This membership policy applies to the large Mormon Stories Podcast Community Facebook Group and all Regional Mormon Stories Facebook Communities and Mormon Stories Facebook Affinity Groups. The Boise and Phoenix Regional communities have additional membership policies.
The freedom to speak openly and authentically is critical to the health and success of the community. This freedom must be balanced against the equally-critical need for civil, constructive interactions. We maintain that participation in the Mormon Stories Facebook group should be as emotionally safe as possible and that it is usually possible to communicate authentic ideas without attacking or demeaning individuals with whom you may disagree. In an effort to promote safety while protecting freedom to speak authentically, the policies below have been adopted.
As outlined in the Mission Statement, the Mormon Stories Facebook group seeks respectful, “destination-neutral” discussion of all things Mormon. To maintain that tone, we have created the following list of encouraged and discouraged behaviors.
- Gathering all the data regarding LDS history, doctrine, theology, and culture. All questions and discussions initiated with the sincere intent of learning are encouraged.
- Exploring the full menu of options regarding church activity and affiliation, without any attempt to push people towards a particular destination.
- Support for navigating the tricky waters of communicating and interacting with family, friends, and ward members while engaging in an unorthodox approach to Mormonism.
- Alternative forms of spirituality and community for those whose needs are not being met by traditional church activity.
- Anything that is “honest, true, virtuous, doing good, lovely, of good report, praiseworthy,” having a clear, constructive purpose.
- Personal attacks or insults of any kind.
- Criticism for the sake of criticism.
- Profanity, crudeness, and (excessive) sarcasm.
- Efforts to convince other members of the truth/falsehood of the truth claims of Mormonism. The forum should be a “post-truth-claims” community.
- Comments that paint entire groups or organizations with a single brush (e.g. “The Mormon church is a stupid cult,” “Apostates are evil,” “Mormons are brainwashed,” etc.)
- “Trolling,” in which a member professes false (dis)beliefs in order to provoke a response from the community. Those wishing to play “devil’s advocate” for beliefs that differ from their own must it clear that they are doing so.
- The Mormon Stories Facebook group is for anyone who identifies with Mormonism in any way. There are no belief, activity level or institutional affiliation requirements.
- Under normal circumstances all members must use their real names. Extenuating circumstances, such as church employment, may justify the use of “alias” accounts. Such exceptions must be approved by a majority of admins before an alias account is admitted.
- Members who feel that the tone of the board does not reflect the Mormon Stories mission are encouraged to post public problem resolution threads. Such threads give the community a chance to self-correct its communication style in order to accomodate others’ feelings. These threads should speak to general trends and should not single out individual members.
- Members who feel that a specific individual is not posting according to the mission statement are encouraged to contact the individual privately. Such communications should be polite, civil and should refer to specific policy violations rather than personal disagreements.
- If private communication fails, the member may contact an admin; however, efforts should be made to avoid drawing busy admins into personal disagreements.
- Threads and posts that do not reflect the ideals set forth by the mission statement and these policies are subject to removal.
- Admins will send a private message to the poster or commenter before deleting an offending thread or comment. After a waiting period of four hours, the admin has the right to delete the thread or comment. In extreme circumstances, such as direct attacks on another member or excessively offensive posts, an admin may delete without warning or delay.
- A member may object to the deletion of a thread or comment. Any such objection should be made in a private message sent simultaneously to at least three admins, who will review the complaint jointly. Should discussion with admins fail to resolve the issue, members may escalate their objection to John Dehlin and/or Anne Peffer.
- Admins will make copies of comments and threads prior to deletion, which will be saved in a doc on the admin board.
- Members may of course delete their own threads. However, as it can be disconcerting to others when posts and threads disappear without warning, it is advised that members allow admins to deal with the deletion of individual problematic posts. Members who delete their own threads are encouraged to first make a copy first and then forward the copy to the admins.
- Members who repeatedly violate the Mission Statement and these policies are subject to expulsion from the Facebook group.
- A member cannot be ejected from the group until the admins have attempted to engage the member privately on more than one occasion. A majority of admins must agree before a member can be ejected.
- Admins must not check “ban permanently” when ejecting a poster.
- Any poster who feels that his/her expulsion was unfair is welcome to send a private message to John Dehlin and/or Anne Peffer.
- Finally, an expulsion from the Facebook group has no bearing on in-person get-togethers. A member who has been ejected from the group is free to join in-person activities.