Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Andrew Callahan Of Hastings, Nebraska Faces Possible Excommunication From The LDS Church For Apostasy Over California Proposition 8

Update September 26th: KTVX Channel 4 reports that Andrew Callahan's disciplinary hearing has been delayed until November. No reason was given.

Andrew Callahan, a resident of Hastings, Nebraska who describes himself as a "high priest in good standing" in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been summoned to a church disciplinary council by his local stake president, where he will face possible excommunication from the Church for activities relating to his open opposition to the Church's support of California Proposition 8, designed to legally define marriage as only between one man and one woman. Full story published by; additional report from KTVX Channel 4 (with video).

According to the letter sent to him by his stake president, Callahan is being accused of conduct unbecoming a member of the Church and apostasy. The disciplinary hearing will be held at the Kearney, NE stake center at 6:30 P.M. CDT on September 26th, 2008. More background about disciplinary councils and possible penalties HERE.

Callahan's activities in opposition to the LDS Church's support of Proposition 8 began shortly after the Church issued a pastoral letter to its California members in late June asking them to work in support of Proposition 8. He not only helped to create a website where pro-marriage equality Mormons could speak out, he also wrote hundreds of letters to middle level church leaders stating this opposition to the plan put forth by top leadership in the Mormon Church, and invited the middle level leaders to join with him in that opposition.

The Church’s leadership seemingly took note of Callahan’s efforts, and on August 18th, Temple Square disseminated a notice to virtually all of the LDS ecclesiastical leaders in the United States, directing them to disregard communications from him. Nevertheless, Callahan continued his outreach efforts, contacting lay members in several states, and started an online petition urging the Church to immediately discontinue its political organizing activities and financial support of the California amendment. And those efforts led to a visit from his ward bishop.

On September 11, 2008 (what an auspicious day), Bishop Bryan Woodbury of Clay Center, Nebraska visited Callahan at the behest of the stake president. The bishop offered Callahan a chance to resign his Church membership. But when Callahan declined, the bishop then stated that there would be disciplinary action. The stated reason was that Callahan was in opposition to the Church. Callahan took that to be a threat of excommunication, because bishops have full authority to discipline high priests in the Mormon Church with every form of church discipline except excommunication, which must be done at the next higher level (stake).

On September 21st, Callahan sent an e-mail out to the media publicizing his troubles with the Church, after which he received the summons from his stake president.

Andrew Callahan opposes the Church's stand on Proposition 8 because, in his words, "this reminded me so much of the racial bigotry that Mormon leaders have historically been so famous for. Our past leaders insisted that racial bigotry against blacks was God’s divine idea," Callahan continued, adding, "now current ones are promoting this same kind of bigoted nonsense about gays and lesbians." Leading websites by Mormons opposed to Proposition 8 include LDS For Gay Marriage and MormonsForMarriage.

According to a September 20th article by The Wall Street Journal, of the nearly $15.5 million spent on the effort to pass Proposition 8, more than a third have been contributions by Mormons. The article said that figure came from the campaign manager of, Frank Schubert. But some sources estimate that contributions from Mormons may be responsible for as much as 40 percent of the total. On the other hand, the groups opposing Proposition 8 have collected around $13 million.

Commentary: An examination of Andrew Callahan's website indicates his disaffection with the LDS Church predates the Church's campaign for Proposition 8. Watch his two YouTube videos HERE. In the first video, Callahan completely twists around and misrepresents LDS culture as promoting intrigue secrecy, and secret combinations. He claims that Mormons glamorize guile, deception, and lying to the Lord, using the example of Nephi's encounter with Laban as documented in the Book of Mormon as "proof". This is the mark of someone who clearly has been out of harmony with the Gospel for a long time. He may be in "good standing" outward, but he's been "out of standing" inward.

If Callahan's excommunicated, it won't be simply because he's opposed to Proposition 8. It will be attributable to the fact that he chose to work openly and recruit other Church members to take a stand against it.


Chino Blanco said...

Andrew rocks!

Deseret Dawg said...

Unfortunately, Andrew is "rocking" the wrong way. He's jeopardizing his Church membership.

ldsneighbor said...

It is unfortunate when this happens. People are free to apostatize. And the church is free to discipline up to excommunication. When I look at the guy's website, it's hard to believe he was even a member, going on the warpath against the First Presidency like that. And all that just because the church endorses preserving the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. This seems like a no-brainer.

Chino Blanco said...

Glen Greener and Gary Lawrence are the LDS PR flacks behind the deceptive and misleading 'Yes on 8' campaign doc titled 'Six Consequences if Proposition 8 Fails" ...

How is it that LDS operatives like Brothers Greener and Lawrence remain in good standing after peddling such falsehoods?

If you're going to suggest that Andrew indulging in a bit of harmless chicanery in the course of standing up for his political beliefs amounts to justification for excommunication from the LDS Church, well, I would suggest that Glen Greener and Gary Lawrence are much more worthy candidates for getting the boot.

Laura Dale said...

Thank you so much for having the gumption to stand up for our leaders decision to act on Prop-8. If you can support a gay union you should not be involved in our church, It is in direct opposition to our beliefs!

Anonymous said...

Glen Greener should be excommunicatd as well. He has been in an affair for over 30 years with his old secretary that caused her divorce and her dis-fellowshipment from the LDS Church and now he is writing acting like he is good standing with the LDS Church. Adultery is the second worst sin and it has caused her family significant grief and they have been seeking counseling.

Chino Blanco said...

I don't know anything about Glen's personal life, but his political life has been marked by numerous scandals (as public safety commissioner in SLC - he left under a cloud after one of his many plots was exposed, then again as sewer commissioner, before changing from Democrat to Republican and becoming a GOP flack in California ...)

In any case, as far as excommunications go, should the Church now ex Steve Young and his wife?

How about me? I've produced a fairly substantial amount of pro bono oppo research for the Prop 8 camp during the past few months.

Everyone's already very aware of Andrew Callahan's efforts.

And now we all know about the Young's $50K donation to the No on 8 campaign.

Should we ALL get ex'd?

For standing up for our POLITICAL beliefs??

Get real and go back to school and learn what country we live in and why we love it.

Anyway, I've uploaded the CBS5 report on the Young's public opposition to Prop 8:

I absolutely loved the inscriptions on the gravestones that the Youngs planted in their yard for Halloween:

RIP inequality, Nov. 4

May discrimination
be a thing of the past,
May hate and fear
be gone at last
RIP prop 8!

Those who forget
the past
are condemned
to repeat it.
No to 8!!!

Cliff said...

When people are disciplined for things like this certain people invariably complain that the church is stifling someone's voice and right to advocate for their own personal beliefs.

Please understand that the church is not a political institution. It is the kingdom of God on the earth. It is founded on eternal doctrine that does not shift with the tide of public opinion, and it teaches the one and only way to receive salvation and exaltation. Openly striving against those teachings is not simply a matter of having a different opinion, and acting against such strivings is not a matter of squelching those differing opinions.

The church is simply taking the stand that one cannot openly strive against God's teachings and at the same time remain a member of God's kingdom. The church owes no one the indulgence of having a place in the very institution that person seeks to destroy - and if someone disagrees that strongly with the church, if someone honestly feels that church leaders are not simply led directly by God and according to God's eternal truth, why would they want to be a part of the church?

The church simply is not a political institution.

California Mormon said...

Mr. Glenn Greener is sneaking around California again looking for something to attack. His victims are most certainly the gay community. What will he conjure up next? Whatever it is it will be a lie and he will profit from it

Anonymous said...

Cliff, how can you say that the doctrine does not shift with the tide of public opinion. Giving the priesthood to non-white members happened during the civil rights movement. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the priesthood to blacks would reinforce the point. It did not occur until way after the civil rights movement. A better argument would be plural marriage.

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