A Change Would Do You Good — 2 of 3

(See also: Part 1, Part 3)

John Dehlin’s Role

In Q&A format, I want to clear up some of the rumors that have been swirling around John Dehlin’s role in the changes at the Maxwell Institute. While I consider myself to be on friendly terms with Dehlin (who once proposed interviewing me, but it never came to pass), I do not consider myself vested in his cause or one of his defenders. I have friends who are NOMs; I have friends who are LDS apologists. I’m neutral. Like Switzerland.

Was the Maxwell Institute planning on running a critique of John Dehlin in the Mormon Studies Review

Yes. The critique is said to have been quite lengthy and footnoted, and was authored by Gregory L. Smith. In the sole 2011 edition of the MSR, Smith published a critique of another Mormon known for her work online, Laura Compton of Mormons for Marriage. I assume this critique would have been in the same vein.

Did a General Authority intervene and order the Maxwell Institute to cancel the critique? 

Yes. This GA sent word through the administration at BYU to Gerald Bradford that he wanted the critique canceled. Bradford was acting on orders, and he does not know who the GA was. I have heard rumors, but I have nothing solid on who this GA was, so I won’t report on that. It was Dehlin who had contacted at least one GA in order to ask for help.

Dehlin’s side of the story in his own words may be read here. A partial summary from LDS apologists (authored by Mike Parker) may be read at the FAIR Blog here.

Did any of the parties involved in cancelling Smith’s piece on Dehlin actually read it beforehand?

The apologists say “no.” Since they control distribution of Smith’s work, I have no reason to doubt them. UPDATE: Chris Smith has added in the comments, “this weekend I heard a credible report that the General Authority who stopped the Dehlin publication has directly confirmed that he read portions of the article before contacting President Samuelson.”

In any case, I don’t think any of the parties involved were obligated to read it beforehand in order to cancel it. As Chris has observed, “It’s kind of embarrassing how many of the apologists seem to think it’s appropriate for an academic journal, sponsored by a major university, to publish a 100+ page, ‘footnoted’ exposé of the religious views of the host of an Internet podcast. The tone of the article could be all hugs and kisses, and it would still be cringe-worthy.”

Did the Dehlin incident lead to Dan’s release from his position as editor of the MSR

Not exactly. Rather, what the Dehlin incident did was bring to a head the growing divide between Dan’s vision for the MSR and that of Gerald Bradford and the university administration. Dan’s release would have happened eventually regardless. It was the culmination of a variety of factors that happened over time.

It also probably signals that there are at least some General Authorities who are sympathetic to the NOM community and want them to remain in the church. This does not mean that there are no GAs who are sympathetic to Dan and his brand of apologetics. I’m very certain there are.

Gerald Bradford’s Role

Much vilification has been directed at Bradford over on the Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board, where Daniel Peterson has over 13,000 posts and William J. Hamblin has over 3,300 posts. Some examples of this vilification from Dan’s supporters there:

“Mr. Bradford needs to be replaced because his conduct in this matter is not the conduct that a temple recommend holder should be engaged in. What is sad about all this is that he betrayed the trust of someone showing a lack of empathy and emotional understanding as one who went about hurting someone by his conduct. This is not okay for a temple recommend holder to do nor someone who should be in charge of a church sponsored orgainization.” ~ why me (No link or screenshot; comment preserved here.)

“My prayers and wishes also to the Maxwell Insitute as Gerald Bradford takes a razor to its throat.” ~ selek1 (Screenshot / Link)

“I cannot help but think this is extraordinarily bad news.  Apostasy in high places, even.” ~ Log (Screenshot / Link)

(In reply to Log’s comment) “Alma 62:44” ~ Scott Lloyd (Screenshot / Link) [1]

“This is a horrible move by the Maxwell Institute, and anyone that sanctioned this firing should have their heads examined.” ~ BookofMormonLuvr (Screenshot / Link)

“I hope to hear, sooner or later, that this horrendous decision has been reversed, and that those who are attempting to silence LDS apologetics will be thwarted in their undertaking, and finally recognized for who and what they really are.” ~ William Schryver (Screenshot / Link)

“Last, Bradford’s actions were spinless!  I hope he gets called on the carpet by his superiors for EMAILING you while on VACATION to fire you from a position you held for two decades.  I would have expected better from the MI and I’m ashamed of their actions.” ~ alter idem (Screenshot / Link)

“Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Bradford had indeed been deceived by this canard.  Would that make him an anti-Mormon? No; it would simply make him a ‘useful idiot’ for those who had deceived him.  It is not unheard of for ivory-tower academics and/or institutional bureaucrats to be hopelessly naive about what is happening in the real world.  Bradford may simply be adopting a far-too trusting posture towards the enemies of the Church, failing to recognise just how delighted they would be to see its defenders disarmed.  After all, it does appear that he, or someone close to him, was deceived by Ms Jack’s utterly conscienceless smear campaign against Will Schryver not so long ago.” ~ Pahoran (Screenshot / Link) [2]

“Firing Dan via e-mail is the sign of a coward, someone who knows he’s doing something wrong, and doesn’t want to face the person he’s mistreating.” ~ jwhitlock (Screenshot / Link)

“I still want to know how anti-Mormons took over an institute named after Neal Maxwell.” ~ mfbukowski (Screenshot / Link)

All of these comments except for the first have been allowed by the moderators on a forum that frequently employs heavy censorship. To my knowledge, neither Peterson nor Hamblin have ever spoken up to ask their supporters to keep themselves in check.

I have never in my life interacted with Bradford, but I think it is disgraceful for so many people to be insinuating that he is an anti-Mormon or an apostate or a dupe or a spineless coward who is willfully destroying the Maxwell Institute, all because his scholarly vision for the Maxwell Institute is different from that of Dan Peterson, and because he chose to release Dan from his position as editor while Dan was overseas (we’ll get to that in a minute). This treatment of Bradford is both unchristlike and uncharitable.  The people doing it should be ashamed of themselves, and the people posting in that thread and not doing anything about it should also be ashamed.

Terminated or Resigned? 

There’s been some dispute as to whether it’s proper to say Dan was fired by Bradford or resigned on his own. I think this is a difference without distinction. Bradford said he would be appointing a new editor, but wanted Dan to stay on as a member of the “soon-to-be-formed editorial advisory board.” I assume this new position would lack the prestige as well as the level of compensation that came with the editor position. So, the best middle ground we could find would be to call it a demotion. And many would rather quit their job than live with a significant demotion.

Release via E-Mail

Onto the matter of Bradford’s decision to release Dan via e-mail while Dan was out of town. This has been criticized by people across the spectrum, including those who are no friends to Dan Peterson and those who have been more balanced and respectful in their criticisms of Bradford. Some examples:

“Personally, I think Bradford’s doing this while DCP is traveling on the other side of the world reeks of cowardice.” ~ Rollo Tomasi (Link) [3]

“[D]o you really think BYU supports Bradford firing Dan while he’s out of the country via email? Has BYU really sunk down to such an unprofessional level as that?” ~ Rameumptom (Link)

“Gerald Bradford didn’t seem to be able to muster up the courage to look Dan Peterson in the eye when he pulled the trigger on his 23-year tenure as Editor of the Mormon Studies Review.” ~ grindael @ the Mormonism Research Ministry blog (Link)

“It’s worth noting that Bradford fired Dan by email while Dan was on a multi-week journey in the Middle East—in part raising funds for the Institute—specifically so Dan could not be in Provo to defend himself.” ~ William J. Hamblin (Link)

I’m especially stunned by Hamblin’s claim that Bradford did this “specifically so Dan could not be in Provo to defend himself.” How can he know Bradford’s motives for a fact unless Bradford has said as much for himself? [4]

For my own part, I can think of several reasons why Bradford might have notified Dan by e-mail when he did, none of which have anything to do with lack of courage or a desire to prevent Dan from defending himself:

  • Because people working under Dan were preparing material for the Mormon Studies Review, and Bradford wanted them to know as soon as possible that their work would not be published so that they would not waste their time and efforts any further.
  • So that he could begin the process of finding a new editorial team and reforming the MSR. The review is, after all, three issues behind, which is not fair to the paying subscribers. Waiting several weeks for Dan to get back would have meant even more of a delay.
  • So that Dan and the editors working under him could prepare for unemployment or a hit to their incomes as soon as possible. It is never a good thing to be spending money that is not actually coming in.
  • Because he honestly felt that Dan deserved to know of the decision as soon as possible.

I have never spoken with Bradford, and I cannot speak for him. But those all strike me as eminently reasonable possibilities. There is no reason to assume malice or cowardice.

Furthermore, BYU has terminated employees via correspondence before. In 2006, they terminated visiting lecturer Jeffrey Nielsen by sending him a letter. [5] Therefore Bradford was not acting without precedent, and BYU does not seem to regard termination via correspondence as unprofessional.

Peterson’s Editorial Staff

Dan Peterson alleges that Bradford did not send the associate editors (Louis C. Midgley, George L. Mitton, Gregory L. Smith, and Robert B. White) any notice of their pending dismissal. They found out via Bradford’s e-mail to Peterson and the announcement posted on the MI Web site. Calls and e-mails to Bradford from these editors have not been returned.

I agree that this is bad form. Though I’m sympathetic to what a mess this has become for Bradford because of the leaked e-mails and the deluge of phone calls and e-mails to his office, I do think every employee who was being let go should have been personally contacted.

Bradford’s Support?

Many critics are alleging that Dan’s release as editor was ordered by the General Authorities of the LDS church. I cannot confirm or deny this for certain, but I am supremely skeptical.

Others have alleged that Bradford was acting entirely on his own authority. I can neither confirm nor deny this, either, but am also skeptical.

What I do know is, support for Bradford’s decision now goes much higher than Bradford. It is improbable that Bradford could reinstate Dan if he wanted to. So blowing up Bradford’s phone and e-mail box is not going to get this reversed.

How high does Bradford’s support go? Well, Hamblin stated on his blog: “It has been rumored that President Samuelson may have approved (not ordered) the decision, but I don’t know this for sure.”

It’s not just a rumor. Either it’s time to add President Samuelson to that list of “useful idiots” being taken advantage of by “anti-Mormons” and “apostates,” or it’s time for Dan’s supporters to just admit that reasonable people can disagree on this subject without being the patsies of people who want to harm the LDS church.

Why hasn’t Bradford made a further statement? 

I suppose that he could. It would certainly help those of us truly interested in the specifics of his new vision for the Maxwell Institute and his stance on apologetics. However, in order to fully clarify the reasons for his decision, Bradford would probably have to cite problems with former issues of the MSR or Dan’s antagonistic behavior. He would have to lay out exactly what it is that the University no longer wants the MI to be associated with—because it is not merely polite and respectful “apologetics” that are the problem. And I don’t think he wants to embarrass Dan or the former authors of the Review. He wants to let them go out as graciously as possible. That is my guess, anyways.

Besides, Bradford lacks an Internet following of apologist fanboys (and fangirls) who can smear Dan on his behalf while he looks on and keeps his hands clean.

In any case, I’m glad to hear that so many of Dan’s supporters are suddenly interested in talking about the professionalism of Maxwell Institute employees and the ethics of keeping private correspondence private. I’ll turn to that in my final post.

(See also: Part 1, Part 3)

Notes:
———
[1] Link to Book of Mormon at LDS.org mine.

[2] My “utterly conscienceless smear campaign,” as Pahoran’s personal attack on me characterizes it, may be evaluated on its own merits here.

[3] Rollo is neither an apologist nor someone who shies away from balanced and respectful criticism of the LDS church.

[4] I recently made this same mistake myself (i. e. reading bad motives into someone’s actions) and was called out by one of my LDS readers on it. I’m encouraging others to not do the same to Bradford.

[5] I am indebted to TT of Faith Promoting Rumor for this observation.


Comments

A Change Would Do You Good — 2 of 3 — 23 Comments

  1. I am astounded at the level of personal investment you have in this “issue”.

  2. #1 Michael ~ I’m afraid I don’t understand your comment. What is it about my post that indicates an “astounding level of personal investment,” and why is that relevant to the topic at hand?

  3. Interesting comments, though you state something things as fact that, unless you have confirmation from higher sources than those involved, are simply conjecture. (Like the statement that a General Authority intervened and ordered the Maxwell Institute to cancel the critique of Dehlin.)

    Also, on a separate point, you might want to consider the fact that Dan Peterson has always been a lightning rod for commentary. If you stand around the lightning rods always get hot, but the lightning rod isn’t always the source of the heat.

    I think it could be argued that this is the case here. The source of the heat is the long-standing debate as to whether apologetics has a place in academia. Peterson (and his fanboys/fangirls) say yes; Bradford (and his compatriots at the Maxwell Institute) now say no.

    I think you would serve your readers well by addressing your views on this larger issue, separate of Bradford’s action relative to Peterson. I’m assuming you believe it does have a place in academia, as you clearly state in Part 1 that “Mormon apologists can and should be part of the conversation through which theology is done.”

  4. I agree that there’s something embarrassing and cringe-worthy about producing a 100-page critique of John Dehlin, and I don’t think it would have made the Review look responsible to publish such an article. On the other hand, describing Dehlin as a mere podcast host isn’t giving him his due either. It would be far overstating the point to call him a potential LDS equivalent of Martin Luther, but his role in organizing and/or supporting various conferences around the country (among his other numerous activities) suggest at least the possibility of some sort of splinter movement in the making.

  5. #4 Allen ~ Interesting comments, though you state something things as fact that, unless you have confirmation from higher sources than those involved, are simply conjecture.

    I have confirmation from reliable sources. Of course I cannot name them; people will either have to take my word for it or they won’t. I do have a record on this though. I was the first person to break the news last year that the Maxwell Institute had cancelled William Schryver’s writing, and some doubted me on that, but now even Dan’s own leaked e-mail confirms that my information was accurate.

    I plan to address some of the issues you raise in part 3, although perhaps there will be enough material for a part 4. In short: as far as the Maxwell Institute is concerned, I think the apologetics baby is getting thrown out with the bath water of polemics and unprofessional behavior. I would like to see the apologetics baby live on, because I do believe it can have a place in academia. But if that is ever going to happen, it is the apologists that will have to be willing to acknowledge that there has often been a problem with the way that apologetics has been done.

    #5 Eric ~ That’s probably a fair point. While I don’t think a lengthy critique of Dehlin is appropriate, I could see someone doing a fascinating scholarly article on the movement. Even something which is neutral or sympathetic to Dehlin could highlight his dissent from LDS orthodoxy and build a case that he is eroding the foundations of modern-day Mormonism as he carves room for his movement within the church.

  6. It may also be worth noting that “why me” very strongly implied that Dr Bradford was directly responsible for the leak of the email messages – that is, “Bradford may not have a good defense to fire someone by email and then **have this email leaked to antimormons**”

  7. Malkie,

    There has been plenty of vitriol and villification going around on all sides, and contributing to Jack’s short (and very selective) list of examples from a single side probably doesn’t add, productively, to the discussion.

  8. Allen, you’re right – my apologies to all. His posts really wound me up, and I clearly haven’t let it go yet.

    Thanks for the comment.

  9. #8 malkie ~ I don’t mind that you contributed another example of viciousness towards Bradford. why me in particular is one of the more vicious posters that I’ve encountered on Mormonism discussion boards. He has attacked my husband and my pastor (who have nothing to do with any of the forums I post on), attacked me just for being evangelical, and asserted that I would have slaughtered Mormons had I lived in the 19th century. IMO, it says a lot about MDDB that he is allowed to remain while much kinder, gentler posters are banned without explanation.

    #9 Allen ~ I don’t see how calling my list “short” (as if it were meant to be exhaustive) and “very selective” (as if I were selecting for anything other than vitriol towards Bradford among Dan’s supporters, as clearly stated) whilst discouraging other posters from adding to it contributes anything to the discussion, either.

  10. Jack,

    If the desire is to build a more comprehensive single-sided list, then that is–by definition–not “discussion,” which requires at least two sides. I understand that your list was short and very selective, by design, to illustrate your point. Did you believe that additional examples of vitriol directed at Bradford were warranted or desired in order to buttress your point further? If so, I apologize.

  11. #12 Allen ~ The desire was (among other things) to document how a group of Dan’s supporters are treating Bradford poorly. “Different sides” are welcome to discuss that.

    I believe my examples were sufficient to prove my point, but if people want to contribute more examples, it’s fine by me. Apologists can’t attempt to fix the problem unless specific examples of where they have gone wrong are provided.

  12. Neal Rappeleye has posted a blog response to this post here:

    He doesn’t name myself or this post or link to here, instead only citing my quote from Chris Smith (but rendering him anonymous as “an observer” and not providing a link).

    I see several flaws in his argument, but am going to remain focused on finishing this series first.

  13. “In the sole 2011 edition of the MSR, Smith published a critique of another Mormon known for her work online, Laura Compton of Mormons for Marriage. I assume this critique would have been in the same vein.”

    Assumptions are not facts. The two operate in very different fields.

    “Much vilification has been directed at Bradford…”

    About ten times as much vilification has been directed at Dan Peterson, but some feel it’s “acceptable” because he’s a “lightening rod”. As far as I’m aware, he has not defended himself nor replied to 99% of it (it wouldn’t be physically possible), with some exceptions, but on and on it goes.

    “All of these comments except for the first have been allowed by the moderators on a forum that frequently employs heavy censorship. To my knowledge, neither Peterson nor Hamblin have ever spoken up to ask their supporters to keep themselves in check.”

    Ditto for Mormon Discussions. I would post some of Paul Osborne’s quotes here, but I think your blog is at least PG-13? They include frequent death-wishes for General Authorities. (Incidentally, do these posts indicate who Paul as a real life person is? Should we feel safe in his company, if so?) Is he on a “lower level” than “why me”, and therefore not worth as much consideration?

    “I have never in my life interacted with Bradford, but I think it is disgraceful for so many people to be insinuating that he is an anti-Mormon or an apostate or a dupe or a spineless coward who is willfully destroying the Maxwell Institute…”

    Agreed.

    “I’m especially stunned by Hamblin’s claim that Bradford did this “specifically so Dan could not be in Provo to defend himself.” How can he know Bradford’s motives for a fact unless Bradford has said as much for himself?”

    Yet:

    “For my own part, I can think of several reasons [read: motives] why Bradford might have notified Dan by e-mail when he did, none of which have anything to do with lack of courage or a desire to prevent Dan from defending himself:”

    “There is no reason to assume malice or cowardice.”

    Likewise, there’s no reason to not assume it, until we have more information.

    “Dan Peterson alleges that Bradford did not send the associate editors (Louis C. Midgley, George L. Mitton, Gregory L. Smith, and Robert B. White) any notice of their pending dismissal. They found out via Bradford’s e-mail to Peterson and the announcement posted on the MI Web site. Calls and e-mails to Bradford from these editors have not been returned.

    I agree that this is bad form. Though I’m sympathetic to what a mess this has become for Bradford because of the leaked e-mails and the deluge of phone calls and e-mails to his office, I do think every employee who was being let go should have been personally contacted.”

    Agreed.

    “Many critics are alleging that Dan’s release as editor was ordered by the General Authorities of the LDS church. I cannot confirm or deny this for certain, but I am supremely skeptical.”

    So am I.

    “And I don’t think he wants to embarrass Dan or the former authors of the Review. He wants to let them go out as graciously as possible. That is my guess, anyways.”

    In that he totally failed, and as DCP predicted, the vilification and mockery will go on for years.

    “fanboys (and fangirls)”

    Those are offensive terms. I’m a fan of Robert de Niro, and a fan of various pop music and artists, and I’m also a fan of vegemite, but I’m not a “fan” of Daniel C. Peterson. A great admirer, yes, but not a “fan”.

  14. #16 Ray ~ Assumptions are not facts. The two operate in very different fields.

    Yes, Ray. This is my blog. You get to read about my assumptions from time to time. When that is the case, I try to note them as such, like I did here.

    About ten times as much vilification has been directed at Dan Peterson

    On a forum were Gerald Bradford has 13,000 posts, where a good friend of Gerald Bradford has started a thread on the situation and then left the commentators to say whatever they want unchecked? Is it fellow Mormons (for the most part) vilifying Dan? I don’t think so.

    Your attempt to make MormonismDiscussions.com the tu quoque of this situation isn’t going to work.

    Likewise, there’s no reason to not assume it, until we have more information.

    I didn’t assume anything, and I didn’t state assumptions as fact. I simply offered other suggestions to the ones that were being asserted all over the place.

    In that he totally failed, and as DCP predicted, the vilification and mockery will go on for years.

    How did Bradford fail? Are you suggesting that he’s under an obligation to let Dan keep his position just so that people on the Internet won’t make fun of Dan? And are you disagreeing that, if Bradford came forth and made another statement specifying the reasons he let Dan go, people would make fun of Dan even more?

    There used to be a group of Mormon posters on ZLMB who identified themselves as “Little Followers of DCP.” If that isn’t a fan club, I don’t know what is. Dan still has “little followers of DCP.” They just don’t put that under their avatar titles anymore.

  15. I should say though Ray: I do have some words for the people celebrating over Dan’s “defeat” in my next post, so you might want to sit tight on that complaint.

  16. Some quick replies:

    “On a forum were Gerald Bradford has 13,000 posts, where a good friend of Gerald Bradford has started a thread on the situation and then left the commentators to say whatever they want unchecked? Is it fellow Mormons (for the most part) vilifying Dan? I don’t think so.”

    That must really *rile* those who believe fellow Saints should never be attacked, but I suppose it’s not “official” (to me this is a straw man).

    “Your attempt to make MormonismDiscussions.com the tu quoque of this situation isn’t going to work.”

    I think it’s a valid comparison as there is cross-posting, and cross-posters, several of whom you quote (and Shades *encourages* “board wars”). Though I have to say that “echo chambers”, of whatever variety, are pretty much a waste of time as far as I’m concerned. If you’re going to quote them though, then comparisons are valid as far as “who’s willing to speak out against those out of line?” (uncalled for polemics) on either side (I’ve just read your Part 3, and don’t see why you’d disagree with this).

    “How did Bradford fail? Are you suggesting that he’s under an obligation to let Dan keep his position just so that people on the Internet won’t make fun of Dan? And are you disagreeing that, if Bradford came forth and made another statement specifying the reasons he let Dan go, people would make fun of Dan even more?”

    The only things I’m suggesting are that it should not have been done by email, while Dan was out of the country, and that there should have been more up front and face to face talks, not back-stabbing, which it was. I think you know something too about how it feels to see your emails posted on the Internet without your permission (again in Part 3). Imagine if, hypothetically, one contained very personal information about your marriage or family, publicly “leaked” by a long time “enemy” of yours. This would not be humiliating? Maybe Bradford didn’t foresee this? In any case, maybe more pieces of the picture will come together later.

    “There used to be a group of Mormon posters on ZLMB who identified themselves as “Little Followers of DCP.” If that isn’t a fan club, I don’t know what is. Dan still has “little followers of DCP.” They just don’t put that under their avatar titles anymore.”

    That was 2003? Rest very assured I wasn’t one of them. You used the term generically in your post, but I’m glad you’ve now clarified that it essentially applies to a “little band of fan-atics”, or like-minded “fans”. Call me vain, but I think I have more intellectual depth than that, which is why I dislike the term *if* its applied to me.

    I’ve just read Part 3, and I plan on a reply later. In spite of our disagreements, we’ve also had some very similar thoughts, attitudes and reactions to apologetics.

  17. Jack, just a couple clarifications. First, the insider who originated the rumor that Dan’s firing was ordered from above has clarified that he was talking about the stoppage of the Dehlin publication, not the firing itself. This was a case of miscommunication. The firing originated with Bradford.

    Second, this weekend I heard a credible report that the General Authority who stopped the Dehlin publication has directly confirmed that he read portions of the article before contacting President Samuelson.

    Third, I heard a report from a BYU insider that President Samuelson (who is himself a General Authority) told Bradford to stick to his guns in the matter of Dan’s firing and resignation.

  18. #19 Ray ~ As I was composing this post, I considered that some might try to point out that Dan receives similar abuse on MormonDiscussions.com. I decided the two situations are not analogous because:

    - Gerald Bradford has never posted at MDB.
    - A personal friend of Bradford has not started a thread there that is hosting vitriolic comments towards Dan. In my view, a thread OP should put a little effort into getting nasty comments out of his or her thread, at least for a while. When I did my misogyny thread last year, I must have hit my “report” button 100 times, for various reasons. Someone posted in the thread at one point to suggest that people attempt to contact William Schryver’s ecclesiastical leaders over the thread, and I immediately spoke out against it. Other posters tried to bring up his wife and children, and I spoke out against that, too.
    - The people critiquing Dan at MDB are, for the most part, not believing Latter-day Saints. There is more of an expectation for believing Latter-day Saints to treat one another well than there is for non-believers to treat believers well.
    - MDB is a free speech forum. For the most part, it does not censor; it only moves posts to appropriate forums. Furthermore, since almost anyone is welcome to post there, the roster is not a reflection of moderator goals for the site.
    - A lot of the people who are hostile to Dan at MDB have had negative exchanges with Dan. For some of them, Dan has done something very personal to earn their ire (your friend Eric, for example). Most of the people hating on Bradford at MDB have never had an exchange with him in their lives.
    - The people at MDB were not fans of Bradford in any sense prior to recent events, and now they are only cheering him on because they like that he’s crossed Dan.

    So, in my book? Apples and oranges.

    When I was 18, I told a Mormon apologist in private that my application to BYU had been rejected. Within two days, this apologist had posted that private information to two different Mormon-themed discussion boards, justifying that it was okay because I was “attacking the church” (which I wasn’t). So yeah, I know something about having embarrassing private information put online without consent. I know how much it hurts. (This person has long since apologized and isn’t a believing Mormon or an apologist anymore.) In Bradford’s case, I’m very sure that he did not intend for the e-mails to go public like this.

    I’ve never regarded you as a DCP “fanboy.” The fan club consists of the people who seem incapable of generating independent thought when it comes to Dan. They are always supportive of everything Dan does and outraged over everything bad that happens to him. Case in point: some of the comentators I quoted above were present when Dan posted my private correspondence to MADB two years ago. None of them protested it. When Dan did it, it was perfectly okay. Now that Dan is the one who’s privacy has been violated in a similar manner, they’re outraged.

    You’re sometimes protective of Dan to a fault, but I’ve seen you criticize him as well. So no, not a fanboy.

    #20 Chris ~ Second, this weekend I heard a credible report that the General Authority who stopped the Dehlin publication has directly confirmed that he read portions of the article before contacting President Samuelson.

    Thanks, I will add this to the post.

    Third, I heard a report from a BYU insider that President Samuelson (who is himself a General Authority) told Bradford to stick to his guns in the matter of Dan’s firing and resignation.

    I heard exactly the same. This is what I was getting at when I said in my post that Bradford couldn’t reverse the decision now if he wanted to.

  19. Jack, I very much appreciate the cogent presentation and update on what’s going on in this dispute. I’m not terribly fond of DCP, nor do I think Bradford should be demonized, though I do tend to view the manner in which DCP was released as somewhat underhanded – though, as you point out, it is conceivable he could have been motivated by rather rational factors. Personally, I also hope that Greg Smith’s piece about John Dehlin might eventually surface in some setting or other, even if perhaps it really wasn’t appropriate for the MSR to begin with.

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