5 warnings for Mormons from the Denver Snuffer schism

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house of cardsIt’s been a long time since Mormons had a bona fide schism. Probably not since the disavowal of polygamy in 1890 has a major new movement threatened to siphon some fraction of Mormons away from the mainstream.

But that may be what we now have with Denver Snuffer. Though the Idaho-based writer was excommunicated from the LDS Church in September 2013, Snuffer is not going gentle into that good night.

Just this past weekend his small renewal movement organized a wave of rebaptisms—an institutional point of no return. No longer is affiliation with his movement simply a matter of attending lectures or reading books. He now appears to be establishing a rival organization, however loose its confederation of small fellowships may be or how vociferous Snuffer’s own promises that he does not intend to start a new church.

What can Mormons learn from the continuing appeal of Denver Snuffer?

Now, judging from past comments on this blog, I’m sure that some readers will see this post and assume the Denver Snuffer apostasy ship has sailed with me happily aboard.

Just. Don’t. Even. Start.

No, I’m not going to recant my views on LGBT equality or start swigging wine with the sacrament—all things that Snuffer advocates because he thinks the 1830s were the coolest decade in human history.

But I am going to try to learn from this guy about why people are leaving.

1)    Allow more breathing room at the local level.

The Snufferites claim that the Church’s bloated bureaucracy risks stifling Mormon life at the grassroots. They’re not wrong. In some stakes, for example, our quest to maximize corporate efficiency means we baptize all the kids turning eight that month in a single service. Proficient, capable, speedy, practical. Like a Moonie mass wedding, it solves multiple logistical dilemmas. But the practice hinders each child from the special joy of planning her own baptism service and inviting friends, or feeling singled out in a loving way. And anecdotal evidence says that some families that have demurred on these dunkings en masse and tried to hold their own private baptisms in rivers, streams, etc.—as Mormons have done for generations and (ahem, ahem) as Joseph Smith AND JESUS did—they are being told to get with the corporate program.

2)   Be transparent about money.

People want to see where their tithing money is going, and know that it will help people in need. Snuffer’s group takes seriously the communitarian ideals of the early Mormon movement—that there would be no poor among them. They seem to be preaching a kind of relational tithe in which people actually know the people they are supporting.

3)   Avoid preaching about the gospel as a house of cards.

The more the LDS Church emphasizes that its prophets and apostles are incapable of ever leading the Church astray, the more it risks pushing its least flexible members toward a heresy like Snuffer’s. That’s because those Mormons who stand in the all-or-nothing camp and decry the selectivity of so-called “cafeteria Mormons” set up faith as a propositional house of cards. When the one card of prophetic infallibility (which many Mormons believe in practice if not in theory) falls away, their faith crumbles to dust. They’ve never been taught that a church that is even 95% true is something to cling to, so when someone like Snuffer comes along with the answers—Joseph Smith was perfectly perfect, and it’s all been shot to hell since then!—their hope sparks that the 100% truth they’ve been promised in Mormondom from the cradle will finally come true.

4)   Be open to extemporaneous worship.

Many Mormons crave worship that is spontaneous and Spirit-led rather than programmatic. I’m fascinated by this because I’ve been saying for a long time that our weekly gatherings feel anemic. Contemporary Mormons have mistaken predictability with worship and enforced quiet with reverence. With the exception of the testimony meeting, our sacrament meetings have become so formulaic as to be austere. Who can blame Denver Snuffer for seeing in early Mormonism a greater openness to public joy?

5)   Empower people for personal revelation.

One of the appeals of Snuffer’s theology for conservative Mormons has been his populist emphasis on how any Joe or Jane can receive personal revelation. And by “personal revelation,” Snuffer’s not just talking about a sweet, tender confirmation of your morning prayer, with emphasis on the personal. No, this is a “Jesus appeared to me in my living room and now I am going to share with you how you can get Jesus to stop by your place too” approach. Obviously,  huge problems arise when you empower people with that level of unmediated access to the divine — as Joseph Smith learned, and as Snuffer no doubt will too. Still, it’s not a message we have heard in Mormonism for quite some time. Since, say, the nineteenth century.


  • TomW

    Interesting story, Jana. I would be pretty shocked if this guy draws all that many people to him, simply because the type of people who believe the church was once true, but has ceased to be, probably already belong to one of the more ancient splinter groups. Modern disaffected Mormons would probably just leave the belief system altogether rather than joining this guy or anyone else setting up a new rival organization of sorts.

    Regarding the first of your follow-up comments, I’ve never been a fan of the stake-wide baptism concept. I get the efficiency. I get the savings in water. But why should a child of record necessarily have any less an individual baptismal service than a new convert if the family wishes it? Especially under circumstances where one must consider the possible travel schedules of family which may wish to visit from far and wide. Of course, this tends to be handled differently in the various wards and stakes of the church, and one can probably obtain a desired accommodation one way or another if one is persistent.

    On the second item, I don’t think most Latter-day Saints are as passionate about receiving a line-item statement of finances as others are, and it seems the ones who most actively push the issue are the same folks who tend to have issues with a lot of other things under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve (and I don’t mean any particular issue). The more accepting one is of church authority in general, the less likely one is to really care about this.

    The third item is fairly related to the second one. I would imagine that a fair majority of Latter-day Saints really do not believe that the prophets and apostles will lead the Church astray, which is NOT the same thing as being infallible. It merely means that they will not lead us into doing anything which will jeopardize our salvation. They ARE the Lord’s living oracles, and we owe them due deference more than any other voices on the planet.

    I would most certainly embrace a more rousing worship service now and then, as it noted in item four. Gladys Knight has done some wonderful things with her choir, and it would be awesome if qualified musicians in the church had a little more liberty to infuse some life into the occasional meeting with the appropriate oversight of the ward music chairperson and bishopric.

    As for the concept of personal revelation in item 5, I was unaware we ever stopped preaching it. The only disconnect I’ve ever seen is when people run amok claiming to have revelation impacting the entire church which is not their stewardship to receive nor proclaim. But I would hope that most Latter-day Saints receive personal revelation each and every day. If we’re not, we should ask ourselves why.

  • Dustin

    You might want to read up a little bit more on Snuffer Jana. Advocates polygamy? That’s hilarious. I’m not sure there’s a person on the planet that detests it more than he does.

  • Frank

    A few items of correction:

    Though born in Idaho, Snuffer is “based” in Sandy, UT.

    Next, he does not advocate polygamy or denounce civil LGBT rights; he uses polygamy as a case study on how the corporate church is capable of proclaiming required-for-exaltation doctrine one day, and have that doctrine be grounds for expulsion the next. And the LGBT issue as a demonstration of the flexibility inherent in an organization that claims to have Jesus at the helm, yet admits an “absence of direct revelation.” (See: http://bit.ly/1pHnCcu)

  • Annalea

    Linking to someone else’s summary (that has absolutely no links to original sources) as support for a statement saying someone supports polygamy is weak journalism, and weakens your whole piece, making what you hoped to be clever and lighthearted look like a string of cheap shots. This man has a blog (which you linked to later), and a search for polygamy turns up several results. Flimsy citations only weaken whatever message you’re trying to convey here.

  • Richard Morgan

    A restoration of the restoration? A revelation about revelation? Sounds like fun to me.
    I recently attended a sacrament meeting (in Toulouse, France) for the first time in 40 years. I was only partly surprised to discover that nothing had changed. Nothing, except for the faces.
    The same routines, the same boring “talks”, the same robotic repetitions of “I know that Joseph Smith was a true… blalabla”, the same disrespectful chatter from bored teens at the back of the church. And, of course, the same generalized sense of relief when it was all over after just one hour. Even down to the Bishop looking very busy, very serious and very important by visibly making notes throughout almost the whole service.
    Even after all this time I found it hard to keep my eyes open after the first soporific “talk”.
    I hope the Snufferites have more fun.

  • Sometimes you’re funny. But this time you’re being ignorant. Denver does not advocate for polygamy.

  • matt

    Snuffer’s restorationist fantasies about an idealized democratic early LDS church strikes me as just about as naive as Mormons’ fantasies about first presidencies and the modern endowment being present in early Christianity.

  • You’re right, and I’ve corrected the post. Some of his followers have been talking about polygamy, and I had not realized that Snuffer himself had spoken against the practice. It will be interesting to see, going forward, how his emphasis on personal revelation might mean that other people will be having personal revelation that opposes his teachings.

  • You’re right and I am wrong about polygamy (I have corrected the post). My remark about his views on LGBT rights comes from the comments he made in the Salt Lake Tribune. If you have a primary source that suggests he DOES promote equal civil and theological rights for LGBT persons, please share it.

  • Yes, that seems a fair assessment. Everyone is pining for a golden age.

  • Hi Jana. I enjoyed your article. I am one of several individuals baptized this past weekend in the Ventura harbor. You already included a link to my blog post about the event. Thank you for that. I want to point out two things:

    1) Regarding baptism: I am not the first to be baptized as a result of Denver Snuffer’s invitation to do so at the Mesa lecture on 9 Sep 2014. There have been dozens, perhaps hundreds of baptisms before me. Nor am I the first to blog about it, but for some reason, my post got more splash (no pun intended) on Facebook when John Dehlin of Mormon Stories linked to it.

    2) My path is NOT the one advocated by Denver Snuffer. I resigned from the LDS Church because I would have been excommunicated eventually due to my writing so much about Denver Snuffer’s books and lectures on my blog. Denver is advocating people stay in the LDS Church and serve in their local units. I concur with his advice, although most local bishops aren’t going to like learning that members of their congregations are being baptized again.

    Again, thanks for the informative post. I believe you are correct there is something to this movement, small as it may be at the present time. John Dehlin interviewed Denver Snuffer awhile back, but that was before he was excommunicated. You hit on some good reasons why it might take hold now.

  • Neighbor Kyle

    Hi Jana! I read your posts on occasion (usually when Maria sends one along for whatever reason), but I’ve never taken the time to comment. And then when I see you in person it never comes to mind. While on any given post I’m as likely to disagree with you as agree, I’m very much a fan of this one!

    I enjoyed this post not as much for the Snufferites (I haven’t been following that train) but for the learning you’ve drawn from them. I’ve come to similar conclusions as you have independent of the Snuffles ((generally – I’d probably quibble with some of the details) and appreciate you taking the time to write this.

    One quibble with the anemic meetings point (and the article which you link to). While I think you’re right that we could use more variety in our meeting structure, the nature of how we work will almost inevitably lead to some boring meetings for a particularly wonderful reason. Nearly everyone has the opportunity to contribute without regard to their entertainment value. Certainly we can do more to promote authenticity, meaningful worship, and variety. But I would be terribly sad if we lose the chance for incredibly boring people to speak for 10-20 minutes. It stands out to me as one of the most noticeable aspects of our belief that every member has something to contribute and is meaningful to the success of our congregation.

    But could we stand to sometimes have fewer or more speakers or a bit different format for the sermon portion of our meetings? Definitely. And having been baptized at one of the once-a-month dunkfests, I don’t remember much of anything about it and feel like I missed out on the chance to have a more personal and meaningful experience. Sill happy I was baptized, but I don’t remember it much at all.

  • Excellent points, Jana. I particularly like #3. I think you’re spot on when you say many Mormons believe in infallibility in practice even if not in theory. It’s unfortunate that GAs are the ones really pushing the “it’s all true or it’s all false” thinking. I wonder if they’re just trying to express confidence, but as you observe, it just makes for people who have been told to leave at the drop of a stone in a hat.

  • Vaughn Hughes

    What I find enormously ironic in all this is that what Denver Snuffer has taught in thousands of pages of writing and now 26 hours of a single lecture, which seems to be so alarming, threatening, & different from the current LDS conception, is merely what Joseph Smith taught and practiced. (with a few recent minor proposed changes in practice to attempt to avoid the inevitable abuses that come with the formation of any earthly institution) And this teaching is new to folks. If true (and I believe it is), it should tell us something about how far we have come as an institution from what the God we claim to believe in was attempting to do with Joseph. From a couple of years of looking deeper into what Joseph taught (including what the Book of Mormon and D&C actually say), I’m convinced Joseph & his little flock wouldn’t even recognize what we today assume is the same religion–it is so completely different.

  • Richard Morgan

    This religious in-fighting is a fascinating spectator sport. Just don’t start burning each other at the stake, OK?
    (See “Starting a Splinter Group: New Rules: 23 (d) (vii) )

  • Richard Morgan

    NK – you say “every member has something to contribute”. This is only true in a context where the contributions have zero impact on the overall functioning of the group.
    The Mormon Church will not stand or fall on account of boring, uninformed speakers in sacrament meetings. They do arguably represent a non-addictive alternative to Ambien, but that’s another story.

  • David

    Jana, I usually love reading your stuff. I really respect your work and points of view. But this one is full of misinformation. Not just about polygamy but other things as well. Snuffer is an interesting character. Many blow him off as another radical polygamy-loving fundamentalist. But what he says is pretty different from most Mormon break-offs. He has an interesting point of view that’s worth reading about since this will probably effect a large number of Church members. Here’s a bit about polygamy from one of his talks:

    Here’s a bit from his St. George talk. Doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who thinks plural wives is okay.
    Look at Jacob chapter 2, verses 27 and 28. “Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.” [One wife!] Jacob chapter 3, beginning at verse 5. This is a remarkable, remarkable passage. “Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them. And now, this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore, because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people.” [It was the fidelity of the Lamanites to their one wife. They rejected the prophets, they rejected Nephi, they rejected the Gospel, they turned to their loathsomeness, they were a wild and a ferocious people, but this preserved them in the eyes of God. This was important enough that they deserved to continue on, unlike the Nephites who had the Gospel, unlike the Nephites who had the prophets.] “Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and their hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?”
    …What more do you need to see from the theme of the Book Mormon than this passage, in order to realize when it comes to the relationship of marriage, this is the image of God. This is what God would like to preserve into eternity. It is so much easier to take people who have this kind of a marriage and to preserve them into eternity than it is to take someone who may know all mysteries, but whose marriage is a tattered ruin, and attempt to preserve them.
    Look at the example of your first parents. Moses 3: 22-25. “And Adam said: This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”
    You may have a spouse who is Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian or Mormon. You may have a spouse who is Community of Christ Mormon. You may have a spouse who believes in dancing naked at Wiccan ceremonies while high on peyote. You and your spouse need to love one another. You and your spouse have something far, far greater, potentially, between you and your children, than all the distractions of this world. You and your spouse face the challenge of becoming one. And if you are one, remember that the Lamanites were condemned, consistently in the Book of Mormon, BUT they were praised and ultimately preserved because of their marriages, because of the love of the spouses.
    Now, if you claim you have enough love for two or more women, then I’d ask you, can you not love your one wife enough to give her your full attention?”


    Look, the practice of plural wives is an abomination. Everyone that said they had the keys to do that, they reckon their authority somewhere downriver from Brigham Young. I want you to think about all that has been said, and all the scriptures that have been read today, while I read to you a General Conference talk, given by Brigham Young, in the October General Conference on October 8th of 1861. I want you to consider the folly of these words, and measure it against the standard of a marriage worthy of the perpetuation into eternity:
    ‘The second way in which a wife can be separated from her husband, while he continues to be faithful to his God and his priesthood, I have not revealed except to a few persons in this Church, and a few have received it from Joseph the Prophet as well as myself. This other path a woman may take, if she can get a chance, and do it in accordance with the order of heaven, if a woman can find a man holding the keys of the priesthood with higher power and authority than her husband, and he is disposed to take her, he can do so, otherwise she has got to remain where she is. This is a second way in which a woman can leave her husband to whom she has been sealed for time and eternity. In either of these ways of separation you can discover there is no need for a bill of divorcement.’
    He goes on to say, without a bill of divorcement a new marriage could be arranged under the system taught by Brigham Young.
    Are you kidding me!? Are you kidding me!? This was doctrine? I’m inclined to now engage in a string of obscenities. You believe this crap? You think Brigham Young knew what the hell he was talking about when he spoke about these important matters? Keep in mind he just happened
    to be the guy who had the most keys. Therefore if this were true, he could be the one at the top of the “food chain” or chain of women. Therefore he could take for himself the most women, assuming they wanted some higher “key holder”—because there was none higher within his organization. Do you believe this to be true? Any woman, married to any man, anywhere, at any time, if he could get her to come aboard, he can take her? This is the tenuous thread upon which eternal marriage is to be based? Yet this was what Brigham Young proclaimed in General Conference as how marriage operated.

  • Richard Morgan

    Have you ever read what Joe Smith and Brigham Young had to say about laughter?
    It’s a sobering lesson on what having many wives can do to a man.

    Smith: “Neither should they be given to loud laughter or light and foolish speeches for these are not only unbecoming, but grievous sins in the sight of the Lord. And, we read that the wages of sin is death, and death is banishment from the Spirit and presence of the Lord.”
    – Gospel Doctrine Ch.16, p.370

    Young: “The revelations in the bible, in the book of Mormon, and doctrine and covenants teaches us to be sober; and let me ask you Elders that have been through the ordinances in the Temple, what were your covenants there? I want you should remember them. When I laugh I see my folly, and nothingness, and weakness, and am ashamed of myself.”
    – Prophet Brigham Young, May 29, 1847, The Essential Brigham Young, p. 29

    Maybe that explains boring sacrament meeting. Maybe Snuffer just wants a good laugh. It’s all very weird. Maybe I’m missing the point, but going to hell for laughing sounds a bit extreme.

  • Laura

    Well said!

  • Frank

    He does not promote any LGBT causes, but the second-to-last paragraph of his August Sunstone talk seems to imply that there is reason to beleive that the current LDS orthodoxy regarding the issue may be off-base: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235706812/Cutting-Down-the-Tree-of-Life

  • Porter

    Is Denver bringing back speaking in tongues and come of the other gifts of the spirit that have been suppressed and even eliminated by the corporate church? If so I’m in! Fully correlated LDS meetings are boring boring boring these days!

  • The flat Zion model that he proposed in his final talk in Phoenix relies solely on personal revelation, with zero hierarchy. People simply meet and let the spirit direct the meeting and conversation. So it is likely inevitable that individuals will disagree with Snuffer in the context of a group without a strong man leader calling the shots.

    The difference is that there is no danger of excommunication for being honest about controversial topics. People take what they talked about home to pray about it, and if they reach a different conclusion than the rest of the crowd they are free to start their own group in their own living room.

    No hierarchy = no one in authority to get offended.

  • It’s not Democratic. He proposed to the Lord that men can only perform ordinances in groups where 7 women (including one;s wife if extant) sustain the priesthood of the man in question. So men have no say in matter of priesthood.

    Additionally, once a man is sustained, all he is allowed to do is baptize and administer the sacrament. There are no offices, hence there is no one presiding other than the host (male or female).

    My advice is that you examine the content. That way you’ll have a leg to stand on when you post an opinion.

  • Peter

    Jana, I am a progressive latter-day saint convert of about 20 years. RM, BYU Grad, Married in the temple with 7 kids. I have been reading Snuffers stuff for a few years now, and although I am currently serving in a Bishopric in Provo, I delected to be rebaptized. I dont follow Snuffer or Monson, I follow Jesus! I feel so very liberated and renewed. I will stay in the Church and try and effect change from within.

  • Peter

    Elected…not delected, oops.

  • Eric

    We haven’t stopped preaching it in theory. But in practice, personal revelation is “allowed” or “valid” only so long as it correlates to revelation from top leadership. A member, for instance, can’t receive personal revelation that a cup of coffee in the morning is okay…for them. It would be obvious to everyone where the revelation came from…HE-WHO-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED!!!

  • pangWitch

    The potential faction becomes more significant, just as the folks leaving over gender issues or church history, is significant, when you look at WHO is leaving, not how many. Yeah, the church claims there is 15,000,000+ mormons. But, the church is propped up by a much much smaller number of people that do most the heavy lifting. It’s estimated that there are less than 500,000 temple recommend holding mormons in the world, with 60% of those being in the US, and 60% of those in Utah.

    The bulk of tithing, calling, administration, etc. comes from that small group. And those are the ones who are leaving to be snufferites and who are reading the CES letter, and joining ordain women, etc.

    The loss of a few families can cripple an american branch. And its even more extreme in Europe, Asia, and South America, where for every 1,000 on the records, 30 people show up to the branch.

    And that is why Elder Nelson, via his daughter, who was in Snuffer’s ward, personally appointed a stake president to excommunicate him. They saw the threat in snuffer, maybe their first prophetic act in years.

  • Richard Morgan

    pangWitch – thank you for that interesting, perceptive and insightful post. Unfortunately the Mormon church has a long history of lying and hiding the truth. Manipulating statistics would be fully in keeping with their well-documented behaviour. One would hope for better from men “called of God,” but after all, they are only men.

    Just for the anecdote – I was a Mormon in North Wales, UK, 40 years ago. I was serving on the branch presidency until I left to serve a mission in France. We received a request to contact “members of record” whose names still figured in our records but who hadn’t been seen for years. This concerned the infamous “baseball baptisms”. The Elders would round up local kids and teach them how to play baseball. At the end of the session, they would give them a brief “discussion”. Then one day they were all invited to the local swimming pool, and got baptised.
    Most of the people we managed to find didn’t even remember having been baptised! So, yes, that often flaunted number of 15,000,000 is very misleading.

  • Ryan

    For an excellent article about Denver and the “movement” forming around his message, see the following! http://rationalfaiths.com/denver-snuffer-martin-luther/. This is someone who does not “sympathize” with Denver, but has been struck by some aspects of what he is saying.

    I’ve read about two-thirds of the 1000+ posts on Denver’s blog, read all 10 of his recent talks, read a few of his other talks and read Passing the Heavenly Gift. I can say that this Rational Faiths article is accurate, fair, responsible and entertaining. My hat is off to Lori Burkman.

    There’s no need for me to say anything else on the polygamy question. Denver is no polygamist. David took care of this in posting the excerpts from the St George talk.

    This LDS church of today, in my opinion, has no resemblance to the religion practiced by Joseph Smith. It uses the same vocabulary, but that’s about all we’ve managed to glean from the restoration scriptures given to us by someone who spoke with Christ face to face. Brigham Young had the church to himself for 40 years after Joseph’s death, and in that time, it was transfigured into something entirely different from what Joseph Smith gave us.

    Denver made contact again with heaven in the way that Joseph Smith did. There is nothing original in what he is telling us except when viewed within the context of the LDS church’s current teachings. Within that context, it is entirely foreign. And that’s because we know hardly anything of Joseph Smith’s original teachings even though they are right in front of us.

    If you just have an idle curiosity about Denver or you’re entertained by him or fascinated, I highly recommend the Rational Faiths article. If you’re genuinely interested in the message itself and you’re serious about going to the Lord to ask Him if this message is authorized by Him, go to the 10 talks and read through them starting with the first one. There are links to all 10 on the right-hand side of his blog: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/.

  • TomW

    pangWitch writes: “The bulk of tithing, calling, administration, etc. comes from that small group. And those are the ones who are leaving to be snufferites and who are reading the CES letter, and joining ordain women, etc.”

    That’s some amazing SciFi you’ve got going there!

  • Ryan

    There is one thing from the Rational Faiths article that I will correct. Lori said “A temple will be built at some point in the future, where a record of baptisms for the dead will be kept…”.

    It’s true that a temple will be built (in fulfillment of prophecy), but (as of yet) Denver is not saying a record of baptisms for the dead will be kept there. That temple will contain the names of the living who are baptized or re-baptized in response to the following invitation made in the Phoenix talk:

    “When I was rebaptized, I was rebaptized by one who had authority from Christ, therefore, in that baptisms the words were, ‘Having authority given me of Jesus Christ…’. If all you are going to do is baptize someone again according to the LDS pattern, with the commission in the Church, do not bother doing it. But if you follow these principles, and if the Spirit empowers you to baptize, then baptize having authority from Christ and follow His words. We have deviated long enough. It is time to return.

    ” ‘And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize.’

    “I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command recorded in the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God, and confirmed again today!”

  • Richard Morgan

    pangWitch – we have just had confirmation of the accuracy of your remarks from none other than TomW. When he says, “That’s some amazing SciFi you’ve got going there!” one can be sure that you’re onto something. That is Tom’s way of saying, “Darn she’s right! I’d better insult her publicly to show everyone that shes wrong.”
    Sorry, Tom, that was a major fail.

  • TomW

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd lives!!!

  • Richard Morgan

    Who told you?
    Who gave the game away?
    That’s cheating.

  • Peter B

    Amazing though Joseph Smith was to have achieved so much doctrinally and organisationally in his lifetime, and however much we can still be inspired and thrilled by his revolutionary approach to shaking up Judeo-Christianity, I think people who say his legacy has been squandered because later prophets continued to reform and develop the Church into something different to its early days are rather missing one of Joseph’s main points. If revelation and the Prophetic ministry are alive and ongoing and we are personally and as a Church on a journey of eternal progression and improvement, then we would have failed completely if things hadn’t changed significantly after 200 years! Each Presidency has had to do the best it can in its own time and circumstances, and biographers and historians have repeatedly described how exhausting it was for everyone to keep up with Joseph’s constant innovations and confrontational interface with wider society. Like the early Christian leaders after Jesus, Brigham Young and his successors had to stabilise the institution and find ways to consolidate all the marvellous ideas and practices Joseph innovated into a format that could survive and thrive with more stability and we are still in the process of sifting the wheat from the chaff in everything that he did and said. The Golden Age in a Church that values living revelation should always be NOW and tomorrow as we get better and better at what we do and understand rather than the early days, and I think we really do a lot better every year overall despite the disasterous mistakes that have also occurred like institutional racism and baseball baptisms. However, as Jana has pointed out again with this post we also have to be watchful and keep fighting the pharisaical impulses that can take hold, and apply the original radical life and fun of Mormonism afresh as we go rather than stifling it. The Bloggernacle helps a lot with that and perhaps will prove to be the most effective tool for keeping grass roots excitement alive when the leadership goes through stale periods and doesn’t do as well as it could at articulating what our living religion is about and can be if we keep our minds open to all its possibilities.

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  • clifford

    Thanks, Tom W for the insights on Snuffer’s “intentions”. He certainly will not lead saints into a new church. We will always have those detractors to help us utilize our agency!!!

  • Friar Tuck

    I stated a long time ago that this Denver Snuffer was a false prophet on Rock Waterman’s blog. I was kicked off Waterman’s blog but I consider that a badge of honor, given the kookie turn that Snuffer has taken. This sort of ridiculous behavior was happening at Kirtland – people receiving false revelations and false prophecies. Someone on Waterman’s blog even claimed that the Holy Ghost told him to buy a lottery ticket so he would have the money for his wife to go visit her dying sister. There really is a sucker born every minute…or should I say someone that is so desperate to receive knowledge that they do not question the source.

  • Danny S

    Richard Morgan, I enjoy your posts. I lived in Lyon for several months as a teenager. I just wish I could have experienced it more richly than I did as a TBM. The food was outstanding. Meanwhile, I just don’t get the Snufferites. At least the corporate mormon church has an organization, money, and maybe a third (on a good day) of its 15 million membership as active promoters of the faith. Nevertheless, it is difficult for me to believe that God’s plan for billions is the spread of the mormon gospel where one must suspend critical inquiry and rely on warm feelings instead. But the Snufferites think that he’s now God’s beacon to the world? Not even really worth the effort to write this, other than to say hi to Mr. Morgan.

  • Friar Tuck


    When things go wrong in a religion there is always the temptation for people to tinker with it and try to make it right, at least in their own mind. The great apostasy that occurred after the death of Christ is an example. Everyone took it upon themselves to revise, expound, and expand upon the work of Christ to fill the void left by his death. Not sure where you stand in your beliefs, but I believe we really have no choice but to be patient and wait for God to decide what he will do. A watched pot never boils.

  • Richard Morgan

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for that comment. One thing you said really resonated with me. I was in France for two years as a TBM Missionary. One of the only two good things that I experienced during those boring two years was beginning to discover France. I came back in 1984, no longer a True Bull-sh*tting Mormon and I have been here ever since. I love this country.
    The other good thing was having some truly outstanding, lovely young men as companions. They really taught me so much. With a maturity beyond their years, they put up with me with love and patience and genuine long-suffering.

    Yes – warm fuzzy feelings will never trump critical enquiry in a search for truth.Choose ye this day whom you will serve – Joe Smith and his under-age wives or the cause of love for one’s fellow travellers through this life. As for me and my house, we will be serving dinner at around 7:30 pm. You’re very welcome, Danny.

  • Richard Morgan

    Hi Friar Tuck.
    Or can I be a little more 21st century and call you brother Tuck?
    Ah, the Great Apostasy. There was a book with that title which was required reading when i was a missionary in 1972. Apparently it no longer is. Which is a good thing – since it never happened. It’s a typical Mormon re-writing of history.

    Every new religion or sect is obliged to make the claim – “everybody preceding us got it wrong, but today WE have the truth”. Evangelical christian publishers are thriving (in the USA) with books making precisely that claim. Being the latest in the line of God’s chosen to reveal the real truth is good for business.

    When you say ” I believe we really have no choice but to be patient and wait for God to decide what he will do. A watched pot never boils.” you make an interesting and laudable confession – you, too, are waiting for the pot to boil – in other words, for God to come and sort out the mess that is the Mormon church. But you’re not holding your breath – “watching the pot.” Wise man.

    One thing that is so cute about Mormon theology is that most of your eternal truths are only eternal until your God changes his mind. That allows y’all to keep up with the times. More or less. Unfortunately, your God did not reveal to Joe Smith that on the other side of the world, while he was inventing an Egyptian Grammar, (!?) Champollion had discovered the Rosetta stone. This discovery allowed Egyptologists to genuinely translate Egyptian hieroglyphics. Yep – the Book of Abraham is pure fantasy.
    Though perhaps Yahweh’s greatest “fail” was not predicting the appearance of the Internet and mobile phones. Widespread access to simple information has struck the death knell for the Mormon Church. Thanks to Google ye shall know the truth, and the truth will really mess up the burning in your bosom. Pass me the Maalox, please.

  • Larry

    Essentially it is the Mormon version of the Society of Friends (Quakers)

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Peter, assuminig you are for real, you need to tell your bishop what you have done and ask to be released. You are giving your loyalty to someone who is an opponent of the prophets and apostles. You need to either repent or resign from the Church so you don’t mislead people who think you are a loyal leader who sustains the President and apostles as prophets, seers and revelators.

  • Richard Morgan

    Actually you’re not wrong, Raymond. He should take a definite stance and come out as a Snufferite. This, of course, will come as no surprise to his wives.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Up here in eastern Washington, where about 12% of the population is LDS, we still have individualized baptismal services where a member of the bishopric presides, but the talks and music are provided by family and selected friends. On the other hand, when another granddaughter was baptized last year in Alpine, the bishop insisted that the ward Primary president be one of the speakers. Rather than having a unified stake baptismal service, the ward baptisms were staggered through the day, with the program for each child held in a different room with a piano (including RS, YW, and Primary). The thing that seems to drive a consolidated schedule as much as anything is the fact that it can take an hour to fill a baptismal font with water, and heating the water can take even longer; one of my kids and two of my grandkids have been baptized in unheated water because the person tasked with preparing the font dropped the ball. I guess I should appreciate the effort it took to set up and execute the staggered programs, rather than having a somewhat anonymous mass stake baptismal service that is more like Seminary graduation.

    When I was baptized in the 1950s, the practice for most stakes in the Salt Lake area was to simply take the child down to the font at the rear of the Tabernacle on Temple Square for pretty much a continuous string of people changing clothes, coming out and being baptized in front of whoever was seated there, then drying off and going home, for whatever celebration your family might want. People were coming in and going out at will. It was basically as informal as doing baptisms for the dead. Nobody spoke to me beforehand to remind me of the meaning of the covenants I was making, and there was no talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost followed by confirmation; the confirmation was done the following Sunday in Fast and Testimony meeting. I think the way we have been individualizing the experience, and making it more of a family religious service that can honor faithful fathers who perform the ordinances, is a positive change.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    By definition, a testimony meeting is not a planned meeting once the sacrament has been administered. Everything is spontaneous. Our bishop spoke about one that he attended while visiting his daughter in Manhattan, where a young woman who was definitely not a practicing Mormon walked up to the lectern and related how she had just started meeting with the missionaries and accepted their invitation to come to church, and felt moved to talk about what she felt as she sat there in the meeting and listened to others testify to the truth of the gospel and Christ’s reedeming love for us. It is often a place where members of the ward with significant illnesses report on how they have been blessed in their trials, and members of the ward relate how they are hopeful that a wandering child is expressing an interest in maybe attending church with them. Yup, real boring stuff.

    A regular sacrament meeting is like Sunday School writ large, with the same mix of stilted reading of excerpts from a conference talk, and of moving expositions of the scriptures through the speaker’s personal experiences and insights. For some people, just getting up to speak is a major emotional challenge. President Eyring spoke about one of his uncles who was told by his bishop that he would be called on to speak later in the meeting, and avoided that scary task by jumping out a window and never returning to church the rest of his life. Is it too much to ask to give our attention and prayers to each person who accepts that call, and encourage them the way we would if we were their home teacher or visiting teacher and listening to them in their living room? They are learning to be more Christlike when they speak; perhaps we can be more Christlike as we listen. If it were our own spouse or child at the lectern, surely we would do that. If they are less than perfect, should we not rejoice that they are seeking to improve?

    Jana, if I were your bishop, I might extend a calling to you to help people who are afraid of speaking, or would like some coaching.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Richard, perhaps you have an explanation for how Joseph Smith packed so much information about Abraham into his writings that is in agreement with many non-biblical sources, many of which were not available in English until years after his death. Smith’s description of the odd meaning of various elements in the illustrations were somehow consistent with modern translations of the hieroglyphs and what has been learned about ancient Egyptian religion. The same goes for the Book of Moses, which contains a narrative about Enoch that contains strange scenarios, including proper names, that match obscure Books of Enoch that have been rediscovered a century later.

  • Richard Morgan

    “They are learning to be more Christlike when they speak;”
    How does that work?
    I can see how pretending to be interested might work for the audience, but for the speaker?
    I’d seriously like to understand, Raymond. In normal life, a public speaker will be delivering new information of some kind to an audience that has specifically turned up to learn something. Or at least be entertained. Theoretically. (I know, I know…)
    Unless you are saying that it is some kind of group therapy for all concerned.

    (Incidentally, your comments are definitely the most articulate and pacifying in this thread. Doesn’t make you right, of course, I’m just saying… from one old geezer to another.)

  • Richard Morgan

    You disappoint me, Raymond. After a couple of nice comments, you are now making claims that NO Egyptologist has or would endorse. You KNOW that Smith was making it all up. In fact, since the surprise discovery of the “lost” papyrus, we all know that he was making stuff up.
    Even if what you say were true, it would only weaken your case: you would be claiming that Divine Revelation got some things right, but not everything. That would kick omniscience right out of the door.
    But, much as I like to rant and rave in an outraged, negative way, I recognize that this thread is not the appropriate place for this discussion.

  • Danny S

    Mr. Swenson, Dr. Robert Ritner, Professor of Egyptology in the Oriental Institute, housed at the University of Chicago, has studied the papyri that purportedly contains the Book of Abraham. His analysis is scholarly and thorough. It does not support what the church claims. It relies on facts and reasonable inferences. Joseph Smith is spectacularly wrong on the hieroglyphs. Here is the link: http://signaturebooks.com/2014/08/a-response-to-translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham-by-dr-robert-ritner/ His Egyptian grammar is gibberish. Even the church apologists have tried to redefine translation into something else in an attempt to explain away the huge problems of the Book of Abraham. Just look at chapter 3 of Abraham critically wherein the Lord instructs Abraham about celestial relationships and the manner of time calculation. These explanations are nonsenses. Certainly there are vast gaps of knowledge in the scientific world. But we know enough when it comes to BoA matters.

  • Vaughn Hughes

    …and yet chapter 3 of the Book of Abraham along with the explanations for Facsimile 2 are turning out to be the most stunning confirmation of the text of Book of Abraham. They perfectly describe & conform to the Electric/Plasma Universe cosmological model, which empirically explains and predicts everything our limited Einsteinian/Newtonian model continues to fail to explain on just about every level. (including the latest comet rendezvous which, once again, is confirming the complete absence of any water/ice whatsoever) It is rich irony that our rejection of these “silly” descriptions in this book due to our classic, flawed cosmological model turn out to be its biggest strength. And the EU model (which scales fractally and is testable/confirmable in laboratories unlike Einsteinian gymnastics) is not advanced by Mormons–almost none are even aware of it. (They’re *non*-Mormons that have been working it out over the last several decades.)

    Regarding the papyri, etc. that so many detractors demand it had to have been translated from: it’s enough for me that Joseph’s description of the scroll in the DHC does not match the remains everyone is now scrutinizing and endlessly arguing over.

    As for the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, anytime some process doesn’t conform to what we think we know, it’s easy to ridicule it. Scholars, for all their assumption of knowing everything not yet apparent, have missed plenty over the years, too. They will continue to even for all their certainty. To insist that what Joseph was doing in these is complete nonsense is to deny that “secret knowledge” was ever encoded/hidden in any way anciently or that there was ever any form of “translation” besides what you think of today. Heck, scholars are barely acknowledging that Egyptian was used in Jerusalem circa 600 BC for transliteration of Hebrew. (just as the Book of Mormon claims the Hebrew-language “plates of brass” were written using Egyptian characters) For example, in some future day where English is not widely spoken, you could get ridiculed to all heck for telling someone that you could “translate” some text hidden within a seemingly ordinary narrative, say Hemingway, that I created using an obscure 19th century form of steganography–a cipher. (http://bit.ly/19AGP5Y) Especially if they weren’t familiar with the algorithm used. (which Joseph seemed to be trying to explain in the KEP) As much as we, in our egotistical certainty, assert our intellectual superiority over any earlier people, sometimes their secrets manage to continue to elude us. (try Linear A or dozens of others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undeciphered_writing_systems)

    But if you’re certain the Book of Abraham is all nonsense and see no reason to look any further, then don’t worry about it.

  • Richard Morgan

    Bravo, Vaughn! This is the funniest one yet – “perfectly describe & conform to the Electric/Plasma Universe cosmological model,” It really is quite hilarious. Congratulations.
    I can just imagine you explaining to your wife why you’re late home from the office, ” You’re never going to believe this, honey but I got held up by a flaw in the transductional stage of the Plasma integrated converter when I was trying to set up my KEP Smart Watch. Honestly, I set it for six thirty but it tele-transported me to…… Why are you looking at me like that?

  • James

    I’m calling BS on most of your credentials.

  • dj

    ?advocating staying in the church? really? denver quote-do not waste time on another three hour block…hes spinning on his heels faster than scott hamil

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  • Matt

    Yes he said that also, but you have taken what he said out of context. At least I believe you have.

    In other words if you are not going to be active in the gospel, and serving with real intent and you are just going through the motions of being there for 3 hours then don’t waste your time on another 3 hour block in other words, makes perfect sense – don’t waste time. There is no time to waste, ought we not be anxiously engaged? Put your work and efforts where your heart is.

    Otherwise, be productive, stay and serve in the Church.

  • Matt

    Isaiah wasn’t popular in his day, nor was Christ…. Joseph looked into a hat to read writing from a stone to translate the Book of Mormon… what did you say about whacky people? God tends to love them, only the pure in heart and honest seekers of truth will see the message the Lord brings to His people in the most unusual and obscure way.

    How many saints today I wonder would join the Church as a convert had they been alive when Joseph was, knowing he looked into hats and read writing from a stone. An honest question, and I doubt many today would be willing to listen to a young man who claimed at 14 he saw and talked to God. In fact from history we see that he was chased off, beaten etc… That’s how foolish and crazy he appeared to many.

    Lehi was crazy too and old, his wife made some off handed comments too about him being foolish leading his family into the wilderness and on a boat to some place no one heard of before, let alone seen. His oldest sons also thought he was an old nut.

    I bet it was crazy for the Israelite’s when Moses came off the mountain and invited them into Gods presence. There was a heavy dark mist, lightening and thundering’s.

    How many would have actually followed Christ when he was here? He tossed everyone out of the temple, a kid having a temper tantrum by comparison with some of the Older Jews and leaders there looking on, some guy, homeless, claiming to be a God, even the Son of God. He was so out of the norm in His society they killed Him.

  • Andrew

    Honestly, as a member I do not feel that the church has every emphasized personal revelation. The closest was on my mission, but even then they handed us discussions to memorize, wanted us to recite the first vision verbatim to hypnotize investigators, would tells us to work with the members and follow the spirit, but then gave us all these numbers we had to record EVERY DAY and report WEEKLY. And then as a normal member it’s the same thing. Get married. If you don’t, you’re a sinner. I know people who actually prayed and got strong answers that they shouldn’t go on missions, but leaders wouldn’t accept this and just kept pestering them, forcefully saying the answer couldn’t be “of god”. We could go on and on. Callings. FHE. Daily prayer, scripture study, etc. Letting your kids socialize with non-members. Socializing with non-members yourself. Is it ok to drink green tea? Othodox members don’t think for themselves but look towards leadership to tell them what to do – on a daily basis! How many talks are about the perfect infallible prophet that speaks for god – literally. Show me a talk, EVEN JUST ONE, that says “Ignore your leaders, pray and act for yourself. Do what YOU think is right. Leaders just give their own opinions. They try to be inspired in the counsel they give, but they’re imperfect and often wrong.” Show me that talk from the Ensign.

  • Andrew


  • Several cups of coffee in the morning really works for me. It is really nice to be free to choose on your own what will benefit you.

  • Mr. Nobody

    dear brothers
    all of us are sons of God
    Joint heirs to the kingdom with Christ with Father
    So, we are of his loins and inheriting all…
    pssst, WE ARE GODS

    and the Kingdom of Heaven is within,
    seek it there and all will be found
    within YOU

    Repent? no, just awaken!

  • H. F. Metz

    This authoritative approach by the church leadership will prove to be deadly; these people really have learned nothing from the september 6 fiasco. But it’s allright, let them go on destroying it. And who cares; the Lord has abandoned it long ago.
    I don’t know much about this Snuffer and his claims of being visited but he wrote a good book. Leaving him the choice of take it off the shelves or face excomm. is Nazi tactics. Woe unto those who ex people unrighteously; there is a penalty for that.

  • EG

    I have been to many different religions services. They were no better than LDS services. Some were very boring, at almost all I learned nothing, some put down Mormons (real educational..snark), some preachers just yelled and hit the pulpit, some people rolled on the floor and pretended to speak in tongues (which was very disturbing but comical at the same time), and I could go on and on.

    For every criticism lobbed at the LDS even more can be lobbed at every other religion.

  • Joni LeBlanc

    In our ward we have had a variation in our Sacrament meeting about once a year for the past three years. After the Sacrament is administered and passed, instead of talks, we have sung for the whole meeting. Sort of like Testimony meeting, each person who wishes can come forward and say a few words about their favorite hymn and then the congregation sings at least one verse. It makes for a very spiritual meeting and is a nice variation occasionallly.

  • willie bee

    Many LDS people hunger for the further light and knowledge of heaven, they
    are not satisfied with the milk! Well fact is most are not willing to pay a price 4
    meat, laying on of the hands doesn’t promise the gift of the holy ghost without
    proper remission of sins and justification. So over 90% of LDS people that think they have the gift of the holy ghost, have not paid the price sufficient to obtain this great gift. This great gift is absolutely requiered to receive any thing so great as audience with Jesus or His and our Father (real meat). The steps are simple but must be followed with exactness and wisdom, James 1:5 and 1:6 if properly followed,John Chapter 14 Jesus and his Father will
    make their abode with that individual. It also requires a great depth of sorrow, there are many seekers, but few willing to commit their all to obey the first commandment, and continually ask God where they stand with him! Anyone who makes eternal life their highest priority can get it.

  • karen nielson

    My gosh, am I the only one who knew Denver in the 1970s? I knew Denver and Mary (his first wife) and they were very dear friends. Mary would call me in tears from Denver’s emotional abuse. Denver could be so arrogant and cruel. I remember her saying Denver told her that if she ever told anyone she had served in the Air Force he would divorce her! He wanted the house they bought in his name only, not hers. He did end up divorcing her, overpowering her and her attorney in court, twisting the truth, taking custody of their four children, and quickly marrying his very young office assistant. I am a very active LDS woman and have been sad to watch Denver self-destruct over the years. I guess it was predictable.

  • Ty

    this whole production is a bunch of bollocks. All you seem good at is condemnation. You start off by condemning lgbt people, who had as much say in their sexual (too strong a word?) identity as you did in what color of eyes you have. Then you go on to condemn a group of people who’s ideas and beliefs are just a bit wackier than yours. I would recommend taking down some of those walls you’ve built around yourself, in some sort of hapless and obvious effort to conceal your massive deficiencies in self worth and security, and explore the potential of your true person. This whole mess has nothing to do with who receives revelation from where, and everything to do with herd mentality escapism. Until you all figure that out, you will forever create more problems for yourselves, the people around you, and society as a whole. I understand some of you make a living off of this madness, but is that not antithetical to the very principals you attempt to extol? you can figure this out. Do it.


    Really good points, here. My son’s baptism was so institutionalized that we were stuck in a room with hispanics. There was an hispanic boy getting baptized as well. They decided to conduct and speak in Spanish for our time together. Thankfully he doesn’t remember that. But it was hardly a sweet family experience.
    Also, I really would prefer to just study my scriptures than attend Sunday School. I know there must be a way to learn better in Sunday School than I am doing, but I would rather read my own scriptures in the way I am doing. I learn a lot more from personal study. I’ve been torn about this, but now I’m wondering if I could justify hiding during Sunday School and reading scripture.


    Just to be clear… I am not upset they were hispanic, but that they didnt’ even care enough about my son to speak TO him ore even IN his native tongue. Since he knew zero Spanish and they all know English.

  • I don’t know how much of what you say is truth (you could be unwittingly exaggerating, misunderstanding, or his wife could have, or you could be spot on), but it reminds me of something. I don’t recall where he said or wrote it, but I do recall Denver saying that he didn’t think any woman would divorce a man who was nice/kind (some word like that) to her. Perhaps he was speaking from experience. Perhaps he knows exactly what he’s talking about when he tells people that “I’m not as good as you.”

    And one thing I do know is that there really is such a thing as repentance. It is real. And I also know that the Lord can choose whoever he pleases to speak for him, and he doesn’t usually choose the “awesome” over the common.

  • Today, I was searching for something and this post was brought up. First time I’ve seen it. I found it very interesting. And some of the comments were interesting as well.

    I am what I suppose the author of this piece would call a “snufferite” and thought I’d update a bit.

    The movement is still going strong. Some people have gone off the rails a bit. Some point to Denver as some sort of authority, but don’t follow his teachings. Tithing groups and fellowships abound. Some people have been excommunicated for their beliefs, others have been hounded into resigning, others have simply chosen to resign.

    Our meetings are not boring. We are free to talk about anything we choose. Sometimes it seems the Lord is there (never seen him in the flesh, so don’t get that idea), other times it seems we are just talking about nothing very spiritual. We drink wine and eat bread (some people drink grape juice). We help each other when we can.

  • Matt

    Where in what kind of dream world can anyone begin to think that the first presidency and quorum of the twelve are prophets seers and revelators? We know joseph said to be called as an apostle you have to have seen God. “I ran across a letter from Heber J. Grant, when he was Church President in which he stated: “I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith.””

    Have fun explaining that. I have the utmost faith in Christ and believe the verity of all Joseph taught, but either God changed in 1844 (and therefore we all have no hope because a changing God could never save us) or these men are not who they claim to be.

  • BC

    Is Denver Snuffer a Martin Luther? Or a Korihor? One promise the members of the church have is the confirmation of truth via the Holy Ghost if we but ask God with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in Jesus Christ.

    When God speaks argument ceases, abruptly.

    Works every time.

  • BC

    Yes — warm fuzzy feelings will never trump critical enquiry in a search for truth, just as critical enquiry will never trump a confirmation from the Holy Ghost that something is true. Nothing trumps the Holy Ghost, but some let their learnedness do it for them.

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  • First Vision

    Brigham Young said a lot of those things pretty regularly. But he said–don’t believe me just because I said it–you can and should receive your own witness. Uchtdorf did give a recent talk about imperfection in leaders, probably the first time I have ever heard that in General Conference.

    But come on, no one is going to say ignore your leaders. It is hard enough as it is for tons of units to even function worldwide, let alone inviting more dissension. It is obviously an important point that leadership isn’t infallible but that is what happens without paid clergy. We all stumble along collectively and that in and of itself is something kind of wonderful.

  • First Vision

    Lets put the entire quote:

    “The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”

    At least for me, saying the Church admits an absence of direct revelation is a bit misleading. There is an absence of direct revelation on a ton of stuff for everyone–the Church, prophet, everyone except Christ. That has always been the case with every prophet and apostle. The admission is that some leaders have made their own conclusions and public statements to explain things that have never been sanctioned as doctrine for the Church and have been taken by many members as an absolute ‘truth’.

    That in no way means that the Church still can’t claim Jesus at the helm.

  • First Vision

    Richard–this is patently false. The Bishop should have been dozing off–the fact that he was engaged shows serious progress.

    Everyone who is saying Church is boring needs to attend Sacrament meeting outside of Utah it sounds like to me (maybe France too?But it was probably an American ward in France because French meetings elsewhere can be crazy–not even crazy fun, just crazy). Sacrament meetings in the Pacific are just a totally different experience, for example. Testimony meetings are another thing altogether.

    People need to be careful with false equivalencies–Utah Culture is not representative of the Worldwide Church Culture.

  • First Vision

    Which means all roads lead to Heaven!! It also means the evaporation of commandments and sin. If it feels good to you–do it!

    Forget about any kind of order or confusion about competing doctrine–forget about that whole thing a young Joseph Smith encountered and what GOD appeared to him to correct. That entire, bothersome corporate restoration of ONE body in Christ.

  • First Vision

    Richard–please tell me you are just a parody account or something. You do realize that loud laughter isn’t actually laughing out loud, right?

    I’m having a good chuckle that is becoming a loud laugh right now since I’ve obviously been pulled into your hilarious parody…well played.

  • First Vision

    To each his own doctrine!! Ammiirrright…Snufferrittes??