I have been unbanned! It only took 6 months. During my time I’ve been a good boy. I didn’t create an alternate account to continue posting on the sub as I was instructed, despite r/Exmormon mods previously encouraging that (which is against reddit rules), I haven’t harassed the mods (although I did ask half way through my ban if it could be lifted early – I was told maybe and never talked to again), and I’ve only messaged friends who I could see were in need of mental or emotional support. I’ve kept my nose down and stayed busy doing a ton of stuff. Here’s some of what I’ve done:

  • Getting involved in Idaho politics
  • Creating 4 new parts to The Brutally Honest Mormon Coloring Book
  • Contributing to r/Mormon and explaining relatively unknown Mormon history, like The Utah War and The Council of 50
  • Moderating r/MormonDoctrine
  • Working on a dissertation-level project with /u/PrivacyPPratt (I’ve been in contact with over 100 professionals in the field it regards)
  • Working on my Buddhist ministry course
  • Working on the board of a mental health non-profit
  • Annoying my sister
  • Enjoying “The One True Trip”, which is the Exmormon-themed cruise/meet up. I met a ton of new friends, including /u/NewNameNoah. (The cruise wasn’t talked about a ton because the mods said the guy who runs it was advertising it and getting monetary gain (which is against sub rules) and banned him. Talk to me if you want to know more, because I get nothing and the cruise was life changing)
  • Playing this weird game called r/Outside

While I’ve loved filling my time with all that, with my ban lifted it feels like I’m allowed to come home. r/Exmormon is the reason why I’m no longer TBM and it means a great deal to me. I’ve made a lot of friends and learned a lot along the way. I’m excited to be contributing again.

During my excommunication I said a lot of things I didn’t mean because it was a very emotional time for me. The two biggest regrets I have from it are:

  1. Lashing out at /u/VH65 when she realistically was likely one of the only voices sticking up for me behind the scenesI really admire /u/VH65. She’s always been very understanding, balanced compassion with justice, been a HUGE fan and advocate of the work /u/Hiking1950 and I have done, and in general is a great member of the community. She’s been a fair moderator for a long time, and is a treasure to our community. I have felt terrible about how I have treated her during the whole ordeal, and I hope that she can forgive me.
  2. Saying I wouldn’t contribute to r/Exmormon when I was unbanned.When I was first banned it very much felt like an excommunication. I felt like I was unwanted in this community. I felt like what I was contributing to the community as a whole was nothing. I felt betrayed and abandoned. Why would I want to go back to something that did that to me?However, over the months I came to realize that it wasn’t the community that kicked me out. I have gotten pinged a lot over the last 6 months about work I’ve done in the past. The community still values what I have created and still creating.While I am still juggling work, my marriage, and other relationships, Mormonism still remains an important part of my life and always will. Its a part of who I am and where I came from. I want to communicate with others who feel the same way. r/Exmormon is one of the best places on the internet to do that with Mormons who have left the LDS church.

One person I’ve butted heads with more than several times is /u/Chino_Blanco. I think he and I clash because we’re very much alike; we’re both very passionate about what we believe in. He has been a great part of this community and r/Mormon.

I recently listened to his Mormon Stories episodes and his favorite part about r/Exmormon stuck out to me, it reads as follows:

Its ok to get really really angry with the people you love and let them know your honest feelings about something. Its easier to recover from that than it is to recover from years of resentment, and blame, and hiding because you’re afraid to let people know what your true thoughts are. Whether it be Mormonism or where they continue to go to school. That’s my favorite part of r/Exmormon: it seems like its giving us the chance to learn how to voice our opinions in assertive and healthy ways.

I wanted to take his advice and voice my opinions of how my ban/excommunication/disfellowshipment was handled and things I believe need to be changed. It’ll be very strongly worded, but I need to speak my mind. Since I am a member of this community, I have a right to do so and I know you will accept me, because r/Exmormon is a caring and supportive place.

First let’s recap why I was banned:

I reposted a picture that contained a 31×31 pixel picture, which to put that in terms of size, is likely smaller than your pinky nail. The guy was also wearing the standard TBM uniform of a white shirt and tie, which made him look like every TBM male ever. The guy in the picture said that if the victims of the Las Vegas massacre had been obeying the Sabbath they wouldn’t have died. Clearly a cold and heartless post made by a radical TBM, and posting a screenshot of it wasn’t/isn’t abnormal for r/Exmormon.

Someone re-posted the picture to facebook where one of his friends recognized the color of the tie in the picture and circulated his name and employer (his family’s business). Out of anger I posted on his family business’s wall asking if their other employees theocratically justify massacre and if they tolerate it as employers. They responded by saying that not only do they support and agree with what he said, but they were giving him a raise for it.

I then blacked out everything, including all names and pictures. I didn’t want this guy’s information being spread on reddit, and the admins say intent definitely matters. After everything was censored, I posted his employer’s comments (which were more than likely made by him) to reddit. /u/VH65, while not acting as a mod, said that it was in poor taste and was essentially witch hunting. At first, I disagreed, but then I reluctantly agreed and willingly removed my post without the need for moderator intervention. After all, if I was able to find the information, others would be able to as well.

The next morning I woke up to a ban with no explanation. After a bit of probing, I was told I was banned for the 31×31 pixel picture, but it was clear the mods weren’t willing to give mercy or even really hear me out. /u/Danizada, the one to originally post it, was banned for the same reason. /u/FearlessFixxer was banned for what he did in other communities and on facebook (moderating like this is against moddiquette. After a couple of days of community outrage, the mods decided to unban /u/Danizada, keep /u/FearlessFixxer banned, and whitewash why I was banned by saying I was banned for the 2nd post that had all blacked out information, but still called it doxxing to better justify my ban.

Did I do something wrong? Yes, that’s why I willingly removed it without moderator intervention.

However, having a user willingly remove their content is a reddit-wide approved method of enforcing the rules, and there was no need for my ban in the first place because I had self-moderated.

This brings up a couple of things that are troublesome about the moderation in r/Exmormon. Let’s detail them:

During my excommunication I pointed out *more than once* to the mods that they dropped the fucking ball and a dude’s life was actually destroyed by the release of personally identifying information on their watch in September 2016. I’m not linking to the offending post because I just got unbanned and I’m not willing to play with fire. However, they allowed a guy’s name, phone number, website, and business to be slathered all over r/Exmormon. They tolerated posts of people calling and harassing him and brigading his business with bad reviews which ended up forcing his business to close. They allowed this forum to push a campaign with the goal of harassing a specific individual, as a staging ground for a boycott, and a gathering place for protest, all of which are specifically banned in the /r/Exmormon wiki policy that the mods so loved to point to when I was banned.

In addition, the “Bans, Muting and Breaking the Rules. New Policy Update” post says

If you wonder if it is doxing, ASK THE MODS FIRST, even on publishing details on say, John Dehlin, who is very public

The mods gave a super vague description about what doxxing is and isn’t and placed the responsibility of determining what is and isn’t doxxing on themselves (which isn’t fair, because it allows them to change rules on a whim), and they fucked up. A single google search would have shown that the guy who was doxxed in fact was absolutely not a public figure as they claimed. In retrospect, the mods justified their inaction in dealing with 100%-genuine-doxxing due to ignorance, despite telling me when I was banned that “ignorance of the rules is not a defense”.

To this day that dude’s personal information still remains uncensored in that thread. The fact that this thread is not censored even after having it brought to their attention shows that they don’t consider it doxxing, but they still consider what I did doxxing.

This tells me one thing:

  1. The mods are incredibly hypocritical and/or inconsistent about enforcing the doxxing rules in all situations

Either way, they demonstrated that they are above the laws they create and punished me for breaking. As I’ve stated many times over the months, the mods involved in the catastrophic doxxing incident should have rather

  1. Stepped down and kept me banned
  2. Stayed mods and unbanned me
  3. Stayed mods, kept me banned, and ignore their own glaring doxxing

The mods chose the latter.

I have more than a dozen examples of how the mods let doxxing slide on r/Exmormon that was much more severe for mine. Many include names of TBMs who said or did some stupid shit, much like what I posted.

One of the most recent was someone who doxxed a missionary’s name and location. The 2 posts that the OP made got over 500 upvotes as well as a comment from /u/daveescaped (a mod) which implied approval for the post. I pointed out to the mods how they were allowing doxxing, and they PM’d OP and asked her to take it down, and she complied.

The doxxing section of the “Bans, Muting and Breaking the Rules. New Policy Update” post says

One should expect an instant ban of no less than 6 months and up to a year for ANYTHING resembling doxxing.

Despite this OP giving away a name and location of this missionary, OP was barely given a warning (which only happened because I happened to see the post and alert the mods about the doxxing it contained). If the mods want to stick to their precious rules, they need to

  1. Recognize and catch when people doxx more often
  2. Ban this user for 6-12 months

However, this user remains a consistent contributor to this day.

Let’s examine another incident. This one happened within 2 weeks of my ban. /u/JohnDehlin, a high profile Exmo, posted a screenshot with both a name and a profile picture. I’m not linking straight to it because, well, according to r/Exmormon wiki policy, John Dehlin doxxed them and I’d be doxxing them too by linking to the post. However, in his post he released the name and profile picture of someone without their permission.

The doxxing section of the “Bans, Muting and Breaking the Rules. New Policy Update” post says

One should expect an instant ban of no less than 6 months and up to a year for ANYTHING resembling doxxing.

Despite this, he only had his post removed and given a half-warning by /u/AnotherClosetAtheist.

This tells me 1 of 2 things:

  1. John Dehlin’s contributions give him immunity from the rules, which goes against what the mods said when my ban was upheld.
  2. The mods are incredibly hypocritical and/or inconsistent about enforcing the doxxing rules in all situations.

The mods have claimed on a couple occasions that this strict interpretation of reddit’s vague definitions of doxxing was to prevent having r/Exmormon shut down by the admins for being a hate group. Before you call me crazy, the r/Exmormon mods are legitimately worried about this. Several mods even recently stepped down in large part because of misogyny on r/Exmormon. First of all, let that all sink in. The people fucking running this show are worried about it being labeled as a misogynistic hate group and being banned from Reddit. Second, don’t worry about r/Exmormon getting banned. Reddit has a strict definition of what constitutes a hate group. A couple of months ago /u/Spez did an AMA. He was given a list of over 100 incidences of severe rule breaking in r/The_Donald to illustrate that this is the norm there and asked why they hadn’t been banned yet. This was his response:

Generally the mods of the_donald have been cooperative when we approach them with systematic abuses. Typically we ban entire communities only when the mods are uncooperative or the entire premise of the community is in violation of our policies. In the past we have removed mods of the_donald that refuse to work with us.

If the users and mods willingly remove rule-breaking content then there’s no threat of banning r/Exmormon from the admins.

All of this leads me to believe that what we have here is a clear cut case of the mods being incredibly hypocritical and/or inconsistent about enforcing the doxxing rules in all situations. If they weren’t, several things would have happened:

  1. The mods would have censored the fuck out of the September 2016 post in September 2016
  2. The mods would have censored the fuck out of the September 2016 post after I pointed it out to them in October 2017
  3. The missionary doxxing OP and John Dehlin would have been given a 6 month ban for their doxxing like I was given or I would have just had my post removed and gotten a warning like that OP and John Dehlin were given.

Despite me deciding to return, I don’t want my community to have moderators above their own rules. I don’t want vague and irregularly enforced rules. I don’t want my community to sacrifice compassion for a need for justice for breaking an arbitrarily and undefined set of rules. Those are reasons why I left the fucking church in the first place. These problems are fixable, but something needs to change. In an ideal world, these are the changes I’d like to see:

  1. CLEARLY defined and and consistently enforced rules. In my case, there should have been clear definitions on what is and isn’t doxxing. Right now its entirely up to moderator interpretation. If I had known that posting a 31×31 pixel image was doxxing, and would have resulted in a 6 month ban, I wouldn’t have posted it.It isn’t that hard to come up with specific and comprehensive rules on doxxing. I was made a moderator on r/MormonDoctrine a while ago, and seeing as how I got banned from r/Exmormon I wanted this sort of comprehensive rules. Over there we now define doxxing asNo doxxing.Doxxing includes releasing or linking to:-Visible names-Profile pictures-Phone numbers-Email addresses-Social security numbers-Releasing place of work-Personal facebook-Personal Twitter-Any other site that is not anonymous by nature.-Exceptions to the rules include if a person has willingly made this information about their identity public, such as Ryan McKnight, Ethan Dodge, Mike Norton, or John Dehlin.-We do not police this on other subs or sitesThere was also problems with this when the mods decided to ban petitions, such as /u/Invisibles_Cubit‘s against bishops asking minors about their masturbation habits and it’s accompanying awareness march. The problem arises because the mods only had this as an unwritten rule and were enforcing it without telling the sub.
  2. Punishment is only given when compliance to the rules is not given which is an approved enforcement tactic by the reddit admins
  3. No more making mod decisions with people who aren’t mods anymore
  4. No more oligarchical moderators promoting only people they want to be mods. This creates a hierarchical separation from the community and the leaders running it. That’s one of the biggest and most glaring problems that the church has experienced, and r/Exmormon is starting to follow that pattern as well. Even former mods are saying that.The community should get a large say in how the community is ran. I would trust the major contributors to the sub reddit (/u/JohnDehlin/u/FearlessFixxer/u/NewNameNoah/u/ClayChristensen/u/Invisibles_Cubit/u/RelevantLife/u/MissedInSunday/u/notrab/u/MasterMahanJR/u/M00glemuffins/u/frogontrombone/u/Hiking1950/u/bwv549/u/PrivacyPPratt/u/PedanticGod/u/bomonomo/u/GreatAndSpacious/u/LindsayHansenPark/u/Leenie050/u/OrsonHydeYoWife/u/Kolobot/u/FaithfulTBM/u/TheSamspoNew/u/Moriancumer/u/JeffreyArrrHolland2/u/hyrle/u/Mithryn/u/4blockhead/u/curious_mormon, and /u/Chino_Blanco‘s opinions should hold weight because of the content and contributions they give to the community, not because of their emeritus mod status.) collectively more than I would ~6 people who may or may not be spotty on contributions. No more having our support/sustaining and oppositions to anything and everything they do make no real difference. The notes can’t just be noted. Whether that be voting in mods or voting on controversial issues. If the community doesn’t agree with a moderator decision, the moderators go with what the community wants. Hell, this is basically what /u/Invisibles_Cubit is trying to do with the church, and he’s getting stone walled. Do we really want to emulate the church in this way?
  5. Moderators should be held to a higher standard since they are the models of how we should act.

I realize that many people, especially the moderators, will say that is impractical. They’ll say this is just a forum, and if you don’t like it, you can go somewhere else. I very much disagree. This is an over 72,000 Exmormon group, the largest on the internet/world, and basically the hub for everything Mormonism on the internet. We are a community that has become a force to reckon with the church. We are a community that has come together to form a community and life-long friendships. We are a community where people come to grieve, share news, and join together. We are a community. If we want our community to be free from the troubles we left behind in the church, we need to look for solutions and advocate for them to be implemented.


  • I’m unbanned!
  • Mods inconsistently enforce rules and I didn’t get the luck of the draw.
  • The community needs some serious changes in how it is moderated.