Defining Bounds the Lord Has Set


PtHG_GoodreadsOf all the comments in my recent posts on Priesthood, this one got me thinking, pondering and praying. I have split Darin’s comment into a few paragraphs. I was especially interested in the third paragraph because I have heard it before from someone I love dearly. I don’t find Darin’s comments offensive. In fact, I’d like to share my conversation with the Lord about them.

On 5 June 2014 at 9:33pm, Darin said

“You quote Snuffer as though he was Joseph Smith or the prophet, be careful. You can see why Snuffer got in trouble. People begin quoting him like he was in charge and was The Prophet. This is not good.

“You have some good ideas, but I implore you to follow the twelve and the FP, as they will lead you in the ways of salvation. Be careful in not going beyond the bounds the Lord has set.

“So if all this does not happen to us in this life are we just damned? Should I live my life in depression because these things have not happened to me or even some of the most righteous people I know?

“I am not a new comer to all this, meaning I have studied and thought and prayed on these things for years. I am not saying you are totally wrong, but straying a little can take you far off the path. There is great wisdom in staying with the main part of the church and its appointed and known leaders. Best wishes to you.”

Endurance to the End is Enough

I’ve heard Darin’s excellent point in the third paragraph phrased this way: “Can’t we just endure to the end? The Lord doesn’t want to talk to me. I’m not a prophet. I’m just a regular member of the church. I’ve been baptized, endowed and sealed in the temple. I go to the temple as often as I can. I try to fulfil my callings and be kind like the Savior. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”

We Determine How Well We Endure

As far as I have been able to determine, the answer is up to us. We determine what it means to endure to the end. We decide if there is more to the temple than we have received. I know the Lord is pleased with any efforts we make to follow His example. Any relief we can give to the poor, the hungry, the suffering is met with appreciation by the Lord and our Father in Heaven.

Use Temple Instruction at Home

Isn’t it possible there is more to the temple than we receive there? What if the Lord intended for us to practice some of the things we are taught there, such as the True Order of Prayer, in our own homes? Is that going beyond the bounds the Lord has set? And, by the way, who is it that determines what those bounds are – the Lord or the Prophet? Should they be one and the same?

Here are the Keys of the Priesthood

When I prayed about a response to Darin, the Lord reminded me of section 121, which has been a part of the dialog in the last two posts. The phrases that came to mind are found in verses 41-42: “…by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge…” Then the Lord surprised me with some additional insight.

The Powers of Heaven Defined

Part of the dialog on priesthood revolved around the word “powers.” We have discussed not just power in the priesthood but powers of heaven. What are the powers of heaven? We determined there are at least angels, archangels, principalities, powers, dominions, thrones, cherubim and Seraphim. Above those are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, which we strive to be.

How to Relate to True Messengers

The thought that occurred to me in prayer was this: How do I relate to the powers of heaven? We teach the right way to deal with our fellow man is by using the guidelines in verses 41 and 42. If you back up and look closely at verse 36, or parse it, as someone we know is wont to say, you’ll find it includes instructions on how to relate to the powers of heaven, including true messengers.

The Way of Life and Salvation

After all, isn’t that the first step we should be taking – to receive true messengers from God? As far as I remember, it is these messengers who will lead us in the way of life and salvation. Have I prepared myself to receive true messengers? Do I know what I would ask of them if given such an opportunity? Would I be kind to them, gentle and meek? Will I persuade them to help me?

Do Not Violate Sacred Obligations

Going back to the title of my post, you will note I’m discussing some aspects of the temple in this post. In fact, I have discussed the temple many times on my blog, including the True Order of Prayer. As I pointed out in that post, I asked the Lord if it was OK to share my thoughts on the subject. The Lord said yes. To me, that was evidence I had not violated any sacred obligations.

Blogging as a Gift of the Spirit

I feel the same way with each of my posts lately. I pray about each one of them. I ask the Lord what he would have me share. I seek inspiration as I write. I believe writing in an informative, uplifting and inspiring manner is one of the gifts of the spirit we should seek. I know some people are uncomfortable with some of the things I share. Again, who is setting the bounds?

Testimony of Jesus Spirit of Prophecy

Now for my responses to Darin: Yes, I do quote Denver Snuffer as if he were a prophet of the Lord. That’s because anyone who has a testimony of Jesus and speaks in His name under the power and influence of the Holy Ghost has the spirit of prophecy and is therefore a prophet. I know what you mean by THE prophet. Perhaps we could discuss this to better understand.

Would God that all were Prophets

Just because President Monson is an inspired man whom we sustain as a prophet, seer and revelator does not mean that there are no other prophets. This is obvious because we also sustain the other members of the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers and revelators. Does that mean only they can receive revelation?

God Speaks to Many People

Of course they’re not the only men to whom the Lord speaks. We agree they are the only ones the Lord will inspire with direction binding upon all members of the church. But this doesn’t mean there can’t be other prophets who deliver messages from the Lord. It is up to us to decide for ourselves if we accept messages from others who claim they have a message from the Lord.

Don’t Put Limits on the Lord

I know this is a hard concept for members of the church to accept, but it is true nonetheless. I know what you’re thinking. Follow the Prophet. Amos 3:7. If the Lord has a message for us, he will deliver it through the President of the Church. Wait a minute. Not so fast. Don’t put limits on the Lord. I know he doesn’t want us to be confused. That’s why we have D&C section 28.

Write Not by Way of Commandment

The story of Hiram Page, the seer-stone incident, is instructive for all who write under the spirit of inspiration or revelation. In D&C 28, Oliver was taught “…thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church…” He was instructed to take Hiram Page aside and teach him this principle.

Write by Way of Wisdom

I’m glad we had this little incident early on in our church history. It has helped tremendously when others have claimed to speak on behalf of the Lord by way of commandment. And that’s the key here. What Denver Snuffer shares in his books, on his blog and in his lectures, as far as I have been able to tell, is not by way of commandment, but by wisdom, for us to consider.

Lead us to the Lord’s Scriptures

Just because I can quote Denver Snuffer doesn’t mean I can’t also quote President Monson or any one of the fifteen men who lead this church. Besides, quoting Denver isn’t so hard. Anyone can do it. Just look up a keyword on his blog and there you go. I quote Him because I find his words to be enlightening, uplifting and instructive. They have turned me to the scriptures.

Controlling What Members May Publish

You wrote Denver got into trouble because people began quoting him. I don’t think that’s why he was excommunicated, unless you know something I don’t. He was cast off because he would not withdraw Passing the Heavenly Gift from publication. You can read the letter from his stake president on Denver’s blog. Even his stake president referred people to Denver’s blog for details.

Press On Until We Meet With the Lord

I finish this post the way I started, by referring to that third paragraph in Darin’s comment. I hear you, Darin. I don’t think we should choose to live in depression if we feel our prayers haven’t been answered and we haven’t been visited by the Lord. I think we should continue to humbly petition the Lord to help us prepare to come into His presence either in this life or in the next.

Appetites and Passions, Not What we Write

I appreciate the reminder from Darin to not go beyond the bounds the Lord has set. I’d like to open the dialog with that thought. It has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since two fellow bloggers were excommunicated for referring to PtHG and writing they found good in the book. I feel the same way. I found wisdom there. Is Denver’s book beyond the bounds the Lord has set?

Bringing On the Apocalypse


CoronalMassEjectionI was invited to join a panel of fellow authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. I have a copy and have perused it. I intend to read it within the next month or two. The book was published by Cedar Fort in January and is available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller. Reviews on Goodreads are favorable.

Promoting Discussion of the Last Days

The idea behind the panel is obviously to promote discussion of the last days, the apocalypse, the end-times or whatever you want to call them. The bottom line of course is Randy and Cedar Fort want to sell copies of the book, as does any author and publishing house. Inasmuch as I also have been working on a novel on the subject, I agreed to participate on the panel. I’m honored but feel a little unqualified because my own book has not even been completed yet, let alone published.

Fiction Based on Prophecy

In any event, I took a few minutes to ponder and answer the first question presented to the panel. Randy proposes to present a new question each week. It’s a good idea. If you’re interested in this subject, you might want to pop over to Randy’s blog and add your two cents. Just remember, it’s a work of fiction, even though he’s asking us to comment on the premise or doctrine behind it.  In my response to Randy when invited to join, I wrote the following rather pessimistic stuff:

“I’ve got to tell you from years of gauging interest of the Saints in end-of-the-world type stuff, it’s woefully disheartening. To be frank, most LDS folks don’t want to think about it, don’t believe it will happen in their lifetime and are terribly uneducated on the signs of the times or especially what will happen when the Savior returns.

“To most, it is all very generic: ‘Oh, there’s going to be some destruction and the wicked will be killed, but then the Savior will come and all will be well.’ They either do not understand or believe what they read in our own scriptures, especially the books of Revelation, Joel, Daniel and other key sources.”

Recent Publications on The Last Days

I admit my assessment may have been a little harsh. There are those, like my High Priest Group Leader, who is extremely interested in the Last Days. He recently taught us on the subject using the book, 65 Signs of Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges. The book is more than a checklist. I highly recommend it. Another LDS author I like who writes about this subject is Hoyt W. Brewster. His book is Behold, I Come Quickly: The Last Days and Beyond.

Earlier Publications on The Last Days

Of course we can’t forget some favorites from times past: Prophecy: Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther and The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund. I would be remiss if I did not include the Prophecy Trilogy from my friend Anthony Larson: 1) And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, 2) And the Earth Shall Reel To and Fro, 3) And There Shall Be a New Heaven and a New Earth. My novel, Red Sky is based on the opening scenario presented in Anthony’s first book.

The First Question to the Panel

Randy asked, “Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?” And the response I posted over there:

My Definition of the Apocalypse

First, let’s agree on the definition of apocalypse. I’ll offer mine by expressing what it is not. The apocalypse is NOT the end of the world. Yes, it is a period of great destruction and catastrophe with billions of people killed by the natural events prophesied, but the world survives. And so do a lot of people. It is these natural events, including the close approach of another celestial body which Anthony has already described in his comments above that brings on the apocalypse.

We Cannot Bring On the Apocalypse

Second, the apocalypse is not something we can control or avoid. The Lord has warned us and warned us over and over again in so many different scriptures it is already on its way. The arm of the Lord is a phrase that has great significance. It refers to something happening in the heavens that the world will see. The Lord has told us he is returning with the armies of heaven, and with the City of Enoch, a piece of this earth that was physically removed and taken up into heaven.

We Can Observe Signs of the Times

We read terrible things in the news that are significant to LDS theology and say to ourselves, “Ah, hah. Another sign of the times,” and indeed we are usually correct. Wars and rumors of wars, economic turmoil, man’s loss of natural affection for his brethren demonstrated by deeds of atrocity, nations coming to an end, rampant wickedness, corruption, immorality and the list goes on and on. I have one thing to say about all these: “Man, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet

Obviously, Anthony and I are in agreement as this reflects what he has already stated. Even when we talk about hundreds of thousands killed by earthquakes and tsunamis, the size of these catastrophes are nothing compared to what will happen when a “great mountain burning with fire [is] cast into the sea,” or “there [falls] a great star from heaven,” or the sun moon and stars are smitten so that the sun is darkened and the moon glows red as blood with heat. Catastrophic!

Watch For Signs in the Sun

In my mind, the event that is currently happening is the sun is not following the normal pattern scientists are used to seeing for many centuries of observation. The eleven-year cycle seems to be a little out of whack. Watch the signs in the sun. Coronal mass ejections from sunspots are the thing we really need to be watching. One massive CME can produce an EMP that could wipe out power grids and communication systems all across the globe. Stay tuned to SpaceWeather.com.

You can read more about my work of fiction based on the close approach of a large celestial body under the Red Sky tab here on my blog.

Home and Back Again: A Book Review


Not about The Hobbit

HomeAndBackAgainNo, this is not about The Hobbit. That’s subtitled, There and Back Again. This one is subtitled, My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Of course, The Hobbit was written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is one of my favorites from the first time I read it in High School. By the way, I loved Peter Jackson’s screen adaptions. I don’t even mind he split the book into three movies.

Kindles and Books

Besides socks and other needed clothing, Christmas around our house always brings books, and lots of them. I suppose we’re old-fashioned that way. Even though we both have Kindles, there’s just something about holding a book in your hand. I think it’s the feeling of permanence. Kindles rely on battery power and electricity. Someday, Kindles will probably be useless. But a book…

Libraries Full of Books

Yes, I know paper degrades. Some of the books from my childhood are showing signs of age, but then so am I. We seem to treasure books, else why so many great libraries around the world? But I digress. This is a review of one of the eight books I received for Christmas. If you’re interested, I’ll share the list of other books found under the tree. The first three will take some time to read.

Books Received for Christmas

1. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1, 1832-1839, published 2008
2. Light in the Wilderness, Explorations in the Spiritual Life, M. Catherine Thomas, 2010
3. Journey to the Veil, by John Pontius, compiled by Terri Pontius, 2013, Cedar Fort
4. Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith, with minor updates by Robert Smith, 2012
5. The Journey, Receiving our Endowment, Jeremy Oakes, 2013, Journey to the Fullness
6. Joseph’s Interviews with Moroni 21-22 Sep 1823, private imprint (Thanks, Michael)
7. Correlation: An Uncorrelated History, Interview with Daymon Smith, private imprint
8. Home and Back Again, Imelda Lorayna Fowler with Thomas E. Fowler, 2012

Private Imprints / Self-Publishing

It’s interesting that the last five books on the list are private imprints or self-published. Things are changing in the book publishing world. It’s about the last book on the list I want to write. As soon as I opened it Christmas morning, I began to read it and finished it within a few hours. I could not put it down. I give it five stars, just like most every other reviewer on Amazon did.

Near-Death Experiences

Yes, it’s a book about an NDE, or Near-Death Experience. Last January I pulled a bunch of NDE books from my library and wrote short reviews of each. Someone then brought this book to my attention as one I would want to add to my library. Having read it now, I couldn’t agree more. Imelda and Tommy did a great job telling her story. If you read this, thank you both for sharing.

Died on the Operating Table

This is the story of Imelda Fowler, who, if your Google her name and Powerlifting, you will discover holds several records for her weight class of 97 pounds. But that’s not what her story is about. One day, back in 2004, her appendix burst and she died on the operating table. In fact, she continued to leave her body many times after that and described several of her spirit journeys.

Lives Forever Changed

In Tommy’s introduction, he wrote he had probably read hundreds of NDE’s. That’s something he and I have in common. He notes he has, like Dr. Moody, interviewed hundreds of persons who have gone to the other side and then returned. Their lives forever changed. I can attest to that, having experienced my own NDE in 1974. It changed my ability to sense and hear spirits.

Opinions of Skeptics

I like what Imelda had to say about skeptics on page 56: “I have to laugh at skeptics and experts who ridicule those of us who have had the privilege to visit the other side. What is considered reality on this side is smoke and mirrors when compared to the fullness of life that awaits us in our eternal home. My heart pities the nay-sayers for their blindness…

Ignorance and Arrogance

“…they ignorantly and sometimes arrogantly keep trying to prove that this life is all there is. Why they feel the need to do so is perplexing to me. Sadly, when they return home, and they will, that reality will hit them in the face like an iron fist. If you are one of those skeptics and when in the future, you finally come to the realization that you have died…

Some Spirits Wander Aimlessly

“…many wander aimlessly in that realm not knowing or else they are not willing to admit they are dead… I beg of you please, when you come to that realization, swallow your pride and just look up. There you will see a being(s) of light that has been hovering over you and is patiently waiting for you. He/she will guide you through the process of returning home.” (Edited)

Some LDS Perspective

Imelda’s account has some unique characteristics. Although never directly noted, she and Tommy are faithful members of the LDS church. They live close by me here in Southern California (San Pedro). I have never met them or heard of them before but immediately felt a kinship because of the good job they did in telling their story. They are also close to my age.

A Little Background

Tommy is an IT guy like me. He served his mission in the Philippines, where he met Imelda. After returning home, he wrote her. They developed a friendship. They agreed to fast together on a certain day and time. Both received a confirmation they were to marry. It took her nine months to make it to the states. Their first kiss was over the altar of the Oakland temple.

A Very Readable Story

Imelda has a delightful sense of humor in telling her story. Reading about their early days as young marrieds and her acclimatization to living in America was wonderful. This is not meant to be a theological treatise. It is simply her story, told plainly, without too much elaboration, but just enough explanation to keep it interesting. I learned several things and had others confirmed.

A View of the Plain of Hell

Many NDE accounts have commonalities. Imelda’s shared some of those, but what made hers so fascinating was the description of the plain of hell. I have read only a few others who describe it in a similar manner, one being Angie Fenimore’s Beyond the Darkness. It confirmed for me the idea of spirits being stuck in hell because of pride or arrogance. They won’t look up for help. See also Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie.

A Special Treat: The Grand Council

You’re in for a special treat on pages 77-82 as Imelda describes her experience in meeting the Lord for the second time and going before the Father to determine what she would do. Like so many others have related, she was given the choice to stay or to return to her pain-filled body. She chose to return because of her love for her family. She knew her mission wasn’t over yet.

Meeting the Adversary

Chapter seven for me was also a delight, although you may think it strange. She describes meeting the adversary. This is an area with which I am familiar. I too have met him, or at least some of his agents. The way she described his language is exactly how he has talked to me, the same way his minions do. Mental discipline is the only thing that keeps the voices quiet for me.

Lots of Good Teachings

I’ll not give away any more of the story. I simply wanted to share it with my endorsement. There is too much good stuff in the book to describe in a short review. I believe I recognize Tommy’s contributions in the doctrinal portions. I’m not trying to take anything away from what Imelda has shared, especially the idea of relationships being so important from an eternal perspective. Tommy sounds like a great guy.

A Terrible Vision of the Future

Reading Imelda’s story is a classic example of why the subject of NDE’s is one of my favorites. It takes courage to share such accounts. Her story strengthened my faith and understanding. She even included a terrible vision of the future (page 64) that coincided with what I have seen in my mind’s eye as I have studied the subject in the scriptures. The issue is timing. Nobody knows for sure when such a vision will be fulfilled.

A Sweet and Valuable Book

Get the book and read it. It’s only 120 pages. Amazon has it for about $13, printed on demand. I’ll always remember the sweet peaceful feelings that came into my heart as I read it Christmas afternoon. There is a ton of truth packed into this little book. Imelda is bold in declaring that the Savior and the Father lives. She has seen them. I believe her and thank her for sharing her story.

An Invitation to Dialog

As always, this blog is open to your comments, questions, criticisms or anything you want to say on the subject. You can also email me privately. Want to know more about dealing with voices from the spirit world? I can share more. Want to know more about my own NDE? I can point you to previous posts where I describe it. Want to discuss the book? I’d love to read your ideas.

Here is a link to a recording of her speaking at IANDS Utah from Nov 2013: http://iandsutah.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/iands-13-11-nov-2013-medy-fowler.mp3 (It takes time to load)

 

A New Prophet in Town


ProphetJosephSmithThe Thesis of this Short Blog Post

This is a small Mormon-based blog read by few people. I don’t think I appear on anyone’s list of recommended LDS blogs any more. That probably started when I went public with book reviews of the now-excommunicated Denver Snuffer. In this post, I would like us to consider for just a moment the possibility that the Lord could send a messenger or servant to the LDS people who did NOT come from the rank and file of the General Authorities or the Quorum of the Twelve. It has happened in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Isn’t it possible it could happen in our day?

A Small Diversion for My Aching Head

Friday night Carol and I went to see Catching Fire, the latest episode of the Hunger Games series. It was a welcome distraction from a difficult week at work, and a sort of celebration for me for having completed 712 hours of advanced technical training over the past nine months. For those who follow my blog, you’ll remember it was also some nine months ago I had what I considered a couple of undesirable existential experiences that drove me to the ER for treatment. I still suffer continual headaches but have made recent progress in other, more important areas. I’ve shared details in previous posts. Email me if you want to know more and can’t find it.

A Surprising Whispering of the Spirit

At the end of the movie I was surprised to hear the spirit whisper something to me I was not expecting. It had nothing to do with the movie, but rather was an answer to questions I carry in my heart. I don’t have doubts about the church – never had. But I always have questions – still do. In my interpretation, I heard, “You are to be an observer and a witness. You were not sent here to manage or control anything.” I was astonished because it answered a long-standing prayer about my mission in life. I was also surprised because that seemed like an unusual time and place to receive inspiration or revelation. Perhaps it’s because my mind was disengaged. My spirit soared as I considered the implications of what I had just heard or rather felt in my heart.

Witnessing the Fulfillment of Prophecy

I started this blog some six years ago with the intention of sharing personal commentary of things coming to pass in my day that could possibly be based on scriptural prophecy, such as the surprising news today that the United States has made a deal with Iran to admit them into the nuclear weapons club. In my mind, this pulls the trigger of Israel’s attack on that country, and the response by the rest of the world, including the United States, in uniting against Israel in what will ultimately be WW III. I now consider myself more of an interpreter of current events that are LDS related, specifically about what is happening among church members. I do this mainly by writing reviews of books that deal with topics recommended to me by some church members.

Questioning the Traditional Narrative

In January of 2012 I was introduced to the writings of one now persona non-grata among our LDS writers, a man recently excommunicated for writing a book of doctrinal analysis that also happens to contain a lot of LDS history, told from historic and scriptural sources. Passing the Heavenly Gift was not written by collecting and combining anti-Mormon stories circulating out there. Denver Snuffer, an attorney by trade, questioned the traditional narrative of how we have taught ourselves what happened to the LDS Church at the end of the Nauvoo period in 1844. Denver Snuffer is also the author of the widely-recommended book, The Second Comforter.

Cursings Instead of Blessings

I wonder why nobody has commented on Denver’s latest blog post yet, also published this last Friday. Perhaps I’ve missed where it was shared among all the Mormon blogs out there. If so, someone kindly point me to the source. I’ve been pondering it for three days. I even re-read the scriptures regarding this post with Carol on Friday night. Before we had completed reading the passage, she said, “Well, of course that’s right. I taught the D&C in Seminary and remember this well.” I am referring of course to the verses in Section 124 where the Lord promised “Cursings Instead of Blessings” if the Nauvoo Temple was not completed within the designated time.

Pondering in the Temple

I went to the temple yesterday specifically to ponder what I felt in my heart on Friday night. Yep, I heard it right. The feeling remained the same. What Denver wrote in that post deserves our serious consideration. As Carol said to me, “Everyone knows the saints were cursed for not completing the temple like they were supposed to. They had too many other building projects going on.” We discussed their having to leave Nauvoo in the dead of winter, crossing over the frozen Mississippi River, a miracle of sorts, although not as uncommon as I once thought. We talked about the difficulties and hardships of crossing the plains. Carol served her mission in Independence, Missouri. She knows what winter is like in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. Brrr…

This Post Qualifies as Sunday Worship

It is Sunday morning as I write this. I hope somehow to get this post published by the end of the day. Our Sundays have become too full with the addition of ward and stake choir practices both before and after our regular block of meetings. It takes a lot of energy for me to memorize and harmonize Christmas choral numbers even though we have both been doing it for years. When we’re done with choir practice, Carol wants to sit and vegetate in front of the TV. ‘Tis the season for Christmas shows. Since I can’t get this off my mind, I’ve asked the Lord to help me get this published tonight. I’m taking a vacation next week to catch up with the ton of private emails from readers. I hope to publish this tonight for subscribers to read Monday morning.

Thesis Revisited for Clarification

I want to state it again and ask you to ponder it seriously. Is it possible the Lord could or might call a man to deliver a message to the general population of the church? We know that flies in the face of D&C 28:5-7. It also goes contrary to the standard narrative (now mantra) taught in this church that any message from God to his people will come from the prophet and only from the prophet. Today, this of course refers to Thomas S. Monson, the man we (and I) sustain as the president of the church. We have also given the fifteen men who lead this church the title of “prophet, seer and revelator.” I also sustain these men as leaders in our church. But could there possibly be other men, not among these fifteen, sent by the Lord with a message that the Lord wants his people to hear and understand? It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? It would be too confusing.

Kingdom of God on the Earth

Thus, as I have written before, the church was right in following established procedure of having Denver Snuffer excommunicated or barred from membership in the organization of the church. It has happened many times before and will happen many times again before the days of the LDS church as an established organization are over. Wait, did I just imply that the LDS Church as we know it today could possibly be dissolved or disorganized when the Lord returns? Haven’t I used that phrase all my life in teaching classes, speaking from the pulpit, in private and public prayer? I have. Isn’t the LDS Church the Kingdom of God on the Earth today? Aren’t we Zion? You mean this church we belong to will no longer be needed when the Lord comes? Poppycock!

Be Careful What You Write in This Church

I brought this up once before and was severely castigated by a former colleague on the High Council, now a Stake President at BYU Idaho. As he wrote in response to my Aug 19 post in a comment left on Facebook on Aug 21: “The statement that the LDS Church will not be on the earth when the Savior comes is a provocative statement and not true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth and is awaiting the kingdom of heaven to arrive where they will be united (See all of D&C 65). The Lord’s Church is the way wherein Israel and Gentiles are brought to a fullness and to fully come unto Christ.” And my response:

We Have Changed What We Teach These Days

“…you’ll have to forgive me. I’m an old guy. I grew up in an era where High Council speakers would shoot from the hip (not read prepared talks). I always loved listening to High Council speakers, especially those who took it seriously to prepare. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that statement growing up in the old Covina Stake, that ‘someday, there will be no more LDS church. We won’t need it. The Lord will run things without this institution we have built up over the years (that’s paraphrasing).’ The closest thing I could find to back this up is this quote from Daniel Peterson: ‘The church today, as has often been noted, is simply the essential but temporary scaffolding that surrounds an eternal family-priesthood structure in the process of construction; until that construction is complete at some point in the postmortal future, priesthood is mediated through and associated with the church.’ I think Brother Peterson and I see priesthood similarly. The church needs the priesthood, not the other way around.

The Church is Just a Temporary Scaffolding

“I even seem to recall either Elder Packer or Elder Perry talking about the church being the temporary scaffolding that won’t be needed when the Lord comes because the priesthood will run things – everything – in that there would no longer be a need for the LDS institution as we know it today. Not trying to argue with you. I do appreciate your comments and getting me to read section 65 again. Thanks for leading me to the scriptures. PS – No response necessary. I know you’re a busy man.” Adding to that Facebook comment: I feel stronger today than I did back in August that the LDS Church is a temporary institution, and was NOT what the Lord intended to be the conclusion of what he tried to accomplish through Joseph Smith. What the Lord wanted to reveal to the Saints was never revealed. It had everything to do with the Nauvoo Temple not being completed and therefore, the church going into exile, disorganized and cursed by the Lord.

Love and Devotion in the LDS Church

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love this church. It has blessed my life. I have tried to be as submissive as I could from the day the Lord told me at age 17 the following: “Joseph could not teach the people everything because they would not receive nor could it be taught outside the temple.” That’s almost a direct quote from personal revelation recorded in my journal. I’ve written about this before as part of my testimony in the early part of this blog. I have been blessed by choosing to serve a mission, seeking and receiving revelation as to who to marry in the temple, accepting every calling ever issued and even by singing in the choir when practices consume so much from me besides time. I love to teach, I love to preach. I love to take the sacrament and I love the temple. As I’ve said so many times before, if asked by my leaders, I would delete this blog without a second thought. I’m more interested in keeping covenants.

Only Christ Can Provide Certain Things

I’ll conclude with this: I’m missing something I cannot receive from this church and so are most of you. I feel like my friend the Stake President mocked me when he asked: “…if you’re saying you aren’t being fulfilled at church, or by the standard works, where else are you looking to be fulfilled? Is Denver Snuffer going to tell you something more powerful than President Monson? Is Max Skousen going to reveal something more relevant than Abinadi? It would be like a thirsty man leaving the safety of the oasis to go seek water in the desert wastes. So again, my question is, what can Denver teach me that the Savior cannot?” I answered him there but I’ll also answer here. I want the world to know why I think the Lord has sent us a legitimate prophet in the form of Denver Snuffer. I know that is a blasphemous claim to some. Please try to understand.

Church is Filled With Men Who Love God

I have loved every Bishop with whom I’ve served as counselors or clerks over the past twenty-five years – a dozen. I have loved every Stake President who presided over me, inspired me, led me, helped me learn how to administer so well, and some even how to minister better. My bishop asked me to come in to talk recently. I’ve never had a bishop do that. He said the Lord told him to do so. The first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t know why the Lord prompted me to have you see me, but I feel impressed he wants me to tell you that you are loved. We talked for almost two hours about what it’s like to raise a son who is both a genius and is afflicted with mental and drug issues. I did a lot of crying in that first meeting. I could not help myself. But I never got around to what I really wanted to talk about. The spirit didn’t prompt me to do so.

Called In To Speak With The Bishop

We met a second time about a month later. This was within the last week. Once again I hoped the spirit would prompt me to bring up the real issues that were troubling me. We had a visit that I would describe as two servants of the Lord talking about what it’s like to stay on the path while serving in this church. He taught me from the scriptures. I went home and shared them with my wife that evening in our scripture study. They are found in Ether 12:27 about why God gives men weaknesses – so they can be humble. The other was in 2nd Nephi 9:28-30. He emphasized verse thirty where Nephi has Jacob teach us the importance of having our hearts set in the right place. I wanted so much to talk about specific steps one must follow to be taught by angels or have the Lord visit me in my home as my patriarchal blessing promises me I shall be. But again, I felt constrained by the spirit to not bring the matter up. I have asked myself why that would be so.

The Church No Longer Teaches Detailed Steps

I feel better about it now. As I write this section, it is after church. The assigned teacher for our High Priest’s group did not show up. The group leader was out of town. The First Assistant asked, “Has anyone read the assigned talks from General Conference we were asked to discuss?” A good worthy brother volunteered and led the most inspiring discussion of the Redemption of Jesus Christ and the desire of the Savior to forgive. You’ll find both in the April 2013 General Conference addresses. During the discussion someone mentioned the idea of a checklist of things we need to accomplish before we die. He even mentioned “that some people feel you must have your calling and election sure, but we’re not supposed to talk about that.” I felt I just had to add a few comments and spoke for nearly five minutes about the idea that not only can we receive the Second Comforter, but that we were commanded to do so by Joseph just before he died in 1844.

Discussing The Second Comforter in Church

Nobody was aghast. Nobody complained. Nobody said, “I’m going to tell on you for talking about something that is forbidden.” To the contrary, I felt the rapt attention of all twenty or so High Priests in the room, nodding their heads in agreement, saying, “That’s right,” and adding their comments that, to me, seemed to be in agreement to my words spoken with passion, “I don’t know why we hear we’re not supposed to talk about receiving the Second Comforter. I shared my witness of seeing the Savior in the Garden and then explaining in my own words what really happened that night that to me, answers the question, “How is it done?” asked by Enos. I ended by asking, “Why do we feel in this church that we can’t talk about receiving the Savior? Why don’t we teach each other how it is done, step by step? Of course I didn’t mention Denver Snuffer but I basically taught them a combination of Denver’s witness from Come, Let us Adore Him from memory, as well as my own witness. Was that wrong? No. The Spirit had prompted it.

Back to the Thesis for a Conclusion

Why did the Church excommunicate Denver Snuffer? He was cut off for publishing Passing the Heavenly Gift and for conducting the lecture tour in which he is now engaged and which he is almost halfway through. A convert to our faith, who claims to have done as we were taught by Joseph Smith – he received the Lord in person – has been expelled from our association solely for delivering a message he claims he was commanded to deliver. I believe the Lord has sent us a legitimate prophet or messenger with a specific message and as an authorized representative of the Lord. After nearly two years of reading his many works, pondering his words and praying numerous times, I want to go on public record – hardly anybody reads my blog anyway – that Denver Snuffer is a servant of the Lord, doing what the Lord told him to do. I have asked this of the Lord too many times to count. I knew it the first day I read PtHG and it has not changed even though the man has been separated from our association by force. I am not saying the fifteen men we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators are not authorized by the Lord to lead our church.

A Final Thought

What I am saying is we need to open our minds to the possibility that the Lord could and has sent a messenger, another authorized servant, a prophet with a message that we should consider, and to which we should give heed. I know the man is not perfect, but I do know he was asked by the Lord to teach what he has taught – at his own considerable personal expense – and that the Lord will bless him for being obedient, in spite of being cut off by the institution of the LDS Church. I am not the only one who feels this way. There are many who have received their own witness. I may be one of the most vocal and the most visible due a simple fluke of how search engines work. I feel like Joseph Smith when he said, “I had seen a vision, I knew it and God knew it. How could I deny it?” (paraphrasing) You can tell me I’m deluded, that I’ve been deceived – join the crowd – but that will not change the fact that the Lord has told me over and over that the man cut off by our church for apostasy was simply doing what he was asked to do by a kind and loving Savior. I am like Brigham Young. I studied this for nearly two years. The witness only grows stronger.

Invitation to Dialog – Open to Discussion

I know many of you disagree. I have written about this over twenty times. It started out as a simple book review. Until today, I don’t think I have ever come out and directly expressed my feelings that Denver Snuffer’s books and lectures were inspired by and accepted by the Lord. In other words, why excommunicate a man for doing what he felt the Lord told him to do? I did not find the books to be a trial to my faith, although I know others differ with my opinion. I don’t feel this is a competition between Thomas Monson and Denver Snuffer. What I know about keys is that they give the one who holds them permission to perform a specific assignment. I have no problem answering the question: “Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?” The answer is yes. But I cannot deny when the spirit tells me the Lord gave Denver Snuffer an assignment that he is doing his best to fulfill. I simply do not see any conflict. What do you think?

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.

01. 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?

02. 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.

03. 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.

04. 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.

05. 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.

05. 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.

06. 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.

07. 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.

08. 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.

09. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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?

19. 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.

20. 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.

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.

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