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