Descendants of early pioneers to the Salt Lake valley who have been so culturally bonded to the church because it is not merely a religion but a way of life; find that socially, it is better to remain silent and not mince words with other members for fear that they may become dis-fellowshipped or excommunicated resulting in social ostracism from the church and hence the society in which they have lived their entire lives. For them the cost of expressing intellectual integrity is too high a price to pay. Within the church there exists a significant group of such persons who privately will thank the visible dissident for his or her contribution to the cause for enlightenment while they, themselves, dare not be visible and for good cause.
Few others who were descendants of early converts have taken the risk of suffering excommunication for their visible outspoken efforts to bring intelligence, questioning debate and new learning into the church to correct perceived errors. These individuals both men and women suffered the rebuke of the local elders of the church by way of excommunication but never heard one word directly from the top leaders of the church to whom they had addressed their concerns.
Among those we can name C.D. McBride of Logan, Utah who was a boyhood playmate of the past church president Spencer Kimball: G.T. Harrison of Orem, Utah who challenged the leaders on the changing history and doctrines of the church only to be excommunicated and Dr. John Fitzgerald of Holladay, Utah who wrote letters to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune challenging the church on its then racism only to be excommunicated. Each of these men had performed a mission for the church in their youth but like so many other returned missionaries, later learn the falsehood of the Mormon claim which they had preached and promoted.
In every case an effort is later made to discredit these men with assertions of moral infidelity as the reason for excommunication rather than admit to doctrinal disputes with the church leaders.
The church is not interested in correcting anything that is working for them and the leaders can ill afford to openly engage in any debate with dissidents. For to do so would expose the lack of deep understanding of the doctrines they espouse. Indeed, they have no need to come out in public debate, for they have juniors, duped by elders in the thousands if not millions, who are more than willing to lay down their life in the defense of the non-answering leaders. They are in fact surrounded by those defenders and as a result can retreat to their temple of deafening silence with apparent impunity.