Bonus: 2 Mormon Mavericks — William D. Russell and Richard D. Poll

John Dehlin Church History, Faith Promoting Stories, Mormon

I wanted to share with you the testimonies of 2 heroes of mine….one new, and one old.

William D. Russell: For over 40 years, William D. Russell has been a progressive voice among the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (now the Community of Christ). This is his story — from a 1993 Sunstone Symposium presentation called, “Pillars of my faith”.

Richard D. Poll: In early 1994 the distinguished career of Richard D. Poll, historian, professor, writer, husband and friend, came full circle. His Liahona/Iron-rod dichotomy, borrowed from the Book of Mormon, had entered the lexicon of Mormon thought almost 30 years earlier in his landmark essay “What the Church Means to People Like Me” (Dialogue 2:4, Winter 1967). His “Pillars of My Faith” sermon in Sunstone called for committed LDS worshipers and writers to join a mighty Christian chorus “in which almost all the singers hear the dissonant sounds of the alternate voices as polyphonic enrichment of the message of the gospel music.” For people like him, “neither dogmatic fundamentalism nor dogmatic humanism provides convincing answers to life’s most basic questions.” He defined history as “human strivings to discover divine realities.” Like Paul, Richard Poll lived his life as part of the leaven that “leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9), offering his Liahona questioning in the spirit of “charity, humility, persistence.” In a time when men and women are being called sinners for a word (or many words); when the terms “alternate” and “dissident” are being redefined as sinister; when some seek apostasy, while others have apostasy thrust upon them, Richard Poll’s calm, reasoned, compassionate voice rings with a clarity that will live on in our hearts and minds.