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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “28 – Jensen, Packer, Uchtdorf”

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28 – Jensen & Uchtdorf


“On Sunday, September 19, 2010, I was fortunate enough to have attended a meeting sponsored by the Oakland LDS Stake. Their AMAZINGLY progressive and loving stake presidency asked their visiting General Authority, Marlin Jensen (a member of the Quorum of the Seventy who is also Church Historian and Recorder) to meet with a group of people that the stake presidency had selected who had been hurt by the LDS church’s involvement with Prop 8. Although I do not live within their stake’s boundaries, I have developed a good relationship with that stake presidency through the efforts of LDS poet and author Carol Lynn Pearson, who is in their stake and has been a friend of mine since 1988.

We met at the stake center (next to the Oakland Temple) at 8:00 am. There were about 100 people present. Pres. Dean Criddle gave a brief introduction and then Marlin Jensen spoke briefly about how concerned he was with the state of the church in California post Prop. 8 and about how supportive he was of this stake presidency for taking such a pro-active stance in healing the rifts that had come about. To my surprise, delight, and terror, he then indicated that for the next 45 minutes or so, it was an OPEN MIC, and anyone who wished to come forward was welcome to express however they felt about two topics: the church’s stance on homosexuality in general and/or Prop 8 specifically. He indicated he was open to pretty much anything we had to say, as long as it remained civil and appropriate to this venue, and was kept to 3-5 minutes.…

Then Marlin Jensen stood up and almost immediately began crying. He had a hard time speaking the rest of his 10-15 minutes, he was so overcome with emotion. He started out by looking me right in the eyes and saying, ‘With all my heart I am so sorry at the pain my church has caused. I deeply apologize, for whatever that is worth to you.’ And he meant it. I couldn’t believe my ears. NEVER have I heard an LDS leader apologize so directly and clearly for ANYTHING.…

Marlin then shared his belief that the church is very unlikely to repeat Prop 8 again. He felt that how they handled Argentina (just sending a letter saying ‘this is what we believe’ rather than telling people how to vote and to contribute to a specific campaign etc.) is likely to be the pattern for the future.…

While Marlin said he really loved, valued, and appreciated Carol Lynn deeply (he’s read both Goodbye and No More Goodbyes twice each – ‘and I cried all the way through them each time’) he’s not sure the church will ever reach Carol Lynn’s vision of a totally Gay-friendly church. He was grieved to say that he thinks that the church will likely never move away from the celibacy model for Gays and Lesbians, as grim and awful as that might sound. He wistfully described all the creative and talented Gays and Lesbians he has met and grieved that the church is missing out on all that talent. I remember he speculated that we LGBT folks might be God’s ‘special creations’, which I thought interesting. I chose to interpret that in the best possible light, given all the context.…

And to be honest, a huge weight I have carried around for YEARS has been lifted off my shoulders since that moment.…” (Connell O’Donovan, “Meeting Marlin,” New Order Mormon, December 27, 2010)


“At an early morning meeting prior to the ten o’clock session of the Oakland Stake Conference on September 19th, a remarkable event occurred. Marlin K. Jensen, a general authority of the LDS Church, listened intently as members of the stake, invited specifically for the purpose, voiced the grief they had experienced as a result of their church’s involvement in Proposition 8 as well as the broader history of programs and policies relating to gay and lesbian members.…

In his introductory remarks, President Criddle reported that Elder Jensen had offered to get together with members of the stake whom the Stake Presidency felt might benefit from meeting in a more intimate setting with a visiting general authority.…

As Connell concluded, he said that he felt an apology was needed to help heal the pain, help both the Church and the gay members move forward. 

Elder Jensen, who had been taking notes constantly, arose and through his tears said, ‘I know that never in my life will I experience an hour quite like this one.’ He said he had heard very clearly the pain that had been expressed and that ‘to the full extent of my capacity I say that I am sorry.’ 

There was never a statement suggesting that Elder Jensen felt the Church’s support of Proposition 8 was an error or that he was apologizing for that event. He said, ‘I have heard the calls for change in our church’s policy on this subject. I have read Carol Lynn Pearson’s books and wept as I read them. I don’t think the evolution of our policies will go as far as many would like. Rather I think the evolution will be one of better understanding. I believe our concept of marriage is part of the bedrock of our doctrine and will not change. I believe our policy will continue to be that gay members of the Church must remain celibate. However, I want you to know that as a result of being with you this morning, my aversion to homophobia has grown. I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us.’…” (Carol Lynn Pearson, “Elder Marlin K. Jensen Listens to Pain Caused by Prop 8,” CLPearson.com, September 27, 2010)


“According to an attendee who talked with Religion Dispatches, Jensen, a favorite figure with liberal Mormons, apologized for the pain they described.

‘To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry . . . I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us,’ he said.…” (“Mormon Leader Sorry for Prop 8 Pain,” Advocate, September 29, 2010)


“Jensen is, apparently, already in pain over this. Even before he attended the meeting, he had read Carol Lynn’s book and wept over what he read. Being at the meeting and hearing what the church did was obviously a moving and maybe even life-changing experience for him. He is a good man, caught in a bad situation, and now he has a choice to make, whether or not he is ‘called on the carpet.’

He can either back off, support what he knows to be wrong, and maintain his position and future in the LDS hierarchy, or he can do what is right—what he said he would do—and convey to the Big 15 the full depth of their responsibility for what they have done, and continue to do.…

My prediction: since this broke on Saturday, the hierarchy has been in a huddle on the topic of damage control. Whoever is his direct superior will listen politely to him and thank him for his report, even for his love and compassion. That will be the end of it. No public comments. No change in policy. Nothing. Whenever Jensen’s tenure in the First Quorum of the Seventy comes to an end, they will give him an honorable release, thank him for his service, and put him out to pasture.

I hope I am wrong.” (Nadine Hansen to Connell O’Donovan, September 29, 2010)


“On the morning of Sunday, September 19, about ninety members of the Oakland, California stake (diocese) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with Elder Marlin K. Jensen, the Church’s historian and a prominent member of the General Authorities, the ranking hierarchy of Mormon leaders.…

According to attendee Carol Lynn Pearson, a Mormon author and longtime advocate of LGBT concerns, Elder Jensen said, ‘To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry… I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us.’

An apology. An apology from a General Authority. A rare thing—no, an exceedingly rare thing—in an institutional LDS culture that prefers to leave its historical missteps and mysteries quietly behind. It was not, to be sure, an apology for Proposition 8 itself. It was not a renunciation of Mormon doctrine on homosexuality. But it was a significant acknowledgment of the experience of gay Mormons and their allies, an instance of dialogue between Church leadership and membership. It was, in short, a reason for hope.…

But behind the buzz stands a deeper story of how a committed group of Mormons is working to heal the rifts created by Proposition 8 and the even larger story of how faith communities slowly come to terms with the legacies of the political battle over same-sex marriage.

Back in late August 2009, the lay priesthood leadership of the Oakland, California Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took initiative to address the lingering rifts and hurts their congregations experienced as a result of the Proposition 8 campaign.

Stake President Dean Criddle and his assistants convened Sunday meetings with each of the ten congregations in their charge to present a syllabus of readings from both LDS scriptures and leaders urging compassion and understanding for gays and lesbians. Local leaders also facilitated presentations by gay Mormons and Mormons with gay children and gay spouses. (To access the Oakland Stake’s syllabus and related materials, click here.)

There were, according to those who attended the meetings, many tears shed—always the sign of a productive Mormon meeting. Members who had proudly displayed Yes on 8 lawn signs embraced LDS parents of gay children, weeping. ‘We never knew,’ they said.

It didn’t stop there. Members of the Oakland Stake individually convened cottage meetings and dinner parties to bring together Mormon gays, non-Mormon gays, and non-gay Mormons to break bread.

And on July 6, 2010, the Berkeley LDS ward (congregation) hosted a community meeting featuring GLBT people from a number of faith traditions sharing their testimonies of faith and stories of their marriages as a form of ‘spiritual practice.’ [For more on Mormons and marriage see From Here to Eternity: Of Mormons and Celestial Marriage.]

What this series of events demonstrates is that the apology from Elder Jensen was, in fact, the product of a context of honesty and fellowship created by months of on the ground work initiated and directed by rank-and-file LDS Church members.…” (Joanna Brooks, “Mormon Leader: ‘I’m Sorry’ for Hurtful Legacy of Prop. 8,” Religion Dispatches, October 4, 2010)


Carol Lynn: So other things in our stake that went on.  We’re going to come to the Marlin Jensen event.  How did this go?  I have a memory that Dean and I had a conversation that we really wanted to get him to be able to talk to a smaller group of people.  Marlin was assigned as a General Authority.

Greg: As area president, or just for a stake conference?

Carol Lynn: Stake conference.   Neither Dean nor Craig knew because I had asked them; nobody knew if Elder Jensen had been assigned to our stake because of what we had been doing there, or whether it was just an automatic assignment.  But when they knew that he was coming—I can’t remember quite how this happened, but I know that I sent a letter to Elder Jensen and I think it was because Dean and I had talked about it, and Dean wondered how appropriate it would be for him to bring up with him some need.  I don’t remember, but I know I had talked to Dean about it, and I think he agreed.  I had volunteered to say, “Let me just write him a letter expressing my appreciation for whatever, and say you know there are a lot of people in our stake who are hurting.”  I can’t remember specifically, but it was something general like that that did happen.  But Dean certainly had the authority to ask Marlin to speak to a small group—which Dean said he had done before—with certain kinds of special interest things when a General Authority did come.  So he said, “This is not irregular.”  

So Dean set up this early morning, five-stake conference meeting that was by invitation only, of people that Dean knew had strong feelings about the issue and who had been hurt by Prop 8 and would appreciate some kind of a forum.

Greg: This was early Sunday morning?

Carol Lynn: Yes.  It was Sunday morning and stake conference started at 10:00.  Our meeting was at 8:00, and we went a little bit over an hour.  We were in this smaller room and I don’t think Dean even presided.  I think Elder Jensen was the first one to take—I could be wrong about that; I shouldn’t say anything about that at all, but I remember Dean was very minimized at whatever happened there.  I shouldn’t even try to remember because I’m not absolutely certain.  One of the two—I think it was Elder Jensen—indicated that that he understood that he was there to listen.  And so he just turned the microphone over to those people who wanted to speak, which we knew was going to be the case.  I had planned on not saying anything, because everybody had heard way too much from me.  There were a lot of people who wanted to talk, and you know what happens when you let people loose.  So the first two people that went up I thought, “Oh, Lordy!”  Somebody went on and on and on about something irrelevant, and I was sort of eyeballing Dean to start timing or some kind of a thing.  Then the second person got up.  It was weird, and I thought, “My gosh!”  I had not planned to, but I got up.  I forget what I said, but it was something to appreciate Elder Jensen being there and to know that history is moving forward and that we have to be moving toward a time when our gay brothers and sisters can be full members in the Church.  I don’t know what I said, but I sort of put things on a better feeling or direction or something than two kind of rogue, strange things that had happened at the beginning.  

So after me, things kind of fell into line as people—some of them were very emotional—talked about the hurt they experienced during Prop 8.  Some of the feelings that were expressed were very, very poignant.  My dear, dear, beloved friend Connell O’Donovan, whom I had known him for years—he had written me soon after Good-Bye, I Love You came out and told me that I had helped to save his life.  A dear, dear man.  I had visited with him a number of times and he personally had suffered a lot of anguish over this whole thing.  So I had invited him and he had come to that early morning meeting.  He got up and he told something of his story.  He was very emotional.  Connell is this huge, burly man who sometimes had worked part time as a bouncer in a bar.  You don’t want to run into Connell if you think he’s not on your side, but he’s just the most tender, sweet man you ever want to meet.  

So Connell just had us all in tears.  I actually had to leave that meeting early because Dean had asked me to lead a little Primary chorus singing my song, I’ll Walk With You, because Elder Jensen had mentioned that song.  He had mentioned that song in a major multi-conference thing that he had sort of based his talk on that little lyric.  Anyway, I had to leave that meeting early because I had to go rehearse with these little kids, so I’m not sure of all of it, but I was there long enough that after everybody who could had spoken, Dean was the one that called it to a close.  Then Elder Jensen got up.  I had watched him throughout, and he was taking notes.  He was visibly moved, and he was paying very astute attention.  So he got up and he was either then, or at a moment in his conversation, there were tears, obvious tears in his eyes as he said, “This is a meeting I will never forget as long as I live.  I promise that I will take your concerns back to the Brethren in Salt Lake.”  And I remember he said something like, “I know we will continue to make progress.  I don’t know that we will ever go as far as Sister Pearson has wished in her work in what she has just said, but we will continue to make progress.”  And I was able to use those lines from him in the thing that I constructed later on.  But he did say, “You know, from the bottom of my heart, personally, and as much as I can, from the Church, I am deeply sorry for the pain that all of this has caused,” or however he phrased it.  Connell later told me that in between meetings he was able to grab Elder Jensen and speak to him, and he said it was a very emotional meeting that the two of them had.

Greg: Good emotional?

Carol Lynn: Oh yes, good.  Connell said, “He did apologize to me,” and I think he did use the word apology.  

Greg: On behalf of?

Carol Lynn: I don’t know.  But anyway, Connell was very high on however the phrasing had been, that he had received something so authentically given from Elder Jensen.

Greg: And then it got in this report.

Carol Lynn: Yes, it did.  Nobody said in that meeting, “You are not to talk about what is being said in this meeting; you are not to repeat.”  There was nothing like that said.  I chose not to say anything publicly.  I don’t put anything out; it’s infrequent that I put anything out in the world on the Internet, so I hadn’t.  But somebody who was there had put out an email that had started to take off.  It had said—I don’t recall the precise wording—but that was the thing that got John Dehlin to put out his Facebook thing.  You know that he reaches everybody that’s interested, and his little headline was, “Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Prop 8.”  The instant that I read that I said, “John, that’s not precisely what happened.”  I didn’t know it was going to be a big deal, but it started to be a big deal.  And then Dean was kind of on the spot.  I don’t remember what went back and forth with him and Elder Jensen or any Salt Lake people, but I said, “Well, let me write up what I know happened, because I know that word was not used.” 

So I wrote it up, and then I think Jana Riess was the one who contacted me.  She’s had her Religion Dispatches thing.  She said, “Carol Lynn, I understand that you were at that meeting.  Can you tell me what happened?”  I had already written up this thing, and so I sent it to her.  I think somebody else had asked me for something, so I sent my thing out and then mine immediately kind of seemed to be the one that had the more authoritative voice.  Dean was aware that I was doing that.

Not too much later than that, Dean and Marlin Jensen had to be somewhere else together for some totally other reason, and this whole thing got brought up.  Dean said, “Well, Marlin had said that that was getting very hot, and he said he knew that the Public Affairs people were wondering if they were going to do something; and then Sister Pearson’s piece came out and he said, ‘They stood down.’”  That was his word.  The P.A. people “stood down,” to which Dean said, “Well, we have quite a lot of things to thank Sister Pearson for, don’t we?”  And Elder Jensen said, “Oh yes, we do.  Quite a few.”  So that’s really all I can tell you about the Marlin Jensen event.

(Carol Lynn Pearson, January 12, 2014)

Young: We had gone to Elder [Marlin] Jensen before we went to Elder Holland.  Elder Jensen was SO awesome.  He was, “Oh yes, there needs to be a place.  This is bad.”  He was so—we just couldn’t believe it.  We were so happy with him.  We left there thinking, “Yes!  He understood.  He is on our side.  This is wonderful.”

(Barbara Young, October 2, 2014)

Young: One of the secretaries to one of the apostles had written to Wendy Montgomery.  She said, “I’m not going to say who I am or who I work for, but I just want you to know he laid out what was going on with the [First] Presidency.”  One of the things she said was, “Uchtdorf is minimalized by the Twelve because they are tired of his ‘European ways of inclusion.’”

(Barbara Young, April 24, 2015)

Prince: Move forward a couple of years.  I’ll preface this by saying that Marlin Jensen is a very close friend, and we have talked, though off the record, about his experience at your stake conference, and the price that he willingly paid—not a small price—at the hands of President Packer for having done that.  Say what you can say on the record about what happened in that meeting.

Criddle: First off, Elder Oaks got himself assigned to our stake just a little over a year ago.  It was my penultimate conference as stake president.  As I was visiting with him about how we would organize the conference he asked, “What are your goals?  What would you like to see?”  I told him that I had had several experiences with visiting General Authorities at our stake conference, but that the one that stood out, head-and-shoulders above all the others, was an absolutely luminous experience.  I could imagine nothing better than to repeat the luminous experience that our stake had with Elder Jensen.  Elder Oaks chuckled and said, “Don’t expect luminous from me.”

It was luminous.  It was magical.  It was inspiring from beginning to end.  If you have time and interest, I’ll give you a little bit more of the backstory.  We received word that Elder Jensen was assigned to our stake conference.  We, as a stake presidency, looked at ourselves and said, “This certainly is not random.”  We seized the opportunity.  In preparing for stake conference, most General Authorities will ask, “I’m here to serve.  What would you like me to do?”  I said to him, “If you have energy and are willing, we’d love to have you stay for a fireside at the Berkeley Institute of Religion and speak to the Young Single Adults the Sunday of your visit.  That would mean you’d need to stay over a bit, but if you’re willing, that would really be lovely.”  He said, “Sure, I’d be happy to do that.  What else?”  “Well, we often have an early Sunday morning session for some targeted group, before the normal, all-hands Sunday session.  If you’re willing to do that, we’d really like to feature you.”  He said, “Of course.  I’d be happy to do that.  Who would you like to feature?”  “Well, we’ve had new converts meet with Bishop McMullen when he was here, and that was pretty well received.  We had a visiting General Authority meet with our young men and young women, and that was very well received.  We had one visiting area authority meet with our single adults, and that was well received.  But if you’re really interested in making a difference at this moment in time, there is a cross-section of my stake that still feels deeply wounded over this Proposition 8 episode.  In my judgment, where you could make the most difference would be having an intimate meeting with a selected group of those people, identified by the bishops, who are continuing to feel anguish over that experience.”  He said, “Do you really think that would be helpful?”  “Absolutely.”  “OK.  Let’s talk about what the format will be.”

I went back to the bishop’s council and explained this, and the bishops were very enthusiastic.  They came up with lists of potential candidates, and the candidates were there for very different reasons.  In some cases they were individuals who were directly affected because of their own homosexuality, or a spouse’s homosexuality, or a close family member’s, or some other experience that had touched them deeply.  But in each case, it was someone that the bishop had been visiting with directly.  This was in September 2010, almost two years after the election.

We’re jumping over the sessions that we held in our stake on a ward-by-ward basis.  Those had happened as well.  We really should come back to that at some point.  That had created more of a climate of openness for priesthood leaders to have discussions with members about their thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of Proposition 8.

So we had a list, and I threw in about eight or ten names of people that I had been meeting with.  We had a list of about 120 people.  We resolved to keep it a small enough group to fit in our baptistery, and the fire marshal won’t let more than 120 people in the baptistery.  Invitations went out, and I don’t think there was a single person who declined the invitation to come.  So that was the group, along with the bishops, a member of the stake presidency and the Relief Society president.

We set up, in advance, the ground rules.  My theory of stake conferences has always been that this is the time for us to receive instructions from the visiting authorities.  We don’t tell them what to do; we listen to instructions.  But it is time for us to share with them what the lived experience is, on the ground, of trying to implement the instructions we receive from Salt Lake, and I am intent on sharing with them the broad cross-section of that lived experience, pulling no punches.  I said, “Elder Jensen, that’s what I try to do with every visiting authority, and in this context if you are willing to listen to peoples’ stories, that would really be a great gift, just listening.”  Elder Jensen said, “Let’s take half the time to listen to these stories.  You open the meeting.  You know who these people are, so let’s have more or less an open mike, but call on people who you think will be responsible and genuine.  I’d like to listen to their lived experience, and then I’ll have a few concluding remarks.”  So that’s what we did.

I was the game show host, more or less, with the mike.  I told people, “There are lots of people who would like to speak.  I’m going to be very disciplined here.  If anyone speaks for more than three minutes, I’m going to stand up right here in front, where everybody can see, and wave my hands.  Then, it’s time for you to stop.”  And that’s what we did.  Nobody had more than about three minutes.  A lot of people spoke about their own, horrendous life experiences.  Those stories were so powerful.  These weren’t strangers.  We all knew each other.  We sat next to each other in pews.  They were telling stories about receiving electric shock therapy at BYU, about being cut off by family members, all contact.  Just difficult, horrible things.  There was not a dry eye in the room while this was happening, least of which Elder Jensen.  He was facing the congregation as people stood up, one at a time, and he was weeping openly, along with just about everybody else.

The time came when there were ten or fifteen minutes left before we needed to close the meeting.  The general session was about to start.  Elder Jensen stood and acknowledged everyone.  He was still very emotional.  He shared a few of his own experiences.  He talked about an interior decorator that his family had hired to help them finish out a home that he had built, and how they had come close to the decorator and appreciated him and his life.  In conclusion he said, “Look, you have to understand that I am a third-rate General Authority.  The first class is the First Presidency.  The next is the Quorum of the Twelve.  I’m not any of them.  I’m a Seventy, and so I am a third-rate General Authority.  I have very limited authority.  I’m called a General Authority, but the scope of my authority is a sliver.  But I do have some authority, by assignment, when it comes to stake conferences.  So that’s what brings me here today.  You have to understand that in this narrow scope of limited authority, almost on a personal level, I want to apologize to all you people, on behalf of the church, for what you had to endure over these years.  I just feel like I need to give you my own, personal apology.  It’s not up to me to apologize for the church, but I just feel that that’s what I should do today.”  With that, he closed.

I was fearful of what would happen next.  There were, indeed, postings by some people, nearly all of whom were pleased with the experience.  There were a couple of hard-bitten people who said, “I don’t accept the apology.”  There were only two that I knew of, out of that hundred-or-so people, who were that way.  But it was clear that the meeting could be taken out of context, taken the wrong way, and it could create real problems for Elder Jensen.  I guess what you are telling me is that it did.

Prince: Real, but transient.  I have wondered if there was a straight line connecting what he said there with what President Packer said a few weeks later in General Conference that caused a great deal of stir.

Criddle: I have wondered the same thing myself.  We’re just one little pimple on the back of an organism, and it’s hard for me to think that the Oakland Stake would drive what Elder Packer would say in General Conference, and yet, maybe it did.

Prince: I know that he took note of what Marlin said in Oakland.  I have listened very carefully and repeatedly to the recording of President Packer’s speech in General Conference.  When he made an end-run to try to canonize the Proclamation on the Family, it’s very clear from the audio record that he was winging it.  It was not the precise in which he always spoke.  If you go back and listen carefully, you can see that he was going off-script there.  That was the part that was stricken from the record, and it was taken care of the next day.…

Criddle: My wife and I had accepted an invitation to dinner from a married couple of men in our stake.  I’m sure you’re familiar with Bill Bradshaw.

Prince: I know Bill quite well.

Criddle: His son and his spouse live within my stake.  We had made contact and had discussions over time.  They had invited Nancy and me to their home for dinner about four weeks before our stake conference.  They have two adopted daughters, and they were there.  They had invited another married couple of men, with a couple of daughters as well, to come.  We all had a lovely dinner.  We got to know each other.  We visited a little bit about the work Bill Bradshaw had been doing on the biology front.  They were invited to the eight o’clock session, and they all came and spoke and shared their experiences.  I had told Brad Bradshaw that if he came, I’d make sure he had a chance to share his thoughts with a visiting General Authority.  He welcomed the opportunity.  I said, “If you come, you can be sure that I will speak to this topic, at least to some degree, in the general session of conference.  As stake president, I am resolved to devote at least a portion of my message to these topics.”  He said, “All right.  I’ll come.”

The people from the eight o’clock session continued to the ten o’clock session, and I shared with you the talk that I prepared in that context.  The talk led up to final examples of the responsibility of church members in the Oakland Stake to reach out and embrace even those who might be viewed as lepers, whether they were recently released from a federal penitentiary, or don’t have testimonies of core gospel principles, or even if they are a gay couple with children.  I felt it important to make that statement both because of my promise to Brad, and because that’s the way I absolutely feel in the core of my soul, and I had an opportunity to say it with a visiting General Authority sitting on the stand behind me, speaking after me so that he could correct the record.  Everyone understood the dynamics.  Marlin Jensen was just a gentleman, and highly supportive of every aspect of my comments, understanding exactly what I was trying to do.  So that laid the foundation for everything I was able to do as stake president in my stake afterwards.  I had had that public conversation with a visiting General Authority in front of 1,300 people who were in the auditorium.  That was a great gift to our stake, and to me personally, from Marlin Jensen.

That whole things makes me personally so sad and disappointed over the November, 2015 announcement.  It’s the exact opposite of the message that I conveyed to my stake.

(Dean Criddle, September 4, 2016)