Rendell's willingness to co-operate in my studies was most welcome, especially his statements that
I shall be most pleased and happy to furnish you with all the facts and feelings concerning the Mormons and their ways of life...If you require more details on any specific subject don't hesitate to ask, I will be only too happy to let you have everything you need.
Unfortunately as my questioning became more specific, especially where verification for certain of his claims was concerned it became clear that he was unwilling to honour his promises. Those aspects of his story which aroused my interest were those which deviated sharply from the widely known normative aspects of Mormonism. The main ones being:
1. that he served as president of the Primary organisation;
2. that he was invited to speak in the bi-annual Conference of the Church at
Salt Lake City;
3. that he advised a female member of the Latter-day Saint Church to abstain
from sexual relations with her Husband;
4. that the Church in Barnstaple received a decree from LDS headquarters to
relegate the Bible to a position of less importance than the Book of Mormon;
5. that he pretended to divine revelation;
6. that he was ordered to get out of a car and walk along the motorway by
7. that Mormon missionaries are trained by psychologists in methods
8. that the reason most Mormons do not leave their faith is because the
Church does not give them time to think, but occupies them fully to
prevent them from learning the doctrines and studying the Scriptures;
9. that Latter-day Saints expect and are expected to become perfect
10. that he was the presiding minister of the Barnstaple Branch of the
LDS Church and,
11. that he received death threats which were delivered personally by
two ministers of the Mormon Church.
This claims on this list does not exhaust those made by Rendell in 'Don't Close The Door' and his subsequent correspondence. They have been selected to demonstrate that he has lied.
We turn our attention verifying the truthfulness of his claims. Something that Reachout Trust ought to have done but failed to do, and which they would only discuss after much prompting. During a protracted correspondence some of his claims were probed in attempts to uncover the truth. The sample of eleven points are representative of his story.
If his claims could be substantiated he would be vindicated and Reachout Trust's name would be without blemish. If they could not be substantiated, Rendell and Reachout Trust would have a case to answer. The eleven were:
1. His claim to have been president of the children's Primary organization, a position is exclusively held by a female member never by a male, as the Church's official Primary Handbook states:
The ward [or branch] Primary presidency consists of a president, first counsellor, and second counsellor. They should all be women.
2. Rendell claims to have received ...an invitation to speak in Salt Lake City, the world headquarters...
He reiterated this claim on another occasion
I had been invited to Salt Lake City to speak at the Mormon Temple at their bi-annual convention.
One who had been a member of the Latter-day Saint faith for six years ought to be aware that the bi-annual meetings of the Mormon Church are conferences not conventions, and that the venue is not the Salt Lake Temple but the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
If he has received an invitation why does he not provide details that will confirm his claim? If he did not receive the invitation why has he said that he did? Is it to inflate his spurious claim to have been a "top member" even further than he has already done?
Rendell will not provide details of his invitation to speak in Salt Lake City and we are entitled to ask "why not?"
I was interested in your invitation to Salt Lake City to speak in the Mormon Temple there. Did you receive a letter of invitation and if so do you still have it? I'd appreciate a copy of it. If you did not keep it could you tell me who it was from and when the invitation was for - date - meeting - etc., and the purpose of the invitation. I understand that most of the speaking is performed by the Mormon hierarchy.
Rendell has not responded to this enquiry but Mormon minister Gordon Slade provides insight on his claim:
Brian Rendell...found it difficult to speak to a small congregation of twenty in Barnstaple. He never was invited to speak in Salt Lake, nor would he have been able, if he had.
As to his invitation to speak in Salt Lake, the Church in England, let alone the backwater of North Devon, is so many years behind in its progress, compared to Salt Lake, that a struggling member here of a few years experience in the Church could expect such an invitation is just a preposterous claim. Especially as he spent much of that time in hospital.
3. Rendell confesses to a serious abuse of his ministerial office relating to advice he gave to a young woman regarding her sexual relations with her husband.
Another example of misusing my position was when I was teaching a group of ladies to prepare them to be ready to go to the Temple. I counselled one newly married young woman that she should abstain from sexual relations with her husband for three months to prove to the Lord that she was "worthy'. She did!
This last claim of Rendell's is difficult to believe for several reasons. Latter-day Saint Church leaders do not advise members on intimate matters. Mormons do not consider married sexual love to be unclean, sinful, or liable to render marriage partners in any way unworthy, and there is no doctrine or practice which requires abstinence from married intimacy.
4.Rendell alleges, My first doubts about whether the Mormons were really the true church or not came on a day when we received a decree from Utah came telling us that in future the Book of Mormon was to be the first book of the Mormons and the Bible would only be a companion to it.
Attempts to obtain a copy of the decree met with no success.
You have not explained this decree satisfactorily. I would appreciate sufficient data on it to be able to identify it and possibly obtain a copy of it. Can you help?
Characteristically no response was forthcoming. It has not been possible to obtain a copy of the "decree", and the instruction is unknown to senior members of the Latter-day Saint hierarchy.
5. Rendell claims to have pretended to have been the recipient of a divine revelation in order to make good a shortfall in the Branch's operating budget. This deception, he says, was only a small part of non-Christian things that he did during his period of ministry.
On many occasions during my time with the Mormons I did things which were certainly not Christian. For instance, one time while I was keeping the financial records I discovered that we were short of the amount required to purchase the books and tracts needed for the following year. With a fellow Mormon I hatched a plan to raise some cash quickly! On the following Sunday I announced that the Lord had revealed to me that all present at the meeting should pay an extra and special tithe so that the work for the following year could go forward promptly. At the end of the meeting every person was interviewed and told the amount the Lord wanted him or her to give; everyone paid in full before leaving that meeting.
Rendell confesses to have done unchristian things "on many occasions." Later telling of this incident displaces certain emphases in the story as a comparison will show.
Another example of the power of leadership. One Sunday in September, the account for the following year's books was well short. The two of us in leadership wrote down the names of all the adult members present, then assessed what each could afford. During the meeting it was announced that God had revealed that all should pay an extra tithe for the following year's work, each and every member payed the figure we had suggested before leaving the building.
Since the power of Mormon leadership was an integral part of the study, especially where control was in evidence, Rendell was invited to comment further.
Re the extra year's tithe. Who was your partner in this affair and what position did he hold? You mention the absolute power of the leadership and the fact that every member paid up before they left the building. What kind of threats were used against them to make them comply, and what would have happened to them if they hadn't coughed-up?
Gordon Slade was my confederate when the extra tithe for books was taken from the membership. He was President and I was 1st Counsellor and Treasurer. It was August and we were having the meeting in the Moose Hall, because our normal venue was being decorated. It is plain and simple, no threats, no punishment, just judged to be "unworthy" to a Mormon nothing could be worse.
Rendell earlier identified his role as "I was keeping the financial records," but now amplifies his position to that of 'treasurer.' There is not now and never has been a piosition of 'Treasurer.' Granted, treasurer sounds more grand than 'financial clerk,' but that was Brian's role. The role of Financial Clerks at all levels of the Church is one of simple bookkeeping. tey have no responsibility for keeping any Church funds.
Slade says of this incident that there was no claim to revelation and the request that members make a contribution to budget funds (it was not a tithe) was normal. At that time budget funds were raised from through voluntary contributions. In the event of a shortfall a further contribution might be requested and this could be assessed, but there was no coercion or control or claim of revelation as Rendell's claims. Financial clerks were not involved in budget assessments. Budget donations are not tithes. The obvious difficulty Brian Rendell has throughout his correspondence keeping his ducks in a row, using proper terminology, and knowing the nature of church organisation give the lie to his claim to have been ';right at the top' in his part of England. It cannot be doubted that he got plenty of prodding and suggestions from his new friends at ROT to lie so badly for their own purposes, in pursuit of which, they unmercifully threw Brian to the lions!
6. Rendell claims to have been ordered out of the car in which he was a passenger on the return journey from his first visit to the Temple because he spoke about things he had experienced whilst in the Temple.
After my first visit to the temple I was so excited that I started talking about it on the way home. The driver stopped on the motorway and told me to get out because I was breaking the Mormon taboo.
I asked Rendell if he could "expand on this experience". His next letter ignored the request and several other pertinent questions so the request for further information regarding the incident was repeated.
I was very interested in the fact that you were made to walk along the motorway for an error of what appeared to be enthusiasm. Could you expand on this incident please?
His next letter dealt with the incident.
My walk on the motorway was very confusing, we had all experienced the time in the Temple, so why not? When they let me back into the car it was explained that everything behind those temple doors was sacred (I always thought secret).
If Brian thought it was 'secret,' to use hos own word, why didn't he keep it secret? Gordon Slade, the driver of the car, who was the presiding minister of the congregation in which Rendell worshipped, and Rendell's friend says, "this incident never happened."
7. Rendell claimed that Latter-day Saint missionaries are trained by psychologists.
These young missionaries are very effective on the door at highlighting the problems of those householders who will talk to them. ... These young men (often look and seem very young) but they are trained by experts (psychologists etc.).
He was then asked
Re: training of missionaries by psychologists etc. Could you please explain this in some detail, it is quite fascinating! Do you mean that Mormon ministers are trained in brainwashing techniques or that they are taught how to meet, identify and respond to human needs in some sinister way? Could you be quite explicit about this please?
He responded to the question but failed to satisfy its demands. His reply was evasive making no mention of psychologists.
Yes. Missionaries are trained at M.T.C. to be aware and how to handle many human responses when confronted at the door or even in the investigators homes. They may be young but they are eager and have been told by their families for up to 10 years that they will be going on a mission. Even separate bank accounts are opened, the pressure is enormous. At 17+ they are at the peak of their learning capacity, they absorb the sales patterns [patter?] rapidly, wanting as much knowledge as possible so that they can do the work for their Church. So you can see it is quite simple for the coaches (teachers) to fill their minds with programmes and programmed responses as they talk to people who often reject their ideals. It doesn't matter, they often continue as if nothing had been said to them. This is very frightening to contemplate for 18 - 19 year olds. The utter single-mindedness.
Mormon missionaries have little formal training on door-knocking, it is mostly learned by experience, but, when possible by doing a "split" with the missionary Elders. Two local Elders pair up with the missionaries, it is very effective, a local man can often gain access to the home when missionaries alone would fail, nothing is overlooked in giving these robotic salesmen a chance to use their patter, even ladies go out together trying to obtain appointments for the Elders to sell Mormonism.
I have served three missions for the Church: 1956-57; 1963-65; and 200-2002 and didn't meet one psychologist or have any training in door approaches until I was actually in the missions field. And then I was trained on the doorsteps bymore experienced missionaries that were on leave of absence as university baccalaureate undergraduates and not one of them was a psychologist.
8. Rendell claims that Mormons are not "given time to think" in order to prevent them from noticing what kind of a religion they have joined.
No one is given time to think. If you are unemployed, the Mormon Church finds work for everyone, social work, Help the Aged, door knocking, church cleaning, etc. In return all your basic needs are met. No money is given only a shopping list (this is vetted), then independent members do the actual shopping, ... it seems to be a perfect Welfare System. That is the question I pondered?
Why a "perfect Welfare System" should give rise to suspicion, we are not told. Clarification of this statement was sought.
Re: "no one is given time to think." I cannot understand what you mean by what follows, which I presume was intended to illuminate your initial statement. What follows is a description of the Mormon Welfare scheme, which, as you describe it, seems admirable. Could you please explain how this relates to your initial statement and also what you meant when you ended - "...it seems to be a perfect Welfare System. That is the question I pondered?"
His response was as obscure as the original statement and did not address why he should "ponder" a successful programme which was of such great benefit to those in need.
The Welfare System is good, but I am sorry to say that it also has an hidden motive in that those underemployed or even unemployed are not left to ponder the truths of Mormonism, but [are] filled with chores of one sort or another, all according to the person's abilities.
Rendell was pressed for further information on the subject.
How many hours a day are those in the Welfare System made to work? Your statement would make it appear as if they are driven to exhaustion so that they cannot concentrate on the "truths of Mormonism." Is this so or do you exaggerate a bit here?
His response served only to cloud further an already darkened situation.
No, no more than an ordinary day's work, but then there is their assigned studies that all members are expected to complete, their day is only balanced with others. On top of study there is the "door to door" work which is done by all, it is important that every door is knocked at least once a year.
Rendell did not see the incongruity of members doing their "assigned studies" and his statement that they lacked time to "ponder the truths of Mormonism". He was beginning to feel the pressure as I sought clarification and verification. His answers became more defensive.
I don't think I am able to debate the Bible with you because you seem to use it as a weapon to draw further retorts from someone without enough information...
All my comments and observations are based on what I saw and did with the Mormons, after all this is why you contacted me in the first place, and even with the Book of Mormon I'm no expert because very few Mormons are given the chance or the time to become an authority on it.
All your Mormon quotes sound good, but most often they are from persons still involved with the cult, what else would you expect them to say?
I suspect that your yardstick for Mormons does not come from persons able to speak the whole truth, or maybe from literature that is not beyond question.
Two examples you quote are from a non-Mormon and a current Mormon. One can't know, and the other won't tell, there must be better examples?
He also fails to point out what examples are available except those from non-members and members. He appears to be saying that only ex-Mormons are capable of speaking the truth. Unfortunately he tell so many lies and Reachout Trust is so evasive and unhelpful that the value of their contributions to the debate is questionable.
9. Rendell claims that Mormons believe that human perfection is possible during mortality, and that their Church activities are directed towards this end.
You must know that Christian are not under the same pressures [as Mormons], we are expected to do our best, but we know no one can be perfect ...but Mormons expect to reach that status [perfection] on earth ...
The notion that Mormons are expected to become perfect is erroneous and runs counter to the expectation of Church members and the its. Mormons have been accused of being priest-ridden and too fearful to use their own judgement. The truth is they are only asked to do right, live pure lives, do good to all men, evil to none, and to respect the order of God's kingdom that salvation may come to them and be extended to all the world.
How beautiful and holy is this plan of eternal justice! How consistent with the words of the Messiah, "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect." [Matthew 5:39]
Paul informs us that after the resurrection and eternal judgement, we are to go on unto perfection, and not until then, will the measure of our creation be filled. We do not look for absolute perfection in man. Mortal man is not capable of being absolutely perfect.
Decker and Hunt in their vile book The Godmakers make a similar claim to Rendell's:
Nothing less than 100% perfection [in this lifetime] will do.
Mormons strive to improve themselves conforming their lives to the pattern of the Jesus Christ, who is their paradigm. They do not expect to reach perfection in this life and are not taught that such is possible. Decker and Rendell – both of whom are ex-Latter-day Saints know their statement to be untrue, so why do they insist otherwise?
10. Rendell, to lend some substance to his claims to be a high-ranking defector from the Mormon faith, makes a claim that is unmistakable in its intention, although he does not define the claim clearly in Don't Close The Door, he does so in later correspondence.
I was not just a 'run of the mill' Mormon - I became one of the top members in the south-west of England Area.
His position as one of the "top members" - he says - included holding certain offices within the Latter-day Saint hierarchy.
Over the years I was Primary President and also Teacher, then Sunday School President yet still teaching Primary, then Secretary and shortly after that Treasurer together, then for 4 years I retained both these jobs, then added Counsellor and the President of the Branch. So in the end I was Secretary, Treasurer and President at the same time.
This claim is too bizarre to take seriously. In it Rendell claims to be his own Counsellor! Gordon Slade denies that Rendell was ever the Presiding minister of a Latter-day Saint congregation.
I knew Brian [Rendell] throughout his short Church life, as a friend, and for a while as his Branch President.
While an active member, he was never that strong, he was not a "top member in the South West," and found it very difficult to speak to a small congregation of twenty in Barnstaple.
To verify Rendell's claim to have been the Presiding minister of the Barnstaple Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he was asked to provide evidence.
Can you tell me during what time period you were the Branch President and how this information can be verified? This is particularly important.
You write that you were President of the branch of the Mormon Church.
1.Who installed you in your incumbency?
2.When were you installed as president?
3.When did you cease to be the congregation's president?
4.Which congregation did you preside over?
No answers were forthcoming from Mr Rendell. Verification was sought from the Mormon Church. Gordon Slade, one-time presiding minister of the Barnstaple Branch, was asked to verify whether Rendell had ever been the presiding minister:
As I am no longer the local Branch President, I have passed your letter to the Stake. We do not keep any official records of callings in the Branch, but to the best that I can recall (the dates may not be exact but the names and sequences are), since I joined in 1979.
1979 - 81 President A D B Wheele
81 - 84 President M J Vickery
84 - 85 President D Kirk
85 - 92 President G Slade
92 - President I Turner
At no time has Brian Rendell ever been Branch President of Barnstaple or any other unit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Rendell's claim to have been Branch President is deliberate falsehood. It was suggested to Rendell that he could be acting out of bad feelings towards his former friends.
I must ask you whether your article is meant to injure your former friends. If not could you explain your reasons for writing it in the first place. How did you become involved with the Reachout Trust?
His response exposes the depth of contempt he feels for his former church, and shows how deeply into the grip of an active and insidious anti-Mormon ministry he has fallen.
The reason I want to make things public is a sincere wish that those contemplating joining [the LDS Church] might see or be shown the great number of "ifs" to be found in "their scriptures", and perhaps stop them from making a great mistake, and if it can put doubt into the minds of members, that is if they are allowed to even see it.
Sincerity does not need lies to progress the cause it espouses. Lies impoverish any cause to whose ends they are employed. It is one thing for people to change their religions. Conversion is the acquisition of a point of view or perspective that was not held previously. However, some who are converted find it necessary to set about to bring about injury to of those who were once their friends:
Over the years I was Primary President and also Teacher, the Sunday School President yet still teaching Primary, then Secretary and shortly after that Treasurer together, then for 4 years I retained both these jobs, then added Counsellor and the President of the Branch, so at the end I was Secretary, Treasurer and President at the same time until I found Jesus and the truth was with me."
Rendell's statement that he has found Jesus and that the truth is now with him sounds a little hollow in the light of the exposure of his dishonesty and of his eventual admission that he had lied.
11. It is possible that no other claim by Rendell exposes the extent to which he is prepared to go to demonstrate his intention to injure the Latter-day Saints than his claim to have been threatened with murder by two Mormon ministers.
Since my conversion [to the Christian Fellowship Church] I have been reminded a number of times by local Mormons of the vows I took to keep quiet about the secret Temple ceremonies and that I should be aware of the consequences of my actions.
I assume that you want me to name names. This is very awkward because a number of the leadership in this area have visited me and warned that if I continue revealing facts about them, then the vows etc. taken by me in the Temple may be invoked and my life may be in danger. I don't treat these threats lightly, but there are two names that I will give you. One is the current local President, Gordon Slade, living in Bideford, and the other is Andy Wheele, a counsellor who lives in Barnstaple. These are the two that have levelled threats on 3 separate occasions.
These were serious charges that demanded further investigation. Rendell was asked to be more specific about his allegations that threats on his life had been by Mormon leaders in his local area.
You say that you received threats from Mr Slade and Mr Wheele on 3 separate occasions. Is it possible for you to be even more specific about these incidents? I must say that I view them with a certain amount of disquiet! Were the threats quite open and explicit such as, "we will kill you if you don't keep quiet," or were they more veiled? Could you give me examples?
In his response Rendell backs down from his previous extreme position to imply that whilst no threats were verbalised they were still implicit in reminders to honour the solemn promises he had made in the House of the Lord.
The threats were given in the manner as to remind me that I had made vows in the endowment room... So the threat was given by reminding me of the vows I had given whilst inside the Temple, so beware and be quiet was the message. As a matter of interest there are in the USA a large group of Mormons, I think they are referred to as "Fundamentalists" and they are often prepared to help to quiet people like myself.
The ultimate sanction the Church may take against any member is withdrawal of membership. Rendell himself wrote that the ultimate sanction of the Church was rescinding the member's temple recommend. Mormons have no interest in laying hands on either the property or person of the disaffected.
Rendell's charges were designed to bolster his reputation amongst his new friends at the expense of his former friends, and at the expense of truth.
Reach Out Trust [ROT]'s designs may be inferred by their continued attacks on Mormonism using ammunition that has been defused vigorously and robustly over the years. Their intention is twofold: Frighten Mormons and would-be Mormons, and make a lot of cash from book, DVD, and other sales.
You have read the evidence. Now judge for yourself.
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