Remembering
Open Letter to the Plano, Texas Fifth Ward

LDS Church to Discipline Member for Supporting Gay Marriage

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be "politically neutral."  It also claims that its members are free to vote according to their conscience and that there are no political tests for membership in the church.  Indeed, the LDS church encourages its members to "study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government." 

But now the LDS church is threatening to discipline a faithful member from Nebraska (Andrew Callahan, a high priest) for "conduct unbecoming a member" and for "apostasy."  His crime? Disagreeing with church leaders on a political issue--Proposition 8 in California, which the church supports.  Proposition 8 would take away the legal right that gays and lesbians currently enjoy under the California state constitution to marry.  You can read more about Callahan (who posts online under the name Flat Lander) at the Further Light and Knowledge discussion board here.

Callahan helped start a web site called Signing for Something.  The purpose of Signing for Something was to give Latter-day Saints who had followed the First Presidency's admonition to study the issues and engage in the political process to voice their opposition to Proposition 8 and encourage church leaders to reconsider using church resources in a state political campaign.  The idea was to let church leaders know that a significant number of LDS church members do not support enshrining ignorance and bigotry into the state constitution but rather believe in equal protection under the law, individual liberty,  and tolerance for those who may not share church members' religious beliefs.

With this site, Callahan joined a growing number of Latter-day Saints expressing their love and support for gay and lesbian Mormons.  Another site shedding light on the challenges faced by being Mormon and gay is the Mormons for Marriage site.  These sites, along with yet others such Understanding LDS Homosexuality show that a small but growing number of rank-and-file Mormons are willing not only to disagree with Mormon church leaders' homophobic statements and policies, but are willing to do so in a public manner.  That's a significant thing.  Disagreeing with the Brethren, though highly discouraged in Mormon circles, is generally not something that will result in church "discipline" (i.e, disfellowship or excommunication).  But open, vocal opposition to the Brethren, even on a purely political issue, is perhaps the quickest way to get an "invitation" to a "court of love" in the LDS church.  Absolute loyalty to the LDS church, evidenced by an uncritical, unblinking obedience to the male church hierarchy, is the highest value in Mormonism.  Callahan is now running afoul of it, and will likely pay the price by being excommunicated.  That Callahan has been threatened with church discipline for "conduct unbecoming a member" when all he was doing was getting involved in a political issue and exercising his conscience, is revealing of just how far LDS church leaders will go to ensure that their vision of perfect conformity and bland homogeneity is realized.

Update: since I first drafted this post, Callahan received word from his Stake President that no church court would be held "in his behalf" (the euphemisms in Mormonism are legion) until AFTER the election.  This merely confirms that the whole matter is political.  If his crimes were spiritual, why would the election timing affect their decision at all? The LDS church simply did not want the negative publicity that would swirl around Callahan's excommunication, should it occur before the election.  Now the church can wait to cut him off and hope the public relations nightmare can be contained. 

Comments

INTJ Mom

I think I read something a while back, maybe it was when all the ruckus was going on over the Danzigs, that it's only when members openly oppose a stand the Mormon church has publicly taken or when a member openly criticizes the church in public that it's considered apostasy and conduct unbecoming a church member. If you keep your disagreement to yourself, it seems to be ok.

Which I'm not saying is ok, it certainly seems rather hypocritical to me. If you disagree, you should be free to say so, otherwise what's the point of saying someone has the right to disagree in the first place?

I wonder if there will be any kind of chastisement go out to the California Mormons if Prop 8 gets enough NO votes.

csz

Mormons for Marriage has some new videos of active straight members discussing why they don't agree with church involvement in Prop 8, and they're really worth taking a look. Also, see www.mormonsfor8.com which is an attempt to identify the individuals donors to Protectmarriage by whether or not they are mormon or not. The California Secretary of State lists new donors of amounts over $1000 every night and those new names are added each night to mormonsfor8. You can then email in names of those you know are mormon. It's a powerful way to show how much church involvement is boosting the revenue. Right now, it's over $7 million from church members.

Warren Smith

Your posting -- starting with the headline -- is entirely misleading. While the church does not discuss with non-involved parties why a disciplinary action is under way, I have been to Callahan's web site, and viewed his videos, and can easily see why he would be a candidate for expulsion from the church.

It seems pretty obvious that Bro. Callahan's problem is not a trivial thing like opposing Prop. 8. Anybody who claims that this is the issue is uninformed or a liar. Bro. Callahan states unequivocally that he is explicitly attempting to organize people against the first presidency. His attempts at organization may or may not have to do with Prop. 8 (and I suspect they are far more broad reaching). Given the fundamental belief structures of the church -- that the prophet is the Lord's mouthpiece on Earth -- one cannot fight against the prophet without fighting against the church: organizing against the first presidency is the very definition of an act of apostasy.

Excommunication has been a practice common in many churches for centuries, and is generally accepted as a right reserved for any religious organization. Bro. Callahan's videos clearly show that he rejects many central teachings of the church. While I am certainly no judge and certainly have no authority, it is pretty clear -- in my mind at least -- that Bro. Callahan is undeniably in a state of apostasy. Any beliefs he has regarding Prop. 8 are merely incidental in this. Hence your headline that he is being disciplined for "supporting gay marriage" is a patent falsehood. If you don’t believe me, go to his site and look at his videos yourself.

Is appropriate for a church to expel members to explicitly and publicly argue against the canonized beliefs of the church, and to attempt to organize others to do so, who explicitly state that the doctrines of the church are incorrect, who argue that the church (and its leadership) are misled and, by definition, the void of their claims of authority? Absolutely! Is Bro. Callahan such a person? I do not wish to make a statement one way or the other, but would urge you to look at his video.

The big mystery to me was why he did not resign, as he is explicitly and publicly fighting against core doctrines (having to do with priesthood authority, etc. -- I am explicitly not talking about the very tangential issue of gay marriage in this case). When I thought about it more, the answer was obvious -- I strongly suspect that the reason why he did not wish to resign was that he wanted the publicity to aid him in his fight against the church. That is, he wanted to be able to publicize his false statement that he was being disciplined for his stand on gay marriage, and try to appear that he was being persecuted…

Warren Smith

Your posting -- starting with the headline -- is entirely misleading. While the church does not discuss with non-involved parties why a disciplinary action is under way, I have been to Callahan's web site, and viewed his videos, and can easily see why he would be a candidate for expulsion from the church.

It seems pretty obvious that Bro. Callahan's problem is not a trivial thing like opposing Prop. 8. Anybody who claims that this is the issue is uninformed or a liar. Bro. Callahan states unequivocally that he is explicitly attempting to organize people against the first presidency. His attempts at organization may or may not have to do with Prop. 8 (and I suspect they are far more broad reaching). Given the fundamental belief structures of the church -- that the prophet is the Lord's mouthpiece on Earth -- one cannot fight against the prophet without fighting against the church: organizing against the first presidency is the very definition of an act of apostasy.

Excommunication has been a practice common in many churches for centuries, and is generally accepted as a right reserved for any religious organization. Bro. Callahan's videos clearly show that he rejects many central teachings of the church. While I am certainly no judge and certainly have no authority, it is pretty clear -- in my mind at least -- that Bro. Callahan is undeniably in a state of apostasy. Any beliefs he has regarding Prop. 8 are merely incidental in this. Hence your headline that he is being disciplined for "supporting gay marriage" is a patent falsehood. If you don’t believe me, go to his site and look at his videos yourself.

Is appropriate for a church to expel members to explicitly and publicly argue against the canonized beliefs of the church, and to attempt to organize others to do so, who explicitly state that the doctrines of the church are incorrect, who argue that the church (and its leadership) are misled and, by definition, the void of their claims of authority? Absolutely! Is Bro. Callahan such a person? I do not wish to make a statement one way or the other, but would urge you to look at his video.

The big mystery to me was why he did not resign, as he is explicitly and publicly fighting against core doctrines (having to do with priesthood authority, etc. -- I am explicitly not talking about the very tangential issue of gay marriage in this case). When I thought about it more, the answer was obvious -- I strongly suspect that the reason why he did not wish to resign was that he wanted the publicity to aid him in his fight against the church. That is, he wanted to be able to publicize his false statement that he was being disciplined for his stand on gay marriage, and try to appear that he was being persecuted…

kittywaymo

Pottermom is an anti mormon of the lowest kind. Very bitter, ugly inside.. She and her husband "troll" sites to try and cause doubt in members. They are Satans tools.

She is on FLAK and if you google Pottermom and the word "Mormon" you will see all her anti mormon activity.

kittywaymo

I just read Equality and "Lisa" story.. How touching. Commit adultery, after losing your testimony and stop going to Church, hurt your children..Boy where can I sign up to be an exmo???I mean if you go to FLAK and read the "intro" section, most of these people have:

1. Criminal records (actually my brother helped me with those records)
2. Bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, paranoia.
3. Turrets Syndrome (LOL.. ok, they can't use college level adjectives.)
4. They perpetuate: "Leave the Church, not Leave alone" theory.
5. Admit to porn, MB, WOW and other sins and problems then say "we didn't leave because of sin" theory.
6. They are Stalkers.. One got my uncle's (through marriage) fax phone., read all my blogs, cut and pasted my husbands pic and made up an identity etc.
7. One called a University that I had applied to a few years ago, but thankfully live in another state and I am attended a different program, and tried to access information. School contacted me the next day, they are filing a harassment report for me.
8. Made accusations about me that are not true, which is SLANDER.. Illegal, they are too stupid to know this.

So why on earth would ANY body want to associate with this bunch of psychotic, depraved human beings? Exmo's leave the Church and years and years later.. CANNOT LEAVE THE CHURCH OR IT'S MEMBERS ALONE..then they complain "poor me, my VT HT visits/calls" I say: "get your name removed, write letter saying "no more visits" my husband was a bp, that's ALL it takes".. they say "no... it's too EASY I LOVE attention. that is why I left to begin with wa wa wa my RS/BP/SP was a "meanie" and didn't give enough attention to the sick behavior I portrayed before becoming an exmo" I say... GET SOME HELP... then they say, " you TBM are crazy" .. wow great case study!

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