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Embattled Mormon blogger leaves LDS Church

Published October 30, 2012 5:53 pm

David Twede • The Florida editor had been summoned to a disciplinary council.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Rather than wait for possible excommunication from the LDS Church, Mormon blogger David Twede has resigned his membership in the Utah-based faith.

Twede — who was accused of apostasy for writing critical Web essays about LDS history, temple worship and contemporary issues — took the action during an "open mic session" last week at the Exmormon Foundation's annual conference at the DoubleTree Suites in Salt Lake City.

"While I've been in serious doubt about the veracity of LDS claims for some time, I had become so disillusioned with how my situation was handled," Twede wrote Monday in an email, "that I just wanted to be free."

Twede is managing editor of http://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 that the threatened church action was due to his Romney remarks. 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 comments had triggered the now-delayed disciplinary council.

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 the website's section discussing LDS temple ceremonies.

By the end of September, the disciplinary council had been postponed indefinitely.

Even so, Twede said in his latest email that "the disenfranchisement I felt increased," adding that such experiences, he said, "led me to the personal certainty that church leaders at all levels are not divinely inspired."

The community of former Mormons, Twede said, was "loving and accepting in ways I hadn't felt recently as a member. Resigning has been a big sense of relief."

The LDS Church declined to comment Monday on Twede's situation, spokesman Scott Trotter said, but added that "church leaders are always saddened when an individual, whether through his or her actions or personal choices, decides to leave the church. A welcoming hand of fellowship is always extended to those who wish to return at anytime."

pstack@sltrib.com