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John Dehlin was recently involved in a somewhat vitriolic argument on Mormon Discussions http://mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=35492, a para-Mormon message board. The post began with a discussion of the most recent machinations of John Dehlin and his stake president, but branched out into a broader discussion that included some criticism of John (posting as mormonstories). Just to clarify he said in the course of the conversation that he didn’t mind his own IRL identity being associated with his board moniker, so no effort to conceal his identity is made here. In the course of a relatively brisk conversation he repeatedly gave out the IRL (in real life) names of several of the participants in the message board who wished to remain anonymous [1], diagnosed them with mental conditions or defects [2,3], and accused several message board participants of slander [4]. When the individuals he accused of slander requested he show which of their posts were slanderous he simply said that they were not worth talking to [5]. The most amusing of his diagnoses was undoubtedly when he accused an (apparently shorter) fellow on the board of having a “Napoleon complex,” [3] and most of those who disagreed with him as “obsessed” stalkers, or “crazy town”. A few questions about this unfortunate episode:

1. Is it appropriate for someone who aspires to the mental health profession to use diagnoses (“Napoleon complex,” “it’s clear to many that observer you that you are not well,” etc.) as pejoratives or weapons against critics or ideological opponents?

2. Is it appropriate for someone who aspires to the mental health profession to use personally identifiable information to punish his critics, publishing it in ways that could damage their livelihoods?

3. Is it appropriate for someone who thinks of themselves as a public figure to make accusations of slander that they are unable to substantiate, and then to insult those they have thus accused rather than recanting the false accusation?

It would be wise for Mr. Dehlin to be a bit more moderate in his public statements in general. It would be especially becoming for him to avoid using pejoratives with diagnostic overtones to abuse or silence his critics. Further, if he wishes to work in the mental health profession or as a researcher it seems indispensable that he show some amount of decorum and respect for potentially damaging personally identifiable information, as it would be a very serious breach of professional ethics for him to deliberately leak PII in the way he has done in this episode. One would also hope that he would refrain from making accusations of slander that he is unable or unwilling to substantiate or at least have the curtosy to recant if he has done this by mistake.

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[1] As you will see from the many instances of [real name deleted] in red ink if you examine the board thread.
[2] In one instance he wondered what “histrionics” would follow if both he and ‘Rosebud’ would both release the incriminating information they have on each other:
“Rosebud,

If you have nothing better to do with your life, then by all means milk the innuendo/slander for as long as you can (or for as long as the moderators will allow). You can only play this game until you decide to reveal whatever information you claim to have. Once you do, I will respond (with facts/evidence), and the chips will fall. Then I wonder what histrionics you will pull afterwards. I’m sure you will think of something…but over time…folks will figure you out. They already are. In droves.

What a life you have made for yourself. I hope you are happy with the bed you’ve made. For us, life is better than ever.

All the best to you and yours.”

Some board members interpreted his use of histrionics as misogynistic, but it seems more likely that he referred instead to a personality disorder. He also stated that, “I think it’s clear to many who observe you that you are not well, and that it is you who needs to move on.” He also accused Rosebud of being “blinded by demons”, but probably intended this figuratively rather than as a mental health condition.

[3] “lol. Equality ([real name deleted]) can’t stop talking about John Dehlin….and then wants to claim that John Dehlin is an attention seeker.

I’ll say it again. If you want less John Dehlin drama, try no longer contributing to these threads. Otherwise you are making fools of yourselves. We’re all tired of it.

Oh…and a link for you, [real name deleted]:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_complex

Napoleon complex
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

British propaganda of the time promoted the idea that Napoleon was short. In reality, his height was average for the period.
Napoleon complex, or “short man syndrome”, also found in short women, is a pejorative slang term describing a type of psychological phenomenon which is said to exist in people, usually men, of short stature. It can also be pronounced as ‘Napoleonic Complex’. [X] It is characterized by overly-aggressive or domineering social behaviour, and carries the implication that such behaviour is compensatory for the subjects’ stature. The term is also used more generally to describe people who are driven by a perceived handicap to overcompensate in other aspects of their lives. Other names for the term include Napoleon syndrome[X] and Short Man syndrome.[X]

The Napoleon complex is named after Emperor Napoleon I of France. The conventional wisdom is that Napoleon compensated for his lack of height by seeking power, war and conquest. Though he was long reported to have stood at only 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m),[X] historians have now suggested Napoleon was actually 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) tall. Napoleon was often seen with his Imperial Guard, which contributed to the perception of his being short because the Imperial Guards were above average height.[X] In psychology, the Napoleon complex is regarded as a derogatory social stereotype.[X]” (footnotes removed from post to avoid confusion).

At another point he refers to his critics saying, “They have a creepy stalker like obsession.”

[4] John Dehlin “Quasimodo – Honest question. If someone is repeatedly slandering another publicly…by name, in this forum, without offering any evidence for their accusations — is it wrong (by this forum’s standards) to expose the IRL identities of that person?”

[5] John Dehlin writes: “Equality and Mayan – I honestly don’t see either of you as worthy of serious dialogue. I see you as disruptive cyber-thugs who only derive attention from other people’s work/efforts…but who contribute nothing in and of yourselves. I have zero interest in engaging in meaningful dialogue with you. Not because I’m scared to do so…but because I see it as a complete waste of time. I may defend myself from time to time from your obsessions, but I won’t lie. It makes me sad to think about what life you both must be leading to think that you have nothing better to do than to obsess about me.

Anyway…no. Won’t engage. Not interested. But I do wish you both a better life. Certainly you can do better than this with your time. Or maybe not?

Adios for now.”

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