Mormon Church Kicks the Beehive

doorknob Last week (June 11, 2014) The New York Times reported that the Mormon Church is threatening two highly visible members with excommunication. Kate Kelly, the founder of Ordain Women (which seeks to bring about change in the Mormon Church’s priesthood restrictions) and John Dehlin, the man behind Mormon Stories Podcast (which features discussions of interest to Mormons questioning various aspects of their faith) were both notified that they are facing “excommunication for apostasy.” These Latter-day Saints have rocked the Mormon world via their forthright and bold treatment of what they see as problems within the Mormon Church – doctrinal, historical, and cultural. And while they disagree with many things Mormon, both of them express continuing love for the Church; neither of them want to be excommunicated.

Kate Kelly explained,

“I think the charge of apostasy is wholly unfounded. I’ve never said anything against the leaders of the church. I’ve never said anything negative about any of the Lord’s anointed. I’ve never taught any doctrines, let alone false doctrines. The only sins I’m guilty of is telling the truth and living authentically and having sincere questions. If those are apostasy, I’m guilty, but I don’t view those to be apostate acts.”

On the Mormon Stories website John Dehlin admits that he no longer believes “many of the fundamental LDS church truth claims”; nevertheless, when given the option of resigning from the Church or facing Church discipline, he said,

“I will not be resigning my membership. I love the church too much to resign from it.”

In response to questions regarding the threatened excommunications, the Mormon Newsroom website offered a general explanation of the need for Church discipline:

“Sometimes members’ actions contradict Church doctrine and lead others astray. While uncommon, some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the Church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs. This saddens leaders and fellow members. In these rare cases, local leaders have the responsibility to clarify false teachings and prevent other members from being misled.”

While the Mormon Church has the right – and the responsibility – to set boundaries and discipline church members, one has to wonder what effect this particularly public move may have on the Church at large. Consider a few of the things that have been happening since the pending Church discipline has become public.

The New York Times said this forceful move by the Church “to quash such prominent critical voices” is “a sudden change of course for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which had been working to project an image of greater diversity and openness.” Will the watching world now see Mormonism in a less favorable light?

AngryBeeThe Herald Journal of Logan, Utah is running an online poll asking readers, “Would you support the excommunication of Mormon activists John Dehlin and Kate Kelly?” At the time of this writing, the “No” response outnumbered “Yes” by nearly 4 to1.

Mormon blogger Jana Riess is very troubled by the Church’s actions toward Kelly and Dehlin. She asked, “Are we looking at a Mormon purge?” Dr. Riess compared the pending discipline of Kelly and Dehlin to the 1993 Mormon Purge wherein six Latter-day Saints (The September Six) were excommunicated or disfellowshipped “for publishing scholarly work against Mormon doctrine or criticizing Church doctrine or leadership” over a 12-day period in September of that year.

As she blogged about the current discipline of vocal non-conformist Church members, Dr. Riess wondered if she, too, should expect a disciplinary letter stemming from her own outspokenness. She wrote,

“If that’s what is coming for me, so be it. I would be terribly sad to be disfellowshipped or excommunicated from my church — excommunication meaning, literally, out of community.

“I’ve been a Mormon for more than twenty years. This is my home, and Mormonism is part of my core identity. I love it.

“But I have always known there might be a price for having my own opinions in a culture that so values conformity and obedience.

“If the point of these pending excommunications is to strike fear in the hearts of other Latter-day Saints who love the Church but do not always agree with it on matters of social justice, then it has already failed. For Zion’s sake, and for my own, I will not keep silent.”

This disciplinary action by the Mormon Church has caused Dr. Riess to plant her flag, choosing freedom of thought and expression over allegiance to the Church.

Tim Malone is a Mormon blogger (Latter-day Commentary) who loves the Church and sustains Church leaders. Nevertheless, he wrote that he can no longer stand idly by and watch injustice done. Therefore, he surrendered his temple recommend:

“Because I disagree with the excommunications taking place in other stakes of individuals I have come to know and love – first online and then in person – I felt it would be less than honest to keep my temple recommend. I turned it in because I could no longer answer no to the question about ‘affiliating’ or ‘sympathizing’ with individuals who the church has cast out for apostasy. I do sympathize with them and I do intend to affiliate with them…” (emphasis in the original)

Because of the Church’s disciplinary actions toward Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Alan Rock Waterman (Pure Mormonism), another Mormon blogger has found the courage to come out of hiding and publicly declare,

“My name is Elizabeth Day. My name is still on the records of the church because I did not want to break the hearts of my family members who still believe that if my name is expunged from the records of the church that I am lost to them for eternity. But I do not believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true…I am an apostate and I’m tired of hiding.”

All of these are relatively insignificant examples of fallout the Church has already experienced and maybe it won’t go any further. But Elizabeth Day thinks otherwise. She wrote,

“I have a feeling that there will be people like me—maybe in the hundreds, maybe in the thousands—who will realize that this is the moment to speak out. To add our voices to those of Dehlin and Kelly and Waterman. To come out of the closet with our thoughts, or our doubts, or our disagreements.”

If the Church’s current disciplinary actions cause hundreds or thousands of Mormons to more closely examine the Church, its history, and its doctrines, I pray that these people come to find they must abandon the false system of Mormonism. I pray that as they turn away from the Mormon Church they will find love and acceptance in Jesus as He waits for them with open arms.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

This entry was posted in LDS Church, Mormon Culture and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Mormon Church Kicks the Beehive

  1. merrick says:

    When I seriously started to question my faith and was feeling utterly alone, my sister turned me on to Mormon Stories podcast. The first story I watched was of a couple in the CES department who were resigning their membership. I sat mesmerized in the school library, skipped my classes and watched for several hours. At the end, I was desperately hoping they would share how they found a new relationship in Christ – and although they never came to that conclusion, I found great comfort in the idea that many, many people were asking the same questions I was and that I wasn’t alone. I appreciate John Dehlin for giving me that safe place.

    I am so grateful for sites like Mormon Coffee Blog that share from a biblical perspective and have helped me find a community of LDS who are leaving and also finding a true relationship in Christ. Thanks MRM!

  2. falcon says:

    merrick,

    Thank you for your post. Every time a former Mormon testifies as to how MC/MRM has been of help to them, I get encouraged to keep defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    In reading this article and the one that preceded it, I was wondering if the Mormon prophet Brigham Young ought to be excommunicated for teaching false doctrine? Or perhaps Joseph Smith should be excommunicated for all of the false doctrine he taught. If the LDS church can baptize for the dead, they most certainly must have the authority within their sect to discipline dead leaders.

    On the other hand, maybe the FLDS should excommunicate the entire LDS church and the CoC just for added measure. Or perhaps the CoC should excommunicate both the FLDS and LDS for teaching false doctrine.

    The possibilities are endless.

    I’ve listened to John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories and often wondered how the guy could stay in the LDS church. I think he, like Grant Palmer, had fantasies about reforming the LDS church. The tipping point hasn’t been reached yet and it won’t until the LDS church starts going backwards in the financial area. What’s in the purse is of the greatest importance to this Mormon sect.

  3. Mike R says:

    Falcon, you bring up a valid point , namely, that Brigham Young should have been
    disfellowshiped / excommunicated for publically teaching his Adam God doctrine .

    The Mormon hierarchy has been slowing losing control over their followers the last couple
    of decades or so . I’m sure these well off executives will find a creative way to keep the
    membership happy enough so that they keep up their financial support if this gets much worse .

    It’s my prayer that if Mr Dehlin and Mrs Kelly are excommunicated that this will turn into a
    opportunity for them to discover that salvation is not dependant on being in the Mormon
    church and that the Mormon people have actually been detoured by men into accepting a imitation gospel .

  4. falcon says:

    This is a 6:38 audio on YouTube. It’s a radio call in with Grant Palmer some years ago as he was approaching his being dis-fellow-shipped. It’s very appropriate here given our discussion. One of the callers to the program cites his own experience of discovery and the repercussions with the LDS church and his family.
    Those who leave pay a big price. I just can’t seem to shake that statement I heard recently from the former Mormon on the “Ex-Files” program. He knows more about Mormonism now that he’s left the church. That was a real “ah-ha” moment for me. I’ll ruminate on that for some time as it has real implications in apologetic ministry to Mormons.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rEvcRf04c4

  5. falcon says:

    Did you ever think of all of the past leaders that could be ex’ed or dissed?

    But we must remember that Mormonism, especially as practiced by the LDS sect, is ever changing ever evolving. It’s called “continuous revelation”.
    Stop and think of all of the things someone could have been booted for in the past or now in the present. It’s all a matter of timing.
    What if someone, say in about 1956, came out strongly in favor of allowing blacks to hold the priesthood. Out the door they’d go, right? If you practiced plural marriage before you were on the pathway to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom. Try it today and out the door you go and into the FLDS.
    What about “blood atonement”? Let’s say someone snuffed somebody they thought needed to be saved from having committed some really bad deed. Would the perp get ex’ed?
    Would it be a problem if a guy married another man’s wife? Joseph Smith did it. What about if a guy married a 14 year old girl? Smith did that to.
    Oh I know, that happened a long time ago and doesn’t count for anything besides Smith was a prophet and the Mormon god gave him these women in the pre-existence.

  6. falcon says:

    So legitimately, the only reason a member of the LDS church should get ex’ed or disfel should be for moral reasons. But wait! Even that would be a difficult case to make when you consider the example Joseph Smith left.
    As far as doctrine goes, what’s the big deal? Doctrine comes and goes in the LDS church and aren’t individual members allowed to have personal “revelation”? Or is the personal “revelation” they are allowed to have related to what the leaders reveal? But if someone doesn’t concur, through personal revelation, what the boys at the top reveal, what then?
    Isn’t even Bruce McConkie, author of the go to book “Mormon Doctrine”, out of favor these days? Here Bruce was one of the big wigs. He wrote the book on Mormon doctrine and now he gets the under the bus treatment.

    “When he was alive, I noticed that most of McConkie’s public criticisms came from Mormons who held a more liberal view of LDS teaching. However, when McConkie died in April of 1985, it did not take long before I began to hear conservative Mormons speak critically of him, even declaring that the words of this apostle were nothing more than “mere opinion.” One LDS Mormon woman wrote to criticize me for quoting McConkie saying she was counseled not to use his material when preparing her lessons for church. I told her that this seemed like odd advice given the fact that McConkie is often quoted in church publications. Criticizing the dead is an easy sport since rebuttals from the accused are few and far between. It should also be pointed out that I have never heard any Mormon with McConkie’s credentials actually declare that this man’s teaching should not be trusted. In fact, the stature of his public critics pale in comparison.”
    “Given the high regard these LDS leaders had for McConkie, why do so many members today seem to have such a low respect for this man? In light of the fact that his colleagues did not share this dismal view we can only conclude that modern-day critics of McConkie are the ones who are not in theological step with their church.”

    “Did McConkie misrepresent Mormon teaching? This seems very unlikely considering the above. Mormons who have a reputation for spreading “false doctrine” are not usually quoted favorably in LDS Church manuals. Nor are they praised for their theological prowess by LDS leaders after they die.”
    http://www.mrm.org/bruce-mcconkie

    I wonder why McConkie never got excommunicated from the LDS church?

  7. falcon says:

    So folks get the boot from the LDS church for a variety of reasons but as I’ve been pointing out here, it doesn’t really seem legitimate to kick someone out for teaching false doctrine. It appears that GAs and prophets have regularly taught false “Mormon” doctrine. In my above post I referenced Bruce McConkie the author of the book “Mormon Doctrine”. I thought this blogger had a lot to say about Bruce and his book but I find it all confusing. Why wasn’t McConkie brought up on ecclesiastical charges?

    From the blogger:

    When I was baptized into the LDS Church in 1993, the father of a friend gave me a copy , carefully inscribed to congratulate me on this momentous step. It looked like a helpful resource with its A to Z organization and comprehensive explanations. I was pleased to have it.

    But then a friend quietly took me aside, looking fairly constipated with anxiety.

    “I know you, and I know you’re actually going to read that book,” she told me. “So I wanted to tell you that just because it is called Mormon Doctrine, and it was written by a general authority, doesn’t mean that everything in it is really what the Church teaches now. If you have any questions about anything, anything at all, just come and ask me.”

    This was confusing. This hyper-orthodox Molly Mormon friend was telling me, in her gentle Utah woman’s voice, that a Church general authority was not quite trustworthy as a source of information about the Church. Interesting.

    It’s not like various leaders of the Church haven’t tried their best to downplay the reliability of this book. When it was first published in 1958, its appearance was news to the prophet, David O. McKay, because McConkie – then just a member of the Council of the Seventy – hadn’t bothered to tell the First Presidency his plans to publish a book claiming to be an encyclopedia of Mormon doctrine. Whoops. McKay and two other apostles (including Marion Romney, Mitt’s dad’s cousin) spent over a year studying the book and compiling a report of the – wait for it – 1,067 corrections that needed to be made. The First Presidency ultimately recommended that the book not be given a second edition at all; it was too full of errors and had been “a source of concern to the Brethren ever since it was published.”

    But the Mormon people apparently loved it, and six years later McConkie lobbied the ailing prophet for a second edition. It is not clear that McKay ever authorized it to be published under Church auspices, but McConkie moved forward anyway.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/flunkingsainthood/2011/05/one-year-later-bruce-r-mcconkie%E2%80%99s-mormon-doctrine-buh-bye.html

    So these show trials that are held to ferret-out these heretics is really, like all Mormonism as practiced by the LDS sect, totally phoney.

  8. spartacus says:

    Falcon brought up the way that the LDS leadership will start making changes: when the money demands it. But what about these members who know the truth about the LDS church but still stay members? What will get them to make changes, to finally leave the church?

    There are certainly different reasons: the feather that breaks the camel’s back, the grind of time and lying to self and others, etc. And for some of these members mentioned by Sharon, there is now great enough outrage at the leadership.

    While thinking about this post, I realized that the thing that could lead to the greatest apostasy from the LDS church is better members. Follow me for a bit.

    We all know that the main reason, really the only reason, that members who realize that the LDS church is false stay in the church is to preserve their relationships with family and friends. They know, much better then they “knew” that “the Church is true”, that they will lose probably all of their LDS friends and that their family relationships will be cut-off or, at best, severely limited, never the same again.

    But what if this were not the case? What if aware members could admit disbelief or even leave the church without losing their friends and family? What if LDS members were more like Jesus, showing love to all, healing and strengthening relationships, never shunning, even as He spoke truth? What if LDS members were better members, more like Christ? Even with church protective tools like disfellowship and excommunication, if members did not implicitly threaten other members with shunning or disfigurement of personal relationship, how many aware members would no longer fear admitting their beliefs? They would no longer fear the loss of the relationships that currently keep them in.

    And all it would take is LDS members to show the Christ-like love they say they want to have for others. If LDS members were better, then there would be nothing immediately to fear about leaving the LDS church. If LDS members were better Latter-day Saints, then people who had doubts could air them without fear. Even from the LDS believer’s perspective this is true. Members with doubts might be able, through secure and loving relationships, to find answers to their concerns and stay believing members. If LDS members were more Christ-like, more members could stay members, maybe. From the perspective of those who recognize that Mormonism is false, Christ-like members would allow aware members to apostatize freely.

    Another way to look at this is that the LDS church is actually keeping more members by having members that are less like Christ. If the LDS church succeeded in developing Christ-like members, there would be greater apostasy, and perhaps, eventually no LDS church.

  9. MJP says:

    “Another way to look at this is that the LDS church is actually keeping more members by having members that are less like Christ. If the LDS church succeeded in developing Christ-like members, there would be greater apostasy, and perhaps, eventually no LDS church.”

    One can interpret this as saying LDS are not really concerned with being Christ-like.

  10. MJP says:

    I like this article. I do because it exposes the LDS for what it is: an organization that does not tolerate dissent or those that make it look bad. To me, the impression given by these actions is worse than keeping these people in the church.

    But my opinion is not worth much to them. Nor, apparently, are those opinions of the women involved with Kelly or those who support Dehlin.

  11. MJP says:

    Here are some quotes from an interesting article I found regarding the proceedings. The article is found here: http://www.patheos.com/Mormon/Reflections-Church-Discipline-Karen-Trifiletti-06-16-2014. I did not capture all of the quotes. It is a defense of the actions against Kelly and Dehlin. As I read through it, I couldn’t help but think that the lesson is that Mormons just need to shut up and agree that the Church knows best. From the presentation of what the issue is to the purpose of punishment and excommunication, and to the role women play in the church, that is the theme: submit to those who know better. There’s even a defense of diversity within the church, which is of course diverse in everything but thought.

    “This action on behalf of Kate Kelly and John Dehlin is not the result, as it’s been portrayed in the press, of asking faithful questions; it’s about a lack of acceptance of provided answers. ”

    “They decide they know how things should be, and they encourage others to follow them in their dissent and descent. ”

    “A disciplinary council affords the person called to it an opportunity to repent, to reconsider, to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the center point of the Savior’s teachings, and therefore, of his Church.”

    “While diverse in culture, family size, nationality, age, and every other demographic, members worldwide are united in their faith in the core principles and teachings of the Savior, as espoused in his Church.”

    “If and when we repent, the only dying is to self-professed agendas. But as with many experiences in life, it may require that we put aside ourselves, admit that we are wrong, and change.”

    “The concept of Eve and the Fall is the most empowering and ennobling doctrine of all of Christendom. The Church teaches that Eve’s decision in the Garden of Eden was courageous and that it was necessary for the progression of each of us; that it was not a sin but a transgression of a lower law to fulfill a higher one.”

    “And nowhere on earth, in my view, is there a clearer conception of who we are as individuals and as women, and nowhere is there a signature, divine organization for women in which to operate through God’s power and authority, through priesthood keys turned on women’s behalf.”

    “All women have access to the power of the priesthood and equal access to God.”

  12. falcon says:

    Does anyone know of any religious sect that regularly excommunicates members? The Catholic church is huge and as far as I know, they don’t kick folks out on a regular basis as does the LDS church. The people who get the boot from the Catholics are usually renegade priests and/or nuns who get way off the reservation.
    Excommunication appears to be a fairly common thing with the LDS church. I’m still stuck on this idea that the LDS church has a flimsy stance because of all of the odd and peculiar things that their leadership has taught.
    I found it fascinating that Richard Bushman gets high marks while a guy like Grant Palmer gets disciplined just short of excommunication. How does that work since they are both authors who “revealed” Mormon history in not a so favorable light. Some say it’s because Bushman got his toes right up to the line but for some reason was deemed to not have crossed the line.

    Who can forget Lyndon Lamborn who caused quite a stir when it was announced that his excommunication was going to be announced from the pulpit one Sunday.

    “I did a number of follow-up stories and was amazed by the public interest in the controversy about the 49-year-old life-long Mormon, who had previously devoted his time, energy and resources to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lamborn’s intellect, predisposition for exhaustive research and grit prompted him to share his findings with his fellow Saints. Church authorities labeled that apostasy.”
    “While excommunication itself in the church is not uncommon, Lamborn’s stake president informed Lamborn in a letter, dated Sept. 2, 2007, that because of “the nature of your excommunication and your involvement with the people of this area, an announcement will be delivered” to the priesthood quorum and Relief Society of each of eight wards in the Mesa Arizona Salt River Stake on a forthcoming Sunday. They would be told that “you have been excommunicated for apostasy,” said that letter from State President R. James Molina.”

    “Lamborn was offended that authorities chose to make him a public exhibit, so he came to the Tribune to trump them and get it announced publicly, on his own terms, in the press. Certainly, once I called Molina for the church’s side of the issue for the article, he pondered whether to go forward with the announcements. He subsequently abandoned the plan of mass notification at the wards, but, by then, the story was out there.”

    Read the entire article here:

    http://blogs.evtrib.com/spirituallife/2011/07/04/lds-excommunication-of-lyndon-lamborn-revisited/

    Unfortunately, Lyndon did not transition into Christianity but like many Mormons opted out of religion. That was the last I knew. He became some sort of generalized deist by his own description.

  13. falcon says:

    I would think that it would be sort of a privilege to get excommunicated by the LDS church. This would be especially true if the person had found Christ and had an opportunity to speak at the “court of love”.
    I remember reading Jim Spencer’s account of his “trial” in his book “Beyond Mormonism”. He took the opportunity to preach a Biblical sermon and show those who sat in judgement on him, the true path to salvation through Jesus Christ.
    An excerpt from Jim’s book:
    “As I looked around the room at the twelve high priests, the stake president and his two counselors, the stake secretary, Bishop Addison and my wife, it suddenly dawned on me why God had ordained this meeting. Possibly never again would I have the chance to speak to so many powerful Mormons about the good things God had done for me.”
    “That night I preached perhaps the only Bible sermon some of those men would ever hear.”
    “While we waited (for the verdict), Bishop Addison said something that struck me as ironic. He told me defensively that he thought he was as good a Christian as I was. I marveled that he could be party to my excommunication, and at the same time use my level of Christian commitment as a standard by which to measure his own.”

  14. MJP says:

    I think we see two things in these ex-communications that deserve attention. The first is an appeal to authority. Challenging authority is a big no-no. Questioning it is also frowned upon. Its clear Mormons love authority, and find their leadership above reproach. But secondly, perhaps more importantly, there is a desire to be seen by the public in a positive light. This explains the back tracking in the Lamborn situation. I would not be surprised to see the Kelly suit to follow a similar pattern somehow.

    The Dehlin situation I understand more so how they can excommunicate, but the Kelly one I find hard to understand. The rationale I keep finding is that Mormons blame her desire to be right trumps her commitment to the Mormon church. Stated another way, they blame her for not trusting God’s leadership and plan, therefore she should be kicked out. I see this really as her being public about it, making the church look bad. Its not about dedication to the church, because as Falcon has pointed out, others have done worse and remained in the church. What makes Kelly different is that it is a hot public relations issue.

  15. falcon says:

    The deal with Lyndon Lamborn is that he told the truth.
    But what happens with the rank-and-file TBMs is that they have one of several responses when learning what Lamborn learned and the first is to deny. Some stay right there. It’s not true. It never happened. These are enemies of the one true church and his anointed prophet.
    If denial doesn’t work, then it’s rationalization. Take Smith’s polygamy which was basically adultery and fornication. The TBM will come up with some far fetched explanation to make it all OK. These were “spiritual unions”. Smith never had sex with those women not once.
    And of course there’s simply to ignore it all because Satan is trying to mislead.
    It’s all a joke.
    Here’s an eight minute excerpt of Lyndon Lamborn’s hearing. Audio is not that great but there’s a written transcript accompanying the audio.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc0uzYXb998

  16. MJP says:

    Yes, he (Lamborn) told the truth, but the tactic of a mass announcement on a Sunday morning was not followed through once he beat them to the punch. They were exposed, and doing such a mass announcement would only serve to rub it in, which it was anyway, but it was no longer news.

    The mass announcement idea could only be seen as a warning to others: don’t do this! There is a level of intimidation in it, but once he beat them to the announcement, following through would dampen the desired effect and make them look bad.

    I could be wrong on this, but I suspect there is some element of this within the events that transpired.

  17. Mike R says:

    Falcon , you asked this question : ” Does anyone know of any religious sect that regularly
    excommunicates members ? ”

    The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society ( Jehovah’s witnesses ) regularly do , and they might
    just be at the top of the list . They call it being ” disfellowshiped ” rather than ” excommunicated”
    and the type of behavior that can get a Jw kicked out of ” God’s organization ” has been
    interesting indeed . A few examples : smoking ; voting ( until recently) ; flag salute ; celebrating
    birthdays, Christmas and Easter; joining the military ; and there are more .
    Being kicked out of the organization is seen as leaving God , resulting in His wrath towards all
    those outside of the organization . In short , that is life as a Jw .
    I forgot to mention the degree of shunning ex members ( apostates ) experience from family
    and friends — not a pretty picture .

  18. falcon says:

    There’s a line the LDS authorities use when they are accused of suppressing information. They’ll say, as they did in Lyndon Lamborn’s trial, that the information is there and published by the LDS church through Deseret Pub. So it’s not their fault if the members don’t know it. That’s the LDS escape hatch. So what’s the answer to this?
    I guess I’d say that if the information is available through the LDS publisher why then do members get excommunicated for talking to other members about it? I think that was the charge against LL. There was nothing untrue in Grant Palmer’s book for which he got dissed.
    Does the LDS church have an obligation to share this information with the rank-and-file members? I’d say they are responsible if the normal practice is to suppress the information or to promote alternative explanations.
    But I’m wondering why openly discussing things the LDS church says they’re open about is discouraged to the point of the threat of being kicked out of the church? Why also does the LDS church have the reputation for being dishonest?

  19. falcon says:

    OK folks. Right on time. Here are the two LDS perps on Trib Talk six days ago. So go for it and hear right from the two folks who are the subject of our article. Please take the time to watch it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_tLHMsKJY

  20. falcon says:

    If our readers are interested beyond a cursory level, they will enjoy the interview I posted the link to above.

    A couple of things stood out for me in the interview. First of all I can’t quite figure the sentiment out that was expressed by John Dehlin. He loves the Mormon people and loves being a Mormon; going to church and singing the hymns. Yet he doesn’t believe in the BoA, the historicity of the BoM, and rejects the D&C on polygamy. And these were just examples. I’d be curious as to the other things he has problems with. So with all of that, why in the world would he want to be a Mormon? What’s the turn-on?

    Kate Kelly is a TBM I guess by the way she describes herself. She doesn’t have the doubts about Mormonism that JD expressed. The one thing that stood out for me was when she talked about having launched her website a little over a year ago, how she went to church that day and had all of these positive feelings which included “feeling the spirit”. It’s the “feelings” folks. That’s Mormonism. If you feel something positive, it’s got to be right and have God’s approval and sanction. Talk about a self-diluting manner of operating. She’s learned her lesson well regarding the Mormon approach to discerning truth.

    Also at the end of the interview John mentions Jesus and God with the qualifier if they exist. I’d be curious as to what John means by that. Again, why in the world would John Dahlin want to be a Mormon? I don’t get it. Is it like belonging to a club in which you enjoy the trappings and fellowship but don’t really support the mission of the organization. Very strange indeed.

  21. falcon says:

    In all candor, the LDS church can give the boot to whomever it wishes. It’s their club. They make the rules. Let’s face it. The rank-and-file are not going to rise up in great numbers and do battle for these two members who are getting kicked out. Bottom line? They were too public. The boys in the control tower can’t allow that.
    The power structure really went after John Dehlin. At one point he had to meet with his bishop once a week for a year. He was then allowed to baptize his son.
    So who has the power? Who holds the authority to make someone a god and allow their family to exist together for eternity? That’s all we have to know. Who would buck that system and come to the aid of a couple of people on the outs with the power structure?
    Really, the only people who aren’t intimidated are those who don’t fear the system. Actually these are folks who have invented their own form of Mormonism and those who just don’t believe the Smith narrative any more.

  22. falcon says:

    The power structure of the LDS system can continue to pick-off these individual members who give voice to their concerns regarding the one true church with little push-back from the rank-and-file as a whole.
    What these “dissidents” are doing is giving some voice to a rising, but yet small chorus, within the LDS church. Let’s face it. Most of those who are unhappy with the LDS church specifically or Mormonism generally, just fade out of the picture. They become part of the two-thirds of the membership known as the “inactive”. They could care less. They just don’t want to be bothered by Mormonism. In fact, my guess is that most are embarrassed by it.
    What will be effected, however, is the LDS attempts to recruit new members especially in America. The cat is out of the bag regarding Mormonism and those who check into it won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. The actually number of people who could be seduced and fully integrated into Temple Mormonism is fairly small.
    Kate Kelly and John Dehlin are part of that annoying drip-drip-drip portion of the Mormon population that won’t go away but won’t effect any real change. The LDS church has enough money from investments to keep those at the top very comfortable for quite a while. It’s when their down-line begins to diminish and the coffers aren’t getting the cash flow, that these guys might be forced to act.
    But what are they going to do to change? Ordain women? Allow gays to marry in the temple? Allow those who don’t believe in the basic doctrines to speak openly and remain members?
    No, my guess is that any significant change would be too much for the vast number of members who like their Mormonism just the way it is.

  23. falcon says:

    I think it’s instructive to take a look at the Community of Christ Mormon sect and how they “evolved” to be more inclusive. So the trick for the LDS sect is how do they manage their way through the quagmire of social, cultural, historical and doctrinal issues and keep the faithful happy. It appears to me that the LDS leadership doesn’t really have to bend too much for the rank-and-file lock-step members. In fact, the LDS leadership has a bigger contingency with traditionalists. The number of members who have family members who are gay is probably not a critical mass. The number of women who want to be priesthood holders is also, I would guess, not all that large. So it’s better to boot the reformers and keep the traditional LDS folks happy.

    Excerpts from an article about the CoC:

    “Here in Kansas City, the Community of Christ church recently added its voice to the chorus of those in favor of equal treatment for gays and lesbians. Two weeks ago, delegates from across the country came to the church’s world headquarters in Independence and voted to allow same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbians ministers in its US churches.”

    “Both Latter-day Saints churches hold the book of Mormon as a sacred text, and recognize Joseph Smith Jr. as a prophet, but over the decades, Community of Christ policies have shifted to allow ordination of women and open communion, among other changes.”

    “While Smith and the leaders who followed him are recognized as prophets, the church’s concept of prophets has changed over the years. Today, democracy is an important part of the church’s policy-making process.”

    “Our understanding of our prophetic role has expanded,” explains Linda Booth, who is one of the church’s 12 apostles. “And we now understand that we’re not just a people with a prophet who brings to us divine counsel, but we’re also a people that are called to be vulnerable to the Holy Spirit and to one another and allow ourselves to be prophetic as well.”

    “Several of the church’s doctrinal changes have led to members leaving the church. Since 1980, at least seven groups have left Community of Christ to form their own churches. The renewed possibility of this kind of fractioning has been a concern during the new policy discussion.”

    “Linda Booth says a few congregants and clergy members have already left the church following the decision. The vote brought tears of sadness from some, but many more have been celebrating what she calls a new understanding within the church.”

    “We, as Community of Christ,” Linda Booth says, “Are becoming what our name really means: a community that is very welcoming, that all people are welcome around the table.”

    http://kcur.org/post/community-christ-oks-gay-marriage-and-clergy

  24. falcon says:

    There seems to be a reprieve of sorts in the works for John Dehlin. According to a Reuters report:

    “A prominent Mormon activist threatened with disciplinary action and possible excommunication for questioning church doctrine said on Monday he had received a temporary reprieve and that it seems church leaders want to “de-escalate” the dispute.”
    “With supporters calling for clemency from church leaders, Dehlin wrote online over the weekend that he now has a June 29 meeting set with his regional lay leader, Bryan C. King.”
    “He’s upset this went to the media,” Dehlin told KUER program RadioWest on Monday, referring to King. “He expressed a desire to de-escalate.”

    I had also read an article that the GA could step in and put a halt to the proceedings of both Dehlin and Kelly. I guess this is not unheard of but there has been a conspiracy theory afloat that perhaps the higher-ups had pushed the local authorities to take action against these two.
    What is evident is that the leadership of the LDS church, be it local or national, really bend to bad publicity. Kate Kelly however, seems to be on track to get ex-ed out of the Morg.
    Let’s face it. She’s probably more of a threat to the authority structure of the LDS church. This organization depends a lot on the women to keep the machine whirling along. So the church has to keep them subservient. Who knows what the results would be if these women got the priesthood. Next thing they’d be acting like gods and we can’t have that. Their job is to procreate for eternity.

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