Sunday, July 17, 2005

Response to Suzan Mazur


You open your latest article, Diebold and the Mormon Mason Handshake with the following statement:

“Diebold, the Ohio computer election systems manufacturer, remains under a cloud regarding irregularities in its tabulation of the 2004 US presidential vote, which led to the reinstalling of George W. Bush. So it may be productive to explore what appears to be a significant Diebold-Mormon link, as well as observe how the Mormons are jockeying for a major political role in America.”

Unless one has a predetermined anger toward the LDS Church, exploring any link between Diebold and the LDS Church would not even be a blip on the radar screen of curiosity. This paragraph would have more accurately been written “Because I can’t stand the LDS Church and all it represents, let’s see if we can find some way to implicate it in the Diebold voting systems irregularities.”

Referencing your article “Bush and the Mormons” you make a claim that there are 11 million Mormons, and that Mormons tend to vote republican, and that some how, this voting block pushed the win to the Bush team. First, of that 11 million (now exceeding 12 million) only 5 million are living in the US. Discount from that about 67 percent who are not active in the church, and you have a remainder of 1.7 million. Take from that the number who are under the age of 18, or about 1/3rd, and you have approximately 578,000 adult members of voting age. If trends hold true in the Church as they do out of the church, and in the last election turnout was 64 percent according to the US Census Bureau, only 370,000 Mormons voted in the last election. Of those, about 20 percent will live in Utah, which historically votes Republican regardless the candidate, so we can largely disregard them. Population-wise, California has the next largest population of LDS members, and California virtually always votes Democratic, so it can also be tossed out. Idaho and Arizona hold the next largest membership by population, both of which are typically republican, but of little consequence in the Electoral College. The remainder of the LDS membership resides in the balance of the 46 remaining states, but with numbers so small they are inconsequential.

The conclusion can therefore be drawn that the LDS Church membership has very little to do with voting outcomes in presidential races. Nor does the LDS Church as an organization have anything to do with the outcome. The Church is very clear and very careful not to endorse any candidate for any position in government.

It may be true that a number of members of the LDS Church have taken it upon themselves to run for and hold political office, yes. Mormons have been encouraged to be patriotic defenders of the constitution, the U S Government, and in sustaining the law of the land, regardless their country of origin. Does this somehow equate to a diabolical scheme to take over? Hardly. No more so than the sectarian left of the intellectual elite.

Your second implication seems to try and tie Walden O’Dell, CEO of Diebold, to the LDS Church, and surreptitiously the LDS Church to any campaigning that O’Dell might have done on behalf of Bush. Your statement “The LDS church has made no fanfare about Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell being a "Saint".” implies that O’Dell is a member, but that the Church makes no point of making it a public issue. But then you try and excuse this statement with the follow up sentence that of course O’Dell’s serving of alcohol indicates that he is not LDS- A little too little too late.

You go on to tie a statement that O’Dell made regarding his campaign efforts in the state of Ohio, of his desire to “deliver its electoral votes to the president”, and the company he leads, Diebold, as somehow being in cahoots with each other. A cursory reading would lead one to believe that O’Dell would, as the CEO of Diebold, ensure that the voting in Ohio would be a lock for Bush. While many have written scathing reports on some conspiratorial connection, I don’t recall ever seeing any indictments handed up substantiating these claims.

Next, you make the statement “It would be surprising if, as an African-American, Blackwell were Mormon.” Not unlike your opening statement, this is a statement made from whole cloth, fabricated on the desire you have to make connection where none exists. You then use this straw man argument to bring Tom Murphy into the picture. Why? Not to indict the LDS Church or Diebold in any form of conspiracy, but to indict the Book of Mormon and the fact that for a period of time, blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood in the Church!

You then go on to indict Gladys Knight as a “big tithe” for the Church. Again, nothing to do with Diebold and voting irregularities, just a good try at jabbing a fundamental doctrine of not only the Church, but of Christianity in general. I have noticed that tithing seems to be a focal point of the few articles I have read of yours. Why? Were you a one time contributor to the Church tithing fund, lost your way, and failed at some attempt to reclaim your monies? Why do you seem to care so much that I, and millions of other faithful members of the LDS Church freely give of our personal income to the Church?

Oh, I get it. Moving on we find the tie in. Diebold’s COO, Wesley Vance, is a member of the Church, a likely tithing payer, and no doubt steeped in the conspiracy of the voting irregularities. In your fertile mind, you must be seeing something like this- Vance, a member of the Church, gets marching orders from the Church to use his position with Diebold to buy Global Elections Systems, and use that new subsidiary to sew up the vote for Bush. After all, Bush and the Mormon Church, yada yada… Quite frankly, I am surprised that you didn’t somehow tie Vance’s untimely death to a cover up scheme hatched by J. W. Marriott. After all, Marriott once owned In-flight Services, and Vance died in a plane accident. Coincidence?

Then, to consider that of the 14,000 employees of Diebold, more than just Vance could be a member. Well, I work for a company of only 150 employees, and 3 of us are members. Not only that, but a number of the contractors we do business with are Mormon. Yet, I knew none of them prior to my hiring on, nor did it ever enter the conversation during my interview. Sure, of 14,000, it is likely that there are 1 or 2 that are members; a number equally proportionate to the number of members in Ohio at least. A conspiracy though?

We now jump clear across the country to Nevada. I am not sure the connection, but let’s see what we come up with.

First, you quote Denton and Morris as follows: ". . . the Mormon organization has a great deal in common with the Mafia . . . Strictly hierarchical. Great rewards for loyalty. Great rewards for keeping your word. They take care of their own."

What other organizations have such a common lot? How about, for instance. If you are loyal, are you rewarded? If you keep your word, are you rewarded? In short, if you do as you are asked, and as you offer, you will be taken care of. Is mafia-like? Virtually every employer I have ever worked for is the same. They take care of those who take care of them.

Somehow, however, you try and establish a link, or at least a common way of doing business, between the mafia, who delights in thievery, prostitution, gambling, murder, drugs, and the like, and the LDS Church, which delights in the exact opposite. What a shame that your hatred runs so deep as to be deceived like this.

You then go through a litany of Boston Mormons with money, such as Romney and Clark. You mention others, such as Pozen and the Johnsons, though nothing is mentioned as to their membership in the Church.

First, you make it seem as though having money is a crime punishable by death. Yes, there are prominent members of the LDS Church with money. So what? Does the name Teddy Kennedy or John Kerry mean anything? Both are substantially wealthy, both from Boston, both in politics, and both Catholic. So are you going to introduce the Catholic Conspiracy to take over government any time soon?

Next, let’s take a look at the picture you show. The caption under the picture states “Senate Investigation of Joseph Smith”. Your attempt here is to indict Joseph Smith, founder and the first president and prophet of the Church. However, a close reading of the caption within the picture indicates that it is Joseph F. Smith meeting with members of the senate. Joseph F. Smith, not Joseph Smith. Joseph F. Smith is the nephew of Joseph Smith, and son of Hyrum and Mary Smith. The least you could do is get your Smiths straight.

You state that the Church adopted the rites of Masonry. Nope, not so. You go on to say that Smith was gunned down while awaiting trial on polygamy. Nope, not so. You really should study your LDS history if you are going to speak with any measure of intelligence on the matter. However, I dare say that yours is not to get the facts straight, but merely to mislead the reader if you can into believing anything about the LDS Church but the truth.

As for Smith flashing the “Masonic distress signal” as he fell from the window, I must say that in my 46 years in the Church, this is the very first I have ever heard such a thing. Please, quote your source. By the way, he did not jump from the window, as you write. Rather, he took a musket ball which forced him out of the window. Minor technicality, I know.

Skipping over the imagined link between Steve Jonas and Abraham Jonas, and all of the rhetoric about Mormons and Masons, let’s move on to the subject of the temple. Again, mind you, I have no idea what this has to do with Diebold and Bush getting re-elected, but what the heck.

Having been through the temple ceremony personally, an experience I am certain you have not enjoyed, I can tell you that what you write is straight forward crap. Nothing in your writing, or your quoting, comes anywhere near describing the rites of the temple. But again, why let facts get in the way of a good story?

You write from the works of J.H. Beadle from a book he published in 1882. He claims that his sources were individuals who had actually passed through the ceremony. First, if one has been through the ceremony, one takes and oath to protect the knowledge one has gained. It is not one of secrecy, for anyone who wished to conform to the requirements of entrance to the temple may gain the same knowledge. However, the scruples of one who takes such an oath, only to then break that oath by divulging one’s knowledge, can hardly be trusted for what he might say.

Second, you recite that “Mormons all became masons…till they reached Nauvoo”. It is true that Masonry was practiced in Nauvoo. However, to my knowledge, masonry was unknown to the Church prior to their introduction to it by individuals in Illinois hoping to gain votes from the Mormons, thus offering them membership in masonry.

Taking another huge leap, you move back to the matter of tithing, making the following statement: “The financial grip of the LDS behemoth on America is profound. The church, which takes tithes from its members, no-questions-asked, established Zions Bancorp, for instance, in 1873.” The only question I have ever been asked by anyone regarding my payment of tithing is whether or not I declare that I pay a full tithe. No one has EVER usurped any power over me, demanding that I tithe, checking my pay stub to see that I pay in full, or any other form of coercion. Again, though, why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?

You somehow tie the Eccles family to the “mob’s bank”. Do you really, even for a nano-second, believe that a chairman of the Federal Reserve would go without any form of scrutiny, investigation, or punishment, if he had even the remotest ties to mafia money? Really?

You again quote Denton and Morris as saying that millions of dollars earned and tithed left Las Vegas every Monday in a private plane bound for the LDS treasury in Salt Lake City. Did you ever look into their source for confirmation of this? If you had, you would have realized how false the statement is on the face of it. First, all banking of “millions of dollars” would be done electronically, even in the 1950’s. Money would be deposited in one bank, and then transferred by wire to another. What a bogus statement. Besides, if the LDS Church is so diabolical, do you believe that they would be as stupid as to ship cash, as Denton and Morris want to claim? How absurd!

You write: “Directly or indirectly, the use of LDS (Latter-day Saints) church money or simply the funds of predominantly Mormon family and business depositors to finance Las Vegas gambling -- to say nothing of aid and stimulation for an international criminal network -- would have been a fateful revelation then and later.” Clever writing. This is like my saying that “if ever found out that Suzan Mazur beats her children every night when she comes home from work, it would be a fateful revelation.” There is not a shred of evidence that it is true, but the mere stating of it raises questions in the minds of the weak.

As for the 8 men indicted in Arizona and Utah- They were actually indicted not for plural marriage, but for forced sexual conduct with minors. Again, facts….

While it is true that the LDS Church at one time had about 1 percent of its membership practicing plural marriage, it is no longer the case. The FLDS church to which you refer is a rogue organization that does not share membership or any other “ship” with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Really, Suzan, I wish you would just say what it is that makes you so angry with the Church. Perhaps you have been excommunicated, or a bad marriage to a man who is a member, or I don’t know what. But wouldn’t it be great therapy for you to write an article that is cohesive, coherent, and convincing of what your actual angst is toward the Church?


Kelly Knight