Answer the question

QUOTE: “I don’t know how to repent of the truth.” –Jeremy Runnells, during his disciplinary council, 17 April 2016. [source]

QUOTE: “We have heard stories where someone asking honest questions about our history, doctrine, or practice were treated as though they were faithless. This is not the Lord’s way. As Peter said, ‘Be ready always to give an answer to every man [or woman] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.’ We need to do better in responding to honest questions. Although we may not be able to answer every question about the cosmos or about our history, practices, or doctrine, we can provide many answers to those who are sincere.” -M. Russell Ballad, 13 September 2015. [source]

Jeremy: President Ivins, can you read the rest of the apostasy definition? Like, you read the definition, but there’s more to it.
Ivins: I’d like you to make a statement.
Jeremy: Okay, you’re not going to answer that?
Ivins: No, I’m not.
Jeremy: My experience with President Ivins unfortunately the past year and a half is that he has never answered my questions. Not a single question. I’ve asked you three questions over and over and over and over and over and over and over 20 times and the specific question that I asked you is: what errors or mistakes in the CES letter or in the website is incorrect so that I can publicly correct it? The second question I asked you is: if there are no errors or mistakes, why am I being punished for speaking and sharing the truth? Now the third question I asked you is: what question am I being punished for? And you have not answered a single one of them. Can I ask you why you are not answering them?
Ivins: You’re gonna make a statement.
Jeremy: So you’re not going to answer any questions this evening.
Ivins: I’m not. No. I’ve stated my evidence. You make a statement.
Jeremy: Okay. So do I have here, would you agree that I …
Ivins, interrupting: You make a statement, Jeremy.
Jeremy: Why are you not answering any questions?
Ivins: This is not the time for that.
Jeremy: When is the time?
Ivins: We’re not going to get into a debate. You’re going to make a statement. Period.
–17 April 2016 [source]

COMMENTARY: If the church had its way, the video and transcript of the disciplinary council held for Jeremy Runnells, accused of apostasy for publicly questioning the church’s truth claims, would have remained confidential. The same spiritual abuse would have happened. We just wouldn’t have known about it. This is a case of a stake president who has abandoned his duties to minister to his flock and instead seeks only to silence those whose honest concerns have proven damaging to the organization. You have to feel sorry for guys like this stake president who are caught in the middle of a church that can’t decide whether to punish or assist those with questions. The church’s policies and the church’s public statements are often at odds, and if they weren’t so un-Christlike in their treatment of people like Jeremy, it would be hard to blame them for trying to follow the rules. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.

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