Sunday, May 15, 2016

Anatomy of an ExcommInquisition


And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.

—(Ether 4:8)

Louis Naegle was excommunicated from the LDS church last Thursday night. You may recognize his name from the beginning of the book, Preserving the Restoration by Denver Snuffer. It was there that Louis published his testimony to the world. He has now been excommunicated for that testimony. 


A friend of mine wrote the following about the situation. His write-up, plus the linked documents, provide a fascinating look into current actions of the LDS church against faithful members, and even their families, for the crime of "apostasy." I added some comments of my own at the end.




Excommunication of Louis Naegle
I have talked as friends with Louis Naegle on nearly a weekly basis since his testimony appeared in Denver Snuffer’s book Preserving the Restoration. I will provide some details of the events (including the letters and statements between Louis and his Stake President) that happened up to his excommunication from the LDS Church on May 12, 2016.  
In summary, Louis was excommunicated from the Church for allowing his testimony to be printed in the place it was 
These links will take you to the following documents associated with his excommunication (I suspect that most of you will find these document interesting reading):
  1. Letter from Stake president notifying Louis of his disciplinary council. (Apr 24)
  2. The letter Louis sent to his Stake president in response to his notification. (Apr 28)
  3. Letter from Stake President responding to Louis’s requests. (May 5)
  4. Louis’s 15-page document that he presented to the Stake President to be read in his council. (May 11)
  5. Letter from the Stake President notifying Louis that he was excommunicated. (May 12)
It is not unusual that Louis was found guilty of apostasy to the Corporate LDS Church.  However there some things of interest, some very unusual, that transpired up to Louis’s excommunication which will now be outlined.
  • Louis met regularly with his Bishop since last fall to discuss matters concerning how he felt about the gospel and the church, including his testimony found in Preserving the Restoration. Although the Bishop was not in agreement with many of Louis’s actions or beliefs, he never threatened or belittled Louis, but rather listened respectfully to him. As far as Louis knows and was told, the Bishop did not personally seek any disciplinary action against Louis nor did he notify or ask for recommendations from the Stake President. Louis wishes not to fault his Bishop.
  • Someone other than his Bishop notified Louis’s Stake president concerning Louis’s testimony found in Denver’s book, which precipitated the Stake President interviewing Louis. Louis had two visits with his Stake President prior to receiving a letter from him concerning the disciplinary court. Louis personally respects his Stake President and considers him a good man. His communications with Louis during their meetings were much different than the words and tone of the letter he received from him announcing his disciplinary council.  In fact the words and tone were so different, that except for the last sentence that was written in the letter, the rest of it seemed to Louis to be following a text given to the Stake President from a General Authority or lawyer of the Church. See the attached copy of the letter to get your own idea about that. It is worth the read.
  • Not only was Louis targeted for Church disciplinary actions, but his son, who had been serving an LDS mission, also was targeted and labeled an apostate and sent home (on April 22, 2016) dishonorably from his mission for being associated with his dad, even though his son did not endorse his father’s testimony nor has he read any of Snuffer’s books or participated in any activities associated with Snuffer. See Louis’s court letter for the details surrounding his son’s treatment by his mission president. One thing not mentioned in the Louis’s court statement is that the mission president called his son into his office on a Thursday and told his son he had a plane ticket for him to go home the very next day (on Friday). That means the Mission President (or his superior) had already decided to send Louis’s son home before even talking to him. And as you’ll read, there were ward members in his mission boundary that knew his son was going home before he even did.
  • The fact that Louis’s son was targeted by his Mission President at nearly the same time that the Stake President decided to take action against Louis may also indicate that a General Authority was involved in orchestrating all these events since it is extremely unlikely that the Stake President and Mission President planned their separate but similar actions by coincidence.
  • The Stake President required that Louis sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if he was to attend the council. In the end, Louis decided not to sign the NDA and therefore did not attend the council. However Louis was able to submit a statement to be read in the council, which Louis provide the Stake President and which is attached.
  • It was also unusual (but perhaps not exclusive) that the Stake President required that Louis provide him with the names of his witness along with the name of their bishop and stake.
  • Louis’s response letter to the Stake President’s notification letter is actually a well-thought out and level-headed argument/statement. It’s worth the read (the first paragraph of the third page really highlights how much lack of due-process occurs in these councils even though I suspect the Stake President actually thinks he's doing a good and honest thing). Louis’s court statement is also well-done. 

This ends what my friend wrote. The following are my own thoughts:

If this disciplinary council were being held for actual sin, rather than imagined offenses against church leaders, it would have been handled quite differently. Had Brother Naegle been on trial for, say, adultery, there would have been no NDA, or severe limitations on witnesses, or time limits, or prohibitions of questions, etc. Everything possible would have been done to defend Brother Naegle, and excommunication would have been reluctantly applied as a last resort.

But trials for Apostasy now follow a particular formula designed to confine and limit the accused, and dispatch the verdict as quickly and efficiently as possible, while maintaining some semblance of pretended fairness, strictly for public image purposes.

The NDA proves, however, that it's all just a show. The LDS church absolutely doesn't want anyone to find out what actually happens behind closed doors, even if the accused wants it public. The point is to silence, neutralize, and eliminate anyone with "dangerous" ideas, to keep such ideas from spreading. Such an approach shows the church is not prepared to defend its teachings, and it considers its members unprepared as well. 

Those who are secure in their understanding do not fear ideas. 

I also find it interesting that the accused is expressly forbidden to ask any questions of the council. 

The combination of these conditions reveals the absolute fear controlling these proceedings. Fear that the accused will bring "unapproved" witnesses, fear he will ask questions the council can't answer, fear he may make speak undeniable truth, fear any of this will become public, fear the accused will speak longer than 45 minutes, fear the utter ridiculousness of the circumstances will be manifest. 

The fear even extends to family members of the accused. Two capable and prepared missionaries were sent home, not for any real offenses or sin, but out of sheer fear they might be spreading contamination. 

Therefore, I find the claims of love rather curious, because such love should diminish or even destroy fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Accursed

When Moroni discusses the Brother of Jared's experience with the Lord, he makes the point that we Gentiles will not receive what the Brother of Jared saw until we lose our iniquity and become clean before the Lord (Ether 4:6).

He then makes the following curious statement:
And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh. (Ether 4:8)
I thought it odd the word used was "accursed" for those who contend agains the word of the Lord. So I looked it up in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary and found the following definition for "accursed:"
Separated from the faithful; cast out of the church; excommunicated.
Therefore, according to Moroni, those who contend against and deny the word of the Lord are to be excommunicated. 

Louis Naegle was charged with apostasy for declaring the word of the Lord. Here is the primary statement from his testimony (emphasis mine):
I know God the Father and Jesus Christ live. I have seen them. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I have been in his presence also. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I have had my eyes opened and my life changed through its message. I also know from my own sense of reason, from the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and from God declaring it to me by His own Voice that Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. is an honest messenger, sent by Him, and telling the truth.

The stake president explicitly stated that it was this testimony for which Louis was to be tried and punished. In the final analysis, one man declared the word of the Lord, and one man contended against it. Therefore, who was really excommunicated from the Lord's church last Thursday night?

We've Seen this Before

And finally, there's a comparison that must be made. I hesitate to even make it because the mere mention is an overused, trite exaggeration, designed to elicit drama and emotion. But I am not using the comparison in that way at all. I'm simply comparing facts and circumstances. The comparison that must be made is to the Catholic Inquisition.

The purpose of the Inquisition was to root out heresy, ensure orthodoxy, and maintain the absolute control of the church and its authorities. The stated purpose of punishment, taken from the handbook, was as follows:
...for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.
In other words, the purpose was to make public examples of apostates, thus using fear to keep the masses controlled and dependent upon the church.

As Inquisitive excesses grew, rules changed to the point that the accused were not allowed to defend themselves, and any attempt to make a defense was considered proof of apostasy. Family members of the accused were punished as a means of controlling the accused. Evidence and witnesses were carefully controlled, and eventually not even required at all to substantiate charges. Mere rumors became adequate evidence to charge, convict, and punish. The wealthy became prime targets because upon their death, their wealth became property of the church. 

The Inquisitors who carried out these activities were granted absolution by the Pope. In other words, they would not be charged with sin, even when they tortured and murdered the accused. The Pope assured them God would hold them guiltless, even for directly defying the Word of God. Therefore, they felt no particular need to obey scripture, instead obeying a handbook given them by their higher-ups, who claimed to hold keys.

Just as with totalitarian political states, Christians living under the Inquisition became hyper-vigilant to never appear unorthodox in any way, and be very careful about ever discussing ideas with anyone. They remained ignorant, scared, and outwardly devoted to the church, for fear of consequences. They paid, prayed and obeyed, like good followers. 

Of course, such religion never has power to produce faith or actual redemption. It is, rather, a hollow imitation consisting of behavioral rules, outward rites, cultural expectations, fear, and punishment. It is a means of control, dominion and compulsion. (D&C 121:37)

Rend and Receive

Back to Moroni for a moment:
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel (Ether 4:15).
If we have not yet received the great and marvelous things, hid up from the foundation of the world, what does that say about our unbelief, our hearts, our minds? 

And when a man is punished for declaring he has received such things, what does that prove?

God help us all to rend our veil of unbelief, open our hearts and minds, and receive what He offers, before it is everlastingly too late.

Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.
—Ether 4:13


****************

Postscript May 31, 2016: Someone who claims to know, has accused me of dishonesty in what I wrote, and in posting allegedly inaccurate items written by my friend. I therefore asked my friend to look into the accusations and verify the information. 

I apologize for the exhaustive nature of what follows, but it's important to set the record straight and put these accusations to rest. The short version is that the original piece is an accurate representation. If you want the long version, this is what my friend gave me after verifying the facts (written in blue):


I was informed (and subsequently read their comments) that some people have questioned the validity of my remarks concerning Louis Naegle’s son being targeted by the church. I’d like to address their comments.  I hope to address them in a spirit of kindness.  I am saddened that some people have judged Adrian Larsen as lacking integrity for posting the words which were mine.  I wish to correctly represent the events as I understand them. 

So I could be as accurately informed as possible, I have spoken to Elder Naegle and re-spoken to Louis concerning the events surrounding Louis's son.  I am solely responsible for how I understand and share these events. 

Below is an outline that updates my earlier points concerning Louis’s son.  I will state the facts as I understand them and I will add personal commentary concerning some of them. My personal comments are indicated and given in parenthesis

My main point regarding Louis’s son was how terribly I believe he was treated by his mission president, which also correlated with Louis being excommunicated from the church.  The response comments I read disregarded the unusual actions I outlined that the mission president did in regards to interviewing Elder Naegle and arranging to have him sent home without first speaking to him.  I also indicated that the excommunication of Louis Naegle and the sending of Elder Naegle home were orchestrated from someone at church headquarters rather than being just coincidental separate events under normal procedures of their respective Stake and Mission Presidents.  I still maintain these beliefs.  I also now believe that the church authority that was involved that influenced the mission president was President Russel M. Nelson, and I will explain why at the end of my comments.

The main focus of objection that some readers had to my comments were concerning Elder Naegle’s prior involvement with Denver Snuffer.  I stated that he did not endorse his father’s testimony, did not read Snuffer’s books, nor did he participate in any activities associated with Snuffer. I will update these remarks from what I learned from Louis’s son.

  • Elder Naegle chose to go on a mission for the LDS church even though he knew his father believed there were problems with the direction the church was going.  He was not deterred by the feelings his father had about the church.  Elder Naegle was committed to serving an LDS mission faithfully.  Louis honored his son’s decision and financially supported him on his mission.
  • Elder Naegle kept his commitment and served the LDS Church with full purpose of heart.  His mission president recognized his dedication and assigned him as a trainer after being on his mission for only five weeks.
  • Elder Naegle was successful in baptizing converts into the LDS church. He never taught anything about Denver Snuffer. He was dedicated to the Church. He was adamant about this. He finds it unbelievable that someone would think, let alone say that he was on his mission to spread the "Denver doctrine."
  • Prior to his mission, Elder Naegle knew of Denver Snuffer and had even talked to him through association with his dad, who was a friend of Denver’s.  Elder Naegle attended two of Denver’s lectures at his father’s invitation, and he also happened to meet Denver at a gathering in which Denver showed up unexpectedly.  On the day he left for the MTC, Louis took his son to see Denver to say good bye and the three of them had friendly talk for awhile.  Louis’s son confirmed that he had never read any of Denver’s books other than a few chapters of his first book.  He found Denver sort of interesting but never considered himself a Snuffer follower.  He attended the two meetings at the request of his dad because he thought it would be interesting.  It was not because he was a disciple of Denver.  Both Louis and he believe that any remarks made by other people concerning Elder Naegle’s involvement with Denver Snuffer are from people who simply don’t know what they are talking about.  Regardless if Elder Naegle met with or heard Denver Snuffer speak, or whether he decided to go with his dad to any of Denver’s lectures does not make him a so-called "Snuffer follower."  Elder Naegle said he was fully committed to the LDS faith before and during his mission.  Anybody claiming otherwise is ignorant or lying.
  • Elder Naegle received three Snuffer books from his father while on his mission, but did not read them other than portions of Snuffer’s first book (which Denver wrote as a fully faithful LDS member, and which has never been criticized by the church).  He did not promote the books to anyone and kept them secured in his suitcase and they were never out for reading. He never taught “Snuffer doctrine”. (Personal note. The term “Snuffer Doctrine”, is purely rhetorical language used by one of the respondents to connote some sinister teaching exclusively taught by Denver Snuffer.  It is a ruse. I am not aware of anything called the Snuffer Doctrine. If one was to define so-called Snuffer doctrine, it would be to seek the Second Comforter.  This is not Denver’s doctrine however. It (along with Calling and Election made sure) was was taught extensively by Joseph Smith.  Elder McConkie taught it (Calling and Election) in general conference in the 70’s and spoke about it in the books he wrote.  I get the feeling that those opposing Elder Naegle don’t know the history of Calling and Election and the Second Comforter being taught by people other than Denver Snuffer.) 
  • Elder Naegle did not mention, let alone promote the name or person of Denver Snuffer while on his mission, to either his companions or to the members. 
  • While on his mission, Elder Naegle was asked by his District Leader about the subject of “Making one’s Calling and Election Sure”.  Elder Naegle discussed this subject along with the Second Comforter with his District Leader and his companion for perhaps one half hour at the DL’s request.  These subjects were new to both these missionaries. Elder Naegle did not mention Denver Snuffer during this discussion.  He explained what he knew about the subjects from what Joseph Smith and the scriptures said about them. He did not consider himself a big expert concerning these topics.
  • The DL wanted to confirm these new teachings with his mission president so he called him to ask him about the Second Comforter and Making one’s Calling Election Sure.  He did not call to talk about “Snuffer Doctrine” as implied by the DL’s father.  The DL did not call the mission president to expose some wrong doing of Elder Naegle, or that he was talking about Denver Snuffer; or to get Elder Naegle in trouble.  The DL just wanted his mission president’s take on these subjects that Elder Naegle talked about.  The mission president told the DL and companion that these teachings were way above their head and not to think about them.
  • After the meeting with his companion and DL, the mission president called Elder Naegle into his office. Elder Naegle had no idea that his mission president called him into his office to receive a reprimand about talking about “Calling and Election” with his DL and companion.  Elder Naegle considered himself a very faithful missionary, more so than other missionaries he observed.  He had no idea that the mission president had anything negative to say to him, especially since he was actually being very successful as a missionary.  (Personal note: It is at this part of the story that it becomes clear that the church was targeting Elder Naegle.) The mission president laid into him for discussing with the other two missionaries about “Calling and Election”.  This caught Elder Naegle totally by surprise because he had hardly said anything to them about it, and it was during normal one-on-one time with the DL, and he spoke to him about it because the DL asked him about it, not because he was promoting the information.
  • Even more surprising was that the mission president started using the words “Denver Snuffer” without Elder Naegle ever mentioning his name before to him or to the two missionaries.  Yet here was the mission president talking about Denver Snuffer.  Even more eerie to him was that the mission president started talking to him about all the stuff his dad was involved with in connection to Denver Snuffer.  If was as if the mission president was reading an FBI file the church had prepared on his dad and Denver Snuffer.  His mission president accused him of teaching about Denver Snuffer against the earlier instruction given to him to not to teach about Snuffer.  Funny thing was that the mission president had never before mentioned to him anything about Denver Snuffer.  (Personal note: It appears that the mission president was actually having phantom memories about cautioning Elder Naegle about speaking about Snuffer.) It was a complete surprise to Elder Naegle, and even very upsetting, because the mission president kept making comments to him that simply were not true. (Personal note:  All this indicates that the Church had earlier contacted the mission president to keep his eyes on Elder Naegle and that the church had kept files on both Denver and Louis, which they supplied information from to the mission president)   
  • The biggest surprise came when the mission president told him that a plane ticket had already been acquired and he was going home the next day for apostasy with a dishonorable release.
  • Elder Naegle never confessed to the mission president (as claimed by someone) that he was teaching so-called Snuffer Doctrine.  He only confirmed that he had spoken to his DL and companion, at the DL's request, about making one’s Calling and Election sure.  He did not consider talking to the DL about this as something taboo. (Personal note:  I would think that most informed members of the church, including virtually every mission president would not think it inappropriate to talk with a mission companion about this scriptural subject, certainly not something worthy to be sent home for.  If so, this is a radical departure from years past.  My own mission president spoke about these subjects to the missionaries.)
  • Elder Naegle and the DL are actually on friendly terms with each other and have had friendly communications with each other since he’s come home.  Elder Naegle doesn’t feel at all that the DL had mal-intentions against him when speaking to the mission president.  From what Elder Naegle can tell, the DL considered him an excellent missionary and felt badly that Elder Naegle was sent home. Elder Naegle believes the DL would feel sad and very uncomfortable that disparaging remarks have been made against him by his family members or anyone else. 

Personal Notes from the author: From talking to Louis’s son, it was clear that he believed he was working as an honorable missionary for the LDS church and that he was not out talking about Denver Snuffer.  Any prior activities with his dad concerning Denver Snuffer did not change his mind about severing faithfully for the LDS church.  There are strong indications that Elder Naegle was singled out weeks or months prior to being released, as being a possible apostate because of his relationship with with his dad. There are reasons to suspect that the church authority who was influencing the mission president to do what he did was Elder Russel M. Nelson.  The reasons for this include the following: 

  • Elder Naegle mentioned that his mission president would often make the point to the missionaries that the church authority he reported to was President Russel M. Nelson.
  • According to Denver Snuffer, Russel Nelson was directly involved with instigating his excommunication.
  • Russel Nelson was the presiding officer of the “Strengthening Church Members Committee” (SCMC; the committee that spies on members to ferret out secret apostates).  The information that the mission president presented to Elder Naegle was of a nature which suggested a report had been prepared by the SCMC for the mission president to use. 
  • The treatment Elder Naegle received from his mission president was uncharacteristic of normal operating procedures of a mission president.  The most reasonable explanation for this is because of the instructions he was given from the church authority that he reported to.

I believe Elder Naegle was the victim of abusive behavior of church officials.  I find it odd that anyone could justify this abuse against a young man who was faithfully serving the church, even if they do feel that he was guilty of some type of association with Snuffer.  I wonder if these people have personal problems with Louis Naegle. What if someone searched for suspicious things in their life?  Would that person care if people tried to expose their oddities, inadequacies or shortcomings without understanding all the facts?  Does the church approve of all their behavior?  Why would any of us throw a brick at a glass house?  I find it very sad.  In this dynamic world of personal beliefs, I hope kindness can still prevail, especially among those who consider themselves followers of Christ.  

21 comments:

  1. When I was excommunicated for having quoted church leaders' statements in my book, the Stake president said that my wife, a member in good standing, could not attend and any witnesses could only be present during their testimony, after which they would be (and were) asked to leave. He was very intent that only the 15 men and me would be witnesses to their words/actions.

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    1. Wow, I had no idea these court hearings were going down like that. No wonder they have added NDAs to the processes.

      I'm curious why it appears so easy for church members and leadership to dismiss the testimony of those who have met Jesus Christ in favor of those who have raised through the ranks of a corporation. Perhaps many of them are so far removed from the fruits of real faith that they don't actually believe the promises made in our scriptures any more.

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    2. Rob, I assume you're referring to "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men". I just finished your book and it is one of the best I've ever read on the topic. I wish everyone would receive it with an open mind. The church would be a much better place.

      Thank you

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  2. Where his kids ex'd as well?

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  3. Adrian,

    I don’t know what to say about this post. So much of what I find on this blog is helpful. I just don’t know about this one.

    I find that whenever I focus on the LDS Church and all the “badness” that’s happening – it really becomes a distraction. I have to keep telling myself, “Focus on Christ and that relationship. That’s what’s important. The ‘Church’ is not important.”

    Anyway, I guess for someone who still thinks the good ship Zion is sailing along just fine, this is valuable information.

    And, please note, I’m not at all being critical of you and this posting. The information should be out there. It brings me sorrow. I guess that’s it. Reading this brings me sorrow.

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  4. I like the scriptures you quoted in regards to the Gentiles. I wonder what the knowledge is, hid up by unbelief?

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  6. Another point that I forgot to make: Sections 6.5 and 6.10.4 of Handbook 1 (which gives the rules for stake disciplinary councils) state that the Stake President cannot use information obtained in private interviews or confessions as evidence in the council without the consent of the accused.

    In the present case, along with the written testimony, the Stake President stated he would be using information obtained in interviews. There is no indication whether he obtained permission to do so, but I know from personal experience that uninformed Stake Presidents have been known to use such information without permission, insisting they had the right to do so, in the absence of other evidence. I have not asked Louis Naegle whether he gave permission for such information to be used. If he did not, then a serious breach of procedure and confidentiality occurred.

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  7. So many members are coming to grips with the stories and testimonies of these people who were once our brethren and sisters in the church. So many want to stay tied to the church and try to ignore what is going on. But if the church has become wayward, at what point does it no longer deserve the name of Christ as its head? We can only keep ourselves at arm distance for so long until we have been pulled into an abominable situation. Not sure where that is for me. Naegle's 15 page response was striking. I had never considered the Lord's suffering in that way. I have always wondered how we can sit in sacrament meeting listening to a description of the Lord's suffering and not have tears streaming down our face as we consider our worthless state. Except, we are beyond feeling when considering the condescension and suffering of God. Lots to think about tonight.

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  8. As I was growing up reading the Book of Mormon I struggled to imagine the machinations found in the apostate Nephite church manifesting in our time. It looks like we're getting there. Now that the time of the gentiles is fulfilled and their destruction awaits, the machinations will no doubt continue until the Lord himself sees fit to check them. The good news is we yet have our agency to follow Christ in love and humility.

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  9. I really enjoyed brother Naegle's testimony, what a wonderful witness of the Atonement. I'm deeply saddened by the actions of those who were placed in supposed positions of authority, we should all pray for them, for they know not what they do.

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  10. This is an important clarification from a father of the boy's mission companion (as clarified and shared on Dehlin's page):

    ""Not only was Louis targeted for Church disciplinary actions, but his son, who had been serving an LDS mission, also was targeted and labeled an apostate and sent home (on April 22, 2016) dishonorably from his mission for being associated with his dad, even though his son did not endorse his father’s testimony nor has he read any of Snuffer’s books or participated in any activities associated with Snuffer. See Louis’s court letter for the details surrounding his son’s treatment by his mission president. One thing not mentioned in the Louis’s court statement is that the mission president called his son into his office on a Thursday and told his son he had a plane ticket for him to go home the very next day (on Friday). That means the Mission President (or his superior) had already decided to send Louis’s son home before even talking to him. And as you’ll read, there were ward members in his mission boundary that knew his son was going home before he even did."

    This point is NOT true. My son was his District Leader and we know that this missionary not only spent one full week in the woods the summer before his mission, but he also spent 3-hours in private meeting with Denver the day before he went into the MTC. My son was the one who called the Mission President which began the motions to send this young man home. I do not wish to fault this young man, but his actions on his mission were definitely proselytizing to other missionaries (namely his companion who is definitely feeling some distress), but also to those whom they were teaching. He repeatedly denied these accusations until his MP called him out directly with the evidence from his companion and my son. He then admitted freely to these efforts to spread the Snuffer doctrine. Additionally, Naegle had sent out his daughter on an earlier mission and she was *also* sent home after one month for similar actions. I know that all of these things are true and accurate because we are also personal family friends of the Naegle's and all of the details I am relating are cross-checked with two of his immediate family members. Naegle systematically sent his children on Snuffer-infiltration missions and both were successful in spreading Snufferite teachings and both were sent home *because* of it. Denver is using these children as pawns and IMO is reprehensible to set them up for failure and future trauma. Is it much different than what *we* do as members sending our own children out on missions? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I will let you decide."

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    1. I brought this comment to the attention of Louis. He replied as follows:

      The former Elder Naegle was back in Oregon just last week and spoke with his former DL at that time. They are on good terms. Anyone commenting on what's going on up there now is surely speaking out of turn. (Or at least has been breaking mission rules and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt).

      What missionary has EVER been sent home for ANY conversation has with his district leader or companion?!

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    2. I had missionaries I served with whose families held apostate and heretical beliefs, some of whom had been excommunicated. They were tolerated for the most part and were sometimes corrected. My how times have changed.

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  11. I might be missing something, but given ya'll's current opinions and beliefs about the LDS church, wouldn't it be a happy thing, a good thing to be released from being a member of a "corrupt" religious "club"? I mean if you've found a more enlightened path, embrace it, ask for your name to be removed and move on. Maybe the Stake Prez in this case should be revered and honored for helping your friend to live a more authentic and freely chosen life. No one is forcing anyone to stay. If you've got objections and this isn't the real deal for you, then why stay? Why not a whole group of you ask to have names removed? It makes no logical sense to me why the continued criticism and debate? If you are right, then live in that truth. I think these leaders are doing you all a favor to let you off quickly and easily. Why drag it out? Just my take...

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    1. What you're saying is very hurtful to some. For many of us the church is our community, our families and the place we wish to serve. Just because we don't share every belief doesn't mean we don't still have much in common. When the church believes bringing souls in will give you, "great joy," why would you so easily ask so many to leave? The truth is we all need each other. We need to learn to love, and serve, and forgive, and be of one heart and mind.

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    2. Suzanne, it's never "a happy thing, a good thing" to lose your family, your community, your foundation, and the thing that you've lived for all your life. It's not "a happy thing, a good thing" to be shunned, to have your children told they aren't welcome at their friends houses any more, to get glared at when you walk into the grocery store. It's not a "happy thing, a good thing" to have rumors and lies spread about you, to have your extended family called in, interviewed by ecclesiastical authorities, and threatened if they don't cut ties with you. It's not "a happy thing, a good thing" to lose business clients, income, and even your home because Mormons refuse to do business with you any more.

      Excommunication is the ultimate Mormon penalty. It classifies you with murderers and adulterers, only worse because "apostasy" brands you as a traitor. It's not doing anyone a favor to "let them off quickly and easily."

      You will never understand the sacrifice until you have made it. You will never understand how ugly Mormon culture can be until you've been cast out of it. You have no idea the courage it takes and the pain you will endure. Even your comment shows an utterly callous disregard for the suffering of others.

      Many of us would gladly stay in our wards, participating in our faith community because we want to love, serve, and worship with our friends, neighbors, and ward family. Even if we have doctrinal differences, there's no reason we can't preserve friendships, family ties, and bonds built up over a lifetime.

      Christ never cast anyone out. He forgave and loved. Many of us are willing to do the same, but the LDS church will not.

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  12. "The fact that Louis’s son was targeted by his Mission President-"

    Good job, LDS Corp., spitting in the face of one of the first beliefs that people are introduced to through the Articles of Faith, not punishing children for the "sins" of their parents.

    Then again, the fact that the corporation won't allow children of same-sex couples to be baptized has been the final nail in the coffin for many, so something like this isn't much of a surprise.

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  13. Interesting. Very interesting. You wrote: "even though his son did not endorse his father’s testimony nor has he read any of Snuffer’s books or participated in any activities associated with Snuffer." Where did you fact check this? Jaxon (Louis' kid) was re-baptized BEFORE he went on his mission. On your Doctrine of Christ conference page YOU have a picture of him listening intently to Denver at the Little Cottonwood Canyon conference. YOU published the picture. You've lowered your standards. You're now willing to post lies to make your efforts look good and the church look bad. You're no different than them. You're just another RLDS church. Lieing to make yourself look good. I would have expected better.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank you for your corrections. I will investigate this issue and take appropriate action.

      A couple of clarifications to your accusations:

      1. I didn't write the quote you quoted. That was written by someone else, as I plainly stated in the piece. The person who wrote this information claimed to know it personally. If he/she got something wrong, I’ll see that it’s corrected.

      2. I did not build or publish the website for the Doctrine of Christ conference. I did not place any picture there. And even if I did, I would not recognize Jaxon, as I've never met him. No need to keep shouting "YOU" at me as if I intentionally acted dishonestly.

      3. Even if Jaxon did attend a fellowship conference that Denver also attended, that doesn't prove much. I was at that conference, and Denver was not on the program, was not a planned speaker, and didn’t even arrive until after the official conference was over. He spoke briefly to the people who remained, and that’s what you’re referring to in the picture. This was not a Snuffer-associated or Snuffer-sponsored activity.

      4. Rebaptism doesn’t necessarily imply Snuffer either. I was rebaptized long before Denver Snuffer ever taught it.

      5. "You're now willing to post lies to make your efforts look good and the church look bad. You're no different than them." Well, actually, I appreciate you pointing out this potential error, which I am neither responsible for, nor had any way of knowing. Since you've pointed it out, I'll gladly ask the person who wrote the statement to correct it. No need to attack me because you think you found a "Gotcha!" An inadvertent mistake I'm willing to correct is NOT the same as intentionally lying to make myself look good. In fact, I don't see how anything in this piece makes me look good at all. If you think I’m trying to look good by doing this, you’re very mistaken.

      6. I find your inflammatory accusations far less accurate than the statement you’re attacking. Pot, meet kettle. Like I said, I don’t mind correction. But you’re not seeking to correct; you’re clearly here to attack.

      7. And last, but not least, I use my real name, stand up for what I write, and take abuse for it. What is your name? Will you put it behind your accusations? Would you be willing to have a personal conversation? Or are you satisfied to take anonymous, inaccurate potshots?

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  14. The Bible and all scriptures are not just corrupted but were all written by very imperfect men, most who probably didn't even keep Christ's commandments. Thus Christ warned us to watch out for false prophets and their false teachings, past and present. It is our responsibility to discern what is truth and what is false in any so called scriptures, by comparing it's teachings to the commandments of Christ and love and the Golden Rule. And if we are not keeping Christ's commandments ourselves we can easily misinterpret the scriptures also and also easily fall for any false revelation, ours or anyone else's.

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