A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sin Isn't in the "Mistakes" We Make But in the Love We Lack

On April 26, 2016, I received this message from one of my friends. “On Sunday we are going to talk about fear and then tie it back in with the concept of love taught last week. Come prepared to share any insights you have regarding fear.”

I had been struggling with the pain of my mistakes that week. I felt like running away, crying, and giving up. I don't like causing pain for anyone, yet I seem to do things I regret. When asked to think about fear, I realized I am afraid of my mistakes. I do everything I can to avoid making mistakes, yet my mistakes keep rolling forth as I live life.

These lessons on love and fear came at a perfect time in my life. The Monday after our Sunday discussion, I kept hearing the Lord say, “Who gave you your weakness?” A scripture came to mind, but I had to look it up to make sure I was remembering it correctly.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Ether 12:27

There it is! God gave me my weakness. So, if God gave me my weakness, it must be a gift.

An picture came to mind. I saw a new baby, born into the world in weakness. At first, the baby is helpless. This baby is meant to run someday, but today she just sleeps without much movement. If I were to judge the baby in her weakness, I would think she is lazy, useless, and unambitious. I would say things like, “Why don't you get up? Is that all you're going to do? You're meant to run not just lie around.” Still the baby sleeps.

Months pass and the baby starts kicking her legs. In my judgment I might say things like, “Do you think that's going to do you any good? What use is it to kick your legs? You're not going to go very far doing that.”

Time passes and the baby begins to roll and crawl. Continuing in judgment, I could say, “You might be getting around, but that's a dirty way to do it. It would be so much easier if you walked on your feet instead of rolling in the dirt.”

The baby continues to develop and begins to use furniture and walls to pull herself to her feet. In my ignorance, I accuse the baby, “You're cheating. When you walk you're suppose to do it on your own. Using props is the way of a cheater.”

The baby takes a few steps and does not make an attempt for weeks. I say, “Is that all you're going to do? Get up! Don't be a quitter.”

Between the ages of 6-18 months almost all babies learn to walk. As a mother of 11 children, I've seen this process over and over. It would seem foolish to judge my babies in such a way. Born in weakness, they've all learned to walk and run.

After seeing these images of a baby developing, I heard God say, “Now, apply what you've learned about a baby's development to every other weakness you see in yourself and others: addictions (drug, alcohol, pornography, etc.), gossip, backbiting, judging, lying, idolatry, laziness, hypocrisy, obesity, pride, procrastination, perfectionism, dishonesty, thieving, anger, lust, and the list goes on and on.”

A wise and loving God sees all the stages in the development of man. In our ignorance, we judge wrongfully. If I were to label the baby as a non-walker because he is lying on the bed, only kicking his legs, rolling around the floor, or using furniture to assist him, I would do so foolishly.

If God gave me my weakness, how can it be sin to be weak? How can it be sin to learn, grow, and develop? I then asked the Lord, “If acting in my weakness is not sin, then what is sin?” Another scripture came to mind.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

There really are only two commandments, and the second one includes loving ourselves. Love God, love others, and love yourself. Love of self is included because often people have the hardest time forgiving and loving themselves. This is not arrogance but peace that comes in being reconciled with God.

Our weakness and struggle are given to teach us to love God, others, and self. Sin isn't in the "mistakes" we make but in the love we lack. My weakness is given to me to bring me to my knees and encourage me to develop a relationship with God. It also teaches me to have compassion on myself and others.

We still feel the consequences of our weakness just as a baby feels the effects of gravity as she learns to walk. She still bumps and bruises her head, falls down, and scrapes her knee. She is helpless and not capable of taking care of herself. She struggles against gravity as she learns to walk.

So it is with all of our weakness, we feel the consequences and pain of our weakness, but it is a gift from God, given for our growth and development.

You've heard it said, “What you resist, persists.” I have been resisting my weakness and have been viewing it as a “bad thing”. I have been resisting my gift from God. I have not received ALL of God's gifts with gratitude.

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5:20

For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” D&C 88:33

In my weakness, I judge others and am prone to perfectionism. I see where many times I play the part of the Pharisee.

Throughout the New Testament I see the Lord showing compassion on “sinners” while the Pharisees received His greatest rebuke. Why? Do the religious see righteousness as a list of dos and don'ts? Can they even see their weakness?

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest,even unto the last: and

Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:3-11

It is interesting Jesus does not define the sin. Many might assume the sin is adultery.

But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30-32

Was Jesus calling the scribes and pharisees righteous? Do we assume it was the harlots and publicans that were living in sin. Who is being called to repentance? Here's what our Lord has to say to the scribes and Pharisees:

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.36

Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23:1-39

Does the Lord have any such words for those who struggle in their weakness but don't point the accusing finger at others?

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” Matthew 21:28-32

Why do the publicans and harlots enter the kingdom of God before scribes and Pharisees? Look at the difference between the Pharisee and the publican:

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:7-14

What brings peace and joy? Is it our adherence to rules and commandments? Or is it love for God, others, and self?

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corithians 13:1-3

I am reminded of a parable.

The Great Competition

There was a King who loved his people. He also loved the competition of games. He called his advisory council together and asked them how he might improve the health and vigor of his people. They considered the matter and decided upon a great plan.

The King called his city together and told them of a great competition he and his council had devised. “All the city would compete,” he announced. They would proceed in turns to go into the coliseum and compete on the field. Al were welcome to watch before or after they participated. But all would have to compete. The competition would test the citizen's loyalty, while also improving the lives of the citizens.

I haven't the strength to compete. I am old and past my day and cannot hope to win in competition with younger men,” said one.

The King responded, “Not all the competition will be of strength, some will be of intellect, some of patience, some of music. It will develop the skill of each individual from my kingdom and will improve every citizen.”

I refuse,” said the one. He and those who agreed with him departed in anger.

The day arrived and the competition began. Men, women and children all entered in turns into to coliseum. Some sang, some threw spears, some lifted heavy weights, and some recited poetic works of beauty and wisdom. The people not competing at any given time would watch from the seats. They gained as much from watching as they did competing.

Many were reluctant or afraid entering the competition, but found when they competed their fears were unfounded. Some believed it would be fun to compete. However upon entering the competition failed to do as they hoped, and regretted their poor efforts.

After the days of the competition ended, a great feast was called. For the feast, the King invited not only those citizens who participated in the games, but also those who had fled the city rather than participate. Those who had remained loyal and participated in the games were troubled by this.

Why are those who rejected your plan allowed to be among us?” they inquired.

For a wise purpose,” said the King.

Many of those who participated resented the presence of those who had fled. Some who fled returned in anger, urging those who stayed to join them in their anger at the King. Some who did not do well were persuaded by the arguments of the returning dissidents.

The great feast turned into a great argument among the residents who stayed and those who had fled. Eventually the people divided themselves into two groups. In one, the King was beloved and his plan was held in esteem. In the other, the King was resented, or worse, hated. They found fault with the King, with his plan, and with the uproar caused among the citizens by the King's great folly.

When the body was divided, the King addressed them all with these words, “I have been working for some time to determine who I can trust among our people and who I cannot trust. Using wise counsel I have adopted this great plan to decide the matter.

I knew when the competition was devised it would divide the people. I knew, too, that some would flee rather than participate. I also knew if I invited back to a feast all of he citizens, both those who stayed and those who fled, that it would result in a great division. This was my purpose all along.

We are faced with many challenges. Some are in forms which you do not understand. They will test all of us. I must know before we confront the coming challenges who I can trust to remain loyal in my kingdom. Today I know.

All those who have been loyal have been identified. They will remain in my kingdom. All those who have rejected my plan, or spoken against me in hatred, will be removed from my kingdom. Those who leave are free to follow their own course. However, they cannot be among my people any longer, for they have been tested and failed in their loyalty.”

It required a battle to remove those who were to be exiled. Many argued they had endured all the King had asked and only spoken ill of him when the disaffected exiles returned. They claimed it was unfair to have been put through this final test of loyalty after allowing the return of the exiles. They argued a feast that included those who refused the King's request was unfair. It rewarded all alike; the loyal and the disloyal. They claimed their final disloyalty came only as a result of their original loyalty later proving to be of no value, since even the exiles came to the final feast.

Others complained that the King was mad. His whole course was destructive of a people who had once lived in harmony and peace. They claimed it was the King who should be thrown in exile; not the citizens who were discomforted by the King disturbing their peace.

Still others complained the King was never honest with them. Had they known this was to be the result, they would have been loyal throughout. They thought it unfair he kept his counsel to himself and thereby lulled them into disfavor.

Yet others complained the King gave them too hard a test. It was unfair. Although they had passed the test, they had family members and friends who failed and if these whom they loved had failed they would refuse for their loved ones' sake to remain with the King.

Some even said that the original test was supposed to improve the citizen's “health and vigor” and not their loyalty. It was unfair to claim to test for one virtue when actually testing for another.

And finally, some claimed there could be no future test coming for which this test of the citizens would prepare; that the only thing this great plan tested was the patience of the citizens. If there is some great future test coming, then the King ought, in fairness, to share that information with them rather than to hide it and make claims which cannot be proven.

All the arguments were unavailing. The King expelled them all. When the kingdom was set, and none but the loyal remained, the King again called a great assembly of his people. To all those who remained the King announced, “I discovered long ago the power to make my kingdom last forever. I am now prepared to share the secrets of all I know with my people. From this day forward you will no longer be citizens in my kingdom, but you will be kings and queens, sharing with me in life which will never end.

Before making you all kings and queens with me, I needed to have a people who would live in peace together. Immortality without peace among us would be a great punishment and not a great prize.

All of us who remain in this kingdom have lost friends, family members and others whom we love. However, all who remain will be able to live in peace, forever.”

The King did as he planned from the beginning, He and his counselors were able to find those who could live in peace, and for whom life would endure in peace forever.

There is not now, and never has been, a kingdom more stable, more happy, more at peace, and more enduring than this King's. Though he ceased to reign as a king, he continued to be loved above all others. For he was the one who brought to life the happiest people of all. Chapter 9, Ten Parables 

What did the citizens think was being tested? What was actually being tested? Was the test how well the citizens performed or was it the love they had for the King and each other? What brings peace and happiness?

Born in weakness raised in strength. In this life we are sown and grown in our weakness. This is all designed to make us strong.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown incorruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

It was the thoughts of weakness, grace, charity, and love that occupied Joseph Smith's attention as he went to Carthage.

When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood.”—The same morning, after Hyrum had made ready to go—shall it be said to the slaughter? yes, for so it was—he read the following paragraph, near the close of the twelfth chapter of Ether, in the Book of Mormon, and turned down the leaf upon it:

And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I … bid farewell unto the Gentiles; yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force. D&C 135:4-5

Our Lord overcame through patience and love.

The prophet Alma taught and understood our Lord’s sufferings as he wrote:
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7: 11–12.)

He can bring peace to any soul. He can help those who will come to Him love their fellow man. He alone is the Perfect Teacher because He alone has the knowledge each of us lack to return to being whole and at peace with the God and Father of us all after our transgression of His will. He is wise to what is required for each man’s salvation. . .

Christ taught His followers to forgive, that they may in turn merit forgiveness. He said: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6: 14–15.) He taught this because of the atoning power of forgiving others. As a result of the things He suffered, He understood that men must forgive others in order to be able to obtain forgiveness. There are many things men do that they lack the capacity to make amends. The price they must pay for their own transgressions are paid by forgiving all others of their offenses. . .

To enter into the kingdom of heaven, all men must lay down their sins. But this they cannot do when they claim the right to restitution for any offense from their brother. All claims must be set aside, the greater and more difficult being the righteous claim against another for their deliberate offense. Yet in asking for justice for yourself, you always require justice be answered in turn for all of your offenses A man will not be given mercy if he is not merciful. Alma taught this plainly to his son, Corianton, so he might be redeemed. Mormon preserved this teaching that all men who read the Book of Mormon may be redeemed and have claim on mercy: . . .

Do not depart this life while still harboring resentment against any person. It does not matter how just the claim may be, we must surrender our claims for justice to merit mercy. Find a way to forgive all those who transgress against you before leaving mortality and, by showing mercy to them, you will find mercy for yourself. As Joseph Smith put it:

I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren, and said, “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours-for charity covereth a multitude of sins.” (TPJS p. 193.)

This path to knowing God’s goodness has been made known to every people in every generation. It can be felt whenever any man has shown mercy to his fellowman. Christ taught this, but the light of Christ leads all those who seek wisdom to find this truth. God is no respecter of persons. Blessed are the merciful, for they will always obtain mercy. More blessed are those who love, for God is love. Excerpts from Chapter 12 of Come, Let Us Adore Him

Forgive and love, then forgive again and increase in love. When I see my weakness as a gift, I can forgive and love myself with all my falling and tripping. When I see others with their gift of weakness, it becomes natural and instinctive to forgive and love them. Sometimes our weaknesses intercept and collide. At these distressing times, we are given another opportunity to grow and develop and increase in love.

I thank a loving God for teaching me these things and bringing peace to my soul.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Excommunication of Louis Steiner Naegle

Our good friend Louis Steiner Naegle was excommunicated from the LDS church on Friday, May 13, 2016.   "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." 2 Corinthians 13:1

Denver Snuffer was excommunicated from the LDS church exactly 40 years after his baptism into the Mormon church. He was on his way to give the first of a ten lecture series when he was informed of the excommunication.

Keith Henderson was excommunicated for his testimony given at the close of those ten lectures.

Preserving the Restoration is a book based on these ten lectures. Louis Naegle was excommunicated for his testimony published on the opening pages of Preserving the Restoration. I think it is significant the excommunication took place on Friday the 13th.  If thirteen represents Jesus Christ and His 12 apostles, and Jesus was crucified on Friday; then this day is a blessing to those who keep their covenant with God and a cursing to those who turn away from Him. 

The following correspondences concerning Louis's excommunication are shared with permission:

April 24, 2016 Notice of Stake Disciplinary Council
To: Louis Naegle 
From: Daniel Lake, Stake President 
April 28, 2016
To: Daniel Lake
From: Louis Naegle 
 

May 5, 2016
To: Louis Naegle
From: Daniel Lake 



May 11, 2016
Letter To: Bountiful Utah Heights Stake High Council 
From: Louis Naegle

May 11, 2016

Daniel P. Lake, Stake President
Counselors to the Stake President
Members of the Stake High Council

Re: Disciplinary Council of Louis S. Naegle


Dear Brethren:

I regret we will not have the opportunity to meet face to face due to the condition that has been imposed that I sign a legal document to protect the secrecy of the Disciplinary Council members. My letter to President Lake dated April 28, 2016 outlined my concerns with this demand and expressed my desire to have your proceedings conducted publicly. I consider myself under covenant to God and guilty of no offense against the Church, therefore, I respectfully decline the invitation to resign from Church membership voluntarily. I trust that in my absence you will conduct the Disciplinary Council with love and respect as promised. I know memories are frail; I trust any statements I have made to President Lake will be repeated accurately to convey the meaning I intended on those occasions.

I believe we could have sought the presence of the Spirit and passed the hour in interesting and reflective conversation for the benefit of all. I know your time is limited. President Lake indicated that he would read this to the Council for the amount of my allotted time. As this letter is addressed to all Council members, I would ask President Lake to distribute the copies I delivered to him for each of you in order that you might have the opportunity to read it in full if your time runs short.

I would like to have had the opportunity for you to meet my daughter Addie and my son Jack. Addie was happily serving a mission in Chile last year when she was observed by her companion reading Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, a book not on her mission’s approved reading list. She was questioned by her mission president about her beliefs. He said she was an obedient missionary and was more familiar with the scriptures than other missionaries, but then said a mission was not a place to find answers to doctrinal questions. A short time later she was abruptly sent home.

Jack was serving a mission in Salem, Oregon until about four weeks ago. He was happy and an excellent missionary; he was made a trainer after only five weeks in the mission field. He was sent home for apostasy after serving six months. His “apostasy” consisted of possessing a few books written by Brother Snuffer when a member in good standing that I had sent him for Christmas. He had not read them. In fact, he had locked them away in his suitcase with no plans to read them.

The week he was sent home he was approached by his district leader who asked him what he understood about having one’s “calling and election made sure.” He and the leader exchanged their views briefly. The following day, his companion asked him what he understood to be the meaning of the term “second comforter.” Again, he gave a brief answer and thought nothing more about it. Two days later he was called to meet with his mission president who accused him of apostasy citing possession of the books and teaching apostate doctrine to the district leader and companion. Frankly, Jack does not know enough to be an apostate; he is a virtuous, humble and loving young man. Oddly, he learned the decision to send him home had been made before the president had even taken the time to speak with him. I wish you all had the opportunity to meet them and determine for yourselves whether or not the Holy Ghost is with them both. I believe you would wonder to yourselves, what forces are at work to deny the Lord their service?

President Lake’s prior correspondence has made clear that he has judged me to be an apostate, meaning I have “repeatedly act[ed] in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders” (although no citation was given, I presume this to be a quotation from the confidential administrative Handbook.) I wrote a testimony that became the preface of a book written by Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., I don’t believe a testimony constitutes “repeatedly” regardless of the content of the testimony or the inferences anyone might have drawn from it. President Lake said that the only issue would be with my “actions and conduct, not with the sincerity of anyone’s opinion.” I hope you will extend the scope to include the truth.
When wickedness endangers any group of the Lord’s people he has sent prophets to forewarn them. He has called prophets from the existing religious leadership, but just as often he has prepared and raised prophets outside the leadership structure when that structure shared the errors of the people. I have testified that Brother Snuffer is one of those prophets. He is a witness of the Lord:

Gethsemene

I knew a man in Christ about four years ago [ca. 2008; see 2 Cor. 12:2-3; D&C 137:1 brackets mine], who, being overshadowed by the Spirit, had the Lord appear to him. And the Lord spoke to him face to face, in plain humility, as one man speaks to another, calling him by name. As they spoke the Lord put forth His hand and touched the eyes of the man and said, “Look!”

The man had opened before him a view of the Lord kneeling in prayer. It was in a dark place. The air was heavy and overcast with sorrow. The man beheld the Lord praying in Gethsemene on the night of His betrayal and before His crucifixion.

All the Lord had previously done in His mortal ministry by healing the sick, rasing the dead, giving sight to the blind, restoring hearing to the deaf, curing the leper and ministering relief to others as He taught was but a prelude to what the Lord was now to do on this dark, oppressive night.

As the Lord knelt in prayer, His vicarious suffering began. He was overcome by pain and anguish. He felt within Him, not just the pains of sin, but also the illnesses men suffer as a result of the Fall, and their foolish and evil choices. The suffering was long and the challenge difficult.

The Lord suffered the afflictions. He was healed from the sickness. He overcame the pains, and patiently bore the infirmities until, finally, He returned to peace of mind, and strength of body. It took an act of will and hope for Him to overcome the affliction which had been poured upon Him. He overcame the separation caused by these afflictions and reconciled with His Father. He was at peace with all mankind.

He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one was much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of a greater, second wave.

This second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries, as well as spiritual affliction. As He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. The Lord had such life within Him, such power and virtue within Him, that although He suffered in His flesh, these injuries healed and His flesh restored. His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling and soul.

The Lord overcame this second wave of suffering, and again found peace of mind and strength of body; and His heart filled with love despite what He had suffered. Indeed, it was charity or love that allowed Him to overcome. He was at peace with His Father, and with all mankind, but it required another, still greater act of will and charity than the first for Him to do so.

Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. He stayed on His hands and knees for a moment to collect Himself when another wave of torment burst upon Him. This wave struck Him with such force He fell forward upon His face.

He was afflicted by this greater wave. He was then healed only to then be afflicted again as the waves of torment overflowed. Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. The Lord’s suffering progressed from a lesser to a greater portion of affliction; for as one would be overcome by Him, the next, greater affliction would then be poured out. Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave.

The pains of mortality, disease, injury and infirmity, together with the sufferings of sin, transgressions, guilt of mind, and unease of soul, the horrors of recognition of the evils men had inflicted upon others were all poured out upon Him; with confusion and perplexity multiplied upon Him.

He longed for it to be over, and thought it would end long before it finally ended. With each wave He thought it would be the last but then another came upon Him, and then yet another.

The one beholding this scene was pained by what he saw, and begged for the vision of the Lord’s suffering to end. He could not bear to see his Lord suffering in this manner. The petition was denied and the vision did not end, for the Lord required him to witness it.

The man saw that the Lord pleaded again with the Father that “this cup may pass” from Him. But the Lord was determined to suffer the Father’s will, and not His own. Therefore, a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him.

All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren. By His hope and great charity, trusting in the Father, the Lord returned from this dark abyss and found grace again, His heart being filled with love toward the Father and all men.

These great burdens were born by the Lord not only on behalf of mankind, but also as a necessary prelude to His death upon a Roman cross. Had He not been so physically weakened by these sufferings, and drained of power from within, the scourging and crucifixion He suffered at the hands of men could not have taken His life.

It was many hours after this vision closed before the one who witnessed this suffering could compose himself again. He wept because of the vision shown him, and he wondered at the Lord’s great suffering for mankind.

The witness reflected for many days upon this scene of the Lord’s great suffering. He read many times the account of the Lord’s agony given to Joseph Smith, which reads: “Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” He pondered and asked: Why were there waves of torment? Why did they increase in difficulty? How were they organized as they seemed to fit a pattern?

After long inquiring into the things which he had seen, the Lord, who is patient and merciful and willing to instruct those who call upon Him, again appeared to the man again. He made known unto him that the waves of torment suffered by the Lord came in pairs which mirrored each other. The first of each wave poured upon the Lord those feelings, regrets, recriminations and pains felt by those who injured their fellow man. Then followed a second wave, which mirrored the first, but imposed the pains suffered by the victims of the acts committed by those in the first wave. Instead of the pains of those who inflict hurt or harm, it was now the anger, bitterness and resentments felt by those who suffered these wrongs.

From each wave of suffering, whether as the one afflicting or as the victim of those wrongs, the Lord would overcome the evil feelings associated with these wrongs, and find His heart again filled with peace. This was why, in the vision of the suffering of the Lord it was in the second waves that there appeared oftentimes to be injuries to His body.

The greater difficulty in these paired waves of torment was always overcoming the suffering of the victim. With these waves, the Lord learned to overcome the victims’ resentments, to forgive, and to heal both body and spirit. This was more difficult than overcoming the struggles arising from the one who committed the evil. This is because the one doing evil knows he has done wrong, and feels a natural regret when he sees himself aright. The victim, however, always feels it is their right to hold resentment, to judge their persecutor, and to withhold peace and love for their fellow men. The Lord was required to overcome both so that He could succor both.

In the pairing of the waves, the first torment was of the mind and spirit, and the second was torment of mind, spirit and body.

The Lord experienced all the horror and regret wicked men feel for their crimes when they finally see the truth. He experienced the suffering of their victims whose righteous anger and natural resentment and disappointment must also be shed, and forgiveness given, in order for them to find peace. He overcame them all. He descended below them all. He comprehends it all. And He knows how to bring peace to them all. He knows how to love others whether they are the one who has given offense or the one who is a victim of the offense.

In the final wave, the most brutal, most evil, most heinous sins men inflict upon one another were felt by Him as a victim of the worst men can do. He knew how it felt to wrongly suffer death. He knew what it was like to be a mother holding a child in her arms as they are both killed by those who delight in their suffering. He knew how it was for ambitious men to rid themselves of a rival by conspiracy and murder. He knew what it was to have virtue robbed from the innocent. He knew betrayal, treachery, and abuse in all its worst degrading horror. There was no cruelty, no offense, no evil that mankind has suffered or will suffer that was not put upon Him.

He knew what it is like for men to satisfy their ambition by clothing their hypocrisy in religious garb. He also felt what it was like to be the victim of religious oppression by those who pretend to practice virtue while oppressing others. He knew the hearts of those who would kill Him. Before confronting their condemnation of Him in the flesh, He suffered their torment of mind when they recognized He was the Lord, and then found peace for what they would do by rejecting Him. In this extremity there was madness itself as He mirrored the evil which would destroy Him, and learned how to come to peace with the Father after killing the Son of God, and to love all those involved without restraint and without pretense even before they did these terrible deeds. His suffering, therefore, encompassed all that has happened, all that did happen, and all that would happen in the future.

As a result of what the Lord suffered, there is no condition - physical, spiritual or mental - that He does not fully understand. He knows how to teach, comfort, succor and direct any who come to Him seeking forgiveness and peace. This is why the prophet wrote: “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa. 53: 11.) And again: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  He obtained this knowledge by the things he suffered. He suffered that we might avoid sin by being obedient to His commandments. None of us need harm another, if we will follow Him. He knows fully the consequences of sin. He teaches His followers how to avoid sin.

The prophet Alma taught and understood our Lord’s sufferings as he wrote:
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7: 11–12.)
He can bring peace to any soul. He can help those who will come to Him love their fellow man. He alone is the Perfect Teacher because He alone has the knowledge each of us lack to return to being whole and at peace with the God and Father of us all after our transgression of His will. He is wise to what is required for each man’s salvation.

As the Lord made these terrible things known to the man he cried out: “Hosanna to the Lamb of God! He has trodden the winepress alone! Glory, honor and mercy be upon the Chosen One forever and ever! I will submit unto anything you see fit to require of me! I will bend my knee in obedience to you! Let thy will, not mine be done! For worthy is the Lamb!” Then, thinking upon how trifling his difficulties and disappointments had been in comparison with the suffering he saw imposed upon his Lord, the man added: “Surely goodness and mercy have been mine all the days of my life!”

And the Lord responded: “And you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Then the man wept.

I write these things with permission, and not on my own. For those who receive a knowledge of these things are not always permitted to make them known, nor should they do so. But the Lord requires that some must bear testimony so that others may read or hear, and be edified by them, that faith may increase among mankind. If none of those who receive these things were ever permitted to make them known, then mankind could not come to their Lord and be healed. It is not important to know why the Lord chooses to make these things known to some and then instructs them to testify of them to another. It is only necessary to understand that the Lord is the One to whom all should look in their trials and afflictions for succor. He is mighty and able to save. You do not and will not suffer from any affliction, any dilemma, disappointment or pain which He does not already understand. He has overcome it all. He is worthy to be trusted with your burdens. Come to Him and be healed! Come to Him and be understood! When all others move away, He will come to you! There is nothing wretched that you must confront that He did not first confront and overcome! Take your burdens to Him!

The great Atonement of the Lord allowed Him to know our weaknesses and troubles, and to understand how to bring us back to peace. Christ, as the Atoning One, knows how to bring every troubled soul back to peace. The Lord can tutor us and help us lay down any burden we may be bearing. We are all required to come to peace with our sins and with the offenses we have suffered. To be fully redeemed, we must leave this life having peace through a clear conscience before God and all mankind. This can only be obtained by forgiving others their trespasses. As was recorded about Joseph Smith, before his death: “When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: ‘I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.’” (D&C 135: 4) He was able to do this because Joseph had forgiven in advance, those who he expected would kill him. It was by these means he was able to have a clear conscience, void of any offense toward all men. Though others would cry revenge for Joseph’s death, Joseph himself obtained the fullness of his reconciliation to God through the act of forgiving those who would kill him.

Christ taught His followers to forgive, that they may in turn merit forgiveness. He said: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6: 14–15.) He taught this because of the atoning power of forgiving others. As a result of the things He suffered, He understood that men must forgive others in order to be able to obtain forgiveness. There are many things men do that they lack the capacity to make amends. The price they must pay for their own transgressions are paid by forgiving all others of their offenses.

Christ was asked by Peter how often men ought to forgive one another. “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” (Matt. 18: 21.) In response Christ taught this, saying:
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took [him] by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses(Matt. 18: 22–35)
He taught this to show how offering forgiveness was in turn obtaining forgiveness. His disciples continued to misunderstand how these two are related. They did not understand that forgiveness is the means by which the Lord enables men to take advantage of His “preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19: 19.) To forgive is to atone.

The Lord taught elsewhere: “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11: 25–26.) The Father cannot give to men what they ask of Him until they first forgive all offenses among one another.

The voice of the Lord came to Alma, also, and said unto him: “And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor's trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.” (Mosiah 26: 31.) Alma taught this to the people of Mosiah, so they might abide the conditions to obtain forgiveness for their own sins.

When instructing those who assembled in the land of Bountiful, Christ taught: “For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (3 Ne. 13: 14–15.) He said this so they may understand the means by which men are redeemed. All mankind must redeem themselves by permitting others to escape condemnation for the offenses they have committed against them. In this way men are no longer their brother’s accuser; and the Accuser of Mankind is without means to keep men from redemption. For justice cannot have hold on those who have claim on mercy. Mercy comes to those who give mercy, and men are restored to that which they have become. The merciful are entitled to mercy.

In revelations to Joseph Smith the Lord has commanded: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.” (D&C 82: 1.) And, again: “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.” (D&C 64: 9.)

To enter into the kingdom of heaven, all men must lay down their sins. But this they cannot do when they claim the right to restitution for any offense from their brother. All claims must be set aside, the greater and more difficult being the righteous claim against another for their deliberate offense. Yet in asking for justice for yourself, you always require justice be answered in turn for all of your offenses A man will not be given mercy if he is not merciful. Alma taught this plainly to his son, Corianton, so he might be redeemed. Mormon preserved this teaching that all men who read the Book of Mormon may be redeemed and have claim on mercy:
Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man. Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder? And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature? But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice. For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved. What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery. Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds. If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.” (Alma 42: 18–28.)
Now I know these things to be true, and the Lord has permitted them to be made known to anyone who will believe so they may repent and forgive one another, and may in turn have claims on mercy for themselves. It is certain Christ is able to heal us of any affliction which this life may visit upon any of us, but only if we will forgive one another and come to Him. He can teach all how to forgive. No matter how terrible the offense, He has the knowledge to lead us to peace.

When men come to the Lord seeking forgiveness, He will prepare the means for each of them to obtain forgiveness. The way will be opened for them to forgive so they in turn may be forgiven. In this way all may come to know their Lord.

Do not depart this life while still harboring resentment against any person. It does not matter how just the claim may be, we must surrender our claims for justice to merit mercy. Find a way to forgive all those who transgress against you before leaving mortality and, by showing mercy to them, you will find mercy for yourself. As Joseph Smith put it:
I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren, and said, “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours-for charity covereth a multitude of sins.” (TPJS p. 193.)
This path to knowing God’s goodness has been made known to every people in every generation. It can be felt whenever any man has shown mercy to his fellowman. Christ taught this, but the light of Christ leads all those who seek wisdom to find this truth. God is no respecter of persons. Blessed are the merciful, for they will always obtain mercy. More blessed are those who love, for God is love.

To obtain perfect charity, however, a man must make intercession for those who offend him. Christ taught: “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven[.]” (Matt. 5: 44–45.) He wants us to go beyond merely forgiving others. He wants us to become like Him, and atone or cover the sins of others. Through intercession on behalf of our enemies, we not only learn to understand Him, we also learn to be like Him. This is what Christ did. This is what Stephen did. All those who have the hope of Christ within them will do likewise. 

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What is written above is the testimony of Brother Snuffer, as published in Chapter 12 of a book, Come, Let Us Adore Him. It is an account of his personal experience and testimony of the Lord’s sacrifice.
I am being accused of apostasy for testifying that the man who wrote this testimony is “a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I consider it a great honor to again stand as a witness in this matter. It has been my privilege to know Brother Snuffer personally for almost ten years and can say without question he has been a good and honest man in all our dealings. I vouch for his integrity and assert he is not publishing deception.
In a very real sense, you have the heavy task of deciding whether or not what you have just read (as well as many other things written by him that you have not read) is true and faithful and of God…or whether it is evil and of the devil. Does his witness lead a man to Christ, or does it bring darkness?
My obligation to honor the truth is now shared by you. In his epistle to his son, Mormon taught:
Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.  For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil. Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.   But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.  Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil” (Moroni 7:10-14).
I have spent decades fasting, praying and studying to come to know what I now know of my Father in Heaven, my Savior and the purpose of my life. Through many engagements with disaffected and “apostate” Mormons, I can say with certainty that I know the look, sound and spiritual feel of those who hate Christ and speak his name with deception. Brother Snuffer, like so many who are now being excommunicated for their devotion to God and his work, would have remained valiant in his service to the Church and to the truths restored through Joseph Smith had he been permitted to do so.
I affirm Brother Snuffer is not an enemy to the church of Christ, though he has been made “an offender for a word” and cast out, not unlike Lehi, Abinadi, Samuel and so many others speaking outside the ranks of the powerful. He continues to attend his ward despite the judgments passed upon him. The disciplinary action against him was the work of another stake president and high council.
I freely confess that if the Lord is willing to give me a witness, then I must be willing to stand true to that witness at all times and in all places. What is obscure to most who read my testimony is that it is as much about the Lord’s kindness to us as it is about the standing of Brother Snuffer before the Lord. Much of what I referenced in the testimony occurred while seeking the Lord in prayer long before I met Brother Snuffer. That which pertains to Brother Snuffer came in the utter clarity of audible words that left me shaken, pained and grateful. I realize my testimony may be rejected by most people and I may be judged to be dishonest, to have an overzealous, frenzied mind, deceived or possessed of a devil—even by righteous men who may profess to love me and be on the Lord’s errand as they condemn me. For those who would find me unworthy of fellowship with the saints, the test of their fidelity and love will commence only after they have rendered judgment upon me.
My testimony as published at the beginning of Brother Snuffer’s last book Preserving the Restoration is attached at the end of this letter for your review, if President Lake has not already shared it with the Council before reading this letter. I would be happy to meet with you at any time or place of your choosing to speak of Christ and this latter-day work in which we all labor.
I know the Lord is mindful of us this very night. I know it is easier to go along to get along, but the Lord often asks more of us. I pray the Lord does not find me to be an enemy to righteousness. I know there is nothing morally amiss in my life. I know I am embroiled in a dispute not of my making, which at its core pits the extensive teachings and prophecies of Lehi, Isaiah, Nephi, Christ and Moroni regarding the sad fate of the holy church of God after the coming forth of The Book of Mormon against non-canonical statements of some church authorities culled from their historical context and woven with isolated scriptures to form new doctrinal claims that our church dispensation is immune from collective apostasy and it is impossible for us to be led astray. None of our latter-day revelators have been able to reconcile these new views with those of The Book of Mormon prophets. Without the ability to build a bridge of reconciliation, the only alternative in the view of some leaders is to enforce member silence or expel them from the Church.
But even in these self-aggrandizing beliefs our dispensation is not unique; and Zion is no closer to being ours today than it was in 1844. There are simply more of us failing to bring Zion with our current form of godliness. How I wish we had time to sit together with the Book of Mormon and our history, study them side by side, take in every voice deeply and then kneel together before the Lord, determined not to rise from prayer until we were of one accord. To me, Mormonism was not intended to be a sipping religion suitable for those busy with other tasks.
I have strived with all the energy of my heart to be your brother in Christ, yet I am a rough stone in need of the Lord’s continuing mercy.
Very truly yours,


Louis S. Naegle



From the book, “Preserving the Restoration:”
Testimony of Louis Naegle
At the time of this writing I am a member in good standing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, entirely a direct descendant of ‘proud Nauvoo’ and pioneer ancestors. To my knowledge, every one of my direct predecessors were active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint while Brigham Young was president, and most were members before that time. My forefathers include John Conrad Naegle, Levi Savage, Joseph Leland Heywood, John D Lee, Thomas Ross, Levi Bracken, James McFate, Joseph Cadwallader Davis, George Zimmerman, John Harvey, George Prince, James Jackson, Joseph Woolsey, James Bell, Owen Williams, John Davies, and James Crawford. All of my great-great-grandparents were church members.
As far as bloodline heritage is concerned, I think it would be impossible to be more “Mormon” than am I. I say this not to boast but as part of a solemn testimony and declaration:
I am not a dissenter trying to “destroy the kingdom”. I am instead a descendant of those who built “the kingdom” and I am attempting to make the pathway straight and the record clear. I believe this is in the best tradition of the pioneers who were trying to live a true religion. I reject the notion that I am apostate, I know I will answer to my forefathers and to my Father for the testimony I give, and therefore I want most of all to be true to the faith once held by my fathers.
Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the current church management and culture will understand what publishing this testimony will mean to me and my family. I anticipate retaliation from the church, and although it saddens me, I am resigned to facing those consequences. I do not claim to be righteous, but I am a witness.
I testify that the Lord has set His hand a second time to restore the truth through His servant before the great and dreadful day that fast approaches. I have known Denver Snuffer since 2007. I have attended every public talk he has given since that time, including all ten lectures of the Forty Years in Mormonism series. I have read what he has written. I am a witness that events he now shares in public concerning his interactions with his stake presidents and church leaders were shared with me by Denver at the time they were happening and while he was in good standing with the church. He valued his church membership greatly and the events he now shares publicly have not been fabricated or reconstructed after the fact to support an agenda of his own design.
I know God the Father and Jesus Christ live. I have seen them. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I have been in his presence also. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I have had my eyes opened and my life changed through its message. I also know from my own sense of reason, from the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and from God declaring it to me by His own Voice that Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. is an honest messenger, sent by Him, and telling the truth.
Please do not ignore what is written in this book. Please do not take this warning lightly. I implore all who read this testimony to repent and return to Jesus Christ, the God of Israel and savior of the world. Receive the words of a true prophet, but follow no man! Do not allow any man or group to come between you and your Savior. To the extent you do so, you are laboring in idolatry and you will damn yourself and any who follow you in doing likewise. (D&C 76:100).
Jesus Christ alone is the Holy One. He employs no servant at that gate through which we all must pass. The fullness of the gentiles is now fulfilled except for our impending destruction. Who cannot see that all is not well in so-called “Zion.” Only a few repentant gentiles will be gathered. Only the penitent of the House of Israel will establish the New Jerusalem. Will you be among them?
Save what was given through the Prophet and Seer Joseph Smith, what is offered in this book contains the most light and truth that has been presented in writing in almost 2,000 years.
Denver has openly testified that Jesus Christ has ministered to him. I testify this is true, and that he has been called as a servant to declare the heavens are open again for all to freely partake of the Heavenly Gift.
If you will consider the message of this book from a servant sent to deliver it, with a sincere heart and real intent, you will also know that what is presented is true and faithful. If you will not consider it, but instead harden your heart, you will be damned. God is working to save us, and this book is part of God’s kindness in forewarning us about our present state. Even if you find it hard to believe, it is important for us to see and understand our circumstances.
I leave this testimony with you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
Amen.
-Louis Naegle
August 29, 2015”


May 13, 2016 Notice of Decision of Disciplinary Council
To: Louis Naegle
From: Daniel Lake