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 Post subject: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 5:45 am 
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For the record, I'm going to lay out the facts (as I know them) regarding the Greg Smith, Daniel Peterson, Lou Midgley happening of the past few weeks and months.

1) A few weeks back someone contacted me to let me know that the Maxwell institute was about to publish a lengthy, footnoted article dedicated to critiquing/attacking me and Mormon Stories authored by Greg Smith.

2) I immediately emailed Daniel Peterson, and cc'd a few people I consider to be friends, to find out if this was true -- telling him that if, indeed, the story was true, that I would appreciate knowing about it, and that I would be contacting my GA friends to ask for their involvement. This was his response:

Quote:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.

I also don't have time for it, and I'm definitely not in the mood: My older brother, my only sibling and only remaining connection to my parents, died suddenly on Friday. I'm at Harvard to give a lecture tonight and will be in California later in the week for my brother's funeral.

Coincidentally, I had to contact the Orem police yesterday -- and not for the first time -- about threats of violence from an unhinged former Mormon in California.

I don't find what you're attempting here even remotely acceptable.

If you cared at all about my good will, you chose a very bad approach. And your timing couldn't possibly have been worse.

-dcp


3) I replied with the following:

Quote:
Dr. Peterson,

I am very deeply sorry to hear about your loss.

Also, please know that it is not my intention to do any of those things that you allege. I did not create this situation. Simply, I was very disturbed yesterday to learn that the Maxwell institute might be preparing a hit piece on me, so I responded the best way I knew how to get a response from you.

When things improve for you personally, I hope that you and the Maxwell institute will consider a different approach than you have used in the past. You harm many people, including the church you seek to help, when you attack people publicly for their struggles with legitimate issues. ..... There are I sincerely believe that attacking the messenger harms everyone involved -- you, me, the Maxwell institute and the church included.

My sincere well wishes to you and yours during a hard time. Also, I'm happy to reconsider my approaches, and I hope that you will do the same.

Sincerely,

John Dehlin


He did not respond.

4) When I attended the UVU conference, several people (faithful members of the church) came up to me and told me that they were aware of the article written about me, and were sickened by it -- including people who had read it. I was informed that there was significant disagreement within the Maxwell institute itself about whether or not the article should be published.

5) After my panel discussion at UVU, Lou Midgley came up and verbally assaulted me (that's how it felt to me, anyway) -- threatening me and attempting to tie me to the death of a missionary on my mission (Brian Bartholomew), and trying to tie me to Grant Palmer back in 1992 (one of the most bizarre accusations I've ever heard, since it was another decade before I even learned his name). People took pictures and video of the affair (which I have)....which was pretty funny. The interaction, of course, was not funny. Not at all. It was deeply disturbing to me.

6) I decided to contact a GA friend of mine to let him know about the piece, and to ask him to intervene. Given Midgley's verbal allegations, I was not about to be slandered in that way, and I honestly felt like such an article would sully Neil A. Maxwell's good name, and would be damaging to BYU, the church, and to many members of the church who value what we do with Mormon Stories. The GA told me that he would contact a few people in high places, and that he would do his best to intervene.

7) A few days later I was informed by a very, very reliable source that some very clear communication was given to the Maxwell Institute that publishing this article about me was ill advised, and that an apostle was involved in that communication. I was informed that the decision was made to no longer publish the article via the Maxwell Institute, and that it would be returned to its author, Greg Smith. I was also told to not be surprised if the article ended up being published by FAIR.

8) A few weeks back I wrote Scott Gordon to ask if he intended to publish the article. He declined any knowledge of the article, but did not respond regarding whether or not he intends to publish the article. Still waiting for that response.

A final note: I don't mind being criticized. Not at all. Also, I need to clarify something: I did not respond this way out of a desire to protect or save myself, or out of a spirit of censorship. My guess is that this article, in the end, would have probably given us more credibility and publicity regarding the good things we are trying to do at Mormon Stories

So why did I fight the article? I did it because I believe in my heart that the old school, disingenuous, ad hominem-style apologetics a la Daniel Peterson and Louis Midgley are very, very damaging: to the church, to its members, to its former members, and mostly to its targets. My strategic hope was that fighting this article within the ranks of church leadership could be used to help bring light these damaging tactics, and hopefully drive a death nail or two into them (these tactics). I don't know if I've ultimately succeeded on that front (time will tell, I guess), but based on feedback from several sources, I feel like it may have done some good in this regard. If not, well....at least I tried.

For those who want to know what Mormon Stories is all about, see here: http://mormonstories.org/about/

I'll end by quoting from our shared values statement:

1) We acknowledge the richness of Mormon heritage, teachings, and community in all of its diversity.

2) We believe that one can self-identify as Mormon based on one’s genealogy, upbringing, beliefs, relationships, and other life experiences, regardless of one’s adherence or non-adherence to the teachings or doctrines of any religious organization.

3) We seek spaces where we as Mormons can live lives of intellectual and spiritual integrity, individual conscience, and personal dignity.

4) We acknowledge and honor different spiritual paths and modes of religious or non-religious truth-seeking. We respect the convictions of those who subscribe to ideas and beliefs that differ from our own.

5) We recognize the confusion, distress, emotional trauma, and social ostracism that people on faith journeys often experience. We seek constructive ways of helping and supporting people, regardless of their ultimate decisions regarding church affiliation or activity.

6) We affirm the inherent and equal worth of all human beings. We seek spaces where Mormons (and all people) can interact as equals regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. In this spirit of egalitarianism, we prefer non-authoritarian and non-hierarchical means of organization and affiliation.

7) In addition to explicitly striving to align all operations with the Mormon Stories Shared Values, we endeavor to ensure that the projects we undertake: a) support individuals in Mormon-related faith crises, b) save marriages, c) heal families, and d) celebrate, challenge, and advance Mormon culture in healthy ways.


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 5:57 am 
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Hang in there, John. Many folks love you!

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:03 am 
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John thank you for this thread. I am sick of the other thread. On that thread my main personal question was: Why does the church or anyone representing the church need to do a hit paper on someone in the church with good standing? Your issues are legitimate and I had then long before, many years before you started MormonStories,,perhaps if you had been around 25 years ago I could have found a way to stay in the church and perhaps not. But I totally agree that the DCP type apologetics is harmful to the church.

I hope that this thread replaces the other thread, I am sick of the saggystaticstemrayelbow show over there. I wish they would just start by addressing the issue of why the church or its representatives need to write hit papers like they obviously have.

Thanks again, you have my respect.

Tator

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:04 am 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.

I also don't have time for it, and I'm definitely not in the mood: My older brother, my only sibling and only remaining connection to my parents, died suddenly on Friday. I'm at Harvard to give a lecture tonight and will be in California later in the week for my brother's funeral.

Coincidentally, I had to contact the Orem police yesterday -- and not for the first time -- about threats of violence from an unhinged former Mormon in California.

I don't find what you're attempting here even remotely acceptable.

If you cared at all about my good will, you chose a very bad approach. And your timing couldn't possibly have been worse.

-dcp


That really is a classic piece of DCP prose.

His interlocutor is said to be "threatening, blackmailing, and defaming". He uses rhetorical juxtaposition to suggest that his interlocutor is of a piece with an 'unhinged former Mormon' about whom he has had to contact the police because of 'threats of violence'. In a display of his customary lack of any sense of boundaries, his personal life is immediately made part of the affair, and we are reminded that he is a very important and busy guy who hangs out in Harvard Yard.

I couldn't have made that up.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:06 am 
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Just when you think the Mopologists can't drop further below Christs standards, they go and prove you wrong...

John, thanks for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:08 am 
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Chap wrote:
Daniel Peterson wrote:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.

I also don't have time for it, and I'm definitely not in the mood: My older brother, my only sibling and only remaining connection to my parents, died suddenly on Friday. I'm at Harvard to give a lecture tonight and will be in California later in the week for my brother's funeral.

Coincidentally, I had to contact the Orem police yesterday -- and not for the first time -- about threats of violence from an unhinged former Mormon in California.

I don't find what you're attempting here even remotely acceptable.

If you cared at all about my good will, you chose a very bad approach. And your timing couldn't possibly have been worse.

-dcp


That really is a classic piece of DCP prose.

His interlocutor is said to be "threatening, blackmailing, and defaming". He uses rhetorical juxtaposition to suggest that his interlocutor is of a piece with an 'unhinged former Mormon' about whom he has had to contact the police because of 'threats of violence'. In a display of his customary lack of any sense of boundaries, his personal life is immediately made part of the affair, and we are reminded that he is a very important and busy guy who hangs out in Harvard Yard.

I couldn't have made that up.


DCP's reply certainly proved John's statement true.

Quote:
So why did I fight the article? I did it because I believe in my heart that the old school, disingenuous, ad hominem-style apologetics a la Daniel Peterson and Louis Midgley are very, very damaging: to the church, to its members, to its former members, and mostly to its targets. My strategic hope was that fighting this article within the ranks of church leadership could be used to help bring light these damaging tactics, and hopefully drive a death nail or two into them (these tactics). I don't know if I've ultimately succeeded on that front (time will tell, I guess), but based on feedback from several sources, I feel like it may have done some good in this regard. If not, well....at least I tried.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:23 am 
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Chap wrote:
Daniel Peterson wrote:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.

I also don't have time for it, and I'm definitely not in the mood: My older brother, my only sibling and only remaining connection to my parents, died suddenly on Friday. I'm at Harvard to give a lecture tonight and will be in California later in the week for my brother's funeral.

Coincidentally, I had to contact the Orem police yesterday -- and not for the first time -- about threats of violence from an unhinged former Mormon in California.

I don't find what you're attempting here even remotely acceptable.

If you cared at all about my good will, you chose a very bad approach. And your timing couldn't possibly have been worse.

-dcp


That really is a classic piece of DCP prose.

His interlocutor is said to be "threatening, blackmailing, and defaming". He uses rhetorical juxtaposition to suggest that his interlocutor is of a piece with an 'unhinged former Mormon' about whom he has had to contact the police because of 'threats of violence'. In a display of his customary lack of any sense of boundaries, his personal life is immediately made part of the affair, and we are reminded that he is a very important and busy guy who hangs out in Harvard Yard.

I couldn't have made that up.

What is fascinating is that people have pointed this out to Dan over and over, but he just doesn't change. He is blind to why this kind of thing makes him look like an asshole. Amazing.


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:25 am 
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John, I also want to thank you for your passion and sacrifice. Mormon Stories has had a profound impact on me several times, as the rich experiences of others have been shared.

Thank you for your being up front and honest in disclosing your side of this story. I have viewed this whole episode as very good news and signs that your efforts have had a real effect, not only in the lives of the likes of me but in helping to steer the large ship of our modern day Mormon culture towards a more positive direction.

regulars, please don't feed the trolls/spam on this thread, lets keep it clean for others to find/learn from


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:33 am 
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RockSlider wrote:
regulars, please don't feed the trolls/spam on this thread, lets keep it clean for others to find/learn from


Yes, yes, yes. Please don't allow the apologists to distract this thread from its purpose -- to lay out the facts. When you guys engage in "tit for tat" exchanges with them, it only serves to take attention away from the real issues. They seek to act as lightning rods....taking the attention away from where it really should be.

Please let this thread be about the facts of this particular situation, if you are willing/able to do so. I welcome any response they would like to offer with regards to the facts.


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:34 am 
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From Daniel's email:

Quote:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.


Since Dr. PEterson is not here, I hope you don't mind answering. What is he calling "threatening, blackmailing, and defaming"?

Also, it seems that anger with which you replied with previous, and apologized for, was due to this reply he offered you, right? The poor guy seemed to have been going through a lot. Can't really hold that against him, right?

Thanks for some clarification, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:42 am 
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mormonstories wrote:
Yes, yes, yes. Please don't allow the apologists to distract this thread from its purpose -- to lay out the facts. When you guys engage in "tit for tat" exchanges with them, it only serves to take attention away from the real issues. They seek to act as lightning rods....taking the attention away from where it really should be.

Please let this thread be about the facts of this particular situation, if you are willing/able to do so. I welcome any response they would like to offer with regards to the facts.


To be fair, I've been asking questions regarding the info you've supplied and have gotten no response. I just asked some more. Its true I will be attacked for asking. But the questions will go without notice. I"m just seeking facts and nothing is coming in response but attacks. I know you won't see it that way due to your biases. No problem, actually. But I am curious.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:48 am 
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stemelbow wrote:
From Daniel's email:

Quote:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.


Since Dr. PEterson is not here, I hope you don't mind answering. What is he calling "threatening, blackmailing, and defaming"?

Also, it seems that anger with which you replied with previous, and apologized for, was due to this reply he offered you, right? The poor guy seemed to have been going through a lot. Can't really hold that against him, right?

Thanks for some clarification, anyway.


stemelbow - I can't publish the original email, because it will reveal the names of the people that I enlisted for support. But I believe it was my inclusion of other significant people in the original email that got him upset.

The original email basically said:

Quote:
[Names on the original "To" line withheld],

I just received the following email from a friend and wanted to let you all know about it:

[Text of the email from a friend withheld to protect his anonymity - but this email told me about the article being written about me, and he himself was the one to first characterize it as a "hit pieace"]

Dr. Peterson -- Can you please confirm or deny the content of this message, and provide some detail?

[more text withheld to protect the people involved]

I am hoping that the Maxwell Institute will not issue a hit piece on me. I would ask you both to please not allow this to happen. If such a piece is, indeed, in the works -- I would like notice so that I can contact [another name withheld] as well. My guess is that he wouldn't approve of this either....but I can't say for sure.

If my friend is mistaken in his information -- I sincerely apologize for the error and annoyance.

Sincerely,

John Dehlin


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:52 am 
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In full disclosure, here's another email I sent to Daniel Peterson and my supportive friends that was part of the dialogue:

Quote:
[Names withheld]

I'm including below just a few of the comments about LDS apologetics from our recent survey of disaffected Mormons to aid you in your decision-making about these issues. I hope you find them useful. If you want more examples, I'm happy to provide. Thanks again for reconsidering your approach. -- John

From respondent 2108: “The biggest factor was the professional apologists. I watched FARMS and FAIR apologists treat people horribly. For example, Professor Daniel C. Peterson used to lurk on the Recovery from Mormonism site so that he could snatch up quotes from the people posting there, in order to humiliate them. This, coupled with the way apologists tend to treat critics (i.e., with ad hominem attack), was the lynchpin.// I would encourage him/them to do something about the apologists. I think they are the worst aspect of the current Church.”

From respondent 1746: “On honesty, stop leaving it to the apologetics. They are terrible and are doing more damage than good to people’s testimonies with their poor answers. For example....Book of Abraham.”

From respondent 1865: “Please stop the ridiculous apologetics. Their circular reasoning and logical fallacies do more harm than good.”

From respondent 2122: “Please stop with the apologetic as well. Fair and the Maxwell Institute contributed to my leaving the church.”

From respondent 2844: “As I studied Church history and uncovered many controversial historical evidence, I would frequent LDS apologetic sites for answers (e.g. FARMS (now the Maxwell Institute), Shields, FAIR). I soon discovered those sites rarely dealt with the controversial evidences but rather often skirted or obfuscated the issue and frequently resorted to personal attacks on the individuals who were publishing historical information.”


Last edited by mormonstories on Thu May 10, 2012 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:54 am 
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Chap wrote:
That really is a classic piece of DCP prose.

His interlocutor is said to be "threatening, blackmailing, and defaming". He uses rhetorical juxtaposition to suggest that his interlocutor is of a piece with an 'unhinged former Mormon' about whom he has had to contact the police because of 'threats of violence'. In a display of his customary lack of any sense of boundaries, his personal life is immediately made part of the affair, and we are reminded that he is a very important and busy guy who hangs out in Harvard Yard.

I couldn't have made that up.


Came to respond, saw your response here already. I absolutely agree, this is classic Peterson. His first email to me years ago contained several paragraphs describing his importance, traveling and meeting with important people. He continually needs to stress this. Remind us. A tad bit of insecurity DCP?

As for Scratch's original piece and John's secondary piece, I really want to increase the exposure on the motives of Smith, Peterson and Midgley. Midgley has a long history of this - recall the Tanner incident? Peterson spends incalculable time on the Internet posting snide remarks. This new piece against Dehlin is nothing new, IMO.

The more exposure of these apologists, the less their credibility.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:54 am 
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[quote="mormonstories"]
stemelbow - I can't publish the original email, because it will reveal the names of the people that I enlisted for support. But I believe it was my inclusion of other significant people in the original email that got him upset.

The original email basically said:

Thanks. I would say he over-reacted. I wish questions were answered early on so as to stop the attacks on me. Now the attacking will begin. Here goes...

I feel for his loss. It is a tough time, no doubt.

The positive in all this is, if it is an attack piece, the MI can be stopped, or they can see reason why to stop. Whatever that reason is...who knows?

Now go with peace.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:04 am 
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To avoid derailing this valuable thread, how about nobody replying to posts that come with a large 'kick me' notice attached?

John Dehlin seems to be telling it like it is. I suppose the person principally referred to here (DCP) will only reply in his chosen protected environments, where he cannot be contradicted effectively. Pity.

Any signs of that yet?

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:05 am 
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Daniel Peterson, Louis Midgley, and Greg are absolute bitches. Midgley is a piece of s***. Not sure how anyone can defend these folks.


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:11 am 
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John and all,

You may or may not have noticed that stemelbow has been one of the main spammers/trolls in the other threads of the last few days on this topic. Best to put him on ignore and encourage others to not quote him.

thanks … have to run, cannot wait to read more on this unfolding issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:26 am 
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Daniel:

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. I am also sorry to hear that you are being threatened by a disturbed member of the LDS Church in California. This goes a long way toward helping me see why you would react in the way that you did. I don't think your reaction was helpful, but none of us are perfect. I am genuinely saddened to learn of your suffering and loss.

John:

Thank you for putting this stuff out there. I was going to contact you for confirmation or denial of the information on your role in quashing the piece. It seems that Bill and Daniel were not providing false information on that. I apologize again to them for suggesting as much. I am saddened that you were treated this way, although I can't say I am surprised it happened. I hope you are able to catch a breath, relax, and heal from the entire ugly affair.

In my view it was worth not having the unfriendly critique of you published under the auspices of BYU, but I am sorry it was such a harsh experience all the same. Hang in there.

More importantly, what can I say other than to repeat what I have often said about the aggressive treatment that some apologists give to members of the Church in good standing? There needs to be, in my view, some rethinking here. I believe in the basic goodness and good intentions of most of the parties involved here, on both "sides." But clearly what has happened in the past and has happened here illustrates a fundamental structural problem in the way that the LDS Church deals with its doubting members and external critics.

One organization with a relatively closed group of power-players should not be tasked with dealing with both struggling members and external critics. What distinguishes the two groups that the apologists deal with? I would say that the easiest rubric to use is the person's membership, although I admit that it is imperfect. What needs to happen is what is struggling to be born in fits and starts: one organization of a more pastoral character that addresses the needs of struggling members and another organization that handles non-member criticism.

While it is true that both tasks use overlapping skill sets and knowledge, it is the muddying of the distinction that really causes harm. We see it time and time again as doubting and hurting members come online seeking answers, only to get slammed by apologists on the suspicion that they are "fishing" anti-Mormons looking to start trouble. Will a doubting and hurting member sound like an anti-Mormon at times? No doubt. I sympathize with the apologists who feel embattled and can't possibly hope to keep it all straight. They may be very smart, but they aren't mind readers.

From a logistical point of view, this is as big a nightmare for the well-meaning and loyal apologists as it is tragic for the members who get attacked and alienated from the Church because an apologist misidentified them as "anti-Mormon." How much better it would be for everyone involved if some pastoral apparatus were in place to handle the needs of struggling members with appropriate counseling of a spiritual and, if necessary, psychological nature.

I am not talking about turning the henhouse over to the fox. I am talking about using the right resources and tools for the problem. Taking the toolkit of a person who was brought up as an apologist fighting Christian anti-Mormon ministries and the like and aiming him like a weapon at Debbie the housewife and RS president who just discovered the multiple versions of the FV narrative is not healthy or helpful for the Church or the hurting member.

It needs to stop. Now.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:32 am 
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Quote:
5) After my panel discussion at UVU, Lou Midgley came up and verbally assaulted me (that's how it felt to me, anyway) -- threatening me and attempting to tie me to the death of a missionary on my mission (Brian Bartholomew), and trying to tie me to Grant Palmer back in1992 (one of the most bizarre accusations I've ever heard, since it was another decade before I even learned his name). People took pictures and video of the affair (which I have)....which was pretty funny. The interaction, of course, was not funny. Not at all. It was deeply disturbing to me.

Bizarre! Just found an article from the Los Angeles Times from 1990 about the capsizing of the boat that drowned the two missionaries.
http://articles.latimes.com/1990-01-09/ ... guna-hills
Is Midgley completely unhinged? You weren't even on the boat. How could he possibly use this unfortunate accident against you?

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:34 am 
God

Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:52 am
Posts: 7306
I think the answer to this question...
Nomomo wrote:
Is Midgley completely unhinged?


Renders this question unnecessary...
Quote:
How could he possibly use this unfortunate accident against you?

_________________
“We look to not only the spiritual but also the temporal, and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually.”
Keith McMullin - Counsellor in Presiding Bishopric

"One, two, three...let's go shopping!"
Thomas S Monson - Prophet, Seer, Revelator


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