Monday, February 25, 2008

Church responds to Danzig affair

A Chronology of events and other information by Peter Danzig can be read at
In a rare response to such matters, the church has responded to the Pater Danzig affair.

SALT LAKE CITY 24 February 2008 Church leaders are
always saddened when an individual, whether through
his or her actions or personal choices, decides to
leave the Church.  A welcoming hand of fellowship is
always extended to those who wish to return at

Every organization, religious or secular, has to
determine where its boundaries begin and where they
end. The Apostle Paul said that the original Church
was organized to help members to be "no more children,
tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind
of doctrine." (Ephesians 4:14)

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints are encouraged to study, learn and ask
questions in their quest for knowledge.  Gordon B.
Hinckley, 15th president of the Church said:  "This
Church came about as a result of intellectual
curiosity. We believe in education … we expect them
(Church members) to think. We expect them to
investigate. We expect them to use their minds and dig
deeply for knowledge in all fields."

However, it is not acceptable when their digging and
questioning leads to public opposition against
doctrine Church leaders are obliged to uphold.  That
doesn't mean that Church leaders don't listen and
consider opposing views.  Quite the contrary.  Local
bishops and stake presidents (congregational leaders)
love and are concerned about all members of the flock.
 This is the purpose of counseling provided by local
Church leaders who know and care for each individual
in their congregations.

Honest disagreements are not the same as public
advocacy of positions contrary to those of the Church.
When disagreements arise, the principle of the Church
is that local leaders discuss these matters with
members with love and concern.  This was the case with
Peter Danzig.

On 23 February 2008 The Salt Lake Tribune posted an
article about Mr. Danzig who was a member of the
Church's Orchestra at Temple Square.  According to the
story, in June of 2006 Mr. Danzig published a
letter-to-the-editor in the Tribune (and letters in
other local newspapers) encouraging members to oppose
Church leaders on the issue of same gender marriage.

In his Tribune letter-to-the-editor, Mr. Danzig said
he "was troubled that my church requested I violate my
own conscience to write in support of an amendment I

feel is contrary to the constitution and to the gospel
of Christ." In reality Church leaders had asked
members to write to their senators with their personal
views regarding the federal amendment opposing same
gender marriage, and did not request support or
opposition to the amendment.

Initially Orchestra leaders met with Mr. Danzig to see
if his public advocacy of this issue could be
reconciled.  Finding no resolution, they contacted the
Office of the First Presidency, and were instructed to
refer the matter to Mr. Danzig's local Church leaders,
as Church protocol requires.  Mr. Danzig was asked to
take a leave of absence from the orchestra until the
matter had been resolved.

For more than a year and a half, Mr. Danzig counseled
with his local bishop and stake president regarding
same gender marriage and other Church doctrines.
Unfortunately he was not able to reconcile his
personal beliefs with the doctrine Church leaders are
charged to maintain by divine mandate.

In December 2007, Mr. Danzig voluntarily withdrew his
membership in the Church by his own formal written
request.  He was not officially disciplined by the
Church as the Tribune article indicated.

The Church normally keeps this type of communication
confidential.  However, the Church felt compelled to
defend its position when Mr. Danzig made this
information public and because of the blatant,
inappropriate editorializing by the Salt Lake Tribune
in what was purported to be a news story.

Mormon Chronicles / Mormon Issues

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