This will have no effect on Internet Mormonism. It’s much worse than that.

I dearly hope we can yet step back from the brink, but assuming Kate Kelly and John Dehlin are excommunicated, I predict it will have no effect on Internet Mormonism. There will be anguish, bickering, and loads of clicks, but the world of Internet Mormonism will go on unchanged. The Bloggernacle vs “Nothing Wavering” vs anti-Mormon lines were etched in stone long ago; we’ve long since self-sorted into a stable system, and that system isn’t going anywhere. Neither will there be much of a chilling effect, because there is simply no way the church can discipline every blogger, and it’s not going to happen. But don’t call me a Pollyanna. My prediction is that the outcome will be much, much worse than the loss we would suffer if Internet Mormonism were damaged in some way.

Instead, the outcome will be great damage to bricks-and-mortar Mormonism. What kills me is the thought of the thousands upon thousands of microaggressions this will unleash in chapels, foyers, family reunions, carpeted cultural halls, and RS Park Day moms’ groups. It is emboldening those who would divide our wards and wreak havoc on Zion in our in-person, flesh-and-blood religious lives. As Rosalynde perfectly stated, “Our worst fears about each other seem to be confirmed — ‘See, they really are dangerous apostates!’ ‘See, the church really is out to squash independent thought!’” This will infect our meetinghouses with distrust.

I’m not concerned about being targeted as a blogger. I’ll still be here, writing about how I think women should have equal representation in General Conference and leadership, gays should enjoy equality under the law including marriage,  editing photos to make them modest is an abomination, and BCC makes better memes than FMH (the Bloggernacle always has been a strange mix of high and low content). I’m certain this will go on. I’m far less certain that my weekly ward experience will be the same after this. I’m far less certain that when I wear my nice work suit to church I will be viewed as a slightly quirky but still solid Saint that anyone would be happy to have teaching their son or daughter. I’m far less certain that when someone hears how I vote they will still want to be my friend and invite me to their General Conference-watching gathering or their pre-ward temple night dinner & carpool. I’m far less certain I’ll be able to keep on convincing my wavering loved ones–family members, visiting teachees, and friends–that they are welcome and should stay or come back. It may take decades to recover, and that’s the optimistic take that doesn’t assume massive permanent attrition of the very kinds of people we would need around to leaven the bread and heal the wound again.

Let’s not do this. Please. Please let’s not do this. It’s not too late.

Comments

  1. The Saints of God in all periods of history can always be counted on to do the right thing once they’ve exhausted all other alternatives.

  2. Cynthia,
    You hit the nail on the head.

  3. This is why insisting on a distinction between privately doubting or questioning and public advocacy or activism is unhelpful. Because when you publicly punish the activist you are effectively erasing that distinction on the ground in our wards and congregations.

  4. I’m grateful for Internet Mormonism, as it’s the closest thing that some of us feel to genuine fellowship within the church (even many of us actives!). It’s incredibly disheartening to face the prospect of the fake smiles and not-so-silent gossip mills reaching a fever pitch. Virtual hug, Cynthia! We’re in this together, Sister!

  5. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Let’s not do what, exactly? I don’t know anything about what’s going on with Kate, but John Dehlin has done everything but send an exit letter. This is not a case of the the church pushing a sheep out of the fold. The sheep is jumping the fence. You can see the letter from his Stake President in this link. Far from pushing him out the door, this seems like a friendly hand on the shoulder and a kind “Are you sure this is what you want?”

  6. Well, I have already been on the receiving end of microaggression off-and-on for years. I share Cynthia’s concerns that the situation will worsen in the brick-and-mortar church.

  7. it's a series of tubes says:

    Daughter of Eve,

    Please don’t cloud the present discussion with facts. It’s getting in the way of the angst.

  8. You’re assuming the average ward member will ever notice – the reach of Internet Mormonism still hasn’t grown to where it’s on the tongue of the average ward. Agree with PDoEve, that John’s been begging for this.

  9. Local Leader says:

    It also means that bishops and their counselors can look forward to regular, awkward conversations in temple recommend interviews about the meaning of question #7: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” It has always been a little vague in the past about one would fail this question (having adult children who are vociferously anti-Mormon? hanging out with gay friends from work? registering as a Democrat? watching “Sister Wives”?), but now I am bracing for those members who pointedly ask, “Are you talking about Kate Kelly and John Dehlin?”

  10. Local Leader – I’m surprised you’ve not gotten any asking about Dehlin and OW well before this.

    We have to ask – who is spreading fear here? The church, saying nothing and keeping all disciplinary actions confidential, or those getting air(blog/news) time saying “look what they did to us! You’re next!”

    If you’re concerned, actually talk to your leaders. Anything is better than sitting in an unfounded fear.

  11. Naismith says:

    “Let’s not do this. Please. Please let’s not do this.”

    I know that feeling intimately, because it is very much how I felt when I read the OW mission statement, which included statements such as, “As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”

    I would have been more comfortable if it had said something like,”….ask whether the Lord wants Mormon women to be ordained to the priesthood at this time.”

    But it’s their group, with their own agenda. They don’t get to choose the consequences, however.

    I am not so concerned about these issues affecting my own ward experiences because we don’t have general conference watching get-togethers or pre-ward-temple-night dinners. Mostly we’re pretty happy for whoever to show up on Sunday, wearing whatever.

    And please let’s not pretend that all the micro-agression comes from one direction.

  12. I’m with queuno on this one. 99% of members not only are unaware of these events, they’ve never even heard of Kate Kelly or John Dehlin….

  13. Amen, Cynthia. Amen.

    I cannot in good conscience remain silent and allow this kangaroo “court of love” to proceed without making my voice be heard while there is still time to avoid the disaster which will result if it goes forward.

    I’m not as resigned to that fate. Out of a mountain of despair, I choose the hew out a stone of hope.

    But is anyone listening? Where is the leadership? Are we to assume that the 15 we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators condone this inhospitable inquisition? Is it really an ex communicable offense to request publicly that revelators seek a revelation? Do the seers see no problem with the developments this week or with the way local leaders are handling this? Is there no prophet willing to stand up and declare that it is wrong and unchristlike to drop a spiritual nuclear bomb on someone simply because they make some people feel uncomfortable?

    Unfortunately this says more about our church community than it says about the individuals being called up for church discipline because they ask some tough questions.

    Mormons typically take great joy in declaring that living apostles speak today–but today I am said because publicly they remain silent and give that job to PR.

    Perhaps this speaks more of the current corporation of the church and how it has drifted from the courageous compassion of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it says more about a bloated bureaucracy than it does about any particular members of the body of Christ who push back against suppression of what apostle Hugh B. Brown called “freedom of the mind” or who refuse to be silenced into a shameful acknowledgement of great lie–that all is well in Zion.

    At least I can take comfort in the fact that we still have inspiring prophets that speak to us from the dead:

    President J. Reuben Clark: “I believe that in His justice and mercy [God] will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us that minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose.”

    “I do not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks to much like the Methodists. And not like the latter-day-saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled.” – Joseph Smith

  14. Forgive the “sad” typos. I’m on my phone and I’m obviously really emotionally invested and hurt by this.

  15. rameumptom says:

    Most Mormons do not live in Salt Lake or California. For most Mormons attending their brick and mortar chapels, this won’t even be a blip. Most Mormons agree with the stance of the prophets, and their lessons are safe enough that this discussion won’t go very far (if at all). In fact, in more traditional areas of the world, this won’t move the scale at all.

    Yes, it will affect liberal conclaves. Sharing your thought or belief will not get you in trouble. Protesting, demanding a specific result, or (in John’s case) pushing strongly an anti-Mormon position, will get you in trouble.

    There has to be a line drawn somewhere to determine what makes a person a member and what makes them outside of the covenants of membership. At baptism, we all agreed to let the Church authorities draw those boundaries for us. We are free to leave when we choose to do so, but they are also free to question our allegiance and obedience to the commandments. While many on the bloggernacle are crying now, most members are happy in their testimonies of Christ and the Restored Church. Keep sharing your thoughts, please. Just don’t make demands on the Church to change to your view. I do the same thing where my views differ from the Brethren, I follow them even as I faithfully disagree on some things.

  16. I belong to the Church because I believe in Christ. I attend Church because I want to worship Him in spirit and in truth. I love the gospel, and love my brothers and sisters in Christ. The episode under discussion here won’t change that.

    I expect that if members persistently teach things that are contrary to the doctrines of the church they may face disciplinary action. It’s always been that way, and it doesn’t trouble me. As a member of the Church, I don’t want to be taught things that are contrary to what the Lord has revealed, and am glad to be in a church where we have revelation through authorized servants.

    I understand that members have their opinions (I have my own thoughts on many subjects), but I can’t see it as acceptable for Church members to come out publicly in opposition to those who are appointed to lead us — and if people persistently and repeatedly do this after being counseled and corrected, I think it is right that disciplinary action be taken. I love my brothers and sisters in the gospel, and enjoy friendship and fellowship in the faith with many members. I would hope that we will all be as Christ desires us to be — humble, patient, and full of love, keeping His commandments and feeling His spirit.

  17. Again. I have never understood why it’s all good if the church does something privately (call a disciplinary council; excommunicate somebody) but it’s bad for the affected person to publicize it. Confidentiality is for the benefit of the individual, not the institution. The institution doesn’t get to complain when a person shines a light on what’s being done to him or her by the church in secret.

    Same with the original request for entrance to the priesthood meeting. Somehow it’s ok to keep women out, but not ok that the rest of the world knows it? I think if the church is going to treat men and women differently, if it’s going to excommunicate people for expressing opinions or drawing attention to an apparent injustice, then throwing such a fit when someone points a finger at it only shows that the higher-ups know what they’re doing is shameful.

    If you believe men should hold the priesthood and women should not, own it in public. If you’re going to kick someone out because they disagree, go ahead and be proud of it. If it’s actually the Lord’s will* don’t be afraid of publicity. You’ll attract the kind of people you want, and drive away the people you don’t want, and everybody’s happy, right?

    *which is NOT what I believe, just to make sure it’s clear

  18. rameumptom says:

    CRW, your statements do not make sense. The Church does councils in private, because that is what the D&C tells it to do.
    The Church leadership has the right to determine what is doctrine and where the boundary lines exist. The Church told OW that there would be no seats for them. The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Christ as it has been revealed, not publicize and have public debates over points of doctrine. The Genesis Group worked well with the Church in the 1960s and 1970s, giving suggestions and guidance, while also quietly taking it, until the revelation came about. Darius Gray was never at risk of a disciplinary council. He set the example for other groups to follow. But OW chose a defiant tone, something the Church is not interested in dealing with.
    You are wanting to allow other groups to force the Church into public brawls. That’s not how it works. I would hope you will take the time to become acquainted with the doctrine that is at the basis of councils and Church actions prior to making more comments that display a lack of understanding.

  19. The church, to my knowledge, has not complained that people have publicized their disciplinary hearings. Kate Kelly and John Dehlin are the ones speaking to the press and criticizing their local leaders. The local leaders have not returned fire. It is not really a fair fight in the court of public opinion when one side is able to criticize the other and the other remains silent.

    Yet the leaders have maintained confidentiality because they are honor bound to do so. And because confidentiality protects the individuals even though it can work against the church in terms of public relations.

    But Confidentiality does not equal hiding or being fearful.

  20. CRW:

    The fact that they publicized it is indicative that their attitudes are not repentant, but rather that they are choosing to continue to damage the Church for the acquisition of some gain (as they suppose). The leadership has owned the decision — Elder Oaks spoke about it in Conference, what else could you ask for? — but it is a demonstration that they seem to love publicity and praise more than the Church. The Church made a statement with its letter, and OW ignored the letter to make a spectacle. It wasn’t about hiding or publicizing what was happening, it was an attempt to damage the Church in order to increase their perceived power and to change the Church in the manner they chose.

    And, of course, they are not getting kicked out because they disagree (that is the common lie of those who will not engage on the issue). They aren’t even kicked out, yet. If, though, their local leaders discipline them it will be for publicly attacking the Church and its doctrine repeatedly after being told not to. It has nothing to do with their beliefs, and everything to do with the continued actions in opposition to Priesthood guidance.

    Clean Cut:

    To quote another dead prophet, Harold B. Lee:
    “Here was a young man saying, ‘I believe in the dead prophets that lived a thousand-plus years ago, but I have great difficulty believing in a living prophet.’ That attitude is also taken toward God. To say that the heavens are sealed and there is no revelation today is saying that we do not believe in a living Christ today, or a living God today—we believe in one long-since dead and gone. So this term living prophet has real significance”

    Claiming a belief in dead prophets while rejecting the living prophet is a very old problem. Some of the Pharisees of Jesus Christ’s day rejected the living Christ but accepted the prophet Moses, who had led Israel over 1,000 years earlier. They reviled a man whom Jesus had healed, saying:
    “Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. “We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow [Jesus], we know not from whence he is”

  21. -Michael says:

    First time I have heard of micro aggression or internet mormonism so I doubt this is the catastrophe that you portray. Sad but people are excommunicated all the time. This case is only news because people want it to be.

  22. I would think the Church could, with the other person’s release, be perfectly able to comment publicly on disciplinary proceedings. That the Church will not comment on these isn’t always some sign of courtesy for the party in question.

  23. Micro aggression is a form of unrighteous dominion.

  24. Mark B. says:

    You expect anyone to listen to you, Clean Cut, when you lead off with “kangaroo courts of love.” And is that sort of vilification of the leaders of the church consistent with the comment policy of this blog? Or doesn’t that policy matter anymore?

  25. Peter LLC says:

    “But OW chose a defiant tone, something the Church is not interested in dealing with.”

    In the immortal words of KRS One: “Woop, woop, that’s the sound of da [tone] police.”

    Anyway, I hope you’re just projecting here and that in fact the [local] leadership of the Church has detected something worthier of ultimate censure in OW’s activism than its tone.

  26. Brad,

    You said: “Because when you publicly punish the activist you are effectively erasing that distinction on the ground in our wards and congregations.”

    I may be wrong but I’m assuming the SP/Bishops aren’t the ones who publicized the DC letters… The letters would have been private and would have only gone to the individual. I’m assuming both Kate and John disseminated them ostensibly bringing the discussion to the wards, congregations, and the world.

  27. Steve Smith says:

    I don’t know if a lot of people in the chapel even know who John Dehlin or Kate Kelly are. A lot of the chapel Mormons don’t really have the time, resources, or even interest to investigate the history or social dynamics of the LDS church. They have their wards and branches with their friends, their jobs, their families, and a status quo which they generally don’t want to see changed. As for internet Mormonism, you’re right, I don’t think it will change much.

    The Dehlin and Kelly cases might matter, though, because they are sure garnering a lot of media attention which may catch the ears of the average chapel Mormons and may prompt them to become internet Mormons. Who knows how internet Mormonism might affect them. Maybe some will become firebrand TBMs, of which we see so (if not too) many on BCC. Or perhaps, some will experience a faith crisis and go NOM.

  28. Ella B. says:

    Cynthia, This is a very insightful post and I don’t want to distract, but I do want to note this as a sideline. In response to “..they will still want to be my friend and invite me to their General Conference-watching gathering or their pre-ward temple night dinner & carpool” phrase. I hope you never have to deal with such an exclusionary reality, but if it comes to that, be sure and contact any one of dozens of adult singles in your ward for tips and trick on being marginalized. They’ve been coping with that situation for decades usually and do a great job surviving that ongoing exclusion on a weekly basis.

  29. Steve Smith says:

    “As Rosalynde perfect stated, “Our worst fears about each other seem to be confirmed — ‘See, they really are dangerous apostates!’ ‘See, the church really is out to squash independent thought!’” This will infect our meetinghouses with distrust.”

    This has already sort of begun to happen. It is funny that in much of the Mormon corridor, people are actually uneasy about talking about religion at church. I’ve noticed from my Utah abode the almost deafening reticence on the topic of gay marriage over the past little while, and gay marriage was legal for a few days here, you would have thought that that would have caused an eruption of anti-gay marriage rhetoric at church, but no, not in my ward.

    For those who enjoy status quo, knowing what to expect, agreefests with friends, and the same ol same ol, look no further than the chapel. And for those who really want to discuss religion, and really dig deep down into it, we have the internet. Thank God for the internet.

  30. Not only do I want to be understood, but I do not want to be misunderstood: I am not–I repeat NOT–vilifying or rejecting the living prophets, seers, or revelators. I am desperately craving to hear from them directly if they condone this “disciplinary action” and hear from them rather than PR.

    We only sustain 15 men as those qualified to exercise the gifts of prophecy, seer-ship, and revelation on church-wide doctrinal matters. Am I really out of line for desiring them to seek after those gifts?

  31. CS Eric says:

    I had dinner last week with the one family in my ward with the mother who wears pants to church most weeks and is the working partner in the marriage. Her husband, an attorney, is the stay at home parent. I mentioned Ordain Women after dinner, and she had never heard of it. She was shocked that there was such a movement inside the Church. I had figured that, if any couple in the ward was watching the developments, it would have been them. The Internet church hasn’t hit our ward yet. And unlike the experience I read about regularly in the bloggernacle, our ward is growing, with an average attendance at Sacrament meeting near 60%.

    The Church is different than the bloggernacle paints it, at least here in Albuquerque. We will survive.

  32. We also have a line long of historical lessons of excommunicating people that turned out to be right. Must we dig in our heels and defend the “current” doctrine as though our membership depended on it when in fact we expect many great and important things to be revealed in the future?

    How many people were excommunicated before 1978 for stating that they felt black men should be ordained to the Priesthood?

  33. And frankly, one excommunication should be enough to compel us towards compassion. I’m appalled that people could dismiss anyone been excommunicated as a loss that does not matter in the bigger picture. I believe Christ would be ashamed. He who wept over the death of one soul (Lazarus) surly weeps over the shunning of any priceless soul–especially those who are wrongly accused.

  34. Clean Cut:

    “Not only do I want to be understood, but I do not want to be misunderstood: I am not–I repeat NOT–vilifying or rejecting the living prophets, seers, or revelators.”

    Glad to hear it, and I am sorry if I misunderstood your earlier post.

    ” I am desperately craving to hear from them directly if they condone this “disciplinary action” and hear from them rather than PR.”

    You won’t hear it, because it is outside their stewardships. There are a number of quotes that clearly indicate that a Prophet or Apostle does not supersede the jurisdiction of a Bishop or Stake President when that Bishop or Stake President is acting within their authorized capacity and stewardship. The decision will be made at the local level, and rightly so. The Brethren will never say that they condone or don’t condone such an action, except as a statement from them as individuals separate from their calling.

    “How many people were excommunicated before 1978 for stating that they felt black men should be ordained to the Priesthood?”

    I don’t know, but by the same token before 1978 the Church policy was that black men were not to be ordained. Just because the policy changed does not excuse rebellion against the policy that existed then. That is following future prophets, and denying the living prophets (of that day).

    “And frankly, one excommunication should be enough to compel us towards compassion.”

    On this, we are in total agreement.

  35. Wheat Woman says:

    Some years ago, my brother and I were discussing Mormon culture. We’ve both lived all over the US and overseas, so we know a little bit about different kinds of congregations. He said there were two small groups at either end of the spectrum in the Mormon world; conservatives on the one end and liberals on the other. These two groups are loud, not invisible, and both think they have a better understanding of how the gospel should work. The biggest chunk in the middle is everyone else. And they do not care about liberal or conservative concerns. They love church, but tend to say whatever they have to to keep the other two groups out of their hair. I used to disagree. I used to think the church was mostly conservative, cuz that’s what I was. Now that I’ve swung left, I find liberals everywhere, albeit quiet and well-behaved. I’m starting to think my brother was right.

  36. I appreciate your response, Jonathan.

    I’m not so sure that it is such a clearcut policy that they do not mettle with the affairs of local authorities. The historical record documents several cases of apostles trying to influence disciplinary action in local congregations.

    It’s likewise possible, even probable, that such is the case today. See, for example:

    http://rationalfaiths.com/kate-kellys-membership-records-held/

    This just goes adds to my conviction that there needs to be a revamped and standardized church-wide policy/procedures on these cases, because leaving it up to local authorities has often led to ecclesiastical abuses. And this shouldn’t be surprising considering the fact that scripture explicitly says:

    “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39)

    So we’re left with a terribly painful and unsatisfying and frustrating situation known as ecclesiastical roulette, which means that someone’s church experience can be hell or heaven depending on where they live. And there is no system in place for a redress of grievances.

  37. There has to be a line drawn somewhere to determine what makes a person a member and what makes them outside of the covenants of membership.

    Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery; For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts; Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

  38. Clean Cut:

    I don’t see what meddling you envision here. Even in the link you provided, there must be discipline pending prior to the move (informal probation in this case), and the Ward Clerk must request from Salt Lake a freeze. The only thing within the discretion of the Church Headquarters is whether to authorize the requested freeze (which they have apparently done in this case).

    As to the claim of probable intervention, that is mostly traced back to the allegations (uncorroborated) of Quinn from his excommunication. For better or worse, I don’t find him credible. The only influence that I would believe is that the local leadership were carefully listening to the Brethren for guidance and responded based upon their own understanding of the Church policy. I don’t see that as a bad thing.

    “This just goes adds to my conviction that there needs to be a revamped and standardized church-wide policy/procedures on these cases, because leaving it up to local authorities has often led to ecclesiastical abuses.”

    Here, though, there is a problem, because the Bishops and Stake Presidents (along with the High Council) acting as judges over these matters is not a matter (wholly) of policy but is also a matter of doctrine (and we can say that rarely). Tweaking around the edges might be possible, but wholescale changes simply are not without new forthcoming revelation on the subject.

    “So we’re left with a terribly painful and unsatisfying and frustrating situation known as ecclesiastical roulette, which means that someone’s church experience can be hell or heaven depending on where they live. And there is no system in place for a redress of grievances.”

    This is potentially true. But I am a believer in the idea that the Lord can truly make up the difference and comfort the oppressed (even today). And there is a policy in place for redress of grievances (two appeals are allowed up the hierarchy). And a third appeal, to the Lord for comfort, is likewise always permissible.

  39. There is an appeals process in place that either person can use if the local decision is not what they want and if they truly want to remain members of record in the LDS Church. If that is the case (if they truly want to work within the system to remain members), I hope they avail themselves of the process that is there for them.

  40. I should have read all of the comments before posting mine. I saw the paragraph above my comment as soon as mine posted.

  41. Seth R. says:

    After going through email after email of heartbroken spouses who lost their wife or husband to Dehlin’s Mormon Stories community, you get a very different sense of who is doing the “microaggression” in our wards.

  42. I hope neither person is excommunicated, but I will understand completely if either or both are – especially if they choose to skip the councils. There are very good justifications for doing so.

  43. Thanks for this post, Cynthia. And gosh what I wouldn’t give for a good meme war right now…

  44. BJohnson says:

    “And unlike the experience I read about regularly in the bloggernacle, our ward is growing, with an average attendance at Sacrament meeting near 60%.”

    I realize this is a bit of a threadjack, so I’ll keep it brief. A common refrain from bloggernacle posters is that the church is hemorrhaging members at an unprecedented rate–particularly among the young. I also know that the nationwide trend among those young people is toward a decreasing affiliation with the organized religions in which they were raised. Can anyone point me to reliable studies or polling data indicating how the LDS church’s exodus rates compare with those overall societal patterns? Are people leaving the LDS church in greater percentages than from others? Are churches that adopt more progressive views picking up these people? Thanks! .

  45. Great post, Cynthia. I’m afraid you’re probably right.

    Seth R.: “After going through email after email of heartbroken spouses who lost their wife or husband to Dehlin’s Mormon Stories community, you get a very different sense of who is doing the “microaggression” in our wards.”

    This seems like a really odd response to me. So John Dehlin is to blame for people having questions is what you’re saying? Like if it weren’t for him, all the historical difficulties and present structural inequalities could be carefully kept under correlated wraps or just denied out of existence? People are going to be disturbed by learning bad things about the Church. Dehlin is hardly at fault for the fact that people who are already disturbed seek him out because church is not a hospitable place for anyone who asks questions.

  46. See, e.g. “he has it coming”.

  47. Jonathan Cavender says:

    Ziff:

    “So John Dehlin is to blame for people having questions is what you’re saying?”

    Some people having questions were fortunate enough to find, say, Jeff Lindsay and found answers, peace, and a testimony. Others, less fortunate, with th he same questiond found JD and were led out of the Church. For the questions, JD is not responsible. For the way he dealt with those questions, and those he could have helped when they strayed but didn’t, he is responsible.

  48. Seth R. says:

    Actually – yeah – Dehlin does bear responsibility for the model exit narrative he’s crafted.

    He’s basically a cuter version of MormonThink.

    He provides a way for you to think the Church is a load of crap and ought to be discredited, undermined, and your kids dragged along with you – and still feel like a “nice guy” while doing it. Apostasy with a smile, you might say.

    And don’t kid yourselves.

    Dehlin doesn’t have any questions left (although he says he does). He made up his mind on just about everything about this church at least a year ago, and possibly earlier. The critics ALL have EVERYTHING correct about the LDS Church. The apologists are all full of crap (though we should still smile at them patronizingly in interviews). There isn’t a single significant truth claim the LDS Church makes that Dehlin still believes in. He isn’t questioning any more than Tom Phillips is. He just wasn’t a jerk about it like Phillips.

    Basically, the ONLY authentic and honest way to be in the LDS Church, according to Dehlin is to be a social Mormon, who thinks the whole thing is false, but sticks around for the Halloween Party and service projects. And then go about making sure all the Mormons who still take the whole thing seriously “see the light.”

    Oh, until you get too pissed off over gay marriage – then you do exactly what Dehlin did and tell your ward to bug-off and don’t contact you anymore. And then act shocked when they don’t consider you a member anymore.

  49. The fac that because of this some people feel that they just can’t go on without some issue is example number one of being in the wrong on your thinking. This isn’t an I told you so, those people are apostates (they pretty much are passively so) but the fact that some people make them into martyrs for the progressive cause reveals what many have already realized. You’re putting aspects of your faith in the wrong thing. You wanting to follow the savior and become more like him and serve as he serves is in no way affected by this outcome one way or another. The church is the best vehicle for that, IF you ware willing to actually make the ordinances administered effecacious in your life.

  50. So Dehlin is guilty of fabricating a CES letter worth of evidence against the church that is baseless and without merit and he has sold these lies to otherwise unsuspecting faithful members making them and the church innocent victims and if only they had stumbled on an apologist blog first all would be well in Zion??? What you been smoking?

  51. Hey everybody, I’m feeling pretty disappointed in the tone of the comments on this post. Perhaps I communicated very poorly or am somehow to blame for the outcome here, but regardless, I’m going to go ahead and close comments.

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