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Apostates Destroy and Invalidity of Unauthorized Revelation (September 4, 1837)

Oliver Cowdery has been in transgression . . . David Whitmer Leonard Rich & others have been in transgression but we hope that they may be humble & ere long make sattisfaction to the Church otherwise they cannot retain their standing. Therefore we say unto you beware of all disaffected Characters for they come not to build up but to destroy & scatter abroad. Though we or an Angel from Heaven preach any other Gospel or introduce order of things than those things which ye have received and are authorized to receive from the first Presidency let him be accursed. May God Almighty Bless you all & keep you unto the coming & kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Yours in the Bonds of the new covenent  — J. Smith, Jr.

Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri on September 4, 1837. Journal, March-September 1838, p. 22, The Joseph Smith Papers. See also, History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838], p. 772, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Causes of Apostacy and Warning to Apostates (May 11, 1838)

Friday 11th This day, the presidency attend[ed] the Council of the Bishop, in case of the trial of Wm E. Mc.Lellen & Doctor McCord, Who were found in transgression. Mr. Mc.Cord, arose, and said, he was sorry to trouble the council on his account, for he had intended to withdraw from the church, before he left the place. he also stated, he had no confidence in the work of God, neither in his Prophet, which he raised up in these last days, and consequently should go his own way, he accordingly gave up his License, and departed Wm. E. Mc.Lellin, also said the same. He further said he had no confidence in the heads of the Church, beleiving they had transgressed, and got out of the way, and consequently left of[f] praying and keeping the commandments of God, and went his own way, and indulged himself in his lustfull desires. But when he heard, that the first presidency, had made a general settlement and acknowleged their sins, he then began to pray again, and to keep the commandments of God. Though when interogated by Prest smith he said he had seen nothing out of the way himself but it was heresay, and thus he judged from heresay. But we are constrained to say, O!! foolish Man! what excuse is that thou renderest, for thy sins, that because thou hast heard of some mans transgression, that thou shouldest leave thy God, and forsake thy prayers, and turn to those things that thou knowest to be contrary to the will of God, we say unto thee, and to all such, beware! beware! for God will bring the[e] into Judgement for thy sins.

Journal, March–September 1838, pp. 4041, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Evil Character of Apostates Who Turned from the Truth and Rejected the Kingdom of God (July 4, 1838)

I would mention or notice something about O Cowdery David Whitmer Lyman E Johnson and Johnson Whitmer who b[e]ing guilty of ba[s]e iniquities and that to manifest in all the eyes of all men, and being often entreated would continue in their course seeking the Lives of the First Presidency and to overthrow the Kingdom of God which they once testified off. Prest Rigdon preached one sabbath upon the salt that had lost its savour, that it is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and troden under foot of men, And the wicked flee when no man pursueth, These men took warning, and soon they were seen bounding over the prairie like the scape Goat to carry of their own sins we have not seen them since, their influence is gone, and they are in a miserable condition, so also it with all who turn from the truth to Lying cheating defrauding & swindeling

Some time past was spent in trying to obtain pay from these men who are named above, who have absconded, and endeavered to defraud their creditors

Journal, March-September 1838, p. 47, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Unrepentant Apostates Lost Their Testimony because of Wavering Morality and Judging Based on Hearsay (May 11, 1838)

Friday 11th This day, the presidency attend[ed] the Council of the Bishop, in case of the trial of Wm E. Mc.Lellen & Doctor McCord, Who were found in transgression. Mr. Mc.Cord, arose, and said, he was sorry to troubl the council on his account, for he had intended to withdraw from the church, before he left the place. he also stated, he had no confidence in the work of God, neither in his Prophet, which he has raised up in these last days, and consequently should go his own way, he accordingly gave up his License, and departed Wm. E. Mc.Lellin, also said the same. He further said he had no confidence in the heads of the Church, beleiving they had transgressed, and got out of the way, and consequently he left of praying and keeping the commandments of God, and went his own way, and indulged himself in his lustfull desires. But when he heard, that the first presidency, had made a general settlement and acknowleged their sins, he then began to pray again, and to keep the commandments of God. Though when interogated by Prest smith he said he had seen nothing out of the way himself but it was heresay, and thus he judged from heresay. But we are constrained to say, O!! foolish Man! what excuse is that thou renderest, for thy sins, that because thou hast heard of some mans transgression, that thou shouldest leave thy God, and forsake thy prayers, and turn to those things that thou knowest to be contrary to the will of God, we say unto thee, and to all such, beware! beware! for God will bring the into Judgement for thy sins.

Journal, March-September, 1838, pp. 40-41, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Fault-Finding Leads to Apostacy (July 2, 1839)

A Key. Finding fault with the church

(A final key deliverd by Joseph in the following Language)

I will give you one of the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom. It is an eternal principle that has existed with God from all Eternity that that man who rises up to condemn others. finding fault with the Church. saying that they are out of the way while he himself is righteous. then know assuredly that that man is in the high road to apostacy and if he does not repent will apostatize as God lives The principle is as correct, as the one that Jesus put forth in saying that he who seeketh a sign is an adulterous person. & that principle is Eternal undeviating & firm as the pillars of heaven. for whenever you see a man seeking after a sign you may set it down that he is an adulterous man.

Discourse, 2 July 1839, as Reported by Willard Richards, pp. 14-15, The Joseph Smith Papers. For the original document at the Church History Library, see: Willard Richards journals and papers, 1821-1854; Notebooks; Pocket companion, circa 1840; Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/526ad919-662c-4039-b59d-1cbf2edc7b57/0/17.

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