Fear & Reconciliation

Here is my paper “Fear in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a Pathway to Reconciliation, Meandering Philosophy and Musings Mingled with Scripture.”  Download Link

Please let me know if you have any additions or corrections including grammar and spelling. My style of writing is to make occasional revisions.

Thank you!
Tom Irvine
email:  tom@irvinemail.org



To fear God is to have absolute reverence and awe for an Almighty God, the Creator of all things. But the fear discussed in this paper is worry and dread over potential loss or calamity. This fear can include angst regarding a pending change, even though that change may be a needed growth opportunity, or otherwise bring blessings. The fear may be deeply rooted in a person’s subconscious due to genetic predispositions or past traumatic experiences.

Furthermore, fear can exist on an individual or an institutional basis. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has accomplished an immeasurable amount of good for innumerable souls by providing a faith community for like-minded people, offering disaster relief to those in distress and in so many other ways. In addition, the LDS Church provides excellent education opportunities through its BYU campuses and the BYU Pathway program.

But the Church has traumatized others via certain fear-based policies and unrighteous dominion. Some trauma victims leave the Church and may never return. Others are the “walking wounded” who still participate in Church for social or altruistic reasons even though their bubbles have burst, or their “shelves” have broken. This paper is neither a vindication of the Church nor an expose. Rather it is a paper that wrestles with some real and messy issues with the hopes that some mutual understanding and peaceful reconciliation can be achieved. This paper also has some autobiographical sections for my own catharsis and self-help. Perhaps relating my personal experiences will help someone else to heal from his or her own soul wounds. The wandering style of this paper was inspired by Robert M. Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values,” published in 1974, although my paper is nominally nonfictional. Or maybe my experiences and musings have all been a dream.

The attention given to individual topics in this paper varies widely from one subject to the next. There is plenty of room for someone to build upon this work. Or maybe I will offer future revisions.


I humbly thank my Savior, Jesus Christ, who took upon himself the sins of all mankind including my own in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the Cross at Calvary.
I express gratitude to my talented wife Jan for patiently dealing with my vast idiosyncrasies, and I honor her as the loving mother of our three sons.

My gratitude also goes to my Facebook friends Blaire Ostler, Brian Bresee and Scott Stover who contributed insightful quotes to this paper.

Michelle Hunter and Sherrilynne Dalton enabled me to experience healing through their prayers, for which I am eternally grateful, as I sought to reconcile my own fears.

I thank former Madison, Alabama Stake President Keith R. Draughon and former Seventy Elder Bruce A. Carlson and Rob Jex for the important lessons they taught me about fear in the Church. I look forward to the day, perhaps on the other side of the veil, when we can reach a peaceful reconciliation, see eye to eye, and recognize that some dilemmas have more than one “right answer.”


President Keith R. Draughon   Linkedin

Elder Bruce A. Carlson   Wikipedia

Rob Jex   Linkedin


10 responses

  1. […] See: Fear & Reconciliation […]


  2. […] Fear & Reconciliation & Asperger’s Related Trauma in the LDS […]


  3. […] See also: Fear & Reconciliation […]


  4. […] On December 8, 2019, I reached out to Elder Bruce A. Carlson of the Seventy (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in the spirit of reconciliation after he had directed some harsh chastisement against me via Madison Alabama Stake President Keith R. Draughon some years earlier. Elder Carlson rebuffed my peaceful overture and rather spoke in anger against me saying that I would face a harsh judgement in the hereafter for my “disobedience” to LDS Church authority. He did not elaborate, but instead abruptly ended the phone call which I had initiated. Further details are given in Fear & Reconciliation. […]


  5. […] Additional examples are given in: Fear & Reconciliation […]


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