Flatly Not True


I understand that there are several people out there in the ether (I’m betting, from long experience, that they’re anonymous, though I haven’t seen their statements at first hand)  claiming to have read the now notorious paper about the work of John Dehlin that the late Mormon Studies Review was instructed not to run, and claiming, further, that it attempts to tie John Dehlin to a missionary’s death in Central America, or, even, to the deaths of several missionaries there.


These people have not read the paper.  Or, if they did, they are lying about what they saw.


Such a story does not appear in the paper.  It has never appeared in the paper.  In no version of the paper has it ever appeared.


(Can I be any more clear?)


I know something about the matter of the missionary death.  I think, in the various tellings of our villainy, that what one person (not the author of the paper) allegedly said about it has become seriously distorted, and made to look far worse and more incendiary than it ever was.


In any case, though, that matter was never discussed in the paper that we contemplated publishing.  The story was not, so far as I recall, even mentioned.  There was absolutely no attempt whatsoever to blame John Dehlin for anybody’s death, missionary or non-missionary.


A narrative has been woven about me long since, in certain circles, portraying me as a virtual monster of extreme, violent, mean-spirited, heartless, unscrupulous, take-no-prisoners polemics.  This portrayal is, and always has been, false.  And I won’t stand silently by while this latest bogus example of unethical viciousness is attached to my legend.


I can’t help but wonder, now, whether the anonymous General Authority who apparently asked President Samuelson to tell Jerry Bradford to tell me not to publish the paper had been told that we were going to accuse John Dehlin of murder or manslaughter or something of that sort.  I have no reason to believe that any General Authority has read the paper, or that President Samuelson has, and I know (because I asked him) that, at least as of three weeks ago when I last met with him, Jerry Bradford had not.  I’ll probably never know.  But that would help to account for a part of this rather mysterious drama.


Maria Alm, Austria


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  • Tom O.

    This may be the most famous LDS-themed paper never published. I trust that it will eventually be available for general consumption.

  • http://truthshineth Janet Wright

    Dear Brother Peterson,
    I have long been impressed by your scholarship, your down to earth and interesting speaking style, and your love for the Church. I just wanted to express my thanks and support.

  • https://mormonscriptureexplorations.wordpress.com/ Bill Hamblin

    I’ve read Smith’s paper. It meantions nothing about this incident. Indeed, I have no idea what the incident even is.

  • https://mormonscriptureexplorations.wordpress.com/ Bill Hamblin

    Greg Smith gave me permission to post the following statement:

    To whom it may concern:

    Over the last several days, I’ve had many people tell me that sources (always anonymous) are telling them that a draft of my review of Mormon Stories contained reference to the death of missionaries in John Dehlin’s mission, with attempts to tie Dehlin to these deaths.

    These claims are absolutely false.

    I have never so much as mentioned this issue. I know nothing about it, and wouldn’t regard it as germane anyway.

    No draft has said anything about such a matter. The only mention of Dehlin’s mission in the Mormon Stories review is a citation of Dehlin’s remark about how Guatemalans on his mission believed they were Lamanites. I also cite the Missionary Guide–which is a reference work from the era of Dehlin’s (and my) mission–on a doctrinal point.

    The review only cites Mormon Stories material in the public record, in either print or recorded form. I have copies of all citations.

    Anonymous informants are very useful in the spread of slander or gossip, because they don’t have to back up their claims. Even if I provided every draft for analysis, they could simply claim I’ve removed it.

    But, these claims are lies, and anyone who believes them is going to be misled. I would invite anyone making such a claim to do so publicly, and present their evidence.

    The burden of proof is on the claimant, not upon me to “disprove” such an absurd accusation.

  • Somebodyz

    John Dehlin posted this on another board: “5) After my panel discussion at UVU, Lou Midgley came up and verbally assaulted me (that’s how it felt to me, anyway) — threatening me and attempting to tie me to the death of a missionary on my mission (Brian Bartholomew), and trying to tie me to Grant Palmer back in 1992 (one of the most bizarre accusations I’ve ever heard, since it was another decade before I even learned his name). People took pictures and video of the affair (which I have)….which was pretty funny. The interaction, of course, was not funny. Not at all. It was deeply disturbing to me.”

    Perhaps the gossip grapevine, mixed this statement up, with the piece about Dehlin…either by mistake or on purpose.

  • Greg W

    Thank you for writing this. I had no idea the rumors regarding this mysterious unpublished manuscript had gotten so far out of hand!