Do you want to be excommunicated?

John Dehlin Blog, Q&A, Writings 7 Comments

No.  I value my membership in this church, even though I am clearly unorthodox and unorthoprax at this point in time.  My genuine desire is that this investigation go away, and that I can be left alone to participate (as I choose), and to continue helping Mormons and former Mormons in any way that I am able.  That said, I believe that the inability to open discuss difficult issues with the LDS church is the biggest problem facing Mormons today — and I am willing to face a disciplinary council if the church gives me the choice of either self-censoring, or losing my membership.

Comments 7

  1. Dear John,

    I wrote an earlier post to you and I apologize for not understanding the difference between resigning in your church versus excommunication. It would appear that resigning would enable you to continue to participate in your faith without compromising your personal values and work. So, my question to you is, “When you meet with your church leader this weekend, why not resign if your church leader invites you to?” By inviting you to resign it appears your church would prefer to not hold a disciplinary court. A continuation of my first question is, “Why choose to move the issue of disciplinary action forward by not resigning–why would you prefer that?”

  2. JT/Joel,

    Brother Dehlin and family are good people. They are doing what they think is right for people they truly love. I don’t see why you can’t see that. They are saviors–NOT sinners!!!

    1. Dear Penny,

      It appears that John is at a crossroads here with his church. I was thinking that resigning would enable him and his family to continue to participate at church as well as continue his podcast. I’ve been especially thinking about the well being of his children. So, I’m wondering why he would elect to stay in his church and face excommunication? Thus, my question to him . . . I’m hoping to hear his reply.

      JT

      1. JT

        I know now what you are saying. I too want whats the right thing for Bro. Dehlin and his family–whatever that is. I only say that some of his podcasts have enlightened me.

  3. Resignation and excommunication are two roads to essentially the same thing (no longer considered a member, is welcome to attend church but not formally participate, can be reinstated if he convinces church leaders that he’s changed, etc.). So if he wants to remain a member, his only option is to face a disciplinary council and hope it leads to no action.

    1. I disagree. Excommunication is different from resignation in a number of ways. An excommunicated member carries additional baggage from one who has resigned. An excommunicant wears a scarlet letter symbolizing the complete and eternal rejection from his faith community. When one resigns, he or she is rejecting the church and what it represents. By resigning you are telling the church, I do not recognize your authority and will not allow you to judge me. By resigning, you are considered a non-member. A non member is allowed to participate in church in a limited manner. They are allowed to pray, make comments in class, sing in choir, serve in scouting positions, play the piano or organ for the congregation and take the sacrament if they want. (I never seen anyone refuse the sacrament to an investigator, but I have seen an excommunicated member purposely passed over as per the instructions of the bishop). An excommunicant is specifically prohibited from praying in church, participating in class and from taking the sacrament. They can’t wear garments or offer tithes and offerings. Baptism would be conditional for an excommunicated member based on the requirements stated in the notice of excommunication. As a resigned member, you would be viewed like any other investigator (especially if you relocate to a different ward or stake). If you decided to return to the church, you would take the missionary discussions and go through a baptismal interview with a zone leader. As a resigned member you fall under the authority of a mission president. As an excommunicant, you remain under the authority of the stake president that originally held your court. However, in the case of John Dehlin, because of the notoriety of Mormon Stories Podcast, he would be required to shut it down as condition of his rebaptism whether he resigns or is excommunicated. Resignation maybe a better option if he decides to wait 10-15 years in the hope new leadership create a space for mormons who have doubts and questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.