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 EdgeBoston.com; 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 ProtectMarriage.org, 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.