What If Church Discipline Is Needed?

Summary: Church disciplinary action can pose significant spiritual, emotional, and relational challenges for members with same-sex attraction. They will do better if they feel supported and prepared for this action.

In addition to the challenges faced by any member who is disfellowshipped or excommunicated, members with same-sex attraction may be particularly prone to certain issues. It is typical that these members will have experienced significant rejection in their past and that their trust for those in authority will have been compromised by life experiences. Both men and women with same-sex attraction tend not to trust males. Being separated from their peer groups, feeling singled out, and having long histories of isolation are also common in the backgrounds of those with same-sex attraction.

If it becomes necessary for a member with same-sex attraction to face Church discipline they will do significantly better if they are prepared emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and relationally before the disciplinary action occurs. Therapy can be extremely beneficial, and is sometimes vital, in helping members prepare for and undergo Church discipline.

If a member becomes excommunicated, they face extra difficulty with isolation because they are unable to participate in meetings. Helping them find meaningful ways of being involved is critical to their long-term wellbeing.