You’ve probably heard by now that something just changed within the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (hereon MI). This post is intended to provide readers who may be unfamiliar with this topic with something of a timeline of events, for people who may not trust what they are hearing from other sources. Its purpose is to inform, not analyze.
Here are the events, provided with links and minimal commentary.
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 12:57 AM CST - A member of MormonDiscussions.com (hereon MDB) known as “Doctor Scratch” mentions that he was just “alerted to a potential ‘changing of the guard’ at the MI in the coming months.”
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 10:43 AM (MST?) - M. Gerald Bradford, Executive Director of the MI, e-mails Daniel C. Peterson and notifies him that he will be appointing a new editor to oversee the Mormon Studies Review (formerly the FARMS Review of Books, hereon MSR), in order to take the publication in “a different direction.”
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 3:18 PM (MST?) – Peterson responds to Bradford, mentioning that the MI “leaks like a sieve” and that he has already read “on an apostate message board” about his impending termination. This was probably a reference to Doctor Scratch’s 6/14 post at MDB. His response added 18 other unknown recipients.
Friday, June 15, 2012, 11:42 PM CST – Former Mormon and former Mormon apologist Kevin Graham starts a thread at MDB wherein he says, “I have it on good authority that there is an influential movement of scholars who are unhappy with the current direction of polemics led by Peterson and his editorial team. Expect major changes in the near future.”
Friday, June 15, 2012, Time Uncertain – Dan Peterson says in a post at his blog, “[I]n order for us to grow, says the Bible, we had to leave the Garden of Eden and work and learn in a fallen, resistant, and often mournfully unpleasant world. There’s no reason for us to like diseases, financial setbacks, wars, betrayals by friends, interpersonal hostilities, misunderstandings, physical injuries, injustice, unmerited humiliations, and the like. It must needs be that offenses come, but woe unto him by whom those offenses come.” Many speculate that this is a veiled reference to what had just happened to him with the MI.
Saturday, June 16, 2012, 3:52 PM CST – Doctor Scratch creates a thread at MDB wherein he posts Bradford’s 6/14 e-mail to Peterson.
Saturday, June 16, 2012, 7:30 PM CST – Doctor Scratch creates another thread wherein he posts Peterson’s 6/14 response to Bradford.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 9:24 PM (MST?) – William J. Hamblin confirms via a post on his blog (cross-posted at the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Forum, hereon MDDB) that the leaked e-mails are authentic and Peterson will be replaced as editor of the MSR.
Thursday, June 21, 2012, 5:06 AM (MST?) – Peterson comments directly on the affair for the first time, in a post at MDDB, offering further confirmation of what has happened.
Friday, June 22, 2012, Time Uncertain – The MI posts an announcement about changing the editorial staff of the MSR, making Peterson’s release official.
Friday, June 22, 2012, Time Uncertain – Peterson responds to the MI’s formal announcement on his blog.
Friday, June 22, 2012, 4:15 PM MST – Peggy Fletcher Stack publishes about the “shake-up” in the Salt Lake Tribute.
I hope this is helpful to those who are unfamiliar with the message boards and blogs in question, yet trying to make sense of what has gone down.