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Lying for the Lord (Paul Dunn)

I’m about halfway through Lynn Packer’s book, Lying for the Lord.  Packer is nephew for former apostle Boyd K. Packer.  I didn’t know that Paul Dunn and Boyd Packer had a little bit of a CES rivalry going on.  Both came up at the same time in the LDS Seminary program.  Paul got a theology degree from Chapman College in California and was trained in classic biblical criticism.  Boyd was a protege of J. Reuben Clark, who weeded out LDS Seminary teachers who didn’t teach faith promoting stories from the bible (and who taught evolution as real.)  I was a little familiar with this story, as I talked about the Chicago Experiment.  Paul believed that Boyd had sent his brother Lynn to search out his unflattering reports on Paul’s untrue war and baseball stories.  However, Lynn says that is completely untrue.

Lynn was a reporter for KSL Television and adjunct faculty member at BYU in 1982.  Some people came to him in 1979, concerned that they had invested in a real estate company that Paul Dunn had promoted that seemed to be faltering.  Lynn investigated the company for KSL news and come to learn it was fraudelent.  In 1979, Lynn asked Paul about the company AFCO, since Paul was on the board of directors and featured prominently in advertising for the company.  Paul defended the owners and told Lynn not to run the story.  He put pressure on Lynn’s boss, Spence Kinard to kill the story.  Kinard complied though Lynn didn’t know all the details until much later during the trial of AFCO.  During questioning of Grant Affleck, one of the owners of AFCO (for whom the company was named), page 214:

Question:  Did Elder Dunn, to your knowledge, ever call the news media?

Answer:  He did.

Question:  What was the purpose of those calls?

Answer:  After I returned from Japan and after we found that there was a party going after our lenders and causing particular problems, that a news story would not break at that time…Elder Dunn did call the news station.

Judge David K. Winder asked Affleck, “Just what was the purpose?”

“The of the call was to have them discontinue any further interruptions with our company to close the loan,” Affleck said.

But that’s not all.  Apparently Dunn, after he talked to Packer in 1979, faked a letter of resignation in 1978 to avoid problems with the trial.  Affleck was asked again about this fake resignation letter.  Lynn writes on page 213,

Affleck’s answers were what I needed to complete my story about Dunn’s lying about his resignation.

Question:  What relationship did Paull H. Dunn have to do with AFCO?

Answer:  He served as a board of director to the company and, at the end, right up through March 1st of 1982, was an advisor director.

It was bombshell testimony.  Carruth continued.

Question:  Did you at some point sign a letter that was given to the President (of the LDS Church) that said that Paul H. Dunn was not involved in the latter part of AFCO?

Answer:  I did.

Question:  Why did you do that?

Answer:  I would have done anything to not have his exposure at that time.

Question:  What does that mean, his exposure?

Answer:  I didn’t think it was appropriate to have Elder Dunn drawn into this thing.

Prosecutors did not go after Dunn at the time because of his celebrity status.  They wanted the trial to be about Affleck, not Dunn and were worried that calling Dunn to the stand would take the focus off Affleck.  Defense attorneys were asked by Affleck to avoid calling Dunn.  So Dunn skated off without charges.

AFCO was really a ponzi scheme, in which new investors paid off old investors.  As part of his role on the board of directors, Dunn got a new car, often a Mercedes-Benz or other expensive model, every 6 months without paying a dime.  Of course Dunn got his original investment back, a kind of hush money.  From page 209

[Dunn] has made false statements and provided false documents to his higher church leaders, to the press, and to two sets of attorneys taking his depositions and provided false documents to his depositions.

Prosecutors were more concerned about Affeck and partner, who were sentenced to 10 years in prison.  It was while Lynn Packer was trying to get an interview with Affleck, that an intermediary told Lynn that Dunn’s war and baseball stories weren’t true either.

Dunn claimed both to have been drafted at age 18 and signed a pro contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Both could not be true.  In reality, neither were true.  When Paul was 18, the draft age was 21, but congress did lower the age soon, and Dunn was drafted at age 19, serving in the army at age 20.  Despite saying he had pitched to greats like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio, Paul Dunn only played professional baseball in the minor leagues for 1 week before being released.  There are several levels of baseball:  AAA is just under the major leagues, then AA, A, B, and C.  Dunn didn’t last longer than a week for the lowest league.

He never actually served a combat role, as evidence by those who served with him.  He told a story of being stuck in a shallow fox hole, and a Japanese tank running over and crushing American soldiers.  Somehow the tank pinned Paul to the ground, where Paul was stuck by his helmet.  The tank miraculously reversed, saving Paul’s life.

It never happened.

Paul talked about wading through water with dead men floating around him.  He talked of killing Japs.  He talked about holding his best friend, Harold Brown, as Harold died.  Yet Lynn Packer talked to Harold Brown, who was very much alive.

Paul produced letters to “prove” his stories.  Many of the letters were fake, and didn’t support his stories either.  It seems Paul Dunn was a forger like Mark Hoffman.

It’s been a pretty good read so far.  What do you make of Paul Dunn’s legacy?

 

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9 comments on “Lying for the Lord (Paul Dunn)

  1. “(Lynn) Packer is brother for former apostle Boyd K. Packer.” – I’m pretty sure that Lynn Packer is Boyd’s nephew, the son of his brother.

  2. Elder Dunn was an emeritus member of the twelve for a reason. I do not care to paw through the dirty laundry of one who has passed away.

    Glenn

  3. Actually Elder Dunn was a Seventy. He was never an apostle. That some of his stories were fabricated was known by Church leaders long before Lynn Packer began his newspaper accounts. And Packer too was asked not to publish what he discovered.

    Protecting the Church and the faith of the members is paramount to Church leaders, even if it requires what some call lying for the Lord. So Dunn told faith promoting stories that weren’t true, but the administration made every effort to protect the faith generated by the stories, by suppressing the fact that they were largely fabricated.

  4. A CES feud between Paul Dunn and Boyd Packer? Hard to know which side to take on that one. Probably best to just steer clear of the whole affair.

  5. Thanks Andrew. You’re correct, Lynn is Boyd’s nephew. I fixed the OP. Parker is right–Dunn was an emeritus Seventy and was never an apostle.

    Franklin, that’s funny. I actually take the side of Dunn on that one. Lynn Packer says J. Reuben Clark was the one who changed CES from real biblical study to a focus indoctrination and proof-texting LDS theology. Dunn was a classically trained theologian and had many protestant friends. Dunn was happier with a classical focus on the Bible, but generally shied away from that focus during talks, instead focusing on the faith promoting war/baseball stories. Boyd Packer was a Clark disciple and wanted the focus on indoctrination.

    I must say that if Paul’s only sins were telling fake stories, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. The big deal for me was getting involved in fraudulent business schemes. The ponzi scheme was awful. Lynn thought Dunn should be excommunicated for that fraud. Several of his business associates went to jail, and he kept doing schemes after he was demoted from the Seventy. (More on that in my next post.)

  6. […] finished the book, Lying for the Lord by Lynn Packer.  (Click here for part 1.) It seems to me that most Mormons are upset by his telling stories that weren’t true.  To […]

  7. […] finished the book, Lying for the Lord by Lynn Packer.  (Click here for part 1.) It seems to me that most Mormons are upset by his telling stories that weren’t true.  To […]

  8. I think more source material is needed for Paul’s association with AFCO. There’s zero mention of him and AFCO (outside this article) when I Google this topic (plenty about Affleck). There’s not even an entry for this in Paul’s Wiki article.

  9. Have you checked court records? Lynn Packer is quoting court records with regards to AFCO.

    Packer details Dunn’s attempts to quash the story at KSL, Utah Holiday Magazine. The Arizona Republic refused to publish stuff on AFCO in favor of the war and baseball stories. Dunn was pretty good at quashing the story until now, and Lynn is publishing this on his own because no publisher would allow it.

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