Discovering Church Discipline

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Discovering Church Discipline

Post by MerrieMiss » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:53 pm

All this excommunication talk has got me thinking: When did you know or learn about church discipline?

I knew as a young kid that Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated, but the why was vague – because he was bad and went against the prophet. As a teenager I knew excommunications happened, but again, the reasons why were vague – the person did something really, really bad and it didn’t happen very often.

It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I learned about church discipline. I had a college roommate who was disfellowshipped and eventually excommunicated. For some reason, she found in me a sympathetic and listening ear and the whole experience was eye-opening and almost too advanced for the amount of knowledge I had about both church and life, generally speaking. I remember going home one vacation and asking my dad tons of questions about church discipline - disfellowshipment, courts for women vs. men, which "sins" require discipline, etc. It was a part of the church I had known nothing about and I was both fascinated and terrified and wanted to learn everything I could about it. Before this, to be disfellowshipped was something I had never heard of. I ended up mentioning disfellowshipment to my other roommates who made it clear they had never heard of it or considered anyone they knew could ever do anything to be disfellowshipped. And I knew and lived with a woman who had experienced both (they had too, but I wasn't telling).

Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that excommunications (transgressions too?) were announced over the pulpit (before my time but some of you may remember). Is church discipline something the church hides from its members? Was I sheltered and incredibly naïve? When did you find out it was a thing? Was it in a lesson? Gossip? Or did you learn through experience (as a leader, unwilling participant, family member, etc)?
The true opposite of order is not disorder but freedom. Most profoundly, the true opposite of control is not chaos but self-control. -Jay Griffiths

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Re: Discovering Church Discipline

Post by dogbite » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:59 pm

I lived through the era where the aaronic priesthood was asked to leave the opening exercises while the Melchizidek priesthood remained behind briefly. And the public shaming of the disciplined began among the adults.

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Re: Discovering Church Discipline

Post by Thoughtful » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:39 pm

Seminary teacher casting shame on everyone he ever knew that "apostatized".

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Re: Discovering Church Discipline

Post by blazerb » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:48 pm

I remember being in one of my first priesthood meetings as a deacon and hearing the announcement of discipline. I can't remember whether it was an excommunication or a disfellowshipment. I do remember talking to the younger brother of the disciplined. I think in this case, the issue was a felony conviction.

I was a voracious reader in a home with a lot of McConkie books. I believe I had read about excommunication and disfellowshipment in Mormon Doctrine. I think it has gradually become more hidden. I was told that disciplined persons used to have to confess in F&T meetings before privileges were restored. That ended a long time ago. Then actions were just announced. Now, you barely know until someone is called to say a prayer and has to turn down the request.

I think young men still have it pretty bad. They rarely get formal discipline, but when they have to bow out of participating in the sacrament, everyone knows they did something. However, everyone who has to go through it gets shamed to some extent. Young women get labeled harshly when people notice. All around, I am sure it is less about repentance than ensuring the rank and file stay in line.

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Re: Discovering Church Discipline

Post by Spicy McHaggis » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:33 am

Excommunication: a 16th century solution to a 21st century problem.

Why do they still do it other than to shame the person who was ex'd?

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Re: Discovering Church Discipline

Post by Dravin » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:22 pm

Spicy McHaggis wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:33 am
Why do they still do it other than to shame the person who was ex'd?
There are various circumlocutions, particularly if you want to appeal to doctrine, but the heart of the issue is control. It controls the disciplined and it controls the flock by explicitly or implicitly telling them the disciplined is to be treated in a certain way. This later point is important in understanding certain discipline decisions that Mormonism has made in the news in which they give themselves black eyes just so they can reduce the efficacy of the apostate in appealing to the flock.
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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Re: Discovering Church Discipline

Post by IT_Veteran » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:42 pm

The first time I'd considered it, well and truly considered it, was when my mom told me I needed to go talk with the bishop for having sex with my girlfriend. It was so serious, she told me, that I may have to face church discipline which could include excommunication or disfellowship. I was 17.

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