ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A former bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is facing possible excommunication over a podcast that frequently criticizes church history, policies and procedures.
Bill Reel’s “Mormon Discussion” podcast recently took on Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Episodes typically have provocative titles; the episode about Elder Holland was called “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire,” accusing the Mormon apostle of lying to members, including exaggerating the church’s growth rate.
In the episode, Reel describes a “friendly” relationship he once had with Elder Holland. However, Reel said during his own faith crisis, when he posed doctrinal questions to the apostle, he was met with silence.
Recently, Reel said he was served with an invitation to a church disciplinary council by his Stake President in St. George. The letter, posted to the “Mormon Discussion website,” told Reel he “repeatedly acted in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the church and its leaders.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not comment on the reasons for calling disciplinary councils to protect the privacy of its members. However, Reel said he believes his episode about Elder Holland was the last straw.
“I always knew that full honesty and transparency and shining a light on unhealthiness and deception would eventually end with me being severed from my tribe. But many around me expected better from the Church and are feeling hurt by this latest detail to transpire,” said Reel in a post about the disciplinary council letter.
In an interview with St. George News, Reel said he plans to reiterate his stance on the Church’s treatment of LGBTQ individuals at his disciplinary council.
He asked for support from listeners of his podcast.
His disciplinary council is scheduled for Nov. 27th. If excommunicated, he would join the likes of other high profile members of the Church excommunicated for similar reasons, including John Dehlin and former LDS bishop Sam Young.