Mormon Podcaster John P. Delvin Might be Excommunicated For Supporting Women & Same-Sex Marriage

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Because he publicly supports same-sex marriage and the ordination of women, a Mormon podcaster has been threatened with excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if he does not revoke his opinions and delete published podcasts that were critical of the faith. The New York Times reports John P. Devlin, host of "Mormon Stories," has been charged with apostasy and will face a disciplinary hearing on Jan. 25. The Utah-based podcaster says the church has initiated several formal investigations into him and his work. Though after the first investigation, he still felt positively toward the church, by the third, he was tired of being harassed.

In a news release posted on Dehlin's website, Dehlin outlines how he's gotten to this point. As a young seminary teacher, some of the Mormon church's teachings were difficult for him to accept as fact, and in 2005, he created "Mormon Stories" in order to bring awareness to the issues, discuss them thoughtfully, and provide support for current and former church members. He writes that though he truly tried to understand the teachings, going so far as to team up with close friends and church leaders, he never felt supported in his efforts, and instead thought the investigations felt "intrusive, threatening, and coercive." He wrote:

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not allow women in the Mormon priesthood. Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of the church, stated:

Last June, Kate Kelly, a human rights lawyer and founder of the "Ordain Women" group that fights for the right to include women in the Mormon clergy, was excommunicated from the church for creating the organization. She wrote of Dehlin on the "Ordain Women" website, stating:

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The Mormon church also holds the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Hinckley said that though they recognize gays and lesbians as sons and daughters of God, the church can only do so if they do not "act upon these inclinations." He said:

Dehlin, who says there is a high suicide rate among LDS LGBT youth, wanted to develop resources for those struggling to stay in the church after experiencing a crisis of faith.

To stay in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church requested Dehlin remove all podcasts that spoke negatively about the faith; never again interview anyone who doubts or criticizes the church and its leaders; never voice his own doubts or criticism of the church and its leaders; and cease supporting same-sex marriage and the "Ordain Women" group.

Dehlin refused. The podcaster says he and his wife will attend the disciplinary council and he will continue to "provide additional information, comfort, and support to Mormons in transition."

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