Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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Doctor Scratch
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Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Doctor Scratch »

I was asked, on this thread, to unpack the revelations concerning the end of FARMS that were provided to us by controversial poster called "Rosebud." First, let me say at the outset, that I think that Maksutov is correct to inquire about provenance, but that, for my part, I believe the messages are authentic. John Dehlin's writerly "voice" is instantly recognizable, and while I don't know Morgan Davis or his work all that well, I know that the MOpologists *hate* him, and now it's easy to see why. But let's take a closer look.

For those who are new to this topic: these messages pre-date the implosion of Classic FARMS, which happened in mid-June of 2012. Morgan Davis was/is a Maxwell Institute employee (in fact, he worked with METI, the project that Dan Peterson founded and eventually abandoned, for reasons which may now finally be emerging), and you ought to know who John Dehlin is. What follows is apparently a message that Davis wrote to Dan Peterson and Louis Midgley in the hopes of persuading them to "cease and desist" from publishing Greg Smith's "hit piece" on Dehlin:

Morgan Davis wrote:My Take on "Dubious 'Mormon' Stories"
M o r g a n *** D a v i s
Monday, March 26, 2012

Dear Dan and Louis:

I’m grateful to Dan for hearing me out on the phone today, despite a very hectic schedule and a heavy emotional burden. I voiced some misgivings I have been feeling in growing intensity for the past several days about the article he had told me was being prepared about John Dehlin. I can’t account for the rise in anxiety I feel, but it continues to intrude on my thoughts. I have a friend in my ward who is struggling with his faith and has resorted to the Mormon Stories community for support. In speaking with him yesterday, I mentioned my concerns about this putative article, and he, in turn, messaged John Dehlin. This was unbeknownst to me until I learned from Dan today that Dehlin was now waging an email campaign to forestall this article, based on my friend’s message. The note from my friend, copied in Dehlin’s email, says:

Hi, John. I don't want to get in the middle of any drama, and especially don't want to get any started up, but I did think you deserve a heads up, in case you are not already aware: I spoke with a friend (who also happens to be one of your Facebook Friends) who works at the Maxwell Institute today, and he mentioned that some of the other guys there are working on publishing something about you that I imagine will be something of a hit piece. You may already be aware of it, and maybe aren't too concerned what a paranoid ultra-conservative apologetic group was to say anyway. My friend did say that he will be attempting to dissuade them over the next few days from putting out the piece. Hopefully he will be successful and the drama will be avoided completely.


I don’t remember exactly what I said to my friend, but I did not characterize the Institute as a paranoid, ultra-conservative place, nor the forthcoming article as a hit piece. Those are his terms. I hadn’t seen the article and only knew that it was focused on a critique of Dehlin. I did say that if it was overly personal or negative that I would try to convince you not to publish it.

After having spent the better part of an hour on the phone with me this morning, Dan kindly arranged for me to have a look at the article and requested that I submit any comments I have. He said he does not want the piece to be harmful to others, and I have never doubted Dan’s sincerity. (By the way, as of today, this piece is still being copy edited by Don. It is not yet in typesetting, as Dan thought it might be). Anyway, now that I have had a chance to page through it, albeit cursorily, I have to say, I’m very concerned. So, now I really am going to try to persuade you not to publish it in its present form. Wish me luck!

This is an exposé about a person, John Dehlin, and those who are inclined to be sympathetic in any way to him will rightly see it as an attack piece. It is an attack. To what purpose?

The stated purpose is to warn the faithful away from Dehlin by subjecting his words to careful scrutiny in order to highlight the clumsy, the ill-stated, the two-minded, the disingenuous—all in order to discredit him and anyone else in a similar, floundering condition. I would argue, however, that the real audience for this essay will not really be the unsuspecting Saint who needs to be cautioned away from what they might find at MormonStories.org. A screed is not the proper instrument for achieving that. Few, if any, in that demographic need, or will be willing to skim through one-hundred pages of minutia about John Dehlin to get the point. The true audience here are those who are already offended by Dehlin and who are eager to have their sense of being opposed to him vindicated and to imagine him writhing in discomfort as his personal incongruities are laid bare. The writing has been worked over carefully, but there is still the clear note of a sneer in its tone.

This is a punitive expedition. Dehlin is being made an example of, and he is being held up for derision, together with many of his interlocutors on Facebook and elsewhere. What else is one to make of the, to me, unprecedented tactic of posting the contents of deleted Facebook posts (retrieved via internet archives) together with the names of those who posted them—not just of Dehlin, but of his Facebook friends who had no idea that their words would be retrieved and published this way? What if these posts were deleted because the posters themselves did not wish to stand by them? Too late now, their names are going into print with their wavering comments-of-the-moment for all posterity to review (see, for example, the paragraph that begins "Dehlin's Facebook wall was plastered with well-wishers"). So, already this is not just about Dehlin, it is also about the community of seeking, questioning Saints with whom he interacts. Many of them are mentioned by name. This is precisely the kind of damaging spill-over effect that I was
afraid of.

Before going any further, allow me to propose a vision for the kind of apologetics that we can and should be doing "unapologetically" at the Institute. I trust that these points will not be controversial, since I have heard you yourselves make them before. First, we should be commending the faith. We should be rejoicing, in print, in the glorious gospel and basking in its life-giving light. We should, as we have always done, revel in the riches of the scriptures—their narrative, structural, doctrinal, and linguistic complexities and wonders. We should continue to encourage and promote those who are doing this kind of faithful and faith-promoting scholarship, and we should learn from and emulate the best work being done on the scriptures and Church history (and there are some stunning recent examples of both).

We also, however, should, indeed, be defending the faith—but not by singling out individuals for attacks on their integrity, their faith, their methods, or their motives, even if we feel we might have cause or good evidence against them. Exposés of individual Saints, faithful or otherwise, should simply be off the menu, and here is why. The Maxwell Institute continues to suffer from the hurt we did to our own image years ago by indulging in this kind of "defense." To this day we are not seen by some scholars and questioners as serious and fair-minded, but rather as a group who are willing to stoop to attacks on a petty, personal level for the sake of our own entertainment and to settle scores with those whose tactics we deplore even more. John Dehlin, in his email campaign, cites several anonymous examples of Saints who say they were turned off by this. I’m afraid there are many more.

To be fair-minded does not mean that we must be passive or even unbiased. We are and should be avowedly partisans of the Church and the truth claims of the Church. But when it comes to defending the faith, we should remain steadfastly in the arena of proper scholarly discourse, and that means being focused on history and its interpretation; the scriptures and their interpretation; material and cultural forms of Mormonism; and, importantly, on the epistemological and hermeneutical approaches that have the power to open up room for faith in the midst of modern and post-modern milieux. We should be prepared to challenge those who make specious claims or weak arguments and point out, in the respectful tone of academic discourse, where we see them to be in error.

Ours can be a positive voice. We might not have all the answers, but we can set up a beacon to any Saint who sincerely wants to live a life of faith. We can be a shelter to those who question and have doubts. Our end-in-mind should be to one day be regarded as a safe-haven for those who love the scriptures and for anyone who is troubled by questions about them and wants to feel that there is a faithful way forward, even if all of the answers are not given. In order to create that environment of trust and confidence, we must actively and decisively work to shed and counteract our old reputation of being intellects on a hill who make specific apostates and anti-Mormons look ridiculous for a living. There is so much at stake, and there is so much serious work to do, we must be done with such tactics or anything even remotely resembling such tactics.

What about those who might unsuspectingly get tangled up in the testimony-challenging talk at sites like those hosted by John Dehlin? How are they to be protected? This is important, since it is the stated intent—but will not be the effect—of this article. We should, indeed, have a way to signal to our readership whether certain websites or blogs are, in our judgement, fair, honest, accurate, well-intentioned, & etc. We can do this in much the same way that we do with books and articles—by reviewing them. But to be successful in helping vulnerable souls, we also need to be credible as an Institution, with a reputation for a demeanor that is open, friendly, and fair, so that those who need to be warned away from the thickets will trust such reviews and take them seriously. I know this demeanor is possible, because you personally both have such demeanors. And yet, somehow this comes as news to many people who haven’t met you but have been reading your apologetics for years.

Smith's article is not a review of a website or blog or forum. It is a review of a human being and will have the diametrically opposite effect of promoting the Institute as a place that is open, honest, friendly, or fair. We should leave investigations into the faithfulness and integrity of individuals who claim affiliation with Mormonism to the priesthood authorities who hold the keys to make such judgements. Stunningly, Smith's review of Dehlin's status as a member includes an extensive review of the times when Dehlin met with his local priesthood authorities. Smith takes it upon himself to show where, in his remote, not-face-to-face, not-personally-connected judgment, either they were not thorough enough, or Dehlin was dissembling enough to convince his leaders that, at least at that point in 2011, he should remain in good
standing.

It is improper to second-guess local priesthood authorities in print, just as it is improper to second-guess in print what the Brethren might be saying behind closed doors—even if we are sure we are right. When official church action is taken, and where this is known publicly, it might sometimes be germane as context—but only context—for a person’s assertions, claims, and arguments. The personal lives and faith-states of individual living persons should not be a subject for review and judgement (final, intermediate, or otherwise) by the official organs of the institute that bears the name of Neal A. Maxwell. The Institute itself will be degraded if we engage in such, and I am certain that Elder Maxwell would be ashamed. But more than that, I believe that souls are at stake. More souls will be offended than led to safety by this kind of intrusive journalism. Would the editors of the MSR feel fairly treated if anti-Mormons used these kinds of tactics to embarrass the Saints?

As painful as it may be to admit, I think that John Dehlin’s success is in some ways a measure of our failure to model the kind of open, welcoming, and sympathetic approach to those who question that he states as his goal. People vote with their feet and with their subscriptions. And, judging purely by those metrics, we have not done a good enough job of creatively opening up safe places for those seeking answers to tough questions and those seeking communities of support for the process of working through challenging issues. Do we have such a forum, where faithful guidance is available and where others on similar journeys can support each other? Do we admit any kind of dialogue into our efforts? There is not even a place for reader responses in MSR. It is not enough to provide good information and interesting podcasts, it seems. It is outreach and non-judgmental dialogue that people are attracted to, and, apparently, they are finding it more readily under Dehlin’s canopy than ours. Shall we try to attract them to us by lobbing stones at them?

If I have been persuasive at all, I will have created a problem about what to do with this very lengthy piece that is the core of the next issue of MSR, which is already over-due. I apologize I didn't find my voice sooner. But if the arguments in this memo carry any merit, then it is more important that the piece on Dehlin not be published in its current form than almost anything else—including missed deadlines and other inconveniences. The second part of Smith’s article seems to deal with more substantive matters that are at least potentially proper topics for a critical review (though, near the end, the tone really starts to slide toward snide, and Smith’s use of Iago and Othello is annoying and confusing.) Perhaps with the right mix of will and effort, some of the second part could be reshaped into a proper and much more cogent review of the Mormon Stories project in general, or of the way certain topics have been treated there. But here I would urge a turn away from merely poking holes in arguments or critiquing the discussions that people are having on-line. That just leaves people with poked arguments, it doesn’t satisfy their desire to find truth. What we should be offering in the same places and at the same times we critique certain things are compelling reasons not to give up on the scriptures and the faith; compelling reasons why these enrich lives and bless a robust and unfrightened disposition to believe and to contribute to a covenant community. This article is counterproductive of that aim.

Years ago, there was a famous critique of Cleon Skousen’s The Naked Capitalist published in Dialogue. The author worked through the arguments of that book and then had this to say about them:

The Naked Capitalist sets brother against brother. It divides the Saints into angry, hostile camps…. Such a radical and false ideology, no matter how cleverly packaged and rationalized, does not teach us to love our neighbors or forgive others; it does not open us to the sanctifying effects of the Spirit. There is nothing edifying in its bleak message…. We are not commissioned to win this world for the Lord by joining some seedy and unseemly political mass movement like that offered by the New Left or the Radical Right. No conspiracy, not even a Skousen-type Super-Conspiracy, can possibly frustrate the Kingdom of God; the Saints need not fear the corruption of this world if they keep their eyes and hearts on the Master (Louis Midgley, “Round Table Review: The Naked Capitalist” in Dialogue 6 no. 3–4
[Fall/Winter 1971]: 99–116 ).


Perhaps this is an unfair comparison, but I cannot help but feel that some of the same language that Louis used to express his sense of why Skousen was out of line then applies in this case as well. If our claim in this article is that Dehlin is drawing people away and dividing us, we will be, in the very act of publishing this piece, enacting and confirming and deepening that divide. This is not what we should be about.

I know that you love a good fight. I know that you are capable of producing counter arguments to everything I have said here. I am not interested in a point by point debate over each detail. Rather, I want to zoom out and simply ask, how deeply will you be offended if this piece is not published? Will your faith be shaken? Will you feel that you have no place among a community that you are searching for a way to stay with? How much violence will not publishing this piece do to your dream of Zion?

Speaking very personally now, I can not imagine the Savior writing something like this article on John Dehlin and his Facebook friends, or commissioning anything like it in feel or tone. I honestly cannot imagine that most of the Brethren would feel that this treatment is necessary or appropriate. Mormon Stories has been around for years, and the Church has never seen fit to publicly critique it, though we know they have become quite adept at doing so when they want to. Smith’s article might be factually tight in every part (though I am dubious even of that), but it is still totally wrong. The spirit of it is wrong. No good will come of it. It will create more problems than it solves, inflict deeper wounds than it heals. It will be offensive not only to people on the borders of the faith, but to many, many of us deep within as well who want desperately to find ways to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, not rub salt in their wounds. I know I am not alone in this sentiment here at the Institute; at BYU; or in broader, faithful LDS circles. Acrimony, confusion, and darkness will be the fruits if this is published. The pain I and many others feel will be deep. There must be a more excellent way.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I apologize for any unintended hurt. My sincere desire is only to be helpful.

Yours with respect, fear, and trembling,

Morgan


Wow. What an impassioned, eloquent plea from Davis: this guy should be hailed as a true Saint and a hero! Some additional thoughts: it's remarkable that he was apparently afraid to confront them ("fear and trembling"). Did they cultivate that sort of thing during their reign at the MI?

I was also struck by this:

The personal lives and faith-states of individual living persons should not be a subject for review and judgement (final, intermediate, or otherwise) by the official organs of the institute that bears the name of Neal A. Maxwell. The Institute itself will be degraded if we engage in such, and I am certain that Elder Maxwell would be ashamed. But more than that, I believe that souls are at stake. More souls will be offended than led to safety by this kind of intrusive journalism. Would the editors of the MSR feel fairly treated if anti-Mormons used these kinds of tactics to embarrass the Saints?


LOL! The answer, from the Mopologists' perspective, of course, is that "anti-Mormons" *do* use these tactics. And this, to my mind, is a classic passage as well:

I know that you love a good fight. I know that you are capable of producing counter arguments to everything I have said here. I am not interested in a point by point debate over each detail. Rather, I want to zoom out and simply ask, how deeply will you be offended if this piece is not published? Will your faith be shaken? Will you feel that you have no place among a community that you are searching for a way to stay with? How much violence will not publishing this piece do to your dream of Zion?


Yes: what *would* have happened if they had simply canned the article? Seeing how much it cost them in the end, I'm sure that they are still asking themselves that question.

Whatever the case may be, Davis's message shows that there were very ethical, level-headed, and decent-minded elements in the Maxwell Institute that flat-out objected to the Mopologists' antics. But the next message is even more revealing:

Morgan Davis wrote:From: M o r g a n *** D a v i s <___________@BYU.edu>
Date: Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 7:28 PM
Subject: Hope
To: "johndehlin@gmail.com" <johndehlin@gmail.com>
Cc: "__________.edu" <_____________.edu>

Dear John:

Here is what I submitted earlier this week and have circulated to other sympathetic parties throughout the week. I see it not only as addressing the immediate problem we face, but the larger question of what kind of discourse we should be about as a community. J i m * F a u l c o n e r was one I shared it with, and after witnessing Louis's performance last night, Jim wrote a letter of his own to Jerry Bradford, our director, urging that something be done.

But the clincher was your phone call. It followed the path that I suggested it would, with the addition of an unnamed member of the Twelve (I'm guessing Elder Holland) added in. Jenson called him, he called Samuelson, and Samuelson called Jerry, who was ready for the call because of the discussions we've been having, and asked for something in writing, which we now have. Sorry I can't share that document, but it is an outstanding piece of counsel that has come to us from Pres. Samuelson—one that I really see as potentially not only bringing a resolution to this immediate crisis, but also moving us toward that larger goal of some serious internal reflection and long-term change here.

The editors could still choose to take their article (100 MS pages) to non-BYU affiliated venues like their personal blogs, or FAIR, I suppose, but given the strength of this signal from The Powers That Be, I expect they they will think better.

Be watching your seismograph Monday morning when Jerry meets with Dan and Louis. There could still be additional drama, but thank you for what you have done to help me/us improve this little corner of Mormondom. I still dream that it might become relevant in the Mormon conversation again someday. We have a lot of repenting and work to do first, but I have a little more hope today.

M o r g a n


So, this shows that Davis really was a major behind-the-scenes player in the fall of classic-FARMS. I don't think it's accurate to characterize him as an "architect" or this, or even as a "whistleblower": after all, he had the temerity to directly go to Midgley and Peterson. But, as he says, there was definitely a "campaign" of sorts: he writes that he "circulated [this message] to other sympathetic parties throughout the week." And he also helps to connect the dots in terms of the chain of command: James Faulconer (one of whose books was given a lukewarm review on the "Mormon Interpreter" blog) was brought into the loop, and Davis indicates that the concern went through other high-ranking people: Bradford, Jensen (who I am assuming is Marlin Jensen), Samuelson, and (most likely) Holland. But notice what Davis says:

Morgan Davis wrote:Sorry I can't share that document, but it is an outstanding piece of counsel that has come to us from Pres. Samuelson—one that I really see as potentially not only bringing a resolution to this immediate crisis, but also moving us toward that larger goal of some serious internal reflection and long-term change here.


What would you give in exchange for an opportunity to read this document? Davis claims that "it is an outstanding piece of counsel," and that it has the potential of "moving us toward that larger goal of some serious internal reflection and long-term change [at the Maxwell Institute]." Well, Davis certainly got his wish! But what did the memo *say*? Because it's not public, the Mopologists can still spin the story in their favor. And I wonder also about this additional meeting that Bradford had with Midgley and DCP. The email is dated March 30; so the ejection from FARMS was still 2 1/2 months away. How did they not see this coming?

In any event, there are some old Mopologetic myths that have been completely exploded by these revelations. The first is the Mopologetic claim that this whole thing was initiated and executed solely by Jerry Bradford, without any counsel from the General Authorities. These pair of messages from Davis would seem to definitely lay that claim to rest. I count at least 3 General Authorities who were all in agreement that the Mopologists' hostile antics needed to be stopped. (And bear in mind that, if this secret "memo" were to come to light, and if it were to reaffirm everything that has been said here, the Mopologists would *still* try to claim that they were right on the basis of the so-called "spanking"--Midgley's term, not mine--that Holland gave to the "new" MI a couple years back.) Davis also portrays a situation in which the displeasure with Mopologetics was widespread: "other sympathetic parties." *How* widespread were these sympathies, though? He seems to paint a picture of a place where people were actually afraid of Midgley, DCP, et al.'s anger and vindictiveness. Perhaps that's how it was: they were bullies, and people were afraid of standing up to them? It wouldn't surprise me if that turned out to be true.

In addition to this, Rosebud also helpfully supplied a series of exchanges that Dehlin had with Scott Gordon of FAIR (he was attempting to dissuade Gordon from publishing the "hit piece" via FAIR), but the real revelations here, in my opinion, come from Davis.

I think it's useful, too, to re-read DCP's rage-fueled email response to getting sacked from the review. In addition to Bradford, there were 18 other people CC'ed on the message (who knows how many might have been BCC'ed?), and I have always wondered who those 18 were. Were they just DCP's friends, CC'ed as a means of showing Bradford that he had a "gang" of friends willing to stand by his side? Or, instead, did he CC every person that he blamed for this outcome--including people like Davis, Faulconer, and Jensen? I bet the truth skews toward the latter, though it could be that the 18 were a blend of folks from the two groups.

Something else I wonder about is if Davis is the person that Hamblin identified in his resignation as Executive Editor of "Interpreter":

A person I thought was a friend recently decided to describe me (indirectly) as an apologetic hack instead of a real scholar. (This, by the way, has been the fundamental, most insidious, and perpetual slander of apostates–that a believing LDS scholar don’t do real scholarship. It is also, a classic example of ad hominem.) It’s rather depressing when your friends desert you.


I've heard Midgley and others speak about Davis as if he was some kind of "traitor," but is he also the person that Hamblin had in mind? (And could it be that the Mopologists mis-read or "spun" Davis's original message in a way that they took it as him accusing them of not doing "real" scholarship? He doesn't say that, but I could see them reading that into it.)

In any event, thanks again to Rosebud for helping to fill in some of the blanks. Morgan Davis, in my opinion, is a giant of ethical behavior and I admire him enormously for what he did. All his commentary and behavior, as documented here, are unimpeachable.
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14

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Kishkumen
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Kishkumen »

I have very mixed feelings about these revelations. Here we have personal correspondence between a handful of people who NOT given their permission for the publication of their private communications. IIRC, mormonstories is still a member of this board. These are HIS emails, which he entrusted to Rosebud at a time when they were on good terms. Take note.

On the positive side, my estimation of Morgan Davis, which was already high, has found a larger set of wings. What a mensch! Here is a brother from another mother. His feelings about attacking fellow saints from BYU campus, his concern for struggling members, his sense of the lack of Christian sensibility in the deployment of such aggressive tactics—Davis was on the very same page as some of us back in those times.

And make no mistake, this is Morgan Davis. I recognize his voice, thoughtful nature, and moral rectitude. Since the ejection of DCP from the editorship of the Review, I have associated with Davis just enough to hear him in these letters. These words reflect the Sterling character of the man I met and briefly conversed with.

Finally, let me say that this event filled me with hope. President Samuelson made the right decision. Morgan Davis was right to try to dissuade a DCP from his course. Unfortunately for DCP, the time for changing course had passed. The time for aggressive apologetics issuing forth from a BYU journal had passed. All of this was for the best, however. The Church should never have allowed that kind of writing to be published through BYU. Never.

The LDS Church has bigger and more fundamental problems, but there are good people therein, who earnestly strive to live a Christlike life. There are people who possess good judgment and have the courage to apply it in the pursuit of righteous causes. That is some of the best of Mormonism. Those who understand the difference between the spirit that seeks to attack fellow saints and the spirit that seeks to nourish them, recognizing the nobility of the latter, represent part of that best.
“God came to me in a dream last night and showed me the future. He took me to heaven and I saw Donald Trump seated at the right hand of our Lord.” ~ Pat Robertson
“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith

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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Lemmie »

I have similar reservations to Kishkumen’s about Rosebud posting this without permission. It seems the discussion will be allowed however.

Regarding the content, I seem to recall Midgley going on about a “letter” earlier this year, I wonder if it is related:

Midgley:

The fact is that Jerry Bradford, who was once a student of mine when I first began teaching at BYU, and who I urged Noel Reynolds to hire to assist in managing FARMS, was involved with three other employees of the Maxwell Institute in a plot to fire Dan Peterson and change the direction of the Maxwell Institute. One of those employees felt deep remorse for being involved in this plot and wrote a long letter in which he expresses his sorrow and apologizes for what he came to see as some evil and entirely unbecoming one who is a Latter-day Saint.

This remarkable confession of evil deeds was sent to all those then employed by the Maxwell Institute, and I witnessed a copy being given to the current BYU President, and I have a copy of the letter, as do at least half a dozen others who were not employees of the Maxwell Institute. I mention this because there is no doubt that there was a plot (or conspiracy) to fire Dan Peterson and make a change of directions at the Maxwell Institute. In addition, one of the three who were asked to make an outside review of the Maxwell Institute, which document was quoted by Elder Maxwell [sic] eight or ten times in the scolding/warning he recently issued to the executive director and employees of the Institute, was David Holland, the youngest son of Elder Holland. And David, who is a former student of mine, must have both interviewed the Institute employee who wrote that letter apologizing for being involved in the plot I described, and it is likely that he had read that stunning letter.

It seems that Yakov ben Tov, who I believe is actually an employee of the Maxwell Institute, must be aware of these kinds of details. So his statement about how, "as a historian of religious history" he should not be unaware of this bit of real history, and hence not genuinely confused about what he seems anxious to brush aside as merely "conspiracy theories." If he still does not want to grant that there really was a very stupid plot involving getting Professor Peterson out of the Maxwell Institute and then changing its direction, he must be deeply into what the French call "bad faith"--that is, self-deception.
[bolding added]

Yakov ben Tov disagrees with Midgley about the letter’s contents:
Yakov ben Tov:

As far as your narrative of the changes at the Maxwell Institute go you enjoy sharing bits of information here and there but never telling the full story. You, of all people, should be able to say the truth that it wasn't Bradford and two others at the Institute that wanted a shift with the journal that Dr. Peterson was editing, and you know as well that Dr. Peterson wasn't fired from all that he was involved in at the Institute either. You have admitted in the past that the decision to change the atmosphere away from attack style apologetics went at least up to Cecil Samuelson. And when you refer to one of our Christian friends and their letter apologizing to Dr. Peterson (which I have read) you should remember that they never claimed anything evil about what happened but rather remorse that things ended up transpiring the way that they did. That individual also was not aware of the involvement of the upper leadership at BYU, and when they asked to make that letter public the leadership outside of the Maxwell Institute put a stop to it.

On your note about the letter being sent to all employed at the Institute at the time, were there no women at the time? And you make a big deal now about the letter being sent to the current BYU president, but in the past you have admitted that, "The previous President at BYU...approved the “new direction” now being followed by the Maxwell Institute, which remains in place." BYU itself, with approval of the board, made the changes at the Maxwell Institute. I believe you mean Elder Holland and not Maxwell, but I assume that you are also aware that Holland's remarks were not meant to be used in the way that you and Dr. Peterson have constantly, literally day in and day out, been using them. If you need clarification on that note chat some more with Dr. Peterson.

You have loved over the years to theorize that I work for the Maxwell Institute, but, again, I do not. I do work for a university and am interested in observing what is going on. I wish that you and Dr. Peterson would both lay to rest the constant paranoia, but clearly you are both incapable of doing so.

Again, the plot at the Maxwell Institute: get Dr. Peterson out as the editor of the journal, have him focus on METI and do other things that he was involved in at the Institute. This isn't a difficult history to get at, unless you have a side project you've been running since 2012 that you are obsessed with pushing a narrative about what happened in 2012 and that audience would be very hurt if that narrative wasn't true. If that audience cared enough to look closer at the things you have admitted over the years then they would see what really happened. But it's a lot easier to get angry, believe that only what Dr. Peterson and Friends are doing what is best for their religious faith, and go on throughout the day in a mix of anger induced by Sic Et Non and Fox News.
Yakov Ben Tov seems to make a more realistic case.

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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Lemmie »

And more exchanges from that thread:

Lemmie wrote:more about the email Midgley says everyone received, that apologized for the plot to oust Peterson, according to Midgley:

Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 6 hours ago

I wouldn't ever consider a series of comments a crime, but the way you have used Holland's speech (similar to how you have used your friend's email) is not necessarily very kind. When you mention that speech it is for a very specific purpose, and it is that purpose which I wish you and Dr. Peterson could stop bringing up publicly because it is not helping you, BYU, or the image of the Maxwell Institute. It is hurting everybody involved, and you should be taking that more seriously than your online commenting habits seem to be.

--
Louis Midgley > Yakov ben Tov • 2 hours ago

What "friend's email" have I used? And I have a very good reasons to understand Elder Holland's speech the way I do. To brush it aside, given its contents, is a serious mistake.

--
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • an hour ago

The email/letter that you keep saying was sent to all Maxwell Institute employees and then the current president. Yes, Holland's speech was a reminder of what the Maxwell Institute was set up to do, but you and Dr. Peterson too quickly blend "Maxwell Institute" with "FARMS," even though you know that FARMS was brought in under one of the arms of the Maxwell Institute, the Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies. It was never the whole, and, although Dr. Peterson several months ago admitted that this was never a coup because he was the never the boss, you and Dr. Peterson love to imply that he still was somehow Gerald Bradford's boss, as well as above the then President Cecil Samuelson.

According to Dr. Peterson it might have looked that way on paper, but everyone who actually worked down there knew who was really in charge. That conforms pretty well to your comments on the situation, and honestly it's a pretty depressing image if that's what you guys think a coup actually is.

--
Louis Midgley > Yakov ben Tov • 30 minutes ago

Ask your friends at the Maxwell Institute if they had ever seen or heard of such a letter.

--
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 23 minutes ago

I mentioned earlier that I have read the letter and it is not as much of a bombshell as you pretended. I alluded to several aspects of the letter earlier in our conversations, but maybe those allusions eluded you?

--
Louis Midgley > Yakov ben Tov • 18 minutes ago • edited

The letter that was packed with apologies for being involved in evil deed unbecoming a Latter-day Saints. When exactly did you read this letter? Was it before or after I called it to your attention? And to actually read it, you would have had to make a trip to Provo from, I assume, Logan.

--
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 13 minutes ago

It has one line where he mentions feeling bad for wanting to see a change in direction (which if you ask him now he’s extremely happy with the direction the university took things). The rest is feeling bad about losing friends, not about “evil deeds,” which he never says in the letter. You’re putting words in his mouth.

--
Louis Midgley > Yakov ben Tov • 8 minutes ago

I was not putting words in his mouth. Instead, I was providing my own commentary on his remarks. Post the letter, if you think I have not described it properly.

--
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 15 minutes ago

He never says “evil deeds” or anything like it. He alluded to the fact that he and a couple of others wanted to see the changes. That has nothing to do with the fact that Cecil Samuelson and others well above the author of that letter wanted the change that took place.

From thread:
viewtopic.php?p=1186145#p1186145

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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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Wow.... so, the apologists have attempted seriously to have plausible denial, and in front of it all is just spinning and making the truth a damned faced lie. This is quite the revelation! It is, once again, one of the reasons I simply couldn't continue with the FARMS stuff and the indefensibility of the apologetic materials and their "spin" on the authenticity of Mormonism. Everything they say is questionable in one way or another due to one major problem, the sin of pride, and they cannot see it. It's astounding the more that comes out. And it doesn't help that the church on its own ended up having the "scholars" help them write "truthful" articles on difficult historical issues admitting they were the ones lying all those decades about so much and they were excommunicating those who were telling the truth! The irony here is palpable.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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Sweet Jesus!

This thread already has 3351 views!

Somebody is taking notice.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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Why is nobody prepared to publish “the letter” that is being subjected to claims of being significant in its support of one side or the other?
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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The tendency to overlook the fact that I was not only an employee of the Open Stories Foundation, but that I was personally running the entire operation never ceases to amaze me. What evidence do you have that John personally has the skill to run the organization that was the Mormon Stories of 2011 and 2012?

You’ve all bought a lot of myths perpetuated by people in power who don’t want you to know what really happened.

Anyway, you’re welcome.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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I swear under the penalty of perjury that the record I have provided was emailed to me while I was employed as the Director of Operations of the Open Stories Foundation.

Does that help ;) ?
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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Rosebud wrote:You’ve all bought a lot of myths perpetuated by people in power who don’t want you to know what really happened.


Wow, what an incredible loose cannon! You have surely made some friends with people in power on several sides haven't you!

Pew, pew pew pew.

Perhaps this will bring you justification and respect?

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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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Lemmie,

Thanks for this bringing in this further info. I would be interested to know how you are unpacking all of this. For example, how do you relate Holland’s talk, which the Mopologists hooted and hollered about in a misleading way, to Samuelson’s order to Jerry Bradford to remove DCP from the editorship of the Review? Holland’s talk came long after the ouster of DCP.

Sorry if I have missed or misread something here.

Best,

K

ETA: I need a list of the many letters referred to in all of these exchanges.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Lemmie:

Thank you for the reminder: I did have some of that material in mind, and I definitely think it has a bearing on these new revelations from Morgan Davis. To be honest, I wonder how much of Midgley's commentary is hostile spin-doctoring. Look at this, for example:

Midgley wrote:One of those employees felt deep remorse for being involved in this plot and wrote a long letter in which he expresses his sorrow and apologizes for what he came to see as some evil and entirely unbecoming one who is a Latter-day Saint.


Is this Midgley's way of describing Davis's email? I wouldn't be surprised if it was. He continues:

Midgley wrote:This remarkable confession of evil deeds was sent to all those then employed by the Maxwell Institute, and I witnessed a copy being given to the current BYU President, and I have a copy of the letter, as do at least half a dozen others who were not employees of the Maxwell Institute. I mention this because there is no doubt that there was a plot (or conspiracy) to fire Dan Peterson and make a change of directions at the Maxwell Institute. In addition, one of the three who were asked to make an outside review of the Maxwell Institute, which document was quoted by Elder Maxwell [sic] eight or ten times in the scolding/warning he recently issued to the executive director and employees of the Institute, was David Holland, the youngest son of Elder Holland. And David, who is a former student of mine, must have both interviewed the Institute employee who wrote that letter apologizing for being involved in the plot I described, and it is likely that he had read that stunning letter.

It seems that Yakov ben Tov, who I believe is actually an employee of the Maxwell Institute, must be aware of these kinds of details. So his statement about how, "as a historian of religious history" he should not be unaware of this bit of real history, and hence not genuinely confused about what he seems anxious to brush aside as merely "conspiracy theories." If he still does not want to grant that there really was a very stupid plot involving getting Professor Peterson out of the Maxwell Institute and then changing its direction, he must be deeply into what the French call "bad faith"--that is, self-deception.


So, *yes*: there was a "consensus" that DCP and his Mopologist pals--and their antics--needed to be laid to rest. Is it accurate to call this a "plot"? I guess so. I can understand how it would seem that way from their perspective (and it also helps to explain why they've been so reluctant to give their version of events; oh, well--if they stay silent, then this will be the dominant narrative).

It's also interesting that Yakov ben Tov was the one in the middle of this particular kerfuffle: he was the one, you'll recall, who set off Blake Ostler (Ostler broke down and began using profanity) on FPR. In any case, Yakov tells us that:

YbT wrote:And when you refer to one of our Christian friends and their letter apologizing to Dr. Peterson (which I have read) you should remember that they never claimed anything evil about what happened but rather remorse that things ended up transpiring the way that they did. That individual also was not aware of the involvement of the upper leadership at BYU, and when they asked to make that letter public the leadership outside of the Maxwell Institute put a stop to it.


Notice that he says "That individual also was not aware of the involvement of the upper leadership at BYU" which would indicate that *this* particular letter did not come from Davis.

Whatever the case may be, with every new piece of info that we get, it becomes clearer and clearer that the Mopologists' version of events simply isn't very accurate.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Kishkumen »

Letters/E-mails relating to the “Maxwell Coup”

1. Morgan Davis writes to DCP and Midgley expressing concerns about Smith’s Dehlin piece.

2. Morgan Davis writes Dehlin about his attempt to quash the hit piece; this includes letter to DCP and Midgley.

3. Dehlin sends email about Smith hit piece that reaches apostolic eyes.

4. Samuelson instructs Bradford to quash Smith hit piece; Bradford extracts a letter ordering the quashing of the piece from Samuelson.

5. Bradford emails DCP in Israel relieving DCP of editorial duties.

6. DCP writes Bradford blistering email in response. (Samuelson berates Bradford for manner in which this change was made.)

7. Later, a Maxwell employee writes letter apologizing for how ouster transpired.

8. David Holland, son of Elder Holland, part of committee evaluating Maxwell; apologists try to use this against post-FARMS MI.

9. Elder Holland gives address at Maxwell Institute and Mopologists reinterpret it as a rebuke the new MI.

Please correct this where it errs.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Doctor Scratch »

The Reverend wrote:Please correct this where it errs.


Glad to give it a shot! Here goes:

Kishkumen wrote:Letters/E-mails relating to the “Maxwell Coup”

1. Morgan Davis writes to DCP and Midgley expressing concerns about Smith’s Dehlin piece.

2. Morgan Davis writes Dehlin about his attempt to quash the hit piece; this includes letter to DCP and Midgley.

3. Dehlin sends email about Smith hit piece that reaches apostolic eyes.


I don't think this item is "inaccurate," exactly, but I think it downplays what actually happen. A key piece of all of this, to my mind, is that a consensus among influential people had been established. It wasn't just Davis; it wasn't just Bradford; it wasn't even just Samuelson. There was apparently a whole crew of people who came together to make this happen, including (evidently) Marlin Jensen. Midgley mentioned "3 Maxwell Institute employees." One of these was Davis; probably another was Bradford. Who was the 3rd?

Whatever the case may be, I think it's important to point out that this wasn't something that happened on the basis of one person's "whim." This went through all the appropriate channels, and it really shows how many enemies the Mopologists had made over the years. It is important to point out these facts because the Mopologists' version of the story tends to place all of the blame on Bradford, and/or on one or two "apostate moles" in the MI. That isn't accurate, though: displeasure with their antics, as Davis's messages clearly show, went all the way up to the very highest echelons of Church leadership and authority. They have denied that up and down (notably DCP), but it just isn't true, or, at least, they've failed to provide convincing evidence that it's true. We are all expected to just accept Peterson's claims on the basis of his say-so and nothing more. Emails or something of that nature would go a lot further in terms of making his claims at least a little bit persuasive.

4. Samuelson instructs Bradford to quash Smith hit piece; Bradford extracts a letter ordering the quashing of the piece from Samuelson.

5. Bradford emails DCP in Israel relieving DCP of editorial duties.

6. DCP writes Bradford blistering email in response. (Samuelson berates Bradford for manner in which this change was made.)


What's the basis for believing that Samuelson "berate[d] Bradford"? Is that really what happened?

7. Later, a Maxwell employee writes letter apologizing for how ouster transpired.

8. David Holland, son of Elder Holland, part of committee evaluating Maxwell; apologists try to use this against post-FARMS MI.

9. Elder Holland gives address at Maxwell Institute and Mopologists reinterpret it as a rebuke the new MI.


So, I would make adjustments/corrections to those two portions of your timeline, Reverend, but I think everything else (to the best of my/our knowledge) is correct.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

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I don't think this item is "inaccurate," exactly, but I think it downplays what actually happen. A key piece of all of this, to my mind, is that a consensus among influential people had been established. It wasn't just Davis; it wasn't just Bradford; it wasn't even just Samuelson. There was apparently a whole crew of people who came together to make this happen, including (evidently) Marlin Jensen. Midgley mentioned "3 Maxwell Institute employees." One of these was Davis; probably another was Bradford. Who was the 3rd?

Whatever the case may be, I think it's important to point out that this wasn't something that happened on the basis of one person's "whim." This went through all the appropriate channels, and it really shows how many enemies the Mopologists had made over the years. It is important to point out these facts because the Mopologists' version of the story tends to place all of the blame on Bradford, and/or on one or two "apostate moles" in the MI. That isn't accurate, though: displeasure with their antics, as Davis's messages clearly show, went all the way up to the very highest echelons of Church leadership and authority. They have denied that up and down (notably DCP), but it just isn't true, or, at least, they've failed to provide convincing evidence that it's true. We are all expected to just accept Peterson's claims on the basis of his say-so and nothing more. Emails or something of that nature would go a lot further in terms of making his claims at least a little bit persuasive.


Yes, I was sticking to organizing a list of communications as arranged in what seemed to be the order in which they transpired. There is no doubt that Bradford, Davis and others were not supportive of the FARMS crew’s hijinks at Maxwell. Subsequent communications seem to indicate that others at the Institute who were not fans were probably Carl Griffin and Kristian Heal.

I think it is also safe to say that an apostle, Elder Jensen, and Cecil Samuelson were in accord in the matter of quashing the Dehlin hit piece. What is less clear to me is the issue of removing DCP from the Review. Was that part of the same communication? A separate order? Did Bradford take the initiative in removing DCP from his editorship?

Midgley writes:

I explained to Jerry that firing Dan had reduced my wife to tears. He told me that his wife had also been reduced to tears by the thrashing he had received from Samuelson for using email to fire Dan. He had been admonished never to put anything in an email or in writing in a file.


He claims that Bradford told him Samuelson came down on him like a ton of bricks for firing DCP by email. But are we certain he was instructed by Samuelson to remove DCP as editor, and that his mistake was to do it in an email? I can see how that email caused all kinds of trouble, as it was broadcast very widely. That seems to have been the problem.

That leaves me thinking Samuelson was responsible for DCP’s removal, and that he was smart enough not to commit anything about that removal to email, etc. There should be, in other words, no documentation of Samuelson’s role in DCP’s removal. Unfortunately, that also leaves us without hard evidence of his role.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Philo Sofee »

I have a question wrote:Why is nobody prepared to publish “the letter” that is being subjected to claims of being significant in its support of one side or the other?


In apologetics, the less evidence when the going gets tough, the better. Just assure everyone that there is no problem, since it is this method Mormons have been "educated" into thinking is viable. Remember, we don't want the actual truth, just enough to make ones view plausible...
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Rosebud »

Philo Sofee wrote:
I have a question wrote:Why is nobody prepared to publish “the letter” that is being subjected to claims of being significant in its support of one side or the other?


In apologetics the less evidence when the going gets tough, the better. Just assure everyone that there is no problem, since it is this method Mormons have been "educated" into thinking is viable. Remember, we don't want the actual truth, just enough to make ones view plausible...


ExMormonism is much the same. “Just assure everyone that there is no problem, since it is this method Mormons have been ‘educated’ into thinking is viable. Remember, we don’t want the actual truth, just enough to make one’s views viable....”

The truth is almost always more complicated than any small portion that can be reduced into a myth and then spun for a willing audience.

ExMormons are very much still Mormons.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Kishkumen wrote:
I don't think this item is "inaccurate," exactly, but I think it downplays what actually happen. A key piece of all of this, to my mind, is that a consensus among influential people had been established. It wasn't just Davis; it wasn't just Bradford; it wasn't even just Samuelson. There was apparently a whole crew of people who came together to make this happen, including (evidently) Marlin Jensen. Midgley mentioned "3 Maxwell Institute employees." One of these was Davis; probably another was Bradford. Who was the 3rd?

Whatever the case may be, I think it's important to point out that this wasn't something that happened on the basis of one person's "whim." This went through all the appropriate channels, and it really shows how many enemies the Mopologists had made over the years. It is important to point out these facts because the Mopologists' version of the story tends to place all of the blame on Bradford, and/or on one or two "apostate moles" in the MI. That isn't accurate, though: displeasure with their antics, as Davis's messages clearly show, went all the way up to the very highest echelons of Church leadership and authority. They have denied that up and down (notably DCP), but it just isn't true, or, at least, they've failed to provide convincing evidence that it's true. We are all expected to just accept Peterson's claims on the basis of his say-so and nothing more. Emails or something of that nature would go a lot further in terms of making his claims at least a little bit persuasive.


Yes, I was sticking to organizing a list of communications as arranged in what seemed to be the order in which they transpired. There is no doubt that Bradford, Davis and others were not supportive of the FARMS crew’s hijinks at Maxwell. Subsequent communications seem to indicate that others at the Institute who were not fans were probably Carl Griffin and Kristian Heal.

I think it is also safe to say that an apostle, Elder Jensen, and Cecil Samuelson were in accord in the matter of quashing the Dehlin hit piece. What is less clear to me is the issue of removing DCP from the Review. Was that part of the same communication? A separate order? Did Bradford take the initiative in removing DCP from his editorship?


Ah: that's a good question. It seems that, in part, it came down to whether or not DCP could be trusted to stop with the smear campaigns and "hit pieces." This *was* probably one of those details that he was simply expected to take care of, since he was the administrator in charge of the MI at the time.

Midgley writes:

I explained to Jerry that firing Dan had reduced my wife to tears. He told me that his wife had also been reduced to tears by the thrashing he had received from Samuelson for using email to fire Dan. He had been admonished never to put anything in an email or in writing in a file.


He claims that Bradford told him Samuelson came down on him like a ton of bricks for firing DCP by email. But are we certain he was instructed by Samuelson to remove DCP as editor, and that his mistake was to do it in an email? I can see how that email caused all kinds of trouble, as it was broadcast very widely. That seems to have been the problem.

That leaves me thinking Samuelson was responsible for DCP’s removal, and that he was smart enough not to commit anything about that removal to email, etc. There should be, in other words, no documentation of Samuelson’s role in DCP’s removal. Unfortunately, that also leaves us without hard evidence of his role.


Hmm. I don't know. Certainly, the outcome that the Powers-that-Be wanted was achieved. But I agree with you that Bradford's main "mistake" seems to have been that he put this in writing--in an email. That type of communication isn't protected by, e.g., attorney-client privilege, and so it is fair game if it gets "leaked," and indeed, that's exactly what happened. The email was first made public right here on MormonDiscussions: it makes a lot of sense that Samuelson would have been pissed off about that. If Bradford had fired DCP face-to-face, or via a phone call, it might have prevented a lot of the drama. Then again, this is DCP we're talking about, so there would have been some kind of bellyaching. Failing to put it in writing would have opened the door to a lot more lying and spin-doctoring. So, it's a wash in the end.
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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Lemmie »

Kishkumen wrote:Lemmie,

Thanks for this bringing in this further info. I would be interested to know how you are unpacking all of this. For example, how do you relate Holland’s talk, which the Mopologists hooted and hollered about in a misleading way, to Samuelson’s order to Jerry Bradford to remove DCP from the editorship of the Review? Holland’s talk came long after the ouster of DCP.

Sorry if I have missed or misread something here.

Best,

K

ETA: I need a list of the many letters referred to in all of these exchanges.

Good point, I obviously am late to the game, only being here and reading this stuff since about 2015, so I’ll try to explain what it looked like to me.

From your list:
Letters/E-mails relating to the “Maxwell Coup”

1. Morgan Davis writes to DCP and Midgley expressing concerns about Smith’s Dehlin piece.

2. Morgan Davis writes Dehlin about his attempt to quash the hit piece; this includes letter to DCP and Midgley.

3. Dehlin sends email about Smith hit piece that reaches apostolic eyes.

4. Samuelson instructs Bradford to quash Smith hit piece; Bradford extracts a letter ordering the quashing of the piece from Samuelson.

5. Bradford emails DCP in Israel relieving DCP of editorial duties.

6. DCP writes Bradford blistering email in response. (Samuelson berates Bradford for manner in which this change was made.)

7. Later, a Maxwell employee writes letter apologizing for how ouster transpired.


As far as I know, the only reason number 7 occurs later is because Peterson implied it did. So when Midgley started commenting, it seemed to me, based on Yakov Ben Tov’s comments, that it was possible no one had later apologized, but that the first Davis email was being misused. I based that on these, from my earlier post:
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 6 hours ago

I wouldn't ever consider a series of comments a crime, but the way you have used Holland's speech (similar to how you have used your friend's email) is not necessarily very kind...

--
Louis Midgley > Yakov ben Tov • 2 hours ago

What "friend's email" have I used?

--
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • an hour ago

The email/letter that you keep saying was sent to all Maxwell Institute employees and then the current president.


So, when I read this, from Morgan to Dehlin, about sending his email to Dan, but also circulating it, it seemed related:

Dear John:

Here [I assume he means the attachment to this email, which rosebud says was the letter sent to Peterson] is what I submitted earlier this week and have circulated to other sympathetic parties throughout the week. I see it not only as addressing the immediate problem we face, but the larger question of what kind of discourse we should be about as a community. J i m * F a u l c o n e r was one I shared it with, and after witnessing Louis's performance last night, Jim wrote a letter of his own to Jerry Bradford, our director, urging that something be done.

But the clincher was your phone call. It followed the path that I suggested it would, with the addition of an unnamed member of the Twelve (I'm guessing Elder Holland) added in. Jenson called him, he called Samuelson, and Samuelson called Jerry, who was ready for the call because of the discussions we've been having,


Further, a circulated letter was referred to by Midgley, and based on YbT’s response, seems to fit Morgan’s letter:
Midgley:

One of those employees felt deep remorse for being involved in this plot and wrote a long letter in which he expresses his sorrow and apologizes for what he came to see as some evil and entirely unbecoming one who is a Latter-day Saint.

This remarkable confession of evil deeds was sent to all those then employed by the Maxwell Institute, and I witnessed a copy being given to the current BYU President,

I don’t see how Midgley would know about this letter and that it was circulated to MI employees, plus seen by him to go to Samuelson, if he’s referring to a letter (your number 7) that was sent later, AFTER he left.

And YbT’s further comments, disagreeing with Midgley’s (and possibly Peterson’s) assessment of the letter:
Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 23 minutes ago

I mentioned earlier that I have read the letter and it is not as much of a bombshell as you pretended. I alluded to several aspects of the letter earlier in our conversations, but maybe those allusions eluded you?

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Louis Midgley > Yakov ben Tov • 18 minutes ago • edited

The letter that was packed with apologies for being involved in evil deed unbecoming a Latter-day Saints.....

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Yakov ben Tov > Louis Midgley • 13 minutes ago

It has one line where he mentions feeling bad for wanting to see a change in direction (which if you ask him now he’s extremely happy with the direction the university took things).


So, when I read the Davis letter to Peterson, this seemed to fit YbT’s comments about Midgley’s misinterpretation:

Davis [according to Rosebud]:

....I don’t remember exactly what I said to my friend, but I did not characterize the Institute as a paranoid, ultra-conservative place, nor the forthcoming article as a hit piece. Those are his terms. I hadn’t seen the article and only knew that it was focused on a critique of Dehlin. I did say that if it was overly personal or negative that I would try to convince you not to publish it.

After having spent the better part of an hour on the phone with me this morning, Dan kindly arranged for me to have a look at the article and requested that I submit any comments I have. He said he does not want the piece to be harmful to others, and I have never doubted Dan’s sincerity....

And this comment, which seems related to YbT’s point about one line where author felt bad:
Davis:

If I have been persuasive at all, I will have created a problem about what to do with this very lengthy piece that is the core of the next issue of MSR, which is already over-due. I apologize I didn't find my voice sooner. But if the arguments in this memo carry any merit, then it is more important that the piece on Dehlin not be published in its current form than almost anything else—including missed deadlines and other inconveniences.

[all my excerpts are from the links in my first two posts in this thread, bolding added by me]

So that’s what I was seeing. Also, the fact that Peterson has several times referred to this “apology” letter, that he still has and will publish at some point but not yet, which he asserts (without providing evidence) will exonerate him, just smacks too much of his protestations about the existence and content of the second Watson letter.

This is purely my interpretation, and nothing else.

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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Rosebud »

A chronological list of relevant documents, dates any leaks were made public, and any relevant contributing factors WITH LINKS would help anyone who is really interested in a more accurate picture make sense of what happened.
Chronological List of Relevant Documents, Media Reports and Occurrences with Links regarding the lawsuit alleging President Nelson's daughter and son-in-law are sexual predators.

By our own Mary (with maybe some input from me when I can help). Thank you Mary!

Thread about the lawsuit

Thread about Mary's chronological document

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Re: Morgan Davis and the "Plot" to Destroy FARMS

Post by Rosebud »

Media reports, talks, public announcements and podcasts intended to influence the public perception of events would need to be included, too. They play a major role in how these messes progress.
Chronological List of Relevant Documents, Media Reports and Occurrences with Links regarding the lawsuit alleging President Nelson's daughter and son-in-law are sexual predators.

By our own Mary (with maybe some input from me when I can help). Thank you Mary!

Thread about the lawsuit

Thread about Mary's chronological document

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