Never a Member
Date: February 09, 2019 08:21PM
I just happened to be reading Issue #109 of Sandra Tanner's "Salt Lake City Messenger" (Oct. 2007), featuring Part 2 of "Jerald Tanner's Quest For Truth." This 3rd-person chronicle covers his intellectual and spiritual journey out of LDS and into Biblical Christianity. I find Utah Lighthouse Ministry's material very thorough.
Tanner researched and discovered problems in the LDS records (JS' visions, especially). From p.4, biographer Ronald V. Huggins' account of Tanner's separation from the SLC LDS Church:
"In August of 1960 Jerald was formally excommunicated from the LDS Church. Two years before, Jerald had asked that his name be removed from the membership roles and had been assured by a member of the Stake Presidency that it would be done. He now discovered, however, that the man had not kept his word, that in fact nothing had been done. Jerald wrote to the President of the LDS Church, who then referred the matter to Bishop Alma E. Kehl of the Cannon Seventh Ward in Salt Lake City. He was summoned to appear with witnesses for a Bishop's Court on August 14, 1960. When he arrived, however, he was told his witnesses (Sandra, his mother Helen and another woman) could not be present during the hearing. The rest of the farcical proceedings is perhaps best told in Jerald's own words:
'I walked into the room alone, and they shut the door. They asked me if I would mind if they made a tape recording of the proceedings. I permitted them to make the recording but asked if I could also make a recording. The answer was no. They asked me if I wanted to plead guilty to the "alleged wrong doing" of requesting my name to be removed from the Church records and teaching doctrines not in harmony with the Church. I replied that I did not believe my actions were "wrong" in these regards, and therefore could not plead guilty, but that I wanted my name removed without the use of the expression "wrong doing." This caused a great deal of confusion among the members of the "Bishop's Court," and they did not know how to proceed. After conversing among themselves they decided to proceed without the admission of "wrong doing" on my part.'
"On August 28, 1960, Jerald received a letter informing him that he had been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, remarkably enough without mentioning that he had been found guilty of anything. Rather it said only 'In accordance with your request your name has been removed from the records and you are no longer considered a member of the said Church.'"
(References deleted; available on line, utlm.org.)
If you read all that, good for you. My point is that in 1960, there was only one way to leave: declare yourself, or be found, guilty of immortality and/or apostasy, and get excommunicated.
What I think the SLC church is doing is to blur the distinction between "for cause" expulsions (excommunication) and "voluntary" departures. However a person separates out, he has been "UN-membered" or "DIS-membered." If you hear about So-and-So being "dismembered," you don't know whose decision it was--his, or the church's.
What remains to be seen is if they come up with a euphemism (or procedure) to replace the "Court of Love," which is an appalling euphemism itself.