Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The compromise

The editorial board of MormonThink want to take my story to the press.  Something was posted about this on some forums, but I requested the moderators to remove them until I was sure what I would do.  Having someone in the press is handy, and I will talk with them, but I won't let it get out until I'm ready.

What's keeping me?

I spoke with another LDS member (John Dehlin) yesterday who had a mellowing effect on me.  He has walked a balanced line between critic and faithful member for a long while and his arguments are that it is useful to remain in the system and try to have dialogues with LDS church leaders.  He believes they are coming around.

I would encourage them, if they talked with me, to post direct responses on LDS.ORG to the most troubling issues faithful members are having.  I explained to the stake presidency in my "interview" that to hide information is to invite frustration and even anger on the part of members when they learn them through FAIR, MormonThink, or reading Richard Bushman.  One way or the other, the studious member will find these facts.  I don't believe the Mormon church intends its members to remain dolts or unlearned sheeple.  It encourages gospel scholarship.  However, many of us come unglued about what we learn when we follow that counsel and see what was hidden.

Open and honest dialogue will allow members to choose, according to their agency, whether these facts are too troubling or in the end, humanizing.  What do I mean?  If we learn that the prophets are just as human, just as weak as we are, perhaps we will not feel anxious about our imperfections.  Perhaps we will be more at ease in the church and more tolerant.  Yes, I believe an honest view of Joseph Smith's weaknesses and by opening the facts it will bring love and tolerance to the wider membership of the church because they will lose their need to feel inadequate about imperfections in themselves and others.  The Mormon church needs to jettison Perfection Syndrome.

That is Christianity at its best, I think.

In this light, I will send a letter by email and paper to my stake president and bishop.  I quote it below.  

I hope to hear from them in the next couple of days.  The media wants to talk, and I can't stall it if I feel threatened.



Dear President P___and Bishop D_____:

Since Sunday I have had time to think more about what we discussed together.  In the blog I may have come off irreverent about my attendance at church, so I can understand that it seemed hurtful to the LDS church.  Understand I have a different perspective today than I did years ago when I attended regularly. At times it is difficult for me to see from the eyes of active leadership.

By contacting you, my aim isn’t to defame or hurt the church irrevocably or incidentally.  As managing editor of Mormonthink.com my goal, as it is for most of the board there, is to maintain a site of accurate, useful and objective information.  However, some of what I wrote in my blog may have treated the church unfairly.  For this reason I have decided to do the following in the interest of compromise and forestalling your disciplinary council:

1) I have removed the blog.   I do not plan to continue writing about my attendance or representing what happens at the Hunters Creek Ward in public.

2) I have removed direct quotes and other information about the temple ceremonies at Mormonthink.com.

3) I am asking that you reconsider the disciplinary council, at least temporarily, as a matter of courtesy.  Given that the first time we ever met was when you called me in to discuss disciplinary action, it seems premature and abrupt on my part.  It is also my understanding that it is typical LDS policy to work with individuals before submitting them to a court. For example, the recent letters (http://stevebloor.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/wpid-cr1.png ) church area authorities urge local leaders “to work patiently and lovingly with these members in a way that is most likely to address their concerns…”

4) I would like to have discussions with you as local church leaders about what at Mormonthink is untruthful and try to work with you to create a website that can present accurate, open, honest and noteworthy information that can aid member and non-member alike in exercising free will about what they believe.

I hope that these kind of actions and compromises will allow us to maintain civility and move forward to improving the quality of information about LDS history and doctrine.

With kind regards,

David Twede


20 comments:

  1. Dude, reading your blog with the white on paisley is just about impossible to read.

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  2. This is a direct quote from Handbook #1 on how Bishops and Stake presidents are supposed to deal with Apostates. Section 6.7.3 under Apostasy it states "apostasy refers to members who: 1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and public opposition to the Church or it's leaders". Further down it quotes 3 Nephi 18:31 "but if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may destroy my people". This very clearly states that if you repent, you should absolutely not be excommunicated. Best of luck to you David!!

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    Replies
    1. The LDS church is headed, according to the core doctrine, by Jesus Christ. As such, my alignment is to the principles of honesty, love, tolerance and truth. If the the leaders of the Mormon church find that in opposition to their church, then perhaps I am guilty of an apostasy of sorts.

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  3. Best of luck, David. I expect they will excommunicate you, but will be unable to pinpoint anything untruthful that you have written.

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  4. Did you change your blog headline from "five years of atheism," to "five years of low activity"?

    Be authentic, whatever you choose to do.

    Kelly Sperry

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly. Thank you for your comment. Yes, I changed it because it doesn't reflect who I am today. I'm a hopeful agnostic. I didn't want to give the impression I was without any belief.

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  5. I am a member and I so agree with this statement you made: "If we learn that the prophets are just as human, just as weak as we are, perhaps we will not feel anxious about our imperfections."


    Thank you for putting that in words, I have been suffering with perfection syndrome my whole life because of my wrong understandings of Mormonism. For me, mormonthink is a blessing . I don't agree with the actions they are threatening. I hope that the church leaders start taking a different approach about the history of th church.

    Anyways, that statement jumped out to me so much I just had to let you know. I hope they will be merciful in your situation because it doesn't make sense that you would be punished for publishing the truth.

    Thanks again David.

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  6. It is hard to kick against the pricks, when they consist of a multi billion coporation disguised as a church.

    The sp and bishops are just obedient cogs in the feargreased machinery. They will not think out of their roles, nor see with their eyes.

    As far as the LDS church has come in distancing itself from documented truth, it would be above expectations to demand it to conform with reality.

    Most of the members will keep clinging on, trusting the rewarding feelings, not having knowledge of psycological mechanisms that keep them in their place.

    I would invite them to stop for one moment, take a few days off from the incessant pressure of the corporations activity schedule, and to oe to terms with the knot of fear that they feel in their stomacs when they encounter critics of the church.

    That knot of fear is your subconciense speaking to you about a reality you have supressed for some time.

    It is better to deal with the knot sooner than later. Before your whole life and resources are spent on a coorporation that feeds you drugs and lirs.

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  7. Do Mormons think David Twede should be excommunicated?
    http://www.quora.com/The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints-the-Mormons/Do-Mormons-think-David-Twede-should-be-excommunicated-for-criticizing-Romney

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  8. Why would anyone be a member of a religion that doesn't respect the US constitutional right of Freedom of Speech? Sounds like the LDS is just as bad as Scientology.

    Screw them. Let your opinions prevail and shove a copy of the US Constitution down their authoritarian pie-holes.

    Plus If anything, this kind of action tells you exactly why Romney SHOUDLN'T be president or hold any kind of political office.

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  9. I must disagree with you on 1 point in this post, that the LDS leaders do not intend Mormons to be "sheeple". That's exactly what they intend. Let's be honest here - the whitewashing of church history is so blatantly dishonest that there's no other reason for it than to keep their followers blind and "in the flock", and subservient to the "inspired" leadership. My favorite example - demanding tithes even from the destitute before any blessings from the church, spiritual or material, can be dispensed:

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/tithing-a-commandment-even-for-the-destitute?lang=eng

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is not the actual policy though Chris... I know personally of several examples where assistance was given to those who aren't tithe payers, those who weren't members etc.
      The spiritual lesson of the widow's mite is very much equivalent though don't you think?

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  10. Preview

    Edit Anonymous said...
    Im sure your "tempering" friend was JD.
    However, I would not be scared of being out and coming to know and embrace Jesus in traditional Christianity w/o the religion attached.
    You will be free of this religion, and you will be free to share your story and help other become free.
    "Fixing the institution" from the inside may help a few more people be more "comfortable", but it will not change the roots or the doctrines of the church.

    Have you have had a fight with your wife over an issue that is critical to your family or your relationship? If you had one of those, and did not get closure on it, then you know it comes up again later...and again....and again, until it is dealt with.

    Mormonism can put the "issues" on the shelf and paint over them all day long...but they are still there.
    Nothing short of denouncing it's roots and false doctrines will cure the cancer.
    Slowly changing itself outwardly over time does not deal with the scriptures and doctrines professed directly from prophets...directly from God.
    This is like the proverbial white-painted sepalcures. We still know what's inside.
    Your "tempering" friend is basically agnostic now and doesn't care anymore about theology and doctrines as much as he does about making sure everyone is happy and "we all are accepted" in the LDS culture.
    That is universalism. Not Christianity.
    He's an awesome guy though. But when you dump God, uour agenda changes, and then the LDS church looks ok again...because it's all about "us" again. Not Him.
    Not sure where you fall in your beliefs now. Mormonism can burn you, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    September 21, 2012 6:57 PM

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    ReplyDelete
  11. Im sure your "tempering" friend was JD.
    However, I would not be scared of being out and coming to know and embrace Jesus in traditional Christianity w/o the religion attached.
    You will be free of this religion, and you will be free to share your story and help other become free.
    "Fixing the institution" from the inside may help a few more people be more "comfortable", but it will not change the roots or the doctrines of the church.

    Have you have had a fight with your wife over an issue that is critical to your family or your relationship? If you had one of those, and did not get closure on it, then you know it comes up again later...and again....and again, until it is dealt with.

    Mormonism can put the "issues" on the shelf and paint over them all day long...but they are still there.
    Nothing short of denouncing it's roots and false doctrines will cure the cancer.
    Slowly changing itself outwardly over time does not deal with the scriptures and doctrines professed directly from prophets...directly from God.
    This is like the proverbial white-painted sepalcures. We still know what's inside.
    Your "tempering" friend is basically agnostic now and doesn't care anymore about theology and doctrines as much as he does about making sure everyone is happy and "we all are accepted" in the LDS culture.
    That is universalism. Not Christianity.
    He's an awesome guy though. But when you dump God, uour agenda changes, and then the LDS church looks ok again...because it's all about "us" again. Not Him.
    Not sure where you fall in your beliefs now. Mormonism can burn you, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    ReplyDelete
  12. With all due respect, if you are out there as a "practicing Mormon" but refer to yourself as an atheist or agnostic, why do you care if you are excommunicated. You can't have it both ways. Why do you even want to be part of a Church that you constantly criticize and demean. It seems you would be happy to be rid of such a "horrible and dishonest" Church.

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  13. It's common enough for people to remain members of their religion just because it's a family tradition, even if they don't necessarily believe every single doctrine. You can still be Christian without believing that the earth was literally created in six days, and you usually wouldn't get kicked out of church for telling the person next to you that you don't believe it. You don't see the Catholics spying on their members' blogs and excommunicating anyone who dares question the Pope's authority. Why do Mormons feel the need to kick out anyone who thinks differently and isn't afraid to talk about it?

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  14. And now all the believers wonder why so many EX Mormons such as myself would ever want to be part of a cult again. I am 7th generation mormon, but I am also an athiest who had my name removed from the cults list of members. I for one see no reason to believe in a spiritual being. And now because you said some things that hurt the church damn why not ask them about the hundreds they killed through the Danites and the massacre in Southern Utah they have tried so hard to hush up. They are nothing more than bigots and racists. They are no more christian than any other religion.

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    Replies
    1. I can't speak for all believers, but I don't really wonder. You are a fulfillment of prophecy. I am sure there are people around you who love you, who grieve that you are one of those who fulfill the prophecies but -- someone has to be the goat, I guess. You volunteered. No wondering to it.

      But.. here is another interesting thing. Some of you further fulfill other prophecies as well -- and return to the Gospel. I never wonder about that either. The main thing that I sort of am in awe over is that God is so merciful. Thankfully for me, for example.

      Delete
  15. I think, if I were your Bishop, I would consider "working with" you. I would tell the Stake President as much and ask him to suspend the court.

    Then, I would ask you straight up -- why do you want to be "worked with" and why do you want to be a member of a Church you hate so much?

    I would explain that the purpose of working with you would be to get you to repent of your hatred and apostasy -- and that this would not be negotiable. Then I would ask "Do you still want to be worked with?".

    If you said Yes.. then I would try.

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  16. It's interesting that some of the replies above equate questioning to hate. Because someone questions and calls the church out on it's dishonesty and secrets doesn't mean that person hates the church. Many children have questioned their parents on how they did things or secrets they kept from them; the answer isn't to disown your child for calling you out on your bullshit.

    Questioning is an important part of many peoples lives. Some people aren't inclined to question they are happy with how they feel in the moment. Some people are driven by searching and questioning. It's all good, let people be.

    I am a Feminist an Intellectual and a Homosexual-- so after Boyd K Packer told me that I was amongst the greatest enemies of the church (not just on one count but three), I chose to leave. Years later a bishop showed up at my door and told me I was to be excommunicated. I said thank you and he left. Well, he apparently forgot to do the paperwork and was released before the process was complete so months later another bishop and his counselor showed up at my home, sat with me at my dining room table and excommunicated me a second time. It's all good.

    ReplyDelete