SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Mormon man well-known for running a website that provides a forum for church members questioning their faith said Thursday that he is set to be kicked out of the religion later this month.
John Dehlin of Logan, Utah, said a regional church letter informed him that a disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25, at which he's likely to be censured or excommunicated.
The letter cites the website, Mormonstories.org, and his public support of same-sex marriage as reasons for accusing him of apostasy, Dehlin said. The church defines apostasy as "repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine."
FILE - In this, May 16, 2014, file photo, John Dehlin sits in his basement studio where he broadcasts his podcast at his home in North Logan, Utah. Dehlin, a Mormon man well-known for running a website that provides a forum for church members questioning their faith says he is set to be kicked out of the religion. Dehlin, said Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, that a disciplinary hearing is set for Jan. 25 at which he's likely to be censured or excommunicated. (AP Photo/The Herald Journal, John Zsiray, File)
Excommunication is rare and brings down the harshest punishment available on a church member.
"While my family and I would prefer to be left alone by LDS church leadership at this time, I would much rather face excommunication than disavow my moral convictions," Dehlin said in a statement on his website. He has faced church discipline multiple times over the last decade.
Officials with the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn't immediately have comment Thursday. Church leaders have previously declined to discuss Dehlin's case specifically but have said the church welcomes questions and sincere conversations about the faith.
They have concerns, however, about members who distance themselves from doctrine and encourage others to follow them.
Last year, the church excommunicated Kate Kelly, founder of a prominent Mormon women's group that staged demonstrations in a push to permit women to join the faith's lay clergy. That move sent ripples throughout Mormon communities around the country.
Scholars say Kelly and Dehlin are the most high-profile examples of excommunication proceedings since 1993. That year, the church disciplined six Mormon writers who questioned church doctrine, ousting five and kicking out a sixth temporarily.
Dehlin said the letter he received also cites his support of Kelly's group, Ordain Women, and his criticism of the church's lack of transparency about finances.
Dehlin is a married father of four who has been a Latter-day Saint his entire life. He is a doctoral candidate in psychology who previously worked in the high-tech industry.