I think it’s widely known now that the web site I wrote about is MormonThink.com, so I have restored the reference to that in my earlier post. The editor who has been summoned to a disciplinary council has provided the following update:
Status on MormonThink events, by MormonThinker
First, I am not speaking for all MT editors in this post. Other editors also have access to this account and may edit this post as needed.
Many are asking what is happening. Over the course of the 8 years MormonThink.com has been an online presence, there have been various levels of pressure exerted by LDS leaders on active, semi-active and less active members who contribute and edit articles posted on MT.
One example happened earlier this year when the past chief editor who’d remained completely anonymous due to still-attending with TBM family and close friends, received significant pressure from local ward & stake leaders to remove MT content or take the site down entirely.
This editor initially discussed MT content with his leaders, about our goal of promoting true church history over commonly-held beliefs and even how he was involved. He was willing to work with his stake president’s objections and he convinced the MT editorial board to take down the temple section as it greatly bothered some members. He also continued asking his stake president what was incorrect with the site. He offered to change it but his leader would never answer specifics, just labeling the site as ‘anti-Mormon’, anti-Joseph Smith and anti-church leadership. Ultimately, he decided to give up his editing duties to appease the church and turn them over to me, the current managing editor.
After this, however, with the temple material still unpublished they called him to disciplinary council for heresy, or as they call it these days ‘conduct unbecoming a member of the church’. Seeing the futility of attending such a pre-determined event, as the Stake President refused to discuss the material on the site and only wanted to focus on his involvement which he already determined was unacceptable, he quietly resigned. It is still a very private matter.
As new managing editor, I wrote articles about the beliefs of Mitt Romney, about parallels between his hiding financial information and the church refusing to disclose theirs, about the political history of the LDS church and how one might predict its manner of influence if Mitt were elected. I had returned to attending at church, where I had never met the local leadership, and I began a blog chronicling events around my return.
Last Sunday, after Sacrament, I was taken to the Stake President’s office and “interviewed” for 45 minutes by the three presidents and bishop. It was unclear how they found me just then, but other facts have come to light on this. They were particularly upset at us hiding our full identities and the messages recently posted at MT and on the blog. At the end, I was given a letter summoning me to disciplinary council for apostasy.
At this time, I have been contacted by the media, but no firm decision has been made at this moment about any action there.
I am trying to work with LDS leaders to open a dialogue about what at MT is factually, doctrinally and historically incorrect. We feel that working with the LDS church authorities, we can make an honest attempt to discuss openly issues of church history and policies that trouble many active members. Our philosophy is to present both sides accurately as possibly and let each member decide with full agency and free will what they believe.
As a concession, the blog was pulled off, the temple material rescinded and I am trying to work with the leaders to correct any MT content that might be inaccurate, as well as forestall action against me at church, since it can be a sensitive family issue for me as well.
We will try to keep you all informed as we can.
Thanks everyone for your support.
I should make it very clear that I have no problem with the church going after people who are using distortion and disinformation to attack the church, its beliefs, or its members. The simple dissemination of accurate information about the church does not constitute “anti-Mormon” activity, nor does it signal that a person is in a state of apostasy. What I have always appreciated about MormonThink is that it is scrupulously fair and accurate. As the update above notes, the first editor’s leaders could not point to a single item on the web site that is incorrect, so the accusation was made that the site was “‘anti-Mormon’, anti-Joseph Smith and anti-church leadership.” Again, if the truth is “anti-Mormon,” the LDS church has a big problem, and silencing individual members will not change that.
I used to wonder why the church hadn’t come after me, but i heard from a friend who works in the Church Office Building that he’d been in a meeting during which a few critical web sites were discussed, including mine. My friend tells me that the GAs in charge decided I was not a threat or a problem. I guess I’ll have to try harder.