FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Fork, UT (April 9, 2016) - Jeremy Runnells, author of the renowned Letter to a CES Director (also known as CES Letter), has been summoned to a disciplinary council by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on charges of apostasy. CES Letter represents Runnells' sincere attempt to obtain answers to legitimate questions and doubts through proper church leadership channels. The LDS Church has chosen to continue its recent trend of excommunicating members who openly question or doubt LDS foundational truth claims.
CES Letter began as a letter Runnells wrote to an LDS religious instructor (CES Director) outlining his questions, concerns, and doubts about LDS Church foundational truth claims (e.g., Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham historicity, Joseph Smith's polygamy and polyandry, LDS priesthood restoration, multiple first vision accounts). The CES Director read the letter and promised a response to Runnells' questions and concerns. No response ever came.
Upon its public release, CES Letter went viral and immediately became a Mormon internet phenomenon, providing validation and support to tens of thousands of questioning current and former LDS Church members. CES Letter has been downloaded an estimated 600,000 times to date, and over 12,000 LDS Church members have reached out to Runnells after reading the CES Letter.
Runnells reports that he met twice with his LDS Stake President, Mark Ivins, in the fall of 2014. During these discussions Runnells sought answers for questions posed in CES Letter and raised concerns about the LDS Church's recent historical essays (http://lds.org/topics/essays). President Ivins assured Runnells that he wanted to help, and that he would obtain answers. Runnells did not hear back again from President Ivins until January 25, 2016 when Ivins telephoned Runnells to inform him of his intention to challenge Runnells' LDS Church membership. Runnells requested a delay until March 15th, citing a close family member in hospice care, which was originally accepted by Ivins. On February 8, 2016 Ivins reversed his decision and informed Runnells of his disciplinary council scheduled for February 14, 2016.
Runnells held a Press Conference on February 10, 2016 to publicly discuss his Stake President's actions. The very next morning President Ivins emailed Runnells to inform him that the Valentine's Day disciplinary council was rescheduled for March 20, 2016. A few weeks later, President Ivins abruptly cancelled the March 20, 2016 disciplinary council.
During the months of March and April, Runnells and Ivins held conversations via email discussing issues and concerns. A theme consistent in the conversations is Runnells' pleas for Ivins to answer his questions and Ivins' refusal to answer them. Among the main questions Ivins consistently and repeatedly refused to answer are:
- What errors or mistakes are there in the CES Letter and on my website that I can publicly correct?
- If there are no errors or mistakes, why am I being punished for seeking and sharing the truth?
- What questions am I being punished for asking?
On April 8, 2016, Runnells received a letter from Ivins informing him that there will be a disciplinary council held against Runnells on Sunday, April 17, 2016 @ 6:00 pm Mountain Time.
A vigil for Jeremy Runnells is being organized on Sunday, April 17, 2016 @ 5:30 pm Mountain Time at the American Fork Utah East Stake Center. Address is: 825 E 500 N, American Fork, Utah.
PDF version of Press Release
Last Updated: April 9, 2016, 7:40pm MST