As I mentioned in my last post on John Dehlin, he is hesitant to say too much about what he really believes, likely for fear it might undermine his cause. Even in the comments on my recent post there were some that claimed that wasn’t the case. But recently there seems to have been a change on this front for John. Here are some recent quotes from John.
Ordaining women….LGBT rights…..historical acknowledgment/candor — those are all very important steps for the LDS church that have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of latter-day saints across the globe. I acknowledge this from the outset.
But from where I sit, they are all merely window dressing to the real issue.
Is the LDS church really what it claims to be — “…the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased?”
Are the leaders really prophets, seers, and revelators? Does the church really have exclusive authority? Are the Books of Mormon and Abraham really scripture, or are they fiction? Is the LDS restoration — realistically accessible to less than 1/2 of 1% of “God’s” children — really God’s plan for all? Or was it all made up by Joseph?
All the social progressive issues really are just window dressing (in my view) compared to this central issue/question.
Is the LDS church really what it claims to be? Cuz if it isn’t…..then THAT is the real day of reckoning for the church….not female ordination….not acceptance of LGBT individuals…and not owning up to its history. Compared to the question of authenticity, everything else is just a distraction….. a la rearranging chairs on the Titanic….as it slowly sinks.
Will LDS feminists, gays, and intellectuals be happy to have a better seat at the table…a better view off the deck…..maybe even a seat with the captain…as the whole ship sinks to the floor of the ocean (if the church isn’t, in fact, what it claims to be)?
To me, this is the heart of the matter.
– John Dehlin on his Facebook, April 7, 2014
I swear Dallin H. Oaks is hastening the LDS church’s demise. — John Dehlin on Facebook, date unknown
Doubt those who encourage you to doubt your doubts” — John Dehlin on his Facebook page, attacking President Uchtdorf’s talk. Mar 25, 2014
[In comments, John is asked] John Dehlin, doesn’t this stance invalidate so much of the work you are trying to do to enlarge the tent of the church?
[John responds] Unfortunately (or fortunately) — I no longer have this (tent enlarging) as a goal. I fought what I consider to be “the good fight” for 10 years…and the message I’ve received both from church headquarters, and from local leadership, is that they do not want people like us to remain in the church (unless we are silent, which is not an option for me). So I will accept this feedback, and move on.
My only goal now is tied to the well-being of Mormons…whether in or out of the church.
I would love some advice — especially from those who are (or are willing to become) financial supporters of Mormon Stories. Being active and in full fellowship with the church (i.e., temple recommend holding, attending meetings weekly, paying tithing, holding a calling, etc.) is not likely going to work for me (as I’ve mentioned before — I’m not comfortable supporting the church financially, and they have sent me the message that they don’t want me as a vocal semi-believer).But leaving the church completely has the potential to negatively impact the reach of Mormon Stories podcast, since possibly some TBMs are willing to listen to Mormon Stories because I remain active (I get this feedback from time to time). In essence, active church participation isn’t working for me, but I don’t want to harm the good that Mormon Stories can do. For those of you who are genuine supporters of Mormon Stories…what should I do? I’d love your perspective here…again…especially from those who are financial supporters (and /or have skin in the game regarding the future of Mormon Stories) (source)
This last quote is long, but its interesting because it shows John Dehlin’s mind set in so many ways. In my opinion, it’s particularly naive, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions and will give my criticisms later. But I so want to sit down with John and discuss with him the nature of religion.
[Quoting the gist of what a friend told him] “….[some GAs] have divided the church [membership] up into [three groups] based on their engagement with historicity issues with the church. The first group hasn’t heard of anything and doesn’t have the inclination to even probe. The second has heard of some stuff through family/relatives but doesn’t really study or know much about it and doesn’t care to. The third group is the group who actually cares about the church’s truth claims and wants to have their issues discussed/addressed. Anyway, the gist of the discussion is that the church leadership has discovered–to their delight–that this third group is actually the smallest. They’ve further accepted that this third group is irredeemable and the church would be better off without them.”
Not sure if this is true…but it seems feasible…given my experiences and direct interactions over the past few years.
It. Feels. Like. They. Really. Don’t. Want. Us.
I could be wrong, but this is how it feels to me….at least right now.
Elder Jensen told me directly once that the church had concluded that most of those who study the history in depth and lose their testimonies never come back to traditional belief/orthodoxy. That’s what I believe is meant by “irredeemable.” I believe that as a body, the brethren want to see us: 1) paying tithing, 2) fulfilling callings, 3) being active, 4) going to the temple, etc. And when “irredeemable” is used, I believe that it is being used in that context.
So if we’re not doing those things, I believe that organizationally….as administrators…we are likely not of much interest to them (at least programatically). Theoretically I am sure that they love and care about everyone…but from a practical/business standpoint….I am starting to believe that they have decided that we are expendable or not worth making much effort towards. I really do believe that organizationally, they value protecting the 99 over going after the one. Their actions tell me this.
To be honest, if I led an organization, I would feel the same way. I’m not saying they are bad/evil/careless people…only that they have likely made a pragmatic business decision that folks like us aren’t worth the effort. To me, their words at General Conference (with the possible exception of Dieter F Uchtdorf), the way they reacted to Ordain Women this past conference, the way the speak about and fight against the rights of LGBT individuals to this day–still….all point to this conclusion.
In my view, the very positive changes they have made (e.g., Joseph Smith Papers project, giving women more visibility, mormonsandgays.org, etc.) are to protect the 99…not to reach out to the 1. I’m making assumptions here…but sometimes we have to do that when there aren’t more data. From the messages they send during general conference….and from the treatment I’ve experienced over the past year at the local level…..this seems likely true to me. It’s at least the only way I can explain what I see (though I’m open to new perspectives and/or data).
It seems like they only want us if we defer to their authority — which is highly suspect right now, given their behavior towards those who are in need.
I respect you, of course, if you see things differently. And if you have more data, I’d love you to share it with me.
– John Dehlin on his facebook page on April 7, 2014