Details for Sunday, Response to Apostasy Charge, and Concerns about the Disciplinary Council

John Dehlin Blog, Disciplinary Councils, Mormon Stories 130 Comments

I have put together a release that summarizes a few key things:

  1. New details regarding Sunday’s disciplinary council, including information about the vigil organized by Micah Nicholaison.
  2. My formal response to the apostasy charge, including quotes from President Bryan King supporting why I feel (know) my support of Ordain Women and same-sex marriage are parts of the apostasy charge.
  3. Important evidence that LDS Church PR is misleading journalists about the reasons for my disciplinary council.
  4. New information about our not being allowed to audio record the council, our being required to sign a form to promise not to record (even though Utah law allows such recordings), and President King’s refusal to allow us to bring someone to take notes in the meeting (for our own protection against further misinformation).

Even though these issues are very charged, I ask that your comments be respectful (on all sides).

P.S.  My dear friend Tom Grover summarizes why I will be excommunicated better than I ever could.  If I had a response to critics, it would be this.

Comments 130

    1. Jiminny Christmas John, MOVE on, please. Stop with the continual cries for the public to join “team John”. It’s becoming pathetic! You hate what the Mormons do (they won’t change) they hate what you do (you won’t change) just move on. Being ex’d doesn’t remove your heritage that you so value, it just removes your name from their membership. Who cares! It’s crap anyways.

      BTW, for someone who is in a profession that holds confidentially with the utmost respect, your actions regarding posting private letters from Bryan King show an immense lack of respect for his privacy.

      1. The thing to remember about confidentiality protections is that they are generally one sided. It would be illegal for a doctor to share a recording of a medical exam without the patient’s permission. However, the patient would not require the doctor’s permission to share the recording. This is because the doctor is merely conducting the exam. It is not her medical information being shared so the doctor has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

        Similarly, John is the one on trial here. It is not King’s life that will be scrutinized or his church membership that hangs in the balance. King may be presiding over the trial, but ultimately it is not about him and he has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

      2. I agree with Winebibber. In the words of Disney
        “Let it go, let it go
        Can’t hold it back anymore
        Let it go, let it go
        Turn away and slam the door!

        I don’t care
        What they’re going to say
        Let the storm rage on,
        These dudes never bothered me anyway!

      3. I’m glad John does not quietly kowtow before the church. He has illuminated important facts which contradict the foundation of the great LDS wall of propaganda. He has done this in a manner prominently observed by those who fear to learn from sources outside the comfort of Mormonism. He has successfully raised awareness of dogma promulgated by the church, dogma which leads to real harm to real people. He has done this with a surprisingly high level of empathy for those who want to remain in the church.

        Morality evolves as humanity gains knowledge and understanding. Today, we better recognize forms of discrimination and the harms caused. Harming others is usually immoral. The LDS church and its enablers fuel a new immorality – that is why a good man will likely be excommunicated on Sunday. What happens Sunday is not an indictment of John, it is an indictment of the LDS church and its enablers. The shame intended, by an outmoded form of punishment akin to shunning, is on the church, not John.

        All the best to John and his family!!!

      4. Winebibber,
        At the risk of sounding like I’m quoting-hard line LDS members and authorities, if you don’t like what John says or what he does, why not just stop reading and watching his statements and podcasts? (drink more wine, perhaps?)

        And, if you think Bryan King’s letters are private and haven’t been massaged and “tweeked” by a goodly number of the higher ups, there is a building on Temple Square you might consider buying. I’m ” just sayin'”
        privacy in a situation like this should work both ways, not just to protect one of the participants.

        1. Red,

          Not a wine drinker, just a fan of the biblical term for a drunk. But if you want to offer a Guinness, I’m game.

          No delusions that communications aren’t scrubbed by SLC. Nor that instructions start there. I stand by what I said. Enjoy most of his podcasts. Just time to move on.

      5. I couldn’t agree with Winebinber more, and I couldn’t have said it any better. “It’s crap anyways” pretty much sums it up.

    2. Right, Boyd!! That’s what I did.

      Growing up in the ’50s I was taught excommunication was for committing murder or adultery, or denying the Holy Spirit. I visited the church nextdoor and liked it. For that a bishops’ court believed they had cancelled my baptism and sent me to hell after death.

    3. You can not record it? They make video cameras small enough to fit into a button hole. I have seen YouTubes of someone wearing. One in the Temple. You could also wear a wire John, if you want to record it.

      Have any one here watched the Kathy Bajer YouTube (after excommunication). Her bishop had told her to neve attend a meeting in that Ward again. He told her if she did attend, he would call the cops. She dared to go back for a missionary farrwell, and the saw the cops in the foyer and managed to slip out another door.

    4. Not being able to record one’s interview does go against Utah Law. I would get an attorney John. Church is trying to interfer with your legal rights yet claims that we believe in honoring and sustaining the law.
      I was called to meet with a few stake leaders last year and brought my recording device. Utah Law did not obligate me to ask for their permission beforehand.
      They later found out about it through a family member. I was called back in and told by the stake leader that recording is not being honest and not temple worthy. This is one the reasons why my recommend was pulled. The chuch seeks to “hide their counsels from the Lord”. 2 Nephi 28:9 I am a witness of this on many levels.

      I brought up concerns and affiliated with some like minded invididuals who also expressed a different interpretation than the traditional narrative told of LDS Church History. I was put on informal probation and told I’m not allowed to participate in meetings in any form. Is this anyexample here of “secret works being done in the dark”? 2 Nephi 28:9

    5. I haven’t even been a member for a year and I see the chasm in it’s faith, although the people are good the faith is flawed and should not be portrayed as perfect. Thank you John for making it real.

  1. John,

    One way to combat the LDS Church’s PR machinery is for you to release to the local news media outlets all the documentation that you have provided.

    We know what KSL and Fox will say. I have found that KUTV and KTVX very often often cover news pieces regarding the LDS Church that the other two won’t cover or that cover in a biased light toward the Church.

    Best wishes!

    Sara

  2. Any person who listens to John’s podcasts knows that above all he is man of immense integrity. i have no doubt that lgbt issues and ordain women were part of the conversation and disciplinary actions against him and now the church is twisting the facts. It appears to me that the church is trying to avoid more PR disasters (which really isn’t working). Sadly the church spends more time and energy sanctioning the messenger rather than addressing the truth claims. This is a losing battle since all members of the church will eventfully know about the truth claim issues as the Internet and good scholarship will only continue to grow and expose church historicity issues.

    Above all, I am dumbfounded the church would excommunicate someone who doesn’t believe in all the basics faith tenets of the church. The church is really drawing the line in the sand here if John is excommunicated and closing the doors to many people who struggle. Aferall, belief in God and Christ requires belief in the supernatural, the intangible, and the realiability of warm fuzzy feelings. It’s inconceivable to me that there would not be a substantial number of people who don’t believe in the basic tenets but rather have hope that they are true. I have a child currently serving a mission who is struggling with belief in Christ, God etc. He has a literal brain type but chooses to stay for “hope”. The church is heading In the direction of losing more members if it excommunicate for doubt and publically expressing doubt. Frankly I can’t imagine my children staying in the church with these types of demands. My heart is heavy for the church’s behavior towards John Dehlin.

  3. I fear you may have the wrong impression about an LDS Disciplinary Council. By the time one of these is called, the decision has already been made. You will not have a chance to present your view and argue your position. This will be a quick hearing, the point of which is give you a last chance to fall on your knees and beg forgiveness. Failing that the hearing will be over in 20 minutes. They just don’t want to hear what you have to say.

  4. What would they do if you just refused to sign the confidentiality agreement (they can’t force you to sign it) and showed up to the meeting with a recorder? Cancel or postpone? Try you in absentia (which would look really, really bad)? Fair, open an public trials are part of the fabric of American culture, and for good reason. They can employ any process they want, but I think they would take a huge PR hit for cancelling/postponing because you want to make the trial public. After all, isn’t the stated reason for privacy to protect the individual being “tried”? Therefore, you should be able to make the hearing public if you want.

    1. Yes, I wouldn’t sign it. Just let them look worse by ‘postponing or trying you in absentia’, because ‘they’ wouldn’t respect your ‘God given’ right to record or have someone there as a witness. Unbelievable. What a charade.

      1. The Church held a press conference recently to address the their position on LGBT rights and religious freedom and freedom of speech. It is the height of hypocrisy that they are cutting off John’s membership for freely exercising those rights and veiling it in the apostasy cloak. The fact that they will allow him no ally, no way to record the proceedings only adds to the medieval shroud that hangs over the entire proceeding. I am an active member of the church. This sickens me and further erodes my confidence in the ability of the existing priesthood leadership to govern the people without exerting unrighteous dominion. We are naive to believe that local leadership will deal equitably with us or our children and the fact is that the Brethren do not and will not overturn the verdict of a stake president even when facts are proven incorrect. This is not what I signed up for. What would Jesus do? He most certainly would NOT do this.John, thanks for helping those of us that are trying to navigate through these treacherous waters. I hope you and your family enjoy every happiness, every success.

    2. Good idea! John should take this final opportunity they are giving him to record and share in pursuit of truth. If they try to remove his phone, he should have a back up hidden. They want to avoid the possibility of being judged for their judgement of you and your work…but I guess they never even tried to appear “fair.” It would also be great if they make a movie/documentary about it someday. He could also have some other random person scribble some signature. They have done nothing in this case to deserve confidentiality of their unfair treatment of John…and who knows how many others. It should be made known for the benefit of others!

    3. Anon,

      I think that is a great idea!

      I agree with you that John should NOT sign the paper and leave it to the church to show how unconstitutional they really are. They want him to be completely defenseless. The Church has managed to act both like a Coward and a Bully at the same time.

  5. John,

    “Eppur si muove” says it all. Your friend Tom Grover does a superb job illustrating the case.

    Stake President Bryan King is but a pawn by the LDS top leadership. Your excommunication will be yet another Band-Aid in the list of actions by the LDS Church trying to silence those voices seeking truth and change. It is a good move by the Church because you will be an ex-Mormon, perceived as someone with an ax to grind. The Church cannot tolerate that someone from the fold be a major critic.

    However, truth will prevail. It may not be in our lifetime, but you and others who have been excommunicated in the past for speaking truth will eventually be vindicated.

  6. Excellent assessment by Tom Grover!

    When I began to earnestly question the faith, in 1970, there was absolutely nowhere to turn for the kind of honest and open discussion John Dehlin has facilitated with Mormon Stories. It almost scares me in a way because, had such a resource existed at the time, I may very well have found a way to stay simply because, as a 5th generation born and raised member, I so desperately wanted to believe. Knowing all that has taken place in my life since I officially walked out the door in 1974 I am grateful beyond belief I didn’t stay any longer than I did. So, in a very real sense I’m happy Mormon Stories wasn’t around to lure me any deeper into the pond than I already was. In excommunicating John the church unwittingly cuts off what would be recognized as an asset were communications with the divine actually in play. I sincerely wish him and his family all the best.

  7. May God bless you and your family, John. I’m truly appalled by what church leadership is preparing to do. I’ve come to despise The Church and it’s (so called) leadership in ways I once thought impossible; and my family and I (for the time being are still members). But, that is changing and the actions of The Church this weekend will surely “fuel the fires” of our continuing to distance ourselves from this organization.

    I’m assuming that church leadership somehow has convinced themselves that they are doing this for the health of The Church – when in reality our seething disgust with the intimidation, heavy – handedness and lack of respect to the principles of free speech and the overall freedom we must have to find the truth; will drive more and more of us away from this kind of nonsense and “spiritual tyranny”. God bless, my friend.

    Please, I beg you, continue to shine a bright light on these dark practices of The Church!

  8. Of course they will not render a verdict on the night of the court. They absolutely would not want the media to record the response of those gather outside for the vigil when the verdict of ‘excommunication’ is announced. It’s all so medieval.

    1. The irony of things is that the Roman Catholic Church during the Medieval era was actually very swift and very public when it announced excommunications! The person to be excommunicated appeared in the Church, the bishop announced it, the Gospel book was closed, candles were blown out, and the Church bells tolled as for one who had died (hence, bell, book and candle).

      This secret kangaroo court that the LDS Church engages in is far more becoming of 20th century Communist dictatorships than anything that occurred in the Medieval era. Forgive my being “old b*****d” on you Katzcradul, but I think a more accurate description is that “it’s all so 20th century Communist.”

  9. It is very interesting that they refuse to allow a record to be taken. Part of me is curious to see what would happen if you simply inform them of your rights as a Utah citizen and bring the tape recorder anyway. Then simply inform them that you refuse to sign any documents about recorders. They can either proceed on public record or end the business on the spot.

    Of course, the likely outcome will be “no thanks” followed by a letter of excommunication next week. But it’s hard to imagine what good will come from a private meeting with the outcome being essentially the same. Would it be possible to just have your wife be the official note-taker? Or just maybe plug up the council with your own note-taking?

  10. Hi John,

    Mr. Grover’s post about the actual reason for your hearing was very succinct and, I feel, very true.

    “Those who fell upon a crisis of faith were alone.

    Until John Dehlin came long.”

    I felt alone until somehow stumbling upon one of your videos on YouTube. I felt that you were able to help me understand what I was going through. I was able to let go of any anger or resentment I felt towards the Church.

    Thanks to you I was inspired to talk to my wife about what I was going through, and I am happy to report that we are happier than ever.

    I also agree with Tom’s sentiments about the “chasm” that exists between what we are taught, and the real, actual, history of the Church.

    Your situation brings up many of the same emotions that I felt during my “faith crisis”. I am not angry about your situation, I just feel that the whole thing is a natural consequence of the systems in place. That is, I feel the Church is doing what is ‘right’ for them; and you are doing the same in that you will not stifle your integrity and submit or be subjugated. I feel that neither party is wrong, and yet, both parties are ‘right’ (although, to be honest, I pull for you a bit). I feel no anger or animosity, but I am saddened that the chasm, as Tom so eloquently put it, causes so much pain and sadness. I’m even more saddened that the beacon of light, that helped me through such a dark and harrowing time in my life, is having to fight to stay lit.

    I hope that there will be more light shed on the chasm so future travelers will not feel as alone and helpless as I did when I first found myself on the other side of the chasm than everyone I knew and loved.

    John, thank you so much for your work. It has had a profound and lasting effect on my life, and in turn, my relationship with my family. I wish you and your family the best.

  11. It’s unreasonable to disallow recordings or witnesses. Despite their reasonings for it, it creates unfair advantage for the church, in addition to the numbers of people present. Personally if it were me, I would resign before participating in such things. Nonsense.

  12. Trials that may put a person in jail for a day, or a week or a lifetime are recorded, and become part of the public record.
    In the minds of church leaders, this trial (!) is something that will affect your very eternal existence. How is that different?
    What are they afraid of? More PR backlash?

  13. Just a question:

    If you are not allowed to record the council, are President King et al. allowed to record it? If you’re being required to sign a form to promise not to record (even though Utah law allows such recordings), will they be required to sign such a promise too? I wouldn’t mind to it not being recorded nearly so much as I would object to different rules for different parties.

    1. Mr. King’s letter states that nobody will be allowed to record it. He’s using the hackneyed “it’s sacred” to justify the secrecy when it’s clear they simply want to hide their actions from public scrutiny. Can you blame them?

      1. During a court of love there will indeed be a stake clerk recording the proceedings. I was involved in many a court of love when I served on the high council.

        Good luck John.

      2. Funny that “sacred” would be invoked to prevent recording. They record patriarchal blessings. It’s completely arbitrary. If you refuse to play by their rules, they will just try you in absentia. Been there. The verdict usually arrives by mail. Best wishes to you, John, and your family. You have a world of support and good wishes out here.

  14. John,

    If I were you, I would record the proceedings anyway. And not sign the statement saying that you will not record it. If it is legal to do so (which you say it is), then you would not be doing anything illegal. The worst thing the church can do is to excommunicate you — which I believe the Stake President has already decided to do anyway. At the very least, I would have Margi take notes, and you can do the talking.

  15. John,
    I cannot find a way to delete my previous comment. I had not yet read the Appendices attached, and did not know that you would be made to leave if you attempted to take notes. So if you could delete my previous comment, I would appreciate it. Good Luck! I stand with you.
    Eileen

    1. Your point is very well taken. I suppose that The Church (in it’s supposed infinite wisdom) will simply have to excommunicate all of us who have questions, search for truth and THEN have the presumption to talk to others about it! Maybe we could have “stocks” and whipping posts installed on Temple Square – for punishment. These implements are certainly from the same period in history as (so called) excommunication!

      1. So true, Mormon Boy. So much of what is done in the church is basis in “ancient practices.” Sounds like the making of a musical: “Fiddler on the Temple” ––TRADITION!!!

  16. Thank you John for your incredible amount of Moral Courage. I have benefited so much from your podcast and your example of honesty. I feel like your response to the church and the public is respectful and honest and done very well. I found an article written by a man named Omid Safi who talks about how we can “repel evil with something lovelier” (a quote from the Koran). I think you have done this is a real way John, and for those who are feeling a lot of anger at this time, I think it is a good article to read. You can find it by going to “www.onbeing.org”, and then searching for the article’s title, “Repelling Evil with Something Lovelier in a World of Hurt”.

  17. Why do I get the feeling that the decision has already been made and this meeting would be a formality? Another thing that makes me wonder is that the church (or just local leaders – don’t know for sure) seems to make extra efforts to keep the information out of public eyes. Most of the story is already out there anyway. If the church just acts on their policies as far as the membership rules goes, why not be transparent and frank about it? The way this is handled reminds me bronze age sanhedrin…
    In any case, the church, like any organization, has rules, and if you, John, feel that you are morally obligated to stand for this cause, you should carry “your cross” with dignity and resolve, as you already have been doing so admirably.

  18. As a former Ward Clerk I know that all disciplinary hearings are attended by the Ward Clerk who is instructed to take detailed notes and if necessary to record the hearing in order to keep a detailed log of what was said. I believe that Denver went through something similar in his hearing. He wanted his entire family there so they could be witness to exactly what was said and they wouldn’t allow it so they all sat outside while the meeting was done in his absence. What they really want is for this whole thing to go away quietly. Personally, I hope you let everyone know exactly what happened and so even TBM’s have to take notice.

  19. I agree with what several other people have said here — the fact that they’re requiring you to sign an agreement that you won’t record the “trial” (or even bring someone to take notes) raises a big fat humongous red flag. And I just can’t accept all that stuff about sacredness and privacy. Afterwards, it will be their word against yours about what went on behind closed doors, and I would suppose it’s themselves, not you, that they’re trying to protect. It may also be the case, as others have said, that they’ve already made up their minds, and there may not be anything you can say at this point (that you haven’t already said previously) that would convince them otherwise. So maybe you don’t really need to be there anyway — it might do more harm than good.

    So if I were you, and as others have suggested, I’d refuse to sign the agreement, openly show up with a recording device, and if they refuse to let you use it and participate, then just go outside and drink hot chocolate with your friends at the vigil, and remember that whatever the folks behind the closed doors decide in your absence, and even if they fail to announce their decision right away, and make you wait around for “closure”, you and your family will still be members of a loving and supportive community of friends who appreciate your courage and all the work you’ve done to help them deal with the damage this religion sometimes does to people. But whatever you do, and whatever happens as a result, I hope it all works out for the best for you and your family.

    …And for your listeners as well — thank you for refusing to let them bully you into deleting any of these wonderful podcasts or going against your conscience in any other way. Another “Latin” phrase comes to mind here, although this one, as I understand, is mock-Latin:

    “Non illigitamus carborundum” (if you know what I mean).

    Good luck on Sunday,
    EDiL13

  20. Thank you John for your wonderful podcasts. I have listened to them for years. Although I chose not to stay in the church, they have helped me keep my records there for the sake of my family and given me greater patience and understanding with their beliefs. I still cannot imagine the LDS church casting you out.

  21. John, this may sound out of the question, but why don’t you file a lawsuit saying that you want the right to record the meeting since Utah Law allows it? (It may not be your style, but it could get rid of this ridiculous “confidentiality” policy that protects the church more than the individual, even though they pretend to claim the opposite.)

    1. There is no law that requires this meeting with John. So if he insists on wanting to record it they will simply decide to excommunicate him without John present. May not be what John wants but it is completely legal. May not seem “fair” either but it appears to be how they will handle it.

  22. The Stake Clerk will attend and will be officially tasked with taking notes. Courts of law will permit but one official record. A lot of hand wringing occurs before many judges will permit cameras or recording devices in the courtroom, in part because the presence of the recording device changes the dynamics from what is going on in the room to what will go on outside the room. In order to hold a fair trial, courts try to limit fact-finders to considering only the evidence that is presented and not be swayed by outside influences. A DC works best when there is a lot of back and forth between the participants–in this case, 3 SP members, 12 high councilors (or HP subs) and you and your wife. The presence of recording devices would alter the dialogue no matter how you slice it. I’m not saying it will alter it for the better or worse, but it will alter it. Some who otherwise might speak, won’t. A few might try to sound quotable. All I’m trying to suggest, the spirit of dialogue, is that there may be a method to the seeming madness that extends beyond a base desire to manipulate public opinion.

  23. John,

    Your website and podcasts have done much good. However, you have overly concerned yourself as of late with aligning yourself with “man” and not God. You feel empowered and encouraged by your supporters, every one with a “victim” mentality. Indeed, injustices happen within the church, and within the church’s leadership. A perfect gospel, a perfect Christ at the head, yet imperfect individuals tasked with adminstering and ministering. Much good is done by them, despite their flaws and inconsisitencies. In the end, Christ’s atonement can account for ALL of the weaknesses you and others perceive. Or maybe not. Perhaps you and others should receive wisdom from the Pharisee Gamaliel in Acts Chapter 5:

    “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

    But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

    Yet neither you, nor your followers can follow these simple verses. Let it be! Move on! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does far more good than the collateral damage that some feel they leave in their wake. As an organization, it is no more perfect than the Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian institutions. Yet their opponents spend far less effort trying “to right the ship” than you do. Where are all the “fair-balanced” Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian websites out there, full of disgruntled members seeking a platform to complain, crying for change? Hard to find, aren’t they? That’s because they see it for what it is, attributes and flaws alike, and allow it to either add “good” to their life, or they leave.

    You don’t want to leave, you want to change. But your initial crusade to help others has turned into a personal crusade to elevate yourself as a godsend to others. Really? A candlelight vigil this Sunday? Really? A need to record and take notes? There is nothing that needs to be exposed. If it is of God, you are on the wrong side of this argument. If it is not of God, why so much effort on your part to force change/expose weakness? Who cares what their claims are regarding the “only true church”? Who cares about their missionary efforts, their temples, and other work of salvation? Who cares about their history, and whether they have promoted a different history, or buried some ugly truths. Who cares!?!?! If it is of God, you can’t change it. If it is of Man, why try to change it? That would be like me trying to change a large corporation like Microsoft, instead of just going out and finding another product that suits my needs better.

    I get it. This has been your life, your upbringing. You have years of emotional contribution and financial contribution. You now see that this is not a path for you, or at least a path that differs from your current social stances. Move on. Part ways. Your recent need to be a “savior” to others has overshadowed the actual “saving” that you have done in the past, and is becoming a turn off for me. Perhaps I should start a crusade to change you?

    I am a TBM, despite the inconsisitencies and historical concerns many have expressed, perceived and/or real. I am a TBM, despite the harm that is done by well-intended, imperfect local leaders that – in an attempt to serve the Lord – still bring their own personalities, own imperfections into their calling. They mess up, they offend, they at times give incorrect or even conflicting council, yet there is room for them in the gospel of Jesus Christ as well. They didn’t ask for their leadership positions. Maybe they aspired to them, maybe they did not, but even they do more good at the local level than bad. Isn’t that what the gospel of Jesus Christ is about?

    I am a TBM, but more important than that, I am aligned with God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that alignment is not institutionally-based. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not perfect today, nor has it been in the past, as an institution. But it has helped me to align my life with God and Jesus Christ. And so I stand by it, despite the fault-finding of you and your supporters. For me, it IS the “only true and living church upon the face of the earth”, with which the Lord is well pleased, “speaking collectively, and not individually”.

    Best wishes to you and your family in this new chapter. I hope you find comfort, I hope you find peace. I hope that members of the LDS church will be charitable to not ostracize your kids and family. It does happen. It probably will happen to some extent. An awful side effect of living in a community where some choose to be close-minded. I do sincerely wish you – and others on here – happiness. I also wish that as you leave the church, somehow you could find it in yourself to LEAVE the church emotionally. I have many friends who are of other faiths. And when they choose to leave, they leave. I have never been able to understand why those that leave the LDS church feel so obligated to crusade for everyone to leave. That contrarian behavior speaks volumes to me and others about the truth of the restored gospel as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

    Signing off for good. I bid you farewell.

    1. “If it is of God, you are on the wrong side of this argument. If it is not of God, why so much effort on your part to force change/expose weakness? Who cares what their claims are regarding the “only true church”? Who cares about their missionary efforts, their temples, and other work of salvation? Who cares about their history, and whether they have promoted a different history, or buried some ugly truths. Who cares!?!?!”

      I care. I was raised in the church, and the inaccurate, faith-promoting version of Joseph Smith’s life was taught to me in my earliest years alongside facts like “this apple is red” and “I’m holding up one, two, three fingers.”

      The church claims truth, and strongly encourages its members to teach their children this truth as a foundation for their lives. The beliefs we pick up in early childhood are intensely powerful and influence us deeply for the rest of our lives. In my case, the beliefs I picked up turned out to be false; not only false, but damaging. It has been the work of many years to begin untangling them.

      John’s efforts have meant that I will not teach those false beliefs to my children. John’s efforts mean that my children will grow up knowing an accurate history of the church. John’s work my children will understand from an early age that their personal revelations are more valid than anything that comes to them over a pulpit. My children will grow up equating God with their own experiences of light and goodness, not with whatever their Sunday School teachers tell them. The value of this, to my children, cannot be overstated.

      So I care. John, thank you.

    2. “If it is of God, you can’t change it. If it is of Man, why try to change it? That would be like me trying to change a large corporation like Microsoft, instead of just going out and finding another product that suits my needs better.”

      Because it’s OUR heritage too! John, like myself, is a fifth generation Mormon with roots going back all the way to the beginning. How dare you ask us to abandon our heritage and culture just because we want to change it for the better. The LDS church is part of our ancestry, it’s our spiritual home. Just because we want to acknowledge historical facts and make this church more inclusive doesn’t mean that we need to abandon it.

    3. “I have never been able to understand why those that leave the LDS church feel so obligated to crusade for everyone to leave.”

      For some and perhaps many, they are simply following the wise counsel of the brethren: “It behooves every man who has been warned, to warn his neighbor.”

    4. ” I am aligned with God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Sadly the terms “Hubris” and “Humility” are frequent collateral of the pious.

      When one reads official declarations one and two, there is a different feel to these additions to the canon. There is a sober and somber temperance to both of these declarations. Wilford Woodruff lays out a course for the Saints not in “spirit of the Lord” confidence, but in a humble pragmatism, a solemn obedience to the laws of the United States, a seeming acknowledgment that the Lord did indeed give a commandment unto the children of men without preparing a way to accomplish the thing which He had commanded them. Woodruff asks: “Which is the wisest course for the Latter-Day Saints to pursue?” The second manifesto coming on the heels of sport boycotts leveled towards BYU, a conundrum with the Brazilian Saints and their new Temple (“Not one drop of negroid blood”) and general realization of the immorality of its stance, again the Mormon church in great pragmatism, bending to the “wisdom” of man. The wisdom of man made the church abandon truth claims about the “Keystone of our religion” and blended the Lamanites into Asiatic non-existence, basically nullifying the major goal of Enos’ and the title page. We threw Brigham Young under the bus of racism antiquity as we hurried to the table of civility, unaware of our gross tardiness, unaware of the tables we are soon to be late for as we bathe in our narcissism.

      Our Mormon faith has changed more than it has revealed. To say you are aligned with God begs so many face palms, but the question should be, which Gospel are you aligned with? The Polygamy Gospel? The only true church gospel? The King Follett Gospel? My point is that the church will change on many of the issues brought to light on this pod-cast. John, like many of us realize the train will eventually stop at the station, and trying to spare some suffering in the meantime. I left the church many years ago and I still engage with those in transition. If I had left an abusive house, I would do everything in my power to get my siblings out of that same house. If I were cheated by a business or huckster, I certainly would go out of my way to warn my friends and family. I stay engaged basically for the same reason the Mormon church sends out its garish missionary force, because I believe the Church is harmful, and I see John as trying to help not people like you who are wonderful, but those on the margins, specifically our gay sons and daughters that are one step away from putting a premature period to an otherwise hopeful life. John actually makes a difference. What have you done other than tell us how special you are with God?

    5. Many of us in the Church or out of the Church, don’t want to live our lives without honest and critical reasoning. For some of us, The Parable of the Pickle, (a Conference Talk) was a sad analogy. We are not satisfied with being “pickled”. Too much “drinking” gives the same result. Actually, I am being too kind…it was an uninspired metaphor to describe the process of progression. The true process that we hope for, is an eternal one, or at least as long as we are alive (if one is a non-believer). Joseph Smith, never reached the point of being “pickled”, his thinking was expansive…even the doctrine evolved in many aspects, and still is today, and will continue to do so.

    6. “Where are all the “fair-balanced” Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian websites out there, full of disgruntled members seeking a platform to complain, crying for change? Hard to find aren’t they?”
      I will tell you why they are hard to find. They are hard to find because those religions have not told their followers over and over, that they are the one and only true church upon the face of the earth, and that their leaders receive direct revelation from God!! They are hard to find because their youth do not have to go through worthiness interviews with their local leaders to ensure their young men are not masturbating and their young women are keeping the laws of chastity. They are not required to give 10% of their income so that they can be deemed worthy to enter their highest places of worship. They can believe all or part of their church doctrine. No one judges or criticizes them for what they do or do not believe. If they find no fulfillment in their religion or just do not believe in it, they just leave. If you try to leave this religion or express doubts in it’s truthfulness then you have family and friends telling you that you’ve been deceived by Satan himself, that you’ve lost the spirit, and that you will never be happy without the church. Most importantly you will never make it to the highest degree of heaven!! I wonder how many Catholics or Methodist etc. have been told that when they decided to leave their religion?? How many Catholics or Protestants do you know who have been excommunicated from their religions through “a court of love” because they publically expressed doubts about church doctrine or history, or have opinions that differed from their church leadership??? I would bet few if any!!!
      Hope this helps to clear up the issue as to why people cannot just emotionally leave this church Mr. D. Ivot!

    7. Mr. D. Ivot,

      I’m a Catholic, so I’m not exactly the most regular reader of this blog. Yet, I do feel a need to address something you said,

      “Yet their opponents spend far less effort trying “to right the ship” than you do. Where are all the “fair-balanced” Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian websites out there, full of disgruntled members seeking a platform to complain, crying for change? Hard to find, aren’t they?”

      Part of the reason for this is that in the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox Church while we’re on the subject) is that people are free to express doubts about Church teaching WITHOUT fear of disciplinary action. Doubt is NOT viewed as a sin in the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches!

      And yes, one can find plenty of Catholics (and some Orthodox Christians) who publicly reject Catholic teaching about sexuality, among other issues on blogs, websites, and their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Yet, these people never face any disciplinary action from the Catholic Church.

      Why does the Mormon Church have to be so harsh and inhuman with its approach to doubt?

      1. I’m going to try and explain the lack of open debate Since so much of LDS theology is based on the teachings of current and past prophets and apostles, any conversation that questions the theology also questions the person who taught it. The big question for LDS members is when does the prophet speak for the Lord, and when does he speak for himself. For those of us who turn to the Bible for truth, it does make a difference.

  24. John, realize that if you attend your excommunication hearing, you will be seen as acting in submission to LDS Priesthood authority. Clue: Priesthood authority is the first and final lie of Mormonism. Essentially you are being given an opportunity for repeating the transgression of Adam, meaning that excommunication is a “fortunate fall” that begins your upward journey towards a life of your own (= more joy, happiness, etc.) I left the church in ’81. I am reluctant to use the term brainwash for its negative connotations, but seriously, in another 10 years you will feel like one of the young people who helped break down the Berlin wall, a light, a champion of truth and freedom. Love you man. Lofte

  25. John,

    Since you know the Church can’t be trusted, even to share the proceedings even if they do take notes ‘for you’, stand up for your right to protect yourself by having your own recording or witness.

    But you would be doing yourself and them and everyone else a huge favor if you would not even attend or put up with their charade. Make them show their true colors by trying you in absentia, (imagine if they had to ex everyone in absentia, how bad they would look), that will help wake & warn others about the church’s wrongs, more than anything you can do at this point.

    Preaching or testifying to men who would do these things will not soften their hearts, they seem way past feeling.

    But if you choose to attend, appeal to the ‘highest authority, the highest judge on earth’ that even the Church has to bow to, ‘Christ’.

    Use Christ’s words (found in the NT) to show their errors and support your defense. Use the words of Christ, which no one can trump, to show how you have the right to free speech, public disagreement, the right to judge and discuss and warn others of everything the church does and says wrong, and how Christ supports you in your stances, like standing for the truth and especially the equality of women, for Christ and the Golden Rule are the best defense for women’s equality.

    These men would not want done to them what they do to women in so many things, from polygamy to leadership to Priesthood.

    Anyone watching this charade, especially members and leaders, has to agree with Christ as the ultimate judge. No one can claim ‘the Spirit’ as the judge for it’s far too faulty for anyone to be sure by which ‘Spirit’ anyone’s revelation comes, for even the best of prophets have been deceived to do evil by false revelation/inspiration from false Spirits.

    Thus why Christ commanded us to not only judge/test prophets but to test Spirit’s also.

  26. Dear John and Margi,
    I really feel for both of you as you finally come face to face with this most undemocratic and secretive council of lay individuals, who will exact the pre-determined wishes of the church.
    No one who is a seeker for truth, decency and common humanity deserves this kind of cold barbaric treatment which is ultimately designed to empower the accusers and humiliate the accused.
    Stand boldly against them, knowing that the inherent rights of individual free expression are fundamental in a diverse society which we share equally alongside each other, and which is paramount and central to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Please continue with your momentous and life saving work John, to boldly and honestly reach out to the struggling and oppressed in Mormon society.
    Thanks to you and like minded individuals, many members have been inspired to react to social injustice and marginalisation within their church lives, in a positive and healing manner, whilst endeavouring always to maintain a sense of dignity throughout.
    Many decent human beings are being constantly strengthened and enriched in their own individual church and family circumstances, by your vitally important work and endeavours on their behalf.
    Thank you John and please continue to be strong with your love, reaching out to those in despair and in desperate need of your continued help and assistance.

  27. How can they require you to sign a statement that you won’t record? What will they do if you refuse, send the Danites? All they can do is exclude you from their council.

  28. I am not Mormon, but I heard about your podcast on NPR about a week ago and have already listened to about 25 episodes — starting with number 1.

    I know I’m not your target audience, but I wanted you to know how much I have appreciated it. I feel like I understand Mormonism better and have a greater affection for Mormons after listening to the stories you present.

    Whatever happens with the disciplinary council, I hope you will continue doing the show. It clearly means a lot to a lot of people.

  29. After ALL these years the church has not learned or taught: It is REASON, SCIENCE, and EVIDENCE that has the possibilities to give us the TRUTH.

  30. Sam and Andrew Ainsworth both raised some interesting points…

    With regard to Sam’s post, I can see the value of a “court of law” (if that’s really what this is) permitting only one official record, but if that is accomplished by having the stake clerk take notes, and John is not allowed to make his own recording, where’s John’s guarantee that the official record is going to be a true and accurate representation of what really happened and what was really said, even if knowing that they’re being recorded does make a difference in what everyone involved says and how they behave? In fact, that may actually be a good thing if it forces them to be on their best behavior, even if for no other reason than that they don’t want to look like idiots in case part or all of the transcript becomes public information later.

    On the other hand, Andrew makes a good point that if everyone involved agrees not to make a recording of any kind, then they’re effectively depriving John of his right to appeal their decision to a higher “court”, that is, assuming that church courts work the same way as courts of law, if they do, but I’m afraid they probably don’t. Andrew’s later comparison to the historical precedent for private disciplinary proceedings is both thought provoking and disturbing.

    It’s starting to look more and more like there’s really no way for John to “win” this one, and that he would do best to just not show up, weather he brings a recording device or not, as others have already suggested. According to the stake president’s letter (if I read it correctly), not being there (with or without a recording device) is a valid option, even within the rules of the church. Although it denies him the right to face his accusers (another comparison to non religious courts of law which may or may not be consistent with church policy), it may also deprive his accusers of the opportunity to accuse him of anything further by telling their version of what he says and does in this meeting. Without a reliable record, it would be too easy for anyone to misquote him and claim (even if honestly) that they were telling the truth according to their memory.

    What a sad mess. I’m sorry to hear that it’s come to this. I can only hope that somehow, someday, some good will come out of all this. Maybe if John keeps all these podcasts up on the internet for as long as he can, others will have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes that have been made in the past and are still being made in the present. I just hope it will get better in the future.

  31. Glad I’m out.

    I don’t know how this church can do more than tread water if it continues to claim absolute authority of truth.

    The younger folk just aren’t buying it any more.

  32. Here is what hope that I would do/say I if were placed in your situation.

    1: The Confidentiality Acknowledgement you have presented to me places you in an untenable position because my church membership is of great spiritual and emotional importance to me. I do not believe that I have acted in a way that would justify the disciplinary acts which may be taken against me, as they were described in the letter notifying me of my disciplinary council. Therefore, I have the most earnest desire to attend to and participate in my disciplinary council, including providing testimony from myself and other witnesses, as may be appropriate. Your letter dictating that I must sign the Confidentiality Acknowledgement or I will not be allowed to attend and participate places me under the most severe duress. I am now in a position where I must either refrain from an act which I have a legal right to do or be denied my ability to participate in my disciplinary council. If I am unable to attend it would surely result in the most grievous of the described actions being taken against me resulting in extreme mental, emotional and spiritual distress to me and my family. Since I have previously expressed a desire to have an accurate record of my disciplinary council made your decision to bar my attendance unless I sign the Confidentiality Acknowledgement dictating that I abide by terms which are contrary to my previously stated desires any written or verbal agreement to said document would be void as it can now only be given under duress as I still desire to have an accurate record made.

    I acknowledge and respect the gravity of this council and the need for confidentiality and that the churches directive is that church disciplinary councils should not be audio or video recorded. Policy also directs that a clerk make a record of the proceeding and that the accused may have a copy of that record. It behooves all of us that an accurate record be kept so that, no matter what the outcome, everyone involved may defend themselves from spurious accusations and the veracity of the record not be called into question. That is why I suggest that either we come to an agreement upon who the clerk is and how the transcript is prepared and disseminated to assure the appearance of accuracy or that you allow me to have an additional clerk of my own choosing. I know there are many faithful LDS professional transcribers who we could both agree upon to accurately record the proceeding and provide copies to both you and I. I respectfully implore you to reconsider your prior decision to not allow me to have my own clerk record the council or find a mutually agreeable professional transcriber as the clerk. As this has become a matter in the media I fear that if there is not a level of transparency which could be easily afforded, as outlined above, many may question the fundamental fairness and effectiveness of the proceeding and damage many testimonies of the gospel far beyond those participating in this council. I believe that one of the reasons that a council has been called for me is that I advocate that members of the church should critically ponder the teachings of church leaders. I believe that critical analysis of one own beliefs is essential to true and meaningful faith. The reason I started and continue doing pod casts about the church and it’s teachings is that the Holy Ghost can only testify to things which are true. If there are teachings which are not based in truth the Holy Ghost cannot testify about them. What is discuss in the pod casts is meant to open dialog about practices or teachings that may not be grounded in the truth. The end purpose is to strengthen members resolve to believe and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have heard it said that not all things that are true are helpful, which I agree with because it is absolutely true; however, teachings which are untrue are always harmful. One of my greatest concerns is that if this proceeding goes forward without my attendance or without the appearance of an appropriate level of openness and fairness there are those who will use the secrecy to allege anything they lie want for the purpose of deceiving other and destroying testimonies and lead people away from the Christ and the church.

    I continue to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance and direction regarding the decisions that we must both make regarding how we will each choose to proceed in this most sacred and important matter. It is not my desire to be contentious or challenge the authority or calling you have. In a spirit of genuine contrition and a desire to understand what mistakes I have made I ask you to afford me these accommodations so that if my heart is so hardened at this time I cannot perceive my own errors I may use this process to discover and correct those errors. I consider this matter no less important than my baptism, endowment and sealing to my wife. I hope that you can appreciate my concern that if after hearing the testimony presented you decide that I have strayed from a path of righteousness and choose to void or suspend any of those covenants if you have not allowed me make and keep an accurate record it will be all the more difficult for me repent of the errors I have made. Due to my human frailty I certainly will not be able to accurately recall even a small portion of that was said and I may be left with a perception that it was unfair or unjust with no way to review it and come to any other understanding. A process which provides me a record, of which I cannot doubt the veracity of, will allow me to ponder and pray about my condition that I may become reconciled with and perfected in God, in the future.

    ***

    I would also bring many witness, like myself, to testify of how your pod casts have provided my wife and myself the tools and understanding to discuss, address and resolve for ourselves any concerns surrounding the issues about the church and the gospel.
    My testimony would be as follows

    I have heard a recurring theme amongst those that have left the church that certain hard to reconcile issues were not discussed, and some times even denied, when they were in their youth and by the time they were made aware of them they felt deceived. I casues me to recall the testimony of Prof. Steven Walker, an english professor I had to ehonor of taking his class whaile at BYU. He testified that (http://mormonscholarstestify.org/601/steve-walker ) and emphasis the following as my own observation also:

    “In every instance where I’ve seen faith lost I was at least as familiar with the negative evidence as the friends for whom that same evidence triggered disillusionment. The pattern in every loss of faith I’ve observed is not overreaching into too much learning. It is, rather, uninformed expectations. It is an insistence on perfection in anything religious that sets up over idealizing believers for inevitable disillusionment. Far from being too much learning, the consistent cause of the loss of faith I have seen is in fact too little learning, or learning too late. Every person I know who’s lost faith has been a true believer of the straight arrow Eagle Scout “best two years of my life” missionary variety until the messy facts caught up with their faultless ideals. By hearing pondering and discussing these challenging issue we have had have had our testimonies and resolve to remain active in the church strengthened.”

    I first began listening to Mormon Matters and Mormon Stories many years ago. I find the more I listen to them the more committed and dedicated I am to attend church and seek guidance from the Lord. I perceive that discipline towards Mr. Dehlin would do more to shake my faith and testimony of the leaders of the church than anything that I have heard on the pod casts in all the years I have listened to them. The problem is with the actions of past church leadership not with talking about it. Like I say to those upset about shows about polygamists or feel that they portrait Mormons poorly, I say don’t get angry at the media if you are angry at anyone it should be the polygamist claiming to be Mormon and that God directs them to still practice it.

    I pray that the spirit will bear testimony to your stake president that the gospel and the church can withstand critical analysis of errors and transgressions of men and be the stronger for it. Disciplining those who respectfully point out inconsistencies only serves the purposes of the adversary by leading many more away from the church than those that may stumble due to the truth. We need more inoculations not more amputations.

  33. I read Tom Grover’s response. It sounds as if, metaphorically speaking, John has created a vaccine for Latter-day Saints who are more critically thinking than others. I’ll call them “intellectuals.”

    QUESTION: Of 21 people who take it, if a vaccine to a disease saves 10 intellectuals perfectly while fatally harming 11 non-intellectuals who would not have otherwise been harmed, is the vaccine worth it?

    I think this is the real issue. Sure John’s “vaccine” works marvelously for some. But, does the vaccine have unintended consequences that outweigh the benefits because it severely hurts others more than it heals?

    If so, then John’s excommunication is appropriate. If not, then inappropriate.

    And, if it’s ultimately inappropriate, then Christ’s atonement will eventually heal him of the injustice he suffered and make things better for him, especially as he learns to love his Mormon neighbors that err in weighing the benefit to harm ratio and victimize him.

    Personally, I think intellectuals are tougher than the non-intellectuals, generally speaking, when it comes to doctrinal issues. So, if you have to choose between those to be merciful to when their interests collide, then be merciful to the non-intellectuals.

    From another perspective, if someone has to be victimized because of an irreconcilable situation, then allow the harm to the stronger ones.

    This is a situation, I believe, where the choice is being made as to what set of people to show more mercy to and that set is the group harmed most–the non-intellectuals who spiritually rot because of the vaccine John produced.

    I say we find a new vaccine that’s better for everyone. This isn’t a situation where John’s vaccine is the only cure for intellectuals

  34. As they try to smear your good name and cause others to shun you and as they try to label you an apostate, remind them of all the ways they are in fact apostate from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Maybe use the words of Abinadi, saying that ‘if they have in fact read the scriptures they do not follow them’.

    Christ taught us to ‘test & prove all things and persons’ before trusting or believing them. So ask them to show you proof of where they even get their supposed authority to excommunicate you from the true Church of Jesus Christ? Where in the Gospels did Christ ever teach excommunication?

    Saying it was Joseph’s idea or revelation doesn’t cut it, for this is not the Church of Joseph Smith, and JS taught us to not listen to a word he or anyone says if they don’t teach according to the words of Christ, and excommunication is a invention of man not from Christ.

  35. Hi John,

    Say Hi to Bryan King for me. We were in the same medical school class and he was my home teacher way back when. Nice guy. We carpooled to school together and shared many great conversations. Our lives have obviously taken divergent paths.

    I recommend that as you discuss the rules about no recording, that you bring up a rule of your own–ecclesiastical confidentiality. As your ecclesiastical leader, Bryan King has a responsibility to adhere to a strict standard of confidentiality regarding anything you have told him in private. Tell him right up front that you refuse him permission to mention anything that you have discussed with him in his office to his counsellors or to the members of the high council. Tell him you are happy to go along with the disciplinary council, but that he is forbidden from discussing you or your personal life with anyone else in the room.

    Tell him that if he does discuss anything you have told him, you will consider that a breach of his duty as your confidential confessor, and that you will consider what legal options you might have under such circumstances. Also tell him that if he violates your confidentiality in this setting, you will report him to the Utah Board of Medical Examiners, for if he is willing to blabber confidential information to 14 other guys who have no business knowing your personal affairs, what is to keep him from blabbering confidential medical information about his patients to his wife or to their church leaders.

    Smile and say, “Are we ready?”

    Or you could just present him with a resignation letter up front and say that now that you are no longer a member (as of the moment the letter was delivered) there is no need for a disciplinary council since there is no church doctrine that provides for disciplinary councils of non-members.

    My last bit of advice: When they give you an opportunity to speak, tell them that you find it ironic that sitting among the 15 men who are about to take away your church membership are a man who trolls for gay sex on those special walking trails in the canyon, and another who regularly meets his female coworker for “after hours” office fun. Look pointedly at two of them and then walk out. They needn’t know it isn’t true. Just leave some mild poison in the well to give them some internal trust issues after you’re gone.

    1. I was not aware that Pres. King was a doctor. Are Doctors in Utah mandatory reporters in Utah? If so they are not supposed to sit on Disciplinary Councils wherein facts that would trigger said mandatory reporting to government officials may be discussed. I hope that is not the situation here but it calls into question rather or not any mandatory reporters i.e. LEO’s, doctors, nurses, teachers, etc. should even be called to positions where they are likely to have information divulged to them that may trigger those reporting obligations.

  36. Since when has raising questions been grounds for excommunication? Questions of faith are perfectly legitimate in any religion, and at all times. It’s the responsibility of church leadership to hear and respond to the member’s questions with respect,facts,candor and utmost honesty. If the Mormon Church can’t do that, perhaps the wrong party is coming under censure.

    The Aaronic Priesthood is a little presumption for young men; the Melchizedek Priesthood is only a bigger presumption for older guys and a great vanity on the part of those who take it up believing it confers genuine power. If I were a woman I’d carefully consider whether I should protest at not being given the honor of participating in a cheap charade. Do these innocent femmes genuinely desire to be equal to stuffed shirts, paper tigers, to be crowned as chambermaids? Is priesthood such a big word that people can’t understand the underlying manipulation, the mind games played on slow-minded but honest folk?

    You may also consider that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to become the next Martin Luther in religious history. Use it to post your 95 theses on their doors, then celebrate your virtue for not cringing at their tinkling of cymbals. Sincerely, your descendants will hold your name in highest regard while theirs will disown their forefathers for perpetuating deceptions.

    Today’s LDS Church is crying for quality leadership. Now comes a man worthy in every respect,bright,honest,caring,full of integrity and overflowing with desperately needed ideas and initiative to follow through with hard leg work. If they don’t offer you a position as one of the apostles, I don’t believe they can claim anyone’s respect. Just wait;In 10 years they’ll do exactly as you have done and call it an inspired revelation.

    The true meaning of excommunication: a church’s way of disposing of embarrassing inspirations they didn’t have the imagination to dream up. Excommunication was invented long ago by–you guessed it–the great abominable church. Please read John 9:32-38; 16:1-3. It was an apostate Jewish priesthood that gave us the only instances of excommunication in the Bible, and they were wrong then, too. Great lesson to take to your hearing. Note it well; Yours will be the only clean hands in the room.

  37. I wonder if the Mormon Church insists it have the only copy of contracts it signs with others.

    I would bet that church leaders will record this disciplinary council and insist on keeping the only copy.

  38. John,
    My heart and thoughts are with you and your family. You have the support and love of the many people you’ve helped get through the most difficult period of time in many of our lives. I know this because you helped me save my integrity as I was losing trust in the religious narrative that I had been taught since birth. You inspired me to process my experience in as healthy of a way as possible so that I wouldn’t self-destruct, which I was literally on the path of doing. With the help of Mormon Stories, I learned that it is during those times of personal crisis that we can “forge meaning and build identity”, as Andrew Solomon said.

    Hope is a function of struggle, and after struggling with coming to terms about the truth claims of the church, I feel that I have more hope and positivity than I ever had during my previous life as an active member. I am a more healthy and emotionally mature human being for having to process the truth behind the religion that I loved so much. You helped me through that process by making my landing on the solid ground of truth as soft as possible. Thank you for your passion and dedication to caring for those of us who needed help at the time we needed it.

    You had such a lucrative career ahead of you having worked at Microsoft and Bain. But you chose to follow your passion to help people, on the ground level, and gave up a lot of money to do so. I am amazed and inspired by the personal sacrifice you, your wife, and children have made.

    It pains me to see you mistreated and mischaracterized. It is small and unjust. I hope that any person or entity that claims to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ shows you the same kind of love and compassion that he taught.

    Thank you again for all the positively you have done. You are good. You are special. You are loved.

  39. Recording and sharing your experience, or story, of Disciplinary Counsel, would seem an act true to what you have strived to do with all of your efforts: share Truth, and individuals’ stories within Mormonism. Stories that others have dealt with and can relate to.
    -truth about the past, present of what the Church does, how it does, what it denies, how it hurts some kinds of people.
    In this case you could share, unadulterated, unrevised, whole truth of what anyone goes through at the hands of the Church in a “Court of Love”. That way it is all open and honestly available for all to hear, know how it goes, how one is treated, and if it is fair or unfair, loving or not.
    Like you have expressed: every person deserves to know the entire truth, facts about what they are buying into when they are joining the Church, and, in this case, following ones conscience, spreading Truth, and trying to stay in the Church with ones doubts (as Elder Uchtdorf claims is possible and wanted by the Church and its leaders.)
    Please record audio for this reason.
    I hope I have been convincing, because I think this is the ultimate or most honest, and enlightening and very clearest Story that one could hear to understand just how and what the Church is; the Church that sends missionaries to convince them to join, give their life and family to.

  40. Peace to you John. On this topic, as on many others of this nature, the insight of Sterling McMurrin is appropriate:

    “Now, any day now, the church might decide to dispense with me, and I will say very frankly and very honestly, I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t. I really don’t. It’s just that simple. And if I were called in for ex… sometimes they say, “What would you do if you were called in to be excommunicated?” Well, I can tell you one thing for sure. I wouldn’t miss the trial like some of my friends have, who don’t bother to go to the trial. I wouldn’t miss it on a bet. Now, I would want a witness there, but not a witness on my behalf. Now if President McKay had shown up, I wouldn’t have objected to anything he said. But I wouldn’t want a witness there on my behalf. But I would want a witness, somebody else who could tell what happened there. I would want somebody to see what happened. But I wouldn’t try to defend myself at all in an excommunication trial. Because I don’t have any defense. I would have to say, “Now look, you are the people who are sort of on trial. You have got to decide whether you want guys like me in the church or not.” And there are good reasons for not having people like me in the church, and there may be, for all I know, there may be some good reasons for having people like me in the church. When I was a young man and started teaching seminary for the church there were liberally minded seminary teachers, you know. And we thought we could make a contribution to the church. We really did. Well, I don’t think that any longer. The church belongs to the true believers who are 100% tithe payers and the general authorities. I used to think the church belongs to all of us. That was back in my youthful idealistic days, you see. I don’t believe that any longer. I seriously don’t believe that any longer. And if they decide to get rid of people like me, which I am well aware would include a lot of people in this audience, I would think they would be perfectly within their rights.

  41. All people who choose to associate with each other should have the freedom and right to negotiate and set the terms of that association. It’s not healthy, just, and fair for one party in a relationship to set the terms for all other participants, which is an appeal to authority that creates a dominant/submissive society.

    John, perhaps you should hold a court on your terms and invite Mormon Church leadership to attend and then treat them as they have treated you – I would bet they wouldn’t even attend nor recognize your “authority” to set the terms so why give them that power over you. Leadership conditions members to be subservient to the so-called authority of the Mormon Church, yet they only have as much power as one is willing to give them.

    1. I like your idea. I can imagine a podcast court. The charge could be: “Not having the individual members best interest at heart.”

      What would they do if they had your welfare in mind? What would they not do?

  42. Just draft a resignation letter and hand it to your Bishop. Don’t validate this star chamber kangaroo court by attending. They want it all their way, don’t give it to them John.

  43. For the record, I don’t see John trying to “get people on his team”. There are many who dislike injustice in any form. Following these proceedings is important. Only by knowing all sides of a story, do you ever even know the story. And for those superior individuals who think they know everyone’s motives, labeling them “victim mentalities”, etc., you are no different than the church who sits in judgment of others. Stay on point. Offering support to someone does not infringe on you in any way. There is no need to belittle others.

  44. John,

    Speaking as someone trained in law (but not providing legal advice!), you should feel free to go ahead and tape record your excommunication. The Church will not be able to do anything substantive once you release the recording to the internet. They could try to sue you, but their only case is breach of contract, and you have a good defense that the contract was formed under duress and/or coercion. Besides, they couldn’t provide any damages.

    The chief difficulty will be smuggling your recorder / iPod in…

    1. No need to lie about tape recording. Just have a good “carefully worded denial” after the fact. The Church understands and respects the difference.

  45. John –

    Further thoughts on the confidentiality contract.

    1. If your wife is attending, make sure she doesn’t participate in any way by speaking, so that she is not a “participant.” That takes here out of the contract.

    2. Have your wife smuggle in a recorder, and record the proceedings for a friend. Thus, the recording will not have been made “for John Dehlin.”

    3. Don’t worry about their contract anyway. Their only possible action would be a breach of contract. Your defenses are that the contract was signed under duress and coercion. Moreover, they could never prove they’ve sustained any damages anyway. Further, it’s not even clear that the Church could sue you, as the “contract” doesn’t make it clear that they are a party to the contract, rather than President King.

  46. It’s very telling when members and leaders of a church refuse to accept, discuss, admit and repent of their own apostate teachings and behavior, yet so easily call others ‘apostate’ who call them on it.

    At least John is humble enough to have a teachable spirit and accept and admit his errors and respectfully reason together with others of differing views.

    While church leaders and most members are so blinded by their intense pride they are usually unteachable and can’t see or stand to hear about their errors, and believe themselves to be ‘infallible’ despite mounds of proof to the opposite.

    Church members and leaders who don’t have the humility to handle and discuss the same labels they so quickly dish out to others, prove they are in fact a false church that doesn’t believe in following Christ and the Golden Rule.

    God/Christ have commanded us to not support or be a part of such churches anyway.

  47. John, best wishes and good luck! You have been a beacon of hope for many of us. I for one am glad that you are fighting the good fight. Don’t give in and don’t be bullied by conspiring men. Make a stand if only on principle. You have been open and honest and true to what you believe in. I hope it works out and that you confound those who have somewhat unkind intent.

  48. In fact, I recall that in the recent LDS press conference, Elder Oaks talked about religious freedom and that all people had the right to form their own religious opinions and views and that all people had the equal right to voice those opinions.
    Explain it to me if I have misunderstood, but is there a disconnect here? He clearly states that all people have this basic right which is part of the constitution.
    Further, the 11th article of faith says;

    11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    Would Elder Oaks suggest that once you become a member of the church then you forego this right? Well if that is the case, then why is it an ‘article of faith’ within the Mormon church in the first place? There is no disclaimer that suggests that Mormons should lose this basic Liberty of feel stymied manipulated or controlled by the church. Isn’t this cultism?
    Finally, why would anyone wish to join this church if their basic rights is removed in the same way that the church takes away. Missionary’s passport. I thought turning to Christ enhanced our freedoms and built upon them. I would propose that the church is adopting an adversarial approach by restricting freedoms and silencing those who are honest seekers and free thinkers. End of rant.

  49. It seems like the best and brightest are either leaving on their own or are being excommunicated by the church. I have been inactive for a long time but out of respect for my active father, I am still a member of record. I think the best way to send a clear message to these 15 untouchable men is for everyone who is in a similar situation as myself to just walk away. That actually might get their attention if they lose several million members overnight.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree Mark. It would be great if the millions that sit on the fence would leave or stop attending Church, especially stop giving their money to the Church and give it directly to the poor and fatherless themselves.

      For I believe the Church listens best through their ‘Tithing Slips’.

      I shutter to think of all the money I gave to the Church not realizing how the suffering of the poor and the fatherless is being ignored, even as those poor are pressured to pay the ‘light bills and fancy restaurant dinners and vacations’ of able-bodied Church leaders in their lavish life-styles, (who should be supporting themselves like King Benjamin), even while many of those members wonder how they will pay their own light bill, let alone even think about eating out or going on a vacation.

      ‘Ignorance’ is the only thing keeping people believing in the Church.

      Unfortunately many are unable to leave because their unchristlike spouse would divorce them if they did, which would hurt their children worse then continuing to attend an apostate Church.

  50. Isn’t there some way to hide your recording device so they’re not aware that you are recording them? Surely there’s that type of technology out there somewhere. Then have your wife record it instead of you. That way you can sign the recording waiver because “you” didn’t technically record it. Just a thought.

  51. Irony and the Collective Subjective

    The Court of Love smacks of too much Irony, way too much irony.
    Like a black hole where not even light can escape, The Court of Love is hermetically sealed with Clerical Crazy Glue.

    How can the penultimate American Exceptionalists (The Mormons) expect to be Good Americans when they still dunk witches and execute heretics in secret proceedings?
    How can the light of day escape from the Court of LoVE?

  52. John, unless your object is to stir the pot a bit more, I don’t understand why you (and so many here) are consumed with the idea of recording your disciplinary council. What if you just walked in and talked to your SP like a normal person? My gut is telling me that you want to record the meeting for reasons unrelated to concerns about unfair treatment. Am I wrong?

    1. Because just ‘talking to’ such men like his SP (who appear past feeling) would do nothing to help remedy this type of thing from continuing to happen, and John can use his situation to warn others about the Church, which is the highest service he can provide his fellow Saints.

  53. Hi John,

    You might consider writing a letter to the Stake President telling him that you are contemplating granting a specified individual “Limited Power of Attorney” so that s/he can represent you in all matters public and private with you or in your stead. I am assuming that in Utah, as in many states, a private institution (such as a bank) is required to honor the decisions made by a member or affiliate acting on your behalf if it is within the scope and power of a notarized Limited Power of Attorney agreement. You might include in your letter some justification for a representative: 1) your representative will have the power to decide whether and which episodes of Mormon Stories will be removed from public view, 2) your representative will have the power to accept or reject any new conditions of change/repentance stipulated by the council, 3) given the grueling nature of it all, it is reasonable to entrust certain powers in advance with a legal representative who can respond should it be too emotional for you to do so, etc.

    Yes, you have the right to record any conversation of which you are an active participant (if you are not an active participant it could be subject to “wiretapping” laws). But private parties have the right to create club rules on their property as long as those club rules are not illegal (you have the legal right to record a temple ceremony clandestinely; temple workers have the right to dismiss you if they suspect it). However, refusing to deal with the legally authorized representative of a member/affiliate would be an illegal club rule. That would change significantly how the public perceives this and how you could subsequently engage the courts, should you be inclined to venture.

    I think you are arguably the greatest man of this (Mormon) generation.
    Love from afar,
    Lars

  54. John:

    The Church is not what it claims as more and more people are discovering. Thanks for pointing this out to your many listeners. It has helped a lot.

    I feel sorry you have to go through this simply because you publicly question the Church’s claims and political stances on certain issues. Too bad the leadership cannot tolerate contrasting points of view. Anyway, you are going to be better off after sunday. Best of luck to you and Mormon Stories in the future!

  55. John, You should practice scribbling a barely-legible “eff you” and thus sign their confidentiality paper. Legally, it would still count as your signature but at least it would feel good, and perhaps give you a calm presence as you face the mini-Sanhedrin.

    The church’s secrecy is telling. It’s like when they say something is too sacred to speak about, I’ve noticed that it always refers to something that would be embarrassing to discuss. The same thing applies to this proceeding against you. They’re doing their best to mitigate embarrassment for their actions.

    Keep your head up John. I’m a non-believer in good standing (member). You have made me a more patient, more loving and more empathetic towards others in the church. Keep your head up. You have done everything with sincerity and respect. You’re a great example of a respectful, intelligent challenge to power. I wish you and your family well.

  56. It is unfortunate that the only way to force Church PR into any semblance of truth-telling is a profound level of transparency regarding your private affairs. Nothing less will cause the church to consider being truthful, which is sad. And, I suppose the church will still lie about everything it can. As a member of the church I do find that fact terribly embarrassing.

  57. One thing to remember is that once you are excommunicated for apostasy, John, Mormon Stories will officially become an apostate group, and church members who listen to your podcasts will then be guilty of “affiliating with apostate groups”, and may be subject to church sanctions and discipline. This will have the effect (I’m sure Church leaders know this) of driving people who use this service further underground. I fear there will be long reaching ramifications of this disciplinary action for far more than just you and your immediate family.

    1. Lee,

      Excellent point! It may drive some further underground, but it could also serve as a “last straw” for many members with legitimate concerns and questions. I am a member, but no longer believe many of the church’s claims and or doctrines. All I know for sure is that I think John Dehlin has never intentionally tried to mislead anyone or convince them to leave the church. I believe he honestly is trying to provide a place of comfort where members with questions can come and discuss issues that they cannot talk to anyone else about.

      I am betting on people’s own inherent honesty and being true to their beliefs. I think that if the church goes through with this and then makes anyone who associates with Mormon Stories an apostate by association, you will see a mass exodus from the church unlike anything to this point in time.

      Thank you John for all you have done for me personally. I wish you and your family the very best.

  58. Given Elder Oaks remarks about religious freedom at the recent press conference, and how all persons have the right to form and express religious views, Would Elder Oaks suggest that once you become a member of the church then you forego this right? Well if that is the case, then why is it an ‘article of faith’ within the Mormon church in the first place? There is no disclaimer that suggests that Mormons should lose this basic Liberty or feel stymied manipulated or controlled by the church. Isn’t this cultism?
    Finally, why would anyone wish to join this church if their basic rights is removed? I thought turning to Christ enhanced our freedoms and built upon them. I would propose that the church is adopting an adversarial approach by restricting freedoms and silencing those who are honest seekers and free thinkers. End of rant.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. As a new member, I find what’s going on heartbreaking. I might not agree with every single point of those facing (or those that have faced), apostasy charges. But my gosh, to push questioners, doubters or those the church perceives as troublemakers or heretics out? My gosh, what did I sign myself up for? The missionaries didn’t tell me this during the lessons. This is scary stuff, and sad too.

  59. The Handbook of Instructions is intended to be a guide. Bishops and Stake Presidents are not “commanded in all thing”. They can decide to do things that are not addressed in the handbook if it seems prudent. However, even when the instructions are clear, they don’t always follow them or they conveniently misinterpret them so they can do what they want to do anyway. Unless they are committing some scandalous sin that becomes public, they can do anything they think will benefit the church even when it is at the expense of the members. Often, there is little to no recourse or protection for the relatively vulnerable members from this very powerful organization. They will protect the “good name of the church” at any cost including your destruction.

    Does it sound like I have first hand knowledge on this subject? I do. I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.

    1. …and while we’re on the subject, I realized that the 2006 version of the secret church handbook (the one that is up on Wikileaks) is not the current one. Apparently there is a more recent edition dated 2010?

      If anyone has access to a copy of the 2010 edition and is willing, it would be nice if we could get the current one up on Wikileaks or some other such website that would make it freely and readily available. That way the rest of us would would be able to keep up with the most recent set of rules that the church leaders are supposed to be following, whether they like it or not. Whether they follow them or not is another story, but at least it would remove a little of their unfair advantage.

      I find it interesting that some church leaders have lauded the internet as a wonderful tool for doing your genealogy and missionary work and other such “righteous” endeavors, or on the other hand warned their members of its “evils” (pornography, violent video games, etc), but I don’t think any of them have yet admitted (at least not publicly and/or to the general membership) to this other problem that they’re now having: it makes it really hard for them to keep anything secret anymore, and they may be forced to admit their mistakes and make some changes, or else lose a significant portion of their membership.

      Many thanks to John and others like him for taking the risks to play a major role in making this happen, because I think that it will ultimately be a good thing, even if we have some serious bumps in the road along the way, such as the one scheduled for Sunday.

      1. Here is the word of the Lord on how church courts are to be conducted (D&C 102):
        12 Whenever a high council of the church of Christ is regularly organized, according to the foregoing pattern, it shall be the duty of the twelve councilors to cast lots by numbers, and thereby ascertain who of the twelve shall speak first, commencing with number one and so in succession to number twelve.

        13 Whenever this council convenes to act upon any case, the twelve councilors shall consider whether it is a difficult one or not; if it is not, two only of the councilors shall speak upon it, according to the form above written.

        14 But if it is thought to be difficult, four shall be appointed; and if more difficult, six; but in no case shall more than six be appointed to speak.

        15 The accused, in all cases, has a right to one-half of the council, to prevent insult or injustice.

        16 And the councilors appointed to speak before the council are to present the case, after the evidence is examined, in its true light before the council; and every man is to speak according to equity and justice.

        17 Those councilors who draw even numbers, that is, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, are the individuals who are to stand up in behalf of the accused, and prevent insult and injustice.

        18 In all cases the accuser and the accused shall have a privilege of speaking for themselves before the council, after the evidences are heard and the councilors who are appointed to speak on the case have finished their remarks.

        19 After the evidences are heard, the councilors, accuser and accused have spoken, the president shall give a decision according to the understanding which he shall have of the case, and call upon the twelve councilors to sanction the same by their vote.

        20 But should the remaining councilors, who have not spoken, or any one of them, after hearing the evidences and pleadings impartially, discover an error in the decision of the president, they can manifest it, and the case shall have a re-hearing.

        21 And if, after a careful re-hearing, any additional light is shown upon the case, the decision shall be altered accordingly.

        22 But in case no additional light is given, the first decision shall stand, the majority of the council having power to determine the same.

        23 In case of difficulty respecting doctrine or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.

        24 The high priests, when abroad, have power to call and organize a council after the manner of the foregoing, to settle difficulties, when the parties or either of them shall request it.

        25 And the said council of high priests shall have power to appoint one of their own number to preside over such council for the time being.

        26 It shall be the duty of said council to transmit, immediately, a copy of their proceedings, with a full statement of the testimony accompanying their decision, to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church.

        27 Should the parties or either of them be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.

        28 This council of high priests abroad is only to be called on the most difficult cases of church matters; and no common or ordinary case is to be sufficient to call such council.

        1. Thank you for the information. I do have a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants. However, I have noticed that the “word of the Lord”, as written in the D&C over 100 years ago, often does not accurately reflect how the LDS church conducts its business in modern times.

          Another example of this is that whenever Section 119 is quoted, more recent statements by general authorities must also be quoted in order for members to understand that “surplus” and “interest” (the only operative words in that section that offer any clues as to how the required tenth is to be calculated) are now understood to mean “ten percent of your GROSS income whether you can afford it or not”, even though the words in the original D&C text imply that NET income might be closer to what they were talking about, at least back then.

          I’m only suggesting that if changes have been made in church policies and practices since these scriptures were written, that’s fine — a church should be able to change and improve when necessary, as long as those changes are published openly and made easily available to the general membership and anyone else who needs to know.

  60. I left the church about 6 years ago, after a heated discussion with a Mormon apologist who turned me in to the Stake President who called me in for an interview. I did not attend the interview, nor would I have attended a church court. I already had studied my way out of the Mormon faith, and could not imagine spending all the time and money on an organization that has no theological basis other than the testimony of a man that I no longer had any respect for Joseph Smith. I did not discontinue my study of Christianity after leaving Mormonism but did an in-depth study and hands on journey through Christianity and the claims of the different denominations. This was a wonderful journey. The study of the early Fathers, the bible, the writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin have landed me in the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t throw Christ away with the Mormon bathwater. All your angst is answered in Him. Best wishes, continue the good fight but don’t stop there.

  61. In a time of universal deceit–telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
    –George Orwell

    Dear John and Margi,

    Your integrity is a reflection of all that is celebrated in our history books. This is a civil rights issue which the Corporation of the Church continues to violate in egregious ways. Funny how we can read about the Inquisition or the Salem Witch Trials and think that we have passed those superstitious cultures only to find that we live smack-dab in the middle of one. Thank you, both, for your bravery. I know the angst and emotional upheaval you have experienced is a painful, but liberating process. With love and support for your being brave enough to endure what the rest of us are hiding from!

  62. John, as an American Citizen and a Utahn, you are not beholden to any “King,” much less Bryan King. The wiretapping laws in Utah clearly state that you and you alone can record any conversation you want, without the other party’s permission. As a broadcast journalist you have never let us down. You have educated your audience and provided hope and comfort to many on sensitive subjects that concern us all. Kudos to you, John.

    Due to the power of the internet, we have access to information from around the globe. This enables us to make meaningful decisions about our own lives regarding religion, science, politics, sexuality, etc. As Gutenberg and his printing press were crucial in disseminating printed material to the common man, our new technology allows us a lot more transparency in a quick fashion.

    I say tape the Love Court, John. Broadcast the outcome to your podcast audience if you feel comfortable doing it. If it is truly a court of love, then the Elders of the church should not be concerned about transparency. Love is always transparent.

    All the best to you, sir. I have nothing but respect.

  63. I know that at least one of the twelve sitting on the disciplinary council is well aware that mormon church is not what it claims to be – possibly quite a few more. But, like many mormons, those sitting on the disciplinary council can’t reveal their doubts publicly.

    What one of them can do is record John’s hearing.

    I think it is very likely that one of the men sitting on the disciplinary council will record John’s hearing and, ultimately, that recording will be leaked to the internet.

    This is not outlandish speculation. There are many, many people inside the mormon church that leak information regarding the church. I’ve personally communicated with someone inside the church who anonymously leaked a lot of inside information regarding the church in the past. I’m not suggesting I know someone on the council intends to record John’s hearing, but I won’t be surprised at all.

    Why do you think President King is asking everyone on the council to sign the promise not to record? What does that tell you?

    Someone will probably record the hearing. It will pop up on the internet.

  64. I have a sister who is a Mormon convert. Her whole life revolves around her faith. It would destroy her emotionally to have to face the truth about the churches actual history let alone its validity or the truth relative to god’s existence. Life is hard. It is also scary, lonely, and dangerous. Many people build their lives around a belief in god and the afterlife to help them cope with the reality of daily life and the terrifying finality of death. My sister like many religious adherents has her entire social sphere of contacts and influence built within and around the church. Attacking her faith would be a horrible act of violence and an evil thing to do even though her faith is misplaced and built on the sand of an evil man’s ambition.
    I totally understand why a person with the intelligence and emotional maturity to know better would want to remain member after having built their life in and around the church. For one thing being able to help bring about the transformation of the church from an organization built on lies and deception to one that provides a safe harbor built on truth for all its members is a laudable goal. For another no one wants to lose their emotional and social investment in such a big part of their life.
    One would think that the men who lead the church, supposedly inspired by god and entitled to personal revelation, would understand that reacting to the truth like the medieval church by punishing the intelligence that discovers it only reveals their fear of it.

  65. I am so sorry to keep banging on about the recent LDS Press Conference, but I just cannot get my head around it. Is it me? Am I missing something? Could someone listen to the remarks of Elder Oaks and think about the Situation of John Dehlin, Kate Kelly and many others?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAtc1iTOJtc
    If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was in support of free religious thought and expression but he is a Mormon Apostle. Perhaps he stands alone in the twelve? If you were to take him at his word here, you would expect him to come out in support of Free thinkers.

  66. John is giving people the chance to tell their own individual stories, something the church doesn’t really encourage. If they excommunicate him, then they can brand him as an apostate, which would probably cause fewer people to agree to talk to him. And that would be a shame.

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