The Church’s Role, Succession, and Apostates

The Denver Snuffer is the most recent example of one claiming to be newly enlightened by God.   An additional claim by Snuffer and similar apostates is the Church has lost its way.

These apostates typically claim a direct tie to Joseph.  However, Joseph consistently taught that keys were shared by the leading quorums of the Church and no special deliveries of keys were to be expected outside the order of the Kingdom.

Cassandra Hedelius shares her research below:

Brett McDonald discusses schism activity today and in the times of Joseph Smith:


Some critics claim Brigham Young didn’t claim to be Joseph’s successor after Joseph’s death. Not true.

Brigham claimed to be a prophet and claimed divine inspiration.  But Brigham more than once clarified that he was different from Joseph and Daniel.

Robert Boylan shares these related details here. 


An example of schism-related apostasy strikes very close to home for me.  My mother’s maiden name is LeBaron.  A LeBaron relative claimed he was to start a polygamist colony in Mexico, and  did so in 1924.

Ervil LeBaron was the founding polygamist’s son.    After several decades of polygamist living, a power struggle engulfed this sect.   After killing many, Ervil killed himself in a Draper, UT prison.

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Summary from Google:  “Ervil Morrell LeBaron was the leader of a polygamous Mormon fundamentalist group who ordered the killings of many of his opponents, using the religious doctrine of blood atonement to justify the murders.”

Read one comprehensive account here in Murderpedia.

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My mom used to tell us when we were younger that “all LeBarons would be known for good and Ervil.”  Ervil became a household name during the 1970s and early 80s:  when he ordered his many (~ 25) murders.

Life is much simpler and better if one remembers the role of the restoration and living prophets.  It’s best to ignore claimants — usually intelligent, charismatic, narcissistic, but very much misled — shouting about special keys and general apostasy of the LDS Church.


Below are accounts of individuals who have left the Church.  None are as extreme as the Denver Snuffer, John Dehlin, or others.  Yet, each is an example of individual apostasy.

Articles of Faith Podcast: Jeffrey Thayne.  Jeffrey blogs under the name LDS philosopher.


Thoughts by Michael Ash:

3 prominent Mormons who left and returned:

A young man’s personal journey out of and back into the LDS Church:


Tony, the owner of the Blog Reconverted.Org is interviewed.  Tony tells his story of his battle with pornography, his excommunication from the Church and divorce from his wife.

He walks us through his Leaving the Church and his return through re-baptism. It is a great story of one of God’s Prodigal children.

For young Latter-day Saints: