A few other Mormon bloggers are joining suit and openly discussing excommunication threats. John Dehlin of Mormon Stories received an excommunication threat for publicly discussing some unpopular aspects of Mormon Theology. A guy in Florida (David Twede of Mormon Think) got an excommunication threat two years ago when he campaigned against Mitt Romney.
Kirby points out that political powerful people don't get threats from the church unless the church has a really good reason. Kirby is a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune. If he were excommunicated he would give the church some real bad publicity. Power has its privileges.
I suspect that for each person waving an exommunication letter, there's scores who caved into the threat.
Personally, I have little sympathy for those receiving excommunication letters from the church, for the suppression of thought is fundamental to the LDS Church.
Once again, I would like to quote Book of Commandments (aka the D&C). Joseph Smith claims that the Book of Commandments is God's new covenant for the Latter Days. The Book of Mormon is just a collection of stories. The Book of Commandments is God's Law.
God's Law demands that the faithful cast people out.
25 Thou knowest my laws, they are given in my scriptures, he that sinneth and repenth not, shall be cast out.
26 If thou lovest me, thou shat serve me and keep all of my commandments; and behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, wih a covenant and deed which cannot be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church, and two of the elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose.
27 And it shall come to pass, that the bishop of my church, after that he has received the properties of my church, that it can not be taken from the church, he shall appoint every man a steward over his own property, or that which he has received, in as much as is sufficient for himself and family:
28 And the residue shall be kept to administer to him who has not, that every man may receive according as he stands in need:
29 And the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer the poor and needy, as shall be appointed to the elders of the church and the bishop; and for the purpose of purchasing lands, and the building up of the New Jerusalem, which is hereafter to be revealed; that my covenant people may be gathered in one, in the day that I shall come to my temple.
God's law also says that the central authority is to take from each according to his ability and to distribute to each according to his needs with the bulk of the wealth of the nation used to build a great city to glorify god and give the heads of the church really fine houses.
Did you know that Karl Marx studied the Mormon experience? Marx's grand tenet of Communism is just a paraphrase of Smith's Book of Commandments. Marx chose to follow Feuerbach who argued that radical anti-religion would have a greater revolutionary effect that radical religion. This is a different story.
The story today is that excommunication is fundamental. The idea of Mormonism is that, in a Democratic Republic, a group can gain power by creating a centralized authority that demands political fealty from its members. The group is to collectivize the capital of the group. Members will get perks from the huge capital pool for their patronage and will be cast into the wilderness for apostasy.
Spying on and aggressively excommunicating of apostates is fundamental to this design.
If you are Mormon, this is what is supposed to happen. Joseph Smith claims that the Heavenly Father demands that the central authority casts out apostates. This is a fundamental part of the structure.
If you own a NBA team and you lose your games in the first round of the playoffs, then you don't get to play in any more games that year. This is fundamental to the game.
In horse racing, the Triple Crown is the most coveted title for a horse. A horse must win the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and The Belmont Stakes. One of the owners of California Chrome, a contender for the triple crown, complained that California Chrome had to compete against fresh horses in the Belmont Stakes. His complaint gained little sympathy because earning a triple crown is supposed to extremely difficult. California Chrome is among the near misses which is a pretty sweet title in itself.
Anyway, back to Mormonism. I am not LDS, but I have no sympathy for Kate Kelley's excommunication because casting people out is a fundamental tenet of Mormonism. If you are Mormon, you are to adhere to the centralized authority. If you don't you are to be cast out. End of story.
In the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith gives examples of how the Heavenly Father casts people out and it is Biblical. In 2 Nephi 5:21, Joseph Smith describes the casting out of the Native Americans.
And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.
Mormons are told that when the Heavenly Father smited the Lamanites he changed the color of their skin from white to dark just as the Heavenly Father turned the descendants of Cain black ... which, uh, is what you are supposed to believe.
The Mormon Prophet Prophet Brigham Young explained in 1859:
"You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation ...When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people"
Now, I like to think of myself as intelligent. I have never once thought Native Americans as loathsome, but if you are Mormon, you are supposed to read moral condemnation into the color of people's skin as skin color is a historical marker of the wrath of God.
The Mormon Enterprise is an arch conservative institution. The institution seeks to establish a class society by collectivizing resources and casting people out.
I have little sympathy for Mormons who balk at their excommunication letters. Excommunication is fundamental to this political design. Quite frankly, moral condemnation of one's neighbors, ridiculing people and casting them out is fundamental to conservatism. The whole idea of conservatism is that there is a pre-ordained ruling class that is supposed to lord over their neighbors and that people outside the ruling class need to be put down.
I don't like conservatism. I simply don't pretend that these ideologies are something that they are not. Mormonism is a political hierarchy. Those who adhere to the hierarchy are to receive benefits from the power structure. Those who don't are to be cast out. This is the way these schemes work. If you don't like this type of scheme, then don't support them.
Utah is not the only severely conservative place on the planet. Iran imprisoned people who made a video of themselves dancing to "Happy." My heart goes out to the Happy Dancers because they live in a place where conservatives have the power they desire and can do people physical harm beyond simply casting them out.