Outside of the Hunters Creek Stake Orlando LDS meetinghouse, where I was interrogated by the leadership on 16 Sep, is a sign like that in front of almost all Mormon chapels.
Mormon.org, an official church site, says:
Our primary family worship service is called sacrament meeting. ... Visitors are welcome to attend. ...Visitors are also welcome to attend other Sunday meetings that precede or follow sacrament meeting
There are no qualifications listed in their invitation. It does not say that you must dress or act a certain way (there are recommendations and expectations of white shirt,dark tie, conservative dress). It does not say the media is not allowed to attend, observe and even go home and report.
During my 45-minute interrogation, the stake president told me he didn't like that I was coming to church with "views that you are propagating in our midst here." I explained that I hadn't expressed my views in the church. He corrected himself that it was my "derogatory writings" that were the problem. They told me that "this is not a witch hunt" and that they are "protecting the flock from wolves in sheep clothing."
My attire whenever I attended was definitely not sheepish. In fact the blog takes the word "Paisley" in its title to represent that I in fact am standing apart. I was not hiding or pretending or infiltrating. When I introduced myself around, I made it clear that I was an inactive member returning to see what's what in the LDS church. For all intents and purposes I am a visitor, but with a dusty membership card.
The muzzle is for members. Non-members, reporters, and other visitors--whatever their motive may be--are allowed polite attendance at any one of the over 6000 meetinghouses and can at will write about their experiences in any flavor, color or pattern they like. If you are a member, even a long-time-gone visiting member, you must immediately don the muzzle in talking.
Was it really my briefing about my experience at the ward that caused the furor? In order to divert from the publicity my writings on Romney have caused the Mormons, Scott Gordon, the president of FAIR, LDS dame-de-soi, is changing the subject. Gordon turned me in because, he claims, I was subverting members in my writings. I've already commented on that in War Worn. But I want to point out that again the only two links I had sent the member I am alleged to have subverted were one from his LDS-defense website, and another from one talking about the same issue from a less favorable perspective. This is called choice. If the leaders & Scott had their way, choice would be between LDS.ORG and MORMON.ORG. What was it that Lucifer proposed as his plan of salvation? Oh yeah, take away choice...
So I ask, are visitors welcome? If we don't wear black-n-white or stripes, or quiet flowered dresses will we be in the council's gun-sights? If we dare bring up both viewpoints on an obviously controversial point of doctrine or history are we heretics just for using standard, well acceptable discussion protocol? Is it really more enlightening and polite to ignore facts that may alter the outcome of the discussion, just to spare the institution embarrassment?
What kind of visitors is the LDS Church really looking for?