A Moderate Approach to Denver Snuffer


IncreaseInVisitsToLDCIn a private email from Denver Snuffer earlier this year, I had an epiphany about myself and my writing style. I was surprised when he answered my email directly and pleased that he would do so. He shared some advice and an observation which stopped me in my tracks. He said I had a “fair and moderating voice.” At first I thought, “Hey, wait. I’m a conservative, not a moderate.”

Flavor of the Month

But then I got to thinking about this whole Denver Snuffer affair over the past few weeks. My blog readership has gone off the charts. I don’t think it’s because of anything I’ve written. Denver also commented on his blog he has become the “Flavor of the Month” because of what has happened over the last few weeks. He noted his blog hits had also gone through the roof.

A Change in My Bio

I’ve decided I have to change my bio once again. Long-time readers will note I label myself a conservative here, on Twitter, Google+, FaceBook and just about everywhere else you can find me. I’ve decided Denver is right. Seriously, I was a little taken aback about the “moderate” thing but please allow me to provide a few examples of why I now am convinced Denver was correct.

Dangers of Extremism

Growing up, I’ve always viewed the world as black and white, right or wrong, us or them. I was proud of being a conservative and saw progressive liberals as deluded, overly tolerant of evil and basically wrong. Over the years, mainly though my interactions with you, my readers here on my blog, and my interactions on Facebook, I’ve had my eyes opened to the dangers of extremism.

Actively Engaged in the Dialog

“But we’re just zealous for our cause,” you may say. That’s wonderful. We know the Lord wants us to be anxiously engaged in the work. I consider my blogging activities to be a part of the work the Lord wants me to do. It’s a personal revelation thing. Elder Ballard asked us to get engaged in the online conversations about the church happening on the Internet with or without us.

Don’t be a Lukewarm People

We read in the scriptures the Lord doesn’t want a lukewarm people, those neither hot or cold. I used to be very zealous as an activist for the conservative cause. All it got me was arguments from the liberals and silence from the conservatives. I’ve never argued a liberal / progressive stance on anything so I can’t tell you how readers would respond to that. Things changed over the years.

Take Time to Understand Others

I started to see things from the point of view of some very articulate individuals we would label as progressive / liberals. And you know what? I was surprised. A lot of them made sense. I also began to notice how hard-nosed and defensive some of the conservative writers had become – or was it my imagination? I’m not talking politics. I’m referring to discussions on religious topics.

I’ve Decided I’m a Moderate

I’m not sure my wife will be pleased, but I’m sure she’s suspected it for quite some time. Well, now I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m a moderate. Gasp! There I’ve said it. That feels better. I don’t like extreme views on either side. I now see the closed-mindedness that so many of my progressive / liberal friends have been talking about. Wow. It can be really annoying.

We’ve Had Some Wonderful Dialogs

I always thought being a moderate meant average or non-committal and I didn’t want to be average. And I do have strong feelings of commitment, even loyalty to certain ideologies and beliefs. I enjoy the dialog that takes place here on my blog between those who feel strongly either for or against the ideas and writings of Denver Snuffer. But I dislike the bickering.

This is an Open Forum

I do not like personal attacks. I have never banned a single writer here and never will. A friend on Facebook asked me to delete an entire thread because of the bickering he saw going on there. For those who don’t know, when I post here, it also posts on my Facebook account. Sometimes there are as many if not more comments there as there are here. But this is where I mainly post.

Civility With No Personal Attacks

Now you may be interested in what advice Denver shared with me. I suppose if was more of a generalization of his feelings as he experienced the reactions of so many against him. But I felt it was just what I needed to read because I had been writing book reviews of his books and got some of the same hostile reactions to what I wrote. I still do. Most people are civil, but some…

A Prophetic Email From Denver

His email to me, written some six months ago, was prophetic. In it he hints he knew his path would eventually end in excommunication. I wish I could share it now. I treasure it. But it would not be right to do so without his permission. Besides, it probably wouldn’t mean as much to you unless you write about controversial things – not intentionally – that simply bother some people.

Please Contribute as You Feel Prompted

Everyone has an opinion, or should. Everyone should take a stand on certain principles, such as following what your heart tells you, or more correctly, what you feel prompted by the Spirit of the Lord to do. Everyone has something to contribute to this discussion. I hope you never feel shy about adding your comments here. I’ve left it wide open on purpose. I love your comments.

Numb To The Insults and Derision

I don’t care if you disagree with me, and many people do. Some have told me in private emails I am deluded and going to burn in hell for bringing additional attention to the writings of Denver Snuffer through my book reviews. So be it. I will quote one line from Denver’s email: “…with continuing personal trouble eventually you become numb to the insults and derision.” Indeed.

Upcoming Review of Denver’s Lecture

I hope to receive the CDs of Denver’s Boise talk in the near future. I intend to share impressions here on my blog of what I hear there. Again, I sure hope Doug worked out the glitches and got a good recording. If not, we’re going to have to reply on notes taken by individuals who were there such as these shared by one writer: http://goo.gl/TslGw4 (I’ll remove link if the owner objects).

My Position on Denver Snuffer

I make no bones about where I stand. Something in the writings of Denver Snuffer has stirred my soul. Since I started reading his books and blog, I study the gospel more. I am in the scriptures more, and not just to read the lesson for Sunday school. You say I should be doing that anyway, because every prophet and apostle says the same thing. You’re right. I wonder what has changed.

Growth Means Change

I have changed. I no longer see things in black and white, right or wrong. Although I know there are absolutes out there and I feel strongly about some things, I have come to believe I may have been wrong about certain things, or certain ways of thinking. “Oh, no,” I can hear you know, “Tim’s been infected by Snuffer. He’s questioning and doubting. He’s no longer temple worthy.”

I Love This Church

No, that’s not it at all. I’ve said it so many times in the comments, but I’ll say it again here. I love this church. I grew up a Mormon and I’ll always be one. This is the Lord’s church. I love the people I associate with at church each Sunday. 90% of them are asleep as to the sort of things I blog about but that’s OK. They’re good people anxiously engaged in raising their families.

Wisdom Comes at the Price of Tribulation

That’s another quote from Denver’s email. Didn’t Joseph Smith say something similar? He was “wont to swim in deep water,” I believe he said. He also said he was like a rough stone rolling that got a corner chipped off every now and then as it went on its way – I’m paraphrasing. If we don’t take a stand on what our heart tells us is right, we are not being valiant to the Holy Ghost.”

Be Valiant to the Whisperings of the Spirit

I know we are to be valiant to the Lord. I suppose I should say “valiant to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.” That’s a sacred line from my patriarchal blessing – that if I will “be valiant to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, I will be prompted in the path that I should go…in the work I have been called to do.” Is sharing my thoughts and feelings on this blog part of that work? Blogging is a way of sharing the gospel.

Prompted of the Spirit to Blog

I think so. I felt prompted of the Lord to start blogging six years ago. Actually, prompting came continuously for several years. I ignored it and am sorry I did. Once I finally started this public blog, I have felt my testimony strengthen by leaps and bounds. What I’ve written has gotten me into trouble a few times, but the Lord has always helped me through it. God bless. Cheers to all.

My Blogroll – Are you on There?

By the way, if you’re an LDS blogger and would like to be listed on my blogroll, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add you. I try to read regularly from the ones I have listed, but don’t always have the time. I’m grateful that this year has turned out well for me. On weeks that I am training, I start at 6am and am home free much earlier in the day with energy to read and to write.

27 Responses

  1. Hi Tim,

    You do a great job, although a conservative can be a moderating influence, and that may be the sense in which Denver meant it.

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    • dbundy: Hadn’t thought of it that way. I have some conservative friends who won’t read anything but the scriptures, the Ensign or church books their mission president said they could read while on their mission. They are good people, diligent, zealous, happy, but their are closed to any other views but what they have heard from the pulpit in General Conference (or possibly from official LDS curriculum) about what a certain passage of scripture can mean. I love to compare multiple viewpoints. I am not always right, just like Denver is not always right. I have widened my friends on Facebook to include many who are known for their liberal / progressive views, in religion as well as politics. And you know what? I feel enriched for it. That’s what I mean by moderate.

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  2. Please continue your blog!

    Thank you,
    Tom Irvine

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    • I have more to say. I am hoping and praying those Boise CDs get here today or I’ll be emailing or calling Doug tonight. He promised they would be here by the end of he week. Maybe he meant for in-state folks. One of the disadvantages of living way out here in earthquake country. Where will California be when the big one hits at the Lord’s return? That’s why Carol and I are going to retire to St George.

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  3. I have not read DS’s books, but I have read some of his blog. I too felt a similar stirring to feast more out of what the gospel has to offer as I read some of what he wrote. It took awhile for those stirrings to turn into action, but I have begun a genuine study of the scriptures and gospel, something I have not done for probably 15 years (though I have read my scriptures, I haven’t really dug down into them).

    Yet, as I do so, I feel a nervousness that I don’t want my new search for greater truth and knowledge to lead me astray. there have been many people who started with a pure desire for truth and ended up on the wrong side of the equation. The devil doesn’t have to make us all wrong, just enough to go astray.

    I am not bashing DS when I say it, but I do think there was some pride that got in the way of some of his recent decisions in relation to his disciplinary counsel. I really do hope that some of that moderates over time so that he might someday become reconciled with the church, though I recognize that is me projecting, not necessarily what DS wants.

    I appreciate your voice in all of this Tim, as I do think you are closer to the path I feel I should trod than DS. You have helped me find a way where I can feel the desires to dig deeper and learn more, but not be lead away from the safety of the fold. I hope I am no just projecting here again, but I know your “moderate” voice in all of this to be helpful as I begin my journey.

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    • Jeremy: I can’t and won’t judge Denver, especially from afar, but yes, the tone of some of his recent blog posts to me indicated impatience with the whole process, as if to say, “Let’s get on with this.” I really think he made it easy for President Hunt by stating publically he would not withdraw PtHG from publishing nor would he cancel the lecture tour. Well, what’s a Stake President to do?

      President Hunt looks good because he did what the Brethren wanted and Denver is now free to say what he wants without worrying he’ll lose his membership. In a sense, he is travelling the path of Max Skousen who wrote a bunch of neat stuff after he was excommunicated, came back into full harmony with he church, but was then excommunicated a second time. Don’t read anything into that about Denver. Just making a comparison. The important issue is submissiveness but to whom?

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  4. This reminded me of something Hugh Nibley once said:

    “I have been quite half-hearted about [Zion], and much to easily drawn into what I call the Gentile Dilemma. That is, when I find myself called upon to stand up and be counted, to declare myself on one side or the other, which do I prefer — gin or run, cigarettes or cigars, tea or coffee, heroin or LSD, the Red Rose or the White, Shiz or Coriantumr, wicked Nephites or wicked Lamanites, Whigs or Tories, Catholic or Protestant, Republican or Democrat, black power or white power, land pirates or sea pirates, commissars or corporations, capitalism or communism? The devilish neatness and simplicity of the thing is the easy illusion that I am choosing between good and evil, when in reality two or more evils by their rivalry distract my attention from the real issue…It can be shown that in each of the choices just named, one of the pair may well be preferable to the other, but that is not the question. There is no point in arguing which other system comes closest to the law of consecration, since I excluded all other systems when I opted for the real thing.” (Approaching Zion, p.163-164)

    I do not want to take the name of conservative or progressive. Giving my whole heart to either cause will not save me. Instead, I want to take the name of Christ upon me and give my heart to Him.

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    • Daren: Love it. I’ve got that book. Now you’ve just increased it a notch on my “to be read next” list. Yeah, I hate labels and would prefer to think we are all committed to promoting the cause of Zion. Thank you for your heartfelt reply. I feel the same way. Only the Lord will save me.

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  5. Denver wanted interested readers to know ten things about what has happened in recent weeks. You can read them on his second post of the day: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/09/ten-points.html

    I was most extremely interested in what he said in point nine: “Ninth, there have been changes in heaven and on earth recently. I’ve done all I have done in obedience to our Lord. Things will unfold and everybody will have a more fulsome understanding of things. Be patient. Be believing. Do not despair as God’s work unfolds.”

    What changes? How patient must we be? Weeks, Years? I assume he is referring to cosmological changes, but I could be wrong. The Lord said in scripture that “His arm would soon be revealed.” That phrase has prophetic significance in that ancient people used it to describe the close approach of a heavenly body to the earth – larger than a comet.

    I am extremely intrigued. Anybody who has read chapters six or eleven of my work-in-progress, Red Dust, will know why:

    http://latterdaycommentary.com/red-sky/

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  6. Yup. The last few years especially, I have come to let go of a lot of black and white thinking. It really helps to let go of this desire to get everyone to believe what I do (which is always a work in progress). Instead, I love to just genuinely share our learning and ideas, back and forth, dreaming of a world without all this contention/ego. Of course my goal is to follow the Spirit and say what I”m prompted to say, but in a calm spirit of love, and not worrying about having to persuade someone right now. One of my mottoes is “love and serve.” What can I do today to love and serve?

    We need to be able to have discourse all around. Religion is such an emotionally charged subject for people – the core of us that affects everything. People feel so threatened over a new idea. I look at it as adding to what I have, or looking at it from another side, not taking anything away. Anyway….

    And Tim, can you please quit posting all this interesting stuff? – I’m in grad school and I have a ton of homework and you’re distracting me. ;)

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  7. Regarding signs, wonders, end-times, etc…

    Here is the official LDS Church position insomuch as I can decipher. If anyone has any updates, please let me know.

    President Boyd K. Packer, October 2011 General Conference:

    Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: “The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.” Not so! You can look forward to doing it right—getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.

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    • Tom: Thank you so much for this voice of calm in my excitement. I remember that statement well. I also remember the brouhaha when someone posted President Packer’s remarks at his home ward. The individual apparently took shorthand notes and published them. In his remarks, he warned his children to teach his grandchildren to not be afraid of all the changes that were coming – changes that would be of such a far-reaching and fundamental nature as to change our very way of life. It was pure speculation on everybody’s part if he was referring to economic, political or cosmological upheaval.

      The Church had to put out a notice reminding us all that when an apostle speaks in private (as private as a home ward or stake can get), what he says is not for everyone. I want to follow your advice – live my life believing I have time to finish my certification this year, finish my book next year and see the years through to my retirement. I look to our prophet, Thomas S. Monson and our inspired apostles to warn us as we read in Amos 3:7. I am looking forward to General Conference. coming up already in less than three weeks. How time flies.

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    • Well, your comment I think is part of the problem in the church today. Try as you may, if you define “official LDS position” as anything a general authority ever said from the pulpit, you will drive yourself insane trying to sort if all out. I long for the days when Brigham and Orson would go at it from the pulpit in the tabernacle, which often very different opinions, and at the end of the day it served as leavening to press people forward to new and better ideas. In other words, the process of disagreement amongst the authorities was and essential part of the process that kept the church out of the current placid and staid state it finds itself in now. Whether the stirring up comes from a great anti-Mormon writer or from within from a Denver Snuffer, it stirs us up, which I think is part of the appeal of DS. For 75 years, the church has existed in the placid sea of sameness and regimentation. Joseph Smith was said to have a mind that stretched wide as eternity. Part of his genius was the resistance of creeds (“the very chains and fetters of hell”), and the ability to press Mormonism into a new view or mold as circumstances required it (according to Brodie “great plasticity of mind”). Now the church leadership has reached a point where it resists (sometimes greatly) any effort by anyone to try to move Mormonism back closer to it’s original roots. I think this is in large measure the reason DS is provoking such a reaction (that plus I think he is dead wrong on all of his major historical arguments in PTHG).

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      • Awesome comment Karl. Our Western mind wants to have something sold with a feel of unchangeableness when we talk about doctrine. Oh, I remember the days of wanting to respond to comments with, “but so and so said this, and what about what brother so and so said here…?”

        You observation that we have been in a placid sea of sameness and regimentation for 75 years rings so true with me. I credit David O. McKay and Harold B. Lee with bringing that sense of internal peace and calmness that we needed to grow and take the gospel to all the world.

        Creeds – that’s what we have created. That’s what we seem to want as a people. That’s what we have come to expect. “This is our doctrine and this is what we should all agree on.” I have heard rumors there is a work in progress to counter Denver’s PtHG book with, shall we say, “more accurate” interpretations of the events of our history.

        Thanks for your comment Karl. You got me thinking about the whole concept of “official LDS Doctrine” and how we long to pin it down. It seems to me that you can believe just about anything in this church so long as you keep it to yourself and don’t try to teach it to others. Yet, I remain steadfast in my believe that I shall never deviate from the approved curriculum when I teach from the pulpit or in the classroom.”

        I’ve been correlated in public but seek to stretch my mind here on my blog. I have mixed feelings about correlation. It’s a good thing in that we have come to know what to expect in just about every Sunday School or Priesthood / Relief Society lesson. Even the answers seem to be scripted. We know what is an “acceptable” answer and what will raise a few eyebrows if we deviate from that in our response. Cheers.

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      • Karl, I appreciate your concerns for my mental well-being, but I assure you that I irreversibly crossed the threshold into the realm of insanity years ago….

        I shall re-classify President Boyd K. Packer’s quote as an “official reference.” Since he gave it in a fairly recent general conference, I reserve the right to repeat it on blogs, sacrament meeting talks, Sunday School lesson comments, etc.

        I am open to other “offical references” regarding end-times, including potential ones from the upcoming general conference.

        Alas, alternate references may further upset my cognitive dissonance, but I am blessed with wonderful therapist — none other than the great friend-of-John-Dehlin…. Natasha Helfer Parker!

        She is available for consultation via Skype.

        Tim, If I am the voice of calm, then we all need a visit with Natasha!

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  8. I’m for one am very dissappointed with DS when he pulled the stunt of trying to bring his children into the council. Then walking away without a fight. Personally, I think this displays a streak of pride that has entered into his mentality. For myself, if I thought I was being attacked unjustly by leaders, I would defend myself with all my might, and then insist on an appeal all the way up the chain if necessary. Having said that, my position is that DS is just plain mistaken in his historical arguments about the history of the LDS church. However, I firmly believe too that common members of the church have their constitutional right to free speech and to express their opinion freely, whether by speech or writing. I would try to address DS on the merits and try to persuade him that he has made grievous errors of analysis. I would never discipline a member for what he honestly believes, only for what he actually does. If we are striving with all of our heart to obtain the guidance of the Holy Ghost and press forward on the narrow pathway, I do not think that a person like DS can throw us off that path. In other words, whether you regard DS as a friend or foe, he can have little or no impact on a member who is really taking the Holy Spirit as his guide. For this reason only, I think that tossing members out of the church for this along is an error of good judgment.
    I do not believe that apostasy (whatever that is) is a rational basis to discipline members, unless they are actively trying to lead people away from the church and the gospel. Others on this board have tried to distinguish between heresy and apostasy. I would defy anyone to adequately define either term. If were are going to define either or both terms by saying that anything that is contrary to the teachings of the authorities constitutes this, then I would reply that when you peel back the layers of opinion and practice to try to get to the core bedrock principles of the gospel you will be amazed at how the size of that onion shrinks and shrinks and shrinks. The great majority of what current leaders think is Mormon Doctrine, turns out to be merely current orthodox practice and protocol. On this disagreement does nothing to harm the “good name” of the church, because there is nothing to damage there (other than the ego of those who insist that there really is such a thing as the “unwritten law”). I believe with DS that Mormonism is soon going to get very interesting. Maybe the mission of DS is to stir us up in preparation for a time when Mormonism can be stirred up to be more of the creative, dynamic force it started out to be.

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    • Put yourself in the shoes of the leadership for a moment. They not only gave DS ample opportunity to avoid discipline (by walking back his incongruent analysis of the church), but also provided to help with the costs of doing so. It appears that the only thing stopping a more favorable resolution of the matter was DS’ own refusal to seek one. Did DS ask for help to bring his analysis into congruence? Did he really want to get the story and interpretations right? Or did he just insist that he already knew the right answer and therefore became unteachable above and beyond their objections, and thus would stand stubbornly by his own limited analysis regardless of their counsel? The answer is clear. What efforts did he make to avoid this outcome? It looks like he repeatedly directly defied them and made matters difficult, making a private matter into a public matter, and mocking them until the very end. I think he or anyone else interested in advancing our collective understanding of these church matters could have worked out an irenic way forward. So, it does not appear that’s it’s the book per se, , it’s the defiant attitude and ultimate lack of deference and true spirit of cooperation–it’s rebellion, however dressed up or rationalized away.

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      • Hi Pay the Piper: I don’t think I’ve ever responded to any of your comments but I want to respond to this one. I think you’re right. I’ve said it elsewhere in response to someone else’s comment, but I think Denver made it easy for his stake president out of friendship. Yes, it would appear from his own blog reports he was, shall we say, a bit belligerent towards the end. I am confident he had already made up his mind the Brethren had given clear direction to President Hunt what the expected outcome was to be. I think he was simply a bit impatient.

        By his actions of not withdrawing his book or cancelling his lecture tour (two of the requirements), there was only one thing to do. That may look like insubordination and you may call it what you want. I saw it as impatience to get the process over with. As always, this is my opinion only, based solely on what I have read on his blog. I don’t know the man, have never met him and do not speak for him. I simply read his books and write reviews and opinions. I did not sense any mocking. On the contrary, I sense a humble willingness to go through with the charade of the disciplinary council where the outcome was already mandated by the Brethren in the SCMC.

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    • Karl: Again, amazing comment. You’ve added so much to the discussion. I simply wanted to applaud you and thank you for sharing.

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  9. DS has you under his spell after all?

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  10. I really resonated with what you said that growth means change (It’s better than stagnating, right?), and how wisdom comes at the price of tribulation. So true.

    The link you provided for the notes on the Boise is actually a compilation of several people’s notes on the talk, many of my own were included, so for my part, I have no objection for the portions I shared. :)

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    • Thank you Joy. Poor Doug. He must be overwhelmed with all the orders for the CDs. Several people have emailed asking if I have received mine. Hey, I’ll be the last to get the CD’s out here in far-off California. Thank you for taking and compiling such good notes.

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  11. My stats have also greatly increased because of Denver Snuffer. My last post was written in response to something that had absolutely nothing to do with Denver Snuffer, but since it dealt with dissent, excommunication, and church courts, a lot of people with Denver’s situation on their minds have been reading it.

    Congrats on your graduation from conservative to moderate, Tim. My own graduations only consist of going from radical to more radical. ;)

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  12. Hugh Nibley cites Joseph Smith, who even today is the main object of attack. Joseph places the responsibility to find out the truth squarely on our own shoulders: “Search the scriptures—search . . . and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you; . . . you will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation” (TPJS, 11—12). Brigham, too, delineates personal responsibility: “I have uniformly exhorted the people to obtain this living witness each for themselves; then no man on earth can lead them astray” (JD 6:100). Nibley explores Alma’s struggle with dissenters—”the same shall ye not receive into my church” (Mosiah 26:28)—and further explains: “Excommunication was the limit of their authority and is the only power to punish which the Church has ever had. It is not the same power of excommunication claimed by the Roman church, where excommunication means the same as damnation. It is for God alone to judge and pronounce a sentence of eternal salvation or damnation”
    I thought this was truly applicable to this discussion and that truly the decision on excommunication is in God’s hands. Don’t you?

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  13. I am one of the reasons or contributors to your uptick in readership. I came across your blog when I read your review of “Visions of Glory” on Goodreads. I thought, “Hey there’s a name I recognize.” Honestly, Tim, I don’t think I knew from our family/work connection of our Brandon International days that you were a member of the church, but you know newlyweds are all just wrapped up in each other. A lot of things escaped my notice at the time.

    I was interested in what you had to say because although I didn’t know you were LDS, I did know you are a smart guy and I wanted another opinion on what I read in VOG. My opinion was that he wrote about some interesting things to think about and I even hope that some of what John Pontius’ friend saw is true, but at the same time I had a hard time reconciling the idea of sharing things that would seem to be so sacred with everyone. I also came away feeling like he had some delusions of grandeur.

    Perhaps that is because I consider myself part of the rank and file, the 90 percent you speak of. Up until a few weeks ago, I taught my GD lessons right out of the scriptures, the manual, and Our History, nothing else. I am now in the RS presidency.

    I had never heard of this man you write so much about until I read your blog. Then I went over and read his blog. I understand the feelings of being inspired to study the scriptures more and learning more about the mysteries so to speak, but what I found myself doing was spending more time reading blogs than actually reading the scriptures and the words of the actual prophets and apostles. I found myself quickly out of balance. Just in case you are thinking I am blaming you, I am not, this is all about me.

    So as I have been doing this extra curricular reading I am coming across people and ideas and topics I have never heard of.

    Coincidently, or not, a couple weeks ago a woman raised her hand in RS and brought up an obscure temple ordinance that may or may not have existed or been sanctioned or may or may not continue in some form today. I think and I hope that I was the only woman in the room who got the reference. When I told Robert about it, he had never heard of it and was surprised that I had read about it in all the blogs I’d been perusing from your list.

    Anyhow, the woman who raised her hand, told me before class that she has several degrees and is a voracious reader. So her desire to show the class her depth of knowledge with her obscure references came as no surprise to me. The thing is though, all her study and knowledge has not lead her to temple. Nor has she been active for several years, probably not since her childhood. The scripture from 2 Nephi 9:28 comes to mind.

    What I have decided for myself is that although I enjoy reading religious commentary, I am going to try to keep it in balance; reading my scriptures before I read the blogs. As I have done this and attended the temple more peace and knowledge has disseminated on me than all the blogs I have read lately. I have decided to drink straight from the source and not “down stream from where the cows have waded through it” as one blogger put it.

    I also decided that I will keep my extra curricular reading to myself wherein I do have people who look to me for my opinion, who might not so easily find a good balance and I don’t want to be responsible for that.

    Instead I will refer them the standard prayer, scripture study and church/temple attendance and to this recent article for when they come across information or people they don’t know what to make of or that is confusing.

    http://www.lds.org/church/news/five-ways-to-detect-and-avoid-doctrinal-deception?lang=eng

    Long story short, Tim, I am writing to thank you for being a part of a very important learning process that I am sure I will continue to draw from for years to come.

    Bless you in all your good efforts.

    Annie Payne

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    • Hi Annie. Say Hi to Robert. I remember the Payne family well. Simon was always ribbing me about being Mormon whenever I made a mistake. He would say, “I expected more out of you because Mormons don’t make mistakes.” He was kidding of course. I had / have a lot of respect for Simon Burrow. He was both an entrepreneur and a professional manager. He taught me a lot about the way a business should be run. He was / is a master communicator with his employees, something that is rare in small entrepreneurial businesses where the owners turn on the charm for the clients and treat the employees like mushrooms. Sorry, that’s just been my observation working in small business over the years. Simon Burrow was the exception. I am so glad I got to work for him. He taught me how to get along with a co-worker who disagreed with everything I tried to do for her. He put us in a room together and sat there until we worked it out. We become good friends after that and worked well on projects. It was all a matter of perception and focusing on common goals. I still have memorabilia from the old Brandon International before he sold the business: A glass with the monthly sales goal on it and the statement, “We did it!” He got everybody involved.

      But enough about the good old days. I simply wanted to comment that I think your approach to personal spiritual nourishment is the right one – scriptures fist, and any ancillary reading second. This blog happens to be about books. I read a lot of books – mostly LDS – so I review them here. Lately, as you and many others have seen, my review of Denver Snuffer’s books has turned into more about analysis and commentary on events in his life. I did not intend for that to happen. It just did. I have never met the man. I do not know him. I simply read his blog and several others that comment on his writings. I have lost some readership over my decision to share my commentary on his lectures. I am working on an essay about his Boise lecture which I hope to post later today. Some friends have said, “I will not read your Denver Snuffer posts, nor will I comment on them.” The man is too divisive, or perhaps my commentary came across as too divisive. I took that to heart and hope that I can be more objective. This is a public blog, meaning comments are open to all so of course, we are going to get supportive as well as opposing comments to the man and his writings, especially now that he has been excommunicated. It don’t want this to be a blog where it’s “us vs. them” – those who have read Denver’s works – all of them – and those who haven’t. But sometimes it comes across that way.

      Annie, I hope my links are not leading you to places that are causing you to read about things you don’t want to know or that you feel should not be made available on the Internet. I’m fairly certain that article you mentioned, while it is a good one, may have been presented before. Nobody wants to be deceived, especially when it comes to something as important as our eternal salvation. It is a great article. It is focusing on the idea of NEW revelation. Everything I read from Denver Snuffer is from the EXISTING body of scriptures. I can see why people would think he is trying to tell the Brethren what to do. He does come across that way, doesn’t he? I think that’s the main objection I get when discussing Denver with others. They say, “He’s out of order.” Perhaps it was for that attitude he was excommunicated, but we’ll never know. My take on the other four points is that Denver meets them well – as to being worthy, his stake president said so, he teaches from the scriptures, I personally feel uplifted or edified when I read his material, and as Denver has always said, “Stay active in the church, love and serve others there.”

      Thank for your comments and for sharing that link to the article. Since it refers to Elder Maxwell, we know it was not written in response to anything Denver Snuffer has written, but it is still a good test. I guess everyone must decide for themselves if they derive any spiritual nourishment from his writings or if they lead in the wrong direction. I had one commenter call him the most subtle of Anti-Christs there has ever been because he is so gifted and skilled with words. I had to laugh because the whole focus of all his books has been to how we can better come unto Christ. The book that got him into trouble was of course his last one – Passing the Heavenly Gift, which includes an “alternate narrative” of church history, one we or anyone can read upon multiple sites all over the Internet for many years. I thought he did a pretty good job of presenting a positive explanation of the subjects he discussed there, but since his explanations were contrary to the “standard narrative” found in the authorized curriculum, it got him into trouble. Well, we can ignore him now since he’s excommunicated right? I wonder how long he will continue his lectures.

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  14. Through this situation with Denver I just keep hearing this quote in my head, by President Monson: “… the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that, when God speaks and a man obeys, man will always be right.” I cannot always determine well when God has spoken and when he has not, so I tend to take a person’s word for it. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/04/the-call-of-duty?lang=eng

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