Mormon critic John Dehlin is excommunicated for ‘apostasy’

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John Dehlin, creator of, is facing possible excommunication for his stance on LGBT Mormons.

Creative Commons image by Tom Caswell

John Dehlin, creator of, is facing possible excommunication for his stance on LGBT Mormons.

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SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) The action was not taken because Dehlin had doubts about the church or its history, but "because of your categorical statements opposing the doctrines of the church, and their wide dissemination via your Internet presence, which has led others away from the church."

  • Karla

    The mormon doctrine is false cause their prophet is false. All Bible prophecy
    by a prophet has to come true and if not the so called “prophet” is not to be
    feared or revered. Not true prophet can be revered if they are a liar and the
    so called “prophet” Joseph Smith was/is a proven liar. Works don’t save and
    there is no sex in heaven plus the birth of Jesus was a miracle not a creation!
    Jesus said before Abraham I Am! That shows He was not created and also in
    Revelation 1:17-18……Jesus says I AM the First and the Last. First born over
    all creation refers to His rank not that Jesus was created. Jesus is part of the
    Trinity/Godhead/He is co-eternal with God the Father and also the Holy Spirit.

    Broad is the road to that leads to destruction and many are on it! Most go to the outer darkness/hell is what the Bible teaches. We must stick to the Bible.

    Luke 13 says we are known by our fruit and the fruit is fruit of Repentance
    not good works because many non-believers do good works so their good
    works don’t save them! Only by Repenting and trusting in Jesus saves us!
    Two guys were next to Jesus on the Cross……only one of the guys went to
    heaven because only one guy Repented/had a change of heart about sin.
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We all must Repent!

  • Larry

    “Dehlin is free to criticize the church and to share his opinions, King wrote, but not “as a member in good standing.””

    It is their ball and they have a right to who gets to play with it. But it hardly helps the reputation of the church. It makes them look a tad venal and overly self-protective.

    It certainly doesn’t help much for proselytizing efforts. “We have this wonderful new faith and its full of social support and love. But if you don’t follow the strict directions of the church leadership we will forcibly remove you from all of that.”

  • Fourth Valley

    As far as excommunications go… this one kinda makes sense. I mean, one reason they cite is “His statements that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are fraudulent and works of fiction.”

    Which, well, makes sense. If you don’t believe in the book around which the whole religion is structured… why be a part of that religion?? It would be like someone calling themselves “Muslim” yet holding to the belief the Koran was false.

    Placed into the context that the excommunicated Mormon did not apparently believe in the Mormon religion, it seems like the LDS Church is just saying “You’re free to criticize us, but you aren’t a Mormon.” Seems like a fair assertion.

  • Fourth Valley

    Eh, I don’t know in this case. Other cases of Mormon excommunication are questionable, but in this specific one, they’re excommunicating a person who believes the book around which the entire Mormon Faith is based is fraudulent.

    It’s one thing to say “you can’t be a part of this religion if you don’t follow ALL of our strict rules” but it’s quite another to say “you can’t be a part of this religion if you don’t accept the basic thesis around which the entire faith is based.”

  • Larry

    True enough. But the LDS likes to play the social network thing up for coercive purpose. Excommunication usually also means enforced ostracism as well.

  • Hales Swift

    Dehlin’s allegation that the discipline stemmed from his support of same-sex marriage and women’s ordination seems highly questionable. See, for example, this post
    which outlines his efforts to promote this narrative using deceptive means.

  • Gentile prophets and certain self-appointed Apostles claiming to be reformed Jews I could name if I or anyone on earth knew his real name, always get our Jewish scriptures wrong and go off on their own creating “churches” or “mosques” instead of synagogues or temples except this Gentile fraudster Joseph Smith with his magic tablets. Take two and call me in the morning. But even our guys couldn’t be trusted to deliver God’s Messages the right way so seeing the problem before it was written, God embedded the right spiritual information into the scriptures themselves without the writers having any notion what God was doing, until the Celestial Torah was rediscovered as the spiritual basis for the whole Messiah spiritual movement through the Ages, the celestial time keepers the ancient people used to mark the astrological/astronomical precession of the equinoxes and eras of civilization.

    Karla’s posts represent why we can’t use Bible authority any longer as it is impossible to tell the motives and meanings of writers of Bible events that went unrecorded in history anywhere else. (Please, not the phony RCC Christianized references for Josephus) so now there is new revelation, new spiritual vision coming from the authorized people put on point duty, us Jewish religious visionaries and prophesy bearers. Now you have real events to test our spiritual vision and you have documentation of real people, with phone numbers, addresses, utility bills and library cards. So blind faith won’t be needed anymore to know whose speaking for God these days. Jewish prophesy is back! And like always, bringing new spiritual news nobody wants really wants to hear. Same ol same old..except now we have the Internet and it is ever so much harder these days to stop expected information from flying across the planetary Noosphere..

  • Karla

    Stephen Lewis- You really need to do some more research because Bible
    prophecy is why we can trust the Bible. Psalm 22:16-18 and Isaiah 53:3-7
    are both very specific. People who didn’t even believe in Jesus became a
    Christian after He/Jesus was raised up from the dead. Saul wanted to stop
    Christianity then converted to be Paul. Jesus appeared to him after He was
    raised from the dead. The Roman soldiers lied after Jesus was raised from
    the dead because they didn’t want the Bible prophecy to be true. Many are
    still tryin to deny the Truth/Jesus because of ego/arrogance and their pride.
    Bible is the Word of God/there are many seducing/lying spirits which is why we need the Bible/Truth/God/Jesus because man is sinful so we need Jesus.

  • There is no reason to put “apostasy” in quotation marks. In terms of Mormon beliefs -which I do not share – apostasy is the right and only word to use here.

    Based on the tone of this article it would appear the writer thinks that anyone should be allowed to remain a member of any religion/organisation they choose despite their having completely repudiated its values and beliefs.

    Freedom of Association implies a corresponding right to dis-associate from anyone who does not adhere to the organisation’s rules or values. Otherwise the golf club would have its putting surfaces dug up by the guys who insist they are entitled to play football on them.

  • Frank

    The scales fell from my eyes when I was 14. I love jesus. just not crazy about his fan club. I bid you peace.

  • Oh stop it, Karla. It doesn’t matter how many times you post your Bible idolatry it’s still always you thinking God lives in those little black idols set in rows on paper or on papyrus or parchment in the past. News for you. I am a Celestial Torah Christian believer, and it is a modern Gnostic Christian theology that like almost all Gnostic theologies is not tied to Bible idolatry. And for very good reason. The Bible is filled with man-made priesthood agendas using God and religious visionaries like me forced to serve political purposes–tribal religious government purposes for Jews and Roman Empire purposes for Pauline Christians, the followers of Paul instead of Jesus.

    If the Bible was true it would pass historical review but it didn’t. The Hebrew writers of the Old Testament have been now proven by archeological science to have fabricated all of their earlier than 700 B.C. stories. Fabricated, made up, story-telling, fables, tall tales, myths of origin that you and millions of foolish blind faith believers think are true stories because you never ever check your facts with science. You’re afraid to do so and think plastering religious forums with Evangelical Bible idolatry can save your belief system from critical review. Nope, it’s toast now as Paul who you blindly follow, did not receive the true historical information about Bible mythologies so Pauline Christianity along with Judaism is going down the tubes as spiritual authority. You cannot get spiritual authority from man-made myths palmed off to gullible believers as real history in order to create and maintain false priesthoods.

    Wake up! It’s a New Age and read the end of Matthew where Jesus tells you he was there until the end of the Piscean Aeon to know that things are going to be different for the Spirit of Christ in our New Age of Aquarius. You’re just on the wrong side of the Aquariana Divide that now separates Piscean Age Pauline Christian believers from New Age Gnostic “Spiritual but not religious” Christian believers. Your pastors never told you Gnostic Christianity’s history is every bit as old as yours and unlike Pauline Christianity, Gnosis of God never goes out of style no matter who tries to squash it and Paul certainly tried his best. Do turn to the Spirit of God and stop letting paper and ink objects run your religious life.

  • Karla

    Stephen Lewis-The only person who needs to wake up is you. You are a very
    arrogant person/you need to let go of all your pride/jealousy/humble yourself.
    You can deny the Truth/Jesus all you want. It doesn’t change anything. Bible
    prophecy can’t be refuted. Emmanuel means God with us. God/Jesus came
    down to us. The birth of Jesus Christ was a miracle not a creation, God bless.

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  • If he questions and refutes his church’s statements, then being excommunicated isn’t really a surprise. Though if you’d compare it to other religion, like that of Catholics, those who question the Catholicism don’t really get excommunicated. This matter reminds me of what the 93-year old Simone Klugman wrote about apostasy here:

  • Larry

    They are free to kick him out of the church by all means.

    But it doesn’t do much for the reputation of the church. Its makes them look heavy handed and authoritarian. Opponents of the church will make hay of it as a sign that they swiftly silence any dissent. It creates a climate of fear and forced conformity. Not the sort of thing which is particularly helpful for a church hungry for recruiting new adherents.

  • Earold D Gunter

    Frank, We all have our ah-ha moments in life. Yours came at the tender age of 14. I hope you didn’t act out on those feelings until you grew into an adult though. That you chose another man to be in love with is alright as well. Cause, who am I to judge?

  • Tim Bone

    John Dehlin was not excommunicated because he is an “apostate”. He was excommunicated because he is an apostate. How do we judge he is an apostate? Because he tells us so on his website:

    • God does not have a tangible body
    • The Church is not the true church
    • The President of the Church is not receiving privileged revelation to guide the Church
    • The Book of Mormon is not a translation from actual plates prepared anciently and delivered to Joseph Smith
    • The Book of Abraham is a fraud as well
    • Baptism is of no moment. Every scriptural reference that God requires it is bogus.
    • All the ordinance work done in the temple has no validity whatsoever. If there is no Spirit World, then of course the work is useless. If there is one, temple work is of no benefit and of no interest to anyone there.

    And in case we’re not getting the general drift, Dehlin helpfully adds that no one has any idea what God is like or what happens after we die. (Suppose God tells or shows someone about these things, John? Wouldn’t they know then? Presumably, God is an expert on religion.)

    There’s a term for those who hold such beliefs: Non-members.

    Look again at the list. Kind of a lot to object to, isn’t it? Which “fundamental LDS church truth claims” does this leave intact? John Dehlin kicks to the curb every distinctive doctrine of the Church. Is this what 75,000-plus full-time Mormon missionaries should be sharing: “Look folks, we are here to testify to the truth of the doctrines of the Restored Gospel. But we should also tell you there are great reasons to doubt every single one of them – Want to join?”

    But Dehlin doesn’t just have doubts, he broadcasts them to the world: What the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches is false. His website actively solicits and posts the testimonies of those who claim the Church has ruined their lives. Who would want this guy shadowing their missionary efforts? His ministry and influence are the opposite of convert retention.

    Dehlin has followed a well-worn path to apostasy:

    1. Run everything the Church teaches past the World for a second opinion.
    2. Resolve any conflicts in favor of the World.

    Yet another smart guy who has thought himself right out of the faith.

    The fact is that John Dehlin had already excommunicated himself. The Church has every right to do so formally.

  • EG

    Uh huh. Whatever.
    Your bigotry and hypocrisy is showing.

    If a member of any other religion, whether Christian or non Christian, said things about their religion like Dehlin did about his religion, their leaders would do something similar.
    If a Catholic said God does not exist, declared to be an atheist, said the Pope was a fraud and not called of God, and then told other Catholic members to leave their church, and became a minister of another religion, the Catholic church would do something about that person. And so would all other churches.
    Dehlin played his games with his leaders. He was deceptive in everything he did.
    On many other blogs dealing with leaving religion, especially evangelicalism, people tell their stories of being kicked out of their churches because they believe differently, kicked out for questioning, kicked out for not believing, kicked out for not obeying, kicked out for not being conservative enough, and on and on. Why can’t the Mormon church do the same? Why does someone want to stay in a religion they no longer believe in? For ulterior motives. And he made a very good living dissing LDS leaders and members.

    Ten years ago, when Dehlin started his radio show, Dehlin said he expected to be excommunicated for what he was going to do. He is not innocent.

  • Toni

    You said it right, EG. You don’t believe in the teachings, leave. Simple as that.

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