With Mormon excommunication threats in the news again, I want to share links to my own experience of excommunication for apostasy. Five years ago, when I received a letter very similar to the ones that John Dehlin and Kate Kelly received, I wrote that:
I feel compelled to document all of this, because I’m a writer, and I do believe in transparency. I also feel strongly that I’m part of a community of marginalized former believers. I feel less isolated because of my many blogging friends who left…feel some obligation to leave a record for others who are struggling now, or who may struggle similarly in the future.
And when I received my first hint of discipline:
Transparency and openness are fundamental values…This is one area where I will probably always butt heads with the LDS Church, because of the institution’s culture of secrecy and manipulation of information that has a profound impact on the lives of its members…I’m deeply indebted to others who have spoken candidly about their experiences and left a record online. Anything I can document becomes a part of the public record and a resource for dissenters and skeptics and others who are struggling and face church discipline.
These describe why I chose to attend and document my disciplinary council and to share it all online. The Church maintains much of its power through its lack of transparency and by branding its internal critics as apostates and the gravest of sinners. I don’t know how much help these accounts are, but putting these out there seems much better than staying silent. For what it’s worth, here’s my story:
- I Think I Was Just Informed of My Pending Excommunication.: In which I have a short confrontation with the Stake President.
- On Our Anniversary Weekend and the Invitation from the Stake President: In which I receive the letter.
- The Top Five Reasons Why I’m Attending My Disciplinary Council: Many apostates are tried in absentia. In this post I document why I chose to face the 15 men who sat in judgment.
- On Ritual Throat-Slitting, Temples, Cultish Behavior, Sancity, and Criticism: My criticism of the darker aspects of the secretive temple rites was one major reason for my excommunication.
- My Church Visit, in which I am Taught to Show Love for Gays by Denying Them Wedded Bliss: I believe that my activism against Prop 8 strongly aggravated my situation–in particular, highlighting the Church’s major organizational and financial role in it.
- Excommunicated: A brief post following my church court, with pics from my excommunication party.
- This Post is Rated Ex, for Excommunication: My description of my disciplinary council and my excommunication proceedings.