An interesting question was raised on a mailing list I was on. Can one be led out of the Church by the spirit?
Understandably that is a controversial question. After all, some see a danger that if the spirit might lead people out of the Church, how can we count on the spirit to direct us in a sure way? Isn’t the point of our view of the gospel that the church is true for everyone?
I think (and many on the list agreed) that we ought distinguish between the Church being true and what individuals need do at a certain point in their life. That is, we ought distinguish between what is right for a person now and what they must do in the long run. Eventually everyone must repent and be baptized by the proper authority, if they want to return to their Father. At this time, that authority is only found in the Church. But that doesn’t mean everyone is ready right now to do that.
Here’s how I thought about the issue in a fashion that perhaps renders it less controversial.
I think the best answer to whether the spirit would lead someone out of the church can be seen in our doctrine of excommunication. There the Stake President and High Council hopefully under the direction of the spirit frequently lead people out of the church. Some people are not ready for the responsibility the covenants of the gospel have. It is better for them to not be subject to them until they are ready.
Given that the spirit can through a Stake President (or Bishop) lead someone out of the church, I suspect He can in other ways as well.