The Book of Mormon was written to the Lamanites, and the remnant from the House of Israel. The LDS Church does not proselyte in Israel due to an agreement with the Israeli government. Denver Snuffer is working on a Hebrew version of the Book of Mormon, and says he is not bound by the LDS Church’s agreement. We’ll learn more about Denver’s outreach to these two groups of people.
Denver: The first is a separate bound copy of the Book of Mormon which has been rendered into a Jewish friendly version using Jewish spellings. The names in the Book of Mormon have been altered to Jewish spellings. The language has been [changed.] This is in English. I mean, the closest thing I can get in order for you to understand what we’re talking about is this, is a Yiddish version of the Book of Mormon. It’s been published and titled The Stick of Joseph in the Hands of Ephraim and it has a Hebrew subtitle. That has been printed as part of this printing effort, also. And it will be given away. Several hundred copies of that book will be given away to Jewish people, for them to consider the Book of Mormon in a more Jewish context.
Denver: Then, secondly, the Book of Mormon, itself, is currently being translated into Hebrew and will be published as a Hebrew text.
Volunteers and then some professionals are being compensated. And then a Ph.D. who, his specialty for his doctoral thesis was rendering into Hebrew, English material. Taking English material and converting it into Old Testament Hebrew language, that was his Ph.D. thesis.
Denver: He’s on the faculty of a major university. He’s doing the final edit on the work that is being done to bring it into a Hebrew language. When that’s done and is published, it should withstand scrutiny from the most scrupulous rabbi anywhere in the world: New York, Jerusalem, Amsterdam. It doesn’t matter. It will withstand scrutiny. As a…
GT: Are you sure? I’ve heard there’s a saying that, take two Jewish rabbis and you’ll get three opinions. [chuckles]
Denver: Well, they may differ on what they do with the text, but they won’t differ on language that got used in order to bring it about. But we’re doing an equally serious effort with Native Americans and the remnant there. We don’t necessarily want a lot of attention for the effort that’s being made. In fact, there’s a lot of disappointment, even bitterness among Native American people because of what happened historically with the Indian placement program, with that Indian School that’s now abandoned. Much of it’s been dismantled up in Brigham City.
GT: The Intermountain High School.
Denver: Yeah, the Intermountain High School. There are children who were run through that program who are now adults, who felt that they had been put upon, abused, belittled, discriminated against, mistreated at the hands of an institution. So [for us] to say, “Hey, we’re Mormons, kind of,” or, “We aren’t Mormons, but we’re bringing you the Book of Mormon.” It’s off-putting. You’re going to have an uphill battle to even get a fair hearing because the LDS effort has been disastrously off-putting.
As we move from the Remnant scriptures, I asked Denver about his position on D&C 132. In Denver Snuffer’s book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, he argued that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. Since that book was written, Denver has changed his mind and now believes Joseph was a monogamist. How did he come to change his mind?
Denver: The Fanny Alger stuff, and you’ve got all of these points to triangulate from. What do you make of it? I can tell you that story and make Joseph Smith an adulterer, and a plural marriage practitioner, or I can tell you that story, and I can make Joseph Smith absolutely chaste, and that what happened there was not by any stretch, a sexual liaison. Fanny Alger would have nine children from a husband.
Denver: Joseph Smith fathered eight children through Emma Smith. They were both at the peak of their fertility when the two of them had something going on, and yet there was no progeny. There was no child. In fact, there’s no child born, that was fathered by Joseph Smith, other than the children that came through Emma Smith. So if you’re going to turn Joseph Smith into something that is akin to the narrative tour by the LDS Church, one of the questions that ought to enter into your balancing of what happened, is the absence of any progeny when you’ve got a fertile man, and you’ve got fertile women who bore children to other men, but never bore a child for Joseph Smith. What effect ought that have on your thinking and interpretation of the historical events?
Denver: You consider nothing that got written down or got introduced after June 27, 1844. You are limited, absolutely, to the material that got its existence, put pen to paper before that date. Okay. What do you have? What do you have to support Joseph Smith practicing plural marriage with sexual relations with other women than Emma?
While I understand that Denver is a lawyer, it seems inapproprate to throw out all evidence after the death of Joseph Smith. Do you agree or disagree? (I’d love to have lawyers weigh in on this issue of throwing out all evidence after June 27, 1844. Would a judge say that was legitimate?)