Friday, April 29, 2022

Stand Independent Conference this Fall

For any looking to understand how they might prepare against the "troubling season fast approaching", this Fall a conference will be held September 23-25, 2022, in Northern Utah:

If Ye Are Prepared Ye Need Not Fear

To those who willingly accepted the covenant offered to mankind by the Lord in 2017, He included the following promise:

And I, the Lord your God, will be with you and will never forsake you, and I will lead you in the path which will bring peace to you in the troubling season now fast approaching. (T&C 158:12

Such a result necessarily requires that the sheep permit themselves to be led by the Shepherd, then following Him "in the path." Although the soothsayers of our world are now offering and urging many different paths and directions, apparently "the path which will bring peace to you" is only one.

"Troubling", on the other hand, is an interesting word. It means "causing feelings of distress, worry, or anxiety." The Lord spoke anciently to his disciples about how disturbing the events of our day would be to us and how the upheavals in nature would echo this:

And then his disciples asked him, saying, Master, tell us concerning your coming. And he answered them and said, In the generation in which the times of the gentiles shall be fulfilled, there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth, distress of nations with perplexity, like the sea and the waves roaring. The earth also shall be troubled, and the waters of the great deep, men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the Powers of Heaven shall be shaken; and when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for the day of your redemption draws near. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

And he spoke to them a parable, saying, Behold the fig tree and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now near at hand. So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is near at hand. Truly I say unto you, this generation — the generation when the times of the gentiles are fulfilled — shall not pass away until all are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Let my disciples therefore take heed to themselves, lest at any time their hearts should be burdened with overindulgence, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come upon them unawares; for as a snare it shall come on all them who dwell on the face of the whole earth. And what I say unto one, I say unto all. Watch, therefore, and pray always, and keep my commandments, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things which shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man when he shall come, clothed in the glory of his Father. (Luke 12:17-18 RE)

Christ, Nephi, Mormon, Ether, and others in the Book of Mormon spend a great deal of time discussing "the fulfillment of the times of the gentiles". Today is that generation, and signs of the closing of this phase have been given. The second of the 7-year-separated pair of solar eclipses whose shadows cross this nation out will be given two short years from now. Things are just in process of wrapping up for the "gentiles", with all the associated events already well under way. Have you considered, for example, the significance of the sign in the heavens to take place in the predawn hours of this Sunday, May 1st, 2020? Or the other unusual planetary signs recently given in the predawn sky?

I look forward to this conference and to learning from each of those who share something there. Hopefully that will be nearly everyone.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Prepare & Organize Yourselves

In March 1832, the Lord gave the following guidance to his people at that time:

"Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you to prepare and organize yourselves ... Behold, this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation and the example which I give unto you whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you, that through my providences, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that you may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the Celestial world..." (T&C 70:4)

I have been asked to share the following.

A work for Zion has begun.

Several months ago, a handful of families in the movement felt inspired to begin an effort to lay up stores against a coming time of want and need. A work group from among interested parties was formed and work was begun to consider questions related to the issue of providing for our families through coming circumstances we may face as the Lord brings His Zion.  A growing number of families have begun the necessary labor to provide for our families against a fast approaching “troubling season,” (T&C 158:12), and what may follow as the Lord moves forward His work to bring His Zion. 

We invite every person and family in this movement to join in the labor for Zion now by laying up stores to provide for your family against coming seasons of want and need. 

“God cannot produce Zion for, or with, people who refuse to labor. Because His promise is for the results of the labor and nothing else. As far as I know, none of us, and certainly I, cannot provide for everyone. But, I can provide for my own family. And each of you should labor to do the same” (Equality - Denver Snuffer - Challis Idaho Transcript pg. 13 of 20).

We are to Labor to Provide for our Families.  

We are required to provide for our families now in the present. Looking forward, we will need to provide for our families in a “troubling season now fast approaching” (T&C 158:12) and beyond.

Note: Four years have elapsed since the Lord gave us this instruction (T&C 158:12). You might ask yourselves, what have we done in four years to prepare for a troubling season? 

We will need to provide for our families during an undefined length of time following a gathering by the Lord in which our entire efforts and labors may be required to be devoted to subduing and working the earth until she yields sufficient for our needs (For guidance see Equality - Denver Snuffer - Challis Idaho transcript page 10 of 20).

God, in His mercy, is giving us this current season of relative peace, abundance, and prosperity.  He is making it possible for us to provide for our families now, and during a fast approaching ‘troubling season’ and beyond as the Lord brings forth His Zion (For guidance see Equality - Denver Snuffer - Challis Idaho Transcript pages 9-10 of 20).

Many are anxiously engaged preparing to provide for our families’ and fellowships’ coming needs. We invite you to join the work for Zion by beginning your own labor to provide for your family against a coming day of want now fast approaching (T&C 158:12).

What is the Suggested Plan?

Above all things we desire to receive and exactly follow the will and desires of the Lord for us. This must be His work, done at His direction. We desire above all things that He be our guide. 

Individuals and Families 

  1. Determine your families’ needs.
  2. Determine what you already have.
  3. Prioritize your families’ needs.
  4. Lay out a plan to acquire your families’ needs.
  5. Begin to produce, acquire, and lay up stores.


  1. Counsel together with fellowship members to inspire, encourage, and help them identify family needs and begin to lay up stores.
  2. Work together as mutually agreed among fellowship to meet the needs of fellowship members.
  3. Review carefully, and prayerfully follow all revealed words of the Lord concerning wise and required use and application of limited temporal resources. (For Guidance see Equality - Denver Snuffer - Challis Idaho Transcript pg. 13-15)

Storehouse Work Group

  1. Provide knowledge and resources to assist families and fellowships to identify and meet storage needs.
  2. Gather knowledge and resources to build and maintain a central web site that individuals, families, and fellowships may use to help meet their storage needs.
  3. Recommend contact between individuals, families, and fellowships with specific resources and storage skills and those searching for those specific resources or skills.
  4. Create, manage, and update, a central information exchange hub for "great deals" and storage opportunities (Website "Specials" page).
  5. Provide a "Wants / Available" listing page on the web site for items individuals or families may be seeking, or willing to sell or give away.

If you would like to know more, please visit the website for resources we have gathered to assist your family and fellowship in your efforts to prepare.

The website is a work in progress that will be evolving and changing as we go along. We invite you to share your expertise, ideas, and experiences related to storage topics that may assist all others in their storage efforts.  Your stories, ideas, suggestions and other content will be appreciated.

Please contact us at with ideas, experiences, stories, and other suggestions for content to be added to the website. The storehouse work group will determine together by common consent vote all content to be added to the website  

The storehouse work group:

Nephi and Kim Barlow
Evan and Karen Bennett
Terry and Mellody Fausett
Jim and Angela O’Rullian
McKay Platt
Jon and Tina Saunders
Kimberly and Mike Thompson
Steve and Linda VanLeer
Shalyce Woodard


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Casting Out

 "O ye wicked and perverse generation, ye lawyers and hypocrites, for ye are laying the foundations of the Devil, for ye are laying traps and snares to catch the holy ones of God. Ye are laying plans to pervert the ways of the righteous and to bring down the wrath of God upon your heads, even to the utter destruction of this people. Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices — yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should cause iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction. And now I say unto you that well doth the Lord judge of your iniquities; well doth he cry unto this people by the voice of his angels, Repent ye, repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Yea, well doth he cry by the voice of his angels that I will come down among my people with equity and justice in my hands. Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction. Yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword. 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 8:5)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Disciples of Truth

And in that generation shall the times of the gentiles be fulfilled.

And there shall be men standing in that generation that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge, for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

But my disciples shall stand in holy places and shall not be moved.

stand (v. intr.): To take up, assert, and defend a viewpoint, position, or perspective believed to be true.

holy (adj.): The state of being connected to the light of truth, having "received the holy ghost."

place (n.): 1) A distinct condition, position, or state of mind. 2) Station in life; calling; occupation; condition.

moved (adj.): Dislodged from a fixed point of view, as by persuasion.

Hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men [i.e., "the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim"] that rule this people which is in Jerusalem: "Because you have said, 'When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, for we have made lies our refuge and under falsehood have we hidden ourselves' ...

"Therefore, thus says the Lord God: Behold, ... the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. ... When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then you shall be trodden down by it."

The Lord speaking to one of his disciples:

Let him be humble before me and be without guile, and he shall receive of my spirit, even the Comforter, which shall manifest unto him the truth of all things, and shall give him in the very hour what he shall say. And these signs shall follow him: he shall heal the sick, he shall cast out devils, and shall be delivered from those who would administer unto him deadly poison...

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Agreement with Hell: Covenanting while Under the Influence of Intoxicants

In T&C 37:4-8, the Lord restored to us a record of the discussion he had with his disciples while on the Mount of Olives looking across at the temple complex in Jerusalem. While parts of it appear in Matt. 11, there is additional information from this sermon that are restored here regarding the scattering and gathering of Israel, the times of the gentiles, and an "overflowing scourge" or "desolating sickness" which is scheduled to occur:

"As you have asked of me concerning these signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of Heaven, to fulfill the promises that I have made unto your fathers, for as you have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel.

"And now you behold this temple which is in Jerusalem, which you call the House of God, and your enemies say that this house shall never fall. But verily, I say unto you that desolation shall come upon this generation as a thief in the night, and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations. And this temple which you now see shall be thrown down, that there shall not be left one stone upon another. And it shall come to pass that this generation of Jews shall not pass away until every desolation which I have told you concerning them shall come to pass. You say that you know that the end of the world comes. You say also that you know that the heavens and the earth shall pass away, and in this you say truly, for so it is. But these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled, and this I have told you concerning Jerusalem. 

"And when that day shall come shall a remnant be scattered among all nations; but they shall be gathered again, but they shall remain until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled. And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion. And men’s hearts shall fail them and shall say that Christ delays his coming until the end of the world, and the love of men shall wax cold and iniquity shall abound. And when the times of the gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fullness of my gospel, but they receive it not, for they perceive not the light and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

"And in that generation shall the times of the gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be men standing in that generation that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge, for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices, and curse God, and die. And there shall be earthquakes also in diverse places and many desolations. Yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword one against another and they will kill one another."

That last sentence seems to echo Isaiah 6:15, where the ancient, sole-superpower Egypt may be an apt latter-day symbol for the United States: 

Behold, the Lord rides upon a swift cloud and shall come into Egypt; and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians and they shall fight, every one against his brother and every one against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof, and I will destroy the counsel thereof; and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord, and a fierce king shall rule over them, says the Lord, the Lord of Hosts.

Going back to Christ's prophecy in T&C 31:8, this prediction on the Mount of Olives really disturbed his disciples:

And now, when I, the Lord, had spoken these words unto my disciples they were troubled, and I said unto them, "Be not troubled, for when all these things shall come to pass you may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled. And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you: You look and behold the fig trees, and you see them with your eyes, and you say, when they begin to shoot forth and their leaves are yet tender, you say that summer is now nigh at hand. Even so, it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh."

It really was the good news they were asking about, even if some of the events leading up to it bothered them to learn of.

The "light [that] shall break forth among them that sit in darkness [or] the fullness of my gospel" seems to echo what Christ told the Nephites of the Father's work in the end times in 3 Nephi 9:12:

For in that day, for my sake, shall the Father work a work which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them, and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore, they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Therefore, it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the gentiles, it shall be done even as Moses said — They shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

(Those words that Christ claims as his own have been declared by that servant and include the words in T&C 156, 157 and 158.)

Latter-day Winos

In Isaiah 8:1-2, we find a "woe" pronounced on the latter-day "drunkards of Ephraim":

Woe to the crown of pride,

to the drunkards of Ephraim

whose glorious beauty is a fading flower,

which are on the head of the fat valleys

of them that are overcome with wine.

Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one,


as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm,

as a flood of mighty waters overflowing,

shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

The crown of pride,

the drunkards of Ephraim,

shall be trodden under feet,

and the glorious beauty

which is on the head of the fat valley

shall be a fading flower,

and as the hasty fruit before the summer,


when he that looks upon it sees,

while it is yet in his hand,

he eats it up.


In that day shall the Lord of Hosts be

for a crown of glory

and for a diadem of beauty

unto the residue of his people,

and for a spirit of judgment

to him that sits in judgment,

and for strength

to them that turn the battle to the gate.


But they also have erred through wine,

and through strong drink are out of the way.

The priest and the prophet

have erred through strong drink,

they are swallowed up of wine,

they are out of the way through strong drink;

they err in vision,

they stumble in judgment.

For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness,

so that there is no place clean.

There is only one last-days church organization that claims to be primarily composed of Ephraimites. This is from their web site:

Two additional brief thoughts on these words from Isaiah. First, the "crown of pride" as an alternate name for these Ephraimite leaders is interesting. It recalls Christ's parallel description of this latter-day, gentile church in 3 Nephi 7:5, where he quotes the Father: "At that day when [not "if"] the gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations and above all the people of the whole earth…" It's tough to find stronger superlatives than that--and from the Father.

Second, that word "filthiness" that the translators used was their polite way of avoiding an uncomfortable word. The Hebrew means feces, dung, or excrement. The feast presented on tables by these drunkards does not consist of the lavish smorgasbord you might expect. Instead, it is partially digested food (vomit) or wholly digested food (feces) which has been returned to the serving plates for your feasting pleasure. All of which has lost its nutritional value and appeal. Apparently extreme reuse of what is represented to be (but is not) nutritional and beneficial offerings to their followers is what warranted Isaiah's extreme analogy here. In fact, in English we even use the idiom of someone "regurgitating" what they've been taught. With the frequent repetition of the same teachings among adherents in correlated materials, Isaiah's choice of words seems very well selected. It may also call to mind leaders' endless quoting of each other in L-dS general conferences.

The Refuge Provided by Lies & an Accord with Death & Hell

After a brief (but related) aside in paragraph 3, the Lord returns to the activities of these Ephraimite winos and quotes them in their glee:

Wherefore, hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because you have said,

"We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement! When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, for we have made lies our refuge and under falsehood have we hidden ourselves!"

What lies could such leaders put their trust in, supposing that those lies would be protective from an overflowing scourge & desolating sickness? What do they suppose could provide a refuge from the dire effects of some coming pandemic? Is it a false hope they might not only willingly accept but also urge their followers to accept? What form might that take?

Whatever the case, according to the Lord, this covenant and agreement they have put in place will not be honored but will be done away with. Instead, the "overflowing scourge" will actually overtake them.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God:

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone,

a tried stone,

a precious cornerstone,

a sure foundation.

He that believes shall not make haste.

Judgment also will I lay to the line,

and righteousness to the plummet

And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,

and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled,

and your agreement with hell shall not stand;

When the overflowing scourge shall pass through,

then you shall be trodden down by it.

From the time that it goes forth, it shall take you;

for morning by morning shall it pass over,

by day and by night.

And it shall be a vexation only to understand the report [i.e., the news going around].

For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it,

and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim,

he shall be angry as in the valley of Gibeon,

that he may do his work,

his strange work,

and bring to pass his act,

his strange act.

Now therefore, be not mockers,

lest your bands be made strong;

For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption,

even determined upon the whole earth.

When Lies Eventually Come to Light: CRT, meet the Guys

It's not clear what will happen to the idolatrous followers of these drunkards when the lies and falsehoods they have bet the farm on finally come to light.

When it finally does so, however, there will be pretty some pretty harsh realizations. It will also be the case for any not among elite religionists and other "world leaders". Imagine how half of the US population might begin react were they to discover, say for example, that as a result of their trust in the solution so urgently and forcefully pushed on them by so many leaders, they were to then be subject to all manner of very significant health problems, even including death. It's not difficult to imagine what emotions might sweep over a national or world population at such a realization: betrayal, loss, sadness, and a tsunami of anger.

Interestingly, at the same time that a medical solution has been so thoroughly pushed on US and world populations by almost every means possible (including door-to-door knocking now), there has been a similar, seemingly urgent push through modern society going on in parallel. Its origins, history, and current dynamics have been very well documented in the book "Irresistible Revolution: Marxism's Goal of Conquest & The Unmaking of the American Military". In short, the Marxist tactical playbook intentionally foments division of a people through any available "divider" (whether "race", gender, sexual orientation, ownership of capital, etc.), which in turn leads to anger, internal conflict within that nation, and ultimately its collapse and destruction. This is the approach being very cunningly and very urgently foisted on the American populace. And the means of dividing the people in the current situation is the level of melanin in their epidermises. (termed "Critical Race Theory" or CRT) Our national unwillingness to repent and turn to the Lord is what has ultimately left us spiritually defenseless in the face of this deceptive, manipulative agenda so artfully being executed by foreign powers.

But back to the current situation resulting from the pandemic response: Hypothetically, if millions were to awaken to a worldwide, very-quickly-rolled-out medical program that had resulted in horrific effects including widespread death, who would they credit with having carried out such a program? If such an "awakening to our awful situation" were to happen, resulting from unexpected medical effects of the current "prevention" campaign, whom would that tsunami of anger be directed against? Who have been the chief protagonists? What names come to mind?

Now look at their faces. What is common across all these? How would you classify their epidermal melanin levels? Or their gender? Or age?

Marxist CRT "training" now being broadly and very urgently disseminated by businesses, corporations, universities, schools, political leaders, the corporate press, agitators, and even religious leaders everywhere, teaches a person that anyone with low melanin levels is inherently "racist" because of inherent "white privilege" built into the system. Marxist agitators also teach that violence against such people is then completely justified and right. Could it hypothetically be possible at that point for agitators to highlight this fact and leverage it to great effect in stirring up millions to frothy anger? Could such a lineup of faces turn out to be a list of the "fall guys"? Could the reaction of the masses reach the level of genocidal and fratricidal responses toward an entire "Caucasian race"?

With that in mind, it may not be difficult to see how the prophecy made in 2017 could come to pass.

Those who have entered faithfully in to the covenant this day are going to notice some things. The spirit of God is withdrawing from the world. Men are increasingly more angry without good cause. The hearts of men are waxing cold. There is increasing anger and resentment of gentiles. In political terms, it’s rejection of white privilege.

Language of scriptures gives a description of the events now underway and calls it the end of the times of the gentiles. This process with the spirit withdrawing, will end on this continent, as it did with two prior civilizations in fratricidal and genocidal warfare. For the rest of the world, it will be as in the days of Noah in which, as that light becomes eclipsed, the coldness of men’s hearts is going to result in a constant scene of violence and bloodshed. The wicked will destroy the wicked.

The covenant, if it is kept, will prevent you from losing light and warmth of heart as the spirit now steadily recedes from the world. The time will come when you will be astonished at the gulf between the light and truth you will comprehend and the darkness of mind of the world.

(Closing Remarks, Covenant of Christ conference, 9 Sep 2017, Boise, Idaho)

In that conference, held in the Egyptian Theater in Boise, Idaho, a covenant of life was offered to any willing to accept it. It is still available. This very last-days covenant of peace was prophesied of in Ezekiel 19:7:

Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. My tabernacle also shall be with them, yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for ever.

That covenant of peace now has a mirrored counterpart that has also been offered to the world, even in precisely the same location the covenant of peace was originally offered just 3.5 years earlier. It is the doctrine of the two ways.

All these events are interwoven with the others described in T&C 85:3:

And thus with the sword and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn. And with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all nations, that the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

This decree matches the Isaiah 8:4 "consumption, even determined upon the whole earth" we read above. And it will, in fact, come upon all nations, not just some. There does not seem to be an exception for the United States. It echoes Daniel's vision of the last days in Daniel 2:6, when the stone (or kingdom of God) is prophesied utterly destroy the image of Babylon:

You, O king, saw and beheld a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you, and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet, part of iron and part of clay. You saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay and broke them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them. And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

As Isaiah 1:5 explains, the kingdom, or family of God, will be established along with a temple (the Lord's house) in the tops of the mountains as part of a prophesied last-days Zion in the Western Hemisphere:

It shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

That will be the location where one of the final scenes of the Book of Mormon (Mormon 3:4) will repeat--a great and woeful lamentation--though from a mountaintop instead of a hilltop, and about the unrepentant, fallen gentile civilization this time rather than the unrepentant, fallen Nephite civilization:

And my soul was rent with anguish because of the slain of my people, and I cried, O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord? O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you? Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss. O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen? But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return. And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become incorruptible bodies. And then ye must stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to your works. And if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you. Oh that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone, and the Father, yea, the Eternal Father of Heaven, knoweth your state, and he doeth with you according to his justice and mercy.

There is still time to turn to the Lord and accept what he is now offering. Please consider the Lord's invitation, if you have not. But that window of time will not continue indefinitely, just like it did not for the Nephites or for the Jaredites.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

When God Offers a Covenant: Signs and Wonders in Heaven and in Earth

The below timeline is interactive: click and drag to move around it, click on elements to see details, or click the box-shaped full screen button on the right.

(View timeline in full window)

Friday, December 21, 2018

More Unwitting Fulfillment of Book of Mormon Prophecy

The Pattern of Unexpectedness

Unexpected fulfillment of prophecy is a hallmark of how what the Lord foretells actually comes to pass. There are some great examples of this in the Book of Mormon. Here's one in particular.

From the following revelation the Lord had long ago given to Nephi, it was "well understood" by the Nephites at the time of Amlici that the "mark" spoken of was the "the skins of the Lamanites [that] were dark" (NC Alma 1:18), having been given as a sign of their cursing due to their own rebellion and attempted murder of their brethren:
Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark upon them, that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed from this time henceforth and for ever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me, that I may have mercy upon them. And again, I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also. And again, I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed. And again, I say, he that departeth from thee shall no more be called thy seed. And I will bless thee, etc., and whosoever shall be called thy seed, henceforth and for ever. (NC Alma 1:20)
It was assumed that this natural result from the intermarriage of Laman & Lemuel's seed with others already in the Americas when they arrived was what was meant by "a mark" upon them. They apparently considered it the only possible meaning of the prophecy.

What these rebellious, apostate Nephites (the Amlicites) did not anticipate when they marked their foreheads with red was that the Lord also had them in mind with the prophecy given to Nephi:

Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads. (NC Alma 1:20)
It was an unexpected fulfillment that perfectly satisfied what the Lord had predicted. He had had it in mind all along, but it was not understood until after it had been fulfilled. The Amlicites had been just like Nephi's brethren (i.e., had been rebelious, fought against "the seed" of Nephi, refused to repent of their wickedness, and brought the curse entirely upon themselves) and so had "a mark" set upon them.

Book of Mormon Accounts Selected as Patterns of Our Day

The prophet-writers of the Book of Mormon were very familiar with our day. Christ Himself had shown him you (yes, you, the reader), me, and our modern "holy church of God" in vision, as Mormon testified:

Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shewn you unto me, and I know your doing... (NC Mormon 4:5)

What they chose to include in the less-than-1% of their records that they wrote for us to read was carefully selected to be pertinent to our situation. Many of the accounts selected for inclusion are perfect patterns and types for what they saw happening today.

Two Inadvertant & Unwitting 2018 Fulfillments of Prophecy

In my statement made to the high council at the disciplinary hearing we attended, I outlined two examples of this sort of startling fulfillment of prophecy that happened in the course of events leading up to the council. (I did not become aware of the two fulfillments until shortly before the council took place, when the spirit made them manifest.) You can read those in pages 4-6 of 2018-03-01 Disciplinary Council Statement by Vaughn Hughes.pdf. The first example was derived from the procedure adopted in the court of King Noah. It's well described in the statement.

A Simple Exercise from the Second Example

For the second of the two examples, when I suggested on page 6 that "sometimes all you have to do is change the names," I was referring to a teacher of truth deemed apostate by a corrupt institution of our day that mirrored what the corrupt Zoramite Church did in deeming Alma apostate. (and those who saw truth in his teachings) The stake leaders were very aware of the context of my comments, since they had conducted the interrogations. You, the reader, may not be.

So, here is the rest of the suggested exercise in simple name-changing (with a few added notes) that illustrates a fulfillment of this prophecy:

And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites <LDS Church> [that is, 'popular' meaning sustained leaders] had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them1 [by Alma <Denver> and his brethren], they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their craft2; therefore, they would not hearken unto the words. And they sent and gathered together, throughout all the land, all the people <LDS Church members>, and consulted with them [that is, interviewed them] concerning the words which had been spoken3. Now their rulers, and their priests, and their teachers did not let the people know concerning their desires; therefore, they found out privily the minds of all the people4. And it came to pass that after they had found out the minds of all the people, those who were in favor of the words which had been spoken by Alma <Denver> and his brethren were cast out of the land, and they were many.5 (NC Alma 16:40-41)
Fulfillment footnotes:

1  There are multiple leaked pieces of evidence making it clear that the LDS Brethren have "consulted together concerning the words" taught by those they perceive as a threat. One is a leaked slide listing those threats by name. Another is a private acknowledgement by a local leader of contact from an LDS apostle expressing concern about and directing the expulsion of a specific individual.

2  Given that LDS Church leaders are now documented to not only receive bona fide salaries but also quite a few other perks and benefits, and given that the 2/3rds of LDS Church members who are "less active" garner no attention or discipline from leaders, it can only be concluded that those few believing members who are targeted represent a threat to the craft of its leaders. (these crafts by leading priests are termed "priestcrafts" in the Book of Mormon and defined in NC 2 Ne. 11:17)

3  In my only two interviews with stake presidency members in Sandpoint, Idaho, before being called up to be excommunicated, both constituted very deliberate, extended attempts to determine what I thought of the teachings of Denver Snuffer. In neither one did I bring up Denver nor did I express any interest in or engage in any conversation about him. I willingly discussed the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in our scriptures and by Joseph Smith. They expressed great disapproval of my lack of interest in satisfying their curiosities about Denver.

4  This direction from the LDS Church "rulers" to local leaders is now publicly documented and confirmed though still publicly denied. It can no longer be claimed to be mere rumor. In some cases, it is very direct, prolonged control by topmost leaders at LDS Church headquarters. When I was called in for the second such "discovery" interview, it was done under false pretenses. I was asked to come in for an interview, where I was asked to tell them my doubts or concerns with "Church leaders." When I told them I had none to express, they insisted that I nonetheless come in. Upon arrival, the line of questioning immediately switched to a "leisurely" inquisition regarding my thoughts on Denver Snuffer, with many of his quotes being presented to me in a not-so-veiled attempt to find out what I thought of them. (i.e., "privily") Later in his ghost-written letter on behalf of the stake president, the stake presidency counselor who conducted the interview lamented that his quarry had been evasive in his lawyerly attempt. (see page 1 of 2018-03-04 Disciplinary Council Letter of Decision for Vaughn.pdf)

5  This is an ongoing activity that began in earnest the fall of 2014. For a sampling of believing LDS Church members excommunicated in precisely the way foretold here, see the list compiled here.

But Wait! There's More: Expert Devices

It turns out there was at least one more startling fulfillment of a prophetic Book of Mormon pattern as part of these proceedings, which I did not include in my statement but only recently learned of.

But first, the Book of Mormon pattern given:

In NC Alma 8:12, we find the leaders of the corrupt church in the land of Ammonihah stirring up their church members against two outsiders whose teachings they found to be a threat to their craft: Alma and Amulek. Our narrator and guide, Mormon, goes out of his way to specifically identify one particularly noteworthy tactic used by the chief antagonist in the story, who happens to be a lawyer: Zeezrom. Here it is:

Now it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore they did stir up the people to riotings and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them [which is still the case today]; therefore, they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek. And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: "Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you?" Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the Devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek, "Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?" (NC Alma 8:12)

Mormon repeats the question twice to call our attention to it. It's not a novice tactic. It's something an expert in such devices knows to use. It attempts to coerce the quarry into agreeing to yield to any line of questioning in advance by appealing to their own moral committment to keep their word. This is thus expected to make it easier to trap their quarry in their own words.

Consider how frequently this "device of the Devil" was employed during the brief interview just prior to our disciplinary council, where I had hoped to find out the charges against us. There is clearly a consistent, strongly expressed desire on the part of the stake president to ensure that once we arrive at his council we would, in fact, "answer the questions which [he] shall put unto [us]."

These are from 2018-02-15 Transcript of interview with stake president regarding Disciplinary Council.pdf, where my words are prefixed with a "V" and the stake president's are prefixed with an "R" :

Lines 33-35, referring to my expected responses to his planned interrogation of my wife and me during the council:
R: So ... are you going to be honest?
V: Of course.
R: Then that's all we need.
Lines 77-81, continuing to discuss his planned procedure of asking about our beliefs during the council:
R: And I'll ask you about it when we're talking about it. That's the beauty of it. You can answer honestly, you know, what your belief is about baptism, if you've been baptized <Unintelligible>... I mean I don't know for sure if these are the things I'm going to talk about with you...
Lines 105-110, attempting to use shame to compel us into committing to respond to his planned questioning during the high council:
R: Okay. So, who would be aware of those beliefs and behaviors? You certainly would be, wouldn't you?
V: I would hope so. Are you looking for me to incriminate myself, accusing myself? Is that what you're hoping?
R: Are you embarrassed by what you believe, or do you believe what you believe?
Lines 140-144, this time using mocking to compel us to commit to "answer the questions which I shall put unto you" by "sharing":
R: So, to back to you again, if "apostasy" is beliefs and behaviors generally speaking, all we need to do is have a conversation about yours. And we can share what quorums you do that in, and all you need to do is just be honest about what you believe and share it. Is that a hard thing to do?
Lines 216-221, where "conversation" is a euphemism for his planned "line of questioning":
R: You know, I think as long as we're honest with each other, I don't have any intention to bring in witnesses. There's not going to be...
V: No, you told us that we could bring evidence or witnesses, and I'm asking about that specifically. Not what you might bring.
R: Right. I think with behaviors and so forth, if you're just honest about what you believe, we can have a conversation about ...
Lines 230-232, expressing surprise that anyone would not agree in advance to "answer the questions which [he] shall put unto [us]":
R: And I think that I'm giving you an opportunity to defend your position, your beliefs, and where you present them, and I guess really I don't understand why a person wouldn't want to do that, either.

Once again, the Book of Mormon proves its veracity by virtue of its perfect prediction of what it calls the "Gentile" church would devolve into and the means it would employ.

Again, I need to add that I hold no animosity toward my former stake president. Despite his vehement denial, I am still persuaded that he acted precisely in the manner he was directed to use by the Brethren--his superiors that he must report to in the LDS Church. I would not choose to hold him responsible.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Epilogue: Occupied Synagogue Territory

"For behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel, therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness." (NC Alma 16:22

Coarse & Fine Apparel

For my final three years as an active member of the LDS Church, I deliberately chose to attend Sunday meetings dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt. (without lettering or logos--I didn't want to offend) I allowed my hair to grow long and I chose not to shave my face naked. In short, my appearance was not what normal active members of the LDS Church would refer to as "up to standards." Interestingly, even when my coarse appearance was directly referenced by the leader during high priests group meeting during the third hour, no one ever dared ask why. The reason was assumed to be that my "testimony" was "weak."

My actual reason was nothing of the sort. Having awoken to the fact that the Book of Mormon was not merely written to us as LDS Church members, but about us, I completely lost all interest in assisting with even the slightest degree of further fulfillment of this Book of Mormon prophecy, which the writer has written to the LDS reader (who else reads this book!?):

"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shewn you unto me, and I know your doing, and I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts. And there are none, save a few only, who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquity. And your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?" (NC Mormon 4:5)
I could no longer bring myself to wear "fine apparel" or "very fine apparel" as I've done all my life. The thought literally turns my stomach now. It is money wasted on keeping up apperances under the guise of "being pleasing to God." Apparently our pretenses didn't make it far with the prophet-historian Mormon, who had the pleasure of being shown us in vision. He saw right through them to our actual sins--the pride of our hearts and all the black sins that come with it, including not helping the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

The only place I see people wearing business attire in our modern world (fine suits, ties, dress shoes, fancy dresses, etc.) is for a small subset of professionals: lawyers, some bankers, and some politicians. Oh, and LDS Church members going to their meetings, who stick out to the world in unmistakeable fashion.

Esteemed as Filthiness Worthy of Trespass Notice

All are welcome, except those deemed filthy,
who will be forceably removed.
In spite of having been deemed unworthy of any attempt at reclaiming and then having also been excommunicated from this institution, I continued (and continue) to feel a closeness to my friends within our ward here. I enjoy seeing and talking with them. I enjoy discussing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. And so, as invited in the letter informing me of the removal of all my eternal gospel blessings, I returned to Sunday meetings to fellowship with my friends there who had no idea I had been cast out. I had been promised I was fine to attend as long as my conduct was "acceptable."

During the Sunday school hour of that Sunday in May, the class was discussing Numbers, chapter 11. As the teacher neared the end of the chapter, she quickly skipped over a fascinating part of it and moved on to chapter 12. I raised my hand and, after being called on, suggested that a passage there might be worth reading. The teacher invited me to read it:
"But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the spirit rested upon them — and they were of them that were written but went not out unto the tabernacle — and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man and told Moses and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp! And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them! And Moses said unto him, Do you envy for my sake? Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (OC Numbers 7:19)
I suggested that it was an interesting response on the part of Moses. The teacher pointed out that although true then, today only the Fifteen can be prophets. She then moved on in her lesson.

About two minutes later, the only bishopric counselor there stood up on the far side of the room, marched across to where I was sitting, and abruptly announced that I needed to come with him out into the hallway right then and there. The entire class stopped and watched the spectacle unfold. After managing to gather my belongings and put my glasses away, I followed him to the far side of the building, where I was told to wait there for the bishop to arrive "who has something he needs to talk with you about." (Perhaps they had exchanged text messages.)

When the bishop finally arrived, he expressed no interest in talking there in the foyer. He needed to talk to me in his office, even if the door were going to be left open. (I think those in the foyer got to overhear an interesting conversation.)

There I was curtly told that I was never to make another comment in any class again. If I did, he, the bishop, would legally serve me trespass notice and have local law enforcement remove me from the property, as necessary. "Therefore [I would] not [be] permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness," just as Mormon foresaw would be repeated in our day. (NC Alma 16:22)

The bishop further took occasion to inform me that I was a "wolf in sheep's clothing." (I still to this day wonder how he mistook my coarse apparel for "very fine" apparel--granted, it was a tense moment for him, so I concede that this could be missed.) He also expressed his deep concern & disapproval of my having had any contact with his ward members outside of church meetings. This chastisement was for my having tried to thoughtfully reach out to a friend in the ward who was going through a very rough time. I let him know that he had nothing to fear and that I intended to continue to try to be a support to my friends.

None, Save a Few Only, Who Do Not Lift Themselves Up

By the time I had been warned and sent on my way, it was the third hour of church meetings. I went to the newly combined quorum of elders and high priests, sat, and listened to the lesson while studying my scriptures. I did not attempt to make any comment.

Afterward, before I was able to head out, I was approached by two different high priests who had been present for the big commotion of the second hour. Each of them offered me an apology on behalf of the bishopric member who had interrupted the class and unceremoniously removed me from it. They claimed they weren't aware of what could have possibly been going on, but that the actions of the bishopric member were completely uncalled for and inappropriate. They felt my comment had been entirely appropriate. They were honestly embarassed at what had happened. (They might have been more embarassed had they known more.) I thanked them for their concern and reassured them that it would not cause me to avoid returning to future meetings.

How God's Words Offend

I did ask both the bishop and his counselor what I had said that they had deemed "inappropriate" and worthy of issuing a threat of legal trespass notice and physical removal by law enforcement. Neither was willing then or since to give any explanation.

To those familiar with modern LDS doctrinal drift, it is not difficult to infer the reason. (although the degree of anger in the response was a surprise even to me) The only real remaining doctrine of the LDS Church is: "We follow a man whom we call a prophet." Anything in scripture that contradicts or threatens this comforting, soothing doctrine, even when spoken by so great a prophet as Moses, is an affront to all loyal followers of the brethren. The greater the degree of devotion, the greater the intolerance and the more forceful the bitter response to those who might disagree.

Unfortunately, LDS scriptures not only do not support the idea of putting our confidence in a man to bring us salvation--even if a true prophet--but they actually teach that we are "cursed" if we do so (see NC 2 Ne. 12:6) and that this practice is the primary qualification for those who will inherit a telestial kingdom. (T&C 69:26) Only Christ is to be "followed". Certainly prophets must be discerned by each of us, whether they be true or false messengers, but either way they are only to be "heard" and not "followed." It is the message they bear and the source of the message that is important. Not the bearer.

I think applying extraordinary titles (i.e. "prophet, seer, revelator") are less impressive than having a man preach the truth. If the content of his sermon is prophetic, then everyone can decide for themselves the measure of the messenger. I can think of nothing that would offend the Lord more than a mere man inviting adoration. It is wrong. Adoration should be reserved for Christ, not dispensed to mere servants. Even if a man is sent to declare Him to you, focus should be on the Lord, not on His messenger. Only a false messenger, who seeks approval and who hopes for gain, will divert attention from the Lord to himself. A true messenger would not dare do so.

Nephi explained the source of such virulent reactions to truth born by messengers and why it is so offensive:
And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold, they said unto me: "Thou hast declared unto us hard things--more than which we are able to bear!" And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked according to the truth, and the righteous have I justified and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day. Wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center."
It should therefore be unremarkable that Moses's message in KJV Numbers 11 still has this effect even today. That it could be scripture which LDS Church leaders actively work to prevent any discussion or consideration of.

Occupied Synagogues

I suspect Lehi, too, may have been threatened with trespass and ejection by authorities in the Jerusalem synagogues of his day for this very reason--it was uncomfortable for its church-goers to hear the truth the Lord commanded Lehi to speak to them. (Of course, in my case, the Lord has given me no such errand, nor have I preached as Lehi. I have only done as commanded me: "it becomes every man who has been warned to warn his neighbor." -- T&C 86:15)

Christ later predicted this would be the normal course of events for His disciples:
"And again I say unto you, Go into the world and do not care for the world, for the world will hate you and will persecute you and will turn you out of their synagogues." (NC Matt. 3:35)
When the Lord tells us to expect to be "turn[ed] ... out of their synagogues," it's worth pondering who would do that casting out. It can only be done by those who own buildings, who control houses of worship, and who expect believers to come to their religious buildings to worship God. It can only be done by those who think they have the right to enforce their religious ideas by compulsion, demanding conformity and suppressing ideas they dislike.

But just as in the days of Joseph Smith (when not a single chapel was built) or in the days of early Christianity (when believers met in homes and never in church buildings), the Book of Mormon similarly describes this pattern in NC Alma 16:22-24 when the humble followers of Christ are cast out of the apostate church they had belonged to and come to the apostate Alma (whom their church leaders feared):
And they came unto Alma, and the one who was the most foremost among them said unto him, "Behold, what shall these my brethren do? For they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests. For they have cast us out of our synagogues, which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands [these were full-tithe-paying, active members of the church]; and they have cast us out because of this, our exceeding poverty, that we have no place to worship our God. And now behold, what shall we do?" 
[Alma] stretched forth his hand and cried unto those whom he beheld, who were truly penitent, and said unto them, "I behold that ye are lowly in heart, and if so, blessed are ye. Behold, thy brother has said, What shall we do? For we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God. Behold, I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, save it be in your synagogues only? And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?"
Well, according to this apostate's voice (Alma's), the idea of needing to worship only in chapels or only once a week is utterly false. According to him, it turns out it was a good thing they were excommunicated and cast out. It resulted in their humility, so they could be taught the word of God and leave their apostate traditions and incorrect beliefs behind.

Throwing Joseph Smith Out of His Own Synagogue

As LDSs, we often invited others to read and consider the meaning and implications of the accounts of Joseph Smith's first vision. But almost no one reads and considers the meaning and implications of his last vision. (T&C 153; not available in the LDS D&C)

His last vision of the LDS Church as a barn in its future dilapidated state has proved to be stunningly prophetic. It perfectly depicts what would happen in our day were Joseph Smith to look and see what his work had come to. (And why would you suppose he could not do so?)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Of Neighborly Pit-digging, Fishing Expeditions & Works in the Dark

[follow-up posts: "Epilogue: Occupied Synagogue Territory" and "More Unwitting Fulfillment of Book of Mormon Prophecy"]
"Now there was no law against a man’s belief, for it was strictly contrary to the commandments of God ... For there was a law, that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief." (NC Alma 16:2)
"[I] having been … persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly — and if they supposed me to be deluded, to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me…" - Joseph Smith (JSH 2:10)
"Now I tell you beforehand what to expect to come upon you so you are not surprised, nor will you stumble and fall. They will excommunicate you. The time will even come that the self-righteous who kill you will think that they speak for God. And they will do these things because they cannot do what the Father and I have done. I warn you beforehand that you will face this opposition so that when it happens you will remember and be strengthened." (The Testimony of St. John 10:23)
"And again I say unto you, Go into the world and do not care for the world, for the world will hate you and will persecute you and will turn you out of their synagogues." (NC Matt. 3:35)
"And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel, and they say unto the people, 'Hearken unto us and hear ye our precept, for behold, there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work and he hath given his power unto men! Behold, hearken ye unto my precept! If they shall say, There is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not, for this day he is not a God of miracles! He hath done his work!' Yea, and there shall be many which shall say, 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die and it shall be well with us.' And there shall also be many which shall say, 'Eat, drink, and be merry, nevertheless fear God--He will justify in committing a little sin. Yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor, there is no harm in this. And do all these things, for tomorrow we die. And if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God!' 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. And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them. Yea, they have all gone out of the way. They have become corrupted." (NC 2 Ne. 12:1)
"And woe 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 shew unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works." (NC 2 Ne. 11:21)


On Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, my wife and I received matching letters informing us we would be jointly tried in a stake disciplinary council for unspecified charges amounting to "apostasy" on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. On attempting to ask for the charges against either of us, we were refused. Due to an act of God (the only snowstorm to shut the city down last winter), the stake president was forced to reschedule it. We were asked to sign a legal agreement to make no record of the proceedings should we attend, which we could not sign on moral grounds. Despite this, however, we were permitted to come into the rescheduled disciplinary council on Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018, long enough each to make statements and leave copies of our statements with the stake clerk before leaving, thus complying with the stake president's demand for strict secrecy in his proceedings.

We learned three days later that he had elected to excommunicate me but not my wife, whom the stake president had not met prior to his disciplinary council. (I introduced them that evening.) The "letters of decision" I was given three days after the council outlined the actual list of apparent charges that were kept carefully hidden until their council and only revealed to us afterward. I then composed and mailed an appeal to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, Mar. 10, 2018, and also sent a copy to the stake president. I finally received an indirect response on Monday, May 7th, which the stake president paraphrased to me by email. I had avoided sharing news of the excommunication with family and friends for a period of time, allowing for the possibility that the appeal could be granted.

This post provides a record of these events. It is not shared out of spite against those who were locally involved in our excommunication hearing--I see their actions performed precisely as directed by superior leaders and, I believe, contrary to their own personal preferences. It is presented as information that demonstrates the irrefutable foreknowledge that writers of the Book of Mormon had of these patterns of action in our day. What we experienced is neither the first time nor the last time these will have happened to believing, faithful, covenant-keeping members of the modern LDS Church, nor is it in any way unique to our location or leaders here. I doubt there is anything special about our situation. More will be shared on prophetic fulfillments from the Book of Mormon in subsequent posts. This post presents primarily the events (through relevant documents) with only minor additional notes included.

Our Statements & Appeal Letter

The following three documents are sufficient to document the essential elements of what has happened:
  • 2018-03-01 Disciplinary Council Statement by Corina Hughes (PDF)
    • My wife's verbal statement made to the stake president and high council during the disciplinary council, a printed copy of which was then given to the stake clerk for inclusion in the disciplinary council record.
      • As mentioned above, any information about the charges were intentionally withheld by the stake president prior to the council
      • Prior to arriving at the council, she had never met or talked with the stake president and had never met with the bishop
      • We were not permitted to attend the council (other than to make our statements) because we refused to sign the required legal agreement, which would have forbidden us from making any record of the proceedings. (We did, in fact, make a complete record of what we were permitted to attend that night.)
  • 2018-03-01 Disciplinary Council Statement by Vaughn Hughes (PDF)
    • My verbal statement made to the stake president and high council during the disciplinary council, a printed copy of which was then given to the stake clerk for inclusion in the disciplinary council record. Mine was shared with the council after my wife shared hers.
    • Of note:
      • Reviews the scriptural precedent for the stake president's intended procedure of questioning us on our beliefs, although he was prevented at the last minute from using this procedure during the disciplinary council because he refused to allow us to attend the remainder while recording it
      • Clarifies why we were unable to sign his required legal agreement and therefore were not permitted by him to attend his disciplinary council
    • Other notes on what took place that evening:
      • Despite not being permitted to attend the council because we could not sign the legal document, we were nonetheless later accused by the stake president of "refusing" to attend the rest of the council despite his urging (see subsequent email, letters of decision, and the refutation in my Appeal below)
        • His statement is only true in that we were neither willing to sign his legal agreement nor willing to promise not to record the proceedings and were therefore barred by him from attending the rest (we did, in fact, audio record our entire experience in the building that evening)
      • After completing our statements, handing copies of them to the stake clerk to be added to the record, and immediately before exiting the room, a high councilor could not refrain from asking a question of Vaughn, which we recorded:
        • High Councilor: Brother Hughes, can I ask you one question?
        • Vaughn: You're welcome to, although we're not looking to take questions.
        • High Councilor: That's fine. I just want to ask you one question, and all it takes is a simple yes or no. Do you believe that we have a prophet in these latter days that leads and guides this church under the direction of Jesus Christ, and the Father and the Son?
        • Vaughn: Are you asking me about my beliefs?
        • High Councilor: I'm asking… I'm asking you ….
        • Vaughn: Because I stated my beliefs on that topic a few minutes ago, and I don't believe it would do you any service to further discuss beliefs, given what the Lord has strictly forbidden. So, I'll leave it at that.
        • High Councilor: Okay. Thank you. [You've answered my question.]
      • Interestingly, this (the only question asked during the council) perfectly aligns with and is further evidence of an assertion made in social media five months earlier
      • We did not wait outside for their council to conclude before departing
      • A city police officer already in the stake center parking lot (perhaps the chief of police, who happens to be LDS) coincidentally followed us to the well-lit, empty east parking lot on the far side of the stake center, where my wife and I went to take a phone call before leaving the premises. He lingered there for some time before departing back to the original parking lot on the west side. This suggests the some unwarranted expectation of the stake president that evening where he might call on law enforcement to detain or remove us.
  • 2018-03-10 Appeal Letter to First Presidency (PDF)
    • The actual letter sent by certified mail to the First Presidency of the LDS Church, for which I received a USPS return receipt confirmation that it was received on their behalf
    • This letter includes:
      • The procedural mistakes made which would have almost certainly resulted in a different outcome
      • A refutation of the falsehoods and lies fabricated by the stake presidency and presented to the high council in order to make a case against us in our absence (not having made us aware of them in advance, preventing any reasonable response from us at the time)
      • The Idaho state law broken by the stake president and corresponding violation of Church Handbook direction, in order to achieve his predermined outcome
      • Two facts which later acted as smoking gun evidence that the appeal letter was almost certainly not reviewed by anyone at church headquarters (see notes below for 2018-05-07 Indirect Communication of First Presidency Response to Appeal of Excommunication (PDF))

Additional Records

  • 2018-02-12 Disciplinary Council Letter to Corina (PDF)
    • Delivered to Corina at our home by a stake presidency counselor and a stake clerk
    • Of note:
      • Its claim of evidence or witnesses of wrongdoing ("you are reported"), which turned out to be a bluff: no witnesses or reports were produced.
      • The very unusually short timeframe before the disciplinary council (6 days)
      • The lack of any accusations that could constitute the basis for the claimed apostasy
      • The terse nature of the letter--I'm not sure I've seen a shorter one
      • The highly unusual nature of the disciplinary council relative to official instruction leaders are routinely trained to strictly adhere to in the official Church Handbook of Instructions (even when contrary to scripture), which matches leaked secret directives from church headquarters understood by local leaders to supersede the Handbook (see the late Elder Von Keetch's recent centralized engineering of excommunications in "The Secret LDS UCMJ"):
        • Women are always to be tried by her bishop in a bishop's court and not by the stake high council
        • A joint disciplinary council is not permitted
  • 2018-02-12 Disciplinary Council Letter to Vaughn (PDF)
    • Also delivered to Corina, with no inquiry as to whether I was home
    • Of note:
      • Word for word identical to Corina's except for my name.
  • 2018-02-12 Email to stake president and exchange prior to Thursday meeting (PDF)
    • A seven-question request that the stake president provide us with a statement of what crimes we were being accused of and of other details regarding the planned disciplinary council. Besides the request to know the charges, each of the other five questions are yes or no questions.
    • The subsequent email exchange and stake president's refusal to commit anything to writing for fear of disclosure.
  • 2018-02-15 Transcript of interview with stake president regarding disciplinary council (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • (Yellow highlights) The stake president's clear declaration that the disciplinary council will be focused only on our beliefs. (mentioned 15 times) That it is his intention during the disciplinary council is to bring no witnesses, present no evidence, but only to have us attend the council and be quizzed on our beliefs.
        • The most direct acknowledgment that the charges will be "different beliefs" is in lines 178-180.
        • Contrast these 15 assertions made in a setting presumed to be private with his presumed-to-become-public statement in the letter of decision after the council that, "your beliefs were never a matter of consideration for the council." (see below) This later attempt in and after the disciplinary council to hide this stated, intended plan is thus, by definition, a lie.
        • It cannot be contested that he would have actually carried out this plan had he allowed us to attend the council, because he used precisely this procedure when he jointly excommunicated a different couple in the Sandpoint area just over three years ago, which they have a full record of.
      • (Blue highlights) The repeatedly stated (9 times), preeminent concern that, above all, his actions and the council proceedings must be kept secret and not disclosed
      • (Magenta highlights) The condescending tone and use of taunting, mocking, and coercion during a believed private conversation in an attempt get me and us to come and disclose our beliefs in an open way, allowing for the stake president to find something to accuse us with at the time of the council
      • The utter refusal to disclose any misdeeds or sin that either one of us is accused of and which would amount to apostasy
        • This is a clear indication that there was no interest whatsoever in helping us to retain our LDS Church membership
      • The pretense that his secrecy is to protect us, even after we had asked that it be done publicly
        • Consider that "apostasy" is a crime that normally demands a public trial, as common sense and scripture would dictate. There is no rational reason for hiding the proceedings, except in the case of planned wrong-doing on the part of leaders conducting it.
        • Even months afterward, members of this stake and ward are not only unaware of the excommunication for apostasy but also have never been informed of anything I have ever shared in church meetings that is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ--these should be top priorities for a concerned church leader
      • The refusal to accept the benefit of the doubt afforded him at the end of my 2018-02-12 email, even boldly inviting me to "completely squarely put this on my shoulders, if you would like." (lines 387-392)
      • The stated opinion that publicly correcting the false, unscriptural teachings of a dissenter yields "the least spiritual atmosphere that you can possibly have" (lines 295, 335-338)
        • This opinion contrasts with three extended accounts matching this description (true prophets of God contending with apostates/dissenters) highlighted in the Book of Mormon, where each would be subject to this criticism. (see Jacob 7, Alma 1, and Alma 30)
      • The opinion that a religious leader breaking priest-penitent law should be considered the moral equivalent of a congregant publicly sharing an abusive leader's communications (lines 372-377)
        • Another way of putting it: He believes it is not fair when a religious leader's misdeeds are brought to public light, because religious leaders do not and legally cannot share private confessions from congregants. Therefore, public accountability for (or criticism of) religious leaders is indecorous.
  • 2018-02-15 Constructive Notice of Demand (PDF) handed to the stake president
    • Of note:
      • Presented at the end of the Thu 2018-02-15 meeting
      • Constitutes a standard way of giving official legal notice of something, such that the recipient cannot claim not to have been aware of it
  • 2018-02-15 Non-Recording Agreement (PDF)
    • The agreement the stake president asked us each to sign
    • Of note:
      • Emailed to us the evening of 2018-02-15
      • It's homespun appearance (lacking any standard LDS Church letterhead) could suggest the possibility that it is a local concoction
        • A counselor to the stake president, who is a local attorney heavily relied on by the stake president for writing letters, could have had a hand in drafting it
      • Other outside evidence strongly suggests otherwise, however
  • 2018-02-16 Midnight Email Response from Stake President after meeting (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • Forbids our children from attending despite our request
      • The Disclosure of Non-recording Agreement (see above) and current secret Church Handbook list of grounds for apostasy, which differ completely from the public LDS Church definition
      • An explicit written statement of his intent to interrogate us regarding our beliefs (all previous statements were carefully kept verbal-only and in private) and then to try us for them. It is an interesting contrast, considering he has also barely shared the list of possible misdeeds from the Church Handbook.
      • Clear offense taken at being apprised of the Lord's scriptural requirement (outlined in the Constructive Notice of Demand above), and confusion of that information with someone trying to take control of his proceedings (although, for those familiar with it, it does bring to mind a certain ritual dialog where the speaker angrily expresses concern that the onlooking interlopers are interested in "taking possession of the whole of [his kingdom]," the character then having a word to say about it)
      • Mistaking an occasional tangential scriptural reference in the Church Handbook for scriptural revelation or direction given in the Lord's words (to be fair, this is a not-uncommon practice among LDS leaders)
  • 2018-02-18 Stake president email acknowledgment an act of God had prevented his council (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • Confession that his status with God afforded him no say in preventing or delaying the most severe winter storm of the season, which included high winds, heavy snowfall, and many power outages, resulting in cancelation of LDS Church meetings that Sunday
      • This was the only snow storm of 2017-2018 that shut down the city of Sandpoint in any significant way
      • The expressed desire to now meet (only because of delayed council to excommunicate) and "discuss" (determine) our beliefs in advance
        • Implies worry about lack of evidence
  • 2018-02-24 Email exchange with stake president on a new date and his attempt at star chamber proceedings (PDF)
    • Definition of Star chamber proceedings
    • Of note:
      • The stake president's hope to now proceed with an interrogation of beliefs outside the earshot of his high council
      • The strongly adversarial, patronizing, and manipulative manner of the interview on 2018-02-15 (see transcript above) left neither my wife nor I the slightest inclination to meet again behind closed doors
  • 2018-03-01: Disciplinary Council Statement by Corina Hughes - for High Council (PDF) (see above notes)
  • 2018-03-01: Disciplinary Council Statement by Vaughn Hughes (PDF) (see above notes)
  • 2018-03-04 Disciplinary Council Letter of Decision for Corina (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • The thinly-veiled threat of "at this time" when the "no action" decision is stated
        • As further laid out in the letter, they were not happy that their quarry did not willingly and happily step into the not-so-well-camouflaged pit that was dug for just for her (apparently believing "there is no harm in this")
      • The misrepresentations and lies presented in this letter can only be taken to be grandstanding, in the hope that his letter might be made public at some point
        • The writer(s) were fully aware that the misrepresentations and lies would be completely apparent to the recipient
      • Examples of knowing misrepresentations and lies:
        • "President Marks and I have both been unable, despite several attempts, to meet with you"
          • As clarified in Vaughn's Appeal letter (see below): Prior to the letter notifying her of the excommunication hearing, Corina had only been invited to meet with a leader once. That invitation was under the false pretense that they wanted her to come and 1) discuss her feelings about the church and 2) express concerns about church leadership. She had no interest in either. When I, however, attended the requested meeting in December 2017 despite similarly expressing no interest in sharing criticism of church leaders, the purpose of the meeting and interrogation turned out to be completely different than stated. (A record of that meeting exists but is not published here.)
        • "We have made every effort we could reasonably make [to meet]"
          • This refers to the single attempt mentioned above, made under false pretenses, and to the one attempt made only after an act of God had prevented originally scheduled council from taking place
      • The idea that an excommunication trial is a place that can be used "to get to know you better and to determine what actions you have been taking" or "to visit." (see p. 1, 6)
        • Disciplinary councils are, by the LDS Church handbook, not for the purpose of socializing and collecting evidence of wrongdoing, so that charges can be drawn up during the proceedings.
        • Whether in scriptural instruction, in Church Handbook instruction, or in civil law, they are all alike in asserting that courts are places for considering evidence already collected and hearing the testimony of eyewitnesses of wrongdoing.
        • The letter she received inviting her to attend the council asserted that they already had reports from witnesses or evidence in hand. This turned out to be a bluff.
      • The patronizing attempt to place blame on her for not attending church meetings, pretending that the only possible reason for her lack of attendance is her obligation to play organ for a different congregation
        • Such condescending scolding is usually considered unhelpful in any genuine attempt to understand someone's motives.
        • Her actual concern expressed in her statement to the high council was her surprise at the feigned friendliness and false smiles of those delivering her summons to an excommunication hearing where she would likely be severed from her church and family.
      • The assertion that the purpose of priesthood is to exercise control (contrary to scripture), and that the sacrament is required to be performed in chapels (a doctrine newly invented in this letter, having been never before or after publicly taught by a general authority, as of Nov. 2018)
      • The assertion that any unauthorized change to a church ordinance cannot be tolerated
        • This, despite the fact that all LDS Church ordinances have, in fact, been altered in the absence of revelation in the time since the dispensation head introduced them. Any return to them is thus deemed to be heresy and an excommunicable offense.
      • The feigned surprise that the writer doesn't "know what made [her] conclude that our purposes were so nefarious." (likely another example of grandstanding)
      • The patronizing suggestion that his decision to excommunicate is actually "a way the Church acknowledges when a person has separated himself from the Church", when in fact the two thirds of Church members who have separated themselves from the Church through inactivity are not ever subject to excommunication.
      • The unintentional acknowledgement of the impotence of the council with his correct statement that "the Lord knows your husband's heart, and the Lord, not the disciplinary council, will determine where your husband stands in that eternal relationship."
      • The suggestion that "General Conference talks and … Ensign articles" contain the Lord's words today, despite never quoting the Lord, except on rare occasions from the standard works
  • 2018-03-04 Disciplinary Council Letter of Decision for Vaughn (PDF)
  • 2018-03-06 Denied Request for Record of Disciplinary Council Proceedings and imagined expectation of legal action (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • The uncanny resemblance his response has with Proverbs 28:1: "The wicked flee though no one pursues"
      • That he even seems to have now convinced himself that he really would have allowed us to audio record his disciplinary council proceedings, despite his repeated statements to the contrary and the required legal agreement
  • 2018-03-10 Appeal Letter to First Presidency (PDF) (see above notes)
  • 2018-03-15 Cover Letter to stake president (PDF)
  • 2018-04-05 Appeal Letter mailed to and refused by stake president (PDF)
    • USPS made multiple delivery attempts over a three-week period, leaving notice that it could be picked up a few blocks away at the post office
  • 2018-04-10 Email Exchange about Refused Appeal Letter (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • The claim that he thought the certified letter (where the sender's name and local zip code could be viewed by him) was an advertisement. In retrospect, it seems more likely the letter was refused out of fear of it might be related to legal action against him for his violation of Idaho State priest-penitent law.
      • Again, the uncanny resemblance his refusal to accept his certified mail has with Proverbs 28:1: "The wicked flee though no one pursues"
  • 2018-05-07 Indirect Communication of First Presidency Response to Appeal of Excommunication (PDF)
    • Of note:
      • No evidence or suggestion that the member of the First Presidency addressed by the appeal ever actually even saw the appeal
      • The response was not as requested, nor was the inability to fulfill the request even acknowledged as a pleasantry
        • Again, no indication it was seen by Henry Eyring
        • More than one person well familiar with Henry Eyring's character has suggested it would be unusual in the extreme for him not to have personally responded in some way
      • A lack of any concern over the stake president's violation of Idaho statutory law suggests either 1) that the letter was not read or reviewed, or 2) that the threat if litigated was deemed small enough that the lawbreaking could be ignored
      • By far the strongest evidence--beyond a reasonable doubt--that the appeal letter was never read or considered by the First Presidency (or anyone else) remains publicly accessible to this day (27 Nov 2018): The LDS Church continues to use paid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure that a Google search for "Vaughn Hughes" returns my "I'm a Mormon" page on as the very first search result, and the page continues to be prominently available on
        • The web page was explicitly discussed in my appeal letter and would be an embarrassment to the LDS Church were they to realize that almost ten months later they had continued to use the profile of an excommunicated member to market their church
        • Had anyone actually read the letter at church headquarters, it would have been a very simple thing to email the marketing department and have the profile removed
        • This strongly suggests that the standard procedure by LDS Church headquarters for any appealed excommunication is 1) for no one to read it, 2) for it to sit for about three weeks, and then 3) for a standard form letter to be sent to the stake president reaffirming his verdict, no matter the situation or problems with it
        • See:
      • Side note: Now that the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has declared its intention to cease calling itself Mormon (effectively also making all its members "ex-Mormons"), I do not expect the "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign pages to remain online much longer
[follow-up posts: "Epilogue: Occupied Synagogue Territory" and "More Unwitting Fulfillment of Book of Mormon Prophecy"]