TIMELINE OF THE CHALLENGE TO MY MEMBERSHIP, 2016.
13th April 2016, an email received from my Stake President:
Hi Chris – I hope you are well. I tried to call you today but was not able to get a response or leave a message. I would very much like to meet with you to discuss your Church membership. I know I have made this request on two previous occasions and you have declined, but would welcome the opportunity to meet in the near future. I am flexible on dates but would like to suggest we meet at the Yeovil chapel. I hope that you will be able to look favourably on this request and am happy to speak by phone to arrange a time if preferred. I look forward to hearing from you. With best wishes, J***
18th April 2016, my emailed response:
Thank you for your recent email and your good wishes. I genuinely appreciate them, and in turn send mine to you. I would also like to assure you that there has been nothing at all personal in my previous non-acceptance of your invitations to meet.
I notice that although you did not respond to my email of 3rd October last year, in which I set out my thoughts, you are now repeating your original request. Again I must ask therefore, with what objective in mind? Has anything changed in your understanding of the various issues since we last met? If, (hypothetically speaking), we were to meet again, what do you consider would be a mutually helpful agenda, and to whom would you afterwards report the outcomes?
I look forward to your response.
With best wishes,
19th April 2016, my SP’s response:
Hi Chris – thank you for responding to my email & thank you for you good wishes.
I understand that you feel little has changed since my communication in October. However, as I expressed in my last email, I am concerned as the Stake President about your continued private and public concerns about the Church, its teachings and beliefs and wish to discuss your views and Church membership with you in the near future.
I am away later in the week until next Wednesday, but if you are available, could meet with you during the day on Thursday and Friday next week at the Yeovil Chapel at a time that is convenient for you.
I hope it will be possible for you to respond positively to this request.
With best wishes
25th April 2016, my response:
Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to your last email of 19th April. I wanted to consult with various family members before doing so.
You have answered my first question about your objective in us meeting again, citing your concern about my concerns, and your wish to discuss my views and my membership. That is fair enough, although I must remind you of the brief discussion we had last 15th May at East Stour when I explained that as long as the dialogue would be honest and open it would be potentially worthwhile, adding that I didn’t want to put you in a difficult position by discussing subjects you didn’t wish to explore, and nor would I be prepared to meet just in order to tick boxes.
My second question, asking whether anything had changed in your understanding since we last met in 2012, we can probably treat as rhetorical at this point, as long as you are able to embrace my request for honesty and openness. Personally, I have only ever been interested in identifying truth, and in following wherever that leads, even though the resulting faith journey might prove uncomfortable. Reality is all that matters to me. If we are to proceed, I would welcome your prior assurance that you are of a like mind. Anything less, frankly, would render the exercise a waste of time for us both.
I notice that you didn’t answer the final question of my previous email, in which I asked to whom you would be reporting the outcomes of a meeting. I would still welcome an answer to that please. I think it is reasonable to ask for example whether you anticipate reporting “up the line” as well as to various officers of the Poole Stake and Yeovil Ward. I have been transparent with you in previously informing you that the content of any “official” meeting we have, (i.e. in which you as Stake President interview me as a member), will at some point be made public.
I also asked what would be a helpful agenda for such a meeting. I would be content to refer back, (in the hope that you could now offer some answers), to the shortlist of troublesome items I mentioned in my email last 3rd October, viz:
- DNA evidence which counters the fundamental claim of the Book of Mormon that native Americans originated from the Palestine region within the last three millennia;
- Joseph’s Smith completely incorrect “translation” of a 1st Century Egyptian pagan funerary text into the compilation now known as The Book of Abraham, which of course was subsequently canonized as scripture;
- Instances of textual errors once uniquely found in the 1769 edition of the KJV of the Bible, (which Joseph Smith regularly used), but which are also found now in the text of the Book of Mormon;
- Joseph Smith’s well documented sexual transactions in the name of God with other men’s wives, and under-age girls at Nauvoo.
Are these items acceptable to you for discussion? Maybe you could table some questions or discussion points you would additionally like to raise with me, in order that I might come prepared with some possible answers for you.
As for a date, I am sorry that this week would prove virtually impossible, as we are presently heavily committed on a number of fronts. A Tuesday would normally be the best for me, (any time between 10am and about 2.30pm), if that also suited you. Provisionally I could make 10th or 17th May. Otherwise we would need to rearrange if you wish to proceed.
I look forward to your response.
3rd May 2016, a letter written by the SP:
16th May 2016, my emailed response:
2nd June 2016, I commenced my online diary:
To leave or not to leave?
An introduction to my online diary:
21st June 2016, the text of my lengthy letter responding to the SP:
22nd June 2016: An update… Brexit from Europe; Chrexit from Mormonism: How will Britain and Chris vote?
21st August 2016: A letter received from the Stake President:
16th September 2016: My response, stating I do not intend to resign at this point.