Messages and WitnessesIsaiah posed the question: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1) It is always possible to dismiss God’s message. Truth inspires institutional opposition, rejection, and an army of opposing skeptics. That is the only way the test can be the same over and over again. Who is going to believe the report? Who is going to see the arm of the Lord? It is rarely those who occupy the seats of authority. (Nicodemus and Alma are the rare exceptions.) Christ will always be a threat to such and to their craft.
As the author of Preserving the Restoration made clear, the contents of the book seek to reteach and reestablish what the Lord brought forth through Joseph Smith. Since Joseph's death, that body of teachings has been altered, abandoned, amended, subtracted from, and added to by men claiming the ability (by mere right of being successor to the office once occupied by Joseph) to adjust what the Lord gave through Joseph despite the Lord's instruction to the contrary. The book is an attempt to recover and preserve what truth and light of the Restoration came forth but which, out of neglect, continues to fade and would otherwise soon be lost as external forces continue to drive our LDS Church institution in a very predictable fashion. It is an attempt to re-teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Joseph taught but which we no longer teach in the Church today. It is an invitation to come to Christ in the most literal way--a teaching once referred to by Joseph as "the Second Comforter." Despite this teaching still being enshrined throughout LDS scripture (perhaps most obviously in D&C 93:1, 2 Nephi 32:6, D&C 132:22-23, and D&C 130:3) and in the LDS endowment ceremony, it has now in recent years been openly opposed by the LDS Church and taught to be a Satanic idea. (or its teaching being "a familiar tactic of the adversary" as Elder Oaks referred to Nephi and Joseph's teaching in a June 2015 talk) The message of the book does not invite the reader to leave or to join any church or institution.
The author of the book states that its contents constitute a message he was personally directed by the Lord Jesus Christ to speak and give:
As a public act of remembrance I spent a year beginning September 10, 2013, giving a series of ten lectures reiterating the foundation of the faith. These lectures ended 365 days later on September 9, 2014. At the conclusion of 40 years of faithful membership in the LDS Church, I was sent by the Lord to preach the restoration so others would also remember. The yearlong ministry was the Lord’s idea. He chose the locations, and the subjects and instructed me in what to discuss. (Preserving the Restoration, p. vi)When the Lord sends a message, He makes no distinction between Himself speaking and someone He sends to deliver a specific message. The effect and the accountability are the same. (D&C 1:38) The challenge, therefore, is to determine when He sends a “servant” rather than accepting a message from someone using His name in vain. You and I individually have that responsibility.
I have myself carefully read and studied this message in its entirety several times. I can find no fault in it. Instead, I have perceived more light and truth than I have found anywhere outside of scripture. I have already shared the witness I received of the message contained in it as plainly as I can. I have also stated that I believe this is in fulfillment of the Lord's words in 3 Nephi 21:11--that these are the words of the Lord He has caused "a man" to bring forth to the Gentiles (whom the Lord identifies as us LDSs). If true, Christ has stated there is a penalty for those who will not believe His words: "they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant." This ought to be a sobering possibility, inviting careful consideration from any believer in Christ and not perfunctory dismissal.
But the Lord Himself does personally commission and send additional witnesses. The below are the two additional witnesses included in the book, one at the beginning and one at the end, both of whom have since been excommunicated from the LDS Church for the act of having given these witnesses.
After these two, I have also included the preface to the book itself, which has been shared publicly before.
The Witness of Louis NaegleAt the time of this writing I am a member in good standing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, entirely a direct descendant of “proud Nauvoo” and pioneer ancestors. To my knowledge, every one of my direct predecessors were active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while Brigham Young was president, and most were members before that time. My forefathers include John Conrad Naegle, Levi Savage, Joseph Leland Heywood, John D. Lee, Thomas Ross, Levi Bracken, James McFate, Joseph Cadwallader Davis, George Zimmerman, John Harvey, George Prince, James Jackson, Joseph Woolsey, James Bell, Owen Williams, John Davies, and James Crawford. All of my great-great-grandparents were church members.
As far as bloodline heritage is concerned, I think it would be impossible to be more “Mormon” than am I. I say this not to boast but as part of a solemn testimony and declaration:
I am not a dissenter trying to “destroy the kingdom.” I am instead a descendant of those who built “the kingdom” and I am attempting to make the pathway straight and the record clear. I believe this is in the best tradition of the pioneers who were trying to live a true religion. I reject the notion that I am apostate. I know I will answer to my forefathers and to my Father for the testimony I give, and therefore I want most of all to be true to the faith once held by my fathers.
Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the current church management and culture will understand what publishing this testimony will mean to me and my family. I anticipate retaliation from the church, and although it saddens me, I am resigned to facing those consequences. I do not claim to be righteous, but I am a witness.
I testify that the Lord has set His hand a second time to restore the truth through His servant before the great and dreadful day that fast approaches. I have known Denver Snuffer since 2007. I have attended every public talk he has given since that time, including all ten lectures of the Forty Years in Mormonism series. I have read what he has written. I am a witness that events he now shares in public concerning his interactions with his stake presidents and church leaders were shared with me by Denver at the time they were happening and while he was in good standing with the church. He valued his church membership greatly and the events he now shares publicly have not been fabricated or reconstructed after the fact to support an agenda of his own design.
I know God the Father and Jesus Christ live. I have seen them. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I have been in his presence also. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I have had my eyes opened and my life changed through its message. I also know from my own sense of reason, from the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and from God declaring it to me by His own Voice that Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. is an honest messenger, sent by Him, and telling the truth.
Please do not ignore what is written in this book. Please do not take this warning lightly. I implore all who read this testimony to repent and return to Jesus Christ, the God of Israel and savior of the world. Receive the words of a true prophet, but follow no man! Do not allow any man or group to come between you and your Savior. To the extent you do so, you are laboring in idolatry and you will damn yourself and any who follow you in doing likewise. (D&C 76:100)
Jesus Christ alone is the Holy One. He employs no servant at that gate through which we all must pass. The fullness of the gentiles is now fulfilled except for our impending destruction. Who cannot see that all is not well in so-called “Zion.” Only a few repentant gentiles will be gathered. Only the penitent of the House of Israel will establish the New Jerusalem. Will you be among them?
Save what was given through the Prophet and Seer Joseph Smith. What is offered in this book contains the most light and truth that has been presented in writing in almost 2,000 years.
Denver has openly testified that Jesus Christ has ministered to him. I testify this is true, and that he has been called as a servant to declare the heavens are open again for all to freely partake of the Heavenly Gift.
If you will consider the message of this book from a servant sent to deliver it, with a sincere heart and real intent, you will also know that what is presented is true and faithful. If you will not consider it, but instead harden your heart, you will be damned. God is working to save us, and this book is part of God’s kindness in forewarning us about our present state. Even if you find it hard to believe, it is important for us to see and understand our circumstances.
I leave this testimony with you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
August 29, 2015
The Witness of Keith HendersonAt the conclusion of the ten lectures in Phoenix, Arizona area I bore my testimony concerning them. Fifty-two years earlier I had come on a mission to that same area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to bear testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. Now, almost a year later, I lift up my voice before all mankind who read this book, to again bear testimony. My growth in the intervening 53 years since my mission has been great, but my testimony still remains very simple.
My name is Keith Henderson. At the time I first testified in 2014, I was still an active member in good standing with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and with the Lord Jesus Christ. The church has since excommunicated me from their community for what they claim to be “apostasy.” I had committed no sin warranting this drastic measure. They have, however, viewed my testimony of these things as an egregious and flaunting act of insubordination to the authority of the church and its leaders. For that they have thrown me out. This time I bear testimony as a member of Christ’s Church as defined in D&C 10:67 in good standing with Christ and the Father.
I am grateful for this opportunity that I have received to lift up my voice and reaffirm my witness and testimony before the Most High God, before His holy angels, and before all of you who would be witnesses with me that: this book, loosely based on those ten lectures, written by our friend and God’s servant, is a message given from God to all men and women everywhere, who will hear or read.
I so witness that I know that it is God’s message and not a man’s.
I had attended every portion of those ten lectures. I have listened time after time to the recordings, and I have read every transcript. I have now also read the manuscript of this volume before it was published, with its expanded material, including the chapters on King Benjamin and the Sunstone talk (Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge), which I attended when it was originally given in 2014.
And now I bear solemn testimony that I have received a message by God’s own voice of their truthfulness, and also of His desire for us to believe in, and act upon these things that have been spoken and written.
I stand as another witness with Denver, conforming to the law of witnesses, that theses things are true. I expect to be held accountable for this in the days and eternity to come, before Christ and my Father, and to all men.
I bear this testimony humbly and solemnly, and in the power of the most Holy Priesthood.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
Preface to Preserving the Restoration
In 1832 the Lord posed this question: “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given him, neither in him who is the giver of the gift.” (D&C 88:33) From the moment Joseph Smith died those who believed he was a prophet began to lose memory of what God revealed through him. The pace of forgetting has accelerated.
The obligation to respect Joseph’s revelations is clear from the Lord’s instruction, “no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.” (D&C 28:2) [The revelation allows for the possibility for someone else to be later appointed “in his stead.” (28:7) It would be through Joseph, however, the power was given “to appoint another in his stead.” (D&C 43:4) That appointment came in January 1841 when Hyrum Smith was appointed. (D&C 124:91-96) Hyrum, however, was slain moments before Joseph, and therefore no one else has been appointed to amend, supplement, disregard, alter or reject commandments and revelations given through Joseph Smith.] When Joseph was slain the church wanted a replacement. When no one with his gifts was available, an imitation served.
On August 8, 1844 the quorum of the twelve were voted to lead. By December 1847 Brigham Young no longer wanted to share power with eleven others. Against Wilford Woodruff’s recommendation and the active opposition of John Taylor and Parley Pratt, Young successfully won a vote at Winter Quarters making him the second president of the church. [Technically he was the third, but no one counts Hyrum Smith despite his actual appointment and service.] From Young until David O. McKay in the 1950’s, when the word-title “the Prophet” was used it still meant only Joseph Smith. But rhetoric matters, and the word-title began to be used to first secure acquiescence, then to compel compliance by LDS Church leaders.
The church’s presidents claim that they too could communicate “commandments and revelations… even as Moses” began the process of accelerating our forgetfulness [Forgetting includes re-interpreting the language by divorcing it from context, supplying new meaning not originally intended, and improperly using Joseph to vindicate later improper innovations.] of Joseph’s words. He became less important as successors claimed equality. Who cannot see the logic in preferring a “living” prophet to a deceased one? Ignoring Joseph means forgetting. By forgetting we have refused the gift God offered. Our first obligation now is to remember. Until we remember what was given before, there is no reason for God to give more.
The primary repository of Joseph Smith’s work has been The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are others, of course, who retained valuable parts of Joseph’s work. Emma Smith kept the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, something Joseph explained was necessary for the church to have or it “would yet fall.” (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 2: July 1831-January 1833, p. 85, footnote 76) The translation became the property of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was not until the 1980 edition of the LDS Bible that the Joseph Smith Translation was first used by the LDS Church, and then only partly added in footnotes and an appendix.
As soon as Joseph Smith died, a spirited competition developed to control the documents and access to information. One writer described it:
The official History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Generally referred to as the “Documentary History of the Church” or the “DHC.”] was published in book form under the direction of the First Presidency in 1902. The introductory assurance that “no historical or doctrinal statement has been changed” is demonstrably wrong. Overshadowed by editorial censorship, hundreds of deletions, additions, and alterations, these seven volumes are not always reliable. …The nineteenth-century propaganda mill was so adroit that few outside Brigham Young’s inner circle were aware of the behind-the-scenes alterations so seamlessly stitched into church history. Charles Wesley Wandell, an assistant church historian, was aghast at these emendations. Commenting on the many changes made in the historical work as it was being serialized in the Deseret News, Wandell noted in his diary: “I notice the interpolations because having been employed in the Historian’s office at Navuoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph’s death his memoir was ‘doctored’ to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards.” The Quorum of the Twelve, under Brigham Young’s leadership, began altering the historical record shortly after Smith’s death. Contrary to the introduction’s claim, Smith did not author the History of the Church. At the time of his 1844 death, the narrative had been written up to 5 August 1838. (Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books (Salt Lake City, 1994), p. 322.)
Today our challenge is two-fold: First, finding the truth through the deliberate efforts to conceal and modify the record. Second, once found, whether we will accept in gratitude what God offered by repenting and returning to His path. We fail these tests when we ignore, oppose, dismiss, reject and allow our fear to control us. As Christ said the day of His resurrection: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” (Luke 24:25) Nothing has changed. Our challenge is identical to that faced by all believers since Adam. [Satan’s original and continuing urging remains the same: “Believe it not.” (Moses 5:13)]
As a public act of remembrance I spent a year beginning September 10, 2013, giving a series of ten lectures reiterating the foundation of the faith. These lectures ended 365 days later on September 9, 2014. At the conclusion of 40 years of faithful membership in the LDS Church, I was sent by the Lord to preach the restoration so others would also remember. [The yearlong ministry was the Lord’s idea. He chose the locations, and the subjects and instructed me in what to discuss.]
This book was written to compile a reference work on the restoration. But this is not merely a restatement of the lectures. The lectures were given entirely within the Mormon corridor, and addressed only to the people there. This is written for a different audience outside the Mormon corridor. It is a reference work on the foundation God provided through Joseph Smith.
This book is not a repetition of the lectures. It has been expanded to include more about the various topics. Where appropriate the order of the discussion has been changed. Subject matter has been consolidated and some of the material has been moved into the more appropriate chapter.
Between the 4th lecture in Orem, Utah (Priesthood) and the 5th in Grand Junction, Colorado (Zion) I wrote a series of blog posts about King Benjamin’s sermon. Those posts have been used to develop a chapter in this book.
Finally, a paper delivered at the 2014 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium after the lecture in St. George, Utah (Marriage) has also been updated and added. With the addition of the King Benjamin and Sunstone materials, there are 12 chapters.
The restoration is not the property of an institution. Although dozens of churches claim the role of succeeding to Joseph Smith’s ‘true and living’ church, the restoration belongs to us all. Whether you belong to some denomination claiming Joseph as a founder, or you are a traditional Christian, the things restored through Joseph Smith came from God as a gift to all. Because of this, we all have the responsibility to remember and respect the inspired work of Joseph Smith.
The restoration is God’s call to action and offer to renew His direct contact with mankind. The response during Joseph’s day was less than adequate. The restoration was founded on revelation, but when Joseph and Hyrum were martyred no one suggested revelation could solve the succession crisis. Instead the crowd in Nauvoo voted, the quorum of the twelve received the majority of the votes, and the most successful version of the restoration, LDS Mormonism, has perpetuated itself by voting to install leadership continuously ever since.
The leadership of LDS Mormonism has increasingly ignored and replaced the commandments and revelations given through Joseph. Today, members fall in line as church leaders provide their commandments and direction. The result is an increasingly altered form, varying greatly from the original. Gordon B. Hinckley institutionalized a public relations based management style for LDS Mormonism. The opinion polling and focus group testing for decisions and campaigns have increasingly taken hold until now, LDS Mormonism is changing at a stunning pace, reflecting shifting public opinions. The LDS Mormon tradition now repudiates its history, curtails its curriculum, and discards essential elements of its earlier belief system to be more popular.
If there is any chance of remembering the restoration, it is now. Until the restoration is remembered, there can be no completion.
This work is more than a tribute to the Mormon faith. It is an effort to restate the religion and recover its original potential. Mormonism has become imperiled by alteration, forgetfulness, and neglect. It was never intended to be just another Christian denomination. It is destined to reunite all truth into one great whole. Truth is Mormonism, wherever located and in whatever form presently practiced. All truth belongs to the Mormon religion. [“One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (Discourses of Joseph Smith, p. 199, Kindle Book, (Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2009).) “[W]e believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, with that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds[.]” (Times and Seasons, February 1840, (Vol. 1, No. 4) Copy of a Letter from J. Smith jr. to Mr. Galland.)]
Mormonism requires study and contemplation. Social change, educational disintegration, and the lack of critical thinking have made modern Mormonism a shallow relic unworthy of the original. Society has surrendered to the “sound-bite mentality” in which quick and quotable phrases substitute for required deep understanding.
I was converted to the Mormon faith through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For forty years I belonged to that church and served in it faithfully. The day I drove to Boise, Idaho to give the first lecture in the Forty Years in Mormonism series, I learned I was excommunicated. My stake president called as my wife and I were driving to Boise and we heard the sad news together.
I am grateful to the LDS Church for introducing me to Joseph Smith and Mormonism. It remains my religion, though now I practice it independent of institutional control.
Many churches claim Joseph Smith as their founder. However, none adequately practice the original faith. This book is written to persuade all to believe in the restoration. I hope to remind all who already believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and accept the Book of Mormon as scripture, of the original greatness of this revolutionary religion. Mormonism should once again become revolutionary.
It is time for the Mormon faith to begin a new phase. One in which all are equal before God, and believers are free once again to worship Him according to the dictates of their own conscience. Priesthood should serve, and not rule over any man. “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood.” In the LDS version of Mormonism, that limitation has been reversed. LDS Mormonism today has been reduced to nothing other than “priesthood” dominion and control through the “correlation” process. It is unscriptural. Indeed anti-scriptural. [I put the word “priesthood” in quotes because it is the LDS Church’s claim, and therefore I use their word. However, as this book will clarify, their claim is not the reality.]
Mormonism can only try and gently persuade you to believe its precepts. This book will attempt to persuade you to believe once again in a dynamic, truth-filled, confident and powerful religion. Mormonism should free your soul, and reunite you with heaven itself.
There are many quotes from historical sources in this book. When quoted they are left as in the original, leaving cross-outs, misspellings and peculiar capitalizations as they appear in the sources used. There are a dozen blank pages provided at the end for a word index. Readers can compile their own list, based on what they would like to locate for later reference while reading.
I have not included the full text of the scriptures referenced in this book. This is because LDS Mormonism has deemphasized the scriptures in their curriculum. [See, Peggy Fletcher Stack, "New Mormon Curriculum Divides Scholars", Salt Lake Tribune, October 28, 2014.] Readers are invited to use their scriptures to check references. Hopefully it will inspire you to review all of the verses cited.
Mormonism must live again. It belongs to all of us. We should all believe in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith’s status as a prophet sent by God, and be willing to approach God directly. In the final analysis, the entire restoration is nothing more than a modern affirmation of the New Testament promise found in James 1:5.
September 10, 2015
Denver C. Snuffer, Jr.