Son of Tales from the Far Side of Reality


An actual photograph of a member of the Twelve gently suggesting that I cease slandering and libeling everybody


This is a sequel to an earlier entry here.


If you’re not interested, don’t read it.  I don’t blame you at all.  It’s really “inside-baseball,” and it’s really boring.  And more than a few have criticized me for my determination not to permit flat public falsehoods about me to go without public contradiction.  I’ve resolved to contradict them, though.


I’m not one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and, in the overall scheme of things, I’m at best a bit player.  Still, I’ve long been moved by, and have “resonated with,” Oliver Cowdery’s 23 March 1846 letter to Phineas Young.  In that letter, Cowdery explains why he has insisted, as part of the process of rejoining the Saints, on refuting falsely defamatory things that had been said about him following his apostasy from the Church, or, even better, on having them retracted:


I have cherished a hope, and that one of my fondest, that I might leave such a character as those who might believe in my testimony, after I shall be called hence, might do so, not only for the sake of the truth, but might not blush for the private character of the man who bore that testimony. I have been sensitive on this subject, I admit; but I ought to be so—you would be, under the circumstances, had you stood in the presence of John, with our departed brother Joseph, to receive the Lesser Priesthood—and in the presence of Peter, to receive the Greater, and look down through time, and witness the effects these two must produce.


My credibility matters to me, too.


Anyway, the implacably obsessive personal critic whose claims I denied in the previous entry has emitted a few more.  So here goes . . .


“He selectively denies certain things.”


Unless I’m mistaken, I denied every substantial claim.


“For instance, he seems to be trying to say here that his exit involved a refusal on his part to include “Mormon Studies” in the Review, but that’s not correct.”


I don’t believe that I’ve ever said such a thing.  If I ever did, which I doubt, it was inadvertent, because I’ve never thought any such thing.  I had, and have, no objection whatever to “Mormon studies.”  I regard “religious studies” as a valid approach.  I’ve said so in at least two published articles, and, in fact, I follow a “religious studies” model in my work on Islam.


“Instead, his “ousting” was a result of his and his classic-FARMS comrades’ refusal to remove the personal-attack-driven Mopologetics from the Review.”


Even ignoring the inflammatory and biased rhetoric about “personal-attack-driven Mopologetics,” this is fiction.  The only request that we ever received to remove something from the Review involved the not-yet-published review of John Dehlin’s work by Dr. Gregory Smith.  The director of the Maxwell Institute, who had never seen it, requested that I pull it, and I immediately agreed to do so.


“They insisted, intransigently, that they would never, ever knock off the sort of articles attacking people like John Dehlin and Laura Compton.”


Again, this is pure imagination.


“Look back at the original emails: it’s all there.”


I’ve just re-read my leaked email to the director of the Institute.  There is nothing there even remotely resembling an intransigent refusal to stop personally attacking anybody.  No such pseudo-issue is even raised.


“There’s a long passage from Peterson where he insists that he’ll never, ever stop with the attack-minded apologetics and that, in fact, several key “donors” were kicking in money precisely for that purpose.”


“Attack-minded apologetics” is a flagrantly question-begging mischaracterization.  But even if the inflammatory language is overlooked, no such insistence occurs in my letter.


“It’s always nice to get clarifications. Whereas we were told initially that there were “no conversations” and that there was “no prospectus,” it seems that, in fact, there *was* a meeting where the future of the Review was discussed:”


There was a four-hour-long meeting, a few days before my departure for the Middle East, in which the director and I spoke about his idea of a “new direction” for the Institute as a whole.  The meeting was not about the Review.  When the meeting was over, it was my understanding that the Institute would continue as it had been, but with the addition of a Mormon studies element.  I was fine with that, and the meeting ended entirely amicably.


It’s been claimed that there was a series of such meetings in which the director sought, in vain, to persuade me to mend my pernicious ways, endeavored to win me over to a less “vicious” style for the Review, or tried, without success, to persuade me of the virtues of his proposed “new direction” for the Institute as a whole.  It’s even been claimed that I routinely stood him up for such meetings, and refused to take his phone calls.  These claims are all false.  No such issues were ever raised in any meeting prior to the very last one, which I’ve described consistently every time I’ve mentioned it.  And that one, I thought, ended cordially, as our meetings always had.


“[Peterson said] that he . . . *would not* follow instructions. . . .  Dan himself has come out and said that it was essentially a case of “My way (and some of the donors’, I suppose, and perhaps Elder Maxwell), or the highway!”


I never said anything of the sort.  This is pure malevolent fiction.


I did, however, say that, if the Maxwell Institute were altogether to repudiate the approaches and purposes for which it had been founded and for which its donors had generously contributed, I would be obliged to resign as its Director of Advancement.  And that is, in fact, what I did.


Addendum from an evidently gullible reader of the above-cited fictions:  “Peterson himself confirmed he approached a friendly General Authority (Apostle IIRC) to get the decision overturned.”


No such thing ever happened.  I’ve never appealed to any General Authority to have the decision overturned.




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