Arguments Against Denver Snuffer

UtahCourtBuildingI do not speak for Denver. He needs no spokesman. Go read his blog. These are simply questions I have been asked since I have done a few reviews on his books over the last year or two. They seem to keep coming up over and over as new people discover my blog and want to know some of these basic facts and my opinions. I always respond – go read his books. But in an effort to make it easy for readers in a time-constrained world, I have put together answers to some of the most common questions that have come up more than once. It would be better if you found them for yourself on his open blog or any of his many books which are for sale in several locations in Utah as well as on Amazon, where I picked up all my copies and where they are still available.

01. What kind of a name is Denver Snuffer? I kid you not, these are some of the comments I have received in private emails or here on my blog. One guy said the first time he read Denver Snuffer (he came here from Reddit), he thought he was a serial killer from the mile high city. Denver is named after his father so all his books have Jr. appended to his name. Yes, that’s his name. Denver was not raised a Mormon. His mother was a Baptist. He was raised in Idaho but joined the LDS Church 40 years ago in 1973. He was excommunicated 40 years later to the day. It’s an easily remembered name isn’t it? I think we will be hearing it more as the years go on. If my calculations are correct, Denver is now either 60 or 61 years of age as of late 2013. So what?

02. Why should I listen to someone who has been divorced? I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. As Denver has shared in his first book, The Second Comforter, he’s just a regular guy, the “least” of the saints. He shares very few things from his personal life. He has shared this one in an effort to point out that unlike the LDS Church, which will not consider a divorced man for a leadership position (see my note below), the Lord does not hold something like divorce against us. Denver has since remarried and is the father of nine children, although that has nothing to do with his message that we each can and should have a personal relationship with the Lord, one in which we receive a personal witness of the Lord’s resurrection, also known as the Second Comforter.

03. Why doesn’t he like to have his picture published with his books? You can find pictures of Denver at various ages on the Internet, but he has made it a practice to make sure promotional material on upcoming talks, lectures or book discussion does not include personal pictures. He continues to state this is because he wants people to concentrate on the message, not on him. He has offered many times in many places in his books and on his blog that the messenger is not as important as the message. Obviously, you can infer from this that he feels he has been given an assignment from the Lord to deliver a message to us that the promises in section 93:1 and other scriptures are literal. He says the Lord wanted him to tell the people that anyone can experience a personal visit from the Lord, be they male or female. Endowment is required but not priesthood. In other words, the Lord does not discriminate his visits to women who qualify themselves.

04. What makes him think he can write a book or give a lecture? Denver is an attorney by trade and thus has some expertise in writing and speaking. My reviews of his books have included something to the effect that he is verbose, tends to repeat himself and can go on and on about a subject at some length. That has been helpful to me in many ways as I have read his books. He will introduce a concept, give an example or two, repeat the concept, explain how the idea can he applied in our lives and then conclude by restating the concept again, always backed up with abundant references to scripture, both modern and ancient as well as words of LDS leaders. Some have criticized his writing style. His first book, The Second Comforter, acknowledges editing contributions of others, which he says makes the message clearer or easier to understand.

05. What special claim does he make that I should listen to him? Denver claims, at least for his first book, that he was asked, perhaps even commanded by the Lord to explain to the LDS people in particular that they can and should seek to obtain the witness of the Second Comforter. From what I can tell the gist of his message is that we have left many of the original teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith behind and either misunderstood or misapplied many scriptures for which he offers clarifications from twenty years of callings as a Gospel Doctrine Teacher in various wards and stakes in which he has lived in the Sandy Utah area. He at one time served on the High Council in that stake and, I am told, held many meetings in his home, in which attendance was similar to when he taught or spoke – always overflowing. People came from miles around to hear him. Yet he continues to say he does not want a following. He wants to bring people unto Christ. In short, he does indeed claim that he was given a message from the Lord for the people.

05. Why would the Lord speak through him and not through the LDS prophet? This is perhaps one of the most oft repeated criticisms I encounter in the comments in the dozen or so essays I have posted on my blog about Denver Snuffer over the past year or two. It’s not one that I am qualified to answer. However, it does not bother me in spite of the fact I know the stories of how the Lord dealt with this in the past through the Doctrine and Covenants. I’m referring to the story of Hiram Page and his white stone in section 28. In verse 6, we read, “And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church. For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.” This scripture has been cited by many as the main reason Denver was excommunicated.

06. A messenger from God would not drive a Harley or use swear words. Yes, Denver drives a Harley, or at least he did in the past. I don’t know if he still does. So what? What does that matter? What gives us the right to judge another man by the kind of vehicle he chooses for transportation? Yes, Denver has been known to let slip a “hell” or “damn” in his lectures, but then so did J. Golden Kimball, so there you go. The idea here is that a prophet or messenger from God should and would conduct himself with decorum, be conservative in his principles and would want to portray himself in an acceptable light, more like the way our current general authorities present themselves in public. I don’t believe I have ever heard Denver call himself a prophet, although the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy. He has, however, said he has been given an assignment from the Savior, is His servant and is delivering His message.

07. The church does not want us to listen to excommunicated individuals. This is true. That’s one of the reasons why the Church excommunicates members who go astray. The charge against him was apostasy, although many have tried to make a distinction that what he did was heresy in the way he denigrated the brethren, opposed some of their interpretations of scriptures and history and in short, was less than respectful in his writings and lectures towards those whom we sustain as “prophets, seers and revelators” in the LDS Church. The unusual thing of course is that we would know nothing of Denver’s excommunication if it did not come from his blog. In other words, the church does not now or no longer announces disciplinary actions against former members as it once did. Many members simply will not listen to or read Denver because of this.

08. He is a slick, deceiving anti-Christ. Stay away from men like him. Yes, this argument has been presented in the comments of my blog. Personally, I do not find this statement logical, since Denver, in all he does, as far as I can tell, invites and implores us to come unto Christ, to do all within our power to heed the spirit which leads us unto Christ and prepares us to enter the Savior’s presence. His entire first book was all about the steps we can and should take to come unto Christ. Each subsequent book, up until the last, augmented that message. In fact, the last book, Passing The Heavenly Gift, which is the one that brought about his excommunication, made direct statements about how and why we should come unto Christ, even though they were couched in terms accusing the current LDS church of no longer teaching this doctrine of Joseph.

09. He is just trying to get a following to start a church and get our money. Denver has expressed many, many times he seeks no following, does not want a following, has asked people to not follow him but to seek after the Savior. He has even renamed the widget on his blog to display “readers” instead of “followers.” He has explained to us many times he donates the proceeds of the sales of his books to the LDS Church General Missionary Fund (I assume now through other family members). He at one time also explained the printing of his books was contracted through an individual who depends upon Denver’s books for his livelihood to support his family. If I remember correctly the man was handicapped or could not provide for his family in any other way. Denver is NOT trying to start a church, although he has said we should all seek to become members of the church of the Firstborn, which, as you know, does not have an earthly structure.

10. What makes him different from other apostates who have left the church? First, you will have to decide if you feel comfortable calling him an apostate. I don’t. Others have argued he fits the bill so they have no problem with that. They claim he leads members away from the Prophets and is therefore an apostate. I disagree. He had told us to sustain the Brethren, has taken great pains in sharing his excommunication procedures, including some details behind the scenes in which he wanted his children to know he sustained his bishop and stake president. Of course, there are those who argue if he sustained them, he would have done what his stake president asked by ceasing the publication of his books and cancelling this year’s lecture tour. You can read his response on his blog. I am satisfied in my mind he is no apostate. It is true enough that the church cut him off, but I do not see him as someone like the leader of the Strangites or any of the leaders of the polygamous groups such as Lorin Wooley, Warren Jeffs or Rulon Wells.

11. He seemed belligerent and disobedient as he was being excommunicated. Because he made the documents and some of the background discussion public on his blog, there was much discussion here and on the private discussion groups that he was not being cooperative with the requests of his priesthood leaders. I fact, some went so far as to say by bringing his children to the proceedings he violated their instructions and in effect, “did an end-run” around the process. They considered this mockery. Denver explained his reasoning on his blog. You will have to decide for yourself if he was honoring his wife’s right to revelation as I believe he was or if he was trying to manipulate the proceedings. What does it matter? The end result was the same. He knew the decision had been made before the council was held. I was surprised he decided to attend. He told Peggy Fletcher Stack the Friday before in the Salt Lake Tribune he felt it was a done deal. The decision had been made and his local leaders were only doing as they were told. If anything, perhaps Denver was tired of waiting and wanted the process to be over quickly.

12. Why didn’t he stop publishing PtHG like his Stake President asked? You’ll have to ask him that question if you’re not satisfied with the one he gave on his blog about negating contractual obligations. Personally I’m not sure it would have made a difference. The book is published. It has been available for almost two years. I am certain tens of thousands of copies are out there. I am also certain hundreds have read it. I have received written affidavits from individuals who swear it helped keep them in the church, saved their marriage and caused them to reconsider and understand so much of what they had previously misunderstand and been taught growing up in the church. In short, and in my opinion, Denver did not stop publication of the book because he feels Passing the Heavenly Gift is helpful and is helping people come to grips with what they learned from the official curriculum and what history teaches from documents and witnesses.

13. He has given ammunition to the enemies of the church with his book, PtHG. Yes, I have read this from some of my Facebook friends. I cannot understand this since most everything he wrote about is already available and has long been available in a form much less flattering on the Internet from sites like Mormon Think, Recovery From Mormonism, Post Mormon, New-Order Mormons and many, many anti-Mormon sites. They didn’t need PtHG to find the quotes or the stories they use in their publications and on the Internet. If anything, Denver related the stories with greater factuality, from original sources and drew conclusions that were complementary to the individuals involved. I can think of several examples which he told with sensitivity that belies the brutality of what actually happened. Think of some of the way local bishops ran some of the towns in Southern Utah in the late 1800’s. Think of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Denver did not make up these facts and was not the first to relate them. He wrote them clearly.

14. I prayed about it and the spirit told me not to listen to him or read his books. Then don’t read his books. They are not for everybody. It does require a strong testimony to read some of the things in PtHG. The book was not written for the new member of the church, weak in the faith. If the spirit is telling you to not go to his lectures, then for heaven’s sake, don’t go. If you feel a pre-disposition to be offended or are worried about being led astray by what he might say, then, by all means, stay away. Many people find all the spiritual nourishment they need from the regular meetings of the LDS Church. We are encouraged to study out of the best books. I consider Denver’s books to be some of the best. I have gained so much from them. They have answered so many questions for me and removed so many doubts. Yes, removed doubt, not introduced any new doubts. I also have prayed about Denver books and lectures and feel impressed they will be helpful to me in my regular study of the Mormon faith. I read the scriptures on a regular basis, read the lessons for Sunday school and my High Priest Group but I also read a ton of other LDS books that help me understand this religion including Denver’s.

15. Something changed between his first seven books and his last one – PtHG. Yes I have read this one a lot. Some write he went rogue just before publishing PtHG. They write they can accept all his books before this one but not PtHG. Perhaps something did change. Perhaps he got tired of people not “getting” it, because they were stuck in some false beliefs about our history or about our doctrine. Yes, this is getting into deep territory. We teach that only prophets have the right to interpret scripture and teach official doctrine for our church. You may believe what you like about whatever may have happened to Denver before he wrote PtHG. I for one am grateful he wrote the book. As I stated previously, it helped me resolve many discrepancies I had been taught growing up from the official curriculum and what I later read in the journals and other sources. In any event, it’s a moot point. Denver is excommunicated. You can freely ignore him.

16. Why did he make his summons letter and excommunication notice public? I guess you’ll have to ask him this question. I believe it was to provide a witness of what was happening. Denver is not like the rest of the September Six, for example. His stake president proclaimed in front of his children that Denver was worthy of a temple recommend. The disciplinary council was only about a book – Passing the Heavenly Gift. He and President Hunt are friends. From what I read, President Hunt was willing or perhaps suggested individuals who had questions about what had happened to Denver should read his blog for the detailed explanation. Previously I wrote the church did the right thing by excommunicating Denver. I am no longer so sure. With all his knowledge and background in teaching, could they not have made him a consultant to help those who are struggling with a faith crisis? Trust me there are a lot of them, especially in Utah. Although I see only a little here, I read stories of people resigning from the church every day in Utah. It seems to be the in thing to do as a way of protesting the feeling of being deceived.

17. Doesn’t he teach the ordinances are not the real thing – they’re only symbolic? Yes, he does, at least to my understanding. Denver relates and backs up with scripture we should go to the Lord in prayer after receiving an ordinance specifically to ask the Lord to ratify it and send the promised power described in the ordinance, and I mean every ordinance, including those of the temple. The church is authorized to perform those ordinances but as President Packer taught, there is a big difference between authority and power. Power comes from the Lord and only from the Lord. We need to be taught by the Holy Ghost and then by angels what we must do to receive the power described in the ordinance. The ordinances are earthly representations of heavenly things. I don’t think this is a new or different doctrine. Denver does a great job of teaching and explaining it in a way that helps us understand we have work to do after receiving the ordinance.

18. His book claims there was no succession in the presidency from Joseph Smith. I confess this is one I still don’t understand. I may be totally wrong on this point. My wife and I have had several discussions about this point. You’ll have to read the chapter on succession in the presidency from PtHG to understand what he is trying to explain. I have read it probably half a dozen times now and I confess I still don’t understand. I have read Denver’s statements that he never said the church didn’t have the sealing power, yet he makes a very big deal about how Nephi received the sealing power in the Book of Mormon – only by hearing it from the voice of God. We also used to teach in this church that an apostle’s ordination is not complete until he feels the hands of the Lord upon his heads and hears from the Lord himself that he is ordained as an apostle. He makes a distinction between an administrative apostle and an apostle who is a living witness of the resurrection of the Savior. This is not new. You can read the record for yourself how the charge was given to the apostles until the turn of the 19th century. What power or what Heavenly Gift was being referred to in Denver’s book that so upset the Brethren?

19. Why would he publish such a horrible book that does so much damage to the church? When I was first introduced to the book and read it, I thought to myself, “Finally, someone has written all the things about the church I have found spread out all over the Internet in a way that makes sense, presents facts and wraps them up neatly in a nice bow. The ending didn’t always come out so pretty but that’s because some of our history is ugly. Men and women are imperfect. Our leaders made mistakes. I’ve said it many times, these things can be found all over the Internet in ways that are not complementary to the church. Denver’s book does a good job of explaining them in a better light, even though they are not so desirable. They really did happen. The book is not filled with lies. It is filled with a slightly and sometimes radically different narrative of our history from what we were taught growing up in the church or from the official curriculum. In my mind, it is not a horrible book, but I would only recommend it to my friends who struggle with things they have read on the Internet that contradict what we teach in Sunday school class.

20. He is out of order. He criticizes. It is not his place to tell the Brethren what to do. OK, this is one that I chalk up to Denver being a convert. It’s unheard of to disagree with the official story of our history and then to publish it in a non-academic environment with all the peer-review and weasel-words that allow an essay to be read without offense. There’s no doubt this book offends some people, especially when he uses phrases like “proud descendants of Nauvoo” (he explains that well I think). I could never have done what Denver did in publishing this book. I think he knew when he wrote it that it might cause a few ripples, a few waves and perhaps result in some disciplinary action. In an email he wrote to me six months ago, I think he even had an inkling that he might have to suffer excommunication as a result of publishing Passing the Heavenly Gift. But I’m glad he did and appreciate his courage in doing so. The book has blessed my life.

718 thoughts on “Arguments Against Denver Snuffer”

  1. This is part one. It also lacks links upon posting, which will be added later. You are welcome to add comments, corrections, clarification or disagreements. I have not met the man. I only write this for my own edification so I can be ready to respond when people ask me these questions, which they do. This is obviously not the review of his Boise talk, which I am still working on and hope to publish later this week.

    Some of these arguments came from Carol, my wife, who has no desire to read his books, hear his lectures or learn more about what he writes. I am fascinated by his message and am still attempting to understand it after over a year and a half of reading his material on a regular basis. Please don’t think I’m trying to criticize or offend. This is meant to be a position paper.

    Many of these have been discussed in several of my previous posts about Denver Snuffer:

    Denver Snuffer Excommunicated – 138 comments
    Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council – 138 comments
    The Appeal of Denver Snuffer – 68 Comments
    What Denver Snuffer Teaches – 66 comments
    A New Star Will Soon Shine Forth – 35 comments
    Remembering the Covenant – 31 comments
    Progress Report on Denver Snuffer – 31 comments
    The Four Phases of Mormonism – 28 comments
    A Moderate Approach to Denver Snuffer – 27 comments
    All Are Invited To The Feast – 21 comments
    The Lord Prepares Groups of People – 21 comments
    My Defense Before the High Council – 15 comments
    Expression of Support for Denver Snuffer – 10 comments

  2. ” Doesn’t he teach the ordinances are not the real thing – they’re only symbolic? ”

    Oh oh….Am I an apostate?

    I am sorry but let sit and discuss nicely for a minute.

    A) We are Gods in embryos.

    Would you let an infant (let alone an embryo) play with something that YOU can handle as a grown up but that can be harmful in the hands of someone who don’t have the knowledge or experience or whatever to know how to use it properly?

    B) Our children are not really our children. They are our brothers and sisters and someday, when we are exalted, we will be given the power to have a family on our own.

    Oh wait so what are we doing here?
    Play pretend?
    Er….it seems so.

    All this is just play pretend for Heavenly kids who take it so seriously that they are ready to kill in the name of their game instead of enjoying the opportunity to learn from our Heavenly Parents’ pattern just like kids playing pretend.

    So yes, nothing is real but everything is sacred and beyond serious.

    No seriously……would you let a 5 years old child play with a chainsaw?
    Yes? Realluy? Why? Because he is a good kid and it is the way to learn?


    I explain this point of view of mine to the wife of my stake president and….she laughed.
    And I know i can share this publicly and at worse people will look at me with a blank look. Maybe even laugh saying that I am wrong. End of the discussion.
    Tell Denver to move to France!

  3. We all fret too much over such small things!

    The very fact that this man as the backbone to present something different, stand up for it, take the stab in the back, and continue pressing on makes him unique and refreshing. I find his clarity of purpose intriguing and long for that kind of direction.

    What if he is telling the truth?

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was due for a refresh.

  4. I believe that we all have inspired messages to share with our fellow man, and that some of these message may be “beyond the scope” of current LDS Church teachings and practices.

    FWIW, here are some guidelines that I have developed through trial-and-error.

    1. Do not represent yourself as having received a revelation for the LDS Church.

    2. But you may claim, if true, that God has given you a message for the House of Israel, human family, all mankind, etc.

    3. Make sure your message is impeccably grounded in the Standard Works.

    4. Do not criticize the LDS Church leaders in any way for being remiss in regard to your message or cause.

    5. Leave LDS Church history alone. It is a Tar-Baby in the Br’er Rabbit sense.

    6. Compartmentalize. Completely remove yourself from the LDS Church sphere when you deliver your message.

    7. Use gentle persuasion.

    8. When faced with threats of church discipline, pray mightly to the Lord for deliverance.

    9. But if necessary, resign your membership rather than be excommunicated.

    I have made some mistakes in regards to these points, mostly in the past. So no need to point out my hypocrisy.

    The Lord has spared me from no. 9 thus far, but twice I have had to lay my membership record on the altar.

  5. I normally shy away from contention in whatever form it comes in. I personally feel that contention is a critical tool of the adversary and has no position or portion in the Lord’s Way. But with that said I share a few of the ideas I come away with from the Denver Snuffer ordeal.

    I understand that there are quite a few who enter into the fray because it gives them a vicarious way to live and share the gospel — even to discuss some of the finer points in the gospel.

    One can not be saved in ignorance. When we pass this mortal probation (or second estate) there is much for us to learn about the gospel in the heavenly classrooms. If we can not be saved in ignorance then there must be some classrooms in the spirit world wherein we can participate in “lessons in the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. If I had the time and the patience I could list quite a few lecture titles that would be used to attract a student body to come in and listen.

    Denver has good intentions in his heart. I believe that. I knew him while in college while he attended BYU’s J. Rueben Clark Law School. Denver was an intellectual then and he is still an intellectual. I say that with respect and no intended smear. Intellectualism is, as an isolated study, a very important study in the Plan of Salvation. The glory of God is intelligence, or light and truth. Whatever is light and whatever is truth is encompassed in that which I call intelligence. Light and Truth are vital, in fact essential, in the pursuit of being saved. I can find no fault in a person who seeks intelligence or light and truth. One might find some problems if the seeker feels like he/she becomes the source of the light and truth, and not that it flows to them from a “higher power”. For if it flows to them from a higher source then they can always be the purveyor of that light and truth and not the source of it. Give credit to the source at all times. Sometimes I feel that Denver strays in giving the illusion that he is the source of some special light and truth; that the Brethren have strayed from obtaining the source correctly and that the Lord has commissioned Denver to bring an erring group back into the true source. The Lord Himself must operate within these guidelines of light and truth — and He does, as do all the Brethren who profess to be His Special Witnesses. The removal of such is not in the hands of a mortal being…the Lord is very capable of structuring His organization as He sees fit to do. If the Brethren ere then it is the Lord who will correct the erring disciple. It is not a mere mortal into who’s hand He would entrust such critical judgments (thankfully).

    We should all take up the study of what it takes to have every act, every ordinance, every Temple Ordinance, everything that is done with the authority of the Holy Priesthood while here on earth, to have it “sealed”, “ratified”, “In full force and effect”, “Sanctified”, and have the same action binding in Heaven. We would all be benefited by a sincere, fasting, prayerful study of the role the Holy Ghost has in each of these actions — especially those who are done with the Holy Priesthood.

    We all seek to be blessed to be members of the “Church of The Firstborn” and all that we do is in an effort to be saved in the Celestial Kingdom, and even in the Highest of Standing within the Celestial Kingdom. The great question is whether we are willing to do all that is necessary to have this great blessing bestowed upon us. There was a period of time that I sought the “blessings of the Fathers” and with the Tender Mercy of the Lord He began a Doctoral Study of the same in my life. He taught me. He will teach you. I am the lowliest of His servants and if He will do for me I know He will do for you. And with “His stripes I am healed”…I am still undertaking my doctoral coursework and I am excited for each and every lesson. Some came with me pleading for the Lord to let the cup pass from me (my own personal gethsemane) and I have had too many of them, but the Lord in His merciful way brings me through each and every thing He brings me to. I pray each day to be worthy of His lessons as He teaches me. He loves each of us with an Eternal Love. He loves you, He loves Denver, He loves to bring us unto the Father — and isn’t that the summa summarum.

    I believe Denver is trying in his intellectual way and methodology to cause an understanding of these critical, saving intellectualisms. But to say the Brethren are left suspect within those guidelines is a trek into the unknown for any who do not sit in counsel with the Brethren. If one does not sit in counsel with them in their weekly meetings and in their God fearing efforts to fulfill their Priesthood duty, how can one make judgment on what they lack or what they don’t understand. One is guessing if one does not sit in those counsels and meetings. If my judgments are correct I believe the Brethren work tirelessly in bringing to pass the Eternal life of each of us. They work tirelessly in their administrations and in their ministrations to every soul who is living and every soul who has lived on the earth. They have undoubtedly sought their “errand from the Lord” in a very personal way. If one were to study each of their talks one would see, without error, wherein each of them received their “errand from the Lord”. We would do well to remember that this is the Lord’s work. He understands what it takes to be His “Special Witness” unto all the world. One can be His witness but not be one called to be His “Special Witness unto all the world”. Each of us has a duty to witness Jesus Christ and His Atonement and Resurrection. An Apostle has a commission that really only the select group of men who have been called by the Lord to such can understand. I don’t understand why Denver brings them into judgment — there is no need for division, none….and that is not the Lord’s way.

    I wish Denver no ill will. I hope he sees some way of helping in this intellectual study of the gospel without being the “source” of some new insight or new understanding of this Gospel. I pray that he takes the following year and brings himself into the correct order of Heaven and earth in how the Lord addresses needs to understand things about the gospel. There is nothing in the teachings of the Gospel Plan that each and every one of us can not be partakers of. One can not be saved in ignorance — so let’s get to teaching one another the Truths of the Gospel and work to hasten the coming advent of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule and reign for a thousand years. There is room for all to come to an understanding of the sealing power of the Priesthood, the Holy Ghost, and the work of Elijah the Prophet.

    1. Thank you RC. I so look forward to hearing from the apostles and prophets in less than two weeks at General Conference, I agree the Lord will work with each of us on our own doctoral program if we but ask It can be and is at times painful. I too know this from painful, unexpected experience. Those who are closest to you, sometimes family, sometimes not, may turn out to be the source of the chastening hand of the Lord as he prepares you to dwell in his presence. Well said.

  6. I was asked about a divorced man being a bishop. I gleaned the following from a few spots. The bottom line is that it is rare. Divorced men are usually not considered for leadership positions:

    From various sources: “To be bishop, a man must be currently married in the temple. If he has been divorced, then he must be married to his current wife at least 5 years in order to be considered for the calling. It is actually easier to be a bishop than a full time Institute / Seminary instructor (CES employee), where you can never have been divorced! But basically, yes, you can be a bishop despite having been divorced previously. Most likely a current bishop who gets a divorce, will be released as a bishop.

    “You’ll pretty much never meet someone who was called to be a bishop while he was single due to a divorce. The Stake President recommends a name…provides info about that person and it has to be approved by the First Presidency. Regardless, being sealed in the Temple is a must. But typically yes. If you’ve been divorced, you are not likely to be called as a bishop. In the US they typically don’t call divorced men as bishops. This is a general rule of thumb and seems to differ depending on needs in an area.”

    Where Denver lives, he has stated that he was told he would never serve in leadership because of his divorce. I can look up the reference in one of his books later (I think it was “The Second Comforter” if someone really feels the need to know.

  7. Tim, I will break my silence on these posts simply to address one sentence in this one, since I will be commenting about that sentence and not Bro. Snuffer directly.

    “Perhaps he got tired of people not “getting” it, because they were stuck in some false beliefs about our history or about our doctrine.”

    This is the attitude I abhor most in the defenses of Bro. Snuffer. This sentence, once again, dismisses my objections as childish and immature – as being based on false and inadequate understanding. It says, “if only they could understand the truth” – and that is, fundamentally, a very condescending attitude.

    You are a better person than that statement suggests, and I have to believe you didn’t think through the implications when you wrote it. It is, however, very common in a lot of defenses I have read.

    1. From the preface of the book:
      “…the accounts we regard as ‘history’ are mythical attempts to smooth together the broken confluences to make a tale worth retelling. Mormonism is particularly ‘smooth’ in all the official history retold by the church I belong to: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
      “More and more, however, among friends of mine there is an increasing unease with official accounts of the history of the church. They have grown impatient, and some have left Mormonism because they find too many fanciful insertions into the story of our faith.
      “I have been waiting for someone to write this book. It needs to be written. No one has stepped forward to do so. Therefore, I have decided I am to write it. It explains why I remain a loyal member, despite the rough stuff from which the modern church arises.
      “This book does not contain the traditional account. It only responds to it. Therefore, this is not intended as an introduction to Mormon history. If you are not acquainted with the claims made in basic Mormon history, you may want to read those first.
      “This explanation of events is not based on personal preferences, but it instead conforms with prophecies about Mormonism. The result is a story unlike the familiar one…Some conclusions are very different from what you are used to. A great deal of what is regarded as ‘well settled’ is, upon close investigation, merely a series of inconsistent leaps of faith unwarranted by the record.
      “Alternatively, they are simply inaccurate, incomplete or untrue. In the traditional story written and told by Mormons to one another, there has been a great deal of revising, or explaining events from hindsight.
      ” have found ideas that I once considered renegade are, in fact, an accurate explanation of events at the time they happened. Latter ideas tend to creep backwards, offering explanations that do no belong in the story until later changes were adopted.
      “It is very important to know that some events regarded as original are changes which were made at a later date. They do not belong in account as part of the first, unfolding establishment of the religion. For Mormon readers, therefore, it will be necessary to keep an open mind about our history until you have finished reading.

      “Finally, it would be a disservice to discuss the problems with traditional accounts of Mormon history and leave the reader with the impression I believe there has been a complete compromise of the faith. Therefore this book will explain why Mormonism is still the center of God’s involvement with religion today.”

      —- End of quote from the preface —–

      And that is what I mean by my expression it seemed to me Denver was tired of some people not ‘getting it’ because they were stuck in some false beliefs about our history or about our doctrine. Ray, I have been a student of our history and doctrine all my life. I am about as TBM as they come, or at least I always thought so. I always dismissed the ‘alternative narrative’ stories as made-up, false, lies or deliberate attempts to mislead. In other people’s books, such as Grant Palmer’s, I could see he had some things wrong and put things together wrong. I thought the website “Mormon Think” was a joke – too contrived (still do).

      I did not see that in Denver’s book of Passing the Heavenly Gift. For me, many questions that had long been on the shelf were answered as I read his book. The answers made sense. This is not a personal accusation against you that you have been deceived or that you just don’t get it. This was about me getting it and me putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Ray, don’t leave your convictions. Stick to your guns. This book is obviously not written for you. It was written for someone like me who had a few lingering questions about what happened AFTER Joseph Smith and how our history was written and yes, in some cases, revised, many years after it happened.

      The debate will continue for years to come, or for at least this year. Soon, the rebuttal to PtHG will be out. Denver has already said he looks forward to responding. It is an academic debate in many ways. My fundamental faith has not changed. I still know Joseph was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I still am more than willing to pay my tithing to this great church. I have said it before and will say it again, If my Stake President asks me to take this blog down so I can keep my temple recommend I will comply in a heartbeat. But as of today, I feel I can answer that loyalty question without any deception. I do not feel that reading Denver’s books disqualifies me for a temple recommend. He has not asked for anyone to “follow him” or start a church, just do some thinking.

      I do not think any less of anyone who has not read Denver’s books and who does not intend to. My wife will not read his material. She does not care if I go to his lectures, but they are too far away for me. My sentence was a supposition, based on the paragraphs I presented in the paragraph at the beginning of this comment. I may be completely misunderstanding or misrepresenting what he is trying to say or has said. On the surface, his statement does seem a little arrogant: “Therefore, I have decided I am to write it.” At first, I thought to myself, “Why? It really didn’t need to be written,” but then I started receiving letters and emails from people who said that reading Denver’s books kept them in the church or saved their marriage or some other equally profound statement. The book meets an unmet need that some people don’t have, but many do.

      Please, Ray, I am not dismissing your objections. I’m not even sure I know them completely. Nor do I think Denver is doing so either. Your objections are not childish or immature. Perhaps my reasons for finding answers in this book are childish and immature. I apologize for what you perceive as a condescending attitude. Perhaps it was. If so, I repent and apologize. Please forgive me. I don’t believe for one minute that a man of your caliber and stature with a history of service in this church is anything but committed with heart, mind and soul. I just tried to be open minded when my bishop asked my opinion of the book. I was simply amazed at what happened when I read it. For me, it was a spiritual experience. Others have said it was the worst tripe they have ever read. Go figure.

  8. As I said, Tim, I have read the charge I described in LOTS of comments about those who have problems with PtHG – and I was certain it wasn’t what you meant when you typed that statement. I appreciate your clarification, and it says what I believed to be the case. I respect and admire you greatly, which is why I decided to write the last comment.

    I stand by the general point I made, however – that so many people simply dismiss all who object in some way by painting everyone into the same narrow box. They do exactly what they criticize the other side of doing – and I am really weary of reading it over and over and over again. I’ve seen it repeatedly in multiple comments here – and I think it’s the opposite side of the same lack-of-charity coin. I also have read it more and more on Denver’s blog since the publication of PtHG – which is why I no longer read his blog at all. It’s not that I disagree with everything he’s written; it’s because I have no desire to partake of what I see now as hypocritical vitriol – framed in terms of love and concern. His carefully crafted attack on Sister Nelson, especially, was appalling. It was subtle yet scathing, and it was quintessentially lawyer-esque – and I love and admire many lawyers.

    When I started getting images in my mind of the lawyers pestering Alma and Amulek and constructing elaborate arguments and justifications for why they were ripping them to shreds and belittling them . . . I lost all interest in continuing to see what he has to say in that forum.

    I don’t know the man, but I have sensed a spirit come over his blog the last year or so that simply doesn’t attract me one bit. I don’t see that in you – but, honestly, I see it in FAR more comments on this blog than in the past. I still read here – because I respect you so much, but, more and more, I am picking and choosing which posts I read – based almost entirely on the non-productive negativity I know is going to flow in some of them.

    Now I need to go back to my read and lurk status on these posts.

  9. Nice summary.

    But, what about the argument that DS could have worked with the church during the editing phase of his book? In the academic community, ideas are peer-reviewed before they are published for quality control and to improve the author’s exposition. Why not run the manuscript by the GAs and try to initiate a dialogue instead of just asserting the right to publish non-reviewed speculation that would likely warrant trouble? That was his first opportunity to avoid this outcome. There were many more later on. But failing to pursue this option at the outset is observationally equivalent to pursuing a path to apostasy because it would assume from the get-go that the GAs are unreasonable and uninterested in being truthful, accurate, or working with learned members to clarify difficult issues of history and doctrine.

    1. Hi Pay the Piper. I’ve seen quite a number of your contributions on previous essays. I don’t believe I’ve ever responded directly. Thanks for your visits and your comments. They are excellent. Frankly, I’m in agreement with you. I think everyone has seen how I’ve taken the stance of defending Denver’s actions, but that’s not my right or my place, is it? I don’t know why he did what he did. I don’t know why he wrote the book. Surely he must have known it wasn’t favorable to the church. I’m with you. I think he knows the academic process. I am certain he understands peer-review. You’re right, he chose to go it alone. He did not seek or counsel with those who run this church or give them opportunity to help him present a book that might have been more palatable. He had a reputation. His first books were well received, even if they were not published through “authorized” channels. He had a small, yet growing influence.

      Now for the other side of the coin, he explains at length in The Second Comforter why he did not use the peer review system. I think points seven through ten in my post entitled Overview of The Second Comforter might help explain his mindset there. I’ll summarize: 7) He argues against the process of intellectual criticism. For those who don’t know, criticism is not a bad thing in this context. It simply means rebuttal of critical thinking, what Pay the Piper is engaging in here. He states intellectual criticism brings no revelation. It is not the way God teaches us. 8) He then argues Debate is not the right method, claiming it is not unifying. All it does is convince each side they are correct and entrench them in their thinking. 9) Point nine in that intellectual approach is also insufficient. Strangely enough, we are to study things out before we present them to the Lord. We can’t expect revelation without having done some thought about what we want to know. 10) Finally, he writes reason and scholarship do not produce revelation. What we are after is revelation – direct from God, through the Holy Ghost or whatever means He chooses to answer us, including the ministration of angels or a visit from the Savior when we are ready.

      Well, the deed is done. If you know Denver or have read The Second Comforter, you know his emphasis on sacrifice. Is it possible, and many have asked this, that Denver was asked to write this book, knowing full well it would eventually result in the loss of his membership? He makes a big point that when you are asked to sacrifice something you will know it came from God. In simple words, did God ask Denver to sacrifice his membership in order to prove him worthy of some greater blessing? Did something happen the day he was excommunicated that we will only understand when we are permitted to view the “big picture” when we get to the other side or if we ask the Lord to reveal to us now why Denver wrote a book that did not need to be written? You see, I can defend it either way – I can say it damaged the church by putting into one place all the bad things about our history upon which we don’t like to dwell. They are not lies. They are simply not taught, presented, defended or a part of our approved curriculum. On the other hand, struggling saints have shared the book has helped them come back to the church because they found an open honesty and clear explanations of difficult events from our shared history.

      Your statement or question, Pay the Piper, is valid. Why did he take the adversarial stance? Why did he not work with the Brethren? He certainly knows enough of them. No lawyer in Salt Lake can practice long without having some sort of dealings with the church. I do not know. I am only engaging in an intellectual exercise that will produce no clear answer because Denver does not comment on other blogs. From what I have read, Stephanie will bring some writings about him to his attention and he will comment on them from time to time on his blog ONLY. But those days may be past. Some of my friends are close enough to him that they could ask these questions but he is rather busy this weekend preparing for his Idaho Falls and Logan lectures. Besides, just like I would never ask my sister to ask Elder Perry something (she is his secretary), I would never ask Doug or any other of Denver’s friends to answer our ponderings and settle our arguments. In the big scheme of things, what we discuss here is all pointless because we will all know one way or the other when the sign is given as he has predicted and the servant is revealed.

  10. Tim, maybe you can relate, I’m also from outside of Utah, and it seems like the intellectual apostasy issues are much more rampant there. Is this because of the Mormon culture bubble there? Now I realize that with the internet and virtual living trends in our society that this is probably growing more rapidly elsewhere. Sometimes I sit back and just wonder if there’s way too little real scripture study, temple worship, prayer and productive pondering, and Christlike service occurring in some of the intellectuals’ lives. Maybe too much reading and too little focus on others and serving. Most of the servant/leaders in the Church that I know are too busy to get mired in this stuff, which can be very distracting, however self-satisfying.

    For example, essentially the thought/premise that got Denver into trouble is his 8th published book’s/PtHG’s proposition that Brigham and the Saints didn’t really complete the Nauvoo Temple and the Lord gave them an ultimatum and so he partially cursed them and drove them into the wilderness. From hence springs all his interpretations that the presiding Apostles do not possess the fulness of the priesthood and are very much custodial/administrative apostles and not true prophets, seers, and revelators, etc. Incidentally, he also implies many times, especially in his blog, that he is what they are not, i.e. a real Apostle possessing the sealing power and the fulness of the priesthood, member of the spiritual/eternal church of the Firstborn, on an authorized errand directly from the Lord, but not holding a priestly office in the “corporate church” (and now, not even holding membership). To me it seems like he is claiming, albeit subtly right now, that he is being raised up to be a new Joseph Smith to bring about a re-commencement of the first phase of Mormonism (as he puts it), Zion-building. He may say he does not wish to have a following, but he is doing what one would do to form one: publishing, public speaking, defying the orthodox leaders, etc. He is doing all of this in a very subtle and seemingly gentle manner, which is different than most of the apostates we see who leave the Church kicking and screaming. I also want to note that he has also subtly proclaimed, through his actions and excommunication, that his premise and conclusions in PtHG are not merely conjecture, opinion, or interpretation, but REVELATION. That he is discharging a divinely authorized duty which came through a separate channel, i.e. Denver.

    It seems to me his entire church history paradigm ultimately hinges on his interpretation of D&C 124:32 and his judgment of how the early Latter-day Saints and Brethren did not fulfill it:
    D&C 124:32
    32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.

    That is a very hard-line view of justice, given the circumstances, especially later after Joseph and Hyrum were martyred. I think it is very easy to temper that view of justice and judgement with mercy, like the Lord seems to communicate in these verses (42-48 have the tone of justice, 49-55 have the tone of mercy):
    D&C 124:42-55
    Doctrine and Covenants
    42 And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.
    43 And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it.
    44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy .
    45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
    46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
    47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
    48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord.
    49 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.
    50 And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.
    51 Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God.
    52 And I will answer judgment , wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God.
    53 And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God.
    54 For I am the Lord your God, and will save all those of your brethren who have been pure in heart, and have been slain in the land of Missouri, saith the Lord.
    55 And again, verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.

    Denver’s interpretation/extrapolation of these verses and the 3 subsequent partially-apostate/condemned(?) phases of church history doesn’t feel right to me – not because I haven’t processed all the information he presents either. By his own admission, Denver is neither appointed nor ordained, does not have authority, and does not want a following – he has encouraged us to be faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – he has not done this, per se, in this instance, but nevertheless. So it’s probably better just to let him be, leave him alone. It isn’t necessary for our individual or collective salvation or exaltation to read his books or his blog. Stick with the scriptures, particularly The Book of Mormon, the Temple, Christlike service, and the divinely appointed and authorized servants of the Lord, the living Apostles. If the Lord wants us to listen to someone, He will raise them up in His Church. Too many unauthorized voices writing books and going on speaking tours – totally unnecessary. Minister to individuals and bring them to Christ through His Church and help them get the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Again, I am still hoping and praying that Denver appeals to the First Presidency, that they choose to hear his case, and that he chooses to abide by their counsel. I hope and pray that he stays IN the Church. We shall see.

    1. Amen, Geoff. I don’t pretend to understand what Denver is doing or why. He does seem contradictory at times in what he writes and what he does, such as this lecture tour. He claims it was planned long before the present disciplinary dilemma, apparently not yet concluded because of his appeal to the First Presidency. If my friend Mel Fish’s experience is any indicator, the appeal will not get past the Area President’s office, but perhaps Denver’s case has greater appeal and attention than we know.

      I am looking forward to the rebuttals to PtHG being published (I am aware of two now in the works) and Denver’s response. I wish I had nothing but time to analyze, dissect and post my critiques of each of his lectures but I have yet to finish his first. He will already be giving two more this weekend. Perhaps I should follow your advice – and some of my readers have suggested they are tired of all this Denver stuff – simply ignore him. But alas, I can’t. As I’ve written before, it’s like watching a train wreck. How can a man be so confident he is right? There’s only three sources to sustain him – God, the adversary or ego. Will his lecture tour be what he expected? Will the result be greater awareness of what he says God wants us to know or will it bring a meltdown?

      I feel like someone opening that Chinese fortune cookie (an American invention by the way) – “May you live in interesting times.” We do.

    2. Great comment. My objection to Denver Snuffer, after reading his book very carefully is that even the greatest historians in the history of the world are well aware of their limitations. Snuffer has crossed over from an understanding that his historical narrative is an interpretation, to actually claiming that is is not interpretation, but the “truth”, apparently on par with revelation. This is the danger of ever believing your own nonsense as being something more than interpretation. This puts Snuffer into trouble time and again in PTHG. I think Snuffer is sincere, I think he really believes his own stuff, and I sincerely believe his interpretation is just plain wrong. What keys exactly did the church lose? Snuffer never makes this clear. What keys did Brigham Young and his successors lack? Snuffer confuses the keys that allow the church to be led, with the ultimate keys that each individual receives in connection with receiving a fullness of the priesthood. He seems to be irritated that modern apostles and prophets are not receiving face to face revelations. But–what evidence does he have that they are not? And-what difference does it really make? If the authorities in the church have the Gift of the Holy Ghost and are leading the church in a righteous course thereby, then why is this not sufficient for him?

  11. From all that I’ve read of Bro. Snuffer’s works, he always admonishes readers and listeners to seek the Holy Ghost’s affirmation or denunciation of what he teaches. I rejected some of the first things I read of his, but realized I never asked the Lord once to confirm or reject his words by the Spirit. I repented of that and did better. I was answered. And those answers are private between the Lord and I. I haven’t as yet even told Bro. Snuffer. But he doesn’t care — he wants us to take it to God alone.

    I hope everyone does the same. I hope they don’t assume by their initial reaction — positive or negative — that the Spirit has spoken before they even ask. Perhaps some of Bro. Snuffer’s words are true. Perhaps some are incorrect. We do not reject the scriptures because they contain errors. Errors are false doctrines by literal definition. Should the same standard apply to non-scriptural writings? At first I would say of course not. If such have errors, reject it all, for these are “the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.” But wait, the Spirit let’s us know the truth of ALL things. And when He let’s us know that something — or even a portion — isn’t correct or true, my experience has been that I come away with greater discernment, but no desire at all to speak harshly of the author.

    That’s just my humble experience. Ask the Lord. Seek an answer. Make no assumptions so that I am open to receiving a witness from God. Otherwise, I would feel it is only correct to state my fallible opinion (clearly as opinion) which may influence someone in a positive way, yet still be fully erroneous. Further, I’ve noticed many opinions are full of cheer that this man has been excommunicated. Surely this is not worthy of any member of the church.

    The labor for a witness is worth every strain. I hope we don’t settle for less, whether it be the book of Abraham, General Conference, PtHG, or a well-written commentary for the Latter-Day.

    Enjoyed your post, Bro. Tim.

  12. Bro. Snuffer is exed yet John Dehlin who openly questions and criticizes everything LDS is not exed. The members should be upset about this. Snuffer has done nothing compared to what Dehlin has done. Not right. The First Pres. and Quorum of 12 are Gods representatives and so like God they should be no respector of persons like God. Members really should complain about Dehlin.

    1. Compare what John Dehlin has done in response to his meetings with his stake president: John has been just as open as was Denver. However, in John’s case, as far as I know, he complied with everything his SP asked of him. He disconnected himself from some of the more critical / negative blog activities with which he was formally associated, he specifically helped create a wonderful website entitled “How to stay in the LDS Church / Why I Stay.” Anybody who reads John’s stuff lately can see he has changed his tone. He is much more conciliatory towards the mission of the church. True, he is openly pro-LBGT, but he promotes his views in such a way that he does not come across as “You MUST accept this” but more of “Please learn to love our LBGT brothers and sisters, they have a hard enough road to travel without being judged and rejected by their fellow saints…” The list could go on and on. John has changed in a big way. I have watched him for the last seven or eight years. he had a crisis of faith, and in my opinion, he got over it. He has come back and is trying to prove faithful and obedient. Now mind you, all this is based on simply what I have read, so I suppose that makes me a good impartial observer. Just like I’ve never met Denver, I’ve never met John. I do not like that Denver was excommunicated and I hope his appeal to the first presidency brings about god results, but by his own writings, Denver said he could not or would not comply with what his SP asked him to do. And there, my friend is the big difference. As far as I know, John did as he was counseled and for this no action was taken against his membership status.

  13. I did not know a divorced man could never hold a leadership position! That is absured! What if the mans wife did him dirty and it just could not be worked out? I doubt very seriously whether or not God cares if someone has been divorced. Wow. The church really is getting to become as the Pharisees. A wife of Brigham Young divorced him.

    1. jg: Please see my note below. This is not doctrine. It is practice or custom in most stakes in Utah and California. Everyone knows exceptions, including me. But as a general rule: when considering men for leadership positions such as bishop or SP, if they have been divorced, their name is placed lower on the list. It’s not a hard and fast rule of which I am aware.

  14. Hello Brother Malone,

    thank you for explaining, from your point of view about Denver Snuffer.

    Most appreciated.

    Kind Regards J.V

    On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 5:13 PM, Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs

  15. As much as I’ve been enlightened or entertained by Denver’s writings and talks, I just can’t get beyond this comment attributed to Joseph Smith:

    I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.

    History of the Church 3:385

    1. btw, I’m not trying to suggest that JS was condemning others … but I don’t think DS is condemning others either or saying “he himself is righteous.: They both just seem to be finding fault with institutions that have drifted over the centuries/decades. I think the context of this quote is important, when JS says the Church, he is referring to a church that at the time was closely connected to the powers of heaven. I think Abinadi also found fault with the church of his time, as did Christ, and many others. The larger question is not about DS, it is about the Church, and it is about your own connection to the heavens.

      1. From everything I’ve seen, Denver has done nothing but good in getting people to read, think, study, ponder, pray and recommit. You may think him an apostate (since he is excommunicated and his appeal has not been announced), or you may think him inspired and consider seriously if the Lord really did ask him to perform some special sort of mission such as write his book / books, conduct his lecture circuit this year, or possibly even sacrifice his church membership as a sign to the Lord that he would give up anything asked. If so, he is a much better man than I. My membership means more to me right now than learning fully what Denver has said we can learn: to receive the Lord, commune with Him, be taught by Him, be accepted into His presence while in mortality and to be ministered to or taught the mysteries of eternity. I am not ready to give up the sacrament and the temple since I have not yet receive those other things that Denver claims he has received. I am nowhere near Denver’s level of faith and spirituality.

    2. robf: That’s a good one and one we should all seriously consider when pondering Denver’s predicament: ie: his excommunication. Based on that quote, how could the church have done anything less than what they did? Still, that does not stop me from reading, pondering and gaining good from his insights as he shared in his books.