(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here.) Last week the media engaged in silliness by surmising that a disaffected LDS blogger, David Twede, was facing a church disciplinary council supposedly because he had criticized fellow Mormon, Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. The Daily Beast breathlessly headlined that the Mormons want to excommunicate a “Romney critic.”
Even the Standard-Examiner has a misleading headline in our wire story, “Mormon writer says he faces excommunication for criticizing Romney.” (Read) Now there’s no doubt that my church has a distressing record in the past with punishing dissent. The most recent example was 1993. It still irks me that a faithful member such as Lavinia Fielding Anderson was excommunicated. She deserves to be reinstated and apologized to. But David Twede, who I do have sympathy for, is not facing church disciplinary action, and potential excommunication, because he is critical of Mitt Romney.
Put on a common-sense hat, folks. If criticism of Romney merited expulsion from the LDS Church, Harry Reid would have been bounced a while ago. Many of my faithful LDS friends, who despise Romney, would be getting ominous letters from their church leaders. That’s ludicrous, of course.
The reason Twede’s church standing is in trouble is easily located in the Daily Beast article, and it’s a pity author Jamie Reno lacks more basic knowledge of the LDS faith. It states, very deep into the story, Twede saying “… They didn’t like that I was writing a blog critical of the church, and they were upset by the fact that I was discussing the temple, which is connected to Mitt Romney in my article. I revealed things about the temple, and secrecy, and other things that they just don’t want anyone to talk about. …” (article)
Criticizing Mitt Romney is no big deal. Revealing LDS temple ceremonies, which are considered sacred by faithful church members, is a big deal. It’s an offense that can lead to excommunication. If Twede wishes to retain his membership, he made a serious error posting that temple ceremonies information.
The best Mormon-themed blogger out there, the Salt Lake Tribune’s Peggy Fletcher Stack, pointed out days ago that the temple ceremony information was the big deal (Read). As Stack points out, “Mormonthink (Twede’s blog) did have an entire section discussing LDS temple ceremonies and their connection to Masonic rites, with links to photos and text of LDS temple rituals.”
It’s worth debating whether revealing such information should cost a member his church identity. I hope Twede retains his membership. But it needs to be clear that criticizing Mitt Romney had absolutely nothing to do with his current trouble with church officials, and most media dropped the ball.