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Hamilton Porter

Mormon Stories trying to expand its market.

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18 minutes ago, cinepro said:

The reason for that is because all those things aren't "Mormon" things, or "church" things. They're just regular "people" things, and are likely to be found in any group of humans.  We're tribal creatures.

This is a good podcast on it:

How our unchecked tribal psychology pollutes politics, science, and just about everything else

 

Which assumes that "correct" exists.

I find that a little naive. :)

I I'm not a member of the "correct" tribe . I am a member of the " best 4 it's use "tribe

And no I am not contradictory about that. I know it's just a tribe like all the others. In my opinion is the only claim that stands up. 

Everyone else has to go outside of their context to verify their position. I don't. 

Relativists know they are only relatively correct. No one else even has a good theory of what "correct" means! 

By whose standards?  

"two researchers exploring how our tribal tendencies are scrambling public discourse and derailing so many of our best efforts at progress — from science communication, to elections, to our ability to converge on the truth and go about the grind of building a better democracy."

And who's truth might that be??

I guess these are the only guys who know the real truth and so they can write about everybody else's failure to find it.

Clearly everyone in the world should follow these guys because they are the only ones who know the truth.!!!

;)

 

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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7 hours ago, the narrator said:

I know one person who has been hired to write some of these. That person is academically trained and well qualified to write those they are doing (and I think would do a good job at it).

Nevermind. My friend is no longer involved.

Edited by the narrator

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Back in early 2017 (around April), I posted a bit of a rant on the topic here.  If I could find it, I'd quote it.  But changes to MDDB have made it harder to go that far back.  As I recall, it came from the heart.  But, there is this from May 2017 on the Dear John Dehlin blog.

When I read this later, it re-enforced my impressions of the similar personalities.  I had a handful of exchanges with him over the years.  Back in 2011 or so, I offered to be an interview, and he claimed he wanted to do it, but kept putting it off.  In June of 2012, I took myself off the list, and in apparent retaliation, he deleted most of my comments from the Michael Coe interview.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

John is a human, just like the rest of us.  He has strengths and weaknesses.  I followed that controversy somewhat, I think the letter you quoted from was written by Kristy Money if I'm not mistaken.  At any rate, I'm not defending him or condemning him.  Are there possible elements of truth to what she said, certainly.  I'm not an insider.  There were other insiders who had different perspectives on what happened.  

I personally try not to view personalities as caricatures and realize that there are real people behind their public personas.  However, I fall short of this ideal at times personally as I've often viewed Dan Peterson in this way and I haven't been very open to his perspective over the years.  I'm trying to do better.  I like Kristy Money and I like John as well.  I think they are both generally good people from what I can tell.  

 

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34 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Lol. Accurate??

Compared to what?  What YOU think is accurate?? All are equally biased! That's the whole point!

You may have worded it more cautiously but the problem is still there. You believe there is such a thing as "unbiased." 

This has been the recurring question every single time we have talked. EVERY one, from day one.

I know I can be blunt because you are a friend, and this is what I have been working with you on for a long time.

And it will probably continue as long as it needs to, mi amigo, and bruthah. ;)

 

Accurate in a scholarly & scientific sense.  I thought I made that clear.  

I don't believe there is a way to eliminate bias with 100% confidence, no.  But I also recognize there is a wide range of what is clearly biased and what is closer to unbiased perspectives.  Thats where the tools of critical thinking, peer review, and carefully crafted methodology come in handy.  

Funny that I'm having a conversation with Clark Goble in another thread right now, and I'm essentially arguing that there is no way to establish religious truth as truth, and he's the one arguing for this idea that there is a religious truth in some objective sense that we need to align ourselves with.  Then you on the other hand are criticizing me for even using the word truth at all.  Crazy how I get caught in the middle of these debates sometimes.  :lol:

 

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22 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Nevermind. My friend is no longer involved.

I want to know that story (but have no right to it as private)...it is probably 'just don't have time', but thinking it's big drama is so much more fun.

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

If people couldn't tell how people were paid, then doesn't that mean in some ways the finances were not open?

It seems you are treating it as all or nothing.  OSF provided some financial information.  Due to a controversy where some were concerned about where donations they had made were going and they couldn't find out based on the limited info posted, more info is now shared.  Haven't examined it myself to see how much more info that is, but I doubt all financial info is shared (and would hope that it wasn't as institutional openness should still accommodate individual privacy in my view).

I don’t intend to sound as if it is an all or nothing prospect. There is a spectrum of financial disclosure.  So let’s compare OSF to the LDS Church on that spectrum. 

In 1959 the LDS Church stopped disclosing any financials.  Even to donors. 

In 2011, when OSF began accepting donations, they publicly disclosed basic financial statements.  

In 2011 the LDS Church still did not share any financial statements. 

Circa 2016-2017 in response to questions raised, OSF added more detail to their financial statements.  

Circa 2016-2017, even though the LDS Church had been petitioned to resume disclosing financial statements, they still do not.  

Today, in 2019, any person with internet access can go to the OSF website and review their entire history of financial statements.  There are also some podcast episodes wherein Dehlin addresses OSF finances. 

Today, in 2019, neither the public nor donating church members has any access to basic financial statements from the Church. 

So, if someone is going to get on this forum or any other and criticize Dehlin even though OSF has disclosed its finances and then responded to a controversy by disclosing additional information, they ought to 1) be a donor to OSF giving them a reason to be critical and 2) turn the same scrutiny toward the church.

When I ask that the Church disclose its finances, I do it as a member who has been donating to the church for well over four decades and continues to do so. 

I am no longer a donor to OSF, but when I was, they disclosed their finances and I could reach to and get responses from Dehlin when I had questions.  I can’t say the same for the Church. 

Edited by rockpond
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1 hour ago, bdouglas said:

Some observations regarding new publishing initiative from a biased observer——

There is very little to no no work being done among the ex/anti-Mormon community by actual credentialed experts. Rather you have people like Jeremy Runnells, Bill Reel, John Dehlin, Dan Vogel et al. Some of these ex-/anti-Mormon “polemicists” are better than others. For example, Dan Vogel is a gifted researcher——but not a historian. (Note that I exclude ex-Mormons who are not overtly anti-Mormon like David Bokovoy.)

As Juliann pointed out, what these people do is use LDS scholarship as their starting point for the production of their ex-/anti-Mormon polemics.

There is a lot of literalistic and simplistic thinking among the ex-Mormon community; in fact one might say that literalistic and simplistic thinking is the ex-/anti-Mormon disease, what the scriptures refer to as “blindness of mind”, and as a result I think that we can expect to see a lot of simplistic and literalistic thinking in anything this new initiative puts out.

(Just my two bits. Sorry in advance if this offends anybody.)

Simplistic thinking is what has been promoted in these recent addressed by Church GA’s.  In just the past week and a half we’ve had two addresses that promote the idea that you don’t need to look into these questions and issues.  Just focus on the basics, the primary questions. 

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Again finances aren't just Profit/Loss statements. I think that's why you're getting hung up. If you are attempting to bring on an investor, for instance, and they ask for your finances they are not going to be very happy if you only give them a profit/loss statement with no breakouts of data. Also typically financial statements are released after the year the finances are for. So 2016 finances would have been released well into 2017 after the controversy.

My guess is that perhaps you're just not that well versed on what people mean by corporate finances.

Again no particular axe to grind here. To me Dehlin could be keeping all the money for his payroll and I wouldn't care. More power to him if he is able to make a business out of this. Contra some I have no problem with that. Clearly other people do though (and of course there's the tax exempt status issue). My only point was to note that there was a controversy over finances not being open in 2017 that was widely discussed. Again, a short profit/loss statement is not being open about finances. But I certainly don't think Dehlin need be open. He can if he wants. I suspect those donating may have wanted more transparency though.

I'm kind of confused here since you claimed you'd read the link which was explicitly about just such a controversy. How on earth could you read the link and not be aware of a controversy about not being open about finances? The title of the link is "How John Dehlin’s OSF finances Q and A raised more Qs than As." The link even notes a Mormon Stories podcast episode that was about the controversy. Which suggests that Dehlin knew there was a controversy.

You can of course think the controversy is overblown. But it seems odd to deny there ever was a controversy. Further even the records you listed only show Dehlin's compensation for 2016 - 2017 but not 2011 - 2015 which, according to the linked story, was one of the major points of controversy. (Dehlin's compensation versus compensation for other podcasters working for him) The author then looked up the tax records to find some of the information not in the financial information disclosed for those earlier periods. They showed, for instance, Dehlin getting $91,308 for 2015 which wasn't disclosed in the profit/loss statements you said disclosed the financials. He then compared this to other organizations such as FAIR. None of the board nor executives for FAIR were compensated at all. Of 2015 total revenue for OSF 67% went to executive compensation. For FAIR 0% did. For Sunstone 46% did. For Dialogue 26.5% did. For Liahona Children's Foundation 2.4% did. 

This led at the time to a fair bit of controversy. This in turn led to Dehlin breaking out payroll/compensation for 2016 and 2017.  You'll note that what showed on the profit and loss as payroll and what turned out to be compensation were quite different. So in a supplementary statement in 2016 we had expenses "payroll related" as $215, 335 as part of $359.143 of "expenses." An additional $78,400 of that were "other administrative and supporting services." If you look at the 2015 P/L statement none of that type of information is listed. Indeed it has no compensation listed under any of the categories. You have to make a guess based upon "contract services" that is Dehlin's and Dan's compensation.

As the linked to article notes, the controversy was over "how John has potentially used his institutional power and position to influence not only how much he is compensated, but how others throughout the organization are compensated in comparison — including potential conflicts of interest with his wife and the compensation of people like Kristy Money." 

Again to be clear I don't ultimately care here. John could be taking all the money and it wouldn't bother me. At best it'd be an issue if he got audited by the IRS over the tax exempt status. But saying there was no controversy over financial transparency strikes me as quite odd had you read the story (or the many similar stories that came out around the same time).

It sounds like you are admitting that the controversy was not over whether there was financial disclosure but it was over compensation plans of those being paid by OSF and Dehlin’s influence over that compsenation. Correct?

Further, it seems that OSF’s response to that controversy was to revise those compensation plans and provide additional disclosure about compensation.  Correct?

While we are on the subject, what level of disclosure does the LDS Church provide regarding compensation of its leaders?

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13 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

The best way to make people apostate is to dumb it down as much as possible.

 

I wouldn't say those donate buttons are his main source of income from this. Businesses need growth to survive, and they need to create more ex-Mormons to grow.

President Nelson made more exmormons than ever before last conference when he encouraged us to stop referring to ourselves as Mormon.

none of which benefits anti sites 

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

It sounds like you are admitting that the controversy was not over whether there was financial disclosure but it was over compensation plans of those being paid by OSF and Dehlin’s influence over that compsenation. Correct?

Further, it seems that OSF’s response to that controversy was to revise those compensation plans and provide additional disclosure about compensation.  Correct?

 

No. And I really don’t believe you are that unaware of what went on. Or that you are unaware that his financial statement was not thought to be thorough. Or that he wasn’t disclosing all the perqs he got aside from the declared salary. 

Come on, trying to skate past all this isn’t cool. 

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

Simplistic thinking is what has been promoted in these recent addressed by Church GA’s.  In just the past week and a half we’ve had two addresses that promote the idea that you don’t need to look into these questions and issues.  Just focus on the basics, the primary questions. 

I just watched a BBC TV series called “Death In Holy Orders” (an adaptation of a P D James mystery, I think). In it there is a parchment that is kept hidden away because some of the faithful might find it troubling. It is a purported order issued by Pilate to have Roman soldiers remove the body of Jesus a month after his death by crucifixion because the burial tomb is attracting a crowd and thus causing trouble.

To skeptics, this order by Pilate would seem to disprove the resurrection (a month after his supposed Resurrection Jesus' body is still in the tomb), but to Father Martin it does not. He says, “I have the assurance of the Living Christ. What do a lot of old bones matter to me?”

Father Martin represents what I think of as nuanced thinking. “Maybe the resurrection doesn’t mean what I thought it meant,” he thinks. In other words even if the document proves to be real there is nothing in it that poses a real threat to his faith. Why? Because he is not a literalistic and simplistic thinker. To one who is grounded in the faith the document, true or not, is a detail, nothing more.

As I understand him, Elder Corbridge is basically saying the same thing. “Start with the basics,” he says, “and move on the from there.” Or, “Make up your mind regarding the basics, and go on from there, not the other way around.” 

But the ex-/anti-Mormon does just the opposite. The ex-Mormon says, “Joseph gave varying accounts of the first vision, so I’m leaving!” Or, “Joseph married other men’s wives, so I’m leaving.”

This is an immature way of looking at things. It’s missing the forest for the trees. It’s getting caught up in the thick of thin things.

Edited by bdouglas

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3 hours ago, bdouglas said:

There is a lot of literalistic and simplistic thinking among the ex-Mormon community; in fact one might say that literalistic and simplistic thinking is the ex-/anti-Mormon disease, what the scriptures refer to as “blindness of mind”, and as a result I think that we can expect to see a lot of simplistic and literalistic thinking in anything this new initiative puts out.

 

This is absolutely true. However this is largely true inside the church as well. When a literalistic and simplistic thinking member loses their faith, they don't become a sophisticated critic. They become a literalistic and simplistic thinking exmo.

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3 hours ago, bdouglas said:

Additional observation: The ex-Mormon community should really be called the “Ex-Mormon Church”, since it mirrors the church in many ways. There are the GAs, people like Dehlin, Bill Reel, Jeremy Runnells. There is a lot of fellowshipping and backslapping that goes on, similar to what goes on in the church. There are books and blogs containing ex-Mormon “testimonials” and “exit narratives”, just like Deseret Book publishes books by GAs. And finally there is the “white-washing”, the very thing ex-Mormons accuse the church of doing. For example, all one has to do is read a book by Grant Palmer to see that, in marshaling his “evidence”, he leaves out just about everything that does NOT bolster his case. The same is true across the board.

Another good observation .Exmormons are some of the most "mormony" people I know, even while changing superficial behaviors around tattoos and word of wisdom in order to try to differentiate themselves. Or I should say, many of the ones I encounter online are like that.

Edited by Gray

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4 minutes ago, Gray said:

This is absolutely true. However this is largely true inside the church as well. When a literalistic and simplistic thinking member loses their faith, they don't become a sophisticated critic. They become a literalistic and simplistic thinking exmo.

This is a good point. For example, the people who have been influenced by the CES Letter are not, at least in my experience, nuanced thinkers.

(This is not meant to be a slam. Until I was 25, I was no different, or that is the kind of thinker I was.)

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

It sounds like you are admitting that the controversy was not over whether there was financial disclosure but it was over compensation plans of those being paid by OSF and Dehlin’s influence over that compsenation. Correct?

That's a type of financial disclosure. Again, a brief P/L is not transparent financial disclosure.

1 hour ago, rockpond said:

Further, it seems that OSF’s response to that controversy was to revise those compensation plans and provide additional disclosure about compensation.  Correct?

While we are on the subject, what level of disclosure does the LDS Church provide regarding compensation of its leaders?

Correct.

And the Church doesn't give a lot of disclosure. As I said, I don't particularly care whether Dehlin discloses details so long as he follows the law. Some of his donors and supporters apparently did. That was the controversy. Much like some, say WikiLeaks, don't like the lack of transparency of the Church. Again, I personally don't care that the Church doesn't release the details of its finances or even the broad level than Dehlin did prior to 2017. The only issue is whether there was a controversy over the issue. I'd be the first to admit that some find controversial that the Church isn't transparent, although again I personally don't care nor do I think the Church should be transparent in that way.

One might complain that Dehlin was hypocritical in the issue, but I'll be honest and say I've no idea what his comments on Church transparency was or whether he was being hypocritical. My tendency is to assume nearly all activists are hypocritical because they're just looking for arguments to fit an agenda regardless of whether they're coherent. So cries of hypocrisy tend to not carry much weight to me. I don't really care that much unless I'm in a discussion where the person is making a logical contradiction. Then I'll point it out as part of the discussion, but more broadly I just don't care much about hypocrisy.

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

That's a type of financial disclosure. Again, a brief P/L is not transparent financial disclosure.

Correct.

And the Church doesn't give a lot of disclosure. As I said, I don't particularly care whether Dehlin discloses details so long as he follows the law. Some of his donors and supporters apparently did. That was the controversy. Much like some, say WikiLeaks, don't like the lack of transparency of the Church. Again, I personally don't care that the Church doesn't release the details of its finances or even the broad level than Dehlin did prior to 2017. The only issue is whether there was a controversy over the issue. I'd be the first to admit that some find controversial that the Church isn't transparent, although again I personally don't care nor do I think the Church should be transparent in that way.

One might complain that Dehlin was hypocritical in the issue, but I'll be honest and say I've no idea what his comments on Church transparency was or whether he was being hypocritical. My tendency is to assume nearly all activists are hypocritical because they're just looking for arguments to fit an agenda regardless of whether they're coherent. So cries of hypocrisy tend to not carry much weight to me. I don't really care that much unless I'm in a discussion where the person is making a logical contradiction. Then I'll point it out as part of the discussion, but more broadly I just don't care much about hypocrisy.

So you agree that OSF provided some level of financial disclosure every year beginning with 2011 just not enough to prevent the controversy?

I figured the controversy would have occurred even with additional financial disclosure because it was about the methodology of compensation and Dehlin’s influence, not just the amounts.

And now are you implying that Dehlin broke the law?

 

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3 hours ago, rockpond said:

While we are on the subject, what level of disclosure does the LDS Church provide regarding compensation of its leaders?

Unless the Church is making claims to being transparent or demanding others be in their finances, that seems irrelevant to me to whether or not OSF is living up to the standards they demand in others,

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15 minutes ago, Calm said:

Unless the Church is making claims to being transparent or demanding others be in their finances, that seems irrelevant to me to whether or not OSF is living up to the standards they demand in others,

OSF is living up to the standards they demand in others.

 

Edited by rockpond
clarification of pronoun

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30 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I figured the controversy would have occurred even with additional financial disclosure because it was about the methodology of compensation and Dehlin’s influence, not just the amounts.

More than likely.  There were a number of complaints by people claiming to have worked for him with understanding they would get compensated and didn't, others who were volunteering tons of hours and not getting any recognition, such as freebies to conferences while Denlin and his wife were getting reimbursed, possibly even paid, complaints that they donated to a particular podcast and the donation got funneled to a general fund, Dehlin naming people independent contractors instead of employees so he could pay them less (all of the above is from memory and may be wrong), but I have enough confidence it is accurate I am putting it up).

However, if such potential inequalities in compensation were on paper easy to see, I think people would have called him on it earlier and possibly have refused to donate, so I don't think it made no difference to what happened.

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4 minutes ago, rockpond said:

They are.

 

CFR they are demanding from others standards they don't hold themselves and that they are not abiding by the standards they state they are abiding by.

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1 minute ago, Calm said:

CFR they are demanding from others standards they don't hold themselves and that they are not abiding by the standards they state they are abiding by.

"They" was referring to OSF (the second half of your statement, not the first).  I have edited my post for clarity.

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

More than likely.  There were a number of complaints by people claiming to have worked for him with understanding they would get compensated and didn't, others who were volunteering tons of hours and not getting any recognition, such as freebies to conferences while Denlin and his wife were getting reimbursed, possibly even paid, complaints that they donated to a particular podcast and the donation got funneled to a general fund, Dehlin naming people independent contractors instead of employees so he could pay them less (all of the above is from memory and may be wrong), but I have enough confidence it is accurate I am putting it up).

And Dehlin and OSF responded to the complaints and worked to resolve them the best they could.

3 minutes ago, Calm said:

However, if such potential inequalities in compensation were on paper easy to see, I think people would have called him on it earlier and possibly have refused to donate, so I don't think it made no difference to what happened.

In 2015, before the controversy, total OSF donations were $170,000.

In 2017, after the controversy, total donations were up to over $400,000 (with Dehlin's MS podcast along bringing in more than half of that amount).

 

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12 minutes ago, rockpond said:

"They" was referring to OSF (the second half of your statement, not the first).  I have edited my post for clarity.

Got it.

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2 minutes ago, rockpond said:

And Dehlin and OSF responded to the complaints and worked to resolve them the best they could.

In 2015, before the controversy, total OSF donations were $170,000.

In 2017, after the controversy, total donations were up to over $400,000 (with Dehlin's MS podcast along bringing in more than half of that amount).

 

There were those who said they would not have donated if they had known.  I am not saying no one would have donated.

And I can't comment on anything since the controversy popped.  Last time I dug into it was after the podcast that was made in response where people were saying it didn't tell them anything they wanted to know.  That podcast more or less lost my interest in the whole thing.

Edited by Calm

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26 minutes ago, rockpond said:

OSF is living up to the standards they demand in others.

I also live up to the standards I demand from others. Frustratingly, others aren’t compelled to adopt my standards. :unknw:

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