Subject: Notes from Parker Blount's Sunstone presentation on RFM bio's
Date: Aug 14 00:09
Author: John C.
Topics: Sunstone talk given 2002 in SLC on stories from updated with a dec 2003 excerpt

The session was titled: "Then I Became Me: A Qualitative Analysis of Written accounts of leaving the LDS Church"

Sunstone Bio Info:

Parker Blount is retired from Georgia State University, former chair, department of educational studies.

From my notes:

- Studied 127 of 148 accounts from the RFM website
- Many had attended BYU
- 65% indicated college, 35% didn't indicate education
- 46% served missions
- 50% were married in the temple
- 63% attended BYU
- Blount summarized: "these were pretty solid members at one time"

He grouped RFM bios as follows:
Group I: content until discovery of church history
Group II: unexplained dissonence
Group III: outwardly conform, internally doubt

Blount summarized: "Neither sin nor hurt feelings seem to be a causitive factor" and "generally they felt that after leaving the church they had a rewarding and fulfilling life"

In the Q&A I noted the following items:

Q: I thought they were plants from evangelical christianity
Blount: I didn't get the same feeling

Q: How did it affect you? [studying the 127 ExMo bios]
Blount: I'm a foyer Mormon. Not the back row, but the foyer

Q: Yeah, but are they happy?
Blount: Yeah, by and large they are happy

Subject: Interesting description of himself...
Date: Aug 14 00:19
Author: Dagny
Mail Address:

>Blount: I'm a foyer Mormon. Not the back row, but the foyer.

If he studied those stories and admits to hanging in the foyer, I'm wondering if his story might show up some day. ;-) Keep thinking and reading Mr. Blount!


Subject: Oops, I forgot one important part
Date: Aug 14 01:18
Author: John Corrill
Mail Address:

Also during the Q&A someone asked Parker (sarcastically):

Q: Is thinking a dangerous thing?
Blount: Thinking is a WONDERFULLY dangerous thing.

My last note of the session:

"Blount - I like this guy"

Subject: Some questions...
Date: Aug 14 11:37
Author: rpcman
Mail Address:

Did he mention Marion's book? She does much analysis on the stories posted here (although probably not as qualitatively).

Was he reading from a prepared script? If so, perhaps we can get him to publish it. Did he hand out anything with his email address on it?


Subject: E Christian?
Date: Aug 14 13:01
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

This exchange re the exit stories [at] surprises me:

Q: I thought they were plants from evangelical christianity
Blount: I didn't get the same feeling

I have no idea how someone could think this from reading the exit stories. I haven't read any that remotely hint of falsity. The depth of pain and sadness are obvious. The self-expression skills are evident. The poignancy is striking. The ring of truth is loud and clear.

Could you have such deep preconceptions you could read these stories and think "plant"? Amazing.

Thanks for this info. Very interesting.

Subject: Re: E Christian?
Date: Aug 14 16:21
Author: kelly jean
Mail Address:

My impression from Mo apologists is they feel most
heat from the xtian anti-Mormon contingent. There are
many and they are vociferous.
Therefore, it seems Mormons might be quick to
pigeon-hole any disaffected Mormon as such.

Subject: Re: Parker Blount
Date: Aug 14 15:44
Author: rpcman
Mail Address:

Hanuman wrote:
> 1) What is RFM?

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church (this site)

> 2) Is he now an ex-mormon?

Sounds like an active, non-believer from what John says in this thread.

> 4) Did he ever teach at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia?

Not much on the GSU site.

Subject: Answers...
Date: Aug 14 12:55
Author: John Corrill
Mail Address:

Q. Did he mention Marion's book?
A. I don't recall him mentioning the book

Q. Was he reading from a prepared script? If so, perhaps we can get him to publish it.
A. I went to a bunch of sessions so I'm a little fuzzy here, but I think it was him I asked if I could get a copy of his paper. He said that Dialogue had just asked him if they could publish it, so watch for it there.

Q. Did he hand out anything with his email address on it?
A. He didn't. Sunstone may have some contact information they would be willing to share.


Subject: a foyer mormon
Date: Aug 14 19:43
Author: Zia
Mail Address:

Well, he must be looking at the door. I wonder what keeps him hanging around the foyer. And as for thinking being a dangerous thing, if you don't think, then that's where the danger lies. Sounds like the question was from a non-thinker. Thanks for your report. I like your handle, too.

Subject: Excellent excerpts--Paul Toscano...
Date: Feb 09 18:48 2004
Author: dimmesdale

A very few excerpts from Paul Toscano's speech at Sunstone Symposium:

Paul Toscano in Sunstone–Dec. 2003

Why haven’t you presented anything on Mormonism for so long?

I lost my faith. I didn’t renounce it. I just lost it–like losing one’s eyesight after an accident—and not just religious faith, but faith in the power of my words to make a difference.
The polemics of a fiscally conservative, socially liberal, professionally orthodox, religiously radical, spiritually cynical, and politically incorrect excommunicant seem unlikely to matter.

Then why are you here speaking?

This event I couldn’t miss. It seemed right to set aside fears, doubts, and grievances and make an effort to connect. Not to have shown up might suggest aloofness or indifference, which are not what I feel.

How do you view the Church now?

It is like a cherished old relative with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The tabernacle stands, but the lights are winking out. The Church is preoccupied with exteriorities. It prizes righteousness over holiness, image over inspiration. The Church is no longer the Saints, but an increasingly judgmental, puritanical, and authoritarian corporate entity.

It has become the archconservative culture built on the sand of family and tribal values with respectability as its chief cornerstone—Members are relentlessly pressured to strain at gnats by avoiding alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, facial hair, tattoos, body piercing, R-rated movies, public displays of affection, nudity, erotica, masturbation, necking, petting, pre-marital sex, disrespect or questioning of authority, dissent and anger, while being constantly encouraged to swallow camels by tolerating elitism, racism, misogyny, lack of intimacy, homophobia, xenophobia, moral superiority, purification by exclusion, institutional secrecy, theological correctness, spiritual abuse, class discrimination, disdain for civil liberties, and the abdication of personal judgment and responsibility. Mormonism, I fear is no longer a mystery. It is a machine.

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church -   

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