©1997 by the Mormon Alliance
All rights reserved. Published annually by the Mormon Alliance. No
part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from
the publisher, the Mormon Alliance, 6337 Highland Drive, Box 215, Salt
Lake City, UT 84121.
Summary (Not part of the printed edition)
Many Latter-day Saints, regardless of their devotion, fear their own
church. They fear the society and culture of which they are a part. They
fear the judgment of leaders and members alike. They fear the punishment
should their historical views, political opinions, or doctrinal
understandings become known. They fear for their own souls. Most
heartbreakingly, some of them even fear their Savior.
Case Reports of the Mormon Alliance, Volume 2, 1996 explores part
of the dynamic of that fear: the authoritarianism within the Church and
the abuses that can occur as a result. Most of the printed volume (Part
devoted to Janice Merrill Allredís documentary history of the
ecclesiastical action that led to her excommunication in May 1995 and
its aftermath. It is a complex, continuing story. Her account documents
and raises questions of conscience, freedom of thought and expression,
intent, motivation, authoritarianism, revelation, and truth. Her history
is, in many ways, a record of ecclesiastical contempt for truth.
Closely related to Janice Allredís accounts are those in Part
1: "Effects of Authoritarianism." Although the situations
vary greatly, they all share encounters with authorities who exercised
"unrighteous dominion" (D&C 121:39). In each case, members
realized that an organization which had been a source of blessing and
comfort also had a malign side. They describe their efforts to come to
terms with this new realization and the resulting changes in their
relationship with the Church.
Part 2 contains the experience of David G. Pace, whose father, George
Pace, received a summary, public chastisement . This section introduces
the topic of secondary abuseóor the "innocent bystander"
phenomenon. Although usually one person is singled out for punishment,
the effects of that punishment spread through a wide circle of
relatives, friends, professional associates, and strangers. Those whose
love and loyalty to the abused person remain strong suffer in direct
proportion to their love, and feel their religious and spiritual world
change in unpredictable ways. The abused person may become a cautionary
lesson of how to stay out of "trouble" with the Church.
Nearly always rumors and gossip about other alleged misbehavior
circulate for years, permanently damaging the abused personís
reputation in the Church and the broader community.
Part 3 reviews four books related to religious abuse. None of
the authors is Mormon, underscoring the fact that ecclesiastical and
spiritual abuse can occur in many kinds of religious organizations. The
fact that Mormons did not invent these problems is a helpful perspective
that all readers should keep in mind; but this fact should also
intensify the search for useful responses and remedies.