Only last week did I discover, through my parents, that I was secretly excommunicated in October for challenging the accepted dogma of Mormonism. The reason for being cast out of the Church is what they call Apostacy. Or “open, public opposition to the Church.” Basicly because I dared to challenge their authority and speak the truth.
I’m often asked, “why would anyone want to stay in an organisation they neither believe in, nor where they are welcome?”
Let me be clear, once I realised the Mormon Church was founded on the lies told by the convicted con-man, charlatan, adulterous paedophile Joseph Smith, I resigned as bishop and wanted to immediately resign my membership of this fraudulent Corporation masquerading as a religion.
I pleaded to stay as a ‘member of record’ initially for the sake of my extended family, many of whom are still believing members, but also to campaign to shine a spotlight on the hateful, regressive and medieval practice of excommunication.
I never stayed a Mormon for my own sake.
It was to shine a light on the unkind and deceptive tactics of the Church.
Their arrogance blinds them to their own deceipt and brutality.
When John Dehlin was excommunicated for standing up for the LGBTQ community my friend Ty Lundell very eloquently criticised the Church for what it did to him:
Stake presidents consider excommunication as a way of protecting the Church. Is it good for the church to excommunicate its thinkers, doers, and people brave enough to ask difficult questions and point out obvious deficiencies?
Putting the fear of eternal separation from God and family into its members isn’t right, and it reveals just how much fear and shame the Church is harboring. Putting this fear, the fear of having no love in the afterlife, into its members is not the solution for people who shine a spotlight on the Church’s dirty parts and ask, “what is this?”
Any institution that expells people who shine a light into the dark places of that institution and ask uncomfortable questions has a dangerous problem.
The Church is not coming from a place of love, but of fear and shame.
The Church has no love, because they have no faith in open dialogue. Only faith in controlling the message.
~ Ty Lundell
I believe in the ideas put forward by free-speech advocate Maajid Nawaz:
The right to heresy, to blasphemy, and to speak against prevalent dogma is as sacred and divine as any act of prayer.
If our hard earned liberty, our desire to be irreverent of the old and to question the new, can be reduced to one, basic and indispensable right: it must be the right to free speech.
Our freedom to speak represents our freedom to think, our freedom to think our ability to create, innovate and progress.
~ Maajid Nawaz
My reasons for standing up against excommunication are:
1. It is wrong in principle to try to expunge a person’s culture
2. It is wrong to try to silence free-speech
3. It is wrong to use fear to keep members under control
4. It is wrong to publicly shame someone for speaking openly about their different beliefs, or challenging the accepted dogma
5. It’s wrong for a wealthy Corporation to masquerade as a Church, getting charitable status & tax benefits and not be accountable under the law
6. It’s wrong to seek revenge against me for being named as a witness in a criminal case of alleged corporate fraud.
I believe that as caring secular societies we should fight against any organisation which enforces cultural and religious shaming.
We should stand up in defence of the most vulnerable in society including those who may question the prevailing dogma within their group identity.
As Maajid Nawaz says,
we should unhesitatingly support the dissenting individual over the group, the heretic over the orthodox, innovation over stagnation and free speech over offence.
Or, as John Maynard Keynes would say, to “appear unorthodox, troublesome, dangerous, disobedient to them that begat us”.
No idea is above scrutiny. No people are beneath dignity.
Taking the easy route by condemning the radical for causing unnecessary trouble is overwhelmingly tempting, and incredibly lazy.
~ Maajid Nawaz
I’m hoping my actions give people hope and courage as they deal with the feelings of isolation when their religious beliefs change and they are shunned by their own culture or religious community.
We must always oppose the tendency of religions to assume they have an entitlement to control and order and organise our lives according to their peculiar norms and traditions.
The LDS Church should be ashamed of the way it discriminates against those who think differently, of those who are unafraid to ask important questions and those who shine a light on its inadequacies and failings.
If we behave similarly we are colluding.
As Daniel Goleman says in his book ‘Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception’ –
The dynamic of information flow within and among us points to a particularly human malady: to avoid anxiety, we close
off crucial portions of awareness, creating blind spots (lacunas). That diagnosis applies both to self-deceptions and shared illusions.
Questions that can’t – or won’t – be asked are a sure sign of a ‘lacuna’. The creation of blind spots is a key tool of repressive regimes, allowing them to obliterate information that threatens their official line. In doing so they define one frame for events as valid, any others as subversive and still other events are beyond the permissible bounds for attention.
Frames create social reality by directing attention toward the business at hand and away from the irrelevant; what is out of frame does not exist, for the moment. For the most part, this selective attention is useful, but the capacity to keep information out of frame can fall prey to a collusion that buys social coziness at the expense of important truths. These collusions create lacunas, warping social reality to suppress unpleasant information.
The truth is replaced by silence, and the silence is a lie!