Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Critique Directed to Those Who Claim to Believe What Denver Snuffer Teaches

This post is not directed to those who have not heard of Denver Snuffer. That's what google is for. This is toward those who have read his writings and/or heard his discourses.

I received an email today from an anonymous source. I am responding to it and reposting because I feel that a) there are more people who feel the way this writer did, and b) his/her views correctly draw attention to some idiosyncrasies in the actions and beliefs of those who have read and at least partially agree with Denver Snuffer's teachings. I don't know exactly how to write this well, and I'm pressed for time, so I will put the email here in its entirety, than comment on it.

A friend of mine sent this to me and I thought it was worthy of further discussion, so I’m forwarding to you.  I guess they tried to post it to some blogs, but it was being deleted.  Enjoy and please responds with comments.

I was reading the other day on a blog that doesn’t allow for comment.  Since so many people that read that blog also read this blog, I’ve decided to comment here.  The blog has to do with people forming small groups in an effort to bring people to Christ.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to make a few observations. 

One of the early comments was how those in the groups are collecting tithing to help the poor within the respective groups.  Why hasn’t tithing been replaced with the  law of consecration?  Isn’t that the higher law?  Someone offering more, should be restoring that which was taken away.  Why aren’t you selling all that you have and then dividing the proceeds equally based on the respective needs?   

Wouldn’t someone offering more, bring back the laws and ordinances of Melchizedek Priesthood, instead of changing slightly the laws and ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood, something that we already have.  Someone offering more, should be restoring that which was taken away.  Why aren’t you functioning in the laws and  ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood?  It is because those laws and ordinances haven’t been revealed to you?

Wouldn’t someone offering more ask you to leave the apostate church instead indicating that it’s ok to keep your feet in both camps.  We shouldn’t be putting new wine in old bottles, should we?  Why remain a Jew, if the true faith has been restored?  Joseph Smith didn’t continuing going to the Methodist church, did he?  It seems hypocritical to stay in a faith that your constantly condemning.  Is it because you don’t believe enough in this new fellowship?  If so, how does that make you any different than active members who also lack faith?        

My point is, how is what you are doing any different from that which is already being  done.  Joseph and Hyrum tried to restore that which was lost in an effort to establish Zion.  I don’t see in this fellowship anything that could be construed as a restoration.  Where are the new laws, the new ordinances, the new doctrine, the gathering?  I’m not hearing of spiritual experiencing happening that aren’t being experienced by truth seeking members of the church.  

One thing that would help is to realize is that everyone, whether in or out of the church, comes to this earth with a different capacity to understand truth.  Why it is that there are those who understand the gospel well and there are those who don’t care to understand the gospel?  Even in your own fellowship, I am sure that there are those who have greater and lessor capacity to understand truth.  Are you condemning those with less capacity or helping them understand more.  If them, why not everyone? 
Every spirit comes to this earth with a different level of light.  The amount of light you came with largely determines your desire, ability and capacity to obtain more light as activated by the Holy Ghost.  New light is given based on your capacity and desire to receive more light.  As long as one is building on what they came to earth with, then, are they not headed in the right direction.  This is the very reason, we are commanded not to judge.  Only the Father of our spirit and Christ know the amount of light an individual has.  Every one, including leadership, understands truth at a different level. 

I often read in your blogs that we shouldn’t rely on leaders to direct us, only Christ.  Why then do we have Nephi, Mosiah, Alma, Mormon, Moroni, Peter, James, John, Joseph or the scriptures.  If you lived during Alma’s time, when the church was in apostasy, would you have been condemning him?  Sure there are those that are spiritually mature and have found Christ on their own.  However, there are many, no most, that are spiritually immature and need leadership to help them get on/down the path that leads to Christ.  Could this be who are current leadership is talking too?  People who know Christ don’t need help.  However, people who don’t but want to know Christ may need some help.  When you abandon those that need help; how can you be an instrument in helping people come to Christ.

When you remove yourself from the population because of their lack of understanding you are judging them.  When instead, you should be helping those with lessor light gain greater capacity.  Teaching those with less capacity means that you need to teach them on their level, not yours.  The reason why teaching  experiences, that pertain to an increased level of depth, should be one-on-one and not one-on-many.  Unless one has the ability to phrase their words so that they can be understood on different levels.

Some day some one will come with power and authority to bring back the laws and ordinances that Joseph and Hyrum tried but failed to restore.  One day the Time of the Gentiles will be Fulfilled and a gathering will take place.  Then there will be new laws, new ordinances, new doctrine and a gathering of a few from among the many.  Until then, there will be many claiming authority but showing no power.  Some of who, after claiming to have seen the Christ, will continue to use the corrupt legal system to sue people in order to maintain a certain standard of living.


And these are my comments:
 One of the early comments was how those in the groups are collecting tithing to help the poor within the respective groups.  Why hasn’t tithing been replaced with the  law of consecration?  Isn’t that the higher law?  Someone offering more, should be restoring that which was taken away.  Why aren’t you selling all that you have and then dividing the proceeds equally based on the respective needs?   

Actually, even in these small groups something other than the law of tithing, in my observation, is being lived. 1. The law of tithing (see D&C 119) requires a consecration of ALL surplus initially, something someone coming from an LDS background has probably never done and therefore must do once in order to comply with the law. Only then can 10% of surplus annually be donated to fulfill the law of tithing. 2. It is also dubious to donate your money among people who enjoy an affluent standard of living with respect to the world even when considered poor with respect to, say, a group of middle-class US citizens. The scriptures are sufficient in teaching that God is not pleased when we give with respect to persons, and this is precisely what these groups are doing. All that said, however, I think that it is obvious that anyone actually giving money to those in need is doing more than someone who is not giving anything to those in need. Inasmuch as someone moves from doing less to please God to doing more to please God, well that's a good thing in my book. 

As far as restoring that which was taken away: Is not correct understanding something that can be lost? Of course it is. In fact, you'll find that Joseph was taught commandments that were already in the Bible, but were impossible to comprehend in the context of drowning false understandings that pervaded the religions of the day. Is our day any different? To conclude that a restoration cannot include the correction of current false understandings requires complete ignorance of what Joseph did, when he did it, and what order he did it in.

Wouldn’t someone offering more, bring back the laws and ordinances of Melchizedek Priesthood, instead of changing slightly the laws and ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood, something that we already have.  Someone offering more, should be restoring that which was taken away.  Why aren’t you functioning in the laws and  ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood?  It is because those laws and ordinances haven’t been revealed to you?

Again, it seems logical that a correct understanding of the basics has to be achieved before advanced lessons can be comprehended. In this case, the false understanding of tithing in the LDS culture (that it is ok that 0% of it is spent on the poor and that one need not care for the needs of the poor around you as long as you cut your 10% check every month) have to be corrected before more advanced lessons can be comprehended. Note that, again, this is the precise pattern followed by Joseph Smith. He first restored Aaronic-level law before moving on. How could a restoration rightly jump over a false understanding of Aaronic-level law before moving to Melchizedek-level law? Even though there were many churches with some form of tithing in Joseph's day, God still had to give D&C 119. Were there half steps between the receipt of the Book of Mormon and receipt of D&C 119? Absolutely. Fast offerings was one of them. Initially, it was Joseph's best idea (and a good one) for coming up with money for the poor before the law of tithing was given. Then it went away. Brigham Young brought it back temporarily because they were short on funds for the exodus from Nauvoo, then it became a doctrine in Utah.

Wouldn’t someone offering more ask you to leave the apostate church instead indicating that it’s ok to keep your feet in both camps.  We shouldn’t be putting new wine in old bottles, should we?  Why remain a Jew, if the true faith has been restored?  Joseph Smith didn’t continuing going to the Methodist church, did he?
Actually, I believe Joseph attended a Methodist Sunday school post-first vision. I also recall that his mother kept going to Methodist services for at least a while. Forgive me, I don't have my copy of "Joseph Smith's History by His Mother" on hand. However, Jesus did, in fact say not to put new wine in old bottles. However, Jesus himself continued to attend synagogue despite the Jews being apostate. In fact, he even volunteered to speak in the service. His missionaries similarly attended synagogue and sought to teach the truth in those settings. I think if you examine the series of talks Denver gave over a year, you will see a clear progression from "stay at church, everything is fine" to "everything is not fine, and you have a duty to stay at church until they boot you so you can help others see everything is fine." Or maybe that is just what my observation is. I can tell you that, having associated with many before, during, and after his 1 year talk, and knowing where they were at each point, I was amazed at the wisdom of this approach. If I had the burden from the Lord that Denver claimed to have in delivering that message, I'm sure I would have done what you are suggesting. My talk would have been 1 hour long, not 1 year long. And I'm sure less than 10 people would believe me, because it would have been too abrupt a change to accept.

It seems hypocritical to stay in a faith that your constantly condemning.  Is it because you don’t believe enough in this new fellowship?  If so, how does that make you any different than active members who also lack faith?        

It does seem hypocritical if you remain the same member on the outside that you were before hearing the message. However, if you are using your association to teach the truth, it seems very wise.

My point is, how is what you are doing any different from that which is already being  done.  Joseph and Hyrum tried to restore that which was lost in an effort to establish Zion.  I don’t see in this fellowship anything that could be construed as a restoration.  Where are the new laws, the new ordinances, the new doctrine, the gathering?  I’m not hearing of spiritual experiencing happening that aren’t being experienced by truth seeking members of the church.  

I agree. There really is nothing new in anything Denver has preached. Instead, as he said himself, he is merely reminding people of what Joseph taught. So your comment, which I agree with, is actually a criticism of the subset of people who believe what Denver is saying and believe there is something new here. Those who say this simply did not read or did not understand the scriptures / church history / etc.

One thing that would help is to realize is that everyone, whether in or out of the church, comes to this earth with a different capacity to understand truth.  Why it is that there are those who understand the gospel well and there are those who don’t care to understand the gospel?  Even in your own fellowship, I am sure that there are those who have greater and lessor capacity to understand truth.  Are you condemning those with less capacity or helping them understand more.  If them, why not everyone? 
Every spirit comes to this earth with a different level of light.  The amount of light you came with largely determines your desire, ability and capacity to obtain more light as activated by the Holy Ghost.  New light is given based on your capacity and desire to receive more light.  As long as one is building on what they came to earth with, then, are they not headed in the right direction.  This is the very reason, we are commanded not to judge.  Only the Father of our spirit and Christ know the amount of light an individual has.  Every one, including leadership, understands truth at a different level. 

It seems to me that the perfect way of sharing this with those with less capacity to understand truth is through the attributes in D&C 121. I can't think of a better way of doing this than by patiently awaiting small opportunities to teach while remaining an active member of the LDS church. Can you?

I often read in your blogs that we shouldn’t rely on leaders to direct us, only Christ.  Why then do we have Nephi, Mosiah, Alma, Mormon, Moroni, Peter, James, John, Joseph or the scriptures.  If you lived during Alma’s time, when the church was in apostasy, would you have been condemning him?  Sure there are those that are spiritually mature and have found Christ on their own.  However, there are many, no most, that are spiritually immature and need leadership to help them get on/down the path that leads to Christ.  Could this be who are current leadership is talking too?  People who know Christ don’t need help.  However, people who don’t but want to know Christ may need some help.  When you abandon those that need help; how can you be an instrument in helping people come to Christ.

I agree. It seems to me that Denver Snuffer has a way of over exaggerating some things in order to keep people safely away from tricky situations. He summarily condemns plural marriage, yet it is clearly a doctrine of the restoration (details aside). He condemns the strong man model, yet that is the only model we ever see in the scriptures, including in prophecies of a latter-day strongman who will build Zion.

When you remove yourself from the population because of their lack of understanding you are judging them.  When instead, you should be helping those with lessor light gain greater capacity.  Teaching those with less capacity means that you need to teach them on their level, not yours.  The reason why teaching  experiences, that pertain to an increased level of depth, should be one-on-one and not one-on-many.  Unless one has the ability to phrase their words so that they can be understood on different levels.

Already been addressed. Again, I think this comment actually stands in opposition to your other comment about removing oneself from the LDS fold. I don't think you can both leave the church and teach those with less capacity.

Some day some one will come with power and authority to bring back the laws and ordinances that Joseph and Hyrum tried but failed to restore.  One day the Time of the Gentiles will be Fulfilled and a gathering will take place.  Then there will be new laws, new ordinances, new doctrine and a gathering of a few from among the many.  

Yes, I think you are right. And before they do all of that, they will have to help people actually understand what Joseph restored.

Until then, there will be many claiming authority but showing no power.  Some of who, after claiming to have seen the Christ, will continue to use the corrupt legal system to sue people in order to maintain a certain standard of living.

I think this comment is obviously meant as a ding against Denver. While I agree that the individual who does the things you referred to before will show great power, and that Denver has not displayed any signs, I do not dismiss the power displayed by convincing hundreds if not thousands of people to abandon false tradition at great (well, in their perspective) cost. That's quite a power, in my opinion. As far as his occupation: suppose he is telling the truth when he says Jesus frequently visits him and speaks with him face to face, has taken him up to heaven, and made him promises, despite him being an imp of a corrupt legal system who sues people in order to gain riches. Does that say more about him, or about me, who despite having an honorable profession have not yet attained to those things? With the judgement you mete, you will be judged, my friend.