Fellowship Confederacy

Here is an idea of how fellowships can nominate a representative of good character for cross-fellowship decisions.


This is the original document that the moiety doc that is circulating is based on, but the moiety doc has added on a lot more from the Iroquois ideas than I think are necessary. Representatives can be male or female, and can be sustained by their fellowship. Sure, they could be chosen by lots in the fellowships as well. These are modifiable concepts.

The default idea is the most open: even non-baptized people who support others who believe in the doctrine of Christ can participate in votes if the cross-fellowship decision warrants including them. It is similar to Joseph Smith’s idea that non-members be included in the kingdom of God to represent their interests. It makes sense that these should be non-members who support believers and do not persecute others.

However, certainly this can be modified so that if a decision relates to covenant holders only, for instance, then fellowships can pick covenant holders to nominate for that particular decision.

After this nomination process, when all representatives of the fellowships get together, they can implement a decision-making framework like the one presented in Denver’s podcast about “Dances with Wolves”

With this delegate nomination process, once the delegates of the fellowships get together, they can initially choose a decision making framework. That can change each time: For instance, they can choose “Dances with Wolves” method, majority vote method, or unanimous vote method, depending upon the seriousness of the decision to be made and how the group decides to do the vote. You can make this initial decision of what voting framework to adopt for each council item be a unanimous choice by default. Meaning, the group should be unanimous in deciding how the voting will proceed (for example, they unanimously decide the council item is a medium-level decision so they should use a majority rules voting framework to resolve it).

You can ignore the introduction and title. When I initially wrote this, I was toying with the idea that the thoughts on how fellowships could make decisions together could be the Guide and Standard itself. I considered this document a work in progress, but since it got leaked and partially absorbed by another effort, I wanted to post it as it was originally written. It makes better sense that this is just a nomination procedure. Maybe some parts are useful for the G&S, but that would be for the whole group to decide when they hash out the G&S decision.

The idea on what a “voting fellowship” is needs some clarification. It struck me that in order for a fellowship to implement all of the functions a fellowship could perform, i.e. priesthood ordination and sustaining, baptism, sacrament, etc, they would need 7 women and at least 1 man. That is the reason for choosing what a “voting fellowship” is in order to avoid a single person or a couple nominating a representative to join a confederacy of fellowships. Even though only two or three gathered together are needed to have fellowship in Christ, two or three can also collude to send a person who would persecute the larger group in their decisions and wreak havoc. Once two or people grow to a fully functioning fellowship of 8 people, maybe like Isaiah foretold, “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach” (Isaiah 1:12 OC), then they could send a representative to cross-fellowship councils for decision making.


Since we don’t have any central leadership, and similar to how anyone can call for a conference, anyone can also call for a vote.

Here is one example of how this can happen.

If every fellowship registers on http://www.fellowshiplocator.info/ , then someone calling for a vote can ask to send an email to all fellowships. The only tool you have is persuasion. If you can persuade the fellowships to send a representative for your voting item, when you get together you either accomplish something or you don’t. When you accomplish something, report what you have done. If you get 100 out of 300 fellowships represented, it may not be that persuasive of a decision. We’re all on our own to decide together, and see what light and truth raises from the ground up and completes in a persuasive manner to touch the hearts of the most people.

You can state in your email to all the fellowships that you are asking for representatives to be picked, or that you want all people involved to vote. If you can administer a mechanism to get a vote included for all people, more power to you. Just publish your method, your decision item (e.g. The item for discussion will be: to decide on a Guide and Standard), meeting places, etc., and publish your results.

Maybe someone somewhere will be successful in getting a large representation of fellowships in a fair manner to select a Guide and Standard that is full of light and resonates across the movement or is at least acceptable. The Scripture Committee pulled this off for the larger scripture project. Their efforts are persuasive. Not everyone is convinced, but they succeeded and proved a case example.

One Possible Implentation

The following is one possible version on how to implement the ideas in the post “A Ground Rule from the Doctrine of Christ”, and you are free to disregard the ideas or change them.

1. As a body we can come to the realization that the doctrine of Christ may exclude the contentious filibuster option for decisions because we all said we believed in Christ’s doctrine about not disputing when we were baptized.

2. We do not have an accepted way to blot out names from the records. It’s nice to not have to be judges of people at this point (and that’s not even my intention in bringing up this point…quite the contrary, it’s to point out that it’s probably not even an option now to consider, so we shouldn’t think of it. We can judge proposals now, though, and the way they are advanced).

3. We can use God’s judgments to judge individual motions (the behaviors displayed in council during the decision-making process) without condemning either the content of the proposal or the person advancing it. We don’t even have to judge their intentions or their hearts. In other words, we all have bad moments and behaviors, and we shouldn’t label one another. Adrian’s recent post speaks well to this point.

4. If a motion is deemed contentious by the body, a neutral party can be chosen to advance the content of the motion in a non-contentious way. This way no wisdom or good ideas are lost in the process, and neither is the process stalled by behavior that is—intentionally or unintentionally—halting the body from proceeding.

5. If we have a true stalemate that doesn’t arise from contentious behavior, we can declare a stalemate and request revelation from the Lord to resolve the dispute (in this case, it is a procedural dispute where we all realize there is no harmonizing two valid viewpoints with our current understanding). At present, we have no means to ask the Lord for revelation as a body. We only do that as individuals now, or we have accepted certain pronouncements by Joseph Smith and Denver Snuffer. This point needs more work to be fully utilized. It’s a discussion for another day.

6. If a person seems to be halting a decision for no good reason (again, this is independent from their idea, it is the nature of how they submit the idea and stall the body), then all it would take is another person to motion to have their behavior scrutinized by the body in just this instance, and have it seconded. The body can then decide, without the offending party involved, to declare their behavior as an invalid proposal. Then, the body can take the content of their proposal and re-assign it per #4 above. This in NO WAY blots their name out of the records. It does NOT excommunicate them. It doesn’t even stop them from advancing another motion on the same project, provided it is not the same type of behavior displayed as the last time.

With these types of ground rules (again, feel free to reject this version of applying the scriptures mentioned above), we as a body can reject all disputations. We choose not to dispute. We choose to reject decision-making behavior that seems like a dispute. If we make a mistake in judging what behavior is contentious or not, we have the safeguard of taking the content of their proposal and still considering it. If a person sincerely believes their proposition is true, and they are of a good heart, I can see no reason to be afraid of this process. In fact, they’d be willing to sacrifice their individual vote temporarily to at least get their idea heard. They still maintain all future voting privileges. Their idea still gets heard, even if the way they advance it is mischaracterized temporarily. They in no way are barred from further participation. This way, nobody can arrest decision making indefinitely either. We are judging isolated behavior based on the Lord’s judgments, and not our own, and we are not judging individuals nor their status with God or as members of the body by virtue of their baptism and fellowship with us. It allows us as a body to say “It was a good idea, but we think it is being advanced with bad form or is unintentionally causing contention” or vice versa. People in the future can judge for themselves if we managed our difficulties correctly, and we can expand without fear of new people causing havoc if they display similar traits.

In judging “motions” we can use language such as “We as a body have deemed that the motion that says ________ is causing a disputation and we reject it as a procedure. We will consider the idea the motion advances separately.” Or, if the idea was already discussed and settled, that can be stated and we can vote as a body about the rejection of the dispute and move on. Sometimes we may not even need to vote about it, it may be self-evident. Either way, we can publish the intent of the body to outsiders who witness our proceedings and show how we reject filibustering. This can be done as a last step after all attempts to persuade the contentious have failed.

This option should NOT be used to stifle new ideas that modify old decisions. New ideas deserve their turn. We should be careful to not hastily label a motion as a dispute, or else everyone will be afraid of advancing any idea. This is why it would be important to have the body vote if a motion really is causing contention or not, and the contention is not just arising from other contentious people regardless. Again, this is why it’s important to preserve the content of the idea advanced if we reject a filibuster procedure as a last resort.

Glossary of Principles taught by Joseph Smith

Here is a list one fellowship put together from Joseph Smith’s definitions of terms to help in the various efforts for a set of principles. As I thought about it, it is more of a glossary as well, pulled together from Joseph Smith resources and only slightly modified in sentence structure to cast them as definitions. It’s archival now that the thrust has recently changed on the Guide and Standard. So, this list is largely obsolete for that effort, but it is included here for your benefit.

“Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth. Consequently the shackles of superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft…The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same.” Joseph Smith

“Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’; [it is designed] to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease and men to become friends and brothers” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316). “The inquiry is frequently made of me, ‘Wherein do you differ from others in your religious views?’ In reality and essence we do not differ so far in our religious views, but that we could all drink into one principle of love. One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” “Have the Presbyterians any truth? Embrace that. Have the Baptists, Methodists, and so forth? Embrace that. Get all the good in the world, and you will come out a pure Mormon.” (July 23, 1843) “It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it. President Smith then read the 2nd Epistle of Peter, 1st chapter, 16th to last verses, and dwelt upon the 19th verse with some remarks. Add to your faith knowledge, etc. The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” Joseph Smith

Truth is knowledge of things as they are and as they were and as they are to come. [D&C 33:7 RE]

Faith is the assurance we have of unseen things which are true. It is the principle of action and power in mortals and in God. Acting upon correct belief is the essence of faith. We are all commanded to believe in Jesus Christ and act upon that belief by obeying Him. [LoF 1]

Salvation is here defined in its broadest terms, as in being saved from all enemies, including death. This type of salvation happens if and when you become a joint heir with Jesus Christ and attain the power of the resurrection after this life, such that you can resurrect all those dependent upon you. [LoF 7:8]

God, or the Godhead, is a term describing the unity of two separate, perfected beings—the Father and the Son—along with their unified mind, called the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Son. Jesus is also the way, the truth, and the life, and no person comes to the Father but by Jesus. [LoF 5, John 10:7 RE]

God is the object for all people with understanding to have faith in for life and salvation. [LoF 2]

Three things are necessary so that anyone with understanding may exercise faith in God towards life and salvation: The idea that he actually exists, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes, and an actual knowledge that the course you are pursuing is according to his will. [LoF 3]

The perfections of God’s attributes and characteristics [LoF 4:1-2]:

God has all faith or power, and was God before the world was created, and is the same God now, and He always will be. [LoF 3:13, 4:5]
God has all mercy, and He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in goodness, and He was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting. [LoF 3:14, 4:7]
God has all right actions, or justice, and He never changes. His course is one eternal round and He is always willing to teach. He teaches by the power of grace, and gives liberally, to the just and the unjust. [LoF 3:15,21, 4:6,11, James 1:2 RE, Ether 5:5 RE]
God has all correct judgment against the wicked, and He is no respecter of persons (of whatever race or color, young or old, bond or free, male or female) but every person who fears God and works righteousness is accepted of Him. [LoF 3:17, 4:7]
God has all truth and He is truthful and cannot lie. [LoF 3:16, 4:8]
God has all knowledge, and He is loving, such that He shares understanding through wisdom that He might save all His creatures. He is love. [LoF 3:18, 4:4,9, 1 John 4:8, John 4:3 RE]

“The fundamental principles of our religion is the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, ‘that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven;’ and all other things are only appendages to these, which pertain to our religion.” [Joseph Smith, “Elders’ Journal, July 1838,” p. 44].

The Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. The Old Testament contains old covenants. The Book of Mormon, combined with the New Testament, constitutes the new covenant, and both are the word of God as far as they are translated correctly. Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” [HC 4:461]. The Teachings and Commandments and the Pearls of Great Price are the word of God as far as they are translated correctly. These scriptures are not all that God has revealed or that He has now revealed. God’s words never cease and He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God. [WL (AoF) 1:29, 1:30, see also Answer and Covenant]

Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven whereby salvation may come. Salvation comes by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through the merits of his atonement. [2 Nephi 13:6 RE, WL (AoF) 1:24]

“Doctrine” means an approved body of teachings.

The doctrine of Jesus Christ is as follows:

“Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me, and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, every where, to repent and believe in me; and whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my doctrine; and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me, believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me; for he will visit him with fire, and with the Holy Ghost; and thus will the Father bear record of me; and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost, are one. 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. Verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my doctrine; and whoso buildeth upon this, buildeth upon my rock; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock, but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell standeth open to receive such, when the floods come, and the winds beat upon them” [3 Nephi 5:9 RE]

“Gospel” means good news, or topics approved for preaching. “Preaching” means public pronouncements that attract interested persons to be taught more.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is as follows:

“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you, that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me; and my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, I might draw all men unto me; that as I have been lifted up by men, even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil; and for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father, I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name, shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father, at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father; and this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words; and no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest, save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment; repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do, that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do, even that shall ye do; therefore if ye do these things, blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” [3 Nephi 12:5 RE]

Commandments are directions from God on how we may act so that it may turn to our salvation [D&C 80:2 RE]. Keeping commandments produces good works, which are expressions of our belief in God’s character and attributes.

The essential commandments are contained in the Sermon at Bountiful [see 3 Nephi 5-7:1 RE]. The Sermon on the Mount or at Bountiful is the Law of Christ.

“Good” is defined as keeping God’s commandments and “bad” is defined as not keeping God’s commandments.

“Sin” is defined as not keeping the commandments of God that you know about and understand correctly. “Transgression” is generally defined as not keeping the commandments of God, even when you are ignorant of them, but sometimes means to cross over the limits of the law in general, whether you know the law or not.

Repentance is turning away from sin and ignorance and facing God. God forgives sin when we forsake it and seek forgiveness. Believers in Jesus Christ repent by gaining knowledge of His ways and doing as He did. [D&C 17:8 RE]

Men and women will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam and Eve’s transgression. Little children have no need of repentance, and are incapable of repentance. [WL (AoF) 1:23, Moroni 8 RE]

The wicked are those who refuse to repent, for as long as they rebel. [D&C 27:10 RE]

Any sacrifice to God must be accompanied by a broken heart and a contrite (or willing) spirit [3 Nephi 4:7 RE]. The sacrifice of all earthly things is eventually required of all the faithful in some way or form known by them and God to obtain the faith necessary for life and salvation, and to obtain eternal life [LoF 5].

To hold proper authority to perform outward ordinances, a man must be called of God by prophecy (if they have desires to serve God, they are called to the work [D&C 99:1 RE]), and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. True messengers of God will never take wages for their ministerial service. [WL (AoF) 1:26, 2 Nephi 11:10 RE] The constitution of the priesthood, and of all religious discourse, is outlined in D&C 47 RE, D&C 121 LE.

All followers of Christ, men and women, old and young, can be called of God to teach, expound, exhort, and invite all to come unto Christ, and to bless and heal others through the power of faith and by the laying on of hands.

Baptism is an ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and is only to be administered to those who have understanding, who have arrived at the age of accountability, which is at least eight years old [D&C 73:4 RE, JST Genesis 17:11]. Baptism is required of all who believe in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. Baptism must be performed by immersion, by one holding proper authority, and when possible, in living water such as a river, lake, or sea. Our Lord gave the following instructions:

“Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: ‘Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.’ And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.” [3 Nephi 5:8 RE]

The Holy Ghost is the promised gift of the Father to those who have faith in His Son, repent of their sins, and receive baptism. “Therefore it is given to abide in you, the record of heaven, the Comforter, the peaceable things of immortal glory, the truth of all things, that which quickeneth all things which maketh alive all things, that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice and judgment,” [Genesis 4:7 RE]. This connection to God will give you access to truth, which speaks to your mind and heart. There are gifts of the spirit such as the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc. [WL (AoF) 1:28]. If you deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you and you know that you deny it, this is a sin which is unpardonable. Whoever murders against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for them to obtain a forgiveness. Therefore, when following the way, have a determination to serve Christ to the end of your mortal lives. [Alma 19:1 RE, Hebrews 6:1-6 RE, Mosiah 2:2 RE]

The names of those who are baptized are to be recorded [D&C 51:4-5 RE], and the followers of Christ should join in fellowship when possible:

“And after they had been received unto baptism and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the Church of Christ, and their names were taken that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith. And the church did meet together oft to fast and to pray and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.” [Moroni 6, see also D&C 4:14 RE]

Sacrament is an ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper consists of bread and wine, is the means by which He may fill us with His Spirit, and is offered to all who have been baptized. The bread is broken, and all kneel [3 Nephi 8:4] while the man says the following prayer, exactly as written:

“O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” [Moroni 4]

The man who is officiating also blesses the wine (or an alternative, such as grape juice, which symbolizes the blood of our Lord). He takes the cup [3 Nephi 8:7] and says the following prayer, exactly as written:

“O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” [Moroni 5]

Giving to the poor is a law of the gospel of Jesus Christ: “And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.” [Mosiah 2:2 RE]

Marriage is an ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman, as originally established by God between Adam and Eve. The woman and the man are to be equally yoked, working together as one in the Lord to follow Him and to fulfill the duty devolving upon them to teach their children the principles of the gospel. The ceremony for contracting marriage follows the guidance of the Spirit. Marriages sealed by the Lord’s oath in a sacred place will endure beyond death and into the Father’s kingdom. [see the Answer and Covenant]

Receiving the covenant is an ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ [see the Answer and Covenant].
Jesus Christ will personally visit you before you die and give you further doctrine and commandments if you draw near to him in this life. This is called “being redeemed from the fall.” [see the Answer and Covenant, Ether 1:12 RE]

Israel will be gathered and the Ten Tribes restored. Zion will be built upon the American continent and Christ will reign personally upon the earth. The earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. [WL (AoF) 1:31]

The gospel requires its followers to allow everyone (including other professing followers of Christ) to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and to worship how, where, and what they may. [WL (AoF) 1:32]

The gospel requires its followers to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, to do good to all, to believe all things, to hope all things, to endure many things, to hope to be able to endure all things, and to seek after anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy. This is faith, hope, and charity. [WL (AoF) 1:34, Moroni 7]

It is an eternal principle that the first shall be last and the last shall be first [Mark 8:16 RE]. Also, they that exalt themselves shall be abased, and they that abase themselves shall be exalted [Ez. 9:9 RE]. Therefore, if you have righteous vows and obligations to apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth in your churches, or to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law in your countries, keep those obligations. So far as you have the opportunity to do so, be free, and govern yourselves as peacemakers and as the children of God. [WL (AoF) 1:33, 1:37, 3 Nephi 5:10 RE]

Lectures of Repentance – All Audio and Video Presentations

In order to advance clarifications and present the Lectures of Repentance and the message it contains, I’ve been asked by my fellowship to do presentations on each lecture. Here is the audio and video of all of the presentations. The lectures start with #8 and continue through #14, adding 7 lectures to the 7 in Joseph Smith’s Lectures of Faith.

All Files:

Lectures of Repentance

Lectures of Repentance Submission Conclusions

Here are my conclusions after lengthy study of the submission process surrounding the Lectures of Repentance. First: a review. Here are some of our past statements about our involvement with the Lord on these lectures:

“We testify that He has asked us to write these lectures and share them this way,” Lectures of Repentance, Preface.

This statement holds true. Only, take note of exactly what we said:

“These lectures have been prepared carefully through the application of the spirit of prophecy and revelation as best as we have been able to do so through fasting and prayer, but I could not have written them without having so complete a framework from which to draw from, as laid down by the Prophet and Seer, Joseph Smith, Jr. I do not count myself his equal. I haven’t seen the Lord. I see through a glass darkly at this point, but through the assistance of the “Lectures on Faith,” which have acted as a Urim and Thummim, or lights and perfections, the “Lectures of Repentance” have developed in the most natural way, like the dews on the grass in the morning. There was given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, oftentimes only one or two phrases or paragraphs being produced in a day, and it caused me to marvel.” Preface, Lectures of Repentance

The way which the Lord asked me in answer to my prayers was through impressions (not personal visits), and to write that I see through a glass darkly. The process was a careful application, but not devoid of human weakness.

Next, here are the answers I gave to the scripture committee:


Scripture Committee Submission Criteria Question and Answers:

  1. Have you gone to the Lord to verify that what you received is from Him? Yes.
  2. Have you asked the Lord if what you have written is correct? Yes.
  3. Have you asked the Lord if what you have written is intended for you/your family only or is for a wider audience? If it’s for a wider audience, who is that audience? Yes, the world.
  4. Have you asked the Lord if you should submit this to be added to the scriptures? Yes. See explanation of how I received them above, and the future vision in my mind’s eye that I had of their inclusion before the scripture project was even contemplated.

Those are a sufficient portion of the questions that deal with the most controversial aspects. They are still true as well in the context of how I presented information in the Preface:

“Judge for yourselves if the thoughts contained in these lectures are from the mind of God or not. Test them point by point. If the ‘Lectures on Faith’ give us the springboard from which to know about God, and then advise us how to begin to know Him in reality and not just in theory, then it will be as easy to test if these lectures are good or not, as it is to tell the day from the night. They testify of Christ, and I testify of Him by the small portion of the Holy Ghost within me, and from what limited knowledge I have of God at this point in my life as I have conversed with Him through a veil only. If there are mistakes in the ‘Lectures of Repentance’, then it will be proven in time by others who have more of the mind of God than I do, but it won’t be by peer review or endless debate. If what is written is sufficient to outline the true points of Christ’s doctrine concerning repentance, as it follows the inspired conclusions and expounds upon the ‘Lectures on Faith,’ then so be it.”

Someone on the scripture committee read the line, “If there are mistakes in the ‘Lectures of Repentance’, then it will be proven in time by others who have more of the mind of God than I do, but it won’t be by peer review or endless debate,” as very confrontational. It wasn’t intended to be. It was an honest remark and expectation that chosen vessels of the Lord would have to vet what I’ve written and make corrections to parts I don’t have experience with. Those who know the Lord personally, who have seen Him, and have a commission to determine the correct tests for what is scriptural and what is not can more accurately judge those parts I wrote to the best of my ability as an unredeemed person. My efforts on these lectures equate more to Sidney Rigdon’s contributions to the Lectures on Faith than to Joseph Smith’s, and I freely admit that in the tenor of the comments in the preface. My answers to the above four questions to the scripture committee about my thoughts on the Lord’s answers to my prayers are also seeing through a glass darkly. Here is what I have learned since.


John Pratt’s article as a sign on my submission:

“Today is 1 Dog on the Sacred Round, the day on which the laws of Moses found in Deuteronomy were given. It is also one of the holiest days this year, being holy on 8 sacred calendars. To celebrate, an article identifying the laws we are supposed to be following has been posted at http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/2017/laws_of_god.html .

Enjoy (or repent, whichever applies),


Brian Zang
Apr 8

to John

“Wow! I just submitted the Lectures of Repentance for consideration to be included in the new restoration scriptures project and I had no idea of the significance of the day!”

The above interaction shows the anecdotal signs I believe in that prove to me that I did the right thing in submitting the material for consideration in the scriptures. But, I do not pretend to know all the reasons why, nor do I assume more about their meaning than the simple idea that I should take note and ponder their meaning. The scripture project is an evolving thing, and we all needed to go through this process to get to the point we are at now in discovering the scope the Lord wants on the project. My submission was part of that learning process, and it was good to bring these things to the light to be scrutinized.


Negative Reactions and My Response:

One commenter wrote that the language and style were off-putting, and found it contradicted scripture. He didn’t get around to mentioning exactly how. I wasn’t persuaded. Others have read it, including children, and been benefited. Perhaps it needed the benefit of presentations like I have started on this blog, explaining my motivations, and relating the scriptures and the message. Many have had the same reaction to the Lectures on Faith until they have become more popular of late, but the style is more like a teacher’s manual than it is simple statements. The message is plain, but it covers a lot of area in a small space. My use of older language (although it is not thee’s and thou’s, but similar technical sounding theological arguments), was before Denver Snuffer’s Testimony of John project highlighted that it was ok to cast scripture in modern language that wasn’t more formal, but in addition to that, the format of the lectures is instructive for providing a familiar layout.

A close friend of mine had some thoughts settle on him overnight after I mentioned the request for feedback about submitting them. He thought the format was clumsy, but he read through the material. He felt the timing was off, and more important parts of the scripture project needed to be focused on. I took his input seriously. He has since asked me to elaborate on the meanings in the Lectures in video / audio presentations, and I will continue to do that. I wasn’t persuaded about his comment that it could seem like I was being presumptuous. I think the Lord can speak for his own involvement in the Lectures and I never intended to be presumptuous. I just know God was involved in some way, and as I said, I see through a glass darkly on exactly how and why. All I can do is expound on a teaching level with the best of my understanding.

Which brings me to the scripture committee and the scope of the scripture project: They have been kind and I think we have learned similarly that less is more at this point in providing a set of scriptures that the Lord can accept, and in return give us a covenant in relation to it. I do not believe that seeing the Lord is the only criteria for judging if a person is a valid source of revelation. So, it is possible that the Lectures belong in the scriptures in some format, whether just as I have written them, or in a corrected form. But, we don’t have a good set of criteria that we have all learned as a group for what qualifies. Seeing the Lord is important in some way in relation to scripture writing, but he sometimes gives words to many different people in different ways. I don’t know to judge what rises to a level of scripture beyond saying it should conform to God’s character and attributes as outlined in the Lectures on Faith. But, who but those who really know God face to face can say they understand enough of God’s character to write legitimate scripture? For someone like myself, I can write by applying the spirit of prophesy and revelation as best as I can, but it takes someone more knowledgeable of God than me to judge if I did that well enough.


Impressions from Answers to Prayer

In conclusion, I haven’t been persuaded by the naysayers. Their arguments have some validity, which I have weighed out, but in the end, something was off in each of their arguments against the Lectures. They are just as blind as I am on these points, it seems. I have labored to try and dispel misunderstanding and ambiguities.

However, neither have I been persuaded by the praise I have received. Inspired teaching has reached the level of scripture at times. These lectures could be that. But, just because I am outside of the scripture committee circle, and just because I have taken long efforts to write this, doesn’t mean it ought to be in the scriptures on those points alone. Both of those praises have been advanced by some who have not even read what I wrote yet.

Later, I was talking to a friend about the process of submitting them, and he didn’t take a stance on the Lectures. While we were talking, I distinctly felt impressions in my mind about my lack of qualification to say whether these Lectures should be in the scriptures or not. They may be worthy of that designation, but in keeping with my preface that I see through a glass darkly, I am still a blind guide. I just don’t know if they should be, and I’ve only ever said I believe they should, and I envisioned them that way. I have fulfilled the obligation I had with my best impressions that I should submit them, and I have learned a little bit more as I’ve gone along. The Lectures seem to be outside of the scope of this scripture project, although not for the reasons I have heard from others so far. I can even answer the recorder’s questions positively enough to think they should be admitted on those grounds, but given the other impressions I’ve had about my lack of ability to say they should be accepted, I wonder if I am flawed in my judgment of those areas as well, or those criteria are insufficient (on their own) for determining scripture. I think we all still have a lot to learn, and these are interesting questions worth deep pondering for sure. God bless. Below are the answers to the recorder’s questions (which were put in the area on his site designated as his personal, non-official, thoughts), but again, I am not persuaded to take those answers and use them to promote the inclusion of the Lectures of Repentance in the scriptures.


Recorder’s Personal Writings about the Criteria, and My Answers (But Still Not Sufficient)

. Does the scripture emphasize a hierarchal or institutional structure rather than an equality among individuals? If the answer is yes, cast it out.

No, the lectures don’t do that
. Is the scripture to or about an individual without any other relevance to the body of the church as a whole? If the answer is yes, cast it out.

No, the lectures are for a general audience, as all mankind that is accountable needs repentance.
. Is the scripture revelatory or doctrinal in such a way that advances the reader’s knowledge of Jesus Christ and his desire to keep His commandments? If the answer is yes, keep it in.

Yes, the desire to keep his commandments is clearly evident in the intent to believe in God’s character and attributes and the connection that is made in the lectures between how keeping his commandments is a natural outcome of believing in the perfections of his character and attributes.
. Is the scripture historical without revelatory or doctrinal content? Nephi had two books; one on which he wrote the heads of the things given of the Spirit, which he should teach the people, and the other which contained the more part of the doings of the people and their wars and contentions. Same principle here. If the answer is yes, cast it out.

No, the lectures are based on scriptural teachings and the doctrine of Christ concerning spiritual matters.
. Does the scripture teach Terrestrial and Celestial principles, practices, and doctrines? If the answer is yes, keep it in. We need all this we can get.

Not sure what the exact differences are, or what definitions this question includes.
. Does the scripture contain anything pertaining to a covenant of land for the development of the New Jerusalem? If the answer is yes, keep it in.

. Does the scripture develop understanding of the Patriarchal Order? If the answer is yes, keep it in, because that which was in the beginning concerning government and priesthood will also be part of this covenant.

. Does the scripture develop a more complete understanding of the ordinances of Baptism, Sacrament, Marriage and Priesthood Ordination applicable to this new dispensation?

Yes, Keith in fact said there would be more revelation on the two types of baptism and Lecture 14 speaks on this topic and references Keith’s post on that idea. The approaches to baptism and sacrament are consistent with all that Denver Snuffer has mentioned expounding scripture on those topics.



To recap, I won’t be advocating that these lectures be included in the scriptures. They were submitted, but it may be wise to exclude them from the voting list. I just don’t know. That is out of my hands. Maybe someone who knows the Lord better will vet them and make corrections if needed. Maybe they are just useful teaching lessons. Maybe there is a better way to present the material. I will continue to do presentations on them to aid in understanding the message that includes things the Lord helped in illuminating for me. At this level, I still have a right to teach, preach, expound, and exhort all to come unto Christ, which is done through weak people like myself. There are also those who are chosen beyond that level to convey Christ’s words and put His name on it, and we are learning we want those messages in the scripture set for this project to take back to Him for approval. I do not know if these lectures rise to that level. That will be for others to determine, or improve them so they can be claimed as such.

“How to Live During an Apostasy” Published


How to Live During an Apostasy – 6 x 9 – pdf for download

How to Live During an Apostasy – eBook for download


This blog, cachevalleybaptisms.org, now titled liveduringapostasy.wordpress.com , has been published as a book entitled “How to Live During an Apostasy.”

A good audience for the book is those who are still LDS who have the remnant spirit in them, but desire to serve in the LDS church still.

The index of Preserving the Restoration and how to form a fellowship and how to administer tithing posts are in the ending chapters.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1539709582/ Print edition

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071QZJX46/ Kindle Edition with links

The cost is as low as I could type it in on createspace for amazon. Some of their advertising channels still give $1 or less profit at that base rate, so I will donate it to the fellowships.

Happy Easter!