I’ve been putting this off for a while now, but I decided it’s time for me to tell my story. It keeps being brought to the front of my mind by the many other people sharing, commenting, and posting on the subjects of the extremely publicized excommunications in the LDS church, and some of the movements involved. Take a look here.
My story in relation to this begins years ago, when John Dehlin and his family moved into my home ward. I love this family! They are amazing. In fact, John’s wife was one of my very favorite young women leaders, and to this day, I think often of her and the impact she had on me. I am a very shy person and she (probably doesn’t know this) helped me be more comfortable in my shell. It was later that I finally got out of that shell, but she’s the one who helped me find the confidence to be comfortable being me, just how I was. And the Dehlin children are beautiful, talented, incredible children, and good friends to my sister.
Fast forward to September 2009. I met a guy who was pretty cool. Fast forward to April 2010. This same guy finally asks me on a date. This happened to be on the VERY SAME DAY that he was excommunicated. I found that I needed to get to know him before making any rash decisions on his status in the church and the fact that if things went well, we couldn’t be married in the temple like I wanted. Well, to keep this story from dragging on, I’ll just say that things went well. So well, that we were married that August! And now Darren and I have two beautiful daughters and we are indeed sealed for time and all eternity in the temple. Darren was RE baptized just over 2 years after he was excommunicated. Our oldest daughter had the unique experience to see her daddy baptized. She doesn’t remember that, as she was barely a year old, but she does remember going through the temple with us to be sealed for eternity. And now we love life!
So what’s the connection between these two? The fact that Brother Dehlin is facing excommunication, and Sister Kelly was excommunicated yesterday (which I do, in fact, agree with as I disagree with the “Ordain Women” movement, but that’s a rant for another day). This is what I know:
1. Excommunication is not the end of your time in the LDS church. It is a chance to start over. To right the wrongs you’ve committed against the PERFECT GOSPEL, but remember, the PEOPLE in the Church are NOT perfect.
2. Everything happens for a reason. If Darren hadn’t been excommunicated, there is a very likely chance we would not have ended up together, as the events leading up to his would have helped in a different decision, I believe.
3. The verdict seems harsh, I know. The reason for Darren’s excommunication was seemingly too harsh, yet looking back to number 2, everything happens for a reason. Darren’s biological father, Dave, was disfellowshipped from the church before finishing high school. Taking to him about this, it seems extremely harsh and even unnecessary what happened. Yet if it hadn’t have happened, he wouldn’t have ended up in California, Darren’s biological mother wouldn’t have wanted her best friend to go out to get the rights waiver papers signed after Darren was given for adoption, and said best friend wouldn’t have married Dave and have had two great sons and still be together today! (and no, they are not active members of the church but are still some of my favorite people in the world! And I have only known them since December of 2013!)
4. If the Lord feels like his purpose will be done without excommunication, he will prompt the leaders of the disciplinary council to rule in disfellowship.
Now keep in mind, this is all just my own thoughts and feelings as I have made it out of a similar situation for the better!