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Church discipline proceedings on a member who no longer lives in the stake boundaries?


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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That is a very odd claim.  I know of several men who have returned to the Church after excommunication.

I knew one personally, the other I knew to look at.  They both came back after excommunication and if you believe it or not they both became Branch Presidents. I however do not recommend excommunication as a pathway to progress.

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3 minutes ago, Metis_LDS said:

I knew one personally, the other I knew to look at.  They both came back after excommunication and if you believe it or not they both became Branch Presidents. I however do not recommend excommunication as a pathway to progress.

Yeah, the anecdotal experience of people here is more of a mirror into people than anything else. The disaffected live in a different universe or something. Many return from excommunication through the repentance process. It is not humiliating for most (the leaders involved move heaven and earth to avoid this), and in the overwhelming majority of cases, the subject not only completely supports and initiates the process, he wants it. It gives closure, hope, surety (because of submission to the keys and others. No more soul-wrenching over whether you've put everything on the table or not). 

These apostate, media-driven, self-promoting ones are a tiny minority, and they are the ones that get media and social media play. I think they give a very skewed view of things, by design (the process is used as a foil and a wedge against the Church). People who are sorry and repentant never seem to have candlelight vigils, petitions, etc. at their disciplinary councils. I wonder why that is. ;) 

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9 minutes ago, rongo said:

Yeah, the anecdotal experience of people here is more of a mirror into people than anything else. The disaffected live in a different universe or something. Many return from excommunication through the repentance process. It is not humiliating for most (the leaders involved move heaven and earth to avoid this), and in the overwhelming majority of cases, the subject not only completely supports and initiates the process, he wants it. It gives closure, hope, surety (because of submission to the keys and others. No more soul-wrenching over whether you've put everything on the table or not). 

These apostate, media-driven, self-promoting ones are a tiny minority, and they are the ones that get media and social media play. I think they give a very skewed view of things, by design (the process is used as a foil and a wedge against the Church). People who are sorry and repentant never seem to have candlelight vigils, petitions, etc. at their disciplinary councils. I wonder why that is. ;) 

I see this, but I guess I don't agree with it for certain cases. Like I guess Natasha didn't sin, IMO.

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Also, it is somewhat unusual for her DC to be conducted by the stake instead of her bishop.

I thought the rules were changed so all are done by the stake...at least if endowed. 

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

If her sins were so egregious why did it take him  18 months after she moved to call the DC?

It is possible someone in her old stake recently reported behaviour that the SP felt needed addressing in their own counseling session...perhaps she counseled someone they should leave the Church for example. 

Edited by Calm
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31 minutes ago, rongo said:

What are your thoughts about the recent change basically eliminating the high council from the process? It's mostly going to be just the stake presidency or bishopric. Do you see this as a step towards a "more loving, private and compassionate process?" Or, is your only goal eliminating the ability to remove and restrict membership in any way, worlds without end?

Are you really advocating for what used to be called "informal probation" (via a one-on-one with the bishop) being the only thing that can ever be done?

I almost cried when the church made this change.  I fully support it and see it as a step in a more compassionate loving direction. I just don't believe it went far enough. But I ask this question in return.  What would the repentance process look like if it were designed to fully minister to the one who committed the sin instead of designed to serve the interests of the institutional church?  How could it be designed to provide more love and compassion for the individual and still achieve its end goals of helping the individual return to full worthiness? 

We've all been taught the steps of repentance since we were children. Acknowledging the sin, confess the sin, turn away from the sin and make restitution. Yet when the sinner begins the repentance process, this simple scripture based process is thrown out the window and comes face to face with the institutional churches more painful, jump through more hoops and take a pound of flesh repentance process. Why is it necessary to add to what the scriptures have taught or to add to what even Jesus taught through His example?

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I see this, but I guess I don't agree with it for certain cases. Like I guess Natasha didn't sin, IMO.

No, her case is definitely in the "apostasy" pile, not the "sin" pile.

As has been said earlier in the thread, her views on their own wouldn't get her in trouble, in and of themselves. It is her public advocacy and criticism of the Church that is the problem. People on this thread who agree with all or many of her points aren't giving interviews, making videos, on John Dehlin's board, and rallying the troops for petitions. 

This is the classic celebrity disciplinary council trajectory. You can bet that there are going to be candlelight vigils at the stake center. If she's smart, she won't do selfie videos with Mike Norton about it. ;)   Think Sam Young will show up in Kansas and self-promote?

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1 minute ago, rongo said:

No, her case is definitely in the "apostasy" pile, not the "sin" pile.

As has been said earlier in the thread, her views on their own wouldn't get her in trouble, in and of themselves. It is her public advocacy and criticism of the Church that is the problem. People on this thread who agree with all or many of her points aren't giving interviews, making videos, on John Dehlin's board, and rallying the troops for petitions. 

This is the classic celebrity disciplinary council trajectory. You can bet that there are going to be candlelight vigils at the stake center. If she's smart, she won't do selfie videos with Mike Norton about it. ;)   Think Sam Young will show up in Kansas and self-promote?

I do agree somewhat, but the church seems to be shooting themselves in the foot by even bringing these situations to light by going after them. 

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5 minutes ago, rongo said:

I think it's as simple as this is now on the Brethren's radar (whereas she wasn't on the radar before), and it has been brought to the attention of the stake presidents involved. While there will be the standard boilerplate that it is strictly a local matter, in high profile cases, I don't believe this is true. The Brethren don't dictate the outcome of the councils (cf. Gina Colvin and Grant Palmer), but most stake presidents are not going to want to go against the clear concern of the Brethren.

She has been around for a long time doing and saying the same things. The church must really not be paying attention if they didn't know about her before. That seems like a bit of a cop-out justification for the church. I really don't buy it.

The short-notice travel requirements are a problem --- an actual problem, and a PR problem (Kate Kelly's, too). This could be remedied by putting it further out, but even then, I don't know that I would fly out if the outcome were fairly certain. If it were me, I would want to attend personally even then, but then, I wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place. 

Yes- the travel expense and inconvenience is a real issue.

I am absolutely against Zoom disciplinary councils, so it has to be in person. To be honest, in both Kelly's and now this case, she could reasonably easily fly out. She might have to reschedule some things, but it would be done in a matter of a few hours. Financially, she makes a lot more than I do, that's for sure, and even I could fly out somewhere if I needed to. I think the protests on the part of the subjects are part of the PR battle over it --- leveraging public opinion against the council, and against the Church. 

I agree. Zoom isn't great. What one person finds to be a reasonable inconvenience and expense doesn't necessarily apply to another person.

What if the stake presidency offered to fly out to her (high councils are no longer required)? That might be a way to defuse the travel requirement. But then it would beg the question of why not just have the Utah stake presidency do it in the first place. I wonder if they are perceived as less of a "hanging judge" in this matter (and I'm just wondering --- I have no knowledge, either way). 

If they are going to require a DC out of state I think they should fly her out. Better yet, just have her current SP hold the council.

Can you please name some of these (for my own interest)? For example, I would say that the Church's stance on masturbation has not been changed, based on this from the current FtSoY:

"Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body."

I believe the mstrubation language is different and softer than it used to be. and I believe it has been removed from sins which must be confessed. I'm not claiming she's the reason for that but it does show that part of what she was opposed to has changed. Another area was about language around p0rn "addiction" versus "habit".

Not with a recent handbook change (assuming that she's endowed). Bishops pretty much have prospective elders and unendowed people now. Also, high profile cases are certain to be under the stake presidency now. 

That's interesting. I didn't know that.

 

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6 minutes ago, Calm said:

It is possible someone in her old stake recently reported behaviour that the SP felt needed addressing in their own counseling session...perhaps she counseled someone they should leave the Church for example. 

If it was a recent development why would there have been a hold on her membership record.

Even so, if a member complains about me to my old bishop/SP 18 months after I move, it really doesn't concern them any more. If the SP really is worried he can reach out to the new SP to talk about it.

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33 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

No it isn't. Again, you want to deny a church its autonomy.  The basic thought there is any church has complete freedom to specify conditions of membership. 

I'm not denying the church its autonomy. I don't have the power to do that.

The church can do whatever it wants to its members (as evidenced by this case). I don't dispute that. But I have my own autonomy to criticize them for what I perceive as abuse.

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2 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I almost cried when the church made this change.  I fully support it and see it as a step in a more compassionate loving direction. I just don't believe it went far enough. But I ask this question in return.  What would the repentance process look like if it were designed to fully minister to the one who committed the sin instead of designed to serve the interests of the institutional church?  How could it be designed to provide more love and compassion for the individual and still achieve its end goals of helping the individual return to full worthiness? 

I think it would look like it looks now. More on this below.

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

We've all been taught the steps of repentance since we were children. Acknowledging the sin, confess the sin, turn away from the sin and make restitution. Yet when the sinner begins the repentance process, this simple scripture based process is thrown out the window and comes face to face with the institutional churches more painful, jump through more hoops and take a pound of flesh repentance process. Why is it necessary to add to what the scriptures have taught or to add to what even Jesus taught through His example?

Sins of the disciplinary council variety need priesthood keys and formality. They are beyond simply asking God for forgiveness, and for those who try this for decades, the hens come home to roost and they are brought to the process after decades of pain. I have a lot of experience with this. The first stake president I served under marveled that I was his "hanging judge" (I had far more excommunications and disfellowshipments than any other ward). But, I also had far more rebaptisms and reinstatements (which also require a convened disciplinary council). This wasn't because I was seeking out all the sinners in my ward; for some reason, many people were drawn to finally resolve things they had left unresolved in many previous wards and stakes. And the approach from the first meeting was, "Let's get all of this resolved the right way." They had support, they had hope, and they knew why there was this whole process. For people who have been wracked with guilt for years and have worried about their standing with God, even after much prayer, it's comforting and liberating to be able to put everything on the table with a third party they believe has keys, and to submit to a formal process so they know that they have paid the utmost farthing. 

We chose to move into the ward I was made a bishop a second time because of our bishop, who was on the high council when a brother from my ward was excommunicated (our stake president always invited the bishop to come and give input). He and others reached out to him after this, had him over for dinner, did things with him, and generally helped him feel loved. I remember stake councils where high councilors would tell the person at the end that they had come back from excommunication, and that they would, too. The whole experience was the opposite of humiliating. 

I think that those who see it as humiliating are humiliated by the Church's stance and policies on certain things, and are projecting that onto disciplinary councils in general. 

That's not to say that there are not cases where the process is a terrible experience for people, or that personalities involved fall far short of the ideal. 

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17 minutes ago, Calm said:

It is possible someone in her old stake recently reported behaviour that the SP felt needed addressing in their own counseling session...perhaps she counseled someone they should leave the Church for example. 

She emphatically denies ever doing such a thing and specifically states that to do so would be a violation of her professional ethics. This is bad speculation. 

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12 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

She has been around for a long time doing and saying the same things. The church must really not be paying attention if they didn't know about her before. That seems like a bit of a cop-out justification for the church. I really don't buy it.

**This** is what looks bad to me, and it isn't the first time. I think that she (and others) should have been dealt with when there are problems. 

I'm sure a large part of her problem with this is that she has been told by her stake president to "cease and desist" certain things, and she has refused, so it's triggering a disciplinary council. Rather than perceiving her Utah stake president as a "weak link," I think he has just had nothing to do with it, and so they aren't having him go through all the stuff with it. She's clearly functionally inactive, to me. She self-identifies as "semi-active" (what active Mormon describes himself as that?), and said she's never met her stake president in a year and a half. Even with Covid, I had contact with my stake presidents in two different stakes, and I have no prominent calling to speak of. Her airs of "I have no idea who he even is" shows me that she doesn't so much care for her membership from the standpoint of an active member. 

There may be evidence known to local leaders that isn't in her online writings and videos. I'm thinking personally bashing to Church or encouraging people to leave within her Kansas ward and stake. I agree, though, that if her Kansas stake president was bothered with this stuff years ago, it should have been acted on before she moved to Utah. 

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13 hours ago, Latter Day Witness said:

This is my first post on this forum, and I’m unlikely to post again. I feel so strongly, however, about what has been said here that I feel compelled to add my witness. 

I have witnessed horrific spiritual abuse in disciplinary councils.  

I'm skeptical of that.  

Disciplinary (now "Membership") Councils are quiet, solemn affairs.  Here's the current process (not hugely different from how things have been done in the past) :

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32.10.3

Conduct the Council

Immediately before the council begins, the bishop or stake president tells the participants whom the council is for and what the reported misconduct is. If necessary, he explains the procedures of the council.

The person, if present, is then welcomed into the room. If the bishop has been invited to attend a stake membership council, he is also invited into the room at this time. If the person invited the ward Relief Society president or the elders quorum president to be present and provide support, she or he is also welcomed into the room.

The bishop or stake president conducts the council in a spirit of love, as outlined below.

  1. He invites someone to offer an opening prayer.

  2. He states the reported misconduct. He gives the person (if present) an opportunity to confirm, deny, or clarify this statement.

  3. If the member confirms the misconduct, the bishop or stake president proceeds to number 5 below. If the member denies it, the bishop or stake president presents information about it. This may include presenting reliable documents and reading aloud any written statements from victims (see 32.10.2). If he reads such a statement, he protects the identity of the victim.

  4. If the member denies the misconduct, he or she may present information to the council. This could be written. Or the member may ask persons who could provide relevant information to speak to the council, one at a time. Such persons should be Church members unless the bishop or stake president has determined in advance that a nonmember may attend. They wait in a separate room until they are asked to speak. Each person leaves the council room when he or she is finished. They must be willing to comply with the respectful nature of the council, including its procedures and confidentiality. Members may not have legal counsel present. Nor may they have supporters beyond those referred to in the second paragraph in this section.

  5. The bishop or stake president may ask questions of the member in a polite and respectful way. He may also ask questions of other persons the member has asked to provide information. Counselors in the bishopric or stake presidency may also ask questions. Any questions should be brief and limited to the essential facts.

  6. After all relevant information has been presented, the bishop or stake president excuses the member from the room. The clerk is also excused, unless the high council has participated in a stake membership council. If the member’s bishop is present for a stake membership council, he is excused. If the Relief Society president or the elders quorum president is attending to provide support, she or he is also excused.

  7. The bishop or stake president asks for comments or insights from his counselors. If the high council has participated in a stake membership council, he asks for their comments and insights.

  8. With his counselors, the bishop or stake president prayerfully seeks the Lord’s will about the matter. Only the stake president and his counselors or the bishop and his counselors should be in the room during this time. If a stake membership council includes the high council, the stake presidency usually goes to the stake president’s office.

  9. The bishop or stake president tells his counselors of his decision and asks them to sustain it. If a stake membership council includes the high council, the stake presidency returns to the room and asks the high council to sustain it. If a counselor or high councilor has a different opinion, the bishop or stake president listens and seeks to resolve the differences. Responsibility for the decision rests with the presiding officer.

  10. He invites the person back into the room. If the clerk was excused, he is also invited into the room. If the member’s bishop is present for a stake membership council, he is also invited into the room. If the Relief Society president or elders quorum president is attending to provide support, she or he is also welcomed back.

  11. The bishop or stake president shares the council’s decision in a spirit of love. If the decision is to formally restrict the person’s Church membership privileges or withdraw membership, he explains the conditions (see 32.11.3 and 32.11.4). He also explains how to overcome the restrictions and gives other instruction and counsel. A bishop or stake president may adjourn a council for a time to seek more guidance or information before making a decision. In that case, he explains this.

  12. He explains the person’s right to appeal (see 32.13).

  13. He invites someone to offer a closing prayer.

Whether the person is present or not, the bishop or stake president notifies him or her of the decision as explained in 32.12.1.

No participant in a membership council is permitted to make an audio, video, or written recording. A clerk may take notes for the purpose of preparing the Report of Church Membership Council. However, such notes are not to be a word-for-word record or transcript. After the report is prepared, he promptly destroys any notes.

Despite having participated in several dozens of councils, not a single one was contested.  Every one involved an individual who was penitent and who did not dispute the substance of the misconduct (usually having confessed to it beforehand).

I did participate in one council where one person on the council asked one question that was somewhat inappropriate.  It was clearly not a malicious question, though.  

My experience with disciplinary councils have been that they are unpleasant and difficult, but can also be very spiritual and edifying.  The proceedings are solemn, even reverent.  Nothing salacious is discussed.  The welfare of the individual and the victims are the primary consideration in view.  The principles of the Restored Gospel are discussed, including repentance and the power of the Atonement, which are - in the moment - acutely relevant.  

And in no instance have I seen anything approaching "horrific spiritual abuse."  Not once.

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I have seen behavior by church leaders so shameful that I couldn’t believe it was happening.

Again, I'm a bit skeptical.

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I have been a part of a disciplinary council of a public figure. The order to excommunicate the individual was given well in advance by the Committee for Strengthening Church Members.

I'm skeptical of this, too.  How do you know this?

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The actual disciplinary council was a formality and resembled a kangaroo court.  

Again, skeptical.  Every council I attended followed the policies laid out in the handbook.  Indeed, the person running the council had the handbook open and read from it.

A "Kangaroo Court" is "an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanor."  The vast majority of councils involve a penitent, remorseful, having-confessed-to-the-misconduct-beforehand type of person.  So-called "public figures" have been known to try to sabotage the council or publicize it.  Kate Kelly did that.  John Dehlin.  The Calderwoods.  Jeremy Runnells.  Denver Snuffer.  Sam Young.  

So you'll understand why I'm not quite willing to take the anonymous say-so of someone who is characterizing the Church's disciplinary councils in highly offensive and - in my experience - bombastic and inaccurate ways.

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The evidence against the individual was all compiled by the COB and local leaders simply carried out orders.  

How do you know that?

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The accused was not given any meaningful chance for a defense or to influence the outcome.

Again, skeptical.  

As I recall, Denver Snuffer wanted to bring his family into the council.  Jeremy Runnells made a speech, then stood up and quit and walked out.  Kate Kelly threatened to sue her stake president.  John Dehlin had media representatives waiting for him in the parking lot of the church building.

Again, self-styled "public figures" are known for trying to sabotage the council proceedings, or else exploit them for 15 minutes of notoriety.  Mounting a defense is usually not really part of the equation since what they have done is typically not in dispute.  Instead, the meaning and consequence of what they have done is disputed. 

In legal parlance, it's the difference between a "question of fact" and a "question of law."  For example, my recollection is that Denver Snuffer was disciplined for, in part, his book Passing the Heavenly Gift.  There was no "question of fact" as to whether he wrote it.  His name was right there on the cover.  The "question of law," then, was whether his writings in the book (and elsewhere) merited discipline by the Church.  

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My experience with non-public figures has been mixed. Some good results but the majority have been filled with shaming and humiliation. 

My experience with non-public figures has been uniform.  All have been solemn, respectful proceedings.  Not a one has been "filled with shaming and humiliation" (in the transitive verb sense).  

To be sure, there is some shame and such felt by the individual, but not anything that has been imposed on the individual by the bishop or stake president.

I've been in dozens, even hundreds, of court hearings where the defendant (whether civil or criminal) has felt shame or humiliation.  That is not because the judge or the attorneys are making him feel that way, but because he engaged in misconduct and is now being held to account for it.  This is hardly an indictment of the legal system.  So it is, then, with the Church's disciplinary procedures.

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I’m not here to argue these issues.

As you like.

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I just want to add my witness to what the previous poster has described.It saddens me to see it happen all too often.

And I add my witness in staunch rebuttal to yours.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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48 minutes ago, rongo said:

I think it would look like it looks now. More on this below.

Sins of the disciplinary council variety need priesthood keys and formality. They are beyond simply asking God for forgiveness, and for those who try this for decades, the hens come home to roost and they are brought to the process after decades of pain. I have a lot of experience with this. The first stake president I served under marveled that I was his "hanging judge" (I had far more excommunications and disfellowshipments than any other ward). But, I also had far more rebaptisms and reinstatements (which also require a convened disciplinary council). This wasn't because I was seeking out all the sinners in my ward; for some reason, many people were drawn to finally resolve things they had left unresolved in many previous wards and stakes. And the approach from the first meeting was, "Let's get all of this resolved the right way." They had support, they had hope, and they knew why there was this whole process. For people who have been wracked with guilt for years and have worried about their standing with God, even after much prayer, it's comforting and liberating to be able to put everything on the table with a third party they believe has keys, and to submit to a formal process so they know that they have paid the utmost farthing. 

We chose to move into the ward I was made a bishop a second time because of our bishop, who was on the high council when a brother from my ward was excommunicated (our stake president always invited the bishop to come and give input). He and others reached out to him after this, had him over for dinner, did things with him, and generally helped him feel loved. I remember stake councils where high councilors would tell the person at the end that they had come back from excommunication, and that they would, too. The whole experience was the opposite of humiliating. 

I think that those who see it as humiliating are humiliated by the Church's stance and policies on certain things, and are projecting that onto disciplinary councils in general. 

That's not to say that there are not cases where the process is a terrible experience for people, or that personalities involved fall far short of the ideal. 

While I accept that your experience has been positive, I can only comment from what my experience has been.  Our Stake President, whom I lost respect for when he was serving, was a believer in exacting a heavy toll on the sinner.  He tasked our high council on helping the accused reach a state where he/she would understand the scriptural standard of sackcloth and ashes, he taught that the court attendee needed to reach the depths of hell before they could fully expect to pay for their sins and find forgiveness (something I know now to be a complete bastardisation of what the scriptures teach).  He was a holier than thou monster.  I now believe that this instruction pushed otherwise good men to go where they should have never gone.  I know of one person we held a court for attempted to take his life following his court. The person seeking help were drilled with what I now consider completely inappropriate cross examinations specifically designed to drive the sinner to a fuller sense of shame and worthlessness.  I will forever be ashamed that I ever participated in these courts.  It's taken me years to process those horrible experiences and I state again that my heart breaks for those that were subjected to such a heartless and uncompassionate court in the name of Jesus Christ.

So yes, I did not have your positive loving court experience.  I can only imagine that if what I experienced could happen here along the Wasatch front where I served in the high council, it most definitely does happen in the far flung edges of the world where the leadership is not as established as here in Utah.  I do not believe that what I experienced was the rule but neither was it an anomaly.

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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22 minutes ago, rongo said:

 

**This** is what looks bad to me, and it isn't the first time. I think that she (and others) should have been dealt with when there are problems. 

I'm sure a large part of her problem with this is that she has been told by her stake president to "cease and desist" certain things, and she has refused, so it's triggering a disciplinary council. Rather than perceiving her Utah stake president as a "weak link," I think he has just had nothing to do with it, and so they aren't having him go through all the stuff with it. She's clearly functionally inactive, to me. She self-identifies as "semi-active" (what active Mormon describes himself as that?), and said she's never met her stake president in a year and a half. Even with Covid, I had contact with my stake presidents in two different stakes, and I have no prominent calling to speak of. Her airs of "I have no idea who he even is" shows me that she doesn't so much care for her membership from the standpoint of an active member. 

There may be evidence known to local leaders that isn't in her online writings and videos. I'm thinking personally bashing to Church or encouraging people to leave within her Kansas ward and stake. I agree, though, that if her Kansas stake president was bothered with this stuff years ago, it should have been acted on before she moved to Utah. 

Her level of activity doesn't make any difference to me. A person could easily be semi-active or even active and not have contact with a stake president. I'm friends with my SP but I haven't spoken to him personally in the past year +. I think it is also reasonable to think that she hasn't had any need or desire to speak with the new SP since she moved to Utah. I've got no problem with that. But it hardly justifies a past SP disciplining her 1 1/2 years after she moved. That is super sketchy to me.

If there's local "evidence" in Kansas I think it would be easy enough to gather that and pass it along to Utah for them to deal with.

IMO- whether or not one agrees that Natasha Helfer should be disciplined, the way it has come about is pretty bad. I'm really focusing on the procedural elements because it seems quite unfair and burdensome to Natasha.

Personally, I think it's interesting that she cares so much about retaining her membership, even while semi-active. I heard her talk for just a few minutes about it and she was quite emotional. It matters to her and the way that it is being done adds insult to injury.

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49 minutes ago, ttribe said:

She emphatically denies ever doing such a thing and specifically states that to do so would be a violation of her professional ethics. This is bad speculation. 

Thank you for providing the reminder. My apologies for stating it that way, but it is possible that someone interpreted what she said in such a fashion and reported that interpretation rather than quoting her.   Or it could have been the SP’s own interpretation of what happened. 
 

Anothe possibility is the SP has more time in his hands this past year due to Covid and therefore paid attention to stuff he hadn’t paid attention to before, dealt with stuff he had been putting off. 
 

The delay is quite strange to me and seems at face value inappropriate if this isn’t a continuation of past interaction (which if I understand the report correctly, Parker is saying it is not).

But it is all speculation and I probably shouldn’t be doing it. May edit my post later after some sleep makes me more intelligent. 

Edited by Calm
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7 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

While I accept that your experience has been positive, I can only comment from what my experience has been.  Our Stake President, whom I lost respect for when he was serving, was a believer in exacting a heavy toll on the sinner.  He tasked our high council on helping the accused reach a state where he/she would understand the scriptural standard of sackcloth and ashes, he taught that the court attendee needed to reach the depths of hell before they could fully expect to pay for their sins and find forgiveness (something I know now to be a complete bastardisation of what the scriptures teach.  He was a holier than thou monster.  I now believe that this instruction pushed otherwise good men to go where they should have never gone.  I know of one who attempted to take his life following his court. The person seeking help were drilled with what I now consider completely inappropriate cross examinations specifically designed to drive the sinner to a fuller sense of shame and worthlessness.  I will forever be ashamed that I ever participated in these courts.  It's taken me years to process those horrible experiences and I state again that my heart breaks for those that were subjected to such a heartless and uncompassionate court in the name of Jesus Christ.

That all sounds terrible. 

Do you think that your experience is the outlier, and not many others'? 

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2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Her level of activity doesn't make any difference to me. A person could easily be semi-active or even active and not have contact with a stake president. I'm friends with my SP but I haven't spoken to him personally in the past year +. I think it is also reasonable to think that she hasn't had any need or desire to speak with the new SP since she moved to Utah. I've got no problem with that. But it hardly justifies a past SP disciplining her 1 1/2 years after she moved. That is super sketchy to me.

If there's local "evidence" in Kansas I think it would be easy enough to gather that and pass it along to Utah for them to deal with.

IMO- whether or not one agrees that Natasha Helfer should be disciplined, the way it has come about is pretty bad. I'm really focusing on the procedural elements because it seems quite unfair and burdensome to Natasha.

Personally, I think it's interesting that she cares so much about retaining her membership, even while semi-active. I heard her talk for just a few minutes about it and she was quite emotional. It matters to her and the way that it is being done adds insult to injury.

Agreed that the procedural elements leave a lot to be desired, regardless of how bad or not bad her conduct actually has been. 

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55 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I'm not denying the church its autonomy. I don't have the power to do that.

The church can do whatever it wants to its members (as evidenced by this case). I don't dispute that. But I have my own autonomy to criticize them for what I perceive as abuse.

That' s like saying:  I criticize the church for baptising children at eight, rather than nine, years of age.   Or, like saying, I don't think repentence is necessary at all, so it is a waste of time to subject people to an interview before baptism.

The Church has the right to specify terms for continued membership.

Other aspects of the Church are, perhaps, subject to legitimate gripe.  Gold plates, the role of bishops in persons' lives, etc . But certainly as a matter of law, complaining about how a church admits and denies membership is pissing in the wind.  The Church could easily say:  We don't have any process at all for unadmitting members; one day you're in, the next you're out.

Edited by Bob Crockett
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8 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Her level of activity doesn't make any difference to me. A person could easily be semi-active or even active and not have contact with a stake president. I'm friends with my SP but I haven't spoken to him personally in the past year +. I think it is also reasonable to think that she hasn't had any need or desire to speak with the new SP since she moved to Utah. I've got no problem with that. But it hardly justifies a past SP disciplining her 1 1/2 years after she moved. That is super sketchy to me.

If there's local "evidence" in Kansas I think it would be easy enough to gather that and pass it along to Utah for them to deal with.

IMO- whether or not one agrees that Natasha Helfer should be disciplined, the way it has come about is pretty bad. I'm really focusing on the procedural elements because it seems quite unfair and burdensome to Natasha.

Personally, I think it's interesting that she cares so much about retaining her membership, even while semi-active. I heard her talk for just a few minutes about it and she was quite emotional. It matters to her and the way that it is being done adds insult to injury.

I also think that the reason she gave for her lesser level of activity (related to an experience involving her non-binary child and a violation of trust by a local church leader) ought to be given some measure of compassion relative to judgments on her activity.

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Do we even know for sure where her membership records are? I found this interesting in the handbook:

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32.9.8

Determining Which Leader Holds a Council in Special Circumstances

Membership councils are almost always held in the geographic Church unit that has the person’s membership record . . . If the member moves outside the stake, the stake presidents of both stakes confer and decide where the council should take place. If they decide that it should be held in the former ward or stake, the membership record is retained in that ward until the council is complete. Otherwise, the record is transferred to the new ward. The bishop or stake president confidentially informs the member’s current bishop or stake president about why a council is needed.

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Maybe this was decided among both stake presidents. 

Maybe her records are actually still in Kansas (I could be wrong about that). 

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I knew a lady in the mission field who had been exed years before and her court was overturned, she was reinstated in the Church. Her District President father had molested her and her sisters, while he was serving as such, and she mentioned this to someone afterwards and she got exed for it, while he was still the District President and by it was done by him. So more years pass and she met a SP, as I recall, and mentioned she wasn't active and told him what had happened and he was gobsmacked as how that all was and he said that a visiting GA was coming to one of the local LA stakes-I remember his name but don't want to mention it. Anyways, so she met with him and he told her how things should have happened and apologized that it went so badly and he got the ball rolling for he reinstatement in the Church, encouragement to be active and then her Dad got exed for all that stuff years before. What goes around comes around I guess

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6 minutes ago, rongo said:

That all sounds terrible. 

Do you think that your experience is the outlier, and not many others'? 

I've edited my post to add that I do not believe that my experience is the rule, but neither do I believe it is an anomaly.  When a stake has a tyrant as a unchecked leader these kinds of things are bound to take place.

We've all heard of those wacky fundamentalist who hide within the church, well sometimes they find their way into leadership positions where they can do great damage.  Mine was able to serve his entire 10 year calling and wrecked great damage during his tenure.  I credit a lot of my own loss of belief on him, he added a lot of things to my already burgeoning shelf.  Fortunately he was replaced with a very loving, kind, wonderful, compassionate man.  

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