Here is the latest from the NY Times on Mormonism and on-line comments.
Some key excerpts:
From California to Virginia and states in between, more than a dozen Mormons interviewed in the past week said they had recently been informed by their bishops that they faced excommunication or risked losing permission to enter a temple because of comments they had made online about their faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These members said their bishops had questioned them about specific posts they had made on their blogs, Twitter and Facebook, in the comment streams of websites or in conversations in chat rooms.
The kinds of comments that have attracted the scrutiny of bishops and stake presidents, who are regional supervisors, include support for the ordination of women; advocacy for same-sex marriage; serious doubts about church history or theology; and, as in Mr. Waterman’s case, protests that the church demands more in tithes than its doctrine requires.
Here is the Church’s response:
Michael Otterson, managing director of the church’s public affairs office, said: “There is no coordinated effort to tell local leaders to keep their members from blogging or discussing their questions online. On the contrary, church leaders have encouraged civil online dialogue and recognize that today it’s just part of how the world works.”
However, he said, church leaders do grow concerned when discussion is used to recruit others for campaigns to change church doctrine or structure.
“When it goes so far as creating organized groups, staging public events to further a cause and creating literature for members to share in their local congregations,” Mr. Otterson said, “the church has to protect the integrity of its doctrine as well as other members from being misled.”
The article says that several people who have posted profiles on the Ordain Women site have faced Church discipline:
Some supporters of the Ordain Women movement who have posted profiles and pictures of themselves on the movement’s website have also recently had their temple recommends withdrawn or been removed from church volunteer positions, according to Ms. Kelly and Ordain Women leaders.
Ms. Kelly’s parents, who live in Provo, Utah, were among those who lost temple privileges, as was a higher-profile leader, Hannah Wheelwright, who just graduated from the church’s Brigham Young University and founded a group called Young Mormon Feminists.
But there are also those who never sought the spotlight, like Dana, a member in the church’s Buena Vista stake in Virginia, who did not want her last name used because she has family in the church. She was very active in the church but supports the ordination of women and same-sex marriage, which church doctrine prohibits.
She said that soon after she posted comments anonymously in an online chat room, her bishop sent her emails quoting what she had written and questioning her about her beliefs. On June 1, she said, her bishop phoned and told her to stop posting or face a church disciplinary hearing. Instead, four days later, she and her family resigned their church membership.
“It was just bizarre,” she said. “I was trying to quietly leave the church because of doctrinal reasons, and I hastily left the church because of my bishop.”