If you haven’t been following along what seems to be a never-ending string of drama surrounding the Open Stories Foundation, I’ll give a brief recap of what’s happened in the last week.

An anonymous person or group of people recently penned a Medium article outlining a list of “concerns” about the Open Stories Foundation. Among them, the mixing of for-profit and non-profit activities and the mistreatment of employees that may have led to resignations or terminations. (Perhaps it’s useful for me to state here that I am not the author of the Markus Smith letter)

This person or group of people closed their letter speaking about the importance of their anonymity:

“I’m sure some will ask why I am not willing to sign my name to this letter. Over the years, I have seen what happens to people who publicly challenge John Dehlin. Past retaliations against those who speak out are often unpredictable and unreasonable. I’d rather not experience that.”

John and the OSF board of directors responded to the letter with a statement you can read here. Different people can and will make different conclusions about the statement. But one thing the statement did not do was to address John’s apparent mistreatment of OSF employees that led to their resignations and termination.

I’ve also been on the receiving end of angry Mormon Stories listeners for speaking out against questionable OSF practices. But that won’t keep me from speaking up again about what I have learned about how John treats those who work for him. Frankly, the OSF response raised more questions than it did provide answers.

I have a lot of new things I have learned about the Open Stories Foundation’s history, John’s treatment of people, the way he manipulates people and manipulates the truth in order to get what he wants. But I’m not here for that right now.

I have one purpose with this particular blog post: to call on John and the Open Stories Foundation to release Amy Grubbs, Sharon Price and Tim Coray from whatever non-confidentiality agreements they may have signed and allow them to share their stories without fear of retaliation, if they wish to do so.

As has been so oft-quoted around the MSP Communities, J. Rueben Clark once now famously said:

“If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.”

John and OSF Board: if you have done nothing wrong, nothing can be harmed by allowing Amy, Sharon and Tim to speak out if they want to do so.

If you have done things wrong, donors and the public have a right to know what has happened behind closed doors while you have accepted tax-free donations. The fact that John is able to publicly give his side of the story, while those he apparently hurt are bound and gagged by legal agreements seems so the opposite of “open” to me.

So I ask you directly, John and the OSF Board: Will you release Amy, Sharon and Tim from whatever non-disclosure agreements they may be under, and commit to non-retaliation against them if they choose to speak out?

If OSF and John truly believe in the power of people telling their stories, they will make this happen. Don’t silence their voices.

I look forward to your response. And I’m happy to sign my name to this open letter.



James Patterson lives with his wife and two children in North Carolina. He makes no apologies for being an avid fan of both Duke basketball and Taylor Swift.

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