Controversial Mormon writer gets the word: He’s out of the church

Forty years to the day after being baptized into the LDS Church, Denver C. Snuffer Jr. received word that he has been excommunicated from the Utah-based faith for apostasy.

Snuffer, author of a controversial book alleging contemporary Mormonism bears little resemblance to the church founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, reported on his blog that his Sandy LDS stake president, Truman Hunt, called him Tuesday morning to inform the writer of the church disciplinary council's decision.

At the time he received the call, Snuffer was en route to Boise to make a presentation about his book, "Passing the Heavenly Gift," to hundreds of interested readers. In the book, Snuffer concludes that every Mormon prophet since Smith has yielded to social, political and legal pressures to accommodate mainstream U.S. society.

Before the church hearing, Hunt had warned Snuffer that the "book's thesis is in direct conflict with church doctrine."

The excommunication "paperwork" will arrive sometime later, Snuffer wrote on the blog.

The action's timing "was certainly symmetrical," the writer, lawyer and father of nine wrote, "arriving on 40th anniversary of [his baptism.]"

Snuffer concludes that it was "almost like a sign, really."

LDS Church officials have declined to comment on the action.

"Because of the personal nature of church disciplinary matters and to respect the privacy of those involved, we don't provide information about the proceedings," LDS Church spokeswoman Ruth Todd wrote previously in an email. "Church discipline is administered by local leaders who are familiar with the individual and his or her circumstances."

Peggy Fletcher Stack