In some on-line Mormon circles (and in a particularly credulous national media) I keep seeing a claim that should be put to bed.
There are a couple of high-profile critics/protesters in the Church who have reportedly been summoned to disciplinary councils (we only know this because the two individuals have gone to the New York Times and a bunch of media outlets).
One of these was already under Church discipline in Washington, D.C. She then moved to Utah, but the disciplinary council is being held by leaders in her former area.
I’ve seen people saying that this is all very suspicious, or that special permission from Salt Lake City would be needed to have her records retained in the former jurisdiction.
This just simply isn’t true. It is standard policy if Church discipline is on-going or unresolved, for a move restriction to be placed upon a member’s records. This allows:
- leaders in the former geographical area to be certain that a member does not attempt to enter a new unit with unresolved issues that may affect their membership standing;
- new leaders to realize that at the very least they need to touch base with the former leader so they can learn what has been going on
I wouldn’t call this common (since serious sin requiring such councils is relatively uncommon, and having people moving at precisely that point in time makes this scenario rarer still), but I’ve done it before, and my ward is not a hot-bed of rampant sin or apostasy (that I know of!)
Furthermore, Salt Lake City or General Authorities don’t need to be involved in doing this. Bishops’ tools on lds.org make it very easy.
Just now, I decided to test how quickly I could ban my own membership from being transferred to another unit.
First, I signed into LDS.org.
One click brought me to a page where I could search my ward by name.
I typed my name and the following page appeared:
Note the little flag to the right of my name–if you click that, there’s a check box that effects a “move restriction.”
It’s that easy, folks. Two clicks and the name typed in.
This isn’t strange, and it isn’t some dark conspiracy. It’s standard procedure.
Which the media would learn if they’d bothered to talk to any LDS bishop or clerk, instead of relying on those with pending disciplinary issues to explain the matter.
Since they’re at potential risk of discipline, they just might not be the most representative sources.