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| First, I am not speaking for all MT editors in this post.
Many are asking what is happening. Over the course of the 8 years MormonThink.com has been an online presence, there have been various levels of pressure exerted by LDS leaders on active, semi-active and less active members who contribute and edit articles posted on MT.
One example happened earlier this year when the past chief editor who'd remained completely anonymous due to still-attending with TBM family and close friends, received significant pressure from local ward and stake leaders to remove MT content or take the site down entirely.
This editor initially discussed MT content with his leaders, about our goal of promoting true church history over commonly-held beliefs and even how he was involved. He was willing to work with his stake president's objections and he convinced the MT editorial board to take down the temple section as it greatly bothered some members. He also continued asking his stake president what was incorrect with the site. He offered to change it but his leader would never answer specifics, just labeling the site as 'anti-Mormon', anti-Joseph Smith and anti-church leadership. Ultimately, he decided to give up his editing duties to appease the church and turn them over to me, the current managing editor.
After this, however, with the temple material still unpublished they called him to disciplinary council for heresy, or as they call it these days 'conduct unbecoming a member of the church'. Seeing the futility of attending such a pre-determined event, as the Stake President refused to discuss the material on the site and only wanted to focus on his involvement which he already determined was unacceptable, he quietly resigned. It is still a very private matter.
As new managing editor, I wrote articles about the beliefs of Mitt Romney, about parallels between his hiding financial information and the church refusing to disclose theirs, about the political history of the LDS church and how one might predict its manner of influence if Mitt were elected. I had returned to attending at church, where I had never met the local leadership, and I began a blog chronicling events around my return.
Last Sunday, after Sacrament, I was taken to the Stake President's office and "interviewed" for 45 minutes by the three presidents and bishop. It was unclear how they found me just then, but other facts have come to light on this. They were particularly upset at us hiding our full identities and the messages recently posted at MT and on the blog. At the end, I was given a letter summoning me to disciplinary council for apostasy.
At this time, I have been contacted by the media, but no firm decision has been made at this moment about any action there.
I am trying to work with LDS leaders to open a dialogue about what at MT is factually, doctrinally and historically incorrect. We feel that working with the LDS church authorities, we can make an honest attempt to discuss openly issues of church history and policies that trouble many active members. Our philosophy is to present both sides accurately as possibly and let each member decide with full agency and free will what they believe.
As a concession, the blog was pulled off, the temple material rescinded and I am trying to work with the leaders to correct any MT content that might be inaccurate, as well as forestall action against me at church, since it can be a sensitive family issue for me as well.
We will try to keep you all informed as we can.
Thanks everyone for your support.
| Possible Indications That Twede's Excommuncation Hearing May Be Canceled? |
Sunday, Sep 23, 2012, at 08:23 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: MORMONTHINK -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| In another thread, David Twede writes:
" . . . [I]t's extremely clear that the top SLC leaders do know what is going on. So, are they canceling my disciplinary council or not? My stake president has indicated he would be willing to meet before 30 Sept, but we haven't yet set up a time."
("Re: Who initiated the action against David Twede....have they really lost the plot so much?," by David Twede, "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 23 September 2012)
David's excommunication court was originally scheduled by the stake president for Sunday, 30 September, at 7:30 a.m.
I used to be a stake high councilman (before I was booted from that job by the stake president because of my editorial cartoons critical of Arizona Mormon governor Evan Mecham and thereafter eventually resigned my Mormon Church membership). In my position as a high councilman, I sat on a stake disciplinary council.
Stake presidents are not inclined to change these Church court dates and times from their original calendaring--except under exceptional circumstances. After all, Sunday is the big day in Mormonism for doing Elohim's business--including laying down the Law of the Lard--starting very early (often in the pre-dawn morning hours) with priesthood executive meetings and, yes, disciplinary action councils.
Either the high council's disciplinary council would be rescheduled for a full convening sometime earlier in the week before Sunday, September 30th (a potentially significant inconvenience, coming at the last minute and on a weeknight, but a possible way by which to quickly dispatch Twede, hoping it will now all qo away--which it won't). Or perhaps the stake president wants to personally meet with David Twede before the court is to take place on Sunday the 30th in order to try to work out a way for the LDS Church to back out of this unmitigated, media-spotlighted Mormon PR disaster.
I wouldn't be surprised if Salt Lake is, behind the scenes, pressuring Orlando to turn the lights out on this thing--and to do it quickly.
After reading on The Daily Beast that JohnL stated that FAIR had addressed MT and it was now conclusively an AntiMormon site (so presumably being associated with it is apostasy) I thought I would wander over and have a look.
So I clicked on his link and then on the link to "Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/MormonThink/Lying for the Lord", since I thought that would be a good place to start.
I kept reading, looking for the FAIR analysis. The structure is a highlighted block, then a bold heading "Things to think about" then "additional quotes/information" that doesn't seem to add much. I was near the bottom of the page, thinking the FAIR rebuttal would be down there - but it wasn't. Then it dawned on me that "Things to think about" was actually the FAIR analysis of the block quote from MT. Oh! I had thought that the "Things to think about" was copied over from MT. Because when you read the little block, then the "thing to think about" it is not very faith promoting.
Silly me. I should have known the MT editors actually make a better case than that when they attempt put the church position, (or at least act as Devil's Apologist).
Here is an example. Remember this is explaining "Lying for the Lord":
Critics claim that Joseph lied when he stated the "spiritual wifery" was "absolutely false and the doctrine an evil and unlawful thing."
Things to think about
Joseph distinguished "spiritual wifery," a term used by John C. Bennet, from the doctrine of plural marriage.
So...That's it? The rebuttal? When I think about Joseph using weasel words so that he could lie at whim, by making words mean whatever he wanted, when he wanted, I think that is blatantly dishonest. And I am amazed the church stands by this.
Here is another:
Critics note that Elder Packer stated that "some truths are not very useful."
uh ha. So lying for the lord is OK when the church does it, or demands its employees does it then. You can lie (lying by omission is still lying) when teaching history in the church setting.
Things to think about
This does not accurately reflect Elder Packer's remarks, however, since Elder Packer was not speaking to "Mormon historians "–he was, rather, speaking to members of CES, the Church Educational System. Elder Packer makes his intended audience clear:
You seminary teachers and some of you institute and BYU men will be teaching the history of the Church this school year. This is an unparalleled opportunity in the lives of your students to increase their faith and testimony of the divinity of this work. Your objective should be that they will see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now.CES consists of Church employees who have been hired by the Church to teach its doctrine and promote faith in its young people. Surely it is well within the Church's purview to insist that the perspective on Church history taught in its religion classes will be supportive of, and not destructive of, faith? Surely the CES's study of history is not merely an academic exercise, but also has a spiritual goal?
Frankly if MT is an AntiMormon site, FAIR should be as well. Because the only thing worse than no apologetics is that sort of apologetics.
I have said it before, FAIR only exists as a cyber-thought-stopper, so that members who will never be bothered reading the stuff can tell those of us with inquiring minds that "FAIR has got a page that answers that!"
| The LDS Church is bringing a church disciplinary court against the chief editor of MormonThink. Read article: Mormons Want to Excommunicate Romney Critic
This story has been picked up by several other news outlets. Here's a few:
Orlando Sentinel http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2...
Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09...
New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/us/...
ABC New SLC - video http://www.abc4.com/content/news/stat...
Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/549...
Note from Dave: I want to clarify some things in the SLtrib piece. It's true that my local leaders never said "Romney" in my interrogation. 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. 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.
Likewise, when it quotes me that I didn't intend for it to go this way, I meant: 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 and doctrinally on this matter.
Deseret News http://www.deseretnews.com/article/86...
Show of Support: A show of support will be at two locations simultaneously the evening before the Disciplinary Council, on Saturday, September 29, 2012, both in Salt Lake City, UT at 5:00 p.m. MT around SLC Temple Square, and in Orlando, FL, 7:00 p.m. ET near the Orlando Temple on Windy Ridge Rd. (note: the article incorrectly said it would be the previous Saturday).
| Bagged, Part 2: There's A Good Chance That Fair's Chair, John Lynch (posing As "John L."), Is The One Joining With Other Swarmin' Mormons In Attacking "The Daily Beast" . . . |
Monday, Sep 24, 2012, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: MORMONTHINK -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Bagged, Part 2:
I have been informed by a solid source that among the Mormon critics bashing reporter Jamie Reno and “The Daily Beast” for their commendable reporting on “MormonThink's” managing editor David Twede's upcoming excommunication trial (a trial connected to David's criticism of Romney and the LDS Church), is probably none other than chairman of the Mormon apologist group FAIR, John Lynch.
The solid sense is that the “John L.” buzzing around “The Daily Beast's” site like a rabidly-desperate Deseret honeybee is, in all likelihood, THAT John Lynch.
Certainly, “MormonThink” has been a big, fat burr umder FAIR's thin-skinned saddle, as is clear from FAIR's obsession with what shows up on MT's site:
(see, for instance, “Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/MormonThink/Polygamy,” on FAIR wiki, at: http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of...)
David, in his latest blog post on “Mormon.Think.com,” has called out FAIR as the Calilfornia-based apologetic club for the LDS Church that was behind the outting of David to the Mormon Church's Salt Lake City headquarters (which then notifed David's Orlando-area bishop and stake president, who then rapidly set up an excommunication hearing).
As David writes:
". . . [A]fter 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 Infographics' on the Book of Abraham, and a second one to FAIR’s explanation of one of the facsimiles.'
"Links included in this were:
"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..”
(David Twede, quoted in “**MEDIA ALERT) 'War Worn': In an Open, Honest and Brave Acknowledgement, David Twede Says the Mormon Church Excommunication Court Against Him Is, In fact, Related to Mitt Romney**, by Steve Benson, “Recovery from Mormonism” board, 22 September 2012
David further fingers FAIR has the whistle-blowing lapdog for the Mormon Church in this post that he put up on RfM:
“I believe everyone involved from FAIR, the GAs and the stake leaders know clearly that using my Romney speech as the basis for excom would be a PR disaster. So you would never expect them to bring it up. Instead they will dance around anything they can find to halt the voices at 'MT.'
“My feeling is the timing is very suspicious.
“The interrogation mostly focused on why I hid my identity, at the 'MT.com' site where my only activity in the past week was about LDS political history. And they talked about my blog of which 3 of seven entries during that week were in fact about Romney. Specifics were not given. I asked what specifically was wrong with what I wrote, and I was told the tone and bias against the church was clear. The stake presidency never had the courage to really talk directly about specifics.
“On the other hand, Scott Gordon did attempt to side-track us by the following from the 'NYTimes' article.
"'Scott Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, an organization in Redding, Calif., that defends Mormon theology, said that he had forwarded materials posted by Mr. Twede to Church officials in Salt Lake City.'
“That FAIR outed me by name and sent my material to SLC officials I have no doubt. In fact, there is evidence it may not have been Gordon, initially, at least that spied. At least two other members of FAIR, acting as de-facto members of the Strengthening Members Committee had a hand in the activities surrounding these events.”
(“Re: The mormonthink fiasco *is* about Romney - Dave correct me if I'm wrong,” by David Twede, “Recovery from Mormonism” bulletin board, 22 September 2012
FAIR (courtesy of “John L.”--aka, John Lynch, FAIR's empty chair) has its fingerprints all over “The Daily Beast” website.
If you go to “The Daily Beast” site where Reno's story about David appears, you will observe in the commentary section how a certain “John L.” has been literally swarming the place with his criticism of Reno and his article.
(“Mormons Want to Excommunicate Romney Critic,” by Jamie Reno, 21 September 2012, at:
Bagged, Part 1:
By the way, at one time FAIR's Chair, John Lynch, came to RfM under false pretenses, faking as if he was simply a sincere and inquiring individual, looking for peace, understanding and love in all the right places. He was eventually outted and banned from the board.
For RfM newbies, below is an account of Lynch's attempt to come to RfM dressed as a sheep in wolves' garments:
--All's FAIR in Uncovering Lying for the Lord: Remembering When FAIR's Chair John Lynch Came to RfM, Lied and Got Lynched (*Special Edited-In Bonus: Lynch's Private E-mails to Me)...
BACKGROUND ON LYNCH'S BUNGLED ATTEMPT AT BAITING
Chairman of the A#1 Apologetics Board for the Lord, John Lynch, came on RfM a few years back (cleverly, or so he apparently thought), during the time when I posted a series of back-channel exchanges which he and I had had (a series, by the way, which Lynch initiated by contacting me at my work after initially having posed a question to me on RfM.
Going off-board, he then began poking around under the guise of innocent inquiry which really wasn't so innocent, as further reading will reveal).
During those early e-mail exchanges, Lynch attempted to cover his connection to FAIR. Ultimately, however, when pressed, he was forced to admit whose water he was actually carrying: FAIR's LDS H20.
What a drip.
WHAT STARTED THE SNIFFIN': LYNCH CONTACTS ME OFF-BOARD POSING AS A SIMPLE BELIEVING LATTER-SAINT WITH QUESTIONS, WHO JUST WANTS TO LEARN
Below are my e-mails back and forth with Lynch (the ones which he initiated back in October 2005 without revealing to me his true identity).
Please note his smooth-talking, disingenuous and ingratiating style, as he sought to ply me for information while covering his own tracks back to the FAIR lair.
--Lynch to me:
"I posted a question to you at the exmo boards, then got chastised for being a troll. Not true, just a TBM trying to learn. Figuring you might ignore me when that happened, I thought I would try my luck through the [Arizona] Republic (I did a google on Steve Benson Cartoon).
"My question was what happened with you leaving the [Mormon] church? The only thing I seem to recall was that it had something to do with Paul Dunn. I am not trying to harass you, but if can spare a few pings back and forth with e-mail, I am curious about your experiences.
"If you are uncomfortable having dialogue whith a TBM about this (I doubt it, as I have seen you skin others alive with your quick wit), no problem. If so, perhaps if you have published your story somewhere and can point me to it, I would appreciate it.
"Thanks for your time!
(John Lynch to Steve Benson, 13 October, 2005)
--My reply to Lynch:
"Please follow the advice of Susan, given to you on the board."
(Steve Benson to John Lynch, 13 October 2005)
--Lynch to me:
"I will most likely leave the exmo boards alone, at least for a while, as I do not want to create ill will, and I really am there just to learn.
"However, I am interested in hearing what happened with you. I promise I wont argue, or even challenge you (unless that is what you want, as you seem to be up for a bit of quick witted banter from time to time ). I really just want to listen, though.
"Because of your family, you have some unique perspectives. I would like you to share them with me. I am not going to try and convert you, as that is not my place. I won't even disagree, if that would bother you.
"But, I would like to ask you questions. I have read your exchanges with, quite honestly, some people that were no match for you (you clearly have a quick wit and sharp intellect).
"However, they said some pretty harsh stuff, so I know you are thick skinned. Why not indulge a few of my questions, if only to educate me?
"Besides, if I am wrong for being a TBM, this is a chance for you to teach me . At the very least, it is a chance to help me understand you (assuming you care to be understood).
"I sincerely hope to hear from you soon.
"John Lynch "
(John Lynch to Steve Benson, 14 October 2005)
--My reply to Lynch:
"My advice still stands."
(Steve Benson to John Lynch, 14 October 2005)
--Lynch to me:
"Fair enough, Mr. Benson.
"I suppose that sensitive feelings are often easily protected behind barbed remarks and humor, but are difficult to protect in moments of serious dialogue. You are a remarkably gifted individual from what I have seen. I venture to guess that much of your genius emenates from your pain (they often say that artistic genius is).
"While I was not a party to what caused it, I can see that my status and beliefs no doubt refresh your memory of it. I sincerely pray that the ghosts of anguish that haunt you from troubled times will somehow be relieved, and that you will find the recovery your presence on the exmo boards hints that you seek.
"If you ever become willing to share your experience, if even to vent in anger, I will be a willing, safe, and non-judgmental ear.
(John Lynch to Steve Benson, 14 October 2005)
When I posted Latter-day Lynch's e-mails on RfM, a series of behind-the-scenes investigations began more earnestly--ones bent on discovering the full identity of this "John Lynch" who had described himself to me as being "just a TBM" who had come to RfM merely "trying to learn."
Trouble for Lynch was, it wasn't that simple or that straight-forward.
Critical to unmasking this Latter-day Lone and Lying Ranger Stranger Danger was the detective work of RfM poster/computer whiz Tyson Dunn.
But Admin was quite aware at the time that Lynch was being deceptive, as well as knowingly violating the purpose and perimeter of the RfM forum.
As RfM Admininstrator Susan I/S notes:
"There is one other point to this: He [Lynch] knew this was not his room. We have made it very clear for MANY years this is an apologist-FREE zone. There is no way in hell he didn't know that. And that was exactly why he didn't say anything about who he really was.
". . . [T]hey [Lynch's posts on RfM] ran along the lines of, 'Oh, shucks, I just want to understand all'yall. In my job I need to relate to ex-Mos."
("There is one more point to this," posted by "Susan I/S," RfM Administrator, on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 1 September 2011, 10:09 p.m., original emphasis)
To make a long story short on the digging that resulted in Lynch digging his own grave here, Tyson (along with help from other RfM posters, as well as from Admin) helped track the RfM Lynch to San Jose, California.
Indeed, this Lynched dude had reportedly identified himself as living in the "San Jose, CA mission," plus there was further identifying information provided courtesy of a BYU website, where a 2001 FAIR news update noted and quoted the following:
"Leaders of the Foundation of Apologetic Information and Research [FAIR] were at BYU on Jan. 16 and 17 in an effort to expand their organization.
"FAIR is an organization devoted to defending criticism of doctrine, practices and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"During their visit, President Scott Gordon [the same Scot Gordon referred to by David Twede] and Chairman John Lynch, both from California, made plans for an upcoming FAIR convention in Utah Valley this August and met with BYU faculty members.
"They also expressed a desire for articles submitted by BYU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. . . .
"FAIR looks to affirm faith, not to destroy detractors," Lynch said. 'We want to be a resource for people to find answers.'
"Much of the material providing answers to anti-LDS literature, however, is often too scholarly for the lay member to easily understand, Lynch said.
"FAIR hopes to target this audience of lay members with articles that are less difficult to understand.
"We want to sift through scholarly works to get easily digestible, but still scholarly articles,' Lynch said."
("Leaders of FAIR organization seek BYU involvement," by Kathryn Richard (NewsNet staff writer), 18 January 2001, on "BYU NewsNet: Brigham Young University")
The trail was getting hotter.
RFM EATS LYNCH'S LUNCH
Below is a summary of how Lynch eventually got himself lassoed on RfM, as described by a reader in John Dehlin's "Mormon Stories" commmentary section:
"[FAIR's Chairman John Lynch] conveniently forgot to mention during an hour-long podcast [on the 'Mormon Stories'] and in my opinion, took advantage of [the host's nice, congenial nature. I would not have him back on your show unless he agrees to answer questions about his behavior this past week on RfM and with Steve Benson in particular and why he omitted these facts.
"He used the same practice that the Mormon Church uses by revealing his name, but not who he really was or what his intentions really were. I guess those of us over on RfM, were not ready for the 'meat,' so he just gave us the 'milk,' his name that is.
"He lied to everyone and pretended to be somebody that he wasn't. He never told us that he was on the board at FAIR. Tyson Dunn, a poster on RfM, did some homework and discovered who John Lynch was and then revealed it to all the world.
"Finally, John Lynch revealed himself for who he really was, but only after he was caught. He then claimed that he never lied or was dishonest because he gave his real name, etc. All a joke in my opinion, just like him and his bogus organization.
"They should be renamed the 'CDFAIR.' He is a lying, dishonest guy that pretends to be an upright good guy. Remember, 'beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes!!' This clearly applies to John and his so-called organization that supposedly has no affiliation whatsoever with the Mormon Church. HA HA HA!! GOOD ONE!!
"He also lied when he said that he had tried to talk to Steve Benson and didn't even know where or how to find him. The 'real truth' is that he did have direct contact with Steve Benson all week long and emailed him through his email at the 'Arizona Republic.'
"They exchanged many e-mails back and forth as John Lynch continued to lie and conceal his true identity. Everybody go on over to RfM and type 'John Lynch' on the chat board search and you can read all about what I'm saying. It was like a soap opera over there . . . with this clown, AKA John Lynch. . . .
"What's amazing is that John Lynch wouldn't leave Steve Benson alone, even after he had asked him, politely and nicely, 3-4 times, to please leave him alone!! He just couldn't get the message. He kept writing more emails and more, again, as he lied about who he really was.
"He was like a typical Mormon Missionary and he wouldn't leave him alone and kept coming back and back again. Steve shared the personal e-mail correspondence with all of is and it is also over on RFM for those that want to read it all.
"Anyway, John D, this is the true character of your guest John Lynch. I just felt that everyone should know what his tactics are and how he functions in his private life. He is a lying, deceitful apologetic for the Mormon Church, period!! He's one of their hacks, plain and simple!!
"He does their dirty work so that they don't have to. His words indeed had no value once we all knew that he had been posting under false pretenses and LYING about who he really was.
"Besides, even if we knew who he was, his words had no value anyway. Most of us over there are cured of our Cognitive Dissonance while he is still deep in it and getting deeper everyday.
"He expected us to allow him on our board, asking probing questions, while at the same time, FAIR, his beloved organization where he sits on the board, would never and does not ever allow us EXMOS the same courtesy. . . . Bets anyone? I'd be gone in a heartbeat. I may just do it for fun and report back. We'll see how Mr. John Lynch treats us on his home turf.
"When we even try to do that over there, what he did on RfM, we are banned and our responses or posts are quickly deleted. John Lynch is a complete hypocrite as is his pathetic organization. John claimed to be an honest, active member of the Mormon Church but never disclosed who he represented. And people wonder why the Mormon Church has so many problems and why us EXMOS can't leave it alone. It appears that in this case, he couldn't leave us alone, doesn't it?
"Here was the first post by Mr. John Lynch over on RfM:
"'Subject: What are the rules?
'Date: Oct 11  19:53
'Author: John Lynch . . .
"'My name is John Lynch. I understand that this is not a forum for the "defense of "the faith." However, I want to know under what circumstances I can participate. Am I allowed to ask questions? I have no desire to 'lurk' or otherwise hide my motives. I sincerely desire to understand the experiences of those that leave the church. I am an active member, with no personal crisis of faith I am dealing with.
"Did everyone catch that? He said, 'I have no desire to "lurk" or otherwise hide my motives.' Well, if that's the case, then maybe you should have told us who you were, John Lynch from the FAIR board, eh? I'm sorry John D, that this is so long but I felt that the truth needed to be told and exposed. This guy is a phony and a fraud and has no credibility whatsoever!!"
("Mormon Stories #007: 'Inside the Mind of a Mormon Apologist, Part 1,'" posted by "Samuel," 22 October 2005, at:
Giving primary credit where primary credit is due, RfMer "SL Cabbie" described Lynch's involuntary coming-out party on RfM this way:
"Tyson [Dunn] was the one who hung Lynch's scalp from his computer monitor."
("Tyson Was the One Who Hung . . .," post by "SL Cabbie," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 30 January 2011)
Having been caught red-handed, Lynch's Mormon mission--not to mention his outting on this board as FAIR's Chair--has been described in this context:
"John Lynch is a critical member involved in the behind-the-scenes operations of the organization known as FAIR. Though he has tended to avoid the limelight, he's nonetheless figured into the world of Mopologetics in a number of significant ways. For example, he has been seen from time to time 'cruising' on RfM, oftentimes doling out what some posters characterized as 'condescension.'"
("The Encyclopedia of Moapolegetics," under "John Lynch: FAIR's Man Behind the Curtain," 1 March 2011)
HUNG OUT TO DRY, LYNCH TRIES TO WRIGGLE OUT OF HIS LIE OF OMISSION
Having been pulled out into the sunlight against his will, Lynch later confessed to his fellow FAIR faithful his attempted undercover operation behind RfM's enemy lines (doing so in typical "poor-persecuted-me" spinmeister fashion that those having had any experience with schooled Mormon apologists have come to expect).
Lynch gave this selective version of events:
"A few years ago, I made a foray onto a message board for individuals who have left the Church. I was open in my identity both by name and also regarding my status as a full, believing member ('TBM' as they call us). I went there looking to learn, hoping that I might somehow gain some insight that would help us with people who have floundered in their faith. What I failed to do was identify my association with FAIR.
"I tried engaging in an email exchange with Steven Benson, grandson to President Benson and a nationally recognized cartoonist who famously left the Church. The result was Steve employing his journalistic skills and 'outing' me as a FAIR board member. I was banished and ridiculed as a 'troll' as if I was someone spying on their open message board with a hidden identity. But there were a few who witnessed my sincere and respectful efforts approached me independently and offered to share their experiences. . . .
"In the end, my foray amongst the disaffected ended in my banishment, not because of my affiliation with FAIR, but because the moderators felt I had violated a trust by not disclosing this information up front. In hindsight, I guess this should have been expected. Still, my kind comportment and respectful dialogue allowed me some choice opportunities to exchange thoughts and ideas with some few who could see that I was not there for anything other than sincere reasons. My lesson was reinforced, and I learned that the virtues of charity and patience can indeed create a dominion of influence where one would not have otherwise existed.
"What I learned was enlightening. I discovered that most who leave the church and associate on that web site do so because they perceive some violation of trust occurred. Perhaps there was a teaching they held that they found out to be false, and they could no longer trust a long time mentor to whom they had anchored their testimony. Perhaps the failings of a member created an offense, and the person could not reconcile their expectations with reality. When it is a leader that disappoints, it seems the sting is so much the greater. Perhaps they found an unflattering piece of history on the Church (ironically almost always directly or indirectly through some Church or Church-sponsored source), and they feel that the truth had not been told them. In all cases, the issue was that somehow they had an unmet expectation that resulted in feeling a trust they had granted someone or something had been violated."
While applauding what one Lynch critic described as Lynch's "sincere attempt to seek understanding" (NOT!), this same critic (RfM poster "Craig P@xton") pointed out to Lynch that sneak attacks launched against RfM by Mormonism's trained testifiers are neither condoned nor constructive:
" . . . I . . . understand how your failure to fully disclose your participation here at FAIR undermined the intent of your mission.
"The so-called disaffected feel the deepest sense of betrayal from LDS leadership. We placed the greatest trust in these leaders, only to discover that we had--to put it kindly--been fed a Disney version of reality. Ironically, the so-called anti-Mormon crowd actually became more credible than our own LDS leaders.
"Your failure to fully disclose your background played into those feelings of abuse and betrayal. You only reconfirmed that representatives from your camp cannot be fully trusted. I think you blew a real opportunity to build a bridge of understanding."
(John Lynch, "Forays Amongst the Disaffected," on "FAIR BLOG: Defending Mormonism," 13 July 2009; and "Cr@ig P@xton Says," on "FAIR BLOG: Defending Mormonism," July 2009, both at: http://www.fairblog.org/2009/07/13/fo...)
One of RfM's favorite posters has tried to cut Lynch some slack. Tal Bachman, in observing how nice Lynch was to him, noted what appears to be Lynch's modus operandi: fishing around for certain ex-Mormons to have a "friendly" chat with.
"I've gotten e-mails from people all over the world asking me about the [Mormon] church, many of whom, after some conversation, have come to acknowledge the truth (although some have decided to stay in the church for social or family reasons).
"I've gotten emails from 'official' and amateur Mormon apologists, who all (I found) rely on the same mind games I used to play on myself to keep believing.
"Incidentally, the only one of these guys who seemed like a decent guy was John Lynch from FAIR. I know others on here have a different opinion, but that was my experience. I understand he is still doing his best to defend Joseph's untrue claims, and he may always do this; even under the most optimal circumstances, you don't just come to see that your entire life was built on a fraud in a couple of weeks, or months, or even years. Sometimes it takes a long, long time, if it happens at all. It is especially hard once you've taken a public stand; not because you consciously don't want to 'lose face,' but (I think) because largely unconscious forces, seeking to protect us from pain, loss of status, etc., make it almost impossible to see what's really there."
(Tal Bachman, "The Beginning Of A Long Goodbye," 24 July 2006)
Tal is certainly right on one thing: Lynch lost face, big-time, when he tried to creep on to RfM under a false face. (Recall Lynch's cooing, deceptive assurances given here on RfM: "Am I allowed to ask questions? I have no desire to 'lurk' or otherwise hide my motives").
Door #3, Brother Lynch: Telestial Kingdomville, where the liars hang out.
And RfM poster "Craig P@xton" is right, as well. Earth to Lynch: "[Y]ou blew a real opportunity to build a bridge of understanding."
Heh. He sure as hell did.
It would help if Lynch would understand--and then do--what Mormons are taught not to understand and not to do: namely, to understand the truth and then to tell it.
What a concept.
It would also help if Lynch would understand that he can't tramp around in my emails, around RfM or around "The Daily Beast" as "John L." It has that certain smell.
What a slow learner. :)
| 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 and 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 and 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:
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.
| 10. "MormonThink"? The name alone sounds subversive and evil.
9. Since the Brigham City Temple was dedicated, Boyd K. Packer has a lot of time on his hands.
8. Anything to take people's attention away from Mitt Romney's imploding campaign.
7. Scott Gordon was worried that his reputation as an underhanded douchebag was slipping.
6. Having solved the masturbation problems in his stake, President Pratt figured he'd start working on the apostates.
5. The church had determined that the site was doubleplustrue.
4. John Lynch thought that drawing attention to a website with accurate information would make the church look even better than its already stellar image.
3. The voices in Thomas Monson's head told him to ex Brother Twede.
2. President Pratt mistakenly thought that getting rid of MormonThink would stop those pornographic pop-ups from showing up on his computer.
1. Twede sent a doubting member to the most faith-destroying web site of them all: FAIRLDS.org.
| Twede Publicly Says His Excommunication Court Has Been "Canceled" |
Friday, Sep 28, 2012, at 07:46 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: MORMONTHINK -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| David Twede has posted the following on his blog:
"Notice: My 30 Sept disciplinary court and excommunication have been canceled!!"
David subsequently added in a follow-up edit:
"However, they reserve the right to reschedule at a future date."
(David Twede, "A Paisley Perestroika," 27 September 2012, at: http://mormonthinkblog2012.blogspot.c...; see also, "Court Canceled," by David Twede, "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 27 September 2012)
Hopefully, David can provide further updates, as developments may warrant, on the status of that announcement; i.e., has the excommunication court actually been canceled or has it perhaps been put on hold? If delayed, what is the possiblity that it will be recalendared for a later date and, if later, when?
In the meantime, major media have gotten hold of the story's latest wrinkle and are reporting that Twede "is off the hook--but only temporarily," as the "Huffington Post" is currently noting. The story from Twede's Orlando stake president is that Twede's excommunication hearing has been put off because of a "scheduling conflict," but insists that it will proceed (with no date, time or place announced).
From the "Huffington Post":
"David Twede, the Mormon blogger who made international headlines after he said he was threatened with excommunication because he criticized Church practices and Mormon Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is off the hook -- but only temporarily.
"Twede, who lives in Orlando, Fla., and is the managing editor of the independent website MormonThink.com, was scheduled to meet with his Church disciplinary council Sunday. Local leaders had accused him of 'apostasy' in mid-September, and his fate as a Church member was supposed to be decided at the council meeting.
"But on Thursday, Twede, a scientist and fifth-generation Mormon, posted an update to his website, saying the meeting was called off. 'Dave's Stake President has canceled his disciplinary court for this Sunday. Presumably, it is expected to be rescheduled in the future, but no dates have been set,' the update said. 'The shows of support have been postponed as well.'
"A Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints spokesman in Salt Lake City, however, emailed 'The Huffington Post' Thursday with a statement from Twede's stake president indicating Twede's disciplinary proceedings would go on. 'Due to a scheduling conflict, David Twede's disciplinary council has been postponed. It will be rescheduled for a later date,' said Allan Pratt, president of the Orlando Florida South Stake.
"twede, 47, was first noted last week in ex-Mormon online forums and subsequently in a 'Daily Beast' article, where he said his criticisms of the Church's political history and comments about how the Church may influence Romney, led to a church investigation of him. But Twede later told the 'Salt Lake Tribune' that his writings about Romney were never brought up in his meeting with Orlando Church leaders. Afterwards, Twede wrote a post on his blog saying he felt 'in my gut' that his political writings were part of what got him into trouble. Separately, he also wrote that he understood 'some of what I wrote in my blog may have treated the Church unfairly.'
"Twede, who has acknowledged in articles that he attends church only sparingly, did not respond to a request for an interview Thursday.
"An LDS spokesman has repeatedly denied that a member would be excommunicated for actions like Twede's.
"'It is patently false for someone to suggest they face Church discipline for having questions or for expressing a political view. The Church is an advocate of individual choice. It is a core tenet of our faith,' LDS spokesman Michael Purdy said last week. 'Church discipline becomes necessary only in those rare occasions when an individual's actions cannot be ignored while they claim to be in good standing with the Church.'
"Scott Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, a Mormon apologist and media monitoring organization, has said in interviews that he believed Twede was attempting to draw Mormons away from the faith. Gordon had forwarded his concerns about Twede to Church leaders in Salt Lake City. In a 'New York Times' article, Twede acknowledged that he tried to shake the beliefs of at least one Mormon couple he had befriended.
"Some Mormons have also posited that the threats against Twede were due to a section on MormonThink.com that offered details of Mormon temple ceremonies, including photos. Mormon temples are considered sacred, and only Mormons are allowed to enter; it's gravely offensive to many Mormons to publicize details of temple rites.
"In the LDS faith, disciplinary actions are made locally. Mormons can be put on probation, disfellowship, excommunication or exoneration. Those who are excommunicated cannot partake in the sacrament, give testimonies during church services, enter temples, or hold leadership positions or church callings."
("David Twede, Mormon Blogger And Romney Critic Threatened With Excommunication, Will Have To Wait To Hear Fate (UPDATE)," by Jaweed Kaleem, 27 September 2012, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09...)
Added by David Twede:
From what I know, the bishop is not directly part of the process, per pp. 112-114 of the Handbook for Stake Presidents and Bishops. Bishop Dollar had never met me before you met me. I have no reason to believe he is required. If you are calling him as a witness, I have a right to know well before hand.
However, I am glad you are canceling the court, as we know it is ridiculous. I have asked members that as they fast for Mitt Romney this Sunday, they wear paisley for the poor. The corporate empire building of the business class leadership needs to reform and move toward helping the needy, the hungry and the homeless.
| It is raining new articles out here in the land of Mopologetic Studies. With the new, "steaming" issue of the MI hot off the press and still unreviewed at Amazon.com, the Board of Editors has seen fit to release a brand new "review," and this one is surely worthy of "classic-FARMS" designation: |
http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/attack ... xplaining/
At any rate, the article is pretty standard issue FARMS-type stuff:
However, [Reverend Jackson] ignores all the detailed responses to these books that have appeared, even though he is aware of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University (see p. 186). The results of Jackson's endeavor are rather disappointing.The article, oddly enough, is called, "Attacking Rather Than Explaining," though after finishing it, you'll wonder whether this phrase was intended as a description for the book under review, or the review itself. The "review"/smear piece was penned by a young woman named Cassandra Hedelius, whose bio, at the end of the article, is as follows:
Cassandra S. Hedelius studied political science and mathematics at the University of Oklahoma and law at the University of Colorado. She has practiced domestic and business law for profit, and researches and writes about Mormonism for pleasure. Her main focus is the interaction of the LDS Church with modern media and political activism, with additional interest in religious freedom and public policy.This is rather vague, no? That is: in spite of the MI team's relentless focus on credentials and qualifications, there is nothing here to indicate how and why Hedelius is "qualified" to publish on Mormon Studies topics. But the real question here for me is, "Why on earth is this young lady writing articles like this for the Mopologists?" How and why (in God's green earth) did she decide that this was a good idea?
But her bio seems relevant in light of one of her main critiques, which gets announced at the end of the first paragraph:
Part of his problem is that, as I will demonstrate, he lacks the qualifications and disposition to deal openly, honestly, and competently with what he calls "Mormonism."How is it, I wonder, that a person with a "PhD from respected seminaries" is somehow less qualified to weigh in on religious topics than someone who "studied political science and mathematics at the University of Oklahoma and law at the University of Colorado"? Am I missing something here? Or was this an oversight on the part of the editorial staff?
Who is Reverend Jackson? And, in his own opinion, what led and qualifies him to opine on Mormon things? His webpage indicates that he has been an associate pastor of two large churches: he worked at Kempsville Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach (1986-1996) and then, with a Doctor of Ministry degree,3 at the Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Arizona (1996-2008). He has a master's degree and PhD from respected seminaries. He is well traveled, having visited twenty-four countries. His special fondness for Turkey, with its connections to the New Testament, inspired him to lead and later organize biblical tours to Turkey.
It's this last question that hung most prominently on my mind as I digested the rest of this remarkably nasty article. Did Hedelius even write this, I wondered? Just look at the endless barage of FARMS cliches in this:
He's on the attack already, implying that Latter-day Saints can't handle even a fair and neutral explanation.
The well thus tidily poisoned, Jackson gets specific:
Many use the "some of my best friends are . . . " gambit, but most don't write authority-claiming books about their friends, or imbibe special insights from park names.
These kinds of silly mistakes, obvious to any of his Mormon "neighbors, acquaintances, and friends," and also easily correctable had he actually engaged with Mormons
In addition, genuine friends don't claim to be explaining another's faith, when in fact they are making war against those beliefs.
Reverend Jackson is careless in keeping straight what is indeed official and what is mere speculation.
His citations to scripture are haphazard and unhelpful,
He resorts frequently to critical works by the Ostlings, Blomberg, and others, without that [sic] those sources have been shown to be problematic in their use of historical facts (Ostling) and presentation of LDS doctrine (both).
the well-poisoning dismissal of "anti-intellectual" Mormon critics of non-Mormons who dare to write about the church.
one notices slip-ups here and there
Although he is familiar with work of writers like Stephen Robinson and Robert Millet, as well as the publications of the Maxwell Institute, Jackson betrays no sign that he has taken any of this literature seriously
The essay winds up reading like a Mopologetic version of the word game, Mad Libs, where someone simply went through and penciled in "Reverend Jackson" and the title of his book into a boilerplate attack essay. Hedelius even has the careworn bullet-point list of errors "that don't explain much and that obscure important issues." And do I have to say it? There is actually a bolded subsection that is (I kid you not) entitled, "The Hostile Agenda". LOL!
The only thing missing from this article would be an insinuation that Jackson is merely "in it for the money," and what do you know? Hedelius delivers:
All of this makes it thoroughly unsurprising that when events-the Mitt Romney campaign-presented an opportunity to sell more books and publicize his message, Reverend Jackson retitled and reissued his ersatz Mormonism Explained as The Mormon Faith of Mitt Romney.10 This time around, it suited both his agenda and his marketing strategy to be much more forthcoming as to his intentions.You have to admit: it's kind of sad, in its own way. That isn't to say that there were rays of light here and there, such as this tidbit, involving Jackson's attempts to locate "official" LDS doctrine:
He turned to email exchanges with volunteers at the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) but was frustrated by their disclaimer of official status to speak for the Church of Jesus Christ (p. 12).Oh, man! A devastating blow! And very, very curious that the editorial staff would allow this onto the pages of the MI. Closer to the "collapse" of "classic-FARMS," DCP and others were touting FAIR as the top Mopologetic organization around, and they were urging donors to send their dollars in that direction. And yet now, here is this blatant curb-check. I wonder if this represents a shot fired across the bow? It may very well be that the MI has decided to assert itself as the pre-eminent Mopologetic organization.
Very, very interesting.
| MormonThink was largely obscure until FAIR came along. First they mentioned it in one of their FAIR conferences and MT hits doubled. They then made it the only website 'worthy of a FAIR review' (they did John Dehlin's also but took it off when he complained) - hits went way up after that also.
Then they got into a war about the translation process and MT hits continued to go up as readers tuned in.
Then they upped the stakes and started outing the MT contributors that they could find and reporting them to the church. Well, hits exploded after MT hit the media. I saw it on dozens of media outlets, on ABC News, etc. Reporters wrote and called constantly. We now have a large list of media contacts ready at our disposal whenever FAIR wants to publicize MT again.
Hits topped about 3 Million last month and have stayed at a consistant double what they were just two months ago - thanks to FAIR. They are pacing at a steady 70,000 hits per day now.
We've had literally hundreds and hundreds of emails sent to us since the story prompted by Scott Gordon of FAIR hit the presses. Many of those emails were from people that just found out about MormonThink for the first time after reading about all the hub-bub on the Internet. These people were not happy that the church kept so much of its disturbing history from them and they thanked us for providing all this information in one, easy-to-find place.
We've got many offers to help improve the site by Internet developers. Also many active, but questioning members, want to join the team.
Donations are at an all-time high so now we can fund more projects to help the site.
And all of this is due to you FAIR. Thank you so much for not ignoring us. We couldn't afford any better publicity than you give us. Please keep it up.
The MormonThink Staff
| From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Rather than wait for possible excommunication from the LDS Church, Mormon blogger David Twede has resigned his membership in the Utah-based faith.
Twede – who was accused of apostasy for writing critical Web essays about LDS history, temple worship and contemporary issues – took the action during an "open mic session" last week at the Exmormon Foundation’s annual conference at the DoubleTree Suites in Salt Lake City.
Twede said in his latest email that "the disenfranchisement I felt increased," adding that such experiences, he said, "led me to the personal certainty that church leaders at all levels are not divinely inspired."
| Ensign Continues To Mislead On Translation Process - Dec '12 |
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012, at 09:34 AM
Original Author(s): Mormon Think
Topic: MORMONTHINK -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| The Church had yet another chance to portray the correct process that all historians, including apologists at FAIR say is how Joseph translated the plates - with a stone in a hat without even using the plates.
But once again, in the December 2012 Ensign, page 9, the Church shows Joseph and Oliver sitting at a table in full view of the plates - no hat, no stone.
And the Church and FAIR continue to claim that the Church is not misleading or withholding information.
Here's more info on the actual translation method: http://mormonthink.com/transbomweb.ht...
| The LDS Church just initiated a program they call ‘School of the Prophets’ designed for select members in Sweden.
In the letter to the select members, the Swedish stake president states:
The background and the model is the "School of the Prophets" as Joseph Smith and his associates held in Kirtland and Nauvoo. They assembled brothers and sisters, and taught them the basic principles of the gospel.
Right from the beginning, in just the second sentence of the letter, Ulf Strömbom (the stake prez) is LYING to the members. The original school of the prophets was MEN ONLY. It was also informally called the School for the Elders, or Elders' School, not the School for the Sisters, or Sisters' School. They did NOT assemble brothers and sisters. Like most things in the church, it was the exclusive domain of men and the only role any woman had was Emma Smith, who had to clean up after them. (We've heard that story about the origins of the WoW.)
"Some of the things that will be addressed during the TFL:
The above subjects sound to me like "correlation" phrases, a la' Daymon Smith's master's thesis or The Book of Mammon, one or the other or both.
Return and Report
Having a vision
To sit in council
Repentance and forgiveness
The principles, doctrines and programs
Interviews - How and Why
To have balance in life
Church discipline program
The strength in unity
The unwritten order of things
Confidentiality and privacy"
So they're having problems with members who believe the church has hidden information from them. And the way they address that is to hold a super secret meeting to discuss hiding information?
Even if I were TBM and invited to this thing, I'd be disappointed that of all the important topics on which we could receive further light and knowledge, more than 25% have to do with spying, circling the wagons, keeping secrets, and being disciplined. The "unwritten order of things" sounds particularly creepy. Like, some stuff is so secret we don't write it down or disseminate it, but you're expected to know it and adhere to it and get others to do the same to avoid discipline. You just can't make this shit up.
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