Friday, April 04, 2014

My Thoughts on John Dehlin Leaving the Church

Throughout history there have been cultural agitators who have dared to speak "truth to power", who stand unafraid, without the filter of anonymity before that power and expose the raw truth to the world. Luther, Gandhi, King and Chaves come to mind. While the Mormon world is much smaller and the hoped change of little importance in the grand scale of human history it is important to those who are affected inside this culture.

John’s agitation of Mormon hierarchy, his exposure of institutional historical whitewashing and its lack of accountability and transparency, his fearless open questioning of authority completely blindsided Mormonism’s so called prophets, seers and revelators. He caught them completely unprepared in a new internet world where some random guy from Logan could start a podcast that had the audacity to actually ask questions and expect an answer.

John became the voice for those within Mormonism’s spire who had no voice; the disaffected, the LDS- LGBQT’s, its feminists and those struggling within mix religion marriages. Not only was he their voice, he became their therapist someone who actually “got it”, who understood the struggle within the culture. He was the voice that made us feel that we weren’t crazy after all for questioning the church.

Did he do it perfectly? No. Has he accomplished every change he’s hoped? Of course not…but he has made a difference…how many of us or those who are so quick to criticize him can say that we’ve made a difference on so great a scale within the small closed world of Mormon society. John has been that voice prodding the corporate church to carve out a small place within their tent for allow for cultural Mormonism to exist side by side with faithful believing Mormons as one grand culture of Mormon's both believers and non-believers, both orthodox and unorthodox, gay and together in peace with each other.

I for one will be forever thankful that I found Mormon Stories and John Dehlin that one day some 12 years ago when I was struggling to make sense of the fractured world of Mormonism. John was real, he was unafraid to challenge, to ask the difficult questions and demand truth from power.

Does anyone really think that if not for people like John the church would be making the subtle changes that it is making today? Would woman really be offering prayers in General Conference? Would the church have shifted its stance of homosexuality acknowledging nature over nurture? Would GA’s really be out conducting recue meeting in far flung corners of Mormonism if not for people like John?

John has been that annoying mosquito pestering church authorities, demanding accountability from an institution that demands unquestioning devotion and obedience of it's male hierarchy. He was the right man at the right time.

Thank you John…for all you have done for our community I personally wish you peace where ever your life path take you.


Anonymous said...

John hasn't left the church. He says he will never leave it by choice. And so far, the church has only threatened to excommunicate him, on the condition that he didn't comply to their shameful list of requirements. He responded he would only do some things they suggested. They replied, ok, they'll go with a "wait and see" approach. So ... the drama continues.

Cr@ig said...

You are of course the time of this was rumored that he was considering leaving on his own...this rumor turned out not to be true...thanks for your comment