Burrell Mohler Jr. left the Community of Christ in 1982 and joined Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or Mormon church. Burrell Jr.'s former wife, we've learned, took her children's complaints that they were being abused to the church. But a church bishop, Paul Tonga, made the idiotic decision to investigate the matter himself. (The Star reported that Burrell Jr. was excommunicated from the LDS church in 2007 for personal conduct unrelated to child sexual abuse.)The Star balances the accusations against the Mohlers with character witnesses on their behalf (granted they're from hypocritical religious fanatics, but still) and excellent reporting on how and why such unfathomable abuse can occur (still no word on how Wilford Brimley got involved though.)
The Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are similar but different. The Community of Christ reacted quickly when the story broke. The church said it took the allegations seriously and stripped the three Mohlers of their licenses. The church also held a prayer vigil. In a Fox 4 report about Tonga's inaction, Community of Christ officials made a point to distance themselves from the Mormon church.
For its part, the Mormon church has said Tonga should have consulted with church leaders, who would have told him to notify the authorities
Last June, 76-year-old Burrell E. Mohler Sr. seemed a perfectly reasonable choice to give the Father's Day sermon at his tiny Bates City Community of Christ Church.Read the whole thing here.
After all, he was a family man. Proud of his four sons. Loved all those grandchildren.
A churchgoer who was present that day believes Mohler's message followed the lectionary Scripture suggested by the mother church: the Gospel of Mark 4:35, the story of Jesus quieting the storm at sea.
Fortunate, perhaps, that he did not speak on Mark 10:14: "Suffer the little children to come unto me."