Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on Fox News' 'The Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

GMA Plays Up ‘Controversy Inside the Mormon Church’ and the ‘Shocking Move’ By Church Officials

Officials inside the Mormon Church have chosen to expel two activists from its ranks “One who is pushing for women priests. The other targeted for questioning church doctrine” and ABC’s Good Morning America did it's best to hype the supposed “controversy inside the Mormon Church.”

On Friday, June 13, ABC’s Mara Schiavocampo promoted how “It's a shocking move by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which in recent years has worked to make itself appear more open and inclusive including an advertising campaign highlighting its diverse membership.”

In her report, Schiavocampo sympathized with the activists who openly challenge and protest church teachings:

Within the past week, the church sent two letters, threatening disciplinary action on consecutive days. The first to John Dehlin, known for his “Mormon Stories” podcast and who creates forums for those questioning their faith. The second to Kate Kelly, founder of “Ordain Women” a year old organization dedicated to shining a spotlight on gender inequality within the Mormon faith. 

Kelly's letter comes nearly two months after she led hundreds of women in a March demonstration in Salt Lake City, asking to be admitted to a meeting reserved for members of the priesthood, which includes most male members of the church 12 and older. She says the threat of excommunication is devastating. 

The ABC reporter then played clips of Dehlin and Kelly lamenting that their activism had gotten them in trouble, with Kelly bemoaning that “They are trying to force me out of my faith. And it's excruciatingly painful” and Dehlin condemning church tradition: “You can't say we're a broad, diverse church, were a 21st century church and be excommunicating people like it was the 1800s.”

While Schiavocampo did include the official response from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the overall tone of the story clearly showed concern for the “activists.” The report concluded by noting “Dehlin and Kelly's hearings are next week. Dehlin says even if he is excommunicated, he’s still continue doing the same work. And excommunication is not a permanent ban. Members can return, if they choose to repent.” 

See relevant transcript below. 

ABC

Good Morning America

June 13, 2014

7:10 a.m. Eastern 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, we're going to turn now to a controversy inside the Mormon Church. Officials threatening to expel two activists. One who is pushing for women priests. The other targeted for questioning church doctrine. ABC’s Mara Schiavocampo has the story. 

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: It's a shocking move by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which in recent years has worked to make itself appear more open and inclusive including an advertising campaign highlighting its diverse membership.  Within the past week, the church sent two letters, threatening disciplinary action on consecutive days. The first to John Dehlin, known for his “Mormon Stories” podcast and who creates forums for those questioning their faith.

The second to Kate Kelly, founder of “Ordain Women” a year old organization dedicated to shining a spotlight on gender inequality within the Mormon faith. Kelly's letter comes nearly two months after she led hundreds of women in a March demonstration in Salt Lake City, asking to be admitted to a meeting reserved for members of the priesthood, which includes most male members of the church 12 and older. She says the threat of excommunication is devastating. 

KATE KELLY: They are trying to force me out of my faith. And it's excruciatingly painful. 

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Dehlin believes the church is sending a terrible message to followers.

JOHN DEHLIN: You can't say we're a broad, diverse church, were a 21st century church and be excommunicating people like it was the 1800s. 

SCHIAVOCAMPO: In a statement to ABC News, the church says, quote, “When some members attempt to change clear church teachings to fit their personal preferences and encourage others to follow them, doctrine needs to be clarified so that others are not misled.” Experts say the church's actions show where they will draw the line. 

RANDALL BALMER: The church has its limits about how far they're willing to go towards liberalization. 

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Dehlin and Kelly's hearings are next week. Dehlin says even if he is excommunicated, he’s still continue doing the same work. And excommunication is not a permanent ban. Members can return, if they choose to repent. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: This is some story, Mara. Thank you. 

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.