Random thought: witness protection


Recommended Posts

Had an idea for a series premised on a couple of characters being in witness protection. 

This led me to wonder...

 

What would the church do if a member wound up in witness protection?

Would there be some way that they could signal church authorities of who they really are so that their membership could continue? 

Would they be required to join the church all over again and have their ordinances done twice? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ironhold said:

What would the church do if a member wound up in witness protection?

It is not the Church's responsibility to take care of those in such a situation. If people are stupid, well, the Church can't do much for them. Maybe they should grow some common sense.

 

 

 

 

...oh, wait. WitNess protection.

Never mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Ironhold said:

Had an idea for a series premised on a couple of characters being in witness protection. 

This led me to wonder...

 

What would the church do if a member wound up in witness protection?

Would there be some way that they could signal church authorities of who they really are so that their membership could continue? 

Would they be required to join the church all over again and have their ordinances done twice? 

If it were me - I would be rebaptized and start over.  But, obviously, I would not do any genealogy. 

 

The Traveler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I figure since I have changed my username on this forum at least once, that makes me something of an expert

Anyway, going completely off of memory:

Quote

According to Gerald Shur, who created the federal program, about 95% of witnesses in the program are "criminals". They may be intentional criminals, or people who are doing business with criminals, such as one engineer who bought off a mayor "'because that's how you do business in the city.' In his mind, he wasn't doing anything criminal." 

I figure wherever the participant in the WPP ends up, they should have an honest and transparent discussion with the bishop/branch president presiding over their area.  Perhaps a series of discussions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Vort said:

It is not the Church's responsibility to take care of those in such a situation. If people are stupid, well, the Church can't do much for them. Maybe they should grow some common sense.

 

 

 

 

...oh, wait. WitNess protection.

Never mind.

As a missionary I went with the Bishop of the ward I was serving in to the house of a woman who just talked on and on without stopping about the most inane and meaningless topics you can think of. We finally got out of there and on the way back to his car the bishop simply says: This is religion pure and undefiled, to visit the fatherless, the widows and the witless.

So I guess it depends on your interpretation of scripture. 😂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Traveler said:

If it were me - I would be rebaptized and start over.  But, obviously, I would not do any genealogy. 

 

The Traveler

Dear Mom and Dad,

We just found the most golden investigator you can imagine. Oddly though, we can't get him to take off his hat or sunglasses or pull down his collars. But otherwise he's great!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, laronius said:

Dear Mom and Dad,

We just found the most golden investigator you can imagine. Oddly though, we can't get him to take off his hat or sunglasses or pull down his collars. But otherwise he's great!

My understanding is that the witness protection program isn’t nearly as glamorous or cloak-and-dagger as it’s often made out to be—basically you get new passport; driver’s license, and social security number, transport to some other part of the country, and you’re strongly advised to cut all past social contacts; and from there you’re pretty much on your own to try to build a new life around that new identity.  There is no ongoing security or threat tracking, no ongoing pension or stipend, and you don’t have a “handler”.  So in practical terms, it’s not really a “program” you can “leave” (or be kicked out of), because there is no continuous membership benefit being offered—just the ID docs, which you use or quit using at your own discretion.

I imagine that a program participant would be free to tell the membership clerk “here’s my old membership number, and please change the name associated with my membership record”.

Edited by Just_A_Guy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

My understanding is that the witness protection program isn’t nearly as glamorous or cloak-and-dagger as it’s often made out to be

You might be surprised. Some years ago, I watched a documentary that exposed the wacky but heartwarming truth about witness protection among the Latter-day Saints. I believe it was called Mobsters and Mormons. Definitely eye-opening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Vort said:

You might be surprised. Some years ago, I watched a documentary that exposed the wacky but heartwarming truth about witness protection among the Latter-day Saints. I believe it was called Mobsters and Mormons. Definitely eye-opening.

I remember that. Can you imagine how terrifying it would have been to be in the chapel when that van blew up? Killing that monster family (can’t remember their names). So sad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/23/2022 at 12:35 PM, Ironhold said:

Had an idea for a series premised on a couple of characters being in witness protection. 

This led me to wonder...

 

What would the church do if a member wound up in witness protection?

Would there be some way that they could signal church authorities of who they really are so that their membership could continue? 

Would they be required to join the church all over again and have their ordinances done twice? 

These are all great questions, but remember that most people who enter witness protection aren’t innocent bystanders but mostly criminals. I’m not saying the don’t deserve a second chance, they absolutely do, but you’d be amazed how many people in the witness protection program engage in criminal activity again. 
 

Yes, they have every right to be forgiven and welcomed into the church. But when you see their face in the news for robbing a bank or embezzling dirty money, don’t be surprised. 

Edited by LDSGator
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, LDSGator said:

These are all great questions, but remember that most people who enter witness protection aren’t innocent bystanders but mostly criminals. I’m not saying the don’t deserve a second chance, they absolutely do, but you’d be amazed how many people in the witness protection program engage in criminal activity again. 
 

Yes, they have every right to be forgiven and welcomed into the church. But when you see their face in the news for robbing a bank or embezzling dirty money, don’t be surprised. 

Whenever WITSEC is in the media, it's even odds that the person being depicted is a whistleblower who is in imminent danger of physical retaliation, such as an accountant who realizes that the company they're working for is doing something funny with their money or a shipping clerk who realizes that what's being loaded on the trucks doesn't match the manifests. 

It's those kinds of hypothetical individuals I'm wondering about, innocent bystanders who are witness to a crime and are now in danger for having reported it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Ironhold said:

Whenever WITSEC is in the media, it's even odds that the person being depicted is a whistleblower who is in imminent danger of physical retaliation, such as an accountant who realizes that the company they're working for is doing something funny with their money or a shipping clerk who realizes that what's being loaded on the trucks doesn't match the manifests. 

It's those kinds of hypothetical individuals I'm wondering about, innocent bystanders who are witness to a crime and are now in danger for having reported it. 

Ahh, okay. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/23/2022 at 11:35 AM, Ironhold said:

What would the church do if a member wound up in witness protection?

Would there be some way that they could signal church authorities of who they really are so that their membership could continue? 

Would they be required to join the church all over again and have their ordinances done twice? 

I have some insight into this -- but backwards.  No, they wouldn't be done twice.  But I'm not exactly sure what is done.  So, what is the insight?

While I was on my mission, my dad was ward mission leader.  And my mom was a stake missionary.  During that time, the missionaries came across an elderly couple who seemed to be golden investigators.  As they were being interviewed by the district leader, something came up about their legal names or something like that.

Whatever the detail was, it came out that they were in WITSEC.  So, my dad contacted the stake president.  The missionaries contacted their mission president.  And this couple was given a number to call in Salt Lake.  Then ... "something" happened.  No one seems to know what.  My parents don't know (edit: my mom has since passed away, so she probably knows now).  The bishop did not know.  The stake president did not know.  And I didn't have the opportunity to ask the missionaries or the mission president.  So, I really don't know what happened.  But there was some sort of process.

My guess is that they just needed to make sure that they weren't previously baptized or excommunicated under a different name. 

There would have been no purpose in keeping both their birth name and their new identity on the records.  First, that would be stupid dangerous for anyone in WITSEC.  Second, I was adopted.  And my church records have no mention of my birth name.  I've known it since I was a child and still mention it when it comes up in conversation.  But my Church records say nothing about it.

If a current Saint becomes involved in something that requires WITSEC, then I'd guess that they would transfer the records under the new name somehow.  But it would make genealogy a pain.

Edited by Carborendum
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share