Mormons questioning teachings could get kicked out of church
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Movements are popping up within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where members who don't agree with all of the teachings can express their opposition online. But now leaders of these movements are facing excommunication.
John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, both outspoken members of the LDS Church, have received letters notifying them that they're getting disciplinary hearings and could be stripped from their church memberships.
"Some people think we're enemies of the church," Dehlin said. "We're not."
Dehlin hosts Mormon Stories, a podcast out of Utah which challenges many traditional LDS beliefs, especially those he says discriminate against women and racial and sexual minorities.
Kelly is the founder of Ordain Women, a national movement that's pushing to allow for women to be ordained into priesthood.
Both Dehlin and Kelly encourage other LDS members with questions about their faith to speak out online.
"I've always been respectful and positive," Kelly said. "The only sin I'm guilty of is telling the truth."
Natasha Helfer Parker, a member of Mormon Stories' Board of Directors says the church coming against these online movements is troubling.
"Those of us who interact on the internet with these ideas of asking thoughtful questions and looking at issues of our doctrine and church and history, we're just asking for a safe place to do that," Helfer Parker said. "We really believe that type of discussion and dialogue will further the progress of missions of the church overall."
Both Dehlin and Kelly's cases are being examined by councils in their home congregations, his in Logan, Utah and hers in Washington D.C.
KBOI reached out to local LDS leaders in Boise to get their take, but a spokesman told us that they couldn't comment and directed us to a statement on the church's main website. It reads in part:
"Sometimes members' actions contradict church doctrine and lead others astray. While uncommon, some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs."
Both Kelly and Dehlin say they do not want to leave the LDS faith. Kelly says she will appeal if the church decides to strip her of her membership.