Is Excommunication Useful?

By: Mormon Heretic
August 26, 2013
Denver Snuffer

Denver Snuffer

Denver Snuffer is the latest Mormon author to face disciplinary action from the Church.  He posted his disciplinary letter on his blog; his disciplinary meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Aug 31.  In case you are not familiar with Snuffer, he is a lawyer here in Sandy, Utah, and has published about 12 books, most notable among these are:  The Second Comforter:  Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil, and the book that’s getting him in hot water: Passing the Heavenly Gift.  I’ve purchased the first, but have only read a few pages.  Now I really want to see what is so subversive in the second.

Denver was interviewed on Mormon Stories last year, and John Dehlin described him as “A Progressive, Fundamentalist, Non-Polygamist Mormon Lawyer Who Claims to Have Seen Christ.”  It was a very interesting interview.  Snuffer is definitely a strong believing  Mormon, and he seems to have taken the promise that we can see angels literally.  That probably has caused more than a few to raise their eyebrows, so I’ll bet it comes as quite surprising that he is accused of apostasy and his stake president wants him to cut his book tour.  From the letter,

The issue for consideration is whether the continued publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift constitutes an act of apostasy and, if so, what the appropriate remedy should be.  For your information, if the council concludes that publication of the book is an act of apostasy, the only alternative outcome for the council are disfellowshipment or excommunication.  Church policy makes no allowance for probation for acts of apostasy, a reflection of the serious nature of this issue.

Denver, I am not anxious to chase people out of the church.  My goal is the opposite–to enable all to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have tried to be open minded about the issues we have discussed.  I am sympathetic with those who face a crisis of faith.

I cannot deny, however, the spirit’s influence on me and the responsibilities I have to protect the interests of the Church.  I have tried to persuade you that  PTHG is not constructive to work of salvation or the promotion of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The book’s thesis is in direct conflict with church doctrine.  In your effort to defend the restoration, you have mischaracterized doctrine, denigrated virtually every prophet since Joseph Smith, and placed the church in a negative light.  The book is a misguided attempt to bridge the gap between the church and its dissidents.

To avoid the disciplinary council, I ask you, again:

1.  To remove PTHG from publication;

2.  To acknowledge to those who follow your blog that PTHG contains content that needs to be withdrawn; and

3.  To cancel your planned speaking tour that begins in September, which I believe will promote the views expressed in PTHG.

Please, dear brother, we want and need you on the side of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter-days.  Please reconsider your journey down the path that is likely to lead to the impairment of your church membership.

Sincerely,

Some questions for our readers.

Do you believe the stake president's actions are appropriate?

  • no (68%, 170 Votes)
  • yes (32%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 249

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Do you think the stake president's requests are a form of censorship?

  • yes (83%, 204 Votes)
  • no (17%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 246

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Who do you think is most responsible for calling for the disciplinary council?

  • stake president (37%, 84 Votes)
  • Q12 (34%, 77 Votes)
  • a Seventy (19%, 44 Votes)
  • First Presidency (10%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 226

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Are the stake president's actions an example of unrighteous dominion?

  • yes (62%, 138 Votes)
  • no (38%, 84 Votes)

Total Voters: 222

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When a Mormon author gets excommunicated:

  • meh. It's a wash. (45%, 107 Votes)
  • he/she becomes a martyr and has more prestige and credibility (31%, 74 Votes)
  • he/she has less prestige and credibility (24%, 56 Votes)

Total Voters: 237

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As I said before, this isn’t the first time an author has been disciplined, or caused controversy.

The September Six refer to a group of 6 intellectuals that were disciplined by the church in 1993.

  1. Lynne Whitesides*
  2. Paul Toscano
  3. Maxine Hanks**
  4. Lavina Anderson
  5. Michael Quinn
  6. Avraham Gileadi**

*Five of the six were excommunicated with Lynne Whitesides being the exception–she was disfellowshipped.

**Of the six disciplined, Maxine Hanks and Avraham Gileadi have been rebaptized.

Despite claims to the contrary about the church being open, the church still seems concerned about what authors write.

  • In 1994, Professor David Wright of Brandeis University and editor Brent Metcalf were excommunicated for their scripture studies in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon:  Explorations in Critical Methodology
  • In 1995, author Janice Allred was excommunicated for her writings about Mother in Heaven.
  • In 2000, Professor Margaret Toscano was excommunicated for her theological reflections
  • in 2002, Professor Thomas Murphy was nearly excommunicated for his anthropological work on Mormonism.
  • Simon Southerton resigned under pressure from the church following his publication of information on DNA and the Book of Mormon.
  • John Dehlin, founder of Mormon StoriesMormon Matters, and StayLDS was summoned to a meeting with his Stake President. He said the meeting went well, and solicited comments to his website.  Last word is that he is a member in good standing.
  • Grant Palmer was disfellowshipped for publishing Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.  Palmer resigned his membership last year when he learned that a new disciplinary council was meeting to discuss his excommunication.  Rather than waste time with the council, he resigned.
  • In addition, many other unnamed intellectuals were called into disciplinary interviews that did not result in excommunication.

If the Church will go forth “boldly, nobly, and independent, til’ it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, and sounded in every ear”, why are they so fearful of these authors?

I have a Jewish friend and he said that you can never be excommunicated from the Jewish religion because God is to be your judge.  Christians, on the other hand, have excommunicated members for centuries.  Do you think that excommunication is appropriate, or is it an example of unrighteous dominion?

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321 Responses to Is Excommunication Useful?

  1. hawkgrrrl on August 26, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    I suppose it is a control mechanism and the church’s only means to credibly distance themselves from incorrect doctrine. For me, a more important question is why Bruce R McConkie was never summoned to a disciplinary council when his book contained over 1000 errors and carried the presumptuous title Mormon Doctrine. Apparently those of high standing get unequal treatment. I know relatively little of Denver Snuffer. What I have read reminds me of James Strang. I suppose the church would have to view schism (which seems the likely outcome of his position) as grounds for excommunication.

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  2. whizzbang on August 26, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    if mischaracterizing doctrine is bad then we all face the gallows! it sounds like this man was told before to cease and desist and yet continued on, it reminds me of the verses in the BOM about “if ye persist” I am sure he has been given warnings and didn’t act on them. I am sure he like the rest of us is looking for truth but maybe he isn’t open to correction or another way of looking at things, or maybe he is and then decided to publish his stuff regardless of the evidence or views of others. I know nothing baout him, never read any of his books or stuff so take this with a 100lbs bag of salt

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  3. SilverRain on August 26, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    My limited experience indicates that it isn’t mere doctrinal exploration, it is your intent regarding publicizing it, your attitude towards it, and your willingness to be corrected.

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  4. Andrew S on August 26, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    Note to everyone: I saw that the same poll was repeating on the page, so I edited the post so that the different poll questions would show correctly.

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  5. SilverRain on August 26, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Also, seeing angels, etc. isn’t the problem I have with his writing. It is that he sets himself up as an authority, deals almost commercially with things that, if they were true, would be sacred, and uses his experiences promote himself and make money, which is the very definition of priestcraft.

    Plus his name sounds like a serial killer, though he can’t help that. ;)

    .

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  6. Hedgehog on August 26, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    I asked a similar question about prestige on whether investigation and discipline could come to be seen as a badge of honour here: http://www.wheatandtares.org/11144/inquisitions-and-inquisitors-then-and-now/
    Of course, the RC experience is over centuries, though the Spetember 6 do seem to be fêted as heroes by some.

    I don’t know anything about Denver Snuffer or his books however.

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  7. Karen on August 26, 2013 at 5:26 AM

    Avraham Gileadi’s excommunication was EXPUNGED by the Church, an admission that it should never have happened. He did not have to be rebaptized. There is no longer anything regarding an excommunication in his official church record.
    Also, his books and talks are very knowledgeable. Well worth the time and money.

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  8. Tracy M on August 26, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    The thing is, if we’re going to start disciplining folks for incorrect doctrine, we better figure out what our doctrine is in the first place. And it’s a slippery slope, because we’ve got a lot of culture mixed in– if I count the messed up pet-issue conflations of culture and politics I hear presented from the pulpit or the classroom every Sunday, we’re going to need to discipline a large part of of the body of the church. I think this guy is nutballs, but we live in a big giant glass house with no shortage of mixed nuts.

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  9. Dannyk on August 26, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Silver Rain – I have read some of his works, and am fairly familiar with his blog. It is true that the experiences that he claims to have would in some way make him an “authority”…however I find him regularly trying to dissuade those who read his works from viewing him as an authority of any kind, and instead says his books are only useful to the extent they point other’s to Christ. He would be the first to agree with you regarding his “nothingness”. He often writes trying to encourage others to place no man/woman/institution between them and their relationship with Christ. And he includes himself in that.

    As to the commercial nature of his books – he does not gain any financial compensation for the books. He donates all proceeds to the church missionary fund. He deliberately wants to make sure he avoids even the appearance of priestcraft.

    However, if what you said were true (that he was selling them for the purpose of getting gain)…what would that say of the book deals for leaders of our church? Will you hold them to the same standard? Last time I went in to Deseret Book, I saw books with no more than 100 pages selling for $20 because they had a GA’s name attached to them.

    I say that not to criticize, but just to point out that perhaps we overlook motives of some simply because of their calling in the church…while ascribing motives to another because they don’t have that calling.

    FWIW – The Second Comforter is one of the most beautiful books on the Fulness of the Gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon that I’ve ever read. Too bad about the proceedings, I pray for all involved that they will be inspired/comforted.

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  10. Dannyk on August 26, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Tracy – I agree. I find this quote from Joseph Smith quite interesting :

    “I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. It dont prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine”

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  11. Jared on August 26, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    Is Excommunication Useful?

    The Lord gives the answer.

    14 And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying:

    29 Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.

    30 Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.

    31 And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.

    32 Now I say unto you, Go; and whosoever will not repent of his sins the same shall not be numbered among my people; and this shall be observed from this time forward.

    33 And it came to pass when Alma had heard these words he wrote them down that he might have them, and that he might judge the people of that church according to the commandments of God.

    34 And it came to pass that Alma went and judged those that had been taken in iniquity, according to the word of the Lord.

    35 And whosoever repented of their sins and did confess them, them he did number among the people of the church;

    36 And those that would not confess their sins and repent of their iniquity, the same were not numbered among the people of the church, and their names were blotted out.

    37 And it came to pass that Alma did regulate all the affairs of the church; and they began again to have peace and to prosper exceedingly in the affairs of the church, walking circumspectly before God, receiving many, and baptizing many.

    38 And now all these things did Alma and his fellow laborers do who were over the church, walking in all diligence, teaching the word of God in all things, suffering all manner of afflictions, being persecuted by all those who did not belong to the church of God.

    (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 26:14, 29 – 38)

    Denver has a choice. I hope he chooses to keep his membership and follow the counsel of his Stake President. If not, then by his choice (agency) he will be dealt with according to church policy.

    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 by reading Tim Malone’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 watched Tim, someone I greatly respect, lessen because of Denver’s influence. To me, this is a indicator of the fruit Denver’s teachings are having. I’m glad I stayed away.

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  12. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    The church if it were upfront and transparent has grown beyond the need of being protected from it’s own members. We should be at a point of openness that tolerates different opinions and discussion about those differences but open and upfront is not the church’s methodology. See Sweden’s School of the Prophets.

    http://mormonthink.com/glossary/school-of-the-prophets-2013-sweden.htm

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  13. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    It’s easy to see why excommunication would not be viewed as useful.

    After all, we are a society that no longer values social norms and a community.

    So the poll results are unsurprising.

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  14. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Dannyk,

    There is an obvious difference in erring in doctrine, and taking your errs and going around on book tours trying to gain a following and undermining the institutional church.

    Joseph Smith probably would have given the Snuffer the boot faster than today’s church authorities have done.

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  15. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Is excommunication useful? To the adulteress after dismissing the Pharisees Jesus said: Go and sin no more. Yet the church says:You will be notified of a court date.. It seems in Jesus’ absence the Pharisees won!

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  16. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Kind of a moot point Howard, since the Snuffer appears to feel he’s done nothing wrong whatsoever (as evidenced by the fact he’s broadcasting his letter unrepentantly to the world). So your comparison to the “go and sin no more” statement is a complete non-sequitur.

    He isn’t even planning on repenting in the first place. Which makes him completely different from the adulteress.

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  17. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    By the way, is it just me, or has the term “pharisees” become used the same way Hitler and Nazis get used? It’s like some sort of Christian version of Godwin’s Law.

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  18. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Seth R, non-sequitur? I was addressing the question: Is excommunication useful?. Apparently Jesus didn’t think it was!

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  19. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    No, it’s not apparent at all Howard.

    Jesus wasn’t a church leader. He wasn’t responsible for administering the church at all. He confined himself to preaching and performing miracles.

    He left that to Peter.

    But… you know Howard, the only example we have of Peter dealing with this sort of problem is Annas and Saphira.

    So you know what… I guess you’re. Jesus wasn’t an advocate for excommunication.

    He just nuked the trouble-makers on the spot.

    Thanks for making this realization possible.

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  20. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Sorry, that middle part should have read “I guess you’re right”

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  21. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    So you point is Jesus would have “nuked” Denver on the spot!?

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  22. hawkgrrrl on August 26, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Well here’s a thought. Either DS has seen Christ or he’s mentally ill. If the former, why excommunicate him for having seen Christ and not denying it like JS. If the latter, do we ex the mentally ill?

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  23. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Actually no Howard. I’m not calling for any orbital bombardments today. It was a tongue and cheek way of pointing out that Jesus isn’t quite as permissive as you make him out to be. I’m with J.D. Salinger on this one:

    “If you’re going to say the Jesus Prayer, at least say it to Jesus, and not to St. Francis and Seymour and Heidi’s grandfather all wrapped up in one.”

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  24. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    hawkgrrl,

    There’s a difference between having completely out-there theology and going out and proselyting for it, setting up your own personal following, claiming the current church authorities are no longer legitimate, and encouraging others to follow you in these views.

    The Snuffer’s views are basically – “The LDS Church went wrong somwhere waaay back along the chain of command (maybe the early 1900s), and did cowardly things like getting rid of polygamy and giving blacks the Priesthood, and they lost the heavenly mandate to guide this church. However I have had the super-special “second anointing” and have seen Jesus personally, which puts me in a superior position to the General Authorities and all the pathetic sheeples who follow them.”

    Yeah, depending on how public and obnoxious you want to be with that message, yeah – you can be a great candidate for excommunication.

    Just a note, but I don’t really get why the Mormon Stories and MormonThink crowd are lionizing a guy who thinks revoking the Priesthood Ban was a mistake. Especially given how much they gripe about that historical blemish otherwise.

    Guess when it comes to an opportunity to criticize the Church, any guy will do.

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  25. Steve on August 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Having read a bit of what Denver has written, particularly the book in question, he interprets Church history in a way that calls into question some of our most cherished beliefs about ourselves. Those questions are probably no more welcome than Jesus calling the Jewish leaders hypocrites and whited sepulchers. For me and my house Denver has helped us remain members of the Church and press forward to be one with Christ.

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  26. Mary Bliss on August 26, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    In cases like this I am reminded of Matt 5:29 which talks about “if thy right eye cause to stumble pluck it out”. (see GR footnote)

    An author in this situation is caught between his devotion to and sense of verity in what he has written on the one hand and his being alerted to the fact that it is causing others of the faith to stumble and get confused on the other, in spite of his not having intended that.

    It is extremely difficult to stop doing and teaching something that you have expended tremendous amounts of time and effort learning, seeing and writing and disseminating. Considering stopping may well be as difficult as considering plucking out your own eye.

    It requires incredible humility, courage, sacrifice and trust in Christ that truth will ultimately be revealed, whether it comes through you or someone else, in order to actually stop what you’ve been doing when you find yourself facing that choice.

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  27. Steve on August 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    What if the man is being honest and writing such things at the command of the Lord? What if the stake president is wrong in this instance? What if he is being pressured by those higher in the hierarchy? If you were Denver, and were commanded by the Lord to do such things, would you cease and desist because a man with a calling and keys asked you to do so? Would it be “humility, courage, sacrifice and trust in Christ” to stop if your Lord had commanded you to write the books and give the talks? What if you simply felt that this was an instance of unrighteous dominion? Would you continue on your plans or change them?

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  28. mh on August 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Seth, I find your characterizations of snuffer to be way off. He is not nearly as obnoxious as your mis characterizations

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  29. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Feel free to leave your own simplified paragraph of summary if you wish MH.

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  30. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Is it really unthinkable that the church could have gone astray? Certainly the four statements taken together: 1) Blacks cannot hold the priesthood. 2) Blacks can hold the priesthood. 3) The Prophet cannot lead us astray. 4) We don’t know how the ban on blacks happened. are illogical, contradictory and fail to build confidence that it has not gone astray. Church presidents were not called Prophets until 1955 yet revealed prophecy since has been minutiae compared to Joseph’s. Younger missionaries is the most important message God has to share with the world in 2013???

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  31. Jeff Spector on August 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    It is my observation that we tend to see these things through a single set of eyes, usually from the person who is being called to the council and attempting to position themselves publicly. In this case, there is a bit more information since he chose to publish the letter from the SP.

    We discover that this has been going on for at least 18 months. It appear to surround the last book he published and his tour promoting it. I’ve not seen the book nor know it’s contents. So I cannot judge the contents as heretical or not. It is obvious that the SP think it bear the scrutiny of a DC.

    As a Church member, we are free to believe whatever we want, to think whatever we want and to even believe we were transported to Kolob in a ’57 Chevy, if we want. What we do with that belief is another story. We are not permitted to espouse doctrine or experience against our stewardship. it is not our right. of course, we can still choose to do it, but at the peril of our Church membership in some situations.

    This may be one of those situations.

    A DC is not a punishment though it is thought to be that by many. Being Ex’ed is not a punishment, though some would position it that way. It is a way to relieve a member of his or her responsibilities until they work out their repentance and return to full fellowship. There are certainly some punitive things such as not wearing the garment, paying tithing ot taking the sacrament

    For some, it takes years for that to happen, for some, it never does. It’s primarily up to the former member to make their way back.

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  32. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    No Howard, it isn’t unthinkable and I remain open to the possibility myself.

    But even so, I still believe that an organization has the mandate to police it’s own criteria for membership. And if someone is actively undermining the organization, I’m not going to blame the organization for giving them the boot.

    Jeff is absolutely correct – we only ever hear one side of the story in these public excommunications – the person who was excommunicated. The lawyer in me always sees that as a big warning that we’re all about to be sold a biased, one-sided, hyper-emotionalized bill of goods.

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  33. dba.brotherp on August 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Excommunication is to protect the “image” of the church, period. It does nothing for the person being ex’d. Jesus is the great healer. He doesn’t cast off people. He leaves the 99 and goes after the 1. He doesn’t wait for the 1 to make their way back to the fold.

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  34. Nick Literski on August 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    During my years of zealous activity in the LDS church, I was very much aligned with the doctrines of Joseph Smith. I actually believed in the literal ministering of angels. I thought that when the scriptures and the early prophets promised that a man could make his calling and election sure and enter the presence of deity in this life, they actually meant it, rather than some silly metaphor. I ran into some raised eyebrows now and then, particularly from LDS members who chose to “allegorize away” those promises, rather than face the challenge of pursuing them. The only priesthood leader I had trouble with was a CES seminary teacher, who made blatantly ignorant/incorrect historical claims (such as that the True Order of Prayer had NEVER, EVER been done outside a temple) in an effort to “counsel” me (in between sacrament meeting talks, where he told the ward about his “prophetic” dreams, which characterized him as a savior figure there to rescue a ward of Satan’s unwitting dupes—seriously). More often, LDS members with an interest in Mormonism actively requested copies of the material I’d collected and compiled.

    While I’ve not read Mr. Snuffer’s books in any detail, it appears that he is simply advocating these early Mormon doctrines, which the modern LDS church has “de-emphasized” in order to (supposedly) promote missionary work and public relations. Sadly, doing so has become even more “out of step” with the LDS church than it was when I resigned my membership in 2006. The best thing he can do to retain his LDS membership is to teach nothing that wouldn’t be spoken in any Lutheran or Methodist chapel down the street, other than occasionally dropping the name of Joseph Smith as part of an apocryphal, presentist, out of context “faith promoting story.”

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  35. Frank Pellett on August 26, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Is excommunication at all analogous to banning someone from a blog/discussion group? Do we ban someone to give them time to “cool off” and allow them to come back later when they aren’t being so subversive or damaging to others participating? Do we ban just to protect the “image” of the blog?

    Just a thought, since there are a good number who haven’t been anything but 2nd hand commentators to excommunications, but have been on oneside or another of a ban.

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  36. Nick Literski on August 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    “Jeff is absolutely correct – we only ever hear one side of the story in these public excommunications – the person who was excommunicated. The lawyer in me always sees that as a big warning that we’re all about to be sold a biased, one-sided, hyper-emotionalized bill of goods.”

    Seth, I don’t necessarily disagree, but considering the LDS church’s often (but not always) followed practice of refusing to comment on disciplinary councils, one has to expect that they will almost always receive a “one-sided” story. Assuming that “one-sided” in this context is the equivalent of “suspect” seems to stack the deck, don’t you think?

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  37. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Nick, perhaps the LDS Church is simply being more responsible and protective of the excommunicated in general. Keep in mind that the people going online trying to make martyrs of themselves are in the VAST minority of excommunications overall.

    Although, I’ll admit this pisses off bloggers – who are, by nature, people who want to see “the whole story” told, no matter who it hurts, or whether it’s even useful.

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  38. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    And you’re remark about “stack the deck” is rather funny.

    You obviously meant it as “stack the deck in the Church’s favor.”

    But this is just ridiculous Nick. If it “stacks the deck” in anyone’s favor, it stacks the deck in the favor of the excommunicated person – who can then run off to the Huffington Post and say any damn thing they like.

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  39. Dannyk on August 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Seth R – it is clear that you haven’t read any of his works, your characterizations are way off.

    He does not advocate a return to polygamy (and has a 6 part series detailing why not), if anything he thinks they went WAY too far with it after the death of Joseph. He has never advocated a return to a time when blacks didn’t have the priesthood…my guess is he would probably site this as evidence that things did go a bit of course with church leaders, and how easy it is for them (and all of us) to be led astray by the arm of the flesh.

    You want a better summary? Fine. He believes we should take seriously the counsel of Pres. Benson (and the Lord per D&C) and return to a diligent study of the Book of Mormon, so that we can cast off our unbelief and come out from under condemnation. Why the Book of Mormon? Because it contains the Fulness of the Gospel. How could it contain the “fulness” if we still needed all that D&C stuff? Because it clearly teaches the path back to God by way of faith in Christ, because each of the chief prophet/authors of the BoM have seen Christ, been ministered to by Him, and encourage us to develop a faith that will provide for us the same blessing…because God is no respecter of persons and “every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” He teaches the temple is not an end, but instead a symbol of the journey you are supposed to take, whereby you participate in ordinances associate with each priesthood (dressing yourself with robes of righteousness the ordinances convey through your faithfulness and righteousness and by the power of Christ’s atonement), learn to receive and recognize true messengers (whether earthly or heavenly), cast out Satan and his influence in your life and progress in light and truth until a time when you can be presented to speak with the Lord through a veil, and eventually be embraced of him and told to enter His presence.

    Oh wait…is that what Oath and Covenant teaches? Learning to receive Priesthoods, Servants, then Christ, and ultimately the Father and all the Father has?

    THAT is the fulness of the Gospel, and the Book of Mormon testifies of it’s reality, and invites you to gain your own witness. What else is Nephi trying to say in 2 Ne 32. It turns out he too is frustrated by our unbelief, our unwillingness to actually receive the blessings God has laid out, because we won’t seek and won’t ask…and we won’t understand even when it is written as plain as word can be. What does Nephi teach in that chapter? Enter in by the way, truly receive the Holy Ghost, with a baptism of fire, consequently learn to speak with the tongue of angels, so you can learn all things that you should do. Continue in that way until Christ Himself shall manifest to you and teach you more things, which things he was going to elaborate on but the spirit said to keep quiet because we who will read the book just won’t be ready.

    These are the things he teaches. Come unto Christ, in every sense of the word.

    He makes no money from the books cause he donates it all to the missionary fund. He charges nothing for the speaking events.

    He wrote a 6 part series on why he is a mormon and why he sustains the leaders of the church. He is grateful to them for the role they fill. He is grateful the church provides missionaries to the world, they print the BoM, they build temples all over the world which introduce people to a journey to receive the Fulness. He has written time and again they have every right to lead, that he intends to serve faithfully as long as they will have him. The book under question tries to deal with the difficult parts of our history, and though I’ve never heard of someone leaving the church for reading it, I have heard others come back to church, since that is what he encourages.

    But who cares right? Let’s just condemn a man we clearly know nothing about. Let’s sensationalize by pretending he teaches certain things he never has, Let’s cast judgment and throw our stones. Off with his head!

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  40. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I don’t know dba – Jesus seemed plenty willing to “cast off” the pharisees, scribes, and hypocrites.

    Or do they not count as people in your book?

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  41. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    For the record Dannyk, I have no idea whether the Snuffer actually ought to be excommunicated or not.

    Just so we’re clear.

    My responses have been solely in response to all the knee-jerk whining about how the fact that the LDS Church is excluding people makes it evil, pharisiacal, etc.

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  42. graceforgrace on August 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    I would need to see what is in the book or at least have someone do a quick run-through of what is in the book in order for me to answer the questions you pose effectively. Has anyone read it and if so, can you summarize it?

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  43. Nick Literski on August 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Seth, I obviously wasn’t clear. What I was trying to say is that if you always assume that a “one-sided” excommunication story is falsified, self-aggrandizing, etc., then you’ll always end up condeming the individual who is telling his/her story. This is necessarily the case, since the LDS church has a policy (usually, though not always followed) of not commenting on excommunications.

    You basically create a paradigm where the LDS church leaders can count on you disbelieving anything the potential or recent excommunicant has to say, since you’ve already ruled out “one-sided” stories. This isn’t to say that you, or the LDS church, or somehow “evil.” It’s just an observation about the approach you described.

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  44. B.O.B. on August 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    MH:

    You forgot to put Gileadi on your list.

    Seth R.:

    Not sure where you’re gleaning information, or why the general vitriol for Denver, but your characterizations are way off. And, maybe you could limit your posts just a little. I’m no admin here, but when you’re fully responsible for over 1/3rd of the 40+ responses to the main post, methinks you just might be posting too much, or that you have way too much at stake in this conversation.

    As for me, I’ve read a couple of Denver’s books and he goes out of his way, WAY out of his way – to the point where it became annoying for me – to distance himself from any attention for his books, for people asking him questions ad nauseum, to carefully note how all the money for his books was being donated to the missionary fund, etc., etc. Now, it’s been a few years since I read his books, but I found them quite appealing when I was going through a phase of questioning and a phase of disillusionment with the Church. He, like several other authors, had insights into questions and scriptural verses that I quite liked. I drifted away from his works out of personal preference, but I can’t fault the guy for doing what he did and I’m certainly not qualified to judge his character. Read his book, or blog, and figure that out for yourself before castigating the guy with all sorts of mischaracterizations and sophmorish insults.

    I have no horse in this fight, but I think the Church(tm) is way too protective of its image and way too concerned with deviancy. There are so many other things it could be focusing on and, as someone mentioned above, to excommunicate someone for not teaching/advocating the “true” doctrine (whatever the heck that means, anyway), then they’d fully have to excommunicate 95% of the membership records. Have you ever been to a foreign church service? Or any one up and down the wasatch front?? False, crazy, cultural doctrine gets preached on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

    At least with Snuffer, I’m confident that his research skills led him to the decisions he advocates in his books. As for most members, they advocate what they believe based on cultural assumptions (i.e. they heard it in seminary 20+ years ago and it’s stuck with them ever since).

    Excommunication sucks. Disfellowship sucks. It’s all a horse and pony show. Make Mormonism a “big” tent where we come for ordinances and the important stuff, then let everyone believe what they want about the gray area.

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  45. Mike S on August 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Is Excommunication Useful?

    I suppose it depends on the goal. As an institution, the LDS Church has the right (and responsibility) to defend itself against attacks. If the organization feels that Brother Snuffer’s works can potentially cause harm to the organization, then it can proceed using its mechanism to fight such attacks (ie. excommunication). There will be a potential downside, as there will be some people who see these actions as supporting Brother Snuffer’s thesis, but in their calculus, they have likely decided that any bad press coming from the excommunication if less than the potential harm his works can do.

    As an individual, I don’t know that excommunication would matter to Brother Snuffer. There are certainly going to be far more people who end up in the Celestial Kingdom than those who were active LDS in mortality – so not being on the rolls of the LDS Church may or may not make much difference there. And if, as he has taught, Brother Snuffer has actually seen Christ and is truly going forward as he feels prompted, then he personally has nothing to fear from any Court. History is replete with examples of people who have followed what they personally felt God wanted them to do, even if it clashed with an existing organization.

    So, excommunication as a defense mechanism for the LDS Church – fine. Excommunication as a “punishment” for someone who has seen Christ and who is acting honestly under that premise – probably not that big of a deal.

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  46. Steve on August 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    DannyK – Good review of what Snuffer has taught. Thanks.

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  47. Casey on August 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    What I’ve read of Snuffer doesn’t really resonate with me, but I know some people who swear by the kinds of things he teaches, particularly in regards to obtaining some kind of literal appearance from Christ. My old mission president would go on about that all the time, and I have in-laws who love Snuffer’s books. I dunno if he’s worthy of excommunication and didn’t vote on any of the poll questions, but I think the church has every right to police its membership however it likes, although some more transparency in the process would be nice in a church ostensibly established on principles like common consent. Also: good gravy, Seth R, have you ever been involved in an internet discussion where you didn’t immediately wade in to pick a fight? I don’t even think you’re necessarily wrong on this one, just…good gravy.

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  48. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    BOB, my problem is that I hit post, and then think of another point I wanted to mention. Or, I use different posts to respond to different ideas or individuals. You’re right – that style has it’s drawbacks.

    As for your suggestions of the church perhaps being in the wrong, I neither agree nor disagree. Perhaps the Stake President is overreaching. I had a Stake President in my own pioneer heritage who demanded my great, great, great, etc. granduncle turn over more than his share of irrigation water for farming to the Stake President (communal property models and all that), when my ancestor did the numbers and pointed out he needed a bit more than the SP was leaving him, his leader threw a fit and threatened him with excommunication. So it’s not like I have my rose-colored glasses on here. Rubbish happens in the church structure.

    But I’d disagree with you that excommunication and dis-fellowship have no place, or are “all a dog and pony show.”

    There are definitely people in the LDS Church who absolutely should be shown the front door and have their status revoked. On the extreme end of the spectrum, you could mention those guilty of child or spousal abuse. But there are lesser shades than that where I would still find it appropriate.

    Nick,

    Let’s put it this way – the LDS leadership cannot count on me disbelieving anything the excommunicated say. But they very-much count on me being very suspicious of such stories.

    And the more angry, and hyper-emotionalized the story is, the more sensational, the more attention-seeking it is, the more and more suspicious I get of it.

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  49. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Casey, at the risk of annoying BOB with a further post, I’ll just say – good point.

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  50. Jeff Spector on August 26, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    I think Mike S might have hit the nail on the head here for me, but perhaps in a way slightly different than he intended.

    First, let me say that this guy is in the Mormon belt, giving his seminars in Mormon strongholds. that always gets more attention than if it occurred in other place.

    But, my experience with these kind of guys that profess to have direction directly from Christ (if that is the case) typically think they operate in the Church outside the Church. That since they are operating under the direction of a higher authority than the Apostles and Prophets, they are actually immune from ex-communication from the Kingdom itself. That the only actual need they have for the organized LDS Church is access to the Temple.

    Again, I speculate, but this is based on some writings I have seen in the past from others with a similar story. Ironically, most of the others advocated for Polygamy as well. And also had a Church as apostate bent as well.

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  51. dba.brotherp on August 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Seth R.

    What…wait… the bible contradicts itself? I’m glad we agree on one thing!

    If the question is “Is excommunication useful” then the other question is what is the purpose of excommunication. I just don’t see it helpful to the individual. Excommunication doesn’t stop Snuffer from writing the books, giving lectures, etc. Excommunication doesn’t prohibit Snuffer from attending church. Excommunication doesn’t stop the Church from issuing a statement distancing itself from Snuffer. Excommunication does (if you are a believing Mormon) affects your eternal salvation. No more baptism, temple covenants, priesthood, sacrament, etc. The only purpose I can see excommunication is good for, is as a threat to get people to toe-the-line.

    It’s interesting that this topic has so many responses. I have never read any of Snuffer’s books. I have only heard his name in blog passing and I actually thought it was anonymous blog ID :)

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  52. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    …immune from ex-communication from the Kingdom itself This must be true. The mortal church mortalizes spiritual principles into simplifed “saving” ordinances and covenants. The ordinances themselves are symbolic and it is the symbolism of them and of our participation in them that is of importance. Therefore the afterlife church MUST be different than the mortal church because mortal ordinances are not possible. As a result our participation in the LDS church is limited in time as we move on to the Church of the Firstborn. I think of our time in the mortal LDS church as the narrow part of an hour glass. Faithful of not we will eventually be moving on to something different. So the church tosses DS out but let’s assume DS has a faithful relationship with Christ even if he didn’t actually experience a visitation. So, he goes to hell? Of course not! The church exists to point us toward the Lord after that we’re his not theirs!!!

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  53. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    What is the purpose of excommunicating DS? To discredit him in the minds of chapel Mormons.

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  54. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    That can be a useful result of excommunication Howard.

    Why does excommunication have to be about helping the individual? Maybe it’s about helping all the other individuals who live in the ward.

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  55. dba.brotherp on August 26, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Jeff,

    That’s an interesting thought about having direction from Christ. Does that mean that in the two lines of the revelation model (i.e. personal/institutional) personal trumps institutional and that is what concerns the Church? I haven’t thought about it like that if that is what I think you’re saying.

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  56. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Doesn’t personal have to trump institutional revelation? After all it’s God talking to YOU, not your Bishop!

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  57. Jeff Spector on August 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    dba.brotherp,

    “That’s an interesting thought about having direction from Christ. Does that mean that in the two lines of the revelation model (i.e. personal/institutional) personal trumps institutional and that is what concerns the Church?”

    Well, it two-edged sword, I guess. I don’t think that the Church would deny personal revelation so long as it squared with scripture and Prophetic revelation. As soon as it crosses the line over to teaching a principle received from that personal revelation, it becomes the problem. Only one person has that right for the whole Church.

    And it counters how the Savior said his church would be led. That has been historically what got many men in trouble was they had revelation for the whole church outside of their authority.

    With the case of the other folks I mentioned, it was “Jesus told me directly to practice polygamy, in spite of the Church ban on it because He needs me to…. And even if I was Ex’d because of it, I have my calling and election made sure because of my obedience to Him.”

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  58. SilverRain on August 26, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    DannyK, perhaps you’re right and he makes no money off of it. Money is not the only way to priestcraft. It says something that he has to try so hard to avoid the appearance of it.

    When I have read his works, I have picked up on on the same threads I have sensed in other works. That is, he starts with seeming humility and submission, but his works become increasingly self-promotive. He sets up false seemings with carefully constructed sentences that make it sound like he is preaching edgy doctrine in contrast with what the Church teaches, but there is very little that the Church doesn’t already preach. He plays with phrasing and nuance in order to maintain a careful balance (by your own admission, though perhaps you didn’t see it in your own comments) between seeming to turn people to God and turning them away from considering God’s authority resting in the Church. He takes two good, doctrinal principles and makes them seem to be mutually exclusive when they are not.

    His tone holds no awareness of the sacredness of his experiences. I have met people who have had the types of experiences he trumpets from the rooftops, as witnessed to me by the Spirit. They act and sound much different. The results of their preaching are much different.

    It is possible that God commanded him to do as he is doing, but I discern that He did not. IF he truly received the personal revelation he claims, he would have an understanding of its personal nature. Contrariwise, he effects self at the sacrifice of community. There have been many who preach the same content and manner as he does. He is nothing new, nor surprising.

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  59. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Howard, you can’t usefully ask whether personal or institutional revelation trumps unless you specify what sphere it’s supposed to trump IN.

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  60. B.O.B. on August 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    His tone holds no awareness of the sacredness of his experiences. I have met people who have had the types of experiences he trumpets from the rooftops, as witnessed to me by the Spirit. They act and sound much different. The results of their preaching are much different.

    It is possible that God commanded him to do as he is doing, but I discern that He did not. IF he truly received the personal revelation he claims, he would have an understanding of its personal nature. Contrariwise, he effects self at the sacrifice of community. There have been many who preach the same content and manner as he does. He is nothing new, nor surprising.

    Pot, meet Kettle.

    I could not care less who has seen what, but I do mildly – but only mildly – care about hypocrisy veiling itself as a critique.

    Meeting “people” who claim such and such and assuming that what they experienced, how they act and what they “purport” to be, that all that is a “uniform” standard by which all who claim a similar experience must act is incredibly misguided. No two people are alike, no two situations are alike, no two personalities are alike… and to expect everyone to follow that “standard” that you are setting up is nothing short of a straw man.

    How would you know what “understanding” he does/does not have of the personal revelation he claims to have had?? How could anyone know whether or not his “tone” has awareness of some amorphously defined “sacredness” of his experiences?? You’re making judgments about something that you. have. no. knowledge. about. And, it’s ridiculous.

    Whether or not he experienced what he experienced, it’s not up to us to assume that he has to act a certain way, or talk a certain way, or write/not write about it, or apply some liquid definition of “sacredness” that is simply, at best, ripe to fail.

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  61. Steve on August 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    SilverRain, What about Joseph Smith, Moroni, Mormon, Helamen, Alma the Younger, etc.? These guys all shared their experience of seeing Christ and it is what we call scripture. How is what Denver did any different? He has never gone in to detail about his “revelations” or “visions.” He just says he has received a whitness. It is funny to me that so many LDS take the postition that he must be wrong because he is talking about it. If God commanded that he share his experience then that is what he should do.

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  62. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Seth R.,
    The distinction is meaningless. God either is or is not communicating with you. If he is any sphere he is directing you to trumps. If he isn’t you’ve got even bigger problems.

    Oddly I find myself in agreement with about 85% of what SilverRain has had to say on this thread. I hope that doesn’t upset her. :)

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  63. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Howard, that seems to me to be a fundamental denial that we live on a planet with other human beings – and that getting your own way isn’t the highest possible value on that planet.

    Personal truth is not a synonym for truth that ought to be had for everyone else on the planet.

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  64. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Seth R., It has nothing to do with getting your own way, either God is talking to you or he isn’t, the planet has many Prophets only a few are LDS.

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  65. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    How is what Denver did any different? DS can’t seem to come to the point succinctly. DS: You know, it took 170,000 words in the book…to lay the entire plan out and I would commend that book to you… and the next one I’m sure.

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  66. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Yeah, but even if he is sending you a message, why does it follow that it cannot be altered, informed, or trumped by messages being sent to others?

    And why assume that – even if God is speaking to you – that it’s meant for anything more than private personal illumination?

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  67. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    IF God IS speaking with YOU he has already considered the impact of his direction to others. He will direct you if he wants you to share it or not or just leave it up to you. Much of it is private tutoring but don’t be naively surprised when it conflicts with the church’s stated position because it often does. The brethren dispense general advice, the Spirit specifically custom tutors lessons YOU and many include taboo breaking.

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  68. Jared on August 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Denver says he received the Second Comforter. When I read his first book I was excited about his being open about this very sacred experience.

    But I’m wondering if there is a contradiction in his writings. How did he qualify to receive the 2nd Comforter from the ordinances of the church in our day, when he claims the church in Joseph Smith’s day wasn’t able to pass on the power in the ordinance?

    I haven’t read Passing the Heavenly Gift so I can’t be sure there is a contradiction in his writing. Does anyone who has read his last book have an answer to my question?

    President Harold B Lee said something that is interesting in light of DS possible excommunication. He said the following at a BYU devotional in 1973-Be Loyal to the Royal Within You.

    “I repeat to you here this morning something President Grant once said that rather startled me. He said he had heard of men who declared that they had had a personal visitation from the Lord. And then President Grant added, “Some of those who had that experience lost their testimonies. It seemed that they became puffed up in the pride of their hearts, perhaps thinking that they were more special to the Lord than others who had not received the same experience.”

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  69. MH on August 26, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Wow, so many comments! I’m just trying to catch up with them all.

    To the post title question, I’m sure the Church considers excommunication a useful tool for attempting to silence someone. Sometimes they try to make it sound as if it is a “court of love”, but I find such rationales ridiculous. If excommunication is a chance to help the sinner repent, it is a horrible method. Just 2 of the September 6 have rejoined the church, and none of the other 7 listed above have returned. That’s not a very good method for “repentance.”

    On the one hand, I agree that the Church has every right to discipline it’s members, but I think that they can go overboard in their reactions, and this to me is a perfect example. I don’t think it’s right at all for them to ask him to rescind publication–McKay never asked McConkie to rescind publication of Mormon Doctrine, so there is absolutely a double-standard being applied here.

    I also like how President McKay handled dissidents. While he didn’t do anything to support the excommunication of his neice Fawn Brodie, he defended Sterling McMurrin, and refused to go along with any discipline in regards to Juanita Brooks. Brodie also says that McKay was nice to her at family events, despite the fact that McKay was very upset with Brodie’s book. I think that McKay’s reactions to McConkie, McMurrin, and Brooks should be more of teh standard when it applies to Mormon authors.

    Andrew, thanks for fixing the poll questions.

    I really liked DannyK’s comment #10. This does seem to be a case where Snuffer is being trammeled (or attempted to be snuffed out. I can’t believe I’m the first to write that.)

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  70. Rockies Gma on August 26, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    To Seth R: it is very disrespectful to call Denver Snuffer “the Snuffer.” please stop doing that on a public blog.

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  71. MH on August 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    I’m also surprised that most people are picking the stake president as the one most responsible for the church court. I think that most stake presidents are very busy men, and don’t sit around checking out blogs or reading books of members in their stake unless they are told to by the Strengthening Church Members Committee. I know someone sent my bishop a letter complaining about my blogging at W&T. My bishop was cool about it, and said he thought the letter was “chicken____” (He said he would use stronger language if he weren’t bishop.) My bishop just doesn’t have the time or inclination to read books and blogs–he’s too busy, and I suspect the stake president is too busy too. Someone had to have tipped off the stake president, and I suspect it is the SCMC, which is a clipping service with an apostle at the head and Seventies on the committee. I know John Dehlin’s stake president didn’t get involved until he got a letter from someone–now that could be Joe Blow member, or it could be someone higher, but my money in Snuffer’s case is somebody higher than the SP is making the call.

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  72. Paul Wright on August 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Seth R.

    Denver’s tour is not a book tour, look at his blog today and you will see that the discussions that he plans on presenting in this tour were well set before any of this. His book in question is not nor will it ever be promoted. This tour is a celebration of his 40 year anniversary being a member of the church. He wants to give back.

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  73. dba.brotherp on August 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    I just browsed Snuffer’s blog. It sounds like an “EFY” for adults. There must be a market for this. Maybe some young enterprising individual could make some $ and start an “EFA” :)

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  74. hawkgrrrl on August 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Jared: “But I’m wondering if there is a contradiction in his writings. How did he qualify to receive the 2nd Comforter from the ordinances of the church in our day, when he claims the church in Joseph Smith’s day wasn’t able to pass on the power in the ordinance?” I’m not a Denver Snuffer expert, so please, others, correct me if I get this wrong. George Pace who was a religion teacher at BYU in the 1980s also talked about the second comforter which just meant seeing Christ personally. He also wrote a book on this topic. I understand he was rebuked by BRM for teaching this, and he groveled and was not pursued with church discipline, although my understanding is that he was a “broken man” after the rebuke. I don’t know how much of that I believe because he didn’t seem broken to me when I took a religion class from him. He did handstands in class. He did not conflate the second comforter (the experience of seeing the Lord) with the second anointing (the temple ordinance that is rarely done now and very secret from what I understand), although both result in one’s calling and election being made sure. George Pace didn’t talk about the second anointing, only the second comforter.

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  75. hawkgrrrl on August 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Here is a link to a recap of the George Pace controversy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Pace

    Two observations: 1) having been in George Pace’s classes, I see some striking parallels here, and 2) it seems a bit hypocritical for BRM who wrote Mormon Doctrine to do this kind of take down on a guy like George Pace when he was himself dealt with so generously by the church. Also, his son was one of my French teachers also at the Y.

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  76. Roger on August 26, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Hawk–

    I also took a class from George Pace and came back a couple of times just to watch/experience his lecture on the crucifixion. Even a jaded, cynical nonbeliever would have to concede that he knew how to make a presentation. Now, my familiarity with Mr. Snuffer ESQ is limited, but it would not surprise me if he isn’t comparable to Brother George–at least in the sense that a number of his insights are quite useful, but in some areas he may be overdriving his headlights. That still isn’t sufficient reason to run him off. Unless, we want to give missionaries an admissions test on gospel knowledge before unleashing them onto every kindred, nation and tongue.

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  77. Rigel Hawthorne on August 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Reading the portion of the letter to Brother Snuffer, it does not sound like it is actually a summons to a disciplinary council–or was that part edited out. It is interesting that the letter has the following advice:

    “To avoid the disciplinary council, I ask you, again”

    So, if he follows the list of 3 requirements that the SP asks, does that alone negate the need for even a disciplinary counsel? It seems like usually such letters go with a committed plan to hold a council, yet this one rings as sort of a ‘pre-disciplinary council advisory’.

    This type of letter could simplify many things if it were put into practice. For the adulterous man, the letter could say, “To avoid the disciplinary council, I ask you, again: 1. Stop having extramarital affairs. 2. Stop posting about having extramarital affairs on Facebook. 3. Stop promoting your extramarital affair in public.”

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  78. Dannyk on August 26, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Well, for those interested, it looks like Brother Snuffer just answered a bunch of the questions people have posted here and elsewhere on the web with a new post on his blog. He covers motives for posting the letter, motives for writing Passing the Heavenly Gift, the pressure placed on his former and current Stake President to discipline him by the Strengthening the Members Committee, motives for the talks he has scheduled, etc.

    He then ends with a paragraph worth quoting:

    “Finally, all of this is nothing so far as I am concerned. What matters is this dispensation and how great things remain to be accomplished. God has a work to complete. We are living now and must cooperate with His will to bring about His purposes. Forget about me. Look to the Lord, His scriptures, and this moment you have here in mortality. Learn more about the prophecies. Stop hoping someone “presiding” somewhere is going to lift you to heaven. No one can do that. There is only One who matters and “He employeth no servant” at His gate. (2 Ne. 9: 41.) When you focus on me, or some man as a leader, you are an idolater. (D&C 76: 98-105.) Put an end to your idolatry and look to Christ. Read James 1: 5-6 and Moroni 10: 5. That is where you should invest your time. Not in trivia involving me or some other man. The time is upon us. The heavens are open. Not for someone other than you. Not for some “special” leader. They are open for YOU. Stop looking around – look up. That is where you fill find not only a testimony of God, but God’s handiwork on display. (D&C 88: 42-47.)”

    You can read the rest at http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/

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  79. Howard on August 26, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Stop hoping someone “presiding” somewhere is going to lift you to heaven. No one can do that. There is only One who matters and “He employeth no servant” at His gate. (2 Ne. 9: 41.) When you focus on me, or some man as a leader, you are an idolater. (D&C 76: 98-105.) Put an end to your idolatry and look to Christ.

    True and very well said!

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  80. Seth R. on August 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.”

    Which renders the advice to look only to Christ rather useless.

    Because in order to properly look to Christ, you would have to look to all your fellow human beings.

    Alas, being a Christian does not exempt you from the business of caring about social connections.

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  81. Jared on August 26, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    hawkgrrrl-

    Thanks for you thoughts. I have understood the ordinances were necessary to experience the first and/or second comforter.

    20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
    21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
    22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:20 – 22)

    Regarding George Pace. I know someone who knows him well. He said that the McConkie rebuke ended up being a blessing, as well as one of the most difficult experiences of his life. As for Elder McConkie, some say he was rebuked to some degree by his apostle/associates for the manner and content of the talk he gave.

    I’m told Bro Pace is one of the best examples of a latter day saint around.

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  82. Brian on August 26, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    “The Lord does still personally appear to mankind. I am a witness to that fact. He first appeared to me February 13, 2003. I have written a book about the topic. … I know He lives. I have seen and spoken with Him.” – Passing the Heavenly Gift, page 452

    If very many people on this blog believe this guy, I am on the wrong blog.

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  83. Dannyk on August 26, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    FYI Brian – when he says he wrote a book about the topic, the book is the Second Comforter, and it describes the doctrine of the second comforter as shown in the Book of Mormon. He actually says very little to nothing about his own experience in the book, preferring instead to use the words of Nephi and other prophets as a type, and the Book of Mormon as a road map to the experience of having Christ minister. He uses 3 Nephi as an example of real life ministrations of Christ mimicking the endowment, which endowment is designed to turn your mind towards just such an event where you could be presented before the Lord to learn directly of Him.

    I’m curious what it is that you object to. The doctrine itself (that Christ does minister)? Or the fact that he wrote about the doctrine? Or is it that you think he wrote a tell all of what his experience was when Christ minister to him (which he didn’t do)? About the only stuff he says of his own experience is similar to what you quoted above “I know He lives, for I have seen Him.” The rest is based in scriptural accounts of those who have received the Second Comforter.

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  84. Brian on August 26, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    I don’t believe in personal, physical visits from extraterrestrials.

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  85. hawkgrrrl on August 26, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Jared – Bro. Pace’s book says more or less what Denver Snuffer is saying, that anyone can experience the second comforter even without the ordinance of the second anointing (which is never alluded to that I recall as the ordinance is secret), and if you have, the experience will make your calling and election sure. It sounds like both are using the same scriptures from the BOM as the basis for the conclusions as well as personal experience. Bro. Pace never came out and said he had experienced it, but it was implied, and from being in his class, I could believe it. He had to be one of the most humble and humbled men I’ve ever seen in the church. He had a real spirit about him that you had to admire and love.

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  86. Indy Pendants Miss Oary on August 27, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    I am not a Mormon, never was, or a member of this Church. Nor am I a Republican voter, except once in six decades in politics. But this is a curious thing indeed, much like a snotty 11th grader thinking he can the high school forum to ridicule his principal. Or like a postal worker doing a commercial for UPS. Sure, you have free speech, but not while you represent someone else who also has freedom – freedom to decide if you represent them. Denver Snuffer makes your Church look bad, and this Stake President is just following guidelines which define the scope of dissension that will be allowed by the two apostles in charge of correlation. He sounds remarkably compassionate indeed. Patient too. What a nice man, caught in the middle and reaching out. Denver Snuffer wants to have a little church within a church and have his little 150 followers, but as this thread of former members knows, it leads to fragmentation, division, disunity, and hopefully (for the people commenting) disintegration of the Church. I think Denver posting the notice publicly says it all. How sad for all of you, in and out of your Church.

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  87. nate on August 27, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    Hah, wise words Miss Oary!

    Just wanted to adress Snuffers new blog comments where he says: “Stop hoping someone “presiding” somewhere is going to lift you to heaven. No one can do that. There is only One who matters and “He employeth no servant” at His gate. (2 Ne. 9: 41.) When you focus on me, or some man as a leader, you are an idolater. (D&C 76: 98-105.) Put an end to your idolatry and look to Christ.”

    This I believe is false doctrine. If there is no presiding authority, then every man is his own authority, and this is idolatry: “walking after the image of your own God.” How can we exercise humility before God if we do not submit to His earthly authorities? It doesn’t matter if you have a vision. Lots of people claim to have seen Christ. But in our church it is different: Adam had seen Christ, but still submitted to “messengers from the Father.” Joseph Smith submitted to, and received his authority, not from his claim of a vision with Christ, but from angelic post-mortals, who passed keys on to him through the laying on of hands.

    Snuffer accepts and submits to the priesthood authority of Joseph Smith, but seems to believe that the current Priesthood is in apostasy. Unless Peter James and John come down and restore the keys to Snuffer, he is no better than Martin Luther or any other Protestant reformer starting their own church based on whatever they think or feel. Protestant reformers were as confident as Snuffer, that they had the truth. But look at them now. They have churches and followers of every stripe and doctrine. But there is no power in their ordinances, no priesthood, no claim of authority, and thus in the end, their branches are as dead as the tree they cut themselves off from.

    But Mormonism is different. It’s central characteristic is its claim to have keys and authority. Everything else is whistling in the wind: correlation, finances, polygamy, blah blah blah. The church can be imperfect and still have authority. God calls the weak things of the world, the unlearned and despised. Sure, at a certain point you might wonder if the authority had been taken away, maybe after something like the Spanish Inquisition. But after correlation? The church is allowed to struggle in imperfection, but not in evil and murder. Rejecting the authority of the church over something so trivial I believe is foolhardy. Especially if Snuffer still feels “the power of God manifest in the ordinances” of the temple. Isn’t this evidence that the priesthood still has power and authority in our day? Would you be foolish enough to risk cutting yourself from something you know to be so real?

    Snuffer is also free to disagree all he wants, to think that modern leaders are imperfect or misguided in various ways. There is nothing wrong with that. But to reject their authority is different. By doing this, one sets oneself up as a greater authority than the church, and that is the greatest idolatry of all.

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  88. SilverRain on August 27, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    B. O. B. If that is what you got from my comment, you may wish to read it again. The only “standard” I set forth is the confirmation of the Spirit. The rest is merely my observation of the differences between people for whom I have felt that confirmation, and those whom i have not.

    For what it’s worth, I believe his experience was a genuine spiritual experience. I just don’t believe the source was God.

    We very much are expected to judge whether or not someone is truly preaching in the name of God. I am not the one who took initiative to judge Snuffer’s experiences, he created that need when he set himself up as a light and authority. I can know all I need to know in this moment to judge the Truth of his teachings when I read his writings and listen to the Spirit. I apply the same standard to the prophets of the Church, and every word that claims it is from God.

    Steven, it is not an assumption because he is talking about it. It is an observation of the manner in which he talks about it. Spiritual experiences and the use of gifts are not unknown. It isn’t difficult to discern between those who are genuinely exercising their gifts, and those who are “consuming them upon their lusts.” Merely mimicking the correct language might cloud the issue for those who desperately wish for out to be true for one reason or other, but it is relatively simple to parse as people open to the Spirit.

    (Before anyone tries to claim they have had Spiritual witnesses, I will now express my gratitude that I am not responsible for interpreting the Spirit for others. I am, however, expected to judge the truthfulness of someone’s witness, particularly when they are trying to persuade me to some kind of action regarding their experiences.)

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  89. Jane Roberts on August 27, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    Suppose I wrote a series of books detailing the ordinances of the temple, discussing the meaning and importance of the various teachings, symbolism, and covenants made there. I might try to correct what I believe are misunderstandings of some of the more arcane and archaic language used, and illuminate some of the more obscure references within the ceremonies.

    I would point out that the things taught in the temple are also taught openly in the scriptures; that Joseph Smith himself performed temple ordinances in private homes; that there are no “secret doctrines” in the Church, that understanding these teachings, covenants, and ordinances is essential for our exaltation. I might insist that the members of the Church generally, and the modern-day authorities of the Church in particular, have conflated the sacred with secret; that these things ought to be discussed more openly among the members of the Church. I could even quote from language of the ordinances themselves, showing that these things ought to be taught freely and openly, and before the world.

    I might even speculate that the authorities of the Church are embarrassed by the teachings of the temple, or do not fully understand them, and that is why they do not speak of them more openly, preferring to keep them “secret”.

    I would donate all the proceeds from the sales of these books for the building of more temples. I would accept speaking engagements at which I would discuss these insights without asking any fee. My only concern would be getting the message out: this is the way to exaltation, and we must become more conversant with it. I would encourage everyone to discuss these things more openly.

    Do you see why I might expect correction from the authorities of the Church?

    I think there is a strong parallel with the previous example to the discussion here.

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  90. Howard on August 27, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    The church can be imperfect and still have authority. This may be true and I believe it is, but authority is not power. If you recall Joseph was using God’s power well in advance of restoring the priesthood and receiving the keys, those are symbols. God empowers who he chooses to empower.

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  91. Dannyk on August 27, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Nate –

    Though I certainly can’t say for certain…my understanding is that Brother Snuffer does not believe that the church is in a total state of apostasy and lost all authority, but that they did lose the rights as an institution to administer the fulness of the priesthood. D&C 84 is probably instructive of what I understand his views to be.

    Just like Moses tried to prepare Israel to behold the face of God (defined as entering into a fulness in that same section), but they hardened their hearts and so God gave them laws and ordinances instead of the real thing. Had they succeeded, Moses would have been able to establish a Zion society like Enoch before him. Even though they rejected the fulness, they still retained authority to do a great many things…and in the continuing history of Israel there were a few who entered into that fulness themselves, like Elijah…primarily because God is always willing to reveal himself to those that have faith.

    The same *could* be said of Joseph…that he too was trying to prepare people to enter into a fulness with God, to behold him not symbolically, but literally. He too was trying to establish a Zion people. But, when his own “friends” and church members betrayed him and encouraged him to turn himself in, they too rejected in some form or another the fulness that the Lord through Joseph was trying to prepare them for. They still retained authority to do a great many things (baptism, HG, even temple ordinances etc.), but they lost the ability to establish a Zion like people that could walk and talk with God. That didn’t stop people here and there from making that connection to God through their faith…but we never become a Zion people on the whole.

    I don’t think Denver ever says that they church has NO authority, nor that members should not sustain the leaders and serve faithfully. My reading so far says he believes they have every right to lead, they are doing their duty in spreading the Gospel to all the world, and providing temples to all people of the earth. He has a great reverence for ordinances.

    But he believes Joseph intended for more, that he intended for the blessings of a Fulness of the Gospel to be more widely distributed, that he wanted to build Zion and have angels walking among us and a people prepared to behold God. That’s what I believe DS says we lost. And that it won’t come back until we come out from condemnation, take seriously the teachings of the Book of Mormon, and seek the face of God ourselves. Only when desire to repent sufficiently and believe sufficiently to behold his face, will Zion and a fulness of God’s glory be restored to this people.

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  92. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Some have asked about what is in D. Snuffer’s book Passing the Heavenly Gift. On the back of the book he gives the following summary: “Mormonism has undergone four distinct phases. The first began in 1820 and ended with Joseph Smith’s death in 1844. The second began upon Joseph Smith’s death and ended with abandonment of plural marriage, publicly in 1890 and privately in 1904. In the third phase Mormonism denounced as apostasy its practice of plural wives, marking the first time an orthodox practice became grounds for excommunication. The fourth phase began with David O. McKay and is still underway. In it Mormonism has adopted corporate management techniques to consolidate and direct central church decision-making. The first phase was innovative and expansive, continually adding doctrine, scripture, teachings and ordinances. Subsequent phases have curtailed, abandoned, even denounced earlier teaching 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. Today, marketing the institution has become more important to Mormon success than preserving the original religious content. The changes from phase to phase have completely transformed Mormonism, sharing a vocabulary but redefining the terms. Modern Mormonism has now institutionalized change. For the first time in this book Mormonism is candidly described in terms which track the changes by examining doctrine, teachings and practices. Interestingly, the passing of the heavenly gift was anticipated by Joseph Smith’s prophecies and the Book of Mormon.”

    Here are some examples of passages from the book that may be in question:
    Page 414. “Our wickedness and evil come from ‘lyings and deceivings.’ We prefer the lie that tells us we need no repentance to the truth that we must repent or perish. We deceive ourselves into believing we are Zion. The truth is we are far from it, and getting farther away every day. Our whoredoms are twofold. We both worship a false image rather than the living God, and we are also sexually impure. Our secret abominations are the conspiracies that run among us to manipulate, get gain, use religion to promote a cause, obtain commercial advantage, and wield political influence. We idolize men rather than Christ. We claim to hold keys that would allow men filled with sin to forgive sins on earth and in heaven, to grant eternal life, or to bar from the kingdom of God. Using that false and useless claim, we slay the souls of men, thereby committing murder. We are riddled with priestcrafts. …”

    Page 303. “The saints still claim we fulfilled everything required by the revelation in January, 1841 (Section124). 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. They are the ‘new Popes having the authority the Catholic Pope claims to possess, as J. Reuben Clark remarked. According to their account of the historical narrative, all is well in their Zion. They intend to build Zion some day, wen they get around to it. In the meantime, they continually curtail the scope of the restored faith, reducing the topics authorized to be taught in Sunday School, Priesthood, and Relief Society. Working to move farther and farther from what will be required for Zion. Their plan seems at odds with the end they seek.’

    After quoting 2 Nephi 28:20-26, which he believes refers to the church today, he says on pages 338-339: “The gentile church will be secure with false teachings that tell them that Zion is intact. Everything is fine. The power to redeem, to bind on earth and in heaven is with them. Zion is prospering and enjoys God’s favor. There is no need to repent and return to Christ, because everything is well with the church. But these ideas are not only false, they come from the devil who “whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with death and hell.” The plan to sell a devalued gospel, lacking the power to save, without any connection to Christ, originated with the adversary. Its result will be to condemn to hell those who believe it…. If a gentile follower of this false Zion encounters an inspired view of their own awful state, they can awaken and quickly come to realize that Nephi is speaking to us.”

    There have been many wise words already expressed in the comments from SilverRain, Jared, Seth R., nate, and others. So I don’t feel the need to add any other thoughts here, except to endorse these comments. I actually have spent considerable time investigated Denver’s claims and reading a lot of his writings. You can find some of my thoughts laid out in more detail in the comment section of another blog starting here: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/08/23/denver-snuffer-disciplinary-council/#comment-8919

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  93. Jeff Spector on August 27, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    I have to say that I loved what George Pace had to say. I have his books, I have his tapes and I think I had the chance to see him speak at a Know your Religion some years back. I was disappointed that BRM rebuked him in light of BRM’s own foibles.

    I believed Bro. Pace then as I do now. But his presentation was always given as a “imagine what this would be like, if you could experience it.” Not a “I had this and so can you if you are just worthy enough like me.”

    As a result of him, I spent some time collecting all the accounts of people’s encounters with the Savior, mainly GAs. Some very beautiful experiences I can only hope for, even in a dream.

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  94. Rigel Hawthorne on August 27, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Brother Snuffer’s post explaining his posting of the letter has this explanation as to why his SP is pursuing this matter:

    “No one gets ahead in the institution by disregarding instruction from above.”

    My personal experience of working with church leaders has not been that ‘getting ahead in the institution’ is the motivation for their service. I am pleased to know leaders that serve because they respond to the call and are just as happy to let someone else take over when they are released form leadership positions. Of course, we hope that someone called to a leadership position develops confidence in fulfilling their calling. We hope that being the confident face of the leadership calling motivates others to serve diligently and cohesively. We know that such leadership service can make a soul weary at times. Dealing with an individual who believes he is serving the cause by splintering the flock and removing wisdom and order from the 3-fold mission of the church must certainly be trying. The stake president is a man with a calling, and challenges such as this must bring to mind the words of John Lennon who lyricized, “Nobody told me there’d be days like these.” I would invite all to pray for this SP.

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  95. B.O.B. on August 27, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    #94 / Rigel:

    To be fair, you took that quote grossly out of context … and that’s rather unfortunate. I wandered over to his blog to read exactly what he wrote, and here is the full paragraph for context. Next time we should all try to be a little more judicious in what we copy/paste and the conclusions we draw from it:

    Third, my former Stake President defended me against complaints from the Strengthening the Members Committee. His last Sunday as Stake President eighteen months ago he called me in and we talked for several hours about the events that began years before his release. He had defended me continually during his presidency, but he explained there was going to be a new Pharaoh in Egypt who would not know Joseph (so to speak) and he couldn’t vouch for what was coming. The new Stake President has investigated, delayed, discussed this with me, pushed back against downtown, been called in for “training,” and received input from the top leadership in the church. He told me a great deal at the start about what was going on behind the scenes, which matched what the former Stake President had been telling me during his tenure. Those details are unimportant, and I have no intention of making them public. Right now, I don’t think President Hunt thinks he has any other choice. He probably doesn’t. That is fine. I bear no ill will toward him or any other member of my stake. No one gets ahead in the institution by disregarding instruction from above. Actually, I do the same. However, for me, “above” has little to do with 47 East South Temple and the institution is not where I expect any future. I try to help the church regardless of its opinion of me. I simply have no axe to grind no matter the outcome on September 8th.

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  96. Howard on August 27, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    #94 It’s a 4-fold mission now not a 3-fold mission. Please don’t forget caring for the poor and needy.

    #92 The quotes from SteveF are strongly worded and critical but shouldn’t we be asking ourselves which of them are true and which are false? Is all really well in Zion or do we just want it to be?

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  97. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    #95, B.O.B. I think in context it’s even clearer that he is saying exactly what Rigel implied. It’s actually kind of a low blow to so subtly imply rather than speak with candor that he indicting the Stake President’s motivation as getting ahead in the institution. And then the following contrast of “above” he makes clearly points out how Denver really feels in the matter. That is that the SP’s “above” is merely following men, while Denver follows a different “above” insinuating Christ or God, which clearly shows that Denver believes he is far more enlightened here. Talk about spitting in someone’s face, as the Stake President who actually holds keys/authority for revelation in the matter has specifically told Denver that he has prayed about the matter and is following the Spirit here, and then Denver essentially says, no, sorry, your actually just following men because you know you can’t get ahead in the institution otherwise, but don’t worry, I forgive you, because I am the nice enlightened guy in the matter. And then to me most significantly Denver implies that the decisions at Church Headquarters have nothing to do with his “above” – the true mind and will of God in the matter. How can such sentiments be characterized as anything other than apostate? Unless of course you believe the church is apostate, which is clearly not the position of the church, and something I know for myself to be utterly false. Yes, this recent blog post is certainly telling.

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  98. Howard on August 27, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    How can such sentiments be characterized as anything other than apostate? Unless of course you believe the church is apostate… Isn’t he asserting that the church is apostate? How do you KNOW it is not? Couldn’t be to some degree? How did you you get this down to a favorable binomial you KNOW to be true?

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  99. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Howard #98. Personal revelation of course. We’ve spoken in comments elsewhere enough that I know we both have strong testimonies of this principle. I recognize that my testimony is not binding on you or anyone else here, as Denver’s is not either, but it is not my testimony alone on this point, I’ve never heard a witness or declaration other than this from all the individuals in our time who hold the authoritative and heaven-sanctioned keys of the kingdom (that the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is the true and living church of Christ today, and therefore not in apostasy).

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  100. Howard on August 27, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Yes SteveF I respect your position on personal revelation but asking overly broad questions like “is the church true? serve little purpose if you also want to know if the church is partially apostate. Have you actually parsed it? I have and, well it didn’t exactly come out squeaky clean.

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  101. Mormon Heretic on August 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Steve, I took your exact quote and modified it slightly.

    “Talk about spitting in someone’s face, as the [San Hedrin leader Caiphus] who actually holds keys/authority for revelation in the matter has specifically told [Jesus] that he has prayed about the matter and is following the Spirit here, and then [Jesus] essentially says, no, sorry, your actually just following men because you know you can’t get ahead in the institution otherwise, but don’t worry, I forgive you, because I am the nice enlightened guy in the matter. And then to me most significantly [Jesus] implies that the decisions at Church Headquarters have nothing to do with his “above” – the true mind and will of God in the matter. How can such sentiments be characterized as anything other than apostate?”

    Yes, I am sure the San Hedrin thought Jesus was TOTALLY APOSTATE. Martin Luther was apostate, as was Joseph Smith.

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  102. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    To me saying the church is true, or that our church is the true and living church of God, does not mean that we know all truth, or that there are no errors, or that there are no mortal flaws in our leaders. So inasmuch as there are errors or imperfections in the institutional church as whole, they are the errors of men, and flaws that are to be expected in the difficult road toward perfection and Zion. These things are not indications of apostasy to me. Have there been apostate individuals from time to time? yes, clearly. But they in large measure have been cut off from the church, particularly any that have held high positions of authority. I know that none of the 15 men who lead our church today suffer from any degree of apostasy, and certainly not President Monson who is the only authorized individual to exercise all the keys of the kingdom at this time.

    And are the saints perfect either? Clearly not. But I think as a whole we are really trying. And I have a personal witness that from the days of Joseph Smith unto this day, we as a collective people have been progressing line upon line, coming closer and closer to becoming a Zion people each generation. Denver claims we are getting farther away each day, and in this principle I know that he has been deceived by a false spirit. I am very familiar with this spirit as I grew up in and around it for nearly 2 decades and it nearly destroyed my family. It is not of God, and so it becomes very personal when I see this same spirit dragging others away from God towards the inevitable pains and fruits of hell that will follow. And so I will fight against it. Denver Snuffer has been caught in this spirit of apostasy, and I witnessed it grow over the course of his writings. I offer my sincere and personal warning to any who might be deceived, these things are not of God and will lead you to spiritual darkness and misery. The Church is not in apostasy, the leaders are not in apostasy, but rather the fullness of the keys of the Kingdom are here today, and they are being exercised in righteousness at the head. The keys thus properly used, become a living system of progression, rooting out errors and aiding us as a people to grow towards a greater perfection that will continue to come as we strive towards Zion. Thus it is that the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is the true and living church, and it is my witness that at no time since the restoration has Christ ever lost the reigns of His church, or in other words it has not fallen into apostasy.

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  103. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    @ Mormon Heretic. So you believe the church is in apostasy as in the days of Jesus? That there needs to be an opening of a new dispensation, that they keys in the church today no longer have heaven’s sanction? Denver would agree with you. But it is my testimony that this truly is the last dispensation, and it will continue to roll forth until the redemption of Zion. It is my witness that there will never be a need for another restoration again in the lifetime of this earth. Do we have a long way to go? Yes. But I know we are on the path.

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  104. Mormon Heretic on August 27, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    “To me saying the church is true, or that our church is the true and living church of God, does not mean that we know all truth, or that there are no errors, or that there are no mortal flaws in our leaders. So inasmuch as there are errors or imperfections in the institutional church as whole, they are the errors of men, and flaws that are to be expected in the difficult road toward perfection and Zion.”

    Steve, it feels to me like you are justifying the status quo and justifying the errors, instead of saying “hey, let’s correct some of these errors.” I think that a true prophet usually tells us that the status quo is wrong, and we need to repent. As we look at the Bible, the prophets like Amos, Jeremiah, (Lehi), etc didn’t come from the ranks of the Levitical priesthood–they came from people that were outside of leadership. Only long after the fact did the Jews understand that Amos and Jeremiah (and Lehi) were speaking truth. In their lifetimes, they were treated pretty badly. I’m absolutely certain that King Noah thought Abinadi was apostate, when the reverse was actually true.

    The world is pretty much always in apostasy. It’s nice when Jesus or Jeremiah or Joseph Smith, or Denver Snuffer come along and tell us we can do better–because we can. As Jesus said in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

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  105. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    “Steve, it feels to me like you are justifying the status quo and justifying the errors, instead of saying “hey, let’s correct some of these errors.””

    Then I was not clear enough. I would love for all errors to be corrected, and I would love for us to be a Zion people here and now. It’s only that I recognize that it is not feasible for God to snap his fingers and that suddenly a people will go from a state of apostasy to Zion overnight. If Rome cannot be built in a day, how much more Zion? So then, if it takes time for progression from full apostasy to the perfection of Zion, then if we are somewhere in between would you not expect to find errors? This is not to say that the errors should not change in time, or that I wish to stall where we are – that I do not want to continue towards Zion running as fast as we have strength. But even the scriptures recognize that when the wheat is still young, we do not then go about pulling out all the tares at once, but let them grow, let progression happen, and in time, at the proper time, the tares and errors will be weeded out. That there are yet many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God that are yet to be revealed. We are worlds away from what I envision the church becoming, and I long in my heart for those days to come, but I know the Lord guides those who bear the Keys of the Kingdom today to decide what those next steps are that we are ready for as a people to take. They are indeed declaring repentance to this wicked and sinful generation. We ought to be patient, and not assume to know the Lord’s timing in these things, for it is not within our stewardship not bearing the full keys of the Kingdom to be able to see what is right for the collective church as a whole at this time. All the men in your list, save one, held such keys – and of course it is Denver Snuffer who does not and never did hold such keys, and he has even denied holding any such authority. Then why put him in a position that he has not even claimed? Without this authority, Denver cannot know what should be declared to the Saints as a whole, it would be against the order of revelation in the established order of the Priesthood keys of the Kingdom. And it is most assuredly contrary to the order of the Priesthood to command those at his head in what next steps should be.

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  106. Mormon Heretic on August 27, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Steve, God has never snapped his fingers. He didn’t do it for Jesus, he didn’t do it for JS, he’s not doing it for us. WE need to desire to become a Zion people. JS understood that, and from what I can tell, Denver understands that. It’s the corporate San Hedrin that fights Jesus, and prevents Zion from happening. The Church is trying to silence Denver, and all he’s trying to do is talk about JS. Is JS apostate? Apparently the church thinks so, or they wouldn’t be upset and Snuffer. Certainly the Church has moved away from a multitude of doctrines JS taught: polygamy, they downplay the King Follett sermon immensely, there is no more 2nd anointing done, despite the fact that it was much more widespread in JS day. We now look at visions and angelic visitations as if the person is mentally ill or apostate, yet hundreds of early saints had visions, and they weren’t all GA’s.

    Really, we have moved far away from 19th century Mormonism. Isn’t that apostasy? And when someone like Snuffer points it out, the church says, “Shut up or weren’t going to excommunicate you.” It has a lot of parallels to a TON of scriptural prophets, but we persecute Abinadi and Jeremiah instead of embrace him.

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  107. Mormon Heretic on August 27, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not advocating polygamy in any way–I’m just using it as an example of how things have changed. (You might want to read My perspective on polygamy–Like Denver, I’m not a fan.)

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  108. Howard on August 27, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Really, we have moved far away from 19th century Mormonism. Isn’t that apostasy? Indeed! Well said.

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  109. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    “Steve, God has never snapped his fingers. He didn’t do it for Jesus, he didn’t do it for JS, he’s not doing it for us. WE need to desire to become a Zion people.”

    Sounds like we are in agreement there.

    You’ve compared the current church to the San Hedrin twice now. Sure you can make parallels if you think the church has fallen into apostasy as in previous dispensations, although Denver is not an apt comparison to true prophets who did claim to be ordained with authority from on high and did receive keys from God for their callings. But the spirit has witnessed to me that there is no such apostasy in our day, and it will never be the case again, that the restoration by Joseph Smith was the final restoration – that will culminate in the establishment of Zion. It’s no simple task to prepare a people for the large birthing pains they will indeed suffer to finally bring about Zion, but I know the Lord is preparing this people in the way He would have it done at this very time.

    “Really, we have moved far away from 19th century Mormonism. Isn’t that apostasy?” Where you see digression, I see progression. Just because Joseph Smith was so advanced as an individual, doesn’t mean the church also was in his lifetime–or that collectively they were even remotely close to where Joseph Smith advanced personally (We had people like John C. Bennet in the first presidency, and leaders apostatizing left and right to say nothing of the general church membership). The higher ordinances you mentioned were only revealed in the final year of Joseph’s life, and like polygamy, council of fifty, etc. was hardly widely known or practiced in his lifetime. Joseph Smith was indeed advanced, and I agree that we have hardly reached the vision that he was receiving for the church in the Nauvoo era. When Joseph Smith died, the keys remained, but we were left as a people to progress without being spoon fed to the same degree we were being with Joseph Smith. A degree of independence was needed that we could truly grow as a people. And from JS’s death until now, we have been making that progression. Are we collectively close to where Joseph Smith was at the end of his life? Not even, if I were to take a gander I would maybe put us as a people in our collective understanding closer to what Joseph was learning/revealing in the early Kirtland Era. But collectively now we are much stronger than the previous generation, which was stronger than the generation before them, and so on. If you want to advance beyond the collective average, please do so, every individual should run as fast as he/she has strength. But do not suppose what is right timing for you, is necessarily right for the collective whole. And we should not make the mistake of comparing the average Saint’s progression today with the spiritual progression of those early leaders charged with restoring and establishing the church in this final dispensation. To do so is unfair, of course the Lord sent spiritual powerhouses for such an incredible task. Rather you must look at the church as a whole from beginning to end to really see its progression.

    I think my position is pretty clearly laid out at this point, and I probably won’t need to clarify much further. You are free to believe what you see as correct, and I retain such a right for myself. For me I feel a witness that our leaders do hold the keys of the kingdom today, and they are exercising them just as the Lord would have them do. We must work together IN the Lord’s authorized Kingdom if we are to build Zion, not work to divide the house against itself and surely not to operate without and outside of divinely authorized and heavenly sent keys.

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  110. SteveF on August 27, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    ..also wanted to add, Mormon Heretic, it’s been a while but from if I remember correctly, I have generally been in agreement with several things you have written or comments I’ve seen from you in the past. I don’t think I have much of an argument with you really, my issue is with the dangerous spirit of apostasy and attendant falsehoods that I feel I have seen progressively woven in among the well researched ideas and many truths found in the writings of Denver Snuffer. I don’t want others to suffer as I once suffered.

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  111. hawkgrrrl on August 28, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    I think it’s tough to discuss excommunication as a general topic when many of us are not readers of Denver Snuffer’s works. I feel for anyone who faces excommunication, but communing with Christ must be a pretty decent consolation prize if he is ex’d.

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  112. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    It is a disturbingly strange place to be communing with deity and simultaneously at odds with the church. I know I’ve been there. The faithful often console themselves by telling themselves is isn’t deity we are/were communing with but some other spirit but they are often wrong, the problem is the church has simply become to pharisaical to accept these intense personal relationships with God we were promised by Mormon doctrine.

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve: I would like to touch upon some spiritual realities… I would like to deal with the matter of receiving personal revelation… and receive all the knowledge and wisdom that has been poured out upon faithful people in any age.

    As a people, we are in the habit of saying that we believe in latter-day revelation. We announce quite boldly that the heavens have been opened, that God has spoken in our day, that angels have ministered to men, that there have been visions and revelations, and that no gift or grace possessed by the ancients has been withheld—it has all been revealed anew in our day.

    But, ordinarily, when we talk in this way, we are thinking of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or Spencer W. Kimball…We are thinking of them and of the general principle of the Church itself operating by revelation.

    But what I desire to point attention to is the fact that revelation is not restricted to the prophet of God on earth. The visions of eternity are not reserved for Apostles—they are not reserved for the General Authorities. Revelation is something that should be received by every individual… my suggestion is that we need to devote an increasingly large portion of our time in the actual pursuit of knowledge in the spiritual realm. We are talking about learning how to come to a knowledge of the things of God by attuning the spirit that we have to the eternal Spirit of God. Such a course, primarily, is the channel and way that revelation comes to an individual.

    Now I say that we are entitled to revelation. I say that every member of the Church, independent and irrespective of any position that he may hold, is entitled to get revelation from the Holy Ghost; he is entitled to entertain angels; he is entitled to view the visions of eternity; and if we would like to go the full measure, he is entitled to see God the same way that any prophet in literal and actual reality has seen the face of Deity...the fact is that every person should be a prophet for himself and in his own concerns and in his own affairs. It was Moses who said, “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them” It was Paul who said, “Covet to prophesy”

    Now, I said we can entertain angels, we can dream dreams, we can see visions, we can see the face of the Lord. Here is one promise in that field:

    “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am” (D&C 93:1).

    Here is a statement from Joseph Smith:

    “Salvation cannot come without revelation [and I am not now speaking about the revelation that gave the dispensation in which we live—I am speaking of personal revelation to individuals]; it is vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has a testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.” (Teachings, p. 160.)

    We are entitled to revelation. Personal revelation is essential to our salvation.

    The scriptures abound in this. The Prophet and all of the prophets have said much about it. What it means to us is that we need religious experience, we need to become personally involved with God—our concern is not to read what somebody has said about religion.

    Would you like a formula to tell how to get personal revelation? It might be written in many ways. My formula is simply this:

    1. Search the scriptures.

    2. Keep the commandments.

    3. Ask in faith.

    Any person who will do this will get his heart so in tune with the Infinite that there will come into his being, from the “still small voice,” the eternal realities of religion. And as he progresses and advances and comes nearer to God, there will be a day when he will entertain angels, when he will see visions, and the final end is to view the face of God

    Religion is a thing of the spirit. Use all your intellectuality to help you, but in the final analysis, you have to get in tune with the Lord.

    Taken from How to Get Personal Revelation

    “Every person should be a prophet for himself.” How many members are? And how many members are content to just follow the brethren like sheep while staking out the high ground taking the label of “faithful” for themselves implying others are now without doing the work communing with deity requires?

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  113. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    The undeniable truth is since Joseph Smith the power of God as expressed through the church and it members has diminished greatly and the collective power of man through the church and it members has grown greatly as expressed through inflated membership records and the building of buildings. That is in some level pharisaical apostasy.

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  114. Seth R. on August 28, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Yeah Howard.

    The cabinet in our ward clerk’s office fell off the wall and nearly seriously injured our bishop, and our men’s restroom has been kind of horrid for years now.

    Oh yeah. I’m really feeling the opulence here Howard.

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  115. Seth R. on August 28, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Funny thing though about all the “Oh noes! Think of the starving children!” crowd is how they seem to find it fashionable to gripe about the issue only with respect to churches.

    “Stop building meetinghouses and donate to the poor!”

    But you don’t see any of these blowhards lining up to protest their local city council’s decision to fund a new recreation center for their comfy little suburb.

    Why? Because they care about their recreation, and they don’t care about religion – except for a neutered, watered-down sort of religion that mainly consists of going on hikes and enjoying nature, or having a fashionable yoga class to “get in touch with themselves” and never dares to be socially relevant or effect public policy change.

    Meetinghouses build community Howard. Something modern secularists wouldn’t know if it jumped out of the bushes and kicked them in the face. And community creates shared human resources and support networks. There is a ton of ministering to human needs that goes on every week in my ward Howard – and it’s in large part enabled by that modestly furnished, sparsely decorated meetinghouse we have. Everything we do would be twice as difficult without it.

    But getting rid of it would certainly go a long way toward destroying our supportive faith community, disuniting us as a group, and making the business of our church much more difficult.

    But I rather suspect you know this, and that this is exactly the thinly-veiled aim behind your remarks.

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  116. Dannyk on August 28, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Seth R.

    There seems to be a pattern with some (but not all) of your comments, you imply things that weren’t necessarily written, or if they were written, you go on to describe what you think that means with what could be complete disregard for what someone might be saying.

    I read Howard’s comment regarding buildings to indicate that basing our definition of success as a religion on inflated church records or the continual building of meetinghouses may indeed be a sign of growth, but does not automatically indicate significant spiritual growth of the nature God desires (a true an mighty change among them). Nor for that matter does growth in that area preclude honest growth in spiritual areas.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe he’s written at length about this in other areas, and your attack was merited. I don’t think our meetinghouses are useless nor that they should be ignored, but I also don’t think that that because we build X number of buildings a year that we are that much closer to our divine mandate. It certainly doesn’t hurt…but it isn’t a direct link.

    Maybe his remark is “thinly veiled” because he wasn’t actually making the argument you suggested at all. There is nothing thinly veiled about your remarks on the other hand.

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  117. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    You have it right Dannyk.

    SethR, this blowhard is a sell what you have, give to the poor, follow him disciple of 10 years now who communes with deity and has had his own special witness of Christ. Most of my time and some of my money is regularly donated to helping others including those struggling in third world poverty, the homeless and many who lead desperate middle income to very well to do lifestyles because their philosophy or psychology or their lack of spirituality is literally killing them. Unlike your accusations I know what I’m talking about.

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  118. Jeff Spector on August 28, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    OK, c’mon, boys. The building of additional meetinghouses is a positive indication that more people are “Coming unto Christ” not an end to itself. That’s what it means.

    I realize that you, Howard, and perhaps you, DannyK represent a more cynical view of the institutional Church. So you will choose to interpret the building of more meetinghouses as some idolistic thing, Rather than what it really means, which is that we need space for more members to worship and meet together.

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  119. B.O.B. on August 28, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Seth R:

    But you don’t see any of these blowhards lining up to protest their local city council’s decision to fund a new recreation center for their comfy little suburb.

    Why? Because they care about their recreation, and they don’t care about religion – except for a neutered, watered-down sort of religion that mainly consists of going on hikes and enjoying nature, or having a fashionable yoga class to “get in touch with themselves” and never dares to be socially relevant or effect public policy change.

    Maybe they don’t ask the local city council about helping the poor as much as they do they church, because maybe they view the Church as the vehicle that should be taking care of the poor instead of vice versa. Maybe the city, for instance, should have found a for-profit investor to build City Creek while working hand-in-hand with the church to fund $2B worth of initiatives to help the poor – clean water campaigns, housing for low income families or whatever it might be. Maybe there’s this monumental struggle because they see the church doing stuff that businesses should be doing and [nearly completely] abdicating their mission to care for the poor. Maybe that’s the reason for the gripe – but I guess you could create a straw man (as you did) and try and deflect the issue to something else.

    Elsewhere, I know GBH was very proud of the record building growth (meetinghouses, temples, the conference center, etc) and used that to directly relate how strong the church was (i.e. more buildings = stronger church).

    I happen to rather strongly disagree with that. If you go a back through the story of King Noah, they too used the argument that growth/expansion/building programs were a sign of their strength. I’m not comparing the modern day church to that, but I do think it’s a rather weak argument. And, mostly, I think it’s a very distracting focus for the Church to take on. As humans, though, “spiritual” growth is unseen and we, frankly, prefer visible metrics to tell us how we’re doing, hence the argument that more buildings = stronger faith.

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  120. Nick Literski on August 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    #58:
    DannyK, perhaps you’re right and he makes no money off of it. Money is not the only way to priestcraft. It says something that he has to try so hard to avoid the appearance of it.

    Hmmm….

    Denver Snuffer: “I saw Jesus, and so can you.”

    Thomas Monson: “LET’S GO SHOPPING!!”

    Yeah, I can certainly see why Denver Snuffer would be so offensive (cough).

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  121. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Jeff I see City Creek as idolistic, not meetinghouses. I see the strong focus on the metric of meetinghouses and temples as a misplaced mortal diversion away from spirituality, what meetinghouses did Christ build? And speaking of mortal diversions look at this discussion, my comment offering up buildings as evidence is being used as a diversion from the much more important main point since Joseph Smith the power of God as expressed through the church and it members has diminished greatly

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  122. SteveF on August 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Howard, I think in many ways our vision for the ultimate destination of the Saints as a whole is quite similar. I think where we widely differ is in the narrative of our past to present, and where we currently stand as a church in the grand scheme of progression.

    You say, “The undeniable truth is since Joseph Smith the power of God as expressed through the church and it members has diminished greatly…” and yet I disagree with the sentiment of the statement. The spiritual progression/stature of Joseph Smith has probably been unmatched in this dispensation, and when he lived, it is not hard to see that much of his spiritual cup spilled over and effected the early members of the church. They in their young convert state, full of faith like a child undoubtedly experienced some very special blessings. But was it not some of these very same people who apostatized from the truth within a few short years following such experiences? And did these special experiences continue widely after the death of Joseph Smith? I don’t think we can say they did to the same degree (although having served my mission in West Africa, I can attest to the fact that dreams and visions are alive and well within the church today). Sure there were a select few spiritually mature powerhouses like Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, etc., but viewing the narrative as a whole I rather see a rather very young people in terms of spiritual maturity (don’t see a whole lot of Mountain Meadows incidences today).

    The marvelous work and a wonder was not that a select few leaders could be so spiritual that they could aid young converts in the fervor of faith to achieve spikes in spiritual experiences from time to time. And the work was not even to bring a small group of elect individuals into spiritual maturity. The work was and is to the whole of the earth, to bless all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. And not just to bless these peoples with a state of young conversion, but to spread a spiritual maturity over generations and centuries of work, that the people might collectively rise to the maturity Joseph Smith himself achieved, that eventually all will know the Lord and become an entire nation of Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses. Can you conceive of the large number of people spoken of here? Is this only for a people that will fill a single city? NO, the work and vision of the Lord is not so tiny, this Zion will fill the whole of North and South America. And do not discount the building of the physical Kingdom in this process, for this work is not merely spiritual in nature, but it will establish both the spiritual and physical (and even political) Kingdom of God on earth.

    Yes, from time to time we need to hear messages like from President Uchtdorf that we are not yet living up to our privileges, or that we are doing a good job at spreading the authority of the Priesthood but our next steps need to be spreading the power of the Priesthood to a much greater degree than we have yet achieved. But we also need to hear the stories of how we are a community, and that this work will not be accomplished by individuals alone, that we are like bees adding drops of honey to the sea of honey that can be collectively called the marvelous work and a wonder. God is not only pleased when we as a people have achieved the final goal, He is patient and kind, and takes joy in the journey of His people. Those who put their shoulder to the wheel in adding their drops of honey, whether we achieve Zion in this life, or we have to wait for the resurrection to see it, will share in all its glory and splendor. And for those who are prepared to go ahead of the average, nothing is stopping them, and in fact, if you are ready, I think it is a duty to do so, that you may use your talents to then turn and aid the people of God in their progression, all the while never having to work contrary or in opposition to the divinely authorized keys of the Kingdom. But we must work together in this progression, not in factions, in contention, in condemnation, or against each other. When we progress at our brothers and sisters have not achieved something new we have discovered, we don’t leave them beyond and scoff at their supposed wickedness, rather we tend to overlook their faults and desire to lift them up and carry them on our backs to safety. It is only in this work of love that we will truly ever achieve Zion.

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  123. B.O.B. on August 28, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    SteveF:

    I know that none of the 15 men who lead our church today suffer from any degree of apostasy

    This is, you should know, humanly impossible. To imply that someone is free from any degree of apostasy is to basically label them as perfect, or as close to it as possible. And, frankly, it’s against church doctrine. I know you’ve come to this argument trying to espouse the “one true doctrine” of the church, but you should be more careful about what you write.

    The Church is not in apostasy, the leaders are not in apostasy, but rather the fullness of the keys of the Kingdom are here today, and they are being exercised in righteousness at the head. The keys thus properly used, become a living system of progression, rooting out errors and aiding us as a people to grow towards a greater perfection that will continue to come as we strive towards Zion.

    So, for instance, when Pres. Monson loudly cheered, “One, Two, Three … Let’s Go Shopping!” at the dedication of the City Creek shopping mall, are you saying that he was properly using his keys? That he was rooting out errors, helping us grow to a “greater perfection”, that we were striving for Zion? I’m confused here, because every step towards Babylon is, by its very nature, a step away from Zion and I’m rather of the mind that an edict to “Let’s Go Shopping” is rather contrary to the command to establish Zion. It’s axiomatic.

    The problem with your argument is that it presupposes errors, mistakes and sets up a system that cannot be questioned, you’ve created an absolute shell that is impervious to errors.

    And, contrariwise, you’ve also distanced yourself from the very nature of D&C 121. I’m of no moral standing here, but using the terms “keys” and “righteousness” and referring, ad nauseum, to the righteous leaders exercising those keys is a way of seeking to enforce action by appealing to authority. In my mind, a continual appeal to authority and keys as reasons to do this or that negates their very nature. The Priesthood, it now seems, exists as a means of social control and enforcing mainstream ideology.

    People like Denver just don’t fit in anymore, what with all the boxes and boundaries you’ve created (inside, outside, keys, no keys). We should be welcoming of divergent thinkers, people that work outside the box … instead we try to change them to fit our mold and, when that doesn’t work, groupthink takes hold and we try to control them and enforce the mainstream ideology. And, when that enforcement doesn’t work, we kick them out.

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  124. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Unmatched is an apology that actually means peaked, so apparently without intending to you are agreeing with me here. …was it not some of these very same people who apostatized from the truth within a few short years I don’t mean to be brash but to make a point; Who cares? Don’t conflate the truth with the church, one can apostatize from the church and remain connected to God, clinging to the iron rod is for those who don’t know God. And did these special experiences continue widely after the death of Joseph Smith? Yes, they did and they do today!!! Read BRM’s talk, that’s the main point!!!

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  125. SteveF on August 28, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    * When we progress and our brothers and sisters have not achieved something new we have discovered, we don’t leave them behind…

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  126. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    When the church sets the least common denominator as the pace for spiritual advancement it fails to stretch 98% of it’s membership!

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  127. Mormon Heretic on August 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    I must agree that the subject of buildings is a bit of diversion here.

    Steve, I think you make an excellent point regarding spiritual maturity–I agree that many were not spiritually mature, and I think some progress has been made on that here in the modern day. However, it seems to me that this is much like the Law of Moses. The people couldn’t tolerate the higher law, so God gave the Law of Moses. It seems evident to me that the Church (as a whole) can’t tolerate the higher law of personal revelation, and therefore we’ve had to dumb it down so much that all we can feel is a personal prompting to go visit some sick church member. While that’s nice, it is a far cry from the dreams and visitations of early church members such as Jacob Hamblin, Helen Mar Kimball, etc. We’ve lost such a gift. Maybe early church members were spiritually immature, but Paul said we should covet to prophesy. In dumbing down the revelation we are able to receive, we fight against people like Snuffer when we should be embracing him. We become King Noah in persecuting Abinadi. I think it’s a shame.

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  128. Jeff Spector on August 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    The City Creek Mall is a red herring that many like to use against the Church. The mall has as much to do with the Gospel and the Church as “the Amazing Race” and KSL has to do with it. The only correlation one can make is the preservation of the area around Temple.

    But, in my mind, that is about it.

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  129. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Sorry, but all is not well in Zion.

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  130. B.O.B. on August 28, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    MH:

    It seems evident to me that the Church (as a whole) can’t tolerate the higher law of personal revelation, and therefore we’ve had to dumb it down so much that all we can feel is a personal prompting to go visit some sick church member. While that’s nice, it is a far cry from the dreams and visitations of early church members such as Jacob Hamblin, Helen Mar Kimball, etc. We’ve lost such a gift. Maybe early church members were spiritually immature, but Paul said we should covet to prophesy. In dumbing down the revelation we are able to receive, we fight against people like Snuffer when we should be embracing him. We become King Noah in persecuting Abinadi. I think it’s a shame.

    Love this. 10x over.

    I think what it speaks to is not so much control as the ability to tolerate differences – and I don’t mean everyday differences, but the ability to tolerate John down the street speaking about dreams, Mary across town talking about seeing an angel, Jenn relating how she healed her mother of cancer, or Denver relating his story about seeing Christ.

    We’re so insecure that we “shoot arrows” at those having experiences because we don’t seem able to tolerate such deviant behavior.

    Truth be told (my truth), I think the Church has found itself in a giant rut – those ruts in those backcountry dirt roads) – and it just can’t seem to get out of it. It’s been sooooo long since the church has claimed revelation for anything (even distancing itself from claiming that the Proclamation was a revelation), that for individuals to think of other individuals as having something fanciful does seem apostate. Instead of figuring a way out of this rut and lack of revelation, we mock, denigrate and excommunicate others who have found a way out.

    Just my $0.02.

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  131. SteveF on August 28, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    “And did these special experiences continue widely after the death of Joseph Smith? Yes, they did and they do today!!! Read BRM’s talk, that’s the main point!!!” – Howard

    and, “While that’s nice, it is a far cry from the dreams and visitations of early church members such as Jacob Hamblin, Helen Mar Kimball, etc. We’ve lost such a gift.” – MH

    Despite looking like a contradiction, I think we’re actually in agreement here, just looking at 2 sides of the same coin. Are these experiences happening today? I believe they are, and I believe these incidences are steadily increasing compared to previous generations. As for the early early church, I think many of the spiritual experiences (not all) can in large measure be attributed to the great spirituality of Joseph Smith spilling over and helping young faith to achieve great heights. But when the church was left without Joseph Smith, I think we’ve had to, on a collective level, learn and mature for ourselves over time guided in whole by the keys of the kingdom and Christ as the head of His church.

    Can individuals have these experiences today? Yes, of course, and I believe they do. I do not have a problem with this part of Denver’s doctrine preaching that people can have such experiences (except to presuppose that everyone should necessarily learn and have these things right now or they are under some sort of condemnation – Denver does not and cannot know the hearts and status of each individual’s progression, that is for the Lord and only the Lord to decide – and it is to be taught to the collective whole it will come through his established channels.) There are many other people that witness and share about dreams, visions, and spiritual experiences they have had, and yet they do not experience church discipline. Why? I hope we can objectively realize that the church condemns no one for having or suggesting we can have such spiritual experiences, that has never been the issue! My issue with Denver is his sweeping condemnation of the church, and presupposing that the Lord has not been in control of His church from the death of Joseph Smith until today. I know this is false. This to me is simply a cop out for the tough questions. How easy is it to just say, “Well, all of those problems, it’s just because everybody was wrong, so let’s dismiss everybody and everything that has happened for the last 150 + years and go back to some supposed glory days.” (in which the people were in fact unable to live the higher laws revealed to them.) This narrative is so easy to suggest in fact, that this why history keeps repeating itself, and people continue to prefer the dead prophets over living ones.

    B.O.B. “The problem with your argument is that it presupposes errors, mistakes and sets up a system that cannot be questioned, you’ve created an absolute shell that is impervious to errors.” I disagree, this narrative I have suggested does allows for errors, mistakes, and imperfections to exist, but then subsequently relies on personal revelation to know if these things are evidence of apostasy, or rather a part of the natural birthing pains of establishing Zion. Some feel it is the former, I feel it is the latter.

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  132. SteveF on August 28, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    * and if it is to be taught to the collective whole

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  133. kd on August 28, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    #124 “one can apostatize from the church and remain connected with God, clinging to the iron rod is for those who don’t know God.”

    #112 “would you like a formula to tell how to get personal revelation? It might be written in many ways. My formula is simply this:

    1. Search the scriptures.

    2. Keep the commandments.

    3. Ask in faith.”
    This is a major contradiction, as a major key to having a relationship to God and receiving personal revelation is keeping the commandments. The commandments, the word of God (otherwise known as the iron rod) are essential if we are to know God. Didn’t Christ himself lament that people will call Him Lord and yet not do what He says? Does He not say to build a church and follow the prophet?

    I know I’m coming in late to the conversation, but there is a huge element of the gospel being forgotten in this whole discussion. Inherent to following God is taking care of his children in both spiritual and temporal means. Its no accident that immediately after Alma the elder tells his congregation that they need to both be witnesses of God and comfort those who stand in need of comfort that the people then founded a Zion society. This is the key that many, including Snuffer, miss: God wants a righteous society in order to save as many people as possible. The gospel, as much as individual effort and progression are important, requires a communal effort. Societies, however, do not exist in a vacuum. They require resources, which means there will be commerce, businesses, and money. They deal with imperfect people and the outside world, which means there will be politics and compromise (compromise on theological truth isn’t just something mere mortals do btw, God rescinded the higher law in favor of the law of Moses). As much as Snuffer might long for the Nauvoo period, he forgets that Joseph was also creating one of the busiest commercial cities on the Mississippi, building an army, and running for President. These practical realities are just as important and vital to a Zion-like society as the theology which they stand on. Thus we have the theological and moral responsibility to the building of the Kingdom in all of its aspects, not just the ones we like.

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  134. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I think many of the spiritual experiences (not all) can in large measure be attributed to the great spirituality of Joseph Smith spilling over and helping young faith to achieve great heights. Yes, I agree. And today’s albeit somewhat lessor example is…???

    We’re so insecure that we “shoot arrows” at those having experiences because we don’t seem able to tolerate such deviant behavior. Indeed, in today’s church anyone with apparently more access to the Spirit than we have is suspect!

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  135. Howard on August 28, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Yes, kd those two statements are an apparent contradiction. That’s because BRM’s formula suggests that keeping the commandments is a requirement; when it is not. I have a personal testimony of this (as do others who have posted) because I have enjoyed ongoing profound personal revelation during times I have been having sex out of wedlock and drinking beer, none of which gets in the way of God conversing with us through the Spirit, he will talk to anyone capable of listening. Contrary to popular LDS opinion the Spirit does not flee us.

    Depending on where you start, the iron rod may be a necessary step to eventually hook you up with the Spirit which begins your personal lessons which may eventually include taboo breaking.

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  136. B.O.B. on August 28, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    KD:

    Just two things:

    Does He not say to build a church and follow the prophet?

    1. Church: the standard is very low (meaning it’s inclusive of many, many people, including those not on the membership records. I realize many will say this definition doesn’t work for the LDS church, but it says what it says – anything more or less then this definition is “not of me.”

    D&C 10:67-78

    As to building a 67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and acometh unto me, the same is my bchurch.

    68 Whosoever adeclareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is bagainst me; therefore he is not of my church.

    2. Following the prophet – a meme that’s been debated ad nauseum, but there is simply no scriptural support for this idea (at least using the “standard” works as the reference material – OT, NT, BOM, DC, PoGP). This idea didn’t even really gain traction until the whole polygamy scandal and OD2. I realize there’s lots of debate about it, but none of it is persuasive (to me, at least). I think it’s a carry over of appealing to authority as a means to an end, something the scriptures expressly prohibit. In fact, most scriptural references I’m able to read speak expressly against following any other person other than Christ.

    I guess that’s my end – we trip up over distinctly non-scriptural edicts and force adherence to a bunch of rules that we ourselves make up, chasing away people who might otherwise have valuable insights, no matter how much we disagree with them.

    Learning and growth doesn’t come from an environment where one’s ideas are never challenged, never debated. If we chase out those with whom we disagree – no matter the reason – than all we’re creating is a community of groupthink, where disagreement and debate are not welcome.

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  137. kd on August 28, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    B.O.B

    I would argue there is a lot of evidence actually for prophetic authority within the standard works. For example, Christ explicitly told the Nephites to follow the twelve He selected there (3 Nephi 12). Alma on two occasions There is the classic scripture from Amos 3:7. As well, Paul is very explicit in the need for prophets and apostles in Ephesians 2 and 4:11-14 (vs 14 is very applicable in the case of Snuffer, though I’m not accusing him of some kind of malice or ill will). Plus Alma in both Ammonihah and in the land of the Zoramites outlines the same pattern which preach my gospel outlines, that Christ has sent prophets to lead the church throughout history. However, the fact of the matter is that we aren’t protestant, we don’t believe in sola scriptura and in scripture being privately interpreted. The question at hand is do the prophets represent Christ or not? If they do, then we are only following Christ by following their counsel.

    On the subject of the church, thats a great scripture and I think its accurate of the church. Is that the only scripture? No, there are many and they give additional requirements of the church. I agree we shouldn’t be blind followers, avoiding contrary views just because they are contrary. However, there is the need to police the church, to build “unity of the faith.” If people are challenging the authority of the church or promoting a new interpretation of the faith, it becomes a problem.

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  138. Dannyk on August 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Jeff #118 – FWIW – I actually LOVE church, and I love many aspects of the institution of the church. There are good men and women serving and doing the work of God in all corners of the church, and at all levels. I sometimes hear people complain about how they don’t get spiritually fed or feel like the 3 hours are drudgery. I couldn’t be more opposite, I find myself enjoying the interaction, and the chance to learn, serve, teach and love.

    I am also indebted to good men and women within the institution of the church that have helped me better understand what it really means to live discipleship.

    I do take the view that sometimes our history is a little too whitewashed. I understand why we do it, because I do it with my own life sometimes. We are all prone to do that. When we do it in our personal lives, it is a manifestation of our ego that decides to be offended when someone points out a misrepresentation, an error, a lie, a fault, or an inconsistency in our life. It is the ego (natural man) that creates the need to defend and protect, even against truth. That’s why Nephi says the truth hurts those who are wicked (wicked sounds so harsh, it might be easier to say the truth hurts the natural man side of our us)

    I think sometimes we have a collective ego that needs the church to fit it’s scriptural definition of “true and living”, “one true church”. We accept that statement, and if we aren’t careful, allow that statement and the potential ego that comes with it to cloud our perspective on truth that may be presented to us that *seems* to diminish our belief or threaten the veracity of those statements we hold dear. And since we wrap our own personal identity up with the church, and our ego and personal worth is tied to its worth and esteem, we get caught up in defending the church from what may be truthful assessments of its misrepresentations, errors, occasional lies, faults, and inconsistencies.

    I guess my point is, I both love the church, and simultaneously am not threatened by challenges made against it, nor do I feel the need to defend it, especially if those challenges help me get to deeper truth. If the church has apostatized in great or small ways, separating my ego from it and trying to attach my worth instead to God allows my spiritual journey to go on unhindered. If the church has no apostasy in it, no matter how attached my ego/worth is to it and its truthfulness…it still won’t have the power to save me even with all its ordinances, nor will the fact that the prophet truly is led of God. I still need to attach to God.

    In fact, isn’t that what building upon the Rock is all about? Isn’t building our peace on anything else in this life like building on sand…no matter how wonderful it is? That includes the institution of the church. If the saints build on the church and its “one true” status…that causes them to stumble when they discover its weaknesses and warts (as has been documented in Sweden). Even the church will fail you often (even a true church), and so you must be built on Christ in order to withstand the fiery darts that come from doubts that may arise as you learn the less than perfect nature of our past and our leaders (that includes those who concern themselves overly with city creek).

    If you don’t build on Him, then when the rains, wind, and floods come…your foundation that was built on something other than Christ will be swept aware.

    I don’t need the church narrative to be perfect, I don’t need our leaders to have always done what was right in God’s eyes, I also don’t need to come up with reasons to defend them when they may have done wrong in order for me to be committed to Christ and the church and the gospel it shares with the world. I just want truth. And sometimes that truth hurts. But if it is true, it causes your faith and devotion and love of God to grow, and also your charity for those who most certainly are doing their best in leading, or those who entirely disagree with you and your approach to living the Gospel.

    I appreciate Denver’s writings not because I think the church is in apostasy…but because he challenges my traditions, and forces me to consider if it was just a tradition of men or if it is really based in truth. He forces me to seek for God, and not for tradition. He deepens my appreciation of scripture. There are many church leaders who help me do the same. I’m grateful for them all.

    My faith in the restoration has been deepened by reading Denver’s works, not lessened in any degree. I am more convinced now of the beauty of God’s plan than I have ever been, I am more appreciative of the teachings of the temple than I’ve ever been. I am more interested in scripture now than any time since my missionary days (I’ve always loved them, I just have even more zeal to search them now). I am more built on the Rock who is Christ than ever before…which gives me greater charity for leaders when they fail than I would have had if it was them I was built on in any degree (that’s when you feel betrayed and upset and leave).

    Sorry for the long comment…got carried away.

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  139. Dannyk on August 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    B.O.B #130 – AMEN!

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  140. Jeff Spector on August 28, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    DannyK,

    Thanks, i feel very much the same. I like a good theological challenge.

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  141. Rigel Hawthorne on August 28, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    I appreciate this post in that it brings out voices from many different perspectives. I find myself disagreeing with Mormon Heretic, which is rather unusual. I find myself wanting to be offended at the comparison of this individual to the Messiah in his confrontation with the Sanhedrin and Abinidi in confrontation with Noah. I’m trying to turn my emotions down and respond…do a bit of a Bednar and choose not to be offended.

    King Noah was preceded by his father Zeniff who was not only a righteous king, but created agricultural, textile, and military industry. The construction of ‘spacious buildings’ to house these industries would have been necessary to support them. These ‘riches’ of the kingdom would have been passed to the stewardship of Noah. So when people liken the building program of the LDS church to Noah, I argue that it is not the same. The building program is more directly comparable to Zeniff. Noah built a palace and a throne, not buildings for the carrying on of economics. He created a vineyard industry, then drank in excess. In his palace and on his throne, his reign was marked by laziness, spending time with multiple women, and demoting the diligent priests to be replaced by those who were prideful.

    If you follow our Apostles schedules, you know that their time is spent in work. Hawkgrrl described seeing Elder Oaks in Malaysia and I saw him the very next week at Stake Conference in Oregon. His newly called companion GA stated he could hardly keep up, that it took two steps to keep up with every one of Elder Oaks, and with Elder Perry (who had just turned 90) it was even more rigorous. Our Apostles are not spending time in resorts being idle during these travels, every waking hour at our Stake was busy in interviewing and selecting and installing a new SP. They are not dining at the finest restaurants, but eating meals served simply but elegantly in round rolling tables in the church. They are not spending time with multiple women–when would they be able to?

    So comparing the leadership of the church to Noah does not ring true, although I understand who people who love and support brother Snuffer and view excommunication as punishment would react with feeling that he has been treated without due process.

    I would view Brother Snuffer more closely, to follow the lead in likening scriptures in this situation, to the Zoramites and their Holy Stand:

    “Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren (the followers of the standing LDS prophet); and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers (who followed the prophets from Brigham Young onward); but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no (“connection to”) Christ (in the “devalued gospel” that lacks “the power to save”).

    I would also view him as the Prodigal son in the parable, the quest to “enlighten” individuals one by one with focusing on personal upward progression similar to a journey into a far country in riotous (spiritual) living. In the meantime, the elder son (leadership of the LDS church) continues to do the less glamorous work of making temples available to the people, structuring missions for the preaching of the gospel, printing and distributing scriptures to people in various languages (bridging those ‘cultural inroads’ that Brother Snuffer casts in a negative light).

    #127 therefore we’ve had to dumb it down so much that all we can feel is a personal prompting to go visit some sick church member

    This makes me feel sick. I have never felt closer to the glory of God as when I visited and participated in a Priesthood blessing for a child with terminal cancer. This surpassed in power the personal revelations that I have received. I could have been sitting home focusing on how the ‘structure’ of the church that funnelled to me a Priesthood assignment from a leadership chain is less important than separating myself from my brethren and focusing on my personal election as an individual. But there’s this scripture that says when you are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God. Our Prophet leads and teaches “Reach out and Rescue. Brother Snuffer retorts: “They intend to build Zion one day when they get around to it.”

    #97 SteveF–thanks for responding more eloquently than I could.

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  142. Hedgehog on August 29, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    “I think it’s tough to discuss excommunication as a general topic when many of us are not readers of Denver Snuffer’s works.”
    Ah yes, 141 comments of toughness.. Seriously, as I said I know nothing about him or his books. The comments have been interesting. That’s not to say that I don’t think the SCMC may not have over-reached sometimes, but whether that’s the case here, I’m in no position to comment.

    Some way out things can get said in Sunday School and fast & testimony meetings that are both incorrect and can have a negative impact on the testimony of others in the congregation that seem to get a pass, but the audience and sphere of influene is considerably smaller. Even in a single congregation there are a wide divergence of views on doctrine, and I agree that doctrinal boundaries are very woolly.

    I tend to agree with Rigel that the comparisons with King Noah are at best hyperbolic. And with SteveF that the church, like it’s people, is a work in progress. That as a community it doesn’t want to leave any behind, I do think that’s part of what it means to ‘be one’, and certainly I agree it’s probably frustrating for those who feel ahead of the curve (as it were). Got to be a tricky balance trying to keep so many different people on the same page, or at least in sight of the same page.

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  143. anon on August 29, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    While I disagree with Denver Snuffer, excommunicating people sends the message that the church isn’t open to discussion and hurts the image of the church. Far too many people in the church feel they can’t be honest in a culture that constantly says “i know,” They created the harmful culture that produces Denver Snuffers. They would be better to address the culture issue than attack the fruits of their own making.

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  144. mh on August 29, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Rigel, I appreciate your comments, but I think you took my abinadi parallel farther than I intended. My main point was to point out that abinadi came from outside of leadership (like snuffer), and that kingNoah probably thought abinadi was apostate, like snuffer. I was not trying to imply that church leaders had similar sins to king Noah.

    But just as king Noah tried to physically kill Abinadi, church leaders are trying to spiritually kill snuffer, which could be argued is worse in the eternal scheme of things. I think excommunication is used far to often to censor Mormon authors as king Noah tried to censor Abinadi. Church leaders should be more wary of this punishment, IMO.

    You are right that king Noah’s sins do not compare to church leadership and I am sorry if that was misunderstood.

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  145. Rigel Hawthorne on August 29, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    So, MH, dropping the specifics around this particular case, let me ask you about your thoughts on excommunication as censorship in general. Chad Hardy was excommunicated for conduct unbecoming a member of the church when he published his “Men on a Mission” calendars, featuring shirtless returned missionaries contrasted with their missionary uniform photos juxtaposed. Would you view that form of church discipline as a form a censorship? Where the church leaders trying to spiritually kill Brother Hardy?

    Another member I know was excommunicated after having an awakening that the church and her early-life marriage prevented her from being sexually fulfilled. She shared her joyful exploration of her sexual experiences with other men on Facebook. She declined to attend a disciplinary council and offered no witnesses. Was excommunication, then, a form of censorship in her freedom to express herself in writing on Facebook? Another spiritual killing?

    I am assuming you feel that literary authors exploring in writing their disagreements with the doctrines or administration of the church are different somehow. What is the justification for their pass?

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  146. Mormon Heretic on August 29, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Rigel, regarding the Hardy case, yes I do think excommunication was unwarranted. Yes, it could be considered a form of censorship. If I were in charge (to borrow a line from Mike S), I wouldn’t have excommunicated Hardy. Were they trying to spiritually kill Hardy? I would say no, they were trying to make an example of him. Since Hardy didn’t seem to care about his membership, I would view this excommunication as quite different from Snuffer’s case. Hardy acted more like Esau in selling his birthright.

    As for adultery, that is breaking a covenant that she has covenanted to make, so I view that as different than Snuffer as well. If she is admitting to adultery on Facebook, then she has convicted herself. I guess one could argue that this was censorship, but I wouldn’t make that argument. She well knew that admitting to adultery was grounds for excommunication, so once again I view that as different from Snuffer. I would view adultery as different and more serious than this so-called apostasy of Snuffer.

    Would I have excommunicated her? Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to, and would have tried to work with her via disfellowshipment. If she doesn’t care about her membership, maybe I’d offer her to resign. But as a form of “repentance”, I think excommunication doesn’t work. If I really wanted her to repent, I don’t think I would excommunicate her. Once she is out of the church, what leverage do I have to get her back in? None. Sure, I’m sure that excommunication does scare people back into the church in some cases. But for the majority, they happily leave the church in the rear view mirror. I just think excommunication is an ineffective way to help someone repent.

    Having said that, I’m more sympathetic to excommunicating an adulterer, murderer, or child abuser than I am someone like Snuffer who is trying hard to live like Christ and lead others to Christ. Snuffer is a completely different category than either Hardy or this woman you discuss.

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  147. Mormon Heretic on August 29, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    I guess I didn’t answer your last question, What is the justification for [the authors'] pass?

    Michael Quinn, Avraham Gileadi, Lavinia Anderson, Margaret Toscano, and Maxine Hanks (I’m sure I’m leaving some others out) were all BELIEVING Mormons, unlike Hardy or this woman (at least it sounds like the woman wasn’t believing.) In all cases, The men and women I listed were trying to state historical truth regarding Mormon history, addressing abuse of ecclesiastical leaders, or expressing feminist theology. They were trying to correct wrongs. They weren’t trying to tear the church down, though I am sure Church leaders, concerned about the image of these authors’ writing, did feel they (with the best of intentions) were tearing the church down. These authors were trying to make the Church better, more honest, and more transparent.

    That is a far cry from Hardy who wasn’t trying to improve the image of the Church. (Well maybe he was in a “South Park” kind of way.) I don’t know the background of this woman you mention, but it seems she certainly had much different, less noble desires than the Sept 6 that I mentioned. If a person is honestly trying to follow Christ, I think there is no sense trammeling them.

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  148. Seth R. on August 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    MH, it’s also about more than just the institutional church here.

    What if we heard that missionaries were forcing their way inside the doors of people who had already told them to go away?

    We’d consider this rude. Why?

    Because those people do not desire an association with the LDS Church.

    There are things that members can do that make it clear they are no longer willing to be a part of the institutional LDS community. This is a two-way thing. We don’t force people to be in the LDS Church, and it’s unfair for people to expect to be a part of an institution when they are simply unwilling to abide by what that institution is.

    There are degrees, of course. But I would be a completely ridiculous person to try and sign up for an online account to play some Internet game, but insist that its rules and operations be changed for me to be a member. For instance, demanding I be allowed to play… Warcraft or something for free. Or signing up, and then demanding that they change the game to allow spaceships, blasters, and lightsabers.

    People on the bloggernacle increasingly are acting as though it’s primarily or even only the institutional LDS Church that needs to change for US.

    Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe, we precious individuals might need to change a little for the institution as well?

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  149. Howard on August 29, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe, we precious individuals might need to change a little for the institution as well? NO! But it has occurred to me that I must change to become Christlike and Godlike.

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  150. mh on August 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Seth, it sounds like you are disagreeing with me, but I can’t tell where. What is it exactly that Denver snuffer failed to abide? He has obeyed all of the covenants of the temple, and to my knowledge all of the Sept six did as well. The Facebook woman didn’t abide her temple covenants. I can better empathize with why she was exe’d, but I think asking a church member to stop a book tour or stop publishing a book 2 years later is unrighteous dominion and certainly not an excommunicatable offense. Obviously the brethren disagree, but Denver has broken no covenants. The 3 requests to avoid a disciplinary council are contrived, and the definition of unrighteous dominion. Amen to their priesthood for making such a ridiculous request.

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  151. Seth R. on August 29, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    I don’t care about the Denver Snuffer MH. I have no opinion on whether he should be excommunicated or not. I’m talking about the usefulness of excommunication in general. You seemed to be painting the whole process as one that should prize the needs of the individual over all else.

    If that was the sense you intended, I disagree with it.

    Howard, you cannot be a true Christian without participation in human institutions. The person who eschews all such institutions and avoids them, is uncharitable, and unconcerned with the needs of those around him. As such, he is in violation of the second great commandment – to love thy neighbor.

    You cannot do it without institutional participation. You are deluding yourself if you think you can.

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  152. Mormon Heretic on August 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Seth, so are you saying that we should protect the 99 and shoot the 1?

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  153. Seth R. on August 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Damn straight.

    Jesus’ parable didn’t involve the 1 little lost lamb beating up on the rest of the flock.

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  154. Howard on August 29, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    …you cannot be a true Christian without participation in human institutions. The person who eschews all such institutions and avoids them, is uncharitable, and unconcerned with the needs of those around him. As such, he is in violation of the second great commandment – to love thy neighbor. Poppycock!

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  155. Tom on August 29, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Seth:

    If the church represents the body of Christ, which is comprised of nothing more than individuals, what gives the church the right to dictate something it does not, inherently, own? Without the members, the church doesn’t exist. The church is but a mere representation of us. As such, why can’t people lobby for change, advance different view points, seek for a course direction? To suggest that the members should be subservient to an organization that has no life outside of the members seems, to me, rather bizarre. I realize this isn’t mainstream thinking, but I’m puzzled by the notion that members cannot seek to enact change from within without risking their “membership.”

    Even the term “membership” seems out of place in the larger discussion.

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  156. Tom on August 29, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Seth:

    One more…

    Howard, you cannot be a true Christian without participation in human institutions. The person who eschews all such institutions and avoids them, is uncharitable, and unconcerned with the needs of those around him. As such, he is in violation of the second great commandment – to love thy neighbor.

    This is arguably a ridiculous claim to make. One can just as easily love ones neighbor without participating in any human organization than with said organization. In fact, I’d argue that institutions and organizations are, more often than not, too cumbersome to really do as much good at the ground level as an individual can.

    Are you really arguing that I can’t love my neighbor without participating in an institution?? *Cue Twilight Zone music*

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  157. mh on August 29, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Seth, how in the hell is Denver beating up the flock by telling them to follow Jesus?

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  158. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    MH, you’re being very disingenuous if you are really claiming Denver’s disciplinary council (potential excommunication) is about Denver “telling [people] to follow Jesus”. Do you really believe Denver’s leaders would agree with such a characterization? That they really feel that everyone who preaches “to follow Jesus” is worthy of excommunication? That’s obviously laughable. We’re talking about something quite different here.

    More sincerely, I am confused by your’s (and several others’) positions here. So as a clarification – do you believe apostasy is valid grounds for excommunication? I know what Joseph Smith believed (and did about apostasy), but what do you believe?

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  159. Howard on August 29, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    That they really feel that everyone who preaches “to follow Jesus” is worthy of excommunication? That’s obviously laughable. I’m not so sure it’s laughable if you replace the word everyone with the word someone because the LDS Church (TM) pretends to broker it’s members relationship with Christ and someone like Denver is telling them to go direct. In affect to take out the middleman. So that would make him a business threat, wouldn’t it?

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  160. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Howard, again you’re redirecting the issue. Nobody in this scenario, and no leader in authority in the church that I am aware of, has an issue with people/members having a direct and personal relationship with Christ. I’m curious to hear MH’s answer, but feel free to also answer, do you believe apostasy is valid grounds for excommunication?

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  161. Rigel Hawthorne on August 29, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Excommunication in a broad sense seems on my reflection to be tied into the opposition in all things necessity. ( I would lump excommunication, disfellowshipment, and probation together for this discussion) The opposites being communion, admission, receipt of spiritual gifts/endowment (not necessarily The Endowment as in the temple ceremony). 1 Corinthians and 3 Nephi instruct that the sacraments not be taken unworthily or damnation to the soul results. 3 Nephi takes it one step farther that if you know a man that is unworthy, you should forbid him from taking the sacrament.

    One can ‘excommunicate’ themselves in a way by not taking the sacrament. It would be part of changing the way of thinking that occurs with repentance. If the sacrament is considered a rebaptism, then receiving baptism before repentance makes a mockery of the ordinance.

    With added spiritual gifts such as the Melchizedek Priesthood or Temple Endowment they are being conveyed by use of higher keys. Again, there is a level of self-excommunication that can take place by committing anything on the list of the ‘amen to the priesthood’ list or breaking a temple covenant. With the principle of opposites, the higher key use for being endowed with a spiritual gift is also necessarily invoked when the spiritual gift has been removed by a self-excommunicating process.

    I would agree that the complete excommunication should not be used when any of the lesser forms of discipline could suffice. When someone has essentially committed self-excommunication (the facebook adultery example or the ‘I don’t care if I am being excommunicated for my calendars so I’m going out with a bang’ example) the council is simply reconciling the membership in the church to what the member has already demonstrated is their desire.

    But you are always going to have some members that take the I’m right your wrong, no your wrong I’m right path to the end. If simply telling the flock to follow Jesus was sufficient, there were plenty of churches Joseph Smith could have followed that did so. But in crept that ‘authority’ thing, or the “I’m right” thing. With that authority came the spiritual gifts we believe in.

    Does Denver recognize the authority that holds the keys of all of the spiritual gifts for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Can one keep the final covenant made in the temple without doing so? Is he not saying I’m right and your wrong? And if he is, has he not already enacted a self-excommunicating process from this authority? Has he already not taken a Hardy-like response in saying that he is not concerned about the outcome? He stated, ” However, for me, “above” has little to do with 47 East South Temple and the institution is not where I expect any future.”

    I would hope that something other than excommunication can result. I do not see the 3 requirements as contrived. It is an invitation. It invokes the same principle of humility that comes by voluntarily abstaining from taking the sacrament.

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  162. Howard on August 29, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    SteveF,
    Redirecting? Not at all, brokering members relationship with deity IS the underlying basis of all organized religion. At issue is who is in charge clergy or members. Anyone who truly has their own relationship with deity has little or no need of organized religion which is why organized religion doesn’t teach how to actually achieve your own relationship with deity assuming they know how and most don’t. The simple fact is having your own relationship with deity literally puts organized religion out of business. Are you arguing the brethren are blind to this?

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  163. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    I think the brethren from Joseph Smith to this day, and really all the prophets who have held the Priesthood of God from the beginning of the earth to this day, including the Savior, would disagree with your characterization pitting the organized Church and Kingdom of God and a personal relationship with deity against one another. They go hand in hand, one cannot be complete without the other. So I’m not sure if that would make the brethren blind to that or not as I’m sure they’d rightly dismiss the idea entirely.

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  164. Howard on August 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Hand in hand or pitted against one another depends solely on the spiritual maturity of the church’s members. Those approaching or having a personal relationship with deity begin to feel the pitted tension, those who aren’t benefit from the brokered product the church provides.

    Christ is our exemplar and we are to become one with him. Is the church sandwiched somewhere in between in this intimate relationship? If not when exactly does the church exit from this personal relationship?

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  165. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Sure I’ll tell you where. The Church is the wife of Christ, and we the children. And if Christ has granted his authority the church by sealing himself to her, and has not divorced/rejected/revoked that authority, then we as the children cannot expect to somehow break the sealing and relationship with the wife/mother, and somehow expect to retain our relationship and sealing relationship with the husband/father that has bound Himself to her.

    The heavenly church exists, it is an eternal principle, we don’t exit from it and it does not exit from us if we expect to be eternally bound with Christ.

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  166. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    The church and kingdom are merely manifestations and the natural resultant order of eternal keys. Where the keys are, there is the Kingdom.

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  167. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    ..and we cannot be saved or become joint heirs with Christ and inherit what God has without inheriting these keys, thus becoming an eternally and inseparably connected part of this Holy order.

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  168. Mormon Heretic on August 29, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Steve,

    you’re being very disingenuous

    Did you bother to read Hawkgrrrl’s post? Thanks for telling me my motives.

    if you are really claiming Denver’s disciplinary council (potential excommunication) is about Denver “telling [people] to follow Jesus”. Do you really believe Denver’s leaders would agree with such a characterization?

    I agree that is not how the SCMC would characterize Denver. However, I’m VERY unclear what the problem is. In the letter they said that Denver was denigrating every prophet. Well, I haven’t read the book, so I can’t comment specifically on that, but let me say this. Like Denver, I think polygamy was a mistake (and I’ll even go so far as to blame JS for that mistake.) Like Denver, I think the priesthood/temple ban was a mistake (and I blame that squarely on BY.) Does that mean I’m denigrating, or simply disagreeing, with past prophets? When John Taylor called blacks “Agents of Satan”, is it ok to disagree with Pres Taylor? When Pres Kimball said that interracial marriage should be avoided, is it ok to disagree? Is anyone who disagrees with practices or positions such as these worthy of excommunication? I think not, but I don’t know how you feel. Some here seem to agree that methods of the Spanish Inquisition are acceptable. I think they are not.

    do you believe apostasy is valid grounds for excommunication?

    Well, let’s define apostasy before I answer that. If apostasy means actively working against the church ala John C. Bennett or Eber Howe or Ed Decker, then yes, apostasy is valid grounds for excommunication. I don’t think that Snuffer is anywhere near Ed Decker, and I don’t believe Snuffer is guilty of apostasy. Do you think Snuffer is like Ed Decker (of the Godmakers infamy) or do you see a difference?

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  169. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    Maybe I chose the wrong word, as it was not intended to offend. Rather I meant to point out that I think it is clear Denver is not up for discipline for “teaching people to follow Christ”, and to propose as much is to me ignoring the objective facts before us. The charge is for apostasy.

    You did answer my question, it sounds like you agree that apostasy is grounds for excommunication. The question is whether or not then Denver Snuffer really is guilty of apostasy. To me the final answer to that question is in the hands of the Stake President, and I think he has the right and duty in his position to evaluate, pray, and make that call.

    I agree that holding the belief that polygamy and/or the priesthood/temple ban were mistakes is not apostate by nature. Every member should be free to their private interpretations. I don’t think declaring this as a personal belief is apostate either. (Although I do think it would be wrong to declare this as revelation for the church as a whole – inasmuch as it is personal revelation, that it is personal revelation should be kept private as revelation concerning unrevealed matters to the church as a whole should come through the proper channels.)

    I really don’t think any of this is the issue in Denver’s case. I think the problem with what he wrote is that it claims that since the time of Joseph Smith we have been in steady decline, abandoning truth, and that the leaders on a general basis have been leading us astray from the real truth. It is a big leap from simply saying, admitting, or expressing belief that there have been mistakes. And I think in this way, it really is denigrating the prophets in a way and level entirely different than admitting that as mortals they have made mistakes from time to time.

    And then I think the story goes further. And I think 2 important questions must be answered to see how we might view the situation.
    1. Do those who hold keys have the right to determine by revelation what is and what is not harmful to the flock they are entrusted to oversee?
    2. Do those who hold keys have the right to revelation to give commandments to those within their stewardships?

    I am interested in your answers to these 2 questions. My belief is that the answers are both yes and yes. Therefore, I believe the Stake President had the write to determine by revelation that those claims made public by Denver were damaging to the Kingdom rather than helpful. And then therefore he also had the right by revelation to instruct/counsel/command Denver to redact these public teachings.

    It sounds like this very thing happened, and Denver chose not to comply. It is at this moment that I believe Denver was not only guilty of teachings I consider apostate (“actively working against the church”), but that he was guilty of apostasy itself, by rebelling against authorized revelation and counsel/commands by continuing his fight against the church.

    Furthermore, Denver has just recently posted what his speaking tour is to consist of: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/08/we-dont-need-new-church.html, which to me furthers the narrative described above.

    Following this comment I will copy and paste a comment I made on a separate blog about Denver’s recent post.

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  170. SteveF on August 29, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    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?

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  171. Seth R. on August 30, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    MH, how many times do I have to tell you that I am not discussing the Denver Snuffer, nor do I care what he is or is not doing?

    I’m talking about excommunication and excommunication only. I have little to no interest in this guy. I was telling you there are circumstances where throwing the one sheep under the bus is absolutely the morally correct thing to do. I have no interest in tying it in to the Snuffer’s situation.

    Tom, in theory you can love and serve others without belonging to anything organized.

    In theory.

    The reality is that most people who don’t participate in such cooperative ventures actually get little to no real Christian service done at all. So it largely becomes a lip service sort of thing.

    “Oh yeah, I care about people, sure… Just don’t ask me to get tied down to any organizations that actually make it happen.”

    Welcome to the moral wasteland of secular America. Where hiding in your suburban bunker and having correct ideals and aspirations is an acceptable substitute for moral living.

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  172. Hedgehog on August 30, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    MH #144 ” My main point was to point out that abinadi came from outside of leadership (like snuffer)”
    Well so did Sherem and Nehor and Korihor and the like. Not that I’m comparing Denver Snuffer any more closely to those particular characters than you’re comparing church leadership to King Noah. Just making the point that it isn’t only prophets who can come from outside the leadership.

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  173. Jeff Spector on August 30, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

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  174. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    The Church is the wife of Christ… whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

    Sorry, it’s very narrowly and expressly defined, no mention of the organization/institution known as the LDS church.

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  175. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I think the problem with what he wrote is that it claims that since the time of Joseph Smith we have been in steady decline, abandoning truth, and that the leaders on a general basis have been leading us astray from the real truth. It is a big leap from simply saying, admitting, or expressing belief that there have been mistakes. And I think in this way, it really is denigrating the prophets in a way and level entirely different than admitting that as mortals they have made mistakes from time to time.

    I’m not defending DS but your “big leap” and “denigrating the prophets” conclusions DO NOT necessary follow. Steady decline, abandoning truth and leading us astray may have and probably did occur over time via subtle negligence. There is considerable evidence for this: Compare the early church’s experience with gifts of the spirit, BRM’s talk on personal revelation in #112 above and the barely discernible whisper commonly described in LDS chapels today. Compare the book of thus saith the Lord revelations spoken by Joseph during his brief ministry with the drought of revelation since. Clearly something important has been lost!

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  176. Seth R. on August 30, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    It’s extremely difficult to effectively enact the church without an institution. I know that individualistic Americans don’t find this a very palatable idea. Especially those for whom Jesus has become kind of a standard excuse for “do whatever the hell I want without regard to others’ desires.”

    But the truth is that America has gone waaaay too far in the worship of individualism. Jesus had harsh words for those who sought to subvert the institutional church of his day for personal gain or oppression of the meek and lowly. In all other respects, he fully approved of institutionalized religion.

    This modern American myth about Jesus being some sort of ancient world hippie preaching tolerance of just about everything and following your own heart above all else and “sticking it to the man” (like a 1st century John Lenin) is a load of BS.

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  177. Seth R. on August 30, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    By the way Howard, just so I’m not disagreeing with you on absolutely everything – I’d like to point out that I’ve long held open the possibility that revelation in the modern LDS Church has been severely watered down, and that inspiration isn’t happening today as strongly as it once did.

    I’ve had those suspicions myself. And I’ve always been very up front with clarifying that my testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and even Brigham Young is much stronger than my testimony of the modern LDS Church hierarchy and structure.

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  178. SteveF on August 30, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Howard, do you deny that the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is not only part of, but stands at the head of this church today with the the authorized Priesthood authority and keys from heaven?

    I know 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.”

    For those who live on the earth today, there is no other way to eventually enter and be a part of the heavenly church in celestial glory save through being authorized first on earth by the keys held today only by the LDS Church.

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  179. SteveF on August 30, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Howard #175. I’ve already given my thoughts on whether there has been growth or decline, digression or progression over the past centuries. I do think it is indeed apostate to teach that the current church and its leaders are leading us AWAY from the “real” truth.

    You said that the things spoken of in BRM talk can and do happen today. Do you not think in shear numbers alone then that these things happen more than they did in say Brigham Young’s time, even if these incidences may be more spread out? I do. I’ve witnessed them, you said you have too. I think the church is much stronger than you give it credit for. Do you think the church that almost fell apart several times in Joseph Smith’s lifetime, or even the church in Brigham Young’s time could have survived if we plopped millions of people like we have in the church now into the church then? I think it wouldn’t have even been years before the church flew to pieces.

    We continue to strengthen in numbers, and we continue to strengthen our roots and core in the center to uphold and withstand breaking under the pressure of this growth. And don’t you worry, the day is coming that the gifts that you speak of will become more widely visible, enjoyed by a greater number of saints, and spoken of more commonly and freely. But that will not happen by breaking in factions, or drastically steering the current course of the church in a new direction. It will come in line upon line growth in patience and love following and sustaining the current leaders and keys of the Kingdom, and working together as a community being bound in true friendship and love as we progress together.

    To achieve a nation of Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses that Zion may cover the whole of North and South America, cannot be done by breaking up what we have already achieved and starting over. Can’t you see that realistically/logistically that that would require another 150+ years of growth just to get where we are today? We’re not perfect, but I know the Lord is guiding us on the very path of growth and progression we need in order to reach this eventual goal, a marvelous work and a wonder that will bless all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.

    I’m now repeating myself, but I think you get my drift.

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  180. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    SteveF,
    I have a very, very strong testimony of the restoration and my response to you in #175 clearly expresses where I believe things stand today. The Mormon-speak phrase Christ stands at the head of the (LDS) church is largely meaningless litany if revelation has been watered down to the point that younger missionaries is all God has to say to the world today!

    You don’t need to reject the Kingdom of God on earth, you can transcend it by becoming a member of the building-less Church of the Firstborn. I don’t know DS nor do I defend him but if his claims are even partially true that may be what he is doing and in that case his excommunication might be viewed more as a graduation.

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  181. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    em>You said that the things spoken of in BRM talk can and do happen today. Do you not think in shear numbers alone then that these things happen more than they did in say Brigham Young’s time…? Numbers aren’t the issue. I know they take place both in and out of the church so what then is the meaning of LDS authority of LDS priesthood? The issue isn’t frequency of occurrence the issue is the church accepts and teaches this watered down version lowering members expectations and when expectations low would you expect them to commonly be exceeded? Of course not. So the rationalizing white washing skim milk correlated gospel has over time become powerless belief steeped in “authority” but where’s the beef?

    We continue to strengthen in numbers Growth has fallen to levels consistent with the general population growth, not significantly more.

    It will come in line upon line growth in patience… Poppycock, it hasn’t so far, what will cause it in the future?

    I don’t want to break up what we have and start over, I want our prophets to engage God so that they become Prophets.

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  182. SteveF on August 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    If you believe the Church of the Firstborn is meant to be building-less, you may have missed some of the integral things being established in late Nauvoo and what Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball had to say in the matter, or maybe you simply don’t believe them.

    In any respect, that you can somehow transcend the Kingdom of God is a mistaken idea. Whether it is the authorized earthly manifestation or found in heaven, they are one and the same. If Denver is willing to give up his membership and is in proper order loosed here on earth, he will also be loosed in heaven. The sealing power is not arbitrary, it cannot be bypassed. “We without them cannot be made perfect” “There must be a welding link of some kind”.

    It’s becoming obvious that we widely differ and disagree on some of these core concepts. I will allow you to believe what you may here, and I retain the same right for myself, but do offer a sincere warning that such ideas that you are proposing will only lead you away from God and His Kingdom that are indeed inseparably connected. And if you believe rather that I am the one mistaken, then no harm and I hope no hard feelings. I wish you the very best in your journey.

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  183. SteveF on August 30, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    “Growth has fallen to levels consistent with the general population growth, not significantly more.” and “Poppycock, it hasn’t so far, what will cause it in the future?”

    If one method begins to fail, another will come in its stead. “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

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  184. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    SteveF,
    If you have physical address’ for the Church of the Firstborn’s buildings I’d love to take a look at the Google street views!

    Steve you’re a bright guy think, one cannot be simultaneously one with Christ and loosed in heaven as you seem to mean it. One cannot be one with Christ and be led away from God. Becoming one with Christ transcends the law: if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

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  185. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    If one method begins to fail, another will come in its stead. Steve, how do you know DS isn’t a method or part of a method to bring the gifts spoken of? How do you know I’m not? Why couldn’t we be?

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  186. SteveF on August 30, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    “one cannot be simultaneously one with Christ and loosed in heaven as you seem to mean it.” Exactly. So what I am saying is that if you are properly loosed on earth, and thus in heaven, you cannot be one with Christ. I realize you think you can be one with Christ while leaving/rejecting God’s Kingdom on earth (or transcending it), and so you in effect disregard the church’s authority claims to the keys of the kingdom and sealing authority that are binding in heaven. So I don’t think we are going to be reconciled on this point.

    “how do you know DS isn’t a method or part of a method to bring the gifts spoken of?” I think I’ve made it clear why I think so. He teaches against the Church and Kingdom of God that I know to be currently authorized and approved by God, He is working through unauthorized channels, he has no claims to authority, and he preaches according to a false spirit that I came to know long before Denver ever published his teachings–he is not the first to preach the doctrine he espouses. In effect, he teaches against the signs and tokens I received in the Garden of Eden, so to speak, and only offers the philosophies of men mingled with scripture in return. I am only looking for true messengers, and I have personal revelation to known that he is not one of them, that his teachings are riddled with the spirit of apostasy and the doctrines of the devil. Indeed as Heber C. Kimball said, we will each need a personal witnesses and testimony for ourselves to withstand the tests that are coming.

    I don’t think I have much more I can say in the matter. You are free to disagree, but I stand behind my words.

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  187. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    It’s not a rejection Steve it is a transendance, there’s a difference by using rejection you redefine my meaning and derail our discussion. I’m saying once you become one with Christ you have out grown the mortal church as it stands today and you move up to the spiritual church.

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  188. Howard on August 30, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Where is it written that if your Bishop and/or SP disagrees with the relationship you are having with Christ, Christ is compelled to reject you? Is Christ reporting them now?

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  189. Tom on August 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Let’s do a replay of the early 1800s … just for fun.

    Had Joseph Smith been born into an “authorized” and key-filled church, he would have been excommunicated for going outside of those “authorized” and key-filled channels. Had we any insight into his mindset, I bet we could be sure that his primary concern was finding God and Christ, not finding those who claimed to have some magical set of keys.

    I think the conversation about “keys” is an idol we worship to our detriment and a huge, huge distraction. We disparage the Catholic church – who we’d probably agree somehow lost their keys into some couch cushion – while celebrating our inability to fall in those same traps.

    Ignoring history while claiming moral and spiritual superiority is a very dangerous road to go down.

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  190. SteveF on August 30, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    If “Joseph Smith been born into an ‘authorized’ and key-filled church”, then the Kingdom of God would have been on the earth already, and there would have been no need for a restoration.

    So I don’t understand your point.

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  191. Vince on August 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    Some misguided comments here. I’ve read many of Denver’s books and believe him to be honest and sincere. In fact I think he has seen Christ. We could doubt him like those who doubted Joseph but what if he isn’t lying or insane? If you think the Church’s past is golden you are fooling yourselves. He tries to help people understand why the Church went in some of the directions it did using the scriptures and quotes from the people at the time. I would suggest reading his Second Comforter book and Come Let Us Adore book. He has stated several times that all “proceeds” go to the missionary program. I have no reason to not believe him.

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  192. Tom on August 31, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Steve:

    Perhaps the first place for your misunderstanding is thinking that the “church” and the “Kingdom” are the same thing. They aren’t, no matter how hard we try to conflate the two.

    Venn diagram it out – the Kingdom is made up partly of this church, but certainly not exclusively.

    Replay again … if Joseph was born into a church that claimed ad nauseum, like we do today, that it was God’s true Church, was endowed with keys, etc., etc., and we replay his prayer and he gets the same answer, well, he would have been excommunicated for apostasy. Again, we should be very careful about what we presume.

    Here’s an interesting scriptural challenge, but if you look in the scriptures, you could never go apostate from a “Church”. In fact the word isn’t even in the scriptures. If you look in the topical guide, it’s there but in every instance it refers to turning ones heart away from the Lord (and only the Lord). Maybe you’re a better judge of where someone’s heart is, but I will err on the side of mercy on those matters.

    Don’t judge [Denver Snuffer] because he sin’s differently than you do. – Uchtdorf

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  193. Howard on August 31, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Don’t judge [Denver Snuffer] because he sin’s differently than you do. – Uchtdorf Humm, isn’t this precisely what the church has in mind with Denver’s disciplinary council?

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  194. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    I agree that the Kingdom can have a more expansive definition than the Church alone, Joseph, Brigham, etc. explained as much. But nonetheless as the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS has been the prominent organization of the Kingdom thus far in this dispensation, Joseph and Brigham, even though they knew the technical distinction, would still often refer to the Church and Kingdom interchangeably for sake of ease. This is the same reason I have done so, although if you go back to my comments you’ll see that I have separated them out occasionally.

    Sure, I agree with what your saying that if a church claims authority / keys, it doesn’t make it so. And if Joseph Smith discovered those claims were wrong, then sure he would be excommunicated for apostasy from a church that had no authority in the first place, and therefore it would be of no eternal consequence. If that’s what you’re saying, then I agree. The Church can claim “ad nauseum” (which I think must be your favorite phrase) that it holds authoritative keys, but it does not make it so. However, in this discussion, since most people in this conversation to my knowledge are believing members, I am working off the assumption that the current claims to keys/authority within the Church are true claims, which is also what I know to be true. Not only that, but Denver Snuffer has also claimed he recognizes and believes the Church does hold authoritative keys that have come down from heaven to JS and have been passed down to the present Church (although I believe he questions whether or not the keys in D&C 110 have been passed on), so it seems most helpful to work within a framework of the Church holding keys that are actually authoritative in this particular conversation.

    As for the Church judging Denver, I think by revelation and by JS’s precedent, the Church has the right, and even the duty, to excommunicate members if they have truly fallen into apostasy and will not repent. If you are referring to me judging specifically, then I might ask – if you believed a child trafficker was going around the neighborhood looking for children, would you not warn your neighbors? Or would you do nothing, as not to judge someone who “sins differently than you do”? As I previously mentioned I grew up in and around a false spirit that permeated many of my families discussions and teachings that nearly destroyed my family, as in it literally brought lives to the brink of ruin because of decades of misinterpreting this spirit as being of God.

    “for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.” – Joseph Smith

    I recognized the very same spirit permeating Denver’s writings immediately as I read them (long before this disciplinary council came up), that became more and more apparent the more recent his writings. So, it is and has been my wish to warn my neighbors of this danger, that they may not also fall prey to this deception and come under the great injury that I once experienced and also witnessed many others experience.

    If you wish to disregard what I am saying, so be it. But I hope that there are others who might pause and consider that what I am saying may indeed be the truth.

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  195. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    *Correction on the italics

    Sure, I agree with what your saying that if a church claims authority / keys, it doesn’t make it so. And if Joseph Smith discovered those claims were wrong, then sure he would be excommunicated for apostasy from a church that had no authority in the first place, and therefore it would be of no eternal consequence. If that’s what you’re saying, then I agree. The Church can claim “ad nauseum” (which I think must be your favorite phrase) that it holds authoritative keys, but it does not make it so. However, in this discussion, since most people in this conversation to my knowledge are believing members, I am working off the assumption that the current claims to keys/authority within the Church are true claims, which is also what I know to be true. Not only that, but Denver Snuffer has also claimed he recognizes and believes the Church does hold authoritative keys that have come down from heaven to JS and have been passed down to the present Church (although I believe he questions whether or not the keys in D&C 110 have been passed on), so it seems most helpful to work within a framework of the Church holding keys that are actually authoritative in this particular conversation.

    As for the Church judging Denver, I think by revelation and by JS’s precedent, the Church has the right, and even the duty, to excommunicate members if they have truly fallen into apostasy and will not repent. If you are referring to me judging specifically, then I might ask – if you believed a child trafficker was going around the neighborhood looking for children, would you not warn your neighbors? Or would you do nothing, as not to judge someone who “sins differently than you do”? As I previously mentioned I grew up in and around a false spirit that permeated many of my families discussions and teachings that nearly destroyed my family, as in it literally brought lives to the brink of ruin because of decades of misinterpreting this spirit as being of God.

    “for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.” – Joseph Smith

    I recognized the very same spirit permeating Denver’s writings immediately as I read them (long before this disciplinary council came up), that became more and more apparent the more recent his writings. So, it is and has been my wish to warn my neighbors of this danger, that they may not also fall prey to this deception and come under the great injury that I once experienced and also witnessed many others experience.

    If you wish to disregard what I am saying, so be it. But I hope that there are others who might pause and consider that what I am saying may indeed be the truth.

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  196. hawkgrrrl on August 31, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I am disturbed by the idea that the scriptures state that ANYONE can experience the second comforter (seeing Christ) like the Brother of Jared did which will make their calling and election sure, but that the church which is run by Christ would excommunicate someone for having had this experience and telling others that they should seek after similar experiences rather than just following checklists and doing what they are told.

    I realize that he is critical of the organizational church in this process, but surely the church can bear criticism without excommunicating everyone who writes a book. Are we such an echo chamber? Do we really require total group think? That’s a sign of weakness, not strength. How can we ever hope to win converts if so?

    I also wonder if there is a link between the second anointing (an ordinance requiring church authority) and this fear of members preaching about the second comforter (a democratic version of the same)? Or is there an idea that the second anointing is real medicine whereas the second comforter is just a bunch of homeopathic herbs and a waste of spiritual effort?

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  197. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    hawkgrrrl. “church which is run by Christ would excommunicate someone for having had this experience and telling others that they should seek after similar experiences”. I agree with your logic, but I don’t think there is any evidence that the church excommunicates anyone for this doctrine or promoting this doctrine. I know several authors, general authorities like BRM and regular members, that have discussed and promoted these things without any issues with the church. I think the church rather approves of these things, and any sentiments that may exist to the contrary in my mind can be attributed to unfortunate cultural flaws not endorsed by the church. In my last Stake Conference, we actually had a talk given that primarily focused on these higher blessings, specifically seeking a visitation with the Savior, and it was endorsed by our Stake President.

    No, I don’t think there is any evidence that the church does what you suggest. In Denver’s particular case it is expressly about apostasy–preaching against the prophets from the death of Joseph to this time claiming that they are leading us astray and that by following their teachings we will be cut off from heaven. And tied in with this my guess would be his take on the importance (or lack of importance) of ordinances, authority, and the church organization as a whole. I think these teachings are the problem independent of whether or not he has promoted to seek a meeting with Christ in this life or not. I personally have no problem with that part of his teachings, and I doubt the church does either.

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  198. MH on August 31, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I think that church leaders have VERY thin skin and don’t like to be criticized. That’s the really issue here–it isn’t apostasy–it is disagreeing with church leaders and writing it in a book. “Apostasy” in this sense is stretching the definition to include criticism of church leaders, and the SCMC doesn’t like that. That’s the real reason they’re excommunicating Denver–it’s not really apostasy.

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  199. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    MH, I would like to know what you think the answers are to the following:
    1. Do those who hold keys have the right to determine by revelation what is and what is not harmful to the flock they are entrusted to oversee?
    2. Do those who hold keys have the right to revelation to give commandments to those within their stewardships?
    and then an additional:
    3. Who, if anyone, has the right to determine what is and what is not apostasy?

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  200. MH on August 31, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Steve, I have already answered many questions, yet you seem to ignore mine. If you’ll answer mine, then I’ll be happy to answer yours. It isn’t fair when only one person gets to ask questions.

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  201. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    MH, I find it interesting that you criticized me earlier for assuming your motives, but that you are more than willing to presume to the know the motives of our church leaders and assume the negative.

    Denver’s criticisms are more than light, he claims the leaders plan to “sell a devalued gospel” that will “condemn to hell those who believe it”. That’s more than just mere criticism; don’t you think that is entering the realm of speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed?

    I didn’t realize I missed your questions, maybe I thought they were meant to be rhetorical. What questions would you like me to answer?

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  202. MH on August 31, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Seth, this post is specifically about Denver Snuffer and his excommunication. When you say, “I am not discussing the Denver Snuffer, nor do I care what he is or is not doing” then you should bow out of the conversation. Apparently this post is not for you.

    Furthermore, when you take excommunication to the abstract, and don’t care about individuals, you make the church open to abuse excommunication, and it shows that the church really doesn’t care about the individual. It is about control and power, and is absolutely not about a so-called “Court of love”. Love has nothing to do with it. It is important to understand that when we take individuals out of the equation, we are much more likely to abuse them.

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  203. MH on August 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Steve, (1) Do you think Snuffer is like Ed Decker (of the Godmakers infamy) or do you see a difference?

    Like Denver, I think polygamy was a mistake (and I’ll even go so far as to blame JS for that mistake.) Like Denver, I think the priesthood/temple ban was a mistake (and I blame that squarely on BY.) (2) Does that mean I’m denigrating, or simply disagreeing, with past prophets? (3) When John Taylor called blacks “Agents of Satan”, is it ok to disagree with Pres Taylor? (4) When Pres Kimball said that interracial marriage should be avoided, is it ok to disagree? (5) Is anyone who disagrees with practices or positions such as these worthy of excommunication?

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  204. Howard on August 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    In a 1982 BYU talk titled Our Relationship with the Lord, Bruce R. McConkie in the section called Heresies among Us said:

    “Now, in spite of all these truths, which ought to be obvious to every spiritually enlightened person, heresies rear their ugly heads among us from time to time…There are yet others who have an excessive zeal which causes them to go beyond the mark. (What mark?) Their desire for excellence is inordinate. In an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. I say perilous because this course, particularly in the lives of some who are spiritually immature, is a gospel hobby which creates an unwholesome holier-than-thou attitude. In other instances it leads to despondency because the seeker after perfection knows he is not living the way he supposes he should.

    Now I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. It will seem to them as though I am speaking out against mother love, or Americanism, or the little red schoolhouse. But I am not. There is a fine line here over which true worshipers will not step. It is true that there may, with propriety, be a special relationship with a wife, with children, with friends, with teachers, with the beasts of the field and the fowls of the sky and the lilies of the valley. But the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability begins to replace sense and reason. The proper course for all of us is to stay in the mainstream of the Church. This is the Lord’s Church, and it is led by the spirit of inspiration, and the practice of the Church constitutes the interpretation of the scripture.

    And you have never heard one of the First Presidency or the Twelve, who hold the keys of the kingdom, and who are appointed to see that we are not “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14)—you have never heard one of them advocate this excessive zeal that calls for gaining a so-called special and personal relationship with Christ...

    I wonder if it is not part of Lucifer’s system to make people feel they are special friends of Jesus when in fact they are not following the normal and usual pattern of worship found in the true Church. Let me remind you to stay in the course chartered by the Church. It is the Lord’s Church, and he will not permit it to be led astray. (This is in 1982! After OD2 and the ban on blacks debacle) If we take the counsel that comes from the prophets and seers, we will pursue the course that is pleasing to the Lord.

    Would it be amiss if I reminded you that Jesus maintained a reserve between him and his disciples (Doesn’t the veil provide enough reserve?) and that he did not allow them the same intimacy with him that they had with each other? This was particularly true after his resurrection. For instance, when Mary Magdalene, in a great outpouring of love and devotion, sought to embrace the risen Lord, her hands were stayed. “Touch me not,” he said. Between her and him, no matter what the degree of their love, there was a line over which she could not pass. And yet, almost immediately thereafter, a whole group of faithful women held that same Lord by the feet, and, we cannot doubt, bathed his wounded feet with their tears. It is a fine and sacred line, but clearly there is a difference between a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord, which is improper, and one of worshipful adoration, which yet maintains the required reserve between us and him who has bought us with his blood…

    I do not suppose that what I have here said will be an end to controversy or to the spread of false views and doctrines. The devil is not dead, and he delights in controversy. But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught.

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  205. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    MH,
    1) They are both alike and different. They both have chosen to fight against the Church. Ed Decker famous for his movie, and Denver made his attack with his book, blog, and now a tour. Although I feel like Denver is much more dangerous, rather than out and out lie or use what can be easily recognized as propaganda like Ed Decker where any person can get the facts and refute it or at the very least refute the tactics, Denver has promoted a much more subtle spirit of deception that can deceive the well intended and those with “excessive zeal” as in BRM warning that Howard just posted, but that undermines the church and its authority all the same.
    2) I did answer that question, but in short I said I do not think that constitutes denigration, but simply disagreement. I went on to explain what I felt was the difference.
    3) Yes. 4) Yes 5) No, at least not in my mind.

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  206. MH on August 31, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    “They both have chosen to fight against the Church.”

    Bull. You need to back up that assertion. Your answers to questions 2-5 not only describe Denver, they describe me. You have agreed that it is ok to disagree with church leaders without denigrating them. I don’t see denigration of church leaders. Compared to 19th century Mormonism, I think some of the church leaders have dumbed down (devalued?) godhood. I agree with Denver there. I don’t see this as “dangerous”. Does that make me apostate?

    Ed Decker and Denver Snuffer are light years apart in their approach to Mormonism. Ed thinks Mormonism is false. Denver thinks it is true. How can you not see that MAJOR difference? To compare the two as similar is absolutely astonishing to me; it is apparent that you and I have completely different definitions of apostasy, and therefore this is going to be a difficult discussion to find common ground. I would hope that we can at least get a definition that can be agreed upon, because we’ll NEVER see eye to eye unless we can work out a correct definition of apostasy.

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  207. MH on August 31, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    1. Do those who hold keys have the right to determine by revelation what is and what is not harmful to the flock they are entrusted to oversee?
    2. Do those who hold keys have the right to revelation to give commandments to those within their stewardships?
    and then an additional:
    3. Who, if anyone, has the right to determine what is and what is not apostasy?

    Steve, I think many people claim revelation inappropriately. Let me give you an example. Both Captain Willie and Franklin Richards promised the Willie and Martin Handcarts that they would arrive in the Salt Lake Valley safely. 168 people died. If that’s not a false revelation, I don’t know what is. Levi Savage warned the people against it and was roundly rebuked by both Willie and Richards. (I reviewed the movie 17 Miracles if you’re interested.) Levi was an amazing individual, and it is an absolute shame.

    So, in answer to your questions, in theory I do support revelation, but in practice it isn’t so nearly cut and dried as you make it to be. With 168 dead people, it is clear to me that those Church leaders faith is not as good as Levi’s wisdom. Brigham lambasted Franklin Richards for allowing the saints to leave so late in the year. We need to be much more careful about claiming revelation. We also need a better definition of apostasy. Ed Decker is apostate. Denver Snuffer is not. Like Levi Savage, I feel it is completely appropriate to question my leaders. I don’t like inappropriate excommunication, and I fear greatly that this is an example of unrighteous dominion, just as Franklin Richards and Captain Willie were guilty of unrighteous dominion.

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  208. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    You dismissed what I wrote earlier then, describing what I believe is the difference between disagreement and denigration.

    Do you not think saying that following our leaders will “condemn to hell all those who believe it” are antagonistic fighting words? And did you read Denver’s most recent blog post that I linked to that suggests that the church organization needs to be disbanded, as all organizations are “a threat to Zion”.

    What is fighting against the Church if not suggesting it is a threat to Zion and that it needs to be disenfranchised?

    And finally, you asked my thoughts, I don’t think I am under obligation to “prove” my opinion, as whether or not Denver’s actions truly constitute apostasy or not is not my final call.

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  209. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    “Denver Snuffer is not.” What gives you the right to say this is the actual truth, while it is other people who are in error? Or is this simply an opinion that you keep stating as fact?

    The example you gave is a good reason why in the church there exists an appeals process, I agree that decisions can sometimes be the wrong ones. But you never actually answered my questions:
    1. Do those who hold keys have the right to determine by revelation what is and what is not harmful to the flock they are entrusted to oversee?
    2. Do those who hold keys have the right to revelation to give commandments to those within their stewardships?
    and then an additional:
    3. Who, if anyone, has the right to determine what is and what is not apostasy?

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  210. mh on August 31, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Steve, where did you find that quote? It sounds out of context to me.

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  211. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    You can find it in context in the very first comment I made on this thread.

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  212. mh on August 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Steve, read my answer again. I did answer your questions. Apparently you didn’t like my answer.

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  213. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    You might be right on that quote, I read a “they” were it said “the”.

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  214. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    You answered whether or not you agree with the concept of revelation, and whether or not you believe they get true revelation every time or not, but you did not answer whether you believe they have the right to revelation on the specific items I asked about. The answer should be a simple yes or no. Either they have the right, or they do not have the right. (I did not ask whether they would have correct revelation or not).

    So please answer yes or no on the first 2 questions. And then I did not see an answer to question 3.

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  215. MH on August 31, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Steve,

    (I did not ask whether they would have correct revelation or not).

    Seriously? You actually took time to think about it and wrote that? (a) What’s the point of receiving incorrect revelation?

    May I remind you that “No power or influence CAN or OUGHT to be maintained by power of the priesthood.”

    if you want to play Q&A, then I want you to answer a bunch of questions. I will letter mine to distinguish them from your numbering system. First, here are my answers to your questions.

    1. Do those who hold keys have the right to determine by revelation what is and what is not harmful to the flock they are entrusted to oversee? (I did not ask whether they would have correct revelation or not).

    I know you want a simple yes or no, but that is an absolute FALSE dichotomy and I won’t submit to it. Those who have the right to receive revelation are RESPONSIBLE to make sure that the revelation is correct. Your disclaimer is HUGE RED FLAG. If I can claim to receive revelation even if it is wrong, what is the point? My revelation better be right. To not care if it is right or wrong is a travesty. That’s been my point all along. In this situation, the stake president is receiving his revelation from the SCMC, not from God. And if you don’t believe that, go to Snuffer’s blog and tell me why his account is just like the Sept 6, which I blogged about in Latter-Day Dissent.

    2. Do those who hold keys have the right to revelation to give commandments to those within their stewardships? (I did not ask whether they would have correct revelation or not).

    No, only God has rights. Leaders don’t have rights, they should be more concerned to do what is right. Even Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine said that stake presidents shouldn’t ask members to stop drinking Coke, and they should stop asking married people if they have oral sex. Leaders don’t have any right to add to commandments. Leaders should only enforce real commandments. They should not make up commandments such as “stop publishing your book”, or “stop your book tour”. This is COMPLETELY outside of their jurisdiction and is an absolute certain case of UNRIGHTEOUS DOMINION.

    3. Who, if anyone, has the right to determine what is and what is not apostasy?

    God is the best arbiter. But outside of that, we should have a real definition. Ed Decker is apostate because he is actively fighting against God (and the church). Denver Snuffer is not apostate, nor was Michael Quinn, or Lavinia Anderson or a whole host of others. So let’s get a real definition and quit adding to it anything a leader or the SCMC finds disagreement with. Because when we leave it nebulous like it currently is, then we are no different than the Salem Witch trials. Get a real definition. The current state of affairs is too ripe for abuse.

    Did you know that people got excommunicated prior to 1843 for breaking the Word of Wisdom? Was that a sign of apostasy too?

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  216. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    If you need clarification, let me know. I think the questions are pretty straight forward, and can likewise be answered in a straight forward manner. I am asking because I am genuinely confused as to whether or not you believe there can be authoritative answers to items in question, and whether or not members are under obligation to follow these authoritative answers. (I agree that if life or death or serious physical harm is in question, that this constitutes justifiable reason to not obey the decisions of those holding keys. I also believe in the appeals process if you disagree with a decision. But if decisions are upheld in the appeals process, I believe members are under the moral obligation to sustain the decisions of those in authority-who I believe have right and duty to make these decisions-even if one privately disagrees with those decisions.)

    If we do not agree on this fundamental principle, then I think we are too far apart in our beliefs to continue this conversation in a meaningful way.

    So if you would, I would like specific direct answers to understand your position better.

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  217. Hawkgrrrl on August 31, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Just one comment to add. Who are the Lord’s anointed? The idea that it is only church leaders is hard to defend. It should either be Jesus alone or all endowed members.

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  218. Mormon Heretic on August 31, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Steve, let’s apply your questions to the Levi Savage/Captain Willie/Franklin Richards case.

    1. D[id Capt Willie and Franklin Richards] who hold keys have the right to determine by revelation what is and what is not harmful to the flock they are entrusted to oversee?

    b. Did Capt Willie and Apostle Richards abuse that right?

    c. If they abused that right, is it possible that the SCMC is abusing that right?

    d. Is it possible that the stake president is receiving the wrong revelation in Denver’s case?

    e. If it is possible that the stake president is receiving the wrong revelation, do we just allow this abuse to happen and say nothing? (What would Jesus do?)

    2. Do [Capt Willie and Apostle Richards] who hold keys have the right to revelation to give commandments to [Levi Savage] within their stewardships?

    f. Even if they have that right, was that right exercised “in principles of righteousness”?

    g. If they exercised “any degree of compulsion”, did God say “Amen to their priesthood”?

    h. Is it ok to exercise unrighteous dominion and have God say Amen to your priesthood simply because you got the revelation wrong?

    3. Who, if anyone, has the right to determine [if Levi was in] apostasy?

    i. Do you think those 168 deaths would have been avoided if Captain Willie and Franklin Richards had listened to Levi Savage?

    j. Do you think that there are any applications from Willie/Savage to Denver Snuffer?

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  219. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    “No, only God has rights. Leaders don’t have rights”. Under this logic, Joseph Smith and any prophet for that matter has no right to give commandments to the church. If no person on earth has rights, who can really determine which commandments are the “real commandments” that should be enforced.

    I’m not sure why your’s or my definition or a definition of apostasy that we come up with together should have any weight on what or what does not constitute actual apostasy.

    Joseph revealed an appeals system to prevent the abuse you speak of, but I guess that doesn’t really have any meaning since who is to say this appeals process is right, and who at the end of this appeals process has any right to a final answer in the matter? According to you, no leaders can claim such rights.

    It is clear that our views on authority are too widely spread to come to any meaningful conclusion here, or under your reasoning if I understand it correct for really anybody on earth to come to a meaningful conclusion together.

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  220. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    I missed your last comment before I posted that. Let me answer your questions since you asked, and I’ll let you decide if you believe we can move anywhere meaningful from here.

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  221. Mormon Heretic on August 31, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    D&C 121:39: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”

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  222. Seth R. on August 31, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    MH, you go on about caring for the individual.

    But aren’t the 99 all individuals too? Surely you aren’t suggesting that only nonconformist individuals who make good news on the bloggernacle are worth caring about?

    All I’m saying is that sometimes the most caring thing to do actually to cast the one out. Because you care about other people too.

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  223. Mormon Heretic on August 31, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Steve, your comment 219 took my comment out of context.

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  224. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    hawkgrrrl. Maybe those who are fully anointed in the further ordinances you described previously? (Not just those who have been anointed to become something in the hereafter). But I’m not sure I am qualified to give the correct answer on this question, although I do think it is a good question.

    MH.
    a. I actually don’t know the positions they held, but I’ll assume they did have keys like you suggest. My answer is yes.
    b. It seems like they did, whether in earnest or not I am not sure.
    c. I don’t think the SCMC (that stands for the Strengthening Member’s Committee right?) has any keys or authority in the matter. They may relay information leaders, but it is the Stake President and general authorities above him who hold the keys and the responsibility to make and accept the consequences of their decisions on the information given them. So there may be some level of abusing their (SCMC) position that can happen, although if they are just relaying information, I can’t think off the top of my head how much abuse there really could be.
    d. I should clarify here, when I say not correct revelation or wrong revelation, I mean they believe in error that they have received the proper answer and revelation from God. And yes, I do think the Stake President could make this error.
    e. It is not within our sphere, not being directly involved in the situation, to know whether there is something amiss or not in the situation and therefore to be in need to do something about it. However, if one does believe they are in a position where they feel they are in a position of knowledge being directly or indirectly involved in the situation, and they truly feel like some sort of abuse is occurring, then yes I think they should go directly to the leaders involved (and if there is still an issue after this, then to their superiors) to voice their concern.
    f. It sounds like probably not. I mentioned earlier that if a person feels that wrong decisions are being made and have probable cause to believe serious harm or accident may be a result. I believe they are right to disobey authority. Furthermore, if those in authority have superiors, this issue should be brought to the attention of the superior officers so that this probable abuse can be dealt with justly.
    g. That is something that should be taken to higher leaders, so if it is necessary their position and priesthood will be revoked, to justly fulfill the “amen” to their Priesthood.
    h. I think errors made in earnest, and not in probable negligence, can simply be corrected by a higher authority if an appeal is made or if recognized by a higher authority.
    i. Yes.
    j. There probably are, but I think there is a bigger and more important difference. The thing that the leaders were asking the members to do was a possible life and death scenario. Denver has been simply asked to stop selling his book, cancel his tour, and publicly say on his blog that some of the things contained in his one book are not church approved and are in error (much like Orson Pratt had to do with his book The Seer) (and I’m summarizing without actually looking at the SP’s letter right now). Requirements that really shouldn’t be to difficult to comply with. But if Denver believes this decision is in error, he should defend himself before the high council, and if he still believes they are in error after the decision, he should seek an appeal. But if through all appeals if decisions are still upheld, while he may privately disagree with the decision, I think he is under moral obligation (if he is truly a believing member that believes the Church has authority from heaven) to sustain the ultimate decisions of those in authority, as this is not a life and death matter. Even if the church is ultimately in error, this is the only way to preserve order and unity in the Kingdom as we progress together as a community. This points out that in many ways, unity is more important than being right immediately, and in time things can work out. Otherwise it is simply every man and woman leading themselves according to their own mind, which totally defeats the purpose of being led by a Prophet as no one is truly being led at all when it comes down to it, and makes the church as an organization almost entirely irrelevant as to any truth claims. Without authority, there is no final say in the matter.

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  225. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    MH, I did not intentionally take 219 out of context. That is actually how I understood your meaning. If it is in error, feel free to point out what I misunderstood, I am open to clarification.

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  226. Howard on August 31, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I don’t think the issue is who has what rights. When the leadership enjoys clear discernment they have clear access to God’s will on the matter. The problem is, today the church teaches (and many maybe most members falsely believe) that the Spirit is just barely a whisper and revelation has become so watered down that inspiration which is far more man than God passes for revelation. Add to this the unspoken Mormon suspicion that anyone with more access to the Spirit than they have is suspect. This the SCMC and influence from “Salt Lake” which in the past has apparently on occasion meant Pres. Packer makes high viability church discipline something less perhaps far less than intended by God.

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  227. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Oops, I missed answers to 1, 2, and 3. 1) Yes. 2) Yes. 3) Those with keys of authority above Levi, which may have included Franklin Richards and Captain Willie if I understand the situation correctly, and their superiors. (And just to point it out, In the model I described above Levi was justified in disobeying, and could have properly worked this out with his direct leaders’ superiors at a later time.

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  228. MH on August 31, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Steve, if Levi had disobeyed, there would have been many more dead than 168. Your idea of “working it out later” would have resulted in more deaths. Levi was an absolute Godsend to those people, and it is a shame that Richards and Willie not only didn’t listen to him, but sent many people to their deaths needlessly.

    Amen to the priesthood of Richards and Willie. So when an apostle gets “amen-ed”, was Richards the apostate instead of Levi?

    By the way, question A was in comment 215: (a) What’s the point of receiving incorrect revelation?

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  229. jared91 on August 31, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Regarding the Willie company.

    We need to see things from the Lord’s point of view. The Lord could have inspired numerous people to prevent the death and suffering in the Willie company. The Lord chose not to. Why, the Book of Mormon gives a plausible explanation in the account of Alma the older and his group who fled from king Noah.

    Why would the Lord allow these people to be taken captive by the Lamanites. And then put though more humiliation when king Noah’s priest were given charge over them.

    There was terrible suffering and death but we learn from the following verse the answer:

    21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
    22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
    23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.

    (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 23:21 – 23)

    We need to allow the Lord to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life as he sees fit. It may be that many of the Willie company were “lifted up” by the Lord not preventing the tragedy.

    It requires faith to accept the Lord’s will when it isn’t pleasant.

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  230. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Maybe I’m not understanding the story entirely. So you believe Levi could not have been morally justified in disobeying in this circumstance, even though it was a life and death situation? And now your agreeing that his leaders did have authority in the matter? (and not only that but without the caveat that I gave in life/death situations?)

    It then seems like you contradict yourself believing that Richards and Willie should have listened to the people who wished to contradict/disobey their decision to go. So which is it? I’m really confused by your position here, maybe I don’t know the story well enough.

    If everybody here would have grouped together, as it was a life/death situation, and opposed Richards and Willie, they would have been alone in their journey if at all, right?

    I don’t think I can answer if someone was an apostate in the situation until you clarify some things there.

    Question a) I think I clarified what I meant by incorrect or wrong revelation in the answer to d. above. So I don’t think there is a point to something like that, only that people can in error believe they have received a true revelation when such a thing didn’t actually occur.

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  231. jared91 on August 31, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    The above comment was made by Jared

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  232. Jared on August 31, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I’m having trouble commenting this evening-sorry.229 and 231 are from mine.

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  233. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    The more I think about it, I’m gathering that Levi was some sort of wilderness survival expert or something, is that right? (that kind of rings a bell to me). If so, I think after the company decided to follow Willie and Richards, it was honorable for him to go with the company despite his opposition to the decision. Maybe because of his unique expertise, and as someone qualified to do something about the probable impending harm, he did have some sort of moral imperative to go with the company to help and serve where he could to try and save lives (similar to the rescue companies that came to save them thereafter) even though he disagreed. But if there was I don’t think this moral imperative was due simply to the fact that his leaders said so. If this decision was as obvious as it is made to sound, there were probably several people who decided not to go with the company, and I’m guessing you believe that they were justified in their decision, right?

    As for Richards, and BY “amen-ing” his Priesthood, I think that was a decision that BY had the right and duty to make, to decide if Richards’ error was made in earnest, negligence, etc. and whether his acts were worthy of further repercussions beyond a severe chastisement.

    I think in such a life/death situation, people may rightly question the leaders’ decision and can in righteousness desire to wait and make an appeal to a higher authority to question whether or not such a decision is truly the will of God.

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  234. SteveF on August 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Ray summed up this whole thing nicely for me over at latterdaycommentary: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/08/23/denver-snuffer-disciplinary-council/comment-page-1/#comment-9280 .

    He 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.”

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  235. MH on September 1, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    Steve, Ray is a good friend of mine, and Tim is a blogger I am quite familiar with. Ray and I agree on many things (we are both admins at StayLDS.com) but not everything. I reviewed Tim’s blog, and from what I can tell, neither you nor Ray have read PtHG. I haven’t either. You are perfectly welcome to support Ray’s position. I happen to disagree with Ray on this one, and that’s perfectly fine. Ray is still a very valued friend of mine.

    Regarding Levi Savage, I encourage you to read the link I posted in comment 207 where I reviewed the movie 17 Miracles about Levi Savage. I actually agree with you that Levi would have been justified to stay behind in Omaha with about 100 other saints who did stay behind rather than continue on that ill-fated journey. I was merely pointing out that your “appeals” process that you like to spout would have resulted in more deaths. Levi was a saint in the true sense of the word. There is a poignant speech by Levi that shows his true character.

    What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, and if necessary, will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.

    The movie is based on historical accounts, though they re-arranged events and combined accounts of both Willie and Martin Handcart accounts. That quote above is from a diary account, and Jasen Wade (who plays Levi Savage) was awesome. I HIGHLY recommend you watch that movie if you haven’t seen it. It is faith-promoting and doesn’t shy away from dealing with the conflict between Willie and Savage.

    We’ve beat this horse to death, and are at an impasse. I’ve enjoyed debating this with you, but I have no desire to keep beating this horse.

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  236. MH on September 1, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Sorry Steve, one more comment and I promise to lay this to rest. SCMC stands for “Strengthening the Church Members Committee” and has at least 1 or 2 apostles on it, as well as some Seventies I believe. So for a stake president to go against recommendations from the SCMC is to go against an apostle. Contrary to your assertion in answer c, because they are apostles they DO have “authority in the matter.” According to Denver’s account, both his previous and current stake presidents were pressured by the SCMC.

    Regarding answer D, I absolutely believe that the Stake President’s revelation is from the SCMC and he and the SCMC knows it.

    Regarding answer J, President McKay never asked Bruce R. McConkie to retract Mormon Doctrine and in fact it went through 2nd revision just prior to McKay’s death (and a 3rd revision in 1979 and something like 20+ printings.) There is a double standard going on here between how McConkie was treated and Snuffer is being treated. McConkie made mistakes in earnest. If you believe Snuffer is making mistakes, it is also in earnest. I truly wish McKay were here to defend Snuffer just as McKay defended both Sterling McMurrin and Juanita Brooks. We need more leaders like McKay, and it seems to me that we don’t have them anymore. “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.” That includes McMurrin, Brooks, and Snuffer, yet they are being treated differently. It isn’t right.

    All your other answers I agreed with, and the answers to those questions should make leaders consider their actions more carefully (and more similar to McKay, IMO.)

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  237. Ray on September 1, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    I wrote a response, but it looks like it isn’t posting. Suffice it to say that assumptions often are wrong. I have no desire to write a book review of PtHG, and it would take that type of analysis to detail why I have such huge problems with it – and I already have written elsewhere how I view many of his comments on his blog. I see two very different people from before and after he wrote PtHG.

    This is a case where two friends will have to agree to disagree.

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  238. Thomas Parkin on September 6, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    I sometimes consider the example of the Savior who, when asked by Pilate ‘what is truth?’, was silent. That silence was not a denial of truth. It’s very hard to know when to speak and when not to speak. On the whole, I consider that I speak too much. I have been having a very hard time knowing when to speak and when not to. I’ve made some potentially damaging mistakes in regard to this. Clearly, Brother Snuffer is under a lot of pressure. Sometimes it’s difficult to process all the bs that can come at you when under these kinds of social pressures – where one’s identity, integrity, experiences and dearly held interpretations of those experiences are being challenged. The overwhelming impulse is to respond.

    I don’t know if the initial response to Denver came from a place of love and understanding, or from something more reactionary. Certainly the church is not without its reactionary impulses. But every true thing does not beg to be at every moment said. Maybe it would be wise for Brother Snuffer to simply choose silence for some period of time; to try and ensure that both he and the authority that is questioning him are seeing as clearly as possible.

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  239. Mormon Heretic on September 6, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    Interesting update at Denver’s blog: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/09/compliance-so-far-as-possible.html

    Compliance (So Far As Possible)

    The problem with Passing the Heavenly Gift has not been its accuracy. The issue raised in the notice I received from the stake president does not say the book is false, contains errors or makes mistakes in history. Rather, it “contains content which must be withdrawn.” That is not an indictment of the book’s accuracy. It is considered subversive by those who want to control history to perpetuate a view of events that do not follow the pattern described by the Book of Mormon prophets, Joseph Smith’s prophecies, and Christ’s description of the conduct of the latter-day gentiles to whom the Book of Mormon would be given.

    The first demand is that I cease publication; a task that would involve violation of agreements between me and others. To compensate me for that potential liability and permit me to violate the agreement, I was offered money to cease publication. Offering money to help me violate agreements is not a satisfactory course of conduct. Therefore, I declined; but not before asking those with whom I have contracts if I could be let out of the publishing agreement.

    The second demand is that I tell blog readers that the book “contains content that needs to be withdrawn.” I will say this: The church believes very much the content of the book needs to be withdrawn. They think this because the book brings to light the babylonian methods church leadership uses to make rapid and dramatic changes. We are not now the same church restored by Joseph Smith. Passing the Heavenly Gift shows how that happened. There are social, political and legal forces pulling on the church which the leadership intends to accommodate…..

    The issue is therefore how the church is to accomplish these changes in its doctrine and teaching. To get from one position to another without destroying the believers is a challenge that can only be accomplished by having a foundation which includes the absolute confidence that the church leadership cannot be led astray. Church leadership inerrancy is necessary.

    The church needs not only to “teach for doctrine the commandments of men,” the church must be able to teach AS doctrine the commandments of men. Meaning that the church must have those aboard who will do, believe and accept whatever the leaders tell the members. Unquestionably. Unhesitatingly.

    When I pointed out to the stake president in one meeting that there are dozens, even hundreds of readers whose faith was restored and whose activity in the church was renewed or resumed from reading Passing the Heavenly Gift the stake president had no response. After he received further “training,” he asked me “what makes you think the church wants that kind of member?” I understood that to mean that once someone has read the book and come to realize what changes and how changes have come to our church, they are disinclined to continue sleepwalking along with the herd. They understand that all is not well, and view with some healthy skepticism many losses we’ve suffered in the restoration since Joseph’s death. Such people will be difficult to bring along with the current social, political and legal trends if they base their view on scripture and history, as I advocate.

    Therefore, to make what concessions I can, I will state for all you blog readers: Passing the Heavenly Gift contains content that will make your appreciation and acceptance of the efforts of the institution now and in the future to bend its teachings to conform to social, political and legal trends much more difficult to achieve. You will be happier if you don’t read the book. You will be more inclined to sleepwalk along with what is progressively distant from the original restoration. You will not detect that these changes mark the downfall predicted in the prophecies of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants. While I cannot withdraw the content, you should not read it if it will upset your worldview.

    Which then leads to the final demand: I never intended to speak or promote Passing the Heavenly Gift. The stake president knows that. I don’t promote books. Don’t do book signings, have never advertised any book I’ve written and don’t make appearances to push sales. Never have and never will. The upcoming tour has nothing to do with that, or any other book. Well, it has to do with the scriptures and promoting them. But since the church publishes them and Deseret Book profits from their sales, I’m actually promoting Deseret Book, owned by Deseret Management Corporation, owned by The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which consists of one person, the senior member of the twelve. Therefore, I am promoting the interests of the church president. But not my own.

    The letter demands I do three things: Breach a contract (I won’t do). Tell you that the “content needs to be withdrawn.” Not promote the book in the upcoming tour. To the extent that I can, I’m complying.

    I’m not sure if that meets the requirement for “repentance” in this current predicament, but that’s what I can do. If the church wants to make me another offer, then let the stake president know and I’m sure he’ll pass it along. Given how little time remains I thought I’d skip the middleman and put this up here because you guys downtown read this blog (as we can tell from the blogmeter).

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  240. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Apparently Denver’s disciplinary hearing is today (Sunday Sept 8.) See http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/09/contentment.html

    Quoting from Snuffer,

    “I’ve loved every minute of Mormonism. From the initial conversion to the latest constrictions, it has been a wonderful journey for which I have nothing but gratitude.

    I fully expect to lose my card (temple recommend) tomorrow. That thing can be taken. And my membership number can be lost, too. And I won’t be able to talk in church.

    Tomorrow will not end my love of this restored faith, though it may cost me some “things” that the organized entity claiming to own the faith thinks it can remove.

    Be of good cheer. All of you. Whether you hate me, think me an apostate, authentic, a lunatic, pretender, inspired, misled, devout, or merely inconvenient, I’d recommend you try to find joy in this life. Think deeply. Ponder carefully. Search into meanings. Look up at night and search for the constellations and planets. Note their movements. Try to watch the occasional sunrise. God’s fingerprints are all over this creation. Envy the birds, feel pity for the insects, taste and smell and listen and rejoice. You are alive. And for so long as you live, the possibilities remain endless. You possess choice, which in itself is godly.

    A Latter-day Saint today, perhaps a Cast-away Saint tomorrow. But always a Mormon.

    I remain content with my faith.”

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  241. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” —Acts 5:38–39

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  242. Mormon Heretic on September 9, 2013 at 12:46 AM
  243. Bon on September 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Anyone have insight on why Snuffer’s kids would not have been allowed into the hearing?

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  244. Bon on September 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    I know a decision was made. They must deliver a letter. I have not yet received it.

    During our hour long discussion, the stake president admitted to my children he got a call during one of his meetings with me from one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy. He was instructed to “stand down” while the Seventy and one of the Twelve read Passing the Heavenly Gift. Then he (the stake president) did nothing further until he was told to proceed. I asserted that if he believed I was really “apostate” he would never have stood down. For that reason it was him merely following commands from higher up, and not a local matter.

    Before last night’s meeting I told the stake president I was bringing my children. He knew that and said nothing beforehand to suggest they would be excluded. We were very surprised he refused to allow them to enter. I was excluded from the High Council room unless the children stayed behind. I asked to be allowed to just make a statement to the council while my children listened, he refused to permit that.

    My wife reviewed the Church Handbook of Instructions. She explained to President Hunt that the book is silent, and does not bar children from attending. He admitted that was true but it was his decision to forbid them. My wife said it was my court and I ought to be allowed to have them with me. He replied it wasn’t my court, but the church’s.

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  245. Bon on September 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Verdict is in: excommunicated. It’s a tragic ending, in my opinion.

    Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of my baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I marked my gratitude by giving a talk in Boise, Idaho. On my way to the meeting, at 10:30 yesterday morning, President Hunt called to tell me I’d been excommunicated. He emailed me on Monday and asked if we would like to come to the stake center that night (with the children) to hear and discuss the outcome. I replied as follows:

    “President Hunt,

    For clarification, we weren’t of the conviction that the children should be at the disciplinary counsel to hear the “outcome.” We had already discussed that at length in our family beforehand. We all were prepared for any outcome. What we are absolutely certain of was that they should be allowed to see the process as it took place.

    In our discussions with them we talked of the Spirit that attends a disciplinary council. We discussed the format and the procedure. We reviewed the scriptures and what they say about disciplinary councils. We were certain this would offer them an opportunity to hear from people who disagree with their father and hear how other people interpret the scriptures and how they relate to the history of the church. We were looking forward to the opportunity for them to see the scriptures used by me and then by the members of the high council testify of gospel truths. The Spirit witnessed to Stephanie this would be a faith promoting meeting for them to attend. The outcome was a non-issue.

    In any event, again we would like to thank you for your service. We know this has been difficult and bear no resentment for you or anyone involved. I am saddened, even ashamed that there wasn’t an open process which allowed my children to have this important opportunity. I’ve prized the underlying principles of the gospel which involve persuasion, knowledge, meekness and avoid control, compulsion and dominion. I wanted my children to witness this glorious process in which men of good faith and belief come together to work through an important disagreement. I had wanted them to behold the Spirit leading to unity. Inasmuch as the kids are scattered, (Kylee went back to school this morning at 4 a.m., Benjamin and Kalisa live hours away and can’t return because of work commitments), we see no need to meet to discuss the outcome. Please send the letter announcing my excommunication so we can end this tragic ordeal.

    I meant what I testified to last night. – Denver”

    The paperwork will arrive sometime later. It was certainly symmetrical to have the news given exactly on the 40th anniversary of the occasion. Almost like a sign, really.

    I saw another sign yesterday. A dove was waiting for me on the lawn at work. She didn’t stir as I walked by her. But she did take note of me (and I of her).

    Boise was a wonderful experience. Beautiful day. Great occasion. I returned home about 1:48 a.m. Joyful day, and gave me an opportunity to talk about the faith I very much believe in and will continue to practice.

    The next talk will be in Idaho Falls. There are stake presidents there “warning” people in the church to not listen to me. They are preaching fear.

    Christ instructed us not to fear. (D&C 68: 6.) Fear is the motivation of hell itself. (Moses 1: 20.) If you are fearful, then don’t attend the talks.

    I rejoice in liberty, because freedom to believe in Christ is liberty itself. (2 Cor. 3: 17.)

    I am grateful to the LDS Church for providing to me the instructions, ordinances and scriptures. I believe the faith which was restored through Joseph. That hasn’t, indeed can’t, be taken away from me.

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  246. alice on September 11, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Personally, I don’t know whether Snuffer is misguided or the local authorities are or even if they both or no one are. I’m not inclined to believe for a moment that he speaks directly with Heavenly Father but I am sure that quoted response has an enormous amount of grace and dignity.

    I hope EVERYone did EVERYthing possible to avoid this. I still don’t understand why his entire family couldn’t be present.

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  247. Daniel on September 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    “Joseph Smith was betrayed and killed as a result of steps taken by church members. True enough it was a mob of Carthage Greys who shot him. But he would not have been in a position to be shot if it had not been for the betrayal by church members. When we (meaning church members) caused or contributed to his death, we offended heaven in a way that required three and four generations to pass before we receive another opportunity from the Lord. With the recent passing of Eldred G. Smith, we have a milestone representing the end of those required generational passings. Now is the first time it is possible for the Lord to recommence the restoration. But it won’t commence again without us knowing what we lack. Conceit and arrogance will never redeem us from our fallen state. But contrition and repentance might. Passing the Heavenly Gift is intended to inspire those who are downfallen in their faith, and to help those who are prepared to hear it, that we (all of us, including me) are in a fallen state from which we must awake and arise.”

    So, in Denver’s worldview, members’ actions led to Joseph Smith’s murder and God decided to punish the church three and four generations, and only recently has the fourth generation died off. So now, conveniently for Denver, the Lord is ready to give us new light, missing for over 150 years, thanks to those silly members causing Joseph’s death.

    fascinating, to say the least.

    But WAAAAAY off!

    If anyone should be blamed for Joseph’s murder, aside obviously from the actual murderers, is Joseph himself! Did someone hold a gun to Joseph’s head and say, “i want you to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor printing press.” No. He did that. As mayor. And why? Because they printed that Joseph had multiple wives. Well, whose fault was that? Joseph’s of course. Did someone point a gun to Joseph’s head and said, “you must take more women in your life as wives.” No. He chose of his own free will to get sexually involved with Fanny Alger. No one forced him into it.

    Joseph had only himself to blame for his own death, if we’re to blame anyone outside the actual murderers. It’s pretty damn arrogant and unrighteous to claim that church members for over 150 years lost out on the blessings from God because of the murder of Joseph Smith. Seriously, this guy should not be taken seriously by anyone. He’s a fraud. And that’s all I’ll say about him.

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  248. Seth R. on September 12, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    Oh yeah Daniel. Because having more than one wife and vandalizing property is TOTALLY something worth killing someone over.

    Sometimes the sheer idiocy of the ex-Mormon community completely astounds, you know.

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  249. Hedgehog on September 12, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    Seth, cool it.
    I think it is pretty much accepted historical fact that destroying the press – seen from the outside as an attack on freedom – did nothing to allay the concerns of the surrounding non-member communities already seriously concerned by Mormon politicking, quite the reverse. And it isn’t like the environment wasn’t trigger-happy, when compared with today.

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  250. Jeff Spector on September 12, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    “We believe that men (and women) will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s (or Joseph’s or Brigham’s or Wilford’s, etc) transgression.

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  251. hawkgrrrl on September 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Dan, I completely agree with you. “Also, Did someone point a gun to Joseph’s head and said, “you must take more women in your life as wives.”” Dare I mention the angel with a sword defense JS used to explain his reluctant willingness to participate in polygamy?

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  252. Seth R. on September 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    No Hedghog – Dan’s comments were completely moronic.

    You really think destroying a printing press is worth murdering someone over? You really think a mere “attack on freedom” is worth a lynch mob?

    If you do, you’re just as much an idiot as Dan is being. Step back, get a grip and a bit of perspective.

    As it so happens, destruction of printing presses wasn’t as big a deal back then as we make it out to be now. The right to do so was actually in many city charters and was often exercised by mayors of the day. In fact, the action of destroying the press was perfectly legal. The only illegal action Joseph engaged in was the destruction of the printing type – which counted as destruction of private property. Incidentally, Joseph immediately agreed to pay the required fine and compensate the owner for the loss.

    But all this was a mere trivial CIVIL violation. It wasn’t anything half so dire as the ex-Mormons looking for something to bitch about make it out to be. Certainly it wasn’t anything worth murdering someone over. It’s downright astounding that Daniel would even make such a suggestion. I wonder if he even realizes what he’s saying. Probably not – and apparently you don’t either.

    Nothing Joseph did was worthy of death – NOTHING.

    Joseph died because he got on the wrong side of a bigoted turf war. The people on the other side wouldn’t have given two straws about destroying a Mormon printing press. The only thing they were pissed off about was that Joseph had struck a blow against their team. There was no regard for “free speech, liberty, and the American way” among the mobs that opposed Joseph Smith.

    I suppose next you’ll be trying to pawn off idiocies on me about how “Joseph Smith like…. TOTALLY died in a gunfight – and he had it coming.”

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  253. Seth R. on September 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    In all fairness Hedghog – it’s quite possible from your comments that you do not share Daniel’s view that Joseph “had it coming.”

    I certainly hope that is the case anyway.

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  254. Seth R. on September 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Can someone delete comments 252 and 253.

    I’m obviously too crabby to be allowed near a keyboard this morning.

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  255. Jeff Spector on September 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    well beyond crabby, I’d say…..

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  256. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    The press is a bit of a sidetrack here, but let me say this. Destroying presses was much more common back then. In Missouri, Mormon press was destroyed in 1833 when WW Phelps indicated that free blacks could come to Missouri. In addition, Bishop Edward Partridge was tarred, feathered, and forced to sign a document stating the Mormons would leave Jackson County. Afraid that Mormons wouldn’t leave, Missouri mobs initiated hostilities between October 31-November 7, and Mormons soon left for Caldwell County.

    In non-Mormon news, mobs destroyed the press of abolitionist Reverend Elijah Lovejoy around October 1837 in Saint Louis. Just over a month later, his murder by slavery proponents in Illinois was reported in the Gloucester Telegraph on November 22, 1837.

    I’m not saying that Joseph was justified in destroying the press of the Expositor, but it was actually quite common for presses to be destroyed when citizens took exception to what was printed. Joseph (rightly or wrongly) was acting just as the people of Missouri had destroyed presses in 1833 and 1837.

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  257. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    After that sidetrack, let’s return to Denver. I am greatly saddened to hear of Snuffer’s completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication. I don’t blame the stake president. It seems to me that the SP was just following orders from his superiors (Seventies and Apostles.) It is a sad shame, and I wish the apostles acted more like David O. McKay in regards to Mormon authors. This seems like unrighteous dominion where D&C 121:39 says: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” Furthermore, as Gamaliel said, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” —Acts 5:38–39

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  258. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    “completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication”

    Do you pretend to be God? What makes you believe you have all the information?

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  259. Justin on September 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    SteveF:

    So were those who excommunicated Denver “pretending to be God“? What makes you believe that they had all the information?

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  260. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Do you really believe it is the same thing? They were directly involved in the process., we were not. They had the right to revelation in the matter, we did/do not. They were authorized to act for God in this is matter, we were not. To assume they acted unrighteously or with unrighteous dominion is just that, an assumption, and an assumption that presumes to condemn others’ actions at that.

    Do you deny that the keys pertaining to judgment were given to the Church as outlined in the D&C? Do you deny that excommunication is a true principle found throughout the scriptures?

    We should not pretend to know something that we have no right of knowing, or to cast judgment were we have no right of judgment. Let those given stewardship act within their allotted spheres, and then let God retain final judgment.

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  261. Justin on September 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    SteveF

    To assume they acted unrighteously or with unrighteous dominion is just that, an assumption, and an assumption that presumes to condemn others’ actions at that.

    But it’s a safe assumption — is it not? Don’t the scriptures say that the numbers are on the side of presuming “unrighteous dominion”/”ecclesiastical abuse” until it’s proven otherwise?

    we have learned by sad experience
    that it is the nature and disposition
    of almost all men
    as soon as they get a little authority
    as they suppose
    they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion

    or

    Now it is not common
    that the voice of the people [the larger portion of the congregation, i.e. members] desireth anything contrary
    to that which is right
    but it is common
    for the lesser part of the people [the smaller portion of the congregation, i.e. leaders] to desire that which is not right

    therefore
    this shall ye observe and make it your law
    to do your business by the voice of the people

    In re: to

    Do you deny that excommunication is a true principle found throughout the scriptures?

    No — excommunication is a true principle of the gospel, one which must be performed on all those church members who do not repent of their sins after they have been admonished against them. Following this commandment keeps those who are in charge of regulating the church justified before God — and also keeps the congregations safer from the effects of false teachings and bad examples.

    Do you deny that the keys pertaining to judgment were given to the Church as outlined in the D&C?

    I’ll say that the leadership hold the keys to administer church discipline because they have been properly sustained by membership vote to hold their positions — but it is demonstrably obvious that the scriptural patterns for church discipline/excommunication are no longer precisely followed by them [which, since they hold the keys, it is entirely their prerogative to administer church justice either according to the scriptural patterns or according to doctrines/philosophies of man] — which is something that makes it easy for members [like us] to make a claim like

    Denver’s case was completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication

    with reasonable confidence.

    See this post for detail — but in short, the elder’s council is completely done away with [instead, the high council now tries men of the church who have the Melchizedek priesthood, and the bishopric tries everyone else, for membership], nothing outside of transgressions are brought to trial anymore [you can’t take a property dispute to the church courts and receive a judgment, e.g. -- instead, everyone is told to settle the matter amongst themselves or use the state court system], the checks and balances that were present in the three-court pattern have been removed and power has been concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, many of the rights guaranteed to all the members have been weakened or altogether removed.

    If we compare the scripturally-revealed pattern of church courts with today’s current practice, it can plainly be seen that today’s practice and procedures effectively remove the justice that was inherent in the original pattern — or in other words, the current church court system is no longer based upon just principles but is corrupted by forms of injustice.

    We should not pretend to know something that we have no right of knowing, or to cast judgment were we have no right of judgment. Let those given stewardship act within their allotted spheres, and then let God retain final judgment.

    According to the Lord — it is the jurisdiction of His saints to have the first and final word, judging both the nations of the earth and also Zion.

    behold
    I
    the Lord
    have made my church in these last days
    like unto a judge sitting on a hill
    or in a high place
    to judge the nations
    for it shall come to pass
    that the inhabitants of Zion
    shall judge all things pertaining to Zion
    and liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them
    and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known
    and even the bishop
    who is a judge
    and his counselors
    if they are not faithful in their stewardships
    shall be condemned
    and others shall be planted in their stead

    The membership are given free reign to judge all things, both inside and outside the church, including all the leaders from the top [apostles and prophets] to the bottom [bishops and their counselors]. The word of two or more saints against any man, woman or child of age in this church is sufficient to condemn that person of wrong-doing, regardless of his or her office, title, or supposed authority.

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  262. Rigel Hawthorne on September 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    What exactly is so sinister about a Stake President seeing counsel from authorities higher up in the leadership structure of a church? A SP usually serves for 10 years, and those from whom he is seeking counsel usually have experience beyond that. If I was called to be a SP, and was faced with the question of whether excommunication was necessary for an individual, I would certainly be counseling with others–my counselors and those who I would look to for “training”, the term which is essentially mocked by Brother Snuffer as blind obedience.

    The revelation says to ‘study it out in your own mind’—which involves reading, counseling, and arriving at a potential answer before seeking prayer and revelation. The public affairs of the church says that church discipline is a matter left to local leaders. If you believe that this is double-talk and that the local leaders are merely puppets, then you have less respect for the integrity of the general authorities than I do. I would ask again as I have done in other posts, at what level of volunteer church service do the leaders go from noble service, as I see in so many of those with whom I serve locally, to having “THE REAL” plan unfolded to them as being unloving, controlling, and sinister?

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  263. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    “it is entirely their prerogative to administer church justice either according to the scriptural patterns or according to doctrines/philosophies of man”

    You forgot “or according to further light and knowledge received by those in authority”. The Church’s structure and procedures continued to develop and change through Joseph Smith’s lifetime, is it then impossible that God would continue this development by revelation thereafter?

    I’ve previously read the post you linked to, and I find it ironic that you use the things in that article to justify believing “Denver’s case was completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication”. The primary and beginning point was to outline the doctrines of unity and dissent, and that dissent and particularly repeated dissent is indeed a sin–that if the person will not acknowledge this wrongful dissent/sin and repent, then excommunication is the proper order of things. If you trust the article’s conclusions, then I don’t know how you come to any other conclusion than that Denver’s excommunication was both necessary and justified. You might argue that some of the old church court systems in the D&C appear to offer benefits that may not exist in today’s systems if you trust what is written later in the post, but even then, again why would you assume that subsequent prophets have not received further light and knowledge on the subject outlining how procedures are done today?

    And finally, if you truly believe (and/or MH truly believes) that the Stake President and those on his high council have abused their authority in unrighteous dominion, it is not proper to go spouting that about publicly, rather you should first go to the person who has done wrong/offended righteous principles and do something about it. If you believe your conclusions are justified, then go and first consult with and if necessary then seek a church court against the Stake President and his councilors, or if higher authorities were also involved in this abuse, try to consult them first, and if you are not reconciled and believe they are still in error, bring a church court against them as well. If you believe what has been done is unjust, then you will not be blameless standing by and watching it happen without doing anything about it. So go and try to be reconciled with thy brothers first, and seek a church court if necessary – but do not try to publicly proclaim judgment heaping condemnation upon your brothers when you have not done or even attempted these things first.

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  264. Justin on September 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    The Church’s structure and procedures continued to develop and change through Joseph Smith’s lifetime, is it then impossible that God would continue this development by revelation thereafter?

    Sure — but why does it make sense to you that Joseph continued to develop and change structure and procedures through canonized revelations, but then we continue this development through publishing new editions of accepted policy documents? Joseph brought his revelations before the church to be accepted by vote — where’s that corollary “thereafter”?

    And finally, if you truly believe (and/or MH truly believes) that the Stake President and those on his high council have abused their authority in unrighteous dominion, it is not proper to go spouting that about publicly, rather you should first go to the person who has done wrong/offended righteous principles and do something about it.

    Lol — I’ll book the first flight out there and do just that.

    If I can’t discuss and criticize what are [seemingly, in my observation] unjust actions on the part of the leadership of my own church — then what kind of “Don’t question the Brethren” Monarchy are you presenting to us here SteveF?

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  265. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    “why does it make sense to you that Joseph continued to develop and change structure and procedures through canonized revelations, but then we continue this development through publishing new editions of accepted policy documents?”

    I probably don’t know the full answer, but as time went on after initial foundational principles were laid Joseph started pushing for policy and procedure to be decided and implemented by head councils that he had given keys to, while canonized revelation faded from being the primary source of policy being only necessary when there was some sort of impasse, but even so these were not always canonized (although many of Joseph’s were after his death). Joseph delegated keys to the councils that they would become “a living constitution” to the church or to the organizations they oversaw.

    Are you being sarcastic with the flight thing? I don’t understand. If you saw injustice, why wouldn’t you be willing to do something about it? If it’s not important enough to do anything about, then why feel the need to publicly criticize the situation?

    I have no issue with discussing, offering opinions, and asking questions (I appreciate when you add caveats like “seemingly” and “in my observation”). But publicly criticizing those who hold authority has no place in Church as a believing member. See this post and many of the subsequent comments: http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2013/09/youre-not-a-liahona-youre-a-lamanlemuel/3368/

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  266. Justin on September 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Are you being sarcastic with the flight thing? I don’t understand. If you saw injustice, why wouldn’t you be willing to do something about it?

    Yes I was [I tried to use the "lol" to convey how silly I thought the suggestion was that MH or myself head over the stake president's office and take it up between him and ourselves]. Call me lazy, I suppose — but I’m not flying to another state to walk into a stake president’s office and tell me that I “have a quarrel” with his actions. The effort:potential payoff ratio of that is just too high for me to do it.

    If it’s not important enough to do anything about, then why feel the need to publicly criticize the situation?

    I suppose I “feel the need” because this is a blog forum I frequently participate at where the thread of discussion is about how excommunication may be used/abused by the LDS church and if I feel like it’s “useful” as a policy/doctrine …

    Saying that for me to say, “from where I’m sitting, given the content of Denver’s book(s), this discipline business smells a lot more like censoring a different opinion than protecting the flock from false doctrine,” is tantamount to me “pretending to be God” — or that what I’m doing is daring to “step out of my place” [that's what we mean by jurisdiction, isn't it?] and be critical of something leaders in my church are doing — and that I have no right to do such things is simply silly.

    As I pointed out from D&C — that is exactly “my place” as a latter-day saint, to judge such matters, and to call a spade a spade when I smell injustice:

    I
    the Lord
    have made my church in these last days
    like unto a judge sitting on a hill
    or in a high place
    to judge the nations
    for it shall come to pass
    that the inhabitants of Zion
    shall judge all things pertaining to Zion
    and liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them
    and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known
    and even the bishop
    who is a judge
    and his counselors
    if they are not faithful in their stewardships
    shall be condemned
    and others shall be planted in their stead

    The membership are given free reign to judge all things, both inside and outside the church, including all the leaders from the top [apostles and prophets] to the bottom [bishops and their counselors].

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  267. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Steve, this horse has been beaten already. If you want to know why I think this is unneccesarily and unjustified, go back and read one of my 36 previous comments. I have no desire to keep re-hashing this with you. And if you feel that I need to add “seemingly” and “in my observation”, just pretend that they are there. I thought it seemingly was in my observation, so it seems redundant to redundantly say these things redundantly. I thought that was obvious. Just fill it in for me. (It’s a waste of space–of course it is my observation.)

    Rigel, What exactly is so sinister about a Stake President seeing counsel from authorities higher up in the leadership structure of a church?

    Nothing, but I think the communication was top down, not bottom up. So I think the question mischaracterizes the issue.

    The public affairs of the church says that church discipline is a matter left to local leaders.

    I know that is the public line, but I don’t believe it, especially in this case. IMO, (there you go Steve) the SP would have ignored Snuffer if he didn’t have pressure brought from the SCMC.

    If you believe that this is double-talk and that the local leaders are merely puppets, then you have less respect for the integrity of the general authorities than I do.

    I would not state it this strongly. I don’t think the SP is a puppet on most matters, nor would I characterize him as a puppet in this matter. I think the SP is trying very hard to make it appear as his decision, and I think he is trying to please “the bosses.” But I think the SCMC is putting unrighteous pressure on the SP. So I’m not blaming the SP nearly as much as I’m blaming the SCMC. And I really wouldn’t use the term “puppet” in this situation, because I don’t think it properly describes what is happening. I do believe the SP is being coerced.

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  268. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    It is shocking that you think this scripture gives free reign to every church member to criticize and judge however they please, especially thinking it somehow gives any particular member the right to judge those at their head. Do you really believe this? Is there no order in the Priesthood in these things in your view? We have been constantly advised not to criticize church leadership, and specifically not to speak evil of the Lord’s anointed. I know there are a lot of interpretations out there of “Lord’s anointed”, but scripturally without exception this always refers to leaders appointed by the Lord over his people (since these leaders often were put into their position with an anointing ceremony). But no matter how you interpret it, it is obvious that criticism is regulated to some degree. The Priesthood government is one of order. When you have a problem with someone, Jesus counseled that we should first go to them in private, to not make it public.

    You act like taking an airplane to make a visit in person is your only option. How about an email? A phone call? This is the information/communication age, it’s apparent you’ve put very little thought into this. Just complain, just criticize, heaven forbid you actually get up and do something about it.

    “Saying that for me to say, “from where I’m sitting, given the content of Denver’s book(s), this discipline business smells a lot more like censoring a different opinion than protecting the flock from false doctrine,” is tantamount to me “pretending to be God””

    When you quote me responding, you should not change the thing I was responding to. I would respond very differently to an opinion on the subject, as opposed to a statement of fact or declaration of truth like “…Snuffer’s completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication”. They are very different, please don’t pretend they are the same.

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  269. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    MH, if it is opinion, nobody is forcing you to state it as fact. It’s not a waste of space because the meaning is actually not the same. So if you mean one thing, you should say it, rather then expecting the reader to understand that you mean something else altogether.

    “But I think the SCMC is putting unrighteous pressure on the SP…I do believe the SP is being coerced.” Those are serious accusations towards a committee you say is composed partly of apostles and other general authorities. As far as I can tell, you have no evidence, just negative assumptions. But if you are genuinely concerned and truly believe this, what are you going to do about it? Seriously, if I believed this, I wouldn’t just sit around accusing and complaining and trying to make others look bad based on what I believe are probable assumptions, not only because I would think this is not Christlike, but because I would want actual justice in the Church I know is the Lord’s, and I would feel responsible as a member in a position to actually do something or at least make the attempt. So what are you going to do?

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  270. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Steve, please set up the meeting. I’ll be right behind you, as it appears that you have ample experience setting up this meeting. Let me know a time and place and I’ll be there.

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  271. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    You have a Stake President that you have access to, you can start there. I’m guessing you are at least an Elder. Go ahead and claim your right as an Elder, find at least one other Elder in agreement with you (which it seems there are several here you can choose from) and bring your case before the church. Bring forth your evidence and ask your Stake President to get you in contact with those you feel are in error, so that you can discuss in private first, that maybe you can be reconciled first. But if not, or if such a meeting cannot happen, let the Stake President know that you and your fellow Elder(s) ask for a church court against the accused.

    The rights are there, you just have to do it.

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  272. Justin on September 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    It is shocking that you think this scripture gives free reign to every church member to criticize and judge however they please, especially thinking it somehow gives any particular member the right to judge those at their head.

    In your world — where no member has the right to call-out what looks like injustice/unrighteous dominion to them — how do you see this scripture being fulfilled? It seems there’d be no way for the members to “judge all things” and to “make known” which apostles and prophets really aren’t — because we have no “jurisdiction” to judge their actions.

    Do you really believe this?

    Yes

    Is there no order in the Priesthood in these things in your view?

    Yes, there is. The order goes like this: the priesthood is a fraternal order of servants, bound by covenant to consider themselves to be the servants of all and act accordingly. Therefore, it is the duty of the priesthood to place themselves “under” the membership [not above] — and to serve them and heed the voice/consent of the people in all things they do.

    You’re confused by what I’m saying because you imagine the priesthood to be a hierarchal power-pyramid — where the few at the top are habitually obeyed by the many at the bottom. Whereas in the gospel, that’s reversed — the few [leaders] are placed at the bottom by the Lord to act as servants “up-holding” the membership above them and are commanded by Him to do all that they do by the common consent and majority voice of the people they serve.

    But that’s neither here nor there when it comes to excommunication — just a small soap-box of mine.

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  273. Justin on September 12, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Oh yeah — I forgot:

    When you quote me responding, you should not change the thing I was responding to. I would respond very differently to an opinion on the subject, as opposed to a statement of fact or declaration of truth like “…Snuffer’s completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication”. They are very different, please don’t pretend they are the same.

    You weren’t misquoted. Denver’s excommunication [what MH was talking about when he said unnecessary/unjustified] was about his book [what I was talking about when I said it smells like censorship]. It’s not a leap to connect the two — and your reasoning commits you to the position that for a latter-day saint to make that judgement is tantamount to them “pretending to be God”.

    Given the content of the book in question [et al.], it’s quite easy for a member to read the material and come to the conclusion that “the discipline business smells a lot more like censoring a different opinion than protecting the flock from false doctrine” — and therefore, the whole business was “completely unnecessary and unjustified excommunication”.

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  274. MH on September 12, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Denver’s latest post:

    Thursday, September 12, 2013
    My Sympathy

    Elder Russel M. Nelson presides over the Strengthening the Members Committee. His wife has created a great deal of controversy with a children’s book she has written. Some active LDS psychologists have denounced the book as “child abuse” and used very unkind terms against both the book and her.

    I wanted to express my sympathy for Elder Nelson and his wife. I know what it is like to have written a book with the intent to help others, only then to become the object of public criticism. I hope there is no church action taken against her.

    Posted by Denver Snuffer at 7:12 AM

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  275. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I believe I already stated that I do not have problems with having personal opinions or personal disagreements. I also do not have a problem with the appeals process outlined in the D&C if you have a concern with a command you have received by those in authority. If you see something you *believe* is out of the way, I also think there is a justifiable and proper order to voice your concerns. Again public judgment or criticism of authority has no place in this order, and this is amply condemned consistently throughout the scriptures. (Again see the post I linked to). Bringing questions or concerns in private to authorities is not a problem in my view. And if you think a leader or member has acted unjustly or unrighteously in their stewardship, you should first try to reconcile the matter in private, and if it is still un-resolvable, you can take the issue to superior authorities and if necessary gather any other members with similar concerns and call for a church court on the matter.

    All of this allows for private belief and private opinion, and gives all members the ability to act if they believe injustice is being wrought by those at their head. None of this morally justifies or calls for public criticism of those in authority, nor does it give one stewardship to steady the ark as an individual personally sees fit. I realize Priesthood order can mean a lot of things, but this is the order I was referring to.

    I’ve stated my views, you are free to disagree.

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  276. MH on September 12, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    No Steve, I don’t think we are free to disagree with you. It’s why we keep rehashing this over and over. (Seemingly, In my opinion, from my point of view, from my observation–did I leave any redundant phrases out?)

    Have you arranged that meeting yet?

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  277. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    I was generous enough to outline exactly what you could do. Is there some reason you are incapable of doing it? Or do you just prefer to be another number joining the long list of critics and accusers of the brethren who are happy to publicly revile, but yet will do nothing about these perceived “injustices” when in comes down to it. Unfortunately telling everyone your house is dirty doesn’t make it any cleaner. You got to do something about it. Lift where you stand.

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  278. MH on September 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Steve you are so generous with the compliments. Thank you for showing me the way. How has that meeting worked for you when you’ve called it in the past?

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  279. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    I didn’t claim to be generous with compliments. I really did try to point you in a direction where you could do something about this. Every time I’ve asked to meet with the Stake President, time has always been made for me. I haven’t ever seen unrighteous dominion to the degree in which it seems you have seen it, so I haven’t had to go as far as you might want to, but I wouldn’t have a problem doing it if I truly believed in my evidence and cause. To me I feel like we’re all on the same side with our leaders; I don’t feel like there is some sort of “they” against an “us”. Maybe you would also agree with that.

    I think it is too bad that we’ve had our first conversation on this subject that has been so divisive. I think we disagree on an important point, which is why I think the conversation has gone on so long. But I’m guessing there is probably a whole lot more that we agree on than disagree. I’ll let this conversation rest now.

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  280. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Just to be clear Steve. Are you saying you’ve called your stake president to discuss the case of a member of another stake, right? How did that go?

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  281. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    I don’t think you believe that’s what I mean, so why ask?

    I’m not sure why my personal behavior should limit you in any way. You are the one that believes authorities are exercising unrighteous dominion. Don’t deceive yourself into believing you are incapable of doing something about this. If you have actually attempted in every way you can think of, and still no traction, then you have something to say. But if you have not even attempted to fight for justice, don’t hide under a cloak of feigned impossibility. If you believe your cause is just, I trust you can find a way.

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  282. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Steve, that’s what I thought. Show me the way, and I’ll happily oblige you. I’m not nearly so confident in the process as you are. When the SCMC gets involved, it isn’t about justice–it’s a kangaroo court of love and unrighteous dominion. We both know that the meeting wouldn’t go so well, and I’m pretty certain that the meeting with the SP would go no farther than the door of the room we were in. (Seemingly, In my opinion, from my point of view, from my observation–did I leave any redundant phrases out?)

    Jesus didn’t condemn the woman of adultery, despite all the evidence and witnesses to the contrary. But that woman would be excommunicated by our church leaders. I just wish they would start acting more like McKay and Jesus. I’m not seeing that. (Seemingly, In my opinion, from my point of view, from my observation–did I leave any redundant phrases out?)

    Do you think Juanita Brooks or Sterling McMurrin should have been excommunicated? Several apostles thought so even though McKay disagreed. Who had the better access to revelation? Let’s not forget that the apostle Peter was pretty hot-headed and cut off the ear of a Roman soldier. That’s how the SCMC is acting, and I think Christ would respond the same way he did to Peter. (Seemingly, In my opinion, from my point of view, from my observation–did I leave any redundant phrases out?)

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  283. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    I am not going to be able to give you all the answers. I think your right though, because I don’t view the system as having the same flaws you do, I believe I do feel more confident in the system than you do – and so I would be willing to work within it if I saw an issue arise. Whereas you feel the system is broken, and so why try to work within the system when it doesn’t work and therefore won’t get you anywhere. I guess I understand that logic. However, I don’t think you can ever know for sure unless you try. I don’t know enough about those other situations to offer an informed opinion.

    It sounds like your main beef is with the SCMC, and maybe you know things there that I don’t. I have still yet to see sound evidence provided for this “unrighteous dominion”. But as for Denver Snuffer specifically, I don’t know why you wish to defend him when he wasn’t even willing to go into the disciplinary council to defend himself. Sure he is publicly defensive, but it is clear he didn’t value his membership enough to defend himself where it really mattered. If it were me, I would fight tooth and nail to retain my membership all the way to the top, until I could go no further. And if still, the decision was not on my side, I would submit to the final decisions of the councils and would make sure I retained or could regain as quickly as is possible, my membership in the church. You have to admit, that if Denver really desired to keep his membership above all else, he could have easily done so. He was stubborn, would not admit to his dissent (which dissent was that he would not stop the “continued publishing of PTHG” as he was directed to by those in authority), and forced the church’s hand. Read the ldsanarchy link Justin provided, there was nothing else the Church could do here once he acted in open defiance. Why defend a man that refuses to defend himself? Why assume some sort of big brother conspiracy, when it is a fact that Denver would not obey the council of his leaders? The act of apostasy was that he was in open rebellion to those in authority, *continued* to do the things he was told not to do, and never repented of this dissension. Since this was the charge, and it is an open fact that this charge has proved true, why assume it was the leaders who were unjustified?

    Maybe you have some sort of deeper issues with the SCMC, but I really don’t think you have grounds to stand on in this specific case.

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  284. Mormon Heretic on September 12, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Steve, read my post on a book called Latter-day Dissent. I learned a lot about the SCMC in relation to the September Six.

    Why defend a man that refuses to defend himself?

    Did Jesus defend himself from Pilate? Is Denver imitating Jesus? Do you defend the Jesus, a man who didn’t defend himself?

    Why assume some sort of big brother conspiracy, when it is a fact that Denver would not obey the council of his leaders? The act of apostasy was that he was in open rebellion to those in authority, *continued* to do the things he was told not to do, and never repented of this dissension.

    Neither did Jesus. Wasn’t his charge open rebellion to the Jewish leadership (and Rome)? I see a lot of parallels between Denver and Jesus. (Remember that blasphemy wasn’t a capital offense under Roman law. Jesus was killed for treason against Rome–which was a capital offense.)

    Since this was the charge, and it is an open fact that this charge has proved true, why assume it was the leaders who were unjustified?

    Jesus’ charges were “proved true” and he was executed. Do you think the Jewish and Roman leaders were inspired and justified to kill Jesus?

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  285. SteveF on September 12, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    I guess I don’t find it as important to defend one’s membership in the Roman empire as to defend one’s membership in the Kingdom of God that holds divinely approved heavenly keys that are binding in the hereafter.

    I don’t believe Jesus’ charges were proved objectively true. But even so, I don’t know of any commandment that we are to be one or in full unity with earthly governments, as we are commanded to be in the church.

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  286. Mormon Heretic on September 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    What about the commandments to follow your leaders that you continually espouse? Why does Jesus get off the hook for not obeying Caiaphus in the San Hedrin and not Denver? That’s my whole point in bringing Jesus into the conversation, and you keep ignoring it. (I answered your questions, but for some reason mine are merely rhetorical?) Juanita Brooks? Sterling McMurrin?

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  287. SteveF on September 13, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I think you may have missed it, I said on those two I don’t know enough information to give an informed opinion.

    Yes, I believe that Jesus’ situation is entirely different. The Church at the time was in need of a new dispensation, and Jesus had received higher authority from God to start his ministry and open this new dispensation.

    As far as I am aware, Denver has made no claims to heavenly authority to begin a new dispensation. Additionally, I do not believe the Church is in apostasy, and do not believe we are need of a new dispensation. Right now, the Church holds binding heavenly authority, and there is nothing on earth that trumps it.

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  288. Hedgehog on September 13, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    #272 Justin: “You’re confused by what I’m saying because you imagine the priesthood to be a hierarchal power-pyramid — where the few at the top are habitually obeyed by the many at the bottom. Whereas in the gospel, that’s reversed — the few [leaders] are placed at the bottom by the Lord to act as servants “up-holding” the membership above them and are commanded by Him to do all that they do by the common consent and majority voice of the people they serve.”
    I like the model you describe, and I think the power-pyramid is what we see, unfortunately.
    Not wanting to distract too much from the main topic.

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  289. Hedgehog on September 13, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    Seth/MH just to respond, and totally off-topic sorry – I don’t think Joseph had it coming/was asking for it. I just thought Seth’s response (insulting the entire ex-mormon community, to which I do not belong) rather over the top. It wasn’t as though Dan’s opinion had no historical basis. I don’t think that just because press-smashing was more common makes it less inflamatory, and it looks to me that people were more inclined to act on their passions. It’s easy to be dispassionate from a distance. Just so you know where I stand.

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  290. Rigel Hawthorne on September 13, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    From the MH post on dissent:

    In response to this public discourse, the LDS Church spokesman Don LeFevre acknowledged the existence of the committee.[5] LeFevre said that the committee “receives complaints from church members about other members who have made statements that ‘conceivably could do harm to the church’”, then the committee will “pass the information along to the person’s ecclesiastical leader.” According to LeFevre, however, “the committee neither makes judgments nor imposes penalties.” Discipline is “entirely up to the discretion of the local leaders.”[6]

    This is as much of an official line about the SCMC that I read from your post as I could glean. You comment in this thread that the “SP would have ignored Snuffer if he didn’t have pressure brought from the SCMC”. I don’t read that there is any information to support this specific claim other than the bloggings of Brother Snuffer himself. I understand that your readiness to accept this assertion comes from the historical context of the SCMC you have gathered from information on both sides.

    I see that there is a line between passing along information and “pressure.” On the one hand, the passing along information is being compared to the Gestapo…on the other hand is the situation where the SP is a lay minister who has a full time job and cannot be expected to find time to read and evaluate all writings authored by members of his stake. A SP, furthermore, is assuming ecclesiastic responsibility for a stake in succession from a former SP who is alleviated of that responsibility and is NOT expected to be a resource to the new SP on the spiritual welfare of the individuals in the stake. On the one hand, a SP may have knowledge in a positive light of a member of the stake, but may be presented with information that an individual has published which he had not had the opportunity to read or knowledge that it was in fact published.

    On the one hand you could say that if the SP doesn’t know about writings, then they shouldn’t trouble him, and on the other hand you could say that the SP would be responsible for the spiritual welfare of multiple members of the stake who lose their testimonies of the gospel because of the writings that had never been brought to his attention. As I have only read excerpts of Brother Snuffer’s writings that were posted on this blog, I limit my opinion as to whether his writings have sufficient sway to lead members away from their testimony. It does bother me to read what appears to be a mocking tone toward the SP and the ‘training’ that caused a 180 degree change in the SP because you ‘never move up in the church by ignoring the brethren’. Maybe you have had direct contact with Brother Snuffer which changes the perspective in which you receive those comments. I know in listening to John Dehlin’s account of the mission president who espoused/abetted baptisms of unconverted individuals for the sake of numbers and the plight that followed standing up against that practice, it can take a long time listening to the information from beginning to end to see and feel how the leadership of the church would deserve criticism.

    I’m curious how far you would give a pass from church discipline in the name of authorship when it comes to publishing writings that indict the sustained leadership of the church. Would it be ok for a writer to publish a personal indictment of the standing President of the church and remain in good standing? For instance, should there be disciplinary action for an author who publishes instructions to people that if you follow the standing President of the church, not only are you placing trust in a leader who is apostate, but you are jeopardizing your own salvation? Certainly if you believe the standing President of the church is akin to the Jewish leadership and the innocent that are publishing proclamations against him are akin to Jesus, it would seem that you should side with the authors above all else.

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  291. Use Your Judgement | Wheat and Tares on September 13, 2013 at 6:02 AM

    [...] on the chronicles of Denver Snuffer (I still can’t get over that name). I’ll let you find that here along with the more than a hundred comments that go along with it. Word came down the other day [...]

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  292. hawkgrrrl on September 13, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    Rigel, I think there’s an inherent question in all of this. Does the church NEED to officially distance itself from the Denver Snuffers of the world to protect the flock? Excommunication is an acknolwedgement that his ideas have power. Well, what about the fact that lots of people leave the church every single day because of how offensive and unpalatable many of our most strident orthodox members are. The SCMC is never going to swoop in to save the flock from those people because those are the ones who tattle to the SCMC in the first place. The average member would never in a million years presume to go to the SCMC to try to control the actions of their fellow members. And the average SP is not going to take it lightly when the SCMC comes in and tells them they are remiss in their duty because they have a cat among the canaries. They will take much harsher action if it is coming from the SCMC, assuming that the SCMC speaks for the church and has more authority than they do. That’s human nature.

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  293. Seth R. on September 13, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Hedgehog, don’t worry – I jumped to conclusions in your case. Thanks for your explanation.

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  294. Jeff Spector on September 13, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    It is shame that so much is based on speculation, third and more-hand information and the practices and motives of some committee that is also mostly speculation.

    Some folks personal bias cannot seem to allow that a decision might be made under the most well-intentioned circumstances using information and conversation we are not privy to. Or, that OTOH, a decision was made as a foregone conclusion in spite of anything said to the contrary. In other words, you just do not know.

    You are free to believe what you want about what happened, but the level of certainty about it is a bit amusing.

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  295. Rigel Hawthorne on September 13, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    “Does the church NEED to officially distance itself from the Denver Snuffers of the world to protect the flock? ”

    Hawkgrrl, I think you are implying that your answer to this question is no. Perhaps you have it right in that his 15 minutes of fame will come and go and not responding any more than the church hasn’t responded to the musical “The Book of Mormon” would be the best avenue.

    I would wonder, however, to what level of office would you think someone would need to rise before the flock needs to be protected controversial views/authorship by distancing. I would think this should extend beyond general authorities. Does Brother Snuffer’s book cover suggest that he is a member in good standing? I think of the Elder on ‘God’s Army’ who was reading the “anti” book. He lost faith and left his mission because he latched onto that information without the context. (Yes it was a movie, but many of us can report of similar circumstances). I assume a similar experience could happen to a missionary reading PTHG. Perhaps the distancing could be enough to protect that one missionary from believing he could justify reading it (even though it wouldn’t be on the approved reading list) and perhaps the distancing would be enough that by not reading it, he wouldn’t become disillusioned with his mission by receiving that information in a setting that doesn’t provide much opportunity for context.

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  296. MH on September 13, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I think it is interesting that some people say we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the brethren, but they don’t feel the same caution when it applies to Denver.

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  297. Jeff Spector on September 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    There is a difference, a big difference. Denver has a body of work (Books, blog, talks, etc) which is out in the public domain from which people can render a personal judgement about whether he is apostate or not. Any speculation about what went on behind closed doors with the “Brethren” is just that, speculation. You have no body of evidence from which to render any conclusion.

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  298. MH on September 13, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Well, let’s just hope that Sister Nelson doesn’t get the same treatment as Denver for her body of work.

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  299. hawkgrrrl on September 13, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Rigel: I thought PTHG was about seeking heavenly visitation, not something that was anti in nature. Haven’t read it, just not clear how it would cause apostasy. Also if it calls into question some of the decisions of past leaders, that could be helpful if the person independently also questioned those things for them to see that someone who is faithful and encouraging others to be faithful and seek spiritual gifts also sees those things and remains in the church. If the person has honestly never seen anything the church leaders of yesteryear have done in a critical light, srsly are they the bubble boy? If so, they will read his book and dismiss it as bad and wall back up in their bubble.

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  300. Rigel Hawthorne on September 13, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Sister Nelson’s treatment is likely going to be tanking of sales–seeing them on Deseret Books bargain shelf. Denver’s outcome is likely going to result in a boost of sales. In fact you guys are driving my curiosity such that I may have to buy a copy. W&T book club?

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  301. Rigel Hawthorne on September 13, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    This comment seems to be a commonly described element in the Amazon reviews of PTHG:

    Denver’s main assumption is that the “fullness of the priesthood” may not have been transferred to Brigham Young due to the Nauvoo Temple not being completed, prior to the death of Joseph Smith. As stated in revelation, this act, caused the church to not only be under condemnation, but be rejected as a whole. This would have caused the sealing powers to be lost from this dispensation until some latter time.

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  302. hawkgrrrl on September 13, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Meh, I’m not up for a book club on this one. MoHer?

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  303. MH on September 13, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Sure, I’m in for the book club. Rigel and Jeff, would you like to collaborate on a post? My copy is on the way and is supposed to arrive by Sept 17. Of course it will take some time to read. Anyone else interested in collaborating on a book review?

    Rigel, it is my understanding that Snuffer appreciates the temple ordinances we have. I’d be surprised to hear him say that the sealing powers were lost, because it seems to me he believes strongly in temple ordinances. I wonder if that is someone’s (mis)interpretation. I know on his blog he stated that many misinterpret what he says.

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  304. MH on September 13, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Hawk, it is my understanding that his previous book The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil was about visitation. PTHG is more of a John Dehlin-style analysis (via the scriptures) of church history and where certain leaders went wrong after Joseph Smith. It appears that Snuffer is critical of some decisions (such as the BY ban on black members.) I don’t think PTHG is about visitation.

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  305. Mormon Heretic on September 16, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Rock Waterman has an interesting take on this topic: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-denver-snuffer-debacle.html

    Here is Denver’s latest post: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/09/ten-points.html

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  306. Mormon Heretic on September 22, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    This letter make me sad: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/09/no-title.html

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  307. alice on September 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    I enjoyed this piece from a more recent entry:

    Remember that in all the diversity and wonder of nature there is very little that is identical. Each one of us is unique for a reason. Your unique existence is a reflection of God’s great liberty given to us all. There is no uniformity of thought. We ought to exchange ideas, never try to control the thinking of others. Let everyone believe as they may. If you have a better idea, articulate it and persuade others. But never think your view alone ought to rule everyone else’s thinking. God doesn’t do that. He persuades. He invites. He entices. Gently. Lovingly. Patiently. So stop acting like you shouldn’t be bound by the same constraints.

    I hope in their wisdom and discernment it was part of The Brethrens’ plan to give Snuffer’s views a wider platform ’cause that seems to be the effect.

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  308. Mormon Heretic on September 27, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    I see a lot of parallel’s here with Michael Quinn. See http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56899817-78/quinn-mormon-lds-church.html.csp

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  309. Mormon Heretic on September 27, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    For those looking for a rebuttal to Denver Snuffer’s work, One Who is Watching has offered to give a rebuttal. If you’re not familiar with “The Watcher”, let me just tell you that he doesn’t know the meaning to the word “concise.” In his first post, he said that he was going to rebut PTHG, and was concerned about Snuffer’s “claim” that D&C 110 (about Elijah) was not a valid revelation.

    Then in Part 2, he said that he attended Denver’s Sept 10 session in Boise. Watcher agreed with 99% of what Snuffer said, but had SERIOUS reservations about the 1%. Then he said he was suspending the series to give Snuffer a chance to rebut Watcher’s rebuttal.

    So anyway, I don’t know what to think of Watcher. He says that many people think Watcher and Snuffer have a lot in common, yet Watcher thinks he is diametrically opposed to Snuffer. So for those interested, just be forewarned that Watcher does not write anything in a clear or concise manner. But I’m sure you’ll find his (sort of) rebuttal interesting. I think Part 2 was more interesting than part 1, so I’m posting that link here. http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/an-evening-in-boise-with-denver-snuffer-part-two/ But you may want to go back and read part 1 too. Obviously, Watcher has much more to say, so stay tuned for Part 3 (or more). Watcher has 20 points he is going to make, but after 2 long posts, he still hasn’t finished the thought on D&C 110 yet either. Like I said, I find Watcher interesting, but I wish he was a bit more concise and too the point. Watcher expects you to not only read his long posts, but check every single scriptural refernece and footnote he ever makes, so be forewarned.

    Let the rebuttals begin!

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  310. Daniel on October 1, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    Seth,

    “Because having more than one wife and vandalizing property is TOTALLY something worth killing someone over.”

    yeah man, people kill each other for the dumbest things in the world. Especially if they are afraid of said people. Afraid of people you hate gaining power. Afraid of you losing power to people you hate.

    Let me put it more clearly to you. If Joseph Smith didn’t destroy the Nauvoo Expositor, would he have had to leave the comforts of Nauvoo (and the protection of the Nauvoo Legion) and go sit in some dinky jail all by his unprotected lonesome? Com’on dude, you’re smarter than this (particularly smarter than calling me an “ex-mormon”). He left Nauvoo BECAUSE he destroyed the Expositor. He only has himself to blame.

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  311. Seth R. on October 1, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    No, I don’t think so Daniel.

    I don’t think Joseph even saw himself as having done something all that outrageous. And given the historical context, I don’t even see it as particularly outrageous either. I don’t think Joseph would have left Nauvoo to languish in jail over the Expositor at all.

    You seriously think he decided to go to jail out of some sense of personal guilt? Really?

    That’s not even consistent with the character of the man as YOU’VE tried to portray him. Neither is it consistent with the picture I’ve derived of him.

    Joseph went to jail for one reason as far as I’m concerned. To prevent another Far West. To prevent another wholesale bloodbath that was inexorably closing around on his people yet again – and closing in on them for reasons that went far, FAR beyond the destruction of an anti-Mormon fan magazine.

    And your statement of “he had only himself to blame” is exactly the sort of outrageous statement I was talking about earlier Daniel. It’s pathetic how resentment and hatred among the ex-Mormon crowd make the grossest sort of bigotry fashionable and acceptable. I’d call upon your conscience to recognize this if I thought it would matter to you.

    Unfortunately, I suspect you’ve been feasting on your own bitterness for too long to recognize any longer how filthy it tastes.

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  312. MH on October 1, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Seth, Daniel is not an ex-Mormon. He does tend to take us off topic though.

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  313. Daniel on October 2, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    damn….who is bitter Seth? It’s certainly not me.

    FYI, I’m the Young Men’s President and I teach Youth Sunday School. Not only that, but I rent out my tenant unit to the church so that church is IN MY OWN FREAKING HOUSE, you freaking idiot.

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  314. Seth R. on October 2, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    I’d apologize for mistaking you for an atheist ex-Mormon blogger I’ve had dealings with who has a very similar writing style to yours.

    However, the fact is that your remarks remain outrageous enough that you pretty much deserve whatever misunderstandings you get. So no – not inclined at the moment.

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  315. Kevin on October 3, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    Bruce R. McConkies’s Calvinistic fixation on the world defined in chapter and verse of his own writing– is alive and well in this pattern of excommunications. General Authorities acting like they are the artbiters of all truth suggests their lack of understanding of the gospel and its possibilities that Joseph Smith restored. In this they are not following the example of Joseph nor that landmark of modern prophethood, David O. McKay. To the extent Church leadership behaves like the Catholic Magisterium we come to better understand the Catholic Magisterium.

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  316. Snuffer’s Take on Polygamy | Mormon Heretic on October 6, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    […] on the bloggernacle lately, though I suspect your average member has never heard of him.  My post Is Excommunication Useful? got over 300 comments, and Tim Malone’s Q&A about Snuffer also got over 300 comments. […]

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  317. Snuffer’s Take on Polygamy | Wheat and Tares on October 7, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    […] on the bloggernacle lately, though I suspect your average member has never heard of him.  My post Is Excommunication Useful? got over 300 comments, and Tim Malone’s Q&A about Snuffer also got over 300 comments. […]

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  318. Why Snuffer Got Exe’d | Mormon Heretic on November 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    […] Gift, you should be aware that this book got him excommunicated.  I have stated in the past that I strongly disagree with the LDS Church’s decision to excommunicate Mr. Snuffer.  Now that I have completed the book, I would like to talk about where I believe the Church takes […]

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  319. Why Snuffer Got Exe’d | Wheat and Tares on December 2, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    […] Gift, you should be aware that this book got him excommunicated.  I have stated in the past that I strongly disagree with the LDS Church’s decision to excommunicate Mr. Snuffer.  Now that I have completed the book, I would like to talk about where I believe the Church takes […]

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  320. A Mid-snuffer Nightmare on March 18, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Sorry but Denver is full of shit…anyone who says “inter-racial” or “mixed-race” marriages are a sin is a racist.

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  321. Mormon Heretic on March 18, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    Denver never said that. Why are you making things up?

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