined faith. Sure, it would be nice to know everything everyone else is hatching up, but let’s consider how difficult it is to complete something for the Lord with Satan opposing us at every turn…again consider how hard it was for Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon. Sure, it would be easy to say every effort is an attempt to rush up the pass, to use Denver’s vision metaphor, but there are many things to do at the bottom of the pass that don’t constitute rushing up the pass (like the examples above), even if some efforts obviously fit that description.
More Quotes from Joseph Smith
As I’ve been reading the Council of Fifty records…the very first day the council met, we have this gem from Joseph:
The brethren then began each to express his views of the subject set forth in the letter. It was encouraging to witness the union of feelings which prevailed on the subject [ . . . ] Pres. Joseph said he wanted all the brethren to speak their minds on this subject and to say what was in their hearts whether good or bad. He did not want to be forever surrounded by a set of ‘dough heads’ and if they did not rise up and shake themselves and exercise themselves in discussing these important matters he should consider them nothing better than ‘dough heads.’ He gave some good advice which seemed to have due effect. The meeting was prolonged being occupied by several of the brethren speaking their views untill [sic] a late hour when upon motion the meeting adjourned untill [sic] tomorrow at 9 o clock A.M. [p. ]. (Sunday, 10 Mar 1844, The Joseph Smith Papers: Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846, p. 39. It is William Clayton narrating from crib notes that he copied and expounded on starting the year after Joseph’s martyrdom. The account is of the first meeting,which began earlier in the day and continued in the afternoon).
A month later, the Council of Fifty received a report from a committee that had been assigned to re-draft the Constitution of the US and perfect it to include more reference to pure principles from heaven. They didn’t get anything done due to the absence of one of the committee members, Parley P. Pratt…and it sounded like he was traveling away from Nauvoo for a while. Joseph said:
Pres. Joseph arose to give some instructions to the council & especially to the committee. He commenced by showing, that the reason why men always failed to establish important measures was, because in their organization they never could agree to disagree long enough to select the pure gold from the dross by the process of investigation. He said that it was right always to judge in favor of the innocent, and it was wrong always, to judge in favor of the guilty He wanted to see a constitution that would compel a man to execute justice in favor of the innocent. (Thursday, 4 April 1844, The Joseph Smith Papers: Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846, p. 79).
In a temporary council or committee, you can avoid giving a president abusive powers by having a president watch over the scriptures and not vote, who only has veto power based on their understanding of the scriptures, but no decision making power…this would throw the decision back to the council to provide a more persuasive decision that is in righteousness.
The duty of the council or committee is to achieve either unanimity or democratic majority, whichever is chosen for the task at hand, perhaps based on importance. They will also be striving for a righteous decision, but there can be a benefit to having someone sit out of the debate so they can facilitate the discussion and pay more attention to the list in D&C 107:30: “The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long-suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; Because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord.”
See Robert’s Rules of Order for good notes on how a president can facilitate the decision making process of the council or committee members.
A committee can be organized on smaller scales, and be kept secret until they produce good work, and then present their work in a general conference for acceptance, or a general conference can appoint a committee for a specific general cross-fellowship task and receive periodic updates and reports. Once the tasks are complete, the committees can be dissolved.
Also, there is no use to have a committee or council if the tasks can be accomplished reasonably without them.
For today’s post-LDS gospel dispensation, the servant of the Lord instructed: “How does the authority to baptize come? Because John the Baptist laid his hand on Joseph and Oliver, we have continued the practice to lay hands to confer Aaronic Priesthood. We should continue to respect that tradition. No one should baptize until they have had Aaronic priesthood conferred on them by someone who can trace their authority back to John the Baptist, through Joseph and Oliver.” (Denver Snuffer, “Preserving the Restoration,” p. 508).
The LDS Church doesn’t keep a record of Aaronic Priesthood lines of authority; nor does it keep a record of the date of the conferral of a particular priesthood, only the record of significant ordinations to office, which are subsequently traced as their version of a line of authority (see https://www.lds.org/help/support/request-a-priesthood-line-of-authority?lang=eng). An ordination to an office often occurs on the same day and at the same time as the conferral of priesthood. As the LDS typically ordain men first to the office of “elder” when conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood, the line of authority for an elder will be the one closest to their priesthood conferral date, as opposed to an ordaining as a seventy, high priest, apostle, or patriarch. If you have record of a pre-April 2014 LDS priesthood conferral for Aaronic Priesthood and want to use that for your entry in the line, then that would seem sufficient. You will likely have trouble obtaining the dates for all of your prior line members for the same, however, because of what was mentioned above about the lack of records for Aaronic Priesthood lines.
However, in beautiful parallelism and in somewhat of a chiasmus, the LDS temple ceremony used to call the Aaronic Priesthood the “lower level of the Melchizedek Priesthood,” at the same time as calling their Melchizedek Priesthood the “higher level of the Aaronic Priesthood” (see Anderson, Devery Scott, “Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History,” p. xxxiii). This is, of course, in a different context than Denver Snuffer’s descriptions of priesthood categories in chapter 5 of “Preserving the Restoration” titled “Priesthood,” but it is fitting for the context of this post. Therefore, the date when one obtained what the LDS call “Melchizedek Priesthood,” (again, provided this is before April 2014 general conference), could be considered the culmination of their receipt of the Aaronic Priesthood (and, of course, only in terms of it being an authoritative invitation to obtain power from God to perform service in his name). The notes in our post here describe how to confer the priesthood with authority subsequent to the LDS Church’s apostasy, and won’t be repeated here.
But, as far as passing on a line of authority goes, if someone in the line was ordained legitimately in the LDS Church, one could reckon their date from their latest office ordination (as the LDS Church does), or choose the date for their ordination as an elder to tie it closer to the latest conferral of priesthood, or choose the date of the Aaronic Priesthood office, if that is all that is available (or, if that is what is considered preferable). Then, at Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery’s level in the line, tie the line to the conferral of the Aaronic Priesthood through John the Baptist, or to the date at which the voice of God conferred on them the Melchizedek Priesthood in the chamber of old Father Whitmer in June 1829 (see D&C 128:20-21 and History, 1838-1856, volume A-1 [23 Dec 1805 – 30 Aug 1834], pp. 26-29), or mention both.
Such a line would look something like this:
LINE OF AUTHORITY
BRIAN ZANG received the Melchizedek Priesthood and was ordained an elder February 22, 1998.
[Full name] was ordained an elder …1977.
[Full name] was ordained an elder …1967.
[Full name] was ordained a high priest …1952.
LE GRAND RICHARDS was ordained an apostle April 10, 1952.
DAVID O. McKAY was ordained an apostle April 9, 1906.
JOSEPH F. SMITH was ordained an apostle July 1, 1866.
BRIGHAM YOUNG was ordained an apostle February 14, 1835.
THE THREE WITNESSES, OLIVER COWDERY, DAVID WHITMER, and MARTIN HARRIS were called by revelation to choose the twelve apostles February 14, 1835 (D&C 18; http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minute-book-1/153).
JOSEPH SMITH, JR. and OLIVER COWDERY received the Aaronic Priesthood on the banks of the Susquehanna River on May 15, 1829 from John the Baptist (JS-History 1:68-72).
JOHN THE BAPTIST (D&C 84:27-28).
JOSEPH SMITH, JR. and OLIVER COWDERY received the Melchizedek Priesthood in the chamber of Old Father Whitmer and were ordained apostles by the voice of God in June, 1829 (JST, Genesis 14:25-29, History, 1838-1856, volume A-1 [23 Dec 1805 – 30 Aug 1834], pp. 26-29; D&C 18; D&C 128:20-21).
GOD THE FATHER.
You can also include places if you want, and each line above has unique elements that can be adjusted for each member of the line given the information you have (such as conferred priesthood, or ordained office, or date and place, who each person was ordained by as opposed to just listing the officiator on the next line, etc.). In the above example, it is not known which of the Three Witnesses were voice in ordaining Brigham Young, although it appears all three had a hand in ordaining him. If your priesthood line goes through another apostle, the reference above may include more details for them. At this point, there is no uniformity in describing priesthood lines of authority besides what the LDS Church has inherited through their traditions, so all lines will of necessity reflect that tradition to some extent, seeing that they maintained an authoritative commission for a period of time. Given the new dispensations’ emphasis on a few principles, such as the durability of the Aaronic Priesthood, the different categorization of Melchizedek Priesthood to align more closely with the scriptural teachings about its receipt by the voice of God alone (see JST, Genesis 14:25-29), and new ordinations being conferrals to the Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God (with God deciding which degree of priesthood power is conferred in each case), the preceding recommendations have been made as suggestions for language that hopefully begins to move towards a new standard. This is a minor procedural matter and could be rightly taken up as a short topic of discussion for common consent in a future general conference of the fellowships, if diversity in opinion ever becomes problematic. Hopefully, though, the principles involved here will be self-evident and the lines of authority produced and passed on in current ordinations sufficient to defend our claims to priesthood conferral. If there is any room for doubt about your full line of authority back to John the Baptist or God Himself, you can always get re-ordained in the fellowships and receive a new line from the authorized administrator.
During my LDS mission, a line of reasoning was advanced from an experience of Orson F. Whitney that was quoted in LeGrand Richard’s book, “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder,”
“Many years ago a learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, came to Utah and spoke from the stand of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I became well-acquainted with him, and we conversed freely and frankly. A great scholar, with perhaps a dozen languages at his tongue’s end, he seemed to know all about theology, law, literature, science and philosophy. One day he said to me: ‘You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that’s all there is to it. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. For, if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were a part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.’” (LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Deseret Book Co., 1950], pp. 3–4.)
This line of reasoning tries to prove a valid point about the need for a gospel restoration with a false premise. The so-called learned Catholic here assumes that their church has the authority to remove priesthood when they excommunicate someone. The LDS Church assumes the same power. However, God has not given such power, only the right of churches to remove individuals from offices particular to their organization. Even if their church had a hand in conferring priesthood on an individual, the relationship that is established thereafter is between the individual and God alone. If a church deems it necessary to cut off a priest, for instance, then that priest may lose membership in that church, as well as the right to serve as a priest in their congregations, but their priesthood continues. If the church cut them off for good reason, meaning the priest was wicked, then the only thing that would follow them as a result of the church’s decision would be “the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption” (D&C 104:9), which, when duly considered, includes the rightful shame they would have acquired from being out of favor with their fellow man (which is likely what Satan will mock them about). If, however, the church cut them off unjustly, then they would be merely suffering persecution, and their priesthood would continue even if they were unrighteously denied membership and/or priestly status. The only way priesthood is lost is as explained in D&C 121:36-44: that is, according to principles of righteousness, as an individual departs therefrom, and God alone judges it to be so, which maintains a proper balance of power, or else mankind could use priesthood removal to threaten the righteous into submission.
Therefore, the above story is a compelling set of logical arguments, but wrong in its assumptions of jurisdiction and authority. There is a third option to the learned man’s propositions: if the Protestants in question lived during a time when the Roman Catholic Church had a commission from God to confer authority (if it ever did), then the Roman Catholic Church could’ve cut off righteous Protestants, and their right to claim the priesthood would’ve continued outside of the Catholic Church, because a false excommunication would not be recognized by God against a righteous priesthood holder. The only thing God would honor is the Catholic Church’s wishes that those priesthood holders no longer minister in their church, and they would likely be called to minister elsewhere where they were accepted.
“Fellowship” is the preferred term because it more appropriately describes the activity involved, and relegates it to close-knit gatherings of family and friends. Don’t you fellowship in family reunions, but still attend your own churches? Do you consider your family reunions a “church”?
Even so, it can definitely be called the church of Christ by definition of that term as well, even if they are not organized as a corporate church structure:
Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen. (D&C 10:67-70).
There is no need for another corporate church structure:
True religion, when it is present on the earth, always existed in a community of believers. If we do not have community then we cannot be willing to mourn with those that mourn. We cannot comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We cannot stand as a witness to one another of God at all times and of all places. We cannot bear one another’s burdens so they may be light, as is required by the gospel and the covenant of baptism. None of this can be done without fellowship between believers. However, we do not need a new corporate church. The only thing we need is a community to fellowship one another. Whether called a ‘community,’ or ‘fellowship’ or ‘society’ it does not matter. Legal entities, whenever formed, become prey to the law. Men can gain control over legal entities. Legal entities are vulnerable to sycophants willing to do whatever is required to show they are desperately submissive to those in power. Hierarchies invite abuse. Aspiring men can always corrupt whatever is organized on the earth. (Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, pp. 504-505, see also the crucial and illuminating footnotes on those pages).
What we refer to as the “LDS Church” is a legal entity. Fellowships are “churches” in the generic use of the term. When you read D&C 10, do you consider Christ was referring to an earthly legal entity, or the generic use of the term applied to the conditions he specified?
Consider also, though, that the fellowships are not fully organized as the church of Christ might be, seeing that much of the labor needed in the fellowships is at this time decidedly left to the angels to sort out later (see D&C 20, D&C 42, and JST Matthew 13:39-44). Therefore, a portion of the organizational boundaries for our “church” encompasses the powers of heaven beyond the veil. On this side of the veil in the fellowships, we don’t necessarily exclude others by reference to church articles, nor do we necessarily exclude others from taking the sacrament. We are promised in scripture the following, when all necessary church politics will be sorted out by those angels and Christ Himself:
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:1-14; see also Luke 14:15-24).
As Christ says, we don’t destroy the law or the prophets (3 Nephi 12:17) or any church articles, but we seek to live the true intent of them, and not one jot or tittle shall pass away, but shall all be fulfilled in their due time, even if in our limited mortal perspective things look out of place, or out of order. God wills it, and so we must invite all to the wedding feast from the highways and the byways without judgment. These small and simple things will have a great impact, and we refuse to strain at the gnats, because thereby we might swallow the camel (Matthew 23:24). The doctrine of Christ is our priority now. It is useless to build up a superstructure that has no heart and soul. It becomes an empty shell, and the revelations that the early Saints pressed Joseph for were largely premature for them, or missing the mark concerning God’s priorities for the Restoration. But, they were given what they asked for. Even so, all things, including the elaborate church structure contained in the D&C, testify of Christ, and have their place in the Gospel (see Moses 6:63).
As before explained, the “doctrine” in the Doctrine and Covenants was the Lectures on Faith which were removed by the LDS Church in 1920. The “covenants” were not all covenants between God and man, but also covenants between themselves as a church. The early Latter-day Saints believed “in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church”. So do we, but we do not covenant with each other to be so governed in the fellowships. There are no offices. We covenant to pattern in a way that allows the fulness to return, which is less administrative outwardly, and more administered in one’s heart, with the law written on people’s hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3). It is a higher standard befitting friends and family–if we can be so called, and if we avoid contention significantly enough. If not, we devolve into the need for offices and presiding authorities.
The following statement from Denver Snuffer is instructive: “An unchanging God has an unchanging gospel. Rather than taking pride in our ordinances, we should view ourselves in our lost and fallen state. Rebuild faith through repentance. Once the inward part has been cleansed there will be time to worry about the outward part.” (Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, p. 230).
Who is a wise and a just servant? (see JST, Luke 12:41-57).
Paraphrasing and direct quoting of Denver Snuffer’s book included below. Used by permission.
Chapter 12 (Preserving the Restoration), and other outline from “How to Form a Fellowship”
pp. 477-480 – The era of LDS Mormonism recounted, along with their failure.
pp. 480-481 – Joseph Smith’s Last Vision (Kirtland farm parable).
pp. 481-483 – A house of order’s orderly take down; John the Baptist parallel.
pp. 483-486 – Christ’s parables foretold the Gentile failure in the last days;
pp. 488-491 – Downfall of the LDS Church recounted again:
pp. 491-495 – Denver’s journal of the Lord’s confirmation of LDS loss of priesthood; the required sign and witness.
Basis p. 127, fn. 307. p. 299. p. 329. p. 333. p. 348.
General Outline p. 502.
The Lord renews commandment to be baptized correctly according to doctrine of Christ pp. 502-503. p. 506. pp. 515-518. p. 521.
Receiving the Holy Ghost and The Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost pp. 506-508. p. 517.
Recording Baptisms p. 521.
Using the Priesthood pp. 173-175. pp. 503-504. pp. 508-509.
How Not to Use the Priesthood pp. 486-488. pp. 516-517.
Fellowship Meetings pp. 505-506. p. 513.
Sustaining to the Priesthood and Recording pp. 509-511.
Removing Authority to Act Within a Community or Fellowship pp. 511-512.
Divorce p. 512.
First Time Ordinations and Lines of Authority pp. 496-497. p. 508. pp. 512-513. pp. 518-519.
Conferences for Business p. 513. p. 515.
Denomination Requirements and Proselyting pp. 518-519.
Sacrament p. 521.
Preaching vs. Learning p. 523.
Oversight p. 524. p.525. p. 526.
What Will No Longer Work p.526.
Work for the Dead and a Temple p. 144. pp. 526-527.
Prophecy p. 501.
Receiving New Revelation pp.528-529
Using written copies of the scriptures p. 529.
Individual Prayer pp. 381-383.
Praying in the Fellowships pp. 529-530.
Giving to the Poor pp. 230-233
Tithing See “How To Administer Tithing Within a Fellowship (From Denver Snuffer, Jr., ‘Preserving the Restoration’)“. p. 256. p.267
Consecration p. 233.
Other Items p. 230. p. 519.
Righteousness p. 253. p. 366.
Gathering pp. 262-264.
Obtaining a Covenant pp. 530-533.
Paraphrasing and direct quoting of Denver Snuffer’s book included below. Used by permission.
Chapter 8 (Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man)
p. 295 – Christ is affable, but not gregarious. Approachable;
p. 296 – It is our disrespect for ourselves that impedes coming to Him;
p. 298 – Day of salvation appears tenuously; Jeremiah 8 “Summer is ended, harvest is past.”
p. 299 – Gospel writers patterned off of Jesus’ expounding. He expounded for Denver.
p. 300 – The Lord does not force Himself upon us, we must invite.
p. 301 – Truth is best advanced by opening the scriptures; prototype scripture in lectures; salvation does not come by applying fairy dust.
p. 302 – We have the freedom to choose because without that we do not exist;
p. 302 – Christ was obedient before the creation of this world, and the creation of this world began when Christ first qualified to redeem it; Christ is salvation.
pp. 302-303 – Joseph Smith expounds on Lecture 7 in Nauvoo; “grace for grace” and “exaltation to exaltation.”
pp. 303-304 – Attaining to the keys of the resurrection to resurrect all that depend upon you.
p. 305 – Our highest glory requires the Gods to condescend; There are higher kingdoms yet.
pp. 305 -308 – The real first principles of the gospel:
p. 309 – Savior had long period of development before this world; In this life we have capacity to offer sacrifice.
p. 310 – Men become KNOWLEDGE; Women become WISDOM.
pp. 310-311 – Christ needed a woman to be able to accomplish his work.
p. 311 – The role of woman united to man is a mystery wisely not included in our temple rites or scriptures, but only alluded to; Present challenge to get out of this prison is enough.
p. 311 – Receiving grace for grace is a blessing.
pp. 311-312 – Christ received not of the fulness at the first.
p. 312 – Redemption must be certain before there is a Fall.
p. 313 – Scorn and condemnation from others helps prepare us to finish the journey as Christ.
pp. 313-314 – When we die it is just; when Christ died it was unjust.
p. 315 – All must learn to be gods by experience, and attain to the resurrection;
p. 316 – It was only after His resurrection Christ claimed all power in heaven and in earth.
pp. 316-321 – Priests after the order of His Son.
p. 321 – Christ has been a part of many cycles of creation.
pp. 322-323 – Endless cycle, worlds without end, nothing is lost.
pp. 323-327 – Trinitarian commas by John Gilbert uninspired.
p. 327 – Abinadi – subjecting our will to be one with Them.
p. 327 – When Christ subjected Himself to the will of the Father, He was in very deed, thought, and action, “The Father”–though flesh and blood living among us. They were “one.” If you behold Christ, you would see the image of His Father. This is how the Father “dwelleth” in the Son.
p. 328 – The Holy Spirit is Christ’s spirit, is the Father’s spirit, and its Their Mind dwelling in us.
p. 329 – Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father;
p. 329 – “I HAVE BEEN SENT AND GOD IS PROVING YOU.”
pp. 329-330 – True messengers come seeming to be just another one of the itinerant preachers, of whom there are many pretenders.
pp. 330-331 – The Father declares what is right and true and the Son obeys; Do what God asks, this is how we must worship Him.
p. 329 – Christ was very ordinary.
p. 331 – Christ can mend what is broken.
pp. 331-332 – Knowledge is power, therefore it can bring vanity, pride, and abuse.
p. 332 – Knowledge must be acted upon.
p. 332-333 – Authority figures rarely believe.
p. 333 – Christ had no beauty;
pp. 334-335 – Isaiah 53:1-10 exposition: Despised and rejected.
p. 335 – Broken heart from: discomfort, uncertainty, contradictions, and struggles; agony, anguish and delay…then He will enter, then He will speak.
p. 335 – It pleased the Father to see Christ oppressed, afflicted, and slaughtered, because the death of the Lamb will heal the destruction.
pp. 336-338 – Atonement: Christ overcame sin with love (see “Come, Let Us Adore Him“).
pp. 338-339 – Christ is “in all things.”
p. 339 – We borrow from Christ through cycles of creation until we attain to the resurrection of the dead.
p. 339 – Christ is not experimenting but knows what to do and how to do it;
p. 341 – Captivation comes from ignorance.
pp. 341-342 – Mankind has preserved incomplete records
p. 342 – The gospel is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
pp. 342-343 – Christ defines redemption as coming back into His presence.
pp. 343-344 – Descending again into mortality is not possible for Christ. He will return again in glory.
p. 345 – “More righteous” doesn’t mean sinless, but righteous enough to hear true messengers.
p. 346 – God invites us to see the world of glory while in the flesh. Denver: “I have been to that world of glory. I have abided in his presence. I know things not lawful to be uttered.”
p. 346 – Religion is deeply personal and individually redemptive.
p. 347 – Instead of meeting Him, it is easier in our pride to study God as a subject, but never change our hearts. It is possible to be a respected authority without ever knowing Him.
p. 348 – Denver can testify of Christ. Christ came to lift all creation. Trust that. Receive Him. It may start slowly. He will come.
Chapter 9 (A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit)
p. 349 – Everything done by the higher priesthood is an ordinance.
p. 350 – God’s wrath is manifested by simply withdrawing.
p. 351 – God’s intimidating presence does not drive all men away.
pp. 351-352 – Baptisms for the living continued but baptisms for the dead were rejected as a church.
p. 352 – “Honor” means an empowered promise from the Lord that can be claimed in the afterlife.
p. 353 – “Glory” means intelligence.
p. 353 – Man’s freedom to choose and God’s right to accept and ordain.
pp. 354-355 – “Order of the church” for revelation contradicts scriptural injunction for all to teach the doctrines of the kingdom.
p. 355 – Quorums supposed to be equal in authority.
pp. 355-356 – Restoration incomplete. Nauvoo failure.
pp. 356-357 – Angles have the duty to educate and prepare man to behold God’s glory.
p. 358 – Those who receive and entertain angels have an obligation to declare their words, so that others may have faith in Him.
p. 358 – Aaronic priesthood condemns.
p. 360 – Our greatest sin is ignorance.
p. 360 – Moroni describes the Lord who, after passing through the thundering and lightning, you will behold.
p. 361 – Moroni asks us to seek for grace. Christ can’t give it to us unless we seek for it.
pp. 361-362 – Jealousy and envy go together, and envy is condemned.
p. 362 – Two primary emotions: love and fear.
p. 362 – Joseph Smith may’ve taken the authority with him when he died, but he blessed others using the priesthood.
p. 363 – Disconnect from this world and connect with heaven;
p. 363-366 – The brother of Jared’s faith.
p. 366 – Our righteousness is pseudo-righteousness at best; Pseudo-virtues deeply offensive to God:
p. 366 – Much of our justified guilt is a gift to bring us the humility to come to God;
p. 367 – The only way to prove some things is to destroy them;
p. 367 – The brother of Jared didn’t ask for a light show, he asked out of charity and intercession.
p. 367 – Mankind directs much abuse and disappointments towards God.
p. 368 – Reason the brother of Jared obtained faith to see the finger of the Lord is 15 stones were touched and miraculously emitted light. On the last he obtained the faith to see (16th).
p. 368 – The brother of Jared felt he intruded where men should not go when he found out the great secret that the Lord had a body “like flesh and blood”; he felt convicted it was something man should not know.
p. 369 fn. – When the Lord’s finger touched the stones He descended into a more coarse form to make the required contact and impart the power.
p. 369 – Contact required knowing, not merely believing, about the attributes of God as mentioned in the Lectures on Faith.
p. 369 – God cannot establish a covenant with one who doubts.
p. 369 – The foundation of the world required someone to redeem it before it could be created.
p. 369 – All the redeemed become sons and daughters of Christ as he gives their lives back to them, and through Him.
p. 370 – Soul as body and spirit, compared to 3 different states like solid, liquid, and gas; Difference is temperature, or “quickening.”
p. 371 – Up to that point, no man’s heart had been better prepared than the brother of Jared’s;
p. 372 – Christ’s ministry continues today.
p. 373 – Standing in the presence of a just and holy being makes our weaknesses obvious;
p. 374 – Joseph was killed by a conspiracy of church members and an outside mob;
pp. 374-376 – King Lamoni’s example.
p. 376 – The father with the tormented son’s example.
p. 377 – Since faith as a grain of mustard seed is sufficient many times, its something else that blocks us: pride and vanity, such that we don’t cry unto Him.
pp. 377-378 – God’s word should be enough for us to believe.
p. 378 – The battle is the Lord’s – David and Goliath.
p. 379 – David’s five stones – we all face down our insecurities.
p. 379 – One said he would give away all his sins to know God. That is a bargain worth making, and keeping. We can make that bargain, also.
pp. 379-380 – The Lord will vindicate His promise of visiting for many in the last moments of life;
pp. 380 – 381 – Purity: Publican vs. Sinner;
pp. 381-383 – INSTRUCTIONS ON PRAYER: LOOK UP AND SPEAK ALOUD;
Chapter 10 (Marriage and Family)
p. 385 – Adam and Eve together are the image of God.
p. 385 – Without marriage, you cannot be “good” in the sense used by God.
p. 386 – Heavenly Mother’s role is hidden for wise purposes.
pp. 386-387 – The Divine Mother is named Eve; Adam named her daughter Eve, too.
pp. 387-388 – All the promises regarding marriage require a husband with a wife, i.e. pass by the angels together.
p. 389 – Art of persuasion in the family.
pp. 389-390 – As soon as the spirit of the Lord withdraws another spirit steps in. This false spirit undertakes to assure us that we are right to abuse our authority.
pp. 390-391 – Children have the right to choose.
pp. 391-393 – Sacrifice & repentance introduced to Adam & Eve.
pp. 393-394 – Adam’s baptism.
p. 394 – There is no place for same-sex marriage because such a union cannot fulfill the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.
pp. 395-396 – The role of the man is “knowledge;” The role of the woman is “wisdom.”
pp. 398-401 – Teach children.
p. 400 – “Curse words” are not breaking the commandments.
pp. 401-402 – Make your home a temple.
pp. 403-404 – “One Mighty and Strong” should be our family.
pp. 404-406 – Melchizedek & Binding Covenants vs. Good Practice w/Remnants.
pp. 406-408 – Plural marriage & D&C 132.
pp. 408-409 – Brother of Jared example, “It should be apparent the subject the Lord is asked about does not necessarily limit what the Lord can reveal in His answer.”
pp. 409-410 – Eternal marriage (between a man and a woman).
p. 410 – When women are authorized to anoint; Christ’s anointing example.
p. 410 – Washing & anointing promises to preserve functions of the body in the resurrection.
p. 410 – The temple anointings give an expectation for eternity (see LofF L7);
p. 411 – Christ alone ordains what endures beyond death.
p. 412 fn. 1103 – Marriage covenant is obtained in the second estate where there are risks.
pp. 412-413 – Eternity is protected from weakness. All evil and excess should come to an end here.
p. 413 – Newly organized spirits are created by those who have become perfect, pure, holy, and like God.
pp. 413-414 – POLYGAMY – THIS PRACTICE MUST END & BOTH MEN & WOMEN HAVE BEEN WARNED.
pp. 414-415 – Adultery condemned.
p. 416 – If already in a plural marriage, do not take another wife, and do not abandon any wife you presently have. The children should be taught to end this practice…
pp. 417-419 – Brigham Young vs. 1835 D&C Article on Marriage; Hyrum Smith letter to church.
p. 421 – Adam and Eve were treated equally by the Lord, they lived their lives as one.
p. 422 – Joseph left a ritual testimony about Christ’s gospel, He left the rituals incomplete, and they are merely an invitation, not an end in itself.
Chapter 11 (Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge) (p. 423)
p. 423 – Religion is only redemptive if it is pure.
pp. 423-424 – Two stages of religion:
p. 424 – God wants to reconnect with us;
p. 423 fn. – Apocalypse texts of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah.
p. 425 – Institutions cannot control God.
p. 425 fn. – Oliver Cowdery charge to apostles vs. Joseph Fielding Smith denial quote.
p. 425 – St. Francis of Assisi lived the ideal inside an institutional church and was visited by an angle on Sept. 14, 1224.
p. 426 – Reformers vs. Mormon denominations;
pp. 426-427 – Gutenburg’s Press : Catholicism :: The Internet : Mormonism.
pp. 427-430 – Catholic Dominican “Dogs of God” compared to LDS “Strengthening the Members Committee.”
pp. 430-431 – LDS evasive language & LDS version of “salvation for all.”
pp. 431-442 – To win protection under the First Amendment, it was necessary to portray plural wives as essential to the religion, which it was not;
p. 443 – John Taylor revelation does not mention plural wives.
pp. 444-445 – Wilford Woodruff revelation about priesthood concessions.
p. 448 – Church holdings currently.
p. 449 fn. – Possible reasons to attribute priesthood ban for blacks to Joseph Smith;
p. 449 – In context, early Mormonism was more racially tolerant than the nation at large.
pp. 449-459 – Brigham Young rhetoric that the curse on the seed of Cain was to protect the right to priesthood and prevent intermarriage…to Pres. Kimball’s declaration in the absence of revelation in the presence of societal pressure.
pp. 459-465 – Homosexuality is another topic that evidences how quickly the LDS Church changes its doctrine based on social pressure and legal trends.
pp. 465-473 – Justification for ordaining women laid in arguments by Dallin Oaks with authority borrowed from key-holders;
pp. 473-474 – LDS Mormonism claims it will roll forth and grind to dust all other institutions, yet U.S. culture has been grinding away at LDS Mormonism’s peculiar doctrines.
pp. 474-475 – Possible reasons:
p. 475 – Holy people must practice the pure ideals of the religion in a non-corporate form to avoid a change in the ideas. Ideas need to be remembered.
Paraphrasing and direct quoting of Denver Snuffer’s book included below. Used by permission.
Chapter 1 (Be of Good Cheer Be of Good Courage)
p. 2 – Joseph Smith “…a great while after you have passed through the veil” includes here and now.
p. 3 – Greatest obstacle to salvation is our ignorance. The veil is fearful…needs knowledge.
p. 8 – Four corners of the earth.
p. 12 – The blinding scales are darkness, and an incorrect weight and measure.
pp. 14-15 – Godliness means to be godly, or close to God.
p. 16 – Power of godliness is to know God.
p. 29 – Answer from God take time.
pp. 30-31 – Robes of the priesthood.
pp. 39-41 – Heavenly ordinances.
Chapter 2 (Faith)
pp. 43-46 – Office of “high priest” mistake.
p. 62 – God’s words never cease even if the angels are silent towards the wicked.
p. 63 – Glorious discovery = the person of God
p. 64 – Idea that He exists – from another
p. 64 – Light always increases or decreases.
pp. 66-68, ft. 177 – Personage of Holy Ghost refers to our spirit’s potential; No personage of Holy Ghost seen, revealed, or shown in scripture.
pp. 69-71 – The Father and the Son & their personages.
pp. 71-72 – What is dwelling in us?
pp. 75-76 – Sacrifice to God enables us to detect deception.
p. 76 – Satan as an angel of light, detected by the content of the message.
Chapter 3 (Repentance)
pp. 89-90 – Oracles of God.
pp. 91-93 – D&C 93:1, forsaking sin (preferring God).
pp. 93-95 – Zebedee Coltrin seeing two Personages of Godhead.
pp. 98, 105 – Repentance requires gathering light & knowledge.
pp. 99-100 – Appetites to be fulfilled with prudence and skill.
p. 101 – Incense symbol of tree of life.
p. 102 – Joseph Smith – “Climb up a ladder…”.
p. 103 – Temple trivia.
Chapter 4 (Covenants)
p. 127 – Signs following Denver’s talks are signs of the high priesthood.
pp. 128-129 – Covenants are accepted and not made.
p. 133 – If all ministers first conversed with the Lord, we would have more truth, less error.
p. 133 – Use past scripture to prophesy to a sleeping generation without waking them.
pp. 137-141 – Adoption sealing rights.
p. 141 – Anecdotal evidence.
p. 142 – Restoration of the New Testament church vs. Restoration of the beginning.
p. 143 – Aries and the crucifixion; Pisces and the new age; God’s testimony in the stars.
p. 144 – Pharaoh; Temple in Zion.
p. 145 – No one will go away from the quest for Christ disappointed.
p. 148 – Graven images include false leaders.
pp. 150-151 – Holy Ghost’s power vs. Satanism.
p. 152 – Hiding counsel of the tithes.
Chapter 5 (Priesthood)
pp. 173-174 – Real definition of priesthood is a fellowship.
p. 174 – The great whore welcomes everyone; The Lamb of God requires actual ascent up Jacob’s ladder.
p. 175 – Meetings called by common consent.
p. 175 – Power in the priesthood, priesthood holders are revelators.
p. 176 – Angels, archangels, principalities, powers, dominions, thrones, cherubim, seraphim.
p. 179 – See God in the flesh to start association.
p. 180 – Aaronic, Melchizedek, Patriarchal.
p. 181 – Aaronic priesthood for pouring out judgments & destruction.
p. 182 – Hell = disappointment.
p. 183 – Melchizedek priesthood for blessing and giving life (but can warn – see footnote).
p. 184-185 – High priesthood holders can fall.
p. 187 – Aaronic – valid ordinances.
p. 189 – Holy priesthood – answers & direction; Authorities from powers of heaven, politeness to “authorities” on earth.
pp. 190-192 – John wrested the keys from the Jews as a thief in the night.
pp. 193-195 – Patriarchal priesthood means being called a son of God.
p. 195 – First Elijah visit rejected; Joseph said Elijah would come again in the future.
p. 196 – Catholics – “independent revelation” quote from Joseph Smith.
p. 196 – Keys of the kingdom = certain signs & words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true.
p. 196 – Keys, rights, dispensations, powers, honors, majesty, glory, to declare confirmation of hope.
pp. 197-198 – Power to give the Holy Ghost
pp. 200-207 – Four kinds of sealing power:
p. 206 – Fellowship for women.
p. 207 – “Keys of the kingdom” are temple rites.
Chapter 6 (King Benjamin’s Faith)
p. 211 – Astonishing teaching – accept life’s afflictions as coming from a loving parent.
p. 212 – Charity to others is the hallmark of retaining a remission of our sins.
p. 213 – Welcome all true prophets.
pp. 216-217 – Christ, King Benjamin, Joseph Smith circumstances comparison on teaching to lay down contentions.
pp. 218-219 – Joseph Smith vs. King Benjamin; society ideals comparison.
pp. 221-222 – Temple ordinances are for the stiffnecked. Fools.
p. 225 – Heartsold®
p. 226 – “Chosen people” chosen to be examples of foolishness so we could be wise.
pp. 228-229 – Pride in ordinances vs. inward change.
p. 230 – Unchanging gospel – inward first, outer enough time later.
pp. 230-231 – Do not judge beggar, just give.
p. 232 – Focus on how to get it right, not the myriad ways man gets it wrong.
Chapter 7 (Zion)
pp. 241-242 – Joseph Smith “minds darkened” quote vs. Joseph F. Smith “never lead astray.”
pp. 245-248 – Strong men & keys – Brigham vs. Parley.
p. 249 – Zion is level – intolerable to see a need and not sacrifice to fulfill it. Man of sorrows serving & kneeling.
p. 252 – Mainstream Christians who are terrestrial will survive.
p. 253 – The Lord will not return until invited by members of His family.
p. 254 – Excess & extortion.
Tithing points (pp. 255 – 269):
pp. 269-273 – Ezekiel and the shepherds.
pp. 273-274 – Adam and Peter, James, and John saw Zion.
p. 274 – Servant and servants needed, no leaders.
pp. 274-275 – Titles “prophet” and “beloved” are sacred. Prophet after he’s laid all on the line.
pp. 275-276 – Abraham re-linked to the fathers and established five more. Too late to add more fathers, but we can re-link.
p. 276 – Zion to be in the mountains, not Missouri.
p. 277 – The ensign in Zion is the zodiac and walking in his paths is walking in heaven.
p. 279-281 – Campbellite Restorationism eclipses Lamanite mission.
p. 285 – Book of Mormon is a record of our Western Tribes of Indians.
p. 287 – Committee letter warning of fall of Zion & relocation approved by Joseph & conference.
p. 288-289 – Revelation mentioned about Joseph being commanded to flee to the Rocky Mountains.
p. 290 – Right now there is no fixed spot for Zion, but there is a fixed condition.
p. 291 – Joseph Smith – all of North and South America is Zion quote.
p. 291 – Rigdon reported to have said: Zion from Ohio to Pacific Ocean.
p. 292 – Conditions for Zion
pp. 292 – 293 – Joseph said rebellion & false coloring & tattling destroyed hopes of Zion.
p. 293 – Gathering unworthy and unprepared people brings only pestilence;
Yes. It is connected to, and built upon, the dispensation begun by Joseph Smith, but it is nonetheless new. We honor those in the LDS Church who have preserved what they have of Joseph Smith’s teachings, and Christ’s words through him. John the Baptist’s priesthood reckoned from the Jews he wrested the keys from. His priesthood continued, as did Christ’s and the apostles, despite the demise of the Jewish council, synagogues, and temple.
Denver Snuffer has ushered in the dispensation of the last times for the Gentiles, as John the Baptist ushered in the dispensation of the last times for the Jews (D&C 27:13). Joseph Smith’s inauguration of a dispensation of last times was abortive, and thankfully so. The Gentiles were given more time before their kingdoms were destroyed, as the use of those keys were started by Joseph Smith for the purpose of building the latter-day Zion. Zion was not built. Joseph Smith ushered in the dispensation of the fulness of times (D&C 128:18), which is a restoration that gathers all things in one, just as Moses did to start his dispensation. This dispensation of Joseph’s was incomplete. We have not received the vision of the revelation of all things given to the brother of Jared, nor the return of the priesthood that the Lord promised to Adam would return in the last days (Moses 6:7). The dispensation of the last times, which is the last time the Lord will prune His vineyard (Jacob 5:62), builds upon and completes the dispensation of the fulness of times, which gathers in one all things; or it could be said the last times completes the prior dispensation so the fulness of all things can be ushered in. The unfinished parts of the Restoration will be picked up and completed and built upon. Joseph’s success was marvelous but not exhaustive. It remains to be completed in another “last times” and “fulness of times” attempt, and the choice is ours to rise up. These are keys that can be implemented whenever God commands, and not conforming to Western definition notions. The dispensation attempt is finalized as the “last times” when it accomplishes what was begun with the turning of the keys to begin it: It becomes the “last times” for the kingdoms that the dispensation is opposed to. When the kingdoms fall of their own accord as they dash to pieces against the rock that is established, then the dispensation will be a success, and earn the title indefinitely in history (see D&C 39:17, where the Lord implores the Saints to be faithful that they may prune the vineyard for the last time). Otherwise, the last times will begin anew with a future generation. Likewise, for the fulness of times, if all things are not gathered in one, then it remains to be completed by another generation who can gather all knowledge, dispensations, glory, and keys into Zion.
All things are relative. Again, in another cycle, there will be other dispensations of last times and fulness of times. They are the ingathering of the harvest, and the burning of the field that happens every season before the long winter, where the Lord’s people are called to dwell in booths as covert from the storm. Moses and John the Baptist are bookends, just as Joseph Smith and Denver Snuffer are, only in the Lord’s strange act, the time has been shorter as the Lord has cut short His work in righteousness (D&C 52:11), as he has caused to be prophesied before (Romans 9:28). We pray for more time to accomplish what we need to accomplish, and that more might be saved.
To say “now is the time which is the dispensation of the last times, and the fulness of times,” is to say the kingdom of heaven is at hand now as well (Matthew 10:7). Today is another of those days.
Another take on the “last times” meaning is that it is the “latest” dispensation, and not the final one, as in Joseph Smith’s usage of “last of all” in D&C 76:22.