Showing posts with label excommunication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label excommunication. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mormon Control

              I have tried three times to have my name removed from the membership rolls of theChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly called the Mormon Church, only to have my requests go ignored. Technically, I am still counted as a member, in spite of my strong agnosticism and sinful habits, such as my undying love for all things coffee.
              Last week the Mormon Church excommunicated Kate Kelly, who does believe in the Mormon faith. Her “sin” was to found an organization called Ordain Women, which called on the authorities to prayerfully consider the matter of granting women the priesthood. A mild request and one that would have made Mormonism a much friendlier religion. But Kelly was excommunicated, kicked out of the church that she loved so much.
              Kate Kelly wants nothing more than to remain a member of the Mormon Church. I want nothing more than to leave. Neither of us have had our wishes fulfilled. I have had authorities talk down to me, questioning my maturity and the wisdom of my decision. Kelly’s worthiness was discussed in a private meeting, which Kelly was not privy to, with an all-male board deciding that excommunication was necessary.
              One woman wants to stay in. Another woman wishes to leave. Neither of us have been granted what we desire. And in the middle is a church that seems desperate for control. Control over a pesky woman who dared asked for equal rights. Control over a pesky apostate who wants to leave.
              Perhaps it seems small. Kelly can continue to advocate for equal rights outside of Mormonism. I haven’t been to church in years. But the reality is that these actions create a long chain of undesirable reactions. Already Kelly has been branded a sinner, a troublemaker, by the simple act of excommunication. Everything she has worked for has been tainted by the label of apostasy. I, on the other hand, run the risk of being hunted down by the missionaries and local authorities. Within Mormonism, being hunted down is the norm, rather than the exception. When I have children, their names will be put on the membership rolls. When these children turn eight, there is a strong probability that the missionaries will turn up on my doorstep to convince my children that their eternal salvation rests on baptism. No parent wants a nineteen-year old kid telling their child that Mommy and Daddy are wrong and bound for hell. I could hope that the missionaries and church members would respect my rights as a parent – but I have seen members and missionaries overstep the boundaries a thousand times before, all in the name of religious zeal.

              I sincerely hope that Kate Kelly finds peace in moving forward. I have found my own peace, although it fluctuates at times. 
             But maybe the secret is in not letting the Mormon Church control us. I’ll find a way to get past my failed resignation attempts and see the manipulations of the Mormon Church for what it really is – the futile attempts of a church that is desperate to avoid facing its own impotence and irrelevance. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mormon Editor - And Romney Critic - Faces Excommunication

          David Twede - managing editor of the website MormonThink and a Mormon in good standing - is now facing an excommunication hearing on September 30th as a result of a series of articles he wrote discussing Mitt Romney’s faith, along with the intersection of Mormonism and politics. MormonThink is a website written by active members of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints – commonly referred to as Mormons -who are seeking to create an open dialogue about Mormon history. Their mission statement is:

[To promote] Education and openness of our religion's unique history and heritage. If people want to learn about the true historical issues of the church, that they won't hear about in Sunday School, they can learn about them here. We aren't afraid to discuss the tough issues. We hope to make the church we grew up in a better place by making it more honest.

Our goal would be that no knowledgeable member should have to be afraid to speak the truth in church to avoid offending a naive member with the truth about polygamy, the BOM translation process, Masonry, or any other historical aspect of the Church. We want the Church leaders to be 100% open and honest with the members so we can be 100% open and honest with our children, families, friends, investigators and fellow members.

          By necessity, the MormonThink authors have to remain anonymous. In 1992, the Mormon Church excommunicated or dis-fellowshipped six prominent intellectuals, known as the September Six, for publishing scholarly works that were not aligned with the Mormon Church’s official teachings. This was a prominent example, however, over the years there have been other examples of sanctions taken against member. Grant Palmer, who spent 34 years working as an educator for the Church Education System, was dis-fellowshipped for publishing the book “An Insider’s View Of Mormon Origins” and later forced to resign under threat of excommunication. Although the accuracy of these scholarly works have not been questioned the issue is the fact that these books paint the early history of Mormonism in a manner that is not faith-promoting. Boyd K. Packer, who is the acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, has stated "Some things that are true are not very useful." In this spirit, the Mormon Church seeks to preserve the faith of their members at the cost of historical accuracy. Members are instructed to only read history that has been sanctioned by the Church; all other sources are thought to be Satan’s way of leading the faithful astray.
          There are two articles that lead to David Twede being threatened with excommunication. One article is titled “The History Of LDS Politics”, which delves into the relationship the Mormon Church has had with politics, Prop 8 being only a small blip on a long history of political interference. The second article that is sparking controversy is titled “Mitt Romney’s Faith”, which discusses his beliefs as a Mormon.
          David Twede has made the following statement on his blog concerning the matter:

“Open and honest dialogue will allow members to choose, according to their agency, whether these facts are too troubling or in the end, humanizing. What do I mean? If we learn that the prophets are just as human, just as weak as we are, perhaps we will not feel anxious about our imperfections. Perhaps we will be more at ease in the church and more tolerant. Yes, I believe an honest view of Joseph Smith's weaknesses and by opening the facts it will bring love and tolerance to the wider membership of the church because they will lose their need to feel inadequate about imperfections in themselves and others. The Mormon Church needs to jettison Perfection Syndrome.

That is Christianity at its best, I think.”

          MormonThink is a valuable resource; the website is run by active Mormons and gives members the opportunity to learn about the full history of their faith in an honest and balanced manner. The editors strive to approach the issues from all possible angles, allowing both sides of the story to be heard.


MormonThink: an excellent resource on the history of the Mormon Church

David Twede's blog, where he discusses his pending excommunication hearing and the events leading up to matter

The History Of LDS Politics: A full accounting of the intersection of the Mormon Church and political matters

Mitt Romney's Faith: The specifics of Romney's beliefs as a Mormon