Because of my belief that the saints have been condemned and rejected as a church and that God was, by his own admission, only “near” for a short window of time during the restoration movement, and has temporarily turned his face from us and withdrawn much of his spirit, people who claim they have received the second comforter and endowment are not credible to me.
This does not mean that I think they are lying.
I think they sincerely believe they have had experiences that are very real to them, and in some cases, they probably are very real.
I just don’t think they represent what they claim.
The only thing that kept Denver on the outer edge of my radar since I first heard about him was the continued comments about him on my blog, and emails sent to me, and occasional statements about him on other blog posts.
Several times over the years people have told me that He and I have lots in common and that we teach similar things.
It is true that we have both been critical of the modern church and we have both observed some disconcerting historical issues having to do with the LDS restoration movement.
Nevertheless, comparisons about the two of us teaching similar things has always perplexed, concerned, and frustrated me given the fact that Denver and I seriously disagree on many of the most important issues.
Many of our ultimate conclusions from the disconcerting issues in church history are diametrically opposed.
He appears to believe that all people, (with special emphasis on himself), have had unrestrained access to the other side of the veil, the fulness of the Gospel, and the fulness of the priesthood, from the time of Joseph Smith to the present.
On the other hand, I believe that the heavens began to close and that the Lord began holding his spirit from all of the inhabitants of the earth back in the early years of the restoration movement.
I believe we live during a time that the scriptures refer to as a time of “hidden darkness”, when we think we are really enlightened even though we wallow in darkness and confusion.
The gift of faith began to diminish in the earth when the Gentiles rejected the fulness back in the early 1830’s. I believe the greater gift of faith and the opening of the heaves will not take place until the gentiles repent, additional parts of the sealed portion come forth, and the light breaks forth again in the generation when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled , which I believe is very near.
At the “set time“, the first laborers of the last kingdom will return and faith will once again increase in the earth. ( Regarding the set time, see Psalms 102:13 and Doctrine and Covenants 124:6
This will be when the Marvelous Work and a Wonder and the dispensation of the fulness of times are ushered in with the return of God’s servants that have been ordained and anointed to this work and who are clearly identified in the Doctrine and Covenants and associated church history.
An Evening with Denver Snuffer
In my effort to become better acquainted with Denver and what he teaches, I have now read many of his blog posts, his book, PTHG, and have read two of his online articles.
I also attended the Snuffer lecture in Boise on September 10th.
Let me begin by saying how disappointed I was to see a table set up with people selling CD’s of Denver talks.
There were signs posted on the doors of the conference warning people to not record the presentation.
Before Denver spoke, a fellow got up and warned everyone that Denver held the copyright on what was going to be said and that anyone that copies it without permission and anyone that puts the lecture on the Internet will be sued by a very capable attorney! (This was followed by laughter from the audience because it was obvious who the very capable attorney was. I was personally not laughing as I was trying to envision Christ’s disciples at the sermon on the mount handing out ominous legal copyright warnings and selling CD’s of previous talks, etc.)
Make no mistake about it, this is a serious, well thought-out business enterprise with a successful marketing strategy. Denver’s talks are being considered and marketed as a highly protected proprietary intellectual asset.
His initial book that was a “how to” book on getting the Second Comforter obviously hit a nerve that resonated with numerous frustrated and curious church members and Denver has parlayed that success into a loyal following, followed by sales of other books and talks on CD.
I believe the vast majority of the readers of his first “how to” book have failed to experience the desired response they were looking for. The small group making similar claims as Denver, as I said, are no doubt, sincere in their beliefs.
Although I believe his followers have failed to rend the true veil of unbelief, several books and audio tapes later, his focus is now on establishing Zion.
(Yes, I know, Denver and his associates do not personally financially benefit directly from the profits generated from this enterprise, he donates them to the church, I have heard all of that. )
Very Large Crowd
Although the 400 seats were not all filled, there were lots of people there. Probably over 300 I would estimate. I am guessing that all of the seats would have been filled but the church disciplinary council and pending excommunication scared some people away.
Interestingly, Denver did not announce that he had been excommunicated in his remarks, even though he had previously been informed of the outcome.
He did announce his excommunication the next day on his blog.
According to a recent blog post, the brethren are contacting Stake Presidents in Idaho Falls, the appointed place for his next talk, to have them warn members of the church and discouraging them from listening to him.
I disagree with the measures the church is taking to discourage people from listening to Denver. What ever happened to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good“!
Paul’s admonition was given to members of the church, not investigators, and it assumes that a person has prayerfully searched the scriptures, taken the Holy Ghost as their guide, and is capable of discerning truth.
Even though some of his current followers will probably be scared back into submission and will avoid him like the plague now that he has been excommunicated, I would not be surprised if his work continues to gain momentum, drawing from disenfranchised people both in and out of the church.
His charisma and teachings will attract some of those that are yearning for Zion and starving for the spiritual enlightenment that is missing in the micromanaged, pre-planned, correlated, teaching format ,offered by the corporation.
He will attract people that are craving a little adult conversation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me say that I felt a really good spirit about many of the people that attended the lecture as I watched them interact with each other, heard some comments, and spoke briefly with the people sitting near me.
They appeared to be salt of the earth… humble, teachable, loving people, seeking further enlightenment..
From what I observed and felt, the thought came to me that many of these people were the kind of people I want to have as my neighbors in Zion.
Frankly, I was a little surprised about this because I have encountered some pretty mean-spirited, costic, defenders of Denver on the Internet that did not project the same humble spirit.
The gospel net gathers all kinds of fish. I guess Denvers net does too.
Both the couple to the right of me and the two men to the left of me commented on how marked up my scriptures were.
I was a little surprised at their amazement as I fully expected their scriptures to look the same way and for them to be significantly more doctrinally informed than the average member of the church.
In the brief exchange I had with them, they indicated they had not studied the scriptures very much and did not know much about doctrine.
The couple to the right of me did not have their scriptures with them.
The guy directly to the left of me had a completely unmarked but old set of scriptures that looked like they had seldom been opened.
Both sets of people on either side of me were hyper focused on Denver’s remarks and took voracious notes on notepads, as if Christ himself was speaking.
They seemed to hang on every word that Denver spoke.
I believe Snuffer is attracting a very different demographic than Jim Harmston did.
The Harmston folks were largely fringe types with Brigham Young type fundamentalist leanings toward polygamy, who had read and believed much of the Brigham Young dogma contained in the Journal of Discourses.
I believe many of the followers of Denver are extremely naive from a doctrinal point of view, do not necessarily have fundamentalist leanings, and many of them appear to be very innocent.
Obviously, the people sitting close to me are not indicative of all of Denver’s followers. There are undoubtedly also followers of Denver who have searched the scriptures, determined that all is not well in Zion and are only too willing to jump on the bandwagon of a martyr that has the gonads to publicly challenge the church on these issues.
The effects of “Google Apostasy” are upon the church and the casualties are significant.
While one of the effects of the Google Apostasy is for some people to lose faith and leave the church, the other is for the honest, sincere, spiritually starved people to go search for the knowledge and spiritual feast that they are not getting from their membership in the corporate church organization.
Nine Truths to Perpetuate one Lie
I would characterize about 99% of Denver’s presentation as being rather innocuous. It was similar to how a really interesting, articulate, and well read, gospel doctrine teacher might give a lesson.
He is extremely well read and his remarks were interesting, informative, and engaging if not captivating.
The Other 1%
It is the other 1% of what he said that caused me great pause.
Before getting into that, let me just say that Denver appears to be extremely careful in the words that he uses and he often says things in a way that enables him to get a point across without actually taking a clear stand and incriminating himself.
A good case in point has to do with how he makes a case for section 110 not being an authentic historical event.
He implies that it might have been forged by Warren Parrish, and yet, he never actually comes out and says, “I don’t believe section 110 is a true revelation” or that “Warren forged the document”.
He simply provides the historical documentation and persuasive rhetoric that would create doubts in the minds of his readers.
He tells them that there are people in high places in the church that also have their doubts about section 110,
“there are those serious minded individuals who are trying to sort this out right now at high levels of the Church who know these are important issues which are NOT as settled as the past pronouncements make it appear.”
He makes statements like you can believe it if you want, but….
Nevertheless, he never actually commits himself on whether he accepts or rejects section 110 as being true or not.
This is one of the things I have noticed about his writing technique. It is also convenient for his followers that are promoting his teachings on the Internet.
They will quote from Denver and try to destroy the credibility of section 110 but the minute you call them on it and begin trying to engage them in deeper conversation and showing them the doctrinal and scriptural issues that testify of the validity of section 110, they will quickly back-pedal and respond by saying “I am not aware that Denver ever says he does not believe section 110 is true“.
That pretty much sums up how Denver and some of his followers operate.
He is a wise and sophisticated word-meister that chooses his words well. He can persuasively promote what he passionately believes, in a compelling way, without clearly stating that he personally believes the supposition that he is promoting.
By doing this, he avoids incriminating himself.
I suppose this has made it very difficult for the powers that be downtown to publicly justify themselves in casting him out of the church.
Although I plan on presenting an intellectual and contextual argument for why I believe section 110, and what it reveals about the doctrine of Elijah, in my upcoming response to Denvers rejection of section 110, the bottom-line is.
READ IT IN THE SPIRIT!
Use the Holy Ghost and personal revelation to tell you if it is true.
If you don’t feel that you can spiritually discern if the revelation is true or not, you have much bigger problems to deal with because your salvation is predicated upon your ability to receive personal revelation and be able to discern the truth.
For the record, I agree with Denver that section 110 does not support the interpretation and doctrine of Elijah that is given by the corporate church.
I also agree that it does not appear that Joseph, Oliver or Warren ever spoke publicly about the visit from Christ, Moses, Elias and Elijah. I have openly blogged about this perplexing historical dilemma for years.
It is unfortunate that those two issues created a stumbling block for Denver.
Nevertheless, I maintain that the events contained in section 110 literally did take place and that 110 is a true revelation.
I believe Snuffer made a big jump to a false conclusion when he questioned the authenticity of 110 and in so doing, he threw the baby out with the bath water.
I have explained in several posts that 110 has to do with an intervention and associated solution having to do with the consequences of the Saints rejection of the fulness of gospel.
The simple answer to Denver’s dilemma about Oliver and Joseph and their scribe Warren Cowdery never publicly speaking about the event, is that Christ commanded Joseph and Oliver to not disclose what took place.
A strong precedent for that kind of temporary secrecy is found in the New Testament account of Christ’s commandment to Peter James and John on the mount of transfiguration to not disclose to anyone what had taken place for a designated period of time:
Although Denver doesn’t say he rejects the revelation he makes it clear that he questions where it came from. This can devastate a person’s faith..
The Art of Being Evasive
Another case in point, having to do with how cagey Denver is in his writing can be illustrated in Denvers’s response to the following question from one of his followers:
Q from follower: “Does he actually claim in the first quote that all the keys of the priesthood are not held by Thomas S. Monson?”
A from Denver: “No. I don’t take a position on that. In one chapter I entertain the possibility of that and discuss how important the church remains anyway. As to whether he has them all, that is a matter between him and the Lord.” (Blog)
Denver doesn’t take a position on whether Monson holds all of the same keys and priesthood that Joseph held… but he assures us that the church remains important anyway?
Is there any question about how Denver feels about this topic?
After reading the first part of Denver’s book, there is no question in my mind how Denver feels about it, even if he doesn’t want to take an official position on it.
It is blatantly obvious in my opinion , that Denver does not think that the brethren hold all of the keys and power and authority that Joseph held, and yet, he does not come out and acknowledge it in so many words.
I believe this is one of the reasons it has taken the church so long to deal with him. He has the ability to get points across without technically incriminating himself.
I believe his posture with regard to the church is changing now that he has been excommunicated.
He will become increasingly authoritarian.
He salts his posts with prophetic declarations:
“..there have been changes in heaven and on earth recently. I’ve done all I have done in obedience to our Lord. Things will unfold and everybody will have a more fulsome understanding of things. Be patient. Be believing. Do not despair as God’s work unfolds.”
Clearly Denver is positioning himself as a prophet with a message from the Lord.
Because of this claim, it behooves each of us to examine this man’s doctrine very closely.
Anyway, I am going to provide a critique of his book and of his views on section 110.
I am, however, going to provide in this post, a summation of the 1% of his remarks in Boise that caused me great pause.
Please understand that I am simply sharing what I thought I heard.
To be continued…
[Editorial Note: The third and final part of this series was going to detail the ten things I heard Denver say in Boise that causes me indigestion. I have decided to suspend this series for now. I will post it at a later time to see if my concerns about where Denver and his followers are heading, comes to fruition.
Following this series I was going to do the rebuttal on PTHG. However, I have since been contacted by a reader of Denver’s books who engaged me in an interesting discussion. He wanted to broker a meeting between me and Denver.
During the discussion with this person, I offered to send each of my 20 issues of critique to Denver before posting them and giving Denver the opportunity to respond to it. I am happy to provide Denver’s rebuttal, to each of my rebuttals, directly following each of the doctrinal or historical criticisms that I provide.
This would enable all readers of this series to be able to view both sides of the issue at one time, back to back.
He suggested I contact Denver directly with this offer.
That is what I am doing now.
If you are interested in participating in this format, Denver, please let me know within one week, before I begin the critique, otherwise, I will simply proceed. ]