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Great analysis, Dave. I agree that one cannot make much sense out of this unless we know exactly what was on the table in those meetings between Mr. Danzig and his church leaders.

Any LDS adult who thinks they can publish a letter or article accusing LDS leaders of "intellectual tyranny" and think there won't be any consequences is simply naive.

Naive because it is bound to become self-fulfilling? It clearly was in this case.

Agree w/ Ronan on the good analysis and write up Dave; however, we don't really need to know exactly what was on the table in the private meetings with his Church leaders, and rightly shouldn't know that. What we do know is that Mr. Danzig was more activist and less musician than what he was made out to be. Good post.

It is true that the local leaders were put into a difficult situation. And yet, it is not hard to imagine a different outcome with a different bishop and SP.

The glaring weakness in church discipline is its uneven application.

Mark IV

It's not hard to imagine a different outcome with a different attitude and behavior of Mr. Danzig.

Dave - the "intellectual tyranny" language was needless and inflamatory, but I think the outcome would have been the same if the musician had been more measured in tone. No?

ECS and Dave:

Let me try a rewrite of the letter:

As a [Utah citizen of religious identity and church volunteer position that I am not disclosing], I am [seriously concerned by actions of the] leadership [within our Church's university in their] summary dismissal of Jeffrey Nielsen from his teaching position at Brigham Young University for speaking his mind in an op-ed published June 4 in The Tribune. I was troubled that my church [implicitly] requested that I violate my own conscience to write in support of an amendment (marriage) I feel is contrary to the Constitution and to the gospel of Christ. [I realize that the official letter was somewhat ambiguous, but the intent was clear to me and others.]
I am even more discouraged to see how [church leadership in general often] deal with an honest difference of opinion.
I wish to express to Jeffrey Nielsen that I admire his courage and that I stand with him. I hope that rank-and-file members of the church as well as members of the lay clergy who also find this troubling will have the courage to step forward and let themselves be known. To do anything else would be to hide in the shadow of [what I think is] an injustice.

***************

Would this have been considered an act of disloyalty?

ECS, I'd like to think that a letter stating one's position on a public issue like the marriage amendment, without any inflammatory language or direct criticism of the Church or LDS leaders, would not be the basis of discipline. After all, the Church requested us to write letters addressing this topic and send them to our political representatives.

A letter to your senator or representative is already a semi-public letter -- it boggles the mind to think we should have to include a disclaimer in such a letter asking our political representatives to keep the contents of the letter secret because to divulge the contents would possibly subject the author to discipline from the very institution that requested the letter be written! Obviously, there is less latitude for public disagreement for a Church employee (CES or BYU), a local leader, a tuba player in the Orchestra at Temple Square, etc.

Hi, Dave -

Perhaps. I re-read Jeffrey Nielsen's letter and found it generally respectful and reasonable. Although Nielsen was fired, he was not disciplined by the Church. So you're probably right.

From the LDS.org response:

In reality Church leaders had asked members to write to their senators with their personal views regarding the federal amendment opposing same gender marriage, and did not request support or opposition to the amendment.

Does anyone else find this statement to be horribly disingenuous? If I were to take this at face value, I would believe that I could communicate with my senators (including through open letters published in newspapers, as many in Utah did) expressing my feelings that they should vote against the amendment. And yet, that would put me in public opposition to the Church. If I don't mention the Church for good or ill, does it make it ok--even though I publicly stated that I'm against something that the church has publicly stated it's for?

Dave, excellent article. Don't forget, according to his own account, Brother Danzig posted three different letters. They have all been posted at the FAIR discussion board. Reading just his letters, it is unfortunate, but I don't see how he thought that he wouldn't get called in for a chat at the very least, and face discipline at the worst.

Dave,

Just one comment about how this got into the Salt Lake Tribune. Only at the end of the whole saga did Peter post publicly his account. He first posted it at Postmormon.org in, I believe December or January. I was intrigued by his story and asked if I could blog about it and include his full account at Equality Time. A friend of mine, well known in the Mormon blogosphere, saw the post and sent an email to Peggy Fletcher Stack who expressed interest in doing a story. After consulting with his extended family, Peter and Mary agreed to be interviewed. After interviewing Peter and Mary, Peggy Fletcher Stack sought to interview the church leaders involved and other interested parties. Some church representatives cooperated; others apparently refused to contribute to the story. After the Tribune ran the story, the church issued the press release, complaining about, among other things, the editorial bias of the paper. It's interesting to me that the only fact the church press release contended with was the use of the word "discipline" in the headline. The article did not say Peter and Mary were officially disciplined but did describe how Peter lost his place in the orchestra and his temple recommend, and was threatened with excommunication.

Good job Dave.

Danzig admitted that the letter was too harsh. Many have editorialized about the church without consequence, but those have been higher up and more prone to publicity, so that could be the difference.

This episode also brings up the potential issue of disciplinary action against bloggers. What we write is very public and it often is quite easy to trace someone's online identity to their real identity. (Or in the case of some blogs (T&S), there is no anonymity to begin with.) Is anyone aware of instances of bloggers getting called in by local authorities?

Another part of the story that hasn't been told is the fact that Danzig rarely participated in the orchestra in the first place. My father has been a member of the orchestra since 2001 and sits right next to the section where Bro. Danzig played in. He noted that it was possible to count on one hand the number of times Bro. Danzig showed up to a rehearsal or performance before his dismissal in 2006.

What I find disheartening in the Trib article is the core narrative of mistreatment by the Church takes the center stage while his drifting from Christian belief seems to be as essential a part of the story that only gets a line or two. The story is there too.

I wish the Trib's article illustrated his more internal religous experience and questioning with multiple narrative arc's, not just disenchantment with Church Leadership.

ELC says:

From the LDS.org response:

"In reality Church leaders had asked members to write to their senators with their personal views regarding the federal amendment opposing same gender marriage, and did not request support or opposition to the amendment."

Does anyone else find this statement to be horribly disingenuous? If I were to take this at face value, I would believe that I could communicate with my senators (including through open letters published in newspapers, as many in Utah did) expressing my feelings that they should vote against the amendment. And yet, that would put me in public opposition to the Church. If I don't mention the Church for good or ill, does it make it ok--even though I publicly stated that I'm against something that the church has publicly stated it's for?

This is what I don't understand either. Quite apart from the Danzig issue, it amazes me the LDS.org newsroom would make the statement about "did not request support or opposition to the amendment" and then provide a link to the original statement which seems to quite strongly encourage opposition to the amendment. And let's face it, it does seek to encourage precisely this.

They should have worded it differently surely. It looks as though they weren't paying sufficient attention and have now issued a puplic statement which looks - and more or less is - disingenuous at best, hypocritical at worst.

I'm suprised that a letter to a senator is "semi-public" and don't understand how this is so. The letter would be confidential wouldn't it? A senator wouldn't publish it and neither would any church member who may have qualms about the church's position on same sex marriage but would draw the line at publicly challenging it, which as far as I can tell is the position a number of otherwise devout members are in.

From my perspective one of the most consistent elements of such publicized stories seems to be the penchant for dissidents to take their parting shots at the Church. I tend to hold a far less sympathetic view of those who would carry private concerns into a public campaign. It transforms what might otherwise seem like legitimate grievance into a premeditated public tantrum.

"In reality Church leaders had asked members to write to their senators with their personal views regarding the federal amendment opposing same gender marriage, and did not request support or opposition to the amendment."

For the record, while I admit that the wording of the original statement was mischievously opaque, I took what was written at face value and sent letters to Sens. Bennett and Hatch expressing my opposition to the amendment.

Overall, it seems like Brother and Sister Danzig left the Church for a complex, multivalent set of reasons and that the Trib letter was only a catalyst that brought deeper issues to the surface. On the other hand, I am deeply, deeply concerned at the possibility that anyone had their good faith standing or membership threatened for privately taking a position different from what the local leaders believed to be the Church's "official" doctrine on any issue.

Thanks for the backstory on the Trib article, Equality. I like the stories PFS does, including this one; it's unfortunate for her that the headline gaffe (not her fault as someone else writes the headlines) deflected attention from the article.

rl, I agree that more coverage of just what was going on inside the musician's head -- his personal journey -- would be interesting. But these stories almost always get packaged as a "ten things I hate about the Church" narrative, even when there are other interesting aspects to the story.

As long as I'm commenting on the failing of the standard script, I'll note there is also a complete inability to view events and statements from any perspective other than that of the now-disaffected member. For example, here's a statement from the musician's full story (linked in the post) that makes any reasonable person roll their eyes:

I pointed out how the Brethren had changed their stance on homosexuality and other issues over time, and how I felt that part of sustaining the Brethren was to point out when they were damaging or hurting those in their stewardship through their own ignorance on certain issues.

Right. Try that approach to "sustaining" with your boss or spouse and see how it works out.

...and he claimed a crisis of conscience over being requested to write letters to his political representatives in support of the proposed marriage amendment, when in fact the request did not specify any position, merely that Latter-day Saints write to their representatives and express their own opinion on the issue.

Given the LDS Church leadership's very specific public opposition to same-sex marriage and its general approach on gay issues, is there really any question what the Church intended with its request of its membership to contact their representatives? I think Danzig's crisis of conscience is entirely reasonable and understandable for someone who didn't agree with the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Notwithstanding the spin from Church Public Affairs in its Danzig statement, the ambiguous nature of the language the Church used in making its request seems a clear nod to the laws that govern political involvement and its tax-exampt status.

Those members of the chruch who took the request at face value and expressed their opposition to an anti-SSM amendment are, to be sure, a tiny minority -- something the Church counted on, no doubt.

Chris, none of the other people who voiced opposition to the amendment seemed to suffer a crisis of conscience. Which is not necessarily saying the musician's crisis was not sincere, just that it's not rational. No one else read the request the way he did, so the problem isn't with the request, it's with his reading of it.

No one else read it the way he did? Really? How would you possibly know?

I know a number of active Latter-day Saints who were troubled by the request precisely because they knew where the Church stood on the issue and they understood the call to action as a request to be supportive of that official position. What sets Danzig apart is that his crisis of conscience eventually made its way into public view.

Dave, I have to agree with Chris. It's a big statement to say none of the others suffered a crisis of conscience, especially when the value of keeping such issues private is strongly advocated even on this very thread. I keep coming back to your statement:

Any LDS adult who thinks they can publish a letter or article accusing LDS leaders of "intellectual tyranny" and think there won't be any consequences is simply naive.

It may not have been wise for Danzig to say it, but the institutional reaction made the point quite strongly.

I think Danzig's crisis of conscience is entirely reasonable and understandable for someone who didn't agree with the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage.

I think crisis of conscience is an interesting way of putting it. I'm not sure how it could be properly labeled that way. I mean, was anyone compelled to do what the Church requested. I think there can only be a crisis of conscience when you are obligated to do something that runs counter to your morals. Something along the lines of Sophocles Antigone where a sister must choose between obeying the law that prohibited anyone from burying the traitors or breaking the law and burying her brother who was a traitor so that his body isn't eaten by the dogs.

Even if the implication was that you should write to your Senator in favor of the amendment, I'm not sure why any member would feel pressured by it. It's not like the Mormon Church required its members to have their letters vetted by the bishop or stake president before sending them. I assuming that afterwards, the Mormon Church never asked its followers if they sent a letter or not.

What if a member felt the whole American system of democracy was horrible, that the powers of government should be consolidated into the hands of a small cabal and that the legislative and judicial branches of government be abolished? Would they feel the same crisis of conscience by being asked to participate in a democratic system of government she felt was immoral and that the church was tying her hands to a particular course of action?

Chris,
It's worth noting that the Church (or any other 501(c)(3) organization) could express its opinion on SSM legislation (or any other legislation) and not jeopardize its tax-exempt status. 501(c)(3) prevents exempt orgs from participating in or intervening in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. That is, the Church can't support or oppose Obama, or it risks losing its tax-exempt status.

On other legislation, so long as its attempts at influencing legislation are not a "substantial part" of its activities, it can feel free to influence, spend money, etc.

I'm totally agnostic--ultimately, I just don't care--as to whether the Church's statement wanted members to support the amendment or just comment on it. But the Church could have said, Oppose the amendment (or, for that matter, Support the amendment), and it would not have risked its tax-exempt status. That's a common, but wrong, argument.

I second bamboom's comment (about 9 or 10 entries back). It just seems those who go public with these "high-road" gripes have other issues with the Church and were already on their way out. Perhaps they need a reason to leave that they're comfortable with; perhaps they want to go with martyr status; or, perhaps they're like the bitter guy who drives on the off-ramp, hoping to take someone with them.

I second bamboom's comment (about 9 or 10 entries back). It just seems those who go public with these "high-road" gripes have other issues with the Church and were already on their way out. Perhaps they need a reason to leave that they're comfortable with; perhaps they want to go with martyr status; or, perhaps they're like the bitter guy who drives on the off-ramp, hoping to take someone with them.

Sam B.,

I am not a tax law expert, so this is a layman's view, but my understanding of the laws governing the political activity of 501(c)(3) organizations is that they are permitted to educate individuals about issues, or fund research that supports their political position without overtly advocating for a position on a specific bill. The LDS Church expressed it support for the anti-SSM amendment before the Senate; enlisting its membership to write their Senators in support of the amendment could be construed as overt advocacy. My understanding is also that interpretation of the restrictions on political advocacy is more art than science, and is not immune from the influence of political appointees. The LDS Church is a conservative institution not just in politics but in action, and it seems to consistently err on the side of caution when it comes to how it behaves relative to political acitivity.

But, again, I don't think it's credible to say that the Church's intention in calling on its members to write to their representatives was to simply encourage civic engagement. The Church wanted is members to speak out in favor of the amendment to ban SSM. To argue otherwise is to ignore the Church's stated position on the issue and the context in which the statement was made.

I second bamboom's comment (about 9 or 10 entries back). It just seems those who go public with these "high-road" gripes have other issues with the Church and were already on their way out. Perhaps they need a reason to leave that they're comfortable with; perhaps they want to go with martyr status; or, perhaps they're like the bitter guy who drives on the off-ramp, hoping to take someone with them.

Or, perhaps, they have done their best to handle the issue in private, but went public when it became clear that their concerns were dismissed or ignored or that the process was manipulated ar abused.

It's often easier to dismiss a critic by questioning his motivation or loyalty than it is to constructively address his concerns.

Chris,
That's fair; I'm just saying that your (and most people's) lay understanding is incorrect. The IRS, on its website, states that political and legislative activities are two different things, with two sets of different rules. See http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=120703,00.html

Basically, like I said, a 501(c)(3) org can't be pro- or anti- candidate. See http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=163395,00.html

However, in terms of lobbying, provided its lobbying efforts are not a substantial portion of its activities, it may lobby. See http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=163392,00.html

In other words, the Church didn't choose its words for tax-exemption purposes. That's a red herring.

I realize that a lot of people, in private thought and on blogs (and in comments on newspaper articles) argue that the Church acts in certain ways in the political sphere in order to preserve its tax exemption. That is probably not the case, generally. (I'm not privvy to the Church's internal discussions, of course, but I assume it's well-advised. I also disclaim any expertise in non-profit tax issues, but the Internal Revenue Code, the regs, and the IRS website seem fairly clear to me.)

My point isn't to add anything substantive to the debate, but to take away from it a motivational red herring.

Sam B.,

Thanks for calling me on the motivational red herring. I don't want to advance that particular theory if it doesn't hold water.

Tax issues aside, I think the Church's motivation in calling on members to express themselves on the same-sex marriage issue is quite clear. And that's relevant to the Danzig case insofar as it helps illuminate what motivated his actions.

Or, perhaps, they have done their best to handle the issue in private, but went public when it became clear that their concerns were dismissed or ignored or that the process was manipulated ar abused.

It's often easier to dismiss a critic by questioning his motivation or loyalty than it is to constructively address his concerns.

From what I gathered in the comments, he was counseled for quite some time without any official action. Paint the Church how you want, it sounds as if its leaders were patiently working with him-- as far as we know "constructively addressing his concerns." Are you saying because the Church wouldn't yield to his way of thinking, he was morally justified in going public against it? This was no ecclesiastic Patrick Henry, it was just another disgruntled member who took a pot shot, first by blog and then in the Trib. The high road could have been "we don't agree" or "that's between me and the Church," but no, that wouldn't be gratifying enough.

Chris,
Like I said, I'm agnostic on that part, but I've seen the tax-exemption theory forwarded so many times that I've determined to put that particular idea to rest. It's a totally fair mistake--I'll be that if you polled a representative selection of Americans, they wouldn't differentiate between legislative and political lobbying, either.

(And I'm sorry for the multiple "red herrings" in my prior comment; I thought I'd deleted the first and moved it to the end, and it would have been a lot more aesthetically pleasing--to me, anyway--had I in reality dones so.)

Dave T.:

I don't know Danzig, so I don't know what his motivations are. I've read the Trib article, I've read his side of the story in his own words, and I've read the Church Public Affairs statement. And I've read the blogs about this, I've seen a lot of people quick to dismiss him by suggesting has an ax to grind or that he had "other issues" can explain this all away. I don't think it's that easy, and I agree with Dave's original point in this post that there really are no winners here. If Danzig was just looking to pick a public fight with the Church, I doubt he would have quietly tried to work through this with his local leaders for as long as he did.

Based on what I've read, I don't think he was trying to get the Church to "yield to his way of thinking" as much as he was trying to figure out how to reconcile his deeply held beliefs with his desire to remain or get back in good standing. That process was ultimately not productive for him and he felt a desire to speak out. I think you can disagree with his point of view and his choice of tactics and still respect his sincerity.

And, as a gay man myself, I'm sympathetic to his plight and am grateful that he was willing to speak out on behalf of people like me.

Chris,

You're right, i should probably, if not agree with him, at least appreciate his frustration. To clarify, it isn't so much that I disagree with his POV as much as his going public-- his tactics, as you put it. Honestly, aside from self-gratification, I can't see what could be gained from it. To make us aware? His story is hardly an original one, and Church policy won't be revised from public outcry, especially one that will hardly be more than a hiccup from existing malcontents and antagonists. Most of the membership will only mentally scold him for being a publicizing agitator, regardless his intentions.

As you fairly pointed out, it must have been a painful ordeal for him to reconcile his feelings and position in the Church, and I'm sorry he wasn't able to find that comfortable place. My personal feeling, right or wrong, is as long as you sustain the LDS Church to be the true Church of the Lord, you have to go with the leadership. If you can't, work to resolve it, keep it to yourself or leave.

I apologize, that reply was supposed to go to Sam B.

Actually, Dave T., I think it was meant to go to me.

My personal feeling, right or wrong, is as long as you sustain the LDS Church to be the true Church of the Lord, you have to go with the leadership. If you can't, work to resolve it, keep it to yourself or leave.

He did keep it to himself until after he left. According to what I've read, he resigned his church membership in December. The story went public just over the past few days.

As for what he hoped to accomplish... It's clear he feels as though he was mistreated by the Church. What recourse does he have other than to try to hold the Church accountable in some way? And what else could he have done to try to hold it accountable?

Mistreated? What exactly is it that the Church might be held accountable for? That implies some sort of wrongdoing, whereas the general gist of the article reveals the musician's increasing frustration with the LDS Church. I'm not applauding that or his decision to exit the LDS Church -- I think it is unfortunate when people make such a decision -- but I don't see how his disenchantment, which predated by many years the incident with the SL Trib letter, is any basis for holding the Church accountable for anything.

People can change their views on religion and their beliefs. He obviously did. What's wrong with that?

Nothing is wrong with that.

As far as mistreatment goes, I thik Danzig can (and does) speak for himself on that count. But it does seems to me that Danzig he got himself in trouble not for doctrinal impurity, but for political/procedural reasons. As far as I can tell, he didn't criticize any doctrine. His simply said, publicly, that when it comes to political ideas, members of the church should be free to speak their minds, even when they come to different conclusions than church leaders.

For what it's worth, I took the Church's statement at face value, as Brad did. I am of course aware of the Church's position, but I appreciated the fact that the Church didn't dictate to people what to say to their senators. I didn't write any letters (I'm not very political), but if I had it would have been contra the Church's position, and I wouldn't have felt bad about that at all.

If I had the wrong bishop, I could have been disciplined in some fashion ten times over for things I've written in the Bloggernacle. I don't worry about it at all. If I ever end up with a gestapo type leader who wants to make an example of me, so be it.

It seems to me that Mr. Danzig took a principled but calculated risk in submitting his letter to the editor. The Tribune article quotes him as saying

"Part of the reason for writing the letter was to find out if there was room for personal conscience in this church. But now I know there is none. This has been a painful journey for me."

This suggests that Mr. Danzig‘s letter was designed to test the Church. He was hopeful, but knew that the Church might fail his test. Perhaps he didn’t see that that the letter might trigger events that would culminate in his separation from the Church. But he certainly knew that one possible outcome was that he would find that there was no “room” for him.

A “painful journey,” indeed. It must have terrible for him and his family to have his worst fears proven true. I only wish that his hope had been justified.

I must say that I've read Danzig's own account of the situation in detail several times during this whole debacle and I just can't see the bad faith some are imputing to him in this.

I think the most significant factor in this story is how the Orchestra director treated him. It seems there is a lot of room for improvement there.

"For what it's worth, I took the Church's statement at face value, as Brad did. I am of course aware of the Church's position, but I appreciated the fact that the Church didn't dictate to people what to say to their senators. I didn't write any letters (I'm not very political), but if I had it would have been contra the Church's position, and I wouldn't have felt bad about that at all."

I think there is a pretty straight forward sincerity test for purposes of analyzing the church's claim that they were not "request(ing) support or opposition to the amendment," but were honestly encouraging members to "express their views"....

The questions to ask are these: From the church's perspective, would it have been acceptable for members who heard the letter in church, agreed with the church on this issue and decided to organize rallys, speeches events, letter writing campaigns, fund drives, etc., in favor of the amendment? The answer seems to be yes.

Would it have been acceptable for members who heard the letter in church and decided to organize rallys, speeches, events, letter writing campaigns, fund drives, etc., expressing views that were in opposition of the church’s view? The answer seems to be that the latter would have been cause for church discipline.

As others have stated, it's not sincere to claim that the church wasn't seeking the expression of very specific views.

adcama,
I'm not sure what gives you the idea that members who organized rallies, etc., against the amendment would be subject to Church discipline. Case in point, in essence, is Harry Reid.

If a member had organized rallies, etc., and said, The Church is wrong and led by a bunch of [scurrilious slanderous remarks of some sort or another], it is possible that the member would be subject to discipline. Whether such (still hypothetical, for the most part) discipline would be warranted or not is a legit question, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that participating in, or organizing, rallies by a member without implicating or accusing the Church would be any kind of grounds for discipline.

Nice comments, Sam B., and I'll second what you are saying -- there's a big difference (in the view of the Church) between someone publicly stating they oppose the amendment versus that they oppose the amendment AND that LDS leaders are intellectual tyrants. Isn't this obvious?

Frankly, those who would organize rallies or make speeches IN FAVOR of the amendment but include prominent references to the Church in their statements or activities would also be a problem. The request was for individual members to express their opinion on the issues, not to make the Church part of the issue.

Subtle point here: Those who strongly dissent from LDS views generally can't resist making the Church part of every issue in their life. For them it *is* part of every issue, just like for some people every issue in their life is blamed on their parents, on their ex-spouse, on the vast right-wing conspiracy, etc.

Posted by: tiredmormon | Feb 26, 2008 at 06:58 PM Is anyone aware of instances of bloggers getting called in by local authorities?

The answer is a most resounding YES.
However, details are not discussed if the blogger wants to prevent a downward spiral of events (as the story we are currently discussing illustrates).

The key to what happened here is that Danzig was serving in a position that officially represented the church, AND he made a point of including that prominently in the preface of his letter. If he was any other rank-and-file member his letter would have crossed under the radar.

In the end, Danzig was placed into a position that every LDS member will face at least once in their lives, and usually many times over. An event happens when we must say "The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and perfect. The members of His church are a bunch of average human beings who regularly make big mistakes and offend each other. Including those in leadership positions." So, in the end we have to ask ourselves. Is holding onto my deep (often easily justified) hurt and anger more important than keeping my testimony? Is this issue more important than allowing myself, my wife and my children to have the blessings of the gospel continue in our lives? What path will bless my family and my personal future more - staying or leaving? Somewhere along the line, Brother Danzig must have lost sight of this. I hope that he will move to a new area and get a fresh start. From what I have read, he and his wife are wonderful people who have served the Savior throughout their lives and have testimonies. Going public has made it that much more difficult for the healing process to take place. For their sakes, I hope they do not continue into a life of hurt, anger and bitterness - and that their innocent children do not have to absorb all of this.

To follow up LTWS's comment, I know of only one blogger who had problems and I blogged about it here. John Dehlin got called in for a chat with his bishop but came out smelling like a rose.

Sam & Dave, are you saying that someone would "come out smelling like a rose" if they publicly advocated a position contrary to the church on this issue, but refrained from calling the chuch names? Seems like the definition of "advocacy" goes beyond drawing an editorial contrast between one's beliefs and the church's beliefs....and then making an argument as to why the church's beliefs are tyranical (as it seems like you are suggesting). Advocacy, as I understand it in this context, means taking a position that is in contrast to the teachings of the church, and advocating that position in the public realm - period.

Please correct me if I'm wrong re your interpretation, but that's your position, I heartily disagree....and it seems like the church's news release on this issue agrees with me:

"However, it is not acceptable when their digging and questioning leads to public opposition against doctrine Church leaders are obliged to uphold" and "Honest disagreements are not the same as public advocacy of positions contrary to those of the Church."

While Danzig's problems seemed to begin with a hot letter he wrote to the trib, my reading of his story led me to believe that he was "disciplined" (in the form of not being worthy for a temple recommend) because his views on SSM differed from the views of the church - and because he was vocal about it.....not because he called the brethren intellectual tyrants.

This is Danzig writing about an appointment he had with his bishop after the initial smoke cleared....

“…..I was told that it appeared that I had only been studying the issue from the scientific side (despite the fact that I frequently cited the words of the prophets and scriptures on this issue during our conversation) and was asked as an assignment to study the scriptures and words of the prophets on homosexuality and meet with him the next week. I was also informed that I would not pass a temple recommend interview with my views as they stood.”

He continues…..

“…..at this meeting I was informed that I needed to agree with some of the specifics of Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk “Same-Gender Attraction” given in 1995: Specifically that Homosexual orientation was not innate and that it was reversible. I informed my Bishop that this was not true in the experience of many individuals and that as such I could not support it. He informed me that he would need to turn the matter over to the Stake President and indicated that if I did not learn to moderate my views I would likely face a disciplinary court for acts of apostasy.”

So no, the contrast you are trying to make is not clear. If it were as simple as Danzig saying "sorry for calling you intellectual tyrants", he already did that a long time ago by admitting he could have chosen his words more carefully.

SamB, Harry Reid has said "I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman" and voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. So, not a good case in point.

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Mormon Books 2005

Religion Books 09-12

Religion Books 2008

Religion Books 2004-07