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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 12, 2017 09:30PM

Let's examine the sophistry spun by the Mormon Cult on its secretive spy agency, otherwise known as the "Strengthening the Members Committee."

In a previous thread, RfM poster "anagrammy" wrote:

". . . [I]n my mind, [there was] what was called 'The Committee' operated in the shadows with Gordon B. Hinckley at its head. He was the equivalent of the head of the CIA in our federal government. Presidents/Prophets come and go but the guy in the know is the head of the CIA or, in the Mormon Church, the head of the Committee."

("Re: Who was Gordon B. Hinckley?," posted by "anagrammy," on "Recovery from Mormonism" discussion board, 26 October 2013)

In a more recent RfM thread, poster "JimBobby2" inquired about what "anagrammy" may have actually been referring to:

"What is the Strengthening the Members Committee?

"I need to know exactly what this committee does. I am not looking for comical answers."

("Strengthening the Members Committee," by "JimBobby2," on RfM discussion board, 10 November 2017)

The following post by RfM contributor, "Stumbling," reviews claims made by Mormon apostle Jeffrey Holland and Mormon Church public relations director Michael Purdy regarding the nature of the LDS Cult's murky "Strengthening the Members Committee":

"In the recent BBC TV programm,'The Mormon Candidate,' reporter Michael Sweeney gained two senior confirmations of the current existence of this secretive (oops, sacred) sub-organization within the Mormon Church.

"The two people directly asked about this secret Committee were Elder Jeffrey Holland and Senior Church PR Manager Michael Purdy.

"In both cases, their initial reaction was to deny knowledge of this Committee (known as 'lying'), but when pressed subsequently confirmed that it does exist (known as 'being caught out in a lie').

"When asked about its purpose and modus operandi, Michael Purdy (after breaking eye contact, visibly shrinking in his chair and his face turning bright pink) stated that he didn't know anything about what it did.

"Elder Holland, on the other hand, had to be led to the answer that its primary purpose was to protect the Saints against Polygamists.

"Sweeney picked up on that and followed up by asking what its secondary purposes were.

"Cue Holland shifting uncomfortably in his seat and waffling for a short while.

"He then confirmed that it did also observe and monitor other people/members who might be a risk to the faith of the other members but that he didn't sit on the Committee and so didn't know the details of what it did.

"So what did we learn for sure about this Committee?

"1. It exists and operates today, right now.

"2. It monitors members who it perceives as not towing the line to the extent their behaviour may affect others.

"3. It is secretive and shadowy.

"4. It's activities are such that senior Church leaders are uncomfortable talking about it and would be, initially, prepared to lie about it's existence and purpose.

"We can also surmise that:

"5. Tithing pays the wages of the people working full time for the Committee.

"6. The Committee actively monitors online forums such as this one.

"7. People like Grant Palmer and Michael Quinn have been victims of this Committee."

("The Strengthening the Members Committee," posted by "Stumbling," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 28 March 2012)

More on this LDS Cult-created committee:

--What Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks Privately Told Me About the "Strengthening the Members Committee"--

First, as background, Oaks had, in an on-the-record interview with reporter Paul Brinkley-Rogers of the "Arizona Republic" (the newspaper for which I work), described the "Strengthenng the Members Commmittee" as follows (recapped by "Sunstone" magazine):

" . . . [I]n the 'Arizona Republic,' Elder Oaks called the Committee's actions a 'clipping service.'

"'It's a way of keeping busy bishops informed,' he told the "News." 'But it is up to the bishop to handle it. Bishops don't report back.' He said the information comes with no instructions to take specific action. He compared it to his teaching judges how to be judges during his tenure as a Utah Supreme Court justice, but not telling them what verdict to reach."

(“News: Six Intellectual Disciplined for Apostacy,” in "Sunstone” magazine, November 1993, p. 69)

But then Oaks proceeded to let the cat out of the bag:

"In addition, Oaks acknowledged that the 'Strengthening the Members Committee,' which some members liken to an intelligence agency but which Oaks calls a 'clipping service,' may have monitored speeches, writings and activities of those suspected of apostasy and passed on material to Church officials."

(“Mormon Inquisition?: LDS Leaders Move to Repress Rebellion,” in “Salt Lake City Messenger” #85, November 1993)

I had my own questions, among other things, about the "Strengthening the Members Committee" so, at the invitation of LDS apostle Neal Maxwell, arrangements were made for me to chat with some of the guys at the top.

In September 1993, I met twice with Maxwell and his fellow Quorum colleague Dallin Oaks in the offices of the LDS Church Adminstration Building in downtown Salt Lake City. The conversations took place during the same month that the Mormon Church had publicly disciplined (through excommunication or disfellowship) a half-dozen outspoken LDS critics of the Mormon way of doing things--a group that quickly became known as the "September Six."

During the course of those close encounters, I asked Oaks and Maxwell several questions about Mormon Church history, doctrine, policy and practice. In preparation, I sent Maxwell (at his request) a list, broken into categories, of the subjects I wished to cover. Maxell, on his own, then shared the list with Oaks, whom Maxwell also then asked to participate in the meetings in order to assist Maxwell in answering the questions.

One of the category had the following capitalized heading:


Oaks responded by defining "apostasy."

He described it to me as "clear, deliberate and open opposition to the Church or its leaders." He said it involved "persisting in teaching as Church doctrine when corrected otherwise by Church leaders."

Oaks defended Mormon Church disciplinary action against apostates, arguing that "any organization has to draw the line. You can't ignore apostasy."

He added, however, that those accused of apostasy "can appeal." He said, "There are limits," but assured me that those limits "are clear and fair." Oaks insisted that "people can disagree in good faith." He said that "we don't want 'telephone justice'" (referring to the practice of a ranking Church leader picking up the phone and ordering a subordinate to take action against a member considered to be an apostate).

Oaks said, however, that a stake president can ask for a meeting with a General Authority and that the General Authority "can't turn him down." Oaks said the General Authorities can "relay information to local leaders" through the "Strengthening the Members Committee," but that "they don't tell them what should be done."

In defending the existence of the "Strengthening the Members Committee," Oaks said there have been cases were bishops and stake presidents have been so "busy" that they "didn't read newspapers about crimes committed by their members." Oaks said that "Sunstone stuff" goes into "this kind of traffic." (roughly translated: reading and supporting "Sunstone" is a crime).

I asked Oaks if the General Authorities had issued any kind of instructions to stake presidents on how to deal with apostates.

Oaks said that there were three different area presidencies. I asked him if any of the Quorum of the Twelve had leaned on him to take action against apostates. He replied, "No, but we have been dealing with them (apostates) for a long time." He complained that "Sunstone" had become "shrill," "more pointed" and "more confrontational" and was "the straw that broke the camel's back."

In the end, Oaks said, in matters of personal belief, "you should act independently by the Spirit, based on your evidence." He argued that "people take themselves out of the Church long before action is taken" against them. Oaks described it as a "sift" that is "self-sifting."

--More Proof that Mormon Inc. is Lyin' About Its Spyin'--

Oaks's benign version of the "Strengthening the Members Committe (and the similiar spin offered up by Holland and Murphy) has been proven to be quite deceptive, as subsequently shown con by blogger "Mormon Heretic,"" who details how claims by Oaks and Company simply don't square with the facts:

"A few months ago, I received an advance copy of a new book by Philip Lindholm called 'Latter-day Dissent: At the Crossroads of Intellectual Inquiry and Ecclesiastical Authority.' . . .

"The most interesting topic to me (outside of the excommunications [of the September Six"] themselves) was learning about the 'Strengthening the Church [Members] Committee' (SCMC). I had never heard of it before. In describing it, ['September Six' member] Lynne Whitesides said on p. 6:

"'There is a "Strengthening Church Members Committee" that we didn’t know about at the time, a Gestapo-like group which press-clipped everything anyone said who might be considered an enemy of the Church, meaning one who disagreed with Church policy.'

"Footnote 4 on p. 181 further clarifies this:

"'According to Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, the "Strengthening Church Members Committee" is a "clipping service" that "pores over newspapers and other publications and identifies members accused of crimes, preaching false doctrine, criticizing leadership or other problems. That information is forwarded on to the person’s bishop or stake president, who is charged with helping them overcome problems and stay active in the Church.'
(quoted in 'News: Six Intellectuals Disciplined for Apostasy,' 'Sunstone' 92, November 1993, p. 69)

"The First Presidency further clarified the nature and history of the 'Strengthening Church Members Committee' when it stated, 'This committee serves as a resource to priesthood leaders throughout the world who may desire assistance on a wide variety of topics. It is a General Authority committee . . . . They work through established priesthood channels, and neither impose nor direct Church disciplinary action.' (quoted in 'News: Church Defends Keeping Files on Members,' in 'Sunstone' 88, August 1992, p. 63)

"Many of those called in for investigatory interviews or discipline have claimed that this Committee is responsible for compiling incriminating evidence against targeted members.

"Here is what Donald Jessee, former employee of LDS Church’s Public Affairs Department said when asked about the Committee. From pp. 217-20:

"Donald: 'It‘s a committee that seeks information that, in time, if the proper action is taken, does just that--it can strengthen Church members through proper discipline.'

"Philip: 'How so? Many excommunicants have claimed that it collected files on them in preparation for potential disciplinary courts.'

"Donald: 'They do it by caring about members of the Church. Discipline designed to help members who have gone astray. The Church from its beginning has gathered anti-Mormon literature and derogatory or false information about the Church. If the source of this information comes from Church members of record, then action is taken. The Church must be aware of its critics and enemies. Again, Church leaders must keep the Church morally clean and ethically straight.'

"Philip: 'Should academics avoid publishing research if it could be understood as contradicting the Church’s position on a given topic?'

"Donald: 'Members can publish whatever they want. There’s no censorship. It depends on the context and the person’s motives in doing what has been done. If a BYU professor, whose salary is paid with Church funds and who has signed an honor code of conduct to keep university rules, then publicly goes out and violates them, then that person is subject to discipline, but he or she is free to speak about any issue he or she wants to.'

"Philip: 'What about those topics not yet given much attention by Church leaders? Do members have free reign on those topics? Thomas Murphy was nearly excommunicated for doing genetic research that the Mormon Church had yet to conduct. How much freedom is one afforded on such controversial but relatively unaddressed topics? Mother in Heaven is another example of a controversial topic upon which people have published and been punished for doing so.'

"Donald: 'Well, in the case of Murphy, he says that because of DNA he has proven that the Book of Mormon is not true. How does he know? There were other groups of people here in America before Lehi arrived here….How could DNA prove or disprove the truthfulness of a book brought here under the hand of God?'…

"'I do not know anything regarding those who have been disciplined for publishing on the doctrine of a Mother in Heaven. Chances are they presented their ideas in a way that ran counter to true religion and to the Church and its teachings. Speculation on such matters can lead members astray and destroy faith in God the Father. Praying to a Mother in Heaven is not a true doctrine, no matter how it is defined or presented. It undermines faith in the true process of offering prayers, which is to pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Christ.

"'Members can believe anything they want. Church members may believe they have a Mother in Heaven, but to go out teaching that we ought to pray to her, or that we give details about her when both the prophets and the scriptures are silent–this violates the teachings of the Church…

"'If Church members go to their friends and start talking about practicing plural marriage, they are not in harmony with the Church. Yes, there are some things where common sense says, "Don’t discuss it in private or in public." Otherwise, hey, I’ve got the freedom to think anything I want, but I need to be careful that I’m not trying to represent the Church with my point of view or convince others that a certain doctrine or practice represents true religion or is what the issue or is what the Church teaches. As an individual, I can speculate all I want on any issue or topic as long as I keep to myself those matters that are not in harmony with truth and the Church and its teachings.

"'If I am a prominent or well thought of member of the Church, and I present a paper in the name of religious freedom that one might consider worshiping idols, I can expect Church discipline. That doctrine is contrary to true religion and the teachings of God. To bring up controversial topics in meetings such as sacrament meeting, Sunday School, priesthood meeting, Relief Society, etc., could raise questions and jeopardize one’s standing in the Church'

"Philip: 'Yet Janice Allred was excommunicated in 1995 for her insistence on publishing a clearly speculative paper entitled, 'Toward a Theology of God the Mother.' Why was she disciplined for asserting her opinion?'

"Donald: 'I believe I have already established the fact that I can’t comment on Church discipline, as that is confidential and would violate privacy issues. As a member of the church, I don’t know. I wasn’t involved there and don’t know the facts. Such a doctrine has not been revealed through a living prophet, and it is not appropriate to be a member of the Church and teach to others in any setting doctrines or practices that run counter to true religion and the Church and its teachings, such as practicing plural marriage or other theories that are not mainstream teachings of the living prophets.'

"Mormon Heretic" comments:

"I really thought Whiteside's 'Gestapo-like' comment was a wild exaggeration, but after hearing what Jessee had to say, I’m not so sure. According to 'Wikipedia':

"'The committee was formed during the administration of church President Ezra Taft Benson, soon after Benson became president in 1985.

"'The existence of the Committee became known in 1991, when a 1990 church memo from General Authority Glenn L. Pace referencing the committee was published by an anti-Mormon ministry. The Committee was one of the subjects discussed in the 1992 'Sunstone Symposium' in talks by Lavina Fielding Anderson and Eugene England (then a BYU professor) on August 6, 1992. Soon thereafter, the 'Salt Lake Tribune' published news stories on the subject ("Salt Lake Tribune' August 8, 1992 and August 15, 1992). England came to regret his impulsive comments and apologized to all parties individually

"'In response to this public discourse, the LDS Church spokesman Don LeFevre acknowledged the existence of the committee. LeFevre said that [if] the Committee “receives complaints from church members about other members who have made statements that "conceivably could do harm to the church," then the Committee will “pass the information along to the person’s ecclesiastical leader.” According to LeFevre, however, “the committee neither makes judgments nor imposes penalties.” Discipline is “entirely up to the discretion of the local leaders.”'

"After reading all this, I wonder how much the Apostles monitor blogs. I find it a little ironic that President Benson started it. He was quite a conspiracy theorist . . . . I keep hearing in different settings that the Church is much more open now, but I’m not so sure.

"For example, at a . . . conference at BYU, professor Ronald Esplin said this is one of the best environments to study Church history since the 'Camelot' era of the 1970s. However, discipline for intellectuals still seems to occur. The 'Wikipedia' article mentions that in 2004, the Committee put together a dossier on Grant Palmer, author of 'Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.' (Palmer was disfellowshipped).

"In the introduction, Lindholm notes on p. xii, that excommunications of academics has continued beyond the notorious 1993 'September Six':

"--In 1994, Professor David Wright of Brandeis University and editor Brent Metcalf were excommunicated for their scripture studies in 'New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology.'

"--In 1995, author Janice Allred was excommunicated for her writings about Mother in Heaven.

"--In 2000, Professor Margaret Toscano was excommunicated for her theological reflections, and

"--in 2002, Professor Thomas Murphy was nearly excommunicated for his anthropological work on Mormonism.

"--In addition, many other unnamed intellectuals were called into disciplinary interviews that did not result in excommunication.

"I know Simon Southerton resigned under pressure from the Church following his publication of information on DNA and the Book of Mormon. . . . I learned that John Dehlin, founder of 'Mormon Stories,' 'Mormon Matters,' and 'StayLDS' was summoned to a meeting with his Stake President. He said the meeting went well, and solicited comments to his website.

"From my point of view, it bears a lot of parallels with Lynne Whitesides experience in 1993. John has . . . been interviewed on ABC and other news organizations. Lynne was called in to talk to her bishop following an interview with Chris Vanocur on Channel 4, KTVX. Here’s what Lynne said on p. 4:

"'In May when my bishop called me to come in to talk, I thought, 'Wow, this is great. Maybe the system does work. Maybe this Church really is a place where I can get comfortable.' I was very excited. I left early from my feminism class up at teh University of Utah to meet with him. When I walked in, he was with his two counselors, all in suits, and I’m thinking, 'Wow, they really want me back at church. This is great!' I sat down, and Virgil Merrill, the bishop, said, 'Elder Loren C. Dunn has asked us to meet with you to see if we need to take any ecclesiastical action against you.'

"'I started to laugh and couldn’t stop. ”Give me a minute,” I said, “I thought you called me in here because you cared about me. Let me just have a quick moment to adjust.” Their faces…you could see that what I has said shocked them, but then we had a lovely talk. It was not confrontational at all; it was amazing. At the end, Virgil said he was going to tell Dunn that I was fine. So, when I received the summons letter I was shocked.

'"Philip: "Your bishop gave you no warning at all that you were going to be tried by a Church court?

"'Lynne: "No, nothing. When I found out, I called Lavinia [Fielding Anderson] immediately….We also wrote a letter to the bishop saying that if he went through with the Church court, then we were going to let the media know. Virgil wrote back saying that he wanted to hold it. He didn’t realize what he was getting into. He didn’t realize how much press coverage it was going to get. We heard through the grapevine, he was getting pressure from [Boyd K.] Packer and other leaders to excommunicate me."

"'Philip: "Can you elaborate on 'the grapevine'?

"'Lynne: One of the bishopric counselors involved in my court was related to a reporter I knew. Both were at a barbecue once, and the counselor told the reporter, not thinking it would ever get back to me, that they were getting pressure from Church leaders to “do something” about Lynne Whitesides. Well, it did get back to me, and I knew this going into the trial."

"Mormon Heretic" concludes:

". . . Let me end with a quick summary of things the Church apparently doesn’t like us discussing:

"--Lynne Whitesides was disfellowshipped for “why I thought it was all right to pray to a female deity.”

"--Paul Toscano was excommunicated for defending his wife Margaret. Basically Margaret was the real target. To save her, Paul blasted Church leaders and was excommunicated for insubordination. . . .

"--Maxine Hanks was excommunicated for her book, 'Women and Authority.' [Note: Hanks has since returned and been re-baptized into the Mormon Church].
"--Lavina Fielding Anderson was excommunicated for documenting ecclesiastical abuse in the Church.

"--Michael Quinn was excommunicated for writing a chapter in Hanks book, 'Women and Authority,' and for a 'Sunstone' presentation in 1992 called '150 Years of Truth and Consequences in Mormon History.'

"--Janice Merrill Allred was excommunicated in 1995 for discussing God the Mother.

"--Margaret Merrill Toscano was excommunicated in 1995 for discussing God the Mother. (Note: Janice and Margaret are sisters.)

"--Thomas Murphy was 'nearly excommunicated in December 2002, proceedings halted indefinitely on February 23, 2003.' Murphy wrote about DNA and the Book of Mormon. 'Wikipedia' says, 'On February 23, 2003, Latimer informed Murphy that all disciplinary action was placed on permanent hold.' . . .

"Lindholm quotes Armaund Mauss in the introduction. Mauss is a retired Mormon sociologist from Washington State University. From page xxii:

"'Even the most careful and diplomatic comments will not be much appreciated by many Church leaders, perhaps by most Church leaders, whether general or local. We have to understand that much going in. Do not expect to appear on the short list for bishop or Relief Society president if you have been regularly commenting on local or general Church matters. If prominent Church positions are important to you, keep quiet. If you’re going to speak up, whether in oral or written media, first cultivate thick skin, then abandon your aspirations for important Church callings; you shouldn’t have them anyway. Finally, don’t whine when you’re passed over or looked upon with some suspicion.'

"Footnote 45 quotes Mauss as saying:

"'I have come to feel increasingly marginal to the Mormon community during my adult life, at least in a social and intellectual sense, despite my continuing and conscientious participation in church activity (including leadership) and despite my own deep personal faith in the religion itself.'

Lindholm goes on to say on p. xxiii that:

"'Mormonism is not alone in its desire to censor. Most Christian traditions–Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant alike–have a long history of disciplining vocal dissent, which is a practice supported by a rather strong biblical basis.. The LDS Church, however, is different in that its leaders actively discipline select members in order to sustain the appearance of doctrinal purity for the sake of the Church’s integrity and public image.'"

("Mormon Heretic: Stuff They Don’t Talk About in Sunday School," in "Book Review: 'Latter-day Dissent'")

--Trust Me: The "Strengthening the Members Committee" is Really Just a "Clipping Service" That Doesn't Spy. I Know. I Worked for Them. (So Insists Mormon Apologist Daniel Peterson)--

Ironically, word leaked out about the actual undercover ops of the "Strengthening the Members Committee" on none other than FAIR's faithfully-fiction-fabricating website.

Here's the report:

"A poster on FAIR brought up the 'Strengthening the Church Members Committee,' apparently disquieted that such a thing even exists. During the course of the thread, most posters . . . tried to pooh-pooh away the [original post's] concerns, labeling them 'conspiracy theory,' and generally making fun of the whole thing.

"But what's interesting is that Prof. Peterson himself has actually functioned as an 'agent' (his own word) for this Committee:

"Daniel Peterson wrote:

"'[I] . . .was once sent out, a number of years ago, as a kind of "agent" of the "Strengthening Church Members Committee." My mission? To try to help a member of the Church whose apostasy was threatening his marriage and causing anguish to his very active wife, children, and parents. (The wife and parents, and his stake president, has asked for help). The weapons of choice? Talking with him for about four hours in Salt Lake City, in the presence of his wife and stake president, and recommending some readings.'

"Four hours? In a confined space? And he wants to claim that the SCMC is some kind of innocuous 'newspaper clipping service'? He's got to be kidding. Further, his denials on the matter are of the "he doth protest too much" variety:

"Daniel Peterson wrote:

"'It's not much more than a (very) small clipping service. Trust me on this one. There is no spying or covert action. No trappings of 'Mission Impossible.' No non-Scientologist Tom Cruise. Some critics have severely overheated imaginations."

("Daniel C. Peterson Admits Being An 'Agent' of the 'Strengthening Church Members Committee,]" quoted by "Contributor," under "Have Things Changed?," on "MormoN Dialogue & Discussion Board," 16 October 2006)

--The Role of the Strengthening the Members Committee in Conspiring Behind the Scenes with the LDS Apologist Outfit FAIR to Go After David Twede

Twede explains it all, in a blog post on “,” where he called out FAIR (a Calilfornia-based apologetic club for the LDS Church) for being behind the outting of him to the Mormon Church's Salt Lake City headquarters. After getting the head-sup from FAIR, the Mormon Church then notifed Twede's Orlando-area bishop and stake president, who then rapidly set up an excommunication hearing.

Twede continues:

". . . [A]fter having some sleep, and now that the 'New York Times' article came out, I read statements by Scott Gordon, a Mormon apologist, that indicated he was behind turning me into the Church authorities. One of his statements has resolved me back to my original gut feeling--that this is probably in part about the LDS Church squelching my political speech. The reason is a little complex. Let me start with his particular quote from the NY Times:

“'It has nothing to do with Romney,' Mr. Gordon said. 'I know members very high up in the church who are voting for Obama.'

“'It’s about him posting on a blog that he was actively in there trying to subvert people’s beliefs in the L.D.S. Church,' Mr. Gordon said . . . '

"If you've read my 'The Mysteries of the Gospel' blog, you will know that the only case Gordon had against me was that I wrote about emailing with 'Pat' who I indicated was a questioning member. I wrote:

"'I decided to send Pat two links: The first link to 'Mormon Infographics' on the Book of Abraham, and a second one to FAIR’s explanation of one of the facsimiles.' . . .

"The latter is directly from Scott Gordon's own group, FAIR. In other words, I gave someone information that FAIR wrote. I find it extremely unlikely that this is what got the LDS Salt Lake leaders' panties in a bunch. If that were true, Scott Gordon would also be called in for disciplinary court.”

(David Twede, quoted in “**(MEDIA ALERT) 'War Worn': In an Open, Honest & Brave Acknowledgement, David Twede Says the Mormon Church Excommunication Court Against Him Is, In fact, Related to Mitt Romney**," by Steve Benson, “Recovery from Mormonism” board, 22 September 2012)

In the following post put up by Twede on RfM, he further fingers FAIR as a whistle-blowing lapdog for the Mormon Church--adding that FAIR went after him with assistance from the Strengthening the Members Committee:

“I believe everyone involved from FAIR, the GAs and the stake leaders know clearly that using my Romney speech as the basis for excom would be a PR disaster. So you would never expect them to bring it up. Instead they will dance around anything they can find to halt the voices at 'MT.'

“My feeling is the timing is very suspicious.

“The interrogation mostly focused on why I hid my identity, at the '' site where my only activity in the past week was about LDS political history. And they talked about my blog of which 3 of seven entries during that week were in fact about Romney. Specifics were not given. I asked what specifically was wrong with what I wrote, and I was told the tone and bias against the church was clear. The stake presidency never had the courage to really talk directly about specifics.

“On the other hand, Scott Gordon did attempt to side-track us by the following from the 'NYTimes' article.

"'Scott Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, an organization in Redding, Calif., that defends Mormon theology, said that he had forwarded materials posted by Mr. Twede to Church officials in Salt Lake City.'

“That FAIR outed me by name and sent my material to SLC officials I have no doubt. In fact, there is evidence it may not have been Gordon, initially, at least that spied. At least two other members of FAIR, acting as de-facto members of the Strengthening Members Committee had a hand in the activities surrounding these events.”

(“Re: The mormonthink fiasco *is* about Romney - Dave correct me if I'm wrong,” by David Twede, “Recovery from Mormonism” bulletin board, 22 September 2012)


So, there you have it in the real world: Proof of the Mormon Cult's real-world dishonesty, snooping and retribution--brought to you by the likes of Oaks, Holland, Purdy, Peterson and Gordon, all prime exhibits of overheated LDS lying for the Lord in the unholy name of Mormonism's "Strengthening the Members Committee."

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2017 10:49PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Betty G ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 04:15AM

As always, very informative and interesting to read about.

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Posted by: FTG ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 03:11PM

SB, I have info. Phone or email me.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 03:35PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2017 03:35PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: FTG ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 03:41PM

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 04:50PM

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Posted by: FTG ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 05:37PM

ROFL-No rock in the hat used in the following production:
The SCMC is active currently. I am not sure whom is at the helm, but it is comprised of trusted GAs.

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Posted by: FTG ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 10:50AM

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Posted by: Badassadam1 ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 03:22PM

Thanks for the info. Maybe i should not have posted my full name on here but i have been preparing myself for them just in case and i am not even kidding. The strenghthening of the badass project has been in motion for a while now in secret i mean in sacred. Very aware of what is going on if they are reading this.

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Posted by: Atari ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 02:58PM

Wow. Fascinating and infuriating. Thanks for sharing Steve.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 11/16/2017 03:20PM by Atari.

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Posted by: Dallin H. Oaks ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 03:23PM

Hello Strengthening the Members Committee members. I am checking in on you to see if you are doing your jobs. I will know you read this if you push Monson down the stairs. It is time for me to rise to power.

Dallin D.O.G.

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Posted by: cinda ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 03:56PM

Wow, SB. I cant decide by which I am more impressed; your knowledge of all things tscc or your organization of files, mementos, etc!

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Posted by: presleynfactsrock ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 04:42PM

This committee, STMC, nicely demonstrates that the LDS Church is not what it claims to be be - the one and only true church on the face of this planet.

How exactly? Well, why would they have to worry about apostates and so-called "wrong info" when their so-called truth should speak for itself? By having to go after this and that they are merely advertising that they are worried about what damage these people can do, when instead such silly and ridiculous information, if it truly was silly and ridiculous, should not worry them in the least, but only make them laugh and tell their members to do the same.

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Posted by: pollythinks ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 05:57PM

If motivated, the SMC goes to work (at least under Packer, Oaks, and Nelson's watch), to alert local leadership (in my case, my Stk. Pres.,) to 'do the dirty deed' these men wanted done. That is, for me to be 'put me down', under this program.

Packer's style in doing this stuff was to keep his name 'out of it', and let others do his dirty work for him. (Besides, it is against Church policy for him to reach down to someone's local leadership to get them to X a member. Nonetheless, as Oaks said (regarding Packer), "You can't harness a grizzle bear" (or, something to that effect).

The terminology used (SMC) is intended to 'strengthen' members by getting rid of those person's these men believe can harm the church.

How I escaped execution (being excommunicated, or x'd) is a story I won't divulge in detail on line (as I don't want to reveal the title or name of those persons who had courage to counter Packer's wishes, as this would likely cause them a lot of trouble they don't deserve).

However, in my case, the saga went on for a year, plus (as Packer didn't like to be countered). He kept nagging my leaders to 'get busy' and fulfill his order.

IMO, it is important to fight against being unjustly x'd, for otherwise the fact of it can cause you and your family a lot of hurt and pain, and leave you with a bad reputation among your circle of church members, and friends. It can even cause you to loose your job (especially if you work in Utah).

This is because (as it would seem), the average active member is prone to believe that what the 15 do as likely having been justified.

Ha. Don't fool yourself. Involved active good--but 'suspect'--members can be knocked down like bowling pins, if the church wants it done.

(In courser words, I ain't inactive for nothing.)

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 12:19AM

This topic is fascinating and Steve Benson does a very good job of presenting it. But if the church is so afraid of their own members, they don't understand the real dangers they face? The members are somewhat managable, compared to former church members, especially if these church members have some desire to retain their church membership. On the other hand, when a person has lived as a church member for decades, served a mission or been married in the temple, or just been very involved in the church for an extended period and then officially resigns from the church, those are the ones the church should really worry about. Once you become a non-member, the gloves come off and the former member most often has a real-life horror story to tell about their life as a mormon and why they left. The church itself actually breeds anti-mormonism by ignoring these people and refusing to right the injustices they cause. The church leaders need to look at themselves, not the sheeple who are easily managed by them.

A former church member has just as much credibility as does a current church member, perhaps even more, when it comes to telling never-mormons, what the church is all about. A former member knows where the metaphoric bodies are buried, and how and why they're there. These former members aren't kicking against the pricks, they're living fulfilling lives, while occasionally looking for ways to share their stories, and sticking it to the mormon church every chance they get. There's bad karma ahead for the mormon church, and it's not the current church members who are going to deal the church it's most damaging blows unless or until after they've resigned or been excommunicated.

So keep it up Strengthening The Members committee. You're fueling your own demise.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/17/2017 12:30AM by azsteve.

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Posted by: Paisley70 ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 01:07AM


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Posted by: paisley70 ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 12:49AM

Thank-you for revisiting the past. It gives perspective on where the Mormon church stands on the issues today. The web that has been weaved is hard to deconstruct. The LDS church will rest in the bed that they have prepared for themselves.

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: November 19, 2017 09:08PM

I have more info to add, Steve.

I left the church in 1983 over the convenient adding of black people to the priesthood when many lawsuits were pending...and the horrific truth about Joseph Smith and Mormon history.

In 1989 I was a midlife student at Westminster College, working in the Communications Department contributing articles. I was also asked to help the College to find speakers of interest to the students. I located a gay bishop who had recently written a book and asked him to come speak at the college. He accepted.

I was also working as a detective for a side job while going to school, which is why I recognized the agents for the SCMC when they showed up. I was eating at Marie Callendars on the East Bench when what I would call a "man in black" sat down at an adjacent table, ordered coffee and proceeded to lean back listening to my banal conversation with my friend. Seriously, this guy was beefy, suited up and looked like the Secret Service.

When I left the restaurant, this guy followed me! Since I was experience with the "H" pattern detectives use, I easily identified his strategy and ditched him. He later showed up across the street and down a bit from my home.

I asked myself "Why now? What's different?" Of course, the answer was that I had lined up this speaker and the notification of his visit had appeared in my article in the school paper. Mind you this is before everyone was using the internet, so "clipping services" did actual newspaper cutting with scissors.

The next thing I get a summons to report to the president's office at the college. I am being interviewed because the president has "good information" that I am writing a series of articles on witches at Westminster. (It was a series on feminism and its various expressions) Nothing in my articles suggested any devil worship, curses, voodoo dolls, etc. Just women who wore black to symbolize their rejection of fashion as emblematic of the objectification of women.

My gay bishop speaker was nixed by the president as a potential embarrassment for the dominant religion. There is no doubt in my mind that the church tried to get me disciplined by the school for the whole witch thing. Fortunately I had copies of my articles with me.

Next in my persecution was a call from the local bishop, a man I did not know since I didn't go to church. He offered to send missionaries, then threatened to excommunicate me. He said he had no idea I was actively engaged in church opposition (!!!)

I had never so much as written an op-ed. I had been a reporter for the Daily Herald in Logan and developed a popular column entitled "Understanding Religion" which had the audacity to present LDS beliefs side by side with the beliefs of other religions in Cache Valley. Members of the religion wrote 100 word replies to my bland questions (for example, "who, in your religion, is Jesus Christ).

During that period in 1985, I was stalked by a stake president who actually signed up for the same classes I was taking at Utah State. He told me he was my "supervisor." He was freakishly weird, even (I am shaking my head) stealing some of my poetry lines which I read aloud in class and incorporating them in a poem that he read in an all-school assembly. The other members of class all looked right at me--they knew who had written the catchy made-up words. He would also write me four page letters chastising my opinions with each page marked DO NOT COPY OR DISTRIBUTE.

After the bishop introduced himself by threatening to excommunicate me, I realized that I would never be able to keep employment in Utah. I left town and moved to the Northwest, losing my full ride scholarship at Westminster (a wonderful school).

This is how the church treats non-members. Missionary back in or god help you, you will pay.


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