The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Inc. has launched another of its periodic purges of members who would question orders from the corporate headquarters. In the past it's been feminists, gays, overly meticulous historians and anyone who wore colorful bell-bottom trousers. (Made that last one up.)

This time it's supporters of gay marriage, agitators for ordination of women to the priesthood and, reportedly, those who would question tithing (gasp!).

It's not just a matter of internal murmuring within the LDS community, the story has gone worldwide. According to The New York Times:

These members said their bishops had questioned them about specific posts they had made on their blogs, Twitter and Facebook, in the comment streams of websites or in conversations in chat rooms.

The kinds of comments that have attracted the scrutiny of bishops and stake presidents, who are regional supervisors, include support for the ordination of women; advocacy for same-sex marriage; serious doubts about church history or theology; and, as in Mr. Waterman’s case, protests that the church demands more in tithes than its doctrine requires.

Church spokesman Michael Otterson says “there is no coordinated effort" coming down from the SLC Church Office Building. (i.e. "Ignore the man behind the curtain.")

Again, the NYTimes:

It has affected Mormons perceived as dissidents from across the ideological spectrum: liberals such as [Kate] Kelly, [Mormon Stories John] Dehlin and others who support same-sex marriage, and conservatives who devoutly believe Mormon teaching and Scripture but criticize the church as straying from it, such as [Rock] Waterman and Denver Snuffer, a lawyer in Utah who blogs and writes books about Mormonism. Mr. Snuffer said on his blog that he was excommunicated for apostasy last fall.

It's hardly unexpected and would be more interesting for the rest of us if church leaders at least donned cardinal-red outfits.