Going After Members

September 1993

GOING AFTER MEMBERS WHO PUBLISH OR SHARE THEIR QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, AND DOUBTS

THE SEPTEMBER SIX

“The September Six were six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were excommunicated or disfellowshipped by the Church in September 1993, allegedly for publishing scholarly work on Mormonism or critiquing Church doctrine or leadership.”


CES Letter, Page 124

The September 1993 excommunications were unfortunate because many good people were involved and several have not yet returned to the Church.

  • Church leaders are obligated to separate people who teach false doctrines from the Church.  Those individuals are still free to teach outside of the Church and to attend Church meetings. However, they will lose their membership, so other members will know they are in error and so they can start the process of repentance.

For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.

And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.  (Alma 5:59-60.)

  • The Lord instructed Alma:

Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day.

Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.

Now I say unto you, Go; and whosoever will not repent of his sins the same shall not be numbered among my people; and this shall be observed from this time forward. (Mosiah 26:28-29, 32.)

  • Joseph Smith taught that disciplining the unrepentant is a process through which "God may be glorified" and that for Church leaders to neglect disciplinary action could "offend him who is your lawgiver":

And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.

And this ye shall do that God may be glorified--not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver” (D&C 64:12-13.)

  • The scriptures describe other excommunications and times when people withdraw from the Church: “For the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them.” (Alma 1:24.)