Mormon history is full of breakoff groups, splinter groups, divisions, and all kinds of off-shoots. Most of them have been failures. Tell me why you think this new movement will be different.
First, let’s be clear I’m no spokesperson for this movement. I’m not even sure you can classify it as a movement. There is no leader. This is no organized church. It is simply a group of believers.
But you base your beliefs on Mormonism.
Yes, the majority of what we believe was at one time taught in Mormonism.
Okay, so you’re a group of former Mormons…
No, we believe we’re still Mormons – even those who have left the LDS Church.
I’ll bet some do, but I don’t. Even though I accept section 132 as doctrine, I have no intention of practicing plural marriage.
Why is that, especially if you accept section 132?
If there’s any one thing that unites this diverse group of believers, it’s a message that was delivered throughout the Mormon corridor over the past year or so (Sep 2013 to Sep 2014) in a series of lectures.
You’re referring of course to Denver Snuffer and his teachings.
Yes. One of those lectures – delivered in St George – was aimed particularly at the subject of polygamy. Included in the message was the mandate that plural marriage be abandoned.
So you don’t consider yourself a fundamentalist movement.
I suppose it depends on how you define fundamentalism. If you’re referring to the multiple groups who practice polygamy, mainly based in Utah, you are correct. We don’t feel the need to keep polygamy alive as they do. In fact, most of us are still members of the LDS Church.
Really … but you aren’t.
No, I resigned.
Why is that?
I had been accused of apostasy by my local leaders. It was only a matter of time before I would have been excommunicated. In fact, many of my friends, individuals who have studied and accepted the message delivered by this man we consider the Lord’s servant in the last days have been excommunicated for apostasy.
The Lord’s servant …How do you know this? I mean, how do you communicate?
Come on. We live in the information age. We have websites, blogs, Facebook groups, email lists and cell phones. We keep in touch with each other. Many are organized in small groups.
Are you a member of a group?
Only on the Internet … There are simply not enough people who believe as I do here in Southern California to meet on a regular basis. We are spread too far out. However, I can tell you there are many groups in Utah, Idaho and Arizona who meet each week, and sometimes during the week.
Is there a directory of these groups?
Yes. But as you can imagine, many wish to keep their groups secret and private.
Why is that?
Hello. They are still members of the LDS Church.
Okay. So this is a clandestine movement. They are afraid of the Mormon Church.
Yes, I believe that’s an accurate statement. Some are afraid, some aren’t. Many more are coming out in the open about their beliefs. They are inviting their family members, friends and neighbors to join them.
You say they meet on a regular basis. Why?
… to partake of the sacrament, to pray, to study the scriptures, to strengthen each other.
Just like a church…
I suppose. Small fellowships or communities would be a better description. Remember, there’s no hierarchy. They – we – consider ourselves seekers desirous to be members of the Church of the Firstborn, the Church of the Lamb of God.
I’m certain you don’t mean one of the groups that use those names, especially in Utah.
So you meet in homes to take the sacrament, read the scriptures, pray and do all the things that new churches do when they are getting started. Yet, you say you are not a church. I don’t get it.
The problem with a formal church organization is that it can be hijacked, taken over by a strongman, if you will. A legal organization can be controlled by government intervention. Our main focus is to come unto Christ through baptism, and prepare ourselves for Zion.
Okay, now this is getting weird. Do you know how extreme that sounds?
What part, performing baptisms or getting ready for the return of Zion?
Both… So you practice baptisms?
Yes. I was baptized September 21st. I’m aware of hundreds of LDS people who have been baptized again just in the past month or so.
Really … What does the LDS Church think about that?
I think you know the answer. Its grounds for excommunication, just like participating in the Sacrament in your home or praying in your home the way we do in the temple. The LDS Church wants to control these things.
So how large would you say this movement is?
Hard to tell … There were six or seven hundred people at the final lecture in Mesa on September 9th. I’m fairly certain there are thousands of LDS members who have read the books or listened to the lectures of Denver Snuffer. That’s a drop in the bucket of the total membership.
Do you think the Mormon leaders know about it?
Of course they do. Elder Nelson referred to a point from Denver’s book recently in General Conference when he said, “No Prophet has ever been elected.” Brigham Young recorded, “I was unanimously elected President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Just a matter of interpretation. I think Brigham meant sustained.
Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. The local leaders are becoming much more aware of Denver Snuffer because they are hearing about it from their members.
In a good way or bad way?
Both. Some are bringing questions from Denver’s lectures to their Bishops they can’t answer. Some Bishops are calling members in to question them about things they have heard or read.
Oh, you know. A home teacher or a neighbor will tell the Bishop someone in their ward is reading Denver’s stuff. Or the Bishop will ask them about their comments on Facebook.
I wish I were. Apparently it’s considered an offense worthy of discipline to read Denver’s writings or to talk to anyone else about his stuff. In fact, there’s a whole group of blogs the leaders don’t want you to visit or talk about.
I speak from personal experience.
So you know of people who have been excommunicated for reading Denver Snuffer’s works?
Yep. There’s a website you can visit that used to keep track but it’s not up to date. There was a couple excommunicated just last Sunday evening because they wouldn’t say the words, “The living prophet and apostles hold all the keys of the kingdom of God.”
Let’s get back to the point. Why do you think this movement is different and will last?
I’ve been watching it for two and a half years. I’ve been intimately involved in reading, studying and praying about the material published by Denver, especially the recent lectures. I participate in the email dialogs. I publish many posts on my blog discussing the ideas in the lectures. I see more and more people willing to give up their membership based on their own experiences.
What kind of experiences?
The same kind that brought them into the LDS Church or helped them become faithful, contributing members throughout their lives. For the most part these are good, humble, sincere individuals and families who are convinced – no, converted – by their feelings in prayer, in worship and in service. In other words, they act upon impressions from God upon them.
So they believe God told them the LDS Church is no longer the only true church?
Yep. They see it as an organization of men, not as the church that will bring about Zion.
So, without a controlling organization at the top, these people who are leaving the LDS Chuch to follow Denver Snuffer…
Wrong. To follow Jesus Christ …
Yes, but based on the teachings of Denver Snuffer…
I’ll grant you that. They – and I – believe the message Denver delivered in the lectures over the past year was inspired by, authorized by, and received by revelation from the Lord.
What is so special and different about this message?
I suppose the primary and perhaps key doctrine, if you will, is that the Lord has wrested the authority or the “keys” of the LDS Church away from the men who lead it.
Based on what?
Based on the principles of unrighteous dominion outlined in D&C section 121.
Wow. That is one amazing claim. I assume it has been refuted.
Of course. You can read all about it on the FAIR website. I’m sure they’ll add more.
And intelligent, regular LDS members are willing to resign or be excommunicated because they believe this, this idea that the LDS Church is no longer authorized of God to … to do what?
Officiate in the ordinances of salvation.
Such as …
Baptism, the Sacrament, temple ordinances…
Really, even temple ordinances?
Even temple ordinances.
Do you know how angry this sort of claim will make regular members of the church?
I was one of them. It made me a little angry the first time I pondered the possibility.
Yet you eventually gave up your membership in the LDS Church because you believe this guy.
No, I resigned from the LDS Church because it was the honorable thing to do, at least for me. Others are willing to go through the excommunication process. I had been through enough of those serving in a High council and Bishoprics over twenty-five years.
But you resigned based on the word of a man you hardly know.
No, I resigned because I prayed about this man’s message and felt it was right.
I go back to the same line. Do you know how crazy that sounds?
I do. I’m well aware I’m seen as a crackpot, a lunatic, a crazy person, or worse. Resigning or being excommunicated from the Mormon Church is considered losing your eternal salvation.
And you apparently don’t believe that?
I used to. Not anymore.
Because I feel I have something better, a more sure word of prophecy.
Wait… that phrase has special significance to Mormons, doesn’t it?
And you’re saying…
That I know the Lord has accepted of and approved of my actions.
Have you seen the Lord?
I have not.
Have you heard his voice?
Can you describe it? Tell me about it.
Just like it’s described in the scriptures: quiet, peaceful, powerful, deep in the heart and soul.
Wait, you’re describing a feeling. You said you’ve heard His voice.
What did it sound like?
It wasn’t an audible voice, although there are those who have heard the Lord’s voice. Actually Boyd K. Packer described it best, or maybe it was Marion G. Romney. I forget. One of them said the voice of the Lord will come into your mind without the use of the auditory channel. In other words, you ask a question, wait and the Lord will answer you in full and complete sentences.
Oh, come on…
It works for me.
How do you know it’s not your own voice or maybe the whisperings of an evil spirit?
You just know, or at least I do. It takes years of experience in reading the scriptures.
Let’s wrap this up. You’ve admitted what you’ve done and what you believe sounds crazy to most Mormons. You seem like an intelligent guy. If someone else wanted to duplicate your experiment, so to speak, I assume you recommend they read Denver’s books and lectures.
Yes, but I’ve found something from another witness that has opened my soul as I have read and studied from its pages. I wrote about it previously on my blog after I read the first chapter. I’ve now read the second chapter and am in the third. I want to put a plug in for this book again.
Okay, go ahead. What is it?
The book is entitled, 77 Truths and the author is Bret Corbridge from Montrose, Colorado.
What’s so special about this book?
Besides the fact it is chock full of quotes, scriptures and commentary supporting powerful truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, many of which are no longer taught in the LDS Church, Bret feels so strongly this book will help people understand truths of the gospel, he is giving it away.
How many pages is the book?
How long did it take him to write it?
Not quite sure. Somewhere between two and four years.
So you’re saying a lot of the ideas taught by Denver Snuffer are in this 460-page book from Bret Corbridge, which he spent years writing and now he is willing to give it away free?
It’s called consecration. Bret’s a good man. And the book is wonderful. I highly recommend it.
Okay, so how do you get one?
Any concluding thoughts for this interview? I’m still not convinced this movement will last.
I don’t blame you or anyone else for being skeptical. I’m convinced the very last days are upon us. I’m also convinced the events foretold in prophecy about the breakdown of society are about to come to pass. It may be years, but the day will come when society breaks up into tribes. The message delivered by the Lord through Denver Snuffer is a message of preparation. We have been invited to practice consecration in communities to care for the poor among us. That’s one of the signs of a Zion society – no poor among them. We use our tithing for that purpose.
So you pay tithing to this man.
No. We pay tithing to the Lord and use it in our local groups or communities. We don’t build malls.
Do you have a temple?
Not yet. But we will.
To present to the Lord a list of names of those who have been baptized.
Who will pay for this temple?
I have no idea. I haven’t thought about it.
Sounds familiar to Warren Jeff’s group and the YFZ temple in Arizona.
I know. I know. Lots of Mormon fundamentalists have similar ideas from the restoration.
The LDS Church is the biggest group that came out of Joseph Smith’s visions and dreams.
Yes, and it will probably remain so. I’m grateful to the LDS Church for all it has done for me over the fifty plus years I was a member. I gave a lifetime of service in the LDS Church. I have friends and family whom I love who faithfully serve and give to the LDS Church.
But you left to follow… not this man Denver Snuffer as you say, but what you believe the Lord asked of you. And you don’t think you have been deceived.
That’s correct. I suppose time will tell, won’t it? I don’t believe a man should be required to accept or acknowledge another living man, even if he claims to be a prophet, in order to come unto Christ. As far as I know, Denver has not claimed to be a prophet. I have written in my blog he has acted as a messenger, a prophet and a servant of the Lord. He has delivered his message. However, belief in and acceptance of a prophet should not be a requirement for membership in Christ’s church.
Well, good luck to you. You have chosen an unusual path for someone with your background.
Thank you. I recognize what I have done would be especially difficult for someone who has multiple generations of Mormonism in their heritage. My family members were converts when I was a child. I have studied and lived Mormonism all my life. I never expected to leave the LDS Church. I still consider myself a Mormon, but more accurately, a disciple of Jesus Christ. I want to follow the Savior. “Follow the Prophet” is not my mantra. It may be for others, but not for me.