Denver Snuffer’s latest talk on plural marriage was given in response to urgent needs. There has been much discussion of late about the subject and many are now emerging from cultures and backgrounds steeped in the tradition and practice (or turning thereto). Like me, they may not know which way to go or what to believe.
I, for one, welcome Denver’s perspectives. But I still have questions. I have been troubled of late resolving in my own mind how Joseph Smith could have been a polygamist, an apparent liar, a shameless adulterer and still be the God-approved prophet of the Restoration. I have friends who, perhaps, would embrace the latter-day gospel but for this seemingly insurmountable contradiction and “stumbling block”.
Confronted by numerous testimonies of those who apparently know better (than I do!), I have felt compelled to embrace even a “fallen” prophet, perhaps one whom God used and, by His grace, perfected to fulfill His purposes. However, Denver’s talk presents another narrative — one I am happier to embrace: that Joseph Smith was, in fact, in person and comportment, exactly whom he said he was. He told the truth and lived the gospel, including the law of chastity and carnal monogamy in this life, while offering “celestial marriage” and spiritual “sealings” to himself and others for worlds to come.
Given my very limited grasp of history, I would like to hear more from Denver about the evidence surrounding Joseph Smith’s associations with both Fanny Alger and Sarah Ann Whitney, to name a few. Resolving these apparent contradictions would go a long way toward helping me better appraise the man who communed with Jehovah. His name is, indeed, being spoken of for good and evil among all people.
I am now persuaded that the “restoration” of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith ostensibly failed within a few years of (what would become) the Mormon Church’s establishment. By 1832 the collective church had fallen under condemnation for ignoring and rejecting the teachings of the Book of Mormon and former commandments. That condemnation was never lifted. By the early 1840s the fullness of the priesthood was taken from the Church. Finally, with violence at Carthage Jail, the prophet of the restoration and his chosen successor were removed from the earth. With their passing, the restoration of the gospel was effectively aborted. The fledgling community of wayward saints who remained were divided and scattered. The most “successful” were driven from society and from safety into a wilderness where they wandered, suffered and died, practicing their “religion” or what they were willing to receive, because they rejected what they might have received.
A “remnant” are now “awakened” to their plight and struggle to “arise” to retrace their steps back to the beginning, that they might preserve the original faith and doctrines of the restoration begun with Joseph Smith and, perhaps, reclaim the promises and potential that were once offered to the latter-day saints.