It's not only the Catholic Church that excommunicates those who advocate womens ordination
A vocal campaigner for the ordination of women and gay marriage has been excommunicated by the Mormons.
John Dehlin, the founder of the Mormon Stories podcast, was found guilty by a disciplinary panel held at North Logan, Utah on Sunday.
The verdict was announced after what was described as a period of prayer and reflection.
It is a decision that carries major implications for the 15 million strong Mormon movement which has sought to develop a more diverse image in recent years.
It was the second excommunication in just over a week by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Last Monday Kate Kelly a feminist activist was also expelled by the Mormons.
The excommunication of Mr Dehlin and Ms Kelly is the most significant clamp down on doctrinal dissent within the church since the expulsion of the so-called "September 6" group of intellectuals in 1993.
Otherwise excommunication by the Mormons is very rare.
Those who have been expelled included Butch Cassidy, who was raised as a member of the church in Beaver, Utah; Richard McCoy, who tried to hold a United Airlines jet to ransom in 1972 and Mark Hoffman, a double murderer and expert forger.
In Mr Dehlin's case the church objected to the his Mormon Stories website.
It included podcasts which touched on a number of delicate issues including polygamy, why blacks had been largely excluded from the priesthood, the ordination of women and gay rights.
The podcasts were regularly downloaded by upwards of 50,000 people.
Mr Dehlin had been put on notice that he faced disciplinary action last June by Bryan King, the president of the local Stake – or Mormon region.
Although there were other areas of disagreement with the church, Mr Dehlin said Mr King had made clear that his support of gay marriage was "a problem".
Mr Dehlin also said he was told to censor his podcasts, which he refused to do.
Given a choice of resigning or facing an excommunication hearing, he chose the latter option.
"Because of the well-publicised, and unacceptably high rates of homelessness, suicide, depression, divorce, and religious ostracising of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Mormons, I cannot and will not renounce my public support and civil advocacy for same-sex marriage," Mr Dehlin said.
The current practice of restricting temple access to those who attend Gay Pride marches was "deeply troubling", he added.
Mr Dehlin's excommunication was confirmed in a letter by Mr King on Monday.
He was told he had been excommunicated because of his "categorical statements opposing the doctrine of the Church and their wide dissemination via the Internet", which had moved others away from the Mormon faith.
As a result Mr Dehlin is banned from wearing temple garments or paying tithes.
He can still attend church meetings, but is banned from offering public prayer or giving talks on the premises.
However, Mr Dehlin was told he would be readmitted to the church if he repented and renounced his views.
But Mr Dehlin remained defiant.
"I think it is really about the fact that the church is still living in the 19th century in the sense that it is not willing to tolerate criticism," he said.
"Now many people are asking questions and instead of trying to solve the problem of people's doubts they are trying to silence me or use excommunication so I lose credibility with members of the church.
"It really is an attempt to silence free expression of any criticism.
post edited by Sergius - 2015/02/11 10:32:24