MELCHISEDEC PRIESTHOOD

MELCHISEDEC PRIESTHOOD
JOSEPH SMITH
GREAT DIVISION
JAMES J. STRANG
BRIGHAM YOUNG
SIDNEY RIGDON
AFTER JAMES
1961 DIVISION
 JOHN HAJICEK
SAMUEL E. WEST

                                                         MELCHISEDEC PRIESTHOOD

Identifying a valid claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood is essential to finding the gate into the kingdom of God. There are essentially three Strangite groups that claim the Melchisedec Priesthood today. The leaders of these groups are: (1) Vernon Swift (deceased), (2) Samuel E. West, and (3) John Hajicek. There are others within each group; but, the priesthood in each group depends on the validity of the primary person.

Identifying a valid claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood is essential to finding the gate into the kingdom of God. There are essentially three Strangite groups that claim the Melchisedec Priesthood today. The leaders of these groups are: (1) Vernon Swift, (2) Samuel E. West, and (3) John Hajicek. There are others within each group; but, the priesthood in each group depends on the validity of the primary person.

The importance of a valid claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood cannot be underestimated. No one can enter the kingdom of God except through the administration of an officer in this priesthood. Not even Jesus was exempt from this law. “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5) Jesus was ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses and therefore held all lower offices including that of High Priest. “22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” ( Acts 3)

Jesus went to John the Baptist for baptism of water because John was Priest of the Levitical Priesthood and held authority from God to baptize with water; but, not of the Spirit. “11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3) How was Jesus “mightier” than John? He was called and ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood; as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver, holding all lower offices including that of High Priest. Without an officer of this priesthood none can enter the kingdom of God. “22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1)

The importance of this priesthood can be appreciated by considering how Jesus organized the kingdom on earth. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) This priesthood is “for the perfecting of the saints,” and “for the work of the ministry.” This organization is to remain “till we all come in the unity of the faith;” whenever the kingdom is fully organized on the earth. Without an officer of this priesthood none can be perfected (born of water and the Spirit).

The former day saints very soon returned to their pagan doctrines and traditions. By 69 AD all of the Apostles and Prophets, except John, were martyred. It is believed that John returned from the isle of Patmos in 97 AD and died in Ephesus in 99 AD. The noted ecclesiastical historian Eusebius wrote that the office of High Priest evidently remained in the church for only a couple generations (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Chapter 37, p. 123). We do not know how long the office of Elder remained in the Christian Church; but, all officers were lost by the time the final form of beast of Revelation, The Papacy, was organized in 570 AD. “5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [1,260 years]. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13; see also Rev. 12:6, 14)

For 1,260 years not one person entered the kingdom of God ; as the Melchisedec Priesthood had been entirely withdrawn from the earth. Even knowledge of the importance of this priesthood has been lost in the sectarian Christian community. “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) “19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. 20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?” (Jer. 16)

JOSEPH SMITH

As the gospel was to be taken for 1,260 years, it is logical that at the end of the 1,260 years the Melchisedec Priesthood and gospel would again be returned to the earth. “6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14) Exactly 1,260 years later, on April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ, claiming to have received the same office of the Melchisedec Priesthood as Moses, Jesus, and others, was given a correct understanding of God and Jesus, and restored both the priesthood and the gospel. If his claims were false, there is still no hope for man to enter the kingdom of God. Through Joseph the latter day saints received a correct understanding of God, Jesus, the gospel, and the laws of God.

The latter day saints were given many revelations and commandments through Joseph Smith. Unfortunately, they required sacrifices that the people were not willing to make. They were like the rich man that came to Jesus seeking eternal life. “21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19)

When they failed to abide by the will and laws of God, they were driven from Independence, Missouri, under an Extermination Order given by the Governor based solely on religious discrimination. Many of the saints were killed and all were driven from their homes in the middle of winter. The devout life style of the latter day saints caused difficulty with the lower class of people that inhabited the frontier lands.

God established Nauvoo, Illinois as the next gathering place for the latter day saints. It was very successful at the beginning; but, the saints failed in many respects to abide in the commandments they were given. Joseph Smith was taken on June 27, 1844 .

GREAT DIVISION

At the death of Joseph Smith, the church divided into three primary groups: (1) Strangites, (2) Twelvites, and (3) Rigdonites. Joseph Smith was given four revelations that in the event of his impending death that he would appoint “another” to succeed him. “4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead. 5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; 6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. 7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (Utah Doctrine and Covenants, 43) A full exposition of the claims of James J. Strang and Brigham Young are contained in The Prophetic Controversy and LDS Prophets pages.

JAMES J. STRANG

On June 18, 1844 , about ten days before his death, Joseph provided his last revelation—the Letter of Appointment—in which he appointed James J. Strang of Burlington , Wisconsin , as his legal successor. This letter is now in Yale University Library. The same hour that Joseph was murdered in Carthage Jail, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angel(s) in accordance with the law of God; as Joseph’s successor in the office of first degree Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver (although 400 miles away). James made this event common knowledge the same night. ONLY James J. Strang fulfilled both parts of the law. He was called directly by Joseph and was ordained under the hand(s) of angels. ONLY James J. Strang fulfilled all of the duties of a Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator.

BRIGHAM YOUNG

On August 15, 1844 , Brigham Young, as President of the Twelve, wrote in the official church journal, “Let no man presume for a moment that his [Joseph’s] place will be filled by another;” and that the Twelve are, “to preside over all the affairs of the church in all the world.” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 618) The law of God provides that the Twelve, as third degree Apostles, hold no ruling power in Zion , so they could not legally preside over the whole church. Their mission was to the nations of the world. They can ONLY officiate under the direction of the Presidency. “33 The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.” ( Utah D&C, 107)

After the Twelve rejected an invitation from James J. Strang to take their proper place in the church, a meeting of the High Council was held, and Brigham and his followers were cut off from the kingdom of God. The Prophet James wrote, “In the revelation given for the establishment of the saints at Nauvoo, (Utah D. & C., 124:45) God says: ‘If my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants, whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily, I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.’

“Such is the oath of God, upon the faith of which the Saints assembled at Nauvoo. Joseph led them till his death, and they were not removed. After his death the Twelve led them, and they were removed. Yet Heber C. Kimball and others of the Twelve, bore public testimony at the April Conference, 1845, and frequently afterwards, that they were the most obedient people that ever existed. In the name of truth, tell me, sister, why were they removed? Was it not because they followed the wrong leaders? Is not the reason given in the language of God, which follows immediately after? ‘But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor to the voice of those men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest.’ Does not this witness prove strong as the oath of God, that in following Brigham Young and the Twelve they followed leaders whom God had not appointed? And as I am truly the only alternate, does it not prove by the same oath that I am the leader appointed by God, whom they at Nauvoo refused to follow?” (Prophetic Controversy, pp. 19, 20)

On there way to California, Brigham called a conference on December 25, 1847, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The conference admitted that James’ claim (that the Church of Christ cannot stand without a Prophet at its head) was true. God had never called, nor was Brigham ever ordained to any office higher than the lower third degree apostolic office of the Twelve. The law of God provides the Twelve can act only under the direction of the Presidency. Their mission was to the nations of the world.

The conference then resolved, by the voice of man, to nominate Brigham as their President and Prophet in complete opposition to the law of God. Brigham admitted numerous times in his Journal of Discourses that he was neither a Prophet nor the son of a Prophet. “I do not profess to be a Prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me I am.” (5:177) “It has been remarked sometimes, by certain individuals, that President Young has said in public that he was not a prophet nor the son of a prophet.” (13:166)

SIDNEY RIGDON

Sidney Rigdon held the next lower office below that of Joseph as second degree Apostle and Counselor. He would have had a legitimate claim to stand at the head, if God had not already called James J. Strang to a higher office and as head of the people. His followers divided and most followed Bickerton.

AFTER JAMES

The latter day saints under James failed to abide in the commandments they were given the same as those under Joseph. All of the promises and covenants made by God with these gentile converts were conditioned with an IF, “unto the faithful is this promise.” The revelations of James contain thirty-six ifs. “IF ye will not live by it [the law], the promise is not unto you. It is a vain thing for you to witness my word, IF ye will not regard it, to live by it.” They failed and James was taken. He died on July 9, 1856. A great testimony for James is the fact that he did not appoint a successor; as God had not called one. In the Brighamite church when their prophets die, the senior among the Twelve is appointed by man as their next prophet. The gentiles had failed. James dying words were “for every man to take care of his family and do the best he could till he found out what to do.” (Record of the Apostles of James, p. 31)

Several of the Twelve tried to get together and have a meeting to pray and discover the will of God. On Feb. 10, 1857, five of the Apostles were able to meet in the wilderness 6 miles from Racine, Wisconsin, “and there prayed and communed with each other all night. We became satisfied, that the Twelve could not lead the Church without a Prophet; and concluded to take care of ourselves and families.” (Ibid, p. 45) The church divided into numerous branches from Colorado to Michigan. There were missionary efforts especially in the early 1900’s by such men as Samuel Martin, Ben T. Short, Edward Couch, Lloyd and Hallie Flanders, and others. They were able to establish liaison and communication between the branches; and enlarge the membership several fold. At a 1955 church conference, the people voted (17 to 16) for Vernon D. Swift to preside over them. There is no evidence that he either believed in or conducted any missionary work. He said at a conference that he believed the gathering was a true doctrine; but, that he never had any feeling to gather. The lambs usually follow the sheep. He stated that he felt the gathering was a true doctrine of the church; but, that he had no personal feeling to gather (he had an established business in Artesia, New Mexico). Once a law of God is established it not necessary for God to personally address each person.

1961 DIVISION

There were attempts to gather the people to one location; even under the Apostles but none were entirely successful. “17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6) Stephen West felt the only remaining place to gather was Voree; as the saints were never persecuted there and James maintained property interests there until his death. He moved his family there in 1947. Only a few others followed.

Then, in 1961, a most catastrophic event took place. The church has both a civil and a spiritual identity. The civil identity of the church was incorporated under Joseph Smith; but, only for the purpose of handling property. Joseph was Trustee in Trust. Under the leadership of Vernon D. Swift, the people reorganized the spiritual church into a corporation in 1961. Under New Mexico law, Vernon became the President of the new church. When an organization incorporates, it loses its original identity. The Swift church could no longer represent the original spiritual church organized by Joseph Smith and continued by James J. Strang. Their Certificate of Incorporation actually states that, “it has absolutely no connection, ties, agency or affiliation with any other religious body.” It was now solely a part of the U. S. Government.

As if this was not sufficiently evil, they organized a new order of the priesthood to stand at the head of their church—a Ruling Council of high priests. The lowest office the law of God provides to stand at the head is that of second degree Apostle and Counselor. In writing about the office of second degree Apostle and Counselor James noted, “If there was an interregnum in the Priesthood of Lawgiver, the oldest Apostle of this Degree… would stand at the head till the place was filled.” (Ibid, p. 219) Not even third degree Apostles hold authority to stand at the head; and certainly not High Priests. The Prophet James wrote of High Priests, “All inferior Kings, Patriarchs, or heads of tribes, and Nobles, or heads of clans, ought to be of this Priesthood” (Book of the Law, p. 224). They cannot stand in an office that third degree Apostles (the Twelve) hold.

In addition, they used the corporate by-laws as the Constitution of their new church–establishing man-made spiritual laws to govern them. The Prophet James wrote, “1. From time immemorial the Constitution of God’s Kingdom has been entitled, ‘The Decalogue,’ or, the ‘Ten Commandments.’” (Book of the Law, p. 38) Vernon must have considered himself much wiser. The people were told for decades that the corporation had nothing to due with the spiritual church. Everyone should have recognized the deception; as they tried to use the Ruling Council to rule their church and used the corporate Constitution to govern their church.

“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)

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 the 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 may finally leave the souls of them that receive them for spiritual guides, in the telestial kingdom.” (Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, p. 69)

The first person to recognize the evil of this act was Lloyd A. Flanders, High Priest. He had presided over the Strangites from 1947 to 1955. Many of the saints depended on him for spiritual guidance. His letters and writings are still treasured today. On February 12, 1967 , he wrote Vernon, “…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.” On November 25, 1969 , he wrote Vernon again, “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 never made these letters public. They were found in the files of Lloyd Flanders after his death.

Vernon Swift would not heed the words of this High Priest who had labored in the ministry for forty-three years. At his 2000 General Conference (for the benefit of the corporation), Vernon made it clear that the church was ONLY a corporation, “the corporation church and the spiritual church are all the same thing, THEY’RE ALL THE SAME THING.” (General Conference Minutes, p. 28) He was partly correct. They were the same thing: simply a civil organization (the spiritual was lost). Shortly before this conference I had a private investigator examine the church records. The ONLY records that could be provided by Vernon were those of the corporation. The members and priesthood of the corporation are ONLY appendages of the corporation and exist ONLY as a part of the U. S. Government.

THERON DREW

Theron Drew, in Burlington, Wisconsin, also recognized that the mainstream church no longer represented the church organized by Joseph Smith. His group has been known as the Drewites. He died and was succeeded as leader of that group by his son Richard. Richard is also dead. There does not appear to be anyone left in that group.

There appears to be only two remaining groups that could have a legitimate claim to the original line of Melchisedec Priesthood through James J. Strang: (1) Samuel E. West in Shreveport, Louisiana; and (2) John Hajicek in Independence, Missouri.

JOHN HAJICEK

John Hajicek claims his priesthood through an ordination to the office of Elder by Steve Barany. Barany had been ordained an Elder by Joseph Hickey, who had been ordained an Elder by Wingfield Watson, who had been ordained a High Priest by L. D. Hickey.

John Hajicek believes that Utah D&C 20:67 invalidates the ordinations to High Priest of Wingfield Watson, Samuel Martin, and others. “67 Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high councilor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.” Verses 65 – 67 were not a part of the original Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ, given in Fayette, New York, June, 1830. It is believed they were added by Oliver Cowdery and included in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Verse 67 was simply a rule of man to exist until modified or eliminated. The original organization with its Presidency, High Council, and general conferences ended with the death of James J. Strang on July 9, 1856. Thus, this organizational rule no longer applied; as there was no High Council and no Presidency to call a general conference. The Twelve Apostles under James never made an attempt to call a general conference. The first presumed general conference was called in 1919, evidently by Wingfield Watson.

Wingfield Watson had been ordained a High Priest by Apostle L. D. Hickey on April 18, 1897. Watson wrote “He [L. D. Hickey] knew the people and said I was their choice and said if I would go down to Coldwater he would ordain me. I went and was ordained by him and have been taken as its president every since.” There are two serious flaws in this ordination. First, the voice of the people is not the voice of the Lord. “1. The Lord your God will choose 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) “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5) All men must be called by the spirit of prophecy to the priesthood.

Second, Watson could not stand at the head of church. The Twelve Apostles agreed they did not hold an office high enough to stand at the head. The stream cannot rise higher than its source. No Apostle or High Priest can stand in royal authority without the Presidency. “10 High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member.” (Utah D&C 107) L. D. Hickey could not ordain anyone to an office higher than his own.

Apostle Hickey did hold authority to ordain Wingfield Watson a High Priest; and, according to others associated with him, it is evident that Watson was ordained a High Priest and simply given a blessing to take the watch care of the remaining Strangites. Hickey did not hold authority to ordain Watson as a Presiding High Priest over the church. It seems the idea of being ordained a Presiding High Priest was something invented by Watson some years after his ordination as High Priest. One such license was written as late as 1910.

The Prophet James wrote, “3. But high as is the Priesthood [of the Twelve] conferred on them, they have no right to stand in the place of a Lawgiver. They cannot fill the place of Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator. They have not the keys of mysteries and revelations.” (Book of the Law, p. 220)

Bro. Strang also wrote, “8. Hence Peter, as the general head of the Church, addressed his epistles to the believers throughout the earth; whereas, Paul, as one of the Twelve, addressed his to those Churches in his jurisdiction.” (Ibid, p. 221)

Watson was never sustained by the voice of the people as its head. At the presumed 1919 General Conference, it was resolved, “that we, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in general conference assembled, do sustain this quorum as it is presently constituted, namely: Wingfield Watson, Albert Ketchum and John Flanders;” as the head of the church (General Conference Minutes, p. 2) As this was also a usurpation of the priesthood, the matter of this quorum was soon dropped.

Watson ordained Joseph Hickey an Elder on June 29, 1907 . I have two ordination certificates of Joseph Hickey. One is dated June 29, 1907 ; and signed by Wingfield Watson as “Presiding Elder.” The later is dated February 19, 1918 : and signed is by Wingfield Watson as “Pres. High Priest.” When Stanley Johnson requested a copy of Joseph Hickey’s Elders License he presented the one dated 1918. It is evident that Joseph Hickey recognized Watson as a High Priest.

John Hajicek’s contention has been that no one can be ordained a High Priest without the authorization of the High Council or General Conference. This does not stand in face of the law and the testimony. Utah D&C 20:67 was no longer in effect after the death of the Prophet James. Many High Priests were ordained before the addition of 20:67 in 1835; and many were ordained after the death of James J. Strang.

John Hajicek is caught in a catch 22. Joseph Hickey was ordained by Wingfield Watson at the time he claimed to be a High Priest; and possibly as a Presiding High Priest. Hickey ordained Steve Barany an Elder; and he ordained John Hajicek an Elder. If Wingfield Watson was not properly ordained a High Priest, it follows the ordination of Joseph Hickey was not legitimate; as latter ordinances take precedence over former ones. Watson had been ordained an Elder by Apostle Ebenezer Page in 1858; but, had subsequently been ordained a High Priest by Wingfield Watson on April 18, 1897 . The second takes precedence. If the ordination of Wingfield Watson was not legitimate, the ordination of Steve Barany was not legitimate and the consequent ordination of John Hajicek was not legitimate. It seems that Hajicek’s primary purpose in this unfounded claim has been an attempt to dishonor others; but by doing so he has dishonored his own priesthood.

A case could be made that the ordination of Watson was not legitimate because he was usurping the priesthood at the time he ordained Joseph Hickey. The Prophet James J. Strang wrote, “The Book of the Law of the Lord is the end of controversy.” (Northern Islander, Sept. 7, 1854) Neither the chapter on “Ordination” nor the chapter on “High Priests” contains any provision for ordination other than the requirement to be called through the mouth of one holding as high a priesthood through the spirit of prophecy (not the voice of man); and be ordained under the hands of one holding that priesthood.

The ordinations of Apostle L. D. Hickey, Wingfield Watson, and Joseph Hickey (except Watson’s presumed ordination to the office of Presiding High Priest) appear legitimate. Verse 20:67 ended when that organization ceased to function after the death of James J. Strang in 1856. According to the writings of others that were aware of the ordination of Watson, it seems that Watson came up with the idea of being President of the church long after he was ordained a High Priest by Apostle Hickey.

It seems the priesthood of John Hajicek is valid as long as he concedes the ordination of Watson to High Priest as legitimate. There is a great warning here, though. “20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isa. 5) If John continues to claim that no one could be ordained a High Priest—except under the provisions of 20:67—then he brings his own priesthood under question.

SAMUEL E. WEST

Samuel E. West was born on December 10, 1938. His parents Cliffie and Stephen West were both members of the church. Stephen was a Presiding Elder of the Voree Branch when he called Samuel to the office of Elder; and approved by a vote of the Voree Branch. Samuel, for personal reasons, elected to be ordained by Lloyd Flanders, High Priest; and was ordained on July 8, 1956. In 1966, he moved to Daytona Beach, Florida; and in 1970, he moved to Shreveport, Louisiana.

The Prophet James J. Strang ordained L. D. Hickey one of the Twelve Apostles. Hickey ordained Samuel Martin a High Priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a High Priest, who ordained Samuel E. West an Elder. The Prophet James wrote in The Diamond that “authority is good till regularly taken away.” (p. 15) No such action has ever been taken against his priesthood.

Through the ministry of Mr. West there have been many other Elders called and ordained from Virginia to Hawaii; and from Zion to Africa .  Mr. West takes no credit for this work; as everything he has done is included in his duties and all of the work that is realized is through the hand of God. One Elder in Kenya was a nationally recognized Pastor of an Assembly of God Church. Through him the gospel has spread through many towns and cities; and to Uganda, Botswana, and Djibouti. Members of this organization live in Africa, Israel, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, and Canada.

Mr. West has recovered most of the original works of the church under the Prophet James to digital format and printed hard copies for distribution. They are available on the Mormon Books Page. He is always eager to answer any questions which are earnest desires for spiritual truth.

His email is Samuel270@aol.com