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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 07:48PM

For all those Mormon apologists out there (and even some members of the media) who have been relentlessly accusing Jamie Reno, stellar reporter for "The Daily Beast," of supposedly getting it all wrong concerning the Mormon Church's excommunication proceedings against David being connected to political concerns by the Church about criticism of Romney (within the context of Mormon theological beliefs held by Romney and the Mormon Church's history of political entanglement), listen up:

It is they who got it all wrong.

David Twede is not in their corner on that--not any more; and probably never was.

Here David speak his mind--and his heart--as he explains what he has been through and where he is at:

"'War Worn'

"Some may have noted that it seems I cannot decide what the motive was for the disciplinary council scheduled for me. Was it because I wrote about Romney or because of my writings on the LDS Church?

"When I interviewed with Jamie Reno of 'The,' I felt in my gut that the Romney pieces were a part of why this happened. During the 45-minute interrogation on September 16, my local leaders never said 'Romney' in my interrogation. These men are accountants, doctors and professionals. They know that to say that they are disciplining me over politics would be appear improper. (However, I am still confused why they would feel disciplining me over any speech is proper).

"They indicated discomfort with my recent writings as a whole, which includes three blog entries and one MT [MormonThink] article discussing Romney that were posted from Sept 11-15.

"The timing was suspicious. I told this to Jamie, and I told him that I felt this was a motive. Additionally, while referring to my writings, the stake president did say about himself, 'I'm not a political man . . .' It is unclear to me what he meant by this and why he interjected it. But it gave me a sense that there was something he was feeling regarding the politics involved, without ever saying it was a political move.

"Friday, September 21, was a trying day--I had constant press contacts, calls, requests for interviews, video and audio recording[s]. I was worn out.

"Late that morning, I was told by a media consultant that I should think about what I am saying, given that research monies and grants come from the government and that my career depends some on these. That got me running scared. Perhaps that is unjustified, but it felt very real on Friday.

"When I was contacted by the 'New York Times' that afternoon, I told Laurie Goodstein on our second call, that in fact I was now concerned and I didn't want the Romney connection emphasized because I was worried how that could affect my future. I told her that I could not be certain that it was my writings on Romney that formed the basis of the disciplinary council against me. I am still not 100% certain, as no one can be.

"Later on Friday I was contacted by Peggy Stack of the 'Salt Lake Tribune' (and emailed with another media outlet in UT). I made similar statements to Peggy that the timing was suspicious, but that I had no direct evidence it is about Romney.

"In my worn out state-of-mind, I said that I didn't want this to be about politics; that I don't feel happy that discussions of my pending discipline have taken on such a national political tone. I would prefer the topic remain on the Mormon Church's inability to defend its own position specifically and doctrinally on this matter. I also told her that I have no malice for the Romney campaign and don't mean to hurt it. Yes, I admit, I was running scared and very tired by late Friday. I was war worn.

"However, after having some sleep, and now that the 'NY 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.'

"Links included in this were:

"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.

"I feel, in my gut, that these excuses only strengthen the case that it was likely political. Before this, I had begun to question the motive, but I again feel stronger that this is probably a considerable factor. I think 'The DailyBeast' probably reflects what I initially and again most recently believe."

("War Worn," by David Twede, "," 22 September 2012, at:

David has returned to his gut instincts on this.

And, David, your gut instincts were right all along.


Edited 16 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2012 08:45PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: dk ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 08:03PM

Whatever the reason, it's just bad timing on the church's part. And the more the church says it isn't about Romney, the more people will think it's about Romney.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 08:05PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mainstream Christians are not going to be happy that a Mormon is being threatened with church discipline/possible excommunication for political speech and for sharing the facts about his church. Such severe consequences are rare (and would most often be considered unChristian) in the mainstream churches.

The Mormon church has badly misjudged this one. David's church court will NOT go over well in the wider community. It will make the church look like a bunch of backwards lunatics. And that will make the wider community start to question other Mormons currently seeking their attention and support.

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Posted by: MormonThinker ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 08:20PM

We feel your pain David. You are doing what many of us are afraid to do.


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Posted by: Naomi ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 08:26PM

Maybe it's not because he was blogging about Romney, it's just that FAIR decided long ago that Mormonthink was an anti-Mormon site. Scott Gordon got enough information from Twede's blog to identify him (the time and place, what he was wearing and what he said when he attended the ward), and sent the info to Church headquarters, who forwarded it to his stake president and bishop. They pretended that they identified him through inspiration and tried to use the typical guilt tactics on him to make him give up the identities of the others at the website. They simply cannot tolerate any criticism or questioning from within their membership. What they didn't realize is how creepy and cult-like their behavior is, and how stupid they are to think they can pull something like that when they're trying to get Romney elected.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 08:33PM

It is a monumental miscalculation by the Mormon Church.


This ain't Salt Lake City.

This is the national stage, showcasing a controversial presidential election where Romney's religion is definitely a factor.

The Utah Morg Machine (with their dutiful wind-up soldiers taking long-distance orders in Florida)--along with the help of LDS Inc.'s "Strengthening the Members Committee"--have blown it, like, big-time.

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2012 09:04PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: sue ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 09:00PM

Yes, they have blown it big-time. Thanks for posting this Steve. I took your original post about it and went to Mr. Reno with some contact info. Then I stepped out of it, since I am suffering from the fallout of the Daily Beast article I participated in. No surprise, but a certain family member made it worse by broadcasting it out to her kids, my kids and my 100-yr. old father -- who didn't need to see it!

What fear so many of us here have to live with. I can't imagine that it will ever be gone totally, as long as I value any kind of decent relationship with certain family members.

I will continue to send what I think is an interesting story to any reporters I know, but I'm not sure Mr. Reno will ever do a Mormon story again because he's taken some pretty hard hits in the last 48 hours from fellow journalists. I hope he will send David's post to everyone who questioned his integrity.


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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: September 22, 2012 09:02PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2012 11:45PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: dec ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 09:29PM

Seeing the mormon church wield its power to excommunicate members who speak out is always a disgusting experience, but seeing them simultaneously fall flat on their face having zero power or control over the non-mormons, and how they think and respond is an awesome experience to behold.

They have no power to excommunicate any non-mormons, lol, which must make non-mormons wonder just how the mormon leadership will transfer this into a presidential situation (respond to non-mormons) *if* Mittens gets into power.

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Posted by: John_Lyle ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 10:11PM

If elected, Mittens will be like Rafalca -

He will be a horse (or at leas, it's butt), dancing to whatever tune the morg tell him to. It will politician dressage...

The really scary part is, Mittens has absolutely no idea what he's getting into. He has no policy. He can't even seem to think of anything to say.

Either the church or the repubs in congress will have a hold of the ring in his nose... They will have to, because Mittens has neither the ability or the interest to govern. He will take whatever someone else says, say he came up with it, and run with it...

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Posted by: NotNow ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 07:53AM

It seems to be that whatever amount the church spent on the "I am a Mormon" campaign was negated in a single day by the Twede story.

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Posted by: John_Lyle ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 10:13PM

No, they will just have to change the tag line...

"...and I am a MORmON and we're all bat shit crazy robots."

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 08:06AM

We have been crouched over this tiny flame of truth we all know...

that the LDS church is a monster.

We've been feeding it twigs and lint, praying that the Mormon Moment doesn't pass without this flame bursting into a forest fire that consumes the facade and forces it out into the light of public outrage.

Should be an interesting and exhausting, week for all involved.
David- listed to Robert Pattison, get a publicist. You are going to be in the public eye for quite a while. Exmormonism has always been a leaderless movement, like Occupy Wall Street, with our luminaries, Richard Packham and Steve Benson, but it looks like you have just been pushed into a new calling.

I sustain you!


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Posted by: family first can't log in ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 08:22AM

Link going on my facebook so all who want can read.

BTW I have gotten some great feed back on this site and all the information it provides about the LDS church, so kudos to you all.

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Posted by: smithscars ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 08:45AM

I admire you all for the work you've done to get the word out to the media, especially sue, Steve Benson and David Twede. It's a victory for the truth, probably the best thing for mormonthink's mission to get the word out and will put David into the history books!

I've seen this article has already been picked up by many other news agencies and I'm sure more will.

The comments sections make me laugh. All these thoughtful posts, then some Mormon apologist trys to say "that's not why we're kicking him out..." As if the other reasons aren't equally ridiculous to most people.

They'd probably be better off exercising their rights to remain silent instead of stirring up this beehive, but we all know that is nearly impossible with "every member a missionary" lol ...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/23/2012 09:33AM by smithscars.

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Posted by: Once More ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 12:59PM

The threats to Twede's career are financial blackmail that is being added to the emotional blackmail.

Persons deep in the mormon bubble will feel these kind of threats more than would someone with an outside-of-mormonism support group and culture.

The best way for Twede to get through this is to cultivate support from outside the bubble -- doesn't have to be ex-mormons, but does need to be people who do not filter the entire world through mormonism.

And he should hire lawyers.

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Posted by: Marlowe53 ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 05:23PM

I don't know that lawyers will help. The young man who was refused his BYU diploma when ex-communicated over the "Missionary calendar" went that way and still, everal years later, does not have his diploma.

Mr. Twede, I understand completely that you were in a firestorm and didn't provide a polished, vetted story to the media. I'm sorry that you're going through all of this.

I once left a church that was very authoritarian, although not on par with the LDS Church. I came out of it, singed, but with my faith in God intact. Remember that the men who are persecuting you (and I don't use that word lightly) are just men. Men err. You can, if you desire, have an intimate and satisfying relationship with God that does not involve them.

I wish you the best.

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Posted by: John_Lyle ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 10:18PM

Unfortunately, I think you are wrong in this case...

David's future is at stake. The church will have hundreds of lawyers. He needs, at least one.

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Posted by: shannon ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 06:24PM

Thanks to Steve, Sue, and David for pushing a RELEVANT Mormon story into the mainstream media.

Love you guys!


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Posted by: skeptifem ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 06:55PM

anyone notice how this story appears in the top 5 most popular on the daily beast? awesome.

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Posted by: Dufreyne ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 08:28PM


As you know, I haven't always agreed with either your posts or tactics.

Having said that, I have read all of your posts here on RfM and at the Daily Beast(I think) and I can say, unequivocally, I am behind you 100% on this topic. Thank you for making an honest effort to reach a variety of news sources on this one. Thanks for navigating the hurdle-laden media minefield with David Twede and Sue. Without experience in this arena, it would be easy to get lost in the shuffle. Thank you, thank you.

Also, thanks for going toe to toe with Lynch at TDB. His cry baby antics are seen in their true light after your responses.

I will make what small contributions I can in this matter, as well.


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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: September 24, 2012 01:43AM

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Posted by: josephsmyth ( )
Date: September 23, 2012 09:16PM

I really appreciate that you can ruin political careers with what you write and what you create, especially the careers of power hungry Mormon blowhards like Romney, Mecham and their ilk!
Keep up the good work Steve-o!

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