Tribal worship services

As I look around the Mormon blogs, I see a lot of grumblings about our Sunday church services. There are complaints about the boredom, about the lack of intellectual and spiritual stimulation, about the virtual non-existence of the gifts of the Spirit, about the cult of personality and conformity, about the worship of leaders (idolatry), about the many extra-gospel regulations such as a dress code, etc. If you are leaving church spiritually drained instead of energized, if you are dreading going back to church for another grueling three hours, it may be time to try something new.

Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone stop attending church. Not by a long shot. Everyone who is tired of what is going on at church should still attend church because the Lord needs agents of change among the congregation. But that doesn’t mean that such agents must feed solely upon a spiritually dead church. Church is meant to be a worship service, but when prophets and leaders are worshiped, a person can end up spiritually starving. So, here is a suggestion: in addition to attending church “worship” services, begin your own tribal worship services.

Start with your immediate family and the sacrament

If you are a married man or woman, with or without children, and one of you has the Melchizedek priesthood, begin your tribal worship services with a sacrament meeting right there in your home. Unlike the church services, tribal sacrament services can exactly follow the revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jun. So, instead of a priest blessing the sacrament when an elder is present (contrary to revelation), the presiding elder (the father) will do as the revelation states and bless the sacrament while his sons who are priests listen in. Instead of everyone sitting down during the sacrament prayers (contrary to revelation), everyone in the tribe will kneel as the prayers are stated. Instead of everyone getting a morsel of bread and a swallow of water, everyone will eat and drink until they are filled. And, if you’ve made your own wine, you can use that instead of water.

This quiet meal, in which all partake until they are filled with bread and water/wine, all the while pondering on the atonement of Christ, can be performed whenever a tribal worship service is wanted, whether that be once a week or several times a week, on any day desired. There is no scriptural prohibition to partaking of the sacrament on days other than Sunday.

Let the gifts manifest themselves

Once a tribal sacrament service is performed, and all bellies are filled with bread and water/wine and all spirits are filled with the Holy Ghost, the gifts can freely manifest themselves without the restrictions placed upon them in church services. This means you can form prayer circles and pray for the healing gifts to manifest, praying that one another be healed. Or you may pray for tongues and interpretations, or for prophesying or for any of the gifts to be manifested, and allow those who possess these gifts to benefit the surrounding tribal members.

Working in this way, the tribal worship service will invigorate the spirit and work to perfect the members of the tribe.

Increasing the size of tribal worship services

As this is not a church, nor a church function, but is a tribal function, only members of the tribe are invited to participate. That means although you start with your immediate family, you then can extend an invitation to your extended family, which makes up your tribe. Blood and marriage (or adoption) relations are typically how tribes are composed, but it’s your tribe, so you decide who is, and is not, a part of it, unlike a church which typically has an open door policy, all being welcome to join.

If you get a good number of relations meeting together for tribal worship services, there will potentially be more spiritual manifestations, which means more benefit to the tribe.

Tribal ordinances

Just about every ordinance performed at church can be performed in a tribe. The Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthoods can be used for all of these ordinances. Thus, a child can be blessed and given a tribal name; a boy or girl can be baptized for the remission of sins as part of his or her entrance into the tribe; the gift of the Holy Ghost can be given as a confirmation that he or she is a member of the tribe; males can be ordained to the priesthoods, etc. Although the priesthood is used, these are tribal ordinances, not church ordinances. They are recorded on tribal records, not church records. Should the individuals desire to join a church, they can do that, too, but they’ll have to receive these ordinances again from the hands of authorized church officers.

Where tribal priesthood authority comes from

Why, from the tribe, of course. It is the tribe that authorizes the priesthood and its ordinances within the tribe. Just as a church authorizes the priesthood and its ordinances within the church. The priesthood can be used in both organizations and each organization has jurisdiction over its own. A person may have membership in a tribe, in a church, or in both. Neither organization can tell the other how to run itself or administer the ordinances or deal with its members.

The Lord recognizes tribal authority

Priesthood found within a tribal setting, authorized by tribal members, is recognized as valid by the Lord. In fact, the tribe might actually be more valid to the Lord than any other social organization, including churches, because the tribe appears to be the very first social order. Tribal organization is not based upon the laws of the land, as are churches. They predate the laws of the land.

To some extent, my boyhood desires to live as the primitive saints lived, experiencing the spiritual manifestations they did, contributed to me receiving many different administrations of the gifts over the years. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until my own father passed away and I became the presiding tribal elder, or the spiritual leader or prophet of my extended family tribe, that I noticed a marked difference in the administrations. Before me, he was the tribal prophet, holding the Melchizedek priesthood. In fact, he was the only one of the entire clan that held it. Once I had obtained both priesthoods and he had passed away, the tribal office he held was transferred, unbeknownst, to me. I became the only living member of my tribe who held the Melchizedek priesthood. Suddenly I had gifts I never had before. I could bless tribal members and the Lord would respect it. I could curse tribal members and the Lord would equally respect it. Etc.

It wasn’t until years later that the Lord gave me to understand that I was the presiding tribal elder, after the order of Melchizedek, like my father before me. Presiding tribal elder is not an office of the priesthood found within the church, nevertheless, it is an office of the priesthood that God recognizes. The same applies to other tribal priesthood offices and ordinances.

There is (spiritual) safety within a tribe

Tribes not only are a protection from physical danger, but they also offer a protection from spiritual decay. Tribes that are based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and administered with the Holy Priesthood become obstacles to government and corporate interests which try to destroy the moral fabric of society. If your local congregation has been infiltrated by Luciferian influences to the point that church is a lukewarm experience at best, consider activating your family and extended family tribal worship services. It may give you the spiritual boost needed to more effectively fight the evil influences found at church.

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  1. Seems that you are looking for or seeking some form of “agape” feasting in which earlier Christians met for a common meal with each bringing some food; historical references do not clarify the earliest practice of such meals but there are lots of theories and ideas concerning it. “Agape” of course means some form of “love” -more like a family love than any friendship or carnal ideas. I was told once that they would meet down under a tree by a stream of running water, bring your own food and spread out your ground cover – people in the Near East (for example, Turkey) do not need picnic tables and chairs – they just spread out a cover and sit for their picnics. And surely their collective, wonderful spirit of “family” (even if friends somewhere or LDS members at a Linger Longer) is an event that I wish all LDS members could participate in at least once in their lives. Perhaps the present Turkish “picknic” feasts are cultural descendents from those of early Christianity – culture contiinues even if the people and nation might have changed. The new pick up on the wonderful (and unfortunately bad) things of the former holders of the lands. Somebody said that agape means: “an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being.” This might be so, but it sounds very philosophical and Western logical for such a simple thing as enjoying fellowship over a special bring-food meal at which of course prayers can be conducted by the father and sons while all are kneeling in thanks and being sincere that God and Jesus are Wonderful. If you are bored with LDS Sacrament meetings in the USA or Europe, hop on a plane and come to Turkey – LDS meetings in İzmir and İstanbul too! Linger Longer too! And even Nicomedia and Laodicia – and Ephesus and Cappadocia and Phrygia – and great beaches and places to see and think about .. Mother Mary’s Last House? Santa Claus? … and wherever you want, have an “agape” meal with friends and family … without picnic tables … down along a stream up in the mountains or in cave near the rock churches or hermitages of Cappadoica. By the way, the Council of Laodicia in 364 tried to outlaw the “agape” feastings for they were outside the “church control” – but they continued … and maybe you can continue the practice today by having one of your own with family and friends – especially good LDS members.

  2. “In fact, the tribe might actually be more valid to the Lord than any other social organization, including churches, because the tribe appears to be the very first social order. Tribal organization is not based upon the laws of the land, as are churches. They predate the laws of the land.”

    Okay LDSA this is really scary but very true. I do not think for a moment that you are unaware of the logical and yet absolutely undeniable application of your words. There is a truth here which can not be denied. We all suffer under the iron hand of tyranny from our governments. And we suffer when our church prevents us from having what the Lord wants us to have. Jethro was the “priest of Midian”. He was living this tribal law you are speaking of. Moses received the priesthood from Jethro. God respected Moses’ priesthood so it is undeniable God respected Jethro’s authority.
    Tribal law is recognized by God as above earthly governments because governments derive their power from the consent of the tribes of the people.
    God’s approval is the only approval which matters. So if I want to get rid of the stupid and evil requirements of the state form my own God recognized tribal government. It is simple and plain. This is what Lehi, Alma the elder and many others all did.
    The only trick is to live under the radar away from the searches of King Noah. In other words don’t advertise your existence to your Satan controlled government or any other body of men which may seek your destruction. Our rights are from God and even if someone with a white shirt and tie thinks otherwise.

  3. One added note to clarify or expand what I am trying to communicate to all who read this.
    When I woke up to the reality that government controlled public schools are Satan inspired systems (see The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil by H. Verlan Anderson available online to read here: ) I removed my children from the public school system. They are very bright and making sure they had the opportunity to attend college was a concern. As I researched it I found that there is no standard for high school learning in the entire USA. So a high school diploma from a state school was no more meaningful than one I could print for my own home school. In fact mine had more validity because I had set standards for my children to accomplish to receive a diploma. So I instructed them all if someone asks if you have a high school diploma you say yes. All them attended as much college as they wanted. A couple even graduated from BYU.
    We do not need to receive the approval of the government to educate, make contracts, trade, produce, work or even to marry. The government offers you no good thing. They are seeking to enslave you. You don’t need their permission to be married. their approval of a marriage is a perversion of God’s laws of marriage.
    And please don’t bother telling me the government is protecting you from crime. Your gun and the threat of you having a gun is what protects you from crime. The government of the US is protecting it citizens in the same way the mafia protects the owner of a real successful restaurant from having fire destroy the restaurant. The mafia guys says if you don’t want this place burned down pay us money and then we will protect you from us burning it down. The IRS, DMV and many if not all government agencies are doing the same thing.

  4. Hey great Article! This is just what I was looking for. I’ve been thinking of doing this same thing maybe after church or something. This gives some great points as to how to actually do this.

    I never noticed before, that part about the Priests only being able to bless when there are no elders. My first reactions was, “Wow, we(as in the CJCLDS) are sure screwed up.” I guess I can add that one onto my list of traditions of men.

    Researching this I wonder what your opinon is on using unleavened bread for the sacrament rather than Hostess. Also on the thought of making your own wine. I would love to actually do that and partake of real wine for the sacrament. But I know that my family and others would feel uncomfortable with drinking alcohol for the sacrament. So I was thinking maybe a good compromise would be to use grape juice. Yeah I know that’s the common Mormon understanding of wine. But in all seriousness, if one presses and squeezed the grapes themselves. Then used them for the sacrament it would move away from the whole water thing satisfying those who wanta more traditional approach. It would also satisfy those who don’t want to drink alcohol. So while it may not technically be wine, maybe it would be a step in the right direction for some.

    About tribal worship services. I think centering around family is a great idea, but we could also consider the idea of a church service. Not church as in a corporation but church as defined in the scriptures. Any group of two or more believers in Christ is a church. So meeting under that definition of a church would also be acceptable I believe and open the dorrs for others not of the family to join in.

    About the Tribal authority. I sometimes wonder if that is what the Patriarchal Priesthood really is.

    I had a great experience. It was while on a vacation in England with my parents, brother and sister, and my grandmother and grandfather. We missed the train to two possible church meetings we could go to. So instead we returned to our flat and had our own sacrament meeting. My grandfather presided. Everyone who was there acknowledges that It was way better than what we would have gone to. It is one of the prized stories in my family.

    I definately get the grandfather , prophet feeling from my grandfather. Of course, he is my mothers father so iI don’t know what effect that has. But my mother’s side is much closer and I can definately understand this tribal thing you are talking about.

    This artcile was very encouraging, thanks!

  5. zo-ma-rah, “It mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.” (D&C 27: 2)

    The idea of a home church, or practicing church at home, instead of going to a meetinghouse for church services, is not new. New churches have started this way before. Recently, there seems to have been more talk of this in LDS circles, as our meetings are not satisfying to many people. I even have a document, written by a Christian man, on how to start your own free church. But as I pondered this option, I had to reject it. The keys of the church belong to the church, and those keys have not left the church, as yet. Therefore, starting a home church goes against what the Spirit is manifesting to me.

    We are told to seek permission for the various ordinances of the church, such as the sacrament, baptism, etc., from those who hold priesthood keys in the church. Up until I wrote the above post, I had the understanding, based upon what the Spirit was saying to me, that a ward’s bishop had jurisdiction over the ordinance of the sacrament. If you couldn’t make it to sacrament, or if someone else couldn’t make it to sacrament, you needed his authorization to go to that person and administer the bread and water. This is what we are taught and no matter which way I tried to look at it, the Spirit would not tell me anything different. Which ticked me off.

    The above post on tribal worship services is a result of my complaints to the Lord about the meetings. I had reached a point that I no longer desired to attend. I felt forced (obligated) to attend to obtain the sacrament, but without the spiritual benefits that should be present. Also, I was tired of the lack of manifestation of the gifts during the meetings. In particular, I was tired of seeking (for years now) after a couple of the gifts of the Spirit and still not receiving them. I had just told my wife that that was it. I had had enough. Instead of being uplifted I was being drained of spiritual energy each time I went to church. Going inactive didn’t appear to be an option, either. Merely worshipping alone at home through prayer and fasting and scripture study and obeying commandments was insufficient to bring these gifts to me. In short, I could see no way out of this predicament.

    It was during this state of deeply pondering my options that the Spirit threw me a bone. It was reaffirmed that it was against the will of the Lord to start a home church. I was to follow the keys which were held by the church. Nevertheless, I could administer tribal ordinances. And it was these tribal ordinances that would finally allow me to obtain the gifts and spiritual meal I desperately sought and needed. I figured that others might want to learn this information, too, hence the above post.

    The principle, as I understand it, is that the Lord embraces the one and the all at the same time. We are to worship Him individually, but also as a group. If the group worship is lacking (church), He has provided other (tribal) options so that group worship can be accomplished. Starting one’s own church is an act of dissension, as long as the keys are intact in the main body. But tribal councils and worship services are outside of the jurisdiction of church keys. Tribal keys are not church keys. There is no dissension involved, for these are fundamentally different organizations.

    I don’t know if others will begin to establish their own tribal services, but if it does catch on to a minority, it may be the means to more easily integrate people into the fully functioning tribes of Israel when it comes time to be numbered among them. As for me, I am now okay with attending church again and am glad, once again, that the Spirit has given me this understanding, which I intend to fully utilize.

  6. I’m interested in beginning this in my home. I’m thinking of replacing the Family Home Evening — which we rarely hold anyway — with a tribal sacrament meeting.

  7. Yes, I was asking about unleavened bread more for the sake of historical similarity rather than if it is proper.

    About churches, I wasn’t emaning to say we should gather as a seperate church group with an organization. I was refering to the definition of a church as an informal gathering of believers of Christ. If I get together with some friends to discuss the gospel we are a church. But we aren’t a Church.

    Is gathering as an informal gospel study group considered dissenting?

    But you’ve given me a good topic to study about, the sacrament in relation to Bishops.

  8. Oh, sorry about that, zo-ma-rah. I don’t have a personal preference concerning bread, except maybe that it tastes good and is healthy. (Is that a contradiction in terms?) Also, as far as I know, two or more believers in Christ coming together to discuss the gospel is perfectly okay with the Church, as long as those believers in Christ are not LDS. If they are LDS, they are not to meet together to discuss the gospel except in official church meetings. Family meetings are different. A family may meet together to discuss the scriptures (family home evening, family scripture study) with no problems. But if the meeting is not a family meeting (it is between non-related church members) and they are discussing the gospel, they become suspect and might be called in to see the bishop. If, after being told to stop their informal gospel study group, they still do it, that will not sit well with the leadership and further action on the leaders’ part may be forthcoming. At least, that is what I’ve been told.

    So, all meetings of the church (or Church, take your pick) are supposed to be with the say-so of the leadership.

    Family (or tribal) gatherings, though, come outside of the scope of church authority. The bishop, stake prez and other church leaders may hem and haw about what a particular tribe is doing with the priesthood, but they have no jurisdiction in tribal affairs. A tribe may validly use the priesthood for the ordinances as they see fit, with the blessing of heaven, without need for permission from any church. All that is required is tribal permission. Once the priesthood enters the tribe, it is a tribal priesthood. This is the beauty of the priesthood of God, it can function in more than one type of organization, or even outside of any organization, at all. (See Was John the Baptist on Dope?)

    It is important to understand that God does not look upon the individual as an island, all alone. He sees us connected to everyone else. He sees all the tribal links, and recognizes the tribal affiliations, even if we ourselves are not even aware of them. God is tribal in nature, trying to seal us all as part of His tribe, composed of the tribes of Israel. Our lineage, then, is plainly manifest to God and so when we begin to act tribally, He recognizes the tribal authority, because it is there among all the other crap placed upon it, such as political affiliations, etc. This is why He calls us the “tribes of the earth.” All that is necessary for us to obtain tribal authority is to exercise it. We just need to assert it and God recognizes or validates it because it really is there and has been there all along. We just haven’t been aware of it.

    Asserting tribal authority, or keys, and engendering tribal allegiance makes a tribe strong. Even if the church leadership wanted to put a stop to a tribe’s use of the priesthood, the most they could do is remove the individual member(s) in question from the church congregation. But even for that, they would need witnesses of wrongdoing. Where would those witnesses come from? From the tribe, of course. Good luck getting a tribe to rat on its own members to a foreign organization (the church). That would be committing tribal suicide, for tribes usually take care of tribal business and iniquity on their own, without bringing in foreign mediators.

    In all of this, there is no sin, for God will recognize tribal authority. So, I would suggest that in all of these worship services the tribal authority is always asserted as the governing key, as opposed to just membership in the church. This puts the priesthood in an altogether different jurisdiction.

  9. I think this is a practical solution to individual complaints of where we are lacking in our Church congregations. However, I think understanding the principles behind it is paramount. For, just as in 3 Ne 7, I think the time will come when we will separate one from another into tribes.” For those who have been dependent on the Church correlation and programs, this will be distressing indeed.

    While I don’t believe that my family is ready to engage in partaking of the sacrament as a tribe just yet (we are slowly working our way out of the mists of darkness), I to think it is important to work towards that so when the time comes, we will be ready.

    Great post.

  10. Would you say that within a tribe, members could choose to recognize the priesthood in women members — or is there scriptural prohibition against this?

  11. My guess would be that as long as those women have receievd the priesthood through the endowment and they are not acting in a a priesthood office, then that would be fine. But that’s just my opinon. I still have a lot to research about women using the priesthood in the early days.

  12. Hmmm…that opens up a whole nuther can of worms.

    With but a minor search done, I don’t see any scriptural prohibition, but I also don’t see any explicit scriptural precedent, though there may be an implied one.

    For example, there is no use of the word “priestess” in our scriptures (though it is mentioned in the endowment), but there were some “prophetesses” mentioned. Did these women have the gift to prophesy only, or did they also possess a priesthood? Deborah was a prophetess and a judge in Israel. In the Gentile church, according to the Gentile revelations we’ve received (through Joseph Smith), a bishop is a judge in Israel, which is an ordained position of the priesthood.

    Surely the Holy Ghost holds priesthood, which means that if the Holy Ghost is a woman, this might be a scriptural precedent. How much more scriptural can you get than that, considering that all scripture comes from (is inspired by) the Holy Ghost?

    For these reasons, I would have to say that tribal members could choose to ordain and recognize priestesses. Would the Lord recognize them? As long as the keys are in place, my understanding is that He would have to recognize them, also.

    I, personally, can’t see how genitalia makes any difference in any of the priesthood powers and ordinances. Priesthood power is based upon the spiritual state of the individual, not the physical genitalia.

    This question could easily be settled once and for all if the current president of the church, brother Monson, would just ask the Lord whether it is okay to ordain women and then read the revealed answer to the entire church in general conference. It is the office of his calling to do this. Whatever the revelation says could then be voted on.

    This has probably not been done because the issue has not been brought before a high council to test it. If people truly wanted to find out whether it is against the will of God, a test case should be performed. By that I mean that someone should confer the priesthood upon a woman and ordain her to an office. Then the case could be brought to a high council and, per D&C 102: 23:

    In case of difficulty respecting doctrine or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.

    we could obtain an answer by revelation. The problem with a test case, though, is that conferring and ordaining to the priesthood requires permission from the church membership (not speaking of tribal priesthood), and the current membership would never authorize a woman to receive the priesthood, But, if a local congregation (a ward) did do such an authorization, conferring, say, the Aaronic Priesthood and ordaining a woman a priest, then the stake high council could have a test case on their hands.

    In all honesty, though, I need to delve further into the scriptures and research this topic (on scriptural prohibitions of women priests) more fully.

  13. Along the same lines as the priesthood of women…

    Would the Lord validate polygamous marriages for a tribe that sanctions such an addition? I was thinking in terms of a previous comment made that says, “A tribe may validly use the priesthood for the ordinances as they see fit, with the blessing of heaven, without need for permission from any church. All that is required is tribal permission.

    I guess the question is, did the 1890 Manifesto really indicate that polygamy is no longer expedient. If it did, then wouldn’t that indicate that the Lord still would not authorize a polygamous marriage, even within a person’s tribe? Also, would the Church be justified in formal discipline should they find out that such a marriage was solemized within a tribe (I’m assuming that they would seek formal discipline, I’m wondering if they would be justified by the Lord in doing so)?

  14. Saw the following quote on Denver Snuffer’s blog ( and thought of this posting of yours:

    If there is a hint of doubt held by any baptized member of the church, why would any right-thinking and charitable soul refuse them the right to be re-baptized? Now, I’ve suggested the Alma exception and how that might be accomplished in a time of reluctance and resistance to recommitment baptism. But it occurs to me upon further reflection that since the church doesn’t recognize or record rebaptisms anyway, why would this concern the “heavy laden priesthood” which has no time for such things? Anyone holding authority, at any place where there is sufficient water to perform the rite, could accomplish it. Since the church doesn’t record it, there is no need of witnesses. It could be done in private, at any time, or any place with sufficient water. It could be done by any person holding the office of Priest. It would be good practice for future missionaries if they were given the opportunity. I think the idea is one which ought to be acted upon with regularity, in private and without troubling the busy and overburdened church and priesthood. A close family member could take care of it, and I suspect all involved will soon recognize heaven’s approval of the idea.]

  15. I read that this morning too and thought of this post. Methinks I may not be the only one infiltrating websites with content from this blog.

  16. About Plural Marriages and teh Manifesto. For me at least the Manifesto holds little if any weight.
    1. It is filled with factual errors.
    2. Authorized Plural Marriages continued for about seveteen years after the manifesto. This shows that the saints did not view it as binding rather a way to appease the government.
    3. There are four prior revelations which state that the Lord will not do away with Plural Marriage or that it is an eternal law.

    What is interested with te Manifesto is that all we have is the Statement from Brother Wilford. We don’t have the actual revelation which is said to be the basis for the Manifesto. Can we really accept hearsay as binding upon the Saints?

    Also I believe it is in the 1880 revelation to Brother Wilford it states that those who prevent the saints from practicing Plural Marriage will be destroyed. So I ask you, who today is preventing the saints from practicing Plural Marriage?

    If you’re interesting I’m going to be doing a Plural Marriage month on my blog starting Oct 1st.

    To James, I love the idea of re-baptism. I’m still building up enough courage to ask my younger brother to re-baptize me.

  17. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

    What exactly does that mean. “Your” can not be referring to each specific person as everyone would have to bring their own wine for the sacrament. Is “your” referring to someone, anyone in the congregation? Or is it referring to the mormons in general?

    I live in an area where much wine is produced, I have many friends who own or run wineries. Some have small wineries where they and their families do all of the work. None of these people are mormon, do they need to be? If I decide to use their wine would they have to be involved?

    As far as re-baptism is concerned, it was very commonin the early church. It wasn’t until Heber J Grant that it fell out of style.

  18. Well, in a tribal setting, I would imagine that “you” refers to the presiding elder of the tribe. Your question reminds me of D&C 27:

    Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;

    Do you consider the wine-makers “enemies”? Also, is there a way you could be involved in making the wine that you will purchase from them?

  19. […] […]

  20. Since i wrote the above post, I have blessed and partaken of the sacrament, as a tribal ordinance, using wine. I can now state from personal experience that our current practice in the wards and branches of the church of using water and of eating only a morsel of bread and a sip of water is far inferior to eating until filled and drinking wine. The length of the sacrament is longer, for it takes awhile to eat bread until filled and wine can’t be gulped down, but must be sipped, and it is precisely this extended meal in which the body and blood of Jesus is remembered, that has a profound effect on a person. Much more profound than our relatively quick church sacraments. The wine’s appearance, being red, really does remind one of blood, and its taste and later effect of warmth in the body, in connection with the spiritual aspects of the ordinance, all contribute to focussing one’s mind on Christ. In fact, every element of the ordinance symbolizes the Savior and points the mind to Him, from the breaking of the bread to the pouring of the wine, to the kneeling down, everything. The ordinance feels holy when performed in this manner, like a temple experience.

    Denver Snuffer is currently going through chapter 18 of Third Nephi. What he writes is instructive. You can read his expositions (so far) here, here, here, here and here.

  21. That is great! I look forward to being able to do that someday. What kind of bread did you use? I originally bought some small little roll things but then I realized it would be difficult to break the bread since it was already so small. So I later bought some “cannon ball” french bread. It is big enough to break and still have larger pieces. I wonder how it would be to use homemade wine and homemade bread.

    TheLord’s supper is what it is called. So why at church to we partake of the Lord’s Snack(Fun size!)?

    Did you eat kneeling down?

    Also if one was to use grape juice intead of water or wine, would the prayer be changed to say “juice” rather than water/wine? I already have an idea on the subject but I’m curious about your opinon.

  22. I know you weren’t necessarily asking me Zo’. But in my tribe, for some reason, it always ends up that I bless the bread and then the patriarch blesses the grape juice and he substitutes the word juice.
    LDSA, all of the things you mention are the same things I have noticed. It is a wonderful blessing to be partaking in such a meaningful tribal ritual as compared to the tired out tradition that corporate meetings have become.

  23. If i may add my relevent experence here. The last couple of years now I have done the passover thing and I learned a lot about Christ. It was the Passover meal that was the Last Supper where Christ “re-instituted” the sacrament. It was with unleaven bread and new wine which I believe to be 100% concord red grape juice. Kosher juice is also available at many stores. I have also been keeping true Sabbath. I hold my own family sacrament meal on friday evenings after sunset. We bless and eat tortilla (unleaven bread) and drink red grape juice and I recite the prayers as given by the Lord in the BOM and D&C. It has been truly a wonderful spiritual experience for me and my family. Yes we can eat and drink to our fill. Enjoyable as it is meant to be.

  24. zo-ma-rah, I used large sandwhich rolls. When my wife bakes bread again, I’ll use that instead. I ate sitting down, although everything was blessed while sitting down. I would change the prayer to juice, water, etc., depending upon what was used, but I plan on using wine while it is available. The wine tasted bitter to me. The bitterness actually added to the experience of focussing on the atonement. It was impossible to just gulp it down. It could only be sipped. As Jesus partook of the bitter cup, so with the sacrament, I’d rather drink a bitter cup. Had I used grape juice, which can be gulped down and is sweet to the taste, it would have been an entirely different experience. Also, using red wine really made me think of blood. Plus there was the bodily warmth that is felt after drinking it. Grape juice or other non-alcoholic beverages don’t have this effect.

    Btw, new wine, of the red variety, has tannins which cause the bitter taste. If the new red wine is aged, the bitterness is reduced. I believe the Lord’s instructions to partake of new wine was so that it would be bitter.

  25. I might also add that I’ve found a priesthood holder who has agreed to baptize me as an initiatory tribal ordinance. In other words, this will be a rebaptism. He has also agreed to confirm me by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost as a member of my tribe. We haven’t set a date, yet. After I receive these tribal ordinances, I will then start baptizing members into my tribe using my own priesthood. The remarkable thing is that this man will not be a part of my tribe, yet has no problems with using his priesthood in this way. I had not expected to receive a rebaptism so soon. I figured I’d be the only unbaptized, unconfirmed (speaking tribally) one in the tribe until another adult male joined and could administer these ordinances to me. I had not planned on finding someone who had no desire to join the tribe be okay with using the priesthood within a tribal setting. He is fully aware of how the church views this and is perfectly okay with it. It is remarkable.

  26. That is interesting about the new wine and bitter cup. I like that. I learned something new today. Thanks.

  27. What a blessing…I am so happy for you LDSA. The Lord truly mindful of us and our circumstances and loves to provide every needful thing.

  28. PallasAthena and anyone else who is wondering making your own wine is so simple if you do anything you will mess it up.
    I lived in an area that had many wild blackberry bushes. A guy I worked with made his own wine every year. About 25 gallons or so.
    I asked if he bought brewers yeast, no he didn’t. This was curious. Do you boil the berries? No never. If you do they won’t ferment. The yeast was the natural yeast from the environment. So he didn’t even wash the fruit very much because in what little dust may be on it was the yeast.
    So the wine will taste different each time unless you control it by boiling everything and killing everything then adding wine yeast and some additives to vary the flavor. But hey we are talking the bitter cup here. So I would try the natural non yeast added way.
    You take out the seeds and the stems then mash the fruit. You can add a little water and stick it in the blender. It needs to be in small pieces for the yeast to get at all the natural sugar. If you use a sweet fruit like grapes or berries you could make it without added sugar just add water. for blackberries it is a one to one of water to fruit. Then let it set in a container (jar type) that has (this is important) and air lock on it. It can not be air tight. It must allow air to escape but you don’t want it to be in contact with outside air. So you have a cork with a tube inserted in it and the tube either has water in it which allows air to go out but no air coming back in.
    You can do this just having the end of the tube submerged in a container of water so air escapes but does not return.
    But here is a real easy way for those of us who have no access or time to collect the fruit.
    Buy a 5 gallon / 23 liter bucket of grape juice. ($25.- to $50.-)
    Do not open.
    Leave it in a spot between 70°F / 20°C and 80°F / 30°C for a month or two.
    The warmer the faster she goes.

    Open it without shaking it.

    Siphon off the contents, into gallon jugs with screw-lids or 2 liter coke bottles, leaving most of the sediment on the bottom of the bucket.

    Drink the stuff.
    I don’t think this info is CHI approved. But hey in reality my agency is not CHI approved either so who cares.
    Here is a link to the site that gives this real easy method and he tells of other ways of making it.

  29. Yeah, I think you can even make wine from the concentrated fruit juice sold in those little plastic cans. I have a crafts book and it has a section about how to make wine. But There’s probably tons of websites that explain it.

  30. Zo-ma-rah:

    Yes, the from concentrate stuff in the freezer section can be used to make wine. Just let it warm up to room temp. — however most store juice is pasteurized, so you’ll need to add the package yeast.

  31. LDSA, can i ask for a little bit more clarification as to why you are being re-baptized and confirmed? is it simply the language of the ordinance, meaning instead of being baptized/confirmed a member of the “church of jesus christ…” it will be in the “tribe of LDSA”? just confused regarding your last post. thanks!

  32. That’s right, Andrew. The wording of the confirmation will be altered to indicate entrance into and membership in my tribe, not the church. However, anyone (including me) that wants to be re-baptized afterward as a recommitment to God, as a witness, as a manifestation of repentence, for healing, etc., can be rebaptized as many times as desired, by tribal members that hold authority to do so.

  33. that’s what i figured from reading this about a dozen times. i’ll admit this, at first, seemed quite foreign to me, but the more i read and pondered it, it seemed so much more familiar, in a sense, and comforting, and has indeed inspired me to want to lead my own tribe’s worship in the remembrance of the savior’s atonement

    for the longest time i always wondered what happened to, or why, some of the practices of the early church (like re-baptism) simply faded away. i’ve also always wanted to have wine of my own make to offer as sacraments (and for that matter, adhere to the use of barley as found in D&C 89:17), but i’m hard pressed to find anyone that shares that desire or viewpoint with me. it’s taken the wonder of the internet to find like-minded people, and i thank you for this post

  34. I was baptized and confirmed today, into my own tribe.

  35. That is a very bold and yet consistent step. I am happy for you. I would request when it is appropriate if you could share any spiritual confirmations you felt. I have zero support so far from my wife on practically anything here. I am wondering how I can leave the boat before it is obviously sinking.
    Once the conference center falls I think it would be natural to say okay we go tribal period. But until something like that my wife is likely (as stated by her) to divorce me if I were to pass the sacrament in my home as a tribe and surely if I were to be baptized etc.

  36. dyc4557:

    I’m sorry to hear that. My wife usually feels reluctant to start some things, but she understands the truth in these things and is typically quite accepting once I just start acting. In other words, any reluctance usually leaves when she experiencing the practice of tribalism. It’s a powerful arrangement and speaks to the human soul on a primitive level.

    LDSA, I’ve been pondering where to find sufficient water to baptize the tribe [the bathtub would work for the kids, but not the wife] — can you tell us where your ordinance was performed?

  37. PS I am of the opinion that if a spouse refuses to allow me to follow God according to the dictates of my conscience it is grounds for divorce. So I hold it as a possibility that God maybe testing me on whether I worship Him or my wife. Having failed that test once I am ready to pass it if required this time.
    So I am looking for a stronger testimony of various aspects of tribal worship. Or if nothing else timing. I am reminded of a parody of the movie Star Wars where Luke says to Obi wan, “I am going with you to Alderon and learn the ways of the force.” In the parody Obi wan says, “Oh big sacrifice everyone you know has just been killed.”
    It won’t take much faith and zero sacrifice to set up tribal worship once the seers are all gone. Hence my question about timing.

    I can fully believe that those who wait till there is no other choice to follow the spirit lose many blessings.

  38. dyc4557, I’d like to be able to contact you individually. Would there be a way to do that?

  39. dyc4557, my wife has a similar attitude. Except hers is mainly about Plural Marriage(which is understandable). So far as passing the sacrament in our home she is open to it. i don’t know about re-baptism yet because we haven’t discussed it. I have had similar thoughts as to if it could be a test. I haven’t had any major spiritual confirmations. The most recent one was the Spirit telling me that if I obey the things I have been given so far, other questions will be answered. I think this is why the Lord hasn’t given me much more. I have yet to administer the sacrament in my own home even though I have everything needed. There are some other things I am capable of doing, yet still have not done it.

    But I also think that I have much to do to improve myself during this time. So I am mainly focusing on improving my relationship with my wife, especially spiritually.

    What all this means to me is that while the practice of some of the bigger things may be beyond my control, there are many smaller things tha I can work to imrpove.

    But then again that’s just me.

  40. dyc4557, my understanding is that the wife holds the keys to the tribe, so if she doesn’t authorize you to use your priesthood tribally, you cannot use it in righteousness. Of course, you don’t need permission from your wife to get someone to baptize and confirm you. That doesn’t use your own priesthood, that uses someone else’s priesthood with your consent. But you’ll have to find a man who is willing to perform these ordinances for you.

    Justin, there is a lake local to me. You might want to use a swimming pool, river, lake or ocean. Maybe a neighbor or friend has a pool you can use. It might be best to find a non-member friend you can trust, if you know what I mean.

  41. dyc4557: I second what LDSA said concerning the keys of the tribe. She holds the sustaining vote and you should use persuasion, long-suffering, etc. The Lord will bless you if you do.

    LDSA: I do know what you mean. Thanks for the advice.

  42. Thank you all for the outpouring of love and support. It seems this is a key facet that all need to work through. You will of course all know as things happen.

    I have thought about the early days of the LDS church when couples had to choose between gathering and leaving their spouses if those spouses didn’t convert.
    in my case I see it is a matter of being excommunicated if I have not my wife’s support as she will accuse me to the authorities I believe.
    Perhaps this is why all though I believe it all and even know much of it to be true the Spirit has not borne witness to me that I should proceed with the tribal sacraments. Since doing so without support would get me reported. But as you say it would be wrong anyway.
    More later for and from all.

  43. Dear bloggers,

    I am 29, married, and my wife and I are interested in the Restored Gospel. However, we find that by reading the Scriptures and some of the early LDS writings by Parley Pratt, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and others that the Mormon church in town is engaged in group therapy during sacrament meetings.

    I am not eager to join this. I don’t know what to do. I fully believe and testify that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is totally true, and I believe that Zion will be built on this continent. I look for Zion and dream of it and I want to see it.

    I just don’t know if all these people at the little Ward in Eastern NC will see it. They are into reading Glenn Beck and not the Book of Mormon. They can quote you their favorite stocks, but will not go out of the way to assist the poor.

    I study daily and I love the old church. I love Joseph Smith and if I could be at Nauvoo I would. I would be in the valley with Brigham Young. I would follow President Taylor into the hills.

    Sadly, I can’t find anyone like that here. I can’t find anyone except you all. I found you all after praying asking God for hope. I rejoice in this blog. I hope I can learn. I hope that we can grow to understand the beauty of God and His truth as revealed by His prophets.

    I am unworthy and a gentile. May God have mercy.


  44. Brad,

    Welcome. I am glad to hear that your prayers directed you to this site.

    I would recommend that you read, if you haven’t already:

    The Priesthood
    An Alternate View of the Keys
    This post
    Spicing up your Church Experience
    Other Crazy Thoughts

    And any other ones that you feel directed to read.

  45. Brad so glad to hear from you. Your words and desires are inspiring. I have been invigorated by your comment. It has given purpose to what I have been facing in the last weeks and days. Though I have been raised in the LDS church the things I have learned here have awakened me to the same desire you have to live the fullness of the restored gospel. I too know what you have borne testimony of.
    Brothers and sisters how wonderful think of it. In fact God gives us according to our desires. That is why so much truth was lost to the LDS church the members desired to not live it. But now we know there is a growing number who really want the fullness restored and to live it. Surely God has heard our prayers and will bless us as He did Jared and his brother, Alma and his people, Lehi and family and so on.
    If there is a group that will live as he wants then he will give us what we need to do it.
    Let us unite in prayer. Though separated by miles let our hearts unite in on desire before God. Please Lord give us the blessing to live Thy gospel in our lifetimes and hasten the day. Prepare us and touch our hearts, direct us and we will obey.

    By being one in purpose God will bless us. I feel it. I do not fear the future. I have friends who have the same desires and it is a righteous desire. Let us remember that it is purely righteous desire to live the full gospel. Let us claim the promise.

    Mormon 9 : 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

    We have no reason to doubt because the desire is righteous. God is still a God of miracles. I for one fully expect a miraculous blessing in my life to have the things we all desire.

  46. I think that many people are noticing more value in private rituals over correlated or institutionalized ones. Hopefully, tribal services may in fact be on the rise.

    According to recent research:

    More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all.

    While those Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular religion have seen the greatest growth in numbers as a result of changes in affiliation, Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.


  47. I happened to be chatting with Zomarah yesterday about just this topic, and he referred me to this post. (I seem to miss some of your best ones, LDSA!) As it happens, Connie and I had just started having a larger Sacrament experience, using most or all of a loaf of bread and full glasses of grape juice. We’d use wine if we could stand the taste, but your thoughts of how wine SHOULD be bitter rings true.

    Connie has been to ill to attend church for years, so I’ve administered the sacrament to her for the past several years. We only used, as Zomarah put it, “snack-sized” pieces up until now. Very happy to read your well presented case for home sacrament, Anarchist. Very well done.

    DYC, where in the heck do I buy a five gallon bucket of grape juice?

  48. Well Rock it isn’t really the intent to get plastered while remembering the blood and body of our Lord. So I’d say for you and your wife a half gallon of grape juice in a sealed plastic bottle would do just fine. Just keep it warm and let it age. So check out Smith’s , Albertsons, Kroger’s, Ralph’s, Walmart, Piggly Wiggly etc. Buy one each week and in two months time you will have a rotating stock of wine.
    Thanks for the laugh.

  49. You’re welcome, DYC. But as I’m thinking about it, are you sure that regular grocery store grape juice will ferment? Isn’t it pasturized or something? Maybe that Kosher grape juice available around Passover is different?

  50. Rock: Most grocery stores sell fermenting yeast [it’s different than the packets in the baking aisle] — they will typically come with instructions for fermenting the juice.

    EDIT: Also — yeast is different from bacteria. Yeast can form spoors that can survive pasteurization and will multiply again once conditions are suitable for them. Adding supplemental yeast just speeds things up and helps keep nastier bacteria and yeast from out-competeing the kind you want to be growing.

  51. Well Rock I think the stuff the web page I read talking about 5 gallon plastic buckets was all pasteurized stuff too. I could be wrong. But if in doubt I am sure just a pinch of the brewing yeast would do the trick. . I have read a lot of recipes and have even made homemade root beer by fermentation. It was not tough.
    So this is for anyone thinking about trying this here is what I have learned.
    Honestly we are not seeking here for a really perfect wine as the world would seek it. The man who posted the 5 gallon just let is sit method stated each batch is going to vary. All recipes which are seeking an exact out come kill everything first and add sugar and yeast and other things to get just the desired effect. This makes it a complicated process. Being a simple person myself I like simple things.
    Here seriously is what I would try (and will when I get back home in a month or two):
    1/2 gallon of dark grape juice.
    2 quart or larger jar that can accept a good screw on lid as for canning.
    Borrow one or two large coffee filters (or buy a pack) the kind they use in a coffee maker.
    A packet of fermenting yeast.
    18 to 24 inches of 3/8th inch clear flexible tubing (hardware store)

    Make sure the large jar is clean and dry as free from germs and contaminants as possible.
    If the jar has a lid as for canning which is just a ring then place a coffee filter on top opening and screw down the ring lid on it. If the lid is solid them drill 5 or more holes in it and put it over the filter. Get it so it can go on easily and then have it open.
    Now open the grape juice and pour in enough juice in the empty jar to leave about 2 inches of empty space.
    Place a little bit of yeast in the juice.
    Screw the lid with the filter in place on tight.
    Put in a dry place really with the yeast room temperature is fine warmer just make is grow faster. don’t shake is during the fermenting process.
    It will foam up and after a week or so there will be a wine type drink. Longer would be a different taste. There will be a scum on top and a sediment on the bottom which I Believe would be very unpleasant to drink. But if you are adventurous you could mix the whole thing up and then strain it all out. It might be a real bitter cup. So to skim the top off with a large spoon and then siphon off the liquid without disturbing the sediment. Again those are the dregs and you might want to try a cup with some of it in there.
    Yeast is a one celled animal which lives on carbohydrates. The more you put the faster it will convert all the sugars to alcohol and impart a flavor to the juice. Even if you put a tiny pinch it will do the job and you could have lesser alcohol content by just taking it out sooner.

    Now on the subject of plural marriage. There has been a case making its way through the Canadian court in BC which has potential to legalize polygamy in Canada. Canada never really passed a law against it they just place a ban on it for a certain number of years. That ban is up for reconsideration. In the last few years the provincial courts of British Colombia have ruled that law enforcement should not actively enforce the ban as it might infringe on the religious rights of some people. What a novel concept freedom of religion? Why didn’t our founders think of that?
    So now the court is taking testimony from those practicing polyandry and here is an article just published yesterday about it. You can note the extreme negative bias the female reporter has against the woman who’s testimony she is reporting on.

  52. I once read a biblical commentary book on Paul that explained a view of 1 Corinthians 11 in which the authors said that:

    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.

    Is not in reference to the unworthiness [or justification] of the person partaking of the sacrament meal — but refers to the manner in which the Corinthians were partaking of the sacrament as being unworthy.

    In context, they explain, Paul first describes the manner in which the Corinthian church was performing the sacrament meal [note it was a meal]:

    20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. 21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go away hungry while others are getting drunk. 22 What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you.

    Then, he re-explains to them the manner of having a proper sacrament meal — using the example set by Jesus before his death:

    23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.
    25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people — confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are showing forth the Lord’s death until he comes again.

    I noted verse 30 today as we were reading over these scriptures today during our tribal meeting:

    For this cause [the unworthy manner of partaking of the sacrament] many are weak and sickly among you, and many [have died].

    Perhaps the decline in the healing gifts of the Spirit can be traced back to the unworthy manner in which the LDS church administers the sacrament. When teachers and deacons administer, when priests administer in the presence of elders, when the entire congregation doesn’t kneel, when morsels of food are offered [so that many go away hungry], etc. — perhaps it is the cause of weak and sickly members among the congregations.

    Again, as has been mentioned in the Tribal Church post — the only way to come out from under this curse is to administer the ordinance in a worthy manner among tribes. I believe as this is done — healing gifts may be more likely to manifest.

  53. Jesus said His believers would do His works, and greater works also:

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14: 12)

    At one of my tribal sacrament meetings, we used a lot of bread (and wine) because we were eating and drinking until filled, and my wife remarked that if the tribe grew to include even a few more adults, everyone would have to bring their own loaf of bread and bottle of wine.

    This morning, as I was reviewing the gifts of the Spirit, the above scripture again came to mind, and I thought about the gift of the working of miracles. Turning water into wine appears to be a miracle of Jesus that no one has repeated, either anciently (at least, as explicitly recorded in our scriptures) or in modern times. Concerning sacramental wine, the Lord has said to us:

    Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth. (D&C 27: 4)

    Surely water that has been turned into wine fulfills this commandment. Such wine would be the “newest” made wine of all.

    Obtaining sufficient wine to fill a large tribal congregation (for a sacramental gathering) could easily be accomplished with the gift of the working of miracles. Water is usually abundant and readily available, so vessels filled with water could be turned into wine on the spot. This seemed to me to be a highly useful application of this gift, especially since we are supposed to be doing the works that Jesus did (which includes turning water into wine.)

    As for everyone bringing their own loaf of bread, we have another scriptural work of Jesus that His believers are supposed to be doing: the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Again, the working of miracles could be used to take a couple of loaves of bread and turn them into enough to feed any number of individuals at a sacramental gathering.

    As I pondered these thoughts this morning, I suddenly desired to seek this gift for my own tribe.

  54. In the comments section of this post, Raymond Takashi Swenson said:

    The notions promoted by LDS anarchist, to create some kind of “more Mormon than thou” worship, bears the marks of the kind of “looking beyond the mark” claim to be more holy than the regular Latter-day Saints that is a signpost on the way to apostacy.

    As D&C 121 makes clear, any attempt to exercise the priesthood outside the terms that God has set through the living prophets is a vain exercise that terminates any real godly authority. It is a manifestation of pride, pure and simple, to think that you are smarter and more holy than the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, and that God will approve and ratify actions you take that are contrary to the express counsel of the leaders God has called.

    No one has authority to baptize someone who has not been interviewed and approved by the bishop or the equivalent appointed leader. No one has authority to baptize, for healing or for membership in the Church, without approval of the bishop or stake president. You certainly cannot perform a “healing baptism” as described above outside a temple, and cannot do it inside a temple because that would be contrary to the direction of the authorized leaders of the Church.

    Anyone who pursues anarchic abuse of the priesthood is not upholding the leadership of the Church, and cannot honestly qualify for a temple recommend.

    You can always go off and start your own church (even science fiction writers like L. Ron Hubbard can do it), but you are being dishonest if you claim to be within the authorized scope of Mormon priesthood exercise when you explicitly reject the counsel of the Church’s leaders, those who hold the keys of all ordinances, especially within the temples.

    I asked Raymond [once on that post and once on an unrelated Times and Season’s post]:

    I wonder if you can tell me, Raymond Takashi Swenson, where in D&C 121 it is defined that the “principles of righteousness” are actually the bounds set by the First Presidency™ and Quorum of the Twelve™?

    Raymond never answered me — but I think I figured out where his idea came from. In Dallin Oaks’ “Two Lines of Communication” general conference talk, he said that:

    We cannot communicate reliably through the direct, personal line if we are disobedient to or out of harmony with the priesthood line. The Lord has declared that “the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:36). Unfortunately, it is common for persons who are violating God’s commandments or disobedient to the counsel of their priesthood leaders to declare that God has revealed to them that they are excused from obeying some commandment or from following some counsel. Such persons may be receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they suppose. The devil is the father of lies, and he is ever anxious to frustrate the work of God by his clever imitations.”

    Thus, it seems that it was from Dallin that Raymond got the idea to equate “the principles of righteousness” in D&C 121 with “the counsel of…priesthood leaders“.

    The rest of that part of Dallin’s address is also interesting:

    Some members or former members of our church fail to recognize the importance of the priesthood line. They underestimate the importance of the Church and its leaders and its programs. Relying entirely on the personal line, they go their own way, purporting to define doctrine and to direct competing organizations contrary to the teachings of prophet-leaders.

    Wonder what kind of people he might be referring to?

  55. So what happens when the Priesthood line is out of harmony with God’s Word? I refuse to believe that the effectiveness of my personal communication with God is dictated by a third party. That’s the whole point of receiving personal communication, having it be personal. If God tells me to pay tithing as given in Section 119 then He’s not going to withdraw His communication because now I’m out of harmony with church teachings.

    Here’s another quote from Brother Dallin:

    “If you feel you are a special case, so that the strong counsel I have given doesn’t apply to you, please don’t write me a letter. Why would I make this request? I have learned that the kind of direct counsel I have given results in a large number of letters from members who feel they are an exception, and they want me to confirm that the things I have said just don’t apply to them in their special circumstance.

    “If you feel you are an exception to what I have said. As a General Authority, it is my responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don’t try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.

    “The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this same thing in another way. When he was asked how he governed such a diverse group of Saints, he said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves” (in John Taylor, “The Organization of the Church,” Millennial Star, Nov. 15, 1851, 339). In what I have just said, I am simply teaching correct principles and inviting each one of you to act upon these principles by governing yourself.”

    If what God tells me to do happens to align with what Brother Dallin is teaching then fine. I respect the Brethren’s right to administrate the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But Heavenly Father tells me what and how to live, NOT the Brethren.

  56. Zo-ma-rah:

    Also, in consolation — I found that Dallin also said in his address:

    All priesthood authority in the church functions under the direction of one who holds the appropriate keys. But the authority that presides in the family — whether father or single-parent mother — functions in family matters without the need to get authorization from anyone holding keys.

    Most of Oaks’ talk I liked — he just lacks an understanding of what authorizes the priesthood keys, i.e. the consent of the personal line or keys of consent of the church.

    But the above quote is no different than what LDSA described in this post: that the priesthood presides in the church with the church’s consent — while it can be authorized to preside in a tribe with the tribe’s consent. Neither group of believers can tell the other what to do or how to govern its own.

    So, I agree with you — I respect the Brethren’s right to administrate the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But Heavenly Father tells me [and my tribe] what and how to live.

  57. In addition to the quote above — our EQ president was forced to point out this quote from the CHI, after he told the quorum to “challenge” hometeaching families to teach an FHE on a subject from the CHI:

    Family home evening is sacred, private family time under the direction of the parents. Priesthood leaders should not give directions as to what families should do during this time.

    Thus, if any reader is still on the fence [or has a spouse that is still on the fence] as to whether tribal worship services and other ordinances are appropriate — even the CHI acknowledges that:

    * the family [tribe] and Priesthood leaders [the church] are two separate organizations,
    * neither one is in the position to tell the other how to govern its own,
    * and of the two, the family [tribe] has the preeminent position.

  58. I couldn’t help but think of tribal worship services when I happened across the official institutional stance on family meetings, According to it, the sacrament may be blessed and passed (with institutional sanction) and a pleasant meeting held (which sounds far superior to the monstrosity of a three-hour block) only if the family lives in a very isolated location. The best part, though, is the acknowledgment that this worship style is in accordance with the Book of Mormon; in other words, this is a back-handed recognition by the institutional church that the regular meetings are not in harmony with scripture (or the closest thing to a recognition I’ve seen).

  59. A challenge to the Book of Mormon that I remember coming across when I was investigating the church was the Nephites claimed to follow the Law of Moses, but they offered sacrificial offerings without Levites.

    Mormon Apologists have had to tackle this issue [here is one example of such articles] — but most have done so with a “Oh, they held the Melchizedek priesthood so that didn’t matter” kind of argument.

    However, I was struck by 1 Nephi 2 when I read thru it a couple days back.

    That is the chapter where it reports that:

    And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.

    And I wondered to myself — by what authority could Lehi have done that given that the established order of the church in his day was to have only those of the tribe of Levi offer the offerings at the place God designated to place His name?

    I thought of this post and realized that Lehi essentially initiated a tribal worship service.

    When he, being obedient to the word of the Lord, took his family and departed into the wilderness — the keys of the tribe became the keys of consent that activated the priesthood for Lehi’s family.

    Obviously, this would have carried on through out the rest of Nephite history. So the next time I am challenged by another LDS when I comment about my family’s practice of tribal worship services — I’ll remember to direct their attention to the fact that the Book of Mormon is a record of one-big tribal worship service. There is no authorized ChurchTM activity going on in that entire book.

  60. Justin, I think you nailed it right there. 1 Nephi 2 shows the authorization for anyone who decides to “walk away” from the corporate church. The authority resides in the tribe. You can take it with you if you leave.

  61. Justin – Do you suppose this quote – “They underestimate the importance of the Church and its leaders and its programs” – would be more accurate if rendered thus: “They underestimate the importance of the ordinances of the Church” – ? It is the ordinances of the Church that are vital. If one is not competing with the Church, though, I wonder what the harm is in meeting with one’s family?

  62. It is the ordinances of the church that are vital — in other words, valid ordinances are what makes the church “true”.

    I believe the point Dallin was trying to make was essentially that unless you buy in to and submit to typical LDS culture 100% — then you are trying to compete with the church.

    His comments represent a general lack of understanding in what is “church” and what is it’s relation to “family”.

    The church is unrelated justified believers in Christ. Its purpose is to administer ordinances that bind the unrelated members together by covenant — making them a family under God.

    You asked: “What the harm is in meeting with one’s family?” — there is none. If anyone tries to say that there is, the CHI has already spoken:

    Family home evening is sacred, private family time under the direction of the parents. Priesthood leaders should not give directions as to what families should do during this time.

  63. Justin, thank you for your enlightening answers.

  64. Bit of personal advice I’ve come across:

    Don’t hold your tribal sacrament meetings on Saturday evenings if you plan on attending church sacrament meeting Sunday morning.

    The contrast between the two is so great that even little children will ask to have another sacrament meeting as soon as you get home from church so everyone can re-charge.

  65. From here:

    A moment of great relief came when the bishop leading our family meeting informed us that Salt Lake has recently decreed that it is no longer permissible for the sacrament to be administered at private gatherings of family or friends. Sacrament may now only be administered during a regulation LDS Sacrament meeting.

    Until now, it was the norm for families to administer their own sacrament if they were away on holiday or somehow unable to be at church on a Sunday. I watched the faces of my family very carefully when this information was conveyed. The look on each face was a mixture of surprise, sadness, and submission.

  66. I was going to write the following over there, on that blog, but decided not to, after I saw that I would be talking to unbelievers:

    Alma asked the humbled Zoramites, who were cast out of their synagogues because of their poverty, “Do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?” Alma then quoted what the prophet Zenos had written, concerning prayer or worship, showing that Zenos worshipped, or prayed to, God, in all places, and was heard because of his sincerity and his belief in the Son of God. Later Amuluk taught them to “worship God in whatsoever place ye may be in.”

    Now, surely this applies to the sacrament, for the sacrament is a worship (or prayer) service, in which an elder or priest prays over bread and wine. There is no invocation of priesthood authority in the prayers, but it is a prayer like any other, using the authority of the name of Jesus Christ alone to address the Father. Nevertheless, because only an elder or priest of the priesthood may perform this ordinance, or pray this prayer, in behalf of the people, being in similitude of the Savior, and because the bishop holds the keys of the priesthood, without authorization from him, no elder or priest of the church can perform it as a church ordinance.

    However, tribal elders and priests, operating under tribal priesthood authority, may do so, without needing to ask the local church bishops for permission. And thus we see that the Lord has granted that men may worship Him in all places, including by the administration of the sacramental prayers, even outside of the synagogues and meetinghouses.

  67. The other day I was looking over D&C 20, and I wondered whether the text spoke of re-baptism and re-confirmation as part of the calling of an elder:

    38 The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the church of Christ—An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize;

    That is, it is the first duty—after preaching the gospel in all the world, in all nations, to every creature—of an apostle (an elder who is sent) to baptize those who do not yet belong to the church.

    39 And to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons;

    40 And to administer bread and wine—the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ—

    41 And to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures;

    After they have baptized new converts into the church, they are to confirm these same new converts by the laying on of hands.

    42 And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church

    And after they have confirmed these new converts, making them new members of the church, they are to baptize the already established church (that’s re-baptism of church members)…

    43 And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost;

    …and to confirm the already established church (that’s re-confirmation of church members.)

    I don’t know if this reading is correct or not, but it struck me as interesting, more especially because the authority and duty that an elder has to baptize does not appear to be restricted in any way in the scriptures. In the same section, verses 63-64, it says,

    The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences.

    Each priest, teacher, or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference.

    The license allows an elder to perform the duties of his calling, not the keys of the elders’ quorum presidency. Every elder in the church receives said license from the stake conferences, so every ordained elder, that has been sustained in stake conference by the Melchizedek priesthood, has a license.

    Again, I’m not sure if this reading is correct, but it presents a picture of an unrestrained priesthood force, preaching and baptizing everyone they can, not needing any permission from anyone else to perform these duties, other than this license, that all who believe the message may be baptized without delay or red tape. And as for who of these baptized people get added to the church, that appears to be a church business, not an elder’s business, or a priesthood keys business (the bishopric or some other presidency). In other words, it seems that the church (the congregation) is the group that determines who gets added, by their vote, after seeing the newly baptized person’s godly walk, talk, works, etc.:

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

    In other words, the baptism of these new converts by the licensed elder, is received by the church as authoritative, and they are then added to the church. This actually makes a bit of sense, then, as far as the law of witnesses is concerned, for an elder—presenting a convert that he has baptized, to the church—must witness that the ordinance has been performed properly, and other witnesses, also, must present testimony, so that the word is established in the mouth of two or three witnesses who were present. But again, I ain’t saying that this is a correct reading, just an interesting one.

  68. I wrote above, in a comment, on 2010/09/24 at 2:02 pm:

    Hmmm…that opens up a whole nuther can of worms.

    With but a minor search done, I don’t see any scriptural prohibition, but I also don’t see any explicit scriptural precedent, though there may be an implied one.

    For example, there is no use of the word “priestess” in our scriptures (though it is mentioned in the endowment), but there were some “prophetesses” mentioned. Did these women have the gift to prophesy only, or did they also possess a priesthood? Deborah was a prophetess and a judge in Israel. In the Gentile church, according to the Gentile revelations we’ve received (through Joseph Smith), a bishop is a judge in Israel, which is an ordained position of the priesthood.

    Surely the Holy Ghost holds priesthood, which means that if the Holy Ghost is a woman, this might be a scriptural precedent. How much more scriptural can you get than that, considering that all scripture comes from (is inspired by) the Holy Ghost?

    For these reasons, I would have to say that tribal members could choose to ordain and recognize priestesses. Would the Lord recognize them? As long as the keys are in place, my understanding is that He would have to recognize them, also.

    I, personally, can’t see how genitalia makes any difference in any of the priesthood powers and ordinances. Priesthood power is based upon the spiritual state of the individual, not the physical genitalia.

    This question could easily be settled once and for all if the current president of the church, brother Monson, would just ask the Lord whether it is okay to ordain women and then read the revealed answer to the entire church in general conference. It is the office of his calling to do this. Whatever the revelation says could then be voted on.

    This has probably not been done because the issue has not been brought before a high council to test it. If people truly wanted to find out whether it is against the will of God, a test case should be performed. By that I mean that someone should confer the priesthood upon a woman and ordain her to an office. Then the case could be brought to a high council and, per D&C 102: 23:

    In case of difficulty respecting doctrine or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.

    we could obtain an answer by revelation. The problem with a test case, though, is that conferring and ordaining to the priesthood requires permission from the church membership (not speaking of tribal priesthood), and the current membership would never authorize a woman to receive the priesthood, But, if a local congregation (a ward) did do such an authorization, conferring, say, the Aaronic Priesthood and ordaining a woman a priest, then the stake high council could have a test case on their hands.

    In all honesty, though, I need to delve further into the scriptures and research this topic (on scriptural prohibitions of women priests) more fully.

    Okay, so, I wrote that back in 2010 and 5 years have gone by and I’ve done research on this topic during that time, publishing, for example, the post on male priesthood orders, etc., but I don’t think I ever have remembered to correct this comment, so, I’m going to correct it now: My understanding is that the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods and their offices are male priesthood orders. Not by a tradition of men, but by the divine will and design. It is, therefore, a perversion to ordain women to these priesthoods or to the offices that pertain to them. Even for tribes. Note: The priestesses found mentioned in the temple are not the same as the male priesthood orders, but pertain to something else, which I do not wish to expound upon, as yet. Maybe one day I will, but for now, let’s just say it pertains to another branch of authority.

    Again, I don’t want to expound this stuff here and now. I just want to leave a note that the above comment I quoted was written with limited understanding and was subsequently corrected (in private), and I am now (5 years later) correcting it publicly. So, no one hold me to it.

  69. I recently wrote, concerning the revelation this post is based on:

    Too much information

    My mind, in its laziness or whatever, will usually just focus on a few words here or there of any revelation I receive, whatever happens to impress upon my mind in the moment, and the rest is just left alone. But sometimes a revelation has just too much information in it, or all of it is impressive, and I just leave the whole thing alone, not extracting anything at all from it, but using my own words to convey its meaning, as best I can. The tribal ordinance revelation I received 5 years ago was one that had too much dang information in it, so when I posted it on this blog, I didn’t even bother to say in that post that is was even a revelation, at all. I just tried to expound some of the information in it. Later on, in the comments, I mentioned that, yes, indeed, this information came from a revelation of the Holy Ghost, but I still didn’t translate out a single word of it. Nor, likely, will I ever. Too much information and too much work. Besides, it was just a personal revelation, meant for me, that I found so interesting that I thought I’d share it with others. If I were to ever pull the words out, it would take the Lord instructing me to do it.

    I didn’t think to extract any part of the revelation, but now I have changed my mind. After writing out the “shut your mouth” revelation,

    Behold! Thus saith the Lord:

    Thou shalt shut thy mouth, for none of my saints shall be authorized to speak against the leaders of my church, to criticize and correct them publicly, unless I send them. But the time is not yet, therefore, thou shalt heed these words and hold thy tongue.

    and learning that it wasn’t as difficult or as much work as I thought it would be, I realized that my laziness in fully, or more fully, extracting out the words of my revelations, was unjustified. So, in a moment of boredom and curiosity, I decided to re-visit the revelation of this post and extract the information, keeping it in the words of the Spirit, and using the KJV language and format, which I find to be a beautiful style. Here is the resulting text:

    Be of good comfort, for verily, thus saith the Lord:

    The priesthood existed before the organization of the church and is to serve both church and tribe. Although the tribes of Israel are not gathered, yet they are known to me, along with all the tribes of the earth.

    For the Lord beholds no man alone, but sees the lineage of all families, of all the children of men, and of these lines form tribes.

    I have yet to restore tribal functions,

    saith the Lord,

    nevertheless, the church ordinances of baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and priesthood ordinations, may be performed within a tribe, as tribal ordinances, under tribal authority or keys. Thus the priesthood may operate within a tribe, independently from the church, and within the church, independently from a tribe.

    Nevertheless, thou shalt not substitute the church for the tribe, nor the tribe for the church.

    Yet thou mayest establish thy tribe using these priesthood ordinances, and conform your tribal practices to the revelations of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.,

    saith the Lord.

    ¶ Because thou fearest to sin, thou shalt not administer of the sacrament at home to thy family, as a church ordinance, unless the bishop permitteth it.

    For it is not meet nor right to establish a home church, apart from the body of the saints; nevertheless, thou are permitted to administer of the sacrament, as a tribal ordinance, to those that pertain to thy tribe.

    For I require the saints of my church to meet together often, to worship me as a group, and thou shalt also worship me at all times, and the church is ordained and established unto this end,

    saith the Lord.

    Likewise the tribe is to worship me, as a group and individually. Wherefore, establish thy tribe, if thou wilt, using the priesthood, that ye may worship me as a group, in conformity to my revelations, given to my servant Joseph, that I may pour out my Spirit and gifts upon thee and thine, that thou shalt have no more cause to mourn and murmur concerning the meetings of my church. But take care not to go beyond the bounds I have set, until I have seen fit to reveal the tribal functions. Amen.

    This tribal revelation might be considered a manifestation of the gift of knowing the diversities of operations (see D&C 46:16 and 1 Cor. 12:6.) You’ll also notice that some of the information in the post is given as an expository teaching, above and beyond what I’ve extracted in this revelation as the words of the Lord, nevertheless, it was all in there, and more also, so my expositions do not “go beyond the bounds [the Lord had] set”.

  70. Yesterday we had our first tribal worship service for Easter Sunday. I was apprehensive at first, but my confidence got boosted when I saw my 7-year old daughter get excited to participate (my children typically dread going to sacrament meeting). My sister-in-law offered a prayer, then my family sang a sacrament hymn while I accompanied on the piano (we sang “la santa cena”). We went to the dining table and read Matthew’s account of the last supper, to help my children understand the precedent for taking the sacrament. I blessed the bread and water (we didn’t have any juice or wine in the house, this all kind of happened last-minute). While we were eating and drinking, I read Matthew’s account of Gethsemane through to the resurrection. After I had finished reading, it kind of turned into an impromptu testimony meeting. My wife shared that, for the first time in her life, she felt true sorrow for the suffering and death of Christ, and that while she was partaking, she felt like she was actually present at the last supper. I felt overwhelmed with sorrow as I read the account of Jesus’ betrayal, and was filled with gratitude for His infinite sacrifice. We all felt the influence of the Holy Ghost.

    Overall, it was the most awesome “sacrament meeting” we had ever had. We plan to do it again soon. Having experienced this spiritual feast by partaking of the sacrament as a tribe/family, I feel more motivated than ever to do what is necessary so that we can have a tribal/family baptismal service for my daughter who is about to turn eight years old. I hope our bishop is open-minded enough to allow us to find a river or lake where just our family can gather and participate in my daughter’s baptism, and not be subject to the soul sucking stake mass baptism.

    Thank you, LDSA and all the contributors and those who leave comments, for sharing your thoughts on this post.

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