Mormon Church Expels Outspoken Critic

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Credit: Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune, via Associated Press

By Laurie Goodstein

John P. Dehlin, the founder and host of a popular podcast for Mormons who question their faith, announced on Tuesday that a 15-member church disciplinary council had unanimously decided to excommunicate him for apostasy.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church, confirmed that he had been expelled and maintained that it had done so because Mr. Dehlin led members astray by publicly proclaiming his disbelief in Mormon scripture and basic doctrines. But Mr. Dehlin said the reason the church expelled him now, after years of monitoring his “Mormon Stories” podcast and Facebook page, was his outspoken advocacy for same-sex marriage and the ordination of women as priests.

In an extraordinary step, Mr. Dehlin released to reporters what he said was a transcript of a recording he surreptitiously made of the confidential meeting last August in which his local church leaders laid out the grounds for disciplining him. The transcript shows that the church leaders were troubled that Mr. Dehlin had made statements on Facebook and in podcasts that questioned such things as the existence of God, the Mormon Church’s claim to be “the one true church” and whether the Book of Mormon and other church scriptures are true and historically accurate.

But they also told a combative Mr. Dehlin, according to the transcript, that it is indeed a problem that he has openly supported both same-sex marriage and the group Ordain Women, which pushes for gender equality in the church, because both are contrary to church teachings. The founder of Ordain Women, Kate Kelly, was excommunicated last year, and some of the group’s leaders say they have also faced church discipline.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. Best thing that could have happened to Dehlin. I congratulate him for getting out of the that cult! Indeed, he should have preempted their power play and resigned his membership long before they could convene their clown court.

    Yes, it will be painful for him –at first– to be shunned by family, friends, neighbors, co-workers who reinforce each other’s admiration of the Emperor’s New Clothes (been there, done that). But what is the price of one’s integrity? Is the social comfort worth not being able to look at oneself in the mirror? When all is said and done, the Nephites never existed. Period. As Carl Sagan sagely admonished: “Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.”

  2. Mormonism is a real asset to atheism because it is a definite, concrete and establishable example of a religion being based on fraud. Not only was Joseph Smith a convicted fraudster, but his books are clearly transparent frauds. The one I have seen commented about is the Book of Abraham. It is based on a fraudulent translation of an Ancient Egyptian scroll. The scroll exists and these days we can read it. It is a funarary document and has no connection to Abraham!

    The Book of Mormon has frequently been ridiculed by Richard Dawkins for its fake 17th Century English as it was written in the 19th Century. There were significant changes in the language between those dates. Most notably Smith didn’t understand the use of the words Thou, Thee , You and Ye as they were used when the King James Bible was translated. Richard does not seem to be aware of these so I would welcome someone bringing them to his attention because they are very obvious particularly to speakers of other European languages and the other errors are also very obvious.
    This article shows some good evidence
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics_and_the_Book_of_Mormon#Grammar
    You have gems like
    “that they did not fight against God no more”
    and
    “Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban”

    His English is worse than that used by G W Bush and I think we should not “Misunderestimate” 🙂 the evidence.

  3. It would be quite ridiculous for Mr. Dehlin to call himself a Mormon. I know a number of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are terrified of “disfellowship” (ex-communication and shunning). If Mr. Dehlin goes through this process and shows to everyone it is nothing to be feared we might see more people leaving or speaking out and being kicked out. The Mormons have some problems. The founding was not that long ago and we have good records of what a scoundrel Mr. Smith and friends were. Further the founding miracles were recent, without witnesses and way overstated. They just sound silly. It is an unstable situation, threatening everyone to pretend to believe. If anyone starts to question, then others will too. Imagine being forced to believe in an angel called MORONi. It is like rubbing your nose in what a chump you are.

  4. Roedy Feb 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    If anyone starts to question, then others will too. Imagine being forced to believe in an angel called MORONi. It is like rubbing your nose in what a chump you are.

    There is an understanding among informed opinion, that in pronunciation, the second “m” in Mormon is silent!

  5. Roedy,

    Unfortunately he may well find that large parts of his family will not want to speak to him, friends may well not want anything to do with him, people may not want to conduct business with him (if he lives in Salt Lake City) this could mean loss of work, income, job what-not. As a former Mormon who did believe all that was shoved in may face I don’t think it is any harder to believe than talking donkeys, snakes, men who can live in fish for days Mormonism does believe all that as well just that they believe that + a whole bunch of other ridiculous stuff. I sure ultimately he will be happy, he is probably already less stressed and relieved but it won’t have been easy.

  6. There’s an old rock standard, was it by Elvis?

    *I got a girl called boney Moroni

    She got a figure like a stick o’ macaroni*

    I wonder if Elvis was up on Mormon theology.

  7. Hi everyone. I came back fresh and strong.
    As a Muslim I think when it comes to the matter of Apostasy I have alot of things to contribute to the dialogue.
    Dear Bruce,
    When you say: No room for free thinkers in religion, I wonder what is your definition of religion?
    A very huge part of Muslims who believe in Quran which says: There is NO compulsion in religion” and is always inviting you, maybe near a thousand times to Think, Reason, Get Educated and… in different verses. They are completely OK with other Muslims leaving or changing religion. They embrace Freedom of speech and Thought and are actually sometimes quite prominant Free Thinkers or Scientists.
    Do you consider them Non-Religous?

  8. Reza (Muslim Who Loves Truth) Feb 16, 2015 at 10:05 am

    When you say: No room for free thinkers in religion, I wonder what is your definition of religion?

    In this discussion the religion is “The Church of latter Day Saints” known as the Mormon Church.

    It was founded by a fraudster by the name of Joseph Smith in the 1800s.

    Here is a little background history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith
    During the 1830s, Smith sent out missionaries, published revelations, and supervised construction of an expensive temple. Nevertheless, the collapse of a church-sponsored bank and violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians caused Smith and his followers to establish a new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became both a spiritual and political leader. In 1844, Smith and the Nauvoo city council angered non-Mormons by destroying a newspaper that had criticized Smith’s power and practice of polygamy.[5] After Smith was imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois, he was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse.

    Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah, and he is considered the founder of several religious denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.

  9. Reza (Muslim Who Loves Truth) Feb 16, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Alan4discussion.
    But Bruce’s comment has no exceptions.

    If we are to look at their merits, we would have to look at one at a time.

    I thought you might be interested in seeing the origins of this one, or commenting on Mormon claims.

  10. Thanks Alan4discussion.
    I thought the topic is about how religions behave toward someone who leaves them.
    I don’t have any specific knowledge about Mormonism and I am not qualifieded in commenting about it. But I can use your informations as a source.
    Thank you my new friend.

  11. There are a lot of philosophies on this earth that label themselves as religions. That invludes christianity, islam, hinduism, jewish and a host of others too numerous to mention. None of them are based on facts or knowledge. They are abased on supersitions and mythology. They are all closed systems that do not allow for the inclusion of new information. Science on the other hand is always exploring this universe and searching for new information to understand this earth and everything around us. Religion has always been suspicious of knowledge and education and has over history persecuted scientists and anyone who suggested that anything in a holy book was not correct.

    That refusal to deal with reality and information is the biggest down fall of all religions. It shows that no matter who wrong a concept is in religion, people refuse to deal with it on any level.

  12. I am a proud Mormon, and I would like to say that gender inequality is not supported within our church, but we do not give women the priesthood because we believe that men and women have different responsibilities.

  13. Right Ki

    Men’s responsibilities includes the priesthood and all of the power it brings. Women’s responsibilities include changing diapers, cooking and cleaning – no gender inequality there! No sense in being proud to be a Mormon. You are a Mormon because your parents were similarly brainwashed and they passed it on to you. It’s not an accomplishment. Nothing to be proud of there. You don’t have the chops to think your way out of it.

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