The funny thing is he didn't call me. I called him.
Here is how it came about.
Early this morning I was contacted by Bill Reel advising me that there is a teenager (about 18) who listens to the podcast and frequents ex-Mormon Reddit, where he read a comment somebody had made about how RFM's neck is in the SCMC noose over the latest podcast, "President Nelson Jumps the Shark"; that the SCMC has files on dissident Mormons like RFM; that the SCMC surely had a file on RFM; and that disciplinary action would no doubt be shortly forthcoming.
This teenager is not the average teen. His grandfather is a General Authority Seventy. The teen talks to his grandfather about different issues relating to the church, and brought up this subject with him. (I am not using the name of the teen or his grandfather because I don't want to inadvertently doxx the kid.)
Anyway, the teen's grandfather Seventy said he knows another Seventy who does work on the SCMC named Elder Timothy J. Dyches, and the grandfather would check with him. After checking with Elder Dyches, the grandfather got back to his grandson to say that the grandfather Seventy had spoken with Elder Dyches, and that the SCMC does, in fact, have a file on Radio Free Mormon.
But the grandfather Seventy went further; he gave his grandson Elder Dyches's telephone number, told his grandson he could pass it along to Radio Free Mormon; and that Radio Free Mormon could give Elder Dyches a call to discuss the contents of his SCMC file; and that Elder Dyches would be expecting his call.
All of this information Bill Reel passed on to me at about 10:00 this morning.
Well, as you can imagine, it was all too much to resist, so I called the phone number provided of 801-240-3305. A very pleasant lady picked up on the other end and advised me I had reached the office of Elder Timothy J. Dyches, and asked how she could help me.
I told her I was calling for Elder Dyches and that he was expecting my call.
She asked for my name. I thought saying Radio Free Mormon would raise more questions than it would answer, so I just made up a name and told her it was "John Smith." (Yes, that is really the name I used.)
She asked what this was regarding. I told her it was a bit of an unusual situation, but it was my understanding that Elder Dyches serves on the Strengthening Church Members Committee, that he has a file on me, and that he is expecting my call to discuss the contents of my file.
This did not seem to surprise her in the least. The receptionist said she would check and put me on hold for about a minute, while I listened to some soothing classical music.
When the phone picked up again, it was the receptionist saying she was transferring me through to Elder Dyches.
Elder Dyches picked up the phone and identified himself. I told him I had used the name "John Smith" with his receptionist; that my name was not really "John Smith," but that I podcasted under the name Radio Free Mormon.
I told him that this was a bit of an awkward phone call, but that I had learned through a circuitous route that Elder Dyches serves on the Strengthening Church Members Committee, that he has a file on Radio Free Mormon, and that he might be expecting a call from me to discuss its contents.
Elder Dyches identified the name of the grandfather Seventy and mentioned the teenage grandson, so it seemed like the story checked out, and I told him that was exactly the circuitous route I had referring to.
Elder Dyches told me that he did not want me to use the contents of our conversation for any purpose whatsoever. I assured him I was not recording the call, because I live in a two-party consent state and I wasn't about to break the law. (We both chuckled over this.)
Elder Dyches said he usually would talk with people who came in person to his office as opposed to over the phone. I told him that was difficult considering I lived in another state. He understood the difficulty.
Elder Dyches confirmed that he does serve on the SCMC and that he does have a file on a member of the church whom he identifies as being Radio Free Mormon. He mentioned the member's full name to me and asked if I were that individual.
I told him I could not confirm nor deny whether I was that individual.
(We both had a good laugh over that one.)
Elder Dyches said he was not comfortable talking with me on the phone about the contents of my file unless I were willing to positively identify myself as the member he believes Radio Free Mormon to be.
I asked him that if his file is on Radio Free Mormon and I have identified myself as Radio Free Mormon, then why couldn't he talk with Radio Free Mormon about the contents of his file?
Elder Dyches reiterated that he wouldn't feel comfortable talking with me unless I positively identified myself as the member he believes Radio Free Mormon to be.
I told him that I guess that takes care of our conversation, then, and I thanked him for taking the time to accept my call and chat with me. I wished him a good day and he did the same to me.
A few thoughts:
1. Elder Dyches was very pleasant and cordial. We both shared laughs over the unusualness of the situation. He seemed genuinely sincere when he wished me a good day at the end of our conversation.
2. It is confirmed that Elder Dyches is a member of the Strengthening Church Members Committee. Strangely, his official church bio mentions his current positions, but SCMC is not among them.
https://www.lds.org/church/leader/timot ... s?lang=engElder Timothy J. Dyches was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2013. At the time of his call, he was serving in a ward Young Men presidency. He served as a member of the Europe Area Presidency from August 2013 to August 2016 and is currently serving at Church headquarters as an Assistant Executive Director in the Temple Department and chairman of the Restoration and Cancellation Committee.
3. There is definitely a file on Radio Free Mormon; less than surprising.
4. I am not terribly interested in knowing the contents of the Radio Free Mormon file at the SCMC, because I am the one who created it in the first place, and I expect it has an excerpted edition of RFM's greatest hits. I just hope the file is really, really big.
All the Best!