Mormon man faces excommunication over website, support for gay marriage

John Dehlin BRADY McCOMBS [ap]

John Dehlin sits in his basement studio where he broadcasts his podcast at his home in North Logan, Utah. Dehlin is a Mormon who is well-known for advocating for gay rights and questioning some church policies.John Zsiray, AP

John Dehlin sits in his basement studio where he broadcasts his podcast from his home in North Logan, Utah. Dehlin is a Mormon who is well-known for advocating for gay rights and questioning some church policies.

SALT LAKE CITY — A lifelong Mormon well-known for running a website that provides a forum for church members questioning their faith said Thursday he is set to be kicked out of the religion.

John Dehlin of Logan said a regional church leader informed him Wednesday night that a disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25, at which Dehlin is likely to be censured or excommunicated.

Excommunication is rare and amounts to the harshest punishment available for a church member.

Dehlin said he was told last year that his website Mormonstories.org and his public support of same-sex marriage were reasons he is being accused of apostasy, defined by the church as “repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine.”

Dehlin has released letters from the church leader that were given to him in August and this month. The letters focus on Dehlin’s questioning of key church doctrine, the forum he provides via the website for doubters, and him becoming an ordained minister in another faith.

The documents do not mention his support for gay marriage.

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Dehlin says he would like to remain a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but won’t give up the website or pull back his support for gays and lesbians. He has faced church discipline multiple times over the past decade.

“I still love the church, I still love Mormonism,” Dehlin said. “But I would certainly rather be excommunicated than violate my conscience.”

Officials with the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement they won’t discuss Dehlin’s case out of privacy concerns.

Spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement that church leaders have clearly spelled out the reasons for the discipline in letters to Dehlin, leaving it up to Dehlin to release the documents.

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