(Updated on 1/19/2015 to provide more detail, based on feedback from Bill Benac).
In Peggy Fletcher Stack’s January 16th, 2015 article entitled “Did Mormon podcaster go too far? Dehlin faces possible excommunication,” she attributes the following opinion to Mormon apologist, blogger, and attorney Steve Evans,
“Evans questions whether Dehlin’s support of gay marriage and Ordain Women was the main reason for the move against the podcaster.”
In the letter I received on August 7, 2014 from Dr. Bryan King, it lists as #3 on his list of conditions for continued membership:
“Stop promoting groups or organizations that espouse doctrines contrary to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
In our August 7th meeting with Bryan King, I asked Bryan to clarify specifically which groups or organizations were problematic. In that interview (with my wife, Margi, present), he explicitly mentioned both Ordain Women, and my public support of same-sex marriage as being problematic. In the context of discussing “problematic groups,” when asked directly if my public support of same-sex marriage was a problem, he answered, “Yes.”
I have tried my best to be 100% open/honest about what I understand to be the reasons/causes for the disciplinary council, based on my discussions with Bishop Brian Hunt and Bryan King. In my press release, I stated the following as my understanding of the main reasons:
- My 10-year effort with Mormon Stories podcast (http://mormonstories.wpengine.com), wherein difficult historical and cultural issues are discussed in an interview format
- My public support of same-sex marriage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MxCXjfAunk)
- My public support of the Ordain Women movement (http://ordainwomen.org/project/hi-im-john/)
- My publicly expressed doubts regarding key elements of orthodox LDS theology (http://mormonstories.wpengine.com/questions-and-answers/ )
- My publicly expressed criticism of the church’s approach to LGBT members, feminists, intellectuals, as well as its lack of transparency regarding finances
Even though the media have chosen to focus on SSM and OW in many of their stories, I don’t believe that I have ever claimed that SSM and/or OW were the only causes for the disciplinary council, or even necessarily the main causes (if I have done so, I’m more than willing to apologize/clarify).
And while it is impossible for anyone to accurately weigh the various factors that contributed to the decision to hold a disciplinary council, I believe that it is very accurate to say that my support for same-sex marriage and Ordain Women was a main factor, and/or a significant factor in the decision (#3 of 4 specifically listed by Bryan King in his August 7th letter to me).
Whether or not any specific item is the “main reason” is purely a matter of speculation, in my opinion.
For a more complete review of the history and my positions on the disciplinary council, see here.