Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a Liar

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Everybody Wang Chung
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Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a Liar

Post by Everybody Wang Chung »

Daniel C. Peterson recently posted on his blog about an experience he had with the Church of Christ:

Daniel C. Peterson wrote:Quite a few years ago — probably fifteen or more — I published an article in which, among many other things, I briefly told the story of how a local Utah Valley leader of what was then known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now renamed the Community of Christ) had been disciplined by the heads of his church for defying orders and putting on a “Book of Mormon Day” in his chapel.

Some weeks or even months later, I received a letter on the stationery of the First Presidency of the RLDS Church (as it was also known) demanding that I retract what I had said about the man’s “silencing” — as I recall, that’s the term that had been used for his treatment by his leaders — claiming that it was false. Now, I don’t knowingly try to publish falsehoods, so I revisited the printed source on which I had based my few sentences about the subject, called and spoke with the journalist who had written it, and discussed the matter with a couple of others who were in a position to know the facts. (The local RLDS leader in question had moved away by this time, and I couldn’t reach him.) I concluded that what I had published was defensible, and I left it at that. I never responded to the letter I had received, and I never heard from its author (a secretary, or the secretary, of the RLDS First Presidency) again.


There is an interesting debate going on at DCP's Facebook regarding this article, and has even managed to catch the attention of Professor Danny Jorgensen. Jorgensen accuses DCP of fabricating the whole story and being arrogant and disrespectful of other religions. In part:

Professor Jorgensen wrote:The story of a local RLDS leader being sanctioned by the First Presidency who then took the trouble to send Peterson a letter demanding a retraction some fifteen years ago (1998) simply does not ring true... If a local leader was sanctioned as Peterson describes, it would have been extraordinarily unusual, and even more exceptional for the First Presidency to send someone like Peterson a letter demanding a retraction.

Whatever may have happened, it is very unlikely to have transpired the was Peterson describes it. He, morevover, makes himself the center of this implausible tale with a tone that is insolent, disrespectful, and condescending. Peterson, to wit, in a rather contemptuous tone dismisses RLDS leaders' concern that his contentions were mistaken.....

I am not sure what I expected from the posting; and restrospectively, I might have been more diplomatic in pointing to the narcissism, arrogance, and insensitibity of Peterson's comments.


Daniel C. Peterson, isn't it enough for you just to stir up contention in the LDS Church? Why the need to attack and be disrespectful to other religions?

Incredible. Folks, you just can't make this stuff up.
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Tom »

Professor Jorgensen wrote:Something like that might have happened in the 1980s during a period of intense conflict but most likely not in the late 90s, particularly after some of the mistakes (such as silencing) of the previous period were more fully understood and appreciated and the organization had transitioned to new leadership (with McMurray as President along mostly new top leadership across the board) and a substantially different organizational viewpoint (reflected in the Community of Christ name change in 2001). If a local leader was sanctioned as Peterson describes, it would have been extraordinarily unusual, and even more exceptional for the First Presidency to send someone like Peterson a letter demanding a retraction.

Professor Peterson wrote:[M]y blog entry doesn't say that the event in question happened fifteen years ago, in 1998. It says that ABOUT fifteen years ago -- and maybe more -- I published an ARTICLE in which I MENTIONED the event.

It is puzzling why Professor Peterson does not provide a link to his published article to allow Professor Jorgensen to see some details. (Why Professor Peterson is so vague about the article's publication date, dating it to "probably fifteen [years ago] or more," is similarly puzzling. It was published in volume 4 of Review of Books on the Book of Mormon (1992).) According to the article, the incident regarding the RLDS leader occurred in April 1991, which would put it closer in time to the events of the 1980s that Professor Jorgensen refers to.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

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Tom wrote:It is puzzling why Professor Peterson does not provide a link to his published article to allow Professor Jorgensen to see some details. (Why Professor Peterson is so vague about the article's publication date, dating it to "probably fifteen [years ago] or more," is similarly puzzling. It was published in volume 4 of Review of Books on the Book of Mormon (1992).) According to the article, the incident regarding the RLDS leader occurred in April 1991, which would put it closer in time to the events of the 1980s that Professor Jorgensen refers to.



My guess is that DCP will not provide a link, because the facts are unfavorable to him.

Let's face it, lying has become the standard MO with DCP and most Mopologists.

It's most unfortunate, but I think Professor Jorgensen was right when he said DCP's story "does not ring true".
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Mayan Elephant »

when did jorgensen write that response?

and who the hell is this jorgensen?
"Rocks don't speak for themselves" is an unfortunate phrase to use in defense of a book produced by a rock actually 'speaking' for itself... (I have a Question, 5.15.15)

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Everybody Wang Chung »

Mayan Elephant wrote:when did jorgensen write that response?

and who the hell is this jorgensen?



Professor Jorgensen's Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Jorgensen


Professor Jorgensen wrote his response two days ago.
"I'm on paid sabbatical from BYU in exchange for my promise to use this time to finish two books."

Daniel C. Peterson, 2014

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Kevin Graham »

So Robert Ritner calls Dan a liar for telling stories about private incidents he knows nothing about, and now this guy is pretty much saying the same.

One might consider this an established track record.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by 3sheets2thewind »

Did anyone else notice the following:

"I concluded that what I had published was defensible,.."


Interesting that he did not state that concluded that his version of the event were accurate or correct.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

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Guys, I wouldn't rush to call Dan a liar on this. The FARMSRoB article that mentions this incident is mostly dependent on a citation of an article in Utah County Journal dating to 15 September 1991. The excerpt Dan cited says that this occurred "last April," probably meaning April of 1991, maybe April of 1990. That was when Wallace B. Smith was president of the RLDS church, not W. Grant McMurray. Jorgensen's objection is based on the assumption that this transpired in 1998.

Maybe Dan is fudging some details here---I wouldn't know---but it's highly unlikely that he's making the story up altogether. Anyways, it was the Utah County Journal that originally carried the story of Armand Wijckman's "silencing." Dan's FRoB article just provided some commentary on it.
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Everybody Wang Chung »

MsJack wrote:Maybe Dan is fudging some details here---I wouldn't know---but it's highly unlikely that he's making the story up altogether. Anyways, it was the Utah County Journal that originally carried the story of Armand Wijckman's "silencing." Dan's FRoB article just provided some commentary on it.


MsJack,

Thanks for being a voice of reason. I guess, based upon DCP's track record it was a safe bet that he was not being truthful. I for one will withold judgment until he responds.

In the meantime, would you consider Dr. Jorgensen's description of DCP accurate?

Professor Jorgensen wrote:Whatever may have happened, it is very unlikely to have transpired the was Peterson describes it. He, morevover, makes himself the center of this implausible tale with a tone that is insolent, disrespectful, and condescending. Peterson, to wit, in a rather contemptuous tone dismisses RLDS leaders' concern that his contentions were mistaken.....

I am not sure what I expected from the posting; and restrospectively, I might have been more diplomatic in pointing to the narcissism, arrogance, and insensitivity of Peterson's comments.


Sounds like the DCP I've come to know and love.
"I'm on paid sabbatical from BYU in exchange for my promise to use this time to finish two books."

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Phaedrus Ut »

The strange thing is as I understand it the Community of Christ is very decentralized in that worship practices vary not only from country to country but also from congregation to congregation. There is local control as to the style of communion , and the meetings, and how much they emphasize the Book of Mormon.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Analytics »

In context, here is what the offending FARMS review actually said:

Russell implicitly admits to a program when he notes that "all four of us [RLDS contributors] do think that some rethinking of our traditions is needed." But he tries to down-play the radical character of that rethinking. After all, he argues, doesn't every reflective soul believe that some rethinking is necessary?...

Newthink
Is there a difference between "rethinking" and "redefining"? Between "rethinking" and "replacing"? If there is a difference, can the use of one term when the other would be more appropriate be misleading? Only four days after the publication of Russell's letter, an article appeared in the Utah County Journal that gives some idea of just what "rethinking" has meant in one specific region of the RLDS church.

One Sunday last April, Armand Wijckmans went to open his chapel for Sunday services and found the locks had been changed. As he was the Presiding Elder of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Orem congregation, this was something of a surprise to Wijckmans, although he knew the reason. A few days earlier, says Wijckmans, he had been reprimanded by his District President Sid Troyer for organizing a regional Book of Mormon day. Wijckmans relates that he was instructed in no uncertain terms to stop emphasizing the Book of Mormon in his worship meetings, and furthermore "that I was not to mention Joseph Smith's name ever again over the pulpit." Wijckmans refused to comply and was removed as pastor following his lock-out.
149 [Footnote references: Diane Butler Christensen, "Disillusioned RLDS Faithful Form New Flock," Utah County Journal, 15 September 1991.]

The official action taken against Pastor Wijckmans is known as "silencing." It removes an individual from the RLDS priesthood and denies him or her the privilege of addressing any RLDS congregation. And, in this case, it cost the offender his paying job. (Wijckman's sins, be it recalled, were emphasizing the Book of Mormon, hosting a Book of Mormon day that featured a FARMS speaker, and continuing to mention Joseph Smith over the pulpit.) The Journal article went on to relate that "RLDS faithful who have been dismayed by the direction church ideology was taking, have left their congregations in droves and formed restoration or independent branches throughout the U.S. They remain on the membership rolls of the RLDS church but have little contact with church leadership." According to the estimate of one prominent leader of the "restorationists," "one-third of the RLDS world membership loyally follows President Wallace B. Smith, a third has fled to join the restoration movement, and the remaining third is either inactive or uncertain which group to follow."

Such is the "rethinking" of the liberals who have gained control of the RLDS church....
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Analytics »

The reason this is all being raised again is because in his blog in the OP, Peterson goes on to say,

I’ve been interested to see myself, over the past few days, denounced by a couple of anonymous message board critics as being responsible, along with my evil cronies, for putting an end to the cooperation that had existed for several decades between my church and the RLDS Church or Community of Christ.


In this context, "the past few days" is the past few days before March 18.

Peterson then goes on and on and on about how he and his circle of buddies are continually engaged in a long list of absolutely wonderful things to build relationships with the CoC. He ends by saying,

In other words, not to put too fine a point on it: If relations between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ are no longer what they were — which I have no reason to believe is the case — it’s not at all clear that I and my circle bear even the slightest trace of responsibility for it.


Is it ironic that his post lead to Danny Jorgensen coming out against Peterson on the issue?
Last edited by Analytics on Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Bob Loblaw »

I lived a few blocks away from the RLDS/CofC church in Orem at that time, and I remember that they held a Book of Mormon symposium of sorts every years, and they had scholars and religious leaders speak, including BYU professors. That year there was a controversy because the local presiding elder wanted to continue the tradition, although the CofC as an organization was trying to de-emphasize the claims that the Book of Mormon was a literal history of a people who really existed.

The church had a large banner on the building, and another on the back fence facing University Parkway. Mr. Wijckmans was quite vocal in opposing the church leadership at the time, and it's not surprising that the UCJ article referenced gives his version of events. What I would like to know is whether the CofC ever had a policy of "silencing," as this FARMS article is the only time I've ever heard of such a thing. If the leadership objected (and I don't know that they did) it was probably because the FARMS article makes it sound like a common, official practice.
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Shiloh »

Kevin Graham wrote:So Robert Ritner calls Dan a liar for telling stories about private incidents he knows nothing about, and now this guy is pretty much saying the same.

One might consider this an established track record.


Sometimes it is a good idea to read the entire thread before posting.

Shiloh

Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Shiloh »

MsJack wrote:Guys, I wouldn't rush to call Dan a liar on this. The FARMSRoB article that mentions this incident is mostly dependent on a citation of an article in Utah County Journal dating to 15 September 1991. The excerpt Dan cited says that this occurred "last April," probably meaning April of 1991, maybe April of 1990. That was when Wallace B. Smith was president of the RLDS church, not W. Grant McMurray. Jorgensen's objection is based on the assumption that this transpired in 1998.

Maybe Dan is fudging some details here---I wouldn't know---but it's highly unlikely that he's making the story up altogether. Anyways, it was the Utah County Journal that originally carried the story of Armand Wijckman's "silencing." Dan's FRoB article just provided some commentary on it.


Great, as always, Jack.

Dan's use of the word "silencing" was/is problematic but he certainly didn't just make this ____ up.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Joe Geisner »

Is it Dan Peterson's mission to offend everyone?

I have not met Danny Jorgensen IRL, but have had extensive email exchanges and we serve on a committee together. I have found him to be bright, engaging and pleasant. I am really glad he responded to Peterson.

I am guessing this is a time which the CofC would like to forget. This is also the time Jeffrey Lundgren was running amuck in Kirtland. If you do not know who this wacko was, here is a decent explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Lundgren

I would think if the CofC asked this presiding Elder in Orem to stop, they probably did so in light of what was happening in Kirtland. Lundgren and this PE sound quite similar in the description from Bob. Did Peterson mention this situation in any of his write-ups? Peterson is a propagandist.

This incident reminds me of his attack on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I could not understand why Peterson would do such a thing then and I do not understand why he would write such words today.

Has Peterson produced an image/copy of this supposed letter from the CofC 1st Prez? It seems that should be easy enough.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Tom »

Bob Loblaw wrote:I lived a few blocks away from the RLDS/CofC church in Orem at that time, and I remember that they held a Book of Mormon symposium of sorts every years, and they had scholars and religious leaders speak, including BYU professors. That year there was a controversy because the local presiding elder wanted to continue the tradition, although the CofC as an organization was trying to de-emphasize the claims that the Book of Mormon was a literal history of a people who really existed.

The church had a large banner on the building, and another on the back fence facing University Parkway. Mr. Wijckmans was quite vocal in opposing the church leadership at the time, and it's not surprising that the UCJ article referenced gives his version of events. What I would like to know is whether the CofC ever had a policy of "silencing," as this FARMS article is the only time I've ever heard of such a thing. If the leadership objected (and I don't know that they did) it was probably because the FARMS article makes it sound like a common, official practice.

Very interesting, Bob Loblaw. Professor Midgley discussed the same UCJ article here. Referring to the letter sent to Professor Peterson by the RLDS First Presidency, he writes:
[A. Bruce] Lindgren (on behalf of the RLDS First Presidency) has one justifiable complaint. It is a mistake to assume on the basis of what was quoted by Peterson about what took place in the Orem congregation that the RLDS have some official policy of silencing those who may still believe in the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon and who therefore still preach from that text on the assumption that it is the word of God made available to us by the power of God. Neither believing in or using the Book of Mormon appears to be grounds for silencing. But holding a regional Book of Mormon day at which Latter-day Saint scholars are invited to defend the Book of Mormon may, if I understand the official statement of the RLDS First Presidency, constitute actionable insubordination.
A related note: I see that Wijckmans is listed here as a contact for a branch of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints located in California.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

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Tom wrote:Very interesting, Bob Loblaw. Professor Midgley discussed the same UCJ article here. Referring to the letter sent to Professor Peterson by the RLDS First Presidency, he writes:
...Neither believing in or using the Book of Mormon appears to be grounds for silencing. But holding a regional Book of Mormon day at which Latter-day Saint scholars are invited to defend the Book of Mormon may, if I understand the official statement of the RLDS First Presidency, constitute actionable insubordination.

Even if Midgley is accurately describing the events, it misses the point of what insubordination actually is. To illustrate, consider this experience from my mission in the early 90’s.

At that time, mission presidents had broad leeway in determining what music missionaries were allowed to listen to. President Woolsey of the Arizona Tempe Mission was lenient (or, depending upon your taste in music, sadistic), because he allowed missionaries to listen to Mormon pop such as Afterglow and Janice Kapp Perry. However, in the 3-ring binder full of mission-specific rules he issued to all missionaries, he had a list of approved albums. You could listen to Afterglow, but only tracks from the specific Afterglow albums he listed in the rule book.

President Woolsey’s mission was the paragon of the Mormon tattle tale culture—if your companion did anything against the rules, you were encouraged to call the mission president directly, and the missionaries who did so quickly percolated to the top of the mission hierarchy.

You can see where this is going. A zealously obedient missionary called up the mission president to report that his companion was being disobedient by committing the sin of listening to an unapproved Afterglow tape. The sinful Elder defended his actions that it was fricken Afterglow(!) and was spiritual, uplifting and totally in the spirit of the rules. The mission president insisted that the spirit of the law didn’t matter in this case—the rules were clear cut. After further argumentation, the mission president issued an ultimatum: Get rid of the unapproved Afterglow tape or pack your bags for a dishonorable release.

Saying “holding a regional Book of Mormon day constitutes actionable insubordination” is like saying “A missionary listening to Afterglow constitutes actionable insubordination.” It totally misses the point: what constitutes insubordination is a failure to follow the decisions of your leaders.

A hypothetical example fits the situation more closely. Say a local government official approaches a Mormon bishop about using the ward house as a polling place. The bishop says yes. The Church reminds him that this is against the rules, and the bishop willfully disregards the Church’s directives, and the Church is then used for elections. Undoubtedly, the bishop would be removed for this insubordination. Would it then be fair to say, “In the Mormon Church, supporting the democratic process is grounds for actionable insubordination?”
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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Darth J »

Analytics wrote: Mormon pop such as Afterglow and Janice Kapp Perry


Thanks, Analytics. My breakfast just came back up a little it.

Maybe we can start a new thread to reminisce about the above, along with Kenneth Cope.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

Post by Shiloh »

Analytics wrote:
At that time, mission presidents had broad leeway in determining what music missionaries were allowed to listen to. President Woolsey of the Arizona Tempe Mission was lenient (or, depending upon your taste in music, sadistic), because he allowed missionaries to listen to Mormon pop such as Afterglow and Janice Kapp Perry. However, in the 3-ring binder full of mission-specific rules he issued to all missionaries, he had a list of approved albums. You could listen to Afterglow, but only tracks from the specific Afterglow albums he listed in the rule book.

President Woolsey’s mission was the paragon of the Mormon tattle tale culture—if your companion did anything against the rules, you were encouraged to call the mission president directly, and the missionaries who did so quickly percolated to the top of the mission hierarchy.



We served in the same mission! I started in 95 with Hedrick. I must have missed you by a year or two.

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Re: Respected Religion Professor Calls Daniel C. Peterson a

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It could be that the Community of Christ really were involved with Weapons of Mass Destruction,
so even if they were not found, the initial report still bears validity due to this potential. There is
also the possibility that the exact story has been taken from this world, due to the iniquitous
behavior of that shady trailer court.
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