Monday, September 24, 2012

Blogger Faces Possible Excommunication


There appears to be an ongoing problem with churches and spiritual abuse bloggers.  I've been sued for blogging about my former church, attorneys for Calvary Chapel Visalia are apparently working on a defamation lawsuit against blogger Alex Grenier, YouTube blogger, Kevin Oliver had his YouTube account deactivated after posting this video:

 




Kevin sued YouTube and later had his account reinstated.  I'm anticipating the day when there will be conferences around the country presenting workshops on how to deal with contentious spiritual abuse bloggers.  Panels of experts will be flown in to discuss legal measures to take against bloggers.  Those who have successfully shut down blogs or won lawsuits will be given a platform.   Support groups to connect with others who are suffering emotionally from being exposed relentlessly on the world wide web will be offered, books will be sold, etc.

I imagine there will soon be a whole new crop of blogs against spiritual abuse bloggers.  We've already seen blogger, Fred Butler, who has featured a handful of posts on "survivor bloggers".  I smell it in the air.  Meanwhile, here's another story in the news about a blogger and his church.


Mormon blogger says he faces church slap-down, possible excommunication

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) – A Mormon blogger in Florida typed his way into national headlines when he recently went public about facing possible disciplinary action from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
David Twede, who says he’s a fifth-generation Mormon, is the managing editor ofMormonThink.com, an online publication that invites debate and open discussion about the LDS Church.
Late last week, The Daily Beast reported that after writing articles critical of GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Twede, 47, said he was called into church offices in Orlando, Florida, where he was “interrogated” and given “cease and desist” orders.
At the end of this meeting, Twede says on his personal blog that he was handed a letter, which he has posted online. The letter, which spells his name incorrectly, requests that he appear before a disciplinary council on September 30. It states that he is being considered for disciplinary action “including the possibility of disfellowshipment or excommunication, because you are reported to have been in apostasy.”

18 comments:

  1. I guess "free speech" will prove a "costly threat" to those who don't want what is in darkness to be exposed to the light. But, ironically, as you've pointed out Julie Anne, it may also prove a "financial boon" to those who want to turn anti-abuse-survivalism-blogging into a mega-cottage industry.

    (I just made up that term *mega-cottage industry* but will not be TM it. Probably. But in case anyone wants to use it, please send usage licensing fees to me care of this blog.) (Thank you.)

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    1. Yes, indeed, I will be happy to forward licensing fees to you, Brad. Wonderful word choice. I like it.

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  2. I wonder if there are any cases where those abusing church leadership have actually gained anything from trying to shut down blogs. They're not going to win. It would be cheaper for them and for their churches to put their energies into following our Lord. If they won't follow Him because He is Lord than at least they can follow Him to save themselves huge embarrassment and financial loss.

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    1. Exactly. How could your church utilize the $60K of attorney fees my former church is obligated to pay? When I think of how that money could have been better utilized, it makes me angry.

      But . . . . . . .then again . . . . perhaps this case was and will be used as a prime example of what happens when pastors make foolish decisions to sue. Perhaps my former pastor's actions will prevent others from making the same mistake. I sure hope so. Evidently Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel missed the memo. Perhaps I shall send a personal e-mail to him in case he didn't get a chance to read my personal note to him.

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  3. If someone is invited to a trial for excommunication and decides not to leave the organization prior to trial, then there are some things they should do.

    First, ask for a list of specific items that are offenses that would justify excommunication. Dates, times, texts.

    Second, ask who is the complainant or 'prosecutor' and who is the arbiter (judge). If these are the same people, then it is a kangaroo court, announce you are leaving the church and walk out. It is impossible to get a fair hearing if the adjudicator is the prosecutor.

    Third, take a tape recorder and record the entire session.

    Fourth, bring an advisor who is familiar with proceedings in such church trials. Also bring witnesses. Insist that the prosecution present all of its witnesses (cannot be the arbiter or the prosecutor!!!) first, and that you can cross-examine them. Insist that all testimony be first person (no "I heard a third party say"). Insist that you be allowed to present all of the witnesses you bring. If it takes all day, or several days, that should be your right.

    Insist that you will appeal any adverse decision as being against the policy and procedure as well as the history of the church.

    If at any time, you feel your rights are being abused, remind the court that they are to be neutral in such matters.

    BTW, if the "judge" is subservient to the "prosecutor" in role in the church, demand a different arbiter.

    Since this is a trial at which your eternal salvation is at stake, demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the criminal court standard even for misdemeanors that do not carry incarceration as a penalty.

    Have all of your witnesses, etc., there in obvious prayer throughout the event.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "...the court sat in judgement, and the books were opened. I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire" (Daniel 7:10c-11).

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    2. Sound advice...if you are dealing with reasonable people.

      The LDS historically requires blood oaths of secrecy rather than allowing recordings of proceedings. I feel for this guy...but, being in Florida - with a couple thousand miles of distance from the Temple - may make things a little less crazy....

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    3. Jeannette, I wish physical distance would provide insulation from the crazy-makers, but unfortunately it doesn't (especially in today's world of instant communication). I was living outside the "Mormon Corridor" when I was excommunicated at the age of 15 for calling a pair of family home teachers hypocrites after busting them doing something they were telling us not to do (at the time I thought they took a personal issue and turned it into a 'church' issue but found out recently that it is much more systemic). The threat of excommunication to enforce compliance amounts to spiritual extortion.

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  4. an amended echo from above: I'm anticipating the day when there will be conferences around the country presenting workshops on how to deal with spiritual abusers in high places.

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  5. All the more reason to try not to use shared blogging/forum sites like Blogger to get your message out. Spend the 100 bucks a year on a domain, server hosting, and domain name privacy. There's much less chance of you being shut down that way.

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  6. According to this linked article, the blogger is not in trouble because of posting negative information about candidate Romney, but rather for writing in detail about Mormon temple ceremonies/endowments, which is meant to be kept in secret by a Mormon. Though I find it interesting that the Mormon Church is going after him now. I visited his site probably a year ago and was reading about the endowment ceremonies even at that time. I found his site by searching on Google for "mormon endowment ceremony", or something to that effect.

    Anyway, here's the link to the Washington Post article: www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/mormon-blogger-faces-excommunication-over-temples-not-romney/2012/09/24/ac000b64-0686-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_story.html

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    1. If your so-called church is so right, then why would there be secrets? In my spare time (HA), I'll have to look up endowment ceremonies. I just learned about LDS and their undergarments this year and of course took it upon myself to get straight to the nitty gritty about this topic by asking my LDS massage therapist. She does deep tissue massage - - hmm, I'll have to pay attention if she gets real painfully deep with her elbow when I ask my provocative questions :) haha I'm so bad.

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  7. To be fair it appears that he's calling a lot of Mormon beliefs out as falsehoods. He's not challenging how the pastor was using tithes to build a gym that no one wanted or something

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    1. I was calling out my former pastor as a false teacher - twisting scripture, etc.

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  8. His site has been around for over eight years. There are numerous such sites which in detail cover every conceivable challenge the Book of Mormon and its history faces. For non-Mormons, it's an excellent resource of one wants to understand their belief system without the propaganda of Mormon(dot)org. It's a great resource and what is being done to David Twede is pretty awe-full in my humble opinion.

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  9. Headless Unicorn GuySeptember 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Creflo Dollar.

    I remember hearing that name so often I looked up his bio somewhere.

    Upon reading the bio to a friend of mine, he commented "This Creflo Dollar sounds like the WORST kind of Crooked Televangelist."

    ReplyDelete

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