Arguments Against Denver Snuffer

UtahCourtBuildingI do not speak for Denver. He needs no spokesman. Go read his blog. These are simply questions I have been asked since I have done a few reviews on his books over the last year or two. They seem to keep coming up over and over as new people discover my blog and want to know some of these basic facts and my opinions. I always respond – go read his books. But in an effort to make it easy for readers in a time-constrained world, I have put together answers to some of the most common questions that have come up more than once. It would be better if you found them for yourself on his open blog or any of his many books which are for sale in several locations in Utah as well as on Amazon, where I picked up all my copies and where they are still available.

  1. What kind of a name is Denver Snuffer? I kid you not, these are some of the comments I have received in private emails or here on my blog. One guy said the first time he read Denver Snuffer (he came here from Reddit), he thought he was a serial killer from the mile high city. Denver is named after his father so all his books have Jr. appended to his name. Yes, that’s his name. Denver was not raised a Mormon. His mother was a Baptist. He was raised in Idaho but joined the LDS Church 40 years ago in 1973. He was excommunicated 40 years later to the day. It’s an easily remembered name isn’t it? I think we will be hearing it more as the years go on. If my calculations are correct, Denver is now either 60 or 61 years of age as of late 2013. So what?

  2. Why should I listen to someone who has been divorced? I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. As Denver has shared in his first book, The Second Comforter, he’s just a regular guy, the “least” of the saints. He shares very few things from his personal life. He has shared this one in an effort to point out that unlike the LDS Church, which will not consider a divorced man for a leadership position (see my note below), the Lord does not hold something like divorce against us. Denver has since remarried and is the father of nine children, although that has nothing to do with his message that we each can and should have a personal relationship with the Lord, one in which we receive a personal witness of the Lord’s resurrection, also known as the Second Comforter.

  3. Why doesn’t he like to have his picture published with his books? You can find pictures of Denver at various ages on the Internet, but he has made it a practice to make sure promotional material on upcoming talks, lectures or book discussion does not include personal pictures. He continues to state this is because he wants people to concentrate on the message, not on him. He has offered many times in many places in his books and on his blog that the messenger is not as important as the message. Obviously, you can infer from this that he feels he has been given an assignment from the Lord to deliver a message to us that the promises in section 93:1 and other scriptures are literal. He says the Lord wanted him to tell the people that anyone can experience a personal visit from the Lord, be they male or female. Endowment is required but not priesthood. In other words, the Lord does not discriminate his visits to women who qualify themselves.

  4. What makes him think he can write a book or give a lecture? Denver is an attorney by trade and thus has some expertise in writing and speaking. My reviews of his books have included something to the effect that he is verbose, tends to repeat himself and can go on and on about a subject at some length. That has been helpful to me in many ways as I have read his books. He will introduce a concept, give an example or two, repeat the concept, explain how the idea can he applied in our lives and then conclude by restating the concept again, always backed up with abundant references to scripture, both modern and ancient as well as words of LDS leaders. Some have criticized his writing style. His first book, The Second Comforter, acknowledges editing contributions of others, which he says makes the message clearer or easier to understand.

  5. What special claim does he make that I should listen to him? Denver claims, at least for his first book, that he was asked, perhaps even commanded by the Lord to explain to the LDS people in particular that they can and should seek to obtain the witness of the Second Comforter. From what I can tell the gist of his message is that we have left many of the original teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith behind and either misunderstood or misapplied many scriptures for which he offers clarifications from twenty years of callings as a Gospel Doctrine Teacher in various wards and stakes in which he has lived in the Sandy Utah area. He at one time served on the High Council in that stake and, I am told, held many meetings in his home, in which attendance was similar to when he taught or spoke – always overflowing. People came from miles around to hear him. Yet he continues to say he does not want a following. He wants to bring people unto Christ. In short, he does indeed claim that he was given a message from the Lord for the people.

  6. Why would the Lord speak through him and not through the LDS prophet? This is perhaps one of the most oft repeated criticisms I encounter in the comments in the dozen or so essays I have posted on my blog about Denver Snuffer over the past year or two. It’s not one that I am qualified to answer. However, it does not bother me in spite of the fact I know the stories of how the Lord dealt with this in the past through the Doctrine and Covenants. I’m referring to the story of Hiram Page and his white stone in section 28. In verse 6, we read, “And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church. For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.” This scripture has been cited by many as the main reason Denver was excommunicated.

  7. A messenger from God would not drive a Harley or use swear words. Yes, Denver drives a Harley, or at least he did in the past. I don’t know if he still does. So what? What does that matter? What gives us the right to judge another man by the kind of vehicle he chooses for transportation? Yes, Denver has been known to let slip a “hell” or “damn” in his lectures, but then so did J. Golden Kimball, so there you go. The idea here is that a prophet or messenger from God should and would conduct himself with decorum, be conservative in his principles and would want to portray himself in an acceptable light, more like the way our current general authorities present themselves in public. I don’t believe I have ever heard Denver call himself a prophet, although the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy. He has, however, said he has been given an assignment from the Savior, is His servant and is delivering His message.

  8. The church does not want us to listen to excommunicated individuals. This is true. That’s one of the reasons why the Church excommunicates members who go astray. The charge against him was apostasy, although many have tried to make a distinction that what he did was heresy in the way he denigrated the brethren, opposed some of their interpretations of scriptures and history and in short, was less than respectful in his writings and lectures towards those whom we sustain as “prophets, seers and revelators” in the LDS Church. The unusual thing of course is that we would know nothing of Denver’s excommunication if it did not come from his blog. In other words, the church does not now or no longer announces disciplinary actions against former members as it once did. Many members simply will not listen to or read Denver because of this.

  9. He is a slick, deceiving anti-Christ. Stay away from men like him. Yes, this argument has been presented in the comments of my blog. Personally, I do not find this statement logical, since Denver, in all he does, as far as I can tell, invites and implores us to come unto Christ, to do all within our power to heed the spirit which leads us unto Christ and prepares us to enter the Savior’s presence. His entire first book was all about the steps we can and should take to come unto Christ. Each subsequent book, up until the last, augmented that message. In fact, the last book, Passing The Heavenly Gift, which is the one that brought about his excommunication, made direct statements about how and why we should come unto Christ, even though they were couched in terms accusing the current LDS church of no longer teaching this doctrine of Joseph.

  10. He is just trying to get a following to start a church and get our money. Denver has expressed many, many times he seeks no following, does not want a following, has asked people to not follow him but to seek after the Savior. He has even renamed the widget on his blog to display “readers” instead of “followers.” He has explained to us many times he donates the proceeds of the sales of his books to the LDS Church General Missionary Fund (I assume now through other family members). He at one time also explained the printing of his books was contracted through an individual who depends upon Denver’s books for his livelihood to support his family. If I remember correctly the man was handicapped or could not provide for his family in any other way. Denver is NOT trying to start a church, although he has said we should all seek to become members of the church of the Firstborn, which, as you know, does not have an earthly structure.

  11. What makes him different from other apostates who have left the church? First, you will have to decide if you feel comfortable calling him an apostate. I don’t. Others have argued he fits the bill so they have no problem with that. They claim he leads members away from the Prophets and is therefore an apostate. I disagree. He had told us to sustain the Brethren, has taken great pains in sharing his excommunication procedures, including some details behind the scenes in which he wanted his children to know he sustained his bishop and stake president. Of course, there are those who argue if he sustained them, he would have done what his stake president asked by ceasing the publication of his books and cancelling this year’s lecture tour. You can read his response on his blog. I am satisfied in my mind he is no apostate. It is true enough that the church cut him off, but I do not see him as someone like the leader of the Strangites or any of the leaders of the polygamous groups such as Lorin Wooley, Warren Jeffs or Rulon Wells.

  12. He seemed belligerent and disobedient as he was being excommunicated. Because he made the documents and some of the background discussion public on his blog, there was much discussion here and on the private discussion groups that he was not being cooperative with the requests of his priesthood leaders. I fact, some went so far as to say by bringing his children to the proceedings he violated their instructions and in effect, “did an end-run” around the process. They considered this mockery. Denver explained his reasoning on his blog. You will have to decide for yourself if he was honoring his wife’s right to revelation as I believe he was or if he was trying to manipulate the proceedings. What does it matter? The end result was the same. He knew the decision had been made before the council was held. I was surprised he decided to attend. He told Peggy Fletcher Stack the Friday before in the Salt Lake Tribune he felt it was a done deal. The decision had been made and his local leaders were only doing as they were told. If anything, perhaps Denver was tired of waiting and wanted the process to be over quickly.

  13. Why didn’t he stop publishing PtHG like his Stake President asked? You’ll have to ask him that question if you’re not satisfied with the one he gave on his blog about negating contractual obligations. Personally I’m not sure it would have made a difference. The book is published. It has been available for almost two years. I am certain tens of thousands of copies are out there. I am also certain hundreds have read it. I have received written affidavits from individuals who swear it helped keep them in the church, saved their marriage and caused them to reconsider and understand so much of what they had previously misunderstand and been taught growing up in the church. In short, and in my opinion, Denver did not stop publication of the book because he feels Passing the Heavenly Gift is helpful and is helping people come to grips with what they learned from the official curriculum and what history teaches from documents and witnesses.

  14. He has given ammunition to the enemies of the church with his book, PtHG. Yes, I have read this from some of my Facebook friends. I cannot understand this since most everything he wrote about is already available and has long been available in a form much less flattering on the Internet from sites like Mormon Think, Recovery From Mormonism, Post Mormon, New-Order Mormons and many, many anti-Mormon sites. They didn’t need PtHG to find the quotes or the stories they use in their publications and on the Internet. If anything, Denver related the stories with greater factuality, from original sources and drew conclusions that were complementary to the individuals involved. I can think of several examples which he told with sensitivity that belies the brutality of what actually happened. Think of some of the way local bishops ran some of the towns in Southern Utah in the late 1800’s. Think of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Denver did not make up these facts and was not the first to relate them. He wrote them clearly.

  15. I prayed about it and the spirit told me not to listen to him or read his books. Then don’t read his books. They are not for everybody. It does require a strong testimony to read some of the things in PtHG. The book was not written for the new member of the church, weak in the faith. If the spirit is telling you to not go to his lectures, then for heaven’s sake, don’t go. If you feel a pre-disposition to be offended or are worried about being led astray by what he might say, then, by all means, stay away. Many people find all the spiritual nourishment they need from the regular meetings of the LDS Church. We are encouraged to study out of the best books. I consider Denver’s books to be some of the best. I have gained so much from them. They have answered so many questions for me and removed so many doubts. Yes, removed doubt, not introduced any new doubts. I also have prayed about Denver books and lectures and feel impressed they will be helpful to me in my regular study of the Mormon faith. I read the scriptures on a regular basis, read the lessons for Sunday school and my High Priest Group but I also read a ton of other LDS books that help me understand this religion including Denver’s.

  16. Something changed between his first seven books and his last one – PtHG. Yes I have read this one a lot. Some write he went rogue just before publishing PtHG. They write they can accept all his books before this one but not PtHG. Perhaps something did change. Perhaps he got tired of people not “getting” it, because they were stuck in some false beliefs about our history or about our doctrine. Yes, this is getting into deep territory. We teach that only prophets have the right to interpret scripture and teach official doctrine for our church. You may believe what you like about whatever may have happened to Denver before he wrote PtHG. I for one am grateful he wrote the book. As I stated previously, it helped me resolve many discrepancies I had been taught growing up from the official curriculum and what I later read in the journals and other sources. In any event, it’s a moot point. Denver is excommunicated. You can freely ignore him.

  17. Why did he make his summons letter and excommunication notice public? I guess you’ll have to ask him this question. I believe it was to provide a witness of what was happening. Denver is not like the rest of the September Six, for example. His stake president proclaimed in front of his children that Denver was worthy of a temple recommend. The disciplinary council was only about a book – Passing the Heavenly Gift. He and President Hunt are friends. From what I read, President Hunt was willing or perhaps suggested individuals who had questions about what had happened to Denver should read his blog for the detailed explanation. Previously I wrote the church did the right thing by excommunicating Denver. I am no longer so sure. With all his knowledge and background in teaching, could they not have made him a consultant to help those who are struggling with a faith crisis? Trust me there are a lot of them, especially in Utah. Although I see only a little here, I read stories of people resigning from the church every day in Utah. It seems to be the in thing to do as a way of protesting the feeling of being deceived.

  18. Doesn’t he teach the ordinances are not the real thing – they’re only symbolic? Yes, he does, at least to my understanding. Denver relates and backs up with scripture we should go to the Lord in prayer after receiving an ordinance specifically to ask the Lord to ratify it and send the promised power described in the ordinance, and I mean every ordinance, including those of the temple. The church is authorized to perform those ordinances but as President Packer taught, there is a big difference between authority and power. Power comes from the Lord and only from the Lord. We need to be taught by the Holy Ghost and then by angels what we must do to receive the power described in the ordinance. The ordinances are earthly representations of heavenly things. I don’t think this is a new or different doctrine. Denver does a great job of teaching and explaining it in a way that helps us understand we have work to do after receiving the ordinance.

  19. His book claims there was no succession in the presidency from Joseph Smith. I confess this is one I still don’t understand. I may be totally wrong on this point. My wife and I have had several discussions about this point. You’ll have to read the chapter on succession in the presidency from PtHG to understand what he is trying to explain. I have read it probably half a dozen times now and I confess I still don’t understand. I have read Denver’s statements that he never said the church didn’t have the sealing power, yet he makes a very big deal about how Nephi received the sealing power in the Book of Mormon – only by hearing it from the voice of God. We also used to teach in this church that an apostle’s ordination is not complete until he feels the hands of the Lord upon his heads and hears from the Lord himself that he is ordained as an apostle. He makes a distinction between an administrative apostle and an apostle who is a living witness of the resurrection of the Savior. This is not new. You can read the record for yourself how the charge was given to the apostles until the turn of the 19th century. What power or what Heavenly Gift was being referred to in Denver’s book that so upset the Brethren?

  20. Why would he publish such a horrible book that does so much damage to the church? When I was first introduced to the book and read it, I thought to myself, “Finally, someone has written all the things about the church I have found spread out all over the Internet in a way that makes sense, presents facts and wraps them up neatly in a nice bow. The ending didn’t always come out so pretty but that’s because some of our history is ugly. Men and women are imperfect. Our leaders made mistakes. I’ve said it many times, these things can be found all over the Internet in ways that are not complementary to the church. Denver’s book does a good job of explaining them in a better light, even though they are not so desirable. They really did happen. The book is not filled with lies. It is filled with a slightly and sometimes radically different narrative of our history from what we were taught growing up in the church or from the official curriculum. In my mind, it is not a horrible book, but I would only recommend it to my friends who struggle with things they have read on the Internet that contradict what we teach in Sunday school class.

  21. He is out of order. He criticizes. It is not his place to tell the Brethren what to do. OK, this is one that I chalk up to Denver being a convert. It’s unheard of to disagree with the official story of our history and then to publish it in a non-academic environment with all the peer-review and weasel-words that allow an essay to be read without offense. There’s no doubt this book offends some people, especially when he uses phrases like “proud descendants of Nauvoo” (he explains that well I think). I could never have done what Denver did in publishing this book. I think he knew when he wrote it that it might cause a few ripples, a few waves and perhaps result in some disciplinary action. In an email he wrote to me six months ago, I think he even had an inkling that he might have to suffer excommunication as a result of publishing Passing the Heavenly Gift. But I’m glad he did and appreciate his courage in doing so. The book has blessed my life.

711 comments for “Arguments Against Denver Snuffer

  1. September 23, 2013 at 12:18 am

    This is part one. It also lacks links upon posting, which will be added later. You are welcome to add comments, corrections, clarification or disagreements. I have not met the man. I only write this for my own edification so I can be ready to respond when people ask me these questions, which they do. This is obviously not the review of his Boise talk, which I am still working on and hope to publish later this week.

    Some of these arguments came from Carol, my wife, who has no desire to read his books, hear his lectures or learn more about what he writes. I am fascinated by his message and am still attempting to understand it after over a year and a half of reading his material on a regular basis. Please don’t think I’m trying to criticize or offend. This is meant to be a position paper.

    Many of these have been discussed in several of my previous posts about Denver Snuffer:

    Denver Snuffer Excommunicated – 138 comments
    Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council – 138 comments
    The Appeal of Denver Snuffer – 68 Comments
    What Denver Snuffer Teaches – 66 comments
    A New Star Will Soon Shine Forth – 35 comments
    Remembering the Covenant – 31 comments
    Progress Report on Denver Snuffer – 31 comments
    The Four Phases of Mormonism – 28 comments
    A Moderate Approach to Denver Snuffer – 27 comments
    All Are Invited To The Feast – 21 comments
    The Lord Prepares Groups of People – 21 comments
    My Defense Before the High Council – 15 comments
    Expression of Support for Denver Snuffer – 10 comments

  2. Donald
    September 23, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Well said Tim. Denver’s books and blog have also blessed my life.

  3. Steve
    September 23, 2013 at 8:40 am

    FYI, One Who Is Watching will be publishing his rebuttal of PTHG.

    Steve

  4. September 23, 2013 at 8:45 am

    ” Doesn’t he teach the ordinances are not the real thing – they’re only symbolic? ”

    Oh oh….Am I an apostate?

    I am sorry but let sit and discuss nicely for a minute.

    A) We are Gods in embryos.

    Would you let an infant (let alone an embryo) play with something that YOU can handle as a grown up but that can be harmful in the hands of someone who don’t have the knowledge or experience or whatever to know how to use it properly?

    B) Our children are not really our children. They are our brothers and sisters and someday, when we are exalted, we will be given the power to have a family on our own.

    Oh wait so what are we doing here?
    Play pretend?
    Er….it seems so.

    All this is just play pretend for Heavenly kids who take it so seriously that they are ready to kill in the name of their game instead of enjoying the opportunity to learn from our Heavenly Parents’ pattern just like kids playing pretend.

    So yes, nothing is real but everything is sacred and beyond serious.

    No seriously……would you let a 5 years old child play with a chainsaw?
    Yes? Realluy? Why? Because he is a good kid and it is the way to learn?

    OH MYYYYYYYYYYYY….

    I explain this point of view of mine to the wife of my stake president and….she laughed.
    And I know i can share this publicly and at worse people will look at me with a blank look. Maybe even laugh saying that I am wrong. End of the discussion.
    Tell Denver to move to France!

  5. September 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

    We all fret too much over such small things!

    The very fact that this man as the backbone to present something different, stand up for it, take the stab in the back, and continue pressing on makes him unique and refreshing. I find his clarity of purpose intriguing and long for that kind of direction.

    What if he is telling the truth?

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was due for a refresh.

  6. September 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I believe that we all have inspired messages to share with our fellow man, and that some of these message may be “beyond the scope” of current LDS Church teachings and practices.

    FWIW, here are some guidelines that I have developed through trial-and-error.

    1. Do not represent yourself as having received a revelation for the LDS Church.

    2. But you may claim, if true, that God has given you a message for the House of Israel, human family, all mankind, etc.

    3. Make sure your message is impeccably grounded in the Standard Works.

    4. Do not criticize the LDS Church leaders in any way for being remiss in regard to your message or cause.

    5. Leave LDS Church history alone. It is a Tar-Baby in the Br’er Rabbit sense.

    6. Compartmentalize. Completely remove yourself from the LDS Church sphere when you deliver your message.

    7. Use gentle persuasion.

    8. When faced with threats of church discipline, pray mightly to the Lord for deliverance.

    9. But if necessary, resign your membership rather than be excommunicated.

    I have made some mistakes in regards to these points, mostly in the past. So no need to point out my hypocrisy.

    The Lord has spared me from no. 9 thus far, but twice I have had to lay my membership record on the altar.

    • September 23, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      Thank you sharing this Tom. Makes me wonder where Denver went wrong. I suspect it was focused on #4 and especially #5.

  7. RC
    September 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I normally shy away from contention in whatever form it comes in. I personally feel that contention is a critical tool of the adversary and has no position or portion in the Lord’s Way. But with that said I share a few of the ideas I come away with from the Denver Snuffer ordeal.

    I understand that there are quite a few who enter into the fray because it gives them a vicarious way to live and share the gospel — even to discuss some of the finer points in the gospel.

    One can not be saved in ignorance. When we pass this mortal probation (or second estate) there is much for us to learn about the gospel in the heavenly classrooms. If we can not be saved in ignorance then there must be some classrooms in the spirit world wherein we can participate in “lessons in the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. If I had the time and the patience I could list quite a few lecture titles that would be used to attract a student body to come in and listen.

    Denver has good intentions in his heart. I believe that. I knew him while in college while he attended BYU’s J. Rueben Clark Law School. Denver was an intellectual then and he is still an intellectual. I say that with respect and no intended smear. Intellectualism is, as an isolated study, a very important study in the Plan of Salvation. The glory of God is intelligence, or light and truth. Whatever is light and whatever is truth is encompassed in that which I call intelligence. Light and Truth are vital, in fact essential, in the pursuit of being saved. I can find no fault in a person who seeks intelligence or light and truth. One might find some problems if the seeker feels like he/she becomes the source of the light and truth, and not that it flows to them from a “higher power”. For if it flows to them from a higher source then they can always be the purveyor of that light and truth and not the source of it. Give credit to the source at all times. Sometimes I feel that Denver strays in giving the illusion that he is the source of some special light and truth; that the Brethren have strayed from obtaining the source correctly and that the Lord has commissioned Denver to bring an erring group back into the true source. The Lord Himself must operate within these guidelines of light and truth — and He does, as do all the Brethren who profess to be His Special Witnesses. The removal of such is not in the hands of a mortal being…the Lord is very capable of structuring His organization as He sees fit to do. If the Brethren ere then it is the Lord who will correct the erring disciple. It is not a mere mortal into who’s hand He would entrust such critical judgments (thankfully).

    We should all take up the study of what it takes to have every act, every ordinance, every Temple Ordinance, everything that is done with the authority of the Holy Priesthood while here on earth, to have it “sealed”, “ratified”, “In full force and effect”, “Sanctified”, and have the same action binding in Heaven. We would all be benefited by a sincere, fasting, prayerful study of the role the Holy Ghost has in each of these actions — especially those who are done with the Holy Priesthood.

    We all seek to be blessed to be members of the “Church of The Firstborn” and all that we do is in an effort to be saved in the Celestial Kingdom, and even in the Highest of Standing within the Celestial Kingdom. The great question is whether we are willing to do all that is necessary to have this great blessing bestowed upon us. There was a period of time that I sought the “blessings of the Fathers” and with the Tender Mercy of the Lord He began a Doctoral Study of the same in my life. He taught me. He will teach you. I am the lowliest of His servants and if He will do for me I know He will do for you. And with “His stripes I am healed”…I am still undertaking my doctoral coursework and I am excited for each and every lesson. Some came with me pleading for the Lord to let the cup pass from me (my own personal gethsemane) and I have had too many of them, but the Lord in His merciful way brings me through each and every thing He brings me to. I pray each day to be worthy of His lessons as He teaches me. He loves each of us with an Eternal Love. He loves you, He loves Denver, He loves to bring us unto the Father — and isn’t that the summa summarum.

    I believe Denver is trying in his intellectual way and methodology to cause an understanding of these critical, saving intellectualisms. But to say the Brethren are left suspect within those guidelines is a trek into the unknown for any who do not sit in counsel with the Brethren. If one does not sit in counsel with them in their weekly meetings and in their God fearing efforts to fulfill their Priesthood duty, how can one make judgment on what they lack or what they don’t understand. One is guessing if one does not sit in those counsels and meetings. If my judgments are correct I believe the Brethren work tirelessly in bringing to pass the Eternal life of each of us. They work tirelessly in their administrations and in their ministrations to every soul who is living and every soul who has lived on the earth. They have undoubtedly sought their “errand from the Lord” in a very personal way. If one were to study each of their talks one would see, without error, wherein each of them received their “errand from the Lord”. We would do well to remember that this is the Lord’s work. He understands what it takes to be His “Special Witness” unto all the world. One can be His witness but not be one called to be His “Special Witness unto all the world”. Each of us has a duty to witness Jesus Christ and His Atonement and Resurrection. An Apostle has a commission that really only the select group of men who have been called by the Lord to such can understand. I don’t understand why Denver brings them into judgment — there is no need for division, none….and that is not the Lord’s way.

    I wish Denver no ill will. I hope he sees some way of helping in this intellectual study of the gospel without being the “source” of some new insight or new understanding of this Gospel. I pray that he takes the following year and brings himself into the correct order of Heaven and earth in how the Lord addresses needs to understand things about the gospel. There is nothing in the teachings of the Gospel Plan that each and every one of us can not be partakers of. One can not be saved in ignorance — so let’s get to teaching one another the Truths of the Gospel and work to hasten the coming advent of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule and reign for a thousand years. There is room for all to come to an understanding of the sealing power of the Priesthood, the Holy Ghost, and the work of Elijah the Prophet.

    • September 24, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Thank you RC. I so look forward to hearing from the apostles and prophets in less than two weeks at General Conference, I agree the Lord will work with each of us on our own doctoral program if we but ask It can be and is at times painful. I too know this from painful, unexpected experience. Those who are closest to you, sometimes family, sometimes not, may turn out to be the source of the chastening hand of the Lord as he prepares you to dwell in his presence. Well said.

  8. September 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I was asked about a divorced man being a bishop. I gleaned the following from a few spots. The bottom line is that it is rare. Divorced men are usually not considered for leadership positions:

    From various sources: “To be bishop, a man must be currently married in the temple. If he has been divorced, then he must be married to his current wife at least 5 years in order to be considered for the calling. It is actually easier to be a bishop than a full time Institute / Seminary instructor (CES employee), where you can never have been divorced! But basically, yes, you can be a bishop despite having been divorced previously. Most likely a current bishop who gets a divorce, will be released as a bishop.

    “You’ll pretty much never meet someone who was called to be a bishop while he was single due to a divorce. The Stake President recommends a name…provides info about that person and it has to be approved by the First Presidency. Regardless, being sealed in the Temple is a must. But typically yes. If you’ve been divorced, you are not likely to be called as a bishop. In the US they typically don’t call divorced men as bishops. This is a general rule of thumb and seems to differ depending on needs in an area.”

    Where Denver lives, he has stated that he was told he would never serve in leadership because of his divorce. I can look up the reference in one of his books later (I think it was “The Second Comforter” if someone really feels the need to know.

  9. Ray
    September 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Tim, I will break my silence on these posts simply to address one sentence in this one, since I will be commenting about that sentence and not Bro. Snuffer directly.

    “Perhaps he got tired of people not “getting” it, because they were stuck in some false beliefs about our history or about our doctrine.”

    This is the attitude I abhor most in the defenses of Bro. Snuffer. This sentence, once again, dismisses my objections as childish and immature – as being based on false and inadequate understanding. It says, “if only they could understand the truth” – and that is, fundamentally, a very condescending attitude.

    You are a better person than that statement suggests, and I have to believe you didn’t think through the implications when you wrote it. It is, however, very common in a lot of defenses I have read.

    • September 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      From the preface of the book:
      “…the accounts we regard as ‘history’ are mythical attempts to smooth together the broken confluences to make a tale worth retelling. Mormonism is particularly ‘smooth’ in all the official history retold by the church I belong to: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
      “More and more, however, among friends of mine there is an increasing unease with official accounts of the history of the church. They have grown impatient, and some have left Mormonism because they find too many fanciful insertions into the story of our faith.
      “I have been waiting for someone to write this book. It needs to be written. No one has stepped forward to do so. Therefore, I have decided I am to write it. It explains why I remain a loyal member, despite the rough stuff from which the modern church arises.
      “This book does not contain the traditional account. It only responds to it. Therefore, this is not intended as an introduction to Mormon history. If you are not acquainted with the claims made in basic Mormon history, you may want to read those first.
      “This explanation of events is not based on personal preferences, but it instead conforms with prophecies about Mormonism. The result is a story unlike the familiar one…Some conclusions are very different from what you are used to. A great deal of what is regarded as ‘well settled’ is, upon close investigation, merely a series of inconsistent leaps of faith unwarranted by the record.
      “Alternatively, they are simply inaccurate, incomplete or untrue. In the traditional story written and told by Mormons to one another, there has been a great deal of revising, or explaining events from hindsight.
      ” have found ideas that I once considered renegade are, in fact, an accurate explanation of events at the time they happened. Latter ideas tend to creep backwards, offering explanations that do no belong in the story until later changes were adopted.
      “It is very important to know that some events regarded as original are changes which were made at a later date. They do not belong in account as part of the first, unfolding establishment of the religion. For Mormon readers, therefore, it will be necessary to keep an open mind about our history until you have finished reading.

      “Finally, it would be a disservice to discuss the problems with traditional accounts of Mormon history and leave the reader with the impression I believe there has been a complete compromise of the faith. Therefore this book will explain why Mormonism is still the center of God’s involvement with religion today.”

      —- End of quote from the preface —–

      And that is what I mean by my expression it seemed to me Denver was tired of some people not ‘getting it’ because they were stuck in some false beliefs about our history or about our doctrine. Ray, I have been a student of our history and doctrine all my life. I am about as TBM as they come, or at least I always thought so. I always dismissed the ‘alternative narrative’ stories as made-up, false, lies or deliberate attempts to mislead. In other people’s books, such as Grant Palmer’s, I could see he had some things wrong and put things together wrong. I thought the website “Mormon Think” was a joke – too contrived (still do).

      I did not see that in Denver’s book of Passing the Heavenly Gift. For me, many questions that had long been on the shelf were answered as I read his book. The answers made sense. This is not a personal accusation against you that you have been deceived or that you just don’t get it. This was about me getting it and me putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Ray, don’t leave your convictions. Stick to your guns. This book is obviously not written for you. It was written for someone like me who had a few lingering questions about what happened AFTER Joseph Smith and how our history was written and yes, in some cases, revised, many years after it happened.

      The debate will continue for years to come, or for at least this year. Soon, the rebuttal to PtHG will be out. Denver has already said he looks forward to responding. It is an academic debate in many ways. My fundamental faith has not changed. I still know Joseph was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I still am more than willing to pay my tithing to this great church. I have said it before and will say it again, If my Stake President asks me to take this blog down so I can keep my temple recommend I will comply in a heartbeat. But as of today, I feel I can answer that loyalty question without any deception. I do not feel that reading Denver’s books disqualifies me for a temple recommend. He has not asked for anyone to “follow him” or start a church, just do some thinking.

      I do not think any less of anyone who has not read Denver’s books and who does not intend to. My wife will not read his material. She does not care if I go to his lectures, but they are too far away for me. My sentence was a supposition, based on the paragraphs I presented in the paragraph at the beginning of this comment. I may be completely misunderstanding or misrepresenting what he is trying to say or has said. On the surface, his statement does seem a little arrogant: “Therefore, I have decided I am to write it.” At first, I thought to myself, “Why? It really didn’t need to be written,” but then I started receiving letters and emails from people who said that reading Denver’s books kept them in the church or saved their marriage or some other equally profound statement. The book meets an unmet need that some people don’t have, but many do.

      Please, Ray, I am not dismissing your objections. I’m not even sure I know them completely. Nor do I think Denver is doing so either. Your objections are not childish or immature. Perhaps my reasons for finding answers in this book are childish and immature. I apologize for what you perceive as a condescending attitude. Perhaps it was. If so, I repent and apologize. Please forgive me. I don’t believe for one minute that a man of your caliber and stature with a history of service in this church is anything but committed with heart, mind and soul. I just tried to be open minded when my bishop asked my opinion of the book. I was simply amazed at what happened when I read it. For me, it was a spiritual experience. Others have said it was the worst tripe they have ever read. Go figure.

  10. Ray
    September 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    As I said, Tim, I have read the charge I described in LOTS of comments about those who have problems with PtHG – and I was certain it wasn’t what you meant when you typed that statement. I appreciate your clarification, and it says what I believed to be the case. I respect and admire you greatly, which is why I decided to write the last comment.

    I stand by the general point I made, however – that so many people simply dismiss all who object in some way by painting everyone into the same narrow box. They do exactly what they criticize the other side of doing – and I am really weary of reading it over and over and over again. I’ve seen it repeatedly in multiple comments here – and I think it’s the opposite side of the same lack-of-charity coin. I also have read it more and more on Denver’s blog since the publication of PtHG – which is why I no longer read his blog at all. It’s not that I disagree with everything he’s written; it’s because I have no desire to partake of what I see now as hypocritical vitriol – framed in terms of love and concern. His carefully crafted attack on Sister Nelson, especially, was appalling. It was subtle yet scathing, and it was quintessentially lawyer-esque – and I love and admire many lawyers.

    When I started getting images in my mind of the lawyers pestering Alma and Amulek and constructing elaborate arguments and justifications for why they were ripping them to shreds and belittling them . . . I lost all interest in continuing to see what he has to say in that forum.

    I don’t know the man, but I have sensed a spirit come over his blog the last year or so that simply doesn’t attract me one bit. I don’t see that in you – but, honestly, I see it in FAR more comments on this blog than in the past. I still read here – because I respect you so much, but, more and more, I am picking and choosing which posts I read – based almost entirely on the non-productive negativity I know is going to flow in some of them.

    Now I need to go back to my read and lurk status on these posts.

  11. Pay the Piper
    September 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Nice summary.

    But, what about the argument that DS could have worked with the church during the editing phase of his book? In the academic community, ideas are peer-reviewed before they are published for quality control and to improve the author’s exposition. Why not run the manuscript by the GAs and try to initiate a dialogue instead of just asserting the right to publish non-reviewed speculation that would likely warrant trouble? That was his first opportunity to avoid this outcome. There were many more later on. But failing to pursue this option at the outset is observationally equivalent to pursuing a path to apostasy because it would assume from the get-go that the GAs are unreasonable and uninterested in being truthful, accurate, or working with learned members to clarify difficult issues of history and doctrine.

    • September 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Pay the Piper. I’ve seen quite a number of your contributions on previous essays. I don’t believe I’ve ever responded directly. Thanks for your visits and your comments. They are excellent. Frankly, I’m in agreement with you. I think everyone has seen how I’ve taken the stance of defending Denver’s actions, but that’s not my right or my place, is it? I don’t know why he did what he did. I don’t know why he wrote the book. Surely he must have known it wasn’t favorable to the church. I’m with you. I think he knows the academic process. I am certain he understands peer-review. You’re right, he chose to go it alone. He did not seek or counsel with those who run this church or give them opportunity to help him present a book that might have been more palatable. He had a reputation. His first books were well received, even if they were not published through “authorized” channels. He had a small, yet growing influence.

      Now for the other side of the coin, he explains at length in The Second Comforter why he did not use the peer review system. I think points seven through ten in my post entitled Overview of The Second Comforter might help explain his mindset there. I’ll summarize: 7) He argues against the process of intellectual criticism. For those who don’t know, criticism is not a bad thing in this context. It simply means rebuttal of critical thinking, what Pay the Piper is engaging in here. He states intellectual criticism brings no revelation. It is not the way God teaches us. 8) He then argues Debate is not the right method, claiming it is not unifying. All it does is convince each side they are correct and entrench them in their thinking. 9) Point nine in that intellectual approach is also insufficient. Strangely enough, we are to study things out before we present them to the Lord. We can’t expect revelation without having done some thought about what we want to know. 10) Finally, he writes reason and scholarship do not produce revelation. What we are after is revelation – direct from God, through the Holy Ghost or whatever means He chooses to answer us, including the ministration of angels or a visit from the Savior when we are ready.

      Well, the deed is done. If you know Denver or have read The Second Comforter, you know his emphasis on sacrifice. Is it possible, and many have asked this, that Denver was asked to write this book, knowing full well it would eventually result in the loss of his membership? He makes a big point that when you are asked to sacrifice something you will know it came from God. In simple words, did God ask Denver to sacrifice his membership in order to prove him worthy of some greater blessing? Did something happen the day he was excommunicated that we will only understand when we are permitted to view the “big picture” when we get to the other side or if we ask the Lord to reveal to us now why Denver wrote a book that did not need to be written? You see, I can defend it either way – I can say it damaged the church by putting into one place all the bad things about our history upon which we don’t like to dwell. They are not lies. They are simply not taught, presented, defended or a part of our approved curriculum. On the other hand, struggling saints have shared the book has helped them come back to the church because they found an open honesty and clear explanations of difficult events from our shared history.

      Your statement or question, Pay the Piper, is valid. Why did he take the adversarial stance? Why did he not work with the Brethren? He certainly knows enough of them. No lawyer in Salt Lake can practice long without having some sort of dealings with the church. I do not know. I am only engaging in an intellectual exercise that will produce no clear answer because Denver does not comment on other blogs. From what I have read, Stephanie will bring some writings about him to his attention and he will comment on them from time to time on his blog ONLY. But those days may be past. Some of my friends are close enough to him that they could ask these questions but he is rather busy this weekend preparing for his Idaho Falls and Logan lectures. Besides, just like I would never ask my sister to ask Elder Perry something (she is his secretary), I would never ask Doug or any other of Denver’s friends to answer our ponderings and settle our arguments. In the big scheme of things, what we discuss here is all pointless because we will all know one way or the other when the sign is given as he has predicted and the servant is revealed.

  12. Geoff
    September 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Tim, maybe you can relate, I’m also from outside of Utah, and it seems like the intellectual apostasy issues are much more rampant there. Is this because of the Mormon culture bubble there? Now I realize that with the internet and virtual living trends in our society that this is probably growing more rapidly elsewhere. Sometimes I sit back and just wonder if there’s way too little real scripture study, temple worship, prayer and productive pondering, and Christlike service occurring in some of the intellectuals’ lives. Maybe too much reading and too little focus on others and serving. Most of the servant/leaders in the Church that I know are too busy to get mired in this stuff, which can be very distracting, however self-satisfying.

    For example, essentially the thought/premise that got Denver into trouble is his 8th published book’s/PtHG’s proposition that Brigham and the Saints didn’t really complete the Nauvoo Temple and the Lord gave them an ultimatum and so he partially cursed them and drove them into the wilderness. From hence springs all his interpretations that the presiding Apostles do not possess the fulness of the priesthood and are very much custodial/administrative apostles and not true prophets, seers, and revelators, etc. Incidentally, he also implies many times, especially in his blog, that he is what they are not, i.e. a real Apostle possessing the sealing power and the fulness of the priesthood, member of the spiritual/eternal church of the Firstborn, on an authorized errand directly from the Lord, but not holding a priestly office in the “corporate church” (and now, not even holding membership). To me it seems like he is claiming, albeit subtly right now, that he is being raised up to be a new Joseph Smith to bring about a re-commencement of the first phase of Mormonism (as he puts it), Zion-building. He may say he does not wish to have a following, but he is doing what one would do to form one: publishing, public speaking, defying the orthodox leaders, etc. He is doing all of this in a very subtle and seemingly gentle manner, which is different than most of the apostates we see who leave the Church kicking and screaming. I also want to note that he has also subtly proclaimed, through his actions and excommunication, that his premise and conclusions in PtHG are not merely conjecture, opinion, or interpretation, but REVELATION. That he is discharging a divinely authorized duty which came through a separate channel, i.e. Denver.

    It seems to me his entire church history paradigm ultimately hinges on his interpretation of D&C 124:32 and his judgment of how the early Latter-day Saints and Brethren did not fulfill it:
    D&C 124:32
    32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.

    That is a very hard-line view of justice, given the circumstances, especially later after Joseph and Hyrum were martyred. I think it is very easy to temper that view of justice and judgement with mercy, like the Lord seems to communicate in these verses (42-48 have the tone of justice, 49-55 have the tone of mercy):
    D&C 124:42–55
    Doctrine and Covenants 42 And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.
    43 And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it.
    44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy .
    45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
    46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
    47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
    48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord.
    49 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.
    50 And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.
    51 Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God.
    52 And I will answer judgment , wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God.
    53 And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God.
    54 For I am the Lord your God, and will save all those of your brethren who have been pure in heart, and have been slain in the land of Missouri, saith the Lord.
    55 And again, verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.

    Denver’s interpretation/extrapolation of these verses and the 3 subsequent partially-apostate/condemned(?) phases of church history doesn’t feel right to me – not because I haven’t processed all the information he presents either. By his own admission, Denver is neither appointed nor ordained, does not have authority, and does not want a following – he has encouraged us to be faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – he has not done this, per se, in this instance, but nevertheless. So it’s probably better just to let him be, leave him alone. It isn’t necessary for our individual or collective salvation or exaltation to read his books or his blog. Stick with the scriptures, particularly The Book of Mormon, the Temple, Christlike service, and the divinely appointed and authorized servants of the Lord, the living Apostles. If the Lord wants us to listen to someone, He will raise them up in His Church. Too many unauthorized voices writing books and going on speaking tours – totally unnecessary. Minister to individuals and bring them to Christ through His Church and help them get the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Again, I am still hoping and praying that Denver appeals to the First Presidency, that they choose to hear his case, and that he chooses to abide by their counsel. I hope and pray that he stays IN the Church. We shall see.

    • September 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      Amen, Geoff. I don’t pretend to understand what Denver is doing or why. He does seem contradictory at times in what he writes and what he does, such as this lecture tour. He claims it was planned long before the present disciplinary dilemma, apparently not yet concluded because of his appeal to the First Presidency. If my friend Mel Fish’s experience is any indicator, the appeal will not get past the Area President’s office, but perhaps Denver’s case has greater appeal and attention than we know.

      I am looking forward to the rebuttals to PtHG being published (I am aware of two now in the works) and Denver’s response. I wish I had nothing but time to analyze, dissect and post my critiques of each of his lectures but I have yet to finish his first. He will already be giving two more this weekend. Perhaps I should follow your advice – and some of my readers have suggested they are tired of all this Denver stuff – simply ignore him. But alas, I can’t. As I’ve written before, it’s like watching a train wreck. How can a man be so confident he is right? There’s only three sources to sustain him – God, the adversary or ego. Will his lecture tour be what he expected? Will the result be greater awareness of what he says God wants us to know or will it bring a meltdown?

      I feel like someone opening that Chinese fortune cookie (an American invention by the way) – “May you live in interesting times.” We do.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Great comment. My objection to Denver Snuffer, after reading his book very carefully is that even the greatest historians in the history of the world are well aware of their limitations. Snuffer has crossed over from an understanding that his historical narrative is an interpretation, to actually claiming that is is not interpretation, but the “truth”, apparently on par with revelation. This is the danger of ever believing your own nonsense as being something more than interpretation. This puts Snuffer into trouble time and again in PTHG. I think Snuffer is sincere, I think he really believes his own stuff, and I sincerely believe his interpretation is just plain wrong. What keys exactly did the church lose? Snuffer never makes this clear. What keys did Brigham Young and his successors lack? Snuffer confuses the keys that allow the church to be led, with the ultimate keys that each individual receives in connection with receiving a fullness of the priesthood. He seems to be irritated that modern apostles and prophets are not receiving face to face revelations. But–what evidence does he have that they are not? And-what difference does it really make? If the authorities in the church have the Gift of the Holy Ghost and are leading the church in a righteous course thereby, then why is this not sufficient for him?

  13. Always Pondering
    September 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    From all that I’ve read of Bro. Snuffer’s works, he always admonishes readers and listeners to seek the Holy Ghost’s affirmation or denunciation of what he teaches. I rejected some of the first things I read of his, but realized I never asked the Lord once to confirm or reject his words by the Spirit. I repented of that and did better. I was answered. And those answers are private between the Lord and I. I haven’t as yet even told Bro. Snuffer. But he doesn’t care — he wants us to take it to God alone.

    I hope everyone does the same. I hope they don’t assume by their initial reaction — positive or negative — that the Spirit has spoken before they even ask. Perhaps some of Bro. Snuffer’s words are true. Perhaps some are incorrect. We do not reject the scriptures because they contain errors. Errors are false doctrines by literal definition. Should the same standard apply to non-scriptural writings? At first I would say of course not. If such have errors, reject it all, for these are “the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.” But wait, the Spirit let’s us know the truth of ALL things. And when He let’s us know that something — or even a portion — isn’t correct or true, my experience has been that I come away with greater discernment, but no desire at all to speak harshly of the author.

    That’s just my humble experience. Ask the Lord. Seek an answer. Make no assumptions so that I am open to receiving a witness from God. Otherwise, I would feel it is only correct to state my fallible opinion (clearly as opinion) which may influence someone in a positive way, yet still be fully erroneous. Further, I’ve noticed many opinions are full of cheer that this man has been excommunicated. Surely this is not worthy of any member of the church.

    The labor for a witness is worth every strain. I hope we don’t settle for less, whether it be the book of Abraham, General Conference, PtHG, or a well-written commentary for the Latter-Day.

    Enjoyed your post, Bro. Tim.

  14. jg
    September 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Bro. Snuffer is exed yet John Dehlin who openly questions and criticizes everything LDS is not exed. The members should be upset about this. Snuffer has done nothing compared to what Dehlin has done. Not right. The First Pres. and Quorum of 12 are Gods representatives and so like God they should be no respector of persons like God. Members really should complain about Dehlin.

    • September 26, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Compare what John Dehlin has done in response to his meetings with his stake president: John has been just as open as was Denver. However, in John’s case, as far as I know, he complied with everything his SP asked of him. He disconnected himself from some of the more critical / negative blog activities with which he was formally associated, he specifically helped create a wonderful website entitled “How to stay in the LDS Church / Why I Stay.” Anybody who reads John’s stuff lately can see he has changed his tone. He is much more conciliatory towards the mission of the church. True, he is openly pro-LBGT, but he promotes his views in such a way that he does not come across as “You MUST accept this” but more of “Please learn to love our LBGT brothers and sisters, they have a hard enough road to travel without being judged and rejected by their fellow saints…” The list could go on and on. John has changed in a big way. I have watched him for the last seven or eight years. he had a crisis of faith, and in my opinion, he got over it. He has come back and is trying to prove faithful and obedient. Now mind you, all this is based on simply what I have read, so I suppose that makes me a good impartial observer. Just like I’ve never met Denver, I’ve never met John. I do not like that Denver was excommunicated and I hope his appeal to the first presidency brings about god results, but by his own writings, Denver said he could not or would not comply with what his SP asked him to do. And there, my friend is the big difference. As far as I know, John did as he was counseled and for this no action was taken against his membership status.

    • David Blanchard
      November 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      jg: Finally, the voice of reason steps in. I feel the exact same in regards to Bro. Dehlin.

  15. jg
    September 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I did not know a divorced man could never hold a leadership position! That is absured! What if the mans wife did him dirty and it just could not be worked out? I doubt very seriously whether or not God cares if someone has been divorced. Wow. The church really is getting to become as the Pharisees. A wife of Brigham Young divorced him.

    • September 26, 2013 at 8:00 am

      jg: Please see my note below. This is not doctrine. It is practice or custom in most stakes in Utah and California. Everyone knows exceptions, including me. But as a general rule: when considering men for leadership positions such as bishop or SP, if they have been divorced, their name is placed lower on the list. It’s not a hard and fast rule of which I am aware.

  16. Jan Verrall
    September 26, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Hello Brother Malone,

    thank you for explaining, from your point of view about Denver Snuffer.

    Most appreciated.

    Kind Regards J.V

    On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 5:13 PM, Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs

  17. robf
    September 26, 2013 at 5:42 am

    As much as I’ve been enlightened or entertained by Denver’s writings and talks, I just can’t get beyond this comment attributed to Joseph Smith:

    I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.

    History of the Church 3:385

    • Matthew
      September 26, 2013 at 7:36 am

      By his own description, then, Joseph Smith was on the high road to apostasy.

    • mmmmm1234
      September 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

      btw, I’m not trying to suggest that JS was condemning others … but I don’t think DS is condemning others either or saying “he himself is righteous.: They both just seem to be finding fault with institutions that have drifted over the centuries/decades. I think the context of this quote is important, when JS says the Church, he is referring to a church that at the time was closely connected to the powers of heaven. I think Abinadi also found fault with the church of his time, as did Christ, and many others. The larger question is not about DS, it is about the Church, and it is about your own connection to the heavens.

      • September 26, 2013 at 8:10 am

        From everything I’ve seen, Denver has done nothing but good in getting people to read, think, study, ponder, pray and recommit. You may think him an apostate (since he is excommunicated and his appeal has not been announced), or you may think him inspired and consider seriously if the Lord really did ask him to perform some special sort of mission such as write his book / books, conduct his lecture circuit this year, or possibly even sacrifice his church membership as a sign to the Lord that he would give up anything asked. If so, he is a much better man than I. My membership means more to me right now than learning fully what Denver has said we can learn: to receive the Lord, commune with Him, be taught by Him, be accepted into His presence while in mortality and to be ministered to or taught the mysteries of eternity. I am not ready to give up the sacrament and the temple since I have not yet receive those other things that Denver claims he has received. I am nowhere near Denver’s level of faith and spirituality.

    • September 26, 2013 at 8:03 am

      robf: That’s a good one and one we should all seriously consider when pondering Denver’s predicament: ie: his excommunication. Based on that quote, how could the church have done anything less than what they did? Still, that does not stop me from reading, pondering and gaining good from his insights as he shared in his books.

  18. September 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    If only determining truth were as simple as pasting an “apostate” label on someone, so we could know that we could safely ignore anything a person so labelled says, no matter how sound or well-supported it may be.

    I don’t think truth works that way.

    Would Jeremiah, Isaiah, or Lehi have passed the standard Robf interprets out of Joseph Smith? Does Snuffer find fault with the church – those who repent and come unto Christ (D&C 10:67)? I don’t see that he has.

  19. September 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I’ve read Denver Snuffer’s first 3 books, (all that he had at the time) and until the last month, had not realized that more had been written and that he had a blog. Regarding your point 18: I don’t know if both of you are claiming there has been a change in the “charge [That} was given to the apostles” But you may be interested to know that In the 1970’s LeGrand Richards, when speaking to a group of missionaries, was asked if the charge from Oliver Cowdery to the original apostles of this dispensation applied to the apostles called today replied that it did.

  20. Geoff
    September 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I very much enjoyed his first book, Second Comforter. I think in Passing the Heavenly Gift he has expressed his opinions/interpretations as truth, yet there are so many assumptions he makes without firsthand knowledge. Now he seems to imply that he does have firsthand knowledge of these things, as he does the Second Comforter. That’s the part that rubs me wrong. It’s very difficult to identify what Denver is claiming he knows (i.e. revelation) vs what he is just stating as his opinion/interpretation – his language seems to flip-flop between authoritative declaration and uncertain speculation, both in his books and especially on his blog.

    His claim that the living, presiding Apostles are merely administrative/custodial just does not square with all their testimonies I’ve heard, read, and felt and been confirmed to me by the power of the Holy Ghost. I think DS needs to get to know them better before he keeps declaring such things, which has obviously jeopardized his membership and standing in the Church. Perhaps he will get to know them better if they decide to hear his excommunication appeal. I hope and pray so. I was in a mission conference with Elder Perry when I was serving my full-time mission, age 20 or so, and he gave us an Apostolic blessing using his keys. President Benson was the prophet/president at the time. It was tangibly, electrically powerful – one of many unimaginable spiritual experiences I’ve had with the Brethren I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators in truth. Perhaps Denver has not had any experiences like that.

    I believe the Lord planned for Joseph Smith’s passing, that it would not frustrate His work of Restoration, that the keys were passed just as the Lord passed them to Peter, and that the prophecies about the Lord’s kingdom being established in the latter days, never to be destroyed or left to another people, have been fulfilled (no need for reboot or splintering). The Church is still true and living and He is pleased with it collectively as an organization, but not individually (lots of errant members and even some leaders).

    Let the Book of Mormon and the scriptures – that’s how Denver learned whatever he’s gotten right – and the words of the authorized servants of the Lord be your reading material. Too many unauthorized individuals writing and speaking as if they were – the definition of pretending, in my opinion. Stay with the Savior and His Spirit and His true delegated servants/representatives. This other stuff seems like fluff and distraction, however fun and self-gratifying and mysterious.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Great comment. Second Comforter is primarily doctrinal, and who could argue with it, since Snuffer quotes Joseph Smith extensively. In PTHG his arguments are HISTORICAL, and that gets him into all kinds of trouble, because historical argument requires historical interpretation, and that is a very difficult bridge for any historian to cross. For Snuffer to apparently have confused his interpretation (or opinions), actually recently claiming PTHG has transcended interpretation and is the “truth,” means that he is unaware of the self-deception he has fallen into. It’s all very sad.

      • log
        September 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

        Snuffer, unfortunately, makes claims for which only two possible conclusions can follow.

        1. He’s a prophet, in the old testament sense, as was Joseph Smith.
        2. He’s a fraud – not accidental, not self-deluding, but an intentional, knowing fraud.

        This same dichotomy faces us with respect to Joseph Smith, for the same reasons.

  21. log
    September 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    If Snuffer is telling the truth about having received the Second Comforter, and has been brought through the veil as he claims, then it follows directly he *does* know, not merely believe, what he’s talking about, and not only would he be authorized, but he would have been commanded, to say what he says, as he says he has been.

    That is the fundamental problem one has to solve for oneself – is Snuffer a prophet, or not?

    If so, there is a problem. It would follow that a great many are overstating the state of their authority, passing off their beliefs or opinions as knowledge, both among the membership and among the leadership.

    If not, then he is a fraud.

    But, here’s the rub – PTHG must be answered in the terms in which it was offered, regardless of whether Snuffer is a prophet or not. Either he’s got it wrong and despite all logic and publicly available evidence, the sealing power – the power to move mountains, seal and open the heavens, commune with the Church of the Firstborn, to stand in the presence of God, even the Father in His kingdom while in the flesh, and the power to inquire and obtain an answer by the voice of Jehova, rather than enduring silence and be left to one’s best judgement – is currently in possession of the Church, despite no example of it being seen in the Church since Joseph.

    Or he’s got it right, and this power is not with the Church, and never could be an institutional possession in the first place. He’s got the facts right, and unfortunately the facts undercut all of the historical claims to this power by the Church. This must be answered using public evidence. Excommunicating him doesn’t invalidate Snuffer’s argument, neither is the exercise of power an answer to his claims.

    Frankly, all this blather about his motivations and church membership status and how pure and good the GAs are is all beside the point. If Snuffer’s committed errors of history or scriptural interpretation, demonstrate it. One’s private feelings, opinions, or “testimony,” does not suffice to publicly answer a public argument made using publicly available evidence.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Yes, and Snuffer deserves to be replied to “on the merits” of his arguments. All of his major historical arguments are incorrect. However, I do not believe members should receive discipline for what they sincerely believe. If Snuffer is wrong, he should be addressed on the merits. What he experienced with diety is between him and God. By the same token, so is what the current authorities are experiencing, and what common members are experiencing.

      • log
        September 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm

        All of his major historical arguments are incorrect.

        You would do the world a service if you would demonstrate that claim, rather than assert it.

  22. Geoff
    September 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    It is not fact or even just evidence – it is interpretation of historical evidence – the worst kind, I might add, since no one is around to properly testify of it. Several of your statements are pure assumption as well, such as “despite no example of it being seen in the Church since Joseph.”

  23. Geoff
    September 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    My experiences are personal and subjective, granted, as are yours. But it sounds like you’re insinuating that the truth of this matter, regarding Denver and his church history succession theory, can be judged and known strictly on the historical evidence, like it will be obvious. I don’t think it is. Interpretation of sketchy evidence is no less subjective. Historian bias is inevitable. I believe that revelation is required to settle the debate. Just thinking. Subjectivity is a great topic.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I think you are correct. Snuffer seems to be willingly blind to the limitations of his own historical interpretation.

  24. Geoff
    September 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Denver’s recent post “Equal in Authority and Accountability”, here:
    http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2013-01-01T00:00:00-07:00&updated-max=2014-01-01T00:00:00-07:00&max-results=43

    He does not seem to reflect D&C 102:10–14 (here’s a link and transcription of the 1844 edition):

    http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/doctrine-and-covenants-1844?dm=image-and-text&zm=zoom-inner&tm=expanded&p=129&s=undefined&sm=none

    10 In cases of difficulty respecting doctrine, or principle, (if there is not a sufficiency writ ten to make the case clear to the minds of the council,) the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.
    11. The high priests, when abroad, have power to call and organize a council after the manner of the foregoing, to settle difficulties when the parties, or either of them, shall re [p. 126] quest it: and the said council of high priests shall have power to appoint one of their own number, to preside over such council for the time being. It shall be the duty of said coun cil to transmit, immediately, a copy of their proceedings, with a full statement ofthe tes timony accompanying their decision, to the high council ofthe seat of the first presiden cy of the church. Should the parties, or ei ther 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 de cision had been made.
    12 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.— The travelling or located high priests abroad, have power to say whether it is necessary to call such a council or not.
    13 There is a distinction between the high council of travelling high priests abroad, and the travelling high council composed of the twelve apostles, in their decisions: From the decision of the former there can be an appeal, but from the decision of the latter there can not. The latter can only be called in ques tion by the general authorities of the church in case of transgression.
    14 Resolved, that the president, or presi dents of the seat ofthe first presidency of the church, shall have power to determine wheth [p. 127] er any such case, as may be appealed, is justly entitled to a re-hearing, after examining the appeal and the evidendes and statements ac companying it.

    The way this reads to me is that the stake high councils are patterned after “the high council of the seat of the first presidency”, namely 12 high priests and a stake presidency (or presidency of Melchizedek Priesthood); but this council is lower than the council of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency to whom you can appeal if you are dissatisfied with the first’s decision. And that “there is a distinction” in authority, from the first you can appeal, from the Twelve and the First Presidency you cannot (i.e. because they are the highest authority delegated on earth; they represent Christ).

    Denver claims that the council of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency “have no authority within organized stakes.” His explanation sounds confusing and muddled to me, given the verses above. In his post he uses his authoritative declarative voice. Judge for yourselves.

  25. log
    September 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Several of your statements are pure assumption as well, such as “despite no example of it being seen in the Church since Joseph.”

    What man has claimed to have been in the physical presence of the Father and the Son since Joseph? I can name only one – and that would be Snuffer. What man has actually claimed to be a prophet since Joseph? I know of only one – that would be Snuffer – but I know of several among the leadership who, having had the question put to them directly whether they were a prophet, purposefully avoided giving a direct answer to that question, where Joseph was forthright and bold to say he was a prophet.

    Perhaps you can name others? Preferably among the Twelve, or First Presidency? After all, the Biblical definition of a prophet is one who has stood in the divine council while in the flesh, and has his instruction from God Himself. See this: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-sod-of-yhwh-and-the-endowment/

    Others claiming a man is a prophet, a seer, and a revelator, does not equate to the man himself saying he, himself, is a prophet, a seer, and a revelator. A man having a duty to be like unto Moses does not mean he actually is fulfilling his duty to be like unto Moses – if, for example, he has not received the gifts of prophecy, seership, and revelation, then he is not in the way of his duty. If a man does not claim to be a prophet, why should anyone believe he is one, save God testifies from on high that such is the case?

    Bluntly speaking, if each and every explanation offered by the Church for how the sealing power got from Joseph to President Monson can be shown to be invalid on historical and scriptural grounds, as PTHG demonstrates those explanations to be, then it means there needs to be a new explanation given which is consistent with 1) our own history, and 2) our own scriptures, or perhaps one ought to admit the Church does not possess this power, and it is as Snuffer says, bestowed from heaven directly, or not at all. Once again, PTHG needs to be answered by reference to our history and our scriptures – public evidence, public analysis. On the face of it, Snuffer has established his case. I wish it weren’t so.

    If you have seen any relevant errors of history, or the interpretation thereof, or interpretation of scripture, in PTHG, then you may profitably contribute to the discussion over the contents of the book. If you haven’t read the book, you cannot. Have you read the book?

    If not, I would not recommend that you do. Heaven knows I was happier before I read it. However, as the scripture says, to answer a matter before hearing it is a shame and folly unto a man.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      My careful reading of PTHG (3 times) did not convince me that Snuffer made a compelling case that sufficient keys were not passed along to Brigham Young and the rest of the Twelve. Snuffer’s arguments are one of a palette of possible interpretations, not an overwhelming argument supporting his position. Besides, the bonafide to direct the church of God does not rest on the necessity of a man seeing God face to face, does it? In the BOM, there are authors writing about 300BC that say “we know of no revelation amongst the Nephites”, and then about 80BC Nephi is having face to face revelation. Obviously, some leaders had direct encounters and others did not. This did not invalidate the passing of keys that were legitimate. As long as the current authorities have the give of the Holy Ghost, and are following the directions through that medium, then the church is being led on a righteous course. And, how does Snuffer, or any other member know what the current authorities have or have not received from the Lord? The answer is nobody knows the answer to that question: it’s all a supposition on Snuffer’s part that the current leadership has not received direct revelation.

      • log
        September 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm

        In reading your comment, I am not seeing where you address the content of PTHG on the issue of Brigham having the sealing keys. I would appreciate it if you would cite the specific arguments you did not find compelling – those specific paths by which Brigham said the keys came to him, which Snuffer shows cannot possibly be true – and show me how you have nevertheless come to believe Snuffer failed.

  26. log
    September 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    To forestall a common rejoinder that when God bestows something upon a man, then that man receives it automatically – D&C 88:33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.

    By this we may know that a man who ascends to the Presidency, of whom it is said: D&C 107:91–92 [T]he duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is… to be like unto Moses… 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. – does not automatically receive these gifts, and may not, in fact, be a prophet, neither a seer, nor a revelator, to say nothing of being a translator. In examining our history, as shown in PTHG from the publicly available journals and publications of the time, it becomes readily apparent that we have had non-prophets as Presidents in the past, beginning with Brigham Young (by his own admission), yet these men were acclaimed at the time, and since, as prophets.

    Unless God testifies to one that So-And-So is a prophet, and in the absence of a direct claim by So-And-So to prophethood, why should it be believed that any man is a prophet of God? It’s not modesty which prevents men from claiming the title of “prophet” when the title is, in spirit and in truth, justifiably claimed. Again, witness Joseph’s straightforward claiming of the title, and explaining how he merited it, in light of the Biblical standard.

    I freely acknowledge that a man may be a servant of God yet not be a prophet, in the terms under discussion here. I freely acknowledge that good and pure men may be in high positions, yet not merit the title of “prophet”. I freely acknowledge that men who have not received the Holy Ghost may be called by God to serve in whatever office it pleases God to place them; they are His calls to make.

    Calling a tail a leg does not mean a dog has five legs, for the label does not change the nature of the thing.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      You are apparently unaware of Spencer W Kimball’s statement in 1979 Preisthood conference, where he quoted John Taylor “I have seen the Savior,” and then stated in effect, I bear that same witness that John Taylor gave. If you study the history of the presidents of the church you will find evidence of divine manifestations, with visions, revelations and clear direct from the Holy Ghost in each of their administrations. He that has ears to hear, will hear.

      • log
        September 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm

        And yet, we have President Grant saying he was not aware of any that had seen the Savior since Joseph.

        Does that require ears to hear?

        Also, I went and looked up each of President Kimball’s talks in both conferences in 1979. I looked for the string “seen the”, as in “I have seen the Savior.” I did not locate the string “seen the” in any of his talks.

        Do you have a citation?

  27. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I believe President Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the Savior and the redemption of the dead in D&C 138 qualifies as a good public/published example of visions/visitations after Joseph Smith.

    The Living Christ proclamation from 2000 is another powerful example.

    And these declarative witnesses from the most recent General Conference are very powerful authoritative/declarative witnesses, too.

    (2013 April General Conference, These Things I Know, Sat. Morning Session – By Boyd K. Packer)
    And now you see I’m 88.
    The years have flown so fast.
    I walked, I limped, I held a cane,
    And now I ride at last.
    I take a nap now and again,
    But priesthood power remains.
    For all the physical things I lack
    There are great spiritual gains.
    I have traveled the world a million miles
    And another million too.
    And with the help of satellites,
    My journeys are not through.
    I now can say with all certainty
    That I know and love the Lord.
    I can testify with them of old
    As I preach His holy word.
    I know what He felt in Gethsemane
    Is too much to comprehend.
    I know He did it all for us;
    We have no greater Friend.
    I know that He will come anew
    With power and in glory.
    I know I will see Him once again
    At the end of my life’s story.
    I’ll kneel before His wounded feet;
    I’ll feel His Spirit glow.
    My whispering, quivering voice will say,
    “My Lord, my God, I know.”
    And I do know!
    Of all that I have read and taught and learned, the one most precious and sacred truth that I have to offer is my special witness of Jesus Christ. He lives. I know He lives. I am His witness. And of Him I can testify. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. Of this I am certain. Of this I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    (2013 April General Conference, “Come unto Me”, Sat. Morning Session – By Henry B. Eyring)
    I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.
    This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We will on the Day of Judgment stand before the Savior, face to face. It will be a time of joy for those who have drawn close to Him in His service in this life. It will be a joy to hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I so testify as a witness of the risen Savior and our Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    (2013 April General Conference, “Lord, I Believe”, Sun. Afternoon Session – By Jeffrey R. Holland)
    Now, with the advantage that nearly 60 years give me since I was a newly believing 14-year-old, I declare some things I now know. I know that God is at all times and in all ways and in all circumstances our loving, forgiving Father in Heaven. I know Jesus was His only perfect child, whose life was given lovingly by the will of both the Father and the Son for the redemption of all the rest of us who are not perfect. I know He rose from that death to live again, and because He did, you and I will also. I know that Joseph Smith, who acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, was nevertheless the chosen instrument in God’s hand to restore the everlasting gospel to the earth. I also know that in doing so—particularly through translating the Book of Mormon—he has taught me more of God’s love, of Christ’s divinity, and of priesthood power than any other prophet of whom I have ever read, known, or heard in a lifetime of seeking. I know that President Thomas S. Monson, who moves devotedly and buoyantly toward the 50th anniversary of his ordination as an Apostle, is the rightful successor to that prophetic mantle today. We have seen that mantle upon him again in this conference. I know that 14 other men whom you sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators sustain him with their hands, their hearts, and their own apostolic keys.
    These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.” What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    (2013 April General Conference, Until We Meet Again, Sun. Afternoon Session – By Thomas S. Monson)
    I bear my personal witness and testimony to you that God lives, that He hears the prayers of humble hearts. His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, speaks to each of us: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” May we believe these words and take advantage of this promise.
    As this conference now concludes, I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you. May your homes be filled with peace, harmony, courtesy, and love. May they be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. May you nurture and nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of Satan.
    Until we meet again in six months, I pray that the Lord will bless and keep you, my brothers and sisters. May His promised peace be with you now and always. Thank you for your prayers in my behalf and in behalf of all of the General Authorities. We are deeply grateful for you. In the name of our Savior and Redeemer, whom we serve, even Jesus Christ, the Lord, amen.

  28. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Log, perhaps you and Denver and using different criteria than I am. Please share, if you wish, exactly what public/published evidence you require to consider someone a prophet, seer, and revelator – or what you think is missing/lacking in the living/presiding Apostles. I feel Denver has misjudged the living Apostles based on very sketchy interpreted evidence – and without apparently even trying to approach them personally. He never makes reference to an attempt to interview any of them to see if his suppositions about their lack of spiritual experiences or power were really true.

    For me the framework of the revelations upon which the Restoration and the Church are built, as well as the scriptural prophecies about the rise and progress of that church and kingdom, together with the priesthood authority and keys historically attested to as being passed to the Twelve too, build upon and harmonize perfectly well with the testimonies of the special witnesses – such as the very few I have sampled above – these things meet my criteria. The Holy Ghost has confirmed to me that these men are who they say they are and who the Church sustains them to be. You seem like you are lost and searching for something else, like a new movement, a reboot. I don’t think it’s in the Lord’s latter-day program to keep rebooting or splintering. There’s too much real work to do, to take the Gospel to the world and prepare for the Second Coming.

    All this intellectual nit-picking and over-thinking and at best speculating seems like a great distraction to the work of salvation. Here’s a key of discernment that I have found to be quite effective to test the truth of certain things. If something claims to be fundamental but can’t be extrapolated to a much larger scale, but rather breaks down, then it probably isn’t true. For example, families and family structure are a principle/organization that can be scaled to fill the earth. The Church, obviously, can also scale/grow to fill the earth. What a marvelous work we see happening right now as the work hastens. Now let’s look at Denver’s philosophy – to me it doesn’t scale. I don’t think his philosophy will not make it very far out of Utah. The target audience is very small. But I could be wrong about the scope of his effort and self-proclaimed mission – perhaps it is just to the intellectuals who are hung up on church history interpretation. It seems very provincial to me, whereas the Lord’s Church and program are trying to take the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

  29. log
    September 27, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Please share, if you wish, exactly what public/published evidence you require to consider someone a prophet, seer, and revelator.

    As I stated above, a prophet is one who has stood in the divine council – that is, has stood in the presence of God, the Father, and beheld the creation of the world, and knows the plan of God, and has his instructions from God Himself. That is the biblical standard. Once again, see this: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-sod-of-yhwh-and-the-endowment/

    Such a man has of necessity got the fullness of the priesthood, for without this, no man can see the face of God, the Father, and afterwards be left in the flesh.

    These men, whom you say are what they claim they are, do not claim to be prophets. Therefore, I too believe them to be what they claim they are – “special witnesses” to the name of Jesus Christ, a thing which is undefined. They do not claim to be eye witnesses, therefore I have no reason to believe them to be eye witnesses, therefore I do not have a reason to believe they meet even the biblical definition of Apostles, which is to be an eye witness of the glory of Christ and the resurrection. Seeing a vision of the redemption of the dead does not qualify one to be a prophet in this sense, while it may qualify one to be an Apostle (not, however, according to the original charge given the apostles in the Church, which entailed having the Savior literally and physically ordain one to the calling); neither does seeing visions of the Savior whilst in one’s sickbed qualify one to be a prophet, even if it may qualify one to be an Apostle (again, however, it does not conform to the charge given to the apostles at the beginning).

    Without reading PTHG – and I notice you didn’t answer my direct question whether you had read it, and also asked for my definition of a prophet, which was already posted with a citation, as though you did not even read my comments fully – you cannot contribute to a conversation about it. Have you read the book?

  30. log
    September 27, 2013 at 10:24 am

    And, I stress again, if the thesis of PTHG is correct, then it follows directly that many are overstating the condition of their knowledge, claiming as knowledge that which is only believed, or is an opinion. For example, Elder Holland’s comments about President Monson having Joseph’s “prophetic mantle” would be an example of such an overstatement, if the thesis of PTHG is correct.

  31. log
    September 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Ah, I misunderstood what you were asking. My apologies.

    At a minimum, a prophet must claim the things which qualify men to be prophets. President Monson directly and plainly stating he has stood in the divine council would count as a claim to prophethood, and the fullness of the priesthood.

    President Monson directly and plainly stating that he, himself, was a prophet, a seer, and a revelator would give grounds to believe that he may, indeed, be a prophet, a seer, and a revelator. As far as I know, no President of the Church since Joseph has claimed those titles for themselves, neither have the apostles.

    They always say the other Elders are prophets, seers, and revelators, but never claim it for themselves. But none of them claim the things which qualify them as such.

    President Smith’s vision of the redemption of the dead does, indeed, meet the standard for being a seer and a revelator. It’s interesting that that occurred only at the end of his life.

    In the end, whether a man is a prophet or not can only be known by the voice of God.

    I, too, can, and do, bear testimony that both God and Christ live, that Christ intercedes on our behalf with His Father, and I am willing to explain the precise nature of my witness, for I believe testimony, as such, must answer the question how I know what I know. But I do not and cannot claim that my witness qualifies me to be either an Apostle – for I am not eyewitness to the resurrection – neither a prophet – for I have not been chosen and called up through the veil, anointed a king and a priest unto the Most High God, and stood in the divine council, knowing that which is to come, and I have not received a commission from the mouth of God in His presence to teach what I have seen unto the children of men.

  32. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Degrading into an unproductive discussion in my view, Log, so I’ll wish you the best with your worldview and be moving on.

  33. SteveF
    September 27, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Log, I find it interesting that you assume Denver has seen the Father, received the fullness of the Priesthood, is a prophet, and has authority to speak on behalf of God – when Denver has never made any of these claims himself. Or maybe you have read something I missed – can you point to me where he has claimed any of these things?

    I am sorry you have become less happy after reading PTHG. You must believe it is because a sad truth has been brought to your attention, but I have good news – most of the principles in that book are mistaken from the beginning, and in most instances I can show it to you (save for some things that do not have conclusive evidence either way and really on testimony/personal revelation, or that may be too sacred to really delve into to the point it would take to be fully convincing).

    Unfortunately, I have neither the time or energy at this point to write a book (because that’s what it would take) that shows all the many errors and misinterpretations of history and scripture Denver has made in that book.

    If you are interested in an evidence-based refutation that you can use to ponder and pray upon, I would be happy and willing to take the time to discuss with you up to 3 major claims that Denver has made that undermines or is in opposition to what the LDS Church teaches today, and show you were he has gone wrong. If that does interest you, please let me know which claims you would most like to discuss.

    All the best.

  34. log
    September 27, 2013 at 11:16 am

    No worries, Geoff. As I mentioned, if you haven’t read the book, you cannot participate in a productive discussion about it. And I don’t recommend reading the book.

    As for my worldview, I’m not sure how not imputing a claim to a man who is unwilling to make the claim for himself can possibly get me into trouble. Indeed, it appears to me that doing the opposite is guaranteed to get one into trouble.

    If that’s something one needs to be well-wished for, well, there are worse problems to have.

  35. log
    September 27, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Log, I find it interesting that you assume Denver has seen the Father, received the fullness of the Priesthood, is a prophet, and has authority to speak on behalf of God – when Denver has never made any of these claims himself. Or maybe you have read something I missed – can you point to me where he has claimed any of these things?

    Read the entirety of his blog and his books (I have read most of his books and all of his blog). Some claims are implicitly made, others are explicit.

    However, I make no such assumption that Denver is a prophet, neither do I make the assumption that his claims to his personal experiences are true. If he is telling the truth, then the thesis of PTHG is more than likely true. If he is a fraud, then the thesis of PTHG may yet be true – and that’s a problem.

    I’m not so much concerned with whether Snuffer is a prophet or not as I am concerned that the thesis of PTHG is true. I rather thought I had been clear on that.

    If you are interested in an evidence-based refutation that you can use to ponder and pray upon, I would be happy and willing to take the time to discuss with you up to 3 major claims that Denver has made that undermines or is in opposition to what the LDS Church teaches today, and show you were he has gone wrong. If that does interest you, please let me know which claims you would most like to discuss.

    If Snuffer is correct, then the Church is teaching falsely on those claims. One cannot privilege one side of a dispute from the outset.

    If you have evidence that the Church is factually correct on those claims, then I would be most interested indeed.

    If, instead, your argument is that the Church is correct on those claims, therefore Snuffer is incorrect, then I would not be interested at all, since that is to assume what must be proved, otherwise known as “begging the question.”

  36. SteveF
    September 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Yes, I’m talking about providing evidence that supports the Church’s position, or in some instances pointing out how Denver’s evidence is faulty.

  37. log
    September 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Please, then, by all means, proceed.

  38. SteveF
    September 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I don’t know which claims you would like to discuss. Although my time is limited, as I’m guessing yours is too, I said I’d be willing to discuss up to 3 that you feel are the most important. Feel free to point out the top 3 issues you’d like to discuss.

    It’s hard to know the tone of your messages just reading the text, but let me be clear upfront, I am not here for an argument or contention if that is your desire. I’m only interested in providing information if you are honestly seeking information that may support the Church’s positions, if you genuinely believe in your perspective that Denver’s positions have more evidence/support and would like to see this from a different angle. I’m doing this in an honest attempt to serve and be helpful to you if it is your desire to be faithful, and if its a fight you are looking for this will be a waste of time for both of us and we should just stop here.

  39. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I would like to know too, SteveF. I have not read PTHG, but I have read almost every entry in Denver’s blog and had personal correspondence with to ask him questions about the issues in PTHG (I would like to read it without generating revenue for it – I wish he actually published all his books as free e-books, since he claims it is not about revenue, i.e. not priestcraft). I’m not an expert on his book, but I do feel like I’ve encountered most of his major points – which, again, I think are based on sketchy interpretations of historical evidence (think of history as a million piece puzzle, that you get maybe 25% of the pieces, if you’re fortunate – the rest you have to fill in with opinion, interpretation, and guesses). Almost all of Denver’s personal spiritual claims are implicit, that I’ve read, not explicit. He tends to talk about theophanies as if he knows and has had them, using a declarative/authoritative tone. I have not read any of his books entirely except the first, Second Comforter, which I read twice – he is explicit about having visited personally with Christ at the end of that book.

    It seems to me his entire church history paradigm ultimately hinges on his interpretation of D&C 124:32 and his judgment of how the early Latter-day Saints and Brethren did not fulfill it. See my post above on September 24, 2013 at 6:18pm. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    SteveF, I’m very interested in learning what you’ve discovered. Please take the time to post here, if you can, perhaps one point at a time so that the readers here can digest it. I sense a lot of confusion here. You might help some souls through the mists of darkness. You should definitely write it down and find a way to share it, though – even if you don’t write a book.

  40. log
    September 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Neither am I interested in contention. I’m not discussing these things because I’m looking to “win” a debate or an argument, although I shall be very quick indeed to point out when a claim has not been established, or answered. My faithfulness is not an issue.

    Here are some claims Snuffer has made which I feel should be answered.

    1. The Gentile rejection of the fullness of the Gospel, prophesied in the Book of Mormon, is a past event. This is the overall thesis of PTHG.

    2. The Church’s historical claims to the fullness of the priesthood can be shown to be false on an historical basis.

    The evidence and arguments are laid out in PTHG, and so I won’t recount them here.

    The interesting thing about Snuffer’s claims is that even if they are true, they do not lead any into wickedness; they do not justify rebellion.

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Well your first point is easy to refute. If you will go to 1st Nephi Chapter 13 you will hear Nephi giving a chronological account of the last days. He uses the term “Gentiles” to refer to to those outside the covenant in the wide sense, because he is describing historical events before the restoration. The use of the term “gentiles” in this context could not possibly have the meaning Snuffer ascribes to it because the “gentile” insiders (those inside the covenant) haven’t been established yet. Thus, the BOM uses the terms in two senses, and you must be careful how you read the text, lest you step into the mud-puddle of incorrect interpretation that Snuffer has stepped into. Later on in Third Nephi, the Lord is also sometimes addressing Gentiles in the wide sense (any who are not within the covenant) and sometimes in the narrow sense (his people who are within the covenant). Snuffer however, never admits the wise sense term, because it is fatal to his historical interpretation.

      • log
        September 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm

        Alas, Snuffer mostly refers to Christ’s prophecy in 3rd Nephi, and, once the Nephi’s vision hits this shore, and the restoration is in play, then we are identified with the Gentiles – D&C 109:60.

        I apologize, but it seems you have not read Snuffer to understand, but rather to oppose, neither have you read him in context.

        That is where I get frustrated. I have given the man a full and fair hearing, and thus far, when others blithely assert that Snuffer’s gotten it wrong, invariably they have not gotten him right.

  41. log
    September 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Steve, if you have not read PTHG, as Geoff has not, then I am afraid I may not continue in a conversation, because it cannot be productive.

    The number of people with opinions of the contents of PTHG vastly exceeds the number of people with knowledge of the contents of PTHG, and, as the First Presidency once rightly observed, “no man’s opinion is worth a straw.”

  42. SteveF
    September 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Log, I think those are 2 good ones. I hope to get to adequately addressing them over this weekend. And because of Geoff’s request, I’m going try and answer them in some depth pointing out many of Denver’s scriptural misinterpretations in PTHG, so that it may be useful to others who might come across this as well.

    Geoff, I have agreed with just about everything you said here, especially about the misinterpretations of D&C 124, although I think Denver’s scriptural paradigm/misinterpretations go well beyond that section. But I agree, it does seem to be pretty central to root of his thesis.

  43. log
    September 27, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Steve, have you read PTHG?

    And, is the thrust of your argument going to be “Snuffer’s reading the scriptures wrong”?

    • Karl
      September 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      That’s my argument. Snuffer, who claims to have seen the Lord and received the fullness of the priesthood, claims that the saints in Nauvoo did not receive the fulness of the priesthood because they did not finish the Nauvoo temple in time, and that was the only place that the saints could receive the fullness (in his interpretation of the scripture). This is ironic, because Snuffer, who claims to have received the fullness of the priesthood from the Lord himself (and apparently outside of the temple) is saying that the Lord could not bestow the fulness of the priesthood on the Nauvoo saints because they could not receive it outside of the temple. Does Snuffer ever explain this contradiction; no he does not. Perhaps he is not even aware of the problem.

      • log
        September 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm

        That’s my argument. Snuffer, who claims to have seen the Lord and received the fullness of the priesthood, claims that the saints in Nauvoo did not receive the fulness of the priesthood because they did not finish the Nauvoo temple in time, and that was the only place that the saints could receive the fullness (in his interpretation of the scripture).

        That, unfortunately, is the literal reading of D&C 124. I abhor the “private interpretation” slur in our culture – it is not an honest approach.

        This is ironic, because Snuffer, who claims to have received the fullness of the priesthood from the Lord himself (and apparently outside of the temple) is saying that the Lord could not bestow the fulness of the priesthood on the Nauvoo saints because they could not receive it outside of the temple. Does Snuffer ever explain this contradiction; no he does not. Perhaps he is not even aware of the problem.

        Snuffer’s not saying the Lord “could not,” but specifically said He would not. Hence, the Church was rejected along with their dead. Any individual saint may take the direct path to obtain it from the Lord, as Snuffer points out from scripture and from Joseph.

        I am left wondering how carefully you have read.

        Moreover, I wonder if you are aware of the problem posed by Kirtland. The Lord doesn’t change, we are told, and when He accepted Kirtland, there were visible manifestations, angelic visitations, and so forth. These were all public.

        Not so with any temple since. Yet the Lord changes not. Curious.

  44. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I will try to find a way to obtain PTHG and read it for understanding so I can discuss more productively (I really wish it was downloadable, now I have to order and wait). I’m not worried about its contents – I doubt I’ll be surprised or shocked by anything in it. As I said, I’ve read 95-99% of his blog and a few others, including this one, relating to his writings. I’m not totally ignorant in other words. SteveF, I appreciate your willingness to share and contribute. Log, I take no offense and appreciate your position and viewpoint. I will also try to keep this discussion completely respectful and devoid of contention. I pray you peace and truth.

    I do think some of the things I’ve said very much apply to the discussion in general. The evidences we’re talking about are not concrete, irrefutable. In almost every case they are interpreted. They are mostly opinion or theory. Proving some of what you say can be proved, using historical sources, is impossible. The non-living past very much enters the realm of faith. We don’t have perfect journals of people’s lives, conversations, thoughts, or experiences. To assume or rely on everything important being recorded and available as evidence is faulty reasoning. The level of evidence you may require to convince you of anything may be unattainable.

    Let me requote one of the recent Apostolic witnesses, for example:

    (2013 April General Conference, “Come unto Me”, Sat. Morning Session – By Henry B. Eyring)
    I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.
    This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We will on the Day of Judgment stand before the Savior, face to face. It will be a time of joy for those who have drawn close to Him in His service in this life. It will be a joy to hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I so testify as a witness of the risen Savior and our Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    That is quite a declarative witness. President Eyring, and the other living Apostles, have given many similar witnesses/testimonies without qualification or apology. Do you believe him (in this sample)? This brings me to my next question, Log – what is your measure of truth? So far I only hear you talking about evidence. How do you know if the evidence being presented is true or truly interpreted? For me, it is indeed the Holy Ghost. I submit there is no other way to know the truth of many of these things. I mean no offense, I am sincere.

  45. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Purchased, $28 ugh! I want to say priestcraft, but I really do hope that Denver donates all the proceeds to the General Mission fund of the Church. Amazon Prime, so 2-day free shipping – won’t have to wait too long :)

  46. log
    September 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Testimony is the firsthand statement of a witness’s experience. In normal circumstances, a witness may be cross-examined to discover the source of their knowledge – what they saw, when they saw it, other incidentals, etc. Joseph, in writing the account of his First Vision, adequately answered the natural inquiry as to the source of his knowledge: he was an eyewitness, and was speaking of things he had personally experienced. President Eyring, on the other hand, did not. I honestly haven’t a clue what experience he’s talking about – for he refers to no experience which would give knowledge of the facts he says he knows are true.

    It is one thing to say “I know” but quite another to say “… and here’s how I know.” The latter is what gives true testimony its value. The former is nothing – people assert things beyond their actual knowledge all the time.

    Do you believe [Elder Eyring] (in this sample)?

    There’s no way to know from the statement alone whether it is true. It is possible that his statement is not strictly true, that he is claiming as knowledge what is, in fact, his strong belief. One may see examples of this on any given Fast Sunday. The truth of the content of his statement is on my “unknown” pile at the present time.

    This brings me to my next question, Log – what is your measure of truth?

    Ideally, direct revelation. Without direct revelation, evidence and analysis give one an estimate of truth (and in some fortunate cases, truth itself). When further light and knowledge are obtained, bad estimates ought to be jettisoned.

    How do you know if the evidence being presented is true or truly interpreted?

    The evidence is publicly available. All I can do right now is test the claims against what I know of the evidence, the scriptures, and my own revelations, for consistency. If the claims are consistent with the scriptures, revelations, and the publicly available history, then I have to consider the claims extremely carefully, lest I should reject that which is good and of God (Moroni 7). In the case of PTHG, it passes the consistency test. I find the thesis eminently believable, as it explains the facts of Church history in a consistent fashion, accounting for what had heretofore been inexplicable (say, Meadows Mountain, Brigham’s Adam-God doctrine, the abuses of plural marriage, and so forth), and it also explains my own observations about the present state of affairs, preserving that which I know to be true… at least, so it seems. The truth value of claims depends critically upon the definitions of the words used to make the claims.

    For me, it is indeed the Holy Ghost. I submit there is no other way to know the truth of many of these things.

    I agree. Unfortunately, I have not been given the answer to these things.

  47. log
    September 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    As an example of what PTHG makes understandable if its thesis is true, consider this treatment of Wilford Woodruff’s vision of the Founding Fathers. Granting that the evidence being cited is authentic, then there is an extreme problem if President Woodruff was being completely truthful and if the Church possessed the sealing keys.

    I trust the problem is obvious.

  48. Geoff
    September 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I will read that Wilford Woodruff treatment this weekend sometime, and PTHG when it arrives. I appreciate your sharing.

    While I agree with your definition of a witness, I’m not sure I think it applies in every sense to a prophetic witness. I think Joseph Smith is a good example. From the history, it does not sound like he went around parading the First Vision in front of everybody, nor responding to all their cross-examinations about it. We take it for granted because we have the published account. But from 1820 to 1838 it seems like he generally guarded it and other firsthand experiences form public debate and mockery. The Book of Mormon was put forth as the evidence of his prophet, seer, and revelator status. The Book of Commandments was later also put forward. I can’t think of any historical evidence where Joseph Smith is being cross-examined about the details of his experiences. There is evidence where even some of his closest associates doubted the validity of his revelations.

    We also have several visions and visitations which are corroborated by other present witnesses – those are even very powerful, by any standard.

    President Eyring’s language is not descriptive of his experiences, but it is specific in its comparison of what how he knows. It is very strong language. The Holy Ghost has confirmed his quoted testimony to me personally – I saw and heard it live (broadcast not in person). It is very similar to many accounts in the scriptures, where specific details are left out, and the witness/testator is dead and cannot be cross-examined, and therefore we are left to faith, prayer/asking, and revelation via the Holy Ghost (and other personal manifestations). Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and many other prophets have testified that they obtained an ever more sure knowledge of these things through obedience, fasting, prayer, and searching the word of God. He is no respecter of persons, so we can come to know in the same way, the truth of any and all things.

  49. log
    September 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I remember reading this from Nibley.

    [Nibley's] great-grandfather, a Jew, one day after he had given Joseph Smith a lesson in German and Hebrew in 1844 asked him about certain particulars of the first vision. In reply he was told some remarkable things, which he wrote down in his journal that very day. (cite)

    Joseph answered when asked. As do I.

    You need not encourage me to prayer over these matters. This is not an idle inquiry with me, and I have asked. But I am not privileged to have the answer to my question at this time.

  50. log
    September 28, 2013 at 12:01 am

    However, I am at a loss at the moment to come up with nonspecific testimonies.

    2 Peter 1:16
    16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    Acts 4:20
    20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

    Acts 26:14
    14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

    John 3:11
    11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

    Alma 10:7–9
    7 As I was journeying to see a very near kindred, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto me and said: Amulek, return to thine own house, for thou shalt feed a prophet of the Lord; yea, a holy man, who is a chosen man of God; for he has fasted many days because of the sins of this people, and he is an hungered, and thou shalt receive him into thy house and feed him, and he shall bless thee and thy house; and the blessing of the Lord shall rest upon thee and thy house.

    8 And it came to pass that I obeyed the voice of the angel, and returned towards my house. And as I was going thither I found the man whom the angel said unto me: Thou shalt receive into thy house—and behold it was this same man who has been speaking unto you concerning the things of God.

    9 And the angel said unto me he is a holy man; wherefore I know he is a holy man because it was said by an angel of God.

    And so on and so forth.

    • Rick
      September 28, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Log, you are a good example of the fruits of Denver. You are unhappy, you have doubts, you want proof instead of faith.

      Tim’s blog is now an intellectual playground to try to prove either side. Neither side will convince or change anyone’s mind. But it will foster doubt.

      I suggest a simple experiment. Read Denver’s Boise talk and see what Denver the prophet says. Or read Tim’s review when it comes out. For me it was convoluted jibberish.

      Watch conference in a week. Listen closely to the apostles and prophets. See how you feel.

      And then decide, is Denver your prophet or is President Monson your prophet

      • log
        September 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

        Rick,

        I’m not trying to persuade anyone of anything. I am pointing out that Snuffer’s claims have not been adequately addressed, or even acknowledged, but rather contemptuously dismissed. Casting the man doesn’t answer his evidence nor analysis, and it wouldn’t suffice to stone or even slay him, for ideas have power.

        Let me tell you a story.

        Suppose you were married to a woman. You notice oddities in her behavior, inconsistent with the love she professes to have for you – definitely inconsistent with how you felt towards her. There are times when the things she tells you do not quite comport with the truth, but they are minor to you, because you love her, so you let them slide. Then, one unsuspecting day, someone tells you they saw her enter into a motel room with another man, and leave in his presence with her arm in his an hour later. This person provides time-stamped photos. You ask your wife where she was at that hour, and she says she was at a book club meeting.

        Now, you have a problem. You don’t know she was unfaithful, and it’s logically possible the photos could be faked, but you don’t believe they are fake, and gosh darn it all, you can’t come up with an innocent explanation for her being in that motel room at night with another man. She “testifies” that she was not there, after all, and you don’t have power to make her tell the full truth. If you try, she’ll divorce you anyways. You learned a long time ago that it’s her way, or the highway.

        Now where there was once love, there is sadness and pain, because trust is gone. You still live together, but you always are on the defensive because you cannot believe anymore that her motivations are what she claims they are, given the evidence against her which she won’t acknowledge and account for, and you worry about having your heart ripped out and stomped on the floor. You try to give her the benefit of the doubt, but until the truth comes to light, so there can be closure and reconciliation, or divorce, you’re not going to be happy.

        If you have ears to hear, that should be quite plain.

        Snuffer’s “convoluted gibberish” was anything but, to me. It is odd for me that any Mormon might not understand it.

        I don’t make the same assumptions you do. And it’s possible for the Brethren to be servants of God and not be prophets, seers, and revelators in spirit and in truth, but rather men like yourselves, raised in Mormon culture and carrying with them all the cultural baggage and assumptions one finds in Mormon culture, having no greater witness nor experience of divine things, necessarily, than yourself. On the other hand, they may be indeed prophets, seers, and revelators.

        Snuffer may be a fraud. On the other hand, he may be a prophet raised up from outside of the hierarchy, as was every Jewish prophet, excepting Samuel alone, after Moses.

        Anything not said explicitly by God is up for grabs.

        For me, the discrepancy between the beginning of the restoration and now requires explanation in full.

        It is, I think, profitable to consider Hymn #2.

        1. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
        The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
        The visions and blessings of old are returning,
        And angels are coming to visit the earth.

        [Chorus]
        We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
        Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
        Let glory to them in the highest be given,
        Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

        2. The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding,
        Restoring their judges and all as at first.
        The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
        The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst.

        3. We’ll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
        To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
        That we through our faith may begin to inherit
        The visions and blessings and glories of God.

        4. How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
        Shall lie down together without any ire,
        And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
        As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!

        That is not quite what I perceive in the Church. But perhaps others may disagree, and perhaps angels really are visiting frequently, visions being commonly seen, and our understanding now exceeds that of Joseph Smith.

        Or we have lost light and knowledge as a people.

        Things to ponder.

  51. log
    September 28, 2013 at 9:29 am

    … casting the man out

  52. Geoff
    September 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Log, I read the Wilford Woodruff pants on fire article. Funny picture, I have to say. I also read a lot of the comments on it. Here’s what I saw, trying to read with some discernment and scrutiny. I have reasons to give the modern prophets the benefit of the doubt. The author’s (Alan Rock Waterman’s) analysis hinges on several very important but unverifiable assumptions about Wilford Woodruff, all of which can easily be interpreted in an opposite/positive manner:

    1) that he recorded EVERYTHING in his journal, including sacred spiritual experiences, i.e. so how could he NOT have recorded this visitation in detail – therefore, since he did not record this, it didn’t happen – he must have been spinning yarns again.
    2) that the visitations by the Founding Fathers pertained only to baptism, even though many of Pres. Woodruff’s recitals of the experience say their work or ordinances of the house of God, etc.
    3) that the ENDOWMENT house was only used for baptisms for the dead – huh? I hope I’m not the only one who thinks that sounds off the mark.
    4) Wilford Woodruff, and pretty much every other LDS leader and Saint, was prone to spinning yarns, dishonesty, and gross exaggeration.

    In other words, to me, from a faithful perspective the treatise seemed far from bulletproof as historical analysis and interpretation. In other words, for the author’s analysis to stand up, all of these unfavorable/unfaithful interpretations have to be accepted as true (in spite of tons of missing information). Which is pretty much what I have found in every anti-/post-/ex-Mormon historical treatment. It does not give these modern, but long dead, prophets, apostles, and saints the benefit of the doubt. It always looks for, and even assumes, the worst. Do I believe they were perfect and no mistakes were made? No. But I don’t think they were this blatantly, disappointingly bad. I really don’t.

    We are back to the subject of interpretation of evidence, particularly historical evidence. It cannot be approached without bias, by both the writer and the reader. This is not a trivial matter.

    As for the cross-examination of divine witnesses. I still don’t see as big a difference between Henry Eyring’s declaration and the ones you quote interpreting them to be so much more specific and public. The encounter between Nibley’s great-grandpa and the Prophet was a private encounter, recorded in a journal, discovered and made public after his death. Many of Joseph Smith’s personal encounters were like this. For us, they require faith to believe them as we read them now, so many years later, just like the scriptures – and we must rely on the witness of the Spirit to know if they are genuine. The same kind of encounter could, and I believe does, happen with each of the living Apostles but probably will not come to our attention. Here is an example from closer to our generation: Elder M. Russell Ballard’s grandfather, Apostle Melvin J. Ballard, had a Second Comforter experience which our Elder Ballard shared in his widely published book Our Search for Happiness:

    Coming unto Christ

    In one of the scriptural records that comprise the Book of Mormon, a great spiritual leader named Helaman counseled his sons to “remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (Helaman 5:12.)

    My grandfather understood that concept. Even though he died when I was just ten years old, Melvin J. Ballard has been a major influence in my life. For as long as I can remember I have heard my family talk about his love for the Lord and his unwavering devotion to the Church. He spent his entire life building on the “sure foundation” of which Helaman spoke, and I’m not aware of any “shafts in the whirlwind” that were able to penetrate his faith and testimony. In fact, my personal quest for knowledge of the Savior was motivated to a great degree by Grandfather Ballard’s account of one of his most sacred experiences.

    While he was serving a mission among American Indians in the Northwest, my grandfather faced a time of incredible struggle. There were unprecedented—and seemingly insurmountable—challenges for the Church there, and my grandfather literally spent hours on his knees asking for guidance and inspiration. During one such period, when all seemed bleak and utterly hopeless, grandfather received, in his words, “a wonderful manifestation and impression which has never left me.

    A Witness That He Lives

    “I was told there was a [great] privilege that was to be mine,” he recorded. “I was led into a room where I was informed I was to meet someone. As I entered the room I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken forward to be introduced to Him. As I approached He smiled, called my name, and stretched out His hands toward me. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that smile.

    “He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled. As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling through my whole being, I felt that I was in heaven indeed.

    “The feeling that came to my heart then was: Oh! if I could live worthy, though it would require four-score years, so that in the end when I have finished I could go into His presence and receive the feeling that I then had in His presence, I would give everything that I am and ever hope to be!”

    Grandfather concluded: “I know—as I know that I live—that He lives. That is my testimony.” (Melvin J. Ballard—Crusader for Righteousness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966.)

    That experience infused my grandfather with the comfort, determination, and spiritual energy he needed to deal with the problems he was encountering on his mission. In fact, the day after he received that manifestation, he joined one of his fellow missionaries, W. Leo Isgren, in visiting a well-to-do merchant in Helena, Montana. Some years later, Brother Isgren told me how he and my grandfather had stood together in front of a life-sized portrait of Jesus Christ that was prominently displayed in the merchant’s home. At length, grandfather turned to Brother Isgren.

    “No, that isn’t Him,” grandfather said. “The artist has made a fair representation of Him, but that isn’t Him.”

    “I was filled so much with a sacred feeling that I could say nothing,” Brother Isgren told me. “After we left the home and were on our way to our next appointment, Brother Ballard stopped me and said, ‘Brother Isgren, I suppose you were somewhat startled at my words regarding the Savior of the world.’ I told him that, yes, indeed, I had been—very much so. And then and there firsthand he told me of his experience the previous evening.”

    While we may not all have experiences of that same magnitude or intensity, the essence of our ministry in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to invite all people everywhere to “come unto Christ” so that He can work His miracle in their lives in whatever way He chooses. For some, that miracle will mean a significant change of life and lifestyle. For others it will simply mean new purpose and understanding in lives that are already rich with faith. But for all it will mean peace and joy and happiness beyond measure as the Master touches hearts and souls with His love. That’s what my Grandfather Ballard felt as a result of his dramatic manifestation, and that’s what I felt in a quieter, calmer way that evening near the Trent River in Nottingham, England.

    That testimony has been with me ever since. It has sustained me through trials, comforted me in times of need, and given me a clear direction to follow whenever I have been confused or discouraged. Through my service as one of His Apostles I have had many special spiritual experiences that confirm and secure my personal knowledge of Him as the Savior and Redeemer of the children of God. Because I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves me, I find the courage to repent and to strive to be what He would want me to be. I know this knowledge can do the same for you, if you want it to—now, and forever.

    It is difficult to say which spiritual experiences are appropriate to record. I can only speak for myself, but I have had several – that are burned into me, they are unforgettable – which I have not felt to record. Others I felt could be shared years later. I can only assume the same has been true for the prophets. But I disagree with the opinion that we should just be parading our sacred experiences or witnesses always in front of everyone, opening ourselves up to constant cross-examination by the unbelieving – I believe that is what the Lord meant when he said not to cast our pearls before swine (our priceless spiritual experiences before the unprepared and possibly mockers). Just as Elder Melvin Ballard testified “I know—as I know that I live—that He lives. That is my testimony.” – there are often sacred, powerful, perfect knowledge, through the veil experiences behind the words of certainty that the Lord’s witnesses use. Pres. Eyring used and has used words like this many times, as have many of the other living Apostles – to those who have ears to hear. Listen for them in the upcoming General Conference. I believe the dead modern prophets/apostles are worthy of favorable interpretation in the historical accounts, too. I also know that we can have experiences like these, for God is no respecter of persons, but of faith and righteousness.

  53. log
    September 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Geoff, you have imputed many things to President Woodruff which President Woodruff, himself, did not claim. I am not willing to claim more for him than he was willing to claim for himself, and, unfortunately, his claims appear to be false on the historical evidence presented.

    President Woodruff was clear that baptism was the only thing he was talking about. There are no grounds to read more into “ordinances” than Woodruff clearly stated. Unfortunately, as the work had already been done for these precise characters, we are faced with a dilemma.

    1. The ordinances previously performed were invalid, implying the Church did not possess the sealing keys. It would also imply Woodruff’s ordinance work on their behalf would likewise be invalid, and it would also seem to imply Woodruff was inventing the account of the vision.

    2. If the Church has the sealing keys, then the ordinances previously performed were valid, implying Woodruff was indeed inventing the account of the vision.

    3. The ordinances previously performed were invalid, implying the Church did not possess the sealing keys, but Woodruff himself did; this one seems implausible because it would imply that only Woodruff could perform valid ordinances. This explanation does not enter the calculus of the article author. It also does not appear Woodruff claimed this. But this would have the benefit of Woodruff not inventing the vision.

    If you see an alternative way to work this, I’m all ears.

    Second Comforter experiences are available to all on the same basis, according to the scriptures – for God is no respecter of persons. However, I’m sorry, I am unwilling to claim more for people than they are willing to claim for themselves.

    I still don’t see as big a difference between Henry Eyring’s declaration and the ones you quote interpreting them to be so much more specific and public.

    Then this discussion is likely to be fruitless. I see a massive qualitative distinction between this:

    D&C 76:22 –23 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father.

    And this.

    “I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.”

    I see a massive qualitative distinction between this:

    “I know this is the true church, and that President Monson is a prophet.”

    And this:

    Alma 10:7–9
    7 As I was journeying to see a very near kindred, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto me and said: Amulek, return to thine own house, for thou shalt feed a prophet of the Lord; yea, a holy man, who is a chosen man of God; for he has fasted many days because of the sins of this people, and he is an hungered, and thou shalt receive him into thy house and feed him, and he shall bless thee and thy house; and the blessing of the Lord shall rest upon thee and thy house.

    8 And it came to pass that I obeyed the voice of the angel, and returned towards my house. And as I was going thither I found the man whom the angel said unto me: Thou shalt receive into thy house—and behold it was this same man who has been speaking unto you concerning the things of God.

    9 And the angel said unto me he is a holy man; wherefore I know he is a holy man because it was said by an angel of God.

    In short, valid testimony is the recount of the firsthand experience of a witness. The interpretation of that experience is left up to the audience. The other is a dogmatic declaration which is not open to inquiry.

    You may not see a difference because you are imputing things to Elder Eyring’s statement which he did not say. I do not. Therefore I said I really don’t know what he’s talking about.

    But I disagree with the opinion that we should just be parading our sacred experiences or witnesses always in front of everyone, opening ourselves up to constant cross-examination by the unbelieving – I believe that is what the Lord meant when he said not to cast our pearls before swine (our priceless spiritual experiences before the unprepared and possibly mockers).

    I have read opposing opinions. And, there’s this.

    1 Peter 3: 15 –16 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

  54. log
    September 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Also, I forgot to mention – explanation 3 becomes possible if the thesis to PTHG is accurate. The Church as an institution lacking the sealing keys, yet President Woodruff actually being in possession of the sealing power, obtained from heaven directly, is possibly consistent. President Woodruff need not have invented the vision, in that case.

    And, to readdress the “pearls before swine,” Nibley says historically this has meant the rites of the temple.

    Why are these temple ordinances guarded with such secrecy when anyone who really wants to can find out what goes on? Even though everyone may discover what goes on in the temple, and many have already revealed it, the important thing is that I do not reveal these things; they must remain sacred to me. I must preserve a zone of sanctity which cannot be violated whether or not anyone else in the room has the remotest idea what the situation really is. For my covenants are all between me and my Heavenly Father, all others being present only as witnesses. Why witnesses, if this must be so intimate and private? Plainly others are involved in it, too. God’s work and his glory is to share that work and glory with others. Abraham said he sought diligently for these ordinances that he might administer them to others (Abraham 1:2). It is because others are engaged in the work that we know that we are not just imagining it. On the other hand I can never share my understanding of them completely with anyone but the Lord. No matter what happens, it will, then, always remain secret: only I know exactly the weight and force of the covenants I have made—I and the Lord with whom I have made them—unless I choose to reveal them. If I do not, then they are secret and sacred no matter what others may say or do. Anyone who would reveal these things has not understood them, and therefore that person has not given them away. You cannot reveal what you do not know! The constant concern is to keep Israel out of contact with the profane things of the world; the reason given is not absolute secrecy, but to keep these sacred things from becoming halal, that is, vulgar, popular, the subject of everyday discussion, in a word, trivia. This is what is meant by blasphemy, which signifies not some awful and horrible commitment to evil but simply taking holy things lightly. And what is wrong with being halal? What is evil in innocent everyday conversation about the temple? Even at its most innocuous, the bringing up of such matters in public can only lead to their cheapening, but, worst of all, to all manner of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, disputation, contention, contamination, and corruption.59 This is exactly what has happened throughout history—the possession of God’s secrets was a cause for vanity and self-congratulation. In some parts of the world where the greatest secrecy was observed—as at Eleusis and in Egypt, and it would appear that some of the secrets never leaked out—scholars marveled at how well those secrets were kept; the rites appear today surprisingly like those in the real temple.

    When the Lord speaks of giving precious things to the dogs and pearls to the swine, it is not with contempt for those creatures, but with the futility of such a thing for all concerned—the dogs would find no value in precious things, which would be thrown away into dirt and trodden under foot. (cite)

    So that is one possible explanation. I don’t deny other possible applications, however.

  55. log
    September 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    And, about the Endowment House.

    Wikipedia’s article unfortunately indicates that President Woodruff would not have been performing any other ordinance for the dead than baptism.

    The money quote:

    Mormons did not consider the Endowment House a temple, so they did not perform all temple ordinances in it. Brigham Young explained, “We can, at the present time [1874], go into the Endowment House and be baptized for our dead, receive our washings and anointings, etc….We also have the privilege of sealing women to men without a Temple….but when we come to other sealing ordinances, ordinances pertaining to the holy Priesthood, to connect the chain of the Priesthood from father Adam until now, by sealing children to their parents, being sealed for our forefathers, etc., they cannot be done without a temple” (Journal of Discourses, 16:185). Hence, there were no sealing of children nor endowments for the dead performed in the Endowment House. These ordinances were first administered in Utah’s first temple, in St. George, in 1877.

  56. log
    September 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Correction – the Founding Fathers in the vision would have been referring to baptism when they said “nothing has ever been done for us”, as they referred to the fact that the Church had use of the Endowment House; yet, all of them had already had their proxy baptisms done, even repeatedly. Hence, the dilemma.

  57. Geoff
    September 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    The principle of guarding sacred knowledge is well-affirmed in the scriptures. I think your interpretation of those verses in 1 Peter does not refer to these things. Giving “an answer” and “a reason” does not constitute divulging all our sacred knowledge because someone asks us. So I still disagree.

    D&C 19: 21–22
    21 And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.
    22 For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.

    Mark 9: 7–10 (Mount of Transfiguration)
    7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
    8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.
    9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
    10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

    Ether 3: 27–28 (Brother of Jared)
    27 And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.
    28 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men.

    Moses 1:41–42
    41 And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe.
    42 (These words were aspoken unto Moses in the mount, the name of which shall not be known among the children of men. And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen.)

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand what you’re saying. Why don’t the modern prophets and Apostles just say it as bluntly as Denver has, if they’ve had these experiences? Why quote the dead, etc.? Why use veiled language? I just think there’s a good reason, a favorable and faithful interpretation, for it – I don’t think it’s because they are being dishonest and just implying that they’ve experienced, which is what you seem to think or believe, and what Denver has openly accused. I think these assumption and your conclusion are wrong.

    Log, you can’t just reason your way through this. You keep deflecting when I try to refer you to obtaining your own personal revelation on the matter, but that is the only way to settle your own debate. If you haven’t gotten an answer, then you’re not doing something that the Lord requires of you to receive it. Laman and Lemuel (not a personal comparison in any way except this principle) said, when Nephi asked them, “Have ye ainquired of the Lord?”, they said “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” (1 Nephi 15:8–9). Not saying you haven’t inquired, but something is missing. The Lord is no respecter of persons and will make all things known to us as we prepare ourselves. This was Denver’s initial message in Second Comforter, and he got it right.

    Sorry, just read your last two posts, too – you’re typing faster than me. I don’t think you are ever going to find satisfaction in trying to reconstruct the past from so little real evidence. It’s like literally like trying a complex court case using no living witnesses and all the evidence is covered in dust. I’m just not willing to hang anyone on that (pun intended, they’re already dead), much less my testimony or covenants. The only way to KNOW the unknowable is to get it from God – the same way Joseph did – “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” The same historical analysis and interpretive methods can be applied to Joseph Smith to make him look like a lying, thieving, even murdering scoundrel-charlatan-megalomaniac – and have by those whose bias drives them to do so. It does not make it true. I am sorry that you’re struggling and hurting so deeply due to all of this. I wish I could be of more help. Perhaps SteveF has some better salve.

  58. log
    September 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    If you haven’t gotten an answer, then you’re not doing something that the Lord requires of you to receive it.

    That’s not necessarily the case, either. I am aware of what needs to happen before I am answered (some things are not within my power to change at the present time). Therefore, being very, very aware that I don’t know the answers, and that I am not able to get the answers for the time being, I am not taking sides, but, again, pointing out these claims have not been adequately addressed. That’s it.

    The only way to KNOW the unknowable is to get it from God – the same way Joseph did – “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.”

    I know. Denver Snuffer says that all the time, too. It was a major subtheme of his most recent talk.

    But I knew that before I ever heard of him. :)

    Joseph, after all, demonstrated it. And it says it in the Bible, too. And, of course, I have applied it in my life, as well.

    And it is not the case that all persons get answered on their own timetable. But it is also the case that, sometimes, uncomfortable claims turn out to be true. This may well be one of those times.

    The same historical analysis and interpretive methods can be applied to Joseph Smith to make him look like a lying, thieving, even murdering scoundrel-charlatan-megalomaniac – and have by those whose bias drives them to do so.

    Here, I am built on a rock. I know Joseph to be a true prophet, for the Lord has said this to me directly. Therefore, I do not worry about what can be said against him, and can look without fear upon it.

    Again, anything not explicitly said by God is up for grabs.

  59. Geoff
    September 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I think I agreed with almost everything you just said.

    Revelation comes according to the Lord’s will, His conditions and His timing. Can’t argue with Him, He’s perfect.

    Until you get an answer, one way or the other, regarding Joseph Smith’s successors in the Apostleship, including the living Apostles, you could choose to give them the same favorable and faithful view that you give him. For example, because you know that Joseph was a prophet, and yet you also know that all manner of tactics and methods have been used to paint him otherwise – you can apply that same assumption in the case of his likely successors. Lots of machinations being used to discredit them – yet it isn’t proof – it is conjecture founded on very sketchy evidence, the same way the historical indictments against the Prophet Joseph Smith are. Until you learn for yourself.

    When I was a boy of 11 years, I finished The Book of Mormon for the first time. After reading Moroni 10, I knelt and prayed fervently and asked God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, with faith in Him, whether it was true, whether Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was His true church. The affirmative answer I received was indelible and undeniable, to this day at age 40. When President Hinckley died and we sustained President Monson, I approached the Lord similarly and asked him specifically if Thomas S. Monson was his anointed servant, His presiding Apostle, prophet, seer, and revelator. He answered me very similarly, unequivocally, in the affirmative. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet by the power of the Holy Ghost. And I know Thomas S. Monson is his legal successor by the same power. I cannot deny either. This is why you are immune to criticism, historical and otherwise, of the Prophet Joseph Smith. And why I am immune to criticism of the modern and living Apostles, including Denver’s. Part of the reason I feel his message is confusing is that he claims theophany and knowledge of spiritual things, and then he indicts the living Apostles – this is fundamentally why I think he has been excommunicated for apostasy. I do think his view and his indictment are very damaging and undermining.

    I can also attest to the fact that certain spiritual experiences meant to give an individual knowledge are not meant to be shared – they are between God and that person. I’ve had such experiences. They are sacred. I make reference to them – they have given me knowledge – but they are personal. I leave it to the Holy Ghost to bear witness of the truth of my testimony when I tell another person “I know” – I do not try to “wow” them with the details. I’ve shared my detailed experiences with my trusted circle. It seems to me that’s how the Lord operated as well, with His Apostles.

    Luke 8
    10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

  60. log
    September 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Until you get an answer, one way or the other, regarding Joseph Smith’s successors in the Apostleship, including the living Apostles, you could choose to give them the same favorable and faithful view that you give him

    Unfortunately, Brigham already sealed the deal in the negative, as have others, through their own words (see PTHG for details and citations). Brigham was extremely forthright on the subject. Therefore, I again say, whatsoever God has not explicitly said is up for grabs.

    But, just because Brigham was not a prophet, by his own admission, does not mean he was not the “legal successor” to the Presidency. He got himself elected President, after all, by common consent. That’s all the legality it takes. “All things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.”

    Without revelation on the subject, unless and until a man claims that he has had the heavens open unto him, that he has seen God and Christ, I have no reason to believe him to be a prophet. And if he sees not visions, I have no reason to believe him to be a seer. And if he reveals not the hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God, I have no reason to believe him to be a revelator.

    And, again, men need not be any of those things to be anointed servants of God.

  61. Geoff
    September 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    It sounds like you have discredited Brigham Young, “sealed the deal in the negative,” by judging/interpreting historical quotations. Again, I hope your soul is open to revelation on the matter, or will be in the future.

    It also sounds like you are buying into Denver’s definition/interpretation on what a prophet, seer, and revelator must do to be considered such. It is not as reliable as a personal revelation from the Source.

    Luke 7: 19–30
    19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
    20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
    21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight .
    22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
    23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
    24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
    25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled , and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.
    26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
    27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
    28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
    29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans , justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
    30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

    There’s no record of John having or proclaiming visions except His experience in baptizing the Savior. In this scriptural account, John sent a few of disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Christ. It’s actually incongruent with the account of the Savior’s baptism. And yet the Savior testifies that there is no greater prophet than John.

  62. log
    September 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    And also let me recount a story. It’s not mine, but I heard it firsthand.

    There was a gentleman who, while investigating the Church, and taking the missionary discussions, took what he was learning to the Lord, in prayer, and was given a manifestation that what he was learning was true. He says that was what he felt by the Spirit – it was true – all of it.

    Fast forward a few years. This individual is now in a leadership position, and he runs into certain facts of Church history which contradict what he’d been taught by the missionaries, and also what was taught in Church. He has a crisis of faith, for now he knows that not all of what he was taught was true. He started voicing his specific concerns while publicly identifying himself by his real-world identity, including his position within the Church.

    I spoke to him, and bore witness to him, including how I know what I know. That gave space for the Spirit to redirect him into more productive channels. He is now engaged in helping others through faith crises. I accept him at his word in these things.

    The moral to that story is that I am leery of affirmative feelings (as opposed to verbal answers) to compound questions or statements. (Consider this one: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”)

    Let me be clear – I acknowledge the Brethren to be servants of the Lord, for He has referred to them as such to me. My voluntarily leaving the Church, or rebelling against the Brethren, is not at stake.

    You want to know what the main takeaway from PTHG was for me? That the unconverted / formerly converted have been represented at all levels of the Church throughout its history. That was something I had never imagined. And that explained everything.

    A man need not even be converted (as I am using the word) to be an anointed servant of the Lord; indeed, a man may be a prophet whilst yet unconverted (the “greatest” example of that is in the New Testament, bonus points if you can name him). The Apostles were unconverted until the day of Pentecost.

    But that was, I think, under special circumstances. If it weren’t for those special circumstances, the man I’m thinking of would have been converted.

    I am touched by the example of the Savior as He ministered among the children of men – for not a single one could understand His heart, as none had been born of God among them whom He ministered to.

  63. log
    September 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    It also sounds like you are buying into Denver’s definition/interpretation on what a prophet, seer, and revelator must do to be considered such. It is not as reliable as a personal revelation from the Source.

    Did you read this article the first time I posted it?

    I use the Biblical standard. I acknowledge there are exceptions to everything, however. But John was forthright in claiming his authority direct from God.

    Have you not read?

    John 1:32–33

    32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

    33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

    John did not clarify who, exactly, sent him to baptize with water, but we read this in the D&C.

    D&C 84:27–28

    27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

    28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.

    And in this case, the Lord hailing John as the greatest of prophets implies, to me, (since the Biblical standard requires standing in the divine council) that John had likewise stood in the divine council, even though we don’t have a record of it.

    “For the Lord Yhwh doesn’t do anything without revealing his sôd to his servants the prophets.” (Amost 3:7)

  64. log
    September 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    And when I said “unconverted”, a perhaps more accurate term would be “unsanctified.”

  65. log
    September 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Also, it is not “faithful” to hail Brigham as a prophet if he was, in truth, not a prophet. He specifically disclaimed being a prophet. And he was forthright in stating plainly he had never been visited by an angel, never seen a vision, and never seen the Savior. I’m not sure what it is, but neither “faithful” nor “loyal” cover that.

  66. Geoff
    September 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Perhaps after I read PTHG what you are saying will make more sense.

    I’ll read that article you link to as well. For now, it’s good night. :)

  67. log
    September 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Anyways, Karl, I’m not interested in responding to a host of “papercuts.” If you have a substantial demonstration of an error committed by Snuffer, I would appreciate you posting that, rather than poorly (or un-) supported assertions.

  68. log
    September 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    And, for the record, I asked Dan Peterson (formerly of FARMS/Maxwell Institute) to review PTHG. He hadn’t read any of Snuffer’s books, and, based on the rumors he’d heard, he said he was disinclined to even look, if I recall correctly.

    That’s unfortunate. I think it would be a good exercise for the folks at Mormon Interpreter to take on this project – reviewing PTHG. They, laudably, carry on the original tradition of FARMS, which was, bluntly, mostly apologetic in nature. They may have gotten some things wrong, but they served the kingdom well in that capacity.

    What gets me, though, is that the reaction to PTHG has been similar to the Democrats’ defense of President Obama’s “natural-born” status. When it was pointed out they never produced his birth certificate, the response was mockery and scorn. Then they produced a “certificate of live birth.” When it was pointed out that the “certificate of live birth” could have been obtained even if President Obama was foreign-born, the response was simply, again, to mock and assert the issue was closed, that no right-thinking individual could possibly have legitimate issues with the documentation provided, that the documentation provided was all-sufficient to close the issue, and all such people as still had issues were really racists. They never did, in fact, produce the birth certificate, which is odd if indeed the document existed and showed what was claimed, namely, that President Obama was indeed born in Hawaii. Simply producing it would have ended all debate instantly.

    I will be very, very surprised to find out, in the resurrection, that President Obama was indeed a natural-born citizen.

  69. SteveF
    September 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Log, I’m not going to make my weekend deadline like I hoped, I ended up being pretty swamped from the time of my last comment up until now – haven’t been able to read the many comments since then. I did see that you recently commented about BY, and this is one of my points of contention with Denver as it relates to passing on the fulness of the keys / fulness of the Priesthood, so maybe I’ll throw in a relatively quick comment here to lay out some initial problems with Denver’s interpretations in the succession of the Priesthood.

    On page 87, Denver quotes Brigham Young who explains that “an Apostle is the highest office and authority that there is in the Church and Kingdom of God on earth” and goes on to say “Joseph Smith gave unto me and my brethren all the Priesthood keys, power and authority which he had”.

    Denver goes on to show how Joseph Smith most likely did not ordain BY or any of the other apostles to the Apostleship, and additionally the original apostles were ordained to that office in 1835 before the 1836 restoration of keys found in D&C 110 (which oddly Denver seems to reject as a historical event, but throughout the book continues to use as source text to “prove” other points when it seems convenient to him – if it really was Warren Cowdery making it all up, then don’t use an erroneous source as a proof text, or if it is legitimate, why cast so much doubt on it essentially implying that the event never happened? But I digress.)

    I agree that the apostleship ordination occurred in 1835 before the keys restored in Kirtland, and that Joseph Smith did not perform these ordinations. Which leads to the obvious conclusion that Brigham Young was not referring to this initial ordination, but rather another event altogether in which Joseph Smith actually bestowed the full keys of the Kingdom upon him and his “brethren”. Instead of concluding the obvious, Denver chooses to assume Brigham Young was referring to his 1835 ordination, and fights that straw man throughout the book.

    Elsewhere (can’t find the reference off hand) Brigham Young pointed out that Apostles were also Kings and Priests, showing that under Brigham Young when the Apostles took over the church that he saw to it that all Apostles were given the keys that belonged to a King and a Priest, therefore making that authority part of the apostleship.

    To understand what Brigham Young was referring to when he said Joseph Smith gave him all the Priesthood keys, power and authority which he had, consider the following. On 6 August 1843, Brigham Young said, “If any in the church [have] the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood [I do] not know it. For any person to have the fullness of that priesthood, he must be a king and priest.” This contemporaneous quote gives us insight into what Brigham Young was learning about the meaning of the fullness of the Priesthood, and this information was most likely being taught to him directly from Joseph Smith.

    Later, that ordination to the fullness of the Priesthood, that made BY a King and Priest, along with several of his “brethren” happened. Because of the sacredness of that topic, I will not delve into it too much further. But as a partial explanation, consider the following from Brigham Young, “Those who come in here [the Nauvoo Temple] and have received their washing & anointing will [later, if faithful], be ordained Kings & Priests, and will then have received the fullness of the Priesthood, all that can be given on earth. For Brother Joseph said he had given us all that could be given to man on the earth” (Heber C. Kimball Journal, kept by William Clayton, 26 December 1845, Church Archives).

    These historical ordinances/anointings/ordinations that were said to bestow all the keys belonging to the Fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, making the holders Kings and Priests, are in complete contradiction to the explanations of the Fullness of the Priesthood given by Denver in his book. Instead of addressing these quotes and the many others like them and this history (which maybe he is simply unaware of?) he fights another straw man insinuating that the endowment was the only anointing given to these men in the red brick store. But it pretty much beyond dispute historically that further ordinances, including an anointing known as the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, were also given to several men who had been previously endowed.

    These ordinances were instituted on 28 September 1843 and in the next five months were conferred on twenty men: Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Newel K. Whitney, William Marks, John Taylor, John Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, Alpheus Cutler, Orson Spencer, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Levi Richards, Cornelius P. Lott, William W. Phelps Isaac Morley, and Orson Pratt. As George Q. Cannon later said, “Previous to his death. the Prophet Joseph manifested great anxiety to see the temple completed, as most of you who were with the Church during his day, well know. “Hurry up the work, brethren,” he used to say, “let us finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that the brethren should have their endowments and receive the fullness of the Priesthood. Then,” said he, “the Kingdom will be established, and I do not care what shall become of me.” Prior to the completion of the Temple, [Joseph Smith] took the Twelve and certain other men, who were chosen, and bestowed upon them a holy anointing, similar to that which was received on the day of Pentecost by the Twelve, who had been told to tarry at Jerusalem. This endowment was bestowed upon the chosen few whom Joseph anointed and ordained, giving unto them the keys of the holy Priesthood, the power and authority which he himself held, to build up the Kingdom of God in all the earth and accomplish the great purposes of our Heavenly Father.”

    Joseph Smith explicitly tied this doctrine with Elijah and said the following, “Now for Elijah, the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, oricles powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on the Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God” (Wilford Woodruff Journal in WoJS, pg. 327-329)

    Of course all of this is in direct conflict with Denver Snuffer’s teachings on the subject. But this is not the only place were Denver’s interpretations of the Priesthood doctrine get him in trouble. Denver seems to think Priesthood ordination of Authority = Invitation, and Priesthood Power = (what is traditionally thought of as Priesthood Authority & Priesthood Power). This not only prevents him from understanding the Fullness of the Priesthood doctrine, but prevents him from creating a plausible functional Priesthood structure/theology in the church at all in his paradigm. In Denver’s paradigm he concludes (falsely in my opinion) that Priesthood authority to perform ordinances is only effective when the Priesthood holder is righteous and obtains that “power” (what most would term authority) from heaven first, and if he has not done so, and is therefore unworthy, unbeknownst to the church, those ordinances are not effective. (see PTHG pg. 321-324). According to Denver’s paradigm, there is a high posibility that his baptism and confirmation were never truly “authorized” in the eyes of heaven, meaning that he and countless others may not even be true members of the Church in the first place (possibly making his excommunication meaningless). I hope you can see how absurd such an idea is. It all roots in his inability to understand Priesthood Authority, which messes him up on understanding the Fullness of the Priesthood as well.

    Denver has failed to understand the order of the Priesthood, and Joseph Smith’s teachings that heavenly beings only bring authority to mortal men when there is no mortal on earth that can minister to that man. Once authority is restored, all ordinations will come from the hands of mortal men already holding that authority. This applies to the Fullness of the Priesthood and its associated keys (authority) as all other portions of that Priesthood. That all power is not bestowed when the authority is bestowed, is of course true. But with this authority, ordinances can be performed (and will be recognized in heaven), and through righteousness all power associated with that ordination (or ordinance) can be obtained line upon line through obeying the laws associated with those blessings of power – and this applies to the fullness of priesthood authority as well as any part or portion of that authority. Ironically, this principle is found in one of the quotes in PTHG quoting the Millennial Star, “An angel, said Joseph, may administer the word of the Lord unto men, and bring intelligence to them from heaven upon various subjects; but no true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish the priesthood by ordaining me thereunto; and the priesthood being once established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more.” (Millennial Star 8, pg. 139)

    I’m starting to run out of time here, but just quickly I want to give a very brief alternate explanation for what I believe Denver got wrong in D&C 124:28, which is at the root of his thesis. The biggest mistake is misunderstanding the grammar behind “restore again”. Denver thinks this means Joseph had the Fullness of the Priesthood, but then it was lost to the church, or Joseph “was no longer authorized to use the fullness on behalf of the church” (PTHG pg. 98). I think this is a ridiculous assertion in the first place. In the BofM, when the people became extremely wicked, was Nephi restricted from using the Fullness of the Priesthood on behalf of the people? No, he was not, instead it is in their wickedness that we see Nephi exercising his sealing power on behalf of the people prayer for famine, etc. The Lord was not restricting Joseph from using the keys he received in Kirtland, rather he was saying that for the Fullness of the Priesthood (with all its associated ordinances pointed out earlier) to be restored, the temple should be completed (but also gives a caveat that in their poverty these things can be done outside of the temple). The grammar “restore again” means “restore to the earth again as in times past”. Which would make this restoration the first time in this dispensation. This would mean that the “you” the fulness of the priesthood was lost or taken away from, would be referring to the church long before Joseph Smith’s time. This interpretation is consistent with the idea in the book of Revelation that the Church went into the wilderness (losing the fulness of the priesthood) until the Lord saw fit to restore again the fulness of the priesthood bringing the woman (church) out of the wilderness and obscurity. This interpretation of verse 28 is also more consistent with the history of the restoration in this dispensation. As pointed out above, even 2 years after this revelation was given, Brigham Young said that the fulness of the priesthood had not been restored to the earth (at any time in this dispensation), because Joseph Smith had not restored/implemented all the ordinances belonging to the temple just yet. Although all the keys had been given to Joseph, all the ordinances that would complete the fulness of the Priesthood had not yet been restored to the church, and it was shortly after Brigham Young made that statement that Joseph Smith finally revealed all the ordinances belonging to the House of the Lord restoring to the earth the fulness of the priesthood for the first time in this dispensation. And this authority has continued to the present.

    Anyway, because of my lack of time, I had to rush this out in maybe a semi-convoluted way, but I hope it mostly answers your question about the fullness of the Priesthood. I hope next weekend to get to the gentile church explanation, although that one may be an easier one to tackle in a much shorter way. If you have follow up questions, you can ask for clarification, and I’ll see if I can get to that. If not, I’ll have to leave these things to other commenters. All the best!

    • Karl
      October 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Steve F, Amen to your great comments.

    • RC
      October 8, 2013 at 1:13 am

      Steve F.

      I didn’t see this post. I posted a long treatise that states the same in longer term (it rejected my length) so I lost an hours work.

      Now I know why — you had already posted much of what was presented.

      Thank you.

  70. log
    September 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Steve, the irony is, Snuffer addresses your arguments in PTHG in full.

    I appreciate the effort you are expending, though.

    Elijah did not restore the sealing keys in Kirtland. The provenance of D&C 110 cannot be traced back to Joseph. Even if it is authentic, it does not indicate that the sealing keys were given to Joseph at that time. Moreover, the keys of the kingdom and the dispensation of the fullness of times to which Elijah referred as having already been bestowed upon Joseph, even if D&C 110 is authentic, were those given to Joseph Smith by Peter, James, and John, as indicated in D&C 128:20.

    Moreover, Joseph consistently taught that the mission of Elijah, to restore the sealing power, was a future event, even until the very end of his life. Elijah never came and restored the sealing power, if Joseph is to be believed.

    Having loaned out my copy of TPJS, I have to refer you to WoJS p. 48, for a particularly damning statement of the matter, given 5 October 1840.

    See which ordinances will be continued when the priesthood is restored with all its authority power and blessings. Elijah was the last prophet that held the keys of this priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r] the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness.

    Snuffer nowhere rejects the validity of D&C 110. He merely recounts the facts of its provenance without drawing any conclusions.

    What Snuffer claims is that the fullness of the priesthood was lost to the Church, as the Lord says in D&C 124:28, it was not the Church’s possession through Joseph as the President of the Church, but Joseph’s personal possession by covenant with the Lord. The Lord said the Nauvoo temple was the only place He would come and restore it to the Church, and then only if the Nauvoo temple was completed in the time the Lord allotted. The temple was never completed at all.

    I find it eminently reasonable rather than ridiculous, but, then, I have no vested interest in the opposite conclusion being true. It happens to be the literal reading of D&C 124.

    As Snuffer rightly points out, Joseph would have had the sealing power at the time he first started performing sealings, in the early 1830s (Snuffer postulates on very believable grounds that Joseph had obtained it by 1829, when Joseph inquired about polygamy during his translation of the book of Jacob). Otherwise, what was he doing? And he obtained it not from Elijah in 1836, since Elijah did not restore anything anyways, but from the voice of God Himself, as has every other scriptural prophet – as Snuffer points out in his analysis of D&C 132.

    Whatever Joseph did in the red brick store could not therefore have done what the Lord had declared by His own mouth that only He could do in the completed Nauvoo temple. Brigham, no matter which ordination he was referring to, was therefore wrong, being in conflict with the word of God on the subject, or making an unprecedented claim that the fullness of the priesthood could be passed on without the direct involvement of the Lord.

    According to Snuffer’s thesis, nothing prevented Brigham from personally appealing unto the Lord to receive the fullness of the priesthood – but apparently, Brigham never did, or he never brought his life into alignment with the Lord’s will sufficiently to be entrusted with this power. By his own admission, he’d never seen a vision, been visited by an angel (Moroni 7:29-30), and never had seen the Lord. He also would inquire and NOT get an answer. Contrast that with Joseph.

    It is imperative that when reviewing a work one reads the whole thing, keeps everything in context, and reads for understanding, rather than controversy. Snuffer anticipated your responses in crafting his argument.

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 10:00 am

      “it was not the Church’s possession through Joseph as the President of the Church, but Joseph’s personal possession by covenant with the Lord.”

      Can you clarify what you mean here. When do you think this verse is saying the fulness of the Priesthood was lost? Lost unto who? Or when and who did the Lord take it away from?

      My understanding is that Denver believes this means Joseph “was no longer authorized to use the fullness on behalf of the church” (PTHG pg. 98). In my first long post I addressed why I think that is not likely (pointing to Nephi as an example). It would be equally ridiculous to insinuate Joseph lost the Fullness of the Priesthood due to the wickedness of others (as he neither sinned against the Holy Ghost, nor shed innocent blood). So if Joseph didn’t lose it, didn’t have it taken away from him, who was or were these people that held the fullness of the Priesthood that did have it take away from them.

      I have pointed out since no one was ordained a King and Priest at this even up until late 1843, the fullness had not ever been given to the Saints in this dispensation, therefore they could not have lost that fullness. Rather it meets the parameters to see the Lord as looking at the Church as a whole from the time of Christ up to this point, and it was they who lost the Fullness of the Priesthood that was given to them, sending the church into the wilderness, and it was to be restored again in this last dispensation. The Lord points out that the temple is the proper place for these ordinances to be performed to give these blessings to the Saints, but also shows that baptism for the dead (another ordinance that is in most circumstances only done in a temple) is acceptable outside the temple in the times of their poverty. Could this rightly apply to the ordinances belonging to the fulness of the Priesthood as well? The answer must be yes, if you accept Joseph was acting in righteousness when he did endowments, sealings, and the ordaining of several leaders as Kings and Priests (the same office Melchizedek held that contained the fullness of the Priesthood). If you think Joseph was disobeying God and acting wrongfully, and those ordinances were thus not valid, I guess that’s an argument made with incomplete evidence. But I personally believe Joseph knew what he was doing, and that he was acting in righteousness as he performed all those ordinances outside of the temple in the time of their poverty. I think in his righteous anxiety he knew that these things had to happen soon, and he was finally relieved when the Lord allowed him to pass those things onto others so that they could round up their shoulders and “bear off the Kingdom” without him (and then declared that he didn’t care what would become of himself now that these keys were passed on). He still displayed anxiety that the Saints would finish the temple so that these blessings would become available to more than a select few leaders (Joseph was concerned about the salvation of the whole human family, both living and dead), but as BY declared after quick contemplation on hearing about the death of Joseph, yes indeed the Lord left the keys on earth with His leaders. And the Nauvoo temple was eventually put to use after the death of Joseph Smith where all of these ordinances were performed for a lot of the membership before they left and crossed the plains.

      I think it is also pertinent to the situation to looks at verse 49 later in section 124, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” – this shows that the Lord can bless those who stayed dedicated to the work of building the temple, even if other wicked people prevented the full blessings from being realized. While some members apostatized, and their wicked actions probably led to the death of Joseph Smith, while this may be reason enough that the Saints could not retain the promise to “not be moved out of that place”, to me it is not reason enough that God would punish the majority faithful. Thus it makes sense that, as happened historically speaking, the faithful still got to receive the blessings in the Nauvoo temple before they left Nauvoo, although the actions of the few wicked broke the conditions upon which the Saints would not be moved out of their place, and thus they were driven out by wickedness. But as they received the promised blessings of the ordinances and the fullness, it goes to show me that the Lord is merciful and “accept[ed]… their offerings” despite enemies “hinder[ing] them”.

      • Karl
        October 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

        Steve F, you are right on these points. One of Snuffer’s biggest contradictions, to my mind, is that he personally rejects the the idea that when the Brethren currently exercise priesthood by sealing up saints to eternal life, calling this “useless,” despite the fact that Joseph Smith clearly did dispense this by ordinance. At the same time, Snuffer uses the argument that there were blessings the saints could ONLY receive in the Nauvoo temple, and they would be “rejected” if they failed to finish the temple in the time appointed. Yet, Snuffer personally, who claims to have received the fullness of Priesthood and received these highest blessings outside of the Temple. So, my point, in all seriousness is: how can Snuffer be correct on both arguments?

  71. log
    September 30, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Another pertinent quotation from Joseph about the futurity of Elijah’s mission and the lack of sealing keys and the necessity of the Nauvoo Temple’s completion.

    The Bible says “I will send you Elijah before the great & dredful day of the Lord Come that he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the Children & the hearts of the Children to their fathers lest I Come & smite the whole earth with a Curse,” Now the word turn here should be translated (bind or seal) But what is the object of this important mission or how is it to be fulfilled, The keys are to be deliverd the spirit of Elijah is to Come, The gospel to be esstablished the Saints of God gatherd Zion built up, & the Saints to Come up as Saviors on mount Zion but how are they to become Saviors on Mount Zion by building thair temples erecting their Baptismal fonts & going forth & receiving all the ordinances, Baptisms, Confirmations, washings anointings ordinations & sealing powers upon our heads in behalf of all our Progenitors who are dead & redeem them that they may Come forth in the first resurrection & be exhalted to thrones of glory with us, & here in is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the Children, & the Children to the Fathers which fulfills the mission of Elijah & I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time &make use of the seals while they are on earth & the Saints have none to much time to save & redeem their dead, & gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world

    That’s WoJS, p. 239, given on 21 January 1844.

    On its face, it says the mission of Elijah was still future, the sealing keys were as yet undelivered, the sealing power Joseph possessed could not be used for ordinance work as the temple was yet incomplete, and time was short for this to be done (see D&C 124, again).

    Joseph was subsequently martyred, and the Nauvoo temple was never completed at all. The Church was removed from her place – Nauvoo – with “cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments.”

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

      In your quote it says, “make use of the seals while they are on earth” which to me implies that the seals were, as it says, then on earth. But not only was this implied, but Joseph Smith was performing baptisms for the dead, as well as living washings and anointings, ordinations, and sealings making use of these seals. Nowhere did Joseph say Elijah hadn’t come, but rather with careful language described the process that “the keys are to be deliverd the spirit of Elijah is to Come”. Nowhere did he claim that this wasn’t in process; rather the following words in your quote (as well as Joseph Smith documented performing of these ordinances) insinuates that this actually was in process, that the keys were delivered and the spirit of Elijah was coming – but that they should finish the temple so that these things could be done in the proper place making it more widely available/accessible to the membership as a whole than the special circumstances which were only given/permitted to a handful of select leaders outside of the temple at that point.

  72. log
    September 30, 2013 at 12:27 am

    In this, it is not my intention to “defend” Snuffer, but to again point out that his arguments have not been adequately addressed, nor even summarized correctly.

    I will note, however, that if the thesis of PTHG is correct, it makes perfect sense why there has never been another manifestation like at the temple dedication at Kirtland. After all, the Lord did say if they failed to obey concerning the Nauvoo temple, that “if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.” (D&C 124:47)

  73. log
    September 30, 2013 at 1:04 am

    … And a last note. When Brigham said the apostles had been anointed priests and kings, he meant that Joseph had administered the rites of the endowments and the second anointings to them. That is another subject covered in PTHG.

  74. SteveF
    September 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Log, no problem. I understand the concerns you are pointing out, and I didn’t really get to address all of Denver’s points, you are correct, it was just a starting place. So I’ll go ahead and try to start filling in some of those gaps now for you.

    Two of Denver’s strongest points are to cast doubt on the origins and historicity of D&C 110, and pointing out Joseph’s use of future tense in all of his references to the coming of Elijah.

    Two of Denver’s weakest points are first his misunderstanding of grammar when Elijah speaks in D&C 110, and his using of D&C 132 as proof that Joseph Smith already held the fullness of the sealing power/Priesthood by 1832, because Joseph started “sealing people up to eternal life” at least by that date.

    I’m going to address and take care of giving an explanation for the weaker points first, and then move on to addressing the stronger points. Denver believes that when Elijah says “committed” when referencing the keys of that dispensation, that this is somehow a confirmation of a past event. However, this is simply not grammatically the case. In verse 14 Elijah says, “the time has fully come…” meaning “now at this moment is the time that the things spoken in Malachi are being fulfilled” i.e. this is the promised appearance of Elijah promised by Malachi. Since verses 14-16 are all one sentence, the straight forward interpretation is that it is all happening at that moment. Note that Elijah did not say the keys “were committed” but rather specifically “are committed” – meaning at that moment.

    On to the next point – D&C 132. This revelation transcribed in July 1843 is clearly chock-full of doctrinal developments and language only found in the Nauvoo period. From a historical analysis standpoint, the only reasonable conclusion from the evidence is that this is a Nauvoo era document/revelation. It is only because Joseph Smith engaged and/or discussed polygamy previous to revelation that we like to assume that some of the elements (particularly as it pertains to plural marriage (not sealing however)) may have been revealed to Joseph Smith previously. I do not have time to go into an in depth historical analysis, but see the currently ongoing multi-part analysis by WVS over at BBC (http://bycommonconsent.com/2013/09/29/sunday-evenings-with-the-doctrine-and-covenants-section-132-part-7-unconditional-sealing-and-breaking-the-bonds/ ) I too have faith that Joseph Smith had some knowledge of the doctrine of plural marriage previous to this Nauvoo revelation, and that he wasn’t merely engaged in adultery previous to that time, but this is not a conclusion that can be made on the actual historical evidence. Therefore it is completely erroneous to assume that all the elements contained in D&C 132 were revealed by 1832, it is simply not supportable or even close to likely given the historical evidence.

    The one element of evidence that Denver provides is pointing out that Joseph Smith was sealing people or groups of people “unto Eternal Life” by late 1832. This is true. But assuming this had anything to do with the sealing powers of Elijah or the fullness of the Priesthood is an unfounded assumption. Joseph Smith himself taught that it was the High Priesthood (what we understand as the office of High Priest now) that held the keys of presiding and sealing up unto eternal life. Joseph Smith later revealed and attributed the restoration and keys of this High Priesthood to an ordination at the hands of Peter, James, and John. We should note that this “sealing up to Eternal Life” is separate and distinguishable from the later sealing individuals together in Nauvoo, and that this was being performed before the revelation in D&C 131 that reveals there are 3 degrees in the celestial Kingdom, and the new and everlasting cov’t of marriage is a requirement in order to obtain the highest degree. Therefore, I think it is reasonable to conclude that the meaning of “sealing up unto eternal life” in historical context, simply meant that the high priesthood had the ability to seal up unto celestial glory generically, but was not an unconditional (or nearly unconditional) promise of full exaltation like that found in the ordinances that would be revealed very late in the Nauvoo period. I also think that it is worth noting that over time, this practice of “sealing up unto eternal life” generically, faded out once further light and knowledge about exaltation and the ordinances required for it were revealed, and seemingly was entirely replaced by the endowments and sealing ordinances of Nauvoo. The most plausible conclusion to me then, is that Joseph Smith had truly not been given all the keys of the Priesthood, until the restoration event described in D&C 110 took place in the Kirtland temple in 1836.

    Now onto Denver’s stronger points. But first I want to point out how ironic it is that Denver feels like Elijah sermons must necessarily be referring to a future event before the fullness will be restored, when Denver clearly believes that in 1832 Joseph had already received the fullness of the Priesthood, and furthermore that Elijah in 1836 made the declaration that he (Joseph) already received it. Why would Elijah need to come to restore the fullness, if as Denver claims, Joseph had already received that fullness and Elijah appeared to him in 1836 to confirm that he had indeed already received that fullness? A seeming contradiction indeed. So despite casting doubt on the veracity of D&C 110, Denver seems to accept that the events described therein are at the very least quite possible – since he uses it as a proof text constantly quoting the last verse spoken by Elijah throughout PTHG.

    But, I’ll move on to the actual veracity of D&C 110. We know this was the last thing written in Joseph Smith’s journal and it is in the handwriting of Warren Cowdery, a scribe at the time, and it was written in 3rd person. But when we look at the language itself contained in the revelation, it reads like a dictation from Joseph Smith like any other revelation. And being in the journal, and as Warren was a scribe, it would be most reasonable to conclude that it was in fact a dictation. The only odd part is that it was written in 3rd person. I don’t think anyone has a complete answer for why this is, but I think the most plausible explanation is that Joseph Smith dictated it as a 3rd person document, intended to be from Warren Cowdery’s perspective that he would be a 3rd witness to this important event. And indeed this witness is quite important to the Church’s claims today. I think we have to readily admit that the modern Church’s claims to the sealing authority are contingent on the testimony now found in D&C 110. I have a personal witness of that this testimony is true, and that was indeed an historical event. But additionally, I think the events of Nauvoo provide evidence for that as well. The first point of evidence is the sudden shift after 1836 to almost exclusively refer to Elijah in connection with the Priesthood. Joseph’s sermons on the Priesthood rarely even alluded to John the Baptist or Peter, James, and John anymore, but rather it was suddenly Elijah this, Elijah that, Elijah, Elijah, Elijah! Why the sudden extreme focus? It was clearly on the forefront of Joseph’s mind throughout the Nauvoo period. But if the coming of Elijah had already occurred, why would Joseph only refer to his coming in future tense? This is a very good question, and I believe there is solid evidence for a good answer to this question. I believe the answer is that Joseph Smith was commanded not to reveal that the event had taken place, just yet. That the Saints hearts and minds needed to be prepared for the doctrine before it was revealed to them. (This would hardly be the only thing kept from the general membership during the Nauvoo era – think polygamy, endowments, council of fifty, ordinance making men Kings and Priests, etc.)

    Besides that it could have been one of many as yet revealed doctrines to the general membership, I think there are two pieces of evidence offering support to this interpretation. The first major one is precedence. The events in the Kirtland temple were not the only angelic ministries bestowing keys that Joseph and Oliver experienced. We of course also know about John the Baptist, and the separate appearance of Peter, James, and John. Despite these appearances occurring in 1829 (possibly 1830 for PJ&J) it was several years before we have any evidence that Joseph or Oliver said a word about these events, and all the way until 1835 until this was made general public knowledge. David Whitmer spoke quite hostilely toward this situation, saying he never heard them say anything about angels when the Church was first established, and so he disbelieved that JtB or PJ&J ever even appeared to Joseph and Oliver. The second piece of evidence is looking to the most obvious parallel account in the new testament – the Mt. of Transfiguration. After this event were it is likely Peter, James, and John received many of the same keys, if not the same keys, they were specifically charged to “Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead”.

    To me it is very plausible that Joseph was preparing the minds of the people toward the doctrine of Elijah, before revealing to them that the events in D&C 110 had already taken place, and hence he spoke of it in future tense. But while precedence and the scriptural parallel of the Mt. Transfiguration make this scenario very plausible, perhaps the strongest evidence is what Joseph Smith actually did during the Nauvoo era, or more specifically the ordinances that he was performing. Joseph Smith in describing the full priesthood Melchizedek held said the following in contrast to the Patriarchal Priesthood Abraham held before he was given the Fullness of the Priesthood from Melchizedek: “That of Melchisedec who had still greater power even power of an endless life of which was our Lord Jesus Christ which also Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac which was not the power of a Prophet nor apostle nor Patriarch only but of King & Priest to God to open the windows of Heaven and pour out the peace & Law of endless Life to ma & No man can attain to the Joint heirship with Jesus Christ without being administered to by one having the same power & Authority of Melchisedec.” See the following link on the subject (http://scottwoodward.org/Talks/html/Smith,%20Joseph/SmithJ_ThreeOrdersOfPriesthood.html ). At this link you can see many things pertaining to this discussion, including an interesting point that Joseph Smith pointed out that Peter and John (and I’m assuming James too) received the fullness of the Priesthood on the Mt. of Transfiguration. This begins to dismantle Denver’s argument that a man can only receive the Fullness of the Priesthood from the hands of God himself (i.e. Brigham Young was not making an unprecedented claim). In addition to this, in the Words of Joseph Smith (can’t find the reference immediately, maybe you or someone else can find it for me) – Joseph Smith is said to have explained on separate occasions that the sacrifice of Isaac was how Abraham *earned* the Fullness of the Priesthood and his exaltation, but his actual ordination to the Fullness of the Priesthood came from the hands of Melchizedek (not God), which is another example that discredits Denver’s assertions. And now to the main point, all of Joseph Smith’s sermons are basically explicitly tying all these ordinances to the authority that Elijah would restore – that Elijah would bring back the full keys of Priesthood that Melchizedek held that made him a King and Priest unto God administering life and salvation to the followers of God in his day. And yet, we see historically, that out of the public eye Joseph Smith was performing these very ordinances (and even baptism for the dead that was public was also explicitly tied to the authority that Elijah would restore – see D&C 128). How could Joseph Smith be ordaining other people Kings and Priests rightfully (thus putting them on par in authority by putting them in the same office that Melchizedek himself held anciently), unless Elijah had already given him keys to perform these ordinances? Or why would Joseph Smith be performing these rites that belong to the power/authority Elijah was to restore, if Elijah really hadn’t come yet? The answer is that it would be impossible, these keys must have already been restored in order to perform these ordinations in righteousness to the same King and Priest power that Melchizedek held. And if these ordinations were legitimate, which I see no reason to believe otherwise, then BY and others as Kings and Priests held the same fullness of the Priesthood that Melchizedek held / and that Joseph Smith himself held – all the authority (keys) that a man can receive in mortality. Succession of the sealing keys was preserved thus.

    I hope this partially sets the stage that Denver’s BofM interpretations of the gentiles rejecting the fullness, may very well be something different than he claims it to be. Actually, this point may not take nearly as much time to explain (I’m hoping), but more on that later…

  75. Bob Frost
    September 30, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I have not read the entire thread, but I have read Denver’s books and frequently listen to his talks while in my car. I would like to share some thoughts.

    I find it comforting that a man who rides a Harley, speaks roughly at times and is a divorced lawyer, could be chosen by the Lord to call a people to repentance. Makes me think that even I could enjoy the presence of the Lord.

    FWIW, I consider Hugh Nibley a prior example of a “prophet from outside the normal channels”. Nibley, almost single handedly restored the Book of Mormon to it’s rightful place within our faith. I’m wondering what Denver’s legacy will be.

    I think it might be instructive for those critical of Denver, without having read his material, to at least read the Gethsemane chapter of “Come Let Us Adore Him”. I consider it the best “testimony” that he offers.

    And a final thought, for this post, most of the scriptures come to us because of the private writings of those the Lord called, and many were not part of the religious leadership of the time. Names like Lehi, Nephi, Samuel, Elijah, Christ, Peter, James and John come to mind. I’m sure you could extend that list, and a good discussion of why could be engaged in.

  76. SteveF
    September 30, 2013 at 8:23 am

    And just in case this wasn’t clear in my comment, I want to quote D&C 110:14–16, taking out the middle clauses, to shed light on Denver’s contradictory claims.

    “Behold, the time has fully come (what time? the prophesied time that Malachi said Elijah would be sent)… therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.”

    So was this a past, then present, or future event? Denver would like this to be both a past and future event, claiming that “the time has actually not fully come spoken of by Malachi that Elijah would be sent” which directly contradicts the passage; and then claims that at the same time it was a past event that Joseph had already received “the keys of [that] dispensation”. The *therefore* in the sentence however makes this split impossible, as it explicitly connects the timing of the keys being committed to the first statement “the time has fully come” referring to Malchi’s prophesied coming of Elijah.

    To resolve this, Denver discredits the text when discussing the claim that Elijah’s coming was there fulfilled, but then reaffirms the text to say Joseph Smith had received those keys previous to 1836. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. If we accept D&C 110, which I do, it is clear that Elijah is claiming that his prophesied coming by Malachi is being fulfilled (the time has *fully* come), and *therefore* (to fulfill the ends of that prophesy) the keys of Elijah’s dispensation “are committed” to Joseph.

  77. SteveF
    September 30, 2013 at 8:27 am

    And just in case this wasn’t clear in my comment, I want to quote D&C 110:14–16, taking out the middle clauses, to shed light on Denver’s contradictory claims.

    “Behold, the time has fully come (what time? the prophesied time that Malachi said Elijah would be sent)… therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.”

    So was this a past, then present, or future event? Denver would like this to be both a past and future event, claiming that “the time has actually not fully come spoken of by Malachi that Elijah would be sent” which directly contradicts the passage; and then claims that at the same time it was a past event that Joseph had already received “the keys of [that] dispensation”. The *therefore* in the sentence however makes this split impossible, as it explicitly connects the timing of the keys being committed to the first statement “the time has fully come” referring to Malachi’s prophesied coming of Elijah.

    To resolve this, Denver discredits the text when discussing the claim that Elijah’s coming was there fulfilled, but then reaffirms the text to say Joseph Smith had received those keys previous to 1836. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. If we accept D&C 110, which I do, it is clear that Elijah is claiming that his prophesied coming by Malachi is being fulfilled (the time has *fully* come), and *therefore* (to fulfill the ends of that prophesy) the keys of Elijah’s dispensation “are committed” to Joseph right then and there.

  78. log
    September 30, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Steve,

    Your argument, in full, is that Snuffer’s “reading it wrong.”

    Therefore it is completely erroneous to assume that all the elements contained in D&C 132 were revealed by 1832, it is simply not supportable or even close to likely given the historical evidence.

    That’s not Snuffer’s claim. (PTHG, chapter 6)

    The one element of evidence that Denver provides is pointing out that Joseph Smith was sealing people or groups of people “unto Eternal Life” by late 1832. This is true. But assuming this had anything to do with the sealing powers of Elijah or the fullness of the Priesthood is an unfounded assumption.

    Perhaps, but his taking of plural wives in 1832 required the power to seal. (PTHG p. 153)

    Joseph Smith himself taught that it was the High Priesthood (what we understand as the office of High Priest now) that held the keys of presiding and sealing up unto eternal life.

    I’m not sure your equating what Joseph referred to as the High Priesthood with what we now call the office of High Priest is with foundation.

    Now onto Denver’s stronger points. But first I want to point out how ironic it is that Denver feels like Elijah sermons must necessarily be referring to a future event before the fullness will be restored, when Denver clearly believes that in 1832 Joseph had already received the fullness of the Priesthood, and furthermore that Elijah in 1836 made the declaration that he (Joseph) already received it.

    Elijah declared

    1. The time has fully come that his (Elijah’s) mission should be fulfilled.
    2. That the keys of the kingdom and of the dispensation of the fullness of times were presently, currently committed to Joseph.

    He doesn’t mention the sealing power, there is no ordination nor conferral of powers upon Joseph at this time by Elijah, even granting the authenticity of the text.

    And, again, Snuffer simply recounts the provenance of D&C 110. The reader may draw their own conclusions as to its veracity.

    Why would Elijah need to come to restore the fullness, if as Denver claims, Joseph had already received that fullness and Elijah appeared to him in 1836 to confirm that he had indeed already received that fullness?

    That is a curious contradiction since Joseph maintained that Elijah’s mission – to deliver the sealing keys – was yet future, even until the end of Joseph’s life, indicating that even if the time had fully come, Elijah’s mission was not fulfilled by the events recounted in D&C 110, even if it is authentic. D&C 110 does not recount Elijah restoring the fullness. Declaring that the keys of the kingdom and the dispensation of the fullness of times, given by Peter, James, and John, had been bestowed upon Joseph, does not indicate Elijah bestowed anything upon Joseph.

    That’s a problem.

    So despite casting doubt on the veracity of D&C 110, Denver seems to accept that the events described therein are at the very least quite possible – since he uses it as a proof text constantly quoting the last verse spoken by Elijah throughout PTHG.

    That is correct – Snuffer solely recounts the provenance of D&C 110, and draws no conclusions. He does not, in PTHG, reject the authenticity of D&C 110. The reader may draw their own conclusions.

    I think we have to readily admit that the modern Church’s claims to the sealing authority are contingent on the testimony now found in D&C 110.

    That may be true – the claims of the Church may be contingent upon those things. The Church may be claiming more from the text than it supports, however, and on a literal reading of the text, appears to be.

    That’s a problem.

    This begins to dismantle Denver’s argument that a man can only receive the Fullness of the Priesthood from the hands of God himself (i.e. Brigham Young was not making an unprecedented claim).

    That’s not Snuffer’s claim – he claims the fullness of the priesthood requires the direct involvement of the Lord, not necessarily a physical ordination by the Lord (this point is repeatedly made throughout PTHG, using the scriptures and the teachings of Joseph Smith to document – the voice of God declares unto a man he has this power). Also, did you note the date of the talk you linked to? It again postdates 1836, and refers to Elijah’s future (as yet unfulfilled) mission. Also, the Savior at the mount of transfiguration received the fullness of the Priesthood, not Peter and John, and the Father was present then (Luke 9:35).

    Joseph had the sealing power no later than December, 1832, as demonstrated by his use of it. Elijah’s future mission is to restore the keys to the Church, apparently; this resolves any conflict. If Elijah did so, and Joseph never said he did, they were taken by the Lord, according to D&C 124, and not restored by Him as he said only He could do and He only would do at the Nauvoo temple, because the Saints never completed the temple.

    Let’s look, however, more closely at D&C 110.

    13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

    14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

    15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

    16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

    Let’s look at what it actually says, rather than what we want it to mean, and let’s assume it’s authentic, despite our complete and utter inability to link it back to either Joseph or Oliver.

    There is no ordination, no imposition of hands recorded. Elijah doesn’t say that his mission is fulfilled. Elijah states that because this time has fully come, the keys of this dispensation are committed into their (Joseph and Oliver) hands because this time has fully come. He does not bestow them upon Joseph and Oliver.

    Which makes sense, since Peter, James, and John had apparently already bestowed them upon Joseph at an earlier date, again, referring to D&C 128:20 and D&C 27:13 (N.B. – 1830).

    Therefore, there is no way to link the “keys of this dispensation” to the sealing keys. They’re not the same thing, on the face of it, and to say they are is to make an unwarranted assumption.

    • log
      September 30, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Elijah states that because this time has fully come, the keys of this dispensation are committed into their (Joseph and Oliver) hands. He does not bestow them upon Joseph and Oliver.

      Sigh…

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

      To see a treatment on what contemporaneous definitions of Priesthood meant, like “high priesthood”, at the time of the written revelations… see this link as a good start: http://boap.org/LDS/Historical-Analysis-the-Doctrine-and-Covenants/An-Historical-Analysis-of-D&C-107.html . There are many good treatments elsewhere on the same website. Also, I would recommend reading Michael Quinn’s The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power. Michael Quinn as a professional, is a much more qualified individual to address the historical evidence. Men like Denver or me, may be able to offer up a narrative, and offer up personal testimony to back certain weak/unprovable points, but if its the core evidence you are looking to study so that you can study it out in your own mind to gain your own revelation, I would recommend looking into several perspectives from real professional historians. Reading Denver versus someone like Michael Quinn makes the disparity in ability to look at all the evidence painfully obvious. Although Denver is smart, and a good word-smith, and often convincing at face value, he is not a very good historian, and my opinion a poor decipher-er of spiritual truths as well. He has gotten far based on his intellect, and mostly likely being under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord from time to time, but I have witnessed for myself that he has been deceived by a false spirit, which false spirit undergirds his entire narrative. It sounds like you are getting drawn in and likewise deceived by this Spirit. My object is to aid in painting another narrative that is equally or more plausible given the evidence, so that through consideration and prayer you can more easily get out of the grasp of this thing that is pulling you down.

      As for the reading of the mt. of transfiguration, I passed over that account too quickly, your reading is the correct one. Try looking up the account about Abraham and Melchizedek though in WofJS.

      As for your other arguments, they don’t address most of my other points that already answer your questions. Inasmuch as some of the assumption I make are unwarranted, and rely on personal revelatory knowledge and testimony (by which I do know that the keys restored in section 110 were not mere repeats or confirmations of keys already bestowed, but it would not be proper for me to go into why as I am not in a position of authority that justifiably allows me to divulge this personal knowledge – so I’ll make do with what I can say), Denver’s claims are likewise based on just as much, and in my opinion far more, unwarranted assumptions. But several people have already pointed that out to you. If you want to cling to his interpretations, you are free to do so, but please do yourself a favor and at least recognize that his interpretations are founded on many unwarranted assumptions as well, and in some cases demonstrable errors of which I have pointed out at least a few already. If you want to point out specific demonstrable errors in the alternate narrative I am painting for you, feel free, but it is a useless exercise once both narratives are fully described to try and pit unprovable against unprovable to try and argue for a winner. At that point, it comes down to personal prayer and revelation. My object is not to prove my narrative true, only to show it as a consistent faithful alternative that accords with the limited evidence we have available.

      • SteveF
        October 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Looks like the link I provided earlier actually contained the reference about Abraham receiving the fullness of the Priesthood from Melchizedek:

        “Abraham… then received a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life” (WoJS, James Burgess Notebook, pg. 245-247, emphasis mine)

        Again, if this is correct, then Denver is wrong in his assertion that a person cannot receive the authority of the Fullness of the Priesthood from a man, and rather that Brigham Young was right. If so, those with this authority are authorized to perform all the ordinances of salvation that will be recognized (bound) both on earth and heaven.

        I agree that power in this Priesthood (to move the elements, open the heavens, etc.) is only obtained through personal righteousness by following the laws necessary to obtain these powers, but it would not require some sort of additional ordination from God or additional authority bestowed by the voice of God, before sealing ordinances were recognized by heaven.

        Side note:This principle applies to all Priesthood authority as well, personal power in the Priesthood is not necessary to administer in things that only require authorization (authority) like ordinances of salvation – although the Priesthood holder is under responsibility to be seeking this personal power or he will be under personal condemnation. If the Priesthood holder is wicked amen to his personal power, and for righteousness sake, that God not be mocked, his authority should also be amened as well by stripping him of his Priesthood authority if the Church becomes aware of this unrighteousness. But if the Church is unaware that a Priesthood officer is officiating unworthily, say in a baptism, that Priesthood officer will be under personal condemnation, but it will not effect the efficacy of the ordinance of salvation – that would create chaos, disorder, and would be unfair to the individual receiving the ordinance if there was no way for them to know for sure whether or not the ordinance is valid. That it was performed by an authorized ordained officer, and that it is recorded on the records of the church is sufficient to make that ordinance effective and binding in heaven, and it is then up to the one who received the ordinance to act in righteousness according to the covenants made to obtain the blessings from that ordinance. This same principle does not apply equally where power is necessary in the administration, say in healing the sick or giving a blessing. Because healing the sick requires power, not just authority, these powers are obtained and fully dependent on the righteousness and worthiness of the Priesthood holder. This is a principle that Denver does not understand in his framework, as I pointed out earlier.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        If the Priesthood holder is wicked amen to his personal power, and for righteousness sake, that God not be mocked, his authority should also be amened as well by stripping him of his Priesthood authority if the Church becomes aware of this unrighteousness. But if the Church is unaware that a Priesthood officer is officiating unworthily, say in a baptism, that Priesthood officer will be under personal condemnation, but it will not effect the efficacy of the ordinance of salvation – that would create chaos, disorder, and would be unfair to the individual receiving the ordinance if there was no way for them to know for sure whether or not the ordinance is valid.

        Then the Catholics still have valid priesthood authority, from Peter, as they claim, if you are correct. But I don’t think you are correct, partially for that very reason – and Snuffer actually makes a rather compelling argument to the contrary, based on D&C 121. I haven’t seen a scriptural justification offered yet for the position you have taken.

        I agree that power in this Priesthood (to move the elements, open the heavens, etc.) is only obtained through personal righteousness by following the laws necessary to obtain these powers, but it would not require some sort of additional ordination from God or additional authority bestowed by the voice of God, before sealing ordinances were recognized by heaven.

        That perhaps may be true, if the person performing the rites has power from God to do so. Snuffer alludes to that when he discusses Brigham’s (and the rest of the apostles’) having received their 2nd anointings from Joseph, who indeed did have the power, sealing them up unto eternal life (can’t find the cite). Whether anyone since Joseph has had that power is the matter under dispute.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm

        The bit about priesthood validity without heaven’s involvement is in chapter 12. I had hoped Dan Peterson would have responded, for he voiced the same argument you did (and, likewise, without scriptural justification).

    • Bob Frost
      September 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

      log,

      I think you’re missing entirely, the point Denver is making.

      The inclusion of Elijah in section 110 is due to one uncorroborated source. The principals in this revelation, don’t mention having visited with Elijah when recounting those they had interacted with, and Joseph made multiple references shortly before his death that strongly infer that Elijah’s mission is yet future.

      As I read it, Denver suggests that the inclusion of Elijah in this revelation is not supported by facts that can be corroborated, and is too convenient an explanation that supports the “proud descendent of Nauvoo’s” case.

      Simply assuming that the revelation is correctly transmitted to us and that it, in and of itself, refutes Denver’s suggestions, misses the point entirely.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        Oh, no. Actually, he points out that D&C 110, in its entirety, is uncorroborated.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm

        And, even if it is authentic, it doesn’t say what it is claimed to mean.

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

      “Perhaps, but his taking of plural wives in 1832 required the power to seal. (PTHG p. 153)”

      I just looked and I couldn’t find this claim from Denver. He did seem to claim that the purpose behind plural marriage was for the purpose of sealing people back to him, “intended to accomplish a larger design involving salvation for the human family.” (pg. 153)

      But that plural marriage had anything to do with sealings at first is, from the evidence available, just a back-reading. Emma herself wasn’t even sealed to Joseph until 1843 (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/08/my-great-great-grandmother-emma-hale-smith) . Most historical treatments on the subject that I have read treat the early plural marriage as separate from the doctrine of sealing.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm

        The article you cite does not substantiate that claim, but rather assumes it coincided with the recording of D&C 132.

        I am of the opinion that the fact Joseph took plural wives in 1832 (as PTHG p. 153 says: “He began taking additional wives sometime in the early 1830’s.” Not mid-to-late 1830’s) implies of necessity that he had to have the sealing power by then.

        It would not surprise me that other histories, assuming Elijah gave Joseph the sealing keys in 1836, would not therefore link Joseph’s early plural marriages with the sealing power. I don’t make that assumption, but I rather assume eternal marriages, or sealings, require sealing power.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        Ah, here it is again, p. 326 – Joseph started taking plural wives in 1831.

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 11:36 am

      “That’s not Snuffer’s claim. (PTHG, chapter 6)”

      You’re right, that was too sweeping of a statement. I meant to point out that Denver was using D&C 132 as evidence that Joseph Smith held the fullness of the sealing power by at least 1832. That is the part that I was pointing out was unfounded. That Joseph Smith was using some sort of sealing power, to seal people up to eternal life, is true — but since Joseph Smith said that was part of the keys belonging to the High Priesthood revealed in 1831 (see the article I linked to, to understand what was meant by high priesthood), I see no reason to equate this with the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, nor the keys for the promised.blessings of Malachi that Elijah needed to return for.

  79. log
    September 30, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Steve,

    Do me a favor. If you know of any factual errors – rather than disputed interpretations – contained in PTHG, that’s probably the most beneficial thing that can be contributed.

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

      I’ll do my best, but what I have also been doing is to show that many of his conclusions are based on assumptions that cannot be proven, and I have provided evidence to the contrary of those assumptions to show that not only are they not provable, but they are probably unlikely. I hope that will also be useful to some people too.

  80. log
    September 30, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Also, if you would be so kind, if you could cite specific pages in PTHG, or even quote it when responding so that everyone can follow along with Snuffer’s actual claims (as opposed to what you or I might be claiming for him) that would be, I think, a very beneficial thing.

  81. SteveF
    September 30, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I’ll try to do that from here out, but I just can’t go back and put in references were I may have left some out in previous comments.

  82. log
    September 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    My object is not to prove my narrative true, only to show it as a consistent faithful alternative that accords with the limited evidence we have available.

    I understand. I will explain, in part, why I find Snuffer’s narrative more plausible than what you term the “faithful alternative.”

    Snuffer’s not trying to write history. He’s putting church history through the lens of prophecy as found in the scriptures.

    Snuffer does make claims that exceed the evidence he brings to bear. For example, he cannot possibly know that Joseph offered his life in exchange for more time to prepare the Saints to received the proffered blessings of the fullness of the Priesthood, and for Zion to be established, based on historical evidence. Indeed, he cites no authority whatsoever for his view.

    However, that particular claim is not inconsistent with the scriptures and the facts of history as we have them. If it is true, it enhances the status of Joseph Smith, and makes the events of Nauvoo that much more tragic.

    Snuffer’s overall thesis is internally consistent, consistent with the scriptures, and consistent with the facts of history as we have them. In reading Snuffer, I laid aside all my own prejudices. I have to acknowledge his “readings” (and I hate to use even that word in this context) preserve the literal meanings of the text of the scriptures. And that is significant.

    There is more, however. His thesis accounts for other facts in our possession as well, such as the fact that the heavens have been pretty much sealed to us, as a Church, since Joseph (well, we might say since Brigham’s initial contribution to the D&C in section 136; D&C 138 was a personal revelation to President Smith). In fact, it accounts for why the Lord would say to us, as a Church, that we are unable to bear His presence (D&C 136:37). It accounts, to me, for why no temple since Kirtland has been accepted of the Lord (remember – the Lord changes not). It also accounts for why we don’t live in the holy city having all things in common with the Savior dwelling bodily among us. It accounts for why visitations of angels is pretty much only a matter of rumor anymore (or it’s unheard of). It accounts for why miracles have largely ceased among us in the Church, and are again largely a matter of rumor. Real miracles, mind, not simply highly implausible recoveries, chance meetings, and so forth. It accounts for priesthood blessings which are of none effect. It accounts for why no man claims to be a prophet, seer, and revelator among the Brethren (but always refer to the other guys as such). It accounts for apparent discrepancies between the teachings of the Brethren and the scriptures over the years, and our current cultural view that the Brethren outweigh the scriptures, and cannot lead us astray.

    In fine, it accounts for how we went from Hymn #2 to today.

    On a personal level, it accounts for why I did not receive the Holy Ghost through the baptism of fire at age 8 when I was confirmed. Apparently, the Melchizedek Priesthood holder who confirmed me did not have power to confer the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands, despite his ordination by duly constituted authorities. Yet I know my baptism to have been honored of God, for it was answered with a remission of my sins, manifested by a warmth, or burning in the busom (I didn’t know what that meant at the time; I thought I had a fever).

    It accounts for why my endowments were not answered with fire from heaven, as Brigham said they should be. When in the pre-endowment chat with the temple president, I asked, directly, “so if the Spirit does not witness to me by fire that my ordinances are accepted, then they have not been, right?” To my surprise, the temple president replied, “I have never had any such manifestation.” Yet such a manifestation is what is meant by “the Holy Spirit of Promise,” – the Holy Ghost in His role as the minister of heavenly fire is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Ephesians 1:13). Hence, Brigham’s cry to help the Saints crossing the plains – “Let the fire of the covenant, which you made in the house of the Lord burn in your hearts like flame unquenchable.”

    It accounts for why I am unable to heal my children, despite my claiming in (seemingly impertinent) words that my blessings are done “by the power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which I hold.”

    In sum, I have to concede on the evidence that the rites are, indeed, merely symbolic, and to be made of effect, a man must humble himself into the dust, repent of all his sins, and call upon the name of the Lord until he receives the powers, gifts, and blessings he seeks.

    I could say a lot more on that topic from my own studies of the scriptures.

    I guess Joseph knew the score, too.

    Joseph, at this time, rebuked the Elders for administering the form without the power. Said he, “Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal the sick, or let them cease to administer the form without the power.” (Quoted by Joseph Noble, See Juvenile Instructor, 15:112) (cite)

    It’s not between faith and faithlessness – false traditions or explanations cannot be “faithful,” and knowledge cannot be “faithless.” This is a matter of coming to understand our true condition before God.

    I wanted the institutional mythos, which I, too, had been raised with, to be true, but on the evidence, it doesn’t appear to be. I wanted to be led by prophets in the Old Testament / Book of Mormon / Joseph Smith mold, and Apostolic eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, but it seems I am not. The gospel is true, the authority to administer in the outward ordinances is here, but apparently they cannot be made to stick eternally without each of us forging our own connection to heaven directly to obtain the promised blessings of God, and that requires repenting of all one’s sins and asking, in all humility and in mighty prayer, for that which we desire of God.

    In the meantime, I have to endure this state of not knowing, until the Lord sees fit to answer me. Until then, I must withhold judgement and continue consistency testing.

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I hear what you are saying, but I known it to be false. My experience has been almost the polar opposite of your own. I actually grew up being taught and believing the very narrative you just described, not the traditional narrative. I knew the gospel was true, but I believed the church as institution was not, that it was in apostasy and under condemnation in the eyes of God. I know how consistent that narrative is, because I believed it for decades, or close to. I am familiar with probably just about all the false ways to interpret the scriptures to support this narrative.

      But I am here to tell you now that I discovered that the spirit from which this narrative derives is not of God. I have seen the fruits bring several lives to the brink of ruin. It is a road, if not the road to personal apostasy.

      How easy it is to look at all the problems that exist (and I do admit problems have and do exist) and handily dismiss the whole of it as being out of the way of true righteousness, that the church has been under condemnation through the tenures of every President of the Church following Joseph Smith? So easy, in fact, that it has been the go to narrative for apostasy from all eternity to all eternity – “I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” – Joseph Smith. Is this not exactly what happened to Denver Snuffer? Think about it; honestly step back and see the parallel – Denver is no different than all the others who have gone before him who prefer a dead prophet over living ones, or than those like David Whitmer or others that turned against Joseph because they heralded his teachings of the past, but were confident that he had lost his way in the present.

      I give you a friendly warning to run from this narrative, to swim away now lest you sink and drown – I have seen it in the lives of many family members close to me, which is why I feel a personal responsibility to detect this false spirit when I see it manifest elsewhere, and warn others against it. It is a true statement that just because it’s bad doesn’t make it not true. But in this case, in the case of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, I give you my witness as one has moved beyond this destructive narrative, that the reality and true narrative is not half as depressing, in fact not even depressing at all as it is quite the opposite – it is truly the good news that fills the soul with light and joy of heaven. Sure, individually there are too many issues to even adequately address here, but collectively I know that the Church is exactly where the Lord would have it be on its path from apostasy (pre-restoration) towards the grand goal of Zion. Being somewhere in the middle of that process, you would expect to find errors and imperfections along the the long and bumpy road toward Zion; and that we are not in Zion now is evidence that we are not yet perfect and therefore will be able to identify very real problems in our current state. But this is not evidence of condemnation, this is not evidence of apostasy. Do you think we have not progressed looking at the Saints in Joseph Smith’s time, to this day? Do you think that the Church in Kirtland would have been able to support millions of members without imploding in a single year? I know it could not have supported the weight. Sure there were divine manifestations here and there, but numbers-wise I am convinced these things are happening a greater frequency today than they were then – the difference being that then the manifestations then were the direct result of powerhouses like Joseph Smith teaching a people with young and green faith, and they piggy-backed on the strength of Joseph Smith. But when I look at the real history of the saints then, I see a people young and immature in true faith, light, and knowledge. 14 years was not enough to make a nation of Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses all with faith like unto Abraham or the Brother of Jared. No, the work was to be far more comprehensive then saving an elect few elite, this work was and is to the whole of the humanity, past, present, and future. To build Zion that will become an entire nation of Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses that will fill the whole of North and South America is not small task, it is a marvelous work and a wonder, and a work that has steadily improved and progressed towards this ultimate goal since the days of Joseph Smith to today, lead by Christ through his anointed servants.

      If you can see the church through the Spirit of the Lord, as Joseph Smith said, you will find yourself merciful, more willing to overlook the mistakes, sins, and inadequacies of saints today and in previous generations, and you will desire to take their burdens and weaknesses and put them behind you and carry these people on your back to safety. That is the true lens, that is the true spirit of the Lord, the spirit of condemnation and lack of hope for the saints and humanity, finding fault past and present assuming a way other than what is taught by the authorized and accepted servants of the Lord, is the “real true” way, is the spirit of the devil.

      You put out a dichotomy that I think many Denver Snuffer supporters would reject. You say that he is either a true prophet, or a fraud. You recognize that his claims are so large and significant, that it can only be one way or the other – I agree with you. Let me offer you a key by which you may know a false prophet from a true one. A true prophet will always be ready and able to openly declare the source of his authority (save when his testimony has been given and rejected enough times that the testimony stands as the witness and no further declaration is needed). Additionally, a true prophet will teach you to follow his words, for he speaks for the Lord, and he knows he speaks on behalf of the Lord. Contrast this with Denver Snuffer. He has created very subtle allusions to authority, but when pressed he will not boldly proclaim the source of his authority. Additionally, Denver speaks in what I would call double-speak. He might seek followers, but he does not openly or candidly declare that people should follow his teachings, hiding behind his teaching that men are only to follow God and God only, which is a deceptive half truth. But the children of Israel were indeed supposed to follow Moses, and so it is with true prophets. Denver has never openly and candidly declare the authority by which he believes he operates, and has not been forth right in declaring that believers should follow him. Because his claims are to the extent of needing to be a prophet, and because he does not meet these qualifications, you may now with surety that he is indeed a false prophet.

      • Bob Frost
        September 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        Whatever floats your boat.

  83. log
    September 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    “I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” – Joseph Smith. Is this not exactly what happened to Denver Snuffer?

    Not by his own account. He claims he was commanded by God to do and say what he does and says. How does Isaiah or Jeremiah or Ezekiel fare when this standard is applied to them exactly as you apply it to Snuffer? Or even Joseph Smith himself, speaking of Christendom?

    The difference between me and you, I believe, is I have not rejected Snuffer’s claims. They, too, are on my “I don’t know” pile. I find them credible on their face, however, especially contrasted with what I see, or don’t see, in the Church. They are exactly what I would expect a prophet raised from outside of the hierarchy, as were the aforementioned prophets.

    Here’s the fun bit. Grant Snuffer’s claims, for the sake of argument – what are the implications with respect to what we should be doing right now? It seems to me that unless the answer boils down to “breaking the commandments,” then there is a problem with asserting him to be false; after all, what false prophet would enjoin repentance, prayer, forgiveness, obedience, and fidelity to covenants, and obedience to the authorities in the Church? For if you, seeking to obey God, obey His commandments, He immediately blesses you, and that is not something the devil can afford; hence, the devil persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one, and neither do they who follow him.

    I submit that Snuffer poses a greater conundrum than you have admitted. At least, to me, he does.

    Do you think we have not progressed looking at the Saints in Joseph Smith’s time, to this day?

    Absolutely not – we have not progressed from Joseph’s time to this day. I don’t think I’m evaluating it on the same criterion you are, however. I expect the gospel net to gather fish of all kinds, with the final sorting to be left in the hands of the angels, and I expect the wheat and the tares to grow together until the Savior comes and burns the wicked by the fires of His glory. Now is not the time for judgement.

    And Snuffer doesn’t claim that the Church is in apostasy. I don’t know that that is even a word which has useful semantic content in this context. Snuffer is suggesting that the Church is akin to the ancient Jewish Church after Moses was taken. I find that interpretation of Church history to be more plausible than what you call “the faithful alternative.” If true, all of a sudden the examples of those prophets, raised from outside of the hierarchy, become relevant to today.

    And whatever makes you think I’m condemning anyone? I cannot upbraid the leadership for being who and what they are – I cannot judge how they are fulfilling their stewardships – that is between them and God (though, I have to admit, Brigham did and said some things which I cannot defend). God calls whom He will to whatever place He desires them to be, knowing full well who and what they are when He does so. Who is condemning the Church? Snuffer doesn’t. If his thesis is correct, the Lord, however, has condemned the Church in the past. If President Benson was correct, the Lord still does condemn the Church because they do not do what is taught in the Book of Mormon. I have no power to condemn. I am seeking to understand; I want to know. “No man’s opinion is worth a straw.”

    Snuffer is quite clear we ought to follow Christ, and not follow him.

    A true prophet never points towards himself as the object of veneration, devotion, or authoritarian leadership, but always and only towards God. The task of a true prophet is to point the way to God. As Joseph, true prophets “teach [the people] correct principles and [the people] govern themselves.”

    Snuffer has explicitly stated he is speaking forth as he has been commanded of God (he says he’d rather have not done any of this at all).

    A true prophet does likewise.

    Snuffer has taught repentance, faith in the Lord, utter fidelity to covenants, charitability, love, and so forth, and said we ought to do those things.

    A true prophet does likewise.

    Snuffer has taught that we should not place our faith in men, but in God alone.

    The Savior taught likewise (JST Mark 9:44 – note the context!), as did Nephi, and others.

    In point of fact, the general thrust of all of Snuffer’s teachings is that rather than placing our faith in the salvific sufficiency of rites and cede our interactions with heaven to priesthood hierarchies (whose occupants may, or may not, be interacting with heaven), we each ought to forge our own connection to heaven directly, through repentance, faith, well doing, fidelity to covenants, charitability, scripture study, prayer, and so forth, that we may ourselves obtain the fullness of the priesthood, which he says is available to all on the same terms as it was available to Joseph Smith (which again makes sense, as the Lord is no respecter of persons). Ask and ye shall receive, and all that jazz.

    I can’t fault that. Maybe others can. But even if, to me, he shows forth all the signs of authenticity, I don’t know him to be a prophet. Neither do I know those in the hierarchy are prophets. In the end, does it matter? It only matters because I want to be able to trust someone without reservation – to have faith in them, I suppose – and if Snuffer’s thesis is correct, there is nobody I can place my faith in save God alone. Not President Monson, not Denver Snuffer. No man. But that remains true even if Snuffer’s thesis is wrong, according to Christ and Nephi (to say nothing of similar statements by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young).

    Therefore, for resolution to my personal inquiries and issues, I wait on the Lord.

    Until then, if someone wants to demonstrate factual inaccuracies in PTHG, I’m all ears. Otherwise, it’s a contest of opinions, and, as the First Presidency once rightly stated, “no man’s opinion is worth a straw.” However, opinions which do not conflict with the literal reading of the scriptures, or whatever we’re treating, have, by default, the upper straw.

  84. log
    September 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    It occurs to me, I have not heard President Monson, as President, ever say “follow me.” Curious. Anyone know differently?

  85. log
    September 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I give you a friendly warning to run from this narrative, to swim away now lest you sink and drown – I have seen it in the lives of many family members close to me, which is why I feel a personal responsibility to detect this false spirit when I see it manifest elsewhere, and warn others against it. It is a true statement that just because it’s bad doesn’t make it not true.

    I have to point out something.

    Snuffer’s thesis, as I understand it, has explanatory power which accounts, again, for at least those things I have previously mentioned. A competing paradigm (for this is really an issue of which paradigm is more fruitful) must likewise account for the same facts in at least as parsimoniously a fashion. Occam’s Razor.

    I am willing to not choose between them until I am answered. This topic is of sufficient import that I can wait in an unresolved state until the full truth is known.

    But I think you guys read too much into things. I understand that giving facts, like swords, to babies sometimes results in decapitations, and the unlearned and unstable wrest the scriptures – but they also wrest textbooks and newspapers, so what changes there, eh?

    As I said, for the sake of argument, grant the truth of the thesis behind PTHG. If the direct conclusion is “break the commandments” or “rebel against ecclesiastical authority” or “elect Republicrats in the next election,” then certainly, there are grounds for rejecting the thesis. That is what is meant by “reduction to the absurd.” (I joke about the Republicrats – but I mean it sincerely.)

    But if instead the consequence is that we need to strive with ever more power heavenward, obeying every word of command with exactness, and so forth… what then?

    • SteveF
      September 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      The conclusion of Denver’s narrative is more subtle, and therefore potentially more hazardous as it can go undetected – it is that the men at our head do not hold the authority they claim to hold, which inherently undermines the faith we have in their teachings or in their ability to teach us according to the mind and will of the Lord; this will directly lead to further disunity in the faith as disbelief will lead more people to follow the whims of their own wisdom and to ignore the voice of warning from the watchtower. The end result is a people with several minds and several hearts, with hearts sewn in discontent and chaos, leading the deceived in direct opposition to becoming a Zion people. Those are the fruits of this narrative/paradigm.

      You claim to still view this with an open mind, and I hope you’re right for your sake, but it comes across as if you have already picked a side as you accept and defend unsubstantiated beliefs that undermine the claims of the church. My testimony and warning still stands. I wanted to be helpful, but honestly I don’t think there is anything more I could say or do to be helpful at this point. I have provided a lot of evidence that could be useful to you if you desire to really look into it. I hope you will do so. If it takes you a long time in your journey to discover truth, I hope you come out on top and do not sink. If there is any more that I feel I can add to the discussion that may be helpful, I may comment again, but at this point I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

      Instead of answering your question about the gentiles, here is a link to a previous explanation I gave for 3 Nephi 16:10 in another comment thread: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/08/23/denver-snuffer-disciplinary-council/#comment-9333 . Instead of going through everything Denver said on the subject of gentiles, you can probably get the basic flavor of how I will approach the scriptures in that one example. Although I believe the words of the scriptures provide better evidence for my interpretation than Denver’s, I don’t think my explanations will mean much to you as you currently seem particular tied to Denver’s overall narrative. If I am wrong about that, you can let me know, and I’ll go ahead and try to expound if I really believe it will be of any worth to you at this point. I genuinely wish you all the best!

      • log
        September 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm

        As I said, Steve, I’m not interested in a dispute of opinions or interpretations. Something I have learned over the decades is that there is always a contrary opinion, reading, interpretation, or whatever – and “no man’s opinion is worth a straw”. I am, however, exceedingly interested in factual errors.

        The conclusion of Denver’s narrative is more subtle, and therefore potentially more hazardous as it can go undetected – it is that the men at our head do not hold the authority they claim to hold, which inherently undermines the faith we have in their teachings or in their ability to teach us according to the mind and will of the Lord; this will directly lead to further disunity in the faith as disbelief will lead more people to follow the whims of their own wisdom and to ignore the voice of warning from the watchtower.

        The conclusion is more subtle than even that – it is that the men at our head may not hold all the authority they claim to hold. Snuffer does not take a position on whether any particular authority has the sealing power or not. According to his paradigm, any man must rise up and receive it for themselves; it cannot be bestowed from man to man, even if men may be ordained by men unto it – it requires the direct involvement of the Lord to grant the power thereof.

        I agree that unstable persons may indeed arrive at conclusions similar to what you outline here.

        But… I cannot agree with the implicit argument that it is better to be unified by a fable than to let a truth divide.

        Matthew 10:34–36
        34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

        35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

        36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

        However, here’s again the ironic part.

        Snuffer says pray to know – if the Spirit doesn’t witness the truth of his teachings to you, don’t give it a second thought, he says. Joseph said pray to know; depending on the prophet brings spiritual darkness. Brigham said pray to know; leadership can err. That’s brave, don’t you think?

        And if the leadership, or Snuffer, is teaching us according to the mind and will of the Lord, then the Lord will own their teachings and answer the inquirer, right?

        So I wait. But I am very, very interested in factual errors, again.

        Back to 3 Nephi 16, though.

        1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.

        2 For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.

        3 But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.

        4 And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.

        5 And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfil the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel.

        6 And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.

        7 Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.

        8 But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them;

        9 And because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them—

        10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

        11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

        12 And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.

        13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

        14 And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.

        15 But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.

        16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me—that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.

        17 And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say:

        18 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

        19 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

        20 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.

        Unfortunately, verse 10 does not distinguish between the believing and unbelieving of the Gentiles. It refers to the Gentiles as one people. And it indicates that the Gentiles shall sin against the Gospel, and shall reject the fullness thereof, and the Father will bring the fullness thereof out from the Gentiles, and bring it to the house of Israel. After that point, if the Gentiles will repent, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel. And if they do repent, those of the house of Israel will not tread them down. But if they do not repent, they shall be trodden down.

        How long is the gap between the Gentile rejection of the fullness of the Gospel and the receipt of same by the house of Israel? It’s not clear. The mechanism is also unclear.

        Yet, it happens. This is why it is the remnant of Jacob who will, along with as many of the house of Israel as will come, build the New Jerusalem, assisted by as many of the Gentiles as will repent; those specific Gentiles shall be numbered among the remnant of Jacob, the descendants of Lehi (3 Nephi 21:22 – 24). That’s not quite the tribal assignment of our patriarchal blessings. And when the city is built, the Lord shall dwell therein (v. 25). And this all starts whenever the remnant receives the Gospel (v. 26).

        So, it seems the New Jerusalem won’t be built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

        Indeed, the end of the Church has also been described.

        JST, Matthew 21:47–56.
        Compare Matthew 21:45–46
        47 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

        48 And they said among themselves, Shall this man think that he alone can spoil this great kingdom? And they were angry with him.

        49 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they learned that the multitude took him for a prophet.

        50 And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

        51 Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

        52 I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

        53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

        54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

        55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

        56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

        The “other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons,” will be the remnant spoken of, and they shall hold the keys of the kingdom during the Millennium. So who then would the Gentiles spoken of in verse 56, who get destroyed, be? Apparently… us (D&C 109:60).

        And we should not be too surprised.

        D&C 112:23–26
        23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

        24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

        25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

        26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

        What does that mean?

        Mormon 8:38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

        What does that mean?

        Alma 34:38 [C]ontend no more against the Holy Ghost, but … receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ….

        How?

        Alma 22:15–18
        15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

        16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.

        17 And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:

        18 O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.

        Have we other witnesses?

        Moses 6:59–68
        59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

        60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

        61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things [there's prophecy and revelation], and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment [there's your power in the priesthood].

        62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

        63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

        64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

        65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

        66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

        67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity [there's Adam's priesthood, by the voice of God].

        68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

        And, more.

        3 Nephi 9:20
        20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

        Which Lamanites?

        Ether 12:14
        14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

        These.

        Helaman 5:40–47
        40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?

        41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

        42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

        43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.

        44 And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

        45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.

        46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:

        47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

        And that sounds remarkably similar to these, too – do the same thing, get the same results.

        Enos 1:1–8
        1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

        2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

        3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

        4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

        5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

        6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

        7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?

        8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

        Nephi did this as well.

        1 Nephi 2:16
        16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

        This is an example of what the Lord was speaking of.

        3 Nephi 11:35
        35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

        Doctrine and Covenants 5:16
        16 And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit.

        What should we do? Repent and cry unto the Lord to receive His spirit, even until we have faith in Christ, that we may be cleansed by fire from heaven, hearing the voice of God, and from thenceforth keep the commandments and endure to the end.

        Does the truth or falsity of PTHG’s thesis, that the apostasy spoken of in 3 Nephi 16 is past, rather than future, change what we should be doing? I don’t think it does. Others may differ.

        • SteveF
          September 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm

          Verse 6-7 talks about Gentiles with belief in Christ/God. Then verse 8 says, “wo…unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles” in contrast to the believing Gentiles in 6 & 7. If you notice verses 8-10 are one sentence, therefore with the subject being established in verse 8, it is not grammatically necessary to specify “unbelieving of the Gentiles” again – that would be pretty redundant in a single sentence.

          Even so, lets go ahead and apply your theory that Gentiles = “members of the LDS Church”. Meaning, LDS Church members have “come forth upon the face of this land [presumably America], and have scattered my people of the house of Israel [presumably Native Americans]” and “and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among [the LDS members], and have been trodden under feet by [LDS members]. (verse 8)

          And, “I have caused [Native Americans] to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among [LDS members], and to become hated by [LDS members], and to become a hiss and a byword among [LDS members]” (verse 9)

          While it is a stretch, this interpretation could maybe true, but it’s a serious stretch to make that claim. It seems much more likely and apt that these actions are referring to the colonizers and immigrants to America in general.

          But since you care about facts, lets go back to verse 6 & 7. Verse 6 in under your interpretation says, “And blessed are the [LDS members], because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.” And, “Behold, because of [the LDS member's] belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto [LDS members], that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.” (verse 7)

          This interpretation is factually not possible given the text. It says LDS members are blessed because of their belief in God, and because of this belief in God, the truth will come unto them. But for the restored church to exist and have members in the first place, the truth needs to be made known unto that group of people first so that they can convert to the truth and establish that Church. Without the truth being made known first, there can be no restoration and establishment of the LDS Church in the first place. Therefore it is impossible for the whole group of LDS members to exist as a restored church, prior to the truth coming unto them, by definition.

          Factually then, the Gentiles must refer to a group of people who believe in God (at least until verse 8), but have not as yet (by verse 6) had the “truth come unto them”. Therefore, given the text, the assertion that Gentiles = “members of the LDS Church” is factually impossible.

      • log
        September 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm

        Steve, that is not even a caricature of what I actually said. Your “grammatical redundancy” argument actually proves too much, since the entirety of the Book of Mormon was one solid paragraph, without punctuation, from beginning to end, according to the printer. Therefore, verse 6 would be part of the same sentence as verse 8 and 10 on your theory, and would actually strengthen what it pleases you to call “my” theory. And, gee, what fun, that argument might be extended ad nauseam. I wonder what other interesting things would fall out if we tried that.

      • log
        September 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        Tell you what, Steve, I really dislike contention. I appreciate our previous cordial conversation, and you can win, if you wish.

        • SteveF
          September 30, 2013 at 9:49 pm

          I apologize if I offended you, contention was not my aim either. I was trying to take the hint that you no longer cared about my opinion, and only wished to address factual based evidence, so that was what I was attempting to do. I thought you’d expressed interest that I share if I saw factual errors. When I referred to “your theory” I did not intend that to be derisive in any way. “your theory” was meant to differentiate between “my theory” since we had differing interpretations of that scripture. It was simply taken as a proposal “theory”, to analyze your assertion from a logical reasoning stand point.

          I found some of your later scriptures and interpretations interesting, but outside of 3rd Nephi 16 I had nothing else to offer other than my opinion versus your opinion, which I thought you felt was unhelpful.

          If you don’t want me taking your opinions and putting them up to logical scrutiny to address factual errors, and you don’t want me sharing my opinions or interpretations, I’m afraid I have nothing else I can offer.

          I did enjoy the in depth conversation, maybe things you or I said will help others in their search for understanding as well. Again, all the best!

      • log
        September 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm

        Steve, I don’t feel that you accurately represented what I said in the first place, therefore your analysis was not based on my views – at all.

        What I said was this:

        Unfortunately, verse 10 does not distinguish between the believing and unbelieving of the Gentiles. It refers to the Gentiles as one people. And it indicates that the Gentiles shall sin against the Gospel, and shall reject the fullness thereof, and the Father will bring the fullness thereof out from the Gentiles, and bring it to the house of Israel. After that point, if the Gentiles will repent, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel. And if they do repent, those of the house of Israel will not tread them down. But if they do not repent, they shall be trodden down.

        How long is the gap between the Gentile rejection of the fullness of the Gospel and the receipt of same by the house of Israel? It’s not clear. The mechanism is also unclear.

        Yet, it happens.

        In that, I am really doing nothing but glossing verses 10 through 15.

        But I accept Joseph’s prayer, given him by revelation, at the dedication of the Kirtland temple, in the which he said this:

        D&C 109:60
        60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.

        He didn’t say “us, who are identified as the Gentiles,” ie., not every Gentile is a member of the LDS Church. I acknowledge that the Gentiles are more than just us. At certain points in time, within the scriptures, we don’t exist, whereas the Gentiles do (say, before the Restoration).

        But, when we exist, in context, then we are to be identified with the Gentiles. Which brings us back to 3 Nephi 16:10, wherein God, the Father, declares that the Gentiles shall sin against the Gospel, and shall reject the fullness thereof, etc. We make our appearance in v. 7. And then woes are pronounced upon the unbelieving of the Gentiles, notwithstanding the blessing of the Gentiles in obtaining this land (among whom we are numbered, for we exist at this point), and then the Gentiles (as a group, among whom we are numbered) shall sin against the Gospel of the Father, and reject the fullness thereof, and be filled with all manner of iniquity, and be lifted up above the whole earth in their pride, and so forth, the Father says He will bring the fullness of the Gospel from among the Gentiles (among whom we are numbered) and give it to the remnant of the house of Israel (which, in context, is the descendants of the people whom the Savior was addressing, the posterity of Lehi).

        This is just what it says, on its face.

        • SteveF
          October 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

          It does look like I misunderstood your position. I’ve heard that argument before, and I thought you were making the same argument. It sounds like you agree with my logic, but simply stated Gentiles = “members of the LDS Church” is not the premise of your position. Fair enough, I’m sorry I mistook your real position, it was not intentional.

          So I understand your position now to be that the Gentiles that reject the fulness of Gospel in verse 10, are not merely “unbelieving of the Gentiles” at the beginning of the sentence in contrast to the believing Gentiles in the previous sentence, but rather you see it as chronological – the Gentiles are first believing and blessed, but then become unbelieving, reject the fulness, and the fulness of the gospel is taken from among them.

          Therefore the group of Gentiles that reject the fulness of the gospel and have it taken from among them include: at least all descendants of Americans during the time of Joseph Smith – or at time of the restoration of the gospel (when the truth came unto the Gentiles vs 7), but may include Europeans (since that is the group of people from which most Gentiles left to come upon this land in the first place, then scattering, casting out, smiting, and slaying the Native Americans vs 8-9), or it could even possibly include everybody on earth not scripturally considered a direct descendants of the House of Israel. In any case, of this larger group of Gentiles, members of the church are to be considered a part of the larger whole of Gentiles (although numerically they would only make up a relatively small part of that group). Therefore this prophesy applies to the whole group of Gentiles and applies equally to LDS members as a part or portion of that larger group.

          Is that a fair characterization of your position?

      • Good Will
        October 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm

        SteveF: “The conclusion of Denver’s narrative is more subtle, and therefore potentially more hazardous as it can go undetected – it is that the men at our head do not hold the authority they claim to hold, which inherently undermines the faith we have in their teachings or in their ability to teach us according to the mind and will of the Lord; this will directly lead to further disunity in the faith as disbelief will lead more people to follow the whims of their own wisdom and to ignore the voice of warning from the watchtower. The end result is a people with several minds and several hearts, with hearts sewn in discontent and chaos, leading the deceived in direct opposition to becoming a Zion people. Those are the fruits of this narrative/paradigm.”

        Steve, there is danger in following a prophet solely because of his position. BY counseled against having so much trust and faith in a mere man. We “follow the prophet” because the Holy Ghost tells us his witness is true. In other words, we follow God.

        I have to admit, I am persuaded by DS’s testimony. I have lost my former “unchecked” faith in the Brethren. I still respect them and sustain them. But am I in awe? Do I “hang” on their every word? Heavens no! Admittedly, I did (before). I previously yearned to have someone I could blindly follow. I “read” into their testimonies what I wanted to hear. I wanted a “god” I could easily see and know. The Lord, however, I believe, would have none of that. Those who are “followers” of Paul and Apollos, etc., are “damned” to the telestial kingdom, He tells us. (I’ll let Log cite the scriptural basis for that! From D&C 76!)

        If we come unto a “unity of the faith” it will not be because we rally behind some man or earthly leader, either collectively or individually. The doctrine that “the prophet cannot lead the Church astray” is so pernicious a lie because it allows one man to do just that! As DS explained, if priesthood ordinations could convey power in the absence of divine involvement, a wicked priesthood holder could bind heaven and earth and sell indulgences, etc., something Peter said could not happen. Nevertheless, on earth, such ordinations, when done by “proper” (though not necessarily “righteous”) priesthood authority, for the record’s sake, are considered “valid”. However, to be efficacious in heaven, I believe DS’s assertion is correct: every priesthood holder must receive his errand from the Lord Himself before he can be imbued with power from On High; and said power will only be conferred by exercising principles of righteousness, namely, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, etc., never coercion, compulsion or dominion upon the souls of men in any degree of unrighteousness. Not even Christ ever said “Because I said so!”

        DS’s paradigm amazingly answers virtually all of my questions regarding the current conditions/operations now evident in the Church (and in my own life), whereas other “explanations” I have read here seem to be just more “hopeful” rationalizations striving to persuade based on assertion of testimony alone or a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of DS’s actual thesis.

        In short, do I know DS is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? No. But he has certainly taught me many truths. I know because so much of his experience is like my own, up to and including his spiritual experiences. I know he could be telling the truth because he is telling my truth, whereas so often I’ve been told by those in “authority” in the Church that my truth is suspect, out of place, forbidden to be shared in public or in Church, “way out there”, etc. In short, I am a “stranger and a pilgrim” even in my own faith, while Snuffer’s is a familiar voice in the wilderness to me.

        Thus I believe very strongly that what he says is true. But I’m willing to entertain opposing viewpoints regarding his historical analysis. Remarkably, after reading tens of thousands of words and thousands of pages of commentary, both for and against, I’ve yet to read even one substantial argument against that is sufficiently comprehensive or authoritative to warrant conviction. Even the comments shared here (thus far that I’ve read) opposing DS are filled with supposition, address only portions of his arguments, or ignore essential facts that refute the “opposing” arguments being made.

        For example, several above submit that Joseph Smith transmitted the “fullness of the priesthood” to BY, presumably in the red brick store. But (as Snuffer has pointed out), if the red brick store were “adequate” to enable such an endowment to be conferred and transmitted, why did the Lord demand a temple be built — with a penalty imposed for failing to do so?

        What pray tell, would the saints in Nauvoo have experienced if the penalty had, in fact, been meted out — if not the very cursing and sufferings the saints, in fact, suffered? Could things have gotten worse? How far “removed out of their place” must they be for the prophecy to be fulfilled? Wasn’t Salt Lake City — a barren waste, formerly considered uninhabitable by man — far enough “out of their place”?

        Log has done a remarkable job addressing these issues here. I can neither add to nor detract from his analysis and commentary. But I have yet to find reason to fault DS either in his teachings or his conduct. He has, in fact, done more to “bring me to Christ” and the expectation that I can receive a “fullness of the priesthood” than the cumulative sermons of 30+ years of Sacrament Meetings I have attended. In fact, my current attendance in Church leaves me “starving” for “more”. DS is the only one preaching the gospel as taught by Joseph Smith (as far as I know). Who are these other guys? Why are their teachings so much like “the teachings of men, mingled with scripture”, whereas DS actually reveals hidden truths, things I barely “remembered” but always “suspected” and almost instantly “knew” to be true? Why have I experienced a new surge of momentum in (what I feel) is the right direction under his tutelage, whereas “the Brethren” have merely kept the ship moving in increasingly tighter and tighter circles? (The current priesthood manuals are perfect examples of this woefully circuitous navigation.)

        DS impels people to come unto Christ and be saved in Him! To receive greater knowledge from Him! To experience revelation from Him! What could possibly be wrong with that? Do “the Brethren” seriously think they should get in the way of that?

  86. log
    September 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Oh yes, I forgot.

    Who is invited to Zion?

    Moses 7: 27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

    This actually brings up a point – to my understanding, the gift of the Holy Ghost, received through the baptism by fire (D&C 20:41, 43), administered by the Lord Himself, is the heavenly gift (Hebrews 6:4, [Ether 12:8 + 3 Nephi 28:11]).

    The first Comforter is whereby we receive revelations, as well as heavenly power (Moses 6:61) and priesthood (Moses 6:67), and become the sons of God (Moses 6:68). It is wherein we are sanctified (3 Nephi 27:20) and, inasmuch as we abide in Christ, our prayers are answered (D&C 50:29) and we have power to work miracles (3 Nephi 8:1), and will in time be brought into the presence of the Lord if we seek Him (Moroni 8:26 + Ether 12:28).

    So, if anyone cares, I, too, have reservations about Snuffer, and am awaiting further light and knowledge, whenever the Lord chooses to send it. After all, as Snuffer says, no mortal teacher is to be trusted – and that’s a paradox.

  87. log
    October 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Steve,

    That is quite a bit closer.

    I guess I can just step through it. Please bear in mind that the original text of the Book of Mormon lacked any and all punctuation, footnotes, chapter titles, versification, etc.

    I think of the Gentiles as whites of European descent, as opposed to the Jews, which I think of as the admixture of the descendants of Judah and Levi, the house of Israel, which I think of as the descendants Israel and can in some contexts include the Jews, and the heathen, who I think of as Asians, both near and far east, Africans, and Middle Easterners who are not descendants of Israel.

    6 And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.

    7 Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.

    There is where the Book of Mormon comes forth unto the Gentiles – “the fullness of these things,” or, in other words, the words which the Savior is now speaking.

    But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they [the Gentiles, who are the overall subject] have come forth upon the face of this land [which covers more, obviously, than just the unbelieving], and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them [the Gentiles], and have been trodden under feet by them [the Gentiles]; and because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles [confirming the subject], and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them [the Gentiles], and to become hated by them [the Gentiles], and to become a hiss and a byword among them [the Gentiles] — and thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

    Now, here’s an interesting twist. Watch this, remembering there was no punctuation in the original.

    … thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day[,] when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel,….

    That comma would significant, in context; if it were present, it would narrow down the time in which these things should happen. At the day the Gentiles smite, afflict, slay, and cast out the house of Israel from among them, and make them a hiss and a byword among them, that would be the day they shall sin against the Gospel of the Father, and reject the fullness thereof, and be lifted up, etc.

    Remember how the natives were treated, even by Mormons, in the 1800’s.

    Something to ponder.

    11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

    And yes, we are lumped in with the Gentiles, according to D&C 109:60 – and, I would hazard to say, even some of us were, and are, among the unbelieving of the Gentiles.

    So, if the fullness of the Gospel of the Father gets withdrawn from the Gentiles, then it gets withdrawn from the Church. Nevertheless, those who repent of all their sins and take the Spirit for their guide may thereby obtain all there is to have.

    Moroni 8:24–26
    24 [R]epentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

    25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

    26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

    Ether 12:28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.

    Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

    Alas… it seems not many will do this, even if we have been offered the opportunity to enter into the Lord’s presence (as He said in Ether 12:28).

    Ether 12:33–41
    33 And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.

    34 And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father.

    35 Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.

    36 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.

    37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

    38 And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.

    39 And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things;

    40 And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.

    41 And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.

    I think, ultimately, the fact that we, as a people, do not repent of all our sins and call upon the name of the Lord, as explicitly and repeatedly instructed throughout the Book of Mormon, that we may receive the Holy Ghost and charity thereby, is why we are cursed as a people.

    54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written

    58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

    59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

    The teachings of the Book of Mormon, the most correct book on earth, give us both a way to diagnose our weakness, and also give us the prescription to cure it.

  88. log
    October 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    It is to be remembered that salvation is, as far as each of us individually is concerned, is a single-player game, not a team effort. Each one of us must forge our own connection to heaven. None of us can repent for another, neither can we call upon the name of the Lord for another. It really doesn’t matter which model of Church history you believe, for the one thing God has asked of us is to repent of all our sins – cast them aside, no matter the cost, and make our eye single to the glory of God [meaning to focus our minds and hearts solely upon obedience to the teachings of the Savior and the promptings of the Spirit] – call upon His name to receive His Spirit, and endure to the end in faith, hope, and charity, always abounding in good works.

    • SteveF
      October 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Interesting thoughts, my interpretation is still quite a bit different, but that’s probably not helpful to go into now, and I find your position more consistent than Denver’s anyhow. So as not to detract from the overall conversation, I’m going to pull this back to Denver if that’s okay with you. Looking at chapter 14 of PTHG entitled “Gentiles Shall Reject the Fullness of the Gospel”, the premise hinges once again on verses in D&C 124 that we have discussed already, and then primarily 3 Nephi 16. While Denver avoids openly/directly committing to a position in any given sentence, he shows his position by using as a premise the interpretation for 3 Nephi 16 that Gentiles = “gentile church” (“The rejection by the gentile church is a condition to precede the remnant receiving a fullness.” PTHG, pg 382), by which Denver means “gentile latter-day church” (pg 383), by which he means “Us” or “Latter-day Saints” (pg 385).

      While Denver at this point leaves this open as a future event, by attempting to tie it in directly with his interpretations of D&C 124, it is clear he believes “gentiles” in 3 Nephi 16 refers to the “gentile church” / “Latter-day Saints” and that this prophecy of a rejection of the fullness, is now a past event. I think you’d agree since your major second point that you requested me to respond to was, “The Gentile rejection of the fullness of the Gospel, prophesied in the Book of Mormon, is a past event. This is the overall thesis of PTHG.”

      And as I pointed out, interpreting “Gentiles” to mean “Latter-day Saints” thus saying this prophecy has already been fulfilled by members of the LDS church “rejecting the fullness of the gospel” (due to not living up to the requirements in D&C 124), is a factually impossible interpretation given the text.

      So initially, instead of attributing the assertion to you, I should have written “Denver’s theory” instead of “your theory”, since it looks like your position/conclusion is quite a bit different than his.

      • SteveF
        October 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to log, on October 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      • Karl
        October 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

        Steve F, You are correct again. One of Snuffer’s most egregious errors is to consistently (and exclusively I think) equate the terms Gentiles in the BOM with the Lord’s Covenant People, rather than the way the BOM text itself characterizes the Gentiles, as meaning all those who are outside of the tribe of Judah in the Old World. A careful reading of BOM passages makes it clear that the BOM is usually using the wide sense of the definition. This is an error, and Snuffer is forever trying to pound this interpretation down our throat as we read PTHG. Does this distinction matter? Yes it does. Because it serves Snuffer’s purpose to imply that the leadership of the Church is either in apostasy or just a step removed from it, and also the basis for his belief that the church as a whole are under condemnation. Also, that leadership is not getting revelations, at least not as Joseph Smith did in earlier times. But, how, short of direct revelation, does Snuffer or anyone else know this? As for Snuffer being asked to write: he stated this in Second Comforter, but I saw no reference to this in PTHG.

    • SteveF
      October 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      “call upon His name to receive His Spirit, and endure to the end in faith, hope, and charity, always abounding in good works.”

      I agree with your sentiment here that we should be doing these things. Thanks.

  89. log
    October 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Before I go further, I think this might be profitable to ponder.

    When the Father pronounces a wo upon the unbelieving of the Gentiles, and, knowing we are identified with the Gentiles, then the Father is speaking of the unbelieving among us as well.

    This shouldn’t be objectionable, I don’t believe.

    Matthew 13:24–30
    24 ¶Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

    25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

    26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

    27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

    28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

    29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

    30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    Matthew 13:47–50
    47 ¶Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

    48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

    49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

    50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    I think that may address one of your objections.

  90. log
    October 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    And what were they not believing? Apparently, the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

    And that was not a failing exclusive to non-members, looking again at D&C 84:54–59.

    • SteveF
      October 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      I agree that being a member does not negate the individual member from being able to fall under the category “unbelieving of the Gentiles” with all is associated warnings. So I agree with you, and I believe we should be aware of these warnings as they very well have direct application to us. I think we are on the same page on this point.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm

        If we are on the same page, then you should agree we now have all the players (the [unbelieving of the] Gentiles, cf D&C 84), as well as the historical events (casting out of the posterity of Lehi, etc), in place to fulfill the conditions of the Father’s statement pertaining to the Gentile rejection of the fullness of His Gospel, as recounted in 3 Nephi 16, placing it in our past.

      • log
        October 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        Or, at least, potentially placing it in our past.

  91. log
    October 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I will address Snuffer’s claim, as you have presented it, and D&C 124, a bit later this evening, if that’s ok.

    • SteveF
      October 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Yes, that’s fine. I’ve had a some time to spend on this the past couple of days, but my time is going to be very limited the rest of the week. I’m honestly starting to get a little worn out too, but I’ll try to do my best to respond where you really want me to. You definitely should win some sort of stamina award here! I’m impressed. I don’t know if Geoff or some of the others are still around, but I hope they or others can step in where I might not be able to adequately answer you.

  92. Michael A. Cleverly
    October 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    log, SteveF, et al.,

    Regarding our (Latter-day Saints of European descent) gentile role, as outlined in the Book of Mormon and D&C, I would highly recommend Avraham Gileadi’s The Last Days: Types and Shadows from the Bible and Book of Mormon (Deseret Book, 1991).

  93. Geoff
    October 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I’m still here, following along. I’ve read all the comments.

    I just received PTHG and now kind of dread reading it given the conversation here.

    JS-H 1:12
    “for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects cunderstood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible [scripture].”

    Log, you seem very convinced of your interpretation. A few things just don’t seem to square with reality or seem based on very sandy ground.

    I think you have way too much hinging on D&C 109:60, as well as very few passages of scripture which could easily mean something other than what you are interpreting. Just as I think Denver has way too much hinging on his interpretation of D&C 124 and 2 Nephi 16.

    I don’t believe the Lord considers us who have been gathered into the House of Israel (by covenant) to be Gentiles. I believe we are of the House of Israel. Two of my great grandparents were native American, so even by that interpretation I feel I may have some claim.

    Log, your interpretation of all these passages and linking them together just doesn’t seem plausible to me in the grand scheme of things. I don’t believe the Lord’s will for the Restoration was to set up a failure and for the Gospel not to spread, or alternatively roll on in some strange administrative/custodial fashion which everyone would misinterpret – like we are all deceived. I don’t think he designed this eclectic view, which the pure in heart and simple of faith will never even hear of, much less understand. I think SteveF is right – this feels like false doctrine and deception. The feeling is just off – it is not uplifting. The Church is spreading the Gospel to all the world and building Temples to the Lord everywhere we can. This is all sustained by huge consecrations of time and faith and material means. The Church and the Temple, the ordinances and covenants, enable each individual to come unto the Father by degrees.

    Part of your obvious disappointment I think spawns from improper expectations. For example, your expectation that miracles and supernatural manifestations would be commonplace and public, I think, is misplaced. I don’t think it was ever that way, except in rare cases, or when the collective group was united in faith. There are too many examples of this principle to mention, from every dispensation: the 3 Witnesses. Oliver while Joseph was translating and then when he tried to do it. Section 76, only Joseph and Sidney saw & heard. Moroni’s visits to Joseph while his family slept. Saul/Paul on the Road. Only those the Lord intended to receive, and who had the faith, eyes to see and ears to hear, experienced the manifestations and saw & heard for themselves. Often others were present and did not experience.

    Obtaining a perfect knowledge is not easy, is an individual effort, and is not intended to be publicly consumed. The Plan is not to wow people with supernatural power. That doesn’t seem to come until it is practically too late for them to exercise faith and repentance.

    I’m also convinced that the Lord’s perfect plan extends well beyond the veil. He is very patient with us and His mercy is boundless. For those of us who are sincerely trying to come unto Him, there is no collective condemnation. For most, even on the right course, the full realization of their blessings will occur after death. Heavenly Father is perfectly capable of accomplishing his eternal designs and most of it is through the very nature of this mortal life He has given us.

    I don’t feel like we are rejected as a Church or a people. I know I am not rejected. I feel loved and cherished as a son. My personal spiritual encounters are not for public consumption. But we can be sitting in the same meeting and have totally different experiences. Personal faith, repentance, righteousness, and preparation have everything to do with it.

    I don’t believe Denver is a prophet. The power of the Holy Ghost is real and is perfectly willing to reveal the truth to us.

    SteveF, I very much appreciate your sharing, particularly since you came out of this depressing perspective. I would very much like to hear your story. How did you go from this very narrow narrative of the Church being a shell to knowing that it is true and living?

    My parents were converts – from Baptist and Nazarene – and I grew up in the mission field. We are from Texas. My personal knowledge of the truth has come through faith, prayer, scripture study, particularly The Book of Mormon, obedience, repentance, service, and the Temple. So many spiritual experiences. Many of which are too sacred to share except when the Spirit directs. SteveF, please confirm if this is the same for you.

    Moroni 7
    29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
    30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
    31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.
    32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

    D&C 46
    13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
    14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

    We are on the Alma 32 path, as long as we keep striving to repent and obey the will of the Lord in our lives. He does not leave us in the dark.

    I know the ordinances have power. When my father said, “receive the Holy Ghost” – I was baptized with spiritual fire. I have felt the Spirit that powerful many times in my life.

    I hope you find your own connection, Log. I don’t think you will find it through this anti-orthodox narrative. But the Lord will help you as long as your heart and your life are right with him.

    I will agree with you on this: many aspects of Mormon culture are not true. They are false traditions, which I’m sure the Lord is working to purge, because they do hold us back. Hero worship of the Brethren is one of those false traditions. But it is so much a matter of perspective. Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. But the brethren are great examples of discipleship, very mature spirits, whom the Lord has chosen to teach and inspire and to help us rise up, as we should help each other. Let him that is strong take with him, him that is weak. The scriptures are true: full of good examples and bad, to learn the truth from. The truth is things as they were, are, and are to come – that encompasses everything. We have to have the light of the Lord to discern the good from the evil. Do not underestimate the power of the evil one to mix truth and error.

    One very alarming part of Denver’s current example is that he is no longer a member of the Church. And yet he is still writing and speaking. I hope he does not lead people to follow his example of leaving the Church. He is at the center of a lot of confusion – it does not feel right.

    • SteveF
      October 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Geoff, from an early age I had a testimony of the truth of the gospel, the truth of the Book of Mormon, and a deep respect for Joseph Smith and a knowledge that he was a prophet of God. That testimony has continued to grow over time. I think wear I was stuck in this paradigm, is first I was raised in it, but second I did not understand people on a deeper level – what made them tick, where they came from, what backgrounds they were raised in, what struggles they were dealing with, and third I had a great understanding of justice but really lacked an understanding of God’s mercy and as a result I used to put principles before people rather than the other way around.

      But as I sought diligently to keep the commandments, to abide by the gospel principles while drinking from the scriptures and praying with all diligence, I think it was only natural that becoming familiar with light that eventually it would shed light on my false traditions. I attribute the large shift in paradigm to really two things that happened almost simultaneously. The first is that as I began to really study and listen to the words of our modern prophets and apostles, the same spirit that would burn within me as I studied the scriptures would fill my heart as I listened to their words. I noticed that my thoughts and worries for people, were the very problems they were addressing. I always thought they were nice decent men, but really had never considered them true prophets in the same sense that I saw Joseph Smith as a prophet. But as I felt this Spirit, I gained a testimony that these men were teaching the Church exactly what the Savior would have them teach. I then realized that the Savior had been in control this whole time, and my fears and worries for the state of the Saints began to dissipate – I was filled with the hope of the Savior, and I felt true peace not only for myself, but for the Church collectively. That did not mean all problems were solved, or that I suddenly thought we have reached a state of Zion, but I gained an assurance that we were on the path that God would have us be on.

      This happened about the same time as I really began to serve people around me with my might, mind, and strength. In my old paradigm, I often mourned for the Saints, mourned that they lived so far below their privileges. I thought if only they would turn to the words of Joseph Smith, they could enjoy visions and untold blessings, and come to see the face of God – but I mourned their complacency and feared that we as a collective people were condemned by God. I was sincere in my worries. But as I began to serve people, and got to know their stories, that not everyone was born of goodly parents, that not everyone was raised with daily scripture study, that not everyone had it as nice and easy as I did, I began to see the inherent goodness in people. I saw that they were truly striving to do what is right, I saw that there were reasons for their struggles and limitations. I grew in compassion towards these people, I wanted to forgive them of their sins, I wanted to overlook their faults and say, “God, have mercy on your children who are honestly doing the best they can with what they have been given.” In short, I began to truly love the Saints whom I once mourned for (and grew in love towards all of God’s children for that matter), and realized that they were not suffering from complacency for the most part, but rather were burdened with the toils of this mortal and difficult world. As I grew in love, I knew that God loved them. As I desired to be merciful, I knew that God was indeed merciful, and that God sent his Son not only to bring us the higher law, but to truly offer mercy to this burdened world. I knew then that God’s plan wasn’t so weak and narrow that he only intended to save and exalt a few of His children. No, the plan of God was not so limited as I supposed, his work was truly to all humans that have ever or yet will live, past, present, and future, and He restored this gospel so that eventually it would bless every last one His children. Somehow I missed that both Jesus and Joseph Smith were quite the Universalists when it really came down to it, and now having tasted the love of God to a greater degree, I am too.

    • Karl
      October 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Geoff, I agree with you and Steve F. I believe, from my personal experience, that the Holy Ghost is alive and well and operating actively in the lives of the members and the leadership. It is for me a living reality. I believe the leadership is going through the same mortal testing experience all of us are being subjected to. For me, I believe it takes a prophet to understand a prophet, which for me means that the Holy Ghost can reveal to us individually where the leadership it taking us, and that for the most part, direction through the Holy Ghost is sufficient to move the Church to the destination it needs to go. Those who anticipate or demand even that the leadership be receiving direct revelations daily, are misunderstanding the nature of things. Most members have a long, long tutelage under the direction of the Holy Ghost before they are prepared for the greater manifestations. A refusal to go through this long and often tortuous path, is just an admission that we are unwilling to get onto the straight and narrow path and exercise out faith in pressing forward. Allowing the faults and failings of our history or current leadership (and there are ample areas of human error, folly and sin there to explore) to sidetrack us from our individual pursuit of the pathway is unwise spiritually. Uncritically accepting the “official” version of the church history is unnecessary, but so is the uncritical swallowing down of Snuffer’s version of church history too, which is, despite his recent insistence to having transcended history to arrive at the “truth,” At the end of the day, Snuffer has written a plausible interpretation of history, but it is but one interpretation amongst several possible and equally plausible interpretations. For me personally, I do not find his arguments persuasive.

      • SteveF
        October 11, 2013 at 11:12 am

        I was just looking back on this, and realized I probably didn’t get the chance to respond to you directly. I appreciated your thoughts and testimony throughout this whole conversation, so thank you.

  94. log
    October 1, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Eh. It’s ok. I’m only talking about Snuffer and PTHG here because, well, it was the topic of the post.

    If you don’t feel to read the book, don’t! But don’t discuss it, then. That would be a shame and a folly (Prov. 18:13).

    Indeed, as I said before, I would not recommend reading the book. And I’m not here to persuade you that the book is true, correct, or anything else.

    I’m saying the claims Snuffer makes are consistent with the scriptures and the acknowledged historical facts in our possession. That, in and of itself, is a problem.

    I have also said that the number of people with opinions about PTHG vastly exceed the number of people with knowledge of its contents. Most responses to claims raised in PTHG have been from people who haven’t read the book, or who are inaccurately representing what it says. That is another problem.

    I also have said I believe his narrative is more plausible than the traditional narrative, based on both the scriptures and the historical facts in our possession. But I am willing to wait. I have studied this out for the more part of a year, and I can wait until I am answered.

    And everyone’s entitled to their own interpretation of scripture. I reject, utterly, the notion that any mortal man has the power, or the right, to dictate the meaning of the scriptures, setting forth creeds to which one must assent or be asked out of the Church. I personally prefer to read the scriptures at face value, as Joseph taught (“What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads”), and as Hugh Nibley practiced, and, at literal face value, they say what they say – even if that’s not what we’re taught that they say.

    For example, Christ came to the Nephites 9 months after the destruction of the wicked (seriously; look it up). Yet, for some odd reason, most people think it was the day after the darkness lifted, or shortly thereafter. Why is that, do you think?

    Lastly, I don’t have an agenda. I don’t start with a conclusion and try to reason backwards, wresting the scriptures to conform to what I think or feel ought to be true. When one consciously decides to read closely, even minutely, and ignore one’s teachers in preference to the voice of the Spirit in one’s readings, one finds that one sees things which were previously unsuspected, or even spoken against elsewhere.

    Anyways, all of this is a puzzle that each must work out for themselves – or even decline to work out for themselves. :) No judgement from me either way. I appreciate Steve’s engagement, and the civility with which it has been done.

    • log
      October 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      At least 9 months, and maybe as many as 11.

  95. log
    October 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Let me respond to this, though.

    And as I pointed out, interpreting “Gentiles” to mean “Latter-day Saints” thus saying this prophecy has already been fulfilled by members of the LDS church “rejecting the fullness of the gospel” (due to not living up to the requirements in D&C 124), is a factually impossible interpretation given the text.

    Actually, what I have stated is precisely what I understand Snuffer to be saying. He uses the phrase “the Gentile Church” because, in the prophetic narrative, after the Restoration, we are identified with the Gentiles (D&C 109:60). Whatever befalls the Gentiles, in the scriptures, once we have happened upon the scene, befalls us. Therefore, one may profitably interpret the phrase “the Gentiles” as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 3 Nephi 16:10 (and Ether 12, JST Matt 21, and so forth), or, more colorfully, “the Gentile church”. That draws out the message of the Book of Mormon, to us specifically, who are very nearly its sole readers anyways.

    As for D&C 124 – the early Saints understood the Lord was talking to them, and not the world at large. Hence the rush to close the barn door (complete the temple) after the horses escaped (Joseph’s martyrdom).

    Let me actually pass on explicating D&C 124. You can get my understanding of it by simply reading it without imputing anything to it at all.

  96. Rick
    October 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    It’s interesting since President Benson some members have been reading the Book of Mormon more and more closely, and deeper meanings are surfacing. How many people skip over 2Nephi 32:6 and 3 Nephi 10:18 (like Log said) and don’t realize what they just read?

    Now the problem becomes one of who is understanding the correct meaning, even analyzing where commas are placed.

    All agree there are some serious consequences to befall the Gentiles including members who are too involved in the world.

    So understanding the BOM better also opens up an avenue for the adversary to try different angles, including the concept of church and leader apostasy.

    Where is Tim? I’m wondering about his thoughts/reviews of the recent DS lectures.

  97. Geoff
    October 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I’ve spent $28 so I’m going to read it, I’m just not looking forward to it.

    One does not have to read a book to discuss some of its principles or assertions. This thread is more about Denver’s teachings and approach in general, not just PTHG. And, like I said, I read SC twice and like 95% of his blog (don’t know which entries I missed and I’m not going back through to find out because it was insanely long – he turned it into 5 volumes after all). But that’s why I’ve left most of the discussion of PTHG specifically to SteveF and you – no one else commenting here seems to have read it. :)

    SteveF doesn’t seem to think Denver’s interpretive lens is very well aimed and Steve actually had viewed the Church through a similar paradigm for several decades. That’s very interesting. I hope he shares more about how he came from there to here.

    For my part, I read your explanations and interpretations of these scriptural passages – your representation of what I’m guessing I’ll find more of in PTHG – and they just seem too erudite to be true. They don’t seem to fit the cosmic scale. They seem very provincial and narrow. They also don’t seem to harmonize with many prophecies which the Church as I see it does.

    For example:

    Daniel 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 65 (corresponding)
    2 The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.

    This perspective/reading/interpretation of the Church being rejected and condemned collectively because they didn’t finish the Nauvoo Temple (and that the Lord’s provision of mercy, in the same section 124, was not applied), etc., doesn’t seem to fit these other prophecies of the scriptures.

    How about this one:

    2 Nephi 12:2 / Isaiah 2:2
    2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s chouse shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
    3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the chouse of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

    Sounds a lot like the Salt Lake Temple, literally, to me.

    I was married and sealed there. What a cool place.

    I feel the Spirit of the Lord very strongly in the Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t think they are rejected.

    Maybe you could lay out your perspective a little more clearly. Maybe I just don’t understand it – maybe that’s why it seems so full of holes to me.

    How does your view account for all these prophecies about the Gospel and The Book of Mormon flooding the earth and going to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and filling the whole earth fit? Who else is accomplishing this but the LDS Church? Maybe explain plainly what your view of the current Church is, and if it is the same as Denver’s?

    Thanks, and I mean no offense, just trying to really understand.

  98. log
    October 1, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    This perspective/reading/interpretation of the Church being rejected and condemned collectively because they didn’t finish the Nauvoo Temple (and that the Lord’s provision of mercy, in the same section 124, was not applied), etc., doesn’t seem to fit these other prophecies of the scriptures.

    Ah. The negative consequences pronounced for failure, especially the publicly noticeable one – the casting out of the Saints from Nauvoo, and the following cursings they experienced, however, were applied, unquestionably.

    Assume “If P, then Q” is a true statment (P and Q are some propositions, and this relationship is a correct one). Modus ponens says if P occurs, Q must necessarily occur. Modus tollens says if Q doesn’t occur, then P did not occur.

    If they built the temple within the allotted time, then they would not be moved from their place (Nauvoo), the Lord would come and restore that which He had taken, and so forth.

    The Saints were most definitely, and literally, moved from their place (Nauvoo), with wrath, judgments, and cursings, and so forth – at least, it reads that way to me from the history books.

    The fullness of the Gospel, which either has been, or will be, taken from the Gentiles, and brought to the posterity of Lehi, has to get to them somehow, doesn’t it?

    2 Nephi 12:2 / Isaiah 2:2
    2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s chouse shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

    3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the chouse of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

    Sounds a lot like the Salt Lake Temple, literally, to me.

    Joseph taught this.

    President J Smith arose and said it is impossible to continue the subject that I spoke upon yesterday in Consequence of the weekness of my lungs. Yet I have a proclamation to make to the Elders you know the Lord has led the Church untill the present time I have now a great proclamation for the Elders to teach the Church hereafter which is in relation to Zion, The whole of North and South America is Zion, the mountain of the Lords House is in the Centre of North & South America, when the House is done, Baptism font erectd and finished & the worthy are washed, anointed, endowed & ordained Kings & priests, which must be done in this life, when the place is prepared you must go through all the ordinances of the house of the Lord so that you who have any dead friends must go through all the ordinances for them the same as for yourselves; then the Elders are to go through all America & build up Churches untill all Zion is built up, but not to commence to do this untill the Temple is built up here and the Elders endowed then go forth & accomplish the work & build up stakes in all North and South America, Their will be some place ordained for the redeeming of the dead I think this place will be the one, so their will be gathering fast enough here. President Smith lungs failed him and he appointed Elder G. J. Adams to occupy the time during the foornoon He however remarked that his proclamation just made was the greatest ever made as all could not come here; but it was necessary that enough should come to build up the temple & get an endowment so that the work could spread abroad. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 364. This took place on April 8, 1844. The temple he’s referring to was Nauvoo, which was never completed.)

    In this context, check out 3 Nephi 21. I think it will come about in an unexpected manner.

    I feel the Spirit of the Lord very strongly in the Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t think they are rejected.

    The Spirit is strong there, indeed. That, however, doesn’t mean they are accepted. It just means the Spirit is strong there.

    How does your view account for all these prophecies about the Gospel and The Book of Mormon flooding the earth and going to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and filling the whole earth fit? Who else is accomplishing this but the LDS Church? Maybe explain plainly what your view of the current Church is, and if it is the same as Denver’s?

    I don’t have a pat answer for the fulfillment of prophecies, which are always open to interpretation until they come to pass.

    And I actually don’t have an answer for what my view of the current Church is. I find Snuffer’s take, that we are in much the same way as the Jews anciently were after Moses was taken, to be extremely plausible – but I don’t know. That would be a subject repeatedly addressed in prayer, and I am waiting on the answers. For now, as I see things, whether Snuffer is right or wrong, whether the traditional narrative is wrong or right, whether the Church holds the sealing keys or not, it doesn’t change what I should be doing from moment to moment.

    There are some things which are known to me, among which are these: the Brethren are servants of God, for God has referred to them as such to me, and the Church’s teachings pertaining to the salvation of men are true, because God said so to me. I also know Joseph to be a true prophet, because God told me just that.

  99. log
    October 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I don’t know that Joseph was quite as much a universalist as claimed.

    In what might be the very first FAQ published by the Church, we find this.

    When asked “Will all be damned but Mormons?” Smith replied, “Yes, and a great portion of them unless they repent and work righteousness” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 119).

    Now, it is consistent to say that someone will be both saved and damned, in our religion.

    After all, the telestial kingdom is salvation (D&C 76:88). Yet they are damned.

    Moreover, there will be inhabitants of the celestial kingdom who will be damned (D&C 132:17). Yet they are saved.

    And there are those who shall be cast out, who cannot be saved, according to the scripture.

    Our goal is not salvation – for almost all shall indeed be saved. Our goal is far loftier, and far harder to obtain – indeed, it costs everything we are and have.

  100. Geoff
    October 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing, SteveF. My experience and growth toward the Lord has many similarities. The greatest discovery has been one of the simplest – if you want to know God, learn to truly love, to love and serve Him and His children. This requires all out service. There’s no other way to get to know the Godhead: the Holy Ghost, the Son/Christ, and the Father – if any man will do His will, he shall know. Not to plagiarize LDS Family Services’ motto, but it’s all about love. Moroni 7 is not trivial, it is fundamental to coming unto Christ and being perfected IN Him. I see a much more universal view now, too. Degrees of glory, mercifully prepared. I’m not even so sure we know what the Lord means by certain scriptures. I think D&C 19 is a great example in which He defines what He means by eternal.

    I found a very interesting transcription of something attributed to Joseph Smith by one of his close associates in which he is reported to have said that one “eternity” or eternal round was something like 2.5 billion years. Think of it. Perhaps our views are too narrow. Maybe many won’t make it to the celestial glory, perhaps they go to the terrestrial – for what seems to us like a long time, eternity, but maybe one eternity is finite, however large, given we speak of it in plural sometimes. Maybe they have an opportunity to progress. I know I’ve heard some Apostles give their hardline opinions to the contrary, but we really don’t have any doctrine on it. There really is so little we know for sure, unless it is revealed to us clearly. I know this, though, He wants to aim and strive, as hard as we can, in this life for the highest we can achieve with His help.

  101. log
    October 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm
  102. Ray
    October 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    “I’m saying the claims Snuffer makes are consistent with the scriptures and the acknowledged historical facts in our possession.”

    They aren’t, unless someone reads them with the intent and purpose of using them to make or defend those claims. They have to be isolated and twisted to get Denver’s claims from them, but once they are isolated and twisted, those claims can be justified. I’m a former History teacher (which is why I decided to write this comment), and I’ve seen this same pattern over and over and over again in bad history textbooks.

    /back to only reading these posts and comments

  103. log
    October 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I think Tim should add one to his list in his post – #21 – “He’s reading it wrong!”

    /chuckle

  104. SteveF
    October 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    If we are on the same page, then you should agree we now have all the players (the [unbelieving of the] Gentiles, cf D&C 84), as well as the historical events (casting out of the posterity of Lehi, etc), in place to fulfill the conditions of the Father’s statement pertaining to the Gentile rejection of the fullness of His Gospel, as recounted in 3 Nephi 16, placing it in our past.

    Log, starting tomorrow I will have very little time, so I won’t be able to respond to all the points/concerns you brought up, although most of my answers will just repeat many of the things I’ve already said.

    But you seem particularly hung up on 3 Nephi 16. So I’m going to throw you a bone here and give you an interpretation as it has been revealed to me by the Spirit. I am not an authority, and therefore you are under no obligation to receive it, but I know if you will seek to understand the spirit of my words, you will know that I speak the truth.

    No, I do not think that a handful of saints who apostatized in Nauvoo are able to represent the whole of the Gentiles, and decide their fate for them. I do not believe in a God that would inflict such a curse due to the unfaithfulness of a handful of individuals. This is not the meaning of these verses.

    Here is a doctrine revealed by Joseph Smith, “This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile though it may not have half as much visual effect upon his body; for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have new creation by the Holy Ghost.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.149)

    If you will understand this doctrine, you will come to see that one of the purposes of the Church, particularly as the truth that comes unto the gentiles, is to gather these believing gentiles, baptize them and give them the gift of the Holy Ghost that by abiding by gospel covenants, they may actually become the seed of Abraham.

    So then, these righteous believing gentiles, once they abide in truth and receive the Holy Ghost, and their blood is purged, are they then considered Gentiles or the House of Israel? Be faithful in your response, and you will recognize the truth of the matter.

    But how then once these gentiles are made Israelites, how are they properly gathered? The Savior declared to the Jews, sons of Israel, in his day, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” How did the Savior desire to go about this gathering? Joseph knew that in 1835 that the church was still identified with the Gentiles, as you have frequently pointed out, but in 1836 here comes D&C 110, and what do we see but Moses giving Joseph and Oliver the keys of the gathering of Israel. Missionary work was well under way, but how was Israel to be gathered? Look no further than the rites restored in Nauvoo following the restoration of these keys. It is the temple where Israel is gathered.

    So what today is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the means by which the truth is being taken to the world, and more particularly and primarily to those believing gentiles who because of their belief will have the truth come unto them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost, have their blood purged, and be grafted in to the House of Israel.

    But the day will come that the large remainder of the Gentiles will be unbelieving, and they shall sin against the gospel, rejecting the fulness of the gospel, and they shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations. And because of this wickedness, and their rejecting of the fullness of the gospel brought forth unto them by God’s Church, the LDS Church, God will take the gospel from among them, and our missionary work will no longer be about gathering in these gentiles, save for the few who will repent and return unto God that will still be able to join the Saints, have their blood purged, and be numbered among God’s people. At this time the work will turn both to focusing on gathering Israelites internally through a greater focus on the work of the temple, but also the gospel and missionary efforts will be turned to the House of Israel still outside of the Church that they may be brought unto this fullness. And in this way will the gospel be then taken to Israel. Those who were once Gentiles, and as the gospel that came first to the Gentiles, set up this standard and ensign to the nations, and then shall they turn this standard toward Israel, and shall go forth and bring the sons of Israel in their arms, and the daughters of Israel on their shoulders, and Kings & Priests and Queens & Priestesses shall be the nursing fathers and mothers of the Israelites. And thus the Lord shall remember the covenants He has made with His people, and He will gather them, that Zion and Jerusalem will be established in all their glory. This is the glorious path of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, truly a marvelous work and a wonder.

    You need not waste your breath in trying object or convince me otherwise, I know what the Spirit has revealed to me, and if you will receive this Spirit, you will know that I speak the truth.

    I know you are praying for answers, I also pray that your heart may be softened, and the Spirit may be upon you that the scales may fall from your eyes as they have mine, and you will see as I see. I will not be able to address all your concerns, but if you will listen to the testimony that I have offered, and the testimonies of several others here who also speak according to the Spirit of truth, you will find those answers you are looking for.

    Your brother in Christ.

    • SteveF
      October 1, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      *I will also add, that it is at this time when the unbelieving gentiles will be rejecting the fullness of the gospel, that their doctrine and their ideology will be so strong and believable, that those members of the Church who have not abided by their covenants and become part of blood Israel, the great majority of them will be deceived, and they will leave and join the ranks of the unbelieving gentiles. This is one of the meanings behind the parables of the Ten Virgins parable and the Wheat and the Tares.

  105. log
    October 1, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    No, I do not think that a handful of saints who apostatized in Nauvoo are able to represent the whole of the Gentiles, and decide their fate for them. I do not believe in a God that would inflict such a curse due to the unfaithfulness of a handful of individuals. This is not the meaning of these verses

    He did so before – to Israel. God changes not.

    And you are mischaracterizing Nauvoo. The Church, as a whole, failed to do what the Lord commanded, and the threatened consequences were fulfilled, publicly.

    Apostasy? I don’t use that word; it truly means very little to me. The gate is still there, and the way to it is described in the Book of Mormon, and the Holy One of Israel is still waiting to baptize by fire and the Holy Ghost any who will come through it.

    So then, these righteous believing gentiles, once they abide in truth and receive the Holy Ghost, and their blood is purged, are they then considered Gentiles or the House of Israel? Be faithful in your response, and you will recognize the truth of the matter

    Yes, they are Gentiles, as far as the scriptural identification is concerned – whatever else may be said. That’s the point of D&C 109:60. And that is consistent with 3 Nephi 22, as well, whereas on the interpretation you are proffering, nobody can meet that description (since all Gentiles who repent automatically are no longer Gentiles). And your view also makes hash out of JST Matt 21, and aims the warnings of the Book of Mormon safely away from the members of the Church and onto those outside of it, who will more than likely never read it.

    You need not waste your breath in trying object or convince me otherwise, I know what the Spirit has revealed to me, and if you will receive this Spirit, you will know that I speak the truth.

    Ok. Conversation over. Once someone uses their personal revelation as a club, there really is nowhere left to go.

    I would like to point out that you are interpreting me through your experiences, your thoughts, your concerns, your history, and, by your own words, it seems you are doing the same to Snuffer, and it seems you are unable to correctly perceive his words either. You’ve gotten me wrong, at the least, and I can say this with authority.

    But I appreciate your concern and acknowledge your good intentions. You mean no harm, and are trying to salvage someone you see as going apostate.

    • log
      October 1, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      I meant 3 Nephi 21. Woops.

    • SteveF
      October 2, 2013 at 12:02 am

      I do not think you are going apostate. If I understand right, in the end you are not committing to a position at this point in time. If you said you had committed to a position, I would not have put nearly this much effort into this. I think if you are sincere and your heart is right, which I cannot judge, the Lord will guide you to the answers you seek.

      Like I said, I spent nearly two decades in a very similar paradigm, and I did not apostatize. I do think it is dangerous ground, but again for the sincere in heart, I believe God will lead them aright in the end.

  106. log
    October 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    I just realized you have implicitly conceded the identification of the Gentiles in Isaiah and the Book of Mormon (ie, the nursing kings and queens, who are in the scripture not described as “those who had once been Gentiles,” but as Gentiles [2 Nephi 10:9, etc.]), and have gotten who will be joining whom backwards (again, 3 Nephi 21:22–25).

    I do not accept revelations which contradict scripture.

    • SteveF
      October 2, 2013 at 12:20 am
      • log
        October 2, 2013 at 1:04 am

        Yes, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel, however, they are still referred to in the narrative as Gentiles.

        After all, the Gentiles who repent and are numbered among the posterity of Lehi are still described separately.

        3 Nephi 21:14–25
        14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;

        15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;

        16 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;

        17 Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;

        18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.

        19 And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.

        20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;

        21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them [the Gentiles], even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

        22 But if they [the Gentiles] will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them [the Gentiles], and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;

        23 And they [the Gentiles] shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they [the remnant of Jacob, and as many of the house of Israel as shall come]may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.

        24 And then shall they [the Gentiles] assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.

        25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them [all of them]; and I also will be in the midst.

        The Gentiles who will repent are described separately from the people of the Lord. Again, the scriptures are consistent in this, even if the Gentiles who repent are, indeed, numbered among the people of the Lord.

        And, again, we have the interpretive key, given by revelation through Joseph, at Kirtland – D&C 109:60 – whereby we know that when the Gentiles are referred to in the scriptural narrative, after the Restoration, we are lumped in with them.

  107. log
    October 2, 2013 at 2:01 am

    And, here’s another thing.

    Let us identify what the fullness of the Gospel actually is.

    Doctrine and Covenants 133:57
    57 And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity

    Doctrine and Covenants 42:12
    12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

    So, the everlasting covenant which comprises the fullness of the Gospel is to be found in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Or, it could be read that the fullness of the Gospel is in the Book of Mormon.

    Indeed, this seems to be the more likely reading, because of this.

    Doctrine and Covenants 27:5
    5 Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel…

    This is the fullness of the Gospel which the Gentiles believed not.

    But wait.

    That’s precisely what the Lord says we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believed not.

    D&C 84:54–58
    54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—

    58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

    (Incidentally, that gives us an interpretive key to 2 Nephi, where he talks about “All is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth; all is well!” – he’s talking about us and our attitudes.)

    What should we expect of them who receive the fullness of the Gospel?

    Doctrine and Covenants 39:18
    18 And inasmuch as they do repent and receive the fulness of my gospel, and become sanctified, I will stay mine hand in judgment.

    Sanctification, or, in other words, receiving the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 27:20) is the result of receiving the fullness of the Gospel, contained in the Book of Mormon.

    And, as we learned from Moses 6, receiving the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, is wherein we receive “all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment,” among other things.

    What would we expect to see if we were, indeed, under condemnation, according to the word of the Lord?

    I think it might look something like this.

    We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood.

    The authority of the priesthood is with us. After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church. Authority in the priesthood comes by way of ordination; power in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants.
    (Packer, Boyd K., The Power of the Priesthood, April General Conference)

    We have the form of Godliness, but the power is missing. That, I believe, is a significant admission by President Packer.

    Because if we were receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we would be sanctified, and have power.

    Doctrine and Covenants 50:29
    29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

    3 Nephi 8:1
    1 [T]here was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity.

    Mormon 9:20
    20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

    But we don’t have power, generally speaking. Therefore we, generally speaking, don’t have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and have departed from the right way, and know not God.

    And the prophets strongly hinted this would be the case, accepting that we “are identified with the Gentiles.”

    2 Nephi 33:9
    9 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate [wherein they would be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, being sanctified], and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.

    Ether 12:35–37
    35 Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.

    36 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.

    37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee….

    Charity matters because receiving the Holy Ghost is wherein we receive charity.

    Moroni 8:26
    26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

    So those who have the gift of the Holy Ghost have charity – perfect love, or the love of God dwelling in them.

    But, if we cannot be identified with the Gentiles, scripturally, it is a complete mystery why we should lack priesthood power, generally speaking.

    A conundrum, indeed.

    I can never leave it hanging like that, though.

    Here’s the way out.

    Moroni 7:48
    48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

    Remember.

    2 Nephi 25:29
    29 [T]he right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    That, of course, is a specific, actionable direction from Nephi, with a promise attached to it.

    Enos 1:2
    2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins….

    • Karl
      October 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      “But we don’t have power, generally speaking. Therefore we, generally speaking, don’t have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and have departed from the right way, and know not God”.

      Is your assertion here a statement of fact, or an interpretation on your part? How do you know that the power is not with the members of the church generally, unless you yourself have discerned this by the power? Have you had revelation from the Holy Ghost on this point?

      Your general level of argumentation here is exactly like Snuffer, who repeatedly asserts as “facts”, historical opinions which are nothing more than his own interpretations of historical events. Snuffer has many arguments in the book which are nothing more than one plausible interpretation among many plausible explanations. The fact that Snuffer is “blind” to his own limitations of historical exegesis, should tell you something important about him, and your willingness to swallow down and repeat his interpretations on point after point.

      Steve F, Geoff, and others through these posts are trying to kindly and thoughtfully point out some of the limitations of Snuffer’s analysis. You are not open to any of it. I will hope that you will go back through all the threads and open your heart to what these brethren are trying to say to you.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        Is your assertion here a statement of fact, or an interpretation on your part? How do you know that the power is not with the members of the church generally, unless you yourself have discerned this by the power? Have you had revelation from the Holy Ghost on this point?

        Would you believe any answer I should give?

        President Packer’s statement is clear enough to those with ears to hear.

  108. Rick
    October 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Perspective
    Remember, a microscope can make small things look large!

    Let’s have some perspective about these “Gentiles” in our days.
    There are 6.1 million mormons in the US.
    There are 316 million people in the US.
    This represents 1.9%.

    There are 14 million mormons in the world.
    There are 7 billion people in the world.
    This represents .2%, that’s point 2 percent!

    Since mormons don’t make a dent in the population, Gentiles are the population.

    You have to admit the Gentiles have not embraced the restored gospel, or the Church, or its leaders.
    (They even rejected Mitt Romney)

    So why are you making such a big deal out of it???

    • log
      October 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      I’m not. What’s at stake here is not doctrinal, not behavioral, and doesn’t even really relate to our salvation except insomuch as people have not faith in Christ, but faith in institutions and men.

      All that’s really at stake is the institutional mythos – our cultural self-image.

      It is, and I kid you not, simply a discussion over how we should view our history, current state, and future.

      The Church put out a video at one time, wherein a parable was portrayed – how we all are like actors who have been thrust into a play without knowing our lines, what the play is about, or anything. I think that’s a good way to look at this.

      What we are discussing here is essentially which genre of play it is we are currently engaged in. Are we in an action flick where the hero inevitably triumphs over every enemy – who never misses a shot, while his enemies can’t seem to aim straight? (Think about that Rambo spoof in UHF.)

      Or are we in a tragedy, where the protagonist takes heavy losses, and reconciliation and restitution come only at the end, after toil, trouble, and much sadness?

      The story is the Lord’s. Which view we take may well impact just how diligently we pay heed to the director and script.

      It may be possible to interpret our history honestly either way. I personally think one way flows much more consistently with the script I have been handed, but hey, the director knows what kind of play he’s producing and I am content to wait until I get that information from him, as well as my lines and direction.

      After all, a lot of actors are arrogant blowhards, seeking to magnify their own glory, rather than the glory of the picture and He who is crafting it.

  109. Rick
    October 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Witnesses

    Ether 5:4
    4 And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.

    The law of witnesses. Let’s say Denver has 10,000 followers. He is planning to speak 10 times, 500 at each lecture. So 5,000 of his followers will hear him.

    Have any of them received the Second Comforter? Will they boldly stand forth and proclaim the apostasy of the Church and the custodial leaders?

    Lehi wasn’t the only prophet who spoke to the jews of his day.

    If the message that Denver claims Christ has instructed him to give is correct, where are the other witnesses of this information? Denver claims his history is the truth, where are the witnesses???

    • log
      October 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Suppose Snuffer is authentic, and suppose further someone knows he is authentic. Snuffer has said that none should defend him (consistent with Acts 5:38–39). Should we expect this hypothetical witness to defend him? What about if this hypothetical witness doesn’t follow blogs? What then?

      And what is it about this “apostasy” thing? Do you really, in your heart of hearts, not recognize that very little in this world is either all good, or all bad?

      There is a story about an unrelated man and a woman who, through poverty, were residing under the same roof, along with others. This couple did not violate the law of chastity, not even in their hearts. They decided to marry. When they approached their ecclesiastical authority in the Church for permission to be sealed, they were told they would not be permitted to enter the temple because they were fornicating. There was no confession on their part, neither did a witness arise to accuse them. They appealed to the next level of hierarchical authority and were denied relief. They married outside of the temple, despite lifelong dreams of marrying in the temple.

      What think ye? What conclusions should this couple draw, on your black-or-white view of the Church?

      • Rick
        October 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm

        One year later they get sealed in the temple. If they are offended, maybe they leave the church. They should forgive even though they were in the right.

      • log
        October 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        I’m afraid that didn’t really answer the question. What should the couple think of the Church, given your black-or-white view of the Church?

      • Rick
        October 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        What they think of the church will depend on their faith and testimony. If they believe in the restored gospel, if they believe Christ is leading His Church though his Apostles, they will follow the counsel of their local leaders, they will forgive and pray for them. And in a year, their sealing will be sweeter than they could ever imagine.

        And they will be blessed in their lives in many ways. Remember the story that President Hinckley gave on the young man who threw a frozen turkey through a car windshield and caused great damage to a woman? Her incredible forgiveness saved her and the young man.

        Or they can be bitter, hate the church and live outside it.

        The Savior didn’t deserve what he suffered in Gethsemane, in the trial, the stripes, and on the cross. He did it for us. He is the great example.

        When Denver stands before the appeals council, one or several men there will be personal witnesses of the Savior and they will know the truth.

        I hope this couple watches conference this weekend. The Spirit will bear witness that the Apostles are indeed Special Witnesses of Christ, not custodians. And at least one talk will resonate with them.

      • log
        October 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

        Rick,

        I’m afraid you’re still missing the point. I’m asking you what they should think of the Church, given the black-or-white paradigm you have brought to the discussion. I’m not asking for a conditional reaction based on their faith; of course they will do one thing or another. I’m asking what you make of the data, how you think they should respond, and why they should do what you counsel.

        To put a finer point on it, given the data, should they believe Christ directs the Church through the apostles? Why should they not believe that the apostles are not just like this local leader? Remember – you have insisted on a black-or-white approach to the Church. Does this fall in the black, or the white, side of things?

      • log
        October 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        Eh… “why shouldn’t they believe the apostles are just like this local leader…”

      • log
        October 2, 2013 at 10:31 pm

        Also, please remember that knowing the restored Gospel to be true, and not knowing the apostles to be directed by Christ, is a perfectly possible situation. On the data, should they believe the apostles to be directed by Christ? Why, or why not?

      • Rick
        October 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm

        We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely, apostles…

        If people base their testimonies on history or the like, they will be disappointed. Having the Holy Ghost bear witness that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, that Joseph Smith was called of God to begin the restitution, that The Book of Mormon is true, this is what it is all about. That the prophets that have succeeded Joseph Smith are prophets and receive direction from The Lord for His Church, also confirmed by the Holy Spirit, is also essential.

        The commandment to forgive others is black and white. I hope this couple have or can do this. Elder Bednar gave a talk once on being offended, it would be good to read.

        Certainly an issue in the church is members living lower than they should, not living the law of tithing, etc. Does that equate to our leaders being in a state of apostasy? I don’t think so.

      • log
        October 2, 2013 at 11:48 pm

        Ok, Rick. You don’t have to answer the question on the terms I have presented it.

        I’m sure you can imagine that a person who has not been told those things by God may well depart the Church in bitterness. In point of fact, the man in the story not only forgave the leaders, but even forgot their names.

        Which brings me to another point.

        I cannot condemn a man for not knowing what I know. God reveals things, and witnesses of things, to whom He will. To judge another because they act or speak in a manner not conforming to my knowledge or my beliefs is to judge them unjustly.

  110. Geoff
    October 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Rick, that is a very good point. I have not heard anyone on Denver’s or Tim’s blogs claiming, even anonymously, to have attained what Denver claims, nor to have had a tangible revelation or visitation confirming Denver’s claims or teachings. So far it is all rhetoric and pontification.

    Log, I think you have too much hinging on D&C 109:60 – the key to your interpretation, as you call it – “us, who are identified with the Gentiles.” – in 1836. It’s too narrow.

    • 2robsmith
      October 5, 2013 at 12:01 am

      Geoff,
      I have not experienced the full range of experiences Snuffer claims. However, I can bear at least as strong an experiential witness as the one you quoted from your grandfather as a direct result of me reading and following what is outlined in “The Second Comforter.”

      However, I’m not sure that really proves your point, as the outline in that book is quite scriptural. Thus, I’ve only proved the truthfulness of the scriptures (again).

    • Good Will
      October 8, 2013 at 7:50 am

      Except that DS’s interpretation of D&C 109:60 (and everything else) explains everything else (as you put it) at a “cosmic” scale (though you don’t see it that way).

      I see a really great LDS Church — one filled with decent, nice, mostly wonderful people, nice buildings, loads of doctrine, order, programs, rich history, leadership, etc. But I also see many Mormons who couldn’t talk about Christ on a personal level or engage in any enthusiastic conversation about Him or His doctrine for more than five minutes…because He is far from the thoughts and intents of their hearts and far removed from their personal experience. They do not know Him. And, like some of the Book of Mormon writers — and many of our modern “prophet” leaders today — they have never had a revelation either from Him or of Him.

      Think of that. A “true Church” filled with people who don’t know Christ and who have never (knowingly) experienced the gifts of the Spirit. (The “unconverted”, “born-in-the-Church” types largely fill the ranks of the latter category. “15 million strong” largely over-states the number of those who have any “oil” in their lamps.)

      Almost nobody I know who is Mormon talks about Christ as someone they have personally interacted with. Almost nobody I know who is Mormon has vivid, personal, powerful experiences with Christ.

      This is a problem with our faith.

      We are so sure we are the “true Church” we are not careful to insure that we are true saints or true disciples of Christ. And, if we are careful, we find there is little that distinguishes us, behaviorally, from the rest of those who, likewise, claim to be devout Christians.

      In fact, we may not be as good. I know several non-LDS who claim to have a personal relationship with Christ, whose works testify to that fact. Are they deceived?

      Our prideful claim of being the “one true Church” seems incongruent with our experience. Recognizing the parallels between our own situation and that of the Jews after Moses best explains (in my view) our current condition and crisis.

      • Rick
        October 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

        Good Whatever –
        D&C 1:30
        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—

        Supposedly Christ said it is The Only True and Living Church.

        So what would you have us do?

        Only 500 can attend Denver’s lectures at a time.

        What would you have us do?

      • log
        October 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

        Rick,

        What does “true and living” mean? If something was “true and living” on November 2, 1831, does that mean it was “true and living” on November 3, 1832?

        Can something which was once “true and living” cease to be true? Can something which was once “true and living” cease to be living?

      • Rick
        October 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

        Come on Log, you’re quoting scripture. It is straight from the Lord.

        You tell me what it means, from yours and Good Wilt’s standpoint.

        What does it mean? What are you saying? Just say it so everyone understands your position.

      • log
        October 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        I’m asking you a question, so we can see if your interpretation is internally self-consistent and sound, or if it rests, in the end, upon unsupported assumptions. If you don’t want to answer the question, that’s fine.

      • Rick
        October 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        Log, you are being a jerk right now. You have posted that you interpret scripture exactly as it is. Christ said in D&C 1:30 that it is the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth.

        Millions of mormons have born testimony stating to that effect. It is not being boastful or prideful, it is saying exactly what Christ said. What do you say?

        And I wonder about you being internally consistent. I just want some straight forward answers and statements.

        This is what I hear you and Good Will and Denver saying:

        1. The church stopped being true when Joseph Smith was martyred. Christ just forgot to tell the rest of us.
        2. Since the church isn’t true now, the apostles are not real apostles.
        3. We are fortunate to have Denver truly interpret the scriptures and he has been assigned by Christ to tell us the true message.
        4. With the impending destructions, 14,990,000 mormons will be destroyed, and the 10,000 who listen to Denver will now build Zion.

        Is this what you mean? If not, just say what you mean.

      • log
        October 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        On November 1, 1831, the Lord said this.

        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 individuall

        Notice the words being used. “The only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased…”

        So, I asked a straightforward question: what do you, Rick, understand “true and living” to mean? if a thing is “true and living” at one point in time, does that mean it is “true and living” at another point in time?

        Can a thing which is, at one point in time, “true and living” cease to be true?

        Can a thing which is, at one point in time, “true and living” cease to be living?

        I imagine at one point in time the Christian Church was also “true and living.”

        I imagine at one point in time the Jewish Church was also “true and living.”

        I say exactly what I mean, Rick. You can impute whatever you like to my, and “Good whatever”‘s words, but then what you are reacting against is your own imputations.

        How can it be that asking a straightforward question of you provokes you into reviling?

      • log
        October 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

        Actually, if indeed these questions provoke you into reviling, then I had ought not continue the “conversation.”

        I’m sorry to have provoked you.

      • Rick
        October 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        Log, how can it be that on one scripture you read it as it is, on another scripture you start putting in scenarios?

        You didn’t answer the questions. You are the one with internal congestion.

        I’m sorry that your faith has been fractured. The Church is true, and so are the Apostles. You can try to find solace with Denver as much as you like, but you will always be empty. :)

        • Daniel A. Rogers
          October 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

          I am guessing from Log’s posts, that what he is getting at is that on November 1, 1831, the Lord called the organization that existed at that time true and living (referring collectively and not individually). Just because on that day there was a true and living church it does not necessarily follow that every group that claims continuity from that organization is also true and living.

  111. log
    October 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Geoff, I’m not here to persuade you otherwise. People dispute interpretations all the time. That’s why I’m not so much interested in controverted readings, but whether the facts are as Snuffer says they are – and it seems nobody’s disputing the facts. Everyone’s disputing the interpretation.

    Truth is narrow, indeed.

    3 Nephi 27:33
    33 And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

  112. Geoff
    October 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I mean your interpretation of Gentiles via D&C 109:60.

    Nice scriptural play on narrow. I didn’t say your interpretation was strait, though.

    : )))

    Interpretations aren’t facts. They are meanings or explanations of facts from one’s point of view. Tell me what you mean by facts in this case. Show me a fact that is not interpreted, for example, that is critical to your argument.

    Maybe it would be profitable to go through ALL the scripture verses, in context, which reference Gentiles. Perhaps that will shed some light on whether it means the Gentile Church or even the Nauvoo Latter-day Saints? Maybe start with Book of Mormon, D&C, and PoGP – since Joseph restored those.

    Then we’re not hinging on one interpretation of one verse. I think that’s one reason why the Lord gave us like 2500 pages of scriptures, addressing the same subjects in several places, by several prophets, in several contexts. The law of witnesses, by Rick above, is a good point. Nephi explains prophetically that this is one reason we have the Book of Mormon to supplement the Bible, that they “shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.”

    What do you say? It will probably be an enlightening discussion, one way or the other.

  113. log
    October 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Geoff, I understood what you meant. What I am saying is I am not here to convince you otherwise. To me, for example, that “interpretation” doesn’t require justification – that is the straightforward meaning of the words.

    60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.

    Throughout that prayer, both before and after, Joseph repeatedly referenced the sons, and the remnant, of Jacob, which, in context, is the posterity of Lehi, and he spoke also of the children of Judah. Now, if there is a reading – that when we see the Gentiles referenced in the scriptures, pertaining to the days in the prophetic narratives after the Book of Mormon has come forth, that we are identified with them – which requires fewer interpolations or assumptions to reach, I don’t know what it is. But each may decide that matter for themselves.

    I privilege readings which require the fewest, or even no, assumptions. That is what I mean by “the literal reading.”

    We can certainly go through the Book of Mormon, from the beginning, and examine the prophetic statements concerning the latter days, and see if it is profitable to identify us with the Gentiles (once the Book of Mormon has come forth in the narrative, of course).

    I suppose we can start from the beginning and work our way through!

  114. Ty
    October 3, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Steve, Log, & Geoff,

    I really appreciate your enlightening and (mostly) civil conversation. I’ve read PTHG and am uncertain, but more inclined toward log’s view. i believe the interpretation of D&C 124 that the Saints were moved out of their place because they failed to build the temple. Although, I don’t think it means that we are just another christian church. I think that the Lord always wants to establish Zion with his church. He wanted to with the children of Israel, but they rejected him. He wanted to with the Saints in Missouri, and I think maybe he would’ve done so in Nauvoo and would’ve given us our Joseph for a much longer time (maybe 85 years) if the Saints had been diligent in building the temple.

    Again, I don’t think the LDS church is a dead faith, and the Lord’s hand is behind everything. If Brigham and others were bad leaders, the Lord could’ve given us better ones.

    Keep it up guys! This is really interesting.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks for chiming in Ty. I agree with you that the Saints being moved out of their place was/is evidence that the conditions for that blessing were not met. What were the conditions for that blessings? Verse 45, “And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people…they shall not be moved out of their place.”

      Even if we concede that completed the temple was also a requirement, what was the cause of that the temple was not able to be completed? Was it the collective unfaithfulness of the Saints? I have seen no evidence to believe this. All the history I have read shows the Saints anxiously engaged in the cause of building the temple, just as the Prophet asked it of them.

      However, there was a handful Saints that apostatized, and therefore did not hearken unto God’s voice, or the voice of His servants. And in large measure due to the apostasy and actions of these few Saints, Joseph Smith was martyred, which was the direct cause of Nauvoo breaking apart and the Saints being forced to leave before the temple was fully completed. Being “moved out of their place” was definitely as a result of a select few Saints not hearkening to the voice of God.

      But let’s compare this today, to give us a better idea what Denver’s theory is promoting. Say that we live in a large city in Utah, in a multi-stake region, where most members are faithfully adhering to the words of the Prophet. However there is a small group of disaffected members within that region that get so angry with the teachings of President Monson, that they plan and successfully assassinate President Monson. (I fear for their consequences in the afterlife). Do you think because of the actions of these few apostate murderous individuals, that God would then curse the faithful husbands, wives, and children of the entire multi-stake region? And curse their children’s children to the third and forth generation, despite that they themselves were faithful? And not only this, that God would because of the actions of those few individuals, then curse the whole of the Church, and not even come close to stopping there, but then curse the millions, hundreds of millions, and maybe even billions of Gentiles who all were entirely removed from this single event?

      That is the claim Denver is making. I don’t think God prepared the world for hundreds or even thousands of years, spreading Christianity so that the Gentiles could become “believing Gentiles” both in Christ and in God, just so that God could restore the gospel and take the truth to a negligible percent of those Gentiles, and only 14 years later let one event in a single city curse the whole of these possibly billions of believing Gentiles baring them from the fulness of the gospel before ever giving them a chance.

      I don’t believe in that type of God.

      And even with the Saints being moved out of their place in Nauvoo due to the wickedness of a few individuals, I do not see why this would prevent God from giving all those large majority of faithful Saints the fullness. And not only is it my testimony that God would not prevent the fullness from them due to a few apostate individuals, I believe there is strong factual evidence that God actually did give the Saints the fullness months before the death of Joseph Smith (see my response to Log below). And I believe that fullness has continued, and is still unto the Gentiles this day.

      • Good Will
        October 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

        Geoff,

        You keep making the claim that it was a relatively “small” number of saints who became disaffected or apostatized at Nauvoo, insufficient to warrant the Lord “cursing” the Saints or driving them out of their place for failing to do as they covenanted to do.

        I’m not an historian — or inclined to look it up — but I heard just a few Sundays ago in Sunday School that as many as half the Saints in Nauvoo elected to stay behind with Emma (or join other “splinter” groups) rather than follow BY out west. The number was something like 45,000 staying behind.

        That’s not a “small” group, Geoff. On the contrary.

      • Good Will
        October 8, 2013 at 8:10 am

        Geoff: “That is the claim Denver is making. I don’t think God prepared the world for hundreds or even thousands of years, spreading Christianity so that the Gentiles could become “believing Gentiles” both in Christ and in God, just so that God could restore the gospel and take the truth to a negligible percent of those Gentiles, and only 14 years later let one event in a single city curse the whole of these possibly billions of believing Gentiles baring them from the fulness of the gospel before ever giving them a chance.”

        I believe you get it wrong, again, here, Geoff. The saints at Nauvoo who are “identified with the Gentiles” were subsumed back into the “Gentile” fold after they failed (or refused) to receive the “fullness of the priesthood”. The surviving “Church” (even the LDS) nevertheless becomes heady and high-minded, for whom a “great and spacious building” seems an apropos identifier. (The LDS certainly have a few of those!)

        The fact that “God prepared the world for hundreds or even thousands of years, spreading Christianity so that the Gentiles could become ‘believing Gentiles'” does not confirm that they were “believing enough” to embrace the fullness of the priesthood. And that’s the problem. Neither the world-at-large nor the body of saints at Nauvoo apparently were “believing enough” to do that.

        And so we languish.

  115. log
    October 3, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Geoff – sorry, just noticed you asked me what a “fact” was – a fact would be something like “the provenance of D&C 110 cannot be traced back to Joseph,” or “neither Joseph nor Oliver ever once unambiguously referred to the events which D&C 110 describes,” or or “Joseph, without exception, taught that the mission of Elijah was a future event, even after 1836,” or “the Saints were driven from Nauvoo,” and so forth. That’s the stuff nobody debates, because the documentary evidence (or utter lack thereof) is a matter of public record; that’s the stuff it would take new discoveries to overturn.

    I was going to throw in “Joseph started taking plural wives in 1831,” but it appears some members of the Reorganites or affiliated parties dispute Joseph ever took plural wives, at all, and dispute the authenticity of D&C 132, or claim Joseph was at that time a “fallen prophet” looking to pursue carnal appetites with pretended divine justification. And I was also going to add “the Nauvoo temple was never completed,” but some would dispute that, even though contemporary media reports indicated its lack of completion, and George Q. Cannon admitted, in Conference, that it was never completed.

    I think, however, those, too, are facts.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Fact: Joseph Smith taught that the purpose or mission of Elijah is so that people will have “power to hold the keys of [all the ordinances and blessings belong to] the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood”. This then enables a person to “receive, obtain and perform all ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God”. The “last law” is to receive “the “fullness of the law” or “the fullness of the Priesthood”. Receiving this last law or the fullness of the Priesthood “constitutes [the person as] a king and priest after the order of Melchesideck”, just as Abraham became a King and Priest after receiving this last law, or fullness of the Priesthood, from Melchizedek. (WoJS 245-247, also see note 30)

      Fact: On August 27, 1843 Joseph Smith taught that there are 3 orders of the Priesthood – 1. Levitical, 2. Patriarchal, and 3. Melchizedek. He taught the Patriarchal Priesthood was the Priesthood Abraham held, and that this Priesthood was sufficient to “walk and talk with God” (i.e. the fullness of the Priesthood is not a perquisite to coming into the presence of God, and is not obtained simply by walking or talking with God), but that there was a greater Priesthood held by Melchizedek – that of a “King and Priest” that held a “greater power even power of an endless life”. Abraham eventually obtained this greater Priesthood after he received a blessing under the hands of Melchizedek, then giving Abraham “the fullness of the Priesthood” making him “a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck ”. (WoJS 244-247)

      Fact: As of August 27, 1843 Joseph said that the Patriarchal Priesthood was “the greatest yet experienced in this church”. And since the Patriarchal Priesthood is not the fullness of the Priesthood, it is therefore factually impossible to interpret D&C 124:28 (received on Jan. 19, 1841) to mean that the fullness of the Priesthood was taken away or lost from the Latter-day Saints , since they had never yet experienced the fullness of the Priesthood as of Aug. 27, 1843.

      Fact: Joseph Smith began performing ordinances, ordaining men as Kings and Priests, therefore ordaining them unto the fullness of the Priesthood, starting on September 28, 1843, and over the next 5 months was given/administered to at least 20 men whom Joseph Smith found worthy to receive as much.

      Fact: Given the above facts, there are only 2 options remaining.
      Either 1) Joseph Smith was not authorized to ordain these men Kings and Priests after the order of Melchizedek, and thus performed these ordinances in unrighteousness (which would not necessitate that Elijah had restored the keys belonging to the fullness of the Priesthood),
      or 2) Elijah had fulfilled his mission passing on the keys belonging to the fullness of the Priesthood, and Joseph Smith ordained these men as Kings and Priests in righteousness, therefore giving these men the fullness of the Priesthood under Joseph’s hands, just as Abraham received it “under the hands of Melchizedek”.

      Log, which option do you choose to believe? I believe the 2nd.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Fact: As of August 27, 1843 Joseph said that the Patriarchal Priesthood was “the greatest yet experienced in this church”. And since the Patriarchal Priesthood is not the fullness of the Priesthood, it is therefore factually impossible to interpret D&C 124:28 (received on Jan. 19, 1841) to mean that the fullness of the Priesthood was taken away or lost from the Latter-day Saints , since they had never yet experienced the fullness of the Priesthood as of Aug. 27, 1843.

        Joseph had it.

        Fact: Joseph Smith began performing ordinances, ordaining men as Kings and Priests, therefore ordaining them unto the fullness of the Priesthood, starting on September 28, 1843, and over the next 5 months was given/administered to at least 20 men whom Joseph Smith found worthy to receive as much.

        We are explicitly told this.

        “… If you are true and faithful, the day will come when you are chosen, called up, and anointed kings and priests, whereas now you are only anointed to become such.”

        Do you think Joseph said these words to those men? I’m guessing so, though it is known Brigham took liberties with the endowments, such as adding a prayer of vengeance which was removed when it caused political problems for the Church.

        Likewise, each apostle was charged that their ordination as apostles was incomplete until the Savior had physically interposed His hands on their heads. We lack a record of any of them receiving that, and Brigham was forthright in denying it ever occurred, at least to him; President Grant forthrightly denied any since Joseph had even seen the Savior.

        So I’ll go with option 3 – Joseph said Elijah’s mission would be fullfilled in the future, therefore it shall be as he said; being ordained to receive things does not mean things have been received; Joseph wanted to give his closest friends and confidants all that he could before he was to be betrayed by his people and slain by the mobs, and had permission from God to administer in the outward ordinances to them.

        Whether the promises offered in those ordinances was received by those men was between them and their God, to be received predicated upon their faithfulness.

        The outward ordinances are nothing without ratification from heaven. Even baptism by water, taught Joseph, is of none effect without the corresponding baptism by fire.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

          Sorry, wrong answer, your position isn’t possible and does not accord with the actual facts. The endowment is the ordinance that promises the faithful that they might one day be called up to receive this anointing, based on their faithfulness. These men had already received their endowment. Factually speaking, these ordinances actually ordained these men to the office of King and Priest, no conditions about it. Because of the sacredness of that subject however, I will refrain from discussing it further. You may believe how you please, but your response is not factually possible.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        Imposed, that is.

      • SteveF
        October 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        Log, I apologize for using the phrase “wrong answer”, that was too far. I wish to take that back, as I don’t think the sentiment of that phrase is true in regards to your thoughts.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        Sorry, wrong answer, your position isn’t possible and does not accord with the actual facts. The endowment is the ordinance that promises the faithful that they might one day be called up to receive this anointing, based on their faithfulness.

        Yes, as I obviously know.

        These men had already received their endowment. Factually speaking, these ordinances actually ordained these men to the office of King and Priest, no conditions about it. Because of the sacredness of that subject however, I will refrain from discussing it further. You may believe how you please, but your response is not factually possible.

        The second anointing is simply another outward ordinance. See the section in PTHG treating this topic, beginning on page 433. If you are unfamiliar with the power of God, then what Snuffer talks there won’t be very significant to you. If, however, you have ever been filled with the power of God, then you will not be able to miss the significance of what is said.

        As Joseph said, the baptism by water is of none effect without the corresponding baptism by fire.

        You can believe otherwise, of course.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        “Chosen and called up,” to me, means exactly that. “Up” means into the heavens. Therefore, this phrase means “chosen by God and called up into His presence.”

        I cannot tell you how many times I went to the temple hoping against hope that this time, it would be the Lord on the other side of the veil, and that instead of a room representing the Celestial Kingdom, I would be ushered into the Celestial Kingdom, there to behold God upon His throne, surrounded by numberless concourses of angels singing His praises, there to behold the works of His hands, the history and future of the world, and to have my questions answered.

        Alas. It was always a veil worker, and while the seats in the Celestial room are nice, it’s not quite the same thing.

        Anyways, my point is – Brigham was never chosen and called up, by his own admission – a very curious thing, if indeed he was a king and a priest in spirit and in truth, as opposed to ordination only. We have no record of any since Joseph being chosen and called up.

        Outward ordinances don’t confer heavenly power – they merely open the gate that we may pass through.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

          But ordinations do confer authority, something it seems you and Denver have both yet to understand. Until you know this, succession and Church order (as opposed to utter chaos and confusion) will be impossibly confusing to you. In your model, many people can and probably do not have ordinances like baptism, et. al, properly bestowed on them. Thus unwittingly, these people do not even have a heavenly recognized “invitation” to go and gain power in the first place, and their efforts to gain pwer without an authorized invitation will be fruitless. If you admit that this “invitation” was authorized or recognized by heaven, then you admit that the Priesthood bearer did have authority to give that invitation.

          You mentioned how Dan Peterson shared my views on this, and that you contacted him before, maybe you can contact him again and see if he can give you a better explanation than I have on this subject, because it seems what I have said has not made any headway.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        As Snuffer rightly points out – if you, and Dan, are right, then the Catholics are right and the Restoration is a fraud.

        Please refer to chapter 12 in PTHG, beginning on page 318.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

          Not so, in my model if the Lord revokes his authority from the church collectively, due to wide spread apostasy, then ordinations are no longer valid. So in my model, if the Lord rejected our Church today collectively, then no ordinances/ordinances, etc. would be valid at all. It then comes down to personal testimony, and I have a witness that we have not been rejected collectively, therefore that which is authorized by the church and put on the church records is bound and recognized in heaven.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        Not so, in my model if the Lord revokes his authority from the church collectively, due to wide spread apostasy, then ordinations are no longer valid. So in my model, if the Lord rejected our Church today collectively, then no ordinances/ordinances, etc. would be valid at all. It then comes down to personal testimony, and I have a witness that we have not been rejected collectively, therefore that which is authorized by the church and put on the church records is bound and recognized in heaven.

        Let me refer to you again President Packer’s admission that we have, generally speaking, not got power in the priesthood.

        We, of necessity, have at least got the Aaronic priesthood.

        The fact that most members of the Church have not received the Holy Ghost – the only possible explanation for President Packer’s observation about the state of the Church, as I demonstrated fromthe scriptures – would be evidence that many confirmations are invalid. And if confirmations are invalid… what does that say about anything after that?

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        And we have no record of any formal revocation of priesthood for the original Christians.

      • Ty
        October 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm

        I don’t see how unrighteousness can revoke a man’s priesthood, making the ordinances performed invalid–since we don’t know which priesthood holders are righteous and which ones are not.

        It makes me nervous that D&C 121 says “amen to the authority” instead of “amen to the power” though.

        As to the Catholics still having authority, I think they lost it when they changed the ordinances, not when they became unrighteousness.

  116. log
    October 3, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Woops, need to clarify – “we have no record of Joseph, nor Oliver, ever once unambiguously referring to the events which D&C 110 describes,” and “Joseph, without known exception, taught that the mission of Elijah was a future event, even after 1836.”

    Lack of evidence is, of course, not evidence of lack.

    • Rick
      October 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

      What are your thoughts on secret combinations in Ether 8. What is this secret combination?

      23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain–and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

      24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

      25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

  117. log
    October 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I don’t know. That’s the problem with secret combinations. They’re secret.

    But we can get some idea of the kinds of things we might look for. Let’s look at the relevant stuff.

    Ether 8:8–26
    8 Now the daughter of Jared being exceedingly expert, and seeing the sorrows of her father, thought to devise a plan whereby she could redeem the kingdom unto her father.

    9 Now the daughter of Jared was exceedingly fair. And it came to pass that she did talk with her father, and said unto him: Whereby hath my father so much sorrow? Hath he not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory?

    10 And now, therefore, let my father send for Akish, the son of Kimnor; and behold, I am fair, and I will dance before him, and I will please him, that he will desire me to wife; wherefore if he shall desire of thee that ye shall give unto him me to wife, then shall ye say: I will give her if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king.

    11 And now Omer was a friend to Akish; wherefore, when Jared had sent for Akish, the daughter of Jared danced before him that she pleased him, insomuch that he desired her to wife. And it came to pass that he said unto Jared: Give her unto me to wife.

    12 And Jared said unto him: I will give her unto you, if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king.

    13 And it came to pass that Akish gathered in unto the house of Jared all his kinsfolk, and said unto them: Will ye swear unto me that ye will be faithful unto me in the thing which I shall desire of you?

    I have read of multiple instances where, in interviews for certain military or intelligence positions, they ask plainly, if you will do certain things without question on orders.

    14 And it came to pass that they all sware unto him, by the God of heaven, and also by the heavens, and also by the earth, and by their heads, that whoso should vary from the assistance which Akish desired should lose his head; and whoso should divulge whatsoever thing Akish made known unto them, the same should lose his life.

    They swear by good things – God, the heavens… kind of like our current oaths of allegiance to the United States Constitution, which they then proceed to trample upon, as revealed in the Bradley Manning / Edward Snowden NSA revelations.

    15 And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning.

    16 And they were kept up by the power of the devil to administer these oaths unto the people, to keep them in darkness, to help such as sought power to gain power, and to murder, and to plunder, and to lie, and to commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.

    17 And it was the daughter of Jared who put it into his heart to search up these things of old; and Jared put it into the heart of Akish; wherefore, Akish administered it unto his kindred and friends, leading them away by fair promises to do whatsoever thing he desired.

    18 And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;

    19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.

    20 And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.

    21 And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.

    22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.

    I’m going to pause Ether here and change the channel to D&C 87.

    D&C 87:1–8
    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

    2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

    3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

    4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

    5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.

    6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;

    7 That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

    8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

    As we shall reap the promised consequences of national destruction, by war, it appears that we may well already have these secret combinations above us.

    Back to Ether 8.

    23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

    So the course of action is to repent of your sins – not repent of some of your sins, not engage in a lifelong imperceptible process of repentance, but to cast them aside, and not suffer the combinations to get above us. But, as D&C 87 has shown, the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon us, implying it is too late – the combinations may well already be above us.

    And what is the Obamacare contention about, in the final analysis, if it isn’t power and gain? Isn’t most of what our government does simply wealth and power transfers anymore?

    Ether 9:11
    11 Now the people of Akish were desirous for gain, even as Akish was desirous for power; wherefore, the sons of Akish did offer them money, by which means they drew away the more part of the people after them.

    Do they not have the propaganda machines going for war?

    Alma 48:1–4
    1 And now it came to pass that, as soon as Amalickiah had obtained the kingdom he began to inspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi; yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their towers, against the Nephites.

    2 And thus he did inspire their hearts against the Nephites, insomuch that in the latter end of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges, he having accomplished his designs thus far, yea, having been made king over the Lamanites, he sought also to reign over all the land, yea, and all the people who were in the land, the Nephites as well as the Lamanites.

    3 Therefore he had accomplished his design, for he had hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger, insomuch that he had gathered together a numerous host to go to battle against the Nephites.

    4 For he was determined, because of the greatness of the number of his people, to overpower the Nephites and to bring them into bondage.

    Lest we forget.

    Mormon 4:5
    5 But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.

    Thereby we know those who cry for war.

    Incidentally, we ignore the Lord’s standard for justification in warfare – at least, I have not once, since 9/12/2001, seen a mainstream LDS writer or authority deal with this, relevantly and in context.

    DC 98:33-38
    33 And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.

    34 And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;

    35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;

    36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.

    37 And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation.

    38 Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.

    War is only justified at the Lord’s command. We are not to even ask Him to go to war without having been hit, entirely without provocation, entirely without repercussions, having made genuine offers of peace at each offense, thrice. This standard applies to all mankind for justification before the Lord, in war, not just the members of the Church. I leave it to the reader to decide how well this standard has been met.

    Back to Ether 8.

    24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

    25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

    26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

    I think it’s clear – at least, it’s clear to me – that the combinations are already entrenched above us, and the consumption decreed therefore shall come to pass, as the Lord has said. Our government, the industrial-military-political-ecclesiastical-financial complex, are, to my eyes, the combinations spoken of.

    We had an open power structure. Power attracts the corrupt. Absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible.

    No man who seeks for power should have it.

    3 Nephi 6:15
    15 Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.

    Any who seek for power, authority, riches, and the vain things of the world show who they follow – no matter their church affiliation.

    3 Nephi 13:24
    24 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.

    And mammon, Nibley points out, is the common Hebrew word for business and finances.

    Matthew 13:22
    22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

    With the treasures of the earth, and the backing of the financiers’ gold and silver, they have bought up armies and navies, priests and popes and propagandists, and have executed the plan of their master.

    America had a real chance for repentance – there was a candidate for president who preached peace, and the Golden Rule, for relations between nations. We rejected him in favor of warmongers who promised to deliver us other people’s wealth in the form of healthcare and other gov’t benefits.

    The only thing we can do is repent, individually, become holy, and stand in holy places. Politics is a dead end.

    • Good Will
      October 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Amen.

  118. Geoff
    October 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Rick, that is part of what I’m getting at when I say Log’s and Denver’s interpretations seem too narrow to me.

    For example, when I started reading Denver’s Nephi’s Isaiah, he kept pushing this interpretation that The Book of Mormon was addressed almost exclusively to the members of the Church. His evidence for this was that only members of the Church would read it or believe it.

    That didn’t feel or seem right for many reasons. One is that The Book of Mormon often seems to address a much broader audience and it’s prophetic content is so sweeping.

    Book of Mormon, Title Page:
    Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile
    to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile
    Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever–And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations

    So remnant of the house of Israel, Jew, and Gentile – this is not just members of the Church, or the Nauvoo LDS, etc.

    I think Denver is obviously wrong in his interpretation here. And a lot of his arguments stem from this type of interpretation.

    • log
      October 3, 2013 at 11:28 am

      I think you almost got it when you said “The Book of Mormon often seems to address a much broader audience and it’s prophetic content is so sweeping.”

      Let me rephrase to drive the point home.

      “The Book of Mormon addresses an audience.”

      Or…

      “Audience.”

  119. log
    October 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

    One more example of stuff to look out for…

    Helaman 7:4–5
    4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;

    5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—

    • Good Will
      October 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

      We’re not quite there yet (in the U.S.), but we’re close. Getting away with murder hasn’t become the “norm” – except among the police.

  120. log
    October 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Also, Steve, I don’t think it is consistent to take Joseph for an authority in some things, but to ignore or rationalize away what he said about others. He consistently taught Elijah’s mission was yet future. You can claim Joseph was lying or mistaken, but if you do so, then you have undermined him as an authority for anything else, too.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      I have already explained to you earlier reasons for why Joseph would be speaking of Elijah mission as a future, although the event had already taken place. Yet, you have not explained why Joseph Smith was secretly performing the ordinances explicitly tied to Elijah’s coming, if Elijah really hadn’t indeed come first.

      • SteveF
        October 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

        Ordinances also explicitly tied to the fullness, as I have shown.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        You are making an assumption – that the ordinances Joseph performed are explicitly tied to Elijah’s mission.

        I don’t make that assumption, and, on the basis of Joseph’s public teachings, you have no grounds for linking them.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm

          See the list of facts I just provided.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        I already responded to that post.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

          Then don’t pretend I didn’t just give the evidence. If you read it already, and then to say I “have no grounds for linking them”, that’s simply disingenuous to what I’ve already provided.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        Steve,

        I don’t know how much more plainly I can speak. You have no grounds for linking the ordinances Joseph performed with Elijah’s mission, which Joseph always said was yet future.

        If you had Joseph saying “I received these ordinances from Elijah,” or something functionally equivalent, then we have new information. You haven’t produced this. Indeed, the Lord said in 1841 in D&C 124 that He would reveal them to Joseph (D&C 124:42).

        That’s a problem.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

          I’ll go ahead and copy and paste then:

          Fact: Joseph Smith taught that the purpose or mission of Elijah is so that people will have “power to hold the keys of [all the ordinances and blessings belong to] the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood”. This then enables a person to “receive, obtain and perform all ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God”. The “last law” is to receive “the “fullness of the law” or “the fullness of the Priesthood”. Receiving this last law or the fullness of the Priesthood “constitutes [the person as] a king and priest after the order of Melchesideck”, just as Abraham became a King and Priest after receiving this last law, or fullness of the Priesthood, from Melchizedek. (WoJS 245-247, also see note 30)

          Mission of Elijah linked with the fullness of the Priesthood linked with the ordinance of being ordained a King and a Priest, as Abraham was “under the hands of Melchizedek”.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm

        I’m afraid you haven’t understood my response to that point – Joseph consistently saying Elijah’s mission is yet future, and the Lord Himself saying in 1841 He would reveal the priesthood of the temple to Joseph mean you are reading into your evidence things which on its face it cannot bear.

        Your evidence does not mean what you think it means.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm

          In your model, Joseph already held the fullness of the Priesthood. You’re contradicting yourself.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

        If you wish to explain my contradiction, please, by all means, do so. I, however, cannot see a contradiction between Joseph having the fullness of the priesthood in 1831, by the voice of God, and having the rites of the temple revealed to him sometime after January 19, 1841 by the Lord, which rites you claim Elijah revealed in 1836.

        The contradiction I perceive is not mine.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

          But in your model, if Joseph Smith had received the fullness of the Priesthood before section 124 (1831 or whatever) and he was the only one who held this fullness, then your interpretation of verse 28 that the fullness was taken away from the current Saints could only refer to Joseph Smith having lost that fullness, because none of the other saints ever had it.

          In my model Joseph received the keys of the fullness of the Priesthood in 1836 (not the rites), but did not reveal/restore all of the ordinances belonging to the fullness of the Priesthood until 1843. Just as when Joseph Smith received the keys of baptism, it did not make him already baptized, so also when he received the keys of fullness of the Priesthood from Elijah it did not complete an ordination to the fullness of the priesthood. Joseph was ordained a King and Priest in 1843.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm

          The contradiction I was referring to is when you said, “the Lord Himself saying in 1841 He would reveal the priesthood of the temple to Joseph.” It sounded like you were saying that the Priesthood was yet given to Joseph, but it now sounds like what you meant to say was “He would reveal the priesthood ordinances of the temple…” I agree with that interpretation, and it fits into my model.

          Again, I already gave an explanation for why Joseph publicly taught that Elijah yet a future event. Note that in my model, not only was Joseph not revealing that Elijah had already come, but he was also performing the ordinances associated with Elijah’s coming in secret – likewise not revealing it to the general membership. It is clear these things were not to be revealed to the general membership at this point.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        the fullness was taken away from the current Saints could only refer to Joseph Smith having lost that fullness, because none of the other saints ever had it.

        It is consistent to say that Joseph was no longer permitted to exercise the fullness on behalf of the Church; thus Joseph had the fullness, and the Church did not. Therefore, it is strictly not true that yours is the only possible understanding.

        Just as when Joseph Smith received the keys of baptism, it did not make him already baptized, so also when he received the keys of fullness of the Priesthood from Elijah it did not complete an ordination to the fullness of the priesthood.

        We have no record of Joseph receiving any keys from Elijah at any point in time. What Elijah referred to, granting the authenticity of D&C 110 – “the keys of this dispensation” – was already conferred by Peter, James, and John (see, among other sources, D&C 27:13, in 1830, and D&C 128:20, referring to an event which probably happened in May, 1829).

        Joseph was ordained a King and Priest in 1843.

        What is your source which claims exactly this?

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

          But in section 110, if you take the meaning to be parallel with the other heavenly beings that appeared, it is very clear that Moses was committed keys to Joseph and Oliver right then and there, Elias committed the dispensation of Abraham right then and there, then it seems most reasonable to read that Elijah also committed his dispensation to them right then and there, fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi, the time had “fully come”.

          There may be some wiggle room for other interpretations, but that seems to be the reading “with no interpretation at all”.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

        Can you please post the citation from WoJS verbatim? I went to those pages in my electronic copy and cannot see what you are citing.

        I also searched for “king and priest after the order of Melchesideck” and was unable to get a hit.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

          “Hebrewes 7 chap. Paul is here treating of three different preisthoods, namely the preisthood of Aron, Abraham, and Melchizedeck, Abraham’s preisthood was of greater power than Levi’s and Melchizedeck’s was of greater power than that of Abraham. The preisthood of Levi consisted of cursings and blessings carnal commandments and not of blessings and if the preisthood of this generation has no more power than that of Levi or Aron or of a bishhoprick it administers no blessings but cursings for it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 27 I ask was there any sealing power attending this preisthood. Oh no that would admit a man into the presence of God. 28 Oh no, but Abraham’s was a more exalted power or preisthood he could talk and walk with God and yet consider how great this man was when even this patriarch Abraham gave a tenth part of all his spoils and then received a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck 29 even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood 30 which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life Now if Abraham had been like the sectarian world and would not have received any more revelation, what would have been the consequence it would have damned him. Book of Covenants. 31 The levitical preisthood was an appendage to the Melchesideck preisthood or the whole law of God when in full face or power in all its parts and bearings on the earth. 32 It is understood by many by reading this chapter that Melchesedeck was king of some country or nation on the earth, but it was not so, In the original it reads king of Shaloam which signifies king of peace or righteousness and not of any country or nation. 33″

          I’m not comfortable giving a public reference to Joseph’s ordination.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        [I]it seems most reasonable to read that Elijah also committed his dispensation to them right then and there, fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi, the time had “fully come”.

        Even granting the authenticity of D&C 110, Elijah only said “Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands.”

        And, indeed, the keys of this dispensation were in Joseph’s hands, having previously been conferred by Peter, James, and John. Elijah didn’t confer them upon Joseph. Elijah did not confer anything upon Joseph, so far as the records show.

        We can assume he did, if we are inclined to assume such things. But, in the end, it is just that – an assumption.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

          Just curious, do you think the keys committed to Joseph and Oliver by Moses in section 110 were also previously committed to Joseph and Oliver by Peter, James, and John?

          What about the dispensation of Abraham committed by Elias, was that already previously committed by Peter, James, and John too?

          Just trying to see if committing a “dispensation” is the part you feel is not clear. Because I agree, given the text alone, it is not fully clear what exactly is meant by committing a dispensation. (Given all the other evidence I’ve already brought up, and the claims of the Church after Joseph Smith though, I do believe this refers to committing keys from their respective dispensations, which I concede is not a full-proof interpretation given the text alone).

          And if your answer is no on the keys brought by Moses, how could Joseph already have the fullness of the Priesthood without all the keys that a man can receive on earth?

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

        it now sounds like what you meant to say was “He would reveal the priesthood ordinances of the temple…”

        I quoted the Lord directly.

        Again, I already gave an explanation for why Joseph publicly taught that Elijah yet a future event.

        You are essentially crafting networks of assumptions which would explain away the lack of evidence for your position. You are not reasoning from the evidence to conclusions, but are instead conforming evidence to your conclusions.

        Note that in my model, not only was Joseph not revealing that Elijah had already come, but he was also performing the ordinances associated with Elijah’s coming in secret – likewise not revealing it to the general membership. It is clear these things were not to be revealed to the general membership at this point.

        Only if the things which you are assuming, and for which you have no evidence, are true. The public statements and the scriptures, on their face, say something else.

        Once again, the totality of your argument against PTHG is not that he’s got the facts wrong.

        I don’t see that this is going anywhere.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm

          I agree I don’t see this going anywhere from this point. But when you keep claiming that I don’t disagree with any of Denver’s “facts”, you are ignoring the many places I have pointed out how several of his interpretations are factually inaccurate or impossible altogether, but because you desire to cling to Denver’s interpretations over the facts I have presented you have ignored these things. You are free to do that, but I wish you weren’t so blinded by your position to see that Denver’s interpretations are just that, interpretations, and in many cases factually impossible. You like to pretend that all of your’s and Denver’s interpretations are more straightforward, but it is simply not true. You believe you are open minded, but you have refused to concede even when I have brought forth facts, and instead you choose not to respond to those points preferring to debate the unprovable points instead, pretending I never brought forth any facts. You don’t respond to many of my direct questions – like the recent one about your thoughts on the keys Moses committed in D&C 110 – when you know it does not support your position. That’s what makes a conversation like this impossible, along with the fact that some points really are just not objectively provable.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        I ask was there any sealing power attending this preisthood. Oh no that would admit a man into the presence of God.

        Joseph was admitted into the presence of God in 1820, implying therefore he had the higher priesthood and sealing power at that time.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

          And notice how Joseph then goes on to imply that since Abraham’s patriarchal priesthood did admit him into the presence of God, that it did contain sealing power.

          This would insinuate that the use of some sealing power is not evidence of the fullness of the Priesthood, showing that Joseph’s use of sealing power prior to 1836 is not sufficient evidence to claim he held the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  121. log
    October 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Let’s go into D&C 124, I suppose.

    25 And again, verily I say unto you, let all my saints come from afar.

    26 And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them: Come ye, with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come, and bring the box tree, and the fir tree, and the pine tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth;

    27 And with iron, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth; and build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein.

    Come quickly, saints, and build a temple with all precious things for God to dwell in, not merely visit.

    28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.

    The fullness of the priesthood is lost to, or has been taken from, the audience, and there is no place on the planet where the Lord may come – He, Himself – to restore it. Whether you read “you” as being the world at large, or the Church, the outcome is the same. But, since He had heretofore been addressing the saints, it seems unjustified to now claim he’s addressing anyone else.

    29 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead—

    30 For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.

    31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.

    He will give enough time for this temple to be built.

    32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.

    Whenever the time He has allotted for completing the temple is past, our baptisms for the dead will no longer be acceptable – and we shall be rejected as a Church along with our dead. Note he’s still talking to “you,” about “your” stuff. Can’t be the world at large, it would appear.

    33 For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me;

    34 For therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory.

    After we’ve had enough time (and He said He’d give us sufficient time), our baptisms for the dead are no longer acceptable to Him.

    35 And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.

    36 For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.

    The temple is the only place appointed for the baptisms.

    37 And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?

    38 For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was.

    39 Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.

    40 And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people;

    The Nauvoo temple, “this house,” is where the Lord may reveal the ordinances of the temple.

    41 For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.

    42 And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.

    Joseph knew all things of the priesthood of that specified house.

    43 And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it.

    44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy.

    Holy places are where those who are unclean cannot come, without desecrating it.

    45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.

    If they listen to the appointed men, the people shall not be moved out of their place. Incidentally, this applies to all who are not Joseph.

    46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.

    “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”

    47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.

    Even if they “complete” the temple, if it is not within the time allotted, none of the promised blessings will be given (the revelation of the ordinances by the Lord, the restoration of the fullness of the priesthood, the place being consecrated by the Lord that it be made holy, the people not being moved from their place).

    48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.

    Seems to be an apt description of the Saints being driven from Nauvoo.

    49 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.

    50 And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.

    51 Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God.

    This principle doesn’t apply to Nauvoo, since, as the Lord said, He’d given them sufficient time to do what He commanded.

    52 And I will answer judgment, wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God.

    53 And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God.

    George Q. Cannon tried to claim this principle for Nauvoo – but it doesn’t work.

    54 For I am the Lord your God, and will save all those of your brethren who have been pure in heart, and have been slain in the land of Missouri, saith the Lord.

    55 And again, verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.

    Promised blessings for obedience, and cursings for disobedience.

    And, as we know from our own history, the Saints never completed the temple, therefore, since the Lord is not a liar, we may know the other judgements, combined with the painfully obvious being “moved out of their place,” took place.

    The Lord gave what seems to be a farewell letter to the Church.

    D&C 136:37–38
    Therefore, marvel not at these things, for ye are not yet pure; ye can not yet bear my glory [what He offered at Nauvoo]; but ye shall behold it if ye are faithful in keeping all my words that I have given you, from the days of Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus and his apostles, and from Jesus and his apostles to Joseph Smith, whom I did call upon by mine angels, my ministering servants, and by mine own voice out of the heavens, to bring forth my work; which foundation he did lay, and was faithful; and I took him to myself.

    And the heavens have been sealed against the Church ever since.

    • log
      October 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Tim, could you fix the blockquotes for me?

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      You’re asking questions or bringing up points that I’ve already responded to in a way entirely consistent with what is written. What good would it do to bring it all up again? You can go back, but it isn’t very helpful to the conversation to go in circles.

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        Steve, if you feel I have mischaracterized the content of D&C 124, then that’s one thing. If, instead, your position is that there are multiple ways to read it, well, any text admits of almost infinite readings – just others may require a lot more assumptions, and others yet are based on assumptions which are contrary to the text (think “epicycles”).

        I’m just reading the text as it stands, without making assumptions

      • SteveF
        October 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        Log, I do not feel that your reading is based any any less assumptions, but even if somehow we could prove your reading was the most direct or obvious reading, it would not make it true. Someone might use the bible to prove with the most obvious reading that Jesus ministered to the wicked in spirit prison before his resurrection, and yet if they held to that belief until doomsday, it would still not make it true. The same may be said of the Book of Mormon and eternal damnation or eternal punishment.

        So even conceding that your interpretation is the most direct, which I do not concede, it is still valid to bring in evidence elsewhere trying to look at the bigger picture to aid in that interpretation. And that’s exactly what I, Geoff, and others have done.

    • Karl
      October 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      “And the heavens have been sealed against the Church ever since.”

      Really? And by what evidence do you support this assertion? How could you even approach this from an historical point of view?

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        That was the last revelation to the Church given by the Lord. The math is simple.

  122. log
    October 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    In fact, as it stands, D&C 124 is so clear I don’t think it needs commentary.

    As Joseph taught, “What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads.”

    If you cannot apply this rule, then chances are good you are dealing with the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture, and are engaged in wresting the scriptures, and are not perceiving the word of God.

  123. log
    October 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Also, Steve, it’s not a matter of disingenuity. I simply am not making the assumptions you are making. In fact, I make very nearly no assumptions.

    That’s how I read PTHG – I made no assumptions. Even when I wanted to disagree with Snuffer, I was forced to concede that yes, the facts of history are what he said they were (I spent nearly 2 decades engaging anti-Mormons on LDS apologetics sites, and was familiar with the history), and the scriptures at face value said what he was representing them to say.

    I can’t tell you how many times I said “darn it. It does say that.”

    When we assume things, we wrest the scriptures to conform to our assumptions. That’s why so many believe that the Savior appeared to the Nephites at Bountiful almost immediately after His resurrection – instead of 9 to 11 months afterwards, just to pick one harmless example. Those assumptions are profitably understood as “the philosophies of men.”

    You have a paradigm, and I have a paradigm, and what we have here is a conflict between paradigms. See Kevin Christensen’s wonderful articles on Kuhn in the Farms Review of Books on the Book of Mormon. We don’t share the same assumptions, you and I. We aren’t solving the same problems. What are to me open questions are to you not even subject to inquiry.

    • log
      October 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      And, I might add, when people have sufficiently divergent paradigms, it can easily lead to them talking right past one another – sometimes they use the same words but attaching very different meanings to them, for example.

  124. log
    October 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Steve,

    It really isn’t going anywhere. I understand you have concerns and feel you must appear to triumph; this would be consistent with how you perceive your covenants. I fully appreciate that.

    I’m going to suggest something that just occurred to me, consistent with D&C 121 and the lack of formal revocation of priesthood to the primitive Christians. It wasn’t necessary to formally revoke their priesthood.

    They didn’t have the Aaronic priesthood. John was the last having that authority in antiquity.

    D&C 84
    25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

    26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

    27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

    28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.

    We have the Aaronic priesthood.

    Doctrine and Covenants 13:1
    1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

    The primitive Christians had the Melchizedek priesthood, at one point in time, from Christ Himself, which can officiate in the ordinances of the lesser priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is automatically revoked in the case of unworthiness

    The Aaronic priesthood apparently does not depend upon personal worthiness, as the Jews demonstrated through the millennia, so baptisms performed under its authority would be valid. Moreover, Aaronic priesthood is sufficient to validly administer in ordinances in the temple, as the Jews demonstrated yet again.

    And we have at least got that much authority (see, again, D&C 13).

    Food for thought.

  125. log
    October 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    you are ignoring the many places I have pointed out how several of his interpretations are factually inaccurate or impossible altogether

    That is not how I perceive what you are doing.

    but because you desire to cling to Denver’s interpretations over the facts I have presented you have ignored these things.

    And you judge the desires of my heart.

    You are free to do that, but I wish you weren’t so blinded by your position to see that Denver’s interpretations are just that, interpretations, and in many cases factually impossible.

    You offer assumptions which have to be true for your conclusions to follow. The facts remain untouched.

    You like to pretend that all of your’s and Denver’s interpretations are more straightforward, but it is simply not true.

    And you accuse me of hypocrisy.

    You believe you are open minded, but you have refused to concede even when I have brought forth facts, and instead you choose not to respond to those points preferring to debate the unprovable points instead, pretending I never brought forth any facts.

    I am not sure you understand the difference between facts and supposition. Maybe it’s honestly possible to fail to see that one is wresting evidence to conform to conclusions, if one believes sufficiently strongly in one’s conclusions, but it is not persuasive in the least to those who don’t share those conclusions.

    You don’t respond to many of my direct questions – like the recent one about your thoughts on the keys Moses committed in D&C 110 – when you know it does not support your position.

    And you judge what you suppose are my thoughts.

    That’s what makes a conversation like this impossible, along with the fact that some points really are just not objectively provable.

    If it’s not objectively provable, then it’s not a matter of fact, but supposition, assumption, and interpretation.

    But that’s what I said was the reaction to PTHG from the outset.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      I meant “pretend” as in self-deception, to be clear I am not accusing you of hypocrisy

    • Karl
      October 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      But your form of argumentation seems to be blind to the reality that what constitutes the relevant “facts” in any discussion, is at the mercy of the historian. The historian must select the “facts” most important to the interpretation he is trying to assert. Then, the historian is forced to assert his paradigm (or theory or worldview) based on his assertion of these facts. To defend Snuffer on the basis that he is only dealing with facts, is indeed disingenuous on your part. As soon as anyone steps from the facts into the realm of explanation, as they necessarily must, then you are right into the realm of interpretation.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

        Karl,

        I explained, multiple times, that I was interested in errors of fact, not disputations concerning interpretations.

        As the First Presidency once rightly observed, “No man’s opinion is worth a straw.”

        And, as is truly said today, opinions are like *******s. Everyone’s got one, and everybody’s but yours stinks.

  126. log
    October 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Just curious, do you think the keys committed to Joseph and Oliver by Moses in section 110 were also previously committed to Joseph and Oliver by Peter, James, and John?

    I have no reason to – but I do have reason to believe that the keys of this dispensation were, because Joseph said so.

    What about the dispensation of Abraham committed by Elias, was that already previously committed by Peter, James, and John too?

    I do not have any record of the dispensation of Abraham being committed by Peter, James, and John to Joseph – but I do have a record of the keys of this dispensation being conferred by Peter, James, and John to Joseph.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      If Moses needed to give Joseph Smith the keys (authority) of the gathering of Israel, isn’t this evidence if true, that factually Joseph Smith did not hold the fullness of authority that a man can obtain on earth, or in other words, is this not evidence that Joseph didn’t hold the fullness of the Priesthood previous to 1836?

      • Good Will
        October 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm

        My thinking is that a man may receive the “fullness of the priesthood” without receiving everything that said “fullness” entails — just as Jesus did not receive a “fullness” at first, but afterward received it (see D&C 93:12–14).

        The priesthood enables one to receive all things; it is not “reception” in fact. There were things Jesus didn’t know, or have power to give, though He possessed a “fullness”.

  127. SteveF
    October 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I apologize for inundating the comment section. I will respectfully bow out at this point, and leave this to others who wish to also contribute.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      All the best Log, I concede that you have made several excellent points.

    • SteveF
      October 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Gosh, I just can’t shake the feeling that somehow I sinned in this whole conversation. I know we both desired that this not enter the realms of contention, but I fear I may have entered that territory somewhere. I apologize for approaching this or treating you, Log, in an un-Christ-like way. Maybe we can just do the old agree to disagree thing since it seems like our viewpoints are not reconcilable right now, and I hope we can still be friends if we run into each other in comment sections elsewhere. It is my desire to value you, as a brother in Christ, over principles, which thing I may have unfortunately temporarily forgotten at times today. I hope you can forgive me if you also felt I did so. Truly, all the best!

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        Gosh, I just can’t shake the feeling that somehow I sinned in this whole conversation.

        Me too, on my part. I think that it is best to let it lie. Each man has to judge these things for themselves in the light of Christ.

        Peace.

        • SteveF
          October 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm

          On the bright side, I think we, and the others involved in the conversation here, have done a pretty good job at outlining the major points of contention surrounding PTHG, and have given a solid debate supporting both sides probably just about as good as could be done by any group of non-experts or non-historians. Hopefully that will be helpful to those who want to view many of the merits of both paradigms to come to a conclusion on their own.

      • Ty
        October 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm

        Don’t be hard on yourselves. You were both far more civil than the folks on LDSFF.

        Seriously. Great conversation.

  128. Rick
    October 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Log, if your/Denver’s explanation is correct, what should a member today be doing?

    • log
      October 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      The same thing they should be doing even if it isn’t correct.

      1. Repent of all their sins.
      2. Call upon the name of the Lord in mighty prayer to be forgiven and to receive the Spirit, and pursue this prayer until the Holy Ghost is sent down from heaven into their heart as by fire that they are filled with that joy which is indescribable and full of glory, and hear the voice of God from on high.

      Both of these together are what the Book of Mormon terms “repentance.” The resulting power which fills one is what the Book of Mormon terms “faith.”

      From thence, it is as Joseph said – continue to hunger and thirst after righteousness and live by every word of God, and their calling and election shall be made sure, and they shall receive the Second Comforter (WoJS p. 13-14, 27 June 1839). Then they shall have what is termed “knowledge,” a foretaste of which is given when we are born again.

      Nephi summed it up thus.

      2 Nephi 25:29
      29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

      As some don’t have the single-minded devotion to do this in a day, as Enos did, in the meantime, members should be keeping the commandments of God, and obeying His precepts – they are contained in Mosiah 4, and 3 Nephi 12-14. Give unto them that ask, suffer not the beggar to put up his petition to you in vain, judge not, turn the other cheek rather than revile, and so forth.

      All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

      That’s all there ever was to it.

      • Rick
        October 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        Any need for church , etc?

      • log
        October 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

        D&C 59:9–12
        9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

        10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

        11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

        12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.

        So, there is that.

        Did you have anything specific in mind that you wanted to ask about?

  129. Rick
    October 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    If the church is wondering in the wilderness, does it matter if one is a member? Go to the temple? Keep the word of wisdom?

    I suppose what I am asking, what would one’s membership/life be like compared to before understanding the church went awry?

    • log
      October 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      My view is that it’s the same, either way. The sole differences would be in the significance we personally attach to things, but hey, that’s true no matter what, for no two members think alike anyways, and we’re mostly all at different spots spiritually.

      President Benson once said something to this effect (though, for the life of me, I can’t find the cite again) – inasmuch as you are faithful, you shall not be permitted to fail.

      So, if your eye is single to the glory of God, He’ll tell you what He expects of you, and this includes with respect to the Church. Of course, you’ll be praying always and ever hearkening to the promptings of the Spirit, too. :)

  130. Rick
    October 3, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Ok, let’s catalog some major spiritual experiences in the Book of Mormon and see what we can learn.

    Ether warns us of secret combinations, but there are at least 2 major experiences. Do you know of Emer?

    He was a righteous king and did good all his life. It was his privilege to see the Son of Righteousness near the end of his life (Ether 9:22)

    This would suggest it might take a lifetime to see the Savior, assuming you have been righteous.

    • log
      October 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      It might, indeed. Or, as Joseph exemplified, it might be quite a bit earlier.

      D&C 88:62–68
      62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—

      63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

      64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;

      65 And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.

      66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.

      67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

      68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

      Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. I honestly can’t think of a more repeated promise in all of the scriptures.

      Therefore, do we live for these things? Do we do as Moroni says?

      Mormon 9:28
      28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

      • 2robsmith
        October 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

        Note that Jacob (Nephi’s brother 2 Ne 2:1) and Mormon (Mormon 1:15) both were visited by the Lord in their youth. It does not say how young Jacob was (“in thy youth”) but Mormon says he was 15. We can therefore conclude scripturally that it can take as little as 15 years.

        Bottom line: This is not an issue of time, but of faith and dedication. I can’t find the quote now, but there is a good one from Joseph Smith where he says, in effect, the Nephites and Lamanites were much more dedicated than we are. They were able to obtain promises (and curses) from God in very little time.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 1:13 am

        I don’t take Mormon’s statement that way, even though it could be read that way.

        I believe Mormon was visited with the manifestations of the Spirit of the Lord, and baptized by fire at age 15, and I believe when Nephi said he cried unto the Lord and the Lord visited him (1 Nephi 2:16), that he was speaking of the same thing (D&C 5:16).

        See similarities in language deployed in Mosiah 4:11, Hebrews 6, and Alma 32:4–5.

        However, all that aside, I believe as you do – that being visited of the Lord, or being brought into His presence, is a matter of faith and dedication.

  131. Geoff
    October 3, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    So are the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles today claiming authority/power/keys they do not possess?

    (2013 April General Conference, “Come unto Me”, Sat. Morning Session – By Henry B. Eyring)
    I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.
    This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We will on the Day of Judgment stand before the Savior, face to face. It will be a time of joy for those who have drawn close to Him in His service in this life. It will be a joy to hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I so testify as a witness of the risen Savior and our Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    “As surely as” is a significant phrase in the scriptures. It is usually part of an oath. Denver and those who subscribe to his view/interpretation must play word games to refute these witnesses – they have to accuse the brethren of playing word games, too (which really amounts to dishonesty, intent to mislead). Apostle doesn’t mean Apostle like Joseph was. “Witness of the Resurrection of the Lord” doesn’t mean he saw anything or anyone. “As surely as if I had been there” couldn’t be a veiled reference to his own experience in which he was there. If you concede that Pres. Eyring is not a liar or a deceiver, intentionally using declarative/authoritative language, and being in an authoritative position – in other words, he is an ordained Apostle, in the presiding council of the Church, and he is declaring his witness, in very clear language – you cannot say that this is just in reference to a personal experience. Because he is a member of the First Presidency and his witness and testimony are directly connected to other statements. Plus, how could someone standing in his position – either knowingly or unknowingly – have such a theophany and be deceived or ignorant otherwise? It does not stand to reason. You either have to accept his witness as genuine, grossly redefine it (the word games Denver plays), or flatly reject it as pretense or deception. You cannot say he’s a good guy, who just is using the words wrong, but he’s just custodial/administrative.

    This logic applies just as well to President Joseph F. Smith and Section 138. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say it was a personal experience and he just wasn’t aware that he was just a custodial Apostle, a prophet, seer, and revelator in title only. Denver’s reasoning for this accusation contains too many contradictions to the facts. He uses and interprets their words against them when it suits his purpose and says he is just taking them at their word. But he does not consider all their words together, only convenient quotes in isolation.

    Log, you have done the same thing with Pres. Packer’s words about the authority and power of the Priesthood.

    To quote you:
    “I think it might look something like this.

    We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood.

    The authority of the priesthood is with us. After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church. Authority in the priesthood comes by way of ordination; power in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants.
    (Packer, Boyd K., The Power of the Priesthood, April General Conference)

    We have the form of Godliness, but the power is missing. That, I believe, is a significant admission by President Packer.”

    He didn’t say that the Church doesn’t have power in the priesthood. He said distributing the authority has raced ahead of distributing the power. It is much more likely to mean there are not enough priesthood holders with power in the priesthood – not that there aren’t any. You and Denver have both misused this quote several times. And you have also quoted a man, one of the presiding brethren (so in a position of authority), for the purpose of using his own words to strengthen your claim/paradigm that he does not possess that authority. It is very ironic. Accuser of the brethren keeps coming to mind. And let’s not pass over the fact that he is saying “the authority of the priesthood is with us.” If you and Denver are going to quote the brethren, stop using their words against them and only in pieces. They are not saying what you are saying.

    And what about this Joseph Smith quote doesn’t apply to Denver?
    “I will give you one of the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom. It is an eternal principle that has existed with God from all Eternity that that man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying they are out of the way while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly that that man is in the high road to apostasy and if he does not repent will apostatize as God lives.” Denver says he is right, condemns all the Apostles after Joseph Smith, finds fault with the church saying they are out of the way, and in a very particular but subtle way says that he himself is righteous. Without playing word games, he fits the bill. Make no mistake he has now very publicly claimed divine authorization for what he is teaching and doing. He is no longer an insider with a divergent opinion – “I have an assignment given to me I intend to discharge.”

    If I’ve misread you, my upfront apologies and feel free to correct me by clarifying your position. This is how you’ve come across to me.

    I would like to discuss the contradictions in Denver’s representation/paradigm. I think there are many that do not fit the scriptures/prophecies, nor the Church today.

    • log
      October 4, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Geoff,

      President Packer’s statement describes the fact that the Church, generally speaking, has not got power in the priesthood. That indisputable fact, that we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, generally speaking, have not got power in the priesthood, says nothing about any particular individual.

      Just as our potentially having been rejected as a Church along with our dead would say nothing about any particular individual.

      I disagree with President Packer that power and authority can be distinguished. I do not believe there are any scriptural grounds to support that concept, and I believe that the conclusion to that position implies that the Restoration is a fraud, because the Catholics’ claim to priesthood authority from Peter would be valid. No need to restore what was already here.

      D&C 121:37
      37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

      The withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord is the withdrawal of power, since the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is the source of priesthood power (Moses 6). No power = no priesthood = no authority.

      This analysis doesn’t apply to the Aaronic priesthood.

      About your issues with PTHG, I have done discussed it to death, and won’t defend it.

      But how does Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Lehi fare against your citation from Joseph Smith? Accept, for the sake of argument alone, that Denver is telling the truth about his divine commission. Please explain how Joseph Smith’s statement about apostasy would condemn him as an apostate, and not those others. If you are unable to even for the sake of argument take his claims seriously enough to consider them, you are unable to fairly evaluate his claims.

      I don’t see that he has condemned anyone, actually, which to me renders Joseph Smith’s observation about apostasy moot.

      • RC
        October 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        log, et al

        Could I be a Johnny come lately to what appears to be a very spirited discussion.

        Is it possible that the sealing keys of the Priesthood were given to JS by Elijah and he, JS, was the repository of the same for a period of time. Is it also plausible that JS conferred those sealing keys unto the twelve before his death.

        I have prayed earnestly about the temple ordinances and the endowment. I have sought the Lord on why the words are spoken, “if you do thus and thus there will come a time that you are called up”,….and so forth.

        What does it mean to be called up?

        The Lord answered my prayers. He brought me to an understanding of what He means in the endowment.

        Question: Has anyone here on this blog ever interviewed a Temple President about what keys he is a possessor of? And if he possess these keys then they had to undoubtedly been bestowed upon him by one who held the keys and authority to do so.

        For me I know without doubt that the sealing keys of the Holy Priesthood are found in the President of the Church, and with his death, are found in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

        Do we really understand what the “holy anointing” is as it bears to this conversation? These are sacred things brothers and sisters. They are not secret — for the Lord will reveal them to all who seek His will concerning the matter.

        As far as the Church falling under condemnation I am sure that we all fall short of the glory of the highest but I don’t think that the Lord would be double minded in any of His doings.

        To come to understand something we can seek to have light and knowledge poured out upon us so as to understand the things of heaven. We struggle to understand the things of a lesser significance and while thus struggling we ask to view the higher things. I put myself in the same category brothers and sisters so this is not a me vs you, we’re all in this together. And we can help one another to come unto Christ by understanding how to do so.

        Have the brethren come unto Christ? If one takes the time to read their writings then one will see, 100% of the time, where each disciple shares some sacred experience with others. One will not see this with their physical eyes but it will be clear to the spiritual eyes.

        Each President of each Stake and each President of each Temple has a complete understanding of that which I write. It is too sacred to write here but I always love the discussion in as much as possible.

      • Good Will
        October 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        I have my own opinion about this, Log, but I would appreciate hearing yours.

        If a man, perchance, has “lost” his priesthood (by committing any one of the above infractions or sins), how might he get it “back” again?

      • log
        October 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm

        Will,

        By receiving again the Holy Ghost through repentance and faith, as it is written in the Book of Mormon.

        I found a quote of interest on this subject, in fact.

        There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. Until he obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him; for the spirits might say unto him, as they did to the sons of Sceva: ‘Paul we know and Jesus we know, but who are ye?’ – Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:555

        Here, we see supporting evidence again for my observation that it is the lack of receipt of the Holy Ghost – the baptism by fire is very rare today – which accounts for the lack of power in the priesthood mentioned by President Packer. That is, in fact, the sole possible explanation.

        Our confirmations are without power. There are deep and disturbing implications to that.

        That’s why the Gentiles have not charity, as hinted by the Lord would be the case (Ether 12). And those without charity shall not abide the day of His coming, for they are unholy and impure, ordinations and ordinances notwithstanding.

        In any event, I have decided that it is better to not participate in this thread any longer. I may post something at justandtrue sometime.

    • David
      October 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      “As sure as” could be because President Eyring has completed the charge originally given to all the Apostles in this dispensation by [at the time] Church Co-President Oliver Cowdrey. It could also be a gift of the spirit (see D&C 46:11-13). President Eyring’s declaration doesn’t tell us for sure which it is. I pray that it is the former, but would be content even if it were the later since that would be a blessing to and for the Church (cf. D&C 46:14).

      Regardless, we are blessed to have someone of the caliber of President Eyring as a counselor in the First Presidency as opposed to past generations that had to deal with an adulterer such as John C. Bennett or someone like Amasa M. Lyman who repeatedly taught that Christ’s atonement was not necessary, or a pure businessman like Charles W. Nibley, about whom his grandson Hugh said
      (in The Faith of an Observer transcript, page 5.):

      HN: I think it was that last talk I had with Grandpa, and I went to see Grandpa Nibley, and that’s when he died. He had a suite on the top floor of the Hotel Utah. He said, “D’you see that window there?” Considering the things he’d done in his life, he says, “If an angel were to come through that door I would jump right out that window,” he said. He couldn’t face an angel; he was talking about the culture shock of meeting an angel and so forth. And, uh, that was our parting conversation. The last words to me. Then we said good-bye, and so forth. But that left it with me, you see. Here he was in the First Presidency, had been Presiding Bishop for all those years, and yet he says now that he could not face an angel, and it has been because–we’d been talking about it–because of the things he had to do in the way of business. So I don’t have much choice.

    • 2robsmith
      October 5, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Please, let’s stop playing the guessing game in terms of what the Brethren say. If they say they saw something, fine. They are only saying “as if” they saw something. You can only imply what they are actually saying.

      A strike against what you would like to believe is the “evolution” of the apostolic charge given to newly called Brethren. You can research this in Quinn’s Hierarchy books—I cannot recall which of the 2. Interestingly, though the charge was originally as Log stated somewhere above (your ordination is not complete until you have seen and handled), it degraded to “your job is to witness of the Lord as if you have seen him” by the early 1900s. This is precisely the language used. So we have vague language that happens to be the exact vague language given in the charge. If that is not a great reason to not impute more than what is actually being said, I don’t know what is.

  132. October 4, 2013 at 7:11 am

    When Denver posts all the communication from the Church leaders and fails to post his own appeal letter, it doesn’t lead me to believe his motive is transparency.

    • Michael
      November 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Now that Denver’s appeal is no longer pending he has posted his appeal letter.

  133. Ray
    October 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Fwiw, log, I do not think “authority” means what you think it means, in the context of how President Packer used it. I think you and he are talking about two very different things, using the same word to do so. It happens all the time in English (and other languages), and it’s interesting to watch it happening.

    I agree with you that power and authority are synonymous if both come directly from God, but I also agree with Pres. Packer that someone can be given authority to do something but lose power associated with the original authorization. It all comes down to the source of the authorization, and anyone who rejects people as the source of legitimate authorization also will reject the difference between authority and power – since, as Pres. Packer uses it, the authority comes from God through human representatives, while the power comes from God alone. If someone believes the authority comes straight from God alone (not through ordination by human representatives), then authority and power can be synonymous.

    This is symptomatic of the entire discussion up to this point: You (and with regard to this specific topic, Denver) start from a totally different foundation than the people with whom you have been talking (polar opposites, in some regards), so the perspectives used and the conclusions reached are different, as well.

  134. mbabbeli
    October 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    log = denver snuffer alter ego

    how do you claim to sustain your local leaders while refusing to attend stake conference?

    it would be interesting to have denver’s neighbors share their observations

  135. Chief Inspector Clouseau
    October 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I’ll go you one better

    log= W.J.H.

    A bit of irony in that I would say…

  136. log
    October 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I’m not Snuffer. Moreover, I am pretty sure I have garbled his actual position.

    But I am saddened to behold mockery and the pointing of fingers in scorn from within the household of faith.

  137. Geoff
    October 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    To those who are new to the conversation, please show brotherly kindness. What possible good does ignorant and false accusation serves.

    Log has seemed nothing but sincere in his position. And though we see things differently, we are trying to reach understanding in a respectful and considerate way. Most people online are protecting their identity these days, for good reasons. He has not abused his pseudonym to troll or be a jerk.

    Please contribute to the discussion, which is about Denver’s teachings, and particularly those in his recent book, PTHG – whether they are true or not, and how his recent excommunication and speaking tour relate.

    I have to admit, Denver is confusing to me. I read his first book, Second Comforter, twice, and loved it. I was very disappointed to find out about PTHG and its content via his blog, etc., and even more disappointed to find out he had chosen excommunication over stopping publishing PTHG.

    • 2robsmith
      October 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

      What a great example of respect and humility—a rare treat, Geoff. Well done.

  138. Ray
    October 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Well said, Geoff.

  139. log
    October 5, 2013 at 3:36 am

    I actually muddled quite a few things very badly, and I don’t think I adequately described Snuffer’s argument in PTHG. The meat of it is the literal reading of D&C 110 not supporting the the interpretation placed upon it in the teachings of the Church, and the fact that the threatened consequences of failing to build the Nauvoo temple in D&C 124 were fulfilled in a very public manner.

    I conflated the keys of the kingdom – divine authorization to perform outward ordinances – which I believe the Church does have, with fullness of the priesthood, which D&C 124 logically implies we, as a Church, don’t have (but any particular individual may have it). And then there’s the conflation of the rites of the priesthood, and ordination to the priesthood, with priesthood itself, the priesthood of the temple conflated with the rites of the temple conflated with the fullness of the priesthood, and the issue of whether obtaining one’s second anointing, wherein one is declared a king and a priest, even under the hand of Joseph in the context of D&C 124, constitutes receiving the fullness of the priesthood – and I do not believe that it did or does; neither do I believe any outward ordinance confers power (and I believe I stated some reasons for that belief on the thread) – unless the recipient is qualified. And the one qualification is holiness (1 Peter 1:15–16, Leviticus 11:45).

    I don’t do so well in adversarial situations, and the position I was trying to explain was not my own (except for the literal readings of D&C 84, 110, 124, 109:60, 3 Nephi 16, 3 Nephi 21, etc.), and these issues are way more complicated than it seems. Terms are ofttimes ill-, or even un-, defined.

    I know eventually all will be explained to me (hopefully soon). But, as I have said, and as I consistently keep saying, I don’t know that the thesis of PTHG is correct. I do find it more plausible than the Church’s position, because it happens to be consistent with the scriptures, the history that I’m aware of, and it explains both what I have experienced and observed with my own eyes.

    As the Lord essentially told me and Steve to shut up, I’m not going to revisit the thread except to clarify my own contributions to the discussion – that is, to clarify those words and positions which are my own.

    I guess since the topic is Snuffer and PTHG, that means I won’t be saying much.

    • Karl
      October 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      But, as I have said, and as I consistently keep saying, I don’t know that the thesis of PTHG is correct. I do find it more plausible than the Church’s position, because it happens to be consistent with the scriptures, the history that I’m aware of, and it explains both what I have experienced and observed with my own eyes.

      But it sounds as though you’ve accepted Snuffer lock stock and barrel. I would encourage you to continue analyzing Snuffer until you receive revelation on the subject. This is how I had to do it: I read Second Comforter and loved the book. I read PTHG and was quite disturbed by it, but knew it was (and is) a very important work. So, I read it again, and then very carefully a third time. I don’t think I have ever read the same book back to back three times in my life. All the while, because of the importance of the subject I was praying to have the main threads of Snuffer’s thesis opened to my spiritual mind, and any flaws if they were present in his analysis. Finally, on the third reading, nearly every main historical argument Snuffer put forward was exposed to my mind to be either incorrect, or at the least, merely, one argument among other equally plausible explanations for the reality of things. What the Spirit told me was sufficient for me to understand the truth of Denver Snuffer. I would simply suggest that you keep an open mind until the Spirit reveals the truth to you,, when and however he chooses to do so. By putting it this way, I am not trying to use my experience as a club to force you to accept anything I say as legitimate. Obviously, spiritual experiences are personal and not transferable.

      Having said all that, I do not agree that anyone, including Denver Snuffer, should be subject to church discipline simply for what he sincerely believes (and I do think that he is sincere). This is for me a troubling development in the church, that members are chastised or tossed out for their intellectual beliefs. I think that this is error on the part of leadership. The church is, and should be, a “big tent.” Surely we must believe and trust that the Spirit is sufficiently operative, that members can discern truth from error. Frankly, I wish we had a church of 10,000 Snuffers, and 10,000 Nibley’s, and all those who have the ability to keep us on our toes and keep us stretching forward to the things of eternity. Joseph Smith wouldn’t have anything to do with the provincialism that is currently one of the cornerstones of the church.

      I don’t agree with Snuffer’s conclusions. But I defend his right to state whatever he believes. If I think he is wrong, then it is my duty to try to use kindness, persuasion and long-suffering to bring him back into the correct way of thinking. That would be charity; that would be the Lord’s way, and it is His Church after all. Peace.

  140. Rick
    October 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Good friends! I hope you are listening or watching conference. The Church is true, our leaders are prophets, seers and revelators! The Spirit is strong and confirming.

    President Uchtdorf’s talk relates to Denver’s situation. One of the things he said, “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”.

    I hope you read it, and listen or watch the rest of conference.

    • Ty
      October 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Uchtdorf’s talk is A+

  141. Geoff
    October 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I agree! And I cannot believe that such striving, such diligence, and such consecration would not be rewarded by The Lord with absolute knowledge. I truly believe that the living Apostles KNOW whereof they speak.

    Denver repeated 3 times in his his first book this counsel, “choose your teachers carefully.” I choose to take the Lord’s counsel on this one:

    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;

    Don’t follow Denver’s example of not giving heed to the words of the prophets and apostles and being cut off from among the people. It really is that clear and simple, siblings and friends.

    Again, I pray and hope his appeal to the First Presidency will help him repent

  142. log
    October 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    If I may observe something, D&C 1 was given in November, 1831. The Quorum of the Twelve was organized in 1835. The phrase “the words of the prophets and the apostles” means, in context, the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

    So the Lord is saying that if someone does not listen to at least one of these three things:

    1. His voice,
    2. the voice of His servants (among whom are the Brethren, and any others He chooses to set on His errand)
    3. or the scriptures,

    that person shall be cut off from among the people.

    I think the landscape changes, if indeed Snuffer is also a servant of God. And, if he is as servant of God, praying for his repentance is impertinent (in context, what such a person is really saying is they reject the idea that he is or can be a servant of God – I get it). I dunno ’bout y’all, God hasn’t been too free with telling me when this or that person has cause to repent – but has rather commanded that I should not judge.

  143. log
    October 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Also, soliciting guidance from God is one thing. Receiving it is another. A claim to the former is not a claim to the latter.

  144. Geoff
    October 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Log, I respect you as a person and your point of view. But I don’t believe the Lord speaks in historical context the way you’re interpreting it, i.e. I think He inspired Joseph Smith and others to write scriptures that would have much longer term meaning and relevance. Hence, I think he meant prophets and apostles in the future tense, so in anticipation that he would organize the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles.

    I also do not believe that, in the Restoration Dispensation, he is calling unauthorized servants to steady the ark of the covenant, so to speak. So I believe he spoke these scriptures in the future context of His Church being fully organized as well:

    D&C 42:11
    “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.

    That’s one reason I believe the scriptures are still relevant. The Lord knows no one would be able to truly go back and establish the proper historical context for every scripture.

    Denver does not qualify as a servant, given the context of the established Church.

  145. Chief Inspector Clouseau
    October 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    “If I may observe something, D&C 1 was given in November, 1831. The Quorum of the Twelve was organized in 1835. The phrase “the words of the prophets and the apostles” means, in context, the Bible and the Book of Mormon.”

    log, the restored church had apostles in it long before the quorum of the 12 was called.

    On September 22 and 23, of 1832 the Lord acknowledged that Joseph Smith and several others were in fact “apostles” and “high priests” and “friends” of God, even as Abraham was a friend of God.

    62 Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.
    63 And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends;
    64 Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.

    He was not initiating their calling as apostles at that time, only acknowledging that they were all apostles.

    There is no reason to believe that they were not apostles at the time section one was given 11 months earlier.

    Indeed, Oliver was informed that he held the same calling as the apostle Paul as early as 1829 (See section 18:9)

    Your logic that “The phrase “the words of the prophets and the apostles” means, in context, the Bible and the Book of Mormon.” is not supported in modern revelation.

  146. log
    October 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    There were no apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at that time it was given, therefore the Lord had no reference to apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Section 1.

    There is no reason to believe the men who would be in the future apostles were apostles at the time Section 1 was given. They were not ordained, nor upheld by common consent of the Church, as such, until they were ordained, and upheld by the common consent of the Church, as such, in 1835.

    Moreover, to interpolate the future apostles into Section 1 introduces both redundancy between “servants” and “prophets and apostles.” Not only that, but the language has been deployed since and it meant the same thing – the scriptures – there, too. See D&C 52:9, 52:36, 66:2, and 98:32.

    Now, having said that, it really doesn’t matter, because the outcome you’re seeking – that whoever doesn’t obey the Brethren shall be cut off – still doesn’t follow from the interpolation you’ve made. After all, if Snuffer is listening to the voice of the Lord, then he doesn’t fulfill the conditions listed in D&C 1:14. A person must not be hearkening to any of the three things listed.

    To address Geoff’s concern – objection, really – Snuffer’s not on a mission from the Church, neither is he founding branches, which is what is meant by building up the Church. Each member is under an active commandment to persuade all men unto repentance (2 Nephi 26:27). And Snuffer has been duly ordained by recognized authority as both a Aaronic and a Melchizedek priest, and I refer you to Alma 13.

    And if you know that Snuffer is not on the Lord’s errand, and is not hearkening to the voice of the Lord, and is not authorized of God to call all men unto repentance – the sole member of the Church not so authorized, I might add – because the Lord has said as much to you, then there is no need to wrest the scriptures to make the appearance of a scriptural case against him; just say “I know he’s false” and be done with it.

    I’m waiting still to hear a response as to how Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, or even Lehi, fare against the citation from Joseph Smith about apostasy. I think I’ve asked this thrice, now, without a response.

    I will give you one of the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom. It is an eternal principle that has existed with God from all Eternity that that man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying they are out of the way while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly that that man is in the high road to apostasy and if he does not repent will apostatize as God lives.

    1. Whom has Snuffer condemned?
    2. What fault has Snuffer found with the Church?
    3. In what way does Snuffer claim the Church is out of the way, while he, himself, is righteous?

    Disagreeing on the interpretation of our history doesn’t qualify, in my book, to fulfill any of these conditions.

    Without showing that he fulfills all three conditions, you are proceeding on no basis at all to condemn a man.

    And you are free to do that. I simply point out that your conclusions don’t follow from your publicly declared premises.

    • SteveF
      October 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      1. Whom has Snuffer condemned?
      2. What fault has Snuffer found with the Church?
      3. In what way does Snuffer claim the Church is out of the way, while he, himself, is righteous?

      1. The Church, and the leaders of the Church who have authorized decisions in Denver’s proclaimed phases 2-4 of our history.
      2. I think the back of the book gives a decent overview of some of the condemnations, ” Phases two through four have all abandoned doctrine. Growth in these subsequent phases has been defined in terms of political influence, financial gains, cultural inroads, and population growth; while the underlying religion has been curtailed. Today, marketing the institution has become more important to Mormon success than preserving the original religious content. The changes from phase to phase have completely transformed Mormonism, sharing a vocabulary but redefining the terms. Modern Mormonism has now institutionalized change. ” But this list is not all inclusive.
      3. He claims that the church promises salvation through outward ordinances alone, claiming that the church intends this to replace the doctrine of receiving an audience with Christ: “By the fourth phase of Mormonism, a church controlled ceremony known as the Second Endowment… replaced the first phase aspiration to receive an audience with Christ.” (pg. 433, PTHG) While Denver has self proclaimed that he himself has sought the true and righteous path, seeking the Lord himself, and he himself has been righteous enough to achieve this very thing.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

        1. Can you substantiate that by direct reference to words he has actually written?

        2. How does that blurb constitute finding fault? I’m not seeing condemnations, but conclusions which are documented.

        3. I’m confused. Is the statement he makes factually correct, or are you aware of the Church administering audiences with Christ? Is it not the case that the Church does, in fact, administer Second Endowments? If Snuffer has, indeed, received the Second Comforter, as he claims, how does any of this constitute that the Church is out of the way?

        I’m not seeing it substantiation of what I asked, but I am seeing rhetoric being deployed.

        • SteveF
          October 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

          1. My number 2 & 3 did just that.
          2. If you can’t see this as a list of faults Denver has found with the Church in phases 2-4, I’m afraid there is probably no amount of evidence I could ever provide that would convince you otherwise.
          3. This is a clear cut accusation from Denver, he doesn’t say the Church started emphasizing this ordinance more, or taught the doctrine of receiving an audience with Christ less, but clearly makes the unfounded and unprovable accusation that they “replaced the first phase aspiration to receive an audience with Christ” with this ordinance – whereas Denver promotes the opposite (i.e. he himself is righteous).

          This is quite clear in my eyes. If you haven’t even paused in the face of this evidence and won’t give even the smallest concession seeing this, I’m afraid there is truly nothing I can say or do at this point that will change your mind. Good luck working through this, I don’t think I can help beyond my witness.

          Something that maybe worth considering is how clear some of this is to many of us here. I have received my answer, I have a witness for myself that the Church holds the fullness of the Priesthood and the associated keys. And I have a witnessed that Denver is deceived, taken by a false spirit. Unless he repents and submits to the rightful authority above him, his excommunication will remain. If he does not repent, I pray there will not be many that fall prey to his same deception.

          You have admitted that you have not received an answer, and it seems that there has been confusion evident in you periodically throughout our conversation. Maybe it would be better to take our testimonies, study them, and pray about them with the same diligence you have given to Denver’s witness. You may be surprised to find that it bears better fruit. Wonderful quote by President Uchtdorf today that would be wise for you and all of us here to continually abide by, “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” These may be some ways that could aid you in receiving an answer sooner than later.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

        1. My number 2 & 3 did just that.

        I’m sorry – I have to disagree that they did any such thing.

        2. If you can’t see this as a list of faults Denver has found with the Church in phases 2-4, I’m afraid there is probably no amount of evidence I could ever provide that would convince you otherwise.

        That is correct. To find fault, be it remembered, means “to censure.” To list facts cannot be censure; there is no moral approbrium attached to brute facts. They are only faults if you think they are necessarily bad things – in which case, the accuser in this situation is not Snuffer. If they are factual, and, please forgive me, they appear to be factual, then the problem appears to be that you don’t like what they imply, to you, about the Church.

        3. This is a clear cut accusation from Denver, he doesn’t say the Church started emphasizing this ordinance more, or taught the doctrine of receiving an audience with Christ less, but clearly makes the unfounded and unprovable accusation that they “replaced the first phase aspiration to receive an audience with Christ” with this ordinance – whereas Denver promotes the opposite (i.e. he himself is righteous).

        I just went and re-read the paragraph and I can now say with certainty you have read an accusation towards the Church where there is none.

        He did not say “the Church replaced….” Indeed, he lays no responsibility on anyone.

        Something that maybe worth considering is how clear some of this is to many of us here.

        I cannot see why that is worth considering at all. I have personally witnessed persons claiming things far removed from their actual state of knowledge, and beyond any evidence they could bring to bear upon the subjects, commonly.

        These may be some ways that could aid you in receiving an answer sooner than later.

        Steve, I do not look to you for answers, neither do I look to any man’s declaration that one thing or another is so, beyond his giving sufficient grounds to warrant his conclusions.

        I will await the further light and knowledge the Lord has promised me.

        • SteveF
          October 5, 2013 at 8:57 pm

          “I will await the further light and knowledge the Lord has promised me.”

          And wouldn’t it be sad to discover, that the Lord attempted to send that light and knowledge to you through the testimonies offered by lowly members, but that you dismissed/rejected that light without further thought to it because of their lowly station or because they didn’t give you the kind of evidence you assumed/decided that they should have.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 9:05 pm

        And wouldn’t it be sad to discover, that the Lord attempted to send that light and knowledge to you through the testimonies offered by lowly members, but that you dismissed/rejected that light without further thought to it because of their lowly station or because they didn’t give you the kind of evidence you assumed/decided that they should have.

        I spoke literally. Let that suffice.

  147. log
    October 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Any man the Lord assigns a task to is authorized to perform that task. The Church is not the sole arbiter of the will or voice of the Lord, who today is just as capable of speaking unto men Himself as He ever was, neither is the Church the sole channel through which the Lord’s assignments come – any man who has hearkened unto the promptings of the Spirit to perform any task unto the Lord may testify of this principle.

    • SteveF
      October 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      The Lord authorizing someone, or giving them authority, is synonymous in the Doctrine & Covenants with giving that individual keys. In a previous comment, I related this story about a man who claimed to have received authority outside the established Church, and Joseph Smith said he knew that the man was lying because of the following: “An angel, said Joseph, may administer the word of the Lord unto men, and bring intelligence to them from heaven upon various subjects; but no true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish the priesthood by ordaining me thereunto; and the priesthood being once established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more.” (Millennial Star 8, pg. 139)

      Joseph related that at any time on earth, when authority has been sent to men from heaven, it has been by Adam’s authority (that angels acting under Adam would be sent to give this authority to men on earth). But then as stated above, “the priesthood being once established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more.”

      If the all Priesthood keys are established on earth, God will not send men from outside of that system.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm

        If the all Priesthood keys are established on earth, God will not send men from outside of that system.

        I remember that case – it was a case of a man who was seeking to be made a High Priest. He claimed to have been ordained by an angel. I think it’s referred to in PTHG.

        Your “if” is the very point under dispute with respect to PTHG, and D&C 124 renders it very difficult to affirm that all Priesthood keys are established on earth.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        I might also add that the principle I outlined above is, indeed, true.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        D&C 124 makes it very difficult to affirm that all Priesthood keys are established on earth if the fullness of the priesthood incorporates keys.

  148. log
    October 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    And it’s not kosher to avoid the thrust of the question I’ve asked by saying “in retrospect…” – the thrust of the question is how you would recognize one like unto them today.

    After all, the Lord changes not, we teach, and I verily believe – therefore why should we not expect to see prophets raised up from outside of the hierarchy, crying repentance and so forth?

    These are principled questions which I believe warrant straightforward answers.

    • SteveF
      October 5, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      The principles are this, if there is only a lower level authority Priesthood existing on earth, then yes, God can give further keys to men to come unto and cry repentence / exercise authority over that system. Or if God has revoked his authority altogether from a people, and they have thus fallen into apostasy, having no authority, God can restore his authority elsewhere and call those fallen people unto repentence. Furthermore, God can raise prophets within His established hierachy that does hold his authority and keys, and these prophets will act within their sphere of authority. You will never find, as it is against the order of the Priesthood, those in a lesser station of authority commanding those at their head (D&C 28:6), at least not by individuals acting in righteousness that is.

      • log
        October 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        And we don’t see Snuffer commanding… well, anyone. Neither does he exercise authority.

        Did we see Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, or Lehi commanding anyone, or exercising authority? It appears not.

        Therefore, curiously, it appears Snuffer, if his claims are accurate, conforms to the pattern set by these men.

    • RC
      October 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      I have followed these posts for quite some time. There have been times where the spirit was constrained in me as I read responses that were not in a brotherly kindness framework. But for the most part all have seen the error of being over critical and/or attacking the person and not the position.

      There seems to be no end to the bantering that can go back and forth here. No one knows the heart of DS and thus no one can judge him. The Lord is the one to judge DS’s heart and if it’s in the right place.

      I personally see great worth in bringing to pass much righteousness by each individual taking an assessment of where they stand before the Lord, and with that assessment working out there salvation by what can they do to come “unto Christ”. I believe that all could be of one heart and one mind as we seek ways to “come unto Christ”. That is one of the strengths of DS’s writings — he openly invites us to come unto Christ.

      DS is not some deviant gospel teacher leading many astray. The spirit seems to accord me the witness that DS could do much to help people understand his position with the Brethren.

      Unless one were to interview every Stake President, every Temple President, and every Patriarch in the church they would be in error to say that so-and-so has no “sealing keys”. Every President of this Church has held these sealing keys from Joseph Smith to the present, and it will continue until the Keys are returned to Michael, the Arch Angel who will present them unto the Lord. That to will be a sign of the fast approaching advent of the Lord on the earth thereby heralding the thousand years.

      Joseph Smith had those sealing keys and gave them to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Some of what we talk about is very sacred to the Lord and to me (us). Some of what we discuss is not for open discussion by all.

      If one whom has seen the Lord feels the need to share that vision with others then there is no fault there. There are numerous examples of one who has seen the Lord and shares that with the readers of sacred scripture (both ancient and modern). Remember those words were available to the “church” in ancient times — so if one shares the vision to us it was shared to them. I find no fault in DS for sharing a very meaningful experience and hope the Lord fills us with grace to understand these things.

      Remember DS is probably struggling with how best to perform what he believes is his errand from the Lord. The Lord would not have his appointed servants be ridiculed by church members. The Lord has called them and He has qualified them, each. They do hold these sacred keys and if a Temple President would feign discuss these matters the thing would be put to rest and would be very clear to us.

      We should know that what the Lord has conferred upon DS by His personal appearance is quite personal…and it has bearing on DS sanctification and salvation — no one else. The keys that the President of the Lord’s Church holds has bearing on every individual whom is exercised to membership into the “Church of the Firstborn”. Every act (ordinance) we enter into here on earth must be ratified by the Holy Ghost and Sealed unto by the Holy Spirit of Promise — again a very sacred exp