Recently, a number of self-proclaimed intellectuals have been excommunicated from the LDS Church. The casual observer may arrive at the erroneous conclusion that a member of the church can be excommunicated simply for intellectualizing about various doctrines, history or current issues. Some who have had action taken to remove their church membership would have us believe that they are innocent, helpless victims at the whim of an unfeeling religious bureaucracy.

When you read or listen to what these individuals are writing and speaking, the reasons for disciplinary action becomes very clear even to those outside the church. Some of these individuals have created false teachings, misleading and spurious doctrines contrary to basic church teachings. Others seek to counsel the leaders of the church under the false facade of "just trying to be understood." Still others brandish their supposed superior intellect, special knowledge or extensive research to contort church history or scripture to their own narrow point of view. Their need to teach others about their sometimes bizarre beliefs is what turns their benign ideas into a disruptive predicament within the church.It seems ironic that the same people who try to portray themselves as misunderstood scapegoats are in some cases blatantly seeking power and notoriety. Most have a pompous disregard for church teaching and authority. They concentrate on what they perceive is their own supremacy and higher comprehension.

There is nothing wrong with honest scholarly research and private study. However, no church should have to become a club for everyone who feels a need to teach eccentric and speculative theories. If a church allows anyone to teach whatever they personally think is correct, no matter how far it deviates from church doctrine, it simply can't stand as a religion.

Doug Fairbourn

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Salt Lake City

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