Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/Denver Snuffer/Excommunication/Sustaining Church leaders

A FairMormon Analysis of Denver Snuffer's Online Claims: Denver Snuffer's Excommunication: Sustaining Church leaders

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Snuffer's wife claims revelation on how disciplinary council should be conducted

Snuffer insisted that he and his wife were better placed to get revelation on how a disciplinary council should proceed than his local leaders:

My wife prayed about this and was of the strongest of convictions that the family needed to be at the council. I agreed with her. Therefore, my children were all there to silently observe.[1]

When he arrived at his disciplinary hearing, Snuffer tells us that:

We spent an hour in the hallway, outside the High Council room, discussing the stake president's refusal to allow my children to attend. My wife was welcome, my children were not. My wife explained that she had made it a subject of prayer, and in answer to prayer wanted them to be there. The stake president refused. He said it would be "a circus" to permit it. [1]
My wife reviewed the Church Handbook of Instructions. She explained to President Hunt that the book is silent, and does not bar children from attending. He admitted that was true but it was his decision to forbid them. My wife said it was my court and I ought to be allowed to have them with me. He replied it wasn't my court, but the church's.[2]

Joseph Smith rebukes such claims

Snuffer and his wife do not understand or follow the teachings of Joseph Smith. In April 1833, Joseph wrote a member of the Church:

I will inform you that it is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore, you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them, but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.[3]

According to Joseph Smith, Snuffer and his wife cannot receive revelation for what their stake president—higher in authority in the Church than they--ought to do about a matter of Church government. If they did not get their revelation from God, where did it come from?

Snuffer refuses to attend if his demands are not met

Despite his claim to sustain, Snuffer would not even respect disciplinary council procedures and the stake president's decision to exclude the children from the proceeding.

Snuffer claims that his concern was that his children would assume that he was in reality guilty of some moral transgression. The stake president assured them that this was not the case—his apostasy was the only issue. Even though Snuffer's purported concern had been addressed, he refused to attend if the children were not allowed in, and left.[1]

Snuffer's family does not accept that apostate writings can be grounds for discipline

Snuffer's attitude is reflected by at least one of his family members, which perhaps explains why the stake president did not wish to permit their attendance at the council:

He said that was a reasonable concern and he said to everyone of us that "this only has to do with a book." One of my daughters responded, almost to herself but loud enough we all heard her: "A book! A book! Are you serious?"[4]

This is clear evidence that Snuffer's children do not understand the implications of his apostasy any more than their parents do.

Snuffer claims he wasn't "able" to speak to the council because his demands were not met

Snuffer later makes it sound as if he was refused admission to the council:

I was prevented from entering the room with my children. Therefore I was unable to speak with the High Council about the matter.[5]

In fact, however, he was simply not permitted to use the council to serve his own agenda. He was able, and could have spoken with the High Council, but instead, chose to leave without participating or learning of the council's decision:

We talked for an hour in the hallway....The door to the High Council room was open. I assume they overheard the discussion. It was a little after 8:00 when we left.[1]

Snuffer claims to sustain leaders even while defying them

Despite this self-reported behavior, Snuffer continued to insist that he sustained his local leaders, even while in the act of refusing to follow their instructions or attend the council because his demands were not met:

We talked for an hour in the hallway and ended with me bearing my testimony to the children, pointing to President Hunt and telling them (my children) that I sustained him, pointing to my Bishop and telling them I sustained him.[1]

Later, Snuffer would claim that the high council

used their dominion over me to sustain the charges and ratify all that went on before.[6]

This is nonsense. When Snuffer tries to get people to behave as he would like them to behave, he is just expressing himself. But, when others do not respond to his efforts, Snuffer then labels them guilty of trying to exercise "unrighteous dominion." Snuffer has ever right to refuse to attend the council, except on his own terms—but, the high council and his stake presidency are likewise justified in not bowing to Snuffer's efforts to control them.

He wants to have it both ways—everything he does is justified; if anyone else thwarts him, they are guilty of "unrighteous dominion."

Snuffer is always, in his mind, in the right.

Conclusion

Snuffer's behavior offers further proof that the charges against him were true—he was in active apostasy, would not respect the reasonable requests of his priesthood leaders. It had nothing to do with them using "dominion"—they had so little dominion that they couldn't even compel Snuffer to come into the room if he chose not to. All they could do was ratify what Snuffer had already done—cut himself off from the Church.

Snuffer and his wife claim to receive revelation about what their leaders should do—but Joseph Smith says that this is impossible.

Snuffer claims stake president was forced to act by high Church leaders

Snuffer claims that senior Church leadership engineered his excommunication.[7] However, his stake president made it clear that he was acting based upon a spiritual manifestation to him:

The issue for consideration to [your] disciplinary council is whether the continued publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift constitutes an act of apostasy and, if so, what the appropriate remedy should be....
I cannot deny, however, the spirit’s influence on me and the responsibilities I have to protect the interests of the Church. I have tried to persuade you that [your book Passing the Heavenly Gift] is not constructive to the work of salvation or the promotion of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.[8]

When confronted with this claim, the stake president corrected it, but Snuffer sticks to his claims regardless:

He said the decision to discipline me was "his alone" to make. In response to that I reminded him that we were interrupted by a phone call from one of the Presidents of the Seventy and he was instructed "to stand down. That he then did 'stand down.' And that if he really believed I was worthy of discipline he would never have stood down, but would have acted then." Therefore, this was not his doing, but the doing of those in the hierarchy. He agreed he had been called, and that he had stood down when told to do so, but that he would be the one responsible for making the decision. I told him the decision had already been made, and not by him.[4][9]

Snuffer claims that the stake president was (wrongly) forced by Church leaders, and that he only ratified a decision they had made.

This is a criticism. Snuffer's claim to not criticize is false.

Notes


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Denver Snuffer, "Last Night's Family Home Evening - Don't call me," from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 9 September 2013, http://denversnuffer.blogspot.ca/2013/09/last-nights-family-home-evening-dont.html
  2. Denver Snuffer, "Don't Know," from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 9 September 2013, http://denversnuffer.blogspot.ca/2013/09/dont-know.html
  3. Letter to Jared Carter dated 13 April 1833 in History of the Church. Volume 3 link Also in Times and Seasons 5 no. 24 (1 Jan 1844), 752. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Denver Snuffer, "The Facts," from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 20 June 2014, http://denversnuffer.blogspot.ca/2014/06/the-facts.html
  5. Snuffer to First Presidency, Letter (13 September 2013), 2; reproduced in Denver Snuffer, "Preserving The Restoration," Lecture 10, Mesa, Arizona (9 September 2014), 42.http://www.scribd.com/doc/239760895/10-Phoenix-Transcript-Preserving-the-Restoration#download
  6. Snuffer to First Presidency, Letter (13 September 2013), 2; reproduced in Denver Snuffer, "Preserving The Restoration," Lecture 10, Mesa, Arizona (9 September 2014), 42.http://www.scribd.com/doc/239760895/10-Phoenix-Transcript-Preserving-the-Restoration#download
  7. Snuffer to First Presidency, Letter (13 September 2013), 1–2; reproduced in Denver Snuffer, "Preserving The Restoration," Lecture 10, Mesa, Arizona (9 September 2014), 41-42.http://www.scribd.com/doc/239760895/10-Phoenix-Transcript-Preserving-the-Restoration#download
  8. M. Truman Hunt to Denver Snuffer, “Notice of Disciplinary Council,” letter (21 August 2013), 1–2. Online at Denver Snuffer, “Don’t call me. (Yes, that means you too!),” from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 23 August 2013, http://denversnuffer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/dont-call-me-yes-that-means-you-too_23.html
  9. Compare also a similar account cited above from Denver Snuffer, "Don't Know," from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 9 September 2013, http://denversnuffer.blogspot.ca/2013/09/dont-know.html