Mormons mobilize against
Susan Powell and family
SusanPowell.org is a positive and uplifting site to spread the word about Susan and her family in the wake of this tragedy. We believe SusanPowell.org is doing a great deal in the search effort as it is keeping public interest alive. Every page published has been totally positive and yet every single page has been criticized by individuals claiming to be Susan's friends and family. Their venom leaves people asking, what is the real reason for their animosity toward Josh and his entire family and extended family?
The "Susan Cox Powell" movement has frequently repeated one of their stated missions which has been to "keep pressure on Josh." The Powells are working diligently to find Susan. Their detractors within that movement are not privy to what the Powells are and have been doing, so they presume to make judgments without regard to facts.
In spite of Josh's initial willingness to give these people the benefit of the doubt, they have chosen to be completely adversarial toward his family. From the beginning, their numerous statements and blogs have attempted to suppress the voice of all who use reason or who disagree with their personal beliefs. They have also mercilessly ridiculed the grieving of the Powell family. There seems to be one core issue that motivates this group of detractors, and that is their religious cohesion.
The proficiency of the Mormon Church to organize and motivate people to action can be used for positive purposes, such as when church members help people with moving or with home repairs. However, this solidarity also motivates individuals to cover for fellow Mormons and attack perceived critics of Mormonism.
All of the known administrators and all of the leaders of the "Susan Cox Powell" movement to date (May 2010) are Mormons. It is undeniable that the tone and rhetoric is led by Mormons. We do offer thanks to the many people who have supported Susan and her family in a positive way. However, too many supporters are openly parroting the Mormons' hostility toward Josh and his father Steve, because Steve is an ex-Mormon.
From the beginning, Susan's father, Chuck Cox, started using the Mormon Church phone directory and Facebook as networks to privately contact Josh's friends and loved ones. Multiple reports and evidence of this came back to Josh. Among other things, Chuck was asking people to "pressure" Josh, asking them to withhold affection and friendship, and asking them to spy on Josh. In addition, Chuck's organization used the media to spread rumors and innuendo.
Most of Josh's friends and even many co-workers were Mormon. When they heard that Josh was moving in with his ex-Mormon father, Steve Powell, some of them started magically "remembering" things about Josh that were terrible but untrue. Mormons frequently remind church members not to associate with people who disagree with their religious views, so Josh's moving in with an ex-Mormon was seen by them as a step down a very wrong path. Josh's estranged sister, Jennifer Graves, is among these detractors. She made it clear that she does not recognize the need to protect the children from the media and general hostility prevalent in Utah.
Jennifer was participating in the "pressure Josh" campaign when she made a concerted effort to alienate Josh from friends in the Mormon Church. After Josh and the children moved in with Josh's father, Jennifer and Kirk Graves made sure that Mormons knew that Josh's father is critical of Mormonism. For at least 20 years, Jennifer has hated her father, Steve Powell, for openly expressing his views as an ex-Mormon. Although Jennifer's siblings have attempted to maintain a relationship with Jennifer over the years, all four of Jennifer's siblings have always felt that Jennifer strongly resented them as well. Jennifer's long-held grudge has created a divide between Mormons and non-Mormons in the Powell family.
Josh and his family have recently been objects of contempt for "investigating Christianity as an alternative to Mormonism." It is unbelievable that anyone would feel threatened by hearing about the family's spiritual progress, considering the importance of God in this family's life. According to an ABC news story, Josh has his free agency to make choices, but "he is taking his two young boys [out of the Mormon church]. That infuriates friends of Susan." Obviously, this decision was difficult and painful, but a necessary decision for Josh and his children.
Josh still knows and loves many Mormons and he is convinced that most Mormons are good people. Many of the people in Josh and Susan's Mormon ward congregation have been supportive. However, Josh will not attend the Mormon Church again because of the various pressures placed on Susan, and now on him as well as his extended family. For instance, everyone following this case remembers when a fellow Mormon bragged to the media that as Susan's "marriage counselor" he had advised Susan to divorce Josh. This man also told the media that Susan immediately turned her back on him when he started pressuring her to divorce Josh. We don't think anyone actually believes that Susan wanted to divorce Josh, but it has become part of their propaganda. This is particularly disingenuous because some of these same individuals have recently acknowledged in a People Magazine article that Josh and Susan's marriage was good and improving all the time.
The recent People Magazine article (June 7, 2010 print issue) has shown how some Mormons have gone to desperate lengths to make new allegations against Josh, but have later conceded that those allegations are hollow. For example, despite some attempts to criticize Josh and Susan's financial decisions to occasionally tighten the belt, Josh and Susan are both fiscally responsible individuals. Like most people, Josh and Susan's family has weathered the occasional rough finances. As the article states, "Susan's loved ones discount such tightfistedness as the toll of the economic downturn." However, it goes on to say that these same loved ones are not willing to budge on their disapproval of Josh because "he had stopped going to church regularly over the past five years."
Friends have indicated that some Mormons apparently also feel increasing resentment toward Josh for "causing" Susan's testimony to decline. Toward the end of 2009, Susan bore her testimony in front of her Mormon ward congregation. She said, "I cannot bring myself to believe in Mormonism, but I can lean on other people's testimonies."
Susan Powell is a beautiful and intelligent woman. In their zeal to slander her husband, some people are actually disparaging Susan's greatest strengths such as her passion for gardening, her passion for exercise, her love of God, and her love for Josh and their children. It is counterproductive to the search effort. If Susan is hearing their rhetoric, she is no doubt disturbed by what they are saying. On Susan's behalf, SusanPowell.org will continue to be a positive source for information about Susan Powell and her family.
Updated June 6, 2010