*This is an update to our November 20 article
Today, Bill Reel, a former bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on his website that he has been excommunicated over a podcast that frequently criticizes church history, policies and procedures. His statement reads: “Yesterday, December 2, 2018, at around 12:30 in the afternoon the Stake President for the Mormon Church in my geographic location hand-delivered his decision to my Disciplinary Council. The decision was as we all had expected, I had been excommunicated. Immediately, my family signed onto QuitMormon.org and completed their resignations. It has been a long journey but one in which our home was united. Our Family united in valuing truth and standing up for those who are marginalized and harmed led to our being hand in hand as we woke up to our lives. When Mormonism one last time made it clear that the truth is not only not useful, but even more directly it is antithetical to Mormonism’s mission, our family unitedly said goodbye.”
The LDS Church nearly a month ago served a former church bishop with a disciplinary notice saying he, “participated in conduct unbecoming a member of the Church” and that he has “repeatedly acted in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church and its leaders.”
Bill Reel curates the “Mormon Discussions” podcast, a series of audio programs in which he conducts interviews with authors, scholars, and historians of Mormonism. In addition, he speaks openly about hard-truth topics including the religion’s stance on LGBTQ issues, youth interviews, and church political ties with government officials throughout Utah.
The October podcast titled “Elder Holland – Liar Liar Pants on Fire,” where he accused St. George native and top church official Jeffrey R. Holland of lying, is what led to the church notice, Reel eluded to St. George News.
Reel says in the podcast there are five “absolutely demonstrable lies” told by Holland, such as allegedly inflated claims about the church’s growth rate.
Reel said his likely dismissal is part of a larger pattern by the church to quiet voices of dissent or those seeking reform, pointing to the recent high-profile excommunication of former church bishop Sam Young.
Young sought to end the religion’s practice of one-on-one “worthiness interviews” between adolescent youth and lay leaders that often include questions asking whether the youth adheres to church rules regarding sexual activity.
“I’m to the point where the church is toxic enough where I couldn’t be attending, but I don’t want to be severed from my tribe,” he told St. George News, explaining that he, his wife, and four children will stop attending Sunday church meetings.
But regardless of the outcome of his Nov. 27 disciplinary council, Reel said he will continue working to improve people’s lives, whether or not they are church members. For instance, he is actively involved in helping struggling youth in Southern Utah, recently using his “Mormon Discussions” platform to hold a fundraiser for the recently opened youth shelter in St. George.