Please note that Signature would not verify that this is the
exact press release that they authored. The source that forwarded this to
me is usually reliable, but it is not anyone affiliated with Signature Books.
SALT LAKE CITY On Sunday, December 12, Grant Palmer, a three-time director of
LDS Institutes of Religion in California and Utah, will face excommunication for
publishing his thoughts on Mormon origins. In his book, An Insider's View of
Mormon Origins, Palmer offers a frank discussion of the research and
controversies surrounding the early history of the LDS church. Palmer has been
summoned to a church court at 7:00 p.m. at the Willow Creek Stake Center, 3250
Creek Road, Sandy, Utah, to answer the charge of apostasy. Palmer says he
doesn't feel like an apostate.
Over the past thirty five-years, historians have learned quite a bit about the
life of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Mormon prophet's
visions, and the evolution of priesthood authority. Palmer suggests that most
Latter-day Saints are unaware of the significance of these discoveries, and he
gives a brief overview for those who want to know more about the issues. He
charges the church with having idolized Joseph Smith, while Palmer praises the
church's recent re-emphasis on the life of Jesus and Christian living.
This has irked some within the Mormon hierarchy. Recently Palmer was approached
by stake president Keith Adams (comparable to a diocesan bishop) and told that
the Holy Spirit had moved Adams to "push things forward" toward
excommunicating Palmer. This would prevent Palmer from partaking of the
eucharist, speaking or praying from the pulpit, or attending the temple. Palmer,
who for thirteen years taught General Christianity to inmates at the Salt Lake
Correctional Facility, has expressed concern over the message his church would
be sending: "If they throw me out, they would be throwing out a believing
Christian." Adams first approached Palmer a year ago after receiving a
dossier on Palmer from the church's "Strengthening Church Members
Committee," a bureaucratic watchdog group comparable in some ways to the
Taliban's "Department of Vice and Virtue"; but Adams chose not to act
on the committee's recommendations until now.
This fall marks the eleventh anniversary of the September 1993 purge of six
prominent Mormon scholars and extends the tradition of disenfranchising those
who fail to endorse the authorized version of Mormon history or whose orthodoxy
is not strict enough for the church's hierarchy.