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Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/Denver Snuffer/Inconsistent claims
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Misleading citation of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and George A. Smith
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- Snuffer's attitude toward Brigham Young and other apostles
- Snuffer cites Brigham Young
- Snuffer cites Heber C. Kimball
- Snuffer cites George A. Smith
"You will be tempted to have others tell you how to please God"
Snuffer tells his audience:
- You will be tempted to have others tell you how to please God. You must resist that temptation. You must arise and seek Him directly.:31
Snuffer claims that we should not have others tell us how to please God. In a sense, this is a self-contradictory claim. It is rather like the old argument against relativism:
- Claim: There are no absolute truths, just opinions.
- Answer: So it's absolutely true that there are no absolute truths? That's more than just your opinion?
Self-contradiction—In the same way, Snuffer claims that no one should "tell you how to please God." But, he follows this by telling people what they "must" do. Snuffer is telling us in the very next sentence to do something which he has just claimed he does not want us to do.
It is obvious throughout his speech that Snuffer does not follow his own advice. In essence, he says, "Don't listen to what other people tell you to do--don't listen to Church leaders. But, you should listen to me, because I've spoken to God, and I'm speaking for the Lord."
Snuffer makes grandiose claims the induce us to listen to him (even though he has told us not to listen to anyone but God). For example, he turns down great things from God (presumably because Snuffer wishes us to see him as spiritual and humble):
- "I dare not tell you what the Lord offered me, and you would not believe me if I did. I have refused things I think other men would crave.":31
He claims that God will condemn those who condemn Snuffer's actions:
- The Lord has said to me in His own voice, "I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you." Therefore, I want to caution those who disagree with me, to feel free, to feel absolutely free to make the case against what I say. Feel free to disagree, and make your contrary arguments. If you believe I err, then expose the error and denounce it. But take care; take care about what you say concerning me for your sake, not for mine. I live with constant criticism. I can take it. But I do not want you provoking Divine ire by unfortunately chosen words if I can persuade you against it.:4
Snuffer here appropriates the words spoken by God to Joseph Smith.
Contradicts D&C—He even claims that he can ask God to change how things are done, and have God reply and tell him how things should be:
- "In my disgust and personal preference, I asked the Lord that priesthood get extended beyond the confines of the men who have continually abused and neglected it. I was told that priesthood is confined to men because of the Fall and the conditions ordained by God at that time....I asked the Lord to change that order. It is not going to change. I then asked the Lord that if only men were to hold priesthood for our public ordinances, then could only women vote to sustain them. The saying pleased the Lord, for it was already in His heart. But He said to me: 'There shall be a minimum of seven women to sustain the man in any vote, and if the man is married, his wife shall be one of them.'":15
Self-contradiction—Thus, Snuffer claims we should not listen to Joseph's successors as prophets, but paints himself as a prophet (and one who should be listened to). He may not use the term "prophet," he may even disclaim it, but that is functionally what he is doing. It would be dishonest to pretend otherwise.
New revelation and new scripture
- Do not let a new revelation displace your attention away from the scriptures. They are sufficient for our day, as these ten sessions have demonstrated, I hope.:15
Self-contradiction—But Snuffer has claimed new revelation (for revelation is a message from God giving instructions). We have just seen Snuffer ask God a question about priesthood, and get new instructions on true believers should conduct themselves. This contradicts scripture—the Doctrine and Covenants does not teach that only women should vote to sustain. So, Snuffer has given new scripture--or, at the least, a new revelation that alters scripture that we are to obey instead of scripture. He even admits later that this is what he is doing:
- Do you lay on hands to ordain? Yes, I would follow everything that has been given in scripture to this point. We are "adding to." We are not throwing away anything.:19
Contradicts D&C—So Snuffer is adding to the scriptures. This involves changing the scriptures, and that can only be called "new revelation," and even "new scripture."
Undercuts own argument—Snuffer also claims our attention should not be "displac[ed]...away from the scriptures." But, he has spent hundreds of pages telling us what the scriptures "really" mean or how they should be interpreted. He puts his own ideas up front, and then claims that we should only follow the scriptures—but, we note, it is Snuffer's interpretation of the scriptures that we are to embrace.
Snuffer gives other instructions changing scripture and Joseph Smith's practice:
- The word “unworthy” is not a statement of condemnation, but of qualification. There is nothing implied in the word about a man’s standing before God, only the fact that within the community of fellowship until the wife is prepared to support him acting outside the family, his effort should remain within his family until the wife sees value to her husband serving others. The word “unworthy” was the Lord’s and therefore I do not feel at liberty to change it. But I want it clear that when He used it I had a definite understanding that no condemnation was implied, only an orderly arrangement was given. In all such matters it has been my experience that with time how the Lord orders things proves to be exceptionally wise, even if we do not immediately see the wisdom.
Contradicts Joseph Smith—Joseph and church leaders under his direction would forbid people who were "unworthy" from taking the sacrament. Contradicts Book of Mormon—The Lord himself commanded his apostles to likewise guard those who were not worthy from taking the sacrament (3 Nephi 18:28-32; see also 1 Corinthians 11:27-29). Yet, Snuffer changes it.
Double standard—Snuffer says he does not feel he can change the Lord's word—so, Snuffer simply redefines the word, and puts the claim in God's mouth.
- You should not waste another three-hour block of time fiddling around with nonsense, because you don't have permission from God to do that (emphasis added).:33
Self-contradiction—He wants us not to listen to anyone telling us how to please God—except him. Even the scriptures do not count if they disagree with Snuffer. He tells us what we have "permission" from God to do and not do.
How to please God
In announcing his ten talks, Snuffer claims:
- There is so much that needs to happen in these last days that our time must be spent anxiously engaged in things that matter. There's just no time to waste on trivial matters. Hopefully, the upcoming talks will allow you to see what the Lord would like done, and provide a framework and understanding for you to do something about it.
Self-contradiction—Despite telling his audience they should not rely on others for knowing "how to please God," Snuffer says he will tell them what God wants, and gives them "a framework." His talks give them a laundry list of things that they "must" do or not do (emphasis added in all cases):
- All that was needed to obtain the power to baptize was (and is) for Christ to tell you.:13 Contradicts Joseph Smith—See here
- If you are going to use the priesthood to perform a baptism, no matter what the Church has told you, no matter what quorum leaders and respected others, including your own father perhaps, have taught you, before you do so, ask God to give you the authority. Get the “word” from Christ through the Spirit, just as Alma did. His example is in the scriptures to teach us the way. We have lost it, and need to reclaim it. If you get power to baptize, you get it from Him and you are not dependent on someone else. But get the power from Him. Power is required. It must come from Christ. The pattern must be followed.:14
- When you ordain someone to serve in these fellowships you should ordain no one to an office, only confer the priesthood. Have no offices. Let everyone be equal. Be without ranks.:14 Contradicts Joseph Smith—See here. Contradicts D&C—See here.
- Does this mean you have to leave the Church? Of course not. This is to add to anything that you already have. There is no reason you can't be part of this fellowship and be part of the Lutheran Church, Catholic Church or part of an LDS community. I wouldn't leave until they throw you out, but they will probably throw you out. They shouldn’t, but probably will. I would not leave the LDS Church if you find value in service there.:18
- What about ordinations that occurred before April 2014? As I said previously, I would respect them and keep them in place. God did not do anything until April of this year, and then only with the LDS Church leadership.:19 Contradicts Joseph Smith—See here. Contradicts D&C—See here.
- Do you lay on hands to ordain? Yes, I would follow everything that has been given in scripture to this point. We are "adding to." We are not throwing away anything. We are trying to preserve, return, and renew. We are not trying to tread under our feet anything that is useful, laudable, worthy, desirable, or that came down from the Restoration. It is not God's purpose to abandon the Restoration. It is His purpose to preserve it. Laying on hands, however, confers only the right to go to God to get power.:19
- Another requirement is a record of the names of those you baptize. You do not record their email addresses, vital statistics, phone numbers, or any contact information. Only names. Therefore, after you have complied to have power to baptize, and taught them the Doctrine of Christ and they have repented, and are being baptized, their name must be recorded. You choose recorders in your fellowships, and a recorder to compile the names from all the various fellowships. Someone has to keep the names in a record. Faithfully record the name every time there is a baptism. There will be various recorders in various locations. The various recorders need to submit them to a single central record keeper on an annual basis. Have the recorders from the various fellowships identify themselves. I can give them some further direction, but there should be annually complied, a single volume, that will be deposited in a temple. Ultimately there will be a temple built.:21
- You do not need to be re-ordained, if you were ordained before April 2014. If you were ordained after April 2014 you should get ordained again among this community. So, there are two categories: If ordained before April 2014, get sustained by the required number in a fellowship before you perform any priestly function, including baptism and the Sacrament. If ordained after April 2014 do the same thing, but have someone ordain you again. Keep a record of that, as already explained (underlining in original).:32
Snuffer's claims and actions are self-contradictory. They also contravene the scriptures.
- Denver Snuffer, "Preserving The Restoration," Lecture 10, Mesa, Arizona (9 September 2014).http://www.scribd.com/doc/239760895/10-Phoenix-Transcript-Preserving-the-Restoration#download
- Denver Snuffer, “Current Events,” from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 26 August 2013, http://denversnuffer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/current-events.html