The Danzigs were both volunteer members of the Orchestra at Temple Square, a Church-operated orchestra that is the instrumental equivalent of the Tabernacle Choir. In June 2006 the Salt Lake Tribune published a letter from Peter Danzig opposing the Church’s effort to pass a federal Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman only. Danzig’s letter also expressed support for Jeffrey Nielsen, a BYU adjunct professor whose contract had not been renewed after he had publicly opposed the Church’s support for the amendment. In his letter Danzig accused Church leaders of exercising “intellectual tyranny” in the Nielsen case, and called Church efforts an “injustice.”
Following the publication of his letter, Peter Danzig was suspended from his position in the Orchestra at Temple Square, apparently at the behest of Church leaders. Mary Danzig later resigned; the Tribune article says she “felt unwelcome in the orchestra.” Over the next year and a half the situation apparently rose to the level of local Church discipline. Rather than face that, the Danzigs resigned their membership in December 2007.
In the wake of this tragic event, I’d like to make a few comments about Church discipline and how stories like these are portrayed in the media. [Read more…] about Thoughts on the media and Church discipline