Political Power in the Pulpit

by

B4C is honored to present this guest post written by Jeffery Curtis Foli, the former mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri.

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Mitt RomneyHow far should religious leaders be able to go before they cross the line and breach the legal separation between Church and State, and who will hold them accountable? Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Gordon B. Hinckley, Oral Roberts, and some Catholic leaders are just a few who have challenged these issues.

I hope it is not the case, but if my story is any indication, Mormon religious leaders will take Mitt Romney aside as needed and help him remember just where his ultimate loyalties lie. I, as well as Mitt Romney, have made sacred agreements to support the interests of God’s future kingdom, as we see it within the Mormon perspective. But are individual religious interests and National interest always necessarily the same? In the case of a President Mitt Romney, is what is good for the Mormon people, equally good for all the citizens of the USA, and will the leaders press him?

I don’t know if Mitt ever had this issue before him in the past while serving as Governor of Massachusetts, but this possibility was twice made clear to me while I was serving as Mayor/CEO of the City of Chillicothe, Missouri. During one incident, I was taken into church offices and verbally threatened, by President and Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley via Stake President, and attorney, Detlif Lehnardt in a private meeting, with excommunication if I did not rescind my recently proposed legislation. I believe Federal Law (Tax Code Title 26 section 501) states that a Church cannot engage in such activity.

In another incident, Mormon leaders confronted me and told me to support the Mormon party line on a specific issue instead of what I knew was legal, honest, and in the best interest of those in my City. Since my oath of office was to represent the citizens of my City, and not the interests of the Mormon Church, I pressed each issue as far as I could in an appropriate way. I believe we can serve in both capacities in an open, honest, and honorable way, if the leaders will just keep their noses out of places they don’t belong.

Charges and complaints have recently been filed with the Sheriff of Livingston County Missouri, the ACLU, and the IRS. At each and every turn, these charges have been stonewalled, with no one wanting to challenge the accountability. The Mormon Church is enormously popular as well as powerful.

Just to reiterate, I ask, will Mitt Romney be his own man if elected, or would he be controlled by Religious Leaders? The multi-million man re-migration of Mormons to Missouri could be triggered in a small way just by the election of Romney. These issues are not at all isolated to the Mormons, I am sure.

Jeff FoliJeffery Curtis Foli
Former Mayor
City of Chillicothe, Missouri
1999-2003

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49 Responses to “Political Power in the Pulpit”

  1. Anti-Media Says:

    Wow. Powerful stuff. Great post!

  2. Jodi Says:

    It’s actually pretty frightening to think that the Mormon church, or any church, would put pressure on an elected official like this. Did this really happen?

  3. Psycheout Says:

    Agreed, Jodi. That’s why I requested Mayor Foli to write this piece and let me post it. I think it’s an important story.

  4. Nathan W. Says:

    Well if you wanted to open the door to this Psycheout, then do it all the way. There are no details about this incident. What was the legislation? What did Mayor Foli do? Did he stand by his principals on this issue? Did he try and appeal this to the area authority or First Presidency as anyone in power can claim they are doing something in somebody’s name?

    Have you seen the the youtube of Mitt Romney’s interview with Jan Mickelson? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G9hydflwEQ. How can there be Pro-Choice leaders of the church if the church is ex-communicating members that vote for positions that counter the church?

    As mayor, you are beholden to the voters that put you in place, not the church. Even with the covenants that you made that is for you personally, not politically. If it was for you politically, then why hasn’t the church ex-communicated Majority Leader Senator Reid? Surely he has influenced more legislation that is counter the church’s positions than you have in Chillicothe. Why don’t we see mass ex-communications of the LDS Democrats in Utah? Give me a break.

  5. Psycheout Says:

    Great questions, Nathan. I will forward them to Mr. Foli. I appreciate your feedback.

  6. Christopher Says:

    I have known Jeff personally for what seems like an eternity but in reality has been roughly six years.

    I have not always agreed with Jeff’s politics. Heck, when I first met Jeff it was during a serious issue involving the Chief of Police conduct. I was pretty ticked off with Jeff at first, but admittedly, he was the only elected official who was willing to try and sort the mess out, and when he finely listened to the tape recording evidence, Jeff was quick to call for a formal investigation against the Chief of Police.

    A very risky move, indeed, for a small town elected official but nonetheless rooted in Jeff’s character, and Jeff certainly paid the price from the other City officials, for genuinely caring and trying to have the tape recording heard in order to bring the truth out into the light.

    I viewed Jeff being the Mayor of Chillicothe, as bringing harmonious chaos to the City Counsel. It was a rarity that the City Counsel meetings were not tense, filled with one sarcastic pot shot after another from one politician or another every time Jeff did something they did not like, which was pretty common. But I came to learn that Jeff’s’ ability to be controversial in confronting issues everyone else wanted to keep silent, was actually what kept the City Counsel from going off the deep end into unadulterated corruption. And while Jeff may be a lot of things, one thing I can say without a doubt is that I never saw Jeff lacking in the ability to separate his “religious faith” from his duty as an elected official.

    I remember when Jeff first informed me of his claim that President Lehnardt had threatened him. Until that point in our friendship, I had always looked at Jeff as the “politician” but as I listened to Jeff tell me his story, I genuinely heard a man profoundly worried that the threats against him would be carried out; that he would be excommunicated from his Church and effectively lose his inner identity.

    It was really the first time that I saw Jeff in a completely different light other than the “politician” side of him, and I realized, for the first time, that Jeff truly holds his religious beliefs very close to his heart.

    When it comes to the subject of Jeff’s’ piece above, I recall one Sunday morning when I attended the Mormon Church in Chillicothe, as the guest of Jeff and his family. I expected to hear the routine sermons but was literally shocked and deeply offended when the sermon consisted of using the pulpit to preach war; to encourage killing men and to pat the backs of our Soldiers who did the same.

    Whatever your views are about our current war, I personally do not believe it is appropriate to use the House of the Lord to actively preach violence and death against other human beings regardless what religious faith a person claims. The House of the Lord is supposed to be a place to worship God; to rejoice in his word, his love and his gift of eternal life. Its’ supposed to be a place to learn about ourselves and how to be better, do better and have better by and through the word and love of our Lord. But on that black Sunday morning, the pulpit was used to preach hate; encourage death and rejoice in the misery of others.

    I do not know if I would vote Jeff into the office of the U.S. President, but I do know that I want someone who, is capable of separating their religious beliefs from their duty as an elected official. I’m not saying that they should be void of asking God for guidance, but I am saying that when making life altering decisions, it has to be done for the good of all people, rather than solely for the selected class who shares the same religious affiliation.

  7. Psycheout Says:

    That was quite interesting, Christopher. Your thumbnail sketch was very useful in shedding some light on what kind of person Jeff Foli is. A little background info and surrounding context is always helpful when dealing with complex issues such as this.

    What struck me, assuming that what Jeff says here is accurate, is that it was rather courageous of him to speak out about this issue when he has already been threatened (seriously or not) with excommunication from his church.

    It’s not easy to speak critically of one’s own church, and I don’t see that there’s anything to gain by putting this story out to the public. It seems that his motivation is a personal and a sincere one. Dare I call that a patriotic act?

  8. jeff foli Says:

    Dear Jodi and Nathan.

    The details of the legislation is not important. What is important is that it is against the law for a church to influence or coerse ANY KIND of legislation, period. However, religious leadrs do have every right to share thier opinions and feelings on issues. See Title 26 Section 501. These things are in the process of going to a Federal Lawsuit. I sent about 20+ correspondences to Church authorities, and specifically to President Hinckley. I respect the office of my religious leaders, but I do not respect those who do not learn and operate within their jurisdicitional boundries. I will soon dislose the details of my issues, but be aware that they are far more controversial than any political stance on abortion or same sex unions.

    Jeff Foli

  9. jeff foli Says:

    Let me be perfectly clear. I believe Mitt Romney has the potential of being a fantastic President. I do believe his principles and standards are probably as high as just about any candidate running for office. I personally do not share many of his views and beliefs, and hope he would reconsider his position on several things. My story is not shared to try to discredit Mitt, but I am speaking from my personal experience with inappropriate actions from leaders within my own faith. Mitt has the opportunity to address these unspoken concerns of many, but which the media is too afraid to confront. If Mitt can look the American people in the eye and tell them that in such a circumstance he would do whats best for the citizens of the USA first and foremost, then I believe he deserve serious consideration, and would be a viable contender. Again, these issues can and do pertain to any and all religious leaders who try to push thier beliefs too far into the political realm, and I believe there needs to be accountability for those who go beyond that which is legally appropriate.

    Jeff Foli

  10. jeff foli Says:

    For a brief understanding of the issues I dealt with, see blog below:

    Family Secrets

    Jeff Foli

  11. Psycheout Says:

    Thanks for adding additional clarification and extending your remarks.

    My story is not shared to try to discredit Mitt…

    One thing you quickly learn about political blogging during campaign season is that anything written about any individual’s chosen candidate that does not praise that candidate is taken as an attack.

    This is especially true of Romney and Paul supporters. Your article contains no attack on Mitt. You simply relate your own experience as Mayor and express your concern about the same tactics being used on Romney, should he become President. I think you made it perfectly clear.

    This cannot in any way be construed as an attack piece.

  12. David Says:

    Mitt Romney has already said his church never contacted him as governor of Massachusetts, nor did he contact them. He said he assumes it would be the same if he were president, especially since the lds.org church web-site says the LDS Church, while reserving the right to communicate it’s concerns on Church-related matters, will not get into politics per se, and that Mormon politicians should represent their constituents in an honorable and honest manner without church involvement. Orrin Hatch and Harry Reid–on opposite ends of the political spectrum–have said they have never been “told what to do” by the LDS Church.

    Jeff, your lack clarification of what legislation or matters were involved is not fair. Also, to state that LDS Church President Hinckley “verbally threatened” you with excommunication is a bit far fetched and out of character of this great man. You come across as a disgruntled, trouble making person, whose not allowing the other side of the story to come out. And your involving the IRS and especially the ACLU sounds like you may have not made a real effort to make your views and concerns known to Church general authorities for clarification. They are reasonable and good people, not the evil and vicious predators you paint them to be from your comments. From my 36 years experience in the LDS Church, I’ve never known of such a thing. Something does not add up with your story.

    Also, regarding Christopher’s comments, that he visited a Mormon service and “was literally shocked and deeply offended when the sermon consisted of using the pulpit to preach war; to encourage killing men and to pat the backs of our Soldiers who did the same.” Again, it’s unfair not to hear the other side of the story.

    Almost all LDS sermons are routinely are given by men and women of the congregation, not the bishop (pastor). So, frankly, often what is said includes a member’s personal opinion and not “official policy” of the Church. As a retired Air Force Officer and patriot I feel more could be said in church about the sacrifices our men and women in uniform do to insure our rights of worship and other freedoms. But, I can’t quite believe you when you say you heard preaching of “violence and death against other human beings regardless what religious faith a person claims.” Perhaps you need to attend more LDS meetings to get a more accurate sense of typical LDS sermons, where love for your fellow man is typically the topic. Please don’t be so quick to judge about the “mite” you saw in a Mormon’s eye.

  13. jeff foli Says:

    David,
    I used to believe the way you do until I actually experienced things differently for myself. I was a missionary, a graduate of BYU, had a Logan Temple marriage,….. I was even asked to teach primary a few weeks ago. Your view seems reasonable and seems like the right thing, however, I regretfull tell you it is not the truth. Like you, I have never, ever seen anything like this in my life before. I never wished to be treated in this manner, and was shocked and suprised myself. I have never been excommunicated and have never changed my story in 4 years. Had the church not made an agreement to trade non-compulsive actions towards politicians for tax exempt status, I believe they could have threatened me the way they did legally. Time will show what is true and false. I have records and testimony of those who have been involved. Had you been treated in the same manner, I would have liked to see how you would have reacted. I have provided you with breif clarification on the issues involved in a previous blog, please keep up with the info. as it comes out if you are really interested.
    Jeff Foli

  14. jeff foli Says:

    David,
    For clarity, here is a brief overview of one issue:

    When I was Mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri, I submitted a Resolution to the State of Missouri Legislature for Redress, where a legitimate decendant, Mormon or not, with a legit case might be qualified for a tax abatement on land, up to the amount of the taking. On Feb. 9, 2003, while at church, Pres. Hinckley, via the Stake Pres., gave me 24 hours to recind the Resolution or be excommunicated. I informed them that it was against the law for the church to influence or coerce legislation. I inappropriately responded with vehimance, and threated to take them to Fedral court for the felony committed. That issue was several years ago, and I have yet to hear anything in response. I did not apprecite the threat, and then no carry through. We all have alot to learn. Dealing with each other appropriately is a challenging thing for us all. I have since apologized, and still feel the resolution that went no where with the Legislature, is a viable thing. As I have written here before, all this is being portrayed in the Movie documentary comming soon called “Consecrated”?, by movie producer from southern California Kenneth Ballentine, who presented much of this info at the recent Sunstone Conference in SLC last summer.

  15. jeff foli Says:

    David,
    Again for clarity, another issue:

    MOUNTAIN MEADOWS WAS VERY SAD INDEED. AS MAYOR OF THE CITY THAT KILLED THE PEOPLE OF HAUNS MILL, I OFFICIALLY APOLOGIZED IN 2001 TO GORDON B. HINCKLEY FOR THE ACTIONS OF MY PEOPLE IN 1838. THERE IS MUCH MORE TO THE STORY THAN HAS EVER BEEN BROUGHT TO LIGHT. IN ACTUALITY, AN OFFICAIL MILITIA WAS FORMED THE DAY AFTER JOSEPH AND THE BRETHEREN CAME TO CHILLICOTHE, MISSOURI AND STOLE THE COUNTY CANNON. NINE PRISONERS WERE TAKEN BY THE LDS, AND THE MILITIA ATTACKED HAUNS MILL 9 DAYS LATER. I ASKED FOR THE CANNON TO BE RETURNED, BUT I WAS ASKED BY HUGH BARLOW, DIRECTOR OF THE INDEPENDENCE VISITORS CENTER, TO FORGET I EVER FOUND THE CANNON, OR THAT IT EVER EXISTED. I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS IS AN HONEST WAY TO PROMOTE HEALING OR DEAL WITH THIS TRAGEDY. BUILDING A BRIDGE OVER THE IGNORANCE THAT STILL EXISTS IS MY GOAL. IF ANYTHING IS TO BE LEARNED FROM THIS SAD TRAGEDY, WE CANNOT BE AFRAID OR UNINTERESTED IN SEEING THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE. ALL THE KILLINGS ON BOTH SIDES WERE WRONG, BUT THE LEGISLATURE OF MISSOURI NEVER HELD GOVERNOR BOGGS RESPONSIBLE BECAUSE THEY WERE SADLY, GLAD TO BE RID OF US. ATROCITIES AND KILLING OCCURED ON BOTH SIDES. I WILL BE SHARING MUCH MORE OF THE NEVER SHARED BEFORE INFORMATION ON THIS STORY. THE MOVIE ‘CONSECRATED’ IS BEING FILMED CURRENTLY, BY FILMAKER KENNETH BALLENTINE, HOPING TO BRIDGE THE IGNORANCE AND PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING AND HEALING.
    Jeff Foli

  16. jeff foli Says:

    David,
    If you were honest with yourself, you would admit that, at least in a small way, there are often innapropriate subtle messages given in the church, yes, by lay members and not the leaders, that might easily be construed the way Christopher saw them as a non-mormon visitor. To him, the subleties were not so subtle, and I felt the need to apoligize and make excuses for the remarks. I agree that Christopher was probably the only one feeling this way, but I knew he was picking up the subtleties where others were just lulled, as normal, into a good feeling of cohesiveness, where we are in the right club. I personally believe the subtle messages given that we are the righteous and the elect are prideful and egotistical. If we have the moral and ethical higher ground, then we should share our message and let that speak for itself. More oft than not, we are sadly not on the higher ground. Jesus did not try to scare people into being in his club, in fact, he said there was none righteous, only God. I think we often go a bit far in our subtle comments.

    On another point, Hitlers hinchmen agued that had they not obeyed Hitler, he would have killed them. The courts at Nueremberg did not buy the defense. In like manner, if we ignorantly or knowingly obey our leaders, civic or religious, we will pay for any mistakes ourselves personally. This is not the Mormon party line. If we obey a leader who is wrong, we are guaranteed no blood will be on our hands. If Pres. Bush told you as an Air Force Officer, to do something that was against the law, I dont care if he was your leader, you will be responsible for your own personal actions. The Mormon members get really qiuet when you bring these things up in Priesthood meetings.
    Jeff Foli

  17. Psycheout Says:

    I, for one, am looking forward to seeing Consecrated. I have heard about it a few times and it sounds like an interesting subject. It’s impossible not to notice that the Mountain Meadows Massacre occured on September 11. That seems to be a bad day for innocent people.

  18. jeff foli Says:

    Nathan,
    I loved Jan Mickelsons interview with Mitt. Thanks for sharing that with me. It gets really tough sometimes, for a politician to dance the dance between such issues without looking a bit silly. I think Mitt did a fair enough job, but I think a patriot can do even better. I do not dance that dance very well, and believe in real transparencey and striaght talk.
    Jeff Foli

  19. Christopher Says:

    Jeff:

    The issue you discuss and for, which is the focus or apart of your suit, is not one of solely attempting to use the pulpit to coerce legislation, in and of itself, but also that of attempting to influence the actions of an elected official while in office, by use of extortion tactics, as a means and way to threaten, intimidate or coerce an elected official to do what the Church wants, rather than what the elected official believes or purports to believe is in the best interest of the people, and seeks to use his or her public office to try and accomplish by legislative processes.

    When George W. Bush signed the Faith Base legislation into law, making it legal for the federal government to fund churches and other faith based organizations, with public tax revenue, Pandora’s box was opened wide.

    Unfortunately since that time, the saying of “give an inch but take a mile” has been a substantially dominating factor in our collective U.S. society, as more and more religious leaders use their pulpits to preach and / or substantially influence politics among their congregation. To-wit, a great deal of this is directly traceable to the evangelical television shows that use their media outlets to preach that any action taken, other than what is being preached, is an immediate abomination of God.

    We saw the aforesaid come true when the issue of same sex marriages existed and the propaganda plastered on such television and cable religious programming, on the erroneous predication that, despite the high divorcé rates, the high number of dead beat dad’s, the high rate of domestic violence, and the fact that 96% of child molestations are committed by men identifying themselves as heterosexuals, it is gays, bisexuals and lesbians who are the immoral degenerates simply and only because they seek to have [equal] legal rights as heterosexual have by and through marriage.

    We have also seen the aforesaid come true when religious leaders use their pulpit to gain federal funding to help homeless people, all the while paying high dividends to executive officers of the Church while doing extremely poor jobs in actually helping homeless people get find suitable housing and jobs, in order to maintain or increase their profit margins which are based upon statisical numbers of homeless people served being reported to the federal government.

    The point that I am making here is simple enough: Selective enforcement of biblical scriptures for the benefit of a privileged few is by no means new in our society and it is most assuredly consistent with the manner that we have long since selectively enforced, or permited others to selectively enforce the laws, Corporate policies and the purported “moral” conduct that makes us a so-called “civilized society.”

    As I told you, when you and I first discussed what happened to you several years ago, the Church is clearly in the wrong for what they did to you, and the Church officials involved, need to be held accountable in lawful ways. But we must be mindful that the greater source of the problems existing is our tolerant society that prefers to have blind eyes on the basis that unless and until a person suffers adverse actions themselves, then they have no duty, as a citizen of the U.S. to take any action against such. Or, in the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren, in “A Republic, If You Can Keep It”, p. 48:

    “The only protection of every citizen from such deprivation of rights is a strict
    adherence to the Bill of Rights by everyone – for everyone. This should be self-
    evident but the danger of erosion of rights stems largely from the fact that so
    many citizens of the majority, who have never been deprived of any of these
    rights, find it difficult to understand what the deprivation of them means in the
    lives of others.”

  20. Mitt Romney Rolls the Dice « Blogs 4 Conservatives Says:

    […] and relevant: Political Power in the Pulpit, a guest post by former Mayor Jeff […]

  21. Mitt — Set Our People Free! « Blogs 4 Conservatives Says:

    […] there are those who have voiced similar concerns about the Mormon Church putting pressure on politicians, such as a President Romney, it’s not […]

  22. Jeff Foli Says:

    FORMER CITY MAYOR TO BE EXCOMMUNICATED FROM MORMON CHURCH FOR NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS IN POLITICAL MATTERS?

    Probably because of the Romney controversy, on February 4, 2008, Thomas S. Monson said to Peggy Stack, reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune, that the church does not get involved in political matters. If this is true, then why, when I was Mayor of Chillicothe Missouri, was I was threatened with excommunication if I did not rescind a piece of Legislation that I sent to the Missouri State Legislature. It is supposedly against Fereral Law (Title 26, Section 501) for a church to influence legislation, but in 2003, the late Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley and his councilors thought it appropriate and acceptable to threaten my membership in the church when I was Mayor of Chillicothe in Northwest Missouri, regarding a political matter.

    On Feb. 17, 2007, the Church will hold a disciplinary Council (church court) on me because I let the public know of these acts via the internet, and I finally filed charges with the local Sheriff, the ACLU, the IRS, and others because of the continual manipulation and abuse of Mormon leaders. I tried for several years to quietly and internally settling these issues, but they would have none of it. They view my exposure and revealing of thier actions as my attempt to disparage and criticize leaders (evil speaking of the Lords anointed). They state, “those who reject Christ’s servants, reject him”. Why does leadership demand no accountability in Chuches for innapropritae actions of leaders?

    Do we think Brigham Young would have personally sought out those accountable for the senseless murder of 120 men, women, and children on SEPTEMBER 11, 1857, without pressure from the Federal Government? Who will protect us? Where are the checks and balances for questioning potential religious abuses? Most of the Mormon people are good, honest individuals, but the people of Missouri will not put up with this type of stronghanded influence. So as the Mormon Migration to Missouri continues, I hope the Mormon people will open their minds and become more careful and considerate of the people they meet. Most have no idea of what really happened in Missouri over 170 years ago, because the whole story was never fully told.

    Sincerely,
    Jeff Foli
    Former Mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri

  23. Jeff Foli Update « Blogs 4 Conservatives Says:

    […] A few months ago, former mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri, Jeff Foli submitted a guest post, Political Power in the Pulpit, about his concerns regarding then candidate Mitt Romney based on his own experience with Mormon […]

  24. Jeff Foli Says:

    Since my excommunication, the Mormon church, via its leaders, is using the arguement that my excommunication was legitimate because they have spent money combatting certain political issues in the past. They try to muddle the issue and confuse people so as to minimize their guilt. The fact that they went above and beyond mere suggestion and decided to resort to threat was a line illegally crossed. Churches do in fact, often suport or oppose many issues, but to cross the line into threat, intimidation, and coersion of members is innappropriate. Can you imagine the Mormons getting up at the pulpit and threatening thier members if they were to vote or support certian candidates or issues? They do not do this openly, but they do this exact thing in cliendestine meetings behind closed doors. I was excommunicated for exposing this fact which they term, “disparging church leaders”. I forgive them openly for what they have done to me, but I hope to God, they do not continue with this kind of action with others. They sometimes do not respect the delicate line between church and state. They have got away with it with me, because of their power and influence, but I do not believe, the citizens of Missouri will ultimately put up with this, as the Mormons become more numerous in Missouri. The mass exodus and return of the Mormons to Missouri is inevitable, and could once again prove to be deadly if the clash of cultures once again ruptures. Curiously, this tragic possiblity happend in Missouri at Hauns Mill, when the people of my City attacked the Mormons, because civility broke down. It again occured in southern Utah on September 11, 1857, when the Mormons, in retaliation for what happened here in Missouri, attacked a waggon train of non-Mormons and murdered 120 men, women, and children. Are we blind as to why and how these types of things happen. For Gods sake, please let us learn the lessons of history enough as to not need to repeat them in other days, and in other ways. They Mormons today, will see this type of thing as an impossibility, but if you ask them if thier leaders told them to do terrible deeds, many would, without reservation, quickly aswer, YES. The programming is strong, and has many ggod aspects, but in the wtrong circumstance, this type of blind obedience could be very deadly. The day will come, when Missouri’s elected offices and legislatures will be dominated by Mormon influence. Possibly by that time, the political power and cultural influence will be virtually unstoppable. My desire was to stop this kind of action right up front, but that did not happen. Don’t get me wrong, the Mormons are generally very excellent people, but in certain critical cases, it has been proved to be spiritually deadly to go against their political agendas.

  25. Jeff Foli Says:

    Since my excommunication, the Mormon church, via its leaders, is using the arguement that my excommunication was legitimate because they have spent money combatting certain political issues in the past. They try to muddle the issue and confuse people so as to minimize their guilt. The fact that they went above and beyond mere suggestion and decided to resort to threat was a line illegally crossed. Churches do in fact, often suport or oppose many issues, but to cross the line into threat, intimidation, and coersion of members is innappropriate. Can you imagine the Mormons getting up at the pulpit and threatening thier members if they were to vote or support certian candidates or issues? They do not do this openly, but they do this exact thing in cliendestine meetings behind closed doors. I was excommunicated for exposing this fact which they term, “disparging church leaders”. I forgive them openly for what they have done to me, but I hope to God, they do not continue with this kind of action with others. They sometimes do not respect the delicate line between church and state. They have got away with it with me, because of their power and influence, but I do not believe, the citizens of Missouri will ultimately put up with this, as the Mormons become more numerous in Missouri. The mass exodus and return of the Mormons to Missouri is inevitable, and could once again prove to be deadly if the clash of cultures once again ruptures. Curiously, this tragic possiblity happend in Missouri at Hauns Mill, when the people of my City attacked the Mormons, because civility broke down. It again occured in southern Utah on September 11, 1857, when the Mormons, in retaliation for what happened here in Missouri, attacked a waggon train of non-Mormons and murdered 120 men, women, and children. Are we blind as to why and how these types of things happen. For Gods sake, please let us learn the lessons of history enough as to not need to repeat them in other days, and in other ways. They Mormons today, will see this type of thing as an impossibility, but if you ask them if thier leaders told them to do terrible deeds, many would, without reservation, quickly aswer, YES. The programming is strong, and has many ggod aspects, but in the wtrong circumstance, this type of blind obedience could be very deadly. The day will come, when Missouri’s elected offices and legislatures will be dominated by Mormon influence. Possibly by that time, the political power and cultural influence will be virtually unstoppable. My desire was to stop this kind of action right up front, but that did not happen. Don’t get me wrong, the Mormons are generally very excellent people, but in certain critical cases, it has been proved to be spiritually deadly to go against their political agendas.
    Jeff Foli
    Former Mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri

  26. Concerned member Says:

    As a member of the Chillicothe Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have to take exception with Christophers comments that he made after he claims to have attended a meeting there to hear the “routine sermons”.

    “When it comes to the subject of Jeff’s’ piece above, I recall one Sunday morning when I attended the Mormon Church in Chillicothe, as the guest of Jeff and his family. I expected to hear the routine sermons but was literally shocked and deeply offended when the sermon consisted of using the pulpit to preach war; to encourage killing men and to pat the backs of our Soldiers who did the same.

    Whatever your views are about our current war, I personally do not believe it is appropriate to use the House of the Lord to actively preach violence and death against other human beings regardless what religious faith a person claims. The House of the Lord is supposed to be a place to worship God; to rejoice in his word, his love and his gift of eternal life. Its’ supposed to be a place to learn about ourselves and how to be better, do better and have better by and through the word and love of our Lord. But on that black Sunday morning, the pulpit was used to preach hate; encourage death and rejoice in the misery of others.”

    Having attended that Branch for the last eight years, I have never heard what Christopher said he heard. I know that if some one is assigned to speak, he or she is given the topic to speak on and that those topics come from the most recent talks given by General Authorities of the Church in the latest General Conference. Any deviation from doctrine is stopped and the speaker asked to end his talk by the Bishop/Branch President. There are no political announcements made from the pulpit other than if there is an election coming up, encouragement to get out and vote on the appropriate day. That and only that. I don’t know what Jeff is referring to with his statement,

    “Can you imagine the Mormons getting up at the pulpit and threatening thier members if they were to vote or support certian candidates or issues? They do not do this openly, but they do this exact thing in cliendestine meetings behind closed doors.”

    As a member of the Chillicothe Branch which has about 140 members on record and having been in several leadership positions in the Branch and other Wards and Branches around the country, I have never been involved in or heard of any “cliendestine meetings behind closed doors” involving members in good standing and not on the “fringe” of the Church. In fact, the First Presidency advises it’s member to not take part in any of these types of meetings. If anyone really wants to know what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints preaches and believe, go to this link. http://lds.org/conference/sessions/display/0,5239,23-1-851,00.html

    I have always believed, If you want to know about Coke, don’t ask a Pepsi drinker.

  27. Jeff Foli Says:

    THE GARDEN OF FORGIVENESS

    TENTATIVE SITE, 608 Vine, Chillicothe, Missouri 64601

    Dedicated to all those who seek peace, mercy, or understanding, for any reason. In general, this is to be a beautiful yet quiet place for people to find within themselves the ability to forgive others, and let go of hate, animosity, or anger of any type.

    In memory also, of those who participated in, were effected by, and/or died in, the Haun’s Mill Massacre, October 30,1838. Because of the involvement of our early Chillicothe City Fathers, this site is to be dedicated in hope that peace, healing, and reconciliation will grace our area in honor of the memory of the lives affected from this tragic episode in our early American history. May all sides be understood fairly and honestly so that no act or life may be seen to have been in vain, merely understood and learned by. This area is to be set aside solely for the purpose of quiet meditation and serious reflection.

    Site to be maintained by a blind Trust.

  28. Jeff Foli Says:

    My perspective is that both honest and ethical mormons and non-mormons alike should be uncomfortable with religious leaders who innapropriately use thier positions and callings to apply pressure to the political process. Missouri is a place where a nucleus of people with high ideals and standards have long focused thier attention. If we were able to gaze into the crystal ball of the future, I believe we would see such a nucleus working legally, quietly, and effectively towards finding ways to better our world in economic, spiritual, technilogical, environmental, political, social, and physical realms. Not only the Mormons have seen Missouri to be a place of enormous future growth for humanity, but other groups as well have tuned into this coming wave of advancement. What is the price to qualify to participate in the realms of a Johnathan Livingston Seagull? If there is any substance to my perspective, I believe the price might be different for each and every person.
    Jeff Foli

  29. Jeff Foli Says:

    Because of heat from my actions, in early February 2008, in front of witnesses, Stake President and attorney, Detlif Lehndhart asked me to back down on my article about Mitt Romney and my lawsuit with the LDS church or be excommunicated. For 5 years they have threatened such action, and even with my countless correspondences with them and no response, they did not carry through with threats until the issues with loyalty to church or state were adresssed by me about Mitt on the internet. I absolutely would not back down from the truth, and if they wish to enter a suit of my slandering them with untruths, I am open and willing to lay the truth on the table for the worlrd to see. I do not appreciate the strong handed influence the church uses if and when they feel it is in their best interest. Mitt is certainly a good man, but I hope if he become vice presidential choice of Mcain, he has the fortitude to stand up against the church if they were to try to influence him in an inaoppropriate, illegal, or unethical way.

  30. Jeff Foli Says:

    On Nov. 3, 2000, as Mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri, I went to SLC and went to Mormon church offices where I met with Hugh Pinnock to get the old sow cannon returned back to Missouri, as I had been informed about its whereabouts by Lamar Barrett of orem, Utah. I later learned later, Hugh Pinnock was the key man who paid Mark Hoffman off for forgeries. During our visit he asked me 4 different times what I really wanted, as if he might offer another option. I said, “I want the cannon returned”. He said, “arent you a Mormon”? I said that had nothing to do with the matter. I said the cannon had been stolen from my people. He said, “We found that cannon”. I said, “how would you feel if I were to pull my pichup up to your front lawn and load your kids bicycles and take off”. He said, “that’s not fair”. I said, “look, we as Mormons created an enormous amount of fear and anger by taking this cannon just 9 days before these same people from Chillicothe, attacked Hauns Mill”. This story has never been told.

  31. Jeff Foli Says:

    “Concerned member” needs to come out of the shadows and identify himself. I am willing to lay all my cards on the table and stand up for what I know is right. What I experienced is definately not a common occurance, but it did happen, and could again. The leaders made many suggestions before they turned into threats. I believe in repenting of things done wrong, but my sin, to the Mormon leaders, is nothing more than standing up against unrighteous and illegal threats. I believe Thomas S. Monson as well as the Chillicothe Branch President, Dan Coleman, along with many others, are culpable of a felony for participating in the carrying through with my excommunication. Elder Dallin H. Oaks challenged church members to show their love for God by giving up “traditions of our fathers” that are inconsistent with the gospel. The tradition or policy of the church of following leaders blindly better be reconsidered before the Mass Mormon Exodus occurs and eventually involves more people that are not even Mormon as has been done here already. Charlie Peniston has vocally confirmed that the non-mormons can run the Mormons out of missouri again if neccessary. My question is, “why cant the Mormons open thier minds and hearts to understand what is really happening. Armed with real understanding, people can learn to respect each other, even if they are different. The Isreali/Palastinian model of war and peace treaty is a sad example to mimic. No real Zion or peace can or will be acheived under such methods. A psuedo-zion maybe, but not anything God would ratify.

  32. Jeff Foli Says:

    “Concerned Member” above is Bob Singer, a retired highway patrolman from Arizona who, like almost all Mormons are programmed to play “SIMON SAYS” and follow the leaders no matter what. Just because he has not seen something, does not mean that is not real. I paid a price so that corrupt Mormon leaders will think twice before they try that again. I invite Bob or any other Mormon who will call me a liar to a open meeting of record, for the facts to be laid out.

  33. Jeff Foli Says:

    I took a former catholic preist in to the Feruary 2008 meeting before my excommunication to be a witness as to the going ons of this cliendestine meeting. A notarized affidavit from this man is recorded in the law suit I filed with the Livingston County Sheriff and will be a part of recorded history no matter what. The church with all of its power and loyal members will not be able to voice a sole voice on the matter without my testimony and record for historians to assess. and that is why I pushed to the limits I did, so that abuse of members and non-members alike, will not happen again without evidence. Clarence Leonard of Chillicothe was witness to much of this abuse, and has been hushed to a degree by intimidating compulsive Mormon leaders. Darell Jones and Glen Leonard of the SLC museum of history and art have their own manipulated agendas as to certain truths about the Mormon history here in Missouri that historians will also need to wade through and assess in contra to my information. These records have been spead to multiple people so that the truth and other side of the story is not totally squelched.

  34. Jeff Foli Says:

    It always drove me crazy when I was Mayor and someone would write me a nasty letter but not sign it or identify themselves so i could respond and clarify. Concerned Member, Bob Singer, illustrates just how the perspective of two people can differ. Like Christopher, above, saw the speakers at church calling Iraq a righteous war and to him promoting it, in like manner Bob didnt not see this at all. This Sunday happened to be what is termed Testimony meeting, where anyone can get up impromt. Bob acts as if all meeting have assigned speakers, but forgets about this once a month meeting. So it was with the early Mormons in Missuri. They too, could not see what their gentile counterparts saw. But to each side, their reality was shaped accordingly. This is why it is so important to be careful of our words, motives, and perspectives. What we believe we are doing, might not be what others are seeing.

  35. Jeff Foli Says:

    Mormon Branch President Dan Coleman has tried coutless times to discredit my reputation because he feels the need to protect the church and desired to advance in church promotion, which he did just after he voted to excommunicate me along with his counterpart Stake President Detlif Lehndhart. He didnt care to come to me to hear my side of the evidence. This is what sadens me most. Agendas seem to take precedent over truth or facts, and like wth me, are not important to people of a certain persuation. Dan actually accused me of things he himself had done illegally. The law of projection is certainly at play in humanity. He, at another time, wanted to make me look like an idiot by trying to get me to talk about a 30 year old incident where about 20 people had witnessed a UFO. Several of those peolpe, in later years, included me in on thier elaborate stories of the situation. Dan has some good qualities and is not all around a bad guy, just ignarant and determined to gaurd ignorantly, what he believes sre righteous, infallable Mormon leaders.

  36. Jeff Foli Says:

    Chioces are about priorities, and politics gives that opportunity to pick principles as well. I am personally interested in seeing what choices, political or otherwise, are available, and seeking the one of highest order. I do not believe most Mormons are able to square their descions, and will be subject only to what their leaders tell them, true or false, because they will be blessed for being obedient. I am interested in being obedient, but to what? God, or man? Did God wish to force me from being able to have constitutional freedom of petition? I am willing to take responsibility for my own desicions and pay the price for such. I am open to learning more, but do not appreciate being treated like a mushroom, or being forced, excepecially when the law of the land specifically gives me certain rights. My perspective is not popular amoung Mormons, but to those who wish to learn and grow from understanding as information omes to them, they might be more receptive to such.

  37. Jeff Foli Says:

    Stake President, attorney, and Mormon leader, Detlif Lehndhart, continues his abuse on people. He has just taken away a temple recommend from Clarence Leonard because they say he has mental problems and needs to see a social worker. They say he does not understand authority because he seeks clarity where none exists. Once again, the people cannot question the leaders or they are punished. The world might see this as a benign issue now, but if and when it effects them directly, then and only then will all hell break loose. The power hungry establishment seeks to control, humiliate, demoralize, and keep the people enslaved. This is no way for peace and justice to come about. Missouri will not be kind to us if we choose to operate with these kinds of selfish power seeking agendas. I say, LET MY PEOPLE GO!

  38. Jeff Foli Says:

    Rove asked Lieberman to exit the vp race? Could Rove’s Utah connections be trying to mount Romney on the vp hoese? My guess is yes.

  39. Jeff Foli Says:

    Since my last imput here, I have learned sadly that the Mormon Church, throuh its unregulated and undiciplined leaders, have made another bed of decption and dishonesty via Jeff Walker of BYU. Non-Mormon Missouri attorney Dawn Harpster, as human as she might be, was made promises that were not honored, and beyond even that, Jeff Walker had the gall to publish an article written by Harpster and take full cedit for it as he rose to professor stautus in the process. Harpser is now, regretfully, going to serve time in Federal prison as a result of her involvement with the Church. Cannot the people of Missoui ask the Mormon Church for at least honesty and transparency? Harpster has alerted leaders Marlin Jensen and Detlef Lehnardt, to no avail.

    From: Jeff Foli, former Mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri

  40. Jeff Foli Says:

    I believe history will show us, as in the case with the Bush White House as well as the Mormnon Church, that loyalty to organization above principle is ultimate failure. Ubiquitous and kliendestine acts will one day be brought out into the light, and evidence will show that unprincipled policies will collapse under scrutiny. Taking responsibility for what we do in a transparent way is the best policy. God bless us as we all try to work together and learn the art of civil dialouge as Oz Guiness discusses.

  41. Jeff Foli Says:

    In my trial or church court, Stake President Detlif Lehndhart wrote that he would allow me witnesses. Shortly afterwards he called and said he would be pre-interviewing my witnesses. I said, “you are the judge, you have chosen the jury yourself (the high council), and he would only allow witnesses he deemed proper”. I said, “no thanks, that is what we in America call a kangaroo court”. Detlif is a German with Hitler-like tendencies. He would have made a good Mormon General Authority for the Mormon Church, but it will become evident if they install him in such a position, that the attributes for elevating in the ranks will be ruthless rule. I do not believe the coming generation needs such an role model, but I could be wrong, and we shall see just what the church does, because Lendhart will be exiting his position very soon.

  42. Jeff Foli Says:

    Zion is come. Zion is here. I have seen it.

  43. Jeff Foli Says:

    The time for healing and reslove has come. Lets use our energy for the collective good, instead of for this team or that. We have work to do, so lets do good to those we believe have used us. Mired in the muck will slow our progress. Let us put our differences aside and start fresh with honesty and transparency. If not, then why. If not now, when? If not us, then who?

  44. Jeff Foli Says:

    Imagine going to a garage sale, and buying a seeming cheap painting, only to later find that behind it was an original Mona Lisa? Many land owners in Missouri, escpecially Daviess and Caldwell Counties are sitting atop Mona Lisa’s and do not even know it. Many of thier lands have been owned by Mormons in the 1830’s and have intrinsic value by the mere fact that many modern Mormons would likely pay many times the normal going rate for its sentimental value. Decendants are now numerous after 170 years and the price would be determined by how many people have a desire for a piece of thier history. My question, is who will the modern church honor? Hugh Pinnock could not emphasize to me enough of their connection and good will with Missouri State officials, but what about the little people of Missouri? Who will stand up for them and their good? With Dawn Harpsters situation, it reflects a very sad pattern and precedent set by the church in that they seem to be more interested in getting valuable, once Mormon, land for pennies on the dollar. Why not be fair to everyone across the board?

    Jeff Foli
    Former Mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri
    660-247-1700

  45. Jeff Foli Says:

    I love it when politicians or religiounists justify thier illegal and unethical actions by using thier power to discredit and belittle any one they deem as an opponent. As Mayor, I was the executive in control of enforcing the laws of the country and local area, when the Prophet, Stake President, and Branch President colluded in committing felonistic acts and used thier power to excomunicate me, when in fact, it was them who broke Federal Law. At school (6th grade) this last week, Branch President Dan Coleman’s child tried to use reasoning given to him by his father, to make my young son feel inferior. I told him to respond that I was not willing to participate in thier schemes of illegal activity. People that come to Missouri and think they can come in and push others around and use power to manipulate, need to leave the State of Missouri until they decide to be completely transparent and honest. The Zion these self-serving illegal religiounist promote will not be acceptable to the locals of Missouri. If, on the other hand, they choose to be honest, fair, legal, and transparent, I am sure they will get along fine with Missourians. It seems the past is being repeated in many ways.

  46. Frankie Mclean Says:

    This blog is mine! bow down to me!

  47. Jeff Foli Says:

    After the excommunication, in a subsequent letter currently on file with the County Sherrif, Stake president Detlif Lehndhart tried to avoid guilt and shift responsibility by using such words as he was told by senior church odfficials to protect the church. He finally admitted it in this written document, but tried to get me to deny it ever happened. What a man! What a church! God help them all!

  48. Jim Kelley Says:

    If you believe The Book Of Mormon, Jesus Christ showed Mormon and Moroni in vision great “pollutions” and “hypocrites” that would fill the Mormon Church leadership positions in the last days. Just read Mormon 8:33-41. This is all explained on the website mormon8-38.com.
    Either a person believes Mormon Church leaders are righteous and will do the right things for the right reasons or you can believe Jesus Christ saying differently as recorded in The Book Of Mormon.
    Actually this is an incredible negative-positive proof The Book Of Mormon is true. Who could have ever predicted/guessed in 1830 that the Mormon Church could have ever fallen into such “pollutions” and have so many “hypocrites” in its leadership as we see evidence of today? May Jeff Foli stay faithful to the truth and follow Jesus Christ in his convictions and testimony how LDS leaders do their business dealings today.

  49. Jim Kelley Says:

    It was predicted in The Book Of Mormon (Mormon 8:33-41), the Mormon Church leaders would become corrupted and pollute “the holy church of God.” Actually this is an incredible negative-positive proof The Book Of Mormon and The Church are true. Unfortunately, Mormon leaders will never admit this because they are to proud (Mormon 8:36).

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