Mormon with outspoken blog posts on church says may face excommunication

SALT LAKE CITY Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:47am IST

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A Florida-based Mormon blogger has said he is facing discipline and possible excommunication by church officials over posts they perceive to be anti-Mormon.

David Twede's posts offer his account of the history of the church's political involvement, criticism of fellow Mormon and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the author's take on Mormon beliefs about the nature of God and temple ceremonies.

Twede, a 47-year-old fifth-generation Mormon and the managing editor of MormonThink.com, told Reuters on Saturday he was confronted over his posts and advised of the possible discipline at a meeting with local church leaders this week.

In a blog post on September 17, Twede described his meeting with church officials the day before. "Most of my family is true-believing Mormon, and they will be hurt by my probable excommunication for apostasy," he wrote.

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to comment specifically on Twede or his blog, saying that disciplinary matters were confidential.

But in a statement, church spokesman Michael Purdy said it would be "patently false" to suggest a Mormon would face discipline for having questions about their faith or for expressing political views.

"The church is an advocate of individual choice. It is a core tenet of our faith." Purdy said. "Church discipline becomes necessary only in those rare occasions when an individual's actions cannot be ignored while they claim to be in good standing with the church."

Public excommunications are rare in the Mormon religion. But several high-profile scholars and feminists had their memberships revoked in the 1990s.

Church leaders set a September 30 disciplinary meeting to address Twede's case, he said. Twede posted to his blog a letter he said is from a Mormon Church official and that says Twede is "reported to have been in apostasy."

Twede said church officials did not specify which articles they did not like, but told him being the website's managing editor was "antithetical to the church."

He said he has asked church officials to reconsider holding the disciplinary meeting.

In a letter posted on his blog, Twede wrote that he understands that "some of what I wrote in my blog may have treated the church unfairly."

Mormon Church disciplinary decision are made at the local level and the outcomes can include probation, disfellowship, excommunication or exoneration.

Excommunicated persons can still attend church, but cannot receive the sacrament, hold church callings, speak at services or enter Mormon temples.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Mohammad Zargham)

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