Nearly two weeks ago, I posted a brief entry titled “The Odd Couple (Part One)” about my Malevolent Stalker and his wannabe sidekick, who plays Lefou to Stalker Sr.’s Gaston. Mini-Stalker, or Stalker Jr., rarely posts on any subject other than Daniel Peterson. Unlike Stalker Sr., though, whose approximately fifteen-year anonymous public crusade against me has manifested a certain weirdly determined and (to me, anyway) psychopathologically perverse talent, Stalker Jr.’s rather limited repertoire seems largely confined to manufacturing and publishing outright lies about me. He arrived on the scene several years after Stalker Sr. had launched his campaign, but his obsessive personal hatred is much more crudely overt, far less suave and ironic, than is Stalker Sr.’s. His lies and misrepresentations are designed to make me look absurd on the rare occasions when they don’t depict me as cruel and morally depraved.
For at least the past six years, I’ve been receiving personal emails from someone whose consuming hatred plainly needs more gratifying release than he can achieve by posting anonymous public attacks on me. Is this a separate case of Peterson Derangement Syndrome, inquiring minds might ask, or is it related to the Odd Couple? The answer is beyond reasonable dispute: For various reasons of theme, timing, and vocabulary, it’s undeniably clear that, whoever the person sending them may be, he is part of Gaston and Lefou’s circle.
His emails are typically short and coarse, occasionally more than a little opaque, often obscene, and invariably insulting. Very, very odd. They come under various pseudonyms and by various circuitous routes, and I don’t know who is behind them. Perhaps, if it’s ever advisable, law enforcement authorities will know how to figure it out.
But they’re all unmistakably from the same person. And, if I were compelled to guess, I would place my bet on the Mini-Stalker. This is subjective, of course, but, to me, they feel like his work. They steam with the same animus.
Characteristically, these emissions are limited to roughly one daily. (Occasionally, several days will pass without any at all.) Sometimes, though, for whatever reason, the sender’s productivity will rise. Today, for example, he’s carefully crafted not one but two such works:
how to vacation with cult tour dude denial c. pasterson…. use a walker.
cult road show with pasterson-smeldrum…cult hand signals past and present…pantomimed in cult magic underwear…disregard pasterson shill dirty ass…dude been eatin nacho cheese…gobble gobble
He hit a double yesterday, too:
wow liyin [sic] bloated shill at his trough…
cult pyramid scheme
Perhaps this is how the spirit of Christmas manifests itself in his life. Fortunately, the language over his past two workdays has been quite clean.
His highest recent creative spike, however, came on 28 November, when he managed to produce not one, not two, but fully three of his characteristic communications in a single day. Two of them cannot be quoted on a family-oriented blog such as this. However, the third one cited an email that I wrote from Jerusalem back in June 2012 to the then director of the Maxwell Institute, after receiving his note dismissing me as (founding) editor of the Institute’s principal journal and announcing an enormous unilaterally-chosen change in direction for the Institute.
My email to the director was leaked shortly thereafter and has since been read by Gaston and Lefou and by a few others among Stalker Sr.’s small circle of followers as damning proof that, notwithstanding my denials, I’ve pocketed great gobs of cash from my efforts to defend the claims of the Restoration—that, in other words, I’ve been paid, and paid well, for apologetics. (For a while, at least, they tried to claim that my recent lecture visit to Australia was funded by gullible and unsuspecting donors to the Interpreter Foundation, which, in fact, laid out not a single cent, neither American nor Australian, for that trip.)
I’ll deny it yet again: I’ve never received a single nickel of salary for apologetics. Neither the Church nor the University has ever paid me to do apologetics.
That’s as clearly said as I know how to say it.
In my leaked email, I referred to the fee that I was paid (not for most of its existence, but in its last few years) for editing individual issues of the FARMS Review. The fee was either $1000 or $500. I can’t recall which. And it was paid for the work of planning each issue, selecting the books to be reviewed, choosing and recruiting reviewers, carefully examining and then either approving or rejecting submitted non-review articles, suggesting emendations and modifications, doing the final read and copy edit on the entire contents of each book-length issue, and so forth. All of the work was editorial in nature. None of it was apologetic in nature. I didn’t make a single dime more whether I myself had an article in any given issue or not. Like any other reviewer, I would receive a free copy of the book to be reviewed and, when my review appeared, I received a free copy of the journal. Nothing more. (And, not infrequently, the book that I was given for review was a book that I ended up not liking and didn’t want.)
I also mentioned the supplemental amount that I received, on top of my regular salary, as a director of the Maxwell Institute. This revolved, by that time, principally around my role as the head of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (METI), an entirely non-apologetic project. Such supplemental payments—quite small, I’m told, by the standards of many academic institutions—are paid at BYU for temporary and out-of-the-ordinary administrative responsibilities, such as those of deans, department chairs, and directors of institutes. They were never paid to me for writing apologetics or giving firesides or anything of that sort. They were paid to me for my involvement in seemingly endless administrative and financial meetings, negotiations, and so forth, on behalf of an organization that was involved in a whole spectrum of efforts, many of them not “Mormon”-related and a large percentage of which had no connection at all to apologetics (e.g., work on digitizing the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Maya murals at Bonampak, multispectral imaging in Italy and Jordan and at the Vatican, publication of medieval Jewish medical texts and classical Islamic philosophical texts, and etc., and etc.. These were obligations that substantially interfered with my own personal academic work during those years. Certain other people at the Institute (and many administrators elsewhere on campus) received exactly the same small supplemental payment without ever penning a single line of apologetics or uttering a single word in defense of the claims of the Restoration, and continue to do so.
My Malevolent Stalker has also claimed for years that I was paid $20,000 annually for the several years that I served as chairman of the board of the old Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), during a time of unusually demanding duties in that role, when FARMS, originally established as an independent non-profit organization, was coming under the aegis of Brigham Young University.
I’ve repeatedly denied his claim. I did receive a supplemental director’s fee, slightly larger than I received when I was no longer chairman, but it was never anywhere near $20K. Nor, for that matter, anywhere near $10K. Nor even half that.
The Stalker apparently based this accusation on a misreading of some Internal Revenue Service documents. Candidly, I’m neither an accountant nor a tax lawyer, and I would rather submit to a root canal than spend more seconds than absolutely necessary on anything connected with the IRS, so I’m not sure how he arrived at his figure of $20K. As I recall, there were some people at the time—not friends of mine and not friends of the Church—who told him that he was misreading his sources, but he has persisted in his claim. He likes it because he pretends, at least, to regard it as proof that I’m dishonest.
But the claim is false. As it always has been.
I respond to such claims as this because, if accepted as true, they would entail false conclusions about my character. So I won’t permit them to be entered into the public record without a public denial on my part.
I preserve the bizarre emails from my obsessive anonymous correspondent because I find them psychologically intriguing. They don’t hurt my feelings. (I’m sure that that saddens him.) I simply regard them as deeply odd.
But the hostility on this fellow’s part is so curiously intense, and has been so persistent over at least six years, that I want them publicly known. If I ever meet a violent or suspicious end—I’m not terribly concerned about this, but it does sometimes flit across my mind—I would want investigators to consider him a prime suspect. Normal people don’t do things like this day in, day out, year after year after year.
Postscript: He’s just written me again, so he’s now equalled his recent 28 November performance:
And the day is young! He may yet swing for the fences.