Excommunicating those with doubts needs to stop

The practice of excommunicating people who still wish to be members of the church, especially if their infraction doesn’t involve comitting a crime, needs to stop.

Curious viewpoint especially since the person in question believes almost nothing the Church teaches.

Expressing or having doubts should not exclude one from fellowship and membership in any church. Orthodox believing members or followers only does not make for a healthy church. There is a need for all types and there currently are far more who have some doubt on a specific point of doctrine but are fearful of expressing that due to the backlash they will receive. There should be a place for all who want to remain in the fold, unless they have committed crimes preventing said membership. Unfortunatly, the child abuser or molester at times is given the benifit of remaining a member while a public doubter is given the ax. Just doesn’t sit well with me.

Few facts…

  1. John asked the bishop to stop extending calls to him because he wanted to inactive for a time.
  2. John was trying to persuade others to believe as he believes
  3. John openly stated that the BOM was NOT the word of God but something Joseph made up.
  4. John Openly stated Joseph Smith was not a Prophet of GOD
  5. John has openly opposed President Monson in regards to Ordain Woman.

These are just a few of the things John Dehlin (sp) has done. Number 2-5 are all reasons for Excommunication.

Everyone has a right to their opinions, and they can express those opinions and the Stake President has said “You don’t have the right to try and persuade others to believe as you do”.

Sorry KC, you are on the wrong side of the line with this… But then you always have been, which makes me wonder about you…

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#2 is the only one that possibly opens someone up for apostacy, the others are fine and quite common. Not reasons for excommunication as even #2 claim is not something anyone can prove as he has public ally stated multiple times he doesn’t want followers, he wants people to be able to make their own decision and be able to find middle ground and keep their membership. But if they leave, they deserve the same love and supper as those who stay and have doubts. The seperation of those who doubt, simply because they admit publicly they doubt, is not what Christ intended. The atonement isn’t exclusive for only those who believe, it is also for those who doubt.

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Wow KC… BOLD and BIG FONT… Still does not make your point valid.

The items I mentioned were posted Blog point of view… and yes they are grounds for excommunication KC…

The problem that you seem to have a hard time with is that he was “Actively” trying to persuade others to follow him. I have seen his own posts saying that he is trying to get the church to change and that he wants the people to support him on it.

Dude I know plenty of people who doubt doctrine of the church, the difference is they did not make it a public spectacle and they kept within the bounds the Church has set down.

I am out spoken in church when I see things that is not right, I also questioned doctrine from the past (ie blacks and the priesthood, Joseph lack of financial understanding, etc.)… Never had a court held on my behalf.


KC, the problem you have is that you assume a lot. The bishop and Stake President interview John, talked with him, told him he was going over the line, he choose the path he took, and the consequences with that choice.


Maybe KC you need to look for the mote in your own eye instead of looking for the beam in the Church’s eyes…

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it goes back to what I have said before, there should be room for all types within the church, not only orthodox.

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KC… maybe in your area dissenting views are not allowed. But I have never had any issue, nor any of my friends have had issues discussing alternative views about all types of issues in church policies, doctrine or practice or previous leaders…

Again… the problem John had was not because he expressed his contrary views… it is because he actively tried to get people to follow his views.

Well, no there isn’t. Where do you get this idea from? What is true is that GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED! John was Mocking God. There is not room in God’s church for that.

While I agree with you that it was time for his excommunication, #2 is the only reason by itself to be excommunicated. The other points because of #2 support the decision of the Bishop and Stake President.

I’ve had a running conversation with an excommunicated member on a blog and she often points to Dehlin for reference to support her position. Thus, he is assisting in persuading others to fight against the Church. This is a perfect example for the difference between having a fragile testimony and being truly converted.

Actually Scott… go look it up…

Brigham Young excommunicated members for not living the Word of Wisdom (purge of 1850’s)
You can be excommunicated for a lot of different reasons…

#4 you can be excommunicated if you come out openly and oppose the Prophet (William and Wilson Law are examples, as is Martin Harris).
3 and 5 are kind of tied with number two…

But you can get excommunicated for not living your covenants.

The Church evolves as we receive more and current instruction over time. Therefore, going back to days of glory doesn’t mean it’s true today. And what is true today with respect to this topic may not be true tomorrow. Today, when one goes astray, it doesn’t effect the Church as a whole like it did in those days. Today, breaking the word of wisdom won’t get anyone excommunicated. Doing it in conjunction with outwardly apoo sing the Church and the oracles of God will. Being gay 40 years ago would get you excommunicated. Today, it won’t unless you openly attack the Church too.

What claptrap. Of Floyd’s list above, # 2, # 3 or # 4 can get a person excommunicated - and rightly so. I have questioned several things in Sunday School class and in priesthood mtgs over the years and NEVER been approached by anyone of authority regarding my comments. Questioning is different than stating disbelief. By the very fact, alone, that a person publicly states disbelief - repeatedly - in one or more core beliefs, that is proof of trying to persuade other people to disbelieve. There is quite a bit of difference between doubt and disbelief.

It’s a tough line to draw sometimes. It depends a lot on the individuals attitude about the future course of his actions and intent. Joseph Smith taught that we should question things and educate ourselves to the best of our abilities. Excommunication is not viewed as a punishment-it is actually a necessity to protect the individual and the church. Mistakes are made all of the time. A member of the bishopric in my ward gave a talk in sacrament meeting about the email that was circulating about the Utah National Guard. Having already studied the issue, I knew that many of the things he was saying were false and felt bad for him and the congregation that they didn’t realize what was taking place. He made a mistake and probably needs to be aware of it, but it was unintentional. John knows what he is doing and I am confident the right action has been taken for both John and the Church. I find it curious as to why people actually want to remain members who aren’t actively seeking temple worthiness as it seems that the blessings involved in church membership are directly related to the blessings of the temple. Now I may be dead wrong in this assumption but in my mind, it seems pretty silly to be so conflicted and not be in for the whole experience.

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I would also point out that these excommunicated people were also once Temple Recommend worthy people too. Excommunication often times requires this to be the case. Not always, but is a contributing reason for their decisions. I think their bishops gave them plenty of opportunities and finally had to make the decision.

There are many reasons for people wanting to be members of the Church. The fact that the vast majority are not temple recommend holders certainly means there are other reasons: Family acceptance, A good moral way to live, Good environment to be in, girlfriend/boyfriend wife/husband are members, loves BYU. I’m sure there are other reasons for people to belong without striving for Celestial Glory. I know some who have been asked if they want their names removed and most emphatically say NO!

Because a person isn’t seeking Temple Worthiness doesn’t mean they don’t have some sort of a testimony. Oliver Cowdery certainly had one as he would not deny his on his death bed while excommunicated. People are at different points along the path to the tree of life. Conversion is a life long process for most.

I think the Prophet didn’t mean that while questioning we do it trying to prove something wrong. I think he meant to utilize prayer and the spirit while studying to find out that the Book of Mormon is true, the Church is true, the Gospel taught in the Church is true and those types of things. Not to find things to justify apostasy.

SG: " Oliver Cowdery certainly had one as he would not deny his on his death bed while excommunicated."

Scott, you do realize that Oliver Cowdery was re-baptized just prior to his death, don’t you?

He came to Brigham and asked for forgive, Brigham then sent him to the high council of the area, they listen and basically allowed Oliver to be re-baptized at Winter Quarters, Nebraska in 1848.

He was so excited about rejoining the church he went to Richmond Missouri to talk to David Whitmer about coming west with the saints and rejoining the church. He became ill and died in David Whitmer’s home.

Just thought you might want to use another example.

As for your comment, " Prophet didn’t mean that while questioning we do it trying to prove something wrong." might I add as well that the Prophet wants people to think for themselves, study out issues, if there is something that they do not understand, ask questions, seek guidance of the spirit, to find the answer.

What the Prophet does not condone is when people as you say “trying to prove something wrong” in an open and defiant manner.

I should also say as a side note that David Whitmer is buried in the main cemetery in Richmond, Oliver and David’s brother Peter was buried in the “Pioneer” cemetery.

went there on my vacation (church history tour of Missouri) great spirit there.

Point granted, I was just speaking for myself personally that it seems rather self-defeating to be a member of the church and not seek all the available blessings. I could be just a terrific person and not ever attend church and still inherit the terrestrial kingdom. As for other people I have no way of knowing what they are really feeling and wouldn’t have the desire to make any kind of judgement what-so-ever.

The church has changed the youth curriculum ("Come Follow Me) and is in the process of doing pilot projects with our stake and 10 other stakes and are calling it: “Teaching In The Savior’s Way.”) for adults. The new adult curriculum will come out in the next year or 2. The central purpose for the 2 curriculum changes are to promote increased thinking, pondering and praying about the gospel. The church is not trying to shut down individual examination, they are trying to shut down apostasy. It is one thing to think or say I want, or I wish the priesthood could include women bearers and quite another thing to try to force it to happen by social pressure and to persuade others to do likewise. The hardships of the early church and trek across the plains and early hard days in Utah sloughed off the “deadwood” but we do not have such a natural process to get rid of the deadwood in our day and time.