Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Introductory Chapter

Rock Waterman, proprietor of the excellent Pure Mormonism blog, recently participated in an interview with Radio Free Mormon. In that interview, he spoke of a writing project he undertook with Brian Hales, which jogged my memory about the events, and also reminded me of the rest of the story. It turns out I was involved as well, and the outcome of it all may yet be useful. Here’s what I can add to the conversation:

Brian Hales contacted me through this blog in October 2017, looking for someone who could write a history of what he termed, “the Denver Snuffer movement,” together with an anthology looking at Denver’s teachings. His intent was to use the history as an opening chapter in an anthology of works by various authors critically addressing the movement. He felt that having an “insider” write the introduction would give the rest of the critical work credibility and appeal, as well as accuracy. He offered payment for the writing effort.

I didn’t have the time to take on the project, so I suggested he contact Rock Waterman, and I put the two of them in touch. Rock took on the project, and wrote several drafts, but in the end could not provide what Brian wanted, so in January 2018, Brian reached out to me again and asked if I would consider writing the chapter. I agreed to do so and finished my first draft in April of that year. After we had some back and forth about the content of the chapter, it turned out that like Rock, I was not able to provide what Brian wanted, so I withdrew from the project in May 2018. As far as I know the proposed anthology never got off the ground, but Brian predicted it would not be particularly relevant in a few years because he expected the movement would fizzle out on its own anyway.

I should stress that through it all, Brian was a gentleman and though we fundamentally disagree on a number of topics, most notably his treatment of Joseph Smith, our exchange was positive and professional.

So in the end, I was left with the unused fruits of my labor, consisting of a 17,500-word introduction to the Remnant Movement, written as the introductory chapter for a book. 

When I heard Rock’s interview, I thought the chapter might yet be useful, and since I’ve never done anything else with it, I’m posting it here. I believe that with some slight changes and updates, it may serve as a decent introduction to the Remnant movement for those who are curious, and perhaps also as somewhat of an abbreviated history. I’m open to ideas, so let me know what you think.

By way of context, keep in mind this was written in early 2018, so it is about two and a half years behind current history, and it was written as the introduction to a book that would otherwise be critical of the movement. Enjoy!


  1. Thank you for the article.
    On page 10 you state that Russell M Nelson was president of the Quorum of the Twelve at the time Denver Snuffer's stake president was released and a new stake president was called. Actually at that time Boyd K Packer was president of the Quorum of the Twelve.

    1. Great catch! Thank you Harry. At that time, Nelson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, but not the President.

  2. Isn't this the kind of thing for which Restoration Archives exists?

  3. This was so well written and so comprehensive. I can see why Brian Hales didn’t want to use it because you’d soundly convince his readers before he ever got to say anything. I’ve downloaded a copy, but I agree with the previous comment that this should be saved on the Restoration Archives for future reference.

  4. Adrian, brilliant as always... would love to discuss with you. Let's talk!

  5. Nice summary, very well written. It would be great if someone wrote an addendum that covers the last two years as well.

  6. It’s a pity Mr. Hales declined to use your introductory chapter, Adrian. It was an admirable intention on his part to let a believer have the first word. Your comprehensive summary, however, may have made the following counter-arguments seem petty and inconsequential. It wasn’t to be, but him sending your chapter to the other authors for comment would’ve been interesting. And potentially confusing. Imagine some poor scholar studying your chapter and experiencing the spirit witnessing to any or all of what you’ve written. What then?

    In another life, I was a Gospel Doctrine teacher at church. One Sunday in a lesson on the Old Testament, I mentioned that in our time, a Denver Snuffer and an Adrian Larsen were being accused online of being false prophets. We discussed the Lord’s rule of thumb for determining the validity of a prophet. We could have benefitted from the additional perspective that a true prophet is simply a messenger from the Lord. The subject is so fraught with misunderstanding and burdened by tradition, though, that one sister jumped to the conclusion that my mentioning the subject was evidence that I was in cahoots with y’all.

    If the Strengthening Church Members Committee still maintains a file on you, this will make a nice addition to it. May they read it and learn something useful.

  7. I loved it. Thank you for sharing. It is a work that would have been greatly appreciated by my husband and I when we first came into the “movement” in 2019. I agree with you and other commentators who mentioned an update!

  8. Incredible Adrian. In fact, probably too well done. Otherwise we would be reading it in Brian’s book.


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