Last month, we learned that the Mormon Church had moved to excommunicate progressive Mormon podcaster John P. Dehlin because he supported, among other things, marriage equality and the ordination of women. (Heresy!)
They’ve finally taken action, kicking Dehlin out of the church for good (unless, I suppose, he recants his opinions):
John Dehlin announced the decision from regional church leaders Tuesday morning. He becomes the second high-profile church member to be excommunicated in the past year in what Mormon scholars consider to be the Utah-based faith’s way of keeping dissenters in line.
Regional church leaders in North Logan told Dehlin in a letter that they made a unanimous decision to excommunicate him for apostasy, defined by the church as repeatedly acting in clear public opposition to the faith. While not a lifelong ban, excommunication is still a rare move that amounts to the harshest punishment available for a church member.
Church leaders also criticized him for challenging other Mormon beliefs, including:
— Dehlin’s teachings disputing the nature of God and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
— His statements that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are fraudulent and works of fiction.
— His statements and teachings that reject The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as being “the true church with power and authority from God.”
At that point, you have to wonder why Dehlin called himself a Mormon… but that’s besides the point. There are millions of Christians with differing views on a variety of beliefs and they still consider themselves part of the faith. If Dehlin still wanted to be a Mormon, so be it, but that choice is out of his hands now.
The first high-profile person excommunicated was Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly, who also pushed for women in Mormon leadership.
This is the sort of shit faith leaders pull when they can’t handle tough questions and honest dissent. What did Dehlin do wrong? Nothing. He just publicly disagreed with the direction of the Mormon church and its leadership. And instead of having a discussion with him, they booted him out so he wouldn’t bother them anymore.
As I said before, there are many Mormons who probably agree with Dehlin but who remain in the church. They would create a lot of beautiful ripples if they used this opportunity to leave the faith altogether.
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