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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Prophets??? - Dallin H. Oaks' Response to My Questions

On October 16, 2007, John and I started praying every night to see the face of God as promised in D&C 93:1 “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”

Soon after we began to pray for this blessing, many challenges came. I was humbled, smashed, crushed, and humiliated. I felt like I was drowning. For three years, it was all I could do to keep my head above water.

In 2009 a friend told me about  The Second Comforter, Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil. I politely listened to her, but didn't read the book, even though I had been praying for the second comforter for two years.

In November 2010, a family member told me about a book she was reading. Before she could tell me the title, I knew the name of the book. I asked, “Is it The Second Comforter, Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil?"  It was. I knew I needed to read the book. I bought it for my husband for Christmas. We couldn't wait and both had it read by the beginning of December. It was the help we were seeking.

When I finished the book, I started to search the Ensign and write down all the commandments I was failing to live. I also searched the scriptures. As I read the scriptures, the Lord started to teach me. He showed me what it meant to be one of his prophets. He led me from scripture to scripture and began to open my mind.

After six months of studying, wrestling, and questioning the Lord, I could see that these LDS 15 presiding leaders were not Jesus's prophets.

I questioned, “Jesus, are you sure these guys aren't your prophets? All of my life I've been taught that they are your prophets. Are you sure?”

He responded, “Well, I should know these things, but if you don't believe me, go ask them yourself.” The thought of questioning them made my jaw drop.

On May 14, 2011, the Lord told me what to say in the letter. I told him I didn't want to do it. I was nervous about asking them questions. I argued back, “Do you know what they do to people who ask questions like that?”

On May 15, 2011, the letter was again put into my mind. This time I got up and wrote the letter. I decided to write Dallin H. Oaks since he knows my parents. Here's the letter:

______________________________________________________________________

May 15, 2011
Hello Elder Oaks,

I’m Dean and Joy Wilding’s youngest daughter. You came to our wedding reception in 1991.

Over the past six months, I’ve had an overwhelming desire to come into the presence of the Savior, have my calling and election made sure, become a personal witness of Christ, and receive my vision of the end from the beginning. Everyday I ask the Lord how I can repent and please him. It’s the driving force in my life.

Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; - D&C 93:1

I have not yet been invited to become a member of the church of the Lamb of God also known as the church of the Firstborn. By default that makes me a member of the church of the devil. I desire to get out of the church of the devil and become a member of the church of the Lamb of God.

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. - 1 Nephi 14:10

I’ve always thought that I was on the straight and narrow path leading to eternal life. It seems that I’m on a preliminary path. I have not yet been cleansed by the Holy Ghost and come into the presence of the keeper of the gate. See all of 2 Nephi 31-33

O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.- 2 Nephi 9:41

Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. - 2 Nephi 31:17

Right now I’m repenting of my sins so I can get on the straight and narrow path. I ask the Lord daily to reveal my sins to me so I can repent. When I am sufficiently pure, the Lord will come and give me further instructions.

But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angles, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me. - 2 Nephi 31:14

Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. - 2 Nephi 32:6

I desire to come into the presence of the Lord and know him so that I can receive my exaltation. I hear the Holy Ghost talking to me often, but I have not yet been sanctified. The Holy Ghost has revealed to me that coming into the presence of the Lord and knowing Him in this lifetime is essential.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.

For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also. - D&C 132:21-23

There are many scriptures showing me that all the Holy Prophets have followed the pattern of becoming sanctified, coming into the presence of the Lord, witnessing the ministry and atonement of Christ, and receiving their vision of the beginning to the end: Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Enos, King Benjamin, Isaiah, John, brother of Jared, Joseph in Egypt, etc. They are qualified to reveal and prophesy because they’ve seen it all and have been commissioned to do so.

It has been my understanding that the reason we sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators is because all of you have been sanctified, have had the experience of seeing the Savior face to face, and have become apostolic witnesses of His birth, death, atonement, and resurrection. As part of that experience you’ve also seen the history and future of the world. Is this true?

As I listened to this last general conference, I was alarmed and concerned. I heard messages that were inconsistent with the message I read in the Book of Mormon. For those of you who have had the same experience as Nephi and the Brother of Jared, would you instruct us on how we can obey and please the Lord so that we can have the experience of entering back into the presence of the Lord?

And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.- 1 Nephi 10:17-19

For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot. - 1 Nephi 11:1

Nephi wasn’t a sign seeker but he knew that he could have the same vision as his father if he would but diligently seek the Lord. Nephi mourns because of our unbelief, wickedness, and ignorance. He’s telling us how to receive the same visions and manifestations that he’s had, yet we won’t seek after them with all our heart.

And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. - 1 Nephi 32:7

In Elder David A. Bednar’s talk he speaks of “looking beyond the mark” as looking for great manifestations promised by God himself. Jesus Christ is the mark. Coming back into his presence while in the flesh is the greatest manifestation we can seek for in this life. I don’t want to be normal and be part of the mainstream that enters the broad gate and follows the wide road. I want to be peculiar and treasured by the Lord. If you read the rest of Jacob 4:14 you’ll see that “looking beyond the mark” is being stiffnecked and unwilling to repent. “Looking beyond the mark” does not mean looking for the miracles and angels promised to the believers.

Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. - Moroni 7:37

We as members of the Church tend to emphasize marvelous and dramatic spiritual manifestations so much that we may fail to appreciate and may even overlook the customary pattern by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work. The very “simpleness of the way” (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look “beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14).

I have talked with many individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions. Perhaps as we consider the experiences of Joseph in the Sacred Grove, of Saul on the road to Damascus, and of Alma the Younger, we come to believe something is wrong with or lacking in us if we fall short in our lives of these well-known and spiritually striking examples. If you have had similar thoughts or doubts, please know that you are quite normal. Just keep pressing forward obediently and with faith in the Savior. As you do so, you “cannot go amiss” (D&C 80:3).

President Joseph F. Smith counseled: “Show me Latter-day Saints who have to feed upon miracles, signs and visions in order to keep them steadfast in the Church, and I will show you members … who are not in good standing before God, and who are walking in slippery paths. It is not by marvelous manifestations unto us that we shall be established in the truth, but it is by humility and faithful obedience to the commandments and laws of God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1900, 40).” (David A. Bednar, The Spirit of Revelation, April 2011 Conference)

When “individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions” ask questions of their leaders, they need to be told how to repent. Being consoled in our wickedness will never bring us back into the presence of the Lord. Something is wrong if we’re not following and experiencing the spiritually striking examples of the Holy Prophets. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God gives the examples so we know what to look for.

For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.

And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—

Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying: D&C 84:96-98

In Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”, he speaks of Joseph Smith having divine manifestations like Paul. Do the current apostles have these kind of manifestations? I understand that our testimony doesn’t come all at once, but when I come to know Christ, it is my hope that He doesn’t come “almost unnoticed”. I desire to see him in all his glory.

We know that manifestations such as this happen. In fact, we testify that a similar divine experience happened in 1820 to a boy named Joseph Smith. It is our clear and certain testimony that the heavens are open again and that God speaks to His prophets and apostles. God hears and answers the prayers of His children. . .

The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle—one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us—not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.

I was reading Elder Boyd K Packer’s October 2007 talk “The Weak and the Simple of the Church”, and I appreciate the straight forward manner in which Elder Packer talks of his witness of Christ. I too was surprised to find out that Apostles don’t need to have a unique and special witness of Christ.

To my great surprise, I was called to meet with President David O. McKay. He took both of my hands in his and called me to be one of the General Authorities, an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

A few days later, I came to Salt Lake City to meet with the First Presidency to be set apart as one of the General Authorities of the Church. This was the first time I had met with the First Presidency—President David O. McKay and his counselors, President Hugh B. Brown and President Henry D. Moyle.

President McKay explained that one of the responsibilities of an Assistant to the Twelve was to stand with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as a special witness and to bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ. What he said next overwhelmed me: “Before we proceed to set you apart, I ask you to bear your testimony to us. We want to know if you have that witness.”

I did the best I could. I bore my testimony the same as I might have in a fast and testimony meeting in my ward. To my surprise, the Brethren of the Presidency seemed pleased and proceeded to confer the office upon me.

That puzzled me greatly, for I had supposed that someone called to such an office would have an unusual, different, and greatly enlarged testimony and spiritual power. . .

I bear witness that the gospel is true and that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God—every soul—and that we are blessed to be members of the Church. I have the witness that would qualify me for the calling I have. I’ve had it since I met the First Presidency those many years ago. I bear it to you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

In David B. Haight’s April 1989 talk “The Sacrament—and the Sacrifice” he shares his experience and apostolic witness of Christ. David B. Haight is a special witness of Christ.

. . .I had never doubted nor wondered. But now I knew, because of the impressions of the Spirit upon my heart and soul, these divine truths in a most unusual way.

I was shown a panoramic view of His earthly ministry: His baptism, His teaching, His healing the sick and lame, the mock trial, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection and Ascension. There followed scenes of His earthly ministry to my mind in impressive detail, confirming scriptural eyewitness accounts. I was being taught, andthe eyes of my understanding were opened by the Holy Spirit of God so as to behold many things. . .

Have all the apostles received an apostolic witness of Christ unique and different from the faith and belief that most of us have? I like many others believe He lives because we can feel it in our hearts, but we are not yet special witnesses of Him. Have you seen him and witnessed His baptism, His teaching, His healing the sick and lame, the mock trial, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection, and His Ascension?

I ask this question because I am studying this issue out in my mind. I don’t hear the special apostolic witness of Christ shared in our general conferences apart from the one I quoted from David B. Haight. I need to know why we call the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.

Thank you for all you do. I sustain you with my prayers and fellowship.

Jennifer Willis
______________________________________________________________________

I didn't know if I would get a response. They're busy and probably don't have time to respond to my questions, but to my surprise, Dallin Oaks sent me a response. Here is a copy of the letter:




I had my answer. I could tell from his response that he wasn't the kind of prophet I read about in the scriptures. I don't fault him for it . . . I'm not a prophet either. The Lord knew I needed this letter as a second witness. The scriptures and God's voice were my first witness. This letter was my second.

113 comments:

  1. Good morning, Jennifer. I wanted to thank you for sharing this very private and personal experience you have had with church leadership. I was able to recognize the psychological manipulations in the letter you received. For these simple questions you have asked, there should have been simple, direct answers. I suspect that the church leadership does not want to say anything prefaced with "Thus sayeth the Lord..." as they may have just a little bit of faith in God or belief in God, and by using those 4 words, and any that may follow, would be used against them in their own tribunal in Heaven (if there is a court in Heaven as they teach there is - you know, the one where the bishops will preside as judges over the remainder of us...).

    My own family left the church about 3 or 4 years ago. I was the one who was stubbornly holding on to the church, unable to let go for fear of the "What if...?" My husband understood what the church is, as he did not grow up as innocently as I had. He is much wiser and more experienced in life than I. He grew on the streets in the south side of Philadelphia in the 60s and 70s. He taught me how to think critically, and look for the agenda behind propaganda. As a man with the high priesthood, he was privileged to enter into meetings where we, as women, are not allowed to enter nor witness. He knows how these men think and what they do, what their goals are, and what they are capable of.

    I wished to thank you for your bravery. Writing as you and your husband have done, it is not an easy task and there is always the risk of harm to you and your loved ones. I grew up in Utah, outside of the LDS religion, and have suffered as an outsider. I know how powerful the Church (TM) is and how dangerous it is. Bless you for your witness. Bless you.

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    1. Kyrie,

      When I wrote that letter, I didn't think I would ever show it to anyone except a few close friends and family. It was my journey and what I needed.

      God bless you in your continued journey with Him.

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  2. While his entire reply is just heaping on blame and accusations because you dare ask simple, heartfelt questions, there are two parts that stick out as particularly odd.

    He says that their teachings should uplift you, but yo're observing them to be out of harmony with scripture. You shouldn't think that because they're the prophets.

    Really? "Stop thinking I'm not in line with scripture. I'm the prophet, so that doesn't apply to me."

    "Where do you find the definition of "Special Apostolic Witness in scripture?"
    Are you kidding me? That's like, the entire New Testament and a good chunk of D&C. I honestly can't believe I just read that.

    This man is a monumental jerk and deserves absolutely no respect.

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    1. I actually think everyone deserves respect. We are all here trying to figure things out the best we can.

      Dallin Oaks has a big job. He's probably doing the best he can. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.

      I wrote the letter because I was having a hard time believing the word of the Lord to me. God's word contradicted what I had been taught all my life. I had been taught that these men are prophets of God. In order for me to progress in my journey, I needed to know the difference between a true prophet and a false prophet.

      I'm so grateful Dallin Oaks responded the way he did. It helped me have greater confidence in the word of God to me. It was a necessary second witness.

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  3. Wow Jennifer!! Thank you for sharing this personal experience. Even as a believer the lack of diversity among the General authorities bothered me a lot!! How could the Lord choose white and delightsome men in more than 90% of those seats? And only public figures as apostles? Dallin Oaks resume speaks for itself for a public or corporate position, and he is nothing else than than, a public officer!!

    I am still an active member of the church, with a wife and 3 little children to love, nurture and care. My local leaders have used threats as an intent to keep me silent. My siblings and parents are all still believing members, and so far are using guilt and shame to make me "go back to the loving circle of faith". Thanks for your courageous example. I know there´s a more rewarding and joyful life after mormonism. All the best for you and family!

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    1. I am having similar experiences. I have found that these people are in my life to give me another opportunity to love and forgive. These things wouldn't be happening to me if I didn't have something to learn from the experiences. Keep the faith :)

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  4. I agree with Elder Oaks' letter, and you leave some troubling statements that contradict your aforementioned desire see the Savior, such as "Over the past six months, I’ve had an overwhelming desire to come into the presence of the Savior, have my calling and election made sure, become a personal witness of Christ, and receive my vision of the end from the beginning" and yet you question Christ's Apostles (special witnesses of Jesus Christ to all the world" when you say "I need to know why we call the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Prophets, Seers, and Revelators." I agree with Elder Oaks' response.

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    1. I'm not sure I understand the contradiction you see

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    2. Haha sorry, I don't see the contradiction either! She wants to see the Lord and wants to know if the brethren are what we sustain them as. To see things in your way (contradictory) we would have to be coming from a perspective that they are what they (the bretheren) say and that we must go through them first, then Christ. But this view is not shared (I don't believe). From what I understand it should be Christ first but if we so choose otherwise and reject that direct route (by our willful chose, or ignorance) then a Prophet is given to speak to us. But we are never to follow men, so asking the simple question 'are you a prophet or a man?' Would seem necessary to me.

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  5. Absolutely brilliantly put together.

    I found your post by sheer coincidence whilst doing my daily research to try and reach enlightenment and the things that are coming to me now are as far away as one might imagine from when i was a card carrying lds member. My mind has been so expanded and my spirit is feeling closer to our Eternal Father than ever.

    Funny thing is that since i finally walked away in disgust at the pure nonsense i saw at LDS-Land, one of the greatest revelations is how absolutely amazing that Book of Mormon is. I have walked away from Mormonism with my family whilst our kids were still little, and although it was scary in the beginning, wow, what beautiful spiritual liberation has followed the past few years. And after all i have read, from church sponsored apologetics to anti mormon stuff, and fringe lds stuff, the closer i have got to Jesus through the BoM which i hold to be 10000% true.

    ........


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    1. I love the Book of Mormon too . . . still many great treasures to be discovered.

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  6. Thank you for this post. As I was reading your letter to Oaks, I was uplifted and my own goals and wishes and hopes to have the baptism of fire and eventually see Christ were renewed and my heart was rising! Such a difference in light and a disappointment when I read the response. Not only did the response feel different, it contradicts scripture. Instead of an answer, it was an attempt to make you feel shame. Thank you for sharing. It is now a witness to me too.

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    1. Rebecca, God bless you on your continued journey. It will happen :)

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  7. Continued :


    Interestingly the title page on the BoM speaks about to purpose of the book itself - to restore, primarily to the Lamanites (you know, that group whom we couldn't give two hoots about for say, oh, the last 4 generations ), that Jesus IS the Eternal Father. That is just stunning.

    It says nothing of restoring a church, period. In fact everything from the 1830s til today would be condemned by the books authors as priestcraft, perhaps except for the time when faith was the most essential ingredient for miracles and angelic visits, not some imagined priesthood power...that miraculously no ever ever actually seems to do anything with...except for say they hold it. Or the authority of said priesthood. But actual power like in 4th Nephi? Um, no. Movin on.

    May i suggest the book is what Joseph said it was- the most correct book that would bring you closer to God by abiding its precepts. The temple ceremony which has no documentation of EVER having existed in JS' time, or that he was supposedly the author of, is NOT in the book. In fact when i entered the Temple i was shocked at the flagrant use of signs and tokens that the very BoM warned us against. I remained in the church a dizen more years but i never forgot that day.

    Regardless of Snuffer or anyone else, i invite you to seek the Lord and ask if that temple ceremony is from him...you know the one where one makes the covenant with the 'other guy'...rather than God. Yes Snuffer has done a fantastic job making the ceremony has meaning but remember that the church was condemned in around 1832 for disregarding the BoM. That the temple ceremony's earliest documentation is at 1846- Kirtland Temple did not have this ceremony. ..not even telestial, terrestrial or celestial rooms!, is pointing to the fact that its a fake. Snuffer is doing with the ceremony, what the LDS leaders do with the scriptures- make it fit into by molding and twisting to fit our own paradigms.

    In my experience the Book of Mormon is enough...and we need to be searching for further enlightenment by praying for the other books it mentions- pure Book of the Lamb written by John, the Bro of Jared's writings etc.

    I am honored to say that your eyes are opening like many of us. If i can help in any way, just ask. I have travelled a very deep depth and am more in love with what the BoM teaches me about the mystery of Jesus than ever. I could care less to hear what folks like John Dehlin on the one hand, LDS false prophets who talk mighty nonsense from the pulpit and call themselves the 1st Presidency and 12 Apostles on the other hand, nor what the anti-mormons, have to say. I've heard the lit of them, and listened with great intent every time. But nothing has ever struck me like going directly to the source -God Himself, the creator of heaven and earth, the Eternal Father as mentioned in the original BoM in Mosiah 13:34, and the beautiful declaration in Mosiah 16:15: Jesus.

    God bless, have faith and open your eyes and heart wide. Be prepared for your paradigms to change and they will if truth is your only quest. And you will see how utterly incredible things unknown now will reveal themselves to you thru the grace of Jesus. Sans the LDS corporation. Sans their fake temple ceremony. Sans Snuffer et al. Just pure Jesus, who IS the very truth and employs no servants between you and Him.

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    1. This has been a journey . . . The Mormon church served a useful purpose in my life. I learned many valuable things from my associations there. . . Denver has been very helpful in opening things I had not yet considered . . . and I expect many others to help me along this path . . . but Jesus is the source of all light and I follow him and only him.

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    2. A Friend in Oz, You're right. Have you read any of the posts from a guy called Watcher? Here's his blog on the temple oaths and covenants from a scriptural point of view.

      https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/black-and-white-robes-part-one/

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    3. A Friend in Oz, thanks for posting that. Yes, Watcher has some very compelling research. I also wonder if you have read Weeping For Zion? He has recently posted something very similar that in the original Book of Commandments the Lord told Joseph that he was to pretend to NO OTHER GIFT than translating the Book of Mormon. Everything beyond that was under his own accord and would be priestcraft.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this experience. I see in Oaks's letter a mix of genuineness and cluelessness. His genuine desire to do good in the world shines through in his advice to refrain from judging others and to refrain from agonizing over circumstances that are out of our ability to influence. (Which great teachers have been advocating for ages, and that most seekers - including you, I'm sure - are already striving to apply.) But the earlier part of his letter is sadly accusatory, revealing his inability to understand the thoughts and feelings of a person experiencing disaffection from the LDS church, or at least from the institution ran from Salt Lake City.

    I especially appreciate your acknowledgement that it doesn't make Oaks himself sinister, rather it shows he's human - and your reminder that I'm every bit as human.

    By the way, this my first time to your blog. (You may have noticed that your entry here has gone viral.) That's a beautiful family photo you have up.

    Regards.

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  9. I don't think even Nephi or the other prophets in the scriptures would actually meet your criteria if you met them in person. Nephi said that God would speak until "all nations of the earth, and they shall write it." The definition of what a prophet is needs to be expanded to be in harmony with the Book of Mormon, not contracted.

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    1. Carl, Here are some things I have found on Prophets and Seers

      PROPHET

      "Answer to the question, Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself." p.180 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

      “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.” p. 160 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

      “. . . for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10

      D&C 76:51-70 explains what it means to have a testimony of Jesus.

      SEER

      15 And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.
       16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.
       17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known. Mosiah 8:15-17

      “Wherefore, we again say, search the revelations of God; study the prophecies, and rejoice that God grants unto the world Seers and Prophets. They are they who saw the mysteries of godliness; they saw the flood before it came; they saw angels ascending and descending upon a ladder that reached from earth to heaven; they saw the stone cut out of the mountain, which filled the whole earth; they saw the Son of God come from the regions of bliss and dwell with men on earth; they saw the deliverer come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob; they saw the glory of the Lord when he showed the transfiguration of the earth on the mount; they saw every mountain laid low and every valley exalted when the Lord was taking vengeance upon the wicked; they saw truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven in the last days, before the Lord came the second time to gather his elect; they saw the end of wickedness on earth, and the Sabbath of creation crowned with peace; they saw the end of the glorious thousand years, when Satan was loosed for a little season; they saw the day of judgment when all men received according to their works, and they saw the heaven and the earth flee away to make room for the city of God, when the righteous receive an inheritance in eternity. And, fellow sojourners upon earth, it is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” p. 12 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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    2. Clearly, the men in lead at the Corporate Church, from the 15 to the quorums of 70's would disagree with ALL the classic truths you've given from Joseph Smith.

      I'll add one further, if i may, to illustrate that vain principle that the priesthood is an 'Authority'. It isn't. It is a collection of people who are called directly by God's own voice, and manifests itself by 'Power' - not a silly abstract of being able to repeat like a parrot 'I. Have. Authority. ' at the pulpit over and over, ad nauseum.

      JST Genesis 14:
      26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
      27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
      28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
      29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
      30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
      31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
      32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.
      33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.

      Do you know anyone claiming this Melchizedek Priesthood currently on earth? God's voice calling them, not man man, by 'succession' or birthright? Command mountains and seas, destroy armies? I've search 20 years and found none who have the characteristics and a history as above. Any who claim such without manifesting are charlatans. Period.

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  10. Interesting that he didn't address a single scripture you shared, and instead said that the standard of truth is to measure your harmony with the brethren.

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  11. Such an amazing story. Many of us have all reached the same path in many different and painstaking ways. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  12. Monumental jerk, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Elizabeth, I hope some will read this letter exchange and their hearts will be turned from the idolatrous worship of religious leaders. My hope and prayer is that we will use our efforts to grow in love and come unto Jesus.

      If my letter only shows Dallin Oaks as a jerk, it would have been better for me to keep the letter private. I see Dallin as a man needing Jesus's help just as much as I do.

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    2. Your letter is showing the truth, which is what God is: truth. It is one more step toward us Gentiles waking up collectively, like the people of Mosiah who realized they were nothing but dust of the earth and fell as one on their knees and repented together, and thus received the Holy Ghost. We, includes the leaders too . Peter and the others of the 12 in addition to the Nephite 12, demonstrated their humility and exercised their power openly. Why are our 12/15 exempt? And only speak with their lips? King Noah's court of high priests are what we have today- build buildings and get rich, grind on the face of the poor and widows. We need an Alma. They need an Abinadi.

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  13. If you truly want to see the face of God, it won't be through perfecting every detail of yourself. It will be through lifting up his hurting, broken children. Which would you rather see from your own children, obsessive compulsion to not make mistakes, or sharing their gifts and love to teach and help others? When you love others as God does, warts and all, you see him in yourself every time you look in the mirror.

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    1. I so agree! In the blog post, I mentioned that I starated to make of list of what I was and wasn't doing. Jesus could see my intent was sincere, but I was climbing up the wrong ladder.

      One of the things preventing me from seeing clearly was my worship of church leaders. I had been taught to follow them and thought I was pleasing God when I did.

      It took time, but the Lord worked with me until I could see my error. He was gentle, humorous, and enlightening. The Lord worked with me for years before I got it. I'm a little slow, but I finally learned this one lesson.

      I have so much to learn. I'm learning that repentance is more about turning and facing God than a list of does and don'ts.

      God is Love and desires us to be the same. What you said about lifting the broken hearted and helping others is absolutely true.

      Other stumbling blocks had to be removed before I could see it.

      Thanks for sharing :)

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  14. Sister,

    God is so clear in the Bible that those who are truly seeking will always find Him. I strongly believe that Jesus is calling you out of the darkness and into His light. He is talking to you and challenging you to see for yourself. The Apostle Paul is such a great example for you and others in your situation. He was a persecutor of Jesus himself. I would challenge you to seek Jesus. Read the Bible. Just the Bible. Jesus is the only son of the only God. We are created beings. He is not. Start there. Just John 1. God Bless you. I am so blessed to have you as my Sister.

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    1. Ya, I definitely was a Pharisee. There's hope even for those like me.

      God Bless You Too

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    2. Unknown, just because the current LDS church doesn't have what Jennifer is looking for, doesn't mean that Joseph Smith didn't commune with God and translate the Book of Mormon just as he said he did. As great as the Bible is, limiting her to that one book will not get her off the broad road that so many Christians find themselves on.

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    3. The Book of Mormon is a manual to receiving the Second Comforter.

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  15. Jennifer, I have great respect for the earnestness of both your soul and that of Elder Oaks. I hope that you can become comfortable with the very real fact that the reality of Elder Oaks is not compatible with your reality. I also hope that you can possibly become a member of the Church of the Firstborn while maintaining your good standing with the mainstream LDS Church and your extended community of family and friends.

    Elder Oaks is not able to minister to you in your current path. Only the Heavens themselves can do so. I pray that you may maintain the abundant love and patience that will enable you and your husband to transcend the outward church while staying in fellowship so that you can be among the Saints as a light and a healer.

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    1. This exchange with Dallin was to answer a question. It served its purpose.

      I don't see the reason to be in good standing with LDS mainstream. I like the Mormon people. Many of them are my friends and family, but they require things that don't bring me joy. It would be very challenging to live a double standard.

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  16. Manipulative. Didn't answer your questions. I can't say more, or I would violate my own standards of charity.

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  17. Sadly, Elder Oaks' correspondence misses the mark and merely begs the question. You're trying to establish the legitimacy of the apostles in light of the scriptures. Yet instead of explaining how his apostleship is corroborated by the model outlined in the scriptures, he starts with the assumption that he's an apostle, from which he concludes that you're out of line for questioning him and the brethren. Of course, starting with the premise that he's an apostle, thus begging the question, does nothing to help establish it in the first place.

    Oaks’ response is analogous to an investigator asking why he should believe the LDS church is true in light of apparent conflicts with the Bible, only to be told that since the church is true, these doubts are from Satan and that he needs to repent and be baptized into the true church. Clearly, it makes for a vacuous argument (and fallacious begging the question) to use as a premise what's being questioned in the first place.

    You're smart Jennifer. You're thinking logically and asking questions, rather than just accepting other people's answers. Your questions parallel those I had about 10 years ago. Keep searching for the truth. It starts with questions about whether the current leaders of the LDS church are called of God. But it continues with questions about whether Mormonism is true in the context of Christianity, whether Christianity is true in the context of God, and ultimately whether belief in God is really justified at all. Is it more likely that you just happened to be born into the one true church and that everyone else is being deceived (despite feeling they’re right, just as yourself), or that the religion you were born into is deceiving you (just as you think is the case for everyone else, and as everyone else thinks of you)? Are your feelings a good guide to absolute truth, or are they far more likely to lead people in any random direction (take a few minutes to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA)? If you were born into the world with no religious upbringing, are there compelling reasons to believe in Christianity as opposed to Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism? (Consider that the four gospels were written by anonymous men who we made up names for, who never met Jesus, who recorded stories they heard about him, but in a language other than what Jesus spoke, decades after he had died; how reliable is that?) What would you adamantly believe (just as you now do with Christianity) if you were born in Pakistan? Should that give you pause to reconsider what seems so certain? Do we see a gross excess of suffering (especially in third world countries) and shocking absence of answered prayers in the world in regards to disease, famine, and natural disasters? Is it more likely that there's a personal God looking after us, or that we live in a universe that acts with cold indifference according to natural laws? Do we believe in God because it's comforting or because of good reasons? Keep asking questions Jennifer... Good luck!

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    1. When I asked how to know if I'm being deceived, the answer is . . . "Follow your joy". If what you do brings joy, do more of it. If it brings depression do less of it. Joy, peace, love, and light are a good compass for me.

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    2. That's a great way to know what makes you happy, but clearly not a good way to know what's true.

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    3. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

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    4. Sinners take joy in sin they follow their joy, but it binds them into Hell are you going to do the same. Sorrow is the true path to salvation for Jesus is a man of sorrows, bear your cross don't think it will be easy be as the disciples and endure the woes in faith and patience.

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    5. Anonymous, what scriptural references do you have to support your idea? It should be noted that taking pleasure and experiencing joy are two different things.

      "Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness." Alma 41:10-11

      This is the experience of those who are persecuted for Christ, "And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you." 3 Nephi 12:10-12

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  18. Beautiful questions, poorly answered.

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  19. I read the response from oaks. He basically is saying he knew what you were trying to do. You were settinb him up to which no matter what he replied, it would confirm your argument that he wasnt a prophet of God. Full disclaimer...I haven't stepped foot in a Mormon church for 9 years. You tried to set him up. You trolled him, and he took the bait and replied.

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    1. Amen. Trying to catch him in his words?

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    2. That's not my tradition or backgroud. To actually consider that the 15 men might not be prophets, seers, and revelators was a big step for me. I had to be sure.

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    3. If doing what Abinadi did is right, then I cannot see Jennifer as doing wrong. The Nephites themselves couldn't accept they were infiltrated by Gadiantons who were among them posing as leaders, and neither can the LDS.

      Your point is moot. Trying to make one guilty for exposing truth is a shoot-the-messenger tactic.

      Please read D&C 123
      Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven
      14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
      15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.

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  20. Hi, I'm sorry Oaks treated you the way he did. His letter is nothing but a two page ap peal to authority. We're having a discussion about your post over on reddit, please feel free to join us and respond to any comments. http://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/3aen2a/fascinating_exchange_between_elder_dallin_h_oaks/

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    1. Thanks for the invite . . . I'm not quite sure how to navigate reddit. I'm sure its pretty simple . . .

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  21. Adam and Eve were separated from the presence of the Lord. This alienation or separation is what the fulness of the Gospel is meant to overcome. To be redeemed means to be brought back into the presence of the Lord:

    "And when he [the brother of Jared] had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you." (Ether 3)

    The purpose of the Gospel is the same for us as it was for the brother of Jared. In John 14:22-23, it says: "...Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

    In our canonized scriptures (D&C 130), Joseph Smith said the following about John 14:23: "The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false."

    The straight and narrow way is entered into by the gate, which is baptism. Then comes the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. And when you are in the way, the Holy Ghost will show you all things that you should do (2 Nep 32), until you are brought to behold the Lord's face. Then, "...when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do."

    It all seems so clear. You made a clear case based on scripture and the response seems unscriptural. What you're talking about is the fulness of the Gospel contained in the Book of Mormon. A rejection or refutation of what you wrote seems to me like a rejection of the fulness of the Gospel (3 Nep 16):

    "At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations... if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them."

    Ryan

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    1. Ryan thanks for sharing those scriptures. . . I also believe what those scriptures teach.

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    2. The origins of D&C 130 are dubious at best. It was probably a late addition by Brigham Young because it corroborates his Adam/God doctrine. The Scriptures clearly teach that God can and does and will dwell within - in our hearts.
      • Doctrine and Covenants 130:3
      3 John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

      Consider these contradictory scriptures....
      • Alma 34:36
      36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.
      • Ephesians 3:17
      17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
      Luke 17:
      20 ¶And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
      21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
      • Doctrine and Covenants 8:2
      2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

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  22. Why are you taking the scriptures literally -- and to expect if they say you will see Jesus' face you should see it today? Or in a few years?

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    1. How else do you read scripture? If they are only a fairytale, they are hardly worth my time.

      I think the timing is different for everyone. . . I'm learning as I go along. . . It looks like it was a 40 year process for Enoch.

      Doctrine and Covenants 107:48 Enoch was twenty-five years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam; and he was sixty-five and Adam blessed him.

      49 And he saw the Lord, and he walked with him, and was before his face continually; and he walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years, making him four hundred and thirty years old when he was translated.

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  23. "Prove all things: hold fast that which is good."--1 Thessalonians 5:21

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  24. I don't think you mean to come off as arrogant, but holy guacamole. You start praying to see God's face, you expect to come into His presence in this lifetime, want Elder Oaks to let you know if he has seen Him, etc. Nothing he could've said would've pleased you.

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    1. Simple questions needing only a yes or no response. Are you a prophet and seer?

      "Answer to the question, Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself." p.180 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

      “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.” p. 160 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

      15 And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.
       16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.
       17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known. Mosiah 8:15-17

      “Wherefore, we again say, search the revelations of God; study the prophecies, and rejoice that God grants unto the world Seers and Prophets. They are they who saw the mysteries of godliness; they saw the flood before it came; they saw angels ascending and descending upon a ladder that reached from earth to heaven; they saw the stone cut out of the mountain, which filled the whole earth; they saw the Son of God come from the regions of bliss and dwell with men on earth; they saw the deliverer come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob; they saw the glory of the Lord when he showed the transfiguration of the earth on the mount; they saw every mountain laid low and every valley exalted when the Lord was taking vengeance upon the wicked; they saw truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven in the last days, before the Lord came the second time to gather his elect; they saw the end of wickedness on earth, and the Sabbath of creation crowned with peace; they saw the end of the glorious thousand years, when Satan was loosed for a little season; they saw the day of judgment when all men received according to their works, and they saw the heaven and the earth flee away to make room for the city of God, when the righteous receive an inheritance in eternity. And, fellow sojourners upon earth, it is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” p. 12 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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  25. I totally agree with the above comment. Nothing will seem to please you -_-

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    1. I wasn't seeking to be pleased. I had a question.

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    2. I don't think Anon's comment is very reasonable. Here is an example of what I, having the same questions, would have found very pleasing:

      "Yes, I have seen the Savior. I have not yet been given a vision of his life and death, but the resurrected Lord visited me on such and such a date in a waking vision and gave me the opportunity to touch the prints in his hands, feet, and side."

      I don't think that is too much to ask. You see plenty of testimonies just like that in the Book of Mormon, Bible and D&C.

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    3. And if he had said that you would believe? That is all it would take? You would then become an active member???

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    4. I would take Dallin's testimony to the Lord for a confirmation before I believed. If you hear the word of a man without a witness from God, you are under no obligation to believe. You and God both know if you are being sincere.

      How would becoming an active member help me come unto Christ?

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    5. to the question "How would becoming an active member help me come unto Christ?" I would offer the answer, "Try it honestly, and honestly find out"

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    6. I have been an active LDS member for 45 years. I have followed the leaders with all my heart including serving a full-time mission. The leaders haven't come to Christ and aren't in a position to help those seeking Christ. They might be nice people, but can lead where they haven't been.

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  26. Both letters broke my heart in different ways. God bless you, Elder Oaks, and all of us. Thank you for your courage to expose yourself so.

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  27. Jennifer,

    Your understanding of how spiritual manifestations work has been distorted by adhering to incorrect teachings from Denver Snuffer.

    Let's examine the context Jacob 4:14, which reads:

    "But behold, the Jews were a stiff-necked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble."

    You define looking beyond the mark in this verse as being unwilling to repent. That isn't what it means at all.

    First, when you examine the context of this chapter, Jacob is explaining how space is limited on the small plates of Nephi and what is placed needs to have spiritual value to future generations. For this reason, Jacob writes of his Christ and his atonement so that future generations may know he and all of the other prophets before Christ's time knew of his coming and testified of him and his mission.

    Jacob goes on to explain that all prophets believed in Christ and worshiped God in his name and how he and others in his time who teach and prophesy of Christ are not alone as witnesses.

    Verse 14 explains that the Jews were stiff-necked (or in modern terminology, stubborn) and despised the message they heard. The prophets focused on simple message of Christ and his atonement and they did not like simpleness of the true gospel. They wanted deeper doctrine and yearned to delve into mysteries (like many who followed the pagan religions that surrounded the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah). This blinded the Jews to God's true messengers and they killed the prophets and got their wish from God. He took away plainness from them and delivered them things they could not understand. In other words, the Holy Spirit departed from them and left them to their own understanding - which eventually caused them to stumble deeper and deeper into apostasy.

    If you look at it in that light, you can see the problem many who follow Denver Snuffer's philosophy and seek a direct face-to-face manifestation of Jesus Christ. They despise the plainness of the gospel - or the "milk" as they call it - and seek to hear deep doctrines and mysteries preached from the pulpit in sacrament meeting or from teachers in Sunday School. They are impatient with those who they perceive to be on a lesser spiritual level.

    (To be continued ...)

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    1. If you read the blog post, you'll see that I was seeking the face of the Lord three years before I even read Denver's book.

      You did a good job in pointing out that this chapter centers on Christ. I don't get how seeking the face of Christ is looking beyond the mark. He is the mark I should be seeking. Over and over I read "Come unto Christ". It seems pretty simple. We have to make stuff up to believe that he doesn't really mean what he says. If I asked my child to come to me, I would expect her to come into my presence, not to stay out in the yard or up at the barn.

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  28. In looking at Elder Bednar's talk from April, 2011 General Conference, he says:

    "I have talked with many individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions. Perhaps as we consider the experiences of Joseph in the Sacred Grove, of Saul on the road to Damascus, and of Alma the Younger, we come to believe something is wrong with or lacking in us if we fall short in our lives of these well-known and spiritually striking examples. If you have had similar thoughts or doubts, please know that you are quite normal. Just keep pressing forward obediently and with faith in the Savior. As you do so, you “cannot go amiss” (D&C 80:3)."

    From these words, it appears to me that Elder Bednar says an absence of dramatic spiritual manifestations does not equate to a weak testimony or unrighteousness. He counsels saints who feel they are falling short of spiritual giants in the scriptures because they have not had the same experiences to exercise faith in the Savior and continue to live according to the commandments. Things will eventually work out for those saints who stay on this path.

    Elder Bednar also quoted Joseph F. Smith, who said:

    “Show me Latter-day Saints who have to feed upon miracles, signs and visions in order to keep them steadfast in the Church, and I will show you members … who are not in good standing before God, and who are walking in slippery paths. It is not by marvelous manifestations unto us that we shall be established in the truth, but it is by humility and faithful obedience to the commandments and laws of God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1900, 40).

    The message here isn't that it's wrong to seek the face of God. What is wrong is to pester God to reveal himself to you on your timetable. If we have a righteous desire to enter into his presence, we will eventually be granted that privilege if we are valiant in our testimonies and God decides we are ready for such a manifestation. All things are done on his timetable and according to his will.

    The key is to be patient and humble and continue to build faith. In Ether Chapter 12, Moroni discusses how faith is the underlying principle behind all spiritual manifestations. He says:

    "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

    In other words, God expects us to exercise faith in him and be patient. We do not receive any sign, miracle or other dramatic spiritual manifestation at a time of our own choosing. We only receive these things after a trial of faith.

    (To be continued ...)

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    1. Let's put Ether 12:6 into context.

      3 For he did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled—
       4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
       5 And it came to pass that Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not.
       6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
       7 For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
       8 But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
       9 Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.
       10 Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God.
       11 Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.
       12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
       13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
       14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
       15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
       16 Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
       17 And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith.
       18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
       19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.
       20 And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.
       21 And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil.

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    2. Yes, there is a trial of faith, but look what happens to those who have faith. (see Ether 12) Do I have faith in Jesus Christ? If those things aren't happening in my life, it should cause me to question the strength of my personal testimony and underestimate my spiritual capacity. “or if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.” Miracles come and Jesus shows himself to the the faithful. A lack of these things among the LDS people should cause us to consider our spiritual state and standing before God.

      What good does it do to quote Joseph F. Smith?

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    3. Joseph F. Smith is a prophet and apostle who saw Christ in vision. He witnessed the Savior organize the righteous dead to preach the gospel to the spirits in Spirit Prison between his death and resurrection. (D&C 138) His views are very pertinent to the subject of spiritual manifestations since he fulfilled the qualifications for a "special apostolic witness of Jesus Christ."

      Again, the problem is you are putting your own timetable on Christ revealing himself unto you. Obsessing over the timing does not demonstrate faith in Christ. All things are done according to his will and part of having faith in Christ is accepting his will in all things. Again, Christ does not reveal himself simply to satisfy our curiosity. Everything he does has a purpose.

      By the way, your insinuation that there are a lack of miracles and a lack of faith among the LDS people is completely false. I have experienced incredible miracles within my own life that came through faith in Christ, prayer and exercising the priesthood. Your inability to see these things speaks more to your own testimony than the spiritual condition of LDS membership.

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    4. Why do you keep talking about this obsession over timing?

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    5. D&C 101:38 And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.

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    6. Again, notice one of the key words in the verse you quoted: patience. We are commanded to seek the face of the Lord. But receiving eternal life requires patience and faith on our part. It is up to Christ to decide when and how he reveals himself to us.

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    7. God has established a visit from Jesus promising you eternal life (known as making your calling and election sure) as the event which signals that you have obtained eternal life. When you are redeemed from the fall, you re-enter the presence of Christ.

      If that event has not yet occurred, it means you are not yet saved. Timing has nothing to do with it--it is about becoming someone you are not if the experience has not yet occurred. Joseph taught that when a person passes the trials of life, they are met by the Lord who promises them eternal life (that is the whole point of Lectures on Faith, for example). To say that it isn't important probably isn't as big of a mistake as assuming that you will re-enter God's presence sometime after this life when God has never told you such will be the case.

      Jennifer's comments on the lack of spiritual experiences being a barometer for one's faith are straight out of the Book of Mormon.

      “And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God. (Moroni 10:24-25)
      Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. (Moroni 7:37)

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    8. John, I don't think the Brother of Jared was on the Lord's time table. In fact, the Lord was taken back that he was able to pierce the veil uninvited (see Ether 3:6-15).

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  29. Elder Oaks was perhaps too blunt in his response to you, but I can sympathize with his position. Your questions and statements were worded in such a way to pass judgement on his qualifications to be an apostle as well as the qualifications of others in the 1st Presidency and Quorum of 12.

    Here are a few examples:

    "It has been my understanding that the reason we sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators is because all of you have been sanctified, have had the experience of seeing the Savior face to face, and have become apostolic witnesses of His birth, death, atonement, and resurrection. As part of that experience you’ve also seen the history and future of the world. Is this true?"

    "In Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”, he speaks of Joseph Smith having divine manifestations like Paul. Do the current apostles have these kind of manifestations? I understand that our testimony doesn’t come all at once, but when I come to know Christ, it is my hope that He doesn’t come “almost unnoticed”. I desire to see him in all his glory."

    "I too was surprised to find out that Apostles don’t need to have a unique and special witness of Christ."

    "Have you seen him and witnessed His baptism, His teaching, His healing the sick and lame, the mock trial, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection, and His Ascension?"

    "I don’t hear the special apostolic witness of Christ shared in our general conferences apart from the one I quoted from David B. Haight. I need to know why we call the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Prophets, Seers, and Revelators."

    You want proof they have seen and conversed with Christ before you'll believe they are apostles and prophets. That is not a sign of faith. It mirrors the tactics Korihor and Sherem used in demanding signs from Alma and Jacob.

    God is not going to magically appear like a genie in a lamp to anyone who demands to see him. Prophets and apostles who saw Christ were blessed with that experience because they first exercised great faith and approached him in prayer with righteous desires. They were not governed by a desire to see the face of God in order to satisfy their curiosity.

    The Brother of Jared asked for help in lighting the ships of his people. Joseph Smith approached God to find out which church he should join. Never do you see a prophet or apostle in the scriptures begging or demanding Christ to show himself simply because they want it to happen.

    Notice what the promise in D&C 93:1 actually entails:

    "It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am."

    We are promised we can see Christ and have a sure knowledge of him if we meet these requirements:

    1. Forsake our sins
    2. Come unto Christ
    3. Obey his voice
    4. Keep his commandments

    In other words, this is not a process of instant gratification. It takes an undetermined amount of time and implies a trial of our faith. We must be humble and patient, willing to live the gospel and leave the rest to God. If he wants to reveal himself to us, he will do so in due time.
    Don't fall for the Denver Snuffer trap. Seek to pattern your life after the Savior and his teachings and build faith in his promises. These will be realized when he decides it is time. But if you cast negative judgements on his servants because they aren't sharing the sort of signs and wonders you want to hear, then your chances of seeing and conversing the Savior will dwindle.

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    1. I don't know where you get the idea that Dallin Oaks is one of the Lord's servants. He's never testified of any of this. . .

      “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.” p. 160 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

      “Wherefore, we again say, search the revelations of God; study the prophecies, and rejoice that God grants unto the world Seers and Prophets. They are they who saw the mysteries of godliness; they saw the flood before it came; they saw angels ascending and descending upon a ladder that reached from earth to heaven; they saw the stone cut out of the mountain, which filled the whole earth; they saw the Son of God come from the regions of bliss and dwell with men on earth; they saw the deliverer come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob; they saw the glory of the Lord when he showed the transfiguration of the earth on the mount; they saw every mountain laid low and every valley exalted when the Lord was taking vengeance upon the wicked; they saw truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven in the last days, before the Lord came the second time to gather his elect; they saw the end of wickedness on earth, and the Sabbath of creation crowned with peace; they saw the end of the glorious thousand years, when Satan was loosed for a little season; they saw the day of judgment when all men received according to their works, and they saw the heaven and the earth flee away to make room for the city of God, when the righteous receive an inheritance in eternity. And, fellow sojourners upon earth, it is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” p. 12 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

      Seeing Jesus isn't about instant gratification. It took Enoch 40 years. But if someone is going to pretend to be a prophet and seer without these experiences they are what the scriptures call false prophets.

      If you notice from the blog post, I was actively seeking the promises in D&C 93:1 three years before I read Denver Snuffer's book. His book gave me hope that these promises are real and are happening in our day. The catalyst for seeking the face of the Lord came from the scriptures not Denver's writings. Even after reading Denver's book I was still turning to the Ensign for guidance. I still thought the LDS leaders were prophets

      Using the scriptures, the Lord showed me the difference between His servants and false prophets. The Lord would be the one to credit for this so called "trap".

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    2. Elder Oaks has never testified of the importance of revelation to our salvation? I beg to differ. He has spoken about it on multiple occasions.

      In a October 2010 general conference address, Oaks highlighted the importance of personal revelation. Here's what he said on the matter:

      "We pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and He answers us through His Holy Spirit and in other ways. The mission of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the Father and the Son (see John 15:26; 2 Nephi 31:18; 3 Nephi 28:11), to guide us into truth (see John 14:26; 16:13), and to show us all things we should do (see 2 Nephi 32:5). This personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit is the source of our testimony of truth, of our knowledge, and of our personal guidance from a loving Heavenly Father. It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel plan, which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of its truth.

      The direct, personal channel of communication to our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost is based on worthiness and is so essential that we are commanded to renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament each Sabbath day. In this way we qualify for the promise that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, to guide us."

      Sounds like a clear testimony on the importance of receiving revelation to me. Oaks identifies it as the source of our testimonies of the gospel and communication with God.

      In an address given to new mission presidents in June 2001 (and reprinted in the August, 2013 Ensign) Oaks cautioned about imposing your own timetable on divine manifestations:

      "Indeed, this is the principle the Lord revealed to His children in the great revelation printed in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord said, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (verse 63).

      Next, the Lord declared that if our eye is single to His glory, our whole body will be filled with light and we will be able to comprehend all things. Then, His instruction continued with this great promise: “Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will” (verse 68; emphasis added).

      The principle stated in that revelation applies to every communication from our Heavenly Father. We cannot force spiritual things.

      In most cases, “his own way” is not the thunderous interruption or the blinding light but what the scriptures call the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12; 1 Nephi 17:45; D&C 85:6). Some have misunderstood this principle. As a result, some have looked exclusively for the great manifestations recorded in the scriptures and have failed to recognize the “still small voice” that is given to them. This is like making up our minds that we will learn only from a teacher who shouts and that we will refuse to listen to even the wisest teaching that comes in a whisper."

      Again, Oaks affirms the scriptural declaration from the Lord that we if we become sanctified we can see the face of the Lord at a time and manner of his choosing according to his own will.

      I really believe you are missing the mark, Jennifer. You want evidence of spectacular visions and visitations. You want modern apostles and prophets to open up about personal visitations from deity with you. And all of it needs to be done on your timetable. Your attitude isn’t one of a sincere seeker of truth. It is the attitude of a sign-seeker who wants proof before they will believe. That is the antithesis of exercising faith.

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    3. Excellent comments. Read them over and over....

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    4. If Dallin is a special witness, what did he witness?

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    5. Christ said it doesn't matter what people may say or claim, but what they actually 'do'. If they don't really keep all of his commandments then they can't be true prophets or disciples of Christ. Thus it's easy to see past church leader's words and see who they really are.

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    6. DeeLyn, Good point. That's what I noticed. These men don't act like prophets, seers, and revelators.

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    7. I stand with Elder Oaks for the principles he has been called to be a special witness of. I also sustain him how I can in a very difficult life calling, and greatly admire his discernment and wisdom in these crazy and volatile times.

      1 Corinthians 2:13-
      13- Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
      14- But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

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    8. What is the connection you are making with Dallin Oaks and 1 Corinthians 2:13?

      What has Dallin Oaks witnessed? What's special about his witness?

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    9. Dallin Oaks used the spirit to discern that you were asking simple yes or no questions on the surface, but your mind and heart were already made up, so he didn't offer you specifics, just a call to repent and find out for yourself. It is only with the spirit that we understand. Until we can get honest enough to fullly repent, we have a self-imposed barrier keeping us from the Holy Ghost, and we cannot "receive...the Spirit of God" and things become "foolishness unto [us]." Dallin H. Oaks call as an apostle in the restored Church of Jesus Christ is "spiritually discerned", not sold to you like the clever Multi-Level-Marketing programs that are so popular in Utah.

      If you got really honest, and lived worthy of the spirit (I write as I guzzle my liter of coffee:-) ) the spirit will teach you the truth of all things, and show you the face of Christ. Your testimony wouldn't be based on seeing the face of Christ, or on Elder Oaks successfully selling you on his calling as an apostle. Your focus would shift. I think your feelings were hurt because Elder Oaks' letter was such a blunt response, and your pride puffed up to protect you from a long time of suffering, years and years of "following" leaders in the Mormon Church, serving a full-time mission, doing your duty, with no immediately noticed reward. My feelings have been hurt in the past from experiences like this too.

      About the scripture, man's wisdom will always understand the quorum of the twelve (or fifteen) as silly white old geriatric bigots in an outdated racist homophobic church- today more than ever. Back in 18-hundred whatever, Mormons had an extermination against them. Mormons can be annoying. But truth is truth, and it is only taught by the spirit.

      1 Nephi 16:1-5.

      Please don't take this as me judging you. I relate to, and respect your path and journey, especially when you wrote about studying and developing over 40 years. Best wishes on your path of discovery!

      I bear testimony to you that the spirit of truth can teach you all things, even show you the face of Christ someday, and help you understand and develop as a daughter of God; that He loves you, and that he wants you to return to Him.

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  30. It's sad when men/leaders deceive us into thinking that we should go to them for answers. When Christ said to only follow & listen to him. It's one of the 10 commandments to not put anyone's teachings before God's & Christ's.

    Christ told us everything we need to know to find the answers to all things, we don't need the opinions & teachings of men, leaders, or men who claim to be prophets, we only need to study & live Christ's words in the 4 Gospels. Everything else in the scriptures or from any church leader, no matter what church, is only mortal writings & opinions, sometimes right sometimes wrong.

    Christ said that only those who 'keep all of his commandments' will really come to know him. That is the one & only way so see Christ & get to know him. He said all those who say they know him or have seen him but do not really keep his commandments, are not telling the truth. So it's very easy to see who is telling the truth and who really knows & follows Christ. Christ warned that many would be deceived by false Christs appearing to them and they always think it's the real Christ. But Christ's words & commandments are how we can tell the difference between someone who really knows him and someone who has been deceived by the Adversary.

    John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

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  31. Replies
    1. Hmmmm... Been living in a bubble?

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    2. You ought to stand 'for' a principle, not stand 'with' some person.

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  32. Before I read the letter from Oaks, I was ready to dislike his response. After all, he once left me dissatisfied when I asked him an earnest question.

    However, his response to you was actually pretty good.

    What are the answers to his questions? Did you tell him? Did you consider them? Or did you just say, "Well, he didn't directly answer my twenty questions, so -- I must be more pure than him?"

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    1. He was asking me to continue to participate in idolatry. I have considered remaining an idolater but decided against it

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  33. I have to say that I enjoyed reading the way that you listed your scriptures in your letter. You've done a good job studying things out.

    I've also read the letter that Dallin Oaks sent to you a few times now.

    I'm torn by his remarks. He doesn't answer you straightway like you would like him to. I understand that you're seeking the face of the Lord. I can't speak for him, but I would gather that he's trying to live the best way possible to meet the Savior as well.

    If that's the case, by not answering your question head on as you had hoped, isn't he acting like the Savior? Didn't Jesus ignore, side step or give counsel that was needed instead of answering the direct question about being the Son of God several times when asked?

    John 10

    24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

    25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

    26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    Especially when his claims of sonship couldn't be substantiated scripturally because he was of Nazareth and Galilee and not Bethlehem?

    John 7

    52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

    I don't think you finished your story. You said the Lord told you write your letter. What then did you do with the answer you received? What then did the Lord tell you? Did you receive what you were looking for? Had you sacrificed enough yet after that ordeal or is there still more for you to yet suffer for his sake before he'll reveal himself to you?

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    1. Following the Lord isn't about suffering, it's about receiving him in joy. Yes, there is sacrifice, but those sacrifices lead to greater freedom. Whenever the Lord asks for something I hold dear, he gives me something better in return.

      Not being controlled by the dogma of the religious leaders has set me free. I received what I was looking for. Those men were muddying the water, and I was drinking downstream. Part of my journey was to move upstream and receive my instructions from God.

      I love this journey with the Lord and have experienced great joy in these last four years.

      I still have much to learn. I trust Jesus in this process. His burden is light, intelligence, and glory.

      I am peaceful about seeing his face. I don't know when, I don't know how, I trust his timing. Nevertheless, I will continue to believe in his promises to those who seek him.

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  34. What "idolatry"? We worship only Christ; we are commanded repeatedly by our leaders, both local and general, to worship Christ. The Apostles and Prophet are not in any way asking for us to worship them. We do need to listen to their teachings, because the Lord has commanded us to ("by my voice, or the voice of my servants, it is the same.") When the general leaders speak in conference, or in any other official venue, we are to listen, to ponder, and to see how, or if, what is being said applies to us. We use the gift of the Holy Ghost to know how to apply those teachings to our lives. This is not worship. Christ called these men (and women) to act in His stead until He returns in glory to reign here personally. I, and every other member of the Church I know, worship Christ, have faith in Christ, and strive to follow Christ.
    I carefully reviewed your letter to Elder Oaks, and his response. I have been in the Church for 40 years, having converted in my 20s. I have seen many people lose faith and fall away, and most of the started just the way you seem to be doing. What business is it of yours whether or not a GA has seen the Savior face-to-face? Elder Bednar's son was in our ward for a few years, so we had a couple of visits from him before he became an apostle. At one meeting, he was asked about personal visits by the Savior to the GAs, and his answer was very revealing. In a nutshell, he said that such events were highly sacred to the one receiving them, were very seldom talked about outside of immediate family, and were not talked about when requested by random members of the Church.
    Elder Oaks gave you the only answer possible for an apostle to give. You were counseled to have faith in Christ, look to your local leaders for guidance, and be humble and wait for the Lord to reveal Himself to you. That will eventually happen, whether in this life or the next, if you remain faithful to Him. But your chances drop dramatically if you insist on having everything your own way. It has to be His way, or no way.

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    1. Here is a good example of idolatry "look to your local leaders for guidance."

      Elder Oaks didn't say "be humble and wait for the Lord to reveal Himself to you." I was to wait until I received word from Dallin and the other leaders. This had nothing to do with waiting upon the Lord.

      2 Nephi 4:34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

      2 Nephi 28:31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

      I had a question. Are these 15 men really servants of God or pretenders? It is absolutely my business and responsibility to find out if they have met the qualifications of prophet, seer, and revelator. If they've never entered the presence of the Lord, how can they possibly be servants of the Lord. D&C 1:38 doesn't apply to these 15 men, and you would be wise to find out for yourself.

      Hiding behind the cloak of "its too sacred" just doesn't hold water. Joseph Smith didn't think it was too sacred to share his first vision and many other revelations from God. Special witnesses testify. It's all over the scriptures.

      Let's see what the Mormon people are saying these days. Do an experiment for me: Without letting anyone know what you're doing, see how many times your hear "Follow Jesus Christ" verses "Follow the prophet" during the next 4 weeks of church. Make a tally and report the results.

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  35. Elder Oaks spoke to the root cause of your questions. It was a very wise response to your letter.

    Seeing the face of God has consequences which the Lord carefully controls. To see the face of God means that a person no longer can live by faith. They have the sure knowledge and can no longer have faith. To do this puts the person in jeopardy of becoming a son of perdition.
    Rev 11
    3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

    4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

    Rev 11 tells us that two prophets will be killed in the streets of Jerusalem just before the second coming of Christ. And that they stood before God.
    Dan 2 says the restored kingdom will not be left to other people and would never be destroyed. Therefore I have Heavenly Fathers promise that the prophets of the Church are true.

    Now is the time prior to the second coming for the sifting of the wheat and the tares. Are you going to let yourself be sifted out? Lehi's dream and the mist of darkness comes to mind to...

    Regardless of your reasons, regardless of your rationalizations, you're going to face Christ at the judgement. And there won't be any negotiations.You're judged and the result is the result, it's over.

    Luke 13
    28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

    For me and my family we're staying faithful to Christ and His prophets and apostles. I have no desire to weep and gnash teeth at the judgement.



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    1. Yes, it is true that those with knowledge can become sons of perdition, but that shouldn't be the reason for not seeking the face of the Lord. Faith should always lead to knowledge. . . It is also true that to be redeemed from the fall you must be brought back into his presence. Do you want to forfeit redemption and eternal because you might choose to turn away from the light?

      D&C 101:38 And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.

      Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

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    2. To avoid the Lord's face out of fear of becoming a son of perdition is to bury your talent instead of multiplying it.
      "Are you going to let yourself be sifted out?"
      Actually, I hope I do manage to get sifted out, since it is the wheat that gets gathered, not the tares. (see JST)

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  36. You are starting to see the some of the BS. Keep peeling back the layers, there is so much more BS to get out of your life.

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    1. Wesley, I agree. . . evauluating my governing beliefs is not as easy as it looks. . . All sorts of voices . . . some give a message of truth some do not.

      This is my guide: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

      Growing into a life that has greater peace, joy, and fulfillment is a wonderful journey. . . Gets better every day :)

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  37. The challenge with Elder Oaks statement: "when it is time to take extraordinary measures or to do diffrent things to be "sanctified", the word will come from the Lord speaking through his servants" is that this is anti-scriptural with how he's defining things.
    In the context of the questions asked, he is referring to Calling and Election and Second Comforter as "extraordinary" pursuits. Yet prophet after prophet in scriptures bear witness over and over again that coming into God's presence is Life Eternal.

    The Book of Mormon teaches: " and the keeper of the gate IS the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth NO servant there.." 2 Nephi 9:41
    So I conclude that salvation is and always has been an individual thing and never has or will come through someone else no matter what position of authority they claim to hold.

    I was also told similar things when meeting with church leaders. I asked why we don't hear calling and election and 2nd Comforter taught over the pulpits anymore.
    The reply given me was that God does not feel it necessary for us to know about these things right now. I disagree. Section 76 tells us only those who receive the testimony of Jesus will inherit the Celestial Kingdom. This is Christ's testimony of us before His Father that we have been true and faithful in all things and receive the promise of Eternal Life.

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    1. This seems to be the challenge in every dispensation. Do listen to God or do we listen to the philosophies of men?

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  38. Only those who know God are qualified to stand as His servants and witnesses.

    It is entirely right to ask a man who claims to be a prophet, seer, and revelator if he knows God. If he doesn't know God, he doesn't know what he is talking about. Following such a man will not lead to knowing God. If a man claims to be a servant of God and does not testify he knows God, he is a false servant.

    When a man testifies he knows God and teaches THAT FAITH with power and authority from God, he is a true messenger. When men don't know God and teach "we have enough" and "God has given his power to men" they are false teachers.

    No one has a voice in the Book of Mormon who doesn't know God and is willing to testify they know God.

    Joseph knew God and testified he knew God and that all men must come to know God or they cannot be save. Denver Snuffer does the same. They all speak of THAT FAITH. It is a good trap to fall into.

    Hearing His voice as spoken of in D&C 93:1 includes recognizing when He is speaking through a servant. This is a test, not a trap. What is the sign? Preaching repentance and knowing Him with power and authority in meekness and charity.

    If we harden our heart against an Abinidi who is a nobody, but who testifies of God with power and authority, in meekness, willing to suffer persecution for it, we are not hearing His voice.

    Likewise, it is folly to listen to a voice that is not His--one who does not testify he knows God and has a message from Him.

    David S.

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  39. Dear John (and Jennifer),

    I was in church yesterday in Paradise and heard your powerful testimony. I spoke with you after church and wasn't able to talk to you much because of the company I was with and because of the location and timing. I would like to talk to you some more. I told you I understood exactly what you were talking about. You asked about my experience with it all and I began to explain, but then we were interrupted. I would like to talk with you some more about this. I have looked online for your phone number but it has been disconnected. If you can pass it on to me, I can contact you.

    I have been drawing near to Him for the last 12 years. I have seen and experienced many miraculous things along the way. They are too numerous to discuss all of them. However, I to may add that as we draw near to Him, the whisperings of the Spirit can only be described as distilling upon me as the dew of heaven.

    Feel free to reach out if you would like, and I will contact you if you post your phone number. Thanks,

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  40. Thank you for your scriptural instruction and for sharing the response you received from Dallin Oaks. This post has been helpful to me in my journey to seek the Lord!

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  41. I write this believing that among the readers of and responders to this blog, and the writers of this blog, there are some who are sincere followers of Christ, the pure in heart, the truly penitent and humble seekers of happiness. Those who believe that there is something special about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon may be surprised to learn that, starting with Brigham Young, there have been no true prophets, seers and revelators since Joseph's martyrdom. He had nothing to do with the calling of the original twelve Mormon prophets (they were called and chosen by the Three Witnesses). He had no interest in organizing a church, but he suffered one to be organized (the Mormon Church) so that the people could stumble, because they desired it. See Jacob 4:14 (... for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.), To those who have eyes that see, and ears that hear, and hearts that may be penetrated, google the words "joseph smith" and "authorized" and "official" and you will be led to the definite work concerning Joseph Smith and what he intended. And may the truth set you free.

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  42. Elder Oaks asked an interesting question: "You also speak of the special apostolic witness of Christ. Where do you find that kind of "witness" defined or even mentioned in the scriptures?"

    Can anybody address that? Thanks much!

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  43. Here are a few scriptures addressing what it means to have an apostolic witness.

    1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? ! Corinthians 9

    33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Acts 4

    22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
    23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
    24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
    25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
    26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Acts 1

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
    9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15

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Thank you for posting