Recently, John Dehlin sent press releases to a number of media venues informing them of his impending disciplinary counsel for apostasy. Among the various terms he claimed that his Stake President required him to comply with in order to remain in good standing in the Church was
“Censoring and removing all past episodes of Mormon Stories podcast that were not favorable and/or faith-promoting to the church.”
This was among several other alleged requests, which we are informed he told his Stake President he would not comply with. It is understandable that one would not want to experience censorship. Being deprived of ones voice can be painful, and frustrating. It would also be contrary to ideals that he has espoused at certain points in time. For example, Greg Smith begins his remembrance of his experience publishing a review of Mormon Stories with this quote from a slide from one of Dehlin’s early presentations.
“The Idealistic Values I Started With”
- Free expression
- Open and respectful dialogue
- Diverse points of view
- Honest, objective analysis of the facts
- Everyone’s comments are of equal value
- Marketplace of ideas
- Correlation = Bad [large type]
It then comes as a bit of surprise that he has at times done the exact opposite of these principles, and had done so on a significant scale.
In 2012 Greg Smith was approaching completion of a review that he was working on of several one of Dehlin’s podcast episodes, one of his Power Point slide shows, and some examination of his publicly available statements in several forums. Greg planned to publish this in an upcoming edition of the Mormon Stories Review. The review, which can be read here contained extensive quotations and discussion of Dehlin’s own words. Dehlin learned of his plans, and immediately moved to block it from publication, approaching a number of individuals in an attempt to block publication. Apparently, he was afraid of being confronted with his own words to a mixture of groups with diverse agendas, and their manifest inconsistencies.
I would suggest that if one behaves with integrity, one of the benefits is not having to fear one’s own words being published with commentary. If one behaves without integrity, that could be a troubling spectre indeed.
The open exchange of ideas can be a great benefit to people, and allow all involved to make informed decisions. But unfortunately Dehlin has a certain proclivity to censor and ban those who disagree with him and provide dissenting faithful perspectives from his social media properties. It is a fairly regular occurrence that someone I have conversed with on Facebook on some topic in which Dehlin comes up will tell me that Dehlin has banned them from his Facebook properties for sharing a differing opinion. On a number of occasions he has also un-friended people who messaged him privately about issues or concerns. Thus even private suggestions or correction is sometimes seen as grounds for social retaliation. This sometimes even includes significant former allies or associates. One former associate has alleged that the Mormon Hub Facebook group was initiated in consequence of her exclusion from Dehlin’s Mormon Stories group . (Note/Edit: Since posting this I have learned the the individual spoken of has been excluded from the Mormon Hub Facebook group as well.) So even among friends (and especially former friends), control sometimes trumps openness as a priority.
He has also made some significant efforts to censor faithful viewpoints, but that isn’t really surprising. Just take a poll sometime of all of the people that have been banned from his Facebook page at one time or another. In fact, let’s take just such a poll. If you have been banned from one of John Dehlin’s social media properties I want to hear about it in the comment section. Please include as much of the story as you can remember—which site, what you were banned for and maybe even the comment if you still have it tucked away somewhere.
John has often enough asked for testimonials for his various hearings. Let’s hear some of the ones he felt were less useful than others. This is also an invitation to forward this to all of your friends that have ever gotten on the wrong side of Dehlin’s censorship—it can be like the “study” he designed of why people leave.
[In order to give space to those who John has attempted to silence, dissenting comments will not be indulged in this post. Thanks.]
 [The identity is being left off in respect of this individuals privacy, please no comments including their name. Thanks. Post is available here] “Oh…. here’s one really fun drama (of the MANY): That time he moved everybody from the MS podcast group into the new FB group that became The Mormon Hub….. ? It was because somebody finally convinced him that he couldn’t exclude me from everything forever. Instead of adding me to the main group I had admin’d from 400 people up (and from which I had been banned from for several months) he moved EVERYBODY to a new group. EVERYBODY. Then, through a series of events, Sunstone became the owner of the new group. Sunstone was too afraid he might retaliate against them if they let me have anything to do with administrating the new group. So, even though they used a name I coined (“The Mormon Hub”) and that CTW owns, they made sure to keep me out of any leadership. (That’s why they’re clear that the Sunstone Mormon Hub is just a Facebook Group. Sunstone owns the Facebook Group, CTW owns the name.)”