It would not have even been a question thirty years ago. Grant Palmer’s book, in which he in essence admits what non-LDS historians have been saying for a very long time (how Smith “revised” Scripture to his own ends, for example, and how the Book of Mormon is not an ancient record), would have resulted in instant excommunication only a few decades ago. But when Palmer faced a hearing today, he was instead disfellowshipped, a lesser ecclesiastical action. A person who is disfellowshipped rather than excommunicated still has church membership, but cannot serve a church calling or be temple worthy. The message? It seems mixed, but it is surely indicative of the changes taking place as a religion much more at home in the inter-mountain West of the United States struggles to define itself in the face of the aftermath of its rapid growth in the 80s and 90s.

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