Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council

NoticeToAppearFor those who don’t know, Denver Snuffer has been served with a notice to appear before the Stake Presidency and High Council to answer charges of apostasy for the publication of his book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” Carol and I just discussed this. I continue to feel that he was not surprised, knew this was coming and, in effect, intended to force the hand of the church.

I have publically written about Denver

I am in somewhat of a difficult position because of the number of articles I have written and posted on my blog, most of them in the form of book reviews. I think it interesting that my post on Monday was originally entitled, “The LDS Church Excommunicates those who Know Christ.” Because of the uproar over the title I changed it to something a bit less offensive.

A Day of Sadness for me

I will not deny I am saddened this day has arrived. If he is excommunicated, it will free him up to say some of the things he wanted to say, similar to what happened to Max Skousen. He has asked that we not call him. He, and especially his family, deserves privacy. None of us know at this time how he will respond to the requirements placed upon him to avoid the council.

Requirements of Stake President

One of the requirements is that he cancels his planned lecture series scheduled to begin next month. His response is evident in that he discusses the need to change recording arrangements. I think it is obvious he is not intending to comply with the requirements of the Stake President. Also, as of this moment, Passing the Heavenly Gift is still available for purchase at Amazon.

My Personal Opinion of Denver’s Work

As far as my personal opinions about the work of Denver Snuffer, they have not changed. I have made it clear how I feel in my book reviews and several other published articles. If Denver is excommunicated, I will now have to answer the below temple recommend question for myself with a little bit more thought. I’ve never had to consider this before – never thought it applied.

The Temple Recommend Question

The question is, “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I always assumed this referred to those who promoted polygamy. As far as I know, Denver does not promote polygamy and has written extensively about it on his blog.

Sympathizer or Supporter

I have lots of friends who have been excommunicated. I have lots of friends who have left the church on their own. That does not mean that I sympathize with their causes. I still want to attend one of Denver’s lectures or at least buy the recordings of each of the lectures. Does that make me a sympathizer or supporter or an apostate if he indeed is disciplined and excommunicated?

PtHG is Apparently Offensive

So it appears it is the publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift that is the issue. My reading of the book simply clarified a whole bunch of crap I had already read on the Internet over the years. It was not new or shocking for me, although I can see how it could be for others who do not read or study church history. But then my opinions do not matter a hill of beans in this particular case.

Placed Church in a Negative Light

According to the posted letter, Denver has “mischaracterized doctrine, denigrated virtually every prophet since Joseph Smith and placed the church in a negative light.” I would hate to sit on the High Council and give my opinion because I would have to disagree with that. The decision belongs to the Stake President. I pray that whatever happens moves the work of God forward.

138 comments
Karl
Karl

My main objection to DS in PTHG is: He repeatedly insists that the term Gentiles used in the Book of Mormon, refers to the insider's, the small core of believers who are already in the gospel covenant. However, it is clear to me that beginning in Nephi Ch 13, and commencing through the text, Nephi is very clearly referring to a chronology and making reference to Gentiles who could not yet be the covenant people, because he is referring to Gentiles, before the Restoration. I believe Snuffer is in error on this point; and a very large error, and fatal to one of the main theses in his book. The BOM references a wide circle of Gentiles, meaning all those outside the gospel covenant, and then a much smaller circle of Gentiles who are within the gospel covenant. One must be very careful to distinguish between these two groups. The BOM does not always point this out, so it must be done by a careful reading of the text. I have been an active member of the church for 47 years, and my own observation is that the real inner core of the church, those that take it seriously, are getting better with time, while those outside the real inner core (including many nominal members) are being sifted away. I do not believe that the dire predictions in the BOM refer to the real inner core. Further, I do not believe that Snuffer is correct when he posits that a "fulness" of priesthood was not passed through Nauvoo. I believe that sufficient and legal keys were passed to BY and his successors and that the church has been led through every period under the direction of the Holy Ghost. I perceive direction by revelation as evident in every administration since Brigham. Further, I see direction by the Holy Ghost as evident not only in my individual life, but also in the common members in my ward, and much more frequently and intensely than I experienced as a youth. This is evidence to me that God is still working closely with those in his church that are really on board the good ship Zion. When Snuffer says individuals can have a real audience with the Savior, I do not for one minute discount the possbility, since the end goal for all of us is to come back into the Lord's presence and receive joy. I do believe this should be our goal. However, I also believe that most of us need a long tutorial in learning to receive and be obedient to the gift of the Holy Ghost, before we try to leapfrog to direct revelations. There is a spiritual law of the harvest at work all the time, and one must progress from small steps to large. I think there are many individuals in each ward who have never had one actual legitimate experience with the Spirit, and that is very sad. On the other hand, there are many common members who only have great manifestations withheld because they do not ask or don't feel worhty to ask. That is sad too, because I think we'd be getting alot more than we get if we just learned the process to receive. At any rate, I wish DS well with his council; I do not support the idea of imposing church discipline on an individual for what he BELIEVES. And God bless all those who write such great and thoughtful comments on this blog; this has to be the best comment board in the world.

Rick
Rick

D&C 42:88 88 And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. Wondering why DS is making all this stuff public??? (His latest posts)

Rick
Rick

The Way Home Elder Thomas S. Monson gave this talk in April 1975. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1975/04/the-way-home?lang=eng&query=avoiding+personal+apostasy "The Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, had appeared to Joseph Smith. The morning of the dispensation of the fulness of times had come, dispelling the darkness of the long generations of spiritual night. As in the creation, light was to replace darkness; day was to follow night. From then to now, truth has been and is available to us. Like the children of Israel in former times, endless days of wandering now can end with our entry to a personal promised land." "At length the weary young man stood one Sunday morning before a church of a typical town. He listened carefully as the bell began to peal. The sound was familiar. It was unlike any other he had heard, save that bell which pealed in the memory of his childhood days. Yes, it was the same bell. Its ring was true. His eyes filled with tears. His heart rejoiced in gladness. His soul overflowed with gratitude. The young man dropped to his knees, looked upward beyond the bell tower—even toward heaven—and in a prayer of gratitude whispered, “Thanks be to God. I’m home.” Like the peal of a remembered bell will be the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the soul of him who earnestly seeks. Many of you have traveled long in a personal quest for that which rings true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends forth to you an earnest appeal. Open your doors to the missionaries. Open your minds to the word of God. Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that still, small voice which testifies of truth. As the prophet Isaiah promised: “Thine ears shall hear a word … saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isa. 30:21.) Then, like the boy of whom I’ve spoken, you too will, on bended knee, say to your God and mine: “I’m home!”

Rick
Rick

Ok, let's give some time for church leaders: Avoiding Personal Apostasy Elder Claudio D. Zivic of the Seventy http://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/06/avoiding-personal-apostasy?lang=eng&query=avoiding+personal+apostasy "We need not be concerned about the possibility of another apostasy of the Church of Jesus Christ. We have the privilege of living in the dispensation of the fulness of times. This gospel dispensation, which began with the Prophet Joseph Smith, is the last one before the Second Coming of the Savior. However, we need to be concerned and watchful that we do not fall into personal apostasy, which can result from several causes. I will mention only a few." "Faultfinding can be another source of personal apostasy. When we look for faults in others or begin to think we could make better decisions than our leaders, we should remember the experience of Oliver Cowdery, the second elder of the Church. In Doctrine and Covenants 28:2 Oliver Cowdery is told through revelation given to Joseph Smith, “No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.” In time, sadly, Oliver rebelled against Joseph, saying, “If I leave this church, it will fall.” Joseph responded, “Oliver, you try it.” Oliver did try it, and he fell. The kingdom of God, however, remained firm." "We enter a state of apostasy when we assume authority we do not possess or when we seek revelation for a stewardship outside of our sphere of responsibility. Our duty, as revealed to Oliver Cowdery, is to “be obedient unto the things” (D&C 28:3) the Lord reveals to His prophet and to our other leaders called through priesthood authority." "I testify that we can avoid the mists of darkness that lead to personal apostasy by repenting of our sins, overcoming offense, eliminating faultfinding, and following our Church leaders. We can also avoid those mists by humbling ourselves, forgiving others, keeping our covenants, partaking of the sacrament worthily each week, and strengthening our testimonies through prayer, daily scripture study, temple attendance where possible, magnifying our Church callings, and serving our fellowmen."

stephen
stephen

Tim, welcome to the radicalism that is Jesus the Christ.

C. A. Brockway
C. A. Brockway

I have an observation.We are not disobedient, members are begining to DEFY the Lord. None more than the CES which is teaching "Doctrine" to the whole Church. In the 2007 Manual "Teachings of Joseph Smith" only ONE WORD of the entire Inspired Version was quoted. I wrote asking why, since it was supposed to be the teachings of the prophet. They quoted Matthew 13:24-30 (pg 299) instead of D&C 86:7. They actually went out of their way to change/delete/misquote virtually every Teaching of the Prophet. Monson summed it up when he said "We are supposed to have a year's suplly of food and be debt free. Instead we have a year's supply of debt and are food free"g

Rick
Rick

2 questions for you super bloggerites: 1. What aspect of Denver's teachings or writings will help us with the visitation versus what the Prophet and Apostles teach/write? 2. Why is so much of the blogging and comments around the prophets and apostles of the 1800's? Are they better than our current Prophet and Apostles?

Tom Irvine
Tom Irvine

For the record, I remain steadfastly neutral toward Denver and mostly likely will remain so regardless of his trial outcome. I think people should spend more time studying the standard works directly, and less so on commentaries. My concerns are "big picture" issues influenced by own personal experiences. Who is trying to sew up the veil? Perhaps no one that you know. I will leave this mainly as a rhetorical question. But I have seen it happen in the church.

jmhiatt
jmhiatt

Thanks Tom and Steve for replying. Tom, you raise a good point. I do believe there’s a need for awareness regarding the opportunity for the heavens to open up to the common church member. When you say, “we have tried to sew the veil back…” who is the “we” you are referring? I think there could be more awareness, but I don’t know how that message is delivered. I’ll have to think/pray/stew more about that. Regardless, I still do not know how his excommunication helps this message. Steve, I agree that it would be better to go directly to the source. 6- “If he is cast out it is not his decision.” I guess that depends on how you view the situation. Certainly his decisions affect the outcome and he can avoid excommunication if he so chooses. Regarding it being a good idea – personally, I need to stew on this some more. I can see it being a trap for some. I do believe there should be an awareness, which there is, but, true, you have to proactively seek it out now. If this event is more mainstream, would it not become just another checklist on our list of things to do? I don’t know. I am ambivalent. 7. I generally agree with this. 12. Interesting thought. I could see many problems with this approach. Don’t know. Perhaps a “School of the Prophets”? 17. Steve, I don’t think the issue is Denver sharing this. The problem, as I see it, is that Denver has strayed from that core message and he is now intent on criticizing the church and its leadership. That’s the issue. Again, how is his excommunication beneficial in getting out the message of the second comforter? What is his message now? What will his message be after he gets excommunicated? Let’s see - He will be telling others to have faith, repent, get baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, receive all of the temple ordinances necessary for salvation, receive the second comforter…and then?... criticize the church/brethren and get excommunicated from the very vehicle that allowed this process to happen. I have to say, I find all of this fascinating.

OrkneyOctopus
OrkneyOctopus

The crux of this all is that although everyone commenting here can tell me 1) Denver Snuffer is brilliant and inspired and has taught me wonderful things, or 2) Denver Snuffer is an evil anti-Christ who deserves whatever the Church chooses to do to him, or something in between, the only way to know truth is through the Holy Ghost. Many commenters have been quite sure they were following the Holy Ghost when offering their opinions on the issue, though their opinions differ sharply from other commenters who feel just as strongly about their source of inspiration. Which may well mean we're not as good at following the Holy Ghost as we think we are (or it may mean something else entirely that has failed to occur to me). I figure I'll think hard about whether it's worthwhile for me to pay him any attention at all, pray to get the Lord's opinion about my conclusions, and go from there.

Tom Irvine
Tom Irvine

The real underlying tension is the Mary-Martha syndrome. We clearly expect and are expected to be Marthas laboring in the kitchen. With assignments for home teaching, temple responsibilities, callings from our bishops and other leaders, ward, stake and general conferences, First Presidency messages, missionary work, leadership training, Friends of Scouting drive, visiting less actives, being good neighbors, who has the time or inclination to develop a personal relationship with Christ? We smirk at our evangelical friends who witness of the grace-filled peace they have in Christ Jesus. When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent, meaning that all could now commune with Jehovah. Yet have we tried to sew the veil back up by teaching that only apostles and prophets could be special witnesses of Christ?

jmhiatt
jmhiatt

To lend some support to what Rick and others have said. I am tentative in writing this because I have not read Denver’s books. You can thus take my words with a grain of salt. Moreover, you may have already talked about some of these concepts within this great blog and I need to be directed there. These are some of my observations from reading what I have regarding Denver’s words through other’s perceptions. I am an outsider.Tim wrote some notes of Denver’s Second Comforter book. Here are some the quotes from that blog post. “6 – You will always need church programs and ordinances –Some teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ are not for the novice. They require maturity, time and patience. The Church has wisely chosen to focus on the basic doctrines of salvation in the curriculum, especially since so many members are new to the gospel. As we grow and mature in the gospel, we are left in large measure to seek further light and knowledge on our own. Some people think that seeking to be ministered unto by the Lord is one of those “mysteries” from which we should stay away. Done the right way, with the right understanding, approached in humility as intended, it is right. You can never outgrow the programs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can never outgrow the need for the saving ordinances. The Church is His medium for delivering the gospel. Therefore, it will not be something you leave behind. Besides, it’s a great place to give service and help others learn the gospel and the only place to pay tithes to an authorized agent.” It seems that Denver is not even following his own counsel. How is that? How can a teacher, not follow his own counsel? Further, this idea that we should consciously seek to be ministered by the Lord – I believe that it is possible, but I wonder if this is not a huge trap. The idea of deliberately seeking to be ministered by the Lord instead of dedicating your life to keeping the commandments, serving others, losing yourself for his name’s sake…and then naturally this experience happens. There is a subtle difference, but I believe it could be a big one. When I was 14, I was downstairs studying the Book of Mormon. An outside entity enveloped and filled me. I knew it was all true. I wept. This state of euphoria and a feeling that someone was with me lasted for three days or so. I assume now that it was the baptism of fire? The point I raise here – I was not intentionally seeking this experience. It just happened for whatever reason. Would the reception of the second comforter being any different? “ 7 – Intellectual criticism brings no revelation –… Although we are commanded to study things out in our own minds before we turn to the Lord for a confirming witness of the truth, finding fault with the Church or those we sustain as its leaders does not bring us closer to the Lord. To be learned is good if we hearken to the counsels of God. Humility is needed with intelligence.” Again, why not follow his own counsel here? Why the double standard? “12 – Seek further light and knowledge – The majority of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are composed of new converts. The primary focus of the teachings of the Church in Sunday school and Sacrament meetings is always going to be the fundamental principles of the gospel. Discussing the “mysteries” before the foundations have been adequately established is more destructive than edifying. Immaturity leads some curious but unprepared folks to seek these things prematurely. Encouraging them in this before they are ready may result in deep frustration or even losing their testimony altogether. In most lives it will take many years of development before this process is appropriate. Those many years of development can best, perhaps only, be acquired by faithful service within the Church. Church service is the best means for obtaining the necessary preparation. The Church is literally preparing its members for citizenship in heaven. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the work of God. Through its institutions the ordinances which must precede and accompany the acquisition of mysteries are given to the members. Seeking further light and knowledge is not independent the Church, but utterly reliant of it. We need the Church. The Church needs our strength and support.” Again, this seems inconsistent to some of his later messages. ”17 – Visions are private and for our own benefit – Receiving these things does not mean you are authorized to get in front of the Brethren who preside as authorized agents, and begin teaching doctrines either in addition to or different from their authorized message. No one, at any time is authorized to teach beyond what the Lord’s chosen authorities have taught. Joseph said, “…if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction…” The mysteries can be received by any person who will follow the process to receive them, but they cannot be taught. You should note that within this last quote from Joseph is the expectation that there will be those who will receive “a vision or visitation from a heavenly messenger.” That is the right of the Saints. It is one of the characteristics of true faith that the heavens communicate to men and women on the earth. 18 – Many people are learned but cannot be taught – However, limited disclosure is one of the requirements of receiving these things. We are to “impart only according to that portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9) If you are incapable of obeying these requirements, then you cannot receive any new mystery by revelation. Heaven will not permit any soul to receive mysteries if they cannot resist revealing them unwisely to others. The constraint that they may be learned but cannot be taught is enforced by withholding them from those who will not be able to abide by this constraint. If you are one of those who cannot respect this limitation, then the process will not work for you. Joseph said, “The reason we do not have the secrets if the Lord revealed to us, is because we do not keep them, but reveal them; we do not keep our own secrets…” Joseph later said, “If God gives you a manifestation; keep it to yourselves.” The Second Comforter is for your individual comfort and instruction, not for public display.” Is this not a contradiction to the entire premise of Denver Snuffer? Perhaps this has already been addressed somewhere. I apologize if it has. From what I gather, he has gone astray from his original message. In his most recent message it seems that he feels that the church needs to do their thing and he needs to do his – as if that’s the will of the Lord. I am trying to see what good will come of his being excommunicated. In what scenario would this be the Lord’s will in a positive, beneficial way? I can think of none. I can think of this leading other faithful members to do the same as if excommunication is Lord’s will. Perhaps the only positive will be that people will learn to not rely upon the arm of flesh. Another question: Could it be that Denver has not had the experience that he thinks he had? Could he be deceived like unto Korihor? Is he a modern day Korihor – led by a lying spirit and an angel of light? I don't know. I am just throwing the question out there. I was reading 3 Nephi 14 this morning. I quote, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.” (v.15-20)

Tom Irvine
Tom Irvine

Rick, Are you his bishop? Are you his stake president? To which quorum of the seventy do you belong? I do not recall that you are an apostle or a member of the First Presidency. Only the Lord and his authorized servants have authority to declare whether he is an "Anti-Christ." A disciplinary process is already underway. We need to let the Lord's servants do their job. I have little patience for anyone who teaches "false doctrine," but I have even less regard for those who hurl the "unfaithful to the brethern" charge or any of its variations. In the mean time, no one is under any obligation whatsoever to read his books or attend his meetings. Tom Irvine

Jason
Jason

I've been thinking a lot about Heber C. Kimball's "Test" prophecy since learning of Denver's upcoming disciplinary council. Here's part of it that may apply to the situation we find ourselves in currently: "After a while the Gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage. "Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still not knowing what to do. Darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. The judgments of God will be poured out on the wicked to the extent that our Elders from far and near will be called home, or in other words the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles and later on carried to the Jews.... "Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes. "Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills, where we can close the doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, that the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God. "Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great shifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming. "This Church has before it many close places through which it will have to pass before the work of God is crowned with glory. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess a personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got this testimony, you must live right and call upon the Lord, and cease not until you obtain it. "Remember these sayings: The time will come when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within themselves. If you do not have the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, how can you stand? (Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, May 1868, in Deseret News, 23 May 1931; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1930, p. 58-59)". I hope we can stay true to the light of Christ that is within each one of us, no matter what powers of opposition are used against us. Mormon included many examples of Alma the Younger testifying of the necessity of knowing things for himself, which knowledge came from an independent witness. That independent witness always came from heaven through the Lord's true messengers, who can be considered independent because they aren't mixed up and afflicted by the ways and thinking of man. We each need our own independent witness of the truth.

Karl
Karl

Probably because he is feeling cornered. Snuffer has a constitutional right to his opinion, even if it is in error (which I believe he is on the major points in his book PTHG). Further, he has as much right to speak, publish and broadcast what he believes is true, as anyone else (at least outside of Church property). Quashing him on the grounds that the authorities don't like what he says? Really? When did finding the truth take second place to what puts the Church "in a bad light?" Whether we are common members or the president of the church, we all need repentance as a constant guide in our life. The general authorities of the church have certain keys delegated to them to move the church ahead in a righteous pathway. Unfortunately, mere bestowal of keys does not give a man the wisdom of Solomon or the strength of Goliath. When it comes to really becoming righteous, God is no respector of persons; we all stand before God on an equal footing. And honestly, a book circulating with a few thousand copies at most. Even if he is completely in error, what damage can Snuffer do? We could only hope for the day that common members of the church were so absorbed in studying the gospel that they would take Snuffer seriously enough to study his materials and compare them with the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets, so they could compare. Nibley once said that a strong anti-mormon book was a great blessing, because they keep us on our toes. Same with Snuffer: he keeps us stirred up.

Karl
Karl

You do understand the paradox involved in quoting a general authority who states that we need not be concerned about being led astray by a general authority?

Ray
Ray

"if D.Snuffer deserves excomunication so does Boyd K Packer for his book “The Holy Temple” and Andrew Skinner for his books “Gethsemane” and “Golgotha” and Bruce R McConkie for his “Ten Blessings of the Priesthood” This is another perfect example of the type of ridiculous hyperbole that hurts Bro. Snuffer's case. Tim, this is your blog. Please let me know if this represents your view.

C. A. Brockway
C. A. Brockway

Further to the above, if D.Snuffer deserves excomunication so does Boyd K Packer for his book "The Holy Temple" and Andrew Skinner for his books "Gethsemane" and "Golgotha" and Bruce R McConkie for his "Ten Blessings of the Priesthood" where he stated "We have the power- and it is our privilege- so to live that, becoming pure in heart, we shall see the face of God while we yet dwell as mortals in a world of sin and sorrow". I trod Snuffer's path many years ago. My biggest gripe in this Church is that at the end of the Endowment we are bidden to "Enter into the presence of the Lord". No one actually believes it so it never happens. One therefore has to fins an alternative route.

Ray
Ray

This is the bottom line for me: What Denver is teaching now is not consistent with what he taught in "The Second Comforter". In fact, much of it is in direct opposition to what he wrote prior to PtHG. I think that is indisputable. I have no squabble with him prior to PtHG. I have HUGE problems with his writings, teachings and actions from PtHG onward. He is a very different "preacher" now than he used to be. Again, I think that is indisputable. I don't know why he is doing now what he is doing, but the change is striking - and obvious. Finally, if he leaves the LDS Church it absolutely will be his choice - and to say otherwise is ludicrous. He claims to have been visited by Christ. He essentially is being asked to return to being that person, since absolutely NOTHING is being made of anything prior to his writing, publishing and marketing of PtHG. If he won't do that, it is his choice. Just to make that point, let's assume his claim of a personal visitation is correct. He's not being asked to stop testifying of Christ; he's not being asked to deny a visitation; he's not being asked to retract anything he said in the aftermath of a visitation; he's not being asked to retract anything he wrote at any point in his life up to or immediately following a visitation; he's not being asked to stop talking or writing about a visitation. All he's being asked to do, in practical terms, is return to being the man who wrote "The Second Comforter" and the man who said he was visited by Christ - the man who made the initial impact on pretty much everyone who is supporting him.

Karl
Karl

Or, as an alternate: I do not think DS is brilliant and inspired, and I do not think he will deserve what he receives by way of discipline. Since when does leadership feel so threatened when common members express an opinion contrary to their own? If DS is mistaken in his historical interpretation in PTHG (which I think he is after very careful reading of his work) wouldn't this whole thing have a better ending if DS were very carefully enfolded in the arms of leaders who through the exercise of kindness and pure love, persuaded them that he was moving in an incorrect pathway? Since common members have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, they have the right to discern spiritual truth. Denver Snuffer cannot have any lasting negative impact on any soul who sincerely seeks to be led along the narrow course back to God. The leadership does not need to overreact to this. I read Paul Toscanos Strangers in Paradox recently. I found many of his arguments to be absolutely absurd (with some brilliant insights there too). However, I didn't find anything in there that could have possibly damaged the reputation of the church or its members. So, why then does leadership take this hardline approach to anyone that does not fall into the super orthodox view of LDS doctrine? I think leadership has some lessons to learn here too.

Steve
Steve

When commenting on someone's words, I would go to the source instead of depending upon someone else's interpretation. Notwithstanding here are my take on your points. 6 - I don't know if we will never outgrow the Church, perhaps we will for in the celestial kingdom it is the Church of the Firstborn that exists, not ours. Still it is a good place to serve. Denver has urged people to stay in it and serve. Of course, if he is cast out, that is not his decision. http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/CallElectSurJSBRMc.htm has a number of quotes on 2nd comforter, etc. Joseph encouraged people to seek that. Sounds like a good idea to me. 7 - I find no fault with pointing out how we have departed from Joseph's teachings and indicating how we can do better. 12 - We only baptize about 300,000 converts/year. So how can the majority be new converts? Why not have classes on more advanced topics, sort of like how we separate Gospel Doctrine and Gospel Essentials? 17 – Visions are private and for our own benefit. Sometimes that is true and sometimes that is not. Nephi was given visions, only some of which he was authorized to share. John the Revelator was given visions to share with the world. In both cases they were following the commands of the Lord. What if Denver has been told to share some of his? What is this, a Bible, a Bible, there can be no other Bible? Why would we complain about a man telling us that God still lives and He can be found by ordinary people, too? Could Denver (or we) have been deceived? Of course, thus the necessity of us drawing close to God and getting His confirmation.

Blufish
Blufish

Starts in June 2010 with "Cite Your Minds Forward" And "Weep For Zion, for Zion has Fled". Won't disappoint, whatever conclusions you come to.

Blufish
Blufish

I don't know why, but I like the points and questions you raise. They seem thoughtful. I think you'd enjoy Denver's books and blog. :) not even kidding. if you do take on his blog, I recommend starting in 2010 with his verse by verse series, begining with Alma 13. It lasts a few months. Facinating!

Rick
Rick

I always wondered what a false christ would look like. Denver is one. He claims to have met the Savior, who directed him to write his book on the second comforter. He continued to write other books, with doctrine so close to Christ's that he looked valid. Then the Adversary thought it was time to sow the seeds of doubt, so he published Passing the Heavenly Gift. The church has strayed from the original teachings, it's leaders also. Now is the time to spread the word, build Zion with his followers. Denver is a teacher, not soiled by serving in leadership positions. He will teach his followers the way. He has seen the savior, you know. His mean Stake President will excommunicate him, but he has seen the savior and follows his direction, he will be ok. He doesn't need his membership, his baptism, or his temple marriage. He has seen the savior and is directed by him. He needs no organization, he will teach all. Just be a Zion person. That's all you need. I always wondered what a false christ would look like. Denver is one. I hope all who side with Denver take a timeout and think about it. Is this the way Christ would manage this? Are the apostles lost? This is what the Adversary wants you to believe. This is one of the most subtle and dangerous scenarios I have ever seen.

Steve
Steve

Thanks for this, Jason. Steve

Steve
Steve

Have you found an alternative?

SteveF
SteveF

"The saints still claim we fulfilled everything required by the revelation in January, 1841" Who are all these Saints claiming this in the first place? I don't personally know anyone going around claiming this. I agree that since various members fell away and some of those in large measure became responsible for the death of Joseph Smith, they likely did not fulfill the injunction in verse 46 that says, "And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people..." so all the blessings did not necessarily follow. But inasmuch as Denver is tying this in with the fullness that was promised to be revealed to the Saints (which it seems he is by his following sentence quoted below) for building the temple, he is wrong in implying that this blessing was not given. Historically, it was given (see my comment to M.) His following sentence then says, "The proud descendants of Nauvoo, who have always retained control of the church’s top leadership positions, claim to hold all the keys ever given to Joseph Smith. They teach that they can bind on earth and in heaven" implying that these claims are not true. But this is mistaken, Joseph did pass on the the fullness of keys of the kingdom and did ordain several people to the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood before his death. Of course Joseph's personal righteousness and internal spirituality/power weren't passed on as this can never be passed person to person, but every key and piece of authority he possessed, including the sealing keys/authority to bind on earth and in heaven, was passed on to several men, Brigham Young being one of them who then being chosen to preside became the only person on earth that could exercise those keys in their entirety. Those keys/authority have been passed on to the present day, and the Lord has not revoked it.

SteveF
SteveF

*but these unbelieving gentiles seem to be those who have rejected the truth from the beginning, as the verses are structured...

SteveF
SteveF

M, I do read the scriptures you mentioned differently. As for 3 Nephi 16:10, I think the preceding versus lend to a different interpretation for gentiles than in the interpretation you gave. In verse 7, it explains that the truth shall "come unto the gentiles", which right away shows to me that the gentiles are a group of people that the truth hasn't yet come unto, but will come unto. Therefore it is not Latter-day Saints, it is a larger group of people that the truth comes unto for them to then accept or reject. Then in verse 8 it talks about those who accept or reject by distinguishing "unbelieving gentiles" from presumably a group of believing gentiles. I think believing gentiles could rightly be considered Latter-day saints, but these unbelieving gentiles seem to those who have rejected the truth from the beginning, as the verses are structures so that the "unbelieving" is happening when the truth is first coming to them. And then verse 10 is clearly a continuation of speaking about these "unbelieving gentiles" who go on to reject the fulness of the gospel because of their pride and the sins listed thereafter. As for D&C 124:28, I think there is a better argument for interpreting "restore again" to mean "restore to the earth again as in times past", which would make this restoration the first time in this dispensation. This would mean that the "you" the fulness of the priesthood was lost or taken away from, would be referring to the church long before Joseph Smith's time. This interpretation is consistent with the idea in the book of Revelation that the Church went into the wilderness (losing the fulness of the priesthood) until the Lord saw fit to restore again the fulness of the priesthood bringing the woman (church) out of the wilderness and obscurity. This interpretation of verse 28 is also more consistent with the history of the restoration in this dispensation. Even 2 years after this revelation Brigham Young said that the fulness of the priesthood had not been restored to the earth (at any time in this dispensation), because Joseph Smith had not restored/implemented all the ordinances belonging to the temple just yet. Although all the keys had been given to Joseph, all the ordinances that would complete the fulness of the Priesthood had not yet been restored to the church, and it was shortly after Brigham Young made that statement (in 1843 I believe, not looking at my references) that Joseph Smith finally revealed all the ordinances belonging to the House of the Lord restoring to the earth the fulness of the priesthood for the first time in this dispensation. Hope that helps!

Ray
Ray

Thank you for your gracious response, M. I'm really tired, but that is no excuse for how harsh my comment sounded when I re-read it. I meant what I said, but I shouldn't have said it in that way.

M.
M.

Ray, thank you for at least taking the time to read what I wrote in spite of its sloppiness.

Karl
Karl

Good comments Ray. That is my conclusion. Something has happened from the writing of Second Comforter, and essentially all doctrinal book, to PTHG, essentially an argumentation from an historical perspective, and that has gone awry.

Ray
Ray

M, talk about quoting a verse out of context. If you are going to quote D&C 124:28 at least put it in the context of the verses immediately following it. Of course, doing so would completely alter the meaning you ascribe to the verse, so I can understand why you wouldn't want to do that. It is this sort of sloppy argument that actually hurts Bro. Snuffer's case.

M.
M.

A shame WordPress doesn't allow more than three levels of nested replies. Either the Latter-day Saints of European descent did reject the fullness of the gospel in the Nauvoo era OR they have at some subsequent point (1844-2013) OR they will yet at some future date before the Lord's second coming. That should be indisputable. We have Christ quoting the Father himself in 3 Nephi 16:10 stating that we would reject the fullness. Though we (as a people, at some point in the future if not already in the past) do this, we can still repent (verse 13). Uncomfortable to consider, but then much of the Book of Mormon is when we read it as applying to us, the readers, and not all those other Christians. Our usual surface reading of the Book of Mormon is perhaps one reason the Church has been under divine condemnation for the past almost 181-years. Furthermore, regarding the loss of the fullness of the Priesthood, the Lord told Joseph in D&C 124:28 "For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again[i.e., a second time] that which was lost [already as of 19 January 1841] unto you, or which he hath taken away [already!], even the fulness of the priesthood." ("Fulness of the priesthood" implies there are multiple degrees of priesthood, else the Lord could have said "even the priesthood" or "even the Melchizedek priesthood".) The Nauvoo-era saints had two tasks given them by revelation in Section 124: construct the Nauvoo Temple and the Nauvoo House. They had a promise (verse 45) that if they did these things the Lord would see that they would "not be moved out of their place." It is indisputable that as of 19 January 1841 the fulness of the priesthood had been taken away. It is unfair to label Denver as an apostate for stating that the fulness was lost in the Nauvoo-era when the Lord himself said it plainly in a canonized revelation. The big question is, has the fullness been restored again a second time? If so, by whom? And when? We have no canonized answer. If not prior the martyrdom, then how could Joseph pass on that which he'd lost to the Twelve if the Lord hadn't yet re-restored it to him yet? Given that the Saints were moved out of their place again (keeping just to canonized sources, see D&C 136), it would seem to be at best an obvious fact to all of us that the Nauvoo-era Saints didn't completely meet the terms that the Lord set out, and at worst be an open question on which people of good will could disagree and still remain in fellowship with each other.

SteveF
SteveF

@Steve. As for the back of the book summary, you can see how Denver's paradigm is to me in direct conflict with reality/truth in my comment here: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2012/12/11/what-denver-snuffer-teaches/#comment-5414 As for the other 3 passages, I went through sentence by sentence and only found a couple that I could even agree with technically speaking. But I think just about every point that was trying to be made I disagree with and think Denver is wrong, and I definitely am opposed to the sentiments found therein in their entirety. It's as if Denver has some sort of massive hostile attribution bias toward the current church leadership and membership as a whole, and has failed to see the light of truth while staring right at the sun. I agree not all is well in Zion, that there are a lot of people struggling with real problems, and that complacency does happen here and there from time to time to the detriment of the complacent, but I think he somehow missed that there is also so much that is right, good, and holy in the Kingdom of God on earth right here and now, and failed in a very large and significant way to see the hand of the Lord that has indeed guided this Church from Joseph's death to the present day - that we truly have been progression as a people over time and that indeed "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing". He constantly denigrates leaders for their "claims" to authority, implying that their authority is somehow not really there or unimportant/irrelevant or being abused in some way - but in this thing he is blind and deceived by the devil himself. He acts as if the church is being led astray, and that members are in some real way actually being led to the condemnation of Hell away from Zion and away from Christ and God. It's a lie, it is false, it is of the devil. If you prefer that I go sentence by sentence I can do so if it is necessary. But in an attempt to make this easier in summary I disagree with nearly everything written in those passages, and think such beliefs are the height of pessimism and skewed slander that comes from the wicked one.

Blufish
Blufish

It's funny because those quotes actually get me excited. In a good way. Maybe because I'm from a younger generation, I have a front row seat to MUCH obscenity.. lds or not. I sense no urgency within the church to become a zion people. I don't think folks even know what it means. Not among my generation at least. So this quote from his latest blog post is thrilling. I read a fair amount, but would love more tutelage in the zion department. Who is this guy! "Zion, as an idea whose time will only come when her ideas are understood, must be plainly taught again. The time wherein this is possible has arrived... And so the idea needs to begin unfranchised, uncontrolled, unfettered by the laws of man, and unpolluted by the ambitions of men. It is an idea which will make, without fear and compulsory means, all mankind equal." We've had roughly 180 years to form a true zion society since Joesph Smith restored the gospel. Clearly it aint happening, and I don't think we're getting any closer than those beloved pioneers who sacrificed everything they had, including their lives! Do you? To me it looks like we're headed the other direction. Money, sex and fame are absolute obsessions. (I'm still talking about my lds circles) Maybe it's high time someone came in and shook things up. I get the feeling sometimes that the leaders want things to be different, but the tail is wagging the dog. Quote from Elder Packer: "In recent years I have felt, and I think I am not alone, that we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church. You cannot appreciate how deeply I feel about the importance of this present opportunity unless you know the regard, the reverence, I have for the Book of Mormon and how seriously I have taken the warnings of the prophets, particularly Alma and Helaman. Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the church today. Helaman repeatedly warned, I think four times he used these words, that the fatal drift of the church could occur in the space of not many years. In one instance it took only six years." (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves,” Reg. Rep. Seminar, March 30, 1990)

Ray
Ray

Blufish, my main point is that his writings weren't bizarre originally. They were inspiring, supportive, church-affirming, etc. I could accept and respect the man who wrote "The Second Comforter". I can do neither for the man who wrote "Passing the Heavenly Gate". I see two very different men in those authors.

blufish
blufish

Either he's being directed by God or he's not. One could expect totally bizarre behavior either way.

SteveF
SteveF

Here are a few examples that I think may be considered questionable: First of all, in summary on the back of the book is written the following: “Mormonism has undergone four distinct phases. The first began in 1820 and ended with Joseph Smith’s death in 1844. The second began upon Joseph Smith’s death and ended with abandonment of plural marriage, publicly in 1890 and privately in 1904. In the third phase Mormonism denounced as apostasy its practice of plural wives, marking the first time an orthodox practice became grounds for excommunication. The fourth phase began with David O. McKay and is still underway. In it Mormonism has adopted corporate management techniques to consolidate and direct central church decision-making. The first phase was innovative and expansive, continually adding doctrine, scripture, teachings and ordinances. Subsequent phases have curtailed, abandoned, even denounced earlier teaching and doctrine. Phases two through four have all abandoned doctrine. Growth in these subsequent phases has been defined in terms of political influence, financial gains, cultural inroads, and population growth; while the underlying religion has been curtailed. Today, marketing the institution has become more important to Mormon success than preserving the original religious content. The changes from phase to phase have completely transformed Mormonism, sharing a vocabulary but redefining the terms. Modern Mormonism has now institutionalized change. For the first time in this book Mormonism is candidly described in terms which track the changes by examining doctrine, teachings and practices. Interestingly, the passing of the heavenly gift was anticipated by Joseph Smith’s prophecies and the Book of Mormon.” Page 414. “Our wickedness and evil come from ‘lyings and deceivings.’ We prefer the lie that tells us we need no repentance to the truth that we must repent or perish. We deceive ourselves into believing we are Zion. The truth is we are far from it, and getting farther away every day. Our whoredoms are twofold. We both worship a false image rather than the living God, and we are also sexually impure. Our secret abominations are the conspiracies that run among us to manipulate, get gain, use religion to promote a cause, obtain commercial advantage, and wield political influence. We idolize men rather than Christ. We claim to hold keys that would allow men filled with sin to forgive sins on earth and in heaven, to grant eternal life, or to bar from the kingdom of God. Using that false and useless claim, we slay the souls of men, thereby committing murder. We are riddled with priestcrafts. …” Page 303. “The saints still claim we fulfilled everything required by the revelation in January, 1841 (Section124). The proud descendants of Nauvoo, who have always retained control of the church’s top leadership positions, claim to hold all the keys ever given to Joseph Smith. They teach that they can bind on earth and in heaven. They are the ‘new Popes having the authority the Catholic Pope claims to possess, as J. Reuben Clark remarked. According to their account of the historical narrative, all is well in their Zion. They intend to build Zion some day, wen they get around to it. In the meantime, they continually curtail the scope of the restored faith, reducing the topics authorized to be taught in Sunday School, Priesthood, and Relief Society. Working to move farther and farther from what will be required for Zion. Their plan seems at odds with the end they seek.’ After quoting 2 Nephi 28:20-26, which he believes refers to the church today, he says on pages 338-339: “The gentile church will be secure with false teachings that tell them that Zion is intact. Everything is fine. The power to redeem, to bind on earth and in heaven is with them. Zion is prospering and enjoys God’s favor. There is no need to repent and return to Christ, because everything is well with the church. But these ideas are not only false, they come from the devil who “whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with death and hell.” The plan to sell a devalued gospel, lacking the power to save, without any connection to Christ, originated with the adversary. Its result will be to condemn to hell those who believe it…. If a gentile follower of this false Zion encounters an inspired view of their own awful state, they can awaken and quickly come to realize that Nephi is speaking to us.”

Steve
Steve

To what do you object in PTHG?

Ray
Ray

Yes, Steve F.

SteveF
SteveF

I really like this summary. Can I provide a link to your comment and quote it on a similar thread over at wheatandtares?

Steve
Steve

This was for jmhiatt

jmhiatt
jmhiatt

Thank you Blufish for your kind comments. Thoughtful? Yes, I have been accused of thinking tooooo much. I have read some of Denver's blog, but I need to start with his books. I have no doubt there are great insights to be found.

Annalea
Annalea

I'm glad that you're happy where you are, Rick. It would surely be nice if God worked in such predictable ways that made perfect sense to the minds of men. Thanks for sharing, and may God bless you.

Annalea
Annalea

Those are bold words of judgement from someone so far removed from the situation, Rick. It probably feels good to stand and declare those words, but it seems risky to put yourself in the place of Christ to judge another of His children so damnably.

Steve
Steve

Given the promises offered in D&C 124, I think the most reasonable interpretation of history is that the Saints did not comply with the Lord's requirements and were cast out. This is not the first time they failed the Lord: Witness the 1832 cursing pronounced for failure to give heed to the Book of Mormon and other commandments and their failure to bring again Zion in Missouri. While they were still the Lord's people, they had problems which we don't acknowledge or learn from. Do we deny that the curiculum has been correlated and that the finances have had modern methods applied or that doctrines have been hidden? I remember the ruckus caused when the Brigham Young book was introduced and there was hardly a mention of polygamy. Are these things helpful? Can those who love the Saints point these things out without being branded unfaithful? When the Church Historian acknowledges that we are experiencing the greatest apostasy since the 1830's, perhaps we should discuss these things and not shoot the messenger.

Steve
Steve

Thanks for providing the quotes.What do you find wrong in them?I think as LDS we are reluctant to point out our failings.  We don't extend the same courtesies to the ancient Jews or Nephites.  We know they fell.  But we have the promise that our prophet will never lead us astray.  If that was true, that would be a first in all of scriptural history.  What are our failings?  Nephi outlined some for us and warned us that all was not well in Zion.  What is amiss in Zion?  Is Snuffer right in his summary?  If not, what did he get wrong?

Rick
Rick

I suppose I am as close as anyone who can view all the public banter back and forth. In reading all the comments on this blog, the commentators seem to be split 50-50. We can judge, if we do so righteously. It also appears everyone is receiving spiritual confirmation to back their own position. My position is black and white on this circumstance. I don't need to fast and pray, it is very obvious that DS is actively sowing doubt about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think he is well into apostasy. His current posts are intended to get those that agree with him to continue to do so. If you believe in DS, then you will follow that path. I have full confidence that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet, and receives revelation for Christ's church. I have full confidence in our apostles, general authorities, stake presidents and bishops. I enjoyed going to church last Sunday. I'm glad to be a member! I believe that Zion, The New Jerusalem, will be built and that direction will come from the President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If you want to mow grass and bake bread, then follow DS.

SteveF
SteveF

Steve, just to let you know that last comment I made was in response to you, I just didn't figure out how to put it in the right place.