Excommunication: Shame or Fame?

July 28, 2008
By

We’ve all seen the headlines:

Note: The links are all active

Where do these headlines come from? The Church or the individuals themselves?

There was a time (and perhaps still is) when church discipline was a private matter, between the individual and Church Leaders. Church Discipline, for those who are unfamiliar is explained here in an article by Elder M. Russell Ballard. It is not my intention to debate Church Discipline in this post, though I suspect some comments will be directed toward that.

Let’s take the case of the recent church discipline against the “Shirtless Missionary Calendar” maker, Chad Hardy. It’s not likely that the Church made this public, but Hardy himself in an effort to gain publicity and drum up more business. His sales statistics and website address feature prominently as part of the articles written about him.

In other cases, the press was designed to tell the disciplined person’s “side of the story” even though the Church would not reveal its side in any case. Thus was the case of the so-called “September Six.” Maybe even in an attempt to pressure the church not to proceed with the action.

I found that in some past issues of the “Improvement Era” names and reasons for church action were recorded, but certainly that has not been Church practice for many, many years. On a rare occasion, it will be announced in Church, which I only remember happening once in my 26 years in the Church. The Ward Clerk was excommunicated for a second time for adultery and the Bishop announced it to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Most of the time, only those who need to know about a particular member’s status know unless he/she reveals it.

What I don’t understand from the Hardy case was a statement he made in the article.

”I really feel sorry for my family,” Hardy said. ”They are going to be so sad. But I feel empowered and free and I feel like I no longer have to apologize for anything.”

Excommunication is a step whereby a member is relieved of all responsibilities of Church membership including paying tithing, wearing of the garment (if endowed) and active participation in Church meetings. But much is lost as well. For example, a priesthood holder is no longer able to exercise his Priesthood and there is the loss of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, as if never baptized.

The purpose of excommunication is to assist the member in repenting of their sin and feeling the “godly sorrow” necessary. The loss of church membership should be felt as a significant part of that sorrow associated with repentance process. It is to help focus them and is not meant to “free” someone from the things that they “know” and have become responsible for as a member of the Church.

From what I gathered in the article, Chad was no longer active in the Church and may have had “other issues.” But, in the end, I think he will be held accountable for what knowledge he did have and will not be “free” to do whatever he wants in this life. I hope he re-considers his statements and is someday welcomed back in full fellowship if he desires it.

Tags: ,

  • heather

    “There was a time (and perhaps still is) when church discipline was a private matter, between the individual and Church Leaders.”

    There was a time before that when church discipline was announced from the pulpit in sacrament meeting. Then the church got sued and they stopped that. :/

    I don’t see any reason that anyone should be stopped from telling their story. Of course, when you open up and do that, you have to be willing to accept that the church is going to tell their version of the story as well.

  • angrymormonliberal

    I HATE the nebulous ‘may have had ‘other issues” statement. It’s our subtle Mormon way of suggesting that while Chad might have been excommunicated for putting together a gay cheesecake calendar right during a major Mormon political action in California, the real reason is that he’s a dirty little pervert.

    Nope. According to Chad, and his is the only response we will get, the focus in the proceedings was almost wholly on the calendar, with some nebulous accusations about his secretary thrown in for good measure.

    In some cases, being exed may do as you say. In other cases, it’s counterproductive and abusive… as in the case of my great uncle, a stubborn and foul-mouthed Swede who got exed 5 times for ‘unchristianlike conduct’. He usually just waited out the old bishop and rejoined the church.

  • Jeff Spector

    Dear Angry (which you sound like),

    “I HATE the nebulous ‘may have had ‘other issues” statement.’

    Just going by what the articles said.

  • Paula

    I think that 20 or 30 years ago, it was routine to announce disciplinary actions in the Priesthood meetings. Not sure if it has officially been ended. I agree with angrymormonliberal about the use of “other issues” here. No one else knows what actually goes on in the trial and it’s not right to speculate. And, in the case of the September Six, there were prominent members of the church and it certainly was appropriate for the news media to report that they were being excommunicated. This seems to me to be yet another area where the church needs to adjust to changing times, and realize that excommunications are going to bring unwanted publicity.

  • Howard

    Generally excommunication is counter productive, most never return. But, if the Lord or the church is worried about the image the calendar portrays I suppose excommunication is an effective way to distance and disown that image.

    “there is the loss of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, as if never baptized.”
    Is this actually doctrine? I was excommunicated but the Spirit remained with me the entire time I was out of the church. As a result I have come to see the church and my relationship with Christ as two separate things.

  • angrymormonliberal

    Angry does not mean out of control (or lacking a sense of humor).

    I see this over and over again, it happened with the Danzigs, it happened with Lyndon Landborn, it happens on a local level exes that don’t hit the national stage. Heck, it happened with Sonia Johnson… and the whole ‘Cup of cream’ slander on Thomas B. Marsh.

    We seem to have an unrelenting and purile interest in attaching the most imaginative sins to those who leave the Church. Just ask a missionary what the mission rumors are about the Community of Christ. It’s my constant source of entertainment at dinners.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    The purpose of excommunication is to assist the member in repenting of their sin and feeling the “godly sorrow” necessary. The loss of church membership should be felt as a significant part of that sorrow associated with repentance process.

    In theory maybe, and maybe with a lot of those folks who are never public, but with cases like Lyndon Lamborn, the Sept. Six, Chad Hardy, etc. excommunication can be retaliatory. In many of these cases, their actual transgressions with which they were charged would have only led to disfellowship if they had been humble and repentant about it. But if you don’t submit to priesthood authority, or you don’t “confess” that your actions were wrong, mercy is sometimes thrown out the window.

    In some cases, like Michael Quinn, his historical research about the church was so solid, and his reputation for scholarship was so solid, that excommunication was useful in discrediting him and negating a lot of the weight his work could carry. Nowadays an average LDS member will not touch his books, and those who encounter any of his findings can easily brush him off as an apostate with an axe to grind. Marginalization can be a big purpose for excommunication for those that feel they need to protect the church’s good name.

  • Bruce Nielson

    >>> In some cases, like Michael Quinn, his historical research about the church was so solid, and his reputation for scholarship was so solid, that excommunication was useful in discrediting him and negating a lot of the weight his work could carry

    Wow, Clay, you’re a mind reader!

  • MAC

    I kind of agree with what Jeff somewhat implies, if the excommunication itself is used by the individual to promote a public position, it is hard to then question the outcome of the disciplinary action.

  • Jeff Spector

    Angry,

    “We seem to have an unrelenting and purile interest in attaching the most imaginative sins to those who leave the Church.”

    Don’t accuse me of doing that in this case. I didn’t. And when things stay private, there is no need to speculate because it is not known.

    Clay – “Seem Retaliatory” – I guess you are using that in a negative manner against Church Leaders. But isn’t all church discipline retaliatory in nature?

    I thought Mike Quinn’s situation was unfortunate, like Avram Gileadi, the latter whom thought apparently it was better to be in the Church than out.

  • heather

    Another way to look at the issue:

    There is no way to keep an excommunication completely private. By it’s nature, excommunication changes the way that a member is able to interact with those in the ward. If a member suddenly is unable to attend the temple, have a calling, pray in church, take sacrament… People DO notice. And people talk. And then people ask questions, and the excommunicated member is left to either give no info and let the ward rumor mill speculate, or to give an explanation.

    The idea that someone can just go to the bishop and be disciplined, and that be the end of it seems to be an oversimplification.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    “I guess you are using that in a negative manner against Church Leaders”

    Jeff,
    Certainly not “Church Leaders” in the sense of all priesthood authority. Church discipline is a pretty localized thing. Yes, there are cases that I won’t mention specifically where higher authorities kind of “pulled some strings” to influence the actions, but even in those cases it is ultimately up to the Stake President and the council members to make a specific judgment for that situation. So I don’t see it as blanket issue. Even in the cases of higher pressure, we are talking about individuals and not whole quorums or anything.

    We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion

    I find it funny how easily we assume that this doesn’t apply to the leaders we have today, or even US, if we happen to have any authority.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    Also, it is interesting to compare the paths of Quinn and Gileadi, as it would appear from simple data. Quinn does not attend church and did not attempt to be re-baptized, whereas Gileadi did. Its not appropriate to share here online, but lets just say that it would be very easy to mis-judge both men if that is all that is considered.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Fwiw, most of the non-publicized instances of excommunication of which I have known were those that involved the penitent who wanted to return to full activity. There are far more of those than most people realize, specifically because neither party talks about it. They truly are private cases – and in the majority of cases even most of the members in their wards don’t know about it.

    We generally hear only about the ones that are high profile or involve someone who is angry and talks about it openly.

  • Deedee

    For crying out loud. All the hooplah about a stinking calendar. As a non-mormon, I saw nothing wrong with the pix I was able to see. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t the calendar also give the missionaries’ testimonies about the church? I do know the church’s stand on what it considers to be modesty; however, a bare chest isn’t, in my opinion, being immodest. It had the possibility to be used as a “witness” for the church. Too bad the church didn’t see it that way.

  • Jeff Spector

    Clay,

    “but even in those cases it is ultimately up to the Stake President and the council members to make a specific judgment for that situation.’

    For a Melch. Priesthood holder, it is in the sole discretion of the Stake president to decide. The HC members are only there to advise. Even the SP counselors have no say in the decision though their advice is considered, I’m sure.

    As for the GAs that may initiate action, it is their responsibility to protect the Church so they might do that. Sometimes, everyone gets it wrong.

    But, it is also funny how often that quote you used is trotted out when we don’t like the decision that has been made.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #15 – deedee, there was MUCH more to it than “bare chests”. Any “witness for the church” is a witness the Church doesn’t want – and, as tolerant as I try to be of others’ choices, I agree 100% with that stance.

    Also, it’s instructive that the only person excommunicated for this was the creator – the one who had stopped attending church 6 years ago and was happy to be kicked out.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Clay: “In many of these cases, their actual transgressions with which they were charged would have only led to disfellowship if they had been humble and repentant about it.” Even in the earliest days of the church, it’s interesting to see this loyalty factor play out in church disciplinary actions and how easily it can render a bad decision. I’m thinking of John C. Bennett, who essentially committed adultery and took “spiritual wives” without permission also at least partially outing JS’s polygamy in the process. Bennett was pretty reprehensible, an excellent example of JS’s poor ability to judge character, and yet, on the verge of excommunication, when pressed, he swore loyalty to JS and was received with open arms. And obviously, he couldn’t sustain that and was probably the biggest anti-Mormon of all time (okay maybe Decker was). Of course, in this case, when pressed about loyalty (Hardy was asked whether he would discontinue publication if Monson personally asked him to do so), he gave all the reasons he would not stop and why he didn’t really care about belonging to the church.

    IMO, disfellowshipment would have been more appropriate given the rendition Hardy gave, but these are handled by local authority, so it can be subjective. I wonder if the fame/shame scale would have been less impactful with a disfellowshipment.

    And I find it distasteful to trade on the church’s brand (Orgazmo, anyone?).

  • Jeff Spector

    I would agree with Ray. Having sat in on a number of re-admittance councils, I was sometimes shocked when discovering who was being re-considered. Never had any idea about that person beforehand. Most are private and stay that way unless the person decides to be public for whatever reason.

  • Deedee

    For those of you who have NOT looked at the site for the calendar: http://www.mormonsexposed.com/info.php
    Also, here’s a link so that all can get an overview look at the calendar’s content: http://mormonsexposed.com/images/store_elements/big-CAL2008-BACK.jpg

    As you will be able to see, the ONLY thing shown is the person’s chest. NO below the belt…NO nudity.

    Ray…it’s not that he was happy to be kicked out, he felt that the decision was best for both parties (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080714/ap_on_re_us/shirtless_mormons). Here is the creators words about the calendar: “The project is about stepping outside the stereotypes and stepping outside of the image,” Hardy said. “Not everybody fits the image and I let them know we’re not trying to portray an image for the entire church.” (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,381527,00.html). To be honest, your saying in #17 post “there was MUCH more to it than “bare chests” “implies TO ME that you may never have looked at the calendar (whether or not you have is not the issue…the implication is there).

    For all you others, just go look at the calendar and make up your OWN mind as to whether or not it was indecent. In MY mind, it’s not. To be honest, I don’t really care about whether or not I’ll be agreed with; however, before you choose to NOT agree or even if you choose to agree, make sure it’s an informed decision…not one based on what others are saying about it.

  • Jeff Spector

    Hawk and Clay,

    Let’s not forget that Hardy publized the council BEFORE a decision was rendered. That publicity could have had a play in the decision. Plus many of these publicity hounds want to be ex’d like the anti-mormons. It raises their “cache.” Humble people generally want to rectify the situation and come back in full fellowship.

  • Imperfection

    It was not Hardy’s, or any of these people’s decision to be ex’d. That decision rests solely with the church leadership. It certainly appears to be motivated by the desire to label these people as apostate so as to limit the percieved PR damage they are doing.

  • alice

    I think there are two things going on — the church has rejected Hardy’s independence now that it has become public with the notoriety that came from the calendar and Hardy has rejected the church’s authority to interfere in his business. As has also been publicized, Hardy has ceased practicing in the highly observable ways and remained a member in name only for his family’s sake. So the church formalized what was, in all practical respects, already done.

    Seems reasonable to me. And both parties seem to have accomplished more or less what they intended to.

    I am willing to assume that Hardy is the one who leaked or provided details. He doesn’t give any evidence of shrinking from attention. His call. But also his call to discuss as freely as he cares to what happened to him. And everyone else’s to reach whatever conclusions they leap or research their way to — it would be better of course if third parties simply stayed out of it but how likely is that ever.

    Same is true for anyone who has a life-impacting event in their lives including any person — famous or not — facing discipline.

    Why is this even a question?

  • http://backandthen.wordpress.com I am soooo not going to give you my name

    Excommunication of the church needs to be renamed.
    The problem with this word is that it is a hard one in its sounds and in the memory of it. But the church excommunication has nothing to do with the idea that people have of it. I see two groups of people: the ones for who excommunication is a punishment and the ones who think that excommincation is a shame for the church.
    Frankly, if you look at the big picture as much as you can excommunication is nothing of the two. It is God’s last chance to extend His love. Not that it is OUR last chance, it is HIS.
    He had set a patern, a plan to make us grow but in this plan He forbade Himself a lot of things because it would ruine the whole purpose. OUR excommunication is the last chance He’s got to gather all the elements necessary for us to understand what He meant about our lives.

    Thinking that excommunication is either of the two result from either ignorance or sad experience. The first makes me angry, the second makes me sad.

    This subject is sensitive matter to me (as you probably have understood) and using this wonderful tool to get fame and put a bad public image on the church makes me feel like crying.

    Excommunication is no shame, it is private, and it should never be fame.

  • http://mormonmatters.org Nick Literski

    First, let’s be blunt here. The online speculators have been jumping to the conclusion, without evidence, that Hardy is gay. It’s all about demonizing him and trying to justify the fact that the only “sin” he is proven to have committed is PUBLICITY, which frosts LDS HQ.

    As for the Holy Ghost, excommunication only removes the “right” to constant companionship, as confirmation is claimed to confer. Just like any other non-LDS person, the ex’ed person can still be guided as deity sees fit. Keep in mind that even for LDS members, this “right” is conditional!

    “trading on the [LDS] church’s name?”. You mean, like Deseret Book?

    Jeff, not all “humble people” continue to believe, thus not all try to come back. Your statement is unnecessarily demonizing all who don’t return.

    To me, a person has every right to speak out publicly, if they perceive an injustice. In some cases, even established LDS procedure gets ignored by zealous local leaders. Of course, these leaders also should have the right to publicly respond.

  • http://www.russell-stevenson.blogspot.com Russell Stevenson

    While I will be the first one to acknowledge that excommunications can be ill-executed (Helmut Huebner and John D. Lee come to mind…both were reinstated as members posthumously), I see that most of the criticisms here are speculative in nature and promulgate the “martyr” syndrome of excommunicants that is often prevalent among Mormons generally…Quinn’s account was laced with it. Essentially, I suggest that those individuals like Hardy who make public announcements re: their excommunication make idols of themselves…worshipping their own dissent. To them, they buy into the construct, even the archetype, of Galileo…when perhaps they better fit the sailor who jumps overboard because the first mate is sub-par in tying his sailing knots or, even more strangely, because the sailor is thirsty and wants more to drink…

    As far as Quinn goes, we fool ourselves if we accept wholesale Quinn’s story that his excommunication resulted from his research Other, far more revealing (and honest…Origins of Power pulls nothing short of a high-caliber sleight of hand when it comes to the manipulation of sources)) works have been written, with the author not receiving one iota of official church discipline. Mormon Enigma comes to mind…the backlash amounted to local anger, not institutional action. Similarly, Lester Bush published his “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine”–red meat subversion at its height–yet his work was actually welcome by the leadership because he bothered to send it to Elder Packer (yes, even he, the “dark prince” of cultural/intellectual Mormondom) beforehand just to show he cared about what the article might do. The Church populace’s accepted history has been challenged repeatedly by scholars; such things will not get a person excommunicated. Heavens, I’ve taught some rather subversive things in Elder’s Quorum with zero repercussions (though I must admit that I don’t exactly bring up polyandry on my own volition…though if asked, I would have–and my bishop, with whom I discussed these things, would have fully supported me).

    I suggest that once we stop viewing these dissenters in a saintly (though secular) aura and begin to ask ourselves precisely why they do what they do (no one has the purest motives of just supporting “free thought”). Then, and only then, can we muddle through the propaganda…

  • hawkgrrrl

    Imperfection: “It was not Hardy’s, or any of these people’s decision to be ex’d.” I have to respectfully disagree in the case of Hardy. He states (in the press as well as elsewhere on the internet) that he vascillated about just resigning since he had long ago given up being Mormon, but he decided to go to the council instead. Why did he go if he was not interested in reconciliation? To have a better story to tell?

    I agree the conclusion Hardy is gay is based on little more than 1) the fact the calendar has sold well among homosexuals, and 2) people assume that being ex’d connotes sexual sin.

    Nick: ““trading on the [LDS] church’s name?”. You mean, like Deseret Book?” I find it all pretty unsavory, so as a consumer I don’t buy that stuff, but I suppose since church HQ owns “the brand” they have to make the call as to whether someone’s capitalist endeavors contradict or conform to their own plans for the brand.

  • Jeff Spector

    Nick,

    Interesting, I hadn’t even considered that Hardy might be gay. Doesn’t really matter, but I agree with Hawk’s interpretation. More interesting is that some on the blog here assume that everyone who is ex’d is a victim of the church and it’s unsympathetic leaders. Russell #25 has the right idea.

    Also, Nick, my view of humble people, in the Gospel sense, are the one’s who know they messed up, want to repent and come back into the church. I’ve also been a party to councils where the SP decided to re-admit the person when I didn’t think he had a clue about repentance based on what he said at the council. So, in spite of the attitude of some on this blog, the leaders do not troll for people to excommunicate. They’d rather not have to.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    “we fool ourselves if we accept wholesale Quinn’s story that his excommunication resulted from his research”

    Actually, that’s not even Quinn’s story. He was ultimately ex’d for “insubordination”. His train derailed way back when he was first interviewed for his job at BYU and failed to “kiss the ring” (humbly submit his own conscience to priesthood authority.) He ticked off the wrong guy, a guy who was described in his own approved biography as “being occasionally ‘less than diplomatic’ and ‘dogmatic’, as well as being prone to acts of temper”.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    More interesting is that some on the blog here assume that everyone who is ex’d is a victim of the church and it’s unsympathetic leaders. [...] So, in spite of the attitude of some on this blog, the leaders do not troll for people to excommunicate. They’d rather not have to.

    Jeff, I have no idea what you are reading. I’m just not seeing what you are projecting here. Personally, I think excommunication is a highly individual subject, with individual variance amongst the excommunicants as well as the leaders. Remember, *you* started the thread with the purpose to throw mud at people who take their experience public. The Hardy case definitely looks like a publicity thing, but I think its unreasonable to tie his case to the other public cases, especially the Sept. Six. Its apples and oranges and it feels like an attempt to produce guilt by association. I might happen to believe that Mike Quinn was treated harshly, and that he also reacted to the treatment in ways that spiraled the situation… but I am not even implying that means that leaders in any kind of a general sense are “trolling” for targets.

    I am only trying to suggest that it is possible for a person to be excommunicated AND still be a humble person who was following their own conscience, and that its also possible for a church leader to be on the wrong side of a situation. Of course, even entertaining that thought is very uncomfortable for some folks, which I understand, but then I didn’t start the conversation.

  • Deedee

    “As for the Holy Ghost, excommunication only removes the “right” to constant companionship, as confirmation is claimed to confer. Just like any other non-LDS person, the ex’ed person can still be guided as deity sees fit. Keep in mind that even for LDS members, this “right” is conditional!”

    This isn’t to any one person in particular. I thought that Holy Spirit dwelt within someone at salvation. Isn’t that what draws them to salvation in the first place?

  • Jeff Spector

    Clay, let me quote some of the previous posts:

    * Clay #7 “but with cases like Lyndon Lamborn, the Sept. Six, Chad Hardy, etc. excommunication can be retaliatory. In many of these cases, their actual transgressions with which they were charged would have only led to disfellowship if they had been humble and repentant about it. But if you don’t submit to priesthood authority, or you don’t “confess” that your actions were wrong, mercy is sometimes thrown out the window.

    * Angrymormonliberal #2 “In some cases, being exed may do as you say. In other cases, it’s counterproductive and abusive…”

    *Imperfection #21 “It was not Hardy’s, or any of these people’s decision to be ex’d. That decision rests solely with the church leadership. It certainly appears to be motivated by the desire to label these people as apostate so as to limit the perceived PR damage they are doing.

    That’s where I got the idea

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    Jeff, note the presence of terms like:

    “can be”

    “sometimes”

    “in some cases… in other cases”

    It takes a leap to go from that to “some on the blog here assume that everyone…”.

    Anyway, sorry for the bickering. I’ll stop now.

  • Jeff Spector

    OK, Clay, we can stop it.

  • Imperfection

    26 Hawkgrrl: Hardy could have avoided excommunication by resigning. Either way it was the church that decided to initiate action, not Mr. Hardy.

    Certainly the church, as an organization, has the right to cull members it feels are not representative of its beliefs and values. However, that seems a rather human, rather then a Christ-like action.

  • Cicero

    There are generally three reasons I have heard given for Church discipline:

    1: To relieve a member of his obligations so as to improve his ability to fully repent. This is why even repentant sinners are sometimes excommunicated. (Adultery commonly results in this).

    2: The member is unrepentant, and it is hoped that discipline will impress upon the member the seriousness of their sin, leading them to repent.

    3: To protect the reputation of the Church.

    I have only read Mr. Hardy’s account of the court as he posted it on an ex-LDS website.

    The situation with Mr. Hardy (the Calender guy) falls primarily under category #3, but also to some extent #2. He was deliberately attempting to undermine the wholesome image of the Church. (He has repeatedly stated this in his comments to the press, and according to his own account he repeated this position to the Court). Now he seems to think this is doing the Church a favor, but the prophet doesn’t agree- and neither do I for that matter.

    The “other issues” that have been alluded too, was according to Hardy’s account (which I read of a link from this website in an earlier article- sorry I didn’t save it) his acceptance of President Monson as a prophet, and his personal relationship with his secretary. Apparently Hardy (according to his own account) likes to refer to his secretary as his “Sex-retary”. Mr. Hardy seems to think this is the height of humor. I personally think it is the height of sexual harassment, but it did seem that the Church Court dismissed their concerns about this issue, as Mr. Hardy stated that their relationship was platonic despite his jokes.

    From Mr. Hardy’s account it appears that the Court was very concerned with the effect of Mr. Hardy’s calender on the public reputation of the Church, but that their greatest concern and focus was his rejection of President Monson as having prophetic authority.

    Mr. Hardy also stated that he had prepared a letter of resignation of his membership before arriving at the Court, so I think it safe to assume he has some doctrinal issues with the Church as well, although those may not have been aired at the Court- although Mr. Hardy did say that he told the court “things I’d been wanting to say for a long time”.

  • Jeff Spector

    Here is the reasons for holding a DC from Elder Ballard’s Article:

    Members sometimes ask why Church disciplinary councils are held.

    The purpose is threefold:

    to save the soul of the transgressor,
    to protect the innocent, and
    to safeguard the Church’s purity, integrity, and good name.

    In Hardy’s case, any or all seem to apply

  • Cicero

    Just read about the other two, the LDS Author is the obvious source, as he has been charged with adultery- which he admits too, but he insists that the real reason for he is being brought before a Church Court is because he has apostatized by declaring that DNA evidence contradicts the Book of Mormon.

    The gay Mormon- married another man! And is also the obvious source of the information as he expresses surprise that he was excommunicated over it. (He argues that since he’s “married” that now it’s okay to have gay sex). The article also can’t seem to tell the difference between a meeting house and a temple- so I’m quite sure that the Church did not provide the information.

    However, I think that the Church benefits from the public nature of these excommunications. We should not desire association with any of these activities or beliefs, and it is appropriate for Christ’s Church to disassociate from these men.

  • Pastafarian

    Russell said Mormon Enigma comes to mind…the backlash amounted to local anger, not institutional action. Similarly, Lester Bush published his “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine”–red meat subversion at its height–yet his work was actually welcome by the leadership because he bothered to send it to Elder Packer (yes, even he, the “dark prince” of cultural/intellectual Mormondom) beforehand just to show he cared about what the article might do.

    It was always my understanding that the action against sisters Newell and Avery were directed by the First Presidency (of which President Hinckley was the only functioning member), and they even met personally with Elders Oaks and Maxwell, who reiterated the ban against them. While they were not excommunicated, the church will not allow any of their individual work to be cited in official church publications. And both of them subsequently left the church.

    The same is true of Brother Bush. In the eight years I lived in his ward in Maryland, he never came to church. I don’t know the details of why he left church activity, but I can’t imagine that the church was actually pleased with his publications. (It’s one of my great regrets in life that I never actually met him, just his wife).

    So I am not sure that these three individuals should be held as some sort of ideal of how the church treats people, just because they weren’t excommunicated.

  • http://mormonmatters.org Nick Literski

    #36:
    Yes, I agree that “the innocent” should absolutely be protected from having to see photos of scrawny, underfed, hairless, wannabe boytoys, who plainly think they’re all that and a bag of chips!!

  • Howard

    Deedee: “I thought that Holy Spirit dwelt within someone at salvation. Isn’t that what draws them to salvation in the first place?”

    Yes, I think this is true.

    The gift of the Holy Ghost is said to be the “right” to his constant companionship. Mormons typically do not report having his constant companionship. So, does it mean he is always there without our being aware of it?

  • http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com Jared

    # 40 The gift of the Holy Ghost is said to be the “right” to his constant companionship. Mormons typically do not report having his constant companionship. So, does it mean he is always there without our being aware of it?”

    The gift of the Holy Ghost is available to an individual when they are baptized by one having authority. However, to receive this gift it needs to be diligently sought after (1 Nephi 10:17).

    Joseph Fielding Smith said the following. This greatly surprised me, but over the years I have come to believe this statement is correct based on my observation.

    “…it is my judgment that there are many members of this Church who have been baptized for the remission of their sins, who have had hands laid upon their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost, who have never received that gift, that is, the manifestations of it. Why? Because they have never put themselves in order to receive these manifestations. They have never humbled themselves. They have never taken the steps that would prepare them for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.” Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1958, p.21 – p.22

    Many who are excommunicated like to say that nothing changed afterwards, inferring that they haven’t lost anything. Their right, the truth is more likely they never had the Holy Ghost to begin with so they don’t notice its absence.

  • Howard

    Jared
    Thanks for your comment. For me and for others I have read about it wasn’t just that nothing changed. We actually received manifestations of the Spirit while we were out of the church.

  • http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com Jared

    #42 Howard–that is easy for me to believe because it happened to me. The Lord loves all of His children, and to my knowledge never abandons them. However, our doctrine is that those who are excommunicated have access to the Holy Ghost but not the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    The following is an excerpt of my testimony as I have written on my blog:

    As the years went by I became more worldly, but every so often I would focus on my inner voice and wondered if what I was taught as a youth was true. “What about the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story, I would think, what if these things are true?” One day while in this frame of mind I decided to read the Book of Mormon, I said to myself, “if it is true then I will change my life, if not, then I will entirely forget about religion”. I offered a prayer telling Heavenly Father my commitment and invited Him to bless me to know about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. The next night, a few minutes after getting into bed I received an answer to my prayer, I should say, a partial answer, I was given an experience similar to what Joseph Smith wrote about when he said, “…I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak…it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction…to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being”(JS-History 1:15-16).

    While I was in the grip of this power from the unseen, but now seen world, I realized the incredible hate he had for me; I called upon God to deliver me, and my prayer was immediately answered.[1]

    This kind of experience creates an instant testimony. It was a dramatic and powerful occurrence. It left no room for doubt about the presence of God and satan. This was not a sanctifying experience in the sense of a “mighty change of heart”, that would come many years later.

    I’m embarrassed to say that even after the Lord provided this life changing encounter I returned to my old habits. It took me numerous attempts to break away from the life style I had been living before I was able to bring some order into my life.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    deedee, your comment got trapped in the spam filter due to multiple links. In essence, you stated that I might not have seen the calendar and that there is no nudity in it – so it should be ok.

    I mean this gently, but you aren’t Mormon, so you are not viewing the calendar through “faithful Mormon” eyes. I have seen it (before this thread), and I agree completely that it is tame **by non-Mormon standards**. However, what you are missing is that it was portraying not just Mormons in a way that the Church discourages but MISSIONARIES. There are two specific reasons why this is so offensive and abhorrent to me and many Mormons.

    1) Generically, these are members who have made explicit covenants NOT to pose in this way. Part of the temple ceremony covers this type of situation for us – not calendars, but a more general and all-encompassing standard. I won’t go into details here, and I ask that others not do so either, but suffice it to say that the calendar **for these particular members** is a direct violation of a specific covenant they accepted in the temple.

    2) More specifically, this calendar was made as representing missionaries – members serving temporarily as direct representatives of Jesus. In a very real way for many members, missionaries (as immature as they can in practical terms) are the closest thing we have to living symbols of Jesus – going out into the world for two years and dedicating that life-tithe to preaching in His name. In a powerful way, they have “taken His name upon them” – so portraying them in an obviously sexualized way is akin to portraying Jesus and all we hold dear in that same sexualized way.

    Imagine how nearly every evangelical would react if this was a calendar of Peter, James, John, Matthew, Luke, etc. – or Jesus, Himself. Imagine if it was Luther, Calvin, and other Protestant fathers – or the Catholic Popes – or Mormon Prophets – or any other religious figures who represent the theoretical ideal for a community. Again, the relative immaturity of some missionaries is irrelevant; it’s the perceived attack on the ideal for which we are striving (and the blatant disregard for a sacred covenant) that push this calendar past the pale for Mormons.

    That’s why I said it’s much more than “bare chests”.

  • Howard

    Interesting story Jared I had a different but similarly profound encounter. It eventually led me back to the church, but it is much too long to go into here.

    #45 Ray; kind and very well said.

  • Bill

    It would have been much better to ignore Chad than to excommunicate him. He probably didn’t really value his membership in the church until he found out that he could get excommunicated.

  • http://www.russell-stevenson.blogspot.com Russell Stevenson

    Clay:

    “Actually, that’s not even Quinn’s story. He was ultimately ex’d for “insubordination”. His train derailed way back when he was first interviewed for his job at BYU and failed to “kiss the ring” (humbly submit his own conscience to priesthood authority.) He ticked off the wrong guy, a guy who was described in his own approved biography as “being occasionally ‘less than diplomatic’ and ‘dogmatic’, as well as being prone to acts of temper”.

    More proof of Quinn’s ability to shape himself as the martyr, the lamb to the slaughter, etc.

    I know the quotes of which you speak, and frankly, your sources, statements are simply incorrect. Yet they fit quite well with the image Quinn wants to portray re: his relationship with Packer. Quinn stated on his interview with Helen Whitney that his interview with BYU was, while uncomfortable, ultimately unremarkable when it came to his hiring at BYU:

    “With due credit to Elder Packer, even though it was clear in that interview that I had with him that we were at polar opposites on this issue of dealing with uncomfortable evidence in the past, I got the job in the department of history at Brigham Young University and I eventually was advanced to full professor, even though there were criticisms from him, privately and publicly about the kind of history I was doing. So you have to give him that credit, that he did not intervene to prevent my being hired; he did not intervene to prevent my being given tenure or being advanced to full professor.” (You can find this on pbs.org/mormons…just go to the “Interviews” link; they have Quinn’s account there).

    To me, this sounds like a difference in philosophy, yet even the hardliner Elder Packer saw him as fit for the position. Hardly a failure to “kiss the ring” like you imply.

    As far as that description of him in the biography, those statements (and that work, Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of POwer in general…there’s a reason why I cited that work as being dishonest…) are utterly laden with inaccuracies.

    1) The biographer, Lucile Tate, never called Packer “dogmatic,” but simply noted that “some FEW members saw him” as such…Tate proceeds to praise Packer for his skills as a thinker, skills verifiable by “those who know him best.” Quinn refuses to include this messy detail. If he wants to discount the biography as hagiography, fine…but he doesn’t. So deal with it honestly, or don’t deal with it at all.

    2) A quibble, but Quinn misquotes Neal A. Maxwell…attributing to him what Elder Oaks said about Packer’s “less than diplomatic” nature. Never mind that Oaks’ comment is made within an overall context of praise for Elder Packer…cultural Mormons, I know, aren’t too keen in finding good in Elder Packer, but we can expect of them, especially Mormon scholars, honesty in dealing with the sources.

    Essentially, I wonder at how your statement about “kissing the ring” has any relevance to Quinn’s work.

    Thus we see again that excommunicees must craft their opposition’s “evil empire” if they are going to convince the world that they are just humble truth-seekers. For Quinn, Packer fit the bill.

  • http://www.russell-stevenson.blogspot.com Russell Stevenson

    Pastafarian:

    I do not know Brother Bush personally, but based on Givens’ recent work on Mormon culture and Bush’s own account of the work (“Writing Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine”), the evidence indicates that his work successfully worked to, in one General Authority’s own words, “foment the pot” of change re: the priesthood policies. It would astonish me if Bush did not receive some flack from some Church leadership; even Richard Bushman has received that much from some General Authorities (Cal Stephens from CES has been a particularly outspoken critic of Bushman…at least one General Authority has also expressed disappointment that a patriarch in our faith would write such a book). Based on these sources, I conclude that Bush was not disfellowshipped or excommunicated…unless you have more concrete information besides Bush’s inactivity? Furthermore, based on the reaction of the General Authorities, I feel fairly comfortable in suggesting that

    As far as Mormon Enigma, the ban against them has been overstated. It was a ban on meeting under official church auspices…and frankly, that’s not terribly unusual. Most LDS scholars don’t come to promote their book…this would imply an endorsement (Bushman might be exceptional, in this regard…and it also helps a lot that he’s more sympathetic to Joseph). Furthermore, the ban originated from local leadership, and I would suggest that the First Presidency is not often very enthusiastic to overturn local decisions about what is needed. Moreover, the withdrawal of an endorsement against them was not permanent; for whatever reason, church leaders later allowed them to speak to the Church under official auspices And there was even high hopes for the book within the church. Prior to publication, the Ensign looked forward to Mormon Enigma, noting that individuals should keep their attention perked for “Sister Newell’s” upcoming research.

    While perhaps you are right in not holding Newell and Avery as poster-children, it should also not strike us as outrageous. While Newell and Avery may have rattled some cages and provoked some action, it was a short-lived action that was likely borne of their feminist leanings rather than their scholarship.

  • Jeff Spector

    Again, just to reiterate what I was trying to say in my post, There are those who have an agenda to promote within the Church and when it doesn’t work in their favor, they are willing to become a martyr for their cause and lose their Church membership in a publicity seeking blaze of glory.

    Still others, get caught up in something, which once corrected, see the error of their ways and come back into full fellowship.

    There are also those who are defiant and just huff off, having lost something important but too prideful to realize it. And still others, who don’t care one way or the other.

    And I would concede there are situations where leadership exercises their power and authority poorly and the member suffers for it. but, I beleive it is rare compared to the examples I gave.

  • http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com Jared

    Jeff-great post and analysis in #50.

    Excommunication is an invitation to repent. I’ve never experienced a church court, but I have experienced the gift of repentance. It is real and powerful!

    I believe the Book of Mormon contains a detailed account of the conversion of the Lamanites to help those in our day to understand that none are beyond the redemptive power of Christ.

    Those diabolical characters portrayed in modern history and literature as the epitome of evil have the promises of the Lord extended to them on the conditions of repentance (Alma 17:15), just like the Lamanites. Can you envisage our missionaries in the spirit world working among those who brought the world to its knees in World War I and II? Can you imagine we’re having success among former Nazis like the Book of Mormon reports was had among the Lamanites?

    Those who come to the Bloggernacle who have been excommunicated have all the promises of the Lord available to them on the condition of repentance. I’ve been there and done it and can testify the the power of the atonement is real. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Those interested in the details of my experience with the power of the atonement can click my name and read Jared’s testimony.

  • no-man

    re: 39/49: just a correction about Linda Newell: she did not leave the church. At the time that she was banned from speaking about her Emma Smith research in church-sponsored meetings, her husband was a counselor in their ward’s bishopric and Linda and her family were very active. I don’t know if years later she has distanced herself from the church (haven’t had any contact with her for some time), but she made every effort to both stay active and work diplomatically with church leaders at all levels to be treated fairly. Her case was handled very ineptly, with local leaders and general authorities all giving different reasons and different conditions for the ban. My take is that it happened because Newell & Avery were women who spoke out without apology for fair treatment of Emma’s side of the story, which ironically is covered in detail in Richard Bushman’s book — but you don’t see Bushman being banned from speaking about his research. And he is less feminist in his interpretations.

  • http://www.russell-stevenson.blogspot.com Russell Stevenson

    No-man:

    I can believe ineptness on the part of local leaders. As far as her leaving the Church, I know little about Newell; however, a Sunstone obituary, for what it’s worth, identified Avery as an “inactive” member.

    Also, Bushman’s lack of the feminist edge actually removes the irony for me. Again, it is not the facts that the Church leadership oppose, in my experience…it’s when a member (or even other members reading the work) attempt to transform those points into bullet points for an opposition movement to the Church. I’m quite familiar with instances where missionaries have been wrongly accused of improprieties…but b/c of their public status as missionaries are asked to leave areas, even not attend sealings of former investigators (even years after the fact) if only to save the Church from additional PR problems. Newell and Avery might well have been a similar situation where their research and scholarship was not in question, but that their research and scholarship became associated with critics of the Church. Perhaps they did not move swiftly enough to still state their loyalty to the Church (as Bushman had). Either way, I would suppose (based on my experience viewing these things) that church leadership just did not want talk of the book to be associated with an official church endorsement.

  • Deedee

    Howard (#41) – “The gift of the Holy Ghost is said to be the “right” to his constant companionship. Mormons typically do not report having his constant companionship. So, does it mean he is always there without our being aware of it?”

    To answer your question, yes. I do believe that the Holy Spirit is always there whether or not someone is aware. Part of Hebrews 13:5 states: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” I do understand the nature of the entire passage; however. The only way for Him to NOT leave us is for His Spirit to dwell with us. That’s the only thing that can keep us drawn to Him. If we wander away, it’s the ONLY thing that leads us back to Him.

    Ray #45 – I guess, after reading your post, that I feel the need to agree with you (on this issue). It wasn’t specifically the things that were said. Your post simply got me to thinking. When one is in a position of “authority” whether it be as Pastor, Praise/worship leader, sunday school teacher, elder, deacon, etc. then that person must be held to a higher standard. Some may see that as hypocritical, but leadership of any kind is to be the example for those under that leadership. Though I try to not give in to the “slippery slope” idea, I do know that once someone has “relaxed” his/her way of thinking about one thing, it can lead one to relax about other issues that may be more serious in nature. Those young men on the calendar are returned missionaries. They were out in the world representing their church. Once home, they shouldn’t have relaxed their positions on this type of thing. I do have one question though, in all sincerity: If they were relaxed enough to “throw out” what they’d been taught regarding modesty, etc. then is it possible that they had those opinions to begin with? If this is the case, would the LDS church ever consider more strict guidelines on missionaries and returned missionaries (I’m not sure what guidelines are in place at this time)?

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    deedee, thanks – and your last question is insightful coming from someone outside the Mormon Church. Just so you are aware, Elder Ballard gave a talk in the October 2002 General Conference in which he said, “Please understand this: the bar that is the standard for missionary service is being raised. The day of the “repent and go” missionary is over.”

    The fact that this calendar thing happened AFTER the bar had been raised so publicly contributed to the end result, imo.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Sorry; forgot the link to the talk, if you want to read it in its entirety. Here it is:

    http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-315-15,00.html

  • Jeff Spector

    Without getting into a heavy or dogmatic discussion, We LDS differentiate between the “Light of Christ” or the Spirit of Jesus Christ which is given to all men. Some refer to this as the conscience, whereas people instinctively know the difference between right and wrong. some of the influence we feel is that influence of the Light of Christ rather than the Holy Ghost. The job of the Holy Ghost is to “bear record of the truth of all things.” And, according to the LDS Bible Dictionary, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is. “… More powerful than that which is available before baptism, it acts as a cleansing agent to purify a person and sanctify him from all sin. Thus it is often spoken of as “fire”" The Holy ghost, as a personage of spirit can dwell within us.

  • Imperfection

    57. Or to put it more simply, when you are baptised your spirituality knob goes to 11.

  • Jeff Spector

    Imperfection,

    Baptism does not do it. It is only the gate by which we enter and receive a remission of our sins. The spirituality comes later. There is playing with a guitar and really knowing how to play it. Then the “11″ matters.

  • http://mormonheretic.org Mormon Heretic

    What’s so interesting to me about excommunication is that it is a Christian concept. There is no such thing as excommunication in Judaism. I have a jewish friend who told me this, and said that they “let God be the judge.” I asked him if that was true even in the case of murder, and he replied “absolutely!”

    It is interesting to me that excommuncation is so often used to purify the message of any christian religion, kick out the heretics, and punish anyone who crosses the wrong guy. I wonder if the jewish idea is better….

    I’m no expert on Islam, but I wonder if excommunication happens there, or if they just issue a fatwah instead. Does anyone know?

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #60 – Beheading certainly separates the dissenter from the community. I call it radical excommunication. :)

  • Jeff Spector

    Mo heretic,

    There may not be an official excommunication path in Judaism because there is no strong centralized organization. I suspect that individuals within congregations are asked to leave if they cause too much trouble. But there is not a strong member participation within the structure to create doctrinal controversy. In the past, when Rabbis disagreed on doctrine or practical issues of the law, they just called each other “meshuggah.”

    However, in strongly orthodox religious family, the practice of shunning is very strong for someone who marries out of the faith, or even out of the division of Judaism. they consider them dead and in the most extreme circumstances have held funerals for them.

    that to me is far worse than a formal excommunication process.

  • http://www.singularsaints.com Dexter Francis

    It occurs to me that leaving (or joining) a church – or any other organization – happens by consent and ongoing membership involves some mutually agreed upon rules. God isn’t throwing lightning bolts, forcing people to become Mormons or any other faith. I’m not aware of any doctrinal prohibition against going shirtless or mandatory excommunication for deciding not to wear the garment. (It could come up in a temple recommend interview of course, but as I recall the question simply concerns whether or not one wears it.) Something else had to be going on here – the shirtlessness is a red herring. I’m a little fuzzy on what qualifies as grounds for excommunication – but as I recall the overall theme is that when someone no longer desires to honor their commitment to keep the commandments and would rather not continue to be held up to that self imposed obligation those covenants can be undone. You can still come to church, but since you don’t want to “play by the rules” you are relieved of the responsibilities and benefits, just like when you quit working for an employer; you don’t have to show up and work and you don’t get paid. What is so awful and oppressive about that?

  • Raoul

    hawkgrrrl,

    I’m glad you bring up John C. Bennett. Illuminati infiltration of the Mormon church dates back to Joseph Smith, Jr.’s very day. Yale University, another early target of Illuminati infiltration, and John C. Bennett are the earliest links I’ve found to Illuminism’s influence upon Mormonism.

    John C. Bennett became involved with Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo-era of the church, if I remember correctly. He helped Joseph Smith incorporate Nauvoo and became its first mayor, and he was counselor to Joseph for a time, etc. After the succession crisis, John C. Bennett attempted to return to Mormonism through James J. Strang, who was up in Voree, Wisconsin, with his faction of the members of the Church.

    James J. Strang used a letter from Joseph Smith, Jr., to justify his ascendancy to the presidency of the Church. The letter purportedly appointed Strang as Smith’s successor. The letter survives at Yale University. Recent forensics prove that the second page of the letter, in which Strang is named successor, is a forgery.

    John C. Bennett’s time as a counselor to Strang was as rocky as was Bennett’s relationship with Smith, but in that time he founded a lodge of the Illuminati in Voree and he crowned Strang “king” in a ritual in the lodge of that same distinction.

    Joseph Smith, Jr., wasn’t so much a chump to associate himself with John Cook Bennett, as some might presume. I think Joseph Smith was smarter than that, and that he was in-the-know, and that he was trying to keep his greatest enemies as close to him as possible. I think there is especial genius in positioning Brigham Young as the president of the Twelve, as Brigham had great standing and pull with the Masonic orders (especially in Iowa — Mormons cut the road that was to become I-80, and they did so with the blessing of the Iowa Masonic fraternities and Grand Lodge [whose grand lodge was founded the year of Joseph Smith's death]).

  • CarlosJC

    Jeff,

    “The purpose of excommunication is to assist the member in repenting of their sin and feeling the “godly sorrow” necessary. The loss of church membership should be felt as a significant part of that sorrow associated with repentance process. It is to help focus them..”

    While this is certainly the theory taught behind the excomnunication process, I can assure you from seeing many excommunicated over the years that it doesn’t work out that way. Roughly 9 out of 10 never return to church at all and the one that does probably should have only been disfellowshiped.

    I really suspect that the whole process is left as it is by the Lord himself to be able to actually ‘weed out’ those who commit serious sins.He then leave the ball in their court to see if they want to return by making them go through it all again, confessing again to stake president and then all high council and after re-baptism again to a GA. All I’ve seen over the years, must be in the hundreds now, confessed and initiated the process themselves when they could’ve avoided it all by just staying quiet for 2 decades but something inside them makes them confess and go through the pain and embarrasmment but then when its all over they disapear and never come back. I really doubt that this is a unintended or a mere coincidance.

    (Good article though)

  • Pingback: Diff’rent strokes: Excommunication « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  • steve w

    A thought that kinda links in with this

    If a member is ex’d it is like they had never been baptised right?

    Also there is something in the scriptures that basically says “it would be better if ye had not known me at all” (paraphrased) for those that had “joined the fold” and “left”

    what about those that had been ex’d then
    Could it be maybe that they had never had a real testimony – could it be that they thought they did but it was never a full feldged testimony of their own?
    would they have done anything to be ex’d if they had have had that beforehand?

    just speculation but worth a thought

  • http://backandthen.wordpress.com Gwennaëlle

    Being excommunicated does not always have to do with your testimony. In my case and in a few cases I know of, it has to do with dealing with some things that should have never happened.
    Saying that we have been excommunicated because our testimony was not strong enough is directly taken from the cult like teachings I got in the church when I grew up. Sorry to put it this way, I wish I had enough vocabulary and were educated enough to lighten my words so they don’t sound too harsh but I don’t and I needed to say this.

  • Leaving out to protect privacy of the people I will referiance

    My wife and I went to a disciplinary council for a friend, she was told she could have someone with her, and my wife was that someone.
    In the proceedings, everything was done with kindness, and with the desire to help, to heal, to bring her closer to her Savior…
    While it is sad to contemplate her excomunication she agree’d she needed to begin anew with a clean slate. And the Bishop and councilors etc in the council were all in tears, and bore their testimonies and gave her allot of their hearts. And hugged her each one of them before they left.

    My feelings are, that to have sinned and feel trapped by those sins, is worse then to give them up in repentance then to live without forgiveness.

    My own personal journey I joined the church when I was 19… fell love with a non member about 8 months later… my immature belief was easily misguided and it was as if I worshiped her, I did not break commandments for several years, but eventually my infatuation with her out weighed my testimony..

    Some time later, I asked God for confirmation of the truth of the church as I was wanting to get religion back, and felt it disingenuous to not ask God about the one I was officially a member of before going else where, and receiving that (yes again I knew this is His church), I went to the bishop and back to church… The bishop after I repented of my sins both word wisdom and moral, he asked me about my knowledge, if I had been to the temple, (I had only for baptisms was not yet endowed) and he told me for now to not take the sacrament and to read “The Miracle of Forgiveness”… some time later think like two weeks, I went to the Bishop and said, I do not care what it take Excommunicate me or what ever is needed, I have to begin to get right with the lord…

    Was I excomunicated, no… and as I look back now over 19 years have passed, I realize if it had been needed I was ready, and the being willing to do all the Lord required to make my life right was the change that was needed…

    Excomunication is the opportunity for a clean slate… while not something we should want, when it is needed, it is a blessing…

    Be well, be believing and continue to fight the Good Fight, enduring to the end is our greatest hope…

  • Pingback: Zelophehad’s Daughters | My Nacle Notebook 2008: Funny comments

  • http://www.melfast.com wholesale fasteners

    Hi,

    Its nice post guys…..

    Its so nice.