Saturday, December 29, 2018

Android Scriptures App

The Android REScriptures app is now available on the Google Play Store. It includes the ability to read the text of all three volumes of the Restoration Scriptures (last updated in September) entirely offline as well as to do keyword and exact phrase searches in the text. It is still a work in progress and will get updated versions of each work as they are completed (Vol. 2 should be updated by the end of next week).

You can find it here:

Great thanks for the ongoing efforts to bring us such tools

UPDATES: When updated scriptures are made available to the REScriptures app, the app needs to be updated on your phone in order for you to receive them. To make that happen automatically:

To automatically update apps on your Android device:
  1. Open the Google Play Store app .
  2. Tap Menu Settings.
  3. Tap Auto-update apps.
  4. Select an option: Auto update apps at any time to update apps using either Wi-Fi or mobile data. Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only to update apps only when connected to Wi-Fi.
 FUTURE FEATURES: The developer explained: I also intend to continue adding improvements to the app. For the next version, I would like to add some basic settings for adjusting the font, font size, color scheme, etc. I also want to improve the search to allow filtering by volume and book like you can do at

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays to All

Folks, we're getting closer to completing the project! Volume 2 has been completed and the PDF has been updated on this site. Amazon's text has been updated and will be updated as quickly as possible. Please note that we have a software issue that is causing a spacing problem in the new running headers numbering. We will be looking into tweaking it so that the fancy scriptures are consistent.

Volume 3, Teachings and Commandments, is well under way and we hope to have the JSH updated on soon so that we can ensure that the coding behind the site is working properly. It won't take us long after that to update the whole volume. But it will be a few weeks for us to edit and reference check the new Glossary. (The size of the Glossary has tripled, for those interested.) We thank Denver for his help with reviewing all of the material therein.

There are a few things we want to make you aware of concerning the T&C. We want the T&C to be as close to "raw" Joseph Smith as possible, but getting a perfect rendering is impossible, mainly because there are usually multiple manuscripts for any given section and it isn't possible to guarantee which manuscript is the most correct. Some of the text decision-making required hours of prayerful work and discussion by those assigned to review the work during the past year. We thank them for their contributions and we are committed to honoring their decisions whenever possible as we proof the text and discover any remaining errors. We have also determined that updating all of the archaic language in the T&C could have the unintended effect of washing away some of the flavor introduced by Joseph Smith. To counter that, we've determined to use those sections in the T&C that were not revelations but that were written by Joseph (1, 116, 117, 138, 139, 140, 146, 147), to indicate which archaic (to us) terms he used in his regular communications. Using his non-revelatory writings helps establish a more objective guide for archaic language updates. For example, in the Bible the term "tarry" has been updated to "stay, remain, wait", but Joseph appears to have used the term in his everyday speech, so "tarry" won't be updated in the T&C.

Once Volume 3 is completed in January, it will be updated on Amazon,, and this blog. We will also make sure to publish PDFs for each volume that show all of the updates and corrections made since May. And we will have an updated stand-alone PDF of the Glossary made available. Several folks have asked if we can publish a stand-alone Glossary on Amazon. We'll look into that.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Who's interested in leather-bound scriptures?

We are taking a poll of how many sets of leather-bound scriptures we would likely need to order in the first printing. If you plan on purchasing a set as soon as possible, please take the poll:

This pool will run through Christmas.
Please spread the word.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Why the scriptures still aren't ready.

It's been noted that the scriptures project is taking a long time. We couldn't agree more. And we even assumed it would have been done long before now. But when we started our final proofing, we unexpectedly found discrepancies that had to be addressed. We're still at it, but getting closer to finishing.

As posted last week, the Book of Mormon has been completed, the New Testament is well on it's way to completion, the T&C had far fewer hands involved and shows to still be faithful to the manuscripts (meaning the proofing will move far more quickly), all of which will hopefully be done by the end of December. That leaves the OC to tackle. With the momentum and unity we've developed, we hope to complete that work by the next general conference in late April.

Know that we are striving to do only what is needed to make sure the texts faithfully honor Joseph Smith's work and are properly proofed before we all invest resources in printing up the high-quality scriptures. There is way too much that could be "fixed" in the scriptures, but we have neither the permission nor the time to do more than what we are doing.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the fancy set of scriptures. We already have a bid from a US printer and are awaiting a bid from the largest Bible printer in India. Arrangements for pre-ordering sets of scriptures is being researched. A poll will be taken soon to get a feel for the initial quantity of sets to order (it won't be binding - you won't be committing to an order, just giving us a realistic perspective on how many sets to consider ordering initially). The criteria for the fancy scriptures:
  • Leather-bound
  • Archive quality, 100% cotton biblestock (onion skin paper), approx. 900 pages per inch
  • Smythe-sewn binding with silk thread
  • Archive quality ink
  • guilded edges, rounded corners
  • 2 bookmark ribbons per volume
We anticipate a 3 volume set of scriptures to cost less than $100. The scriptures will not be sold by individual volume, only in complete sets.

We appreciate your patience - and especially the patience of our families. We want this done more than you do.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Tracking Changes

The person who has been developing the site, writing code and creating the needed architecture, emailed me a copy of the Book of Mormon text showing all the changes made from early May until today. We started our final work through about that time, so this will give many folks the chance to check their own copies against what is available today.

We will do the same thing for each of the other works as they are completed.

Thank God for technology.

The documents can be found in the right-hand column titled Final Tracking Docs, just after the PDFs of the current works.

NOTE: The Book of Mormon doc had a glitch. The corrected doc was updated Sat about 1:30pm

NOTE 2: If you think there's a typo or problem text with anything other than the Book of Mormon, please be patient as we have almost completed the review of the New Testament and the T&C, but haven't been able to update the text, either on Amazon or on You may likely be notifying us of something we have already corrected.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Questions about buying scriptures - Are they current?

From an email today:

I have...questions, I am hoping you can help me find the answers to. I would like to buy the Old & New Covenants, as well as the T&C that are currently for sale on However, I would like to know if the needed corrections of errors that people have been sending in, are updated/corrected in these, if I buy them now? (*If not, do you happen to know when they will be? I really like these paper editions (GREAT for note taking), but want to make sure I the errors found, up to date, corrected in them.) Another question... Is there anywhere, or any possible place that can be made accessible, where we can see what corrections have been made/are needing to be made to the New Covenants? (The T&C & The Old Covenants too, if possible!!!) My thought is, if I know all of the errors & what the corrections are suppose to be, I can go through my paper copies I have/am purchasing & make the necessary correction with a pen. That would be so helpful IF the ones we can order today on are not updated.

The scriptures aren't finished yet. We have completed the Book of Mormon and don't plan any future changes. We are in the middle of the New Testament and hope to finish by around Christmas. That will mean that Vol.2 will be ready around New Year's. We will announce that. The T&C won't need as much time to complete and will be done sometime in Jan., hopefully. Then the OT will get a workover by late April (next Gen Conf) we hope.

As we reach major milestones we update the text on Amazon. For example, the 4 Gospels are done and we have updated Vol.2 with that portion.

The vast majority of changes are punctuation, though we keep finding archaic phrases and grammar that we have to tackle.

We kept a running list of typos on the scriptures blog, but it took so much time to keep updating it that it hurt the progress of the work and we stopped making note of those changes.
There may be a way to post our copies of the final run-throughs for each work, showing what was changed and why. We'll look into that.

REPOST: If you think you've found a typo, do some research first.

Several emails have come in recently to point out typos. The good news is that every one of them has not been a typo, but has been text that has been restored to Joseph's original. The bad news is that these folks haven't bothered to research the issue on their own and are simply handing us some busy work that takes us away from getting this project done. and when you add up the time it takes to go and look and verify, those small pauses become significant. So we're reposting this from last April when we first invited you to look before you leap:

We get emails for potential typos almost daily. Yet the majority of them are not typos or errors, but are simply unusual text. Remember that the Lord rescinded permission to update the archaic language in the Book of Mormon. Also remember that Middle English was in use during Joseph Smith's day. And realize that the LDS scriptures are not a valid source of reference. The scripture project was undertaken to correct the errors introduced not only by scholars, but also by the LDS church.

If you discover something that you think is an error, please research it on your own first to confirm that it is an error. Yes, it might be faster for us to look into it since we've been doing this for a couple of years, but if it takes perhaps 5 minutes to resolve one submission, and you multiply that to include all of the emails we get, it puts an unfair burden on our time. We're still working on cleaning up the damage that software inflicts on text. And we've already sacrificed many thousands of hours on this project. We need to get to know our families again.

Here are the resources you might need to verify that you've found a problem. Obviously some typos are self-evident and don't need research, but most are not. Many are unusual, but not blatant. Anyway, here's where you can go to do your research:

Joseph Smith's personal bible
Old Testament Manuscript 1
Old Testament Manuscript 2

VOLUME 2 - THE NEW COVENANTS (New Testament, Book of Mormon)
New Testament Manuscript 1
New Testament Manuscript 2

Printer's Manuscript
Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, 1st Edition
(We used the 2nd Edition, but it is not available online)

Revelation Book 1
Revelation Book 2
Book of Abraham
1835 Doctrine and Covenants
D&C correlation to earliest documents

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Parable vote results

The results were 277 for, 3 against adding the Lord's parable to the T&C.  Here is a link to the official results:

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Poll: Section 176

To participate in voting about the adoption of the Lord's answer to our Statement of Principles in to the T&C, click:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Should we adopt the Lord's answer regarding our Statement of Principles?

We need to decide whether we will include the following answer from the Lord regarding our Statement of Principles in the Teachings and Commandments as a new section (176):

Revelation given in response to our adopted Statement of Principles, 4 October 2018, through Denver Snuffer.

1 You  ask  on  behalf  of  my  people,  and  therefore  I  answer  my  people.  Hear,  therefore,  my words:
2 What  have  you  learned? What ought you to have learned? Consider this:

3 A master called his servants and told them, I send you to a far off land where there is no stone, and command you to there build me a house. When you are done, send me word and I will come there to dwell. All his servants were faithful to their master and obeyed.
4 Some reasoned among themselves that their master dwelt in a stone house, and because this far off land had no stone, they ought gather and take stone with them. Others reasoned among themselves that because the master said there was no stone, there must be trees, and therefore brought axes and tools to build a wooden house. And yet others reasoned among themselves that they should go and see the place their master had chosen, not knowing beforehand what would be there.
5 The first group gathered stones as they traveled, with great difficulty in their chosen labor. The second group went with haste to the place, but found no trees with which to build a wooden house, and their tools were of no use. Their plans having failed, they remembered their fellow servants who gathered stones for a stone house and returned to join their labor. Returning, they met the group planning only to go to the place and do as their master commanded. Those returning said, We have seen the place. There is no stone and no trees there with which to build a house. We return to help gather stones. Come with us. Those going replied, Not so. We will see for ourselves the place the master has chosen and then obey his command. Those returning said, You are foolish, for the master said: There is no stone there, and therefore must want us to bring stone.
6 The servants departed, one to see the site chosen by the master, and the other to join those gathering stone. When the servants arrived at the site, they too saw there was no stone for a stone house, neither was there wood for a wooden house. They pondered why their master should choose such a place for his house. Looking about they saw the place was high and lifted up, as if the whole world could be seen from the wondrous place. An approaching enemy could be spied from a long distance. They said, Surely the master has chosen a place of safety, peace, and beauty. Our master was wise in choosing this spot. He must also have been wise in commanding we build here his house. What are we to do? Ought we also labor to bring the distant stone?
7 But among these servants, some began to prepare the ground, clearing a place to build the house. As they moved away the grass and brush, they found there was clay suitable to make bricks with which to build a house. They told their companions, See, there is clay here. Let us make bricks and build the master a house from what we have found here on his chosen spot. And so they made bricks -- laboring, digging, shaping, and drying. These servants reasoned among themselves that the labor would be better done if their fellow servants joined them. They sent messengers to those laboring to bring stone.
8 The messengers told their weary, fellow servants -- now moving a great mound of rock -- that while they were still distant from the place chosen by their master, work on his house had begun. They said, Come now quickly with us, for we have found clay to make bricks at the place the master has chosen, and with you we can accomplish what the master commanded. Many were willing, and some were offended, and some wanted to stop all effort, and return to their master and tell him his command was too great. They argued among themselves, and for a moment forgot their master’s command, and forgot those who were laboring to make bricks from clay at the place the master had chosen.
9 After a season of quarreling and disputing, some said, We have neglected our master’s command long enough. We go to help make bricks of clay to build our master’s house at the place he has commanded. Seeing some depart, those who remained called for all to reason together because the labor was hard and the loss of even a few made moving stones even more difficult. Soon, many others went to join in making bricks. A few others returned to complain to the master. Another few continued to move the stones with little hope to complete their labor to build their master a stone house such as he had before.
10 When the house of brick was complete, all the servants returned to tell their master as they were commanded. Returning, they came upon the place where those few remained faithfully moving stone. Many had compassion on their fellow servants and began a new labor with them. A messenger was sent to tell the master his house was finished. Those who had compassion said, The master’s house is finished. What need is there for further labor to carry stone for the house? Let us not waste the effort of our fellow servants who have labored hardest, and we will put the stones to good use.
11 Hearing the work was complete, the master, with his household, departed for the new house. On the way, they found the pathway improved by stones laid to pave the way. The master was pleased, and said, I asked you build a house at the spot I had chosen, and this you have now faithfully done. But you have also made a stone road in place of the old pathway to a place where there is no stone to use. Well done my faithful servants, for all of you have labored to do as I have commanded, and proven your faithfulness. I will accept the house and the road, that none of your labor be lost.

12 I ask again, What have you learned? What ought you to have learned?
13 I say to you that there is need for but one house, and I accept the statement you have adopted, and approve it as your statement to be added. But I say again, there was honor in the labor of others. Whereas I look upon the heart and see faithful service, many among you do not look at, nor see, nor value what I, the Lord, love in the hearts of my people. As I have said before, I say again: Love one another, labor willingly alongside each other. Learn what you ought, and when I ask you to labor, do so wisely, even if you know not beforehand what you will find. I do not ask what you cannot do. Trust my words and proceed always in faith, believing that with me all things are possible. All who have been faithful are mine.

A poll will be posted for all to choose. The poll will run from Sunday, Oct 14 through Wednesday Oct 17. A link to that poll will be posted on this blog at the start of the poll. Please vote only once.

Sunday, October 7, 2018


Weve noticed a few people struggling to cite the Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith History, Book of Abraham, and Testimony of St. John. Here's what we imagined when we structured them for citation:

Though each of them is a section within the T&C, those section numbers are just place holders. Each should be cited as it's own "book":

Lectures on Faith (or LoF) 2:104 (meaning lecture 2, paragraph 104)
Abraham (or Abr.) 4:6
Joseph Smith History (or JSH) 5:2 (meaning Joseph Smith History, part 5, paragraph 2)
Testimony of St. John (or TSJ) 8:9

With only 4 section numbers to remember, this seemed to be the cleanest approach.

Hope this helps.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Book of Mormon - Compact Size

Some have requested a stand-alone Book of Mormon to share with others, or simply to be less obvious. We have formatted one like we did with the Large Print version. This new compact version measures 5.25" x 8" and has 550 pages - that's the best we could do. It will be available on Amazon, we hope, as of Monday the 8th... It's now live.

NOTE: If Amazon shows that one of the books is OUT OF STOCK or does not give a price for a NEW copy, that simply means we are in the process of uploading and approving an update that is adding to or fixing the current version. It will be available again within 24 hours.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


The Lord has given an answer with regards to the adoption of a statement of principles by this people. It can be found here. He has accepted our statement.

We have a living canon of scriptures. We therefore have a need to determine how our scriptures are to grow. A temporary solution is given below, but we need to formalize some sort of process. The next general conference will include the opportunity to have such discussions. Until then, the process given below will only function as a temporary solution.

It is easy to assume that a revelation from the Lord (see Part 3) would automatically be added to the T&C. However, no one, whether Chris Hamill, or the disbanded scriptures committee, or even Denver himself, has the authority to simply add it. That permission must come from the voice of the people. And there are two steps involved in the process: preparing it for the T&C, and formal adoption of the revelation as scripture.

The first step can be accomplished only after permission is given. The simplest and quickest means would be to poll this people online, as we have already done several times, including for the statement of principles. With the finalization of the text for the T&C likely being done by the end of this year, it would be useful to include this new revelation in the text. An online poll would allow for that.

The second step requires the formal adoption of the revelation as scripture. Such would be appropriate in the next general conference. An overwhelmingly positive response to the poll would indicate that the revelation will likely be adopted as scripture and therefore would be safe to include in the finalized T&C text.

By way of update, we hope to have both the New Testament and the T&C texts ready by the end of the year. That is a HOPE, not an expectation. We also have someone working on ebook versions of all of the scriptures that will be downloadable for free, though Kindle versions will also be made available. And a smaller print, stand-alone version of the Book of Mormon has been requested for sharing with others. That should be available by the end of the week on Amazon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


The Lots document was accepted and sustained as a statement of principles by this people, to be printed in the scriptures. As the original assignment was to write a replacement for D&C 20, this statement will therefore become a section in the T&C. McKay has asked Denver to join with those who are asking the Lord for His approval.

Saturday, September 29, 2018



1. The reason for requiring a name is so that an effort can be made to monitor for people trying to vote both online and in person. The names will not be saved or used for any other purpose.

2. Due to misinformation, the voting was chosen to end at 11:00 a.m. MDT. It will now be extended to 3:00 p.m. Mountain to correct that problem.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Two Clarifications on voting

Several have asked about the wording of the vote in Layton. Lots of people have made wording suggestions. We have carefully considered every one. 

Here is the online wording we have chosen. The wording at the conference will differ only in that the conference will be asked to stand before voting as a visual cue to the witnesses. 

“If you are willing to adopt the Lots Statement of Principles and have it printed in our scriptures as a guide and standard, please vote yes.”

“If you cannot accept the Lots Statement of Principles and do not wish to have it printed in our scriptures as a guide and standard, please vote no.”

Feel free to pass this along.

Several online comments suggest this vote in Layton is from the scriptures committee. That committee has been disbanded and this effort is being brought forward by myself and Gordon Platt and others not from the scriptures committee.


Monday, September 24, 2018 update

The Book of Mormon text has been finalized!

That text is now live on

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Updated Statement of Principles Announcement

This Updated Statement of Principles Announcement includes additional details of the online vote and some minor but important wording changes from last week’s announcement.

We remind you that a sustaining vote to adopt the Lots Statement of Principles at the Layton conference will be conducted after the final talk on Sunday, September 30th. An online vote is open to covenant holders during the 24 hours prior to the conference vote. Online voters will need to visit for the link to the vote, once the vote goes active on Saturday, September 29th at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time). Online voting will end on Sunday, September 30th at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time)

We ask that you vote online OR at the conference but not both. We are calling this a sustaining vote because it IS NOT A VOTE TO DETERMINE THE PREFERRED DOCUMENT. That was done at the conference in Phoenix. See below.

In Phoenix the Lots Document received the most votes as the conference attendee’s preferred Statement of Principles. (
In part two of the voting process in Phoenix, many of those who preferred another Statement of Principles set aside their preference and agreed to accept the majority’s choice. 90-95% of the conference agreed to accept the Lots document. The third and last part of the vote was cancelled in Phoenix, out of a desire to avoid contention and we respect the right of those that made that decision. 

The Layton conference is the first opportunity to complete the sustaining vote that was interrupted then. The time slot for the vote in Layton will immediately follow the last talk of the conference on Sunday, September 30th.

Prior to voting, it is important to understand what you are voting on. Please read this brief summary carefully.

The purpose of the vote in Layton is to determine whether covenant holders are willing to adopt the Lots Statement of Principles as a guide and standard to be printed in our scriptures. This is not an attempt to determine WHICH document to adopt; that voting was done in Phoenix, and the Lots document received 90-95% acceptance. 

A vote to adopt would include those who favor the Lots Statement of Principles AND those who have another preference but are willing to join with the majority’s choice in order to complete the Lord’s assignment. Voting to adopt does not mean you agree with the Statement of Principles in every particular or feel that the document or process is without flaw.

A vote against adoption is appropriate for those who cannot accept the Lots Statement of Principles or the vote by which it was chosen and do not wish to see it added to our scriptures. 

We ask your help in disseminating this announcement to any who may wish to participate. 

Gordon Platt 
And others

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Large Print Book of Mormon

Because work on the Book of Mormon has now been completed, we have been able to format a large print version. It is now available on Amazon here.

It is the same page size as the other scriptures on Amazon (7" x 10"), but the font is now 13 pt. with generous spacing. It is very pleasing to the eye of any who have sampled it. The book is 664 pages.

We hope to provide other works in large print format as soon as they are completed.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Statement of Principles Announcement


Adoption and canonization of the Lots Statement of Principles.

The group that began a vote on a Statement of Principles six months ago at the Phoenix conference has been given 15 minutes by the upcoming Layton conference to conclude its business by conducting a sustaining vote for the adoption of the statement.


   In Phoenix the Lots Document received the most votes as the preferred Statement of Principles. ( 

   In part two of the voting process, many of those who preferred another Statement of Principles set aside their preference and agreed to not dispute the majority’s choice. This created a large majority of 90-95% who agreed to not dispute the choice of the Lots document.

   The third and last part of the vote was cancelled in Phoenix, out of a desire to avoid contention and we respect the right of those that made that decision.

   The Layton conference is the first opportunity to complete a sustaining vote that was interrupted then. The time slot for the vote in Layton will immediately follow the last talk of the conference on Sunday, September 30th.


The purpose of the vote will be to sustain the covenant body’s decision, made in Phoenix, and proceed to print the body’s chosen statement with the scriptures. This is not a vote on which document to adopt; that voting was done in Phoenix, and the Lots document received 90-95% majority. This vote is to complete the assignment with a sustaining vote prior to printing the scriptures.

After some brief remarks we will conduct the vote among covenant holders. This is not an opportunity for debate or consideration of other business outside the purpose of this vote.


First we will ask all those who choose to dispute the addition of the Lots Statement of Principles to the scriptures to silently stand and be recognized.

Next we will ask all those in favor of adoption of the Lots Statement of Principles to be added to the scriptures to silently stand and be recognized. This group includes those who choose to not dispute.

Three witnesses will be asked to oversee the proceedings and determine the outcome. If you are unable to attend the conference there will be an opportunity to vote online with details to follow next week.

We are, of course, hoping for unanimity; but if we reach an obvious majority in favor, it will indicate both that the Lots Statement of Principles is thereby adopted by this covenant people and that it is required to be added to the scriptures. We are assured that the requirement will be complied with.

We ask your help in informing any who might be interested in participating in this conference business.

Your servants and friends,

Gordon Platt
and others

For more information please see these links:

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Clarifications 2

The process begun in Arizona involved an initial vote to choose a document. There was a second vote planned, but the process was called off before it took place. That second vote was intended to be a sustaining vote to adopt the chosen document as our guide and standard.

Numerous people have argued that the majority vote in favor of the Lots' statement indicates we sustained it. That is incorrect. The first voting - what took place on Saturday - was described in advance as a vote to choose a document from the many presented and any not presented. At no time was it stated or implied that it was a sustaining/adopting vote. It was explained that a vote to adopt the chosen document would take place on Sunday.

There was also a period of discussion, persuasion, reasoning, etc., required to take place after the first vote, both to make sure there was no Achilles heel to the document that might only be known among the opposing minority, and to allow persuasion to inform and change minds before our voting to adopt any statement as binding. Only then, after that work took place, could a sustaining vote be reasonably taken to adopt and canonize the chosen document.

It makes a difference. The attempted steps were not completed. It's like claiming you own a car in the dealership's lot because everyone at the dealership agrees it's yours. But until you sign the papers, you have no legal right to or responsibility for that car. And until we legally bind ourselves to a statement of principles by a sustaining vote, we cannot be held accountable, nor can we claim any rights or blessings resulting from obeying the Lord's command to produce such a statement and then add it with our scriptures. We have yet to sign on the dotted line.

There may be more to clarify, but I hope others can do that and I can be done. If I have to say more, it'll be soon. I don't want to drag things out.

Friday, September 14, 2018


I have a few clarifications to make, but only time to make one on this post - I will do another post by tomorrow.

I received an email from someone who was present when the Dancing with Wolves podcast was recorded and they asked for clarification from Denver on how the decision-making example applied. They said this was Denver's response, "The answer about problem solving was independently asked and answered and involved how a group of people, like a fellowship, could avoid conflict while attempting to reach a decision. It was in that context that the question was asked and answered. I'm not sure it could be possible to have a group of hundreds, or over a thousand, have any meaningful use of that method. Too many voices would be involved."

Again, more to follow...

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

One more thing on the scriptures

Having made that progress report on behalf of those still involved in completing the scriptures project, I’m now going to address another issue regarding the scriptures. And this is coming from Chris Hamill, no one else. The rest of this post is my own opinion and perspective. I am not speaking on behalf of the former scriptures committee, or any group or individual other than myself. Also, what I’m about to say comes after many, many emails, conversations, texts, etc. with individuals, groups, and factions that all promote different agendas, but that often do not interact with each other. I am making my own observations and not giving directions or decisions.

NOTE: I need to apologize in advance – this is a helluva long post. But if we’re going to deal with something difficult or unpleasant to some of us, let’s get it all out at once and not drag out the discomfort.

One piece is still missing from the scriptures. We do not have an agreed statement of principles. There has been a long silence on the issue of a guide and standard, but recently some have started to bring up the topic again. From some of the things that are being blogged and emailed, it appears I owe everyone an apology. I’ve obviously not been clear about my involvement in the process. To be clear: I’M NOT IN CHARGE OF THE GUIDE AND STANDARD EFFORT; I’M NO AUTHORITY THAT MUST APPROVE SOMETHING; I’M NOT A REFEREE. I AM A SERVANT AND WILL ACT ON WHAT THE COVENANT PEOPLE (NOT ONE GROUP OR FACTION WITHIN THE LARGER BODY) DIRECTS ME TO DO. I DO NOT MAKE THE FINAL DECISION. In other words, I do not control what gets added to the scriptures, nor how it will be added. That is the responsibility of the covenant people to decide. The (disbanded) scripture committee is of the same mind, both in regards to my role and to their role. Again -- once a statement of principles is sustained by the people in a general conference, it will also be added with the scriptures.

Ever since the March conference in AZ ended, there has been mainly silence on the G&S matter. Everyone has been waiting for someone else to do or say something. And many have been pointing to the scriptures committee to be that party. The disbanding of the committee should have made it clear that the committee was never responsible for the G&S, only for seeing that it gets added according to the will of the people (more on that in a minute).

Within the past few weeks the matter of the G&S has reawakened. I’ve heard that some have no stomach to even deal with it. Others are leaving the movement because nothing has been accomplished. Some still believe that there is a secret hierarchy or strongmen in control. My explanation above ought to make it clear that the responsibility has always rested with this people as a whole. We’re too conditioned to want to place blame or responsibility on others. We need to look at ourselves. The scriptures committee never had any direction or permission from the people to act.

Some of us get a sick feeling in our stomachs just thinking about all the guide and standard mess. We don’t want more of it. But it’s like a bad tooth. We can’t ignore it because it will just get worse. The longer we put it off, the worse it will get and the harder it will be to remedy.

I’ve been asked, “What are the conditions the scripture committee is waiting on in order to ‘add them’ as we’ve been commanded?

When I was ready to come home off a mission, my mission president shared something with the departing group that I’ve never forgotten. He explained that there are 3 kinds of problems: direct control, indirect control, and no control problems. But there really is only one answer to all 3 problems – I have to change. Regardless of how you view the guide and standard assignment, the answer is the same – “I” have to change.

So, what are the conditions the scripture committee is waiting on in order to ‘add them’ as we’ve been commanded? The answer is, “You.” The scriptures committee has said it many times in posts and I stated it earlier – we are not in charge, and have no control or authority, etc. With no standing committee, and with attention pointed to me, I’ll state it from my stand-alone perspective: I have no right to choose a document and add it. I’m waiting for the people to agree on a statement (arguably this may have already happened), to accept it in a conference as a guide and standard (has yet to happen), and to then let me know their final decision (please help that happen). My ONLY possible reply to the people, once that happens, is, “As you wish.” In the meantime, “I” (check your mirror) have things to accomplish. Don’t look to Chris Hamill or to Denver or to Rob or to Log or to any individual or small group to solve the problem. It rests on each of us individually.

The Covenant asks us 4 questions. They begin: Do you believe ... Do you have faith ... Do you accept ... and only once, Do you covenant ...? That question asks: And do you covenant to seek to become of one heart with those who seek the Lord to establish His righteousness? This is the core issue. But notice that the bar is not set too high. There is no expectation that we be of one heart, only that we will seek to become so. The Lord expects us to have failures, to make mistakes, to get things wrong. Consider how often children have to be corrected. We should expect the same. And in the Covenant the Lord has promised to work with us, which gives me hope. Further, that expectation can be found in Denver’s explanation of how Zion will unfold: a small number will come together and will have to work out how they will be of one heart. Once that is worked out, another family joins and the process happens all over again. This continues over and over until all of Zion is filled.

We have been taught, “...the path to Zion is to be found only by following God’s immediate commands to us. That is how He will bring it. He will lead us there.” We have 2 immediate commands: “Be of one heart...” (T&C 157:53) and “I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people...When you have an agreed statement of principles, I require it to also be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow.” (T&C 157:55). Given that the Lord does not expect our hearts to be in the finished condition, only the commitment to keep working on them, it’s reasonable to assume that the immediate command to obey is getting a statement adopted and added. In order to deal with any guide and standard effort correctly, there are some misunderstandings that need to be addressed:
  • Is it even necessary that we carry out the assignment of writing a Guide and Standard?You are not excused from writing a statement of principles…” This seems pretty clear.
  • Has the assignment already been completed? Have the people (not a group or faction within the larger body) agreed on a particular statement and formally adopted it? Has that statement been added with the scriptures?
  • There is only one document in heaven and someone needs to receive it by revelation in order for us to have it…Again, “You are not excused from writing a statement of principles…” indicates where the document originates.
  • Is a single G&S required movement-wide or would several G&Ss meet the requirement?You are not excused from writing a statement of principles…” Singular.
  • Does the G&S need to be printed as part of the scriptures or does “also add it” mean something as simple as inserting it in our copies of the scriptures, as many have already done. The original assignment given by the Lord to the scriptures committee at our first meeting was that the committee was to write a replacement for D&C Section 20 (see T&C 156:20). That assignment hasn’t been changed, other than the voice of the people requiring they approve it first, and then the Lord shifting the responsibility to the people as a whole in the Answer. It appears it belongs as a section in the T&C. I acknowledge the scriptures committee held this view at one point, but have since realized this was not sufficient to satisfy the Lord's requirements.
  • Has sufficient time passed to allow another go at completing the assignment? Were earlier attempts foolish attempts to rush too fast or “rush the pass”? Like a bad tooth, it will only get worse and harder to deal with the longer it gets put off. “Rushing the pass” from Denver’s vision refers to acting without the Lord’s direction. We have direction from the Lord on what to do.
  • Is an online effort acceptable or does this assignment require being physically together to accomplish it? Does the statement have to be adopted in a conference or will a simple vote suffice? All 3 steps proposed for the conference in Gilbert, AZ (choose a document, respectfully address dissent, adopt the document) are required by the Lord for the matter to be settled.
  • Should we refrain from telling others “the Lord told me...” or is God was giving individuals assignments on the G&S which the greater body should get behind?You are not excused from writing a statement of principles…” is a collective requirement. Why would He then start piecing out parts of what He already has assigned to all of us?
  • Should we start over and see just how many points we could agree on to produce a guide and standard and abandon for now the points we can’t agree on? This might be as basic as “love God, love your neighbor, and get baptized” if we can only agree on 3 points. How does that address the needs of “others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore…bless, benefit and inform them”?
  • Do we have to be of one heart for any document to be acceptable to the Lord. See the discussion above about the 4 questions in the Covenant.
I’m not the one to tell anyone what should be done to complete this assignment. So instead, let’s consider where we are as of the last conference. By March of this year, many proposed statements had been advanced by individuals and groups. An online vote, available to anyone in the world for many days, had been held, and the outcome of the approximately 500 participants was a 93% approval for what was called the “Lots’ document.” The pushback from the scriptures committee - at the time - was that 500 people out of 1500+ recorded baptisms indicated that the outcome only represented a majority of a minority and that it couldn’t reflect the voice of the people. Hindsight, however, has opened at least my own eyes to other factors that should have been considered: Many simply don’t want to participate (based on the availability of the vote); some may never know of our efforts; some who have been baptized won’t participate because they haven’t received the Covenant. These factors, and maybe others as well, make it more likely that the initial vote WAS fairly representative of the voice of the people. If so, I apologize for our shortsightedness.

After that initial vote, an attempt was made to address those opposed to the Lots’ document or who didn’t vote. Those involved with the Lots’ document effort talked with any not supporting the document for several months afterwards. They were very well received by most, but when conversations began to become a bit contentious, they determined that continued outreach would do more harm than good. Yet they spent hundreds of hours listening to and discussing the opposing views.

The conference in AZ included another vote for a document, looking for one to rise to the top. It was open to ALL potential documents. Again, the Lots’ document gained a significant majority of the votes. It was only when those who disagreed began to voice their opposition that things fell apart and the process was subsequently halted by the conference organizers (not the Lots group). Things then went silent until recently.

Looking forward, I have some concerns that I think are likely shared by others:

  • Do we trust the Lord, that He can, as a loving parent, see that things turn out as He desires, despite our own limitations and brokenness?
  • Does everyone have a voice/vote that wants a voice/vote? What can be done to provide for that?
  • Are factions competing or cooperating? If competing, what needs to happen for that to change? Do we need to start the process over or can we bring competing ideas together?
  • If more than one group has received approval from the Lord for their document, what is the bigger picture that allows this to happen?
  • If someone disputes the outcome and remains unpersuadable, what step(s) need to be taken to resolve the impasse?
  • Will we assume that we have become of one heart if we agree on a document, or will we realize we must continue to seek to become of one heart, as we covenanted? Will we continue to study to learn how to respect our brothers and sisters and to come together? Is there a way to take that on?
  • Will many meek people remain silent and allow a process to complete, even if they object to the process as well as a document, and then resent those who may have pushed it on them or who did not listen? Or will we do all we can to create a safe environment for discussion and respectful disagreement?
  • Are the failures and flaws experienced during this exercise part of the learning process? If so, what will make our shortcomings become acceptable/tolerable to the Lord?
  • Because the Lord requires us to choose a document, persuade opposition and formally adopt the document as a people – all 3 steps attempted in the conference in Gilbert, AZ – what remains to be done?
  • Are ~3 weeks (from now until the conference in Layton) sufficient time to alert people that a decision will be attempted? And if no decision is reached, what then?
  • If the Lord could accept the scriptures project in an incomplete state - enough to extend the Covenant - can a document be adopted with the understanding that some MINOR adjustments may still need to be made prior to publishing?
  • Is it possible to adopt one document in the scriptures and, if another one is also deemed important or useful, add that one to the Appendix (which is not considered scripture), perhaps as a tool?
How will we know we’ve completed the assignment? Who can determine that a decision has been made for the people? Perhaps a metaphor might shed some light: Imagine we’re at a train station to catch the train to Zion. Most of us have decided that train #7 is the right one. A few argue that it can’t be because they are convinced that the train has to be blue and #7 isn’t blue. No matter the discussion, some of them insist we all have to get on a blue train and no one can get on a train if we dispute. #7 powers up; the conductor yells, “All aboard!” If I’m convinced that a blue one is the train for me, I need to find that train, but I have not right to hold anyone hostage by my decision -- they should be free to choose what they want. If I’m convinced #7 is for me, I can’t leave the decision in the hands of someone else. It’s up to me to decide what I will do. If it so happens that the majority of the group thinks the same way and gets aboard #7, their individual decisions collectively demonstrate the group’s decision. No one has made a decision for anyone else, but the group has made a common decision to take #7, with a few freely choosing an alternative. The remaining few will have to decide whether they will wait for a blue train or want to join with those who are convinced #7 is the right choice. And perhaps the larger body could offer to paint #7 blue?

I can only hope that at the next conference, or one very soon, we can offer a prayer such as: Father, despite all of our offensive behavior, we have come together and adopted a statement of principles for a guide and standard for this people, as you have commanded. Please forgive us of our failures and shortcomings. We recognize that we are still not of one heart, but we remain committed to that objective. Please tell us if you accept our decisions and our statement, or correct us so that we can make them acceptable to you. We hope that what we present to you demonstrates our acceptance of the covenant you have offered us.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Important progress update

At the Gilbert, AZ conference in March, the scriptures committee stated that we thought the work on the scriptures was completed and that the next 6+ months would be used by everyone to read the scriptures with the intent of finding any typos or issues that needed to be addressed before preparing them for printing in a leather-bound, onionskin version. Many have emailed us issues that they’ve found and we thank everyone for the help. Several on the now disbanded committee have also proofed the Book of Mormon meticulously. We discovered a number of issues that we either had missed or hadn’t identified before. We also realized that by using many volunteers for the work, we created the problem of many styles and perspectives on grammar and punctuation. However, every issue has been addressed to the best of our ability. The finalized version of the Book of Mormon will shortly be uploaded to Amazon and will hopefully be included in Volume 2 by the end of the week. It is likewise being sent to and will be updated on that site prior to the conference in Layton at the end of September.

A similar review of the T&C and New Testament is underway. There is less involved with those works, so we hope those efforts will move more quickly. This will be followed by a review of the Old Covenants.

Many people have asked how soon we will be printing the leather-bound, onionskin scriptures. As soon as the New Testament is completed and Volume 2 is formatted for that set of scriptures, publishers who have been identified will be sent a proof of Volume 2 for bids to print sets of all 3 volumes. Because volumes 1 & 3 are larger/smaller than volume 2, a bid for 3 pieces that are the size of Volume 2 will get us a good ballpark cost. As soon as we have a couple of competitive bids we will announce it. That will also likely give us a timeframe for availability.

Once the leather-bound scriptures are well underway, we will make sure that all electronic versions are made available/u[dated, and that a very large print set is considered through Amazon.