Thoughts on John R’s Excommunication
So, another LDS-nonbeliever is getting ex’d for blogging! First there was simian, whose excommunication caused quite a stir in the Bloggernacle at the time (though I can’t find the relevant posts anymore — I think they were on an earlier incarnation of his blog, which he has deleted). Now it’s John R’s turn!
His wife asks about the implications for bloggers and other online communication. Personally, I don’t think this adds much to the current precedent on ex’ing people for what they write in published material. It just makes it clearer that — despite the personal, informal style of blogging — publishing on the Internet is closer to publishing in a journal or book than it is to just having a loud conversation in public.
There are a few other intriguing points John brought up in his post, though:
This is the first time Ive stood toe-to-toe with a Mormon leader and felt like his complete equal in every way. Its liberating to not feel beholden to Church authority and priesthood power.
This jumps out at me because it’s so alien to my own experience. Have other former believers felt like John has here? The last time the church leaders held any power over me, it was at BYU, where they had power to do real things to me, like expel me and withhold my transcripts, not just woo-stuff like withholding the keys to the Celestial Kingdom, etc. And before that, church leaders had authority over me because they were grown-ups and I was a kid. To me, John’s statement would be like me being surprised that high school teachers are now my peers, when once they were so intimidating.
We own our temple experiences as much as any current or former Mormon, and the Church has no right to silence us.
This, by contrast, I totally relate to! I haven’t been through the endowment myself, but so often Mormons seem to think that talking about your experiences in Mormonism from an apostate POV is somehow unfair to the faithful — that somehow disagreement takes away your rights to your own memories. As I’ve asked a million times: Whose childhood am I supposed to write about??
That said, I think Mormons who say “you have no business talking about Mormonism if you’ve left the church” just haven’t thought about it. Pointing out that that doesn’t make sense (in a friendly, civil way), usually has a positive effect.
And now for the obligatory me-me-me question: Where’s my church court?? I know you LDS Inc. guys read my blogs because I can see your COB IP addresses in my logs! Not that I want to get ex’d or anything. Actually, it might be inconvenient at the moment, given that I’m going to the Sunstone Symposium! (That sort of thing doesn’t give you extra cred with the Sunstone folks, does it?)
Of course, I don’t think I’ve written anything excommunication-worthy on the Internet. This is not by design, I’m just intrinsically inoffensive. Plus, they know they would just be giving me free material… 😉