Prominent Mormon activist John Dehlin excommunicated over ‘apostasy’
A prominent Mormon activist who has gone against the church by supporting same-sex marriage and questioning doctrine has been excommunicated by a council that found he publicly doubted the faith’s core principles, the activist said on Tuesday.
A council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints returned the decision against John Dehlin, founder of the Mormon Stories website and podcast, after meeting on Sunday to decide his case, he told Salt Lake radio station KUER.
Dehlin told the station he received a letter on Monday from church officials outlining their decision in a process he described as “troubling and sad.”
“It basically says that I’ve been excommunicated,” Dehlin told KUER, adding the church council faulted him for expressing doubts about orthodox teachings of the faith.
“I don’t believe that my Mormonism can be taken from me by a process like this. Mormonism is bigger than the LDS church.”
Dehlin has previously said the church found fault with his positions on same-sex marriage, the ordination of women and for doubting key elements of orthodox Mormon theology.
Eric Dawkins, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confirmed in a statement that Dehlin was excommunicated by local leaders of the faith for publicly expressing doubts about central tenets of the church.
Dehlin’s struggles with the church triggered one of its most high-profile disciplinary actions, stemming from his role as the outspoken founder of “Mormon Stories,” an online discussion forum and podcast that has run for 10 years.
In another prominent instance of church discipline, feminist Kate Kelly, the founder of the website Ordain Women, was excommunicated last June, after church leaders found she violated its “laws and order.”
(Reporting by Peg McEntee, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andre Grenon)