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Conservative Mormons, like progressives, in church cross hairs

More members are facing scrutiny

for online comments and activism.



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Jan Shipps, a retired American religion scholar in Indiana and an expert on Mormonism, said she’s not surprised by the spate of disciplinary actions.

"The fact they are going in both directions [against conservatives and progressives]," Shipps said, "makes me think the church is finally coming to grips with the fact the Internet is changing the situation."

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Here are others Mormons disciplined in recent months or facing church censure:

• Will Carter of Indio, Calif., was excommunicated in April after his blog, In 200 Words or Less, and conversations with fellow Mormons led his bishop to accuse him of apostasy. Carter said in an interview that he openly wondered how the church could better help those whose testimonies were rocked by information found on the internet and he openly spoke about one of Snuffer’s books, which he found "positively inspiring and truth-filled." His bishop’s idea, he said, "was for me to shut up, to not tell anybody."

• Brent Larsen of Utah County wrote on the blog LDSFreedomForum.com that he was excommunicated in February for claiming Snuffer is a prophet in the way that all faithful members can receive prophecy and for espousing other views popularized by Snuffer.

• Tim Malone of Ventura, Calif., said he has met four times with his LDS bishop. He said they will meet again Tuesday, along with his stake president, for counseling over his lay leaders’ concerns about his blog, latterdaycommentary.com. Malone said he already gave up his temple recommend last winter because he could not affirm that he does not sympathize with apostates — Snuffer in particular. "I want to be respectful and … do all I can to follow their direction, but I just feel strongly I’m doing something good with this blog. I’m not going to be silenced."

• Kate Kelly has said her parents had their temple recommends yanked after they refused to take down their profiles from the Ordain Women website. Kelly, who is living in Provo with her parents before she and her husband move to Kenya, said her mother also was removed from her calling in the LDS women’s Relief Society.

• Dana, a Virginia woman who asked that her last name not be used because her family remains in the church, said her bishop began requesting a meeting in May, shortly after she posted a profile on Ordain Women’s website. She also anonymously posted criticisms of the church on the PostMormon.org website. Rather than face a disciplinary council, she said, she, her husband and two children resigned their Mormon memberships this month.

• Kevin Kloosterman, a former LDS bishop in Illinois whose temple recommend was denied last winter because of his LGBT activism, said a crackdown appears underway, even if he doesn’t know the source. "I’ve noticed a change in tone over the last six to eight months," he said, in statements from some church leaders and spokesmen.

• Cache County resident John Dehlin, who created a popular website and podcast series called "Mormon Stories," is scheduled to meet June 29 with his stake president.


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kmoulton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KristenMoulton



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