Excommunicating Intellectuals


A few months before the September Six, Elder Boyd K. Packer made the following comment regarding the three “enemies” of the Church:

The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.

CES Letter, Page 124

Scholars and other messengers who teach about the restored gospel, but are not called to teach the general membership of the Church are “alternate voices.”

God’s directions for teaching gospel truth are clear:

And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.

And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach. (D&C 42:12-14; underline added.)

The teachers should teach from the scriptures and be obedient to the covenants.  Most importantly, they must teach by the Spirit because “if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.” It is not arrogance because all people can embrace the Spirit through obedience and faith.

Paul taught: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Those who believe that the Spirit is foolishness cannot teach religious topics in a way that will increase testimony because they do not have one. Their biases will influence their listeners to disbelieve as they do. It is impossible to be otherwise.

Worldly knowledge cannot exalt us or inspire us to make and keep sacred covenants.

Authors who assume to teach generally, must understand the responsibilities associated therewith and exercise caution when:

Dealing with sacred teachings.

Quoting from private opinions of priesthood leaders.

Bringing forth any new teaching.

Criticizing or disagreeing with the teachings of the Lord's anointed.

It is unlikely that the Spirit will inspire open discussion of these topics.



The spying and monitoring arm of the Church. It is secretive and most members have been unaware of its existence since its creation in 1985 after Ezra Taft Benson became president. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland admitted it still exists in March 2012. The historical evidence and the September Six points to SCMC’s primary mission being to hunt and expose intellectuals and/or disaffected members who are influencing other members to think and question, despite Elder Holland’s claim that it’s a committee primarily to fight against polygamy.

CES Letter, Page 124-125

Church leaders are commissioned to keep the teachings pure within the Church and to keep the temples undefiled as much as they are able (D&C 94:8-9). This committee had its beginnings in the 1830s (D&C 85:2, 123:4), but the concept is much older. Why would anyone with such doubts feel a loss at excommunication? There seems to be a contradiction here.


N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, gave a First Presidency Message in the August 1979 Ensign that includes the following statement: (Statement was made by Elaine Cannon, the general president of the Young Women and repeated by N. Eldon Tanner)

When the prophet speaks the debate is over.

CES Letter, Page 125

The phrase, "when the prophet speaks, the debate is over" comes from Sister Elaine Cannon, the general president of the Young Women at that time. N. Eldon Tanner repeats the quote. Interestingly, sister Cannon had a conversation with President Spencer W. Kimball the next morning about her statement. Sister Cannon's daughter and the Interpreter Foundation provide more detail about that conversation:

President Spencer W. Kimball corrected Sister Cannon for her public statement that “when the prophet speaks, the debate is over.” He worried that her expression risked suggesting that members do not have agency — that they are not free to decide on their own how to respond to prophets’ teachings. He didn’t want his status as prophet to suggest that members can’t question, explore, and find out for themselves. Of course they can — and should.

At the same time, however, President Kimball affirmed Sister Cannon’s actual meaning. “Yes, it’s true,” he said. While he wished for a better way of making the point, he affirmed that the point itself was accurate: he knew the Lord’s will and was reliable in speaking for him."

“Yes, It’s True, But I Don’t Think They Like to Hear it Quite That Way”:
What Spencer W. Kimball Told Elaine Cannon

Some things that are true are not very useful (already discussed)+ Censorship (already discussed)+ Deceptively altering past quotes (already discussed) + Prioritizing tithing before food and shelter (already discussed) + It is wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true (already discussed) + Spying and monitoring on members (already discussed) + Intellectuals are dangerous (already discussed) + “us versus them” rhetoric + When the prophet speaks the debate is over (already discussed) + Obedience is the First Law of Heaven = Policies and practices you’d expect to find in a totalitarian system such as North Korea or George Orwell’s 1984; not from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a believing member, I was deeply offended by the accusation that the Church was a cult. “How can it be a cult when we’re good people who are following Christ, focusing on family, and doing good works in and out of a church that bears His name? When we’re 15 million members? What a ridiculous accusation.”

It was only after seeing all of the problems with the Church’s foundational truth claims and discovering, for the first time, the SCMC and the anti-intellectualism going on behind the scenes that I could clearly see the above cultish aspects of the Church and why people came to the conclusion that Mormonism is a cult.

CES Letter, p. 125