Loss of the Sealing Power

While in a sacred place a month ago a friend asked what I thought about “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” I confess that I had not heard of the book or the author, Denver Snuffer. I assume he asked my opinion because he knows that I have reviewed similar books on my blog that focus on controversial issues facing the LDS Church. Denver’s books are not advertised. People learn about them only by word of mouth or through online reviews on sites like mine.

I purchased the book and posted on Facebook that I had done so. Several of my blogging buddies noted it and expressed interest in what I thought. A few days later after my first quick read-through, I wrote “I speed read the first half. Finding no major faults, I devoured the second half (pages 240 to 499) in about four hours. I haven’t stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to read a book in years.” There is something dramatically different about this book.

Don’t leave the church

I also reported that “My focus in reading was to find anything smacking of disloyalty to the brethren or encouraging the members to leave. He came close on the first point but completely negated my concern on the second.” Before I write anything else I want to focus on that second point. I am convinced that Denver Snuffer has his reader’s best interest at heart. I cannot say that about the authors of any other recent book of LDS History I have read. Denver wants us to stay in the Church.

However, Denver Snuffer has caused me to do something no other recent writer of Mormon history has been able to do. He has produced in me a desire to read his book again and again. I want to study it, to research it, to look up many of the quotes, to read what others have said about those quotes. In other words, I am taking seriously Denver’s claims which, although not all unique to his book, are argued more precisely and effectively than any other author I have encountered.

Receive the Second Comforter

I have just completed the second reading of the book and am starting on the third, this time with pen and highlighter in hand. I have read his first book, “The Second Comforter” twice and have purchased each of the intervening six books. I have invested hours reading Denver’s blog from start to finish and have contemplated each of the points he has made there over the years. Other than the scriptures, I have never invested this much time in trying to understand an author’s message.

Everything I have learned about Denver has caused me to contemplate his message more and more. He has asked that we not focus on him, his life or his background. He has asked that we pay attention more to the process he is trying to get us to pass through – a process that if we follow through to completion will have us receive The Second Comforter for ourselves. I like that. I want that. I endorse that. How can you fault a man for wanting to help you come unto Christ? I don’t.

Details lacking in faith-promoting history

In the meantime, you are going to have to pass through some very difficult realizations that, depending on the strength of your relationship with the things of the spirit, may leave you gasping and reaching for help and understanding. If you are not already familiar with things our detractors have written about us you will have a challenging time reading this book. It will make you angry. It will cause you to think of Mr. Snuffer as an apostate and wonder why he hasn’t been excommunicated.

This book is not for everybody. If you are a casual member of the church you will not be interested. If you are not familiar with some of the controversies about our history being discussed on the Internet today, you will be a little shocked at what you read. You may not understand why some of the issues are problems at all if all you have ever learned about our history is what you were taught in Sunday school, Primary, Seminary or even Institute. This is an alternative view of our history.

Sealing power has been lost

I wish I was at the point where I could say that I can vouch for Denver’s accuracy or that I agree with his interpretations. I am not there yet. I suspect it will take me years to arrive at that level. In the meantime, if you have already read Denver’s works, I want to hear from you. I am especially interested in discussion about the two most controversial arguments in his book – the idea that the sealing power is not on the earth at this time and Denver’s interpretation of the fullness of the priesthood.

<Update 4-29-12> Denver has posted on his blog that “I have never said the church does not have the sealing power.” This obviously is in direct conflict with the thesis of this essay and my (and my wife’s) interpretation of the first chapter of his book, especially this line: “The church and its ordinations and ordinances does not confer power.” (p 36) He’s right. He did not say the church does not have the sealing power. Carol and I did not clearly understand the message of his first chapter. <end of update>

I kept looking for Denver to address the implications of the position he is advocating in regards to the work we are doing in the temples. I confess I have so far been disappointed by the lack of a sympathetic discussion of what this means to the thousands, if not millions of members who have spent so much of their time and energy over the years in researching and performing proxy ordinances in the temples for their ancestors. I am one of those individuals and want to know his response.

The work in the temples

In other words, if the sealing power is not on the earth then what hope do my wife and I have that we will be united in the eternities? If the sealing power is not on the earth, then what in the world have I and my mother and sisters been doing for these past forty years in digging and corresponding and compiling the thousands and thousands of family names ensuring that their work was done in the temples? I see this as the single most important issue to be answered.

Because I am so intrigued by what I have learned so far, I am going to give Denver the benefit of the doubt that he has already answered this question satisfactorily and I have simply not yet found it. I am not like some of my online friends who have become disaffected and left the church then complain about how much they resented the loss of their tithing money or that they felt duped when they learned they had been teaching a “sanitized” version of our history.

Section 110 misinterpreted

This idea of the sealing power is central to my feelings about the church and core to the reason why I have spent so many thousands of hours in the temple over the past thirty-five years. No, I don’t feel that my time was wasted if what Denver claims about section 110 is true. Of all the things that could strike at the heart and soul of Mormonism this is it. If you want to hurt a whole lot of good people, tell them that the the work they have been doing in the temples is not valid.

There is one question I would like to ask Denver, but I won’t because I don’t know him and he has made it clear that he gets far too many requests to answer directly. Because I felt strongly about sharing what I was learning from Denver’s books, I asked Carol to read the fist chapter of “Passing the Heavenly Gift” to me as we drove to Southern Utah for a family vacation this weekend. We had one of the most deep and enjoyable gospel discussions we have ever had over the course of several hours.

Exaltation is a family affair

Carol came away from the reading with the distinct impression that Denver was saying that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is today no different than any other good Christian church. She read that Brigham Young was only elected to be the President of the Church and that there was no ordination that passed the keys of the kingdom to him or to any of the rest of the twelve. She related her feelings while as a missionary she was taught by her mission president that Joseph ordained and passed the keys of the kingdom on to the twelve before they left on their missions.

Denver, what would you say to my wife, who related while she stood at the Far West temple site with dozens of other missionaries how she felt the spirit bear witness to her soul that Joseph successfully passed the keys of the kingdom on to the apostles before he sent them away on their missions and went on to Carthage jail to seal his testimony with his blood? Would you say that Joseph wasn’t referring to the council of the twelve, but to the council of fifty?

An incomplete ordination

What Denver is writing about is serious business. He is apparently all about getting people to question what they have been taught and what they believe about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He says he wants to bring us to Christ but in the process he wants us to rethink what we have been taught and what we believe about the power of priesthood and how it is manifested in our lives. He says the temple will point us to Christ yet says the sealing power is not there.

Am I the first to see the implications of what he is teaching? I don’t think so. Tell me I’m wrong or that I’ve missed the point completely. Tell me that all the thousands of temple workers, so many of them my good friends, are not wasting their time laboring in temples that have been rejected. Tell me that the blessings I have given to my wife and so many others over the years are efficacious even though I have not had my ordination completed by having the Lord lay his hands upon my head.

Receiving the Heavenly Gift

I am not a lawyer, so I can never argue as well as Denver has done. I am a simple member of the church, happy in my faith and grateful to have lived my life in the orthodox manner as taught by my leaders. I have served a mission, been married in the temple, served in bishoprics and high councils for the past twenty-five years and generally loved my time associating with saints of the Lord, who Denver is now calling a fallen and proud people, members of an apostate gentile church.

What do you think? Has Denver taught the truth in his book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift” or is he an apostate like some have declared him to be? Is it worth my time to read the rest of his books? Is there a whole lot more that I don’t see yet that will prove Denver to be right? Perhaps I need to re-read his first book again and put the process to the test as he is asking us to do. Is Denver teaching that we need to do in our homes what we are taught in the temple to converse with the Lord through the veil?

I would love to read your opinions.

61 comments for “Loss of the Sealing Power

  1. Last Lemming
    February 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I haven’t read Snuffer’s books, and I don’t plan to. But based on what you have written here, I think I can offer some advice.

    Don’t overthink this. Whether or not the sealing power is on the earth, lots and lots of ordinances are performed in the temples that will ultimately be invalidated. We seal women to all of the men to whom they were married in this life. We seal men to all of the women they were married to without knowing whether they want that or whether the first wife would tolerate it. And then there is the sloppy genealogical work that results in men being sealed to women to whom they were never married (and vice versa), and children being sealed to the wrong parents. We comfort ourselves with the notion that God will sort it all out.

    Well, if Snuffer is correct, God will just have some more sorting out to do. But we will have the records. Let me repeat–we will have the records. If we had acknowledged a lack of sealing power and shut down (or never built) the temples, do you think we would have those records? Not likely. So maybe we have to redo some ordinances. That’s the easy part. The hard part will be have been completed regardless.

  2. February 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Comments are active again. If you tried to comment previously and got a message about a password, try it again. The comment spam filter didn’t like my theme change. It has now been corrected. This blog receives hundreds of automated spam comments each day without that filter in place. Thanks.

    • Jackson
      June 17, 2013 at 12:57 am

      Aloha Like some others I have not read Denvers books.. I have fallowed much of His blogs for some time. I understand the power or sealing power as described by Denver to be that power to guarantee ones calling and election as spoken of by Peter. This is different I believe than TEMPLE WORK being relevant.. Joseph makes a bold statement on this topic D&C 130:5–6. It is when a person knows in fact that his exaltation or calling and election is confirmed to him and he knows it! It is the event that happened to Helaman when his election was sealed as noted by one of your writers. See Helaman 10:4–12
      Please also note D&C124:91-95 Is it possible that Hyrums calling as Patriarch is above His brother Joseph or at least equal to it? He is named frist! See D&C 124:123–125 Again Hyrum is named first! Here the topic is the Melchizedek Priesthood office of High Priest..God through Joseph and others conferred the keys of Apostleship to the Apostles and the keys of High Priest to the High Priests. The calling of High Priest as I understand it is a call that comes down from Heaven not by any person on earth. As far as I can find The heavens never extended a call to High Priest to Brigham Young. I hope I am wrong. How can Brigham Young hold and transfer the keys of High Priesthood power and Keys of sealing power if he never had them?? Did Joseph ever endorse Brigham Young to be the next Church leader? Did He name his son and others?? Can any person truly claim sealing powers without a clear chain of authority back to Hyrum?
      I served in the Temple for many years and I know that Angles our relatives and God is pleased with that work. Many of us will be blessed with them in the eternities. God does not withhold the blessings from the pure in heart who Do good works.

  3. February 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I’ll be right upfront with you Tim. I have not read his books. So if that disqualifies me from the discussion, my apologies. However, the topics he discusses are ones that I have spent many hours studying (including in the Temple) and are very near and dear to my heart. In fact, his book “The Second Comforter” is on my Amazon wishlist.

    Let me see if I might offer a few minor insights, and hopefully some things you might find helpful. I hope what I write will be spirit guided. Understand I’m going off your review of the book, as well as some reading I did on Mr. Snuffer’s own blog.

    His arguments seem to stem from a few points he made in his most recent post on his blog. Check out the paragraph that starts “We tend to thing we ‘have it all’ and that it came from Joseph Smith.” http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/02/more-ancient-than-new-testament.html

    We don’t believe “it all” came from JS. We believe the keys to “it all” were given to Joseph Smith, but that doesn’t mean he revealed all truth, presented a perfect temple ceremony, or even fully understood the Lord’s purpose in much of what he was doing. I’m sure his understanding was great, but Joseph was still human. The Lord works with imperfect people, to accomplish his perfect ends. That’s why other prophets received revelations that were added to the D&C later.

    Next to assume that, as he says, the Lord didn’t give everything required, because Joseph died too soon, assumes that God isn’t in control “whoops! Darn! Joseph went and got himself killed before I could finish restoring all the keys and power necessary to exaltation.” Or that he never intended for us to have those things through priesthood organization… at least not now. I would argue that neither can be true, or Joseph’s own revelations are untrue. God knows all, and all works according to his plan. And according to the revelations Joseph received, all the keys necessary to exaltation have been restored and were passed on to the 12.

    Lastly, I’d argue that the temple ceremony never was and won’t be anytime soon, in it’s “perfect form.” It has been adapted and changed through the ages to fit the times, cultures, and people’s it was delivered to. Certainly God didn’t use Adam and Eve’s own story to teach them temple covenants? Plus it’s always influenced some by the interpretation of the prophet or prophets receiving instruction on how it should be performed. Thus if Brigham Young remembered it differently from the way Joseph had it performed, it may not have mattered, and/or with inspiration from the Lord, it may have been different in ways that God intended as a part of it’s evolution over time, into the ceremonies we participate in today.

    It’s important to always remember that the covenants are different from the mode of teaching. Though the methods of teaching may change, the core principles, doctrines, covenants, and requisite parts of each ordinance remain the same. Another way to think of it is remembering that there’s 2 parts to the endowment: the endowment ceremony that we usually refer to when using the word “endowment,” and the “endowment of power” that is the result of making and keeping sacred covenants with God. The temple ceremonies as a whole, are vastly different today then when Joseph Smith first restored them. However the key doctrines taught, the covenants made, and ultimately the blessings promised and received, are absolutely unchanged.

    Lastly I’d just like to say, that the sealing power and the keys thereof is absolutely is on the Earth! That your temple work is not in vain! And that the ordinance of “calling and election” is alive and well and happens both in temples and at the hand of the Lord’s chosen Apostles, who exercise keys delegated to them from the Prophet. It happens through the organization and authority of the priesthood, and always by revelation. The 2nd comforter can follow this ordinance. I admit I know little of it. However, the first ordinance is the key or gateway to it. Therefore it’s not something that happens totally outside the priesthood structure, or without the involvement of Apostles and the keys which our Prophet holds (delegated to the Apostles as needed).

    I’d be happy to talk more about this in a more private setting. The sacredness of the topics make that more appropriate (another issue I have with what little I know about Bro. Snuffer’s books). A few great links to start looking at a very different perspective are:
    From my own blog: http://sacredsymbolic.com/the-most-important-chapters-in-scripture-part-3/
    And from TempleStudy.com: http://www.templestudy.com/2008/03/25/the-culminating-sealing-ordinance-of-the-temple/

  4. February 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I have never heard of his books, nor have I read anything of his until today. After checking out his website, my reaction was much like yours. My first response was, “Oh, another one of those guys…” But I read through more of his blog and he really has a different take on things. I can’t say that I saw anything in particular that I would consider to be a “red flag”, but I also can’t say that I agree with him.

    I would say that he is correct when he says that we do not have the complete restoration. I am sure (I know) that there are things that have yet to be revealed. But I disagree that this calls into question certain things like the sealing keys. As a former temple worker I know that real work is being done. I saw it every single time I went to the temple. The work being done there is having a real effect on those in the spirit world, and the impression that I get is that he considers temple work to just be a nice teaching tool, but having no real effect.

    Overall I think the thing that I keep coming back to the more I read his stuff, is that he thinks that the church is in a holding pattern until the real stuff can be brought back. It is like he thinks that what we are doing in the church is only acting as a placeholder until the rest will be revealed to us. But I tend to take the view that what is being done in the church right now is the work that God intends us to do. It is not just a placeholder.

  5. February 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I have not read Snuffer’s works, but just from reading Tim’s post, and a handful of information on Amazon, I’m concerned. I believe Snuffer is leading members of the Church down a wrong path, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Snuffer seems to be teaching that we don’t have the sealing power on the earth today, and that the Church has strayed since Joseph Smith’s day. I can whole-heartedly say that that is not true, for living prophets and apostles have told us that we DO have the sealing power on the earth today, as it was restored by Elijah, and has been passed down in an uninterrupted line to the current and living prophets and apostles. And I believe that they are true prophets, seers, and revelators, who together possess all priesthood keys and authority on the earth today, as such as been witnessed to me by the Holy Ghost.

    One of the very simple ways we can tell an imposter from the truth is if they preach something different than what the prophets and apostles teach us. This is a gigantic red flag, the elephant in the room. This seems to be exactly what Snuffer is doing, teaching something completely contrary to what the Brethren teach, which is very dangerous ground, and is akin to speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed servants.

    The sealing power is on the earth today, up to and including an ordination to the fullness of the priesthood, a final sealing in the temple by the laying on of hands, which is practiced in temples today. Here is my post on that subject:
    http://www.templestudy.com/2008/03/25/the-culminating-sealing-ordinance-of-the-temple/

    If leading members away from the Church is not one of Snuffer’s goals, then he should keep all his “alternate history” feelings and thoughts to himself, until a prophet or apostle declares the same. You cannot be a faithful member of the church while believing in its modern apostasy. You cannot hold a temple recommend with such a belief. You cannot have faith in Jesus Christ while denouncing and criticizing his chosen servants and whole disbelieving in continued revelation beyond Joseph Smith. Such a position is faithless, and will ultimately lead to one’s apostasy from the true and living church and restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

    If I had to say one thing, it would be, “Stay away.” Such things will not help, but only hurt one’s testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  6. Brent Hartman
    February 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Bryce, my testimony of the gospel is not so weak as to need protection from differing perspectives. Also, if those leaders claiming to be bearers of truth can’t stand a little scrutiny, then perhaps God needs some stronger truth bearers.

    I think Snuffer makes some good points, but I don’t believe the sealing keys have been lost from the earth. Understanding what one recieves during the Second Anointing shoots that argument down. A greater understanding of the Second Anointing also clears up misunderstandings about the parenthesis portion of D&C 132:7.

  7. Ben
    February 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I have thought a lot about the sealing power as I too have studied the things Denver has written.

    I think the biggest issue is that what we generally call the sealing power and what Denver is calling the sealing power are 2 different things.

    I believe that the church is the organization appointed by the Lord to perform the ordinances restored through Joseph Smith. I believe that they still hold that place, and I believe Denver would agree with that characterization:

    “My faith in the Gospel is stronger now than the day I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My fidelity to the church is greater now than it has ever been. It offered me baptism and I gladly accepted. If offered me scriptures, and I gladly accepted. It offered me ordination, laying on hands, washings, anointings, covenants and sacraments, and I gladly accepted them all. It gives me fellowship, and I value it. But my faith is in Christ alone.”

    http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2011/12/whole-not-parts.html

    I believe that the sealing power the Denver speaks of, and the way the idea is set forth in the scriptures is different than what the sealers in the temple do. The ordinances we receive at their hands are ALL conditional, unbinding in their initial forms, dependent on being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise before they are actually sealed in heaven (as described in D&C 132). They are invitations, both for the living and the dead. This sealing power, as we call it, is really the authority to perform ordinances in the temple, to offer invitations to the saints to seek Heaven’s stamp of approval for the promises to be sure.

    On the other hand, the sealing power that Joseph held was the same as spoken of in Helaman 10:

    ” 7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.
    8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.
    9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done.
    10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.”

    There are no conditionals in that. Nephi and Joseph Smith could be absolutely trusted by the Lord to exercise this power. God gave this sealing power to them himself. Heaven is basically granting the seal by the Holy Spirit of Promise in advance. The power is “do this and it is done.” That kind of power is not transferrable from one man to another, even if it was attempted.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I do believe Joseph passed on as much as he could pass on, but that there are certain things that he simply wasn’t allowed, or is unable as a man to pass on.

    So, I don’t think its so much that “the church” lost the sealing power, because it wasn’t something that “the church” could institutionalize in the first place.

    I think we probably have a similar terminology problem with priesthood as well. What we call the Melchizedek priesthood and what the scriptures describe as the highest priesthood (that held by Melchizedek, Enoch, etc.) may not overlap as much as we think they do. There is more to it than our initial readings and assumptions have grasped.

    I don’t believe that this means our ordinations are null and void, but in the proper light, no ordination is an automatic grant of power, authority, or spirituality anyway. It takes effort and stretching to righteousness to attempt to tap into the power of heaven. It just seems that there might be another level to all of this, and there are things that the Lord reserves for himself to do for us.

    The biggest lesson I have taken from studying is that we as LDS often presume that we have a lot more than we do. It isn’t enough to just be a card carrying LDS member, that isn’t the end of the story.

    That’s my feeble attempt at an explanation. I’m anxious to hear what others think.

    • Sheri
      March 28, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Ben, thank you! I really like your explanation. I just finished reading “Passing the Heavely Gift”. I was initially very bothered by what I read and had concluded that there was not any reason to even pray about it because what Denver said was so contrary to what I’ve been taught ny whole life. But after humbling myself and continuing to ponder his book, The Lord testified to me that truths are being taught in his book. I’m continuing to ponder what I’ve read and what The Lord is trying to teach me. This is definitely in the category of further light and knowledge for me. I’ve had a hard time articulating what I’ve learned from his book and what The Lord is trying to teach me. I believe your post did just that…. Articulated my thoughts. So thank you! Well done! I’m excited to continue on this path of further light and knowledge.

  8. February 28, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Brent, I think you missed my point. No one is so thick skinned that they are completely unaffected by the things they read. If one reads unfaithful things, one will be adversely affected by them. You are what you eat.

    Also, we aren’t counseled to not criticize Church leaders for their sake, but for our own. Doing so will destroy one’s testimony.

  9. February 28, 2012 at 7:58 am

    It would be well for Snuffer, and those that believe the same, to learn from Elder Oaks teachings about criticism, and how it damages our spiritual well-being:
    http://www.lds.org/ensign/1987/02/criticism?lang=eng

    • Diane Henry
      November 15, 2013 at 2:17 am

      This article by Dallin Oaks needs to be addressed because the massive implications contained in it are not true to the extreme that they are taken.

      Criticism doesn’t damage our spiritual well-being unless, as Oaks puts it is done as “destructive personal criticism ” or “in a spirit of contention, with “faults of a petty nature”. Misunderstanding Christ is what is damaging to our spiritual well-being.

      Oaks does do a lot of implying, though, that we ought to keep our mouth shut. He says the church rarely takes action against members who voice something off the conveyor belt. It is not as “rare” as you might be led to believe, though. It is interesting that Oaks pointed out that “Isaiah condemned the critics of his day”. What is so interesting is that the critics spoken of were the Leaders of the church organization, the lofty branches of the tree, who refused the correction of the Lord’s revelations. The same ones who had him sawn in half. But rest assured, the church at that time rarely took such action.

      I wonder if some would condemn Christ for his words to the Pharisees as spiritually damning?

      Still, Oaks makes a point that ideally church leaders “have strict limits” and that they should be held accountable for “lying, cheating, or defrauding”. If scriptures have been changed, doctrine ignored, or falsehood promoted by leaders, in love wouldn’t the Lord want it made known? If we are told to silence our questions about saving principles, symbols of the temple, calling and election, accurate history of the Lord’s dealings with His people in this dispensation, foundational keys and authority, wouldn’t that be defrauding the Lord’s children of understanding and knowledge that lead to salvation? To the children of God, these are far from petty concerns.

      How about the general counsel that, even if leaders err, we will be blessed for following them, even if we know it is wrong. Wow. I thought the blessings came from following Christ and the revelations given by Him and the Holy Ghost. Christ is the light. That is what Denver Snuffer makes clear.

      One more point. While many leaders imply that their relationship with the Lord is “too sacred” to discuss, Joseph Smith or any other prophet didn’t have any trouble being clear about Christ’s appearance. In fact, they were commanded to bear witness of Him and that experience. Why is it so different today? Is the Lord really so different now? Denver is not the first man I have met to claim to have seen Christ. But he is the first that reveals truth lovingly, clearly and in concert with the teachings of the Lord and His spirit. He helps me repent.

      Diane Henry

      P.S. If read carefully, it is consistent that the greatest opposition to revelations received by prophets seems to come, not from the world, but from those who hold positions of authority–in his church. The Jews tried to kill Lehi, not the Babylonians already there.

      Hinckley said: “I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man (or men) who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his (their) course.

  10. John Roberts
    February 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

    “Three times in the sacred scriptures the warning is made that the whole earth would be utterly wasted at the Lord’s return if certain conditions were not in place. In each instance, that warning related to the condition of the human family without the sealing ordinances of the temple. Without these ordinances of exaltation, the glory of the God would not be realized.” – Elder Russell M. Nelson, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, February 11, 2012

    I understand this to mean that without the keys of sealing, the Church is incapable of fulfilling its mission to save souls and prepare the world for the second coming of Christ: in other words, it is not the Church of Christ at all, but only a social organization.

  11. February 28, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Ben,

    I think you’re exactly right in that we have a terminology problem. I think this happens many places in the Church. Various terms have been confused and mixed with others so that the meaning is often obscure. I also agree that the sealing power you point out in Helaman 10 is different from the one we often refer to as a “temple sealing.” Though I’m all for clarity and truth, those two things could also be a blessing in disguise.

    Being sealed by the holy spirit of promise, is no small matter. It’s extremely sacred. Therefore, it seems (at least to me) that this is somewhat obscured from public scrutiny by confusion with marriage/family sealings. And out of respect for it’s sacredness the brethren make no attempt to clear things up. They refer to it, but you have to be listening and seeking. Unlike the entire initiatory, endowment, and marriage ceremonies, which can be found online, this one is kept sacred by the fact that it’s confused with the other, temporary sealing.

    But let me assure you that that sealing power is also on the earth (and I would argue the sealings we are familiar with are an appendage or preparatory version of the same authority/keys), and it is exercised on behalf of righteous, worthy saints who are appropriately qualified. Take a look at the last 2 paragraphs in my previous comment, and read the linked articles.

    Bro. Snuffer teaches a dangerous heresy, because it is so close to the truth. The Lord can use bad things to his advantage. So hopefully truth seekers who read his books will find where he’s wrong and it will only make them stronger and help them discover deeper truths. However, it’s also very dangerous for those who believe it, or in trying to prove or disprove it, go to other incorrect sources.

    • John Sugden
      March 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      I’m not sure if anyone will even read this, but here it goes.

      I’ve been confused about Denver Snuffer for a while; my wife’s uncle mentioned he had read “The Second Comforter” and was thoroughly impressed by it; I’ve wanted to read it for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it. Due to Denver’s recent post on his blog, I’ve heard more attention, especially due to the controversy in Passing the Heavenly Gift (which I also haven’t read yet). It didn’t seem right to me that someone who claimed to have his election made sure would then apostatize. However, I then stumbled upon this blog post from Denver, posted about a month ago, which put me at ease–http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-ongoing-battle.html

      The conclusion of his blog post:

      1. I sustain today’s church leaders as prophets, seers and revelators. The scriptures give them the right to use those titles (D&C 107: 92). They preside, and it is their right to do so. They have our common consent and ought to be upheld by our “confidence, faith and prayers” (D&C 107: 22). I uphold them in this way. They carry heavy burdens and have my sympathy, not my judgment, for any human frailties they display.

      2. It is utterly untrue that I have said the church is apostate. I reject the accusation. If the narrative I suggest in PTHG is true, then the Lord’s post-Nauvoo ire is evidence the Lord is still watching over and intends to further His work with the members of this church. Those whom He loves, He chastens. (Heb. 12: 5–11; Helaman 12: 3; D&C 95: 1.) Mine is not a faithless, but a faith filled history. I’ve reiterated this before and reiterate it again. (See my post: The Traditions of Men, Part 1, April 21, 2010.)

      3. I believe the church possesses the right to seal on earth and seal in heaven, and have agreed with President Eyring’s general conference talk on the subject.

      4. I believe that all organizations, including the church, tend to characterize their history in a light most favorable to them. They have that right. I take no issue with it and think it should be expected. That does not change the divine origin and mission of the church.

      5. The church provides ordinances required to see and enter into the kingdom of heaven, in addition to providing us with the necessary scriptures. Through the church, we receive the foundation of faith, repentance, baptism and enduring to the end. I hope to endure to the end myself and I seek to help others do so.

      I am still in the battle to help people find and focus upon Christ. As a faithful Latter-day Saint I owe my knowledge of the Lord to the tools I obtained through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have enjoyed every minute of my association with the church, and I intend to remain a faithful member. The current war we face did not originate with blogs or bloggers. The blogosphere is following the battle, not leading it. It began long ago, and the efforts to deal with it here are because of the many losses we have and are suffering. They are needless losses. We just need to be willing to discuss and recognize there certainly are some tough questions. They don’t go away because we ignore them. They grow.

      I think I will go ahead and purchase The Second Comforter soon.

      And, Tevya, it’s good to run into an old Disciple Training buddy once again!

      • March 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

        Well, I read my visitor’s comments and I appreciate your addition to the ongoing dialog. FYI, I started reading The Second Comforter again today – my fifth time. I’m finding new stuff to highlight, adding to my understanding of the importance of Denver’s message that receiving the Second Comforter is a part of the fullness of the gospel. It is a comforting thought, something I cherish more the older I get. God bless.

  12. Ben
    February 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

    It would also be well that before being critical of what a person has written, one might think about being informed by actually reading what has been written.

    Denver has never advocated leaving the church. He has also always said that the leaders ought to be sustained and supported in their positions of leadership.

    One of his main faults in writing is that he assumes readers are familiar with all that he has written before, meaning he rarely goes back to explain himself on one matter if he has already explained it in previous writings.

    For example, in Second Comforter, he wrote:

    Criticism of fellow Saints has almost become a cottage industry. There is a widely held attitude the Saints should be better than they are, and that attitude has led to open criticism of the Saints by the Saints. Semi-apostate writings pass as good social commentary. Mildly adopting the role of accuser is considered by some to be sophisticated and intelligent. Some think that being a little critical of the Saints, and the Church and the presiding authorities, shows that you have ~@~independence of thought.~@~]

    This is wrong. The Saints are just as they should be. They are human, frail, weak and vulnerable. They need your example and your encouragement. They do not need your criticism and judgment piled on top of the other discouragements facing them as Latter-day Saints living in the latter-days. These times are tough. No one has it easy. Saints struggle. That is as it should be. You are here to help them, not to condemn them. Christ said He came into the world to save the world, not to condemn it. Imitate Him. Do something to avoid condemning His Saints. He doesn~@~Yt condemn them, so why should you? The Saints deserve your mercy.

    The rhetorical criticism seems to raise a notch when some pseudointellectual Saints speak about the presiding authorities of the Church. The Brethren who preside over the Church of Jesus Christ of
    Latter-day Saints deserve your support, prayers and confidence, not your judgment and criticism. If they fail or err, forgive them and sustain them with your prayers. You fail. You err. If you want to be forgiven of that in your life, then forgive them for their failings and errors.

  13. February 28, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for the comments guys. I respect each of you tremendously, having read many of your writings in the past. Bryce, I am especially pleased that you took the time to add a few comments. I remember that post you wrote on the fullness of the priesthood back in 2008. Your passion for defending the temple and especially the sealing powers, part of the keys of the kingdom, is evident and very commendable.

    Ben and Teyva, your comments are very helpful to me, especially Ben who has read some of Denver’s work. The reaction here is nothing compared to what John Dehlin received when he had Denver on his Mormon Stories podcast a little while back. Everybody wanted to focus on his claim, which he makes very clearly, that he has been ministered to by the Savior, not once but several times. Anybody who makes that claim deserves a closer look.

    That’s why I’m withholding judgement until I read the rest of his books. I have just started on “Come Let us Adore Him.” As I noted in the essay, there is something different about Denver’s writings compared to say, a Grant Palmer or a Michael Quinn. Some have characterized Denver as the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing because a) he argues so well, and b) has made the claim of having received the Second Comforter.

    I like what Ben and Tevya said about a terminology problem. Perhaps I am not yet understanding Denver’s claim that the sealing power was not passed from Joseph to Brigham. But the cover of his book sure seems to symbolize that loss, doesn’t it? I am open-minded enough to keep reading until I can say one way or the other how I feel about his claims. In the meantime, Denver has a problem if my wife’s reaction is any indication of how most members will respond to his opinions and arguments. But I think he knows that.

  14. February 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I have once heard it said, “Those that don’t know speak….. while those that know don’t.” I would be extremely cautious of following too closely to a member that claims to be ministered to personally by the Savior. Such an experience, if and when it occurs, is certainly a very sacred and personal thing, and not to be shared lightly. From what I understand, an ordination to the fulness of the priesthood comes with it a commandment to “tell no man.” And rightly so; the Lord has an order, and has called and chosen certain people for the guidance of His church. If members were to tell others that they had their calling and election made sure, and were ministered to by the Savior, it would set them up as alternative sources of light and truth, and there would be confusion and chaos.

    In fact, this very thing has happened before in Church history. Hiram Page believed he had received a stone by which he could receive revelations from God (i.e. personal ministration), and began to teach others. Joseph Smith warned the Saints:

    “It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instructions for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.”

    Joseph received section 28 of the D&C in response to this incident with Hiram Page, and the confusion it caused among the Saints.

    An official statement by the First Presidency in 1913 states:

    From the days of Hiram Page ( Doc. and Cov., Sec. 28 ), at different periods there have been manifestations from delusive spirits to members of the Church. Sometimes these have come to the men and women who because of transgression became easy prey to the Arch-Deceiver. At other times people who pride themselves on their strict observance of the rules and ordinances and ceremonies of the Church are led astray by false spirits, who exercise an influence so imitative of that which proceeds from a Divine source that even these persons, who think they are ‘the very elect,’ find it difficult to discern the essential difference. Satan himself has transformed himself to be apparently ‘an angel of light.’

    “When visions, dreams, tongues, prophecy, impressions or any extraordinary gift or inspiration, convey something out of harmony with the accepted revelations of the Church or contrary to the decisions of its constituted authorities, Latter-day Saints may know that it is not of God, no matter how plausible it may appear. Also, they should understand that directions for the guidance of the Church will come, by revelation, through the head. All faithful members are entitled to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for themselves, their families, and for those over whom they are appointed and ordained to preside. But anything at discord with that which comes from God through the head of the Church is not to be received as authoritative or reliable. In secular as well as spiritual affairs, Saints may receive Divine guidance and revelation affecting themselves, but this does not convey authority to direct others, and is not to be accepted when contrary to Church covenants, doctrine or discipline, or to known facts, demonstrated truths, or good common sense. . . .

    “Be not led by any spirit or influence that discredits established authority and contradicts true scientific principles and discoveries, or leads away from the direct revelations of God for the government of the Church. The Holy Ghost does not contradict its own revealings. Truth is always harmonious with itself. Piety is often the cloak of error. The counsels of the Lord through the channel he has appointed will be followed with safety, therefore, O! ye Latter-day Saints, profit by these words of warning.”

    President Boyd K. Packer has taught the importance of keeping exceptionally sacred experiences private:

    “One question of this type I am asked occasionally, usually by someone who is curious, is, ‘Have you seen Him?’ That is a question that I have never asked of another. I have not asked that question of my Brethren in the Council of the Twelve, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special ­inspiration — indeed, some authorization — even to ask it.” “We do not talk of those sacred interviews that qualify the servants of the Lord to bear a special witness of Him, for we have been commanded not to do so.”

    For such reasons, if someone goes around sharing (several times) they have had a personal witness of the Savior, and that He ministers to them, it may be deemed very suspect, since it is clear that the Lord would probably not have revealed himself to someone who would do such a thing.

    Denver doesn’t have to openly advocate leaving the church to have that effect, whether by lost faith or physical action, on members with his teachings. And he can teach that we should sustain and support our leaders, while in actuality doing the very opposite with his teachings. “Piety is the cloak of error.” Mixing the philosophies of men with scriptures has always been a very effective tactic of the Adversary; for it is difficult to sift the truth from error, or the error from truth. It seems to me that Snuffer is a very deceptive person, perhaps having deceived his own self. Solely from the summary of his “Passing” book, I can see that he believes that most of what Church leaders have done since the very moment of Joseph’s death has not been the mind and will of the Lord, and that changes in doctrine and practice within the Church have not been led by revelation from the Lord. I don’t have to read his books to know that is patently false, and such philosophy and teaching does not sustain or support any of the Lord’s chosen servants. The Lord counsels us, “Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them” (D&C 121:16).

    Again, if anyone teaches that which is contrary to or in opposition with the teachings of the living prophets and apostles of the Lord, in any measure, you may know with perfect certainty that they do not have the light of truth, and are in error. “For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants. For all things must be done in order…” (D&C 28:12–13). If you choose to read Denver’s books, or teachings like his, bear strongly in mind that they may be from a Hiram Page.

    • JohnB
      October 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

      These are harsh comments to make considering you haven’t read his book! Are you that concerned about the fragility of your faith that you refuse to question anything? Since when would a personal visit from the Saviour be forbidden to share? That idea itself doesn’t make much sense! What was the mission of the original Apostles? What was the mission of Joseph Smith? What should be the mission of Apostles today? In all the material that I’ve read of Denver’s I have not, as yet, gotten a sense that he is treating this experience lightly. Our faith, of course, should be centred squarely on Christ, not man – including the leadership of the church.
      There is obviously nothing wrong with being cautious, but I have to say there isn’t a great deal of Christ-like love in the tone of your comments!

    • Diane Henry
      November 15, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Yes, but Hiram Page lied. So said Joseph and used the occasion to expound correct doctrine. Joseph refused to let that affect Hiram Pages’ membership standing. He didn’t approve of leaders trying to dictate religious thought. And, if you have been to the temple, you are just as “anointed” as any of the leadership.

      All Denver does is point to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith to see what was taught by the Lord through him. They are certainly a help in determining the teachings of the Lord and the light of truth.

      If the Lord asks those who have seen Him to keep silent, who is to bear testimony of Him? Did Joseph Smith err in his bold statements? Seems to be a lot of misconstructions going on.

      Bryce you say, ” From what I understand, an ordination to the fulness of the priesthood comes with it a commandment to “tell no man.”” But that is just an ordination. If all you have are ordinances, you have nothing. An appearance of the Savior, His approval, not man’s, is something different.

      If you have been studying the scriptures and gained confidence in following the spirit and getting answers to prayers, you are spiritually mature enough to benefit from actually reading Snuffer’s material. You won’t need to continue to fear and condemn that which you have not even read, much less tried to understand. Be at peace and trust that the Lord is capable of sending messengers of His choosing.

  15. Ben
    February 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I was hoping for a more enlightened conversation, but it appears that it is not to be.

    All I can say is it is very easy to set up a straw man, and knock it down, look brilliant and claim a victory. Denver’s writings are very different from how Bryce (who has never read them) is portraying them.

    Since coming across his books, I have been more interested in gospel study, have become more committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, am in my scriptures more often and in greater depth than I have ever been.

    I read what Denver writes because he consistently turns me back to the scriptures, to Joseph Smith, and to Christ. I don’t assume he is right about everything, but I don’t find a motive of deception. He seeks no followers, and begs that everything he says be disregarded unless confirmed by Heaven. That seems a message and method that should be at least a little familiar to most LDS folks.

    I just find radical denunciation of a person or writing without any kind of examination to be much like those who warn against reading the Book of Mormon because they know for a fact it is evil. “I don’t have to read his books to know that is patently false…”

    Denver’s books are not scripture, but they have made a difference to me in my life and I’m grateful to have found them.

    • Sheri
      March 28, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Ben, thanks again! I agree! Couldn’t have said it better. Denver has motivated me to focus more on my scripture study and my Savior. And I agree with Ben and John….Bryce should read the book before he condemns us who have read it and are contemplating new understanding. Let the spirit be your guide.

  16. Michael C.
    February 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I first discovered Denver’s Second Comforter book in March of 2009. After I finished reading it I quickly purchased his other two books Nephi’s Isaiah and Eighteen Verses. I’ve since read Beloved Enos, Come Let Us Adore Him, Ten Parables, Removing the Condemnation and Passing the Heavenly Gift as they’ve been released. I finished Passing in one sitting.

    The distinction Ben makes regarding terminology of the absolute sealing power given to Nephi in Helaman 10 (cf. especially verse 5) is critical as compared to the provisional sealing performed in the temple today which is subject to future ratification by the Holy Spirit of Promise based upon our faithfulness. (“If you are faithful, the time will come…”) Clearly the sealing performed on Joshua & Susan Powell by an ordained sealer in the Portland Temple was provisional (and certainly not later ratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise for at least one of those parties) whereas Nephi’s ability to seal up the heavens so there was no rain was absolute and immediate.

    Read the introduction to Chapter 12 of Second Comforter and you’ll see that Denver clearly believes that vicarious ordinances are effective for his own ancestors.

    It is clear that all is not well in Zion, nor should we expect it to be (2 Nephi 28:21), especially considering Zion in its true ultimate form is yet to be established amongst us. Per D&C 84:54–58 the Church has been under divine condemnation for the past 160 years. President Benson made it clear that this condemnation has never been lifted.

    I agree with Ben that reading Denver has motivated me to dig deeper into the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, and the words of Joseph Smith.

  17. February 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I am interested in your findings. I generally trust your take on many things LDS. I have had a passing introduction to Denver Snuffer over the last several years. I have not really looked into it. I put it on a shelf saying something like this to myself, “Maybe what he is saying is true. I don’t have any reason to believe the LDS church has lost its way.”

    I have read Rough Stone Rolling and have reconciled myself with any concerns with the church, its history and its difficult doctrine.

    I look forward to your replys about this.

  18. February 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    The subject of the sealing power deserves it’s own essay with good critical thinking, meaning a thesis, premises and conclusions. But in a nutshell, I have decided that the sealing ordinance as administered in the temples is a conditional or invitational ordinance, performed with the Savior’s full endorsement or authorization. I think this is obvious to anyone who considers it carefully. The promise of having my wife as my eternal companion is entirely dependent upon both my faithfulness and being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This rings true with everything I have been taught and believe about the sealing ordinance. We are not sealed until the Lord ratifies that sealing.

    I think what Denver is trying to say is that the sealing power cannot be conferred from one man to another. That kind of power can be received only from the Lord himself, as evidenced in the scriptural examples of Nephi (Helaman 10:6–7), Joseph Smith (D&C 132:46), Nephi (2 Nephi 33:15) and others like Enoch, Moses, Elijah, Elisha as well as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of these prophets received their priesthood power, including the sealing power directly from the Lord. All I am saying is that I have no problem with this idea that sealing power cannot be conferred from one man to another. But the sealing ordinance as administered in the temples is still authorized and valid.

    I mean, think about it. When you were sealed in the temple to your spouse, there were promises offered but it is clear that they were and are conditional promises. I’m not going to quote them. You can look them up if you want. Better yet, go and participate in some proxy sealings if you haven’t been to the temple for awhile. I have knelt across the alter with my sweetheart hundreds of times and heard those promises again and again. They are conditional. They are invitational. They are not the real thing. I am invited to go and make them real by having the Lord seal the promises upon my head directly. I know this is sacred ground but it’s at the heart of all ordinances. They are types and shadows.

    I’m going to go so far as to claim that there is no power in the priesthood until the Lord confers it upon me. Don’t stone me. This is just my opinion but it makes perfect sense to me. I can be ordained, and I know plenty of men who have been ordained to the priesthood who have no clue what they were given. They never sought the Lord to ratify that ordination. Power comes from heaven alone. The conferral of the priesthood is only an invitation for a man to go and get power from heaven, not actual power itself. It confers an office within the church, but an office in the church is not synonymous with the power of heaven. Our ordination is not full and complete until God has laid his hand upon us.

  19. Ben
    February 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Denver has posted a post on his blog relating to the discussion here.

    http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/02/question-on-sealing.html

  20. March 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I read Denver’s first book, The Second Comforter in 2008. I haven’t read any others.

    I came to the bloggernacle in 2007 to find people of faith. Little did I realize the depth of unbelief I would find. I believe the church is in deeper trouble than we care to admit.

    There are many voices competing with the apostles and prophets, the vast majority are not sustaining church leaders but are busy sowing doubt, discord, and pain.

    I have chosen to focus my attention and efforts in doing the things Heavenly Father has told our generation will insure that we escape the woes of the days.

    Follower of Christ in our day can protect themselves from deception by doing all in their power to acquire the gift of the Holy Ghost and the gifts of the Spirit that flow there from (D&C 46:7–12).

    The LDS church is lead by a prophet. The Lord has told us in unmistakable language that there is safety in looking to the head of church.

    4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
    5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
    6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 21:4 – 6)

    It appears to me that we are in the early part of a battle for the souls of Latter-day-Saints. It will only intensify. Verse 6 says to me that hell will not prevail if we listen to the Lord’s prophet. Prevail conveys the idea of a tough fight but provides the promise the Lord will fight our battle successfully.

    It’s clear to me that each of us need to fulfill our baptism covenant and acquire the gift of the Holy Ghost. In my opinion, true conversion of the Spirit is lacking in the church. A testimony is not conversion.

    I hope each member of the church will focus on the first principles of the gospel and plead with Heavenly Father to experience the birth of the Spirit.

    As for those who preach something other than the first principles of the gospel I suggest we learn just enough of what their saying to be conversant. Don’t let what they have to say turn your attention away from diligently seeking the companionship of the Spirit.

  21. March 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Amen, Jared, Amen. I have always appreciated what you share on your blog and your comments here. Thanks for coming to visit and for leaving your thoughts. I appreciate that you are trying to focus on seeking after that which builds faith and causes us to enjoy the blessings of the spirit in greater abundance in our lives. I have tried to do that with my writing here but confess that at times, some of what I have written has been controversial. This essay was not one of those. I sought for and received wonderful advice, public and private, about reading Denver’s books.

    I have come to view some things about our history just a little bit differently than I have in the past. A paradigm shift occurred for me when I read this verse in D&C 124:28 in a way I had never before considered. Joseph implored the saints to complete the work on the Nauvoo temple. “For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”

    What was lost? What is the fulness of the priesthood? We know Joseph had the sealing power because the Lord said so in D&C 132: “whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens.” Joseph received most of section 132 long before it was recorded. In fact, he may have received some of it as early as 1829. Denver argues that the sealing power that Joseph had at one time was lost and needed a temple to have it restored.

    As has been pointed out in the comments previously, what we call the sealing power today is not the same as the sealing power referred to by the Lord in section 132. The sealing ordinances we perform in the temples are not the same as the sealing of the heavens done by Nephi in order to get his people to repent. That kind of sealing power can only be received by man directly from God after he proves him worthy. It is not something that can be passed from man to man.

    This is the most controversial argument in Denver’s latest book and one which he expands with a multitude of good arguments. As I wrote, I do not consider Denver to be one who is trying to lead us astray or to get us to do anything other than be faithful unto the Lord and those we sustain as the leaders of our church. I agree with your closing advice to not let our attention be turned from “diligently seeking the companionship of the spirit.”

    Because I am diligently seeking the companionship of the spirit, and even more, I am diligently seeking to receive the Second Comforter, I am being very careful about how I view Denver’s writings. Do they lead me to Christ? Do they increase my faith? Do they draw me closer to my Heavenly Father? Am I more interested in studying the gospel and reading the scriptures because of what he has written? So far, the answer is yes. That to me is personal proof that Denver’s writings are helpful to me at this time in my life.

    As I said near the beginning of this essay, this book is not for everyone. It will infuriate some and cause them to proclaim that we have a wolf in sheep’s clothing among us. But for me, it answers in a more profound way, many of things that I have long believed and wondered why they were not taught more openly. The obvious answer is because the stuff Denver is writing about is comparable to studying for an advanced degree in spirituality. It requires a lot of personal development to make it understandable and effective.

    This is the meat of the gospel that so many have long hungered for in the church that now only seems to offer milk to the new converts. What about us long-time members who want to grow and progress in more profound ways beyond the level we can accomplish with the correlated curriculum? The answer is obvious. We must study and learn on our own. In fact, this kind of stuff does not lend itself well to group instruction or group discussion. We are all at different levels in our spiritual development and understanding. What some would find controversial or even blasphemous, others carefully consider, gleaning hidden elements of truth in the thoughts.

    When I share my testimony, I no longer say blindly, “I know the church is true.” I say something more like “I know that the Lord has a special purpose for the Church that you and I belong to. I am grateful to be a member of this church and to serve and fellowship with you. I sustain and support with you those whom we call prophets, seers and revelators.” That is only one small part of my testimony. More importantly, I know God lives and loves us. I know the atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon contains the word of God. All these things I know by revelation received form the Holy Spirit.

    As noted previously, this subject – the passing of the sealing power – deserves a critical essay to examine the hypothesis, premises and conclusions in a careful, considered way. Someday soon I hope to write that essay but it will be some time before I have my arguments lined up. In the meantime, I intend to read the rest of Denver’s books and to re-read his first and latest books again, very carefully noting the arguments for and against his positions. I may not be a lawyer but I can practice good critical thinking, something we all should do more of in order to be informed members of our faith. What we find when we do so will surely bless our lives.

  22. March 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Tim-thanks for you thoughts.

    I am open to reading more of what Denver has written. As I said, so far I have read his book the Second Comforter. I have also read some from his blog. My life has been very busy and I’ve had to focus on my priorities.

    I’d like to share a few thoughts on what you’ve said so far and then see what you think from there.

    If I understand his argument correctly it states that the sealing power we use in the temple was lost or was never received. Does that mean the endowment as we know it today is entirely without effect? Or does it mean that we lack the power to receive the fullness of the Priesthood that is conveyed by the second anointing? In other words, our first anointing is valid but the second anointing isn’t?

    I assume he believes that because of the restoration LDS have exclusive authority to practice the first principles of the gospel to receive the First Comforter: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    I also assume he believes that LDS can receive the Second Comforter because he testifies that he has received it.

    With the above said, I’ll share a few more thoughts and look forward to your reply.

    To my knowledge the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon is still sealed. To me that means we lack much that the Lord would like to give us. The reason we haven’t received the rest of the Book of Mormon is due to the fact we as a people haven’t embraced what is contained in the unsealed portion.

    I’ve spent the last 45 years studying the the unsealed portion of the Book of Mormon. I see it as scripture teaching those who will embrace it how to seek and obtain the First Comforter.

    Here is some math, 45 x 12 = 540, the approximate number of testimony meetings I have attended. I don’t recall anyone testifying that they have fulfilled the purpose of their baptism covenant and received a remission of their sins. The Book of Mormon refers to this as the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. I understand this is when the First Comforter is received.

    My point with all of this is to say; we as a people are struggling to get to first base. I assume we have to get to first base before we can go to second base (receive the Second Comforter).

    This is why I encourage church members to keep their eye on the ball and not get distracted with things that make it more difficult to reach first base. Is Denver distraction?

    I worry that he is. Those who frequent the bloggernacle are intellectuals by nature and I wonder if we need to avoid the fallen part of that nature. It can lead us to look beyond the mark.

    Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble. (Book of Mormon | Jacob 4:14)

    Neal Maxwell, I think it was he who said, it’s wonderful to wrap our minds around an good idea, but we need to be careful when an idea wraps itself around our mind.

    If I get the drift of this idea, I think it is saying, don’t let those things that matter most be at the mercy of those things that matter least.

    I’m not saying what Denver is arguing isn’t important, but is it as important? If you and I drink deeply from what he is arguing will it make a difference when it comes to drawing nearer to the Lord? If you answer yes, then I hope you will explain how it helps to move us nearer to the Lord?

  23. March 7, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Hi again Jared,

    You raise some great questions. In my mind the jury is still out on Denver Snuffer. I know some have dismissed him outright. Others have defended his work here and elsewhere. I am still in the process of evaluating and deciding if his interpretations of scripture have merit.

    As you can tell from my original essay, I and my wife also came to the conclusion that you did about the sealing power. Based on comments of others here and a closer reading, I have since revised my opinion of his message to be not so drastic.

    As I have come to understand it, the “Heavenly Gift” to which Denver refers is not the same as the sealing authority we exercise in the temples. All he is really pointing out is that the kind of power that Nephi received (Helaman 10:7), cannot be passed from one man to another. It is always received directly from God after the man has proved himself.

    From what I gathered in my reading of “Heavenly Gift,” Denver has further extrapolated this idea to the idea of priesthood power in general. It can only be received directly from God. An ordination does not confer power, it only provides an invitation to the man to go get power from God. Authority in the church is not the same as power in the priesthood.

    I like your Neal Maxwell quote. Yes, this was a new and unique idea for me to get my mind around. I have been pondering it for about a month now since I first read his book. Denver makes multiple arguments for his view that the ordinances in the temple are symbolic of the real thing. They are also invitations to go and receive an endowment of power directly from God.

    The effect of the endowment should be for us to claim something from God using what we have learned in the temple. He has written that even the Second Anointing is only an invitation for the man and wife to go and obtain the promise from the Lord contained in the ordinance. He has also made it clear that the ordinance of the second anointing is not as required as we think.

    If we have been endowed, we have received sufficient instruction to receive the Lord as the Second Comforter. I don’t think we as a church have any exclusive claim on faith or repentance. Any man, woman or child can draw closer to God through these first principles. And yes, he has born witness in several of his books that he has received the Second Comforter.

    I love your testimony of the Book of Mormon. I too have spent my entire life reading and trying to draw closer to the Lord using what I have studied there. I also have never heard anyone get up in Testimony meeting to declare that they have “received the first comforter” or experienced the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Yet, I know that I have received the Holy Ghost.

    I feel the warmth and comfort of the spirit helping me every day. I feel encouraged or “pressed” in the spirit to study the gospel, to live it more fully, to be kind, charitable and compassionate. I feel the inspiration of the Holy Ghost every day in my mind as I work. There is no doubt that the Holy Ghost helps me with ideas to do my daily tasks. I have received the Holy Ghost.

    I have never had a dramatic “baptism of fire” like some accounts I have read in the scriptures. For me, the process has been much more slow and deliberate. It is indeed a gift to be developed. On the other hand, from what I have read in Denver’s books, receiving the Second Comforter is an actual event, otherwise why would he ascribe dates they transpired as part of his claim?

    I don’t view Denver’s writings as a distraction. For me, right now in my life, his books have been just what I have been looking for. I have found myself pondering my relationship with the Lord more than ever this past month. I have been constantly thinking about the invitations I have received in the temple. I have been studying the doctrines of the gospel more deeply than ever.

    The Holy Ghost will enlighten our hearts and minds. I think we often forget about that second part. It is important that we become of a firm mind. I am concerned when I see evidence of so much emotionalism in the church in the telling of “fluffy” stories that make us cry. Emotion is not the same as feeling the spirit. The Holy Ghost will enlighten our heart AND our mind.

    That’s why I don’t fault my brothers and sisters on the bloggernacle who are engaged in the pursuit of intellectual stimulation. Many of them also see how far we have come away from the full measure of the spirit by focusing so much on sentimentality. There are too many among us who are expert at drawing out the emotion in our classes and talks from the pulpit.

    Given time, I hope to come back and post more about my experiences with Denver’s books here on my blog. So far, what he has written is drawing me closer to Christ. When I was a youth I felt very strongly that we could receive the Second Comforter. I did all in my power to be worthy of such a visit. It never happened and I got disillusioned. No one was there to help me.

    Denver’s books have given me back that encouragement that I have been missing. I know I have a long ways to go before I can say that I am ready to receive the Lord. Perhaps it may not happen in this mortal life. That’s OK. At least now I have had a spiritual goal restored to me that I had lost so long ago. I had become complacent in my efforts to know the Lord like I should.

    Thanks again for your comments. God bless you on your spiritual journey. Yes, let’s not forget to focus on the basics – to receive the Holy Ghost. But let us also press on to receive the Lord, who will bring us to the Father. I am simply saying that I believe again that this is something we can accomplish in this life. I am indebted to Denver for bringing that belief back.

  24. Jared
    March 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I just read Denver’s latest book last week. I have not read his other books.

    Here are my thoughts.

    Read D&C 27:12–14 & 13:1.

    The Lord makes it clear that the Keys of the Kingdom, both those of the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood had been restored by John the Baptist and by Peter, James, and John when they restored their corresponding priesthoods. These keys were conferred on Joseph and Oliver in 1829 and 1830.

    When the Twelve were ordained, they received their priesthood and office under the hands of the Three Witnesses, to include Oliver, who held the keys. Subsequent apostles were ordained either by Joseph or by other apostles.

    These keys included the Sealing Keys which were restored by Peter, James, and John.

    After Joseph and Hyrum died, the keys continued with the apostles.

    D&C 110 is redundant.

    The KEYS to perform sealings in the temple (Sealing Keys) are entirely different from the Sealing Power.

    The Sealing Power is received when one receives the Fulness of the Priesthood and is SEALED up unto Everlasting Life and Exaltation.

    It is true that we have had several church presidents who lacked the Sealing Power; but they all held the Sealing Keys be virtue of their ordination.

    Denver has demonstrated that in spite of his great gifts, he can still be very flawed in his reasoning and opinions. I believe his testimony; but he needs to be more careful about what he says.

    In his latest book, he fixates on certain revelations, but ignores others that are very relevant, like the ones I referenced at the beginning of my comment.

    Elder Bruce. R. McConkie would reread the entire standard works with every book he wrote, to make sure he wasn’t missing something. This is a step that Denver should consider.

    Jared E

  25. Mike
    March 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    You have to love the “Those that don’t know speak….. while those that know don’t” comments. If that is true, burn your scriptures, for truth is esoteric.

    I would argue that “Those that know speak.” That is what we find in the scriptures. I find it interesting that never do the general authorities claim to have seen Christ or God, yet most in the church believe that is the case. Even in a recent Elder’s Quorum meeting, while reading from George Albert Smith’s words, HE ADMITTED HE HAD NEVER SEEN JESUS CHRIST. He never parted the veil. His “special witness” is no greater than anyone on the blog. In fact, the witness of this “prophet” who we will study for the next year in church is less than that of Denver Snuffer.

    False prophets will seek to separate man from God, while claiming they have revelation but provide none. All is wrong in Zion because the blind lead the blind.

    I don’t care about whether or not the president of the church receives any revelation (please show me some new revelation, so I can take it before the Lord). It is completely irrelevant in developing a relationship with Christ, so stop pinning your faith and the relevance of the church on MEN!

  26. Brian Bowler
    March 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Hello Tim and Company,

    I ran across your comments while I was looking at Denvers Blog and doing Google searches for some info on Denver and a related gospel subject.

    I felt impressed to share my Testimony and thoughts with you, as I have BOTH Read Denvers books (save 18 verses, which I am finishing) and I have meet him, and as others have said…

    I feel what he is says is true, and that who he says he is and what he say has happened to him is true. He is a humble man, and having meet many people in my life, including most of the 12, many 70’s, and many good people, I would say he is one of the best and ironically, the most unwanting of attention to himself I have meet. He truly wants no personal attention, its the message, which is to “Come unto Christ.”

    I believe we MUST at least find out if what someone says is true or not if they say they have seen Christ. I am not a Denver Follower; I am a follower of Christ. I have not yet received the 2nd comforter, but the Spirit has confirmed to me I am on the Path, and that thought I do not know everything, I recognize truth. It leads one to trust and Believe Jesus Christ, as Tim has previously said.

    If we Assume someone is wrong for saying they have seen Christ, we very likely may be among those that would have thought Christ or Joseph Smith were false, and thus “stoned them.”

    Samuel the Lamanite (much like a latter day Lawyer) is not the typical messenger we are used too, but he was sent by the Lord, having no other authority than He who sent Him.

    I pray we don’t stone the messengers God does send, and that we do as Tim is doing, reading, praying, and practicing the Doctrine, to see if its true or not.

    There is a Different Spirit about Danvers message, its not to destroy Faith in God, but to put it securely On God alone, and not on all the other sandy foundations we put it on in this life. Do not trust in the Flesh, but Trust in Jesus.

    Thank you for letting me share my Witness.

    Brian Bowler

  27. March 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    When asked “Have you ever seen an angel or the Savior?” Elder Perry did not answer directly until he said this paraphrased by the writer, “the heavens only open on rare occasions”

    Read the whole post at http://latterdaycommentary.com/blog/index.php/elder-perry-visits-our-sacrament-meeting

  28. Stephen
    March 21, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Here is another interesting blog post on Snuffer’s book:
    http://telemoonfa.blogspot.com/2012/03/passing-heavenly-gift-by-denver-snuffer.html

  29. Stephen
    March 21, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Does Denver see the current leadership as kind of stewards of the church until the rightful heir to the throne takes his place a la the Stewards of Gondor in the Lord of the Rings? (whether that be some mighty future prophet or the Lord himself?)

    I really like section 138 of the D&C. What a clarifying vision. I think we as members wish there were more of that from our prophets post Joseph.

    Whether the church is in a state of mild apostasy(Denver), or moving according to God’s plan, these next few years ought to be very interesting with what I believe will be a worldwide monetary breakdown.

  30. Stephen
    March 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Hi there, sorry for three posts in a row. I guess I’m just talking to myself now. Here are some of my random thoughts continued:

    Does Denver suggest D&C 110 never happened?

    What is his explanation for the journal entry?

    Did Joseph Smith just make it up? Or Warren Cowdery?(Smith’s scribe)

    I think Denver says that because Joseph and Oliver never mentioned it, that it didn’t happen. And also because Joseph taught later about Elijah as if it was still a future event.
    But surely Joseph taught about the power of Elijah as if he intimately knew about it. Could it be that Joseph and Oliver kept the vision to themselves to be revealed at a later time when the saints were ready for it, possibly after the building of the Nauvoo temple?

    It also seems to me that accepting Denver’s position puts a person in a very awkward position. Wouldn’t that person by default be critical of almost everything the brethren do and say?

    I loved Denver’s Second Comforter and plan to read more of his books, but his interpretation of history(the sealing power, D&C 110) strike at the very roots of our faith. It certainly throws everything upside down, since every prophet and apostle since has taught the opposite.

    He also seems to have a problem with Brigham not seeing the Lord. What about Brigham receiving council from Joseph Smith in a dream? What about Wilford Woodruff’s vision of prominent men asking for their work to be done? What about Lorenzo Snow claiming to have seen the Lord in the temple? What about Joseph F Smith’s vision in D&C 138?

    What about this work filling North and South America, even filling the world as Joseph prophesied? What about temples dotting the earth at an ever increasing rate? This doesn’t strike me as the work of an apostate church, but of the Lord’s church fulfilling it’s divine mandate of proclaiming the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

    Denver’s books certainly spark interesting conversation and thought.

  31. March 23, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Hi Stephen,

    No, you’re not just talking to yourself. I have been reading your comments and pondering them during the work day in my spare time. I spend a lot of time reading and pondering what Denver has written. I finished “Come, Let Us Adore Him” last weekend and hope to finish “Beloved Enos” this weekend. Never has any LDS author caused me to want to read all his works.

    I’m doing this so I can say that I have done my homework before I start offering my opinion on what the man is trying to accomplish with his plethora of recent publications all based on the general theme of receiving the second comforter. If what he says is true that he has seen the Lord and communed with angels then I am intrigued and want to learn more about his message.

    Of course I am aware of others who have made similar claims but upon reading their messages it becomes obvious that they are deluded liars. So far, after reading four of Denver’s books and almost all of his blog entries over the past few years, I am not getting that impression. In other words, what he says so far to me makes perfect sense. And yes, that is just a little bit scary.

    Although I offered some initial reaction on this particular essay after reading his latest book, I hope I made it clear that I am withholding judgment until I have done what I would hope any of us would do when confronted with claims like his – investigate further with an open mind. I am especially looking to understand better his interpretation of the loss of the sealing power.

    I suspect that he wrote his latest book because he knew it would be controversial and get some people riled up. Although he doesn’t advertise or promote his books I don’t think we can ignore what he has written once we learn the main thrust of his latest message. I’m glad I read it first because I see all kinds of the same ideas in his earlier books, just not so blatantly stated.

    So I’m not ignoring your comments and excellent questions, I’m just holding off on engaging others until I can write with greater confidence. I tend to be very forceful in my opinions once I form them and don’t like to have someone point out that I missed something somewhere else that would have clarified the issue for me. I especially want to understand D&C 110 better.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I wish Denver still allowed comments on his blog but they got too out of hand because too many people hadn’t read his books. I don’t want to make that mistake. Again, if his witness is true, then he is possibly the most dangerous man in Mormonism right now. As my wife said, maybe he is being taught by the adversary as an angel of light. We’ll see.

    • Lynn Bernhard
      October 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Tim, go to the Book or Mormon for your example on this “angel of light” reference. Reread Jacob’s defense of the the Faith in Christ against Sherem and Alma against Korihor. Read it again and again and the answer to your wife’s concern will be resolved in prayer and study of the scriptures. Denver’s greatest claim is that all the saints have claim to his love and the Second Comforter, even a personal audience with Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world. Our advocate with the Father. Denver is no Korihor or Sherem. Isn’t the Book of Mormon AWESOME!

  32. Stephen
    March 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Interestingly Denver wrote on his blog:

    “I should note also that in the first 7 books I wrote I presumed the church’s traditional narrative is true and accurate. I wrote them in contemplation of the church’s traditional claims about history, and therefore anyone who reads those will not have their understanding challenged on the matter.”

    Do you think Denver wrote PHG as an olive leaf to members who are specifically struggling with church history? Kind of a “consider this alternative”…”please come back” type of deal?

    In Beloved Enos, he presumes the sealing power IS in the church.

    So what does he really believe? What he wrote in his first books? Or what he wrote in PHG?

    Who is this guy?

  33. Vaughn J
    April 27, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I would definitely recommend reading all of Denver’s books. They’re very enlightening. You may especially get more insights in Beloved Enos regarding the sealing power.

    Denver likely answered some of your questions in his recent “Criticism” posts where he defends that he is not out criticizing the church: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/04/criticism-of-church-part-2.html

    He states, “I have never said the church does not have the sealing power. Instead, I have discussed the scriptures and teachings of Joseph Smith, the revelations in the D&C, and Joseph’s public addresses, the critical moments when the authority has been conferred, and both how and why it is given. There are three chapters in Beloved Enos, and several chapters in Passing the Heavenly Gift, and some material in Eighteen Verses, along with a paper on Elijah in which I discuss things relating to the topic. In none of that have I ever said the church lacks sealing power. In Beloved Enos I discuss an example from President Monson where I refer to its use. I also concede regularly the claim by the church that it has it and I do not question that claim. Never have.”

  34. Fred
    April 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Snuffer is a very skillful wordsmith. He is good at weaving a theme of apostasy through his writings while maintaining a surface veneer of “come unto Christ.” You also see the same on his blog posts. At the beginning of a paragraph, he’ll tell you he’s totally irrelevant and you don’t even need him, then by the end of the paragraph he is essentially accusing people who ignore him of having wilful blinders one, being part of the natural fruit, outside the church of the firstborn and comfortable in the shallow faith of the “corporate phase” of the church.

    In the foreward to his book Beloved Enos, he starts by saying that this book is entirely his own affair, but then ends by thanking God for giving him the truth you are about to read.

    He claims he does not advertise his books, but refers people to them every change he gets, and has a huge misdirection on his blog site basically saying that no one can understand anything he says without first buying all 8 of his books. In other words, he deliberately withholds information on his blog to drive you to his books.

    He maintains that he makes no money from the sale of his books and has no desire to make money from his books, and what little money he does make donates to the church mission fund, but does not offer free copies of his books for download on his web site.

    He claims that he does not sell his book at Deseret book stores, implying that he is not seeking after commercial gain, when the truth is, his apostate writings accusing the church of being in apostasy (read near the end of the 10th parable for an idea into what Snuffer thinks of current church leadership) means he can’t get his books into a Deseret book store.

    He claims that his views means he will never hold a leadership position in the church, and that he is happy with that, then on his Amazon author bio claims to sit on a stake high council, served as HP group leader, taught institute and taught gospel doctrine (with the implication he’d been a gospel doctrine teacher for 21 years straight).

    He claims to know the inner workings and discussions at the highest levels of the church. He maintains he knows of an apostle who was scandalized at the Joseph Smith papers and maintained the membership was not ready for them yet. He claims to know he is a special target of the Committee on Strengthening Members (considering his writings, he’s probably correct on this). He claims to have inside sources at the top levels of the church’s financial department giving him secret knowledge on the disposition of tithes.

    Basically, Snuffer’s position can be summed up as follows:

    “I was personally visited by Christ who made my calling and election sure, told me I was part of the true church within the dead church, and that he would soon call others like me, and it was my job to help with that.”

  35. Joshua
    April 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I have read some of Denver’s writings. I do not think his arguments strong or his logic impressive.

    It concerns me that those who seem to want to defend his ideas end up defending him. He has developed a devoted following, to be sure.

    I have a close friend who recently came back to membership in the LDS church after an absence of about 1 year. He shared with me his concern of the effect of Denver’s writings, especially his book, “The Second Comforter”.

    Evidently, there are many that are claiming to have received their “calling and election” based on his writings. They share experiences of seeing a personage, having a vision or a “very special experience”…. I know several people who are following this path personally. I cannot say that they are bad people, only deceived.

    Other ideas I hear from my friends who are following this path (who are all staunch “supporters” of Denver Snuffer and avid readers of his books) are: 1) The apostles and prophet are guilty of apostasy because they are not making teachings on calling and election part of church curriculum, 2) Joseph Smith taught things that make most of the rank and file of the church apostate, 3) and many more questionable postulates that can be found by a quick perusal through the comments on this thread and other internet searches (or, in fact, by reading Denver’s books).

    Although I realize these examples seem highly anecdotal, I urge all who are seeking for more light and knowledge to seek first in the scriptures and through prayer. As Arthur Henry King said, “The gospel is in the scriptures as the oak tree is in the acorn.”

    While I acknowledge that much can be gained from commentary on the scriptures and other gospel writings, when we turn to tertiary sources to interpret for us or guide our interpretation of sacred writings, we tend to limit the message God has for us and the mission he would communicate to us.

  36. April 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I offer my thanks to those who have pointed out Denver’s response on his blog to this essay. I have added an update in the body of the essay, something I rarely do. I went back and carefully re-read the first chapter again. As Carol and I discussed the chapter when I had her read it to me, I see now that we misinterpreted or incorrectly extrapolated several of his statements about the conferral of priesthood power to be the same as the conferral of the sealing power.

    They are not the same. It’s is Denver’s contention, and I have to be very careful here because I obviously cannot speak for him, that power in the priesthood can only be received directly from the Lord. He is making a very large case that ordination to the priesthood and receiving power in the priesthood are two very different things. Of course, I have always believed that as well. This is commonly taught in the church. I don’t think anyone is surprised by this distinction.

    We commonly teach that power in the priesthood comes by righteous living, purity of thought and action and though following the counsel of the Lord in section 121. At the risk of once again misinterpreting Denver, from what I have read, he is teaching that this is wrong, that righteous living is not enough. He says that real priesthood power can only be received by having the Lord visit you and by a personal receipt of that power from the Lord directly – in person.

    I’m not clear if the power must be received by having the Lord lay his hands upon your head or if that power is received simply by hearing the voice of the Lord tell you that you have been endowed with such powered. It seems to me that if the Lord is going to visit you, then you can ask Him yourself if it requires a laying on of the hands or if his voice is good enough. I’m not trying to be facetious. I’m trying to be state clearly what I believe Denver is teaching.

    Of course, it’s is Denver’s contention that it is not his interpretation of this doctrine that we should be quoting or considering. He makes a case that he is only teaching what is found in the scriptures. Ok, I can accept that. Such a teaching certainly raises the bar for who can claim to have real power from the Savior. Should we be asking those who give us priesthood blessings if they have received this real power before we allow them to lay their hands on us?

    Surely Denver isn’t suggesting that. I gave Carol a priesthood blessing the other day at her request. It was a sacred experience that demonstrated to me once again that the Lord does help lowly priesthood brethren like me with words of inspiration in the course of the blessing. But I have not been visited by the Lord. Does that mean there was no real power manifested as I exercised the priesthood? I know I felt something special as I spoke on behalf of the Lord.

    But let me return this discussion to the original theme of the essay – the sealing power. Yes, I have read Beloved Enos, including the last three chapters on the sealing power – twice. Once again, Denver makes it clear that the sealing power is only received by hearing the voice of the Lord confer it upon you. The image on the cover of the book we are considering – a candle recently snuffed out – is symbolic of a loss of something such as light and power.

    Yes, I have read many other places in which Denver states clearly he believes the sealing power was conferred upon Joseph. He says he is not contesting the church’s claim to be in possession of this power. So how can he say in one place that the sealing power cannot be conferred from one man to another and in another place write that the church has the sealing power? That’s the big conflict I’m struggling with right now. Can someone enlighten me?

    Maybe I’m too dense to understand what seems to be a legal framing of Denver’s response: “First, in scripture, the sealing power comes to man by the voice of God and in no other way. Second, I have never said and don’t claim the church lacks that authority. Third, the church claims to have such authority, and I do not question the claim.” I’m not trying to evaluate Denver’s faith or testimony. I’m just trying to understand this better.

    Many of my friends are sealers in the temple. According to what Denver is saying, the only way they could get the sealing power is to hear from the Lord himself that they have received it. Is he or is he not teaching that the sealing power cannot be conferred from one man to another? If so, then my friends who work in the temple must have received this sealing power directly from the Lord, right? If they haven’t had such a visit then they have no real power.

  37. Fred
    April 30, 2012 at 4:57 am

    It’s simple. Snuffer is wrong. You do not have to have God personally visit you to give you the sealing power. Snuffer completely misunderstands the doctrines of priesthood keys and their conferral.

    My personal opinion is that Snuffer’s journey went something like this:

    1. He finds things in church history or church practice that he personally disagrees with.

    2. He decides that church leaders must therefore be uninspired.

    3. He searches for a way to support this.

    4. He wrestles with some scriptures (including some serious backstrain inducing gymnastics on the book of Enos) to come up with the idea that full priesthood doesn’t exist in the church and that church leaders are not inspired at all.

    5. Voila! Snuffer can now claim any time the church disagrees with Snuffer, the church is in error from its uninspired leadership.

  38. April 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Fred said “[Denver] does not offer free copies of his books for download on his web site.”

    This is a very interesting point. I submitted a comment to his site asking why Denver does not offer electronic versions of his books.

  39. Rob
    May 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

    “My personal opinion is that Snuffer’s journey went something like this:”

    You hardly know the man enough to form an opinion. Why on earth would you even want to attempt to determine his intent. That is for God alone. If he is wrong doctrinal, point it out. Let’s not judge his heart.

    4. He wrestles with some scriptures (including some serious backstrain inducing gymnastics on the book of Enos) to come up with the idea that full priesthood doesn’t exist in the church and that church leaders are not inspired at all.”

    You obviously have not read this book. This was not asserted at all in Beloved Enos.

    Beloved Enos shows what the fullness of the gospel means and all the associated blessings that come with having a fullness of the gospel. He uses scriptures to show the gifts that the prophets of the past have received and cites them as examples of receiving the fullness. These blessings are for everyone. Come unto Christ and receive the fullness of the Father.

    I don’t recall him even mentioning the church critically. But it does assume the church has the sealing power.

  40. Fred
    May 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    @Rob,

    Beloved Enos claims that Enos is one of the most intelligent prophets who ever lived and wrote this massive, deep, doctrinal dissertation on calling and election being made sure using a complex symbology that God has revealed to Snuffer (that’s just the forward).

    Beloved Enos is one of the foundations Snuffer uses to build his case that the church is apostate because it does not have the fulness of the priesthood. The point stands.

    Regarding Snuffer’s journey, it’s simply a reasonable conclusion based on past experience. His form of apostasy is fairly common. I’ve run into it before. And the pattern is always the same.

    Snuffer maintains the church does NOT have the full sealing power. It only has a lesser version because Joseph Smith was never able to pass those keys on because the Nauvoo temple was not completed before his death. That’s the whole point of the book being reviewed here. The blog author gets it. Snuffer uses D&C 124:28, 31 and 32 as his proof texts.

    Of course, Snuffer is wrong. Baptisms for the dead were performed in the Nauvoo temple before Joseph’s death, and vs. 34 states that this constitutes the fullness of the keys. Note that the holy spirit of promise (which Snuffer makes a big deal out of to prove the full sealing power is not had in the church) is NOT required to ratify a baptism for the dead. It truly is the fullness of the priesthood according to Snuffer’s own definition, and it WAS performed in the temple. Ergo, the fulness of the sealing keys ARE in the church today.

    Snuffer knows he’s wrong on this, which is why he played lawyer in one of his most recent blog posts, saying that Joseph claiming the temple was sufficiently completed to perform sealing ordinances (and then doing them) doesn’t really mean it was sufficiently completed to perform sealing ordinances. He spends many paragraphs building this strawman. And this tells you all you need to know about Snuffer: He WANTS the church to be in apostasy.

    That in conjunction with his criticisms of church policy and doctrine make me confident my analysis of his “journey” is correct and I stand by it.

  41. Fred
    May 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Just as a heads up, the above will be my last post on this matter. I’ve stated my position, backed it up with logic, scripture and reason. Anything past this point would be contention. Let others read it and use it as they will when making their own decisions regarding Snuffer.

  42. May 11, 2012 at 4:17 am

    http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2012/05/do-prophets-see-god-face-to-face-and.html

    This post expresses my take on seeking and obtaining an audience with Jesus Christ.

  43. Neil
    May 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I would like to share a few of my thoughts here.
    First- The Church is in a “holding pattern.”
    It is holding, right where the Lord wants it to be…!

    The Church is not the end all, nor the be all, of it all.

    It is quite clear to me, that the end all, and be all, of it all- is the establishment and build up of the City of Zion in preparation for the Second Coming of our Lord.

    In these last few years we have all begun to see a pattern- a pattern that invites our interest strongly
    It is a growing movement within the membership of the Church- an undercurrent if you will

    Years after year, the Prophets told us that we were held back by the Lord- because He knew we would bring His work to fruition in the last days
    We are experiencing premortal premonitions that drive us to want more than to “be sealed” in the Temple as our fathers were.
    We recognize that the “endowment” we recieve in the temple is a kind of rehearsal for what we can experience if we commit ourselves to the Lord. Play acting if you will.

    At the end of our roleplaying- we pass thru the veil into the presence of the Lord

    Thus making our Calling and Election sure!

    At that time we recieve the “Greater Things” Moroni speaks of in the BOM.

    At the end of our audience with the Lord, He will say to us “what will ye that I should do unto you?”
    At which time we ask for that which the Holy Ghost promps us to ask for.
    If that is the Sealing Power, or Translation, or a Promised Land, or what ever we are inspired to ask for- the Lord then lays his hands on our heads and gives us our Endowment, and sends us forth

    This is my understanding of these things
    Plus we are not hindered from entering the presence of the Lord just the one time.
    We are promised that if we will live for it- he will bring The Father, and they both will sup with us…

    In a comment above someone quoted a member of The Twelve as saying “it is rare for the Heavens to open”
    Perhaps the Lord means for this to change…??

    The world is increasingly ripening in iniquity
    Out ot the Lords own mouth, he has said “there must needs be an opposition in all things”

    The establishment and build up of Zion is the opposite of this evil menace
    In order for Zion to be established, there has to be Zion like people to be its citizens
    People in our day, just like the people of Enochs day

    Most of us like Nephi of old, find ourselves “pondering continually” the things that the Lord has shown us

    Please don’t kill the messenger because of his mortal weaknesses- but rather let us listen to the message

    It burns in our hearts- that we can and will be brought into the presence of the Lord if we desire it with all our hearts- if we will but “hearken unto His voice, AND keep His commanments”

    “It is through the ordinances… that the Power of God is made manifest”

    That’s been my understanding of things…

    Hope this is put together in a way you can understand me…thnx

  44. Neil
    May 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I would like to add…

    D&C 113:7–8

    Basically says, that in the last days, there will be those who recieve “the power of prieshood, to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel”

  45. Lynn Bernhard
    October 21, 2013 at 10:55 am

    It is Interesting there are so many people that have never read Denver’s books feel like they are qualified to make comments. Due to Denver’s admonitions I am laboring with the scriptures, praying more fervently, believing more deeply in Christ Jesus and his prophets. Oh, I have read PTHG thoroughly and I am not leaving the church. Check out this Master’s Thesis that Denver puts the reader on to. Great reading

    http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/ETD/id/2146

    The difference between the thesis author’s, Trever Anderson, opinion and Denver is the official narrative regarding the righteousness of the saints in Nauvoo. Trevor argues that the Prophet Joseph Smith did not reveal Section 110 to the Saints due to wickedness, 40 years later Section 110 is canonized when the Saints in Utah are slipping into greater apostasy and Brigham Young institutes more religious meetings and Mormon revivalism to protect the Saints from the Gentile ways. Denver expresses a differing opinion. The church is showing signs of apostasy as found in every institutionalized religion, we are straining at a “gnat and trying to swallow a camel”. Denver’s honest treatment of church history is refreshing and honest. I can’t count the number of questions that have been resolved in my mind as I compare historic Mormonism with today’s version. Now I a have knowledge, knowledge is light.

    Denver is not making this stuff up. His writings are historically and academically sound and he opens the scriptures and points you to Christ for your salvation. Hmmmm?

    PLEASE READ Denver’s books before commenting, read what he has written, check the sources, draw your own conculsion, take it GOD. The Holy Ghost will reveal the truth of all things. Then jump in. Thanks Tim for a great blog

    Lynn Bernhard Farr West UT

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