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  1. Having watched the interview on Facebook already I can heartily endorse it as one of your strongest interviews, John. Like in your interview with polygamist, Anne Wilde, you’ve introduced us to folks that won’t be speaking at the next stake conference with deeply-held beliefs related to Mormonism. We find in the Strongs, folks who have chosen another path to Jesus Christ in the face of personal sacrifice. You wouldn’t do this to win friends and influence people. That they came to the conclusion on their own and well before Denver Snuffer, that the LDS church is in apostasy, lends credence to their choice to accept his teachings as valid and useful. Grounding their beliefs in scripture makes those beliefs more compelling to me than a charming, avuncular gentleman in a $500 suit standing before 20,000 saints, urging them to stay on The Good Ship Zion simply because he believes that is where safety lies. Um, right. Safe if you don’t happen to be LGBT or don’t happen to believe Christ’s invitation to seek him instead of other human beings.

    Those who find this interview interesting will want to stay tuned for the follow-on interview with Matt Lohmeier. The Strongs appear not to be the only heretics turning to choose Jesus Christ over the authority claims of the Magisterium. There’s at least one F15 pilot on this path.

  2. How equal can you be in this movement if all have not seen Jesus?
    To rely on one person to direct the thoughts of a group and say he is not the leader is delusional. Denver is manipulating his followers much like Joseph Smith

  3. Just pretend to see Jesus. Then you can be superior and manipulate other people. Simple enough.

    More seriously, there seems to be a lot of culturally approved psychosis (which makes it not really psychosis) in Mormknsim that extends to other belief systems including offshoot belief systems.

    At some point, that credulity is a sign of mental illness in light of how much information is available online.

    Mormons of all textures need to spend more time outside of Mormonism in order to gain perspective.

  4. As a former Jehovah’s Witness, I see many similarities.
    The Watchtower calls these changes “New Light.”
    You are not alone: we are all Pilgrims on the same road.
    Let us help one an other.

  5. God makes covenants we don’t have the capacity to keep and then punishes us for failing. Why do you want to return to him?

    1. God makes covenants He can keep. And in that way, we can return to Him. Mormons, JWs, Snufferites, etc etc etc etc etc fail to understand the concept of covenant, which is why the rest of the Christian world insists that they are cults.

  6. This was a hard podcast to listen to! I am not LDS anymore nor religious. They hear voices in their head–just like the Lafferty brothers. They said they would do anything the voices tell them–this is scary. They say DNA does not work for proving the BofM is fake, but it proves Smith was not a polygamist?? They say the Utah LDS faith have confirmation bias, but all I heard for four hours was confirmation bias and the best mental gymnastic by any “LDS’ person out there. They proved to me that religion is dangerous and this movement is more dangerous than the LDS faith–a faith I gave my life to, for over 40 years. They talk about patterns, and that theirs is right? Scary beliefs and dangerous beliefs.
    When will all LDS factions figure out that they have been in the “latter days” for almost 200 years–days to centuries are not equal–Latter-Centuries more like. When will their Christ come–soon–no. This world is not wicked as they claim. This is such a great time to be alive–I envy the students I teach daily in my high school classroom–their future is bright–but these fear mongers try to destroy all the great things happening today.
    Stop the fear, stop the lies–the lies that their heart and brain supersede facts and real truths. Smith was a liar, a con man, a womanizer and brought upon himself his untimely death. The PofG has been proven fake–but they deny this truth. Polygamy has been proven a fact, but they deny it. The BofM has been proven false, but they deny it. They want to see Christ but won’t admit that they have–they are just like the Utah LDS apostles. Read this John, they say, and then say and read this too–why does one need to read when their god can just speak to John–they tell you to go ask god, but as they bear testimony you are not receiving their truth? They don’t have enough faith to believe that god can speak to them always–and confirm their truth?
    “The movement” + The Utah LDS = less than 1% of the world’s population–that god they worship is weak if he cannot get to the over 6 billion plus people on this earth–his truth must not be worth it. Ugh this was so frustrating to listen to, but I’m glad I did!!
    BTW Mr. Strong–I am an atheist and I DO NOT believe there is a god–no god!
    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for helping me to know I made the right choice to leave the LDS faith and all religions. My life is great and my love for this earth and the people here run deeper than ever.

    1. Thanks for bringing sanity to the world. I have never seen priming, Stockholm syndrome so vividly in a podcast ever. Reading to your husband while he gets ready for work! Really? This was just awful that a family exits one form of mind control to another. They need to use the “outsider test for faith” and turn that directly on their entire world view. I agree this is dangerous for humanity. And that statement “love God more than your spouse” was horrific. How can you be equal in life when he/she has an agenda beyond your own interactions.

  7. This was a great interview. Very interesting and frustrating. Kirk’s slow, low, soft, thoughtful and supremely confident way of talking with his Utah mormon accent reminds me of so many priesthood meetings in my past. It was good to hear and be reminded of the true believers mindset. Their version of faith is always their rock. The evidence is accepted or rejected based on how it fits their existing faith.
    The Strongs repeatedly used a reference when talking about what Denver has written or said that I have heard so much from “true believers”. They say, “the lord said” or “the lord has said” something something something then paraphrase what Denver has said or written. Actually the lord did not say it or write it. Some guy(Denver in this case) said it or wrote it. Some guy who claims to be a prophet.
    Can we all be very real and honest?
    The absolute truth that can be applied to all scriptures and/or men who claim to talk for god ever anywhere:

    “SOME GUY SAYS THAT THE LORD SAYS………………”

    I told my daughters to always put “some dude says that” in front of the phrase “the lord said”.
    Which is the absolute truth!!
    amen.

  8. Remember when a character would get bonked on the head in a Bugs Bunny cartoon and imaginary birds would circle his head and chirp? That’s what happened to me after four episodes of the Strongs. But notice that I was so intrigued by this interview, that I stuck around for all four episodes.

  9. You hit the nail on the head John with your opening statements with regard to a main reason why the brethren were concerned with Denver Snuffer’s writings and teachings.

  10. I tried to compose a coherent response to how I felt after viewing this. But my mind was numb and I was literally speechless. I decided to let it go for a day and come back once I could distill my thoughts. Nope. I’m still completely dumbfounded. I’m simply thankful for the circumstances that occurred in my life that helped me break the spell of Mormonism.

  11. Delightful couple, it was interesting to hear their Mormon story. I have more respect for this group that is trying to live what the ‘scriptures’ state than those TBM that blindly follow the LDS Org.

    Also, thank you John for showing respect and kindness to them. It shows your skill and is another evidence to me why your work has been so resilient. Keep up the good work.

  12. I imagine similar conversations in private homes while Joseph Smith III, his brothers, and Emma discussed their dreams and communication with the “new found” Lord. They also believed the Lord came directly to them after the death of Joseph Smith. And the same goes for many who where contemporary with Joseph such as:

    James Strang (with ancient plates, witnesses, and scriptures of his own)
    Sidney Rigdon
    William Birkenton
    Ezra Booth
    Warren Parrish
    Isaac Russell
    George M. Hinkle
    Hiram Page
    and more…

    The Lord once again spoke directly and plainly in the form of dreams and mind affirming “pure knowledge” voices to the following short list of men (why are there no women leaders on these lists?) who started schisms based on the rationalization that polygamy should be continued, regardless of federal government pressures:

    Elden Kingston
    Rulon C. Allred
    Leroy S. Johnson
    Joel F. LeBaron
    Ross Wesley LeBaron
    Alex Joseph
    Ervil LeBaron

    I anticipate a rebuttal to my observation, “We are not a schism because we are not looking for followers.” My response is If you desire “tithing donations” to build a new “temple in zion”, then that implies followers. Ah, a new schism is born.

    I recall an elder on my mission in 1977 who was convinced he had his calling and election made sure, which then became a badge for other missionaries to obtain; a very weird time of extreme devotion in hind sight. I was in the office staff as a district leader at the time of his mental/emotional collapse, he was a zone leader. He freaked out one evening with verbal abuse and I had to calm him down as I was the only one he would speak with because I was his “leader”. He was spouting all sorts of far out Lord speak and making predictions/revelations. We called the ambulance and he was stabilized with drugs in the hospital’s psychiatric ward and sent home a week later after many anointing/blessings of health. I learned then, question everything, especially when the Lord speaks to you directly with voices.

    I wonder, could direct communication with the Lord and/or having your “calling and election made sure” be delusional? When is it healthy to listen to our head or heart? Hmmmm… just a thought.

    John, do you have any insight from your education you would care to share on the motivation behind mormon schisms? Maybe a podcast on the subject?

  13. Karen,
    I have sat and listened to this whole interview. I feel this deep sadness for you. Denver Snuffer sounds like a con man that is trying to start his own religion. He is telling you he has been in the lords presence. My heart just sank thinking you actually believe this man.
    Listen to people with an outside perspective, he is manipulating you. He is down playing his role of what he is doing in my belief and is manipulating others.
    Critically think about this you wanted to be a lawyer,I know you are smart! It is not this black and white.
    Also, Joseph Smith did practice polygamy you could read “Rough stone rolling” by Richard Bushman or “In Sacred loneliness.” a book of his polygamists wife actual journal entries. Or even “No man knows my history.”
    It seems to me as though you are in a state of denial. You omitted the role Denver Snuffer played on your shift in faith. Yes, I understand you already had some feelings before Denver but you are basically now following a fundamentalist that is manipulating his followers by acting like he is a nobody. But his proclaiming that he is like a modern day Jesus, without actually saying it! This is manipulation!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You both seem to have this weird obsession with him. It just feel really wrong.

  14. Superb mental gymnastics.That couple should get a gold metal for it. The best part was how they discounted DNA when it proves that the BOM is not historical but are all over it when it proved JS didn’t have any children out of wedlock. That said.they seem like very nice people,

  15. This was very hard to listen to, but like some others, I listened to all 4 segments. Found myself so frustrated and even a little angry at times. I am glad that John is giving a voice to all things Mormonism, not just the stuff that I agree with or that fits my personal narrative. There is much to be learned from those we see as “different” than us.

  16. This was an incredibly challenging interview.

    I remember feeling a lot like the Strongs when I finally accepted/realized that the SLC Brigahmite Branch was not His Church. It took me 18 months of intense research to get to that point. And I didn’t want to accept that the entire narrative was false… so I started studying all of the other Restorationist sects. After about one additional year of research, I could finally accept that Joseph Smith Jr was a complete con-artist.

    This interview was challenging because the Strongs ignore much of the historical information available to them/us. And they cherry pick the items that resonate with them… ignoring much of what is available. I suppose it is the sunk-cost theory in action. It’s easier to re-frame their theological beliefs… placing Denver in the lead then to accept that you were conned and your life’s efforts were (partly) wasted.

    One last thought. I looked up their new D&C (called “Teachings & Commandments”) so that I could read the dream that they were gushing over… the once JS Jr had the night before he died. What a freaking let down. There is nothing impressive with the dream.

  17. Not impressed with these folks . No offence intended . I see total and extreme indoctrination.
    Eg the d&c issue about the temple not being ready on time and god holding back blessings and punishing the people as a result
    . This whole early period Is so anti Christian . What happenedd to the beatitudes of Christ . Is god void of patience ?? What happened to virtues Like love patience . It’s all a total contradiction to the true nature and teachings of Christ . Bullying tactics by early prophets to push the members to finish temples and sacrifice time and money fir a fanatical way off cult like belief system.

  18. They still buy the Joseph Smith Story. So, they must explain his acts, his lying, his sexual escapades, his glass looking, his threats to those that opposed him. And her denial of the sciences that almost universally call into question the truth claims of Mormons. Sorry Karen but our son does not “borrow its light from a governing star. It’s light comes from the process of nuclear fusion. And that Karen will not change.

  19. Very interesting interviews. Thanks for having the Strongs on Mormon Stories. For may part, I appreciate their sincerity and the seriousness with which they have treated their beliefs. The Denver Snuffer phenomenon in general is quite interesting. It would have liked to hear what they and others in the “movement,” including especially Denver Snuffer, have to say about the primary audience of the BOM, the Lamanites. I mean, that’s what the BOM is about, bringing the Lamanites to a knowledge of their fathers. Maybe it’s also a manual for how to have a one-on-one with Jesus, but since there’s a large elephant in the halls of every LDS meetinghouse every Sunday (because the church has pretty much abandoned the original purpose of the BOM) I wonder if Snuffer and Co. take up this problem. There’s really not a greater sign that the Church is not and never has been what it claimed than this (Lamanite) problem. So, further, what’s with some of the folks associated with this movement calling themselves “the remnant”? In the BOM the remnant is always the remnant of Jacob, Lehi’s seed (to whom the Lord has covenanted the land). In 3rd Nephi Jesus warns the gentiles of 1830 that they had better repent and believe the BOM or a “remnant” of Jacob, i.e., the Lamanites (Native Americans) will tear them to pieces. Moroni issues the same warning. As a matter of logic, either (a) the gentiles repented, because they were not torn to pieces by the Lamanites, or (b) we gentiles should still be worried about this happening. According to Snuffer, (a) has not happened. So what, if anything, has Jesus told him about the threat posed by the “remnant of Jacob”? And if that’s still a major threat (just like it apparently was in 1830 when the BOM appeared), who is now the “remnant of Jacob” and from what direction do we see this threat coming? Or, did Jesus just get it wrong? Is the threat now passed, since we no longer know who the Lamanites are? The LDS church has no answer for this. Does Denver Snuffer? Perhaps if you read the BOM without the preconceived notions of its truthfulness and correctness, if comes to light as something of a period piece.

    1. You know, they could probably explain all that but they would need to lay so much groundwork before you could understand. If you would just put in the time and take it seriously like they did you could know the truth.

  20. I am very troubled by the naive approach of many Mormons. Denver Snuffer draws hard conclusions from a combination of a few verses in the OT, a few verses in the New Testament, one verse from the BoM, and a few verses from the D&C (for example).

    WAY too many people do this including some mainstream authors like Joseph Fielding McConkie. The Lord didn’t embed a nugget of truth in an obscure OT passage and then embed the other piece to the truth puzzle in some BoM sermon by Amulek. The Scriptures were written by different people at different times for different reasons. Some scripture was manipulated and embellished by later scribes. All scripture has been translated into different languages and carries numerous idioms and seeming contradictions. Many books of Scripture were written down decades or centuries after the fact.
    We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels and half the letters attributed to Paul.
    So WHY in the world would you trust Denver Snuffer to tell you what the “Doctrine of Christ” is when he doesn’t even know? Has he studied Hebrew and Greek? Archaeology? Biblical and Near Eastern history? American Religious History? Does he know the scholarship from the Joseph Smith Papers? Does he know what revelations have been conflated with other revelations or which ones were altered or revised by someone other than Joseph Smith?
    The Strongs are making drastic, life-changing decisions that are not based on sound scholarship from people who know these issues. Very Sad!
    To swipe away future generations out of the Church because some untrained lawyer emphasized that you must seek the face of Christ and that the Church is in apostasy is ABSURD!!!!! Very unethical decision!!!

    1. TGH, are you saying that one must be “trained for the ministry” and “preach the orthodox religion”? More seriously, I’m not sure how their decision is “unethical”, to say nothing of it being “absurd.” Are they not free to think and choose as they wish? Finally, how are any of us to judge whether Snuffer knows what the “doctrine of Christ” is? He doesn’t need to learn Greek and Hebrew, because (as he claims) he’s been in the presence of Jesus and talked to him. It’s true that our contemporary “prophets, seers and revelators” have turned the hard questions over to the scholars (the days of scrying through stones are past), but that’s not exactly the original Mormon way, is it? Denver Snuffer is much more like Joseph Smith than anyone we’ve seen since Joseph Smith. Maybe he’s misguided, self-deluded, etc., but you need to do better than to assert that he doesn’t know because he’s not one of the “faithful scholars” the church authorities rely on to try to answer difficult questions. If there’s an absurdity hereabouts, it would be more along the lines of being required to confess a belief in “prophets, seers and revelators” who do not prophesy, see or reveal.

    2. Exactly! But we’re all children of the Free Agency, are we not? What is evident here is a sort of insular-ism that has grasped people of the caliber of Alan Rock Waterman. It is clear than many members are not happy where they are and are simply looking for an excuse to bail out. The context of the bail out is that if it feels better than the usual doctrine then I’ll take it. For some time we’ve been moving towards “the mainstream” and I fear that soon we’ll be no more than another Luz del Mundo/Creflo/Joel cult.

  21. Ugh. It’s hard to watch people like this following a lie (Denver Snuffer) based on another mans lies (Joseph Smith). I guess religious schisms are normal and happen in all religions at different times. Denver is going to appeal to a certain subset of mainstream Mormons who leave and follow him, but make no mistake, he’s just leading them down a different rabbit hole than the one Joseph led us all down. Hopefully, John interviewing Snuffer’s followers acts like sunshine, which is the best disinfectant. Pull back the rock from under which he and his followers operate, allow the sunshine to wash over them and hopefully it kills the fungus so that it doesn’t spread to others.

  22. Good grief! Lovely couple. Very TBM, just in love with DS rather than the suits that come down from BY.

    There will always be enthusiastic zealots – I was a bit this way when I first joined the church – but this interview showed me how badly some people need to get back to the magic of the early days of the founding church.

    Thank you John for presenting more texture to the way people paint their new passion. Whether they take a left or a right out of the church, it’s fascinating how they adjust to a different kind of religious fervour.

    The further I move away from the Mormon indoctrination, the sadder I feel for those who can’t live their lives without the doctrine.

    But hey, they look happy! Line them up for another interview in a year or two!

  23. I couldn’t make it through all of this one…
    This same line of thinking has been around for 50 years in the LDS Church. It was the key factor in the start of the anti-vax movement/anti-western medicine movement. I remember it being very prevalent in Utah county. Denver basically just snatched up this audience and gave them a more organized way of thinking and a stronger voice. I think if you were to ask the Strongs how they feel about vaccinations etc. you would find similar sentiment.
    To deny Joseph’s polygamy is unbelievable to me. I am not presumptive enough to think it was strictly for sexual reasons. My feelings are more toward he used it for power to connect him with the most powerful families in the area. I guess a woman’s word is less valid than a charismatic leader’s (aren’t we learning anything over the last few months?)
    Good luck to the Strongs, just waiting for Denver/Them to rent space and form their not-church, church?

  24. I truly enjoy the way these nice folks seem to upset both garden variety Mormons AND atheist/agnosic types. These folks are prime examples of freedom of religion in action, more power to them!

  25. Thanks to the Strongs for Sharing their story. I appreciatethe courage and integrity it requires for them to take this path. Though I tend to agree that I see a number of inconsistencies in their logic, I appreciate their tenacity for the scriptures. Their insistence on Joseph’s righteousness and infallibility is troubling. He was no better or worse than any of the modern day LDS leaders. Do not put your trust in Joseph.

    1. Curtis,

      I just happened to decide to look at the comments on our interview and saw your request to contact us. If you go to ZionsReturn.org and use the contact form on there, the moderator of that website is our friend and will forward your email to us, and then I can get back in touch with you. That way I do not have to make my email public. Thanks. Karen Strong

  26. I left the church after decades after wasting years like Karen trying to believe the unbelievable. It’s upsetting to watch them both not accepting the obvious truth instead latching on to another cult. Reminded me of “A Beautiful Mind” frantically trying to connect the patterns.

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