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.

147 comments
Geoff
Geoff

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

Geoff
Geoff

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.

Geoff
Geoff

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.]

Geoff
Geoff

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!

Annalea
Annalea

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.

Geoff
Geoff

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.

RC
RC

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.

Chris
Chris

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.

Geoff
Geoff

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.

Geoff
Geoff

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.

Geoff
Geoff

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.

Ray
Ray

"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

Rick
Rick

Mormon 3:2 ...be ye baptized, and build up again my church... Straight from the Lord. :)

Annalea
Annalea

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.

asacredwork
asacredwork

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.

Annalea
Annalea

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.

rockwaterman1
rockwaterman1

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.

JaredJared
JaredJared

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.

Rick
Rick

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

Jared
Jared

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!

Ben McCrea
Ben McCrea

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.

Tom
Tom

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.

Tom
Tom

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."

Rick
Rick

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.

Annalea
Annalea

Er . . . I meant :) Don't know if I can ever reprogram these fingers . . .

Annalea
Annalea

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

Pay the Piper
Pay the Piper

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.

Joy L.
Joy L.

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.

Annalea
Annalea

Geoff, I respect you very much for posting this. It takes integrity and courage to publicly retract statements you've made.

RC
RC

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.

quantumleap42
quantumleap42

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.

Annalea
Annalea

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.)

quantumleap42
quantumleap42

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.

Annalea
Annalea

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.

Jared
Jared

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.

Tim Malone, MCSE
Tim Malone, MCSE

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.

Tim Malone, MCSE
Tim Malone, MCSE

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.

Tom
Tom

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.

Annalea
Annalea

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. :)

Annalea
Annalea

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.

Tim Malone, MCSE
Tim Malone, MCSE

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.

Geoff
Geoff

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.

Annalea
Annalea

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.

Annalea
Annalea

Thanks for your comments, Tom. I'll have to mull those over for a while. :) Have a great day!

Annalea
Annalea

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.

Tom
Tom

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.

Annalea
Annalea

Ugh. Wordpress, you always mess with my smileys. lol I meant: Have a wonderful evening and weekend! :)

Annalea
Annalea

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)

Pay the Piper
Pay the Piper

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.