Judging Between Truth and Error (most recent)
Judging Between Truth and Error
You are on trial here. You must grow to stand on your own. Do not be dependent on me or any man for your knowledge of the truth. You must be able, by the power of the light given to you, to decide between truth and error, between what comes from God and what is of men and devils. If you are unable to determine that for yourself, then relying on others will never qualify you to enter into the Lord’s rest.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 337
“What I am after is the knowledge of God, and I take my own course to obtain it.”
6 Woe be unto him that shall say, We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough. For behold, thus saith the Lord God, I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. And blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom. For unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the holy ghost.
29 And now behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant, and this because you know. For ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened and your mind doth begin to expand. O then, is not this real? I say unto you, yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light is good, because it is discernible; therefore, ye must know that it is good.
4 And now beloved, marvel not that I tell you these things; for why not speak of the atonement of Christ and attain to a perfect knowledge of him, as to attain to the knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come? Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men. For the spirit speaketh the truth, and lieth not; wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be. Wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things, for God also spake them unto prophets of old.
2 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, and he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the holy ghost. And by the power of the holy ghost, ye may know the truth of all things. And whatsoever thing is good is just and true. Wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is; and ye may know that he is by the power of the holy ghost. Wherefore, I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God, for he worketh by power according to the faith of the children of men, the same today, and tomorrow, and for ever.
1 And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon, southward, away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment he met the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla. Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him. Therefore, Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy — they were still his brethren in the Lord. Yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth, for they were men of a sound understanding, and they had searched the scriptures diligently that they might know the word of God. But this is not all. They had given themselves to much prayer and fasting, therefore they had the spirit of prophecy and the spirit of revelation; and when they taught, they taught with power and authority, even as with the power and authority of God. And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth. Yea, by the power of their words, many were brought before the altar of God to call on his name and confess their sins before him.
1 And now it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them. And they all cried with one voice, saying, Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us! And also, we know of their surety and truth because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. And we, ourselves, also through the infinite goodness of God and the manifestations of his spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things. And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceeding great joy. And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.
24 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren and also the book of the Lamb of God which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren. And after it had come forth unto them, I beheld other books which came forth by the power of the Lamb from the gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the gentiles, and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true. And the angel spake unto me, saying, These last records which thou hast seen among the gentiles shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them, and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world, and that all men must come unto him or they cannot be saved. And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Wherefore, they both shall be established in one, for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth. And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the gentiles. And after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the gentiles and also unto the Jews; and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
4 …For behold, ye have accused him that he sought power and authority over you, but I know that he hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God and your own eternal welfare. And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness, ye say that he hath been angry with you. But behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God which was in him, and that which ye call anger was the truth according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities. And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his commanding you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not him, but it was the spirit of the Lord which was in him which opened his mouth to utterance, that he could not shut it.
3 And now, come, says the Lord by the Spirit unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together that you may understand. Let us reason even as men reason one with another, face to face. Now, when a man reasons he is understood of man because he reasons as a man, even so will I the Lord reason with you that you may understand. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question: Unto what were you ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter, which was sent forth to teach the Truth. And then received you spirits which you could not understand, and received them to be of God. And in this are you justified? Behold, you shall answer this question yourselves. Nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you, hereafter shall be made strong.
4 Verily I say unto you, He that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the spirit of truth, does he preach it by the spirit of truth or some other way? And if by some other way, it is not of God. And again, he that receives the word of truth, does he receive it by the spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way, it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that you cannot understand and know that he that receives the Word by the Spirit of truth, receives it as it is preached by the Spirit of Truth? Wherefore, he that preaches and he that receives understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which does not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light, and he that receives light and continues in God, receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
5 And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth that you may chase darkness from among you…
8 And now verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn, and all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the Glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. You were also in the beginning with the Father, that which is spirit, even the spirit of Truth, and truth is knowledge of things as they are and as they were and as they are to come, and whatever is more or less than these is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
9 The Spirit of Truth is of God. I am the Spirit of Truth. And John bore record of me saying, He received a fullness of truth, yea, even all truth. And no man receives a fullness unless he keeps his commandments. He that keeps his commandments receives truth and light until he is glorified in truth and knows all things.
31 Knowledge of the mysteries of godliness is obtained only through obedience to God. He ordained this method to make His greatest truths universally available to all His humble followers training for the ministry.
32 Education is no real advantage in receiving light and truth from God. Humility is the only real, great advantage that any soul ever possesses.
33 Since God is no respecter of persons, he has ordained truth to come to us without respect to persons. Whatever truths may exist, His true followers seek after these things and find they are freely given.
6 Therefore I am a witness of the truth, and my witness is true. I am not a lone witness because my Father testifies to those who will listen. My works testify also. But you do not listen to my Father and you condemn my works. Therefore you reject the truth. You asked John, and he was also my witness of the truth. He did not receive his testimony from only a man, but directly from God, and you admit he is a prophet. Therefore you should accept his testimony.
8 I testify of the truth. The Father testifies to those who will hear him. John testified of me. And the works I am performing testify. But you do not hearken to my message, nor hear the Father, nor accept John’s message, and you ignore the evidence shown by my works. Therefore, you are deliberately blind and choose not to know my Father, because you have no faith in his truth and refuse to walk in his pathway.
10 I have come to you because the Father sent me, and I glorify his name, but you reject that. If someone not sent by the Father comes to glorify himself by displaying his own wisdom, you respect him. How can you ever gain light and truth when you use one another as the final authority on truth, and ignore the light sent by the Most High God? I will not need to condemn you before the Father because Moses will do that. If you really believed Moses you would understand he prophesied and testified of me. Since you have perverted what Moses wrote, how can you hope to believe me?
15 Then Jesus said to them, In the name of Father Ahman I tell you the truth, Moses was not the one who gave bread, it was my Father who did that. But now my Father is offering true life-giving bread from Heaven, which is light and truth. For the Bread of God is sent from the Heavenly Council to give light and truth to the world. They responded, Master, feed us with this bread forever.
16 Jesus said bluntly to them, I am the bread that gives life; he that follows the path with me will never hunger for light; and any who believe on me shall never thirst for truth. Unfortunately, as I have already told you, even though you have seen me, you do not believe me. But my Father has provided some who will heed my words, and those who follow me I will safely keep. I am descended from above as a Messenger sent to follow Father Ahman’s plan. Father’s plan is that by completing my ascent I will have the power to rescue creation, losing nothing. Moreover, those who are here on this journey with me will be added upon for evermore if they have faith in me. They will rise up to likewise generate endless lives, worlds without end.
18 Jesus responded to them, Do not dispute my teaching between yourselves. No man can come unto me except he follows the path of my Father, who has sent me as His messenger of salvation. And this is what my Father expects of you, that you heed his Son. For the Father testifies he sent me, and anyone who accepts the Father’s testimony, and has the faith in him to heed his testimony, I will raise upward in the resurrection of the just. For it is written in the prophets, And these shall all be taught by God. Every person who has hearkened and has learned the will of the Father, accepts me as his messenger. None of you have seen the Father unless you first descended from God’s presence, as I have come; and all who have seen the Father can testify of him. In the name of Father Ahman I declare to you, He that has faith on me has endless lives, worlds without end. I am that bread of life. This is the bread that descended from Heaven, that a man may eat of me and his life never end. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and they perished. But I am the living bread sent from Heaven to rescue you. If any man takes into themselves this bread, he will gain light and truth and the power for endless life. The staff of life I provide is to sacrifice my flesh, which I will surrender to rescue the world.
19 The Jews argued among themselves, demanding, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, In the name of Father Ahman I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you will never have endless life in you. Those who eat my flesh, and drink my blood, will obtain endless life. I will raise him up in the resurrection of the just at the last day. Just as the Father provided this life for me, I will provide it for you if you have faith in me. For my flesh will fill you with light, and my blood will quench you with truth. If you receive these, I will fill you with light and truth and we will be brothers, sons of God. My sacrifice is the bread I descended from Heaven to provide, not like the manna eaten by your deceased ancestors who rejected greater light and truth in their day. The light and truth I offer leads to endless lives, worlds without end.
15 These words have I spoken to you while I am still present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost that the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and restore to your memory all truth I have taught to you, and the record of Heaven itself.
This means “knowledge of things which are, which were, and which are to come” (T&C 93:8).1 You can only know the truth by having it revealed to you from Heaven itself (T&C 69:29, 1 Nephi 5:1).2 We must know the truth. The truth informs us how things are (now, today, in our current peril). The truth informs us of how things were (revealing exactly what happened, without mythical or political overlay, with its disappointments and tragedies candidly depicted). The truth informs us of the things to come (even if the prophecies and promises dash our hopes, crush our vanity and expose our foolishness). Without the truth it is impossible to repent. In order to take people captive, all that is required is for people to be content with their ignorance. The greatest threat to salvation does not come from teaching false doctrine but instead comes from ignoring doctrine altogether. Substituting platitudes and truisms for careful, ponderous and solemn investigation of the deep things of God is sufficient to keep people in the chains of captivity. It isn’t necessary for the devil to convince you of lies, only for him to make you content in your ignorance or fearful of the search for truth.3
1 “Nephi’s Brother Jacob, Part 4,” March 14,2012, www.denversnuffer.com/blog.
2 “The Whole Not the Parts,” Dec. 28, 2011, www.denversnuffer.com/blog.
3 Preserving the Restoration, 341n913
20 We held several meetings in the neighborhood. We had many friends and some enemies. Our meetings were well attended and many began to pray fervently to Almighty God that He would give them wisdom to understand the truth.
This is a deliberate, intentional, or willful rejection or refusal to accept what God offers to man. It is a rebellion. When we limit what we will permit God to reveal, setting boundaries to His teachings, we rebel. But that rebellion limits only ourselves.1 Whether a group or a person, we are either gaining (restoring) light and truth, or we are losing (apostatizing) from light and truth. This world is a world of change. Nothing remains the same. Everywhere you see either growth or decay at work. They are also at work within you. You either search out new truth, find it, live it, and thereby become restored to truth, or you back away from it. If you are backing away, losing it, neglecting it, and discarding it, you are in the process of apostasy.2 With respect to God’s people, apostasy is always marked by a change of ordinances and breaking of the covenant.3
1 Passing the Heavenly Gift, 410.
2 “Forward or Backward,” April 16, 2010, www.denversnuffer.com/blog.
3 “Jacob 5:38-41,” April 4, 2012, www.denversnuffer.com/blog.
16 I desire to heal you from an awful state of blindness so that you may see clearly my will, to do it. I promised to bring unto you much of my gospel through the Book of Mormon and to provide you with the means to obtain a fullness of my gospel, and I have done this; yet you refuse to receive the truth, even when it is given unto you in plainness. How can you who pursue the truth, yet remain unable to behold your own weakness before me?
53 Be of one heart, and regard one another with charity. Measure your words before giving voice to them, and consider the hearts of others. Although a man may err in understanding concerning many things, yet he can view his brother with charity and come unto me, and through me he can with patience overcome the world. I can bring him to understanding and knowledge. Therefore, if you regard one another with charity, then your brother’s error in understanding will not divide you. I lead to all truth. I will lead all who come to me to the truth of all things. The fullness is to receive the truth of all things, and this too from me, in power, by my word and in very deed. For I will come unto you if you will come unto me.
12 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, in the wilderness because you cannot see him, my Voice because my Voice is Spirit. My Spirit is Truth, Truth abides and has no end, and if it be in you, it shall abound. And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole body shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you, and that body which is filled with light comprehends all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God and the days will come that you shall see him, for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time and in his own way, and according to his own will.
18 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of Eternal life, for you shall live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God. For the word of the Lord is Truth, and whatever is Truth is Light, and whatever is Light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit gives light to every man that comes into the world, and the Spirit enlightens every man through the world that hearkens to the Voice of the Spirit, and everyone that hearkens to the Voice of the Spirit comes unto God, even the Father. And the Father teaches him of the covenants which the Father has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for yours only, but for the sake of the whole world.
This means “change.” It requires believers to turn away from the world and toward God. It is the change in life that follows from seeing things in a better, truer light. There is another, higher way to live available to everyone. But to move upward, people must make changes in their lives to incorporate more light and truth. By living a higher way, you are repenting. This process is not a single event. It does not happen once. It should happen over and over as we increase the light in our lives.1 It can be granted by God (Alma 10:4, 19:15; Acts 6:9). Repentance involves acquiring light and truth — meaning intelligence. Repentance is abandoning a foolish error, a vain tradition, or a false belief and replacing it with truth.2 Penitence is another way to describe repentance or the process of change and growing beyond sins limiting your happiness. It comes as you allow Christ to “succor” you through the power of the Atonement. Through penitence, people do away with the darkness in their lives and add light instead.3 The best definition of repentance is to turn away from all other distractions to face God.4
1 Eighteen Verses, 197.
2 Preserving the Restoration, 98.
3 Eighteen Verses, 308.
4 “The Temple,” Portland Temple Symposium, Oct. 9, 2010, transcript of notes from talk.
1 The word of the Lord unto Joseph, Sidney, and Frederick, Verily I say unto you my friends, I speak unto you with my Voice, even the Voice of my Spirit that I may show unto you my will concerning your brethren in the land of Zion, many of whom are truly humble and are seeking diligently to learn wisdom and to find truth. Verily, verily I say unto you, blessed are all such for they shall obtain, for I the Lord show mercy unto all the meek, and upon all whomsoever I will, that I may be justified when I shall bring them into judgment.
9 Verily, verily I say unto thee, Blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast inquired of me, and behold as often as thou hast inquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time. Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind, and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth.
5 After a few days, however, feeling it to be our duty, we commenced to reason out of the scriptures with our acquaintances and friends as we happened to meet with them. About this time my brother Samuel H. Smith came to visit us. We informed him of what the Lord was about to do for the children of men and to reason with him out of the Bible. We also showed him that part of the work which we had translated, and labored to persuade him concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ, which was now about to be revealed in its fullness. He was not, however, very easily persuaded of these things. But after much inquiry & explanation, he retired to the woods in order that by secret and fervent prayer he might obtain, of a merciful God, wisdom to enable him to judge for himself. The result was that he obtained revelations for himself sufficient to convince him of the truth of our assertions to him, and on the twenty-fifth day of that same month in which we had been baptized and ordained, Oliver Cowdery baptized him, and he returned to his father’s house greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is voluntary submission to the control or power of God or, in other words, obedience…Without humility you are not teachable. Humility and the capacity to accept new truth are directly related. Humbling yourself is not just an expression to wear on your countenance. Rather it is opening your heart up to higher things.
12 …And at that day when I shall come in my Glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spoke concerning the ten virgins, for they that are wise and have received the Truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide and have not been deceived, verily I say unto you, They shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day, and the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance. And they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation, for the Lord shall be in their midst and his Glory shall be upon them, and he will be their King and their Lawgiver.
1 UNTO you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in you. Let me not be ashamed. Let not my enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on you be ashamed. Let them be ashamed who transgress without cause. Show me your ways, O Lord. Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation. On you do I wait all day…
22 And Enoch wept, and cried unto the Lord again, saying, When shall the Earth rest? And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father. And he called unto the Lord, saying, Will you not come again upon the Earth? For, inasmuch as you are God, and I know you, and you have sworn unto me and commanded me that I should ask in the name of your Only Begotten, you have made me and given unto me a right to your throne, and not of myself, but through your own grace. Wherefore, I ask you if you will not come again on the Earth? And the Lord said unto Enoch, As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfill the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah. And the day shall come that the Earth shall rest. But before that day, the heavens shall be darkened and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth, and the heavens shall shake and also the Earth. And great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve. And righteousness will I send down out of heaven. Truth will I send forth out of the earth to bear testimony of my Only Begotten, His resurrection from the dead, yea, and also the resurrection of all men. And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out my own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, a holy city, that my people may gird up their loins and be looking forth for the time of my coming. For there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Then shall you and all your city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom. And they shall see us, and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other, and there shall be my abode. And it shall be Zion which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made and for the space of a thousand years shall the Earth rest.
Denver Snuffer Podcast 9: Embracing Truth (excerpts from transcript)
Mormonism announced in its founding book of scripture that it is an incomplete, markedly unfinished religion searching for more truth to achieve its destiny. The completion is to be accomplished primarily by two means: restoring lost scripture and continuing revelation. Of all faiths, Mormonism has the greatest canonical incentive to search for and embrace truth known to others. The keystone of Mormonism is the Book of Mormon. That book alerts its readers that there are many others from vastly different places with vastly different scriptures who are nonetheless Christ’s sheep. Book of Mormon readers are expected to search for, welcome, and learn from them.
Early in the text we learn that our faith, like our scriptures, is unfinished, and to anticipate a flood of additional sacred texts to help remove our ignorance. The portion of the Book of Mormon translated by Joseph Smith is carefully censored with its greatest content withheld.
What if the Gods intend to spread knowledge of how to attain divinity among all peoples? That would indeed be a task worthy of the Gods. Consider that for a moment. Have we gentile Mormons been told of God’s “other sheep” for some important reason? If so, is it to alert us that we are no more special nor in any greater possession of God’s words than many others who have been scattered around the world and are known to the Gods but unidentified to us? Is it to make us more careful about how we regard strangers? Ought it to suggest that there are our religious equals in the world? May it suggest there are perhaps religious superiors in the world? In other words, have we received news of “other sheep” to help keep Mormons humble?
Everyone is remembered by God, and when you close down revelation you get less. Humble people get more. “He that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full” [Alma 12:10].
The Gods’ wise counsel does not regulate dispensing truth on things external to us, but on what is internal to us. We determine whether we have hard hearts or open hearts. One of the ways to determine if our hearts are open and not hard is the degree to which we regard those who are “other”– not only with respect and charity, but also curiosity.
Mormon revelation helpfully defines knowledge of the Gods’ mysteries as “riches.” That definition helps explain a prophecy about the coming return of “other sheep.” Newly awakened dormant prophets in the north countries will lead scattered flocks to the boundaries of the everlasting hills. They will bring with them “rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim,” who will welcome them [D&C 133:26-32]. This will not merely be a reunion, but an exchange of treasured wisdom, or in other words, revelation between those who have preserved sacred knowledge. That reunion, however, will depend on a body of believing Ephraimites, established in the everlasting hills, that will welcome such riches. These prophetically described people must be humble enough to be taught, and willing to appreciate sacred information from outside. Apparently, all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole.
…our Mormon scripture puts all light and truth into one, singular source for this world. That source is the Son of God.
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit” [D&C 84:44-46]. Notice this is without any restriction on who can receive the light of the Spirit. “Every man that cometh into the world” receives equally. There is no individual, in any corner of the world, who does not have equal access to obtain “truth” and “light” from that same Source, who is Jesus Christ. If any soul in any age hearkens, or listens and follows the “voice of the Spirit,” they are in communication with Jesus Christ. To them He bestows light.
We are here to learn. We should rejoice at any chance the Gods give to us to become better informed about Their mysteries. The truth, or rich treasures, from around the world will come to those who welcome it.
Question posed to Denver: You talked about finding truth in other cultures, other religions. You also touched on the idea that there may be truth, but there’s also error, in all other religions. What keys of knowledge, what tools do you use to help discern between truth and error?
Answer from Denver: The most correct measuring stick, in my view, is the Book of Mormon. And as long as you have the Book of Mormon you have the ability to make a comparison. And if something reaffirms something I find there, then I regard that as having passed the test. If it contradicts that, then I regard that as having failed the test. And if it harmonizes with it, but it extends it beyond anything known to me, then I’ve got something to pray about. Because the ultimate arbiter of truth is God.
“And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainness of the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil. I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.”
Those who become angry at the truth have “the spirit of the devil” in them. That is, they are under the devil’s influence and deceived. Nephi understood this principle because of his older brothers’ reactions (1 Nephi 16: 1-2). So when someone becomes angry at the truth, they are in darkness. Christ gave this as one of the signs of the deceived. They argue against the truth and become angry (3 Nephi 11: 29).
Those who are Christ’s, however, join with Nephi in glorying in plainness, even if it cuts or requires repentance. They appreciate the plain direction which allows them to follow in the true path. They appreciate truth, even when it condemns their acts and requires them to change. They glory in Christ, preferring Him to unbelief, traditions of men, and the arm of flesh.
We hardly understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ at all because we utterly reject its principles. We won’t live them to know if they are true. Then in our ignorant darkness we judge the light. All the while Nephi’s words invite us to choose a different route, act with real intent, with full purpose of heart, repenting of our sins to find our way back into the light.
The truth attracts those who seek truth.
…doubt everything other than truth taken from the scriptures. They are the standard by which I teach.
Denver Snuffer Blog, “A Reminder,” 4/10/2015 (excerpts)
I want to reiterate what was said at the end of the ten lectures (as it has been edited for the forthcoming book). Below is an excerpt dealing with the problems I warned were coming:
There are so many potential mistakes we can make we ought to remember the early problems in Kirtland. D&C 50:2-25. “Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you. Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed.”[This is not referring to the hypocrites, because He will not reclaim them. But He will reclaim those who are deceived by the hypocrites.] “But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you; He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.”
This is how we should edify one another, how we should be preparing our children. This is what we should seek: truth, light, understanding, knowledge of the principles of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.
False spirits will come among you. Prideful and pretentious people will ask you to give them honor. Honor God instead. Do not let a personal revelation displace your attention from the scriptures. Our scriptures are sufficient for our day. I hope this new book demonstrates that. I have expounded the scriptures as Moroni did to Joseph, and as Christ did on the road to Emmaus the day of His resurrection. We must first remember and observe. Preserving the restoration requires us to be very familiar with the scriptures of the restoration. At present we should fear most our ignorance of them.
Whenever there is an increase in spiritual manifestations, there is always an increase in both true and false spiritual phenomena. You do not get one without the other.
In Kirtland, new converts who were overzealous to participate in the new heavenly manifestations coming as a result of Joseph Smith’s claims, opened themselves up to receiving influences they could not understand, and did not test for truthfulness. They were so delighted to have any kind of experience, they trusted anything “spiritual” was from God. As a result, there were many undignified things, degrading conduct, foolish behavior and evil influences which crept in among the saints. Joseph received a revelation in May 1831 concerning this troubling development. In it the Lord cautioned there were “many false spirits deceiving the world.” (D&C 50: 2.) That Satan wanted to overthrow what the Lord was doing. (D&C 50: 3.) The presence of hypocrites and of people harboring secret sins and abominations caused false claims to be accepted. (D&C 50: 4, 6-7.) It is required for all people to proceed in truth and in righteousness (D&C 50: 9) if they are going to avoid deception. Meaning that unrepentant and unforgiven men will not be able to distinguish between a true and a false spirit.
All spiritual gifts, including distinguishing between true and false spirits, requires the Holy Ghost, given through obedience to the truth, which allows a person to distinguish between truth and error. (D&C 50: 17-23.) The truth is like light, and when you follow the light of truth it grows inside you until you have a “perfect day” in which there is no more darkness, but everything is illuminated by the light of the spirit within you. (D&C 50: 24.)
The revelation clarifies that a preacher of truth will become only a servant. He will not claim greatness, but will seek only to give truth; as a result of which false spirits will be subject to him. (D&C 50: 26-27.) But this only comes as a result of repenting of all sin, because the light of a perfect day cannot arise when men harbor evil desires and inappropriate ambitions within their hearts. (D&C 50: 28-29.) Truth will not leave you confused, but will enlighten your understanding. (D&C 50: 31.)
From this you can see how necessary it is for each of us to continually repent, conduct our lives in conformity with such truth as you presently understand, and avoid deliberate wrongdoing in order to be able to distinguish between a true and a false spirit. You must attract light. It is attracted by obedience to such light as you already have. When you proceed forward using the light you already possess to attract more light it will grow in one, consistent and truthful manner from a lesser to a greater light. All of it conforming to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Ambition in spiritual gifts leads to acceptance of evil influences. As part of the same problem in Kirtland, in September of the previous year, Hiram Page wanted to be like Joseph, and was able to attract a deceiving spirit to communicate with him through a seer stone. But the commandments he received were designed to lead him into error. (D&C 28: 11.)
Truth will always testify of Christ and lead to repentance. It will lead you to do good, not evil. To serve God and not follow men. To repent and forsake darkness which appeals to the carnal mind. (See Moroni 7: 12-19.)
Just because you have a “spiritual experience” you cannot trust it will invariably be from God. True spirits will:
-Testify of Christ.
-Lead to repentance.
-Be consistent with existing scripture.
-Edify and enlighten your mind.
-Be understandable and not cause confusion.
-Cause light to grow within you.
-Turn you toward Christ, not men.
-Never cause pride.
-Make you a better servant.
-Increase your love of your fellow man.
-Clothe you with charity for the failings of others.
-Conform to the true whisperings of the Holy Ghost you previously have received.
-Leave you humble and grateful for God’s condescension.
-Make you want to bring others to the light.
-Be grounded in love toward God and all mankind.
-Lead you to rejoice.
False spirits will:
-Make you believe you are better because of the experience.
-Contradict the scriptures.
-Appeal to carnality and self-indulgence.
-Lead to ambition to control others.
-Make you intolerant of others’ failings.
-Seek self-fulfillment rather than service.
-Appeal to your vanity and assure you that you are a great person.
-Repulse the Holy Ghost.
-Prevent you from repenting and forsaking sins.
-Interfere with serving others.
-Focus on yourself rather than the needs of others.
Do not think all spiritual experiences can be trusted. There is no difference between the activities of deceiving spirits today and those in Kirtland, as well as those in the New Testament times. If you follow the Lord you must still test the spirits and only follow those which point to Christ. (1 John 4: 1.) Even Joseph Smith had to ask God about some of the phenomena going on in Kirtland before he knew which were of God and which were deceiving.
“And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” (2 Nephi 32:8)
Nephi, as a man of prayer, is struck by the foolishness of deciding matters without prayer. To him it is amazingly obvious that prayer will rescue you from doubt.
God’s Spirit will always teach you to pray and to ask Him about the truth. And if you ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, He will manifest the truth unto you. He can tell you the truth of all things if you will ask and permit the Holy Ghost to respond. (Moroni 10: 4-5.)
If the only way to find the truth is to search prayerfully for it before receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost that it is indeed true, what happens to you as a result? Do you gain a testimony of the process? Do you grow in light and truth by what you have experienced? Was this always meant to be direct between you and God? Is the method itself necessarily always to involve God?
“Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!”
The gift of the Holy Ghost was given to lead you to the knowing the truth of all things. (Moroni 10: 5.) When, therefore, you hearken to men’s precepts you are not confirming through the Spirit that what is being taught is merely man’s precepts.
With a tool like the Holy Ghost available to you, you are accountable for what teachings you accept. It is possible for you to listen to a teacher whose precepts are dark and to know as he speaks that the Spirit does not ratify his words. It is your responsibility to weigh all things and hold onto only those things which are good. (1 Thes. 5: 21.)
When Jesus was asked about two witnesses He said He was one, the other was His Father, who also bore witness of Him. If they did not listen to the power of the Father, nor incline their hearts to receive the witness of the Spirit, then they could not know the Father, and could not receive that second witness. (John 8: 17-19.) Nephi is saying the same thing. That is, no man teaching the precepts of men should be able to deceive you. Rather, for every teaching and every teacher, there should be a second witness coming from above which bears witness to you that you are hearing the truth.
The Spirit bears witness of the truth, conveys light and intelligence, and may not at all be emotional. Or, if emotions are involved, it may be fear (Isa. 6: 5), dread (Gen. 28: 17), or even horror at what you encounter. (Gen. 15: 12-18.) Mere sentimentality is a false substitute for the witness of the Spirit. Joseph Smith explained it this way: “When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (TPJS p. 151.)
The warning from Nephi about how you deny the power of God, you reject the gift of the Holy Ghost whenever you “hearken to the precepts of men” is based on this principle. You have the tools to detect when you are being taught by men using the arm of flesh to advance an idea or notion. You are accountable, hence the “wo” pronounced on you by Nephi.
Ask yourself the following questions as you hear a teacher:
-Does he teach you to come to Christ?
-Do the teachings convey intelligence upon you, or just sentiment?
-Do they awaken inside you light and truth that you hadn’t considered before?
-Are the teachings based on the revelations of heaven, or some study, analysis or tool developed by academics?
-Are you encouraged to seek for a confirmation from the Spirit?
-Did you learn something new, but find yourself feeling you have known it before?
-Whether it causes dread, fear or even horror, does the Spirit tell you, nonetheless, it is of God?
-Are you more inclined to get on your knees and call upon God because of what you have learned?
-Does the speaker merely want you to honor her, or an institution?
-Does the speaker hold him/herself out as an expert or someone with impressive credentials?
-Does he rely on status or office as the reason to trust his teaching, or instead rely on the truthfulness of his message? No power or influence can or ought to be exerted by virtue of office or position, only by persuasion and pure knowledge. (D&C 121: 41-42.)
-Are the words noble and great, despite your view of the person who is delivering them?
You may be surprised when you ask such questions at what you learn. Nephi is saying it is your own responsibility if you allow yourself to be taken in by the precepts of men. Wo unto you if you do.