FALLING AWAY OF AN LDS STRANGITE CHURCH
Since the days of Adam, man has had a proclivity to follow his own will and wants above the will of God and laws of God. This characteristic has caused man to lose association with God many times. Israel has been God’s chosen people since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). When the Jews rebelled against Jesus–and had him crucified by Roman Law—authority from God with the gospel–was taken from them and given to the gentiles. This was an open dispensation which also included–as an appendage–the Jews. Gentiles had been raised on paganism for centuries. They soon returned to their pagan roots. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thess. 2:7)
In the early fourth century, the pagan, unbaptized Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity—so-called—the state religion. He changed the identity of the true God to that of the Trinitarian sun god that he worshipped. He changed the identity of Jesus, the son of David according to the flesh, to that of a pagan demigod. He changed the holy Sabbath to the “venerable day of the sun.”
All authority from God was lost. “11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea , and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8) John–in Revelation–wrote of the gentiles losing authority from God for 1,260 years in chapters twelve and thirteen.
Authority from God–with the gospel of Christ–was restored by Joseph Smith through angelic administration. Again, the gentiles sought to live by their own; which resulted in with the martyrdom of Joseph. God had provided four revelations/commandments that in the event Joseph was to be taken that Joseph would appoint his successor in the Prophetic Office. Just over a week before his death, he wrote this Letter of Appointment to James J. Strang. The law of God also required that his successor be ordained under the hands of angles the same as Joseph. The same hour that Joseph was murdered on June 27, 1844, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angles according to the law of God—although 400 miles away.
Again, the gentiles would not live according to all the laws of God; but, again preferred to follow their own will. The prophet James J. Strang was shot on Beaver Island by two apostates with the help of the US Government, was returned home near Burlington, Wisconsin, and died on July 9, 1856. Several of the Apostles tried to gather the saints and live according to the will of God; but, they failed and the saints scattered.
Anytime even one person remains who has a legitimate claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood, the Kingdom of God remains on the earth; as there is authority from God to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. L. D. Hickey was ordained by James as one of the Twelve Apostles. Apostle Hickey ordained others; and authority from God continued.
A GREAT FALLING AWAY OF SOME LDS STRANGITES came in 1961. The man who was voted to be their leader—Vernon Swift–led most of the saints to REORGANIZE THEIR CHURCH. The Evening and Morning Star was an official church journal under Joseph Smith. “It [law of God] represents us, in one lovely body, of perfect symmetry, all the ideas that we have enumerated. One idea supposeth another idea; and the whole is united in a manner so compact, that it is impossible to alter one article without defacing the beauty of all.” (Vol. 1, p. 44) The Times and Seasons was another official church journal. “But as they have departed from his gospel, introduced the ordinances of men and neglected to teach the things that God commanded them, they have lost the authority, blessings, and power of the priesthood, their candlestick is removed out of its place, and CHRIST HAS CEASED TO BE WITH THEM…” (Vol. 4, p. 9)
This REORGANIZATION was accomplished by changing the identity of the original unincorporated church into part of the US Government by incorporating their church. Anytime a group incorporates they lose their former identity. Their Certificate of Incorporation noted that this new corporation church had no association with the original church. “The purpose of the corporation is to propagate and exemplify the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; and IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION, TIES, AGENCY, OR AFFILIATION WITH ANY OTHER RELIGIOUS SOCIETY.” (Article III) Its name? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite). Bro. Strang taught that truth has no fear of investigation; so, let’s investigate. It will become plain that this church operated from 1961 forward as a corporation. The Kingdom of God cannot be joined with the government of man. The eternal lives of all involved is at stake.
This new CHURCH OF MAN was governed by a NEW PRIESTHOOD of man. “The MANAGEMENT of the corporation shall be vested in a Presiding Council which may be also referred to as a BORAD OF DIRECTORS, of not less than three (3) in number. The number of directors constituting the first Presiding Council or first Board of Directors and the name and address of each such person is, as follows.” (Article VII)
The prophet James J. Strang made it clear that the voice of man is not the voice of God. Remember, “crucify him, crucify him.” The Constitution of this new church made members of their church the government of their church. “Section 1. The GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) shall be vested in the GENERAL CONFERENCE, said General Conference to consist of the Council of High Priests, and attending Priesthood of the lesser degrees as well as any lay members who have chosen to attend personally.” (Article III.A)
Contrary to their own Certificate of Incorporation and Constitution as noted above, this new church invented a NEW ORDER OF THE PRIESTHOODD. “Section 2. In the interim between the meetings of the General Conferences, the COUNCIL OF HIGH PRIESTS SHALL CONTITUTE THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH….” (Section 2) “… the COUNCIL OF HIGH PRIESTS shall consist of the High Priests who are in good standing. A quorum of this council shall be a majority of the High Priests.” (Section 1.G) These HIGH PRIESTS HAD TOTAL RULING POWER—contrary to the above law that placed all power in the hands of members. “The Council of High Priests has the power of veto over any action of a General Conference.” (Section 1.G)
The law of God provides for anyone claiming royal/ruling authority like these high priests. “2. Whosoever is called by the voice of God [not the voice of man] to the royal authority, shall be anointed and ordained by the hands of those who stand in royal authority above him.” (Book of the Law of the Lord, p. 163) “10. High Priests after the order of Melchisedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, [only] under the direction of the presidency….” (Utah Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107) With the death of the prophet James J. Strang there was no one holding royal authority above the office of high priest. Yet these corporation high priests thought to stand as government of the church. Not even third degree Apostles are authorized by God to stand over the church; as Brigham Young when he apostatized.
The authority of this Council of High Priests was unlimited. “Do whatever else the Council of High Priests deems necessary, helpful and compatible with the Scriptures accepted by the Church for furthering the interests, welfare and programs of the Church and/or it’s subordinate Branches, Missions and membership.” (Section 2.F)
This was a complete rebellion against the laws of God. Bro. Strang wrote that rebellion “is as the sin of witchcraft.” This is a most grievous sin. Satan and his followers tried this experiment and ended up having to spend eternity as ghosts.
This new church had a NEW SET OF LAWS.” It was called: “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS (Strangite)” The prophet James wrote in the Book of the Law of the Lord: “1. From time immemorial the Constitution of God’s Kingdom has been entitled, ‘The Decalogue,’ or, the ‘Ten Commandments.’” “Set up no more the works of men’s hands against the voice of God. Trust not in YOUR OWN WISDOM OR ALTER THE LAW OF GOD; you that have gone astray return to the order of God’s house.” (James J. Strang, Chronicles of Voree, p. 44)
These high priests thought to change the laws of God. ““But as they have departed from his gospel, introduced the ordinances of men and neglected to teach the things that God commanded them, they have lost the authority, blessings, and power of the priesthood, their candlestick is removed out of its place, and CHRIST HAS CEASED TO BE WITH THEM…” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 4, p. 9)
This constitution of man was considered by this church to be so powerful and perfect that: “Any person proven guilty of WILFULLY VIOLATING the doctrine and discipline of this Church or THIS CONTITUTION… may be disfellowshipped or EXCOMMUNICATED from membership and Priesthood in the Church.” (Section 2) Imagine using a man-made law to excommunicate members from the Kingdom of God. This doctrine of man clearly stands in rebellion to the law of God.
The prophet James J. Strang provided the law of God regarding the DUE PROCESS SYSTEM of the true church. “To cut a member off [or take any action against a member] from the church it is necessary. 1st. that he be accused of some act forbidden, or of neglecting some thing commanded by the law of God.–2 nd, that he be brought or required to appear before some quorum of council having jurisdiction of both the person and the offence. 3d., that he have a trial. 4 th., that his defense be heard. 5 th., that on such trial he be condemned. 6 th., that sentence of excommunication be passed upon him.
“If any one of these facts be lacking the individual concerned is not cut off from the Church nor his standing therein in any way affected. The vote of excommunication in such case would be utterly void, and the Church have nothing to do but to disregard it. It is not even necessary to appeal from it, for the judgment being a mere nullity there is nothing to appeal from.” (Voree Herald, March 1846)
This Constitution of the government church was developed only after many months and after the input of several people. “The very idea that a constitution, the work of a deliberative assembly of several score members, produced through months of labor, in which it was brought together piece by piece, changed, altered, patched and amended till it was brought into working shape, and to which twelve amendments have since been adopted, was given by inspiration of God is TOO RIDICULOUS TO BE TALKED OF.” (Northern Islander, July 5, 1855)
A most important question to resolve is whether the church acted as the original church, or as the corporation church. I have the church minutes from 1863 to 2000. Only the conferences after 1938 will be considered; as they are not relative to this question. It will become obvious that corporation church was the church of Vernon Swift and others. Every church conference was a meeting for the corporation church.
In the corporation church, the Ruling Council of High Priests held ultimate power—in violation of the laws of God. The corporation with its Constitution and Ruling Council of High Priests was organized at the 1961 General Conference. At the next conference—1963 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE—it was noted. “”The conclusion was that THIS IS THE RULING COUNCIL of the church and the AUTHORITY TO GOVERN RESTS IN THIS BODY OR THERE IS NO CHURCH. The decisions of this council should be binding on the church…The action the ruling council takes on any subject should be adhered to by the church.” “The conclusion was that this is the ruling council of the church and the authority to govern rests in this body or there is no church. The decisions of this council should be binding on the church. If they are not, where is the authority?”
At the 1967 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE, “Item I on the agenda was the FIRST TOPIC discussed. This was regarding a quorum in the CHURCH CONSTITUTION. It was pointed out that we have 14 High Priests on the record book and we must have eight present to have a majority of this group according to the Constitution. We had six… It was pointed out that the Charter provides for branches and stakes and the establishment of these ‑ these should also be encouraged and the encouragement of those already in existence.”
At the 1968 GENERAL CONFERENCE, it was noted: “Bro. Vernon opened the Conference by calling attention to the Constitution of the Church, especially pointing out Article III, Section 1, Paragraph G., stating that the High Priests who met prior to the Conference to act as the resolutions committee must be considered by the Church as a Council of High Priests and not as a High Council.
Bro. Vernon read Resolution No. 1 ‑
Resolved: That the body of High Priests represented by those attending the present Conference be acknowledged by this General Conference as a Council of High Priests, with powers to deliberate on matters of Church business and to present before the General Conference their recommendations on such points as pertain to the best interests of the Church.” The basis for this resolution was that most of the existing high priests were not active; and therefore there could be no Council of High Priests. Vernon noted the importance of using the corporation Constitution and then changing it without following proper actions. “Bro. David Rees states that a high Council could be formed and 7 form a quorum. Asks why we could not appoint a High Council and select 7 to form a quorum. Bro. Vernon stated that we have only 6 active High Priests at the present meeting and it could not be done in our condition at this time.”
At the 1969 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE these corporation high priests did not even understand the law of God on marriage. Marriage is one of the most sacred and important of the ordinances in the Kingdom of God. The doctrine of the church had been clearly outlined in the writings of both prophets; and in the Book of the Law of the Lord. The law of God does not provide for divorce in a spiritual marriage. Those who are not married by the law of God—but by the law of man—have the right to divorce.
These corporation high priests could not even offer the doctrine of the church in the case of Roma Lynch. “The second subject under consideration was an interpretation of the law of God dealing with divorce. After lengthy discussion on this perplexing subject, it was determined that this group was not able at this time to write a conclusive interpretation which would satisfy all individual cases where different conditions may tend to conflict with the intent of the law.” The Council of High Priests is found nowhere in the law of God; and is in fact a usurpation of the priesthood. Yet, “The Council of High Priests hereby offer our… In accordance with the instructions of the last general Conference, it is the decision of this Council… The Council consecrated a bottle of oil to be used in administering for the sick.”
At the beginning of the 1972 GENERAL CONFERENCE “Bro. Vernon Swift read Resolution #1 from the minutes of the 1968 conference concerning the position of the High Priest Council which reads as follows:
“Resolved: That this body of High Priests represented by these attending the present conference be acknowledged by this General Conference as a COUNCIL OF HIGH PRIESTS, with powers to deliberate on matters of Church business, and to present before the General Conference their recommendations on such points as pertain to the best interests of the Church.”
“Bro. Vernon Swift stated that this resolution must remain applicable to the present High Priest Council and General Conference.” “On the subject of marriage and divorce, the High Priest Council decided not to make a decisive statement at this time.”
“A question was asked if the CONSTITUTION described the duties of the printer. A search of the Constitution revealed no specific mention of the duties of the printer, but the following reference was found: (Section 2)
“In the interim between the meeting of the General Conferences, the RULING COUNCIL or Council of High Priests SHALL REPRESENT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH and shall: B. Decide what books and literature shall be printed, allocate funds from the General Church Treasury for their publication and regulate their distribution through the Voree Press which is hereby designated as the publishing establishment for the church”
At the 1973 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE it was noted: “For this reason, the present council of six High Priests recommends that we continue acting in the same capacity as has been the practice since the 1972 General Conference.”
At the 1974 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE it was noted: “After a discussion of this letter which contained complaints concerning the Elders court trials of Stephen West, Geneva Lynch, and Roma Lynch, Bro. George stated that these complaints of irregularities are improperly filed. He says that Bro. Samuel West should be informed that only the principals of the trials have a right to appeal the case. This is in accord with the provisions of the CHURCH CONSTITUTION. However, if sufficient new evidence is submitted, a General Conference may call for a re-hearing of the case. (Church Constitution Page 21, Art. IV Sect. F)
At the 1975 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE it was noted: “Bro. Vernon Swift suggested that we might START WITH THE CHURCH CONSTITUTION and perhaps determine the degree of authority the High Priests may assume in our present circumstances. Bro. Bruce Flanders stated that some have questioned the wording in the Constitution, especially the term ‘Ruling Council’, and certain other terms. We must acknowledge that some degree of error is possible.” “The subject shifted to a discussion of the High Priests acting as a “Council of High Priests” as called out in the Constitution of the Church. It was stated that the High Priests who met in 1964 were acting under this provision and at that time they were agreed that a quorum of the High Priest Council was a majority of those attending the meeting, and did not include the inactive High Priests or those not present. Bro. Vernon Swift called attention to the fact that at a later meeting prior to the General Conference of 1968, we had agreed that a quorum consisted of a majority of all the High Priests in good standing.”
“Bro. Vernon Swift stated that he had said before that under proper circumstances, the Church should be able to excommunicate, that is what we have agreed to in the Constitution, but I know this much, before I could pass such a sentence, I would have to do a lot of searching to determine if it was justified.”
At the 1977 HIGH PREIST CONFERENCE it was noted: “The 1955 General Conference ruled, “It is the decision of the Conference that anyone who becomes a member of another church or religious order, must be rebaptized upon approval of the Branch of which they were former members.” This is a reckless and false doctrine. An elder in the days of Joseph Smith joined the Methodist Church. When he returned, confessed, and repented of his error, Joseph returned his elder’s certificate. “To the case of A. J. Squires presented by J. Smith. Mr. Squires had been an ordained Elder in the Church and for a time preached the gospel successfully, but after a while sent his license in a letter to President Smith requesting to be excused from laboring longer in the vineyard. This evening he came forward before the church and confessed that he had been in temptation and fallen into Error, so much so as to go and join the Methodists, yet says he was not in faith with their doctrine. He now says he desires to return to the fellowship of the church and asks forgiveness of the brethren and a restoration of his license. President Smith arose & spoke at considerable length on the improriety of turning away from the truth and going after a people so destitute, of the spirit of righteousness as the Methodists. President Rigdon also labored quite lengthy to show the folly of fellowshiping any doctrine or spirit aside from that of Christ. After which Mr. Squires arose & said he felt fire in determination of doing the will of God in all things, or as far as in him lies, is sorry for his faults and by the grace of God will forsake them in future. President Rigdon then called for the vote of the Church & received it in favor of restoring him to fellowship, and the office of Elder also, and that the clerk give him a License.” (High Council, Kirtland Council Minute Book, pp. 147, 148)
L. D. Hickey—the father of all priesthood today—joined the RLDS church. When he returned, he was recognized with the authority he received under James J. Strang. Bro. Strang taught that re-baptism was required only when a person is found fighting against God; as the members of the corporate church have done.
The 1978 GENERAL CONFERENCE ruled and conducted TRIALS OF MEMBERS OF THE ORIGNAL CHURCH. There are pages of these trials. Many who they intended to cut off from the church, were sent a letter which included the following: “…it was noted: ‘This is to inform you that the following High Priests: Bro. Vernon Swift – Presiding, Bro. Bruce Flanders – Recorder, Bro. George Mead, Bro. William Shepard ‑ (First day only) constituting the Council of High Priests of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) have met on the lst and 2nd day of October, 1977, to investigate the activities of a group within the Voree Branch.”
It is possible that many of these should have been disfellowshipped; but, to hold trials in the name of the corporate church against member of the original church is a violation of citizen rights—both in this country and the Kingdom of God. Since they held no authority to act against members of the original church, their acts were null and void. One member was cut off simply because they did not understand the law of God. Others were cut off essentially because they did not honor the corporate church. Vernon Swift went so far as to presumably silence the priesthood of one elder based on his presumed authority. The corporate Constitution which he honored states: “A. NO MEMBER SHALL BE DISMISSED OR EXPELLED FROM THE PRIESTHOOD EXCEPT BY PROPER CHURCH COURT ACTION; his Priesthood is good until regularly taken away. Any member who joins another church or who requests either in writing or orally to withdraw from the Church shall have his name removed from the Church Records only after proper labor with and upon the advice of the proper court.” (Constitution, Section 2.A) This statement in their corporate Constitution agrees with the doctrine of the church. The prophet James J. Strang wrote: “… authority is good till regularly taken away.” (Diamond) Since this corporate Council of High Priests act only as a corporation; and without authority from God, they violate civil rights and could be taken to court for redress. It is evident they have no respect for either civil rights or the rights of members in the true church.
In one of those trials the corporate Constitution was quoted as grounds for excommunication. The Constitution of the Church states, under Article IV Section 2: “Any person proven guilty of willfully violating the doctrine and discipline of this Church or this Constitution, or who shall bring shame or disgrace upon the good name of the Church and/or it’s membership by the commission of a criminal offense may be disfellowshipped or excommunicated from membership and Priesthood in the Church.”
At the 1979 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE it became evident that the corporate high priests were confused over their authority. “The subject of the term “RULING COUNCIL” was taken up.” “Bro. George Mead said that since we have found that the council of High Priests, as they now exist, has certain limitations, he asks what are the functions which the High Priests may perform.”
The 1982 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE faced the problem of the original church and the corporate church. Steve and Josephine Barany not wanting to be a part of this corporate church wrote: “I Steve Barany was baptized into the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Elder Joseph H. Hickey in Coldwater Michigan in 1951.
“I believe in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of the Law and strict adherance to the laws contained herein.
“If you have the original record of membership in this church as founded by Joseph Smith and James J. Strang and carried forward by L. D. Hickey and Wingfield Watson, DON’T TAKE MY NAME OFF THIS RECORD.
“However I am not the member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) chartered by Vernon Swift, Stanley Johnston, and Joseph E. Mead. Since I was not baptized into your man made church I want my name taken off YOUR CHURCH record if you have it on.
(Signed) Steve Barany
This caused considerable confusion among these corporate high priests. They were being forced to recognize that the corporation church was not the original church. “Bro. Swift suggested that the names of Steve Barany and Josephine Barany be removed from the Church rolls per their request.” “A discussion of this matter was held at length.” “Bro. Vernon Swift said he felt that their request should be honored. He asked how many agreed with this. A VOTE WAS TAKEN. [Anytime members vote on the membership or priesthood of anyone, it is a sure sign they are not of God.] Bro. George Mead agreed, Bro. Stanley Johnston agreed, Bro. Bruce Flanders abstained but said he would do as instructed.” “Number 5. Review of the Constitution. A short discussion of this matter brought out the need to amend the wording of the Constitution to remove the term Ruling Council where it is used to mean the Council of High Priests.”
Vernon Swift and the corporate Council of High Priests continued to honor their corporation as the original church. All conferences after 1961 were conducted as meetings of the corporate church. The corporate Constitution requires: “The management of the corporation shall be vested in a Presiding Council which may be also referred to as a Board of Directors, of not less than three (3) in number. The number of directors constituting the first Presiding Council or first Board of Directors and the name and address of each such person is, as follows.” (Certificate of Incorporation) This conference was again only a meeting of the corporation. “Number 10. SELECTION OF A COUNSELLOR to replace the late Bro. Joseph Mead was also set aside as a matter to be taken up before a General Conference.”
At the 1983 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE, it was noted: “Bro. Bruce stated that to his knowledge, THERE AREMEMBERS WHO HAVE NOT FULLY ACCEPTED THE CONSTITUTION who have not fully accepted the Constitution that was ratified by the General Conference of 1961. Bro. Vernon and Bro. George both made the statement that this action of the 1961 conference was binding upon the entire Church, even though some members were absent and did not vote on the matter at the time.” Are they bound by the actions of other corporate churches? In the state of Wisconsin there is other church corporations; including the “Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” and the “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” This conference was clearly a meeting of the corporate church.
The 1984 GENERAL CONFERENCE was without doubt a meeting for the corporation church. “Bro. Vernon Swift spoke about a RATIFICATION OF THE CHURCH CONSTITUION to fulfill the requirements required by the law of the land. The Constitution calls for two counselors.” “Bro. Vernon Swift has received notification from Bro. Bruce Flanders and the Voree Branch (copy attached) suggesting that the Church Constitution, ratified in 1961 by the General Conference, be amended to read ‘Council of High Priests’, not ‘Ruling Council’.” “Bro. Swift read from the 1961 Constitution, Page 23, Article 5, Section 1 which gives the right of a General Conference to amend this constitution.” “Constitution be amended to delete the term “Ruling Council”, and the term “Council of High Priests” be put in all places in the Constitution where “Ruling Council” is now.” This conference was involved in trials of member of the original church.
At the 1985 HIGH PRIEST CONFERENCE, “Bro. Vernon then took up the FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS suggested by Bro. Bruce Flanders. It concerned the amendment of the CHURCH CONSTITUITON as called for by the General Conference of 1984. He said the New Mexico Corporation Commission required a copy of the amended Constitution signed by the President and Secretary. He suggested that the President and both counsellors might sign it, and asked Bro. Bruce Flanders if he would prepare it. Bro. Bruce agreed to do so.”
At the 1990 GENERAL CONFERENCE, “Bro. Vernon Swift spoke about the CONSTITUTION. We had to have one to be recognized by the Government to own property, to do some Church work, to fulfill our responsibility to the government, to qualify our men for Conscientious Objectors in case of draft.” Another deception. I was classified as a 1-AO or conscientious objector in 1957—before the corporation was even thought of. Lloyd Flanders sons were recognized as conscientious objectors without the corporation. George Mead was refused this classification when he could not prove that he deserved that status.
At the 1993 High Priest Meeting, the HIGH PRIESTS COULD NOT AGREE ON THE GODHEAD. Bruce Flanders had been teaching from the pulpit that the Father was the spirit and Jesus was the physical body of God. This became the central topic for this meeting. “For the purpose of informing those who have an interest in the proceedings of the High Priests meetings of the subjects discussed, which in this instance were very deep and complex, and owing to the fact that the discussion was carried on in the form of a dialogue, and since no conclusion was arrived at, the reader is urged to study on their own to become better informed on the subject.” THEY KNEW NOT GOD. They certainly could not represent high priests in the Kingdom of God. The latter day prophets Joseph Smith and James J. Strang left an abundance of information on this subject. It is evident these representatives of a civil corporation were not guided by the Holy Spirit.
The 2000 GENERAL CONFERENCE was called because the CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION required three high priest as directors of the corporation. With the death of Bruce Flanders only two remained: Vernon Swift and George Mead.
In 1998, Vernon Swift wrote a letter to me declaring that he had silenced my priesthood. This was a clear violation of both the laws of God and his corporate constitution. Since this was an action by a corporation, it was illegal. In addition, no high priest has authority from God to take any action against a member of the church. Bro. Strang wrote of such: “It is not even necessary to appeal from it, for the judgment being a mere nullity there is nothing to appeal from.” (James J. Strang, Voree Herald, March 1846)
My attorney reviewed this action by Vernon and wrote him a letter advising him to cease and desist because he had no authority–as only a representative of a corporation–to taken any action against a person outside of that corporation. He noted that civil action could be taken against him personally and against the corporation because he violated Constitutional civil rights. After considering Vernon’s poor health, I elected–at that time–not to pursue civil action; although permitted even in the church (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Of Government and Laws in General, v. 10)
Vernon most likely contacted his attorney and understood his violation and possible litigation. He used the 2000 General Conference in two ways. He introduced this evil action for the conference to vote–on making them party to this crime and individually liable. “Bro. Vernon: …we are going to continue through the vote of this conference, the silencing that was placed upon you. And it will be by the vote if the conference wishes to vote and I would like the conference to make that recommendation. That way it will not be just me and Bro. George (Mead). It will be on this also. I am open for a resolution.” Resolution by Sister Billie Jean Weber: ‘I make a resolution that he continue to be silenced until he comes to the truth of it and repents of it. ’Motion second by Sister Sherry Kelley. Question by Bro. Gary Weber: ‘Do they have the authority to silence a member?’ Answer by Bro. Vernon: ‘The conference can do it.’” Vernon obviously erroneously believed the voice of the people was the voice of God.
Recognizing his civil liability, Vernon had the conference make the corporation liable to cover the cost of any litigation. “This resolution is as stated, is that if litigation would be brought against any or all High Priests from this day, until the next general conference – any such legal action would be against the Church, as a body, and all legal expenses would be paid by the general Church treasury.”
Vernon elected to make this a public trial of me–contrary to the law of God. “Bro. Vernon: …Samuel E. West wrote: ‘I had no part in either the organization of the corporate church or the ratification of the constitution. I did erroneously recognize the ruling order of the Council of High Priests in letters which I wrote to them. As I could have rendered myself a member of the corporate church by that action, I am making it clear that I am not a member of the corporate church in New Mexico and I am truly sorry for any support which I may have given to it. This letter should make it obvious that I neither accept membership in the corporate church nor recognize its constitution.'”
“Bro. Samuel continued: “I find nothing in the law that would indicate that I have to be a member of a corporation to be a member of the Church of God.” “Bro. Samuel: ‘Question, can you be a member of the Church of God without being a member of man? Let me re-word that: Do you have to be a member of a corporation to be a member of the Church of God?’”
Vernon recognized that he was in a catch 22 situation. If he was to answer yes, it would be obvious that the corporation was his church. If he answered no, he would undermine all opinions on the corporation. He became so distraught that he had to be taken into another room to recover.
Vernon continued with further statements that the corporation and his church were the same thing. “Bro. Vernon: ‘It is a subject that I have made for this conference, as Presiding. You admit to these things and it’s sad. It’s sad that these statements are made. It’s sad because by doing so, lines are drawn. You admit that you are NOT A MEMBER OF THIS CORPORATION – THIS CHURCH…. I said Church, too, and this IS the Church. I think we probably will have the vote of many more saying that this is the Church and that your interpretation of being a corporation is not accepted by this, as the Church. Because there are no two churches, THERE ARE NO TWO ORGANIZATIONS – JUST ONE ORGANIZATION.”
Lloyd Flanders was a recognized as a high priest presiding over the church before Vernon. Those who knew him recognized the Holy Spirit within him. At the time this corporate church begun, he wrote to Vernon Swift on February 12, 1967: “…for as noted in my letter to you before: if we make the Ruling Council anything else but a Temporary High Council: we have set a man-made head on the Church: and are no better than other L.D.S. Bodies.” He wrote again on November 25, 1969: “I regret ever having had the slightest thing to do with the charter for the Church: I regard it is a serious mistake ON MY PART: and I have repented of it and asked God’s forgiveness.”
Vernon again used the corporate constitution as authority for his illegal action. “Section 2. Any person proven guilty of WILFULLY VIOLATING the doctrine and discipline of this Church or THIS CONSTITUION or who shall bring shame or disgrace upon the good name of the Church and/or its membership by the commission of a criminal offense MAY BE may be disfellowshipped or EXCOMMUNICATED from membership and Priesthood in the Church. BEFORE ANY ACTION may be taken by a Church Court either on the part of one member against another or with the Church as plaintiff, LABOR MUST BE PERFORMED with that individual consistent with the laws and practices of the Church.” He violated his constitution by acting without first laboring. He was liable to be excommunicated from his church.
Vernon also violated Article IV, Section 1. “The Government of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) shall be vested in the General Conference.” Not so in the Kingdom of God. By this action, Vernon caused all who raised their hands party to an action illegal in the law of God. “A. NO MEMBER SHALL BE DISMISSED OR EXPELLED FROM THE PRIESTHOOD EXCEPT BY PROPER CHURCH COURT ACTION; his Priesthood is good until regularly taken away. Any member who joins another church or who requests either in writing or orally to withdraw from the Church shall have his name removed from the Church Records only after proper labor with and upon the advice of the proper court.” (Constitution, Section 2.A) This statement in their corporate Constitution agrees with the doctrine of the church. The prophet James J. Strang wrote: “… authority is good till regularly taken away.” (Diamond) Since Vernon and the corporate Council of High Priests act only as a corporation–and without authority from God–they violate Constitutional civil rights and could be taken to court for redress. It is evident they have no respect for either civil rights or their own church constitution.
Joseph Smith wrote from Liberty Jail: “There are many called but few are chosen, and why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set upon the things of the world and are aspiring to the honors of men: they do not learn the lesson that the rights, of the priesthood, are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven; and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the of righteousness, that they may be conferred upon us, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins, to gratify our pride, vain ambition, or to EXERCISE DOMINION OR COMPULSION, over the souls of the children of men, IN ANY DEGREE OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS; behold the heavens withdraw themselves, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, then AMEN TO THE PRIESTHOOD, or to the authority of that man; behold ere he is aware, he is left to kick against the prick; to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience, that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, to begin to exercise unrighteous dominion, hence many are called but few are chosen. No power or influence can, or aught to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, by meekness and by love unfeigned; without hypocrisy, and without guile: reproving with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and afterwards showing forth an increase of love towards him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy, so that he may know, that thy faithfulness is stronger that the cords of death.” (Times and Seasons, Volume 1, July 1840)
When the high council was organized on February 12, 1834, Joseph Smith remarked: “He said, that no man was capable of judging a matter in council without his own heart was pure, and that we frequently are so filled with prejudice, or have a beam in our own eye, that we are not capable of passing right decissions, &c…. Our acts are recorded, and at a future day they will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right and injure our fellow beings, they may there perhaps condemn us; then they are of great consequence, and to me the consequence appears to be of force beyond any thing which I am able to express &c. Ask yourselves, brethren, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer since you heard of this council; and if you are now prepared to sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother.” (Kirtland Council Minute Book, p. 22)
The primary business of this 2000 conference was supposed to be the appointment of a high priest to take the place of Bruce Flanders. “Therefore, the ones that we have been thinking about and want to put a motion, each individually: FIRST OF ALL, Brother DAVID E. REES. He has been an Elder for 38 years. Second, Bro, David B, Flanders, He hasn’t been an Elder that long – about 8 years. Third, Bro. William K. (Billy) Shepard. He’s, right now, a Teacher. He has been a High Priest (in the past) and through a lot of hardship, that was taken from him. He was working his way back. Bro. Vernon: ‘Those three are the ones we have nominated or suggested and feel that they are called, because they are all good men.’”
For any person to be considered a candidate for calling to the office of High Priest, he must be “keepers of his law, examples in righteousness.” (Book of the Law, p. 193) No one can be legitimately ordained to an office in the priesthood except by the mouth and hands of one holding that priesthood.
Let us review the history of VERNON SWIFT’S alleged priesthood; and thereby that of all offices in the corporate church. At the 1939 GENERAL CONFERNCE, “Resolution #3: “Motion made by Bro. H. C. Anderson [ELDER] that we ORDAIN SIX MORE HIGH PRIESTS, and seconded by Bro. John Wake,” was VOTED UPON and carried unanimously.” No elder can call one to the office of high priest. If this was possible, they could have called one to the Prophetic Office by the voice of man; as was the case with Brigham Young. There is no such thing as a general calling to the priesthood. Each person must be individually called. This is almost too simply a rule to even discuss. It is a fundamental law of the Kingdom of God.
At the 1942 GENERAL CONFERENCE–without following the law of God that one must be called by the mouth of one holding that priesthood—Joseph Mead was called by the voice of man. “It was VOTED unanimous that Bro. Joseph Mead be ordained a High Priest.
At the 1947 GENERAL CONFERENCE, the practice of voting men into office was repeated. “Bro. Mead made motion that Bro. Lloyd Flanders be placed in the position formerly occupied by Bro. Max Flanders as Presiding High Priest of the Church. Seconded and approved.
Discussion followed as to ordaining a High Priest to preside over the Church, or just setting up a precedent of choosing or voting them into that position. It has been in the past that there was an ordination to that position. Bro. Lloyd Flanders read the 42nd Sec. of D. & C., and Chap. 18, p. 163 of the B. of the L. on ordination.” “Bro. West made a motion that we do not ordain Bro. Flanders because we have already appointed and voted him into this position.”
“11. Again, I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” (Utah D&C, 42)
“1. THOU shalt not take upon thyself the honour of the Priesthood; neither shalt thou confer this honour on any but him whom the Lord thy God shall call. For no man shall administer in the name of God, but he that is called by the revelation of God’s will, and set apart by the hands of those upon whom the authority of his name is sealed.” (Book of the Law, p. 163)
It is clear that voting people into the priesthood is contrary to the law of God; and is therefore invalid. This law invalidates the priesthood of Vernon Swift and all others called by the voice of man.
At the 1952 GENERAL CONFERENCE, “Bro. Joseph Mead nominated Bro. Vernon D. Swift.” It took a vote of man to seal this “nomination.” Since Joseph Mead did not have a valid claim to the priesthood, that ordination was again invalid. This conference went far astray from the law of God on calling and ordination. Six men were called to the office of high priest by a nomination and vote of man. Some by elders and some by lay members. “Sis. Cynthia Trimble [a lay member] NOMINATED Bro. George Mead.” None were valid according to the law of God. What a tangled web they wove, when acting to deceive.
At the 1955 GENERAL CONFERENCE, “Cliffie West [a teacher] ‘nominated [called] Vernon Swift as the Presiding High Priest.” He was APPOINTED BY A VOTE of 17 to 16.” Bro. Strang taught the voice of the people is not the voice of God. Only one who holds the office being called has authority to call another to that priesthood. From 1955, until shortly before his death, Vernon continued to usurp that office. From 1961, he continued as the President of the corporation church—in accordance with the Certificate of Incorporation–teaching that he was the head of the true church, in violation of the law of God. No murderer can be forgiven in mortal life.
At the 1996 YOUTH CONFERENCE, Vernon bragged about his military service. This is bragging about being a violator of the law of God and a murderer. When the holy Eucharist was served, he required that it be given to non-members. This is a clear violation of the law of God. “… and they who are washed of their sins, and have a pure conscience before God, shall eat and drink thereof…” (Book of the Law, p. 145) Several members wrote to Vernon about this grievous error. He resisted, at first, finally admitting that he did such a thing; and then noted that he had been doing this for 35 years!
Near the end of the conference Vernon elected to get involved with signs. He had everyone form a circle and gave each a candle to light. His candle, though, was a relighting candle. He advised all this was a symbol of the Melchisedec Priesthood which is a priesthood of an endless life. Then everyone—including himself—blew out their candles. He was shocked when his candle would not relight. Several said they felt a chilly wind blow through the room. No matter what he did, he was unable to light his candle. He got his sign!
Let us examine BRUCE FLANDERS. He knew the law of God. Yet, he volunteered for military service; and by the law of God became a murderer—not even a candidate for baptism. He even taught from the pulpit in Burlington that it was permissible to join the military; and encouraged a nephew of mine to join the military.
One of the key features of a church claiming to represent God is a correct knowledge of God. The prophet Joseph Smith taught: “2 Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. 3 First, The idea that he actually exists. 4 Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. 5 Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Lecture Third, 1835 Doctrine and Covenants)
“36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22)
Bruce Flanders was one of the key corporation high priests. He preached from the pulpit in Burlington that the Father was the spirit and the Son was the physical body of God. This is the same false doctrine that Constantine brought into Christianity in 324 AD. It is a doctrine of the Devil.
Vernon provided sufficient evidence to those in the corporate church and all others to understand they were only members of a corporation in 2000. At the death of Bruce Flanders, the corporation had only two directors; and three were required by the Certificate of Incorporation—not the law of God. Since it was necessary to replace Bruce, Vernon called an emergency general conference to vote a replacement high priest for the corporation.
Prior to the conference, I enlisted a private investigator to inspect the church records. This revealed THERE WAS ONLY ONE SET OF MEMBERSHIP RECORDS: THAT OF THE CORPORATION. There were no other records. ALL WERE ONLY MEMBERS OF THE CORPORATION CHURCH.
The law of God requires: “1. THE Lord your God will chose faithful men, keepers of his Law, examples in righteousness, to be Priests of the order of an endless life.” (Book of the Law, p. 193) LET US CONSIDER DAVID REES. Before this conference, David had been convicted of a felony: CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. God would certainly not call a felon to be a high priest. There is further evidence that Vernon called him only because of his personal attachment with David.
David wrote me on August 18, 1997: “Every one I’ve heard speak who was there in the European theatre of WWII has expressed the same feeling that they felt justified… As these two brothers were called after their military service I should think that they must be considered as having been forgiven if there was a sin involved.” The prophet James wrote: “…for that which the law of God declares to be sin, man cannot make lawful.” He wrote: “I wound not be so bold as to say whether Mr. Strang received or understood the Godhead.” On October 1, 1997, he wrote: “…you will get an understanding that the Almighty has a body composed of Spiritual Energy, and energy as Dr. Einstein has proven, is a form of matter, having mass and weight, and form. No where will you find that either of the Latter Day prophets proposed a body of flesh and bones.” David felt military service was not against the law of God. He believed that God did not have a physical body. Do I have to answer these false doctrines?
What of WILLIAM SHEPARD? William—knowing the law of god—still volunteered for military service the same as Vernon Swift and Bruce Flanders. According to the law of God, WILLIAM WAS A MURDERER. See Book of the Law of the Lord: “Thou shalt not kill.” James J. Strang noted in the Book of the Law:
“4. All killing by mobs, or bodies of unauthorized men, acting upon no matter what provocation, and not in open and legal war, belong to the category of mere murder. 5. Nor should that be regarded as legal war, which men by their law have authorized, but only that which the law of God authorizes. 6. Consequently, he who voluntarily enters upon an unjust war, is guilty of murder. As part of the force, he is guilty, when death is inflicted by others. 7. Nor will he be justified, though required by the law of his country; for that which the law of God declares to be sin, man cannot make lawful. 8. It is, therefore, the duty of the Saints, to abstain from all wars which are not authorized by the express word of God, or the plain principles of his law; as from murder.”
MURDERERS AND FELONS may be acceptable to Vernon Swift for the office of high priest in his corporation; but, not to God. Here is conclusive evidence that THE CHURCH HEADED BY VERNON SWIFT IS NOT A CHURCH OF GOD. When the records of this church were examined, it was found the only members were members of the corporation church. There was no other record. Are we not told: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)
Vernon Swift and others taught that the church was originally organized as a corporation. This is a miserable lie intended to capture the souls of man. They used the following quotation in the 2000 General Conference to support their lie: “Bro. Vernon: ‘Yes… James J. Strang, a Prophet of God, a Lawgiver, had this to say in GOSPEL HERALD, Vol. 2, Voree, Wisconsin Territory, Thursday, Oct. 28, 1847, No. 32, in his debate with W. E. McLellin: … and organized themselves not only as an ecclesistical body, but as a body politic and corporate, according to the law of that State.’” “It is necessary for us to incorporate, simply to satisfy the laws of the land where we can be recognized and be a legal entity.” The church was recognized under Joseph Smith, James J. Strang, and always as an unincorporated group. If it was necessary to incorporate be recognized as a church, there was no church from April 6, 1830, forward.
This question was resolved by H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters. Their research has been accepted as legitimate. “Whitmer also declares that the organizational meeting was for legal purposes so the church could hold property and officiate in marriages. The cover of the Book of Commandments agrees that the Church of Christ was ‘Organized According to Law, on the 6th of April, 1830.’ However well-intentioned this event was, no records of incorporation have been found in the Fayette or Manchester/Palmyra area for 6 April 1830 or any other date. Ultimately, the meetings was more spiritual than legalistic.”
“Joseph Smith was at neither Manchester nor Fayette long enough to give legal notice to incorporate. When he and Joseph Snight were on their way to Machester, Night says Smith told him ‘there must be a Church formed But did not tell when.’ This was at the most twelve days before 6 April. [Notice of incorporation had to filed “at least fifteen days before the day of election] Knight was still at Manchester when the baptisms occurred and Smith ‘Begun the Church with six members.’” (Inventing Mormonism, pp. 162, 163)
The only record of the church ever being incorporated was noted by James J. Strang in the Voree Herald, September 1846. It is beyond question that the spiritual church was never incorporated—only the physical assets of the church. “The Church was organized in Illinois under a statute of that State FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOLDING REAL ESTATE &c, in a corporate capacity, by making Joseph Smith, Trustee in manner following:
From a Book of Mortgages and Bonds, page 95.
“City of Nauvoo, Hancock Co, Illinois,
February 2, A.D. 1842.
“To the County Recorder of the county of Hancock.
“At a meeting of the Church of Latter Day Saints at this place, on Saturday the 30th day of January, A.D. 1841, I was elected sole TRUSTEE FOR SAID CHURCH, to hold my office during life, (my successor to be the First Presidency of said Church,) and vested WITH PLENARY POWERS as sole TRUSTEE IN TRUST for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to receive, acquire, MANAGE AND CONVEY PROPERTY, real personal, or mixed for the sole use and benefit of said Church, agreeable to the provisions of an act entitled ‘An Act concerning Religious Societies,’ approved February, 1835.
“Joseph Smith, [L. S.]”
“State of Illinois,
We have investigated this corporation as being a church of God; and found it wanting. You have been afforded conclusive evidence that all members of the corporation church are just that; and HAVE NO AFFILIATION WITH A CHURCH OF GOD. There is an adage that is easily applied in this case:
IF IT LOOKS LIKE A DUCK AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK, IT MUST BE A DUCK.
POSSIBLY THE WORSE CONSEQUENCE, is that even if they dissolved the corporation church, they would continue only as a church of man. Since Vernon Swift was the father of their presumed priesthood; and was not legitimately called to that priesthood. None of the ordinations that followed were valid. In addition, he could not be a high priest for God and for man at the same time.
THIS WEIGHS EXTREMENTLY HEAVY ON MY HEART. I have tried to prove by the law and the testimony many times of the evil of the corporation church—only to be rebuked by its head and membership. It is like watching the followers of Brigham Young. They, too, apostatized from the true priesthood God; and had their opinions. Even today they testify they know Brigham was a prophet. “Opinions, where we have the word of the Lord, ARE WORTH NOTHING. Since the days of the Savior, they have strangely divided men into almost as many sects, as the number of the name of beast that John saw. All men have a right to their opinions, BUT TO ADOPT THEM FOR RULES OF FAITH AND WORSHIP, is wrong, and my finally leave the souls of them that adopt them for spiritual guides, IN THE TELESTIAL KINGDOM…” (Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, p. 69)
This article is not written for me. It would be much easier for me to simply ignore the desire of a council of high priests in Burlington to act against my membership in the Kingdom of God. I allowed Vernon Swift to escape civil prosecution because of his health. It now seems time for the membership and the public in general to understand this fabrication. My contention has solely been with those who have erroneously assumed priesthood of God, with their evil actions, and with the corporation church presenting itself to the world as a church of God. If that corporation is dissolved, the people remain without any priesthood or membership in the Kingdom of God.
This church of man can be reached at the uninformative, one page web site: ldsstrangite.com. The web site that provides the most comprehensive information is maintained by me: mormonbeliefs.com. Here are hundreds of pages, over fifty subjects, the most important books, the true priesthood of God, the claims of various LDS churches, and the gate into the Kingdom of God. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Jesus, Matt. 6:33) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20) The prophet James J. Strang taught that truth has no fear of investigation. I welcome inquiries and investigation.
I recall the words of the prophet James J. Strang to the followers of Brigham Young. He called upon those who had gone astray to return to the true flock. All members of the corporation church—to be members of the Kingdom of God—must do as Jesus told the seven churches of gentiles: “5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5)
I pray at least one member of this evil will return and work in the service of the Lord. Jesus taught: “17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18… neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7)
Remember the words of the Prophet James J. Strang in his first Pastoral Letter of December 25, 1845: “Let the high priests teach the law of God unto the people. Let all the Elders learn not to put their faith in some great man and say all is well, but let them buckle on the whole armor of God and stand up bold defenders of the truth rather than men.” (Chronicles of Voree, p. 35)
The lineage of my priesthood is not through Vernon Swift or anyone associated with the corporation church. I was not baptized into a corporation; and I was not ordained into a corporation. It has been proven that all members of the corporation church are foreigners to the Kingdom of God. The prophet James J. Strang called and ordained L. D. Hickey one of the Twelve Apostles. Apostle Hickey ordained Samuel Martin a high priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a high priest. My father—who was an elder in the Voree Branch—called me to the office of elder and it was sustained by the Voree Branch. I was later ordained by Lloyd Flanders to the office of elder on July 8, 1956—five years before the corporation church.
The Lord has blessed me above my fellows with the Holy Spirit to guide me in the work of the Lord that He has called me. He has blessed me with understanding which I will be eternally grateful. Through the Spirit, I have restored many gospel works and written and published many other works. I have made the Book of the Law of the Lord, the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, the Voree Herald, Zion’s Reveille, Gospel Herald, Northern Islander, and many other gospel discourses available to all. There is now more gospel material available than to any previous generation. How many have taken advantage of this treasury? “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)
God has given me hundreds that have entered the Kingdom of God as result of my preaching—from Hawaii to Virginia and from Canada to Texas; including Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, California, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, West Africa, and Oklahoma. Through the web site—mormonbleifs.com—the Lord has guided me to present this great treasury and stand as a voice of warning in these last days. The gospel–with the help of Google Translator–is available to the world. The first one I baptized and eventually ordained an elder in Africa was in Sierra Leone.
In 2005, God gave me a man that had been the pastor of an Assembly of God Church in Nairobi, Kenya. He had received a vision from the Lord that his church was wrong and that he must contact me; which he did on the web site I have maintained. My son-in-law Dean, travelled with me to Dubai where I baptized him with water, we confirmed into the Kingdom of God; and later ordained an elder. You can judge him through his work. The gospel was never preached in Africa. Through his work there are now over a hundred branches in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Another branch is about to be organized in Ghana. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Jesus)
ALL MEMBERS OF THE CORPORATE CHURCH—OR ORGANIZATION—you have the most weighty decision you will ever make in mortal life. If you no longer represent yourselves as a corporation, you are still the same organization without authority from God. You are not members of the Kingdom of God; but, stand in rebellion against God. Are you going to continue to honor and be a member of a church of man? You have a free moral agency; but, be careful how you choose. There may be little time remaining; and this may be your last opportunity to return to the Kingdom of God. This is the first day of the rest of your lives: use it wisely. The gate into the Kingdom of God is still open.
Yours in the gospel and love of God and Jesus,
Samuel E. West
Senior elder in Zion
April 21, 2017