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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 07:57PM

Not surprisingly, more information is coming out regarding the circumstances surrounding the anonymously-authored and historically-dysfuntional essays recently posted by the Mormon Church on its official website. Much of the following comes from my recent personal exchanges with RfM poster, Tom Phillips, who has granted me express permission to post their contents. He notes:

“ANYTHING I shared [with you] . . . may be disclosed to the public because my source has already mentioned such details on at least one message board. If it is of any use, you may disclose it AS YOU CONSIDER APPROPRIATE.” Tom added that “[i]nformation given to me were quotes from [General Authority] Steven Snow; [Mormon professor of literature and religion at the Univessity of Richmond (Virginia])] Terryl Givens; and the wife of the 'primary author,' Jed Woodworth.”

(emphasis added)

Here we go:

The Mormon Church's anonymous essay-writing project being described here reportedly involved a so-called “primary author," identified in this case as Jed Woodworth, whose role in the creation of the essays is said to have been explained by the author's apparently boastful spouse. (The spouse, it is reported, may have exaggerated Woodworth's role in the writing of the essays; it has therefore also been suggested that the road actually taken by the Mormon Church from the beginning was to appoint not a primary author, per se, but, rather, a committee or group of authors assigned the job of producing the essays). If, however, a primary author was utilized, then Woodworth is described as being a hard worker who was seen not only as a person who could serve as the point man for the essays but also, if necessary, as a scapegoat in service of the Quorum of the Twelve.

As to Woodworth's role as primary author, Tom Phillips, on the RFM bulletin board, has written:

“This much I can disclose, as it was posted elsewhere--information I had but had agreed not to share. Now I can:

"'Ahhh, yes. These are the essays being worked on by co-author to the book, 'Rough Stone Rolling.' Jed Woodworth. He was hired in May 2012 to go be a full-time history re-writer and give these sensitive issues a first-class scrubbing. He dropped the PhD he was pursuing at UW-Madison to be a lackey for the Q[uorum] of the Twelve. He was my Gospel-Doctrine teacher in the Madison, Wisconsin, 3rd Ward.”

This source quoted by Tom Phillips notes that his wife--meaning the wife of the source cited by Tom--had exchanged emails with Woodworth's wife regarding possible topics to be addressed by the Mormon Church's website-essay series.

(“Re: They are Deluded in Their Cynical Strategizing. The Google God Wins..” posted by Tom Phillips, aka “anointedone,” on “Recovery from Mormonism” bulletin board, 24 December 2013, at:,1117068,1117820#msg-1117820; see also, “Website Answering 'Sensitive Questions' Coming in the Next Few Weeks")

Noting that the Quorum of the Twelve may have been significantly divided over the question of how to address problematic elements of Mormon Church history (a vexing sore that was described as having been brewing for years), the Twelve may have ultimately opted for bringing in an outside writer (i.e,Mormon-apologist Bushman's aide, Woodworth) who, it has also been proposed, Bushman himself may have recommended for the task.

In fact, Woodworth is identified as having assisted Bushman in the writing of "Rough Stone Rolling" (see "Response to Richard Lyman Bushman, with the assistance of Jed Woodworth, 'Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling' [New York, Knopf, 2005, 740 pp.]," review by Louis Midgley, BYU professor of political science, for the Maxwell Institute, at:; see also, "Latter-Day Saint," by Walter Kirn, book review, "New York Times," 15 January 2006, at:

In his capacity of Bushman's assistant on "Rough Stone Rolling," Woodworth is listed with the title of "professor," at:

Woodworth is also identified as co-editor with Bushman on the book, "Believing History: Latter-day Saint Essays" (Columbia University Press, 2004, 312 pp.), at:

Woodworth is also profiled as having been a Univerisity of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student working on a dissertation on U.S. colonial history, as noted on the university's Department of History website, at:

It was suggested that Bushman--along with Mormon General Authority/attorney, Steven Snow, who is currently serving as Mormon Church Historian and Recorder--may have wanted to get something published in defense of the Mormon Church in the disasterous aftermath of its so-called “Swedish Rescue” effort, which has been described as ”a meeting conducted by Elder Marlin K. Jensen (LDS Church Historian), Richard E. Turley, Jr. (Assistant Church Historian) and members of the [Mormon] Church in Västerhaninge Chapel, Stockholm, Sweden, November 28, 2010,” aimed at “help[ing] [LDS Church] members that are struggling with their faith after discovering information about the history of Mormonism that is disturbing to them.”

(“The Swedish Rescue,” including transcripts of the actual meeting, at:

It was further noted that adding to this growing sense of urgency by the Mormon Church for a quicker essay roll-out was the problem created by certain counter-productive and over-zealous LDS apologists (Daniel E. Peterson, John L. Gee, et al), who reportedly were only making matters worse for the Mormon Church's ranking leadership. Time to call in the Tidy-Bowl man.

As the Mormon Church's emergency-relief miracle worker and primary-relief essay author, Woodworth is said to have been lured away from his doctorate program by the LDS Church around May 2012, in order to undertake this newly-focused writing project. A year later, Woodworth was reportedly wondering why the Mormon Church had not yet published the essays he had so diligently worked on. It has been reported that the essay roll-out was eventually hastened to completion by this suspected frustration on the part of Woodworth, caused by delays in publication due to internal Church Office Building politics, to which Woodowrth was not accustomed. (The essays had apparently been scheduled for publication in January 2014 but were rushed out earlier due to pressure from what were described as external forces). Woodworth is said to have possibly constructed the essays in draft form, which were then put through the process of committee modification.

At any rate, I was told that the essays in question were produced through some form of committee system and were ultimately approved, but left unsigned by, squabbling General Authorities. Indeed, as one RfM poster recently acknowledged on this site, not only was this committee system for drafting the essays purposely put in place, he was solicited by the Church to help write those essays but in the end refused--precisely because the General Authorities refused to take personal ownership of them:


"I was part of the group that would eventually be charged with writing 'essays' for the LDS Church. Out of good conscience as a non-believer, I left the group during the discussion stage. However, I was approved to write for them after being interviewed for it.

"I'm not sure who generated the current list of topics. There is something not right with the situation and only because of the anonymity of the articles. The hierarchy doesn't appear to want to take credit for them, yet they are allowing the go-ahead to publish. I don't get why they are allowing this. Again, this doesn't seem right and is 'fishy.' I know the tech group had oversight, but I'm not sure just how far up the food chain it went. It seemed like we had more supervisory 'Chiefs' than 'Indians' working on the assignments. . . .

"During my interview, I asked what topics we were going to be covering for the articles, but the list hadn't been finalized yet. I recall being asked what topics I would like to write on. When I replied that I would like to write about the atonement, I was told to come up with subjects that are more 'Church-related' or ]historical.' I caught the tech group's attention because I had previously written articles for the Mormon Church. . . . When I was a member of it, the tech group was staffed by a bunch of volunteer idealists ready to fight the giant single-handedly."

("Re: To Tom Phillips: What Are Your Sources Telling You About Those Essays?," posted by "Former Tech Groupy," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 23 December 2013, at:,1117068,1117177#msg-1117177 and "Re: Very interesting, indeed," idem, at:,1117068,1117199#msg-1117199)

The ultimate purpose of the essays has been described as an attempt by the Mormon Church to inoculate its faithful membership base by providing true-believers with an “out” for claiming that the essays (on the topics of officially-practiced, then lied- about polygamy, racism-based priesthood bans, etc.) have now been answered by the Mormon Church without any of its highest General Authorities being held accountable for their authorship.

Not only that, but the essays are said to represent a deliberate, concerted and calculated effort by the Mormon Church to remake itself for the next generation of believers, while basically trusting that present-day, pre-conditioned Mormons don't care about its actual damning history. This cynical outlook, which reportedly served as the propulsion for the Mormon Church's release of its series of anonymous mystery-history essays, is described this way:

"The concern going in from the Brethren was how to roll this out without creating a (look-at-all-of-our-problems) page. The Brethren don't want to start faith issues where they don't currently exist, and they are correct that the majority of active and believing Saints don't know or care about this stuff, particularly outside of Utah and the United States.

"The decision was made to incorporate them [the essays] into already-existing areas of the [Mormon Church's official] website and not do a big campaign (outside of the organic interest that will naturally result). From a business perspective, it's probably a wise move. . . . . [I]t's really all about inoculating the next generation. Elder [Steven] Snow has said as much directly to me. They are well aware that skeptics will likely not be satisfied with these answers or their choice of roll-out. It's there for members to see if they are planning lessons, talks, and I know that they are working towards integrating them with curriculum; particularly youth curriculum." . . .

“This much is clear: They [the essays] are not designed to restore people's faith as much as they are designed to lessen future disaffections; Members who come across damning information for the first time and turn to to see what the Church says on the matter. The goal is to give them a faithful response while still acknowledging the complexity of the issue.”

("The Debate Over the 13 New Essays?," posted by “epiginosko,” in "New Order Mormon," 10-11 December 2013, at;


Welcome to the Pragmatically-Perverted. Routinely-Remade Church of Jesus Christ of Puppeteered Saints.

Edited 61 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2013 06:52PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: verilyverily ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 08:21PM

It seems to me that LD$ Inc. are simply nailing their own coffin shut more and more with this crap.
Everything they say from JS on has been a lie and they are still perpetuating these lies and adding more and more. They are just hiring more professional liars make it seem less obvious!
After throwing Breedum Young under the bus, some TBMs I know were angry because they like the 2nd profit. And a university is named after this racist prick!
Their DAMAGE control has serious problems. I think that the problem is is that there is so much crap in TSCC and so many lies which is was based on that there is no way to come out without placing damage elsewhere with elsewhere still remaining in TSCC.
It's like trying to put a litter of puppies into a box. Just as you get a few in and have the corner pressed down, a few pop up on the other corner. The more they try the more they will look like morons.
Yes indeed = Pragmatically Perverted Remade Church of Jesus Christ of Puppeteered Saints - great new name for them. THANKS AS ALWAYS STEVE.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 08:33PM

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2013 08:44PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:37PM

Great piece, Steve. Once again you've gotten right to the core motivations behind Mormon power.It looks like they're in a damage control mode.

When caught in a lie, one can either confess or misdirect.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:48PM

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2013 10:49PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: 3X (NLI) ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:45PM

How are these essays to be characterized?

They clearly aren't doctrine - perhaps they are 'mocktrine'.

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Posted by: get her done ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:57PM


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Posted by: caddis ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 12:59AM

Thanks Tom Phillips and Steve for the information.

Maybe this will actually work for the youth? The leadership seems to be acting at about the jr. high level in putting this whole thing together without having to take credit.

Maybe I'm way off here but I can't imagine previous generations of leaders lacking the balls to put their names behind statements. This current group have no balls.

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Posted by: Mormoney ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 10:29AM

I find this whole thing quite fascinating. Am I reading this correctly though, that some of these essays were written, in draft form, by Jed Woodworth, who happens to be a non-believer?

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 10:35AM

. . . was not self-identified in the OP as Woodworth. Rather, that individual said he refused to write Mormon-Church committee essays because the essays were to remain unsigned by the General Authorities, which the individual thought was wrong.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2013 10:49AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Former Tech Groupy ( )
Date: December 29, 2013 09:06PM

in the Ensign nor on their website without a serious level of scrutiny. Whom at the COB is approving these essays? Some old geezer with a staff-accessible auto-signature machine?

As I mentioned before, I don't understand why anyone at the COB with any authority will not claim ownership of the essays. As an outsider, the reason this looks fishy is because of the LDS church's ever-changing doctrine, their ability to maneuver their past as the wind changes. If you don't claim authorship, you can deny authorship and release yourself from accountability. In the real world, which the LDS church's practices do not adhere nor subscribe to, you can't maintain clientele.

What keeps Mormonism afloat? Good question.

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Posted by: Former Tech Groupy ( )
Date: December 30, 2013 07:25PM

tech group boss. He looked me up on LinkedIn but never replied. Nobody wants to touch the essay situation.


"Who is writing the articles that are appearing on the topics page on the LDS website? Are these being generated from the LDS Tech Group?


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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 30, 2013 07:27PM

. . . that you may wish to share with me off-board (where we can mutually determine how to protect sources while publicly exposing the Mormon Church with the help of inside sources), please contact RfM admin (Susan I/S), at Let her know who you are and that it's OK for you to have my personal email. She'll then give it you; we can then make contact and go from there.

Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2013 05:03AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: danl ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 10:46AM

The statement

"There is something not right with the situation and only because of the anonymity of the articles. The hierarchy doesn't appear to want to take credit for them, yet they are allowing the go-ahead to publish."

The twelve want to leave themselves an "out" in case this backfires and there is controversy after the papers come out. The 12 just have to say "This wasn't church approved". If everything goes smoothly they will eventually take credit for it.

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Posted by: Fetal Deity ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 11:27AM

Thanks to Steve, Tom and everyone else involved in helping investigate and expose the appalling lack of courage and gross inconsistency and incompetence of the Mormon church hierarchy.

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Posted by: Bite Me ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 12:38PM

Hey Steve,

I just sent a request to Susan I/S for your email in order to follow up regarding the topic.

mine email is... t s c c c a n b i t e m e @ g m a i l . c o m

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 05:45PM

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Posted by: montanaexmo ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 04:10PM

Thank you Steve and annointedone for once again providing us with such astonishing and amazing information about the gross fraud and manipulation going on in the COB. When I periodically review the current members of the hierarchy of tscc I am always amazed at the uptick in the number of lawyers and financial types that are being "called" to these positions. Obvioulsy the leadership is moving to CYA and invest the money before things really fall apart. With all of the lawyers in the mix they clearly know that they are now committing constructive fraud by failing to come clean on many issues and continuing to intentionally deceive future generations of brain washed morgbots. I'm hoping the 1st Pres. and Q of 12 see this post or their monitors summerize it for them because they need to understand very clearly the consequences of what they have set in motion. I want to see the financial statements and I am sure there are many others like me that want to know what happened to our donations. Until that issue is disclosed in full for public scurtiny, all of the attempts in the world to cleanse the history of the church mean nothing. Members of the 1st Pres. and Q of 12: can you say "class action law suit"? Given everything else that has happend inside tscc over the last couple of years it's just a matter of time before someone files a massive class action suit on behalf of all of us that have been duped by your fraud and that should eventually lead to full disclosure of the finances of tscc. In your quiet moments of reflection, think about the shock waves that willl create as your greed and self serving conduct is exposed to the public and tscc crumbles around you. You should start planning now to set up the settlement fund that will be required to pay off the claims you will face. It happened to the catholics. Don't be so smug to think it can't happen to tscc.

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Posted by: canadianfriend ( )
Date: December 29, 2013 10:28PM

montanaexmo said:

it's just a matter of time before someone
> files a massive class action suit on behalf of all
> of us that have been duped by your fraud and that
> should eventually lead to full disclosure of the
> finances of tscc. In your quiet moments of
> reflection, think about the shock waves that willl
> create as your greed and self serving conduct is
> exposed to the public and tscc crumbles around
> you. You should start planning now to set up the
> settlement fund that will be required to pay off
> the claims you will face. It happened to the
> catholics. Don't be so smug to think it can't
> happen to tscc.

It has happened to the Scientologists. The French courts call it "organized fraud". That is exactly what the cojcolds is. They couldn't be more organized and they couldn't be more fraudulent.

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Posted by: Bamboozled ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 04:36PM

So really these essays are just more BS. Unless the GA's put their name on it they can deny it like everything else in church history/doctrine.

The essays are just flack being shot up into the air to try and confuse the ground radars.

I thought there was no more respect for me to lose for the LDS Church hierarchy. I was wrong.

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Posted by: verilyverily ( )
Date: December 29, 2013 04:03AM

I agree with Bamboozled. I didn't think my opinion of the upper level guys could get any lower but it has now. They are ball-less wonders.

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Posted by: jigglypuff ( )
Date: December 29, 2013 09:08AM

I love how in the Sweden article, the members are finding out this information in their "idle" time! Cause everybody knows "idle" time is of the devil! Ridiculous...

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