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The Mormon question now: Who might be next?
Religion » Ordain Women founder says her parents lost their temple recommends; she wonders if other supporters might be at risk, too.

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D. Michael Quinn, who was tossed out at that time for his research on Mormon history, is one of them.

"This gives the lie to everything I’ve been telling reporters for the past five years — that the Internet had made this kind of repressiveness untenable, even if compassion and good sense didn’t," Quinn said in an interview from Southern California. "Once an organization adopts repressive methods, it’s really tough to give them up."

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Quinn, an independent researcher, still believes in Mormonism, he said. "It’s a divine institution run by the damned human race."

Mormon sociologist Armand Mauss finds differences between the two eras.

"The church in recent years has clearly been changing some of its policies — and a lot of its rhetoric in meetings and manuals, in an effort to accommodate the concerns of outspoken feminists and their quieter allies, as well as homosexual members and those who have been their defenders," Mauss said from Irvine, Calif. "I think the latest disciplinary councils (if they actually result in excommunication) simply represent [an effort] to draw the line more emphatically between dissent (even public dissent), on the one hand, and organized movements seeking to bring pressure for change upon the church leaders, on the other hand."

Ordain Women represents the latter, Mauss added. "Certainly there have been a lot of feminist blogging, writing and conferences for years promoting feminist objectives, some of it pretty strident, but not until OW have disciplinary actions been threatened, as far as I know. ... Official toleration for such dissent in 2014 seems to me much greater than it was two decades ago."

Dehlin hopes his supporters won’t leave the faith as an act of symbolic sympathy.

"Don’t resign in my name," he told Trib Talk viewers. "Do what makes you happy and healthy."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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