More and more members of the Mormon faith are discovering that their social media profiles and blogs are being closely inspected by higher-ups in the church. The New York Times recently shared the stories of several people that Mormon leaders have tried to bring back in line through threats of excommunication and banishment. And in some cases, they weren't just warnings. Kevin Kloosterman — a fomer bishop himself — was banned from temple in March after congratulating the first gay couple married within Utah's state borders.
"Jesus would never do that," his bishop allegedly told him. Kloosterman was handed the "devastating" punishment even after he'd previously lobbied on behalf of same-sex marriage and apologized "to gays rejected by their Mormon families," the Times says; it was his Twitter activity that finally brought on the church's wrath. A woman named Dana who spoke to the Times had a similar experience, though her situation should set off even more alarms. After posting what she believed were anonymous comments in a chat room, she promptly received an email from her bishop quoting her words and faced a choice: stop the online criticisms, or risk excommunication at a disciplinary hearing. Dana's family instead chose to leave the church voluntarily.
Mormon church officials have said they've done nothing to discourage blogging or online discussion of the doctrine. "Church leaders have encouraged civil online dialogue and recognize that today it’s just part of how the world works," a spokesperson told the Times. And Mormons are indeed very active online, to the point where they've even fondly nicknamed the large number of blogs covering Mormon issues. They're collectively known as the "Bloggernacle," but it appears church leaders aren't afraid to make an example of members that stray too far with their online message. Even those that have dedicated most of their lives to the Mormon faith are learning the hard lesson. "I’m in shock still," Kloosterman told the Times.