Restoration Scriptures Announcement

March 18, 2017

Although what is to be announced may be viewed by most people as a modest achievement, I think history will eventually reflect this as one of the greatest steps forward after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum.

What I’m about to announce will generate a considerable number of questions. To reasonably manage them, we’ve set up an email address where you can send your questions & suggestions. That address is: RESTORATIONSCRIPTURES2017@GMAIL.COM. Your questions will be reviewed this evening, and then tomorrow, a number of the major questions will be answered in front of this body. Any that aren’t answered immediately will be replied to after the conference ends.

One of the first ways a dispensation becomes corrupted is by compromising the scriptures used by believers in that dispensation. Therefore when a new dispensation begins, one of the first orders of business for believers is to adopt a new set of scriptures which restore, insofar as it is possible, a correct version of the material they regard as scripture.
Just like the saints of the New Testament adopted a new body of teachings, the Book of Mormon people preserved and added to sacred writings. And while Joseph Smith lived, there were both corrections to old scripture and new scripture was added. Likewise for us, there is a need to remove errors, correct texts, and add to the body of scripture to guide us. This assembly – that is, this worldwide body of believers – must also decide what we accept as scripture. It is our right and sacred responsibility to address this need.

To that end, a new edition of the scriptures is proposed. They are divided into three volumes that have been produced through a unified effort by two independent bodies of volunteers, separately driven to approach the scriptures anew.
Initially the members of these two groups felt individually inspired to revisit the scriptures in an effort to prune away some of the uninspired alterations of man so that they might have a more correct version of scripture for their study. Over time, these individuals were led to one another, combining and harmonizing their efforts. What began as two wholly separate groups, each forming at the same time, both unknown to one another, resulted in separate projects that were completed at the same time, and what was learned from their independent efforts identified issues that needed to be addressed.
On the last day of 2016, less than 2 weeks after discovering each other, these two groups held a meeting, facilitated by Denver Snuffer, and determined to unify their efforts, each bringing to the table differing components for a greater outcome than either project possessed alone. On the first day of the new year, the two became one as work began, preparing what would become this Restoration Edition of the scriptures.

Moving forward, the united team has worked closely with each other, with the Lord, and with His servant, to produce a more accurate record that is true to the Lord’s intent and to the Restoration. We are on His errand, not our own.

In September 1832, the Saints were condemned by the Lord and commanded to “repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.”
We often see this as the Lord rebuking the Saints for failing to do according to that which He had written, yet assume that the Saints had been correctly saying what He had written. But the Saints did not say, and have failed to accurately preserve, what the revelations God provided to them said, because their texts became corrupted. This means that the first step towards emerging from condemnation is to try and do exactly what is being accomplished through this scriptural work now underway. While the full purpose of this project was initially unknown, it has begun a best effort to “repent and remember the new covenant.” If done right, we will at least accomplish the first step: recovering what the Lord provided so we can “say” what He has revealed. Then the challenges increase as we are called upon “to do according to that” which God has revealed.

A future conference must then be held with the intent of approving the final content of the Restoration Edition and sustaining that edition as canon for this assembly.

The following is a summary of what is contained in this Restoration Edition of the scriptures:

ALL THE SCRIPTURAL WORKS SHARE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES:
Verse numbers have been eliminated and the text has been formatted into paragraphs. This provides greater context for individual passages and removes the isolation of a statement that is caused by restricting it to a verse. The only exception to individual numbering is in Proverbs where each proverb has been numbered.
The chapters have been regrouped based on contextual themes rather than staying as they have existed historically. Our team recognized that since chapters were originally organized by man and not by God, we were free to reorganize them. Some paragraphs in some of the books have been combined or divided as well, based on their context. However, in the Book of Mormon, chapters were designated by Joseph Smith himself and those have been preserved.
Very minor standardization and spelling correction has taken place. Care was taken to respect the text.
Punctuation can clarify, but it can also restrict. Therefore punctuation has been significantly reduced in all of the volumes in order to free up the text for greater possible interpretation.

INDIVIDUALLY

VOLUME 1 IS THE OLD TESTAMENT
Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible (the JST) is the base text.
The Song of Solomon had been removed since Joseph indicated that it is not an inspired text.
Proverbs now includes Proverbs of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Proverbs of Denver Snuffer, Jr.

VOLUME 2 CONSISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
In a letter to the “brethren in Zion” on 21 April, 1833, Joseph Smith stated, “…it is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new translation in the Star, but when it is published it will all go to the world together in a volume by itself, and the New Testament and The Book of Mormon will be printed together.”
Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible is the base text for the New Testament.
The 1840 edition of The Book of Mormon is used as the base text and was already formatted into paragraphs. This version was chosen because it contains corrections given by Joseph Smith to what was originally published in 1830 and 1837.

VOLUME 3 CONSISTS OF THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS & PEARLS OF GREAT PRICE
The new D&C returns the Lectures on Faith to its original place, along with those sections and revelations identified as coming through Joseph Smith. These have been painstakingly compared to the manuscripts found in the Joseph Smith Papers Project:
The order of the sections has been restored to thematic groupings rather than simply being presented chronologically. These groupings are: Restoration, Organization and Worship, and Revelations to Individuals.
Several LDS sections have been removed for the following reasons:
Sections 2 & 13 are extracts from JS-History and are therefore redundant.
Section 20 was written by Oliver Cowdery and constitutes church articles and covenants used to begin to structure the early church organization. They no longer apply.
Section 101 on Marriage, from the original 1835 Kirtland Edition, is not being reintroduced because it is not a product of either Joseph or Hyrum. However, pertinent points are included in another area.
Section 110 is completely unverifiable as a true revelation/vision. The three individuals with some information about the section, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and Warren Cowdery, left no statement or explanation about Section 110. Further, in listing those who visited with them in their respective testimonies, neither Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery mention Elijah as having come. Finally throughout the Nauvoo time frame, including a month before his death, Joseph Smith spoke of Elijah’s return as a future and not a past event.
Section 129 was a struggle. Initially it was revised by taking the shorthand notes from Joseph Smith’s journal and fleshing them out with bridge words and phrases to make them into comprehensible sentences. However, once attempted, that effort was abandoned and the section was completely removed for the following reasons:
The shorthand is just sketchy enough that some of the bridge wording is clearly debatable.
The instruction we have through the Book of Mormon is sufficient on its own to allow us to discern evil spirits.
This section, if relied upon alone, is apparently not sufficient to defend against lying spirits.
Section 134 is a declaration on laws & government written by either Oliver Cowdery or Sidney Rigdon, not Joseph Smith.
Section 135 is simply the announcement of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.
Section 136 is from Brigham Young.
Section 138, Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the dead, is restricted by copyright and cannot be used.
Official Declarations 1 & 2 are declarations made by a different church.

Several LDS sections have been revised for the following reasons:
Section 107 was an amalgamation of content, with only one portion traceable to a revelation before the 1835 publication of the D&C. That portion has been preserved. The 1835 published version bears hallmarks of revisions by the hand of man. Therefore only a portion has been extracted, and then added to by revelation, to explain the establishment of dispensations and reflect the direction of this current dispensation. It is placed as the last section in the new D&C.
Sections 121, 122 and123 came from a letter written from Liberty Jail and are presented within the context of the entire letter written by Joseph Smith.
Section 132 on celestial marriage is now represented as it is posted by Denver Snuffer on his blog, containing the redactions suggested there to make the document internally consistent and reflect the earliest descriptions of the original.

More than 40 new sections have been added for the following reasons:
Nearly all of these new sections are verified revelations given through Joseph Smith that simply were never sustained as scripture.
Restoration Edition Section 98 is President Hyrum Smith’s epistle to the church.

The new D&C also includes an insert in the Appendix called A PROPHET’S PREROGATIVE, an example of an extremely valuable method of comparative study that can significantly help your understanding. The example used is Isaiah 29, and includes an introductory explanation.

The Pearl of Great Price – has had its name changed to Pearls of Great Price, reflecting and implying further expansion, and the following portions have been removed, revised or added for the following reasons:
(A Proposed Set of) Governing Principles is a rewritten statement of principles and practices – similar to LDS Section 20 – that reflects this assembly’s efforts to preserve the Restoration. This statement is not yet completed. It requires additional inspired input from you.
The Articles of Faith have been replaced by The Wentworth Letter that they were copied from, in order to provide context to those articles.
Joseph Smith – History has been slightly expanded to the same extent as it was originally published in the Times and Seasons.
The Book of Moses and Joseph Smith – Matthew have been removed because they already exist in the New Translation of the Bible and are redundant.
The Book of Abraham remains as is.
The Revelation of the Testimony of St. John – as given through Denver Snuffer, Jr. – has been added. It will not replace the existing Testimony of St. John found in the New Testament, but will stand as it’s own book.
Continuing Revelation – is a section which consists of visions and revelations given through Denver Snuffer, Jr. to be made public. This portion of the Pearls of Great Price is expected to be the place where new revelation will be added as it is received, which, you will see, has already happened.
A Glossary of Fundamental Terms is at the end of the final volume. Currently it’s blank, except for a single sample definition. We encourage all of you to consider emailing us terms for the glossary using the following criteria:
The definition must be scriptural, not your opinion.
The terms need to be those that are critical to seeing things correctly. LDS and Christian culture have so skewed many religious terms as to render them not just wrong, but spiritually dangerous in that they point people in the wrong direction. This will not become a “bible dictionary,” but is an attempt to explain words as the Lord has intended, not “Gospel speak” or Mormonese.

Given that this body must declare to the Lord what records they intend to hold sacred, a Preview copy of these volumes of the Restoration Edition are available as of right now for download, in PDF, ebook and other requested formats, from www.scriptures.info, an online library that has been established for materials pertinent to the Restoration. There are a number of interesting tools and features that have been developed for this site, but now is not the time to go into them. However, I will say that scriptures.info is specifically built with tools to aid in comparative study. That’s why the Isaiah 29 example is at the back of the D&C – to kickstart you. So take a tour of that important site on your own. Those of you who may have content pertinent to the scriptures that you wish to contribute, those of you who are looking for research material or tools, and those of you who are just curious, be sure to visit the ABOUT page on that site for direction.

A hard copy of each volume is already available for purchase on Amazon.com and Amazon Europe. Search Restoration Scriptures Preview or the title of each work and you should find Vol. 1, 2 and 3. This copy is NOT formatted completely – it still has minor flaws in it. In fact, if you are happy to use the electronic copies that are available, you may want to wait until the scriptures have been sustained and scrubbed before buying a copy, as they may change. A final version will be produced that incorporates any changes sustained by this assembly and has been scrubbed of formatting errors.
Additionally, since Amazon won’t allow us to sell the copies at cost, the minimal royalties from the copies sold will be donated to the temple fund.

A quick side note: The reason the Creative Commons copyright for these scriptures is in my name is only because I am acting as the public face of this project. There are dozens of people that have contributed to it besides me.

A Research version of these scriptures is partially completed and available for download on www.scriptures.info as well. Unlike the printed scriptures, this Research version will remain in electronic form – at least for now – and will differ in the following ways from the print copies:
Though retaining the new chapter groupings, all of the books have LDS chapter and verse numbers inserted to allow for easier research and for comparison with other versions of scripture.
The JST and D&C include both strikethroughs and additions visible in their original manuscripts.
The Book of Mormon footnotes all significant changes from the editions that were published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Any editions after his death were not approved by him and therefore have been ignored.
Items removed from the printed copy can be preserved in this copy for research purposes, including, for example, section 129.
Items of historical or educational significance deemed helpful may be added to this version. Recognize that the Research version is intended to expand details of the sustained scriptures, not supplant them.

We do have plans for a fancier set of scriptures being produced with bible stock paper, leather or faux leather covers, and so forth. That process is already underway, but anyone familiar with the process is invited to email us and lend a hand. I’m not sure of a time frame other than we’d like to have those available by the end of the year. But we won’t print any until after the sustaining conference.
For those who honestly can’t afford around $40 to purchase a set of these scriptures and can’t use electronic copies for now, if you have a local fellowship you meet with, ask them if they can provide you with a set. If they can’t meet your need, please use the email address given to request a set. We have several free sets available for the truly needy that are here at the conference. If there are those in need who could not attend, but would like a copy, please place a request at that same email address and a copy can be sent to you or your local fellowship.

THE NEXT CONFERENCE, which has been mentioned during this announcement, will be held in Boise, ID, Labor Day weekend, September 2-3, with the intent of approving the final content for the Restoration Edition of the scriptures and sustaining that edition as canon for this assembly. Today is the “open to public view” step of the process. Our team simply got the ball rolling. You will now have approximately 6 months to digest, critique and react to what the Lord has offered.

Please carefully consider what is being offered to us. Zion is the Lord’s work. So getting it will not depend on the goodness or desires of men and women, but on their submission to the Lord, who intends to accomplish it. WE can’t force it, cause it, bring it, or hope it into existence. What we can do is submit to the Lord in a way that encourages Him to continue to use us for His purposes. There is no need for an immediate, knee-jerk reaction to this announcement. You will have time to consider all of it before making a decision.

No sustaining or debate of the scriptures will take place during this conference. But your input is necessary and required. An email address has been provided specifically for that purpose. Please use RESTORATIONSCRIPTURES2017@GMAIL.COM to send in questions you have about what has been announced and provided. There likely won’t be enough time tomorrow to answer all the questions that get sent in, but any that aren’t addressed during tomorrow’s Q&A session will be replied to. But there’s no rush. If you have an immediate, burning question, please send it in quickly so that we have time this evening to prepare responses for tomorrow. Also, this same email address will be used over the next 6 months for additional questions and ongoing feedback in preparation for a sustaining conference. So if you don’t have a question or suggestion until June, you can still submit it and it will be addressed. But please refrain from pointing out formatting issues unless it is alarming. We will be combing through the books again to find them all.

If there’s a particular issue in these scriptures that is critical, in your opinion, email your concern and your reasoning to support your argument. It will be posted for others to view and consider. If you think that there is something else that belongs in this edition, feel free to email that suggestion as well. For example you might feel inspired about a principle that needs to be added to the Governing Principles statement. However, realize that what this edition now contains has been under the Lord’s direction for the past year and a half and He has provided, at times, direct input. And there is a rigorous set of questions to assist you in determining whether you should submit new material.

The PRELIMINARY SUBMISSION & CRITIQUE PROCESS works like this:
Questions, suggestions, criticism and requests get submitted to restorationscriptures2017@gmail.com.
From the end of the St. George conference until the 4th of July, a SUBMISSIONS list will be maintained on www.scriptures.info.
The items on the list will come from emails submitted.
That document will list the specific items that have been pointed out as concerns to be removed, modified or added to the Restoration Edition. The points made by the submitter will also be given. Please be aware that your reasoning will be significantly refined if you submit a long explanation, so keep things brief. And make sure that what you submit is scriptural, not simply personal opinion.
If you have very strong feelings about any of the items on the list, email us and let us know. If you’re fine with what has been proposed today or if you don’t care one way or the other about the items on the list, don’t email us. Only those who are strongly opposed to an existing item or strongly in favor of adding or amending an item should email us during those first few months.
The SUBMISSIONS document will be updated as needed.
As of the 4th of July, a final SUBMISSIONS list will be posted which also includes the total number of emails for/against an item. We will then wipe the slate clean.
From then on, no new items will be added to the list.
People who are strongly advocating or opposing can again email their vote about the item(s).
That new voting period runs from the 4th of July to the end of August.
A final tally will then be taken.
If there is no significant number of emails in opposition of an existing item or advocating a missing item or amendment, that item will be dropped.
And if you email us 6 times, it still only counts as one vote for any item.

Benefits of this process are:
We are using simple, easy to reach technology. Anyone can go online to do this – even if they have to go to a library or a friend to do so. And this can be done from anywhere in the world.
By providing the reason why an item is listed, opposing voices get the chance to be heard and perhaps to persuade.
Doing 2 rounds of voting gives everyone the chance to be persuaded over time and therefore find confidence of their final decision.
Everyone gets an opportunity to be involved if they feel so inclined.

2 CRITICAL POINTS:
Remember that what is important is the message, not the messenger, so focus on the content of this gift, not how it’s delivered.
The most important lesson for our group was expressed in the course of our emailing back and forth. Someone said this: I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my view be followed. For me harmony between brethren is more important than getting what I think best to be followed. I believe harmony can lead to much greater things than can merely enforcement of even a correct view. I know how difficult it is to have a correct view, because of how often I have been corrected by the Lord. Sometimes I am humiliated by my foolishness when the Lord reproves me. Humiliation can lead to humility, but my experience is that the humiliation is accompanied by shame, whereas humility can proceed with a clear conscience. My experience with others leads me to conclude that if we can have one heart first, eventually we can likewise come to have one mind. But if we insist on having one mind at the outset, we may never obtain one heart together.

So I make a request to all of you – from all of us: Kaai sent the team an email 3 weeks ago, just after we had submitted the final volume to our formatter. We had begun to consider this next step. So he wrote: One of the ways to hopefully mitigate the sheer volume of emails will be to encourage fellowships to meet together and come up with a consolidated list of questions/suggestions/ concerns/etc… If there are individuals not associated with a fellowship, then they’ll follow the standard process [on their own]. If they make it a matter of prayer and forethought, first as individuals, then families, then fellowships, and submit in that manner, we may be able to keep the volume manageable. It will allow fellowships to meet together for a directed purpose and importune the Lord for revelation. It will draw them closer together in the bonds of love as indicated in the General Principles preamble and make them accountable to each other for the questions raised. I think it also reinforces the manner in which the Lord would want us to approach any challenge or issue presented.

Please consider these points as you consider what you choose to advocate in the scriptures.

Given the experiences many have had with organized religion, it’s only natural for some people to have an aversion to “official” scriptures. But these volumes are not set in stone; rather, they are presented to you in the appropriate manner, and with sufficient time for the group’s collective review, critique, support, and, possible sustaining. The Lord deals with His people by covenant; accepting these scriptures as comprising the history, teachings, doctrine, and covenants of our faith represents another step in our collective journey towards having our hearts bound together. And this should remain a labor of love and devotion to God. Those involved in this work do not present these volumes with any other expectation than that we are to be called to answer to every principle advanced, and we hope and pray that this continued effort to preserve and honor the word of the Lord will be accepted by Him, and by you.

In closing, I’d like to read a journal entry from one of our team members from Feb 18th:

I checked the scripture email and saw that volume 2 had been formatted and is now ready to print. Upon opening the file and viewing the document I was filled with joy and with the Spirit and was given a prophecy by the spirit saying,

“These scriptures will go to all the world and teach every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, to bring in the children of Israel from the four corners of the earth.”

Announcement

A small group of individuals have spent most of the year going through the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, reaching back to the original manuscripts to get as true a version of what Joseph offered us as possible and showing what changes have happened since his death. We are getting bids to have a triple combination volume printed in the coming months. For the moment we want to make people aware of this effort. Electronic versions of the scriptures are free for download at www.anoffenderforaword.blogspot.com in Word, PDF and some ebook formats. There are also instructions for using a Kindle reader or app with the PDFs as an ebook. The PDFs give a clear representation of how the volume will look.

We will notify everyone when orders can be placed for your own copies. We are trying to keep the cost to around $20 per copy. These will be printed on biblestock paper and will have large margins for easy note taking. An effort to produce a complete JST bible is also underway. A complete Kindle JST KJV is available by Ken Lutes on Amazon. He is the one working on a complete print version. When that work is ready to order we will let you know. He is not a part of this movement.

This volume of scripture is not “official” to the Remnant Movement in any sense, and we hope they may be of interest to Mormons of all types. While many of us felt inspired during the process, we offer this volume as a gift to our Lord and to our friends and families. Feel free to take this work and improve on it.

Keith Henderson 

An Altar Experience

In an old dusty attic, searching through effects, which had been kept in a box for years, I came across a, still like new journal, containing the following: Penned in the neat hand of what I am assuming is my long dead ancestor, great great grandfather, Henry James Talbot:

“Building an altar after the order of the ancients.”

I found this experience to be a very personalized process, because the altar’s great lesson is in the doing of it.  Anyone coming onto, and contemplating doing this should see in this process the making of ourselves, and then the remaking of ourselves, and then again, the remolding of the lump as the Lord demonstrates His graciousness through His long suffering, patience, and the fact that long ago we were not cast off.  This effort and this process is the story of God’s own labors, our need to be gathered, and the recognition of those who are to be included, framing together the disparate and individual lives to build a single, unified sacred place or people.

After having done this work, one should know there is, through me, and perhaps you, again on the earth a return of an ancient and hallowed practice of altar building which began at the first, and now appears again at the last.

I began the effort with mighty prayer unto God. This dedicating of the whole process was like coming into an awareness that something different needed to be done in one’s life, and dedicating, and consecrating one’s time, talents, and every available moment and resource to the accomplishment of this new found life one is entering into. In a very real way it was leaving old thoughts and traditions behind, and seeing for the first time a path centered on God; desiring Him to be at the center of everything that followed. No longer were the old ways enough. The teaching elements of preparing for the journey and then making it; fraught with danger, and being subject to every adverse wind that might blow one off course, even kill him spiritually or physically on the journey; Choosing a site of land that would become a holy place unto the Lord, almost as though it were a promised land; Choosing a raised site on that land that would cause a ritual ascent as I approached my intended place of worship; These all have been the driving thoughts of my mind for many months.

BUILDING THE ALTAR:
First, you build an altar again and again in your mind. The days preceding the beginning of the actual construction were days of “acting as if;” days of anticipation; days of internal measurement, “can I really do this?” “Can I receive revelation that will enable a successful conclusion?” “What do I really expect to happen?” “What are its measurements to be?” What should be its orientation?” “How big should the rocks be?”

The gathering begins with prayer; then searching for and discovering the pre-determined number of stones; then prayer to know if the one you think is right, is. Over and over again. Sometimes with great clarity. Sometimes not being completely sure. Sometimes with a darkness or even foreboding. Slowly, ever so painstaking slow, and one by one the rocks are gathered in. Each is individually picked. It is turned over and examined for its peculiar properties, brushed clean of the dirt and grime that may obscure some particularly beautiful facet or in the brushing may reveal a hidden flaw. Sometimes in the gathering process ideas form that indicate what will work with what. Perhaps the most exciting is realizing that you have selected that one precious stone that will be Christ, the Chief Corner Stone of the whole, upon which the whole will be anchored. In the process of this gathering you come to realize that you are like many of these rocks. You are flawed, dirty, or sometimes even with a particularly becoming trait that should be demonstrated prominently and make the whole more beautiful or functional.

Construction actually begins with the laying out of the rocks. You see to some extent what will work with what; to which tier this or that rock belongs; and like I said, that all important Southeast Corner Stone that represents Jesus Christ. Amazingly, this all important stone will be buried the deepest within the whole when it is completed. It will be mostly out of sight and one coming upon your altar without knowledge of what it is would not recognize the importance of the prime anchoring characteristics of this all important rock. Construction, like gathering, takes place at an agonizingly slow pace. A particular stone just does not seem to work anyplace. You can often see that the altar is leaning precariously because of the placement of some of the rocks. You realize a teardown is in order and refashioning needs to take place. I saw myself in this process really quite close to the first. Initially it surprised me and even frightened me a little as I saw that the building of me was a lot like my altar. I also saw that, at the point I recognized myself in the construction, I still had a lot of rocks to lay and if it continued like it started, “would I ever be a finished product?” In fact would the Lord cast me off as I might cast off this altar, because it just seems impossible to make it work? It also provided a driving thought, that even as the Lord had not cast me off, but through His mercy and grace and diligence in working with me, had saved me; so I could salvage this altar I was attempting to construct, and even though it might be hard, it was do-able. You see miracles happen that cause it to be possible. Sometimes whole sections slide out that indicate a hidden flaw in construction. Sometimes a rock is rejected and replaced by another which at first glance seems impossible to obtain. Sometimes you see in amazing clarity that if the location of this rock is changed with that one, everything will lock together. Sometimes you just keep going with faith that somehow it will work. This is all symbolic, but it is also real in the project in which you are engaged.

Actually the symbolism in the building of this altar doesn’t seem to end. Even as I write this I see many other things that the actual doing of building the altar could represent, or did represent. Some of it is symbolism of me. Some of it of the Church. Some of it of the Gospel. Particularly that defining central theme of the Gospel; the Atonement of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The altar and His atonement have become one in my mind. And because of that, the symbolism based in the realism of this will continue to show itself for the rest of my life!

THE DEDICATION AND THE OFFERING:
When the table of the altar was placed upon the top as the final stone, I walked around the altar at a distance and looked at it from every angle. I could see that it even looked like an altar, and that barring a physical act of man or beast would likely stand looking that same way until the earth at some time in the future convulses and scatters the carefully laid stones. But I know that even if that should happen, the ground upon which it is built will remain hallowed. I declared that it was the best I could do, and further declared to myself it was completed. It was now recognizable as an altar to me rather than just a pile of rocks and I declared it “an altar.” It felt to me to be a “whole.”

The next step in the process was to consecrate the Pure olive oil which I brought and then pour it in its consecrated state upon the top of the altar, with the pouring of it on a part being the pouring of it upon the whole, because of what it had now become. Opening the bottle, I held it up to God and said that by the power of the holy word which had been given me wherein I was declared a son of the Almighty God, I now dedicate and consecrate this oil to represent the blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ, which He has shed for all mankind and that upon its pouring, it will represent the blood offering required to dedicate and sanctify this completed altar. I then poured its contents upon the top of my altar. Using a particular sign, I then offered up prayers to my Father, petitioning Him to accept of my meager offering, and of myself. I covenanted that my life, and my will, and all that I have or ever will have is His. The altar had now served its purpose. It was complete. I was complete. And both are acceptable to the Lord. It was palpable and clear.

Grandma and I will probably visit it only one more time, that we may pray together, and covenant together and with our God. I will then sell the boat which will represent a moving on in our trek through this wilderness. I don’t know but that I may or may not do this again. I feel that one could become really proficient at this, but I don’t know if one really has to. I feel this was really important for me to do, and I feel that having done it there are future ramifications that will happen to my family because of it. For all I know right now, maybe you who might be reading this are a product in a small way of me having done this. This has not been made clear to me at this point.

I know I have not answered all questions. I’m not sure it’s my place here to just give my answers. If at a future time you decide upon this, I think you will receive your own answers to any questions you will ask. I feel like to the best of my limited ability I have laid out what this experience meant to me.

One more parting shot. I do know that what was at the first must return and be part of the last. In this, I have participated.

As copied by
Keith Henderson

A Dream

In a dream I had in the early morning I was a worker of some kind in the Temple. I don’t know which Temple, but in some respects it was very old and in others, or at least in some sections of the Temple it was brand new.

I received a requirement from the President of the Temple, or Prophet, or President of the Church, I’m not exactly sure which, but it seemed to be President Hinckley, or some kind of facsimile of him; anyway, I received a requirement from him to increase the luminosity of the lighting in the Temple and its surrounding outdoor and parking areas at least double, and in some areas, which, I can’t remember, by five times.

The purpose of this lighting was to make it appear that the Lord was in the Temple.

I consulted with a man in some department of the Temple who showed me a little canister light with some kind of screwy light bulb who said he thought this would do the job. I began to think it was going to take much more than this and began to think that I needed to involve the Temple lighting designer, and then further thought I would probably need the electrician because wire sizes, control boxes, service outlets, and much more would need re-working.

I then began to think about cost and reported to someone below the one who originally gave me the assignment, that I thought it would cost millions and millions of dollars to do what was requested. He said he would deliver my message. The word came back that money didn’t matter, but the people need to think the Lord is in the Temple.

This went on for some time, with me wandering in and out of the Temple thinking about how to accomplish all this, when suddenly a stroke of genius occurred;

Why don’t we just ask the Lord to come and be with us? Isn’t that what all this is about anyway? Whereupon I awoke.

____________________________________________

Now we don’t need a lot of continuing revelation. We have a great, basic reservoir of revelation. But if a problem arises, as it does occasionally, a vexatious thing with which we have to deal, we go to the Lord in prayer. We discuss it as a First Presidency, and as a Council of the Twelve Apostles. We pray about it and then comes the whisperings of a still small voice. And we know the direction we should take and we proceed accordingly. (San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday interview of President Gordon B. Hinckley, April 3, 1997 by Don Lattin.)

Journal Entry For October 16, 2022

“The gathering to the New Jerusalem develops in time to the status of being “Zion” where God will visit. The growth is through refinement of the residents of the New Jerusalem.” (Was There An Original?: Paper by, Denver C. Snuffer Jr. P. 35.)

This statement poses to my mind the following:

. There is to be a future gathering.
. This gathering to a place where Christ is not immediately present means that it is primarily a self- selecting process. People will come of their own volition because they desire Zion, and have become sure this is it, or need a place of refuge.
. There will be such a place, determined by the Savior, and designated by Him as the New Jerusalem. When or where is yet to be announced by Him.
. “It will be a physical and spiritual enterprise to be accomplished by the hard effort of those interested in welcoming the Lord’s return.” (Same paper as quoted above. P. 36)
. The effort to transform the initial New Jerusalem into Zion develops in time and not immediately to the status of being Zion, where God will visit. From Enoch’s city to the status of “Zion” took approximately 365 years. ( Moses 7: 19-21 & 68.) How long for us?
. If the New Jerusalem is designated and begins accepting residents, it will become Zion if the criteria of desire, and hard effort are met.
. If it arrives at the point where it can be called “Zion,” God will visit it.

A possible senario

As we packed the truck, preparing to leave our beloved home for perhaps the last time, I spread the map again on the kitchen table so Carma could finish her note taking. It would be these notes which we would use to navigate what we anticipated would be the ten hour drive to our destination.

Yesterday at our Sabbath fellowship meeting we had a special visitor who confirmed many of the rumors, which had been floating out there for over a month about a new temple which had recently been completed. We had followed the news closely to see if the LDS church had built a new temple and heard nothing about it there. The odd thing was that the rumors said this temple had been built on a knoll jutting out from an almost sheer unscalable mountain wall behind it. The pine forested slopes leading to the base of the knoll were said to be interspersed with broad meadows each having a spring or stream which watered its lush vegetation. Emil, the one in our fellowship who many looked to as being most in the know about things happening outside our fellowship, said he had heard all this was situated on a fifteen thousand acre parcel which butted against National Forest land all around it. We realized this couldn’t be an LDS temple. It had to be the one we had all been talking about and waiting for these past four years, since that series of talks had been given.

The most surprising rumor, which as of last night became fact, was that a call had been sent out on the Denver Snuffer web site, for all who could or would to come as you can, and take up residence on a property to be divulged in our next fellowship meetings. Then, last night to an overflow crowd, specific directions were given to the site, and instructions about which logging roads to take after turning off the main road were written down furiously by Carma, as Joanna talked. Joanna, our special guest at the fellowship meeting, explained that at several points before arriving at the destination we would be required to go through gates where we would then follow a guide vehicle to the next gate, and so on through several, until we finally arrived. She explained that it was such a maze of twists and turns and gates and criss-crossing side roads that without the guide we would never find the location.

Other instructions were to arrive at the first gate after dark. Otherwise we would have to wait until dark for an escort. I think this was a security precaution so we couldn’t see where we would be going. And we could only bring one truck or car with an open trailer behind it, if we had one. We were to pack warm clothes and a tent and food.

We found later that a request to turn in all cell phones and other electronics at the first gate before continuing on caused many to turn around and not proceed because the idea of cutting themselves off from the outside world seemed just too much to bear.

The long drive was uneventful for the caravan we joined, which consisted of two other fellowship families, and our son who followed us with the part of his family, that would come, in his truck, towing his boat which met the requirement as an open trailer. The trip itself was uneventful as I say, but the length of it gave plenty of time to think and worry and cry at who and what we were leaving behind.

Joanna had called our destination the New Jerusalem. By that, she said, she wanted to indicate that this was an interim step. This would not, at least for now, be the “Zion” most of us had a mental picture of. This would be a refuge from the escalating destructions taking place in the world and would be a place of intense preparation if we desired. It would also be a place which we could leave if we found it not compatible to our needs and desires without any recriminations from heaven or man. It was also a place we could be expelled from if that became necessary and voted on by common consent. She also said the population would grow over time as many outside found it not in their character to fight against their neighbors, as local law broke down, but would rather flee.

This is my recollection of many things at the very beginning when we became aware of and decided to move to the New Jerusalem.. We have been here now for just a little over two years so I will complete this journal from the perspective of what I have seen during that time, and what at this point I can anticipate now that I have this background.

I haven’t kept count but would suppose that many less than half of all those who came here have remained. The reasons are varied but would include:

. Society has not broken down or become chaotic as fast as many supposed it would. This has broken the faith of many that it actually will.
. The poignancy and melancholy of being without family who refuse to come.
. The deprivation many felt existed here over the comforts they had experienced at home.
. Refusal and or lack of ability to get along with others.
. The relative lack of meat and especially refined foods in the diet that is available here. Many just could not seem to adapt.
. A need for more control over others. I have found the people who come here to be very independent, and when that is coupled with a desire to do all they can for themselves, and then help others who are weaker or slower or less adept, without reward or even recognition from the others they serve, things run very smoothly, and all people become better and more capable, and happy. But there have been some who simply feel they have to direct others, and have to be noticed for their efforts by those others. At this point most of those have left and things for the past year or so have really run quite smoothly, because those who require this power, as they suppose, are gone.
. And perhaps the final reason I will list here as to why many have left is that what goes on here, and what it looked like when they came just couldn’t be reconciled with the mental image most people have of what Zion should be when they come to it.

Otherwise,

There have been many exciting things happen since our arrival. Six months ago a large group of about a thousand showed up at the first gate. This more than doubled the number in the village, and was quite a scramble providing them shelter and food. They were led by a man whom they called their prophet, and all I have learned about them so far is that they came from a long way off. Their “prophet,” I have to say, doesn’t look much like the prophet of most people’s mental image. For sure, there is no suit coat pocket hanky. This one is usually dressed in course work clothes and looks a little worse for wear than those who continually surround him, and he’s very thin, and actually looks quite young. I have found out it’s because he is continually giving away his own clothing, and many times his own food to those he thinks are worse off than himself. It is also said, he fasts a lot. I have been amazed at the love and respect his people seem to have for him. Actually I think he is much older than he looks, because of what I have heard him say the few times I have been privy to his conversations. I don’t know that I would be so inclined to refer to him as a prophet as I would that he seems to be more a teacher, and perhaps even a protector. There are rumors of what he has done by power to save his people in many circumstances. Their great desire of us was that we pronounce great blessings on them through ordinances in the temple. That has now been accomplished and the group left about as they came; after dark, and with very little fanfare. I just thought of something that will seem odd. I have just realized I have no idea how they came or by what conveyance they left.

Another thing which caused quite a buzz just a little while before that group came was during an evening after the sun had gone down, but it didn’t seem to get any darker. I had been reading and didn’t pay any attention to the time or the light. Carma came in from the outside and said something was going on outside and I needed to come and see. The object of everyone’s attention was the temple. It appeared to be glowing or on fire, and also seemed to be the source of light that kept the evening from darkening. At first I was quite alarmed because I thought “fire,” and seemed to see people in the windows and on the roof who I first thought were trying to put out the blaze. But then, somehow I just knew by a process I can’t adequately describe, that it was our Lord and angels in the temple, and that He was the source of the light. This has remained the condition of the temple ever since. It shines during the night. Now, not so bright as that first night, but to look upon the glow is to fill my soul with peace and joy and contentment. It’s physical effect has been to make the harsh darkness of the nights in this very remote place much less frightening, as it now seems there is a very soft glow emanating from the trees, plants and even the earth itself, clear to the borders of the property. The stars and planets are as bright overhead as ever, but the earth seems to be basking in a glow of her own.

The day after that first night of the temple being ablaze, classes were announced and established throughout the community, which are taught by holy men that are now among us. it is primarily a preparation for those who would like to enter into that holy place which has always been on the knoll and receive what now has become available there. But I have now been made aware that there are also advanced classes for those who have been in the temple. The most common piece of equipment in those classes seems to be a rather large telescope. Somehow I always knew this would happen, and hoped to live long enough to see it, and now it’s here. Carma and I a few days ago received our invitation to go inside. I am left without words, and also under covenant not to describe what took place there, as all are to receive it for themselves from the Source, which is not me.

Carma and I, shortly thereafter, received an invitation from one of the gates keeper’s to be the guides in their place to the new comers. So now at the announcement of new arrivals, she and I put on our back packs and climb onto our 4 wheeler and head off with snacks and information and directions for our weary arrivals.

I have left out much about the infrastructure of the New Jerusalem and what takes place on a daily basis here, but let it be known that we are busier and happier than we have ever been in our lives, and when you arrive here, and make the decision in yourself to stay, you also will come to know.

Love to all our family and friends. Mama and Papa hope you all join us soon, and especially before situations in the world, and here make it impossible for you to come.

____________________________________________

Now, in the person of my own self I must declare that I am not invested in any detail of the above scenario, only as it proves to be true.

Keith Henderson

Not a leader therefore not entitled to say this

MILK OR MEAT

On December 29, 2013, I attended my last 5th Sunday combined Priesthood/Relief Society class as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also terminated my attendance at any further Gospel Doctrine classes at the same time. I think you will understand why as you read what follows.

On December 29, 2013 the combined 5th Sunday lesson was presented in our Ward by our High Council representative. His topic was on the problems most frequently encountered by bishops in the course of their tenure as such.

Immediately after the lesson our bishop stood up to address the class. He told us that we could see that there would be no purpose in teaching any “meat” in this ward, because of the sinful nature of the majority of the ward members. “Milk” would be the only thing taught in “his” ward from here on.

Immediately after the class I went home and penned the following thoughts, which had pretty much formulated themselves in my mind as the High Councilman spoke, and sent them to the bishopric, and Elder’s Quorum President. All, except one, including the bishop responded by commanding that I remove their names from my email directory immediately. The Elder’s President who is also a practicing attorney went so far as to threaten legal action if I persisted in communicating with him in any fashion.

To get the most out of what follows please consider yourself as one of my ward leaders.
_______________________________________________________________

PART 1

Dear Brethren

Since it was unanimous in our combined 5th Sunday class, last Sunday, that the most pressing problems bishops deal with, and have been dealing with over the past 25 – 30 years in their callings are, pornography, parallel marriages, (married couples living their own separate lives within a marriage with little or no communication) and illicit sexual relations, it seemed really quite logical that the consensus in the class be that our ward members, in such a state of sinfulness, should only be fed the milk and not the meat of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The meat, it would seem, should be reserved for that time when bishops and stake presidents rein in this epidemic of sin, which seems to be so prevalent throughout our ward and church. 

But, in just our combined class alone, we identified four bishops spanning at least 30 years in their service; and, for each, the consensus was, in his own time frame, each bishop had the same list of sins with which he dealt; and yet today we seem to be no closer to the solution with which to rein in this plague of evil.

I wonder, with such a seemingly logical and widespread solution, why it is there has been no progress made over at least this span of 30 years?  Did each bishop arrive at the same conclusion that milk and not meat must be taught?  If so, and if that was the correct solution to the problem, shouldn’t there have been at least some headway toward solving the problems that consistently comprised each bishop’s “list of the top three?”

One thing we can be sure of, if each bishop did reach that same conclusion, there has been no meat taught in the Church of Jesus Christ for the past 30 years.

And bishop, you wonder why I study the gospel outside the correlated curriculum of the Church manuals?

Well, as our instructor so aptly directed us, perhaps we can turn to the Book of Mormon to see if it might contain a solution for these persistent plagues of our day.  As the topic progressed Sunday, my mind was repeatedly drawn to Alma chapters 10 – 13.  Here we have some of the deepest doctrine which can be taught in our church.  And who is the audience Alma chooses to teach it to? 

It is to a group of apostates in the city of Ammonihah.  The chief “accuser of the brethren” is a lawyer named Zeezrom.  The doctrines which Alma and Amulek teach this wicked man are:

1.  The nature of God.  Zeezrom asks:  Is there more than one God?  Amulek answers: “No.”

2.  Amulek continues to teach, however, that the Son of God (Hummm?) will come to redeem His people.  Actually this doctrine sounds a lot like the doctrine taught to King Noah and his wicked priests, by Abinadi.

3.  The remainder of Alma 11 & 12 is devoted to teaching the people the true nature of the resurrection and redemption, way beyond that which most of us can articulate today.  Also taught are the intricacies of temporal and spiritual death which lay the foundation for a powerful call to repentance by Alma. 

4.  Chapter 13 teaches doctrines of a priesthood which is given in another state; people coming to earth with privileges granted because of faith developed previously, before the foundation of the earth.  It teaches doctrines of a preparatory redemption, and then the entering into the rest of the Lord.  It teaches sanctification, and having your garments washed white through the blood of the Lamb.  And many other doctrines does it teach, the nature of which, are hardly comprehended by the average Latter-day Saint. 

The amazing thing is that these doctrines were coupled with a cry by Alma and Amulek for these wicked people to repent which many did; particularly Zeezrom, but also many others who because of their increased faith, and subsequent repentance consequently lost their lives by being cast into a fire made by their leaders.

Previously a mention was made of the teachings of Abinadi to the wicked king Noah.  This preaching was of the same order as this in Alma.  It was the meat of the gospel coupled with a call to repentance.  In this case only one man was initially converted, or should we say re-converted.  This was Alma the father of this Alma using the same teachings as did Abinadi, which laid the foundation for faith and then repentance of the people.

The problem with teaching only Home Teaching, and showing up for our assignments, as the only “milk” you understand the term to mean, is that it doesn’t lay a sufficient groundwork of faith in Jesus Christ upon which to provide a bulwark for repentance.  Sometimes we get the order confused.  We think that repentance comes first, then we can proceed to teach the doctrines of Christ, when all the scriptures as well as Article of Faith #4 by Joseph Smith have it the other way.

Well, don’t you think this has gone on long enough?  It would seem to me that if the same plan has been tried over and over and over for at least the past thirty years without much success, it is time to look to an example where we can see success, and what caused it.  The Book of Mormon is that place.  Perhaps only one at a time, as with Alma the elder, will be saved, but that has been the way since the beginning.  One saved in the Kingdom of God will add glory upon glory to our Heavenly Father forever and forever through all eternity to come.

Just saying…….

PART 2

Dear Brethren

Alma concludes one of the most powerful discourses ever given to man with a formula used by almost all prophets, designed to bring the recalcitrant sinner back to his senses, and thereby back to God.  He and Amulek have laid the groundwork for the development of faith, which leads to mighty repentance through the teaching of strong doctrine.  Now this kind of faith and repentance if developed in the manner we have seen in the preceding verses of Alma chapters 10 – 13 always leads to what Alma now says is its result:

     “Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.” (Alma 13: 29.) 

I’m sure you see in this statement, “faith, hope, and charity (or love).”  But do you have even an iota of understanding of these words as Alma meant them?  Not unless you have done what Alma has explained throughout this discourse, and experienced it for yourself.

Faith – true faith – is a principle of power.  It always brings the person to do something.  In its most complete form it will bring a person to stand in the presence of God.  True prophets always strive to develop this kind of faith in those they are teaching.  Faith was the first principle Joseph Smith restored as part of the beginning of the Restoration of all Things.  He explained the true nature of God and Christ as it was shown to him, and his explanation, which was his testimony, gives all men and women a true basis for the development of faith in these characters.  With such a faith, based on these correct principles, man could then develop this same power Joseph had, for himself.  Where do you see faith taught like this or exercised in this manner today?  Is this what you see as the epitome of faith?  Or is this too sacred to speak about?  Evidently not to Alma.

Hope – particularly the hope that you shall receive eternal life.  Please understand here that this is not some insipid, vague, optimism that this might happen.  This is certitude!  It is knowledge, because you have a promise.  The hope spoken of by Alma can only be gained and exercised because of a promise from God directly to yourself that Eternal Life will be yours.  This is exactly the meaning of hope that enabled the Brother of Jared to see God and view all his mysteries while yet in the flesh.  It says:  “…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.  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…”(Ether 12: 20-21.)  Is this the strength of your hope? 

This is the kind of hope the brother of Jared had, and of which Alma is speaking.  It flows out of the kind of faith Alma has been developing in the wicked people of Ammonihah since chapter 10.  It is this More Sure Word of Prophecy Joseph Smith speaks of when he teaches the doctrine of having one’s Calling and Election made sure (and which we have accepted by common consent.) “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.  It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” (D&C 131: 5-6.)

This is to have been called, chosen, and elected by God for Eternal Life.  This promise always precedes the actual obtaining of Eternal Life.  Without this promise there is no hope for Eternal Life.  But with the promise, although you are still mortal and have not yet entered in, you have hope.  Is this the type and the strength of your hope?  Does this speaking of having your Calling and Election made sure, make you uncomfortable?  Why?  Do you still think this is to sacred to speak about?  Evidently Alma doesn’t.

Charity – having the love of God.  This is a pure love; “The pure love of God” for you; because when God has promised you eternal life then you have “the love of God always in your heart.”  It is there through the indelible promise He has made.  He has changed your status.  He has declared through His own voice what great thing you have and will become.  Therefore it is by knowledge alone that such love resides in the heart of man.

Faith, hope, and charity.  Not exactly what we’ve been taught, is it?  In fact these concepts have been completely eliminated from the 52 correlated topics which we discuss over and over ad nauseum.  And yet, Alma and Amulek teach these advanced concepts to apostates.  And it works!  This is what gets people of all kinds excited.  This is what drives sinners to righteousness.  This is what changes peoples lives.  I think Boyd K. Packer was right when he said that doctrine will change behavior faster and more completely that the study of behavior will change behavior. A few chapters later and we see Zeezrom joining this elite cadre of brethren as a notable missionary, and we see many others leaving the company of those who will not believe, and rejoining with the Nephites.  We see salvation in action.

Lifted up at the last day and enter into His rest.  

For the rest of this I will just quote a good friend.  Realizing that truth can be anywhere and we can all know it by the Power of the Holy Ghost, which is in you.

“This life will end.  But you will be raised up.  You know when you are lifted up in the last day it will be this power of God that raises you.  Such power as God employs to lift a man up confers upon such a person eternal life.  The promise alone is a power, conferring the right to lay hold on eternal life when the moment comes.  No power in earth or hell can rescind God’s word. (D&C 1: 38.)  It cannot be done.  Therefore, you have knowledge that you will not only be raised from the dead, but “lifted up” as well.  Powers, principalities, dominions, exaltations are all promised as yours.

This is how you attain to “rest.”  It is the “rest of the Lord” as soon as the promise is made by Him.  It is His rest when you inherit it in the last day.  The words of the promise are enough to guarantee the inheritance.  Therefore once the promise is made it is true enough that you have entered into the rest of the Lord.  However, until you depart this life, you remain subject to the difficulties of mortality.  Graduation is assured, but you must tarry for a little while here.” (Denver C. Snuffer.)  We have no better illustration of this than from Nephi saying:  “O wretched man that I am!  Yea my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.  I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.  And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. (2Nephi 4: 17-19.)

Now a word as to why I have sent this to those who received it.  You are all the leaders of this people.  You have been or are the bishops and shepherds of your flocks.  You all have those who look to you. You are charged to teach, not to close your mouths and say “I have received a great truth.  I will hold it to myself and not share it.”  As one hopefully trying to, or possessing this kind of hope, and thus being filled with faith, hope and charity, it becomes your responsibility to raise up others.  Hence the ministry of Alma, and Alma’s exposition on the ministry of Melchizedek.  God does send true messengers.  They can lead you in the way of life and salvation.

Keith

Chronicles of a changed person

ON CONSUMPTION OF WINE
Many of us grew up as members of the LDS church or otherwise were raised with the teaching that the consumption of drinks containing alcohol was forbidden.  After I had settled down from a protracted phase of rebellion, I declared in my new-found conversion, with my face to the heavens, that I would never take another drink of an alcoholic beverage again.  I looked with envy upon those few stalwart individuals I knew, who I felt honestly could approach their God at death, and declare “alcohol has never passed these lips.”  In my minds eye I could envision Heavenly Father wrapping them in His arms, pressing them close to His bosom, and for that one act of heroic abstinence declaring to them, “Well done, my faithful son, enter into My kingdom.”  Actually I could imagine this about many more women than men that I knew, but that’s an aside that takes this in the wrong direction.

Early on, in my [as of late] re-new-found conversion to true principles which include remembering the restoration begun by Joseph Smith, I was invited to a Sacrament Service where wine would be used as the emblem to represent the sacrifice of the Lord’s blood.  I was asked to make the wine because of an off the cuff remark I made about wanting to try my hand at wine making sometime, because that would now be “legal” under the idea of remembering the restoration.  With trepidation I agreed, and proceeded in my idiocy of the topic to dump twelve bottles of grape juice with the whole grapes still in the bottles, which looked like they were getting old in our fruit room, into a five gallon bucket.  I mashed the grapes in the juice with an old plaster stirrer (looks like a big potato masher), covered the bucket with cheese cloth, because it was fruit fly season, and set the bucket in a dark place to turn itself into wine.  Within three days, I knew it was on its way, because you could smell it all over the house.  Oh! Those were days never to be forgotten.

The Sacrament emblems were to be partaken of two weeks from the day I began this new wine.  No problem, I thought, the way this stuff has taken off we’ll have plenty of time.  The day before the big day, my wife and I poured the stuff in the bucket through the cheese cloth, and tasted it.  YUK!  We both looked at each other with that look which says, “I’m sure we just poisoned ourselves.”  I thought we’d be dead within fifteen minutes, for sure.  Well, that didn’t happen, and when we finally realized it was probably harmless and just tasted bad, we knew we could fix that.  Four or five cups of sugar should just about do it, and five did it.  Kind of on the order of, “just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down…” (you supply the melody.)  Well, to make this story shorter and to get on with what I really want to say;  everyone at the Sacrament Meeting lied and said the “wine” really tasted good (how would they know? None there knew what wine should taste like), and a couple of individuals exhibited signs of it really “gladdening their hearts.”  Prohibition had finally ended for this small group with a one-half-full plastic cup each.

Preserving the Restoration is now in full swing.  D&C 89 is no longer a stunting hinderance to pure worship, but has resumed its rightful place as a “Word of Wisdom, not by way of commandment.”

We can now eat and drink our fill, not only because of an admonition “to be free,” (with which I heartedly concur), but the wine these days sometimes really tastes good, and goes down real smooth.  “You’ve gotta love it, baby!” (Hotrod Huntley.)  In fact we’ve come so far that in the wilderness south of Moab a few weeks ago, a table was covered with dozens of bottles of wine of every label and ilk.  I personally contributed five bottles of a ruby red, clear, delicious wine of my own make.  The wine flowed freely; in some circles without inhibition.  Every last drop of the labeled, and the ilk, was drunk.  Some boasted with somewhat slurred speech they had gladdened their hearts with 5 or 6 cups full, as they fell into the long lines in front of the Porta-Johns.

Has the pendulum swung?  Do we now “drink?”  Or do we yet “Partake” of our Lord’s Sacrament?  Is the emphasis on the wine, or on “the blood of the Lamb?”  Well, I have come upon a barometer of wine consumption, with decorum being exhibited in the lower degrees of the scale, while the upper would tend to bawdiness.  Actually this scale was developed in 375 B.C.  It says:

Three bowls (archaic for glasses) only do I serve for the temperate:
one for health, which they empty first;
the second for love and pleasure;
and the third for sleep.
When this bowl is drunk up, wise guests go home.

The fourth bowl is ours no longer, but belongs to violence;
the fifth to uproar; 
the sixth to drunken revel;
the seventh to black eyes;
the eighth is the policeman’s;
the ninth belongs to biliousness; and
the tenth to madness and hurling the furniture.
—Eubulus (ca. 375 B.C.)

Recently I also stumbled on to something which I have read many times, but only just recently have I seen it.  “That inasmuch as any man [or woman] drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves to offer up your sacraments before Him.” (D&C 89: 5. Emphasis is mine and is what I saw.)

If we combine the wisdom of Eubulus with the wisdom of The Word of Wisdom, it would seem to me, to be logical that in partaking of wine in our sacraments, we should seldom, if ever, exceed one glass.  It would also seem illogical that our assembling together to offer up our “Sacraments” before Him should include a second glass whose stated effect is to induce a desire for love and pleasure, or for sure a third glass, whose purpose is to produce drowsiness in an assembly whose avowed purpose is alertness to promptings of the Spirit; And Eubulus points out everything after this just goes down hill.

Many of us, perhaps I would say most of us in this movement, are making a cultural switch from total abstinence, to the ingesting of wine two to three, and even more times per week.  In a culture where alcohol is completely forbidden there was no process to model and foster a constructive use of wine.  But research has shown that when communities come together, and the first instructions to their children include the teaching of appropriate benedictions for bread and wine, and wine is taught as something sacred, it is much less likely that members of that society will abuse alcohol.  Children learn to understand drinking as an act of communion, and drunkenness as a profanity; a perversion of the sacred use of wine.  The more the consumption of alcohol is tied to the socialization process within the family and the community, the more responsible all become.  In the family, children, and adults learn how to drink, and simultaneously how not to drink.  Hence the requirement in the above quoted verse:  “…Only in assembling yourselves…” [in every possible vein you can think of that in].

As every chronicle should have a summing up and a conclusion, here is all I can think of to propose based on the foregoing facts:  If you are going to drink at that upcoming sacramental wedding,  fill that glass to the 5-7 oz mark and revel in the gladdening of a more healthy heart, and how joyous the occasion has become.  Then as someone fills the wedding couples second glass, the attending company toasts with the remaining drops of their first glassful the departure of the happy couple, who, when they arrive at their nights lodging will just be coming into the glorious effects Eubulus proposes for that second glassful.  The residue can then drive home, neither too sleepy, nor over the legal limit.

And now if you will all excuse me, dinner is on the table, and I think I will break the seal on that Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve been saving, to pair with that enticingly aromatic ribeye steak sizzling on our plates; after which I fully intend to pour for ourselves that second glass. Mazel Tov!

Keith Henderson

Two Items

TIMES UP FOR 2015 BAPTISMS

It is time to see to it that all baptisms or re-baptisms first performed according to the Doctrine of Christ for the calendar year of 2015 are sent to us. As of July 1, 2016 the names we have received for 2015 will be hand-written in the archival temple book. The requirement upon us is that the names be entered into this book in alphabetical order, meaning that any names sent after this above date will not be entered into the main body of the alphabetically listed names, but will be put in an addendum established to record names which have been sent in late.

Please keep in mind this is a handwritten record done in non-erasable archival ink on archival paper. The ink and the paper bond. It is necessary for us to establish a deadline for inclusion in order for us to then collate according to the alphabet, and begin the handwriting process.

Please also remember we only record your name once. If you have sent us your name for a baptism done in a previous year do not re-send it to us. However, if you are not sure it has been sent, please, by all means, send it to us.

Keith Henderson
Central Recorder
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A QUESTION ABOUT BAPTISM

I was baptized by my father when I turned eight just like the scriptures say I should have been. Why should I be re-baptized?

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“There is coming distress. Those who believe Christ’s doctrine will need the required baptism to survive judgments to come. This is the only way to face Him when He comes again.” (Denver C. Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration. P. 521.)

THE WAY OF THE TWO BAPTISMS

It is indeed required in the scriptures to be baptized at eight years of age. This same scripture also tells us this baptism was done in regards to the “remission of sins.” (D&C 68: 27.) In other words, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all sins committed after baptism would fall under that wonderful atonement, and could, with repentance, be erased and considered payed for through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

It certainly is a requirement that we teach our little children about repentance and faith in Christ, the Son of the living God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to see to it they are baptized for the remission of sins when eight years of age. (See D&C 68: 25-27.) There is no age in a person’s life when the symbol of baptism more appropriately emulates and symbolizes our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, than in a little child at age eight. They stand on the razor’s edge of innocence and accountability. They have not the capability to sin, and no sin as yet can be charged to them, but now they have arrived at a period of accountability, for the things they do after will be theirs. It is the epitome of the symbol of Christ who never sinned, but carried the accountability for the sins of all repentant mankind and for Adam’s transgression, upon His own shoulders. It is innocence that has arrived at accountability, and helps us to see more clearly the Saviors greatness and love for us. The child is to be baptized just as they arrive at this razor’s edge of sinlessness and accountability. And for all the faithful, this is the first baptism.

But the Savior has not left it at that, for we read in 3 Nephi 11:37-38, “And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”

This cannot be the baptism which is required of a little child at the age of eight, but can only be after the person has lived life for a period of time. It comes after the now adult believes he already knows something, and has become unwilling to receive more. It is after the person has learned a discipline of study, and thinks the gospel should be viewed by the tools of that study and discipline. It is after the person has some regrets about things they have done, or said, or become, or have not done or become. It is after we realize that we have been immersed in the understanding of men, and have become arrogant before God. It is after we have lost those pure joys that came as a child when we learned new things. It is after we have stopped trusting. It is after we no longer will jump into the open and willing arms of a loving father.

It is only after our eyes have been opened, and we have come to the realization that we are not getting anywhere by what we’ve already done. Then we see we need to abandon old ways and begin anew. We need to go back, instead of ploughing ahead, because we have come to realize our direction has been wrong.

D&C 20: 37. “And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism – All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into His church.” (D&C 10: 64-70.)

When we’ve done all this, and come to realize that all are saved on exactly the same principles, we have begun to repent, and the first fruit of repentance is always baptism. (Moroni 8: 25.) We have then come to the appropriate time when baptism is again required. It is now time for the second baptism. This is the baptism 3 Nephi 11: 37-38 is speaking of and pointing to, and without it, “ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”

This that I write is not complete, for there is a great revelation connected with this subject for anyone that seeks it. This is what should be taught to the people.

May God bless our efforts.

Keith Henderson

The Gift Of The Holy Ghost By The Laying On Of Hands

As we continue the work required by the Doctrine of Christ of bringing those who are seeking truth into the waters of baptism, we bump against the question which is asked by this inquiring individual:

“As I’ve been studying in the scriptures about baptism by water and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost I’ve also been wondering about receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, per 3 Nephi and D&C 20. Are there any individuals that you are aware of that have received authority from the Lord to perform this ordinance? If so, how does one qualify or seek out the reception of such?”

The following is my answer to this individual. It, in no way is presented as a discouragement against attempting to receive this great blessing, but is a presentation of scripture which indicates that there is, more than one way for an individual to effect that which he/she so greatly desires, upon themselves.

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The Lord set the pattern for the bestowal of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands when He touched each of the twelve Disciples during his visit to the Americas after His resurrection. (See 3 Nephi 18: 36-37.)  It was His (Christ’s) laying His hands upon the Disciples, along with the words which He spoke, which gave them the power to do the same. (See Moroni 2: 1-3 for the words which He spoke.)

It is the same today.

When a man is brought into the presence of Christ, and He lays His hands upon him, and speaks to him the authority to bestow it in like manner, he then can have power to do this by calling upon the name of the Father in mighty prayer for permission or approval to bestow it in such like manner upon him or her whose desire it is, from the Father, to have it bestowed in this manner.  They will then do so in the name of Jesus Christ.

The authority and the power to do this is very limited, and would seem to belong in that same category of ordinances which are mentioned in JST Genesis 14: 30-31, where is says, “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; …etc.” These things have always been, and still are very tightly controlled by that which follows in verse 31 where it says “…According to His will, according to His command.”  The person capable of doing this has already met the requirement as mentioned in Helaman 10: 5, which is, “…For thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.”

This thing is not the prerogative of the seeker, but is that of the Lord.  I would propose that if someone wants this thing he should approach the Lord God in humble and mighty prayer himself, and if it is the will of the Father, He will send His disciple to the seeker, and give him what he seeks. But, let him be prepared, for it comes not alone, but as part of a greater whole, and with consequences that are staggering.

On the other hand, there is the promise of the Father to every person who seeks to be obedient to the “Doctrine of Christ” through baptism or re-baptism, that if he/she truly repents and believes in Jesus Christ, and then is baptized, Christ bears record from the Father that, that person will be visited by the Father with the Baptism of Fire, and with the Holy Ghost. (See 3 Nephi 11: 35.)  It is also the promise made by Moroni that when a person studies the things of the Book Of Mormon, and actually receives them unto himself, if he then asks of the Father in the name of Christ, he can receive a manifestation of the truth of those (and all things) by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10: 4-5.)

It is a fable taught to us by leaders and others who do not understand the role of the Holy Ghost that these things and this great gift cannot remain with us. They are with us for as long as we seek, and strive to remain worthy.

Consider Joseph and Oliver Cowdery:  When they came up out of the waters of baptism on May 15, 1829, the Holy Ghost descended upon them. They both prophesied immediately afterward, and then found that they had increased powers to understand the more mysterious parts of the scriptures in their true meaning and intention, (See Joseph Smith – History 1: 73-74.) which remained with Joseph all the rest of his life. And then consider the Lamanites, which Christ spoke of, who had been baptized by fire, and the Holy Ghost after their conversion, and knew it not. (3 Nephi 9: 20.)

The promise is already there.  It is up to us to accept it, and awaken to it.

Keith Henderson

Marriage

After holding a series of meetings involving many individuals and prayerfully discussing the need to address marriage, a conference on this subject has adopted the following statement to be published on the Recorders Clearinghouse website:

Introduction:

To preserve the restoration begun by Joseph Smith Jr., it is necessary to revisit the ministry of Joseph. He was called as a prophet of God, and thus had access to the mind and will of God – even in regard to such sacred matters as marriage between a man and a woman.

To follow Joseph’s example regarding marriage, and show how the things he did are still applicable today, that which follows will visit some of the issues facing couples when they elect to marry outside of their traditional institutions. Some of these are: Who can perform a wedding? What about sealing authority? Did Joseph seal couples? Can I? And how does section 101 of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants fit into the picture?

Joseph began marrying couples in Ohio on November 24, 1835 with the marriage of Newel Knight to Lydia Bailey. Within the next two months he had married ten more couples and by June 19, 1837 he had married a total of nineteen. He felt that his authority to do so came to him from God, as a minister ordained by Him (God). It was never proven against him that he did not have the authority he assumed, although several made the attempt.

Many of the things Joseph did, and the way he did them are applicable today. Hopefully that will be clarified below.

Who can perform marriages?

First, every state and nation has local laws that need to be consulted. In many states, like in Utah, there is a uniform code standardizing procedures. These will be discussed for Utah, to guide others in examining their state’s requirements. If a marriage is valid in the place it is performed, then the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution makes it valid throughout the United States.

In Utah, these are some of the ways a person can become legally qualified to perform marriages:

A. One of the really interesting things about the statute in Davis County, Utah is spelled out in 30-1-5. It says:
A marriage solemnized before a person professing to have authority to perform marriages may not be invalidated for lack of authority, if consummated in the belief of the parties or either of them that the person had authority and that they have been lawfully married. This section may not be construed to validate a marriage that is prohibited or void under Section 30-1-2.

B. Utah, among a host of other States, allows Common Law Marriage. Many people think they want to get a “common law marriage.” All that is required is to live together as husband and wife and hold yourself out to others as married. By living together, assuming the responsibilities, and rights of married partners you are considered married, but you will not have a marriage certificate without involving the State. If you ever need to collect insurance benefits, survivor’s benefits, inherit property, and other things, you may need proof in the form of a marriage certificate. If that is the case, you may discover it would have been cheaper and less of a hassle to have been married and had your marriage recorded in the County of your residence in the first place.

C. In Utah, [almost] anyone can qualify before the County Recorder to be authorized to marry any [lawful] couple. This is a one-time only permission. You just get a form called Single Ceremony Marriage Designee Appointment and Agreement from your local County Recorder. You are required to sign it along with the couple being married, and you are good to go. The couple pick up a packet which includes a blank marriage license, and a marriage certificate to be handed to the couple at the completion of the ceremony, and the officiator returns the signed and witnessed license to the Recorder’s office within a month after the ceremony. About three weeks later, the Recorder’s office sends two certified copies of the license back to the couple. Most all Counties have some variation of this process. Check with your County Recorder’s office.

This seems to be the least restrictive, and cheapest way in the long run to become legally recognized as the minister of the ordinance.

D. You could become ordained as an online minister. Just google it and they will all ask for your money and give you an ordination certificate.

We all want our friends, family, and acquaintances to attend our wedding. For that purpose Joseph approved the following, which was once section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants:

“1. According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies; Therefore we believe, that all marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose: And that the solemnization should be performed by a presiding high priest, high priest, bishop, elder, or priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority. We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this church from marrying out of the church, if it be their determination so to do, but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (D&C 101: 1. 1835 edition.)

The section then gives instructions in verse 2 as to how the marriage should proceed, which should be followed verbatim.

It then gives one particular statement which made it offensive to those considering or practicing polygamy:

“…Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: We declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”

So, who can marry? And what will the effect be? From the foregoing, almost anyone can be certified to marry anyone else. Just follow one of the outlined steps above.

But—

Joseph felt priesthood ordination was also necessary. Today that priesthood has become one, integrated priesthood: The Priesthood of the Holy Order of the Son of God. The individual becomes authorized by a hands-on ordination either previous to April 2014 in the LDS church, or thereafter by a hands-on ordination by a current priesthood holder. This ordination is then ratified by seven women, which must include his wife, if married, and their signatures affixed to a priesthood certificate. Of course, as always, a father has prerogative to act as a priest within his own home and family without regards to any certificate.

The last step in obtaining power (as opposed to mere authority in the priesthood) is to petition God for power from on High to officiate in any priesthood ordinance, and have it recognized above as it is performed on earth. Nephi said it very succinctly when he wrote, “But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.” (2 Nephi 32: 9.)

Next, sealing authority will be discussed as it pertains to marriages outside the mainstream LDS tradition.

As the foregoing is public and festive, what follows should be more solemn, and perhaps even closed to those who would judge or ridicule.

Did Joseph Seal Couples? Can I?

Until a man attains to the “office of priesthood” (See D&C 124: 91) as did Joseph and Hyrum Smith, he does not have sealing power residing as a right within himself. He must rely upon the servant who has communed with the Lord and obtained a covenant, which is then embodied into ordinance or rite. Joseph and Hyrum were given this authority to seal. But they could not pass it along. It is given by God alone. These servants are no longer available, and so we rely on the sealing authority established in the ordinance as the covenant from God. This is the law until another covenant is offered by God, which is expected before His return.

If the covenant established by God in the ordinance given to Joseph Smith has been changed or broken (Isaiah 24: 5), then our only recourse to having an eternal marriage covenant is to petition God for the power from heaven to seal our marriages, and for us to then rely upon the “Holy Spirit of Promise” to ratify marriages for eternity.

Much is made of “keys” in order to exercise God’s authority, but the only real definition provided by the scriptures regarding “keys” is that they give a man the ability to ask of heaven, and get an answer.

Joseph and Hyrum had keys to ask and receive an answer. We can read of their receiving the sealing power from God, (See D&C 124: 94-96 & D&C 132: 45-49) but they were killed. If they left an ordinance of sealing, the question must be asked: has it been changed or broken?

To insure its preservation, Brigham Young had the temple sealing ceremony written and typeset for the first time in 1876, one year prior to his death. This original typeset version is still available. But it was over three decades after Joseph and Hyrum were martyred that it was written out. Was it the one Joseph left? Most likely, the ordinance was changed shortly after Joseph’s death. Regardless of the answer, whether yes or no, the temple rites have undergone many changes since.

We know of no man on the earth today claiming at this time the right to seal by virtue of the rites and ordinances he has received from on High. Therefore, it defaults to each man desiring power from heaven to ask and receive his own answer, and then have his actions ratified by our Savior, Jesus Christ, in His capacity as “The Holy Spirit of Promise.”

Even after Moses was taken, the rites established through the Law of Moses were approved by God as His covenant. Wicked and corrupt priests performed these rites, and the Jews reaped benefit from them. The power was established by God through Moses, and remained viable so long as the ordinances remained unchanged.

If we have inherited a broken covenant, we can still have our intents, and the desires of our hearts, ratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This has been accomplished many times, even in LDS temples, where a witness of the Spirit has been given to the couple and even the officiator, that the marriage has been sealed in this fashion.

So here is the pattern recommended:

The father of one of the couple, or another who has been chosen to officiate, asks and receives from heaven, power to officiate. Having done so, he invites the bride and groom to kneel (or stand, if more appropriate) before him and to take each other by the right hand. The following discussion and announcements are then to take place:

OFFICIATOR: Brother ________, do you take sister ________ by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?

GROOM: Yes.

OFFICIATOR: Sister ________, do you take brother ________, by the right hand and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife, and for him to be your lawful and wedded husband, for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?

BRIDE: Yes.

OFFICIATOR: By virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the authority vested in me, I pronounce you ________, and you ________, legally, and lawfully husband and wife for time and all eternity, and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection clothed in glory, immortality, and eternal lives, and I seal upon you the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, and exaltations, with all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and say unto you: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you may have joy and rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. All these blessings, together with all the blessings appertaining unto the New and Everlasting Covenant, I seal upon you by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, through your faithfulness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

You may now kiss each other as husband and wife in this true order of matrimony.

Heaven can now do its work until the groom and bride are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

A note about temples:

LDS people will recognize this language from the LDS temple sealing ceremony, and may be surprised to see the ordinance used outside a temple. However, Joseph Smith sealed many couples, and he never did so within a temple. The covenant is contained in the words of the ordinance, regardless of the location it is performed. It can be performed in a home, out in nature, or anywhere meaningful to the couple.

Similarly, some may expect the need to be ordained as a “sealer” to perform this ordinance. Again, as stated before, the covenant is dependent on Joseph Smith who established it, rather than on the ordination of the one reciting the words. Any priesthood holder can seek and receive heaven’s ratification to perform the ordinance. It then falls to the couple to seek and receive sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

And it is worth noting, even if the ordinance has been changed since Joseph established it, it is still the closest we can come to Joseph’s original wording, and using it shows acceptance of Joseph’s ministry. Those who honor what remains from Joseph show their willingness to accept the everlasting covenant when it returns.

Conclusion:

Two patterns of marriage have been discussed. One is very public, festive, and attended by all who desire to come. The other is a solemn occasion, attended by those the bride and groom would invite for this sealing ceremony. It may make sense to have both these ceremonies separated by some amount of time wherein the newly wedded couple can grow to know each other, and be sure their desires for each other are for eternity. However, we invite you to consider having them performed close together, perhaps even on the same day, in order to create an expectation of preservation and permanency between the couple.

The foregoing is offered merely as advice, and not an attempt to command anyone. Ultimately, any wedding ceremony should be a matter between the couple and the Lord.

May God bless us all that He may renew His covenant with us all.

Keith Henderson
And all of those who have worked on this from this side or the other of the veil. The foregoing has been a collaborative effort culminating in a Conference On February 20, 2016 wherein the men and women who met reached a consensus. The foregoing required a Host (in every sense of that word).