God's house is a house of order, and He works according to patterns.
And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations— Doctrine and Covenants 53:14
We can look into the past to see the future.
For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” Moroni 8:18
The rise and fall of a society is so predictable if you can see the pattern. According to the pattern, we are either growing in light and truth or falling into apostasy.
And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. Alma 12:10-11
As far as I know, there are only two groups of people, that have lived upon the face of the earth that we have record of, who have not fallen into apostasy. The city of Enoch . . .
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion. And it came to pass that Enoch talked with the Lord; and he said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. But the Lord said unto Enoch: Zion have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed. And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever. Moses 7:18-21
and the people of Melchizedek
And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace. And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world; JST, Genesis 14:32-34
Let's look at what has happened in the past to help us understand what is happening in our day. The Book of Mormon explains what happens when people harden their hearts against the truth. There is a tension that builds between believers in Christ and unbelievers. The unbelievers are not content to allow men the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, allowing them to worship how, where, or what they may. (A of F #11) The unbelievers begin to exercise unrighteous dominion upon the believers and cast them out until there is an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked. Here's how the scriptures describe it.
But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent. Alma 10:23
But behold, it is for the righteous sake that it is spared. But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; yea, wo be unto this great city, because of the wickedness and abominations which are in her. Helaman 13:14
And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them. 3 Nephi 9:11
And until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked; and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire. Doctrine and Covenants 63:54
While working on this, I received an email from a friend. It is relevant to this topic:
I've been studying from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith lately. Tonight, I read:
"I shall now proceed to make some remarks from the sayings of the Savior, recorded in the 13th chapter of His Gospel according to St. Matthew, which, in my mind, afford us as clear an understanding upon the important subject of the gathering, as anything recorded in the Bible."
I turned to Matthew 13 and read the parable of the wheat and the tares. The parables given in this chapter, Joseph taught, would help us understand the gathering more than anything else in the Bible.
I went back to the words of Joseph Smith and read on a few interesting things that I thought I might share. Joseph said:
"Now we learn by this parable, not only the setting up of the Kingdom in the days of the Savior, which is represented by the good seed, which produced fruit, but also the corruptions of the Church, which are represented by the tares, which were sown by the enemy . . ." (TPJS, p. 98)
And then, a few pages later:
"As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world; that is, as the servants of God go forth warning the nations, both priests and people, and as they harden their hearts and reject the light of truth, these first being delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, and the law and the testimony being closed up . . . they are left in darkness, and delivered over unto the day of burning; thus being bound up by their creeds, and their bands being made strong by their priests, are prepared for the fulfilment of the saying of the Savior - 'The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire . . .'"
"after the day of burnings, the righteous shall shine forth like the sun, in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (TPJS, p. 101).
An interesting thing is happening in the LDS church today that should put all of us on notice. People who believe in following Jesus Christ, believe in preserving the restoration brought to us by Joseph Smith, believe God can still talk face to face with each of us, believe in the Book of Mormon, believe we are still under condemnation for taking the Book of Mormon lightly are being cast out of the LDS church.
Apostasy is defined on the LDS.org website as follows:
"When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy."
The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, so if people are going be judged as turning away from the principles of the gospel, it would follow that the Book of Mormon should be a key component in judging the matter.
“He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; Book of Mormon
But this criteria is not being used in the LDS church courts. A secret definition that appears only in the Church Handbook of Instructions Volume 1, is being used. This handbook is tightly controlled and only made available to certain church leaders. As used here apostasy refers to members who:
Repeatedly act in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.
The secret definition says nothing about Jesus Christ or the restoration of the gospel or the Book of Mormon. It only makes reference to the Church and its current leaders. History shows us that every restoration (except the two mentioned above) ends in apostasy. So, if the Church is in a state of apostasy, people can actually be excommunicated for believing and living the gospel.
Behold, I say unto you that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures, and to preaching, and to confirming the church at Colesville, and to performing your labors on the land, such as is required, until after you shall go to the west to hold the next conference; and then it shall be made known what you shall do. And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen. Doctrine and Covenants 26:1-2
The Lord asked the leaders of the new church to study the scriptures, preach, confirm the church, and do all things by common consent. Secret definitions and rules are not to be used. We are to use the scriptures as our guide.
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.
12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.
14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.
15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!
16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish. 2 Nephi 28
This message is for us. According to the pattern set forth in scripture, when the corrupted Church casts out true believers in Christ, they are ripe for destruction (see Helaman 14:13). When the Church casts out people who are turning to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they confirm that they, the Church, have become the apostates.
23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.
24 And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him:
25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men—
26 Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.
27 And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding?
28 But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.
29 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
30 And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off;
32 And they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.
33 Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
34 But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
35 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. 2 Nephi 27
The unfolding of events is in Lord's hands. The joy of the Lord is full to those who continue to trust in their God.
10 And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;
12 For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. 3 Nephi 12
The question might be asked? Why do you remain a member of this church if you see it's corrupt and apostate condition? The Lord works according to patterns and the law of witnesses is still in place. Those who remain until being cast out serve as witnesses as a testimony before the Lord God so He can come forth and exercise a righteous judgment against the ungodly.
9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.
14 Now it came to pass that when the bodies of those who had been cast into the fire were consumed, and also the records which were cast in with them, the chief judge of the land came and stood before Alma and Amulek, as they were bound; and he smote them with his hand upon their cheeks, and said unto them: After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone?
15 Behold, ye see that ye had not power to save those who had been cast into the fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves? Alma 14 (see also Alma 60:13, Doctrine and Covenants 103:3, Mosiah 17:10)
These judges were cocky and confident in their actions and speech as they sealed their destruction, but according to the pattern they were destroyed.
2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah . . . Alma 16
According to LDS scripture, there is no law against a man's belief, and yet people are being cast out of the Church because of their beliefs. Those who are seeking the face of the Lord are being targeted.
Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds. Alma 30:7
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Article of Faith 11
Here are a few testimonies of those who have experienced LDS Church discipline because of their beliefs. The pattern is repeating itself. For those who have ears to hear, there is still time to repent.
This is in no way a complete list. If you know of others who would like to add their testimony to this list, please post a link to their testimony in the comment section. I can update this blog post.
Denver C Snuffer: September 8, 2013 Court was scheduled, September 10, 2013 Denver was informed of decision
Disciplinary Council Letter & Appeal Letter: Appeal Letter
Decision of Council Letter: No Title
Brent Larsen: Feb 2, 2014
Appeal Letter: pdf link
Interview with a 70 for Appeal: pdf link
Emily Prentice: March 30, 2014
Source: Emily Prentice
Will Carter: April 9, 2014
Letter of Appeal: "Exhaling"
Letter Outlawed From LDS Property: "Exiled into Egypt"
Adrian & Tausha Larsen: October 12, 2014
Source: "40 days on death row"
Relevant Source: “Abuse and Favor in All Things”
Brian Beckle: October 12, 2014
Letter to Stake President: pdf link
Source: Brian Beckle
Angel Cicero: October 26, 2014
Keith Henderson: November 2, 2014
Letter to Church : "Wresting the Keys Of the Kingdom"
Letter of Appeal: pdf link
Testimony At Denvers Last Talk (page 40): pdf link
Source: "Of One Heart and One Mind"
Ken Jensen: January 11, 2015
Letter to First Presidency: pdf link
Letter from First Presidency: pdf link
Source: "Ken Jensen"
Duztin and Sarah Sorensen: Februrary 8, 2015
Disciplinary Council Letter: pdf link
Source: Sarah Sorensen
Jonny and Kari Durfee: March 6, 2015
Source: "My Bishop Called" "Bishops "court" , "Getting to Know you-What to expect when called in by stake (interview with stake)", "Texts", "Stake President Called me Today", "The Bells Toll", "A New Day Dawns"
Alan Rock Waterman: June 4, 2015
Source: "Yerrrr Out"
Garth and Melonie Turley November 2, 2015
Source: Garth and Melonie Turley
Source: Another Casualty
Rob Smith February 11, 2016
Book: Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Tradition in Modern Mormonism Free Download
Louis Steiner Naegle May 13, 2016
Source: Excommunication of Louis Steiner Naegle
Source: Letter shared with permission