A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Governing Ourselves, Part 2.5 [Anonymous Bishop Blog]

On January 26, 2024, I began a private conversation with my friend Aaron Bishop about his involvement in a recent women’s council. It appears he would rather discuss his issues with me in public on his Anonymous Bishop blog, so I will answer his concerns in public. As Aaron advocates, I hope this post will help hold my friends accountable. 

When witnesses (friends, brothers, sisters, spouses, children) try to sustain us by making us aware of a personal failure that may be disrupting the peace of the community, thus causing harm and contention, it would be a shame if we disregarded the courage of those witnesses and refused to be humble enough to repent. 

The result of that unwillingness to repent, and the result of not agreeing upon “first principles” and the law of witnesses, to hold each other accountable, will obviously be a source for jarrings and contentions and strifes and violence. Anonymous Bishop Governing Ourselves Part 1

I will give context to the situation according to my understanding. In January 2024 a women’s council was called because women had concerns about a man’s behavior. If you are not already familiar with the women’s role and responsibilities in the priesthood as revealed by the Lord, refer to our February 2, 2024 post.

I do not have an issue with women calling a conference when a man’s worthiness to function in the priesthood is called into question. Here are the concerns I have with this January 2024 conference:

  • The women voted (majority rule) to keep their names hidden from the man being called into question.

  • The man requested to come to the conference that was called on his behalf, but was not allowed. 

  • The names and testimonies of witnesses were kept hidden from the man. At this point, he still does not know what was witnessed against him.

  • Some of the women on the council were acquainted with the man, but the conference was not held in the man’s home fellowship or in private at a general conference.

  • The man was not allowed to call witnesses to speak on his behalf.

  • The man was not allowed to speak at the conference but only to respond in writing to questions posed by the organizers. Because the man was not present, the rest of the women on the council were not allowed to ask the man additional questions.

  • It is unclear whether the man’s response to the accusations were read during the conference.

  • During the conference, additional accusations were made against the man, and he was given no opportunity to respond to these additional charges. 

  • Women on the council, who spoke in opposition to the process being used by the organizers, were kicked off the women’s council until they profusely apologized for speaking against the organizers’ process. Once the women have been called to participate, I do not believe it is appropriate to remove women from the council because they have a different opinion than the organizers. There is a reason the vote is to be unanimous.

In the comment below, I believe Aaron is speaking about me not being respectful of the process of this council. Yet his comments seem to be directed toward the man who was on trial.

Anonymous Bishop Blog - Governing Ourselves, Part 2 . . . Apparently Cowdery was presented with the final charges against him 3 days before the council convened and was only able to write a letter in response that was read by Edward Partridge. His letter is very interesting and although the charges led to his excommunication, in this letter he too is seemingly respectful of the council process. At least in this letter he doesn’t make threatening and slanderous statements, calling witnesses cowards and mocking and taunting the members of the Council. One of the charges however is that he had in fact wrote an insulting letter to council member Thomas Marsh previously in response to the court being held for him. The letter included insults to the whole council and became evidence against Cowdery and one of the grounds for his excommunication. Here’s Cowdery’s non-insulting letter and his defense for charges against him. . .

I was concerned when I became aware of how the organizers of this conference were disregarding the instructions of the Lord. Three days prior to the conference, I contacted the conference organizers. “Organizer #1” was not willing to take a call from me until the conference was over. I talked to “Organizer #2” on the phone, and she was persuaded by my comments.

Aaron seems to be saying that Cowdery is more virtuous than the man on trial (January 2024) because the 2024 man sent, “threatening and slanderous statements, calling witnesses cowards and mocking and taunting the members of the Council.”  I think Aaron is giving credit to the man for the message I sent to three women on the council. Here’s the message:

[Organizer #1], since you have no time to talk to me until after the women's council is over, I will text you the same message I gave to [Organizer #2]. I will also text [woman on council] this message. If there are other women on the council, in addition to the three of you, please share this message with them.

You cannot have a women's council of 3 women [three women mentioned above]. You have to have 12 women. There is no legitimacy to Phantom women. And if you decide to revoke [the man’s] certificate, all of the women on the council will need to sign some type of certificate representing the outcome of the council. There is no reason to meet unless the women are willing to make their identities known.

It takes courage to be on one of these councils. I realize it is a difficult assignment. That doesn't excuse you and give you permission to remain anonymous.

I do not have an issue with you, calling a council for [the man]. But we do not have secret councils, and hide our identities from the man who is being called into question. You have an obligation to tell him who is on the council. If I were [the man], I would not respond until a council of 12 women with real names comes forth with questions.

Aaron, if you are willing, it might be wise to talk about our differences in private. I agree with you. We are no different than those who also sought to follow God but failed. It looks like we have chosen to put our own foolishness on display.

***When making comments, please use your real name. We get to own our words. Anonymous comments from unknown people will not be posted.***


  1. It’s me, Organizer #1. I was disappointed that you kept me anonymous. Oh the irony. So feel free to out me like you did Aaron - in such a HARMFUL and underhanded way.

    Amberli Peterson

  2. Did you think once of the potential damage you could do to this good man and his family? Once? This is a truly one of the most shameful ask I have witnessed in this community. Anyone who is reading this needs to understand the malice with which this was done. The machinations that you and your cohort overseas are engaging in. Will not stand. I call on all people of goodwill to universally condemn this most careless and harmful act. I hope you have the courage to post this comment.. - Jeremy Hoop

  3. Amberli, You did not make our private conversation public, so I did not use your name.

    I have reached out to Aaron many times in private asking to talk about this matter, but he will not. I am still asking Aaron to talk to me privately. The anonymous women's conference is over, yet Aaron continues to talk about it publicly. I don't understand his purpose in doing so. Does he not see how his anonymous witness has already wounded of his friend?

    Aaron and many others seem to know more about the council than the man whose behavior was called into question. How does this make sense?

    Aaron doesn't get to talk about private matters in public behind an anonymous penname without also being addressed in public.

    I do not understand why using Aaron's name to reference Aaron's words is harmful and damaging. If you don't want to own your words, you should not be publishing content on the internet that calls out the bad behavior of others.

    I have read some of the anonymous comments about how harmful and damaging this post is. Why do people hide behind an anonymous name and think they can say whatever they want?

    While we're talking about harmful and damaging. Amberli, did you consider the harm and damage that was created when you organized an anonymous council with anonymous witnesses to discuss very private and sensitive matters about a man's life without allowing the man to come to speak in his behalf?

  4. What a thoughtless, senseless, horrible thing to do.

  5. Outing AB was a real dick move, even if from what I can tell I tend to agree with a fair amount of what I've read here regarding the goings on of late. Anonymity has it's place, to be sure; plenty of good points to be made about privacy, whistleblowing, etc. But I don't believe there's room to sit in judgment of someone has not been allowed to face his accusers or respond to the evidence against him. If indeed that's what a council attempted to do (anonymous members or witnesses) to some poor soul, that's not right, and we should do better. I hope AB can mitigate and minimize as much of the fallout as possible, and that something good can come from all of this.

  6. I am sorry you chose to do this. It makes me sad. For a long time I've wanted to know who the author was, so I could thank him. Now I know, and I have thanked him. Wish I had found out another way. Sigh. Lots more I'd like to say, but best to leave it there. :(

  7. I have thoroughly appreciated reading anonymous bishops blog for quite a long time. I found his writing thought provoking and educational. I have only met AB in brief passing at a conference so have had no real conversations with him.
    In all honesty I have just recently taken time to look at your blog. I do see so many issues with your responses to his blog.
    1. Firstly, you are the only one to "assume" any of his blog posts were about you. Many of us "out here" were appreciating what I consider to be good reminders about how to govern ourselves. I didn't put anyone's name into the content.
    2. My question would be why you inserted yourself into a matter that didn't concern you and question your "good friend" about what he may or may not have said. If you were truly good friends, your actions would not have taken place.
    3. Just because you had participated in previous women's councils doesn't mean you know everything and since you were not involved in this one it would have been best to stay out of the situation.
    Case in point: Years ago my husband and I took on the work of organizing basketball referees for the Junior Jazz program in our city. We thought it would be good to organize a training or brush up day to go over rules, etc for the referees we would be working with. A comment was made about a certain referee that he had been doing this for 20 years so he would know what was what. During the basketball season we had occasion to watch this ref in action. My response became that just because someone has been doing something a long time doesn't make them good at it.

    My hope going forward truly is that there can be reconciliation for all parties, forgiveness offered and we can on to the business of becoming one. Even if you feel you were the injured party, seek forgiveness. My husband has many great qualities but one of those I admire most and has helped me through situations is his willingness to apologize especially when I am the one who is "dead wrong". It is a great quality. He always seeks peace no matter who is at fault.
    I sincerely pray we can all find within us the ability to truly seek peace.

    Janeen Carter


Thank you for posting