Beliefs Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Mormon bloggers and podcasters emphasize there is “room for all” in the LD …

solidarityOver the weekend I was part of drafting a statement that has been signed by more than five dozen Mormon bloggers, writers, and podcasters, emphasizing our concerns over the threatened excommunications of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly and our hopes for a more creative, constructive solution.

I am hopeful that our voices will be heard. We are encouraged by Saturday’s news that John Dehlin’s stake president has postponed his disciplinary council to the end of the month and expressed a “desire for de-escalation.” — JKR

Room for All in this Church

We face a difficult and pivotal moment in Mormonism as LDS leaders and church members wrestle more openly with complicated aspects of our faith, its doctrine, and its history—often in spaces afforded by the Internet. In light of possible disciplinary action against prominent voices among us, we the undersigned Mormon bloggers and podcasters affirm the value of the conversations that take place in the LDS “Bloggernacle” and express our hopes for greater understanding and compassion from all of us involved in current tensions.

May we all remember, as scripture teaches, the intricate intertwining of mercy and justice. May we all follow the admonition to seek understanding before judgment, even as we address matters that can be difficult to talk about.

Scripture and tradition teach us that excommunication is one way of maintaining the boundaries of a religious community. But we believe that excommunication is not the best way to address conflict over doctrine, policy, or tradition. We ask our leaders to consider other ways of maintaining boundaries, strengthening Church members, and encouraging them to grow spiritually within Mormonism’s large and embracing community without the fear and despair the threat of excommunication sows not only in those threatened but in their families, friends, and those who share similar concerns about LDS Church doctrine or history—even those who do so silently. We are deeply encouraged by the recent news about the prospect of de-escalation in at least one of the current cases and pray for positive steps towards reconciliation.

The issues in Mormon doctrine, history, and practice highlighted by those facing church discipline are much larger than any one individual. It is not only unavoidable that these issues will continue to be discussed; such discussion is good for the health of our religious community and faithful to the truth-seeking spirit of the Latter-day Saint Restoration. As bloggers, podcasters, and passionate contributors to good, healthy online discussion, we affirm our commitment to continue speaking openly and publicly, and encouraging others to do so as well. We will continue to use online spaces to grow in knowledge and faith, to attempt to present and see many sides of each issue, and to reach out to those expressing pain, heartache, and loneliness. It is our experience that these conversations can bear good fruit as Latter-day Saints mourn with those who mourn and reflect on, deepen, and renew their faith.

We are grateful for our membership in this Church and for the unique opportunities the Internet has provided us to share our Mormon experiences, questions, and hopes. We pray that a spirit of clemency will guide the words and actions of everyone—especially those who bear the heavy responsibility of ecclesiastical discipline of Church members—and that the words of President Uchtdorf will hold sway: “Regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.”

Signed:

  • Dan Wotherspoon, Mormon Matters podcast
  • Jana Riess, Religion News Service
  • Natasha Helfer Parker, The Mormon Therapist blog
  • Paul Barker, Rational Faiths blog and podcast
  • Michael Barker, Rational Faiths blog and podcast
  • Mark Crego, A Thoughtful Faith Support Group (Facebook)
  • Lisa Butterworth, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • Joanna Brooks, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • Gina Colvin, KiwiMormon blog
  • Lindsay Park, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • Jared Anderson, Mormon Sunday School podcast
  • Daniel Parkinson, No More Strangers blog
  • Bill McGee, Sunstone
  • Mary Ellen Robertson, Sunstone
  • Stephen Carter, Sunstone
  • Michael Stevens, Sunstone
  • Chelsea Shields Strayer, LDS WAVE
  • Tresa Edmunds, LDS WAVE
  • Chelsea Robarge Fife, Mormon Feminist Cooperative
  • Kalani Tonga Tukaufu, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • David Landrith, Mormon Mentality
  • Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, Mormon Matters podcast
  • Jerilyn Hassell Pool, Rational Faiths blog
  • Spencer Lake, Clean Cut blog
  • Brittany Morin-Mezzadri, TheLadyMo blog
  • Katie Langston, Feminist Mormon Housewives blog
  • Hannah Wheelwright, Young Mormon Feminists blog
  • Erin Moore, Young Mormon Feminists blog
  • Kimberly Lewis, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • Nikki Hunter, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • Nancy Ross, Nickel on the ‘Nacle blog
  • Mark Brown, The Mormon Hub (Facebook)
  • Alicia Jones, LDS Left (Facebook)
  • Elise Villescaz, LDS Left (Facebook)
  • Emily Summerhays, Feminist Mormon Housewives
  • Mindy Farmer, The Inquisitive Mom blog
  • Jeff Krey, A Thoughtful Faith Support Group (Facebook)
  • Lori Burkman, Rational Faiths blog
  • Laura Compton, Mormons for Marriage
  • Alison Moore Smith, Mormon Momma blog
  • Heather Olsen Beal, Doves and Serpents blog
  • Brent Beal, Doves and Serpents blog
  • Ed Snow, Doves and Serpents blog
  • Erin Hill, Doves and Serpents blog
  • Meghan Raynes, Exponent blog
  • Aimee Hickman, Exponent blog
  • Rachel Hunt, Exponent blog
  • Liz Johnson, Exponent blog
  • Libby Potter Boss, Exponent blog
  • Heather Moore-Farley, Exponent blog
  • April Young Bennett, Exponent blog
  • Deborah Farmer Kris, Exponent blog
  • Jessica Oberan Steed, Exponent blog
  • Carolyn Kline, Exponent blog
  • April Carlson, Exponent blog
  • Sariah Anne Kell, Exponent blog
  • Chelsea Sue, Exponent blog
  • Emily Clyde Curtis, Exponent blog
  • Emily Updegraff, Exponent blog
  • Dayna Patterson, Doves and Serpents blog
  • Cheryl Bruno, Worlds Without End blog
  • Katie Evans, Zelophehad’s Daughters blog
  • Mike Cannon, Zelophehad’s Daughters blog
  • Kristy Benton, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Lori LeVar Pierce, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Rebecca Reid Linford, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Paula Goodfellow, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Cheryl McGuire, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Kay Gaisford, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Lorlalie Pallotta, All Are Alike Unto God blog
  • Wendy Reynolds, All Are Alike Unto God blog

 

About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church," which will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2019. She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

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