Highlights of A Mormon Story
RenewAmerica staff
March 23, 2012
  • A Mormon Story by Stephen Stone centers in real events that began with the LDS church's demand in August 2000 that the Stone family abandon their work for Alan Keyes, for whom they worked as national staffers.

    Because the family refused to comply, they were subjected to an unending series of un-American acts of deliberate intimidation, persecution, and interference by church officials (including those at the highest levels) — ultimately resulting in Stephen's groundless excommunication in October 2009.

    Such continual intrusion into the God-given political and employment rights of the Stone family is wrong, pure and simple. It is also illegal, violating numerous state and federal laws, as well as IRS rules for non-profit organizations like the LDS church.

  • At the heart of the controversy is the Stone family's unflinching determination to obey God above Mormon church officials — independence of mind church leaders repeatedly tried to squelch. Despite immense pressure to yield to the controlling demands of their leaders, the family remained true to their convictions — and their God-given rights — throughout the ordeal.

    They believed their integrity before God, not just their rights and obligations as citizens, required them to do.

  • Also at the heart of the controversy is the Stones' reliance on the official canon of the church in defining their own (and church leaders') duties. This led church officials to accuse them repeatedly of "apostasy" for invoking official church teachings to defend themselves.

    The church's demand, itself, that the family "quit working for Alan Keyes" was contrary to professed church policy and doctrine — as the family repeatedly reminded church officials — but the persecution never stopped.

  • An attorney for the church justified its harassment of the Stones by falsely claiming the family acted as "unpaid volunteers" in their political work a claim not only irrelevant under law, but entirely contrived, since the Keyes organization was paying the family better than any other previous employment.

  • As the church's persecution of the family intensified, it almost took the life of their severely diabetic daughter on several occasions. The unbearable stress nearly destroyed her fragile health.

  • The Stones' "stake president" admitted in writing that he disfellowshipped Steve specifically for his refusal to quit working for Alan Keyes — employment he said wasn't "meaningful." Such was the man's characterization of the family's work for one of America's foremost conservative leaders in the cause of preserving the republic.

  • When Steve received the above written justification for his disfellowshipment, he confronted the stake president at his home and asked, "What's this really all about?" The president said, "You won't obey your leaders."

  • The stake president's co-conspirator in persecuting the Stones — their bishop — angrily told Steve he "deserved" to be disfellowshipped for his view that church members' sole duty was to obey God, and that the church's doctrine consisted solely in its officially-adopted canon of scripture. The man then drove off in a huff.

  • A stake "high counselor" who delivered Steve's notice that he was to be tried for his membership was the featured speaker at an earlier Sunday service. His sermon focused on the importance of obeying church leaders — which he illustrated by describing how his father's "mission president" had required all 200 of his missionaries to "shave their right armpit" as a show of obedience.

  • A high church official told the family the presiding "First Presidency" wanted Steve punished indefinitely until he was "willing to sustain" local leaders who'd harmed his family and their political work. When Steve pointed out the church had no doctrine or rule requiring him to do so, the leader said, "You may be right, but it's a church practice."

  • Mormon church interference with the Stone family seriously damaged the 2008 presidential campaign of Alan Keyes — which the family was in charge of organizing — with the result that Keyes was unfairly excluded from crucial TV debates, as well as from early primary ballots, on the pretext that he "entered too late." The church's interference — traceable to the family's refusal to quit working for Keyes — was a direct violation of IRS rules for nonprofit organizations.

  • The Stones were barred from attending the "temple weddings" of two daughters because family members voted their conscience (during routine "sustainings") against church leaders who'd harmed them and their work. Such unjust punishment violated the family's undisputed rights under the church's "Law of Common Consent."

  • Weeks before Steve was disfellowshipped, the Stones' stake president stood within inches of 23-year-old daughter Stefani and menacingly screamed at her for reminding him that he'd told the family on two occasions the church would "fall apart" if members were taught to "follow the Holy Ghost." He acted in such a mentally-unstable manner throughout the controversy.

  • Midway through the decade-long ordeal, the Stones' new bishop was assigned by the "Area President" to investigate the family's charges against the church. After hearing two years of evidence and testimony, the bishop told the Stones — on four separate occasions — they'd "proven their case."

  • When Steve called the Assistant Secretary to the First Presidency and told him the family's bishop concluded they were telling the truth in their claims against the church, he responded, "Then your bishop's an apostate, and so are you."

  • After Steve was disfellowshipped, the governing First Presidency overturned the action for lack of grounds. Days later, local officials resumed their persecution — and Steve sought relief through hundreds of letters, documents, and requests to church headquarters spanning several years. For his good-faith efforts, he was later excommunicated by a kangaroo court that refused even to let him present his evidence.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31