Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council

NoticeToAppearFor those who don’t know, Denver Snuffer has been served with a notice to appear before the Stake Presidency and High Council to answer charges of apostasy for the publication of his book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” Carol and I just discussed this. I continue to feel that he was not surprised, knew this was coming and, in effect, intended to force the hand of the church.

I have publically written about Denver

I am in somewhat of a difficult position because of the number of articles I have written and posted on my blog, most of them in the form of book reviews. I think it interesting that my post on Monday was originally entitled, “The LDS Church Excommunicates those who Know Christ.” Because of the uproar over the title I changed it to something a bit less offensive.

A Day of Sadness for me

I will not deny I am saddened this day has arrived. If he is excommunicated, it will free him up to say some of the things he wanted to say, similar to what happened to Max Skousen. He has asked that we not call him. He, and especially his family, deserves privacy. None of us know at this time how he will respond to the requirements placed upon him to avoid the council.

Requirements of Stake President

One of the requirements is that he cancels his planned lecture series scheduled to begin next month. His response is evident in that he discusses the need to change recording arrangements. I think it is obvious he is not intending to comply with the requirements of the Stake President. Also, as of this moment, Passing the Heavenly Gift is still available for purchase at Amazon.

My Personal Opinion of Denver’s Work

As far as my personal opinions about the work of Denver Snuffer, they have not changed. I have made it clear how I feel in my book reviews and several other published articles. If Denver is excommunicated, I will now have to answer the below temple recommend question for myself with a little bit more thought. I’ve never had to consider this before – never thought it applied.

The Temple Recommend Question

The question is, “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I always assumed this referred to those who promoted polygamy. As far as I know, Denver does not promote polygamy and has written extensively about it on his blog.

Sympathizer or Supporter

I have lots of friends who have been excommunicated. I have lots of friends who have left the church on their own. That does not mean that I sympathize with their causes. I still want to attend one of Denver’s lectures or at least buy the recordings of each of the lectures. Does that make me a sympathizer or supporter or an apostate if he indeed is disciplined and excommunicated?

PtHG is Apparently Offensive

So it appears it is the publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift that is the issue. My reading of the book simply clarified a whole bunch of crap I had already read on the Internet over the years. It was not new or shocking for me, although I can see how it could be for others who do not read or study church history. But then my opinions do not matter a hill of beans in this particular case.

Placed Church in a Negative Light

According to the posted letter, Denver has “mischaracterized doctrine, denigrated virtually every prophet since Joseph Smith and placed the church in a negative light.” I would hate to sit on the High Council and give my opinion because I would have to disagree with that. The decision belongs to the Stake President. I pray that whatever happens moves the work of God forward.

Comments

Steve said…
“Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

Do I support Denver? Yes.

Do I affiliate with him? Well, I read his books/blogs/essays and attend his talks. Guess that could be a yes.

Do I agree with him? On most things.

Do his teachings oppose those accepted by the Church? In some areas, yes.

Do they oppose those taught by Joseph? I don't think so.

So this could make an interesting discussion, don't you think?
mmmmm1234 said…
What a sad day. I consider Denver to have written some of the most insightful doctrinal commentary, and it will a shame if that commentary no longer comes from someone who can claim membership. What a sad day.
mmmmm1234 said…
It should say "it will be a shame" ...
“Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

Yes, the Boy Scouts of America.

Enough said.
Michael A. said…
Considering that counselors in both my bishopric & stake presidency have read all of Denver's books, including PtHG, we could likely have a very productive discussion...
PeanutButterAnteater said…
"whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"

That question involves a number of judgment calls, and pretty much only the person being questioned is qualified to make them. What, for instance, constitutes a "teaching or practice ... [of] the Church?" It's not difficult to find false doctrine in the average testimony meeting or Sunday School class, or even in various materials published by Church leaders. What does it mean to "support" people teaching those things? I "support" my "less-active" family members in that I'll willingly give them aid or comfort as needed, and I certainly "affiliate" with them in that I'm unashamedly part of their family, despite several of their practices which run counter to those the Church espouses. Furthermore, I continue to struggle with many of my own practices which are counter to Church teaching.
mmmmm1234 said…
Regarding the temple interview question, I think unless you agree with *everything* Denver has ever stated and "follow" him as you would a church leader, I think you're still okay. I agree with things that a wide range of excommunicated members have written, but I don't feel aligned 100% with them in such a way that I'm opposed to the Church. Since we will never know all of the details of his disciplinary council, those who read his writings will probably never know the specific parts of his book(s) that are deemed to be contrary and in opposition to the Church. So, it would still seem like a big "maybe" to me. And my experience is if the answer is in a gray area (especially on that question), those giving the recommend interview rarely want to spend time on it.

I agree with a lot of what I've read of Denver's, but there are some things that I'm unsure about. As long as I have some doubts about parts of his output, I think I'm okay... and even though I sense that he may be correct about many, many things, I'm on the slow path to understanding all of it. He has written so much, and it will take me years to reach the point where I could say conclusively I agree 100% with Brother Snuffer and his views of the modern Church.
Angela C said…
The church itself affiliates with churches that consider us a cult. We call this interfaith effort.
Tim Oaks said…
I think it is very wrong what is being done to Denver Snuffer. I believe him to be an honest man not satisfied with the shallow standard mormon answer that has found more truth than I will probably ever know. I appreciate his efforts and condemn the effort to slience him.
Tim Oaks
John T said…
Certainly doesn't recognize authoritative keys, and evidently doesn't care about church membership.

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
David W. said…
Regarding authoritative keys from his blog,

"From the smallest branch to the largest ward, through all the areas, missions, stakes, wards and branches of the church, there is not a single place in the church where President Thomas Monson would not be recognized as the presiding authority in any meeting he attended. He could go anywhere, in any location, in any meeting, and he alone would be the final authority. While a bishop presides and has the keys over his ward, and in that ward can call or release anyone to any position, President Monson would preside over that bishop if he were to attend the ward. No one would doubt or question whether President Monson could release and call a replacement bishop in that, or any, ward. The same is true of any stake president, or any mission president or any area authority, or any general authority. There is simply no one other than President Monson alone who holds the keys to put the church in order. Period."
Ben said…
Read this post by him and see if you still agree that he doesn't care about his membership:

http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-ongoing-battle.html

I am sad that Denver is in the crosshairs of losing his membership, while those that I consider much more dangerous not only keep their church membership, but actively hold it up as a sort of validation that what they are doing is right while they are openly cultivate doubt about the very foundations of the restoration.

I don't expect this will end without him receiving discipline, but I hope it can be avoided.
Annalea said…
I find it interesting that one of the bitterest statements is about denigrating the church presidents after Joseph. I think anyone who has read primary sources for church history could see that the church history dept. has elevated and idolized them to the point that it's almost impossible to NOT do that. They were men, just as Joseph was. They've made mistakes. Sometimes big ones.

It sounds like the higher echelons of the LDS church don't like some of what has been printed . . . and I'm sad to see that instead of opening a dialogue about it, they're going the smack-down route.

Tim, it looks like it's time to change the title of your last post back. :( And I'm serious. When you altered it, I could feel the Holy Ghost grieving. Don't give in to men when the Holy Spirit prompted you to do something, unless you were specifically told by it to change it to what it is now.
Steve said…
So what does one do when your leader's direction contradicts the direction of the Lord? It seems clear to me whom you should follow. Peter and John chose to follow the Lord instead of the Jewish leaders. Other examples could be cited but the principle is the same. Should Denver be sure of his guidance before defying the stake president? Surely.
Steve said…
The point is that the Lord has given His church His keys (authority), and therefore in principle will always desire that we follow the direction, commands, and counsel of those holding these keys (again with the caveat that we don't believe the keys are being abused to the point that lives are being put in danger, at which point we should seek a church court against such leaders). If you truly believe your more immediate leader is in error, enough so that you want it overturned, you should make an appeal to a higher authority, and continue that process until you have reached the Prophet or your appeal has not been approved and the decision of those in authority over you has been upheld.

Even if you still personally believe the decision is in error, is it worth cutting yourself off from the Kingdom and blessings that come therefrom? Sure, if you want to cut yourself of from the line of heaven and sink yourself to hell (to paraphrase Brigham Young). So I believe the honest answer to that question will always be no, and I don't think you can ever get around that fact unless you believe God has removed his authority and keys from the church. But once again, Denver has stated he believes the authority and keys are still in the church, and I also know this for myself, so I think our discussion has to be within that framework.
Blufish said…
This makes me really sad.
Steve said…
While reading your reply I thought of Paul standing up to Peter on the matter of circumcision. Paul knew he was right and Peter was wrong. I don't for a minute believe that one has to disavow the truth to stay in line with earthly leaders.

I also remember the story of the man of God going against what God told him personally because of his respect for an old prophet in 1 Kings. Bad move on his part.

Steve
goodfighter said…
Yeah, this is sad and I want to be open to understand. My son and I were just talking about apostasy vs heresy....because he surely doesn't seem apostate. Although it probably wouldn't make much difference in a disciplinary council...
Annalea said…
Just re-read my comment . . . so sorry for the bossy overtones. (eek)
Steve said…
Having a private disagreement over doctrine or truth is not the issue. The issue is openly defying and acting in opposition to the declarations made in the name and authority of the Lord by His servants who hold the keys of the Kingdom, that which holds the authority to bind on earth and in heaven. Once those holding the proper keys have prayed about the issue, and tell you that they have felt inspired to tell you that your current course of public action or public teachings are tearing down the kingdom rather than building it up, if they hold true keys they have the right and responsibility to declare as much. And if you disagree with this counsel/instruction you can in sincerity take the course of action I have described above. But if the instruction is upheld by all those holding the keys in higher authority or further review is declined upholding the decision by default, and then you willfully act in opposition against this decision - you have now entered into the realm of apostasy. Private disagreement or even differing opinions/disagreement on things that have not been declared one way or the other as the position of the church, can be considered simply heresy. But when the church, and when I say church I refer to those who hold keys and authority over you, has declared its position in the name of the Lord by the authority of the heavenly keys which they possess, and then you openly revolt and disobey this declaration, if those people truly hold the keys of God, how could you conceive of such an act being anything other than open apostasy and open rebellion against the established order of the Kingdom?

If you want some examples in this dispensation, look to Kirtland (or even Nauvoo) and how the leadership of the church acted in response to when they felt Joseph had done wrong, when they felt they were right and it was Joseph that had strayed from past teachings. Of the 12 only Brigham and Heber stayed true to Joseph, although others later repented. In Utah, the same principles applied when Brigham Young declared the position of the church, and when others went public with their disagreements. Do those heavenly keys that Joseph held still exist in the leadership of the church today? I believe so, Denver has said he believes so, then how is acting in open rebellion any different today than it was for those who apostatized in Kirtland? I can declare by the testimony given me by the Spirit of the Lord within me, there is no difference. How long must we continue to repeat the mistakes of the past and continue kicking against the pricks? The Kingdom of God is here, the Kingdom of God is progressing now, Christ leads this church in this very day, and it is here that Zion will be redeemed. I feel to prophesy that those who cut themselves off from this vine will sorrow with the sorrowing of the damned when they discover their deception and find themselves fighting against God.
Annalea said…
It's interesting, isn't it, how spiritual prompting is such an incredibly powerful motivating force?

Any who cut themselves off from the Lord Jesus Christ are absolutely in trouble. He is the true vine; He said so himself.

Trouble is, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is NOT dependent on men's relationship with any other man, person, or people. It's between him and God. That's why Christ came. Why He won. Why He restored His church in the 1830's. So nobody had to be between Him and man. So He could stand between men and justice, and claim us as His own. Insisting that salvation is dependent on affiliation with a corporate body, that the corporate body is the true vine, sounds awfully strange.
mmmmm1234 said…
Ben, I think I know the types you are referring to. It is an interesting comparison and while I don't suggest that those others be disciplined, it is odd that they would pick on Denver over more subversive voices.
Tim Oaks said…
Amen sister Annalea!!
Tom Irvine said…
If a Jew has no one to quarrel with, he quarrels with God, and we call it theology; or he quarrels with himself, and we call it psychology. Or he quarrels with the psychoanalyst, and we call it literature.

Two Jews and three opinions are better that three Jews with no opinions. Passionate arguments are better than passionless acceptance.

- Elie Wiesel

* * *

Would that we could be more like the Jews.
SteveF said…
I see where your coming from, and it's a nice idea, one that Denver seems to support too, the only problem is that it is not scripturally supported and is simply not true.

The truth is "we without them cannot be made perfect" "there [must be] a welding link of some kind" and "if ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me". In a very real way our relationship with Christ is wholly dependent on our relationship with others. Do you really believe a child can speak evil against his mother, and not incur the wrath of a righteous and perfectly loving husband? If a husband binds himself to a wife, can a child reject his mother, cut his sealing off from her, and yet expect to retain his personal and sealing relationship with his father, when the father has not divorced his wife?

If Christ has not rejected his wife, as a perfect and loving husband would, he will sustain and support His church. I have a personal witness that he has not rejected his wife, and the church retains the authority and keys he has granted to her through their sealing. Like it or not, Christ has chosen to bind himself to a church run by imperfect mortals, and he will not reject her due to honest flaws and mistakes that are part of natural progression. It is a fallacy to believe you can reject the Kingdom of God on earth, and then expect to find yourself in the Kingdom of God in heaven. The two are inextricably linked, this is the very meaning of the keys of the kingdom and the sealing power that "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
M. said…
Joseph Smith in History of the Church Volume 5, page 340:

"Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was fall of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council.

"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 trammelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.

"The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown, because of his teachings in relation to the beasts. Whether they actually corrected him or not, I am a little doubtful, but don't care[.]"
Annalea said…
Thanks, Brother Tim. ;)
Annalea said…
Timely. And pertinent!
M. said…
I don't know much of Denver's writings you've read (I've found that's often not a prerequisite to opining that he is wrong or mistaken), but consider what if he's right?

I'd invite you to read and ponder at least the last half of http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-am-mormon-part-5.html.
Tom Irvine said…
Acts 4

[18] And they (Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, et al) called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

[19] But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

[20] For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Ray said…
Tim, here is my analysis of what you posted from Denver's blog in the Max Skousen post, relative to the question of excommunication.

" . . . pressuring local leaders to **harass** church members . . . a distant and **imperial** committee . . . they are misbehaving in a **cowardly, unmanly** way . . . It is **shameful, even cowardly** . . . **manipulative** . . . a **cowardly** and **shameful** act by this **subversive** committee . . . **illegal activity** . . . [personal comment: this is followed by three sentences that are flat-out incorrect regarding the law] . . . **meddle** . . . **vanity and injured pride** . . . it doesn’t believe and practice the original faith restored through Joseph Smith . . . in the gall of bitterness . . ."

Then, after 18 months of consideration, an apparently sympathetic and sincere church leader wrote a personal letter to Denver, asking him to reconsider what he is doing and take specific steps to retain his membership. His concerns were laid out directly and clearly, and his wording was humble and supplicative. Denver's response was to publish that letter publicly, which he had to know would cause opposition and vitriol to be leveled against the Church and his Stake President. It appears he does not intend to accept the conditions in the letter to retain his membership, but that is speculative at this point.

Now, for my own input:

Analytical:

You can't tie someone down, kick them repeatedly in the face, spit at them, slur them endlessly, publish a private letter, invite scorn and opposition publicly and expect to be welcome to continue to live in that person's home. If Denver is excommunicated, it won't be just because of the books he wrote, even though one of them is central to the excommunication; it also will be because he started swinging his fists and set up a venue to do so publicly - and he did that LONG before his Stake President decided to hold a council and wrote the letter.

Ultimately, whether or not one agrees with every decision relative to membership, the leaders of any organization have the right to set the terms of membership in that organization - and each member or potential member of any organization has the right to accept those terms or reject them. Denver has that right, and he knows what his terms are. Whether or not he wants to continue to be part of the organization is up to him - and he can't blame anyone else if he chooses not to accept the terms. Those who set the terms have the right to do so; he has the right to be an agent unto himself and worship according to the dictates of his own conscience. That is his decision - his alone.

Personal:

I still hope he is not excommunicated, but I won't argue against that decision if it happens. As someone who is more removed from the situation than most here, what I read from his blog posts is anger, vitriol, condemnation, ridicule, pride, denial, excuses, bad legal analysis, warped perspective and many other things that contradict much of his other writing. In practical terms, I don't see Paul standing before Peter; I see Alma, the Younger, opposing his father prior to his angelic visitation. (In saying that, I'm not trying to draw a comparison of Alma, the Elder, and Denver's Stake President or the Church's top leadership. I'm talking only about the practical nature of the relationship and his actions within that relationship.)
Ray said…
"Just like sodom and gumorah the righteouss will leave (persecuted, kicked out, exed or however he decides to do it) and than what remains will be destroyed."

So, the righteous will be led out of the LDS Church, and all those who stay in the LDS Church will be the wicked?

Tim (and only Tim),

Please let me know if this is your own position, so I can go on my way and not corrupt those who comment here.

That sounds sarcastic, but it is not meant to be. I am sincere when I say that. If those who stay in the LDS Church are classified as wicked here, I will exercise my own right to be an agent unto myself and remove myself from this community.
ElectOfGod said…
I feel I was to harsh in some of my comments and false in some of my wording. Can it get deleted? I don't wish to teach false doctrine if at all possible. Specifically my relating how the wheat will be gathered. I have no inspiration on that matter and prefer not to write what I did in that case as I could be completely wrong. Please delete it if possible.
ElectOfGod said…
No that is not correct. That is why I wrote that comment above (please see it). My wording came out the wrong way and prefer my entire comment to be re-written if I am to post again lol. I didn't proof read it and thought I could edit it. The LDS church is the Lords church upon the face of the earth. I have a very powerful witness of this. I was referring to the future building of Zion. The Lord will lead members of the church to go build it. Those who have faith to follow will do so those who do not will stay and be "burned at his coming". The Lord will gather the saints to do this.
Steve said…
As with Peter and Paul Church leaders can be wrong. Follow God. Always.
SteveF said…
I agree with the sentiment of the story. But what if Elder Brown's preaching was about the history of the restoration and church during Joseph Smith's lifetime, and he separated it into four phases and in summary preached “The first phase was innovative and expansive, continually adding doctrine, scripture, teachings and ordinances. Subsequent phases have curtailed, abandoned, even denounced earlier teachings and doctrine. Phases two through four have all abandoned doctrine. Growth in these subsequent phases has been defined in terms of political influence, financial gains, cultural inroads, and population growth; while the underlying religion has been curtailed.”

Do you think Joseph Smith would have reacted in the same way? If you really want to know, consider the stories of David Whitmer's or Oliver Cowdery's excommunications - the parallels in their teachings that lead to their excommunications with what I quoted above is stunning. And by the way, that quote above is from Denver Snuffer right on the back of PtHG as a summary of the book, as his take on our the current church and our history up to this point.

Consider Joseph Smith's counsel, “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy.”

No doubt there are many good and true things that Denver has said, and the work and effort he has put into his thought is very impressive, which makes it all the more a shame. Even with all that light and knowledge, a man is still liable to fall. I almost saw the very same thing, as the very same spirit permeated many of my immediate family members (who also increased exceptionally in light, knowledge, and truth before falling prey to this spirit). Lucky for my family members, when push came to shove, they recognized they were in error, many never realized where the error was, but they recognized one did exist and properly obeyed and submitted to the instruction of those holding keys over them. But I can tell you exactly what the error was, it was putting principles above people. Having such a fervor for truth, that one starts to act as if people were made for truth, rather than principles of truth for people. By crossing this line, a person will lose the love of God for His leaders and God's people, and a spirit of condemnation will ensue. But the Spirit of the Lord has the opposite effect and will rather tend to make us want to overlook others faults, and to carry those who suffer from sin on our backs to safety. If we find ourselves finding greater fault with others, the saints, or the leaders of the church… it may well be that we are under the influence of a spirit other than God’s. This has been my experience. And if Denver chooses to openly defy the church he claims he is trying to uphold, it will become evident that he has fallen prey to just such a spirit.
SteveF said…
Again this is not about having private disagreements or varying opinions on doctrine, or even if church leaders can be wrong from time to time - of course they can be. But you act as if God will ever command a person to openly reject and preach or work against His established Kingdom that He currently upholds and sustains. It's a contradiction, and such a thing will never happen.

If you want to argue God no longer sustains His church, and He has revoked His keys, then that is something else entirely.
ElectOfGod said…
I stay away from blogs because I can't write my thoughts well. I will try to explain it one more time better. The wheat is the Lords church (the righteous). The tares are wolves in sheep clothing AND babylon. The righteous (wheat) will be kicked out like Joseph was from nauvoo and kirtland etc by babylon (tares). So the church will leave (kicked out, persecuted, betrayed by babylon) and whats left will be babylon. Than babylon will fall and be burned. The righteous will be delivered. Some righteous will fall with the wicked too if called upon to do so.

If you look at third world countries right now you can see how the Christians are being tortured and beaten etc. This is a type of things to come into America.
SteveF said…
And maybe some of my word choice or descriptions have been confusing. Ray in his first comment below probably did a much better job explaining what I also think is the reason for the disciplinary council and what will end up being the reason for excommunication *if* it happens.
Steve said…
Did not the committee start the fight with their hidden actions? Was he expected to not respond? There are good reasons for publishing the letter as explained on his blog.
Steve said…
Should Paul have withstood Peter?
Ray said…
No, Steve. According to Denver's own blog, and assuming he is correct an investigation was started well over a year ago. Denver says:

"“Now, I find a nameless, distant committee in the Church Office Building questioning my faithfulness (based on Internet leaks from the COB)."

1) "Nameless" committee?

He then goes on to name that committee, using an official name! Again, this points toward his practice of vilifying and disparaging unnecessarily. Using the term "nameless" is a good rhetorical devise, and it is excusable if the person is ignorant of the name - but in this case there is no defense other than knowing calculation.

2) "based on Internet leaks from the COB"?

This implies the LDS Church leadership "leaked" information regarding their concerns via the internet, but I can't find a single source reference to where and how it was leaked. Based on what I have read and could find, it was Denver who "leaked" the investigation. If I have missed that information, please share it with me.

3) "Questioning faithfulness" and even starting an investigation is not close to starting a fight. I can't see how the evidence supports anything but Denver starting the fight.
Steve said…
To my mind the whole question is, "Did God send Denver?" If He did, then Denver is authorized to condemn whom He wants condemned.
Ray said…
Steve, I respect that position, since it admits openly and honestly that Denver has, in fact, condemned the LDS Church and its leadership. I don't believe he was sent by God to call the Church leadership to repentance (like a modern day Lehi), but I respect your stance.
Tom Irvine said…
I have never read Denver Snuffer's books nor attended his lectures. I am not in a position to judge him. But his probable excommunication may send counterproductive shock waves through the community of bloggers who write about having a personal relationship with Christ and other gospel topics including theology. Do we really need another martyr? Do we really need to roll the clock back to Elder McConkie's 1982 BYU speech? Do we really need to relegate that Heavenly Being whom we praise as "the Everlasting Father" in Isaiah 9:6 back to his circa 1980 role as "Elder Brother?"
Tom Irvine said…
Is all well in Zion? President Ezra Taft Benson warned in 1986 that the LDS Church was under potential condemnation for treating the Book of Mormon so lightly. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=56a6ef960417b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____
Jared said…
To: Tim and those caught up with Denver Snuffer's teachings--

I read Denver's first book on the Second Comforter. I enjoyed it. However, after praying about Denver, I felt misgivings and decided not to buy or read any of his other books. I've kept up with Denver's teaching via Tim's blog. I suspended judgment about Denver, I never mention him on my blog, but told Tim I had a wait and see attitude about him.

I've watched Tim, someone I greatly respect, lessen because of Denver's influence. To me, this is a indicator of the fruit Denver's teaching are having. I'm glad I stayed away.

Denver needs to repent or he will lose his church membership. He has a choice. I hope he will follow his Stake presidents counsel. If he doesn't, I'll consider him an apostate.
Steve said…
We keep assuming that the leaders are always right What if JST Mark 9:40-48 applies here? What if as Joseph said we have to stand alone for the truth?

Steve
David P> said…
24 Yea, wo unto this people, because of this time which has arrived, that ye do cast out the prophets, and do mock them, and cast stones at them, and do slay them, and do all manner of iniquity unto them, even as they did of old time.

25 And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.

26 Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a aprophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false eprophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.
SteveF said…
I think this is a very pertinent scripture to this situation. It seems like more and more there are people who mock, revile, condemn, and speak evil of the current Lord's anointed - the 15 men who are our sustained prophets truly holding the fullness of the keys of the Kingdom today. You see such iniquity against them all over the internet and in writings of people like Denver Snuffer.

Denver claims loyalty to Joseph Smith and other dead prophets of old and probably thinks that if he lived in Joseph Smith's day, that he would not have apostatized or reviled against Joseph like so many did at the time.

And yet when the prophets and those sent by them through delegated keys come to Br. Snuffer today, and tell him that the words he speaks against the church are tearing down the kingdom rather than building it up, and in short when they have called Denver to repentance for his unrighteous actions, what has been his reaction? Is it not apparent that he has been angry with them, just as the scripture says? That rather than repent he chooses to fight against them, and holds what they say to be false while believing he himself is in the right, and all of this because they told/declared/testified to him that his deeds are evil. And is this not the same thing that many of Denver's supporters are also doing here?

It is apparent to me that it is people exactly like Denver who would have fought and apostatized against Joseph in the days of Kirtland and Nauvoo, as he follows the very same pattern with the living prophets today. History is repeating itself, no more no less. Good scripture.
DJ said…
Jared, please qualify your statement below.

"I’ve watched Tim, someone I greatly respect, lessen because of Denver’s influence."

How has Tim lessened? I hope you know how bold your statement is, please qualify it? Thanks.
Rick said…
When Denver publicly announced that he had meet with Christ (The Second Comforter), and that Christ asked him to write the book, then Denver opened himself up to public analysis and scrutiny to his position. Indirectly Denver is saying he has a direct link with Christ.

When Denver wrote Passing the Heavenly Gift, he crossed the line into apostasy. In effect he is saying that the leadership of the church is in apostasy, and Denver has the direct line with Christ now.

When Denver made public his call to a disciplinary council, he tries to rally his followers for his "just" cause.

It doesn't sound like Denver is going to comply with the direction of his Stake President, so I expect he will be excommunicated.

So, should you be a disciple of Denver, or do you follow church leadership? When I read The Second Comforter, the Spirit didn't burn within me. Anyone who has read Elder McConkie's writings knows that it is possible to receive the Second Comforter in this life.

When I watch or listen to General Conference, the Spirit burns within me, so I support and sustain our Prophet and Apostles. I am fortunate to have loved all my bishops and stake presidents. Does Denver have a bad Stake President? I don't think so. For whatever reason, Denver has become an enemy to the church, which for me, puts a cloud over all his writings and calls into question what he claimed in The Second Comforter.
Annalea: Your are so kind in your comments. I so appreciate good people like you who come to my blog. I'm such a small part of the LDS blogging community. I know I sometimes write provocatively, and I like to think I am lead by the spirit of the Lord when I do so, The story of that title is absolutely true (that I prayed about it first), but I have a great deal of respect for my friend, the stake president at BYU Idaho. If he said it was offensive, I didn't want it coming between our friendship. He is a Stake President the Brethren dream about having. I only served with him on the High Council for a few months before both of us moved on - me to Camarillo and he to Utah and then to Idaho - a good man.

I have great appreciation for the CES system. I am a product of all those manuals, some of which are still not as correlated as some in the CES would like them to be. He is a CES employee and has been all his life in the church. His is an amazing story of conversion from Judaism. Anyway, What's going to happen to Denver is going to happen. It will not affect his standing with the Lord, only with the church. I think we all understand that. He has asked us to not let this divide the church but it's already too late. His lecture tour next year is going to do so much good for so many people who are looking and needing what he will teach. No, he hasn't shared it with me. We're all entitled to inspiration from the Lord about things that are important. This is vitally important.

Again, thanks for the visit and the comments. God bless.
Rick, I didn't see anybody respond to your comment so I wanted to do so. You write well - clearly and succinctly. I can agree with just about everything you wrote except the part of why he posted his summons online. He explained that in a later post and I believe him. It is sad the way things have turned out. Like you, I have loved each of my bishops and Stake Presidents over the years. Denver explained a little bit about his relationship with his current stake president, who we know is the head of one of the largest multi-marketing companies in Utah. I am not a disciple of Denver Snuffer. He has always said he does not want followers. He has also said, "Don't let anyone come between you and your Savior." Denver's stake president is doing what has to be done to protect the church. It is as it should be. Denver is doing what he feels the Lord has directed him to do. I happen to agree with what he's doing. I love and support the apostles and prophets.

I don't consider Denver an enemy to the church. I am confident good will come out of this, especially with his upcoming lecture tour next year. I will not stop writing about what I learn from him, but I will also continue to write about other things I feel led to write when I ask the Lord for help with my blog. Yes, I pray over my blog and what I should write - all the time. Denver's work is divisive. It has already been a divisive influence among those who know about him. Now so many others will also have the opportunity to determine for themselves if there is anything in what Denver teaches that could be helpful to them in their spiritual lives. He will be misrepresented and misquoted but there will be a lot of media attention. More and more people will learn about his books and read them. This is a big deal - bigger than any of us can now understand. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
You are a wise man, Tom. I have enjoyed reading all the many amazing things on your blog. For those who know what vibration analysis is or want to know, Tom can be found at: http://vibrationdata.wordpress.com/ and for those who want to see his work on translating the Book of Mormon into Hebrew: http://www.vibrationdata.com/Book_of_Mormon_Hebrew.htm
Steve said…
i have heard that in the past license plate numbers were collected of folks who attended unapproved meetings. donkt know if that is true. I wonder if that will happen with Denver's meetings.
Steve said…
Tim,

While I was reading your comment to Rick, I wondered what you would do if your stake president told you to quit blogging about Denver or you would be exed. I don't believe that keys give a man the right to muzzle another.

Steve
I already thought about that. I wrote about it Sunday but did not post it. I have now decided to do so. It will be my next essay. In a nutshell, it is my defense before the High Council if I were called to appear before a disciplinary council. I wonder if Denver will show up for his on March 8th. I get the impression he won't. His mind is made up and so is the Stake President's. They are each just doing what they feel they are being directed to do from a higher source.
Jared said…
DJ and Tim-

I realize what I wrote is bold. I hope it get everyone's attention who has invested so much in Denver's teachings.

Initially, I decided to take a wait and see attitude about Denver. I've waited. And now I am thinking he is mistaken or a clever deceiver. I will watch and see how he deals with his Stake President's letter. I hope he will follow the three part request and save his membership.

So far, it appears Denver is ignoring his S.P. request. In other words, writing books and going on speaking tours may be more important than his membership. If that is his decision, then he will be an apostate.

Either way he chooses, what are those who have become his disciples going to choose?

Tim, what are you going to do? Stay in the the Lord's church 100%, 60%, 30%, or leave?

There is no question in my mind that we are members of a church restored by a prophet--Joseph Smith. The reason I know this is because of the companionship of the Holy Ghost that I have enjoyed for nearly half a century.

If the power to pass on the gift of the Holy Ghost via the ordinances restored through Joseph Smith are manifest in our day then the Heavenly Gift has been passed, Denver is mistaken or he is a deceiver. If he repents then he is a brother, if not, he needs to be stripped of his membership.

My heart felt prayer is that all concerned will do an about face and draw nearer to Heavenly Father than ever before.

Some will say, well maybe Jared is mistaken. I leave the following for you to ponder:

Many years ago I left the church because I felt I was a second class spirit in the pre-mortal world. I felt this way because of all the talks and lessons I heard at church. I often heard how blessed those born in the covenant were, you know, the great and noble ones. In my 7th -8th grade mind the message was, if you weren't born in the covenant then you weren't a great and noble spirit, therefore you were second class.

My dad wasn't a member and my mother was inactive. By the time I was in 9th grade I joined with the worldly crowd and decided to eat, drink, and be merry. Lots of beer and partying.

My “wonderful” party life came to an end when I was drafted along with all the other high school drop-outs across the country.

In basic training, or more accurately put, combat training, I was taught how to kill so I wouldn't be killed. With combat on my mind I started thinking more seriously about faith.

I asked God, very sincerely, in a short prayer if there was anything to the Joseph Smith story and the Book of Mormon? If He would show me the truth I promised to embrace it, if not, I would never consider faith and religion again.

My prayer was answered quickly, I was given a vision, the veil was lifted enough that I saw the adversary or an adversary (he didn't introduce himself) but he did try to harm me and it wasn't until I called upon God in prayer that I was delivered.

I came way from this experience with evidence that God and an adversary were interested in me. God loved me and the evil being I encountered hated me. This is how Heavenly Father left the ninety-and-nine and found me and brought me back.

A thousand Denver's can change me because of this experience and many other sacred experiences.
Blufish said…
It's not easy for me to share this on the world wide web.  It's very personal to me, but maybe someone out there can glean something from it.  

Since Denver's big announcement, I've been in a dreadful state of confusion.  Ive read most of his books and have followed his blog for years.  I have gained so much from them.  I couldn't understand how he could be an apostate. My mind was reeling.  I was praying desperately to the Lord that I not be lead astray.  I was scared out of my mind actually. I didn't want to be listening to or following a wayward man or a wayward church.  And i just couldn't reconcile the two.

Ive always known the church is true believe it or not. And when I listen to men like Elder Eyring, Elder Holland and Elder Packer I feel the spirit. I believe whole heartily that they are called of God.  I love my Relief Society president and sisters.   I feel the spirit while in those meetings and am greatly blessed by the church and members of my ward.  I love them very much actually.  I found myself in tears many times as my mind went back and forth trying to figure it out. I for some reason could not get a clear answer from the Lord and I couldn't understand why.  But the Lord in his infinite wisdom and mercy was leading me along and guiding me tenderly.  I'm going to leave out some details, but I suddenly found peace as I came to this conclusion:

If I had to guess, I'd say Denver is probably going to be ex'd.  But I do not believe that he is an apostate, or even misguided or being led astray.  I just don't.  But I also know that I belong in the church, serving and loving the members in my ward, and listening to and sustaining my leaders.  The Lord works in mysterious ways to bring about his purposes.  Who can know the reason behind things.  If we really are nearing the last days, all kinds of unexpected things are going to happen.  

I am on a journey that I pray fervently is leading me to my Savior.  I am expecting though not looking forward to much heartache as I journey on the lonely road of the Master.  I've already had a taste and it scares me to death what lies ahead.  I look at my small children who have humongous spirits and I think to myself.. Can we do this guys?  Are we really prepared for this?  I know the Lord loves me.  I know He's aware of my struggle with all of this, and my heart wrenching pleas that I stay on the true path.  I can't say what somebody else's journey entails.  We all have a different role to play in establishing Zion.  That is the path that for me feels right at the moment.   I pray that we can all be guided by the spirit, and be strong and willing to fight against the enemy in all his hideous and not so hideous forms.  And ultimately be lead by Jesus Christ.
Jason said…
I've been thinking a lot about Heber C. Kimball's "Test" prophecy since learning of Denver's upcoming disciplinary council. Here's part of it that may apply to the situation we find ourselves in currently:

"After a while the Gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage.

"Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still not knowing what to do. Darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. The judgments of God will be poured out on the wicked to the extent that our Elders from far and near will be called home, or in other words the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles and later on carried to the Jews....

"Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes.

"Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills, where we can close the doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, that the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God.

"Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great shifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming.

"This Church has before it many close places through which it will have to pass before the work of God is crowned with glory. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess a personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got this testimony, you must live right and call upon the Lord, and cease not until you obtain it.

"Remember these sayings: The time will come when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within themselves. If you do not have the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, how can you stand? (Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, May 1868, in Deseret News, 23 May 1931; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1930, p. 58-59)".

I hope we can stay true to the light of Christ that is within each one of us, no matter what powers of opposition are used against us. Mormon included many examples of Alma the Younger testifying of the necessity of knowing things for himself, which knowledge came from an independent witness. That independent witness always came from heaven through the Lord's true messengers, who can be considered independent because they aren't mixed up and afflicted by the ways and thinking of man. We each need our own independent witness of the truth.
Jason said…
One of the key gauges I've used to determine whether a person's behavior is in harmony with the Holy Spirit is taught in D&C 121:41-45:

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

How confident are you that you can stand in the presence of God, claiming to have judged the teachings or actions of a church leader, Denver Snuffer, or anybody else correctly, according to your own understanding of the mind and will of God? When attempting to determine if someone is acting under the influence of the Holy Spirit, I ask myself if the person is aligned with the pattern of heaven, as outlined here in D&C 121. It has been an excellent guide.
Steve said…
Thanks for this, Jason.


Steve
Thank you for your heart-felt comment, blufish. I appreciate how you relate your experience of coming to peace with the events surrounding Denver's impending disciplinary action. I especially appreciate your last paragraph. We are each on our own journey back to God's presence. That path leads ONLY through the Savior. He is the only one who can save or redeem us. This is not a competition between Thomas S. Monson and Denver Snuffer. This is simply a test for us to determine for ourselves how much we love the Lord and are willing to do what we feel directed to do by the spirit of the Lord within us. You said it so clearly: "We each have a differing role in establishing Zion. That is the path that feels right at the moment." I love that. Thanks for sharing.
SteveF said…
Thanks for the link Tim. I think this recent blog post from Denver makes it clearer than ever how far he has strayed from true teachings of Christ.

I find it ironic that while Denver claims to look to Joseph Smith and particular his Nauvoo era teachings, that he could ever suggest the things he has on this recent post. I think Joseph Smith would vehemently disagree with just about everything Denver just wrote. Joseph Smith was not only concerned with completing the organization of the Priesthood of God on earth that we know as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, which organization was a necessary place and result of the keys restored by John T.B, and Peter, James, and John. But additionally in Nauvoo this is not the only organization that Joseph felt needed to be restored in these last days to establish Zion, as he was also deeply concerned with restoring all the ordinances and organization belonging to the Kingdom of God and the Church of the Firstborn which pertained to the fullness of the spiritual and political kingdom of God including ideas of the council of fifty, a temple priesthood of Kings and Priests & Queens and Priestesses in order to properly organize a whole nation who would come to know the Lord, and the establishment of a theodemocracy - all organizations.

But according to Denver, the keys restored including those in the Kirtland temple, are to have no home. Every organization that Joseph Smith spent his life creating, or restoring rather, for the express purpose of establishing Zion I guess were really not all that important in the end after all, or at least according to Denver. In fact, according to him they shouldn't even exist, since they "can be overtaken by ambitious and cunning men; or by stupid, well-meaning, but misguided men." Yes, all the organizations that Joseph Smith spent his life restoring are "a threat to Zion" according to Denver.

It looks like Denver has not only cast aside every prophet since Joseph Smith, but now Joseph Smith as well. But what else is a person to do if they reject and leave the organizations restored to the earth by Joseph?

Tim, I think you are sincere in your journey, and if these things are not apparent to you now, overtime I trust you that your heart is in the right place and you will be able to see Denver for what he really is.
Thanks Steve,

Hope this shows up in the right order. WordPress is not very good about making it clear where to respond in a thread. The summons from the Stake President spells it out clearly: "Your work pits you against the institution of the Church." He's right and you're right. It is clear that he is not doing much to defend himself in this area. I've been saying for over a year since I first found out about the investigation by the SCMC (Strengthening Church members Committee) into his writings that his lot was cast when he published PtHG. The first time I read it I knew it was controversial and said to myself, "Why did this need to be written? This stuff is all over the Internet anyway. It's going to get him into trouble with the church. It seems like an obvious attempt to upset the institution." My initial feelings proved correct. So why did he do it?

I continue to ask myself that question, which is why I continue to be interested in what he has written, how he thinks and what he is up to with his lecture tour. Why would a man risk everything we all hold so dear - membership in the church, family reputation and possible loss of income for clients who will dump him as an excommunicated attorney. At this point it's almost a morbid curiosity of watching a train wreck. How can the man be so confident in what he is doing when it would destroy any lesser man? As I wrote in my Aug 27 Defense Before the High Council - I could not and would not disobey if my stake president told me to stop writing about Denver or to turn off my blog. Right now, my church membership mean more to me than I realized.

Is that wrong? I surprised myself when I wrote that. I thought my response would be, "No, President, I will not take down my blog. No, President, I will not stop writing about Denver Snuffer." Is that a sign of weakness? I hope not. I need this church. It strengthens me. I need the sacrament each week. I need the temple. Apparently Denver does not. That amazes me. I have known apostates. I have sat on disciplinary councils where we considered their request to be baptized again. I am going to watch Denver closely over the next year. What kind of man will he be at the end of his lecture tour when the media attention is gone? Denver fascinates me because he's either got the Lord on his side or he is trying to pull off the biggest and most extensive hoax this church has ever seen. Who is supporting him? Is it the Lord? We shall see.
SteveF said…
"So why did he do it?" I have my own feelings on this, some of which I've expressed in previous comments. But I respect the concept of searching and finding one's own answers if one feels like the Lord approves of such a pursuit.

To me, for whatever it's worth, it sounds like your curiosity is grounded. And from what I have seen you write, it sounds like you are praying often and that the Lord has continued to approve this path of curiosity in your specific circumstance. Whereas for Jared, it sounds like the Lord said he did not need, or for whatever reason he was not suppose, to take this same path; that the words he read sufficed for his circumstance. Without the approval of the Lord, I think unbridled curiosity on its own can be dangerous, but with approval and following the Spirit I believe the Lord will guide the sincere in heart on a path of safety. Your loyalty to the decisions of those who hold keys is to me not a sign of weakness at all, but rather a sign of a testimony of the restoration and the humility it takes to be a true follower of Christ. I was so happy to hear in your 'Defense Before the High Council' post that you ultimately value your membership more than needing to be right. The resultant fruits of this humility will not only help you to retain your membership in the Kingdom of God on earth with its attendant blessings, but will help to bear the results of attaining your inheritance in the Kingdom of God in heaven. My best wishes in your searches. I will probably come back to see where it takes you from time to time.
Rick said…
I always wondered what a false christ would look like. Denver is one.

He claims to have met the Savior, who directed him to write his book on the second comforter. He continued to write other books, with doctrine so close to Christ's that he looked valid. Then the Adversary thought it was time to sow the seeds of doubt, so he published Passing the Heavenly Gift. The church has strayed from the original teachings, it's leaders also. Now is the time to spread the word, build Zion with his followers. Denver is a teacher, not soiled by serving in leadership positions. He will teach his followers the way. He has seen the savior, you know. His mean Stake President will excommunicate him, but he has seen the savior and follows his direction, he will be ok.

He doesn't need his membership, his baptism, or his temple marriage. He has seen the savior and is directed by him. He needs no organization, he will teach all. Just be a Zion person. That's all you need.

I always wondered what a false christ would look like. Denver is one.

I hope all who side with Denver take a timeout and think about it. Is this the way Christ would manage this? Are the apostles lost? This is what the Adversary wants you to believe.

This is one of the most subtle and dangerous scenarios I have ever seen.
Tom Irvine said…
Rick,

Are you his bishop? Are you his stake president? To which quorum of the seventy do you belong? I do not recall that you are an apostle or a member of the First Presidency.

Only the Lord and his authorized servants have authority to declare whether he is an "Anti-Christ."

A disciplinary process is already underway. We need to let the Lord's servants do their job.

I have little patience for anyone who teaches "false doctrine," but I have even less regard for those who hurl the "unfaithful to the brethern" charge or any of its variations.

In the mean time, no one is under any obligation whatsoever to read his books or attend his meetings.

Tom Irvine
Tom Irvine said…
The real underlying tension is the Mary-Martha syndrome. We clearly expect and are expected to be Marthas laboring in the kitchen. With assignments for home teaching, temple responsibilities, callings from our bishops and other leaders, ward, stake and general conferences, First Presidency messages, missionary work, leadership training, Friends of Scouting drive, visiting less actives, being good neighbors, who has the time or inclination to develop a personal relationship with Christ? We smirk at our evangelical friends who witness of the grace-filled peace they have in Christ Jesus.

When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent, meaning that all could now commune with Jehovah. Yet have we tried to sew the veil back up by teaching that only apostles and prophets could be special witnesses of Christ?
Steve said…
When commenting on someone's words, I would go to the source instead of depending upon someone else's interpretation. Notwithstanding here are my take on your points.

6 - I don't know if we will never outgrow the Church, perhaps we will for in the celestial kingdom it is the Church of the Firstborn that exists, not ours. Still it is a good place to serve. Denver has urged people to stay in it and serve. Of course, if he is cast out, that is not his decision.

http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/CallElectSurJSBRMc.htm has a number of quotes on 2nd comforter, etc. Joseph encouraged people to seek that. Sounds like a good idea to me.

7 - I find no fault with pointing out how we have departed from Joseph's teachings and indicating how we can do better.

12 - We only baptize about 300,000 converts/year. So how can the majority be new converts? Why not have classes on more advanced topics, sort of like how we separate Gospel Doctrine and Gospel Essentials?

17 – Visions are private and for our own benefit. Sometimes that is true and sometimes that is not. Nephi was given visions, only some of which he was authorized to share. John the Revelator was given visions to share with the world. In both cases they were following the commands of the Lord. What if Denver has been told to share some of his? What is this, a Bible, a Bible, there can be no other Bible? Why would we complain about a man telling us that God still lives and He can be found by ordinary people, too?

Could Denver (or we) have been deceived? Of course, thus the necessity of us drawing close to God and getting His confirmation.
Steve said…
This was for jmhiatt
OrkneyOctopus said…
The crux of this all is that although everyone commenting here can tell me 1) Denver Snuffer is brilliant and inspired and has taught me wonderful things, or 2) Denver Snuffer is an evil anti-Christ who deserves whatever the Church chooses to do to him, or something in between, the only way to know truth is through the Holy Ghost. Many commenters have been quite sure they were following the Holy Ghost when offering their opinions on the issue, though their opinions differ sharply from other commenters who feel just as strongly about their source of inspiration. Which may well mean we're not as good at following the Holy Ghost as we think we are (or it may mean something else entirely that has failed to occur to me). I figure I'll think hard about whether it's worthwhile for me to pay him any attention at all, pray to get the Lord's opinion about my conclusions, and go from there.
jmhiatt said…
Thanks Tom and Steve for replying.
Tom, you raise a good point. I do believe there’s a need for awareness regarding the opportunity for the heavens to open up to the common church member. When you say, “we have tried to sew the veil back…” who is the “we” you are referring? I think there could be more awareness, but I don’t know how that message is delivered. I’ll have to think/pray/stew more about that.

Regardless, I still do not know how his excommunication helps this message.

Steve, I agree that it would be better to go directly to the source.

6- “If he is cast out it is not his decision.” I guess that depends on how you view the situation. Certainly his decisions affect the outcome and he can avoid excommunication if he so chooses.

Regarding it being a good idea – personally, I need to stew on this some more. I can see it being a trap for some. I do believe there should be an awareness, which there is, but, true, you have to proactively seek it out now. If this event is more mainstream, would it not become just another checklist on our list of things to do? I don’t know. I am ambivalent.

7. I generally agree with this.

12. Interesting thought. I could see many problems with this approach. Don’t know. Perhaps a “School of the Prophets”?

17. Steve, I don’t think the issue is Denver sharing this. The problem, as I see it, is that Denver has strayed from that core message and he is now intent on criticizing the church and its leadership. That’s the issue.

Again, how is his excommunication beneficial in getting out the message of the second comforter? What is his message now? What will his message be after he gets excommunicated? Let’s see - He will be telling others to have faith, repent, get baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, receive all of the temple ordinances necessary for salvation, receive the second comforter…and then?... criticize the church/brethren and get excommunicated from the very vehicle that allowed this process to happen.

I have to say, I find all of this fascinating.
Blufish said…
I don't know why, but I like the points and questions you raise. They seem thoughtful. I think you'd enjoy Denver's books and blog. :) not even kidding. if you do take on his blog, I recommend starting in 2010 with his verse by verse series, begining with Alma 13. It lasts a few months. Facinating!
Blufish said…
Starts in June 2010 with "Cite Your Minds Forward" And "Weep For Zion, for Zion has Fled". Won't disappoint, whatever conclusions you come to.
jmhiatt said…
Thank you Blufish for your kind comments. Thoughtful? Yes, I have been accused of thinking tooooo much. I have read some of Denver's blog, but I need to start with his books. I have no doubt there are great insights to be found.
Tom Irvine said…
For the record, I remain steadfastly neutral toward Denver and mostly likely will remain so regardless of his trial outcome. I think people should spend more time studying the standard works directly, and less so on commentaries. My concerns are "big picture" issues influenced by own personal experiences.

Who is trying to sew up the veil? Perhaps no one that you know. I will leave this mainly as a rhetorical question.

But I have seen it happen in the church.
Ray said…
This is the bottom line for me:

What Denver is teaching now is not consistent with what he taught in "The Second Comforter". In fact, much of it is in direct opposition to what he wrote prior to PtHG. I think that is indisputable.

I have no squabble with him prior to PtHG. I have HUGE problems with his writings, teachings and actions from PtHG onward. He is a very different "preacher" now than he used to be. Again, I think that is indisputable.

I don't know why he is doing now what he is doing, but the change is striking - and obvious.

Finally, if he leaves the LDS Church it absolutely will be his choice - and to say otherwise is ludicrous. He claims to have been visited by Christ. He essentially is being asked to return to being that person, since absolutely NOTHING is being made of anything prior to his writing, publishing and marketing of PtHG. If he won't do that, it is his choice.

Just to make that point, let's assume his claim of a personal visitation is correct.

He's not being asked to stop testifying of Christ; he's not being asked to deny a visitation; he's not being asked to retract anything he said in the aftermath of a visitation; he's not being asked to retract anything he wrote at any point in his life up to or immediately following a visitation; he's not being asked to stop talking or writing about a visitation.

All he's being asked to do, in practical terms, is return to being the man who wrote "The Second Comforter" and the man who said he was visited by Christ - the man who made the initial impact on pretty much everyone who is supporting him.
SteveF said…
I really like this summary. Can I provide a link to your comment and quote it on a similar thread over at wheatandtares?
Ray said…
Yes, Steve F.
Rick said…
2 questions for you super bloggerites:

1. What aspect of Denver's teachings or writings will help us with the visitation versus what the Prophet and Apostles teach/write?

2. Why is so much of the blogging and comments around the prophets and apostles of the 1800's? Are they better than our current Prophet and Apostles?
Steve said…
To what do you object in PTHG?
blufish said…
Either he's being directed by God or he's not. One could expect totally bizarre behavior either way.
Ray said…
Blufish, my main point is that his writings weren't bizarre originally. They were inspiring, supportive, church-affirming, etc.

I could accept and respect the man who wrote "The Second Comforter". I can do neither for the man who wrote "Passing the Heavenly Gate". I see two very different men in those authors.
Blufish said…
It's funny because those quotes actually get me excited. In a good way. Maybe because I'm from a younger generation, I have a front row seat to MUCH obscenity.. lds or not. I sense no urgency within the church to become a zion people. I don't think folks even know what it means. Not among my generation at least. So this quote from his latest blog post is thrilling. I read a fair amount, but would love more tutelage in the zion department. Who is this guy!

"Zion, as an idea whose time will only come when her ideas are understood, must be plainly taught again. The time wherein this is possible has arrived... And so the idea needs to begin unfranchised, uncontrolled, unfettered by the laws of man, and unpolluted by the ambitions of men. It is an idea which will make, without fear and compulsory means, all mankind equal."

We've had roughly 180 years to form a true zion society since Joesph Smith restored the gospel. Clearly it aint happening, and I don't think we're getting any closer than those beloved pioneers who sacrificed everything they had, including their lives! Do you? To me it looks like we're headed the other direction. Money, sex and fame are absolute obsessions. (I'm still talking about my lds circles) Maybe it's high time someone came in and shook things up. I get the feeling sometimes that the leaders want things to be different, but the tail is wagging the dog.

Quote from Elder Packer:

"In recent years I have felt, and I think I am not alone, that we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church. You cannot appreciate how deeply I feel about the importance of this present opportunity unless you know the regard, the reverence, I have for the Book of Mormon and how seriously I have taken the warnings of the prophets, particularly Alma and Helaman.

Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the church today.

Helaman repeatedly warned, I think four times he used these words, that the fatal drift of the church could occur in the space of not many years. In one instance it took only six years." (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves,” Reg. Rep. Seminar, March 30, 1990)
C. A. Brockway said…
I have an observation.We are not disobedient, members are begining to DEFY the Lord.
None more than the CES which is teaching "Doctrine" to the whole Church. In the 2007 Manual "Teachings of Joseph Smith" only ONE WORD of the entire Inspired Version was quoted. I wrote asking why, since it was supposed to be the teachings of the prophet. They quoted Matthew 13:24-30 (pg 299) instead of D&C 86:7. They actually went out of their way to change/delete/misquote virtually every Teaching of the Prophet. Monson summed it up when he said "We are supposed to have a year's suplly of food and be debt free. Instead we have a year's supply of debt and are food free"g
C. A. Brockway said…
Further to the above, if D.Snuffer deserves excomunication so does Boyd K Packer for his book "The Holy Temple" and Andrew Skinner for his books "Gethsemane" and "Golgotha" and Bruce R McConkie for his "Ten Blessings of the Priesthood" where he stated "We have the power- and it is our privilege- so to live that, becoming pure in heart, we shall see the face of God while we yet dwell as mortals in a world of sin and sorrow". I trod Snuffer's path many years ago.
My biggest gripe in this Church is that at the end of the Endowment we are bidden to "Enter into the presence of the Lord". No one actually believes it so it never happens. One therefore has to fins an alternative route.
Steve said…
Have you found an alternative?
Steve said…
Thanks for providing the quotes.What do you find wrong in them?I think as LDS we are reluctant to point out our failings.  We don't extend the same courtesies to the ancient Jews or Nephites.  We know they fell.  But we have the promise that our prophet will never lead us astray.  If that was true, that would be a first in all of scriptural history.  What are our failings?  Nephi outlined some for us and warned us that all was not well in Zion.  What is amiss in Zion?  Is Snuffer right in his summary?  If not, what did he get wrong?
SteveF said…
@Steve. As for the back of the book summary, you can see how Denver's paradigm is to me in direct conflict with reality/truth in my comment here: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2012/12/11/what-denver-snuffer-teaches/#comment-5414

As for the other 3 passages, I went through sentence by sentence and only found a couple that I could even agree with technically speaking. But I think just about every point that was trying to be made I disagree with and think Denver is wrong, and I definitely am opposed to the sentiments found therein in their entirety. It's as if Denver has some sort of massive hostile attribution bias toward the current church leadership and membership as a whole, and has failed to see the light of truth while staring right at the sun. I agree not all is well in Zion, that there are a lot of people struggling with real problems, and that complacency does happen here and there from time to time to the detriment of the complacent, but I think he somehow missed that there is also so much that is right, good, and holy in the Kingdom of God on earth right here and now, and failed in a very large and significant way to see the hand of the Lord that has indeed guided this Church from Joseph's death to the present day - that we truly have been progression as a people over time and that indeed "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing". He constantly denigrates leaders for their "claims" to authority, implying that their authority is somehow not really there or unimportant/irrelevant or being abused in some way - but in this thing he is blind and deceived by the devil himself. He acts as if the church is being led astray, and that members are in some real way actually being led to the condemnation of Hell away from Zion and away from Christ and God. It's a lie, it is false, it is of the devil.

If you prefer that I go sentence by sentence I can do so if it is necessary. But in an attempt to make this easier in summary I disagree with nearly everything written in those passages, and think such beliefs are the height of pessimism and skewed slander that comes from the wicked one.
M. said…
A shame WordPress doesn't allow more than three levels of nested replies.

Either the Latter-day Saints of European descent did reject the fullness of the gospel in the Nauvoo era OR they have at some subsequent point (1844-2013) OR they will yet at some future date before the Lord's second coming.

That should be indisputable. We have Christ quoting the Father himself in 3 Nephi 16:10 stating that we would reject the fullness. Though we (as a people, at some point in the future if not already in the past) do this, we can still repent (verse 13).

Uncomfortable to consider, but then much of the Book of Mormon is when we read it as applying to us, the readers, and not all those other Christians. Our usual surface reading of the Book of Mormon is perhaps one reason the Church has been under divine condemnation for the past almost 181-years.

Furthermore, regarding the loss of the fullness of the Priesthood, the Lord told Joseph in D&C 124:28 "For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again[i.e., a second time] that which was lost [already as of 19 January 1841] unto you, or which he hath taken away [already!], even the fulness of the priesthood." ("Fulness of the priesthood" implies there are multiple degrees of priesthood, else the Lord could have said "even the priesthood" or "even the Melchizedek priesthood".)

The Nauvoo-era saints had two tasks given them by revelation in Section 124: construct the Nauvoo Temple and the Nauvoo House. They had a promise (verse 45) that if they did these things the Lord would see that they would "not be moved out of their place."

It is indisputable that as of 19 January 1841 the fulness of the priesthood had been taken away. It is unfair to label Denver as an apostate for stating that the fulness was lost in the Nauvoo-era when the Lord himself said it plainly in a canonized revelation.

The big question is, has the fullness been restored again a second time? If so, by whom? And when? We have no canonized answer. If not prior the martyrdom, then how could Joseph pass on that which he'd lost to the Twelve if the Lord hadn't yet re-restored it to him yet?

Given that the Saints were moved out of their place again (keeping just to canonized sources, see D&C 136), it would seem to be at best an obvious fact to all of us that the Nauvoo-era Saints didn't completely meet the terms that the Lord set out, and at worst be an open question on which people of good will could disagree and still remain in fellowship with each other.
Ray said…
M, talk about quoting a verse out of context. If you are going to quote D&C 124:28 at least put it in the context of the verses immediately following it. Of course, doing so would completely alter the meaning you ascribe to the verse, so I can understand why you wouldn't want to do that.

It is this sort of sloppy argument that actually hurts Bro. Snuffer's case.
Ray said…
"if D.Snuffer deserves excomunication so does Boyd K Packer for his book “The Holy Temple” and Andrew Skinner for his books “Gethsemane” and “Golgotha” and Bruce R McConkie for his “Ten Blessings of the Priesthood”

This is another perfect example of the type of ridiculous hyperbole that hurts Bro. Snuffer's case.

Tim, this is your blog. Please let me know if this represents your view.
Karl said…
My conclusion is the same as Ricks. However, I did feel the spirit when I read Second Comforter, but did not with PTHG. I read PTHG very carefully three times, and my conclusion is that Snuffer is just plain incorrect on his historical analysis. However, I am distressed that GAs would ever consider historical or doctrinal opinion to be worthy of discipline. JS lamented that the preacher rejected him on his testimony of divine revelation, when he should have reasoned with him in charity if he thought JS to be deceived. I feel the same way towards DS. If I were on a high council, I would NEVER discipline someone for what he BELIEVES, only for what he DOES. As for a lecture tour, shouldn't that little constitutional amendment about FREE SPEECH, mean something, even to the authorities of the Church?
Karl said…
I agree that DS is possibly being influenced by a deceptive spirit, however I fail to understand how a difference of perception about what historical or doctrinal truth is translates into to "openly defy the church?" Shouldn't the liberality of our feelings extend to those even if we think they are off the rails? When did leadership in the church become so thin-skinned that they cannot tolerate the least degree of criticism in the church? Hugh Nibley often took research and discussion to a whole new dimension; are we to conclude that the only reason the authorities didn't take him to task and "discipline" him was that they knew no one could really take him on, ie., Nibley would have ripped them to shreds by simply quoting scripture (and the 100 other sources of knowledge he had mastery of)? The truth is that the history of the Church (like all secular histories) is a mess from beginning to end. The Church leaders have watered it down for 75 years, and because of the internet, it's coming back around to kick them in the rear end. The sad truth is that few, if any authorities currently know anything about church history other than the diluted form they've been taught through sunday school and seminary. The leadership is going to have to make the conscious decision to face the hard issues on our history, and treat them more honestly. Will this occur in our lifetime? I don't know, but I think maybe when some of the old Guard pass away, some change may begin. When Leonard Arrington started the process of historical honestly, that was a great beginning. This would have been a chance for the church to tell their side of the historical story, before the internet gained steam. When the authorities open it up again it will be that much harder because the bloggers are already in full sprint.
Karl said…
Tim, I read PTHG very carefully three times, because I realized what an important work it was. I did feel the spirit on the Second Comforter. However, my conclusion is that when DS moved into the realm of historical analysis, he has it as wrong on his side, as the current leadership has it incorrect when they teach simply a diluted form of LDS history. I find both approaches unfaithful to the truth. My tentative conclusion is that DS did have the experiences he mentioned in Second Comforter, but that he has stepped past his area of expertise and is now in the mud puddle of trying to illuminate truth through history rather than doctrine. I think this is a very dangerous place for him to be spiritually. Nevertheless, I do believe he is sincere though mistaken on many conclusions in PTHG. Further, I would NEVER threaten discipline on anyone for what they sincerely believe; this just strikes me as absurd. Do we really want to repose so much trust in the brethren (or any group of humans) that they can discipline members for merely holding a difference of opinion? The threat has such a chilling effect on civil discourse. With all my heart I support the Brethren within their role as having keys that move the Church in the proper direction. I do not however worship them, or consider them to be infallible, or even well-educated on matters of doctrine, and certainly not on historical analysis. In seems that common members are too willing to check-in their agency, and allow leaders to give them all the answers. And too many leaders are too willing to accept the praise offered to them and to provide all answers. So common members who just go along without ever thinking anything through are thought well of, while the DS's of the world, who are at least trying to search after the deep things of God are an easy target. I just pray that when the current oldest leadership of the church passes away, this might open the door to a more honest approach to our history and doctrine then we have been willing have for the past 75 years of so. Your thoughts?
Karl said…
Or, as an alternate: I do not think DS is brilliant and inspired, and I do not think he will deserve what he receives by way of discipline. Since when does leadership feel so threatened when common members express an opinion contrary to their own? If DS is mistaken in his historical interpretation in PTHG (which I think he is after very careful reading of his work) wouldn't this whole thing have a better ending if DS were very carefully enfolded in the arms of leaders who through the exercise of kindness and pure love, persuaded them that he was moving in an incorrect pathway? Since common members have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, they have the right to discern spiritual truth. Denver Snuffer cannot have any lasting negative impact on any soul who sincerely seeks to be led along the narrow course back to God. The leadership does not need to overreact to this. I read Paul Toscanos Strangers in Paradox recently. I found many of his arguments to be absolutely absurd (with some brilliant insights there too). However, I didn't find anything in there that could have possibly damaged the reputation of the church or its members. So, why then does leadership take this hardline approach to anyone that does not fall into the super orthodox view of LDS doctrine? I think leadership has some lessons to learn here too.
stephen said…
Tim, welcome to the radicalism that is Jesus the Christ.
Karl said…
Good comments Ray. That is my conclusion. Something has happened from the writing of Second Comforter, and essentially all doctrinal book, to PTHG, essentially an argumentation from an historical perspective, and that has gone awry.
M. said…
Ray, thank you for at least taking the time to read what I wrote in spite of its sloppiness.
Ray said…
Thank you for your gracious response, M. I'm really tired, but that is no excuse for how harsh my comment sounded when I re-read it.

I meant what I said, but I shouldn't have said it in that way.
C. A. Brockway said…
Can't agree with the above. In HP meeting I made the observation that we only have a HP group Leader and I asked who HP President was. Answer : Bishop?? Stake President??
Sometimes the ignorance in this Church is beyond belief!
C. A. Brockway said…
Totally agree with above. When I wrote to CES asking why, in the whole 586 pages of "Teachings of Joseph Smith", they quoted only one word of the Inspired Version (the "not" in Heb 6:1 pg 208) the answer was "because the Inspired Version is not scripture" .
Makes one wonder who their God is.
Ballard on 20 Aug 2013, talking to the Church observed "we are pushing God out of our lives"
C. A. Brockway said…
For a start YOU need to get your facts right. Joseph Smith did not restore the Keys. They were "restored" TO him .
SteveF said…
...since Joseph Smith's efforts had nothing to do with the keys being given to him, right? Nitpicking semantics isn't very helpful. Did you really think I didn't know that heavenly messengers gave these keys to Joseph? Or are you just being contentious for the sake of contention?
SteveF said…
M, I do read the scriptures you mentioned differently. As for 3 Nephi 16:10, I think the preceding versus lend to a different interpretation for gentiles than in the interpretation you gave. In verse 7, it explains that the truth shall "come unto the gentiles", which right away shows to me that the gentiles are a group of people that the truth hasn't yet come unto, but will come unto. Therefore it is not Latter-day Saints, it is a larger group of people that the truth comes unto for them to then accept or reject. Then in verse 8 it talks about those who accept or reject by distinguishing "unbelieving gentiles" from presumably a group of believing gentiles. I think believing gentiles could rightly be considered Latter-day saints, but these unbelieving gentiles seem to those who have rejected the truth from the beginning, as the verses are structures so that the "unbelieving" is happening when the truth is first coming to them. And then verse 10 is clearly a continuation of speaking about these "unbelieving gentiles" who go on to reject the fulness of the gospel because of their pride and the sins listed thereafter.

As for D&C 124:28, I think there is a better argument for interpreting "restore again" to mean "restore to the earth again as in times past", which would make this restoration the first time in this dispensation. This would mean that the "you" the fulness of the priesthood was lost or taken away from, would be referring to the church long before Joseph Smith's time. This interpretation is consistent with the idea in the book of Revelation that the Church went into the wilderness (losing the fulness of the priesthood) until the Lord saw fit to restore again the fulness of the priesthood bringing the woman (church) out of the wilderness and obscurity. This interpretation of verse 28 is also more consistent with the history of the restoration in this dispensation. Even 2 years after this revelation Brigham Young said that the fulness of the priesthood had not been restored to the earth (at any time in this dispensation), because Joseph Smith had not restored/implemented all the ordinances belonging to the temple just yet. Although all the keys had been given to Joseph, all the ordinances that would complete the fulness of the Priesthood had not yet been restored to the church, and it was shortly after Brigham Young made that statement (in 1843 I believe, not looking at my references) that Joseph Smith finally revealed all the ordinances belonging to the House of the Lord restoring to the earth the fulness of the priesthood for the first time in this dispensation.

Hope that helps!
SteveF said…
*but these unbelieving gentiles seem to be those who have rejected the truth from the beginning, as the verses are structured...
Rick said…
Ok, let's give some time for church leaders:

Avoiding Personal Apostasy
Elder Claudio D. Zivic of the Seventy

http://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/06/avoiding-personal-apostasy?lang=eng&query=avoiding+personal+apostasy

"We need not be concerned about the possibility of another apostasy of the Church of Jesus Christ. We have the privilege of living in the dispensation of the fulness of times. This gospel dispensation, which began with the Prophet Joseph Smith, is the last one before the Second Coming of the Savior. However, we need to be concerned and watchful that we do not fall into personal apostasy, which can result from several causes. I will mention only a few."

"Faultfinding can be another source of personal apostasy. When we look for faults in others or begin to think we could make better decisions than our leaders, we should remember the experience of Oliver Cowdery, the second elder of the Church.

In Doctrine and Covenants 28:2 Oliver Cowdery is told through revelation given to Joseph Smith, “No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.” In time, sadly, Oliver rebelled against Joseph, saying, “If I leave this church, it will fall.” Joseph responded, “Oliver, you try it.” Oliver did try it, and he fell. The kingdom of God, however, remained firm."

"We enter a state of apostasy when we assume authority we do not possess or when we seek revelation for a stewardship outside of our sphere of responsibility. Our duty, as revealed to Oliver Cowdery, is to “be obedient unto the things” (D&C 28:3) the Lord reveals to His prophet and to our other leaders called through priesthood authority."

"I testify that we can avoid the mists of darkness that lead to personal apostasy by repenting of our sins, overcoming offense, eliminating faultfinding, and following our Church leaders. We can also avoid those mists by humbling ourselves, forgiving others, keeping our covenants, partaking of the sacrament worthily each week, and strengthening our testimonies through prayer, daily scripture study, temple attendance where possible, magnifying our Church callings, and serving our fellowmen."
Rick said…
The Way Home
Elder Thomas S. Monson gave this talk in April 1975.

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1975/04/the-way-home?lang=eng&query=avoiding+personal+apostasy

"The Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, had appeared to Joseph Smith. The morning of the dispensation of the fulness of times had come, dispelling the darkness of the long generations of spiritual night. As in the creation, light was to replace darkness; day was to follow night.

From then to now, truth has been and is available to us. Like the children of Israel in former times, endless days of wandering now can end with our entry to a personal promised land."

"At length the weary young man stood one Sunday morning before a church of a typical town. He listened carefully as the bell began to peal. The sound was familiar. It was unlike any other he had heard, save that bell which pealed in the memory of his childhood days. Yes, it was the same bell. Its ring was true. His eyes filled with tears. His heart rejoiced in gladness. His soul overflowed with gratitude. The young man dropped to his knees, looked upward beyond the bell tower—even toward heaven—and in a prayer of gratitude whispered, “Thanks be to God. I’m home.”

Like the peal of a remembered bell will be the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the soul of him who earnestly seeks. Many of you have traveled long in a personal quest for that which rings true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends forth to you an earnest appeal. Open your doors to the missionaries. Open your minds to the word of God. Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that still, small voice which testifies of truth. As the prophet Isaiah promised: “Thine ears shall hear a word … saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isa. 30:21.) Then, like the boy of whom I’ve spoken, you too will, on bended knee, say to your God and mine: “I’m home!”
Steve said…
Given the promises offered in D&C 124, I think the most reasonable interpretation of history is that the Saints did not comply with the Lord's requirements and were cast out. This is not the first time they failed the Lord: Witness the 1832 cursing pronounced for failure to give heed to the Book of Mormon and other commandments and their failure to bring again Zion in Missouri. While they were still the Lord's people, they had problems which we don't acknowledge or learn from.

Do we deny that the curiculum has been correlated and that the finances have had modern methods applied or that doctrines have been hidden? I remember the ruckus caused when the Brigham Young book was introduced and there was hardly a mention of polygamy. Are these things helpful? Can those who love the Saints point these things out without being branded unfaithful?

When the Church Historian acknowledges that we are experiencing the greatest apostasy since the 1830's, perhaps we should discuss these things and not shoot the messenger.
SteveF said…
"The saints still claim we fulfilled everything required by the revelation in January, 1841" Who are all these Saints claiming this in the first place? I don't personally know anyone going around claiming this. I agree that since various members fell away and some of those in large measure became responsible for the death of Joseph Smith, they likely did not fulfill the injunction in verse 46 that says, "And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people..." so all the blessings did not necessarily follow.

But inasmuch as Denver is tying this in with the fullness that was promised to be revealed to the Saints (which it seems he is by his following sentence quoted below) for building the temple, he is wrong in implying that this blessing was not given. Historically, it was given (see my comment to M.)

His following sentence then says, "The proud descendants of Nauvoo, who have always retained control of the church’s top leadership positions, claim to hold all the keys ever given to Joseph Smith. They teach that they can bind on earth and in heaven" implying that these claims are not true. But this is mistaken, Joseph did pass on the the fullness of keys of the kingdom and did ordain several people to the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood before his death. Of course Joseph's personal righteousness and internal spirituality/power weren't passed on as this can never be passed person to person, but every key and piece of authority he possessed, including the sealing keys/authority to bind on earth and in heaven, was passed on to several men, Brigham Young being one of them who then being chosen to preside became the only person on earth that could exercise those keys in their entirety. Those keys/authority have been passed on to the present day, and the Lord has not revoked it.
SteveF said…
Steve, just to let you know that last comment I made was in response to you, I just didn't figure out how to put it in the right place.
Annalea said…
SteveF, anyone who has received the Initiatory ordinance in the temple is one of the Lord's anointed. The command to not speak evil of the Lord's anointed doesn't refer only to the fifteen men holding the highest position of leadership in the church organization. All who have made covenants in the temple are set apart for high and holy purposes in God's will.

(Not sure this comment will go in the right spot--it's a response to SteveF's comment of 25 Aug, 9:07pm. I'm still trying to figure out which "Reply" button works for which comment. Not all comments have them.)
Annalea said…
Rick wrote: "So, should you be a disciple of Denver, or do you follow church leadership?"

Neither. I follow Jesus Christ. And, in doing so, will also follow any leadership that follows Him. I've had experiences where following the Savior has made me both a highly favored church member, and has blacklisted me and put me on the "members who are losing their testimonies" list for discussion in PEC & Ward Council. The fruits of each leader's actions have spoken for themselves in each case, further confirming what the Savior through the Holy Ghost had already directed me to do.
Annalea said…
SteveF, sorry I haven't responded until now. Life gets a little crazy around here.

I wasn't trying to imply that any man is an island. And *of course* I'm not saying someone can break Christ's instructions and still stand justified before Jesus Christ. My wording should have been "personal relationship with Jesus Christ does not require any other intermediary. It’s between the individual and God." That's what Christ's victory was for. *He* is the only intermediary, and the whole purpose of that is to return His followers to the Father.

I would be cautious in proclaiming what Christ has bound Himself to do. He has covenanted with the Gentile church, and He has spoken clearly in scripture (many, many times) what that means, and what will happen in our day, and what the consequences will be.

I absolutely agree that one cannot reject the Kingdom of God on earth, and expect to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God in heaven. We run into trouble when we assume that the membership of the church is the line of demarcation between the Kingdom of God on earth and everyone else.

I would contest that the Kingdom of God on earth is not identical to the body of membership of the LDS church. D&C 10:67 sets out Christ's church: "Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church." The earthly organizational structure we call "the church" is something different entirely.
SteveF said…
Annalea, that's a common interpretation now days in our online community, but I don't buy it. Do you have any references? As far as the phrase is used in the scriptures, it appears to simply be a phrase synonymous with prophets or other leaders that the Lord has placed in authority over the people (see D&C 121:16, 1 Sam. 26:9, Psalms 2:2-4, Psalms 105:15), likely since being put in such a position of authority often came with an anointing ceremony.

I see no evidence that this phrase references the initiatory/endowment ceremony. But if you're set on trying to find a parallel to today's ordinances, you might want to look not to those who have been anointed to become something in the hereafter if they are faithful, but rather to those people who have actually been anointed to be something in the here and now.

(If you get email notifications on follow up comments, I discovered you can click the reply button in that email, and it will reply to the correct comment.)
Annalea said…
"Do you think Joseph Smith would have reacted in the same way?"

If Joseph were here, now, I firmly believe he would NOT be in agreement with Denver's leadership (either local or higher up).

“That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy.”

Forgive me for asking, but I can't remember if you've said: have you read Denver's blog or books? He has said, repeatedly, that he doesn't want a following. To not pay attention to him. To look to Christ. Nor has he seemed to lose his love for his fellowman.

As for finding fault, you don't have to "find" the things Denver has written about. They're everywhere. In plain sight. They're not nit-picky things he had to hunt for and partially manufacture. And Denver isn't the only one who is realizing these things . . . all over the bloggernacle there are bloggers and commenting readers who are participating in a dialogue, concerned about the trend towards following men, condemning those who ask questions or have concerns, and idolizing leadership.

"And if Denver chooses to openly defy the church he claims he is trying to uphold, it will become evident that he has fallen prey to just such a spirit."

The fact that the church leadership sees anything members do as defying them is a problem. When men assume authority over other men, those seen as subordinate then stand in a position to have their actions interpreted as defiant. Our church is supposedly a church of equals, and Christ himself gave express instruction to His apostles that they were to be the servants of all, and beneath all others. I think He is horrified by the idea that members are not to "defy" an unquestionable authority embodied by those who are to be His servants.
Annalea said…
By nameless, I believe Denver was referring to the fact that the committee members are anonymous.

I understood the "internet leak" to be someone in the COB communicating via the internet somehow (email? forum?) with Denver. And it doesn't imply that the leadership did the leaking. They would be the last people on earth to do that. It seems it would have been an employee of some sort; someone who knew what was going on and felt Denver needed to know, but wasn't a part of it.

As one who has had my faithfulness questioned, I can assure you: that IS starting a fight. Sometimes the right thing to do is let it go. It was, in my case. But in Denver's case, I think he's doing the right thing. He is a public figure (thanks to the wide readership of his blog & books). The actions of the corporate church against him have been in response to his public actions. It only make sense that Denver would be transparent about these events, since they are closely related to his publicly-available writings and will affect his relationship with his readers. This is something they *should* know, and I respect Denver for his transparency.

I have yet to see where Denver has fought. Stood his ground, yes. But, especially since he posted his summons, I have yet to see where he is anything but calm and reasonable.
Annalea said…
Those are bold words of judgement from someone so far removed from the situation, Rick. It probably feels good to stand and declare those words, but it seems risky to put yourself in the place of Christ to judge another of His children so damnably.
SteveF said…
I agree that the Kingdom of God is not identical with the Church, although since the most prominent part of the Kingdom thus far in this dispensation has been the Church Joseph and Brigham often used the terms interchangeably for sake of ease , which is also what I have done here in some of the comments. The Kingdom of God is meant to be a more expansive term. However membership in the Kingdom does require and begin with membership in the Church, which today means membership in the LDS Church. D&C 10:67 says "whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me", what does it mean to come unto me? Is not the first fruits of repentance, baptism?

I think Joseph Smith's sermon on John 3:3-5 gives some insight to answer those questions. He explained that verse 3 is actually referring to a different born again than verse 5, and this born again is referencing repentance. One must have faith in Christ and truly repent in order to be able to see the Kingdom of God. And then once you can see it, then you are able to come unto God and enter the Kingdom. How do you enter? Joseph explained that verse 5 means baptism and the gift of the holy ghost are the being born of the water and of the spirit that are required for entrance into the Kingdom.

I like the idea that those who are repentant and faithful, but are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it, may in some way still be considered part of the Church. Although technically the time will come that in order to gain true entrance into the church and kingdom, baptism and the gift of the holy ghost by the laying on of hands will be required.

As for your references to scriptures about the gentiles and the restoration of the church, I do not think they mean what you think they mean. If you think it means that the LDS Church is going to fall into apostasy, or that authority will be taken from it, then you are mistaken. Joseph restored much more than just a 'gentile church', and these organizations will not fall, rather after much trial and tribulation these will give birth to Zion.
Steve said…
Denver's latest post added some light to the subject.
Rick said…
I suppose I am as close as anyone who can view all the public banter back and forth. In reading all the comments on this blog, the commentators seem to be split 50-50. We can judge, if we do so righteously. It also appears everyone is receiving spiritual confirmation to back their own position.

My position is black and white on this circumstance. I don't need to fast and pray, it is very obvious that DS is actively sowing doubt about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think he is well into apostasy. His current posts are intended to get those that agree with him to continue to do so.

If you believe in DS, then you will follow that path.

I have full confidence that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet, and receives revelation for Christ's church. I have full confidence in our apostles, general authorities, stake presidents and bishops.

I enjoyed going to church last Sunday. I'm glad to be a member!

I believe that Zion, The New Jerusalem, will be built and that direction will come from the President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

If you want to mow grass and bake bread, then follow DS.
Annalea said…
According to what you're saying, it sounds like the vision Joseph had of Alvin at the right hand of God was false, then. (D&C 137)

And in response to your last paragraph, the Book of Mormon has quite a few references to the fact that the Gospel will be taken from the Gentile church (yes, that's us), and given to the Jews. Moroni, in Mormon 8, tells us "and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts". How is pride not apostasy? How are pollutions not apostasy?

Organizations of men will fall. It is inherent in their nature and part of their life cycle. Mortals cannot design or create that which will not fail.

Zion is the pure in heart. There's one One who can create that, can plant that idea in the hearts of enough people to bring it about. And He is the King of Kings.
Annalea said…
I'm glad that you're happy where you are, Rick. It would surely be nice if God worked in such predictable ways that made perfect sense to the minds of men. Thanks for sharing, and may God bless you.
Rick said…
D&C 42:88
88 And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.

Wondering why DS is making all this stuff public??? (His latest posts)
Karl said…
My main objection to DS in PTHG is: He repeatedly insists that the term Gentiles used in the Book of Mormon, refers to the insider's, the small core of believers who are already in the gospel covenant. However, it is clear to me that beginning in Nephi Ch 13, and commencing through the text, Nephi is very clearly referring to a chronology and making reference to Gentiles who could not yet be the covenant people, because he is referring to Gentiles, before the Restoration. I believe Snuffer is in error on this point; and a very large error, and fatal to one of the main theses in his book. The BOM references a wide circle of Gentiles, meaning all those outside the gospel covenant, and then a much smaller circle of Gentiles who are within the gospel covenant. One must be very careful to distinguish between these two groups. The BOM does not always point this out, so it must be done by a careful reading of the text. I have been an active member of the church for 47 years, and my own observation is that the real inner core of the church, those that take it seriously, are getting better with time, while those outside the real inner core (including many nominal members) are being sifted away. I do not believe that the dire predictions in the BOM refer to the real inner core. Further, I do not believe that Snuffer is correct when he posits that a "fulness" of priesthood was not passed through Nauvoo. I believe that sufficient and legal keys were passed to BY and his successors and that the church has been led through every period under the direction of the Holy Ghost. I perceive direction by revelation as evident in every administration since Brigham. Further, I see direction by the Holy Ghost as evident not only in my individual life, but also in the common members in my ward, and much more frequently and intensely than I experienced as a youth. This is evidence to me that God is still working closely with those in his church that are really on board the good ship Zion. When Snuffer says individuals can have a real audience with the Savior, I do not for one minute discount the possbility, since the end goal for all of us is to come back into the Lord's presence and receive joy. I do believe this should be our goal. However, I also believe that most of us need a long tutorial in learning to receive and be obedient to the gift of the Holy Ghost, before we try to leapfrog to direct revelations. There is a spiritual law of the harvest at work all the time, and one must progress from small steps to large. I think there are many individuals in each ward who have never had one actual legitimate experience with the Spirit, and that is very sad. On the other hand, there are many common members who only have great manifestations withheld because they do not ask or don't feel worhty to ask. That is sad too, because I think we'd be getting alot more than we get if we just learned the process to receive. At any rate, I wish DS well with his council; I do not support the idea of imposing church discipline on an individual for what he BELIEVES. And God bless all those who write such great and thoughtful comments on this blog; this has to be the best comment board in the world.
Karl said…
You do understand the paradox involved in quoting a general authority who states that we need not be concerned about being led astray by a general authority?
Karl said…
Probably because he is feeling cornered. Snuffer has a constitutional right to his opinion, even if it is in error (which I believe he is on the major points in his book PTHG). Further, he has as much right to speak, publish and broadcast what he believes is true, as anyone else (at least outside of Church property). Quashing him on the grounds that the authorities don't like what he says? Really? When did finding the truth take second place to what puts the Church "in a bad light?" Whether we are common members or the president of the church, we all need repentance as a constant guide in our life. The general authorities of the church have certain keys delegated to them to move the church ahead in a righteous pathway. Unfortunately, mere bestowal of keys does not give a man the wisdom of Solomon or the strength of Goliath. When it comes to really becoming righteous, God is no respector of persons; we all stand before God on an equal footing. And honestly, a book circulating with a few thousand copies at most. Even if he is completely in error, what damage can Snuffer do? We could only hope for the day that common members of the church were so absorbed in studying the gospel that they would take Snuffer seriously enough to study his materials and compare them with the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets, so they could compare. Nibley once said that a strong anti-mormon book was a great blessing, because they keep us on our toes. Same with Snuffer: he keeps us stirred up.

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