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,