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Hamilton Porter

Mormon Stories trying to expand its market.

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

Incorrect.  Finances are published back to 2011 which is, I believe, the year that they started accepting donations.

https://www.openstoriesfoundation.org/finances/

I think you didn't read the link. The issue isn't a balance statement or P/L. You can see that the 2016 financial period starts adding information in response to the controversy. Again I don't know whether this was enough for those who saw an issue there. I've not really followed that controversy nor the sexual harassment issues closely.

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23 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And who's "truth" would that be? Can't you see the contradiction here?

This is the whole problem we have had communicating.

You cling to that last sentence while asserting the first three.

Contradiction.

Ha!  If I were responding to you, I would have worded it differently.  I'm speaking of truth in the sense here more about academic truths and not about pragmatic/religious truth in this context.  

Besides, you're missing my point.  Do you disagree with me that every party has a different perspective that they are promoting?  Do you disagree that some parties perspectives will be less accurate and more biased than others?  

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28 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I think you didn't read the link. The issue isn't a balance statement or P/L. You can see that the 2016 financial period starts adding information in response to the controversy. Again I don't know whether this was enough for those who saw an issue there. I've not really followed that controversy nor the sexual harassment issues closely.

I did read the link.

Is it a bad thing that OSF added more detail/information to their annual financial disclosures based on concerns of donors?  Seems like a good thing to me.  I would appreciate it if the church would do that.

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4 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I did read the link.

Is it a bad thing that OSF added more detail/information to their annual financial disclosures based on concerns of donors?  Seems like a good thing to me.  I would appreciate it if the church would do that.

I didn't say it was a bad thing. I simply said there was a controversy because they weren't being open about their finances. You seem to now be agreeing after initially vehemently disputing my claim. My point is that the 2016 and 2017 releases clearly are responding to that controversy although some apparently don't think it goes far enough.

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Did you write this blog post or is it anonymous?  Just curious as I can't tell who the author is.....

It it not my blog, though I have chimed in on a couple of the threads.  I provided some personal accounts when the author asked for stories of people being censored by Dehlin. 

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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7 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I didn't say it was a bad thing. I simply said there was a controversy because they weren't being open about their finances. You seem to now be agreeing after initially vehemently disputing my claim. My point is that the 2016 and 2017 releases clearly are responding to that controversy although some apparently don't think it goes far enough.

I dispute your claim that OSF was not disclosing finances prior to 2017 (your original claim) and 2016 (your now revised claim?).  They disclosed their finances beginning in 2011 (as I have shown).  Which, as I have stated, is when I believe they began accepting donations.

I am not aware of a controversy that occurred "because they weren't being open about their finances".  It seems to me that the controversy came about because of questions about how the foundation was being managed and how podcasters were being paid.  The controversy was addressed and disclosure of finances continued with additional detail being added.  Is there something I am missing?

Are you a donor to OSF?

Are you willing to place the same level of scrutiny on LDS Church finances?  Has the LDS disclosed its finances since it began accepting donations?

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Every party is going to put forward their version of narrative that they believe is the most compelling.  Institutions do this, individuals do this, historians do this, everyone does this.  Some do it much better than others, include multiple viewpoints or argue dispassionately or try to provide different perspectives within their narrative.  

Ultimately, this is why its so important to be a consumer of multiple different perspectives and learning the tools of critical thinking and evaluation of sources.  The goal for all of us should be to get as close to the truth as possible.  

I don't understand your comment about Trump-like behavior from Dehlin, can you elaborate on that specifically.  

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.

Quote
She addresses a basket of issues including:
 
1. John’s apparent inability to take correction and apparent abusive behavior toward those offering it,
2. obscure financial arrangements within OSF that seem to disproportionately benefit John financially,
3. many others performing a great deal of work with no financial or other benefits and arguably no respect,
4. nonpayment of promised funds for work performed,
5. John’s inappropriately demanding loyalty, particularly when confronted about bad behavior and a culture within OSF working to preserve his reputation in spite of “problematic behavior”
6. Concerns about the implications of recent changes in pay structuring, hiring his wife as a podcaster and new potentially high-dollar ventures such as cruises.
 
Difficulties taking private correction seems to be a theme worth developing. 

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

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31 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

It it not my blog, though I have chimed in on a couple of the threads.  I provided some personal accounts when the author asked for stories of people being censored by Dehlin. 

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Who is "the author"?  I can't seem to find that on the blog.....

(Thanks)

Edited by ALarson

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6 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Who is "the author"?  I can't seem to find that on the blog.....

(Thanks)

I don't know who the author is, but I do find author has made some notable observations on the blog.

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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5 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I don't know who the author is, but I do find author has made some notable observations on the blog.

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

President Oaks counseled me against placing trust in anonymous online sources.  So I better avoid that blog. :)

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

I dispute your claim that OSF was not disclosing finances prior to 2017 (your original claim) and 2016 (your now revised claim?).  They disclosed their finances beginning in 2011 (as I have shown).  Which, as I have stated, is when I believe they began accepting donations.

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.

1 hour ago, rockpond said:

I am not aware of a controversy that occurred "because they weren't being open about their finances".  It seems to me that the controversy came about because of questions about how the foundation was being managed and how podcasters were being paid.  The controversy was addressed and disclosure of finances continued with additional detail being added.  Is there something I am missing?

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).

Edited by clarkgoble
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2 hours ago, juliann said:

Someone put up a blurb where he claimed the writer was doing it for free.

Was that on this thread? My friend said they were going to be compensated for their work, which they should be.

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2 hours ago, rockpond said:

As for the controversy, I have read about it and it wasn't caused by a lack of financial transparency.  OSF finances were known and there was a dispute over certain management decisions.

I remember myself and others taking what was online and trying to figure out who got what.  It wasn't possible, iirc, but that might be a result of the tax documents posted as opposed to intentional withholding of specific information.

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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I don't know who the author is, but I do find author has made some notable observations on the blog.

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

The author posts some very slanderous things about Dehlin and then doesn't even have the courage to put his name behind them?  I don't have much respect for someone who does that (just being honest). 

Also, I have no idea if what this "Rosebud" has written is true, but I wouldn't repost them anonymously as of they are the truth.  I'm surprised you'd contribute to a blog where you don't know who the author is, but of course, that's your choice and right to do.   

(I'm not a big Dehlin fan or follower either, but just don't feel that's fair to do to anyone.) 

Edited by ALarson

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

It seems to me that the controversy came about because of questions about how the foundation was being managed and how podcasters were being paid

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).

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32 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Was that on this thread? My friend said they were going to be compensated for their work, which they should be.

Yep, I posted it earlier.  

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45 minutes ago, ALarson said:

The author posts some very slanderous things about Dehlin and then doesn't even have the courage to put his name behind them?  I don't have much respect for someone who does that (just being honest). 

Also, I have no idea if what this "Rosebud" has written is true, but I wouldn't repost them anonymously as of they are the truth.  I'm surprised you'd contribute to a blog where you don't know who the author is, but of course, that's your choice and right to do.   

(I'm not a big Dehlin fan or follower either, but just don't feel that's fair to do to anyone.) 

The whole Rosebud thing was strange.  For years she made vague accusations and then finally got detailed enough to figure out what she was implying.  As far as I am aware (haven't looked at it since the controversy), I believe the lawsuit issue was confirmed and other basic facts (she had worked with Dehlin), but the personal stuff was not.  Not sure how it could have been without the lawsuit (discrimination iirc) going through.  She kept saying she had documentation, but can't remember if it ever got put up anywhere.

And if documentation wasn't put up or her claims confirmed in other ways, I don't see it as appropriate to be used against Dehlin as if solid evidence.

I found the dearjohn blog decent most of the time I read it as it would use useful documentation (taking into account his very strong bias).  Otoh, there is stuff that went too far...but there is everywhere.

Edited by Calm
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Some observations RE: John Dehlin from from a biased observer——

I’ve listened to 10-15 of JD’s Mormon Stories. In these interviews he comes across as inarticulate and poorly informed.

There is also a barely concealed hatred on his part for the church/Gospel and a wish to see its demise; or if not its demise then a wish to see it become something like the RLDS.

And finally, I get a sense that he sees himself as some kind of pivotal/historical figure. He is on record saying that when he was a missionary he believed his destiny was to become a GA. And he has become a GA of sorts, a GA for the ex-Mormon community, one of its leading lights.

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.

Edited by bdouglas

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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.)

Edited by bdouglas

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Here is the post with donating writing quote:

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/71507-mormon-stories-trying-to-expand-its-market/?do=findComment&comment=1209883582

Iirc, it was said that there was editing and research left to do, so your friend may have been hired to polish them up.

FYI, given how many times I have read that Dehlin promised to compensate for work and did not as promised, he needs to get a contract signed.  I am not saying this is established beyond doubt or even 50/50 chance.

I would recommend it actually to anyone, but I consider it a necessity in this case based on past accusations....as I consider it a necessity in working with family because I have seen too much of differing expectations.

Edited by Calm

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40 minutes ago, Calm said:

Yep, I posted it earlier.  

Took me a few times to see it. The smaller font made it look like a signature.

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16 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I’ve listened to 10-15 of JD’s Mormon Stories. In these interviews he comes across as inarticulate and poorly informed.

I've only listened to one, but that was my impression as well.  It was an interview with Brant Gardner and I was struck by how little Dehlin seemed to know about the Book of Mormon.

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14 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Took me a few times to see it. The smaller font made it look like a signature.

Good to know, usually I switch to plain text to make it easier for me to read.  Now knowing it makes it less confusing, more motivated.

I don't have a quote function on my phone for some reason (plenty of room), so I couldn't box it up, which is my preference...and why I try not to use my phone for anything but reading.

Edited by Calm

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30 minutes 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.

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

Quote

As you will learn, the latest evidence coming out of social science is clear: Humans value being good members of their tribes much more than they value being correct, so much so that we will choose to be wrong if it keeps us in good standing with our peers.

 

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3 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Ha!  If I were responding to you, I would have worded it differently.  I'm speaking of truth in the sense here more about academic truths and not about pragmatic/religious truth in this context.  

Besides, you're missing my point.  Do you disagree with me that every party has a different perspective that they are promoting?  Do you disagree that some parties perspectives will be less accurate and more biased than others?  

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. ;)

 

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