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Published: Friday, June 20 2014 1:00 p.m. MDT

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The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

This is a very nice white washing of the NY Times article. None of the statements from people actually facing discipline were included. No where does it mention bishops talking to members about their facebook or twitter posts. The statement from the member in Virginia who's bishop quoted back to her a statement she made in an anonymous chat room is also left out. Only the statements of the church made it through the filter.

Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO

Hypothetical Action A: In personal, online and general blogging conversations a question arises causing concern and deep searching to understand a doctrine. This conversation escalates to the point where a group of individuals submit their question, similarly articulated, to local leadership; they agree in their conversation that their concerns have not been adequately addressed; they pick one or two individuals from their online community to seek answers from area authorities and even eventually send these concerns above all their signatures to General Authorities. Theirs is an honest search for truth and peace, with testimony of God's chosen to give them His answer. Answered or not, they have now "privately" made their point and await an outcome.

Hypothetical Action B: They choose to make their search public, seeking to either enlighten or otherwise gain followers. They stage a very public protest. Upon making their intentions clear to hold a second public protest, they are officially and publicly warned not to do so; they are asked to keep the issue private and not seek to publicly embarrass the church. They hold their protest anyway.

First scenario is fine. The second they crossed a line; this can ultimately cost them their membership.

Sneaky Jimmy
Bay Area, CA

Does anyone honestly believe the timing on these disciplinary courts were coincidental? One in Cache Valley and one in Virginia (event thought the member had moved to Utah). So God inspired the local leaders to discipline these members at the exact same time?

Blue AZ Cougar
Chandler, AZ

@AT
"There's enough evidence counter to the statement in this article to reasonably question whether the LDS Church representative is being truthful."

Could you please share what evidence you have, aside from the statements of those individuals undergoing church discipline? Contrary to what you may think, the church does not have the resources (or even desire) to monitor the comment boards across the internet. This isn't a witch hunt, and we aren't the NSA. Furthermore, they haven't been excommunicated yet. At the moment they are going through church discipline. Excommunication is not a foregone conclusion.

@RichardB
"Teach them the truth, and give them their free agency to decide."

We do. They have their free agency. But that doesn't mean they can retain their membership in the church while simultaneously undermining its teachings.

birder
Salt Lake City, UT

@Raybies
Jessica Moody is not the same person who was on the Doug Fabrizio interview.

birder
Salt Lake City, UT

President Harold B. Lee:

“You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may conflict with your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life … Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow … Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church.” (Conference Report, October 1970, p. 152–153.)

Well said. It's as simple as that.

Blue AZ Cougar
Chandler, AZ

@Sneaky Jimmy
I think it's completely coincidental. My guess is when Kate Kelly went public with her letter, Dehlin decided to do the same. If everyone who has received a disciplinary letter from the church in the last month simultaneously posted those letters online, we'd all think the church was coordinating some large effort to clean house. It's not a coordinated effort, though, and is left entirely to local leadership.

I asked my dad about this a few days ago (he's been a bishop and high councilor several times). He explained that church discipline is carried out primarily at the ward level (occasionally at the stake level). He would have frequent visits with the stake president to discuss if the action he was taking was appropriate, laying out the facts but very rarely naming names. In his experience, he said there was never any involvement with area leadership or church HQ, and that at no time were they ever directed by area leadership or church HQ to discipline anyone. They had some pretty serious cases of apostasy, etc. too. So no, I don't think this was a coordinated effort by church HQ.

Kjirstin Youngberg
Mapleton, UT

The trouble, as usual, lies in an unwillingness to be truly transparent. If you can't be fully open and honest in all things, everybody wonders what is being hidden.

As a journalist, I want to know all sides of a story. What I have found may surprise our top leadership: middle management is waffling. One of my friends has a bishop who told her he finds "no scriptural precedent to deny marriage between same sex couples." One of my other friends was told by her bishop, "Your membership and recommend are in serious jeopardy by joining Mormons Building Bridges, which is an apostate group."

This came as quite a shock to me, as I joined Mormons Building Bridges twenty months ago. I plan to ask my bishop which side he is on, but as for my Heavenly Father, I firmly believe He wants us to love everyone, and build bridges wherever possible.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

I really feel for those members who are being led to call the Church into question for these disciplinary councils. It is sad when people are led astray and spend their time wrapped up in minutae or another member's opinion instead of the Gospel.

I have had a lot of questions during the past 8 years as I returned to activity in the Church. I always has a good Bishop or scripture and prayer to guide me to the answers. That is where we are to go. I have also had a few members make comments or try to push their own band of Mormon doctrine. I even learned in Sunday School once that Noah lived near Nephi (Utah) because that is there they found gopher wood to make the ark!!

Robert Millet writes that members should always remain in the "mainstream of the Church". When we get to far ahead of ourselves, we can lose the light that illuniates our path. I pray that Ms. Kelly, Mr. Dehlin, and those who are doubting will find that light again...

jsgrahamus
SARATOGA SPRINGS, UT

What discourages me is that, when in dealing with the people, leaders in the Church sometimes do not use the scriptures as their guide. I fear we concentrate more on a portion of verse 43 than the totality of these verses from section 121:

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

I hear of people being told to quit writing books/blogs or to shut up or not being allowed to speak in courts. How is that Christ-like?

Also it saddens me to continue hearing reports that these actions occur at the direction/suggestion of general authorities. Discipline is supposed to be local, except for the President.

Steve

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Brent T. Aurora CO seems to have a nuanced understanding of the issue.

Hypothetical C:

In their search for truth, the group prayerfully "studies it out" in the scriptures and historical writings, and provides their research results to Church leadership to give context to their honest questions.

But their questions continue to not be adequately addressed.

They wonder if they are a small, isolated group who share the questions, or if there are many others (perhaps 40% of women and 75% of men) Church-wide who also see no reason why women could not be ordained.

How do they find out?

They "go public" and give members the opportunity to express their voices. They hold gatherings to get the word out - who else has these questions? Does anyone else have answers that they missed? This is dialogue.

But leadership feels threatened.

Leadership mis-characterizes the group as "trying to gain followers" and "staging very public protests", and they officially threaten the group "leaders".

But the group is not "protesting"; they are "advertising" and discussing to discover who else has the same questions.

It's called "crowd sourcing", not "protesting".

But out of touch leadership doesn't get it.

Andrew Izatt
Logan, UT

I don't know what doctrine the Church is trying to protect or correct. Ally Isom said it herself on KUER this week with Doug Fabrizio--there's nothing in Mormon doctrine that says women can't hold the priesthood. So what apostasy are they guilty of?

Even Gordon B. Hinckley in 1997 said women that women can't hold the Priesthood CAN change:

"RB: Is it possible that the rules could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks?

GBH: He could change them yes. If He were to change them that's the only way it would happen.

RB: So you'd have to get a revelation?

GBH: Yes. But there's no agitation for that. We don't find it."

So what is this about? Church leadership can stop this if they want.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

If you want to improve here is one way you might. Work to get rid of the false doctrine that you are necessarily always right. The Church leaders in the time of Jesus were not. They rejected Jesus. Yet Jesus acknowledged them as being in Moses seat. The early Christian church also fell away from the truth such that a restoration became necessary. Todays church leaders hold to doctrines that directly contradict doctrines held by early Church leaders. Now it may be that today's LDS church leaders are right and yesteryears were mistaken. Either way this is further illustration that LDS church leaders are capable of teaching doctrinal errors. Just as leaders of other churches that God has established in times past were capable of doing the same thing.

No one rightly expects perfection. But a humble attitude is and would be appreciated.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

Kjirstin -

I have seen similar situations of inconsistent messages at the ward or stake level. We have a friend who was denied a temple recommend for hone schooling her kids!

All I can say is that supports the concept that local leadership is not under a "heavy hand" from Salt Lake. Bishops and Stake Presidents lead by the spirit and have counsellors to help them. On minor points, they may differ. That does not bother me, becasue imperfect people will make mistakes. It is not for me ot judge those leaders - I can't imagine the stress that a bishop has leading an entire ward.

The central message of the Church is not changed by these situations. Christ's dosctine (from 3 Nephi) is (paraphrasing) repent, become as a little child, and be baptised.

Grumpy Granpa
Spanish Fork, UT

The Rock Waterman case is one of the reasons I do not believe in the propaganda arm of the LDS Church (The New York Times has a good article on this). This crackdown is much broader than most local members realize. This is not just Kate Kelly and John P. Dehlin but extends Rock Waterman, Kevin Klossterman, and Hannah Wheelwright along with others. These cases are not being conducted by local authorities but by area seventies and a former stake president as in Hannah's case. I guess that is obfuscating for the Lord?

Since the Propaganda Ministry wants to use Joseph Smith's questioning as an example of how open the LDS Church is it's members asking questions. I would like to suggesting that the example of Joseph Smiths early life can also be used to show the reaction of established Churches in Joseph's time seem to be more in line with how the LDS Church is reacting to those who question today. Instead of mob violence they use violence of excommunication. Both, out of love for the offender.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "RichardB" you forget that it was Satan that wanted to change God's plan. Satan was thrown out of heaven (ex-communicated) for recruiting people to join him in his efforts to change God's plan.

To "A Scientist" did you even read the article? The problem isn't having questions and seeking out others to help answer them. The problem is when you recruit people to your cause and seek to tell the church leadership that LDS doctrine must be changed.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

I'm not LDS so its unclear to me how these actions are going to stop people from being "misled." There's nothing quite like "forbidden fruit" to drive a lot of web-traffic to a blogger with a message.

2yearn
Lehi, UT

This bothers me a lot. I have had issues with people in the church who have had mental illness--narcissistic sociopaths to be exact. The local leaders did not / DO NOT handle this situation well at all. It isn't inspired or kind. There needs to be a way to appeal, a way to get more skilled insight, a way to over ride the popularity contest it becomes.

I find the priesthood issue to not make sense and it has gotten beyond old. They should of done something about it a long time ago. But it is highly offensive that they would hold it where she can't defend herself. Held in "secrecy" allows huge abuses to occur.

An example of mental illness issue. I was visiting teaching a girl and made a handout with makeup samples to invite her to the event. She went and told the bishop that a visiting teacher should know her better down to her perfume preferences. The bishop called me in and told me to buy her a $60 dollar of perfume. Church leadership can not handle these types of situations and there needs to be a way to appeal to higher resources.

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

When living in another city, i wrote a letter to the editor about same-sex marriage. An Area 70 read it and called my stake pres. The SP called the bishop who visited me. The Bishop said that the 70 called the SP and told him to take my temple recommend. The SP sent the bishop to do it. The bottom line is that disciplinary actions are NOT always initiated at the local level. They sometimes come from way up the food chain. I was given no hearing or opportunity to explain/defend my position. I was simply pronounced guilty.

Sometimes, when people have questions and can't get answers from local leaders, they look online. For years, I've asked how we could have supported Prop. 8 when 1 Cor. 10:29 and D&C 134:4 condemn using one's religious beliefs to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others, which Prop. 8 did since gays had the right to marry prior to 8's passage. I've received no answers yet on how I'm misapplying those verses.

People should be free to look whereever for answers without having their motives questioned or membership threatened.

Shimlau
SAINT GEORGE, UT

Herby, as has been previously mentioned. Satan had the right to choose. and he wasn't punished or cast out for making a choice. He was "cast out for rebellion." That would be acting out his thoughts and choices. Everyone is free to choose, however, they are not free to choose the consequence of their choices IMHO

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