Charles W Kingston is Excommunicated from the LDS Church
August 1, 1928
August 1, 1928
In August 1928, Brother Charles took his wife Vesta with him to the Temple in Salt Lake City to do temple work. As their recommends were read, the man asked Charles, “Are you Charles Kingston from Idaho or the one from Ogden?” (referring to Charles Kingston Sr.)
Charles answered, “I’m the one from Idaho.” The man told Charles, “Well, then, if that’s the case you can’t go through the temple until you see the President [of the temple]” who was Brother George F. Richards.
As he was waiting for his temple recommend to be examined, Brother Charles told Sister Vesta there was a little difficulty about his recommend and if he could get it taken care of, he would follow her through the rest of the session, but if he was unable to do this, he would meet her at the small gate in the East wall of the temple grounds.
Brother Charles tells the experience:
“I went into the President’s office and faced the President who was sitting on the opposite side of the table. Brother Christiansen, the Temple Recorder, and a dear friend of my Father and Mother, was in the room pacing back and forth behind the President. I did not know why but he appeared to be very agitated.
The President, brother George F. Richards said to me, “Brother Kingston do you believe in Plural Marriage?”
I answered, “Yes Sir, I do. With all my heart.”
Brother Christiansen said, “Yes, and so do I.”
The President continued, “Do you not know the policy of the Church on this subject?”
“No sir, I do not exactly, “ I replied.
“Have you not read the statements of President Joseph F. Smith and President Heber J. Grant in the Deseret News and in the Improvement Era on this subject?”
“Yes sir, I’ve read them all.”
Hitting the table for emphasis he said, “Then WHY do you not understand?”
I said, “Because you men at the head say ONE thing and then you go ahead and DO the opposite.”
He said, “Brother Kingston, before you can go through this temple you will have to promise me three things. First you will have to promise to forsake and turn your back on that principle and never have anything more to do with it. Second you will have to promise to forsake the friends who have been teaching you these things. Third you will have to make it right with those you have offended.”
I said, “Well, Brother Richards you have given me a mighty big order, I don’t know if I can do that or not.”
“Well,” he said, “That is up to you.”
After Brother Charles was told he couldn’t go through the temple, he spent the next four hours talking to his friends around Salt Lake who had been teaching him the Gospel. The first man he approached advised him to make the promises and then not keep them. Brother Charles told him he couldn’t do that. If he made any promises, he was going to keep them.
Not satisfied, Brother Charles talked to Charles Zitting who told him, “I would be careful as to what promise I would make, especially a promise as important as the one they demand of you.”
Immediately Zitting called J. Leslie Broadbent on the phone and made an appointment for Brother Charles to meet him at two o’clock that same afternoon. He met Charles on the second floor mezzanine of the Hotel Utah (now known as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square).
Brother Broadbent told him, “Brother Kingston, you are in a very serious situation. A lot of us have lost all we had in this world when they have been faced with the same things you face this afternoon; but I want to tell you, Brother Kingston, that if you make these promises and keep them, when you family finds out what you have done, they won’t consider you as much as a yellow dog. They will lose all the respect for you.”
Brother Charles said, “That is the way I feel, but shall I go back and tell them I won’t make those promises they want me to make?” Brother Broadbent answered, “No, don’t ever go back and see them.” (Talk given by Charles W Kingston, March 1958)
Brother Charles continues to tell the story:
“When I met my wife that afternoon, she had been all that time worried sick thinking of what might happen to me. She said, “Now what kind of mess have you gotten us into?”
When he presented the situation to her she was very upset. Up to that time, Vesta was 100% for the Church; she believed in the Church. Brother Charles was one of the prominent men in the ward. He was one of the Seventies. Sister Vesta was very active in the Church activities and in the Relief Society. They paid complete, exact tithing. The Church had been their whole life. If Brother Charles lost his membership in the Church, she was going to stay with the church and raise her family there.
Sister Vesta told Brother Charles:
“…..I’m going back to Idaho Falls on the next train and I am going to leave you. The children are all on my side. Your father and mother and all your brothers and sisters will hate you. The church people will be against you, and the law will be looking for you. And all you would have to do is make one little promise-and you won’t even do that! That proves how much you think of us!”
Brother Charles said:
“Well, dear” I said, “I have put you and the children and all I have besides on the altar of the Lord, and you can do anything you like. That will make no difference to me, as far as my decision is concerned. Everything I have is there on the altar, and I am no ‘Indian trader’ and I’m not going to ask for anything back.”
Brother Charles began to recall the dream he had when he was much younger and felt this experience of being blocked from the temple had been foreshadowed. In his dream Brother Charles was shown that some time in the future there would come a time of great decision, that he would face a crisis in which his whole future and the future of all those depending upon him would be hanging in the balance. In the dream he was told to stay on the path and never stray from it.
Brother Charles had told this dream to his mother when he was younger, and she remembered it many years later. When Brother Christiansen, the temple recorder, informed Charles’ parents regarding his status in the temple, they wrote a letter to Charles:
Ogden Utah, September 24, 1928
We have been wondering how matters are now, regarding your standing with the Brethren at Idaho Falls. We have learned that this matter is rather more serious than we had supposed. Your mother is nearly broken up about this thing. We hope you will meet the requirements of the brethren and not start something which we feel will be very disappointing to you. If we understand this matter correctly, your very standing in the Church depends on your humbling yourself and getting back into the favor of the Church. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE MUST YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE SEVERED FROM THE CHURCH.
We wish you would come down next Sunday, You and Vesta, let us pray over this thing together. Your Mother takes your dream as of much meaning, as she interpreted to you.
So do be careful and be sure to come down Sunday. Our great love for you and your wonderful family has caused us to write this letter.
From your Father and Mother Charles Kingston
Brother Charles parents felt that the part of the dream where Charles was hanging by his fingertips must be referring to him possibly being severed from the church.
Charles didn’t travel to Ogden, so his mother and father traveled to Idaho Falls. His mother spoke to him for most of two nights to convince him to bring himself in line with the Church.
“I told my mother that I did not enjoy bringing sorrow and disappointment to them, yet I knew what my dream meant because the Lord had shown me, and that even though she might talk to me until doomsday, I still would know what decision to make and what the Lord had for me to do or what decision He wanted me to make.”
Soon after Charles’ parents visited, his son Elden, who was married and living on a farm in Roberts, Idaho, came down to Idaho Falls to talk to his father. Elden asked him if he would walk into town with him.
Brother Elden asked, “Father, I understand you are about to lose your membership in the Church, is there any truth to that?”
Brother Charles replied, “Well, it kind of looks like it.”
Brother Elden said, “You know father, I would rather lose my life than lose my membership in the Church.”
Brother Charles answered, “I feel the same way Elden, but there’s one thing I would feel even worse about losing than even my membership in the Church.”
That was quite a surprise to Brother Elden. Brother Elden asked, “What is that?”
Brother Charles answered, “My standing before God. My standing before the Lord means more to me than anything else.”
Brother Charles said, “Let’s you and I search out the truth together. If you are right, I’ll need your help. If I am right, you will need mine.”
About two or three times a week after work, Brother Charles would get on the evening train to go to Roberts to meet Brother Elden at the depot. They had three hours to discuss the Gospel before the Butte train arrived to take Brother Charles back to Idaho Falls. Brother Elden also went to Salt Lake to the Church Historian’s office to make a thorough investigation of the things he was told. This program was carried out for some months, resulting in Charles’ son Elden becoming convinced that his father was right.
In November of 1928, Brother Elden had a dream in which he states an angel of the Lord came to him and showed him a ship in the ocean preparing to sail for a distant port. The angel said, “Son, your mother is on that ship and that ship is going to sink. Your mother is going to have only one chance to get off. If she fails to take that chance, she will go down with the ship.” Brother Elden wrote her a letter, and soon thereafter he came down to Idaho Falls and told her the dream. He had become quite concerned about the family. He well knew the meaning of the dream concerning the sinking of the ship and his mother having only one chance to get off. He told his mother the dream and the meaning of it, which seemed to help her.
In the meantime, the Church, the bishop, and the stake president decided they were going to take action against Brother Charles. The Church sent B.H. Roberts to drop Brother Charles from the presidency of the one hundred and forty-sixth quorum of Seventies.
B.H. Roberts was one of the LDS Church General Authorities, First Council of the Seventies. He was a noted Church writer and assistant Church historian. He was also the stepson of John Woolley and knew about the four hidden revelations.
They had a meeting in the ward. This meeting was held after the Sunday night meeting: The members of the Quorum being present.
As Brother Charles told the story:
“After the opening prayer, Brother Roberts asked me if I wanted to ask any questions. I asked him if he knew who wrote the manifesto. He said “No!” which I knew to be a lie. Brother Joseph Brunt asked me if I knew who wrote it. I said “Yes, I can tell you all about it.” Brother Roberts then said we did not have time to go into that and asked me if I was guilty of the charge of believing and teaching that the manifesto was a manmade document., that the Lord didn’t have anything to do with it. I said, “That is my belief and teaching.” I then asked if I could talk with Brother Roberts alone.”
In the middle of the meeting, B.H. Roberts and Brother Charles went off in another part of the building to talk. B.H. Roberts knew Brother Charles was teaching the truth, but he wanted Brother Charles not to talk about it.
Brother Charles later wrote in a letter some of the things that were discussed with B.H. Roberts:
“B.H. Roberts told me the same thing concerning the revelations of 1886, and also admitted the three; namely, the ones of 1880, 1882, and 1889 were authentic and from the Lord. He told me they had been unwisely published. I said, “If they were unwisely published, they must have been unwisely given, and since one of them is addressed to “THE PEOPLE OF MY CHURCH” by the Lord, you must have considered the Lord unwise in giving such a revelation at that time.” This conversation took place in the Idaho Falls Stake Tabernacle February 10, 1929.”
(Letter to Stake Presidency and High Council 7/19/1933)
Brother Charles explained to B.H. Roberts that he did not think it was fair to try to sneak his way into heaven and not let anybody else know about the truth. When he found out about these things, he felt it was his responsibility to let the other people know about it so they could make their own decision. Brother Charles felt it was not fair to them to not let them know the truth.
B.H. Roberts told him he couldn’t help him and he would probably lose his membership in the Church.
Brother Charles and B.H. Roberts went back to the Seventies group. Brother Roberts told the group that Brother Charles had pleaded guilty to the charge and asked the group to take action against Brother Charles with the uplifted right hand. Oscar Snarr failed to raise his hand. Brother Roberts chided him saying, “What’s the matter with you? Do you want to be out of harmony too? You better get your hand up there.” The man raised his hand half high. Brother Roberts said, “Get it up there, clear up so we all can see.” And he raised it high.
After this was done, Brother Roberts stood upon a chair and raising both arms to the square prayed and asked the Lord to bless what he had done. Sister Vesta was sitting all this time on one of the front seats just off the speakers stand watching this performance. She considered it sacrilege for B.H. Roberts to act as he did. Later Sister Vesta dreamed B.H. Roberts was smoking a cigar and was trying to cater to a popular world view, rather than being aligned with Heavenly Father. These were some of the things that helped Sister Vesta know that the Church was off track.
Brother Charles was removed from the Quorum of the Seventies and turned over to the High Council and his trial was set for the 4th day of March, 1929.
Brother Charles tells another experience that took place about a month or so before his trial:
“Fred A. Cain, President of Idaho Falls Stake, came to my place and read from the life of Wilford Woodruff. I got out another copy of the same book and read to him about the revelations that the Church had suppressed. He got really mad and told me he was going to cut me off the Church. I said, “Brother Cain, you couldn’t cut me off of nothing. You haven’t got the authority.” He got up and went out, slamming the door behind him.
A few days after that he took sick and went to the Mayo Brothers Hospital. From there he wrote a letter to the High Council and told them to give me “the works.” He was really sick but they couldn’t find out what was wrong with him. Finally they sent him home, and he was back only a few days when he died.”
The Church had been keeping Charles’ father Charles Sr. informed of everything that was going on. When Charles Sr. asked what was wrong with Brother Charles, B.H. Roberts told him there was nothing wrong with him except he won’t keep his mouth shut. He won’t quit talking about what he knows.
Brother Charles talks about the period of waiting for his trial before the High Council:
“It seemed that my world had dropped out from under me. I knew if the Lord didn’t do something for my family I would lose every single thing in the world I ever held dear….. I was six months not knowing how things would turn out for me, waiting for that trial before the High Council” (Talk by Charles W Kingston March 1958)
The High Council trial commenced on the 4th day of March 1929 and lasted from 8:00pm until 2:00am. Charles preached “the fullness of the Gospel” to the sixteen men in attendance for about six hours, telling his side of it and answering their questions.
Charles speaks about some of the highlights in the trial:
“Brother Nixon had said in the trial, “This man has told the truth in everything he has said but we cannot go against the Brethren.”
Brother Hansen pounded the table for emphasis and asked, “Why have you stirred in to all this mess?”
“You can call it a mess if you want to,” I said, “But I wanted the truth and I’m willing to pay the price for it.”
Then Doctor Hatch asked, “Were you not in an accident on the railroad in which you got a rap on the head or something?”
I said, “Yes, doctor I was.”
“Do you think it is possible that rap on the head was the cause of you believing as you do now?”
"I don’t know doctor,” I said, “But if that is what caused my actions, it would be a blessing to all of you men if you could get a rap on the head.”
Brother Hansen then asked with emphasis, “Do you mean to make the President of the Church and the Apostles of this Church liars?”
"No Brother Hansen," I said, “I could not do a thing like that. They have done this to themselves.”
As Brother Charles goes on to tell the story:
“After I got through, they decided to give me six months to change my mind. But I told them I did not blame them. They had their orders from above. But I did not want six months- I wanted them to make their decision that night because I knew what the Lord wanted me to do, and I was going to do it! This I told them.
“Then are you going to take another wife?” they asked.
“If the Lord directs me to – yes. “ These men all had tears in their eyes. If they had been women, I think they would have cried.”
At this time, Brother Charles was cut off from the Church. The next day Brother Charles met one of the members of the High Council in the grocery store:
“Brother Thomas A. Nixon said to me, “Brother Kingston I think you are wrong in going against the Brethren. If the authorities of the Church are wrong, they will be to blame and the Lord will not hold you responsible.”
“But” I said, “If someone burns my house down, they are to blame but I lose my home just the same.”
It is important to note that we are not judged by what someone else does, we are judged by what we do.
Brother Charles states:
“I soon began to feel the pressure of prejudice and hatred that was rising against me. People seemed to think I had committed the unpardonable sin-in fact the New President of the Stake made some such remark in a public meeting in my hearing. I began to feel so alone in the world.”
Brother Charles went to the Lord time after time and told him that if he [Charles] had been too harsh or too critical of his leaders that he would be willing to go before the High Council or the Stake Priesthood meeting and ask for their forgiveness.
Brother Charles goes on to tell the story:
“The next seven days were my greatest trial. I had prayed to the Lord to know if He had approved what I had done. I told Him if I had displeased Him, I would do anything and everything to make it right. That was one of the longest seven days I every experienced. While I was waiting for that answer, the powers of evil were filling my soul with fear, telling me that I had been wrong in criticizing the authorities of the Church before the High Council. On the night of the 11th day of March, 1929, I went to bed after a hard day’s work, dead tired and discouraged because I had received no answer to my week-long petition.
I received my answer about seven days after the close of that High Council meeting, at 2am the 12th day of March, 1929
I found myself in a large room lying on a couch with the back against the west wall, with my head to the south, my right arm resting with the head in my right hand and the weight of my raised head resting on my elbow. My whole body seemed to be fagged out and tired to the bone. In this dream, my wife was laying on the another couch with its back to the north against the north wall.
There was a large colonnade in the center of this room and a door to the south, and another door in the west, near the north west corner. (Autobiography of Charles Kingston)
Two men walked into my room. The one on my right took me by the right hand. I was tired no longer. Strength and power flowed from him through my right arm into my body. He began to talk to me and the words were powerful and sweet. Such words I never hard so powerfully expressed before, and I wondered who this powerful stranger could be. He made it known to me that my action before the High Council was approved.
“It can’t be the Lord, “ I said to myself. “He could not find time to come to a man like me.” So, with my left hand I opened His handclasp far enough to see the palm of His right hand, and there I saw the scar between the bones of His first two fingers—the scar that was made by the nail that pinned His right hand to the cross. It was enough- I knew now who He was!
Further, I knew he had accepted me as one of His servants because He was pleased with what I had done to prove to Him that I meant what I had promised when I asked to be one of His humble servants in 1926. Later, I told that experience to Lorin Woolley, and he believed it. He said, “That’s right. That’s where the mark is in his hands.” (Reminiscence, Vol 3, Pg 13)
When I awakened from this wonderful vision, I was sitting up in bed; my wife was laying to the left of me, sound asleep and I was so exited that I shook her awake and I said, “Wake up quick, dear, the Lord has been here in this room and just left and I know now that he has approved everything I have done. The things I have done and said in teaching the importance of living the Fulness of the Gospel and also the importance of teaching and living the Law of Consecration.
I described the room that we were in and our positions in the room including the furniture in the room and she said, “I was in that same room and saw you there and everything as you have described it, but I did not see any people besides you and I did not hear any voices….
The fact that my wife was in the same room and saw the furnishings and openings as I described them to her, proves to me that the Lord arranged it that way to add to her testimony so that she would know that the story I told her was true, genuine and did come from the Lord Himself. (Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston)
It seemed, before that, I felt hungry for more knowledge and light regarding the gospel from these people who some of them had been bosom friends and loyal supporters of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and others of the Early Apostles of the Church. They had known these men personally. To talk to these men always gave me a spiritual uplift that gave me a charge like a battery that runs down and needs a new charge. After this experience I no longer needed this help from any of these good men because I had a light of my own. (Talk by Charles W Kingston March 1958)
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