, , , , ,

One of the most common comments that I have seen made in news reports concerning John Dehlin’s upcoming disciplinary hearing is that the Church “is holding a disciplinary hearing on Sunday because of statements Dehlin made online questioning the church.” If this is true, then that is terribly unfortunate. I wonder what sort of questions got him to this point.

Could it be these questions posed in the open internet, which the Stake President alluded to in his letter?

All I can say is….if God and Jesus really do exist…I believe that they have a lot of ‘splaining to do. Especially if they endorse the stories in the Bible, and the LDS Church as the one true church. Once you know the full story…it becomes harder and harder to believe it (in my experience).”
“I am REPULSED by the teaching of “one true church”, and would rather roll around in thumb tacks than ever teach or support that notion.

Come to think of it, I don’t see any question marks in those posts. Maybe that key on his computer was broken that day.

Well maybe these “questions” are the reasons that he is on trial:

Emotions are real, but they do not prove a church is true, or that books are historical. All they prove is that you felt good things when you were interacting with the church, or with the books. But everyone who believes in a church does so because they had good feelings when interacting with the church. And yes…they’ve all been conditioned to call church-based emotional experiences “spiritual” (yourself included).

But in the end, what you are experiencing is emotions….that you call spiritual.

Looking at these carefully, it look like he isn’t asking someone a question so much as him pushing his view on others that their spiritual experiences are meaningless conditioned responses and perhaps the result of a frenzied mind.

In my view, anyone willing to fairly review the evidence, with an open mind, will conclude that the Books of Mormon and Abraham are NOT what they claim to be. At all. They are not translated ancient records. They are fiction. Authored by Joseph Smith.

This question appears to actually be an assertion that anyone who disagrees with his opinion is wrong, and ignorant of the evidence.

What I can say for sure is that:

1) The Book of Mormon is not a translation of gold plates provided by an ancient American civilization via an angel (which it claims to be)….and

2) The Book of Abraham is not a translation of the papyrus (which it claims to be).

They are both works of fiction, and the evidence against both of them as translations of ancient documents is OVERWHELMING to anyone who is objective.

Wait, this one isn’t a question either, but instead a statement of certainty “What I can say for sure…” about a subject in which he is entirely non-expert. Maybe this last one will prove to be a question:

In my experience, anyone who is smart, who has looked at the evidence, and who is not willing to concede this — almost always has some set of forces bearing down upon them (e.g., familial, social, financial, psychological) that prevent them from being able to acknowledge this reality. But it is reality.

Um, no, not a question, instead it is a statement that anyone who is smart and not ignorant of the evidence will agree with him unless they are in it for the money or in some other form or relational soft bondage. So really it’s just a public insult to the intelligence, understanding, and integrity of the members of the Church. Now if at the end of this one is still not sure why Dehlin’s “question asking” has gotten him into trouble I may not be able to help you. I think it might improve the results of his inquiry if he actually included questions in his questioning; e.g., those sentences which often begin with words such as “who,” “which,” “what,” “when,” “why,” “how,” and end by convention with the following curvacious symbol “?”. As it stands, please understand the annoyance that some of us feel with a portrayal of him that while flattering to him, ignores the rather abusive and unflattering treatment that the members of the Church have at times received from his “questioning.”

Now I have also seen an accusation from one of his friends that certain blogs cherry-pick quotes from his social media sites in order to cast him in a bad light, “Of ten years of John’s work, the accusers have hand picked, and proof-texted a few Facebook comments as the basis to terminate John’s membership in the Church.” I am going to say Tom Grover, I don’t buy it. Show me John denying one of these quotes, saying that it was wrong, and that he was wrong to say it in the same venue where he originally uttered the words, and I will remove it from all of the posts that contain it. Until then, buddy you may have a lot of work to do to defend the ridiculous things your friend says.

(Edit:/Note) A reader of this blog brought up the legitimate point that John has at times asked questions and that this blog did not cite any of those instances. I do not want to mislead someone into thinking that he has never asked questions as this is not the case, but to clarify: my point in this essay is to demonstrate that the questions are not what has gotten him into trouble but rather the bald assertions that he has made, and his efforts to promote those conclusions.