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About esodije

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  1. As I recall, the whole notion of the BoM being the keystone of the LDS religion is based on what it proves or doesn’t prove about Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. If the book is what it purports to be, we may reasonably conclude that JS was what he purported to be. And if the book is a fictional concoction based on cribbed biblical passages (viewed through a prism of 19th Century thought) and containing various historical anachronisms, we may reasonably conclude that JS was a fraud. Backing away from the BoM as a historical record, while simultaneously trying to maintain belief in the Restoration and JS’s pivotal role in it, doesn’t really work. I think the Community of Christ is proving that quite amply.
  2. I don’t know how anyone can listen to the December 2017 recording and not conclude that Bishop’s elevator wasn’t reaching the top floor, post-op medications notwithstanding. Nobody dealing from a full deck would have talked one minute longer to Denson once it became clear that the latter had used deception to arrange the meeting and was actively collecting incriminating statements. There is nothing in the leaked portions of the BYUPD interview that makes Bishop seem any more lucid, and the absurd notion that the church paid for Denson (or anyone else) to have a boob job should be a giant red flag. (Remember that Denson herself laughed off the idea—see p. 37 of the PDF transcript—that she and Bishop had ever discussed her breasts in the MTC, as she “had no breasts at 21.”) I still cannot fathom people’s taking Bishop’s babblings at face value, not to mention forming essentially out-of-the-brown conclusions with no other basis. There are witnesses who can cast light on this whole situation—especially other missionaries who knew Denson in the MTC, her ex-husband, and the other MTC accuser.
  3. I’m guessing that nothing noteworthy came out in Robert E. Wells’ deposition, as anything damaging to the church would surely have been leaked by now. Thus, no confirmation from Elder Wells of either Bishop’s confession in ~1979 or what the latter may have confessed to? I think the notion that a church leader, anywhere, would use church funds to pay for a female member’s breast-augmentation surgery is an absurdity that calls the whole “show me your breasts” episode into question. I don’t know how much of a dirty old man Bishop was 30-40 years ago, but his recollections are no more reliable now than Denson’s are credible.
  4. As Paul Simon would say, “[A] man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” When I listened to Denson’s original recording of Bishop, the one question that stuck with me was how, even in a prior incarnation, this aggressive, angry woman would possibly have acceded, in any respect, to the sexual advances of some middle-aged f*rt without a couple of well-aimed and extremely effective kicks to the latter’s groin area.
  5. I think it’s safe to say Sister June Hughes made an enduring impression in the MTC. Believe me—if her “morning” Spanish teacher remembered her, all of her district-mates would remember much more about her.
  6. My MTC companion in 1979 had various distractions, including multiple meetings with a BYU professor about the then-novel idea of translating the Book of Mormon into various Eastern European languages using Esperanto (and my companion’s pen pals behind the Iron Curtain) as an intermediary. I went with him everywhere—my learning Spanish and memorizing the missionary discussions were definitely considered subordinate to the necessity of staying with my companion. I believe it unlikely that priorities were any different there in 1984, but in any case the people who knew Denson in the MTC could provide great insight into her comportment and her presumed meetings with Bishop. Why people are so dismissive about all this is something I’ve never understood.
  7. The discussion I’d like to see, aside from the statements of Bishop’s other reported victims, has to do with the fact that Denson didn’t exist with Bishop in a vacuum in the MTC. Denson had a companion there, and the MTC has always strongly emphasized the importance of staying with one’s missionary companion 24/7. Did the companion accompany Denson to counseling sessions (even if only to sit outside and wait), or would she possibly say that Denson made a habit of ditching her and wandering the MTC by herself? Denson and her companion would have been part of, and attended classes with, a district of 8-12 missionaries, all of whom would have become well-acquainted with Denson during their two-month stay at the MTC. In addition, their district would have been part of a branch, led by a branch president who almost certainly would, at least, have been in the loop with regard to any counseling Denson received. Finally, the MTC has always had career administrators who oversee day-to-day operations, and at least one of them would been closely associated with the branch. Occasionally, I have seen online comments from people who knew Denson at the MTC or had interactions with her there. I won’t repeat what these people wrote, since I wouldn’t be able to provide citations to this or that forum or article, but such people are out there. They could provide a lot of background details, including whether Bishop seemed to take an inordinate interest in Denson.
  8. A sealed motion to withdraw as counsel could indicate that the lawyer has stated to the court that he/she can no longer assert his/her client’s claims in good faith, or that to do so would require the suborning of perjury. I doubt, however, that very many of Denson’s erstwhile supporters, including her now-former lawyers, have decided that her rape claims are false. Her reversal of fortune seems much more about her antics and her rapidly diminishing value as an anti-Mo cause celebre. Will a “larger law firm” take Denson on as a client? A problem she faces is that large law firms are typically managed first as businesses and only secondarily as purveyors of a service. (That’s how they get to be large in the first place.) Denson obviously can’t pay lawyers on an hourly basis, but it’s doubtful that many of them would regard her claim to be of such value, in terms of money (or, even, further embarrassment to the church), as to justify a contingent-fee arrangement.
  9. Withdrawing as counsel in a lawsuit is not a pro forma process. Normally one would have to show some cause, and, more often than not, it’s that the client is not following the lawyer’s advice or is not complying with court orders or lawful discovery requests. In this case, it appears the latter may be true, although everyone seems to be piling on Denson at this point.
  10. Notwithstanding the “dossier,” I think the church has specifically soft-pedaled the Denson lawsuit in the expectation that she would eventually—inevitably—self-immolate. I don’t know how much to believe Norton, especially when he says things such as that Denson was sent home early from her mission in Wisconsin for performing oral sex on a male missionary (yet she somehow stayed active in church and eventually married in the temple?); however, Denson is quickly losing friends.
  11. This has always been a case that’s too “good” not to be true. It advances the “church = bad” narrative so plainly and directly that the credibility/reliability of the people involved has never really been examined.
  12. I’ve read that Denson’s lawyers have taken the depositions of Robert Wells (GA over the southern cone of South America in the late 70s, to whom Robert Bishop said he confessed...something...while the latter was a mission president in Argentina); and Ron Leavitt (the singles ward bishop to whom, in 1987, Denson first leveled allegations against Bishop). Denson’s lawyers have been quoted as saying they were pleased with what came out in those depositions, but nothing substantive seems to have leaked so far. I will make no comment on the “Drano in the juice,” “car set on fire,” and “broken nose” stories.
  13. I contrast my experience at BYU in 1977-82 with my daughter’s experience at Ricks (later BYU-I) in 2000-01. I never had the HC people approach me about the conduct of any roommate, and I would never have ratted out the football-player roomie I had in 1981-82 who flouted the HC in several material respects. My daughter, in contrast, had great pressure put on her at Ricks to rat out a young woman with whom she’d roomed for only the summer of 2000. My daughter insisted she knew nothing about the activities of which her former roomie had been accused, and that nothing like that had happened, so far as she knew, while they were roommates. It appeared for a time that my daughter was facing discipline for refusing to corroborate the accusations against her roommate. I was ready to raise a massive stink if that happened, but thankfully the Ricks administration backed off in the end.
  14. Looks like the camel is getting its nose under the tent after all. Once the church has to deal with gay parents on their terms—as when same-sex marriage was successfully re-framed as a civil-rights matter—the game is up. It’s only a matter of time, now, before the church tries to encompass homosexuality doctrinally; however, the results aren’t going to be pretty, no matter what your personal feelings are.
  15. When works are given primacy in the spectrum of things, it’s practically inevitable that we will judge others on that basis—and in an absolute sense, not in a relative one (cf. Parable of the Talents). In my observations, the church walks a fine line between sounding too encouraging (and fostering complacency) and sounding too discouraging (and fostering despair). More than once in my life, I’ve concluded that I was headed to the Terrestrial Kingdom, no matter what I did or didn’t do, so what was the point in trying? Lately I’ve been trying to find solace in D&C 132:26, which suggests that a sinner who’s been sealed to a spouse can still be exalted after being destroyed in the flesh and delivered up to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption. (I already feel like I’m being destroyed in the flesh!) The contradiction is that I have a low opinion of plural marriage, so it seems odd for me to try to find reassurance in Section 132.
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