Strengthening Members Committee

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

I have often wondered what my official church file looks like. Oh sure, every time you do something good, or something bad, they take note of it. If you move, your permanent record moves with you.

Thing is, they won't show it to you. It's *your* life, and they won't show you what your record looks like.

Chad Hardy, who is fighting to get his diploma from Brigham Young University, got a partial record from BYU. Here is what he said on

I just got my hands on part of my student file as per the FERPA act, and was a bit creeped out by the fact that there are copies of my myspace blog, things I posted on here and my facebook posts in my STUDENT file. There are also copies of local Utah news stories I have been in, as well as a typed out transcript of my KJZZ TV interview, which I swear was a set-up.

It's like they really are their own version of the CIA.

I am totally creeped out right now.
Later, he said:

Now, BYU is REFUSING to give some of my records to my attorney without any explaination. I only have a partial file. (Perhaps the part that is missing is the file that kept track to how many times I went clubbing in Salt Lake City and masturbated.)

I am scheduled for my official university review with the dean on Feb 13. Dare anyone show up picketing?

This kills me.

Yes, I know there is a difference between a University's record and an official LDS record, but they should ALL be available to us at all times. I find it very suspect that we have to beg and plead to see our own records! It's insane!

There is talk of a secret organization called "The Strengthening Members Committee." This is a group within the Mormon Church that gathers information on members of the church that might apostatize or cause other trouble for the head honchos. Here are some quotes I found regarding this infamous group...

Daniel Peterson wrote:

".. was once sent out, a number of years ago, as a kind of "agent" of the Strengthening Church Members Committee. My mission? To try to help a member of the Church whose apostasy was threatening his marriage and causing anguish to his very active wife, children, and parents. (The wife and parents, and his stake president, has asked for help.) The weapons of choice? Talking with him for about four hours in Salt Lake City, in the presence of his wife and stake president, and recommending some readings."

There are also many people who claim that they have been watched, harassed, and threatened by members of this church committee, although those reports have no proof whatsoever.

Every member of the church has had phone calls from random church members requesting their new address, email address, or phone numbers of their friends and family. They go out of their way to keep tabs on everyone. If you move, it's only a matter of time before they track you down. We all know this to be true.

The only thing I have to say, is that this is really creepy.

If there is any Mormon watching my blog, making copies of everything I write and putting it in my "secret file," which would have to require an entire filing cabinet by now, then I would like to extend you a warm welcome. Please, copy and record everything you want.

I would LOVE to have the opportunity to talk to the "prophet" about it.



  1. Josh Daniels Says:

    I don't see what all the fuss is about?

    1. The Church has an inalienable and even US constitutional right to be a private organization not subject to public governmental oversight. As such it is entitled to the right of freedom of association. This means that private people with private religious interests come together FREELY to associate with one another in the organization. The organization has its own values and practices and those who associate can abide by them or not. If they choose not to abide by them, then the association has no obligation to claim them as part of their association. After all, the church (or association) has the right to identify itself too. Thus, so called "dissidents," "apostates," or "antis" have no right to be a part of the church if the church determines that they are not "associating" with them under the same common values and practices. If the church consistently allowed (by never distancing itself) from these people it finds to be incongruent with its association, the Church would, in effect, lose its identity, its control over its own identity, and ultimately it would be jeopardizing its very nature and purpose (as that purpose is inextricably linked to its values and practices). So that is, I believe, a big part of WHY the church, from a legal and civilly practical, standpoint, A) Keeps track of major issues when someone may be jeopardizing the common association of the church by claiming as a member of the church to speak out against a part of the values or practices of the church which the church may find incongruent with its association. And B) Excommunicates or officially sanctions those that, usually in more public ways, jeopardizes the free association and identity of the church by or through the same actions.

    This is the right of the church when it comes to defending its identity and association. Those that associate should be grateful the church defends this right by keeping these files and if one is offended by the file-keeping, they should question their association with the church to determine whether they have congruent values and practices or not.

    This is like property rights, if you don't defend your own property rights, someone can essentially steal your property by squatting and therefore steal your property by virtue of the fact that you didn't defend your rights. From a legal standpoint, if you don't attempt to reasonably defend your property rights you lose them.

    In similar fashion the church would lose its rights in this same manner if it let certain things occur without correction. I don’t want the church I love and associate with to lose its identity because it never sanctions those who violate or advocate against our common values and practices. That should be a right I have as a member of the church and it’s the church’s responsibility to defend that right in my behalf.

    2. The fact that someone would spend four hours of their life dealing with a complete stranger doesn't show something bad or corrupt or scary, it shows a great amount of love and concern. I think the real topic of this meeting was more about a church administrator or leader of some sort trying to honestly resolve or identify potential misunderstandings or doctrinal concerns of a fellow member before they caused considerable pain, heartache, or resultant church discipline to themselves. I believe, and my experience supports the belief, that the church, its members and leaders (one in the same), care about one another's religious and spiritual welfare in the eyes of god and they do a lot to help improve that welfare. If the church was merely interested in causing pain and getting its jollies out of excommunicating people from a faith they love why would they have such a large membership and costly missionary efforts? It is nonsense to believe that the LDS Church is out to get people. They have far better things to do.

    Furthermore, when it comes to forwarding records and finding "lost" members, the church takes its responsibility to someone who chooses to associate by partaking in spiritual rights like baptism quite seriously. While a member has inherent obligations to the church by joining, the church also has reciprocal responsibilities, and until the church is VERY sure the member does not want to follow through with their own responsibilities, the church is not going to write off its end of the deal. Hence hundreds if not thousands of volunteers (church members assigned in various leadership positions) spend probably millions of combined volunteer hours trying their level best to help fellow members, and follow through with the church's ecclesiastical responsibilities to its flock. This is, after all, what Christ asked of his early Apostles when he commanded them to "feed his sheep."

    To people who CLAIM to be avoiding the church and FEEL they are being unduly harassed or hunted down by volunteer church leadership (fellow members): GROW UP! STOP LYING on the web! And BE HONEST AND DIRECT with these well meaning members: just TELL them you DON'T WANT to associate with the Church anymore. Also make sure this gets communicated to the bishop of your local congregation (preferably by you).

    I have been in enough leadership posts to know that we as fellow members and local leaders do not needlessly waste our precious personal time BUGGING people who DON'T WANT to be bugged! If you don't want contact, we usually note it and leave you alone. If you HONESTLY want to resign your church membership, we usually point you in the right direction to formally do that.

    Now, with that said, I understand that there are still a couple of problems:

    1. Often local church leadership, due to its volunteer orientation, is not necessarily always good or competent (although they ARE almost ALWAYS well meaning), thus those who are trying to avoid the church or who request no contact are needlessly harassed by those who are incompetent or didn't get the message or are new to a leadership post and don't know anything about the matter. To those avoiding the church: be patient with us! Sometimes leadership changes, just because someone shows up at your house wearing a suit and tie doesn't mean they are the same guy you cussed at 3 years prior! Be polite and say HONESTLY and DIRECTLY what you feel or request as far as your association with the church goes. Remember, this person is a volunteer and came to your house on HIS/HER time with good intentions related to their CARE/CONCERN over YOU.

    2. Church members who are active in volunteer leadership assignments take their association with the church seriously and as such feel it is a BIG DEAL to just write someone off. For this reason, they are reluctant to LET GO of you or allow you to merely resign your membership without a little bit of a fight. This is because ultimately they CARE about you and feel a religious responsibility to you. Additionally, I have personally seen where an uncommonly BAD leader with TERRIBLE interpersonal skills will INCORRECTLY report that a given member (name or family on a list) supposedly wants NO CONTACT with the church while such is not the case. I have even seen it where something like this is discussed in a morning leadership meeting and the member in question is in attendance at church that very same day! This is due to possible clerical errors, miscommunication, and bad people skills on the part of the leader. Although it is usually combined with bad people skills on the part of the member in question as well.
    This is why it can appear challenging to LEAVE or AVOID the church from the perspective of a member who would want to do such. Rest assured, it is not an institutional practice of the church to NEEDLESSLY HARASS people who don’t want to associate with the Church. It is usually bad procedure on the part of local volunteers. I might add that many a member who was avoiding the church has come back into association (happily and thankfully) because some cared enough to risk the chance of “BUGGING” them.