Luke 18:20 – Thou knowest the commandments; Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honor thy father, and thy mother.
Romans 13:8,9 – … and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
A troubling report of a falsehood was brought to my attention following the passing of a good friend in the fall of 2020. As the matter was communicated to me, more than one individual had been negatively impacted by this falsehood, perhaps many.
With this letter I am giving an account of the circumstances in which the falsehood was first brought to my attention. My testimony of events from which it had apparently arisen is given next. Finally, I offer a few concluding comments on the destructive nature of bearing false witness and how to address it and its consequences before we are ushered into eternity.
My hope in sharing my account of the circumstances and events related to this falsehood is to put it to rest and to promote healing in relationships affected by it.
On Sunday August 16, 2020, my wife Pam and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in Woodbine, Iowa, as guests of Francis Harper. As always, our conversations with Brother Francis were uplifting, being filled with testimonies related to the goodness of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Francis arranged to have me teach and preach for the Restoration church services in Woodbine that day. Afterward we had a wonderful lunch with some of his family and church friends, then he took us for a drive in the country with his sister Hattie. Pam and I thoroughly enjoyed being with them for an afternoon of visiting notable church sites like Charles Derry’s home and gravesite and other historic sites. What a blessed day it was, spending time with these two wonderful people.
A week or so later, Francis contacted me and asked if I would teach a couple of classes at a church camp to be held in mid-September 2020 at the Followers of Christ reunion grounds near Little Sioux, Iowa. He especially wanted us to share about our trip to Mwanza, Tanzania, in January 2017, where we offered prayers on the shore of Lake Victoria for the healing of the nations beginning with the healing of the house of Israel.
Sadly, as the time for the retreat approached in September 2020, Brother Francis became ill after a fall in his home and was hospitalized. Consequently, he was not able to attend the camp. To our surprise and great sorrow, he then passed away not long afterwards.
In the days following the September 2020 camp at the Followers of Christ campground, I stayed in touch with a friend from Iowa who had attended the classes I taught there. In addition to giving me updates on Francis’s stay in the hospital, we talked about the camp and other church-related activities and topics. One thing he told me about my classes deeply saddened me.
According to this friend, he had spoken with someone who chose not to attend the weekend retreat because he was under the impression I had been “thrown out” of the 2005 Woodbine area church reunion. Without a reason given for why the supposed action was taken against me, he and others had reportedly chosen to skip the camp to oppose me teaching there based on this false rumor.
When I explained why I left the 2005 reunion, my friend encouraged me to call the man who told him the rumor. He hoped I might clear up the matter with this man. Although I was able to contact the other man, he resisted speaking with me. His refusal to hear my testimony of the matter was disappointing and revealed to me how impactful this rumor had been on him and others.
As I describe in the next part of this testimony, my family and I left the 2005 reunion due to the death of a close family member on the first day of the reunion. During and after the reunion, only a few people there sought to comfort us, while others apparently chose to spread insensitive rumors about us, which evidently still had a hold on people in 2020—15 years later.
My main purpose in sharing this account of these events at this time has to do with the seriousness of a word of warning I received on Saturday, April 8, about what is happening to those who do not keep Jesus Christ’s new commandment of the new covenant He mediates. That word of warning is the subject of a message I initially posted online April 23, 2023, at the following link.
Bearing a false witness and spreading false reports about others has consequences, now and in eternity. In sharing the testimony below about why I left the Woodbine reunion in 2005, I am appealing to everyone who has spread falsehoods about me and my early departure from the reunion to stop doing so, and to instead speak the truth in love and soberness in Jesus Christ.
Late on Saturday, July 23, 2005, our family arrived for the reunion being held at the Followers of Christ campground near Little Sioux, Iowa. Previous to our arrival, we had visited Nauvoo historical sites and other places of interest to us between Nauvoo and the campground. For the remainder of our vacation, we anticipated spending a full week with the saints who had gathered at the reunion for fellowship and worship.
While Pam and I were getting our family ready for the worship services the next morning (Sunday, July 24, 2005), I received an impress to check my cell phone for missed calls and messages. But I resisted looking at my phone. After all, this was the Lord’s Day, and we would soon be attending the morning worship. However, the prompting continued, so I eventually turned my phone on and found there were two new messages from my mother-in-law.
In her messages, my mother-in-law’s voice was somber but earnest. She said something terrible had happened that morning and to please call her. Upon calling her back, my mother-in-law told me she and Pam’s father were on their way out of state to pick up one of their grandchildren. Although they did not have a lot of details to share at the time, she told me Pam’s brother had taken his own life earlier that morning.
This was quite a shock to us, and it caused many things to come flooding into my mind. For one, this was our youngest son’s seventh birthday, and we had anticipated celebrating his birthday later that day. I was now concerned about how the news of his uncle’s passing on his birthday might affect him then and in years to come. This was just one of many unknowns that I felt needed to be dealt with in the hours and days ahead.
Because she had other calls to make, my mother-in-law and I ended our call by agreeing to talk later. I relayed her message to Pam as she helped the younger of our children finish dressing for the morning services. After Pam and I talked briefly, I asked our children to be seated in the trailer to inform them of their uncle’s passing. The only other thing I could think to do in that moment was to pray, so I knelt to call upon the Lord for comfort and guidance.
While I do not recall exactly what I prayed, I do remember the vivid image of Pam’s brother which had appeared in my thoughts as I began to pray. I saw him standing in a remote, barren wilderness that was dimly lit. He was facing a far-off snow-capped mountain filled with a beautiful light. As I looked at him, I saw he had on a thick, dark, full-length coat, one that enveloped much of his body and even covered a part of his head.
As I continued in prayer, I saw my brother-in-law, with hands open and fingers fully extended, reach decidedly for the opening in the coat at his mid-chest. He ripped the coat open and threw it off himself as if it took all his strength. After flinging it to the ground behind him, he began running as earnestly as he could toward the light of the mountain in the distance. When the scene before me closed, I brought my prayer to a close as well.
I was simply amazed and filled with wonder at what I had just observed. While it left me with many questions, the vision of my brother-in-law being freed of that dark, heavy coat and moving determinedly toward the mountain filled with light nonetheless gave me comfort. I shared the vision with Pam later in the hope of comforting her as well. When it was time for the last service of the morning, the children and I left Pam to make calls in the privacy of the trailer.
After entering the chapel from the back, my children and I headed over to the east side and sat about midway up from the back of the sanctuary. I then noticed Louise Gregson and her sister Laila seated in the center section nearer to the front. So, I went over to them and asked them to pray for Pam, her parents, and her brother’s family. After I sat back down, Laila went forward and apparently informed the presiding elder about the death in our family.
Just before the service was to begin, Rick Tiffey, the camp pastor, stood before the congregation to make announcements. He included a statement about my brother-in-law having taken his own life earlier that morning. I had not anticipated him making this announcement, but it was comforting to me nonetheless to know more people would now be lifting our family, and especially our extended family, up in prayer.
I must also admit my thoughts were not on the services that morning. Instead, I kept thinking of my children sitting next to me and of my wife down the hill in the trailer. As I sat there, the Lord shook me free of those thoughts with these words: “Dwight, I want you to preach to this people!” I objected by replying that I would soon be going to a family funeral. Still the call came, “Dwight, there is error being taught here! I want you to preach to this people!” To which I pointed out my need to comfort my wife and to mourn with our family. The Lord responded with, “Let the dead bury the dead, I want you to preach to this people!” With this statement, the Lord left off speaking to me, and I sat quietly, pondering the instruction I had just received.
After the morning services were all over, many people pitched in to set up the tabernacle chairs and some tables for lunch. I took that opportunity to check on Pam in the trailer. She was still on the phone with someone, so I went to rejoin my children up at the tabernacle. Once I was back in line for the noon meal with them, Brother Rick—whom I had never met before—came up to me and asked if I would preach Wednesday night because the person scheduled had canceled.
I reminded Rick of the announcement he had made that morning about the death of my brother-in-law. I continued by telling him I did not expect to stay for the rest of the reunion because I planned to attend the funeral with my family. Rick assured me that the camp pastorate had prayed about it and felt I should preach, and that if I were there on Wednesday evening, they would still like for me to bring ministry to the people.
After Sunday lunch, Pam and I drove to Omaha to get a rental car. We had decided it would be best for her to take our girls with her to Independence that day while I stayed at the reunion with our boys. I would then bring the boys when it was convenient for our whole family to be together again for the funeral. We anticipated there would be other unknowns that would need working through over the next few days, and this seemed like the best arrangement.
Francis Harper arrived at the campgrounds on Sunday (July 24, 2005) about the time Pam was ready to leave the grounds in the rental car. If I recall correctly, he had performed a wedding near the east coast a day or so before and was just now getting to the reunion. I greeted Brother Francis and asked if he would offer a prayer for Pam and our girls before they drove to Missouri to meet with her folks. He was more than gracious to do so and offered a heartfelt prayer for them all.
On Monday or Tuesday of that week, Pam had a better assessment of the situation in Independence and asked that I leave the reunion with the boys on Thursday afternoon so we could attend the funeral now scheduled for Friday. This meant I would be at the reunion on Wednesday. When I saw Rick next, I gave him the update on our plans. He reassured me the camp pastorate was still extending the invitation to me to speak Wednesday evening (July 27, 2005). Even so, I had so much else to think about that I found it hard to put thoughts together for a sermon in the time leading up to the Wednesday evening preaching service.
As I recall it now, when the time finally came for the sermon, I stood before the congregation and prayed. Included in my prayer was a request that the Lord would not let me waste His time there that night. I also remember telling of how Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that He is the only one caring enough and capable enough to save our souls. I felt a rush of the Holy Spirit come over me, leading me to speak the word of the Lord as it was delivered to me.
Later, my oldest son told me of how he had looked at his watch at one point during my sermon thinking I had preached for about 5 minutes, but it had been 55 minutes. At another point, a priesthood member stood up in the congregation to reprove me, saying I was preaching fear. I replied that I was preaching the words the Lord was leading me to speak in the very moment I spoke them, and I so continued preaching until the Lord released me.
What did I preach that might be viewed as preaching fear? I spoke out of James 3 on how our tongues are evil except we are born anew and speak the words of Christ by the Holy Ghost as described in II Nephi 14. I also spoke against unconditional love because it contradicts and dismisses the conditions of repentance, described in Helaman 5:63-92, D&C 16:3, and elsewhere.
At one point in the sermon I was led to illustrate how people in all generations will inherit one of the three glories or a place of no glory based on Revelation 22:11,12, I Corinthians 15:41-44, D&C 76, etc. This involved explaining how our final estate depends ultimately on our response to God’s Word as described in Luke 8:4-18 and elsewhere, which in turn depends upon whether or not we want to live by faith, hope, and charity or remain carnal, sensual, and devilish.
After the service, many people came up to me to make comments or to ask questions about the message. Even the minister who had opposed me at one point in the service came up to speak with me. There was so much going on at that point, I hardly remember much of what was said. What I do remember now is how it was a lot for me to take in for one evening. I eventually was able to round up my boys and find rest back in our trailer for the evening.
The next day Sister Louise Gregson asked to speak with me privately. She told me of how she believed there were only two kinds of people at the reunion now—those who loved me and those who hated me. She said she had even heard a couple of women speak of how angry they were with me because of what I had said the night before. In fact, one of these ladies reportedly said she could even kill me, that’s how greatly my sermon angered her.
Others came up to me as well on Thursday morning to make a statement, including a young mother who had walked out of my sermon. She told me that after thinking about the message I brought, she regretted doing so because she knew in her heart that I had spoken the truth. Given what this woman said to me, I was left with the impression she and others were troubled by what I taught on how none of us can tame our own tongues except by the engrafted word as described by James.
At the prayer service that morning, the minister who confronted me during my sermon, called me to the front and gave me a hug and assured the congregation there were no hard feelings between us. As I returned to my seat, Brother Francis approached me and asked that I go on a walk with him, which we did while the prayer service continued. He took me to several places on the reunion grounds as he told me the history of the property and how he had been led to purchase it and to eventually set it apart for a reunion grounds. Francis also shared some of his personal burdens and heartaches and bid me pray for him.
During our long walk together, I felt I had been given a unique opportunity to come to know Francis in a more personal way than before by seeing his heart’s desire for the Lord’s work and what he sensed was hindering it. It was truly a special time we had together, and I would have liked to have had more time to spend visiting with him, but I needed to gather my boys together and get the trailer and the van ready for our trip to Independence, Missouri, that afternoon.
The funeral for my brother-in-law was held the following day at the South Crysler Restoration Branch in Independence, Missouri. Upon arriving early for the service, I kept our children with me in the foyer so Pam could join her parents and sister at the casket for a private viewing together. As I stood holding my youngest daughter in the foyer, Steve Smith, the presiding elder of the branch, approached me. He commented on how he had heard that I had preached at the Woodbine reunion a couple of days before. Brother Steve then asked me to consider preaching at South Crysler sometime soon.
Since I was there for the funeral of my brother-in-law, I said it would be something I would have to consider at a later time. Steve said he understood and just wanted me to know I would be welcome to preach for their congregation as well. I put it out of my mind for a while until the Lord started bringing it back to my thoughts later in the summer. Once I received assurance that I should preach at their branch, I contacted Steve, and we agreed upon a date nearer the fall time. On the designated Sunday I preached while my father-in-law presided over the service. I counted it a great joy to minister with him that day, especially since he had suffered the loss of his son earlier that summer.
As noted earlier, the testimonies I have just shared came vividly to mind April 8, 2023. On that day I received a word of warning concerning prophecies of Jesus Christ judgments and how they are in the process of being fulfilled. A summary of that word of warning is included in a post titled Why Keep the New Commandment of the New Covenant, the link to which is:
Simply put, Jesus Christ’s new commandment of the new covenant He mediates is of an immediate concern to all of us. Recall how Jesus spoke of His Father as the husbandman and Himself as the true vine. With this teaching, Jesus made it clear that His Father takes away every branch in Him that does not bear Him the fruit He is seeking from us, chiefly the fruit of His Spirit—the only fruit which can be born out of our lives that is suitable for His kingdom.
John 15:1,2 – I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Alma 3:90 – And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold, the axe is laid at the root of the tree; Therefore, every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, Yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire.
Galatians 5:19-25 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:9 – (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Romans 14:17 – For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Per the word of the Lord I received on April 8, the branches grafted into the true vine (Jesus Christ) at greatest risk of being cut off are those individuals and groups of individuals who do not keep His commandments, especially His new commandment. Everyone who says they know Him and His words but who do not honor Him by keeping them as He gave them, is being cut off consistent with John 15:1,2 and the following scriptures.
III Nephi 9:60,61 – Behold, I Am He of whom Moses spake, saying: A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be cut off from among the people.
Acts 3:22,23 – For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Therefore, it is my hope that all who read this testimony will seek earnestly to put off the old man and the works thereof, and put on the new man in Christ so they may bring forth the good works, or fruits, our heavenly Father—as the husbandman who prunes the true vine—has ordained for us to do by His grafting us into His Only Begotten Son.
Colossians 3:5-10 – Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience; in the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Moroni 10:29-30 – Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in Him and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is His grace sufficient for you, that by His grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in no wise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ and deny not His power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy without spot.
Of the several topics I was led to preach on at the 2005 Woodbine reunion, I would encourage everyone to study out the three glories and the place of no glory awaiting all humanity as spoken of in the following scriptures and elsewhere.
I Corinthians 15:41,42 – There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead… (See I Corinthians 3:13-17 regarding the state of no glory.)
Revelation 22:11,12 – He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be.
Sadly, not many people know they will be restored to the same spirit—an unjust, filthy, righteous, or holy spirit—that is in them when they depart this earth, and are thus not ready for what they are about to experience as they enter eternity. Therefore, I commend to you this counsel from Alma to his wayward son as recorded in Alma 19:64-71 about the plan of restoration.
64 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God, for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order;
65 Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
66 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also at the last day be restored unto that which is good;
67 And if his works are evil, they shall be restored unto him for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to its proper order—everything to its natural frame, mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption, raised to endless happiness, to inherit the kingdom of God, or, to endless misery, to inherit the kingdom of the devil;
68 The one, on one hand; the other, on the other—The one, raised to happiness, according to his desires of happiness, or good, according to his desires of good; and the other, to evil, according to his desires of evil, for as he has desired to do evil all the day long, even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
69 And so it is on the other hand—If he hath repented of his sins and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so shall he be rewarded unto righteousness—
70 These are they that are redeemed of the Lord, yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness. And thus they stand or fall, for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil.
71 Now the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.
To learn more about the three glories and the place of no glory I spoke about at the 2005 Woodbine reunion, consider reading the following study letters and the various scriptures discussed in each:
The time you take now in study and prayer will greatly benefit you and those you affect by helping you and them prepare for eternity in Jesus Christ as described in Romans 8:1-17. Remember, this life is so very short while eternity is of an endless duration. So, please choose the remaining steps of your life wisely by walking yoked with Jesus Christ as He described in Matthew 11:29,30. And remember, it is by the very same judgment by which you judge others that you will be judged as described in Matthew 7:1-3. For with what measure we mete withal (measure out to others), it will be measured to us again as described in Luke 6:37,38 and D&C 1:2e with Revelation 22:11,12.
 See also D&C 16:3a-f, Mosiah 2:12 & Alma 19:94-106 with Helaman 2:71-75 & Helaman 5:63-92
 For an in-depth discussion, see https://hisworkmanship.net/why-three-glories-part-1/
 James 3:1-18 with James 1:5-27
 John 13:34,35 & John 15:12 with Hebrews 8:6-13, Galatians 3:20, I Timothy 2:3-6, etc.