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 Post subject: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:50 am 
Master Mahan

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 5604
This Sunday, April 6th, will mark not only the Spring session of General Conference, but will also mark the anniversary of a Mopologetic milestone which has angered, divided, bored, irritated, and just generally stirred up a great many people. This topic has fascinated me for quite some time, and, I believe, there are still a number of unresolved aspects to it. Thus, I am here attempting to collate all the evidence to date in a neat package.

Two Years in Review: Mopologetics and D. Michael Quinn

The Players

    D. Michael Quinn, noted LDS historian, ex'ed in 1993 for unclear reasons

    Daniel Peterson, Chief LDS Apologist, messageboard poster, BYU professor, and editor of FARMS Review

    Rollo Tomasi, messageboard participant, liberal LDS

    Don Bradley, LDS scholar

    Opie Rockwell, LDS sockpuppet and wannabe "Danite"

    Paul Hanks, Quinn's former Stake President

    Dr. Shades, founder and operator of MormonDiscussions.com

    UNKNOWN #1, a gossipy friend of DCP's

    UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip



These people lie at the heart of this ongoing controversy. There are still a number of questions that remain concerning this whole affair. These are the basics of the case, as I understand it.

April 6, 2006: A thread is opened on the ironically named FAIRboard by rcrocket entitled, "D. Michael Quinn Can't find work. The thread is devoted to discussing two lines of argument: (1) That Quinn has been unfairly denied suitable jobs due to prejudice against him. I.e., TBM financial backers of chaired professorships have used their monetary muscle to prevent Quinn from being hired. (2) That Quinn does not deserve any of these positions, and that it is his own fault that he was reduced to sleeping on a futon in his mother's apartment.

A couple of important issues arose from this thread. As far as I know, this is the first time that Quinn's sexual orientation was proffered as a reason for his excommunication:

Daniel Peterson wrote:
Mike Quinn's sexual orientation was well known by the time of his excommunication -- everybody in my circles had known about it for a long time (although, vicious thugs that we are, we never mentioned it in print or any other comparable venue) -- and, I have reasonably solid reason to believe, was known to his stake president.


Of course, as we know, this was (rightly) questioned by Rollo Tomasi:

Rollo Tomasi wrote:
How in the world would you know this? Are you contending that Quinn's sexual orientation had something to do with the outcome of his disciplinary council?


Daniel Peterson wrote:
A good friend and former colleague of mine was a good friend of the then-stake president. They had discussed Quinn once or twice (considerably) prior to the disciplinary council.
(emphasis added)

This has long been the painful thorn in DCP's side. What were these two men talking about? Quinn's historical writings? Or his sexual orientation?

There is a bit more elaboration further on in the original FAIR thread:

DCP wrote:
Why, given the nature of homosexuality, do you assume that Quinn's homosexuality could have been known only to Quinn unless Quinn spoke of it? And why do you assume that Quinn's public announcement in a magazine was his first utterance on the subject to anybody?

Incidentally, if I recall correctly, Quinn's stake president at first didn't even know that (the totally inactive) Quinn lived within the boundaries of his stake.


The Good Professor's embarrassment over this thread led to the following, now-infamous "Boring Clarification":

Quote:
A Boring Clarification:

I got moderator permission to add a clarification to this thread (which will then be locked again). On the oddly-named "Recovery" board, a poster has characterized my comments here as describing an unethical "smear campaign" engaged in by, among others, Mike Quinn's former stake president, in which the supposedly private personal fact of his homosexuality was widely insinuated in order to discredit Quinn. This is not at all true, so far as I'm aware (and I find the notion unlikely on its face). But I realize that, in my comments here, I've left what I said open to the kind of mischaracterization that I've described (and that, of course, flourishes like a rank weed on the strangely-named "Recovery" board, where a clarification such as this would never be allowed).

Just to be clear: When I mentioned that Mike Quinn's sexual orientation had come up during a conversation between a friend and former colleague of mine and his friend, Quinn's former stake president, I did so only to indicate, contrary to something implied earlier on this thread, that Quinn's stake president was aware of Quinn's sexual orientation prior to the Church disciplinary council in which Quinn was excommunicated. I did not say, and did not intend to imply, that Quinn's former stake president disclosed Quinn's homosexuality to my friend and former colleague. The latter individual already knew about it, as did, to the best of my knowledge, virtually everybody else, believer or not, who was seriously involved in Mormon studies at the time. I don't even know that it was the former stake president who brought the subject up. And I stress, yet again, that the stake president was not disclosing confidential information from Mike Quinn, with whom he had not discussed the matter. Quinn's orientation was common knowledge in certain circles for many years, and not merely among Latter-day Saints or believers.

I want that to be clear, because I do not wish a possibly ambiguous statement on my part to provide ammunition (as if they really need ammunition!) for certain critics to use as a basis for questioning my ethics, nor the ethics of my friend, nor those of the former stake president, nor those of the Church as a whole. There was, simply, no "smear campaign." There was no organized program of whispers. There was nothing sinister. And those who knew about Mike Quinn's orientation never wrote anything about it. Not even vicious unprincipled thugs such as myself.


To my mind, there are a couple of critical questions worth exploring in this statement:
1. DCP states, "When I mentioned that Mike Quinn's sexual orientation had come up during a conversation between a friend and former colleague of mine and his friend, Quinn's former stake president, I did so only to indicate, contrary to something implied earlier on this thread, that Quinn's stake president was aware of Quinn's sexual orientation prior to the Church disciplinary council in which Quinn was excommunicated." But why did he say this? Did he want readers to think that Quinn had been excommunicated for "sexual sin," rather than for his historical writings?

2. Was some sort of systematic smear campaign underway, in which TBMs in the Mopologetic community attempted to undermine Quinn's credibility?

Let's examine Question #1 first.

In late April of 2007, I was contacted by Dr. Shades, who felt that I needed to cut DCP some slack. Shades revealed that he'd been in contact with The Good Professor via email, and that DCP had sought to clear his name of any "gossipmongering" charges. Shades was given permission to post the contents of one of those emails:

Daniel C. Peterson wrote:
[SNIP!] I’ve just noticed your attempt to sum up the alleged anti-Quinn gossipmongering campaign in which I and others were supposedly engaged:

Quote:
Dr. Shades wrote:
“Judging by what you and Mister Scratch have said, let's see if this is the most likely scenario:

A) Rumors of Quinn's bisexuality swirled among the apologetic intelligentsia for X amount of time. B) It remains unclear who started them or how they began. C) When it was discovered that Quinn had moved back to Utah, one of them jumped at the opportunity to tell Quinn's stake president about it for punitive reasons.

Does that sound about right?



No. It’s crucially wrong at points A and C, though B is accurate.

A. Mike Quinn’s sexual orientation was widely known among people involved in Mormon studies (not merely, or even primarily, among “apologists” or faithful Church members) for many years prior to his official “coming out” in 1996. My impression is that just about everybody seriously involved with Sunstone and the Mormon History Association, for example, seems to have been aware of it. I suspect this to be the case because, when he finally announced his homosexuality, I heard not a single exclamation of surprise. Not one. Precisely how the news got around or how his homosexuality came to be recognized I could not begin to say. As I’ve noted before, I first heard that Quinn was gay when, with Todd Compton, sometime (I believe) between 1982 and 1985, I was visiting in the home of a person in southern California (where I then lived) who would be widely recognized as more sympathetic to Quinn’s theological and historical views than, say, to Bruce McConkie’s. This man was astonished that Todd and I were unaware of something that he thought was universally known. As it turns out, Quinn’s homosexuality truly was just about universally known in (believing and unbelieving) Mormon studies circles, and Todd and I were simply among the last to hear about it. (In my case, the explanation may reside in the fact that I had been living in the Middle East essentially from the end of 1977 to the middle of 1982.) Neither Todd Compton nor the man who told us about Quinn would typically be counted among the “apologist community.”

C. Unless I’m much mistaken, Quinn’s stake president had never met Quinn when my friend spoke with him, but he was already well aware of Quinn’s sexual orientation. (And, frankly, of more than merely his orientation. A sad incident within his stake had brought the matter very painfully to the stake president’s attention.) And I don’t believe that it was my friend who raised the issue of Quinn’s homosexuality, nor even of Quinn in general. As I recall, it was the stake president, an old friend of his, who broached the subject. The visit was not about Quinn, but was simply an encounter between two long-time friends, and the topic of Mike Quinn emerged in passing.

[SNIP!] In the small and close-knit community of people involved in Mormon history or Mormon studies, a community containing both faithful believers and dissidents, there’s a lot of informal conversation. That’s how human communities work. It would have been astonishing had Quinn’s sexual orientation not surfaced in some of those chats. But that’s all there ever was. There was no rumor-mongering crusade, and I certainly wasn’t involved in one. I would guess that the subject of Quinn’s homosexuality came up in conversations in which I was involved on maybe half a dozen occasions between the time I first heard of it and his formal “coming out.” I don’t recall ever, not even once, initiating the discussion, and I don’t believe that any of those instances went much beyond mere mention of the fact.

It’s deeply ironic for me to be accused as the impresario of a conspiracy to besmirch Mike Quinn, because, although I knew about his sexual orientation for 11-14 years before he openly acknowledged it, I consciously chose never to write or publish anything at all referring to it. I sat on it, quietly.

I’ve said this repeatedly. I can’t think of any clearer way than what I’ve already said to state that I was involved in no smear campaign against Mike Quinn and that, in fact, so far as I know, there was no smear campaign against Mike Quinn. [SNIP!]

Best wishes,

Dan Peterson

P.S. On reflection, 1982-1985 seems a bit early to me for my having heard about Quinn’s homosexuality, though I can’t rule it out. Perhaps the conversation occurred during a subsequent visit to California (which I typically visit quite often, because I grew up there and still have family there). So that would mean that I may have known of Quinn’s sexual orientation for as little as, say, only around five years before he came out of the closet. But no less. For various reasons, I think it cannot have been any later than the beginning of the 1990s when I was told of Quinn’s being gay by a very liberal figure in the Mormon studies community, in company with another very liberal member of that community.
(emphases added)

Some important points to note are DCP's mention of this "sad incident" (which he has never ventured to explain, rendering it rather like his insinuations about Prof. Robert Ritner), and also his frank admission that he doesn't know where these "rumors" began. Finally, it seems clear that The Good Professor knew that this information could be used to discredit Quinn: this is evident in his assertion that he "consciously chose never to write or publish anything at all referring to it."

Of course, the question remains: How widely was Quinn's homosexuality "known"? Rcrocket has long claimed that he saw Quinn holding hands with a man in the early 1980s. Perhaps most crucial, though, is the testimony of Don Bradley:

DonBradley wrote:
As I've mentioned in a previous thread, I spoke with Dan Peterson a few times in the BYU Bookstore prior to Quinn's public "coming out," and don't remember Dr. Peterson having ever passed on any rumors about Quinn, even though, as I recall, we spoke somewhat about specific "critics" and controversial figures and about the relationship of apostasy to lifestyle choices.

While I wasn't part of any inner circle of dastardliness (I.e., donut hole) he may have headed up at the time, my experience with him would suggest that he wasn't repeating any of the rumors already in the air about Quinn. This is not to say that I didn't hear any secondhand information from him that might constitute "gossip," but I certainly did not get the least sense that he was orchestrating private campaigns against any scholar, critic, or other individual. And, yes, he's a nice guy.


DonBradley wrote:
BTW, based on Quinn's own accounts, he wasn't excommunicated for any gossip, nor for anything having to do with his personal homosexuality, of which his stake president may not even have known. He was excommunicated for his piece on women and the priesthood, for a statement to the press about the LDS hierarchy wanting "cookie cutter" members, and for 'insubordination' to church government in the form of not appearing at his disciplinary councils.

And if Quinn had been excommunicated for homosexuality, this would hardly have been excommunication on the grounds of false rumor. He is, in fact, by his own public and private acknowledgment, gay. In a two-hour phone conversation in about 1997, Mike told me how he'd discovered and come to terms with his homosexuality. While I wouldn't post the details of that conversation online, and, frankly, don't know what his lifestyle is, I think Mike's homosexuality should now be recognized as fact, rather than mere rumor.


DonBradley wrote:
BTW, I have not followed all the discussion on this topic. What is the evidence that Mike "confessed" his homosexual orientation to a church leader, and that this leader blabbed to someone who blabbed to someone who blabbed to DCP, who blabbed to Mike's Salt Lake stake president? And how did DCP happen to know who Mike's stake president was, given that Mike had never been active in that stake, had lived there only a short while, and didn't even know who his own stake president was?

And, a question for Dan, why was I left out of the loop on this one? Here you went and told Mike's stake president, whom you likely didn't even know, and couldn't have even known the identity of, and you didn't tell me while we gabbed in the bookstore? Did my donut offerings displease you??


This trio of posts were written in July of 2007. Based on these, we should note that Quinn himself did not believe he was ex'ed for homosexuality, and nor does Don Bradley believe that was the reason. Don also seemed struck by the fact that Paul Hanks (Quinn's SP during the time of the ex'ing) even knew who Quinn was. So: we are left with another peculiar question---Who "leaked" the fact of Quinn's homosexuality to Paul Hanks? Don apparently thinks that Hanks's learning of this constitutes "blabbing". Further, given everything Don has said, why would DCP continue to tell people on FAIR and MAD that "Quinn's homosexuality was known to his then Stake President"? Could this have something to do with Don's comment that he'd had a conversation with DCP about "controversial figures and about the relationship of apostasy to lifestyle choices"?

There is more to this, though. In an earlier thread, Don Bradley stated the following:

DonBradley wrote:
Quinn's homosexuality was indeed long "an open secret." I first heard tell of it in early 1991, and understand that it was the reason Mike and his wife divorced around 1987, and that this reason was explained to Blake and Craig Ostler, and undoubtedly others, around the time of the divorce. (FWIW, Mike didn't leave his wife to pursue a homosexual lifestyle. As I understand it, she suggested that, as a gay man, he should leave their heterosexual relationship and pursue his deeper inclinations.)

Also, for whatever it's worth, although I knew of Michael Quinn's homosexuality while at BYU, and had conversations with Professor Peterson at that time about various controversial scholars and their motivations, I don't recall him bringing up Mike Quinn's homosexuality, and don't believe he did bring it up. (I don't believe we discussed it at all.) Furthermore, I've never had the impression that Prof. Peterson has anything against Mike Quinn. He disagreed openly, and politely, with Quinn over the definition of "magic"; but hasn't, in my admittedly faulty memory, made Quinn a particular 'target' of his criticism or wit. (Perhaps someone is confusing him with Bill Hamblin!)

Don


So, here we appear to have confirmation about this being an "open secret," as Bradley calls it. It seems likely that DCP was telling the truth so far as his rather mysterious Southern California conversation was concerned. In a January, 2008 post, Don Bradley wrote this:

DonBradley wrote:
On Mike Quinn's homosexuality:

1) Contrary to Bob Crocket's claims, Mike Quinn was not openly gay nor living a gay lifestyle anywhere near 1980, nor at all while he worked for BYU. Mike didn't even tell his own parents of his homosexual orientation until shortly before his Same-Sex Dynamics book in the 1990s. And he lived a completely heterosexual, married lifestyle until his divorce in the late 80s.

2) Contrary (again) to Crocket's assertions, there weren't rumors of Mike being gay during his time at BYU. Colleagues of Mike's with whom I've spoken didn't hear about his homosexual orientation until well into the 90s.

3) My information on this subject comes from reliable sources. I've known Mike himself since 1991, and he once recounted to me at some length (and before his homosexuality was publicly known) his "story" with regard to his sexual orientation, from his early life up through the aftermath of his divorce. I also know Mike's former wife Jan and have been at her house, have met two of his children, know longtime friends of his such as Maxine Hanks, and spoke about early rumors of his homosexuality with two close colleagues of his.

4) I don't know anything about what relationships Mike has, or hasn't, had since his divorce. And unless one has much better evidence that Crocket's "recollections" of imaginary events of 1980, there is little or nothing that can be said about this.
(emphasis added)

Now, this seems to contradict what Don had said elsewhere. The question remains: Was Quinn's homosexuality an "open secret" during the 1980s, when DCP claims to have learned of it? As per Don, the only other folks who seemed to have known anything about this were Quinn's wife, Jan, and the Ostlers. So: were the Ostlers the source of the "leak"? Further, why did DCP continue to try and link Quinn's homosexuality with his excommunication? This, of course, brings us back to the first question I posed at the beginning of this post: Did DCP want readers to think that Quinn had been excommunicated for "sexual sin," rather than for his historical writings?

We know that such stuff occurs frequently among TBMs---accuse an ex'ed member of being a sinner, which helps to let the Church off the hook. The Church *never* does anything wrong; of course it is the apostate's fault! The third party weighing in on all of this, of course, is the poster called "Opie Rockwell" (possibly a pseudonym for either Scott Lloyd or Greg Smith):

Opie Rockwell wrote:
Mr. Scratch, you are, without a doubt, one of the most despicable characters I have ever come across in all my years. Your deep-rooted bitterness towards all things LDS, and specifically towards certain members of the apologetic community, is a reflection not on the church or the objects of your constant derision, but rather upon yourself as a very, very small-minded and morally-challenged human being.

You ask about Quinn’s stake president and what he knew and why he knew it. Well, I know a little bit about this whole affair, since my wife and I lived, at the time, in the same neighborhood with them all. The stake president was Paul Hanks, a humble and noble man, and a man full of sincere love and concern for the members of his stake. During this period of time, Mike Quinn was actively engaged in homosexual activity with another member of the stake. That is how President Hanks learned about Quinn’s inclinations – although during this period, Mike wasn’t trying very hard to keep any of this a secret. It was quite apparent to anyone who was paying attention. And President Hanks wasn’t the source of any of this information being disseminated – what was happening with Quinn and the other party was in wide circulation long before it came to the attention of the bishop or stake president.


Does this mean that the "sad incident" DCP kept alluding to was a homosexual "affair" between Quinn and another member of the stake? Given Don Bradley's remarks, I'm inclined to doubt it, though this whole business remains shrouded in mystery.

All the said, the question still remains: did DCP want TBMs to think that Quinn had been ex'ed for homosexuality? You be the judge:

From January 2007:
DCP wrote:
I can't speak for certain, as I wasn't present during the disciplinary council that considered his case. (Nor was he, for that matter.) But I have it from a reliable source that his stake president was aware of his actively homosexual lifestyle.


From March 2008:

DCP wrote:
Don't presume that Mike Quinn's excommunication occurred solely or even primarily because of his historical writing. It may have. It may not have. The Church will never make any reason public; disciplinary council proceedings are confidential.


From April 2006:
DCP wrote:
Mike Quinn's sexual orientation was well known by the time of his excommunication -- everybody in my circles had known about it for a long time (although, vicious thugs that we are, we never mentioned it in print or any other comparable venue) -- and, I have reasonably solid reason to believe, was known to his stake president.


This is a claim, as you can see, which The Good Professor has been asserting now for over two years. I don't think there can be any doubt that DCP wants people to equate Quinn's excommunication with sexual sin. As to whether this constitutes "smearing" or "gossipmongering," that is another matter.

This brings us to Key Question #2: Was some sort of systematic smear campaign underway, in which TBMs in the Mopologetic community attempted to undermine Quinn's credibility?

This requires us to broaden our scope somewhat. Following Dr. Shades's posting of DCP's email, I realized that many folks who'd followed my investigation of this matter had misinterpreted something: namely, they were under the impression that I felt DCP was the "impressario" of a gossip campaign against Quinn. For the record: I do not, nor have I ever believed that to be the case.

But, back to the question at hand: Were TBMs out to sully Quinn's reputation? Certainly, we've all heard DCP say, many times, that Quinn's history is "untrustworthy." We've also heard various TBMs and apologists state that there are "problems" with Quinn's very thoroughly documented sources. Perhaps the best measurement of this is the treatment of Quinn's work in the pages of FARMS Review. Here are some excerpts from the article called "Quinnspeak":

Quote:
much of his evidence seems to be a kind of overkill, a sociological pigeonholing of the obvious into rather artificial categories that acquire an aura of scholarly respectability through the magic of "Quinnspeak."/quote]

Quote:
To be sure, this is pioneering work in virgin territory, and the author deserves some leeway. It is, after all, amazing that a book on this subject could be written by someone professing a firm testimony of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Quinn is very brave indeed.


The following are from "A Response to D. Michael Quinn's Homosexual Distortion of Latter-day Saint History":

Quote:
We will not address in any detail Quinn's attempt to morally justify homosexual acts by perpetuating the currently fashionable political mythology of a special homosexual identity. However, readers of his book should be aware of Quinn's trendy new political agenda.


Quote:
we find Quinn's arguments to be equivocal, conceptually confused, often baseless, and ultimately absurd.


Quote:
In his role as apologist for homosexual conduct, Quinn has become a mythmaker. In scrutinizing this mythology, we will employ his own standards of what constitutes fraudulent and dishonest history.


Quote:
We will demonstrate in detail that Quinn, from his own perspective, has been dishonest in advancing his homosexual agenda; what he has produced, instead of being competent, honest history, is an instance of fraud.


These are from Bill Hamblin's "That Old Black Magic":

Quote:
Quinn's national reputation is not well merited. Re viewers of his books have increasingly recognized the fundamentally tendentious nature of his work


Quote:
At times Quinn's desperate grasping for arguments becomes absurd.


Quote:
Quinn cannot be trusted to accurately understand and cite his sources.


Quote:
I am not saying that Quinn is completely wrong on everything. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. However, errors and misrepresentations of this magnitude simply transcend the usual limits of the mortal condition. Something is seriously amiss. Without careful checking, it is impossible to be sure than Quinn has accurately read and represented any of his sources.


Quote:
In a very real sense Quinn's book is an academic version of the Hofmann forgeries. It is an attempt to foist a fabrication upon the scholarly community as authentic history. It is a travesty whose labyrinth of misrepresentation will require years of work for scholars to unravel. I can only advise, in the strongest terms, that scholars use Quinn's work with the greatest caution, if at all.


These are from John Gee's "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition":

Quote:
When Quinn's first edition came out in 1987, the reviewers pointed out fundamental flaws—including a tortured thesis, twisted and forged evidence, and problematic and idiosyncratic use of loaded language—and it became clear that these flaws irreparably marred the entire framework of the book.


Quote:
But to say that Quinn remains unrepentant and has refused to correct his errors would be an understatement. If anything, the problems with the first edition have only compounded in the second. Only a few of the numerous mistakes in the book can be detailed here. The reader can only wonder what has caused a once-talented author to write utter nonsense.


Quote:
Quinn has erected an unsightly edifice on Mormon history.


Quote:
Experience in checking his sources has revealed time and again that Quinn cannot be trusted to quote his sources correctly.


Quote:
Quinn is where he is because of his choices. I only hope the reader chooses more wisely.


When taken together, these quotes, almost all of which are ad hominem attacks on Quinn's reputation and character, have to been seen as some kind of "systematic" approach to his work. That these comments, by five separate Mopologists (six if you count DCP, who was the editor for all of these articles) would be virtually uniform in their condemnation, nastiness, and overall tenor, really says something. Further, given the well-established facts surrounding Quinn's excommunication and the gossip thereof, it seems pretty clear that many in the Mopologetic community felt pleasure in seeing Quinn suffer.

All things considered, these appear to be the facts:
---DCP was the origin of the Internet rumor that Quinn was ex'ed for homosexuality. Due to his repeated mentioning of this, it seems clear that he sought to convince TBMs that Quinn was ex'ed for sexual sin, rather than historical writings.
---Quinn's sexual orientation was an "open secret" among a certain number of people in the Mormon studies community, including Don Bradley and the Ostlers. There's no reason to believe that DCP was responsible for starting the spread of gossip in this respect (although he does appear to be the origin of the claim that homosexuality had to do with the ex'ing).
---There has been a systematic means of dealing with Quinn's work in FARMS Review. This seems to entail, primarily, attacking the reliability and trustworthiness of Quinn's history.

Does this add up to a "smear campaign"? In the end, it seems, this is something each reader must decide for him or herself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:15 pm 
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Don's not LDS. He's an exmo.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:16 pm 
Master Mahan

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CaliforniaKid wrote:
Don's not LDS. He's an exmo.


Yes, of course. I meant "scholar of things LDS," not that he was TBM.


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:48 pm 
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Mister Scratch wrote:
This Sunday, April 6th, will mark not only the Spring session of General Conference, but will also mark the anniversary of a Mopologetic milestone which has angered, divided, bored, irritated, and just generally stirred up a great many people. This topic has fascinated me for quite some time, and, I believe, there are still a number of unresolved aspects to it. Thus, I am here attempting to collate all the evidence to date in a neat package.

Two Years in Review: Mopologetics and D. Michael Quinn

The Players

    D. Michael Quinn, noted LDS historian, ex'ed in 1993 for unclear reasons

    Daniel Peterson, Chief LDS Apologist, messageboard poster, BYU professor, and editor of FARMS Review

    Rollo Tomasi, messageboard participant, liberal LDS

    Don Bradley, LDS scholar

    Opie Rockwell, LDS sockpuppet and wannabe "Danite"

    Paul Hanks, Quinn's former Stake President

    Dr. Shades, founder and operator of MormonDiscussions.com

    UNKNOWN #1, a gossipy friend of DCP's

    UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip


Excellent summary! My, how time flies. It was that discussion that led to my being banned at FAIR/MADB. My personal opinion is that the Church was looking for a reason to get rid of Quinn, and his sexual orientation provided an easy 'bogeyman' -- in other words, Quinn's homosexuality was pretext, nothing more, for the Brethren to rid themselves of a longtime thorn in their collective rump, while being able to claim they were not stifling free speech and dissent.

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-- Mike Quinn, writing of the FARMSboys, in "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," p. x (Rev. ed. 1998)


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Rollo Tomasi wrote:
My personal opinion is that the Church was looking for a reason to get rid of Quinn, and his sexual orientation provided an easy 'bogeyman' -- in other words, Quinn's homosexuality was pretext, nothing more, for the Brethren to rid themselves of a longtime thorn in their collective rump, while being able to claim they were not stifling free speech and dissent.

I think that your personal opinion is wrong. At times I hear critics speak of great conspiracy theories. "The 'brethern' in Salt Lake...." etc, etc....as if Salt Lake is a Mafia hangout. Most likely Mike Quinn got himself in trouble. No one shut Quinn up. He continued to be published and find a voice. No silencing.

We also seem to forget that excommunication happens at the local level. Was he sent down to Salt Lake headquarters or was this handled at his stake level? Stake level I presume.

But it is great to see all kinds of conspiracies being circulated by countermos.

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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:38 pm 
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why me wrote:
Most likely Mike Quinn got himself in trouble. .


The kind of mentality capable of typing that sentence is one completely unacquainted with reality (things happen in social and cultural contexts, NOT as a result of purely individual effort or error. This is true for many reasons but overwhelmingly because intelligibilty--meaning--is a social construction. Thus what constitutes "trouble," and when one has passed over the line into it, is not a purely individual action or effort), and apparently overwhelmingly unacquainted with the institutional aspects of mormonism and their history.

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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:52 pm 
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Blixa wrote:
why me wrote:
Most likely Mike Quinn got himself in trouble. .


The kind of mentality capable of typing that sentence is one completely unacquainted with reality (things happen in social and cultural contexts, NOT as a result of purely individual effort or error. This is true for many reasons but overwhelmingly because intelligibilty--meaning--is a social construction. Thus what constitutes "trouble," and when one has passed over the line into it, is not a purely individual action or effort), and apparently overwhelmingly unacquainted with the institutional aspects of mormonism and their history.


What you wrote sounds good. But the sentence that you pasted seems like a good sentence to me. The conspiracy angle is an angle and anytime someone posts 'the brethern' in salt lake...seems to be awash in conspiracy. By excommunicating Quinn the local stake made Quinn a countermo hero. As this thread proves, he is still a topic of conversation with the loyal countermos. And so, to assume that Quinn is less of a danger as a exmormon would be a mistaken assumption. And so, most likely, he got himself in trouble.

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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:15 pm 
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why me wrote:
Blixa wrote:
why me wrote:
Most likely Mike Quinn got himself in trouble. .


The kind of mentality capable of typing that sentence is one completely unacquainted with reality (things happen in social and cultural contexts, NOT as a result of purely individual effort or error. This is true for many reasons but overwhelmingly because intelligibilty--meaning--is a social construction. Thus what constitutes "trouble," and when one has passed over the line into it, is not a purely individual action or effort), and apparently overwhelmingly unacquainted with the institutional aspects of mormonism and their history.


What you wrote sounds good. But the sentence that you pasted seems like a good sentence to me. The conspiracy angle is an angle and anytime someone posts 'the brethern' in salt lake...seems to be awash in conspiracy. By excommunicating Quinn the local stake made Quinn a countermo hero. As this thread proves, he is still a topic of conversation with the loyal countermos. And so, to assume that Quinn is less of a danger as a exmormon would be a mistaken assumption. And so, most likely, he got himself in trouble.


None of that penetrated? Nothing I said takes up folk constructions like "the brethern" or "countermos." But thanks, I can always count on you to prove my points for me.

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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:18 pm 
Master Mahan

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why me wrote:
Rollo Tomasi wrote:
My personal opinion is that the Church was looking for a reason to get rid of Quinn, and his sexual orientation provided an easy 'bogeyman' -- in other words, Quinn's homosexuality was pretext, nothing more, for the Brethren to rid themselves of a longtime thorn in their collective rump, while being able to claim they were not stifling free speech and dissent.

I think that your personal opinion is wrong. At times I hear critics speak of great conspiracy theories.


Quinn himself was told that Boyd K. Packer was essentially "calling the shots" as far as this Church court was concerned. Further, we know (thanks to DCP) that Stake President Paul Hanks was running his mouth and gossiping about Quinn behind Quinn's back.

Now, was there a "conspiracy"? Perhaps. Based on the excerpts from FARMS Review which I posted above, there definitely did seem to be a "consensus" in terms of how Quinn's work would be treated in the pages of that journal---namely, they were out to besmirch his reputation and call his integrity into question. I don't think there's really any question that a "smear campaign" was underway in the pages of FARMS Review. The near uniformity of the authors' opinions and attack strategies only underscores my impression.

Quote:
"The 'brethern' in Salt Lake...." etc, etc....as if Salt Lake is a Mafia hangout. Most likely Mike Quinn got himself in trouble.

For what? Why do you think he was punished?

Quote:
No one shut Quinn up. He continued to be published and find a voice. No silencing.


I don't think anyone ever said he was "silenced." I have maintained that he was smeared, and I've got the quotes to back it up.

Quote:
We also seem to forget that excommunication happens at the local level. Was he sent down to Salt Lake headquarters or was this handled at his stake level? Stake level I presume.


Except this is wrong. According to DCP, Stake President Paul Hanks didn't even know that Quinn was living in his stake. So, how did he find out? He had to have learned at some point, since he went on to hold the disciplinary court. Several "insiders" (including Quinn himself) believe that BKP was giving the marching orders.

Quote:
But it is great to see all kinds of conspiracies being circulated by countermos.


The biggest (and ugliest, imo) "conspiracy" circulated is the one which started with rcrocket and DCP---namely, that Quinn's sexual orientation had something to do with his Church court.


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:18 pm 
Scratch wrote:

UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip



Scratch,

Any other information on this UNKNOWN #2? This story hits awful close to home, with DCP and Crockett involved... I'd hate to think I know this person.


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:20 pm 
Master Mahan

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 5604
GoodK wrote:
Scratch wrote:

UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip



Scratch,

Any other information on this UNKNOWN #2? This story hits awful close to home, with DCP and Crockett involved... I'd hate to think I know this person.


DCP stated that he and Todd Compton met at the Los Angeles home of a "liberal Mormon" who was sympathetic to Quinn. This was clearly somebody who was involved with Mormon Studies at the time (mid-to-late 1980s or early 1990s). I have long tried to obtain more information on all of this, but, as you can imagine, Prof. P. has been quite tight-lipped about all of it. Do you know who this person might have been?


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:34 pm 
Mister Scratch wrote:
GoodK wrote:
Scratch wrote:

UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip



Scratch,

Any other information on this UNKNOWN #2? This story hits awful close to home, with DCP and Crockett involved... I'd hate to think I know this person.


DCP stated that he and Todd Compton met at the Los Angeles home of a "liberal Mormon" who was sympathetic to Quinn. This was clearly somebody who was involved with Mormon Studies at the time (mid-to-late 1980s or early 1990s). I have long tried to obtain more information on all of this, but, as you can imagine, Prof. P. has been quite tight-lipped about all of it. Do you know who this person might have been?


Well I know my Dad was in Los Angeles, involved in apologetics, and friends with DCP at the time, do you mind if I send this to him and ask if it was him?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:00 pm 
God
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Why doesn't someone ask Quinn?

It seems he could clear up a lot of the details.

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"I admit it; I'm a petty, petty man." -Some Schmo


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:04 pm 
God
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The Nehor wrote:
Why doesn't someone ask Quinn?

It seems he could clear up a lot of the details.


Where's the fun in that?


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:31 pm 
Master Mahan

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 5604
GoodK wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
GoodK wrote:
Scratch wrote:

UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip



Scratch,

Any other information on this UNKNOWN #2? This story hits awful close to home, with DCP and Crockett involved... I'd hate to think I know this person.


DCP stated that he and Todd Compton met at the Los Angeles home of a "liberal Mormon" who was sympathetic to Quinn. This was clearly somebody who was involved with Mormon Studies at the time (mid-to-late 1980s or early 1990s). I have long tried to obtain more information on all of this, but, as you can imagine, Prof. P. has been quite tight-lipped about all of it. Do you know who this person might have been?


Well I know my Dad was in Los Angeles, involved in apologetics, and friends with DCP at the time, do you mind if I send this to him and ask if it was him?


Sure! Go ahead. While you're at it, be sure to ask him if Quinn's sexual orientation was "widely known," and where he first heard about it.

The Nehor wrote:
Why doesn't someone ask Quinn?

It seems he could clear up a lot of the details.


Quinn's account of the events surrounding his disciplinary hearing are a matter of public record. In other words: he's already been asked. It is the Mopologists who are interested in telling a "different" story.


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:41 pm 
God
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Mister Scratch wrote:
The Nehor wrote:
Why doesn't someone ask Quinn?

It seems he could clear up a lot of the details.


Quinn's account of the events surrounding his disciplinary hearing are a matter of public record. In other words: he's already been asked. It is the Mopologists who are interested in telling a "different" story.


I was referring to asking him if his sexual orientation was known to others at the time.

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"Surely he knows that DCP, The Nehor, Lamanite, and other key apologists..." -Scratch clarifying my status in apologetics
"I admit it; I'm a petty, petty man." -Some Schmo


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:43 pm 
God

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The Nehor wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
The Nehor wrote:
Why doesn't someone ask Quinn?

It seems he could clear up a lot of the details.


Quinn's account of the events surrounding his disciplinary hearing are a matter of public record. In other words: he's already been asked. It is the Mopologists who are interested in telling a "different" story.


I was referring to asking him if his sexual orientation was known to others at the time.


How can anyone know what someone else knows? I am continually amazed at the things that I think others know, only to find out they don't know at all... like how my best friend didn't know Joseph had more wives than Emma. Amazing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:27 pm 
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Maybe someone could swing by Club Blue and see if Quinns up for an interview. If not there, maybe try The Trapp.

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Last edited by Gazelam on Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:30 pm 
God
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harmony wrote:
How can anyone know what someone else knows? I am continually amazed at the things that I think others know, only to find out they don't know at all... like how my best friend didn't know Joseph had more wives than Emma. Amazing.


He may or may not know. Just thought it might be worth asking.

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"Surely he knows that DCP, The Nehor, Lamanite, and other key apologists..." -Scratch clarifying my status in apologetics
"I admit it; I'm a petty, petty man." -Some Schmo


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:52 pm 
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Y-me wrote:
As this thread proves, he is still a topic of conversation with the loyal countermos. And so, to assume that Quinn is less of a danger as a exmormon would be a mistaken assumption. And so, most likely, he got himself in trouble.


Yeah, but Quinn's influence isn't the only issue at hand, there is the precedent that Quinn sets that is also considered. By your logic, we'd never kill Bin Laden or any other enemy because they'd become martyrs. It's still better to rid yourself of the problem as well as set the proper precedent and send a message to future enemies. And what a fascinating message of treachery and diabolical retribution. The church is keeping its tabs. It maneuvers as needed to achieve the results it needs to. If it allowed Quinn to operate with interest in any advantages he might bring to the church (a Nibley for his time?) and if things didn't go as planned, they can play cards of another suite. Oh, no doubt there was a conspiricy. But keep in mind this is a conspiricy over one man, not a convoluted plot to take over the world. There is nothing esoteric here. I agree with "why me" that Quinn "got himself into trouble". But with the reckless rumour mills of the church spinning their blades, Quinn's sexual disposition and activities were long known to the church, tabulated and filed away.

Now at this point, an interjection is called for. When I was at BYU, the P. Dunn scandel broke. Little was said. But a Book of Mormon teacher of mine simply expressed sorrow and mentioned that he an many others knew what was going on for about 10 years. 10 YEARS?! And no one said a word? Do you Mormons really think the church leaders gave a rat's ass that Dunn told lies of Book of Mormon proportions? Do you think for that matter it cares about Smith's lies? Do you think it cares that Quinn is gay? For all we know, many of the modern day brethren are porn addicts or indulge in prostitutes, some might even be gay themselves and serviced by RM males. And even those free of the taboo sins aren't in the positions they are naïvely. They are the equivalent to top corporate brass, they are not idealists, they have adapted to playing hardball in a dog-eat-dog world.

By the law, Quinn should have been ex'd long before he was (Mormons must believe the Bishops' discernment picked out Quinn's transgressions)? But the church allowed him to operate while exploring the possibilities of Quinn's gifted scholarship. And the interesting thing is that Quinn, subjectively, was in the Nibley tradition. Nibley had no problems criticising the church, but at the same time fancied himself as a Mormon's Mormon. Quinn likewise was 100% TBM in his own mind. His progressive stance, however, was just a little too far ahead of his time, and the plug was pulled. Files were reluctantly opened, stake presidents contacted, and an old, well known infraction dusted off with maximum charges to be pressed. By the law, no flesh is justified, you all have a file, but whether or not that file is picked up purely is a matter of utility. On the local level it's a crap shoot without pressures from above. But when it comes to the big dogs, rest assured, a tithe paying member moving the work forward is just that, the secrets can remain secret.

It's one thing to know your oppenent, to know when you've crossed the line and how the battle will progress and prepare yourself for what you're up against. The gentleman's war --- that's what we all expect from the church. But that hardball guerilla -- well, not literally so hardball for Dunn, lol -- is what you're likely to get, as Quinn found out.


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 Post subject: Re: A Look Back at Two Years
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:59 pm 
God
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why me wrote:
But it is great to see all kinds of conspiracies being circulated by countermos.
And what, may I ask, what kind of mormon are you, Mr. self admitted 30 year inactive member?

What are you? A mormon wannabee?

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