John Dehlin's excommunication isn't personal for me the way it is for other listeners of Mormon Stories podcast. I've tuned in a few times on issues I've been sketchy on like Adam-God Theory, women in the priesthood, the Book of Abraham, Mormon purity culture, etc., but I am not a regular listener.
I visited the Dehlin home briefly in 2003, when a young man I'd dated, a nephew of Dehlin, moved abruptly from the North Country where we were attending LDS University of Choice-North Campus, to the Seattle area with his uncle and his family. I met Margi and her children, briefly. And then I spent a weekend traveling the Northwest coast with this young man, going to concerts of a musical artist we both loved. It was a road trip that cost me my membership in the LDS church for four years. For the young man involved, he embarked on an LDS mission less than a year later.
Dehlin's family, this young man, and I all have one thing in common: we are what a lot of people in our faith would pejoratively refer to as "intellectuals," meaning we read, we think, we reason. And for each of us we've had to make decisions about what to do with the information that is now available to all LDS members via the internet. I can't speak for Dehlin's nephew, but he holds a place on the web as an LDS musician, blogger, and psychological scientist. Dehlin speaks for himself. For me, I still struggle. There are many doubts that I share with Dehlin. I am hardly part of the orthodoxy. But I'm here, and I'm here because I chose to stay. What I worry about is the isolation and marginalization of myself and many of my friends in academia who are debating what to do about our own Mormon Stories.
Mr. PNU and I hold fast to our place in the community, and our personal relationships with Christ. But we are grappling with reason, because reason doesn't support the historicity of the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Abraham, or many aspects of the mythology of our faith. We hold that these things may still be tools in conveying truth, but what is 'truth', really?
I will probably be extracting my ward member's from my Facebook, I admit, out of fear.
Today is a hard, hard day.