I really thought that Denver Snuffer's activity in the LDS Church and his repeated expressions of loyalty towards the Church and the Gospel would prevent his excommunication. But apparently I was wrong. Denver Snuffer reports that on Tuesday September 10th, 2013, while preparing to give a talk in Boise Idaho, his stake president, Truman Hunt, called to tell him he'd been excommunicated. He will receive the official paperwork later. Ironically, this occurs on precisely the 40th anniversary of his baptism into the Church.
Brother Snuffer continues to respond with class. This excerpt from the written response he sent to Truman Hunt, declining any further face-to-face meetings, stands out:
"In any event, again we would like to thank you for your service. We know this has been difficult and bear no resentment for you or anyone involved. I am saddened, even ashamed that there wasn't an open process which allowed my children to have this important opportunity. I've prized the underlying principles of the gospel which involve persuasion, knowledge, meekness and avoid control, compulsion and dominion. I wanted my children to witness this glorious process in which men of good faith and belief come together to work through an important disagreement. I had wanted them to behold the Spirit leading to unity".
Excommunicants can continue to attend LDS religious services, but may not partake of the Sacrament, pay tithing, hold any callings, or officiate in any way. An excommunication remains in force for a minimum of one year, although an excommunicant can begin working back towards full membership at any time. Local ward leadership will work with someone who sincerely wants to return to membership.
While I consider Brother Snuffer's excommunication unjust, I do not intent to allow it to affect my attitude towards the Church. Since Jesus Christ is willing to work with imperfect human beings to establish His kingdom on earth, it is appropriate for us to continue to sustain imperfect leaders in positions of power, so long as there is no priestcraft or moral turpitude. Here's what hasn't changed:
(1). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains the truest church on earth, and the only church with legal priesthood authority. It remains the only church where one can be legally married for eternity as well as for time, and where one can legally perform proxy redemptive ordinances for one's kindred dead.
(2). The Book of Mormon remains the authoritative Word of God, equal in status to the Bible. As Joseph Smith once said, it is the most correct book on the face of the earth.
(3). Joseph Smith was still a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as are each one of his successors.
Those who are distressed over the excommunication of Denver Snuffer would be best advised to pray for the spiritual welfare of both Snuffer and his stake president, Truman Hunt. I am confident that Hunt was not overjoyed at making this decision; it must have been a thorn in his flesh.
Reaction: Tim Malone has published an extended analysis on Latter-Day Commentary. He shares the contents of an email from someone who was highly critical of Snuffer and labeled him an apostate. But while Malone says he's not a follower of Snuffer, he writes "...I feel impressed of the spirit to continue in my quest to understand what Denver Snuffer has shared. I need to finish some of his books and intend to re-read parts of PtHG and especially The Second Comforter. I learn something new each time I invest the time to read and ponder what I can apply that will bring me closer to my goal of opening the heavens and be taught what the Lord wants me to know".
LDS Anarchy has published a detailed and superb analysis of the Church's perspective on apostasy and a discussion of the disciplinary council process. Citing evidence from D & C Section 102, LDS Anarchist suggests that disciplinary councils today have strayed from their original intended purpose. There used to be three separate types of Church courts -- the Bishop's Court, the Elder's Court, and the High Priest's Court. These have been replaced by the disciplinary council; the Stake judges all Melchizedek Priesthood holders, while the Ward Bishop can judge all other members. LDS Anarchist believes a presumption of guilt has replaced the presumption of innocence. In response to this post, Denver Smuffer published the following comment:
My wife brought this to my attention this morning and recommended I read it. I rarely fail to follow her counsel. I’m grateful to both her and you for the above analysis.
We all have an obligation to both one another and to the Lord. Balancing between those two on matters of conscience and devotion can become so difficult a challenge that time, patience, meekness, gentleness, love and pure knowledge ought to inform anything we do or say.
I have more compassion for those who are put into the awful role of being “judge” than the role of being judged. We often presume that Christ delegates and then is bound by men’s judgments. His explanation in 3 Ne. 27: 27 makes it clear that even His chosen 12 cannot substitute their judgement for His. There truly is only one “keeper of the gate” and “no servant” is employed there. 2 Ne. 9: 41. We all ought to take some comfort that, in the end, no matter how we jar and abuse one another, the Lord will sort it out and wipe away every tear in that last judgment which does matter. Rev. 7: 17; Rev. 21: 4.
We weep here. He will comfort us. Hence His other title: The Second Comforter.