No, I have to admit, I was actually surprised when I heard that the CoJCoL-dS excommunicated Natasha Helfer. And then I was immediately surprised that I was surprised. She fits the triple-criteria-set that is a guaranteed path to excommunication:
- She has a large following,
- She publicly corrects the wrong statements of church leaders in a sincere attempt to help the church improve,
- She actually cares whether she’s a member or not.
If you are a member of the CoJCoL-dS and you check these three boxes, you’ll be receiving your disciplinary love letter sooner or later.
In Natasha’s case, she read the charges against her in this short video she posted to YouTube:
I think the key points that annoyed the CoJCoL-dS were that she was telling people to stop shaming teens (and others) for masturbating and that you may object to porn on the basis of your values, but it’s not an addiction.
It’s actually kind of funny to me that they’re so attached to treating porn as an addiction. You would think that merely saying “it’s a sin” and/or “God doesn’t like it” would be sufficient for a church.
But my experience is that believing Mormons like to have external corroboration to demonstrate that living an LDS lifestyle isn’t just righteous — it’s objectively better and healthier than any other life choices. So Mormonism helpfully taught you porn is a sin because it’s addictive, therefore inherently bad. Too bad for them the data won’t cooperate on this point.
Then there was this quote from the SLTrib article that I know I shouldn’t think is funny:
“I’ve felt for decades that excommunication or removal of members was unnecessary except in criminal or abusive situations,” [supporter Jody England Hansen] said.
“Anything that is done because of differences is spiritual violence.”
Membership removal, Hansen added, “goes against what the gospel of Christ is — and against what the church I love is about.”
Famous last words. Tick tock, tick tock.
But seriously, if you love the church, I hope for your sake that you don’t have too many followers that you’re broadcasting this sort of statements to…