A Request for Mormon Newsroom and Eric Hawkins

John Dehlin Blog, Mormon Studies, Writings

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.

John Dehlin