Not Trusting Another
When I was 24 years old in 1972, I was very intensely seeking that summer for answers, guidance, and personal revelation. I had been back from a two-year church mission to Italy, was a student at BYU, and had decided to stay in Provo for the summer. I was very active in the church but was seeking to understand a few things that I could not resolve. I prayed and fasted a lot that summer.
I finally had a very intense response from this effort. What I was shown surprised me because its significance did not seem that important at the time. However, I realize now that it was overwhelmingly important. The Spirit very clearly showed me that I must not automatically trust any other man as a spiritual guide, but I must continually seek guidance for myself. The Spirit led me to this scripture:
“Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another…. And if thine eye [the revelator for the Church] which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out” (JST Mark 9:44, 46; emphasis added).
Just reading the above verses once will certainly not give you the intense, overwhelming understanding of what it implies. You might want to print it out in large letters on a piece of paper, hang it up, and read it every day for a year or two.
One might read verse 44 and think that “not trusting another” applies to everyone in the Church except the president of the Church. Certainly he should always automatically be trusted. But read on to verse 46, and you will see it is absolutely clear that this scripture applies directly to the president of the Church, which it calls the “eye” of the body.
Who can handle this information? These scriptures teach us that the president of the Church is not above failing us. These verses also make it absolutely clear that it is the responsibility of “every man” or member of the body (the Church) to remove the president if he transgresses; it is not the responsibility of the Lord to do so.
In fact, there is a specific revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants on how to hold a special trial over the president of the Church (or one of his counselors) to remove him if necessary:
“And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood; and their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him.
Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness” (D&C 107:82-84).
However, in spite of the above scripture, there is no end to statements that are circulated in the Church to the effect that, above all else, we must remember that the president of the Church is above failing us. For instance, there is a quote in which an old man remembers that he heard the Prophet Joseph say:
“If you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the church, you will never be led astray.”
Notice that the above statement is actually secondhand. Somebody said that somebody said something. Can such hearsay statements really be used to overrule the law of the gospel as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants? Such quotes, or even statements by presidents of the Church, should not be used to overrule the scriptural law that clearly allows legitimate controversies over the president of the Church, teaching that such controversies will be settled by a special trial.
Some of us have suffered for trying to claim this right to legitimately not sustain the president of the Church and to ask for a trial to settle intense controversies over him. But this suffering has been worth it because the Spirit has supported us.
Can you not see that those who seek to deny members of the Church the right of legitimate dissent against the head of the Church are not living by correct celestial principles? The Church is not a democracy, but neither is it a dictatorship.
Some Legitimate Complaints
Here is one issue I sincerely believe should be settled by such a trial: Are you old enough to remember June of 1978 when the Church began ordaining blacks to the priesthood? Was this truly done by common consent as it should have been? “All things shall be done by common consent in the church…” (D&C 26:2).
The Church first announced this new revelation to the world’s news media. I believe most active members, including myself, heard it first from the media. The Church then immediately began ordaining blacks. Before October General Conference, blacks were ordained, they were allowed into the temples, and blacks and whites were married to each other in the temple.
Then later in the October General Conference, the Church members were asked to “sustain” this new revelation and change. Any member who seriously questioned this matter was subject to excommunication. The question is: why did the Church leaders not bring the new revelation to the attention of their brothers first, then allow them to pray about such a significant matter, and finally vote over the matter before the change was made?
There was no written D&C-type revelation given out — just the word of President Kimball that he had received such a revelation. But this unpublished “revelation” contradicted the previous teachings of all Church presidents before him.
President Brigham Young taught many times that the seed of Cain were Black, and they would not receive the priesthood until all the children of Adam, especially the seed of Abel (which seed is not yet born), received it first. He also on several occasions taught that any priesthood holder who were to marry a Black would lose his own priesthood immediately along with all of the accompanying blessings.
Consider this: If Blacks are given the priesthood and all temple blessings, then there is no longer any reason for White people to not marry them. These intermarriages happened immediately once the priesthood and temple blessings were given to the Blacks.
If God does not really guarantee that the president of the Church will never be allowed to lead us astray, then should we not be extremely careful to not automatically accept the claims and teachings of the president of the Church on extremely serious issues such as this one?
Hearsay vs. the Word of the Lord
Let me present my concerns again. Have you ever heard this quote?
“I have heard the Prophet speak in public on many occasions. In one meeting I heard him say: ‘I will give you a key that will never rust — if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the church, you will never be led astray’” (William G. Nelson, in “Joseph Smith, the Prophet,” Young Woman’s Journal, Dec. 1906, p. 543).
It is very likely that you have heard this or a similar statement many, many times in General Conference, in Church publications, and over the pulpit at your local meetinghouse. Now we repeat D&C 107:81-84. How many times have you heard this quote which is directly opposite to the above?
“There is not any person belonging to the church who is exempt from this council of the church [a First Presidency court]. And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood [a member of the First Presidency itself] shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church [a bishop’s court], who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood; and their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him.
Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness” (D&C 107:81-84; emphasis added).
Now do you really know what this is saying when you read it for the first time? Both of these quotes deal with the same issue. The first quote gives the impression that we can always be certain that the leaders of the Church will never be allowed to lead the Church astray. The second quote directly teaches that anyone, even the president of the Church, can fail us; and if he does, we should hold a trial over him to settle the controversies concerning him. Now which one is correct?
These two quotes do not seem compatible to me. The first quote comes from a man who remembered something he heard the Prophet Joseph say about 65 years earlier. It is a secondhand quote. Somebody said that somebody said something. It is not the word of the Lord, and no one is put under covenant to live by it.
So what else did Joseph say at other times on the subject? Often we say things and then go on to put conditions on what we said. Consider the following:
“President Smith rose…. Said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall — that they were depending on the prophet, hence were darkened in their minds from neglect of themselves“ (Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes, 26 May 1842; emphasis added).
This confirms the second quote, which is the word of the Lord in the D&C. It is part of the law of the gospel that the Saints covenant to live by.
So which quote should we trust the most? Which one should we quote and expound in General Conference the most? Which one should we teach one another the most? Why is the secondhand quote taught the most? Why is it taught incessantly while the other one is virtually totally ignored?
I am sincerely convinced that the reason for this cannot possibly be a good reason. Placing the heads of the Church above possible controversy may seem like a righteous, good idea, but it directly contradicts the law that the Lord gave the Latter-day Saints.
The Leaders Can Fall
There is no reason to honestly believe that men in high places in the Church, even the president of the Church, cannot fall. President Benson stated the following in the 1963 October General Conference:
“Six of the original Twelve Apostles selected by Joseph Smith were excommunicated. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon left the Church. Three of Joseph Smith’s counselors fell — one even helped plot his death.
A natural question that might arise would be that if the Lord knew in advance that these men would fall, as He undoubtedly did, why did He have His prophet call them to such high office? The answer is, to fill the Lord’s purposes. For even the Master followed the will of the Father by selecting Judas.
President George Q. Cannon suggested an explanation, too, when he stated:
‘Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in Him and not in any man or men’ (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891; emphasis added).
And this would parallel Nephi’s warning; put not your ‘trust in the arm of flesh’ (2 Nephi 4:34)” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1963, p. 15).
Blindly Following the Leaders
President Brigham Young was also very concerned about the Saints blindly following their leaders:
“What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way.
Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually” (JD 9:151).
“The First Presidency have of right a great influence over this people; and if we should get out of the way and lead this people to destruction, what a pity it would be! How can you know whether we lead you correctly or not? Can you know by any other power than that of the Holy Ghost? I have uniformly exhorted the people to obtain this living witness, each for themselves; then no man on earth can lead them astray” (JD 6:100).
“I do not want men to come to me or my brethren for testimony as to the truth of this work; but let them take the Scriptures of divine truth, and there the path is pointed out to them as plainly as ever a guideboard indicated the right path to the weary traveler. There they are directed to go, not to Brothers Brigham, Heber, or Daniel, to any apostle or elder in Israel, but to the Father in the name of Jesus, and ask for the information they need.
Can they who take this course in honesty and sincerity receive information? Will the Lord turn away from the honest heart seeking for truth? No, He will not; He will prove to them, by the revelations of His Spirit, the facts in the case.
And when the mind is open to the revelations of the Lord it comprehends them quicker and keener than anything that is seen by the natural eye. It is not what we see with our eyes — they may be deceived — but what is revealed by the Lord from Heaven is sure and steadfast, and abides for ever.
We do not want the people to rely on human testimony, although that cannot be confuted and destroyed; still, there is a more sure word of prophecy that all may gain if they will seek it earnestly before the Lord” (JD 12:96; emphasis added).
These quotes came from a president who for many years was closely associated with Joseph Smith. Should we not take his words seriously?
Following D&C Instructions
What does the Lord promise?
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise“ (D&C 82:10; emphasis added).
The Doctrine and Covenants is full of instructions which the Church does not live. And yet consider these commandments and warning in D&C 43:
8 And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.
9 And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me—
10 That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be ADDED to the kingdom which ye have received. Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be TAKEN, even that which ye have received.
Since the D&C is FULL of instructions the church is not living, does not this warning guarantee that blessings will or have been TAKEN from the church? And is it not certain that the scriptural promises that some feel guarantee the Church leadership should always be sustained have also been TAKEN away?
Let’s take a look at some other instructions that are not being lived by the Church. Is it not possible that many of the blessings we are entitled to are not being realized?
One of the D&C instructions not being lived is the United Order. Living this is not illegal. Neither is it illegal, if done right, to do missionary work without purse or script. What about having the congregation kneel with the priest when the sacrament is being blessed? Why is this not being done?
The law in D&C 132:44 states that a woman married in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage who loses her husband to adultery must have a faithful man in the covenant to marry, even if it means plural marriage. This may be technically illegal but could quietly be lived.
And if the Lord’s laws are righteous, why should we not be willing to fight to live by them? For one thing, American laws can be changed.
The Church does not live by D&C 107:81-84 either. Intense controversies over presidents of the Church have been brought forth at times by sincere elders, and these issues have almost never have been settled by such a trial. Often those who present these controversies are cast out of the Church immediately.
In fact, the failure to live by this law is the kingpin that undermines any attempt by Church members to live all the other D&C laws that are currently not observed. How can a controversy be dealt with if it is automatically a sin to even have such a controversy?
Responsibility of the Members
Let’s go back to this quotation:
“Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another…. And if thine eye [the revelator for the Church] which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out” (JST Mark 9:44, 46; emphasis added).
Here the Lord states clearly that it is the responsibility of “EVERY MAN” to remove the “eye” of the body, when he transgresses, by holding a ‘D&C 107:81-84’-type trial. We cannot expect the Lord to overrule the members’ responsibility in doing this themselves.
This doctrine that every man is to stand or fall by himself and not automatically trust even the president of the Church is a sacred doctrine based on the principles of free agency. How can a man become like Christ and God if he cannot stand totally alone when necessary? I predict that the Church again will eventually accept this sacred doctrine and will learn to live by all the laws given in the D&C.
Take a look at the following quote from Joseph Smith:
“It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the church, or anyone, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the church are vested in the keys of the kingdom” (History of the Church, 1:338; from a letter from Joseph Smith and Frederick G. Williams to John S. Carter, Apr. 13, 1833, Kirtland, Ohio; emphasis added).
Joseph states clearly that if everything in the Church is in order and if the keys are in the Church, then this procedure is indeed in effect. But if the keys no longer reside in the Church because of transgression, then the converse is in order.
This quote was taken from a letter and is not part of the canon of revelations; so this statement is correct, but it cannot be used to overrule the revelations that are the law of the Church. At the time the Prophet Joseph said this, the head of the Church (Joseph himself) was a man endowed with the gift of God to receive and write the word of the Lord. The Church was basically “in order” at the head. So this statement certainly was a correct principle, and it was important to teach it.
The conviction that the Church could never get out of order at the head contradicts the revelations. So again, since this statement is not canonized revelation, one cannot use it to overrule the commandments and revelations given to govern the Church.
The word that the Lord gave to the Latter-day Saints gives clear instructions as to how to hold a trial over the president of the Church (or one of his counselors) to end a controversy over him. The idea that President Wilford Woodruff taught that, “If a Prophet truly did something against the will of the Lord, and did not repent, they would be [immediately] removed…” and which is used to support the doctrine of guaranteed faithful leaders — ultimately lies upon this “immediately” idea. Because if the Lord does not immediately remove the leader, it implies that he must be right.
Then is there not a clear possibility that many serious errors could creep into the Church before the Lord gets around to removing him? Has this ever been the case in the past? Look at King Noah in the Book of Mormon. He was not immediately removed and led his entire people into apostasy for a generation.
We have shown that it is the responsibility of the members of the Church to remove the president of the Church if he transgresses, and this is not the responsibility of the Lord. Thus, this tradition that we must automatically trust and sustain the current head of the Church collapses. D&C 107:81-84 and JST Mark 9:40-48 clearly place the responsibility of having a trial over the president of the Church on the members of the Church and not on the Lord:
The Church was given a government by law and not a government by men, and that law is the D&C instructions. And yet the D&C is full of instructions the Church does not live, including the law we are mentioning to settle controversies over the president of the Church.
“Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received [the D&C revelations], which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be My law to govern My church…” (D&C 42:59; emphasis added).
There have been numerous extremely serious “controversies” over the Presidents of the Church during this dispensation, and yet only twice have these controversies been settled by a trial according to the D&C 107:82-84 instructions given to the Church. After Zion’s camp there was this special trial over Joseph Smith because of his treatment of Sylvester Smith. And after the death of Joseph, there was this special trial over the claims of Sidney Rigdon.
Removing Gentile Pollutions
So what could be the problem? The Book of Mormon very clearly warned against Gentile pollutions among the people in our times. And you would agree, I am sure, that the nation is full of such pollutions.
But in a world in which almost all men as soon as they get a little authority immediately exercise unrighteous dominion, am I saying that the Lord might allow such a thing to happen at the head of His church? Of course He would. One is honestly naive and foolish to think otherwise.
Is it not conceivable that the spirituality of men such as Joseph Smith who produced the amazing Book of Mormon and other scriptures with almost no formal education, no wealth, and relatively few followers might be different than that of men with PhD’s from non-spiritual American universities, controlling a multi-billion-dollar church corporation, who have never brought forth written oracles or translated books and condemn anyone who questions their claim to prophetic gifts?
But would the Lord allow Gentile Church leaders to cast out members who tried to bring a trial against them because of sincere concerns? Of course He would. This is the testing ground where the Lord has allowed men to do unjust things over and over and over again. Will He eventually clean it up? Yes, He will. As President Wilford Woodruff said:
“…and so He will [remove] any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham , 212–13).
Certainly “any other man” would include men like Hitler. But did the Lord remove Hitler immediately? No. But He did eventually, and He will eventually remove every unjust leader who resists Him and His laws. This earth is the Lord’s, and in time all those who resist the Lord will be removed from any power. But not immediately.
He gave us His law for removing the president of the Church when he transgresses, so He will give us time to live by His law and will not do it Himself. He wants to see if we really have a heart to live by His laws.
Many agree that this is the Lord’s church and that He will be responsible for it. But He said that He would try us in all things (D&C 136:31), and that could certainly include letting the head of the Church get out of order and in need of being removed according to the revelations.
Denying Legitimate Rights of Members
A Church member may feel very confident that the presidents of the Church have all acted correctly, but he must decide if he believes the revelation on how to end controversies over a head of the Church. If the member uses a bunch of non-scriptural statements and quotes to support denying anyone the legitimate right to not sustain the president of the Church and to seek a trial to end a controversy over him, I am convinced that he is on the side of coercion and not on the Lord’s side.
We need to know: Is it right that a member of the priesthood be automatically cast out of the Church for not sustaining President Nelson prior to him being removed from the presidency by a proper trial?
Can you show me where in the revelations of God that my position is not correct? Does a member have the right to not sustain the president of the Church and to not reject evidences that he is in serious error? And does a member not have the right to seek a trial to end serious controversies over a president of the Church?
Remember, the Saints covenant in the temple to live by every word of the Lord contained in the scriptures, which includes the Doctrine and Covenants. They do not covenant in the temple to live by every hearsay and every Church discourse by Church presidents. If they did, they would be under covenant to accept the Adam-God doctrine, and seed of Cain doctrine which President Young clearly taught repeatedly in General Conference.
Saints Tried in All Things
Clearly no revelation proves that the Lord will not try the Saints with a situation in which the president of the Church should be tried and removed. He has said He will try the Saints in all things.
“My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31; emphasis added).
Is it not priestcraft and a form of idolatry in the Church that establishes a false idea that the president of the Church is above controversy? And should anyone be automatically excommunicated who chooses to not sustain the president of the Church and to not reject evidences that he is in error?
It is very unfortunate that there was not a D&C 107:81-84 trial over President Brigham Young when he was teaching the Adam-God doctrine, as Elder Orson Pratt clearly did not accept it. Such a trial would not determine if a revelation were true or false, but it would determine if a man claiming revelation were being truthful in his claim.
A bishop should have that discernment (D&C 46:27). We know some in the Church will dispute this idea. But this is the Lord’s law and not man’s, and we believe it is best to act in good faith and try to live by His laws.
This revelation says such a trial will “end the controversy.” Sounds good to us. We do not have to judge the matter; the trial will. But apparently those who want to keep the president of the Church above possible controversy want the right to make the Church leaders look righteous and ignore any evidence to the contrary. They also want the right to speak evil of anyone who does not agree with their right to make such judgments.
Church Government Today
The Church was to be a theocracy, a government by the Lord’s laws given in D&C 42:59 and not a government by men. Now that you understand, do you not agree that D&C 107:81-84 should be a critical part of that law?
Another part of that law that is not lived today is D&C 20:76 (also Moroni 4:2), which teaches that when the sacrament is blessed the congregation is to kneel with the priest. Could we not live this? The D&C is full of such instructions which the Church could live and does not, and the idolatrous doctrine of the infallibility of the First Presidency is the kingpin false teaching that keeps the members from living these other laws.
The Church today clearly has a government by men and claims that these mortal men are to be trusted and obeyed above the scriptures. They make themselves the law to the Church. It would make sense that, if the leaders of the Church were in harmony with the Lord, then these men would allow other members to not sustain them and to seek for a trial to end controversies over them. This would prove their correctness. If the Church leaders will not allow this, is it not a proof that they want to be above the law — a coercive position?
The Lord’s will is that we become like our Father in Heaven. We must accept his advice to not automatically trust any other man. And that includes the president of the Church. He can fall, or there would not be a revelation on how to hold a trial over him to possibly remove him.
Read and reread D&C 107:81-84 and JST Mark 9:40-48. Memorize these scriptures. We have a testimony of the Church and of the Doctrine and Covenants laws. If you do this, you will actively be doing something about it.
A Matter of Common Consent
Think about it. Under the present arrangement, unless you vote in the affirmative to all these changes these men have concocted, why then have a vote? If it were automatically a sin to not sustain the president of the Church and to ask for a trial to settle a controversy over him, then in honesty there would be no need to ask members to sustain him. Imagine the following being asked:
“All in favor of sustaining the president of the Church, raise your right hand; and now all in favor of committing a sin worthy of excommunication and spiritual death, you can now raise your hand to not sustain him.”
This version of sustaining is a mockery of common consent and not unlike the compulsive spirit of communism which had “free” elections where one could vote only for the communist leadership or suffer the consequences. This is very normal in a bully system for the leaders to require acts of proving one’s allegiance to those in power.
Right now are we not in the same boat as these communists? Is their form of election not the same as the common consent existing in the Lord’s church today?
Or was this common consent meant to be part of the Lord’s balance of power set up in His church to give members the responsibility to detect and overrule possible errors by their leaders? Let us do some comparisons.
Does the Church ask the members to “sustain or not sustain” the Church’s teachings to not commit adultery or other great sins? The reason there are no sustaining votes over these matters is that they are not matters of common consent. Would it make sense for a leader to stand up and say, “All in favor of now allowing adultery to be committed in the Church raise your right hand”?
Adultery is not an issue of common consent, and it would be a mockery to have a sustaining vote over whether the Church should allow it. But having a sustaining vote over the president of the Church is a matter of common consent, and the right to not sustain him cannot automatically be a sin.
With the “de facto” Church rule that it is a sin to not sustain the president of the Church, valid controversies over him are not allowed to even be heard — let alone to be settled by a trial.
I am sure a member would not be excommunicated just for not sustaining the president of the Church if he were to just keep quiet; but if the leaders were to catch this member telling anyone about these evidences over which the president of the Church needs to be tried, then this member would be excommunicated.
Thus Church members have been denied the right of dissent against the president of the Church. The president of the Church, a man who is mortal just the same as you and me, has been placed above all the laws of God. He has been made like unto a god, having only to answer to himself.
We read again in D&C 107:22-37 that five separate quorums were to be equal in power. This balance of power does not exist at this time. The once powerful office of Church Patriarch (D&C 124:91-96) has been removed. We are convinced that at some future point the Church will learn its lesson and live by the law given to it, and these balances of power will be again restored.
An Excommunication Story
By now you must realize that the original author who inspired this discourse has been excommunicated from the Church. He was brought before the Page Arizona High Council court in December, 1984. The stake president had privately and falsely accused him of immorality (the author never fully understood his accusations), but in the trial the only charge was apostasy.
Yet this man did not believe or accept any other church, and in no way did he believe or teach anything which would encourage anyone else to leave the Church. To him this trial was not between him and the Church but between him and men in the flesh in the Church. This trial was over the politics of men, not doctrine. He believed then and still deeply believes in the Church.
In the trial the stake president hardly let him say a thing, interrupting the man when he disagreed. And when he tried to bring up President Young’s Adam-God teachings as an example of First Presidency errors, the stake president ridiculed the idea, saying the Adam-God controversy was all misquotes and misinformation; President Young never taught anything different about Adam and God than what the Church teaches today.
This man on trial was told that six of the high councilors were to defend him (per D&C 102:15-17). When they finally had a chance to say something, one of the men who was called to defend him jumped up and said something like: “If you do not sustain the president of the Church, obviously you should be excommunicated.” Incidentally, three months after the original author’s excommunication trial, this same man who was supposed to defend him was excommunicated himself for adultery.
After this quick trial, the original author asked how to appeal the decision. Someone in the stake presidency explained he was to write a letter to the First Presidency and then give it to the stake president to send in. He did so, but the stake president refused to send it in.
However, the next stake president, over a year later, did agree to send it in. The author later received a one-line reply from President Benson’s office that his appeal was denied. He doubts President Benson actually saw his appeal.
Was this excommunication court guided by the spirit of truth and love? It is certain that it was not. It was a mockery of justice. This was clearly the politics of men defending the authority of men in power. It was not the politics of humbly and carefully living by the precepts of the Holy Ghost found in the scriptures.
This man whose experiences are described above is a seventh-generation member of the Church. He and his extended family dating back for generations have supported the Church with much effort, time, and money. One would think someone in the Church would care enough to come and talk things through with him and try to understand and resolve the matter.
The only charge against this man was apostasy, and yet he did not really claim to be right but just to have the right to not reject evidences against the Church president. His excommunication was definitely influenced by the politics of men, not the living of a gospel of love.
So if what has been said is basically correct, one of the main obstacles to the coming forth of Zion at this time is the failure of the present Gentile church to allow members to legitimately not sustain the president of the Church and his counselors and to seek to settle sincere controversies over them by a trial as explained in D&C 107:81-84, and supported by JST Mark 9:40-48.
If members have integrity enough to claim, or even just support fellow members, the God-given right of honest dissent over members of the church Presidency, then there is a good chance that these members will receive the promised blessings for living all of God’s commandments. On the other hand, if they accept that the leaders are above all scriptural laws, they will be subject to not receiving the promised blessings.
Where do you stand today? Remember your salvation is at stake.
A Problem in the Lord’s Gentile Church