APOSTLES — Excommunications & Reinstatements
QUESTION: Can you name the three brethren of this dispensation who were dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve and then later re-instated to the Quorum?
ANSWER: The three brethren are Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, and Amasa M. Lyman. Elder Hyde was dropped on May 4, 1839 and restored on June 27, 1839. He eventually served as President of the Quorum. Elder Pratt was excommunicated on August 20, 1842 and then re-baptized and reinstated to the Quorum on January 20, 1843. Elder Lyman originally was dropped from the Quorum on January 20, 1843 due to the reinstatement of Elder Pratt. He was returned to the Quorum on August 12, 1844, and then dropped for the second time October 6, 1867.
QUESTION: One of the apostles who served in the Quorum of the Twelve in this dispensation was baptized a member of the Church, ordained an apostle, and placed in the Quorum of the Twelve all on the SAME day. Can you name him?
ANSWER: This could be considered a “trick” question, but it is nevertheless true. Orson Pratt was initially ordained an apostle on April 26, 1835 at the age of 23. Due to disloyalty toward the leaders of the church, he was excommunicated on August 20, 1842. During the latter part of 1842 he repented and sought forgiveness. On January 20, 1843, he was re-baptized, ordained an apostle, and reinstated into the Quorum of the Twelve.
QUESTION: One of the apostles of this dispensation served as a bishop of a ward AFTER having served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! Can you name this apostle and the circumstances that led to this unusual occurrence?
ANSWER: Elder Luke S. Johnson was one of the original twelve apostles. He was excommunicated in 1838 due to apostasy. He was re-baptized in 1846 in Nauvoo, Illinois and traveled with the saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. In 1858, he settled in St. John, Utah in Tooele County and was appointed Bishop of the
first ward organized in that city. He died in full fellowship of the church.
QUESTION: One of the members of the original Quorum of the Twelve was ordained as Patriarch to the Church, but he was rejected as such by the membership of the Church and was not sustained in this calling. Shortly thereafter he was excommunicated from the Church. Can you name this apostle?
ANSWER: William B. Smith, brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He was excommunicated in October of 1845.
QUESTION: One of the early apostles of this dispensation is said to have served nearly 100 missions for the church. One of these missions lasted for well over 4
years. His dedication to the Prophet Joseph was legendary. Unfortunately, later in his life, he publicly preached that the atonement of the Savior was not necessary for our salvation. Unwilling to abandon such heresy, he was released as an apostle and eventually excommunicated from the church. Can you name this apostle?
ANSWER: This apostle was Elder Amasa M. Lyman. He was excommunicated in 1870, having served as an apostle for 23 years.
QUESTION: Two apostles resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve on the same day. Can you name these two apostles and identify the circumstances
surrounding their resignations?
ANSWER: Elders Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor both resigned from the apostleship on October 28, 1905. Their resignation was publicly announced for the first time at April Conference in 1906. These two brethren resigned due to a disagreement with the leadership of the church regarding the termination of plural marriage. Elder Cowley was instructed to refrain from exercising his priesthood in 1911 and remained in this situation until 1936, when his opportunity to use the
priesthood was reinstated. He remained faithful until the end of his life. Elder Taylor was excommunicated from the church in 1911. He held no bitterness toward the church or church leadership, but he remained outside the church until his death.
QUESTION: How many apostles have been excommunicated, disfellowshipped, or released in this dispensation?
ANSWER: Eighteen apostles have been excommunicated, disfellowshipped, or released in this dispensation. They are, followed by the year in which their
service in the apostleship came to an end, John F. Boynton (1837), Luke S. Johnson (1838), Lyman E. Johnson (1838), William M’Lellin (1838), Oliver
Cowdery (1838), Thomas B. Marsh (1839), Orson Hyde (1839), Orson Pratt (1842), William B. Smith (1845), John D. Page (1846), Lyman Wight (1848), Amasa M.
Lyman (1867), Albert Carrington (1885), John W. Young (1891), Moses Thatcher (1896), Matthias F. Cowley (1905), John W. Taylor (1905), and Richard R. Lyman
(1943). NOTE concerning Matthias Foss Cowley: The Church Almanac states that Elder Cowley had his ‘priesthood suspended’ on May 11, 1911. Elder Glen L. Rudd, who was a close friend of Elder Matthew Cowley [son of Matthias Cowley], states that Matthias Cowley was not excommunicated or disfellowshipped. He was instructed not to use or exercise his priesthood after leaving the apostleship. His standing in the priesthood was reinstated in 1936 without any kind of special blessing or re-ordination.