The contest began four years ago when Tom, one of two Mormon patriarchs currently assigned to Eastern Europe, referred to me as a "pit bull" in our correspondence. When I replied: "Can a pit bull be a hound of heaven?" he ignored the question and reacted with a pontifical ten point sermon. This dashed my hopes for an honest, responsive dialogue and I joined the OCA (Orthodox Church in America)--a daughter church of the Russian Orthodox Church based in Moscow.
Our correspondence resumed recently at a higher level when Tom responded to an early draft of a paper prepared for the 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, which I attached to a blind copy email sent to approximately 40 LDS scholars with a request for comment. Tom was one of only two to respond. And it has become the kind of dialogue with an active Mormon ecclesiastical leader that I have longed for since UC Berkeley days in the spring of 1959.
To be continued....