These are my highlights and thoughts as I have listened to and read the talk by Denver at this last spring conference in Colorado and as it weighs on the work now underway.
But first here is something to keep in mind from Denver’s opening remarks at the Boise Covenant Conference in 2017
“What is to be created is something so foreign to this world, that there is nothing in the world to use to judge how we are doing. Even the scriptures do not give a blueprint to follow. If they contained the necessary information, Zion would’ve been established long ago. God alone will establish Zion; his instructions are vital and necessary for us.
Once he instructs us, the Scriptures can then be used to confirm that his directions to us now is consistent with what he prophesied, covenanted and promised would happen.
But 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.
There is no magic, there is no sprinkling fairy dust that will take you to where God is. It does not and cannot happen that way.
He will lead us, teach us, command us, guide us, but we have to be the ones who become what He commands. We have to be the ones who do what he bids us do.
The greatest instruction that I know out of, given by God at any time, to any generation, is a rule of community found in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Sermon at Bountiful.
Now we have the answer to the prayer for covenant, that not only resonates with the message of those two sermons but applies it directly to us in our peculiar circumstances, to fix our peculiar defects and urges us to more like Him.” (Opening Remarks, Covenant Conference, Boise 2017)
He is putting the Lords “immediate commands” as the priority to “our” path to Zion! Here are some quotes I consider to be included in those “immediate commands”. These are quotes from the talk given by Denver Snuffer in Colorado and Paper entitled “Civilization”.
“Salvation is individual. There is only individual salvation and no such thing as collective salvation. While I accept this as true, there is something else that is equally true: God wants “people” to collectively be His. In the revelations of July 14, 2017 (T&C 157) and October 4, 2018 (T&C 176) received from God, the emphasis has been on “people.” Both responses by the Lord have gone beyond individual salvation to focus on people, Zion and the New Jerusalem” (Pg 1)
“…Our traditions have not and cannot bring Zion. That will require viewing God’s work in a new way. Individuals may be saved individually, and have been throughout history. But Zion is not about individual salvation. Zion is about covenant people of God, individually saved as a prerequisite, then gathered together to live in peace”. (Pg 3)
“People claim they have kept the covenant, but such claims cannot possibly be true. God’s covenant is for and about people. His people. It is not possible for an individual to keep the covenant. Everybody rises together, or everybody fails together. The covenant can only be kept as a community. Individuals acting alone can never accomplish what is required of the group.” (Pg 4)
“The Lord has every intention of keeping His promise to Enoch. There will be those who are gathered. There must be people gathered to a place, a holy city that meets the description and fulfills the promises God made. The people must gird up their loins, or in other words must be living the godly religion that declares things as they really are. A religion founded on truth. Truth requires us to know things as they were, as they are, and as they are to come.” (Pg 6)
“Creating unified people who qualify to worship God in truth (that is, knowing accurately the past, present and future) is an extraordinary challenge. Only God can do it and He must have willing people. It will require a new civilization.” (Pg 8)
“Society is broken. Everywhere we see corrupt cultures based on corrupt laws, corrupt religions, corrupt values, and ultimately corrupt thought. Beginning again requires recivilizing people. To be free from corruption requires a change in thinking. If the Lord is to accomplish this, there will need to be a new temple at the center of that new civilization.” (Pg 9)
“There have only been two societies in recorded history that became Zion. Because of the age of the world at the time, both were taken into heaven. We have very little to help us understand why these two succeeded. Apart from describing them as of “one heart, one mind, and no poor among them” we know little else. But perhaps that is one of the most important things we can know about them. Maybe the point is that nothing and no-one stood out as remarkable or different within the community. There were no heroes and no villains, no rich and poor, no Shakespearian plot lines of betrayal, intrigue, ambition, conflict and envy. There was no adultery, theft, robbery, murder, immorality and drunkenness. In other words, nothing to entertain us, because all our stories, movies, music, novels, television plots and social media are based upon and captivated by everything that is missing from these societies…
…This is what they attained: “[T]here were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore, there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free and partakers of the Heavenly gift”… [T]hey did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft, both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people in all the land.” (Pg 22)
“Something else describes them, “And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” Consider those words carefully. You cannot be happier than by allowing the love of God to dwell in you. The happiest people who have ever lived did so by the profound peace they displayed, equality they shared, fairness they showed one another, and love of God in their hearts. This is a description of our social opposites.
Reviewing the Answer to the Prayer for Covenant, the Covenant and the recent parable of the Master’s House shows that the Lord is pleading for us to become this. It is not easy. It will require civilizing the uncivilized.” (Pg 23)
“We need more commandments from God to prepare for what is coming. The example in 4 Nephi commends those people who walk after the commandments received from our Lord and God. There should be fasting and prayer. People should meet together, pray and review the words of the Lord… It is not enough to avoid outright evil. We have to be good. Being “good” means to be separate from the world, united in charity toward each other, and to have united hearts. If we are to be ready when the wedding party arrives, we must follow the Lord’s commandments to us. They are for our good. He wants us to awaken and arise from an awful slumber.” (Pg 24)
“The last days Zion and her people were planned, foretold and chosen thousands of years ago to live on earth when righteousness would come down out of heaven. They will be here when truth is be sent forth out of the earth to bear testimony of Christ. And, like a flood, righteousness and truth will sweep the earth.” (Pg 26)
“ Everybody will have to make changes. The most important changes have been provided in a blueprint revealed in the Answer to Prayer for Covenant, including the terms of the Covenant. Those changes are required before a temple can be built.” (Pg 31)
“…There is no basis to claim ignorance. Is it possible for people to change their civilization and go from strident, quarrelsome and pugnacious to loving one another?” (pg 35)
“We are not being asked to lay down our weapons and be killed. We are only being asked to lay down hostility, slander and abuse of one another to become peaceful and loving. This is a good thing that benefits everybody. Despite this, we keep our pride, ambition, jealousy, envy, strife and lusts. These destructive desires are preferred over forgiving offenses in meekness, love and kindness. None of us are asked to die for a covenant, but are only asked to be more like Christ and forgive and love one another. This seems so difficult a challenge that we quarrel and dispute among ourselves. We remain haughty and selfrighteous, and fail to realize self-righteousness is a lie, a mirage, utterly untrue. We must trade our pride for humility or we will never be able to keep the covenant. Remember it is a group who must keep the covenant. Not individuals. Together we must act consistent with the obligation we agreed to perform before God.” (Pg 36)
“If we obey the commandments that have been given, we can qualify to inherit a land on which to build a temple. The objective of the covenant was to confer the right to live on the land, surviving the judgments coming upon the wicked. WE need to live up to our end of the covenant. It is clear the Lord is willing to bear with, guide, give commandments to help prepare, and reprove His people when needed. We should not rely on the Lord’s patience, but should be eager to obey His guiding instruction. His commandments are not to limit us, but to increase light and truth. Some intelligence is only gained by obedience to His commandments.” (Pg 37)
“None of us is spared from mutual failure. We are not Zion. We will never be Zion if we do not repent. All of us must repent, turn to face God with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy, or we will not establish godly peace among us. The Answer to the Prayer for Covenant and the Covenant are the beginning blueprint. That blueprint teaches the need to be better people. Following it is more challenging than reciting it. No one can learn what is required without doing. Working together is the only way a society can grow together…We will learn things about one another that will distress us. And we may well wish we didn’t know some things about others. How will the socially offensive become socially acceptable without help from a loving society? And how can a society become loving if people are not broadminded enough to figure out that some things just don’t matter. Few things are really important.” (Pg 39)
“There is work to be done. Almost all of it is internal to us. The five prepared virgins, and the strangers who brought a wedding garment will be those who keep the covenant. It is designed to give birth to a new society, new culture, and permit a new civilization to be founded. The Lord’s civilization will require His tabernacle at the center. Through it a recovered religion will be fully developed. God’s house will include a higher law; an education about the universe and a Divine university will be established. It will be an Ensign in the mountains, and people from all over the earth will say, “Come, let us go up to the House of the God of Jacob, He will teach us. We will learn of His paths, to walk in them.” That place will house a new civilization. There will be no hermit gurus proud of their enlightenment. No one will offer himself or herself up as some great idol to follow.” (Pg 40)
“Christ is the great example…
I cannot keep the covenant.
You cannot keep the covenant.
Only we can keep the covenant.”
The “hard work” seems two fold.
First individually; voluntarily changing our hearts and working out our individual Salvation in fear and trembling as a “prerequisite” of becoming a part of Zion.
Second as a people; the work of becoming one, loving one another as He has loved us.
It appears loving one another means all of us, at least those who are endeavoring to live the covenant. NOT just our own clan or friends. All of us!
Remember also from the Answer to the Prayer for Covenant as Denver quoted in this paper and talk.
“Be of one heart, and regard one another with charity. Measure your words before giving voice to them, and consider the hearts of others. Although a man may err in understanding concerning many things, yet he can view his brother with charity and come unto me, and through me he can with patience overcome the world. I can bring him to understanding and knowledge. Therefore, if you regard one another with charity, then your brother’s error in understanding will not divide you. I lead to all truth. I will lead all who come to me to the truth of all things.” (Pg 34)
Even if we “know” someone is in error concerning “many things” if he views his brother with charity, through the Lord he can be brought to knowledge and understanding.
Fear seems to be our current weakness manifesting itself in miss-trust of our covenant neighbors intentions, envy and jealousy which breeds contention.
I plan to more fully study and apply the immediate commands of the Lord and in particular the Answer and Covenant into my daily walk. I hope perhaps something here may have been of help to someone other than myself.
Your covenant neighbor and Brother in Christ.
John W Dutson