Appeal of Latter Day Saints Excommunication by Mormon Critic
Peggy Fletcher Stack’s story “Mormon critic John Dehlin appeals LDS excommunication,“ The Washington Post, 11th March 2015 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/mormon-critic-john-dehlin-appeals-lds-excommunication/2015/03/11/143d8024-c7f7-11e4-bea5-b893e7ac3fb3_story.html)
The Church of Latter Day Saints is one of the oldest in terms of New Religions, and one of the most well known New Religions in mainstream culture. Joseph Smith founded the Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ on April 6th, 1830, in the state of New York. Joseph Smith apparently found golden plates in New York State and apparently translated them into a text known as the Book of Mormon. The Church of Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, are different from other Christian denominations. It is commonly called a non-Christian denomination, partly because of it being radically different from Catholics and Protestants because of the doctrines associated with the group.
On February 9th, 2015, a Mormon blogger and podcaster named John Dehlin, who was excommunicated from the Church, made an appeal to the group’s governing First Presidency. Dehlin claimed that the action was a “flawed and unfair process”. Dehlin felt his local Mormon leaders’ decision for excommunication with the church did not fit the requirements for the Church’s requirement for apostasy. The Church’s requirement for apostasy was to teach Church doctrine information that is not actually Church doctrine. Dehlin made the argument that he indeed did not teach his questions or doubts as Church doctrine, and questions if the excommunication was based on his views supporting feminism and the LGBT community.
Dehlin felt that because of his success with his podcast, advocacy of same-sex marriage and pushing for the support of ordained women were the reasons for his excommunication from the Church. Bryan King, a regional lay leader, said that the actions by the Church were not justified, but did say that Dehlins’s opposition with Church doctrine and the Church, and the wide dissemination via his online presence, had led many to stray away from the Church. John Dehlin makes the comment that the Church is harming itself by excommunicating people like him, stating that his concerns are legitimate and are becoming more commonplace in members of the Latter Day Saints.
In my opinion, John Dehlin’s excommunication is not justified, as Dehlin has stated he did not teach his views on the Church or its Doctrine, and merely has the opinion of equal rights for the LGBT community and wanting the church to have ordained women. The reality is, religions are not static and they need to change as time goes on. An example of a change of opinion in a religious group would be the Catholic Church agreeing with the scientific theory of evolution. That’s not to say that the Mormon Church isn’t capable of change. The Church outlawed its early practice of polygamy and recently has stated that its doctrine of black skinned people being a punishment from God is not true, proving that the Church is able to change. Only time will tell if the Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ will accept the LGBT community into its doctrines.