John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

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Orson
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by Orson » 16 Jan 2015, 09:02

News that brings up the topic always makes me reflect on and try to understand excommunication. I do wonder what purpose it serves. I hear most often that it discredits voices that fight the church, but I think voices that speak in opposition to public positions of the church already discredit themselves (within the context of the faithful membership). Does it help the person repent? I don't see a lot of evidence for that, if most excommunicated members never return. Does it protect the church? In addition to discrediting critical voices I suppose it may put a little fear into some members regarding wandering off the path.

Many of the comments on one article I read last night seem to have the position of "if he doesn't agree with the church then he shouldn't be a member of the church."

But we don't excommunicate all the inactive members that don't agree with or practice any part of the faith. They may teach against it, we don't really know because for the most part they don't associate with us. The criticism is not public, that difference is easy to see, but is the public nature of the offense what makes it more dangerous? What makes it grounds for excommunication?

I keep hearing in my head "harm toward the church" ...but does public opposition from within actually harm the church? What if other members get the idea that they can voice an opinion contrary to the teachings of the church without facing consequences? I don't think that situation could ever be possible. When a member voices an opinion that opposes the views of most other members it is not done without consequence. John has been called apostate and "wolf in sheep's clothing" and various other things. This is the nature of human interaction, when you are not fully "in" with a group it is not always easy to associate with them.

So my question may be reduced to "who benefits from excommunication?" ...and I have a hard time coming up with a good answer for that. I may have a unique position on truth, I say it needs no defense. Truth is the rock that will not be moved or eroded. Some may wish to alter or disguise it. They may heap mounds of mud or clay or try to build something on the truth to "reform" it, but truth itself is unchanged. What truth really needs is a gigantic fire hose to wash away all the mud or temporary formations. It certainly doesn't need an umbrella. I don't think it would care too much about a little mud on the surface. The thing about powerful truth is it does not feel threatened, it cannot be threatened because it is impossible to be moved. The poor souls fighting the truth (kicking or punching the rock) are only hurting themselves.

I find it easy to relate to a loving God that comes from a position of this powerful truth. Why not love? There is no threat, not ultimately anyway when all is said and done.

I find it ironic that on Facebook Pres. Uchtdorf posted a video on forgiveness this week.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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SunbeltRed
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by SunbeltRed » 16 Jan 2015, 10:14

A couple comments. I'm disappointed but not surprised. I wish John and his family all the best.

Another question though:

If John is ex'd, does that mean that anyone who listens or participates in forums that are a part of the Open Stories Foundation could be characterized as being affiliated with apostate groups? Something I have been thinking about today...

To be honest if it came to giving up my participation here and other place or keeping my TR, I wold probably give up my TR. I wouldn't be able to stay LDS without these outlets.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by hawkgrrrl » 16 Jan 2015, 12:28

DarkJedi: "Yes, Nibbler, in my mind KK was/is an apostate. I'm not sure about JD - but then again, it's not up to me." Wow, I totally disagree with this. Kate Kelly bore her testimony in F&T meeting a month before she was exed. John has stated all over the place that he doesn't really believe. Kate had a firm testimony and felt that church leaders needed to ask for revelation on women being included in the PH. Now, since her excommunication, she's done some questionable things, but you can't ex someone, take away the HG, and expect them to behave as if they still had it. That's one interpretation of these facts anyway.

And I would add that I agree we are all bipolar on this stuff, or to put it another way, embracing and exploring paradox, which is also how Jesus appears to me.

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LookingHard
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by LookingHard » 16 Jan 2015, 12:43

SunbeltRed wrote:If John is ex'd, does that mean that anyone who listens or participates in forums that are a part of the Open Stories Foundation could be characterized as being affiliated with apostate groups?
Interesting thought. Or is the line if you have supported with $ or just listened.
I would make the argument that there is some separateness between what John is saying, "I really don't believe and I will no do what my leaders say - and I actually disagree with my leader's position" and the fact that Moron Stories has both detractors and supporter interviews on the web site.
SunbeltRed wrote:To be honest if it came to giving up my participation here and other place or keeping my TR, I wold probably give up my TR. I wouldn't be able to stay LDS without these outlets.
I doubt you are alone there.

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nibbler
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by nibbler » 16 Jan 2015, 13:32

hawkgrrrl wrote:DarkJedi: "Yes, Nibbler, in my mind KK was/is an apostate. I'm not sure about JD - but then again, it's not up to me." Wow, I totally disagree with this. Kate Kelly bore her testimony in F&T meeting a month before she was exed. John has stated all over the place that he doesn't really believe. Kate had a firm testimony and felt that church leaders needed to ask for revelation on women being included in the PH. Now, since her excommunication, she's done some questionable things, but you can't ex someone, take away the HG, and expect them to behave as if they still had it. That's one interpretation of these facts anyway.
I can't say that either deserve it but at the same time I'm not surprised by the proceedings. I think what caused me to rank KK "ahead" of JD were the OW discussions. This image was starting to crop up and I found it troubling:

Image

She was starting to become an icon unto herself. Granted that's probably entirely out of her control. Leaders may have been trying to take the wind out of those sails more than anything. Another factor, thanks to the GC protests a lot of people knew about KK. I'd wager most people don't even know who JD is unless they're already struggling with faith on some level. That might only speak to my experience though. I'd been on StayLDS like 6 months before I even heard the name JD. I was (am) very out of touch with the rest of the world.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

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LookingHard
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by LookingHard » 16 Jan 2015, 14:13

I do think KK was crossing a line a bit more with the protests at general conf Priesthood session. I mean she did get the PR department to put out a press release just for her and her followers. I actually wish she had not taken that step as I think the church responds best not to hard knocks on the door, but slow pressure pushing on the door.

I think that the core question of OW of "can the 15 please ask God if women can be ordained?" is quite respectful and I think it was rather rude that with as many people lining up behind her that they church never would answer her. But then she decided to push harder and make a statement that put pressure on the 15. It seems they have almost never responded to this type of pressure and instead dig in their heals. I don't know if they are still increasing in the number of people officially supporting OW, but I did just see that one of the leaders is backing out due to threats from her SP to yank her temple recommend http://janariess.religionnews.com/2015/ ... riesthood/

I stay partially because I feel I can make more of a difference from within than outside. Everyone knows if you leave the church the devil has full control of you. :-)

Man in the Arena
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by Man in the Arena » 16 Jan 2015, 18:42

I believe a lot of the same things as John Dehlin. I appreciate his thoughtfulness and assistance to those of us struggling with a faith crisis and standing up for those of us Mormons that believe differently. It is my personal belief that he is facing problems with the church because he is open and public with his doubts, criticisms, and beliefs. In a way, he is more courageous than I am about it. I believe firmly that if I came out openly and said what I believed at church or on the internet to an extent that it caught the church's attention that after a while the church would tell me to leave too.

On one hand, it is very noble to be public in a way that I have not and will not be about my faith and beliefs. His work has been valuable and has assisted many like me. On the other hand, I don't desire to run a podcast or to gain a wider audience. I have enough problems myself without devoting my life to highlighting areas of the church that I believe need to be fixed in a public way. I don't need the attention or the headache and I struggle to live my own life and raise my own family in a way that I can be proud of.

This whole thing sucks though, because part of me likes to pretend that the church has a place for me. It really doesn't (it never has tolerated dissent). Until the church develops brain scanners or starts monitoring my internet speech behind the veil of Man in the Arena I am probably good to go because my choice has been silence.

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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by Eternity4me » 16 Jan 2015, 23:55

Man in the Arena,

I too have chosen silence. I simply don't have it in me to be more public. I don't even want to share JD info on my facebook page. Something I find truly interesting is that I found this site when a missionary that served in our ward and went home posted some info on JD on her page. I had never heard of him before and I clicked a link. I found myself here in my research, and here I have stayed, incognito :ugeek: I believe it is safer that way. Sometimes I feel like a coward, but my family comes first.

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Gerald
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by Gerald » 17 Jan 2015, 07:11

News that brings up the topic always makes me reflect on and try to understand excommunication. I do wonder what purpose it serves. I hear most often that it discredits voices that fight the church, but I think voices that speak in opposition to public positions of the church already discredit themselves (within the context of the faithful membership). Does it help the person repent? I don't see a lot of evidence for that, if most excommunicated members never return. Does it protect the church? In addition to discrediting critical voices I suppose it may put a little fear into some members regarding wandering off the path.
I don't know that we have much information on the effectiveness of excommunication. Probably because most of what is done is done so privately and doesn't generally involve apostasy. I asked a friend of mine who had served on the high council what issue came up most often in his experience. He said it was sexual sin (a whole other post I'm sure). Most people just aren't that public in their disagreements with the Church. John Dehlin has been. So was Kate Kelly.

However, is this the best approach to dealing with these kinds of issues? I just don't know. I suspect the leaders in the Church aren't sure either but feel compelled to do something. (I've mentioned before that I was in a stake leadership meeting with bishops and others and the stake president made it very clear that those who refuse to go through this process will be removed from their positions.)

These are interesting times.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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MockingJay
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Re: John Dehlin Facing Excommunication

Post by MockingJay » 17 Jan 2015, 09:16

I was talking to a CES (now called S&I) Coordinator in a leadership calling not too long ago (no, not that one ;) ). I've worked with him in relation to callings I've had. I know him pretty well, and he's a great guy who helps a lot of people. We got talking about the thorny issues and he said that he's been seeing more people leaving the church than ever before over this,and it saddens him. He says that some of the people who were a little more open about their doubts and questions are staying and those who seem the most devoted, who he never thought would leave, are suddenly walking away. He's even had some close friends pack up and go.

He did say that in dealing with these people on a local level though, it's usually the "doubters" choosing to go and not being driven out. He said that SP's, for the most part, want to do whatever they can to work with people and help them stay. He said the only times leaders felt compelled to take disciplinary action was when members started trying to get people to leave the church. He said some people really become a pain in the ... He said members have a right to their own feelings and doubts, but he can't tolerate when they try to shove it down other people's throats. He says those are the ones they have to deal with (this reminds of Countrygirl's recent post and the horrible pain its caused her when her husband did that.)

He said that personally, he doesn't understand why people leave without giving it more time and thought. I said maybe they feel betrayed and abandoned. He said he can understand how that happens, but not to the point to leave everything else. Most people aren't as understanding as he is. Keep in mind, we're not anywhere near the MorCor, so it might be different out there.

He knows I know a lot about the thorny issues, so I asked him how he deals with it on a faith level. He said he's learned about it little by little over a long period and it's never bothered him because he sees much more the incredible good the church has done and continues to do.

He told me the story of an investigator who took a long time researching the church from within and without. He said he knew everything out there about the church, but joined anyway. My friend asked the man why those things didn't stop him from joining, and he said that all churches have some bad history, but that ours, by far, takes better care of it's people and does far more good. He likes that Mormons actually live their religion. That gave me lots of food for thought.

Anyway, sorry for the loooong lead up, but the take away for me in relation to JD is that his leaders must feel sometimes he's shoving these things down others throats and they want to protect members from him. He's been pretty vocal about some stuff. I'm not saying I agree with them though. The thing to remember is that if all the info is out there in spite of what JD may or may not have done, I really don't see what difference exing him makes.

Unlike KK, it sounds like JD wouldn't mind being exed. He can still participate in many apects of LDS culture w/o being a member anyway, if that's what he cares about.

Lastly, E4me said:
and here I have stayed, incognito :ugeek: I believe it is safer that way. Sometimes I feel like a coward, but my family comes first.
:shh:

I'm much the same way, and no matter what happens with JD, I don't think the rest of us have anything to worry about. As far as being able to stay in good conscience after this, that will have to be up to each one to decide.

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