The Sanctity of Dissent
by Paul James Toscano
The essays collected in this book—originally written as speeches—are personal milestones in a journey into exile—a journey that formally began on 16 March 1963 when, as a seventeen-year-old convert from Catholicism, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California Baldwin Park II Ward. That journey lasted thirty years and six months, culminating on 19 September 1993, with my excommunication by the stake presidency and high council of the Salt Lake City Big Cottonwood Stake.
Paul James Toscano, a member of the Salt Lake City law firm of Woodbury & Kesler, has practiced law since 1978 and currently serves as Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 Standing Bankruptcy Trustee for the District of Utah. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from Brigham Young University and his J.D. from the J. Reuben Clark Law School. He is author/co-author of numerous articles and four books: Gospel Letters to a Mormon Missionary; Invisible Religion in the Public Schools: Secularism, Neutrality, and the Supreme Court; Music and the Broken Word (with Calvin Grondahl); and Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology (with Margaret Merrill Toscano). He is founder and co-president with Margaret of the Mormon Alliance, a non-profit corporation organized in 1992 to counter defamation of and spiritual abuse within the LDS church. A 1963 convert from Catholicism, he was excommunicated on 19 September 1993 as one of the September Six.