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  JEFFREY S. NIELSEN
Total Articles: 11
A Brigham Young University part-time instructor who recently called into question the LDS Church's opposition to gay marriage.
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And You Thought It Was Only Gay Marriage - More From Rogue BYU Prof Jeffrey Nielsen
Wednesday, Jun 7, 2006, at 08:26 AM
Original Author(s): Tal Bachman
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
Just browsing and saw the controversy over BYU prof Jeffrey Nielsen and his public stance against the church. Here is something else interesting about him.

In 2004, Nielsen published a book entitled, "The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations". This is a surprising book for someone who belongs to an organization, the president of which is still demanding that everyone obey Mormon prophets, EVEN when they are wrong. To put it more accurately, Hinckley basically says that members should entertain no thought of right or wrong, and simply obey regardless of what "the prophet" says. (see Hinckley's GC talk, "Loyalty" in the May 2003 Ensign).

Nielsen's book, by contrast, argues that "rank-based hierarchies" (can you say, "LDS church"?) tend to encourage secrecy, corruption, miscommunication, and abuse of power. The inside flap of Nielsen's book states that "top-down, hierarchical control doesn't work".

Dr. Nielsen distinguishes between "rank thinking" (bad) and "peer thinking" (good), and says this about "rank thinking":

"I define rank thinking as the belief that only a few in any organization should be given special privilege to monopolize information, control decision-making, and command obedience from the vast majority either through coercive or manipulative power."

In his pointed Tribune references to the church's ongoing dishonesty about its own history, and increasingly ridiculous (in light of the internet) attempts at monopolizing information about itself, Nielsen basically paints the church as the kind of organization his book criticizes.

See http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/prod...

See also http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3896....

Question for Jeffrey: You mentioned your dislike of incoherence. So why, if you realize that Joseph didn't tell the truth about his experiences, are you still sustaining his church's leaders as "prophets and apostles"? Isn't THAT incredibly incoherent? If so, how are you on any more solid ground than the GA information-massagers you're criticizing?
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Response From Jeffrey Nielsen
Thursday, Jun 8, 2006, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Just Me
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
I thought you might be interested in the response I received from Mr. Nielsen when I wrote him thanking him for his thoughts on this gay marriage thing and how the church handled it. Here it is.

Dear Friends,

I hope you don’t mind me calling you “friends.” I wanted to express my appreciation for all your emails – even those that offered “benevolent criticism.” They have given me great solace in this stressful time. My wife thinks I’m experiencing a mid-life crisis and wishes I had bought a new car instead! By the way, she doesn’t agree with me, so you can imagine the cognitive dissonance she’s experiencing.

Some of you have asked more specific questions or posed some good objections to my opinion, and I plan on responding to those soon. Now, I hope you don’t mind a more generic message. Many of you won’t know this, but I know many of your names and stories, and I have been often saddened, enlightened, and even greatly entertained by your stories. Many of you have been my teacher, and I need to thank you for that and for your courage and integrity.

I don’t expect that everybody agrees with my viewpoints and beliefs, but I do believe in an equal privilege for everyone to speak and listen. My sense of purpose in life rests upon a simple principle – I call it the “peer principle” – it is simply that each person by virtue of being a human being has an equal privilege to speak and shares an equal and reciprocal obligation to listen regardless of their title, position, education, gender, race, or belief system. For me this is a basic moral foundation for all relationships, whether personal or organizational, and it requires openness and transparency, not secrecy and don’t ask and don’t tell. I feel an obligation to speak out when I see it being ignored or suppressed in any organization – church, work, or governmental. Leaders do not possess any greater privilege than any other person – though they always think they do. For some reason, I’ve always felt the need to challenge the rank-based thinking that seems to dominate so much of human life.

I have also been thinking about my children, who I love unconditionally – yes, I said unconditionally. As every loving parent, I want to work for a world worth inheriting by my children and future grandchildren. We often worry about personal worthiness in the church. Do we measure up to the standards the brethren set for us? But I have never really worried about that. I have never wondered if my children were worthy enough for the church. What I worry about is whether the church is worthy enough for my children. So ultimately, I’m not worthy of either praise or blame. I’m just an ordinary, flawed human being who wants a better world for his kids. So, I’m just like you.

Finally, perhaps the expectation of some retribution is misplaced, but almost every single email I received expressed the expectation that something will happen (and some the hope!). I find it almost unimaginable that in America in the year 2006, people can even expect to be threatened with religious censure or job loss for merely expressing an honest opinion. And yet that expectation has too often been realized. Well, those are some of my thoughts. You might not agree, and I will defend with my integrity your privilege to disagree. If you don’t mind, I’ll keep you posted as to the events that may be before me. And feel free to correspond with your own thoughts and feelings – they are always appreciated.

Thanks, Jeff

P. S. I can only hope that in the not too distant future, gay men and women will be recognized and respected as the incredible people they are, and we'll be able to get past this horrible prejudice soon.
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Joseph Smith vs. BYU and Gordon B. Hinckley
Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
As the Mormon Church so proudly declares that Joseph Smith taught:
"I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter-day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be trammelled." - The Prophet Joseph Smith, Official History of the Church 5:340
Compare that to BYU's explanation for letting professor Jeffrey Nielsen go:
"In accordance with the order of the church, we do not consider it our responsibility to correct, contradict or dismiss official pronouncements of the church."

"Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over."
- http://www.sltrib.com/ci_3932572
The church has a long history of explicity telling members that it expects "uncompromising loyalty" - even in political matters.

See: http://www.i4m.com/think/leaders/morm...

The church has been saying this for years, so it should come as no surprise when the church acts against members who cross the line.

If Jeffrey doesn't quiet down, do you think they'll pull him into a disciplinary court?
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BYU Fires Teacher Over Op-Ed Stance
Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006, at 08:20 AM
Original Author(s): Todd Hollingshead
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
PROVO - As an American citizen, Jeffrey Nielsen felt compelled to publicly question the LDS Church's opposition to same-sex marriage. As a Brigham Young University instructor, he now is paying the price.

The LDS-owned school will not rehire Nielsen after spring term because of his remarks in an op-ed piece earlier this month.

"I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral," the part-time philosophy teacher and practicing Latter-day Saint wrote in the June 4 Salt Lake Tribune.

Four days after the column ran, BYU Department of Philosophy Chairman Daniel Graham sent Nielsen a letter informing him of his dismissal.

LDS Church spokesman Mark Tuttle said members are free to voice their own opinions. He cited Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Mormon who also opposes amending the Constitution to bar same-sex marriage.

The problem for Nielsen is that he could not continue to collect a BYU paycheck while challenging church leaders.
http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3934360
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So Forthright On Paper Yet So Wishy Washy On The Radio--Thoughts On Nielsen And Grant Palmer
Thursday, Jun 15, 2006, at 08:15 AM
Original Author(s): John Andersen
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
I was disappointed with Jeffrey Nielsen's radio interview on KUER.

What is it with Utah culture that puts a gag on people, or makes them glaze over into saying nothing of substance?

Nielsen's letter to the Trib was fantastic, right on the spot.

His radio interview was incredibly wishy washy. It reminded me of my days at BYU when I recall so many people who would speak like that--beating around the bush, sort of making critical comments about the church, but not really.

I've heard one or two Grant Palmer radio interviews as well. Palmer seems to fold just like Nielsen.

Why is that?

I realize the peer and social pressure are tremendous, and I recall myself having crystal clear thoughts about things, but when I had to actually give the sacrament meeting talk, I too would water things down.

Where are the forthright heros who don't cave in in any forum?
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Nielsen's Story Spreads To Higher ED Outlets
Thursday, Jun 15, 2006, at 08:20 AM
Original Author(s): Darquestar
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
News of Jeffrey Nielsen's termination of employment by BYU has reached Inside Higher Ed.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/20...

Some interesting comments towards the end of the article...

Edwin Firmage, a professor emeritus of law at the University of Utah and a member of the LDS church, said that the university is playing politics with the gay marriage issue, and that it isn’t a matter of deep theology in the Mormon faith.

“That a faculty member is being let go for a respectful comment is a disgrace to the university,” said Firmage, a BYU alumnus. “People can differ on what the gospel teaches – part of it is liberty and freedom. The word ‘university’ should mean something. This isn’t Brigham Young Seminary.”

Added Mike Thompson, executive director of Equality Utah, a group that supports free speech: “We applaud the stance that [Nielsen] made on this issue. It was a bold stance, realizing that there needs to be a divide between political opinion and religious issues in our government.”

For me though i think the 'best bit' was a quote from someone at BYU.

"As a religiously distinctive university, BYU opens up a space in the academic world in which its faculty and students can pursue knowledge in light of the restored gospel as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” it reads. “For those who have embraced the gospel, BYU offers an especially rich and full kind of academic freedom.”

In other words "you can think anything you want as long as we have told you it's ok!" Wonder what the other commentators on matters of freedom of thought and speech in higher education will make of this?
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Nielsen Radio Interview Transcript Part 2 - I Think His Heart Is Ahead Of His Head And Tough Times May Be In Store
Thursday, Jun 15, 2006, at 10:53 AM
Original Author(s): Nightingale
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
I think there are sufficient disconnects in Nielsen's statements (in this radio interview anyway) to give fodder to both Mormons who wish to quickly judge and condemn him (for what? the crime of having an opinion?) and to former Mormons and nevermos who have various comments like, "So why doesn't he just leave already and "It's obvious the whole church is a fraud", etc.

Well, I think Mr. Jeffrey Nielsen is in the beginning stages of massive brain chaos as he tries to deal with all the cog diss that must undoubtedly be clanging pretty loud inside his head right now.

After listening to the second half of this interview, in which he covers far more than just the s/s marriage issue, I can see that Nielsen has far too many non-orthodox views, on a variety of hot button issues, to ever be just another obedient member who will follow along with anything and never voice an individual thought. It could be from his education, as he himself says - I guess taking philosophy courses will make you think all right. As we all know, thinking within Mormonism is not encouraged. I honestly don't even mean that as an insult to the people - just stating a fact as I have experienced it myself. I was roundly scorned - scorned, frowned upon, shunned even - for merely asking straightforward doctrinal questions in, uh, Gospel Essentials class. (Nobody informed me that questions = doubts = lack of faith = you are not welcome here).

Let us have a heart for a man who obviously has a big one and is in for one rough ride as a result of the fallout from all this, even if he doesn't know that yet. He is just like every other BIC we either were, are or love - as he says, the church is his family, his heritage, his values. And even in the midst of that, his brain and heart tell him all is not well in Zion and he actually {{gasp}} acknowledges that. I say halleluia, let the light shine.

Rather than criticizing his motives, his degree of awareness or other things we can't really know, I redirect the focus squarely onto the Mormon Church which once again demonstrates that it does not value the literal human resources within its ranks. It takes a good and decent man who loves and supports his family, loves other people, respects his heritage and loves his church and directly or indirectly rains fire upon his head for what? The crime of saying let's be more loving? A spectacle indeed.

I love it that the LDS Church is so parched of revelation, so out of touch, soul-less, lacking in vision and devoid of true, unconditional love that it condemns itself for the punitive, parsimonious, pusillanimous, putrescent edifice to stupidity that it is.

I liked Jeffrey Nielsen in his interview. He has a nice voice, a cute laugh, a good brain, interesting views, good intentions and a big heart. I sorrow for the anxiety and stress he and his family are now experiencing, according to his own admission. Let us hope that some stupid bishop will not counsel his wife to look elsewhere for a more worthy PH holder. {{gag}}

If there are some discrepancies in his remarks or flaws in his logic evident in his interviews, let us remember how thick is the fog, how narrow is the way, how frightening is the journey for the devoted BIC with a good heart and an agile mind. The fact that the church is happy to boot such precious members onto the rubbish heap along with all the other so-called apostates, sons (and daughters) of perdition and Korihors is a true testament of what the Corporation of the President is really all about - making money, not saving souls, creating zombies, not thinking, feeling adherents, making war, not love (except to propagate), telling members to listen up and shut up, preaching that the glory of god is intelligence (but don't use it) and man is that he might have joy (but not if we can help it).

Yes. Easy to say everybody's better off outside of Mormonism. But a little gentle loving kindness along the route wouldn't go amiss. I like what Bob McCue says about how the exit process causes pain but he doesn't apologize for any part he has in that (if his writings influence someone's thought processes and they end up leaving, etc) - because once you emerge from the tunnel, things only get better. Yup, tis true. But meanwhile, it takes time, especially for a BIC who has known nothing else. As Nielsen said, "I've only ever had positive experiences at BYU before". Uh, yep. That's cuz you never wrote an opinion piece for public consumption before.

Maybe one day, Jeffrey Nielsen will figure out why he has such a bad headache. Meanwhile, I'm going to buy his book on leadership. That right there could be why he started having a problem - coming to see the shortcomings inherent in hierarchical organizations.

I posted the first part of this radio interview yesterday. Here's what I was able to transcribe this morning.

Does anybody know what the letter was that one caller said was read on Sunday? Was it Nielsen’s letter? A letter from the church about Nielsen’s letter?

NB: Not verbatim/incomplete.

Host: They did not renew your contract not because you contradicted BYU leadership but because of statements that contradicted the FP of the church. (So this is between you and the church is it not?)

I don’t want to question the motives or the intent of my Dept Chairman, just what he said and what he said was this contradicted the mission statement of BYU to contradict the FP. That was his interpretation of my Tribune piece. He was justified in making that decision. I don’t think it was the right one but I’m not going to argue with his reasoning. But to this point it is between me and BYU. I wrote publicly, expressed my opinion about something I felt strongly about. BYU or my Dept responded and that’s just the way it happened.

Re breaching his BYU contract: I don’t think that any religion should be forced by the govt to recognize something they find to be immoral. I don’t think religion should influence what govt is going to permit or not permit among its citizens. That’s the point I was speaking to. I would never challenge the church on its theology or its position within the church on gay marriage but when it makes a political statement it then engages me as an American citizen and even though there was that conflict, I felt that conscience required me to write that piece.

H: Do you think that signing a contract with BYU is kind of a gag order, that you have to keep your opinions to yourself?

N: I’ve never experienced that before, I’ve only had positive experiences at BYU. There are scholars at BYU making tremendous contributions in every area of human endeavour. It’s obvious though, and it would be absurd to deny, that there are certain areas of intellectual study where BYU would be restricted, where there are some pre-approved answers. It says right there you can’t contradict the FP. But what if your study of some discipline, whether it’s history or philosophy, leads you to a point where you find there is a moral conflict between what you have come to believe and study and what the church is saying? That’s where I found myself. Are you silent or do you speak up in the hopes that maybe there is now room for that kind of dialogue to take place?

H: You note that the church should be willing to trust the membership and treat them as adults, as equals. This seems to be an important word to you, it leads to your own work of exploring leadership structures.

N: I have found as I have been studying philosophy, organizations and leadership that too many organizations are structured in a rank-based way where those at the top have absolute right to speak and everyone else has to listen and so those at the top get to monopolize information, control decision making and command obedience. I have found that to be very unhealthy for people. It makes life and work joyless and not meaningful. I believe that the fundamental principle of any organizational life, whether it’s the church or any business, is that we each have an equal privilege to speak and an equal obligation to listen. That’s my fundamental view of equality that we have to recognize even in the church. It doesn’t say that church leaders cannot set doctrine but it does suggest that members still have the privilege to speak, examine and question.

H: Is there a difference between the way you structure the IBM hierarchy and the hierarchy of the Mormon Church? Clearly the hierarchy there is based on rank, is it not?

N: I believe there is room in every organization, even the church, for greater openness and transparency, better sharing of decision making roles and responsibilities. I think that we need, in this world today, in all of our organizations, greater openness and transparency.

H: In your book you say there are two essentials to good leadership. One is that genuine communication occurs only between equals.

N: I believe that strongly, yeah.

H: The second one is that secrecy frequently breeds corruption and abuse of power.

N: I would make the stand that most of the corruption and abuse we see among people in positions of power is not because they are bad people. It comes because they are in a rank-based position that allows secrecy, allows them to monopolize information and control decision-making. That is a natural situation to lead even good people to make corrupt and abusive decisions.

H: Reads email – aren’t you questioning the theological views of the church?

N: It comes back to what it means to sustain your leaders. Does sustaining your leaders mean unquestioned obedience and compliance or can I, in the process of coming to sustain my leaders, can I question, can I examine, can I ask them to explain their reasoning? Do I have that privilege to do that? I think I do. That might come across to some as questioning the theological teachings of the church but I think it’s a valid point that we should have that privilege to examine, to question, to prove – publicly.

Caller: Double-think (Orwell). Liked article. Mentions how church handles its own history (or doesn’t deal with it) – re 132, etc. How do you deal with this?

N: The only way I can approach it is what is my moral obligation as a human being and as a member of the church and it’s not to challenge the theology or the religious claims per se but it is to challenge the moral behaviours, the moral practices that I think harm individuals. Our failure to be open and transparent in matters of church history is harming, right now, real families and real individuals. It’s causing turmoil and stress and breaking up marriages when one person might find a conflicting account of a basic event of the church and one spouse simply can’t deal with that question or that doubt and it strains and damages the relationship and that’s not right in my opinion.

H: You think the church needs to be more honest, more transparent, more open about its past…

N: Yes.

H: … in that regard. That contradiction between polygamy is only one aspect related to church history that troubles you or at least the way the church talks about it. You talk about the public relations and the mythology that the church has established for itself without being completely honest about the warts of its past.

N: And I think we can be honest about the warts in our past. That can make us appreciate our history and the people in the history even more. By failing to honour the warts and all, people are being harmed. They’re being hurt unnecessarily.

H: Reads supportive email re members avoiding non-members out of fear.

N: Whether it’s justified or not, there is a real fear to be open and transparent with your thoughts with people. That’s unfortunate. I don’t think there’s any contradiction between being honest, open and transparent and being a faithful member of the church.

Caller: I wonder if there is an inherent contradiction between a church-organized and a revelatory authority structure and democratic American principles. I wonder how or if the two can be reconciled? How does Jeffrey personally reconcile his duty as an American with his membership in the church where at some point the debate does stop? There can be discussion and debate but at some point it’s a revelatory church where the debate does stop.

N: Conflict can come up between your feelings of respecting our democracy and your obedience to church leaders. Maybe somebody should ask Mitt Romney that question.

H: It leads to a really important question. How does all of this come into play when you add into the mix now an infallible presence, which is what religions do and when you have a prophet who is said by the faithful to have a relationship with God, to speak with God, what kind of dissent, what conversation really can there be in that sense?

N: I would just have to go back to some of those stories in the Bible where people argued with God, right? And again, I don’t think that to question someone or to argue with them is to disrespect them. I think a lot of people think that’s the case. Maybe it’s just my philosophical background but to recognize and respect someone is to honestly engage them in dialogue and debate and it doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they say.

H: Is there more of a sense of that within Judaism? That’s part of their culture? It’s not part of Mormon culture it seems.

N: Some of my Jewish friends tell me that they love Moses because Moses kept arguing with God, trying to get God to be more understanding of the problems of the Jewish people so Moses is the great hero.

H: Reads email from a gay man who grew up in the LDS Church. Talks about human need to be in a committed relationship and be understood and not be judged.

N: I hope it comes to pass.

H: Do you think it will? Culture within Mormonism - parallel with conversations in the 50s and 60s re blacks and priesthood. Do you think a similar thing will happen?

N: I believe it will in the next 10 to 20 years. The science will become overwhelmingly clear that this is biological and that we therefore have to change our stance that it is unnatural and perverse.

Caller: Do most LDS people know where the church stands? If not, what could change their awareness? A one to one level or a blunt press statement?

N: I have a great faith in the common decency and goodness of Mormons. I believe that this is not going to be from the top down or bottom up but just a genuine emergence of common values that will lead all of us in the church to more openness and transparency because it’s the right thing to do and I think most of us know it’s the right thing to do.

Caller: Are most LDS people, at least here in Utah, aware of where the church stands on these things?

N: I think there is some confusion. That’s why I think there are some areas where the church needs to be more clear when it comes to - does skin colour really reflect past or present spiritual..(?) They need to make a clear statement on that so more people of colour aren’t harmed by certain insinuations. I think there are people in polygamous sects, women and children, who we are accountable to. We have an accountability to address the issue that in fact there would not be polygamous sects today, there would not be Warren Jeffs, if not for the teachings of JS and BY. Until we as a church can accept that, we won’t recognize our accountability to modern polygamous sects to do something to help the women and children who I think are being harmed in those situations.

Caller: On the Sunday that the letter was read, I was having some concerns so I went in to my bishop to talk to him about that and he talked about the Proclamation for the Family and how we need to stand up for what’s right and if that’s in the political forum that’s where we need to do it. I didn’t necessarily agree with that. I’m having a hard time with the bishop telling me this and then feeling another way.

N: That’s where open and transparent dialogue is important. I’m not really certain that I was right to write that piece. Because I don’t think as humans we can ever be completely certain we always need to be open to dialogue and to look at differences of opinion not in a condemning or antagonistic way, but for what we can learn from them. We simply need to value differences of opinion and value the dialogue that we can have with everyone.

H: Email – I would like to see a healthy debate about this moral question. I wonder if what you did will create that debate. Is there no more productive means to call for debate than the SL Tribune?

N: Laughs.

N: I hope that something positive comes from this. I’m not looking to start anything. I just want to be a simple member of the church. But I want to have the freedom to express and for all of us to be able to express our views and beliefs.

H: Why? Why do you want to be in this institution?



N: Because that’s my family, that’s my history, those are my values in some sense.

H: Reads email. Don’t question your choice of writing the editorial. This was the opinion section of the paper. He’s done good by writing this article. Another email: Things happen for a reason. There is a much better job out there for you.

N: That’s what I keep telling my wife. (Laughs wryly).

H: How are they taking all this?

N: Really tough. It’s very difficult for them. And again, I’ve helped bring this sadness to them and it’s tough to do. But I know that every night when I put my kids to bed and they give me a hug and kiss and say they love me - as long as I can still hear that every night I can face this.

H: Man for All Seasons - Thomas More said, “Finally, it’s not a matter of reason, it’s a matter of love”. Is that what it’s about for you in most ways?

N: It is. And I hope people will see that. It’s loving, it’s loving my children, loving my family and loving people that are suffering right now and they shouldn’t be.

H: Jeffrey Nielsen, instructor of ethics and reasoning, a business consultant, author.
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Jeffrey Apparently Expressed A Few More Opinions In Todays Trib Article
Friday, Jun 16, 2006, at 08:59 AM
Original Author(s): Alma The Tonguer
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
Quoting from Todd Hollingshead's piece in todays SLTrib:

Nielsen has more questions

Opposition to same-sex marriage isn't the only LDS Church stand Jeffrey Nielsen questions. The part-time Brigham Young University instructor, who will not be rehired for contradicting church statements, said he wants to address other moral and social issues. He urges church leaders to:
  • Commission BYU scientists to investigate the nature of the current scientific understanding of same-sex attraction.
  • State clearly the the church's position on the past denial of priesthood to blacks.
  • Clarify the nature of polygamous teachings in the church, both past and future.
  • Reveal "real membership numbers" and churchwide activity rates.
  • Allow worthiness interviews between church leaders and teenage members to occur only in the presence of a parent or guardian.
  • Permit nonmember or non-tithe-paying parents to attend their children's LDS temple weddings.
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_3934360
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Civil Disobedience: Fired BYU Prof Part Of A Grand Tradition
Friday, Jun 16, 2006, at 09:19 AM
Original Author(s): Tribune Editorial
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Jeffrey Nielsen is no crank. And, though all he has lost so far has been a part-time teaching gig, he may still claim kinship with those who have risked imprisonment or worse by speaking truth to power.

After this term, Nielsen will be out as a philosophy instructor at Brigham Young University. That is because he wrote, with his eyes wide open, a commentary published in the June 4 Tribune criticizing a political stand taken by his church, the church that owns BYU, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

BYU is a private organization, owned by another private organization. If it thinks it necessary to dismiss anyone for speaking out of school, it has that right.

It is the beauty of civil disobedience, though, that those who exact the punishment also take some risk.

BYU and the church will now be criticized in some circles as being overly harsh and for forgetting the mission of a university to tolerate and nurture different strains of thought. More importantly, Nielsen's dismissal calls attention - more attention than was raised by his initial writing - to one of his main points.

That point was that by taking a public stand in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the church's leadership went beyond its normal role of defining moral behavior for its own faithful and sought to determine law for all Americans.
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3942...
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Jeffrey Nielsen Got What He Deserved! (Deseret Morning News)
Wednesday, Jun 21, 2006, at 07:52 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
LDS-owned newspaper The Deseret Morning News has unsurprisingly weighed in on Jeffrey Nielsen.

According to the paper, Nielsen got what he deserved.
"Nielsen himself wondered if he could have kept his job if he hadn't affiliated himself with the university in the column. "Maybe I shouldn't have done that," he said, without intending understatement."

"When you're wearing the company title and cashing the company's paycheck, you're representing the company. That leaves three choices: Sing the party line, shut up or change jobs."
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249...

So what does this mean for any communication coming from church employees, including Deseret Morning News reporters? Aren't they admitting that they are going to be slanted?
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According To Doug Robinson, Jeffrey Nielsen Got What He Deserved
Wednesday, Jun 21, 2006, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Apostate
Topic: JEFFREY S. NIELSEN   -Link To MC Article-
According to Doug Robinson, Jeffrey Nielsen got what he deserved. That may or may not be true, but let's be honest about one thing: It wasn't Nielsen's stand on gay rights that got him fired. It was when he contradicted LDS authority Boyd K. Packer by saying “We can no longer afford to teach only what is useful and hope people won't discover what is true”. It was when he stated “a person can find out more real history of the LDS Church in 30 minutes online than the same person would in a lifetime of studying approved church materials” that he hammered the nails in his own coffin.

Now that Nielsen has chosen his hill to die upon, wouldn't it be something if everyone would spend a half hour on google researching terms like “Kinderhook”, “Race Problems as they Affect the Church”, “Mountain Meadows Massacre”, “White Salamander”, “Book of Abraham”, etc. and decide for themselves what is useful?

Theoretically, so-called lies, half-truths, and misconceptions should be easily exposed and explained away. One simply provides relevant and factual information- if any exists. But the explanations should rarely involve censure, character attacks, or repeatedly telling the person seeking truth to “just have more faith”. Truth usually rings true, so these types of responses should send off red flags in the mind of any rational thinking person.
 
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Archived Blogs:
And You Thought It Was Only Gay Marriage - More From Rogue BYU Prof Jeffrey Nielsen
Response From Jeffrey Nielsen
Joseph Smith vs. BYU and Gordon B. Hinckley
BYU Fires Teacher Over Op-Ed Stance
So Forthright On Paper Yet So Wishy Washy On The Radio--Thoughts On Nielsen And Grant Palmer
Nielsen's Story Spreads To Higher ED Outlets
Nielsen Radio Interview Transcript Part 2 - I Think His Heart Is Ahead Of His Head And Tough Times May Be In Store
Jeffrey Apparently Expressed A Few More Opinions In Todays Trib Article
Civil Disobedience: Fired BYU Prof Part Of A Grand Tradition
Jeffrey Nielsen Got What He Deserved! (Deseret Morning News)
According To Doug Robinson, Jeffrey Nielsen Got What He Deserved
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