Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Excommunication For Teaching LDS Essay Doctrines?

A lot of news on John Dehlin. When I was called in for disciplinary court in Sept 2012, John and I spoke on the phone for about an hour. He counseled me to play nice with the church. I responded by having Mormonthink remove content containing the temple ceremonies and other allegedly controversial material. It was to no avail. They told me that there was nothing I could do to avoid disciplinary court. When I went to the media, I received an email from my leaders postponing my court indefinitely.

John didn't get that indefinite postponement. Despite the media attention, the LDS church took its action against Dehlin. I have to give them kudos for carrying it through.  Perhaps they don't have a US presidential candidate ringing for them, so it's easier to excommunicate with media attention than when I was in the news about Romney.

There is no doubt that with as much media attention as was given, and that the LDS Newsroom posted, which issues most of the LDS Church policy these days, the Dehlin disciplinary court was managed from the top.

Kate Kelly, the Ordain Women excomminicated, said it humorously:
"Love how the Mormon PR machine somehow magically whipped up this simultaneously dishonest AND judgey press release in 30-seconds-flat after finding out the decision from John bc, of course as they consistently insisted, only his *LOCAL LEADERS* were involved."

Indeed, they were ready the moment Dehlin went to the press with their counter statement, from the top, and it's telling that the top was guiding the show.

Yes, John Dehlin asks a lot of questions in his podcasts at Mormonstories. He himself rarely "preaches" or even advocates much of the issues, from what I can tell. 

John has, however, advocated for same sex couples and women's rights. But on the doctrinal and historical issues, Dehlin usually leaves most of his personally voiced content in questions. Are questions so offensive that they should be disciplined?  The Church had been increasing its "attack the questioner" angle until Dehlin.  But he is the most public questioner of all, and the media attention is making them squeamish. 

The management was caught in a big problem. If they opposed Dehlin on his views and support of same-sex couples, they would appear very bigoted in the news. If they disciplined him for questioning (even as publicly as he does in podcasts) would that create shock waves among the hundreds of thousands of members who currently have unanswered questions?

They couldn't admit to either. So they ginned up charges, it would seem.

Here are the official charges, per LDS Newsroom.

  1. Disputing the nature of our Heavenly Father and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
  2. Statements that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are fraudulent and works of fiction. 
  3. 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.

On (1), interestingly, Gordon B. Hinckley has disputed the nature of the Mormon God in national press interviews. When asked if Mormons believe humans can become gods and if god was once human, he replied famously, "I don't know that we teach it." (Time, August 4, 1997)   

The LDS essay on Becoming Like God reiterates the very idea that Hinckley, then prophet, hemmed on teaching.


" Human nature was at its core divine. God “was once as one of us” and “all the spirits that God ever sent into the world” were likewise “susceptible of enlargement.” Joseph Smith preached that long before the world was formed, God found “himself in the midst” of these beings and “saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself” and be “exalted” with Him. "
I don't know what they claim Dehlin specifically taught that disputed the "nature of our Heavenly Father" but...

 if a prophet can deny one of the most profound claims of the LDS faith about the nature of God, the one that separates it more from traditional Christianity than anything else in its quiver of Smithisms, then how come Dehlin got singled out for something of lesser nature?

On (2) again, I don't know specifically what they claim Dehlin taught that stated the Book of Mormon and Abraham are fiction. However, the LDS topic essay on The Book of Mormon and DNA goes at length to show that the DNA studies showing early Amerindian migrations do not disprove the Book of Mormon. The essay admits that there were humans living in America before the time that LDS teachings claim Adam and Eve lived, according to the prescribed timeline in their own bible and Doctrine and Covenants. The essay also admits:

  • "The Book of Mormon provides little direct information about cultural contact between the peoples it describes and others who may have lived nearby."
  • "One reason it is difficult to use DNA evidence to draw definite conclusions about Book of Mormon peoples is that nothing is known about the DNA that Lehi, Sariah, Ishmael, and others brought to the Americas."
  • "Book of Mormon record keepers were primarily concerned with conveying religious truths and preserving the spiritual heritage of their people."
That is:  There is no evidence (DNA or otherwise) for the people of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon does not directly discuss (identify) other people. The Book of Mormon is primarily about religious/spiritual teachings and events. The multitude of wars elaborated in the Book of Mormon are, apparently, not the primary concern, even though the book is very full of their descriptions.  Evidence of these wars is lacking in the actual archaeology record (and in the DNA of dead warriors, which counters the drift and dilution arguments the LDS essay makes).

The B. of Mormon essay summarizes by quoting Apostle Oaks as saying, “It is our position that secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.”

The definition of fiction is "literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people." 

This is their position:  Secular evidence can never prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.  There's nothing science can do to help them.  Do you see this?  If the people and events have and will always have zero evidence, then how does one differentiate the contents of the Book of Mormon from fiction?

Oak says you can't. He may not have called it fiction, but his "position" statement is effectively admitting to it.

How then do they discipline Dehlin for saying basically the same thing an Apostle says?

On (3) again, I don't know specifically what they claim Dehlin stated, but the LDS essays have admitted the LDS prophets have no authority in many matters.
There is no more important authority to the LDS Church than its priesthood, and in an essay on the priesthood, regarding denying it to a whole race of humankind, the LDS church states:
"[T]he Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

They had 11 prophets that continued racism policies. The LDS Church tacitly admits that their statements in the official scripture of OD-1 (D&C), that the Lord won’t allow a prophet to lead the members astray, is false. For nearly 150 years the prophets have led the people astray with racist policies and the current prophet administration does not know why this happened, they just know firmly, racism is wrong. That repudiation of the former policy, of hundreds of statements made by Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Bruce McConkie, and many more effectively opens the gate to an understanding that the current administrating prophets could be absolutely dead wrong on policies they have in place currently.

If the LDS church essay can teach their prophets were horribly wrong on such a serious issues as their own authority and priesthood, then why are they singling out Dehlin?

They must do this. They can't have Dehlin thumb his nose at the LDS church leaders and continue to dare ask his many questions in public. They had to excommunicate him because he destabilizes their political economy--which depends on hoodwinking temple going full tithers.

LDS doctrine is Jello.  And Dehlin tried to use nails to solidfy it, so they nailed him.

Their own essays and statements condemn them for the same reasons they condemn Dehlin. But they are above their own laws.


  1. Regarding Kate Kelly's remarks, as a member of three separate High Councils, I was involved in over 40 disciplinary councils, and I can't remember one time that the Stake President said that he wasn't consulting with or talking to his higher ups. According to my understanding, the priesthood line of authority (chain of command) was always something respected with ALL diligence by SP's. For the leadership in SLC to attempt to make people think or feel something different (like these are local matters) is flat out dishonesty, deceptive, and cowardice. The double standard is, to steal from Alex Beam, simply more breathtaking hypocrisy.

  2. Comparing John Dehlin to prophets and apostles is ridiculous, David! you have no shame!

  3. I think you mean the "prophets" have no shame. If they can't even keep their story straight on simple yet important doctrine/policy such as racist priesthood practices and then not be questioned for this abhorent teaching and behavior, yet John Dehlin is some how "less than" in your eyes.... I think your understanding of ridiculous and shame are lacking. Integrity=man questioning that which hurts and oppresses another human being. Shameful=men in authority using said authority to oppress another human being.

    John has questioned this and much more.

    The "prophets" have propagated lies, oppression, and much more....

    David is simply calling a spade a spade. The leaders of the church are finally having to admit to some of this messy stuff (even if in a convoluted way). Yet the still lack the backbone and integrity to deal with history, evolving doctrine head on. Instead they shoot the little messanger.

    1. John Dehlin (and David) both have an agenda to dismantle the church. John was more clever than David. The difference between him and the apostles is that, first, he has zero authority from God. Second, he does not promote faith, he just questions it. John is a wolf in sheeps clothing. He is a Korihor and a Sherem. John in very sly and I think he is a tool of Satan. David is too.

    2. David and John don't have the money authority of the LDS church. What authority would the Church have without their money - which they won't disclose to the population at large.

  4. David,

    How could you! John Dehlin has more integrity than those self appointed nut jobs who claim to be prophets and apostles.....they are all nuttier than Squirrel shit!

  5. John Dehlin was rightfully excommunicated. He no longer believes what the Mormon church believes...because of that he needs to leave...it is as simple as that. Goodbye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

  6. I suppose the Book of Mormon was concocted in much the same way as the Bible, as a work of fiction to deceive the gullible.