Friday, January 16, 2015

An Open Letter

January 16, 2015

President Bryan King
North Logan Utah Stake

Dear President King,

I am writing this letter to inform you of the positive impact the work of John Dehlin, a member of your stake, has had in my life.

Over the past several years, as I have learned about many unsettling aspects of the church and its history, Mormon Stories podcast has provided much needed support to my spiritual wellbeing. Through interviews of Richard Bushman, Teryl Givens, and many others, John has shown a commitment to help members of the church reconcile their belief in the gospel, despite the presence of difficult questions. However, when some members learn the truth regarding difficult issues in church history, doctrine, or practice, they feel betrayed and lose their faith in the gospel.

John Dehlin is not the architect of this loss of faith. He has neither influenced nor constructed events in church history, (i.e. polygamy, historicity of the book of mormon, etc.) but has only sought to present the truth on any given subject. At times, he has interviewed those who may be critical to the church and its practices, whose opinions may be contrary to the official narrative offered by the church. In my view, these interviews have been in the spirit of honesty, with a positive approach aimed at giving listeners a complete understanding of complex aspects of church history and doctrine, something the church has only recently begun to address with the gospel topics essays posted on

In addition to his work helping Mormons of all spectrums of belief feel at home in the church, John has done excellent work among LGBT members and their families, and will continue to do so as a licensed mental health professional. For far too long, the church has caused considerable distress in its approach towards LGBT members, which has been the foundation for Utah experiencing one of the highest suicide rates of gay teens and young adults. John’s work with these issues has led to the church taking a more proactive approach, through the creation of the church website,

To classify the work of John Dehlin as apostasy sets a dangerous precedent for the future strength of the church and its members. For the church to discipline a member for promoting openness and honesty of its history and practices, in the same manner as if they were guilty of murder, rape, and child abuse, is a policy more inline with a despotic regime than the Kingdom of God on the earth.

In a spirit of meekness and love unfeigned, I implore you to take no disciplinary action against John Dehlin. Though it may be the determination of your council to excommunicate John from the church, I invite you to ponder the words of Doctrine and Covenants 121, as it is the standard upon which you and I will be judged by our Eternal Father.

Likening the Scriptures

How do we liken the Scriptures?

If your like me, you've been told countless times in church that we need to liken the scriptures to our day. But what does this mean? In nearly every instance, this phrase has spring boarded a discussion on topics such as chastity, morality, and the wicked ways of the world. These scriptural examples are juxtaposed with specific examples of how far the world has fallen (i.e. same-sex marriage, pornography, violence), and how Latter-Day Saints alone are above this debauchery.

I suggest an alternative approach. To me, likening the scriptures means learning by example, and seeking after what the authors of the book desired. The Book of Mormon contains numerous examples of individuals approaching God and Christ. Nephi is an excellent example of this. Near the beginning of the narrative, Nephi informs the reader that his father, Lehi, has been preaching repentance to the city of Jerusalem. The Lord then commands Lehi to take his family and depart into the wilderness, which causes much contention among his sons. One of the first details Nephi gives about himself is a desire to know the Mysteries of God. To do so, he softened his heart, believed the words of his father, and was visited by the Lord. (1 Nephi 2:15) Through this action, Nephi demonstrates how a broken heart and contrite spirit are essential characteristics of a follower of Christ. He is therefore blessed with many gifts of the spirit, including the holy ghost, priesthood power, and visions. Nephi goes on to perform a great work for the Lord in assisting his family in their journey to the promised land, which sets the course for the rest of the Book of Mormon. But it began with Nephi's humble desire to follow Christ, to know him, and to understand his will.