On Mormon excommunication: So quick to judge

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You're outYesterday morning, I posted a status update on Facebook about a marvelous online course I’ve been taking called “The Science of Happiness.” I’m in the class because it’s directly relevant to the book I’m researching on gratitude, but I’m also enrolled because I’m hoping it will educate me on how to become happier myself and contribute to the full flourishing of others. Mostly I wrote the update to express my gratitude for the class (which is FREE!) and all the fascinating neurological and social research I’m encountering.

But within ten minutes, an eejit showed up to crash my party:

Yep. Because that’s all people have been missing….the “Science of happiness.” Not, repent and believe the person and work of Jesus Christ! It’s nonsense.

This guy proceeded to rail at me and other commenters. “Isn’t the joy of the Lord enough to stay the issues of depression? . . . Why not start preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified rather than placating the masses on temporary solutions?”

I shot back (because I am too immature to ignore bait like that) with this: “Why not start by avoiding judgment of others?”

That really set him off. Within five minutes he had added four more angry comments. To a woman who claimed that merely believing in Jesus would not stop sadness, war, or rape, he replied, “Believing in Jesus will stop progressives like you from murdering millions of babies and promoting the abomination of Sodomy that runs rampant in these streets though.”

Then he played the anti-Mormon trump card, saying, “And actually no. You do not believe in Jesus, you believe in the lies from the heresy of Joseph Smith. You believe ‘another Gospel’ and Paul says that those that preach another Gospel should be ‘accursed.’”

That was when I’d had enough. I did something I can only remember doing one other time on Facebook: I unfriended him. My inner monologue went something like this:

You think I’m part of a false religion, Mister? That merely having Jesus in my life (in the unique manner you advocate) should be enough that rainbows and unicorns will henceforth cast out all gloom? That well-intentioned attempts to educate myself on how to become a better person are worthless?

Cause Mister . . . the whole peace-love-joy schtick you’re allegedly getting from your Jesus sure doesn’t seem to be translating into loving your fellow human beings in any noticeable way.

Buh. Bye.

Good riddance, I thought. I don’t have to stand for self-righteous jerks insulting me, my religion, and my friends on social media.

It wasn’t until a few hours later that I realized how very easily I had just excommunicated someone.

That was the humbling context in which I absorbed the news that my friend John Dehlin was excommunicated yesterday from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I feel this was an unfortunate decision on the Church’s part. I don’t agree with it, and as I’ve written before, I don’t feel in general that excommunication is helpful for the Church.

But instead of pointing fingers at my church for (once again) telling someone whose work has been important in my life that they are no longer considered part of the fold, I am forced to point that finger at myself.

It took the LDS Church many years, untold numbers of meetings, and dozens of conversations to decide to excommunicate John Dehlin.

It took me approximately six minutes and the click of a button to excommunicate a reader that I never bothered to get to know.

I hope there is a lesson in my haste and scorn.

Maybe those of us who are so eager to blame John or say he is not a believer can take a deep look inside and examine other times when our actions and attitudes have driven people further away from fellowship.

Maybe those of us who are so eager to blame the Church can turn that scrutiny inward and examine the times we have rushed to simply remove those who disagree with us or have been a thorn in our side.

And maybe we can all pray the old rite of confession: Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.



  • This was not what I expected from the title. This is really good. It might be the most thoughtful article I’ve seen on John Dehlin and the surrounding circumstances.

  • Thank you, John. It’s hard to admit these kinds of spiritual failings in public, so I appreciate your comment.

  • Jo Meachem

    Brilliant, Jana! Very thoughtful and thought-provking! I profess very strong feelings against excommunication by any human agent, and yet… yes, I have fallen into the same trap that you describe – “You just offended me! Click! Block! Done!” Followed…I cringe to confess…by a moment (or 2…or more) of smug selff-satisfaction.Please, Jana! May I have a do-over?

  • Only Me

    Jana, the question “Is it I , Lord?” is the type of questioning that may have helped John better avoid excommunication. When the apostles questioned Jesus it was in humility to learn, not to accuse or doubt or to argue “historicity” and demand that Jesus must always precisely match the ever changing scientific evidence or thinking of the day, or else they would go about telling everyone of their doubts. It was done privately after Jesus had taught a parable, for example. It was not in a form that was critical or placed themselves as the judge of Jesus or judge of his prophets or their teachings, but as students to the Master who kept the faith even if they did not always understand all the reasons for what Jesus did.

    You are John’s friend. He needs some friends–friends like his stake president who cared enough to do what he was ordained and given the keys to do for all involved, even if hard to do. To me John is the man who taught four of my friends enough doubt and disrespect for the Church and leaders to leave the Church and become anti-Mormons. Maybe they would have arrived there without him, but he was the one who they “credit” for no longer believing in God and being free to violate the laws of God and his commandments. They go about persecuting those who do have faith now, at least in part in their minds because of John. God can judge if that was John’s intention, but that has been the result of the way in which John “questions” for those I care about.

    Instead of sowing seeds of faith, it seems to many that he has been sowing public seeds of doubt, disobedience, and rebellion for a long time, without taking correction. Every Sunday in taking the sacrament one is promising to stand as a witness for the Savior at all times and in all places–to always remember Him. To keep the commandments so that he, or she, might have the Spirit to be with them. The commandments for our time come through the very prophets and apostles that some internet personalities want others to doubt, criticize, and rebel against. That is a BIG problem. There are penalties to violating divine contracts or covenants. John was having trouble with the membership covenants he had made and was encouraging others to have trouble with them, too. He gained a following in his doubts and criticisms and disbeliefs. So, John was mercifully let out of his contract or obligation. That is part of what excommunication does–it releases one from the higher consequences of violating a contract to a higher law. Not mean. It also allows one to understand the value of something lost and to take better care when it is returned again. Faith, obedience, membership, and church leaders are all sacred gifts from God, to be treated as sacred. If not cherished and respected then God’s greatest gifts are lost, like it or not.

    If you are really John’s friend, then you will encourage him to make changes that will qualify him to return to membership and good standing rather than try to justify him or tell him (and everyone else publicly) his leaders were wrong to excommunicate him, or that the Church does not know what it is doing when it excommunicates. Most leaders are inspired most of the time to do God’s will–especially those who take time to reflect and pray and fast over many days and even months on a particular person or subject God has placed in their stewardship. Very hard to get it wrong in that case. I personally have witnessed this to be true. So, let’s plant seeds of a faith, instead of doubt. We don’t have to complain to Master all the time that the seed does not look like the tree, do we? We don’t have to doubt that an acorn can ever be an oak because all we can see is that there is some mud involved in the planting. John does not like that the prophets want to ignore most of the mud in telling the history of the great oak tree of the Church. Sorry, John, but the focus on mud does not mean that oak trees are probably not true because acorns grow from the mud.

  • Aw, you know what, Jana? There’s a big difference between excommunicating someone from a Church and unfriending someone on Facebook who is contrary and insulting. I saw his comments; they bordered on downright abusive. Certainly they were, simply, mean-spirited. You have every right to protect your own peace of mind and yourself from that kind of behavior. In fact, unfriending someone quietly, rather than engaging them in further argument, dispute, and drama, is sometimes the best solution on social media. The moral failing (and this is only my opinion) would come in not forgiving him. But you can forgive him and not be his friend, especially if he trolls you repeatedly. So, forgive him (his reality can’t always be that fun and he’s probably doing what he thinks is right, and besides, it sounds like you already have) but forgive yourself too. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to just quietly not engage any further.

  • Ktbr

    great post. But seriously you’ve only unfriended one other person?? That made me LOL. Re the excommunication of ANYONE- unless you’re in the room I think none of us have a place to judge either side since we don’t have all the facts. Not to say we can’t be saddened or frustrated by those events. Btw love the commenters who come here to rail against the LDS church. All I read is “blah blah blah I judge others blah blah blah”

  • BOD

    Perhaps the best commentary seen on the topic of John Dehlin. Thank you for this perspective, while some might not see the relationship, it’s virtually the same thing. Ex-communication/no longer communicating. Unfriending on Facebook=no longer communicating. It’s just a matter of scale.

  • Gerald Smith

    Jana, while I believe the time had come for the Church to sever its ties with John Dehlin, I do not think anyone was happy with the outcome. As you mentioned, the Church worked with him for a long period of time, seeking to find common ground. Only after exhausting those efforts did the excommunication come.

    I think we can all try to be patient with those that follow a different path than us. However, sometimes we are forced into making a choice. Do we put up with someone, who is harming our own efforts, even if it means allowing them to chase away others? Or do we eventually have to realize that some people are not ready, and so we must excommunicate them, with the hope that someday they may turn around. While it was not an easy thing to do, your choice to remove someone from your posts may have been necessary in order to maintain and protect your other friends.

  • MeaslyCollegeStudent

    Only Me: This was so well thought-out and well said. I completely agree with you. It is so true that what seems unfair to us is really mercy on God’s part. I think we all might have a tendency to speak about God without actually consulting Him first.

    Jana, you’re incredible! I identify with you so strongly. Especially in knowing how hard it is to point our quasi justified fingers at ourselves. Honestly, I have 10 times more respect for you than I did before this post. (which was still a lot). It’s so easy to get frustrated and mad. It’s hard to self-evaluate and swallow our pride.

    The question at the end of the day we must always ask ourselves is, “Is this what God wants? Is this what He means?” I hope to one day adequately and in a more timely fashion be able to ask this question.

    Thanks for such insightful and inspiring words, both of you. I have much to think about.

  • Jim Wright

    I am not a reader of John Dehlin’s work. That should not be construed as meaning I am either sympathetic or unsympathetic to him. What I know about his Church Court experience is what he has revealed since last Sunday, which includes the content of the letter of notification to him of the results of the Court, and, somewhere, a chronology of the events that preceded the action.
    So, from what I understand, Mr. Dehlin has stated in his postings that: He does not believe the Book of Mormon to be the translation of an ancient record; He does not believe in a living God who communicates with man, and he has some other reservations about the teachings of the Church.
    If these things are so, and if he attempts to convince others of the merits of these beliefs, What is left of a testimony? The Church action is probably, in the eternal perspective (in which I believe) more beneficial to him than would be his continuing membership.

  • Tim Bone

    John Dehlin 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.

  • maddy

    ” Most leaders are inspired most of the time to do God’s will–especially those who take time to reflect and pray and fast over many days and even months on a particular person or subject God has placed in their stewardship. Very hard to get it wrong in that case.”

    Hmmm I don’t know what to think of that statement, especially in light of the Church admitting the denial of the priesthood to blacks (for 14 yrs beyond the Civil Rights Act) was a policy originating with Brigham Young. Leaders rely on the same fallible/imperfect method of inspiration we all do–prayer, fasting etc. But, they have the responsibility for leading the Church and I don’t–they have that higher degree of accountability in that regard.

    As for Dehlin, I think people accessing his podcasts would find whatever they were looking for. If they wanted a basis for doubt, they could find it. In my case, however, I found relief. I came to know about the challenging historical issues (from well-respected LDS historians) with the church long before I came across his site, and felt isolated and alone. When the Church joined the fight against Prop 8, I was horrified that our Church would take part in demonization, fear-mongering and distorting the truth. Once again, (as with the blacks and priesthood issue), the Church embarked on a campaign to justify its stance, rather than just offering the simple explanation that we believe marriage should be between a man and woman. I refuse to believe God actually inspired our local leaders to teach “Six Consequences if Prop 8 Fails” during Sunday services.

    I’m still actively participating in the Church, in part, due to John. He gave me space to breathe and I feel enriched by many of the personal stories, struggles and journeys his interviews have provided.

    I think the great challenge (as Jana points out) is for us to look deep within our souls/hearts to find that measure of meekness, humility, love etc such that in deed and thought we can “love our neighbors as ourselves.”

  • Gerald Smith

    I don’t think we need to be rude in our discussion of either the Church or John Dehlin. There are significant differences that required a split. I hope someday that JD will gain a testimony and find joy in the fulness of the gospel of Christ. Until that day comes, the excommunication protects him from the requirements of the covenants he previously made, and it protects the Church from statements he makes about its truth claims.

    Fred Grant, the LDS Church is not a sex cult. Your statement is demeaning and devoid of any facts in regards to the Church’s history. Polygamy has not been practiced by the Church for more than a century. As it is, Abraham was a polygamist, and with your view, this would mean that all Jews and Christians belong to a “sex cult”. It is a non sequitur and a straw man.

  • Danny S

    Gerald, how exactly does excommunication protect JD? Are you saying it is better to stand before God stripped of ordinances than as an unrepentant member with ordinances intact?

  • S.Faux

    Thank you, Jana, for your many spiritual insights.

    Tensions with Church authorities are not caused by having unorthodox beliefs. In fact, one might argue that LDS beliefs by nature are unorthodox. But, a line is crossed when one actively promotes positions that poisons others faith. The line is crossed when there is a transition from “I believe” to “You should believe.” The Church exists to build faith, not tear it down.

    I appreciate that you find ways to NOT throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater. There is bathwater, but that which is worth keeping is priceless.

  • (in the unique manner you advocate)

    It’s the unique manner the Bible advocates.


  • Dan the Mormon

    Which is worse?: 1. Promising to do something and not doing it 2. Not promising to do something and not doing it.

    Those ordinances involve covenants JD has made with God. Continuing in the Church in open violation of those covenants is problematic. Excommunication gives him the opportunity to rethink those covenants. If he decides to make them again and keep them, that’s great for him. If he decides not to make them again, at least he won’t be violating covenants with God.

  • D. Michael Martindale

    Not a terribly valid analogy.

    Being “excommunicated” as a Facebook friend has little consequence in a person’s life.

    Being excommunicated from one’s lifetime spiritual community is a Major Big Deal.

    Being “excommunicated” for uncivil behavior and irrational ranting is a punishment that fits the crime.

    Being excommunicated for trying to find ways to help people stay with the very religious organization that is excommunicating you is unfathomable insanity.

    Having a knee-jerk reaction to a blatantly unpleasant individual disrupting the enjoyment of an online gathering place is a small, very human reaction to have.

    Taking a long time to assess the situation, then act deliberately and calculatingly against an individual who is decent, compassionate, diplomatic to a fault, who cares about people and tries to help them, because he brings up valid information that is uncomfortable and/or embarrassing to the excommunicating organization, is a self-serving, cold-blooded thing to do.

    Being upfront about and taking responsibility for “excommunicating” someone who is disrupting your venue without contributing anything constructive is a courageous, mature thing to do.

    Trying to hide behind “local leaders” and make them do your dirty work is a cowardly, childish thing to do.

    I think it’s perfectly appropriate to keep that finger pointed at the cold, calculating, self-serving, shoot-themselves-in-the-foot church, even if one has done a tame, insignificant version of what they have done.

  • cwandrews

    Hi Jenna – I appreciate your article, like others having been written prior. I must add a small quibble with your statement, “I don’t feel in general that excommunication is helpful for the Church.”

    Having been involved with a number of disciplinary councils, for those both leaving and re-joining the Church, I agree with your statement. Excommunication is *not* helpful for the Church. During those councils that required excommunication or disfellowship, I can say that a spirit of sadness and shared regret permeated my life for days or longer following those proceedings. There is no joy, for anyone involved, to be had in disciplinary councils that address sinful behavior.

    I hated them. But, here’s the thing: they’re necessary for the salvation of many of God’s children.

    To a person, I believe that virtually everyone whom I witnessed return to the Church through re-baptism or returning to fellowship (not a small number) credited their disciplinary action as a key factor in their decision to return.

    Disciplinary councils are sad, sometimes awful and wrenching affairs. They’re also a required burden for church leaders who agonize over having to make these difficult decisions. On the other hand, councils that convene to examine and allow a return to church activity are some of the most poignant, amazing and powerfully sacred events I’ve ever witnessed.

    I’m sure the LDS Church as a free-standing institution would be better off were there no excommunications (think of the glowing articles in the Trib!); however, those whose sins require such actions would ultimately suffer and be denied the purifying grace of Jesus’ Atonement.

  • EngineerSenseHere

    You are a nearly flawless representative of the sneering arrogance of atheism. You make many claims without backing them up. You claim believers are “dumbed down” and then you ask why we don’t worship Newton, Einstein, Pasteur, or Salk.

    What is it that these 4 men all had in common? They were extremely intelligent and they all believed in a supreme creator. So I have a simple question for you. Why would I possibly value your religious opinion over theirs?

  • Randy Astle

    I have to admit to being completely baffled by people objecting to John Dehlin’s excommunication. By his own admission, he doesn’t accept the doctrines of the Church. Even if he is culturally LDS, he isn’t spiritually LDS, so why would he want to remain a member? He’s free to attend ward activities and meetings as a non-member. For the same reasons, why does anyone else object to the the excommunication. The Church isn’t supposed to be a social club, it’s supposed to be for “the perfecting of the saints”. To me, it doesn’t make sense to be a part of something you don’t agree with and are actively criticizing. Church leaders have a responsibility to ensure that members are inclusive of others but that disruptive, divisive, and fracturing influences are minimized (ideally, we are supposed to be working towards being of one heart and one mind).

  • Danny S

    Dan, with respect an excommunicated person remains as #1 in your scenario. It’s just that the exed person receives an earthly punishment in addition to whatever is in store in the hereafter. So, I ask again, how is it worse to be unrepentant but in the church than to be cast out having not kept covenants but also not returning to the fold? One roasts at 375 degrees while the other is only slow-cooked? Yes, I’m joking a bit and don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I still don’t get it. And yes, maybe I’m not the sharpest person and that’s the reason.

  • Dan the Mormon

    This is just my viewpoint, I don’t know if there is an official explanation.
    Excommunication is like getting a divorce. Someone can’t cheat on their spouse if they are divorced from them, because their prior covenant has been nullified. Just like it is less morally reprehensible to go on a date with someone who is divorced than it is to go on a date with someone who is married to someone else, it is less morally reprehensible to teach that the Church is false if you are excommunicated from the Church.

  • Danny S

    “disruptive, divisive, and fracturing influences” re John Dehlin, D. Michael Quinn, Fawn Brodie, Paul Toscano, Margaret Toscano, Lavina Anderson, Maxine Hanks, and others = speaking truths, publishing credible and verifiable information the church wanted quashed, not towing the “faith-promoting” but demonstrably false history line promulgated by the correlated church. Currently reading about the medieval Catholic church. Hey, at least we don’t torture people. I guess that’s progress.

  • Gerald Smith

    D&C 84 and 121, suggest that the person who violates covenants is under greater condemnation in the hereafter. Now that JD is no longer under the covenants He previously made, he is not under that condemnation. It is as if he never made the covenant in the first place, and so will not be judged under the higher law.

  • Lynn

    Jana: Your blogs are usually pretty accurate and concise, however, this one is simply off base. Dehlin did not “fail” Sainthood. A more accurate portrayal would have been that he “expelled” himself from the course of Sainthood by trying to change its rules and teachings.

  • lmzbooklvr

    Thank you for this. It’s a more personal inward look which is where I feel I’m needing to go right now. You rock.

  • Pacumeni

    I really like the specifics and logic in this comment. I have listened to all of the Mormon Stories podcasts. Your description of his views is spot on. It people who now have questions want a supportive community, try Sunstone or Dialogue or Dan Wotherspoon’s MormonMatters podcast, which, though under the umbrella of Dehlin’s organization, has a very different spirit than Dehlin has. In his broadcasts, anything Dehlin says that is positive about the Church seems pro forma, like a pitch to retain the faithful who are in his audience. The passion is all in his mokery of core Mormon beliefs. (Take a look at the completely gratuituous lugging around of the mock plates at the end of the Sandra Tanner interview. The interview I was okay with. But the real John is fully apparent in the cheap shot at the end.) Thanks again for being so specific in this reply. So often, these discussions lack specifics. Compliments, too, for Jana. Though I disagree with you about the excommunication of John Dehlin, I fully agree with the central importance of asking “Lord, is it I?”

  • Pacumeni

    Thanks for adding an important perspective rooted in first-hand experience.

  • Brenda Brady

    You could not have said it better. Thank you.

  • Brenda Brady

    I meant this as a reply to Only Me’s comment.

  • Wayne Dequer

    What an absolutely marvelous essay, Jana. One of the keys in being a true disciple is humility. Tonight we read together in Mark that poignant passage where when confronted by the Saviors statement that one of them would betray him each apostles humbly said: “Is it I?”

    I have found myself writing about how we should treat those who have been excommunicated or in other ways left the faith. Reading your comments, I would now include others who just get under our skin. Doctrinally, we Mormons should be much less likely to shun others because of our doctrine and teachings. Let me suggest 3 significant sources that strongly discourage shunning:

    1) Matthew 5: 43-47 (“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them . . . “) at https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/5?lang=eng ..

    2) Elder Quentin Cook teaches: “No family who has anybody who has a same-gender issue should exclude them from the family circle. They need to be part of the family circle. Do we teach the Proclamation on the Family, do we teach Heavenly Father’s plan, do we teach the first chapter in the second handbook, yes we do. We have a plan of salvation. And having children come into our lives is part of Heavenly Father’s plan. But let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion, and outreach to those and lets not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender” at mormonandgays.org .

    3) Elder Ballard teaches: “To members and leaders of the Church who know of a brother or a sister who has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated: Love him or her without judging. Be sensitive and thoughtful without prying. Be warm and caring without being condescending” at https://www.lds.org/ensign/1990/09/a-chance-to-start-over-church-disciplinary-councils-and-the-restoration-of-blessings?lang=eng&query=excommunication .

    Obedience to the Gospel, as far as we understand it, is common in the LDS faith, but, unfortunately, self-righteousness and hypocrisy are Not uncommon. Thank you again for the encouragement to share my thoughts in the hope that some members might find that it provides encouragement to behave in more Christlike ways. I find these teachings encourage me to reflect and work on improving my discipleship.

  • Scott Roskelley

    John’s excommunication brought to mind the excommunication of Baruch Spinoza from Judaism, where they issued a “writ of cherem” against him in 1656, “that no one should communicate with him orally or in writing, or show him any favor, or stay with him under the same roof, or within or ells of him, or read anything composed or written by him.” His parents had been forcibly converted to Christianity, so his family had to practice Judaism underground. Spinoza was accused of “raising doubts in students’ minds about the historical accuracy of the Bible” and of having a “sympathy for other histories which may have an equal or better perspective on the truth”. Spinoza was also accused of liking this book by Isaac La Peyrère entitled Prae-Adamitae “men before Adam”, where Peyrere writes that the Bible is a history of the Jews, not really meant to be a history of the entire human race. Spinoza also had good intentions a desire for greater “tolerance and benevolence”. John Dehlin said, that “I don’t want to be anything other than Christ-like, and I know that I fall short all of the time.” – Aug 7, 2014. In this light I would hope that as Holland called Ravi Zacharias, “a dear and special friend”, that rather than cutting ties, we could strengthen communication and make friends with “mammon of unrighteousness”. Where does Ravi Zacharias stand on the LDS views of the 1) Nature of Heavenly father, 2) Divinity of jesus Christ, 3) book of mormon and book of abraham historicity, 4) teachings that the church of Jesus christ of LDS is the only true church and only church with the correct ordinances and authentic priesthoods? Yet, he is still invited by the BYU religion department to give talks and to speak at the SLC tabernacle. It is unfortunate that our church could not extend to John the same invitations to communicate and share – to find common ground.

  • TomW

    Jana, you write:

    “I did something I can only remember doing one other time on Facebook: I unfriended him.”

    “It wasn’t until a few hours later that I realized how very easily I had just excommunicated someone.”

    “It took the LDS Church many years, untold numbers of meetings, and dozens of conversations to decide to excommunicate John Dehlin. It took me approximately six minutes and the click of a button to excommunicate a reader that I never bothered to get to know. I hope there is a lesson in my haste and scorn. … Maybe those of us who are so eager to blame the Church can turn that scrutiny inward and examine the times we have rushed to simply remove those who disagree with us or have been a thorn in our side.”

    As you can imagine, Jana, I read this blog entry from a certain perspective unique between us. I hope that there is place for future reconciliation.

  • TomW, I’m grateful that you are adhering so far to the limits that needed to be set if you were going to continue to participate on this blog. I have not seen you violate those terms since the limits were put in place. However, I do not see the wisdom in reversing those limits.