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Letter to the Editor

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Letter to the Editor

I lived in the Salt Lake City area for 10 years, and joined the Mormon Church after marrying a Mormon man. It was an education. Both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune provided me with a start as a professional free-lance writer. I wrote features and humor pieces from a Mormon perspective for the Deseret News. I contributed guest editorials to the Tribune, expressing my views on the many unique societal issues that arose in that state, where there are religious "haves" (Mormons) and religious "have-nots" (non-Mormons).

Having been an outsider reared in mainstream Protestantism, I had a perspective not commonly found among many Utah Mormons. I expressed my views openly in my editorials to the Tribune, assured that my First Amendment rights to free speech were fully in tact, even in a theocracy such as Utah was at the time I lived there.

However, it was not to be. I was ordered by my Bishop to cease writing the editorials for the Tribune or face censure by the church. I refused to obey him and continued writing editorials, which often conflicted with Mormon teachings. I received many letters of support-most of them written anonymously-from Mormons who admired my courage to openly express what they could only think to themselves, and from non-Mormons applauding my views. However, some were not so supportive, and I was eventually forced to leave Utah as I began receiving letters and telephone calls threatening my life and my children's lives.

Censorship is alive and well in the Mormon Church; many of the church's best writers and historians have been silenced by church authorities through "disfellowshipment" or excommunication for publishing works without church approval and permission. I was ultimately excommunicated in 1982 for "preaching false doctrine," which is anything that doesn't follow closely the dogma of Mormonism.

To allow the Tribune to fall into the hands of the Mormon Church would be to silence the only voice non-Mormons and those Mormons residing on the fringes of Mormonism have in Salt Lake City. It would be a travesty to allow this to happen, leaving only that which passes through the filters of Mormon censorship available to the city's people.

Surely there is someone or some corporation out there that is willing and able to stand up for the rights of free speech and purchase the Salt Lake Tribune.

The Mormon Church doesn't "connive" to "control everything in Salt Lake City." It only wants to control those venues through which people can speak alternative viewpoints, thus curtailing criticism, something the church has never tolerated. clare goldsberry Phoenix, Arizona