Remembering the Covenant

RememberingTheCovenantI received my copies of Denver Snuffer’s Remembering the Covenant, Volumes 1, 4 and 5 the other day. Why would I invest $55 to purchase printed versions of something that is available for free online? I’ve already purchased and read Denver’s previously published eight volumes. And for the most part, I read the majority of what’s in the books on Denver’s blog over the past year.

Two reasons: I’m an old guy. I like physical books. I enjoy turning the pages, marking them up and seeing them stored in my library. Second, I found it interesting Denver hinted at something I have been thinking about for a long time. We take the availability of the Internet, Blogger and hey, even electricity for granted. The day may come when these things are no longer guaranteed.

I like the formatting of the books, the new chapter organizations and the footnotes. The blog comments are not included. That’s understandable. If you’re read some of them, they get way off the subject and frankly, there are some weird things in there that are distracting from the content. I’m not saying comments aren’t valuable, just that they can take things in unintended directions.

Commentary on The Second Comforter

I feel like a late-comer to the Denver party. Now, he wouldn’t like that characterization. He has always said the important thing is the message, not the messenger. And of course, Denver is not the only one focusing on the idea that we can and should receive the Savior in this mortal life. By that I mean a personal visit from the Lord in which he ministers to and teaches you sacred things.

As Denver noted on his blog, volumes two and three in the series were published previously as the single volume Removing the Condemnation. The advantage of purchasing them in this new format is that they are in a larger font and split into two volumes. I chose to save a few bucks by just getting the ones I didn’t already have. Amazon already has the three other volumes bundled.

So for me, having the luxury of the printed volumes allows me to study Denver’s commentary on his original book at my leisure, which is usually at night before retiring for the day. I learned recently that if I work on the computer right up until I retire, it makes it difficult to get to sleep. There’s something more relaxing about reading a book instead of reading on a computer screen.

Two Areas of Disagreement

In the year or so since I was introduced to Denver’s writings, I’ve made it a point to share with Carol some of the things I have been learning. She’s not all that interested, especially since the first book I
read from Denver was his last one, Passing the Heavenly Gift. We basically disagree on two points – the desirability of meeting Christ in this life and just what priesthood power is.

Carol was taught all her life and believes that there is no need to receive the Savior in this life in a literal way, meaning you don’t need a personal visit to be saved or exalted. She says that will come after this life. When I show her the scriptures and the teachings from Joseph she responds, “Well, the majority of the members of the church aren’t going to see Christ in this life, so there.”

We read chapter one of Passing the Heavenly Gift together. I wrote about her response in my first essay about Denver early in 2012. We’ve had an ongoing discussion about power in the priesthood ever since. Every time a baby is blessed, a baptism is performed or someone is confirmed or ordained, she leans over to me and whispers, “not valid – no power, right?”

Difficult Ideas to Accept

She’s trying to point out that, in her mind, Denver’s argument that power of some kind was lost, does not make sense to her because of the special feelings we each feel when we witness an ordinance of the priesthood, partake of the sacrament or attend the temple. While in the Celestial room, we’ve discussed what he has written. Gratefully, we’ve been able to keep it quiet and civil.

Carol’s viewpoint is that receiving a personal visit from Christ in this life is not necessary, at least according to all we’ve been taught growing up in this church. The focus has always been, receive the ordinances, including marriage in the temple, then endure faithfully to the end. That means as long as you attend church, accept callings, pay tithing and pray often, you’ll be exalted.

Thus, she says the focus of Denver’s first book is unnecessary, at least according to what we’ve been taught. What she got out of Denver’s last book is that he was very clearly saying that the church lost something with the death of Joseph, perhaps even sooner. She took great exception to this idea. What exactly was lost has been a matter of discussion between us over the past year.

Focus on the Book of Mormon

I’m glad I read his last book first. I had long been feeling that there was something missing in our modern church compared to the early church, meaning in the days of Joseph Smith. If you have been following my blog for any length of time, I hope I’ve made it clear that I believe that Joseph was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is scripture and is intended to guide our lives.

I also believe that Joseph received the sealing power from God, just like Nephi did, but that there was so much more he wanted to share with us that he received from the Lord before his life was cut short. He did not live to see the completion of the Nauvoo temple. There were things he knew that he tried to teach in the last few months of his life, that we just didn’t quite understand.

I’m looking forward to reading and studying these three volumes, Remembering the Covenant. I note that he positions them as a commentary on the Book of Mormon. I like that. There is so much of this marvelous book that even after a lifetime of studying I still don’t understand. I know Denver taught much of this stuff in his Gospel Doctrine classes over some twenty years.

Remain True and Faithful

In case you were wondering, I see no incompatibility between studying the works of Denver Snuffer and remaining a faithful member of the church. In fact, as many others have stated, I don’t think I have ever studied the gospel more intently in the past year since I first encountered his works. Denver has repeatedly encouraged us to remain faithful and serve in the church.

Yes, his first book is somewhat unconventional in that the doctrine of seeking an audience with Christ in this life is no longer taught in our church. And yes, his last book is controversial in that he put in one place all the arguments we have been reading on the Internet for years that there is something amiss in the direction of the church compared to what Joseph restored so long ago.

Can one believe that something is missing or not quite right in the church today and still answer the temple interview questions honorably? Absolutely.  I sustain the Brethren as authorized to lead this church. I see nothing in what Denver writes to be contrary to or opposing the teachings and practices of the Church. Denver has encouraged us to be faithful and serve in the church.

Future posts on Denver Snuffer

Although this blog is not devoted to discussing the writings of Denver Snuffer, I intend to bring up a number of things I have read in his books that I find interesting and worthy of discussion. I have had a paradigm shift in the way I view the priesthood that answers so many questions for me. I am also delighted to see the idea of meeting Christ in this life being taught and promoted.

Surely the Brethren cannot find fault with anyone who encourages us to seek an audience with Christ for the specific purpose of receiving instruction pertaining to our salvation. And surely they can’t fault him for informing us in one place, in a very favorable way I might add, about the things we have read in many places on the Internet regarding a different view of our history.

Don’t call me a Snufferite. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I’m just a regular member of this church. I merely want to know what I must do to have an audience with my Redeemer in this life. I can’t imagine anybody labeling this as an undesirable thing. I’m simply grateful that Denver says it can be done and that he has done so. Thank God for his testimony and witness.

For More Information

In case you are interested, I’ve written several previous entries about Denver Snuffer:

01. March 24, 2013 – Overview of The Second Comforter
02. March 9, 2013 – A New Star Will Shine Forth
03. March 3, 2013 – All Are Invited to the Feast
04. December 25, 2012 – The Four Phases of Mormonism
05. December 11, 2012 – What Denver Snuffer Teaches
06. July 7, 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light
07. May 12, 2012 – Orthodox Mormonism
08. May 5, 2012 – Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer
09. April 8, 2012 – Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil
10. February 26, 2012 – Loss of the Sealing Power

32 thoughts on “Remembering the Covenant”

  1. Denver Snuffer has led many people away from the Church by undermining our belief that Christ is at the head of the current organization. Many people I know who have immersed themselves in Snuffer’s writings have come to take him as more authoritative than the modern-day, living prophets and apostles themselves.

    I’m saddened to see that you’ve been entertaining his ideas, and that this has led you to express less confidence in our claims to the power and authority of the priesthood, and in the teachings and leadership of the current apostles and prophets. Please, listen to your wife before Snuffer entices you to stray much farther. I’ve never seen someone who has immersed themselves in Snuffer’s work without eventually giving up their belief in the modern Church entirely.

    From a long-time reader, please set his books aside for good. Regardless of his reassurances otherwise, he sets himself up as an authority that competes with the prophets and apostles, and no good will come of it.

    1. Jeff, thanks for the warning. I’m confident it was shared out of love and concern. I can see how one could come away with that summary, as you have, after reading Passing the Heavenly Gift. I’m going to reject that supposition, at least for me. I believe and will continue to bear my personal testimony when called upon to the effect that Christ guides and inspires the men who lead this church. At this point I do not take anything Snuffer has written or said to be in any way more authoritative than the men I sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. He has not declared himself to be anything other than a servant of the Lord with a message he says he was asked to share. He has not asked for our loyalty or asked us to follow him.

      As far as the power and authority of the priesthood, we both know that our General Authorities have taught us over the years there is a real difference between the two. Elder Packer and Elder Holland come to mind as recent examples. I have heard this all my life. Priesthood power is dependent upon our faith and especially our righteousness / purity. Speaking only for myself, and not those who preside over me, I have never had my ordination confirmed by the Lord. That’s important to me. I feel it is special. I have felt the spirit work though me in exercising the priesthood authority, but there is not the absolute confidence or knowledge yet that the Lord ratifies my pronouncements in blessing to others because I haven’t heard it from his mouth.

      My desire to complete my ordination has been increased by my reading of Snuffer’s work. I find that to be a good thing. We could have a long and deep discussion about the necessity of this step – to have the Lord complete the ordination – but again, we both know and are taught in this church that even the sealing we receive in the temple is contingent upon the Holy Spirit of Promise. I have been praying for that for over thirty years with my wife almost nightly in our prayers together. I have recently added the additional request to have the Lord teach me what I must do to receive Him so that He can personally teach me whatever He wants me to know in this mortal life – things too sacred for general revelation. I also think that’s a good thing and I attribute that to what I have read from Snuffer.

      1. Tim, question for you. I know this sounds odd, but bear with me. I’m wondering if you would be willing to generously engage in a hypothetical for me. If the 1st Presidency were to issue a statement asking members to stop reading Snuffer’s writings, what would you do?

      2. Can you imagine the effect that would have on Snuffer’s book sales? They would go through the roof. From my philosophy class, I seem to recall something about a fallacy specifically describing the foolishness of arguing a hypothetical situation. But since you asked, I’m afraid I would find myself all the more motivated to discover what exactly is in there in order to respond to that to which the First Presidency objects.

        We’re not talking porn here. We’re talking open and free discussion of ideas. I had a Stake President once tell me to stop reading anti-Mormon literature. I was young and foolish. Carol and I burned hundreds of dollars worth of books. Today, my library includes works from Quinn, Palmer, Fawn Brodie and several other excommunicated members as well as a multitude of books from Signature, frowned upon by many.

        I often visit websites run by former members such as Recovery from Mormonism (, Post Mormon, Mormon Think, Further Light and Knowledge, New Order Mormon and a host of Facebook groups specifically for those who are in various phases of exploring and discovering their level of faith and belief in the orthodox LDS doctrines and history. They are great places to find current issues facing our faith.

        I am also a long-time reader / follower of John Dehlin’s various websites, blogs, podcasts and offshoots. I am online friends with dozens, no hundreds of disaffected Mormons and enjoy intelligent off-line dialogs with many of them who are considered “on the fringe” because of the weird ideas they espouse. I have a lot of love for these people because every one of them is looking to strengthen their relationship with Christ.

        Your proposal that the First Presidency issue a statement urging members to stop reading Snuffer’s works would be one of the worst things they could do, and they know it. They would never do that and you know it. Now this may shock you, but I have had some serious spiritual epiphanies reading Denver’s books. This was especially true with PtHG. As always, when confirming truth, we should pray about what we learn. I have.

        I think I have shared elsewhere, but I’ll reiterate here. I have prayed very specifically about many of the things I have found in Denver’s books. I have done the same thing with the writings of my friends Anthony Larson and Doug Mendenhall and Mel Fish. Mel is an excommunicated member. Yet, I had a very sacred experience in prayer in which the Lord revealed to me how much he loved Mel and what he has written.

        Now each of these writers has shared some foolish ideas with which I do not agree. But they have each shared some unique things that my spirit needed to grow. They have blessed me and helped me in my spiritual journey. Isn’t it great that we have the gift of the Holy Ghost to help us discern truth from error? If the Spirit is telling you to avoid Denver’s stuff like the plague then do so. For me, he points me closer to Christ.

      3. I have no doubts that they would never do such a thing, or that it would backfire were they to do so. But your response tells me what I wanted to know: rather than heed their instructions and recognize their stewardship as watchmen on the tower, you would disregard them and, further, protest their instructions.

        That is not the Tim Malone I used to read and know, which tells me that Denver and Dehlin have already done their dirty work. They’ve already undermined, in your eyes, the authority of the Lord’s spokesmen to teach for God and warn His children, and our obligation to heed their instructions.

        I have love for Dehlin, Denver, and all others who find themselves on the fringes of Mormon thought. I pray for them and feel compassion for them. But I also recognize many of them for what they are: snakes in the garden, setting themselves up as alternative authorities and undermining people’s willingness to heed the teachings of apostles and prophets. The fact that you would not heed their warning indicates that you consider Denver to be an equal authority to they.

      4. I should know better than to argue with a philosopher. The fallacy of this hypothetical situation is that it also includes an either / or fallacy – the false dilemma or false choice: “Either reject Denver or you prove that you reject prophets.” And of course the correct response is to point out that our religion allows us to accept truth from whatever source it may come. I do not have to choose between following the prophet and obtaining additional insight on how to come unto Christ through the writings of Denver Snuffer.

        The proof of all true prophets is that they point us or lead us to Christ. I am grateful to be able to sit in General Conference and hear good men teach me of Christ. I sustain these good men as prophets, seers and revelators and place great value on their words. Of course, they are not infallible. The hypothetical situation you proposed would, in my mind, prove that point. Again, no LDS prophet ever has and in my opinion, ever will say, “Thou shalt not read the writings of that man.” My stake president was wrong to ask me to burn my early library.

        However, for the sake of argument, I’m going to concede your point, that I have changed over the past five years. I find myself more open and willing to listen to or read from multiple sources of truth. I learned from Joseph Smith: “The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men.”

        And from Brother Brigham: “‘Mormonism,’ so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to ‘Mormonism.’ The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this church. . . . There is no truth but what belongs to the gospel.”

        A further witness from John Taylor: “We are open for the reception of all truth, of whatever nature it may be, and are desirous to obtain and possess it, to search after it as we would for hidden treasures; and to use all the knowledge God gives to us to possess ourselves of all the intelligence that he has given to others; and to ask at his hands to reveal unto us his will, in regard to things that are the best calculated to promote the happiness and well-being of human society.”

        Joseph F Smith: “We believe in all truth, no matter to what subject it may refer. No sect or religious denomination in the world possesses a single principle of truth that we do not accept or that we will reject. We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come; for truth will stand, truth will endure”

        Howard W. Hunter: “As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we seek to bring all truth together. We seek to enlarge the circle of love and understanding among all the people of the earth. Thus we strive to establish peace and happiness, not only within Christianity but among all mankind.”

        And finally, from President Hinckley: “I love to learn. I relish any opportunity to acquire knowledge. Indeed, I believe in and have vigorously supported, throughout my life, the pursuit of education—for myself and for others. . . . The learning process is endless. We must read, we must observe, we must assimilate, and we must ponder that to which we expose our minds. I believe in the evolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul of humanity. I believe in improvement. I believe in growth. . . . It therefore behooves us, and is our charge, to grow constantly toward eternity in what must be a ceaseless quest for truth. And as we search for truth, let us look for the good, the beautiful, and the positive.”

        I am not ashamed to say that I have changed and believe I have grown because of my choice to expose myself to other viewpoints besides those of Latter-day prophets. That is not to say I reject their words. Remember the fallacy of the false dilemma. I can have truth from multiple sources. The Lord has inspired me to study and understand what others have to say when it comes to how to come unto Christ. One of the most wonderful things I have discovered in reading Denver’s works is his absolute focus on the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I have learned much from his inspired insights of the Book of Mormon.

        Are we to be wary of false prophets? Of course we are. By their fruits shall ye know them. I do not reject the authority of the men I sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. I do reject your hypothetical situation. I do not have to choose between listening to the teachings of these men and the teachings of Denver Snuffer. I can listen to and study both. As I expressed previously, I thank God for the gift of the Holy Ghost. He has taught me to not fear to expose myself to all kinds of knowledge. He promises that He will help me discern truth from error. I treasure that gift. The Lord honors my agency. He has asked me to study things out in my mind before I make a decision. How can I come to any conclusion without studying what the man offers?

        I would be a fool to ignore a man who claims to have been ministered to by Christ and tells me I can do the same. Not only that, but he provides me a step by step guide on how I can accomplish that for myself. That doctrine was taught much more openly in the early days of our religion. Today, not so much. Ask yourself why that is. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about that. This could go on and on.

        I appreciate your love and concern, Jeff, and I’ll say it again. If the Spirit is telling you to stay away from the writings of Denver Snuffer, then you should follow those impressions as being from a loving God for you. I am the one taking the risk in studying and writing about his books on my blog. As I have prayed about this, the answer has come clear, I need to study what he is written so I can at least say I understand the message he says the Lord asked him to share. I intend to follow that prompting of the spirit in my life.

      5. “The fact that you would not heed their warning indicates that you consider Denver to be an equal authority to they.”

        You obviously have not read much of Denver. He would be the first to say that he is no authority. Furthermore, it shows lack of understanding as the general authorities are not absolute authorities.

        There is one authority, God. His authority is usually testified through the Holy Ghost. Denver is no authority insofar that the Holy Ghost does not testify of his words. Thomas Monson is no authority UNLESS the Spirit confirms the truth of his words. Indeed we can find truth everywhere. It was Joseph Smith’s goal to find all truth. He found it through other religions, other traditions, and even through scholarship because he relied on the Holy Ghost to reveal the truth of all things to him. (Moroni 10 3-5)

        The fact that you are willing to rely on man as an authority is problematic. It’s problematic for at least two reasons.

        First, you do not have confidence in your ability to find truth through the Spirit. There’s truth in Hinduism, can you find it? Or must you be told by a man upon which you rely? There’s truth in Islam, can you find it? Or must you be told by a man upon which you rely? There’s truth in Buddhism, can you find it? Or must you be told by a man upon which you rely?

        There’s truth in Mormonism, can you find it? (Second) Sometimes it’s difficult, because the “authorities” sometimes contradict each other. They’ve contradicted themselves in too many areas to list (plural marriage, blacks/priesthood, Adam/God, blood atonement, word of wisdom, united order, etc.) In fact, this is the cause for many to leave the church. They have relied on the arm of the flesh (men/GAs) so much, that when the GAs contradict, they see this as a fault of the church when really it’s their own fault for their inability to discern truth from error through the Spirit.

        Denver is no authority. The Holy Ghost is the only authority. The scriptures teach nothing else. People followed Alma, John the Baptist, Paul, Samuel the Lamanite, and even Jesus because the Spirit was with them, NOT because of any position they held.

        Sometimes the Spirit will testify the truth of Denver’s words, sometimes it won’t. IF you have the Spirit, you won’t fear looking into ANY subject/author/works.

      6. Rob, you’ve gone too far here. This may or may not be evidence that Denver has gone too far as well. You are right that it is important to recognize that the church by itself cannot offer salvation, but rather we must take what we have been given our individual paths to connect with and gain the powers of heaven. The Church has said as much as well. In this Denver has spoken truth, and it sounds like you have had a lot of good fruits develop in your life as a result of this truth. All this is good.

        With that said though, statements like these are problematic, “Thomas Monson is no authority UNLESS the Spirit confirms the truth of his words” and “Furthermore, it shows lack of understanding as the general authorities are not absolute authorities”. While there may be some element of truth, the message that is coming across is false. The spirit in me witnesses that it is false. And let me explain why. First, it ignores the keys of the kingdom held in full by President Thomas S. Monson, and the loyalty that it is our duty to give to the man who holds this responsibility on earth. Your words seem to imply that because Thomas Monson is a man, then his words bear no more weight than the next man unless the words are confirmed by the Holy Ghost. And this is false. While that we ought to seek confirmation of the Holy Ghost is true, the keys of the Kingdom are delegated to the president of the church for the express reason of obtaining revelation and guiding us where we may not be able to yet obtain that revelation for ourselves, and to guide the church and kingdom in whole. Therefore, unless the man who holds these keys is in such error that he is no longer worthy of his position (at which point he can be removed), it is our duty to uphold in the very least publicly those things which he has spoken, seeking for that time when we can gain revelatory confirmation of why the Lord has spoken such through him, or at least allowed such words to be spoken. Without this loyalty and sustaining support from the members, God’s Kingdom would be liable to fall. While we may glean truth from other mere men (like Denver) through confirmation of the Spirit, we ought to have no such loyalty to such men, it is not only not required of us, but such loyalty would be dangerous and subversive to God’s divinely appointing organization here on earth, and subversive to those men who bear an holy anointing to be a guide and light to the world. Second, it goes too far in undermining the role of the church in the salvation of the human family. The church does far more than just point us to Christ, for other churches do as much in many respects. The church has a far greater destiny. It is through this divine institution that holy ordinances are provided to mankind making salvation possible. It is from this institution that the full political kingdom of God will grow out of and be sustained by, to stand as God to the people as Melchizedek in administering peace and endless lives and salvation to mankind. It is only through this institution that individuals, like you speak of, will eventually all be able to come to know the Lord for themselves. But Zion is a community endeavor, and requires much more than individual salvation, but the binding, sealing, and bonds of love and friendship of a family who has become a nation of Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses.

        Denver has many good things to say about seeking individual blessings from heaven. But when speaking of the keys of the kingdom, the dispensation of the fullness of times, the role of Elijah, and the sealing power in general he has erred in many instances. I’ve heard far more false doctrines from this man, then I ever have from those in authority. Go ahead and take all the truth you can from this man, but please do not offer him any loyalty for reproducing truth that had already been given by other men actually holding keys, and furthermore do not forget the loyalty we still must give to the keys of the kingdom and the men who hold them, nor forget the grand destiny that this divine church has in the fate of mankind.

    2. “Denver Snuffer has led many people away from the Church by undermining our belief that Christ is at the head of the current organization.”

      I know many people who have read all of Denver’s works. It is my experience that the church’s role has been undermined–but that is not a bad thing. People who’ve read Denver’s works focus on coming unto Christ rather than coming unto the church.

      I don’t need a prophet to tell me what the Lord wants from me, I go straight to Him. I believe this is the plan. I believe this is the gospel. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Spirit. (2 Nephi 31) We receive the Spirit in order to know what we should do. (2 Nephi 32:5) The Spirit brings us to Christ. Then: “6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you IN THE FLESH. And when he shall MANIFEST HIMSELF unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”

      The church is a great organization for bringing the scriptures to people, administering the ordinances which invite people to enter the gate. But the church doesn’t save. Christ saves. If you do not know Him, it will not matter what church you are a member of.

      So stop your idolatry of the church.

      Since reading his books, i fast more, home teach more, pray more, read the scriptures more, have more harmony at home, get mad at my wife less, serve her more, AND serve in the church with more passion.

      By your fruits ye shall know them.

      If Denver’s writings have not harmed you, it would serve you well to not discourage others from reading his works. They just may help them.

      1. Rob, that’s the first time in all my years in the church, sitting through thousands of Primary, Sunday School, Sacrament, Seminary, Institute and priesthood classes, that I have ever had someone explain those verses (2 Ne 32:5-6) as meaning a personal visit and not the visit described in 3rd Nephi 11. Have I been blind as well as deaf?

        I have read those verses dozens and dozens of times over the years. But as you explained it and I opened by scriptures to read it myself, I had an epiphany, meaning the spirit confirmed to me that your explanation is correct. I have got to ask, how is it possible I could go through more than 50 years in this church and not understand that scripture the way you explained it? Thank you, thank you and thank you.

        1. No problem.

          THAT is the gospel of Jesus Christ. To come unto HIM. The fulness of the Gospel is to have Him prepare you to be brought before the Father.

          v 6 must be read in context with 2 Nephi 31 – the gospel of Christ. Then ch. 32 tells us what we are to do with the Spirit now that we’ve received it. Really all this is laid out in the temple.

          v 6 cannot be talking about Christ’s personal ministry (and you are certainly not the first to have thought this) because there is no context for this. Nephi is talking to the reader, not to the ~550 bc Nephite.

          Tim, you’ll also enjoy

          It will take 20-30 minutes to read. So set some time apart for it. And bring some sunglasses because the light is blindingly bright. (I am not the author.)

      2. Steve

        Let me add one more thing. Denver points to Christ. I have come across at least 7 individuals who have been ministered to by Christ as a result of reading “The Second Comforter”. They have also been ministered to by angels and have had visions. (This should be normal for saints.)

        The day will come when there are far more than 7 (I’m sure there are now, that is only as many as I am aware of). And you will not be able to discourage people from reading his books because there will be far more witnesses that he is telling the truth. All 7 are entirely active in the church.

        Below is one of them.
        (I am not the author.)

        Granted, you do not need Denver to find Christ. You just need the scriptures (iron rod) and the Spirit. However, I find that when I find someone who has been successful in something, if I want to be successful in that something, I seek to learn everything they know about it.

      3. Inasmuch as Denver points to Christ and reaffirms those things taught by our prophets, I have no issue. I think it is important to realize that visions are not an end all however. Seeing Christ does not in and of itself assure one’s exaltation, nor grant sealing power. The keys of that rest with the President of the Church, and there is proper order to obtain these blessings. There are people who have seen visions, and have seen Christ, and yet have left the church because they became puffed up, thinking they were special due to their experiences. But like you said, these experiences are available to all saints, so let us not esteem one man over another because he has had a spiritual manifestation. To create order the Lord has established a different pattern (see D&C 1 “And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.” “And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious” “And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.”)

        Inasmuch as Denver’s words or doctrine is subversive to those men who bear these keys, I take issue. But if a person feels it is right or beneficial to read his books, I am fine with that. I just think it is important to recognize that his experiences do not make him an authority, and as such it is reasonable that he could teach many true things, and yet be entirely wrong in others. It is only my friendly warning that I have seen both in his writings, and so one should proceed with a cautious eye to decipher those things which may be on one hand helpful and on the other detrimental to one’s progression.

  2. One more remark—people can remain in the Church but remain unfaithful to it. Remaining in the Church is no protection against apostasy. I’m honestly saddened to see this change in you.

    1. I have written several essays over the years and posted them on my blog precisely addressing the idea of being faithful…but to whom? Our faith should be in the Lord and our faithfulness should be to Him, whatever He asks. I am pleased to serve in this church and have always accepted whatever calling I have been issued. I am grateful to serve. I love this church. But my loyalty is FIRST to the Lord. The church can’t save me.

      Yes, it is authorized to administer ordinances, build temples, preach the gospel, accept tithing and many more things. But the church cannot and will not save or exalt me. That can only come from the Lord. It is my duty to come to know him and that means do whatever He asks me to do so that He can reveal Himself to me. The Church I know is composed of many imperfect people like me who love the Lord FIRST, but are happy to serve and to fellowship with their fellow Saints. Thanks again for your concern. I appreciate it.

  3. william wiltfong

    Jeff: There exists a breathtaking irony between “I’ve never seen someone who has immersed themselves in Snuffer’s work without eventually giving up their belief in the modern Church entirely…” and “..From a long-time reader, please set his books aside…”

    Some of Snuffer’s works are thought-provoking. Some are highly insightful. Some are nonsense. Sifting grain from chaff is something we all should be involved with – be it a book, a sacrament talk, or any other means of communication (including personal revelation).

    Refraining from thoughtful, prayerful, consideration of such works as Snuffer or other non-correlated authors because it might cause a reconsideration of belief strikes me as an intellectual hardening of the arteries. And that translates, for me, as a form of apostasy from the G_d who commands we learn more – about everything.

  4. Tim,

    Thanks for your post. I have the same sentiments about Denver as you have. My observation has been different from Jeff’s. I’ve had two sibling return to the church, both heart and participation, by reading Denver’s books. I have several friends, who along with myself have become more determined to follow the Lord’s will because of reading Denver’s books. There are other people who have testified of receiving the Lord because they where inspired by Denver’s book. Each man can think what they want about Denver, but, without exception, I know only good things come from his books.

    Your story about your wife is intriguing to me because although my wife has read as much of Denver’s writings as I have, she too accepts his writing, although with a different approach; and she accepts my feelings I have about his writings. I know of other people who must say totally nothing to their spouse about Denver’s writings; at least your wife will discuss it with you, along with a sense of humor to whit.

    The ordinances performed in the church today are invitational ordinances. They certainly have merit, for the Lord required an invitation to His feast. However, It should not come as a surprise to those who study the scriptures that an ordinance must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to become binding. I don’t see why one should struggle with the idea that the ordinances and ordinations are not necessarily currently binding. Even our ordinations to an order of the Priesthood found in the Church today, is just a preparatory ordination for when one can be ordained to a more binding order of the priesthood from God’s own voice as taught in JST Genisis 14; 29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

    We know so little of the Lord’s ways really. More power to all of us who are striving in what ever way we can to become closer to Him, whether we believe in Denver’s words or not.

  5. My brother, who was inactive completely from the church for the last 10 back back into the church and honors his priesthood because of reading passing the heavenly gift. And I know of others who have done the same thing. I can’t thank Denver enough for that.

    i don’t believe for one minute that people are losing their testimony of the Savior for reading his books. Maybe the history of the church but not the Savior.

  6. I feel I have too many thoughts and too little time to express them on a blog comment. I just want to say that I think there are many good takeaways from Denver’s thoughts, but there are also some serious serious flaws. A desire to seek the face of the Lord is a wonderful thing, and by all means please do not lose that burning desire. But many of the structural arguments in Denver’s world schema are very subversive to several true principles. When Joseph Smith died, we lost a great man and prophet, and many of the higher things of the Kingdom were no longer spoon fed to we the members. But this was a necessary step in our progression as a people. The church as a whole was a baby at the time, and to continue the analogy maybe we are entering our teen years now, and so to collectively reach were Joseph Smith personally reached–yes we have a long way to go. This does not mean however that we have not been steadily progressing from the beginning until now. It does not mean that Christ has lost any measure of control over His church. And it does not mean that what has been taught at the pulpit is not exactly what the Lord would have His church hear each step along the way. The church is not a placeholder, it is the true and living church. There will be no second restoration, we are on the right path of a steady progression led by God. The church lost a great man and leader, but materially nothing more. Brigham Young knew it, and I know it too.

    Power in the priesthood is here and just as available as ever, and in reality more so than most of Joseph’s lifetime since he restored the fulness of the Priesthood only in the final years of his life. D&C 110 is historically accurate. The ordinances are more than mere invitations, they are the ‘real’ thing. The endowment of power from the beginning was in fact meant to endow one with power to go forth and preach unto the world with that power. Like the other ordinances, it is both symbolic and real. Ordinances are effective by the authority of the Priesthood. Power in the priesthood and the ability to bless comes by keeping our covenants made under the authority of the Priesthood–and while the Lord ministering to us face to face may add to that power in the fulness of the Priesthood (or sealing power in the scriptures), that does not by any means mean that we cannot obtain great measures of power in the Priesthood before such a visitation.

    At lastly, Zion was not meant to be for an exclusive elect few, it was meant for an whole nation of Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses–Zion’s destiny is to cover the whole of North and South America. We are not there, maybe even far from there, but we are on that path, and the Lord through his called and anointed leaders is helping the church to run as quickly as it has strength to get there. Sure, there are some tares that grow with the wheat until the final reaping, but lets not forget that there is plenty of wheat, that the Lord loves His children, and His plan is in light of all of His children, not some elite few. The plans within the bosom of God for His children are far grander than we can conceive of. Denver is not a prophet of God in the full sense; Thomas S. Monson is. There may be other true prophets among us; Denver seems to be smart and sincere, but he is not one of them. God bless you all!

  7. I think that Harold B. Lee might agree with John C’s statement that “The ordinances performed in the church today are invitational ordinances.”

    Pres. Lee wrote, “All of the gospel principles and all of the gospel ordinances are but invitations to the learning of the gospel by the practice of its teachings. That’s all they are—invitations to come and practice in order that you can know” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 35).

    Pretty bold use of the word “ALL”…

    1. We may be having a semantics issue. Maybe you, and if John C may also want to clarify his position, could state what you mean when you say ‘invitational ordinances’. Do you mean that the ordinances as performed by the authority found in the LDS church are not necessary for the Celestial salvation of any and all human souls? Or maybe that they are not effective before one is fully sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise? (And do you think in context Harold B. Lee suggested any such things?)

      Or maybe do you simply mean that the ordinances, while necessary, are of no effect until one abides by the covenants associated with that ordinance? At which point the ordinance would be recognized by God, and blessings would flow.

      I can only agree with the latter. I know the ordinances are necessary to the salvation and exaltation of man, and there are certain blessings that can only be obtained by receiving ordinances under the authority of God (currently on earth only found in the LDS church) and by abiding by the associated covenants. One does not need to be perfect to enjoy the blessings that come therefrom, but rather only at those times when a person abides by the covenants will the attending blessings and power particular to that ordinance flow to the individual.

      What I mean by ordinances being ‘the real thing’ is that God fully recognizes that ordinance when performed by the authority found in the church and when one lives up to the associated covenants. It does not then require some sort of separate and like ordinance performed by the Lord himself in order for blessings or power to flow to the individual, the Lord already recognizes the ordinances performed by his servants.

  8. I am a simple person, educated but not intellectual. After reading this exchange of comments, I will not read Tim Malones blogs again.

    1. Hi Kristine, Thanks for leaving your comment. I’m sorry to see you go. Obviously something in the comments offended you for which I sincerely apologize. That was not my intent, nor do I think anyone else who joined in the dialog here would want to offend. I think I’m just like you Kristine. I simply want to follow the Savior. A large part of that is to show forth kindness, which to me means patience and tolerance. I hope you don’t think the dialog here was intended to belittle or hurt in any way. My points about seeking and embracing truth from whatever the source are based in scripture and words of the prophets, which I quoted. You took the time to leave a comment that you found something troublesome in the comments. Would you care to elaborate?

  9. The saving ordinances are NECESSARY, but they are INSUFFICIENT in and of themselves.

    Although I quoted Pres. Lee that ordinances are “but invitations,” John C wrote that the ordinances “certainly have merit, for the Lord REQUIRED an invitation to His feast” [capitals added]. (Steve’s right; this may be a semantics issue.)

    Steve made a great observation about knowing the CONTEXT of a statement. Someone may place different emphasis on something at a given time, depending on who the listener is.

    Sometimes we focus more on the NECESSARY part, for various reasons.

    Sometimes we focus more on the INSUFFICIENT part, for various reasons.

    Sometimes we focus more on FAITH. Sometimes we focus more on WORKS.

    Sometimes we focus more on “it is by GRACE that we are saved.” Sometimes we focus more on “after ALL we can do.”

    Supposed paradoxes and exceptions help us avoid one-sided thinking.

    Another example: scriptures that talk about our divine potential can be helpful for those who have low self-esteem. On the other hand, scriptures that tell us we are lower than the dust of the earth can be helpful for those who have pride.

    (I love to find supposed paradoxes and exceptions, because I then realize I am bumping into limitations in our human mental constructs. Realizing God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts, I am therefore motivated to ponder and seek for transcendent principles.)

    And to me, there are varying degrees of priesthood (or any kind of) power. It’s not binary (either present or absent).

  10. I’m very hesitant to get into a personal discussion with others on Tim’s blog. The intent of his blog is to strengthen people in their path to Christ through bringing up thoughtful considerations. I wish to support anyone on their path to draw closer to the Lord. I recognize that sincere people have differing notions of how they should walk that path. I totally am sincere that I allow all men the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience. I therefor sincerely am not trying to convert anyone to my thoughts. I enjoy hearing others sincere and thoughtful remarks.

    My original comments were in support of Tim’s blog post. I personally, as well as several family members and dozens of friends have been blessed by the words and testimony of Denver Snuffer. I recognize that others feel differently, but I felt compelled to make sure that those who read Tim’s post knew the point of view and actual testimony of someone who has been blessed by Denver’s words. It’s ok that someone feels differently than I do. I do find it odd (actually quite prideful) that people take great offense when someone sincere from their own religion has a different point of view. I really do wonder what drives us to wanting people to see things just like we do. Everybody does it in some form, myself included; it seems inherent in human behavior and sadly at its extreme has fueled wars.

    I’ll share a reply to the request to clarify what I meant by invitational ordinances. Again, these are my thoughts, which have come from years of faithful activity in the Church, and much study. I am not trying to convert anyone to these notions, but for me, they are much more liberating than thinking narrowly as though all is well in my personal Zion because I have received the ordinances provided in the Church. I am looking for greater truth and knowledge (including additional non-invitational higher ordinances) from the Lord.

    The invitational ordinances, of which we partake of in the gospel phase of which we are currently living (according to the lesser word as explained by Christ in 3 Ne 26:8-12) are to allow us to enter into another step in the path to Christ, as promised by Christ. This concept is not mine, but has always been taught in the Church (Pres Lee’s quote as offered is an example). During confirmation, we are invited to receive the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is not automatically given to us, but must be received by the person being confirmed. It is an invitation to be baptized with Fire and the Holy Ghost by the Lord himself (3 Ne 9:20; the real ordinance of sanctification), at which time outpourings of the Spirit will manifest themselves in our lives.
    During the anointing in the temple, we are reminded that we are only anointed preparatory, and through one’s faithfulness, to become a ruler in Israel (thus it is invitational), but we are not anointed a ruler at that time (you were only anointed to become such), but are promised the realization of the blessing depended on one’s faithfulness. Joseph Smith instituted the 2nd anointing as the real-thing ordinance of becoming an actual ruler in Israel.

    During the sealing ordinances, promises are pronounced upon the man and woman, but the instruction clearly states “through your faithfulness” (thus the blessing is invitational) Section 132 makes it clear that the ordinance of having it sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, makes it binding.

    Again, I am not diminishing the invitation ordinances. We are commanded to do them, we need the invitation, and there can be a great Spirit felt by many who receive these ordinances.

    When we are ordained any office in the priesthood, it is an invitation to serve. It is up to us to live according to that office, from the president of the Church to the deacon in every ward. Faithfulness to any of these callings of the priesthood is in preparation, or invitation to receive the internal or fullness of the priesthood from God’s own voice.

    As for baptism, it is an incredible ordinance with several layers of significance. It stands as a real-thing ordinance in the preparatory gospel as a witness that we covenant to follow God. It only requires the preparatory priesthood for it to be administered and Christ clearly teaches it is mandatory to make this covenant. But baptism also symbolizes, at the very least, the grand real-thing ordinance of being resurrected.

    The tokens given in the temple are only symbolic of the personal tests that we must show we have fulfilled when we pass the angels that stand as sentinels as we approach God. They are not the actual things we perform to the angels.

    The Lord is too grand to limit his exalted plans for us to just go through the symbolic rituals and declare one fit for His kingdom. He will do so much more for you, which only begin to be realized in the ordinances associated with God making one’s calling and election sure.

    I thank the Lord for Denver Snuffer who speaks the words of pointing people to take this path. I thank the Lord for those who lead in the Church. Their duty encompasses so many things for so many people. I concur with Tim that my duty to God is to follow the Spirit. I feel it very careless to stand on the pseudo high-ground and ask a fellow member to choose sides between two men. When did the Lord ever ask us to choose between different arms of flesh? It comes off as “digging a pit for thy neighbor”, or to “catch him at his word”, “You’re bad if you think this way”. It’s telestial nonsense to me.

    1. The word “calling” in the New Testament is from the Greek word “klesis,” which also means “invitation.” I completely agree that a calling is an invitation to serve.

  11. Jeff: What should a man of God do if his leaders ask him to do something? Should he do so with no other thought than to comply? Here are a couple of thoughts:

    1) JST Mark 9
    46 And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out.
    47 It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
    48 For it is better that thyself should be saved, than to be cast into hell with thy brother, where their worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched.

    Can our leaders lead us in paths where we should not go? Can they become transgressors? What if one prophet says “Yes” and one prophet says “No, they cannot”?

    2) D&C 50
    22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
    23 And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
    24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

    The prophets have the obligation to preach by the spirit of God and we have the duty to listen by the same spirit. If this occurs, then edification will follow. And I believe that the same test can be applied to anyone’s words, including Denver Snuffer.

    Joseph chastised the early Saints because they were depending too much on his words. We must all seek truth ourselves and learn how to discern between spirits.


  12. @ John C “The Lord is too grand to limit his exalted plans for us to just go through the symbolic rituals and declare one fit for His kingdom.”

    It looks like we are in basic agreement here that ordinances do act as invitations, and ordinance alone do not ensure salvation. I just wanted to point out (and we may be in agreement here as well) that ordinances in addition to being invitations are also gateways to certain blessings necessary to obtain celestial glory. One can receive ordinances and not receive the blessings therefrom. But one cannot receive the fullness of the blessings without receiving the authorized ordinances of salvation that govern those blessings.

    As an aside on Priesthood ordinations – in my understanding that a certain level of authority is granted immediately, while Priesthood power is only obtained through righteous living. (Referring back and in response to the OP, it follows then that ordinances of salvation are recognized and valid when the officiator has Priesthood authority and has been given the go ahead by someone holding the presiding keys over that authority. Whether the officiator has any Priesthood power or not is irrelevant to the validity of that ordinance. But in cases of blessings where one is trying to draw upon the power of the Priesthood to accomplish some task (i.e. healing, comfort, etc.), the Priesthood power of the Priesthood holder is both relevant and necessary along with the faith of the individual being blessed.)

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