What John Dehlin Really Thinks

John DehlinAs I mentioned in my last post on John Dehlin, he is hesitant to say too much about what he really believes, likely for fear it might undermine his cause. Even in the comments on my recent post there were some that claimed that wasn’t the case. But recently there seems to have been a change on this front for John. Here are some recent quotes from John.

Ordaining women….LGBT rights…..historical acknowledgment/candor — those are all very important steps for the LDS church that have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of latter-day saints across the globe. I acknowledge this from the outset.

But from where I sit, they are all merely window dressing to the real issue.

Is the LDS church really what it claims to be — “…the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased?”

Are the leaders really prophets, seers, and revelators? Does the church really have exclusive authority? Are the Books of Mormon and Abraham really scripture, or are they fiction? Is the LDS restoration — realistically accessible to less than 1/2 of 1% of “God’s” children — really God’s plan for all? Or was it all made up by Joseph?

All the social progressive issues really are just window dressing (in my view) compared to this central issue/question.

Is the LDS church really what it claims to be? Cuz if it isn’t…..then THAT is the real day of reckoning for the church….not female ordination….not acceptance of LGBT individuals…and not owning up to its history. Compared to the question of authenticity, everything else is just a distraction….. a la rearranging chairs on the Titanic….as it slowly sinks.

Will LDS feminists, gays, and intellectuals be happy to have a better seat at the table…a better view off the deck…..maybe even a seat with the captain…as the whole ship sinks to the floor of the ocean (if the church isn’t, in fact, what it claims to be)?

To me, this is the heart of the matter.

— John Dehlin on his Facebook, April 7, 2014

 

I swear Dallin H. Oaks is hastening the LDS church’s demise. — John Dehlin on Facebook, date unknown

 

Doubt those who encourage you to doubt your doubts” — John Dehlin on his Facebook page, attacking President Uchtdorf’s talk. Mar 25, 2014

 

[In comments, John is asked] John Dehlin, doesn’t this stance invalidate so much of the work you are trying to do to enlarge the tent of the church?

[John responds] Unfortunately (or fortunately) — I no longer have this (tent enlarging) as a goal. I fought what I consider to be “the good fight” for 10 years…and the message I’ve received both from church headquarters, and from local leadership, is that they do not want people like us to remain in the church (unless we are silent, which is not an option for me). So I will accept this feedback, and move on.

My only goal now is tied to the well-being of Mormons…whether in or out of the church.

 

I would love some advice — especially from those who are (or are willing to become) financial supporters of Mormon Stories. Being active and in full fellowship with the church (i.e., temple recommend holding, attending meetings weekly, paying tithing, holding a calling, etc.) is not likely going to work for me (as I’ve mentioned before — I’m not comfortable supporting the church financially, and they have sent me the message that they don’t want me as a vocal semi-believer).But leaving the church completely has the potential to negatively impact the reach of Mormon Stories podcast, since possibly some TBMs are willing to listen to Mormon Stories because I remain active (I get this feedback from time to time). In essence, active church participation isn’t working for me, but I don’t want to harm the good that Mormon Stories can do. For those of you who are genuine supporters of Mormon Stories…what should I do? I’d love your perspective here…again…especially from those who are financial supporters (and /or have skin in the game regarding the future of Mormon Stories) (source)

 

This last quote is long, but its interesting because it shows John Dehlin’s mind set in so many ways. In my opinion, it’s particularly naive, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions and will give my criticisms later. But I so want to sit down with John and discuss with him the nature of religion.

[Quoting the gist of what a friend told him] “….[some GAs] have divided the church [membership] up into [three groups] based on their engagement with historicity issues with the church. The first group hasn’t heard of anything and doesn’t have the inclination to even probe. The second has heard of some stuff through family/relatives but doesn’t really study or know much about it and doesn’t care to. The third group is the group who actually cares about the church’s truth claims and wants to have their issues discussed/addressed. Anyway, the gist of the discussion is that the church leadership has discovered–to their delight–that this third group is actually the smallest. They’ve further accepted that this third group is irredeemable and the church would be better off without them.”

Not sure if this is true…but it seems feasible…given my experiences and direct interactions over the past few years.

It. Feels. Like. They. Really. Don’t. Want. Us.

I could be wrong, but this is how it feels to me….at least right now.

Elder Jensen told me directly once that the church had concluded that most of those who study the history in depth and lose their testimonies never come back to traditional belief/orthodoxy. That’s what I believe is meant by “irredeemable.” I believe that as a body, the brethren want to see us: 1) paying tithing, 2) fulfilling callings, 3) being active, 4) going to the temple, etc. And when “irredeemable” is used, I believe that it is being used in that context.

So if we’re not doing those things, I believe that organizationally….as administrators…we are likely not of much interest to them (at least programatically). Theoretically I am sure that they love and care about everyone…but from a practical/business standpoint….I am starting to believe that they have decided that we are expendable or not worth making much effort towards. I really do believe that organizationally, they value protecting the 99 over going after the one. Their actions tell me this.

To be honest, if I led an organization, I would feel the same way. I’m not saying they are bad/evil/careless people…only that they have likely made a pragmatic business decision that folks like us aren’t worth the effort. To me, their words at General Conference (with the possible exception of Dieter F Uchtdorf), the way they reacted to Ordain Women this past conference, the way the speak about and fight against the rights of LGBT individuals to this day–still….all point to this conclusion.

In my view, the very positive changes they have made (e.g., Joseph Smith Papers project, giving women more visibility, mormonsandgays.org, etc.) are to protect the 99…not to reach out to the 1. I’m making assumptions here…but sometimes we have to do that when there aren’t more data. From the messages they send during general conference….and from the treatment I’ve experienced over the past year at the local level…..this seems likely true to me. It’s at least the only way I can explain what I see (though I’m open to new perspectives and/or data).

It seems like they only want us if we defer to their authority — which is highly suspect right now, given their behavior towards those who are in need.

I respect you, of course, if you see things differently. And if you have more data, I’d love you to share it with me.

— John Dehlin on his facebook page on April 7, 2014

 

 

 

88 thoughts on “What John Dehlin Really Thinks

  1. It is interesting to just how close to the line of saying “the Church actually is a fake made up thing” he can get without saying it actually is.

    Has he ever recorded a statement where he actually says straight out that it is false? Just curious if one could be found.

  2. All I can say is that it’s not that the brethren or the church do not want people like John Dehlin, it’s just that people like John Dehlin are unwilling to be part of the Church on the Lord’s terms. So, in the end, it’s the church, but Dehlin that’s moved away. And how many people will he take with him? Sad.

  3. John Dehlin appears to be a fence sitter, and it is a very high and visible fence. No matter which side upon which he chooses to climb off, his exposure will suffer and his importance will diminish significantly. I think he lacks the courage to make the jump. I have listened to almost every podcast from the beginning and I do not believe there is any subtlety to where his core beliefs lie. His adolescent declarations of doubt in regards to the veracity of the restored Gospel and Church have become annoying: just make a decision, declare yourself, and get on with life.

  4. Careful. If Dehlin hears about this post he might contact a GA to try and get it censored.

  5. Naive?

    That’s not the word I would use for someone whose decision to quit a church he opposes is based on the opinion of people who give him money.

    That’s not the word I would use for someone who is concerned that admitting he’s not in the church would hamper his ability to undermine it.

  6. Several of his GA friends have already contacted me and explained to me that I am not to misrepresent John any more by quoting him verbatim. ;-)

  7. It occurs to me that John is only seeing one set of footprints in the sand, and thinks that means he’s been abandoned.

    Most regular folks don’t get enough attention that they’d be able to report on the “treatment” they get from the local level.

    If John wants to be a social Mormon (no giving money, no serving in callings, but showing up for food and sometimes giving humanitarian service) that’s cool. And I think he could continue his Mormon Stories ministry under the guise. He’d get the financial support of people who would want that kind of ministry from someone who is only a social Mormon. That might not be enough for him to do what he wishes with that platform. But I don’t know what the financial requirements of a thing like Mormon Stories would be. Time, a good skype connection, more time to edit stuff, and server space, it would seem. If John believes in Mormon Stories so much, then it seems the tithing he isn’t sending the Church would be enough (presuming he has a tithable income).

    So what about people like me who seriously study the history and find it full of secret honor and selfless sacrifice?

  8. Meg,

    John has several names for people like you already. TBM, Correlated Mormon, opposite of Thinking Mormon, opposite of Curious Mormon.

    Which is why such labels are really lame pejoratives and are loaded from the outset.

  9. I was struck by Dehlin’s insistence that the Church values protecting the ninety-nine over going after the one–as if the “one” (in Dehlin’s case) is harmlessly wandering off in the next field over; rather than remaining amongst the sheep hinting that the shepherd is just trying to take advantage of them.

  10. JimD,
    Was planning a post on that.

    This is a common tactic. Richard Dutcher used this argument when he left the church that all criticism of him was “taking shots at the lost sheep.”

    Simply put, the LDS church puts way more effort into the lost sheep than any religion I know of. But that whole parable is just being abused here. The point of the parable is to go after the lost sheep to bring them to the fold or in other words to get them to believe again.

    John and company reimagine the parable as meaning that the church has a responsiblity to them to accomodate them without changing their beliefs and if they don’t, then they are not following the scriptures — which mind you, none of them believe anyhow.

    It’s really quite humorous. And naive.

    It’s not like there hasn’t been subtantial effort to ‘reclaim’ John here and help him find his way back to the fold. Man has there been effort.

    If we want to use a sheep analogy, we have 50 shepherds running after a single sheep with the sheep actively running away from them as fast as he can while shouting “You aren’t trying to reclaim me! I’m just an innocent lost sheep!”

    And then a moment later the sheep shouts: “Unless you redefine the entire world as being the fold and count me as in the fold, you simply don’t care about me! I’m so hurt!”

  11. I think John Dehlin’s behavior (and Dutcher’s) is the very definition of “kicking against the pricks.”

    See Acts 26:14 and also D&C 121:38:

    “he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.”

    See this on where the term “kick against the pricks” comes from.

    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090225215944AAmfKyv

    I think it is safe to say, “the more John Dehlin rebels, the more he suffers.”

  12. I think Adam G. put it perfectly. John’s more wolf than lost sheep, and he’d like to stay where the mutton is. The fact that he only hunts the sick and lame in order to put them out of their misery isn’t mitigating.

    The question whether people like him, who’ve basically concluded based on whatever evidence/social issue that the church isn’t what it claims to be, are “redeemable” is an interesting one (and I mean that from a practical perspective rather than theological). I’ve met people who’ve struggled mightily with their faith and remained (I’m one of those), but I’ve never met one who has declared the church a fraud and has also come back. There must be some, but I can imagine they’d be rare.

  13. Meg, I’ve starting reading your Joseph posts from the beginning, and wanted to tell you that I’m enjoying catching up on them, but the comments on the posts I’ve read so far have been closed. So I’ll tell you here. I was going to tell you in the comments of my own post today, but Bruce cares more about getting to 100 comments than I do. :)

  14. It might be useful to discuss attachment theory here.

    There are three types: normal, needy, and avoidant.

    When the avoidant type becomes attached to a needy type, it sets up a vicious cycle of rejection and yearning.

    Historically attachment theory was used for children. Recently attachment theory became an important means for understanding adult relationships, such as intimate relationships in courtship and marriage.

    I propose that the attachment theory can be used for personal interactions with organizations, particularly organizations that use personal relationships to interact with individuals. I submit that the Church is much more personal than, say, the Internal Revenue Service. At least I am not aware of anything with the IRS that is analogous to Sacrament Meeting, bishop interviews, home teaching, visiting teaching, and quorum/relief society interactions YM/YW, dances, primary, activity days, scouts, and nursery. The IRS doesn’t even have anything analogous to General Conference of temple attendance.

    Most members are happy to bask in the social and religious milieu of the Church. This are like the nurtured children who are then secure and free to explore, because they don’t feel uneasy.

    There are those members who are needy for whatever reason. They feel as though their needs are being overlooked, and are hyper-vigilant about whatever they are hyper-vigilant about. For one of my friends, it is missionary work or discussion of pioneer ancestors, as this friend has no one from their family who has ever served a mission and was an adult convert, as was their spouse. So we expect to hear loud signs and groans from their pew whenever these subjects arise.

    I would cast John Dehlin and others of his ilk as those members who are avoidant. They say they want and need the Church to embrace them, but then they proceed to do just about everything in their power to push away the very nurture they say they crave. For members who are used to assuaging pain, bearing one another’s burdens and so forth, it is painful to watch the isolation of these who claim to be wounded, even as they actively reject succor. We reach out, and are rebuffed. Or we finally withdraw in pain, and then are mocked for turning away.

    Obviously there are constituencies who do honestly need succor. However there may be some few who are avoidant and get a rush out of seeing how much effort they can get individuals associated with the Church to expend in an effort to reach out to them.

  15. Michael writes: “I’ve starting reading your Joseph posts from the beginning, and wanted to tell you that I’m enjoying catching up on them.”

    Why thank you, Michael. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing them for this audience. It’s fun to have them out here on the internet, complete with all the online links. It’s also a bit fun when I google something, and one of these posts shows up on the first page…

  16. Bruce, I think you are misinterpreting John’s use of the parable of the 99. It’s about the focus of the message, the correlation.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. By focusing on the needs of the few, the church would loose many. If the church focused on me, rather than everyone else, they would start building Cathedrals, replacing hymns with the music of Bach and Messiaen, and reading from the Gnostic gospels, and everyone except me would leave.

    So John is absolutely right. His needs are not as important, because he is a minority. Like President Packer, said, we teach the rule, not the exception. There are exceptions, but they are delt with privately and as quietly as possible. If you have to remove tumor, you don’t cut the entire body open, but just the part where you find the tumor.

    Going after “the one” is the job of the individual, not the church. It is the job of the hometeacher, the bishop’s interview, the blogger friend, a parent, etc. But the main church is for the majority, not the minority.

  17. “So what about people like me who seriously study the history and find it full of secret honor and selfless sacrifice?”

    I think the usual jargon used to dismiss folks like you (and me) is to tell us we are suffering from false consciousness.

  18. Stephen Wight: JD is already off the fence, on the outside. Has been for a long time. He just wants his online avatar to appear straddling the fence.

  19. Meg:Don’t forget the Disorganized Attachment Style. This is quite rare (essentially RAD), but still an important part of attachment theory.

    Re: the thread. I find it ironic in a completely unfunny way that President Packer’s talk on homosexuality, feminism, and intellectualism is so often mis-characterized. He very clearly makes the same case Nate does above. Snippets from the talk sound heartless. The problem is that those snippets never acknowledge the emphasis President Packer placed on leaders, teachers, and members reaching out individually to “the one.” He also clarified that for General Authorities to address the one when called to address the 100 is contrary to God’s order for the church.

  20. ::blush:: re: Ivan’s comment.

    So I looked up false consciousness and I didn’t understand what the heck it was talking about. I get cultural hegemony and dominant ideology.

    Luckily I have a son-in-law who studies these things. So false consciousness would be when I believe something, but I am unaware that what I think is not original or authentic, it is merely the construct of my surroundings, the messages of the hierarchy that lords it over me. So nice to know that those accusing me of suffering from false consciousness are themselves completely free from any such cultural delusions.

    LOL. I live in a household where my husband discusses the approximations and the exact equations for the nth term of the Fibonacci series at 11:30 om while snacking on ice cream. Where when I made a snide comment at dinner tonight (something along the lines, perhaps, that men have priesthood because God has to give them *something* to do), my husband reproved me for being matronizing. I am not a lemming-like member of the unthinking proletariat. Silly jargon-slingers.

  21. I agree with Ivan. I read Meg’s comments over and over again because they’re that enlightening to me.

  22. The fact is that JD has made a lot of money off of Mormon Stories and I doubt that he wants to lose this substantial income. He has some donors who give very substantial contributions. His pecuniary motives cannot be overlooked.

    He has desired also to appear to be still in the church so that he could have the maximum effect to pressure the church to make political changes that he and his donors want to see effected — and continue to get gain. As I see it, it is not merely bad faith but dishonest. He is not up-front about his purposes and hides his real beliefs (at least before these most recent FB confessions) so that he can be an influence peddler to disabuse the saints of the notion that the Church is the real deal.

  23. Meg, FWIW being a thinking person and understanding mathmetics has almost nothing to do with self awareness.

  24. Nate,

    I agree with *your* assessment.

    I do NOT agree thay your assessment is John’s. Consider two quotes:

    “It. Feels. Like. They. Really. Don’t. Want. Us.”

    “…the message I’ve received both from church headquarters, and from local leadership, is that they do not want people like us to remain in the church (unless we are silent, which is not an option for me).”

    This isn’t what you describe, Nate. This is John stating he wants to be wanted, but only on his terms.

    The thing John doesn’t get that you do, Nate, is that the Church does have to teach a message for the majority of the church and it can’t accomodate additional mutually exclusive messages, like the ones he wishes to see advanced. And he won’t stay silent (i.e. allow the majority message) because he sees it as wrong.

    Your ability to ‘embrace contradiction’ isn’t something John can do. That’s the difference in this case, I’m afraid.

  25. Jeff,

    I believe Adam was a real man and the earth is (at least) 6000 years old.
    ;-)

    But I”m curious why you singled Meg out on this when she’s said nothing about Adam up to this point.

  26. How does one explain Ralph Hancock and Daniel Peterson’s participation with Mormon Stories and John Dehlin? Two very bright defenders of the faith who are unlikely, I suppose, to give any comfort or aid to a wolf in sheep’s clothing but as I recall both have been interviewed on MS and been on more than one podcast. Full disclosure, I haven’t listened to a MS podcast in several months so maybe they participated before JD’s recent deviation, at least as described by Bruce Nielson. I am curious though how to reconcile the participation of those two, and there are probably others, with the description of JD here?

  27. Thanks for reprinting those Facebook posts–they’re very revealing. These are typical words of the progressive Left: if you’re not vocally celebrating them publicly, then you’re violently persecuting them.

    I can only imagine the actual interviews and other interactions that resulted in Dehlin announcing that he is unwanted: church leaders encouraging personal reexamination and public restraint, and Dehlin interpreting this in the worst possible light, an obviously unintended one: “We hate you and want you gone, and will use this tactfully diplomatic way of implying such.” Suggesting that a cadre of leaders “must” feel this way is patently uncharitable.

    Based on the expressions given above, Dehlin strikes me as one who has a passive-aggressive need to feel victimized, a martyr in his own mind, so he can translate that into street cred with his sympathizers. Does anything in the cited texts suggest otherwise?

  28. rb,

    If you are asking me, you’re asking the wrong person. I personally feel there is nothing wrong with choosing to participate with John on Mormon Stories. Why did you assume otherwise since I never made such a claim? It’s that person’s choice.

    I explain this point of view in much more depth in today’s post:

    http://www.millennialstar.org/why-did-you-resign-from-mormon-matters-side-1-vs-side-2-and-the-we-attack-you-defend-model-of-dialogue/

    I know Ralph so I happen to know that he made that appearance while John was swinging back on the pendulum and was hoping to help John along. I can’t see for Dan. But honestly, those are just personal reasons. I simply have no condemnation at all for people participating with John period. They need to think through their goals and what they want to accomplish, but its their choice. I do not buy into the idea that “if John isn’t trying to help the church you shouldn’t particpate with him.” That’s J Max’s position, not mine.

  29. *I believe Adam was a real man and the earth is (at least) 6000 years old.*

    Thanks. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that I’m a real man. [Beats chest]

  30. If JD is doing this for money and popularity, and there is no doubt that he is, then that makes him nothing more than practicing Priestcraft. Seriously, with all the evidence against him, why hasn’t he been ex-communicated? I am honest when I say that I believe, contrary to what other assumptions have been made, that his local leaders have no idea how far he has gone.

  31. Jettboy: maybe his leaders see something different in him than what you are judging him for. Should every citizen be kicked out of the country for calling out inconsistencies in our government? Is there a double standard here?

  32. Bruce: I singled out Meg because as I read her posts the come across as very [snip], how she called fellow saints “ilk”…..does she call saints with other non-doctrinal issues ilk as well? I guess that she is okay with the beam in her eye but not with the moats in our eyes. She has no issues with the inconsistencies in doctrine, just with all the inconsistencies with saints.

    I read her bio and realized she had a scientific background in physics. And while I understand that her and her family talk about Fibonacci curves late at night while they eat ice cream, I just wanted to ask a few questions [snip].

  33. Jeff,
    I do in fact appreciate that you were straightfoward in explaining why you are angry.

    However, you’ll forgive me, but your anger seems to boil down to the fact that John Dehlin and people that follow him can be considered a (from dictionary.com) “family, class, or kind.” Since this is unoffensive in and of itself, I will probably have to assume that your angry is that she is refering to John as being respresentative of a category while you’re convinced — not that he isn’t representative of a category — that it’s wrong to point that out because he’s a “fellow saint.” Is that correct? And if so, are you prepared to defend that position?

    Or are you seriously trying to make the argment that John Dehlin isn’t representative of a category? I mean, if that’s your point, then I’m afraid you’re a long way off from making it and better get cracking. Because I’m feeling pretty certain that he’s rather intentionally placed the label of “uncorrelated Mormon” and “Thinking Mormon” on himself precisely because he feels he’s representative of a category.

    Also, Jeff, forgive me, but welcome to the conservative safe zone. I’m leaving your comment up, but personal insults at Meg have been edited out. Please do not do that again.

  34. Bruce, fair enough. Did you edit out fecal and ilk comments from Meg or is it okay to throw mud on John but not Meg?

    Bruce, i have many if the same concerns as John. Over the last few years of dealing with my shifted paradigm. I have tried to approach these issues with reason and honesty. They are legitimate logic traps. I believed 100% at one point in my life, then it came crashing down around me. I have found john to be a voice of reason in a landscape where very few make sense and seem unbiased. I have not like fair from the get go and the issues that the church addresses are weak! Has john done a perfect job of being a saint? No, of course not. But he is open to the issues. I would take his form of sainthood any day over the self-righteous attitude that I see from some of your followers. We are all Buffet Mormons. We pick and choose the doctrines that make sense to us. But in the end….. Every single argument that I can come up with boils down to a feeling that it is true. That is it. I have had many spiritual feelings as a believer and as a non- believer. There is wonder that exists in this universe.
    What I have done is studied the teachings of Christ. And what I have found is it has very little to do with the self righteous attitude that some have portrayed on this post.

  35. I appreciate the Christlike way in which you’ve self-righteously told us that we’re not good followers of Christ.

  36. Jeff,

    Honestly, your story probably isn’t that much different than mine. But we’ve arrived at different destinations.

    I have made none of the following claims:

    1. John is bad
    2. John hasn’t done good things
    3. John isn’t playing a role in improving the church

    (I note that I also make no claims against the reverse of those positions either. I’m open on these questions for now.)

    Maybe you weren’t here for the last post I made on John (its linked to at top of this post) but I argued at length with Howard — and we ended up agreeing — that just as John offers criticism for the Church and this potentially is helpful, so do I offer criticism for John and this also is potentially helpful. It is this point you’re gong ot have to start to wrap your mind around, Jeff. You are feeling pain because I am criticizing some of what John does. But this is the same pain some feel when John criticizes their beliefs. They are either both valid or neither is. RIght now you’re making the mistake of trying to find a way to make only one side valid and you’re going to lose that argument because it’s a bad argument. Your attempting to get there by playing the “don’t attack a fellow saint” card which frankly John violates daily and you are violating as we speak. So its a lame self defeating argument and is not likely to be taken that seriously here.

    But the rest of your points are valid!! Yes, John probably has helped you. Yes, it does come down to spiritual impressions. Yes, there are even “logic traps” that need to be addressed. There is much I am willing to take you seriously on, just not on the idea that somehow criticism of John is not okay but John’s criticism of “TBMs” is. They are both okay as far as I am concerned.

    One more defense of Meg, or rather of my choice on what to include or not include.

    First, Meg did not throw mud at John per se, because her statement was an “if” statement. You should go read it again.

    Secondly, as it turns out, her “if” statement seems to me to be true. John actually does seem to rather insultingly create categories that put people like myself and Meg and others here into an implied “unthinking” or “correlated” category. Of all the things John says that I might actually agree with, this doesn’t happen to be one of them. In fact I think saying that when he does this he’s “full of particularly anaerobic fecal matter” comes across rather nice by comparison to the labels he sticks on us.

    But know what, I’m fine with both! John’s entitled to his opinion and Meg to hers and me to mine. I’m not likely to censor either here. If you want to call yourself a “thinking Mormon” (and by implication I’m an unthinking one) or whatever, go for it. I’ll probably tell you off, but I’ll not censor it.

    Finally, you probably need to go read this post:

    http://www.millennialstar.org/declining-sunstone-and-bloggernacle-safe-zones/

    as well as this one:

    http://www.sixteensmallstones.org/bite-the-wax-tadpole-a-manifesto-for-internet-conversation-and-debate/

    I have yet to be on a blog that was even close to unbiased. And simply put, we have a visible boundary here instead of a culturally enforced invisible one like most blogs. Yes, this site supports the Brethren and therefore by implication is against anything John does that doesn’t support the Brethren. You have fair warning that is the case. You’re welcome to participate here so long as you realize that is the case and are prepared to play nice on a playground specifically setup to take issue with those that take issue with the teachings of the Brethren. You can argue against us using whatever means you choose that we feel don’t cross the line into insulting one of the permas here or turn this site into an anti-Mormon site.

    And no, that isn’t fair. So? We make no pretense that we’re trying to create a ‘fair place’ where all get their say. No such place exists, as I’ve explained in my follow on post today:

    http://www.millennialstar.org/why-did-you-resign-from-mormon-matters-side-1-vs-side-2-and-the-we-attack-you-defend-model-of-dialogue/

    You are participating here out of your own free will. You are less a fit here than Meg (heck, she’s a perma here.) So make no mistake, I am telling you point blank that I intend to protect her over you. Period. That’s my right because its my blog and she is my friend and I don’t know you. Why would I handle it differently than that? And no blog does! We’re just the only ones that admit it.

    I will, however, let you be harsher on myself if you wish. Just avoid cussing and you can probably get away with a lot more insults flung at me if that is your choice of argument. I will probably ignore them, but go for it and I’ll let them stand.

  37. All, I will stand corrected; I was taking slang version of ilk that is type of bad or questionable character. If you just look at Webster it means type. I potentially was putting spin where there may not have been….however probably not.

    Adam, tell me what your focus here is? Do you have struggles, with faith? Why do you care if john is excommunicated? Why does it matter one bit to you or to your salvation? It doesn’t. John dealing with his leaders are his matter. Maybe you might be one ready to cast the stones at the woman caught in adultery?

  38. “John dealing with his leaders are his matter”

    Wow! I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around this one unless you were solely refering to the question of excommunication — perhaps that was your intent as per previous sentence?

    But clearly we all have to make judgements about John, where he is coming from, what we want to take from him, what his intentions are, etc. How could it ever be otherwise?

  39. I am not able to control what you are able to get your mind around. Have you got your mind around what his intentions are? Clearly. Now you are just not sure why his stake president (who you believe is divinely called) is not pulling the trigger on his excommunication! Maybe you know more that he does because you know johns intentions. What are his intentions? Make money? He could make a lot more money in other fields than doing Mormon stories. Make people leave the church? What are his intentions? Please share.

  40. I am not someone calling for John’s excommunication, no. So I agree with you on that.

  41. My intentions are to give people information (and even opinions) so that they can make their own decisions about John’s intentions and how and if they will listen to or participate with him. I make no judgement on their choices.

    Let’s face it, this post is just a bunch of verbatim quotes. I am not afraid to offer opinions too, but this post offered very few opinions. It just culled together John’s own words.

    Those that comment are offering their own personal opinions. They are entitled to them. You are offering yours. Your entitled too.

  42. I, too, make a habit of assuming that Adam–or anyone else, for that matter–only openly disagrees with me because he secretly thinks I’m right.

  43. Bruce, are you ever in the Milwaukee area? I will buy lunch if you are. I would love to have a conversation with you some day. I honestly do not know how people reconcile the truth claims of the church with reality an still believe that the church is what it says it is. Let me know if you are or are.

  44. Jeff,
    tell me why my comments matter to you. Why do you care if you judge me sufficiently Christ-like? Does my salvation depend on you? Maybe you might be ready to cast stones at St. Stephen? Maybe I’m not taking you seriously? Maybe because your comments have been silly?

    JimD,
    I openly disagree with your habit.

  45. Jeff,

    Sorry, I live in Utah. Grew up in Cali, though.

    I am starting a blog soon to help people that can’t figure out how to reconcile truth claims of the chruch with reality. I have struggled to do so myself and maybe I’ll continue to struggle. But I have been able to do it so far. I just helped a friend with this very problem recently and she was so thankful for my ideas that helped her do it that she is the one that has been pressuring me to start said blog to help others.

    Honestly, Jeff, I’m pretty dang convinced that if you really *want* to reconcile the two, I could help you do it. But you’d have to want it. If you are now at the point where you’d prefer not to, then I have no help to offer whatsoever. That’s because my approach is all about making choices. I can teach you how to choose to believe, I can’t convince you to believe.

    I have chosen to believe.

  46. Adam. None of that matters to me at all. If my comments are silly just ignore them.

    I am genuinely curious how you all do it? I am open to debate, I will gladly admit the errors of my thinking if you can expose the holes in my logic. How do you all honestly believe this is gods true church? Very few people will talk to me about this?

    My first question is this: is the church true? If it is true, is it 100% true? If not 100% true, is it still true?

  47. Jeff, I’ve already answered your 100% true question in the past.

    I suppose I don’t mind debate. But it has nothing to do with choosing belief.

    I will not try to convince you to believe. And I’m opened mind enough on this front to not care if you don’t believe. If you desire to believe… THAT I can help you with.

  48. Bruce, I will follow truth and wisdom. I only want the church to be true if indeed it is true. I have no need to believe in something only for it to give me comfort and a sense of purpose. I have that in my life. That is no more than a grown up belief in Santa. I don’t need fairy tales to give me purpose. I have been a bishop 2x, EQP 3x, seminary teacher 3 years, obviously the church has been a key element in my life. I question whether I can believe again. I still believe in gospel principles. But I do t believe In the authority of the church. Do I want to? Not if it is just a bunch of nice fairy tales.

  49. If you are just choosing to believe, it does not answer the question of is it true? I can appreciate your choice, but why did you chose to throw evidence into the wind and believe beyond reason?

  50. My advice to John

    DLTDHYITAOYWO

    He is a juvenile grand stander looking for attention.

  51. Bruce, do you believe all of it? Such as Adam lived in Missouri? That the flood was a universal destruction of all mankind just a few thousand years ago? If you don’t believe in these literally then why do you believe that ordinances are necessary for our salvation?

  52. Adam, if you believe this conversation is below your intellect, feel free to not comment.

  53. Bruce, I suppose my point is how do you determine that something is true that a prophet said but not another point of doctrine? This is what I cannot get my head around? How do you say that it is true but not all of it?

  54. Bruce, I love reading your posts and comments. There is a part of me that would love to find something we disagree on and get into a good debate with you – despite knowing that I would almost certainly lose hands-down.

    And Meg – your posts on polygamy are fascinating and I have to say have given me an even greater love and appreciation for both Joseph and Emma.

    Thank you both.

  55. Well, now here’s the rub, Jeff. You see the very fact that you equate “truth” and “wisdom” suggests to me that you’ve already abandoned a rationally based view of the world. The very fact that you equate religion (if false) to Santa proves to me you’ve already abandoned a rationally based view of the world in favor of one that you find comforting but have no evidence for.

    Where are you getting this? Is sure isn’t coming from science. Scientist Jonathan Haidt — an atheist — is just one of the more recent scientists to study morality and religion and was forced against his will to come to the conclusion that religion plays in an incredibly important, and possibily impossible to live without, necessity for human beings. And that human beings that don’t have ‘religion’ pretty much end up mimicking it out of such necessity. (As, in my opinion, you are with your pretensions of truth and wisdom)

    Why coudn’t that be true, Jeff? Why couldn’t religion be 100% false factually but still overwhelmingly positive for human beings? Why couldn’t it be good for human beings to believe in an afterlife even if there isn’t one? Why couldn’t it be good for human beings to believe there is a moral God watching over them wanting them to be ethical even if there isn’t? And why couldn’t it be so fundamental to human beings that you are really just mimicking it right now as you try to explain to me that you “follow truth and wisdom” because frankly you can’t live without it? And why couldn’t it be that your belief that you follow truth and wisdom and your need to equate those together is in fact a straight up example of how you do not follow truth?

    And if we live in a non-theistic universe, as you seem to be claiming, why in the world would you start with the improbable assumption that truth is always good and non-truth is always bad and therefore you have some sort of moral duty to live your life seeking the truth? Because as a rationalist, I’m extremely skeptical of such theistic non-sense. And please explain to me why that isn’t precisely a case of you rather irrationally taking on a belief for your comfort even though you have no evidence for them?

    And don’t try to make the claim that you don’t do this, because the very fact you are here arguing — in my mind using primarily moral arguments, not rational ones — proves that isn’t the case.

    And while we are at it, as I demonstrate in this post using pure rationality, morality is a delusion in a non-theistic universe. See whole series here. However, the fact that morality is a delusion does not in the slighest change its complete usefulness and even requirement for human societies to exist. Which only means that human societies are all built on delusion, therefore some delusions must be of positive utility compare to their alternatives. (At least in a non-theistic universe, as you seem to be assuming.) So why you’d be proud to “follow truth and wisdom” is very difficult for me to understand and I am extremely skeptical that a rational person would ever put them together and extremely skeptical that the fact that you do isn’t really just a form of Theism. And for that matter, why shouldn’t we follow a path of happiness and meaning over a path of truth since we know truth is often not good for human beings and even our own human societies are built on falsehoods that happen to be good falsehoods — such a belief in morality and particularly a belief in justice and deserts? (See links)

    And you say you already have comfort and meaning in your life. Okay, I don’t doubt it. But I DO doubt its because you “follow truth and wisdom.” In fact, I suspec that the reason you have comfort and meaning in your life is actually because you buy into the completely false idea that “truth” is always better than falsehoods and is therefore equated to ‘wisdom’ (whatever that means in this context, which is not at all clear), even though we know that isn’t the case in a non-theistic universe and it can be demonstrated rationally.

    And I am basically saying that from where I am sitting, I’m not so sure you are rational nor that you seek truth over all else and you’re going to have to convince me of that (or choose to not even try, I suppose), because it really looks to me like you have abandoned certain concept of something-like-God (you now see) as not supported by rationality but are clinging to a new something-like-God instead that is also not supported by rationaity. And I think that was an irrational thing for you to do.

    Please help me understand what rational basis there could possibly be for you to make a big deal out of “following truth and widsom” and even attempting to equate those together? Because I’m thinking you can’t come up with a rational argument to do so.

  56. Jeff, how on earth do you equate a belief in a universal flood only a few thousand years ago with the need for ordinances? Sorry, but I genuinely can’t see the connection.

  57. JeffC. Because both are taught as true principles in the church. I am just curious as to why you will believe one and potentially not the other….and you may believe in both.

  58. We’ll have to disagree on that because as far as I am concerned a universal flood only a few thousand years ago isn’t taught as a true principle by the Church. Apostles have held differing views on the subject and to my knowledge the Church has no official position.

    The Bible Dictionary (which could be quoted to support your view) is prefaced by wording that it should not be considered Church doctrine, and is in fact contradicted by another Church publication, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

    There will be plenty of people who know vastly more about our history than I do, but it seems to me that the highly literalist view of the Bible in the Church came with Joseph Fielding Smith while he was a young Apostle, and was equally strongly opposed by the likes of John A Widtsoe, and Henry Eyring; so while many in the Church may have come to take that very literal interpretation, it has never been official Church doctrine.

    As it happens, I do believe there was a flood at some point in the distant past on which the Bible story is based. I’m inclined to believe that the prophet-hero was named Noah, but I doubt very much that it covered the entire globe (I don’t think that the Bible actually means that anyway) and I haven’t the foggiest idea how many thousand years ago it happened. But to be honest I’m really not that bothered as to how much of that I’ve got right or wrong, as I don’t think the main point of the story is to teach us about a historical flood.

    Ordinances are another matter entirely, though, and have been a core doctrine to the Church since its organisation – and yes I absolutely believe they are essential.

    No contradiction for me as they are totally different issues with no connection whatsoever.

  59. Bruce, hmm, I thought all you were going to tell me was “never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”

    BN: “You see the very fact that you equate “truth” and “wisdom” suggests to me that you’ve already abandoned a rationally based view of the world”

    JH: What definition of rational are we using, yours? And how and why are you making this assumption that I cannot correlate truth and wisdom? Truth in my mind seldom exists, but where it does exist, it is wisdom that I follow it. Gravity is true in almost every case. It is wisdom, that when I am somewhere where the truth of gravity could impose harm, i should be careful. Truth and wisdom, wisdom is the vehicle to follow true principles. How is that irrational? Its not. Come on, dont just give me a verbal spew of words, I want you to debunk my reasoning on why I do not believe the truth claims of the church…not enhance them.

    BN: “The very fact that you equate religion (if false) to Santa proves to me you’ve already abandoned a rationally based view of the world in favor of one that you find comforting but have no evidence for”

    JH: Once again, whos view of rational? And how does it prove my irrationality and that I have sought for comfort in something I dont have evidence for? How can I not correlate a potential fable of the scriptures….ie a talking donkey, or global flood, or armies that make walls fall, or jaredite barges, to believing as a child in a man who bring presents to children if they are good?

    Quick story: I was at walgreens with my twins during the time of my faith crisis and it just so happened to be near the same time my twins found out Santa was not a real person (My wife and I upheld the myth). I asked my twins, how did you feel when you found out that Santa was not real? They both said, almost simultaniously, WE WERE MAD!

    This is the same thing, if the mormon church is not true….after all of its truth claims, if it is not true, then it is exactly like Santa, something nice to believe in. You could still make a choice to believe in Santa, do you? That is a choice.

    BN: Where are you getting this? Is sure isn’t coming from science. Scientist Jonathan Haidt — an atheist — is just one of the more recent scientists to study morality and religion and was forced against his will to come to the conclusion that religion plays in an incredibly important, and possibily impossible to live without, necessity for human beings. And that human beings that don’t have ‘religion’ pretty much end up mimicking it out of such necessity. (As, in my opinion, you are with your pretensions of truth and wisdom)

    JH: This is not my argument. I believe in the value of religion. I still go to church weekly. There is huge value in religion? Why? because it is true? No….but because it is wisdom…because I find that the more I take my focus off of me, and help bear one anothers burdens, I am a happier person.
    I am going to continue this in another post.

  60. JeffC did you not see one of the most recent essays from the church on the global flood? There have been…I cant remember who….sorry, dont have time to look it up either…that the flood was the baptism of the earth?

    I really dont see how you can assume that one doctrine (That has almost no scritutural evidence…other than baptism) is true while another doctrine or “teaching” of the church is not true.

  61. Plenty of GA’s have referenced the flood as the baptism of the earth (yes I’ve seen the quotes – and the Ensign article from back in the 90’s). And others have held opposing views. It’s just not official doctrine, never has been, and is absolutely not central to the Church’s truth claims. Full stop.

    And how can you claim there is no scriptural evidence for ordinances while simultaneously using a scriptural example of an ordinance? The baptism example alone should demonstrate scriptural support for the principle of ordinances, and of course the Doctrine and Covenants also talks about the necessity of Celestial Marriage – but then I suppose you discount that as not being scripture?

  62. Blake O wrote: “His pecuniary motives cannot be overlooked…”

    I used to be a regular donor to Mormon Stories when he was in a phase of “inoculation” and had guests with different expertise/interest in different aspects of Mormonism and some personal narratives of people who find joy in Mormonism although they may be less-mainstream.

    Then, he started interviewing non-believers, antagonists, and IMO started to put down what I consider to be traditional beliefs, and those that hold them. Red flag #1, so I quit donating. He could tell everyone that the book my ancestors literally died for was just a convenient fiction to build a social club around, but he had to do it on his own dime.
    I got an email some time later asking me to reconsider my decision and to return to donation, and inviting me to participate in a private discussion forum or social media group, composed of donors and people who wanted greater access to discussions with him, and greater influence in the “Open Stories” project.

    This was red flag #2, so I stayed far away. I guess I didn’t mind the request for continued donation (all charities do that, even if it’s annoying), but a private forum for donors and “interested parties”? No thank you. This sounded too “inner-circle cabal” for my tastes. If not cabal, then definitely “multi-level-marketing Elite business circle.” Either way: no deal.

    Blake O also wrote: “He has desired also to appear to be still in the church so that he could have the maximum effect to pressure the church to make political changes that he and his donors want to see effected — and continue to get gain. …. He is not up-front about his purposes and hides his real beliefs… so that he can be an influence peddler…”

    I’ve seen people refer to JDs work as “Dehlin Industries” in the bloggernacle. Although I think it’s the least charitable interpretation, it also seems, to me, to be accurate. If he loses his “branding” (Active but Thinking Mormon! Safe to Listen to! No pesky doctrine police here!) he loses his main draw to get new customers/marks. So he has to stay “Mormon”, so he keeps branding and doesn’t dissolve into one of thousands of “spiritual but not religious” UUC members or one of thousands of social/political agitators that wants organizations to change based on his own beliefs.

    He can’t keep squeezing the smaller market (Disaffected Mormons who want to put their money where their mouth is), he has to try and increase marketshare and draw people away from the larger market (Active Mormons who already spend based on their convictions). He can’t do this branding himself as Ex-Mormon. So he keeps up appearances of being “active but questioning and compassionate” to Mormon audiences and “skeptical but tolerant of the TBM rubes who he wants to persuade” to Ex-Mormon audiences (if you don’t believe me, listen to him as a guest on an ex-mormon podcast or two and you’ll see it right away).

    Blake O also wrote: “He is not up-front about his purposes and hides his real beliefs (at least before these most recent FB confessions)”

    I’ve seen this a lot over the years. He hides his real beliefs, let’s them leak out (accidentally?) and will make them disappear down the memory hole when the “TBMs” call him out on it. When he thinks his potential marks aren’t watching, it comes out. When they pay attention, he clams up tight, or starts with the “just trying to ease suffering” rhetoric.

  63. N,

    Interested in doing a guest post here on John with above insights? I’d love to have you get some real quotes and give examples and such. I believe you are correct about John’s hidden motives coming out when he thinks it safe. I’ve seen this myself a bit.

  64. “And how and why are you making this assumption that I cannot correlate truth and wisdom? Truth in my mind seldom exists, but where it does exist, it is wisdom that I follow it.”

    Okay, so let’s untangle this a bit. First of all, why ar eyou saying truth seldom exists? There are truths all over the place, of course.

    Now you make an argument that truth and wisdom “correlate” which is a statistical concept. Surely you are right about this. Knowing the truth is usually a good thing. But then you go on to say “but where [Truth] does exist, it is wisdom that I follow it”

    Huh? How can you draw such a conclusion from your premise? That’s like saying “most mushrooms are not poisonous, so it’s good to eat mushrooms.” Wouldn’t the more rational view point be that in most cases truth is good but in some cases falsehoods are good and we should try to follow the truth when that is good and as much as possible delude ourselves with falsehoods where that is good? (And if we can’t, well, too bad for us?) It seems like that just rationally follows to me.

    And I’ve already given you an example of this. Human morality is built on a delusional biological sense that makes morality falsely seem objective and like something we *should* follow. You yourself have already made such a rationally questionable claim: “I still believe in gospel principles” or for that matter your near constant charge that people should not share opinions about John Dehlin because he’s a fellow saint. Why would that be true? Care to rationally justify it to me?

    “because I find that the more I take my focus off of me, and help bear one anothers burdens, I am a happier person.”

    Okay, this seems fair enough. You believe that religion does in fact work and you are prepare to live it in so far as it works for you. I have several questions now:

    1. If you were not such a person, and you were happier if you did focus only yourself, should you?
    2. Is it reasonable that everyone can benefit from religion without belief? (As you claim you are doing, though I’m still not convinced of this.) What would happen to the Church — or any religion — if no one believed in it? Would it even be a good place for you any more if everyone in your ward suddenly started believing like you?

    Concerning the Santa analogy, it seems you’re making an argument that doesn’t really fit your case. I mean we all know kids will eventually find out that Santa isn’t real, but not all would get mad about it. But yours did, okay, fair enough. But doesn’t that really mean that they were happier *believing in something that wasn’t true*? So how does this help your case? It honestly looks to me like you just undermined your own point.

    I suppose there is a hidden assumption here, namely that once they find out Santa is not real, then they are worse off. That *might* be true, I don’t know. But here is where your analogy falls apart. After all, *all* kids eventually find out Santa isn’t real but tons and tons of people believe in God right up to death and find considerable comfort in that belief. In fact, it’s a huge overwhelming majority of people that do throughout all history and even today throughout the world. So the case that teaching false religions is bad based on an analogy of Santa is a really bad argument and about as poor an argument as you could have made. Can you see that is the case?

  65. I’m so sad that I’m prohibited from visiting certain websites while at work. I completely missed whatever Jeff said about me.

    Bruce, I thank you for your consideration on my behalf, but I would rather have liked to know what Jeff called me (possibly a term that refers to a maternal canine?) and the content of the other snip (so well done, Bruce, that I can’t even guess what the insult might have been).

    Although now that Jeff points it out, I suppose I was aware that ilk tends to be used for “others” rather than valued members of one’s own community, but I didn’t mean it as a particular slam.

    As for what I believe, I love that Mormonism frees me to always believe in truth. Perhaps where others live they are asked to subscribe to the most narrow traditional dogmas of Christianity because someone thought that is what Mormons do, but my Mormonism is able to comprehend any fact. If you haven’t read my Faithful Joseph post, you might not understand that.

    Ooo – the Faithful Joseph post and several others in that series now have podcasts available. I’m creating and posting them as time permits.

  66. I just spent an hour writing my second installment to your post…unfortunately for all of you :-) a firewall blocked it. I am not going to spend another hour re-writing it. May you all find joy and happiness in your belief. Bruce, please remove my email from your blog so I stop getting post updates.

    Thanks. Jeff

  67. Meg,

    Now that I know that is your wishes, I will not moderate insults aimed at you. Thanks for letting me know. M*s default policy is that insults are disallowed. But I allow them if aimed at me quite a bit, so I’m of the opinion that its up to the individual permablogger and also the person being insulted. ;-)

  68. Meg, best wishes. I am not a person to anyone a “B”. Your posts merely came across as self righteous to me….but I understand my own hypocracy…and realize that I probably came across the same way. Best wishes on your journey. I have tried to take the same approach to mormonism, that it is capable of all truth….yet, that does not come across so well in some wards. I meant no harm in my earlier posts. Over and Out.

  69. N@3:59p said “This was red flag #2, so I stayed far away. I guess I didn’t mind the request for continued donation (all charities do that, even if it’s annoying), but a private forum for donors and “interested parties”? No thank you.”

    I received the same email, and went so far as to join a forum for a short while. After a short while, I realized it was just a safe space for people to air grievances and have exchanges that weren’t conducive to any sort of dialogue. I didn’t see a whole lot of difference between them and other post-Mormon type forums. It certainly wasn’t productive to bring my soul any peace or clarity, so I asked to close my account. JD wrote back nicely, saying he understood my concerns.

    All I ever thought was that if was what JD was surrounding himself with all the time, it isn’t at all surprising where he ended up. I was briefly happy for him when he did his lengthy “what I’ve been up to” podcast last year, but as seems to be the pattern with him, any hope he’d find a place for himself seems once again dim.

    I think N. is quite right based on my years of exposure to various “Dehlin Industries.” In my naiveté, I always hold out hope he’s figured his issues out, but as that fool me… saying goes, I’m kind of done with him. I do wish him the best, but I’m tired of expending mental energy over it.

  70. Bruce Nielson on April 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm said: “Interested in doing a guest post here on John with above insights?”

    I’ll think about it, although my first inclination is to say no because of the amount of due diligence, documentation, and investigative reporting I’d feel like I have to do to make it air-tight. I’m tired just thinking about it. ;)

    I will admit that, at one time, I contemplated making a “response blog” to things that I heard on Mormon Stories or Mormon Matters or saw on the blogs or FB page that I thought were wrong/misleading/negative –just to document them and give a more faithful response. I did one post and felt like a cross between a stalker and a cranky newspaper-letter writer; I never posted it.

    I guess I’m saying I may still have enough stalker in me to say yes.

  71. I have minimal experience with JD, so take my comments with a grain of salt, but what I glimpsed of him was enough for me to know exactly where he stood. A previous missionary companion, who is now an avowed ex-Mo, (and who can’t seem leave it alone, as if any ex-Mo could…) referred me to JD’s “Why people leave the church” podcast on FB. At first glance, it seemed a sincere exposition on the reasons beyond the standard “they are sinning,” or “they’ve been on the internet” rationale. But this was clearly constructed to produce empathy for the disaffected. Not that I don’t have empathy, I do, but in the end they are making their choices. And the fact that my companion looks to JD as a hero was a red flag. JD’s tone and commentary was similar to that thinkmormon site where they talk a good talk, but in the end they are just spewing doubts that are not at all faith-building, despite their claims of neutrality. Another red flag. Seems he needs to stay “Mormon” in order to attract the new and curious Mormons, like myself, to keep his platform afloat in hopes of bringing them down to his views, and so he dances on the precipice of outright inactivity. His dance will eventually push him over that edge. Doubt those who encourage you to doubt your faith certainly applies here and anywhere else.

    As to Bruce’s post on “balance,” anyone who claims to provide balanced and objective viewpoints, they are lying, even if they believe it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no such thing. Everything is slanted one way or another. Even the Church is slanted toward super-conservative views, while other mediums, including those in the bloggernacle, present an ultra-liberal view and many others fall somewhere in between the continuum. Might as well try to balance a four-legged chair on a single leg. Not happening. Statistically, the more posts and comments in any one blog will ultimately contribute to the “imbalance” and achieving so-called “balance” depends on a number of defining factors, perspectives, and consistency, such that there is rarely any true balance. Thus balance is a fleeting objective, absolutely impossible to attain in an imperfect world, however one approaches it.

    Hence, I am not interested in balance, but I am interested in truth. Since I discovered the bloggernacle not too long ago, I find that I gravitate toward M* more than any other. Why? Because I feel, for me, it is most consistent in its advocacy of truth—ie. its tone and attitude toward current church leaders, and toward LDS teachings, doctrines, and beliefs—not only among the bloggers, but from most of the commenters as well. I feel its honest quest for and due diligence towards truth sets it apart from that of other blogs. No doubt others will say the same about their preferred blogs in accordance with their own views. For instance, I appreciate Meg’s historical posts on polygamy, which read like a soap opera, but presents the bigger picture of how things likely went down. Her posts and the majority of M* posts are mostly edifying while also building faith and testimony without an undercurrent of mocking, making light of church doctrines, or casting aspersions of doubt and uncertainty. Which is why I’m glad to keep returning to M* for more.

  72. Tiger, thanks for the nice comments about M*. We are approaching our 10-year anniversary next year, and the blog is the best it has ever been mostly because of our newer contributors like Meg, our guest posts and the renewed activity from Bruce N. Our readership has also gone WAY up in the last few months, and this is always good.

    Our primary goal, as you have seen, is to provide a safe place for active Latter-day Saints to discuss the Church without all discussions inevitably descending into a pile-on of people questioning the Brethren. Our discussions will be different than those at other Mormons blogs, and that is exactly the point. You will occasionally see shocked comments from other Mormon bloggers who are used to another type of Mormon blog environment, and this is not surprising or unexpected because we are consciously trying to avoid what most people are used to in the Mormon blog world.

    Regarding John Dehlin, I am surprised more people are not using the word “priestcraft” because this is exactly what he appears to be about.

  73. N,

    Let me know if you want to do this. Contact Millennialstar and they’ll get me a message. Honestly, if you do this, Geoff himself will probably want to run with teh guest post and you may not even need me.

  74. “I am not going to spend another hour re-writing it.”

    Jeff, can’t blame you on this. Thank you for the conversation.

    “Bruce, please remove my email from your blog so I stop getting post updates.”

    I’m afraid I don’t know how to do this and I’m not sure I can unless you have a user login. You should have a way to unsubscribe.

    Or I can just remove all emails from our of your comments? I’ll attempt that.

    Thank you for participating.

  75. I have attempted to remove your email, Jeff. Did you receive an email from this comment?

  76. Tiger,
    I gotta say, if you think the Church has a superconservative slant, all I can say is avoid actual superconservative venues, they might make your mind bleed.
    The church does have a conservative slant, I agree. Partly this is because, unfortunately, stuff like personal responsibility, character growth, and sexual morality have unfortunately become partisan markers, not something that everyone takes as a given.

  77. Wow, so many comments and opinions about JD, almost TMTR (Too Many To Read)…in the spirit of things I think I will throw out some judgmental opinions once more (I believe I have a response back up there somewhere to the original post). And, due to the loveliness of the day and my desire to go hiking, I am not going to spend any time polishing my post, so here goes. JD personifies the scripture that I bring up frequently to my Course 14 class about where to go and not go to seek to know the doctrines of the Gospel:

    Where not to obtain answers to Gospel questions.
    (Alma 12:9–11)
    9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
    10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
    11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

    I think the beginning of verse 11 is getting at the truth for JD, but will not go so far as to say the rest of the verse applies…after all, we are all working out our own salvation and struggling to one degree or another. Nonetheless, I will be frank in stating my opinion. I have listened to almost all JD’s podcasts and for awhile thought maybe he was starting to moderate a bit, perhaps last year, and perhaps in relation to his other life events going on at the same time (struggling getting his doctorate, having second thoughts about where his public efforts were taking some people, etc.) However, after listening to the last few podcasts I (yes) judge that JD has returned again to his vomit. There, I said it, but that is the sense I get…that may sound condemning, but I can say I have been there many times myself during the course of my own life.

    As I said before, I believe JD will maintain his appearance of fence sitting because he lacks the courage to publicly acknowledge that he is indeed off. He won’t have the same public exposure when not sitting on the fence. I think his lack of courage became most evident in his reaction to the knowledge that a carefully prepared exposure, history, and rebuttal to his history/methods was about to be published by the Maxwell Institute, which I acknowledge was perhaps not the best forum. But it is published now and can be searched and read on the “Interpreter” website. He appeared distressed back then that he would receive ad hominem attacks from apologists. Wow, that was threatening! He had been doing that for years against others both living and dead (and unable to defend themselves). Why not just welcome any publications seemingly against him and just respond in detail? I could go on but really want to go out to enjoy the day…

    Well, one more thing brought up by JD recently, again. How can anyone, who has read all the evidence regarding DNA and the BofM still insinuate that it has anything to tell us for or against its veracity. It is as complete non-issue and ever will be.

    Oh, and one more thing to rant about that still annoys me to no end and I promise I will be done: that was the interview with Michael Coe regarding BofM evidence. I love Michael Coe and have read his books and will reread again (each time before I revisit Mesoamerica). For JD to throw up so many straw men for Coe to knock down became the epitome of the theater of the absurd.

    Anyway, I think it is time for JD to just be completely honest, publicly get off the fence, and perhaps answer in detail what others have documented about HIM, perhaps with something written that can be carefully analyzed. I apologize to any who may be offended by my judgmentalism, lack of nuance, and bluntness but this has been quick…

  78. Pingback: 2014-04-10 millennialstar.org Reply to Post re-John Dehlin | StephenW

  79. Does any one here remember Sonia Johnson? Too young? Sonia Johnson got a lot of press for her “LDS feminism” in the late 70s and very early 80s. Then she was finally excommunicated. It was like a switch was flipped. Once she was no longer a Mormon she was nobody. It’s happened since. Paul Toscano anyone?

  80. Sonia Johnson was an interesting character. She was on the Washington, DC evening news once, tearful about her lost LDS membership, so many years ago (1970’s as I recall). I made no judgment about her at that time but felt some pity. I had not thought of her for years until the late 80’s or early 90’s there was an extensive article about her in the Ogden, Utah newspaper. She had a butch haircut in her photo, which was not from undergoing chemotherapy. She was coming to Ogden to teach fellow lesbians how to perform abortions on one another, an expertise she had gained previously and had been doing for quite some time. (Yes, lesbians do become pregnant because many are not exclusive lesbians). The Wikipedia article on her is reasonably accurate. Now, upon contemplating how her life had turned out (at least until the early 90’s), I feel a fairly profound sadness for her.

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