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Pro-LGBT Mormon Podcaster Excommunicated

Pro-LGBT Mormon Podcaster Excommunicated


LDS officials say John Dehlin of Mormon Stories is getting the boot because of "apostasy," not his support for marriage equality and women's ordination.

A Mormon podcaster who supports LGBT people and female clergy has been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church).

Mormon Storiespodcast host and marriage equality supporter John Dehlin, who reportedly refused to unpublish podcasts that were critical of the church, faced charges of apostasy (abandonment/desertion of principles or beliefs). The Salt Lake Tribune reports that an LDS disciplinary board reached a unanimous decision to expel Dehlin following a hearing that took place on Sunday.

The conflict between Dehlin and church leadership has been brewing for some months; Dehlin wrote in July that he thought he was "being considered for disciplinary action" because of his website and podcast, his pro-LGBT values, and his support for female clergy. Last June the church excommunicated Kate Kelly, a human rights lawyer who advocated for women's ordination.

However, the reasons cited for Dehlin's expulsion concern some of his theological beliefs, not his values regarding marriage equality and the ordination of women. A letter written by a regional LDS leader named Bryan King, for instance, told Dehlin that he was being excommunicated "because of your categorical statements opposing the doctrines of the church, and their wide dissemination via your Internet presence, which has led others away from the church."

The Mormon Church released a statement disputing the charge that Dehlin got the boot for disagreeing about the church on matters such as marriage, the Tribune reported.

"Attempts have been made to create the impression that the disciplinary council ... which has resulted in a loss of church membership or excommunication of Mr. Dehlin arose largely because of his views on same-sex marriage and priesthood ordination for women. Although his stated positions on those subjects are not consistent with the church's teachings, they were not cited in the local leader's letter," the statement said.

A graduate student at Utah State University, Dehlin was recently in the news for his part in a study on "same-sex attracted" Mormons in mixed-orientation marriages (i.e., relationships like those featured in the TLC documentary My Husband's Not Gay).

The study, reported The Salt Lake Tribune, found that more than half of such mixed-orientation marriages end in divorce and that most Mormons who identify as LGBT or "same-sex attracted" ultimately leave the church.

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