Denver Snuffer was excommunicated from the LDS church exactly 40 years after his baptism into the Mormon church. He was on his way to give the first of a ten lecture series when he was informed of the excommunication.
Keith Henderson was excommunicated for his testimony given at the close of those ten lectures.
Preserving the Restoration is a book based on these ten lectures. Louis Naegle was excommunicated for his testimony published on the opening pages of Preserving the Restoration. I think it is significant the excommunication took place on Friday the 13th. If thirteen represents Jesus Christ and His 12 apostles, and Jesus was crucified on Friday; then this day is a blessing to those who keep their covenant with God and a cursing to those who turn away from Him.
The following correspondences concerning Louis's excommunication are shared with permission:
April 24, 2016 Notice of Stake Disciplinary Council
To: Louis Naegle
From: Daniel Lake, Stake President
To: Daniel Lake
From: Louis Naegle
May 5, 2016
To: Louis Naegle
From: Daniel Lake
May 11, 2016
Letter To: Bountiful Utah Heights Stake High Council
From: Louis Naegle
May 11, 2016
Daniel P. Lake, Stake President
Counselors to the Stake President
Members of the Stake High Council
Re: Disciplinary Council of Louis S. Naegle
I regret we will not have the opportunity to meet face to face due to the condition that has been imposed that I sign a legal document to protect the secrecy of the Disciplinary Council members. My letter to President Lake dated April 28, 2016 outlined my concerns with this demand and expressed my desire to have your proceedings conducted publicly. I consider myself under covenant to God and guilty of no offense against the Church, therefore, I respectfully decline the invitation to resign from Church membership voluntarily. I trust that in my absence you will conduct the Disciplinary Council with love and respect as promised. I know memories are frail; I trust any statements I have made to President Lake will be repeated accurately to convey the meaning I intended on those occasions.
I believe we could have sought the presence of the Spirit and passed the hour in interesting and reflective conversation for the benefit of all. I know your time is limited. President Lake indicated that he would read this to the Council for the amount of my allotted time. As this letter is addressed to all Council members, I would ask President Lake to distribute the copies I delivered to him for each of you in order that you might have the opportunity to read it in full if your time runs short.
I would like to have had the opportunity for you to meet my daughter Addie and my son Jack. Addie was happily serving a mission in Chile last year when she was observed by her companion reading Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, a book not on her mission’s approved reading list. She was questioned by her mission president about her beliefs. He said she was an obedient missionary and was more familiar with the scriptures than other missionaries, but then said a mission was not a place to find answers to doctrinal questions. A short time later she was abruptly sent home.
Jack was serving a mission in Salem, Oregon until about four weeks ago. He was happy and an excellent missionary; he was made a trainer after only five weeks in the mission field. He was sent home for apostasy after serving six months. His “apostasy” consisted of possessing a few books written by Brother Snuffer when a member in good standing that I had sent him for Christmas. He had not read them. In fact, he had locked them away in his suitcase with no plans to read them.
The week he was sent home he was approached by his district leader who asked him what he understood about having one’s “calling and election made sure.” He and the leader exchanged their views briefly. The following day, his companion asked him what he understood to be the meaning of the term “second comforter.” Again, he gave a brief answer and thought nothing more about it. Two days later he was called to meet with his mission president who accused him of apostasy citing possession of the books and teaching apostate doctrine to the district leader and companion. Frankly, Jack does not know enough to be an apostate; he is a virtuous, humble and loving young man. Oddly, he learned the decision to send him home had been made before the president had even taken the time to speak with him. I wish you all had the opportunity to meet them and determine for yourselves whether or not the Holy Ghost is with them both. I believe you would wonder to yourselves, what forces are at work to deny the Lord their service?
President Lake’s prior correspondence has made clear that he has judged me to be an apostate, meaning I have “repeatedly act[ed] in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders” (although no citation was given, I presume this to be a quotation from the confidential administrative Handbook.) I wrote a testimony that became the preface of a book written by Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., I don’t believe a testimony constitutes “repeatedly” regardless of the content of the testimony or the inferences anyone might have drawn from it. President Lake said that the only issue would be with my “actions and conduct, not with the sincerity of anyone’s opinion.” I hope you will extend the scope to include the truth.
When wickedness endangers any group of the Lord’s people he has sent prophets to forewarn them. He has called prophets from the existing religious leadership, but just as often he has prepared and raised prophets outside the leadership structure when that structure shared the errors of the people. I have testified that Brother Snuffer is one of those prophets. He is a witness of the Lord:
I knew a man in Christ about four years ago [ca. 2008; see 2 Cor. 12:2-3; D&C 137:1 brackets mine], who, being overshadowed by the Spirit, had the Lord appear to him. And the Lord spoke to him face to face, in plain humility, as one man speaks to another, calling him by name. As they spoke the Lord put forth His hand and touched the eyes of the man and said, “Look!”
The man had opened before him a view of the Lord kneeling in prayer. It was in a dark place. The air was heavy and overcast with sorrow. The man beheld the Lord praying in Gethsemene on the night of His betrayal and before His crucifixion.
All the Lord had previously done in His mortal ministry by healing the sick, rasing the dead, giving sight to the blind, restoring hearing to the deaf, curing the leper and ministering relief to others as He taught was but a prelude to what the Lord was now to do on this dark, oppressive night.
As the Lord knelt in prayer, His vicarious suffering began. He was overcome by pain and anguish. He felt within Him, not just the pains of sin, but also the illnesses men suffer as a result of the Fall, and their foolish and evil choices. The suffering was long and the challenge difficult.
The Lord suffered the afflictions. He was healed from the sickness. He overcame the pains, and patiently bore the infirmities until, finally, He returned to peace of mind, and strength of body. It took an act of will and hope for Him to overcome the affliction which had been poured upon Him. He overcame the separation caused by these afflictions and reconciled with His Father. He was at peace with all mankind.
He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one was much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of a greater, second wave.
This second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries, as well as spiritual affliction. As He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. The Lord had such life within Him, such power and virtue within Him, that although He suffered in His flesh, these injuries healed and His flesh restored. His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling and soul.
The Lord overcame this second wave of suffering, and again found peace of mind and strength of body; and His heart filled with love despite what He had suffered. Indeed, it was charity or love that allowed Him to overcome. He was at peace with His Father, and with all mankind, but it required another, still greater act of will and charity than the first for Him to do so.
Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. He stayed on His hands and knees for a moment to collect Himself when another wave of torment burst upon Him. This wave struck Him with such force He fell forward upon His face.
He was afflicted by this greater wave. He was then healed only to then be afflicted again as the waves of torment overflowed. Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. The Lord’s suffering progressed from a lesser to a greater portion of affliction; for as one would be overcome by Him, the next, greater affliction would then be poured out. Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave.
The pains of mortality, disease, injury and infirmity, together with the sufferings of sin, transgressions, guilt of mind, and unease of soul, the horrors of recognition of the evils men had inflicted upon others were all poured out upon Him; with confusion and perplexity multiplied upon Him.
He longed for it to be over, and thought it would end long before it finally ended. With each wave He thought it would be the last but then another came upon Him, and then yet another.
The one beholding this scene was pained by what he saw, and begged for the vision of the Lord’s suffering to end. He could not bear to see his Lord suffering in this manner. The petition was denied and the vision did not end, for the Lord required him to witness it.
The man saw that the Lord pleaded again with the Father that “this cup may pass” from Him. But the Lord was determined to suffer the Father’s will, and not His own. Therefore, a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him.
All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren. By His hope and great charity, trusting in the Father, the Lord returned from this dark abyss and found grace again, His heart being filled with love toward the Father and all men.
These great burdens were born by the Lord not only on behalf of mankind, but also as a necessary prelude to His death upon a Roman cross. Had He not been so physically weakened by these sufferings, and drained of power from within, the scourging and crucifixion He suffered at the hands of men could not have taken His life.
It was many hours after this vision closed before the one who witnessed this suffering could compose himself again. He wept because of the vision shown him, and he wondered at the Lord’s great suffering for mankind.
The witness reflected for many days upon this scene of the Lord’s great suffering. He read many times the account of the Lord’s agony given to Joseph Smith, which reads: “Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” He pondered and asked: Why were there waves of torment? Why did they increase in difficulty? How were they organized as they seemed to fit a pattern?
After long inquiring into the things which he had seen, the Lord, who is patient and merciful and willing to instruct those who call upon Him, again appeared to the man again. He made known unto him that the waves of torment suffered by the Lord came in pairs which mirrored each other. The first of each wave poured upon the Lord those feelings, regrets, recriminations and pains felt by those who injured their fellow man. Then followed a second wave, which mirrored the first, but imposed the pains suffered by the victims of the acts committed by those in the first wave. Instead of the pains of those who inflict hurt or harm, it was now the anger, bitterness and resentments felt by those who suffered these wrongs.
From each wave of suffering, whether as the one afflicting or as the victim of those wrongs, the Lord would overcome the evil feelings associated with these wrongs, and find His heart again filled with peace. This was why, in the vision of the suffering of the Lord it was in the second waves that there appeared oftentimes to be injuries to His body.
The greater difficulty in these paired waves of torment was always overcoming the suffering of the victim. With these waves, the Lord learned to overcome the victims’ resentments, to forgive, and to heal both body and spirit. This was more difficult than overcoming the struggles arising from the one who committed the evil. This is because the one doing evil knows he has done wrong, and feels a natural regret when he sees himself aright. The victim, however, always feels it is their right to hold resentment, to judge their persecutor, and to withhold peace and love for their fellow men. The Lord was required to overcome both so that He could succor both.
In the pairing of the waves, the first torment was of the mind and spirit, and the second was torment of mind, spirit and body.
The Lord experienced all the horror and regret wicked men feel for their crimes when they finally see the truth. He experienced the suffering of their victims whose righteous anger and natural resentment and disappointment must also be shed, and forgiveness given, in order for them to find peace. He overcame them all. He descended below them all. He comprehends it all. And He knows how to bring peace to them all. He knows how to love others whether they are the one who has given offense or the one who is a victim of the offense.
In the final wave, the most brutal, most evil, most heinous sins men inflict upon one another were felt by Him as a victim of the worst men can do. He knew how it felt to wrongly suffer death. He knew what it was like to be a mother holding a child in her arms as they are both killed by those who delight in their suffering. He knew how it was for ambitious men to rid themselves of a rival by conspiracy and murder. He knew what it was to have virtue robbed from the innocent. He knew betrayal, treachery, and abuse in all its worst degrading horror. There was no cruelty, no offense, no evil that mankind has suffered or will suffer that was not put upon Him.
He knew what it is like for men to satisfy their ambition by clothing their hypocrisy in religious garb. He also felt what it was like to be the victim of religious oppression by those who pretend to practice virtue while oppressing others. He knew the hearts of those who would kill Him. Before confronting their condemnation of Him in the flesh, He suffered their torment of mind when they recognized He was the Lord, and then found peace for what they would do by rejecting Him. In this extremity there was madness itself as He mirrored the evil which would destroy Him, and learned how to come to peace with the Father after killing the Son of God, and to love all those involved without restraint and without pretense even before they did these terrible deeds. His suffering, therefore, encompassed all that has happened, all that did happen, and all that would happen in the future.
As a result of what the Lord suffered, there is no condition - physical, spiritual or mental - that He does not fully understand. He knows how to teach, comfort, succor and direct any who come to Him seeking forgiveness and peace. This is why the prophet wrote: “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa. 53: 11.) And again: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” He obtained this knowledge by the things he suffered. He suffered that we might avoid sin by being obedient to His commandments. None of us need harm another, if we will follow Him. He knows fully the consequences of sin. He teaches His followers how to avoid sin.
The prophet Alma taught and understood our Lord’s sufferings as he wrote:
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7: 11–12.)
He can bring peace to any soul. He can help those who will come to Him love their fellow man. He alone is the Perfect Teacher because He alone has the knowledge each of us lack to return to being whole and at peace with the God and Father of us all after our transgression of His will. He is wise to what is required for each man’s salvation.
As the Lord made these terrible things known to the man he cried out: “Hosanna to the Lamb of God! He has trodden the winepress alone! Glory, honor and mercy be upon the Chosen One forever and ever! I will submit unto anything you see fit to require of me! I will bend my knee in obedience to you! Let thy will, not mine be done! For worthy is the Lamb!” Then, thinking upon how trifling his difficulties and disappointments had been in comparison with the suffering he saw imposed upon his Lord, the man added: “Surely goodness and mercy have been mine all the days of my life!”
And the Lord responded: “And you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Then the man wept.
I write these things with permission, and not on my own. For those who receive a knowledge of these things are not always permitted to make them known, nor should they do so. But the Lord requires that some must bear testimony so that others may read or hear, and be edified by them, that faith may increase among mankind. If none of those who receive these things were ever permitted to make them known, then mankind could not come to their Lord and be healed. It is not important to know why the Lord chooses to make these things known to some and then instructs them to testify of them to another. It is only necessary to understand that the Lord is the One to whom all should look in their trials and afflictions for succor. He is mighty and able to save. You do not and will not suffer from any affliction, any dilemma, disappointment or pain which He does not already understand. He has overcome it all. He is worthy to be trusted with your burdens. Come to Him and be healed! Come to Him and be understood! When all others move away, He will come to you! There is nothing wretched that you must confront that He did not first confront and overcome! Take your burdens to Him!
The great Atonement of the Lord allowed Him to know our weaknesses and troubles, and to understand how to bring us back to peace. Christ, as the Atoning One, knows how to bring every troubled soul back to peace. The Lord can tutor us and help us lay down any burden we may be bearing. We are all required to come to peace with our sins and with the offenses we have suffered. To be fully redeemed, we must leave this life having peace through a clear conscience before God and all mankind. This can only be obtained by forgiving others their trespasses. As was recorded about Joseph Smith, before his death: “When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: ‘I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.’” (D&C 135: 4) He was able to do this because Joseph had forgiven in advance, those who he expected would kill him. It was by these means he was able to have a clear conscience, void of any offense toward all men. Though others would cry revenge for Joseph’s death, Joseph himself obtained the fullness of his reconciliation to God through the act of forgiving those who would kill him.
Christ taught His followers to forgive, that they may in turn merit forgiveness. He said: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6: 14–15.) He taught this because of the atoning power of forgiving others. As a result of the things He suffered, He understood that men must forgive others in order to be able to obtain forgiveness. There are many things men do that they lack the capacity to make amends. The price they must pay for their own transgressions are paid by forgiving all others of their offenses.
Christ was asked by Peter how often men ought to forgive one another. “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” (Matt. 18: 21.) In response Christ taught this, saying:
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took [him] by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matt. 18: 22–35)
He taught this to show how offering forgiveness was in turn obtaining forgiveness. His disciples continued to misunderstand how these two are related. They did not understand that forgiveness is the means by which the Lord enables men to take advantage of His “preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19: 19.) To forgive is to atone.
The Lord taught elsewhere: “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11: 25–26.) The Father cannot give to men what they ask of Him until they first forgive all offenses among one another.
The voice of the Lord came to Alma, also, and said unto him: “And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor's trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.” (Mosiah 26: 31.) Alma taught this to the people of Mosiah, so they might abide the conditions to obtain forgiveness for their own sins.
When instructing those who assembled in the land of Bountiful, Christ taught: “For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (3 Ne. 13: 14–15.) He said this so they may understand the means by which men are redeemed. All mankind must redeem themselves by permitting others to escape condemnation for the offenses they have committed against them. In this way men are no longer their brother’s accuser; and the Accuser of Mankind is without means to keep men from redemption. For justice cannot have hold on those who have claim on mercy. Mercy comes to those who give mercy, and men are restored to that which they have become. The merciful are entitled to mercy.
In revelations to Joseph Smith the Lord has commanded: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.” (D&C 82: 1.) And, again: “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.” (D&C 64: 9.)
To enter into the kingdom of heaven, all men must lay down their sins. But this they cannot do when they claim the right to restitution for any offense from their brother. All claims must be set aside, the greater and more difficult being the righteous claim against another for their deliberate offense. Yet in asking for justice for yourself, you always require justice be answered in turn for all of your offenses A man will not be given mercy if he is not merciful. Alma taught this plainly to his son, Corianton, so he might be redeemed. Mormon preserved this teaching that all men who read the Book of Mormon may be redeemed and have claim on mercy:
Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man. Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder? And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature? But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice. For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved. What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery. Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds. If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.” (Alma 42: 18–28.)
Now I know these things to be true, and the Lord has permitted them to be made known to anyone who will believe so they may repent and forgive one another, and may in turn have claims on mercy for themselves. It is certain Christ is able to heal us of any affliction which this life may visit upon any of us, but only if we will forgive one another and come to Him. He can teach all how to forgive. No matter how terrible the offense, He has the knowledge to lead us to peace.
When men come to the Lord seeking forgiveness, He will prepare the means for each of them to obtain forgiveness. The way will be opened for them to forgive so they in turn may be forgiven. In this way all may come to know their Lord.
Do not depart this life while still harboring resentment against any person. It does not matter how just the claim may be, we must surrender our claims for justice to merit mercy. Find a way to forgive all those who transgress against you before leaving mortality and, by showing mercy to them, you will find mercy for yourself. As Joseph Smith put it:
I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren, and said, “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours-for charity covereth a multitude of sins.” (TPJS p. 193.)
This path to knowing God’s goodness has been made known to every people in every generation. It can be felt whenever any man has shown mercy to his fellowman. Christ taught this, but the light of Christ leads all those who seek wisdom to find this truth. God is no respecter of persons. Blessed are the merciful, for they will always obtain mercy. More blessed are those who love, for God is love.
To obtain perfect charity, however, a man must make intercession for those who offend him. Christ taught: “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven[.]” (Matt. 5: 44–45.) He wants us to go beyond merely forgiving others. He wants us to become like Him, and atone or cover the sins of others. Through intercession on behalf of our enemies, we not only learn to understand Him, we also learn to be like Him. This is what Christ did. This is what Stephen did. All those who have the hope of Christ within them will do likewise.
What is written above is the testimony of Brother Snuffer, as published in Chapter 12 of a book, Come, Let Us Adore Him. It is an account of his personal experience and testimony of the Lord’s sacrifice.
I am being accused of apostasy for testifying that the man who wrote this testimony is “a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I consider it a great honor to again stand as a witness in this matter. It has been my privilege to know Brother Snuffer personally for almost ten years and can say without question he has been a good and honest man in all our dealings. I vouch for his integrity and assert he is not publishing deception.
In a very real sense, you have the heavy task of deciding whether or not what you have just read (as well as many other things written by him that you have not read) is true and faithful and of God…or whether it is evil and of the devil. Does his witness lead a man to Christ, or does it bring darkness?
My obligation to honor the truth is now shared by you. In his epistle to his son, Mormon taught:
“Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil. Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil” (Moroni 7:10-14).
I have spent decades fasting, praying and studying to come to know what I now know of my Father in Heaven, my Savior and the purpose of my life. Through many engagements with disaffected and “apostate” Mormons, I can say with certainty that I know the look, sound and spiritual feel of those who hate Christ and speak his name with deception. Brother Snuffer, like so many who are now being excommunicated for their devotion to God and his work, would have remained valiant in his service to the Church and to the truths restored through Joseph Smith had he been permitted to do so.
I affirm Brother Snuffer is not an enemy to the church of Christ, though he has been made “an offender for a word” and cast out, not unlike Lehi, Abinadi, Samuel and so many others speaking outside the ranks of the powerful. He continues to attend his ward despite the judgments passed upon him. The disciplinary action against him was the work of another stake president and high council.
I freely confess that if the Lord is willing to give me a witness, then I must be willing to stand true to that witness at all times and in all places. What is obscure to most who read my testimony is that it is as much about the Lord’s kindness to us as it is about the standing of Brother Snuffer before the Lord. Much of what I referenced in the testimony occurred while seeking the Lord in prayer long before I met Brother Snuffer. That which pertains to Brother Snuffer came in the utter clarity of audible words that left me shaken, pained and grateful. I realize my testimony may be rejected by most people and I may be judged to be dishonest, to have an overzealous, frenzied mind, deceived or possessed of a devil—even by righteous men who may profess to love me and be on the Lord’s errand as they condemn me. For those who would find me unworthy of fellowship with the saints, the test of their fidelity and love will commence only after they have rendered judgment upon me.
My testimony as published at the beginning of Brother Snuffer’s last book Preserving the Restoration is attached at the end of this letter for your review, if President Lake has not already shared it with the Council before reading this letter. I would be happy to meet with you at any time or place of your choosing to speak of Christ and this latter-day work in which we all labor.
I know the Lord is mindful of us this very night. I know it is easier to go along to get along, but the Lord often asks more of us. I pray the Lord does not find me to be an enemy to righteousness. I know there is nothing morally amiss in my life. I know I am embroiled in a dispute not of my making, which at its core pits the extensive teachings and prophecies of Lehi, Isaiah, Nephi, Christ and Moroni regarding the sad fate of the holy church of God after the coming forth of The Book of Mormon against non-canonical statements of some church authorities culled from their historical context and woven with isolated scriptures to form new doctrinal claims that our church dispensation is immune from collective apostasy and it is impossible for us to be led astray. None of our latter-day revelators have been able to reconcile these new views with those of The Book of Mormon prophets. Without the ability to build a bridge of reconciliation, the only alternative in the view of some leaders is to enforce member silence or expel them from the Church.
But even in these self-aggrandizing beliefs our dispensation is not unique; and Zion is no closer to being ours today than it was in 1844. There are simply more of us failing to bring Zion with our current form of godliness. How I wish we had time to sit together with the Book of Mormon and our history, study them side by side, take in every voice deeply and then kneel together before the Lord, determined not to rise from prayer until we were of one accord. To me, Mormonism was not intended to be a sipping religion suitable for those busy with other tasks.
I have strived with all the energy of my heart to be your brother in Christ, yet I am a rough stone in need of the Lord’s continuing mercy.
Very truly yours,
Louis S. Naegle
From the book, “Preserving the Restoration:”
“Testimony of Louis Naegle
At 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 Saint 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”
May 13, 2016 Notice of Decision of Disciplinary CouncilTo: Louis Naegle
From: Daniel Lake