Mormons Are a Submissive People


Jesus-Rich-Young-RulerI’ve noticed a constant theme over the past few years as I have written about those who have been excommunicated from our church. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence the subject has come up so many times or if I have sought it out. I’d like to explore the idea of submissiveness with you in this post and get your opinion as to what the right attitude should be towards this.

Opposite of Arrogance and Rebellion

I’ve told you I pray about my posts. I’ve also mentioned to specific individuals privately this post was coming. These good people are worried about me. I know they love me and have expressed concern I’ve been dealing in territory they say causes them discomfort. Rebellion and arrogance are the opposite of submissiveness. I’ve had experience with both as a young lad.

Remember Them Which Rule Over You

I’m not going to address the scripture in Ephesians 5:22 of wives submitting themselves to their husbands. I’ll leave that to others. I prefer to center my remarks on the scripture in Hebrews 13:7, which reads, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

Obey Counsel of Priesthood Leaders

I note in the Topical guide the word remember is replaced with the word Obey. If I recall correctly the Topical guide was compiled by Elder McConkie and Elder Packer. I believe we can safely surmise the word obey can be used in the place of the word remember, at least in this case. In short, we are to remember and obey the word of our priesthood leaders who preside over us.

Blind obedience not encouraged

That’s probably the crux of the matter. Some of my readers find it troublesome to think anyone could or should come between us and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. They can quote scripture and words from the Brethren – so can I – indicating how important it is to confirm all we receive from our priesthood leaders for ourselves. In other words, avoid blind obedience.

Examples from Disciplinary Councils

Put another way, we are to submit to their counsel, especially when it is given in love with concern for the salvation of our souls. Perhaps I can best illustrate with a few examples from disciplinary councils in which I have participated over the years. Don’t worry, I’ll provide no specifics; mention no names nor identify anyone in any way so you may think you know them.

Restoration of Full Fellowship

I have been blessed that the majority of these disciplinary counsels have been convened to consider bringing the member back into full fellowship after a period of disfellowshipment or excommunication or. I am pleased to report that most of these councils have resulted in positive outcomes. Tears and hugs all around have usually been expressed at the end of the proceedings.

A Willing and Contrite Spirit

In discussing as a bishopric or High Council what is different in the second council, it invariably comes down to a matter of attitude. We note the contrite spirit, the willingness to do as advised, the demonstration they have done as counseled over the year or years – I hate to see a disciplined member go more than a year without sacrament and temple blessings. They are different people.

Submissiveness Natural Result of Repentance

In other words, they have learned to be submissive. I have specifically heard penitent individuals express words to the effect of, “Bishop (or President), what would you have me do? I will do whatever you ask, anything you say to get my membership back or to be considered a member in full standing again.” There is no pride, no thought for self, only a desire to please their leaders.

The Lord Forgives, So Should We

Of course we ask them to relate their feelings about the Lord. We ask about their prayers. We ask if they feel forgiven. We ask if they feel the Love of their Savior. We ask about their efforts of restitution, if they have asked forgiveness of those they have harmed, used or abused (often a hard thing to do). We ask about their scripture reading, their gospel study and other habits.

Don’t Dwell on the Sin

If you have never gone through a disciplinary council, you may think this intrusive. We don’t dwell on the sin. We don’t rehash details of the sin. We focus on their efforts of repentance. I think my first disciplinary council was in 1989 as an executive secretary. Ordinarily the clerk attends but he was unavailable so I was asked to take notes and write up the report to Salt Lake.

Bishop’s Counsel is Recorded

I can only recall one council in which we decided the individual was not yet ready to be returned to full membership status. They obviously had not taken the bishops counsel seriously. We always provide a written record of what the bishop feels inspired to ask of them as evidence of their willingness to repent. That is his right and responsibility as a sustained common judge in Israel.

Counselors Provide Input for the Bishop

Having sat on the side of the table in which my duty is to provide counsel to the Bishop or Stake President, I have noted their response. With some leaders, it’s just a poll to see what we think, especially if it’s a cut and dry case. With others, the priesthood leader is genuinely interested in what we have to say. I have always appreciated that, especially when I was a new in the calling.

High Council Disciplinary Format Different

Remember, in a Stake Disciplinary council half of the High Council is to speak on behalf of the member. The member is allowed to have witnesses speak on his behalf and if I’m not mistaken, to have members of his family present to be at the proceedings, as long as they are reverent. The format is given by revelation. You can read about in in section 102 of the Doctrine & Covenants.

Submissiveness Shows Respect

Now, let’s return back to the idea of submissiveness and respect. I’ve always struggled with the habit we have in our church of standing when a General Authority of higher authority comes into a meeting. To me, this smacks of hierarchy worship. That’s not to say I don’t follow it. I do. When I conducted sacrament meetings and a member of the Stake Presidency entered, I stood.

The Unwritten Order of Things

When sitting in Bishopric training meeting or High Council or Stake PEC, I note that we always deferred to the presiding authority as the last to speak and having the final ward. We usually expressed our opinion from youngest to eldest. It’s just the unwritten order of things that Elder Packer discussed in his talk offered so long ago on the subject, which many said they disliked.

I’m a First Generation Mormon

I suppose it’s the natural man in me, the rebel of a first-generation Mormon. I come from a long line of Baptist preachers and Presbyterian ministers. I attended the Presbyterian Church with my mother until I was five years old and still remember the pomp and formality of the worship service. Dad was a lapsed Baptist. I have many living relatives I love who are ministers today.

Apostasy not same as Moral Transgression

I want to conclude with a short discussion of the difference between a disciplinary council convened for moral transgression as opposed to one convened for apostasy. I’m alarmed we have seen more of these apostasy councils lately. It wasn’t that way as I was growing up in the church in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Apostasy usually brings up visions of rebellion, arrogance and pride.

Apostasy Usually Decided At The Top

However, in cases I have investigated first hand, I found none of these were present on the part of the individual who was excommunicated. Of course I wasn’t there so I can’t say for certain, but I have interviewed them or read their account of the proceedings and their letter of appeal. I sense a difference in the actions of the presiding authorities – their minds made up in advance.

Stake President Carrying Out Assignment

This was clear in the account of Denver Snuffer. There is no doubt his stake president was told by members of the SCMC in Salt Lake what needed to be done with no room for negotiation. In other words, the decision was made. The stake president was simply under orders to carry out the formalities of discipline. I feel the same thing happened with Mel Fish and with Brent Larsen.

Even Good Men Can Err in Doctrine

This quote from Joseph reminds me of my friend Paul Toscano: “I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (HC 5:340)

The Sanctity of Dissent

Paul wrote a book explaining his side of things, “The Sanctity of Dissent.” The more I think about it the more I agree with Paul. I believe we have a right to disagree with the interpretations of scriptures and doctrines as offered by our General Authorities. I believe we should be able to share that on our private blogs without fear of reprisal or punishment from church officers.

Blogs are For Exploring New Ideas

Of course, as I have written many times, I would not dream of teaching my personal ideas or interpretations from the pulpit or in the classroom. I sustain the Brethren and their right to declare what should be taught uniformly throughout the church – but NOT to censor what we write in private or semi-public, such as a blog. Our blogs are not official word of the church.

Blogging is Following Counsel of Elder Ballard

That’s why I wrote in my previous post how it troubles me when we are punished for trying to follow the counsel of Elder Ballard to be involved in the online dialog about the church and our doctrines. We want people to understand us, even if we differ somewhat from the standard or orthodox interpretation of the official doctrines that are presented by teachers in our classrooms.

Seeking to Remain Informed

For those who have expressed concerned I have gone apostate because I enjoy reading, writing about and discussing the writings of certain individuals such as Denver Snuffer, Max Skousen, D. Michael Quinn, David John Beurger or just about anything from Signature Books, please don’t think this affects my testimony of the fundamentals of this church. My testimony is intact.

Many Prophets In Addition to Joseph

I revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. In spite of his flaws, he was a prophet of the Lord in these latter days. But don’t take away from me my right to call Denver Snuffer a prophet as well. I accept the Book of Mormon as the Word of God, intended to be a warning for our day. Again, please don’t take away my right to read and discuss the writings of Denver Snuffer on my blog.

Seek Guidance From God in What to Study

As I’ve written many times, I love this church and love the people in it. I love to serve in the small capacity in which I am asked, be it as a home teacher or in my current calling as the Stake Financial Clerk. I seek the guidance and direction of the Lord each day in what I should read and study in addition to the scriptures. I feel lead and am grateful for that still small voice to my soul.

Submissiveness to Local Priesthood Leaders

I like to think I am a submissive individual. I try not to take any offense when corrected by my priesthood leaders. I try to welcome it with a cheerful attitude. I know they love me and have my best interests at heart. As I’ve always said, I would remove my blog in a heartbeat if they said it caused people trouble or caused them to doubt their own testimonies of God and of our Savior.

Expressed Willingness to Remove my Blog

I wonder if the day will come when that changes. This is probably getting repetitious to my regular readers. I am growing. I am learning. I am seeking the face of the Lord. I do not feel this blog is being written by commandment of the Lord but by suggestion and a desire to follow the counsel of prophets and apostles. God bless them, especially those who suffer effects of old age.

Seek Learning by Study and by Faith

God bless you my brothers and sisters. May you seek learning by study and also by faith. I strive to do both. I will not leave my eternal salvation to what I hear taught each week in the three hour block of meetings. It is simply not enough. It is my personality and learning method that I must write and share as I read. Otherwise I do not feel a commitment or internalization of what I read.

Keys to My Participation in Ordinances

Please, rest assured, I intend to be and remain submissive to the direction of my priesthood leaders. Unless the Lord tells me otherwise, I will do as they direct. I sustain them and grant them authority over me. At this point in my life, the spirit directs I should do so. I want and need the sacrament and the temple. These brethren hold the keys of those blessing in my behalf.

Snuffer Reader Excommunicated for Apostasy


LDSFreedomForumI am troubled this evening as I write this short post. An online friend has been excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy because he wrote in an online forum, much as I have on my blog, that Denver Snuffer is a prophet of God. As the scripture says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” therefore, if you have knowledge of Jesus Christ, you are a prophet.

Writing Under Spirit of Inspiration

I have read Denver’s testimony of Jesus, as have many others. I concluded long ago he wrote under the spirit of prophecy and inspiration. His books have motivated me to study the gospel and to make greater efforts to live it. I have made no attempt to ask you to believe as I believe nor have I ever mentioned one word about Denver Snuffer or his books in any LDS building.

My Feelings About the Church

Let’s be clear up front. I love this church. I love the people in it. I love the brethren and sisters in my ward and stake. I would not want to do or say anything to cause them discomfort, difficulty or trouble. I love my brethren in the Stake Presidency with whom I serve on a regular basis. I know a stake financial clerk is not that big a deal, but because of it, I know these are good men.

Direction Comes From the Top

Question: What would my stake president do if he received a letter or phone call from a member of the area presidency directing him to convene a disciplinary council on my behalf? Of course he would do it. I would too if I were told to do so. Question two: What if he were given specific directions that I must remove my blog or the twenty-plus posts that deal with Denver Snuffer?

My defense Before the High Council

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I already wrote my defense to the High Council in a previous post. In it I expressed dismay that the Church would try to control the content of a blog written in good faith as an effort to follow the counsel of Elder Ballard. He asked us to be involved in the online dialog going on about the church. That’s exactly what my blog is about.

Definition of Apostasy

Apostasy, in case you’re not aware, is defined as 1) Deliberate opposition to the Church or its leaders in a clear, open and public manner. 2) Teaching as doctrine something that is not Church doctrine after being advised by appropriate authority that it’s false doctrine. 3) To affiliate with, belong to or follow the teachings of apostate sects, such as those that advocate plural marriage.

What Denver Snuffer Teaches

As far as I know, Denver Snuffer does not advocate plural marriage, nor has he expressed any intention to form his own church. I can’t imagine any Church authority proclaiming the doctrine he has taught of the Second Comforter to be false doctrine (D&C 88:68, 93:1, 97:16, 107:18-19). That leaves only deliberate opposition to the Church leaders in a clear, open and public manner.

Why Denver was Excommunicated

From what Denver shared on his blog, he was excommunicated for writing the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. Now I wasn’t at Brent Larsen’s disciplinary council so I can’t comment about his attitude or if he asked the question, “Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” As I wrote in my previous post on the subject, if the church told me to take down my blog, I would do it.

Similar Testimonies Posted Online

I am encouraged that Daniel Roger’s blog, TheSecondComforter.com still remains. What is so different about posting your testimony of the Savior in a blog as opposed to stating it in a forum? You can read a copy of Brent’s letter of appeal at this link along with some additional insight from Brent’s wife. As always, we only get one side of the story. The Church will not comment.

Submissiveness to Authority

If you are a follower of Christ, talk to me about submissiveness. Tell me what Christ did, how he acted, what he said or didn’t say when he was confronted by those in authority. You know the answer. He was submissive. Like a lamb to the slaughter as the saying goes. Joseph used the same phrase as he went to Carthage, knowing his life would be forfeit to seal his testimony.

And Should We Die

If you’re an old guy like me, you might remember the old B/W movie about the two Mormon leaders in Mexico at the time of Pancho Villa who faced a firing squad rather than denounce their faith. It was entitled, “And Should We Die,” and was made in 1966. I remember we got ahold of a copy on my mission and showed it on the side of the church building one hot night.

It Takes Courage to be a Mormon

We had hundreds of kids and their parents come from many blocks around the church. This was in a very poor part of Central America. Nobody had a TV nor could they afford to go to town to the movie theater. I bring this up as an example of the courage it took to be a Mormon back in the early days of this Church. Now it seems the firing squad has become the local high council.

Killed for Reading a Book

These leaders were killed for reading and believing a book – the Book of Mormon. Apparently if you read and believe books written by Denver Snuffer, you now face excommunication, which in our church is looked upon as spiritual death by some. How can it have come to this? Somebody doesn’t understand what poor PR this is to cast someone out of your church for reading a book.

First Amendment Right Doesn’t Apply

I’ll conclude the way I started this short post. I am troubled by this report. But I’ll reaffirm my intention to do whatever my Priesthood leaders direct. After all, what’s a blog anyway? It’s just a way to communicate and to share feelings. It just seems a shame that we now cast out of our church those who stand up for their right to express their opinions and personal experiences.

The Church is not a Democracy

No U.S. government agency would allow such a thing to happen. We don’t kick people out of America for criticizing the workings of the government or writing a different view of history. But apparently in this church we now cast people out for reading books and expressing our opinion that the author was inspired. I guess the sin was in stating that Denver was a prophet.

This Doesn’t Strengthen the Church Members

All this does is bring more and more attention to what was an obscure local situation in a small part of central Utah. As these excommunications continue, more and more people will learn about Denver Snuffer and want to read his books to find out what all the fuss is about. As I said before, for a church that places such emphasis on good press, this seems like a bad PR move.

Duane Crowther Has Not Been Excommunicated


DuaneSCrowtherI write this at the request of Brother Crowther. I don’t know him well enough to call him Duane. In fact, we have never met, as far as I know. But if I do slip into familiar voice, please forgive me. I feel as if I have known him for years, over forty at least. That was when I was first introduced to his two most popular books: Life Everlasting and Prophecy: Key to the Future.

Life Everlasting and Prophecy: Key to the Future

I have read it so much I have lost the jacket cover of Life Everlasting. The jacket cover of Prophecy: Key to the Future (hereinafter referred to simply as Prophecy), is worn and taped on all edges and corners. I grew up with these books. I read them when I was a teenager and have read them perhaps a dozen times each, especially Prophecy. I think you can tell I’m an old guy.

Bookcraft – publisher of many wonderful books

Life Everlasting was first published in 1967 by Bookcraft (now there’s a name that brings up memories), while Prophecy was first published in 1962, also by Bookcraft. In case you don’t know, in the old days, if your book was not published by Deseret Book, it wasn’t considered top-tier Mormon doctrine, or perhaps had some questionable or debatable content as the subject.

My Introduction to Duane’s Writings

If I remember correctly, Prophecy was first written as a Master’s thesis at BYU and later expanded for publication. I fell in love with the book from the moment I first laid eyes on it at Ellsworth Stationers in Baldwin Park California, the place we went to buy LDS books in my youth. It was with my sister, Tricia, now a librarian, and my mother who bought and read them.

Our Regular Trips to the Book Store

I seem to recall I devoured it that night. This was the 22nd printing of 1973 so I was sixteen. I also bought Life Everlasting as well as The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund on the same day, and Mormon Doctrine, Second Edition, by Bruce R. McConkie. We were allowed four or five books each trip to the bookstore. They didn’t cost nearly as much then as they do now (maybe $5).

Books That Augmented my Testimony

Later favorites from these trips to Ellsworth included Great Basin Kingdom by Leonard J. Arrington, The First 2,000 Years by W. Cleon Skousen, along with The Third Thousand Years and The Fourth Thousand Years. Mother bought me several biographies about Joseph Smith including one by Donna Hill and No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, which she gave me when I was going to college and Institute after my mission in 1978.

I Inherited My Love of Learning

My mother was a wonderful person, a schoolteacher and amateur gospel scholar extraordinaire. She taught the gospel doctrine or genealogy / family history classes for about as long as I can remember while growing up in the old Covina First ward and Covina Stake. Mother loved to teach and she loved to teach her children. I inherited my love of learning from my mother.

Mother Owned an LDS Book Store

Mother loved LDS books so much she opened her own LDS bookstore in La Verne CA back in the early 1970’s called Leta’s Books. I remember seeing all the new books each year with James Mortimer of Deseret Book. The bookstore didn’t last long. Mother had no business sense so she lost a lot of money – all of my dad’s life savings, but if it bothered him I could never tell.

My Recent Email / Letter From Duane Crowther

I hope you get the impression I love to read LDS doctrine and history and have since I was a teenager. But I digress. Let’s get back to Duane Crowther. I was surprised with a post on my blog from Duane the other day. It was put it in my “About-Tim” section. I answered it within two hours, also posting a public reply. He emailed back privately as did I and this is the result.

I Have Written Much About Excommunication

You’ll have to read both letters to get the full story but in a nutshell, because I have written a number of stories about individuals who have been excommunicated (Mel Fish, Denver Snuffer), my blog shows up high in a Google search on the topic. By sheer coincidence, I also published a bunch of reviews on NDE books, another favorite subject, and Duane’s book shows up there.

Unintended Consequence of Search Engine Optimization

Now I’m a computer dude by trade, but I’m more of an old-fashioned infrastructure kind of guy. That means I design and administer networks to make them run efficient. I don’t know much about websites, blogging or especially SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Duane pointed out that when you Google his name, excommunicated shows up afterward, along with other words.

SEO Can Cause Some Weird Google Search Results

Well, he’s not unique in that regard. You can find weird stuff behind famous people’s names, including LDS authors if you Google their name and leave a space. For example, “obituary” shows up behind Gerald Lund’s name and as far as I know, he’s not dead yet. He was our Institute Director and bishop for many years so we keep pretty close tabs on him. I think we would know.

Duane Crowther Has Not Been Excommunicated

Oh, you may be wondering why Duane wrote me about this little problem. It just so happens my blog shows up first under his name and the word “excommunication.” Now we know Duane has not been excommunicated and never was. He currently serves in the temple presidency of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple. Naturally he thought I was writing he had been excommunicated.

Google – They Keep Their Secrets to Themselves

I’m afraid I didn’t do a very good job of convincing Duane there was anything I could do to make that connection go away. Google concatenates words and phrases from several posts in some random order only they understand. We bloggers have very little to say and no control over what appears under our names or the subjects about which we blog. It’s really unfortunate.

This Post is in Response to Prayer

So again, this post in in response to a private request from Duane separate from the public letter he posted in my “About-Tim” section. He asked me to pray about it and explain the situation in one of my regular blog posts. I’m more than happy to comply. The last thing I want is offend one of my boyhood heroes who got me started down the path of studying about the last days.

SEO is Like Free Publicity for Bloggers

I guess I’ve done too good a job at SEO – unintentionally, let me assure you. All I do is make sure when I write a post, it gets announced in Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook. I think that’s all done through a widget called Networked Blogs. I’m grateful for the publicity. Seems like ninety percent of my hits come from Google searches, then Reddit and a few LDS bloggers.

Anonymous Searches Beat Out Directed Searches

I don’t get anything from the conservative LDS Mormon blog Aggregators anymore – ldsblogs, Mormon Blogs and places like that. As I’ve noted before, they either dropped me when I changed from Blogger to WordPress or when I started blogging about Denver Snuffer. So all you people who come here from a Google Search – about ninety percent – thanks for your visits.

Duane’s Official Quote – A Misleading Listing

But if you came here expecting to learn more about Duane Crowther being excommunicated, you won’t find it here. I know nothing about that, but I will share what he wrote again: “…I’ve never been excommunicated, nor have there ever been grounds for that to take place… such a misleading listing can be very harmful to one’s reputation.” I agree and wish Google wouldn’t put them together.

How to Get Google to Change Their Algorithm

Now maybe you SEO experts out there can offer some suggestions on how I can grant Duane’s request with some action on my part. I know you can work with Google in correcting erroneous information about a company listing. For example, we did that the place where I work. But still, the 2001 Aspen crash will always be listed under the name of Avjet. It is simply unfortunate.

Conclusion – My Public Apology to Duane Crowther

Brother Crowther, in addition to what I wrote in my letter, please accept my sincere apologies for this unfortunate sequence of events from my blog that causes a Google search to concatenate your name with a word I have used a lot in many of my posts. As I wrote there, I have a lot of respect for your contribution to the world of LDS Book Publishing. God bless you my friend.

Forty Years in Mormonism


CDs of Denver Snuffer Boise LectureI received my CDs from last week’s Boise talk. It took a day or two more to get to me in California. I know some already had theirs Saturday. I haven’t listened to it yet. I plan to rip the CD and put it on my iPhone. I’ll listen to it to and from work tomorrow if I can wait that long. I’ve read good reviews already: http://goo.gl/TslGw4

Update: The full transcript is now available here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/168908635/Boise-Transcript-Be-of-Good-Cheer-Be-of-Good-Courage

Excommunicated Forty Years Later

Denver delivered this lecture last Tuesday evening having received word that very morning he had been excommunicated from the church forty years to the day he had been baptized. How ironic. Those who attended reported he said nothing of the disciplinary action, but was upbeat, cheerful, positive and spoke with confidence.

Spoke for Over Two Hours

One observer said he rarely looked at notes, but simply spoke from the heart. I suppose years of preparation from being a lawyer and teaching the gospel helped but that does seem a bit amazing. Even after many years as a High Councilor, I think I could speak for thirty or forty minutes before I would have to sit down.

First in a Series of Lectures

This is only the first part of a series of lectures. From what I have read, he stopped after two hours and twenty minutes, inviting everyone to the next lecture to be held in Idaho Falls on Saturday, September 28th and the next night in Logan on the 29th. If you want to pre-order your CDs go to Doug Mendenhall’s PublishingHope.info.

Denver is Blogging More Frequently

Denver seems to have gone back to posting something on his blog most every day. Today he wrote about “Evil Speaking of the Lord’s Anointed.” I’m not sure who is accusing him of that but the blog post provides links to where he has answered that question previously. You can’t fault Denver for not giving us enough information.

Read Before You Leave Comments

Too many people are forming or have formed their opinions without reading his books or listening to his lectures. You can tell almost immediately when you read the comments in this and other blogs about Denver who hasn’t done any reading. It’s sad really. I would be embarrassed to express an opinion without any facts.

Hundreds of Recent Comments

This will be a short post tonight. I have many private emails to answer and want to get the CDs ripped and loaded up onto my iPhone. But there are a few things I would like to make clear. I have read hundreds of your comments over the past few weeks as I have written almost exclusively about the Denver Snuffer episode.

Strong Feelings About Denver Snuffer

The comments seem to be equally pro and con. I like that. It makes for good dialog. Thank you to all who have left comments and especially to those who had ongoing running conversations over a period of days. I have learned a lot from you. Mostly I learned you feel strongly about the subject. That is a good thing.

Leave Links Back to Your Blog

There are some really smart people who have left great comments here. If you blog regularly somewhere else, take advantage of the open forum where you can leave your web address in the comments. Readers will click on your blog link to get to know you better. I like to know more about my readers, so don’t be anonymous.

Backup Up Your Comments

Second, don’t be afraid to state your position, but please be prepared to back it up with intelligent reasons. I don’t know about you but I dislike reading comments that state, “Denver is an apostate who deserved what he got. Anybody who reads his stuff should not be allowed to have a temple recommend.” Really? Why is that?

Provide Your Sources

And please stop repeating lies, innuendoes, false accusations and other falsehoods. If you have a source for what you are sharing, please let us know what it is so we can look it up for ourselves. Opinions are great, but what caused you to form such an opinion, either pro or con? Give examples from Denver’s books or blog entries.

Please Be Civil and Considerate

For all I know, Denver could possibly open his blog up again for comments. He said he closed comments at the request of his stake president. I can see why. Some of the comments on my Facebook threads where I announce my blog posts have been downright rude, vicious and mean. Most people prefer civil blog comments.

This is an Open Blog

Some of you may be wondering, “Who made you the spot to write about all things relating to Denver Snuffer?” I’m not. Trust me, there are other places you can go to discuss this issue like the LDS Freedom Forum or Google Groups. However, I think I am one of the few that is open to the public. Can you point me to others?

This Blog May Suddenly Disappear

Two final thoughts: 1) If my bishop or stake president asked me to stop writing about or bringing attention to Denver Snuffer, I would do so in a heartbeat. They may feel that what is discussed is too detrimental to those who have already fragile testimonies of the concepts that we discuss here, especially about church authority.

Respect the Privacy of the Man

2) If Denver asked me to stop writing about him or bringing attention to his blog or his lectures, I would do so at a moment’s notice. I in no way want to impose upon his privacy, although that’s pretty hard to do since he has made himself a public figure. I have a lot of respect for what he is doing but I could not follow his path.

My Position – I Love This Church

I have no intention of ever leaving this church. Denver has always advocated we remain true and faithful to the church by attending our meetings, partaking of the sacrament weekly and attending the temple regularly. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love this church and love to serve my brothers and sisters in this church.

I Want to Know the Lord Better

I hope you can tell I’m excited about receiving these CDs. I have few passions in life: one is computers – helping other people use them, two is books – collecting and reading them and three is the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the LDS Church. I should have reversed that order – my love of the Lord comes first.

Boise Lecture Review is Coming Up

God bless you all. I hope to have my review of the Boise talk posted sometime within the next few days. Review is probably not the right word. A blog post containing my impressions of what Denver said and what I felt as he said would be more appropriate. Thank you for visiting, for reading my blog and for commenting.

A Moderate Approach to Denver Snuffer


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

Flavor of the Month

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

A Change in My Bio

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

Dangers of Extremism

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

Actively Engaged in the Dialog

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

Don’t be a Lukewarm People

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

Take Time to Understand Others

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

I’ve Decided I’m a Moderate

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

We’ve Had Some Wonderful Dialogs

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

This is an Open Forum

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

Civility With No Personal Attacks

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

A Prophetic Email From Denver

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

Please Contribute as You Feel Prompted

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

Numb To The Insults and Derision

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

Upcoming Review of Denver’s Lecture

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

My Position on Denver Snuffer

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

Growth Means Change

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

I Love This Church

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

Wisdom Comes at the Price of Tribulation

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

Be Valiant to the Whisperings of the Spirit

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

Prompted of the Spirit to Blog

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

My Blogroll – Are you on There?

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

The Appeal of Denver Snuffer


DenversReadersUpdate 9-11-13: Denver Snuffer has been excommunicated. You can read it on his blog.

A reader asked my opinion of a recent post about Denver Snuffer by Russell Stevenson over on Rational Faiths. Somehow I missed it even though I go there often. It’s entitled, “Housewife Danites: Denver Snuffer and the Suburban Underground” dated August 27, 2013. I had to laugh at the title and at much of the content. I like Russell’s style. So now we’re Facebook friends.

We’re going to see a lot more posts about Denver in the next few days and weeks. I suspect his disciplinary council on Sunday will not be attended by the most important person – Denver. I may be totally wrong, but the fact is we know he is starting his lecture tour on Tuesday. That’s a big clue he won’t be doing as the Stake President asked, so why show up? It’s a done deal, folks.

Update: I’ve been advised in the comments by one who knows that Denver will attend his council. As I wrote in the comment. I assume too much. To me, that’s a true sign of humility. Please forgive my arrogance for assuming otherwise. Also, remember, as the Stake President wrote in the summons, there are two options: disfellowshipment or excommunication.

Update2: There are those on the private email lists who have stated they will be fasting and praying for Denver. I feel to do the same. I was too quick to think that his case was open and closed – too quick to make him a martyr for the cause of free thought and dissent. Take what I write here with a grain of salt. Mine are only observations from afar. I do not know the man.

Russell writes about the Mormon underground which confused some of his readers. Not sure why the headline calls it the Suburban Underground, maybe someone else wrote that. Anyway, you’re going to have to wade through a lot of stuff to get to some of the meat of his comments about Denver, his appeal, why he matters and will continue to matter in at least the near future.

Confidence in the Face of Excommunication

Many people are fascinated by Denver Snuffer. I’m one of them. Yet I know I couldn’t do what he’s doing. God bless him and his family as he goes through this. Maybe it’s not a big deal because he’s expected it for so long. Perhaps the big day for Denver is not Sunday, but Tuesday. He might lose his church membership on Sunday but will teach things on Tuesday that are in his heart.

As I wrote in my last blog entry, if my Stake President said take down your blog or at least stop writing about Denver Snuffer, I would do as he asked. I expressed how much I need the temple and the Sacrament each week. Think of it. If he is excommunicated, Denver will no longer have access to those, nor the right, according to the church, to exercise his priesthood or to even wear the temple garments.

Since it is a commandment to pay tithing, if he desires to do so, it must be paid through another family member. There is the stigma in our LDS community of being shunned, even though it is a time when former members need the most love. There is the possible loss of income from former business associates who choose not to be associated with a man who has been excommunicated.

Something Different About Denver

You’ve got to ask yourself why he would be willing to give all this up. In his latest posts he hints at some of his conversations with his stake president, how he has tried to comply and yet how he cannot or will not give up the publishing contracts. Did you know that he donates all proceeds from the sale of his books to the church missionary fund? He does not promote them by the way.

There is something different about Denver Snuffer and everyone who writes about him both sees it and writes about it. We who have been following this saga over the past year or two since the release of Passing the Heavenly Gift see there are mainly two camps: those who love him and those who hate him [See my comment in response to Ray below]. Russell Stevenson writes in his post about The-Church-in-Waiting.

Denver referred to this idea a couple of posts ago on his blog, pointing out that the establishment of Zion is not and will not be brought about by an institution such as the LDS Church. That’s quite a claim, but actually quite tame compared to some of the things folks have been quoting in the many (138 now) comments on my post from the day Denver announced his summons to the world.

Something for Both Camps

I know this may seem like I’m wandering a little bit, but stick with me. It’s late, I’ve had a tough week and I’m tired. But I feel it’s important to get this posted tonight so folks will see it before this weekend. You can discount me because I’m a California Mormon but Russell Stevenson hit on something very important in his post: Denver Snuffer appeals to all kinds of Mormon folks.

I hate labels or groups, especially when it comes to people but we all do it. Take a look at what Russell is saying: He points out clearly that Denver appeals to conservative and liberal Mormons. He appeals to both men and women. He appeals to those who are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the church as well as those who are working to build the church up.

I get the impression Russell may have only recently been introduced to Denver’s writings, and had a lot of catching up to do in order to post his article with some credibility. But Stevenson does have credibility in Mormon history. Therefore I paid attention to his main point: Denver has appeal. That’s the bottom line. The man has charisma; he has confidence and exudes authority.

Wish I Could Be There Tuesday

Maybe that’s because he’s an attorney, or maybe it’s because of his claim to have met with the Savior. Not many people can or have made that claim. Denver has gone to great pains to make sure his picture is not posted in his books or on flyers advertising when he is going to speak. He has explained many times it’s because he wants to draw attention to his message, not himself.

I wish I could be there in Boise next week but I’ve got a certification class for work I can’t miss. I’m looking forward to listening to the talk I’ve already preordered from Doug Mendenhall. In many ways I envy my friends on the private discussion groups who will be there. I believe it will be an electrifying moment. Denver has a message he or someone who inspired him wants heard.

I can just see some of the opposing comments to this post now: “Yeah, we know that someone who inspired him is the devil.” Yep, some of the comments are that bad and worse, but for the most part, I’m grateful for my readers who are willingly and deliberately civil even though they disagree. I am fairly certain some from the SCMC have been adding their comments as well.

My conclusion on Denver’s Appeal

So what is that appeal of Denver Snuffer? He must be excruciatingly annoying to those who are able to poke holes in his arguments. They do a pretty good job too. Even some of his supporters have asked questions that make you wonder if he has contradicted himself or dramatically changed his beliefs or teachings between the time of his first book and his last one – PtHG.

The appeal is that he has not self-imploded like so many apostates have over the years. Note that I used the word apostate. Yes, if he is excommunicated, he can be considered an apostate from the LDS Church. In the minds of some people, that changes everything. To me, it does not make one bit of difference. I don’t see Denver as fighting against the Church but maybe I’m wrong.

Denver appeals to people who find something lacking in the LDS Church. I think Stevensen mailed it when he wrote about the idea of The Church-in-Waiting with one exception. We’re not looking to leave the church. We want the things the Lord has promised – to be taught by angels and to be invited to be a part of the Church of the Firstborn – obviously not an earthly institution.

Invitation to Dialog

Does any of this scare you? What are your thoughts? I love to read your comments. Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for sharing what you think. You help me grow. That’s why I blog. And Richard, did I answer your question? I told you I might make it public if it got too long. In short, I loved Russell’s post. It made me think. I didn’t find it offensive, I found it humorous.

My Defense Before the High Council


32493_000_01_Title.qxdOne of my readers, Steve, asked, “I wondered what you would do if your stake president told you to quit blogging about Denver or you would be exed.” This is a fictional account, based on that very possible what-if scenario that could happen:

What if members were called to account for themselves in regards to the books they read and what they publish on their blogs? Oh, how I hope and pray that day never arrives. Isn’t that what George Orwell’s 1984 was all about?

Standing Before the High Council

“Thank you, President, for allowing me to take a moment to speak. I’ll make this brief. I know your time is precious and I don’t want to prolong this council any longer than necessary. I know we would all like to return home to our families.

“First, please allow me to express how much I love and appreciate each of you brethren. I hope you can feel that. Even if I am excommunicated tonight, I am grateful to have been able to know each of you and to have served with you.

I Have Received Sacred Experiences

“Many years ago, I had some sacred spiritual experiences that convinced me God lived, loved me and had a plan for my life. I have also felt the love of my Savior so many times since that I have a sure and certain witness He is guiding my life.

“In many ways, I have given my life to this church. I’ve said many times and I’ll say it again. I’m simply your typical, average member. I love this church and love the people in it. I love to serve. I’ve always accepted every calling extended to me.

The Approved Curriculum

“Like many of you, I grew up being taught the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in primary, Sunday school, Seminary, Institute and priesthood quorums. I have always appreciated my brethren and sisters. They were just like me – regular folks. They tried to teach the approved curriculum by the spirit of inspiration.

“Sometimes that process can be a contradiction in terms. What we find and teach from our authorized curriculum is not always exactly the way things happened. That’s OK. It’s faith-promoting and invites the spirit of the Lord to attend us. So what if we leave out some little part of the actual story that makes us look bad?

Some Things Are Embellished

“I always felt it was not worth bringing things up when I knew the teacher was not exactly sharing the perfect truth, meaning the story he or she was relating was later proven to be hearsay or something with a little extra added. We all know, if we have studied our history that some stories are embellished or parts left out.

“I’m sure you know what I mean. Think of Paul Dunn for a moment. He did a lot of good. But the fact remains he embellished some of his stories. Do I love him any less for doing so? No, of course not. He helped me develop faith in the Lord.

My Testimony of Joseph

“I grew up reading the Book of Mormon at my mother’s knee. I literally learned to read from the Book of Mormon when I was five years old. I love that book. I learned long ago it is scripture and contains the word of God.

“Over the years I have made an extensive study of the life of Joseph Smith from as many sources as possible. I have read the good, the bad and the ugly. No matter what I have read that claims otherwise, I know Joseph was a prophet.

“Because of my witness, I knew I would serve a mission, marry in the temple and do all I was asked to do over the years to help build up the church through home teaching, serving in callings, paying tithing and trying to be a good example to others.

Asked to Write About the Church

“Shortly before Elder Ballard invited the members of the church to become more involved in the conversations taking place on the Internet, I decided to start my own blog. For those who don’t know, a blog is a website where you keep adding new entries over time. The newest entries always appear at the top of the page.

“At first I simply wrote rebuttals to stuff out there that I knew were lies. I work on the Internet for a living. I read a lot of web pages. It’s my job. I got tired of all the stuff I read out there by those who had an axe to grind against the church.

Members Who Have Doubts

“After a while I noticed those who responded were mainly other members, and then only members responded to my blog posts. They wanted to argue with me. They wanted to show me where I was wrong and why I should think otherwise.

“I considered them naive. I could not believe they were duped by some of the stories out there on the Internet. Even worse, I could not believe they had not read or heard these things growing up. It seemed they wanted to shock me with some new revelation they spouted about how Joseph practiced polygamy or polyandry.

Inoculated at an Early Age

“What they didn’t know is I had a mother who taught me to read and who had a library full of controversial LDS books. She was a teacher. We did not grow up with a television. Reading was something my family did. I grew up with four sisters. We went to the library each Saturday and came home with a dozen books.

“I mainly read science fiction, but I also read a lot of history, especially from my mother’s library – LDS history. Mother was a Gospel Doctrine teacher and she loved to research her subjects. I think I read No Man Knows My History when I was in seminary. I was probably only fourteen or fifteen years old at the time.

“For those who may not know, the author of that controversial book was President McKay’s niece. She was excommunicated for writing that book. I first learned of polygamy from Fawn Brodie, and more to the point, of Joseph’s polygamy. There are seminary students in our stake today who know absolutely nothing about polygamy or that we ever practiced it as a church, especially in Joseph’s time.

Sympathizing with an Apostate

“I stand before you today accused of sympathizing with an individual whose teachings are contrary to the official story of our church history as found in our curriculum. I can’t believe it has come to this. Are we now willing to discipline our own church members simply for what they read? I can see the importance of writing uplifting material, but not everything in our church history is uplifting.

“I have always made it a point to teach ONLY authorized material from the official curriculum when I am asked to teach or speak in church. However, this is my private blog, in which I quote what others have said about the church. I offer my opinion and sometimes additional insights that come to me as I write about them.

Encourage Others to Remain Faithful

“If I were publishing things in my blog that advocated members to leave the church then I could understand the reason for this council. I don’t encourage others to teach the things I write in my book reviews. I always reassure my readers they should teach only what is found in our official curriculum. That is what the Brethren have asked us to do and I sustain that decision. Milk before meat, right?

“My whole blog is about LDS-related book reviews and specifically books that deal with the doctrines of the Last Days – the Coming of the Lord and how it will happen. That’s all I write about and nothing more. I comment a lot on Denver Snuffer’s books because he has written so much in this area. His writings are controversial, especially now that he is probably about to be excommunicated.

My Testimony and Conclusion

“That’s all I wanted to say. I love this church. I know it is authorized by the Lord to preach the gospel, to perform the ordinances of salvation, to print the scriptures, to collect tithing and to build temples. I am happy to be a part of the work. I hope to contribute until the return of the Lord. I believe my blog helps some people who struggle come to grips with some of the more difficult parts of our history.

“I will do as this council directs. Specifically president, if you ask me to take my blog down or at least to stop publishing or reporting on what Denver Snuffers says as he conducts his lectures over the next year, I will do so. But I can’t believe we would let it come to such a thing – controlling the lives of our members like that.”

Can the Church Control Bloggers?

And that is the end of my imaginary defense I would offer if I were called in to defend myself for writing about Denver Snuffer and his teachings. By the way, I ran this by my wife. She thought it was funny and said I was being overly dramatic but I don’t think so. I’ve read of bloggers being asked to stop writing certain things about the church, haven’t you? There just seems to be something wrong with that.

Expressions of Support for Denver Snuffer


LDCPostsOnDenverSnufferYesterday, I and many others received letters of support for Denver Snuffer in the face of his upcoming disciplinary action. Many people have said that their reading of “Passing the Heavenly Gift” helped them reconsider plans to leave the church. These good people are willing to give credit to Denver’s book for helping them through a difficult time. I have read accounts of many individuals who have resolved their feelings of deception upon learning certain things about our church history. [Note: this is an edited opening paragraph from the original sent to subscribers,]

No Need to Defend Denver

This morning, Denver explained why he posted the disciplinary summons on his website. He said he wanted to make sure that anybody planning to attend any of his lectures was aware of his status with the church – either pending or accomplished. He also said that we need not defend him with such heartfelt letters because he said they would do no good and may result in the church taking notice of those who step forward. He doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else.

Let This Run Its Course

“No matter your own sentiments, it would be best to just let this run its course without involving anyone other than me.” I am amazed about the outpouring of sentiment I have seen on both my blog and in the private online groups who discuss Denver Snuffer’s readings. Many of you are not old enough to remember the kinds of public demonstrations held outside the disciplinary councils of the September Six. Like Denver said, it does no good except draw media attention.

Media Attention Inevitable

I suspect Denver’s lecture tour will draw media attention enough. As I have pointed out several times before, I show up second on a Google search for Denver Snuffer. I did not intend this to happen but feel some responsibility since it is a fact. I am a simple regular member of the church who likes to read and review books. I have thought about what I wrote yesterday about how I would answer the temple recommend question about loyalty should Denver be excommunicated.

My Writings on Denver Snuffer

Taking Denver’s advice, I have no plans to write a letter to his stake president defending what I feel are the writings of a man who has helped me in so many ways. My blog is public. You can find everything I have written over the last year and a half about Denver since I started reading his books. My Bishop can read them, my Stake President can read them and so can any member of my ward or stake. Many of them do. I know because of their public and private comments.

Reading Books of Former Members

Should Denver be excommunicated, I will continue to read his writings. I still plan to find some way to get up to Utah to hear at least one of his lectures. I intend to continue to buy each of the offered recordings. I have made up my mind where I stand. I do not feel he is an apostate. I have learned more from reading his books than I have from just about any other LDS writer. I read the works of other excommunicated LDS writers and have never felt that makes me an apostate.

The Temple Recommend Question

I can see how a Bishop or Stake President could feel otherwise, but I cannot believe that temple recommend question was intended to weed out those who read controversial material about the church. Some of the articles in the Salt Lake Tribune would qualify for that restriction. We are counseled to be informed. How can one have an informed and educated opinion without reading the source material of the subject in question? Otherwise your opinions are simply ignorant.

Links to my Denver Snuffer Posts

But just to make it easier for anyone to find what I have written about what I have read in his books, you can read any one of the following essays written and posted here on my blog. I think it is clear that I have enjoyed analyzing what I have read in Denver’s books since my former Bishop first introduced them to me in January of 2012. He simply asked my opinion what I thought of Passing the Heavenly Gift. How could I give an opinion without reading it? Here’s the list:

01. August 23 2013 - Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council - Summons announcement
02. August 19 2013 – Max Skousen Excommunicated Twice – Material halfway down
03. July 20 2013 – The Lord Prepares Groups of People – Angels gathering the elect
04. June 12 2013 – A Few More Quotes From Denver Snuffer – Taken from his blog
05. June 10 2013 – A Few Quotes from Denver Snuffer - Intended this to be a series
06. June 1 2013 – In the Tops of the Mountains – Where will Zion first be gathered?
07. May 15 2013 – Progress Report on Denver Snuffer - Thoughts on my readings
08. April 17 2013 – Remembering the Covenant - Thoughts upon receiving the books
09. March 24, 2013 – Overview of The Second Comforter
10. March 9, 2013 – A New Star Will Shine Forth
11. March 3, 2013 – All Are Invited to the Feast
12. December 25, 2012 – The Four Phases of Mormonism
13. December 11, 2012 – What Denver Snuffer Teaches
14. July 7, 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light
15. May 12, 2012 – Orthodox Mormonism
16. May 5, 2012 – Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer
17. April 8, 2012 – Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil
18. February 26, 2012 – Loss of the Sealing Power

Sharing the Gospel through Goodreads


TimMaloneGoodReadsI finally got around to updating my Goodreads account with a few of the book reviews I have written over the years. I have been amazed by the response of new readers to my blog. It makes me feel a little better after being dropped by ldsblogs.org. I know people have told me not to be concerned about that but it still hurts losing that extra 200-300 hits per day from their site.

Readers and Blog Hits

Why are hits important to bloggers? I suppose the answer is different for everyone. Is it selfish? Is it egotistical? Is it narcissistic? I hope not. In my case, I started blogging in 2007 before Elder Ballard asked the Saints to be more involved in the online dialogs that are taking place about the church with or without us. My inspiration was an early LDS solo blogger I followed for years.

Solo Versus Group Blogs

Jeff Lindsay was an early pioneer solo blogger I admired as compared to the multiple group blogs that existed for many years. Group LDS blogs are fine and get a lot of traffic but frankly, I found I did not agree with many of the viewpoints I considered “unorthodox,” in other words, worldly. I know that’s judgmental but I did not find myself uplifted by some of the discussion there.

I Read So I Can Write

I want people to be exposed to some of the things I have found uplifting to my faith. I find that it helps my own personal study. Indeed, that is the major reason why I blog – to motivate me to read the scriptures and study the gospel. It’s hard to write about something and not sound like a fool if you haven’t read anything on the subject. I read so I can write. I write about what I read.

Television versus Reading

I grew up without television so I have a difficult time sitting down in the evenings to watch TV to unwind. I would much rather grab a book. So I do. But because I want to be with Carol, I also grab my earplugs. Yes, it can be distracting but if I hold the book just right, I can block out the TV and focus on what I’m reading. I can’t get over the feeling that TV for me is wasting time.

Non-Fiction versus Fiction

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I usually don’t read fiction. If you look at the list of books I’ve entered so far on Goodreads, you’ll note that the majority are non-fiction and LDS-related. I am fascinated by books about the last days, the spirit world and church history. I also like to read controversial stuff you won’t find in Deseret Book as well as your orthodox LDS book fare.

Out of the Best Books

I am a firm believer in the commandment from the Lord, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” I find nothing wrong with counting my reading of LDS-related books as my gospel study time. There are lots of scriptures quoted.

Physical versus Digital Books

I think I have transferred copies of most of my book reviews over to GoodReads. That made me the #56 book reviewer this month earlier today. As I wrote in a previous post, it’s going to take me months to include every book in my library, which has recently passed the 2,000 mark. I’m from the old school. I like to hold a physical book in my hand to read. Thus I buy a lot of books.

Book Reviews Are Helpful

But just to be sure, I decided to make a list here of my reviews with links so I can compare to what I now have on Goodreads. It truly is gratifying to receive emails from individuals who have read my reviews and felt inspired to write and thank me. It’s nice to think that maybe something I wrote has helped someone else. I have so very few original thoughts. I am guided by books.

Books Reviewed on Latter-day Commentary

These are in no particular order. I just went backwards through my blog looking for book reviews and added them with links to the list here. By the way, reading a book doesn’t make you an expert on a subject, but it does help you talk intelligently or at least understand when others bring it up. Also, as I’m sure you know, in most cases, the person writing the book is supposed to be an expert, but that is not always true. We’re all still learning.

01. 6-4-13, Born of the Spirit, E. Richard Packham, 1979
02. 5-29-13, There is a way Back, Gerald Pearson, 1970
03. 5-4-13, The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
04. 5-3-13, You Have Been Here Before, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1986
05. 4-23-13, Beloved Bridegroom, Donna Nielsen, 1999
06. 4-17-13, Remembering the Covenant, vol 1, Denver Snuffer, 2013
07. 4-12-13, The Doctrine of Meeting Christ in This Life, Eric Chun, 2013
08. 3-18-13, From Darkness Into Light, Mel Fish, 1999
09. 3-24-13, The Second Comforter, Denver Snuffer, 2006
10. 2-2-13, Near Death Experiences, Part 2, containing:

  • The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, 1995
  • Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, 1995
  • Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, 1994
  • NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, 1994
  • Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, 1993
  • Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, 1992
  • Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor,1992
  • Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, 1990
  • Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, 1989
  • Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, 1988
  • The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1988
  • The Journey Beyond Life , Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, 1988
  • The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
  • Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, 1978
  • Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1978
  • Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1975
  • Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1974
  • Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, 1967

11. 1-30-13, Near Death Experiences and Me, Part 1, Containing:

  • Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander, 2012
  • Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, 2012
  • Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
  • To Heaven and Back, Mary C Neal MD, 2011
  • Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, 2010
  • In His Arms by Denise Mendenhall, 2006
  • And Should We Die, Ron McMillan and Randy McMillan, 2003
  • Possibilities…Lessons From the Spirit, Doug Mendenhall, 2002
  • Visits From Beyond the Veil, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2002
  • There is no Death, Sarah LaNelle Menet, 2002
  • And There Were Angels Among Them, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2001
  • My Peace I Give Unto You, Robert Lake with Doug Mendenhall, 2001
  • The Message, Lance Richardson, 2000
  • Life After Death, Robert L Millet, 1999
  • I Stand All Amazed, Elane Durham, 1998
  • I Saw Heaven, Lawrence E. Tooley, 1997
  • Heavenly Answers for Earthly Challenges, Joyce H Brown, 1997
  • Beyond the Darkness, Angie Fenimore, 1995

12. 1-18-13, And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, Anthony Larson, 1981
13. 1-13-13, Visions of Glory, John Pontius, 2012
14. 9-10-12, Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
15. 8-14-12, The Book of Mormon: A Biography, Paul C. Gutjahr, 2012
16. 6-24-12, Teachings of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, Anonymous, 2011
17. 5-5-12, Ten Parables, Denver Snuffer, 2008
18. 2-26-12, Passing the Heavenly Gift, Denver Snuffer, 2011
19. 3-28-11, How Americans View Mormonism, Gary Lawrence, 2008
20. 12-6-10, Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth, 1970
21. 5-5-10, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
22. 5-11-09, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, 2007
23. 4-23-09, Shaken Faith Syndrome, Michael Ash, 2008
24. 3-16-09, In Sacred Loneliness, Todd Compton, 1997

Blogging the End of the World


AnotherMeteorStrikeI think I’m getting excited about blogging again. When I started back in 2007 I did a lot of work to promote this thing. I registered with all the appropriate sites. I left comments on numerous other sites similar to mine. I made sure I stuck to my three themes so my readers would know what to expect: Mormonism, Sexuality and the Last Days. I have only made one major subject change: LDS Book Reviews – both new and old.

My Review of Visions of Glory

I am amazed at the number of book reviews I have written over the years. I don’t know why I’m not more active on Goodreads. Maybe it’s because I like writing longer reviews. If I could figure out an easy way, someday I might transfer them over. What’s surprising is how popular they are. I’m especially pleased by the longevity of my review of Visions of Glory – now six months as my most popular post and still in the #1 spot.

Studying Doctrine has Become Rare

I’ll bet Cedar Fort is extremely pleased with the performance of the book. I also think they were extremely surprised. I’ll bet Deseret Book was even more surprised. If you’ve been watching what Deseret Book sells over the years, you will have noticed how much fluff and stuff it has become. It became rarer and rarer to find a book about doctrine. What’s the matter with us? Don’t we study the gospel anymore?

Feminist Mormon Housewives

Deseret Book knows that women buy books. Take this as a sexist remark if you like, but most LDS women I know don’t care to study doctrine as much as they like to talk about the social aspects of the church. Thank you Feminist Mormon Housewives. I love you for how you have connected the women of the church in ways the leaders of the Relief Society never imagined it could or would ever be.

Dropped by the Bloggernacle

I was recently dropped by LDSBlogs so I’m not too concerned that the important LDS bloggers will see this post. I am officially no longer a part of LDSBlogs or the Mormon Archipelago: Gateway to the Bloggernacle. Must have been something I wrote to tick them off. Who knows? I still have a small smattering of loyal readers (150-200) who are just as interested in some of the topics I write about regularly.

Catastrophic Changes Coming

I still write about the Signs of the Times and will continue to do so, especially as they become more obvious. I can’t wait for the day when the first of the prophesied apocalyptic catastrophes comes to pass. Folks, we haven’t begun to see what the Lord has in mind when he warns us about earthquakes in divers places, the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds or the increase of blatant evil and wickedness.

Study Signs of the Last Days

The kind of stuff the Lord is talking about in the scriptures only happens when the planets get knocked out of their orbits and start careening across the sky. Don’t doubt that it will happen because it has happened many times before, just not in the collective memory of anybody we know. But the prophets recorded it. It happened in their day and it will happen again in ours. But do we study the signs?

Abomination of Desolation

Has anybody bothered to figure out what Abomination of Desolation really means and especially what it means to see it in the Holy Place? The Supreme Court of the United States just set the last piece of that puzzle into motion. It won’t be many more years now. I’m beginning to think that some of the cataclysmic things the prophets tried to warn us about will come in my lifetime after all. It will be sad because the day of warning will then be past. My blog and every other piece of electronic gadgetry will be history.

Visited by the Angels

I recognize the tenor of this post is a little unusual for me. I normally try to be about as humble as I know how to be so as to not offend. I also recognize I’m in the minority – an orthodox conservative LDS blogger who entertains the published ideas from a man who claims to have seen the Lord. That’s a controversial subject. Even the men we sustain as the leaders of our church don’t talk about that. It’s just too sacred, right?

The Last Effort to Gather

I think the time has come that the Lord is gathering the elect in ways that are different from what we were raised to believe. The missionary effort of the LDS Church just kicked into high gear. I have no doubt we will see tremendous results over the next few years. But I refer to another kind of gathering – a spiritual gathering – that is different from the converts brought in by the huge number of missionaries we will shortly have.

Gathered by the Angels

The scriptures tell us that the elect will be gathered by the angels, not just the missionaries. The Lord is hastening His work in asking more of those who have been ordained to the priesthood. The endowed have been invited to come into the presence of the Lord. I am hearing more and more private stories of those who are being prepared by angels to come into the presence of the Lord and receive the rest of what we have been promised.

What to Expect Going Forward

This particular post is in response to a brand new reader who called and asked which of my posts he should read so he could get to know me better. I’ll make a list below that I hope will be helpful. But I think if you just remember my focus is on three things, you’ll know what to expect if you choose to follow my blog: 1) The Catastrophist movement and the Electric Universe 2) What the scriptures teach about the signs of the last days. Look for those signs in the heavens. 3) How to be personally prepared – prepared by the angels to be taught directly by the Lord.

Some of my Favorite Blog Posts

01. About Me – I’m about as open as I know how to be in this blog.
02. Visions of Glory – My review of the last book of John Pontius.
03. Near Death Experiences and Me – Yes, I had an NDE in my youth.
04. Conquering Spiritual Evil – My Review of Doug Mendenhall’s book.
05. Excommunicated for Priestcraft – This should never have happened.
06. Born That Way – Where I first proposed possession by evil spirits.
07. The Unquiet Dead – More evidence of opposite sex spirit possession.
08. And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood – Review of Anthony Larson’s book.
09. Eternal Lives, Past Live and Reincarnation – Still a controversial topic.
10. The Adam-God Theory – This is what I believe and I’m sticking to it.
11. Ten Signs of the Second Coming – These are straight from the scriptures.
12. A New Star Will Soon Shine Forth – Commentary on Denver’s final post.
13. You Have Been Here Before – Review of Dr. Fiore’s first amazing book.
14. Remembering the Covenant – A list of most of my posts on Denver Snuffer.
15. The top 50 most viewed essays – A good list from way back in Sep of 2011.

A Few Upcoming Essays

I’m currently reading Blake Ostler’s Fire on the Horizon. I’m going to the temple tomorrow to ponder the most important thing I have learned from his book so far – how to build a relationship with God that involves the “I-Thou” paradigm. I can’t explain it in one paragraph but hope to write a review of this wonderful book on the Atonement and the Endowment recently published. It has made all the difference in the world in how I see myself interacting with others and God.

The Mind of God

I also read a book from a reader who claimed to have seen God and was given the book through revelation. As I’ve said before, not many people have made this kind of claim so when someone tells me they have seen the Lord, I pay close attention to what they say or write. The Book is called “The Mind of God” and contains some amazing details of just how synchronicity works. I told him I wouldn’t write a review but I’ve changed my mind. I have been pondering it much lately. I think it needs wider exposure.

Clean Hands, Pure Heart

I’m also reading Clean Hands, Pure Heart by Philip A. Harrison. I’ve read a lot of books on the subject of Overcoming Addiction to Pornography. As I’ve mentioned in several previous blogs, I never really got over the effects of this youthful habit. I think I got some bad advice from a bishop way back before my mission when he gave me my Temple Recommend. I wrote about a paper from a reader in a previous essay. He tells me of a book that will help me overcome the false understandings of why I never felt truly forgiven. I thank my reader Greg Nelson for sharing.

He Restoreth My Soul

Update (7-12-13): The book I described above was not the one recommended by my friend Greg from my previous post. In his essay he refers to He Restoreth My Soul by Donald L. Hilton, Jr, MD, which I just received from Deseret Book today. Sadly, I don’t think they sent me the latest version. I see on the Amazon listing there is a third edition. Mine is simply labeled “revised edition.” Hmmm… If you don’t hear from me for awhile it’s because I’ve got a lot of reading projects going on right now, besides work, family, church. Just like you, I lead a normal life.

What This Blog is About

So there you have it – what this blog is all about. It’s my catalyst to study the gospel. I don’t shy away from controversial subjects including pornography, masturbation, possession by unclean and evil spirits, and the fact that Satan is trying to destroy the brethren of the priesthood today. For me, writing helps. If it offends you, don’t read my stuff. I try to be uplifting and faithful to the teachings of the LDS Church but you’ll have to be the judge of that yourself. God bless.

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