“We know these things are true.”
Emphasize “know.” At least, Denver Snuffer did in 1973, when Mormon missionaries testified of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“He took them at their word,” Bryce Bartel told me of the man who is now the prophet of the neo-fundamentalist “Remnant movement.”
It’s “the thing that makes Denver unique,” Bartel said – that knowledge means not needing to have faith, and hence, the missionaries, to Snuffer, had “talked to God or had some interaction with an angel,” Bartel added.
So, “when (Snuffer) entered the Mormon faith, this was his expectation,” remarked Bartel, a believer in the movement.
It was among the things Bartel said of Snuffer after I wrote a piece published in The Good Men Project titled “Meeting Denver Snuffer: Has the LDS church tried to intervene at the epicenter – where Denver Snuffer lives?”
Another: that a claimed revelation and theological divide took place just last month in Phoenix, at the movement’s bi-annual Doctrine of Christ conference. That within the movement, apparent revelations and new scripture have come forth. About Snuffer’s books and lectures to provide ideology for the movement, which was estimated in September to have 5,000 to 10,000 followers in 49 states and several countries. (Folks will hold sacrament meetings and fellowships at homes and also meet in other religious congregations, including still in Mormon wards, Bartel said.) And the excommunication of the prophet, with another that reportedly showed LDS church motivations for Snuffer’s.
Revelations & new scripture
When Snuffer talked at the most recent conference for three-and-a-half hours about a god called Heavenly Mother, he said “I can give this talk only because I have permission from the source,” Bartel told me.
And “people are trying to figure out how to communicate the differences between what they believe what the Restoration should be and what the Restoration is,” he said.
“Restoration” is a term in Mormonism for a bringing back of a Christianity that was supposedly complete and pure when Jesus was on earth.
After “a secret group out of BYU,” Bartel said, helped change Mormon scripture to become closer to what it looked like in the administration of the first Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, besides adding records of theological comments from the time period, new scriptures were canonized at the immediate prior conference in September in Boise, Idaho – that one was distinctively named “Covenant of Christ”. That included alterations to key Mormon scriptures in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, Bartel said.
Snuffer gave a 10-page “revelation” that meant that “Christ gave a new section 110,” Bartel said, a reference to LDS Mormonism’s Doctrine & Covenants 110, which, as Bartel pointed out, was canonized 44 years after the occurrences reported within it.
Also, D&C 132, which concerns the controversial practice of polygamy, has been replaced.
“In that 10-page revelation from Christ, there is a new section 132,” Bartel said.
Also, the Old Testament now has scripture called the Joseph Smith Translation in it and is called the Old Covenant; “essentially the 1840 version” of the Book of Mormon and New Testament are together and is called the New Covenant; and the D&C now has the “full” Joseph Smith – History scripture, with a now-canonized Lectures on Faith, and is now called the Teachings and Commandments. It does not contain D&C 20 and also has as canon a document called the Wentworth Letter, revelations from Smith found in the Joseph Smith Papers and other Snuffer revelations, Bartel said.
The “whole purpose” of the September conference, Bartel said, “was to get into a group covenant similar to … King Benjamin,” a reference to an apparent event in the scripture the Book of Mormon.
Sparks that lit a fire
He still attends his Mormon congregation sometimes, Bartel said. But forty years to the day that Snuffer was baptized into the LDS church, Snuffer was excommunicated from it, on Sept. 11, 2013.
Ten years earlier, Snuffer said Jesus visited him.
“He does not go into detail on that experience,” Bartel said.
But that led him to write the Second Comforter, for his kids. He stored it away in a drawer for two years.
“Then he says that the Lord rebukes him,” Bartel reported. “(Jesus says), in so many words, ‘I did not have you store this away; this is a topic I want people to start talking about again.”
Snuffer published “The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil” in 2006.
“It’s very slow at the beginning,” Bartel said. “He and his wife donate (books) to the Sandy (Utah) Library and … have a couple of speaking engagements, but it’s very grassroots.”
In Bartel’s Mormon congregation, a teacher instructing about attending the LDS temple used “The Second Comforter” as lesson material, Bartel said.
Snuffer proceeded to publish books including “Nephi’s Isaiah,” where Snuffer said that the prophet Nephi is condemning the LDS church; and “Come Let Us Adore Him,” “which is essentially (Snuffer’s) firsthand account of the Garden of Gethsemane and the morning of the resurrection (of Jesus),” Bartel said.
Then there was “Passing the Heavenly Gift,” a 2011 work that offered that Mormon history, along with scripture, don’t corroborate with the LDS version. This was the work that resulted in Snuffer’s excommunication.
“The history communicates … that the Saints were rejected in Nauvoo (Illinois),” Bartel said of the final location for the Mormons before the majority followed Brigham Young west. “They were kicked into the wilderness and receive a whole bunch of trials, almost like the children of Israel getting kicked into the wilderness.”
Snuffer also says in the book that the D&C talks about the “higher priesthood” being lost, with no place to restore it again.
The temple the Mormons sought to build in Nauvoo, believing they were under divine mandate, was never completed and 10 years later was destroyed by a tornado, according to the book.
“The Nauvoo Temple was supposed to be the place where God restores His covenant blessings again, but that didn’t happen” Bartel said, echoing the book. “In so many words, it’s similar to the golden calf and the higher law, the higher blessings.”
Besides Nauvoo, polygamy issues, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the castration of a young man by an LDS leader called a stake president in Manti are evidence of God’s displeasure with the Mormon adherents called in academic circles as “Brighamites,” the book says.
Book of Mormon scripture, including sub-books 2 and 3 Nephi, provides theology that these events fulfill, according to “Passing the Heavenly Gift.”
The book also offers other historical and doctrinal reasons for why the Brighamite church was on a wrong path.
Snuffer gave 10 lectures between Sept. 2013 and Sept. 2014 up and down the Mormon corridor, northernmost in Boise and southernmost in Phoenix, Ariz.
For that final talk, in Phoenix, titled “Preserving the Restoration,” Snuffer had a message for attendees.
“This is almost word for word what I am going to say: ‘the heavens are open for business again,’” Bartel reported. “And, one of the signs of acceptance of this message is baptism.”
A family friend of Bartel’s who was on the LDS church’s Strengthening the Members Committee, a surveillance entity, said that then-LDS apostle Russell Nelson, now the prophet of the LDS church, personally influenced the excommunication of Snuffer, who was a stake high councilman, a leadership position just below a stake president, when discipline began.
That stake president got released earlier than normal and Nelson personally, in a laying-on-of-hands process, made the new stake president, Bartel said.
“He placed his own henchmen in there,” Bartel remarked, saying that the president is the CEO of a new multi-level marketing company next to a Provo, Utah temple.
“When (Nelson) sets the stake president apart, he hand-delivers Denver’s membership records and says ‘you need to excommunicate this person,’” Bartel added, calling it a “big no-no” since discipline must happen at a local level.
According to the church, that’s precisely what must happen.
The stake president said “I can’t excommunicate this guy” after meeting with Snuffer – one get-together involved Snuffer telling the stake president and his two counselors about priesthood, charting it on a white board, with them asking him about visiting with Jesus, Bartel said.
Finally, 18 months later, Snuffer got a notice that he’s being excommunicated for “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” He had been given an “ultimatum” to stop publishing it, and Snuffer responded by saying that he had an obligation with the publisher.
“The LDS church says ‘we’ll pay the publisher’. Talk about a conflict of interest,” Bartel remarked.
Snuffer’s wife and children came with him to the excommunication trial, but they were not allowed in the room, Bartel said.
Shortly after that, Adrian Larsen of the “Boise fellowship” baptized 65 people in the Boise River “all at once” — it’s what caused LDS apostle Dallin Oaks to hold a tri-state conference.
Another adherent, Brent Larsen, said in Springville of Snuffer, “he’s a prophet,” Bartel reported.
“This was in a private forum that you had to get (special access) into,” Bartel said. “The LDS church had lurkers in there.”
In Brent’s excommunication, the church had screenshots of Brent Larsen’s online activity, Bartel said.
That booting was the first of many after Snuffer’s. He appealed it and was invited to sit down with a member of the Seventy, a chief church leader, Bartel said.
“In his interview, the Seventy openly admits Denver wasn’t excommunicated for ‘Passing the Heavenly Gift,’” Bartel reported. “He was excommunicated for saying that he’s seen God.”
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