Well, maybe one person asked. (Thanks, Geoff!)
I was rebaptized last Sunday (September 21, 2014) by one claiming to hold the Holy Priesthood of God. He had been ordained a priest (or elder) by one (supposedly) having authority in the LDS Church (even as I had been ordained by one supposedly having authority). He produced a certificate, listing names of individuals (known to others in our group) who sustain him in his exercise of that priesthood (after the pattern presented to us on September 9, 2014). I trusted these were real people and I believed this man satisfied the requirement of the Lord to perform this ordinance on my behalf.
I believed Denver Snuffer's message delivered in Mesa. (I didn't like it. I didn't "want" it. I would have preferred not hearing it.) But I had faith that it was true. Everything else Denver has taught has resonated with me. It has "smacked" of truth.
So what has changed?
It should surprise no one that one having authority, coming in the name of the Lord, should upset the tables of those who make merchandize of our Father's House. The fact that those merchandizers cast me out demonstrated to me that they were not truly about our Father's business, for God had not cast me out. I knew for a fact that they did not speak the truth -- because I saw them hide the truth and unwittingly corrupt it. Therefore I knew I could no longer "follow" them. They could not be trusted.
And that was a good thing, actually, to have my faith in men destroyed. I had grown dependent upon them. I needed to exercise greater faith in God and acquire "ears" to hear again the Holy Ghost for myself. Our God is a jealous God and demands that we worship Him because He alone -- as our Creator, our Redeemer and the personification of all that is holy and perfect -- is the only Being worthy of emulation, worship and obeisance. In that same spirit, after reading this morning the third truth revealed by Bret Corbridge as reviewed by Tim Malone, I purchased Bret's book and look forward to perusing its passages with my family. (For those less spiritually inclined, here are 77 other truths to distract you.)
I did not feel like I needed to be rebaptized. (I was baptized a member of the LDS Church on November 19, 1977, when I was 15. That date has been sacred to me ever since.) But I also know that the LDS Church has "died" from the top down. That fact was ultimately proven to me when the First Presidency failed to respond in kind to my appeal after I clearly demonstrated that I was excommunicated under false pretenses. The bishop, stake president and hierarchal authorities of the LDS Church interposed themselves between me and God and demanded that they be obeyed as God, in His stead. Their word, they told me, was God's word. (They even quoted two whole scriptures to prove it: here and here!) But I knew their words -- not those two scriptures, but many of their doctrines and traditions and practices of men and much of their history and some of their commandments and precepts proffered as God's will and word -- were false and not of God. Therefore I could no longer trust them or follow them. When they sought to coerce me into following them anyway, exercising control, dominion and compulsion upon my soul -- even threatening me with the dissolution of my family if they were not heeded and obeyed -- I knew they were (regrettably) on Satan's errand. They were serving a false god, even while clothed in the robes of the holy priesthood and serving in God's holy house. It broke my heart.
The Church had died. I did not want this death. I did not seek for it and I did everything in my power to stop it. I bore my testimony of Christ, but my testimony was rejected. (After all, who am I? A "nobody", no one of consequence.) The LDS Church has now become just another "religion", just another church -- no more, no less.
I don't want a religion. I want a relationship with God -- not a relationship by proxy through other men. I cannot allow any man to interpose himself between me and my Creator again. Unlike many "in charge" in the LDS Church -- who misunderstood their (once-held) divine "commission" -- Denver Snuffer is doing his best to not become just such an interloper.
By being rebaptized, I wanted to show the Lord I was willing to obey and submit to Him. Denver Snuffer has said the Lord is offering again another opportunity to come back into His presence, to commence the work of restoration, and I wanted to avail myself of that opportunity. Progress requires sacrifice. It was a sacrifice for me to drive to Camarrillo to be rebaptized. It was sacrifice to forsake all that I have known and loved and held dear. But I could find no reason -- no scriptural foundation -- upon which to reject Denver's words (while I have found many discrepancies and contradictions in the words of those offering their "religion" to me instead).
I do not claim to speak for God or to know all things. I did not see a burning bush or knowingly entertain angels before I committed myself to rebaptism. (Admittedly, the LDS Church made that decision easier for me by kicking me out and by "voiding" -- in their books, at least -- what, I thought, was a covenant made only between me and God. But just to be sure, I did it again.) I wanted to publicly demonstrate that I am endeavoring to be on the Lord's side. The baptism with which I was baptized is every bit as authoritative as any that has been offered in any chapel, temple or font of the LDS Church throughout its history. Indeed, it is even more authoritative now (if Denver is to be believed) because the Lord has withdrawn His authority from the ranks of the LDS Church and has renewed it again with those who merely believe in Him and receive authority from His hand.
While there are many who follow the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture, and even a few who follow a "prophet", there are not many who follow the Lord. Not many at all.
The scriptures promise that those who enter in at the gate of repentance and baptism, according to His word, will receive the remission of their sins "by fire and by the Holy Ghost". This is the doctrine of Christ. "[T]here will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh" (2 Nephi 32:6). I am striving to do my part. I am waiting for the Lord to do His part.
I do not say that Latter-day Saints are any less "Christian" or "Spirit-filled" than I am. Heavens no! I do not say that my nascent faith is any more enthralling or rapturous than any I have experienced before. (It's not.) I did not witness the heavens open to me upon my rebaptism nor did I feel anything "special" because of it.
But I did drive home in peace. I was filled with a spirit of patience and contrition, of quiet confidence that I had exercised as much faith in Christ as I could muster. (I may be mistaken about many things, but if I err, I err in the service and discipleship of Christ.) I can afford the same benefit of the doubt to those who serve in the LDS Church and I pray that the charity of God may cover the multitude of our sins.