072: Effects of Church Discipline

hansenpic-e1357425496599Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Nadine McCombs Hansen, a lifelong member of the church and descendant of Mormon pioneers, in regards to the policies surrounding church discipline and the potential effects it has in members’ lives and the lives of their families, as well as our community as a whole.  Nadine married at 19 and went back to get her law degree after having 4 children.  She practiced law in California, retired, and moved to Utah where she started practicing again and has worked as a guardian ad litem.   She has been involved in various Mormon communities since the 1980’s including Sunstone and the Mormon Women’s Forum.  She is currently an official spokesperson for Ordain Women and wrote an article for Dialogue back in 1981 titled Women and Priesthood.  She’s been married for 48 years and has 8 grandchildren.

As we’ve been dealing in our church with various public cases of church discipline, Nadine offers a valuable perspective.  Nadine wrote briefs in support of Kate Kelly and John Dehlin and has had brushes with church discipline herself, in regards to presentations she has given or articles she has written over the years.  She discusses the importance of being familiar with the discipline process and the different types of informal and formal discipline that may be imposed, so that members can be better prepared to face potential processes that church discipline may involve.  Also discussed is the complication of how members are oftentimes disciplined for behaviors that may be symptomatic of more underlying issues that go ignored or not accounted for (such as mental health issues, abusive relationships or past trauma, etc.); how formal discipline happens within a format that requires the disclosure of private matters in front of a council of men; issues of confidentiality; and issues in regards to penitential confession and mandated reporting when it comes to cases of abuse; discipline of apostasy; and much more.  Nadine founded the website called Mormon Church Discipline where members are invited to share their own personal experiences.

Please take the time to share your thoughts, opinions, questions in the comment section below.

Links to the subjects that were mentioned or are applicable to the podcast:

Patriarchs and Politics: The Plight of the Mormon Woman

Church Handbook of Instruction: Handbook 2

Strengthening Church Members Committee

Statement in Support of Kathleen Marie Kelly

Statement in Support of Appeal for and on Behalf of Kathleen Marie Kelly

My Excommunication Appeal where John Dehlin includes letter penned by Nadine

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to Brian Dillman for audio production of this podcast.  Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith.

Donations to Mormon Mental Health are tax deductible and go directly to support the costs of producing the podcast.  If and when donations exceed these costs, they will go to support trainings, research, materials development, projects of the Mormon Mental Health Association and financial support for those who need help affording appropriate therapy services.


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