I had originally intended not to say anything about it here because it slightly strays from the theme of my blog, but the recent John Dehlin hoopla has me feeling ever more grateful that I’ve disentangled myself from daily LDS activity. Kiley over at “We Were Going To Be Queens” pretty well summed up what I thought about it. I left a comment on her blog and was done with it.
For those who don’t know, John Dehlin is the founder of Mormon Stories. He has organized podcasts, blogs and get-togethers for questioning Mormons, fringe Mormons and former Mormons. He is the one behind the whole Circling The Wagons conference for gay Mormons. He has interviewed some VERY interesting faithful Mormons, apologists, scholars, critics and homosexuals and non-Mormons over the years. People who interact with John run the gamut of reactions from leaving the church to staying in it but with eyes wide open. He’s done some good stuff and I highly recommend spending a lot of time listening to his podcasts.
Even his own approach to his own Mormonism has run the gamut. In, then out, then in, then out and then in farther. It’s exhausting to witness.
His latest move is to publicly declare that he’s returning to full activity in the Mormon church. His way of doing that was to be interviewed to explain his motivations. During that interview he spoke very Mormon-like about the former Mormons he has interacted with over the years and some took offense to it. So, he just recently posted an apology on Mormon stories.
First of all, it’s a very Mormon trait to be heavily invested in the religiosity of others. For some reason, everyone needs to know where you stand in your supposed “personal relationship with God.” As for me, I couldn’t care less. Some of my favorite allies remain active participants in the LDS church, although seemingly in a very non-traditional way… Carol Lynn Pearson , Joanna Brooks, Bill Bradshaw, Kevin Kloosterman (all can be found posting over at No More Strangers). I don’t believe any of them owe me an explanation as to why they still interact with Mormonism. I suspect that each one feels they can create change from within, or that the good outweighs the bad. It doesn’t really matter to me.
I just know that I’m personally better off without it. I also enjoy interacting with those I’ve met who have left it all behind like I have. I’m un-threatened and not dismayed when people make choices that differ from my own.
That said, I do find the reasoning John has chosen to publicize a little illogical and I posted a comment after his apology saying so. The moderator hasn’t approved it and so I’ve decided to post it here instead. I think it’s odd that my comment wasn’t approved since I see far more antagonistic comments on there from others. Here’s what I said:
Apology accepted, BUT it seems to me that everything you wrote could also be used as a reason to no longer actively associate oneself with the LDS faith so I’m still left confused…
*Saddened that marriages dissolve in association with the church.
*Unsavory, even if infrequent, behaviors that you no longer want to be unwittingly linked to.
*Fear that such behaviors confirm a stereotype
*Fear that unbelievers are unwelcome and mocked even though the policy is that all are welcome.
*Don’t want to be perceived as hostile to unbelief
*Family and personal relationships suffer due to extreme time commitments
*Uncomfortable with all the attention and adoration of the leaders.
*The time commitment takes away from career and other personal pursuits
I guess for me it seems that if you are going to make your revolving door approach to the church a public one, then it’s appropriate for others to publicly ask questions regarding it. I realize that spirituality and religiosity are personal and illogical on their face so I shouldn’t be expecting clear reasons. I just think you shouldn’t try to explain the personal and illogical.
I wish him and others like him only the best.