John Dehlin has posted an update to his discussions with his Stake President. The stake president has asked John several things in regards to his Mormon Stories and Facebook groups. There is one item that John has agreed to do. He was asked to “Resign my status as an ordained minister in another faith” (I signed up here once to be able to marry a friend, though the opportunity never materialized)” John agreed to “resign from the web site listed above, and seek to find another means to conduct marriages if the need arises.”
However, I think the other items are going to be major sticking points. The Stake President asked John to
- “Publicly renounce and apologize for the false concepts you have widely expressed regarding God, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, the restoration of the Gospel, and the Book of Mormon.
- Cease providing a public forum for any person who is critical of Church doctrine.
- Stop promoting groups or organizations that espouse doctrines contrary to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For clarification, this means
- That simply having doubts or criticisms regarding the church are not (in and of themselves) grounds for church discipline. Instead, that it has been my decision to discuss these doubts and concerns publicly (via Mormon Stories Podcast, via radio and newspaper interviews, and via my Facebook page) that is a primary cause of my membership status being jeopardized.
- That my continued public support of same-sex marriage would not allow me (or others in our stake) to remain in good standing with the church, because to him, the public support of same-sex marriage constituted the “support of teachings and doctrines that are not in harmony with the teachings of the church.”
- That my public support of Ordain Women would also not allow me to remain in good standing with the church.
It seems the action items include
- That I publicly renounce and apologize for any/all past doubts and criticisms that I have made regarding the church, its theology/doctrine, its historicity, or its policies.
- That I do my best to remove any past podcast episodes, blog posts, or Facebook posts that contain the public expression of either doubt about, or criticism of, the LDS church – whether these comments were made by me, or by any of the people I have interviewed over the past nine years.
John doesn’t seem to be budging from his support of Mormon Stories.
For the record, our plan is to continue doing what we have been trying to do for the past nine years on Mormon Stories podcast: interview Mormons of all types (faithful/believing, struggling, disbelieving) — with as much balance and constructiveness as we are able to muster. In addition, we are working towards conducting more interviews in the coming months that deal with the practical considerations of those who want to live happy/healthy lives in either a post-Mormon or a post-orthodoxy paradigm. Some of the topics we hope to focus more deeply on include 1) navigating a mixed-faith or a post-Mormon marriage, 2) raising children in an unorthodox or a post-Mormon home, and 3) how to more effectively communicate with believing family/friends as a non-believer, or as an unorthodox members.
Also, we will unabashedly continue our public support of same-sex marriage and Ordain Women, and I continue to reserve the right to express my beliefs/doubts/concerns regarding the church, its history, and its leadership, as the need arises.
Thanks for everyone’s concerns and support during this difficult time. In summary, we will seek to be even more balanced and constructive with Mormon Stories podcast, but we do not anticipate that much will be changing on our end in terms of content. If things change with President King, we will update you as we are able.
It seems to me that this is the beginning of the end of John’s membership, because I think (1) his affiliation with Mormon Stories, (2) support of Ordain Women, and (3) support of same-sex marriage is going to be an impasse. The stake president is “taking a wait and see approach, and that his future decisions will be based on our future actions,” but I think this is the beginning of the end for John’s membership.
In July, John posted a very interesting conversation with Christine Jeppsen Clark, Daughter of General Authority Malcolm Jeppsen. In the interview, Malcolm Jeppsen was a driving force behind the September Six excommunications in 1993, and there was a concerted effort against these church members. Malcolm was heavily involved in the excommunication of Avraham Gileadi. It is a very interesting podcast, and some excerpts are found here. Part 3 was the most relevant to the current “purge” of John, Kate Kelly, Kirk Caudle, Rock Waterman, and Denver Snuffer. (To be fair, only Kate and Denver have been exed so far, Kirk resigned, and John and Rock seem to be in a slow path toward excommunication.)
What are your thoughts?