Passing Up The Heavenly Gift (Part One of Two)

Review of Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift, Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2011. 510 pp., no index. $25.97.

The Basic Thesis

…the Latter-day Saint church was predicted to fail, and in all likelihood has failed to secure the fullness of the priesthood (Denver Snuffer1).

Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. claims to have had a vision of the resurrected Jesus Christ.2 A convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he is the author of eight books (509). The thesis of the most recent—Passing the Heavenly Gift—is summarized by his book’s cover photo: a snuffed out candle, smoke curling upward, with a dim ember persisting at the tip of the wick. Continue reading

  1. Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift (Salt Lake City, Utah: Mill Creek Press, 2011), 447. All future citations to this work will be in the form of page numbers in parentheses. I will refer to the book as PTHG for brevity. 

  2. “The Lord does still personally appear to mankind. I am a witness to that fact. He first appeared to me February 13, 2003. I have written a book about the topic…. That book does not contain any details about the Lord’s ministry to me, but affirms it took place” (452). See also Denver Snuffer, “Current Events,” from the desk of Denver Snuffer (blog), 26 August 2013,, and John Dehlin, “321-322: Denver Snuffer – A Progressive, Fundamentalist, Non-Polygamist Mormon Lawyer Who Claims to Have Seen Christ,” Mormon Stories Podcast, 12 February 2012 at 

I Do Not Think That WORD Means What You Think It Means

Review of E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012), 240 pp. $16.00.

Of course, the correct quotation of Inigo Montoya’s famous line in The Princess Bride is “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Unfortunately, it made too long a title, though in homage to Richards and O’Brien’s book, I have substituted the culturally defined Word for its more common reference. That is precisely the message of the book. You keep reading that Word. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. From their introduction:

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Written to the Lamanites: Understanding the Book of Mormon through Native Culture and Religion

Abstract: Latter-day Saints have always been encouraged to seek the truth wherever it can be found. With the Book of Mormon being written especially to the Lamanites, we can assume that the more we know about Lamanite and Native American culture, the more we can understand, appreciate and gain insights as we read that inspired scripture. In this article the writer has compared examples from Native American culture and history to what we read in the Book of Mormon and experience as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most importantly, as we read through the eyes of a Native American, we can appreciate the divinity and authenticity of the Book of Mormon, since Joseph Smith could not have known Native American culture and history in the way it is described herein. Continue reading