In a return to the basics – Basic Intimidation and Coercion – the LDS Church has dropped the hammer on a couple of known troublemakers recently. Dissidents – bent on the task of enlightening their fellow believers – and possible bring about what they had hoped could be, positive changes.
Of course, once ecclesiastical sanctions have been allowed to raise their ugly heads, the accused (Or is it the confused, the misused, or the easily abused ?) have to face a moral dilemma – if not an actual crisis of faith – themselves.
Can they persist in defending their differences of opinion? Or, when push comes to shove, which are they prepared to do: Retain membership in good standing, vs the probability of excommunication? Or deny the honesty of their own convictions. Verses being prepared to defy – and being denied religious rites, and the right to fellowship, with members of their former Church. And where does the true morality lie ?
We have two excellent examples of dealing with this type of religious coercion, before us: Popular, and widely known podcaster of “Mormon Stories” and its website – Mormon critic John Dehlin has indicated he has no intention of renouncing either his views, or his activities, to meet Church demands. Stating that he has already moved beyond the more questionable aspects of Mormonism, in both his personal life, and his views on religion. And he remains steadfast, in his support of same sex marriage, and both the organization – and the ideals – of Ordain Women.
Former board member of Ordain Women, April Young Bennett, on the other hand, has issued a statement – published in The Exponent – announcing her resignation from that organization. Along with the removal of some 10 articles, of hers – deemed critical of the Mormon Church or its leaders. Explaining, as best she could, how the personal need to remain a member in good standing – in order to retain a valid Temple Recommend – was leveraged against her, by her new Stake President. And that it precludes any further resistance. (Though, somehow, I don’t think Ms Bennett really quite gets it – even now.)
She has my sympathy, however – if not my highest regard. These are, after all, personal matters of conscience.