Encountering Snuffer and ‘The Second Comforter’

The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the VeilThe Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil by Denver Carlos Snuffer Jr.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve been in the room with people who could say with a straight face they have seen the resurrected Jesus Christ. The age of visions, or at least of people claiming them, never ended. It continues, often underground or at a grass roots level. Within Mormonism, a book of some note on this subject is Denver Snuffer’s The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil.

Though Mr. Snuffer has since been excommunicated, he wrote this book while still a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In terms of its agenda, The Second Comforter is as much a call for people to join the restored Church as it is an instruction manual for obtaining a visitation from Jesus Christ. Still, the book’s main selling point is this: Snuffer lays out a path which leads from mere hope in God to literally embracing Him and feeling the nail prints in His resurrected body.

In public addresses, Snuffer often showers listeners with all sorts of historical/theological minutia of a scholarly nature. In this book, Snuffer keeps things fairly user-friendly, focusing on The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ and temple worship as essentials. One of the things The Book of Mormon does exceedingly well is depict visions and visitations from the Lord. On the downside, both The Book of Mormon and Snuffer’s book engage in relentless restatement of a fairly straightforward gospel. Perhaps this belaboring approach is a byproduct of Snuffer’s training as a lawyer.

In any case, it’s hard to imagine someone missing the point of this book. Also important, Snuffer seems to genuinely believe in this vision-seeking process. Though I have my misgivings about the man and his message, I can state the following from extensive personal experience. In The Second Comforter, Snuffer only teaches and promises what has been routinely taught and promised in mainstream Mormon Sunday Schools, priesthood meetings, and exclusive missionary gatherings for decades.

This was not an enjoyable read for me; let’s just say the dutiful prose doesn’t flow. But it was a worthwhile read. Though The Second Comforter wants for some judicious editing, it makes its point. Believers of The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s visions have a clear call to seek out personal encounters with the divine. And for non-Mormons wanting to understand how a quirky 19th Century New England movement became a global religion, Denver speaks directly to why. Devout Mormons claim to have the ear of the Almighty. Denver Snuffer remains a prominent thought leader within Mormonism. In this foundational book, he describes the richest experience Mormonism claims to offer mortals: receiving a personal visitation from Jesus Christ.

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Where are my ghosts?

Wheat & Tares

When I dream of after death,
my ambition makes Heaven
a cubbyhole. God’s place,
snug in a grove, seems nice
enough. Yet I step out from it.
I whittle Time’s Arrow down
to chips, shred them down
to dust grains, mull them down
to molecules. I press these
into a skyscraping stack of cards.
Smirking, I shuffle epochs.
Giggling, I fan all space-time
out, grinning as it spreads
easily at my bidding, or…

I wake alone on the flank
of a grand old battlefield.
I’ve visited it many times
and never want to leave
for long. The hillside taught
me heroism, how to be a man,
how to die well.

I walk the Dutch ground pining:
Where are my ghosts?
They were there when 3rd grade
me wanted only replica cannon
on which to climb; when teen
geek me came alone to read
on boulders out of tourism’s
way; when…

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2 Fragments from Texas

Wheat & Tares

Suppertime at Congress Bridge

Anticipation is
a long file of fidgeting
watchers waiting for
the concrete-clinging
humans to dissipate.
It is a mamma bat
willing away dirty orange
clouds, chewing dry air
as she tunes her call
to the beating
of moth wings.

Facade of the Mission Espada ChapelMission Espada Facade

My eye, being single, will
never picture the mission new.
The builders must have stacked
the stones already smoke-stained
and weather-beaten—plaster
laid porous and patchy
even before three centuries’
of hail and sand made
their offerings.
They did this to teach
each passing era’s children
how beauty is a perilous
grafted thing.
I bear you my testimony,
as a special witness,
it was always old.


Poet’s Note

The first image is of the Congress Bridge in Austin, Texas, where a large colony of bats resides during the summer.  Crowds gather every night hoping to watch the colony fly out and off in search…

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