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Appendix A
Defense of Janice M. Allred
12 October 1994



Appendix B
Appeal of Janice M. Allred
7 June 1995

[Letter to First Presidency]






12 October 1994 Disciplinary Council

9 May 1995 Disciplinary Council


Appendix A
Defense of Janice M. Allred

12 October 1994


In August 1992 I delivered a paper at the Sunstone Symposium entitled "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother." I had been presenting papers at the symposium since 1980 and had also published several articles in Sunstone magazine. No Church leader had ever expressed any concern or problem about my published articles or participation at the symposium.

On 8 November 1992, President Bacon asked me and my husband, David, to meet with him. He told us that he had been contacted by Salt Lake [Malcolm Jeppson, our area president] concerning a paper I had presented recently at some conference in which I had advocated praying to the Mother in Heaven. I assured President Bacon that I had not advocated praying to God the Mother although my paper was about her.

We had two other meetings concerning this paper, one in December and the last on 27 January 1993. In this meeting, President Bacon asked that I not speak publicly or publish anything on God the Mother. I asked him who this [directive] was from and he answered, "Me and the Lord." I then asked if this was a request "forever," and he said that it wasn't. I told President Bacon that I didn't have any plans at that time to speak or publish anything on that topic but I couldn't promise to never speak or write about the Heavenly Mother again. However, I told him that I would tell him if I ever decided to do so. President Bacon said that this was acceptable to him. I told him that an excerpt from my paper was published in a book that had just come out, and he told me he already knew this.

In the summer of 1993, I learned that Dialogue, an independent Mormon journal, was planning a women's issue. One of the editors, a friend of mine, asked me if I had anything they could use in it. I told her about my article on the Mother in Heaven, and she asked me if I would submit it. I deliberated for some time about whether I should do this, and I also prayed about it. I finally decided to submit the article. I knew that many Mormon women are concerned about this topic. My paper is an attempt to put the concept of the Mother God in a Christian context and give it a scriptural foundation. I felt that Dialogue's audience understands the premises of scholarship and speculative theology and that readers would either find it unpersuasive or helpful. Since the article is based on the revelations in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants and assumes that they are from God, I did not think it would challenge anyone's faith. Indeed, I hoped it would strengthen faith in the richness, complexity, and harmony of these scriptures. I felt good about my decision and was assured by the Spirit that God was pleased with my efforts to serve him.

Because of the uncertainties of publishing and the pressure of many responsibilities, I delayed informing President Bacon of my decision. However, I did intend to inform him before the issue of Dialogue in which it was being published came out.

On 15 May 1994, I received a telephone call from Scott Runia, my former bishop. The Edgemont Twentieth Ward, of which I had been a member, had recently been divided and my family was put in the new Edgewood Ward. Bishop Runia told me that before the ward change he had been contacted by President Bacon about an article I had written that was going to be published. He asked me to meet with him and my new bishop, Robert Hammond, the following Tuesday. I realized that someone must have shown President Bacon the page in the current Dialogue issue which listed titles from the upcoming issue. I immediately sent him a letter informing him of my decision to publish my paper on God the Mother and apologizing for not having told him sooner. Because of schedule conflicts, the meeting with Bishops Runia and Hammond did not take place, but I talked to Bishop Runia on the phone and he told me that President Bacon had asked him to stop me from publishing my paper. I told him that it was already at press; and even if I wanted to, there was no way to stop publication.

On Sunday, 22 May 1994, David and I met with President Bacon, Bishop Runia, and Bishop Hammond. There was some disagreement about what had occurred in our earlier meetings. President Bacon thought that I had agreed to not publish my paper on God the Mother, and he felt that I had disobeyed him by publishing the article. My understanding was that I had agreed to not speak or write again on the topic of God the Mother without first informing President Bacon of what I would do. I felt I had kept my promise. President Bacon agreed that I had done what I said I would but he still felt I had disobeyed him because I had known that he didn't want me to publish on that topic. During this discussion, President Bacon told me for the first time that he had been told "by Salt Lake City" that my article was never to be published.

On the evening of 24 July 1994, I met with Bishop Hammond; and he told me that he had received a copy of my article from President Bacon and read it. He said that he felt he must hold a disciplinary council on me. David, who joined us later, asked if we could hold one more meeting with President Bacon to see if I could possibly avoid a disciplinary council. Bishop Hammond agreed to try to set up a meeting, and I met with President Bacon, his two counselors, Craig Hickman and James McDonald, and Bishop Hammond on Sunday, 21 August 1994. They asked me to prayerfully reconsider my views and actions, and I agreed to do so. They told me that if I repented it would go better with me.

On 15 September 1994, I again met with Bishop Hammond. He asked me if I had done what they asked me to do. I said that I had, but that my views had not changed and I did not think I had done anything that warranted Church discipline. He told me that he felt he must hold a disciplinary council.

On the evening of Thursday, 6 October, I met with President Bacon and Bishop Hammond. At this meeting President Bacon told me for the first time that the reason he had forbidden publication of my article on the Mother in Heaven was that it contained false doctrine. My understanding had always been that the reason I had been forbidden to publish it was because the General Authorities did not want any discussion of this topic. This interpretation was based on the fact that President Bacon's initial directive to me had been that I was not to speak or publish on the subject of the Mother in Heaven. We had had at least one discussion in which President Bacon had told me that it was Church policy not to allow any public discussion of this topic. When I questioned him about how this could be a Church policy when it had never been made public, he told me that the Brethren had made it very clear to stake presidents. We had also had a discussion in which I told him that since I had never been given any reasons why speaking about God the Mother would hurt people or the Church, I had only my own thinking to take into consideration when I made my decision to publish. He responded at length about how it was necessary to trust the Brethren even when we were given no reasons for a policy. He never once even hinted that the problem he saw with the article was that it contained false doctrine, although he certainly had many opportunities to do so.


I will now attempt to answer the charges which I think will be made against me.

Am I disobedient? The main issue addressed by President Bacon in our discussions about my publishing has been the necessity of obedience to Church leaders, so the first charge I will discuss is disobedience to Church leaders, specifically President Bacon and whoever was directing him to forbid me to publish my article.

First, it should be noted that disobedience to Church leaders is not listed as a reason for Church discipline in the bishop's handbook. The Church recognizes certain transgressions as serious and requires local leaders to discipline members who commit them; such transgressions include murder, rape, adultery, robbery and others. This law is known by, and binding upon, all Church members.

Bishops and stake presidents may counsel members concerning their privates lives. Such counsel may be from their own wisdom or it may be inspired by God. Members are not obligated by Church law to follow the advice and counsel of their leaders. They may accept it or reject it, and leaders do not have the right to compel members to follow their counsel by imposing some kind of Church discipline upon them.

Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants is very clear on this point:

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile. (D&C 121:41-42)

It is an abuse of priesthood power to "exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men."

Sometimes the Lord commands one of his servants to deliver a specific commandment to a person, but the prophet is never authorized to compel that person to obey the commandment. The Lord reserves judgment and punishment to himself:

Wherefore, I command you to repent and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

And it is by my almighty power that you have received them; Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger. (D&C 19:13-15)

Although the commandments came through Joseph Smith, God did not authorize Joseph Smith to judge and punish offenders.

The Church may certainly punish those who transgress certain commandments and do not repent, which it does, but these commandments must be made known to the members along with the consequences of disobeying them. Church members have the right to accept or reject these laws by the principle of common consent, and these laws must be administered with justice and equity. In other words, Church discipline must follow the rule of law and not be imposed arbitrarily.

This is in accordance with the principle of free agency which allows every person to freely choose. As President Hunter recently said:

Our world cries out for more disciplined living of the commandments of God. But the way we are to encourage that, as the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith in the wintry depths of Liberty Jail, is "by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and love unfeigned; ... without hypocrisy, and without guile." (D&C 121:41-42) (Ensign, July, 1994, pp. 4-5)

Let me review the pertinent aspects of my case. President Bacon asked me not to speak publicly or publish on the topic of the Mother of Heaven. I asked him who this directive came from, and he answered, "Me and the Lord." I interpreted this to mean that President Bacon had prayed about what he should counsel me to do and that this was what he felt inspired to ask of me. I accepted his statement as counsel, which I ought to prayerfully consider, but I have the responsibility to make my own decisions. I, not my leaders, am accountable to God for what I do, and I must seek my own inspiration from his Spirit and finally act on what I believe is right. My answer to President Bacon indicated that I intended to act on my own responsibility and understanding, and he did not say that this was not acceptable to him. He did not say that I would be subject to any kind of discipline (punishment) if I did not follow his counsel. Although President Bacon did tell me that he had discussed the issue with two apostles, he did not tell me that they had given him any specific instructions. What he told me was that they were very concerned about this issue. In our 22 May 1994 meeting, President Bacon told me that "Salt Lake" had told him that my article was never to be published. (This was the first that I had heard this, and no reason was given why it was not to be published.) Although he agreed that I had kept my word to him, he said that I had known that he did not want me to publish and, therefore, I had disobeyed him and should be punished.

In our 21 August 1994 meeting, I pointed out to him that there was no Church law against speaking publicly or publishing articles about God the Mother and so it was unfair to punish me for something which is neither a Church law nor a commandment of God. He told me that the Brethren are very clear on this. He asked me if it would make any difference to me if he told me which two apostles it came from. I said that it wouldn't.

The reason that I said this was because the principle is very clear to me that no priesthood leader, no matter how great his authority, has the right to compel submission to his own opinions and desires or even to the word of God. It does not matter that some great and good men have done this. It is still wrong: the Lord has declared it. If the General Authorities have received a revelation from God forbidding his people to discuss, ask questions about, or pray to God the Mother, then they should publish it and allow the people to exercise their God-given right to accept or reject it. If the General Authorities have not, then they should stop the persecution of those who are seeking more light and knowledge concerning her and those who wish to share the light and knowledge which they have received.

Therefore, I plead not guilty to the charge of disobedience, because there is no Church law which requires us to obey the counsel of our leaders or suffer Church discipline. Such a law would be contrary to the revelations of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Am I guilty of apostasy? The letter from President Bacon informing me of the disciplinary council said that I am "reported to be guilty of apostasy." First, I will answer the charge generally and then according to the definitions of apostasy given in the handbook. The dictionary defines apostasy as "an abandonment or falling away from what one believed in; as apostasy from one's religion, creed, or politics." I have not abandoned the beliefs which I have held since I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was eight years old. My religious beliefs have changed, matured, and developed; and they are still developing as I try to increase my understanding of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the scriptures and follow the Savior and live as the Spirit directs me.

I believe in God the Eternal Father who created the earth and sent us here to give us the opportunity to become like him. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior and that through his atoning sacrifice we can be saved from sins and death. I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. I believe that the scriptures contain the word of God. I believe that the Book of Mormon is the record of an ancient people that contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the testimony of Jesus Christ recorded by ancient prophets; I believe that it was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith by the gift and power of God. I believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet who received the revelations given in the Doctrine and Covenants and who was given the power by Jesus Christ to establish his Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe that Joseph Smith was given priesthood powers and keys by angels sent from God and that the priesthood and keys continue in the Church today. I believe that Howard W. Hunter, now the President of the Church, is also a prophet.

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and try to follow him by seeking his Spirit to enlighten my understanding and give me the power to keep his commandments. I have accepted every call and assignment which I have received from my Church leaders and done my best to fill it. I love the scriptures, and I study them often; I have taught my children the gospel by reading the scriptures to my children and discussing the scriptures with them. I received my temple endowments in 1969, and I have held a temple recommend continuously since then. I honor my temple covenants and strive to keep them. I consider myself to be a follower and servant of Jesus Christ and a faithful member of his Church.

One definition of apostates given in the handbook is "members who ... persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority." I assume that, if I am being charged with apostasy because of the contents of my article, "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother," this definition of apostasy is being used. However, I specifically state in my article that the interpretation of the Godhead which I offer is not Church doctrine. Therefore, I am not guilty of apostasy according to this definition of apostasy.

However, some may still believe that espousing any ideas which are not Church doctrine is apostasy, so I will briefly address two important questions regarding this issue. The first is "What is Church doctrine?" and the second is "What liberties do Church members have in regard to their religious beliefs?"

The first question, "What is Church doctrine?", must be addressed both generally and specifically, that is "How is Church doctrine defined?" and "Which specific doctrines are Church doctrine?"

"How is Church doctrine defined?" is a very difficult question. The LDS Church has never had an official creed which members must believe to retain their membership. Joseph Smith said:

I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like Methodism, and not like Latter-day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their Church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be trammeled. It don't prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine.37

One difficulty in defining doctrine is that the word is used in different ways, sometimes broadly to mean any religious truth and sometimes more narrowly to mean any generally or officially accepted teaching of the Church. If we use the broader definition, our focus will be on deciding which religious ideas are true; if we use the narrower definition we will focus on procedures for establishing what is and what is not doctrine. When we focus on truth, we have the problem of dealing with a wide range of opinions. When we focus on procedure we can never be certain that the established doctrines are true.

The Church does not have a procedure for establishing doctrine, although we do have a loosely defined procedure for canonizing scripture.

The Church accepts the scriptures, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, as the word of God. The scriptures, however, are not simply equal to doctrine. They contain much more than doctrine, including such things as history, prophecy, poetry, law, and philosophy. We also believe that the scriptures contain errors. Moroni himself said that the Book of Mormon contains imperfections but that these are the faults of men. The Book of Mormon also says that the scriptures do not contain all of the word of God. "And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever" (2 Ne. 29:9).

This doctrine of continuing revelation makes the whole question of religious truth an open one. It is important to note that the scriptural teachings on obtaining, learning, and understanding the truth are addressed primarily to the individual. The scriptures clearly teach that the spirit of God is essential in the giving and receiving of truth. Moroni says, "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Whatever is spoken by the power of the Spirit is the mind of God. "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" (D&C 68:4).

Since the principal way the Holy Ghost speaks to us is in our minds and hearts, this method of obtaining truth is very subjective. The scriptural passages on truth, then, emphasize the open, broader approach to doctrine by which the individual pursues truth as he receives line upon line and precept upon precept and grows and matures in his understanding. However, in a Church context this individual approach leads to a multiplicity of views, and the need is felt for some procedure to establish doctrine.

If we study the history of doctrine in Christianity we see a history of contention, with the Church marred by schisms and oppression as the need of the individual to find her own truth clashes with the need of the institution to establish one doctrine.

Jesus addressed the problem of contention over doctrine in his Church when he spoke to the Nephites after his resurrection. He told them that there should be no contention among them because the spirit of contention is not from him but from the devil. What is the spirit of contention? In the Book of Mormon, contention is always about winning. The spirit of contention is of competition, pride, and enmity. Jesus is telling us that this spirit is never from him and that we should never have it, even when we find ourselves in disagreements with others in our pursuit of truth. It is possible to disagree with love and without trying to impose our opinions upon others.

In speaking to the Nephites, one of the first things Jesus did was to set forth his doctrine in a very simple way. He said:

And this is my doctrine ... and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God ...

Verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me; for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. (3 Ne. 11:32-33, 35)

After declaring what the points of his doctrine are, Jesus said, "And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock" (3 Ne 11:40).

He reiterated this message to the Nephites just before leaving them:

Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel... (3 Ne. 27:20-21)

Jesus told Joseph Smith in his First Vision that the creeds of all the churches were an abomination in his sight because they teach for doctrines the commandments of men.

In Doctrine and Covenants 10 the Lord again declares what his doctrine is and tells us that the Church should not establish more than this for his doctrine:

[They] shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.

And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention;

Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery;

Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.

Behold this is my doctrine—Whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my Church.

Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my Church. (D&C 10:62, 68)

By having very few points of doctrine and giving space for a wide range of interpretations within these doctrines, Jesus establishes an inclusive church which allows many beliefs. There are obviously many religious questions which are not answered in the doctrine of Christ, and many revelations have been given which touch upon these questions. Church members can and should explore these questions and ponder these revelations, but the Lord tells us not to try to establish other truths as his doctrine because this will inevitably lead to contention. Because different people have different experiences, different intellectual frameworks, and different gifts and are at different stages in their spiritual journeys, their understanding of the gospel and the scriptures, and their interpretations of religious truth will certainly differ. These different viewpoints need not lead to contention if members understand what Jesus taught about the doctrine of his Church.

My article, "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother," gives an interpretation of the Godhead based on a detailed analysis of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. While this interpretation differs from the official interpretation offered by the Church, it does not in any way contradict any of the points of doctrine which Jesus established in his Church. The standard which I try to use for judging all religious ideas is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I believe that any idea is not consistent with his gospel, then I reject it. Since my article is firmly based on the scriptures and offers a possible, well-supported interpretation of the nature of God which in no way contradicts the doctrine of Christ, it is unfair and incorrect to call it false doctrine. My ideas may be untrue, but they fall within the range of possible interpretations allowed by the scripture.

I will now address the question, "What liberties do Church members have in regard to their beliefs?"

First, we should understand that freedom of belief cannot be separated from freedom of speech, which includes the freedom to read, write, publish, and meet with others to discuss and exchange ideas. We do not form our beliefs in isolation from others but in the dynamic experience of interacting with others through reading, listening, talking, and writing. We depend upon others to supply us with information and share their interpretations and insights with us. We also need to receive their responses to both our ideas and experiences. We need criticism from others in order to see the flaws in our reasoning, the gaps in our knowledge, and different ways of looking at our experiences.

It is also necessary to understand that no one can believe anything simply by an act of will. We believe what we do because of a complicated and largely unknown process in which our experiences, our way of thinking, our knowledge, our feelings, our emotional needs, our language, our culture and other unknown influences all play a part.

Thus, it is futile as well as wrong to try to coerce belief, which is part of the meaning of Doctrine and Covenants 121:41: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood but only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge ... "

These are the effective and righteous means to change or influence beliefs.

Using discipline or coercion to compel belief also encourages lying and discourages the free exercise of thought and speech required for the pursuit of truth and intellectual and spiritual development. If any form of coercion or punishment is used to control belief, some people will lie about their beliefs to avoid punishment for having the wrong beliefs and to reap the rewards of holding the correct beliefs.

Finally, as I have discussed, there is the problem of determining what is and what is not true doctrine. To assume, as the handbook does, that the bishop or stake president is always right when there is a doctrinal disagreement between a member and a leader is to show contempt for truth and the processes for understanding it. When the Church builds a building, it hires an architect and professional contractors to build it. We do not have a professional clergy, and even the most learned scriptorians can disagree on doctrinal questions. So how do we decide? Usually we do not need to, or rather everyone should decide for himself. Only a person who teaches that there is no God or denies that Jesus is our Savior or denies the principles of his gospel should be considered an apostate because he teaches false doctrine.

Joseph Smith declared:

We deem it a just principle ... that all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience. Consequently, then, we are not disposed, had we the power, to deprive any one of exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of its choicest gifts.38

Joseph Smith also taught that everyone has the right to believe and teach false ideas as well as true ones:

if any man is authd. to take away my life who say i am a false teacher so i shod. have the same right to all false teacher & where wod. be the end of the blood & there is no law in the heart of God that wod. allow any one to interfere with the rights of man every man has the right to be a false as well as a true prophet—If I shew verily I have the truth of God & shew that ninety nine of 100 are false prop. it wod. deluge the whole world with blood."39

The way to deal with false doctrine is not to punish those who believe it but to teach true doctrine. Joseph Smith says: "If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning."40

Some Other Issues. I will now address several issues which have been brought up by President Bacon or Bishop Hammond in our discussions.

They have claimed that my paper has caused and will cause confusion and doubt in some people who read it or damage to their testimonies. However, they have both said that the paper did not have any such effect on themselves. If anyone accuses me of damaging their faith, then I have a right to confront them. If they are not willing to come forward, then there is no evidence to support this claim. I do not have the authority or influence that would encourage people to accept what I have written unless they are genuinely persuaded. People are perfectly free to reject my interpretation, reasoning, and conclusions for any reason they want. Many people who have written letters in support of me have stated that they do not agree with my conclusions but they support my right to publish them.

Mormon tells us how to judge good from evil: "For everything which inviteth to do good and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ, wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God" (Moro. 7:16). By this criterion, I believe that my paper is good because it persuades people to believe in Christ.

President Bacon told me several things I could do to avoid this court. One was to agree not to write on controversial topics or teach false doctrine. This is unacceptable to me for several reasons. Every topic is potentially controversial, and I have no way of knowing beforehand what topics my leaders will consider controversial. There is no reason to write about something that everyone already understands perfectly and agrees upon. I love the truth and always try to write truthfully so, of course, I try not to teach false doctrine, but I also make mistakes and fall into errors. President Bacon has been unwilling to engage in any discussion about why what I have written is false doctrine. He has simply proclaimed it to be such. Since I have no criteria to judge whether something I write will be considered controversial or doctrinally false by my leaders I feel it would be dishonest for me to make such a promise. More important, however, is the fact that such a demand is an infringement of my freedom of belief and speech which I will not give up, not only for my own sake but for the sake of others. For whenever this precious, God-given right is trampled upon, everyone suffers.

President Bacon also told me that I must not write about or discuss with anyone publicly or privately the false doctrine contained in my article. He didn't, however, tell me which parts he considers false. This article contains my deepest beliefs about God and my testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, as the title page of the Book of Mormon declares. It also contains my belief that God is our Mother as well as our Father. I cannot comply with President Bacon's demand. To do so would require me to break my baptismal covenant to be a witness of Jesus Christ at all times and in all places and I will not do that. My testimony of Christ may be different than yours, but it is mine and I have a right to give it. I do try to be sensitive to what is appropriate in what setting; and although I have held some of these beliefs longer than fifteen years (but others for only a few years), I have been able to express them in ways that were considered acceptable in Church settings and I hope to be able to continue to do so. The Sunstone Symposium and Dialogue are public forums, not in any way sponsored by the Church, which accept alternate interpretations of doctrinal issues; and I considered them appropriate settings in which to offer my interpretations of the Godhead. The interpretation given in my article is not in any way final. I still have questions which I hope to be able to explore.

Another thing that President Bacon has said that I must do is agree to the principle that I should do whatever my leaders counsel me to do. I suppose he does not require me to actually do it since he does not hold disciplinary councils on those who view R-rated movies, or fail to keep journals, or hold family home evenings on Monday night, or mothers who work outside the home. However, I do not agree with this principle because it is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ which says that we are to have faith in him and obey his commandments. Our primary connection to him is by the Holy Spirit. Many scriptures testify of this:

For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ. (2 Ne. 32:5, 6)

But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart. (D&C 46:7)

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. For we cannot, but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (Acts 5:29; see also Acts 4:20)

O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh: for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Ne. 4:34)

We are to trust in God instead of man. This "arm of flesh" (man) is contrasted to the "arm of the Lord" in the scriptures. "The arm of the Lord" can be shown to mean the Spirit of God; thus we are to follow the Spirit rather than any man.

I do acknowledge the principle that God speaks through his servants and that, whenever one of them speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, we are to receive his words as if they came from God himself. However, nowhere in the scriptures does it say that everything which a Church leader says or does in his official capacity should be accepted as if it came from God. We can only know if something comes from God by the witness of the Spirit to our own hearts and minds. Therefore, because my faith is in Jesus Christ, I must follow what the Spirit reveals to me. Of course, because of weakness and uncertainty, I sometimes fail to do what the Spirit directs me. I also recognize that I can be mistaken about what the Spirit is revealing to me. But I believe that, if I put my faith in Jesus Christ and remain open to the criticism and counsel of others and am willing to repent when I see my sins and errors, he will reveal them to me. I believe that his grace is sufficient to save me.

I am not an apostate. I believe in Jesus Christ and his doctrine. I have tried with all my heart to keep my covenants. I have not broken any law of the Church but have tried to do my duty and fulfill my callings.

If you use this council to punish me, you will punish an innocent person.

If you punish me, it will be because I refused to lie.

If you punish me, it will be because I refused to let you stand between me and God.

If you punish me, it will be because I refused to bow to your authority by giving you my unconditional obedience.

If you punish me, it will be because I refused to give up my freedom to believe, speak, and act according to my conscience.

If you punish me, it will be because I refused to deny my testimony of Jesus Christ.

I am not your judge, and I pray that God will be merciful to you. But if you punish me, you will have to answer to him for using your priesthood authority unrighteously.

Appendix B
Appeal of Janice M. Allred

7 June 1995

[Letter to First Presidency]

I am submitting this document and some other materials for the purpose of formally appealing the decision of the disciplinary council held on 9 May 1995 by Bishop Robert Hammond of Edgewood Ward, Edgemont Stake, in Provo, Utah. The decision of this council was to excommunicate me from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the grounds of apostasy.

The additional documents I am submitting are:

1. "Defense of Janice M. Allred," the defense I presented at the disciplinary council held by Bishop Robert Hammond on 12 October 1994. [See Appendix A.]

2. "An Open Letter to Bishop Hammond," in which I discussed some objections I had to the decision of the October council and the conditions imposed on me by Bishop Hammond.41

3. The first letter informing me of the disciplinary council to be held on 12 October 1994.

4. The second letter informing me of the change of venue in the 12 October disciplinary council.

5. The letter informing me of the decision of the 12 October disciplinary council.

6. The conditions of my probation given to me by Bishop Hammond on 22 October.

7. The letter informing me of the disciplinary council to be held on 9 May 1995.

8. The letter informing me of the decision of the 9 May disciplinary council.

9. Witness statement of [first witness].

10. Witness statement of [second witness].

11. Witness statement of [third witness].42

12. Witness statement of [fourth witness].

13. "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother."43

14. "Him Shall Ye Hear: Prophets and People in the Church of Jesus Christ."


On 12 October 1994, a disciplinary council was held to determine whether or not I was guilty of apostasy. My "Defense of Janice M. Allred" (Doc. 1, pp. 1-3) gives a summary of the events leading up to the council. I pled not guilty to the charge of apostasy.

To substantiate the charge against me Bishop Hammond had three letters read. They were from Bishop Robert Lowe, Bishop Scott Runia, and President Craig Hickman. Bishop Lowe was my bishop in November 1992 when President Bacon and I first discussed my paper, "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother." Bishop Runia was my bishop until April 1994, and President Hickman is the first counselor in the presidency of Edgemont Stake. Although I do not remember the exact content of these letters, Bishop Hammond interpreted them to mean that I had disobeyed three bishops and one stake president in publishing my paper "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother." The third bishop was himself. I told the council that, although Bishop Lowe had been present at my first meeting with President Bacon, he had not said anything and he had certainly never counseled me to not publish my paper. Bishop Runia had been told by President Bacon to stop me from publishing the paper, but he himself had never counseled me not to. When he informed me of President Bacon's request, I told him that the article was already at press. Bishop Runia and Bishop Hammond were present at the 22 May meeting in which President Bacon tried to get me to stop the publication of my article, but neither of them counseled me not to publish it. (See Doc. 1, p. 2.) President Bacon had asked me not to speak or write on the topic of the Heavenly Mother. I interpreted this as counsel which I had the right to either accept or reject. He never indicated that I would be punished if I did not follow his advice. Later he did tell me that I would have to be punished because I had disobeyed him. Bishop Hammond's charge that I had disobeyed three bishops and one stake president was simply false, implying as it did that they had all independently commanded me to not publish my article. Even President Bacon's counsel had not originated with him, but had, he informed me, come from two apostles.

Bishop Hammond argued that since I had disobeyed my Church leaders I was an apostate according to the first definition of apostasy in the General Handbook of Instructions, which defines apostasy as "repeatedly act[ing] in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders." One can disagree with a Church leader without being in opposition to him. (See "Open Letter to Bishop Hammond," Doc. 2, p. 2, 2nd paragraph.) I listened carefully to President Bacon's advice, I prayed about it, and then I followed my own conscience. If in doing so I had broken a law of the Church I might deserve to be punished (depending on which law was broken). But I did not disobey any Church law by publishing my paper, and there is no Church law which requires us to follow the directives of Church leaders or be punished. (See Doc. 1, pp. 3-5 for a more detailed defense against the charge of disobedience.)

The second reason given by Bishop Hammond for charging me with apostasy was that I had taught false doctrine in my paper "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother." I answer this charge in my defense. (See Doc. 1, pp. 6-10.)

Bishop Hammond and the other members of the council spent a lot of time trying to get me to agree to the principle that a Church member should obey his Church leaders unconditionally. They also wanted me to repent of my disobedience and show a willingness to accept their counsel. I told them that I could not repent of something which I felt was good; to do so would be a mockery of God and a lie. I reminded Bishop Hammond that I had always been willing to listen to his counsel and the counsel of President Bacon and give it prayerful consideration, but that I believed I should act according to my own spiritual feelings and best judgment. I believe that this is in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ which puts each of us in direct contact with God through the Holy Spirit. We are responsible for our own sins and also our own spiritual growth. I recognize that I have made mistakes and will make mistakes; but this is not fatal because, through faith in Jesus Christ, I can repent when I discover my sins. Making mistakes and learning from them is part of the process of spiritual maturation. However, I do not believe I have committed any sin which warrants Church discipline. I have only exercised the freedom given us in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I give my testimony and explain my commitment and service to the Church in my defense. (See Doc. 1, p. 5, paragraph 4; p. 6, paragraph 1.) The witnesses I brought to the 12 October disciplinary council also made statements about my character, commitment, and service. (See Docs. 9-12.)

The decision of the 12 October council was to place me on formal probation. I was placed under the following restrictions: I was not allowed to hold a temple recommend, give a talk, offer a public prayer, or partake of the sacrament. Bishop Hammond told me he would impose additional restrictions and conditions on me. On 23 October, he gave me the additional restrictions and conditions. They were: I was not allowed to serve in a Church position, and I was asked to stay in regular contact with my bishop, to not publish or speak in opposition to the doctrine of the Church, and to refrain from clear and open opposition and criticism of the Church or its leaders. (See Doc. 6.)

I believed the decision of the October disciplinary council to punish me was unjust. However, because I felt it represented a decision by Bishop Hammond to continue to work with me before making a final decision, I did not appeal it. Instead I wrote an open letter to Bishop Hammond to inform him of some objections I had to the action of the council and to let him know what my intentions were in regard to the restrictions and conditions imposed on me. (See Doc. 2.)


A second disciplinary council was held on 9 May 1995. The charge was that I had failed to make the specified progress and had broken the conditions of my probation. Bishop Hammond read the conditions and a list of statements interpreting the conditions, and then he asked me what my response to the charge was. I said that the conditions required interpretation and thus it was not simply a matter of fact whether or not I had broken the conditions, but something that required judgment to determine. Paul MacKay, the second counselor, said that I had said I would not comply with the conditions. He used my "Open Letter to Bishop Hammond" and newspaper articles reporting that I said I would not comply to substantiate his statement.

I replied that the newspaper statements and headlines were interpretations and simplifications of what I had said. What I had said in the letter was more complicated. In the letter, I said that I would follow all the restrictions that were placed on me, and I had done this. Bishop Hammond had given me three additional conditions in writing. When he gave them to me, he also read me a list of statements which interpreted the conditions and gave some expectations he had for me, but he did not give me a copy of this second list. The first written condition said that I should stay in regular contact and be willing to counsel with my bishop. In my letter I stated that I would not take the responsibility for initiating contact with my bishop, but I would be willing to meet with him under certain conditions. In fact, I met with him whenever he requested a meeting, and I answered most of his questions.

In my letter, I said that I had no intention of breaking the second and third conditions; but since judgment is required to determine what Church doctrine is and what constitutes clear and open opposition to the Church and criticism of the Church and its leaders, I might not be able to comply with these conditions to my bishop's satisfaction.

The only thing that I said that I refused to do was to submit to any kind of censorship or supervision of my writing and public speaking. This refusal did not violate any of the conditions, but it did go against Bishop Hammond's expectation that I should be willing to have my work reviewed to make sure it did not violate the conditions. I was unwilling to agree to such a process because I felt that it would be both dishonest and unrealistic for me to do so. While I am certainly willing to have my ideas criticized, truth, not safety or acceptability, is the prime consideration for me. I did not think it would be honest to ask someone to review my work for acceptability unless I intended to change it if they found it unacceptable. I also felt it would be unrealistic for me to agree to have my writing reviewed because I do not have much time to write and I am usually working against a deadline. Although I would like to be able to finish well before the deadline, I know from experience that I will not be able to. I refused to agree to meet this expectation of Bishop Hammond because I did not want to make a promise I couldn't keep and because I felt it violated my freedom of speech, which is an integral part of free agency. (See Doc. 1, pp. 9-10.)

Keith Halls, who was acting as secretary, asked me whether my response to the charge that I had broken the conditions was "yes" or "no." I responded that in my judgment I had not.

Bishop Hammond questioned me about four things which he thought violated the conditions. The first was a speech I gave at the Counterpoint Conference on 5 November 1994. In this speech I told about my experiences in being disciplined by the Church and discussed [some] issues which I think are important for all Church members to consider. Although Bishop Hammond had not heard the speech and had never read it, he had read a newspaper report about it. He had asked me for a copy, but I had refused to give him one. I had told him my reasons: It contained some personal feelings which I did not want to share with him, and I was afraid he would use it against me. Bishop Hammond believed that my refusal to give him a copy of the speech, along with what he had read about it in the newspaper, was evidence that it violated the conditions. I told him that in my judgment it did not violate the conditions. Bishop Hammond said that it violated his second list of conditions (the one I was never given a copy of) which said that I should counsel with my bishop in a relationship of love and trust. I told him that I could not trust him to view my writing fairly because he had never been willing to take my motives into consideration, to discuss the issues I raised, or to concede the possibility that there could be legitimate differences of opinion about doctrinal matters. His main purpose in looking at my papers seemed to be, not to understand what I was saying, but to look for evidence of apostasy. Bishop Hammond again asked me for a copy of the speech, and I agreed to have my husband go get a copy and bring it to the council. They did not read it while I was present. I do not know whether or not the bishopric read it before making their decision.

The second piece of evidence against me was a number of newspaper articles about me. The bishopric felt I should have kept the discipline taken against me confidential. Bishop Hammond said that since [the bishopric] are required to keep our meetings confidential, I should also keep them confidential. I replied that the purpose of confidentiality is to protect the privacy of the member. This is true of all privileged relationships: therapist-client, doctor-patient, attorney-client, and priest-penitent. The one rendering the service is required to keep all communications confidential because they are about the private life of the one receiving the service. The client may speak about her own private life if she wishes. I had not broken any legal or moral rule by speaking about my situation. I reminded Bishop Hammond that I had always been honest about my intention to talk about my situation with others, including news reporters, and I had also waived my right to confidentiality by giving him permission to discuss my case if he wished.

Keith Halls expressed the opinion that the publicity about disciplining scholars damaged the Church and that I was opposing the Church by talking to news reporters. I replied that my motive was not to damage the Church but to call attention to some important issues that affected all Church members. If the publicity makes the Church look bad, maybe there is something bad about disciplining Church members for the honest exploration of religious questions. It will not damage the Church to admit its errors and correct them. On the contrary, it would improve it, and all people of good will would respect such an action. I told the council that in talking with news reporters I had always tried to be as accurate as possible and had never said anything derogatory about any Church leader.

The third piece of evidence against me was a news article which appeared in Sunstone reporting the disciplinary action taken against me in October. This article quoted extensively from my "Defense of Janice M. Allred" and "An Open Letter to Bishop Hammond." Bishop Hammond felt that I should not have allowed Sunstone to use these documents. My reply was that Sunstone's article about me was part of the news coverage which had resulted from the October disciplinary council. I had made the documents public, and I had no objection to their being published. Certainly my willingness to talk to reporters was a factor in this coverage, but there almost certainly would have been some media attention given to this event even if I had refused to talk to them. My defense of my willingness to discuss my situation with reporters is given above.

The fourth piece of evidence presented by Bishop Hammond was a copy of By Common Consent, the newsletter of the Mormon Alliance. This newsletter reported my participation on a panel sponsored by the Mormon Alliance. Although Bishop Hammond had no report of what I had said on the panel, he seemed to feel that my very participation constituted opposition to the Church. There was also a short article in this issue of By Common Consent defining ecclesiastical or spiritual abuse. This article invited people to contact the Mormon Alliance with their own stories of spiritual abuse. My name was given as a person to contact. Bishop Hammond thought that I had written the article, although I hadn't. I explained that the Mormon Alliance is not an apostate organization with the purpose to harm or embarrass the Church in any way. Its purpose is to define and identify spiritual abuse, to educate members concerning their rights, and to collect stories of spiritual abuse for the purpose of aiding the victims and calling attention to the problem.


Bishop Hammond believes that the evidence he presented shows that I repeatedly acted in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders. I maintain that none of my speeches or actions has been in opposition to the Church or its leaders. To disagree with a person's ideas or to refuse to follow his advice is not necessarily to be in opposition to him, and to point out problems in an institution is not necessarily to be in opposition to that institution. To know whether or not a person's disagreement or dissent or calling attention to problems in an organization means she is in opposition to it, we need to know what her motives are. If her motives are to engage in open and honest discussion, to increase understanding, and to help solve problems, she cannot be in opposition to the organization. Only if her motives are to damage, destroy, or subvert the mission of the organization is she in opposition to it.

An apostate is like a traitor. He deliberately tries to destroy the Church. A person cannot be a traitor without intending to be one, and he cannot be an apostate without knowing he is one. A general of an army might make some foolish mistakes in a battle, thereby causing serious damage to his country. We would not call him a traitor unless he tried to lose the battle. He might be incompetent and he might have helped the enemy, but we would not call him a traitor unless he meant to help the enemy.

I pointed out to Bishop Hammond that in judging whether or not I was guilty of apostasy he had to take my motives into consideration. I had told him several times what my motives were: to share ideas which had been helpful to me, to increase my own and others' understanding of the gospel and religious truth, and to help solve problems in accordance with gospel principles. Of course, motives are complex, but these were my intentions in writing and speaking on religious topics. It is also possible that I could lie about my motives, but there are many things about me that attest to my sincerity. Bishop Hammond knows that I believe in Jesus Christ and have a testimony of his gospel. (See Doc. 1, p. 5 for my testimony.) One of the main purposes of the two papers that Bishop Hammond claimed taught false doctrine was to testify of Jesus Christ and increase faith in him. He knows of my desire to follow gospel principles and of my many years of service in the Church. (See Docs. 9-11.) Would I pay tithing, attend Church meetings and bring my children with me to Church, send my children on missions, and serve faithfully in many callings if I were in opposition to the Church? Do people give time and money to something they want to destroy?

Bishop Hammond admitted that he believed my motives were good and that I was sincere in what I said about my intentions. He also acknowledged my good character and service in the Church, but he said that these things were irrelevant to whether or not I am an apostate. He said that he had to look at the outcome of my actions. By "outcome" he seemed to mean any damage my words or actions caused the Church or any Church members. However, this definition is not consistent with the definition of apostasy given in the handbook, which says that opposition must be deliberate. This means that it must be intended.

Not only was Bishop Hammond's interpretation of what constitutes apostasy incorrect but he also did not have any evidence to support his claim that my articles or actions damaged the Church or its members. Although he has told me that my articles have damaged people's testimonies, he has never produced one witness against me. (See Doc. 1, p. 10.) On the other hand, there are many people who have told me that what I have written has helped them remain in the Church. I could supply written testimonies from them upon request. I also know of people who have left the Church because of the actions of leaders in punishing people for their writings and speeches. Will these leaders be brought to trial for damaging these people's testimonies?

Perhaps Bishop Hammond feels that the publicity surrounding my case has damaged the reputation of the Church. If this is true, it is not what I have done but what the Church has done that has caused the damage.


Bishop Hammond presented no evidence to show that I am an apostate. His strategy was to show that I had broken the conditions of my probation. The conditions essentially redefined apostasy. (See Doc. 2, p. 2.) Bishop Hammond does not have the right to give his own definition of apostasy; he should use the definition given in the handbook. His reasoning was that if I had broken the conditions of my probation, I was guilty of apostasy. However, this [assertion] even goes beyond what he claimed in setting up the conditions. In the letter informing me of the decision of the first disciplinary council, he stated, "We consider the terms of this probation as sacred, the violation of which will result in reconsideration by the disciplinary council of this matter for further action." This [declaration] merely states that the violation of the conditions will lead to a reconsideration of the question of whether or not I am an apostate, not that breaking the conditions will be grounds for excommunication. In calling the terms of the probation sacred, Bishop Hammond was assuming that he had the authority to command me in the name of God and put me under an obligation to obey his commands. Church leaders have no such authority (it can only be given by the Holy Spirit in a specific situation), and they have no right to put members under any obligation without their consent. Bishop Hammond's strategy assumes that disobeying a leader is apostasy. But I have shown that members are under no obligation to obey the counsel or directives of their leaders. (See Doc. 1, pp. 3-5.)

At the beginning of the disciplinary council, Bishop Hammond announced that he intended to focus on what I had done since the October disciplinary council. His purpose was to show that I had broken the conditions and was thus guilty of apostasy and should be excommunicated. He did not allow me to read the witness statements from the October council which I had brought with me. He maintained that all evidence about my belief in God and the scriptures, my character, my motives, my life, my faithfulness in keeping the commandments, and my service in the Church were irrelevant to the question of whether or not I am an apostate. But what could be more relevant to understanding the meaning of my actions than my beliefs, my character, my motives, and my life? Jesus said, "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). To judge righteous judgment, we must judge as God judges. "For the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7) Of course, as human beings we cannot judge righteously because we cannot see another person's heart as the Lord can. However, if we are called upon to judge another person, we should at least try to see her heart and we should certainly take her inner life into consideration. Since Bishop Hammond said my heart was irrelevant, and not only my heart but all other aspects of my life which might reveal my heart, how could he possibly judge me righteously?

I am not an apostate. I believe in Jesus Christ and his gospel. I try to keep my covenants and I have not broken any law of the Church. In my speaking and writing, I have always tried to make it clear that the ideas and interpretations I express are my own. In calling attention to problems in the Church, my purpose has been to help solve those problems, not to defame or tear down the Church. While I recognize the authority of Church leaders to carry out the duties of their callings, I do not accept their authority over my own spiritual feelings and judgment in making my personal decisions. In my religious life, my relationship with Jesus Christ is primary. Although I believe that the decision of the disciplinary council to excommunicate me was unjust, I do not bear any ill will to those who made it.


12 October 1994 Disciplinary Council

1. President Bacon and Bishop Hammond did not act independently but were greatly influenced by what they thought their priesthood leaders expected of them. My paper, "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother," was originally brought to President Bacon's attention by the area president. We had three separate interviews about it because President Bacon wasn't sure what the area president wanted him to do. He told me this himself. Later he told me that "Salt Lake" had told him that my paper was never to be published, and still later he said that this [directive] had come from two apostles. In our last interview, he told me that he could not remain stake president one week if he did not do something about me. Clearly he felt that he had instructions to control me, and he believed that he must punish me if I disobeyed him.

Bishop Hammond consulted regularly with President Bacon about my case. I know this because he often told me that he couldn't make a certain decision without consulting President Bacon. From my conversations with Bishop Hammond, it was apparent to me that President Bacon would decide whether or not there would be a disciplinary council held and who would hold it.

Local leaders are given the responsibility of disciplining their members because they know their character and commitment to the Church. But when Church authorities send local leaders material written by or about someone in their ward or stake, these local leaders often believe that they are being told to control or punish the member without taking what they know about him into consideration. It is hard for local leaders to consider their members' cases fairly without prejudice when they believe they know what their priesthood leaders want them to do.

2. The change of venue of the disciplinary council from a stake council to a bishop's council shows that President Bacon was directing Bishop Hammond. For some reason he decided not to hold the council himself, so he turned it over to Bishop Hammond. It was an inconvenient time for Bishop Hammond as his first counselor and his executive secretary were both out of town and his family was leaving on a vacation early the next morning. He had only two days to find two substitutes and prepare for the disciplinary council. (See Docs. 3-4.)

3. In the letter informing me of the change of venue, President Bacon stated his intention of supporting whatever decision Bishop Hammond made. How then can I expect him to consider my appeal impartially and fairly? (See Doc. 4.)

4. I was not allowed to have my sister present with me during the council. At first President Bacon consented to my request to allow my sister to be present during the council, but Bishop Hammond decided that she could not be present. I wanted her there to give me emotional support and to help me prepare my record of the council by taking notes for me or helping me to remember what took place if she was not allowed to take notes. Since I do not have access to the notes of the proceedings taken by the secretary and I am not allowed to have someone take notes for me, I am hindered in preparing my appeal and my personal record of this important event in my life. It is also not fair to deny me the comfort of my sister's presence during a very difficult and stressful time.

5. An effort was made to trap me in a lie. At the beginning of the disciplinary council, Bishop Hammond asked me if I was taping the proceedings. I replied that I was not. He then asked me if I had ever taped any of our interviews, and I replied that I hadn't. The questions made me feel somewhat uneasy. I wondered why Bishop Hammond had asked them. Did he suspect me of secretly taping our meetings? I had always been very honest with him and had given him no reason to distrust me. A little after ten o'clock, one of the hall monitors interrupted to say that there was an urgent phone call for Bishop Hammond. When he returned, he again asked me if I was taping the proceedings. I again said that I was not. "Then I must tell you that we were informed beforehand that you were planning on taping these proceedings, so I must ask you again, Are you taping these proceedings?" he said. Again I replied that I was not. He then said, "Then I must tell you that I have just received a message that Channel 13 has just announced on their news that you are taping these proceedings. So I'll ask you again. Are you taping these proceedings?" "No, I am not," I said. I was stunned. I had done an interview with Channel 13 just before the council, but I had said nothing that could be construed as meaning that I was planning to tape anything. However, I had discussed taping the council with a friend so I decided to tell Bishop Hammond what we had talked about. "I'll tell you what I know about taping," I said. "A friend of mine called me on Monday night and said that she'd been talking to someone on Channel 2 to see if they might be interested in secretly taping this meeting. He said they could do it. She wanted to know if I'd be interested. I told her I'd have to think about it and she should call me back. She called back an hour later, and I told her that I didn't think it was honest to tape someone without their knowledge and I didn't want to do it. She said that was fine and Channel 2 didn't want to do it anyway because of legal reasons." Bishop Hammond said that he believed me.

I later found out that nothing on the Channel 13 news report about me even suggested that I was taping. Someone had deliberately lied, thinking they could get me to admit I was secretly taping if they seemed to have evidence that I was. I am not accusing Bishop Hammond of lying. I do not know whether or not he knew the telephone call was a lie. I later discussed this situation with him, and he said that someone at Channel 2 had overheard my friend's discussion about taping and had passed the information on to someone in our stake who had passed it on to him. When I asked him about the telephone call, he said it was a misunderstanding. I asked him to tell me who had made the call so that I could resolve the matter with him. I did not see how what had happened could have been caused by a misunderstanding. What caused the confusion between Channel 13 and Channel 2? Did the person say Channel 13 because he was afraid the council would be over before Channel 2's late night news was over? (Channel 13's news is an hour earlier.) Bishop Hammond refused to tell me who had made the call. I feel that he could have handled this situation better. Why didn't he ask me before the council if I was planning on taping? Why didn't he tell me that he had received information that I was taping when he first asked me? It seems to me that he was more interested in catching me doing something wrong than in preventing me from taping.

9 May 1995 Disciplinary Council

1. I had less than thirty-six hours to prepare. Although I was given only three days notice on the first disciplinary council, I had known for some time that it was pending, and Bishop Hammond had kept me informed about when it was likely to occur. I was given no warning that Bishop Hammond was planning to hold another disciplinary council. (Doc. 7.)

2. I was not told specifically what the charges were so I did not know what to prepare for. (Doc. 7.)

3. Bishop Hammond made no attempt to ascertain whether or not the date he chose for the disciplinary council was convenient for me. My son was scheduled for surgery that morning and I spent most of the day with him in the hospital in Salt Lake. I myself was still recovering from surgery I had had six weeks previously. Why did Bishop Hammond suddenly find it so urgent to excommunicate me that he didn't even try to find out my needs?

4. Bishop Hammond seemed to have decided that I was guilty before the disciplinary council was held. The letter stated that the council was being held because of my "failure to make the specified progress and meet the prescribed conditions of formal probation." (See Doc. 7.)

5. I was not allowed to have my husband with me during the council for emotional support or to help me in preparing my appeal or making a record of this event.

6. I was not allowed to bring witnesses. The letter telling me of the disciplinary council did not invite me to bring witnesses as it should have, and I was not given enough time to ask anyone to appear in my behalf. I did bring the witness statements which were made at the October disciplinary council, and I asked if I could read them; but Bishop Hammond said he didn't think it was necessary. I didn't insist because I remembered that Bishop Hammond had told one of the witnesses at the first council that her testimony was essentially irrelevant because my character, motives, and service were not in question. However, it seems to me that it was wrong not to allow me to read the witnesses' statements since they ought to have been seriously considered, and especially since one of the counselors was not present at the first council. (Doc. 7.)

7. Bishop Hammond held me responsible for keeping a list of conditions which I never received in writing. He had given me a written list of three conditions and then read me a list of statements which interpreted the conditions and gave some expectations which he had. Since he never gave me this second list in writing, I did not remember everything on it, yet he used this list in the disciplinary council to show that I had broken the conditions.


37Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, comps. and eds., Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Religious Studies Monograph Series, Vol. 6 (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft/Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 183-84.

38Joseph Fielding Smith, comp. and ed., TUI (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1968), 49.

39Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 349.

40Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 313.

41Items 2-8 are quoted in the text.

42Items 9-13 are not included to preserve the confidentiality of these witnesses.

43Items 13-14 will be published in a collection of essays forthcoming from Signature Books.