What It’s Like To Hang Out With A Neo-Fundamentalist Mormon Leader

Small pink house with 3 windows in a grassy field with mountains in the background
Emily Campbell / Unsplash

The farthest-reaching media in Utah has covered the “remnant movement” in Mormonism, a neo-fundamentalist movement led by Denver Snuffer, considered a prophet by believers.

I’ve met him.

The second time, I was just driving down State Street in Sandy, Utah, during lunch in Dec. 2015.

And there it was: Nelson, Snuffer, Dahle & Poulsen, P.C., Attorneys at Law.

“Could it be?” I thought.

Sure enough, the secretary said that the Snuffer referenced was the man himself.

He came up front and we went to a conference room and talked for about a half-hour, before ended the conversation.

I told him that I, too, had seen Jesus. (I no longer believe that I did and Snuffer’s reported experience is a key thing for his advocacy.)

He made a point about why he doesn’t direct polygamy to be practiced as other fundamentalist Mormon organizations do, which really made no sense. (So much that I can’t recall it, having dismissed it.)

Then, around nine-and-a-half months later (and totally over his teachings, having read two of his books), I was knocking doors for work. I saw the last name to the household on the left side of the page, with he and his wife’s name on the right.

I knocked on the Draper door and his wife, presumably, answered. She took the material I needed to give to folks on my list. I thought that given Denver’s apparent beliefs, at least, he would not be too interested in the product.

I continued my way down the street and, I think three and no more than four houses later, a missionary for the LDS church (an older one, a man) answered the door.

Snuffer’s adherents are overwhelmingly coming from the LDS church.

This got my mind rolling (and has since). Was it only coincidental that the missionaries – according to church protocol, he would have a missionary companion in his wife – lived so close to Snuffer?

Was the LDS church going to the literal hub from which ideas effectuating apostasy were taking place? Were they going for prevention by trying to make sure to hold onto the congregation that Snuffer used to attend?

And just how schismatic has that congregation been?

The first time I met him was at a Sunstone Symposium, an academic forum for all things Mormonism, at the 2015 version held July 29-Aug. 1, 2015. I asked him a question posed by opponents of his. He smiled and gave a response that made more sense than his polygamy reply four months later.

I had become decidedly broader in my religious/spiritual views at the next symposium, around two months before I found myself at the Snuffer house. So I only poked in my head while he was featured for a panel, which comprise the conferences, let alone seeking one-on-one time with him later.

The attendance at the panel seemed to be as large as any for the busiest day of the symposium. Six months earlier, his movement had more than 40 fellowships worldwide. TC mark

Rhett Wilkinson

Writer, bold, creative, storyteller, thinker, expressive, political.

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