Why Snuffer Got Exe’d

By: Mormon Heretic
December 2, 2013

I finished Denver Snuffer’s book a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed the book.  Snuffer gives some original readings of both LDS Church history and scripture.  I did a partial review of his book a few weeks ago when I talked about Snuffer’s position on polygamy (Snuffer believes that God permitted, rather than commanded polygamy, and that Church leaders misunderstood D&C 132 which is really 4 revelations.) If you haven’t heard of Denver Snuffer or his book Passing the Heavenly 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 issue with Snuffer’s book.

The LDS Church is in Apostasy

It’s more than a little ironic that Denver was excommunicated for apostasy;  Snuffer claims in his book that the LDS Church is in apostasy and has been rejected by God.  Snuffer uses the Book of Mormon to make his point.  He quotes 3 Nephi 16:10-12 which states that

the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hears above all nations, and above the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits…. and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them… (abbreviated for brevity)

Snuffer gives his interpretation of this scripture.

Christ’s prophecy does not anticipate gentile success.  The gentiles will reject the fullness offered to them.  “At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel” does not raise the possibility of “if” but only “when.”  According to Christ, the gentiles “Shall reject the fullness of my gospel.”  Taking these words at their plain meaning, it leaves no room for gentiles to obtain and perpetuate the fullness of priesthood.  They will instead reject it when it is offered them.  But, despite having rejected it, gentiles are allowed to repent, and join the Book of Mormon people and be saved.  {Snuffer goes on to quote verses 13-16.  Snuffer continues on page 333.} … Nephi’s prophecy about the future gentile history is also speaking of the latter-day church.  {Snuffer quotes 1 Nephi 13:30-34} {p 334}  Through Joseph Smith’s ministry, the Book of Mormon has been brought to light.  “Much of [Christ's] Gospel” has been given to the gentiles.  Significantly, Nephi does not foresee the gentiles obtaining “all” or a fullness, but only “much” of Christ’s Gospel.  We were offered more.  The “fullness” that was lost to the gentiles was offered again, they only had to complete the Nauvoo Temple as required.{footnote 421}  The traditional Mormon view is that Joseph was able, outside the temple, to transfer all keys in his red brick store, and the church received and has kept the fullness.  However, Nephi’s description of what was to be given the gentiles says only “much” will be returned, not that a “fullness” will be given. The traditional narrative also requires the language of revelation be not only meaningless, but contradicted.  The requirement to build the Nauvoo Temple was because, as the Lord explained it:  “For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which has been lost to you, or which he hath taken away, even a fulness of the priesthood.”  (D&C 124:28.)  If a red brick store is an adequate substitute for a temple, then there must have been plenty of places that could be found for the Lord to come and again restore a fulness.

Snuffer states his position even more strongly on page 336, after quoting 2 Nephi 28:11-14.

The churches of the gentiles have “all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.”  There is no exception.  There isn’t a “one true church” which stands out against a background of fallen, false churches.  All of them are out of harmony with the Lord.  Gentiles have not maintained the gospel in purity and power.

Page 337 he continues

False religions offer everything but worship of Christ.  They will use good ideas, virtues, even true concepts as a distraction to keep followers from coming to Christ.  The way to prevent souls from receiving redemption is to distract them.  Good people want to do good things.  So long as they are kept occupied with hollow virtues and sentimental stories they cannot come to Christ, enter His presence, and gain salvation.  The stories urged by false teachers are filling, but no nourishing to the soul.  As long as the false precepts of men distract the “humble followers of Christ” from coming to Him, it is enough.  Nephi says this will happen.

Page 338,

The false virtues will be defended as the whole truth, despite the fact they do not lead men to Christ.  Those who claim repentance is necessary will be accused of looking beyond the mark.  They will be thought of as false messengers, with a false message, trying to steady the ark.  They will be asked by what authority they preach repentance, because they are not called to lead.  However, Nephi condemned those who “lead” because they “teach by the precepts of men,” and not by the Holy Ghost.  Therefore a call to repentance cannot come from a leader.  It must come from elsewhere.  When it does, the result will be anger, even rage as Satan stirs up the hearts of men.

Page 339,

So each week these gentiles will declare to each other “I know the church is true” as a mantra to console them.  Yes, “All is well” with this imitation Zion.  It does prosper, after the world’s meaning of that term.  But Nephi warns us in unmistakable sobriety:  “wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!”

I could go on, but it is pretty clear that Snuffer writes a pretty scathing critique of current church culture, and that the current LDS Church is an apostate form.  I’d like to talk about some other things that Church leaders would find unsettling.

Denigrating Church Leaders

In calling for the disciplinary council, Snuffer’s stake president stated that Denver’s book “denigrated virtually every prophet since Joseph Smith, and placed the church in a negative light.”  I’m not sure I agree that this is grounds for excommunication, but I do think that this charge is mostly accurate. Snuffer’s book says there are 4 phases of Mormonism

  1. The Joseph Smith period (1820-44),
  2. Plural Marriage (1844-1890–perhaps to 1904),
  3. Abandonment of plural marriage (and resulting excommunications approx 1904-1955),
  4. David O. McKay era to present.

Snuffer’s 4 divisions of LDS Church history are reasonable, but where church leaders will have problems are with Snuffer’s characterization of Church leaders.  From page 241, Snuffer writes,

Third Phase Mormonism abandoned, and denounced as heretical, principles and practices that were a vital part of the earlier phases.  The denunciation of these new found heresies became so ardent as to justify excommunication.  Whereas, the second phase venerated and tried to live all of the first phase’s teachings, the third phase did not.  In order to accomplish this kind of adjustment to the religion, a cult of personality, comparable to Catholicism’s veneration of the Pope, needed to attach to the office of the President of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These changes in third phase Mormonism made it possible to create a faith on a distinctly different trajectory than the original. Mormonism no longer believed that persecution was a badge of authenticity {footnote 367}, but began to work for acceptance, even popularity.  Instead of the ambition to be “independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world,”  {footnote 368} the new hope was to become mainstream American; accepted, and even admired by as many fellow Americans as possible.

Snuffer goes on to explain that many apostles were chosen not for their spirituality, but for their business acumen.  He quotes Michael Quinn’s book Mormon Hierarchy:  Extensions of Power.  (It is noteworthy that Quinn has been excommunicated not for this book, but for previous books he wrote.)  Quinn writes

The change in the apostolic “charge” apparently began with the appointment of Reed Smoot as an apostle in 1900.  General church authorities had long regarded him as “reliable in business, but [he] has little or no faith.”  President Lorenzo Snow blessed him to receive “the light of the Holy Ghost” so that he could bear testimony of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith.  This was an extraordinary departure of the apostolic charge as given since 1835. The lessening of charismatic obligation continued during Joseph F. Smith’s administration.  In 1903 the “charge” to new apostle George Albert Smith spoke of his obligations to attend quorum meetings, to sustain the First Presidency and Twelve’s leadership, to express his views “boldly” in quorum meetings, and to lead an exemplary life.  There was no mention of visions.  In 1907 Francis M. Lyman instructed newly ordained Anthony W. Ivins:  “The Twelve are the Special witnesses of Jesus Christ & should be able to testify that he lives even as if he had been seen by them” (emphasis added).

Snuffer then goes on to discuss Heber J. Grant’s calling as apostle, and Grant’s skepticism of spiritual manifestations such as visions.  From page 246,

{Grant} entertained doubts not only about his capacity to have spiritual experiences, but also about the propriety of such things.  He feared that they would not contribute to faith, but undermine it.  His diary records:

[May 30, 1890; in apostles' meeting] … Heber J. Grant.  Stated that he had never had an inspired dreaming in his life and that although he had always desired to see his father in dream or vision that he had never been allowed to enjoy this great privilege.  He had at all times been afraid to ask for any great spiritual manifestation as he would then be  under greater obligations and he had feared that he might become unfaithful as others had done who had been blessed with great manifestations.  He was ready and willing to obey his brethren who preside over him and said that he had never engaged in any kind of business without submitting the same to the First Presidency.  I have always felt that I am greatly deficient in spiritual gifts.”  (id., p. 115)

This fear of risking apostasy because of a spiritual manifestation continued to motivate his attitude and approach to spiritual experiences throughout his calling as an Apostle, and later as church president.  He would resist any effort to pursue a spiritual manifestation the remainder of his life.

Snuffer notes that Grant served as church president for 26 years, the second longest in church history, and that Grant was very strong in business.  Grant replaced Orson Pratt as an apostle, and looked with disdain on Elder Pratt for leaving his family destitute at his death.  Snuffer writes,

{page 250} “Apostle Grant acknowledged that there was a widespread view that he cared more for making money than anything else.”  … {page 251}  John Nuttall, the Secretary to the First Presidency made this observation about Elder Grant:  “[F]inancial matters have more weight with …Heber J. Grant than the things of the Kingdom.” … His business acumen and candor often resulted in a ‘tin-ear’ for others.  He records how he hurt some feelings by his insensitivity.  But he would justify himself.  Business was, after all, business.  Charity was secondary, an effect of his successful business endeavors.  It could never assume the foreground.  That would be unbusiness-like. {page 252} In considering the record of his life, it is apparent he was a towering businessman, and interested in finding enterprises he thought would help indirectly members of his faith.  He freely admitted how little he understood the things of God.  He may have been a visionary businessman, but he confessed he was never a visionary religious man.  His sermons were reminders to pay tithing, observe the Word of Wisdom, live chaste lives, and avoid debts.  He dispensed practical advice. Heber J. Grant was not alone in this world view.  Throughout this period the meetings of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles were business meetings.  The meetings started with prayer and included temple based prayer circles, but the meetings then turned to practical discussions about political issues, business ventures, investment opportunities, tithing collections, and development of the community.

Snuffer concludes by restating that Grant was skeptical of spiritual manifestations, and he turned the church more toward a business orientation.  From page 261,

By the end of the third phase this ambition to gain influence to affect the saints’ business affairs had been accomplished.  The president was presumed to have the right to speak on all matters, and the advice he gives on any matter should always be followed.  As that idea took, the stage was set for the fourth phase to begin.  The pivot between the two happened with the ascendancy of David O. McKay, as the ninth church president.  His presidency would take full advantage of a cult of personality surrounding the church president. {page 263}  When it is believed a man can bind heaven, then it is believed that salvation is available by and through that man.  Therefore, loyalty to him can be rewarded with eternal prosperity, and disloyalty is all the more fearful because he can eternally withhold, as well.  Even the scriptural caution about “control, or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men”{D&C 121:37} is arguably circumvented by such authority is only evident if the Lord kills a church president.  Absent that, the fourth phase of Mormon president will not, indeed cannot, err or lead astray, and there are none who can molest his authority.  He reigns over all, as the spokesman of God.  To challenge him is to challenge the vicar of God.  This marked the coming of the Mormon Pontiff and the modern fourth phase of Mormonism.  Other elements were added, but the cult of personality was a necessity.  It enabled the other changes to take place without resistance from rank and file Mormons.

This is certainly very strong language against Church hierarchy.

God has rejected the LDS Church

Snuffer also says that the destruction of the Nauvoo Temple and trials suffered by Mormon Pioneers were a sign of God’s rejection of the LDS Church, though God hasn’t fully rejected the Mormons.  Snuffer also takes issue with traditional narratives.  From page 380,

 We know the house was not finished while Joseph was alive.  Nor was it completed while the Twelve were still in Nauvoo.  There was never any endowment performed in the completed Nauvoo Temple.  Those endowments, and sealings performed by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo were done in the upper room of his red brick store.  Those done by Brigham Young were performed in the attic of an incomplete Nauvoo Temple.  When the Twelve abandoned Nauvoo in February, the temple was neither completed nor dedicated.  It would be months before that happened. … {page 380}  The “fullness”—if it was transferred to Joseph Smith to other church leaders while in Nauvoo as we claim—was never done in the Nauvoo Temple.  Yet the Nauvoo Temple was the only acceptable place where the Lord could “come to and restore again that which was lost unto you…even the fullness of the priesthood.”  According to George Q. Cannon, the Nauvoo Temple was never completed, period.”{Snuffer references Journal of Discourses.} Although the church overlooks even the possibility of failure in Nauvoo, the language of the revelation, and subsequent events should at least raise the possibility we were condemned, and then rejected as a church.  However unpleasant that conclusion may seem, we should want to know if that is what happened.

Snuffer quotes D&C 124:44-45, and notes that

There is no record of angelic visitors to the Nauvoo Temple.  The Lord did not come to visit there.  Instead the temple was utterly destroyed, not one stone left atop another.  It seems plausible, therefore, the Lord did not make “that spot…holy” by His power.  Also clearly the saints were “moved out of their place.”  This at least raises the unthinkable possibility the church has been rejected, with our dead. … The events that followed this revelation have been interpreted through the eyes of those who could not accept the idea of rejection.  The proud refugees from Nauvoo and their descendants have always claimed they succeeded in doing all that was required.  The revelation explains how to identify our failure.  We meet the description of rejection.  We know for certain:  1) The spot was not consecrated by the Lord, or made holy by His angels’ presence.  At least there is no record of it having occurred.  2) The church was moved out of the spot.  3) The temple was utterly destroyed.  4) The migration westward was more than difficult and harrowing.  Not only the trek westward, but the arrival was marked by suffering, hunger, cold, privation and many deaths along the way.  It at least suggests the possibility of “cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments” on our heads.  These events were avoidable.  Enduring them may mean we were rejected, then cursed because of our collective failure to do what the Lord asked.

Snuffer knows that some will argue that the LDS Church is not the gentile Church spoken of in the Book of Mormon, but he dismisses this idea.  Snuffer quotes the dedicatory prayer at the Kirtland Temple in which Joseph Smith identified the LDS Church with the Gentile church.  D&C 109:60 says “Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou has given us, who are identified with the Gentiles. (emphasis added)” Snuffer thinks the traditional narrative of D&C 110 is also wrong.  From page 91,

The church’s teaching connecting Elijah to the sealing power is not justified by Section 110.  In the revelation, Elijah does not confer, ordain or set apart anyone to anything.  Doctrine & Covenants Section 110 has been interpreted with a conclusion already in mind.  With that conclusion, the words are read to mean something different than what they actually say.  The problem can be traced back to Orson Pratt who reasoned backwards in his August 29, 1852 sermon quoted above.  He dated Section 132 when it was recorded in 1843 instead of when it was actually revealed.  The result is Brother Pratt (and the church thereafter) assumed Section 110 (Elijah’s visit) came first and Section 132 (Joseph’s calling and election and sealing power) came later.  In fact, Section 132 was in 1829, much earlier than the 1836 Section 110. Pratt incorrectly concluded and taught Section 132 reconfirmed in 1843 that Joseph got sealing power in 1836.  Or, in other words, the Lord confirmed in Nauvoo that the 1836 Kirtland Temple visits had bestowed sealing power on Joseph.  Instead, the opposite was true:  The 1836 Kirtland Temple appearance confirmed what had been received by Joseph in 1829. … {page 94}  The post-Nauvoo church narrative presumes the keys passed.  The claims are made because the church starts with a conclusion.  If you proceed from the conclusion that the fullness of the priesthood, and all the keys were passed from Joseph to the Twelve, then the history must be written to support that conculsion.  In the traditional narrative, therefore, the fullness and keys passed in Joseph’s red brick store.  If you leave the  conclusion open until the end, then you probably reach a different outcome. .. {page 97}  Since the church claims the sealing power was successfully transferred from Joseph Smith to Brigham Young, and so on, to the present time.  With questions of significant importance, however, reasoning backward is not always advisable.

It should be noted that the Watcher greatly disputes Snuffer’s narrative about D&C 110.  (Watcher has written several posts on Snuffer’s book, if you’re interested.) Snuffer does try to soften things up in the last chapter, stating on page 420

the church still has a Divine commission … {and} are performing sacred and authorized ceremonies.  But we are not in full fellowship with God.  Even so, we have the obligation  to continually perform His ordinances…. After all the condemnation spoken against Israel by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, and others, when Christ came to the fallen and apostate Jews, He did not question their right to perform outward priesthood ordinances.  Indeed, He sent those He healed to offer the required sacrifices under the law. {footnote 496}  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be worse today than the ancient Israelites, and is therefore, still authorized to baptize for the remission of sins.  If the loss of Joseph Smith caused the loss of the fullness of the priesthood in the same way the removal of Moses did anciently, then like ancient Israel, the church continues to have the “lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the keys of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; Which gospel is the gospel of repentance, and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments[.]” (D&C 84:26-27)

Despite all these problems that Snuffer outlines, he still believes

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more than a great aid in this process.  It is a restored blueprint to accomplish it.  Even if part of the blueprint has been removed, and unnecessary additions are now scribbled on them, the plan still remains in the church. {page 454}  God restored a great body of scripture.  He clarified ordinances and gave instructions for new ordinances.  We are not to ignore, reject, or forsake it.  Any earthly institution will be riddled with human failings.  That is to be expected.  Even with its imperfections, the church remains important….. {page 455-56}  Withdrawing from fellowship in the church interferes with redemption.  Voluntary leaving is almost always wrong.{footnote 563 references Lehi leaving Jerusalem, so sometimes voluntarily leaving is ok.}

I am sure that Snuffer is talking about people who resign from the church, but some could argue that because he refused to comply with the stake president’s requests to remove his book from publication, Snuffer voluntarily left.  On his blog, Snuffer has long stated that he is subject to the authority of his stake president, and Snuffer is not trying to start a new church. I’ll stop my review here;  I think I have written plenty at this time to describe the issues church leaders have with what Snuffer has written.  As I said before, I enjoyed the book; now that I have read it, I better understand why church leaders felt Snuffer’s writings merited excommunication, but I still don’t think the punishment fits Denver’s “crimes.” In this post, I have concentrated on what I perceive that church leaders didn’t like, but Snuffer covers many other topics that I think will appeal to many. What are your thoughts?

Based on what you have read of Snuffer's book, would you vote to excommunicate him?

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91 Responses to Why Snuffer Got Exe’d

  1. hawkgrrrl on December 2, 2013 at 6:03 AM

    Fascinating. I for one find his overview of how we went from the polygamy phase to the current business-like phase very interesting. As a cultural anthropologist, he seems on track.

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  2. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    I voted FOR excommunication simply because based on current Church policy, He did in fact violate several rules regarding speaking against the Lord’s anointed. You can argue against it applying his reasoning, but he isn’t running the show. So based on what he wrote, based on how he has responded to Church leadership, he IS in Apostasy.

    Now, I am much more intrigued by the book based on MH’s post than I have been. Of course, I’ve read the negative reviews and it is also very easy for someone to proof-text scripture and select journal entry and minutes of meetings to ‘prove” their point.

    In the final analysis, it is one person’s opinion, some will agree, some will not.

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  3. Mormon Heretic on December 2, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Jeff, I understand your reasoning, but let me ask a question. When Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, etc spoke against the Lord’s anointed, should they have been excommunicated?

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  4. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    MH,

    Really different situation, Those men WERE part of the Lord’s annotated as we view them now. So I suppose they had a right to do so, But I am not sure they were speaking against them. Snuffer is clearly not in the same position.

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  5. Lorin on December 2, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    “When Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, etc spoke against the Lord’s anointed, should they have been excommunicated?”

    I voted yes on excommunication — Snuffer is far outside the bounds of “faithful critique.” For the above question to hold water, you have to be approaching it from the assumption that it is Denver Snuffer who has been called by god and that Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyering, Deiter F. Uchdorf, etc. are not.

    If Snuffer believes he is qualified to call the institutional church to repentance, he’s free to follow his conscience. But when one is writing books and holding seminars that absolutely undermine the character, calling authority of church leadership, he shouldn’t expect to be able to do so from within the church.

    I looked at Snuffer’s blog a while back, and I have to say the quotes you provided here certainly don’t match his protestations of “faithful critique” in his blog. There’s a double-mindedness and a strong lack of self-awareness about the man that do not go over well with me.

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  6. SilverRain on December 2, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Denver Snuffer isn’t the first or the last person to set himself up as a prophet. Like all men who claim to speak for God, I read his words and let the Spirit lead me to know whether or not he’s truly called of God as he claims.

    Not everything he writes is deceptive, but the best way to deceive is to lead with the truth. Having read many others of similar bent, I find nothing earth-shattering about Snuffer. People like him crop up fairly regularly. I find he’s not one of those called of God. It was clear to me very early in reading his teachings.

    And yes, anyone undermining the tenets of an establishment should not be part of the establishment. Snuffer clearly doesn’t value his membership in the Church, which is logical given his opinions. Why others wax angsty about it utterly eludes me.

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  7. will on December 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Good call by the Stake President.

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  8. hawkgrrrl on December 2, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Jeff, I don’t like the term “the Lord’s anointed” when it is applied to church leaders only. Anyone who has received their endowment was also anointed. The only one who is referred to in scripture as “the anointed one” is Jesus, and Snuffer hasn’t spoken against Him. On the contrary, he claims to have seen him, and is essentially pointing out that our current leaders make no such claim.

    SilverRain: I don’t see him setting himself up as a prophet. He was funneling ALL proceeds from his books and speaking engagements to the LDS mission fund, and despite his “criticisms” he didn’t encourage anyone to leave the church. Quite the contrary.

    I think this is simply that he is viewed as a threat because they couldn’t control what he was saying, even if some of it was spot on. I disagree with him that the church became the cult of personality in the 3rd phase. Maybe I’m misreading that part. I certainly don’t think anyone other than David O. McKay was that dynamic and revered.

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  9. Mormon Heretic on December 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Jeff, I disagree completely. Amos was from the Tribe of Judah, not the Tribe of Levi. Amos has no priesthood authority. Not only that, but Amos was of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, and left that kingdom to go preach repentance to the Northern Kingdom. What priesthood authority did he have to go tell the Northern Kingdom to repent?

    Likewise, Jeremiah was of the Tribe of Benjamin, not the Tribe of Levi. Lehi was of the Tribe of Joseph, not Levi. Isaiah was of the Tribe of Judah. None of these prophets had any sort of correlated priesthood authority that we would recognize today. All came from outside the priestly leadership. The entire Book of Mormon is based on an authority outside of Levi. Nobody had any authority except by angelic visitation. Abinadi is another example of outside prophets. Balaam is another (an he wasn’t even Jewish.) Deborah is another.

    So in that respect, I find that Snuffer is an outsider just like the Old Testament prophets. And just like Isaiah (sawn in half), Jeremiah (died in jail), Abinadi (burned by fire), and Lehi (abandoned Israel), he was excommunicated for challenging the kingly (priestly) authority. Unlike the aforementioned prophets, Snuffer is still alive and out of jail.

    Silverrain, God bless you and Jared. I’m not nearly so confident in my own spiritual manifestations (maybe I have a little Heber J. Grant in me), and therefore I’m a bit skeptical of your pronouncements.

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  10. SilverRain on December 2, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    hawkgrrl…Like I said, nothing that is new. I remember several years ago a “psychic” who also wrote books and donated the funds to charity. That doesn’t make it genuine. The mere fact that Snuffer makes such a huge point of it indicates that he’s doing it for manipulative reasons.

    I don’t doubt in the least that he, at least on a superficial level, believes what he is teaching. That is also nothing new. But the fact that he is setting himself up as an authority greater than the prophet leaders of the Church by definition means he is setting himself up as a prophet.

    That makes it very simple to discern whether or not he is lying. One must simply ask the Source. If one finds through personal Spiritual confirmation that Snuffer is all he claims to be, then that is between them and God. I, however, have had the opposite impression.

    However, from a mere logical standpoint, I find it baffling that people actually swallow his “the Church is corrupt but I support its missionaries but it is not lead by God but it has good “blueprints” but the leaders have fallen from grace but I know better but I’m not trying to start a Church but I’ve seen Christ and they haven’t but you should still belong to the Church” routine. It’s like watching mental pingpong.

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  11. SilverRain on December 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    MH, you don’t have to take my word for it. That’s not why I’m sharing it.

    If you are uncertain of your ability to communicate with God, that is a whole different matter. But the pattern to discern the truthfulness of any prophet is simple: ask God if it is true, and if you ask sincerely and with faith in Christ He will tell you. Or, as it was put elsewhere, follow what you do know and you will eventually know the whole truth.

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  12. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Hawk,

    “Jeff, I don’t like the term “the Lord’s anointed” when it is applied to church leaders only. Anyone who has received their endowment was also anointed. The only one who is referred to in scripture as “the anointed one” is Jesus, and Snuffer hasn’t spoken against Him.”

    You may not like it but it originated in the Book of Samuel as David talks about King Saul. And it was in pretty common usage by Joseph and others in the Kirkland period and in the Doctrine and Covenants as it applied to the Prophet…..

    Words can have more than one meaning…..

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  13. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    MH,

    Where does it say all the prophets come from the Tribe of Levi? They has a special calling to officiate in the Temple, but there is no evidence the Priesthood was exclusive to them.

    How would that explain Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, etc? How would that explain Joseph Smith, et al?

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  14. hawkgrrrl on December 2, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Jeff: But NOW we are all anointed, based on the rituals of kingship. In Saul’s day, only the king was. With Joseph and others, there is evidence that those who were endowed (and participating in polygamy) were privileged above others. To say that only the president is just doesn’t feel like an accurate interpretation.

    Also, the Kirtland period is the early church. The Kirkland period is the current church where everyone has a Costco membership.

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  15. Mormon Heretic on December 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Jeff, the correlation department in the LDS Church would have us believe that succession always falls on the longest serving apostle, and it is an orderly progression. As you said, in the Old Testament, there is no such succession plan. In the Modern LDS Church, priesthood authority is the means whereby we know if a prophet is “true” or not, so someone like Snuffer is seen as not having the proper authority to say what he is saying. By that standard, then Jeremiah, Amos, Isaiah, etc didn’t have proper authority (Tribe of Levi.)

    Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob all lived prior to Moses, so they obviously weren’t from the Tribe of Levi. By logic of the modern LDS Church, prophets must have the proper authority, so Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah were apostates. They are in a completely different category than pre-Moses prophets.

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  16. Mormon Heretic on December 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    SIlverrain, How come Heber J. Grant didn’t “ask God if it is true, and if you ask sincerely and with faith in Christ He will tell you”? Why didn’t God tell Pres Grant?

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  17. Mormon Heretic on December 2, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Jeff, Joseph Smith received the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood via John the Baptist (a Levite). That’s easy to explain. We have the Levitical priesthood, but it it no longer limited to Levites. When the church went to the Gentiles, so did the priesthood. But prior to Christ, weren’t prophets supposed to hold the priesthood? If not, by what authority do they preach? What priesthood did Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah have if not the Levitical priesthood?

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  18. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    MH,

    “By that standard, then Jeremiah, Amos, Isaiah, etc didn’t have proper authority (Tribe of Levi.)”

    No, because you are placing more authority on the Levites than they had. They had the authority to officiate in the Temple. Once it was destroyed, they no longer had any authority to do anything. Today, it is a symbolic office that gets to officiate at the Torah. That’s it. If the Jews had thought so much of the Levites, there may have been a requirement that all Rabbi must be Levites if it really counted for anything.

    Do you think God chose Moses simply because he was a Levite when many Prophets were not? Or, Did God chose Moses and Aaron to build and officiate in the Tabernacle?

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  19. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    If God decide to extend the Levitical Priesthood to “outward” ordinances such as baptism and the sacrament, both of which did not exist among the Jews in the first or second Temple period and give the Priesthood to a non-Levite like Joseph Smith, He can give the Priesthood to any Prophet he calls.

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  20. mh on December 2, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Sure Jeff, I agree. Denver claims God visited him. Why do you reject him as a prophet, while accepting Amos?

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  21. Jeff Spector on December 2, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Because I don’t believe him. And besides, Has he said that God called him as a Prophet?

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  22. log on December 2, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Welcome to the New Mormonism. Whereas before, we had Joseph Smith say this:

    “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.”

    And in the scriptures it says this:

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

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

    Now we can try a man, without correcting him, and without having to use persuasion, long suffering, gentleness and meekness, neither love that ain’t faked, nor kindness and pure knowledge by simply having a member of the Q12 demand, through your local leaders, that you shut the heck up. If you refuse, you are guilty of apostasy, and are to be cast out. Apostasy, as used today and codified in the CHI, means you have fail to do at least one thing your priesthood leader commands, whether those commands are of God or not, whether they are in the scope of the Church’s authority or not.

    Welcome, I say again, to the New Mormonism.

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  23. mh on December 2, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Jeff, you are certainly welcome to disbelieve snuffer. There are many who claim to disbelieve because snuffer has no authority to say anything; to them I say he is not very different from ancient Jewish prophets, so it sounds like we agree on that point.

    No Jeff, I am not aware of Denver claiming to be a prophet. I use the term prophet as like balaam was a prophet, but wasn’t THE prophet.

    Log, while I generally agree with your comment, some will say that the stake president used persuasion for about a year before deciding to excommunicate. Like you, I agree this was an exercise in unrighteous dominion.

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  24. log on December 2, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    The “pure knowledge” bit means you have to be right, and knowingly so.

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  25. SilverRain on December 2, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    MH, are you serious? The Lord didn’t (presumably) tell him because he didn’t (presumably) ask. Why he didn’t ask? According to what YOU quote, because he didn’t want to know. He was happily following the lead of other leaders of the Church. Are you saying you don’t really want to know if Snuffer is truly called of God, and are happy following the testimonies of others?

    Because I doubt that.

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  26. jared91 on December 2, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Denver did a “selfie” excommunication. Church leaders gave him a clear path to maintain his membership. He chose excommunication.

    Denver is complicated. His writings are provocative to the intellect but perplexing to faith. He tells his readers he has seen Christ, and received the 2nd comforter on one hand, then on the other hand he is a one man wrecking machine to the church the Savior restored and he professes to love. I’m relieved that Denver finally exposed for what he is, an enemy to faith and to the LDS church. I hope he will decide who he is and find his way back.

    After all is said and done the church is going forward and many church members are enjoying the promised power and gifts of the Spirit saints in all ages have enjoyed. The promised signs are here.

    There are many church members who testify that they have seen departed spirits come to the temple to observe the ordinance work done in their behalf. Not long ago a sister in my ward testified that she saw a lady from the spirit world enter the baptismal font area of the temple, observe a baptism, and then left with a smile on her face.

    I’ve experienced many manifestations of the Spirit and by the authority of those experiences I am able to testify that the Lord is with His church and and His church leaders.

    It may be that the church needs to be purged and we are witnessing the beginning of the wheat and tares being separated.

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  27. Jared on December 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Correction:

    Denver did a “selfie” excommunication. Church leaders gave him a clear path to maintain his membership. He chose excommunication.

    Denver is complicated. His writings are provocative to the intellect but perplexing to faith. He tells his readers he has seen Christ, and received the 2nd comforter on one hand, then on the other hand he is a one man wrecking machine to the church the Savior restored and he professes to love. I’m relieved that Denver finally exposed for what he is, an enemy to faith and to the LDS church. I hope he will decide who he is and find his way back.

    After all is said and done the church is going forward and many church members are enjoying the promised power and gifts of the Spirit saints in all ages have enjoyed. The promised signs are here.

    There are many church members who testify that they have seen departed spirits come to the temple to observe the ordinance work done in their behalf. Not long ago a sister in my ward testified that she saw a lady from the spirit world enter the baptismal font area of the temple, observe a baptism, and then left with a smile on her face.

    I’ve experienced many manifestations of the Spirit and by the authority of those experiences I am able to testify that the Lord is with His church and and His church leaders.

    It may be that the church needs to be purged and we are witnessing the beginning of the wheat and tares being separated.

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  28. The Brother of Jared on December 3, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    I have given much thought on the excommunication of Denver Snuffer. There really isn’t much difference with what he’s doing and what other men have done when the Lord has called his Church to repentance. I’m thinking of Samuel the Lamonite, Lehi, and other “outsider” prophets. But I’m leaning towards Jeff and SilverRain on whether Snuffer’s teachings are correct. I have had spiritual manifestations and miracles happen in my life through the Church. Despite what I see as troubling cultural artifacts, I know not where else to find the truth.

    I once wanted to read Snuffer’s “Receiving the Second Comforter”. But with his writing on “Passing the Heavenly Gift” my interest has waned. I see no point to read the words of a man who inevitably disagrees with my faith so fundamentally. I don’t believe that my faith will be broken or rocked. I just don’t need the week of darkness like I experienced when I read “An Insiders’ View of Mormon History”. Light and love broke thru, but the darkness was agonizing.

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  29. MH on December 3, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Silverrain,

    Your response sounds suspiciously like “don’t confuse me with the facts.” What I quoted came from Grant’s personal journal, the First Presidency and Q12 minutes, and people who knew Grant personally. These should be considered reliable sources. I won’t bother taking you seriously any more if you don’t want to address things reasonably. If your brand of spirituality requires me to flush my intellect down the drain, well, I guess I will never succeed in your kind of spirituality. I’m perfectly happy with mine, thank you, and I am highly skeptical of your overconfident sense of self.

    Jared, I couldn’t tell what you corrected. Was it just your name?

    Bro of Jared, can you tell me exactly where Snuffer “disagrees with [your] faith so fundamentally”? Because I find just the opposite. Snuffer is an absolutely believing ex-member.

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  30. The Brother of Jared on December 3, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    MH, based on your excellent summary of PtHG, Denver Snuffer holds the current Church as in apostasy. My faith dictates that the Church is not in apostasy. These are fundamental disagreements, are they not?

    I had a faith crises when reading about the Temple endowment online. God answered my prayers and eased my mind on that subject. When I read “An Insiders’ View of Mormon History”, again, troubling questions darkened my mind. Pray, meditation, and pondering the scriptures led to answers from my Father in Heaven. Each time I asked not just if Joseph was right, but if the Church today and its leaders were right. And so far, the answers have been “yes”. The answers have been “your in the right place”.

    My faith tells me the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in correct and the Gospel of Jesus Christ it carries is true. Denver Snuffer seems to say that it (the Church) and its leaders are in apostasy and not correct. So we aren’t a fundamental disagreement with our faith. If I’m misinterpreting what you wrote, MH, please let me know.

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  31. Brian on December 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    “It may be that the church needs to be purged and we are witnessing the beginning of the wheat and tares being separated.”

    Yes, Jared, there can be little doubt that the cute little band of active Mormons, 5 million out of 7 billion people on the planet, is being purged of the evil therein so that when the second coming happens all true believers can fit on a thimble.

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  32. Jeff Spector on December 3, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    MH,

    ” I use the term prophet as like balaam was a prophet, but wasn’t THE prophet”

    You might want to consider he is more like Korihor…….

    Also, I think we can agree that the canon of scripture was determined for a particular reason and may not exactly represent whom the Lord considers his most important Prophets.

    But, I would never consider Snuffer and Amos having any equivalency whatsoever.

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  33. The Brother of Jared on December 3, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Jeff, if anything, Denver Snuffer feels more like a Lehi or Adinodi. He’s saying the Gospel is true but the leaders have fallen. I don’t see any point calling him a Korihor. He doesn’t deny Christ or even say that the Church is nothing but foolish traditions that need to be stopped. He simply says that the Church is wrong and needs to be corrected.

    Do I believe the Church is wrong? No. Do I think Denver Snuffer is abominable? No. Was it right for the Church to excommunicate him? Yes, he took his personal view of the Church’s apostasy and published it at cross purposes to his Church.

    But if he believes God commanded him to do this thing, then who am I to condemn him. If his words are the words of men then they can be ignored. But if they are the words of God, then they will bare fruit eventually and we can judge them therewith.

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  34. MH on December 3, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Jeff, where is Snuffer like Korihor? I’d like a scripture reference to see the similarities.

    Bro of Jared, I think it is without dispute that some apostasy exists in the church. For example, we do not live the Law of Conscecration, nor the United Order. We live the lower law of Tithing instead. This is beyond dispute.

    The bigger question is whether God has rejected us as a church. I’m not quite willing to go as far as Snuffer on that point, but he does bring a very unsettling point of view, and I’m not sure that his views aren’t incorrect. It’s something that I will have to consider. Nauvoo is the only temple that was destroyed by fire and tornado. That fact should not be taken lightly, and I think Snuffer’s interpretation deserves further study. On my blog, another commenter mentioned that this interpretation has been the historical proposition of the RLDS Church, so that needs to be taken into account as well. I was not familiar with this interpretation, and I don’t have a better explanation for why the Nauvoo Temple was destroyed. Certainly Divine wrath should not be dismissed without exploration.

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  35. The Brother of Jared on December 3, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    MH, the point about tithing is a good one. We did lose access to the higher law due to stiffneckedness and disobedience. But the loss of higher blessings doesn’t mean total apostasy. Nor a renunciation from God.

    Again, your comment about the Nauvoo temples utter destruction raises questions. But I’ve always held the opinion that the Lord was destroying his house so it was not profaned. Of course, now that I wrote that sentence, my mind leaps to the still standing Kirtland temple.

    The question then remains, are we the Isrealites, wandering for 40 years with Moses? Or are we the Nephites under King Noah?

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  36. Jared on December 3, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    #30 MH-just my name.

    By the way, I appreciate the work you put into this post. I started to read PTHG but the holidays and other things side tracked me. I’m currently reading a borrowed copy of Mormon’s Codex, by John Sorenson. I don’t know if I will do much more with PTHG.

    I agree with what the Brother of Jared wrote about spending time in the shadows by reading certain material. It’s like eating forbidden fruit in some ways. I’ve tried to be familiar with as much of the anti material as possible because of the way I was introduced to it in the early 1970′s. I believe the Lord exposed me to it for a variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean I need to drown myself in anti material. Or in the case of Denver, a blend of truth and doubt that is more destructive to faith for some than anti material.

    I continually urge church members to pay the price of acquiring a faith that is sufficient to withstand the B&S(ins) of this generation.

    In my case, the Lord gave me an Enos experience before I encountered all the church history and doctrine issues that are trying members today. My experience came about because I was driven to my knees by difficult circumstances. After wrestling with the Lord in prayer for many days the Lord responded to my pleadings as He did with Enos and the people of king Benjamin.

    I encourage those who are troubled by events and issues in their life to turn to the Lord and wrestle in prayer until they obtain an answer.

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  37. jonnylingo4 on December 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Mormon 8, 2 Nephi 28, 3 Nephi 16 all speak to the condition that we as a latter day saints are in. We are the gentiles spoken of in many of the bofm scriptures. Joseph said we as saints are identified as gentiles in D&c 109. The bofm and D&C condemn us because LDS have taken it lightly. Until we read it for what it actually says we will continue to boast of how great and chosen we are. It was given to us in mercy by a God who lives us. Look at Moroni 9:1 the promise was given to the Latter day Lamanite remnant. The question is why would God in his mercy allow us who are not the bofm remnant receive the record? Is he trying to grant us the opportunity to repent and connect with heaven. Perhaps one day a few of the LDS gentiles will repent and fulfill their role spoken of in the bofm.

    The restoration is not complete. Joseph was attempting to restore the ancient order of the priesthood. That is something much different than a new testament church. The apostolic church we have was merely one step or phase in the journey of walking back to things as they were when Adam was on this earth. The religion of the ancients must be restored. That same priesthood that was had in the beginning must also be here in the end.

    Snuffer is merely showing us that the religion we have is not the same as the one in Grants day, Young’s day, and that those forms of Mormonism are not the same as the one actually restored by Joseph Smith.

    What if Snuffer is being honest in his witness? What would that mean if you rejected it? I have never heard someone living so boldly declare that Christ lives because they have seen him. Those who have the witness are commanded to declare so that others might have faith in Christ. The scriptures,lectures on faith, the life of Joseph and all other prophets declare this pattern. Since Snuffer has declared his witness we can test it and come to know from the Lord if his witness is true.

    I know that the gospel restored is true. It is much more satisfying than our correlated Sunday school gospel. All is not well in Zion we have wandered far astray from our latter day law giver(Joseph smith D&C 5:8-10;21:4-6;28:2-7;43:1-7). We have not given heed to his words and as Joseph feilding smith said we the LDS have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant (Deseret News, Oct. 17,1836).We have altered and discarded much of what God gave us through Joseph. Blessings and cursings come through accepting or neglecting what has been given to us through Joseph(D&C 5:5;24:3-6;41:12;43:10). We have been commanded directly by the Lord to pay heed to the words Joseph gave us. The Lord has told us that they are His words to us. No other president of the church has received that endorsement from the Lord. Why?

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  38. Will on December 3, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    All,

    I think what is missing here is a discussion on attitude and how that relates to excommunication.

    To me it is pointless in excommunicating someone with an unrepentant attitude. The church should just leave them alone and if they want taken off the records of the church, they should grant them that request with no questions. The exception would include someone that is trying to cause harm to the church – they are on a smear campaign. In this case, they should be cast out (which is different than excommunication). Effectively, they are booted out.

    Excommunication is for those that have lost communion with God and are seeking his repentance. It is a blessing. It is a way to be born again. It is a reset button for the serious sinner.

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  39. tomirvine999 on December 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    I take no position on Denver. But the LDS Church is under condemnation to the extent that its members treat the Book of Mormon lightly.

    President Ezra Taft Benson declared:

    In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84:54–57).

    If the early Saints were rebuked for treating the Book of Mormon lightly, are we under any less condemnation if we do the same? The Lord Himself bears testimony that it is of eternal significance. Can a small number of us bring the whole Church under condemnation because we trifle with sacred things? What will we say at the Judgment when we stand before Him and meet His probing gaze if we are among those described as forgetting the new covenant?

    President Ezra Taft Benson, The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion, Ensign, November 1986.

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  40. John Mansfield on December 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    How does Denver Snuffer deal with Heber J. Grant’s Feb. 1883 experience in Arizona that he described in the Oct. 1918 General Conference?

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  41. Justin on December 3, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    John:

    I think the real question would be — what does Heber’s experience have anything to do with Denver seeing the Lord face-to-face and then writing about that …

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  42. Jeff Spector on December 3, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    MH,

    “Jeff, where is Snuffer like Korihor? I’d like a scripture reference to see the similarities.”

    “Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.” Alma 30:12

    “….And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words.” Alma 30:23

    and finally,

    “But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore if thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more.” Alma 30:47

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  43. Nate on December 3, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Mormon Heretic, to me it sounds like, from your review, that Denver Snuffer is a bit of a trouble maker. His thesis, in it’s final analysis, it’s something we all agree on:

    “The church still has a Divine commission … {and} are performing sacred and authorized ceremonies….It is a restored blueprint to accomplish it….Even if part of the blueprint has been removed, and unnecessary additions are now scribbled on them, the plan still remains in the church…..Any earthly institution will be riddled with human failings….That is to be expected…..Withdrawing from fellowship in the church interferes with redemption.”

    This is all stuff that the apostles would agree with. None of them claim to be as great as Joseph Smith, and would probably admit that everyone, from the top down, is living below their priviledges, inasmuch as we are all imperfect. None of them say that we have the absolute “fullness,” like the prophesied Church of the Firstborn in the Celestial Kingdom. None of them would claim that the form of the church is perfect and unchangeable.

    So the general thesis of the book is completely orthodox. Plus Snuffer wants everyone to stay in the church. Then he says that the current church is destined to have less than a “fulness” anyway, according to prophesy, so why cry repentance if the leaders are simply fulfilling their preordained roles as “lesser” prophetic figures than Joseph Smith?

    Snuffer could have said everything in his book with a slightly different tone, and the leaders would have loved it. They would have loved the exhortation to greater spiritual devotion. They would have been glad to hear that we can expect even more “fullness” in the future, and that we should aspire to it. They would even be glad to hear that the church is in a different “phase” than Joseph Smith’s day, and would readily agree that this phase is more about consolidation and simplification for a more global outreach, but perhaps with less of a “fullness” that will perhaps come later.

    But instead, Snuffer takes on a tone of self-righteous condemnation, as if he is revealing some great evil that has arisen in the church, and lifting the veils of darkness from the eyes of the blind followers of misguided leaders who have strayed from the “fullness.”

    Why do that? What’s the point? When it could have all been said in a consilatory and respectful manner. The point is that Denver doesn’t want to be just another BYU Education Week cheerleader. He wants to be a prophet, crying in the wilderness. He has a martyr complex.

    And for what? For whose salvation? Who is going to come closer to Christ by becoming obsessed by the fact that our leaders don’t have a “fullness?” Who is going to have a richer spiritual life by understanding that the church is “fallen?” All this is for nothing. Just to get himself pointlessly excommunicated, and eventual oblivion.

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  44. MH on December 3, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Jeff, I loved your post on Proof Texting at Mormon Matters. Your comment 42 is Exhibit A on how to proof text BADLY.

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  45. brjones on December 3, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    As someone with no rooting interest on either side, I find this debate fascinating. It seems that most of the comments here fall into one of two broad categories. A) Snuffer is an apostate who openly flouted church policies on apostasy, and defied months of direction as to how he could save his church membership, and therefore deserved his excommunication; and B) Snuffer is asking appropriate and valid questions, and whether he’s ultimately right or wrong, his excommunication was an overreach by church authorities, which may fly in the face of at least the spirit of fellowship preached by Joseph Smith and the early church.

    Any time the issues of apostasy and internal questioning of authority arise in this venue, I continue to have the same question that I can’t seem to get an answer to. I understand logically the position that internal skepticism or questioning or prodding or whatever you want to call it can be appropriate and can even potentially lead to revelation for the church and changes in policies and doctrines for the betterment of the church membership. I think it’s inescapable, though, that any time a person puts forth the position that the church or its leaders are wrong, they are unequivocally evidencing a lack of faith and belief in the divinity of that individual’s calling, or at least the messages they or he are receiving. When a person (in this case Snuffer) pits themselves directly against church authority (and Authorities), it goes without saying that there’s no objective, provable way to know whether he’s right or the church authorities are right – but they can’t both be right. And to the extent that the church’s policy on apostasy and church discipline, as well as the manner in which they are carried out, come from the first presidency, I agree with the comment above that stated that either Snuffer is a prophet or Thomas Monson is a prophet, but they can’t both be prophets. So my big question is this: if you’re a member of the LDS church, and you TRULY believe that the brethren are called of god and speak for him to the earth, then there’s no justification for mounting any defense of Snuffer, based either on his claims or on his treatment as an apostate. This seems undeniable to me. And if you feel that the church is out of the way on this issue (or the Ordain Women issue, or any other issue dealing with authority and the church’s treatment of any particular doctrine), then I would submit that you don’t TRULY believe that the brethren are called of god and speak for him to the earth. At best your belief is equivocal. Thomas Monson either takes his direction from god, in whatever form you believe that comes, and then passes that direction down to the membership through priesthood stewardship, or he does not. Period. And if you believe he does, then I think it is unsupportable to take sides with Snuffer, or any other apostate person or group, against the church.

    I think these seemingly complicated issues of authority and apostasy that are so often debated here really come down to simple issues of faith and belief. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with coming down on the side of unbelief or lack of faith. It’s just interesting to me that so many people seem unable or unwilling to acknowledge that that is even an element of the position they’re espousing. If you believe and have faith that church leaders take their direction from god, then you’ll at least try to believe and have faith in that direction. If you refuse or are hesitant to support that direction, then you have to acknowledge a lack of belief or faith in the divine nature of their callings or the guidance they’re receiving. I think this is irrefutable.

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  46. hawkgrrrl on December 3, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    brjones: I think the Snuffer question is more about how we view personal revelation vs. organizational revelation. Do we think that God speaks to individuals (or Jesus visits them) when they claim it or do we think that God only works through the organization? Also, what is the role of questioning among the members? As I’ve said before, I don’t know if Denver did or didn’t see Jesus. If so, I have to think that’s a more than ample consolation prize.

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  47. brjones on December 3, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I get that, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Everyone is free to decide for themselves how the process works. But everyone is not free to determine the program of the church, and I don’t think that’s how the church believes the process works. The doctrine of stewardship does not allow for a member to receive revelation for any person over whom he or she does not have stewardship, and it certainly does not allow for him to receive revelation for the entire church. There are individuals who have had that given to them, and those are the general authorities, who then delegate the directives of the lord to their priesthood subordinates. This is the church program. Again, every individual is free to accept or reject this paradigm, but you can’t reject it and then turn around and claim to believe in and support the church program and sustain your leaders. Those two things are mutually exclusive, in my opinion. Let me reiterate that I don’t think those questioning authority or doctrine are doing anything remotely wrong. It’s just interesting to me that people seem to want to question church leaders and doctrine on issues they personally find offensive, but insist that they fully support their ecclesiastical leaders. To operate this way completely strips the concepts of “sustain” and “apostasy” of any meaning. I think those words do have meaning. If you sustain your leaders, you will sustain your leaders. If you act like an apostate, you’re an apostate.

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  48. MH on December 3, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    brjones, what is wrong with equivocating on faith? I don’t see it nearly as either/or (black and white) as you do. IOW, I don’t see my positions as mutually exclusive as you do.

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  49. brjones on December 3, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    MH, I don’t see anything wrong with it. In fact, I personally I am much more in alignment with people who lack or equivocate on faith. My observation is that many LDS members clearly do equivocate on or lack faith, but don’t want to be perceived that way. And I don’t think equivocation or lack of faith are at all mutually exclusive to membership in the church. But I do think that the church gets to decide how it defines supporting or sustaining one’s church leaders, and I think it’s disingenuous for a person to attempt to redefine those terms while maintaining that they’re still complying with the program of the church. Just because a person insists he or she is not dabbling in apostasy does not make it so. In the context of the LDS church, the church decides what is and what isn’t apostasy. And frankly, even if Snuffer did see Jesus, he’s still an apostate by LDS church standards.

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  50. log on December 4, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    if you’re a member of the LDS church, and you TRULY believe that the brethren are called of god and speak for him to the earth, then there’s no justification for mounting any defense of Snuffer, based either on his claims or on his treatment as an apostate.

    Oddly, there is a scriptural justification for doing precisely that.

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  51. brjones on December 4, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    The new testament, even the JST, is irrelevant to this conversation. The church claims to be led by continuing revelation. What god says to his servants today trumps anything he said to his servants yesterday, let alone thousands of years ago. You bring my point into clear focus, log. You’re searching ancient scripture for a justification for disregarding what the prophets are saying today. Do you not see how this demonstrates a lack of faith in the prophetic mantle of modern leaders? If god’s modern prophets declare that god wants his gospel on earth run by organizational revelation, and not by individual revelation, then it is wholly irrelevant that in the past he allowed for personal revelation to trump organizational. Either you accept that the prophets are prophets, in which case you follow them, or you don’t, in which case you won’t, and you’ll most likely look for justifications as to why it’s ok that you’re not.

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  52. jonnylingo4 on December 4, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Yes snuffer was excommunicated because the views and opinions put forth in PTHG were heretical. They were not apostate. There is a difference between the two.

    Those who believe that the leaders of the church have the fulness of the priesthood and that the church is led by revelation would be considered orthodox.

    Those who believe that their is scriptural,historical,and spiritual reasons to doubt in the above would be considered heretical by those who are orthodox. So should these heretics be labeled as apostates because of their opinions?

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  53. log on December 4, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    The new testament, even the JST, is irrelevant to this conversation.

    Scripture is binding upon every member of the Church, from the lowest to the highest, and this by common consent. You greatly err.

    The church claims to be led by continuing revelation.

    It does claim that.

    What god says to his servants today trumps anything he said to his servants yesterday, let alone thousands of years ago.

    You greatly err.

    You’re searching ancient scripture for a justification for disregarding what the prophets are saying today.

    Your presumption is amusing.

    Do you not see how this demonstrates a lack of faith in the prophetic mantle of modern leaders?

    What it demonstrates is that I’m not a proto-Catholic, having a proper understanding of what a prophet actually is. I fail to see the merit to a Mormon Papacy. Popes and priests were not so much God’s plan as someone else’s.

    If god’s modern prophets declare that god wants his gospel on earth run by organizational revelation, and not by individual revelation, then it is wholly irrelevant that in the past he allowed for personal revelation to trump organizational.

    I am not so concerned with what any man says; I am concerned solely with what God says. The scriptures are binding upon all members of the Church, by common consent, for reproof and doctrine, and the Spirit attends those who diligently serve God, who receive revelations, whereas those who “follow the Prophet” have darkened minds, according to the explicit teachings of Joseph Smith.

    President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.

    And Brigham Young weighed in.

    “There are those among this people who are influenced, controlled, and biased in their thoughts, actions, and feelings by some other individual or family, on whom they place their dependence for spiritual and temporal instruction, and for salvation in the end. These persons do not depend upon themselves for salvation, but upon another of their poor, weak, fellow mortals. I do not depend upon any inherent goodness of my own, say they, to introduce me into the kingdom of glory, but I depend upon you, brother Joseph, upon you, brother Brigham, upon you, brother Heber, or upon you, brother James; I believe your judgment is superior to mine, and consequently I let you judge for me; your spirit is better than mine, therefore you can do good for me; I will submit myself wholly to you, and place in you all my confidence for life and salvation; where you go I will go, and where you tarry there I will stay; expecting that you will introduce me through the gates into the heavenly Jerusalem….Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them, They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course.” – (Brigham Young, presented in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on February 20, 1853, found in Journal of Discourses, 1:312)

    Those who trust in men are cursed, even if the men trusted in are prophets.

    Jeremiah 17:5
    5 ¶Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

    The Lord repeated this.

    JST, Mark 9:44
    44 Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another.

    Either you accept that the prophets are prophets, in which case you follow them, or you don’t, in which case you won’t, and you’ll most likely look for justifications as to why it’s ok that you’re not.

    I accept they are prophets, for varying definitions of “prophets.”

    When I see men preaching faith on men, I know they are perverting the ways of the Lord, having darkened minds, teaching error for truth, and denying the Lord they vainly claim to serve.

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  54. SilverRain on December 4, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    MH, you are making no sense to me. I quote God’s ample promises that if you want to know and ask if someone is speaking truly as his prophet, He will answer. You counter with “what about this prophet who didn’t want an answer, so didn’t receive one.” I point out that you answered your own question when you asked it, and now I’m rejecting facts, overblown with myself, etc.?

    I assure you, the conversation you are apparently having is with a figment of your imagination and in no way reflects anything I’ve said. I think perhaps you thought you were asking about those who truly seek an answer and don’t find it, (which has to be taken case by case) but that isn’t what you asked. Obviously you think I was refuting President Grant’s experiences as quoted and interpreted by you, but I saw nothing to refute.

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  55. John Mansfield on December 4, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    I’m a bit mystified why Justin above thinks my question was not a real question that needed to be replaced with his question which he esteemed more highly. To repeat, my question directed to those familiar with Denver Snuffer’s analysis of Heber J. Grant’s spiritual qualifications is: How does Denver Snuffer deal with Heber J. Grant’s Feb. 1883 experience in Arizona that he described in the Oct. 1918 General Conference?

    I wouldn’t think it needs elaboration why this is a real question, but since it may for some, in the quotes above Denver Snuffer dismisses Heber J. Grant as a businessman who fled from spiritual experience. Heber J. Grant, on the other hand, portrayed himself as a young apostle who four months into the call was miserable because he hadn’t seen the Savior and wondered if he should resign his calling, and then had a vision of the Savior with he compared to Lehi’s.

    It would be interesting in relation to how Denver Snuffer’s analysis works to hear how he worked the 1883 incident into it. Perhaps he dealt with it as Justin above.

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  56. SilverRain on December 4, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    Hawkgrrl, I don’t see your 46 as either/or. I believe individuals if they claim to have seen Christ based on their fruits and on spiritual confirmation, and I believe the leadership structure of the Church still has THE authority to direct the affairs of the Church. I don’t believe Snuffer saw what he claims. But I know the Twelve are lead by God, and that some, at least, are intimately and personally acquainted with the Savior. For me, there is no doubt on that front.

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  57. SilverRain on December 4, 2013 at 5:31 AM

    Thank you, John Mansfield. :)

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  58. MH on December 4, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    John, I don’t have the book with me, but I don’t recall Snuffer ever addressing this vision of Heber J. Grant. Do you have a link so I could see what you are referring to?

    Silverrain, I’m tired of playing games with you. We’ve plowed this ground before. You have zero explanation for why some people have spiritual experiences while other don’t. I’ve prayed for spiritual experiences, and haven’t received anything you claim to have had. I HAVE ASKED. God didn’t give anything to me. Lots of people have asked, and God has seemingly returned a stone. It happens to lots of people. Spencer W. Kimball asked why God didn’t take him sooner when he was having brain bleeding. God was silent. For you to pompously claim that you have personal access to God and Snuffer doesn’t, well, I just do not believe you. Your answers are far from humble on this topic, and I greatly question everything you say. I’ve tried to be nice to you to this point, but I am absolutely tired of your word games and obfuscating. Put up or shut up.

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  59. Jeff Spector on December 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    MH,

    “Jeff, I loved your post on Proof Texting at Mormon Matters. Your comment 42 is Exhibit A on how to proof text BADLY.”

    You’re a very smart guy and I actually know you have the ability to see parallelism when it is there. I wasn’t proof texting those verses as proof that Snuffer is Korihor.” I simply quoted those selected verse to show how I thought he was “like” Korihor” in preaching against the authority of the Brethren or the fallen Church or however you want to put it.(while Korihor preached against Christ).

    The fact is he put himself at odds with the Brethren by public teaching his own ideas. We are free to believe anything we wish. When we start to teach it to others in opposition to counsel from our Leaders, we are in apostasy. It’s pure and simple from my viewpoint.

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  60. Jeff Spector on December 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    BTW, I did buy the book to read for myself…..

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  61. Mormon Heretic on December 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Jeff, You’re a smart guy. It’s bad proof texting, plain and simple.

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  62. brjones on December 4, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Log, I’m actually not proposing that you’re wrong. What I’m proposing is that your position is not in line with the program of the LDS church, which maintains that the right to receive revelation only applies to those over whom one is given stewardship, and that the stewardship for the church and mankind generally is given only to the general authorities of the church. Which leads me to my ultimate question. Without making assumptions about anyone’s individual affiliation or beliefs, I simply don’t understand why someone who believes the way log does (that an individual may receive revelation contrary to the brethren and the church) would ever want to be a member of a church that explicitly denies the right to such revelation, and threatens discipline for those who claim it. I’m baffled by this.

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  63. Jared on December 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    SilverRain, et al,

    Don’t let MH’s bluster get to you.

    I’ve been trying to understand, from the scriptures, why some people don’t connect spiritually and therefore don’t have the kind of manifestations of the Spirit others have.

    I also observe people I know well: family, ward members, and friends.

    My dad is one example, he never joined the church. When I asked him why he wouldn’t allow me to teach him what I taught on my church mission, he told me he thought there might be something to Mormonism, but he didn’t want to know about it. That way he would not be as responsible for his worldly ways.

    I enjoy reading most of MH post. He is a creative thinker, researcher, and communicates well. I also appreciate his candor about his lack of Spiritual experiences. I accept what church members say about their lack of Spiritual manifestations. However, I always encourage them to keep trying because many of those who do eventually have a break through.

    I was surprised to learn that S Michael Wilcox had a very difficult time acquiring a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It’s an interesting read.

    Here is a link to his experience.

    http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com/2013/11/noted-mormon-writer-s-michael-wilcoxs-struggle-to-gain-a-testimony-of-the-book-of-mormon/

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  64. log on December 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    I am curious though, why those who believe in a papacy don’t join the churches already established on that model.

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

    54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—

    58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

    59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

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  65. brjones on December 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Jared, it’s a little disingenuous to say you accept church members’ claims about their lack of spiritual experiences and then provide a helpful example of someone who consciously avoided receiving such experiences because he didn’t want the responsibility. I think it’s clear that you don’t believe members who claim they’ve done everything they could to receive a manifestation and yet have received nothing. It’s ok for you to feel that anyone who hasn’t received an answer must be doing something wrong, but you should just be up front about it.

    I personally have struggled to understand why some people claim to have received spiritual manifestations, when I have discovered conclusively that there is no god. I believe these people have seen what they say they’ve seen, but I can’t square it with what I know. It reminds me of a guy I knew who bore powerful testimony of personal visitations and witnesses. Some time later I learned he had been institutionalized as a delusional schizophrenic.

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  66. brjones on December 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Log, are you suggesting the LDS church operates on the model you are advocating? I think quotes from the CHI are more illustrative on this point than scriptural quotes. Even those from the BofM.

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  67. Jared on December 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    brjones-

    Good luck with your chosen path.

    I believe Heavenly Father gave us agency. We are free to choose our course. My dad had many wonderful qualities and I’m confident that he will be happy with his place in the next life. And with just a few exceptions all of God’s children will be in a Kingdom of Glory.

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  68. Jeff Spector on December 4, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    “Jeff, You’re a smart guy. It’s bad proof texting, plain and simple.”

    Ooh, good answer.

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  69. brjones23 on December 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    You know I love you, Jared.

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  70. Mormon Heretic on December 4, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Jeff I was going to ignore you, but now I’ll bite.

    Korihor was an atheist. Snuffer claims to have seen Jesus Christ himself. BIG DIFFERENCE #1.

    “Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.” Alma 30:12

    Snuffer takes the prophecies in the Bible, BoM, and D&C very SERIOUSLY, Korihor did not. BIG DIFFERENCE #2.

    ….And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words.” Alma 30:23

    Snuffer does not call the prophecies of the BoM “foolish”. He says JUST THE OPPOSITE. Snuffer says that we should respect “ordinances and performances” of the modern LDS Church. He does not call them FOOLISH like KORIHOR did. Snuffer says that Jesus submitted to the authority of the Jews, just as he is submitting to the authority of the LDS Church. BIG DIFFERENCE #3.

    “But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore if thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more.” Alma 30:47

    When did Snuffer get struck dumb, never to open his mouth again? Has Snuffer been trampled under foot? BIG DIFFERENCE #4.

    Ok Jeff. I take it back. You’re not a smart guy. This proof text is UNBELIEVABLY BAD. If you seriously can’t see that, you’re not a smart guy. (You asked for it, smarty pants.) Now I will ignore you, and any further comments you make.

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  71. Jeff Spector on December 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    MH,

    You’re right, I am not very smart for even starting up with this….

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  72. log on December 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Log, are you suggesting the LDS church operates on the model you are advocating?

    No, because If it were, we would not be under condemnation as a church, and we would not be destroyed at the coming of the Lord as he has said he will do.

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

    JST Matthew 21
    55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

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

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

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

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

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

    The papists among us are leading us towards a very sticky end.

    2 Nephi 28:32
    32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

    The Church no longer operates according to revelation, neither scripture, but, as you point out, the CHI. The Lord has not spoken to the body of the Church in his own voice since January 7, 1847, and, as President Hinckley said, we don’t need much revelation anymore. We abide the scriptural directives just as well as the US abides the Constitution. We are no longer ruled by constitutional law (scripture) but case law (the CHI).

    Oh well. Them’s the times we be livin’ in.

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  73. log on December 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    2 Nephi 28
    1 And now, behold, my brethren, I have spoken unto you, according as the Spirit hath constrained me; wherefore, I know that they must surely come to pass.

    2 And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel.

    3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

    4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.

    5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

    6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

    7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

    8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

    9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

    10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.

    11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.

    12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

    13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.

    14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

    15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

    16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.

    17 But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.

    18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.

    19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;

    20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

    21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

    22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

    23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.

    24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

    25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!

    26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

    27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!

    28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.

    29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

    30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

    31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

    He’s talking about us.

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  74. brjones on December 4, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Thanks for the clarification, Log. Without addressing the issue of the church being under condemnation, I think we’re in agreement about the program of the modern church. I think reasonable minds can differ about whether that program is right or wrong, good or bad. My original comment was about people within the church who maintain that their fundamental disagreements with church hierarchy and the methods by which they choose to voice those disagreements, are in line with the program of the modern church. I again submit that they are not.

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  75. Rigel Hawthorne on December 4, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    When Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, etc spoke against the Lord’s anointed, should they have been excommunicated?
    MH, I don’t consider myself to be a scriptorian, but this argument is not connecting dots for me. If you correct my implications, please be gentle. Is it not the case when you are referencing the above prophets, that the anointed they were speaking against were kings? If you were to compare Denver to Isaiah, we would need to be under the rule of a monarch that was anointed by a prophet for the comparison to be relevant.
    I know some people would consider the Utah government to have no separation between church and state, but even so, I don’t think you can compare President Monson to ‘King Saul’. If you were to compare Denver being a prophet outside of organized priestly authority, and speaking against an anointed prophet, it would be like Alma receiving a witness from the teachings of Abinadi and then going on to speak against Mosiah as not having the authority of God. Or it would be like Alma the Younger being called by the angel to repentance and then writing books outlining how his father was an apostate prophet. I am not recalling a prophet speaking against a prophet, the exception being Jesus Christ, if you consider his messianic mission a living prophet being rejected by established church—although it is arguable that there was not a prophet within the established church at that time.
    In some ways I think you could compare this situation to Alma 1, where Nehor began preaching ‘that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church.’ I know that you would argue that this does not fit because unlike Nehor, Denver’s preaching is not for money and is not for popularity. I do not know Denver’s heart and cannot say that his preaching to be for ‘sake of …honor,’ as Alma describes being the case with many who were usurping the role of Alma as spokesman for the church of God. It seems, however, that he seems to be wearing his church discipline, to some extent, as a badge of honor.
    There were many of Joseph Smith’s confidantes who felt that he lost the prophetic gift, and as they began to assert that, they were excommunicated. If Joseph acted against God’s will by organizing and administering the endowment in the Red Brick Store, rather than waiting for the temple, then he did fall outside of his prophetic gift and the first phase of the church should be terminated with that action, rather than by his death.
    I think it is off the mark. The dedication of the Kirtland Temple was the capping of a pentacostal era, a time when there were many heavenly manifestations. It was said that although the Nauvoo temple was more costly in dollars, that the Kirtland temple was far more costly in sacrifice. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.
    I think the Lord would accept a quiet dedicatory prayer in the attic of a temple just as much as one given in a full dedicatory session. If you were to ask the church members who received their endowments and sealings in the Nauvoo temple if the receipt of those ordinances was received with the outpouring of spiritual manifestations, I believe they would answer yes. Alma (the elder) repented of his sinful life as an associate of King Noah by submersing himself in the water with his first ‘baptizee. ‘ There are so many things we could say are wrong with that action, but it was acceptable before the Lord in that situation.
    Denver argues that each of the so called phases of the church is evidence that the church is moving farther into apostasy. One could easily argue the opposite– that the action of the church leadership was the guided response to a problem the church was facing at the time. The placement of one who knew how to acquire capital was a solution to the urgent need for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth quickly in preparation for the second coming. Why is capital necessary? Well, why did Joseph need to work with Pharoah to obtain 7 years of grain, when Joseph’s family could have lived on manna from heaven, like the children of Israel.
    The existence of the CHI, likewise, is a tool for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth quickly. We have a situation where the leadership of the church needs to progress from new convert to temple presidency within 30 years, and this is to be trusted into the hands of local lay leadership.
    What he claims is losing our ambition to be ‘independent above all creatures’ could simply be the need to shed our wearing of our ‘coat of many colors’ as the ‘chosen one’, which was a stumbling block to those who were seeking a gospel of Jesus Christ as being Christ’s living, dying, and living again with all else being an appendage unto it.
    Many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants are personal blessings or records of ‘setting aparts’. There is much duplication of wording. The tradition of having each blessing given by a prophet recorded and canonized could have been continued, and we could likely learn from that heavenly language, but our scriptures would be unwieldy. If the Lord wanted the revelation given to President Kimball transcribed in the manner of the revelations in Phase 1, that direction could have been given, but I trust that He has a wise purpose in not doing that. I believe if the blessing given to Elizabeth Smart by President Hinckley after her return from that horrific kidnapping had been recorded and canonized, we, likewise, would be able to learn much from the wording, but such actions have not taken place, and I trust that He has a wise purpose for this.
    I will not attempt to change your mind, MH, on your feeling that the excommunication was wrong and that the SP exercised unrighteous dominion. I know that is your resolution, and as brothers in the gospel, I agree to disagree in the spirit of non-contention. I do see the narrative from the excerpts as a gentle persuasion to change the perspective of well-intentioned readers subtly. I offer my words as the alternative of clinging to what some would consider ‘gullible and naïve’. Trust me, I have times where staying the course is difficult without more ‘meat’. I have my pride issues where I do not want to be the one clinging to the rod when being mocked by those who would lump me in with the gullible and naïve. Nevertheless, I find that I can see the Savior as much in some serving as Nursery Leader as I can in those speaking over the general conference pulpit, and that submissive humility seems to be a critical key. I wish Denver continued light and fellowship in his chosen path outside of church membership. I hope that if feels the call to rejoin the church, he will utilize that key.

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  76. MH on December 5, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Is it not the case when you are referencing the above prophets, that the anointed they were speaking against were kings?

    Rigel you are right, but these ancient kings were “the Lord’s anointed.” Remember that ancient Israel held judges for a long time, but the people wanted a king. The prophet Samuel literally anointed with oil (as in “the Lord’s anointed”) Saul to be the king. David was similarly anointed. All subsequent kings were anointed by a religious authority and were seen as God’s choice as king. Now obviously some kings were wicked (Rehoboam, Jereboam, to name a few), so some prophets (outsider prophets like Amos) called these kings to repentance. Sometimes it worked great, as when the prophet Nathan called David to repentance over Uriah. Sometimes it didn’t work out so well. Jeremiah was jailed. Isaiah was sawn in half. Calling out a king, who believed he was “the Lord’s anointed” was a risky proposition in a theocracy like ancient Israel. King’s often appointed priests, and sometimes performed sacrifice (Saul offered sacrifice incorrectly: it is better to obey than to sacrifice.)

    We don’t have a theocracy (not even in Utah), so it is a little harder to make a parallel here in the modern day, but I was picking those prophets in particular because they spoke wildly unpopular things against the power structure of the day, and they were in fact executed or jailed (a severe form of excommunication I argue), for speaking against “the Lord’s anointed.” Amos wasn’t even a member of the Northern Kingdom, so he was a real outsider, and didn’t come from an apostolic line of succession as in the modern LDS Church. I see Amos and Denver as very similar outsider prophets–outside the traditional prophetic line. They were prophets because God called them to be–not because they lived the longest.

    Many of the ancient kings tried to get Israel to worship idols. Many ancient kings married non-Israeli wives (Solomon, Ahab to name a few.) Prophets such as Elijah were sent to exile (excommunicated) for calling out the “Lord’s anointed.”

    We don’t consider government leaders as “the Lord’s anointed” (except that Will thinks Reagan is the Lord’s anointed, while Obama is Satan’s spawn). Our government is not a theocracy like ancient Israel. “The Lord’s anointed” is simply a religious, not governmental term. Religious leaders have no power to execute anymore, so they have to rely on the next strongest weapon: excommunication.

    Does that help you see what I was getting at?

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  77. Rigel Hawthorne on December 5, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    In my mind, I see the authority of the prophets in the matter of spiritual matters and excommunication to be greater than that of the kings. Unless a king was a King/Prophet like Benjamin or Mosiah, I would not think a king should have authority to excommunicate, although that, obviously, wouldn’t stop a king from trying to do so. So in answer to #2, I would say no, that they should not be excommunicated, but the issue is not related to speaking outside of the organized power structure. I don’t think the example is a good parallel, but that’s me.

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  78. SilverRain on December 5, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    MH . . .
    “For you to pompously claim that you have personal access to God and Snuffer doesn’t,”
    I didn’t claim that. Of course he has access to God. That doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth about his experiences.

    “You have zero explanation for why some people have spiritual experiences while other don’t. I’ve prayed for spiritual experiences, and haven’t received anything you claim to have had. I HAVE ASKED. God didn’t give anything to me.”
    I do have an explanation, you just don’t like it. I’ve prayed for certain answers and not received them, too. If you had even the slightest idea how much personal agony I’ve gone through for answers from God, you’d realize how odd you sound to me.

    Your problem isn’t that you’re too nice to me. It’s that you’re not listening. You’re so caught up in what you think I’m saying, you don’t hear one iota of what I’m actually saying. You’re asking one question and think you’re asking another. I’m saying something in a very narrow sense, and you insist on forcing in into a general sense.

    How on earth am I supposed to analyze your experiences with God, judge them, and tell you why you’re not getting an answer? Why don’t I do some sit-ups to give you a six-pack while I’m at it?

    Denver Snuffer pretends to the calling of a prophet. Asking God for direction on whether or not I should believe him is a far cry from asking Him to tell me what you should do to get your answers.

    Maybe your answer is that you don’t get an answer right now….I’ve gotten that answer many, many times. The difference is that I’ve accepted it (however painfully) and realized I must not be prepared for the answer yet. You seem to insist that others hand you an solution that only you can get.

    What exactly do you think my spiritual experiences look like? I’ve seen no angels, no prophetic visions of Christ. For me, ministration of angels has been impressions, feelings. Often, so very often in my life, I’ve been unable to feel them. My anger, frustrations, and personal expectations have cut me off from the Spirit. I am from a family of people who have sought . . . and some even found . . . more spectacular manifestations of God’s reality. I don’t need them. They come with very great responsibility and vulnerability. Unless God Himself decides for some reason that I need them, I’m content with my feelings, impressions, unexpected service from others of his mortal children, and sudden bursts of insight and inspiration. THAT is what answers from God look like to me.

    But those unimpressive feelings, those bursts of inspiration, are tiny threads that have woven a pattern of God’s reality in my life. Because I have taken risks, acted on my impressions, I have been witness to the glory of God’s power. It is in such small and simple things that His might and glory are truly seen. I am no prophetess. But I know God lives, and I know Christ as surely as if I had seen Him in this life.

    That isn’t pride, far from. (Though I admit to a share of pride, it isn’t in that.) If I, with my rebellious heart and impatience can learn to detect the inexorable presence of Deity, so can anyone if they are only willing to accept it as it is, and not as they wish it to be.

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  79. Mormon Heretic on December 5, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Rigel,

    In my mind, I see the authority of the prophets in the matter of spiritual matters and excommunication to be greater than that of the kings.

    Two things with regards to that comment: (1) In one sense, I completely agree with you, which is why I find that excommunication should be a weapon of LAST resort. It should be used much more sparingly than it is today. Excommunication of scholars especially, is used much too frequently. Even in the case of when someone hasn’t kept covenants (such as adultery), I know the rationale is that it helps the person repent, with the idea that people return to the fold. The reality is that when people get exe’d, they usually don’t return. (Some certainly do.) It is a terrible repentance method, and I feel that disfellowshipment would be a much more effective option than excommunication in probably 95+% of cases. There are serious repercussions of excommunication, and I just think it shouldn’t be used to silence annoying people–which I’m sure that the church finds people like Snuffer, Quinn, and Toscano more annoying than actually harmful. It shouldn’t be used for annoying people. Pres McKay properly didn’t excommunicate Juanita Brooks for the Mountain Meadows Massacre book, even though plenty of apostles wanted her exe’d. Too many apostles use unrighteous dominion, and I wish more followed McKay’s lead there. Too many people are far too cavalier with regards to excommunicating annoying people. It just shouldn’t be used.

    (2) From your comment, it seems that you don’t fully appreciate theocracy of the ancient world. There was no separation of church and state–that is really only 200 years old. Every government prior to the U.S. revolution was a theocracy. (In Rome, Ceasar was considered a god.) So I don’t think it’s fair to separate kings and prophets as “the Lord’s anointed.” Prophets like Snuffer, or Amos, or Jeremiah, or Abinadi, or Paul, or Peter, or Christ were not received well. Indeed their trials are often considered signs of their piety–only the locals often saw them as troublemakers. None of Jeremiah’s or Lehi’s contemporaries (save Ishmael’s family in Lehi’s case), believed they were prophets–most believed they were troublemakers–and they were. Yet all of these were exiled, or killed (a form of capital excommunication.)

    My main point for bringing them into the conversation was to point out that they were all outside of the Jewish leadership. Christ was an outsider–a peasant. He certainly had no religious credentials that we would recognize to make him legitimate. His legitimacy is based on his message. If Snuffer’s message be not of God, it will fall of its own. If it be of God, it cannot be stopped. Excommunication will not stop it either way, and it shouldn’t have been used, IMO.

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  80. Mormon Heretic on December 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Silverrain, overall, I liked your latest comment better (I’ll get to my reservations in a moment.) It’s nice to hear you struggle too. On the other hand, comment 6 I find he’s not one of those called of God. It was clear to me very early in reading his teachings sounds like you got that one pretty darn quick. So you popped down on your knees and got this answer quickly, eh? (You told me “ask God if it is true, and if you ask sincerely and with faith in Christ He will tell you.” It sounds quite easy–the opposite of your struggles in comment 78. You seem to be espousing D&C 9, rather than Moroni 10:3-5 now.)

    That doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth about his experiences. I get a little frustrated by the harsh judgmental nature of your comments–it sounds like you’re calling Snuffer a liar. You probably don’t like it when I say you’re not telling the truth about your experiences. (If you want to parse this and say you didn’t call Snuffer a liar, then I haven’t called you a liar either. I just said you aren’t telling the truth regarding your spiritual experiences.) This is another example of your judgmental (or at least uncharitable) comments. But say what you will. If you want to be uncharitable, then I won’t be charitable concerning your character either.

    As for our issues (you and I) in communication, I think you’ve nailed the problem precisely. Yes I am speaking generally, so it is really frustrating when you parse my comments narrowly, and I’ve frankly been annoyed when you’ve said on other posts that “This isn’t the time or the place.” Then why bother commenting if you’re not going to say what you mean? Of course it is the time and the place. A blog is to make yourself clear, not obfuscate or interpret narrowly.

    It’s like we are speaking different languages.

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  81. SilverRain on December 6, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    MH, honestly, it doesn’t bother me in the least if you think I’m lying regarding my spiritual experiences. My experiences are purely mine. I’m not telling anyone else what they should do, only sharing what I have found.

    Again, sharing what I have found to be true for myself is vastly different from what Snuffer is doing. He is writing books that not only share his experiences, but make spectacular claims to general authority for the Church. He’s not only saying “I don’t believe the Church is true because of what I felt,” he is saying “Christ Himself has spoken to me and told me the Church is in apostasy, and I’m supposed to fix it.”

    I did get this answer about Snuffer very early and very easily. That doesn’t mean all answers from God come similarly easily. My entire life, for example, has been a huge question mark for some time, a thing that has brought me much pain.

    Earlier in my life, I spent years listening to various voices that claim authority and feeling out who is of God and who isn’t. Perhaps that made it easier for me to discern this time. Patterns of speech, inconsistencies in claims vs. deeds, previously learning at the feet of those who have genuinely met Christ and receiving a witness of it (though they didn’t trumpet it the way Snuffer does) have given me clarity. “Ask God and He will answer” doesn’t mean you toss out a question and the answer immediately reverberates with power and noise. Generally, the answers are soft and quiet. Impressions, not indisputable clarity. They come with time and study. Then, as you act on what you feel and sense, the truth becomes manifest.

    Then, often, the moment you feel you can comfortably sense it, impressions become even more subtle and you have to become more sensitive and reach deeper. Asking God is simple, but it isn’t always easy. You simply cannot take a few individual examples and try to map out the correct formula for receiving answers from God.

    This is why those questions you feel are general cannot be answered generally. It just doesn’t work that way. There are as many ways to hear God as there are people to hear Him. And He is not a machine that will always perform a function if only you hit the right buttons. Speaking with Him is like working out any other relationship, except that His wisdom is complete. If even Joseph Smith didn’t always get the answers he searched for, I can guarantee no one does.

    Bit that doesn’t mean answers aren’t to be found, or that asking is a waste. Sometimes, the process of asking IS the answer.

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  82. Mormon Heretic on December 6, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    There are as many ways to hear God as there are people to hear Him. And He is not a machine that will always perform a function if only you hit the right buttons….If even Joseph Smith didn’t always get the answers he searched for, I can guarantee no one does.

    Silverrain, That is a radically different answer than “the pattern to discern the truthfulness of any prophet is simple: ask God if it is true, and if you ask sincerely and with faith in Christ He will tell you.”

    Why did you say it was so simple in comment 11? I totally agree with your latest comment. For most of us on the blog, answers to prayers are rarely simple, or easy. “Eventually” can take decades, and may not even happen in this lifetime. To boil is down as “simple” is a gross distortion. Comment 11 sounds like God is a machine and you hit the right buttons and voila–truthfulness of the prophet came right out. These 2 comments seem quite incongruous to me.

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  83. SilverRain on December 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Again, I am showing no inconsistency. The only inconsistency is that you are hearing it differently.

    Asking God and having Him answer IS simple. That is the only formula to discern the truthfulness of someone who claims to be a prophet. The rest of what “simple” means to you was in your own mind, not in mine. Nor was it in anything I said. Simple and easy are not the same thing.

    The entirety of the gospel, as I have unfolded it so far, is incredibly, infinitely simple. All the mysteries of God that I have been blessed to receive are stated plainly in scripture. After I have received revelation on the things of God, I have been astounded at how plainly it is stated in words I’ve read dozens of times, but never truly understood.

    That is the essence of God’s understanding and wisdom. By small and simple things, miracles are wrought. It is not a distortion to state the things of God simply and clearly. They ARE just that simple and clear. Ask God, and He will answer. Whether or not you will hear, well . . . that’s where work comes in.

    If it were easy, anyone would do it.

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  84. Brian on December 6, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    eas·y
    ˈēzē
    adjective
    1.
    achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.
    synonyms: uncomplicated, undemanding, unchallenging, effortless, painless, trouble-free, facile, simple, straightforward, elementary; More

    sim·ple
    ˈsimpəl
    adjective
    1.
    easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.
    synonyms: straightforward, easy, uncomplicated, uninvolved, effortless, painless, undemanding, elementary, child’s play; More

    Nothing about talking to a god, creator of the universe or part thereof, someone who may live in another part of the universe or may even be dead is easy or simple. Aliens don’t visit Earth and people don’t talk to those who aren’t on this planet. Maybe in their own minds, but only there.

    That is what I believe to be true.

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  85. Martin on December 6, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    When one receives revelation from the Lord, everything does seem simple. When one doesn’t, or hasn’t yet, it doesn’t seem so simple.

    My whole life I’ve been going back and forth, convinced I’ve partaken of God’s light and knowledge at times and struggling in confusion and doubt at others.

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  86. […] reading the recent W&T post about regarding Denver Snuffer’s conclusions on the Nauvoo Temple dedication, I wanted to go back and examine the events.  The Nauvoo Temple dedication was certainly singular […]

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  87. Tarefic-Wheaties Nominations 2 | Wheat and Tares on December 23, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    […] Heretic, Wheat & Tares:  ”Why Snuffer Got Ex’d” (Book:  Denver Snuffer’s “Passing the Heavenly […]

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  88. Juluo on January 10, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    Log, keep up the good fight. There are no arguments put forth against the sacred scriptures you quote because truth stands alone independent bold and irrefutable. Let’s all pay closer attention to these prophecies and remove the condemnation from our heads for taking lightly the sacred covenant that is the book of Mormon.

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  89. Julio on January 10, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    My name was misspelled. It’s Julio not juluo

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  90. Vote Me for a Wheaties Award! | Mormon Heretic on January 15, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    […] Book/Article Review:  ”Why Snuffer Got Exe’d” (Book:  Denver Snuffer’s “Passing the Heavenly […]

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  91. suzy on April 14, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Hello, I am new here but I believe this is an important topic.

    Paul tells us clearly what apostasy is…”having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof” and “ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

    After spending lots of time engage with LDS blogs and forums it seems to me that there is a disturbing tread where the participants can largely be put into two camps. In one camp is the blindly obedient who have given up individual sovereignty and make no attempt to cultivate the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment. In the second camp is the other end of the spectrum, the dichotomous voice that sports incredible intellect but is devoid of the softening influence of the Holy Spirit. Neither of these will bring us to the throne of God

    When we are not living aligned with God and softened by the Holy Spirit, we become hard and start to “trifle” with words.

    I am not sure of the location of all of you but I moved to Utah 18 years ago and it is challenging to find a church service that has more than the form of Godliness. The individual in the church has all the tools necessary to embrace the gift’s of the Spirit but culturally that is not what the group is doing. My experience of church attendance is like going to a business meeting (and of course there are profound and sacred moments of exception.)

    The Book of Mormon is so unbelievably beautiful but at least in Utah it is not written on the hearts of the majority of the people, and those who have had that the “mighty change of heart” and go on to receive the 2nd comforter are so far and few between, that someone on that trajectory, has no one in the church to turn to. For those few, their continuing closeness to God is bittersweet as the gap between them and other members becomes cavernous.

    A large majority of the leaders are also stuck in the cultural trap of asking for blind obedience from members or being led by their intellect with brief spiritual experiences dotting the horizon. I believe that they believe that they are doing what is right, and yet, the true power of God is not evident in the average leader or member of the church (including the highest levels of governance.) Instead they have a form of Godliness.

    There are significant differences in wards outside of Utah. Unfortunately the Utah culture is engrained in many of the leaders who have been in Church leadership all of their life and this is where the bar is set.

    It is true that in the Book of Mormon many of the prophets were called to cry repentance to the established church. The spirit of prophecy is available to all of us. I assert that if any of us are blindly following the leaders we won’t have enough oil in our lamp for the days ahead.

    We should never be afraid of questioning our leaders and our traditions as long as we are humble and willing to submit to God in all things as revealed to us through our own prayer and fasting.

    I do find it ironic that Brother Snuffer was excommunicated but Harry Reid still has a temple recommend.

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