Who Are the Signaturi

by John W. Redelfs

Who are the Signaturi? Here is the Redelfs definition:

The Signaturi are a clique of dissidents within the modern Church (Mormon) who profess to be faithful members of the Church and possess some or most of the following characteristics:

1) They prefer reading and discussing books published by Signature Books to those published by the mainstream LDS publishers, Deseree published by the mainstream LDS publishers, Deseret Book and Bookcraft. This is where they get the name, Signaturi, a term coined on the Internet by William J. Hamblin, listowner of the former Morm-ant listserv list hosted at Brigham Young University.

2) They prefer reading and discussing the publications, SUNSTONE and DIALOGUE, to reading and discussing THE ENSIGN or BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY STUDIES.

3) They either attend Sunstone symposia or admire and are friends with those who do, especially the leaders. Of course, the faithful have been known to attend these symposia also, so as to keep their disgust fresh.

4) They strongly prefer "The New Mormon History" to the traditional, Church sponsored history taught by the Church Education System which they consider dishonestly whitewashed. They call this whitewashed history "faith promoting history." They fail to see the so-called "New Mormon History" for what it is: Digging for Dirt History.

5) Almost to man they consider themselves to be "intellectuals" and by definition disallow this term as applied to anyone who disagrees with them about "The New Mormon History." In their own eyes they are the only intellectuals and scholars in the Church. This usage becomes apparent in press coverage of the supposed Church war on its scholars where it is never mentioned that this war only includes a minority of its scholars.

6) As a group they are highl its scholars.

6) As a group they are highly supportive of the right of free speech and something called academic freedom, but they totally ignore the right of the individual to associate or disassociate with whomever he chooses. Which means they have a right to hang out on whatever listserv list they please whether they are welcome there or not. They also deny the Church this right when it defines doctrinal qualifications for membership considering any effort to exclude on the basis of doctrine a violation of free speech.

7) Generally they tend to admire, indeed idolize, such intellectual Mormons and former Mormons as Sterling McMurrin, Steve Benson, Michael Quinn, Edwin Firmage, Jr., and even, in a few cases, Brent Metcalfe. However they detest and generally consider Neanderthals men such as W. Cleon Skousen, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, pre-1985 Ezra Taft Benson, Reed Benson, Lou Midgley, and their anathema, Boyd K. Packer most of whom they would disdainfully characterize as orthodox, neo-orthodox or Iron Rods.

8) Generally, they are strong supporters of the organized feminists and gay-lesbians within the Church, considering all institutional opposition to these world movements to be bigotry and sexism on the part of the apostles and prophets.

9) Generally, they think the ban on blacks holding the Priesthood which was lifted during the 1970's by President Kimball, was the result not of1970's by President Kimball, was the result not of God's law and revelation but culturally induced racial prejudice and bigotry on the part of the prophets and apostles.

10) Generally, they consider to be "blind followers" anyone who agrees with the talk "Fourteen Fundamentals of Following the Prophets" which was given at BYU a few years ago by President Benson. Basically, he said that when the living Prophet of the Church speaks, it is more binding upon us as the law of God than the Standard Works which can be misunderstood and which are incomplete.

11) An element among these people profess to believe that the Book of Mormon is an inspired parable or allegory rather than a history of something that actually happened to real people who lived anciently. In other words, according to this view, the Book of Mormon is "true" and is inspired scripture because it was inspired by God and contains many precious truths; but there were no actual gold plates nor was there actually a man named Lehi. They deny the historicity of the Book of Mormon. While many Signaturi don't actually hold this view themselves, at least not publicly, they consider it a legitimate minority position within the Church and see nothing heretical about it.

12) Finally, these Latter-day Saints practice a variant of Mormonism heavily influenced by the New Age Movement in extolling "tolerance" and "diversity" above all other virtues and consider that person guilty of the ultimate sin of being uncharitable or "harsh and judgmental" if he should cry repentance unto the people for any of the traditional sins such as fornication, adultery, sodomy, lasciviousness, etc. Indeed, religion among these people seems to be something they get from Hallmark Card Shops and Jonathan Livingston Seagull posters rather than from the Book of Mormon.

Now, possessing one or several of these characteristics does not by itself mean that a person is necessarily one of the Signaturi, that distinction belongs only to those who are members of this clique which may in fact be a secret combination within the Church. Nor must one possess all of these characteristics to be a Signaturus. Indeed, some of the best disguised Signaturi are so adept at masquerading as faithful members of the Church, they may possess none of these qualities. Therefore this list should be thought of more as a profile than a definition.

And a final disclaimer: Just because a person is admired or idolized by the Signaturi does not mean that he himself is a member of the clique. People often have no control over whom gushes over them. Nor is there any guarantee that there are no Signaturi among those whom they publicly detest. It has always been the practice of evil to at times sponsor both sides in an argument so as to influence the outcome of the contest and insure control of the winning faction.

Copyright (c) 1994 by John W. Redelfs - Permission is hereby granted to freely distribute this piece provided it is reproduced in it's entirety and includes this copyright notice.

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