"Mike Parker" has asked me to remove, or at least modify, the observations I made last week after watching a youtube video produced by Bill Reel about his "Peter Pan" pseudonym. It's a reasonable request that I'm honoring here, complete with his input that he asked me to address.
In one sense, I agree with Mike's claim that Bill's video is opportunistic and makes a mountain out of a molehill. Had Mike and his friends simply made one small (albeit childish) mistake within a larger context of honorable, above-board, cordial and scholarly discussion of issues, I would have ignored Bill's video. Bill himself probably wouldn't have bothered making the video in the first place.
But that is not the context in which Mike and his friends acted.
Instead, the activities Bill displays in his video are part of a long pattern of this brand of apologetics, egged on and promoted by Dan Peterson and others who should (and at some level surely do) know better. I assume Bill, as a former participant in these apologetic games, knows this all too well and thus made the decision to call out the behavior.
Because I hope Latter-day Saints generally, and those associated with the Interpreter specifically, will spurn the tactics and antics of the apologists documented in Bill's video, I found it important to call attention to this persisting problem. Nothing in Mike's response alters that decision. To the contrary, as you'll see, Mike's response demonstrates more of the same counterproductive brand of argument and accusation that is the rotten core of current LDS apologetics.
But fairness requires that his voice be heard, so here it is.
Background. The video explained the saga of "Peter Pan," including the fraudulent, racist persona that a group of "Interpreters" (shorthand for people affiliated with the Interpreter) created as a subterfuge to hide the actual identity of the infamous "Peter Pan."
I had been aware of this "Peter Pan" but I didn't know the full extent of the chicanery these
clowns fine young scholars had concocted. And no less than Dan Peterson not only promoted the Peter Pan persona, but he perpetrated the fraud right in the pages of the Interpreter.
I still find it incredible, even for the Interpreter.
Before the video was released, I had received emails and text messages claiming that the identity of "Peter Pan" had been exposed, and it was Mike Parker. Over the years, several people have emailed me about their suspicions of the "real" identity of Peter Pan. I usually reply that I don't care because (i) the pseudonym is apt since, like the blogger(s), Peter Pan is a boy who never grows up and (ii) I don't read the blog anyway because the one time I did, it was so ridiculous I didn't think any sentient reader would take it seriously.
Plus, I didn't think then, and still don't think now, that "Peter Pan" was only one person, although Mike Parker is now taking the fall for the charade.
During my podcast with Kerry Shirts, by which time the Mike Parker connection was widely known, someone asked if I would have lunch with Mike Parker and be friends. I said I would. I remembered that "Peter Pan" had once emailed me years earlier, so I emailed "Peter Pan" and suggested we have lunch when I was in Utah. "Peter Pan" declined.
After I posted my observations about the Bill Reel video, an individual emailed me from the "Peter Pan" account, claimed he was "Mike Parker," and asked that I remove my blog post about Bill's video. A series of emails ensued.
At this point, I don't know who is emailing me as "Mike Parker." As I mentioned, when I suggested we have lunch when I was in Utah, he refused. I suggested a phone call or zoom conference, but he refused. All I have to go by is an email address for "Peter Pan" and a series of emails by someone claiming to be "Mike Parker."
I have good reason to question the identity of this individual(s). A couple of years ago, I received similarly aggressive and antagonistic emails from an individual who was using an obvious pseudonym (but not "Peter Pan"). We exchanged several messages as I explained my positions on various issues. I also explained that my responses would be the same regardless of who the person was. Eventually the individual identified himself as a well-known General Authority who has spoken in General Conference. He even gave me a link to his talk. I verified his identity through a mutual acquaintance. Fortunately, he is now emeritus so no one sustains him, but this is some of the history I've had with LDS pseudonyms.
At any rate, the "Mike Parker" who has been emailing me wants me to remove my blog post. I told him I'd be happy to correct any errors I made. Instead of working together on this, he posted another aggressively antagonistic criticism on his blog and expected me to read it. When I explained I don't read his blog, he emailed me his post directly.
Because I agree that the real Mike Parker in Bill Reel's video deserves to have his side considered, I'll assume for purposes of this discussion that the "Mike Parker" who has been emailing me is the same Mike Parker featured in the video. But if the real Mike Parker someday surfaces and claims he had been impersonated by whomever wrote the "Peter Pan" emails, I won't be surprised.
I'm posting the "Mike Parker" material here with a few comments for context. Readers can judge for themselves.
It's long and tedious, but if I don't address every point, my critics accuse me of "ignoring" their criticisms, so here goes.
Comments from "Mike Parker," aka "Peter Pan."