Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer

Denver Snuffer is becoming less of an enigma to me. I still don’t know him but I like him, based solely on his writings. I think his little book, Ten Parables, tipped my thinking to his favor. I’ve now read six of his eight books and am working on the seventh – Eighteen Verses. I have saved the best for last – Nephi’s Isaiah.

I have Denver’s permission to derive my own interpretations of his parables. I offer them here as a way of solidifying what I have read and pondered. He writes in his preface that parables “teach truths by using symbols and analogies.” They are “intentionally susceptible to different interpretations and layers of meaning.”

The book was a fun and easy read. I completed it during a lunch hour at work. It is only 107 pages. Some of the parables were obvious as soon as I read them. Some seemed a little obtuse, requiring a bit of pondering. “They have been carefully composed. The words are deliberate.” I hope my interpretations do them justice.

This is another in an ongoing series of essays on the books of Denver Snuffer. I have previously reviewed Passing the Heavenly Gift and The Second Comforter. Comments are welcome. Obviously you will have had to have read the book. I look forward to reading what you think of the parables.

1. A Busy Young Man

This one is very short. I wondered why he placed it first in his book. I suppose it represents Denver when he was a young attorney. He worked many long years to learn of the Master, while doing the Lord’s work. First the rope for seven years, then the net for seven more. Perhaps it represents Denver’s callings in the church.

2. Wise Men

This one is obviously about the General Authorities of the church. I love the symbol of the fruit tree. It could be so many things, but mostly I thought it was a good representation of members of the church. The symbolism of the telescope is also profound. It represents the ability to see things far off, available to all.

“They became men … with the most cunning and cautious minds. For many years they added no wisdom to the kingdom … They only spoke of … the great lessons of the past.” Then again, the parable could be referring to the religious leaders of the past since there is an obvious reference to either Galileo or Copernicus.

3. Triangularity

This is obviously about temple worship. It contains one of Denver’s common themes throughout his books that the ordinances of the temples are mere symbols and not the real thing. You may also conclude that it is about the study of God or more precisely, the Godhead. I love the many references to orthodoxy and creeds.

Then again, it can also be construed as a much generalized view of the history of man, his beliefs about God and his religious worship practices. The part about wars and schisms leads me to think that. There is reference to the restoration and again, the introduction of orthodoxy and the idea of speaking directly to and with God.

The ending is wonderful. It is so applicable to the church today whether we realize it or not. We do indeed look upon anyone who claims to have an “unusual” story of spiritual communion with God to be heterodox. I suspect it is because of the fear of being deceived that this has been inadvertently promoted by those who lead us.

4. The Horses of Shiloh

This is a wonderful parable about the Savior. I like the implications of the lines, “He was hard for any man to ride, and many feared to approach him. Only the most brave attempted it. Only a few were able to ride him.” Obviously this is referring to the process of coming unto Christ and gaining an audience with Him.

The churches of the world have made an image of the Savior that is nothing like who he truly is. The ending: “In Shiloh there was a neglected statue, in a forgotten back alley, of a rearing horse covered with scars whose disproportionate and unruly form was thought to a symbol of everything vile and unwanted in a horse.”

Sadly, in the end, nobody would ever know what the horse really looked like. I wonder if this is meant to imply that our depictions of the Savior in art today are not at all what he was really like. I suspect this is the intent. Most pictures of the Savior depict him as almost feminine, not the battle-scarred warrior that he was.

5. The Weathered Tree

At first I thought this was going to be a camping story. I was delighted it turned out to be the story of a wise tree that stood alone on a cliff, gnarled and scarred, but who had a commanding view of all that surrounded her. The two forests that grew below her are a good contrast between the foolish and the wise who look to her.

6. Five Men From God

The five men from God are Sampson, John the Baptist, Jesus, Joseph and Hyrum. These are the witnesses who were sent to warn and bless mankind. But they were all rejected. God was therefore justified in leaving man to fend for himself, with no warning of impending danger. Man will be unprepared when the last day arrives.

7. Hope and Tarwater

This has become my favorite. I expected something more or different at the end but was pleased that the same theme played out all along. It was a sustained effort. It is analogous to life and the way we travel through it. One young man finds the woods to be a dangerous place. His journey through it reflects wariness and uneasiness.

The other young man found the woods to be a place of beauty and serenity. He was at peace with his surroundings and derived much enjoyment and pleasure from his journey. Although the two men became aware of each other towards the end, they did not meet. They each related their journey to others when they arrived home.

I could write an entire essay about the analogy and the symbolism in this parable. But the end result for me was the way the two young men related their tale at the end and how it confirmed to others their impressions of the forest. They brought with them their perceptions of how things were in the woods, and they were right.

8. Brakhill’s Greatest Citizen

This one is told so well I thought there really was a town of Brakhill, Wyoming and a real children’s author named Olyvie Canfield. I can imagine Denver wrote this for one of his daughters. I got the distinct impression that the building built by the story’s other leading citizen – Ira Wilkas – represented the City Creek Center.

I’m still pondering this one. I wonder if anyone else has come up with who might be represented by Olyvie Canfield. I suppose Ira Wilkas represented the Church. Is it possible that Olyvie might have been a symbol for Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon? This has probably been discussed on LDS group blogs but I missed it.

9. The Great Competition

This one is about the plan of salvation, told from a very long-range view, including the great battle at the end of the world between the forces of good and evil. Denver has drawn some profound implications of what happens at that great event because those who chose not to come to compete were invited to the great feast at the end.

The focus is on loyalty. Who would remain true to the king in spite of the seeming unfairness of the competition designed to cause a great division among the people? I would love to share this one in a Sacrament talk or Sunday school lesson, but of course, you and I know that one cannot quote from unorthodox sources in church.

10. The Missing Virtue

I’ve read this one a couple of times since the initial reading. When I first read it I knew right away that it was about Denver. I think he had referenced somewhere else in his books his experience with failure to help someone in need. I suspect this was highly personal and significant to Denver. I’m grateful he shared it with us.

One the one hand you could focus on how much he was affected by having failed to provide something for the beggar earlier in his life. Eighteen years is a long time to wait to feel that you have made up for an earlier failure. Thankfully, he found the opportunity again, took advantage of it and was greatly blessed as a result.

I did not see any judgment of his fellow priesthood brethren in this parable. He only related the facts. He told it the way it was. I too have seen this many times. But I have also seen the goodness of my brethren in similar situations. There are many who go out of their way to help those in need. I love my fellow brethren.

10 thoughts on “Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer”

  1. I read “The Competition” this morning to Carol. She immediately pointed out some flaws. If the parable is supposed to be an analogy for the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness or whatever it is we call it these days, then it was missing a few elements.

    For example, although the narrator told us the purpose of the plan was two-fold: to improve the health and vigor of the citizens as well as to test their loyalty, the king did NOT share the second purpose of the plan with his citizens, at least not in a direct quote in the parable. I wonder if this was an inadvertent mistake. Perhaps we were supposed to assume the king made it clear upfront.

    If he didn’t announce it to all, then the complaint of some of the citizens at the end may have been legitimate. Had they known the competition was really designed to test their loyalty, they would have made a greater effort. Carol is of the opinion that the loyalty test was and still is very clear in real life. Perhaps that is because loyalty is a deep part of Carol’s personality.

    Another difficulty she pointed out is that there are some elements that may not be doctrinally sound. For example, are those in the spirit world, both pre and post mortality, allowed to view the competition? That may be a matter of opinion or speculation. But, let’s not get hung up on that. This is just a parable, possibly first told as a bedtime story to one of his children.

    The idea of having everyone together at the feast was new to Carol. I told her to wait until we got a little further along in the parable. The feast was not the end of the story. However, that brings up a point. If the purpose of this parable is to teach truth, as Denver writes in his preface, then what scripture or quote from a prophet can we turn to for verification of who attends the feast?

    And is there a great feast at all? Is it the wedding feast at the return of the bridegroom that is being represented in this parable? Is this feast before or after the resurrection? I suspect it would be before. That brings up the question: at what point in time are we exalted? Is a resurrected being also an exalted being?

    Just some thoughts that popped into my mind as we read this. Your thoughts?

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading Ten Parables multiple times.

    I’d thought of #2 (Wise Men) more in terms of historic Christianity from Christ’s original apostles, through the apostasy & dark ages, to the renaissance and then the restoration. I suppose it could be describing the General Authorities, but I hadn’t ever thought of it that way.

    #3 (Triangularity) is awesome and maps onto the history of the restoration perfectly.

    #8 (Brakhill’s Greatest Citizen) is one of my favorites. I actually looked on a map of Wyoming to see if Brakhill was a real place or not. 🙂 The interpretation of Ira Wilkas’s building as City Creek doesn’t seem like a good fit to me. (Although, what do I know?) I read it more as the difference between those who have their earthly reward now vs laying up treasure in heaven, as the fact that the written word endures and can touch generations yet unborn, as compared to the fleeting nature of purely temporal business success.

    I agree #10 (The Missing Virtue) is obviously biographical. Of all the parables reflecting on it has caused me to change my personal behavior the most. Which is sad, because if I had truly internalized King Benjamin’s final sermon I wouldn’t have needed to repent.

  3. After having read Passing the Heavenly Gift, and throwing it in the trash bin afterward, my feeling toward Denver Snuffer is symbolized precisely by my action. I really enjoyed the Second Comforter book. But Denver Snuffer in that book preached to not find fault with the Lord’s anointed. In Passing the Heavenly Gift, he went against his own counsel, even to the point of suggesting that keys have been lost, and that the Church is in an apostate, cursed state. His other writings in his other books only obscure the fact that Denver himself is an apostate in sheeps clothing that seeks to create internal apostasy in the Church without people actually leaving the Church. That seems to be the new thing in vogue with apostates. Why leave the Church when you can create a secret combination from within of dissent?

  4. I believe reading in a comment on one of the other posts that you have the Zion Symposium audio CD. Towards the end (part way through track 13 & into track 14) he talks about Satan being loosed at the end of the millennium; listen to that & see if you don’t think it sounds like he’s talking about the 9th parable.

  5. @dude
    I don’t know you. However after having read all of Denver’s books except “Removing the Condemnation” which I am half way done with. I ask that you give his writings another chance.
    I empathize with your viewpoint of him being an apostate. Yet I not only don’t agree with it but I feel confident that he is truly inspired.

    2 Nephi 33:2 “But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.”

    Revelation 19:10 “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    Matthew 7:15-20 “15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a ccorrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

    You said yourself that you enjoyed The Second Comforter. I not only enjoyed it but felt the spirit confirm truths to me in that book that have been built on in each subsequent book, including Passing the Heavenly Gift. However without the basis from his other books PTHG could seem wrong headed, and negative.

    If you have had any opportunity at all to share the Book of Mormon with many people you have seen how many will consider it a thing of naught over something small that they have read, heard, seen or felt. Most assuredly you have felt remorse in how they do this, because you realize that they are throwing away eternity in refusing to just read it and judge it in its whole. The same is true anytime anyone refuses any aspect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They damn themselves and turn down eternity with out realizing it.
    Don’t be like them. If you felt The Second Comforter was inspired then I promise you that you will see how the rest of his books have equally been inspired by reading ALL of them.
    Once reading ALL of them, you will see how PTHG is really an individual call to repentance.

  6. Pingback: All are Invited to the Feast | Latter-day Commentary

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  8. For those who are pushing this Sept 8 event, it will not end well. Very unfortunate for all parties.

    What Brother Snuffer has written is the truth. At least more truth than we normally get by most LDS writers, because he has been directed by the Spirit of the Lord to write these books. I have read his works and they simply and sweetly convey the Spirit of Truth. Since it is the truth, it will become the standard of truth about church history. Others will come behind him and discover more truths based on what he has written. One day Denver Snuffer will be recognized among the LDS peoples as the source of these ‘discoveries’.

    With that in mind, how will that make a man like Truman Hunt look to have been the one who excommunicated the man who brought this standard forward? Kind of like an obscure artist-author in a small town compared to the wealthy benefactor of that town? (Parable #8 above) Another one of the ten parables coming to pass? How will their legacies compare to each other?

    I encourage everyone within the sound of my voice to learn for themselves the truths Brother Snuffer has brought forward. They are true, salvific and timeless.

    Disclaimer: I do not follow any man, only Christ. I realize what I have written is very controversial, yet with the best of my finite abilities deem to be true. D&C 93:1 should be taken literally for this life.

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