As one of the supposed "followers" of Bill Doughty quoted in your second article of the "Utopia gone sour" series, I would like to clarify a few things. Before I begin, let me say that most of Doughty's "victims" feel pleased that the Deseret News has been willing to handle this story, and we wish to thank you. We were willing to have our story told for one reason: Doughty needs to be stopped. We could forgive him for mishandling a few funds, but we cannot sit back and allow him to go on taking innocent people's money.
We knew we were taking a risk, trusting our story to the newspaper. For the most part, Karl Cates and Paul Parkinson have done a very good job. But please, let me put a few things into perspective.First, the word "utopia" was never used by Bill or anyone who shared his enthusiasm for the constitutional city idea. It was a project, a dream, a cause, maybe; but never was it thought of as a "utopia."
Second, we were not "followers." When you put those two words "utopia" and "followers" together, it gives a very wrong impression of a Jim Jones-type story. No one ever gave Bill money because they adored Bill or that he espoused some unique Doughty philosophy. They gave money because they trusted Bill to use the money either to retain lots in Mammoth Valley or to further the cause.
The cause would have been either to help build a conference center where correct constitutional principles would be taught, or the organization, first called Institute of Constitutional Education and later called Families For America, which took these precepts out to communities in a field program. So that people understand that we are not complete idiots, a conference center was half built, wonderful conferences were held and a field program, disorganized as it was, was maintained for about three years. You wouldn't call someone who donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation a "follower" of Jerry Lewis, would you?
Third, it must be noted that while we are hideously disappointed by the waste of money and time, we are more disappointed by the fact that Bill's pride motivates him to keep taking money and making promises that he can't possibly keep.
Fourth, even though Bill was point man during those years, the Making of America board, which included Cleon Skousen, Glenn Kimber and Rev. Donald Sills was also highly involved in teaching and influencing people to participate and donate. I consider these men to be dear friends, but I believe it is time they at least acknowledge their part in this "nightmare," as Skousen so aptly puts it, and swallow their pride enough to simply admit they made a mistake in trusting Bill, like the rest of us have had to do.
They were blindly loyal to Bill while people were getting hurt and while many individuals were trying to tell them that there was a problem. Now that the chips are down, they seem more than willing to let Bill hold the bag all by himself. Certainly, Bill squandered the money, but they let him do it. They owe a lot of people an apology.
And finally it is important to understand that everyone I have talked to still feels the same way about the principles we learned from these men. Their failures do not, nor will they ever mar the beauty, value and inspiration of the Constitution. The heartbreak lies in the fact that Bill has been unable to live up to the very principles he taught.