That Dan Peterson Guy…Deserves an Apology

I have been a jerk towards Dan Peterson. I would like to apologize to him and ask for his forgiveness.

I have only met Dan once. It was during the summer of 2007 at Brigham Young University-Idaho. I taught at BYU-Idaho from 2006 to 2009. My wife had volunteered to help at BYU-Idaho Education Week that summer since volunteers were able to attend classes for free. I stopped by to say hello to her outside the lecture hall in the Taylor Building where she ushering.

I saw Dan sitting at a table across the hall. He was in town presenting at Education Week. I honestly knew little about his work. I just knew that he was a high profile academic voice within Mormonism. He had also once commented on an early post I did at Faith-Promoting Rumor. I went over and briefly spoke with him and his wife. I mentioned his comment on my post and we both moved on.

I have been a critical voice against Dan since the upheaval at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute. I admit, my main reason for this is that my friends tend to be on the religious studies side of the apologetics/religious studies divide which has emerged. Also, many of my friends are now employed or associated with the current version of the Maxwell Institute.

However, I can relate to Dan and what he has gone through. I lost my job a year ago and even had a total falling out with my political party. I should have had more sympathy given my own experiences, but instead I ended up making Dan a target.

But I have decided to change.

Each Wednesday, my wife and daughter wear "Be Kind" t-shirts to school. These shirts are part of the school district’s anti-bullying program. I want one of these t-shirts…but I need to start actually being kind first.

Hey, Dan. I am sorry. I will do better. I am starting by removing any posts that I have written that are negative toward you. It is a small step, but it is something I can do today.

I hope you can forgive me. Maybe we can laugh about all of this over lunch someday.

Categories: Blog

11 replies »

  1. Wow. Just wow. We may disagree politically, sir, and we may have differences theologically, but I hope that I can emulate the discipleship of Christ that you display here. Thank you for your example.

  2. Great respect, Chris, for what you are doing here. Our community needs to heal and move forward, and you are helping to create conditions that make that more likely. Salaam.

  3. Chris:

    Thank you for this. I’m really moved by it, and appreciate it. I would be delighted to have lunch with you someday, and I wish you all the best.

    We’ll continue to disagree, I’m sure, but we can do it — to say something absolutely unoriginal — civilly.

    By the way, a footnote: I’m not actually opposed to religious studies approaches to Mormonism. Not even slightly. First of all, I include apologetics within the broader field of religious studies. But, secondly, I think non-apologetic approaches to religious studies are also entirely legitimate, and that they have a great deal to offer. I’ve found the schism between Mormon studies and Mormon apologetics, and the vehemence of it, quite puzzling.

    But, more to the point here, thanks for the entry above.


    • Dan,

      Thanks for your response. It means a lot to me.

      Yeah, I didn’t really explain those debates and squabbles very well and I did not mean to imply too much by the labels. Your clarification is appreciated. I look forward to hearing more about the panel/round table at SMPT which I believe touched on some related themes.

      I will be in touch about lunch. 🙂


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