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A Mormon man who gained notoriety over the past decade for running a website that offers doubting Latter-day Saints a forum to chat has been kicked out of the religion.

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While not a lifelong ban, excommunication is a rare move that amounts to the harshest punishment available for a church member.

The letter from Bryan King says Dehlin is being kicked out not because he doubted and asked questions about church doctrine, but because he made categorical statements opposing the faith that were disseminated on his website.

King wrote that Dehlin's actions have led others to leave the faith."You do not have the right to remain a member of the church in good standing while openly and publicly trying to convince others that church teachings are in error," King wrote.

The decision comes two days after Dehlin met with church leaders in a four-hour disciplinary hearing.

Dehlin, 45, hoped he wouldn't be excommunicated but told church leaders he could not in good conscience stop operating his website,

Dehlin said he was told last year that his website and his public support of same-sex marriage were reasons he was being accused of apostasy.But Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement that while Dehlin's views on gay marriage go against church teachings, they were not the reasons for his discipline.The letter cites three key issues, including Dehlin's belief that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are fraudulent and his rejection of the religion being the "true church with power and authority from God."Hawkins said excommunication is not the end, but rather the "beginning of the road back to full fellowship."People who are kicked out or leave the church are welcome to return "through the grace and Atonement of Jesus Christ," Hawkins said.The move is likely to send ripples through the Mormon community.It comes on the heels of the June ouster of Kate Kelly, founder of a group pushing for women to be allowed in the religion's lay clergy.Scholars say Kelly and Dehlin are the most high-profile examples of excommunication proceedings since 1993.

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