Denver Snuffer Excommunicated


PassingHeavenlyGiftDenver Snuffer recently posted the news on his blog that he has been excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy. It was not unexpected by most who are familiar with his writings. This morning, before I learned the news, I received the email below from a reader regarding Denver and my many posts about what he has written. I asked for the writer’s permission to share it here on my blog so I could respond publically. He agreed.

My response to a private email on Denver

Warning: If you have any feelings of love, support, friendship or sympathy for Denver Snuffer, this email will make you sit up and think as it did me. The writing is strong and passionate. [Update: see comment below: Strong writing is protected speech as it is opinion about a public figure.] Let’s please be clear up front these are not my words. It is my intention to defend against these claims, based solely on what I have read of Denver Snuffer and my feelings as a follower of Jesus Christ. Denver doesn’t need me to defend him, but I feel the desire to do so.

Loss of Temple Recommend Over Reading a Book

Now that the excommunication is official [see my note below], and even though I’ve already addressed it in two previous posts, I recognize my public expressions of sympathy for Denver Snuffer, whom I have never met, could conceivably disqualify me for a temple recommend. 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?”

Update: The church has not and has said they will not comment on Denver’s official status as a member of the church. Therefore, I have no problem with reading his material, listening to his recorded lectures or attended meetings at which he speaks. I can answer the temple recommend question truthfully that I do not support, affiliate with, or agree with any … individual whose teachings are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the LDS Church.

Divisiveness Over Denver’s Book

Here is the email, with some identifying information left out:

—— Start of email ——–

“…the last thing I want to do is to pick a fight with a Snufferite.  Nevertheless, I saw your blog, so now I am commenting, as I can’t understand how you think the way you do.  I am not a fan of Denver Snuffer.  I was introduced to Denver Snuffer’s work by a former friend of mine … who is a friend of Snuffer.  We are no longer friends, mostly because of disagreements over Denver Snuffer.

Denver is Labeled a Liar

“I have his Second Comforter book, and find the THEOLOGY impressive.  In fact, I find almost ALL of Denver Snuffer’s theology impressive.  I actually AGREE with the idea of a second comforter experience while in the flesh, but that is not impressive in the sense that it is actually more common than we think, as a lot of mundane people out there have had it.  And so, Denver Snuffer’s claim is not a unique one or a special one.  What is unique, and what makes him a liar is the fact that he claims a commission from the Savior.  He is out of order.

Claims Denver Is Seeking A Following

“I HAD the book PTHG but quickly disposed of it after I read it (not impressed).  It as well is very useful in certain aspects but I didn’t want to own a copy, to be frank.  It is his worst book.  Not the facts presented in the book, but the interpretation of them.  It made me irritated that Denver Snuffer is capitalizing on certain facts to gain a following.  Yes, I stand by that statement.”

Says Denver Vilifies the Lord’s Anointed

“He vilifies the Strengthening of the Members committee.  He vilifies the Lord’s anointed that has received revelation on Snuffer’s need to be disciplined.  And sorry [but] Snuffer publically vilified his own stake president for his own political gain, in hopes that he could affect the outcome of his trial.

Calls Denver Snuffer a False Prophet

“I’m sorry, but this is what makes Denver Snuffer such a subtle false prophet: Because his Theology IS so believable, and IS mostly so much on track.  It’s not that the Church does not need reform.  It’s that Denver Snuffer is the one taking it upon himself to proclaim that to the world.  Yeah, I’ve heard it all before.  Sorry.

Claims Denver Needs to be Humbled

“The prophet that will reform the Church will be a successor to Thomas S. Monson or to his successors, with actual keys, not some guy with a holier than thou complex.  Snuffer needs to be brought down off his high horse.  He needs discipline, and I hope he is excommunicated.  His attitude is apostate through and through.

Says Denver Has Not Seen Jesus Christ

“I don’t care how much he claims to support the brethren.  He does no such thing.  I find his THEOLOGY very useful for the most part.  But his attitude is that of an apostate with a cloven tongue.  He is not a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is a liar and has not seen Jesus Christ.

Warns Us to Withdraw Support for Denver

“Jesus Christ would have told him to stand down and submit to the keys of the priesthood before he got to this point if he was truly in communication personally with him.  It’s all hogwash.  And so, I just thought I would give you my opinion, though you being a Snufferite so it seems will be another one probably with deaf ears to someone like me that tries to warn people about actual false prophets.  I would advise you to withdraw your support for Snuffer.”

———— End of Email —————–

What You Can Expect From Me

My personal rules of engagement are that I will not attack an individual for making statements that I believe are unsupported. I also desire to find unity in my responses. I attempt to compose my sentences in such a way that they are not offensive, but thought-provoking. I have tried to have an open mind about the writings of Denver Snuffer from the day I was introduced to them.

My Personal Investment of Study and Prayer

I also want you to know up front, if you haven’t read any of my previous posts about Denver Snuffer, and I have written over a dozen, that I have read most everything Denver has published or made available publically. I have also listened to many of his lectures and pondered both the lectures and the writings. What’s more I have prayed specifically about the content of both.

The Book Puts the Church in a Negative Light

The Church did the right thing. I know that sounds harsh, but too many people were bothered by Denver’s book. The Stake President’s letter spells it out. I can’t speak to the mischaracterization of doctrine because I’m not a scholar, but yes, I can see how you can say Denver denigrated just about every prophet since Joseph Smith. And there is no doubt the book puts the church in a negative light. Quoting the SP, “Your work pits you against the institution of the church.” Yep.

Some say Denver Snuffer is Now an Apostate

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now. You can officially call Denver Snuffer an apostate if you feel so inclined. He was specifically excommunicated for apostasy, or even more specifically for an act of apostasy, which was the publication of the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. Wow. That concerns me. As I considered in a previous post, can an individual be disciplined for expressing opinions about the church in a personal blog that just happens to be open to the public? Yes. [See my comment to Tom below - this is NOT official news from the church.]

Reading the Words of an [Alleged] Apostate

I have been questioned by those who love me and by some who read my blog why I have such an interest in the writings of Denver Snuffer. The simple answer: I don’t know. I find something in them that satisfies my soul. I don’t consider myself a scholar or an intellectual. I just like some of the explanations and exhortations I find in Denver’s books, especially in Passing the Heavenly Gift. So is it wrong to read the words of an apostate? I thought we are to seek for knowledge.

Seek Out of the Best Books

I started reading Denver’s books so I could answer the question when asked, “What do you think of his latest book?” I had to seek the book out, purchase it online and then invest the time to read, study, ponder and pray. I’ve related that experience in a previous post. Others have had contrary experiences, but for me, reading PtHG was an enlightening and spiritually uplifting experience. It did not contain new information, at least in the first two thirds, but it had a powerful ending.

Finding Good in Some Bad History

The book gave me hope. For years I had felt something was amiss in my worship experience. I thought perhaps if I studied more, prayed with greater intensity or tried all that much harder to be submissive and obedient to what I thought the Lord wanted me to do, things would improve. They didn’t. I was not finding joy in my service in the kingdom. I know that’s my own personal problem, one only I could fix. Reading PtHG gave a voice for the feelings I was experiencing.

The Church Holds the Keys

I love this church, this religion, this gospel and the people who embrace it. I love to associate with the Saints. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I could not do what Denver has done. I need the sacrament each week and the temple as often as possible. The church holds the keys to my admittance to the temple. I will do what the church says to do in order to get into the temple.

I Need The Church Each Week

I need the sacrament each week. I am a sinful man. I make mistakes. I need the atonement and believe that comes through repentance and partaking of the sacrament frequently. I love to serve in this church. I’ll accept any calling and appreciate my opportunity to serve the stake presidency as an assistant stake financial clerk. I would be just as happy serving as a primary teacher. I love to teach the gospel either from the pulpit or from the front of a classroom. I need those things.

I Also Need Freedom to Write

Even though I agree with what the church has done in excommunicating Denver, I am troubled now that this action has taken place. He did not lose his membership because of any issue with the moral code of the church. His Stake President said he was worthy of a temple recommend just last Sunday. The problem was over freedom to express himself in writing. Yes, that is why I am so interested in this case. I grow as I write. I learn as I write. It is the way I study the gospel.

Some Specific Responses to the Email

I am not a Snufferite. I do not follow a man. I follow Jesus Christ. I do not believe Denver Snuffer is a liar. I believe him when he writes he has been ministered to by Jesus Christ. I accept his claim that he received a commission from the Savior to write at least his first book on the Second Comforter. I also believe he wrote Passing the Heavenly Gift under the inspiration of the Lord. I know it’s a controversial book. It’s not for everyone. My wife won’t read it. It scares her.

A Commission From the Savior

I don’t believe Denver is seeking a following. He has specifically stated he is not looking for a people to lead. He said his purpose was to add his witness that we can commune with the Lord in a personal and direct way. I suppose he was asked to write that first book to show that a regular member like you or me can receive the Second Comforter. He lays out the steps to achieve it. Such a goal is the meat of the gospel – to be ministered to by Jesus Christ and to hear His voice.

A Man of Humility Who Loves the Lord

I don’t believe Denver to be a false prophet. Everyone who has the testimony of Jesus Christ is a prophet. Denver has not asked us to leave the church. On the contrary, he encourages us to be as faithful as we can, to love and serve our fellow members. I do not sense pride in the writings of Denver Snuffer. I sense the opposite. He comes across as a humble man, a man who wants to do the will of the Lord. He is sacrificing a lot to do what he feels the Lord has asked him to do.

A Man Trying to Do the Lord’s Will

No man is perfect. So what if he rides a Harley (gasp!). So what if he occasionally lets slip an expletive like hell or damn most conservative LDS would never use in public or private. I do not know how I would respond if the Lord asked me to do something that would eventually get me excommunicated. If the Lord really asked Denver to write PtHG as a tool to help some of those who it helped (and I have letters from them to prove it), then he was doing as he was directed.

A Threat to the Church and Weak Members

Don’t tell me I am being double-minded, saying the church did the right thing while at the same time defending Denver for doing what he says he has been directed to do. I do not fault the church. I agree with the action taken. Denver was too much of a threat for most members of the church.  I am impressed that Denver would do what he felt the Lord wanted him to do – write that book – even though he probably knew at the time it would eventually get him disciplined.

Follow Your Own Inner Voice

Is Denver out of order? Does he sustain the Brethren? You’ll have to answer those questions for yourselves. But for goodness sake, don’t judge the man without at least making some small effort to get to know him. Read his blog. Read his books. If after doing so you feel what he writes is not for you, so be it. If you pray and the spirit tells you to not read his books, so be it. What he writes is not for everyone. All I know is his books helped me. I’m glad he wrote them.

Not a Follower of Denver Snuffer

I don’t think I’ve added much new in this post I haven’t written before. I would like to write a review of his Boise lecture once I receive the CDs later this week. I read from a friend who was there, the CDs were delayed. They hoped to be able to burn them on the spot. I’m sure Doug will fill the orders as quick as he can. I look forward to reading what others have said who were there. If you attended the lecture, perhaps you could leave a few comments here on what you thought.

Don’t Believe His Teachings Are Contrary

The bottom line for me is that I feel impressed of the spirit to continue in my quest to understand what Denver Snuffer has shared. I need to finish some of his books and intend to re-read parts of PtHG and especially The Second Comforter. I learn something new each time I invest the time to read and ponder what I can apply that will bring me closer to my goal of opening the heavens and be taught what the Lord wants me to know. In the meantime I will serve here as best I can.

We do not Encourage Compulsion

I’ll make no broad statements condemning anyone who says Denver is a liar. I am not offended if you call him an apostate. According to our church, he is. But don’t tell me what I can and can’t read or believe. Amen to the priesthood of any man who tries to exercise control or compulsion on the souls of men. Force is not the way of the Lord. Neither is fear. We should not be afraid to learn something new and then make up our own minds if it is useful or helpful to us. God bless.

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148 Responses

  1. Nice post, Tim. I’m still troubled by what seems so nebulous, vague and ambiguous a concept “apostasy” is. Likewise I remain troubled (if Denver Snuffer is truthful on this point) that General Authorities, possibly one or more of the Q12 probably instructed the local stake president to commence the disciplinary hearing. This is particularly true when (again if Denver is to be believed) his prior stake president defended him against apostasy charges.

    Apostasy should be apostasy regardless of who occupies the stake presidency–just as would murder, molestation, or adultery. Thanks for your coverage of Denver’s experiences . . .

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  2. Hi Tim, I was at the Boise lecture. Just sent you a facebook message to see if you’d be open to chatting about it. It was just about as eventful as a great institute class.Spent the whole time just in JS History cross-referencing scriptures back and forth. Denver is hilarious, and it was fantastic.

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    • Oh, Hi Boise: I missed this post yesterday. Sorry. I’ve read similar reports from others, that Denver was upbeat and enjoyed himself. I look forward to receiving the CDs later this week (if Doug can handle the large load of pre-orders in a timely manner).

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  3. BTW–most of what the person who sent you the email wrote (at least in my view) would be classified as an opinion, protected speech, rather than libelous. And, Denver arguably is a public figure, further protecting speech about him. That’s my take, anyway . . .

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    • Thanks Guy. Some may note I changed the wording in the post as it appears above to remove any reference to libel. That was a poor suggestion on my part. That’s why I made the disclaimer, “I’m no lawyer…” Coming from a lawyer, I so very much appreciate your comment. it helped me tremendously make the piece better by removing any reference to the word. It’s good to have two sides to each story. Facts are better than opinion of course, but since we have few, we share opinions. Free speech alive in America. It’s a good thing.

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  4. There is a very long, detailed but thorough, even interesting, commentary (review) of the church courts process (link below) … hmm?!?

    http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-doctrine-against-dissent/

    Apparently, Snuffer saw it before his 9/8.

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    • Wow, that is a great post on the doctrine of dissent. Thanks for sharing. If I remember correctly, one of the September Six, Paul Toscano felt strongly about the subject and wrote a book entitled, The Sanctity of Dissent. I have not read it yet but I will read the post at LDSAnarchy.

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  5. So, Denver joins other influential apostates like Martin Luther, Lehi, Samuel, and Alma.

    I can’t count myself a consistent follower of Denver, having read his blog on occasion. When I heard of the pending disciplinary action, I ordered a copy of Passing the Heavenly Gift, so I would better understand the current definition of apostasy. As far as I can tell, if you don’t interpret church history in the same way as the current leadership, you are an apostate. If you recognize warnings of apostasy found in the Book of Mormon and believe they are relevant to today’s church, you are an apostate.

    I think what is truly sad is that the church action, demonstrated by the opinion of a TBM who emailed you, is warning people against seeking spiritual experiences. Obviously, if Christ answers the pleadings of your heart to fulfill D&C 93:1, you are an apostate..

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    • I love D&C 93:1. I used that in a talk in front of the Stake President in a previous calling. He seemed surprised by my assertion it could be and we should seek to have it fulfilled in this life. I bore testimony it was still a valid promise, one worthy of our full attention in this life. A few coughs and shuffling of the feet from where he sat behind me caused me to move on without much further comment. Maybe my imagination.

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  6. Can you help me understand what need is not being met in your lives, that you turn to Denver Snuffer for solice?

    Using Mormonism 101 logic, this makes no sense to follow him. He has cast doubt on the church, the presidents and apostles. He is condescending to his local leaders, he didn’t sustain his stake president.

    That is another question for a temple recommend, sustaining our leaders, from President Monson to our local leaders. How do you define sustain?

    You really think this path is being directed from Christ? That Christ is resorting to apostates to build his kingdom?

    This is pure confusion. It will not bring you closer to Christ. If you think you can saturate yourself with Denver’s philosophy and remain a committed member, you are fooling yourself.

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    • Hi Rick, Thanks for your comments. I’m not sure I would have used the word solace as something I expected to find from reading Denver’s books. More like enlightenment. I define sustain as to help or to hold up as Aaron did for Moses in the Old Testament. The need is for deeper understanding of things that sometimes I don’t understand as I read the scriptures. I love to read multiple opinions of what people think of certain passages of scriptures.

      I know if I were a perfect being and had the gift of the Holy Ghost in full abundance, I wouldn’t need gospel commentary. I love to read Bruce R. McConkie’s commentaries too. Tell me what is a committed member: do we have to stop reading books to be a committed member? That doesn’t make sense. If Denver’s stuff bothers you, don’t read it. I find it helpful. As far as knowing if Denver is on a path from God, that’s between him and God.

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      • Tom, I would like your take on how Denver can tell his children that he sustains his stake president while in the same moment refusing to enter the disciplinary council with out his children… This strikes me as very disingenuous.

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      • To Mbabbeli (hope this shows up in the right place). I saw that too. He wrote more about that in today’s post. I truly believe he was honoring his wife and her right to revelation. The home trumps the church. She wanted the children there. I can see both sides of the argument. If I were the Stake President I would have let the children in.

        He already knew what the decision was going to be. What could it have hurt to let the children hear their father speak and defend himself? However, it is unprecedented. Family members are allowed to wait outside and come in one by one as witnesses, but not all at once. We’ll never know. We weren’t there. It’s a done deal now.

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      • mbabbeli, I was going to reply given that I am Tom.

        But Tim essentially gave the same answer that I would have.

        Although I remain steadfastly neutral, I have felt compelled to follow this case because I have spent the last six years in the shadow of the sword of church discipline for my own statements and writings.

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    • rick i get the feeling you have not read all the scriptures that have to do with judging i really urge you to do so for your own sake . what any of us choose to read is none of your concern and not open for your judgement on what will or will not inspire me. the temple inspires me , joseph smith inspires me the book of mormon inspires me and yes much of what brother snuffer has written has inspires me to be a better person, So maybe just maybe you should look at the beam in your own eye.

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  7. “He was specifically excommunicated for…an act of apostasy, which was the publication of the book [PTHG]…”

    I think it is important to make the distinction that the act of apostasy was not the publication of PTHG as you said in this post, but rather quoting the Stake President it was “the continued publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift“. This is an important distinction to me because it rather implies that Denver had received previous instruction to stop or limit publication, but then *continued* publication anyway.

    The act of apostasy could therefore be more accurately be attributed to openly disobeying instruction from those in authority, as opposed to simply publishing something that may have at first been done in earnest (and since Denver could have avoided the disciplinary council altogether by not “continuing” to do the things he was instructed to stop, I think it is clear that this is the case in this situation). In my heart, I simply do not believe people are excommunicated for mistakes made in earnest, but history is full of examples where continued subversion to authority and denigration of church leaders after being instructed to stop is then meant with excommunication. Denver is simply one example of many that have trodden this path before.

    As a side note, I found an excellent talk today that President Hinckley gave in conference in 1994, that I think is pertinent to this whole conversation, entitled God Is at the Helm ;http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1994/04/god-is-at-the-helm?lang=eng

    Two scriptures quoted that I also found particularly valuable:
    D&C 42:11 “Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church”

    And A of F 1:5 “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” (emphasis mine)

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    • Hi SteveF: Good distinction and something to think about. Much appreciate you pointing that out. I hadn’t considered that interpretation. So what you are saying is that perhaps Denver was counseled long ago to remove the book from the market but continued to do so anyway. In other words, this was not a recent request. Is that correct? Not sure how we can know that for sure – when he was asked to stop making the book available. I guess one of us could email and ask him.

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      • Yes that’s correct. And I think your right that unless someone gets information from Denver directly, we probably can’t know for sure, but that’s what the language from the Stake President implies to me.

        Because if the act of apostasy was the actual original publication, why would complying to the Stake President’s 3 requests in the letter make it no longer an act of apostasy? It already happened. It only makes sense to me that the *continued* publication was the real issue, which to me implies previous counsel before the recent letter.

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      • Sorry to intrude here. This whole issue has captured by attention and felt the need to include myself in the conversation. I apologize if I’m repeating what others have said.

        We do not have to guess if/when he was asked to stop making the book available and his response. At the very least, such a request was clearly made in President Hunt’s letter of Aug 26.

        The letter from President Hunt clearly outlined the steps that DS could have taken to correct his apostasy (i.e. dissemination of false teachings). One of those was to stop the publication of PtHG. We have all read his response from his blog. He claimed it was impossible. I am a lawyer and have dealt with enough contractual disputes to know that a settlement could have been reached that would have prevented further sales of the book. It does not appear that DS made any real attempt to make that happen. Given DS’s clear and apparant zeal, I have no doubt that if he felt that the request to cease the publication of PtHG was God’s will he would have made it happen overnight.

        Nor did he make any real attempt to comply with the “spirit” of President Hunt’s other steps to avoid excommunication. He read the letter with the strictest of letter of the law legal interpretations and ignored any real attempt to comply with what the Stake President was asking him to do. It is pretty clear to me that his outright and public refusal to follow the counsel as outlined in President Hunt’s letter is what ultimately lead to his excommunication.

        I agree with Steve it wasn’t the earnest mistake that lead to his discipline, but his outright refusal to comply with his leaders’ requests. He claimed to sustain his leaders with his mouth, but not his actions.

        DS has been a blessing in my life. He has inspired me to more greatly partake in all the doctrine, knowledge, and blessings the gospel has in store for us. I consider DS to be one of the elect, but I also consider him to have been an elect that has gone astray for now. I earnestly hope that he will return.

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    • “The act of apostasy could therefore be more accurately be attributed to openly disobeying instruction from those in authority”

      Hypothetically if your Stake President says “Do X” and your Bishop says, not being privy to the requests of the higher authority, “don’t do X” then from the point of view of your Bishop you are “disobeying instruction from those in authority” but from the point of view of your Stake President you wouldn’t be.

      Ultimately there is only one authority whose point of view has eternal significance (2 Ne 9:41). I read in my new 2013 scriptures this:

      Members of the Lord’s Church should be willing to sacrifice all things for the Lord. Joseph Smith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” In the eternal perspective, the blessings obtained by sacrifice are greater than anything that is given up.

      Thought doubtless you won’t accept the possibility in Denver’s case, in general, is it even possible that the Lord might ask someone to do something that would cause them to have to sacrifice their earthly membership and standing among men to gain an eternal reward? Or would “all things” necessarily exclude membership in the temporal Church?

      In light of the fact that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways are higher than my ways, I personally can’t rule it out.

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      • M: What you suggest is exactly what I have thought as I considered why Denver would write a book that he knew would get him in trouble with the church. It has occurred to me that perhaps he can say or share more now that he is not a member of the church than he could before. [And he has: In this morning's post (9-12-13) he said he wrote the book in an attempt to be helpful, something he has asserted many times before]. Thank you so much for sharing that scripture. It is so true. We must be willing to sacrifice ALL things, especially if we know that request comes from the Lord. It may seem contrary to all we think good and right, but we will KNOW if it comes from the Lord. It is a requirement to be proven worthy to inherit all that the Father has promised us.

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  8. I am keeping my pledge to remain neutral toward Denver. And I will never call him an apostate.

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    • Thanks Tom. I should follow your example. It seems I’ve riled a few more folks with this post. I should pick more tame subjects in the future. I just thought it would be interesting to comment on what was a pubic announcement on Denver’s blog today. Thanks for your comment and God bless you in your labor of love with the scriptures.

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      • The collective consciousness of society moves and evolves through time, perhaps blinded with this idea that now we have it all figured out.

        And then there are the people who see things a little differently. The people who can see what other people do not see. And these are the heretics, the brave souls who drive the collective consciousness forward.

        The world needs free thinkers to help it to evolve, no matter how hard it pushes back. In speaking your truth, you will likely meet resistance.

        There will be people who will feel threatened by what you have to say. Keep on saying it. In being true to who you are, there will be people who will be threatened by your courage…be who you are anyway.

        Have faith in who you are. Have faith in what you have to say. You are the salt of the earth, the breath of fresh air, and the balancing force of the world.

        - Anna Thompson

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  9. For the record, in case anyone is wondering, here is the conversation of my request to use the sender’s email I quoted in this post:

    “Your introductory email is so good and to the point that I would like to ask your permission to make it public… I know many people feel as you do. Many are my friends who have warned me to stay away from his books.

    “May I have your permission to share your email in a public format on my blog, providing a few of what I believe will be friendly responses to specific points you make?

    And the response from the email sender: “…you are welcome to post it…you may post my email without identifying me and without identifying info…”

    As you can see, I have honored that request to keep any information about the sender private. I apologize if this exchange offended anyone. I would never share a private email without asking permission first.

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  10. I hope you won’t mind me offering some thoughts on the matter.

    Tim, I have been reading your blog for some time, I even have one of your posts from several years ago bookmarked and I still read it from time to time. So I recognize that you think deeply about many things and care greatly about what is right.

    My only introduction to Denver Snuffer has been through you and what you have written about him. I have also taken the time to read a number of posts on his blog to get a sense of his writing and a small glimpse of his mind. I have learned through many experiences that I can never really have an accurate understanding of a person until I meet them in person. There is something about being physically present with their spirit that allows greater understanding of the person, something that cannot be done through reading their written words. So I cannot make a judgement as to the person of Denver Snuffer, nor about why his Stake Presidency ultimately decided to go through with their action. They were there physically present with him and know him and thus (hopefully) rely on that extra understanding that comes with being present with someone’s spirit to make a proper judgement, something that the rest of us can’t readily do.

    So given that I have never met the man I am forced to rely only on what he and others have written about him.

    Just from reading what he has written there are a few things that stand as “red flags” for me about his way of thinking. They may seem like minor things but they are things that I find in common with apostates and critics of the Church.

    First off, Denver does not seem to allow for the fact that God knows perfectly well what He is doing with His Church and what the leaders are doing. A number of years ago I may have readily agreed with Denver about how the Church leaders don’t really know what they are doing, but I had a number of experiences that taught me that God is perfectly content to “call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of [His] Spirit” in order to more fully magnify His power.

    There are several things in Church history where members could and did criticize Church leaders for. But years later those things they complained about were things that kept the Church safe and kept it from falling into greater error. The storms of life are many and complex and when it comes to the Church leaders I tend to error on the side of being charitable towards their actions, since I do not always understand all the implications of what is being done, nor do I see the problems that the Church will have to encounter 20, 30, 40 or 100 years in the future. I like to think that God understands us better than we realize and leads us by gentle means to a place of safety.

    Second, in our culture there is a very strong “anti-corporation” sentiment. Denver accuses the Church leaders of being pushed too far by the winds of culture, yet he himself seems to be towed along by the undercurrent of “anti-corporation” in our society. It begs the question of who is being pushed and pulled too far. Perhaps the Church didn’t move and Denver did.

    Third, in a recent blog post Denver mentioned that he was “promoting the interests of the church president” by selling his books. For someone to place importance and to highlight monetary gain in cases like this is a red flag. I have learned from experience that 98.7% of the time when someone complains about Church leaders being too focused on money they are suffering from a severe case of projection.

    Fourth, placing monetary agreements on a higher level of sacredness than temple covenants, i.e. willing to give up sacred covenants specifically about allegiance to the Church in order to preserve a supposedly more sacred contractual agreement. I mentioned this to my wife and she wondered how anyone could be so petty (her words).

    Each one of these by themselves is not a problem any more than a single grasshopper makes a plague of locusts. But having never met Denver Snuffer I can’t really say one way or the other whether these things I mentioned really apply to him or if I am just seeing problems where there are none.

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    • Great points quantumleap42. They stand without needing to be answered (at least by me). I had only one thought that came to me as I read the first point: I totally agree with you. I have a blogger friend Jared (LDS Alive in Christ) who calls me from time to time to talk about blogging and Denver and serving in the church. He and I both shared stories with each other yesterday where we both knew the hand of the Lord was upon the prophets and other leaders of the church. They were sacred stories shared of encounters with brethren in the quorum of the twelve.

      Someone also pointed out to me recently an address from President Eyring where he bore a testimony in conference that could only be interpreted that he had met the Lord personally. I believe it. Here’s the quote: “I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.” Source: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/come-unto-me?lang=eng

      I have read and heard Denver say that he knows the church has a sacred mission to perform, is authorized of the Lord to conduct all the affairs of the kingdom, including collect tithing, build temples (but not malls :-) print scriptures, preach the gospel and do all the things the church needs to do in these latter days. I share that same testimony. I have always seen the hand of the Lord upon this Church. I have seen it on my brethren as we sat in Bishopric and High Council meetings. We pray for inspiration, we make a decision, we pray again and then we go to work. No direct revelation, just the spirit of inspiration.

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      • One thing to think about in all of this is that much of what Denver Snuffer has written may be very good and it may have been very inspired, but it was not because of all those things that he was excommunicated.

        As an example, there is a (former) professor in my department who is currently serving 5 years in an Argentine jail. Some may wonder why a distinguished professor was thrown in jail. Some may even say that the Argentine government is persecuting an intellectual and is targeting him for being a high profile person. Others may wonder for which of his 3 degrees or 400+ papers he was tossed into prison for. Some may even say that the government is suppressing new and different theories of physics and that by putting him in jail they are intimidating scientific inquiry.

        So the question is, for all the good that he has done, and for all the classes he has taught, and papers he has publish, which one is it that landed the professor in my department in an Argentine jail for 5 years? The answer is for none of those things. He is in jail because they caught him attempting to smuggle 2 kilos of cocaine out of the country.

        So when it comes to Denver Snuffer, a number of people may say, “For all the good books that he has written, and for all the great spiritual insights he has given I can’t understand why they would kick him out of the Church!” And the answer is, for none of those things. He is not being excommunicated for all the good stuff he has written, he is being excommunicated because he (apparently) refused to accept the direction and counsel of the Church leaders (i.e. he did not sustain them by his actions), and then continued to publish a book that taught that the Church no longer has the authority or proper inspiration to lead God’s people.

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      • quantumleap42, you said:
        …he is being excommunicated because he (apparently) refused to accept the direction and counsel of the Church leaders (i.e. he did not sustain them by his actions)

        You should reread that a few times to let it sink in. Another way of saying “direction” and “counsel” would be “orders” and “threats.” I wonder, is this how you think Heaven operates? If so, then what does this scriptures mean:

        …when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

        Denver called the Presidents of the Church after Joseph, “Proud descendants of Nauvoo.” I think this is what got him in “trouble.” But believe me as one who has heard it, the 12 apostles (current and past) have called each other much worse than that.

        The general “authorities” have to protect their image of authority. I suppose they have the right to kick out those who suggest they lack it (although according to their own rules, it is supposed to be done on a local level, with no involvement from the higher-ups). At any rate, if this is what it has come to, then they can keep their exclusive club of hierarchies.

        “Bow down to your ruling kings and priests, and don’t you dare ‘denigrate’ them, or else! This is our loving direction and counsel.”

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      • In addition what Hmmm said, read Denver’s reason why he used the phrase, “Proud Descendants of Nauvoo” It’s from his blog:

        “…the phrase “proud descendants of Nauvoo” is a phrase intended to be memorable. It is used to capture an idea that suggests there is an almost impossible task asked of those who are so personally involved in the history of our church. How can someone look objectively at the past, when these are people’s grandfathers and grandmothers? They can only do so if they are first reminded of the inherent bias associated with their status. It is altogether reasonable, perhaps inevitable, for them to be proud. It is a fact that their families have endured much for the faith.

        However, when it comes to measuring our past, these personal and prideful feelings, although natural and justified, cannot allow us to discard the tools of scripture and history to reveal what has been underway in God’s dealings with us. The phrase is a shorthand way to alert the reader to this inherit bias. The reader can then decide for themselves if this shorthand and very pregnant phrase is useful to them in reading the account. I can tell you that there have been many “proud descendants of Nauvoo” (and they identify themselves as that in emails to me) have been pricked in their hearts and persuaded by the information presented in the last book I wrote, and who have thanked me for awakening them to their unique challenges.

        The phrase is a plea for dispassionate review of facts, not a deliberate insult. I did not write it as such, and it should not be taken as such.”

        Source: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-am-mormon-part-3.html

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      • Tim: true enough. Denver leaves open both paths. You can be offended or open your eyes to the “impossible task” given to those in leadership positions. It is telling to see which direction those with presumed authority went in the case of DS.

        Where is the long suffering? What about agreeing with the adversary like The Lord advocates? Denver has explained his position and what is meant by the thing which is insulting to the priests of Noah… I mean the general authorities. There has been no explanation from the other side, other than “apostasy,” which is a word that in our culture gets to be defined only by the ones doling out the accusation and punishment, and even that is unclear.

        Again I ask, is this how Heaven operates?

        23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.
        24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
        25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
        26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
        27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
        28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
        29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26)

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      • Tim, I thought about starting off with a slightly sarcastic comment about the Church building a “mall”, but I realized that in a text based medium many of the nuances of language cannot be transmitted properly and thus I would spend more time explaining myself than making my point.

        But when you mentioned the City Creek Center I thought that your comment was somewhat ironic. Given that the general discussion is about how the Church has moved away from the original teaching and structure taught by Joseph Smith, I find it ironic that when the Church participates in city building and in urban planning people start to complain about how worldly the Church has become and about how it is misusing funds. This complaint is ironic given that a lot of what Joseph Smith did was plan cities, and he even managed to build one or two.

        So I can’t help but smile and do a classic facepalm when people complain about how the Church is moving away from the sacred mission that Joseph intended and then in almost the same breath mention one of the Church’s modern attempts at city building as proof. If Joseph was trying to build Zion, he meant it as a real city, full of stores, art museums, concert halls, places of learning and where people could live close to the sources of all these things.

        When I first heard of the City Creek Center my response was, “Why didn’t the Church do this a long time ago?” If anything if the Church has moved away from the visions of Joseph Smith it is in city building and in the physical community of the saints that he envisioned. So I wonder why people insist that the City Creek Center is a deviation from the original intent of the Church when it was motivated by an intent to return to the city building that Joseph Smith started.

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      • quantumleap, what Joseph planned and brought about was very different than what the modern church has done.

        Joseph: built cities to meet the physical needs of the saints, to build community, and to allow the saints to provide for one another after the manner of zion. People had space to garden, to breathe. They were healthy, environmentally-stable and sustainable cities that attended to the most basic needs of humankind: clean air, lots of green space, agriculture, commerce, and community.

        Modern Church: went way over the top. Yes, City Creek is beautiful . . . but at what expense? The advertising shows drinking and women in clothing that (while not wildly immodest) would be shocking (and probably mistreated) if worn to church or a church activity; and that so. much. money. was spent when there are 80,000 active LDS children in the world going hungry every day, 900 of whom die every year from malnutrition.

        Over the course of the City Creek project, at a conservative 5 1/2 years, (from finished plan announcement to ribbon cutting) that’s 4,950 lives lost that could have been saved, and odds are the church wouldn’t have felt the cost much. Every one of those children belonged to active LDS parents. Can you imagine the sheer force of the heartbreak that happened over those years? How dare we sit back and chat in our comfortable circumstances about how nice it is for Main Street in Salt Lake to have a Nordstrom store.

        Jesus Christ loves. little. children. And when we truly love Him, His love pours through us for them, and all those in need. I have a hard, hard time when those who profess Him don’t move heaven and earth to save those who could be so easily helped.

        Even a million dollars out of those billions could have made such a lasting difference in the lives of those children. It takes a *thousand* million to make a billion. So, even if City Creek only cost 1.3 billion (which is the lowest number I’ve seen bandied about), 1/1,300ths of those funds could have been life changing for so, so many of those children. Read at http://www.liahonachildren.org if you want to know more.

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  11. As someone who also enjoyed Passing the Heavenly Gift, as well as Denver Snuffer’s other books, I thought I would leave a comment.

    Something I don’t understand is the insistence by many people that Denver Snuffer is trying to usurp power in the church or give direction and/or counsel to the church leadership. Same goes for the idea that he doesn’t sustain the church leadership. Did these folks read a different book than I did? Nowhere does Denver Snuffer tell church leadership what to do or set himself up as some sort of leader to follow, at odds with the leadership of the church. I didn’t see anything of the sort in his book, nor have I seen it in his other writings.

    Let’s be clear, calling out mistakes made by leaders or problems that have occurred in church history, especially in the context of the book’s purpose, does not equal usurping authority within the church. Someone above quoted D&C 42:11. Nowhere has Denver sought to establish authority in the church, setup a branch, or do anything requiring keys and ordination. To claim otherwise is disingenuous.

    I just don’t understand the comments I have read here and elsewhere by folks stating that Denver is trying to set himself up as an authority in opposition to the leaders of the church. Is there something they are reading that I have not read? I’m confused because I don’t see anything remotely like that in Denver’s writings.

    Look, we have some serious issues in church history and doctrine. Anyone who seriously studies these things is going to run across all sorts of problems, errors, and even outright dishonesty. Whether you think PtHG is heretical or not, these things need explaining. We can pretend they don’t exist and continue to see fellow saints have their faith shattered, or we can address them. For example, Brigham Young taught Adam-God and even included it in the endowment ceremony of the temple, yet President Kimball said, “We hope that you who teach in the various organizations, whether on the campuses or in our chapels, will always teach the orthodox truth. We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.” If we are to believe that “the Brethren” will never lead us astray, how do you square this? How do you answer an honest person seeking an explanation? How will you answer your children when they ask?

    There are myriads of other issues that confront the serious student of history and doctrine within this church. These things are of deep import and we believe eternal in nature. We can’t just toss these problems aside and pretend they don’t exist. Denver Snuffer made an attempt to square these problems from – and this is important – his point of view. If you don’t agree with his explanation, then feel free to find your own, but don’t get all huffy due to the fact that he is trying to square these problems and help others who may be wrestling with the same questions. The church isn’t offering answers (in many cases they’re making things worse; see the new explanation of Official Declaration 2) and you won’t find answers in the manuals. Serious seekers of truth want answers – they want something, not just silence. These questions are going to be asked and the issues confronted. The youth of the church are asking these questions now. Is the answer really just to “shut up and follow the prophet”? That head-in-the-sand attitude isn’t going to fly unless the goal is to rid the church of any thinking members, leaving just those too lazy to study doctrine, blissful in their ignorance.

    Sorry, I’ve gone on long enough and ask you to excuse my long comment.

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    • Couldn’t agree more. We need to seek deeply. We need answers. It’s easy to say, “well, that’s not all that important to my salvation,” or “that’s just one of the mysteries.” That’s what I’ve been trying to do with my blog for the past six years now – provide answers to some of these difficult questions even if only for myself. I got blasted the first time I posted my opinions on how the Adam-God theory came about so I went back and studied it for three more days before I was satisfied with what I found and what I believed happened. We will never know all the facts because we weren’t there but at least if I am asked I can point someone to my research and say, “here, read this and we can discuss it.” Summary: It’s my responsibility to seek and find my own answers to stuff that will not be brought up in Gospel Doctrine class but will be brought up on the Internet forums and blogs. Thanks for adding, Cody.

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    • Cody, Amen!!

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  12. I had taken a kind of wait and see approach about Snuffer. I can identify with Tim’s comments that there was something remarkable about Denver’s claims, as well as his confidence, and a lot of what he said made a lot of sense. So even though I felt uneasy about the things he said about the church, I felt conflicted and didn’t want to dismiss him too quickly.

    However, in the days leading up to his disciplinary council, it was all suddenly very clear. Despite his protestations to the contrary, he was very much seeking a following (putting it on his blog, holding firesides, etc.) and he was very much criticizing the leaders of the church. I just realized that my confusion and the conflicting feelings I had were my answer. I have never felt that way when I feel the spirit, never when I listen to general conference, or read an inspiring book.

    I think much of what Denver has said is true, but he has gone past the mark. There is nothing faith-promoting in what he says about our church leaders, and his claim that he sustains the leaders rings very hollow.

    I also think it worth pointing out that Denver was not excommunicated for having an opinion. There must be thousands who share that or similar opinions, and they will not be excommunicated. And as SteveF said, not even just for publishing PtHG. It is repeated and willful teaching against the church and church leaders.

    I just don’t see how there’s any way to reconcile what he says about the church and its leaders with his claim that he sustains them and his decision to prioritize his teachings above his membership.

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    • Hi Nonrandom Set: That’s almost exactly what my wife said: She said something happened to him in the last few years between his first seven books and PtHG. He said on his blog he hasn’t attended Sunday School for years, yet he has told us he taught gospel doctrine for twenty years before that. He explained why – that the teachers would turn to him and ask his opinion. He said he didn’t want to take up the time it would take to answer the question fully (he can be verbose). He does appear to have come across as wanting to force the church’s hand in this whole affair, as if he was tired of waiting for it to happen.

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      • I attended the Boise meeting. He spoke not a word about the trial. And afterwards he disappeared. I understand that he needed to get home that night and it’s about 5 hours away.

        But if we was seeking a following, these were peculiar actions.

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    • I agree with your comment,I also think it worth pointing out that Denver was not excommunicated for having an opinion. There must be thousands who share that or similar opinions, and they will not be excommunicated. And as SteveF said, not even just for publishing PtHG. It is repeated and willful teaching against the church and church leaders.

      I was one of those that had a similar opinion,about leaders and history authenticity issues which caused me much anguish and I like many others found DSs writings and teachings resonating with my soul on many levels.Great points raised.

      Much love n peace

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      • I just read yesterday Joseph’s comments about old Elder Brown being called up for a trial for his divergent (to the high council at least) views on beasts in the scriptures.

        Joseph lamented the occasion and said that good men can err in doctrine. Joseph appreciated being free to believe as he may.

        Hard to imagine his attitude in the Church today.

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  13. All can I think of is “by the holy ghost ye shall know the truth of all things”… My pet peeve was investigators who told me the book of mormon was false without reading it, because joseph was a gold digger, fraud, liar, didn’t see god, out of order, no more prophets, and all other manner of things.

    I see comments here of people asking MEN what is with this and this and wrong with this picture. Why not do as james 1:5. Ask and ye shall receive. The Lord will show you. I for one has taken this challenge. I know at least that the messages as I have come to know them is true. If you get an answer to not read it, than don’t. If you get a different answer, that is fine, I am learning now unity is more important than difference in opinions. If you are not understanding what the intended message than you make get an false answer. Even I could have done this.

    Denver has helped me

    Connect to Heaven
    Seek christ and become closer
    Find joy in my church meetings when before it was a boring old sunday school talking about how many temples we have built and how nice the new chapels are. Or the meetings where Christ is never mentioned in the entire time *my favorite*. As isaiah put it “vomit”.
    The lack of spirit

    Nevertheless, its a time I can serve the Lord and others around me so I still take advantage of every moment as I am able to. And partake of the wonderful keys that are available in the temple.

    Thanks for this honest post Tim.

    Moroni 7: 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

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  14. Wonderful post, thank you Tim.
    The things I’ve learned by reading Denver’s words are invaluable to me. And if he’s a false man, teaching false doctrine, than I can’t be relied upon to discern between truth and error. (Something I apparently should be able to do) Furthermore, I feel the same spirit testifying of truth when reading the BOM, and listening to other General Authorities. So take that for what it’s worth.

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  15. Tim, I’m among those who have been refreshed and renewed by reading DS’s books. I returned from inactivity and now serve in a Sunday School Presidency (2nd Counselor is a great gig :). The shadowy behavior of those in the COB is troubling, to say the least… It seems more like “heresy” than “apostasy.” As far as I can tell (and I am open to being instructed on this), I’ve not observed him “Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the church or its leaders.” On the contrary. If PTHG is “anti-mormon,” then it’s the only one of its kind (that I know of) that encourages the reader to prayerfully study the BoM, pay tithes to the Church, and sustain those who preside. Nor has he, “Persist[ed] in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after [having] been corrected by [the] bishop or a higher authority.” He’s been perfectly clear (to me, at least) that what he writes are his own thoughts, and that he does not declare church doctrine. He likewise does not “follow the teachings of apostate sects…after being corrected,” nor “formally join another church and advocate its teachings.” (See Handbook 1, p. 57). According to our own definition of apostasy that would require disciplinary action, I’m just not seeing it. Look at those 4 bullet points again… I don’t see “publish a book that makes some members feel uncomfortable” on the list. Maybe I’m just too liberal… But I think a couple of the temple recommend questions just got more difficult for me.

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  16. Some good comments from all,it has been very interesting following DS plight.DS isnt the first and wont be the last person exed for non compliance of direct order from his SP.DS followed what he believed to be right,that is obvious,however the SP acted as the authority,that is also obvious,weather he(personally,not as a SP)believedDS to be right or not is not so obvious,DS gave the SP no other alternative than to excomunicate him,this is also obvious.

    Whatever problems/issues/DRAMAS the church may have ,and by all accounts they are many,they will be sorted out in due time one way or the other and the likes of DS(that is those who openly knowingly,willfully and publically criticize and speak out against the leaders)will always be facing some sort of disciplinary action,no matter how right they actually are or how right they think they are.For me,I am greatful for Denvers blog writings and his books of which I read,digested and processed in a three month whirlwind period,that is all his material,and thoroughly enjoyed it.His material really helped me at the time and for that I am greatful

    Much love n peace

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  17. Early in my mission, I had an argument with my uber-orthodox companion about evolution. The argument was NOT about whether evolution was “true” or not; it was about whether it is possible to believe evolution and still be a faithful member of the Church. I tried to explain that yes, it was possible, but she maintained that believing in evolution was totally against Church teachings. We eventually called it a draw and dropped the subject.

    A friend of mine often points out that we allow only people to have testimonies of “approved” things. For example, if someone were to say they received a witness that the Book of Mormon was not true, we would hush them and assume that they’ve gone wrong somewhere. But what if they did? How can I know or understand what the Spirit bore witness of to someone else? Sure, there are false spirits out there, but is it my job to judge someone else’s witness? Either it helps me, or it doesn’t, and that should be as far as it goes. (For the record, I believe the BOM to be true.)

    There is a lot of this going on in the debates about Denver Snuffer: “his books have changed my life, woken me up spiritually, and helped me stay active,” vs. “I got a really bad feeling when I read his books, so I am staying as far away as I can.” What I firmly believe is that both witnesses can be true–they are not mutually exclusive. So many of us are making arguments trying to convince the other side they are wrong, but if we do that, then we are the ones looking beyond the mark.

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  18. I sincerely believe the Savior gave the true definition of apostasy when He said, “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” This is apostasy and sadly it appears more rampant today, than at the time Our Father and the Lord visited the young Prophet, Joseph Smith.

    I have read every word given through Denver Snuffer — the words have brought me to an awakening of my awful situation and to a greater repentance than ever before possible in my own ignorant state. The Holy Scriptures are now vibrant, alive, and delicious to my soul and I am now on my own quest to seek the Lord, with all my heart–something He greatly desires from each one of us. Thanks be unto the Lord our God for these words that awakened my soul from the deepest of slumbers!

    Sadly, what happened to Denver fits a pattern that is all too plain throughout holy scripture.

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  19. …and thank you Tim it is because of your blog article on DS that lead me directly to his blog and subsequently started one heck of an amazing jouney of discovery and learning,which ultimately led me to my current state of being.

    Tim I along with my wife and our 8 children,resigned from the church in March of this year,it was a very easy,natural and beautiful process for myself and our family,may be not so for our bishop and other members though.We were all members in good standing with leadership callings and 4th generation members.Tim you come across as a really nice guy and demonstrate genuine humility when faced with confrontational posters.a great attribute and a great example of right blogging etiquette,if theres such a thing.For this reason it is a good thing that you continue to be a voice in cyberworld at least

    There is just so much to learn about life weather or not you belong to one or more of the many religions that saturate our planet for they all are the only true church worshipping the only true god you only need ask any member of any particular religion and they will tell you so

    The thing about DS,and those that went before him and inevitabally those that will come after him,is what do they do once theyve warned members about the inconsistencies and supposed wrongs of the church and the church continues to do the things they are warning people about?I mean he is now considered by the church to be an apostate an enemy to the church.Surely any credibility that he might have had as a LDS voice for Christ for LDSs has been seriously comprimised now.As I see it,there are three options available to DS:

    1.Continue on the path he is on now,which leads no where.Critiqueing mormon issues from the point of an apostate it is a dead end leading no where.He claims not be an anti-mormon and the Church now says that he is for he publically speaks out against its leaders and their teachings and he continues to do so even now.The same reasoning that was used on a previous post which says”if you dont like what DS writes,then dont read it”,can be used in Denvers case and those that tread the same path,if you dont like how the leaders roll(lol)and youve done all you can to be in harmony with their counsel or teachings and you still are not satisfied,like DS who was still trying to impose his will on the SP right until the end,then gracefully resign and leave with integrity or be excommunicated kicking and screaming like DS.

    2.Humble himself before those that excommunicated him and begin the process that they prescribe to be eligible again for full membership and all privillges he previously enjoyed.
    As he was unwilling to do this prior to his leaders orders/directives to stand down from his planned talks and stop publishing PtHG,humility and complete submissiveness to his leaders and the carrying out of the directives/orders they give will still be the same as they were before he was exed.Reinforcing their position and validating their decision to act as they did for he had gone PAST the point of heeding their warnings and they were left with no other decision other than excommunicating a dear and talented member as Denver,oh how brave and courageous those brethren are,not an easy thing to do,my heart goes out to them,may the sweet spirit of peace rest upon them and their loved ones.

    So remain in an apostate state to the Church or begin the process leading back to full fellowship

    3.Or honor his time as a mormon,being greatful for all that he has learnt and the opportunities afforded him by the Church to be served by and to serve his fellow brothers and sisters and begin the next stage of his human earthly creatorship going forth in forgiveness and love,for to forgive is to be forgiven and to love is to be loved.

    Realising and ACCEPTING that life isnt happening to you,but because of you as you stand in the center as a sentient,soverign universal being orchestrating and coreographing your earthly experience with the knowledge that never was there a time when you did not exist and there never will come a time when you cease to be.

    Much love n peace

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  20. Denver has been excommunicated. He has lost all the ordinances, priesthood, and The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    So you are going to follow this????

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    • Rick: No, no, no. I do not follow any man. I do what the spirit tells me to do (yes, I know that is subjective). Right now, the spirit is telling me to do as my local priesthood leaders ask me to do and that is to follow the words of the living prophets. But the same spirit is also telling me I can supplement that with readings from other wise men (out of the best books). I have so much to learn about doctrine and scriptures.

      I am not and never have been a CES employee (well, 3 years teaching seminary doesn’t count), so I don’t have the doctrinal or scriptural knowledge I want. Thus, I enjoy reading all kinds of commentaries from all kinds of LDS and non-LDS authors, It’s just a book.

      The author is no longer LDS. But it has some amazing insights I still don’t quite understand. I feel the desire to look up his original scriptures and figure out how he came to his conclusions. This is all in addition to my regular gospel study for our Gospel Doctrine class and HP Group.

      Make sense? I don’t “follow” Denver Snuffer. I just read his stuff, just like I read General Conference talks. I don’t like what his efforts to help got him – so I can learn from that: Be careful in what I share as I learn it and be respectful (He is much bolder and direct than I could ever be). I don’t know the man so I can’t and won’t judge him but so many have said it was ultimately his refusal to follow the instructions from his SP that led to his excommunication.

      I repeat: If my SP says drop the blog, Tim, in spite of what Elder Ballard said to be involved in the gospel conversations out there, then I’ll do it. I made that decision of loyalty long ago. I will do what the church asks so I can keep my temple recommend and take the sacrament each week. So far, unless someone from the SCMC sends a letter to my SP, I don’t think he even knows that I write this blog.

      Please know that I love this church and the people in it. I do NOT follow Denver Snuffer. I follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost which I pray every day will lead me to Christ. Can we agree on this as being an acceptable approach? Maybe it’s not for everybody but it works for me.

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    • rick you have not been excommunicated but it would seem you have learned nothing from the ordinances , nor how to excercise the priesthood nor the love and gentleness of the holy ghost

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      • Tim you are very transpearant in all of your posts and the articles which you write on your blog and humility and submissiveness to Church leaders or Christs earthly,authorized representitives,is CRYSTAL CLEAR,however this Does not seem to be the case for DSs writings and blog.

        The thing with those who are excommunicated for an act or acts of apostaty,as was DS,is that it is a lead up process or a build up to that enivitable excommunicating result.They dont just all of a sudden go from being a TBM to throwing out the baby with the bath water.To be a TBM,surely requires that you sustain your leaders in word and deed not just in saying you do then willfully demonstrate by your actions something contary to your word.As this was the case with DS,as a result his intent not the content of his publically posted and published works,rather his INTENT is not very clear,this I believe to be very important,that you MUST be able to see a persons intent very clearly in their writings,their INTENT must show through and MATCH or be consistant with their content.

        I willpoint to one of many examples of what I am talking about concerning ones intent showing through their writings and their actions being consistant with their word/content or what they are saying,I will point to DSs post “Family home evening,dont call me”,here he points to a picture on the wall of a past leader and exclaims that he sustains him and does the same with his SP and Bishop exclaming to a family member in front of these leaders that he sustains them as duly appointed authorized representitives of the Lord Jesus Christ,this is his word this is what he is saying,however to point out the obvious,he is attending his very own court for the complete opposite,this is his deed/action,not sustaining his leaders by continuing to do that which he was directed/ordered not to do.Even trying to impose his will on his SP of the conditions of his court appearance a pre meeting he says that lasted an hour in the hallway,once again his deed/action isnt consistant with his word or what he is proclaiming about sustaining his leaders or the Lords leaders.

        In these past weeks the very public demise of an obviously talented LD S commentator(DS) has resulted in his excommunication from the very organization in which he claims to have allegiance to,my love and compassion goes out to all those affected by this whole ordeal and to reiterate what I posted earlier,that the innocent ones are always the ones whom have to suffer the most,the innocent ones in this case being DSs wife and children and the leaders whom delivered the excommunication,may the sweet spirit of peace rest upon those men and their loved ones and may our prayers/well wishes go to DSs family seeking the Lord to shower them with his spirit to protect them from the bowels of hell that have now been opened upon them,God bless

        Much love n peace

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  21. Rick,

    I would like to comment on some of the themes of the posted letter and your reply. Like you I am writing this to explore the views expressed and my own feelings on them.

    Denver is a liar: What makes him a liar is the fact that he claims a commission from the Savior. Following this logic, I guess we would have to so label Lehi, Jeremiah, Joseph, Samuel the Lamanite and Abinadi. Because they all claimed such and were not authorized by the existing authorities, even opposing their views and practices.

    Vilifying the Strengthening the Members Committee: If they did the things in the manner he claims (I personally don’t know), then they need to be outed. Exposing things to the open has a tendency to purify. I didn’t see any attempt to vilify the stake president.

    Standing down: I don’t remember the Savior telling the above prophets to stand down before they got in an altercation with the authorities of His church.

    Putting the Church in a negative light: Is that a problem or a sin? What if the solution to the problem of the apostasy currently under way is fresh air and honesty about our history?

    Denver an apostate: So were the above prophets. Will you still read their words? He was not disciplined for his blog, but for the book and the speaking tour. Because no specific points were disputed, I take it they did not like his tone (leaders and members have made mistakes).

    Tim – You and I are both fascinated by Denver because he speaks to the cause and cure of our spiritual hunger.

    The Church did the right thing – So the Church now has the authority to “supposed” cut off someone’s spiritual blessings if he says things which make them uncomfortable, but is still worthy of a temple recommend? People will be bothered by all sorts of things. Will we excommunicate the sources of their bother, no matter the worthiness of the “apostate”? Perhaps they should grow up. Personally I don’t see how he denigrated the various presidents of the Church. He did show faults, which I consider a good thing. Perhaps such will counteract the “worship the prophet” syndrome we have adopted.

    Thanks for posting one of the loyalty questions. Tim, we find ourselves in a bit of a bind. On the one hand we agree with much of what Denver writes, even though it probably goes against what the Church currently teaches. That in itself disqualifies us from holding a temple recommend. Further, the Church seems willing to cut us off based on what we write. Are you willing to back off on your writings, which increase your understanding, to keep the temple recommend or membership number? Are you willing to quit reading his words? Are you willing to recant your belief in what he says? Are you willing to sacrifice your integrity to remain a member of the Church? I’m thinking there was another man who had a similar choice – Alma the Elder. He’d heard things denounced by his religious leader, which he believed. Even enough to preach them to others at the cost of his position and life.

    Understand that I’m using your blog comments for the same reason you write – to increase my understanding. I harbor no judgments of you and thank you for this opportunity.

    Steve

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    • Thank you Steve. Those are all things I have thought about. When I wrote and posted my fictional “Defense before the High Council” I received some private email comments that the idea was ludicrous, that I was going too far, that such a thing could never happen. The church would NEVER call someone to task for reading a book or writing their opinions about the book – on Goodreads for example.

      Tell that to John Dehlin. He was taken to task for promoting dissent in that he interviewed or provided the space for dissidents to express their opinion on Mormon Stories – now Mormon Stories Podcast. John went through a crisis of faith (I’m still trying t figure out if I ever had a crisis of faith), stopped attending church for awhile, and eventually resolved his issues.

      John expresses he was called in by his stake president on various occasions to discuss his work. The ultimate answer that seems to come out of John’s dilemma is that he never encouraged anyone to leave the church. On the contrary, he wrote a masterful presentation on how to stay LDS, which is also a website. I feel the same way. I don’t go as far as John in interviewing or providing a forum for former members to air their grievances, but I do read and enjoy their stories.

      Ultimately, I grow from reading about various individuals who experienced a faith crisis and how they dealt with it. I do not agree with some who left the church over their difficulties, but I have learned from them. I continue to assert that John Dehlin has done and is doing a world of good for LDS members struggling with their faith. I am even fascinated by his PhD dissertation on scrupulosity. I had never heard of it until he explained it. I then had to wonder if I suffered from this rare (is it so rare?) condition – too much guilt from not being able to reach the ideals in moral or religious beliefs.

      In short, John’s work helps point me to the Savior, therefore, it is good. I find the same thing with Denver’s work. I feel the need for my Savior to a greater degree as I read his books or listen to his lectures. Recant, stop reading, stop writing when the end result can be judged by the fruits of increased faith in Jesus Christ? Oh, I hope it would never come to that. What church leader would insist we stop our efforts to come unto Christ? I will answer your wonderful questions this way:

      I will do all within my power to not tick off my local leaders or the Brethren in Salt Lake. I think I know the “orthodox” answers and the importance of being respectful and submissive to leadership in the priesthood. I can never believe they would ask me to stop reading or writing anything if I proclaim it brings me closer to the Savior and it is evidenced by my work and my attitude. Yet who is to be the ultimate judge if my writing is uplifting or helpful in bringing me to Christ? It is the Savior. I hope I never have to choose like Denver had to choose.

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  22. No I did not write the email. No I am not on the STMC. Are you on the DSIOM committee?

    Yes I watched Elder Nelson on the CSE fireside Sunday night. I think it is one of the best talks given to the young people.

    Yes I read the My Sympathy post by Denver. Can’t you see what he is doing with these posts?

    I’m fascinated with the intellectual blogging area. So many people that have problems with the church, either resigning or losing faith in the church and church leaders. Questioning how they will answer the temple questions next time. Maybe many don’t attend the temple, or go to church.

    I believe this road leads away from the Savior, not to him.

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    • What leads to the Savior: Read the scriptures AND study the gospel (two different things for me), take the sacrament each week, attend the temple often, fulfill and magnify callings, but most importantly, learn to listen, hear and do what you are prompted to do by the whisperings of the Holy Ghost unto you. It may be a different path for everyone. But ultimately, we come unto Christ and he brings us to the Father.

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  23. Strong but delusive enticement, leading people astray like the Pied Piper.

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  24. Three facts. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. The LDS Church has made no official announcement that Denver was excommunicated.
    2. The LDS Church has made no official announcement that Denver is an apostate.
    3. The LDS Church considers whatever happened to be a private matter between the Church leadership and Denver.

    Therefore who among us has the right to cast the first stone by declaring him an apostate? God is the judge. Should we elevate ourselves above Him? Are we really any better than the Pharisees?

    No one is under any obligation to read Denver’s books or attend his lectures. I have not and probably never will.

    IMHO, we would all do well to spend more time studying the standard works directly and less time on commentaries.

    But I also acknowledge that there are some who purportedly have come closer to Christ or resolved personal issues through his books.

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    • Tom: You know the church will never make a public announcement other than, “Because of the personal nature of church disciplinary matters and to respect the privacy of those involved, we don’t provide information about the proceedings.” – Ruth Todd, LDS Church Spokeswoman

      You may also know that in some wards and stakes, they still announce when someone has been excommunicated, even though the handbook says this practice has been discontinued. I wonder if anything will be said in Denver’s home ward and stake. I kind of doubt it.

      As I see it, You are correct in the facts you have presented. I stand corrected. See, that’s why I love blogging. I learn so much from good people like you. Thank you for the correction. I may go back and change the original essay to strike that part of the post.

      And you just solved another big problem for me in regards to the temple recommend question. Unless the church comes out and tells me Denver Snuffer is an apostate and not to be read or listened to because he has been excommunicated, then I can answer the temple loyalty question with a clear conscience.

      You’re a good man for helping me out. God bless you.

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      • Tim, Happy to hear my post helps put your mind at ease regarding future temple recommend interviews.

        My post was really directed at hard-line, authoritarian-types who are ready to burn Denver at the stake (no pun intended).

        I am hyper-sensitive because I have been accused of “being unfaithful to the brethren” far too many times.

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  25. Denver said: Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of my baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I marked my gratitude by giving a talk in Boise, Idaho. On my way to the meeting, at 10:30 yesterday morning, President Hunt called to tell me I’d been excommunicated. .

    He is the one making it public, and it was for apostasy.

    Tim I: remember the scripture on being neither hot or cold…

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    • Rick: I like you. I’m so glad you comment on my blog. You make it extremely interesting. You seem knowledgeable and well informed. I’d like to get to know you better. Do you blog anywhere? Have you published anything online or elsewhere? What’s your background in the church – long-time member, convert, etc…

      You get the point, don’t you, of what Tom and I were discussing? It does not matter if a person announces they are no longer a member of the church when it comes to what I read. Unless the church announces in a public manner that someone has been excommunicated, then he does not fit into that category of someone “whose teachings are contrary to those accepted by the LDS Church.”

      Not to belabor the point, but it clears my previous concern. Unless the church tells me not to read the works of Denver Snuffer, then I can feel sympathy for and support for Denver through my blog. I can purchase his books, attend his lectures and do all I feel in my heart to do to share what I am learning as I read and study his works here on my blog.

      I do not feel his teachings are contrary to those accepted by the LDS Church. Some are simply not taught openly or part of the current curriculum. Is the church going to publish a “banned authors” list? That would include most authors on Signature Books. The church is not going to say, “you can’t have a temple recommend if you read Snuffer.”

      Again, thanks to Tom for helping me understand things a little better.

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  26. A tale of three authors:

    Sterling McMurrin: Believed that Joseph Smith did not see God, and the Book of Mormon was not authentic history & that Jesus was not divine. When his Bishop began talking about holding a church court President David O. McKay offered to appear to testify on his behalf. No disciplinary action was ever held.

    Grant Palmer: Waits until after he retires from the Church Educational System and begins drawing a pension and then publishes a book discounting the restoration with a mish-mash of incompatible theories. He is disfellowshipped in 2004.

    Denver Snuffer: Publishes a book that views the history of the restoration through the prophecies of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, one that encourages people to return to the faith. He is excommunicated.

    Times change, apparently.

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  27. Great post, Tim. I only have one quibble, and that is with the usage of the word “apostasy”. The church, (and most everyone), is using it incorrectly, wresting the meaning of the word.

    Definition of APOSTASY

    1: renunciation of a religious faith
    2: abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostasy

    What Denver did is called heresy.

    Definition of HERESY

    2 a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
    b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heresy

    In PtHG, Denver transgressed the tradition of glossed-over history and infallibility of leaders, both powerfully dogmatic tenets of Mormonism today.

    That said, the leaders of the church have the legal right to exclude whomever they wish, for whatever they wish. That’s how private organizations work in this country. They are free to excommunicate whomever they like, for whatever reason, because the law of the United States grants them that right. Whether or not that’s pleasing to the Lord is something said leaders will need to take up with Him.

    The main problem I see arising from this kind of excommunication is when members feel they can no longer trust the corporate church to treat them reasonably, and we might once again adopt the culture of double-speak and mistrust that once reigned in the last gasp years of polygamy. I pray that destructive situation doesn’t come again.

    The beauty and glory of the victory of Jesus Christ is that all of us, despite our mortal blunders and unattractive traits, can be justified, sanctified, and loved . . . and with the touch of the Master’s hand, can be agents for powerful change and salvation in the lives of those around us. It makes me so, so sad that we are not welcome to acknowledge the flaws and mistakes of our leaders, even though that is the best way to learn from them.

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    • Great comment Annalea. We could all learn from this: the difference between the two words, apparently including the writer of the summons that Denver posted on his blog on August 23rd. I also loved your comment that the private institution can exclude whomever it wishes. And this: “Whether or not that’s pleasing to the Lord is something [the] leaders will need to take up with [the Lord].” Wow! Thanks for visiting and adding your insight.

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  28. I grew up in a part member family. Spent some inactive teenage years. I read a lot of Elder McConkie in my 20′s, so I am familiar with seeking Christ in our lifetimes

    I do not blog. I never comment, except I have here. I am a little intrigued with the comments and rationalization people make. I pray for our leaders everyday, maybe that is why I like them. I listened to Elder Nelson’s talk to the young adults on Sunday night. I was very impressed. He is one of Christ’s Apostles!

    I read Denver’s remarks about Elder Nelson’s wife. I don’t believe a word he said, I think he is striking out. I don’t think this is the way someone acts who has been ministered to by Christ.

    Since Denver has made all this public, I do feel I can make a judgement. I think he was very condescending on how he commented on his Stake President. When Samuel told Saul that obedience was better than sacrifice, he brought out one of the key ingredients for a Christ centered life: Obedience. Interestingly, that was one of the talks that President Monson gave last conference.

    If I am hearing the supporters of Denver right, their hypothesis is:
    - Denver received the second comforter.
    - Christ has instructed Denver to do a hard thing:
    – Denver’s sacrifice is to give up his membership so he can help offended, hurt, and lost church members to come back.
    – Denver must write the real history of the church
    – Denver must show the leadership of the church has strayed
    – Denver must show the church is and has been off course
    – The church is no longer needed, but we must become a Zion people

    I disagree with the hypothesis. Completely.

    Tim, you may have the strength to spend a lot of time in Denver’s world and have it not affect your membership. How will you feel on your next temple interview, on the questions of sustaining the leaders and associating with apostates? If you are ok in your heart, you will be fine, but if some doubt is there, that’s a problem.

    Many people disfellowship or excommunicate themselves by going inactive, searching for other things to bring happiness into their lives, sitting in church for appearance purposes only.

    Some of the commentators will not have your strength. They could be impacted by the Denver scenario.

    We need to be obedient, even when it isn’t easy. We need to keep a tight grip on the scriptures, ordinances and what our leaders are teaching.

    A lot of people like you Tim, they just want you to know they are concerned.

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    • I remember agreeing to follow the law of obedience, but that obedience was to God, not an apostle, 70 or stake president. Surely there are enough stories in the scriptures which illustrate this principle. I like the one in 1 Kings 13.

      Of course it is quite a test to both know when you are following the Lord and having the strength to do so and not fear man. That last part seemed to have been Joseph’s test and the Lord commented on it repeatedly.

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    • One of the key ingredients in a Christ-centered life is obedience to Christ. Zealous obedience to anyone or anything else is idolatry. It is when our leaders are in harmony with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit ratifies their instructions and counsel, that we are safe to follow them.

      From Denver’s blog, this answers much of what you wrote:

      “Got some more interesting emails, and I’m not sure what goes on in the Internet. I don’t have time to read everything out there. Based on email, once again I need to remind readers I have said this http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/11/i-have-no-spokesmanspokesmen.html
      and this
      http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/10/ecclesiastes-31.html
      regarding people speaking on my behalf. It is still true. No one is authorized to speak for me. If you want to know what I think read what I write.

      There are no private conversations, personal interpretations, or personal descriptions given or retold by “friend” or “foe” that can be honestly or accurately attributed to me. I don’t have spokesmen, agents, and do not want disciples. I willingly accept responsibility for everything I write and whatever I have or will say in a public talk. However, the interpretations, misunderstandings, selective memories and assumptions others make are not my responsibility. Oftentimes I choose what I say carefully, only to learn the care is not preserved in the re-telling. I’m not responsible for that.”

      http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/08/i-guess-i-need-to-say-it-again.html

      And here you can see for yourself Sis. Nelson’s book, and the responses of members and non-members to it:

      And as for protecting people from their own weaknesses, where does that leave God? His arm mighty to save, and He can take care of His own without coercive methods used in place of love and entreaty. Tim was bang-on when he wrote “Force is not the way of the Lord. Neither is fear.”

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    • “I read Denver’s remarks about Elder Nelson’s wife. I don’t believe a word he said, I think he is striking out. I don’t think this is the way someone acts who has been ministered to by Christ.”

      I had the same reaction.

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      • Denver stated what is easily seen on the book’s page and reviews at Amazon, so I’m afraid I’m having a hard time understanding how it’s an issue of belief. Sis. Nelson wrote a book, called “The Not Even Once Club” and two psychologists have commented in the book’s Amazon reviews that the underlying principles in it are destructive. (Two come up when you search for “psychologist” in the reviews; there may be more.) One states openly she is an LDS psychologist, and the other shows it by the wording s/he chooses, and speaking as one who belongs to the church, instead of outside of it.

        You may disbelieve facts if you like, but that doesn’t change their existence.

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      • The comparison is the problem, not her book or comments on Amazon. What does her situation have to do with his? Nothing whatsoever. Apples and oranges.

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      • 1. They both wrote a book intended to help others
        2. Both books have been soundly denounced by authorities in the field
        3. The charges leveled against the books – apostasy and child abuse – could get one excommunicated
        4. The husband of one writer is likely involved in the excommunication of the other

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      • I see a strong parallel. They both wrote books with the intent to help others, with unexpected consequences. Two lines don’t need to be identical in order to be parallel–they only need run in the same direction.

        The main difference that appears to me, though, is that Sis. Nelson’s detractors are authorities accepted not only by the church, but by the world: licensed psychologists and those who have lost family members (spiritually or to suicide) to the spirit of perfection she pushes in her book. My extended family is included in that–a second cousin of mine hung himself in his family’s Utah basement about 14 years ago due to the destructive dissonance of not being perfect like everyone thought he was.

        Denver’s public detractors are lay clergy, bloggers and commenters.

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      • Neither of their book’s *intentions* are relevant here. He was given ample opportunity to retract his statement and refused. That appears to be the impetus behind the church’s action. Has she reacted the same way? I doubt it. She would probably defer to their counsel. (Otherwise, you might have an argument for similar situations.)

        Steve’s item #4 reveals the problem of that post: the latent accusation of hypocrisy (to the leadership if they don’t act against her, but only against him) disguised as concern for her well being. Misery loves company. As though she’s getting special treatment, (the kind that he deserves?). I’m not buying it. The cases are so different, especially their reactions.

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      • Pay,

        For what it’s worth, I imputed no hypocrisy when I noted the role of Elder Nelson in both situations. I was just making an observation. I do not judge him or you.

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      • A curious blog post indeed! Was it criptic? Was he trying to send a message to someone? What that message is, and who it was meant for, I’ve not a clue.

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    • Thanks Rick. I like what you wrote, “I pray for our leaders everyday, maybe that is why I like them. I listened to Elder Nelson’s talk to the young adults on Sunday night. I was very impressed. He is one of Christ’s Apostles!” I feel the same way. I love the fifteen men we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators of this church. I know how hard they work. Many of you know but perhaps some of you don’t, that my sister is Elder Perry’s secretary.

      I am not privy to inside information and I purposefully don’t ask my sister what’s going on. She’ll occasionally email me a little about Elder Perry’s activities or his schedule, such as when he came to my home ward to speak last year.

      Rick, I can sense your concern for me, but also for others who might read some of the things we talk about here and not be strong enough to either understand it or all the ramifications of what we’re discussing. Thank you for reminding me. I feel a little like John Dehlin must have felt. He said each time he started a new place online for people to gather and talk, it always seemed to turn into a bickering argument between those who felt one way and those who felt another. So he would move on to start a new place.

      Lately, it seems like each one of my posts here have been a microcosm of that same dialogue going back and forth. I have at least one more Snuffer post to write: my review of his Boise lecture – if Doug was successful in getting a good recording out. I read he had some problems with the recording equipment. After that, I think it’s time to move on to something less contentious. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love this church and the people in it. This all just started out as a book review for me. I’m grateful for all the readers and comments but in the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can we all get along?” We need balance. We need each other’s points of view. I hope we don’t attack each other.

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  29. Given all the talk on here, I have been following his blog recently to see what’s the interest (in retrospect I think that was a mistake). I don’t get it. He made a public event out of what probably should have been kept a private matter (maybe this is where I’m missing something). He was blatantly defiant of their requests, and essentially mocked them in an attempt to follow their request to notify his blog readers of disapproved content. Plastering the council summons on his blog. Refusing to cooperate about the book and speeches. Relaying private conversations with the leaders to the world, usually painting them in a negative light. Insisting on who attends the council. Defiant until the end. Off-the-mark comparison to Elder Nelson’s wife. I just don’t get it. His supporters must be in a trance by strong but delusive enticement, while he leads people astray like the Pied Piper.

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    • Annalea, my point boils down to this:

      If Denver is with the adversary, which I think he is, he is one of the most subtle forces the adversary has ever used. Denver has a lot of knowledge of the Book of Mormon, other scriptures, and his version of the history of the church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), so people see his material as good..

      He is a trained lawyer (think of the Book of Mormon) and he knows how to place an argument. He will propose his subject, complete with information we know and agree with, yet he carefully puts in information to cause seeds of doubt.

      Like his publishing the Disciplinary Council letter. He wanted this public, and he wanted to cause doubt on his Stake President.

      Publishing the phone call from his Stake President that he was excommunicated. Again, cause doubt on leaders by showing how mean he is. (Although Tim I. may not think this was excommunication).

      Why would he mention Elder Nelson’s wife’s situation, because he really feels sorry for them?????

      Are these the fruits from the Second Comforter?

      So being more straight to the point, you and Steve are firm followers of Denver Snuffer.
      – You believe the church is in apostasy, or you don’t believe it at all
      – You believe the leaders are not inspired of Christ, so they are in apostasy also
      – You believe Denver Snuffer is a prophet

      For some reason you forget to mention that Christ setup his church with apostles and prophets. You forget to mention the 6th and 5th Articles of Faith that came from Joseph Smith. Or the disciples in the Book of Mormon.

      You don’t believe any more in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

      This is what I see as the fruit of Denver Snuffer. It took some years to get to this point, but now it is very apparent.

      I don’t fault anyone for liking his material, because he used the scriptures we know. But the fruit now is not good.

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      • It seems that we have left the arena of commenting on Denver and the trial to disparaging one another. So this will likely be my last reply to Rick.

        To me Denver got in trouble because he cast light on troublesome spots of our history and would not cease. I see no problem with that. How can we know how to act or what to think if we don’t know the true facts?

        I also see no problems in sharing with the world the facts of the case. The Church will not, so he does. Again he is just sharing facts. Sure, he disagrees with some of the stake president’s actions, but so what? I did not see him casting doubt on his keys or right to preside. I remember reading of Paul opposing Peter to his face, disagreeing with Peter’s attitude towards the Gentiles. I also see no problem with that.

        I have thought for years that the Church is in some degree of apostasy. Heck it wasn’t 2 years after its formation that the Lord said it was under condemnation! And according to Pres. Benson and Elder Oakes it still is. I didn’t say it, the Lord did. I came to my conclusion because of changes to doctrine, covenants, ordinances and commandments. We know what the Lord thinks of such, because of statements such as we find in Isaiah 24:5.

        I figure the leaders of the Church do the best they can. And like Peter, sometimes they do well, and sometimes not so much. It appears that many in the Church cannot fathom that the leaders could be wrong. I take that to mean they are not familiar with Church history, the sayings of earlier leaders in the Church and the scriptures of the Church. Even Joseph was worried about such an attitude and expanded verses in Mark to illustrate the Lord’s feelings on the matter (JST Mark 9:40-48).

        I believe the prophecies in the Book of Mormon and D&C about coming servants and I believe that Denver is one. Of course to be a prophet, he has to be ill spoken of. He’s getting that in spades. But some will listen and petition their Father to know if the message is of Him or not. If we don’t at least do that, we follow the foolish example of the Nephites in the case of Abinadi and Samuel the Lamanite.

        Steve

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      • Reading Denver has not placed seeds of doubt in me, but seeds of faith.

        “– You believe the church is in apostasy, or you don’t believe it at all”

        I don’t believe the church is in apostasy as-in it has been abandoned by the Lord, I don’t believe that is what Denver teaches, either. I do believe we are largely not living up to our potential or the blessings God would bestow on us if we were living better. Are we currently living in Zion? No, therefore there is more for us.

        “– You believe the leaders are not inspired of Christ, so they are in apostasy also”

        I believe they are inspired of Christ, and I sustain them in their place as leaders. Not every leader or decision is inspired equally. In the end, it matters little to my personal salvation, currently leaders don’t really ask much of us beyond the basics, anyway.

        “– You believe Denver Snuffer is a prophet”

        Yes, I believe he has a testimony of Jesus, in the literal sense. I do not sustain him as a leader, but believe he has an assignment he feels he must fulfill. I also believe Hugh Nibley had a similar (but fundamentally different) prophetic role outside of the church hierarchy.

        I think you paint with a broad brush without really knowing what he has actually taught, written, etc.

        The fruits I judge material by are those that grow in my own life. I have felt the swelling motions talked of in Alma 32 as I have more fully planted the word in my soul since first coming into contact with Second Comforter.

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      • you are so off the mark Rick… Denver is a good man, and he has no desire to lead people from the church. The simple fact is that the leadership of the church is flawed. You can accept that or not. I understand that you see him as defiant, but would you have him submit to men who try and exersice dominion over him? Or submit to the lord and stand strong, and firm in the face of this earthly controversy. If Denver is such a bad man then tell me, what exactly is he hoping to gain from this? He isn’t after a following, he’s not in it for the money, in fact all of this has caused him great personal sacrifice. If you knew the man, you would know what he is doing is completely out of character. He is a quiet man, he prefers to stay silent, he does not wish, nor does he belong in the spotlight. He would never do this by his own will, he has been commanded, and he is carrying out his task. But since you can see the fruits of his labor so clearly where is this leading? As someone who knows Denver very well, I can tell you it is leading to the lord. His only desire is to lead people to the lord.

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      • Wow, Rick. You’re telling me things about my life beliefs I was hitherto wholly unaware of. And they’re just as untrue now that I’ve read that comment as they were while they yet resided only in your mind.

        I am not, and I repeat *not*, a “follower of Denver Snuffer”, to borrow your phrase. I am an earnest follower of Jesus Christ. I have tasted of His love, felt His guidance in my life, and as a result of that, I have an exquisitely difficult time when someone attacks someone else. Despite coming from a good & loving home, I was abused and mistreated throughout the vast majority of my years in school. My Savior healed that. But I can’t stand, for one moment, to see one person disparage or attack another. We were made for higher and holier purposes than to call one another apostate (or any other names), regardless of the cause. When you presume to know my motives, my beliefs, when I have not stated them, you pass judgement. Jesus Christ is our judge–and judgement day isn’t yet.

        I love President Monson, his counselors, and the Twelve Apostles very, very much. They are GOOD men. I sustain them as prophets, seers, and revelators. And I will follow them insofar as any member of the church should. Their messages and talks have blessed my life, and taught me so much that is good, and have from time to time brought me closer to my Savior. I value my membership in this church, and have done my utmost, for my entire life, to live in obedience and humility.

        We’re all mortal. We see and understand things through filters of our own experience and knowledge. The problem is, they usually differ wildly from the reality of life. Your claims and conclusions are only related to my life in that they are polar opposites to my beliefs and personal relationship with my Savior. I appreciate the difficulty you may be experiencing, and pray that you’ll be blessed with peace and the love of Christ to comfort and heal you in whatever way you need. This is a new experience for pretty much all of us, and we’re all going to react differently. I apologize for any offense I may have given . . . I’m mortal, too, and blunder around with the best of them, much to my sorrow.

        And finally, I formally request in all sincerity and solemnity: do not libel or slander anyone’s name in this church, whether in public or in private.

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  30. Still trying to understand the logic and appeal.

    Hypothesis 1.) DS was commissioned by Christ, to undermine the church commissioned by Christ, instead of being called from within that church, by Christ, to repair His church?

    Hmm, next.

    H2.) Or, after waiting 1,500 years to commission a reboot of the ancient church, basically the restoration was a bust, and so a new quasi-restoration is under way by of holy servant DS? Reboot the reboot.

    That makes a lot of sense no it does not.

    H3.) Or he’s just some dude, albeit well-read in the scriptures and history, looking for a promotion within, but doesn’t get one, brilliance overlooked for 40 years (they must be incompetent not to recognize such talent, right?). So he finally does something to get noticed by the higher-ups, he gets attention the only way he can, negative attention (they just can’t see the brilliance and/or they are threatened by it), but ultimately he gets fully demoted instead getting that amazing call (crossing fingers until the last minute). Seems to fit the data.

    It IS tragic.

    He’d do far better in mainstream Christianity in which scholarship (divinity school) is the path to the priesthood and leadership. He should pursue that route. In this church, there is no such fast track for the “smart” kids, you must be called. He wasn’t called, so he chose himself? Seems to fit the data.

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    • All three of those hypothesis are fundamentally flawed, as they all hinge on a huge assumption: that he operates outside of God’s will. God’s will does not equal the actions of mortals. It’s sometimes the same, sometimes not. Here are the first two hypothesis that must be proven–and they can only be proven within your own heart, by the Holy Ghost.

      1) He’s working on his own, with the power of his own mind, for his own motives.

      2) He’s acting under personal commission from Jesus Christ.

      That dichotomy must be resolved before any further hypothesis can be formed.

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  31. First I want to apologize to those that I have offended. I usually push hard until I understand.

    I understand better now, I think. Comment bashing (bible bashing) doesn’t accomplish anything. Most of us are firmly set in our beliefs. I really hadn’t thought about the church leadership being in apostasy while it’s easy to see a lot of members are not doing to well.

    At least some or most of this group has seen a little deeper in the Book of Mormon, which I think is good, yet I think many members are not even aware. How many people realize what is in 2 Nephi 32:6? I think they just skip over it.

    I don’t think anyone would have thought when Denver published The Second Comforter that this current situation would be going on. It will probably take more time to see how it works out.

    We should do our best to be Zion people. I have a long ways to go…. Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t getting closer to a cosmic event that may change everything.

    I appreciate your comments, and will return Tim’s blog back to him, I abused it today!

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    • Please explain the hidden meaning if 2 Nephi 32:6.

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      • It is actually in black and white, when we see Christ in the flesh. I think most people don’t see that let alone understand it. I think Moroni is saying the same thing, Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him…

        The Book of Mormon is all about coming to Christ, even literally. It has been there all along, but how many understand this?

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    • Rick, you are always welcome here. You added so much to the dialog. I am enriched by your contributions. Thank you my brother. God bless.

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    • Rick, thank you for reminding me that when people say things that seem aggressive or make me feel defensive, it’s usually because they don’t understand. I forgot that today.

      I wasn’t offended, but I admit to being some riled. ;o) I hope it didn’t come through much. Thank you for providing me with so many opportunities to learn. I can use all I can get.

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  32. I want to express a heartfelt thank you Tim for what you posted today about answering the loyalty question since my recommend expires this month and I was in turmoil about it. I feel as you do in regards to DS’s writings. I’ve read all of his books this year and and felt the same renewal and good fruits in my life that others have expressed. I feel as you do about the Church and love and sustain our leaders. I value my membership in the Church. I also value the truth more than anything, and have learned that oftimes the truth will break your heart. But I still prefer it in all of it’s ugliness to a pleasant lie that makes you feel good. I’ve experienced a great paradigm shift in the past year as I’ve discovered DS’s books, along with many others. I’m grateful to you for introducing me to the ideas behind the electric universe, and especially the writings of Anthony Larson and Velikovskys theories. I was praying all day and pondering the loyalty question, when I felt prompted to come to your blog, and here I found the answers and comfort that I was seeking. I’m in complete agreement with you in everything you’ve posted about DS, and your great heart and kindnesses expressed in response to criticism has been very inspiring to me.

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    • Thank you, Joy. I am a little overwhelmed by the response to my posts the past few weeks. I suspect it is because Denver does not allow or post comments on his blog. So much of the conversation that would be taking place over there appears here. As far as loyalty, I will take every opportunity to reaffirm to anyone and everyone that as far as governing this church, I sustain and uphold Thomas S. Monson as the man who directs the work of this church in seeing to it that the gospel is proclaimed, the temples are built, and the members are strengthened.

      I know the Brethren are concerned that we have good experiences when we attend church. They are concerned that the teaching is uplifting and sacrament meetings are reverent. There are so many things they are concerned abut for us. I love them and pray for them. I look forward to hearing from them. This church has been a part of my life since I was five years old. I love the temple and am so grateful for the gift of forgiveness.

      I am sorry for what happened to Denver. I enjoy reading his books and am praying fro him and his family at this time in their lives. It must be difficult. Is that sympathy wrong? No, that is the love of Christ for my brother. I can answer the temple loyalty question without a problem. I thank God every day for the opportunity to learn new things and for good people who share their viewpoints with me. I am blessed. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comments. It cheers me up.

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  33. DS’ latest double-talk on recent blog post. First he says “I will be pressing forward in faith, believing that…I matter…” and in the very next sentence, he says “I don’t matter.” So he says he doesn’t matter but he will go on believing that he does matter? But he goes on: “If you want to really know what I think, read what I say.” OK, on that basis, I think there is a screw loose.

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    • That’s taken pretty wildly out of context, Piper. You might want to read it again, and pay attention to the grammar and what he’s actually trying to say.

      Here’s the context in the post:

      “And that time is precious and ought to be spent doing something other than arguing over the “flavor of the month.”

      I don’t matter. But God does, prophecy does, your soul does and God’s potential involvement with you matters a lot. That is something you can engage in without any need to ever look at another flavor of the month.

      It is possible you may now see behavior from the church that signals a guilty conscience. I’m not pursuing them. They threw me out, now hopefully they will leave well enough alone. I suspect, however, they will fire up the machinery to deal further with me. Before all that kicks in, let me assure you that whatever goes on I am content, even happy with life and with my 40 years in Mormonism. I will be pressing forward in faith, believing that you matter, I matter and our love for one another matters.”

      My understanding is the “I don’t matter” is saying we shouldn’t follow or deify Denver. The “I matter” is saying that he’s not giving up on his faith, knows he matters to Christ, and will live accordingly.

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      • Context? In your “quote” you completely omit the part (that I quoted accurately) in which he directly contradicts himself. On the basis of his own criteria (“If you want to really know what I think, read what I say.”) since his words are contradictory, his thinking must be conflicted as well. It’s a rather blatant contradiction. You inject some other meaning to spin it, but that’s not what it actually says.

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      • http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/09/flavor-of-month.html

        Here’s the post. You can see I didn’t omit anything. The only difference is that in my feed reader’s earlier version of the post, the paragraph order is different. My apologies–I will be sure to check the actual source blog in future.

        I should have quoted this:

        “The church excommunicated me, but now it’s time to move on. I suspect, however, they will fire up the machinery to deal further with me. Before all that kicks in, let me assure you that whatever goes on I am content, even happy with life and with my 40 years in Mormonism. I will be pressing forward in faith, believing that you matter, I matter and our love for one another matters.

        I don’t matter. But God does, prophecy does, your soul does and God’s potential involvement with you matters a lot. That is something you can engage in without any need to ever look at another flavor of the month. ”

        According to Merriam-Webster, a paragraph is “a subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usually indented line. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paragraph)

        If the “I don’t matter” phrase was part of the first paragraph, your point might have some standing. But the most basic rules of grammar go against what you’re claiming.

        Finally, I don’t believe I’m spinning this–I’m reading with the intent to understand what Denver is saying, not what I’m looking for him to say. It’s something I do intentionally, as I have to truly listen to what the author is saying in order to do my job as an editor and proofreader well. If I’m not reading with a basic understanding of grammar and composition, I’m not worth my pay.

        That said, you are the steward of your own mind, and have the liberty to take whatever meaning you choose from what he said. I believe Denver’s words need no further defense. Have a wonderful evening and weekend! :o)

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      • Ugh. WordPress, you always mess with my smileys. lol I meant:

        Have a wonderful evening and weekend! :)

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  34. Like this

  35. That is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. :o) Thanks for posting it!

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  36. Er . . . I meant :)

    Don’t know if I can ever reprogram these fingers . . .

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  37. dbundy, what is the watch tower which wasn’t built?

    Spencer, via John Pontius, (Visions of Glory) suggests cataclysmic earthquakes “break down the wall”. Several of the First Presidency and Apostles will be killed. Many others will perish. After some regrouping, certain members of the church will be sent out on “missions” to gather Zion, and start the trek to Missouri to build the New Jerusalem, the trek will take a few years.

    A huge earthquake rips California to pieces (we don’t know what happens to Tim). Another earthquake splits the United States up the Mississippi river, a large land mass arises in the Gulf of Mexico, sending floods as high as Chicago, clearing out Missouri, and preparing the new land mass for Enoch’s Zion. Something happens to our President/Congress, and the east turns into a “zombie land” scenario.

    Foreign troops will be sent to “help/conquer” the United States, the Church organizes and members begin to live more like a Zion people, with increased spiritual power to silently resist the conquering. Some members will be translated and assigned to gather Zion by using “portals” to travel through space and time as needed.

    Years later, Christ does come, with the burning, the righteous are caught up to him (our version of the rapture) and those left on the earth are stubble.

    Having been exposed to the Electric Universe from Tim’s site, I tend to think that most of the catastrophes will be created from cosmic events (comet/tails, planet sized passing, asteroids, meteors, etc).

    So before the Second Coming, there will be some years of tribulation the likes this world has never seen. If the time frame isn’t shortened, even the elect won’t make it. There only one hope, righteousness.

    I am interested about what the watch tower represents.

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  38. Tim: This is my first time commenting on a blog concerning Denver Snuffer. Let me present something that has come to my mind as a possibility. If indeed God is calling out certain people who have sought to become Zion then they will be led to John Pontius, Denver Snuffer, and you Tim, and others. They are seeking for things that are not publically spoken of. This is rightfully so because the path of sanctification is a private one and cannot be mandated from the pulpit. It is a private journey between you and God. Others in the Church have a different calling and election which for them was and is their choice. So why should we argue with each other when we are both just fulfilling our calling and election. With that said here comes the possibility. The path of sanctification will include a test like unto Abraham. This test is usually in the paradox. Abraham was led by the spirit to kill his son yet it was against the moral code as well. Abraham went with the Spirit and received his reward. Perhaps God is setting up for some a paradox or test of Abraham in their path to Zion. Do they trust what the Spirit is telling them or do they follow the Church which has been, I believe, mandated to only preach the lesser portion of the word. I can support the Church and its leaders in what they are doing and doing the best they can. I also support what the Spirit is tellling me and no doubt many others. That is like unto a test of Abraham. We have to make a choice and if indeed it is a test like unto Abraham and sacrifice will soon come in the thicket to save those who follow their “conscience.”

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    • That’s a really interesting idea, Tom. It resonates with me . . . except for the idea that the corporate church has been limited by God to preach the lesser portion. If there’s any limitations, they didn’t come from the Lord. Our God is the One of limitless potential. :)

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      • Annalea: My concept of thinking the present Church is teaching the lesser portion of the Word is primarily based in the idea that the Gospel is going to all the world of many cultures and etc. The Church has to teach the lesser portion of the Word which is good but is not the final path for everyone. Though we always remain based in the lesser portion of the Word we can still reach for the greater portion of the Word. To me, it seems logical that God would want the lesser portion of the Word, which in itself is saving and wonderful, taught from the pulpit but God wants to personally teach those who may have a different calling and election. I do know the greater portion of the Word was restored by Joseph and the other brethren of the Restoration and they brought it back but then it was mostly lost from the public spectrum. The greater portion of the Word is available to anyone who will seek for it. Anyone who really reads the scriptures and knows Church History knows that. I can only imagine the chaos that would result if the Prophet and President of the Church said from the pulpit that we all need to seek the Second Comforter and or make their Calling and Election Sure. Those things are a personal journey unique for each person and no play book exists that can be followed except for to follow the Spirit. To me, Denver Snuffer is and was teaching some aspects of the greater portion of the Word and perhaps has brought to the public forum this concept. As Gamileal or however you spell it said of Christ. If He be a thing of naught then He will go away and if not how can you stop Him. I do not follow Denver but relish in many of the things he teaches. Time is the best judge of Denver Snuffer as well as each of us.

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      • Thanks for clarifying where you’re coming from. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution for salvation, either. But I still feel that we need to be taught, regularly and with power, that the Second Comforter is not only possible, but that Christ WANTS every one of His spiritual children to seek after it. I didn’t even know what it was until I was about 35 years old . . . and it has taken the couple of years since for me to come to the realization that my Lord and Savior is desperate to see every one of us again–in this life. Now. As soon as we will turn to Him in sufficient humility.

        It’s not about living as perfectly as we can . . . it’s about humbling ourselves enough and doing what He wants us to do . . . and I’ve been surprised as I’ve given my will to Him and followed the Spirit how different that looks from the legalistic and performance-driven paradigm I’ve been taught my whole life. I think we all-too-often put our God in a box of our own construction, and prevent Him from being and doing all that He can.

        All of this is in the scriptures . . . and I pray that we can someday soon be free to study them in their depth and glory in our meetings, instead of a prescribed list of topics with scriptural support.

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  39. Annalea: Perhaps better said. If one thinks the Corporate Church has not been directed by God to teach the lesser portion of the Word, it could also be said that The Lord has raised up leaders who will not teach from the pulpit the greater portion of the Word. Whether they are purposely doing it that way or just do not see its importance is not as important as it is not being publicly taught. People who want more than what they get in Church will get it by their own journey to sanctification. Those who are satisfied with what the Church offers and it is enough for them then so be it with them. I guess that is how I can reconcile my search for the greater portion of the Word with the correlated program of the Church teaching the lesser portion of the Word. Both are needed and it is my choice to go after what I feel is my Calling and Election just about anywhere that takes me. I hope that is what Denver Snuffer has done but as I said earlier, time will tell.

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    • Annalea: I agree with you desires to hear more about the greater portion of the Word in the Church curriculum. Denver Snuffer commented on that very thing in one of his blogs when he said it is a shame to give people more than they are ready to receive and it is also a shame to not give people more when they want it. I really think and trust that the Spirit, angels, and everything else will be there for the earnest seeker of greater things. As I have discovered very quickly to discuss the greater portion of the Word in the normal Church environment usually brings resistance and alarm by most and questions to want more few and far between. To me, that is ample proof what most are seeking for. I think the Church leadership is doing just what God wants them to do whether they are doing it by design or not. God is possibly just fulfilling His Word when He says many are called but few are chosen. Both the many and the chosen can receive exaltation though their paths may differ. That is the beauty of it all. It is both just and merciful. To me it is so simple and comforting to think that way. Perhaps I will have another opinion next year but this year that makes sense. Thank you again for talking with me.

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      • Thanks for your comments, Tom. I’ll have to mull those over for a while. :)

        Have a great day!

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      • I think I’ve pinned where the disconnect is between what I’m saying and what you’re saying, Tom.

        It seems that the “lesser portion of the word” that’s being taught might have all of the important aspects in it (Christ is the One who saves, He does that through Grace, we can repent and be baptised, etc.), but over the last year, I’ve learned what that REALLY means . . . and it’s utterly different from the way the church teaches it.

        I’m not advocating preaching calling and election or the second comforter. But we very much SHOULD be preaching the baptism of fire and the holy ghost, because it’s such a powerful agent of change, and is what truly separates disciples of Christ from those who don’t know Him. For when you’ve been through that, you emerge a different creature, and your life is never the same.

        The glorious gospel and victory of Jesus have been reduced to a set of rules and a carrot on a stick to encourage church members to plod and grind on for their whole lives, while so much peace and love and closeness with the Savior is there to be sought. That’s the tragedy I see.

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  40. Interesting that Steve Young’s wife is unknowingly supporting Denver Snuffer. She told Affirmation that the church is “evolving” on gays and lesbians. (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/56872665-80/affirmation-barb-jesus-conference.html.csp) Will they excommunicate her?

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  41. Denver Snuffer already has a following. You only need to go on to LDSFreedomForum to discover its not LDS but the Church of Mr Snuffer.

    Snuffer takes the sacred doctrine of calling and election and the Second Comforter and reduces it to a cheap trick.

    He has not met Christ. His experience sounds more akin to the diplomat, Wayne Petersen, who claims to have met Maitreya, the new age christ and so called world teacher.

    Joseph Smith taught that when a man or woman has been tested and tried in every point and proven that they will serve God and His Christ at any cost – then and only then will they be given the Second Comforter. Snuffer takes this doctrine and reduces it to a profane, marketplace, Jesus-on-demand nonsense.

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    • Hi Ben,

      Thank you for expressing your opinion. It is always welcome here. I have been on LDS Freedom Forum and other private lists that are for members who want to discuss Denver’s writings without being castigated for being unfaithful or not loyal to the church. It’s amazing how those who have not read his books accuse those who have as being followers of Denver Snuffer. I’m not saying you haven’t read Denver’s books. You haven’t shared that with us unless I missed it. In any event, my point is that we love to read and discuss books. Surely that doesn’t make us any less faithful or believing in the message of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon or the role of the LDS Church in the last days. Of coursed, you may be right. I only speak for myself in this particular response. I simply disagree with your characterization of what Denver Snuffer has written in his books about the process of coming unto the Savior and receiving the Second Comforter. Cheers.

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  42. I’ve been a “lurker” on your blog for a while now. I’ve even written a number of comments then deleted them. I’ve been concerned about being identified by church leaders as a “Snufferite” which might lead to church discipline. I suppose I’ve been a bit of a coward.

    I have no desire to do anything which might negatively affect my membership in the LDS church, but I am not going to hide in a closet. I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love and sustain our leaders. I especially love my Savior Jesus Christ. I also love and revere Denver Snuffer for his witness and teachings. His status relative to the church makes no difference to me. Call a spade a spade. Denver is a prophet–just like Joseph, Nephi, Abinadi, or Samuel the Lamanite. President Monson is also a prophet. It embarrasses me that our modern prophets can’t seem to see eye to eye on things. The Nephite church, in general, seemed to have more humility.

    Why can’t Brother Snuffer and President Monson sit down at lunch together and work all this out? Why does the church think it has to dominate and control what members publish as doctrinal opinions, histories, or intellectual inquiries? It reminds me of early Catholics destroying unauthorized biblical records and quietly disappearing folks with contrary views on doctrine. Not cool.

    Joseph Smith would never have ordered Denver’s excommunication in these circumstances. Rather, he would have rejoiced, like Moses did, that another prophet had arisen from among the ranks of common church members. The Chief Judge Pahoran would not have been offended by Denver’s writings. He would see how he was censured but rejoice in the greatness of Denver’s heart.

    Why does the church think it has to maintain this image of infallibility relative to the quorum of the twelve or the presidents of the church? They are all flesh, last I checked–and we are not to esteem one flesh above another. We all have our agency and are free to make mistakes, even apostles and church presidents. Nothing in scripture suggests otherwise.

    I want to sustain the brethren in everything they do, but some actions seem to exceed the design limitations of this member–I just can’t bend in that direction. Sorry. I’m programed to respond to love, patience, kindness and long suffering; not compulsion and dominion.

    I must say I really look forward to the day when the Lord finally steps in and fixes this huge mess. But I’m afraid it is going to take an even bigger mess to fix the mess we are in, at which point the times of the gentiles will be at an eternal end.

    Oopsie!

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  43. Lots of buts in your comment. Joseph Smith is dead, he would tell you to follow and sustain Thomas S. Monson.

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    • Hi Rick I assume you’re responding to Jared, but I wanted to jump in here. Although none of us can prove it (pure conjecture), I agree with your statement that Joseph would counsel us to follow the living prophet, especially as that prophet teaches us how to come unto Christ (update: I think I like Jared’s wording below even better). I hope people who read this blog don’t have the mistaken impression that we don’t love and “hearken” to the counsel of the General Authorities. As I wrote in a comment above, we simply like to read and comment on what we discover in a book, nothing more. There is not a movement to make Denver Snuffer our prophet or leader. Please don’t misinterpret what we honest followers of Christ want: to please our Savior and to do as we feel directed by the Holy Ghost to do. As always, I speak only for myself, since this is my blog. Thanks again for your many comments here. I appreciate your additions to the dialog.

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    • I do `sustain’ Thomas S. Monson as the Presiding High Priest over the church throughout the world. My sustaining is done as directed by the Spirit. I cannot sustain actions which are not ratified by the Spirit and which are not in harmony with the laws of the priesthood. My first loyalty is to Christ, not to the arm of the flesh–no matter what his priestly office. I sustain the 15 men at the head of this church as Prophets, Seers and Revelators for the whole church. I sustain their right to act in those capacities. But all blessings, even ordinations, must be received by obedience. I am an ordained High Priest, but that does not mean that I have received all the blessings and rights of a High Priest; after all, a High Priest is one who walks with God–I haven’t done that yet. Similarly, those ordained as apostles must have their ordinations confirmed by the Savior Himself, a process predicated upon obedience, not predicated upon the sustaining votes of the church, no matter how innumerable. As far as seership goes, we haven’t seen any sign of that since Joseph Smith Jr.’s death. It would be very exciting indeed if we did. I’d love that.

      Joseph Smith would not tell me to follow Thomas S. Monson; he would tell me to follow the Lord. He would tell me to sustain Thomas S. Monson to the best of my ability, as a wife sustains her husband by covenant, inasmuch as he is obedient to the Lord. I don’t see why this is such a hard concept to grasp. Our obedience to the Lord is always supreme, obedience to flesh is ALWAYS conditional.

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  44. Another comment.

    Anyone who wants a witness of the authenticity of Denver Snuffer as a true messenger can ask the Lord in sincerity and humility for such a witness. The Lord does and will answer. He has answered my prayers about this most readily.

    Denver’s teachings have been very difficult for me. Most of what he has to say has caused me great joy, but his message in regard to the latter day gentile church has been very inconvenient and painful. I have shed many tears. I wanted Denver to be a false prophet. I hoped he was wrong. But then I prayed and received a witness. Months later I prayed again and received another witness. This has happened several times. I know Denver’s soul. I have supped with him. I have communed with him in the Spirit. I look forward to some day meeting him in the flesh. I do not follow him, nor idolize him, nor in any way esteem him as more than a man. But I must confess that the Holy Ghost has born witness of him to me. He obviously isn’t perfect. So what. (Sorry, Denver, for embarrassing you like this. I know you don’t want this kind of attention.)

    I have also, throughout this process, prayed about President Monson. I have likewise communed with him in the Spirit. I have supped with him. I know his soul. I know he is a true prophet. I love him and respect him as a true servant of the Lord.

    Is this in any way a contradiction? I don’t think so. Not in the least. It is what it is.

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  45. Tim, I just want to express my appreciation to you for your efforts at keeping us abreast of Denver’s situation. As for the email you received, it’s unfortunate that his argument are all based upon an assumption that is not easily verifiable: that the current leadership of the corporate Church operates directly through instructions from the Savior, and are therefore the ultimate authority.

    I think too many revelations that were meant to apply only to Joseph Smith have been extrapolated onto those who succeeded him in the presidency. The president of the Church is not necessarily a prophet same as Joseph was. We should at least seek to see if any of them showed comparable gifts before assuming to call them “Prophets.”

    Just because you call yourself a prophet doesn’t make you a prophet.

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  46. Well-said, Jared & Rock.

    There is such a marked contrast in the spirit of the words of those who have searched this out for themselves, and those who speak out of fear and unknowing-ness.

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  47. Apostasy is as old as Cain. Oh, why didn’t the Lord just accept his offering? you can almost hear him lament. I had a Sunday School teacher who had been excommunicated long before he became our teacher, and through a year of soul-searching and hard work/obedience, he was received again into full fellowship. He didn’t talk about the details of his excommunication but he relayed the story to impress upon us the difficult year he had without the blessings of the sacrament or the priesthood in his home. There is real power in the restored gospel and it is present in the Church today.

    I recommend a book by Larry Barkdull called “Praise to the Man: A Story of Uncommon Friendship.” Here is the description:

    “Singing the hymn ‘Praise to the Man’ draws to mind the nobility and greatness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. But few know the poignant story behind the lyrics. William W. Phelps, who penned the words, knew too well. He was one of Joseph’s closest confidants, privileged to take ‘sweet counsel’ with the Prophet. But he turned against Joseph Smith and the Church.

    “Praise to the Man is a tender story about the Atonement and repentance and forgiveness. What happened between these two men also defines Joseph Smith’s character, revealing him to be a loving man, capable of intense feeling and ever willing to forgive. In Brother Phelps’s betrayal and the Prophet’s magnanimous response is found the prodigal son story of this dispensation. It is truly a tale of uncommon friendship.”

    Many people during Joseph’s day, including close friends, fell into apostasy during the difficult times. Their arguments are all present here: Joseph was a fallen prophet, he once had the light but now it was gone because of such-and-such doctrine, or his bank collapsed and therefore he can’t be a real prophet, or ‘the disciplinary council judged us wrong and we never stole any cream, it’s all lies.’

    But Joseph forgave as many of these men and women who returned to the fold, humbling themselves and repenting. Forgave them not begrudgingly, but wholeheartedly, even the ones whose apostasy and false witness had caused death and suffering among the Saints.

    The gentleman we’re all discussing hasn’t been destroyed body and soul. He can come back! The prophet and his counselors today have every bit as much Christlike love in their hearts as Joseph did, then, imperfect though we all are.

    Brigham Young University is still the only prestigious university I know of that allows students to retake classes indefinitely until they get the best grade to which they aspire. They counsel, they forgive, and they give second chance after second chance. I’ve experienced it personally. My former Sunday School teacher also experienced this institutionalized CHARITY when he was received in full fellowship back into the fold, not separate from the fold, but one fold with one Shepherd. That should be this man’s goal. I sincerely hope it is.

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  48. I don’t recall discussing any one person so much as I have the supremacy of Jesus Christ as Savior, Judge, and King; the necessity of earnestly seeking a personal relationship with Him; and of the danger of placing men and institutions above God. (Whatever arena that may be: educational, religious, scriptural, social, organizational, etc.)

    “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” (D&C 59:21)

    All means all. Everything. Nothing left out.

    I hear those who speak out against Denver talking a lot about “The Church”, the brethren, the prophet, and other things that aren’t The Lord. About trusting men and their decisions. Championing the institution instead of The Lord. Those who take a more charitable view of this man are urge humility, forgiveness, not condemning, and going straight to the Lord of Hosts for answers.

    I reiterate what I said before: the difference between the comments of those who have read what Denver has written and those who haven’t, is marked.

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  49. Mormon 3:2
    …be ye baptized, and build up again my church…

    Straight from the Lord. :)

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  50. “I reiterate what I said before: the difference between the comments of those who have read what Denver has written and those who haven’t, is marked.”

    I have not commented on posts about Brother Snuffer recently, since I meant what I said in any earlier comment about not doing so, but this deserves a response.

    No, there is not such a clear difference – and not all who have read his books react as your generalization describes. Some of us see a very, very different person now than before he wrote PtHG – and we would appreciate not being stereotyped and dismissed as you have in multiple comments in multiple threads. This shouldn’t be an “us vs. them” issue, and those who don’t accept Brother Snuffer’s books and who accept his excommunication as valid and “right” aren’t aligned against God by doing so.

    I don’t know if you mean your comments to create that type of divide, but they do – over and over again. Please, just as you ask for charity from others, extend that same charity to them.

    /back to reading only and commenting on non-Snuffer posts

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    • Ray, I stand corrected. My apologies.

      Yesterday morning I was in a place of frustration, and didn’t have any business commenting. It’s all-too easy to draw lines and make generalizations, and I fell into that trap. Creating division was so, so far from my intent; but I was operating in it, nonetheless. The comment previous to mine had gotten under my skin.

      I appreciate your words, and will keep them in mind in the future.

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  51. I read the Second Comforter twice, and loved it, and pretty much all of Denver’s blog. I also wrote to him and received a very cryptic (and it seemed generic) response when I asked him about many contradictions I perceived in his writings and particularly his overall message and approach: loyal criticism. I’m currently serving as a bishop (5 years and hopefully close to the end) and served on the high council before that, so church discipline is a very tender topic for me. I’ve never liked being a part of it, even though I’ve felt the Spirit very strongly during it. I’ve always felt like the Spirit has inspired me to just seek love, mercy, and healing for any one in serious transgression brave enough to come forward. I’ve only been a party to one excommunication but it was habitual adultery by a proud and capable man, not apostasy. Before bishop, I earnestly tried to help a close friend of mine in faith crisis avoid apostasy and church discipline – he was becoming extremely critical, bitter and vocal in his blogging about perceived corruption in the church, its history, etc.

    I wish the Church could tolerate more diverse viewpoints without feeling threatened, but Denver’s excommunication does make sense to me. He has raised his voice very publicly (despite his statements to the contrary – Amazon is a big forum), and not just expressed his opinions, but published them in a subtle but authoritative manner. The message isn’t just in what he says or writes but in how he delivers it and his overall actions and approach. Many of those positions and actions present a message that is fundamentally at odds with the Church’s teachings and its authorities. In my opinion, he has broken sacred covenants in content and delivery of his message (as I said though, it is often very subtle through word choices, tone, and even sarcasm). He has definitely undermined. The Church is not a corrupt corporation – it is the authorized Kingdom of God on the earth. Almost all the key-holding leaders I have personally met, from the Twelve on down, are righteous servants seeking with all their souls to do the will of the Lord and spread His Gospel. Many of them have had their callings and elections made sure, received the more sure word of prophecy, as well as the Second Comforter. You cannot separate the Church and its divinely authorized mission to teach all nations, baptize them, help them receive the Holy Ghost, receive all the blessings and ordinances of exaltation, and endure in faith, hope, and charity to the end (of the test and life). The Apostles are the Apostles, beloved and chosen of the Lord and very close to him. They don’t broadcast their seeing/hearing/visiting witness, in those words, to the world for many reasons – one I believe it would be very much mocked and also it would condemn the world. The time may come. If Denver was a member of the Church of the Firstborn, as he implies, I think he would recognize other members and would be working together with them, not standing by pointing out the flaws in the organization, its history, its evolution, and its current leaders. Again, he was very good at coating his criticism with disclaimers of professed support. It seemed very contradictory to me.

    Personally and eternally, I do not judge Denver, but I strongly believe that the path that leads to excommunication is fraught with huge errors. The best way to help/build, and even reform, the church is from the INSIDE. Don’t cut yourself off and become the “martyr-apostate.” I hope he comes back. I asked Denver specifically if his charge, described at the end of Second Comforter, extended only to writing that book and if the rest was of his own accord. He did not answer me clearly, but in his blog he made it sound like every word he’s written has been by commandment. I believe he has gone astray. The Lord House is not divided against itself. Things that create doubt and confusion are not from the Lord. Many things Denver taught were right and true and beautiful, but I believe he has literally stepped out of bounds and he shows no signs of stopping. I often wondered why he did not seek to meet with the brethren personally. The Church office building is less than 45 minutes from where he lives.

    My point is everything required for exaltation and every blessing can and, in my opinion, should be accomplished within the framework of faithful, loyal, loving service and membership. Those covenants, however he claims they have been reworded, should be honored. He says the Church broke them. We made them with the Lord regarding His Church and His authorized servants. Real divine authority is important for order and organization. I think the Church is on course and the brethren are not just administrators of the lesser things.

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  52. I apologize for the lengthy posts. The thoughts and feelings keep flowing as I contemplate this situation. I read all the comments here, too, btw, before posting. I’ve been a reader, but not a poster in this forum for quite some time.

    I think it may be the gift of discernment, but did anyone else notice while reading Denver’s stuff, even Second Comforter, that there was this undertone of setting himself up as a teacher? He would say things like “be careful who you choose as your teachers” and I always got this feeling he was saying “listen to me and beware of other teachers (including the orthodox ones).” I also sensed, especially in his blog, that he considered himself always to be right. It smelled like pride. He is surely gifted in many ways – the gift of knowledge and insight. Anyone that could draw the veil off of 2 Nephi 32:6-7 into its Second Comforter meaning is gifted – that’s actually how I searched and found Second Comforter in the first place. But gifted doesn’t mean authorized, chosen, or right.

    Do I see flaws in our leaders and in our history? Absolutely. Joseph was the first to admit such. I’m the lowest in the priesthood key chain and I know myself, so it’s easy to extrapolate, but still admire the strength and examples of the men who lead me. I read Rough Stone Rolling by Bushman along the faith crisis journey with my friend. I did not read PotHG but I got the the jist of it from his interview with John Dehlin and reading the whole blog, which ended up constituting the 5 volumes of Remembering the Covenant. The 4 phases, etc. What jumped out at me is that he basically claims that the fulness of the priesthood was lost after Joseph Smith and did not continue with BY. That the prophets after JS were somehow just custodial. His view is almost midway between anti-/post-/ex-Mormon and orthodox. It was very confusing and contradictory to me. How could the Apostles be authorized to administer the ordinances, build Temples – required for the personal progress toward sanctification and full redemption – and yet be stripped of spiritual gifts, real prophecy and revelation, etc.

    To me the biggest whammy is his example of forfeiting his membership, and all the covenants attached thereto – claiming that they forsook him and broke them – and joining the group/mindset that believes they have evolved beyond the need for the kingdom. A law unto himself, the way I see it. Now he is going to continue to speak and promote his interpretation of Zion? What is that message going to slowly morph into? How many people who follow/listen to him will also feel free to follow his example of leaving the Church? This looks like the beginnings of a splinter group to me. All these comparisons to Abinadi, Alma the Elder, Samuel the Lamanite, and Martin Luther and the Catholic Church are superficial, but they are based on false parallels. The Lord did not restore the Church in the last dispensation so he could keep rebooting it, whittling it down, and starting new dispensations. This is a ridiculous and dangerous approach – it is both heretical and apostate. The stone wasn’t cut out of the mountain so it could roll down and break into millions of pieces, but rather grow, expand, and fill the whole earth. Joseph did pass the priesthood keys to Brigham Young and the Twelve, and this Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that divinely authorized institution. The Lord’s House is a house of order and unity, not division and confusion. All the mistakes, changes, and evolutions in our church history can be interpreted charitably, with patience, mercy, and understanding. No one is claiming infallibility.

    Does Denver’s example truly lead people to Christ? Do we need the Church to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him? I submit that Denver’s message is a truly mixed one, filled with contradictions and double-mindedness. I am praying for him. It will be truly enlightening to see what he says and does next. Saying you don’t want a following and then getting a following is a good example of what I’m trying to point out. Trying to correct the church through commentary rather than seeking to counsel with the brethren is another. Refusing to comply with requirements from leaders he claims to sustain and follow but showing in action that his own opinions and “mission” are more important. Claiming not just to be a member, but chosen and commissioned through means external to the authorized organization. Why wouldn’t the Lord just work through His duly authorized and appointed servants to make whatever changes He saw fit? There are plenty of truly converted people IN His Church, covenant-keepers, who are willing to follow any direction He gives. There is no need for a cryer or a soothsayer or a reformer. The Church will change – it will change through authorized servants whom the Lord chooses and anoints. President Monson is like King Mosiah, not King Noah.

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    • Thank you for your comments Geoff. I have been thinking very similar things, and asking very similar questions.

      I have been reading DS’s blog, and up through Dec. 2011 the things I read were very humble and there are many things that made me think and consider a different and better way of looking at the gospel. But somewhere in 2012 his blog posts began to change. I also noticed a sense of “listen to me and beware of other teachers” attitude. When I was reading his stuff from 2012 the image that kept coming to mind was a sense of utter completeness. A sense of self assured wholeness of truth. I remember reading several of his posts and then listening to a recent conference talk by Elder Holland, and then (because I had itunes on shuffle) a talk by Hugh B. Brown came up. There was a stark contrast in feeling. Upon returning to DS’s blog I suddenly looked at it differently. I could suddenly see all the inconsistencies, incompleteness and failings that he (DS) did not want me to see.

      It is like his words seem very complete and whole when you are reading them, but upon reflection it is as if there is a vindictive spirit that accompanies his words and acts with malice towards those who question his conclusions. As long as you accept his conclusions there is a feeling of self assured completeness, but the moment you question his conclusions it turns to a spirit of ire and wrath.

      I hope that those who read what I have written may understand what I am talking about. I have no desire to attack DS, I am just reporting the feeling and sense of the spirit that I got when reading his works. They start out very humble and sweet to the soul (up to 2011) but at some point they become contradictory, sarcastic, and vindictive.

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      • Thanks quantum. I sense the same shift. The feelings of inspiration and enlightenment I felt in Second Comforter did not last throughout his writings. The self-assuredness you describe seems a lot like the pride that Pres. Benson warned us against. He pits his intellect and insight against the Church and the brethren, thus becoming an accuser.

        What’s worse is he pretends to be sustaining and loyal with his lips/words but then refuses to do what a person who really sustains his priesthood leaders would do, thus proving he is disingenuous – his opinions aren’t really opinions, they are doctrines he was commanded to write and trump even his Temple and priesthood covenants. Very contradictory and confusing. If that isn’t kicking against the pricks, then what is?

        His publishing contract trumped his membership and covenants? Actions speak louder than words and his actions say, albeit not angrily or vehemently, rebellion, heresy, and apostasy. By choosing not to obey (stop publishing the heresy), therefore choosing excommunication, and then saying the Church and the brethren cannot revoke his priesthood, and also implying that they have instead revoked their priesthood by exercising unrighteous dominion (a parting accusation?), he proves that he truly believes they do not possess the keys or the authority to do so. Very dangerous ground, in my opinion. He, like many of the intellectual apostates and New Order Mormons, seems to redefine the terms such as keys and priesthood, prophet, seer, revelator, sustain, etc. so that he can rationalize his answers to temple recommend interviews. But it never lasts. They eventually withdraw and cut themselves off. Then there’s the martyr’s complex that follows. The evil, corrupt, corporate, institutional church did this to them and they are innocent victims who did nothing worthy of the disciplinary action. I think he has it because he’s already talked about the Church somehow not being finished with him, “the machine” reference.

        He implied in several of his blog posts that he has the fulness of the priesthood and the presiding brethren, the custodial Apostles (the way I sum up his teaching), do not. He has created a theology that operates outside and, the way I read it, “above” the priesthood and keys in the Church and Kingdom. His Church of the Firstborn is not connected in any way to the restored church on earth. I have some experience that says it is connected.

        And why is he on a speaking tour? Is he just going to keep upholding and supporting the Church as divine, even though his membership didn’t mean enough to him to obey the conditions of the presiding brethren? Isn’t he leading people out of the Church by leaving the Church or by not returning? Like I said, it will be very interesting to see what he does next. In my opinion, some of his recent blog posts give pretty clear clues to his direction – and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to return to the fold. I’m predicting if he does not return and repent that he will form his own fold, however subtly, from his listeners. Listeners will become followers who will become disciples. I could be wrong. I hope I am. I wasn’t wrong when I felt he was on the path to excommunication (years ago).

        I’ll stop here, but there really are a lot of questions. Like I said I e-mailed him and asked him many of these questions and he responded but it was almost like he was trying to write in parables (very much like his parables), to be cryptic and prophetic, trying to teach me something he felt I wasn’t prepared to grasp. He did not answer plainly and I found his tone to be presuming independent divine authority, much like his blog.

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  53. Let’s not forget the incidents of apostasy during Joseph Smith’s time as prophet/president. The likes of Hiram Page, Oliver Cowdery, Sydney Rigdon, etc., many of whom were great and even authorized and trusted servants at one point but then they took a wrong turn. And that wrong turn was criticizing the Prophet Joseph and all manner of criticisms and accusations which were, however well-intentioned in the beginning, and even valid in their content, nevertheless wrong in every way that matters. Satan means accuser and he was the accuser of the brethren. I’ve come to believe that part of the test of our church membership is a test of loyalty and obedience, as well as the other tests of godly characteristics that we encounter rubbing shoulder with one another.

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  54. Has it occured to you that Denver KNOWS what he is talking about. I understand that it makes you uncomfortable, and that’s okay. I have spent a lot of time with Denver, and time and time again, the spirit manifests to me that Denver does, in fact, KNOW what he is talking about. He wants no following, he is doing what he was commanded to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if, once he finished his speaking tour, you never heard from him again. He doesn’t like this, he doesn’t want to be a public figure. It blows my mind reading the comments that say he is setting up to start a splinter group. It is very clear these people do not know what the man is about. I can assure you, that is the absolute last thing he desires. He is a teacher, delivering the message he was commanded to teach, nothing else.

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  55. I have known Denver from college days. I don’t profess to know him personally though. From what I observe I don’t think Denver has any ill willed intentions in him. I don’t believe he has some “following” illusions. I don’t believe he intends to do anything wrong to others or in others eyes. I believe he is honest in what he says, meaning he believes in the truth of what he says.
    I don’t agree with him on matters of the Brethren.
    There are only two individuals who know of Denver’s heavenly visitations, those who were in attendance. We earn no greater reward if we judge him as dishonest with what he professes. The Lord appeared to Saul so no one need tell me that one has to be perfect to receive a visit from the Lord…the Lord is in control of that.
    The Lord is also in control of the Church that bears His name. No one is perfect and all are subject to making honest mistakes. One need not bother to delve into the workings of the LDS Church and the Brethren. If the Lord is unhappy with anything therein then He is the only one who sits to judge those who direct it. I don’t understand why anyone would think that the Lord would use conflicting sources to bring about His Eternal purposes. This is the Lord’s “Plan of Happiness” not of confusion and conflict. One cannot stand if one contradicts oneself — the Lord would never work with fear or conflict as His message.
    I enjoy the “positive spiritual workings” that I feel with wholesome discussions on the Gospel.
    As for Denver’s excommunication I understand why his court came to the decision they did. I also trust in the appeals process and hope that Denver is blessed with the Holy Ghost as he discusses with those who will sit in that court.
    But it’s impossible to support the Brethren and at the same time try and dismantle their foundations and teachings. If there is to be some kind of understanding I hope they come to it.

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  56. I also hope and pray for Denver in his appeal to the First Presidency. I hope he is not truly apostate and does not seek a following. But I will restate that the path he appears to be on, that of excommunication (if that ends up being final and, again, I hope not!), is the wrong path. I don’t believe the Church or it’s presiding Apostles are in apostasy, and I don’t believe The Lord would lead any of us in that fold to stray or to leave. So far I see serious contradictions between a lot of Denver’s words and what he actually does. Attributing everything to commandments from The Lord, given the way those commandments seem to be undermining the Lord’s authorized and anointed servants, and leading to excommunication seems like self-deception. I believe there are many scriptures which discredit this approach as out of bounds, figuratively and literally. I will quote a few that I think are very clear that we are not to accept the teachings of the unauthorized, and I don’t believe these are extrapolations on commandments to Joseph Smith – rather, in context, almost all of these are principles and commandments that pertain to the ongoing governance of the Church:

    D&C 42
    11 Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.

    Articles of Faith
    5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
    6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

    D&C 1
    14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

    D&C 43
    3 And this ye shall know assuredly — that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.
    4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.
    5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;
    6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.
    7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.

    D&C 107
    64 Then comes the High Priesthood, which is the greatest of all.
    65 Wherefore, it must needs be that one be appointed of the High Priesthood to preside over the priesthood, and he shall be called President of the High Priesthood of the Church;
    66 Or, in other words, the Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church.
    67 From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.
    78 Again, verily, I say unto you, the most important business of the church, and the most difficult cases of the church, inasmuch as there is not satisfaction upon the decision of the bishop or judges, it shall be handed over and carried up unto the council of the church, before the Presidency of the High Priesthood.
    79 And the Presidency of the council of the High Priesthood shall have power to call other high priests, even twelve, to assist as counselors; and thus the Presidency of the High Priesthood and its counselors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the church.
    80 And after this decision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord; for this is the highest council of the church of God, and a final decision upon controversies in spiritual matters.
    81 There is not any person belonging to the church who is exempt from this council of the church.
    91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses –
    92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

    D&C 21
    1 Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ,
    2 Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith.
    3 Which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.
    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.
    7 For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.

    D&C 88
    139 And he shall be received by the ordinance of the washing of feet, for unto this end was the ordinance of the washing of feet instituted.
    140 And again, the ordinance of washing feet is to be administered by the president, or presiding elder of the church.

    D&C 102
    26 It shall be the duty of said council to transmit, immediately, a copy of their proceedings, with a full statement of the testimony accompanying their decision, to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church.
    27 Should the parties or either of them be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.
    28 This council of high priests abroad is only to be called on the most difficult cases of church matters; and no common or ordinary case is to be sufficient to call such council.
    29 The traveling or located high priests abroad have power to say whether it is necessary to call such a council or not.
    30 There is a distinction between the high council or traveling high priests abroad, and the traveling high council composed of the twelve apostles, in their decisions.
    31 From the decision of the former there can be an appeal; but from the decision of the latter there cannot.
    32 The latter can only be called in question by the general authorities of the church in case of transgression.
    33 Resolved: that the president or presidents of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church shall have power to determine whether any such case, as may be appealed, is justly entitled to a re-hearing, after examining the appeal and the evidences and statements accompanying it.

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    • You wrote: “But I will restate that the path he appears to be on, that of excommunication (if that ends up being final and, again, I hope not!), is the wrong path.”

      We have plenty of examples in the scriptures of God flying in the face of His church’s convention in order to do His work. Jesus’ disciples not following the traditional ritual of handwashing in Matthew 15, Samuel the Lamanite appearing out of nowhere to preach to a people who were sure they were righteous (I think non-religious wicked folks would have laughed him off of the wall–only a self-righteous people would have tried to destroy him as a false messenger), Abraham being commanded to sacrifice Isaac, and more.

      It’s not anyone’s place to proclaim whether the events in anyone’s life are right or wrong. I’ve heard people that have gone through excommunication and rebaptism call it a huge blessing. So, there’s no way to make a call. (I’m not saying Denver’s situation is that one–just that you can’t look at events and make accurate judgements.)

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  57. The Lord will not, in any way, make sure that the church doesn’t go astray. Agency forbids that. He entreats, commands, loves, instructs, but will *never* coerce mankind. Just as anyone can fall, whether the convert still wet behind the ears or the presiding high priest himself, the entire church and its membership is absolutely subject to apostasy, sin, transgression, and mortal blundering. I just cringe when I hear people say that the Lord wouldn’t ever let the leadership make mistakes, or that *anyone* or *anything* no longer stands in full agency in this life, because the implication is that prayer and personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost is no longer necessary, because we have infallible leadership. It breeds the spiritual sleepiness and carnal security that allows people to be led in the wrong direction, trusting all the while that what they’re doing is precisely what God wants them to do, because “if God didn’t want me to do X, then He’s surely never allow my bishop to extend that calling.”

    Alma 42:22 reminds us that God cannot interfere with the workings of justice–and removing the possibility for error in leadership (or the church body as a whole) seriously messes with justice. Imagine a sport where all fouls were ignored, and each team was guaranteed a win. How would the purpose of the game be fulfilled in that scenario?

    Please . . . please. Let’s break free of that thinking, and reach out to our Savior, who is desperate for us to turn to Him, so He can draw near unto us.

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    • I have never recalled ever hearing a prophet or apostle ever teach that they are infallible, as a matter of fact I have heard several who had said that they are quite capable of making mistakes. Can the church as a whole make mistakes? Yes, we have ample proof of that, but that does not mean that the church has been rejected by God. The church failed to listen to the Lord’s counsel in Missouri but that did not remove the priesthood or the keys from the church.

      It is easier for an individual to fall into apostasy than it is for a group to fall into apostasy. That is why decisions taken by the President must be ratified by first the First Presidency and then by the Twelve. It’s a form of checks and balances that prevents individuals from getting too much influence and leading the church astray (e.g. Sidney Rigdon, Elder Benson before he became President Benson and wanted to align the church with the John Birch Society, to name a more recent example). The revealed word is full of examples and specific commandments that things must be done in their proper order (see Geoff’s references above).

      Throughout history God has consistently worked through authorized representatives and has discouraged the random, self proclaimed prophets. To have it otherwise would lead to Protestantism or spiritual anarchy, but I repeat myself.

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  58. I appreciate your comments and your perspective, Annalea. Peace and love to you and yours. I’m not quite sure you’re replying to what I’ve written. I’ve reread my comments and yours and I don’t see that I said what you seem to think I did. Feel free to reread, especially the scriptures/words of the Lord, and correct me again if you think I’m wrong. :)

    I think I understand the sense of what you’re saying, though. I also do not believe the leaders, and therefore the church as an organization, are infallible or perfect. In fact, I know that – I’ve experienced it aplenty. And I am a bishop, so I have extended the wrong callings and gotten some spiritual signals crossed before, made all kinds of errors – nothing malignant or ill-intentioned or serious in nature, but I’ve made my fair-share of apologies in the last 5 years. However, I’ve also experienced unmistakable revelation and authority with power flowing directly through the priesthood keys I was given (and will be happy to give up). They are the Lord’s keys delegated to his authorized servants, which I believe the presiding Apostles hold (from the Lord) today. I believe Christ is at the Head of His Church and the Apostles are His anointed servants.

    And while I agree with you that the Lord will not coerce us per se – I think he defines that differently than we mortals might – I’m thinking of disasters and all kinds of painful experiences in this life that we don’t think we choose and have very little, if any, control over – things that, in a sense we would use the word, “force” us to move and make many other choices. He does use forces, or influences, of various kinds to give us certain choices. Church discipline is not coercion but it is a force that pushes up against you and gives you a choice. In Denver’s case, by his own description, he chose to honor his publishing contract for PotHG rather than abide by the counsel and conditions set his local priesthood leaders. It also sounds very much like he accuses them of unrighteous dominion. In a very real way, he chose the outcome. Why did he do this? To me it reveals something about him that I wondered for a long time: that he does not truly sustain the priesthood and that he values his opinions/interpretations and teachings above his church membership. I think that is a terrible example for anyone to follow. He seems very confident. Perhaps his appeal to the First Presidency will change his mind. Or perhaps it will change mine – if they reverse the decision and say, no, you’re free to publish – then I will learn from that. I’ll be very surprised though. He doesn’t seem to care enough about this outcome and his tone and attitude seem very much like he thinks he’s right, which is alarming to me.

    I believe the Lord, without violating our agency, is able to accomplish and foresee all things according to His will. He has prophesied that He would reestablish His church and kingdom on earth and He did. And it is not going to fail. I trust in Him and His infinite and eternal power and knowledge. He knows how to bring everything to pass which He has inspired His prophets to prophesy. For example:

    Dan. 2
    44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
    45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

    D&C 1
    30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—

    D&C 115
    4 For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    As I said, I think He’s made sufficient plans for the kingdom to continue to grow and take His Gospel to the world. There is no other program for doing this. I don’t think Denver’s interpretations are authorized, orthodox, or acceptable, and I think many of them contradict the truth and prophecies in the word of the Lord. We have real apostles and prophets, ordained by the heads of the church, sustained and holding keys, who testify that the church (collectively, not individually) is on course. That doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means we are headed in the right direction and the Lord is at the helm. I believe it will continue to progress and grow and be refined by the Lord. To me it just seems like Denver has stepped out of order. But, again, perhaps it is too early to really tell. I am still praying for him and for his appeal to the First Presidency. This is all very heart-breaking. Stay in the Church, Denver!

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  59. From Denver’s blog entry “Contentment” [with my comments]:

    Tomorrow will not end my love of this restored faith, though it may cost me some “things” that the organized entity claiming to own the faith thinks it can remove.

    [Indictment and undermining of divinely authorized servants/representatives and the Lord's organization. He's really saying they are not the Lord's servants.
    D&C 84
    35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
    36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
    37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
    38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
    39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
    This is the essence os apostasy and kicking against the pricks, I believe.]

    I’m reconciled to that potential loss.

    [unwilling to obey/comply, revealing priorities]

    But I’m also reconciled to these few truths underlying my faith:
    -God spoke to me BEFORE I joined the LDS church. If He hadn’t, I wouldn’t have joined.
    -God has continued to speak to me since.

    [Personal revelation, yes, but also implying, in context, self-proclaimed divine authorization.]

    -Administrative allocation of membership numbers, status and privileges inside an organization don’t matter much to God. I know that because I’ve been the least of the Latter-day Saints and He has taken note of me.

    [This not only undermines the Lord's Church and His servants/leaders, it actually makes membership and organization meaningless. It continues the derogatory tone.]

    -God will continue to have fellowship with me.

    [implies independent divine authorization]

    -The religion I believe has existed from eternity and will continue into eternity. Therefore, a temporary, corporate organization that is owned by a sole individual, which IS The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints won’t survive beyond the veil. There you leave behind your money. You can’t buy or sell in that better place. Since I’ve been there already, the turbulence here is of little moment to me.

    [wow. Further denigration. And this is the essence of his teaching regarding the Church and its leaders - a custodial corporation]

    -Souls matter. Yours, mine the living and the dead. God is more compassionate that we are. No matter how serious we take our organizations, our things, the souls of mankind are infinitely more valuable than commerce between ourselves.
    -I have an assignment given to me I intend to discharge. It is because I love God and therefore love His children. It will cost me a great deal to accomplish that. Not only ire of the organization, but the money I will spend to accomplish the task.

    [self-proclaimed divine approval and authorization]

    -I am converted. Not to things, but to God. Whatever stuff is taken away, that will remain.

    [sounds like a law unto himself]

    [I don't know how else to read these things. Someone help me out if I'm misjudging.]

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  60. My attitude and perspective has shifted on Denver. I withdraw all my judgement and comments to that effect. I pray for him and all of us who are concerned about the Church and these things. See the “Arguments Against Denver” thread for more information.

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    • Geoff,
      I have always had a high regard for you (and other’s opinions written here) as you have spoken from the heart. With this last posting I have a greater respect for you. I would hope that all might reserve judgement until they could come to understand DS’s heart. I believe DS loves the Lord and seeks to do good.
      I believe DS supports the Brethren and also feels that he is on the Lord’s errand. Ever since the Lord spoke to my heart about the “fullness of the priesthood” I have lamented the fact that I learned it all from doing spiritual research and the Lord bringing things to my understanding. The lamented aspect was a wish that having these spiritual blessings was shared more between saints.
      I admire your humble heart and feel you striving to follow the Holy Spirit as D&C 121: 45-46 promises…without compulsory means.
      Remember Nephi had the fullness of the priesthood given to him without a vision. In Helamen 10 one can read of him being so blessed to have the sealing bestowed w/o a vision (see v. 3)
      How can we expect to build a “Zion” society if we don’t adhere to these Celestial principles.

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  61. In other words, much of what I’ve said here is complete misjudgment on my part, so please forgive it.

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