My last post concerned a member who was excommunicated. I was unfortunately not able to interview the ex-member in question, but now I have. And I have some documentation, too. (Because I’m not overly-anxious to publicize the person’s name, I’ll go with his first initial plus a little more confirmatory information).
Setting the Stage
In 2017, for a variety of reasons, “D” was no longer motivated to attend the LDS church in his area near Cardston, Alberta. Fast forward to early 2021, when he was (unexpectedly) invited to meet with his stake president. In the meeting, the stake president explained that he had received an assignment from Church Headquarters in Utah.
“It was a complaint against me. It originated in Salt Lake City and came down to the Area Authority Seventy in Alberta. And he (the stake president) was following up on it,” “D” explained.
The Initial Meeting
The Stake President refused to disclose the names of those who lodged the official complaint, but was enthusiastic in explaining the accusation against “D”: That “D” and his family had formed a “religious compound” on his Southern Alberta farm. In response, “D” said that another family was living on his property at the time, helping him build some large greenhouses.
The stake president asked “D” if they were participating in prayers and hymn singing. “D” explained that yes, his family had a prayer and hymn every night, and the other family was welcome (not required) to participate. It was not a religious compound; not by a long-shot.
At this point, the stake president reportedly began asking “D” the temple recommend questions. When he was asked, “Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?”, “D” said, “Frankly, no.”
“D” said that he did not believe that Pres. Nelson’s advocacy of the Covid-19 jab and facemask wearing was inspired. He also said that Pres. Nelson (and the church’s) growing friendship with the Pope and the Catholic Church was similarly uninspired. After some discussion, the meeting ended.
“A Membership Council”
In late January 2021, “D” received a letter notifying him of a forthcoming membership council. On February 9, 2021, both he and his wife attended the meeting which was also attended by the three members of the stake presidency. “D” stood his ground, and his wife shared “D’s” beliefs. A few days later, “D” received a letter confirming the removal of his membership. Despite her agreement with “D,” his wife has not had a membership council held on her behalf.
When I spoke with the father and brother of “D” a week ago about his excommunication, I was told it was because he publicly refused to get the Covid-19 “vaccine.” Actually, according to “D,” he said nothing publicly about the church’s advocacy of the jab/masks. It was only after “D” admitted his disbelief re: Pres. Nelson’s “inspiration” in a temple recommend interview did the issue surface. Other than that one point, “D” has reviewed the rest of the preceding post and found no problems with it.
Another surprise (but not) is that the accusations against “D” originated in Salt Lake City. Even though D&C 102:18-19 makes provisions for one’s accusers to participate and speak in a disciplinary council meeting, to this day, “D” has no official word as to the identity of his accusers.
His meeting with the stake presidency did not include any high councilmen; just the three stake presidency members. It is unknown when the provisions of such disciplinary meetings (which are supposed to include high councilmen) were superseded with new scripture per the Law of Common Consent.
In the new General Handbook of Instructions (released February, 2020), Section 188.8.131.52 outlines the criteria for apostasy:
In the case of “D”:
- He did not repeatedly act in clear and deliberate public opposition to the Church, its doctrine, its policies, or its leaders. As “D” has stated, his beliefs (re: Pres. Nelson) were personal and never publicly shared. They only came to light during his private temple recommend interview.
- He never taught, as Church doctrine, what is not Church doctrine.
- He was inactive at the time and not interacting with church members. He also did not discuss his private views online. Thus, he never showed a pattern of intentionally working to weaken the faith and activity of Church members.
- He never believed in, was involved with nor followed the teachings of apostate sects.
- He never formally or informally joined another church.
It seems to me that there are three possible conclusions here:
- “D” has not violated the church’s own apostasy criteria, and was therefore unjustly excommunicated per the General Handbook of Instructions.
- There is a new, yet undocumented, churchwide criteria for apostasy: Do not sustain the church President or Brethren.
- The stake president has introduced his own criteria and is therefore not in harmony with the general leaders of the church (who established the known five apostasy criteria), and is himself operating under his own form of apostasy.
(Additionally, inviting friends into your home to participate in family prayer and hymns may now get you an appointment with the stake president).
In the case of “D”, he could not sustain Pres. Nelson’s “policy” re: Covid-19 injections/face masks, nor its leaders who are continually honoring the Catholic Church and its leaders. So, he was exed.
Or, as I postulated in my previous post (which “D” agrees with as well), “Not taking the jab? You don’t sustain the brethren. Prepare for your excommunication.”
Such a belief no longer imperils just your temple recommend; it is now a prime criteria to nuke your membership and brand you as an apostate.
“I’m still appreciative of the values and morals instilled in me by the church, and still utilize the Book of Mormon on a regular basis,” “D” told me. “I just want to encourage people to walk in the truth. To trust in God, not men.”