Update August 25th: Denver Snuffer has been called to attend a disciplinary council on September 8th over his book Passing The heavenly Gift. Updated post HERE.
The name Denver Snuffer provokes strong reaction within the ranks of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some believe he truly has the "heavenly gift", while others suggest he's positioning himself as a "One Mighty And Strong" character. Even the senior leadership of the Church is mindful; on Latter-day Commentary, Tim Malone suggests that Snuffer is being investigated for possible disciplinary action, and that the investigation may be coming to a head.
Denver Snuffer is the author of eight books. These include The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil, Nephi's Isaiah, Eighteen Verses, Ten Parables, Beloved Enos, Come, Let Us Adore Him, Removing the Condemnation, and Passing the Heavenly Gift. The first and last books on the list generate the most interest and discussion within the LDS community, since not everyone gets the First Comforter, and it is almost unheard of to get the Second Comforter. The First Comforter is the Holy Ghost, but when we are baptized and confirmed as members of the Church, we do not automatically get the Holy Ghost, but are commanded to receive the Holy Ghost. Thus confirmation opens up a channel for us to access the Holy Ghost -- if we choose to use it. The Second Comforter is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.
Since Passing The Heavenly Gift is the most-discussed book, here's the description of it from Amazon:
Mormonism has undergone four distinct phases. The first began in 1820 and ended with Joseph Smith’s death in 1844. The second began upon Joseph Smith’s death and ended with abandonment of plural marriage, publicly in 1890 and privately in 1904. In the third phase Mormonism denounced as apostasy its practice of plural wives, marking the first time an orthodox practice became grounds for excommunication. The fourth phase began with David O. McKay and is still underway. In it Mormonism has adopted corporate management techniques to consolidate and direct central church decision-making. The first phase was innovative and expansive, continually adding doctrine, scripture, teachings and ordinances. Subsequent phases have curtailed, abandoned, even denounced earlier teaching and doctrine. Phases two through four have all abandoned doctrine. Growth in these subsequent phases has been defined in terms of political influence, financial gains, cultural inroads, and population growth; while the underlying religion has been curtailed. Today, marketing the institution has become more important to Mormon success than preserving the original religious content. The changes from phase to phase have completely transformed Mormonism, sharing a vocabulary but redefining the terms. Modern Mormonism has now institutionalized change. For the first time in this book Mormonism is candidly described in terms which track the changes by examining doctrine, teachings and practices. Interestingly, the passing of the heavenly gift was anticipated by Joseph Smith’s prophecies and the Book of Mormon.
The description of the phases is factual, although a bit heavy-handed. I consider it more precise to say that the LDS Church, with the passage of time, has actually clarified its doctrine and better delineated between hardcore doctrine, evolved tradition, and unsubstantiated folklore. Because of the principle of continuing revelation, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are subject to inspiration or revelation at any time the Lord deems it appropriate for His servants to make course corrections.
However, the fact that I might consider Snuffer's assessment a bit heavy-handed in no way impinges upon his worthiness as a member. While I've not read any of his books, I've read enough of his blog, as well as this review of Passing The Heavenly Gift published by Tim Malone, to conclude that Denver Snuffer is neither trying to supersede the General Authorities nor promoting apostasy. Snuffer himself makes this abundantly clear in this post:
1. I sustain today’s church leaders as prophets, seers and revelators. The scriptures give them the right to use those titles (D&C 107: 92). They preside, and it is their right to do so. They have our common consent and ought to be upheld by our “confidence, faith and prayers” (D&C 107: 22). I uphold them in this way. They carry heavy burdens and have my sympathy, not my judgment, for any human frailties they display.
2. It is utterly untrue that I have said the church is apostate. I reject the accusation. If the narrative I suggest in PTHG is true, then the Lord’s post-Nauvoo ire is evidence the Lord is still watching over and intends to further His work with the members of this church. Those whom He loves, He chastens. (Heb. 12: 5-11; Helaman 12: 3; D&C 95: 1.) Mine is not a faithless, but a faith filled history. I’ve reiterated this before and reiterate it again. (See my post: The Traditions of Men, Part 1, April 21, 2010.)
There you have it. Denver Snuffer remains an absolutely faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fact that the Church may be investigating him for a possible disciplinary council is no guarantor that he will be disfellowshipped or excommunicated, or that such a council will actually take place. By the way, Snuffer says that any royalties he receives from the sale of his books are donated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.