Standing Firmly for Freedom of Speech within Mormonism

Title page of the MormonThink website that may get David Twede excommunicated

I hope you have detected in my posts the affection I have for Mormonism. You may have wondered why I left Mormonism to become a Unitarian-Universalist.  (I officially remain on the Mormon Church’s records as a member, priest and elder.) The number one thing that drove me from active participation in Mormonism was abridgement of freedom of speech by Mormon Church leaders. Individual Mormons have been punished by the Mormon Church for their exercise of free speech even when they speak and write outside of church in a private capacity. According to the New York Times, this may be happening again, this time to David Twede. Here is the article: “Web Site Editor May Face Mormon Excommunication.”

Freedom of speech bolsters truth and weakens falsehood. If a belief is really true, it should having nothing to fear from freedom of speech. Believers in the virtues of the free market–which has some imperfections, but still has brought greater prosperity to the world than any other economic system ever has–should be attracted to the virtues of free speech as well. As a species, the human race cannot afford to give up the power of free speech to help us fulfill our potential.

I recognize the need for institutions to maintain their institutional cohesion. It is inevitable that there are limitations on freedom of speech while someone is acting in an official capacity for an institution, and that there are rules of order during meetings of an institution. And it is inevitable that a wide range of information will be used when decisions are made about promotion to the leadership ranks of an institution. But rank-and-file members of an institution willing to remain rank-and-file members should never be punished for their exercise of freedom of speech on their own time and in a private capacity. As I tweeted a few minutes ago along with the New York Times link:

This is America! We should have freedom of speech so deep in our bones it’s hard to abridge it even in a church context

Update: Here is a link to a Huffington Post article about the the final outcome. (The article also has a graphic about the most and least Mormon states.)