Peggy Fletcher Stack's Salt Lake Tribune article reporting the First Presidency statement begins: "Mormon Church leaders say they have a scriptural mandate to keep secret files on outspoken members." Ross Peterson is quoted as saying that the statement "is `stretching the scriptural justification. Comparing Sunstone and Dialogue folks to people who were shooting Mormons in 1839 Missouri is unfair." He described his own "grill[ing]" by his area presidency who "continually drew photocopied items out of a file and asked him about things he had written decades ago. The file was sitting on the churchmen's desk, but Mr. Peterson was not allowed to see its contents." "Files are a strange carryover from a paranoia that resembles McCarthyism," says Peterson. The article also cites unnamed "LDS Church employees" who tell the Tribune that William O. Nelson "shares President Benson's John Birch Society politics" and that "the church has kept files on outspoken members for decades. In the late 1970s a church librarian, Tom Truitt, told researchers in the LDS historical department that he was `on a special assignment from the brethren' to read all LDS historical articles, underline `objectionable parts' and send them on to the `brethren.' His clipping system was influential in having the one-volume history of the LDS church, Story of the Latter-day Saints, removed from the shelves at Deseret Book stores and dropped from the reading list at LDS institutes." Linda Newell points out, "It's one thing to know who your enemies are. But it's quite another thing to label as an enemy church members who love the church, who work in the church, who pay their tithing, who go to the temple, and who only want to help the church."
[Source: Anderson, Lavina Fielding, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology," Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1]
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