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North Logan • John Dehlin will have to wait a little longer to see whether he still will be able to call himself a Latter-day Saint.
The "Mormon Stories" podcaster met with his local lay leaders Sunday night for more than three hours in a disciplinary council that ultimately could cost him his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Church representative James Jenkins said Dehlin will learn his fate by mail from North Logan Stake President Bryan King "in the coming days after prayer and deliberation."
"I will be waiting anxiously for that letter," Dehlin said.
Emerging from the closed-door hearing in a North Logan Mormon meetinghouse, Dehlin, striding hand in hand with his wife, Margi, addressed the remaining onlookers, thanking family members and supporters for their continued backing.
"I am deeply grateful to the LDS Church for my upbringing," Dehlin said in a 10-minute speech, describing parts of his spiritual journey. "It is inextricably connected to who I have become."
Telling personal stories "bring us out of the darkness," he said. "But our journey does not end at self-discovery. We must find healing."
While the disciplinary council took place inside the meetinghouse, Dehlin's supporters prayed, gave short speeches about the importance of independent thinking and authentic faith, swapped stories, carried candles and sang the rousing Mormon pioneer hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints."
Earlier on Sunday evening, a crowd of more than 200 supporters greeted Dehlin with respectful applause when he arrived.
Dehlin was summoned to the council by King to determine if the Mormon critic is guilty of apostasy.
"I started 'Mormon Stories' 10 years ago to support people struggling with their faith," Dehlin told the crowd before the hearing. "I have made a lot of mistakes, but I just wanted to provide an open discussion and community so that people could support each other."
He knew church discipline might be a "possible, even likely outcome" of his efforts, Dehlin said. "I am not a victim. I don't fault the church."
Dehlin said he saw some signs saying, "King is a tyrant," and asked backers to take them down.
"I am grateful you've come out," he told the assembled crowd. "I hope that I can handle this with grace, dignity and love."
A man from the crowd yelled, "We love you, John."
Micah Nickolaisen, who organized the vigil, also urged people to be respectful of the LDS Church and its property.
"We are not Westboro Baptists," Nickolaisen, a longtime friend of Dehlin, said in reference to the often-offensive demonstrations staged by members of that Kansas-based church. "John was integral to my faith journey. A rejection of him is a rejection of all of us.".
Bill Bradshaw, a retired Brigham Young University professor and one of the people Dehlin called as a "witness" for the proceeding, grew emotional as he said, "I love my church, and I want there to be a place for everyone in it. And I love John and his family with all my heart."
Cheryl Nunn, a longtime Mormon who hasn't attended LDS services since 2008, recently resigned her membership.
"I could not belong to a church," Nunn said, "that would excommunicate a man like John."
Jenkins, the LDS Church spokesman, told the throng that the disciplinary hearing was "a sacred council."
"We appreciate your orderliness and respect," Jenkins said before the hearing.
Dehlin, a frequent critic of Utah's predominant faith, previously said he expects to be excommunicated. His lay LDS leaders also could choose to disfellowship him or take no action.
For years, Dehlin has publicly expressed doubts about core Mormon beliefs and history. He also openly supports same-sex marriage and women's ordination to the all-male LDS priesthood.
When Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly was excommunicated in June, she had to wait until the day after her disciplinary council to learn that she had been ousted from the Utah-based faith.
Nickolaisen said he was not surprised that Sunday evening ended without a clear decision.
"I am just glad we were able to show John a show of support," he said. "Our hearts are with him as he awaits the news."