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.
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.