I’m excited to introduce Denver Snuffer. He is the founder of the Remnant Movement. We will learn more about Denver’s movement, and he has an exciting announcement about a new set of scriptures for their movement.
Denver: These are prototypes. It’ll go into production. But we now have a print copy of a new set of scriptures. There are three volumes. The Old Covenants volume is the Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament. It begins with Genesis that most LDS people would recognize as the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. So, the Joseph Smith translation, Genesis text, it begins with the book of Moses. Then it follows the Joseph Smith translation version of the Old Testament to the end. That’s all in the first volume called the Old Covenants.
Denver: Joseph Smith also always intended to publish both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon in a single volume. So, the first volume is called the Old Covenants, because those are the covenants (plural) that went with Adam and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Moses, down to the time of Christ. The second volume is called the New Covenants. It’s the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Again, it has the same Joseph Smith translation version put into it with all of the corrections, the most complete version. But in addition, we have a different Book of Mormon text.
Denver: Well, the Doctrine and Covenants contained as its very first section, the Lectures on Faith. A committee was appointed to deal with the revelations, the Book of Commandments material. Joseph Smith was part of that committee, but apparently didn’t contribute. His diaries say that he spent his time editing and correcting Lectures on Faith. There are those who say that Lectures on Faith appear to be the product of Sidney Rigdon, and not Joseph Smith because they did word comparisons. Joseph Smith, before the publication of Doctrine and Covenants, spent his time editing and correcting Lectures on Faith. When he finished with that, and that is apparently the only thing he worked on getting ready for the Doctrine and Covenants to be printed. He said he would vouch for the correctness of the doctrine that is contained in what he had done, that he would stand by every word of it. That portion in the front of the Doctrine and Covenants is the doctrine. The covenants are the revelations. Well, the committee that was working on the revelations included Sidney Rigdon, and he took even more liberties than had Oliver Cowdery with revelations that had come to Joseph. So, what you have in the LDS version of the Doctrine and Covenants are two steps removed from the original revelations to Joseph. What is in the Teachings and Commandments is a chronological layout that includes Lectures on Faith, that insofar as we are able to accurately do so, recaptures exactly what the original revelation was, and states, as near as we can get at present comprehensively, chronologically and accurately in the form that it came as a revelation to Joseph Smith.
There are many people who claim that the Book of Mormon and Lectures on Faith contain trinitarian ideas. Denver Snuffer, on the other hand, says that the Book of Mormon contains Nauvoo-style theology, rather than the trinity. How does he come to that conclusion?
GT: Also, I’ve read Lectures on Faith, and one of my understandings is Lectures on Faith is very Trinitarian. I feel like that’s kind of why the LDS Church put that away. So, I’m curious, because you’ve re-canonized that. To me, the Lectures on Faith sounds very Trinitarian and the Book of Mormon, as we have it, does sound very Trinitarian. So it’s interesting, to me, to hear you say, “Well, if you take out the punctuation…I guess it would support more of a Nauvoo-style theology. Is that what you’re saying?
Denver: Oh, yes. Yes, I think so.
GT: So, how would you respond to that?
Denver: Well, let me see if I can find the language. The Lecture that talks about who God is. See, one of my problems is that I just got this on the 25th, and this is the 28th. I haven’t gotten to Lectures on Faith to look at it just yet. There’s a definition given of who God is, in Lectures on Faith, and it says that there is God the Father who is a personage of spirit, power, glory, and then there’s God the Son. And he’s a personage, and then there’s the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the mind of the Father and the Son. That is very Nauvoo-era doctrinally correct.
Have you read Lectures on Faith? Do you think it trinitarian? Do you think re-punctuating the Book of Mormon would make it less trinitarian? What do you make of Denver’s movement?
I’ve read the Lectures on Faith. I’m more interested in the evidence of the scope of JS’ editing and confirming them and his comments about them, than in whether they are Trinitarian. There seem to be multiple versions multiple versions of Trinitarianism anyway, but the “Holy Ghost is the mind of the Father and the Son” can imply some version of Trinitarianism while the emphasis on the Father as a personage of spirit and the Son as a personage of tabernacle seem to cut against understanding Lecture 5 in that way. Is there, for example, a difference between “personage” and “person” as the latter is used in English translation(s) of the Nicene Creed? In any event, while that Lecture was doctrine of the Church when it was published in the Doctrine & Covenants, it not what the Church now teaches. Neither is Widtsoe’s “ether” theory of the Holy Spirit being a subtle form of matter pervading all space which he attributed in 1908 to JS.
I’m also interested in the extent to which SR took liberties with JS’ revelations. Is Snuffer saying that the additions and changes to the first printing were SR’s and not JS’?
I’ve found the JST to be less interesting and compelling as I’ve come to better understand JS’s sourcing (Adam Clarke’s Bibile Commentary). Does the influence of Adam Clarke bother Denver Snuffer? Because it seems as if he is doubling down on the JST by expanding it as accepted scripture.
One of my YouTube commenters pointed me to this interview at LDS Perspectives with Dr. Noel Reynolds, emeritus prof at BYU. Reynolds says it is pretty clear that Sidney Rigdon wrote Lectures on Faith. See https://www.ldsperspectives.com/2017/07/12/lectures-faith/
I have read LoF, and it very clearly seemed to imply trinitarian theology and was far from Nauvoo theology, so I don’t agree with Denver’s conclusion there. My feeling is Denver is a mystic, not a historian, and is making theological claims, not historical ones. We’re going to talk about Denver’s beliefs about polygamy in a week or so, and he clearly rejects claims by historians. I don’t think he really cares what historians think of his positions.
Josh, I wanted to ask Denver about Adam Clarke, but I didn’t. I wish I had. But once again, the previous paragraph I wrote is how I would explain Denver’s rationale.
How did Denver manage to publish the JST text when the copyright is still held by the Community of Christ? This has always been the reason why LDS and other groups have to order it directly from Herald House Publishing.
As for Denver being the founder of the Remnant movement, it should be noted that there is a “Remnant Church of Jesus Christ” that’s a breakaway from the RLDS, headquartered in Independence.
If you listen to the interview, Denver says the Inspired Version has stuff not approved by Joseph Smith. He also says that sometimes Joseph Smith would say “A better reading of this scripture is….” Denver incorporated these speeches into his Old and New Testaments as well, so his version is quite different than the Inspired Version.
Yes, the Remnant Movement is quite different from the Remnant Church. I interviewed Jim Vun Cannon who at the time was in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is a breakoff from the RLDS Church. After their prophet Fred Larsen died, Jim split off to form his own Everlasting Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days. I’ve been trying to get him on again, but here is a playlist of my interviews with Jim.
Is the remnant tv conspiracy stuff related to Snuffer?
Denver is a likable guy. I am not sure his followers recognize, however, that he offers only beliefs. Because many LDS are unable to differentiate faith from belief, or belief from doctrine, Denver exploits the dialectic.
His criticisms are accurate, but unfair—for example, Denver claims Brigham Young changed temple ordinances to resemble a more fraternal Masonic-like priesthood. I agree. But the same could be said of King Josiah’s temple reforms. Doesn’t illegitimize King Josiah or Brigham Young, unless a “belief” says you can’t change temple ordinances.
The pattern of Denver’s lectures generally move from direct scriptural quotations—often long messianic passages, followed by a critique towards an LDS belief. Then he paraphrases scripture charismatically. Denver imitates his speech (in pattern and pause) after Henry B. Eyring—clearly practiced.
Nothing Denver says is inherently wrong—which means he measures his position of authority legalistically, like a sophisticated lawyer, not like a fearless apostle.
The dumbing down of doctrine by the CES, and ambivalent belief systems that pervade LDS culture, make Denver’s beliefs and position possible.
I don’t know what the remnant tv series is, but I am 99.5% sure Denver has nothing to do with it.
Travis, if you can find anyone, not just LDS, who can differentiate belief from faith and doctrine, my hat is off to them, and to you for finding them .
Have you read Lectures on Faith? Yes, many times.
Do you think it trinitarian? LOL, I’ve come to realize that there’s no such thing as Trinitarian. I’ve studied with enough Christians to know that theologians have no idea if God is three separate beings, two separate beings and spirit of God, or one being who changes between three people. I’ve heard many pastors describe the God exactly how Mormon’s do with the exception of saying God the father has a body.
LoF tends to follow Dr. Michael Heiser’s theology of 2 Gods, the Father and Jesus, with the Holy Ghost being a third thing that never really gets fully discussed.
BoM tends to follow suit. May people counter this saying the original BoM was more of what the Mormons traditionally consider trinitarian and the 1840 BoM added that Jesus was the son of God. This is because of 1N11 had “Son of” added in a few places but the 1830 clearly has 1N11:6 saying: “..and blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the Most High God…”
(I won’t get in to Abinadi because that muddies the water to the point that I’ve seen both sides successfully use it)