Nearing Kolob

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Do Mormons Fear Changing Doctrines?

Do Mormons Fear Changing Doctrines?

I ran across an interesting IAmA reddit post started by “utah1percenter”. The post says “IAmA Mormon, born into the church, leaving on Wednesday to serve a full time, two year mission in Columbus, Ohio. AMA!”

There are a number of interesting questions and responses, but one that particularly drew my attention was the following (emphasis mine):

shooooosh: “Where in Utah are you from and do you think those uppity women are going to have stolen your priesthood by the time you get back?”

utah1percenter: “Sandy City, Wasatch Valley area. This is one of my fears, not that they receive the priesthood, but that this is a fundamental belief, that I’m not sure if I would agree with if changed. I would hope that if it happened I would be able to understand the reasoning, and perhaps accept it.”

FuzzyKittenIsFuzzy: “I will buy you dinner tonight and gift you a physical copy of CES letter or a copy of Insiders View if you would read it before you go. Serious offer.”

sincere9: “One of your fears is that they will give women some authority?”

utah1percenter: “No, I said one of my fears is that a doctrine that I have been taught my whole life is a certain way, changes suddenly and against everything I have been taught before. I have no problem with women, and I think it is right to say neither does the church. We believe that the Lord has set apart the brothers of the church to do the priesthood ordinances and it has nothing to do with us hating women. Which we don’t.”

Do Mormons Fear Changing Doctrines?

Utah1percenter said one of his fears is having a doctrine he was taught his whole life as true suddenly changing. I can’t help but thing this future missionary is alone. Mormon doctrine is an evolving thing. It has always been that way.  Many of the changes have discussed in the outstanding book “This is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology” by BYU professor Charles Harrell.

Do Mormon really fear doctrines and even major policies changing?

Of Building Palaces and Temples

Of Building Palaces and Temples

I started listening to the recent Sunday School Bonanza episode on King Solomon as preparation for this week’s Sunday School Lesson. This is how the episode begins between host Geoff Openshaw and guest Sam:

Geoff: Speaking of wisdom, this week’s lesson is lesson 26 “Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness”. I’ve got to ask you Sam, what’s with this line of people, like they’re all these like men who are great at first and then they fall away. This seems to be a problem in this Line of David thing. David’s got issues–not all the way down of course, but– what’s going on with these guys? You think Solomon would learn from his own father.

Sam: And you’d think we’d probably learn from them too with our own kind of issues, but we don’t.

Geoff: But here we are–subprime mortgages. We don’t know anything.

Sam: Exactly.

Geoff: Fools.

Sam: We build giant palaces instead of the House of the Lord sometimes.

Geoff: Fair point.

I think they unintentionally touched on a very important point: “We [individually and collectively as a church] build giant palaces instead of the House of the Lord sometimes”.

Let’s see how the manual handles this. In the chapter on Lesson 26 in the manual, the second section is titled “King Solomon directs the construction of a great temple and has a palace built for himself.” The last question in the section is:

“Solomon also had a house built for himself. How did the size of his house compare to the size of the house of the Lord? (See 1 Kings 6:2–3; 7:2, 6–7.) How does this use of riches show Solomon’s gradual decline?

To answer the manual’s question regarding how sizes compare see the chart below (short answer: the palace was much larger):

solomon-temple-palace

I find it interesting that the manual recognizes both the symbolic and real consequences of building palaces larger than houses of the Lord. I find it equally interesting that the LDS Church today seems to either completely ignore this lesson, say they are above such transgressions, or that this lesson does not apply to them. It certainly is a very notable parallel between ancient temples and palaces and modern temples and palaces.

A Salt Lake Palace

Rock Waterman’s blog Pure Mormonism has a great blog post on the great palace the Church has yet built: City Creek Center (other related Pure Mormonism posts an be found here and here). While I was initially intrigued by the well-written post, I remember that I also quickly went into defensive mode and applied the usual apologetic responses as to why building City Creek was okay—and even good: it will beautify the area surrounding the temple, it is a good investment of resources, it is a way of investing in the community and will revitalize downtown, etc.

The Bible, however, is clear that we are not to build palaces and instead are to build temples. It is also clear that from the LDS Church’s own  Old Testament manuals that “gradual decline” begins when such “use of riches” goes to building palaces much larger than the House of the Lord.

Not only is the Church purchasing large amounts of land in states like Florida, it is building palaces of retail and upscale housing. The first such palace is known as City Creek Center in the heart of downtown Salt Lake. There is much that can be said about reasons behind the Church’s investment in a high-end mall, but my purpose here is point out the palatial nature of the mall.

How does the size of the City Creek Center compare to the Salt Lake temple across the street?

The easiest way to see a size comparison to by looking at the screengrab graphic from a KSL news report showing a computer drawing of the downtown area that includes both the Salt Lake temple and the new City Creek Center. The temple is dwarfed by the new mall just to its south.

city-creek-temple-comparison

city_creek_ctr_4-red

Some numbers

  • Salt Lake Temple height is 222 feet, the City Creek Center’s highest point is approximately 375 feet
  • Temple Square is 10 acres, City Creek Center is 23 acres

But does the City Creek Center look like a palace? You tell me.

City Creek Center Palace

City Creek Center Palace

City Creek Center Palace

City Creek Center Palace

To my eyes City Creek Center certainly has the characteristics of a palace. It is also now a major tourist attraction in Salt Lake for Mormons and non-Mormons alike. A quick google search reveals many family blogs with pictures of the new mall. One such blog was quite revealing.

The title of this particular blog epitomizes what has happened with the construction of the City Creek Center: God and Mammon have merged into one: “utah = city creek + temple square”

Notice which one the blogger subconsciously chose to put first (hint: City Creek was first).

Of Building Palaces and Temples

A Philadelphia Palace

After the City Creek Center opening in 2012, the Church announced an east coast palace next to a temple in downtown Philadelphia. Both will be finished in 2016. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer said:

“The Mormon Church plans to build a 32-story apartment tower and a public meetinghouse on a vacant lot next to the Vine Street Expressway, filling in a key piece of the no-man’s-land that has long separated Center City and North Philadelphia’s rebounding neighborhoods.

“The private development by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls for 258 apartments, 13 townhouses, and retail shops at 16th and Vine Streets.

“The meetinghouse will have a chapel, courtyard, multipurpose space, and a center to research genealogy, said Michael Marcheschi, senior real estate manager for the church’s national special projects department.”

Included in the article is an artist’s rendering of the “Mormon meetinghouse and tower”. The rendering itself is ironical in that the juxtaposition of the palace and the temple is clear. Which one is larger? Is this how we are to use our riches? Will this lead to gradual decline as in the time of Solomon?

Building Temples and Palaces

Some numbers:

Additional Concerns

The concerns presented here have mostly been about the sizes and biblical consequences of building such large palaces in the context of Solomon’s decline. There are of course others concerns such as financial transparency and homelessness, poverty, & injustice. Time permitting, we might tackle these concerns as well.

In the meantime, Rock Waterman posted the following video which I think everyone should watch at least once.

Review of New Adult Curriculum

Review of New Adult Curriculum

Early in 2014 the LDS Church conducted pilot test run of the new adult curriculum in selected wards. In a Deseret News article that ran during the weekend of the most recent General Conference of the Church, it was that that the new adult curriculum “is patterned after the youth curriculum introduced last year.” Tad Callister, who was formerly a President of the Seventy that caused uproar with an Ensign article about modesty, is the new General Sunday School President who will most likely reign as the new program is rolled out.

The Pilot Program

The program had training meetings January 15-17 2014 with a video conference training led by Area Presidencies and Area Authorities. Local training then was conducted by Area Seventies on January 19th.

The pilot test officially began on January 26th with an official “Adult Curriculum Survey” and continued through March 23rd. There was also opportunity for providing feedback online. Another “Adult Curriculum Survey” was conducted on March 6th. Participating wards returned to the regular 2014 curriculum plan on March 30th, 2014.

The new curriculum being tested was both the Sunday School material as well as third hour (Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood) curriculum.

One interesting note is that the program is being run by the Priesthood Department though the Deseret News article is only about the new Sunday School Curriculum. Materials from the pilot program say:

“Questions about the instructional approach, lesson outlines, or test schedule should be directed to XXXXXXXXXXX of the Priesthood Department, (XXX) XXX-XXXX.”

 

Material Taught in the Pilot Program

Teachers in both Relief Societies and Priesthood were allowed to choose among the following topics for the first and fourth Sunday lessons:

• Achieving Unity in Marriage
• The Blessings of Self-Reliance
• Building on the Seminary and Institute Experience at Home
• Coming unto Christ in His Holy House
• Finding Power to Live the Gospel through our Covenants
• Focusing on Conversion Each Day
• Helping Family Members Overcome Addictions
• The Role of Parents in Preparing Future Missionaries
• Sharing the Gospel
• Strengthening Families through Family History
• Strengthening Personal and Family Gospel Study
• Trusting the Lord through Difficult Trials

On the second and third Sundays Relief Societies taught:

• Feb. 9: Nurturing Youth and Children with Love
• Feb. 16: Watching Over Our Sisters through Visiting Teaching
• Mar. 9: Working Together to Save Souls
• Mar. 16: How Can I Know That Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ Accept Me?

while Melchizedek Priesthoods taught:

• Feb. 9: Establishing Powerful Priesthood Quorums
• Feb. 16: Presiding with Love and Righteousness in the Home
• Mar. 9: Representing the Savior as a Home Teacher
• Mar. 16: Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood

The wide gap between second and third Sunday lessons is glaring. Consider the lessons’ key words

  • RELIEF SOCIETY: nurture, children, love, watching over, working together, acceptance
  • PRIESTHOOD: powerful, presiding, representing the savior, strengthening

I am concerned about new third hour lessons truly exhibiting such bifurcating messages.

Sunday School material roughly followed the Old Testament material. Each month (approximately) was considered one unit consisting of several topic-based lessons. Teachers were free to choose among the topics. Here were the units and topics from the pilot program:

Unit 2: Genesis 3–22 (January 26–February 23)
Choose from the following:

  • The Fall of Man
  • Obedience and Sacrifice
  • Zion—the Pure in Heart
  • Follow the Prophet
  • God Remembers His Promises
  • The Abrahamic Covenant
  • Living Righteously in Times of Wickedness

Unit 3: Genesis 22–50 (March 2–23)
Choose from the following:

  • All Things Testify of Christ
  • A Covenant People
  • The Marriage Covenant
  • The Lord Will Be with Us
  • Chastity
  • Forgiving Others
  • The House of Israel

Method of Teaching

There will be a new emphasis on “teaching in the Savior’s way”. I am not really sure what this means, but in materials provided to pilot testers it is explained that some of the ways the Savior taught were:

  • He loved them
  • He knew who they were and who they could become
  • He prepared Himself to teach
  • He used the scriptures to teach and testify
  • He shared simple stories, parables, and real-life examples that made sense to them.
  • He asked questions that caused them to think and feel deeply
  • He invited them to testify
  • He trusted them
  • He invited them to act in faith and live the truths He taught
  • He was their example and mentor

I have not spent too much time pondering these things, but on the surface these things appear to me as commendable. I specifically hope that the new adult curriculum will embrace asking questions that cause members to think and that all will be “trusted” and “loved” when challenging questions or comments are presented in class.

Conclusion

Personally, I am very hesitant about the new curriculum–especially for Gospel Doctrine. I am concerned that a topic-based approach only will lead to more scriptural illiteracy and instead we will teaching gospel topic via proof texting. No longer will we completely focus on each book of canonized scripture for a year. I am also discouraged, from what I’ve seen from the pilot program, by the very divergent topics (and even lesson titles) for the second and third Sunday lessons during the third hour. I don’t like how the lessons fall into the stereotypical gender roles (men=power, preside, strength and women=nurture, children).

Elder Bednar, Articles of Faith, and Obedience

Elder Bednar, Articles of Faith, and Obedience

Richmond, Virginia seems to be a favorite place of Elder Bednar’s. It did a Youth Fireside there in July 2011 and then again in May 2014 (possibly more in between). The May 2014 visited caused some uproar online as parents were asked to not attend. He was also reportedly there this past past weekend in which members of the Glen Allen Ward in Richmond, Virginia were instructed by Elder Bednar and his wife for 2.5 hours. What’s up with Elder Bednar and Richmond? I don’t know.

One interesting (and somewhat disturbing) thing I found was a write-up of of the Q&As during his July 2011 visit:

Question: What is the most important Article of Faith?

Answer: They are all important and build on each other. You could not have one without the other. Think about each Article of Faith and think of a one word theme for each one.

#1 God Head                      #2 Atonement                   #3 Obedience

#4 Ordinances                   #5 Authority

Now go find the pattern with the remaining ones

Elder Bednar then invited the girl that asked the question up to the podium, gave her his business card and asked her to write him a letter when she completed the invitation to study the Articles of Faith and how they build on one another.

You can use the Articles of Faith to answer any Gospel question.

As seen above, his response to the “What is the most important Article Faith?” includes reducing each AoF to one word:

  1. Godhead: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
  2. Atonement: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
  3. Obedience: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
  4. Ordinances: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second,Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  5. Authority: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

#1: fine. #2: Atonement? It seems like sin or accountability would be more appropriate. #3: Obedience? Certainly the Atonement should be the the theme word for this AoF. #4: Ordinances? Ordinances AND principles. #5: I can see this though I would probably opt for being called by God, preaching the Gospel, and administering ordinances.

His choices in #3, #4, and #5 are certainly revealing. He focuses on obedience over the atonement in #3. He isolates ordinances (works) over faith and repentance in #4. He is more concerned with (his?) authority than  preaching the Gospel.

Boyd K. Packer Wants His Art, not Football, At BYU

Boyd K. Packer Wants His Art, not Football, At BYU

We recently posted a story about Boyd K. Packer getting a section of Life Sciences museum at BYU to house his artwork and old family furniture. This is only one year after the announcement of The Boyd K. and Donna S. Packer Center for Family and Community Education at Weber State University. It seems President Packer and his family are solidifying his influence in educational institutions in Utah through the establishment of centers and permanent galleries.

One interesting piece of news that came out a week or two ago is the claim that Packer’s influence at BYU and his distaste of sports at the educational institution were important factors for BYU not moving into the Big 12 Conference. Also, it wouldn’t be “fair” to Utah State University.

An excerpt from NewsOK.com:

I’ve really enjoyed reading your columns on BYU this past week since Bronco opened his mouth to the Austin American Statesman and voiced his honest opinion.  Quite obviously this has had the blessing of AD Tom Holmoe and recently appointed President Kevin Worthen (succeeding Dr. Cecil Samuelson a month and a half ago).  Three years ago it could very easily had been BYU along with TCU, but sadly, some in BYU governance objected, which made league directors very uncomfortable with the idea of extending BYU a full blown invite. 

“What’s happened since is the second senior most apostle in the LDS Church, Boyd K. Packer, is now too ill with post-polio (he will turn 90 on Sept. 10), to be involved in day to day affairs with BYU.  Speculation was he more than anyone opposed the idea of BYU moving into the Big 12, since he has long disliked athletic programs at LDS Church-operated schools and further felt that with Utah already in the Pac-12, it would be especially unfair to his alma mater Utah State and would ‘detract from the mission of this state-run institution.’ “

No word yet on hula dances at BYU though.

Boyd K. Packer Wants His Art, not Football, At BYU

Wonderful Post Regarding Recent Events

mogrog

There was recently a wonder post regarding recent events over at MOPROG. I highly recommend you check it out!

http://moprog.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/everyone-is-wrong/

Map of LDS Church Members Facing Discipline

Map of LDS Church Members Facing Discipline

Last week, we started a post that contained a (partial) list of members facing church discipline recently. We quickly made a map of this list to better geographically visualize where the discipline is occurring.

Interesting Conversation Between Brent Larsen and a Seventy

Interesting Conversation Between Brent Larsen and a Seventy

There was recently an interesting conversation between Brent Larsen and a Seventy that appeared on the LDS Freedom Forum. Recall that Brent Larsen is one of the members that has recently faced Church discipline because of beliefs and some behavior related to online blogging and the sort (in fact, he was excommunicated–as was Kate Kelly earlier today). The transcript of the conversation first appear at this link, but is reproduced here for your convenience.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Conversation between Brent Larsen and a 70 on 8 april 2014 concerning the appeal to the excommunication to the First Presidency. transcript from audio recording made by me. Transcript independently transcribed. some audio was had to understand and is indicated by XXX.

70: My role here is to XXX made by the first presidency. So what I’ve done is I’ve talked to your stake president. I’ve—

Larsen: The new one or President Burnham?

70: I’ve talked to the old one. The new one doesn’t really XXX. In terms—I’ve read your letter that you sent in to the first presidency. I have a copy of the court proceedings, which I’ve read and studied, and so I’d like to—what I’ll do today is listen to your point of view. I’ll ask questions, I’ll take some notes—

Larsen: Okay.

70: And make sure I verify, and that’s what we’ll do. So maybe you’d just like to tell me why you think we’re where we’re at and I guess there are your issues with what happened. And so I guess we can start that way.

Larsen: Sure, I don’t understand, I think, everything at this point, as good as I’d like to. I met with President Burnham twice prior to having the court. I thought it was a fairly good court but it’s also, you know, some of these things are—my views are not always mainstream, which, you know, I don’t think we’re supposed to always have to be, but I think it was very difficult to try and explain some differences in those in the short amount of time. And I still actually don’t know exactly what I’m excommunicated for, for apostasy.

70: Well, as I read the proceedings, what they would allege happened is that you’re on these sites and you’re teaching things that are contrary to the teachings of the church.

Larsen: Yeah, I did ask like what exactly am I teaching; and I’m willing to stop teaching on websites and stuff. What they told me is that the only person I’m allowed to talk to at all is my wife in my house. And I said, “Look, I have other friends that I talk to about stuff like this. I don’t want to be dishonest about it.”

70: Well, I think what happens when you, when you’re trying to influence others regarding your beliefs, which XXX don’t appear to be in harmony with the teachings of the church.

Larsen: I’m, like I said, I’m still not sure what isn’t in harmony.

70: Well I think—

Larsen: I’ve asked specifically multiple times what is not in harmony.

70: At least as I understand it, once again I’ve read your letter, you know, I think there’s an issue of whether there is a prophet on the earth today. And there seems to be an issue of whether this Duster guy, or whatever his name is, is a prophet—Denver Snuffer, excuse me. And, you know, as I read your letter it seems to be that a person is, like, you know, following a man except Jesus Christ. So I have concluded and I do believe that President Monson as his representative on the earth certainly is an issue.

Larsen: Well, I have stated emphatically that I believe that he absolutely is the one with the keys.

70: It’s not a matter just about keys; it’s matter of whether he is a prophet.

Larsen: Well, I haven’t received a testimony of that. I’ve received a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I’ve received a testimony of Joseph Smith, I’ve received a testimony that this is the Lord’s church and this is his work, but I haven’t on that and I didn’t think that that was a crime worthy of being excommunicated and having all of your blessings revoked. I thought that that’s—you know, like I could see maybe a temple recommend revocation because of the questions in that, but when you’re baptized, you’re not asked if you have a testimony of Thomas S. Monson. You’re asked if you have a testimony of the restoration and this church and I do.

70: I think there, today the questions XXX to whether or not you—you know, the principles of this church, well, you know, we can, you know, we could discuss the issues or not. I think what would be helpful for me, XXX my information, is tell me—if you’ll tell me in your words why you think it was—So I guess one reason you don’t believe is cause you don’t believe that—you do not believe you are teaching other people these principles. Is that fair?

Larsen: Um, no, I don’t know that that really came up. I said I’m more than willing to—I mean, I flat out said—okay, the, the rulings in the church handbook say “publicly speaking about these things.” I’m like, that’s fine. I don’t need to—I was just talking with people that are my friends on the forum. If you don’t want me to do that, that’s fine. And my wife who was sitting next to me said, “Well, what do you consider public? Can he talk to me?” And president Burnham said, “Well, hmmm, you’re being led astray but we can’t really tell him not to talk to you.” I mean it was extravagantly ridiculous. I’m more than will—I mean, if it’s not church doctrine, that’s fine. I—that’s the way that it’s written in the church handbook and I support and sustain that. But that’s not what has been occurring. I wasn’t given a chance. That was written back in October on a random website, so where is—what’s the doctrine that is, that I’m saying that is, that I’m not supposed to say and I won’t say it; that’s fine. But what is it? I mean, I’m just saying I don’t have a testimony of Thomas S. Monson. I’ve asked; I just haven’t gotten one yet. Maybe I’ll get one later; I don’t know. And yet, by the same token, I think that Denver Snuffer is, but he has no keys, he has no authority, he can’t get—what—who cares? It’s so unimportant that it’s amazing to me that it’s—I mean, I said in my, in the letter and, you know, in the thing like I believe Luke was a prophet. And I don’t think that that’s not okay. Luke was never a member of the quorum of the twelve apostles, and I really think Luke was a prophet. It’s just my definition. By the same token, I think that the Doctrine and Covenants gives that mantle and that title to Thomas S. Monson, and I sustain him as such. But that’s different from having had a witness that he is.

70: Ok, I understand. For you, you haven’t had a witness that he is. I think that that’s fine.

Larsen: And I don’t, I’m not going around tearing him down by any means. I mean he’s a wonderful man; I love him. I couldn’t do what he does. I’m not up to that. I’m not up to what you do, you know?

70: Okay.

Larsen: But President Oaks said, you know, we should be able to believe and have doubts, and that’s all it is. It’s not, you know—

70: Well I think the difference between doubts and things that are not true. For example, Denver Snuffer is not a prophet.

Larsen: Okay, but I—

70: I’m just telling you that in relying on the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can tell what’s happened to him because of his beliefs and the way he teaches them when he’s done, because he’s not a member of the church, okay? So if you want to align yourself with him then—

Larsen: I, okay, see this is my thing, I don’t want to align myself with him.

70: Okay, then you shouldn’t know—then you could not have received a witness that he is the prophet that came from Christ, okay? Or came from him.

Larsen: Okay.

70: Well I can’t—well, you may have. I can’t tell you what you have; I’m just telling you that from the teachings of the church—

Larsen: Okay, that’s—I guess I don’t understand that. Because where in the teachings of the church does it say, by any means, that he can’t have received a message that just says “Come unto Christ”. I mean—

70: Right, but he didn’t—well, he did much more than that.

Larsen: Well—

70: He’d done much more than that. He wouldn’t have been excommunicated from the church for just receiving a message “Come unto Christ.”

Larsen: I understand why he was excommunicated from the church, and I have never promoted any of the ideas in the book Passing the Heavenly Gift, which was what he was asked to recall, and he stated he was not able to do that. I’ve never promoted those ideas. I don’t, I mean, all he’s talking about is a different view of history in there, and it’s not a big deal.

70: I think what’s important for you, no matter what happens with this, is to decide whether this church has saving ordinances that you will need to get back to the presence of God. And that’s basically what we believe. And so if it does have saving ordinances, then no matter what happens, what would be—what’s helpful for you is to make sure that you are aligned with those things that will allow you to have saving ordinances in your life.

Larsen: Okay, so—

70: So, that would be—

Larsen: I—what I hear you saying is, I need to decide if the church has saving ordinances and then publicly express my beliefs differently so that I can access them. Is that correct?

70: No, I’m saying you need to come to know in your heart that those are true.

Larsen: Well, yeah, I know the church has saving ordinances. Of course they do. They are the ones with the keys on the earth period. I mean, I’ve told my, you know, I’ve told my stake president, you have every right—

70: So what don’t you agree with about the church? When it says do you sustain prophet, Thomas S. Monson, the first presidency, and the quorum of the twelve apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators; what’s your answer to that question?

Larsen: Yes, I do sustain them as such. I don’t necessarily have a witness of every one of them, but I do sustain them as such.

70: Okay.

Larsen: I did receive a witness of Elder Scott. One time when he was talking in general conference, I got a witness of Elder Scott.

70: So why do you think that—so, you posted—what they would say is you posted false doctrine on LDS Freedom Forum.

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: Okay?

Larsen: Right.

70: On multiple occasions, and didn’t think that it should be—and didn’t find an error in there. So I just want to—I’m just sharing what I think.

Larsen: Okay, yeah, absolutely.

70: XXX You believe that Denver Snuffer is a prophet, and that you use public forums to move these doctrinal concepts forward.

Larsen: What doctrinal concepts are we talking about?

70: Well, Denver Snuffer is a prophet, false concepts, and the other false doctrines which we could go through and look on the site and see what you did.

Larsen: Okay, so yes. I agree, I agree that yes I believe Denver Snuffer is a prophet, and I have stated that. That, I’m—like I said in the letter, I don’t understand why that is considered false doctrine by the church. I was not aware that the church says that there cannot be a prophet outside of the hierarchy.

70: That’s exactly what it says.

Larsen: Where—because, see, all the scriptures teach otherwise.

70: Do you sustain 13 individuals as prophets, seers, and revelators?

Larsen: Yes, I do not sustain Denver Snuffer as a prophet at all; I just think he is. I believe that the keys rest with the church. But, another example that I gave is, you know, when Christ was resurrected, the greatest news that was ever given on the earth, ever, “He is risen”—it came to Cleopas and an unknown disciple that was walking down the street with him. Those, and the women, reported back to Peter, who was the undisputed head of the church. I would be sustaining Peter right now. But it doesn’t mean that Mary didn’t have prophetic information.

70: He has appeared to people and prophets, okay? He appeared to Joseph Smith when he was a boy, okay?

Larsen: Right, absolutely. I agree with that.

70: So you can’t—the definition of who he appears to doesn’t define who’s the prophet.

Larsen: Ok, that’s fine. But my—I’m just saying, I have multiple definitions of “prophet”. Like, for example, in the Doctrine and Covenants it says Joseph Smith has done more save Jesus only for the salvation of man. Ok, so does that mean that he has done more than President Monson? More than Brigham Young?

70: Mmm hmm.

Larsen: I would think so, yes. Okay, so that’s kind of a level. Is there—were there many prophets in the days of Moses? Yes. He wanted everybody in the camp to be a prophet.

70: Well—

Larsen: And so—

70: Well, that’s defined as a different issue.

Larsen: Well, but it’s not a different issue to me. It’s—I’m just saying it’s—

70: “I know XXX that is Denver. XXX Denver and that he is the first I know of since the death of Joseph Smith. I know Denver is speaking the words given to him by my King.” That’s—then you need to talk to him.

Larsen: Yes, I can talk to him, yeah absolutely.

70: Talk to him, and I promise you if you can talk to him, if you’re willing to listen, he will testify that that’s not true. The church would not excommunicate a prophet, okay? That’s not what we do. And so if he was a prophet, if he was anointed, set apart by him, then it would be a different situation. You need to get this stuff kinda sorted out in your mind, because it’s, because it’s cost you your membership.

Larsen: I understand that.

70: And it’s not worth it.

Larsen: I do disagree.

70: It happens whether you disagree or not, okay? If the one that holds the keys validates your excommunication, then you’re excommunicated.

Larsen: Right. I understand.

70: That’s the way you’ll approach heaven, and that’s the way you’ll approach Christ.

Larsen: Mmm hmm. I understand.

70: And I wouldn’t want to do that.

Larsen: I know, and it’s not something that, like, I have—it’s not something I want to do. I don’t want to be at war with the church; I love the church. But here’s the thing. Did you get a witness of this book?

70: I have a witness of the book.

Larsen: So do I.

70: Okay.

Larsen: Where did you get that witness from?

70: From heaven.

Larsen: That’s what happened to me. You—it’s not—I don’t care about Denver Snuffer at all—

70: XXX

Larsen: but I got my witness and it doesn’t matter. I’m not your—it’s not about Denver. I don’t care. I don’t—

70: But you do care because you put it on websites and you teach other people that Denver is a prophet. You can’t do that. XXX prophet. XXX prophet.

Larsen: And I agreed to—

70: Because he is not consistent with this. Denver Snuffer is not consistent with this. And I’m just trying to help. I mean—

Larsen: Oh I understand and I do appreciate that you—

70: And I’m not—you know, this could’ve—I could’ve done this—we could’ve talked on the phone.

Larsen: Right.

70: You know.

Larsen: No I, seriously, I appreciate it. It’s not—

70: And I’m not—listen, I’m not here to argue because you’ll believe maybe the same and I’ll believe the same.

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: But what I am here to do is, if I can anyway help for you to earn your salvation, that’s worth a lot to me. You know, I—my work is you and I care what happens to you.

Larsen: Thank you. If—the parable of the virgins—the D&C clarifies that having spiritual oil is having taken the Holy Spirit for your guide.

70: Mmm hmm.

Larsen: And in the Joseph Smith translation of the parable, he says that when Christ shuts the door, he says, “You never knew me” to the unwise virgins.

70: Mmm hmm.

Larsen: “You didn’t know me.” My job is to know the Savior.

70: I understand.

Larsen: And I have to do that—if I don’t do that according to the dictates of my conscience, then I didn’t get any oil anyway. I just didn’t. If I, if I lean on somebody else’s understanding and I don’t learn how to connect with heaven myself, then I haven’t put any oil in my lamp.

70: Right, I agree

Larsen: And all I’m asking for is to be able to believe like I want.

70: Well, you can’t—you can believe what you want; you can’t teach what you want.

Larsen: And I told them I don’t have any problem with that, but they told me that the only place I could talk about this with anybody was in my house with my wife.

70: So that’s where you’re at.

Larsen: Okay, well and that’s—that was—

70: You can’t do that.

Larsen: No, if I’m—I’m talking with you right now about it. I’m talking—you know, there are other friends that I have that have read Denver’s works that have really come closer to Christ because of it. You know—

70: Okay. I can’t—and look where it’s lead him. You should try to understand where XXX, okay? And that’s not the way God has directed his church. He promises that he’ll never let the prophet lead this church astray. That’s what he’s promised.

Larsen: Right. I disagree with that completely.

70: Well that—that’s the facts of life. That’s what he’s taught.

Larsen: Where has he taught that?

70: Well, talking to the prophet Joseph Smith. I’ll find exactly where and I’ll send it to you.

Larsen: Okay.

70: See, never in this dispensation XXX he’ll let that happen

Larsen: That’s not what Joseph Smith said. That’s not what Brigham Young said. Brigham Young said the exact opposite. He said if you rely on the prophet for your salvation, you will go to hell. He told the saints here. Joseph Smith—

70: Okay, okay. That’s not the context which we are talking about. That’s not the context. The context is, sure if you don’t get to know for yourself, then you won’t get a testimony of the Savior. His context was not that he wouldn’t let the prophet lead the church astray. That was not the context of what Joseph, or, Brigham Young was saying, okay? So, so, you know, I think, you know, the problem what we have here is that you’re over here on some issues, which, other people are over here on some issues; the church is over here. You can’t be one that tries to take these things, which you believe are true, which clearly are not taught by the church today nor ratified in the principles of the church and do that. You just can’t do that.

Larsen: I understand that. I’m not trying to claim that these doctrines, or, I don’t even know—I don’t think it’s—I mean, the only doctrine that I am aware of is that there can be prophets outside of the hierarchy, like I said Luke was, as far as I am concerned. And I think that that’s doctrinal.

70: XXX define what’s prophets, seers, and revelators.

Larsen: Yeah, I don’t believe he had the keys; I don’t believe Denver has any keys. I believe that this is where the keys reside. But I—

70: But you do believe that Denver has communicated with heaven and the things that he spouts are true, and that’s not true.

Larsen: What he was excommunicated for was a book called Passing the Heavenly Gift, where he wrote some different things on history, which he’d never put his opinion out. All he put in that book was, here’s some other takes that people have had. He was asked to recall that book. He contacted his publisher and was told that it was not within the ability of them to do it. The church offered to buy the contract. He contacted the publisher, the publisher said no, and so he was excommunicated. That—

70: Not quite all of it XXX

Larsen: Well, I agree that that’s not all of it, but that’s what was—

70: That’s what he says.

Larsen: Well, no—

70: The church didn’t comment on it.

Larsen: No, the church—he published the church’s, the stake president’s letter to him explaining his options.

70: Well yeah, that’s another thing that I think—so what happens is people like him, and you in some way, take your forum to the people. You don’t take your forum to the leaders of the church. And that doesn’t—that’s not what we do in the church. That’s not the policy. We don’t take our forum—that—those courts are held confidential.

Larsen: Mine doesn’t have to be confidential.

70: Well, I know that it doesn’t—there’s no reason for you to take the forum to the people. What you’re trying to say is once again the church is bad and I’m right and you’re wrong.

Larsen: No, I don’t think the church is bad. I just think that it’s not immune to life. I mean it’s—

70: That’s a fair point.

Larsen: You know, we just issued a statement saying we don’t have any idea where the ban on blacks from the priesthood came from, and that’s causing massive waves out there. And my thing is, like, you know what, I don’t care. I can still support the church. I can support the church if the Kirtland bank fails. I can support the prophet if he loses 116 pages. I don’t care if we make mistakes; I don’t. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes make mistakes. And that’s all I’m saying and I think there’s a lot of people out there that are saying the same thing. I mean, it’s—this is huge what’s going on out there. And I know I’ve helped people stay in the church that were on their way out.

70: Well, I appreciate that.

Larsen: You know, because it is—this is the restoration. This is the gospel. Period. You know, but there’s—it’s—everything’s not 100% kosher. It doesn’t mean that we have to go dirt—you know, airing all the dirty laundry, but it does mean that we should be able to look at the truth and say, I still love this church, I love the gospel, I love what we’re doing. And that’s a fact, you know? We’re losing kids left and right. When Marlin Jensen called it the Google apostasy, I mean it’s because people look for truth online and they, they don’t find it. They f—Google sends them somewhere else. You know, it’s okay. This is the true church. It’s not gonna, it’s not gonna make a difference in the long run, but it’s—it is going on right now and I just want the ability to be able to believe according to the dictates of my conscience. I’m not even given the same courtesy that the women that are doing the ordain women or the gays that are pushing for gay marriage in the temple are given. I’m—I’m excommunicated just because I think somebody, who has no keys in the church at all, and whom I don’t sustain in any method of the church, and I’ve said flat out that the first presidency has every right to excommunicate him for any reason that they want to, or me, and I would sustain all of those decisions as well because it is their right, they do have the keys. I get less courtesy than those.

70: Okay. I appreciate that point of view.

Larsen: Thank you.

70: So what is it that you want the church to allow you to do?

Larsen: Oh I want to be able to believe while 100% being able to support the church, pay my tithing, fulfill my callings. I want to be able to believe that it’s my job to make my connection to heaven. And if I do it a little bit different, it’s okay.

70: But if your way is not what we teach, you understand, you can’t tell other people.

Larsen: I’m not trying to tell—

70: The way this—the way that things get disseminated in the church is this way down: from him, to the prophet, in this way, and if we allowed everybody to do it this way up, we’d just XXX you know?

Larsen: Oh well right—

70: XXX people

Larsen: I understand.

70: XXX misunderstand.

Larsen: I understand

70: Eventually XXX okay? Cause this way up won’t work.

Larsen: Right, no, and I’m not trying to steady the ark.

70: There’s a million people—no, there’s hundreds of people just like you that want their way, okay?

Larsen: Right, I’m not trying to steady the ark—

70: Cause they don’t like this, they don’t like pink, they’d rather have orange. And they don’t like yellow, so they’d rather have purple. That just, that’s why these other churches, every congregation is different, because everybody has—every minister has their own little twist.

Larsen: Well, in that talk, it was said, hey, if you have doubts, it’s okay. Well I’m not seeing that.

70: XXX questions and doubts. We agree with that. But the issue is not your doubts. The issue is who you push your doubts on. Or “push” may not be the right word, but the issue is who you teach your doubts to or who you manifest your thing to, okay? Denver Snuffer was not XXX because he couldn’t recount a book. He was not—that’s not the reason at the end of the day that he was XXX.

Larsen: Well I understand that it, that was—

70: That is, that is, that’s the dangling participle, okay?

Larsen: Right, and I, and I believe that’s—

70: We have to put out a dangling participle XXX okay? Dangling participles you can get rid of, okay? XXX a book that he tried to get rid of, etc., etc. It’s not quite as—

Larsen: It’s more nuanced, I understand.

70: It’s more XXX. And anybody that believes that’s what it is, then we’re a XXX

Larsen: Well, no and I don’t believe that’s what it is, I’m just saying that it is the publicly stated reasons for that.

70: XXX the difference.

Larsen: And I think the same thing is occurring with me. It’s not, you know, it’s like okay, you’re in apostasy. What is the doctrine of an apostasy for? Well in the end it’s come down to that I believe that Denver Snuffer is a prophet.

70: XXX it comes down to more XXX. It comes down to you, that you teach contrary—you know, I guess we could go through everything on the website that you put up. I don’t think that XXX you and me again, okay?

Larsen: Right.

70: Because I don’t know, we could, we could argue over, we could discuss. But—

Larsen: Right.

70: XXX over every element of the thing, okay? And at the end of the day we’ll do some things and you’ll say that the church does this and I’ll say it’s this, and we could go around and around. I think that’s why we have a prophet.

Larsen: I agree—

70: XXX

Larsen: But for example, if a—

70: XXX

Larsen: When I was little growing up, my best friend was black.

70: Sure.

Larsen: Some of the things that we have utterly denounced, utterly denounced, that were taught by the first presidency of the church and issued in a proclamation to the world that we have now, I mean that, that the wording is—we have utterly denounced these theories—I told my friend who was black. If at that point in time I had said, “I disagree with these doctrines,” I would be in the same position that I’m in now. You disagree with doctrines of the church. Now I wouldn’t have gone around teaching that blacks are supposed to have the priesthood or that they can have the priesthood; I wouldn’t have done that. But my whole thing is, all I’m saying is I think he’s a prophet who has no authority in the church whatsoever. It shouldn’t have anything to do with the church. I don’t even know why we keep talking about him. It doesn’t have anything to do with it at all except for that this one little guy who is nobody whatsoever believes that he actually is sending a message and the message is simply, come unto Christ. You, you personally, come unto Christ. I like that message. It’s the, it is the message of the Book of Mormon.

70: It’s the message of president Monson. So I think that—

Larsen: Oh absolutely.

70: XXX anybody—

Larsen: So I don’t—it’s—and that’s fine—I, there’s no need—I don’t ever have to quote Denver. I don’t ever have to do anything like that. I can—I mean, it’s—the message is in Ether 4 and in Ether 12 and in Nephi 1 and in—I mean it’s everywhere; it’s everywhere. And so who cares? Who cares? But why can’t I just say, I think he is without being excommunicated. I mean, that—I could see at the most taking my temple recommend, but even that it’s like, you know, where’s the justification? I sustain the first presidency as the ones with the keys to run this kingdom right now. Do I think they have all the keys? No. And I’ve stated that in every single temple recommend interview that I’ve had. Why? Because Spencer W. Kimball got up and said flat out they don’t have all the keys and so did Brigham Young.

70: Right. It depends on what we define as all the keys. We have all the keys that’s authority for our time. We may not hold the keys to the resurrection.

Larsen: I agree with that.

70: We may not hold the keys to the creation. So, the answer is, nobody else holds those keys either, okay?

Larsen: I agree. I’ve even said, hey look, the three Nephites—I can’t pay them my tithing. I have to give my tithing to the church. They probably hold more keys, ’cause they’ve been translated. Does it mean anything? No, I don’t think it means anything. Because, well, if they’re translated, they would probably have the keys of translation, which president Monson probably hasn’t—

70: They don’t XXX keys of translation

Larsen: Well maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s speculation at that point. I don’t know. I do think once you get translated, you would probably be given those keys that you could probably translate somebody else by the laying on of hands. I don’t know. That’s just—but—

70: XXX

Larsen: By the same token, do they have the keys to run the church? Absolutely not, so it’s completely different. Completely different. And I got no problem sustaining the church authorities. But I—my beliefs are my beliefs. And when I got my witness, I’m not gonna renounce that. And that’s what I was being asked. I’m being asked to say that Denver isn’t a prophet. Well, who cares? Who cares.

70: So XXX you said, “I would rather make the gravest mistake than surrender my own judgment and agency”—XXX when your judgment’s bad, that’s why we have a prophet. When your judgment’s wrong.

Larsen: No, I disagree with that. When my judgment’s wrong, I’m going to fall. I’m going to make mistakes. It’s, it’s not—if my judgments wrong, where is the patience and long suffering and love unfeigned?

70: No, no, no. Why would the Savior teach what he taught if he wants you to do whatever you want to do anyway?

Larsen: He doesn’t—I’m not talking about doing whatever I want to do, but it doesn’t mean that you, that you—

70: When a, when a prophet can help you, why, what’s wrong with following the prophet? What’s wrong with following the prophet until you can figure it out for yourself that it’s right.

Larsen: Well—

70: Like it says that you must try, you must keep trying. I’m going to tell this, you try it, and you see if it works.

Larsen: I did.

70: Okay, so you’ve—if it doesn’t work, then it—so if it hasn’t worked, it’s got you where you’re at.

Larsen: Well, if, if I can’t follow the promptings of the holy ghost, I’m not going to make it anyway.

70: XXX about that. That’s, that’s—which, which holy ghost do you want to talk about?

Larsen: Okay, see that’s the, that’s the question then.

70: XXX

Larsen: So my holy ghost isn’t as good as—

70: XXX Pretty soon you got everybody doing ten different things.

Larsen: Well you know what, when you ask people to pray about this book, that’s how you ask them to go get a witness.

70: That’s right.

Larsen: Okay, so honor my ability to do that.

70: I am XXX your ability, okay? But as you make certain covenants with him, you make certain promises. When you go to the temple, you promise certain things.

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: You promise to be obedient.

Larsen: Not to, yes obedient.

70: No, no, no.

Larsen: Not to.

70: Just follow your temple covenants. Go through them.

Larsen: Right.

70: No one in there, no one in there—okay, so you just go through them. There’s five that you promise, okay? You promise you’ll be obedient, okay?

Larsen: Yes.

70: The teachings of the Lord and his prophets.

Larsen: Okay.

70: Okay, so that’s what you promise. So if he teaches you something and you don’t like it, you still do it because that’s what you covenant to do. You have a choice. You were asked, if you don’t agree with this, stand up and walk out. That’s what you were told. If you don’t agree.

Larsen: Okay. So again, let me ask then.

70: Sure.

Larsen: All of the, all of the blacks that were denied the priesthood that we have no idea where that came from—if—if the prophet can’t lead us astray, what happened?

70: I’d have to go back and—we’ll have to go back and look at all the stuff on the docs and see who taught what, okay?

Larsen: Right, and the church has done that and has come up with the statement “We don’t know where that came from,” which I agree with. I—it’s a very difficult—and again, who cares?

70: And who taught it, when they taught it, how they taught it—

Larsen: Right.

70: Whether they taught it acting as the president of the church, whether they taught it acting as a—

Larsen: Well, I can tell you that unequivocally the first presidency issued a proclamation to the world in 1949 stating, and I mean it’s easy to find—

70: Sure, okay

Larsen: Stating that blacks were denied the priesthood, and that they were descendants of Cain, and that they were not as valiant in the pre-existence. Those are now denounced theories.

70: Absolutely. I can see the proclamation. XXX

Larsen: I mean, these are things that I know. So of course, in my paradigm, these are things that I have to deal with.

70: XXX If you follow the prophet, you’ll be fine because you’ll be following him, okay? And that’s the difference. So if we follow and make it, I’d have to go look and understand XXX I haven’t studied that stuff XXX

Larsen: Right.

70: XXX

Larsen: I just—

70: XXX So if you get something, it’s just like when Joseph asked somebody to do something, and those that knew he was a prophet and he didn’t do it, he says, well what do you want me to do, Joseph? What do you want me to do?

Larsen: Brigham Young said that.

70: Exactly. What do you want me to do?

Larsen: He said I’ll do it. Right.

70: Whatever.

Larsen: Right. I understand.

70: Because he knew he was a prophet.

Larsen: Right.

70: Okay, and just like when Moroni wrote XXX okay?

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: So I’m just gonna do it because you’re the prophet. And if I get a little off base today, because you’re the prophet, I’m sure I’m gonna get back on base.

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: So you can’t just say, well I’m gonna follow the prophet on this, and I’m not gonna follow him on this, I’m gonna follow this—it just won’t work for you. And it won’t work for me.

Larsen: Okay, so I have a couple of things to say about that.

70: Sure, that’d be fine.

Larsen: One is I disagree. I just disagree. The reason why is because—

70: XXX disagree.

Larsen: I am supposed to follow the Holy Ghost, who leads me to Christ, and then Christ leads me to Father. And that the purpose of a prophet on the earth is to bring to my attention the true nature, character, attributes, and perfections of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And that it is then dependent upon me to develop a relationship with Him, a relationship that should be a father-son relationship that is full of love and light and understanding. That is what I seek. And the prophets—all of the prophets—testify that you need to come unto Christ yourself. So, I understand what you’re saying. But I don’t follow any man. And that includes Thomas S. Monson, and it includes Denver Snuffer. I think that all of them—Joseph Smith, Lehi, Moroni—they, all of the prophets have given us great things. But the point is that we then take those things, and we go develop a personal relationship with the Father. And that’s the only thing that I seek to do. And so, I’m not, I’m not going to surrender blind obedience to anyone on this earth.

70: Nobody asked you to surrender blind obedience, okay? But without a prophet we would be— you want to have the women in here that believe they hold the priesthood, so they’re gonna say it just like you. They’re gonna talk just like you.

Larsen: Right.

70: You have the gays in here that want to get married, they’re gonna talk just like you.

Larsen: Right.

70: Now you tell me which XXX. So you’re gonna tell me they’re all three right because they’re all gonna testify that that holy ghost that told you to do it that way is the same holy ghost that tell them to do it that way. And the same holy ghost that told them—

Larsen: Okay, so the difference—

70: That’s why we have a prophet.

Larsen: So here’s the difference

70: That’s why we have a prophet

Larsen: I understand, but here’s the difference.

70: Okay

Larsen: I don’t want to tell the church what to do.

70: Well—

Larsen: I just want to believe according to the dictates of my own conscience. That’s—

70: There are certain things—

Larsen: I don’t think I have any business telling the church what to do.

70: Well in a way you’ve kind of put yourself out there to tell people what to do.

Larsen: Well, and I’m—like I said in my court, I don’t have any problem not putting things out there. I just need to know what it is that you don’t want me to put out there. I need it, I need to know because you’re telling me—in my court , they didn’t tell me, you can’t talk about Denver Snuffer. I said, okay well my point is only that there can be prophets outside of the twelve, but they have no authority for the fifteen outside. The authority still rests with the church, absolutely. It’s a house of order. Absolutely. Okay, that’s— and I don’t have any business trying to change that. But I ought to be able to have my voice. My voice ought not to be crushed because I believe something that is outside of normal. And if I can still sustain the church and the presidency, while I have—

70: Because we don’t want XXX active members of the church leading other people down this road that leads them to believing different than what the church believes.

Larsen: So the—you’re saying that this whole thing focuses around Denver’s not a prophet.

70: I don’t agree that—

Larsen: So what—I still don’t understand, though, I guess.

70: I think the whole thing, you know, I guess—you know, as I read XXX identified himself on the forum as BrentL “The Apostate.”

Larsen: Yeah, that’s what the—

70: Is that true?

Larsen: No. Yes, it’s—

70: Why would you do that?

Larsen: I didn’t do that. What—it’s on the— a friend of mine, and the reason why is because—

70: XXX and the XXX

Larsen: The thing is, is there’s a bunch of people that have been saying that any, anything that you say that they don’t agree with identifies you as an apostate. And so after they had done that for so long, Brian’s like, okay I’m just gonna put you down as “The Apostate” so they can be happy. It was meant as a joke.

70: XXX identify myself XXX

Larsen: I would not want to be associated with the—some of the stuff that they say in defense of the church is horrific, on there. And the reality is, again, is that there’s a lot of people out there that are—I mean, do you know how fast we’re losing people?

70: Listen, do you know how fast—do you know how—do you know where we’re gonna lose lots more? Because it says in the last days, that the wolfs will come among the sheep, and they’ll destroy the sheep, so they have to decide for themselves.

Larsen: Sure. Absolutely.

70: But we’re not gonna change our doctrine. It’s just like, you know, we could change our—like the other churches are changing, you know, how they’re putting women in the priesthood, they allow marriages, all that stuff. We’re not gonna go there.

Larsen: All right.

70 Just like—

Larsen: So tell me, what is the doctrine I’m supposed to change?

70: XXX so let me say this: all members of the council agreed XXX false doctrinal concepts, is unwilling to refrain continuing it in public XXX openly advocate the first presidency and quorum of the twelve apostles hold priesthood keys. They are not prophets because they have been called upon—because they have not been called up into heaven and spoken to the Father and the Son.

Larsen: See, and that’s—I disagree with that. That’s not what I said.

70: that’s what they think you said.

Larsen: I know. I know. And it’s—

70: So the answer is, is that—the reason why is ’cause you push back on every thing. That’s what they believe. So I think the real key, I think, you know, the key here is that’s what they think you said.

Larsen: Right. Okay, and I—

70: I mean, that’s—I just read. I just—

Larsen: Right.

70: XXX I haven’t gone to your site. Nor will I. This site, whatever it’s called.

Larsen: Right.

70: I won’t spend any time there. It would not take me anywhere.

Larsen: Right. No, it wouldn’t.

70: XXX had enough time XXX—

Larsen: I agree with that.

70: Spend anywhere else, okay?

Larsen: I agree with that.

70: Can’t do it good enough XXX okay? So I think there’s two big questions.

Larsen: Okay.

70: I think the big question is, is there a misunderstanding between you and the court? That’s question number one. I would—I was trying to keep your—I would have avoided Denver Snuffer like the plague, like the plague! If you—once something happens to somebody, and then you say, why would you even hang around his teachings? With works like him? Nothing—no good. XXX holds no ordinances that will get him back into the presence of the Father. None. Unless he repents. None. And he was talked to time and time again and wouldn’t listen. So, I mean, you would, all you do is—see, what happens to people that hang out in this cesspool—I’ve stayed away from these websites like I’d stay away from the plague. Why do you even want to go there?

Larsen: Yeah, I have no—I’ve told them I don’t have any problem never going back to that website.

70: Why did you ever go there in the first place?

Larsen: Oh, well, originally it was set up as a—to discuss principles of freedom, such as espoused by Ezra Taft Benson and stuff.

70: Sure. And then they go from there—

Larsen: Then they—yeah.

70: And then pretty soon go somewhere else, and—

Larsen: And it’s—

70: It’s like boiling water; it sucks you in.

Larsen: Well, and the—you know, yeah, there’s a lot of contention and argument there. I don’t spend a lot of time there anymore. It’s not—you’re right—it’s not worth a lot of time.

70: It’s not.

Larsen: And I don’t have—and I told them I have no problem never posting publicly anything like this again whatsoever.

70: So where couldn’t you agree with that?

Larsen: They told me that the only place I could talk to anybody about anything like this was with my wife in our house. I have other friends that have read his works that like to discuss it. I go over to their house. They’re good people. They serve in elders quorum presidencies and bishoprics and stake presidencies. These are good, good, good people.

70: We hope they stay good.

Larsen: They are gonna stay good.

70: Well, look what it took you—where it took you in. I’d stay away from him like the plague.

Larsen: I know that that is what you would do. But is that a reason to murder and castrate somebody?

70: I didn’t say murder and castrate—

Larsen: No, I did because when you say to somebody that if you do not adjust your beliefs, we will take from you all of the saving ordinances, then you are cutting them off, according to your own words, all of the saving ordinances. So you’re spiritually willing to execute somebody for beliefs.

70: No, we’re, what’s—uh uh, that’s not true.

Larsen: How is that not true? You just said that Denver cannot even—

70: Well he can’t!

Larsen: He has cut himself off completely.

70: Has he not?

Larsen: Okay, well so what—then, is that not—

70: I didn’t hold the council.

Larsen: No, I know, but is he not then—

70: Sure, he XXX

Larsen: spiritually dead?

70: But he had a choice. He had a choice. And he couldn’t find ways to get his in association with this.

Larsen: Mmm hmm. I agree.

70: It wasn’t because he couldn’t get the book renounced, okay? That has to—anybody that thinks we’re that dumb, then—

Larsen: Well, I absolutely agree with that, but I also think that, you know, if you’re gonna—if publicly President Truman is going to say that that’s what’s necessary for him not to be apostate, then where’s the truth? If you can’t speak the truth, then where is it?

70: I’m just telling you what’s—we don’t do—

Larsen: I know.

70: It’s much bigger.

Larsen: I know it’s bigger.

70: You weren’t there, and so you don’t—and I can’t tell you, nor would I, if I was ever gonna tell you anyway.

Larsen: Right.

70: I was—I don’t know. But I’m smart enough to know that, okay? But that’s not what we do for—because he can’t get a book renounced. That isn’t what we do.

Larsen: Right

70: There’s much more to it.

Larsen: Well, I was excomm—

70: It’s a piece of it. I don’t know—

Larsen: I’m excommunicated pretty much for my beliefs. I mean—

70: Well you’re—people get excommunicated for their beliefs, as long as they get excommunicated for what they espouse.

Larsen: And again, I’m not sure how this even clashes with the church. I don’t—I flat out say repeatedly I support and sustain as the only ones having the keys—

70: Yeah but you—

Larsen: The first presidency—

70: XXX be the prophet.

Larsen: No, I don’t—

70: There’s a temple recommend question, do you sustain the first presidency and quorum of the twelve apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. That’s the question.

Larsen: Yes. Absolutely yes I do.

70: Okay.

Larsen: And I uphold them with my faith and my prayers as well.

70: Okay, so why then you say they are not prophets because they have not been called on with evidence from—

Larsen: Well that’s—he’s not understanding what I’m saying there. It’s the same thing I said before. I believe there’s different levels of prophets just like with Joseph, just like you have the three Nephites. They’re doing something else. John the Revelator is doing something else completely right now. I do believe that he’s walking the earth just like the scriptures say. Okay? He’s got a different job. Maybe he comes and talks to President Monson every once in a while, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe he does!

70: I would never know.

Larsen: Right. And it’s great if he does. It’s great if he doesn’t. It’s okay. The three Nephites, same thing. Different jobs. Okay, so, this is the Lord’s church. Period. That’s the prophet of the restoration. Period. Now, do I sustain them as prophets, seers, and revelators? Yes. Do—what I see on the level of what Joseph produced—have I ever seen that since Joseph? No. That’s what I’m using as my definition of—

70: XXX you look at the proclamation on the family, let me tell you, that’s a XXX

Larsen: Okay, but what about the proclamation on the blacks in 1849?

70: XXX

Larsen: Okay. I mean I’m just saying it’s—I get it, but it’s just my opinion. That’s it.

70: But the prophet Joseph XXX

Larsen: Absolutely, and I still love him.

70: XXX

Larsen: I know!

70: XXX

Larsen: But no, I just have not seen the same thing. And so—

70: Well are you—

Larsen: I see—

70: XXX but you’re looking at it differently. Because it was a different time and different place.

Larsen: And I’m willing to even, you know, I—

70: XXX the church was organized under Joseph Smith, okay?

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: So that doesn’t need to be reorganized.

Larsen: Right, I agree. No it doesn’t to be reorganized. I agree with that.

70: We will adjust. In fact, if you look at the office of the Seventy

Larsen: Mmm hmm

70: During this dispensation, okay?

Larsen: Mmm hmm

70: Long since Joseph Smith, the Seventy have become exactly that Doctrine and Covenants section 107 teaches. They did not get organized that way on their own.

Larsen: Okay, let’s talk about section 107. 107 says it’s the duty of the president of the high priesthood to be a prophet seer and revelator. Okay, I read those words and I believe them. That’s my problem.

70: Well they have been.

Larsen: Okay, well it’s his duty to be it. It doesn’t say—when I became, when I was in the Elders quorum presidency, I wasn’t just 100% home teacher. I needed to go do that. I needed—I still had duties I had to fulfill. Okay? In the Doctrine and Covenants it says this is a duty you need to fulfill.

70: Okay.

Larsen: And—

70: XXX

Larsen: Yes and I do. And that’s fine. You know, here’s my thing.

70: You spend a lot of time on trivia.

Larsen: No, it’s not trivia. When I was in the military, I voted against Clinton. But I served without fail. I did not like Clinton as my commander in chief.

70: Okay.

Larsen: But I served him faithfully.

70: Okay.

Larsen: Okay? I get to vote against him when it comes times to vote, because I don’t his whatever. All right? Now with President Monson, it’s like, okay, I’m going to serve, I’m going to support, I’m going to pray for you, I love you, I’m going to do everything I can to assist. But it doesn’t mean that I have received a testimony that you are a prophet yet. I just haven’t.

70: Well you can get one.

Larsen: And that’s true. But all I can do is ask.

70: Well I’ll tell you he is.

Larsen: Yeah he does—

70: Ask and it shall be given, so if you want to go back to the same scripture you want to talk about, that’s what you said—

Larsen: See, so then it comes—

70: XXX So the question is, you’re not asking in faith, or you’re not listening, or something. I couldn’t XXX.

Larsen: Right. And that’s—

70: But you have to get that fixed.

Larsen: Well, that’s the thing, is that—

70: That’s what you have to get fixed

Larsen: Right. It ends up being my fault. Okay.

70: But it needs to get fixed.

Larsen: Okay, and my thing is, yes, I’ll do everything I can, everything that I can, to develop that personal relationship with my Savior. Absolutely. I will do that with every fiber of my being. I will, I will create that relationship with my Father.

70: Now you’ve lost something to go along with it too. You’ve lost the temple XXX. You’ve lost the ability to go to the XXX—

Larsen: I have lost my temple recommend

70: You’ve lost the ability to go to the house of the Lord, which is the most sacred place he resides up on the earth

Larsen: Right. Which—

70: The most sacred.

Larsen: Right. Which to me tells me a couple of things. It is—one is that there is no longsuffering and patience and love unfeigned going on. What it is, is it’s compulsory. You will change this or you will lose these benefits.

70: No, you will meet certain criteria or else you won’t go.

Larsen: Right, exactly. That’s another way of stating it. That’s fine.

70: XXX my way, because your way would have everybody in the temple, okay? The ones that don’t pay tithing, you’d have the ones that don’t count their tithing, that don’t XXX would be love unfeigned, okay? You have to understand that in the minds of, at least in this court—

Larsen: Right.

70: that it was worse than not paying tithing.

Larsen: I understand.

70: It was worse than not smoking. It was worse than smoking. It’s worse sin.

Larsen: Oh, I understand. I’m a felon. And when I—

70: You aren’t a felon.

Larsen: And when I was charged with my crimes—no, I am a felon. And when I was charged with my crimes I was disfellowshipped. And yet when I think somebody else has actually talked with God and delivers a message from him, I’m excommunicated. I get it. I get it.

70: Well I’m sad that we’re where we’re at, personally. I think that it has to be.

Larsen: I know, and I’m sad too. But it’s not… it’s not … my view of priesthood authority is not that you dictate to me who to be, what to be. To me the word “priesthood authority” means that you have the keys to these ordinances and to God’s church.

70: Sure.

Larsen: I—everything in the temple is a map. It’s a symbol. It’s telling you what you need to do. It’s not about obedience to the church or to men. It’s about obedience to commands of God. In Nephi, every time he uses the word “commandment” he is talking about things that were given to him. I love this gospel, I love these people, I love our church, I love our leaders. I’ll support and sustain them even as I am gone. But my duty to my Father is to put Him first. And there are things that I have received a witness of that aren’t—they’re for me. And they’re not negotiable. And I’m not going to accept somebody else telling me “you’re deceived” when I have come from so far, from such depths of hell, to knowing the love of my Savior and Redeemer and knowing the power of the Atonement, knowing that this is the restoration, knowing that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, knowing that this is the right work, but also knowing that Denver Snuffer did talk with God. He has no keys; I don’t care. I don’t really associate with him. I don’t know him. He likes baseball. He’s gotta have some obvious DNA deficiencies there. I don’t care. But I can’t—I can’t surrender my ability to walk back to the Father or put that burden on anybody else. Doctrine and Covenants section 79, I think, 76 tells us clearly that if we put our faith in a man, even if that man is a prophet, that we’re gonna reside in the lowest kingdom. Because our job is not to be dependent upon another man but to have a personal relationship with the Lord and Savior. In my quest to develop that, I received my witnesses. And I can support and sustain the church in not posting stuff like that on a public forum, absolutely. But it’s not appropriate to tell me that I can’t talk to Joe Shmoe that is a good friend of mine who’s read the book that comes and says to me, “Hey, I read this book; what did you think?” I’m sorry I can’t talk to you about it because I’ve been compelled at the threat of my eternal exaltation to not speak to you about that. That’s unrighteous dominion.

70: Okay. Appreciate what you’re saying. I think what the big difference—one difference—I understand and don’t disagree with much of what you said. But the one big difference is that when you tell Joe Shmoe or whoever you XXX—

Larsen: Right. Yeah.

70: So I’m talking about the same guy you’re talking about. What you—you know, I don’t think that we’ll ever say that you can’t talk to Joe Shmoe, but I think that the lesson is that you can’t help Joe Shmoe—as a member of this church you can’t help Joe Schmo and lead down a path, you know, that leads him into believing things that are not truly teachings of this church. And so—

Larsen: And again, what is that? What is the—

70: XXX it’s fine that Joseph—you know, Denver Snuffer was a—I can’t tell you whether Denver Snuffer saw him or not. I can tell you that what he preaches is not what the Savior would preach. I think—

Larsen: But you don’t know what he preaches.

70: Well I know enough of what he preaches and so—

Larsen: What do you know?

70: Listen—

Larsen: I mean, tell me. I won’t preach it. It’s fine. I totally—I absolutely have asked for that from the get go. Tell me what to not preach; I won’t do it. That’s fine.

70: Okay.

Larsen: I—

70: Well that’s XXX you know—my job is not to tell you what not to preach, okay?

Larsen: Well it is if you’re gonna excommunicate me for apostasy.

70: I get—first of all I haven’t excommunicated you.

Larsen: Well right, but—

70: I’m the one that’s reviewing, okay?

Larsen: Thank you.

70: So you can’t accuse me of doing something I didn’t do.

Larsen: Right.

70: My job—

Larsen: I’m still confused about that. I imagine I will be—

70: XXX if we can’t get a little more unconfused, okay?

Larsen: Okay.

70: The other thing that I do, can do. I can testify that I know that Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet.

Larsen: And I don’t dispute that.

70: And he does prophetic things.

Larsen: I don’t dispute that.

70: And he acts for the Savior, okay? For him. And the things he teaches are the things that the Savior would want us to do. Okay? So if you want to get close to him, you also need to be close to the prophet. They’re not independent. They’re not independent.

Larsen: Right, but again—

70: They are not independent.

Larsen: My understanding of a prophet is, is they point me to God so that I can have my own personal relationship with him. Not through the prophet, my own personal relationship.

70: We agree with that. But in the meantime, for those times when you can’t quite understand what God wants you to do, he tells his prophet.

Larsen: Right

70: He doesn’t tell everybody XXX He told Noah, and Noah told the others. He didn’t of told all of them to build the ark, he didn’t tell everybody to build the ship; he told Nephi.

Larsen: Mmm hmm.

70: One person. He didn’t tell the rest of them, but they jumped in, okay? And because they all jumped in and followed the prophet, they made it to the promised land. Because those that would believe Noah got on the ship; they made it safely, okay? He didn’t talk to everybody, and he won’t tell you everything probably, okay?

Larsen: Right. But he does talk to me.

70: I don’t—I didn’t say he didn’t. I did not say that. I’m saying that he won’t tell you everything.

Larsen: Right. No he doesn’t.

70: So that’s why he has a prophet, okay? That’s why he has a prophet.

Larsen: He definitely doesn’t tell you everything.

70: We’re supposed to hold family home evening, family prayer and scripture study, our families have a better chance at staying together. That’s why he has a prophet. To tell us those things we should, okay? And that makes it easier. He also tells us what’s the priority of the day, you know? I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

Larsen: Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

70: No, I appreciate your time. I appreciate time. I appreciate your points of view.

Larsen: I just want to be able to worship according to the dictates of my conscience while still supporting the church.

70: What we want to do is make sure those two are consistent.

Larsen: Right.

70: We have lots that want to do that, but they XXX worship, what they do is not consistent, i.e. gay marriage, i.e., women have the priesthood. Those are not going to—

Larsen: Right, but I’m not—again, I’m not doing any of those things. All I’m doing is saying, I don’t have a testimony of Thomas S. Monson, and yet I still support him.

70: I understand. And so it would be—you know—so when you got your temple recommend before, nobody was XXX testimony of Thomas S. Monson?

Larsen: Well, some of it we didn’t get into. I mean, I did tell them I don’t think he has all the keys. I did tell them—

70: That’s not a question. Everybody agrees with that.

Larsen: Huh?

70: Everybody agrees with that.

Larsen: Right. And then the next one was, do you sustain him? And I said yes I do. It’s not asked if I have a testimony of it. I have never been asked that in anything that, other than my court hearings. Ever. I don’t think, I don’t under—

70: That’s how we define sustain to be. XXX

Larsen: Right, and I think that that’s a big difference, but my thing is I don’t—I do sustain him, but it’s not the church of Thomas S. Monson. It’s the church of Jesus Christ.

70: Nobody ever made it that. Nobody made it Joseph’s church.

Larsen: Right, and so—

70: That’s not what everybody thought when Joseph—

Larsen: And so I thought I was okay—

70: Everybody thought that when Joseph was killed that it would all be—all be go away and it didn’t quite go away.

Larsen: I thought when—if I am excommunicated fully for not following Thomas S. Monson, then it is the church of Thomas S. Monson. I follow Christ.

70: No, no, no, no, no, no. I don’t—I think you’re wrong. On that I think you’re wrong. I’ll XXX some of your other things, but on that I think you’re wrong.

Larsen: Well, and see—

70: And the reason why you’re wrong is because when he speaks XXX the church, then it’s him. XXX it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, it says, when, by the voice of my servants it is the same. It is exactly the same. It’s the same.

Larsen: I understand.

70: So he’s very, very clear about that. So when I speak through my prophet it is the same as if I were speaking. That’s what he’s saying. It’s not—there’s no difference. And so you can’t say, well when he speaks for the church, well I don’t like that one so I’ll just my other one, whether you like this one, well I like that one. Well, so you’ll have to figure out when he’s speaking for the kingdom. And sometimes he has, you know, who would have ever thought that he’d have asked Abraham to give his son—that doesn’t make any sense.

Larsen: Right.

70: What do you do? And so sometimes what the prophet asks us to do may not make sense. Okay?

Larsen: I agree with that.

70: But it sometimes tests for our time. Well, it’s been—I appreciate you coming.

Larsen: Thanks.

Kate Kelly Has Been Excommunicated

Kate Kelly Has Been Excommunicated

Just in. Kate Kelly has been excommunicated.

A reaction by “Kristy” on OrdainWomen.org

Notice of Decision viewed below or downloadable here:

L. Whitney Clayton Audio in Logan, Utah

L. Whitney Clayton Audio in Logan, Utah

In our last post we discussed the possible (likely?) involvement of Elder L. Whitney Clayton in the recent disciplinary actions against John Dehlin, Kate Kelly, and Denver Snuffer.

Well, an audio recording of a “special stake conference” recently surfaced which is particularly interesting. On his Facebook page, John Dehlin said

“For those interested, my understanding is that Elder F. Whitney Clayton called a special stake conference in my stake (North Logan) the weekend of 8/18-8/19. This (link below) was the talk that Elder Clayton and his wife gave on the Saturday evening of our stake conference. If I’m not mistaken, you can hear my former stake president (Mark Jensen) admit that this was a surprise visit for him. Later I heard reports about special trainings being given to stake leadership during this conference re: “faith crises” (and I’m told that air quotes were used when the words “faith crises” were mentioned).

“It was after this stake conference that President Jensen (whom I had met with weekly for over a year — and who gave me permission to baptize and confirm my son) changed in his tone and approach with me.

“Anyway, please give this a listen if you have time, and let me know what you think. According to my memory, Sister Clayton’s analogy re: the cruise ship, and Elder Clayton’s analogy re: the scrub bushes were particularly offensive to me at the time. Thanks in advance!!!”

The audio can be listened to here.