Although the book was published in February of this year, I just now got around to buying and reading it. Perhaps it was the reminder from Denver on his blog recently. I also remembered there was a conference with the same theme back in February. I did not attend due to distance and work commitments. Here’s a copy of the review as it should appear on Amazon once they authorize it’s publication (usually 72 hours):
Rescuing the Restoration
I bought this book because I wanted to know more about the response to the restoration movement (also known as the remnant movement). I had read some of the news articles about the so-called “Boise Rescue” (wasn’t there – I’m from California) and especially the response from President Oaks. I was intrigued by the title, which I recognized as a major theme of the modern restoration movement. But why did it merit a response from a member of the First Presidency? Why did people need rescuing?
I enjoyed reading the book. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be a dry rehash of events already familiar to me. It was very helpful that each chapter was authored by a different participant in the movement. Although I knew about most of the events described in the book, I still gained insights from the various author’s points of view. Chris VanCampen did a great job of editing the work. I was surprised to find my name listed as providing “other assistance” – perhaps from one of my blog posts?
The worst problem with this book is that I couldn’t put it down. I intended to read one or two chapters a night (there are fifteen chapters). I ended up reading it in two days because I wanted to know specific details about recent events in the movement, which are provided by those who participated directly. I wasn’t disappointed. I learned a great many things I didn’t already know. For example, I learned that some of the published documents and books have been laser-etched onto plates for long-term storage.
The list of resources at the end of the book was especially helpful. Obviously, they are all sites that are associated in a positive way with the restoration movement. The reason I gave it four stars instead of five is that it does not list any sites or resources that most LDS folks would turn to first. I understand. If you’re seriously researching this movement, you probably want to know what others who are not part of the movement have written. For example, you can find many criticisms at fairlatterdaysaints.org.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the restoration movement, especially events of the last ten or fifteen years. This would be helpful to anyone who is LDS and has heard of the remnant movement (Denver Snuffer) from family or friends but knows little to nothing about how it got started and why it is attracting so many from all over the world. The authors do not preach, they simply tell their story and let you decide if you want to know more to discuss factually.
Table of Contents
About the Cover – A Vineyard. An Olive Tree. A Stone Wall.
Acknowledgements – Writing Team, Editing / Proofreading, Typesetting, Cover Art, Other
In Memoriam – We Remember Bret Corbridge
Preface – By Chris VanCampen, Editor
Introduction and Clarification of Terminology – By Adrian Larsen
1. Apostasy and the Commencement of the Latter-day Restoration – By Annette Larsen
2. Joseph Smith – First Prophet of the Restoration – By a group of Believers
3. Denver Snuffer and The Second Comforter – By Matthew Lohmeier
4. 40 Years in Mormonism Series: Picking up Where Joseph Left off – By Aaron Bishop
5. Fellowships: The Backbone of the Restoration – By Paul D.
6. Beliefs and Practices of the Restoration Movement: An Overview – By Tausha Larsen
7. Priesthood and Ordinances – By Sarah Lohmeier
8. Conferences and Gatherings: Edifying and Teaching One Another – By Brian Bowler
9. The Restoration Scriptures Project – By Thack Archuletta
10. A New Covenant and a People – by Christine Walter
11. A Faithful Record – The Restoration Archive Project – By Chris Van Campen
12. The Prophesied Zion – By Vaughn Hughes
13. The Temple in Zion – By Karen Strong
14. The Marvelous Work and the Scattered Remnants – By Louis Naegle and Adrian Larsen
15. The Future: What is to Come? – By Alan VanLeer
16. Afterward: Be of Good Cheer – By Denver Snuffer, Jr.
Resources: For More Information – Links to Various Restoration / Remnant Sites
Additional Thoughts not in my Review
I have been meeting with our bishop lately to discuss my membership status in the LDS Church. When I had my name removed from the records of the church in 2014, nobody informed me I should not be partaking of the sacrament or that I should remove my garments. That was one of the first things requested of me. I was also informed a membership council would need to be held by the Stake Presidency in order to consider my status. Carol is a faithful member of the church and I go to LDS services each week at her request to support her.
The bishop asked me to study and report on Anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon, which I did. In our follow up discussion, he made a list on the whiteboard of traits of an anti-Christ (which I had addressed in my report). He then asked, “Aren’t these some of the traits that are exhibited by the de facto leader of the remnant movement?” I apparently did not do a very good job of summarizing my views of what constituted anti-Christ behavior. In fact, I thought I was fairly clear in pointing out that it is anti-Christ to withhold the sacrament.
I made sure he knew that, at his request, I had stopped taking the sacrament while attending church with my wife and that I had stopped wearing the temple garments, again, at his request. I informed him that I had decided to resume administering and partaking of the sacrament in my own home. I told him bluntly that I still held the priesthood which I received from my father, which authorized me to perform this ordinance in my own family. He seemed a little taken aback and began a line of questioning about priesthood authority.
The Church Does not Control Priesthood
I don’t think the bishop had ever considered the fact that the LDS Church is dependent upon priesthood, not the other way around. I wanted to quote the following but refrained: “… priesthood exists independent of Israel, it exists independent of a church, and while the church may be dependent on priesthood, priesthood is not and never has been dependent upon a church, period. I hope you understand that. Priesthood is not and never has been dependent upon a church! These are two entirely different topics and very important to be understood …”
Usually when I share the above quote, I include the quote that the Holy Ghost is not controlled by the LDS Church. I reviewed with the bishop my thoughts on the matter, including why the confirmation ordinance is not required. That only states that the person has been accepted into the LDS Church and includes the admonition to “receive the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Ghost can be received without this confirmation ordinance, as evidenced by the witness of Joseph Smith when he and Oliver baptized one another and were enlightened.
After much discussion about priesthood, and the bishop emphasizing that Denver Snuffer would have no priesthood were it not for the LDS Church, he turned to the idea of prophets, and wanted me to make a serious study of the words of Russell M Nelson, which I said I would do. I didn’t have the heart to bring up the higher priesthood is received by hearing the word of the Lord bestowing it upon you. Just because someone is ordained an Elder in the LDS Church, that doesn’t mean he has received the higher priesthood from the Lord.
The Lord has made it clear to me that I have a lot of repenting to do. Part of that repentance is studying and understanding His doctrine so that I can explain it more clearly. I asked the bishop to remember me in his prayers that I would have the spirit of discernment as I study the words of President Nelson. In our conversation, I think I was clear to point out that I felt he could be a prophet, but that I felt much more strongly in my heart that Denver Snuffer is also a prophet, and in fact, is the prophesied servant referred to in scripture.
“And I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even my servant David. He shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them. I the Lord have spoken it.” Ezekiel 17:10 RE or Ezekiel 34:23 LE). As Denver has stated many times, he does not need anyone to be a spokesman for him. I don’t pretend to do so. I have noted he prefers that we not refer to him as a prophet, even though he clearly has brought forth more revelation than anyone I know.
In any event, I will be clear in stating that Denver Snuffer is a prophet, and is the servant of the Lord prophesied in scripture above. The Lord has set his hand a second time in our day. We are witnessing a mighty work rolling forth – the rescue of the restoration. I thank the Lord that we have been given new scripture, new revelations that were long promised and that pertain to what the Lord is doing now. I look forward to the fulfillment of promises made in the covenant I have accepted and pray the Lord’s blessing upon me that I may repent.