On John Dehlin

John Dehlin recently posted speculation on why Kate Kelly was excommunicated and he is still a member of the Church. For those who don’t wish to read the entire thing, he bookends his speculations with these paragraphs:

Because people continue to ask…..I can only speculate as to why Kate Kelly was excommunicated and I have not been (to date) — but I do have a few theories (Kate and others — I certainly welcome your feedback here…since most of this is speculation)…

If you forced me to speculate….my guess is that a disciplinary court will be held for me within the next 1-12 months…and that they have only been delaying because of some of the reasons mentioned above. In other words…the delay is due to their desire to protect themselves and their power, and to minimize the possible collateral damage to the church…and not for any other reasons….and certainly not because they are operating in accordance with God’s will.

I could be wrong…but that’s my impression.

I responded, but I see my comment is still “awaiting moderation.” Therefore I post it here, since I can (complete with typos and grammar errors). I’ll be interested to see if my comment ever makes it out of John’s moderation queue.

___________________

Hi John,

You have created your own media outlet, where Kate used the world-wide media as her platform. Kate’s behavior was tone-deaf when it comes to Mormon culture but in tune with world media. You, on the other hand, know how to play Mormons very well. Your plea that retaliation against you not be allowed to splatter your family was well done.

II see the Church leaders as husbanding the Church membership. Thus minimizing collateral damage to the Church is entirely aligned with what I would expect God to will, if God is concerned about the Mormon Church. I believe He does care about the Church. I suspect you aren’t quite as dedicated to the idea God cares about the Mormon Church.

I think both you and Kate would acknowledge that part of your respective ministries in the past years have focused on altering the Mormon Church. In this sense, you are both similar to aggressive growths in the Body of Christ, and it seems possible that you are therefore in a sense regarded as cancers, affecting the health of that Body.

In Kate’s case, her approach to altering the Body of Christ was aggressive. I think had she flown back to Virginia and met with her leaders, it’s possible that she might have been able to remain within the Church. But she did not choose to cooperate, instead encouraging protests and showing up in a sleeveless outfit (tone deaf if one is trying to portray oneself to Mormons as innocent and wrongly persecuted). Thus she was cut out, in hopes of minimizing the opportunities for metastasis.

In your case, you are a slow growing kind of thing. Most people don’t actually know who you are. In fact, if you and Kate hadn’t compared notes and provided the information about your nearly simultaneous notification of pending action, the world at large wouldn’t know you exist. Within the Church you provide an interesting service, as there are those who feel disenfranchised by the Church who obtain a sense of solace from your podcasts.

I don’t know if you recall, but years ago my husband and I were going to assist you with the podcasts. At the time we were talking about reaching out to Gladys Knight.. For years I kept seeing podcast files showing up in my drop box. But I was busy and lost track of what you were doing.

Anyway, you have gradually evolved to where you are now, and by virtue of that long, slow growth into what you are now, action against you would hurt those who love you. Even though it has been many years since I offered to help out with Mormon Stories, I still feel a bit of affection for you. And in a similar manner, I imagine there are thousands of others who similarly feel an affection for you.

Then again, it may just be a difference of circumstance. I have two aunts who were baptized as children. The aunt who decided it was nonsense and went on to live a life of “debauchery” was never close enough to the Church for them to notice how far she had wandered from the standard for membership. Therefore her name is likely still on the roles of the Church. The other aunt actually got married in the temple and liked getting visits from her visiting teachers. But something came up that caused a confrontation, and her name is not on the roles of the Church.

[At this point my daughter insisted she was leaving without me, so I stopped typing and hit submit.]

I might have gone on to speak of a man I know who has committed adultery and physically abused his wife and children, yet remains on the roles of the Church. In this case the family knows it is because the Stake President at the time felt that taking action against the man would harm the family. The family didn’t agree, but didn’t disagree so strongly that they did more than inform the Stake President they thought his scruples were incorrect. In the mean time, they as individuals have taken action to protect themselves, forgiven their male patriarch, and are happy to spend such holidays together as are appropriate.

So ultimately, whether John is ever officially sanctioned for his ministry which is mostly intent on pointing out those flaws he sees in Mormonism, we will have the opportunity to find own Christian response. We can forgive but also act to protect ourselves and those we love, independent of what formal action the Church might take for the welfare of John’s soul and the Body of Christ.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the LDS church for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

36 thoughts on “On John Dehlin

  1. Nice, Meg!

    If the church were to discipline all whiners, self appointed victims and doubters….there would be a much smaller church. We are all in different places and that’s a good thing I think. Real strong testimonies sometimes take a while to acquire. There is a difference however, when folks, who are basically good, become prideful and self important in their dealings in the church. Kate didn’t bend as her church did (although noone would admit that). Her organization pushed and probably got changes that were easy but painfully slow in coming. She could have gone to her hearing, given her testimony, said all is good, let everyone catch up, and peacefully pushed some more. She may not see her arrogance, but I’m not sure how she could see any humility and gratitude in her actions and lack of actions. John, on the other hand, absolutely poses no threat to anyone. He is a sympathizer and a whiner. You can be irritated with him and his apparent lack of testimony in areas but he hardly warrants any attention. Was excommunicating Kate really helpful to the body of the church? Maybe or maybe not. Let’s see what she does now. I support groups who know how to influence change and that is why I smiled at all the little changes in policy once Ordain Women started kicking doors. Kate simply did not stop and her actions became an attack. One that was very public. John seems like a nice man who doesn’t believe everything he learned at church. He is not a big deal and that should be taken to heart by him especially.

  2. I rather agree with your analysis, Meg. I think things would have gone much differently with Kate if she had just met with her accusers. She’s not doing herself any favors accusing them in her appeal of exercising unrighteous dominion. I think your characterization of the two different types of dissent are spot on. Despite his claim of having reached people “numbering in the hundreds of thousands at this point”, he seems to be doing everything he can to get more attention placed on him. Everything seems calculated to get him more attention, even in his interactions with the Church. Fact is, he’s just not worth so much effort. Keep talking about how much he should be disciplined; he likes it.

  3. I broke my rule to go over and read the post from JD yesterday. What can anyone say? I feel badly for him, I am frustrated and angry at the way he gets people to trust him and what he is doing, all the while leading them away. I have too many friends who have managed to think themselves out of their testimonies because of JD’s work. I hope for a quick resolution of his situation, so that we can just get back to our lives.

  4. John Dehlin has been engaged in basically anti-Mormon activities for the last little while, and seems interested in getting himself kicked out of the church. At the very least he is not being as careful about not getting kicked out as he was previously. See, for example, this:

    http://dearjohndehlin.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/john-dehlin-setting-up-a-strawman-to-the-nations/

    in which he begins with criticizing an Ensign article, but ends with saying that the leaders don’t speak for God, period. I think he is probably correct that his days as a member are numbered.

  5. I also attempted several times to leave a comment on a Facebook post by John Dehlin yesterday. Apparently anything negative is screened out. I considered turning it into a guest post on Millennial Star but I believe it would fit quite nicely here. Brother Dehlin’s quote is as follows: “I’m honored/grateful that Kristine was willing to highlight the efforts that I and others made to bring attention to the pain/suffering around LDS faith crisis issues. I know that zillions of people were involved throughout the past century in the events that finally led to the church being willing to “come clean” with its essays — but I do believe/know that we helped to play a significant part in those final years with the “Why Mormons Question” survey with our collaboration with Hans H Mattsson, and with our direct discussions with LDS church leadership at church headquarters (and elsewhere).
    My comment is given below:
    Stephen Wight “with our direct discussions with LDS church leadership at church headquarters (and elsewhere)”: can you name some names? We have heard this from you on many occasions and grow more skeptical with each repeat. What exactly was discussed and when? With whom exactly did you have discussions? How did your discussions fishtail with discussions that “church leadership” continually has with membership, focus groups, surveys, etc? Your appearance on the scene of “faith-crises” was actually rather late. In the “Deseret Morning News, Sunday, May 27, 2007” available world-wide via internet the first line reads: “Active Latter-day Saints want their church to provide a “frank and honest” presentation of church history, unvarnished by attempts to sugar-coat the past in order to make it more palatable.” This wasn’t the first time lay membership might have noticed it. I believe your podcasts were just starting at about that time and I apologize if you were well known before 2007 and I was just unaware.
    There certainly is a wave of faith crises within the church, though I am skeptical of its size in proportion to church membership compared to many past occasions, no matter what church leaders may have said off the top of their head. Due to digital amplification, you might certainly be seen as riding the crest of that wave of crises. But unless you are excommunicated, 20 years from now you will not even be a footnote in someone’s history of the times. Now, to return to “direct discussions with LDS church leadership”…I was hearing of such direct discussions years ago from people I would trust over you, learning of such things that the earth only had a couple more years remaining of it’s temporal existence…the earliest such discussion being in 1968. Unless you name names and times I think your “discussions with church leadership” hold the same degree of reliability that I began hearing as a child back in 1968 worrying that the world was about to end because “it came from church headquarters.” Are you worried about protecting your sources, about the sensibilities of the living? Well, that shows a lot of courage. You never hesitate to denigrate those from “church headquarters” that are no longer able to defend themselves. I would appreciate it if you would actually name dates and circumstances of people currently living at church headquarters who might be able to explain themselves, so that we might corroborate how important your influence has actually been, and get their view on the matter so as to be able to judge between you, and them, in the balance.

  6. Meg Stout, you write quite at length quite often about John Dehlin. Does he even know you?

  7. Hi Chloe,

    John might remember me. However it is possible he does not.

    Millennial Star talks about John from time to time. He’s far from a major priority for me, though. But I and others find it curious that he doesn’t clear posts opposing his premise on his site.

    M* will moderate posts from time to time. I’ve had my our comments on my own posts get held up for moderation at times. But I personally prefer to allow the discussion to roll forth.

  8. I listened to John Dehlin for a number of years. I stopped listening to Mormon Stories for a couple of reasons.

    1. I could tell he was on his way out of the church and was either losing or had already lost his testimony. I personally was not in that place at that time (and I’m still not) and even though I could identify with some of his feelings, I felt like for him he’d intellectualized his testimony too much it stopped making sense to him. I don’t think any faith tradition makes total logical sense from that perspective.

    2. Depending on the guest on his show whether they were supportive of the church or not, he would be whatever you wanted him to be. Bring in an author disparaging Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, Dehlin would spend the entire interview agreeing with him/her and completely throwing the church under the bus and proclaiming his own disaffected viewpoints. Bring in someone who was an active latter-day saint and the opposite would be true. He flip-flopped more than a politician.

    Lastly, my observation of his position is the more you study mormonism and it’s lurid details, the only logical conclusion is the church can’t be true. I completely disagree with that viewpoint after enduring a series of faith crises in my life and having an even stronger testimony. He is entitled to his position (ambiguous as it is to me), but I feel like he’s attempting to draw in legions of people to this cause, many of who are in a way basing their own testimony or lack thereof on his own experiences.

    I think those who struggle with their testimony should feel welcome and be a part of the church and have a voice, but I don’t think we should dilute the testimonies or divine claims of the church to make everyone happy because they seem far-fetched to those like Dehlin. Either Joseph Smith saw God or he didn’t. Either the Book of Mormon is true or it isn’t. You can still attend and participate and be a Mormon and not have a ‘testimony’ of these things, but don’t disparage people who exercise faith and participate in a more active role whenever it’s convenient and advantageous for you. And those who do exercise faith and have a testimony, accept those who don’t with open arms and realize not everyone is in the same position you are just because they attend church like you do.

  9. Thanks, Meg. I recognize that many people come to crises of faith on occasion. Most of us do. The key is, as Pres Uchtdorf encouraged us, is to “doubt your doubts” rather than doubting your spiritual experiences and your faith. Of course, after Pres Uchtdorf said that, JD mocked it on Facebook, which shows us where his thinking truly lies.
    I feel very sorry for JD, and moreso for his believing family members.

    A good friend of mine was recently struggling with the “new” information the Church has published regarding Joseph Smith and plural marriage. For him, he struggled for a few days, until he fasted and prayed about it. The Spirit then reminded him of his testimony of the gospel. Doubting his doubts, he was then able to put it on the shelf and leave it there.

    But some not only doubt their faith, but revel in doubting their faith. For JD and others, it is a badge of intellectual courage to do so.

    Maxine Hanks said something interesting in regards to her wonderful return to the Church. She had to get to the point where she realized that she had to look at the Brethren as her Equals, and not below her. Kate Kelley and JD have not yet learned this lesson, and so feel justified doing the things they do, as the Brethren are beneath them. Perhaps itis something we can all learn from.

  10. Ram,

    Your comment made me think of one of my favorite Elder Holland quotes, from the April, 2013 conference:

    “Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!”

  11. Meg –

    You certainly have a way with words! A few months ago it was “Mormon Princess.” Now you say John is a “Cancer.”

    Shame, shame, shame on you! Nobody deserves to be dehumanized like that. “Every idle word….”

  12. I actually have somewhat of a fondness for cancers. They are trying so hard to be useful. Alas, when they are displacing useful organs, blocking absorption of nutrients, and threatening the rest of the body with death, they likely ought to be escorted out of the Body.

    Rather amusing that a friend who was visiting with me said I was being too kind.

  13. Hi winifred,

    You’re absolutely right – the word should be rolls (of the Church) rather than roles. But I did promise I wouldn’t modify my typos…

    Back to the cancer, I didn’t say I regarded Kate and John as cancers, but that they are regarded as cancers. The two reasons to excommunicate individuals are 1) to help the individual repent and 2) to protect the Body of Christ. When someone is excommunicated who kicks against the process, typically the portion of the rationale that is due to #2 is high. And in this sense one can make the analogy between the way a cancer is treated and how the leader(s) of movements are treated.

    My mother just had a Phase 3B colon cancer removed, so the cancer analogy was fresh in my mind. In addition to the invasive responses we usually think of (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) there are new treatments that don’t hurt the body and flush the cancer out.

    Inasmuch as no individual is “cancer” but might be possessed of a dangerous intent to consider their own will for the Church higher than God’s will, these new developmental treatments might be analogous to loving those who transgress back into the gospel. But loving someone back into the gospel isn’t synonymous with changing the gospel so the unchanged dissident can now be comfortable.

  14. Dehlin’s post strikes me as a study in inconsistencies.

    –He speculates he has allies on the high council that may be saving him from adverse action by the SP. . . even though excommunication of a MP holder remains the SP’s ultimate call.
    –Dehlin doesn’t know if the disparate treatment between himself and Kelly is due to his leaders being afraid of him because of his unique power as a man, or Kelly’s leaders being afraid of her because of her unique power as a woman–but he’s SURE gender had something to do with it.
    –Kate Kelly is a bigger threat to the Church because she is reaching more people than Dehlin is . . . even though OW only has five thousand-odd Facebook followers in contrast with Delhin’s self-proclaimed following of hundreds of thousands.
    –Dehlin is being protected by anonymous friends in the higher echelons of Church leadership . . . but his ultimate excommunication is still inevitable.

    For all Dehlin’s reputation for nuance, sopistication, and intellect; this particular post rather reminds me of Will Smith’s line from I, Robot: “You are the DUMBEST . . . smart person . . . I have ever met in my life!”

  15. Another thought on the cancer theme, apparently acidosis creates a fertile environment for cancers to grow. A diet that maintains a relatively alkaline (or basic) pH in the body therefore can help mitigate the initial development of cancer or help reduce the spread of cancer once it is established.

    Again, this can have an analog in terms of Church. How many of us as individuals revel in the acidic criticisms of the Church? A more basic or even merely neutral approach would be more healthy.

    Unlike a human body, which is governed by the thoughts and mouth alone, we as individual entities in the Body of Christ can make our own decision about whether we expose ourselves to that which is acid and corrupt or that which is basic and true.

    Here’s an example of what I mean by basic and true. My ancestor, Austin Cowles, agitated to get Joseph Smith killed. Yet he was apparently a man of deep principle. Unlike William Law, there doesn’t appear to be any documentation indicating he was suspected of adultery. Rather, as a remarried widower, Joseph’s teachings on marriage would make Austin an eternal polygamist, something he dare not teach for his own reasons. Thus while I mourn Austin’s involvement in the plot to kill Joseph, I also honor him for being a man of integrity. I similarly agree with Joseph’s decision, ultimately, to excommunicate a man who was plotting to kill the prophet. And I honor the love Austin’s daughter had for her father, even though she chose Joseph and followed Brigham to Utah, rather than be guided by her father’s scruples.

    So these are basics that help prevent future “cancers” – truth, absolute and complete truth, love, forgiveness, mercy, faith in God’s promise that He will save all who come to Him, and hope that those we love will embrace God.

  16. Chemistry note: “Basic” of the chemical, pH greater than 7 variety has almost no connection to our routine uses of the word basic. The notion of chemical bases started with the idea that a substance like lye was a base that an acid like vinegar could use to change into a solid salt. Chemical bases are slippery to the touch because they turn the fat in your skin into soap, and in concentrated form they are caustic.

  17. I am aware of the fact that basic and basic don’t mean the same thing.

    But they are spelled the same, and pronounced the same, and I have always been able to think sideways.

    Fun note about the slippery thing, though. I hadn’t ever thought of that.

  18. My favorite part of John’s post was this:
    “…and certainly not because they are operating in accordance with God’s will.
    I could be wrong…but that’s my impression.”

    I am certain that John is just sour that Kate got all the attention for being excommunicated and now John is afraid that his possible church discipline might go unnoticed. I could be wrong…but that’s my impression . 🙂

  19. Since I agree with the point you were making, this is nerdy nitpicking, but:

    “Another thought on the cancer theme, apparently acidosis creates a fertile environment for cancers to grow. A diet that maintains a relatively alkaline (or basic) pH in the body therefore can help mitigate the initial development of cancer or help reduce the spread of cancer once it is established.”

    … is a staple of quack medicine. It doesn’t actually have any basis in fact.

  20. What is the basis for completely dismissing a diet based on eating fresh vegetables and minimizing grain and meat consumption? Even though I wouldn’t count on an “Alkaline” diet to eliminate cancer, it doesn’t hurt. And under the guise of the very similar DASH diet, it’s been proven to reduce hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Besides, these foods tend to require less water to grow per serving – useful in light of the significant decline of key aquifers as measured by the GRACE satellites since 2002.

  21. Meg, i think you nailed the main reason for their seemingly disparate treatment: KK actively reached out to people through mass media and public physical-presence protests, while JD lets people find him on the web.

    What convinced me that KK would face discipline was the pro-active seeking out and proselyting of people via their in-person “discussions”. There’s a big difference, as KK and her movement have been seeking to create disaffection/confrontation and JD just lets the already-disaffected come to him. The posting of those presentations and the “call” for her followers to actively _spread_ those ideas among members, and thereby multiply (like a cancer) pretty much demanded an official response.

    Personal and private apostasy doesn’t get one ex’ed, but actively trying to get others to apostasize does.

    JD may still draw a response if he continues to make public presentations at symposia.

    I’ve never bought JD’s claim that he was trying to get others to stay in the church. It always appeared to me that he was helping them inch their way towards the door.

    From what I’ve read, It looks as though his degree in psych/counseling is going to be put to use in his new full time career of “counseling” disaffected members of the church. I would assume his counseling message is going to be in line with the theme of his podcasts since the beginning: “it’s ok to not believe, i am a former believer, too.”

    His dis-belief was evident in his first online presentation, a PowerPoint, containing some things about Brigham Young.

    Given that he has long asked for donations on his podcast web site, and is or will soon be professionally counseling disaffected/hurt members for a living, I would venture to say he’s turned into a professional anti-mormon.

  22. (2 Nephi 26:29)
    …priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

  23. Sorry, but the statement that the alkaline diet is a staple of quack medicine couldn’t be more wrong. Like anything else, it is only a tool in the arsenal against cancer, but it’s an important one.

    I’m five years past the point in time that modern medicine and statistics said I should be dead. About 9 years ago, I was going through therapy that was making me dog sick and unable to work much of the time and had the potential to kill me, as well as pose a major risk to my family. My wife learned about the alkaline diet and pulled me off the therapy. She’s nowhere near as much of a Nazi as she used to be, but we are a lot closer to what the Word of Wisdom says we should be doing than before.

    I’m pushing 50 and am active in sports. This spring, I was on our company’s flag football team and managed to keep up with people half my age. Other than one game in which a project manager from my company participated, I was the oldest player in any game.

    I can tell when I’m going off diet too far because my energy goes down and my ability to function at work decreases radically. My wife is currently fighting Lupus and Scleroderma and she has had the same experience. Probably the only issue I have with the alkaline diet is most do not emphasize good proteins enough. I learned that lesson a couple of years back and I have had a major boost in my overall function.

  24. Hi PantherII,

    I think Vader’s dismissive comments regarding the Alkaline Diet aren’t criticizing the diet itself as bad, but the rationale for why it works. I looked over at WebMD, and that website indicates that the diet is healthy, but perhaps not for the reason that proponents claim.

    Great to hear that living healthily has had such a great outcome for you!

  25. Meg,

    I regret sidetracking the discussion of your fine post with a debate over whether the alkaline diet is a quack diet or not. It might be a worthy topic for a different post here or elsewhere, but here the topic is John Dehlin.

    Though I sometimes think his 15 minutes of fame should have run out by now.

  26. John Dehlin’s podcasts and the Mormon Matters podcasts are keeping me tethered to the church as I’m slowly working my way back to full activity. Without those two podcasts I’d wouldn’t attend at all. And, I wouldn’t be blessed through my job as nursery leader. I’ve learned much from the three year olds in our nursery class. Now I wonder if I belong in the body of Christ. Maybe all of you can tell me if I belong in the body of Christ. If I tell you more about myself Meg, will you tell me whether I’m a cancer as well?

  27. Hi Fletch,

    Inasmuch as Mormon Stories and Mormon Matters are helping you know that it’s OK to vary from whatever sanitized version of Mormonism you apparently think is the only acceptable variant, that’s great.

    As for being a cancer, people aren’t cancers. However people can attack the Body of Christ and encourage others to attack the Body of Christ. Sometimes it’s a subtle thing that separates the actions of an “attacker” from the actions of a “surgeon.” Both cut you with knifes. But the cuts of a surgeon are intended to ultimately help the body achieve greater health, and the cuts are made with the assent of the entity being cut. An attacker may claim they are acting to improve the body, but if they fundamentally act in opposition to the entity they claim to wish to improve, they are no longer working within an acceptable paradigm.

    I’m glad there is a mechanism that is helping you embrace the gospel. I would prefer it were the voice of God rather than the electronic musings of an individual who openly proclaims a lack of faith (speaking of John Dehlin – I’m not familiar with Mormon Matters, so can’t opine on that one). But if a thing leads you to God, that is good. However for those who are led away from God by these same things, that is evil.

  28. Fletch,

    Allow me to allegorize your situation to a person who once attended a local church. He doesn’t hate them he just never quite felt like he fit in. For years he walks by, ambivalent, as he watches people walk in in their pretty clothes. Over time, he remembers some of the pleasant things and wonders whether there was something he missed. One day, as he’s walking by, he sees a group of people standing around outside. They are talking about things they like about the church and also talking about what they don’t like or agree with. You stop to listen, and you remember much of the good things you missed, and they are talking about some of the things you never quite got or kind of bothered you.

    Now from the perspective of a person on the outside, the comments have drawn you back to something you missed, and this is actually a good thing for you. From the perspective of those on the inside listening to the conversation going on outside they think, if someone young or weak in here hears all that they might consider going out. You have come in now and think, well, they helped me cross back over and come in so, I appreciate what they did for me. But, now on the inside, if you listen too long you may be discouraged that they aren’t really answering the questions, they just keep asking them over and over again, and you might wonder if there really are answers.

    The crowd on the fringe is a bit of a mixed bag, some seem to be trying to attract passersby to consider going back in, whereas others seem to be trying to entice those on the inside to come out. My question to you is, can you tell which is which? And if you listen long enough will you be influenced in your admittedly weak spiritual condition to come back out?

    Oh, I hope you will turn your ear to listen more or mostly to the voices on the inside. They are powerful and they are enough for most people. Now, Meg and I, and others here, we listen to all those voices so we can help others discern which is which, but we tread with care not to stay too long as it is a spiritually uncomfortable—and dangerous—place to linger for someone on the inside.

  29. Hi Joel,

    I don’t mind listening to those voices. But I have better things to do with my time. And sometimes I get so irritated with what I perceive to be arrogant stupidity that I go and call someone a Mormon princess or talk about puke-tinged glasses. And since on the internet people can’t tell how you mean such things, they can get really irritated. And I seriously have better things to do with my time that respond to people who are offended because they don’t know how to deal with a viewpoint that doesn’t align with theirs and yet is feisty enough to bite back.

    For some on the “inside” these voices are dangerous. For others, they are simply not compelling as an option for how to spend one’s precious time.

  30. You are a spade-caller, but at least you are willing to plow the earth on both sides. We got some of those you mentioned on the inside too, clinging to cultural norms as if they were revealed doctrine, among other things.

    You don’t agree that it is dangerous for all of us if we participate in those outside conversations too long? A am thinking of a story about a stake president, inactive member, and an ember of coal removed from the fire too long.

  31. “You don’t agree that it is dangerous for all of us if we participate in those outside conversations too long?”

    I think one can go into the heart of hell to save, if one is clothed in love.

    However if one’s fundamental world view isn’t solid, then one should be careful what one allows to influence one’s worldview.

    It is a brittle faith that can’t withstand some amount of exposure to opposing viewpoints. It’s not that I want to go steep myself in filthy goo. It’s just that I tend to have a knee jerk reaction to folks who have kept themselves so cloistered that they don’t think they can allow any opposition to their uninformed faith.

    That was part of why I got so upset, in my post about someone John Dehlin interviewed who I referred to as a Mormon Princess. The reason she left was trivial. And the blind obedience she described herself as possessing prior to leaving was objectionable (particularly campaigning against the Equal Rights Amendment without ever having actually read the thing).

    For me, I have faith and a strong sense of what was happening in Nauvoo. So I can read Bennett’s History of the Saints and the June 1844 issue of The Expositor and not be torn from my view that Joseph rarely, if ever, consummated his plural marriages. For me these documents have been transformed from anti-Mormon diatribes into mere sources of information. Because I have the knowledge and faith to understand how to sort the truth from the lies. For someone without that knowledge, reading these documents could be harmful, particularly if their faith is a fragile, brittle thing.

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