A Request for Mormon Newsroom and Eric Hawkins

John Dehlin Blog, Mormon Studies, Writings 26 Comments

EricHawkinsA note to Mormon Newsroom and Eric Hawkins (Senior Manager, Media Relations, LDS Church Public Affairs Department),

It has been confirmed to me by multiple sources that over the past few days and weeks you have been attempting to directly seek corrections from news outlets who have reported that my public support of Ordain Women, same-sex marriage, and my refusal to censor Mormon Stories podcast were important factors in the LDS Church’s decision to seek a disciplinary council for me (choosing instead to focus on my publicly-expressed doubts about certain LDS Church truth claims).

I am including in this message to you excerpts from my August 7, 2014 meeting with Stake President Bryan King, wherein we reviewed line-by-line his August 7, 2014 letter to me, explaining his requirements for me to remain a member in good standing, and to avoid a disciplinary council.

  • Regarding the censorship of Mormon Stories podcast, the following exchange occurred:

    Bryan King: You could go back look at your numerous podcasts and know the ones you think are controversial or not.
    John Dehlin: So, take down any controversial episode.
    Bryan King: Yes. That would be the thing to do.
    John Dehlin: Is that what you mean?
    Bryan King: Well I don’t want to appear, in any form or print, saying that that’s exactly what I said, because I would like you to move your personal testimony in line with us being able to resolve your questioning….”

  • Regarding my public support of Ordain Women:

    John Dehlin: “What do you mean by “stop promoting groups or organizations that espouse doctrines” (referring to King’s August 7, 2014 letter)?”
    Bryan King: “I think that’s inherent, you know those, those that would be supporting of Ordain Women.”

  • Regarding my public support of same-sex marriage:

    Bryan King: “Same-sex marriage is not in harmony with the teachings of the church. So if you come out openly in support of [same-sex marriage], that is a problem.”

While I interpret your attempt to focus on selective church teachings I have at times publicly doubted (e.g., anthropomorphic God, orthodox interpretations of the atonement, the “one true church” doctrine found in D&C 1:30), I would note that I have been on record as experiencing doubts about these teachings since 2006….with no prior disciplinary council called.  I will also note that innumerable Mormon journalists, scholars, bloggers, and podcasters such as those writing for By Common Consent, Times & Seasons, Rational Faiths, Dialogue Journal, Sunstone Magazine, Greg Kofford Books, Religion News Service, Pathos, and Letter to a CES Director have publicly expressed similar doubts and concerns over the years, with no summons to a disciplinary council.

I would politely request that you please cease to attempt such corrections in the future, as I believe that they are directly misleading the LDS Church membership and general public as to the main reasons why I am being summoned to a disciplinary council.  If you or the general public require additional information regarding my August 7, 2014 meeting with President King, please feel free to inquire and I will send you the records I have.

Sincerely,
John Dehlin

 

 

Comments 26

  1. Why would Church HQ be seeking corrections of press reports related to a local disciplinary council? I though the church left such disciplinary issues entirely in the hands of local leaders. How would it know what was said?

    1. Yeah – lots of people think that – – General Authorities ARE involved, and that’s part of why I expect exoneration. I’m just a little old guy in Escondido, and I couldn’t help but know what’s going on. How could the General Authorities not know? And how could they resist having an influence to save embarrassment for the organization?

  2. It’s a strange line for them to be walking. First they claim that all decisions are done at the local level and they have no control over that. Then they state that they know the reasons for the council and those reasons are different from the ones conveyed in a direct one-on-one meeting to the subject of the council. That seems terribly inconsistent to me.

  3. Truly remarkable, disgusting behavior on the part of The Church!! Keep “shining a light” in the dark places. The rats in suits are really squirming; and rightly so! So much for “Choosing the Right” and Christlike behavior!

  4. There is something very wrong with the LDS church that seems to be rotten at the core and it’s eroding its way outward.

    I think they want to blame people like Kate Kelly and John Dehlin for the down sizing of the church and they are trying to blame anyone and anything they can….except the church.

  5. Calling out the head spinmeister is a good thing, John. If they do that for you they’ll do it for anyone and it shouldn’t be done at all.

  6. I’m so glad John has been open every step of the way. The church is caught red handed here. If any good comes from this, it will be that members can openly support ordain women and gay marriage and not be disciplined. Thanks John. Sorry you have to be the fall guy for improvementmenrs in the church.

  7. John, at the beginning of the court proceedings, make it absolutely clear to the assembled judges, that in the interests of yourselves as the accused, propriety and public confidence, you intend to record the deliberations.
    If denied, request that your nominated representative act as scribe.
    If this is also declined, respectfully withdraw yourselves and announce their refusal of your reasonable requests to the awaiting public and media.

  8. Who is in charge here? Who is currently making decisions “for the Church”? Take another look at Elders Oaks & Christofferson in the TribTalk interview – a confused, didactic Oaks, an embarrassed Christofferson. Was this debacle their idea?

    By the same token, who is giving Eric Hawkins his marching orders, or is he freelancing (at this point entirely possible)?

    To this day the angry, paranoid spirit of Ezra Taft Benson floats over this institution. We’re still fighting the “Communists” though that’s not what we call them anymore.

  9. I like John and what he does. I’ve been listening to him for many many years and appreciate his work and efforts. I also see how the church is trying to make a private matter public, and it’s trying to cover bases and do the best they can. I don’t think it’s about “rats” in dark places and all of that, but I don’t have an axe to grind, which is seems that this story is bring out a lot of anti sentiments and exmormons are having a hay-day. As the Great Rodney said “Can’t we all get along?”

  10. The church is no different from a corporation. When a CEO steps down, the reason given to news outlets is that he/she wanted to spend more time with family or something similar. We seldom get the inside story of what actually went down. The church is run like a business in this fashion and they will do whatever they have to in order to conceal the undesirable details.

    What I don’t understand is why the church isn’t forthcoming about what it actually takes to be excommunicated. If the actual reasons that a court being held for Dehlin are that he supports gay marriage and Ordain Women, why wouldn’t the church just state that in a manner everyone understands? If it means losing members, then so be it. It’s like the church wants to have its cake (tithing $) and eat it to by intentionally giving vague answers to questions about why someone is close to losing his membership.

  11. The funny thing is, that once one is well aware of the issues and sink their teeth in the fruit of knowledge and then go back and read the book of Mormon with a prayerful and sincere soul, you see clearly that it is warning the few and chosen to beware of exactly what the church itself has become. Serving money and big business above the anointed one- worse- in his NAME. It is outrageous that the men in powerful places at the top of the LDS church insist on driving the train into corruption while it’s valiant faithful members stand for truth and righteousness and leave. It truly is the last days… if there is a war it is raging on…. for the good people to wake up and see that it is a man made business- far from the will of God. “And the Lord called his people Zion- for they were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness.” Not the illusion of rightousness to fill the pockets of those at the top while faithful saints stuggle financially but pay anyway, and donate hours of their lives to the perpetuation of a lie that is lining pockets in the Lords name. Getting ever more determined to stay faithful to the masters of the world rather than the master of the universe. To each their own. If this is the Lords church they would open up everything to it’s members and speak openly about any and all topics, even owning the error in their ways over the years. Until then… I will remain steadfast in rightousness and avoid affiliation at all costs.

  12. “Well, sure, we excommunicated Kate Kelly and many others for their public support of Ordain Women and marriage equality. But that’s not why we’re going to excommunicate John! So stop saying that!”

  13. So, is Eric Hawkins simply an over-zealous LDS Church employee trying to make a name for himself (w/o being caught….ooops!), or is he merely an obedient LDS Church employee doing what he is told, and what is expected of him? Either way, it strengthens the image of a Big Brother church that monitors its members, and goes to the nth degree to constantly manage its image.

    Once, again, the Church seems to be focusing on the “wise as serpents” part, and ignoring the “harmless as doves” part. How long can like this go on, before we start wondering if they are not just a bunch of snakes? By their works…

    To those who caught this and brought it to John’s attention we are all in debt. Thank you.

  14. Your desperate attempt to make this about your LGBT stance and not your apostasy amazes me. You are the influencing the narrative, as the church has tried to keep this private. You create press releases and use liberal atheist journalists who love to attack the church. The church should have every right to defend it’s position and discipline members. The is no order without discipline.

    1. It has to be about John’s LGBT stance, for John clearly follows Christ far more then the leaders of the Church ever have. They have no room or right to judge John. But that’s the problem. The Church obviously doesn’t seem to like people who really follow Christ and thus who can see and call the Church out on their hypocrisy, errors and evils.

      Those who have studied Christ’s teachings know that Christ also supports ‘Ordain Women’, for Christ was the one who taught women’s total equality with men in all things, by his teaching the Golden Rule & love, which is the basis of everything.

      It wasn’t Christ who refused to respect women’s power and equal right to the Priesthood and to equal leadership positions in the Church, home, society, etc., it was prideful men, who of course just claimed God told them that.

      So it’s clear to true followers of Christ, that the leaders of the Church are the true apostates who don’t really live the Gospel despite their ‘lip service’, and thus it’s impossible for them to pull the apostate card on John.

    2. And John has every right to defend himself that label him an apostate. Has he lied and been as deceptive as the organization that is trying to shut him up? Not to my knowledge. Of course he creates press releases to give his side of the story instead of letting them spin their own.

      It wouldn’t surprise me that in a hundred years LDS members will hear a “faith promoting” story on how John Dehlin left the church and was excommunicated because his wife got into a dispute over a milk incident with another woman. Oh an by the way, why does it matter that that someone is liberal or atheist? You use those words as if they are negative. Why must that be?

      BB, I’m not sure if you are serious in your posts or just trolling but if the majority of active members are anything like you, the Church will continue to head down the path it’s already on. God have mercy on it for the truth will have none.

  15. Ever feel like you are Franz Kafka in the Trial? The ever changing reasons for their actions. They have lost the PR war and are trying to reverse engineer history just like Joe Smith did. Keep telling the truth about this corrupt Corporation!

  16. Nobody from the LDS church (ecclesiastical leaders, PR reps, etc.) should be commenting on or publicly discussing any information regarding John’s excommunication. From their own letter sent to John, “Disciplinary councils are sacred ecclesiastical proceedings and are intended to be strictly confidential…I am concerned that the sacredness and confidentiality of your disciplinary counsel be fully respected and protected.”

    Any information that comes from the Mormon Newsroom regarding the excommunication is a breach of the sacredness and the confidentiality that their own document claims to want to protect.

  17. I appreciate John Dehlin’s efforts and courage. He has given this 75 year old more life in my years and perhaps even more years in my life. I pray today for your benefit, Brother Dehlin — even tho I’m no longer sure about prayer. You have validated comments and concerns I have held for many years and I thank you!

  18. It’s hard to find any connection between the Mormon church and its leaders and the 1st century Jewish preacher from Galilee. Or even with the ‘Jesus Christ’ of Christian faith.

    It hard to see any connection between the modern Mormon church and the church of Hugh B. Brown.

    It’s sad that the Mormon church chooses to be so much less than it could be.

    It’s sad that the Mormon church has become an extravagantly wealthy multinational corporation whose leadership development program has carefully groomed clones in suits to manage conformity, construction, declining activity, a horribly in-efficient and under-performing missionary program, terrible convert retention, and a exodus of apostasy not seen since Kirtland.

    As a faithful BIC Mormon for decades I left the church (and all of Christianity) years ago very suddenly and painlessly after finally studying the Bible more seriously and honestly. It had nothing to do with Joseph Smith or the BOM or anything specifically Mormon. For a long time the Mormon church was nowhere on my radar but, largely from accidental exposure to Mormon Stories and John Dehlin, the decline of Mormonism (in spite of its touted but highly misleading growth to ~15 million members) has become a passing curiosity and source of sadness.

    I’d say “Good luck”, John, but you don’t need it. You’ll do fine as an ex-Mormon and the church won’t even notice that it’s taken another step backwards and down. They’ll notice but not admit that nothing has changed… activity will continue to decline and people will continue to leave exactly as before, perhaps even accelerated. They’ll simply consider it winnowing and, with total lack of honesty and self-awareness, evidence that they are “the few that be” that have found the straight & narrow and who cling to the iron rod.

    It’s all very sad. The Mormon church has become just another church… and less.

  19. English is not my mother’s language so bear with me.

    The church fed me an invented story to get me in the ranks of its followers at the age of 25; to accept callings which I honored in 30 years with hard work and devotion with the sacrifice of my family; to use much of my time to bring many good people to the church, to train them to do the same as I did. I was an instrument of the church to teach other people to accept a false story. I held more than one calling at a time including being a teacher for most of those 30 years. The church made me teach for 30 years a false story to children, youth and adults. For 30 years I gave money to this church because it made me believe its false miraculous story of the restoration and the goodness of its prophets. The story is a lie, it is an embellished religious propaganda.
    The church determined the direction of my life and the life of my family for their benefit. With a false story, it made me promise to give them my talents, my money and my time. It made promise not to reveal their “sacred” and secret ceremonies even under the threat of death. For 30 years, it made me wear clothes made and sold by the chuch that were virtually all the time in contact with my skin as a reminder that I was a servant and a soldier for them.
    I lost many oportunities for personal and professional growth, knowledge and understanding of the world, because of this church and its false story.
    And it is almost too late in my life to comprehend what I and my family (my children, grandchildren, my brothers and their families, and my dear friends and their families) have lost.

    One thing I am sure of: it is a worse sin of this church to expell John Delhin for his integrity in declaring publicly not to believe anymore many of their lies than for his suport for gay rights and ordain women.

    If there is a God, and that God honors the truth. John Delhin will be rewarded. And the church leaders that have taken upon themselves the right to judge us, to excomunicate us, to deny our freedom of expression, exercising their control, dominion and compulsion on sincere people, will be shamed by that God.
    Although is late in my life to recover what I lost because of this church, of one thing I am greatful: that I do not belong to the inner circle of church leaders that go into their temple to anoint one another with “secure” promises of exaltation regardless of any sins they commit. If there is a God or if there isn’t, I would not want to be part of that blasphemy.

    My most sincere love, respect and admiration and my best wishes for John Delhin and his family.

  20. New and not fully informed of the content nor overt/covert motives. However, I feel I have a good general grasp…. and likewise, the LDS Church in conjunction with all other mainstream churches of Christianity.

    In my 70’ish years I’ve made a central oberservation. There remains the ‘congregation’ who seek and strive for an authority greater than themselves to live a life in some organized purpose. Then there is the Church hierarchy…the ‘corporate’ leadership of a mega monetary organization and public image. This is the part of all mainstream churches that become lost. By a large degree of necessity I suppose, they become servants of man evloving to mans requirements of the times and circumstances… much akin to elected officials after taking office. Worldly influences and corruption!

    All churches ‘market’ their own chosen ‘church doctrine’ as the only church of authority in God’s eyes though they largely have and use the same printed Bible of the Christianity faith. No church is absent their own particular doctrines having come through prophecy from God.

    Churches are for guidance and support of the weak, frail and those experiencing lifes trial and tribulations…. ‘all’ of us! If the King James version of the Bible is a true document then that is all that is needed. If in fact the Bible is a ‘living’ document as so many churches portray then mankind is in serious trouble. I have come to firmly believe it better to be judge by God than by man… in fact, churches have NO business saying what of mankinds weakeness, frailities can sit in their churches congregations as members or visitors!

    Come on leadership of the LDS, you ‘all’ have your own weaknesses, frailties and trials and tribulations just like every other member or visitor of the church, just a bit more covert for many, I suppose. Just love ‘all’ our brethern to the time of judgement by God!

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