One can only assume that this week, somewhere in the halls and spacious offices of the Church Office Building, concerned voices echoed with the sound of anxious conversation subsequent to Denver Snuffer’s final lecture in Mesa this week. Well, he has gone and done it now. He is calling for a new church. He says that the Lord has wrested the last vestiges of the priesthood from the church and he is stirring up the saints to follow him into this egregious error he calls communities. He is telling these poor misguided followers that men can actually perform baptisms upon receiving permission from the WOMEN in the community as long as the man has also received authority directly from God. He reaffirmed his call to those who listened to him to hold their tithes and offerings and spend them on the poor, how dare he challenge our use of the sacred funds donated to the church?!!

He had the audacity of telling people to conduct the sacrament in their own homes regardless of whether they have sought permission from the bishop or not. He has finally showed his true colors and ego as he applied the Lord’s warning to himself that He would bless them that bless Denver and curse them that curse him. He has been divorced, we all know that God would not call such a damaged individual to speak for Him. He is just another Jim Harmston, you’ll see.

The fury of the orthodoxy was quickly manifest as these attacks were launched in the blogosphere against both the message and the messenger. Blog sites, such as Tim Malone’s Latter-day Commentary, were bombarded with naysayers spewing criticism of both the supposed inconsistencies of the message and the deviance of the man claiming to be on a mission from God.

Putting the anticipated cacophony aside, what did I hear as I sat in that Mesa hotel ballroom Tuesday morning? I heard more about how to become a Zion people than I have heard in twenty years of general conference platitudes. I heard words of compassion for the poor. I heard a man speak who demonstrated a strong interest in defending those who have been spiritually and socially abused by an organization claiming to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. I heard a call for transparency in the operation of God’s organization and a need to refocus on the core objectives of the restoration of the gospel.

As I pondered the events of this week, questions formed in my mind such as the one I have used as the title for this blog post:

How many malls do we need to construct to bring again Zion?

Billions of dollars have been spent on high end shopping malls in Salt Lake and now another project has begun in Philadelphia. Is it even conceivable that when the Lord returns, He will stop off a Burberrys to pick up an overcoat in case of inclement weather? How does this major economic effort driven by the church bring us closer to being a Zion community? What were you thinking???

How is it that the Church has drifted so far away from the original intention of the restoration that it is now shunning those people who yearn for Zion? As I see it, the purpose of the restoration was to prepare a people to live in the city of God. Instead of threatening those who still hold to that objective, why can’t the leadership recognize the shift that has occurred and find an accommodation? Are we not still under a commandment to both individually and collectively establish Zion?

I am reminded of an event recorded in the New Testament:

And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:38-41)

Be it casting out devils or preaching preparation for Zion, can we not recognize ‘he that is not against’ the church mission is on our part? The cup of water that I received on September ninth was regenerative. It was pure and cool and satisfying. Even at the time of Christ, there were others who were blessed with the ability to cast out devils who were not linked to the disciples gathered to the Savior but used His name. The Lord’s reaction to John’s rebuke should tell us something about how those people should be treated today who are eager to apply the message of the Book of Mormon.

When Brigham Young attempted to establish the United Order as preparation for Zion, he met with failure. Perhaps his top-down approach contributed to the demise of the effort. Is there not room to try a ‘bottom-up’ approach to building a Zion people? That is what I see in the message of communities; let us organize ourselves. Let us prepare our hearts and practice the principles of a Zion community.

And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practise virtue and holiness before me. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:24-27)

This is wise council at many levels. If I esteem my brother as myself, I give room for my brother to express his devotion, just as I expect him to honor my practice of worship.  How many of the sons and daughters of the church have been told to sit elsewhere? If we cannot figure out how to love and support one another, how can we possibly claim to be on the Lord’s side, to be one? If not, then we must separate to become one.

Excommunicating people, like Will Carter, for seeking to adhere to scripture and promoting the cause of Zion is a travesty. Forcing people, like Tim Malone, to choose between affiliation with the church and their allegiance to God is a damaging blow to the inspired model of the church of God.

Today we are not ‘one.’ Tomorrow, may we be one, that is my hope and prayer.

What think ye?

6 Responses to “How Many Malls Do We Need to Bring Again Zion?”

  • Kris:

    I know not if the brethren discussed Denver, but I do remember something from years back. My memory is fuzzy, but the message I do remember. There had been a bombing at the east Salt Lake Temple door. The media was in an uproar and people were talking about it in worried voices. The brethren attended their weekly meeting in the Temple later that same day. I heard from a good source that someone asked one of the brethren what was said about the bombing and he said not a word was said about it. I learned a very good lesson from that.

  • PP:

    Spektator,

    So do you agree with Denver that the LDS Church lost its priesthood authority in May 2014? Curious what your views are.

    • Spektator:

      In regards to the loss of the higher priesthood that Denver discussed, I do not believe that is has been around for quite a while. My perspective of this priesthood was developed around a study of Alma, chapter 13. The purpose as defined in verse 6 is as follows:

      “And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—”

      I believe the ‘his rest’ represents our ability to enter God’s presence.

      As to the lower priesthood and Denver’s claim that the authority was removed earlier this year, I am still pondering that issue. If you have read my Sunstone paper, you will see that I believe the scriptures talk of a transition, Jew to Gentile, then Gentile to Jew. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. (1 Nephi 13:42). The Jews did lose the priesthood in the transition of the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. I expect the same would be true in the transition from the Gentiles to the Jews that will happen in our time. The gentile church will reject the fulness of the gospel. The timing of which I don’t have clarity.

  • Vaughn Hughes:

    Amen and amen.

  • JRU:

    Spek,
    First, may I say it was a pleasure meeting you in Phoenix after all this time.
    You seemed to hear the same things I did: A call for financial transparency in keeping with the revelation of the Lord in D&C. A call for remembering the poor and needy, in keeping with all the scriptures. A call for women to be treated as equals, not patronized by saying their motherhood makes them equal to the priesthood men “hold.” A reminder that the Melchizedek Priesthood is fragile and does not linger when there is any degree of unrighteous dominion or compulsion exercised…indeed, it is AMEN TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF THAT MAN, regardless of whether he is a Deacon, a Teacher, an Elder…or an Apostle.
    I have posted this before, but I believe it bears repeating: in the temple we are directed to covenant with God that we will consecrate our time, talents, and all that we have been blessed with, or all that we may be blessed with, to the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints, “for the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth and for the establishment of Zion.” One day, not long ago, as I was sitting in the temple and that covenant was presented, the Spirit said to me “the church is not doing that.” The meaning was clear. The church is not building up the Kingdom of God upon the earth or seeking to establish Zion.
    Whatever else the church may be doing, it has obviously lost its way. Now I recognize why…AMEN TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF THAT MAN (or men).
    JRU

    • Janeen:

      Years ago the temple wording was different than it is now…”for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion” There was NO “to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. I suppose that is why I do not repeat in my mind the way it is said now…but how sad that they felt the need to stress the “Church”. To me, it is all about the Kingdom of God…period. My recommend will be expiring this month and I am confident they will not issue another one, because I cannot sustain the brethren, and, I will admit, the changes dismay my soul. We don’t need malls…we need Father!

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