Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
145-147:  Lynn Packer:  Paul H. Dunn “Lying for the Lord”

145-147: Lynn Packer: Paul H. Dunn “Lying for the Lord”

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 5.48.27 PMLynn Packer, nephew of Boyd K.  was an investigative journalist who looked closely into the claims of Paul H. Dunn and discovered there to be startling concerns, not just with his storytelling but also his financial activities.  In this three part interview Gina and Henning Muller (of Mormons Stories Europe) interview Lynn and discuss his new book “Lying for the Lord.”

In the first two episodes Henning interviews Lynn about his life, work with broadcasting in
Vietnam, his interaction with and feelings for his uncle Boyd and the events that led up to the publication of the Book “Lying for the Lord – The Paul H. Dunn Stories” as well as the AFCO Fraud scandal where Paul Dunn had acted as co-president. We also discuss Lynn’s thoughts on the LDS Church’s stance on contemporary issues.

In the third episode Gina interviews Lynn about the book and the life of Paul H. Dunn, his baseball and war stories, the financial fraud scandals and his efforts to protect himself from legal and ecclesiastical consequence which opens a different dimension to the life of Paul Dunn. Lynn speaks more candidly about the church’s influence on investigative journalism and the problem of white-collar fraud in Mormon culture in general.


Link to Lynn Packer’s “Lying for the Lord.”


Link to Mormon Stories Europe



  1. Noel

    I found it interesting that Packer liked Threes Company which was a American version of the UK show Man about the House, a comedy about a single man sharing a house with two women. He constantly is wanting to get into bed with one of the girls, who eventually at the end marries his brother.

  2. Q

    I have some thoughts on why affinity fraud happens with above average frequency in the church. All business transactions depend on some kind of trust between the parties involved. The whole point of financial sector regulations is to make it easier for investors to trust the investments they are buying, and companies have built fortunes (eBay, AliBaba) by creating a mechanism for two individuals who don’t know each other to be able to trust each other. As I see it, the LDS church creates an environment in which people tend to trust each other in two ways that are not so common in other churches. One is cultural: a reverence (I would say extreme reverence) for authority figures. The second is more policy related: the temple recommend process explicitly defines one subset of Mormons as “good Mormons”, the kind who can be trusted. It should not be surprising, then, that a few sociopaths find a way to abuse that trust. The Catholic church shares the first characteristic but not the second. Since their leadership aren’t generally involved in business outside the church, the sociopaths in their church who want to abuse the built-in system of trust use it for sexual purposes instead (something that has of course also happened in the LDS church, but probably with less frequency than financial fraud).

  3. David

    While I respect Lynn Packer a great deal, I think it is our responsibility to make Church interesting even when it’s not. Exert one’s influence to bring about the needed changes when needed. Give it another 40 years and we will be embracing homosexuality as well…

    1. Some things are so excruciatingly repetitive and unfulfilling that no matter how many times you read the phone book, it will never be interesting. It is not our responsibility to make something valuable that intrinsically has little value.

  4. Rick

    I think that’s a noble way to look at it David and I think it’s possible for the individual to make church interesting. I did that for many years and largely succeeded. Or … was I selectively ignoring my boredom and simply feeling good that I would be blessed in return for my endurance? Was that a placebo, an opiate perhaps? I shall never know.

    I was interested in Lynn’s comment that there can come a time when we no longer need the church. The institutional church is setup to elevate those who are destitute or poor or lack basic skills or otherwise void of purpose. When you have garnered and sufficiently internalised those necessary skills to thrive in the world, is it really necessary any more? My conscience tends to agree. I don’t see any message further than this outside of Jesus’ teachings.

    I found something truly amazing about myself when I lost my time-honoured belief in the restoration and the need for a Saviour: I could thrive outside the church. It was an incredible revelation and feeling of love and confidence in myself. I saw the world in fantastic technicolour, I found added meaning and exaltation where the church was inadvertently holding me back. I saw beauty the likes of which had never been spoken from the pulpit.

    In hindsight, I guess I was wasting away in the pews looking for that tiny needle in a haystack, where outside, it was raining 6-inch nails for the taking. When we can step away from the church and our morals remain with no effort, it probably means the church is superfluous. My wife and I still attend church most Sundays, but it is for the love of the people and a moment to sit and collect our thoughts – not because we depend on nor need it.

    I think that’s what Lynn was referring to. I could be wrong though.

  5. Frank McLeseky

    Well I just finished Lynn’s remarkable book- it is a shame the book was not published earlier because of all the “pressures” Lynn wrote about. The time now when many are leaving the church will cause many to read and ponder how the church operates. I know that is not Lynn’s purpose but the book will create more conative dissonce for those questioning the church’s truthfulness.
    The affinity fraud problem will alway exist in Mormonland where celebrity status attends GA’s and scammers are looking for “fish” in very large pond.
    I recommend the book highly particularly if you lived through the Dunn era.

  6. Andrew

    Thank you.

    I’d like to learn more about the article that Dialogue passed on publishing because it was too controversial. I thought that was what Dialogue did?

    1. Mike

      I agree Andrew. The skeptic in me questions why Dialogue wouldn’t pick up the article, or why Signature wouldn’t pick up the book. Both of these throw a red flag for me. Does Lynn not cite sources or evidence for his claims to the point that we’re just asked to rely on hearsay?

      1. Gina Colvin

        But the Arizona Republic did and Sunstone ran the story (where you will find lots of references). I don’t think we can judge the veracity of a story by whether certain outlets picked it up or not. I can see why Dialogue wouldn’t touch it.

  7. David

    I probably go to church more for my wife than myself. I don’t think of the me needing the church, but rather the church needing me.

    I believe I’m able to serve out Christ intention within the church, rather than being selfish outside of it. It would be truly exiting if we could change certain notions regarding our history. I long for the day when we can be completely honest and open not only about church history but our history as well. We too cover up our sinful natures when we ought to be more open about our common human weaknesses.

    That said, Church is way more interesting than a phone book, and the chance to meditate regarding ourselves and our relationship with others is also special. I hope to influence the church as much as it influences me. Besides the notion of Christ, His atonement and Resurrection are all that’s left for me, and its enough to hope for a better world to come, not just for myself but for everyone… and if that’s not happening then we need to be constructively critical about it. What needs to change and how can we improve?

  8. Aaron

    Enjoyed Gina’s portion much more than Henning’s. I found myself continually frustrated by Henning because he seemed to only want to bounce from scandal A to scandal B to scandal C without really listening to Lynn’s answers.

    Example A: Henning drills into BYU and clearly wants Lynn to tell tales about BYU not allowing him to do his job when it came to teaching journalistic ethics. Lynn explains it was the opposite and really praises BYU. Which to me is just as fascinating as the scandal Henning was wanting as I didn’t expect that answer. But of course with no scandal we move on without follow-up questions.

    Example B: Henning asks questions about Dunn and Lynn basically says that he was able to prove Dunn forged a resignation letter. How do we not drill into that a little?

    Anyway, I enjoyed Gina’s singular topic and how she got a lot of info out of the specific topic. Not long enough though.

    Lynn seems like a VERY interesting person with a life full of interesting stories. This is one time where I’d like to see John Dehlin steal another interview from Gina and give it the 7 hour treatment.

    I definitely will be buying the book.

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