On John Dehlin’s Excommunication

Because of his publicizing his disciplinary hearing and claiming he was excommunicated for his stances on gay marriage and ordaining women, the Church has put out a public statement here.

Essentially, he was excommunicated not for his personal beliefs on such issues, but for the following:

  • Disputing the nature of our Heavenly Father and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
  • Statements that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are fraudulent and works of fiction.
  • Statements and teachings that reject The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as being the true Church with power and authority from God.

He has the right to believe and state his case, as he sees fit. But he does not have the right to do so and remain a member in good standing.

Sadly, we find that today’s apostates pride themselves in being smarter than the average member (note Kate Kelly’s recent statement on that). They must be taller, better looking and dress nicer, also.

When Maxine Hanks returned to the Church, her story (told at FAIRMormon Conference) noted some interesting things. A key to her return was  she realized that one of her faults was not looking at the leadership of the Church as her equals. That revelation of true humility is, I believe, a key to her returning on the Church’s terms. That humility made the Church’s terms her terms. It is always wonderful when someone returns from exile.

That said, this same path is open to Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and any other apostate, who humbles him/herself and walks back through the door of faith, repentance and baptism.

Any excommunication is a sad event. Most are necessary, but are still an event that no one looks forward to. On the other hand, one of the best experiences I’ve had in the Church is during a council when the person is approved to be re-baptized.

I invite all those who have left the Church, whether through excommunication, having one’s name removed from the records, or simply gone inactive, to look within themselves and remember the wonderful feelings they once had in the Church. Recall the whisperings of the Spirit when you first received a testimony. Think about the time when a scripture or conference talk sank deep into your soul and lifted you. Remember the peaceful joy you felt in the temple.

Then do whatever is necessary to recapture that peace and joy. Humble yourself enough to believe and hope. Let the Spirit cause a mighty change of heart within you, so that you never desire to do evil anymore, but to only do good continually. Let Christ heal you and help you find a place at the Bridegroom’s table.

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