The Passing of Mike Quinn

I continue to get readers of this blog asking how they can subscribe to my eNewsletter. I have now placed a subscription link at the bottom of the most recent newsletter. Now when the newsletter is forwarded from one friend to another, the friend can subscribe. Here are the online links to the last 3 newsletters

God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick

The Importance of Lineal Succession

Has the Authority Been Restored?”

Mike Quinn: The Passing of a Great LDS Historian with Integrity

During my quest to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the history of Mormonism during the last 31 years, there have been several essential things that have made my research and discoveries possible.

Obviously, the grace of God and his Holy Spirit have been the foundation upon which any truth has been discovered as a result of my research.

With regard to tools and procedures, I would have to say that the use of word crunching software in doing deep keyword searches in the scriptures in conjunction with the six-volume comprehensive history of the church by Roberts has been foundational.

Numerous visits to the historical library of the LDS church to access records not easily found, and sometimes not even available on the Internet, has also been incredibly helpful in providing informational keys to shining a light on the false narratives in the orthodox teachings and unlocking the true meaning behind the bizarre events that took place during Joseph Smith’s ministry.

Obviously, I have also read countless books that have provided great insight. I must say that few if any LDS authors and historians have had a greater impact on my journey than historian D. Michael Quinn.

While my ultimate conclusions often differ from his, the raw historical data that he has accumulated and shared in his books, articles and talks have saved me countless hours in cataloguing critical historical details.

For this reason, I am really indebted to him and saddened to hear that he has died at the age of 77.

According to an article in the Deseret News:

Quinn worked for the church in the 1970s as a research and writing assistant to Church Historian and Recorder Leonard J. Arrington, and taught history on the faculty at Brigham Young University for a dozen years. He was excommunicated from the church in September 1993.

“Michael Quinn was one of a kind,” said Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who served as Church Historian and Recorder from 2005-12. “He had a keen mind and amazingly retentive memory, and he was pathbreaking in his research and writing in many ways. He had a strong influence on the so-called ‘new Mormon history,’ the more candid approach to revealing the church’s past. He will remain somewhat of a tragic figure because of his loss of church membership and the question of what might have been.”

In September 1993, Quinn became part of the so-called September Six because he along with five others — Lavina Fielding Anderson, Maxine Hanks, Paul Toscano, Avraham Gileadi and Lynn Whitesides — were excommunicated or disfellowshipped that month for criticizing church leaders or doctrine or history.

He said the local leader who informed him of his excommunication gave him a letter that stated it was based on his works about women in the church and his public criticism of the church for limiting dissent.

Quinn later received a two-year appointment at the University of Southern California and a one-year appointment at Yale but never landed another permanent academic position. Instead, he worked as an independent scholar publishing books.

“At this point, I’m unhireable,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2006.

He struggled financially, living for a time in his mother’s basement, but he continued to publish books. In 2019, the church’s Newsroom website quoted him and linked to his 2017 book on the history of church finances; he said his findings were “an enormously faith-promoting story.”

I have often fantasied about sitting down with Mike and reviewing the 15 year timeline of Joseph Smith’s ministry to allow him to challenge or agree with my various observations and conclusions. But that never happened and now it is no longer a possibility.

Again, I owe a great debt of gratitude to Mike Quinn for sharing his knowledge of church historical events and his relentless pursuit of focusing on the truth about the historicity of various events instead of sanitizing the history and suppressing various controversial events as most of the LDS historians had done before him.

He paid a great price for his decision to simply state the facts and tell the truth as he saw it. May he rest in peace for taking the harder, but more honorable path.

The End of John Dehlin?

Few people have facilitated a crisis of faith in members of the LDS church more than John Dehlin and the Open Stories Foundation. Most of his videos focus on interviews with disenchanted ex-Mormons that have lost their faith because of troubling historical events as well as disturbing social trends in the Church. While the various personalities are interesting and varied, the stories of lost faith and the related issues are largely the same. In that sense, the stories are like listening to a broken record.

(I guess some of you are too young to know what a record it?)

Because of his efforts in educating people and publishing interviews, many people have had a crisis of faith learning about many of the disturbing events and facts about church history and the falsehoods regarding many of the truth claims of the modern church. I consider that to be a good thing. Truth can be painful but necessary if someone is going to progress and grow spiritually. A crisis of faith can be the first step to enlightenment if one holds on to the iron rod during the turbulation and does not throw the baby (true gospel of Christ and word of God) out with the bathwater ( the apostate modern church).

However, because John and the majority of his supporters and interviewees have chosen to place their trust and eternal salvation in the arm of flesh and modern science instead of the word of God, they default to agnosticism and atheism after leaving Mormonism instead of returning to Biblical Christianity. I consider this to be a heart-breaking travesty.

The reason that most Mormons do not return to Biblical Christianity after experiencing a faith crisis is because they cannot return to something they never left.. a starting point from which they did not start.

To return is “To come or go back to the same place”.. where they were before they began their journey in Mormonism.

Since modern Mormons did not start from the foundation of Biblical Christianity, they don’t have an inclination to gravitate in that direction once faith in the Mormon cult is lost.

Since Mormonism is essentially a cult of trusting in the arm of flesh, there is no safety net of belief to fall back on when the free fall from their religion takes place.

Since the modern LDS church has long since abandoned the Biblical Christian foundation that the restored church was founded upon four generations ago, disaffected Mormons seldom even consider biblical Christianity to be an option once they leave Mormonism.

It is remarkable that Mormons have lost touch with their Christian roots.

One of the first things that God said to Joseph Smith following the translation of the book of Mormon is that was going to restore the same church that he had established during New Testament times:

“And thus, if the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old.

Getting back to the topic of John Dehlin, a quasi documentary- hit piece about John titled “The End of John Dehlin” has just been released that some feel could be devastating to his career as a podcaster.

I think It provides a compelling string of events and testimonials from women that seem to document the fact that John Dehlin leads a somewhat double and hypocritical life. While he outwardly decries sexual harassment, the documentary claims that he has been guilty of sexual harassment.

I personally don’t see it affecting the loyalty of his ardent supporters very much because their loyalty is based on how his content justifies their lives and choices. They will continue to seek this justification.

Quaku El

The person that has taken the time to do the investigative research and put the documentary together is a rising star in Mormondom by the name of Qwaku El.

According to “Provos Most Eligible” website-

“Kwaku is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from Cypress, Texas, who has landed in Utah Valley and has taken Provo by storm. He performs with BYU’s Divine Comedy, hosts Saints Unscripted on YouTube, and hosts the BasicProvoBro podcast. We don’t know if it will help him find love on PME, but if anyone has observed, studied, and then mocked ins and outs of Provo dating, it’s Kwaku.

Kwaku is a recent LDS Internet Celebrity who is still wet behind the ears.

“Kwaku started his YouTube channel on September 15, 2014, but he gained a following after starting on 3 Mormons (now Saints Unscripted). Kwaku makes videos based around the beliefs, doctrines and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church or the LDS Church). Kwaku started on 3 Mormons on September 9, 2016; it is currently unknown if he is still on the channel.” (Ref)

Kwaku began his Internet career with a lighthearted fun-loving comedic personality. However, after gaining a following among the youth of the church, he eventually reinvented himself as an LDS apologist. I think his goal was to help keep the youth of the church by defending the faith. The problem, as I see it, is that he defends the faith by making fun of and marginalizing critics of the church and making ad hominem attacks instead of dealing with issues. Sadly, he has virtually no serious knowledge of LDS church history and doctrine. Rather, he uses comedy, sarcasm and inuendo to attack critics of the Mormon Church.

As it turns out, he and his cronies began mocking some of the work that John Dehlin had done on Mormonstories and they even created a video that arguably could encourage violent behavior towards Dehlin. It allegedly caused Dehlin to fear for his life and call 911 or the FBI according to Dehlin:

I took everyone’s advice. I called 911 and reported the following people:

Kwaku El

Cardon Ellis

Braden Herrmann

I told the dispatcher that at least two of the three are (as I understand it) employees and/or contractors of non-profits subsidized by the Mormon church (that being the More Good Foundation and FairMormon).

I’m waiting to hear back from the police. My family is highly distressed. Not fun. For the record, I only shared the videos publicly AFTER my kids found out. They follow Kwaku. Otherwise I would probably never have shared.

I’ve reported all of this to my sister, Julianne Hatton, who was on the FAIRMormon board up until a few days ago (though she says she knew nothing about this and has been trying to get off the board for many months). Not sure what she’ll do with the info.

Thanks to all who have shown support.

It is not as if John Dehlin had not antagonized Kwaku. Here are a few comments that Dehlin had made:

“…super weird, and I don’t mean to attack anyone, but like that an educated person of color, who’s a teen or in their early twenties, in you know, in 2018 or 2017 or whenever Kwaku converted, can you, with the internet, can you imagine an intelligent person of color ever deciding to join Mormonism? Like isn’t that, like I don’t wanna be mean or insulting, but isn’t that story in of itself kind of mind-blowing?” “Uh, that’s like some serious internalized hatred, self-hatred, because how in the world can Mormonism not be racist? Like, I’m racist!”

John Dehlin

Since Kwaku and his associates seemed to resonate with active LDS youth and provided a new fresh innovative approach to LDS apologetics that engages the youth, it appears as if they initially had the backing and/or encouragement of the LDS church via some of the church sponsored and church associated apologetic groups. Here are some clams/speculations being made online by advocates of John Dehlin about this:

It’s disheartening that Kwaku has appointed himself (or FAIR has hired him to be) a de facto spokesperson, and that the LDS church has not denounced him and his violent, reckless antics. – Cait Phil

The More Good Foundation, the Mormon Interpreter Foundation, Book of Mormon Central, and FAIRMormon are directly or indirectly funding these videos, which feature Kwaku M. El, Cardon Ellis, and Brad Witbeck.

It now appears as if the Church and the more traditional apologetic groups are distancing themselves from Kwaku and are taking some of his outlandish videos off of their sites.

I think Kwaku’s investigative research that resulted in a hit-piece on Dehlin shows some diligence in connecting some significant dots that reflect poorly on the character of John Dehlin. These revelations have been largely kept out of public view and it is probably good that they have come to light.

Nevertheless, I have to question the ethics of Kwaku’s antics that he used to bring this hit piece to the light of day. This is how the deception played out-

Kwaku was recently invited to participate in a live podcast with Bill Reel and Radio Free Mormon, two ex-Mormon critics of the church. This was the build up to the show:

Mormonism LIVE: 019: Kwaku El Live in Studio

Live Show on Wednesdays 6:20 PM Mountain Time on Youtube

Kwaku El in Studio for a Live Conversation about FAIR and Saints Unscripted Kwaku has graciously accepted our invitation to sit down on Mormonism LIVE ! with Radio Free Mormon and Bill Reel to discuss primarily his separating from Saints Unscripted and having projects he worked on that contributed to content on FAIR having been removed. We also touch on his feelings and thoughts regarding people who leave and the emotional turmoil such journeys encapsulate and We talk about whether he recognizes if the critics are reasonable in their approach and conclusion and if he is for that matter.

The exchange during the show seemed rather cordial and non-confrontational however, at some point, Kwaku announced that he was going to make a public apology to John Dehlin for comments that he had previously made in social media. ( I am still not totally sure if that announcement was made during that interview) The announcement was an obvious attempt to drive unsuspecting supporters of John Dehlin and followers of Mormonstores to his site to witness something they would not be expecting.

Shockingly, when viewers came Kwaku’s site at the appointed time no apology was made. Instead, they were broadsided with the hit piece that attempted to document Dehlin being promiscuous and unfaithful to his wife and making unwanted advancements towards a lady who had previously been willing. According the documentary John has participated in sexual harassment of women.

Needless to say, Bill Reel and RFM were really really pissed off at the deception of Kwaku and how he had played them to drive many of the supporters of John Dehlin and Mormonstories to the hit piece.

Related: ‘Mormon Land’: Is confronting church critics through satire effective or offensive?

Kwaku El – A Character Study

A Polarization Has Taken Place in My Community
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares??

I live in a very small town in a farming community.

Most people in the community are members of the LDS church.

We do not attend the church but a friend of ours was in the Bishopric when the Covid drama hit has given us the blow by blow details of how this Covid controversy has divided the ward.

At that time, the Stake President sent a mandate to all members of his Stake that masks must be warn in the church buildings.

He also sent a memo to all of the Bishops in his stake telling them that members of the wards that show up without masks are to be turned away from the meetings. He pointed out that President Nelson who is a prophet seer and revelator has set the standard and told the membership that they need to be good “global citizens” and wear masks and get the vaccination.

President Nelson has recently declared that-

“During challenging times, members will ‘sustain and uphold the laws where they reside,’ according to the letter.”

Eventually President Nelson would personally set the example regarding the vaccination.

The Bishop told my friend who was his counselor to stand at the door on Sundays and tell those that showed up without masks to go home and watch the service on the Internet.

My friend refused to do so, quoting some passages in the Book of Mormon that state that you should not turn people away from your meetings.

The Bishop who is an elderly and very fatherly type of person had previously had a very warm and charitable demeanor. But he seemed to go through a personality change of sorts once the controversy hit. Instead of being warm and loving, he became somewhat militant and anal.

Since his councilor refused to stand at the door and turn people away, the Bishop did it.

After a few weeks of having to do the dirty work, the Bishop told my friend that he was going to be released as his councilor. Obviously this was devastating to our friend, but he held his ground, choosing to go with what the scriptures and the spirit were teaching him instead of blindly following orders from the arm of flesh.

A visiting high councilman who was also a member of the ward informed the congregation in his remarks that the Covid pandemic is bringing about the literal fulfillment of the wheat and the tares, clarifying that those that refused to wear masks were the tares.

In the Ward council the Bishop opined that those chose to stay home and watch the services over the Internet because they were unwilling to wear masks at church were not worthy to hold positions in the ward.

Needless to say, this controversy seems to be creating somewhat of a division in the ward.

I asked my friend who has always born a fervent testimony of the living prophet why he was not willing to support the dictates of the prophet. He told me that he has thoroughly researched the pandemic and the vaccines and the masks. He bore a strong witness that he knew it was all part of a global conspiracy to enslave the world and accomplish population reduction goals.

I asked him if he still sustained President Nelson as a true inspired prophet of God and he hesitated and finally said, “I am beginning to wonder about that”.

According to one report, about 60 % of Americans have now been vaccinated. Many of those that have not been, are refusing to be guinea pigs for an untested procedure that has had many deaths and tens of thousands of complications associated with it.

It is remarkable that the unified voice of political, medical and religious leaders seems to have placed a spell on the masses.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12

Whether the “strong delusion” prophesied above is actually related to our current situation or whether it is typological, it seems applicable to me.

One last thing about the polarization in our community.

About a month before the controversy hit the ward, Mrs Watcher got into a gospel discussion with the bishop. (I do everything I possibly can to try and contain and reel in Mrs Watcher but when you have a bull in a china closet, there is really nothing you can do. Its every man for himself… She is a force to be reckoned with!)

During the discussion he was pontificating to Mrs Watcher about the importance of following the leaders of the church. She warned him about blind obedience, and she printed up a copy of one of her favorite quotes from President Joseph Fielding Smith to show to him so that he could compare what the church used to teach about the scriptures taking precedence over what the “living prophets” had to say, to what is currently taught in the church.

He read the quote and obviously had never seen it before. He squirmed a little bit and finally said that he believed what President Smith had said, but he clearly seemed conflicted.

The Doctrine of Blind Obedience taught by Heber J. Grant as reminisced by Marion G. Romney The Doctrine of Accepting the Four Standard Works to Judge the Teachings of Every Man including the General Authorities
“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward.

After the meeting I drove him home. …

Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said:

‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’

Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.'”

(Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)20

“It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside.

My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them.

Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.

“You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.

“Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it.

If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted.”

(Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:203–4; also cited in Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine,2nd ed. [1966], p. 609.)

BTW Mrs. Watcher brought up a really good point the other day. The accepting of the vax does not appear to be the literal fulfillment of the Book of Revelation mark of the beast narrative even though it appears to be taking us in that direction. The Lord has promised us that when the fulness returns to the earth, all will have an opportunity to repent and receive the truth and any poisons that have been administered into the body will be rebuked by the priesthood.

Once the fulness returns these signs shall follow them that believe:

65 And these signs shall follow them that believe—
66 In my name they shall do many wonderful works;
67 In my name they shall cast out devils;
68 In my name they shall heal the sick;
69 In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;
70 And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;
71 And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;
72 And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

bottom-line: We live by faith people.. if you have allowed someone to administer poison into your body, it is not the end of the world. God has already seen this calamity that we are experiencing and has provided a remedy for it.. help is on the way. In the mean time, exercise faith that the poison will be neutralized and not hurt you.

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