Church Discipline Top-Down

The LDS Church issued the following statement posted on its website. I have copied and pasted as it appears in the original:


The Church issued the following statement today in response to questions from the news media regarding Church discipline:
“The Church is a family made up of millions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and opinions. There is room for questions and we welcome sincere conversations. We hope those seeking answers will find them and happiness through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Sometimes members’ actions contradict Church doctrine and lead others astray. While uncommon, some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the Church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs. This saddens leaders and fellow members. In these rare cases, local leaders have the responsibility to clarify false teachings and prevent other members from being misled. Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters.
“Actions to address a person’s membership and standing in their congregation are convened after lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement to reconsider behavior. Ultimately, the door is always open for people to return to the Church.”
It is not true that discipline involving controversial members is exclusively the responsibility of “local leaders” acting independent of influence from the hierarchy. The hierarchy imposes their will from the top-down by instructing the local leaders on what they must do. In my case the news came directly from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the twelve, who presides over the Strengthening the Members Committee. Usually the news comes through Elder Whitney Clayton, one of the seven presidents.  He was also involved in my case, but the original pressure came through Elder Nelson directly.
The assertion by the church in their press release that “Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters” is false. In the case of public, controversial members, it is a lie.

I am far more disappointed the church would lie about what they do than I am at their inappropriate top-down behavior. The reason they lie about it is because they are violating the scriptural pattern for discipline. LDS scripture requires discipline to be local. It isn’t, so they lie to make it appear that way. Morally, lying to cover up their wrong doing is worse than admitting they manipulate local leaders. Now they are responsible for doing both. They should be more honorable.