Last week we discussed how Denver Snuffer changed from believing Joseph was a polygamist, but now believes Joseph was a monogamist. I was under the impression that Denver had re-written D&C 132 (which he did on his blog), but he elected to remove 132 completely from his new set of scriptures (that we talked about 2 weeks ago.) Denver has a new revelation in section 157:33 that says if Adam had 1 wife Eve, that should be good enough for the rest of us. While apparently he did accept polygamists in his community, he no longer associates with them, and as a result, many fundamentalists have become enemies and call his a false prophet. (I didn’t realize how polarizing he was!)
This week, we will continue with his justifications for Joseph’s monogamy, and Denver will tell us about how the Law of Adoption affected Brigham Young’s plan for succeeding Joseph Smith. We’ll focus more on the sealing power, and the polygamy affidavits were used to support polygamy that helped Brigham Young’s ascension to leadership in the Church.
Denver: But the idea of Adoption had a profound effect on the history of the Church. Because Brigham Young led the first company, they come in. This is the place. They settle down. He has himself anointed a king and a priest in the log cabin that was built. Then the king returns across the plains, back to Winter Quarters. On his way back, he runs into the company that had John Taylor and Parley Pratt in it. John Taylor and Parley Pratt had some kind of sealing adoption organization put together for the companies. They lead in the migration. When Brigham Young met them, they had reorganized the companies that they were in, contrary to the way that Brigham Young had adopted folks together in the ceremonies in Nauvoo.
So now they were in defiance of the priesthood by what they done. Well, they were members of the Quorum of the Twelve. The vote that was taken on August 8 of 1844 was that the Quorum of the Twelve would take care of the Church, not Brigham Young. It was the Quorum. So, John Taylor, and Parley Pratt didn’t regard Brigham Young as having any right to rule and reign or dictate over them. They were doing what they thought best after they saw how the company functioned. They realigned the adoptions as they were going West. Well, Brigham Young fumed from there all the way back to Winter Quarters.
Denver Snuffer welcomes people to join his movement but emphasizes that the Remnant Movement is not a church! How does that work?
GT: Your movement is the Remnant Movement. That’s kind of the name. Do you have an official name for your church?
Denver: No, there isn’t a church. There isn’t a church, except in the sense that the church was defined in the revelation given to Joseph Smith. The Church that existed were people that repented, came into the Lord and were baptized. That’s it. That’s the definition of the Church. And that definition preceded the organization in April of 1830. There were at least three different congregations or fellowships of people that existed before the incorporation took place in April of 1830. All of them were considered members of Christ’s church because the definition was just repent, come unto me, be baptized in my name for remission of your sins. If you’re going to say there’s a Church, that’s it.
We don’t require. I don’t require. I don’t know of anyone that says you have to leave the LDS Church to accept the work that God has got underway today. I have said, a Catholic priest could come and be baptized for the remission of his sins, accept the restoration and go on his way, and retain his status as a Catholic and a priest, if he chose to do so. Methodists can join. Latter-day Saints can join. There’s nothing to be done except have someone that has authority to baptize, baptize you. And then the name of the person, (because we’re required to keep track of the names,) has to be submitted to another volunteer who’s keeping what’s called the recorders clearinghouse. Those names get given to him. At the end of a year, all of the names are alphabetized, and they’re put in for that calendar year and they’re entered by hand into a book. There’s no electronic version. No one can hack it. No one can go online and get into it. There’s only one hand-written copy.
This sounds like dual-citizenship! Denver says that the LDS Church does excommunicate members who support him, and doesn’t understand why the Church is so thin-skinned. Why do you think the Church goes after Snuffer’s supporters?
The current Church handbook provides a reason:
Issues of apostasy often have an impact beyond the boundaries of a ward or stake. They need to be addressed promptly to protect others. …”
It goes on to cite 3 Nephi 18:31, apparently in support of that reason.
It also includes a procedure that varies from some other membership councils and provides a definition of “apostasy” “as used here”. It seems that the Church does not accept Denver’s assertion that the Remnant movement is not “another church” or “sect”. But it is also possible that such withdrawals of membership fit under parts of the definition “as used here” to which designation as a church or sect is irrelevant. It seems to some that there is too much leeway in that definition for local idiosyncrasies of bishops or stake presidents or even other local “leaders.” But, on the other hand, placing such trust in local leaders can be construed as “sustaining” them in their callings. In some cases it seems to have functioned (for a time) to protect members from idiosyncrasies of some senior Church leaders. It has also been said to provide the institution, at the senior leader level, with some plausible deniability.
I’m surprised Denver claims not to understand. The concepts of the Church president’s being the only person authorized to speak for God to the world and of the Church’s uniquely holding authority to baptize have been central to its teaching and to the orientation of its members to the institution for a very long time. It seems likely he knew that quite well before he became a competing prophet and preached a competing authority to baptize. I wonder how he would propose that the “apostasy” definition for purposes of membership councils be revised to meet the needs of both the institutional Church and its members.
My testimony of the COJCOLDS has certainly evolved (or devolved) over the last few years but no matter how I feel about the Church I have to give the organization credit for one thing: their claim on authority. I may question the truth narratives surrounding the restoration of the A and M priesthoods but I have to admit that those narratives provide the Church and the Brethren with a claim on authority. And with that claim comes the audacity to state that the Church is THE Church.
I guess the problem I have with Denver Snuffer is that he seems to be making it up as he goes. There’s no real claim on authority. Heck, there isn’t even a claim on a true Church. It’s more like, “hey, if you like us come join us”. But that’s the ultimate philosophy of man mingled with (some) scripture.
I have little tolerance left for those who claim authority. I have even less interest in those who don’t even claim that. Denver Snuffer claims he’s not the head of a Church or even a following. I appreciate his honesty but why would I follow someone who claims not to be the head of anything?
@josh h, what does authority mean to you? I agree that the LDS church has a clever story / narrative for authority (as does the Catholic church and probably some others but those are the big ones I am aware of). But I increasingly feel like all these claims of authority do is try to control people, and it seems totally crazy to me that we claim that men (and I mean, men, not humans) get to be in charge of who gets access to that and who doesn’t.
For me, I’m starting to recognize authority primarily as something that is basically self-executing. If someone says something and it’s inspiring and the spirit confirms it, I feel like they spoke with authority. But if something someone says or does is not so confirmed, then I don’t care what keys they claim to hold — I don’t think they have any authority as to that thing.
I am not a remotely Snuffer follower, but I imagine his followers might see authority in the same way. If he’s speaking truth that’s confirmed by the power of God … he’s worth listening to. As for the nuts and bolts of who gets what authority and when and how, maybe they don’t care. But like I said – I don’t know – but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable way to view authority. In some ways to me it’s more reasonable that believing people have authority because some other men chose to give it to them and if you trace it back far enough those men got it from some other men who got it from angels or whatever.
Josh The real question is why would anyone follow anybody other than the Savior. As I read John 14-17 and 3 Nephi 12 – 21 none of us need to put a fallible human being ( and certainly not 12 of them ) between the Savior and ourselves. Follow the effectually self appointed leaders of some institution of fallible men if you want but for me and my house we will follow God.
Snuffer is an interesting case. At one time, I think he was proposing a leaderless organization. Something that the Internet facilitates. Since I’m a bit of a nonviolent anarchist, his organization experiment is interesting. But unfortunately, leaderless organization don’t seem to have staying power.
Since the LDS Church recognizes personal revelation (or inspiration), there are many members (or ex-members) like Snuffer around. While I have no interest in Snuffer’s teachings, I do have many views that diverge from the Church’s stated (or official) position. So I’m a member, but only if the Church leadership doesn’t draw hard lines when defining membership requirements.
So what is a member of the formal Church to do? Apparently Snuffer and his group haven’t decided. But what about the member with strong feelings that the Church’s LGBTQ+ policy is not only discriminatory but also a danger to the health of those impacted by the discrimination? Do you want to affect change from the inside or the outside of the official Church? Do you want to be complicit in the deaths of LGBTQ+ members? Is it really possible to affect change in a top-down organization?
I have a strong knowledge that the Church’s LGBTQ+ policy is wrong. Did I get that through personal revelation (or inspiration)? Yes. But I also have a strong personal belief that I need to help the poor rather than the dead. But I won’t be starting my own Church. I’m lost in space.
rogerhansen: members leave the Church for many reasons. Some of us think the truth claims don’t hold up. Others feel very strongly (personal revelation?) that the Church is wrong on certain policies. For me it’s both. It’s strange. I still feel the Gospel is true (the way I define Gospel is the grace + atonement / repentance formula). Yet, I too am in a lost place due to my feelings about truth claims and policies. So I haven’t left the Church but I’m not sure I’m still in.
Those believe in the traditional narrative of LDS plural marriage need to listen to this podcast: https://denversnuffer.com/2020/09/124-the-foolish-and-the-wise/
Click to access 124_The-Foolish-and-the-Wise_Transcript.pdf