Possible Church Discipline Against Two Members

So I read an article from the New York Times a little while ago:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/us/two-activists-within-mormon-church-threatened-with-excommunication.html?_r=3

Then I saw a blog post by LDS blogger Jana Riess:

http://janariess.religionnews.com/2014/06/11/facing-mormon-purge/

I wonder if this entire situation might have turned out differently? My personal view is that the problem here has been the methods of “protest” rather than the message. My thought is that Ms. Kelly advocating something of a sit-in at General Conference got her here, not the message of asking for the ordination of women. I have nothing really against the ordination of women. It is not really something that would “bother” me. I do have some serious questions for the organizers about how they would propose reorganizing the entire church if we went to a universal priesthood, i.e. would Relief Society go away and ladies meet with the equally aged men, would Young Men and Young Women become a single youth group, does the Priesthood become “diluted” if everyone has it, etc? But I am not against this as an idea. I was, however, against them attempting to attend General Conference. I think the first time they tried to do it was something of an oddity. They were politely told that they would not be granted admission. Coming back for a second time became something different. My view is that had they stopped at the single appearance and then taken back to words, I do not think this would be happening.

I am not quite as familiar with Mr. Dehlin’s situation. I know from his public Facebook page he self-identifies as a “Cultural Mormon” rather than simply “Mormon” or “Latter-day Saint.” I also know that he runs the website Mormon Voices. The New York Times article said that a letter from his Stake President dated June 7 that “cited an Internet posting in which Mr. Dehlin wrote that he no longer believes many fundamental “truth claims” the church makes.” Personally, I think Mr. Dehlin erred in providing that letter to the New York Times. I also do not think providing the letter will help his cause. I also quite honestly wonder why he attends if he “no longer believes many fundamental ‘truth claims'” of the church. Now, I am not trying to say that he SHOULD leave, simply asking the question. I would also as this question of a United Methodist who no longer believed the teachings of John Wesley, a Presbyterian who no longer believed the teachings of John Calvin, or a Lutheran who no longer believed the teachings of Martin Luther. It is difficult for me to understand how a person who does not believe in or accept the fundamental beliefs of a denomination would still attend that particular denomination. Perhaps this is not quite the case with Mr. Dehlin, but it seems that way to me. It seems to me that this is the “problem” that the Church may have with him.

His message of acceptance for the LGBT community seems to be a good one. We certainly need to be more welcoming of these people. I feel that we fall short in this area quite a bit. I am not necessarily trying to say that we should baptize an openly LGBT person, this is a highly divisive issue in the Mainline churches, while the modern Evangelical churches, along with the Roman Catholic church, are generally against the practice. Same goes with same-sex marriage. These issues are divisive, to a degree, in the LDS Church as well, we can’t deny that. What should not be divisive, however, is that we should welcome ALL persons into our congregations if they wish to attend. The sign on the front of every building says “Visitors Welcome.” I would sincerely ask if they really are? Not by the Church as a body, but as members. Do members really welcome the odd and strange people into our mix? In this way, his message was right on. We, as a church community, need to be more welcoming of the people who don’t fit the standard mold of our church. They need to feel welcome to attend and hear the message of the Gospel. If they are not then we, as members, are doing something wrong. I have to wonder if there is information about Mr. Dehlin what we do not know. 

Truly, it’s a shame either way that these folks may no longer be a part of the church membership. Obviously the majority of liberal LDS bloggers will come down on the side of these individuals while the conservative bloggers will be against them. I suppose I am in the conservative camp, but because of their methods (at least Ms. Kelly’s methods) rather than their message. We will have to see how this turns out.

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