Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Utah LDS Member Excommunicated By Eagle Mountain Stake President For Apostasy For Allegedly "Supporting" Denver Snuffer

A member of the LDS Church reports he was excommunicated for apostasy on February 2nd, 2013. Allegedly, he expressed too much "support" for Denver Snuffer, although by his own account, he would refuse to follow Snuffer if Snuffer had said that the LDS Church had gone totally astray. The individual, who identifies himself as Brent D. Larsen of the Eagle Mountain Utah Stake, discusses the situation on an LDS Freedom Forum thread entitled "I was excommunicated this morning". He says his stake president charged him with apostasy because he publicly stated that Denver Snuffer has seen Christ and was asked to write The Second Comforter and that he had received his own witness of the validity of Snuffer's account. Brother Larsen also states that two posts he made on one of the private subforums of LDSFF were cited as evidence against him, which has triggered renewed speculation that the LDS Church is monitoring LDSFF.

Since this information was originally spread out over two lengthy LDSFF threads, my purpose was to extract and present the most significant posts, with corresponding links.

Like Denver Snuffer, Brent D. Larsen retains a positive attitude towards the Church and even towards the disciplinary council who sat in judgment of him, writing "...I hold no ill will against those who held the court and the church and those who do or have an axe to grind please take your comments to another thread. I love the men who sat in judgment on me. There was some things I intently disagree with, but I have many friends that we don't see eye to eye on everything". However, Brother Larsen is appealing his excommunication, and posted a copy of his appeal letter on LDSFF:

4 Feb 14

FROM: Brent D. Larsen

TO: The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

INFO: Keith M. Burnham, Stake President, Eagle Mountain Utah Stake.

SUBJ: Appeal of Disciplinary Council Decision

Dear Presidents Monson, Eyring, and Uchtdorf:

On February 2, 2014, I was excommunicated for apostasy. I was given fair chance to defend myself and my position but was excommunicated for reasons outside the Church Handbook of Instructions' definition of apostasy.

I was told that I had a chance to “humble” myself and “submit” to “priesthood authority”

I am unaware of anywhere where I covenanted to submit my agency to the good will and pleasure of those whom I fully sustain and honor as church officers. I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgment and agency to another yet this is exactly what I was asked to do, as I was directly told my reasoning was unsound. It was worse than asking for blind obedience, it was being asked to act in direct opposition to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I feel that this is antithesis to the gospel and the purpose of the Atonement and plan of Salvation. I was also unaware that “submission to priesthood authority” was a requirement to retain membership. I believe that what happened on February 2 was in direct opposition to Presidents Uchtdorf's talk, "Come, Join With Us", as I was told, there is no room for YOU, unless you do as we say and believe as we say.

I was asked a theoretical question: If President Monson was here right now and he asked you to do “a thing” would you do it. My answer was no, I do not follow any man, I follow Christ, and I would have to ask Christ if I should do it.

I honestly don’t even understand why such a question would be asked. Or why my membership would hang on the balance of saying, yes, or how this relates to the charge of apostasy.

I was charged with apostasy because I stated that Denver Snuffer has seen Christ and was asked to write The Second Comforter and that I have received my own witness of that. I believe that makes him a prophet. I do not believe that gives him ANY authority in the church.

I was asked the theoretical question: “if Denver said the church was totally astray and you had to follow him now, what would you say to that?” My reply was: I would say he was full of crap!

I was told that I was excommunicated because Denver has not seen Christ and I cannot say that he has, or that he meets MY definition of prophet. I was unaware that this has become Church Doctrine. I do not affiliate with Denver Snuffer so it cannot be that definition of apostasy that is being used to excommunicate me.

My position is that the doctrine of the church is that people can see Christ and testify of it. I concur and agree that we may not always agree on who has done that but that it is very scriptural that it can happen.

To support this position I quoted Mark 16:14, where the undisputed leader of the Church, Peter, was chastised for not accepting the testimony of Mary and Cleopas and some other random chap on the road to Emmaus. Those who had received a witness of the risen lord outside of the priesthood chain of authority and before them. In fact the greatest news ever given “He is risen!” came outside the established leadership.

I also testified that there are prophets outside of the current church leadership that are known that meet MY definition of prophet. John the Beloved still walks the earth, and the Three Nephites, and holy men we know not of, yet I don’t believe they have any keys for the church. . I believe that Luke was a prophet and yet he was never one of the Twelve.

So my understating is that we would agree on the points of Doctrine, that people can see Christ. And that they have and do testify that “He Lives”. Unless it has become a point of Doctrine that Denver has not seen Christ, then I am left to wonder why I was excommunicated.

We have three definitions of apostasy:
1. Open, public and repeated opposition to the Church or its leaders.

2. Teaching as doctrine something that is not Church doctrine after one has been advised by appropriate authority that that’s false doctrine. In other words, just teaching false doctrine is not apostasy, but [it is] teaching persistently after you’ve been warned.

3. To affiliate and belong to apostate sects.

Thank you for your consideration of this appeal.

Brent D. Larsen.

Additional perspective on the disciplinary council hearing was posted by Brother Larsen's wife, who was present at the hearing (after the jump):

For those who had not guessed it yet, I am Dysenchanted who vented before my husband was ready to publicly post, so if you're curious about the full story, it's there for you.

I personally knew more than half of the men in that room and have an enormous amount of love for them. And I could feel their love for me. I could see their struggles with this decision. There was 1 man (our stake president) who had his orders and it came straight from the 12 (was the impression I was given) and he would hear nothing else. The other men debated a long time whether Brent's actions were worthy of excommunication. I know many of them didn't feel it deemed the damning action of excommunication. They could feel his sincerity in searching for truth and the power of his words as he used and expounded the scriptures to explain his definition of what/who deemed the title of prophet. Our bishop expressed his understanding of Brent's difficulty in trying to explain a life-long journey to understand these things while trying to explain these things to men in an hour or two. Brent did a beautiful job in teaching a very difficult and sensitive subject to a room of men who, at least one of them, had plainly stated that morning was first he had heard about any of it or of Denver Snuffer. They were confused and I could feel it. Several wanted to understand and to correct Brent in any way they felt he was wrong, but struggled to see where he was wrong (besides not relying on President Monson).

Then there were several in that company who seemed to be in their "safe places" of ignorance whenever things came up that they didn't want to conflict with their understanding. They gloried in their place of ignorance and wanted to no part of breaking apart their paradigm. They had glazed looks and their minds were definitely somewhere else. They didn't ask questions and barely paid attention as they were there for one thing only: To lend their vote to those in authority. The stake president, who I have known for a long time and have had many wonderful conversations with and know he truly strives to help, was different this day. He was exactly as Nephi had stated. He would not be budged from this unbelief and decision given to him from those in "authority". I love this man more than my own grandfather.

Several times during the court and after he read the decision, he testified that he and every one of these men KNEW Denver Snuffer had not seen Jesus Christ and was a Korihor in the latter days meant to deceive and to hurt the saints of God. He testified that Brent was deceived and he was leading his wife and all those around him astray by not humbling himself and leaning on the words of the prophet. He testified that he knew the voice that gave Brent the answer that Denver's words were the words of Christ, WAS WRONG. It was the wrong voice and Brent should repent and humble himself and listen only to those in authority who "know better." These words he spoke I knew were wrong. For one, how could he speak for the other 14 men in the room? Especially one had already testified he knew nothing of Denver, so of course he could not KNOW he didn't see or speak with Jesus Christ. As I looked at each of the men, I doubt more than 5 even knew of Denver's writings. I believe the stake president was told by the higher ups this is what they believe so he took that as his own testimony.... without asking for his own confirmation. That is exactly what Nephi warned us about.

I could only sit there in stunned silence (which my husband will tell you is a rare thing). As I shook the hands of several of those men whom I love, I could see the pain and sorrow in their eyes (perhaps it was only for the pain they knew their decision caused me and Brent) and though they didn't express the words "I'm sorry" as they pulled me into a hug, they whispered their love and kind words and I could feel what they could not say. I know several of them are very good men and it pains me that this decision is on their heads.

"Helaman 13:14: But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared. But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; yea, wo be unto this great city, because of the wickedness and abominations which are in her.

"Alma 10:22: Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword.

23 But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent."

In another LDSFF thread entitled "Reading Snuffer=Excommunication ??! What the???", Brother Larsen's wife actually gave us a heads up back on January 16th that something was up, only at that time, she believed she was the one under threat of excommunication. Later on in the thread, she states that it actually started with her husband being called into the Stake President's office. She said at the time there would be no disciplinary council for her until her husband's case was decided.

Caveat: We have only heard one side of the story. The LDS Church has not officially addressed this issue, and will not unless it becomes publicized in the mainstream media. Thus it is possible there could be more to this story. Yet I still wonder why both Denver Snuffer and Brent Larsen are excommunicated for little more than technicalities, while Ordain Women spokeswoman Kate Kelly continues to get a free pass to openly rebel against the Brethren and to promote class warfare on Feminist Mormon Housewives. But we must also remember that we are an imperfect church made up of imperfect beings, and injustice will occasionally manifest itself. I am confident that Brent Larsen can successfully pass this trial of faith.

Reaction: About half of the LDSFF posters support Brent Larsen. The remainder a split between those who are sympathetic but who believe the excommunication is undeserved, vs. those who denounce LDSFF as promoting "apostasy". While LDSFF offers a home to faithful Mormons who are concerned that the Church might be drifting too far from the teachings of Joseph Smith, they do not permit evil speaking of the Lord's anointed on their forum.


Ruth said...

I apologize for the confusion, but I just wanted to correct something. I wasn't meaning to make it sound like the church authorities were coming after me first. The SP had called in my husband about these "offenses" and I went to my bishop to question him about the charges the SP had stated, what his opinion was, as well as what it meant for my own standing in the church. That original thread was to vent my frustration without disclosing my husband's story as he wanted to wait to see what the outcome was first. As of yet, my membership has never been called into question, (although I hold the same stance as my husband.)

Toni said...

You should remove that first post because it is obviously spam, and wasting space with at least four paragraphs spouting nothing. (I'm really sure this post has nothing to do with Minecraft games.

Thanks for posting your thoughts. I actually got this link from reading a thread on LDSFF.

Good Will said...

I was excommunicated two Wednesdays ago -- exactly seven months to the day from Denver's excommunication -- for voicing my views (in agreement with Snuffer's) on my blog and encouraging members of my ward to consider the same. At least, that's what I infer. When I showed up to my disciplinary hearing, it was clear the stake president just wanted to "ex" me, as if he were under orders from someone. He recited the "charges" against me from memory (#1, #2, etc., yet no notes were taken) and said he "couldn't remember them all". (What? Was he given a list?)

There wasn't even any "argument". It was "You wrote this. You're gone. You can appeal the decision. Goodbye." You can read about it at "in200wordsorless".

Anonymous said...

If John Dehlin can keep his membership and not be excommunicated, then these people who have just been exed should not have been exed. Not right!

Either ex everyone or do not ex anyone. Does not make sense.

Anonymous said...

I think I know why the brethren object to Denver's saying he saw Christ and was told to write about it.

I believe the brethren know much more about Christ than they let on. Or at least a Christ they have all seen for themselves but are holding this testimony in reserve for a special occasion....Like the "Wise Virgins" who light their own path, while the sleepy virgins lay in a spiritual stupor not recognizing this Christ having stood right before them for many years.

I suspect that special occasion will come in concert with next spring conference as the world is soon to begin going into nuclear meltdown with the middle east ( a false flag Armageddon )the Muslims are being set up for right now.

Someone very dear and special to them may show himself in the Navoo temple on a birthday we are all familiar with.

Beware of the Christ they know. Listen to his message very carefully and see if you detect the message "All is well in Zion" upon his arrival.

I have no clue who Denver Snuffer is but God's Spirit tells me he has seen the Real Christ and our leaders don't want that message getting out there.

Mark my words. Next conference will be a doozy.