A Public Request to Scott Gordon of FAIRMORMON

John Dehlin Apologetics, Mormon Stories

ScottGordonFAIREuropeDear Scott Gordon (President of FAIRMormon),
Since you chose to publicly smear/malign me in a disingenuous way during your recent trip to Europe on multiple occasions (as has been reported to me by multiple sources — see video link below), I would like to ask you to do five things as a courtesy to me, and as a way to demonstrate your credibility to your followers:
  1. In your presentation you claim to “know me personally, and to have had many conversations with me.” Other than our UVU debate (wherein we did not speak in person in any substantive way), and a few email exchanges, can you please list for me/us the dates/times/locations where you and I have had any meaningful discussions face to face – in a personal way? I remember saying “Hello” to you at a few conferences, I remember a few email exchanges, but I do not ever recall a lunch, or a meeting, or any appointment of any kind that would provide you with enough justification for claiming to know me “personally.” Please share. Otherwise, your claims to “know me personally” come off to me as deceptive…and manipulative….and disingenuous — as if you were trying to mislead your audiences into thinking that you knew/know me better than you really did/do.

    FWIW, if you knew me personally, you would never had made the statement that I “have long believed that there is no God.” Just ask those who know me…personally. Perhaps my faith in God has wavered/fluctuated at times — perhaps I lost a belief in an anthropomorphic God — perhaps I admit that I do not “know” there is a God — but to this day I maintain hope that there is a God and/or an afterlife…even though I have made peace with the possibility that there is no God or afterlife. This has been my position on God for many, many years.

    Regardless, what type of person runs around the world smearing people because of their occasional doubts, while conveniently and intentionally ignoring evidence of their professed belief? Shouldn’t such disingenuous smears simply be off the table for someone who professes to be a disciple of Christ…or even a decent human being?  These types of tactics are beneath you, Scott Gordon.

  2. You claim that I “have long believed that there is no God” – and recently used a quote from a Mormon Expressions podcast interview as your evidence. In that interview I certainly expressed doubt about God — but that interview represented a snapshot in time, and a true low point in my life in many ways. That said — and as you well know — people’s faith journeys can be complex, and faith can wax and wane over a person’s lifetime.  This is a fact which you conveniently ignore when trying to smear me publicly.  So….to demonstrate your “FAIR”ness….can you please take the time to gather together all of the instances where I publicly refer to myself as a believer? I know for a fact that there are at least dozens, if not more, in the public domain. Again….I know that you and your associates claim to be “fair” and balanced in your work…and I know that you have hundreds who can help you do this research….so since I feel misrepresented by you, and somewhat publicly maligned/smeared in a sneering way, can you please do me this favor? I would really appreciate it.
  3. Can you please confirm whether or not you will be editing your video to remove the public misrepresentations you have made, and ceasing to malign/smear me in public again in this fashion?
  4. Can you please explain to me how publicly deceiving, manipulating, and smearing people — and seeking to mischaracterize people’s intimate faith journeys — is/are in any way a positive reflection of either FAIRMORMON or the gospel of Jesus Christ, which you claim to follow? Please explain. In addition, I worry that your ill-conceieved smear tactics are backfiring.  Some evidence from people who attended your presentations:
    1. From an attendee of one of your UK presentations: “I was at one of Scotts presentations, and him trying to discredit both you John, and Jeremy was extremely uncomfortable and I think most of us agreed it was inappropriate.”
    2. A quote from an attendee of your Sweden presentations: “This caracter attack will hurt the members of Sweden.That was last thing we needed.It is allready spreading like wildfire. May I humbly suggest — never do that again. Lots of members who were there in Kungsbacka reacted very strong to it. For those who believe it doesn’t matter if John Dehlin is atheist or believe in God. For those who came to get answers the first part of the conferance was so typical mormon behavior. That damaged more than it helped. I am sure that wasn’t the intent but it was the result. Some feedback from a member who was there.”
  5. Can you please share with us the most recent financial statements from FAIRMORMON? I am not able to find them online.

Thanks so much!
 
John Parkinson Dehlin
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Afternote: In 5 minutes of searching I was able to find several of my public statements about my belief in God.

Source #1:

“Asterisk #1: God. Throughout my Mormon adulthood, I have discovered that the Judeo- Christian/Mormon God that was taught to me in seminary–the God that requested Isaac’s sacrifice of Abraham as a test, and cursed Job for sport; the God that would send his Son to die, instead of facing the suffering Himself; the God that sent an angel with a flaming sword to Joseph; the God that blamed the members for the failures of Zion’s camp; the God whose divinely-led church still finds a way to either oppose or remain behind the times on any significant civil rights or social justice movement; the God who, instead, directs His church to build a multi-billion dollar commercial shopping mall over channeling the widow’s mite to the poor. I struggle to believe in this type of God.
To be fair – I was also taught that my Mormon God loves me as His child – and this teaching has been immensely comforting to me over the years — but these Old Testament-God-like stories are troubling enough to me that I feel like I need to keep searching. I’m still hopeful that Mormonism can support the God of my dreams. I have seen plenty of glimpses.”

Source #2: “John Dehlin: Yeah, regarding God? Ummm, I hope, I hope there is a God. I, I want there to be an afterlife. I’ve felt power and influence in my life before that has motivated me, and I consider myself a believer in God. But this does reflect doubts that I’ve had in my life and that’s why I think it’s a little bit taken out of context because if you… I’m not asking you to respond. Do you mind if I just share? Because some of these are kind of accusations.

Bryan King: Go ahead.

John Dehlin: So, I don’t think anybody actually knows that God exists. I think that people have feelings and emotions and they choose to describe their perspectives as knowledge—but
that is semantics. Because I don’t think that anybody really knows. So, is that grounds for excommunication?”

Source #3:

“God. I still consider myself to be a believer in “the divine” or “God” — although I prefer to retain a great deal of humility when attempting to assign a specific form, beliefs, or behavior to God. I believe that all of us are only guessing when we speak about the divine. While I often question or even doubt the existence of God, it does appear to me as though our creation has some sort of driving force or power, and I cannot deny that (at times) I have felt influence and support in my life which appeared to be outside my own power/ability. Consequently, I retain some hope that there is divine purpose and influence in our existence (and I call this God). I fully acknowledge that I could be wrong about all this, that there could be no “God,” and that this life could be the only life we get. Consequently, I remain determined to make the most of my life on earth — whether or not there is an afterlife.”
Scott Gordon and FAIRMORMON literally gave NO effort to be fair or even-handed with his comments. I don’t know what else to conclude than that he has the desire to malign, distort, manipulate, deceive, etc.