Editor's note: The Deseret News published an editorial in response to the most recent leaks from the group MormonLeaks™ ("MormonLeaks have unintended consequences for democracy," Jan. 10). Below is the group's response. The opinion editor of the Deseret News responded to the group's op-ed in his column.
On Tuesday the editorial board of the LDS Church owned Deseret News published an opinion piece stating that organizations such as MormonLeaks™ “have unintended consequences for democracy.” Their claim in the headline is unverifiable at best and the citations used to back their opinion that leaks “stifle an important element of American democracy” are bothersome.
It should concern the readership of the Deseret News that a newspaper of their size and influence cites “efforts to control information” to support their claim. It is the job of journalists to bring information to their readership, not justify the control of it.
Please note that MormonLeaks has never “[aimed] to embarrass” the Mormon church. Our sole mission is to bring transparency, via information received from anonymous sources, to an organization that influences millions of lives daily. We are simply, to use the words of the Deseret News, “generating important dialogue.”
The Mormon church's leaders have previously claimed that the institution's financial information “belongs to those who made the contribution” and they have no “salaried clergy.” As both current and previous financial contributors to the Mormon church, the MormonLeaks team, along with thousands of other former Mormons and millions of current Mormons, have never seen any sort of internal financial information. Historically secrecy, a lack of transparency and deception leads to the absence of accountability. No accountability almost inevitably leads to corruption and abuse.
Furthermore, MormonLeaks has never explicitly drawn conclusions about the information published in any of the leaked documentation. That is not in line with our mission. We are merely the vehicle for getting the information to the world and letting interested parties draw their own conclusions. It is not us who have publicly expressed opinions about the amount of money the LDS General Authorities receive, but rather those who have seen the amounts.
MormonLeaks stands by the decision to publish the leaked documentation. The process of deciding what to release is a delicate one that is taken very seriously. The privacy of those affected by the leaks are taken heavily into consideration and appropriate action has and will be taken to protect it. To publish everything verbatim of how it was received would be unethical and irresponsible. We do not release information solely because it is not public, but rather we release information because it promotes transparency in a positive way and affects the lives of millions.
Ryan McKnight and Scott K. Fausett are part of the four-member MormonLeaks™ team.