A Public Request to Scott Gordon of FAIRMORMON

John Dehlin Apologetics, Mormon Stories 78 Comments

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
========
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.

Comments 78

  1. Lawsuit for defamation of character. You’d only be following what the leadership do via their lawfirm, so ‘following the profit’ as such.

    Seriously though, consult a lawyer. I’ll donate. They think they are beyond the law of the land.

    1. If they can support the claim that Dehlin “has long believed there is no God” with an actual quote from Dehlin, it might not be much of a case…

  2. I love Number 5! If they have nothing to hide, then let everyone know where the funding’s coming from and going to!

  3. Scott’s intent is to dissuade LDS members from doing any exploring of issues on their own by discrediting the most well known voices of questioning. People are far less likely to consider anything John or Jeremy say with an open mind if they think they have had some kind of secret evil agenda from the very beginning.

    Frankly, personal attacks are pretty much the only tool Scott has to work with so it’s not surprising he goes there.

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        I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being an atheist. I’m saying that:

        1) He is in error when he says that “I haven’t believed in God for a very long time.” That’s not true.
        2) I suspect that he is trying to smear me in the minds of believers by associating me with atheism.

        It’s the attempts to smear through misinformation that I’m concerned about.

  4. Astounding! Any individual who claims to be a follower of Christ and his teachings and can behave in such a manner is repulsive. I predict the day will come [if it hasn’t already], that Scott will rue the day he made such foolish, inaccurate, and caustic comments. If this is the best in apologetics the church has to offer, woe be to it’s future. It’s relevancy will fade even more rapidly than is already occurring!

  5. It seems to me that Scott Gordon is pretty disingenuous here about those who have severe doubts, or who have left the faith. I know non who have sought a license to sin, or who have wanted an excuse to ‘enter the world.’ I know non who have not battled with reason, prayer, and study, before making a decision to abandon, or realign their beliefs. Most have undergone various levels of loss, sacrifice and pain to follow the truth out of the church; many have lost their family, their spouse, their friends, their credibility and status amongst their community. Why? They did it for the sake of a gut wrenching honesty deep within their own soul. To step-out into such a wilderness of uncertainty, fear, grief and discomfort, is to exercise a Faith of extraordinary courage! My own journey out took a lifetime and was full of prayer, fasting, pleading and obedience, but in the end, the evidence was too great to ignore.

    1. Agreed. Wasn’t it Sean Carter who said if you wanted to sin you would still go to Church? That would be the perfect way of trying to conceal it. It takes a lot of integrity to stand up for your beliefs in the face of criticism, uncertainty and uncharitable comments like the ones given in this video.

  6. FairMormon is obviously desperate. If he speaks the truth he should just let the truth speak for itself. There is no reason for petty smears. Grow up, dude. The LDS are starting to self destruct.

  7. In the Doctrine & Covenants, we read a sharp criticism of expecting to receive knowledge by merely asking God. See D&C 9:7 ( noting, with disapproval, that Oliver “took no thought save it was to ask”). The counsel in the Doctrine & Covenants is to “you must study it out in your mind.” See D&C 9:8. This does not say “study a little bit” or “get half of the story.” Every member of the church deserves to know the factual record relating to its foundation, its history, and its sacred texts, so that they can study it out in their minds and make an fully informed conclusion about it. I have listened to virtually all of the Mormon Stories podcast episodes and know that they do fairly present the factual record relating to its foundation, its history, and its sacred texts–including the voices of those who believe and those who do not believe.

    With his personal attacks against John and Jeremy, Brother Gordon appears to be “poisoning the well” as an obstacle for church members studying these things out in their minds. I encourage all truth seekers out there not to take my word for it, not Jeremy’s, not John’s, and not Brother Gordon’s. I encourage all truth seekers to read all of the materials available, including the first presidency approved LDS.org essays — see mormonessays.com for links; the FAIRMormon resources online, MormonThink.com; CESLetter.com; the Mormon Stories podcast catalog; and any other resources they might find helpful. Studying it out is not something to fear: it’s a divine mandate.

  8. At 40:50 Scott makes a claim that Joseph Smith changed one of two verses from white and delightsome, to pure and delightsome. I know it was changed but not till long after Joseph Smith died. Does anyone have the reference to the verse Joseph changed to pure and delightsome?

    1. Apparently the 1830 edition had it as “white” originally, and then someone changed it to “pure” in the 1840 edition (FAIR claims it was “probably” Joseph Smith, but how do we know that?):

      2 Nephi 30:6 (1830 edition, italics added): “…they shall be a white and a delightsome people.”
      2 Nephi 30:6 (1840 edition, italics added): “…they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.”

      Somehow this 1840 change was lost for 140 years, and “put back” in 1981 (even though the 1830 “white” version was earlier and arguable “more correct.”)

      1. That’s what I would question: How do we know the 1840 edition wasn’t written in 1979 and, called the 1840 edition? I think there are people who have or can find hard copies of the BoM, D&C, PoGP, etc., etc., from the actual times. I know there are people who can do that with the D&C. They can compare versions actually printed at different times and show what was changed, where and approximately when.

  9. When emotional debaters (or at times immature/inexperienced ones) run out of substantive arguments, or know they are losing a debate, they often move to discredit their opponent instead, knowing that there are masses that will buy into that tactic. It will never convince a person on middle ground, but it may convince those on their boat to stay in, grab an oar, and keep paddling.

    While it is expected – though still unfortunate – for those at fair mormon to behave this way, it is sad that the church seems to behave the same way by continuing with its excommunications, backing these apologists, and at times insulting those that have left in an attempt to minimize the issues.

    I loved your defense John. People do fluctuate. What some see as inconsistencies or outright deceptions, most of us who have listened to countless hours of your show, and had our own journeys, see a person who is simply experiencing life, processing information, battling heart and mind, and trying to understand what is right. If Scott has never doubted his belief in God or his faith in mormonism, if he has never in a personal conversation with a friend expressed his doubts and then reformed his beliefs in some capacity and contemplated on them (even fluctuated on them), then Scott is in no way qualified to defend the church. How can one that never leaves the cave sit around expounding on the shadows on the wall? Leaving the cave might not make your interpretation right, but I would rather hear out the guy that at least took a few peaks around outside and tried to interpret things from another vantage point.

  10. As one of those likewise misrepresented by Mr. Gordon in this presentation, I empathize with your reaction. I do not expect to be treated fairly by FAIR, and trust their aggressive and unChristian approach to defending institutional Mormonism will eventually collapse under its own weight. What I have found is that when anyone who has listened or read their misrepresentations later comes into contact with their targeted “opponents,” minds are changed. Vitriol is unbecoming. Persuasion and knowledge is more compelling. Eventually (and sometimes it takes years) the better view will prevail. They would be far better off giving their listeners/readers an opportunity to fairly consider contrasting views, as you have done so well, John. I would advise you to trust others to recognize the unfairness of FAIR. I have lowered my expectations of Latter-day Saints, and it has improved everything. The institutional church encourages its members to fear and resist searching for truth, because they know allowing freedom surrenders all control over the outcome. Joseph Smith was relentlessly inquisitive, just as are little children. Christ admonished His followers to be like that. It is anti-Christ to induce others to fear the search for, the inquiry into and the discovery of truth.

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      I love your perspective, Denver. Thanks for stopping by to comment. And for the record…I only make a big deal out of this to shine a spotlight on their practices…so that people can see FAIRMORMON for who they really are…and (perhaps a bit) to stand up to a bully.

      But these things don’t really get under my skin in any real way. They do, however, provide me with motivation from time to time…which is always a nice boost!

      1. You’re right that it is useful to shine a light on their approach. Your clarification that it doesn’t really get under your skin made me reflect on how you’ve approached so many difficult issues in a healthy way over the years.
        I’m probably as “conservative” (not a good word-but it’ll have to do) a Mormon believer as exists. You are probably as “liberal” (also inadequate as a stand alone adjective) a Mormon(ish) thinker as exists. Yet I feel comfortable and accepted by you, and extend the same in return.
        The oddity is that the institutional LDS adherents feel they must cast both of us out because of their strong opposition to us both. Narrower and narrower, they waste away, refusing to return the tolerance offered them. They value control over trusting that with freedom, believers may reach very different conclusions, but still remain kindly disposed toward each other.

        1. Wow. This was beautiful. I am no longer a believer but you have my utmost respect. I can see why the Q15 are afraid of you.

          Polite, humble and respectful. Completely the opposite to those who proclaim to be ‘God’s mouthpieces’ spending billions on commercial real estate.

          Best wishes from Europe.

  11. So…Rodney Meldrum is wrong and “in danger” for taking the “I am right, and everyone else is wrong” approach? If that approach is dangerous then how does Mr. Gordon reconcile moving ahead with what amounts to an “I am right” argument.

    Since he makes the claims about Atheism, a thought I have on all of this is that I used to be annoyed by the hair-splitting of terms between Agnosticism vs Atheism. I always felt that as a modern “thing”, Atheist’s were the more hardliner of the two given there outright rejection of a belief in God. Today I feel differently and realize that Atheists tend to be far too gracious to believers by allowing the argument to be waged on the battlefield selected by the believer, rather than just confronting the believers with the reality that even if there was/is a God, believers like Scott Gordon have absolutely no more knowledge or connection to that reality/deity/truth/whatever, than anyone else. I don’t have to disprove God to know that even if such a thing does exist, Scott Gordon isn’t going to have the answers any more than the next person. And that makes his point regarding Rodney Meldrum all the more ridiculous to me.

  12. John, this seems hardly worth dignifying with a response. You drew your sword when you could have just left him flapping in the breeze. Those that have “ears to hear” will see him for what he is and look to more substantial sources. Those that don’t will cling to whatever reinforces their fragile world view. I personally see you standing on higher ground without the need to get down in the mud with the likes of Scott Gordon.

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      Mark – Thanks for the feedback. I’ll repeat what I’ve said elsewhere:

      1) I believe in shining light on both FAIRMORMON and the LDS church when they do harmful things. This provides a wonderful opportunity to do just that. This was super uncool of Scott to do, and he deserves to be called out on it.
      2) I believe in standing up to bullies whenever it is safe to do so. This is one of those times. Maybe Scott and others at FAIRMORMON will think twice next time. Who knows.
      3) I love bringing attention to these issues (truth claims, bad apologetics) and I’m using this as a opportunity to do so.
      4) Finally, I feel very, very secure in saying that the more people are exposed to FAIRMORMON, the more (over time) that these people come to see the church for what it really is. Which is my only real goal. If they decide to stay engaged after that…God bless them.

        1. But still “what”? Even Joseph Smith stood up for himself! Granted he was lying through his teeth when he defended himself to his followers…John isn’t.

          Good for you, John. Addressing the bullies that defend The So Called Church is so far beyond important I don’t actually have the words to even express it. The narrowing down of their thinking, the smaller their minds and “rights” have become over the years is truly frightening. That “cave” description above was spot on.

          1. I just saw John’s reply to Denver Snuffer above, “…I only make a big deal out of this to shine a spotlight on their practices…so that people can see FAIRMORMON for who they really are…and (perhaps a bit) to stand up to a bully. But these things don’t really get under my skin in any real way. They do, however, provide me with motivation from time to time…” and I echo Kath’s remark, “Good for you, John.”

            Keep up the good work. I do enjoy a little swordplay and riposte in clarification of the truth. 🙂

      1. I for one greatly appreciate your bringing this to the public’s attention, John. Many events, such as this would be unknown if people, such as yourself, did not make it known…and I consider it very important that we as members/exmo’s/interested observers be kept informed as to this type of diatribe, that to me is an utter disgrace!

      2. Thank you for what you do John….You have no idea how much you have silently helped me over the last 2 years. I am very grateful !

    2. I know of no other outspoken former Mormon as diplomatic as John Dehlin. He even aggravates me sometimes with how diplomatic he is, when I consider the situation to call for a bolder response.

      To suggest John has sunk to the level of Scott is absurd. His mild response IS taking the higher ground.

      1. Yes, my point exactly. John has the high ground and gave a great explanation in his reply to me as to why he chose to engage Scott Gordon on his own turf.

  13. Scott Gordon, very sad to hear your explanation trying to deflect the real problematic issues using simplistic examples and in top of that he will uses personal attacks. very little to learn from his presentation. if this is the best he can do we are in troubles.

  14. The LDS church has a lot to answer for. Whenever I hear Dan Peterson or any apologist from FAIR or FARMS comment any critizism of the church they always seem to tell us that all this controversial information has been out there ALL THE TIME. It has been published in various LDS magazines and talks. Why do they want to give me feeling that I am the stupid donkey around here for not knowing. One thing is for sure. All this information is NOT in the manuals that I taught from in sunday school and priesthood lessons. The Joseph Smith manual that circulated among members around 2008-2009 had no mention about Polygamy/Polyandry. Not importent to know?

    I discovered all of the difficulties in the church about six months ago. My journey has been to obtain as much information as possible and I can still remember the feelings I had when I browsed through Youtube and found an interview with Sandra Tanner on mormonism. It was like I almost didn’t deer to push the button play. I felt I did a sin. This is how mind controlling it is. I pushed play and and my faith were shattered. I looked into John Dehlin and his podcast, and boy did the world open, and so did my eyes.

    Scott Gordon took a few issues and pounded hard on Jeremy and John. They comment things they are comfortable with and make anyone who critizises the church look like fools and unlearned. And then they have a good laugh with the audience to seal the deal. Off course, FAIR has ALL the answers. Why bother look into the problems. I am sure that since they are so smart they can do all the thinking for me. Please let FAIR continue as they have always done. Cause they sure made me more secure about the stand I’ve taken. They have no bullets left and that is why people like Jeremy and John have to pay as public beeings raising tough questions. I am sorry it had to be you this time. Keep up the good work John and stay in there.

  15. Whenever I hear Dan Peterson or any apologist from FAIR or FARMS comment any critizism of the church they always seem to tell us that all this controversial information has been out there ALL THE TIME. It has been published in various LDS magazines and talks. Why do they want to give me feeling that I am the stupid donkey around here for not knowing. One thing is for sure. All this information is NOT in the manuals that I taught from in sunday school and priesthood lessons. The Joseph Smith manual that circulated among members around 2008-2009 had no mention about Polygamy/Polyandry. Not importent to know?

    Scott Gordon took a few issues and pounded hard on Jeremy and John. They comment things they are comfortable with and make anyone who critizises the church look like fools and unlearned. And then they have a good laugh with the audience to seal the deal. Off course, FAIR has ALL the answers. Why bother look into the problems. I am sure that since they are so smart they can do all the thinking for me. Please let FAIR continue as they have always done. Cause they sure made me more secure about the stand I’ve taken. They have no bullets left and that is why people like Jeremy and John have to pay as public beeings raising tough questions. I am sorry it had to be you this time. Keep up the good work John and stay in there.

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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: http://mormonstories.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Dehlin-WhyIStay-Suntone-2012.pdf

    “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: http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/e/8/a/e8a44044aed3fed4/John_Dehlin_Excommunicated_Press_Release_2-10-2015_Final.pdf

    “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: http://mormonstories.wpengine.com/what-aspects-of-lds-church-teachingsdoctrine-do-you-still-believe-in-vs-not/

    “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.

  17. One can receive more authentic, truthful information from a drug dealer on a corner than you will from an apologist like this Scott Gordon fellow. OMG, I cringed for 40 minutes. Did you hear his dismissive answers to the questions that were submitted? I hope the Swedes in attendance were able to sense the deception. More meetings like this in Sweden will send members fleeing for the exits.

  18. Overall, I think Scott’s presentation will primarily result in creating more doubters. FAIR is the gateway by why MANY LDS members come to realize things aren’t as they always supposed. I have heard many ex-Mormons recount that their face crisis began by perusing FAIR articles only to discover even more “issues” they didn’t even know needed an explanation.

    The only thing Scott is accomplishing is to drive more people to begin their journey down the rabbit hole by starting at FAIRMormon.org.

    1. Michael,

      I could not agree with you more. When FAIR and people like Scott take personal attacks on people, it only shows their insecurities about educated, intelligent people like John. The ironic part of this whole thing is that John doesn’t speak ill of people & treats everyone with compassion and fairness. It is people like Scott that claim to be “a follower of God”, yet he acts just the opposite. If Scott wasn’t worried about so many people respecting John and REALIZING THAT THE CES LETTER IS 100 PERCENT SPOT ON for asking questions we ALL want answers to, he wouldn’t be so consumed with putting John and Jeremy down . If Scott felt confident that he had the truth, he wouldn’t be running around the world worried about Jeremy or John. All I can say is Shame on Scott, he is making more people wonder what he is so worried about. Reading the CES letter was the best thing that ever happened to me and I pray more members will read it. John, please keep up your great work, you have helped so many people live richer, fuller, happier lives!!

  19. I find myself unpersuaded by Scott Gordon’s call to circle the wagons against the perceived unbelief of non-correlated voices who are seeking truth. The tone of the call is strident, self-congratulatory and proud. If he is getting paid to say these things his paymasters are fools; if he is free-lancing he makes for an odd cheerleader indeed.

  20. John, I bang my head when I listen to this man do such a poor job of representing you, Mormon Stories, and other important work performed by those who seek to shine a light on the truth. I’m glad you have the strength to not take it personally. As others have pointed out, these type of remarks do not help the LDS cause. Members can see through this ad hominem misrepresentation nonsense, and while it may appease some, more will see it for what it truly is – pathetic.

    Observation: This reminds me of when I took a Christian Apologetic course in grad school (how I got there, long story). I gobbled up what I learned in class and felt capable of defending my Christian faith. However, when I spoke to atheists and people of other religions, I found that their positions were nothing like what I had studied. In short, what I had learned was a misrepresentation of other groups pinned entirely by apologists. When I learned what the atheist position truly was, I had to rethink everything. In short, this is not confined to only Mormonism, but is a sad tactic employed by apologists of all types. It’s a straw man argument and it pains me to see that your name, John Dehlin, was pinned to the straw man this time.

  21. It seems that FAIR is just a sophisticated way they put lipstick on a pig. I think it is a big narcissistic ego fest among some of them and any people who disagree with their premise are subject to their vitriol, venom and name-calling. The bullies there bring out feelings of anxiety, inferiority and inadequacies in others by their manner of speech, where they sometimes never see the real impact their words have.

    If someone unjustly berates me while telling me how important the gospel is and how wrong I am, while putting words in my mouth and unfairly judging my motives, then, simply speaking, they are doing a disservice to the church they represent.

    John, I’m glad you are holding Mr. Gordon accountable and hopefully he will respond. Thank-you for your contributions to our community and best wishes to you.

  22. John,
    Your body of work speaks for itself. No one can listen to your podcasts and wonder what your motivations are. You are clearly searching for truth. Unfortunately for the Mormon church your searching has given knowledge to so many people left in the dark. I don’t think you need to explain yourself, but I’m glad you are standing up for yourself.

  23. It is comforting to know I made the right choices in leaving the LDS Church when the best their apologists can do is use character attacks (and very false ones at that) against their opposition. If they had the truth, it would be so easy to defend no matter how hard and pressing John Dehlin or Jeremy Runnells’ questions were. Instead, what I see is a wild animal trying to bite at us as it dies.

  24. I also thought you didn’t believe there was a God per se, maybe just something there but that you didn’t know what or if it was just an energy or just a thing, certainly not a father as mormons claim. And this is going back to about 2007 odd , when I first started listening to your podcasts.

    So maybe this is all a misunderstanding or just a technicality about what the man understood your beliefs were from the mid-00’s.

  25. John Dehlin has done more for Mormons and Mormonism than any other person, past or present.

    Since Scott has no facts, all he can do is resort to lies.

    Scott may or may not realize it, but the foundation he thinks he is standing on has disintegrated beneath his feet and no longer exists.

  26. There certainly are no gods giving answers to the tough questions asked of LDS leaders.

    And there are no gods (or other supur-human entitites) that want John to believe in them or else he’d believe in them. If John wants to influence what people believe, it’s up to HIM to communicate effectively– and the same would hold true of any gods that wanted to influence what people believe.

  27. There certainly are no gods giving answers to the tough questions asked of LDS leaders.

    And there are no gods (or other super-human entities) that want John to believe in them or else he’d believe in them. If John wants to influence what people believe, it’s up to HIM to communicate effectively– and the same would hold true of any gods that wanted to influence what people believe

  28. I admit, this is confusing.

    Because he thought you did not believe in God?
    Because he characterized a couple of conversations with you as knowing you personally, and have had many conversations with you?

    That’s a smear campaign? This means he did harmful things?
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan at all of him trying to speak for you on whether you believe in God, nor that he claimed to have had many conversations with you, as if you were closer than you are. But this hardly seems worth noting, let along anything near a smear campaign, or anything near an attack on you.

    1. Post
      Author

      David – What do you think Scott’s purpose was in mentioning Mormon Stories in front of the audience then? Why did he mention the excommunication? Why do you think he mentioned knowing me personally? And why do you think he asserted that I didn’t believe in God in front of this audience? What was his purpose in mentioning those things? And what do you make of his tone at the end…when he talks about my wanting to remain a member of the church….but not believing in God. What was his tone towards the end? Was it complimentary? Was it charitable?

      Maybe for you he was subtle. But for me, the intent was very, very clear. His only intent in bringing up Mormon Stories was to poison the well by associating me with excommunication and atheism. And his purpose in saying that he “knew me personally” was to try to add credibility to his assertions. If you don’t see this, we are just going to have to disagree.

      The whole thing was a smear, David. That was the only purpose.

      1. Aaron,

        Did you actually listen to Scott’s speech? Yes, you’re correct, he was speaking to (mostly) believers and trying to use the good ol’ Mormon scare tactic for people to stay within their isolated bubble. Bottom line, he is discouraging people to seek information and to think for themselves. His whole speech gave me the chills, like I was a child and I should not think for myself…they’ve got it covered for me and I can turn my brain off. It doesn’t matter whether they “hide” information to keep people in the dark. I’ve listened to every podcast and I disagree with your comment above. Also, the speech by Scott was NOT “to build and maintain” faith, it was to scare members from reading information about the church. They do not want people getting on the big bad internet for fear that they might actually learn something that the church is trying to hide and ultimately they will lose their steadfast control of people. If there is nothing to hide then why fear knowledge? The whole purpose of Scott’s speech was to bully members to stay off the internet, discredit Scott and Jeremy and to remain under the ultimate control of the church.

  29. This man is so condescending. I can’t believe the LDS church lets him continue like this. And if we shouldn’t believe what’s on the internet, then we surely shouldn’t believe this guy cuz fairmormon is, well, ON THE INTERNET!

  30. What got me to head slap myself was the comment about steel being used by the Romans, finding one sword, which proves steel was available. It may be true that this was found in the Middle East, but where is the evidence that these items were in the Americas? Where was the infrastructure to make steel swords here? You’ll need more than 1 sword to kill between 1 Million and 3 Million participants at Cumorah. Where are the slag heaps that is produced when making steel? Please show me just one! Most of the iron ore is located in the Upper Midwest, and is shipped down in and around the Great Lakes. Can’t make steel without iron ore…. the list goes on and on……..

    1. Yes, this is what jumped out at me as well. Anyone who accepts this as proof that swords existed in the new world prior to the Spanish arriving is just looking for even the most flimsy pretense on which to justify staying. It’s rather embarrassing for Scott, actually, given that he is an educator.

  31. This guy is an ass clown. This guy is grasping at straws. It’s pathetic to watch. But wait, he did cry… so the church must be true. DON’T FORGET TO CRY!!

  32. John, I applaud you calling out Scott for pretending that he knows you personally and for misrepresenting the status of your beliefs.

    A good and honest man like you could only be maligned in the small minds of uncritical thinkers and in the closed hearts of the hopelessly indoctrinated.

    Even if what Scott said were true, I see no shame in being an atheist or agnostic, or an apostate for that matter. The worst that someone could call me now is a “Mormon.”

  33. My bet is the Scott will just stonewall you John. He is not interested in truth, just in making disingenuous weak minded ad hominem attacks. He will never deal with substantive issues because on those he loses. Typical Mormon apologist’s tactic. He puts just enough sincerity in his voice and truth into what he says to make his presentation sound credible for those with little ability or interest in honest inquiry and truth seeking.

  34. I can write with ABSOLUTE knowledge that FAIR contacts wealthy Mormon members for funding. They have individuals that meet with members and tell them about all the wonderful things they are doing at FAIR and ask for direct donations.

  35. It’s official, John Dehlin is no longer interested in opposing views. I have left 3 messages over the last week that have mildly differed from the party line in the comments and all three posts got deleted. I wasn’t rude, wasn’t belligerent, just pointed out a counter to a couple of points. I will no longer try (big loss, I know). Enjoy the echo chamber, everyone.

  36. Hi Jon, l feel you wrote a great and fair message/ answer back to scott Gordon and l thought it would have been a good idea to have Jon hamer or Grant palmer or Sandra tanner on an interview who are all highly regarded historians and church scholars to help support you in dealing with these issues scott brought up and to give their opinions on these matters, l would like to know where he got his information on the horses in the museum and the fact that he’s seen them and the book of napoleon for guidance for joseph smith with the book of Mormon, as he gave no proper proofs or evidence’s, thanks jon for sharing this video with us listeners, your doing a great job, appreciated by us all.

  37. That “desire to sin” slide was just hilarious.

    A starbucks coffee logo and a smiling couple embracing? That’s kind of what Sweden is all about.

    Next Mormons will claim sambo is a sin.

    Isn’t it painfully obvious what vacuous nothingburgers Scott and Mormonism actually are?

    Sad gnats passing through a truly great country.

  38. Where’s my comment? Did you delete it? So you censor people now? I mean, you can do whatever the hell you want, but then don’t complain that the church does the same thing.

    Just saying.

  39. While I empathize with John and Denver, to me the most fascinating part of the story is the public calling out of Rodney Meldrum.

    Since when did the church begin using their official platform for publicly discrediting active faithful LDS authors for postulating their beliefs on non-revealed topics? There are countless LDS authors that could have been called on the carpet for doing what Meldrum does in his book, why did Scott Gordon pick on Meldrum?

    It is a well known fact that Rodney Meldrum, Wayne May and the “Firm Foundation” have been at odds with the LDS scholars at FAIR and the MormonInterpreter for years, debating the location of the Book of Mormon geography.

    Whether Gordon likes it or not, Joseph Smith and the scripture he brought forth did make several well documented statements placing the BofM geography squarely in North America. Meldrum has a right to passionately make his case that Joseph Smith taught what he taught no matter how much it makes the scholars who promote the central and south America theories squirm.

    John, I think you should seriously consider interviewing Meldrum about this talk given by Gordon. Despite the fact Meldrum is a believer, I think the story is very relevant to the kinds of issues you spotlight.

    I am very surprised that the PTB in the institution allowed Gordon to publicly attach the credibility of an LDS author in good standing. particularly since the North America model has picked up huge traction among members of the church.

  40. I’m an active LDS member. Why can’t FAIR MORMON pick a more humble, loving, genuine, spiritual and honest person/leader? This is the kind of person who makes us look bad! I remember those types of missionary companions! – with an agenda. I don’t trust him and he doesn’t give me a good vibe. Sorry but I can’t feel the spirit while listening to him talking. And I’m not talking about the spirit — by evoking/triggering an emotion = feeling = thought from the sub-conscious, I’m talking about the true spirit of God which is a state of purity, peace and clarity = an external and unseen force which, to me is real. I feel the spirit more when I read and listen to John Dehlin. Something to think about. Of course, my opinion.

    1. I’ve met and interacted with a few apostles briefly, several area authorities, interacted intimately with mission presidents & bishops… and I’ve never met anybody who behaved like this. I’ve only met kind, thoughtful, and encouraging people who have inspired me. I really do wish the church leaders that have so well represented the gospel to me throughout my life would just address this discussion head-on. I’m getting tired of this one-sided conversation. John and all of his compatriots who are waging this war are doing so in much the way radical Islam is taking on the west… by going into homes and schools and restaurants and hitting people directly.

      Perhaps the brethren feel or know that there is no defense against this modern form of internet guerrilla warfare?

      I would just love to see John & Jeremy & Kate sit down with Elders Holland and Bednar and Nelson and have a genuine discussion. Jeremy’s hearing video made me want to puke. That was absolutely 180 degrees the opposite of what I expected to see in a church court, and it seriously made me rethink the entire situation. I’d like to say “this entire thing could be handled so much better”, but then I realize, maybe it can’t. Maybe there really is no answer that leaves the church intact. Maybe it’s all coming down like a big Jenga tower.

      To me, that would be so sad, such a disastrous waste of time, resources, and energy from millions of devoted people who believe and want to live Christ’s gospel. So much good in the world, torn down and destroyed.

      How much better it would be if the church could simply adapt and improve, as it has done in the past, forsaking it’s bad parts, embracing the good, acknowledging it’s faults (as we as individuals are required to do during the repentance process), and learning & benefitting from those who want to help us do so.

      I’ve never felt that John D was being disingenuous, in all of his anxiety and frustration and angst…
      I didn’t feel Jeremy R was being disingenuous as he pleaded with his Stake President for understanding…
      Even as she embraced all of the most worldly aspects of life after her excommunication, I still feel Kate Kelly was genuine in her frustration and sadness…

      As Elder Holland and the other general authorities plead with us to embrace the gospel and steer clear of negativity, I feel a great deal of genuine love and compassion from them as well. I know that they are doing their best in a difficult situation.

      So why can’t both sets of genuine people just get together and have a genuine discussion about all of these issues?

      Some here say “because they can’t”. Well I don’t believe that’s true. They can and they should.

  41. Scott Gordon and FAIR MORMON are a joke. John Dehlin rocks and brings past and current issues into the light. No hiding!!!
    The Church Essays are a good start for transparency, but very biased, and incomplete with very little details.
    Keep up the good work John D.

  42. Dear John,

    I don’t have a dog in this fight (and it would turn out to be a real dog fight!) so maybe the opinion of a complete outsider may have some value. I am a devout Irish Catholic who never was and never would be a Mormon. But I have been interested in the Mormon people for the longest time – I first wrote off to Salt Lake City for information some 60 years ago. I think I have listened to almost all of both the FAIRMormon things and Mormon Stories. The civility of the exchanges impresses me greatly, John being a good example. Even when he is interviewing folks, whose ideas he has long since abandoned, he maintains a respectful manner (although I feel he really wishes deep down he could re-capture the splendor in the grass). It seems to be part of the Mormon DNA . (Certainly not part of the Irish DNA).

    As such, I am fond of both camps and definitely would not wish harm to either side. A lawsuit against the FAIRMormon would lead to nothing but useless rancor and animosity plus you have absolutely no idea where it would lead. A colossal lover’s spat played out on the Internet. Nothing good would come of it just more pain for those already suffering because of the Mormon thing. You may bloody the noses of the LDS and FAIRMormon but your own followers would have some of the scar tissue torn open. The good that you have achieved in this group therapy podcast would be vitiated.

    Just let it go, don’t hunt what you can’t kill.

    Peace of Christ,

    Steve

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