The heinous sin of placing honesty above tribal loyalty

Steve Bloor has been excommunicated from The LDS Church for speaking honestly. That’s what it amounts to. His dismissal from Mormonism was accomplished in a corner, and by sleight of hand, without him being permitted to defend himself. And now, across the social media network, the men responsible for this are being called cowards, too afraid apparently to allow Steve an opportunity to defend his position before his peers, in case they too start to question.

According to the official “Handbook 1 – Stake Presidents and Bishops – 2010” [pg61, Para 6.10.2], before convening a disciplinary council the presiding officer, (The Plymouth Stake President in this case), should first have sent a letter to Steve containing the following standard wording:

“The stake presidency is considering formal disciplinary action in your behalf, including the possibility of disfellowshipment and excommunication, because you are reported to have been in apostasy.

You are invited to attend this disciplinary council meeting to give your response and, if you wish, to provide witnesses who are members of the Church or other evidence in your behalf.

The disciplinary council will be held on…”

This was not done. However, one evening seven days before the secret excommunication, a letter had been handed to Steve outside his house by two men, informing him as follows:

“In view of your longstanding open opposition to the Church, a meeting will be held in accordance with Church policy to consider whether you should remain a member of the Church. You are invited to attend. The meeting will be held at…”

No mention may be found in there of a formal disciplinary council, or its potential outcomes. The whole thing infers a predetermined verdict, for there is no suggestion that Steve, (who, after all, was supposedly going to be the subject of the meeting), was seen to be a significant participant, as subsequently evidenced by the fact that the meeting proceeded in his absence. Nor was any invitation extended to witnesses prepared to speak in his defence, and so judgment was passed without him having any representation worthy of the name. The intention therefore seems to have been for the Stake President to monopolize and manipulate the evidence to suit his intended purposes.

In England, it was recognised 800 years ago that this form of “trial” was a mainstay of tyranny and cowardice, and was duly superseded over the centuries by improved justice systems which facilitated fairer outcomes. Apparently the pre-Magna Carta way of getting things done lives on however in Plymouth Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Whether tyranny or cowardice, or maybe just plain incompetence, in Steve’s case there was no adherence to the official handbook. He was deprived of fair warning of what was being schemed, and received just a hurriedly tacked together few lines of misleading verbiage dashed off without proper consideration to equity or due process. The communication handed to Steve demonstrated thinly disguised contempt for him, utter disregard for his family, and no interest in the truth. Seemingly, the outcome was already determined in the Stake President’s mind, his terse little note merely serving as a token tip of the hat towards bygone Mormon etiquette.

Furthermore it was handed to Steve by his bishop and ex-bishop, two men whose word he should have been able to trust, and they assured him at the time that it did NOT indicate that there would be a disciplinary council, just a discussion about his feelings. Steve informed them that he would in any case be unable to attend, due to the fact that he had been given only seven days’ notice, and it so happened that he had already arranged to be elsewhere with his wife on the appointed day, as they would be celebrating their wedding anniversary away together that weekend.

That meant nothing either. Marriages, families, friendships, and common decency all pale into insignificance when compared with the ever urgent need to “uphold the good name of the Church”, whatever that is supposed to mean these days.

Everything about this excommunication was underhand, ignoble and wrong. Yet today we read in The Independent newspaper:

The Church confirmed that it had removed Mr Bloor’s status as a member but insisted it had correctly followed its procedures.

Unless the handbook has been radically rewritten in recent months, that claim to correctness is just one more pitiful lie among so many others.

The saddest thing though, is that most of the men involved in this shameful piece of religious chicanery, actually think they are serving God by covering up truth in this way. Yet they accomplish nothing lastingly worthwhile. Their actions are entirely futile and meaningless. The words and actions of Steve Bloor, and thousands more like him will not be stemmed by such empty manoeuvring. We will just keep growing in number as more and more people learn of such absurdities, and wake up.

The problem the LDS church is now experiencing will not go away. That is because reality will not go away. Certain of us will not be silenced when we see self-serving lies masquerading as saving truths.

Light always overcomes darkness in the end.