149 Comments

← Previous Page 3 of 3
  1. “As a Latter Day Saint, I was deeply offended by that comparison.”

    Then you have sinned and should repent, according to Elder David A. Bednar:

    “When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

    In the grand division of all of God’s creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of moral agency, the capacity for independent action and choice. Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon. To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation.

    . . .

    If a person says or does something that we consider offensive, our first obligation is to refuse to take offense . . . .”

  2. GKB

    Rainey:

    As I said, if Jana is concerned with these matters, the door is open for her to meet with her Bishop and discuss them. Ecclesiastical engagement goes both ways.

    My impression is that the citation issues of procedures, counseling, record keeping is more about fault-finding than the are caring about keeping or reparing the bond of fellowship between the Remy’s and the Church.

    If the Church had made this more of a procedural, confrontational meeting…the Church would be accused of being too formal and dogmatic.

    Had the Church spent time counseling with Jana for a few minutes at the conclusion of the meeting, I’m sure that there would be criticism that they were condescending and patronizing.

    Had the members of the council been terse, accusative, or unfriendly…I can only imagine all the complaining.

  3. Worthy

    GKB #101
    Of couse the option of resignation was not presented by those dishing out the ecclesiastical abuse. The rare art form of “ea” is institutionalized and any easy way out is not considered.

  4. Thanks for this post, John. It has been interesting to see you and Jana go through this process. I think that you have handled yourself fairly and with dignity. And it sounds like OM and his colleagues were as amicable as possible, too.

    Break-ups almost always suck on one level or another. On the other hand, they can also be important milestones in a journey. I’m sorry about the tension and stress this process added to your life; I’m glad that this formal break-up wasn’t any more painful; and I hope that you are able to build on it in a positive way in your own journey.

  5. GKB

    Worthy: Of couse the option of resignation was not presented by those dishing out the ecclesiastical abuse. The rare art form of “ea” is institutionalized and any easy way out is not considered.

    This statement is a perfect example of the fact that in the matter of John Remy…the Church could do nothing that would satisfy the critics.

    Agree with the Church or not…there could not have been much more of a diplomatic or responsible way for the Church to end its fellowship relations than it did with John.

    And, even though John has declared that he no longer believes in the Church, is now an atheist, does not attend the Church, does not follow at least some of the commandments of the LDS Church, does not participate in the Church, and is highly critical of the Church…the Church is abusive for no other reason that respectfully ending his membership.

    With all due respect, John’s public attacks on the Church are more abusive than the private and civil manner in which the Church treated John.

  6. And Equality (81), you no-good rabble-rouser, you ought to know that there’s no authorization for a disciplinary council per se in 2 Ne. 9. Hellfire, sure, but not a disciplinary council. Know your statute, man.*

    *May not apply to women or to others not allowed to see the statute in question.

    And one other lawyerly quibble: Your 83 — “an act which, from their own vantage point and by their own profession of belief, condemns John to an eternal separation from his family” — probably misstates the orthodox LDS perception of the effect of the court.

    Of course, it’s true that there are many ways (pointed out by John and Jana) that the court reinforces a problematic hierarchical power structure, and those are absolutely fair game. But I don’t think it’s fair to imply that OM or others there thought that their decision would single-handedly send John to Hell.

    To an orthodox member, John’s own prior actions (atheism, beer drinking, lack of official repentance) have already condemned him; the court itself would not have much effect on John’s eternal status.

  7. John

    And nowhere near as abusive as the Church’s tricking me into miming my own throat-slitting, disembowelment and being sliced in half as a way of enforcing an oath to the same institution, and then pressuring me to keep silent about it. If that’s not abuse, I don’t know what is.

    Abuse in a relationship has to take into account the power structure of that relationship, which was largely my point in bringing up the semi-consensual sexual abuse analogy. (It would’ve been better for me to up the ages, to maybe make it a workplace or university abuse scenario).

    For some of us, it *is* that damaging. And to tell us it is socially unacceptable to openly discuss it because it’s offensive to others is comparable to telling someone who was sexually abused to keep quiet, because talking about sex is offensive.

  8. GKB

    John:

    I think you miss my point. As I said, I am not debating the merits of your Church-as-sexual-child-preditor analogy.

    I am merely pointing out that such an analogy may be one of many reasonable indicators that you are opposed to Mormonism to the point of having apostasized.

    But, I sense that it may not be possible for you to see how that statement may play (regardless of your intent) with faithful LDS members.

  9. 111:

    Aw, Kaimi, I’m sure John doesn’t mind. It sure isn’t the first time a law professor has critiqued my legal analysis. My 2 Nephi 9:34 reference was mostly snark anyway.

    Thanks, John, for letting me join in the conversation here. I hope I am not bringing the blog’s level of discourse and erudition down too many notches. It is interesting to note the degree to which commenters here are able to express their thoughts freely. You are not “excommunicating” anyone from your blog. Nor have you metaphorically stood up and taken the mic away from someone like GKB, for instance.

  10. Wondering

    My question to GKB is why do you care? If John is an apostate and you’re a faithful Latter-day Saint, why are you still reading his blog and feeling the need to respond to every topic in this thread.

    Would it not be better to step away and stop creating contention in your own life as well as the lives of others? Why do you feel compelled to basically recreate the same conversation in a variety of ways? You’re not going to change your mind, John’s not going to change his…at some point the conversation reaches an impasse and it’s time to move on.

  11. GKB

    Wondering:

    Don’t worry. I won’t be spending too much time on this blog. Right now, it is of topical interest to me and I enjoy the conversation. As for the moment, I think that the discussion on this thread is evolving in a way that it hasn’t reached a circular conclusion.

    Equality:

    Isn’t it great that we live in a free country where John is free to express his opinions? We are also blessed with freedom of association. Anyone can associate with any group who is willing to have them. Groups have the right to set rules, and govern themselves. It is one of our most basic freedoms.

    For example, a meat-eating, animal-killing, leather-clad advocate of PETA most likely would not be accepted as a member. But…that’s a good thing.

    If I had a blog and accepted comments, you, John, and everyone here would be more than welcome to comment.

    John has the right to ban me from his blog comments. In fact, I have acknowledged that right by offering to leave any time he tires of my comments.

    You may not like what the Church did…or agree with their narrow spectrum of what is acceptable criticism…but that’s how it works in America.

    With such broad freedoms, there will always be instances of conflict at the seams of differing opinions and styles. There will be wounded feelings and a sense of loss when one party rejects another. Its too bad that conflict is the price we pay for these rights…but it is well worth the freedom in the bigger picture.

  12. Rainey

    GKB, I understand that you speak from the platform of LDS beliefs and, as such, recognize the right or need for LDS officials to take action for the benefit of the organization. OTOH, outside the LDS framework the fact remains that human beings purported to take action on another human being’s eternal salvation. That’s arrogant, hostile and foolish on the part of the inquisitors and the fact that they exhibited basic civility in the process doesn’t change that in the least.

    I’m trying as hard as I can to think of something in the Gospels that would justify such action on one person’s part to exclude others from God. For the life of me the only things I can come up with are things like “judge not lest ye be judged’, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” and “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled”. Those are Jesus’ own words and their sense is perfectly clear and I think they put John and his efforts for his gay brothers and sisters on very firm ground regardless of the restrictive and (forgive me but I genuinely don’t know how else to say this) sex-obsessed policies of the LDS.

  13. GKB

    Rainey:

    Interesting points. Excommunication is clearly a biblical concept.

    Matthew 18:15-17 (Jesus speaking)

    Romans 16:17 (Paul)

    2 John 10-12 (John?)

    The concept of expelling sinning and apostate members of the Christian community is both biblical and historical.

    The Bible is quite clear that God sets moral behaviors and expects the his Church to to abide by those standards and expel those who do not follow those moral standards.

    Also bibilical is the concept that the leaders of the Church have authority from God to make such decisions. As such, he has placed the right to judge such circumstances and to take action. 1 Corinthians 5

    I realize this does not fit with the modern and friendly anything-goes notion of Jesus…but that is pretty much what the Bible teaches.

    And, that is the beauty of our system of free religion and association. If you don’t agree with this approach to religion, you can join or start another religion. If you are at odds with the Church of which you are a member, they also have the right to sever your congregant relationship.

    That is what has happened in John’s case.

    It is a sad thing for such an association to end. However, I wish him well wherever he finds his most satisfying spiritual home to be.

  14. Ray

    In reading the comments concerning John’s excommunication and having attended a couple of these councils (courts) I can only tell you that John has left some things out. He would have been told exactly why the council was convened and the consequences of those actions, he would then have been given an opportunity to respond.

    Many of you have wondered why John merited excommunication and others who have become inactive are not. The simple answer is that John used his membership credentials to attack the church in a public way.

    Others have wondered why his name could not be simply dropped from the rolls. The answer is no. To remove membership a council must be held giving the member an opportunity to answer charges and express their wishes to or not to be removed from church membership. Here again John I think you are being disingenious and chose to use the process to further your own agenda when, if you didn’t want the fuss, you could have chosen to simply not show up. Only you know your reasons for choosing this route and then electing to make it public.

    I will probably not come back so all of you make of this post what you will but I assure you my desire for you all is that you may find the peace you desire.

    Incidentally John if I were to leave the LDS church I would probably also go athiest.

  15. GKB:

    I agree that it is great to live in a country where people are free to express themselves and free to associate and free to practice their religion (or lack thereof) openly. I am thankful to the liberal minds who drafted the U.S. Constitution and established a government free from the influence of any particular religious sect, and established a government that would protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. I am thankful that religious zealots believing their religion to be superior to others were not able to establish a government like so many that had been established before, in which State power and religious authority were commingled.

    I appreciate your point of view, having once shared a nearly identical one. I am glad that John allows a variety of viewpoints to be expressed here, and I hope you will continue to share your views. I disagree with those who think that, just because it is unlikely that you will persuade John to your point of view or that he will persuade you to his, you should not post here. I think there are many who read the comments here who might not share either point of view and be enlightened (or at least entertained) by the discussion.

    I fear some of my comments have been misunderstood. Perhaps I have not been clear. I think the LDS church has every right to determine who will and will not be a member. I think it has every right to set up the rules by which it will determine who can and cannot be a member. I think that it has every right to conduct disciplinary councils like the one it conducted “in John’s behalf.” The question, for me, is not whether the church was within its rights to conduct itself the way it did. Just because a person or entity has a right to act in a certain manner does not mean that it should be free from criticism for exercising that right.

    My criticisms of the church are not that it makes determinations about who can and cannot be a member. My criticisms concern the fairness and reasonableness of the manner in which it makes those determinations and the manner in which it relates to the members it chooses to “discipline.” I think the church deserves criticism for the way it has been conducting itself with respect to church discipline. John’s excommunication is simply the latest manifestation of what I see as a pattern of inequity, secrecy, indifference, arrogance, and hypocrisy. The church has a right to be close-minded. It has a right to be homophobic (just as in the past it was openly racist). It has a right to be sexist. It has a right to be anti-science, anti-reason. It has a right to be a bureaucratic corporation operating under the guise of a religious body. But just because it has a right to be all those things does not mean it has a right to be immune from criticism, either from its members, its former members, or outsiders.

  16. GKB

    Equality:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Not in my wildest dreams do I suffer from the delusion that anything I say is going to convince you or John to ‘Mormon up.’

    I hope that through a spirited, respectful exchange can come to see what each other thinks and feels. If that is possible, perhaps there can still be disagreement…but with less rancor.

    But have no fear…I do not plan on posting here too much longer. This is mostly a brief stay.

    Cheers

  17. Anonymous

    Equality and GKB:
    This discussion feels stifled by the fact that the LDS Church follows a strict policy of not commenting publicly about disciplinary councils out of respect for the privacy of the individual. Decisions are announced publicly only to protect the innocent, for example in cases involving predators of either the financial or sexual kind. That policy seems modeled after the Jesus I read about in the Bible who condemned sin in strident terms yet loved each sinner dearly.

    Everyone must admit that the opinions expressed here reflect a knowledge of only one side of the story. That doesn’t diminish the value of anyone’s opinion or experience, but it does make me question the utility of the general debate .

    You seem to agree that the Church had a right to sever its relationship with John. You also seem to agree that you’re not going to agree. Perhaps it’s best left at that.

    I realize that I don’t know the history except for what’s shared here, but I do see a question that hasn’t been addressed. For example, if I found out that one member of my ultimate frisbee team joined, became disenchanted with the rest of us but then remained a member of the team only for the purposes of disrupting us, making us lose, and potentially recruiting others to join him in doing so, I would feel a variety of negative emotions towards that person. I see that in the disappointment, sense of betrayal, anger and other emotions in the posts of some of the LDS on this site.

    John claims in the post itself that transparency and integrity are core values of this site. It also feels like loyalty is valued in this community. However John’s approach doesn’t seem very loyal to me. I understand that a long history of abuse can distort judgment, generate negative emotions and make us behave in ways we may regret.

    I don’t think any of us can discount the abuse John alleges. First, we didn’t witness it. Second, the fact that he felt that way is regrettable in any case and really all that matters.

    So a question for John – do you see a dichotomy between your values and the way you behaved? Do you regret at all sneaking around the fringes of the LDS Church and maintaining your membership only to have a stronger platform from which to snipe at it? Do you think you would have felt better about yourself if you had left when you stopped believing instead of constantly chafing and straining against the LDS organization and beliefs? If you had to do it over again, would you change anything about how you behaved during this chapter of your life?

  18. Rainey

    If your brother sins against you,[a] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[b] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

    So far as I can see this advises that people deal with differences between themselves having the matter witnessed by observers. The ultimate resolution is to not associate but I see no indication that Jesus sets one party up with authority to pass judgment on another or to interfere with another’s spiritual journey.

    Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances (T)contrary to the teaching which you learned, and (U)turn away from them. Romans 16:17

    Not the Savior’s words which must be regarded in an entirely different and authorative regard, but not different advice either. This is to say, the righteous are advise not to associate with the unrighteous. There is, however, no assertion of special authority for one person over anyone else.

    I’m not sure you provided the citation from John that you meant to. This passage is about the Good Shepherd and not, I think, relevant to what we’re discussing.

    As for Paul in Corinthians, I will concede that Paul –NOT Jesus — advises the new Christian community in Corinth who were experiencing turmoil to actively expel those who offended them. But he also advises them not to marry. Are you suggesting that Paul should be the authority on that matter as on the matter of discipline?

    “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. …

    32I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7

    For my part, I think this has to be regarded as subordinate to Christ’s own words which, as I suggested earlier, are clear and unequivocal that people are NOT to sit in judgment of others.

  19. GKB

    Equity:

    After a few minutes of thinking about it I have a question about your last comment. You said:

    Equality: “John’s excommunication is simply the latest manifestation of what I see as a pattern of inequity, secrecy, indifference, arrogance, and hypocrisy.”

    I am struck to wonder that if you believe that the Church has the right to excommunicate someone for apostacy…what qualifies?

    With no disrespect directed at John…he is a pretty classic example of an apostate from any religion…not just Mormonism.

    Apostate: One who has abandoned one’s religious faith, a political party, one’s principles, or a cause.

    John no longer believes in Mormonism. He declares himself to be an atheist. As an atheist, he rejects every basic tenent of Mormonism. He apparently does not follow the Word of Wisdom…a distinctive LDS commandment. He no longer supports the cause of the Church. He no longer attends Church or fellowships with the body of the Church. From what I gather, he does not support or sustain the leaders of the LDS Church. He has violated sacred covenants of he made to God within the context of the LDS Church. He is openly critical of the Church.

    Do you not agree that John represents a fair and reasonable candidate for excommunication…by any fair and reasonable definition of what ‘apostate’ means? In other words, John was fairly judged for what he really is in relationship with the Church…and his excommunication is logical in his particular case?

    If not…under what circumstances would the Church every act reasonably to excommunicate someone for apostacy? What could someone possibly do more than John has done to fairly merit excommunication?

  20. John

    Anonymous (#122):

    “Do you think you would have felt better about yourself if you had left when you stopped believing instead of constantly chafing and straining against the LDS organization and beliefs?”

    This presupposes two things: 1) that the transition from belief to unbelief is like an on/off switch with clearly defined boundaries from one state to the other; and 2) that such transition takes place in a vacuum without impact on or influence from the surrounding community. In reality, almost every deconversion is a long and drawn out process that may take months or years, and the primary lengthening influence is the church and its culture, which is (understandably) loathe to see anyone lose their faith and works very hard to a) help that person to recover their faith, and, if they can’t help hold on to the person’s faith, then b) keep them in the social organization as a quiet and externally conforming member.

    The Church (both the institution and its culture) also encouraged the lack of transparency, by exerting pressure on me to keep my doubts relatively quiet along the way. I began blogging to resolve the dichotomy between the external person who appeared to be a staunch believer at church, and the internal person who had serious questions and doubts.

    So, perhaps this is the real question: “Would you have felt better if you had left when you became more public about your unbelief and your criticism of the Church?” Even this is tricky, because for the space of a several years, I was committed to the culture and institution (my wife was still a strong member), desired to belong, and perhaps even had vestiges of belief. Because I felt that leaving wasn’t an option at the time, I felt that I had to critique aspects of the Church from within to stay true to my conscience. “I’m committed to this organization, but you’ve got to do something about this sexism,” etc.

    I’m really tired. I’m going to bed now. Not sure if that answered anything.

  21. John

    Ray (#119) said:

    “I can only tell you that John has left some things out. He would have been told exactly why the council was convened and the consequences of those actions, he would then have been given an opportunity to respond.”

    Ray, I’d caution you on what I missed or not, unless you were there to say otherwise. I was never told why exactly the council was convened. That’s one of the strange things–I was only told that the the council was convened regarding my apostasy. Nothing more specific than that, other than the definition provided above. I listened very carefully because I wanted to know what specifically they had a problem with. I even probed for clarification. The tacit understanding is that my online writings were what made me qualify for the charge, and on that basis, I didn’t challenge them.

    Also, I was given opportunity to respond and it’s recorded above, if you read the post.

    The consequences were *briefly* touched on in the pronouncement of the sentence. The focus was on rebaptism. No specific mention was made of dissolution of my sealing to Jana or to my children, for example, though this was certainly implied in the loss of temple blessings. But in the 80 minutes of the proceedings, the stating of consequences took less than two sentences and 15-30 seconds.

    My theory is that the council content was deliberately minimized for two reasons: 1) they were worried that I had a recording device, and 2) they knew I would discuss the proceedings publicly.

  22. Rainey

    re #123
    I’m not sure you provided the citation from John that you meant to. This passage is about the Good Shepherd and not, I think, relevant to what we’re discussing.

    I guess I was pretty sleepy when I wrote that last night because, of course, the parable of the Good Shepherd is entirely appropriate to the discussion we’ve been having. It’s just that it tends to support the idea that Jesus would have responded by ministering to John and Jana instead of being judgmental and exclusionary. He would have taken seriously His role to lead by example and trust not turn sheep away.

  23. John

    One general thought about this thread, and a comment about GKB’s participation, which several people have commented on. GKB, I am glad that you’ve invested significant time and energy in this and other threads and that you’ve been able to disagree and to challenge the community here while remaining respectful. And I’m glad that everyone has treated you with respect as well. It’s good to know that we can disagree on fundamental issues and still talk about them. I think that this is a relatively uncommon thing (unfortunately), and a thing worth pursuing in and of itself, even if the participants don’t influence each others’ minds much. It’s worth the striving to find common values and touch points from which meaningful dialog can begin.

    My other answer, I’ve written in this post.

  24. Anonymous (#122): “So a question for John – do you see a dichotomy between your values and the way you behaved? Do you regret at all sneaking around the fringes of the LDS Church and maintaining your membership only to have a stronger platform from which to snipe at it?”

    I find this statement disingenuous. John’s membership status at any given time does not in any way strengthen his “platform.” His membership in the organization for twenty years is more than enough to qualify him to discuss Mormonism in any way for as long as he wants to. His being excommunicated isn’t going to suddenly negate his knowledge of and expertise in Mormon culture should he choose to discuss it.

    I also smiled at your use of the words “sneaking around the fringes of the LDS church” because you seem to be trying to make his motives appear suspicious and nefarious. What you are really highlighting for me is the church’s history of suppressing open discourse and open questioning of things found within Mormonism like sexism, homophobia, racism, etc. Openly discussing these things immediately pushes that member to the fringes of acceptability at church unless one is defending them as coming from God.

  25. “This discussion feels stifled by the fact that the LDS Church follows a strict policy of not commenting publicly about disciplinary councils out of respect for the privacy of the individual.”

    Please, that is not why they do not want to talk about the excommunication of John or the September Six.

    If it were about privacy then the Church could speak out when individuals waive their rights. Implicitly, John has already done so in this post.

    The secrecy serves the interests of Church leaders, not the individuals. As long as they shroud themselves into silence, the brethren need not be accountable.

  26. Rainey

    This discussion feels stifled by the fact that the LDS Church follows a strict policy of not commenting publicly about disciplinary councils out of respect for the privacy of the individual.

    That, of course, is a matter that would be swiftly resolved if the church permitted anyone to tape the proceedings and offer them in their entirety for people to reflect on and draw conclusions as they would. Undoubtedly, the faithful would take comfort in the protection of their institution and the detractors would find ammunition to bolster their own conclusions. The sincere seekers would be able to approach closer to the truth. All of this strikes me as much better than one side being able to misrepresent things or, in the absence of verifiable information, conjecture to distort the facts.

    But, since the church refuses to permit that and refuses to comment even when given license to by the accused whose “privacy” they purport to be protecting, one can only conclude that the church benefits from the presumption of grave sins that is magnified in rumor within the church community. It’s hard not to see this as dishonest on its face.

    Really. How are all parties not served by a simple disclosure of the facts of the proceedings when the accused gives permission for such?

  27. Good point, Rainey. All parties would be served by a simple disclosure of the facts of the proceedings. All parties EXCEPT the leaders at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have other interests which are protected by secrecy. And sacredness.

  28. A truly fascinating account of the process, John. I think it takes a certain temperament to be willing to go through with it on their turf, all the ushering back and forth and testifying, etc. I have to admit, I get sort of nauseated just thinking about it. I have this weird feeling that there’s a modicum of underground power they’re still exercising over you in your celebration. After all, what exactly has changed now? Doesn’t a celebration of it, cathartic and wonderful as it is, simply endow (pun intended) the entire excommunication process with the degree (if not type) of symbolic significance they want it to have? Of course, maybe that’s your parting gift to them: let them feel that ritual is *still* power, even as you turn it upside down.

    I wonder now. Do you feel like Inigo Montoya at the end of Princess Bride? Like you’ve been in the excommunication business for so long, not sure what to do now?

    In any case, you’re welcome at our place anytime.

  29. I resigned a week and a half ago. It was time.

    I just wanted to say that I’m proud of you for wearing that shirt – not because I see it as provocative or antagonistic, but because it was wearing your honest feelings right there for them to immediately see. I don’t know why people have criticised you for letting yourself be excommunicated rather than resigning. I think your reasoning on that was fair and well-explained.

  30. Thanks for this much anticipated report, John.

    It quite literally freaks me out when church authorities use the “sacred proceeding” moniker to squelch discussion. You glare boy!

  31. Thanks Craig! 🙂

    M: True dat. He’s planning to ex someone he considers apostate and he thinks they are going to see this kangaroo court as sacred? I’d have been tempted to give him a fiver and told him to buy a clue.

  32. John

    John Williams: Maybe I’ll become a pirate? And thanks for the invite. 🙂

    I’m not sure there’s any way I could escape doing things their way, esp. since what they wanted most for me to do was resign (it was suggested I do this about two years ago, I think).

    Chosha, CONGRATS!!! Woot! 🙂

  33. “Craig: That advocating for gay rights is ever “insulting” is very, very sad.

    GKB: HOW you advocate is the operative concept here.”

    Actually I think wearing a t-shirt with inoffensive words that happen to express a viewpoint that church officials may disapprove of is quite harmless when compared to holding a conference for member students in CA (or sending letters for bishops to read out to members on Sunday) where church leaders asked them to actively support and market/promote legislation that would impose church doctrine on non-members. I think I’d rather they simply expressed their views on a t-shirt.

    The point is that consistantly in this thread you have tried to defend the actions of the church as if it is not perfectly obvious that the flaws described are real and systemic. For example, you resorted to semantics over the court/council distinction when you are perfectly aware that ‘court’ not only was the official term, but is still commonly used in church documents and amongst members AND that the council in John’s case did in fact lay a charge, ask for a plea and pronounce a judgment – CLEARLY the actions of a court. You’ve done this repeatedly – argued with textbook doctrine and official policy against a claim based on real experience that negates it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing against your right to defend the church as you see fit. I just wonder if it is possible that even you yourself do not see how unconvincing it all is in the face of reality. A LOT of the people in this discussion know very well the official take you are presenting – they’ve lived it, taught it on missions, and in many cases even believed it themselves for a time. The reason they claim that stuff is bullshit is because they not only know it, but have lived with the real situation as well – to the point where the incongruity has become untenable.

    Craig has written recently on his blog about this idea that members arguing these issues want to negate the real experiences of ex-members as if they are merely some kind of trumped up bitterness with no basis in fact and as I’ve read over this thread in order to consider his point, I’ve come to see that he’s right. And because my feeling is that you are at heart a genuine person who believes in the goodness of the gospel, I wonder if you even see that you often do this very thing. I’d like to think you wouldn’t want to.

  34. Scurrilous J

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I’m a Pilgrimsteps reader; this is the second post of read of yours (the post on the recent shooting was the first).

    As a questioning, all-too-lazy Methodist, I feel like I’ve stepped into another world – or maybe just another time. I know basically nothing about LDS, so I can’t comment on the details.

    But what I’ve taken away from your post is that this was right for you. You were ready to leave the church. I wish you luck in your continuing journey.

    I can’t help but worry about Jana (as much as someone who’s never actually met either of you can do so, of course). I wonder what comes next. I hope you’ll both share that as well.

    It’s really too bad they don’t have some sort of “exit interview,” where they have a specially-trained person guide you and your family through the next steps.

  35. dynomitegirl

    WOW, I have often wondered when my comments will get me excommunicated? When I wonder out loud people laugh at me. Either they don’t understand the church or they don’t read my comments (more of the second I am sure). Thanks for sharing your story…….WOW, what more can I say.

  36. Great story John, thanks for posting. It’s been over a year since these events happened, and people are still talking about it.

    Just today, this story came up as a topic on the formum Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board.

    http://www.mormonapologetics.org/topic/51939-a-good-excommunication/

    The thread notes that since being excommunicated, John hasn’t blogged about Mormonism as much as he used to. It suggests that the reason “the angst and anger [against the Mormon Church] is gone” is *because* he was excommunicated.

    I’d be interested in John’s reaction to this. Did your alleged anger about Mormonism resolve itself *because* the church freed you through excommunication?

  37. JCarr

    What disturbs me about these sorts of stories is rather simple: are members of the Church (any Church or religion) not allowed to criticize or question the doctrines, beliefs, or leaders? If not, why not? If it IS allowed, then how do they separate legitimate questioning and honest, well-meant criticism with deliberate apostasy?

    Most important of all, how can a religion improve itself if it simply refuses to acknowledge problems that may exist?

    There is the suggestion of a dangerous rigidity here…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *