the thinker

Jeremy Runnells

This web page is dedicated to the accomplishments of Jeremy Runnells and his dealings with the Mormon Church.

A current lifelong Latter-day Saint, Jeremy Runnells was asked by a CES Director in April 2013 to share with him Jeremy's questions and concerns regarding the LDS Church and its truth claims. The following letter is Jeremy's response: Letter to a CES Director

The letter became viral with several thousand copies downloaded from MormonThink alone. The Church never did answer Jeremy. However, the apologetic organization FAIR did publish a response on their website some months later.

Jeremy has now launched a website dedicated to his letter and his personal journey. The Letter to a CES Director now has a new look. Additionally, the author has updated the Letter to a CES Director. Over the next few weeks, the author will be launching another website focused on rebutting FairMormon's "analysis" of the CES Letter. The rebuttal link will be posted on MormonThink and when it becomes available.

MormonThink is proud to support Jeremy's efforts in his quest for truth in understanding the troubling historical issues of the LDS Church.

Jeremy's website: CES Letter

The CES Letter in German (PDF file) - Ein Brief an einen CES Direktor

Debunking FAIR - In the fall of 2013, LDS apologetic group FairMormon publicly released an analysis of the CES Letter. In response, Jeremy has now released Debunking FAIR's Debunking

Daniel C. Peterson gave a presentation at the 2014 FairMormon Conference concerning Jeremy's CES Letter, titled, "Some Reflections On That Letter To a CES Director." Jeremy has responded to Dan in a piece titled, "A Zombie's Reflections on That Mormon Apologist's Reflections."

19 April 2016

During his scheduled disciplinary council, at a point in which Jeremy Runnells could see that further discussion was not going to happen and that the "kangaroo court" as he labeled them, would excommunicate him, he resigned his membership.

A 45 minute video of Jeremy's disciplinary council has been "leaked" by /u/PresidentNEWSROOM on reddit (much of the video portion has been blurred out). /u/Gileriodekel has provided a transcription of the disciplinary council on reddit. A condensed (3:13) version of the video was created by /u/amindexpanded on reddit.

Jeremy gave a brief report after the disciplinary council. Here is the transcript (thanks to /u/deirdresm from reddit for making this available):

I want to thank each and every one of you for coming here tonight. It means a lot. It's my understanding that there's several of you who have come from out of state, so I'm really touched by that.

A decision has been made. I have excommunicated the LDS church (laughter), President Ivins, and their kangaroo court from my life. I handed my resignation to President Ivins just a few minutes ago. My membership evaporated the second that I gave President Ivins my resignation letter. I am no longer a member of this church.

After speaking with President Ivins and the High Council tonight, it became very clear that it was a kangaroo court. They refused to answer any questions that I asked them. I've asked questions over and over for the last three years, and a year and a half with the stake president. And they have not answered at least—not answered one question.

It has become very clear to me that the church does not have answers to a truth crisis. The questions that I have asked the stake president over and over for the last year and a half have been:

  • What errors or mistakes are there in the CES letter or on my website that I can publicly correct?
  • If there are no errors or mistakes, why am I being punished for seeking and sharing the truth?
  • What questions am I being punished for?

And he never answered any of those questions once. Yet that didn't stop him from attempting to spiritually execute me, and I find that very, very disturbing. How they're trying to take somebody's salvation while not answering their sincere, reasonable questions.

I am disgusted by the LDS Church's President Ivins attempts—multiple attempts—to place me in the same category as murderers and rapists and child molesters for simply seeking official answers to church problems. (applause

I have done nothing wrong. I just wanted the truth. I wanted official answers to the church essay verify problem to resolve my concerns and doubts.

For those of you who are struggling with doubts, stop doubting the doubts. Cherish your doubts. Explore your doubts. Resolve your doubts. Doubt is the beginning to knowledge and wisdom.

The only power that the church has is the power that you give them. Tonight, I took back my own power. Thank you.

9 February 2016 - Jeremy Runnells, author of Letter to a CES Director faces possible excommunication for apostasy (although, as stated on his website: "I still do not know what the charges are or why any disciplinary action is needed or necessary.") at a formal disciplinary council to be held 14 February 2016 20 March 2016. John Dehlin (of MormonStories Podcast and recent excommunicant) interviewed him February 10. (Periscope webcast of the interview.) More information on the original announcement is found on Jeremy's website.

Apostasy is an increasingly difficult thing to pin down in the LDS CHurch. It has typically referred to those people who are in opposition to the Church, it's leaders and it's doctrine. In the case of Mr. Runnells, he has only sought greater understanding of the historical narrative of the LDS Church. His letter was asking for help in understanding why the Church's narrative differs so much from verifiable, historical reality. Apparently, since his understanding, although based on an accurate reading of the historical record, is not the same as the Church's erroneous narrative, this puts him in opposition with the Church and its leaders, and therefore he is in a state of apostasy.

Some of the past managing editors of MormonThink have been accused of apostasy for the same reason and have faced disciplinary councils (not so affectionately labeled as a "court of love"). Based on their experiences, and others, it can be said that the disciplinary council is effective at shutting down dissent with those who have a stake in the Church, typically because of family members who are still involved and the stress and trauma such councils can have on the family. In such cases, the one charged with apostasy often gives in to the demands of the accuser, such as removing content, ceasing publications, etc.