Notable Deaths in Past 2 Weeks

By: Mormon Heretic
November 23, 2011

Elder Ronald Poelman

I just learned that former Seventy Elder Ronald E Poelman passed away this past weekend.  Elder Poelman had become somewhat of a Bloggernacle sensation because his 1984 talk was edited and re-recorded.  In the talk, he talked about the differences between the Gospel and the Church.  However, he was told to re-record the talk and state that the Gospel and the Church are the same thing.  Rock Waterman has a few posts discussing the changes.

In other sad news, 2 missionaries on bikes were struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident in Texas.  (A third missionary was injured.) Quoting from the Deseret News article,

Elder Trevor Reinhold Strong, 21, of Taylorsville, and Elder Derek Jason Walker, 20, of Fairfield, Idaho, were killed in the accident that happened around 7:30 p.m., the LDS Church confirmed Tuesday evening. Elder Zachary Todd Harris, 19, of Huntsville, Ala., was taken to a nearby hospital. He is expected to recover.

Elder Strong and Elder Walker

An arrest was made, and Jose Luis Garza is now in jail.  Elder Strong had recently chosen to extend his mission.  His twin brother had also extended his mission, and they were due home in just a few weeks.

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Let’s pray for those who have lost loved ones at this time of year.

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12 Responses to Notable Deaths in Past 2 Weeks

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 23, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    I am so sad for their families.

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  2. whizzbang on November 23, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    One lingering question that I have about the editing of Elder Poelman’s talk is who found it out? how would anyone know that there even was a difference? I loved his 1982 and 1993 GC talks as well!

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  3. Jeff Spector on November 23, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Well, I enjoyed the Elder Poelman’s original talk because I believe it. If you read he Sunstone article, after discussing it with certain unnamed brethren, it was he who decided to re-record it.

    And it did come at a time when this very thing was a hot topic around Utah. Part of the whole Harmiston split in Manti was because of this Church versus Gospel idea.

    I had some friends who got superficially mixed up with the “Jesus would tell you to do things that are outside the Church” crowd. It was a veil for the entering practice of polygamy.

    So, I know the conspiracy theorists want the church to have come down hard on Elder Poelman to forced him to change the talk, but the evidence is just not there. That he was asked to, a very real possibility. That he agreed to do it willingly, probably.

    Of course, we know our illustrious Congress can amend the Congressional Record to change a speech they were NOT even there to give.

    Very sorry for the Missionaries and their families. Were they called home to do missionary work on the other side? Or was some jerk exercising his agency to drive drunk?

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  4. mh on November 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    the salt lake tribune broke the story. vcr’s were gaining in popularity and people could compare the version they recorded with the official version released later. the tribune always keeps an eye on these things.

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  5. Ben on November 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Exactly Jeff. I have made that argument elsewhere (as did Andersen in her original Sunstone article), but the tinfoil-hat crowd doesn’t see it that way.

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  6. Peggy Stack on November 23, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    I broke that story in Sunstone when I was an editor there. I got tipped by a cameraman who was involved in the re-taping of Elder Poelman’s talk.

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  7. whizzbang on November 23, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Most interesting! has Elder Poelman ever said anything about the re-taping?

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  8. Ray on November 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    For the sake of the purpose of this post, I simply want to express also my condolences to the families of those who died. I extended my mission three weeks, and I can’t fathom the pain it would have caused my family and girlfriend (now wife) if I had been killed during that three weeks.

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  9. mh on November 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    peggy, thanks for commenting. you have done an excellent job of reporting mormon issues over the years and I jave always enjoyed your perspective.

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  10. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on November 23, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    i’d say it’s 75 percent likelihood it was a drunk driving illegal alien.

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  11. Chino Blanco on November 24, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    I’ve always been thankful that Poelman’s talk(s) somehow made it into the class discussion during a certain ’88 BYU bioethics course. Some things that are true are also useful, in this case, to a young kid contemplating how to build an ethical life beyond the perimeter guarded by the institutional church.

    Thoughts go out to parents, family and friends for whom this holiday will serve as a reminder of their loss.

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  12. Ray on November 24, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    “Thoughts go out to parents, family and friends for whom this holiday will serve as a reminder of their loss.”

    Beautifully said, Chino.

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