Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Passing the Heavenly Gift

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Response to Passing the Heavenly Gift

A FairMormon Analysis of: Passing the Heavenly Gift, a work by author: Denver C. Snuffer

Passing the Heavenly Gift by Denver C. Snuffer

Summary: This account of Church history contains numerous inaccuracies, distortions, and misrepresentations of the data.

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Introduction to the volume's claims

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Claims about priesthood ordination

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Brigham Young and subsequent apostles were not personal witnesses of Christ

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The source of the authority of Brigham Young and the apostles after Joseph’s death

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Is it true that Joseph received sealing authority in 1829?

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Is it true that necessary authority could only be transmitted in a completed temple?

Is it true that the Saints sinned in Missouri and Joseph offered his life to give them another chance

Is it true that the Nauvoo temple was not built with enough speed?

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Were the Saints at Nauvoo were punished for slothfulness in building the temple?

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Conclusion

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Comparing the size of the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples

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Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, "Passing Up The Heavenly Gift (Part One of Two)"

Gregory L. Smith,  Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, (2013)
Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. claims to have had a vision of the resurrected Jesus Christ.2 A convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he is the author of eight books (509). The thesis of the most recent—Passing the Heavenly Gift—is summarized by his book’s cover photo: a snuffed out candle, smoke curling upward, with a dim ember persisting at the tip of the wick.


Snuffer claims that Joseph Smith was an inspired prophet, but Joseph’s commands and revelations were not heeded adequately. As a result, Joseph was betrayed by Church members and murdered prior to the completion of the Nauvoo Temple (104). This made it impossible, in Snuffer’s view, for Joseph to pass on all the necessary ordinances and doctrines, notwithstanding the endowment and other ordinances given to the Twelve prior to Joseph’s death (105–110). Brigham Young, the Twelve, and their ecclesiastical heirs did not, therefore, perpetuate the fullness of Joseph’s mission (87–89, 268, 272–276, 283). Some of their acts, and the changes that Snuffer believes they have made to Church doctrine, practice, or administration, were not sanctioned by God, and constitute the “passing of the heavenly gift” (287, 400). This loss was, in Snuffer’s telling, predicted by Joseph Smith, and the time is now ripe for members of the Church to reclaim these blessings (315–317, 400–402, 447–499).

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Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, "Passing Up The Heavenly Gift (Part Two of Two)"

Gregory L. Smith,  Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, (2013)
Snuffer writes of the apostolic succession:

In 1847, Brigham Young publicly explained his understanding of the keys he obtained in these words: “an apostle is the Highest office and authority that there is in the Church and Kingdom [of] God on the earth. From whom did Joseph receive his authority? From just such men as sit around me here (pointing to the Twelve Apostles that sat with him.) Peter, James and John were Apostles, and there was no noise about their being seers and revelators though those gifts were among them. Joseph Smith gave unto me and my brethren (the Twelve) all the Priesthood keys, power and authority which he had and those are the powers which belong to the Apostleship” (87).

Snuffer then delivers his killing stroke: “This explanation is misleading because Brigham Young was not ordained an Apostle by Joseph Smith” (87). A few pages later, he writes that “Brigham Young’s claim to have received the sealing power when he was ordained an Apostle is completely dependent on the Three Witnesses’ ordination in 1835. That ordination came a year prior to the 1836 visit of Elijah” (91).

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