Names have been changed for privacy
Some time in approximately 2012 an outspoken ex-Mormon, (Patrick) who had been seen in the press and a notable documentary was approached by a relative (Breck), also a Mormon, with a lunch invitation. They hadn't seen each other since family reunions when they were only children. They were now nearing retirement age.
In the subsequent lunch meeting Breck expressed an interest in renewing acquaintances with Patrick and commented on his (Patrick's) recent notoriety as an outspoken critic of Mormonism. Breck expressed an interest in spending more time together, shared his own struggles with his faith in Mormonism, and also shared his passion for certain philosophical subjects and certain areas of interest involving human consciousness.
In the course of the initial lunch discussion, Breck indicated that "a number of us" (Breck's friends or associates) had learned of Patrick's notoriety and became aware that Patrick was related to Breck and suggested that he (Breck) should reach out. Patrick never learned who, specifically, this group of friends or associates was but was later exposed to some clues.
Shortly after the lunch meeting Breck began corresponding with Patrick by email. He engaged Patrick in a variety of discussions relating to Breck's views of a semi-political nature (attitudes about global warming and conspiracy theories in general). They seemed to Patrick to be quite gratuitously disrespectful of people who hold views different from his (Breck's) own and referred to common folk as "bleating cattle" who were ignorant and uninformed. It struck Patrick as curious that the positions advanced by Breck in articles he shared seemed more uninformed than those of the people he was disparaging quite aggressively.
It also struck Patrick as quite a motivated exercise that Breck was engaging in by writing such articles. Patrick surmised that Breck was not alone in this effort to discredit certain theories and the people who espoused them and that he seemed to be seeking or taking comfort in some sort of approval of someone or some group in the process. However, no specifics were initially revealed to Patrick as to who these individuals or groups might be.
At a certain point, Breck began looping in (by cc) another individual in his email discussions with Patrick. Patrick later learned the individual was a scientist at a federal government facility who was involved with the study of consciousness and artificial intelligence. After an introduction, by email, the individual remained silent, never responding to welcoming greetings to the conversation, or commenting otherwise. Patrick suggested to Breck, on that basis, that it didn't make sense to continue copying him on the email exchange. Breck discontinued copying the individual.
This background discussion is not necessarily germane to the discussions which will be the larger point of this writing, hereafter, but seems appropriate and useful to get documented at this time for whatever worth they might be later.
What is, perhaps, relevant, is that Breck seemed to be motivated by his association with others and that this association on some level, seemed to share, as an objective, the recruitment of Patrick into participation, at least conversationally, in a variety of topical discussions. It seemed quite clear that Breck had a specific agenda in mind for Patrick's involvement, and was carefully avoiding sharing what that agenda was, while trying to pass off his interest in dialoging with Patrick as his own interest, unmotivated by other's interests.
Some time passed during which this conversational investment, largely driven by Breck, subsided. Then, Patrick was invited to attend a group discussion, one evening, among advocates of Transhumanism. Patrick had never heard of Transhumanism and was not particularly interested in the topic but thought a social outing with Breck would be a healthy exercise. So, he agreed to attend.
As agreed, Patrick drove to Breck's house where he would leave his car and ride with Breck to the meeting. Quite a curious conversation ensued on the drive over. It wasn't so much a conversation as it was a sharing, by Breck, of his account of the takeover of a Transhumanist association by Breck and fellow Mormons.
Breck shared his enthusiastic and unapologetic account of how he and a number of Mormons both conspired and succeeded at the calculated infiltration and takeover of a Transhumanist association. The takeover was motivated, by the account of Breck, as follows:
A local Transhumanist association formed largely by Mormons, had organized itself under the name of the "Mormon Transhumanist Association". Then, they applied for affiliation as a chapter of a larger and more well established and recognized Transhumanist association in another state.
Apparently, as Breck explained, their application for affiliation was denied and they were somehow left with the clear impression that the leadership of the larger organization had little respect for Mormonism and didn't want their cause associated with Mormonism. This came as no surprise to Patrick, being a former Mormon High Priest who resigned his membership, having become convinced that Mormonism was an insidious exploitive fraud that perpetuated appalling ethics involving duplicity and hypocrisy.
Not insignificant, in this scenario, to Patrick, was the reality that Breck had represented to Patrick that he considered himself a "Mormon-Atheist", and that he (Breck) intended to convey, by that identifying cultural label, that he no longer supported the Mormon belief in God (he was now an atheist) but still enjoyed his cultural associations and involvements with Mormons on a social level. Patrick surmised that Breck's very livelihood and social status was at risk, given the pervasive influence of Mormonism and Mormons in his local community and with his employer.
Breck went on to explain, with enthusiasm and pride, that he apparently assumed would be met with appreciation by Patrick, that in response to the denial of their application for affiliation, the group of Mormon Transhumanists that Breck was associated with could not leave it at that. Rather, they organized a calculated quiet infiltration of the parent Transhumanist organization with the objective of getting Mormon members to join the parent association in sufficient numbers to vote out a majority of the current board of directors and replace them with their own people who would approve the application for membership of their local chapter.
Let's keep in mind that a hostile takeover of a corporation is not a new thing and is not necessarily appropriate to brand as an unethical or inappropriate thing. Generally, corporations are ripe for takeover when a large contingent of stockholders share the view that management is not running the corporation in the best interests of those stockholders.
In a for profit corporate scenario, profit is the interest the stockholders share, not philosophical purity. In a not-for-profit world of educational interests, or shared values, a private foundation or public charity is devoted to the integrity of the values, not the maximization of profit that any adjustment or abandonment of original values might facilitate.
If a takeover of such an organization has in mind the appointment of management who will better support and promote the original values, still shared by the original members, it might be hard to criticize the effort.
On the other hand, if a takeover of such an organization accomplishes the objectives of an outside group to undermine the original values of the original members by displacing them and the focus of the organization's efforts on distractions or even contradictory goals and objectives, an appallingly insidious thing has taken place. One that is consistent with the published protocols of secret societies hell bent on undermining everything but their own agendas and perpetuating their own infiltration and control as their highest value, no matter what else might be sacrificed on that altar.
If a private group of individuals determine that an educational or public benefit organization or a church that they might otherwise like to affiliate with, espouses or fails to espouse principles that are objectionable or meaningful to the new private group, they are free to organize and promote their own values and principles, on their own. Why then, given that freedom, would they choose, in the alternative, to infiltrate and hijack the other organization, thus dismantling its unique focus and turning it to serve their own.
In this way, the insidious underlying goal of suppressing competing views manifests itself as the larger value for the new organization, rather than promoting their own. It seems reasonable to conclude that they lack confidence in the esoteric merits of their own views in a free world of nose to nose intellectual competition. They apparently believe their notions are more likely to survive if they can dismantle or disrupt the organized presentation of competing views. So, given this awareness of the potential inferiority of their views in a free intellectual market, they opt for the rape and conquest of another organization, availing themselves, then, not only of the intellectual brutality of suppression, but also the theft of established good will and market advantages in the form of trademarks, marketing successes, seo achievements, and public notoriety.
Breck announced with pride that they (his Mormon group of friends) accomplished the takeover, that their local chapter was now affiliated with the desired parent organization which they also now controlled, and that the meeting Patrick was being taken to was of that local chapter whose local president was an active, practicing Mormon friend of Breck's. Patrick, not previously all that interested in the topic of Transhumanism, now realized he was to be a first-hand witness to management of this new hostile Mormon affiliate of the former Transhumanist organization. What would he learn? What would he learn about Transhumanism? What would he learn about the ethics of this particular group? His curiosity was peaked.
Upon arriving at the meeting place it was clear that they were late and that a discussion had already ensued. The meeting leader, an active and devout Mormon and friend of Breck's named Lindon was, apparently responding to a question about the professed priesthood authority of the Mormon (LDS) Church and how that authority compared to other Churches in their (the LDS) view. Patrick, a former High Priest of the Mormon (LDS) Church, himself, was astounded at what Lindon was saying.
"Who can really say, or who knows what Mormon doctrine is, exactly, on the question of the their priesthood authority?", mused Lindon. "There really isn't any definitive statement on the subject, by the Church, so it isn't really something that can ascertained", he continued. The spirit of this dismissive treatment of the question went on for several moments as Patrick listened. Then he, (Patrick) couldn't contain himself.
To fully appreciate the significance of this moment, for the laymen (non-Mormon) one must understand a few things, by way of background, as follows:
The crystal clear and unambiguous position of the LDS Church on their comparative (to other Churches) priesthood authority has been the core and central theme of their teachings since the inception of the religion. It is the core principle on which their very existence as a religion is not only based, but taught, and a thorough understanding and acceptance of that teaching is required for baptism into the Church and attendance in Mormon temples.
Lindon was an active Mormon who has characterized himself in published statements as "irredeemably Mormon". He concurrently (at the time of this astounding discussion) was an ordained member of the Mormon Melchizedek priesthood and held an active temple recommend (required for attendance at Mormon temples, based on understanding and worthiness). He had been a Mormon missionary having taught the principles of Mormonism for two years in France. His wife was in attendance at this discussion and was from France, where he met her. She apparently joined the church in France.
As a Mormon missionary he was required to have read numerous books and other publications on the subject of the unique position of the Mormon Church on their authority in the ministry and was required to teach it, according to discussion guides that are published by the Church; that are required proficiencies for qualified Mormon missionaries; and specifically taught to prospects for baptism into the Mormon Church as part of a mandatory curriculum on which the candidate for baptism will be examined in qualifying interviews for baptismal "worthiness" (preparedness). To the understanding of Patrick, Lindon had personally held leadership positions in the LDS Church making him the very official representative who was required to interview candidates for baptism and sign off on their preparedness which specifically required their understanding and acceptance of the Mormon Church's doctrinal beliefs and teachings on the subject of the Mormon Church's unique authority in the ministry.
The Mormon Church's unique doctrinal position on the subject of their authority in the ministry, well known to Lindon at the time of this appallingly disingenuous treatment of the subject matter, is and has always been that they alone hold the keys of authority to represent God on earth to the exclusion of all others.
Apparently, Lindon believed he had some reason, justification, or motivation to blatantly misrepresent not only the existence of a clear doctrinal position of the Mormon Church on this subject, but as well, his personal knowledge of such a doctrinal position, and the open availability of this teaching as taught for generations by the Church in books, recordings, videos, missionary discussions, public speeches, leadership addresses to Church conferences, and in multiple ways and methods through the displays and discussions found at the visitor's center at the Mormon Temple square in Salt Lake city and every visitors center adjacent to every Mormon temple throughout the world.
The fact that this discussion had absolutely nothing to do with Transhumanism was completely overshadowed by Patrick's plain awareness that Lindon was telling outright lies to a gathering of people at a Transhumanist meeting at which numerous other Mormons, including Breck, were present and endorsing, by silent acquiescence, the lies that were being told.
After glancing around the group in amazement, Patrick spoke up, asking to be heard, and simply, calmly, and clearly stated that he thought representing there to be any question or uncertainty about the Mormon Church's doctrinal position on their own authority in the ministry was patently disingenuous.
A rush of passionate obfuscation by defenders of Lindon's (no longer existing) credibility followed in which Patrick was accused, by a Mormon associate of Lindon, of bringing an unhealthy and mean spirit of contention into the discussion and accused, by Lindon's wife, of being "dogmatic".
Breck sat in silence. Patrick excused himself from the meeting, quietly having decided sufficient sanity was not represented in the room to be worthy of any more of his time.
Now, let us return to the fact that this was supposed to be a Transhumanist meeting which Patrick was invited to attend to learn about Transhumanism. To this day, Patrick knows precious little about Transhumanism, other than that the organization that boasts of being its biggest (by membership) national organization of Transhumanists, is known to Patrick to have been infiltrated by Mormons whose agenda has precious little to do with Transhumanism, more to do with promoting and advancing their own presence and opportunities for influence, and whose credibility now warrants no further respect on the subject of Transhumanism or any other subject, in the mind of Patrick.
Nothing, in Patrick's view, could possibly have demonstrated more clearly the wisdom of the original organization's denial of the application for association of this Mormon-Transhumanist association.
Sadly, the wisdom and experience of the original parent organization was completely unprepared to recognize and manage the retaliatory hidden agenda and plundering of the good will of their organization that came as a result.
Breck has never acknowledged or apologized for the dishonesty and ethics that this situation represented on multiple levels, but rather, has disingenuously denied the reality of parts of it, in the presence of others, after having acknowledged in private, that those same parts did occur.
In the presence of others who were not at this meeting, Breck continues to tell Patrick, "Gee, I don't know why you suspect me of hidden agendas". (See gas lighting)
The Camp Position
Now, the forgoing scenario is presented as a fiction, to avoid the controversy of denials of the actuality of it and narrow the focus of the reader down to the very relevant questions.... If this scenario actually occurred as described, was it ethical? Was it honest? Was it constructive? Or was it an instance of unethical collaboration?
Supporters of this camp agree by their indication of support that this scenario represents, in the hypothetical, an instance of unethical collaboration without taking a position on whether or not the scenario actually occurred as described.
(Those who know the truth of the matter know who they are.)
Enjoy this Relevant Discussion
See also: Accuracy and Fairness in Communication
Return to: Parent Camp