Sources confirm that June Olds Bennett was forced by her local Stake President to resign her position as a board member for Mormon Women Stand, a social media driven LDS women’s organization that actively opposes inclusion of feminists and other progressives in Mormon congregations.

June Olds Bennett of South Jordan, Utah, says her stake president told her she would have to leave Mormon Women Stand’s board if she wanted to keep her so-called temple “recommend.”  The Salt Lake Tribune reports she thought she had little choice but to comply because she wanted to attend her brother’s temple wedding.

Local Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints officials issue “recommends” to devout Mormons attesting to members’ worthiness to participate in the faith’s most sacred temple rituals. They confirm through interviews that members’ beliefs and actions conform to standards of the church.

Mormon Women Stand opposes expanding the all-male Mormon priesthood to include women, despite the church’s belief in ongoing prophetic revelation.  According to June’s stake president, she also failed to “mourn with those that mourn and weep with those that weep” preferring instead to focus on “the mote in her neighbor’s eye rather than the beam in her own.” [1]

But Bennett also expressed concern about the policies that forced her to choose between her beliefs and her family.  “I think it’s unfortunate that the policies allow this at this time. I hope that someday the policies will be adjusted so that people can freely judge and ostracize others without worrying about being kept away from important family events like weddings.”

Bennett was also compelled to remove 11 posts from her blog, which discussed ways in which those women who feel marginalized have brought it on themselves, a tactic her bishop, Randall Johnson, referred to as “blaming the victim” while shaking his head patiently.  He added, “I appreciate her fervor, but it unfortunately deviates from the savior’s mandate to love one another and to welcome all to partake of the atonement.  If only she put as much time and effort into reaching out to others and showing them love, we might not have gotten to this point.”  Her stake president could not be reached for comment.

Many conservatives fear this may be the beginning of a church-wide crackdown on those who cling to the status quo and who create a judgmental atmosphere without remembering that Jesus’ message was one of change, repentance, and reaching out to those on the fringes.  They remember all too well the recent actions taken against Cliven Bundy, a renegade conservative Mormon who made headlines last year when he refused to obey the laws of the land, one of Mormonism’s most basic “articles of faith.”

The world of fanatical Mormon conservatives is small.  Most members of the faith are more moderate politically, hesitant to side with conservative sects that consider them a cult and criticize their beliefs openly in the media; many remember the role of evangelicals in ensuring Mitt Romney’s defeat in the last two presidential elections and are reluctant to associate with groups that so openly oppose their faith.  Association with such groups jeopardizes a member’s ability to obtain and renew a temple recommend, as Ms. Bennett has so recently discovered.

“June has brought this action on herself,” added Bishop Johnson.  “We have every hope that now that she has reconsidered the damage her position has done to other members of her faith community, she will repent and stop criticizing and silencing those who disagree with her radical position that the status quo should never be challenged or changed through the process of ongoing revelation we hold so dear.”


[1] Her stake president just likes “scare quotes.”