In Salt Lake City, Utah, (or really anywhere their website can be read) there is a newspaper with a reporter that continually pushes and promotes extreme feminist causes within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—especially the ordination of women to the priesthood. The main publicized organization that pushes for such to occur is viewed by Church leaders as apostate and therefore they are largely ignored as a nuisance. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "But meddle not with any man [or woman] for his religion: all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man [or woman] has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet." (History of the Church, 6:304.)
So the women (and men) involved in any of these extremist movements have the constitutional right to be false leaders and teachers and to agitate for false or foolish causes. The Salt Lake newspaper, as annoying as it sometimes is, also has the right to cover (really promote) false prophets, deceitful voices, and activist/extremist causes and support the agendas of deceivers and excommunicants.
But having allowed for that as the Prophet did, such certainly does not mean that we must listen to or support or follow them to hell. They make for sensational press and maybe some talk around the watercooler, but when all is said and done they are but the latest players in a long line of dissidents and malcontents and detractors whose personal causes became more important to them than eternal life. They therefore let go of the iron rod and drift away into mists of darkness, but are sure to make noise as they do so. Sometimes their loved ones and friends tragically follow them into those dark and foggy mists and become lost as well. The prophets or their local leaders call after them to repent and return; some do but most do not, for they have lost the Spirit. Such are the times we live in (the last days) and such are the reasons why the principles taught by Church leaders in the quotations in this blog series are so very critical; eternal life is at stake and we must hold on and stay in the boat:
We feel special concern, however, for members who distance themselves from Church doctrine or practice and, by advocacy, encourage others to follow them.
Simply asking questions has never constituted apostasy. Apostasy is repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine.
There are those who criticize when we issue a statement of counsel or warning. Please know that our pleadings are not motivated by any selfish desire. Please know that our warnings are not without substance and reason. Please know that the decisions to speak out on various matters are not reached without deliberation, discussion, and prayer. (Teachings of Gordon B.
Hinckley [ Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997], 82-83.)
No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein. (Conference Report, April 2003, 64.)
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve (1991):
Recent symposia sponsored and attended by some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have included some presentations relating to the House of the Lord, the holy temples, that are offensive. We deplore the bad taste and insensitivity of these public discussions of things we hold sacred. We are especially saddened at the participation of our own members, especially those who hold Church or other positions that give them stature among Latter-day Saints and who have allowed their stature to be used to promote such presentations.
We have a different concern about some of the other topics at these symposia. Some of the presentations by persons whom we believe to be faithful members of the Church have included matters that were seized upon and publicized in such a way as to injure the Church or its members or to jeopardize the effectiveness or safety of our missionaries. We appreciate the search for knowledge and the discussion of gospel subjects. However, we believe that Latter-day Saints who are committed to the mission of their Church and the well-being of their fellow members will strive to be sensitive to those matters that are more appropriate for private conferring and correction than for public debate. Jesus taught that when a person has trespassed against us, we should “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” and if he will “neglect to hear” this private communication we should tell it unto the church.” (Matthew 18:15, 17.) Modern revelation tells us that this last step “shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world” (D&C 42:99). There are times when public discussion of sacred or personal matters is inappropriate.
Some of our faithful members have doubtless participated in these symposia because they were invited to state or to defend the Church’s position on a particular topic. There are times when it is better to have the Church without representation than to have implications of Church participation used to promote a program that contains some (though admittedly not all) presentations that result in ridiculing sacred things or injuring The Church of Jesus Christ, detracting from its mission, or jeopardizing the well-being of its members. (The Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Statement, Deseret News, August 23, 1991, B1.)
The First Presidency (1992):
The following is the complete transcript of the First Presidency’s statement on scriptural mandate as reason for the
’s Strengthening Church
Members Committee. LDS
Generally The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not respond to criticism levied against its work. But in light of extensive publicity recently given to false accusations of so-called secret Church committees and files, the First Presidency has issued the following statement:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in 1830 following the appearance of God the Father and Jesus Christ to the Prophet Joseph Smith in upstate
New York. This sacred event heralded the onset of the
promised ‘restitution of all things.’
Many instructions were subsequently given to the Prophet including
Section 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
And again, we would suggest for your consideration the propriety of all the saints gathering up a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them…
And also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal injuries…
And also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions, as far as they can get hold of them and find them out.
And perhaps a committee can be appointed to find out these things, and to take statements and affidavits; and also to gather up the libelous publications that are afloat;
And all that are in the magazines, and in the encyclopedias, and all the libelous histories that are published. (Verses 1-5.)
Leaders and members of the Church strive to implement commandments of the Lord including this direction received in 1839. Because the Church has a non-professional clergy, its stake presidents and bishops have varied backgrounds and training. In order to assist their members who have questions, these local leaders often request information from General Authorities of the Church.
The Strengthening Church Members Committee was appointed by the First Presidency to help fulfill this need and to comply with the cited section of the Doctrine and Covenants. This committee serves as a resource to priesthood leaders throughout the world who may desire assistance on a wide variety of topics. It is a General Authority committee, currently comprised of Elder James E. Faust and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They work through established priesthood channels and neither impose nor direct Church disciplinary action.
Members who have questions concerning Church doctrine, policy, or procedures have been counseled to discuss those concerns confidentially with their local leaders. These leaders are deeply aware of their obligation to counsel members wisely in the spirit of love, in order to strengthen their faith in the Lord and in His great latter-day work.”
—The First Presidency (Deseret News, August 14, 1992, B2; introductory wording from original article.)
The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve (1993):
Statement by The Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
In light of extensive publicity given to six recent Church disciplinary councils in
Utah, we believe it
helpful to reaffirm the position of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the
We deeply regret the loss of Church membership on the part of anyone. The attendant consequences felt over time by the individuals and their families are very real.
In their leadership responsibilities, local Church officers may seek clarification and other guidance from General Authorities of the Church. General Authorities have an obligation to teach principles and policies and to provide information that may be helpful in counseling members for whom local leaders are responsible. In matters of Church discipline, the General Authorities do not direct the decisions of local disciplinary councils.
Furthermore, the right of appeal is open to anyone who feels he or she has been unfairly treated by a disciplinary council.
It is difficult to explain Church disciplinary action to representatives of the media. Considerations of confidentiality restrain public comment by Church leaders in such private matters.
We have the responsibility to preserve the doctrinal purity of the Church. We are united in this objective. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught an eternal principle when he explained: “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 156.) In instructing His Twelve Disciples in the new world about those who would not repent, the Savior said, “But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people….” (3 Nephi 18:31, see also Mosiah 26:36 and Alma 5:59.) The Prophet also remarked that “from apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 67.) This continues to be the case today.
The long standing policy of Church discipline is outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members…according to the rules and regulations of such societies, provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing;… They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.” (Doctrine and Covenants 134:10.)
Faithful members of the Church can distinguish between mere differences of opinion and those activities formally defined as apostasy. Apostasy refers to Church members who “(1) repeatedly act in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders; or (2) persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority; or (3) continue to follow the teachings of apostate cults (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority.” (General Handbook of Instructions, 10-3.)
The general and local officers of the Church will continue to do their duty, and faithful Church members will understand.
As leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we reach out in love to all and constantly pray that the Lord, whose Church this is, will bless those who love and seek divine truth.
The Council of the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Church News, October 23, 1993, 3.)
The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve issued the above statement Oct. 17 in response to widespread media coverage of events surrounding five Church members who were excommunicated and another who was disfellowshipped in September following separate disciplinary councils in their stakes. All six were residing in
Utah at the time the councils were held.
Some of the six have granted extensive interviews or have made comments to the media.
maintain confidentiality, have declined to discuss with the media details of
the disciplinary councils. Therefore,
the media have relied on information supplied by those disciplined or by their
sympathizers. (Church News, October 23, 1993, 3.) Local
Boyd K. Packer:
[The intellectual dissident] needs to understand that the doctrines of the gospel are revealed through the Spirit to prophets, not through the intellect to scholars. (“All-Church Coordinating Council Meeting,”
18 May 1993, 7.)
Marion G. Romney:
If there be those among us who feel aggrieved, out of harmony, or to criticize what the Presidency say on these burning issues of our times, it would be well to remember that these prophets are but declaring to us the will of the Father, and that the only open road to peace and happiness is to bring ourselves into harmony therewith. (Conference Report, April 1945, 91.)
Harold B. Lee:
I have seen men, ambitious for recognition, who have kicked up their heels and set up little organizations of their own to criticize and find fault with the Church. They sometimes call them “seminars,” I believe. I am sure, knowing the early history of some of these young men, that they were disappointed because they did not get the positions that they thought their abilities and desires warranted. They kick up their heels because they know that when they begin to show apostate attitudes we are going to send the ward teachers and the bishopric to see them, and perhaps the missionaries and even the general authorities. They are just like a little child who, when his mother speaks too long on the phone, tips over the ink bottle on the rug to draw attention to himself. (“Doing the Right Things for the Right Reasons,” Address given to the Brigham Young University Studentbody,
April 19, 1961, 9.)
Dallin H. Oaks:
Other alternate voices are pursuing selfish personal interests, such as property, pride, prominence, or power. Other voices are the bleatings of lost souls who cannot hear the voice of the Shepherd and trot about trying to find their way without his guidance. Some of these voices call out guidance for others—the lost leading the lost.
Some alternate voices are of those whose avowed or secret object is to deceive and devour the flock. The Good Shepherd warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15; see also 3 Ne. 14:15.) In both the Bible and the Book of Mormon the Savior charged his shepherds to watch over and protect the flock from such wolves. (See Acts 20:28-29;
5:59.) (“Alternate Voices,” Ensign,
May 1989, 27-28.)
Dallin H. Oaks:
I have seen some persons attempt to understand or undertake to criticize the gospel or the Church by the method of reason alone, unaccompanied by the use or recognition of revelation. When reason is adopted as the only—or even the principal—method of judging the gospel, the outcome is predetermined. One cannot find God or understand his doctrines and ordinances by closing the door on the means He has prescribed for receiving the truths of his gospel. That is why gospel truths have been corrupted and gospel ordinances have been lost when left to the interpretation and sponsorship of scholars who lack the authority and reject the revelations of God. (“Alternate Voices,” Ensign, May 1989, 30.)
Bruce R. McConkie:
One of the side effects of preaching contrary to what the Brethren preach is to get a spirit of rebellion growing up in your heart. This sort of thing cankers the soul spiritually. It drives people out of the Church. It weakens their faith. All of us need all of the faith and strength and spiritual stability we can to maintain our positions in the Church and to work out our salvation. (Bruce R. McConkie Correspondence, 1981.)
J. Reuben Clark:
I remember years ago hearing of some teacher who was called to task for teaching false doctrines, and his reply was, “Well, I made them think.” Thinking in terms of doubt does not increase testimony. (“Preparation of Teachers—Build a Simple Faith,” Pre-School Faculty Meeting Address,
19, 1956, 25.)
Joseph Fielding Smith:
Because a man has great schooling, is educated according to the ideas of the world, is not sufficient reason why he should be called to take charge of a class in any of the organizations or priesthood quorums within the Church. Now, if he has Scholastic ability and training, and along with it has faith in the principles of the gospel and in the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Prophet Joseph Smith, all well and good. But if he is filled with all kinds of philosophy and notions and cannot accept the doctrines in the standard works of the Church, we do not want him, whether it is in our auxiliaries or the priesthood, or in our seminaries or institutes, that are given for the teaching of religious principles and to instill faith in the hearts of our young people. (Conference Report, October 1954, 21.)
Joseph F. Smith:
The moment a man says he will not submit to the legally constituted authority of the Church, whether it be the teachers, the bishopric, the high council, his quorum, or the First Presidency, and in his heart confirms it and carries it out, that moment he cuts himself off from the privileges and blessings of the Priesthood and Church, and severs himself from the people of God, for he ignores the authority that the Lord has instituted in his Church. These are the men that generally get crotchets in their heads, that get inspiration (from beneath), and that are often so desirous to guide the Church, and to sit in judgment upon the priesthood. (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, comp. John A. Widtsoe [
Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939], 45.)
Do not be wise above what is written. Do not be too anxious to be too smart, to manage, and manipulate, and to put things right; but pray for those that God has placed in the different offices of this church that they may be enabled to perform their several duties. (The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, ed. G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941], 166-67.)
Watch yourselves, and think. As I had observed, on the evening of the 14th, at the Social Hall, "think, brethren, think," but do not think so far that you cannot think back again. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-86], 3:247-48.)
Truth is what we are after, and we are not afraid of the doctrines of any man; we are willing to stand by the revelations of God.—JD 17:194,
October 7, 1874. (The Discourses of
Wilford Woodruff, ed. G. Homer Durham [ Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 49.)
From the Book of Mormon:
And four of them were the sons of Mosiah; and their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; these were the names of the sons of Mosiah.
And they traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them.
And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer.
And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth. (Mosiah 27:34-37.)
Joseph Fielding McConkie:
Those who are offended with the idea of doctrine seek to convince us that all that really matters is that we love one another and are gracious and charitable in all our relationships. To oppose such notions is like opposing motherhood and apple pie. No right thinking person is against love, charity, or the importance of living by Christlike standards. Nevertheless, such expressions represent a loss of spiritual focus. If love and charity have the power of salvation in them, then why the necessity of Christ and his atoning sacrifice? Why did Joseph and Hyrum Smith die in
Why were the heavens opened and angels sent to earth to restore keys and
authority? What is the necessity of the ordinances of salvation? What is the
purpose of temples? Why do we need scriptures and living prophets? (Here We
Stand [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995], 133-34.)
The prophet recognizes the merit of study; there is a spirit in man, Paul tells us, and we know that the spirit of Jesus Christ enlightens every man that comes into the world. The prophet recognizes the scholar for what he is, but the scholar does not return the compliment. He cannot conceive how anyone could possibly acquire knowledge by any method other than his. He cannot believe that any man has experienced anything which he has not experienced. The great Dutch scholar Quispel is at present engaged in showing how this narrow prejudice of the experts has rendered them incapable of comprehending the true nature of the
. "I have never seen a
vision," says the scholar, "therefore Joseph Smith never had one. I have
seen dreams, therefore I will allow him that." (Hugh Nibley, The World
and the Prophets, 3rd ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book & FARMS, 1987],
31.) Primitive Church
Boyd K. Packer:
There are Church watchers, in and out of the Church, who show great interest in what we do. They watch what they define as the power structure, the resources of the Church, the changes in organization, the political and social issues; and they draw conclusions from their watching. They write their observations and print them in publications and represent them to be accurate and objective reports of what is going on in the Church. In all of their watching and claiming, they have missed the most important of all the things that we have done in recent generations.
Some of them say that we have lost our way, that we are not Christians. Should they turn to that one thing in which they show the least interest and in which they have the least knowledge, the scriptures and the revelations, they would find in the Topical Guide fifty-eight categories of information about Jesus Christ; eighteen pages of small print, single-spaced, list literally thousands of scriptural references on the subject.
These references from the four volumes of scripture constitute the most comprehensive compilation of scriptural information on the mission and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that has ever been assembled in the history of the world. (Conference Report, October 1982, 76.)