This 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 our 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 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 Parker, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, Joanna Brooks, Dan 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 became a 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:
She also shares the following poem: A poem for my brothers and sisters
Link to the podcast: The Effects of Excommunication on All of Us: Healing Perspectives
And I’ll refer back to the article I published back when we first heard about possible excommunications which I still find extremely relevant to our current situation: