I can finally write what I want without some Mormon censoring me. In fact, if I hadn’t switched tech teams I couldn’t even use the graphic above. It’s been a harrowing six weeks and it’s all the General‘s fault. Actually it’s not, but it all started with one little, measly link from the General.
The trouble started with this post, “Malleable Contender,” which was about Mitt Romney. In one portion about Mormonism I talked about it “not being a mainstream religion” and then linked to the General’s post entitled “What Mitt Believes… (Volume 2),”. Later in the day, during my radio show, I interviewed my husband who was a good Mormon for decades, but who has since left the church and taken his name off the roles, which is a very big deal. He had to petition the bishop, send in certified letters, but we still got visits from LDS prodding him to stay. I had nothing to do with his choice, but I watched it play out. Anyway, on the show that day we talked about Mitt and Mormonism, but were very respectful. I knew little about Mormonism until I moved to Nevada to do radio. It’s been an eye opening experience. Mitt’s run had me looking into it further, because my husband and I don’t talk about it. Anyway, the discussion on my show with my husband was very light, because he didn’t want to appear to be bashing anyone’s religion. We went out of our way to be respectful. After the show and much to my surprise I received the following email from my tech team. It’s signed by them both but it came from the wife’s email address.
We realize that you do not like Mitt Romney or his religion, but his religion is also our religion.We do not expect you or anyone else to agree with our religion. However, when you link to sites like this, it makes us think that you have little respect for us. Our name is on your site. We sponsor your radio show. When you link to people who have absolutely no respect for things we hold sacred, our name is put on that too. You have a right to your own opinion, but so do we. We take our religion seriously. We will not put our name on or sponsor something that shows no respect for it. We know that Mark is an ex-Mormon, we have no problem with him personally. He has a right to believe or not believe as he wishes. We feel he still has ill feelings towards our church. Therefore, we feel that he is not the most reliable source for information on our church. I realize what I have said has probably angered you. This is not my intention. I only wish to impress upon you how serious this is to us. We have had a good long professional and personal relationship with you. We would like to continue this relationship, but will not if things like this are going to be on your site. It would be very unfortunate for our relationship to end this way, but we feel very strongly about this.
I honestly didn’t know my crime. These are people I’ve worked with for around four years or so, had into my home, taken them to dinner, given them baby gifts. But they didn’t even bother to pick up the phone and call me to tell me what I’d done. The emails that flew back and forth from that point escalated gradually. However, I was so caught off guard by them that my first response was angry and indignant, especially to their charge about the Mormon religion.
After that they censored my site. They didn’t tell me or warn me. They didn’t say, take down this link or we’ll take it down ourselves. Or take down the link or we will not host your site. Nothing. They pulled down the link to Jesus’ General without asking me, pulled my radio show from broadcast (at a time when they knew I was working with my team to get back on the air), because they “sponsored” it, which basically meant it went through their servers. Then Jason went into my admin section and and took down their advertising links without telling me beforehand that they were editing material from my site without permission. They basically entered my admin section because they felt they had the right to alter any content that didn’t suit them. Our exchange went like this after the General’s link disappeared..
The link is down, however. Did you or Rachel take the liberty of removing it, was it Divine intervention, or didn’t you notice? I would like your answer to this, but feel free to put it in an email.
Jason Frey responded:
You are absolutely right. You did deserve a phone call. However given the fact that the site you linked to is extremely disrespectful of our religion you should have called us to let us know that about it. You also could have asked us to be apart of your show about Mormons since we were partners in the show. Rachel was indeed very emotional when she sent that email but she had good reason to be. That’s still no excuse for your response or for linking to that site. As I’m sure you guessed, I am the one that removed the link. It was unacceptable I could not tolerate a site on my server linking to such a hateful and disrespectful site.
I was flabbergasted and I told him so.
Call them to let them know about a link?
Ask them to be part of my show since they were “partners”?
There was absolutely no written or verbal agreement between us that I had any obligation whatsoever to inform them of my guests or topics on my show. We were not “partners,” but they sponsored the site, which meant they hosted it on servers for free. And I would never give editorial control to anyone. As for inviting them on my show, as I told them in another email, I had planned on asking them both on to talk about Mormonism after Mark’s interview. Due to timing that wouldn’t be until the next week, but they never gave me the chance or the courtesy of a phone call after years of working together.
As for my first response, here’s the first email, which will give you an idea of what ensued thereafter.
You’re right, I don’t like Mitt Romney, but not because he’s a Mormon. It’s also not about him personally. It’s about his politics.
Frankly, I don’t care what you think of Mark, which isn’t the point. He was a member of the Mormon Church longer than you have been to this date, so he has every right to say whatever he wants without getting your permission because you host my site or radio show, and whether you approve of what he says or not. And let me add, just because you don’t agree with Mark doesn’t mean your opinion is loftier or more informed. Your arrogance in blasting out the email you did reveals your lack of religion, my friend, because ego is the enemy of anything godly. But you’ll have to look to your own conscience for what you wrote to me. It doesn’t make me mad. It makes me sad, for you.
That you think you can censor me or threaten taking my business down because I linked to a site that also considers my Episcopalian religion a “cult,” boggles my mind. You are also in effect saying that because you have a graphic and sponsor my radio show (or did) I have to police my links? Are you kidding? Can you imagine what Muslim sites will be saying about Mormonism? African American Baptist churches? Have you seen what they write about my religion? I’m not supposed to link to them either? Give me a break. My faith has been attacked throughout my life and I was never so thin skinned or egotistical that I thought I could control the speech of others. My faith runs strong regardless of insults, no matter their source.
In addition, your email is flat out ignorant in its charges.
I backed Senator Harry Reid from the start. I didn’t care if he was pro-life or Mormon. I sang his praises and still do, unless he’s wrong on an issue. But you are not interested in facts. You want to unjustly charge me with disrespecting your religion instead. You owe me an apology for the flatly false charge “you do not like” the Mormon religion. Frankly, I had no feelings one way or the other until you sent your email, Rachel. Now it has me truly thinking about what Mormonism stands for and exalts. Harry Reid’s Mormonism is humble. I’m not sure what to make of your representation.
I went after Mitt Romney over child brides, which is a sin, a moral outrage and a crime, hoping he’d do something besides make jokes about marriage being between “one man and one woman,” which is what he said, not me. If you ever knew any young girl who was molested against her will this wouldn’t be all about you. But Romney remained silent. I linked to Harry Reid’s letter to Gonzales, which was an effort by Reid to have the Attorney General look into child brides. Good for Reid.
I went after Mitt Romney today because he was pro-choice when running for Gov., but then decided he’d change to being pro-life for his presidential run. That, regardless of the religion involved, is hypocrisy. I will expose it and I don’t need and will not ask for anyone’s permission to do so.
On my show today, Mark and I were nothing but honest and respectful. Did you listen? If you didn’t, well, that says a lot. But if you did and didn’t like what we said, well, that’s what makes America great. It’s called FREEDOM OF SPEECH and FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Bill Maher of HBO, who is a comedian and an agnostic, brought up undergarments, which we talked about today, but we did not disrespect anyone’s religion in doing
so. I did quote Mr. Maher, but I also said no one should disrespect what Mormons believe. If you don’t like us talking about the truth, well, tough.
It’s going to get very rough, because I believe Mitt Romney will turn into a true frontrunner. Few people know anything about Mormonism. It will be under scrutiny. Welcome to the world of religion under the public light. But I don’t care about Mitt’s Mormonism any more than I would care if he was a Catholic. However, I do care about his hypocrisy. Becoming pro-life so he can get the evangelical vote is wrong. That needs to be exposed. I will do everything in my power to expose his hypocrisy.
Finally, just so we’re clear. I will link and talk about whatever I want.
I will also bet any amount of money that Senator Reid and Mitt Romney would protect my FREEDOM OF SPEECH and my FIRST AMENDMENT rights, as well as champion my AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL right to say and link to whomever I want, while also being strong enough Mormons in their own faith to keep their own counsel, without being somehow hurt by what appears on some website. I never disrespect anyone’s religion, not ever. I’ve linked to hundreds of sites that do, but you’ve never made a peep until today.
It is insulting in the extreme to get some email message from you, which in effect demands that I censor myself on a debate about the Mormon religion that will be happening everywhere, but is not allowed on my site if I do business with Rachel and Jason Frey. You’ve got a lot a nerve.
You should be ashamed of yourselves. Jason, I’m surprised at you.
Do not send me another email on this subject. Jason, you and I sat down years ago to decide to do business together. Give me a call. We can dissolve it together, too. But let me say this with all due respect. You are wrong in your assessments and judgments. But they are yours and you’re entitled to them.
I knew I was in trouble when Mitt Romney announced he was running for president, because I’d begun to see by living in Nevada just how sensitive and secretive Mormons can be. But little did I know how much trouble one man and his religion would be.
The first post that alerted me to the coming challenges was about FLDS and Warren Jeffs. Just read the comments, which include comments from the Freys that are not only defensive, but completely ignore that I spelled out the differences between FLDS and LDS in the post itself. It highlights the real issue.
Mormons don’t want to talk about the specifics of the Mormon religion.
People are also afraid of being labeled a religious bigot or worse if they reveal what Mormonism is about. Some fear for their livelihood. I know of radio hosts who talk on stations owned by Mitt’s company. Do you think they’re going to talk about Mormonism? Mormonism and censorship is real today. I have experienced it first hand. For five weeks, because it took that long to find the right hosts and web developer, I have had to watch every single thing I’ve said on this site. It was a very paranoid time, including the fact that they had access to my emails.
I have never fully appreciated what some writers and bloggers have said about the insidiousness of religion, because I come from a religious home and consider myself religious even though the practice of my spirituality is anything but conventional. However, the Freys taught me something about Mormonism and it isn’t good. What the General and other writers do by exposing, or maybe a better word is revealing, the truth about Mormonism is that it is a very different religion. Any fundamentalist religion is dangerous, especially for women.
Do you know about Kolob? Before I changed hosts and tech team I was not allowed to even write that word on this site. I couldn’t link to the General’s illuminating posts on Mormonism. Are they disrespectful? Mormons might think so, but if you’re ignorant and read what’s on the page it’s just information. Some may say it’s shocking, but to the unknowing it’s just a post. Not to Mormons.
I know agnostics and atheists likely think I’m wacky because I’m an Episcopalian. But at least I don’t believe in censoring religious discourse and discussion in order to protect my faith. Is it legal? A good question.
But after living through the last six weeks I’ve experienced it first hand. Word of advice, make sure you know who you’re hosting company is and what they think they’re entitled to do with your site. If you’re on radio, don’t be scared, know your legal rights. I never would have thought I could be censored by two Mormons over a link, but I was.
And it’s all the General’s fault. All I can say is thanks, General. Because of your writing and satire, especially on a topic that few will touch, Mormonism, I learned a valuable lesson. Oh, and by the way, Jesus’ General is now one of my husband’s favorite sites.
I had to wait a long time to write this post, after I was safe from the threat of censorship. No one will ever tell me what I can write or say again, least of all two Mormons.