Saturday, September 22, 2012

War worn


Some may have noted that it seems I cannot decide what the motive was for the disciplinary council scheduled for me. Was it because I wrote about Romney or because of my writings on the LDS church?  

When I interviewed with Jamie Reno of TheDailyBeast.com, I felt in my gut that the Romney pieces were a part of why this happened.  During the 45 minute interrogation on September 16, my local leaders never said "Romney" in my interrogation. These men are an accountant, a physician and other professionals. They know that to say that they are disciplining me over politics would be appear improper.  (However, I am still confused why they would feel disciplining me over any speech is proper.) They indicated discomfort with my recent writings as a whole, which includes three blog entries and one MT article discussing Romney that were posted from Sept 11-15.  The timing was suspicious.  I told this to Jamie, and I told him that I felt this was a motive.  The temple was a concern to them, and I had linked the Laws of Consecration & Sacrifice covenants language to my article on Romney on Sept 12. Such that, when they referred to the concerns about the temple, I inferred they meant the Romney piece.  Additionally, while referring to my writings, the stake president did say about himself, "I'm not a political man..."   It is unclear to me what he meant by this and why he interjected it.  But it gave me a sense that there was something he was feeling regarding the politics involved, without ever saying it was a political move.  

Friday, September 21 was a trying day--I had constant press contacts, calls, requests for interviews, video and audio recording.  I was worn out.  Late that morning, I was told by a media consultant that I should think about what I am saying, given that research monies and grants come from the government and that my career depends on some of these.  That got me running scared.  Perhaps that is unjustified, but it felt very real on Friday. When I was contacted by the New York Times that afternoon, I told Laurie Goodstein on our second call, that in fact I was now concerned and I didn't want the Romney connection emphasized because I was worried how that could affect my future.  I told her that I could not be certain that it was my writings on Romney that formed the basis of the disciplinary council against me.  I am still not 100% certain, as no one can be.  

Later on Friday I was contacted by Peggy Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune (and emailed with another media outlet in UT).  I made similar statements to Peggy that the timing was suspicious, but that I had no direct evidence it is about Romney. In my worn out state-of-mind, I said that I didn't want this to be about politics; that I don't feel happy that discussions of my pending discipline have taken on such a national political tone.  I would prefer the topic remain on the Mormon Church's inability to defend its own position specifically & doctrinally on this matter.  I also told her that I have no malice for the Romney campaign and don't mean to hurt it.  Yes, I admit, I was running scared and very tired by late Friday.  I was war worn.

However, after having some sleep, and now that the NY Times article came out, I read statements by Scott Gordon, a Mormon apologist, that indicated he was behind turning me into the church authorities. One of his statements has resolved me back to my original gut feeling--that this is probably in part about the LDS church squelching my political speech.  The reason is a little complex.  Let me start with his particular quote from the NY Times:

“ It has nothing to do with Romney,” Mr. Gordon said. “I know members very high up in the church who are voting for Obama.”

“ It’s about him posting on a blog that he was actively in there trying to subvert people’s beliefs in the L.D.S. church,” Mr. Gordon said... "

If you've read my "The Mysteries of the Gospel" blog, you will know that the only case Gordon had against me was that I wrote about emailing with "Pat" who I indicated was a questioning member.  I wrote:

" I decided to send Pat two links: The first link to Mormon Info Graphics on the Book of Abraham, and a second one to FAIR’s explanation of one of the facsimiles. "

Links included in this were:

http://www.mormoninfographics.com/search/label/Facsimile

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smith_Papyri/Facsimiles/Facsimile_3

The latter is directly from Scott Gordon's own group, FAIR. In other words, I gave someone information that FAIR wrote. I find it extremely unlikely that this is what got the LDS Salt Lake leaders' panties in a bunch.  If that were true, Scott Gordon would also be called in for disciplinary court.

I feel in my gut, that these excuses only strengthen the case that it was likely political. Before this, I had begun to question the motive, but I again feel stronger that this is probably a considerable factor.  I think TheDailyBeast probably reflects what I initially and again most recently believe.  

20 comments:

  1. I've read several of your blogs and I'm not convinced that it is politically driven. You seem to be trying to straddle the proverbial fence. Slamming and criticizing your religion on one hand and trying to abide it on the other. You need to choose a side. You can't eat your cake and have it too.

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  2. I've listened to many Mormon Stories interviews. I've spent a great deal of time on your site as well as Richard Packham's and others. You guys should be applauded. If the LDS Church can continue to exist in its current form I'd be really surprised over the long term. When curious people have access to information, even it it's biased, they can hopefully think critically enough to put two and two together. I can understand some of the struggles that members must face, especially if they are analytical. Best of luck.

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  3. David, I think you are being treated unfairly by a group that seems to want to control what you think and write.

    Why do you feel it necessary to give this organization legitimacy and power over you?

    Get out while you still can. I hope the life time indoctrination is not too much to overcome.

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    1. Lol poor David :) come on let's get real here wow!

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  4. David, if you are right and this is more about your political writing in relation to Romney then we all need to worry. Please take a stand on this to give us "little people" hope in what is happening to you because it can cascade and affect all of us that are looking for change and historical admission. I have been watching all of this chaos since day 1 and I firmly believe that you should let NY Times, SL Tribe, etc have full access to your perspective. For the little people!

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  5. David, you have support and cheering from many of us. MT is a site that has been, and will be, central to many who struggle with the church and that the church will not address the issues head on, and instead use fear tactics like disciplinary councils to illogically sniper away people like you is a myopic, sad strategy.

    Thank you for all you have done, your courage, and your unwillingness to back down from truth.

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  6. I'm good with you being excommunicated. After all, you are anti-Mormon. It is not right that you should be a member.

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  7. MormonThink has been a great resource for me to refer questioning members to. I feel the site is very objective and balanced and tries not to have an agenda. I admire you standing firm and not allowing this powerful church to bully you. Your courage will expose their draconian tactics and surpression of free speech and expression

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  8. If your disrespect toward Romney were the concern then Harry Reid would have been excommunicated long ago.

    Every Mormon knows that to record or put into writing any portion of the sacred temple ceremony is grounds for excommunication. The temple ceremony is the most sacred and secret ritual LDS church, not something to be treated with disrespect or lay out for all to see or read. As an active Mormon it upsets me to see people like yourself who have done such great damage from within the Church.

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    1. I don't share Holly's personal frustruation, or her strange sense of reverance for a rather disconcerting secret ritual, but I do share her perspective on how the Mormon's view this. As David well know's, the Mormon Temple rituals are highly "sacred" to the Mormon people, and each of them take the obligation to keep the ritual secret from the outside world, very seriously. To think that this excommunication may have political undertones, when you have just exposed the more sacred portions of Mormon worship to the entire world, is intentionally naieve.

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    2. In fact Holly, it is so sacred, and so special, and so important to eternal life that it's not even mentioned by Jesus in the Bible. Oh yeah...its not mentioned in the Book of Mormon either.

      Silly Jesus, he can't even tell us about the most important things we need to know to get to heaven.
      Or maybe....? Maybe? Its made up by Joseph Smith using masonic rituals and passed of as sacred?
      Do the math Holly. Read the New Testament. Find Jesus.

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  9. I support you but don't see a political side to this. You need to let that point go. It makes your argument look weak and paranoid. Frankly, the Romney campaign has much bigger things to worry about. Sorry, but you're giving yourself way too much credit on that front. Wish you the best, but you need to give up the whole "this is politically driven" thing. It is silly and the media is using you as a pawn for some easy election coverage.

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  10. This seems pretty open and shut... Especially after reading what you are writing on MT and in your blog.

    I am sorry that your are pained by all of the goings on. If I knew you personally, I would probably give you a big hug and tell you that I hope you find comfort in something.

    Honestly, from the outside, I see the things you write, and it is evident that you are torn. While some of your responses are full of pride and sound absolutely indignant, others seem to reach out in desparation for something you feel is there for the taking if only you could reach it.

    I am an active member that is now set apart to work in the temple. I was asked by the Temple presidency to shave the facial hair I have had for the last 15 years. My first reaction was of anger and offense that they would even consider asking me to do such an insane thing, just to work in the temple. How have some whiskers on my face make a difference as to whether I could go through the motions?

    As I left, I got more and more upset at the notion. Then after some introspection, I realized that it wasn't inmportant. Really, it was stupid. I trimmed my facial hair all the time, which means, it would grow back. My natural tendency was to fight against it which is the whole purpose of me learning to overcome those natural responses and become a better person. Not a sheep because I want to keep my facial hair, but to prove to the myself, and the lord that I was willing to do a small insignificant thing.

    Needless to say, I felt compelled to repent of my attitude.

    I am not saying you need to repent, nor that my silly story of facial hair amounts to what level of consternation you must feel at this time. It only means that as I read your posts, I can see the conflict you have. I, obviously, as an active member see it as a spiritual conundrum. You, or others, may see it as a psychological one, caused by both a social attachment and some level on indoctrination. Either way, it is a hard thing to go through. The anxiety associated with it I am sure, is a very consuming thing.

    I don't wish anything on you, other than an outcome that will leave you in a position that will allow you to go on in your daily life comfortable with who you are and where you are headed. I hope that you are able to walk away from whatever happens with your head held high, and if you still believe in a God, I wish his greatest blessings on you. If you don't, I hope for the best of success in your life.

    Looking from the outside, as you lash out with hurt and pride, and then pull everything close again to cling to something familiar, it breaks my heart to watch and know the pain you must feel. I am sorry in advance for any hurtful things that people may say to you. It is wrong, and there are some of us that love and appreciate unconditionally.

    Best wishes on your road ahead. I hope this process has a liberating solution for you and your family.

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    1. What a beautiful note. Very kindly of you.

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  11. So let me get this straight, Jesus would not be allowed to work in his own temple because Jesus doesn't shave?

    A church that won't let Jesus work among them is a church that I would avoid at all costs.

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    1. Are you sure Jesus doesn't shave?

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    2. No, you didn't get it straight. You missed the whole point. You can't see the forest for the trees... try and read things in the spirit they are intended.

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  12. This is clearly all a rouge, this David fellow is an imposter trying to play the victim, his words point towards it, he is mocking the LDS church without a doubt. No worries they are used to it happens everyday and for the past 180 years... Shame on you David, I love ya brother and hope you can get some answers to all these questions :)

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  13. I don't think this is about Romney. I am currently and excommunicated Mormon but my entire life within the church I was a Democrat. In my adult life I spoke freely about my political beliefs I voted the way I wanted to vote and never received any grief from leadership.

    I know of some believing and very active Mormons who think Romney is not only a bad choice for President of the United States he is also not a good representative of the Mormon Church.
    They are outspoken about their feelings and are not being hassled.

    David, I am a supporter and believer of you and what you're doing. My thoughts are with you.

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  14. I was raised a Roman Catholic and when I was in high school I took the Missionary Lessons. I almost converted and became LDS but something inside of me told me to "stop." I met a nun who was a cloistered sister (in an order of contemplative sisters who spent their life in prayer and fasting and did not leave the convent) whose family were all LDS. She had converted to Roman Catholicism as a young girl and was disowned and found her way into the convent. Some of her family were members of the First Presidency or some other high offices in the LDS Church. When I listened to her story and how she had found the Roman Catholic Church to be the True Church of Jesus Christ it made me realize that I could not leave the Catholic Church myself and that everything I had been looking for was in my own backyard. When I told my Mormon friends that I was not going to convert, they abandoned me.

    Eventually I became a Roman Catholic priest. I live in a small neighborhood near my parish church today. The other day two LDS missionaries knocked on my door. I invited them in and told them my story. I also told them why I didn't convert to LDS and of the many different reasons why I felt the LDS Church was not the true church of Jesus Christ but, at the same time, why I felt that many Mormons were good and kind people. They were very uncomfortable with my discussion of Greek and Hebrew scriptures and ancient Patristic texts from the Early Church Fathers about the Eucharist and the Sacraments and my use of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures (why not use the original texts if you are going to talk about the scriptures?). I invited them to come back if they wanted to talk more about the Sacred Scriptures....but I don't think they'll be coming by any time soon.....

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