I've just finished listening to my friend John Dehlin's latest podcasts with Paul Toscano, one of the illustrious (or notorious, depending on one's perspective) September Six, having been excommunicated in September 1993 for having ideas that Boyd K. Packer disagreed with. I have listened to nearly all of John's podcasts at both Mormon Stories and Mormon Matters, and I think this is his best interview yet. Toscano had my laugh tears flowing in episodes 4 and 5. I found myself cheering when he said (I paraphrase) that he would put his body count of destroyed testimonies against Boyd Packer's any day. I found myself once again distressed and distraught at the treatment he and his family received at the hands of church authorities at every level. His only "sin" was thinking, believing, and speaking ideas not understood or believed by those in positions of authority in the LDS Church. Many people have commented that the LDS Church used to be more fun and exciting than today's staid, correlated cookie-cutter church. Part of the reason is that the church has given the boot to folks like the Toscanos. While I don't think I ever shared either Paul's or Margaret's understanding of Mormon theology, I would have loved to have had people like them in my ward--people who are passionate about studying the scriptures and exploring the ramifications of the doctrines Joseph Smith taught. I am not really sure what Boyd Packer feared from the Toscanos. I think the church would be enriched by having a diversity of thought and opinion freely expressed. I like Paul Toscano's vision of the church as a family, where the ordinances are what make the church unique, and people are free to explore, discuss, and disagree--even with the apostles--on matters of faith and doctrine.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and will comment freely. Mormon Stories regulates comments from non-believers, disaffected members, and former Mormons. Equality Time is the place to comment if you want to say anything that would not be appropriate for Sunday School.