Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Most Exciting News In A Long Time
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Man Kicked Out Of Mormon Church For Failing To Donate Money...
Failure To Pay Gets You Sent To Hell By Mormon Church -- Oh yeah, they'll take back their college degree, too!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Convicted Mormon Rapist Sentenced...
Former Mormon stake president sentenced for online sex soliciting
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A former Mormon stake president from Montana was sentenced to three years and five months in prison for soliciting someone he believed to be a teenage girl for sex on the Internet and then traveling to Boise to meet her.
On June 23, Hildreth drove to Boise and appeared at what he believed was the girl's stepmother's home, at a time of day when he believed the stepmother would be at work. Prosecutors said he was carrying three condoms, a gift of thong underwear and a digital camera.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Mormon Mother Sentenced to Fifteen Years For Practicing LDS Family Values
Second District Judge Michael Allphin sentenced Angela Ray Andrews to 15-years-to-life in prison for the murder of stepdaughter Shelby Andrews — and the judge pledged to ask the Board of Pardons to keep Andrews behind bars forever.
Allphin also sentenced the woman to another prison term of one-to-15-years for second-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child. The judge ordered the sentences to run concurrently to avoid any chance of appeal on the second count.
In a rare public gesture, the Syracuse Police Department, which handled the case and saw Shelby's battered, bloodied remains, also issued a scathing condemnation of the woman who systematically and repeatedly tortured the child.
"Angela Andrews was never a mother to Shelby; she was a conniving, self-centered monster who manipulated others in the household to assist in abusing Shelby," the police statement said. "Angela played the victim in the Andrews' home and had family members believing Shelby was a bad seed. The only victim was Shelby Andrews. We all should never forget every bruise, every black eye and every bite mark on Shelby's body. Shelby never had a chance.
"As for the devil herself, Angela Ray Andrews, we hope that she never has the opportunity to be part of society or to be able to inflict torture on another human being," the police statement said.
Andrews, 37, previously pleaded guilty to the two crimes as part of a plea bargain. Prosecutors refused to negotiate the murder charge but agreed to reduce the sex-abuse charge from a first-degree felony to a second-degree felony.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings later said this was "No. 1" on the list of most grotesque cases he has handled in his 12-year legal career. He declined to give details — "out of respect for Shelby" — but indicated the violations the girl suffered were even more depraved than what has been publicly disclosed.
Rawlings wanted the death penalty for Angela Andrews and her husband, Ryan, but he was not able to charge them with capital murder because of the way Utah's laws were written at the time.
As a result of Shelby's murder, the laws have been rewritten to give prosecutors greater flexibility to seek the death penalty.
Rawlings said he was satisfied with the plea agreement because it meant Angela Andrews was forced to admit her guilt and be locked up. The plea bargain also avoided protracted court appearances and appeals; it meant Andrews will become a registered sex offender; and most significantly, it saved the other children in the house from having to testify in court in the disturbing case.
Kimberly Hales, Shelby's biological mother, recounted how Angela Andrews' cruelty toward Shelby has hurt their entire family, including Shelby's brother, now 15, and especially her sister, now 9, who collapses into tears and withdrawal due to "flashbacks of something horrific she saw Angela do to Shelby."
The other two children are now living with Kimberly Hales and have been adopted by her husband of four years, Guy Hales. Angela Andrews' son is living with her parents.
Angela Andrews read a brief statement at her sentencing, saying she did not know why she did what she did. "I want you to know, you honor, how sorry I am for Shelby's death," Andrews said in a flat voice. "As my friends and family know, I loved Shelby very much."
Ryan Andrews, 39, earlier pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder and was sentenced to a prison term of 15-years-to-life on Jan. 22. Ryan Andrews, who was Shelby's biological father, volunteered to testify against his wife if her case went to trial, even though that was not a requirement in his plea agreement.
He gave prosecutors a chilling written confession that described the brutality inflicted on Shelby on a regular basis, primarily by Angela Andrews, but also with participation by him and others.
For example, Ryan Andrews held the child's arms and legs while Angela Andrews rammed the girl in the vaginal area with a metal spray can. Angela Andrews also forced Shelby to eat her own feces, repeatedly slammed the girl's head into the stairs, and hit her in the vaginal area with the heel of a shoe, according to the confession.
The police were called to the couple's Syracuse home on Aug. 1, 2006, where officers found Shelby dead, with about 80 percent of her body covered with old and new bruises, and bite marks. Later, her brain also was found to have been swelling.
On the night Shelby was killed, Ryan Andrews described pushing the child into a tiny space in a linen closet that forced her to stand upright, even though she cried out that she could not breathe and was gagging on vomit. He said in his confession that Angela Andrews told him to leave the girl in the closet because "Shelby was just trying to play me," so the couple continued to keep the girl locked up and watched TV together.
"When we later opened the door, Shelby was dead, and her lifeless body fell to the floor," Ryan Andrews' confession said.
IF YOU"VE READ THIS FAR...And are wondering how I know she is LDS, please read this story which mentions her church!
KEARNS -- Ten-year-old Shelby Laice Andrews was proud to be the only girl on her baseball team. She loved soccer and sports; she also loved wearing brightly painted fingernails and doing her mother's hair and makeup.
On Saturday, friends and family, including a handful of Syracuse police officers, said goodbye to the little girl whose father and stepmother are charged in her beating death.
"Even though she liked girl stuff, she was quite the little daredevil," Shelby's uncle, Jeff Andrews, said Saturday at Shelby's funeral.
Shelby lived in Syracuse with her father and stepmother, but the funeral was held at the Kearns meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that her maternal grandparents attend.
Syracuse police found Shelby's body at the home of her father and stepmother Aug. 1 after her brother called 911. Shelby was badly beaten by a belt, and her head had been slammed into a wall with enough force to break a hole in the sheetrock, police said. About 80 percent of her body had bruises, contusions and bite marks -- some new and others several weeks old.
Her father, 38-year-old Ryan William Andrews, and stepmother, Angela Ray Andrews, 35, are each charged with first-degree felony murder and sexual abuse of a child. They are being held in the Davis County Jail on $500,000 bail. Angela Andrews' attorney told the Deseret Morning News last week his client was not responsible for the fatal injuries.
"Yes, she's cool," Shelby Andrews wrote in a poem about herself in which each line began with a letter of her first name. Jeff Andrews, who read the poem Saturday, said Shelby was not only cool; she was also a caring, "bright and wonderful girl."
After Shelby's grandfather had a stroke and had to retire, Shelby brought him a kitten so he would not be lonely at home during the day. When Shelby was 3 and her younger sister was born, "She was a good little mother to her new sister. She was always looking out for her," Jeff Andrews said.
As a toddler, Shelby lived in Kearns. When her parents divorced, she moved with her father to Ogden. After Ryan and Angela Andrews married, they moved to Syracuse, where Shelby went to school. She would have started the fifth grade this fall.
In her last journal entry, Shelby wrote of a recent family camping trip during which she, her mother, her sister and her brother all caught their first fish. She wrote that she had had a great time and hoped to go back again someday.
"It's heartbreaking that we won't have the privilege of reading more of what she would have written, but we know her journal pages would have been filled with the love from her family and friends and the wonderful adventures of her life," Jeff Andrews said.
Shelby's aunt, Janice Andrews, encouraged family and friends to "say goodbye to the shock and anger" they have felt since learning of Shelby's death and to find comfort in each other's support.
"Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes, of gains and losses. They come as a matched set," she said. "Today we say goodbye to Shelby Laice Andrews while looking forward to saying hello to her again."
Bishop David Sharp of the Kearns Western Hills LDS 2nd Ward told those attending that God's plan for humankind doesn't promise every experience will be a happy one; it will, however, ultimately result in eternal happiness.
"We don't know why such a beautiful young girl was taken so early in her life, but we can all be better people because of her life," he said.
Shelby Andrews was interred at Redwood Memorial Estates, 6500 S. Redwood Road.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Hey Mitt Romney... this story is about when you were a ward counselor...
I have been "out" of the church for almost 4 years now. Sometimes (for some unknown reason) I want to go back. There is no rhyme or reason to this except that perhaps it's the only religious experience I've ever known or been part of. I know in my head that Mormonism is a cult and is abusive. I need to make sure that my heart realizes that.
There are a couple of things that I would like to share -- to GET OUT of my mind and share with someone so that perhaps I can go on and resolve my conflicts within the church.
The first experience began when I was 7 years old. I lived in Nephi, Utah across from the church. My father was in jail for several DWI's and for domestic abuse against my mother. My mother turned to the church for financial help because she was trying to raise me, my sister, and my brother on her own. She did have a job at a nursing home, but it wasn't quite enough to cover food. The Bishop agreed to help her, providing that she would clean the church. Just a few light duties: washing the windows and vacuuming, mostly. I was in charge of vacuuming. My mom had a key to the church and I would go over there when she was at work and make sure that it was all vacuumed every Saturday so that it would be ready for Sunday. (Remember, I was only 7 years old.) My experience all started when I ran into a counselor in the bishopric. On that particular day, I remember being very upset because I was constantly being teased by the other kids because my dad was in jail. The counselor sat me down on his lap in the chapel and asked me to tell him why I was crying. He was so kind! So wonderful! This was a man of God wanting to know about ME! I told him everything. I trusted him and was really happy for the attention! I went home that day very happy and grateful for my new friend.
The next time I went to the church to vacuum, the counselor in the bishopric was already there. He asked me if things were better and I told him they were. He asked me if the children were still bothering me, and I told him they were, but it was okay. He took me again on his lap as if to comfort me, but this time his hand rested inside my shorts. As he kept talking to me (I don't even remember what about) his hand kept snaking up toward my private area inside my shorts. He acted like this was very natural, and although I remember feeling anxious, I did not stop him. He touched me where no adult should touch a child that day. I went home feeling confused this time, but I didn't really understand or question it, because, after all -- he was a member of the bishopric.
Each time I went to the church to vacuum for my Mom, my involvement with this man became deeper and took longer. It got to the point where I couldn't finish my job and was always afraid my mom would be angry with me. And she often was! After a few weeks, he was touching my genitals as if it were second nature to him and kissing me often. He also would touch my little girl chest and had me massaging his genitals as well. I was extremely uncomfortable with this behavior, but he always told me that I was "special." And that he loved me like I was his own little girl. I should never tell, because that would break the promises we had made to each other in the church. I remember each time going home and taking long baths until my mother would get home from work. I was constantly getting into trouble with her because she relied on me to babysit my younger siblings as well. They were left to fend for themselves during those hours. Once when I told my mom that I didn't want to clean the church anymore, she told me that if I didn't then I would be responsible for the church taking food away from our family. Did I really want to do that? NO. I couldn't handle it. (I WAS ONLY SEVEN YEARS OLD!)
Shortly after the counselor began "molesting" me, he brought a camera with him (one of those old "Polaroid" cameras) and would take pictures of me in several different ways of undress. Sometimes I would hold my shirt up, sometimes my pants would be down and my bottom would be facing the camera. Several times I was nude. I just kept thinking it MUST be okay because come Sunday, he would be sitting up there on the stand and wink at me once in awhile, or lead the opening remarks and after all, this was a man called of God. If God thought that it was okay, then it must be okay.
Then came the day that I was naked in the Sunday School classroom. I was sitting on his lap and his pants were down around his ankles. He started to push his penis into my vagina. I started to cry. He told me that it wouldn't hurt if I could just relax. He made me feel as if it were my fault that it was hurting because I didn't relax good enough. I don't remember how often this happened, but I do know it was more than 3 times.
Then I turned 8 years old and it was time for my baptism. I was afraid. I memorized my "Articles of Faith" like I knew that I should. (I ALWAYS did everything that I should!) It was time for my interview with the Bishop. I was so afraid to go into his office because I knew from what my Primary teacher and Sunday School teacher told me what he would ask. I knew I couldn't lie. I was so afraid that everyone would find out and I would not be able to come to church anymore. I was afraid that the Bishop probably already knew about what was going on because God surely would have let him know!
After I recited my scriptures that I had to memorize and the Articles of Faith, the Bishop started the interview. He asked me if I had been a good girl and if I felt worthy to be baptized. It took me a few seconds to answer. Then I told him, "No." He asked me why. I told him that I couldn't tell him. Perhaps he assumed that I had stolen some candy from a store or something like that because what he said next surprised me. He said, "Julie, when you come up from the waters of baptism, you will be as clean and pure as the white driven snow." (I remember those exact words as if it were just yesterday.) Well, I felt pretty good about that! It almost felt -- actually it DID feel like I had a 'do-over!'
I was baptized on a Saturday. My beloved Grandpa who lived in Payson (20 miles to the north of Nephi and where I had most of my growing up years beginning at 8 and a half) baptized me. When I came up from the waters of baptism, it felt like my bishop was right! I felt so wonderful and sparkly and CLEAN! Not just on the outside, of course, but on the inside! I didn't feel evil or bad anymore.
The next day was Sunday and back in those days they confirmed you in church after all the babies are blessed. I felt so proud walking up the aisle in my new dress and my long, dark hair in curls. The bishop put out the chair and had me sit down. While he was waiting for others to join the circle for my confirmation, he mentioned to the congregation how proud he was of me. I glowed! This was really my day! The men began to surround me. My grandpa (who was to give me the blessing), some of my uncles (my mother's brother's) and a neighbor. I closed my eyes as they put their hands on my head and my Grandpa began to speak. I opened my eyes a little and looked up. To my horror and amazement, I saw the counselor in the bishopric standing off to the side of me with his head bent and his eyes closed. After seeing that, I began to cry. I think everyone assumed that I was crying because the "spirit" was really with me or something. But I was crying because HE was there. I never felt any spirit or felt the holy ghost or anything I was told I would feel. I just felt anxious and dead inside. In my little girl mind, I believed with all of my heart that the baptism never "took." That I never received the "gift of the Holy Ghost" or was worthy of any of the promises that I was supposed to have as a Child of God.
As if that weren't enough, the VERY NEXT SATURDAY I went to vacuum the church again. HE wasn't there at first, but he came in a few minutes after I did. This time I didn't want to do anything he said, but HE FORCED ME! For the first time, I struggled and he was mean and he HURT me more than ever. I tried not to cry, but I couldn't help it. I wasn't really crying so much because of what he was doing to me, but because I felt that if this were a man of God and he could do these things to me, then God must HATE me. It was that day that I realized that I wasn't special or any of those things that I was taught. That God had turned his back on me and I was on my own. I never prayed again. My "do-over" was gone....
We moved back up to Payson soon after that and away from that church. Away from the counselor in the Bishopric. I told myself that I would never, ever go to the church again, ever. But sure enough, the next Sunday I was there. But this time my Grandpa was sitting next to me, proud as could be that his Granddaughter whom he had just a baptized a few weeks earlier was with him. It was fast & testimony meeting that day and he got up and bore his testimony and talked at length about how proud he was of me and the path that I had chosen. I felt like a liar and a cheat. I felt dishonest and dirty. I was dirt before my baptism and I was dirt after my baptism. I wasn't worthy to be sitting there listening to my Grandpa shower his praise on me. It took awhile, but I finally blocked these things from my mind. But the thoughts that I wasn't worthy and was dirty and that God hated me continued to exist in the back of my little girl mind.
In the meantime, around the age of 9, I started being molested by 2 uncles. (My father's brothers.) It just seemed the norm at that time. I never told anyone. Why should I? I was always threatened not to, but since I was always obedient I wouldn't have told anyway.
Until I grew up, that is. When I was 28 years old, I told my Grandmother (my father's mother) about the abuse that had been heaped upon her by her sons. Her reply was, "I didn't know they had 'bothered' you, too." Just like it was the "norm" to have that happen! Apparently she confronted one of her sons about the abuse. His name was Russell. When I was younger, he was especially violent. His favorite game was taking me to the cemetery and having sex with me in front of his friends.... He always told me he'd kill me if I EVER told and that I would die before I was 30 anyway.
After my Grandmother confronted him about my "stories" he came to my home while my husband was out of town. I heard a loud knock at the door. I didn't look through the peephole. (An action that I still feel responsible for to this day.) As soon as the door opened, he came busting through the door. I had been cutting up some slices of cheese for my (then) two year old son to tide him over until dinner. Russell grabbed the knife, held it to my throat and after a lengthy struggle which entailed him throwing my baby into his room and slamming the door.... he beat me and raped me. I didn't tell anyone until the next day. My next door neighbors had heard noises (we lived in an apartment complex) but didn't report them. It wasn't until they saw my face that they put two and two together. I let them know "kind of" what happened, but instead of going to the police, we went to our Bishop. The police weren't called in until the next day. (I was too ashamed....) The police just simply took my statement and that pretty much was that. It was his word against mine. Oh well....
My husband, son and I moved to Florida in 1990. We were not active in the Mormon church, but were believers at that point. We were visited by missionaries and started going back into activity in 1992. But every time I would go into the chapel, I would have anxiety attacks. I would look up at the Bishop and his counselors on the stand and find myself unable to breathe. 9 times out of 10, I had to leave. I found myself not going to church because I didn't know why I couldn't just sit still and find comfort in the church. Wasn't I supposed to find comfort being in God's true church? Everyone around me did, but I didn't. So, I started studying at home instead. I read the BOM several times. I read all the books I was supposed to. It was then that I began to find historical discrepancies, prophecy and doctrinal discrepancies, etc.... I became confused about this. It was also at this time that I came across the book "Miracle of Forgiveness" by Spencer W. Kimball. He had been my favorite prophet and I was always in awe of him. But his statement regarding chastity left me feeling like I had been kicked in the stomach:
"Restitution for Loss of Chastity
Also far-reaching is the effect of loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle."
All of the past came rushing back to me with such a force that I was in bed for days. I didn't struggle for the most part. I did cooperate in most of the cases of my molestations. I didn't struggle much when my uncle raped me as an adult because I feared for the life of my child. Now I knew for sure, even as an adult, that I truly was not one of God's favorites or even worthy to be a member of HIS True Church.
I made an appointment with my Bishop. I told him of the abuse that my uncles did to me. (I didn't make any mention of my questions regarding church discrepancies at this time.) He said all the right words, "It's okay, You are forgiven..It isn't your fault, etc..." Then I showed him what I had read in "The Miracle of Forgiveness." He told me that the book was "outdated" for today and that those words wouldn't stand in my situation. I was again confused. The prophet of the Lord wrote this book, and it wouldn't stand? It was outdated? But I did find comfort in the fact that this Bishop said he would do anything he could to help me rid myself of my past so that I could go on with my life. He and I had a few more sessions until I felt better about things. He did everything he could to help me and I began to rely on his talks with me a great deal. I felt good about my life.
But the anxiety and panic whenever I would go to church would continue. I thought it must be God's way of telling me I didn't belong. The Bishop would insist that perhaps I wasn't "doing my part" by reading the Book of Mormon. That I should study it more diligently. God would give me comfort if I TRULY seeked it... I finally told the Bishop about my experience with the counselor in the Bishopric between the ages of 7 and 8. (Before and after baptism.) He immediately got a cold look on his face and shut off completely. He told me right then that he was unable to help me any further and that he wouldn't be able to speak to me again until I got professional help. I would try and call him at home and he would refuse my calls. (My calls were always a priority before.) I felt abandoned again. I felt alone and discarded and violated. I had shared things with this Bishop that I hadn't shared with anyone and he just plain didn't care anymore. I was suicidal. I didn't believe that God could or would love me if His Bishop couldn't love and accept me. I truly believed that with all of my heart.
In the meantime, my husband watched me struggle through a suicide attempt and loss of faith in my Church and myself. It was at this time that the old bishop was replaced by a new one and I felt encouraged to seek his help. Perhaps things would be different. Well, they weren't. Not even close. I felt disfellowshipped. We had no home teachers, no visiting teachers. And since we had no family around us (because they were all in Utah) I felt so alone.
My husband and I became disillusioned with what we had been reading and the experiences we had gone through. We wrote the bishop a letter asking that our names be removed from the records of the church. We never heard back from him. After several attempts and 4 letters later, (he said he had 'lost' the letters) we received a plain white piece of paper (with no letterhead) from the clerk in our ward telling us that we were no longer members. That didn't satisfy me because ANYONE could have written that! I mean, this was not even an official document! We spent the next few years wondering if we were even members or not.
We have suffered so much. I feel I've lost my identity, my God, my legacy, my heritage, my family's respect, etc. I wrote to my Grandpa on April 23, 1993 telling him of my decision to leave the church and why. (I left out the sexual abuse parts.) My grandfather was the only person in my life that I felt loved me unconditionally. He never responded to my letter. When we would talk by telephone, it was as if my letter never was sent. I still felt the love and joy in his voice when he would hear mine. I asked him at one point if he read the letter, and he told me he did, but that's all that was said. I knew he was disappointed. He told me that he knew I'd come back when I figured things out. Three months to the day I sent that letter (June 23, 1993) my grandpa died. So did a major part of me. I flew back to Utah for the funeral. My Grandmother (even though she knew I had left the church) asked me to speak. I did. It was hard, but so joyous to be able to share my thoughts and feelings about my beloved friend, mentor, father, grandfather. The only rough spot was my Grandmother telling me that my grandpa was disappointed with my decision to leave the church and felt that I had turned my back on the Lord. This made me angry. I never turned my back on the Lord. (Did I?) Wasn't he the one who turned his back on ME? What my Grandmother said to me hurt me more than if she had slapped me as hard as she could.
So now I am back to here. Here and now. I don't consider myself a Mormon. I am learning what it's like to be on the outside looking in. (Because sometimes I still crave the fellowship I had in Utah as a teenager.) I miss my Grandfather giving me a "Father's Blessing" when I was going through a rough time or ill. But I still have the shame. I still carry the burden of what happened in those secret times in the chapel and the sunday school room in Nephi, Utah with a Man of God. I still, even though I am an adult, cannot put it into a perspective that I can deal with. I have sought secular counseling and have been able to put the abuse that my uncles heaped on me into their proper place and go on. And for that I am both proud and thankful. But this.... this is too big for me to deal with alone. And I don't know how to resolve it.
I realize that Life is a continual process. That maybe someday I will be free. Maybe I will have to die before that takes place. I hope not. In the meantime, I feel like I'm carrying around poison.
That's it. I don't know what else to add. This is a very long letter, but as you can see from reading it, a few sentences wouldn't have helped me or anyone else understand the situation.
I just hope that you can make sense of it.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this. I think the only way that justice can be done (if there is such a thing) and the only way I can feel like my life has been worth something at all is if my story can help someone else.The above comes from www.exmormon.org.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Consultant's e-mails show Mormon plan for Romney
Consultant's e-mails show Mormon plan for Romney
Say leader aware of effort; church calls statements false
Despite repeated denials by the Mormon Church and Governor Mitt Romney's advisers, e-mails from a key Romney consultant state that the leader of the worldwide church was consulted on an effort to build Mormon support for the governor's potential presidential bid and that a key church leader has been involved in mapping out the plan. One e-mail also describes Romney's personal involvement in the planning.
The Globe reported Thursday that Romney's political team had quietly discussed the plan with officials from the church and church-run Brigham Young University and that Gordon B. Hinckley, president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was made aware of the effort and had no opposition.
A church spokesman said last week that it was nonsense to suggest church leaders were working in any way to aid Romney's political campaign, adding that Hinckley did not know of the Romney initiative to build a nationwide network of Mormon supporters.
But a Sept. 8 e-mail from Romney's Utah-based political consultant, Don Stirling, states that Hinckley and James E. Faust, the church's third-highest ranking leader, knew about the effort from another church leader, Jeffrey R. Holland, who had been in close consultation with Romney operatives about it.
The e-mail, to Sheri L. Dew, chief executive officer of the Mormon Church-owned Deseret Book Co., recounted a meeting with Romney's son Josh and Kem Gardner, a major backer of Romney's. At that meeting, Stirling wrote, Gardner reported that he had met previously with Holland, one of 12 apostles who help run the Mormon Church, about the effort to help Romney.
"According to Kem, Elder Holland has been designated/assumed the role of coordinating these matters," Stirling wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by the Globe. "Elder Holland surfaced the idea of using BYU Management Society and its locally based organizations as a starting point to rally and organize the troops on a grass-roots level. Elder Holland subsequently surfaced the idea with Presidents Hinckley and Faust, who voiced no objections."
In the e-mail, Stirling also asks Dew to join a meeting at the church's headquarters with Holland, Gardner, Josh Romney, and a representative of the BYU Management Society, an alumni organization of the business school
In a second e-mail to Dew on Sept. 17 about the initiative to help Romney -- which his advisers dubbed "Mutual Values and Priorities," or MVP -- Stirling said that Romney had requested that Richard Eyre, a well-known author and speaker, join the discussions.
"Gov would like to have Rick Eyre join that meeting as a source of names throughout the country, which is probably a pretty good call," Stirling wrote.Asked yesterday about the e-mails from Stirling, the church's director of media relations, Michael R. Otterson, issued a statement saying that either Stirling or Gardner had mischaracterized the involvement of church leaders. "We have no responsibility for what others may write, and what they may think," Otterson said.
He said Stirling's statements in the e-mails -- both that Holland had been designated to oversee the effort to help Romney, and had discussed it with Hinckley and Faust -- were completely false. Otterson also said Holland did not share Stirling's understanding of why the Sept. 19 meeting was scheduled. He said Holland had not spoken with Stirling or Gardner since the meeting.
"I reiterate that the First Presidency of the church keeps a deliberate distance from party political matters for precisely these reasons, to avoid being pulled into issues in which they have no interest or responsibility," Otterson said.
The Commonwealth PAC issued a statement late yesterday saying, "Don Stirling is an old and dear friend of Governor Romney. He got over enthusiastic and overstepped his bounds. The Commonwealth PAC has taken appropriate action to make sure it doesn't happen again. The Commonwealth PAC recognizes the political neutrality of the Mormon Church."
Stirling and Gardner did not return calls seeking comment.
The Globe story Thursday described discussions over the past two months among Romney's political operatives, church and Brigham Young University leaders about building the grass-roots political organization using the roughly 40 US alumni chapters of the university's business school, the Marriott School of Management. The Globe also reported that representatives of Brigham Young and Romney's political action committee, the Commonwealth PAC, began soliciting help from other prominent Mormons to help build the program.
On Oct. 9, two deans of the Marriott School sent an e-mail to 150 supporters and alumni of the school asking for help in supporting Romney's possible presidential campaign.
As tax-exempt nonprofits, the church and Brigham Young University are both prohibited from advocating for any political candidate or party, and some tax specialists have suggested the activity by church and university leaders could violate federal restrictions.
The Globe examined the two e-mails from Stirling prior to publishing the story last Thursday, but the source who provided them asked that they not be quoted from directly. On Friday, the source dropped that condition. The source requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
Asked directly last week whether he knew if Hinckley had been made aware of the MVP effort, Stirling said he no knowledge of that.
But in the Sept. 8 e-mail, Stirling states that Hinckley and Faust both knew of the initiative and had no objections. Stirling's e-mails also contradict assertions by the church and Romney's political team over the past week that Holland had only a minimal role in the discussions and that the MVP plan itself had been conceived but never implemented.
In the Sept. 8 e-mail, Stirling describes the excitement he and Gardner felt after Gardner's conversation with Holland, in which Holland suggested tapping alumni of the Brigham Young University business school to build support for Romney. (Holland and Gardner are old friends.)
In that e-mail, Stirling describes Gardner calling Holland's office to set up a meeting Sept. 19 with Holland "to discuss the use of BYUMS, the MVP program, and to discuss, generally, what might be appropriate to do within the LDS community."
Last week, Otterson described that meeting as merely "a handshake and a chat, literally a courtesy call."
"This was simply a response to an appointment requested by an old friend," he said.
Romney, a prominent member of the Mormon Church, defended the program last week by saying he would be raising money from all kinds of people were he to run for president. Romney has not officially announced he will run, but he is expected to launch a bid in the coming months.
Since the Globe story Thursday, the Mormon Church has challenged the story vigorously, characterizing it as a "misrepresentation" on its website and issuing a statement reiterating its "position of neutrality" on political matters.
Representatives of the church and Romney's PAC insisted that any discussions between the two camps were held solely to ensure that activity on behalf of Romney did not violate that principle.
A church spokeswoman, Kim Farah, told a Salt Lake City television reporter Thursday that there was no broad effort by the church to help Romney and said that the suggestion that Hinckley played any role is "ridiculous.'
But e-mails from Stirling show that another major institution run by the church, Deseret Book, was also exploring ways to help Romney politically.
"Would you feel comfortable in joining us for that meeting with Elder Holland?" Stirling wrote in the Sept 8 e-mail to Dew, formerly one of the top female officials in the church. "If you don't, I would like to at least be able to reference that we have been also exploring ways that Deseret Book might be able to help (database/events/ )."
In the Sept. 17 e-mail to Dew, Stirling wrote, "Boston remains thrilled and excited that you are on the team."
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Hey, Mitt Romney... here's another example of those good old Mormon Family Values
Rexburg LDS Missionary Sued For Sexual Abuse
Posted: 11:08 AM, Jan. 30, 2007
Last Updated: 5:51 PM, Feb. 1, 2007
By Local News 8
A Rexburg missionary who was accused of sexually abusing three people in 2005, while on a mission, has been sued.
Jason Stark spent two years in Kentucky and Indiana for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Last February, he was charged in Lee County, Kentucky, with two counts of sodomy and one count of attempted sodomy.
He is scheduled for trial July 16th. The church says Stark has been released from his missionary duties pending the outcome of the trial.
Now, the mother of one of the accusers has filed suit against Stark and the church. She contends that Stark's conduct has damaged her son, who is under age 18.
The case was filed in Lee County Circuit Court in December. The Mormon church last week asked that the case be moved to federal court. The church also has asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.
Local News 8 talked to neighbors who say they couldn't believe what they heard.
Kellie Dayton says she has lived near Stark for the past 10 years.
"I just hope that they find he's innocent It's like I said I can't even imagine something like that would be true about Jason He's a great kid." said Dayton.
Stark's father, James Earnest Stark, is a registered sex offender. He was charged with statutory rape in 1990.
According to the LDS Church's website, the Church has zero tolerance for child abuse of any kind, but since this is a legal case, they refuse to comment.