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How LDS Church disciplinary councils work, change lives

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  • John Kateel Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:49 p.m.

    Wow! Living in Salt Lake City and not being Mormon ever is the best thing in world. I thank the Lord everyday that I am not subject to that arcane pressure to keep up appearances.

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    June 20, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    Re: John Kateel

    Interesting comments! Could you be more specific about " arcane pressure to keep up appearances." Thank you!

  • windsor City, Ut
    June 20, 2014 8:26 p.m.

    Thank you for this article. I really appreciate the perspective of these people who have been involved personally with disciplinary councils.

    I know of two.

    It was inspiring to see the change in a man's life following excommunication, & his eventual return. The joy it brought his family to have him want to change & want to come back to them fully was just the most wonderful thing.

    The second was when many stake members were all waiting in the area near the Stake President's office, waiting for Temple Recommend interviews to begin. One of the Stake Presidency emerged from the High Council office & asked us to all step into a room. He came in with us and closed the door & said they had been conducting a disciplinary council--& to preserve the person's privacy and anonymity, they were asking all persons in the building to remain sequestered until the subject of the council left the property. It was standing room only in that room, with many people I didn't know. But there was a feeling of respect that the Presidency was so carefully protecting the person's identity & privacy.

    Thank you again for a very enlightening article.

  • byufootballrocks Saratoga Springs, UT
    June 20, 2014 8:34 p.m.

    Disciplinary councils are one of the great evidences that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. The miracles that occur there remind us all of how loved we are by the Lord and how much he wants us to return to Him. Christlike love prevails in these councils, as anyone who has ever served on one knows.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    June 20, 2014 8:40 p.m.

    "I thank the Lord everyday that I am not..."

    For the Lord this must be like one of us getting a note everyday from a wayward child: "Thankful not to be with you and happy I'm not coming back."

    :(

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:50 p.m.

    Kudo's to the DN for printing this article! Because of the LDS church's strict and total adhearance to confidentiality, respect and fellowship, very little is known about Church disciplinary councils, the only way they become public is if it is discussed by the individual for who the council was held!

    In the past fourty years I have sat in and participated in many councils, it could be twenty or thirty, I never found it necessary to keep count. I cannot recall a minute of rancor or animosity during any of these procedings, as others have stated only love, concern and compassion prevail!

  • Chris from Rose Park Hartford, CT
    June 20, 2014 10:44 p.m.

    I too was uplifted by hearing of these personal accounts. I have been around many local church leaders and have witnessed how loving they are to those in their stewardship.

  • Xbalanque DC, VA
    June 20, 2014 11:07 p.m.

    Amen, amen, amen to this article!

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    June 20, 2014 11:20 p.m.

    @ Red Corvette these men are called of God, do you know more than Christ? He only does what is in the best interest of his children, For the sake of the transgressor sometimes church discipline is necessary, It is righteous judgment by those called to administer what is best for God's children. Christ gave his servants the right to sit on council over people's membership.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:52 p.m.

    The offer of 'highway' in 'my way or highway

  • 2close2call Los Angeles, CA
    June 21, 2014 12:04 a.m.

    Sorry, nothing uplifting here! It is one thing to discipline somebody for cheating on his wife. It is quite another to excommunicate someone for fighting against banning blacks from the priesthood and temple as what happened to Byron Marchant many years ago!

  • Like unto Job Ogden, UT
    June 21, 2014 12:46 a.m.

    as a young adult i had positive experience also which stregthened me spiritually. This is The Lord Jesus Christs Church, I felt love, no personal judgement and great concern.

  • John Kateel Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2014 1:07 a.m.

    So what would draw a non Mormon like myself to to the beautiful city of Salt Lake? In a nutshell, the fascinating anthropology of a most peculiar sect of people. I was fascinated by Utah after reading Mark Twain's " Roughing It" back in 1998. Much of the idiosyncracies that he chronicled back in 1872 still exist today! In this day and age I can read the local paper owned by a church that publishes church minutae such as internal disciplinary procedures as if it were actual news! Can you imagine if the Deseret News were owned by the Hare Krishnas and Krishna Consciousness stuff was intertwined with the hard news? It is just so bizarre. My folks are from India. The disciplinary procedures described in this article seem congruent with the procedures that rural village tribal leaders in Bihar would use to maintain rigid caste discipline. No marrying lower caste girls, no questioning the caste system, etc. Like Mormons, they are the kindest and sweetest people, these rural agrarian villagers. Bless their hearts. It just seems like, once you are trapped in this system their is no escape except to disown your family and move to Calcutta or LA.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 21, 2014 2:57 a.m.

    I have sat in disciplinary councils. The principles may be good, but the decision to hold a council and the way the proceeding is steered sometimes depend too much on the personality, experience, and personal feelings of the key leader. I have seen exactly the same cases handled in very different ways. Besides the examples given in the article, there are also many examples of sad outcomes.

    Moreover, in high profile cases which are not dealing with "immorality" but with viewpoints and strategies, such as with John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, too many people, emotions, and potential consequences are involved to handle these cases appropriately at this time. If love is the guiding principle, it would be good to consider such high profile cases in the larger perspective, for the good of the whole church. We need de-escalation, time to let rumors and emotions subside, and more dialogue. Perhaps then, "pure love" can help us all.

  • Clarifying Facts Lehi, UT
    June 21, 2014 5:18 a.m.

    I believe there are certainly many "disciplinary councils" where the Spirit is there, and the process blesses the lives of those involved. It does not follow, however, that all disciplinary councils are acting as God would. When someone knows that something is amiss in their life, and they know that they have done something wrong, and they're searching for healing, then a disciplinary council will be full of loving men trying to help someone "come to themselves." It's an entirely different story when someone truly feels like they're doing what's right, but the council is there to tell them they're doing what's wrong, and then the council disciplines them for not agreeing, telling them that once they've humbled themselves, they'll be back in the good graces of God. In such a situation, the Church is telling someone that they know better than a person's own conscience, and they're not respecting a person's ability to learn to trust their own promptings, which is vital. That is not going to be a very uplifting experience.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    June 21, 2014 6:55 a.m.

    @ red corvette,

    You have to read the whole scripture, you cannot just pick out a couple of words. Read and know what is going on and then comprehend the why it was said.

  • Left Field Longmont, Colorado
    June 21, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    This article gives you a nice glimpse into the world of church discipline, but do realize that it is more of a PR piece than a news story that meets the full rigor of journalistic standards. For example, you only hear from members approaching the disciplinary council who are throwing themselves on the mercy of the court. That's fine for what it is, and I do think the article accurately describes their feelings about church discipline, but what about those who are called to a disciplinary council under different circumstances? Many, for a variety of reasons, are not happy about the "invitation" to attend a church discipline council or they feel that the process failed them somehow. Why are not their perspectives brought in to flesh out the full spectrum of experience and emotions that church discipline entails? Lacking that, this article more properly belongs in a church magazine rather than a newspaper...even a church owned one.

  • Jerseyblue middletown, NJ
    June 21, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    I have participated in about half a dozen disciplinary councils and after each one I am so very impressed by the love and concern that is expressed for those involved. I really think it is a misnomer to call them disciplinary councils. There has never been anything but the utmost respect and desire to help those that want to return to be numbered among the Lord's flock in the councils that I hasve participated in. I'm sorry that some who have commented here don't understand how they work and as a result have made negative comments. You are entitled to beleive what you will, I beleive we fought a war to give you that right, as wrong as you may be.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    June 21, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    I'm grateful for the emphasis on prayer and receiving divine inspiration as an integral part of the process. Surely we don't know as much as Christ and need His input in these matters.

  • Rocky1782 Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    I am beginning to feel the LDS church eaders are trying to hard to protect their decisions and actions by explaininng everything to everyone. I am not sure that as a non-mormon it is of any importance to me or any other non-mormon.

  • Betcha Waltham, MA
    June 21, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    I am always so surprised when people who think they know anything about something they know nothing about and they try and talk about it,,, this is a beautiful article, and I know that the church keeps theses things very confidential. I wish people would stop judging the church when they themselves know nothing about it. Fine, if your not a member and you don't want to be, keep it to yourself, and leave us alone... I love this church and I love the Gospel. I will leave you alone and not push my beliefs on you, and will you please do the same for me, and quite trying to push you lack of beliefs on me...

  • Lolly Lehi, UT
    June 21, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    For the benefit of Red Corvette.

    Christ did say not to judge but it was based on one person judging another, in public,and discussing it with others which is judging. Unfortunately there are a few comments today which lack knowledge since they have never seen a person who is broken hearted be restored based on their own decision to seek help. The comment of Corvette and others who are criticizing is why Christ said, Judge not that ye be not judged.

  • jshelley Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    Thank you for this article. The stories in this article demonstrate how the disciplinary councils could include women. None of the scriptures indicate that only men need to conduct this work. I feel it is wrong to ask women to go to their bishops (who are all men) to confess their "sins." Women should be included in this entire process.
    I was disappointed that this article has no mention of church leaders reporting suspected crimes to the police. Unfortunately there have been instances in the LDS church where people who have sexually abused children were part of this church disciplinary process and were not brought before civil authorities. I hope that this situation has changed.

  • GoingTo100 Gilbert, AZ
    June 21, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    I have been involved in many disciplinary councils both on the ward level and on the stake level. In all cases my experience was in line with those outlined in this article. Great article! Thanks for the thorough investigating and forthright reporting.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    June 21, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    @Red Corvette--

    It seems you don't understand what the term "Make it a matter of prayer" means.

    These councils inquire of God and directly appeal to Him about what to do, and feel of His promptings. That's a very real thing--inspiration--that many in the world dismiss as imagination or deny altogether. But prayer is a very real, very common thing. Council members don't act unless they all receive the same prompting, which they do.

    When Jesus said, "Judge not," He meant to not render a final judgment about someone's potential. He also said to the woman taken in adultery to "Go, and sin no more." That's what these courts do: they do NOT pass lasting, final judgment, but help those in sin--and sin is very real--to sin no more.

    Read this article again, more carefully, more sincerely.

  • CooginIN Southern, IN
    June 21, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    John, you better be careful about saying "ever"! :)

  • Alison 7 Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    Thank you for these sweet stories. Red Corvette, I believe the whole idea is not to judge, but to guide and serve the people who are struggling. And, yes, that is what Christ would do. That is what the article is about, and that has been what I have seen time and time again with people involved at both ends of the "disciplinary" process. (There has to be a better term for that!)

  • ryfire67 Syracuse, UT
    June 21, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    I have struggled with sin my whole life. The first time I repented to my bishop in my twenties, I was told by him that "Certain people are meant for the Celestial Kingdom and I was not one of them." The next time in my thirties, I was excommunicated for the same sin (fornication) after being newly married and wanting to come back to church. I did everything they asked of me for 18 months, attended church, paid tithing through my wife's name, gave myself to Christ to change me and at the end I asked to be re-baptized and my stake president asked me all the standard morality questions, I answered them truthfully with a clear conscious telling him how good I was doing, my marriage was awesome and we were doing great. He looked at me and said, "frankly I don't believe you." I was shocked and asked him why? He stated, "I have never met anyone who has had as many sexual partners as you that has been able to change. I will allow your baptism but I am not coming to it since I can't support someone I don't think will change."

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    June 21, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    A comment was made; citing scripture, about not judging. A key element is missing from that passage - that we not judge unrighteously. We cannot escape judgement on a daily basis - what do we wear, what products do we purchase, who do we befriend?

    What the Savior expects of his leaders who must sit on these councils as described, is to make decisions that will bless lives and not exact revenge. For the most part, I think they do very well - all things considered.

    As for the 'pressures' of being a church member - from personal experience I can say that such pressures are inventions of our own minds. It is human nature to constantly evaluate ourselves and often to determine that we come up short. We are convinced that every other church member is virtually perfect and we sometimes allow ourselves to become bitter at the very thought. From Genesis we remember the council to Cain 'If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted.' I'm trying to do well, and hopefully will one day do better.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 21, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    @Wilf 55

    Excellent comment. I too have witnessed many situations in the church that were handled differently depending on the personalities the bishops/stake presidents involved. Nobody is perfect, so in making judgements about what lies in the hearts of others (which is inherently what a disciplinary council is doing) the utmost care and restraint should be used.

  • Don't want to be known. Florissant, MO
    June 21, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    I was excommunicated for nine months for fornication, it was not a pattern. I was an endowed female. some people really questioned if this was the right thing. I could have been angry or bitter, but I humbled myself and really grew. The first and foremost thing in my life is the Gospel and my love for my Father in Heaven. This experience refined and helped my spirit. I had moved to another ward and instantly that Bishop got things going to get me re-baptized. Going through all that really helped me for when my daughter left the Church not long after, and John Kateel, I didn't disown her or look down on her. I learned more of my Father in Heavens love for me by loving her no matter what. I am a better person for having gone through that, most bishops would not have exd me, but I have been greatly blessed in the last 12 years, the Lord put me on a path for those blessings. I choose to sin, but I also choose to repent and move forward.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    @higv
    "these men are called of God, do you know more than Christ? "

    Remember, someone who doesn't believe these men are called of God doesn't have to believe they know more than Christ.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    The company I work for has clear policies and procedures regarding employee discipline (laid out in our company handbook) for all to see. So why do we have to wait for an article from the DN (presenting favorable testimonials) to get a glimpse into the Church's policies and procedures regarding discipline? Why isn't the Handbook of Instructions available to all members for viewing?

  • Lavy Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    I am a convert to the church and I totally admire the church council system. It is really so much more complete and helpful than our earthly justice system. No system is perfect but this is as good as it gets. It goes hand-in-hand with the LDS concepts of accountability and responsibility.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    A person's "worthiness" should be between them and their god. Nobody else should be involved at all.

  • Sara Marie OREM, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    To Scott1: Anyone who has attended rehab programs is invited to refer to themselves as an addict for the rest of their lives, in recognition of the possibility that they will relapse and they always need to be on guard. The high councilman who said, "I'm an addict" is probably saying, I used to have the same problem as you, years ago, and I've recovered, and I'm offering to be your sponsor and help you through the recovery process.
    It's a nice gesture. And it does not indicate that the high councilman is unworthy to hold his current position.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    It is evident that not all "disciplinary councils" are positive experiences with admirable outcomes. To be fair, this article should have presented cases on both sides.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    June 21, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    Looks like we have another apology piece designed to take the heat off the church for the coordinated attack against questions by the members. This is so disingenuous because what is not stated but what is clearly the intent of the article is to infer that there are moral transgressions on the part of those called in for a "court of love". I don't believe that is the case with John and Kate. Clearly, all the church general leadership is not in agreement with where this adventure is headed. Someone needs to do some "correcting" at a higher level. Knowing how church leadership works there is ample opportunity for one of the 12 to give suggestions to underlings and the other 11 know nothing about it until the news breaks.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    June 21, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    Scott1; I will surmise on this if you like, but realize, it is only conjecture: Many years ago, I worked with a young man who told me he was an alcoholic (addicted). As I got to know him we had long conversations about what he meant about being addicted and how he came to be so. In one of our conversation, he mentioned he had been clean and sober for more than 10 years. He also told me that he felt that if he were to take even one drink ever again, it would kill him because he would fall off the wagon and most likely drink himself to death. He was so adamant about alcohol that he wouldn't even use cold medicine or mouth wash that contained any alcohol. Now, I'm not saying I know the mind of the member of the council that showed up on this brother's porch, only that this is a possibility. What I look at in this is how the man worked on the temptations that came his way.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    June 21, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    To:
    Red Corvette, SACRAMENTO, CA - I am not a member of the LDS faith nor pretend to know of their specific doctrine. However, I have studied the Bible and teachings of Christ to know that Christ did not excuse sin in the least bit. When individuals seem to pick out select phrases from the Bible and use them to paint a broad brush stroke, remember, Christ never put up with sin. When the leaders of the specific congregations of the LDS Church are put in charge, it is their responsibility to work with individuals who have issues or problems. The rest of us are not to judge the situation as we really don't have all of the facts nor do we have the responsibility to pass judgement in these cases. Christ loved the sinner and hated the sin. He took action when needed and exercised love when needed. He didn't simply say go and do whatever you want. He was quite specific with details of what he considered correct behavior and what he didn't. Life is about making choices and taking the responsibility for the consequences. If you play in the mud, you will probably get dirty.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    June 21, 2014 12:37 p.m.

    For Christians, our Lord gave us Matthew 18:15-17 to help restore relationships when hurts and offenses have occured. Otherwise the pain, anger, and resentment can destroy much more, including physical and emotional health and instilling generational conflicts.

    As an active member for my first 35 years (in 3 different organizational presidencies), I was aware of the healing kind and the prideful refusals of offenders. The latter were sad for all involved, but as the article accurately points out, those "willing to give up ego, pride and self-will" found forgiveness and restitution a much better life.

    I, myself, had a difficult experience when I had to share my (unexpected but very real "Born-again") experience and reasons for requesting removal of my membership. I felt no anger or hurt for the new bishop, where I had not known anyone previously. I would have much preferred my friends of the previous 20 years, but I knew the Lord wanted me to experience this kind of "trial". I did get to share my full spiritual experience, sadness at having to leave the people of my long heritage, and my new-found joy at discovering the Christ of the Bible and history.

    Some decisions leave pain regardless.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    I have sat on three such councils. One was a tremendous spiritual experience where the love was palpable. In the second, one could also feel love and concern but the person was done with the Church and decided to leave. In the final one, the individual was angry coming in and bound and determined to try to turn it into a court case. As a consequence of both actions and attitude, he was excommunicated. He has now gone contrary to many of the Church's teachings and revels in living a more hedonistic life. Why do I share this? I think it is important to note that the outcomes are varied with some people feeling loved and others not so much. I will say that the attitude of the brethren with whom I served approached the situation with great love. I wonder if having women on such councils would change the dynamic. Not that women would be less loving but that they might choose to focus the process differently.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    June 21, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    1- Whereas confessed immorality can be dealt with lovingly, apostacy cannot. The Indian caste system analogy was very appropro, as is the required action from Muslim clerics or Talibani against infidels/apostates, vis-a-vis Sharia Law.

    While Matthew 18:15-17 deals with offenses in the hopes of restoration, leaving the faith is not addressed here. Hence, I understand the need for apostacy to be dealt with in a different manner and level. It is possible, however, to leave the "trial" with open doors should return ever be sought. As one comment accurately stated, the level of civility and compassion depends solely on the individuals and experience involved.

    2- Having held an ex-Mormon support group for years, we can tell you the gamut is not pretty. But there are recently many more leaders willing to just "remove membership records" when requested, as opposed to excommunication for apostacy. It is often the preferred action for those who have extensive family in the church, to lesson the blow to their loved ones upon the pain of their leaving.

    3- Now we will see how honestly church leaders deal with their leaders involved in reputation smearing and gossip. Will they be as honest with their own?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 21, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    They improve lives for sure. The sooner people can get out, the better off they will be.

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    June 21, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    Re: John Kateel 1:07 a,n,

    I continue to find your thoughts and comments interesting! Like yourself I sometimes find in interesting when the DN intertwines "Church Minutae" with the news. I feel it would be better printed in the church New section, then again it wouldn't be available to on line readers. That having been said I have to cut the news some slack on this issue as in my opinion it is being driven by statements to press by some who are claiming to have been summoned to Church Diciplinary proceedings!

    Your statement " It just seems like, once you are trapped in this system their is no escape" however is not quite correct! If you sincerely feel like you are trapped, you can always have your name expunged from the records of the church in other words leave the Church! My sister did this some 32 years ago. For the record I should also say that last Jan. at the age of 72 she was re-baptized, it was my privilege at the age of 75 to perform that Baptism.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us, I sincerely wish you well!

  • Miss Piggie Phoenix, AZ
    June 21, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    Ralph West Jordan
    "I cannot recall a minute of rancor or animosity during any of these proceedings, as others have stated only love, concern and compassion prevail!"

    Why is a bunch of men needed for the proceedings, anyway? Why not just one person... or maybe even some women?

    I don't think I would like being in a group of men and explaining all my faults and failings to them... unless each took a turn to explain theirs as well. Fair is fair.

  • joanzone42 Orem, Utah
    June 21, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    Over 46 years, I've known many members who had been given various forms of Church discipline... from probation to disfellowshipment to ex-communication. The knowledge about these disciplinary councils came from the members, themselves, and was not divulged by the Church leaders involved.

    At first, I didn't understand why one case, which seemed exactly like another, received a different ruling. But, I eventually came to understand that Heavenly Father knows each of us as individuals. So, in reality, no two cases are just the same because no two people, with varied experiences and understanding, are the same.

    But, from the beginning, it has been obvious that those disciplinary councils were conducted with love and compassion and the subjects knew that their eternal welfare was paramount in the decision.

    Finally, just a reminder that the word "discipline", as used in the scriptures, means TEACH.

  • Salt Lake Dave Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    I don't have a problem with God. The problem I have, is all the people around the world who claim that they work for him and are his mouthpiece. If god is all powerful, why does he have a mouthpiece that is a flawed human? These people are often sincere, but they do diametrically opposite things, all in his name. It makes you ponder the way we determine truth. My father was stake president. Its interesting how god punished members differently, when they put in a new Stake president.

    The church says that Excommunication is not punishment. It can be an act of love, but the church, like people, has mixed motives. Excommunication has an element of castigation and humiliation. Lets be honest. As for me, I'm still working on charity and love.

  • Igualmente Mesa, AZ
    June 21, 2014 4:15 p.m.

    The timing of this article is to bring a better understanding of the current Kate Kelly church court pending in Virginia on Sunday. She has chosen not to attend the meeting, but rather publish her defense on the tribune site. Although she asks for no action to be taken, and paints a picture of a normal upbringing in the LDS Church, she is doing more that just asking questions. In her letter she admits to her comittment to continue actions aimed at disruption of the church until it complies with her personal desires. Looks like her membership is in jeopardy at this point.

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    June 21, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    I would very much like to outline a case in which I know the process did not work as it should, but I will refrain. I guess the bottom line is that church courts are closer to closed meetings of governing boards than of legal courts, and there isn't much of an appeals process. Yes, the person can write to the First Presidency and say, "President So-and-So treated me unfairly for the following reasons...." but what are the chances of success? Church courts are seeking humility and contrition, and a person being disciplined is best advised to exhibit those qualities if his/her membership is dear.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    June 21, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    For Christians, our Lord gave us Matthew 18:15-17 to help restore relationships when hurts and offenses have occured. Otherwise the pain, anger, and resentment can destroy much more, including physical and emotional health and instilling generational conflicts.

    As an active member for my first 35 years (in 3 different organizational presidencies), I was aware of the healing kind and the prideful refusals of offenders. The latter were sad for all involved, but as the article accurately points out, those "willing to give up ego, pride and self-will" found forgiveness and restitution a much better life.

    I, myself, had a difficult experience when I had to share my (unexpected but very real "Born-again") experience and reasons for requesting removal of my membership. I felt no anger or hurt for the new bishop, where I had not known anyone previously. I would have much preferred my friends of the previous 20 years, but I knew the Lord wanted me to experience this kind of "trial". I did get to share my full spiritual experience, sadness at having to leave the people of my long heritage, and my new-found joy at discovering the Christ of the Bible and history.

    Some decisions leave pain regardless.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    June 21, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    We just discovered what we assumed had been going on for the past 28 years, following my decision to leave the church. Following a dramatic born-again response to my simple prayer in 1986, I left the church and became an active evangelical. I requested that my membership be dropped, but my requests were never fully followed and my under-age children were kept on the rolls and regularly visited without our permission for the next 5-6 years.

    After publishing local articles on LDS doctrinal changes and contradictions, the new bishop decided to excommunicate me for apostacy, sans my record removal request. Two of my own brothers have been spreading their (inaccurate) version of my personal experience with as many family members as possible, including silly and derogatory inaccuracies.

    Now let's see how local leaders handle the offenses made by their leadership in the on-going, unrepentant gossip and smearing of my reputation by my own brothers. Sadly, the LDS family are embarrassed by their gossip, even though they don't agree or understand my leaving.

    I will get back to you here on how "delicately" and compassionately my offenses are handled, vis-a-vis Matthew 18.

  • MoNoMo Fair Oaks, CA
    June 21, 2014 5:26 p.m.

    It's okay to say the hearings are strictly confidential, ........

    However, when that individual passes on "sacrament" the entire congregation knows what's going on.

    I know one former Stake President that stopped this process by threatening legal action (late 80S).

    He's still an "official member" and married his gay partner a few months ago.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    June 21, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    @Red Corvette Of course, they do not know more than Christ. But does that mean that they cannot talk to Him and He to them?

  • FanOfTheSith Vernal, UT
    June 21, 2014 7:20 p.m.

    Excellent article. Excellent job DN.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 21, 2014 7:48 p.m.

    The disciplinary councils I have been involved with have been keenly focused on the benefit of the individual. The expressions of love and concern have been very real. The decisions reached were often quite different than the preconceived notions those called to attend brought with them. Prayer brought unanimity to the various views expressed. These councils have strengthened my testimony of the truth of the church.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    June 21, 2014 8:20 p.m.

    It is quite possible that many especially those who are women say they shouldn't go to a man to reflect upon their sins. Really, do any of you understand that say this that when one kneels and prays to the Father that they are praying to a man. The Bishop is the FATHER of the Ward just as the Branch President is of the Branch. That is correct the Father of the unit. They hold priesthood keys that currently is given only to men and only those called of God to administer those keys. I've been lucky to never half to sit on a council but have come close. However, I have seen the results where some return and some do not. The choice on how one handles church discipline is up to the individual and only the individual.

    For those who say I have asked for my records to be removed it really in terms of the Father is an excommunication though the term is not used. A letter signed and dated by the individual to the Bishop is normally required. Anti-Mormon sites carry a for letter used for it.

  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    June 21, 2014 8:22 p.m.

    @alt Lake Dave:
    "If god is all powerful, why does he have a mouthpiece that is a flawed human?"

    Yes, and why does He not show up more often? He comes around maybe once in a thousand years. And once even as a burning bush. What's with that? Can you imagine your father or mine trying to teach their offspring the proper way of living, in absentia?

    No wonder we have such a plethora of religions and people supposedly speaking for Him.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    June 21, 2014 9:02 p.m.

    Several great articles available to read in today's Salt Lake Tribune concerning issue. The comments that follow are interesting, as well.
    For a bit of a different side of the story, one may want to check it out.
    We need to remember there are always two sides of every story.

  • Steven Germann Salt Lake City , UT
    June 21, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    I am so embarrassed to be apart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To oppress our members is saddening. I applaud these men and women searching and demanding equality!

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    June 21, 2014 9:51 p.m.

    Re: Miss Piggie

    The make up of a disciplinary council is laid out in the D&C and consists of the presiding presidency and 12 council members. 6 council members are chosen by drawing lots to assure the members rights and needs are protected and met and 6 are chosen to see that the Church needs are met, this is the case in a Stake Council. A Ward Council is attended by 3.

    In the numerous councils I sat in on I do not ever recall a member having to divulge any of the intimate details of their transgressions to the members of the council, this if necessary was always given during confession with the presiding authority!

    You ask the question "Why is a bunch of men needed for the proceedings, anyway? Why not just one person... or maybe even some women?" The council is presided over by one with the authority of the Priesthood and the council members must also hold the priesthood! Women the LDS Church do not hold the priesthood which you surely know!

    Now Miss Piggie May I ask you a question? Was your post written out of concern about how the Diciplinary council is conducted or Who conducts it?

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    June 21, 2014 10:01 p.m.

    @ Rocky 1782
    If this isn't important to you, why come on here and moan about it.

  • CA. reader Rocklin, CA
    June 21, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    For those of you who simply do not understand, or don't want to, there are no roving compliance patrols seeking out miscreant Mormons. Disciplinary actions are almost always initiated by the individual Church member seeking to get back in touch with principles they know to be true. Ofenttimes Church leaders are surprised to a certain degree when a member comes forth for counsel on how to regain contact with the Spirit. It is the ultimate exercise of one's agency. Think about it, if a member is not obeying the commandments knowingly and is not concerned with the Church's stand on how they live their lives, the person is not going to seek the Lord's help. What have the people stated mentioned in the article said? They cried their eyes out when discussing their actions with Church leaders. They felt true remorse for their actions. If they didn't care they wouldn't be there in the first place and they simply would feel no remorse for how they live their lives. We do not maintain rigid caste discipline, which is illegal in most countries that once openly practiced it.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    Church discipline is between the member and his/her church leaders not the ward or the news media

  • Goddess Divine Orem, UT
    June 22, 2014 12:06 a.m.

    It's nice that people shared their positive stories about church disciplinary councils. At the same time, I like to remember everyone that there are always two sides to every story. If we want to be well informed we need to know both sides; so, if someone had a bad experience with church disciplinary council, they should as well share their story for us to know. When we only hear one side of the story, we don't have all the facts and we form biased opinions about issues like this one here.

    the LDS church has the social media tools (like this website) to make this happen. If the church would allow its members to voice their concerns on sites like this one, there wouldn't be so many people posting their questions on private blogs and sites. Is is another opportunity for the church to pay attention to what members are saying and posting, and also, to do something about it.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    @Ca. reader
    " Disciplinary actions are almost always initiated by the individual Church member seeking to get back in touch with principles they know to be true. "

    That's completely false. Maybe you meant something subtler and misrepresentative like "they sinned first" or "they confessed something to the Bishop and that's what started it".

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    June 22, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @Ralph West Jordan:
    "The make up of a disciplinary council is laid out in the D&C..."

    Where?

    "I do not ever recall a member having to divulge any of the intimate details..."

    What do they say... 'I've sinned'... and let it go at that? How could you possibly respond with reasoned judgement?

    "You ask the question "Why is a bunch of men needed for the proceedings...? Why not just one person... or maybe even some women?" The council is presided over by one with the authority of the Priesthood..."

    Why is priesthood authority required? If a female is involved wouldn't it be better for all concerned for female peers to listen/provide encouragement/judgement. They know the heart of women far better than men.

    But why not just take the problem to God and let Him/Her decide? And if the sinner wants totally out, they just write a letter and it's done.

    "Now Miss Piggie May I ask you a question? Was your post written out of concern about how the Disciplinary council is conducted or Who conducts it?"

    Both.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    to John Kateel

    Agreed.

    to Ralph West Jordan

    Look around. Any Sunday morning along the Wasatch Front will do.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    re: A Scientist

    "It is evident that not all "disciplinary councils" are positive experiences with admirable outcomes. To be fair, this article should have presented cases on both sides."

    Agreed. Lets save the Rah Rah fluff pieces for articles on byu football written by Dick Harmon.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    June 22, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    @ Red Corvette - SACRAMENTO, CA - "Christ said "Judge not." Do these men know more than Christ?"

    No, that is not what Christ, in essence, said.

    Yes, He said "judge not" but what He meant was that we should never try to judge someone in terms of an "overall / this is your character in it's FINAL form" type of judgement. In other words, we should not try to judge someone and pronounce a 'final' judgement on them; "You're a bad person and you're always going to be a bad person." THAT is the kind of judgement we simply are not qualified to undertake.

    Christ said in John 5:22 that He is the final judge, not us.

    When Christ was asked to judge the woman taken in adultery He refrained from judging her at that time but that does not mean she will not be judged by Him eventually.

    We, on the other hand, though we're not supposed to try to render a "final" judgement, we must make many judgements in life: Is the neighbor kid a good influence on your child? Is the convicted sex offender 2 blocks over a wise choice to babysit your children?

    See the difference?

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    June 22, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    The LDS church is criticized for being "secretive" about what occurs in their disciplinary councils, they publish a story explaining it and what happens?

    The church is then either criticized for being too open about what happens in the councils or for supposedly 'cherry picking' certain cases.

    Oh, brother....

    I was on a Stake High Council in south Georgia and then later served as a 1st counselor in a small branch in South Korea. In those ~ 26 months I was a part of 5 or 6 disciplinary councils and in only ONE was the person excommunicated. I don't remember any names or faces and only very, very few details. I do remember, though, the love and acceptance that was shown towards every member we interviewed as we discussed their situation.

    The one person who was excommunicated was called home from his mission and after our (mutual) discussion and prayer, I found him wandering in a daze on the other side of the church building. I felt love for this young man, despite the horrible things he did, and told him so as I put my arms around him. We all did. Disciplinary councils are councils of love.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    June 22, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    To:
    Alfred, Phoenix, AZ - SO, what if God did show up and asked you what you have been doing since he explained everything through his prophets and asked you why you didn't listen? Do you really want to have that conversation or do you want to take the time to discover for yoruself where and what the truth is. Doesn't take much development or work on ones part if God showed up everytime you had a question. Maybe you need to start looking for the answers first and take some time to ask God yourself.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 22, 2014 3:50 p.m.

    Some people have no regard for covenants. Baptism is a covenant where the person being baptised commits to keep all of the commandments of Jesus Christ. There are no "crossed fingers" in a baptism. The commitment is to keep ALL of Christ's commandments. If someone who has been baptised will not or cannot keep those commandments, the responsibility for keeping those commandments MAY be removed by a Church council. Removing that responsibility will require removing some of the privileges. That should be understandable.

    Every business has rules, if an employee breaks the rules, he/she may be fired, put on probation, be given a lessor job at lower pay, or sued in court. There may be serious consequences for breaking company rules or policies. Most of us accept that, but some people think that they can make up their own rules when it come to God. Just the opposite is true. Our obligation is to humble ourselves, learn what God would have us do, and then do our best. Rebellion against the rules requires action. "Where much is given, much is expected."

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    June 22, 2014 4:08 p.m.

    @2close2call
    I did not know who Byron Marchant was so I Googled his name. I found a useful link to a relative who posted a profile on OW. For those who don't know the history, he was held a calling as a Scout leader in a poor area heavily populated by minorities. Some belonged to his troop. The Church instituted a policy requiring quorum presidencies to hold the two top leadership positions, excluding many worthy scouts in his troop from leadership. He complained up the Church hierarchy but with no success. He was warned that he might be excommunicated for his crusade. He was not despite the reported threats.

    His relative wrote, "In October of 1977, Byron raised his voice from the balcony of the Tabernacle during a conference session. He voted no, and declared that he could no longer sustain the Brethren. Shortly after, he was excommunicated." Eight months latter, President Kimball announced that all worthy male members of hold the priesthood.

    I am guessing because DC's are not public, but his mistake seems to be loudly not sustaining the general leadership at conference, not believing that blacks should hold the priesthood.

  • Connell O'Donovan Santa Cruz, CA
    June 22, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    My Bishop's Court was one of the most devastating and horrific experiences of my life. There was no holiness to it, no spirit, no love. Just lots of sadness, fear, and condemnation on the part of the bishopric. Then, because I was an Elder, I expected a court at the Stake level. However, none was held and I was summarily excommunicated without the Stake High Council trial guaranteed me by LDS canonical law found in the D&C. The 1st Counselor in the bishopric has since apologized to me for how I was treated in the Bishop's Court - after he became a non-believer.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2014 6:10 p.m.

    to Mike R

    Interesting that you used "expected" instead of "required" as Luke 12:48 does.

  • Patriot Jim West Valley City, UT
    June 22, 2014 6:48 p.m.

    A detailed search of the Standard works shows only 1 mention of excommunication - Section 134 of the D&C, which isn't even a revelation. It's a report from a Committee meeting. I have not found any place in the Scriptures where God, or Jesus, says that one person, or a group of people have the right to judge the righteousness of another person. What I do find is a commandment that we do not judge one another-- Behold what the scripture says—man shall not smite, neither shall he judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord, and vengeance is mine also, and I will repay. - Book of Mormon - Mormon 8:20. Joseph Smith was told to not join any of the churches because their doctrines were the doctrines of men. That included the doctrine of excommunication which had been practices for hundreds of years. Will someone please quote me Chapter and Verse where God or Jesus gives someone else the power to interfere with your efforts to obtain Eternal Life.

  • Cadddis Tucson, AZ
    June 22, 2014 6:49 p.m.

    I am not surprised by this positive article coming from a church owned newspaper. It is valuable to know that many have a positive experience with church disciplinary councils. I have heard in training from my stake president that the percentage of individuals that return to full fellowship after excommunication is low. I think this fact encourages bishoprics in our stake to avoid excommunication if at all possible. However, sometimes disciplinary councils are used to protect the church's name. I am curious if this Deseret News article topic was assigned by church leaders to provide a positive spin on disciplinary councils to counter the somewhat 'negative' coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune. I do not feel this coverage is objective and was likely a response to current news coverage regarding councils for Sr. Kate Kelly and Br. John Dehlin.

  • MelvinM225 Ogden, UT
    June 22, 2014 6:56 p.m.

    I am happy the people interviewed had such good outcomes in their LDS Church disciplinary courts. I wish it were the same for all. However, my personal experience was not remotely like theirs.
    A member of my family was excommunicated for sexual sins. Unfortunately, the real reasons for his actions were not determined prior to his Church court. The correct cause was mental illness. The Church leaders, once they had the sins to point to, never made any attempt to find out the whole story of what had happened. His wife was never contacted for information as to how this man had changed so quickly from a temple attending returned missionary to someone having sex with total strangers.
    I wish this were a complete aberration, but it is not. Two of my friends, later diagnosed as mentally ill, had the same experience. One of them has been subject to additional Church discipline, despite the fact she now has a formal diagnosis and is under treatment. The leadership seems to operate under the assumption that the medication available to treat mental illness actually works in a way that a person's thought patterns are made normal. This is not true.

  • CowboyPhD Sandpoint, ID
    June 22, 2014 10:13 p.m.

    Amazing! Pass the Kool-aid.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    June 23, 2014 5:15 a.m.

    @ Patriot Jim

    I am not sure you really want to hear this. But just in case others read your comments, might as well clear something up that you implied that isn't true, at least for people who believe in the Book of Mormon. It appears that your reference to the D&C means that LDS people was your audience. So Jim and others who might wonder, I actually just read about this in Mosiah. You can find evidence in the scriptures of excommunication and the rationale behind it in Mosiah Chapter 26. The entire chapter practically deals with the issue.

    Now... Jim, I am not trying to convince you that this is a right practice. I agree with you that there appears nothing Biblical that supports the practice (if you believe in the bible). If you are coming at this from a non-religious viewpoint it makes sense too that one could think "only God should have the right to judge".

    Personally, I believe that God can and has chosen to give men the duty to help people. Part of that help can and does through church discipline.

  • JohnnyGreen San Jose, CA
    June 23, 2014 7:25 a.m.

    Interesting how the church HQ says we are not part of this but they keep throwing out news reports about this.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    June 23, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    As a ward clerk, I was on several bishop's councils. I felt that the Spirit was there, but they were mostly sad affairs. In all but one case, the people involved refused to attend. Their actions were widely known, because they chose to make them so. They had no intent to change their ways, and they were excommunicated.

    In the case where the parties attended, they did not understand why their almost illegal behavior was considered sinful, and did not intend to change, so they were excommunicated. In all of these cases, the door was open for them to change, but they chose not to.

    I have also known two people who had committed egregious sins, illegal actions for which they were incarcerated, did their time, and ultimately came back to the church. I never would have known about any of that, but they both bore testimony in church of their actions (not specifics), and the path they had to follow to come back.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    June 23, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    @ Connell O'Donovan - Santa Cruz, CA - "My Bishop's Court was one of the most devastating and horrific experiences of my life. There was no holiness to it, no spirit, no love. Just lots of sadness, fear, and condemnation on the part of the bishopric. Then, because I was an Elder, I expected a court at the Stake level. However, none was held and I was summarily excommunicated without the Stake High Council trial guaranteed me by LDS canonical law found in the D&C. The 1st Counselor in the bishopric has since apologized to me for how I was treated in the Bishop's Court - after he became a non-believer."

    Yeah, I'd love to hear the other side to this story....

  • justsevenup CHEHALIS, WA
    June 23, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    A process that heals and gives hope. After 9 years serving on the High Council I have seen many miracles performed by the Saviors Atonement.Compassion, mercy abound in these spiritual proceedings. Healing is what the Savior is about. Not mentioned earlier is that the men that sit in these councils are huge benefactors of the spirit that abounds as the process unfolds and many of the tears that are shed are by the council members.

  • southmtnman Provo, UT
    June 23, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    I don't see what Church leaders hope to gain by disciplining these people. Those who "follow" them do not do so because of their authority or membership in the Church. They all just agree with the same ideas. That won't change by disciplining them. Indeed, it only confirms the suspicion that male leaders are inclined to suppress "uppity" women in the Church. That just reinforces the ideas that unite these people.

    Beyond that, however, these people have repeatedly expressed their belief in, love of, and loyalty to the Church as an institution. They willingly serve in callings if allowed. They contribute to the diversity of the faith, representing the "big tent" ideals some Church leaders have recently expressed.

    By just ignoring these groups, taking no disciplinary action, the Church and it's mainstream members lose nothing.

    What am I missing?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 23, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    @ GK Willington,

    I used the word, "expected" instead of "required" on purpose. The article was about Church discipline. When I was being interviewed to receive the Aaronic priesthood, that verse was read to me and the bishop used the word "expected" instead of "required". He told me that as a deacon, he, the bishop, would expect me to fulfil many assignments. HOW I filled those assignment was between the Lord and me. He told me that I would account to the Lord for everything "required", but that those who gave assignments would only "expect" that I do what I had promised to do.

    To my knowledge, no one has ever been "disciplined" because of failing to fulfil an assignment as "required".

    We are judged by the Lord on what we do with the knowledge given us. We are taught and assisted by those in authority to understand how to complete assignments.

    As my bishop told me, if I loved the Lord with all my heart, I would magnify each assignment by making it important to me.

  • justsevenup CHEHALIS, WA
    June 23, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    To southmtnman.....re:"What am I missing"....The point..

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 23, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    From my father (who, properly, never shared specifics), I know that Church disciplinary councils can be motivated by deep Christian love, and can be a vital part of repentance and reconciliation.

    But is it possible that not all disciplinary councils -- or the purposes for which they are used -- are created equal?

    It is one thing for a penitent to come before a disciplinary council after committing a sin of the flesh, and being pricked in his conscience to repent. It is another thing when a person is brought before a council *because* of what he perceives (rightly or wrongly) to be the dictates of his conscience. There is an element of compulsion in the latter that is not there in the former circumstance.

    Also, what message does it send when a person who acts according to his conscience -- even if he is mistaken -- is subjected to the same discipline as an adulterer, suggesting that what he has done is comparably immoral?

  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    June 23, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    @The Deuce:
    Alfred, so what if God did show up and asked you what you have been doing since he explained everything through his prophets..."

    Which prophets? Muhammad... who instructs on the proper method of subduing/mistreating women?

    "Do you really want to have that conversation or do you want to take the time to discover for yourself where and what the truth is."

    The 'truth' is different for different people.

    "Doesn't take much development or work on ones part if God showed up every time you had a question."

    Did your dad help you with spelling and math? And how about social skills? Did he counsel you on that?

    I'm just saying homosapiens would fair better if the Creator would show up more often and personally lead the way.

    "Maybe you need to start looking for the answers first and take some time to ask God yourself."

    Baptists, Muslims, Episcopalians, etc... likely do just that. And the answer to each appears different. Seems God doesn't care much. Either that or He needs a better communication medium. Perhaps phones. Or... texting. But not while driving.

  • Sparrow Surprise, AZ
    June 23, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    I'm a convert to the church as of 2005. I've read the scriptures that were quoted in this article and I don't get the connection. The first three had nothing to do with any formal church discipline. The last one had to do with obvious sins. I understand the need for repentance and some form of discipline for egregious sin/s. However, I don't understand any form of repentance for something that is not considered a sin. Disagreeing with church culture, or traditions is not a sin. (There were female prophets during the Old Testament times, which can lead one to believe that women held some form of the Priesthood. We all know the Bible isn't complete, so it is possible.) Women, at this time, do not want to hold the priesthood. So, I feel the OW, should drop their quest. Ultimately, I do not see this as a cause for action on the part of the church.

  • Sparrow Surprise, AZ
    June 23, 2014 4:33 p.m.

    @Hamath

    Mosiah 26 states they were led into sin by unbelievers. The O.W. are not sinning they are asking for change, they are asking for the women to be allowed to hold the office of the Priesthood. The women of the church, as a majority, do not want this, and therefore are not being led into wanting this change. This is not an issue of, "sin," it is an issue of these women being unable to hear or listen to the voice of the women in the church. People can are are led into sin, from people within and outside of the church. I think that the lines are getting blurred and so are the issues.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    June 23, 2014 5:48 p.m.

    @Patriot Jim re. "Will someone please quote me Chapter and Verse where God or Jesus gives someone else the power to interfere with your efforts to obtain Eternal Life."

    Matthew 16:19.

  • Disbelief Aurora, CO
    June 23, 2014 8:10 p.m.

    It will now be interesting to see which of her disciples will admit that they support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    June 23, 2014 8:17 p.m.

    @ Sparrow,

    I think you misunderstood me or at the least I was unclear. I was not commenting directly on whether anyone in O.W. was sinning. I do not want to judge them. I couldn't possibly do so fairly for several reasons. I was merely responding to Patriot Jim's statement/ (query?) about Chapter and Verse where God or Jesus gives someone...

  • Sparrow Surprise, AZ
    June 23, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    When converting to this church I found out that historically there were things that people said about this church that was either incorrect or skewed. I'm hoping this is the case with O.W., that perhaps there is more than what is in the news. My daughter and I have been discussing this issue/case this evening. She hears from members and non-members and the non-members have not seen the church in a favorable light regarding this issue. Those outside of the church do not understand the way the church is run. So, when those outside of the church read of the church actions they see them as being archaic, and perhaps more importantly threatening to its members for speaking out. To some degree it may frighten actual members and stop them from expressing their thoughts and feelings. I can certainly understand removing the right to enter the Temple, because you take on certain covenants, but excommunication I just think in this case is out of order.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    June 24, 2014 12:04 a.m.

    Excellent article. Very insightful, and provides a rare insight into how Church councils work. I had a close relative that was excommunicated, but who repented and is now serving as part of his ward's bishopric.

    It is an unfortunate necessity that those who engage in apostate actions be removed from Church membership. To allow someone who openly engages in immoral or illegal activities, or openly opposes Church leadership, to stand as worthy members would be tacit approval of their actions.

  • Captain Green Heber City, UT
    June 24, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    As a Church leader I was involved in the excommunication of a Brother in the Gospel. Years later I ran into him... and with tears in his eyes he gave me a big hug and thanked me for having taken that action. He said it totally changed his life. He eventually was re-baptized and had his blessings restored. He married in the Temple and was serving as a Counselor in a Bishopric. That brought great joy to my heart. And it made me realize how blessed we are to have the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, which teaches us to uphold God's standards. It ultimately helps us greatly to pass the all-important test of mortality.

  • trueblue75 USA, NC
    June 24, 2014 12:38 p.m.

    Thanks DN for printing this article...I agree with the majority who have posted comments. I have witnessed a few people who have gone through this experience. Those who chose to be humble and repentant were the ones who really grew and were stronger. Those who chose to be proudful and arrogant were the ones who went on and made public display and tried to bring attention to themselves. The first of these two are happier...so I believe!

  • LVN8V Las Vegas, NV
    June 25, 2014 1:20 a.m.

    @Left Field,
    If this article does not meet the "full rigor of journalistic standards" because it does not describe the experiences of those who did not want to be invited to participate in a council, by that same argument, none of the stories that you have read about this whole situation would meet those standards. I have yet to see any of the articles in national media describe anyone who had a positive experience with a disciplinary council. So, where would you like to place the rest of those stories since they don't belong in a newspaper either?

  • deniron Effurun/Nigeria, 00
    June 25, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    It is only the brave, who are humble and contrite in heart in which their conscience is expose to sorrow open their mouth to speak out not minding what FATHER Will decide for their action. Those who regret their actions FATHER weep for them and embrace them either directly or through their leaders. I love FATHER.HIS decision is final.

  • Seneca Falls Salt Lake, UT
    June 25, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    This article provides a set of wonderful examples that serve to highlight the dramatic contrast between what disciplinary councils should be--a venue for confession and repentance of sin (usually grievous sexual sin like adultery, rape, pedophilia, or pornography addiction)---and what occurred last Sunday to Kate Kelly when she was excommunicated in absentia despite being a devoted and faithful Mormon woman and by men who would never see her again.

  • salmon67 Anchorage, AK
    June 25, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    Here is my story with the church disciplinary council:

    I was born and raised in the church. I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

    When I was 12 years old my primary abuser went on a mission for the church. At the age of 14 he came back into my life and approached me. I told him it was wrong and the abuse stopped.

    Next thing I knew, my mom told me I needed to go talk to the bishop. I walked into the bishop's office and I was told that I had things I needed to repent of and the disciplinary council had decided that I would be on formal probation until I repented. I was handed a copy of 'The Miracle of Forgiveness' and sent on my way.

    I spent the next 10 years on a path of destruction, fueled by the guilt and shame I was feeling.

    After working with an awesome therapist (non LDS) for the last 5 years, I can finally say the abuse was not my fault and I will not repent for something I couldn't control.

  • Frank Staheli Santaquin, ut
    June 26, 2014 8:48 p.m.

    I respect those who have been involved in LDS Church disciplinary councils who point out that sometimes personalities get in the way. I trust that that has happened as the commenters have described, but in the LDS councils I sat in, nothing remotely like that occurred.

    The article was excellent. My frustrations came after reading some of the comments to the article by critics of the Church who have no first-hand experience with the councils that the article talks about, yet who speculate as though they have first-hand knowledge. Respect for things one does not understand requires a high level of maturity that many of us (me sometimes included) need to put more effort toward achieving.

  • sffilk Atlanta, GA
    Feb. 9, 2015 6:20 a.m.

    Those who are excommunicated have their lives changed. On the one hand, they are shunned by the Mormon community because it is thought the reason they were excommunicated is because of sin. On the other hand, they immediately gain an 11% increase in salary and end up living better lives.