A Public Brainstorm on How to Effect Significant Change in the LDS Church

John Dehlin Blog, Mormon Stories

kristof-tiananmen-videoSixteenByNine1050There has been a lot of talk about vigils, petitions, marches, mass resignations, and protests, and so I have been trying to think of what actions can be taken that will effect the greatest impact, with the least amount of effort and harm.

I would like to facilitate a brainstorming session to help us determine what actions might be taken that will lead to the greatest likelihood of meaningful change within the LDS church – and when I say change, I mean a change in policies/teaching/practices that harm LDS church members and their families/friends.  Here are two of my best ideas so far:

1) For those who are considering resigning, what if instead we were to request a church disciplinary council. From experience, I will tell you that a DC can be a very painful process, but it can also be very liberating. More importantly, disciplinary councils can be very effective at building awareness and empathy on a local and national level in ways that are very hard to match. They also garner a significant amount of empathy and exposure, as Marisa Pond Calderwood​, Carson Calderwood​, Kate Kelly​, Denver Snuffer, and I can attest.  In my mind/heart – an action is effective when it elicits empathy/sympathy from either believing LDS church members, or from the international media.

There will be people for whom a disciplinary council is not healthy, safe, or wise, and for them I would certainly not advise this approach. But for those who are in a position to do so, I wonder if requesting a disciplinary council might help the cause of truth, sunlight, and exposure more than most things we might do – especially vs. the choice to simply resign. After all, the church has set up the disciplinary council process. They have defined what apostasy is. Consequently, this feels like an ethical way to proceed. Thoughts? Feedback? Disagreement?

2) As we’ve seen by recent recordings of talks by Elder Oaks and Elder Nelson, and from my own meetings with my stake president, I wonder how much change we could effect if everyone who has had a conversation with, or who listens to a speech from a bishop, stake president, or general authority about matters of church policy or doctrine – were to make an audio recording of said speech or conversation (WHERE IT IS LEGAL TO DO SO). The idea is as follows – where we are able/willing to share the audio of what is being said/taught, I cannot think of a single greater way to effect change…to force them to be accountable for the things they say and do – on a large scale. This will also expose hypocrisy and inconsistency wherever it exists.  Again, in my mind/heart – an action is effective when it elicits empathy/sympathy from either believing LDS church members, or from the international media.

To be clear — I am NOT suggesting that everyone do these things. At this point, I am simply trying to brainstorm as to what actions we might take that would lead to the greatest degree of change in a church that means well, but (in reality) hurts far too many vulnerable people.

If you think these ideas are bad, please provide feedback…and preferably better ideas in their place.

Thanks for engaging. I look forward to your thoughts, ideas, and feedback.


John Dehlin