NORTH LOGAN, Utah -- A North Logan man faces possible excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
John Dehlin entered his disciplinary council hearing around 6 p.m Sunday. While he was inside, hundreds of people waited outside while lighting candles and singing in support. As of about 9:20 p.m., LDS Church Stake President Bryan King, the local LDS Church congregation leader presiding over the hearing, said he has decided to pray and wait a day or two before making a decision regarding John Dehlin.
"Our goal has always been to encourage an open discussion, to provide support to those who are suffering," said Dehlin as he entered the church prior to the hearing.
Dehlin is facing excommunication for a number of reasons, including his public support of same-sex marriage, the LGBT community and the Ordain Women movement, as well as his decade long podcast, Mormon Stories, in which these types of controversial issues are discussed.
"He is a great support for those of us that have questions about the church, who don't like the way they treated gays and women and equality issues," said supporter Zan Burningham.
"I don't think of myself as a victim here, I knew when I bought that first microphone and recorded that first episode that this was probable if not a likely outcome," Dehlin said.
Some people say, in many ways, Dehlin is taking the fall for thousands of supporters who feel the same way, but don't have the courage to publicize it.
"I know in a lot of ways it feels like for me the church isn't just rejecting John Dehlin, the church is rejecting me too," said supporter Micah Nickolaisen.
"I feel that it's really important that we don't stop people from speaking what they believe and what their truth is, it's important to me that my girls know that when people are being silenced we aren't quiet," said supporter Mary Danzig.
Before the disciplinary hearing, the LDS Church did address the supporters, and delivered a statement.
"We welcome you here on church property, we appreciate your orderliness and respect," said James Jenkins, Spokesperson for North Logan Utah Stake of the LDS Church. "We request that you respect the sacredness of this property and these proceedings."
There is no timetable for these types of hearings. Kate Kelly's excommunication hearing took two days.