There are, now, by my count, ten threads over the board where my Malevolent Stalker and his chief disciple run the show, devoted to The Affair of the Vicious Smear that Nobody There Has Seen. They total nearly forty pages (one of them is twenty-one pages long by itself), and they're crammed with moral indignation, with unflattering name-calling against me and my fellow villains, with descriptions of the unseen essay as "venomous," "vicious," "ad hominem," "underhanded," "sneaky," and the like.
I don't know what may or may not be going on elsewhere in the ex-Mormon demimonde -- I haven't looked, though I've been told that critics are also hyperventilating about this matter elsewhere -- and, because it's not directly related, I also haven't included in my count a two-page personal attack thread that the Stalker, apparently caught up in the sheer joy of the current feeding frenzy (this is the kind of thing he lives for), has also launched against me within the past couple of days.
In response to this joyous orgy of satisfying outrage, I've responded publicly and directly with precisely
one relatively brief blog post and with perhaps four very short posts on a thread on this board.
It has always been and it remains my policy not to talk publicly about the background of personnel and editorial decisions. And, needless to say, neither I nor any of the other members of the editorial team for the Mormon Studies Review went public with this story.
John Dehlin has now taken it upon himself to publish -- on at least two message boards of which I'm aware -- my response to him when he contacted me about the piece that he sought to suppress.
Interestingly, though, he hasn't shared his emails to me.
He first contacted me regarding this matter at roughly 10 PM on Sunday, 25 March. I was away lecturing on the east coast, was armed only with an iPhone, and was not in especially good spirits, as my only sibling, my older brother (with whom I was very close), had died unexpectedly and suddenly two days before.
Now, John Dehlin and I have never been buddies. But we've always been civil. So I was more than a little surprised when I noticed that this email hadn't been sent only or even primarily to me. Instead, it had been sent to a member of the Seventy, with an appeal for him to stop publication of what Dehlin characterized as a "hit piece" and a promise that Dehlin was prepared to go further up in the hierarchy if he didn't get what he wanted. Thereafter, it was copied to me, as well as to three influential non-BYU LDS academics (friends of mine, actually) who presumably might be able to help in squelching the unseen article, and to one other person whose name I didn't recognize.
I wasn't in the mood, it was late, I hadn't (I think) as yet read the article in question, and I didn't respond.
The next morning, at 8:42 AM, I was copied on another email from John Dehlin, which was principally sent to the same member of the Seventy and which was also copied to the same addressee list as the one from 10.5 hours earlier.
It provided the Seventy in question with five quotations culled from Dehlin's unscientific survey of disaffected Latter-day Saints, all of them highly critical of (and more or less insulting toward) me and my associates.
They were included, Dehlin explained, "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."
I confess that I didn't find this particularly nice. Slandering me to one of the leaders of my Church and to academic friends of mine didn't seem a particularly charitable opening gambit.
Thus, at 9:57 AM, I responded: "Speaking of hit pieces . . . ," I wrote. "Good grief."
Dehlin responded, five minutes later, with a defense of his approach and with further harsh criticism of his own about my apologetic work.
Answering him, I sent the note that he's reproduced in his opening post, above. He responded with condolences, as shown above, accompanied by still further criticisms.
I didn't respond further.
May I just add, by way of historical parallel and contrast, that when, quite a few years ago now, I learned that Sunstone was going to run a very long essay by John-Charles Duffy about the Maxwell Institute or FARMS that would be focused to a considerable extent on me, I knew, given the venue but more especially given the author, that it would be extremely (and, from my vantage point, unfairly) critical. By the standards of my critics at the Stalker's board, who have, for days now, been fervidly denouncing an unpublished essay that none of them has ever seen as an example of horrific cruelty, injustice, and immorality,, it would certainly qualify as a "hit piece" or a "smear," though I myself wouldn't use such terms. (Ultimately, for what it's worth, it even included a cartoon comparing me to Hannibal Lecter.) I knew the then-editor of Sunstone very well, but it never occurred to me to try to block publication of the piece. Such things happen when one is engaged in controversies, and one simply takes it and moves on.
The fact DCP continues to act like the text is entirely justified the more DCP displays his opposition to a GA. I always, and I mean always, thought DCP to be a good person but it appears time after time he is not working to defend the LDS but rather offend those he perceives are in opposition. So much hate.