The Lack of Fellowship

discrimination Ethics excommunication Family Freedom Homosexuality Power Values

I am sure that some of you have seen Peggy Fletcher Stack’s report about Peter and Mary Danzig who felt that they had to resign from the LDS Church to follow their conscience. Those of you who know a little bit about me, will not be surprised to learn that the Danzig’s experience strikes a chord in me, since I was motivated by similar concerns to question my persuasion regarding Mormonism.

However, I have to admit that I was surprised by the response of Bill Bradshaw to Peggy Fletcher Stack’s enquiry. Bradshaw, a retired BYU biology professor said:

“Now I can’t sit in church next to Peter and Mary and their kids and I can’t sit next to gay members of the church who they were defending. The bottom line is I don’t have the fellowship of loving people and that’s a hurt for me.”

Attempts by the Brethren to punish speech, be it by scholars or aggrieved members, is not only illiberal but rents the fabric of our community. When we fear sharing our experiences of God’s creation and our feelings for our neighbors then our community becomes dysfunctional. Silence shelters abusers. Denial leads to suicide.

Sadly, too many children have been exposed to rape and self-destruction at church. Had people not been intimidated to speak out, some of that might have been averted. Less sensational but much more prevalent are self-censorship and loneliness in Mormon meetings.

As if Mormonism were trapped in a Greek tragedy, our leaders are trying so hard to protect themselves and the church that they are bringing out the worst in Mormonism. In the process, they are damaging the Saints more than any enemy ever could.

Thank God for the Danzigs and Bill Bradshaw who love their neighbors more than they fear the powerful. Their integrity gives me hope for Mormonism.

12 thoughts on “The Lack of Fellowship

  1. Question: Do LDS GAs/COB ‘really’ think things are going to be/get better with these policies/practices???
    (just exactly) How would that Work?

    (as Hellmut says:)

    Empty suits do not make gentlemen.
    Fake smiles express no kindness.
    Cheesy stories aren’t wisdom.
    And power is no substitute for class and competence.

  2. SR: FALSE

    leaders can Ex you for ANY REASON they DAMN WELL PLEASE, AND THEY DONT HAVE TO GIVE A REASON AT ALL.
    tscc is soooooooooooooooo GRRRRRRRRRRRR
    about controlling/manipulating/intimidating members….I don’t see how ANYONE stands it!!
    PROVEN: they have to go ‘over the edge’ (perverted sex/TRQs, 80’s) before they catch themselves….
    It’s just a PR Factory, boys & gurls.

  3. What happened to the Danzigs doesn’t appear to be a general policy. Part of the injustice of the situation is that their excommunication was probably the result of a personality conflict between them and their church leaders. Local leaders are given latitude to discipline members as they see fit. Church discipline is therefore not evenhanded, lacking strong guidelines.

  4. I think that you are right, Jonathan, that tensions with local leaders can play a role in LDS courts. However, in the case of the Danzigs, every indication is that the First Presidency initiated and reviewed the prosecution.

    Peggy Fletcher Stack reports, for example, that Michael Watson, the secretary of the First Presidency, instructed the orchestra director to investigate Peter Danzig. Peter Danzig says that he and his local leaders had reached an accommodation several times only for church officers to back out.

    Just like the September Six excommunications, the Danzig’s persecution came from the top.

  5. This is unusual. The church doesn’t usually comment on this kind of thing, but I guess that a very unflattering news story changes that.

    Truth be told, if you read his whole story, it seems that Mr. Danzig had a chip on his shoulder against the Mormon church because he felt that his father had been mistreated by them years ago. He’s gotten his revenge now.

  6. Thanks for the link, dpc.

    In light of that statement, we do not need to speculate what Peter Danzig may and may not have done to get threatened with excommunication. He disagreed with the First Presidency about the so called marriage amendment. That’s it.

    According to LDS spokespersons that is sufficient to warrant excommunication or the threat thereof.

    By the way, it’s not about revenge. It’s about taking responsibility for abuse in our own community.

  7. The biggest shock for me is that the church commented about it, even using his name…

    No formal action was taken by the church, maybe that will be their out if they are asked about future issues.

  8. He disagreed with the First Presidency about the so called marriage amendment. That’s it.

    More specifically, he disagreed with the First Presidency about the amendment, publicly condemned the Church specifically for its position and was not persuaded to change his mind (via “discussion” with “love and concern”–a somewhat Orwellian characterization of reality, but that’s another story). Clearly, the way to oppose the marriage amendment and retain your church membership is to leave the church out of your public discussion of the issue. Of course, some people find that option less than satisfying.

  9. Bradshaws comment makes me think that everday members may not that bothered by same gender marriage. I think this is where North American society is going. This is a non-issue for young people. Morally and culturally the Brethren are on the wrong side of this issue.

    The churches destiny may have always been as per Hellmut comment:

    As if Mormonism were trapped in a Greek tragedy, our leaders are trying so hard to protect themselves and the church that they are bringing out the worst in Mormonism. In the process, they are damaging the Saints more than any enemy ever could.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *