Mormon blogger faces excommunication over temples, not Romney

SALT LAKE CITY — A Mormon blogger who has written critical web essays about Mormon history, temple worship and contemporary … Continued

SALT LAKE CITY — A Mormon blogger who has written critical web essays about Mormon history, temple worship and contemporary issues — including about GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — is facing church discipline for “apostasy.”

Initially, the Florida blogger, David Twede, managing editor of mormonthink.com, told news media Friday (Sept. 21) that the threatened church action was due to his comments about Romney. Later that day, he denied any political link. Then, on Saturday, he returned to “a feeling in (his) gut” that his Romney remarks triggered the possible discipline.

Twede did get a letter from his Mormon leaders in Orlando, summoning him to a disciplinary council Sept. 30 for “apostasy,” which they attributed to Twede’s writings.

In recent days, the blogger has blasted Romney as part of his critique of Mormonism, its beliefs about the nature of God and its temple ceremonies.

But, Twede told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, his LDS leaders never brought up Romney, a Mormon, in their exchange with him. Though not supporting the Republican nominee, Twede apologized to Romney, saying, “I didn’t mean for (the story) to go this way.”

Indeed, plenty of Mormons across the country are critical of Romney — in public and often — but none has been threatened with any church sanction.

“It is patently false for someone to suggest they face church discipline for having questions or for expressing a political view,” Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement. “The church is an advocate of individual choice. It is a core tenet of our faith.”

Purdy went on to say that “church discipline becomes necessary only in those rare occasions when an individual’s actions cannot be ignored while they claim to be in good standing with the church. Every organization, whether religious or secular, must be able to define where its boundaries begin and end.”

There is at least one area LDS leaders maintain should be off-limits — details about temple worship. Writing about it in general, academic terms is largely acceptable, but publicly describing specific sacred ceremonies is seen as deeply offensive.

Mormonthink did have an entire section discussing LDS temple ceremonies and their connection to Masonic rites, with links to photos and text of LDS temple rituals.

“They (his local LDS leaders) were upset by the fact that I was discussing the temple, which is connected to Mitt Romney in my article,” Twede told The Daily Beast. “I revealed things about the temple, and secrecy, and other things that they just don’t want anyone to talk about.”

Purdy declined to comment on Twede’s individual situation.

“Church disciplinary matters are confidential,” he said. “While some may want to make their version of an issue public, the church will not discuss the private lives of individuals. To do so would be a betrayal of confidences and would affect others besides the person facing discipline.”

(Peggy Fletcher Stack writes for The Salt Lake Tribune.)

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  • HumpheryPloughjogger

    Criticize a politician who happens to be a member of your faith — not a reason for excommunication;

    Write about your personal difficulties in following the tenets of your faith– not a reason for excommunication;

    Express opinions different than most members of your faith — not a reason for excommunication;

    Try to convince other members of you faith that its core teachings are false — now THAT’S a reason for excommunication.

  • RickH4

    Well said

  • Tornogal

    Humphery,

    Well, hardly. Have you seen the website he participated in? It was anything but “try[ing] to convince other members of [his] faith that its core teachings are false.” It presents two views on all issues and makes no declaration as to which is true in the site publishers’ views.

    The fact is, Mormon leadership will discipline someone for publishing demonstrable facts. Look up “September Six.”

    Also look up “Lying for the Lord.”

    “Some things that are true are not very useful.” [Mormon Apostle Boyd Packer]

    “My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Savior. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts.” [Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks]

    “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not.” [Mormon Apostle Boyd Packer]