This "talk" was a very carefully crafted, managed and practiced dialogue between the two of them as they asked and answered (or didn't answer) questions they posed. The funniest (and perhaps most accurate) summation of the event was given by David MacFarlane, as the first "commenter", at the Mormon Stories Podcast website:
June 14, 2015 at 1:36 pm
A synopsis: Appeal to authority, fear-mongering mention of Satan, appeal to authority, circular reasoning, historically questionable statement, appeal to authority, divisive semantic trick redefining the words “question” and “apostasy” in church terms, general slander of those with questions as false prophets, fear mongering again, non sequitur, appeal to authority, fear mongering, appeal to authority, amen.
I, for one, enjoyed Richard Turley's contribution regarding Joseph Smith's involvement in the restoration. That was inspiring! But Dallin H. Oaks' commentary, not so much. To answer a question about the legitimacy of priesthood succession by asking another question (I'm paraphrasing here): "Well, if we don't have the priesthood, who does?" and to follow that up with a fear-inducing non sequitur: "If we don't have it, then that means there's no priesthood authority on the earth!" is just plain lame. ("Obviously that can't be true," every believing Latter-day Saint will be induced to conclude "or everything I believe in is a lie! The Church must have priesthood authority! My need for consistency and legitimacy demands it! What a fool I'd be if the Church didn't!")
Unless, of course, John the Beloved actually is on the earth today (as our scriptures tell us); then the LDS Church could literally go to hell in a handbasket and there would still be priesthood authority on the earth. (And maybe, just maybe, he -- or one of the Three Nephites -- could pass it on to someone else here and now, you think? BTW, wasn't John one of the originals who ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the first place? So how could proper priesthood authority NOT be on the earth -- even if the LDS Church is false? DHO doesn't answer that question. Because his "answer" wasn't an answer at all. It was a diversion.
The whole "we're witnesses of the NAME of Christ" thing, I'll give him a pass on. (It also happens to be scripture.) When the Lord inspired and authorized the organization of the modern church at Joseph and Sidney's request, there weren't twelve men on earth, I imagine, who could fill a quorum of real apostles to actually testify of Jesus' physical resurrection from first-hand experience. What we have today, therefore, are "administrative" apostles, sent to bear witness of His name. Hell! Almost any man in the Church could do that! But these guys are "special". (What makes them "special" is that they're called to be traveling witnesses of Christ. All of us are under the same obligation to seek after, come to know and testify of Christ personally.) I, for one, personally believe the Brethren have real testimonies of Christ. They know He lives, just as I do, "by the power of the Holy Ghost".
But here's the lame thing: DHO says, in case one of them actually had met the Savior in the flesh, the Brethren wouldn't want that testimony recorded and then played back to the world (of unbelievers). Because, he says, they're "swine".
I bet Paul would have given his left testimony to have his witness of meeting Christ broadcast to the entire world! Yet these men "won't go on record"?? I've actually heard someone -- I won't say who, because I feel so bad about constantly bringing up his name on this blog...let's just call him "someone in my (former) ward whose dad happens to be a GA" -- say those very words, over and over again! (Slew of censored words deleted here!) These clowns -- stick with me, I'll explain why I call them "clowns" soon -- have the gall to excommunicate men like Rock Waterman, Adrian Larsen, me and others for going on the record, and they'll use our own (highly edited) words against us in unethical and dishonest ways to induce others to uphold their decisions to excommunicate us in secret...but they won't go "on the record" publicly themselves with their "testimonies" (if they have one) of the resurrected Christ? (Didn't I publish something -- about the screwy language they use to give the impression they've seen Him, when, in fact, they're apparently unwilling to say so openly -- on the very day I was excommunicated?) Believe me, I've spent hours trying to pry out of these guys' mouths the answer to this question "What do I believe that is wrong??" and all I get is "You agree with Denver Snuffer."
That's what they'll say in private. But in public it's all very "sanitary". (They don't dare speak his name.) They say "You don't support and sustain the Brethren".
They will dance around true doctrine all day...like they do in this presentation...and suppress any historical fact that is inconvient. (Hence, the "clowns". They're not serious.) The scriptures they cite lock in stone the idea that no one can say or do anything without their permission. THEY ARE IN CHARGE. They want you to couple that claim with the idea that if you disagree with them -- not whether they are right or wrong, but just whether you disagree with them -- then you are an apostate! End of discussion. They are right...even if they're wrong! And you should follow them anyway! For God has chosen them, not you!
I could say it another way:
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; (2 Nephi 28:5)Let me paraphrase that:
"God gave us His power and authority when He put us in charge. So be quiet and do what we say. Meeting and following the Lord is a noble objective, but since He's not here, if you know what's good for you, you can't receive Him unless you receive us. And if you don't do what we say, you're a damned apostate!"End of lesson.
I could add one more observation:
4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. (2 Nephi 28:4)This kind of talk would appeal to a quivering quail of a member, an ignorant, lazy-minded, reckless rube who would put his trust in the arm of flesh and the power of men (and organizations) to save him, without requiring much work, study, faith or effort. Certainly no interaction with Jesus.
If someone truly loved the Lord, however, he would seek His face continually and not allow anyone to stand in His stead as some sort of "replacement".
Do I appreciate Denver Snuffer? Absolutely! But I'm doing my darnedest to "get rid of him"! I don't want to be dependent on him. I want to know the Lord at least as well as he does. I want to have a knowledge of heaven that is independent of any man!
The Lord (through Jeremiah) promised:
31 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
I feel and hear the Holy Ghost when I read Denver's words. Truth is, I'd like to believe DHO! But his words are carefully crafted circumlocutions of the truth, meant to convince without offering substance in response to what Denver Snuffer has taught. Only those who seek shall find and know the truth for themselves.
To buttress his leaking arguments, DHO attributed scriptures written about Joseph Smith to the current "Brethren". Revelations from God stating that Joseph Smith ought to be hearkened to in all things refer to Joseph Smith! You can't "steal" someone else's "patriarchal blessing" and say it applies to you and to anyone else you pick to succeed you, in perpetuity!
This cult has set up a "perpetual motion" machine of leadership where the leader gets bumped off on one end of the conveyor belt of life at the same time a new guy gets installed on the other end, the whole thing rolling along like an automated assembly line manufacturing "prophets, seers and revelators", purportedly sustained by divine intervention (or non-intervention, in this case). For unless God kills someone off, that guy who has been on the treadmill the longest automatically becomes "the prophet", the head honcho, see? Possessor of "all the keys of the kingdom", etc. Even if he's mentally and emotionally unstable (as George Albert Smith was) or barely possessing of a testimony himself (if he even had one) when he was first called (as David O. McKay was) or not very spiritual at all (as Heber J. Grant was). Even if he's never met God or received a revelation. (I'll insert the appropriate links later, perhaps.)
DHO all but admitted that these guys at the top are no different from many of us who have had experiences with Deity, inasmuch as they "know" Him "by the power of the Holy Ghost", just like we do! (I don't doubt it!) Yet, in their minds, they have "authority" to govern and regulate the church in all its facets, right down to determining who is and isn't "worthy" (in their hearts and minds) to be a member of the Church, what "doctrine" is (and isn't), etc. I thought DHO said they were called to "witness of the name of Christ in all the world"? Where did this "general authority" status come from? What...who...made them all-knowing, infallible, unimpeachable, beyond reproachable "heads"...when, in fact, they are "feet"...and the servants of all...sent to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified throughout the world, not prattle on about who is (and who isn't) a prophet. (I wish they were preaching Jesus Christ and Him resurrected -- from personal experience -- but, apparently, that's asking too much.)
They made a big deal about James Strang. Just because Strang wasn't a prophet 160 years ago doesn't mean someone else can't be a prophet today! Where is it written in scripture that the modern Church can't go astray? Where is it written that only 15 LDS men get to know God, receive revelations from Him, etc.? It defies belief that these men think God can't or won't do as He said He would! The whole story of the scriptures is that all may "come unto Christ" and enter into His rest, know all mysteries, enjoy all gifts, etc. These men do not know or speak for the living God! They dissemble.
They say they now "own" the franchise. Search the scriptures. There is NOTHING like this in the standard works or history of God's people on earth to suggest that only these guys get to know God, exercise the gifts of the Spirit (prophecy, revelation, visions, etc.), or exclusively receive revelation even about the church. (Look at Paul! Was he called and ordained by Peter, the purported leader of the church? Or was he called by Christ Himself?) What these brethren do have -- by common consent of the membership -- is the right to speak on behalf of the LDS Church and to do whatever the membership lets them get away with!
But let's not get sucked into believing that whatever they say is the word of God just because they say it is! That's simply not true. (One of the high priests who excommunicated me actually suggested we don't need the Holy Ghost because "we have a living prophet!" Talk about holy cow! Or golden calf!)
Position in any organization does not automatically endow anyone with divine power, authority or gifts. This is particularly true with regard to the holy priesthood. God is no respecter of persons. All are alike unto Him. Any who qualify may claim the same blessings received and exercised by Abraham. These men will infantilize and damn those who give heed to their false teachings and embrace their "religion". (No wonder "the preacher", paid for his ministry, was excised from the temple endowment.)