OK, the Denver Snuffer affair. His review of my new book is all the talk, of course.
What? There’s something else about Denver? Oh, that . . .
In the Jr High called Mormon Studies, Denver’s disciplinary hearing is also in the news.
Some have wondered, reasonably, why I have not been courted by these courts of Love.
I think they are incorrect in the comparison that relative to Denver, I don’t have quite the same size following. In fact, I don’t have any following at all. I have readers, a few, apparently; but I’ve been lucky enough to have readers who read my books, and separate them from me, and from my voice when it is speaking other things.
Denver has not been so fortunate. His books blend with him as a person, and his voice has been forced into the standard Mormon obsession for a prophet-revelator. Their minds are in darkness for desiring such a leader, as Joseph Smith warned the Relief Society in 1842, using Ezekiel 14 as his text. The biographical nature of Denver’s writing directs this reading, but the fault is not in his words. John Dehlin was pushed into this same voicing structure, even among those who professed to be ex-mo, telling you how compelling it is for us to find a leader to take us to the Promised Land, no matter what the leader says, or wherever that land may be.
If Denver is being discipline for having a following, that is not really his fault (although he could’ve avoided it, probably). We all recognize this. It is the consequence of the religion itself, and so they render judgment on their own voices in disciplining him.
It also seems to be an important difference that one of us says he has been visited by the Lord, and one does not say this. I don’t have any reason to doubt Denver’s claims; and I cannot see why a religion would want to brand as a heretic a man who says he hold personal converse with its Lord. He has not said, as far as I know, anything contrary to the mantras of the leaders of this religion. This again must be a judgment they render upon themselves, in that High Council, and a damning one, too.
His book, Passing the Heavenly Gift is ostensibly at the root of the decision. Ironically, it is concerned with history, and not personal revelation. This is telling, perhaps. What is so apostate about that book? Well, isn’t that the point of using words like “apostate”? It is defined according to the folks in charge of the Court, rather like the U.S. territorial courts did to polygamists in the 1880s. To be “apostate” is not so different from being guilty of Unlawful Cohabitation: one only needs to be the subject of someone’s supposition that they heard someone say you were such a person. In this case, the persons who matter are those in positions of authority, and that is another condemnation they render as they give judgment in their High Council. “That” is an apostate in this religion, which is one reason why I seriously doubt any in Heaven gives a shit about what the Courts of Love say. Except, perhaps, to see that they still insist on using medieval jurisprudence when they should know better, and that may be why they are wise enough to stay away from LDS apostles.
By comparison, I violated employment practices with the Book of Mammon. And I’ve apparently written things on this blog, or in my other books, which some readers would call “apostate”. But that is just a word, and all that matters is who is using it. My stake president has not used it to classify me, and that is the only difference. Why he has not, I cannot say, but I suspect it isn’t all “he-has-a-following” and “he-does-not” calculations. Even I’m not that cynical. Whatever these High Councilmen called “the Spirit” may well be directing their endeavors in the Denver Affair, but that does not mean they speak for the Spirit, or for God in their assessment of Denver Snuffer. It would be merciful, given their seeking resolution to his case, to give them inspiration to sit in judgment. What they deem in their council, however, is entirely up to them, I think.