The Mormon Church is threatening to excommunicate David Twede, managing editor of Mormon Think, a web page which is run by mostly anonymous Mormons that have researched their own religion and expressed dissenting views from the church. I have read this web site prior to this incident and until now I didn't even know who any of the editors were but the timing of this has led many people to believe that it might be due to several articles that he wrote about the Church and Mitt Romney. The reason that the writers on this web page have been keeping their identities secret is because the Mormon church has a long history of excommunicating their members if they dissent and they shun them as well. Apparently being part of the community is more important for people within this Church that many others. I have written about the Mormon church in several blogs (cited below) and found that Mormon think is one of the more reliable sources for information about this; in fact some of the best sources that I have found about the Mormon church are Mormons that don't blindly follow the teachings of their leaders.
The Mormons have provided contradictory messages to their followers about whether they should scrutinize their own religions from the beginning. George Albert Smith said, "If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak." Journal of Discourses, Volume 14, Page 216 Brigham Young said, "Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test." Journal of Discourses, Volume 16, p. 46, 1873 However in practice from the beginning they have often intimidated Mormons when they have attempted to do this. For more quotes and other information see Wat is Mormonism.com In many cases they have even excommunicated them including Sonia Johnson who supported the ERA against the will of the leaders of the Mormon Church.
Mitt Romney has recently said that we should speak out in favor of free speech when it comes to Muslims that attempt to suppress criticism of their religion like the recent cartoon that led to protests; the same should go for the Mormons who Mitt Romney is silent about.
This was reported in the Daily Beast last week.
Mormons Want to Excommunicate Romney Critic
After writing negative articles about the Republican candidate, the managing editor of MormonThink.com says he faces excommunication. Is the Church on a witch hunt? Jamie Reno reports.
David Twede, 47, a scientist, novelist, and fifth-generation Mormon, is managing editor of MormonThink.com, an online magazine produced largely by members of the Mormon Church that welcomes scholarly debate about the religion’s history from both critics and true believers.
A Mormon in good standing, Twede has never been disciplined by Latter Day Saints leadership. But it now appears his days as a Mormon may be numbered because of a series of articles he wrote this past week that were critical of Mitt Romney.
On Sunday, Twede says his bishop, stake president, and two church executives brought him into Florida Mormon church offices in Orlando and interrogated him for nearly an hour about his writings, telling him, "Cease and desist, Brother Twede."
Mormon leaders have scheduled an excommunication "for apostasy" on Sept. 30. A spokesman for the church told The Daily Beast that the church would not be commenting for this story. Complete Story
Additional details have been brought to my attention by an ex-Mormon on Open Salon who wrote the following.
Mormon Editor - And Romney Critic - Faces Excommunication
David Twede - managing editor of the website MormonThink and a Mormon in good standing - is now facing an excommunication hearing on September 30th as a result of a series of articles he wrote discussing Mitt Romney’s faith, along with the intersection of Mormonism and politics. MormonThink is a website written by active members of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints – commonly referred to as Mormons -who are seeking to create an open dialogue about Mormon history. Their mission statement is:
[To promote] Education and openness of our religion's unique history and heritage. If people want to learn about the true historical issues of the church, that they won't hear about in Sunday School, they can learn about them here. We aren't afraid to discuss the tough issues. We hope to make the church we grew up in a better place by making it more honest. complete article
She provides additional information including links in her article that fill in a lot of the details of this in the full article. As I said previously I have also been looking into this religion for the past year or so as well; my interest actually began before Romney became the clear nominee and it was for other reasons but that is besides the point. the Mormon religion clearly appears to put a lot of pressure on their followers to conform despite some claims that they're a democratic organization or religion. Since the beginning they have often put things to the people for a vote; but since the beginning they have also put a lot of pressure on their followers to vote in the manner that has been dictated by their leaders. One example is a quote from Dean R. Brimhall, in a letter to Miss Dorothy Kahn.
“I am sorry that no one has even taken a picture of the [General Conference] audience voting to accept the Church leaders for a new period of office. Every hand in the audience goes up simultaneously. The question of voting “Yes” or “No” on a particular candidate is so mechanical that the hands go up in a unison that is most dramatic.” No member is ever asked to choose between two individuals; he is asked to vote “Yes” or “No” on the official or on the policies of the Church, as the case may be... The officials would be highly indignant if there were any hands raised in opposition and there have been instances where one hand has gone up in opposition and the person attempted to explain the reason for his opposition but such a person is usually ejected... “I do not want to bother you with the story but I am sure that any student of Sociology who is interested in the problem of authoritarianism would find the Mormon Church a laboratory rich in material for his studies.”This letter has been cited by Mormon Think and it was quoted in “The Mormon Corporate Empire” John Heinerman and Anson Shupe which also provides an enormous amount of information about how authoritarian the Mormon church has been and how much influence they have over the Mass Media, including an enormous amount of stock, or ownership of many media outlets, among other things.
One of Brigham Young's wife's, Ann Eliza Young, has also written about how authoritarian they were in the nineteenth century and how they controlled the votes of their own people in her book, “Wife No. 19: Or The Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism”
"Have you voted to-day?"
“No, Brother Young, I have not."
"Then I suppose you intend doing so at once."
"Not at all," I replied; "I have no intention of voting at all."
"And why not?" he asked, somewhat angrily.
"Because I have not yet become sufficiently acquainted with the political situation to understand what it is best to do, and I prefer not to vote ignorantly."
"But I wish you to vote," was his peremptory reply.
"Excuse me, please, Brother Young," pleaded I; "I don't know who or what to vote for, and I really had much rather not." I was quite in earnest. I did not know any thing then of politics, and I must confess I had no interest in them.
"Get into the carriage," commanded he, so sternly that I knew I must obey, and further parley would be useless. "I want you to vote, and at once. Mr. Rossitur will take you to the polls and tell you how to vote." Ann Eliza Young “Wife No. 19: Or The Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism” 1875 p.93-95
This is just the beginning of the problems with having a devout Mormon running for president. If this was a more moderate Mormon that doesn't blindly obey the church like David Twede or perhaps even Mitt Romney's apostate cousin Park Romney then I wouldn't think it would be a problem since they're both independent thinkers and they should get a reasonable chance to make their case; however Mitt Romney is only the nominee because he has the support of a lot of powerful interests including the Mormon church and Wall Street.
As I said I have written about this more and although what I have written isn't as comprehensive as what David Twede and his fellow writers have written I think it provides some worthwhile information for those of you who might be interested. I began with A Brief History of the Mormon Church and followed it up with Mitt Romney’s Mormon Prophets, The assassination of the first Mormon presidential nominee and Mitt Romney embraces Mormonism while avoiding scrutiny. One of the sources that I have cited is the Mormon think web page as well as many other documents. In most cases I have found the Mormon Think web page to be reliable but one exception involves a second letter about what is known as the "Anthon affair" that is discussed in "A Brief History of the Mormon Church."
I have found that this religion has many mysterious aspects about it and is well documented but there are some major unsolved mysteries surrounding it like how they were able to grow so fast in the nineteenth century when other religions that were beginning at the same time failed miserably. As far as I can tell Joseph Smith and Brigham Young shouldn't have had the abilities to establish a cult, which is what I consider it, that big and keep it from falling apart. I explained why I think it qualifies as a cult starting in the first blog on the subject.
This attempt to suppress criticism by the Mormon Church should be receiving much more coverage from the mainstream media but they seem to be ignoring it. As far as i know this is only being covered on the internet.