Friday, September 19, 2008

Church Handbook of Instructions, Disciplinary Councils, and Prop 8


It has come to my attention that a member of the Church may soon face a disciplinary council for his opposition to Prop 8 in California. I thought it would be interesting to review what the Church Handbook of Instructions has to say about disciplinary councils:




Disciplinary Councils


Because formal Church discipline is ecclesiastical, not civil or criminal, court procedures of the state or nation do not apply. However, procedures in a Church disciplinary council must be fair and considerate of the feelings of all who participate.

When a Disciplinary Council Is Mandatory

A disciplinary council must be held when evidence suggests that a member may have committed any of the following transgressions.

Murder

As used here, murder refers to the deliberate and unjustified taking of human life. It requires excommunication. Abortion is not defined as murder for this purpose. If death was caused by carelessness or by defense of self or others, or if mitigating circumstances prevail (such as deficient mental capacity or wartime conditions), the taking of a human life might not be defined as murder. Bishops refer questions on specific cases to the stake president. He may direct questions to the Office of the First Presidency if necessary

Incest

As used here, incest refers to sexual relations between a parent and a natural, adopted, or foster child or stepchild. A grandparent is considered the same as a parent. Incest also refers to sexual relations between brothers and sisters. It almost always requires excommunication. Bishops refer questions on specific cases to the stake president. He may direct questions to the Office of the First Presidency if necessary.

Child Abuse

As used here, child abuse refers to a sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child. If priesthood leaders learn of or suspect child abuse, they should follow the instructions on pages 157-58.

Apostasy
As used here, apostasy refers to members who:

1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.

2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishops or higher authority

3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or higher authority.

In such cases, excommunication may be necessary if repentance is not evident after counseling and encouragement.

Priesthood leaders must take disciplinary action against apostates to protect Church members. The Savior taught the Nephites that they should continue to minister to a transgressor, but "if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people" (3 Nephi 18:31; see also Mosiah 26:36).

Total inactivity in the Church or attending or holding membership in another church does not constitute apostasy.

Serious Transgression While Holding a Prominent Church Position

A disciplinary council must be held for a member who commits a serious transgression while holding a prominent Church position, such as Area Authority Seventy; temple, mission, or stake president; patriarch; or bishop. As used here, serious transgression is defined as a deliberate and major offense against morality. It includes (but is not limited to) attempted murder, rape, forcible sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, and false swearing.

Transgressor Who Is a Predator

A disciplinary council must be held for a member who commits a serious transgression that shows him to be a predator with tendencies that present any kind of serious threat to other persons.

Pattern of Serious Transgressions

A disciplinary council must be held for a member who demonstrates a pattern of serious transgressions, especially if prior transgressions have resulted in Church discipline.

Serious Transgression That Is Widely Known

A disciplinary council must be held for a member who commits a serious transgression (as defined under "Serious Transgression While Holding a Prominent Church Position" on this page) that is widely known.

When a Disciplinary Council May Be Necessary

Serious Transgression

Formal Church discipline may be necessary for any member who commits a serious transgression as defined under "Serious Transgression While Holding a Prominent Church Position" on this page.

Abortion

Presiding officers review carefully the circumstances of members involved in abortions. Formal Church discipline may be necessary for members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for abortions. However, Church discipline should not be considered for members who were involved in an abortion before they were baptized or because (1) the pregnancy resulted from forcible rape or incest, (2) the life or health of the mother was in jeopardy, or (3) the fetus was known to have severe defects that would not allow the baby to survive beyond birth (see page 157). Bishops refer questions on specific cases to the stake president. He may direct questions to the Office of the First Presidency if necessary.

Transsexual Operation

Church leaders counsel against elective transsexual operations. If a member is contemplating such an operation, a presiding officer should inform him of this counsel and advise him that the operation may be cause for formal Church discipline. Bishops refer questions on specific cases to the stake president. He may direct questions to the Office of the First Presidency if necessary.

Request for Name Removal

If a member requests that his name be removed from the records of the Church, a disciplinary council may still be necessary if he has committed a serious transgression. Name removal should not be used as a substitute for or alternative to Church discipline. For instructions in these circumstances, see page 130.

When a Disciplinary Council Is Not Necessary

A disciplinary council normally is not necessary in the following instances.

Failure to Comply with Some Church Standards

A disciplinary council should not be held to discipline or threaten members who do not comply with the Word of Wisdom or whose transgressions consist of omissions, such as failure to pay tithing, inactivity in the Church, or inattention to Church duties.

Business Failures or Nonpayment of Debts

Leaders or members should not use the threat of Church discipline as a form of harassment or as a device to settle business controversies. Business failures and nonpayment of debts are not reasons for convening a disciplinary council. However, a disciplinary council may be held for deceptive practices, false representations, or other forms of fraud or dishonesty in business transactions.

Civil Disputes

Disciplinary councils should not attempt to resolve disputes over property rights or other civil controversies. However, if such a dispute involves accusations that a member has committed acts that would justify Church discipline, the accusations should be treated like any other accusations of transgression.

IF Church leaders are asked to help settle civil disputes, they should act as unofficial, private advisers and should not involve the Church.

Passage of Time

If a member voluntarily confesses a serious transgression that was committed long ago and his faithfulness and service in the intervening years have demonstrated full reformation and repentance, a disciplinary council often is unnecessary.


From your reading of the above instructions, do you feel that local Church leaders are justified in convening a Church court in cases of opposition to Prop 8 in California? For the purposes of our discussion, let us assume that the member has been quite active in his dissent, writing letters to Stake Presidents and Bishops expressing his disagreement with the Church's stance on this issue, and also being involved in collecting signatures online. Let us also assume that the member has been inactive in the Church for some time but has no other issues or transgressions which need to be addressed. Why do you think the Church should or should not hold a Disciplinary Council against such a person?

The Church Handbook gives three purposes of such discipline:
(1) to save the souls of transgressors
(2) to protect the innocent
(3) to safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church.

Do you think that holding a Church court in this instance would accomplish any of the above purposes?

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

So saying polygamy is not a sin and nowhere prohibited will get you a disciplinary council? What a crock.

JimD said...

I think it depends on the nature of the member's opposition. Details, please?

JimD said...

Ah, I didn't fully read your third-to-last paragraph.

I still think we don't have enough info. Tone is everything. The activities you mention don't *have* to lead to excommunication--but if they're full of accusations of "homophobia", warnings about "leading the church astray", attempts to twist church doctrine in order to support behavior the church has clearly denounced as sinful, or attacks on the validity of earlier revelations or the authority of the church leadership--I think there's a rational basis for suspecting apostasy, and there's nothing wrong with calling the guy into a counsel to explain himself.

JimD said...

Ack! That should be "council", of course.

Tom Rod said...

If you are actively fighting against the counsel of the First Presidency, then of course one would expect a church court to be convened.

As JimD said, if nothing else this is a chance to give an explanation for actions far contrary to the teachings of the Church.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Even though I have sympathies for those who are against Prop 8, and feel that it's an individual member's decision to vote NO without facing disciplinary action, I would almost expect disciplinary action if I were involved in a public campaign to recruit people to vote YES on it, especially if I were campaigning among Mormons in particular. I don't know whether this is the case of the individual you are referring to, but it wouldn't surprise me.

If I lived in CA, I honestly don't know whether I would be voting YES or NO. If I chose to vote NO, I think it's no one's business but my own, but even if I chose to vote NO, I wouldn't openly encourage other members to do so because I would almost expect to be called into a bishop's court.

I suppose it's sort of like abortion. If I were to be in favour of a woman's right to choose, regardless of the circumstances of the pregnancy, and supported abortion rights personally, I would never campaign for it because I know it's against Church policy. In such a case, I think that the Church would be justified in disciplinary action. However, if that were just my personal view, then I think I should be entitled to that view without facing discipline, unless it fell under the category of "submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for abortions."

The Faithful Dissident said...

Sorry, that was supposed to say:

"I would almost expect disciplinary action if I were involved in a public campaign to recruit people to vote NO on it."

I can never get the YES and NO sides straight. :)

G said...

I gotta get me one of those shirts!

Bored in Vernal said...

Jim D,
I know that local leaders will differ in their approach to this issue and also that much depends upon the tone and attitude of the member. So for discussion purposes, let's just narrow it down to what I have already described.

In the CHI, there are two points under "apostasy" which seem to apply to this case:

1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.

2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishops or higher authority

The Church has send a letter asking its CA members to support Prop 8. So is a member in another state who is trying to garner opposition to their stance "teaching information that is not Church doctrine," or "acting in public opposition to the Church?" Is it wise for the Church to take a doctrinal stand on gay marriage, considering that it may become law, and that many of its members support it?

And I am curious to know if any of you think this will contribute to safeguarding the good name of the Church, or if it might have just the opposite effect?

Andrew Callahan said...

In my case, this isn't quite so "hypothetical." My bishop came by last week, by assignment from the stake president, and offered me a chance to resign. When I declined, he told me unequivocally that he would be back to serve me with papers for a disciplinary council "pretty quick." That was eight days ago.

I actively contacted church leaders in an attempt to get them concerned enough with me that they would help me promote the website, Signing for Something http://www.signingforsomething.org/blog and they did. I have also written to members in three states directly, and asked them to visit that website.

The website is designed specifically for people to Speak Out against the First Presidency. I have also been gathering signatures on a petition. I don't remmeber if I have made accusations of "homophobia" (I might have), but I have said that the church's current policy is a policy of bigotry. I have also posted a YouTube video (in two parts) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeJtp0OEWRo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw70YMKCpYY in which I conclude with the statement that the church is "completely wrong" on its stance on gay marriage.

I am unapologetic. I believe that if there is a God, he is on my side on this issue, and therefore I refuse to resign my membership in the church.

So, as I say, it's not an "academic argument" in my case.

I am beginning to feel however, that the bishop's visit was all bark and no bite. That it was merely an attempt to intimidate me, and that no disciplinary council is on the horizon in the immediate future.

JimD said...

It’s hard for me to structure a well-organized, cohesive reply. Perhaps I’m better off just pitching out a series of thoughts (apologies in advance for the length):

a) It’s good, here, to be mindful of the distinction between civil gay rights (i.e. secular marriage, civil unions, inappropriate discrimination, hate crimes, etc) and ecclesiastical gay rights (redefinition of the Law of Chastity; administration of sacred ordinances to non-celibate gays). Support for the former does not necessarily entail support for the latter.

b) While we’re making distinctions, let’s also note the one between a council and actual excommunication. I think sometimes a council is a good idea simply to provide a forum in which to hear an issue out and clear the air, even if no discipline results.

c) Not to get all legalistic here, but I don’t think the church’s opposition to civil gay marriage is “doctrinal”. Our missionaries are not teaching the evils of civil same-sex marriage; it is not a part of the baptismal or TR interview; it’s not a part of church curriculum; and I don’t think anyone really believes that this issue will still dominate our Gospel Doctrine classes fifty years hence. Not the way, say, the Atonement, or faith, or exaltation, or the Law of Chastity will. (We will, however, hear about it as a part of a morality tale on the importance of following the prophet, much as we currently hear about Utah's role in revoking Prohibition. But I digress.)

d) I think the Church’s primary motive in supporting Prop 8 is to safeguard its own ability, in the long run, to continue to teach the Law of Chastity (especially vis a vis gays) in its current incarnation without government interference. (There may be a subsidiary concern about the environment in which children are raised, but then why didn’t we mobilize when states were beginning to legalize single-parent adoptions?)

e) The church’s support of Prop 8 may be taking things “a bridge too far”. On the other hand, it’s a battle that--if won--will end the war. If the church wins, it will be able to continue to teach (and, to some degree within its ranks, enforce) the Law of Chastity in its current incarnation for the foreseeable future. It’s a battle that, up until recently, was almost certainly winnable. And since the church now supports civil unions for gay couples, it would be a victory that (it believes) reasonable persons on the other side should be able to live with.

(But then again, if the gay marriage advocates win the day and thirty years from now their more ideologically advanced successors decide to mop up residual intolerance by taxing church assets, denying passports and visas to Mormon missionaries, and barring BYU students from getting federally-subsidized loans, the 2008 campaign will provide them plenty of fodder for their efforts to paint us as a “hate group”.)

f) The directive about “clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders” is hazy. I doubt this is an accident—the language was developed when a former Utah Supreme Court justice (Oaks) and a former Utah State Bar president (Faust) were among the members of the Twelve. It strikes me as a sort of “catch-all” provision for anyone who is being an a-hole but technically hasn’t committed an enumerated offense.

IMHO, the respectful, civil, doctrinally orthodox individual who refuses the bishop’s request to walk precincts for the Prop 8 campaign shouldn’t be in any more danger of excommunication than the respectful, civil, doctrinally orthodox individual who refuses the bishop’s request to contribute a pre-assessed amount to the Friends of Scouting drive.

g) Moreover, opposing Prop 8 (as long as one is not pushing for ecclesiastical gay rights) certainly does not constitute advocating false doctrine. It couldn’t--in order to identify “false” doctrine, you must understand and articulate what the conflicting “true” doctrine is. And there is no “true doctrine” about civil gay marriage, any more than there is any "true doctrine" about nuclear missiles, or medical marijuana, or the Fannie Mae takeover, or the best way to reduce violent crime.

h) Regarding “safeguarding the good name of the church”--the church’s current stance on civil gay rights is actually pretty tolerant (certainly we’re not pulling for an overthrow of Lawrence and the reinstitution of the old anti-sodomy laws. We now support civil unions, for heaven's sake!) We can’t help it if our opponents liken us to the KKK or accuse us of wanting to hook up the electrodes and zap those gays into straightness.

Andrew Callahan said...

jimd said "We can’t help it if our opponents . . . accuse us of wanting to hook up the electrodes and zap those gays into straightness."

The church has condoned and in fact encouraged this exact practice in the past, and has never repudiated it.

The "keep marriage SEPARATE from, BUT EQUAL to civil unions" is plain and simply NOT EQUAL and therefore NOT acceptable. If they are actually EQUAL, then let's call yours and my relationship CIVIL UNION, and our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters relationships MARRIAGE. If there is NO DIFFERENCE, then we shouldn't care, should we?

And, to be clear it is EXACTLY civil marriage that the church is opposed to on religious moral grounds. ("The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a husband and a wife united in the bonds of matrimony.") That's the church's RELIGIOUS moral teaching that it is attempting to infuse into civil law.

The church is just plain wrong on this one.

Bored in Vernal said...

Andrew!
Good to see you here.
I would think most local leaders would be very uncomfortable with one of their members organizing something to "speak out against the First Presidency." You might have more success by focusing on the issue itself in your rhetoric. I know that a lot of people who had problems with this issue went to the website to "Sign
For Something." It gave them a place to go with their dissent without having to jeopardize their membership (hopefully!)

JimD,
Thank you for your long response. The members I have spoken to who disagree with the Church's position in California are NOT trying to change the ecclesiatical definition of marriage or the Law of Chastity. But they prefer for the Church to stay out of the legal issue. I understand your point about safeguarding their rights to teach what they want. I just don't think allowing gays to marry would interfere with the rights of churches to teach and enforce their own definitions of morality. But I could be wrong.

I'm confused about your statement that the Church now supports civil unions for gay couples. Where are you getting this idea?

Lastly, you mentioned the accusation of "wanting to hook up the electrodes and zap those gays into straightness." As one of those who was at BYU when this very approach was being used in the early 1980's, I can certainly share the horror our detractors are coming from when they contemplate such affronts to human dignity. Sorry, but not too long ago we were still being taught that homosexuality was a chosen behavior. In an attempt to change behavior, Mormon researchers DID do those things. They didn't work.

JimD said...

I just don't think allowing gays to marry would interfere with the rights of churches to teach and enforce their own definitions of morality.

Oh, I agree--in the short run. It's a slippery slope argument, to be sure. The trouble is, as long as you've got "living constitutionists" on the bench and the remotest hint of ambiguity in a constitution, you can never be sure that that slippery slope won't happen. A constitution that means everything ultimately means nothing. I've heard enough rumblings from people on the other side of the debate to suggest that even now, it would please a lot of people to see the government step in and compel the church to change its position regarding ecclesiastical gay rights.

As I stated earlier, this may be a "bridge too far". But undeniably, if the church wins this, the process will be stopped dead in its tracks for the foreseeable future.

I'm confused about your statement that the Church now supports civil unions for gay couples. Where are you getting this idea?

Per The Divine Institution of Marriage:

"The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference."

Perhaps I read a bit too much into that, but to me it looks an awful lot like support for civil unions/domestic partnerships.

Lastly, you mentioned the accusation of "wanting to hook up the electrodes and zap those gays into straightness."

I'm not denying that it happened. I'm saying that I don't know a single Mormon who would bring the practice back now that we pretty much know it doesn't work. I just can't see how anyone who interacts with Mormons on a regular basis could argue (or hint) otherwise.

Abby said...

It's important to distinguish the types of councils held. There is a Bishop's council with his counselors - discipline is limited to Disfellowship. A member can only be excommunicated as a form of discipline before a High Counsel Council - i.e. where the Stake President presides over the meeting. So my question is, who's convening the council?

Abby said...

Oops sorry about the spelling - it should be Stake High Council.

Bored in Vernal said...

"The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights"

That's a long way from supporting civil unions, isn't it?

SilverRain said...

It is disingenuous to claim that the Church doctrine and current practices would not be affected. There is plenty of precedent* for the government to step in and revoke the Church's ability to marry its people if they do not extend marriages to gays, should same-sex marriage be made legal.

With this in mind, why shouldn't the Church get involved? We aren't lobbying, we aren't bribing, we are only campaigning for a particular cause. This is completely within our legal, tax-exempt rights. It is hypocritical to reject the Church's right to get involved in something that affects them, but make no complaint to the hundreds of private-interest lobbyists and other tax-exempt entities which put direct pressure on our politicians. It is considered not only right, but patriotic to vote against things you feel are against the country's best interests. Just because it is popular among those who consider themselves free-thinkers to support gay marriage, does not mean that it is stupid or wrong for others to disagree. That is the sort of conflict our country was created to allow.

Historically, such claims as "our way is the only right way, and those who disagree should be silenced," evil takes its course. The right of free speech extends itself to your enemies as much as to your compatriots.

Additionally, the Church is completely in line for removing someone from its ranks who openly and loudly disagrees with their basic tenets and counsel. We wouldn't expect the NAACP to allow KKK members in their ranks, or Democrats allow registered Republicans to vote in their primaries, why should the Church be held to a different standard? Why should they not be allowed to fight for what they believe in and to encourage others' support? Force would be wrong, but that is not an issue in this case.

*Doctor's license revoked for refusing to perform a fertility procedure on a lesbian and the recent revocation of the Catholic church's right to adopt children to whom they choose, among others.

Steven B said...

That's a long way from supporting civil unions, isn't it?

It would seem to be exclusive of civil unions except for the fact that those rights were facilitated through legal domestic partnerships. Take away the domestic partner status and those rights go away and would need to be secured through other means.

In my opinion, the LDS news room piece was very carefully worded. Wouldn't it be disingenuous of the church to say that it does not object to those particular rights, while at the same time quietly objecting to the domestic partnerships through which they were established?

Steven B said...

Silverrain: There is plenty of precedent for the government to step in and revoke the Church's ability to marry its people if they do not extend marriages to gays, should same-sex marriage be made legal.

Well, of course, Proposition 8 is not about making same-sex marriage legal. It is already legal in California and has been for years in Massachusetts. Prop 8 is about revoking that right and writing that revocation into the constitution of California so that the Judicial branch of the government cannot protect the rights of an oppressed minority.

But the precedents that you cited (somewhat inaccurately I would note) were not the result of legal same-sex marriage. Instead they were the result of anti-discrimination law established long before marriage was extended to gay and lesbian citizens. Similar conflicts between church and state would be unaffected by Proposition 8.

G said...

silverrain, ya my family feels the same way- ssm as an evil plot hatched by the sinister homosexuals to take away tax-exempt status from the church (blatant attempts to destroy God's work, etc...)

I do give you credit for not using the same language, for being a little more level headed in your argument than the people I share DNA with.

but really, about having MEMBERSHIP revoked? The real question is, would one get excommunicated from THE CHURCH for being a member of the NAACP or KKK or Democratic party or Republican party.
(the KKK? maybe. is there a precedent for that?)

comparing the church to one of those institutions (politics, race) is making it an even smaller tent than it already is.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"There is plenty of precedent* for the government to step in and revoke the Church's ability to marry its people if they do not extend marriages to gays, should same-sex marriage be made legal."

I've lived in both Canada and Norway and in both of these countries (province of Ontario, Canada), gay marriage is legal.

In both of these countries, a church or temple marriage is valid. I have never heard of any talk about the government denying us the right to continue performing marriages just because we won't perform a gay marriage. Neither have I heard any concern about it at church. I don't anticipate this happening. Norway has a state church (Lutheran) and certain priests have begun to perform gay marriages in the church, while others are adamantly against it. Currently, it's being left up to the individual priest to decide whether or not to allow it in his parish while the debate rages on, which I expect will lead to a final separation of church and state. However, the state church is different from our church. The gov't never dictates doctrine to us, not even about women not being allowed to have the priesthood, which is regarded as discrimination in the state church and by virtually every non-Mormon Norwegian (except for perhaps the few Catholics that live here). I don't think that people here are too interested in taking away any religious freedoms, but I know they fear that religion is dictating the law of the land.

Of course I think that traditional marriage is best and I wish that the definition of marriage would remain as it always has. However, I can't say that I feel threatened by gay marriage because it doesn't affect me or my freedom to worship or teach my family the values I view as correct. To be honest, I rarely even think about it and when the new marriage law came into effect here, it was pretty much a non-issue at church. I did hear about a handful of members who attended a protest outside of parliament, but I never heard any official encouragement to do so. If there was, then I missed it.

I think members here are so used to liberal policies, that we have to take the attitude that "if it doesn't affect me, my family, or my freedom of religion directly, then why get all upset over it?" Such an attitude leads to less contention and more tolerance/understanding/peace in society, in my opinion. Perhaps there is something to be learned from such an attitude.

I feel that I have every freedom to worship here as a Mormon as I did in Canada or would in the US without gov't interference. As well, our church has tax exempt status in both these countries, as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

Again with the Church's greased pole! They will not come out and hold council for this; if they do then they are in violation of their tax-exempt status. The leaders are liars but they are not stupid. If one faces such a reprimand from the Church and it is proven then it is the Church that would find itself in the hot seat that would jeopardize the apostles multimillion-dollar salaries for sitting on the board of properties owned by the mysterious “presidents Corporation”. This is a sly rumor deliberately spread without a paper trail so that the Church can “officially” deny it. Much the same as “official doctrines”. Let the apologists spread the hooey while the Church keeps quiet. If members can be convinced to believe it then they will walk off the cliff following each other like good little sheep one behind the other without any Shepard having to lead them. You can never get to the top on this one. Invest in lard; the Church will make the wise rich while they leave your gullible “brothers and sisters” bleeding at the bottom of a cliff. The Church needs to get that huge beam out of its eye.

David

Anonymous said...

Bored in Vernal,

You may be next for a Disciplinary Council for listing items from the Chruch "General Handbook of Instructions" on the internet. The only people to see this are leadership of the Church who hold the PH (ie, Stake Presidency, Bishop and higher). If your Stake President saw this he would have you take it down and if you don't you would get to have a nice meeting with the SP & HC for you know what, but remember the Church is still true.

Voice in the wildernes

Anonymous said...

Not "Voice in the wildernes"
but "voice in the Wilderness"

Bookslinger said...

What year (version) of the Handbook of Instructions is this from? I seem to remember reading something about membership in other churches and if I recall correctly, it was backward from the way this is worded; that membership in another church did (or does) constitute apostasy.

"Total inactivity in the Church or attending or holding membership in another church does not constitute apostasy. "

Did it change? And if so, which way did it change? Is the above wording the current wording or the previous wording?

I was thinking of making a donation to the local Hindu Temple, for which they make you a member. You don't have to profess anything about Hinduism, you just pay your dues, and "poof" you're a member of their temple, and you get discounted admittance to their various events.

Tim Malone said...

"Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, distorts loving relationships, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to church discipline." CHI p.187

Andrew, is it worth giving up your membership in the church because you feel that "the church is just plain wrong on this one"? Perhaps that visit from the bishop was to give you time to think over what you are doing. Most members see it as a moral issue, just as the First Presidency stated in their letter. I can't imagine being willing to go to the mat with the prophet on this one. But it seems as if your mind is made up.

Tim Malone said...

Update: Andrew reports on his blog that he received the letter from his Stake President inviting him to attend the disciplinary council which will be held this Friday evening, 26 Sep 08.

Chino Blanco said...

One minor quibble:

Apostasy apparently requires repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.

What if a member's opposition to Prop 8 is a first-time and one-time deal?

In other words, what if such a member has no intention of ever repeating their opposition as long as a similar initiative never again shows up on their ballot?

Problem solved.

Bookslinger said...

Andrew has other agendas going on, per a link on T&S's sidebar. This isn't his first trip into the DAMU.

RAP08 said...

Abby - To clarify the information you are trying to share. The Bishopric can only excomunicate members who do not hold the Melchizedek priesthood. So Andrew, as a high priest, was invited to meet with the Stake Presidency and High Council.

RACHEL ALTON said...

It is not the church's place to ask members in different states to call voters in California. The church can potentially lose its tax-exempt status if it attempts to influence politics, with or without using church money. I realize that a lot of churches do this, but none have already experienced the kind of persecution that the Mormon church has. The church can have a stance, but needs to protect itself against becoming "of" the world in this way.