Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Does Grant Palmer Really Claim to Have Rescued a Mormon General Authority Away from the LDS Faith?

There's a remarkable story circulating the Net in which a prominent LDS General Authority allegedly lost his faith due to the teachings of Grant Palmer, the controversial ex-Mormon author who was teaching seminary for years while secretly circulating some highly implausible theories of plagiarism of the Book of Mormon. This General Authority has come to Palmer with the statement, "We are here to learn" and continues to learn the ways of anti-Mormon truth in his regular meetings with Palmer as his guide. This General Authority allegedly has said that all of the Apostles and many other leaders know that the Church is not true but just don't have the courage to do the right thing (like, oh, keeping their Church job for years while sharing anti-Mormon materials with others).

You can read the story in several places such as The Free Republic or on the anonymous blog that first leaked it. Here are some excerpts:
In mid-October 2012, a returned LDS Mission President contacted me to arrange a meeting. Several days later, he called again and said that a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy also wished to attend. He said the General Authority would attend on condition that I not name him or repeat any stories that would identify him. He explained that neither of them, including the GA’s wife, believed the founding claims of the restoration were true. He clarified that they had read my book, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, and had concluded that the LDS Church was not true; was not what it claimed to be.... 
We have at this writing met three times. We first met on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 and again February 14, 2013 at my house. On March 26, 2013 we convened at the GAs house. Upon entering my home for the first meeting the GA said, “We are here to learn.” I recognized him. He has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for a number of years. He has served in several high profile assignments during this period. The following are the more important statements made by the GA during our first three meetings. We now meet monthly.... 
He said that it takes about two to three years before the new apostle discovers that the church is not true. He said it took Dieter F. Uchtdorf a little longer because he was an outsider. He said they privately talk among themselves and know the foundational claims of the restoration are not true, but continue on boldly “because the people need it,” meaning the people need the church. When the Mission President voiced skepticism and named ___ as one who surely did believe, The GA said: “No, he doesn’t.” ... 
When I asked the GA how he knew these things, he answered by saying that the Quorum of the Twelve today is more isolated from the Quorums of the Seventies now because there are several of them. When only one Quorum of the Seventy existed, there was more intimacy. During his one on one assignments with an apostle, conversations were more familiar. He said that none of the apostles ever said to him directly that they did not believe; but that it was his opinion based on “my interactions with them.” Also, that none of the Twelve want to discuss “truth issues,” meaning issues regarding the foundational claims of the church.  
The GA stated that my disciplinary action (which would have occurred on the final Sunday of October 2010 had I not resigned), was mandated/ordered/approved by the First Presidency of the Church. I said that if the apostles know the church is not true and yet order a disciplinary hearing for my writing a book that is almost certainly true regarding the foundational claims of the church, then they are corrupt even evil. He replied, “That’s right!” 
The GA said the church is like a weakened dam. At first you don’t see cracks on the face; nevertheless, things are happening behind the scenes. Eventually, small cracks appear, and then the dam will “explode.” When it does, he said, the members are going to be “shocked” and will need scholars/historians like me to educate them regarding the Mormon past. 
The Mission President and the GA both said they attend church every Sunday and feel like “a hypocrite and trapped.” The GA said his ward treats him like a king and when he gives firesides and speaks to LDS congregations they have high expectations of him. He would like to do more in getting the truth out besides raising a few questions when speaking and gifting my book to others when feeling comfortable. Perhaps this is why he has reached out to me. The GA is a man of integrity and very loving. Upon leaving each time, he always gives me a big hug.
Well, he had me until the part about the hug.

OK, a few other parts raise some doubts as well. But first. let me affirm that it's possible for General Authorities and any other Latter-day Saint to have doubts. Perhaps not as extreme as the doubts revealed when Peter, the Chief Apostle, denied Christ three times, but as long as we're in mortality, we'll only have part of the picture and limited knowledge with many rough spots that can become source of irritating questions and doubts. Some leaders have abandoned their membership in the past. We can accept that and should be prepared to occasionally encounter more of it in the future.

But I marvel at the audacity of the claim that all the Apostles soon learn that the Church is bogus. Except poor Dieter, it took him longer because he was an outsider. An analytical German with his brains, free from the cultural blinders and influences of insider Mormon culture, ought to be one of the first to spot problems if it were all a fraud. If Grant Palmer really wrote this, and people are saying that he has confirmed it's from him, then this allegation reminds me of just how much a stretch it was, in my opinion, when Palmer, in promoting his book, styled himself as a prominent "insider" of Mormonism. 

Who could think that Bruce R. McConkie's moving final testimony could be delivered, virtually on his deathbed, with such power and conviction by someone who thought it was all bunk and was just going through the motions to hold onto his wealth and fame? When I was 16 years old, I had a brief encounter with Apostle Ezra Taft Benson when I was a youth speaker at our Stake Conference where he was speaking and presiding. I cannot forget the spirit and faith in his heart and eyes when he looked into my soul as he shook my hand and spoke a few words to me. I have no doubt that he truly and passionately believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As one gets closer to the leaders of the Church, and to those who know them well, it's hard to miss the depth and power of their personal testimonies. There are obviously plenty of things they don't know and surely must be areas of uncertainty and doubt, but who can seriously claim that they are willing to discuss "truth issues" (anyone heard Elders Holland or Oaks speak in the past few years?) or suggest that those who rub shoulders with them can see that they all know it's not true?

The story in question claims that the General Authority, who now looks to Palmer and his book for truth and hope for the rest of the Church, is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and was before the other quorums were added. This raises some questions that others have pointed out.  Wikipedia's list of LDS General Authorities helps us check who is serving in the Quorums of the Seventy and when they were set apart as General Authorities. 

For starters, here is a helpful comment offered on one of my posts where a critic cited Palmer's story:
Grant Palmer is blowing smoke. He talks about a current member of the First Quorum of Seventy (FQS) who was familiar with how things worked when there was only one quorum of seventy. Number of current members of the FQS who were members when there was only one quorum: 0

Based on Palmer's memorandum, certainly this mysterious GA would have been a GA before the area seventy quorums were called in April 1995, right? FQS members called before April 1995:

Carlos Amado (based in Central America)
Claudio Costa (based in Brazil)
John Dickson (based in West Africa)

So which of these three GAs, based in far flung corners of the world, is meeting with Palmer on a monthly basis? And that's before we even get to how on earth this GA would be able to discern it takes 2-3 years for a new apostle to discover the church is not true, but it took DFU a bit longer. It would be hilarious if he wasn't serious. 

Let's explore these claims. A good historical resource here is Wikipedia's article on the LDS concept of the Seventy:
Second Quorum of the Seventy formed 
In 1984, some seventies were appointed to the First Quorum of the Seventy who were not to serve for life, but for terms of several years. In 1989, these limited-term members were separated into a new Second Quorum of the Seventy. At the same time, the general practice was instituted of retiring all members of the First Quorum at the October general conference following their 70th birthdays, or earlier in the case of serious health problems. Some flexibility on the terms of service has emerged in recent years. 
Since 1989, members of the First and Second Quorums have continued as general authorities of the church. Sometimes members are called from the Second Quorum into the First Quorum. 
Since the 1976 merger of First Quorum of the Seventy, seventies are the most usual candidates to become members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Since 1976, three have been called as apostles who did not serve as general authority seventies prior to their call, including Russell M. NelsonDallin H. Oaks, and David A. Bednar,[12]Nelson and Oaks were ordained apostles in 1984 under church president Spencer W. Kimball, and Bednar in 2004 under church president Gordon B. Hinckley.
Area seventies and additional quorums of seventy 
At the April 1995 general conference of the church, church president Gordon B. Hinckley announced the creation of a new leadership position known as the area authority.[13] The area authorities were to replace the regional representatives who had served as bridge of leadership between the general authorities and the local stakeand mission presidents. In 1997, it was decided that area authorities would be ordained to the office of seventy. As a result, these area authorities were renamed area authority seventies, and the church announced that these new seventies would become members of the newly-created Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy.[14] Later, the title "area authority seventy" was shortened to area seventy, which is the title currently in use. 
Area seventies serve in the various geographic regions of the world called areas in which the church is governed by area presidencies. An international area presidency is typically composed of members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, while areas in the United States and Canada are directed by a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.[15]In 2004, the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy was divided to create the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy.[16]
So who is this mysterious General Authority who looks to a better Mormon future thanks to Palmer and his book (or rather, millions of copies of that soon-to-be best seller)? He had to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy back in the good ol' days when life wasn't so complicated with all those other quorums. 1989 is the key date, for that is when the Second Quorum was formed. So we just have to look at the list of current First Quorum members and eliminate all those who were ordained after roughly 1989, inclusive. Let's see, that leaves, well, not exactly anybody. Nobody. So that's looking like a problem. OK, I'm still going to give bonus points for very nice specific dates given for the meetings with the General Authority. That adds a nice granular feel of reality to the story. But the part about the good ol' days of the First Quorum apparently adds a little too much granularity that can be checked to rule out--sigh--every candidate. That's a step backward for the credibility of this story that so many are anxious to believe. But don't give up yet.

Perhaps the wording was off in the story as published or in the words used by the General Authority. Let's take that statement, "When only one Quorum of the Seventy existed, there was more intimacy" and generously reconstruct it this way: "When only a couple of Quorums of the Seventy existed, before life got so hectic with all those other quorums, there was more intimacy." Then the critical date is April 1995, and yes, there are actual candidates in the First Quorum who were sustained before then and could conceivably be meeting monthly with guru Grant Palmer.

Here are the candidates:
One commenter elsewhere suggested that Jay E. Jensen could be a candidate, probably because he had been in the First Quourum of the Seventy and was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy when he was given emeritus status in October 2012. But as Wikipedia's article on Jay E. Jensen explains, he was was "called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1992 and transferred to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1995." That was after the other quorums were added so he would not have been reminiscing about his early intimate days in the First Quorum.

An apparent problem with these candidates is that they have been living and serving far away from Palmer's territory of Utah. Carlos Amado is from Guatemala and has served and lived in various parts of Latin America. He was assigned as a counselor in the church's Central America Area in 2011. Not likely to have been meeting with Grant Palmer in Salt Lake, nor to have invited Grant to his home (where, in Guatemala?). Claudio Costa was in the Idaho area for a while, but since 2011 has been assigned to Brazil. Not likely to have been having regular meetings recently with Palmer as his spiritual advisor in 2012.

So that leaves is with John B. Dickinson. I hope it's not him. If it is, there are some curious details to consider. John is in the First Quorum now, but when he became a General Authority in 1992, he was called to the Second Quorum (same for the other two candidates considered here). It wasn't until 1995 that he transferred to the First Quorum, and that's when the other quorums were added, so it really doesn't fit the story. Plus he's been assigned to the Africa West Area since 2011. Seems hard to square his facts with the Palmer story.

The story from Palmer seems to imply an old-timer First Quorum member (not Second Quorum member who recently transferred to the First Quorum) who has a home in the Salt Lake City area and spends enough time there to meet several times with Palmer in 2012. Even if we generously reconstruct the story to cushion it with a few extra years after the time when the Second Quorum was added, I really don't see that anybody in the current First Quorum could fit the very few details provided by Palmer. Even if we had scores of candidates to choose from, there are problems that could cause us to doubt its accuracy, but if we can't even find a single candidate even with generous interpretations being applied, it would seem to raise legitimate grounds for putting this story on hold as potentially unreliable, pending further clarification. Grant, care to clarify? Give us a few clues? Am I missing something big and simple? Perhaps the next revision will make it more clear.

It is possible that some General Authority out there really is having testimony trouble and thinks  Palmer and his book with its salamander-flavored Golden Pot tale offer unique insights into Mormonism that every Mormon should be taught one day. On the other hand, it's also possible that the account, with no plausible candidate so far, is a tad delusional. A mean-spirited Mormon apologist might see a self-serving aspect to the story, with Palmer playing too grand a role and his questionable book being too powerful and important, all a potential red flag. I'd be more inclined to accept it if the story were promoting some other random book written by another insider to Mormonism such as, say, Conquering Innovation Fatigue. Hey, why not? That could shake a General Authority's testimony as well as anything. Why, just the depressing chapter alone on Mormon inventor Philo Farnsworth could do the trick. No need to wait until the dam of truth bursts, either. But that's another story.

Accurate or not, this story apparently from Palmer will increase publicity for his book and its claims. Here are some resources for you to better understand what Palmer has been up to:
  • "Asked and Answered: A Response to Grant H. Palmer" by James B. Allen, FARMS Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 235-85. This is an excellent review of Palmer and also a good overview of many basic anti-Mormon criticisms of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. Also points out some glaring deficiencies in Palmer's approach.
  • "Prying into Palmer" by Louis Midgley, FARMS Review, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 365-410. Important revelations about Palmer's early work, and his fascination with the salamander-related documents from Mark Hoffman that were later exposed as forgeries. An interesting study in cognitive dissonance, perhaps, with an amphibian twist.
  • "A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” (with a Few Comments of My Own)" by George E. Cobabe. Valuable information about Palmer's (or his publisher's) claims to being a special insider and good background material to understand what Palmer is doing with his approach.
Dig into those background stories and then do some thinking about this new story and the red flags it raises. Do you really think it's plausible? I know a lot of people really want to believe it and love to share this kind of salacious stuff, but we may be dealing with something that is not quite as "truthy" as you may wish. We may soon have a clarification regarding some of the trouble spots that could somehow enhance its plausibility (maybe we'll be told that it's not actually a member of the current First Quorum after all, but an Emeritus General Authority, for example, which could add some potential candidates).

If Palmer clarifies the story to correct some trouble spots, perhaps he will also clarify my doubts about the Dieter Uchtdorf statement and its chronology. That little statement how Dieter took longer is the kind of cutesy touch that is great for marketing the story (as is the mysterious failure to name the specific non-believing Apostle listed as "_____", allowing it to apply to whomever we wish), but the more I think about it, the more problematic it seems. This apostate General Authority learned about the loss of faith of the Apostles during the halcyon days of intimate time with the Apostles before all those other Quorums of the Seventy were formed, which should be before 1989 if we take the text as is or should at least be before April 1995 if we generously redact the text, as done above. The problem is that Dieter Uchtdorf became an Apostle (sustained and ordained) in October 2004. And instead of losing his testimony in the usual 2-3 year period, it took "a little longer," which should mean 4 years or so, right? So knowledge of how Dieter Uchtdorf finally lost his testimony would not have been available for rumors among the Brethren until 2008 or so, well over a decade after the era in which our renegade brother had easy access to the guarded, implicit information from his close association with Apostles that helped him ascertain the reality of Apostles in secret apostasy. How did he gain this information? If Palmer later revises the story to make the General Authority a current Emeritus, former First Quorum member, I would encourage him for enhanced plausibility to consider that there should be at least one Emeritus candidate who was still active in the First Quorum through 2009 before being given Emeritus status. Indeed, a reasonably plausible Emeritus candidate should have been ordained to the First Quorum of the Seventy before April 1989 and remained active in it through late 2008 or 2009 to. You can quickly look for candidates by scanning the neatly organized data for Emeritus General Authorities on the relevant Wikipedia page. Two possibilities arise that I can see: Charles Didier and Yoshihiko Kikuchi. One from France, another from Japan. Does either continue to live in Salt Lake? I don't know--can any of you tell me? And is either of these men a hugger?

For someone taking pains to protect the anonymity of the apostate General Authority, Palmer gives details which seem difficult to square with any candidate, though perhaps we can loosen the restrictions to get a couple of Emeritus gentlemen in as candidates. But any candidate needs to live in Utah and to have been at Palmer's Utah home "on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 and again February 14, 2013" and then at his own house--not an apartment--on March 26, 2013, where Palmer came to visit. These are specific details, even one very recent detail, that friends, family, and neighbors may be able to confirm or falsify for any of our small (vanishingly small?) pool of candidates.  The renegade General Authority, whose identity needs to be protected, also has a non-believing wife who is also a fan of Palmer's book, and the General Authority has been giving Palmer's book out as a gift, presumably to more than just the Mission President it helped convert away from Mormonism. These are details that are hard to hide and should make it easy to either pinpoint the General Authority ("hey, thanks, Grant, for protecting my identity so well!") or, more likely, ask difficult questions for which no answers may come.  No, I am not trying to "out" the General Authority because I suspect there is no one to out. 

Maybe we'll get a revision that makes the story more plausible, or perhaps another little dam may burst as other aspects of this story buckle under the stress of investigation. But I suspect the story will live on in its current form, regardless of its problems, hugs and all, with many devout nonbelievers scoring it as important evidence for their preconceived notions about the Church. For those looking for truth, though, I hope they might recognize this story as part of a large body of accusations that are often not quite accurate, not quite fair, or sometimes not even close to true.

If, after suitable revisions to this story, it becomes more plausible and it turns out that there really is an apostate General Authority meeting with Palmer, saying unkind things about the Apostles and the Church, and passing out copies of Palmer's book to mission presidents and others, then I'll be disappointed. As I said before, there are more interesting books to be giving out.

Update, April 15, 2013: 
One of my readers has observed that one of three specific days mentioned by Palmer is Feb. 14, 2013, Valentine's Day. He wondered if it makes sense that a married General Authority would go visit Grant Palmer then instead of going on a date. Not a big concern. Perhaps the meeting was just during the day, with plenty of time for a romantic date later. But the decision to mention the specific dates for three meetings with the General Authority raises some questions. Why do this when you are supposedly trying to protect a person's identity? In business, personal, and religious contexts, I've been in the situation of being allowed to share a little information from someone who wanted their identify protected, and know how important it is to consider and preferably get approval for specific details that might be interesting or helpful but could also be used to pinpoint the person. Knowing where an anonymous person was on specific dates can be used to screen possibilities and should be considered sensitive. The specific dates are great for the story, great for a sense of reality, but give away too much. Here, it should be easy for people in the Church to see which General Authorities were in town on those days and which were away on business. Just call a few admins or check with the travel office and find out who was in town on those dates, or see if anybody in a pool of candidates was in town. Those specific dates by themselves probably greatly narrow the list down to very few--or again, perhaps nobody. General Authorities are often outside of Salt Lake and there might not be any member of the First Quorum who was in town all three days.

In spite of these problems, I am inclined to believe that if Grant Palmer really wrote this (I have an independent source claiming that there is good evidence it's from Grant), then there must be something behind it. Like most critics, the arguments he has raised against the Church in the past all have something behind them, even when it's really far-fetched like the whole Golden Pot "parallels" to the Book of Mormon. I can't imagine it just being entirely concocted--that would be too foolish and harmful. So I suppose there must be some person who is talking to Grant who is either a General Authority or very close to a General Authority, or at least looks and sounds a lot like a General Authority. Or maybe it's Elder Ken Jennings, perhaps the most famous Mormon general authority of all, or rather, a true authority in general, able to score big in almost every category known to Jeopardy. Please don't tell me he's the one!

Seriously, though, there may be explanations and fixes for the seemingly problematic details in the story (apart from the really silly notion that all Apostles learn while serving that the Church is bogus). But I can imagine someone passing this bogus information onto Grant. The problems that seem to rule out all or most potential candidates may be because of inaccurate writing, poor memory, typographical errors, exaggeration or even fibs from the person being interviewed, errant assumptions on my part, flaws in the data I'm using, or other missing details that would reveal how I'm misinterpreting or abusing the statement or at least what should be in the statement. So I'm curious. What's the real scoop? Grant, or friends and supporters of Grant, can you answer any of these questions or give us further information? Perhaps even a clue could help (e.g., "last name rhymes with a Lithuanian dessert"). It looks like there are some real problems, but, as someone once said, "We are here to learn."


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Interesting article Jeff. I must say that just because a man may hold the position of General Authority or Apostle, doesn't make him any less vulnerable to temptation than any other church member. Perhaps the devil would even work harder against those in more recognisable positions. Earlier in their lives, they were just normal members of the church like you and me. This is only a big story because of the calling they carry.

Also, we know that apostasy and loss of testimony has happened in the past and will continue to happen as a result of the devil's temptations. But we can rest assured that such individuals falling away doesn't make the organistaion false.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, when are you going to admit that you've lost your testimony?

Jeff Lindsay said...

Soon as my million dollar gift for being a Mormon blogger runs out. Or is that a billion dollar gift? Since it's all so hush hush, even I don't know about it. I'll have to check with Grant's sources on that.

Dave said...

Yeah, the whole account seems a little overblown and tailored for the gullible subset of the LDS audience. I'm thinking one of the Three Nephites will come to the next meeting (to confess his doubts, perhaps), then an angelic messenger at the next one to reveal the location of a nearby silver mine in the hills, or perhaps the business plan for a new multi-level marketing operation.

Jared said...

I hope we never lose a GA to the camp of those struggling with the unvarnished history of the church.

Heber C Kimball's prophecy both warns and give the solution to this modern day trial. I personally believe we will see more, and more members swept up in this purging, including leaders at all levels.

We can't live on borrowed light!

Anonymous said...

I think you could also look at Craig Zwick and Bruce Porter.

Joseph Smidt said...

"Soon as my million dollar gift for being a Mormon blogger runs out."

Isn't that the truth. To think men who made the salaries these people must have could be bought for $1 million is absurd. (IE... university president, airline executive, heart surgeon...)

Nice analysis like always.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe for a moment what he says about the apostles.

It is possible, though, that some details of the story may be true—maybe a member of the seventy really is meeting with him, but asked that some details of his position and history be altered so as to make it impossible for the Church to identify him

Anonymous said...

Yeah, details might be altered because in some ways they don't make good sense.

In particular this does not make sense: When I asked the GA how he knew these things, he answered by saying that the Quorum of the Twelve today is more isolated from the Quorums of the Seventies now because there are several of them. When only one Quorum of the Seventy existed, there was more intimacy. During his one on one assignments with an apostle, conversations were more familiar."

The ONLY way that makes sense is if the GA has been essentially apostate for 20 years or more. But still - how would he know details about Dieter Uchtdorf then?

Unknown said...

Jeff - thank you for a great response to the silly Palmer claim. I was a little surprised about your observation about the hug - I have seen General Authorities hug quite a bit. I do hope hugging is not an indication of testimony troubles in your epistemological schema.

maclouie said...

Palmer's story sounds like more "he said, she said" stuff. Since no one has volunteered to be a witness then this is just revisionist history, recent history, that is, and no doubt revised, ie completely untrue. All the study I have done has shown anti stories are based on one or less witnesses while the restoration is based on two or more witnesses.

Mickelle said...

Is this really all that different from John Delin's claim about being protected by a member of the twelve when FARMS wanted to publish a piece on him?

Sounds kinda similar to me.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Regarding the hugs, maybe I've been living in China too long. Tongue-in-cheek comment, of course, but it's true that different cultures have different views on hugging. I don't expect all General Authorities to naturally hug a visitor, even if it's an author of a book they really like. But that' just me, and I guess I'm not much of a hugger personally. Just an occasional tree, perhaps, shortly before we log it.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Jeff. The fun part of Palmer's article was how it promotes his book and the website. His motivation is so transparent it's difficult to take him seriously. However, I don't think Palmer's article was ever intended to be literal, any more than his book was. He works with metaphors and analogy, not specific and actual events. Consequently, chasing down the "truth" based on anything Palmer writes is a futile effort.

Brett said...

I will be ready to believe Palmer's version of the story when a) it is substantiated, with names, and the GA in question has been able to answer for himself, and, b) all the subtle inaccuracies in Palmer's book are corrected. Considering the source, I believe that there may be a sliver of truth to this story, but like everything Palmer puts out, the finer points reveal that he is deceiving or being deceived.

Anonymous said...

Puleeze. He lost his own testimony and as such, has to shout to be heard. 2 Nephi 2:27 ...he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
I truly do feel sorry for him.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, When one loses a testimony, one needs to shout from the rooftops of one's loss. ...for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 2Nephi 2:27. My sadness and pity for him are evident in my heart. Thank you. Oh, and did he really have you up until the hug???

Anonymous said...

When one unplugs from the Matrix, it's not a sin to want to unplug others, even if the truth is scary.

Rodolfo said...

I get a little irritated by people that go after Grant Palmer: someone with exceptional courage and integrity.

Palmer is not creating a cult following and he has made no claims to have "rescued" anyone. The alleged authorities sought out Palmer directly on their own.

If anyone cares to look you will see that Grant wrote Insider's Guide many years ago when he was a TBM for the consumption of TBMs. His thesis was that he wished that members would quit focusing on the historical stuff -- because of the problems -- and focus more on Christ. His hope at the time was that educating people about the difficulties would shift the church's focus. Naive, perhaps, but he was not trying to drive people out of the church with the book.

Grant says that the GAs referred to are aware of, and have given permission for, Grant to make public his meetings. Assuming that none of these people are stupid (and you would have to then include all of the people at MormonThink too, who were aware of, and assisted in the posting and are following the matter as it evolves) they have a reason they wished to make this information public at this time. I see no reason not to take them at their word and see what happens.

I personally think that these folks are noticing up the Brethren that inevitably some serious sh*t may hit the fan, and that if they know what's good for them they might want to accelerate any "reforms" they have been considering, and fast. There is surely alot of smoke around this fire that is just over the horizon and out of sight, but I'll poop my garments if there isn't some real meat on this bone, even if some of the claims currently don't add up.

Certainly the explanation that the Brethren "simply know its false" meets the Occam's Razor test in my mind, and explains how it could be that numerous smart and observant people could continue to shovel the manure. Rather than some elaborate pseudo-psychological mix of belief and delusion, isn't it a simpler explanation that they just know its false?

Another point here is that those who want to pooh-pooh the "claims" of the anonymous GA should remember the recent release of the Mission President's Handbook.

If people would have posted that they had inside unconfirmed inside information about the details of how mission presidents were paid, and that they had uncovered a lavish scheme to pay mission presidents under-the-table with no accountability to governments for taxes, they would have likely been flamed, and told that their claims were unbelievable and conspiracy-theory-nutty.

I would have had a hard time believing the Mormon Church would be so brazenly cavalier myself if I had not read the mission president source material myself. Its even worse than I could have imagined. Google it.

Palmer is not claiming anything, merely reporting what others have said. The entire Mormonthink group is onboard and supportive of Palmer and they think the story is credible enough to post it. There are hundreds of examples of outright lies and dishonest statements from the church and the church leaders. Can you name any examples of lies told by the Mormonthink website or its admins?

I wouldn't stake my chips on every scintilla of the reported info being totally accurate, but the whole thing has the look and feel of a true characterization to me.

Lynden said...

When I first read this the second meeting took place on "February 14th", it stood out to me.

While palmers wife is dead, why would the GA and MP meet on Valentine's day night? I can't imagine their wives would be too happy with this. None-too-romantic.

I don't think this adds much but it is kind of weird to me. If someone told me they got together on valentine's day to read about anything I would find it unusual.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see humor in the fact that we've got a bunch of True Believing Mormons here picking apart Grant Palmer's story because of alleged 'contradictions'?

Oh, the irony.

Unknown said...

I can imagine the story to be true. But, I tend to not believe it. If I had told the story, and was trying to hide the GA's identity, I would have made up all of the details. I have done this before when I was trying to hide people who were supplying me with documents from the archives and the Temple Index Bureau. It would be stupid of me to kill the golden goose. Times have changed now. I am no longer in the business. ---- I don't believe the story. I don't even want to believe it. But, I know that it is not beneath the Church to give false information to debunk the story. It has done so many times.

Anonymous said...

Similar to the irony of Grant Palmer being unable to tell a story without contradictions, after criticizing the veracity of Joseph Smith's story because of its "contradictions."

Rod said...

I love your posts Jeff. When your million dollar gift runs out let me know. I'll give you a cut from my Mormon Blog Commenter stipend.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Porter and Zwick joined the First Quorum in April 1995 when the additional quorums were created. Needs to be before then.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Sure, Palmer says that he's just trying to help Mormons focus on Christ and not trying to destroy their faith, but that doesn't square with what he actually does.

Nellie said...

Can you name any examples of lies told by the Mormonthink website or its admins?

1) They claim to be active members when only one of the goes to church, and he goes only so he can say he goes. 2) One guy later admitted to making up some story about receiving ecclesiastical reprimand for criticizing Romney, in order to get on the national media.

Mormonthing is FOS.

Blake said...

Come on Rodolfo -- or whatever your real name may be -- are you really so obtuse that you believe that any intelligent person either: (a) cannot believe in Mormonism and so is must be a liar if they claim to believe; or (b) are so stupid that they just cannot quite grasp even the most basic facts of reality and have intelligence on the order of snail? You conclude that therefore all of those smart GAs are really liars. Really? All of these guys who give their lives and continue to testify know that they are just spouting nonsense? If you really believe that, then the only one with the inability to assess the evidence is named Rodolfo. Really, your comments suggest as conspiracy theory on the order of believing that all other people really don't have minds and you are the only one with a real consciousness. In other words, I am rolling my eyes in response to your comment.

Palmer's story has as of the earmarks of a person who has lost touch with reality.

Anonymous said...

We still don't know for sure if the article really is from Palmer. I still think there's a good chance it is a hoax, and not really from Palmer at all.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Jeff, you are drawing some conclusions based on things that are not stated in Mr. Palmer’s document.

Mr. Palmer states that:
“He has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for a number of years. He has served in several high profile assignments during this period.’

You state:
“Grant Palmer is blowing smoke. He talks about a current member of the First Quorum of Seventy (FQS) who was familiar with how things worked when there was only one quorum of seventy. Number of current members of the FQS who were members when there was only one quorum: 0”

The GA says he is familiar with how things worked when there was only one quorum. He never specifically says that he was a member of the FQS during this time only that he was familiar with how things operated. I am sure there are many people who are not general authorities that have this knowledge.

You state:
Based on Palmer's memorandum, certainly this mysterious GA would have been a GA before the area seventy quorums were called in April 1995, right? FQS members called before April 1995:

Carlos Amado (based in Central America)
Claudio Costa (based in Brazil)
John Dickson (based in West Africa

Nowhere does he state that this “mysterious GA” was a GA prior to April 1995.

Sorry but you are drawing conclusions from things not stated. I am not saying there is any truth to Mr. Palmer’s story but you are really stretching credulity by making the statements you do.

Lament7 said...

The piece allegedly written by Palmer has numerous flaws, but the biggest one is the extreme claim that all Apostles know the Restoration is false and they stay to protect their income.

I know and have known numerous Apostles personally, including some members of 1st Presidency, two of whom were close family friends going back into the 1920s. None of those fit Palmer's account. And ALL Apostles who worked outside the Church prior to apostolic calling made a LOT more money than the very modest salary they now receive.

Anonymous said...

Palmer piece underestimates the strength of testimony of present-day apostles. I have been in leadership positions in my local units - a branch president, in district presidency etc. I have had much association with mission presidents, area seventies etc. Their testimonies have without exception been extremely strong. From their mission as a youth, to serving in bishoprics and stake presidencies, they have had a plethora of spiritual experiences to confirm their convictions. You dont just stumble into being a GA these days. It is usually preceded by decades of service on a local and regional level. These men are PREPARED. Palmers claims would be credible to a naive reader distant the way the Church really operates. To one experienced in Church leadership, no offense but they are amusing

Jeff Lindsay said...

John Stromness, thanks for the input, but perhaps you missed an important part of Palmer's text. The statement from the General Authority does not imply that he was gleaning information from hearsay, from someone else's experience experience back in the day. It was his own experience. Look at this portion:

When only one Quorum of the Seventy existed, there was more intimacy. During his one on one assignments with an apostle, conversations were more familiar. He said that none of the apostles ever said to him directly that they did not believe; but that it was his opinion based on “my interactions with them.”

It was our rogue GA's personal experience with Apostles back in the day when there was more intimacy, when there was only the one Quorum of the Seventy, the First Quorum, of which he is a member. Trying to parse this as a statement based on hearsay from someone else back in the day just won't fly, but if that's the course Grant needs to pursue to rescue this, I'll understand. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Another guess is that Palmer is a double agent, and he's succeeding at making the anti-Mormons look really silly by the extremes of silliness they're willing to believe.

Anonymous said...

While I share your skepticism of Palmer's claims I don't think you can hang your proof on your analysis of potential GA's.

An emeritus member of the FQ remains a GA. They have not been released and retain all the keys of that office. Only their assignments and workload change. They often retain an office in the administration building and continue to serve on occasion in official assignments.

For Palmer to be correct, a rather grand conspiracy must hold together. The more people you ascribe to any particular conspiracy theory the less likely I am to take it seriously.

If the church is all a hoax then it it is a rather good one.

wonderdog said...

You made the Real Clear Religion website for Monday, April 15.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Feb. 14, 2013 and Valentine's Day - interesting. Yes, it's a day that many people would keep free for a date, but maybe hanging out with Grant is more romantic than I might imagine. Or perhaps they met during the day and still saved the evening for a romantic walk around Temple Square or a delightful swim in the Great Salt Lake.

Giving three unnecessary specific dates when you are supposedly trying to protect someone's identity raises my eyebrows. In business, personal, and religious contexts, I've been in the situation of being allowed to share a little information from someone who wants their identify protected, and know how important it is to carefully consider and get approval for specific details that might be helpful but could also be used to pinpoint the person. If I had specific dates I wanted to share, I would recognize that knowing where a person was on specific dates can be used to screen possibilities and should be considered sensitive. The specific dates are great for the story, great for a sense of reality, but give away too much.

In this case, it should be easy for people in the Church to see which General Authorities were in town on those days and which were away on business. Just call a few admins or check with the travel office and find out who was in town. Those specific dates by themselves probably greatly narrow the list down to very few--or again, perhaps nobody since General Authorities are often outside of Salt Lake a lot.

Anonymous said...

One little kernel I might add. When I was on my mission back in the days when mastadons roamed the earth, Elder Didier was in charge of the Europe area, and we had annual zone meetings with him presiding. A very proper brother, and definitely NOT a hugger.

Anonymous said...

Apostles all realize the Church is false, but only after two or three years in the Quorum of the Twelve?

Um, except for this guy who realized it while he was still in the First Quorum of Seventy?

However, it's not too hard to imagine Palmer having a long conversation with George P. Lee many years ago, and then running the details through a blender and bringing the story up-to-date.

Scott Hinrichs said...

Mr. Palmer is a verifiable liar. He has proven this over and over again. Why should anyone believe this particularly self serving story?

I have been told by my cousin that is a member of a polygamous offshoot group for decades that all of the apostles secretly approve of the sect and its practices. Um, yeah.

Another acquaintance tells me that all of the apostles secretly teach and live the Vegan lifestyle. You can swallow that if you haven't been present at a stake conference luncheon where you have seen some of these brethren actually eat meat. Maybe they're Vegans only in private, or something.

The point is that people have been saying ever since the church was founded that top leaders secretly do or teach thus-and-such. Most of this is pure horse hockey.

Of course, it is possible for general authorities to lose their faith. That's between them and the Lord. But when Mr. Palmer says that the unbelieving seventy has great integrity, despite living a lie for years, it invokes the gag reflex.

LaVerl 09 said...

This is in response to Rodolfo's comment about Mission Presidents' finances as seen in the Mission Presidents' Handbook. He piqued my interest and so I googled it and read p80 where it tells them not to report their expense reimbursements as income with the IRS.
If my company sends me to Europe for a month on company business, they pay for all my round trip airfare, my taxi and rental car expenses, any seminar expenses, long distance phone calls, my meals, my dry cleaning bill and my extended stay condo or hotel plus any tips involved in the above. NONE of this do I report to the IRS on my 1040! It is expense re-imbursement and NOT income.
If you will re-read p80 of the Mission Presidents' Handbook, it will say exactly what I just outlined.
Since they are not paid a salary, there is NO income to report to the IRS.
Besides, this is public info and if the IRS disagreed, they would quickly jump on it as an improper evasion of taxes.
I have spent 50 years researching anti-Mormon facts and thought (especially as relates to Church History and doctrine). I have also deeply researched the other major world religions. It has been a fruitful endeavor. I have learned more about the deeper doctrine from those sources than I did thru Church attendance or reading the scriptures on my own. However, the more I learn, the deeper my testimony grows that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught to the world's prophets since the time of Adam than any other Church on the face of the earth today.
As we well know, we are so far just scratching the surface and as we become more willing learners, we wll be given more answers to the areas we currently struggle with.
It is no secret that two-thirds of the Book of Mormon is still being withheld from us--waiting for us to even accept what we have now.
As the saying goes, "It is easier to tear things down than it is to build them up in the first place.
I pray that we will all keep searching and learning, but with the spirit of discernment, so that we can ever see and be a part of the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the comments here. You should never believe someone that tells such unbelievable stories like Grant Palmer. There are too many inconsistencies and contradictions in this particular blog. When you see contradictions like this you definitely need to follow the admonition of the savior. Beware of false prophets. You shall know them by their fruits.

Given that this world is populated with more than its share of people who are willing to mislead others, it is probably great advice for all of us to never take believe something or even reject something just because someone else declares it with confidence. Even if they have their own personal "testimony" of it.

Things that are untrue are still untrue if millions believe it. And true things are still true even if no one believes it.

Words to live by. Trust but verify. If truth claims like the ones made by Mr. Palmer cannot be verified then they can be ignored. Just like any other truth claim. No evidence means no need for conviction to follow.

Anonymous said...

All the church would have to do to refute this claim is to open their books like 99% of NORMAL churches do. Generally, when someone is hiding something, it's for a valid reason.

Anonymous said...

The idea that losing faith is a "temptation" is a rather strange proposition. Nevertheless, I'm having a little trouble with Palmer's story as well. Assuming it is true for a moment, Palmer is either very inconsiderate or just plain dumb. If these get together's are really happening he has provided substantial enough evidence to narrow the candidates down to a very small list, as the author of this post has done. In which case, he's basically outed the guy he was supposed to be protecting. If on the other hand he has the permission of this GA to tell the story as it is, then he and Palmer ought to be working on a "coming out" party.

brian said...

There is also Occum's Razor. The simplest explanation is that Grant Palmer really did have these conversations and the GA he talked to did express those opinions.

Note: I happen to have a little inside information and my understanding is that the GA is emeritus.

Papa D said...

"There is also Occum's Razor."

Correct, but that rule would conclude that this is concocted to sell something.

Anonymous said...

@ LaVerl 09: I have finally had time to do deep research (wish I could have started earlier in life) and concur with what you said about the church having more Gospel truths of Christ than any other religion.

On an anti-Mormon site an es-Mormon said they spoke with Palmer last year and Palmer mentioned to this person that Palmer had been meeting with a GA.
It is my understanding John Dehlin still does not believe in the truth claims of the church and is still very critical of it.

If a GA does not believe in the truth claims of the church it is not the first time. If the story is true then I am disappointed this GA did not have the decency to quietly step down, and he never should have accepted any callings. And if any one does have doubts they should not accept ANY callings, especially the SLC callings. And the higher up leaders need to be more careful who they call. (I have problems with how people are called to positions at all levels anyway. It IS NOT by divine inspiration, especially the higher up the calling.)

On another anti-Mormon site (no names) a former Stake Pres. or maybe higher up wrote about his Second Anointing, gave every detail and every word spoken in the ceremony. He realized the church claims were false because he did not see Angels or Christ as promised he would.

Now I have problems with the way some things have been done in the church by leaders starting with Brigham Young but more so starting after Pres. David McKay up to today. I believe the church has moved away from many things Joseph Smith instituted and said/taught. I DO believe Joseph Smith restored lost truths of Christ. I do believe he had Divine revelations.

Even if the claims of the church are false, members are no worse off than any other Christian religion, because the church teaches of Christ and the members worship Christ. We still believe in the Bible like the rest of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

The Evangelical's, who do nothing but target Mormons to get Mormons to leave the church, love to hold up former Mormons who left the church as trophies.

They are very happy about Palmer's information, and these GA's will be the biggest trophy of all to gloat over.

Anonymous said...

"You should never believe someone that tells such unbelievable stories like Grant Palmer." "Beware of false prophets." "You shall know them by their fruits." "Trust but verify."

Have your read Grant Palmer's book? Have you researched all of the references he cited? That would be the part where you "verify" before you make statements that someone is so unbelievable (I'm referring to the history of the church here). Did Mr. Palmer claim to be a prophet?

The statements you made in your post are statements someone who is say, a Baptist, would ask/say of Mormonism. Instead of Grant Palmer they would insert Joseph Smith.

Anonymous said...

I really applaud your appreciation for Valentine's Day. You all are so romantic!

mkprr said...

So, it could all be made up but I don’t have any serious doubts that Palmer is talking to an emeritus GA. However, I would take everything he says about the 12 with a hefty grain of salt. The way Palmer words this anyway; it appears this GA didn’t lose his testimony until after reading Palmer’s book. The book was published in 2002 if I am not mistaken and if the quorum of the 12 made it known to him that they weren’t believers as he claims they did back when there was only 1 quorum of the 70, you might think that would have had a more powerful effect on a person’s testimony than a book would have.
To me it looks like this man lost his testimony, and is so certain the church isn’t true that he now simply assumes everyone else with a knowledge of Church history has come to that conclusion and must just be faking it. He is mistaken in this assumption. When the spirit leaves a person, it takes with it the former knowledge that person once had. (Matt 13:12) I hope this emeritus GA has the courage and integrity to be honest with people about where he is at.

Anonymous said...

I'm dubious of the story altogether. Anti-Mormonism appears to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It leads a person to become an "anti" Messiah who thinks he has a mission to "save" the deluded faithful among the saints. They tend to inflate their importance to bolster credibility to their spurious claims.

People who simply undergo a crisis of faith will work their way through it. They might leave the Church and come back months or even years later. I have also known people who were disaffected because of a personal conflict with a church leader. Those situations tend to cause them to stay away, but they don't openly turn on the Church.

When a person loses a testimony and no longer believes the Church is true, as Palmer says is the case here, they don't remain quiet for long. The spirit that replaces the loss of the Holy Ghost in their heart pushes them to fight against Zion. They can't keep quiet. They can't rest. They just don't go away quietly and disappear.

In the case of General Authorities who have fallen away or been excommunicated for un-Christianlike conduct, they tend to sink into ignominy rather quickly. The Lord complicates things for them so quickly that they end up not being much of a threat to the Church. Just think of guys like John Bennett or Sidney Rigdon. Their efforts to "steady the ark" didn't amount to much.

If indeed, a General Authority was to fall away, it would be a brief tempest in a teacup and then the Church would go on, continuing to grow and expand. No unhallowed hand will stop it. This we know.

Marcelo M Silva said...

Hello Jeff,

I think that Palmer has a paradigm issue. He thinks that the only way that someone could find truth it's through a scientific method, if you cannot find all elements of prove for one history, then the history should be false or at least you cannot say that that it is true. But knowledge doesn't come only by scientific experiences, we can get them from espiritual experiences as well. If you've tasted some miracles on your life, you feel that God exists, even if you're unable to prove it to anyone else, even if you are unable to solve all doubts about God from agnostics and atheists. I´m going to say that this is the same for all LDS, including GAs. I'm from Brasil and know Elder Claudio Costa very well. He is a converted to the church and experimented a miracle before his baptism. He was an atheist before, a hyppie with long hair till his waist, and one think he knows for sure is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, you can rule him out from your list of potencial source for Palmer.

Howard said...

Well it would explain their flat affect. Who among them except Uchtdorf doesn't look and sound depressed? Shouldn't they be rejoicing in the gospel and in the knowledge that they personally converse with God and shouldn't their countenance show it?

Eternity Road said...

Defections of those in high/elect callings have happened, will happen, and maybe are happening. So, what's new?? Ever heard of David, Judas, Sam Brannon, 3 witnesses, etc??? The D&C is quite clear: "Yea, and even let those who are SANCTIFIED take heed also" Sec 20:34 Just plan on someone getting sifted occasionally, like Palmer, little Stevie Benson, etc. What matters is. . . . . .where is your wheat, and what grist is being ground for the mill??

Jeff Lindsay said...

When I as a teenager met Ezra Taft Benson the Apostle, I was impressed with the energy and, yes, joy that I felt. However, nearly all conference talks, including most of his I think, tend to be a bit slow and with less energy that I might enjoy--that may be partly due to age, partly due to tradition and decorum at this very formal event, and partly due to the need to give numerous translators a chance to keep pace. But don't let the steady voice of a slow-talking elderly person giving a formal speech fool you into thinking there is no joy or passion in the remarkable lives those men have led.

Anonymous said...

In early 2012, Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy spoke at Utah State University. In his address he said that members were leaving the chuch in droves due to the information becoming avaiable on the internet concerning conflicting accounts of church history. He said the brethren in Salt Lake were aware, and were concerned. Shortly after this talk, Elder Jensen's responsibilities as offical church historian were taken from him, and given to Elder Snow. Elder Jensen was then given emeritus status in the October 2012 General Conference. I wonder if he could be the 'one'?

Howard said...

After thinking about Jeff's answer to flat affect and thinking about the concept of the brethren being trapped into running the church while knowing (or concluding or fearing) that some or perhaps many of the church's truth claims are false is very plausible. Steve Benson grandson of Ezra Taft Benson touches on this idea (separately and years earlier than this episode) regarding his conversations with Dallin Oaks and Neal Maxwell. Imagine rising through the church hierarchy as a sincere true believer to eventually become an apostle. Wouldn't you at that level be occasionally exposed to church claim controversies as a part of your calling? So you approach some of the other apostles about it looking for God's explanation that you'd expect them as prophets to have or at least have access to but nothing is forthcoming and no one seems concerned that it isn't except you! Now what do you do, announce it in your next GC talk or put on a happy face and magnify your calling? Flat affect? I think this would explain flat affect! Why flat affect at GC because that's when you'd be face to face with 21,000 + TV believers who are depending on YOU!

Anonymous said...

That's a rather thick slice of bologna.

I've had some unfortunate dealings with an emeritus GA who showed a surprising lack of respect for local Church authorities. I suppose he may have gotten caught up in the whole treating of GAs like rock stars. But that has nothing to do with my testimony; it's his problem and he needs to deal with it. GAs are human, you know.

Anonymous said...

Elder Jensen did not say Mormon church members were leaving the church in droves. In 2011 at a Fireside at Utah State Univ. he was asked a question about the effects of anti-Mormon material on Google on the membership and if the church leadership was aware of it. Jensen said, speaking of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, "And they realize that, maybe, since Kirtland we've never had a period of - I'll call it apostasy - like we're having right now, largely over these issues."
Of course Mormon critics (including anti and ex Mormons) misquote and twist words to suite their purposes, which is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

Another possibility is that the unnamed General Authority is trolling Mr. Palmer...

Mark Steele

Anonymous said...

With as much work as Marlin Jensen has done with church history, I would be very surprised if he had to go "learn" from Grant Palmer.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are many who lost faith in the truthfulness of the Gospel but remain in the church and act as a faithful member. I found, by accident, a video on You Tube about a man who lives near Salt Lake City and he is a High Priest in the church. On the video he would not give his last name (so why go on video? someone will recognize him, I would hope). This High Priest felt sorry for some of the "street preachers" because some members were not very nice to the preachers. So the High Priest made friends with some of the preachers, and he picks the preachers up at the airport, gives them a car to drive, lets them stay in his home, feeds them, and takes them back to the airport when they are ready to fly back to where ever they live. These street preachers are the ones who go to General Conferences, Temple open houses, Temple weddings, and church pagents and mock members by calling them horrible names, they drag the Book of Mormon in the street, and do the same with garments, hold up signs with false statements, and sometimes dress up as a devil or something else to mock the LDS. And this High Priest even gets into arguments with members and argues against the church, and members are not aware he is a member! He no longer believes. So why do people like that stay in the church? It is obvious there are many wolves in sheep's clothing in the church who are working to destroy the church from within. The non believing members are recording Temple ordinances and giving it to the anti's along with any other information they can get. This information about the apostates who act like faithful members is very disheartening, and maddening. I have a hard time understanding why they have to attack the church. Pitiful, actually.

Bookslinger said...

The alleged posting by Mr. Palmer doesn't even deserve a response. It contains nothing but gratuitous assertions, which can just as easily be gratuitously denied. Such claims do not merit any more of a response than: "Prove it, if you can."

And so far, Palmer himself has not acknowledged that he is the author of the piece. Only one named person, if any, has asserted through personal knowledge that it is indeed from Palmer. All the other people re-posting it are just an echo-chamber.

Jeff, I'm afraid your response gave the piece more dignity than it deserved.

Rusty S. said...

From the article: "He said that it takes about two to three years before the new apostle discovers that the church is not true... He said they privately talk among themselves and know the foundational claims of the restoration are not true, but continue on boldly..."

Break down the logic here for a second. The apostles apparently privately talk among themselves about the fact that the church is not true, and yet it takes a new apostle 2-3 years to discover that it isn't true. There's no continuity to those statements.

Also, if a general authority were speaking on the condition of anonymity, why would he implicitly trust Palmer with his livelihood and reputation to not divulge his name? Why would even a supposed rogue general authority trust someone whose aim was to tear down the church, which could also include bringing them down as well in order to do that? In other words, if Palmer is betraying the church, what would stop him from also betraying those who he can use to accomplish his aims? And if Palmer wants to destroy the church as he does, why would he have a miraculous moment of charity and agree to not mention the names of the general authorities he wants to bring down?

Oh, by the way, I've also been talking with several anonymous general authorities and I've got lots of their quotes about how they wished they didn't have to mislead the saints and give all those long talks, but for obvious reasons I can't name them. They're stuck serving in the church and can't get out, because it would make other people leave the church, so they'd rather stick it out and go on pretending for the sake of the saints. These men have more honor than we even first suspected. Oh, and I can't corroborate any of my claims, but they really, really did happen, and it was in my home. My wife even baked brownies for them. And my dog Methuselah saw them too. I took their statements with their signatures and their fingerprints and stored it all in a safe deposit box. If I die before the Second Coming, the box will be opened at a General Assembly in Independence, Missouri. You have to believe me because why on earth would I make such a thing up? What, afraid of a few inconsistencies and lack of detail? O ye of little faith...

Matthew R. Lee said...

It's interesting that the same group of people who will not accept the statements of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon,the Eight Witnesses, or Joseph Smith's own accounts, seem thrilled with this strange account that has no witnesses and no names.

Sounds like some sort of faith based system to me. How long will it be before it is canonized into the cyber walls of disaffected, truth seeking, fact based webpages and blogs?

(I apologize if someone else has already shared a similar thought. I have not read each comment.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this debunker. I first read the story on fb and I was really shocked by it; I needed someone like you to help me calm down.

Anonymous said...

So....if Hans Mattson is THE GA or one of them....Big deal....As an Area Authority he is no more than a glorified Stake Prez at best....in that case, who cares about what Mattson thinks or where or to what rag he preaches his rhetoric....if that is all Palmer has...so much for his integrity....
IF, there is an actual 70 or Q 12/15, for hells sake name a name Palmer......or you have no more integrity than the National Enquirer or The Star.....put up or shut up....spew the info and save mankind.....right now, it is no more than "he said she said" and the best you have right now to come out publicly is a Glorified Swede Stake President that no one knows who in the hell he is nor cares......
I am not a "Blind Follower" , but if Palmer nor anyone else has any more positive proof than three meetings and a hug from a man of integrity....Palmer and HIS followers is not any better than the Church and Leaders he is trying to save us all from.

And don't say that the "Leader" does not want to be outed for fear of retribution from the Big Boys in the Big White Building...sorry, that is no better than "an insider says" on a new Kim Kardashian Hollywood story scam....

AGAIN! I am a simple man...
.I question all things inside the Church and out...so Palmer, PUT UP OR SHUT UP and quit wasting our time..
.Name The Names if they will not profess themselves.

Steve Finnell said...


Where should Christians look for God's authoritative truth? Should it be the Bible? Should it be the church of your choice or the church you belong to by chance?

The Bible was completed in 95 A.D. when the apostle John wrote Revelation. Who wrote the Bible? Was it God or was it the church?

John 14:24-26 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent me. (THE WORDS JESUS SPOKE WERE FROM GOD THE FATHER) 25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all the I said to you.

The words of Jesus were from God the Father and He said that The Father would send the apostles the Holy Spirit so they could remember all that He said. The words of the apostles were God's word, their words were Scripture, their words were the Bible.

In, John 14:24-26, Jesus was not talking to the Pope, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Billy Graham, Joesph Smith Jr, Mary Baker Eddy, cardinals, bishops, elders, so-called modern day apostles, preachers, pastors, nor any one claiming to speak for God. If the church or theses men as individuals, were speaking for God by new revelation, then, we would have added books to the Bible. There would the books of the Popes, the book of John Calvin, the book of Billy Graham, the books of elders, the books of churches, the book of Joesph Smith Jr. etc.


YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>> steve finnell a christian view

peterr said...

I guess the old adage that "people can leave the church but can't leave it alone' is true!

Unknown said...

It is interesting that Elder Costa is mentioned in this month's Ensign: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/02/building-spiritual-power-in-priesthood-quorums?lang=eng

Also, here is the most recent testimony he's borne in General Conference:

We are privileged to have the words of our living prophets, seers, and revelators during this wonderful general conference. They will speak the will of the Lord for us, His people. They will transmit the word of God and His counsel to us. Pay attention and follow their instruction and suggestions, and I testify to you that your life will be completely blessed.

Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet of God, and the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Unknown said...

Watching a CES Devotional that Elder Marlin K. Jensen spoke at in 2012 and I am not getting a very strong feeling that he doubts the divinity of the work. In fact, I would say it's pretty much the opposite. https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-05-0030-stand-in-the-sacred-grove?category=ces-devotionals/2012-ces-devotionals&lang=eng

J. Sanders said...

Grant likely suffers from with a pathological lying disorder related to antisocial/narcissistic personality disorder, which capitalizes on his books/fame.

I am an expert it mental illness, an even provide advice to other professionals. Interestingly, I once had mistakenly hired someone with this same condition once--coincidentally, this person was a seminary teacher for many years, and was looked up to by respected people. Such persons will do anything to gain attention, or exploit others, and will ALWAYS be backed up by (hard to find) and sometimes fantastic, "facts"; often it's I see it in Grants style. As a professional, I believe its out of the individuals perceived need to concoct such stories, not out of a desire to hurt others/make money. Then again, most people's decisions are out of emotional needs, but I digress.

Here's a non-official tidbit:

""Excessive lying is a common symptom of several mental illnesses. For instance people who suffer fromantisocial personality disorder use lying to exploit others. Some individuals with borderline personality disorder lie for attention by claiming they’ve been treated poorly (though it is not diagnostic).[7] Pathological lying, on the other hand, can be described as a habituation of lying. It is when an individual consistently lies for no personal gain. The lies are commonly transparent and often seem rather pointless.[8]""

Anyways, our company discovered his fraud after a year, and have found almost a dozen other companies that he's defrauded over his life, and is now expected to go to jail for a long time as mounds of evidence are now surfacing. I prefer he receive full time therapy, but our society does not allow for such.

At the end of the day, people will believe what they want to believe, and it has very little to do with "the facts."

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything to say about Palmer; his story is strange and inconsistent, as you point out, but I do have a note about the last comment.

If J. Sanders really is a professional in the field of mental illness, as he or she seems to be insinuating, he or she would know that it is unprofessional to diagnose someone without meeting him, based on media and blog account like this, and then quote what I assume to be Wikipedia in support of his conclusion.

Nice try, but saying "professional" several times in the course of the comment doesn't make it so.

Sam Liddicott said...

As a missionary in Ontario Oregon in 1990 I met with an elderly christian couple who were not LDS but 7th Day Adventists. They were very good and true people, and with a strong proselyting habit.

They were good people and friends to many LDS who they had looked out for and helped.

The lady told us a story where on an plane flight she had sat next to and convinced one of our general authorities that she was right.

I don't doubt that he was just being polite and non-committal, but she was convinced.

I wonder if Palmer's case is any more than that.

Did Palmer really meet a GA?
or just someone who said he was?
or Palmer just thinks he did?
or he knows he didn't meet anyone at all?

Her husband wrote some great songs; I'll quote the chorus of one here in case anyone knows of it or them:

One of these days, I'll lose my gravitation
One of these days, I'll sail right by the moon
One of these days, I'll meet my blessed saviour
One of these days, it could be soon.

Sam Liddicott said...

What I mean is; all the question that can be asked about the reality of the gold plates can be asked about reality the GA.

Is Joseph didn't have the gold plates, did he think that he had them?

If Palmer never had the GA, does he think that he did?

Ralph said...

I am with "the simple man" either show your cards or fold. If Palmer and his "deep throat" know such damning information about our leaders and are with-holding it to protect one man's position, neither have any integrity. Suck it up and show just a little courage and give names. Let's bring it into the light. I think Palmer's story is nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could say that I was highly intelligent. I am not. I do have faith in Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I have yet to browse through all of your posts. I wish I could email you privately, but I won't bother you.

I was blessed to be sealed to an amazing husband in the temple. We have four beautiful children. I have served in several primary presidencies. I had kidney surgery two years ago and things haven't quite been the same for me.

I went through a period of 2-3 years in my life as a teenager when I made some poor choices. I had several boyfriends, one of whom was african american and one hispanic. I did marry a caucasian.

I am not racist and served as an elementary music teacher in some inner city schools in dallas. Lately, I have been very concerned about blacks and heaven. I was born in 77 and priesthood was restored to blacks in 78. I keep feeling that I might not be able to be with my family because of my indiscretions which is in direct contrast to the repentance process of the church. I understand that.
I guess I am just trying to decide what the doctrine is on heaven. Since I have just served in Primary and I am not caught up on deep doctrine. Will african americans be separate from whites in heaven? Do some people actually believe this?

Proud Daughter of Eve said...

Anonymous, I think somehow you have missed a lot. "All are alike unto God, black and white, bond and free." Everyone will go to the place in heaven that they have suited themselves for by their actions in life, not by the color of their skin.

Believer said...

Is no one going to counter Howard's idea that the GA's have an allegedly flat affect in General Conference? It sounds like a conspiracy for me. I've heard talks that are more "flat" outside the Church.

And is there any news on this alleged story and who the General Authority is?

Meditation Magic said...

Hahaha... I am amused at the attempts to make Palmer look bad!

LDS Inc and its team of writers show their true colors again!

Meditation Magic said...

Hahaha... I am amused at the attempts to make Palmer look bad!

LDS Inc and its team of writers show their true colors again!

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness. I cannot believe someone as intelligent as yourself can defend one of the most successful fictional stories in human history. Facts are facts. Opinions can never trump facts. You have all been had. Terribly. I am so sorry for your loss, but that is what it is. A loss of a lifetime of bewilderment and fantasy. Clever men have for their own sake misled you into giving everything including your common sense to a big fat corporation. I hope some day someone snaps their fingers and wakes you up.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Rob, there are numerous errors masquerading as facts, in addition to real facts that are misapplied. Very few facts lead an unprepared mind to truth. Much more commonly, an overconfident mind mistakes opinion for fact. So which objective facts do you have the exclude the Book of Mormon as an ancient record, for example? Your passionate outpouring of opinion has not cited any such facts.