055: The Effects of Excommunication on All of Us: Healing Perspectives

Joannas-Picture-300x182This week the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has once again been in the news in regards to the excommunication of one of their own: this time it’s John Dehlin of Mormon Stories – only months after the excommunication of Kate Kelly of Ordain Women.  There have been lesser, yet still painful ramifications (losing callings, not being able to attain temple recommends, disfellowshipment, etc.) for members of the church on a global level as we struggle with both historical, doctrinal and social issues we may not all agree on.  This is having a significant impact in many stake, ward and family systems – with frustration, anger and relationship struggles becoming unfortunate, yet common happenings.

On the evening of the news that John Dehlin was excommunicated, Natasha Helfer ParkerJennifer Finlayson-FifeJoanna BrooksDan Wotherspoon, and Brian Dillman got together via Skype audio chat to discuss various ways they personally cope with the kinds of distress such things cause, and perspectives that help heal them in times of difficulty. Their sharing is this podcast episode, which is being co-released by Mormon Matters, Rational Faiths podcast, and Mormon Mental Health podcasts. How might we experience and understand our anger in healthy ways? How do we not let our emotions get the better of us and block out wider perspectives that likely would serve us better for the long haul? Can historical and sociological frameworks help us see these recent events in greater context, help us understand ways to move forward rather than repeat negative cycles? Are there larger spiritual or existential framings that can help us make peace with the tensions life and the many things we care about seem to constantly call upon us to bear?

In a section led by Joanna Brooks, she refers to and describes this chart:
Violence Cycle

A poem for my brothers and sisters

Please listen and then share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to Brian Dillman for audio production of this podcast.

7 comments for “055: The Effects of Excommunication on All of Us: Healing Perspectives

  1. Gypsy
    February 11, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Your religion, if you doubt it and are punished for exposing/questioning the inconsistencies of the church, sounds more like a cult.
    You are better off moving on…shaming and guilt behaviour perpetrated against you by a “church” is unhealthy and cult-like.

    All I can say is: RUN!

    • Even Star
      February 13, 2015 at 11:58 am

      I have been inactive for over 1 year now and one of the reasons is because as time went by, the church started looking more like a cult to me. I hoped for the church to change but then I realized this is waste of time. This church in my eyes resembles more and more just a company and in times like this, a tyrannical institution that wants to control what people say by cohersive practices.

      If I want a different church is better for me to leave instead of waiting for the church to get a revelation and change. Who wants to be part of a church that treats other people like they did with John? Not me. Many of us feel like this was done not only to John, but to all of us.

  2. Cat
    February 12, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    This was powerful, brilliant, I will revisit this often. I have been wiped out from the past years. I don’t want to run, I don’t want to destroy, nor lose the parts I love. I want to contribute, help and heal.

    Thank you so much.

    One additional thought from a favorite writer of mine. His motto is “No one grows up in a group.” He doesn’t mean walking away from the group, but being the wiser more mature response. Your words today painted that for me.

  3. A Happy Hubby
    February 13, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Thanks for all of the contributors on this podcast. I felt for sure I knew what was going to happen at John’s court, so I think I had already emotionally processed the action. But this podcast did get me to think about the longer-term and how I can be effective.

    It is good to have a reminder to take a breath, slowly breath out, relax, and think about this more than just swim in the emotion of the events of the day.

  4. Ryan
    February 21, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Thank you for having a civil and heart-felt conversation. I appreciate the ideas on striving for a healthy response. I got the sense that the participants believed the choices to excommunicate were wrong, though the reasons put forward by Dehlin’s stake president, for instance, weren’t addressed. It was intimated by Brooks that he was excommunicated for having an opinion or doubts, not for the reasons stated by the stake president. It seems a great deal of nuance is used in characterizing Dehlin, though less so in the case of the church qua institution. On a completely unrelated note, why do Mormons on the coasts feel superior to those in Utah County? (For the record I live in IL.)

  5. Marisa
    February 27, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    GREAT podcast everyone! It was so uplifting to me that I listened to it twice! Your perspectives helped me to see the bigger picture and reframe my experiences. I have now been able to let go of a lot of the anger and bitterness I felt toward the church and I feel like a weight is lifted from my shoulders.

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