My son Chris had just been kicked off the Plymouth Stake Youth Facebook Group for posting a link to the BBC documentary “This World: The Mormon Candidate”.
He received no warning prior to his ‘kicking’ off the group.
I replied out of motivation to defend the right to free speech & to reject the attempt by the Church to maintain conformity of thought amongst the members.
I am inspired by this statement from Elder Hugh B Brown:
“I admire men and women who have developed the questioning spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas and stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent – if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression. This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence nor any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.” (Hugh B. Brown, counselor in First Presidency, Speech at BYU, March 29, 1958)
Hoping you, & your lovely wife & family are well.
I didn’t realise Chris had posted the link to the BBC documentary on Mitt Romney. He wasn’t anti-Mormon, just interested in differing opinions on the faith of his birth.
He has been told tonight by his sister, Lucy, that he had been kicked off for posting the link.
I have to say I’ve never seen Chris nor Lucy so shocked before about anything in the Church, but this action has really focused their thoughts & emotions.
Both Chris & Lucy are upset & frantically questioning me about it.
Upto now our children have not been interested in the Church & why I resigned, finding it all too tedious & boring. However, Chris’ removal from the Facebook group has changed all that.
I know you as a kind & generous person, who I have always held in high regard & respected for your sensitive & compassionate manner.
As an administrator of the Stake Youth Facebook Group, I realise you have a perceived responsibility to teach & protect those in your stewardship.
It must be very difficult to balance your actions to protect the group & at the same time try to reach out to those on the fringes of the Church like our teenagers.
I know personally how challenging it can be to feel the pressure to protect the many, whilst wanting to show compassion to the one.
I know also the emotional dilemma of facing information about the Church which feels threatening to my sense of reality.
Chris has gone through that nightmare of emotion himself & we nearly lost him in the process.
The Church isn’t coping well as an organisation with the massive increase in information about its past which contradicts the image it wants to present to the world.
Nor is it handling the mass exodus which is occurring as a result of its members suddenly discovering a different story of the truth than they were taught. This different story is acknowledged by Mormon Apologists from BYU as true, but still the Church leaders keep perpetuating the sanitised version because it is ‘faith promoting’.
Elder Marlin K Jensen, the last Church Historian, admitted these facts recently. http://mormon-chronicles.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/rescue-plan-to-address-difficulties-of.html.
Sadly for the Church, the actions today have pushed our children further away, which I know was not your intention.
Ironically his removal from the group could be seen by some as an example of the shunning which the documentary itself highlighted.
One of my campaigns with regards to the Church is to help members understand the awfully traumatic emotional crisis which occurs for those who suddenly come to a realisation of the truth.
Elder Jensen understands it, as well as many other GAs, but it is proving difficult to help local leaders and members understand it so that the shunning which the documentary highlighted does not occur.
I am currently in personal contact with a member of a Quorum of Seventy who also empathises with the situation of those who leave the Church. He desperately wants grass-roots members to be more understanding, but he realises how difficult it is for all concerned, including the active family & friends of those who leave.
It doesn’t help that quite often those who leave are threatened with disciplinary action if they talk about the issues with other members.
I was personally told not to contact anyone, but was shocked no-one apart from Steve Marshall contacted me in over a year. Even my friend President Martin ignores my emails & letters, which are very infrequent.
I don’t want to burst people’s ‘bubbles’, I realise how painful it was for me to come to terms with.
However, I can assure everyone who decides to check out the facts for themselves, rather than relying on the Church’s current version of history, that after the initial shock, & existential crisis, that it’s like the world appears more beautiful & colourful than ever before. Rather like a rebirth.
Check out this research report that was published today by the University of Utah on this very issue.
Sadly shunning occurs, and needs to stop. Hoping you can help.
Also, if you really want to know what those issues are, and value truth above all else, it would pay you to visit this objective website made by current active & some ex-members.
Or my blog: https://stevebloor.wordpress.com
Love to you and your family,