This week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints informed two members that they are being called before Mormon church tribunals that will consider whether to excommunicate them for "apostasy." This crackdown — on Kate Kelly, a Mormon lawyer pushing for ordaining women into the all-male priesthood, and John Dehlin, a psychology grad student who has started several online forums for voicing doubts and questions about Mormon orthodoxy, particularly its stricture on gay members — is the most prominent action against self-styled reformers since six intellectuals were pushed out in 1993.
Both Kelly and Dehlin say they cherish their church and only want to help it adapt and survive — "I love Mormonism and everything I've done has been to try and help it keep its members," Dehlin tells Reuters — and both suspect that their possible excommunications are being pushed by the central church in Salt Lake City.
The LDS press office disputes that, saying in a statement that "local leaders have the responsibility to clarify false teachings and prevent other members from being misled," but that these "decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by church headquarters." The tribunals can slap Dehlin and Kelly with probation, disfellowship, or excommunication, or exonerate them.