LDS Church responds to concerns over member questions


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  • aj6145 clearfield, ut
    Dec. 25, 2015 9:53 a.m.

    I just wish I had someone to ask questions to. I'm 65 years old and am still looking for answers. Some of my bishops have sent me to social services but they don't know how to help me.
    I've been praying for help for over 45 years. I've tried to listen for answers but they just don't come. I feel like I've lived 50 years in emotional hell. No place to turn. I'm sure things could have been worse but they sure could have been a whole lot better. Very depressed and discouraged. I'm very happy for those who get answers to their prayers. God bless.

  • EPoint Roy, UT
    Nov. 8, 2014 1:44 a.m.

    All issues are, after all, between the individual member and God. The BoM tells of many factions breaking from the Church of Christ, yet the doctrine did not change over a 1000 years. As a member since 1959, I have found nothing to complain about, and love the Lord, his word, and the Church. Patience and true charity will see us through, the Gospel as administered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints is true! One question troubled members might ask themselves, is it worth forfeiting my Eternal Salvation? Is it making sense, my challenging the wisdom of He who is at the head of this Church of Jesus Christ? He knows, He knows all. Trust in Him to lead His Church.

  • Smitty1400 Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 2, 2014 9:34 p.m.

    Very good statement from the Church, and I agree with Technonerd7. While the internet is great resource, there are far to many people that believe everything they read on the internet and take it as the gospel truth. They give up their ability to reason things for themselves and become enslaved and loose their agency to falsehoods and silly lies. Too many people spend too much time reading the tripe on the internet instead of pondering and listening to the Spirit and exercising their agency and right to learn for themselves.

    Having known and been related to members who have gone so far as to have their names removed, most of them have a hard time living some principle or principles and start looking for excuses. Once upon a time there was a group whose leader and brother committed murder they went so far off the deep end. They are permanent residents of the State Prison. People can and do get mixed up in "groups" that lead them astray and it often seems so simple and innocent at first.

    Reading the scriptures and prayerfully pondering what you read is the best thing you can do if you need answers.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Oct. 31, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    So let me get this straight. It's OK to ask questions but when you try to organize change, then you have a problem. Didn't Joseph Smith first ask questions and then organize change. Yes, the church has to protect its integrity as a church and its doctrine but if there is a serious flaw don't those that have questions have a right to try and organize for change or are the only ones allowed to change things the ones most resistant to the change, namely the church leaders. We've already seen how pointing out problems with the Blacks and the Priesthood has finally been 'corrected' by the church with the explanation that it was the opinions of church leaders and did not represent real doctrine. How are we to know what other flaws/questions people point out are also the same thing.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Oct. 24, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    Subtext--"Folks, the gay marriage thing is over and we lost. Let's reel in the venom and try to appear tolerant."

  • Dr. Thom Long Beach, CA
    Oct. 22, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    After the last General Conference, I wrote a letter to one of the 1st Presidency and considering their work load and demands on their time, imagine my surprise when 10-days latter I received a signed personal response to my question?

  • Spellman789 Syracuse, UT
    Oct. 7, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    Excommunication does not happen in a day. It is a long process to get to the point where the individual has just basically decided on their own that hey no longer believe or want to adhere to the fundamental doctrines of the church. The are not rashly made decisions. There is much discussion and prayer involved.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Oct. 5, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    Some members of the church believe the church stifles debate. As long as people don't publicly criticize the church or try to convert members away from the church, they are free to say what they want. However, if people do publicly criticize the church, the church may excommunicate them. The church does not force people to confirm to established policies of the church. The church just cancels the memberships of those speaking out against the church. The people are still free to say what they want and to do what they want. They just can't do so as members of the church.

  • kolob1 sandy, UT
    Oct. 4, 2014 5:15 p.m.

    Dallin H Oaks LDS Apostle said "It's wrong to criticize leaders of the church even if the criticism is true".

  • Captain L Provo, UT
    Oct. 4, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    A Scientist: It is not a matter of leadership not being in touch, it is a matter of following the Lord and what he has revealed. To many people think the church is run by the opinion of men, it is not, it is run by Christ and he communicates with his Prophets and Apostles. That is called revelation . Having people male or female who think they know best is the problem, they think their opinion is just as valid as the next person and if the church was run by men that would be true but the church is run by revelation from Christ thru his chosen servants the prophets and they are who we need to look to for guidance . The ways of the world are not the ways of God and the reason there are so many different Christian churches is because they all have their own opinions as to what the scriptures say or how they think things should be run. God is where the truth comes from and his servants the prophets are those he has chosen to be his spokesmen to his children here on the earth. Follow the living prophets.

  • General Alpine, UT
    Oct. 3, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    I thought this was going to be an article about questioning the how the church counts its membership numbers.

  • John Reading LITTLETON, CO
    Sept. 30, 2014 9:03 p.m.

    I apologize that I do not have time to read all the comments, nor consider all the inputs. After reading many of the comments, though, I would like to give an observation or two about disciplinary councils. I have sat on about 35 disciplinary councils over the years in a number of different roles (so far not in front of the council, but that's a discussion for another day). I have always seen absolute integrity and diligence in reaching a conclusion. I also have heard a number of claims of abuses in disciplinary councils. In the cases where I have subsequently been able to establish the facts in every case the aggrieved party was not adhering exactly to the truth in their complaint; and in fact, the complaints were groundless.

    Are there ever errors/abuses/excesses in disciplinary councils? In a church administered by humans the answer of necessity must be "yes." However, I doubt, based on my experience, that they are endemic.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    Sept. 28, 2014 2:01 p.m.


    It is difficult to have a successful dialogue when coming from such an opposite premise. It is as if two different languages are being used without a translator. You believe in sectarian humanism. Faithful LDS believe in a resurrected Christ who literally communicates with a living prophet. We believe the Church is true.

    If our Church was simply a social organization that only taught the important doctrine of loving our fellow-man, then your point would be valid. We believe in an after-life, and that in order to return to our Heavenly Father, we have to follow Jesus Christ and apply the mercy of His Atonement. This kind of thing may seem silly to one who doesn't believe it, thus it is hard to have a successful dialogue.

  • bc1050 Sandy, UT
    Sept. 27, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    The problem for the LDS church is that their are questions that they just do not have answer for such as why there are not Book of Mormon artifacts on display.... how do they answer that question?

  • oldschool Farmington, UT
    June 28, 2014 2:05 a.m.

    I am sorry to see anybody stray so far from the church that a membership is revoked. But when a person begins a "trial" over membership by insisting that he or she will not do as his/her local leader as requested, then I fully expect excommunication to be the end result. Nobody is excommunicated for simply asking questions or for wishing that church doctrine were different. But publicly lobbying for change reminds me of Martin Harris, who repeatedly asked to take some Book of Mormon transcripts home to show his wife, and we all know the result.

  • liberaustrian El Paso, TX
    June 23, 2014 9:23 p.m.

    @Blue AZ Cougar,

    I appreciate the dialogue. I cannot say I am even familiar with the arguments being made in the ordain women movement. I will have to look up your references and give my opinion based on church law.

    The point of my comment was more about the claims of the First Presidency to divine knowledge. The whole argument about ordaining women becomes a lot more clear when you don't believe there is genuine prophecy coming from Salt Lake. In my opinion, I think there should be a movement for starting a new reformed church that is honest about its past and its source of inspiration. There is nothing wrong with the current church, other than that dishonesty. The teachings are fundamentally solid, however the need to believe 100% is making the church too rigid. The foundation can be restructured to reflect the zeitgeist of today's information age without hurting the overall message of love one another.

  • boneheaded, but not a smidgen SLC, UT
    June 23, 2014 2:17 p.m.

    why is it anyone's business, Mormon or non Mormon to weigh in on this? It is to be between the church and member, privately. unfortunately she has decided to have her day in the sun, all 15 minutes of it.

  • San Diego Orem, UT
    June 23, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    Very nice, well-written article. There is one other important method of determining the truth and that is by actually living the gospel. Jesus said "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." John 7:17 Try it, it works.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    June 23, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    Who is Jessica Moody and why is she representing the Church on such a high profile issue? I'm sure she's a fine person but hardly of the stature one would expect for a matter of this import.

  • Herby Hurricane, UT
    June 22, 2014 5:12 p.m.

    Lets also be very honest here, Kelly whatever her name is, is doing this to boost her career. She is trying to get recognition as a civil rights activist. She is your modern day MLK JR, or at least she thinks. It is all a publicity stunt for her.

  • Herby Hurricane, UT
    June 22, 2014 5:07 p.m.


    You are telling me that "cast out" doesn't mean that yes because of their choices, they were sent out of heaven. In other words they were cast out. Just like those who make bad choices here on earth, they can make the bad choices but that may mean that they may get excommunicated from the church because of those bad choices. I don't get what is so ridiculous about that.

  • Mexican Ute mexico, 00
    June 22, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Whenever a Disciplinary Council is held, it is by the local leaders and NOT by any General Authority. Though a General Authority or an Area Seventy can get involved in advising the Stake President what he should do with the evidences given, or if a Disciplinary Council is warranted.

  • anotherview SLO, CA
    June 22, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    The problem with The Church (culture?) is that "it/things" have never been simple and straightforward, yet we constantly speak and portray things as black/white, true or untrue--that we have all the answers. Yet, they aren't and we don't.

    Adam and Eve--from God's mouth to their ears (not via a mortal, fallible intermediary) they were given 2 different commandments--multiply and replenish, don't partake of the fruit of knowledge, and then it unfolded from there. Adam and Eve muddled through, making mistakes.

    All knowledge is not found in the scriptures and through prayer. If it were, we would be like Christian Scientists, eschewing modern science and medicine. Society evolves, previous beliefs and practices fall away as people become more enlightened. But we are all mortal and fallible. Some of us are seekers, some of us seek safety in the status quo. We need both kinds. The status quo to remind us of potential hazards and the seekers to push us to higher levels. The younger generation teaches the old, and the old teaches the young.

    Stop the myth-making of straightforwardness, and infallibility whether it applies to church policy/doctrine, leadership etc

  • Cavs2310 Layton, UT
    June 21, 2014 4:28 p.m.

    I feel like there are a few points in this discussion I'd like to make. 1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a democracy. I feel like a lot of people are missing this point. 2. Any person is allowed to question the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its leadership, but there is a HUGE difference between personal questions that you study out in your own mind and creating dissension in a group of people.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    June 21, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    @ Laura Bilington - Maple Valley, WA - "SlackTime, please understand that there are many faithful Mormons who believe that Christ has spoken--but that the Prophet is not listening."

    Then they are not, and I quote, "faithful" Mormons.

    How can they be "faithful" Mormons if they do NOT have "faith" in the prophet?

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    June 21, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    Article quote: "What causes concern for Church leaders is when personal motivations drive those conversations beyond discussion, and a person or group begins recruiting others to insist on changes in Church doctrines or structure. When it goes so far as creating organized groups, staging public events to further a cause or creating literature for members to share in their local congregations, the Church has to protect the integrity of its doctrine as well as other members from being misled. ..... If our personal goals go beyond what has been provided from those sources, we must ask ourselves whether we are we trying to change His Church to match our own perspective."

    If one refuses to see that then they are truly blind. I say "refuses" instead of "cannot" because it is in fact that obvious.

    I wish the best for those who oppose the LDS church, especially current and former members. Please, please choose wisely.

  • hairypatches Hurricane, UT
    June 21, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    The church is accused by followers of Ordain Women and Mormon Stories of trying to control the message and perhaps they are right to a certain degree. After all, the leaders of the church are the ones accountable for the message of the church or their spokespeople.

    This is a beautifully crafted response to critics of the church.

    Unfortunately John Dehlin and Kate Kelly are doing the same thing. Anytime I try to post any support for the church and I might say in a very respectful way, they do not allow it to be posted on the comment board of Ordain Women. MormonStories or FeministMormonHousewives. In other words, all they allow at this time is people that give them warm fuzzies. Talk about calling the kettle black? So much for open stories….

    No critics allowed!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 21, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    If decisions are given solely to "local" authorities that's disturbing too. You can have a bishop that is kind, understanding and loving involved, or, a bishop the lives by the hard core letter of the law and you're doomed. There is no comparison to the two.
    I used to be dumbfounded as a member of the high council at decisions that were made.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:55 p.m.

    @Laura Billington
    Christ has spoken, you may be the one not listening. I suggest that you read and re read the last general conference talks cover to cover, and then do it again. After all they are the teachings for our time. It would be very helpful for you.

  • Steve32327 Hillsboro, OR
    June 20, 2014 9:34 p.m.

    Don't ask serious questions about doctrine. If you do, you sincerely run the substantial risk of excommunication. Been there, had that happen.

  • David Robertson Lubbock, TX
    June 20, 2014 6:54 p.m.

    Ok, let's look at this situation. Some people want things different. We are not making them happy. How big of a percentage of the membership are they? Should we discard all the doctrine that the church is built on to make a few people happy? Should we prostitute the whole church for the sake of a small unhappy few that aren't getting their way? Should we take the church down the same path that the leaders of our country have hijacked the USA down? If we do... we will end up like all the rest of the religions that Joseph Smith looked at and tried to decide which was "the right one". We will just be another apostasy upon the planet. This church was set up and run by the Savior of all mankind. You either believe that or you don't. If you believe this church is wrong, start your own. I know the shepherd left the 99 to find the one,,, but in this case the 1 wants to lead the 99 astray.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    June 20, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    >>You tell them to question, they question, and then they get derided and threatened when they get a different answer on one thing.

    We believe that the Lord isn't going to give you a different answer "on one thing." The Lord doesn't instigate doctrinal changes by revealing differing answers to random members -- that's a recipe for anarchy.

    If the Lord wants to change the doctrine, he will reveal it to the prophet. The prophet will explain the change to the Quorum of the Twelve, who will fast and pray to receive their own spiritual witness that the change is inspired. Once the First Presidency and the Twelve are unanimous, the change will be announced in General Conference or through a special Letter from the First Presidency that all local leaders will read from the pulpit. All members can then fast and pray to receive their own witness that it's the right course.

    There is an organized, orderly process by which these things are done that allows members to have confidence that any doctrinal changes are inspired. Random members organizing Temple Square protests isn't it.

  • 4Freedom Columbus, OH
    June 20, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    "Church members will live in this wheat-and-tares situation until the Millennium. Some real tares even masquerade as wheat, including the few eager individuals who lecture the rest of us about Church doctrines in which they no longer believe. They criticize the use of Church resources to which they no longer contribute. They condescendingly seek to counsel the Brethren whom they no longer sustain. Confrontive, except of themselves, of course, they leave the Church, but they cannot leave the Church alone." ~ Elder Neal A. Maxwell, 1996.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    June 20, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    People can discuss whatever they want, but they shouldn't think there are no consequences. There are consequences for everything, and the Internet is a public forum where people can and will judge you.

    Of course people are claiming that their disciplinary councils or excommunications are being directed from Church headquarters. They want to play the victim for the media and insist on being portrayed as persecuted. In reality they are the persecutors and the Church is defending itself, just as it always has done. The Church's doctrinal integrity is solid, built on the firm foundation that is Christ. The integrity of the members though, and their testimonies, is not so solid—and the Church must defend them against those lying in wait to decieve. It controls no one. It simply holds them accountable and does not allow them to abuse their membership to advance nefarious goals.

  • Barbara Anne Los Angeles, CA
    June 20, 2014 4:46 p.m.

    I thought the article was great and right on the money! What worries me with all the comments, criticisms, and back biting is that there is such an atmosphere of great contention. I don't believe in the way OW is going about things. There very name tells us so much. We have learned over and over and over again in the scriptures that when we have this much contention, it certainly is not from the Lord. We have a prophet who leads and guides this church and we all need to get a testimony of him. He is not always going to say things or ask us to do things that are easy and we may at times disagree with him but we are never to follow him with blind faith. Rather, we are told to get on our knees and get a testimony of what we are being asked to do for ourselves. Satan must be laughing up a storm at all this contention. Now there is something to think about.

  • Mack2828 Ft Thomas, KY
    June 20, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    As for me and my house, we will follow the prophet.
    I think we all need to step back and realize that this statement was made by someone named Jessica Moody. I have never heard of her before and I have never sustained her as a prophet seer and revelator.
    I am going to listen closely to President Monson's talks in the October General Conference and follow his direction on this matter.

  • Kaladin Northern, CO
    June 20, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    @Laura Bilington - That is a line of thinking that, taken to it's logical end, leads to a disbelief in the Church. There are countless examples of people in the scriptures that thought they new better than the prophets - what happened to them?
    @Liberaustrian - Having an honest discussion is fine - giving ultimatums ("I will not stop until they change church doctrine") is not fine.
    Everyone - have faith, the Lord will see things through. I will follow the words of the prophets. Are they infallible? No, but they have never led me do break God's commandments.

  • technonerd7 orem, ut
    June 20, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    To-Laura Bilington

    "SlackTime, please understand that there are many faithful Mormons who believe that Christ has spoken--but that the Prophet is not listening."

    I think you have your answer. If you believe that the Prophet is not listening to God, then this is no longer his church, and therefore it makes sense for you to leave. Period. If you believe that he still listens, then stay. Its not rocket science. You either believe he is the mouthpiece or you don't. I don't see why this is a hard thing to understand.

    However, if you go down that path, and your pride prevented you from seeing he is the true mouthpiece of the Lord, then you bring the wrath of God upon yourself.

    I hope you and others who are confused, or believe that the Prophet is no longer listening to God find what you are after and find peace. That being said, the church will not change doctrine on the whim of the members, rather it will change its teachings WHEN and IF God directs the Brethren to do so. Not because society thinks it is cool.

  • Ophelia Bountiful, UT
    June 20, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    Personally, I'm not concerned about excommunication, but I am concerned about losing my temple recommend simply because I support marriage equality. (I'm pretty much a TBM otherwise.) I have a gay son and believe he should have the same privileges and rights that others have. I've expressed this idea to local leadership and have been chastised, and also cautioned that my temple recommend may be revoked. I love the Gospel, but I also love my son and support him completely. I find all of this quite troubling.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 20, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    I have no brief for the issue of whether women ought to be ordained. I don't find any explicit divine decree that they shouldn't (apart from the passages in 1st Corinthians that says they shouldn't even talk at all in church, which we're already ignoring), but on the other hand, there is a custom and practice established.

    But I do very much oppose the idea that public criticism of Church leaders is never righteous. I am persuaded that the Church would not have abandoned its blasphemous policies regarding priesthood restrictions on people of African descent if Church members had not "withstood [them] to the face, for they were to be blamed." Sometimes necessary changes come through the operation of regular ecclesiastical processes. Sometimes those processes perpetuate the problem. God sends us not only prophets, but "scribes and wise men." Sometimes the former need the latter as much as the other way around.

    If the Church's judgments concerning priesthood eligibility are sound, they will endure, no matter how many people criticize them. If they are not, they will fail -- and those responsible, if they suppress their critics, will have compounded one error with another.

  • UT Brit London, England
    June 20, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    The church has some skeletons in its closet regarding its history. Some things are not taught about in Sunday school or any other lesson in the church. What happens when someone stumbles upon some of the more questionable facts of church history but gets no answers from their leaders. Sorry but "pray harder" solution is not a meaningful way to help people.
    The church needs to be open and honest and teach the correct history of the church, what you get in the lesson manuals is not the full picture.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 20, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Whether it's gay supremacists trying to get people fired for having the wrong opinions on redefining marriage, the IRS trying to suppress anti-tax groups, or churches disciplining their critics, I have a basic presumption that when somebody's argument consists of "shut up," he doesn't have much of an argument.

    There is no reasonable possibility that an LDS member will be "misled" by a lay member as to what the official doctrine of the Church is. The Church can make that perfectly clear (when it wants to). What we have here is an institution that believes the best response to a critical argument is not a better argument, but to shut the critic up.

    I have more confidence that truth will prevail than to think we need those tactics.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 20, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    SlackTime, please understand that there are many faithful Mormons who believe that Christ has spoken--but that the Prophet is not listening.

  • MeriH San Jose, CA
    June 20, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    My answer to you about same sex marriage would be we should be grateful then that we have modern day revelation, that we have a prophet, God's mouth piece on earth today to confront the things that we are encountering in our day, if there is indeed no scriptural precedence. But this would require us to believe and trust in the prophet, which I haven't seen from many of the naysayers. Some commenters above cry out that this is similar to Joseph Smith's time and that the church is acting like those other churches. I can see one big difference here though. Those churches were NOT led by Jesus Christ. Those churches were not HIS church. If you believe that this is HIS church, then we need to have faith in his living prophet and apostles.
    The Bible does teach us that homosexuality is indeed a sin. Lev. 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." The prophets and apostles have not stayed silent on this matter. There were several talks last conference that made that very clear. I suggest listening to them again.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 20, 2014 2:44 p.m.

    Fair enough, let's have an open discussion about it. To kick things off, here are some relevant passages of scripture, etc. that I think are pertinent to the discussion:

    a) Hebrews 5:1-4
    b) Article of Faith #5
    c) D&C 20:38-67
    d) D&C 84:30-34
    e) D&C 107:40, 99
    f) Official Declaration #2 (it should be remembered that this revelation removed the church practice of preventing blacks from receiving the priesthood, and does not overturn a previous revelation stating that blacks should not have the priesthood. Therefore, this was not a change in church doctrine but is a change in church policy/administration)
    g) The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, April 2014 General Conference
    h) Handbook 2: Administering the Church, Section 2.1 (this is available through the LDS website, just type 'Priesthood Keys' in the search bar and it will come up)

    I honestly want to know what you think of those things and how they correlate with the Ordain Women movement. Please respond and let's keep it civil.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 20, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    It’s no great mystery why a member facing disciplinary action would feel intimidated by a proceeding initiated by a local church leader who wants it kept behind closed doors.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    I do wonder if the recent statements from the church about race and the priesthood (renouncing the explanations for the ban taught by previous leaders) and statements along the lines of LDS leaders being capable of being wrong (like in Elder Uchtdorf's conference talk last year) has opened the door more to this line of doubt... what else might be wrong? If we know that church leaders have taught things in the past that are incorrect then what might be considered wrong down the road that is taught now? Hindsight is 20/20 (actually some people are bad with history, maybe more like 20/40) but foresight is more difficult. Are members supposed to be forward thinking in trying to figure out which things might be considered incorrect later, or should they stick to what is currently taught and risk being wrong later like those who believed incorrect things about race/priesthood? Not sure there's an easy answer but it means that what might seem like a clear statement (Elder Oaks' priesthood talk) perhaps these days is more vulnerable to the thoughts of "okay...but what if he's wrong?".

  • liberaustrian El Paso, TX
    June 20, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    This is nothing. This answers noting. For members who have real questions about the church's past and foundation, this is simply the same beating around the bush I get from every member I speak with. The difference between doctrinal truth and fact make this statement meaningless. The questions are about facts about church history, not how to get answers from prayers. If the foundation is corrupt, it will all come down. If it is not corrupt, it will remain. Let's be open about our doubts to let the foundation be exposed. We will all benefit from open honest discussion. This may seem hard or scary to some, it is what is necessary for the truth to come out. The world and reality in general are much more complex than we often give credit. Because there is no easy explanation, burying ones head in the sand is only perpetuating problems. It is not solving them. If you are not aware of the claims, you should make yourself aware. Your faith needs to be tested by this, because it would be worthless if it cannot withstand this information.

  • Niet32 USA, MA
    June 20, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    First, NO ONE HAS BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED. Good grief they have only been warned.

    Second, while Kate's actions aren't right and her cause is off. There are millions of women in the Church who do agree (with men as well) that the Church is too slow on non-doctrinal issues. Like women holding more responsibilities in the Church and speaking in all sessions of conference, GAs representing the mix of the Church and a few other basics that have NOTHING to do with doctrine.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    June 20, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    The statement doesn't really address much but it's really all the church can say. My question after reading the NY Times article and now this is if the statements made in the Times are accurate how would the church defend that? If people are really being called in because of statements they have made on Facebook or Twitter I think it would be pretty hard for the church to justify monitoring regular members social media.

    I would like to know how people would feel about this if it turns out to be accurate.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    June 20, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    Remember that in matters of church discipline, the priesthood leader must keep matters confidential, while the member who is being tried has no such obligation. So if a member who is being tried goes public with criticism, accusations, or complaints against the church or church leader while disciplinary proceedings are going on, you should know that you are not getting the whole story, and in most cases, not even part of it. In my view, making accusations against the church when the church leaders are not at liberty to respond is a special kind of cowardice. Nine out of ten times, I question the integrity of the accuser. One of the many reasons that trust in the leadership of the church is important, is that prevents liars and apostates from getting the upper hand and avails confidentiality to the repentant sinner.

  • Quagthistle Hays, KS
    June 20, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    This statement seems less an answer to member questions and more a responce to member demands. Questions do arise (I have personally experienced a few in my life) that cannot be answered by the scriptures because they are questions about Church policy, and local leaders are just as confused as you are about such questions. In these kinds of cases (i.e. actual legitimate questions and not demands that doctrine change), a method of asking questions would be nice just because there's no other way to know to what to do. Want some examples? If a family is baptised just before the parents divrce (and thus they are never sealed in the temple), and the mother remarries in the temple (but does not include the child in her sealing), how can that child be sealed to her parents? Further, if a worthy member's poor health restricts the wearing of many kinds of clothes (including garments and Temple clothes), can they be Endowed? If not, can they even be Sealed? If not, can they ensure these ordinances will be done after their death? Should said person enter the Temple at all? These are legitimate questions.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 20, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    "The big question I have is "When is the Church going to do something about Harry Reid?" "

    Wow. That is scary.

    If "the church" starts doing "something about Harry Reid", it would be time to insure that we do not elect members of the LDS church to government positions.

    Harry Reid, like every other elected official were elected to represent their constituents. Not their church.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    "If you get another answer, if Moroni's promise doesn't work for you, then go enjoy the religion God directs you to. That won't bother me, or any other member of the LDS Church in the least. "

    I was using it as an example. But what if someone gets a different answer on some piece of church doctrine while believing the rest, like Ordain Women? You tell them to question, they question, and then they get derided and threatened when they get a different answer on one thing. So much for questioning...

  • keepamericafree salt lake, UT
    June 20, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    The church clearly stated that there is nothing wrong with asking questions. Asking is not the problem. The problem comes when you dont like the answer and you try to FORCE changes and cause a big stink when things don't go the way YOU want!

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    June 20, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    To "Clint2" how do you know that the Church hasn't done something about Harry Reid? For all we know, he has been disfellowshipped or ex-communicated.

    Also, as has been stated quite clearly before. You don't get ex-communicated for expressing an opinion. You get ex-communicated when you rally others to join you in publically petitioning the LDS church to change its doctrine.

    While I don't agree with Harry Reid, when has he gone so far as to petition the LDS church to change its doctrine?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 20, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    "....What causes concern for Church leaders is when personal motivations drive those conversations beyond discussion, and a person or group begins recruiting others to insist on changes in Church doctrines or structure...."

    I think it’s fair for me to mention the Church role in California’s Proposition 8. That was a case of Church leadership using the pulpit to mobilize membership into a proactive force on one specific side of a California ballot referendum. I see no reason why individual Church members should not be able to likewise organize and consort on behalf of or in opposition to an issue.

  • Clint2 Lake Worth, FL
    June 20, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    The big question I have is "When is the Church going to do something about Harry Reid?" He is constantly going in the opposite direction of the Church, but he is still a member in good standing with the Church. He is all for abortion, full women’s rights, drug use and uses his position in the government to promote his views that are in opposition to the Church. If the Church is going to excommunicate people or has them to terminate their membership in the church for expressing their opinions on the internet, then the Church needs to take a harder look at Harry Reid!!!!!!!!!!

  • raybies Layton, UT
    June 20, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    Seems kinda hypocritical to suggest there's no spiritual peril in public messaging, or that it has no influence on anyone. If that were the case no one would bother to post a single response here, regardless of your perspective on the issue.

  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    June 20, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    Well said.
    The bottom line is when it comes down to EARNESTLY pondering, praying, and asking about something, with an unbiased desire to receive an answer...that takes a great amount of humility.
    Contrast that with those referenced.
    Night and day.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    June 20, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    Let's try this again, since so many are not being honest in their description of these events...

    No one is being punished for asking questions, whether they be hard or easy. My word, the whole reason we have the restoration of the Gospel is because Joseph Smith asked questions. Yes, most of those being very hard questions.

    Secondly, they are not being punished. (Not yet anyway.) They are being called into a council to answer questions on whether or not they, by their actions, are advocating for and/or leading others in the church astray.

    1. You can question all you want!

    2. You cannot go around teaching others in the church that your view is correct and the leaders of the church are wrong.

    If you are doing the first you are fine. If you are doing the second, you will be given an opportunity to explain, and if determined you are leading others astray, an opportunity to repent. Should you not repent, then you will be asked to leave.

    It isn't rocket science. After reading the above, those who are still advocating that these two are receiving punishment for the first, are intentionally being deceitful.

  • MormonUte Centerville, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    I have been involved in church discipline, both as a recipient of it, and as a ward clerk who sat in on a few Bishop's Councils. This week marks the 20th anniversary of my excommunication from the Church. I was re-baptized 13 years ago, and had my Priesthood and Temple blessings restored 12 years ago. Church discipline was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I had made solemn covenants in the Temple, and I was violating them (Law of Chastity). Like many members involved in serious sin, I didn't realize that I needed to be excommunicated so that I would repent. If I wouldn't have been, I would probably not have repented still to this day. There are a couple of things not being mentioned much in the media. First of all, if you read Kate Kelly's letter that she posted on line, her Bishop said he could work with her on a possible time change for her council. 2nd-any decision may be appealed to the First Presidency (D & C 102). 3rd- These people made covenants that they are now violating.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    June 20, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Kings Court,

    Yes, a religion was born and converts were recruited when a 14-year-old boy went beyond asking questions. Then again, Joseph Smith also didn't try to gut the Methodist Church to fit his liking either. So if these people are confident they have the moral authority and divine direction, and that the LDS Church is out of line, then they are free to start there own church. The LDS Church sure won't stop you. However, if they are going to remain within the church, know that the leadership of the church has no obligation to let itself get manipulated.

  • SlackTime SAN ANTONIO, TX
    June 20, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    atl134, your concern doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    If you get another answer, if Moroni's promise doesn't work for you, then go enjoy the religion God directs you to. That won't bother me, or any other member of the LDS Church in the least. I have long been an advocate that you should believe in the religion you attend. If you believe in another religion, please, go worship there.

    If however you believe, with me, that Christ does guide this Church, that the leadership is inspired, and that the President/Prophet of the Church holds the keys of the Priesthood and uses, and conferrs them, in accordance with Christ's will, then you will understand that it really doesn't matter how many others "want the Church to change", the Church changes when Christ directs it to change, and we, Christ's sheep, hear his voice and follow. Could Christ direct him to change? Sure, but until that happens, public demonstrations will be foolishness, and will result in excommunication.

  • Michael.S Salt Lake, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    This sounds reasonable until you think about how this would sound if any other organization said the same thing. Please feel free to question but keep in mind that we are never wrong and don't get in our way. If it turns out that we were actually wrong, we will let you know 50 years later.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    If I remember my church history correctly, a 14 year old boy in the early 1800's went beyond just asking questions. A whole religion was born and converts were recruited.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    "Two prominent bloggers who have media attention were informed by local leaders independently about disciplinary action. The timing is circumstantial. These cases are entirely up to local leadership."

    Along with Kelly's parents in a different state (Utah as opposed to Virginia) getting their temple recommends taken away a week before Kelly got her disciplinary hearing letter?

    "This is a religion that encourages questions and asking God directly for answers."

    The problem is what happens when people get anything other than a specific "right" answer? There are quite a large number of people who think anyone who tried Moroni's promise and didn't get an affirmative answer wasn't sincere or some other negative opinion of those individuals.

  • SlackTime SAN ANTONIO, TX
    June 20, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    There are approved ways to seek change in the Church, and unapproved ways.

    If I perceive a flaw in the Church I can:
    1. Talk about it with my Bishop.
    2. Talk about it with my Stake President. (Generally will be referred back to the Bishop unless the perceived flaw is in my Bishop)
    3. Write to my Area Authority Seventy, or to an Apostle, to the President, or some other General Authority. (Such questions may get referred back to your Bishop or Stake President)
    4. After discussion with the appropriate leader I will be given counsel. I can agree or not with the counsel given.

    If however, I choose to go public with something, and publicly criticize the Church, or its leadership, and if I promote teachings that are contrary to the Church and will not cease public promotion of them, then the Church has no choice but to separate my teachings from the Church.

    This is an excellent statement from the Church.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    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

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    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.

  • 2yearn Lehi, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    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.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 20, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    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.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    June 20, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    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.

  • Grumpy Granpa Spanish Fork, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    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.

    June 20, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    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.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    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.

  • Andrew Izatt Logan, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    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.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    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.

  • jsgrahamus SARATOGA SPRINGS, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    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.


    June 20, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    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...

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    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.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 20, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    @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.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    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.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:46 a.m.

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

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 20, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    "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.

    "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.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    June 20, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    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?

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    June 20, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    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.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    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.

  • ForTruth Taylorsville, UT
    June 20, 2014 8:53 a.m.


    That is the most ridiculous statement I've read. Lucifer (Satan/Devil) was cast out of heaven along with a third part because of rebellion. It was their choice. We all have the gift of agency, and our choices determine our progression. We have the choice to live God's commandments, but not the consequences that come from disobedience.

  • technonerd7 orem, ut
    June 20, 2014 8:44 a.m.


    "Some people being ex'd, aren't trying to "change" the Church; they're pointing out flaws."

    That is a contradictory comment. If you are "pointing out the flaws" of an organization, you are telling them how to change to make it better.

    As a member of the LDS church I often have questions, and I will look online, and I will ponder things. However, my core testimony is strong enough to bring me back to having faith that the leaders of the church are leading the church where it needs to go, and if something needs to change, they will get the inspiration to do so.

    As a member I would caution others that look online, there are many truths online, but there are many half truths and lies online as well.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 20, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    Don't rock the boat. You can't want change, you'll just be told about it if an when it happens.

  • Left Field Longmont, Colorado
    June 20, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    I can comprehend someone disagreeing with church doctrine, but not lobbying to try to change it. Either buy into it or walk away from it—"it" being both the doctrine and the church. A church built on the premise of modern-day revelation cannot be expected to modify its dogma based on group discussion. That said, lately we've been seeing a blurring of the line between doctrine and opinion in the church in some areas—shifting attitudes and church commentary regarding the priesthood ban come to mind—where some folks understandably come away feeling like the court of public opinion did have some influence on church leadership positions. Now, the church's position is that it wasn't bowing to public pressure that caused the change, but greater divine light being shed on the matter. I get that, but those who might not see it that way are mistakenly encouraged to lobby for change in public forums as they have.

  • MercyNLovelie USA, CA
    June 20, 2014 8:21 a.m.


    I seriously question anyone who claims to be receiving discipline via SLC just for being vocal about flaws. Half the membership would be gone. This is a religion that encourages questions and asking God directly for answers.

    On the other hand, I do know that SLC directs local leaders on occasion. Those cases involve serious crimes such as child abuse, for example. I know from personal experience - SLC handled a case when I was a child and reported to law enforcement. They took every consideration and respected my privacy and dignity. Of all the things I have questioned, the church's policies on church discipline is not one of them.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    June 20, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    >>Is the "integrity of its doctrine" that fragile? Are LDS church members that easily "misled" that they need to be sheltered from unapproved information?

    No, it's not so fragile, but not all Church members are at the same level of doctrinal understanding. New converts, for example, who have yet to develop a deep knowledge of the doctrine could become confused as to what the doctrine is if the Church fails to discipline members who are openly fighting against Church teachings. History shows that apostasy must be checked or it becomes increasingly destructive to individuals and the organization.

    That said, anyone who is excommunicated is perfectly free to continue speaking their minds about church doctrine. They just won't be free to represent themselves as members whose teachings line up with official doctrine.

    >>...but the people being excommunicated, in some cases, are saying that their local leaders were directed to do so by SLC.

    Honest question: what evidence have they produced of such direction from Church headquarters? I haven't seen any beyond their own unproven claims.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 20, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    "Instead of asking for a dialogue with the church, they take it to the court of public opinion, where it's just that. An opinion."

    But Ted, You speak of opinion being just an opinion. But how many times have we heard that, at times, church leaders merely express their opinions?

    Church members would rely on the validity of their utterances only to find that they were clearly wrong. And when that happens, it is classified as merely the opinion of a fallible man.

    I am quite sure that the leaders are very wise men with very good intentions and good advice. As was my grandfather. With him, I never had any doubts as to the source of his council.

    The LDS are forced to accept the past council when it survives the test of time and dismiss it when it doesn't.

    Until church leaders are willing to label their words as either personal opinion or Gods words, then this confusion will always exist.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    AT: There is no conspiracy to hunt down bloggers. Two prominent bloggers who have media attention were informed by local leaders independently about disciplinary action. The timing is circumstantial. These cases are entirely up to local leadership. Local leaders have authority to convene church court for members under their stewardship.

    Imagine the injustice should General Authorites be required to intervene everytime a member of sufficient fame was disciplined. Now that would be unfair.

    That it happened to coincide is circumstantial. The church has and will continue to enable its local leadership jurisdiction when it comes to matters of apostasy, serious sin, or whatever, no matter how "public" the case becomes. And it isn't the church that publicizes these things.

    Members of the LDS faith understand the difference between honest inquiry and advocating apostate ideaology that runs counter to the doctrines of the restored gospel.

    Excommunication is not a foregone conclusion for disciplinary counsel. They have choices in the matter and the disciplinary counsel is still undecided, so suggesting excommunication attempts to sensationalize matters.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    There is a difference between having questions about doctrine and life's questions vs having an agenda and leading a crusade to further your own desires. Excommunication is for the unrepentant. Some of these individuals know exactly what they are doing, while pretending to be victims. It's called being dishonest, which is one of their major problems.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    The pic caption is wrong; it does not show temple square, but the Church Office Building plaza.

    I appreciate this comment. Peggy Stack seems to be making the disciplinary councils for Kelly/Dehlin her personal cause before the SLT goes bankrupt and she is out of a job.

  • Herby Hurricane, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    Richard B-- It was also the Devil whom was cast out along with a 1/3 of the host. Was that a Christlike thing to do?

  • raybies Layton, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    She did an hour long interview on NPR Radio West with Doug Fabrizio this last week. Doug attempted multiple times to get her to respond directly to allegations made by two bloggers who are up for church disciplinary action who made their experience public and are attempting to suggest that there's a conspiracy to crack down on bloggers, because their local leaders appear to have requested disciplinary action around the same time...

    I thought she did a decent job of explaining the positions of the LDS faith. It's a tough position to be in, especially when she tries to respect the local leaders and the membership no matter where they come from, in what is intended to be a private and spiritual process.

    Doug's a good interviewer, but you could tell he wanted to stir up a bit more controversy than she was willing to give him. It's worth a listen, imo.

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    This statement is perfect.

    If I was part of a "club"--or even at my employment--and I was starting to organize groups to try and change the key parts of the company, I would most likely not be welcome there and my boss would fire me. It's not the job of these women to tell the leaders what to do.
    If she truly believes that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, then she should very well know where inspiration must come from for the leaders. Hint Sister: It's NOT you. It's not you.

    If she truly believes that this is the true church, then she should very well know that she does not receive revelation for the leaders of the church. She doesn't even receive it for her local Relief Society President. There's a point where curiosity and questioning turn into apostasy, and she is there.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    June 20, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    What a wonderful, well-stated, pronouncement from the Church this is. It is simple, straight forward, and is based on sound principle. The integrity of Church doctrine, procedures, and discussions are addressed here. But more than anything, the Church has a responsibility to protect its members from influences and processes that are not consistent with the preservation of core testimony of its members that are founded on faith, obedience, humility, prayer, and service. Dissension and loss of testimony doesn't come from asking questions. It comes from insistence upon answers being as we want them to be. Imagine if none of us allowed ourselves to be taught by the Spirit. I emphasize 'taught'. The word means that we are willing to have the answers come from God, even if they are different than what we want them to be. I place myself in God's hands. And I remember this, "Whether it be by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, the prophets, it is the same". As for me and my house, we will follow the prophet, and no blessing will be denied us at the last day.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 5:51 a.m.

    The members that are being excommunicated. We don't know all of the reasons. We have what the excommunicated person is telling us, but, not the reasoning or inspiration or how the leaders came to the conclusion that they should be excommunicated.

    For all we know there could be other sins, but, as people tend to do; they quickly lash out and pick an argument that the public and newspapers would love to rally behind.

    My experience has been, most people in these situations are already done with the church, but, feel they need to cause as much pain and grief as possible while playing the victim. Of course they're not going to say that....

    With that said, how can you claim to know the church is true and sustain the leaders, when you spend your spare time attacking them? Instead of asking for a dialogue with the church, they take it to the court of public opinion, where it's just that. An opinion.

    Thesame thing along the lines of Mormons building bridges. Just the fact that they leave sacrament to support, shows where their heart is. Why not invite them to church instead and build that bridge?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 20, 2014 5:34 a.m.

    "First, there is no effort to tell local leaders to keep members from blogging or discussing questions online. "

    The fact that this must be clarified is scary to begin with.

    "When it goes so far as creating organized groups, staging public events to further a cause or creating literature for members to share in their local congregations, the Church has to protect the integrity of its doctrine as well as other members from being misled."

    Is the "integrity of its doctrine" that fragile? Are LDS church members that easily "misled" that they need to be sheltered from unapproved information?

    The LDS church leadership is much too controlling and protective of it's flock for my taste.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    June 20, 2014 2:52 a.m.

    Things might be better if they followed Jesus's example in the pre-existence. Teach them the truth, and give them their free agency to decide.

    Remember, it was the devil that wanted to force people to do things his way.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    June 20, 2014 1:24 a.m.

    I'm not a member but this makes sense to me. Sounds reasonable. So tell me what the problem is then?

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    June 20, 2014 1:21 a.m.

    A crystal clear statement. As usual, spot on effort from the Church and its Public Affairs office. Interesting, too, same spokesperson who very eloquently explained, exhorted and warned the very people drawing this attention to this process regarding the road they were headed down.

  • AT Elk River, MN
    June 20, 2014 12:26 a.m.

    So, this is a nice statement, but the people being excommunicated, in some cases, are saying that their local leaders were directed to do so by SLC. There's enough evidence counter to the statement in this article to reasonably question whether the LDS Church representative is being truthful.

    Some people being ex'd, aren't trying to "change" the Church; they're pointing out flaws.

    It's an interesting atmosphere in the Church right now. I'm actually thinking, "So, when I hit "Submit", my initials and location will be posted. There aren't too many ATs in Elk River, MN. Wonder if this will put me on some watch list somewhere? Chilling."