Monday, September 23, 2013

Same Tract Attractions

Wendy L. Watson, the “young” bride and second wife of Mormon Apostle Russell M. Nelson recently wrote a children’s book that has generated some criticism  I won’t get into this book, but her recent press brought to bear other interesting tidbits.  Before she married Apostle Nelson (her first marriage), the virgin Watson, a retired BYU professor of marriage and family therapy, also wrote a book on sex purity and passion in marriage  In fact, Watson has published many books through Deseret Book since her best friend Sheri Dew took the CEO reigns in 2002.

There’s an interesting dynamic among the wholesome threesome—Dew, Watson and Nelson—which I personally cannot untangle precisely, so I will ask the blog readership for their views.  First, all three seem to have very strong opinions on traditional marriage and family.  Watson published a book on marriage before she herself was married and helped many LDS couples with their relationships.  This is not at all surprising, nor especially interesting at present.  Her husband has been somewhat outspoken on traditional marriage.  Nelson spoke at the white house on one occasion to defend traditional one-man/one-woman marriage. 

He’s signed the petition by the “Religious Coalition for Marriage” including "a Letter from America's Religious Leaders in Defense of Marriage" demanding that the Constitution of the United States of America be amended to ban legalized same-sex marriage and define marriage "as the exclusive union of one man and one woman."

Nelson has spoken out against same-sex marriage:

"If civil law were altered to recognize so-called "same-gender" marriage, you as believers in God, and keepers of His commandments, would then be regarded as exceptions to the rule...In truth dear brothers and sisters, if you lose marriage, you also lose freedom of religion. Atheistic moral bedlam and religious repression go hand in hand. At stake is our ability to transmit to the next generation the life-giving and inseparable culture of marriage and the free exercise of religion."

Dew has also been a strong opponent of gay marriage.  In Meridian Magazine (archived here), in 2004, she lamented gay relationships and especially children raised by gay parents.

“  There were several statements that stood out for me in a dramatic and terrifying way, but one of the most sobering features of the entire article was a picture of two handsome, young men, getting “married.” What distressed me most was the fact that they were both holding an infant “daughter”–twin girls they had adopted. I was, frankly, heartsick. What kind of chance do those girls have being raised in that kind of setting? What will their understanding of men and women, marriage and families be? ”
In that same article, Dews states she believes erosion of personal morals is a slippery slope that could destroy family values. 
“ The minute I talked myself into a brief, tiny, what-seemed-like-a-harmless breach of the law, it wasn’t very long before there was such a total disregard of the law that I had become a danger to society… And that seems to be a predictable pattern: Once there is a deviation from truth or from what is right, things can escalate dramatically and quickly. Seemingly overnight. It seems to me that this is exactly where we find ourselves today with respect to key issues and all matters relative to the family. ”
Dew also made reference to a statement made in 1941 by journalist Dorothy Thomas, who said each person in the world would be forced to choose sides for or against Adolf Hitler. Dew paraphrased Thomas to apply a principle to immorality.  "Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen," Dew said. "Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family as God has defined it or against it. Every living human being will either have opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it. For if we make no choice, that in itself is a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that itself is an act in opposition of the family."

She received criticism for the Hitler analogy to gay rights, and backpedaled less than a year later, stating: “I wasn't comparing anybody to Hitler.”  And further, “I have friends living an openly gay lifestyle with kids. In every instance, they are caring parents who love their kids and their kids love them. They know I feel it's not my prerogative to judge them. It's their right to choose. . . . Those that deal with same-sex attraction have my respect.” 

Having been a member of the LDS faith all of my life until the past six years (almost one year officially resigned), I can sympathize with Dew on having to back-pedal over acerbic statements about gay rights. I myself am ashamed to admit that I had made a few and written opposing gay rights (back in the early 1990s) as what I believed were faithful mutterings.  It does seem to me that Dew is concerned about her personal moral dilemma, using parallels to her own life’s slippery-slope patterns, and more recently concerned over her previous attitudes about gays.

I believe in gay rights and I believe that they deserve protection and respect equal to that others have enjoyed traditionally.  Part of advancing those rights includes admitting my own previous errors and pointing out the hypocrisy of leaders who are among the strongest opponents to gay rights currently.  Just as with zealous opponents such as Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Mark Foley and others who’ve been exposed with obsessive sexual uppitiness hiding latent sexual frustrations, I think it helps us as a culture to move forward when we untangle the issues behind those who are most vociferous.

That being said, I am not sure what to make of what I discuss next.  Perhaps readers will have more to offer in opinion.  But here are the facts.

Wendy L. Watson and Sheri L. Dew have been “best friends”  for well over a decade. In fact, in October, 2000, they bought a vacation home together in Heber Valley (where Monson and many of the Apostles have second or third homes).  They were granted a warranty deed as “Wendy L. Watson, an unmarried person and Sheri L. Dew, an unmarried person, joint tenants tenants” and later, in 2002, refinanced it together for $245,800, paying it off in 2007 and rearranging the ownership until at present they are both still listed together.  

2000 Warranty Deed for Joint Tenants

2002 Trust Deed for Refi

In 2004, Dew also bought a property in North Salt Lake at 1348 Elk Hollow Property, under her name only.

On April 6, 2006, Watson married Apostle Nelson, a widower for about a year, and they then buy a house just a couple lots down from Dew at 1370 Elk Hollow (mailing address 1371 Cove Cir).

In April 2008, after a short period of removing Watson and obtaining a mortgage for $225,000 for Dew, she regranted to herself and to Watson a warranty deed listing both of them as joint tenants, giving Watson full rights of survivorship.

Why the numbers are different (1348 vs. 1349) and the "Road" vs "Drive" difference, I am unsure. Since 1349 Elk Hollow Drive doesn't exist, and that Dew does own 1348 Elk Hollow Road, I assume clerical error at the Wasatch County Recorder office.

UPDATE: In 2012, Nelson and Watson executed a Quit Claim, effectively removing Watson from the 1370 Elk Hollow property.  The reason for this only they know.

Those are the facts as best I can tell.  One thought: Watson and Dew seem very succesful in their own right. Nelson almost seems to be the third wheel who drags them down only because his name is lauded due to his priesthood position. 
Here’s one limited rumor I will share, without much comment on my part.  An anonymous (and probably unverifiable) Deseret Book employee stated in late 2008, “I work at Deseret Book and have worked here for over 20 years. I work in the corporate offices and have been in many meetings with Sheri Dew. She is not a flawed woman as you describe, she is a very mean woman who is a lesbian and her partner is Wendy Watson. Yes, Wendy is married to Elder Nelson. …”  (comments

Personally, I will question that this is all true. Whatever the arrangement is between Watson and Dew, Watson is perhaps  getting favored treatment as an author at DB.  And whether there is a platonic or even more involved relationship between the two women, I would encourage them to speak out against LDS intrusion into politics over gay rights.  After all, I am absolutely sure both of them have great respect for those that “deal with” same-sex attraction.

Special thanks to "BiteMe" from RfM who provided documents.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More Good is a More LDS ($-laundering) Foundation?

The More Good Foundation is a "non-profit organization that helps Mormons share their beliefs on the Internet so interested people can learn more about Mormonism. It was created in 2005 by David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways..."

What do they do to share their Mormony beliefs?  They buy a lot of domains on the internet.  They "own" (registered and parked on) over 1300 web domain names , of which 400 are pro-LDS websites. From tax records, it appears in 2007 alone they spent over $140,000 purchasing domains and websites, most of which are believed by the foundation to paint Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in a negative light.

In 2012, at the height of my national media blitz, I was approached by an unnamed individual to buy out my blog (at the time called "prozac-ville").  I declined, and eventually the original blog name was taken by FAIR supporters.  I renamed it, eventually, to what it is called today.

The organization states that “While the Foundation is fully supportive of the Church and its mission, it is not directed by or funded through the Church; no Church funds are used for the Foundation.”

However, Futuremissionary reports that their tax returns tell a different story.  Apparently, Futuremissionary has found that ''starting in 2009, there were also yearly donations of between $100,000 and $200,000 from “LDS Foundation of the LDS Church.” Over 3 years, donations from this foundation totaled $450,000.''

I also received information derived from 990finder about donations to the More Good Foundation (see below). Effectively, this foundation looks a little like a money-laundering organization for doing the LDS church bidding. (note/edit: I wrote "looks a little like money-laundering" without claiming that it is acutal illegal laundering.  Many readers have read too much in my words here.) However, I won't go as far to say that it is a facade for LDS activity, but I am sure that David Neeleman coordinates with a GA regularly about the foundation's activity.  I recall when I was a young lad that the owner of Living Scriptures, Inc, Jared Brown (my neighbor and one-time temporary employer), had LDS general authorities on the phone or even at business meetings/conferences to discuss the direction Living Scriptures was taking.  At least Mr. Brown bragged about it to me.  Thus, I would be very surprised if Mr. Neeleman wasn't also conferencing regularly with his LDS elders.

Of interest is that in 2009, 2010 and 2011 the LDS church was the largest single donor.  Previously, it had been Neeleman himself. (The data is shown below.)

Another note of interest, FAIR, the apologetic organization run by Scott Gordon, received $2,500 from More Good in 2006.  (See this PDF and this PDF for more data on FAIR -- p.3 of Attch A.)

If you total the contributions and subtract the expenses for salaries (payouts) in the latter years, you will see that most of the foundation money goes to pay salaries of the directors and officers.  Very little seems to go elsewhere.  So the LDS church is actually mostly donating to pay the salaries of the foundation employees.  Why would they do that?

Now, it can be argued that the LDS Foundation of the LDS Church is not owned by the LDS Church.  The address listed for this group is 150 Social Hall Ave, SLC Suite 500. 

Not only is the building the same, but the same Suite 500 is also the listed address of Beneficial Life Insurance Co. in 2010, owned by Beneficial Financial Group, a Deseret Management Corporation, which is a wing of LDS incorporated.  In other words, we can be very sure that these donations to MFG are from LDS inc. 

The LDS Foundation has also been linked to Deseret Management Corporation by the Deseret News, the company that oversees the foundation. The reason this is important is because it shows that the LDS Church is paying for defensive positions against critics by using apologetic agents, something they deny doing.  Likewise, the money seems to be mostly going to paying salaries.  LDS inc also pays its GAs by giving them positions on LDS corporation boards. The More Good Foundation just might be another place for a GA/lackey to get a "stipend" which is actually paid for by an alleged charity arm of LDS Foundation.  All in all, it's an elaborate money shell game to hide the fact of their intent with donated money.

Here then is some of the contribution and expense information.  From: 990finder.

     $400k total
     $300k from David Neeleman
     $100k from Ken Woolley
     Bus address same as Ken’s
     2006  (PDF 2006 tax form)
     GIUSEPPE MARTINENGO paid $51,817
     received $190,438
     $163,456 paid to employees
     Gave FAIR $2,500  (see p. 10 of this PDF)
     david neeleman - $115k
     Ken Woolley - $50k
     Kevin Rollins - $25,029 in computers. He’s Pres of Dell.
     $9564 in domain registration
     $852 hosting
     Very detailed expenses
     Paid Allen Wyatt (ex pres) $24,933
     2007 (PDF 2007 tax form)
     $667,782 total
     $575k - David Neeleman
     $80k - Ken Wooley
     $10k - Bill Child (RC Willey owner)
     $85,742 for directors, officers, trustees
     Nathan Gwilliam Former Pres - 43,750
     Richard Miller VP - 62,192
     Jonathon Johnson Pres - $25k
     Giuseppe Martinengo Dir - $58,725
     $153,512 for other employees
     $17,682 for pension, employee benefits
     Domain name acquisition - $112,299, $25k for 1
     Website acquisition - $30k
     2008 (PDF 2008 tax form)
     $602,090 total
     $51,439 - Jet Blue shares
     David Neeleman - $300k
     Tom Dickson - $10k
     Ken Woolley - $170k
     JSY Foundation - $5k
     Bioforce - $25k
     Ronald A Ferrin - $51,439
     Steven J & PA Anderson foun - $13k
     Extra space - $25k
     Jonathon Johnson $99k
     Heather Newell VP - $56,333, head mod at
     Karen Merkley dir - $46,334
     Domain name - $112,255 - Book value $46,597
     Website acquisitions - $30k
     2009 (PDF of 2009 tax form)
     $430,737 total
     Boyer family - $10k
     Clayton Christensen $25k
     David Neeleman - $55k
     K-tec - $32k
     Kalan Investments LC - $10k
     Ken Woolley - $55k
     Minhavida - $58,500
     Peery Foundation - $25k
     Richard Tanner - $5k
     Steven J &... $16,500
     LDS Foundation of LDS Church - $100k
     Tom Dickson - $10k
     Yamagata Group - $15k
     Center Seven (cloud hosting discount) - $5,040
     $278,825 - Directors, officers, trustees
     $84,129 - salaries
     $18,150 - pensions, employee benefits
     JJ - $126k
     Giuseppe - $85,200
     Heather - $67,608
     Karen Trifiletti - $52,250
     70,397 contract writers
     domain reg 14125
     hosting 1565
     2010 (PDF of 2010 tax form)
     Total - $656,392
     $25K CLAYTON Christensen
     $78k david neeleman
     57500 ktec
     55k ken woolley
     lds foundation - $200k
     66k - minhavida
     25k - peery
     10k - steven j...
     $110k - ashton family foundation
     $346,493 - Directors, officers, trustees
     $51,881 - salaries
     $24,865 - pensions, employee benefits
     jj - $131,500
     Giuseppe - $87,548
     Heather - $78,574
     Karen - $60,363
     $55,772 contract writers
     $12,763 domains
     $3551 hosting
     2011  (PDF of 2011 tax form)
     Ashton 120k
     david - 36k
     ktec - 160k
     ken - 60k
     lds foundation - 150k
     minhavida - 66k
     peery - 35k
     blake roney - 140k
     steven lund - 25k
     spencer kirk - 60k
     org dgn - 41k
     $398,687 - Directors, officers, trustees
     $48,203 - salaries
     $112,571 - Contract writer (same amount as buying domains?)
     $34,686 - pensions, employee benefits
     jj - 150k
     heather - 88578
     karen 70109
     david grant coo 90k
     $12,248 domain registration
     7470 hosting

Church Donation:
     $450 total

     Notice that they stopped having a fund for buying domains and websites (about $112k/yr) and it looks like they replaced it with a fund for “contract writers.” Might they be buying websites with content and calling that writers? The last year, they had the same budget ($112k).


Funded by Church?
“We support The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in every way, but we are not owned or operated by the Church.”

How is the Foundation Funded?
While the Foundation is fully supportive of the Church and its mission, it is not directed by or funded through the Church; no Church funds are used for the Foundation. Our funds come through the good graces of individual donors who are interested in seeing us fulfill our goals and make a positive difference with LDS information.” -

enom $13.95
$12,248 domain registration

Image on More Good Foundation website to
advertise that they want to go international. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Holy Ghost is a Bastet

I believe the Holy Ghost was represented in ancient Egypt as Bastet, the cat goddess, which was in part a protector of food.  You could say the Holy Ghost is a protector of spiritual nourishment, but that’s not what I’m really getting at here.   Let me explain.  Often in LDS sermons, you will hear or read dialogue like the following from apostle Joseph Wirthlin:

“Brothers and sisters, do we turn away the still, small voice? Do we do things that offend the Holy Ghost? Do we allow influences into our homes that drive the Spirit from our homes? The type of entertainment that we permit into our homes will certainly have an impact on the power of the Holy Ghost. Much of the entertainment of the world is offensive to the Holy Ghost. Surely we should not watch movies or television shows that are filled with violence, vulgar language, and immorality.”
How do we offend the Holy Ghost? From this we learn that the Holy Ghost is afraid of entertainers.  I can imagine that juggling clowns scare the bejeebus out of the HG because he doesn’t have physical hands to ward off any rouge flying balls or pins. The TV and movies also scare the HG, particularly if they use certain words and phrases.  You could say the meanest cruelest thing possible with the most polite words and nicest tone of voice—the HG will sit there and nod in approval at your proper etiquette. But use a foul four-letter word in praising your “f*cking amazing friend”, and the HG is startled by your lowly-worded compliment. 

Video violence, apparently, is also bad juju for the HG. If you’re a 14 year old boy playing soldier in Call of Duty (which happens to be similar to a Mormon phrase about the priesthood), the HG gets very anxious that you would kill computer characters instead of reading your scriptures.  Reproving someone betimes with sharpness, using guilt and shame in a form of emotional abuse according to D&C 121, and the HG will cheerlead your spiritual violence. Besides where was he when Joshua of the Old Testament was slaughtering women and children in actual violence?  He was on the right hand of God.   

If your  computer screen shows someone with too little clothing on screen, the HG will blush and run.  The HG is invisible, so how many naked people has the testator seen?  I mean, if you were invisible, you’d see as many naked bodies as you could.  It should be a lot, but apparently the slightest naked elbow will send shivers up the ghost’s spine.

Isn’t the HG’s job to be a comforter?  Isn’t he supposed to help you know right from wrong?  But the moment anything wrong happens, he’s out of there so fast, you won’t get a wave goodbye let alone a lesson on what’s bad.  He’s supposed to be busy flying around helping everyone gain a testimony, but if you dare think a single bad thought, chant a prayer just wrongly, show a single bare shoulder, curse under your breath once, well the Holy Ghost is offended and will fly away faster than Casper.  The HG is a selfish slacker on the job.  The HG doesn’t play ball with sinners.  Wear immodest gym shorts and try passing him the ball, and you can count on him to throw it into the stands and leave the building with his tail between his legs.  

The Holy Ghost is a scared little dog.  No, make that a scared little pussy, to put it bluntly.  The holy ghost is a pussy.  Yes, I just wrote that.  Bastet, the cat goddess, was fierce and bold.  The Holy Ghost, the pussy god, is fearful and timid.  Unlike the nocturnal Bastet, the HG is afraid of the dark, and goes to sleep at midnight whenever you stay out late.   Bastet whipped away the rats.  The HG will rat on you to the bishop by giving him the gift of discernment and toast your ass on the guilt barbeque grill.  He’s supposed to be a gift, but some gift he is.   The HG is a Lamanite Giver.  When you’re nice to him, he’ll bless you and bestow gifts of spirit on you.  But the moment you screw up, he’s like a collection agency reposessing those gifts.  Good luck getting back the gift. Like the Lamanite’s DNA, he’s just gone.  You’ll have to beg and pray and promise everything to God so he'll give up a sliver of his ghost again.  And if you read your scriptures and sacrifice your first born to a mission in Tanzania, he might reappear for brief moments of time and cause you to feel like crying.  He likes to get people crying.  If you’re not crying, then the HG is crying.

The Holy Ghost is the ultimate borderline personality disorder manipulator.  One moment he’s in love with you, the next, he's a catty emotional bitch. It all comes down to whether you’re doing whatever he wants. Do the right thing, you’re the golden child. Do the wrong thing, you have hurt the Holy Ghost and made him cry.  You’ve offended and scared off that pussy and he’s not coming back until you can prove to him you’re going to bow and worship just right.   It’s what happens with insecure tyrants.

What’s worse, apparently, you might mistake your own emotions for the Holy Ghost.  Boyd Packer wrote:

“Be ever on guard lest you be deceived by inspiration from an unworthy source. You can be given false spiritual messages. There are counterfeit spirits just as there are counterfeit angels. (See Moro. 7:17.) Be careful lest you be deceived, for the devil may come disguised as an angel of light.
“The spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual. We occasionally find people who receive what they assume to be spiritual promptings from God, when those promptings are either centered in the emotions or are from the adversary.”
Yeah, the spirit, such a sneaky bastard. You could be manipulating yourself with your own inner pussy.  Or it could be the devil playing pussy advocate with your mind (which is a nicer way of saying it than the “devil is f*cking with your mind”).  You haven’t a chance, according to the elder Packer, of guessing the difference between the half-cracked holy spirit, your own Freudian emotions or the firebrand trickster.  No matter how you slice it, you’re screwed by this pussy.  He’s not going to help you get anything right if you do anything wrong.

So that begs the question, what does the holy ghost actually do that  you're not already doing?  If you're good, then you feel better because you have the spirit with you. If you're bad, the HG leaves you to feel worse.  Does the invisible HG do anything at all? 

I know that some of you are going to say I am committing the unpardonable, son-of-perdition sin of denying the Holy Ghost. Jesus once said, “Whoever denies me before men, I will also deny him before my Father.”  It seems that without ever denying the HG, he chickens out and denies us long before we get the chance.  The biggest denial here is that the HG is actually here … to help or not.  While Bastet was a myth, at least we have paintings and carvings of her.  The holy ghost? Invisible is as invisible does.