1 Timothy 4:1, "But the Spirit explicitly states says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons." **
I'd like to discuss how we should view and treat those who have been excommunicated from the Church.
Recently I began reading, "The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the Veil" by Denver Snuffer. At first I was a bit intimidated that I was reading a book reading by an "apostate". I'd like to point out that he was excommunicated several years after writing this book.
I am working through it slowly but it's surprisingly good. There is a great deal of pages that deal specifically with repentance as well as the need to have the Holy Ghost in our lives. He also explains the need for the Church in our lives today.
Here are some quotes from the book:
- "The Church is literally preparing its members for citizenship in heaven." pg. 12
- "More importantly, He cannot send this Comforter to you if you disregard, disobey or neglect His commandments. pg. 4
- "He intends for us to experience Him through obedience to His commandments". pg. 60
Not exactly apostate material I'd say. But of course I'll keep reading and choose what is good and of benefit to my spiritual life and discard the rest.
People labeled apostates or simply those who have been excommunicated should receive our love and respect. Excommunication is not meant to be permanent but rather temporary. We should do our best to bring our brothers and sisters back into the faith of the restored gospel and the Church.
On my mission I met a man and wife who were excommunicated from the Church. At first I was a bit reluctant to visit them. I had picked up the prevalent view Church members sometimes cast on those excommunicated. After receiving permission from the Bishop I visited this family.
They were welcoming and ready to receive the missionaries again. I learned that their membership designation in the Church had nothing to do with their spirit and character. They were some of the most humble and loving people I met. I recently obtained word that they were re-baptized and are in the Church again.
I'll end with this verse from Romans 15:17, "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
_______________________________________________________________________________*"Giotto-KissofJudas" by Giotto - Hanover College. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giotto-KissofJudas.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Giotto-KissofJudas.jpg
**from the New American Standard Bible