Friday, March 6, 2015

The Bells Toll

9 But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.

10 Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God.
D&C 63:9-10

Signs from God come to mankind because of their existing belief, by the will of God. Signs do not come to those who do not yet believe and seek the sign in order to believe, but rather come as a result of already believing.  In these signs, we can see and learn about the personality of God if we learn to see and recognize Him through these "signs" that He gives to believers. Gods cheery temperament comes through as He fulfills prophecy and gives signs to believers. The joy of God is truly manifest in the "coming to know Him".  

I was told the following quote recently as I tried to make heads or tails of what to make of my recent experience with church leaders and a seemingly impending death by excommunication. 

"In the middle ages, formal acts of public excommunication were sometimes accompanied by a ceremony wherein a bell was tolled (as for the dead), the book of the gospels was closed and a candle snuffed out."

As I heard this, I was struck by the Lords ironic sense of humor and thoughts and connections came to my mind as I pondered on the words. 

The Bells Tolling
Many years ago, words and music were put into my mind by the Spirit which became a song. I have never known quite what to make of the words until now, these many many years later. Here are some of the words:

"Do you know?
That the bells toll for you?
Do you know?
That My heart breaks for you?"

I always felt from this song as if the angels and heavens weep for me, and I always perceived that Heaven was weeping for my foolishness and wicked unbelief and pride, and that God gave me this song to testify of that sorrow of Heaven on behalf of my awful situation. I still believe that. Heaven weeps for all of us. 

But here as I face the "council of love", as my Bishop called it, God speaks to me again, and quietly lets me know that He always planned on this day for me! He always wanted me to be right here, with bells tolling my "death." I'm sure there will not be any literal bells tolling as our meeting houses do not have bells.  But in the words of a song, given long ago by revelation, God has let me know that as the bells toll on my membership in the church, His heart is breaking. Breaking for me, breaking for men who believe God has given His power to men, (see 2 Nephi 28:5), and who believe that God cannot and does not speak to the lost soul with dry bones and a parched mouth, and that He cannot restore lost rites even when the shepherds scatter the flock, and keep the weak cattle from coming to the water, and then as if keeping the sheep from the living waters is not enough, they think they have to foul the water up too. (See Ezekiel 34)

God intends to quench our thirst! He offers living waters! He has set His Hand again in establishing righteousness once again on earth to man. He intends to renew and restore our dry bones, and our dry unfruitful covenants, and to at last come and dwell among some body of believers, however few that may turn out to be. And any man or institution which denies anyone this, will dam themselves and any who give heed to them! The question is, can anyone currently obtain the Power of Godliness through the ordinances with power enough to save in them? Because once you change the ordinance, the everlasting covenant is broken, (Isaiah 24:5) and it becomes just a form of Godliness without any power to save, (JSH 1:19) which power of Godliness is required to "see the face of God and live" (D&C 84:20-25) which is the definition of salvation. (Ether 3:13) So if you can lay hold upon that power, and see Gods face and live with a changed broken ordinance without form and void, then I say go do it! But if it is now required to get that from a broken off remnant branch in whom God has preserved the restoration, then you may want to look into that with some seriousness, because Gods coming will burn them up root AND branch unto death if any of those roots or branches are not connected directly into the vine. 

Closing the Gospels
The second act upon excommunication was to close the book of the gospels.  This has been so true in my own experience, when our leaders told my wife and I, that we were guilty of "teaching false doctrine" when we taught our children "gospel precepts that are not in line with current church doctrine", even if those doctrines were found in the scriptures. 

I asked, if the scriptures contradict "current church doctrine", how can I know how to proceed to lay hold upon salvation? I don't have access to the church handbook, nor have I ever read it. How can I be judged on a standard that I don't know and is not established by common consent of the church?  This violates the laws of the land, and it don't mean the constitution although that may have once been true. I'm speaking of the laws inherent in the "land" upon which we dwell, for this is the land of Christ, and He will have it for His people if they will hearken to His voice, to not only say but to do. Without full disclosure to the body of believers, nor acceptance by common consent, the current leadership has pulled a switcheroo and supplanted Gods laws with the devils by setting aside basic inalienable rights given us before the foundation of the world.  Nephi says the iron rod is the word of God! Does that mean the handbook? Or does it happen to refer to the word of God or the scriptures? I understand that the word of God has other layers of meaning, but for this purpose, at minimum, the word of God includes the vision of all inasmuch as it is contained in scripture. 

I've also covenanted in the temple to obey the law of the gospel as contained in scripture. Which one do I choose? Handbook or scripture? Well, we all must decide, and eternity hangs in the balance, so we must choose aright, and each of us have to do that in an environment without coercion or force. I may speak the word of God boldly, but I do not preside over anyone and cannot compel any to even listen let alone actually do anything. My only tool is persuasion. Invitation. 

The bottom line from the stake presidency was, I was guilty of apostasy for teaching my own children the gospel and doctrine of Christ as found in the most correct book on earth, because it contradicted "current church doctrine", which current doctrine is found in the church handbook. 

They closed the gospels or in other words the canon of scripture or word of God in favor of a handbook written by a committee. And in saying that amen, God says amen to His association with them. By rejecting me for doing what the book says in order that I may remove the condemnation that rests upon all the Latter Day Saints, they reject their own foundational scripture and as they substitute the laws of one master for another, they become subject to their new laws and their new master and they will hear his voice instead of Christ's, and they join that great abominable church because they substitute the vocabulary of Zion for their false twisted religion built up to get gain. 

I pointed out that if rebaptism was "church doctrine"up until the 1950's, and now it's not, then all the prophets up to the time before they changed the doctrine were leading the church astray, or the prophets since then were. Or it's not doctrine at all that we follow today but simply policy, and since we all know these men cannot lead us astray, then it is clearly just a policy, and so it wouldn't matter if I practiced the gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Book of Mormon in private, because it's simply policy. 

Their response was we have the authority and no one else can do the ordinances unless we say so. The scripture was closed and another handbook put in their place. 

Here is Joseph Smith on scripture in his journey to God, recorded in 1832 by Fred. Williams:
"which led me to Searching the Scriptures believing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God thus applying myself to them…and by Searching the Scriptures I found that {mand} [mankind] did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith"

Joseph showed the way to resolve the question of God and true worship was to resort to the word of God. Someone should have told Joseph Sr. that teaching his children to look for the answer in scripture is apostate behavior and he should have gone and looked at the correlated gospel as found in some church or others handbook. 

Snuffing out a candle
The last thing the church would do to an excommunicant, was to snuff out a candle. This is beyond irony for me. The original accusation of apostasy against me and my family was twofold:
1. Did we currently, or have we ever at any time in the past, read the writings and teachings of a man named Denver Snuffer?
2. Are we currently or have we ever in the past performed the sacrament anywhere outside the church?

How funny that a candle being "snuffed" out for reading writings by a man named Snuffer is the symbol of excommunication?  Even more ironic is the cover of the book that got Denver ex'ed, Passing the Heavenly Gift, has a picture of a candle going out. Denver in Lecture 2, "Faith", tells us about that snuffed out candle:

 "To reignite the flame, all it takes is the breath of the Spirit speaking to you. That's all it takes, and the breath of the Spirit is contingent upon what it says to you. It is dependent on the faith that you have in God, to hear what it is that he's saying."-- IDF Talk

And faith is dependent upon a correct understanding of the nature and attributes of God which can only be obtained by sacrifice, as Joseph taught in Lectures on Faith.  And as a result of the quality of faith, or in ither words the more correct ones understanding of Gods one acquires, then one hears God more clearly or less clearly. Don't let that candle get extinguished! Don't let it go dim or fade to an ember! The Book of Mormon is given to bring mankind closer to God by abiding by its precepts! Let it inform and guide your approach to Him! If you do His voice gets louder and clearer. 

Man and their institutions can cast out those who come among them preaching the doctrine of Christ all they want. They can snuff candles out, close scripture and toll the bells for your death, but if you are ignited inside with the flame of that spirit, of knowing that I Am that I Am, then God will have a friend here on the earth and that is something men cannot touch or alter with their counsels of love and their coercive controlling and dominating behavior. For instead of removing priesthood and blessings as they desire or believe, God will answer upon their own heads their own judgement and their power and keys will be effectively wrested and given to those they reviled, with God saying "amen" to their priesthood as they attempt to unjustly say amen to the priesthood of His friends. 

Do you know?
That the bells toll for you?
Do you know? 
That His heart is broken for you? 

At 12:01 a.m. On Thursday March 6, 2015, I Jonathan Durfee was excommunicated from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, after a 3 1/2 hour discussion on the doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the Lords will that they excommunicate me, as that was in His heart all along. 

For some reason this had to be given to the high counsel, the seventies and the quorum of twelve for casting me into a pit without water:

20 Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.
Alma 13:20

44 O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood. 
45 O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, 2 Nephi 9)


  1. Dear Jon and family:
    Thank you for sharing this soulful and sad development in your life and that of your family. It made me cry for the ignorance of those that were judging (?) you. My heart is heavy and very sorrowful for all of us that either have already gone through this experience from the Church leadership or will soon have the same practice preformed on us.
    I should also say that there is or will be a liberating feeling that will come with the knowledge that we have been obedient to the Lord and the sacrifice of separation from our close family members and friends will all be worth it in the end. Bless you Brother Durfee and your beautiful family. We stand with you and our Lord!

  2. How far into your forty day covenant are you? Did it end? When? Has it born any fruit?

    You're probably not wondering about this, but you're not alone. I mourn when you mourn and rejoice when you rejoice! May Peace fill your soul.

  3. Jon thank you! The line between Gods will and the churches will is very apparent and evident in your experience. The church has been my crutch my whole life. It's very clear what The Lord desires of us. "Come follow me". These words never meant so much until this past year. It's time to shake off the shackles that bind me, aka my reliance in the arm of flesh, that I have been blinded by to see john 14:6. Jon, you are brave to cast the fear of the world and follow the Savior whom you have come to know. I fear the path to Christ will lead me to excommunication someday just as you have done. I hope for you and your family that this sacrafice in March 6th will bring you closer to the Savior. The scales are slowly being removed from eyes and the future seems lonely for most of my family is rank and file members of the church. Thank you for giving me hope in a journey that is required of us all.

  4. We used to talk about how true fellowship with the Lord would require sacrifice of all things. We tried to imagine what that would include. When we got to church membership, we would pause, thinking that was something that was untouchable. Yet we would resign to the fact that even church membership could be on the alter if the Lord willed it. For you my friend, the Lord willed it. You have laid your membership at his feet. Those years back when we merely speculated are now upon you. God bless you for your efforts and humility to witness on his behalf. And on behalf of those men through all times who sacrificed so greatly that we have the scriptures. Men who choose to cast aside the words of God found in scripture will not only have to answer to God, but to those men who wrote the scriptures.

    The bells tolling has particular significance to me. I'm glad you wrote about the bells. I was not aware of their meaning in relation to excommunication. You have given much for me to ponder. Also, very cool that you had that song given to you about the bells years ago. You just can't make this stuff up.


    Here is the text of the letter I read and handed to the stake president when I was allowed to witness in your behalf in your 'court of love'. This was read to the stake presidency, high council, bishop and Jonny:

    March 5, 2015
    Dear Brethren,

    You sit tonight to consider the membership fate of Jonny Durfee, my life-long friend. I appeal to your sensibilities tonight.
    Before you take action upon Jonny, like Joseph's brothers casting him in the pit, I would appeal for you to consider the merits. Truly allow space for the truth to come forward, allowing for thoughts of innocence before guilt.

    The Durfee family, just like my Johnson family had it's beginnings in Palmyra with the Smith family. Our families started there with the prophet Joseph Smith. In all ways, our desire is to hearken to those ideas and teachings of Joseph Smith, the prophet of this last dispensation of the fullness of times. In honor of our families who have sacrificed so much as early Palmyra, Kirtland, Nauvoo and the plains pioneers, we seek to be true to their sacrifices of continuing the testimony of Joseph Smith's actual words.

    Church membership is a precious thing, not to be treated lightly. You have in your hands the authority to cast Jonny out of the very church that he has been trying as a latter-day saint to live up to. Cast him into the pit like Joseph among his brothers. I say unto you, dear brothers, consider closely your actions tonight as the holy angels are taking note of your actions. Suffer not to cast your brother into the pit.

    I have had similar discussions with my stake president. I told him of my similar activities of blessing and partaking of the bread and wine in groups. Baptisms in the river I have received and baptized others under the direction of heaven. My stake president has opted to NOT take action against me. I would humbly advise you to do the same. Allow Jonny and his family to keep these matters private.

    Jonny's sovereignty under heaven is real. He is a son of God, not a son of man. If you cast a son of God into the pit, the same will be upon you for four generations. Consider this warning closely. I seal these words to your minds, having authority given me of Jesus Christ and I do so in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

    Daryl Brown
    [my home stake]
    [membership record number]

  5. Thank you sir.

    Now must gather the Remnant of the seed of Lehi (Navajo)