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Disciplinary hearing delayed for Mormon blogger

Published October 1, 2012 9:29 am

Religion • Man has criticized LDS Church history, Mitt Romney.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Mormon blogger — accused of apostasy for writing critical web essays about LDS history, temple worship and contemporary issues — has been given a reprieve, for now.

The church disciplinary council set for Sunday to decide whether to excommunicate David Twede has been postponed "due to scheduling conflicts," Allan Pratt, Twede's LDS stake president in Florida, said in a statement Thursday. "It will be rescheduled for a later date."

Twede is managing editor of MormonThink.com, where most of his critical pieces, including ones about GOP presidential nominee and fellow Mormon Mitt Romney, have appeared.

On Sept. 16, officials in the LDS Hunters Creek Stake in Orlando, Fla., gave Twede a letter, summoning him to a church disciplinary council for "apostasy," which they attributed to his writings.

The Florida blogger initially told the news media last week that the threatened church action was due to his comments about Romney. Hours later, Twede told The Salt Lake Tribune his LDS leaders never brought up the candidate in their exchange with him. The next day, Twede returned to "a feeling in [his] gut" that his Romney remarks had triggered the now-delayed disciplinary council.

Twede said he now believes his local LDS leaders are postponing his displinary council "until after the [Nov. 6] election. But that's just a guess."

LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy has vehemently denied that any Mormon would be disciplined "for having questions or for expressing a political view."

The Utah-based faith trumpets a strict stance of neutrality in partisan politics.

Others suggested that the action might have been sparked by MormonThink's section discussing LDS temple ceremonies and their connection to Masonic rites, with links to photos and text of Mormon temple rituals.

Scott Gordon, president of a group of Mormon defenders called FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research), said he believed Twede was going to his LDS meetings to try and shake the faith of members he met there. Scott said he forwarded his concerns about Twede to "a list of friends, including some who work in the LDS Church Office Building."

But, Gordon insisted, none of them was a Mormon general authority.

"While these things are never pleasant, I hope this experience has allowed both parties to talk," Gordon said Thursday about the postponed council. "I wish David Twede well."

Twede bears no ill will toward FAIR, he wrote in his email. "Scott Gordon has a job to do, and he is trying his best at it." But he hopes Gordon and other Latter-day Saints will recognize "the value of what I hope to attain."

Twede proposes that all "charitable, giving and loving" Mormons go to church Sunday, "wearing paisley" — rather than, say, the typical white shirt — as a symbol of their desire "to reform the [church's] businesslike strategy into charitable action."

The Florida blogger plans to go to his own LDS services on Sunday, too, he said. "Yes, I will support the cause of the poor. My sons and I are also hoping to volunteer in the community this Sunday as well."

pstack@sltrib.com

Facebook:peggy.fletcherstack

Twitter:@religiongal