George P. Lee once enjoyed such widespread respect as the first and only American Indian LDS general authority that many Mormons believed he someday might become an apostle or even higher.
But such talk ended in 1989, when Lee, who died this week at age 67, was excommunicated for “heresy” and “conduct unbecoming a member of the church.” Later, he admitted to attempted child sex abuse, and his wife divorced him.
“George P. Lee is one of the truly tragic figures in modern Mormon history,” Armand Mauss, an LDS sociologist in Irvine, Calif., said Thursday. He was “both created and destroyed” by changing Mormon teachings and policies regarding native peoples.
Lee claimed his ouster was triggered by his opposition to the faith’s shifting approach to its Indian members.
The doctrines of the Mormon Church — theologically a cult of Christianity — frequently change, in part because the church’s scriptures have many internal problems requiring edits and ‘new revelations’.