Do the Mormons want to Excommunicate Romney Critic?

Dave Twede, one of the editors of MormonThink, an objective website looking in detail at Mormon Church history etc, has been threatened with excommunication for revealing truth to the wider audience.

Here is his very interesting personal blog: MormonThinkBlog2012

Jamie Reno also covers the story here at the Daily Beast news & commentary blog.

I don’t believe he is threatened with excommunication for criticizing Mitt Romney, but for advocating rational enquiry into the faith of his birth.

Dave, I wish you & your family all the very best, & offer my support wherever I can be of help.

Steve Bloor

*************
UK national press Daily Mail article

In further developments Steve Benson reports on Recovery from Mormonism forum:

***BREAKING NEWS: Big-Stick Media Hits the Twede Excommunication Story–New York Times Weighs In*** . . .

“Editor of Web Site May Face Mormon Excommunication,”
by Laurie Goodstein, “New York Times,” religion section, 21 September 21, 2012:

“The editor of a Web site that encourages Mormons to question Church history and doctrine has been told that he faces a Church trial and possible excommunication because he is an apostate who is trying to lead church members astray.

“David Twede, a fifth-generation Mormon who lives in Florida, is the managing editor of MormonThink, one of the most influential of the many Web sites on which active and former Mormons debate church teaching. Such sites have drawn increased traffic as Mormons turn to the Internet to find answers to controversial questions about Mormon history and traditions that the Church does not address.

“The Church has come under heightened scrutiny with the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, a Mormon who once served as a bishop. The church went through a spate of public excommunications of prominent scholars and feminists in the early 1990s, but in recent years public excommunications of dissidents have been rare, Church experts said.

“Mr. Twede’s situation was first reported on Friday by the Web site ‘The Daily Beast,’ which suggested that Mr. Twede was being disciplined because he had posted several articles on MormonThink critical of Mr. Romney. . . .

“Michael Purdy, a Church spokesman, said in a statement, ‘It is patently false for someone to suggest they face Church discipline for having questions or for expressing a political view.’

“’Church discipline becomes necessary only in those rare occasions when an individual’s actions cannot be ignored while they claim to be in good standing with the Church,’ he wrote. ‘Every organization, whether religious or secular, must be able to define where its boundaries begin and end.’

“Scott Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, an organization in Redding, Calif., that defends Mormon theology[i.e., the Mormon apologetics outfit FAIR], said that he had forwarded materials posted by Mr. Twede to Church officials in Salt Lake City.

“’It has nothing to do with Romney,’ Mr. Gordon said. ‘I know members very high up in the Church who are voting for Obama.’

“It’s about him posting on a blog that he was actively in there trying to subvert people’s beliefs in the L.D.S. church,” Mr. Gordon said, using the shorthand for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Philip Barlow, a professor of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University, said that other Mormon bloggers had posted negative articles about Mr. Romney without any repercussions from the Church.

“’You wouldn’t be called to a disciplinary council for criticizing Mitt Romney,’ he said. ‘You would be called for doing harm to the Church.'”

New York Times report:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/us/web-site-editor-may-face-mormon-excommunication.html?_r=1
_____

C’mon,now. Who actually believes that finely-spun sophistry (not counting reflexively-obedient true-believing Mormons)?

When David and I were communicating recently about getting his situation with his local LDS Church leaders some major national media exposure, he referred me to some of his postings on MormonThink.org–the ones that have led to excommunication plans arranged at his expense. These links included:

–Romney’s Mormon/Non-Christian View of God”
http://www.mormonthink.com/christian.htm

–The History of the Mormon CHurch’s of involvement in politics, at the possible implications that might have for a Romney presidnecy. This one was described to me by David as “[a]ctually the article that seemed to piss them off”:

http://www.MormonThink.com/politics.htm

(For further background on how this incident developed into a national story, see: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?)2,645486,645486#msg-645486)
_____

Let’s get real, folks.

Posting critical, historically-sound analysis (as David most certainly did) about Mitt Romney’s non-Christian view of God and about the LDS history of entanglement in politics, is seen by the Mormon Church as doing harm to, um, the Mormon Church.

This is a potential biggie.
_____

(related RfM thread at: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,646049) .

*************

Joanna Brooks commentary on recent events:
http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/6422/is_criticizing_mitt_romney_an_excommunicable_offense__no._|_/ .

This entry was posted in Mormon Issues, Religious Epiphany, TRUTH. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Do the Mormons want to Excommunicate Romney Critic?

  1. Jeff Walsh says:

    Objective website!!!!! Don’t make me laugh

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I’m glad I cheered you up this morning with a chuckle.

      It’s a heck of a lot more objective than Sanitised Church History.

      The idea is to give a more detailed & overall perspective & let people make their own minds up. Rather than choose which version of history they will be allowed to read.

      History needs to be transparent. Rather than just “faith promoting”, as Elder Packer chooses to call the Church version of events.

      The Church version of history seems to alter over time, just like Joseph Smith’s different versions of the First Vision.

      The First Vision was supposedly the most momentous event in the history of the world, yet members who joined the Church in the first decade didn’t even know about it.

      It was still being formulated into its current version by Joseph Smith.

      Check details here: http://mormonthink.com/firstvisionweb.htm

      Read more about it, Jeff, in Jim Whitefield’s ‘The First Vision’.
      http://www.lulu.com/shop/jim-whitefield/the-first-vision-the-joseph-smith-story/ebook/product-20311187.html

  2. Jay says:

    Various publications, websites (like yours) have portrayed David Twede a victim, a “truth-seeker” being punished by the LDS church for simply asking questions. The information you have “selected” in your post is biased, less than honest and does not reflect the whole story.

    Please allow me to balance your post and correct the errors I have detected.

    Mr Twede plays the victim well. He claims his articles discussing Mitt Romney as well as his involvement with his website mormonthink.com, are the reasons why the church is considering his excommunication. This is a simply dishonest, so to was Mr Twede’s actions:

    [According to [Peggy Fletcher] Stack [of the Salt Lake Tribune], the major precipitant for the disciplinary council was not the essay questioning Romney’s political independence from the Church but rather a Mormonthink.com article that publicly disclosed details from LDS temple ceremonies, an act viewed by observant Mormons as an offense and a desecration.

    According to [Laurie] Goodstein [of the New York Times], local LDS Church leaders called Twede into an impromptu Sunday meeting, interrogated him as to whether he was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”—a phrase often used among Mormons to describe anti- or ex-Mormons who pose as faithful members in an effort to lure others away, and issued Twede a summons to a disciplinary council on charges of “apostasy.” Twede had acknowledged on his blogsite that he had attempted to influence a couple he met at church by emailing them frank information about controversial aspects of Mormon history, while concealing his own identity as an editor of Mormonthink.com.
    Joanna Brooks, “Is Criticizing Mitt Romney an Excommunicable Offense? No.,” Religion Dispatches, Sept. 22, 2012]

    [According to The New York Times,
    Mr. Twede’s situation was first reported on Friday by the Web site The Daily Beast, which suggested that Mr. Twede was being disciplined because he had posted several articles on MormonThink critical of Mr. Romney.

    In an interview, Mr. Twede said [he was not certain] that this was the reason he was facing excommunication. He has also written posts on his personal blog, linked to MormonThink, about how he recently started attending church again after five years as an atheist. He described how he had struck up a friendship with a Mormon he called Pat and had e-mailed materials to Pat and Pat’s spouse that he hoped would shake their faith.
    Laurie Goodstein, “Editor of Web Site May Face Mormon Excommunication,” The New York Times, Sept. 21, 2012]

    As we can see, Mr Twede is hardly innocent of the charges laid against him. Further, a number of comments posted by Mr Twede reflect his character, his apostasy and his dishonest nature.

    [I’ve returned to attend the Mormon church after five years of atheism. I have a very different perspective now and share my blog weekly….Last night I emailed Pat (my gender neutral pseudonym for the questioning wardmember). Pat’s question had been: why did I leave the church in the first place?…I don’t want anyone I meet in person to know I’m associated with, let alone managing editor at, MormonThink. I don’t even want Pat to find it serendipitously — It could get me in a sort of pickle and cut short my church activity….[T]his Sunday’s blog is delayed indefinitely due to me being confronted directly by leadership at church today. They are reading my blog. They know who I am–were, apparently, “inspired” somehow to learn my name. I don’t want to jeopardize my MT position or others at MT by discussing any other details. We are being watched. I got a letter from them with my name and numbering my days, unless I stop writing for MT and blogging.
    —Blog posts by MormonThink managing editor David Twede posted at “Prozacville: Turning black-n-white minds into colorful paisley,” September 2012.]

    and

    [I fantasize about a full-blown faith-destroying session. In real life, I did put the bishop in his place over polygamy. He kept saying I was wrong about Joseph having other wives and being illegal and such. I proved him wrong and he ate crow.
    —MormonThink’s former editor, posting as “SpongeBob SquareGarments” on the ex-Mormon message board Recovery from Mormonism, Feb. 21, 2012]

    and

    [So that is one of the reasons I remain in the church. It gives me greater credibility when I speak about my own religion instead of it being my former religion. We all know as soon as I leave it, I am labeled as someone who left because of morality, tithing or some other issue rather than the historical problems of the church….By subtly mentioning things in meetings I may raise some doubts…
    —Comment posted by MormonThink’s former editor on thread ‘I am the webmaster of MormonThink.com AMA’, ex-Mormon reddit, Jan. 2012]

    I think it’s clear Mr Twede’s behaviour, his admission(s), his sharing of temple ceremony details etc more than justify his excommunication.

    As an ex-bishop you know fine well Mr Twede’s behaviour would not be tolerated and that his excommunication would be in order. Your post and Mr Twede’s rant is nothing more than an attempted smear campaign. I question your intellectual honesty and argue you deliberately tried to mislead your readers with this biased one-sided story.

    • SteveBloor says:

      Dear Jay,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I do not intend to be less than truthful.

      That is why I included Joanna Brooks article as a link. I think she summarises the situation well.

      You said: “The information you have ‘selected’ in your post is biased, less than honest and does not reflect the whole story. Please allow me to balance your post and correct the errors I have detected.”

      That’s an interesting phrase to use against people whose stated aim is to fill the gaps in the story which the Mormon Church seems intent on maintaining by deception in order to promote faith in the origins of its truth claims.

      You just need to read the ‘Open Letter to Europe Area Presidency’ (linked at the bottom of this reply) for examples of those massive holes of pertinent information with which the Church is fraudulently continuing to perpetuate its myth & thus maintain its estimated 6-9 billion dollar annual tithing income.

      I agree that the Mitt Romney angle on the story got people’s interest & I think it is more than relevant.

      The Church would never excommunicate someone for purely political reasons.

      They only excommunicate members for breaking covenants, and, more sinisterly, for encouraging other members to question their own faith, it seems.

      Being able to question things one believes is a sign of a mature faith, but obviously that’s not the case currently in Mormonism. Unlike in the past where members were encouraged to think for themselves.

      For example:

      “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” -J. Reuben Clark, D. Michael Quinn, J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24.

      “If faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.” -George A. Smith, 1871, Journal of Discourses, Vol 14, pg 216

      “I think full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret, not underhanded, and I for one want no association with things that cannot be talked about and will not bear investigation.” -Pres. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, vol 20, pg 264

      “This book [the Book of Mormon] is entitled to the most thorough and impartial examination. Not only does the Book of Mormon merit such consideration, its claims, even demand the same.” -Apostle James E. Talmage in ‘Articles of Faith’, page 273

      “As a means of coming to truth, people in the Church are encouraged by their leaders to think and find out for themselves. They are encouraged to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to such knowledge of the truth as their own consciences, assisted by the Spirit of God, lead them to discover. Many years of experience in courtrooms have taught me that truth, in the sense of obtaining justice, is arrived at only by questioning in a searching way. Members of the Church are encouraged to seek learning from all good books and from any helpful source…” -James E. Faust, September 1998 Ensign

      “The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one-sided but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion or criticism is worth defending” – James E. Talmage, Improvement Era, January, 1920, p 204.

      But of course, that was before information was so readily available via the internet!

      The Church doesn’t excommunicate members of the Church for their political views, but they might for embarrassing Romney & his Church.

      Though the revealing of the Temple Ceremony will be “viewed by observant Mormons as an offense and a desecration”, it is all relative, & very relevant because the American voters need to know who their prospective President really is.

      Which makes the publishing of the Temple Ceremony a political act, because Dave Twede wanted the American voters to know how Mitt Romney has covenanted in the temple to sacrifice everything to the Church and the Building up of the Kingdom of God and to avenge the Blood of the Prophets lest he slit his throat. Mitt has also committed to be obedient to the leaders of the Church which could cause a conflict of interest with a position of US President.

      It looks bad for the Church having someone reveal these things about someone who wants to be President.

      “Lets just forget for a moment, what is PC..what is culturally acceptable, (right or wrong).

      “Think about what ‘IS’ & what ‘IS NOT’. What IS beneficial to humans, and what IS NOT beneficial to humans. With this is mind, all thoughts of cultural biases and secret oaths ought to be open to the world, else we see division.

      “Dave Twede wanted to reveal a part of what ‘IS’ Mitt Romney. A part which is secret and WILL determine his future.” ~ David Bloor

      I used to believe excommunication was about love. Indeed, I conducted several Disciplinary Councils myself.  

      As a bishop I was held in loving regards by my friends in Church leadership.

      However, as soon as I had a change of beliefs the attitude towards me changed.

      I was told twice, by my new Bishop who passed on the news to me after discussion with the Stake Presidency, & was also told by my last Stake President, that I would not be allowed to remain in the Church as a resigned Bishop. I was given an ultimatum, “You either resign, or be excommunicated!”

      I wish the Church did follow Christ’s teachings on being non-judgemental, “He who is without sin casts the first stone.”

      Sadly I was threatened with excommunication again after I published statements by past Mormon Prophets & Apostles about the curse of Cain & the priesthood ban for Blacks. (All true & undisputed by the Church.)

      I hope there is a more forgiving attitude in the Church leadership, but usually they are governed by fear when dealing with apostates.

      I want to see transparency & honesty about the origins of the Church & its history.

      Our Open Letter to Europe Area Presidency is our invitation to the Church leadership in this regard.

      If there is anything you can do to help foster love, tolerance & compassion for those who wish to see the true history taught, then it will be much appreciated.

      Best regards,
      Steve

      https://stevebloor.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/open-letter-to-europe-area-presidency-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints/

      • Jay says:

        Steve, I thank you for your reply and appreciate the friendly tone.

        You say: “Though the revealing of the Temple Ceremony will be “viewed by observant Mormons as an offense and a desecration”, it is all relative, & very relevant because the American voters need to know who their prospective President really is…”

        I disagree Steve, the LDS church allow non-members the opportunity to visit and explore temples and there inner workings before being dedicated. Further, they have open days where non-members can ask questions. Temple literature is also available. The information provided to the public more than adequately explains the inner workings of the temple, as well as what their prospective President believes.

        Mr Romney from what I can tell is a good husband, a successful business man and an overall good person. These are good values and attributes one would look for in a potential president, is it not? I myself am not American, I have no interest in politics nor do I like politicians in general.

        Steve you say:” As bishop I was held in loving regards by my friends in Church leadership. However, as soon as I had a change of beliefs the attitude towards me changed.”

        I would imagine they would Steve. You held a position of authority, you were a bishop, members trusted you with their spiritual growth and well-being. You lost your faith, resigned from your calling and now run an anti-mormon website.

        Further, members no doubt would interpret your letter as hostile and a “subtle” attempt to lead them astray. Was it? You letter did include a large anti-mormon section, I felt was neither necessary nor appropriate. I think it’s only natural for members to be “suspicious” of you and your intentions.

        With regards to “black LDS” issue, might I recommend http://www.blacklds.org? They touch on and clarify a number of these misconceptions and issues.

        With regards to Mr Twede, I have no doubt the church is handling his case appropriately. He has apostatised, attacked the church with anti-mormon accusations and as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” has purposely attempted to lead members astray. His own actions will no doubt count against him. He was in the wrong, he was NOT an innocent victim and if the high council rules against him, I’ll sustain and agree with that decision.

        I am open to the possibility that mistakes are made but with Mr Twede, I do not believe this is the case.

        I would like to make it clear Steve that I am not attacking you. You seem a nice enough fellow. I do however feel that you have allowed yourself to be misled and as such you are attempting to mislead others.

        All the best Steve

      • SteveBloor says:

        Hi Jay,

        Likewise I appreciate your cordiality, though I don’t understand the premise of your argument.

        On the one hand you claim Dave Twede portrays himself as the victim, then later you use language which indicates you believe the Mormon Church is being unfairly victimised.

        Words such as Anti-Mormon (or anti-anything) portray the idea in people’s minds of other people or organisations which are attacking or persecuting you.

        Joseph Smith really had a victim mentality right from the very beginning, which has persisted even till today, and is easily noticed by neutral observers as a persecution complex.

        It is generated by feelings of fear, which are inculcated in the minds of members by the belief system. For example: when General Authorities use such emotive language like, “we’re engaged in a War,” &, “you must defend your homes & families,” all it does is create a ‘them & us’ attitude, an in-group, out-group tribal mentality in the minds of the members. It is divisive, instead of inclusive

        In no other field of discussion do you come across such emotive language as ‘Anti-anything’ than in religion.

        If I am anti-anything it is anti-deceipt & anti-dishonesty.

        I am pro-truth, pro-choice.

        As a True Believing Mormon does that make you anti-honesty & anti-truth?

        If anyone tries to portray me as Anti-Mormon I realise the open discussion is over.

        I know what is disclosed about the temple & its workings by the Church, & it does not include the secret/sacred covenants & rituals which are performed there. If it was, then the Church wouldn’t be so upset.

        As you say Mitt Romney may very well be a good husband & father, a successful businessman & have good values, but if he has secret allegiances to his Church which could conflict with his Presidential responsibilities people should be informed of such.

        What if the Presidential candidate was a member of the Scientologists, & has made secret vows to his cult!? Would that cause concern?

        Jay, as far as my experience with shunning by Church members, you really have no idea.

        When one’s belief system holds even family members to ransom, everyone involved in the situation suffers. I lost virtually all my friends, & even relationships with family were extremely strained. I don’t blame them. Just the belief system which inculcates fear. Fear of apostates. Fear of Anti-Mormons.

        Just to be clear, the shunning occurred prior to my Personal Blog. In fact in order to avoid excommunication I was told not to talk to any members about anything I had discovered about Church history. Which, apart from my letter of ‘resignation as bishop’ being unexpectedly leaked by a third party, I complied with for nearly a year.
         
        Finally, I love Mormons. Almost all my extended family are True Believing Mormons. And lots of people I wished I could still call my friends are Mormons too.

        Most Mormons are some of the nicest, kindest, generous people you could meet.

        I do not expect, nor do I intend to harm the faith of, or ‘mislead’ any, fully committed True Believing Mormons.

        No one can do it. Not I or anyone else.

        Human beings should be free to choose their own belief system. In order for a choice to exist people need to be aware of the options & have full disclosure of the facts to make an informed choice.

        Freedom of choice can only exist with freedom of information!

        I also believe that in order to exercise free will people need to be as free as possible from emotional control or influence, or be aware that such influence exists.

        Freedom of information and freedom from emotional influence are not as freely available in the Church as you may like to believe.

        These are things I treasure. These are things I never had fully as a True Believing Mormon.

        I desire all to receive it, & this is my goal.

        I wish you well,
        Steve

    • blooruk says:

      Lets just forget for a moment, what is P.C…what is culturally acceptable, (right or wrong).

      Think about what ‘IS’ & what ‘IS NOT’. What IS beneficial to humans, and what IS NOT beneficial to humans. With this is mind, all thoughts of cultural biases and secret oaths ought to be open to the world, else we see division.

      Dave Twede wanted to reveal a part of what ‘IS’ Mitt Romney. A part which IS secret and will determine the future of the United States & the rest of the world. This would in normal circumstances be intrusive of his privacy however, just as when members of the Mormon church are required to reveal certain private information to the church in order to be certified as ‘Temple Worthy’, this also ought to be an requirement for those persons running for the highest office of the corporation of the united states.

      Mitt Romney can not serve two masters. If he is sworn into office with this conflict of intent, he will be serving the constitution of the United States, and also he’ll be obligated to obey the authority of the church before all other authority – under the oath and covenant made with his god in the Mormon temple.

      • Jay says:

        Mr Twede’s interest is in attacking the LDS church and attempting to mislead it’s members, nothing more. This I think is clear when reading the comments he has posted on various ex-Mormon websites (see my above post). I would argue that the LDS church is the victim here not Mr Twede.

        Further, I would argue you have no real interest in Mr Twede or his current self inflicted predicament. I propose he is simply a ‘means to an end’, a juicy bit of gossip you can capitalise on to further your atheistic pursuits.

      • blooruk says:

        Mr Jay. You have not given me an intellectual or philosophical argument in respons’ to my post. Instead you are more determined to increase hostilities by name calling and spreading personal accusations against me.

        Atheism (Lack of belief) does not encourage action. My belief in Humanism, scientific naturalism and also being an actuallist does motivate my actions. Please take a moment to understand this, because its most important when engaging in a debate with an Atheist.

        You say I have no real interest in Mr Twede. “simply a means to an end” a “juicy bit of gossip”, “to further your atheistic pursuits”.
        What a bold accusation!

        I speak out in defence of Mr Twede… that is my desire. I also have an higher desire. Mr Twede is not a means to an end. I have a desire to fulfil Mr Twedes desire, and I also have another desire – which Mr Twedes desire happens to help fulfil. (Study the philosophy of desirism).

      • SteveBloor says:

        Jay,

        Why is there fear expressed in your comments?

        What are you afraid of from David Twede? Or even myself?

        All we offer is information.

        If the Church wanted to it should have the ability to refute our claims about the Book of Abraham not being the translation which Joseph Smith fraudulently claimed it was, or about the anachronisms in the Book of Mormon, or answer why Joseph Smith married 11 women that already had living husbands.

        I personally would love to hear serious & irrefutable explanations from a mouthpiece of God about these ‘mysteries’ or gaps in knowledge.

        Sadly the Prophets, Seers & Revelators have ceased to prophecy, see or revelate.

        Instead they make pronouncements about the evil of having more than one pair of ear-piercings & other trivialities.
        More than that, Church leaders seem intent on maintaining ignorance of these issues & put value on faith not only in the absence of real evidence, but more concerningly faith based on denial of real and provable evidence, as in the evidences about the Book of Abraham from all reputable Egyptologists, & DNA evidences with regards to the Book of Mormon etc.

        David Twede & I are tied only in purpose; to inform & inspire debate. To stimulate rational thought & arouse a desire for truth, rather than merely blind faith.

        As for ‘atheistic intentions,’ I am at a loss what you have to fear personally from my absence of belief? What can my, or David Twede’s, non-belief do to harm anyone’s faith?

        If the Church is even a hundredth part what it claims to be, God’s one & only true Church, then my lack of belief cannot harm it. Neither can my lack of belief harm anyone else’s faith.

        Unless God only exists in men’s hearts & minds as an imaginary friend. If God requires faith to exist, then He & all other gods should fear & tremble as humanity matures beyond irrational superstitious mythologies to enlightened rational thought & knowledge based on real evidence rather than fear-based fantasy.

        As a Scientific Naturalist, & Secular Humanist I believe that human psychological & physiological thriving & wellbeing are optimised by understanding natural reality through scientific research and evidence. As opposed to belief in supernatural fantasy, however consoling that belief maybe.

        Belief in fantasy always disconnects us from reality.

        As humans we are evolving psychologically & socially. Thankfully we no longer believe in child sacrifice to appease the gods to ensure our food harvest, though some religions still allude to bronze age child sacrifice in weekly rituals in church.

        All progress in human flourishing & wellbeing has been achieved through scientific research.

        Please be assured that if your faith & God’s one true Church are what they purport to be you are all safe from our feeble efforts to enlighten & inform.

        I wish you well,
        Best regards,
        Steve

  3. I don’t know David Twede, have never communicated with him, and really cannot pretend to fathom his private agenda. I am familiar, however, with the MormonThink website, and am grateful to it for facilitating access to opposing arguments concerning Mormonism’s history and origins. For those of us who seek a balanced and informed view, this site is a treasure. I am therefore sorry that David Twede now finds himself under fire.

    However, to debate the perceived rights and wrongs of Mr Twede’s actions, as though he were some kind of mystery ailment from which the patient, (the LDS church), currently suffers, is surely to miss the point entirely. Mr Twede and others, like myself, who feel compelled after a life time of service in the LDS church, to question the veracity of its institutional founding claims, are not some kind of lurgy which may be eradicated by disciplining anyone who dares to ask questions or state views. We are merely symptoms of a deep seated hidden sickness which has resided in the patient’s constitution since day one.

    An attempt may be made to exclude us from the LDS community, but it will avail the sickly patient nothing, for the symptoms will just keep reappearing more and more severely. The answer surely is to treat the source of the sickness, (a longstanding lack of transparency), from which the whole body is being steadily poisoned.

    • Jay says:

      “….are not some kind of lurgy which may be eradicated by disciplining anyone who dares to ask questions or state views.”

      I think it’s pretty clear Mr Twede did more than “ask questions or state views”. You good people are attempting to downplay the seriousness of his offence(s). The church has every reason to excommunicate this man. I think comments he made using his alias “SpongeBob SquareGarments” makes clear his intentions as well as expose his less than savoury intentions.

      I think as they say, “he got what he deserved”. Mr Twede took a big chance, he got caught, he is now paying the consequences.

      • Karen says:

        Dear All,

        I have read with interest all of your comments.

        It is interesting that many mainstream faiths got rid of ‘excommunication’ many numbers of years ago. Who are any of us to judge each other anyway?

        Freedom of speech is readily embraced in society, and if something is so wonderful and true why would it need to fear questioning or even worry about being challenged?

        After consulting with five theologians, and looking at all the original source documents of the church & studying the teachings of Jesus (who I found out never had a church – confirmed by every source I looked at apart from LDS), I felt that it was the LDS church that had misled me.

        I left after 37 years in the LDS church. I discovered that the church which carried Jesus Christ’s name bore little resemblance to his teachings.

        For example:
        When the woman was found in adultery, Jesus did not say:” I will hold a disciplinary council and judge you.” He said,” go away and sin no more, and he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

        I am glad that the information I found on MormonThink challenged my faith. It helped me find the ‘real good news’. Even though I am Christian I do have deep respect for atheists. I have not felt this blog has encouraged me not to believe, rather I have read the arguments and my belief has stood firm.

        It’s right for me to believe, but I don’t feel it’s wrong for Steve not to.

        What’s the problem with sharing different views? Surely that’s one of the best ways to learn how to respect and learn from one another.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Dear Karen,

        Thank you for your compassionate, mature & well-reasoned response.

        I love the fact that you have found a non-dogmatic & consoling belief system & are enjoying authenticity.

        Thank you for continuing to inspire me & others.

        Best wishes,
        Steve

  4. Neil says:

    Dear Steve,

    I would like to thank you for your posts and blog. See, I am a True Believing Mormon and am ready to read your blog and must say that I am definately informed and you make an incredibly powerful (and believing) argument. You definately make your point and I can not argue the facts you have mentioned regarding Joseph Smith’s wifes and why he did what he did. I don’t know why the story of the First vision changed, I have no answers to it, and I take GREAT OFFENSE if you think I follow my faith blindly!

    “I do not expect, nor do I intend to harm the faith of, or ‘mislead’ any, fully committed True Believing Mormons.
    No one can do it. Not I or anyone else. ”

    You said it yourself, you nor anybody can harm the faith or mislead any, fully committed True Believing Mormon. However that is exactly the issue at hand, not everybody is True Believing Mormons yet, they are trying to become true believing mormons but you intercept them on their journey and feed them Steak when they are barely just drinking milk.

    My four year old daughter asked me the other day where do babies come from? According to what you are doing here I should have laid it out to her in detail, telling her about all of what she is not READY to hear yet. Does that make me a deceiving parent or just looking out for the best interest of my daughter.

    You think you are informing, but you are damaging the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ – FAITH. I asked my wife what she thinks of all of this, or at least some of it, we didn’t go into to much detail, but she said she doesn’t understand the argument regarding Joseph Smith’s wifes, the church brings us close to the Saviour not Joseph Smith. And so what if he had so many wifes, he will answer for whatever he did wrong, who are we to judge – God will judge him.

    My sentiment exactly! I know the Book of Mormon is true, which means Jospeh Smith must have been a true prophet. He was probably not always a righteous man, but that doesn’t mean he was a false prophet. I can not deny the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness, I know there was someone like Nephi, Zoram, Laman, Lemuel and Sam. I can just imagine you going to now talk to me about these feelings are not true and can be deceiving etc. etc.etc. I believe that to be true, I believe that our feelings could be deceiving, BUT NOT ALWAYS… there is a time when you have a feeling and you just know. However, you can forget about it just as quickly and become clouded by scripture mingled with the philosophies of men.

    I don’t think you have the slightest idea of the harm you are causing through what you believe to be good intentions!!! However, it has to be so deceiving that it would even if it could deceive the very elect.

    I was almost deceived, as I was reading up on this, I started feeling sorry for Mr Twede, and thought, oh my word, yet another unfair ruling due to fear of apostates, until I started reading the balancing facts that Jay also brought to the table and I could then clearly see the intentions of Mr Twede. Some of his posts were NOT informative but blatent attacks and excessively disrespectful. I lost all respect I had for him and what he stands for.

    I am not a very intellectual person, I can reason but struggle to put my thoughts in words, so eloquently as some of you can. You do not want to know how many times I had to google the spelling of words etc. while typing this. And English is not my first language either, anyways, I am sure I have made my point.

    Oh yes, another thing I want to say, I UNDERSTAND why some people become anti-mormon. When I read posts of people who were excommunicated, “programmed” etc., I understand and it is not their fault. Many times the ecliastical leader makes mistakes, gives incorrect counseling, judges incorrectly and it’s their fault. They will be held accountable for that. Basically what I am saying is that Bishops do make mistakes, Stake Presidents do make mistakes. They are also JUST PEOPLE. However, I do not want to harp on this topic.

    Just felt that I had to share my thoughts and feelings Steve, I believe you have good intentions and you feel that you are doing people a favour, when ACTUALLY you are hurting innocent people. I don’t think there are many people ready to “receive” what you have found and are willing to share, I might even go as far as to say that you weren’t ready yourself!

    Lastly, I hear you my brother, I feel for you. And I mean this with all of my heart! However I can NOT deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Your facts are so incredibly powerful that if it was not for my testimony in the Book of Mormon I would have possibly strongly been a follower of your cause. Now I dare you to prove to me using your evidence that the Book of Mormon can not be true, then I tell you again, you are NOT out to inform but damage FAITH! Because I have heard it all before and still can not deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

    Sincerely,
    Neil

    • SteveBloor says:

      Hi Neil,

      It’s good of you to read my personal blog, particularly as you are, as you say, TBM.

      It isn’t my intention for my blog to be read by TBMs. I certainly wouldn’t have considered reading a blog like mine when I was a fully converted, faithfully serving TBM bishop. And I wouldn’t have recommended other members to read it or other similar blogs.

      Your reaction to my blog is predictable of someone who is defending a sincere & heartfelt, life-affirming belief system and is found in all religions worldwide, including other Christian faiths, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc.

      Your religious beliefs, like other people in different faiths, give you a certain perspective on life which is deeply personal & feels central to your identity as an individual.

      Any criticism or questioning of those beliefs strikes at the core of who you are & is therefore perceived as threatening.

      It’s a normal human emotional response utilising the amygdala & the adrenal cortex illiciting a flight/fight mechanism.

      The biggest problem we have as humans in accepting new & challenging information is in overcoming cognitive biases & assumptions.

      Our eyes cannot see what our minds are unwilling to accept. Our minds put up filters which cause confirmational bias etc.

      I would strongly advise researching cognitive biases.

      Please accept my best wishes in your journey,

      Steve

      • Neil says:

        I must admit, I only read the rules of this forum after I sent my post and honestly did not think you would actually allow it, so thank you for allowing my post to be featured on your personal blog.

        Anyways, I try to be as objective as possible and not be “programmed”. That is why I read your and similar blogs. It helps me understand where we as Mormon leaders go terribly wrong. I am currently serving as a High Councilor in our stake, in case you were wondering what my leadership position in the church is.

        I have always told myself that should I stop being Mormon I would become Atheist because no other religion on the face of this earth answers certain questions like mormonism does, and your current situation is probably proof that I was right in my reasoning. I really enjoy speaking to intellectual men because I learn a lot from them, like yourself. I also like the fact how you are open minded as well. It is either Mormonism or Atheism.

        I do agree with SO MUCH you say, but have to also admit that some of it is deceiving, especially for people who are trying to grow there faith.

        However, blogs like these will really test the strength of your testimony. And if it’s weak then that person will be deceived by your cunningnes. If I understand your current position at the moment is that the TRUTH you have found is that their is NOT a GOD and FAITH is a fantasy made up by men to control people. You deny that we need a Saviour, becasue if there is no God why would we need a Saviour and that IF Jesus Chrsit existed he was just another man trying to control people through teaching principles like faith. Am I right?

        Kind regards,
        Neil

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