The interview I did for Mormon Stories has an introductory title designed to grab attention and get the followers of that site to listen to the interview. I presume most of that audience is unacquainted with what I’ve written. I know John Dehlin had not read any of the books I’ve written before interviewing me. He did read some of the posts on this blog, but has not completed reading any book I’ve written and has a copy of only one of them. He had limited information from which to conduct the interview.
The impetus for doing the interview came from recommendations John Dehlin received from others who had read some of my writings. He followed up on the recommendation, and persuaded me to participate.
In some of the reactions to the interview, his audience has presumed the headline title to the podcast is an accurate representation of what I’m all about. It’s rather attention grabbing to say that someone “Claims to Have Seen Christ.” That was a deliberate attempt on John Dehlin’s part to get someone who knows nothing about me and knows nothing about my work to listen to the podcast. It gives the impression to a stranger that I wear that claim on my sleeve. That I am a braggart. Worse still, that I have little regard for the sacred and tend to profane deeply personal experiences and to parade them about as if it made me noteworthy. If that were true, I would think such a person would be unbelievable. Therefore, when the listener’s reaction is indignation, I can understand that. It is reasonable.
On the other hand, if someone had actually read my writings, they would find there is almost nothing of me in them. I write about doctrine, history and scriptural exegesis. Even The Second Comforter is a book about the reader, not the writer. It gets inside the person reading it and causes them to reflect on their own relationship with God. To the extent that I am mentioned, it is in the context of my failings, shortcomings and mistakes. The reader is walked through the process of overcoming their own failings, following a path, and undoing their mistakes. At the end the reader should be better acquainted with their own deepest desires, and regard me as little more than a flawed, but believing fellow-sojourner in this challenging predicament of mortality.
I am not bothered by the first impression given by the title. The best reaction I can think of to what I’ve written would be this: “I can’t stand Denver Snuffer; but what he has written is of value to me.” That reaction will do two things: First, it will establish a proper view of my irrelevance. Second, it will focus on the ideas advanced, which are in my view, a reflection of the Lord’s plan to rescue us all from our fallen condition.
Those who collect their first impression of me from John Dehlin’s headline will be quite disappointed to find there is very little of me in anything written. Or, perhaps not disappointed, but rather relieved. Either way, I am not responsible for the way he has titled the matter and have no complaints about the way he did. After all, he came into the interview without an adequate basis to know anything about the work I’ve been doing. Knowing almost nothing about that work, I thought he did an admirable job of asking critical, important and relevant questions. As a composer of headlines, I suppose he displays a flair for that, as well.