Excommunication Booster Club

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Excommunication Booster Club

Post by _Kishkumen »

Nathaniel Givens wrote:It is one thing to disbelieve privately. It is another thing to disbelieve publicly, and with a very large following. And it is yet another to act openly in accord with this disbelief, and to evangelize others to share that rejection of Church teachings. It is in that last instance in particular that Church leaders may have considered that Dehlin crossed a crucial line.

This brings into prominence a concern different than personal views, and that is the second consideration: the impact of Dehlin’s views on other members of the Church. At one time Dehlin adopted a “stay LDS” focus. He launched StayLDS.com and presented MormonStories as a way for Mormons to find a way to remain within the faith. He even referenced StayLDS.com in his January 22nd interview, saying that it was “going strong” despite the fact that the site doesn’t appear to have been updated in years. (There is an active forum, however.) Meanwhile, in a discussion at ExMormon.org in 2010, he had already repudiated the stay LDS position, writing that:

This was my position for a time while I was trying to figure out my own relationship with the church (I’ve vacillated over the years about my own level of activity just as many of you here have), but the StayLDS position is no longer something that I push… I now believe that people should follow their joy… period. In or out of the church. That said, I would guess that many more people have left the church than have stayed because of my Internet work—and I’m perfectly happy if they’re happy. [emphasis added]

In sum, Dehlin has openly repudiated core teachings of the Mormon faith, condoned the work and opinions of anti-Mormons, and been instrumental (in his own estimation) in leading “many more people” to leave than to stay, and—while he has cannily refused to publicly state his desire to lead Mormons out of the Church—he has been so successful at doing it that he has a positive reputation among many in the post- and ex-Mormon community as an undercover anti-Mormon. One commenter, for example, wrote that that although “he does not make it crystal clear he isn’t a Mormon… everyone knows Dehlin is a mole in the Mormon church.”

These are the issues that are most likely to be at the heart of Dehlin’s upcoming disciplinary council. That conclusion may be warranted from the facts outlined above and from the Church’s public teaching about disciplinary procedures in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Out of three possible reasons for excommunication two are:

To identify unrepentant predators and hostile apostates and thereby protect innocent persons from harm they might inflict.

To safeguard the integrity of the Church.

An objective observer would reasonably infer that King is concerned that Dehlin is using his position of prominence in order to undermine the Church and its mission and in so doing has placed his affiliation with the Church in jeopardy. That, at least, seems a plain and reasonable interpretation of the public record. Dehlin has publicly disavowed his faith in LDS fundamentals. He has encouraged his audience of tens of thousands to reject core teachings as well. (In one case among many, he wrote that “The Book of Mormon is fiction. … Joseph (along with whomever) simply made it up. …. Any time spent trying to legitimize the historicity of the Book of Mormon is a fool’s errand. You may as well try to locate Narnia or Mordor.”) He has also enlisted the voices of powerful Church critics (like the Tanners, Michael Coe, Denver Snuffer, etc.) in supporting the attacks that undermine the fundamentals of the Church’s doctrines, and he has done so in a broadcast medium.

There may be personal motives and considerations that further amplify or ameliorate the alleged offenses. They are—and should be—beyond the purview of a treatment like this one. But the details outlined above based on publicly available sources are sufficient to correct media reports that an individual is being sanctioned for following his conscience, or for holding particular personal beliefs.

I have to say that I find this piece disappointing.

Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?

If a stake president believes that the Holy Spirit is telling him to ex-communicate you, you're toast.

Forget supposed rules. These are guidelines or descriptive lists. One might more correctly say, "generally, one finds that people who do this sort of thing get excommunicated."

That would be more honest and more accurate.

Of course, "protecting the integrity of the church" is kind of a catch-all. So many things can qualify, and in the case of John Dehlin, it's as good a reason as any.

But let's not pretend that there was a legalistic mechanism in place to take away John's membership when he crossed that big red line in the sand. This is about a new stake president, perhaps at the behest of Elder Clayton, taking action in the matter of the "Dehlin problem." John will very likely be an ex-Mormon by mid-February.

Do I find this tragic? Not particularly. It is more the case that it is predictable.

Look, however, at what is really going on. Nathaniel Givens keeps saying it over and over without explicitly saying it. There are no red lines in the sand here except this one: influential person says he doesn't believe and makes it cool for others to think the same way.


Does that make John Dehlin a "predator" or a "hostile apostate"? Hell no. And Givens quite clearly demonstrates this when he quotes John Dehlin himself saying that he doesn't care whether people stay or leave, so long as they are happy.

Whoa. Give me a break. So, it is predatory to tell others you hope they make the best choice for themselves. In other words, unless you are actively and consistently persuading people that staying is the very best choice for everyone (regardless), then you are a predatory, hostile apostate deserving of excommunication.

Good heavens. Well, Nathaniel tells us that it is fair for us to infer that. And he can bring forward the witness of tea-leaf-reading ex-Mormons in support of his position, and he does:

[W]hile he has cannily refused to publicly state his desire to lead Mormons out of the Church—he has been so successful at doing it that he has a positive reputation among many in the post- and ex-Mormon community as an undercover anti-Mormon. One commenter, for example, wrote that that although “he does not make it crystal clear he isn’t a Mormon… everyone knows Dehlin is a mole in the Mormon church.”

So there you have it folks. Since John Dehlin has somewhere stated that his impact has probably led more people to leave than stay, and there are anti-Mormons who are happy to opine that John is clearly on their side, it is entirely fair to infer that this is what he was consciously seeking to achieve.

"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist
_just me
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Re: Excommunication Booster Club

Post by _just me »

A mole.

~Those who benefit from the status quo always attribute inequities to the choices of the underdog.~Ann Crittenden
~The Goddess is not separate from the world-She is the world and all things in it.~
_Fence Sitter
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Re: Excommunication Booster Club

Post by _Fence Sitter »

Disciplinary courts for apostasy are not trails, they are sentencing hearings.
"Any over-ritualized religion since the dawn of time can make its priests say yes, we know, it is rotten, and hard luck, but just do as we say, keep at the ritual, stick it out, give us your money and you'll end up with the angels in heaven for evermore."
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Re: Excommunication Booster Club

Post by _cinepro »

Here's what Dehlin posted earlier this week. I think the biggest tragedy for him will be if he gets ex'd and people think it wasn't about his public support for SSM.

Elder D Todd Christofferson, in today's SL Trib, confirms why my public support and/or advocacy for same-sex marriage is, indeed, a main factor in my pending disciplinary council (as also indicated by my stake president, even though he was explicit that he didn't want it written down in print). From Peggy Fletcher Stack's article:

"What does the LDS Church think of members who back same-sex marriage?"

"There hasn't been any litmus test or standard imposed that you couldn't support that if you want to support it," Christofferson said, "if that's your belief and you think it's right."

Any Latter-day Saint can have a belief "on either side of this issue," he said. "That's not uncommon."

Problems arise only when a member makes "a public, sustained opposition to the church itself or the church leaders and tries to draw others after them," he said, and that support swells into "advocacy."

There it is. Guilty as charged.

I am a strong, public advocate for same-sex marriage, and I have no interest in stopping this (based on the Mormon LGBTQ suicides alone).

As I've said in my interview, if forced to choose between excommunication and my conscience (i.e., my advocacy for same-sex marriage), I will choose excommunication every time.

The Church seems to want to separate the issue of "gay rights" in general from the specific issue of same-sex-marriage. But obviously supporters of same-sex-marriage see them as one and the same. If people accept the Church's view, that it's possible to support equal-rights for LGBT while at the same time preserving marriage as an institution only between men and women, then Dehlin looks silly. But if people see same-sex-marriage as a key and necessary component to "gay rights", then Dehlin gets to be a martyr.

But either way, as an ex-mormon, I suspect he knows he'll be totally marginalized and quickly become a footnote in the history of "internet Mormonism of the early 21st century.
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