I’m in shock at discovering that I’ve either been secretly excommunicated in my absence, or my name has been removed from Church records without my approval in an effort to extinguish my cultural identity because they consider me an apostate.
The Mormons (or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) considers any dissenters in its ranks to be apostates and worthy of the worst punishment, eternal damnation. A fate reserved for murderers, rapists and child molesters.
Mormon leadership does not value free speech, even here in the mainly secular UK.
Once I resigned as bishop due to discovering that I’d been taught lies about the origins & history of the Church (set up in 1830’s Eastern United States of America by convicted fraudster Joseph Smith), I was set on a course which inevitably would lead to a conflict with the Church’s higher authorities, who do not value the members questioning either their authority or the narrative they teach.
The punishment for dissent by apostates is excommunication. There have been some very public examples recently with John Dehlin in Utah, who was excommunicated for publicly supporting the gay and lesbian community. And human rights lawyer Kate Kelly who advocates for equal rights in the Church.
It appears that if they have excommunicated me they have been very careful to try to avoid any media attention or publicity this time round.
I have had my name mysteriously removed from Church Records this month without either my knowledge or approval.
There is also suspicion that local Church leaders are only acting on instruction from the headquarters of the Church in Salt Lake City because another British Mormon man Chris Ralph has received similar messages from his local leaders. Both myself and Chris were named as witnesses by Tom Phillips in 2014 in a ground-breaking case of alleged corporate fraud against the Mormon Church President, Thomas Monson.
There is the possibility that this is a form of revenge attack on both of us. At that time the bishop of Helston Mormon congregation told me that the Church would destroy me for my actions in the fraud case against them. And Nelson Oliver, now the current bishop of Helston, sent me a message stating ominously, “Your days are numbered.”
Though I no longer hold many of the beliefs of the Mormon Church, it was my life for 46 years and the only culture I know. Over 50 of my extended family are Mormons including my parents.
Excommunication is such a terrible punishment for a believing Mormon that it is seen as a fate worse than death itself. In the Mormon belief system excommunication severs marriage ties and all other family relationships in the next life. It is the ultimate tool to sever an individual’s connection to their family, friends and culture.
With this action I believe the Church leaders are trying to extinguish my cultural identity. It is the ultimate form of tribal shaming. And just for being honest and speaking publicly about the historical issues. When I speak the truth they are fearful that believing members will also start to ask questions.
They have a right to feel threatened as the internet is allowing members to discover the truth about what really happened in the Church’s past. The Church is actually legally registered as a multi-billion dollar Corporation in America and is losing hundreds of thousands of members due to realising the truth is different than the Church has taught. And along with the members, the Church is losing millions in tithing receipts each year.
An issue which is of greatest concern to many in the Mormon Church is not whose doctrinal interpretation is correct and whose isn’t, but rather, is dissent tantamount to apostasy? And therefore deserving of excommunication!?
This question is of the utmost importance, because I believe it underpins the most basic of human character traits of integrity and authenticity.
Truth is paramount, and the ability to honestly and openly question without fear of repercussions is the beginning of discovering it.
Fear of the truth is a major impediment to authenticity and freedom to choose. Fear lies behind the actions of many Church leaders in trying to suppress free-speech.
In a time before the ‘age of information’ past Church leaders could value free speech.
“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)
“If a 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 Albert Smith, Journal Of Discourses, v 14, page 216)
And other famous & respected men have promoted free speech & discussion:
Thomas Jefferson taught that, “However discomfiting a free exchange may be, truth will ultimately emerge the victor.”
English philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “Any attempt to resist another opinion is a ‘peculiar evil’. If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. If it is wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in its collision with error.”
I believe in free speech without threat from those who should know better.
I loved the church because I believed it was true, not just because there was a lot of good in it. The truth was something I felt I possessed and truthfulness was, & increasingly is, something I feel is worth standing up for &, if necessary, sacrificing for!
Here is my letter seeking answers from from the local Church leaders and an appeal to the highest leadership in the Church the First Presidency: