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FARMS, or "Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies", was an apologetic organization headed by Mormon Apologist Daniel C. Peterson. The purpose of FARMS was to launch attacks against perceived enemies of the Church. Articles were critical of authors, books - and even current members that held views in opposition to Church teachings. In 2012, BYU Professor Daniel C. Peterson was fired and all prior works of FARMS were demoted. Under new leadership, FARMS became The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship - and publications became known as The Mormon Studies Review.
| || Farms, A Highly Funded Apologetic Arm Of The Mormon Corporation |
Saturday, Apr 8, 2006, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| FARMS. The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies FARMS is funded by the LDS Church with an estimated budget of over $20 million dollars a year.
FARMS is an apologetic organization secretly funded by the LDS Church. The LDS Corporation is careful to hide the cash flow into FARMS. If anything posted on FARMS suddenly becomes bad in the media spotlight, the LDS Corporation can simply deny it and no ties to FARMS will be found. BYU Professors who write for FARMS are not directly paid by the LDS Church, the LDS Church makes no attempt to stop them from working. It has been noted that some BYU Professors spend the entire day writing apologetic works (See Daniel C. Peterson).
FARMS exist to contradict, counteract, suppress, withhold and dismiss any claims made by persons outside the LDS Church (read: Anti-Mormon). FARMS does this by discrediting authors, creating answers to Mormon questions (such as horses in the Book of Mormon were really tapirs) and dismissing any Anti-Mormon claims in any way they can.
Mormons who are beginning to question the validity of the Mormon Church are often directed to FARMS. There they read material created by Mormon professors and scholars who write material in defense of Mormonism. Often the item in question by the member is not well known to the professors at FARMS or no real answer exists, therefore FARMS creates answers to satisfy the member, even if those answers are obviously bogus (see Daniel C. Peterson stating Book of Mormon horses were actually tapirs).
Material created by FARMS is only reviewed and accepted inside Mormonism. Outside of Mormonism the real academic world pays no attention to FARMS material. No material from inside of FARMS is ever peer reviewed outside of those who support Mormonism. Let me repeat that: Only Mormons inside FARMS network of believing members review FARMS material. FARMS always starts their material with the belief that Mormonism is true - therefore - the real academic world pays no attention to articles created by persons such as Daniel C. Peterson and the organization is ignored.
Recently a shift has been noted at FARMS. Due to the high amount of discussion concerning items such as the Book of Abraham or the actual location of the Hill Cumorah, FARMS has actually begun the process of changing LDS Church History and Doctrine to conform to the ideas created at FARMS. Because the LDS Corporation makes no effort to enforce dogma or cannonization, the members of the LDS Church begin to believe FARMS as a source of Mormon Dogma as compared to the messages of obedience that come out of the Prophet and his Apostles. A quick indication of this is the two and three Hill Cumorah theories.
April of 2008, Daniel C. Peterson - the highest paid member of FARMS published material stating that Joseph Smith used a "Seer Stone" in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon. This goes against 130 years of Mormon Church doctrine.
To sum it up fully, FARMS exists solely to convince Mormons that Mormonism is true.
| || Something For FARMS To Chew On |
Monday, Jan 17, 2005, at 10:54 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Egypt got the name "Egypt" from the Greeks who conquered Egypt. The capital of Egypt was Memphis which was the home of the Egyptian God Ptah. Memphis was called the "home of Ptah" by the Egyptians which in Egyptian came out something like "het k Ptah" which became, to the Greeks, "E gyp tos" or "Egyptus."
Now the name "Egyptus" was coined by the Greeks well after Egypt was established.
Now in the BOA it mentions that Egypt was founded by "Egyptus" who was the wife of Ham and the father of "Pharoah."
Obviously whoever wrote the BOA didn't know their stuff correctly.
The BOA, in facsimile #2, also mentions that one of the hieroglyphs was "called by the Egyptians Oliblish."
Nothing was called by the Egyptians "Oliblish" because the Egyptian language didn't have the "L" sound. For foreign names like "Cleopatra" (who was a Greek, one of the Ptolemys that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great conquered it) they used a combination of "R" and "U" to get a gliding "R" sound.
It's as if Joseph Smith had written "called by the Japanese Oliblish." :)
From Bob McCue:
1952: The Metropolitan Museum is telling people on a confidential basis that they have the Joseph Smith papyri (JSP). This is widely known.
1959-60: Hugh studies Egyptian language under Klaus Baer, Egyptologist, at UC Berkeley. He commenced his Egyptian studies some time earlier because of his interest in the JSP.
1962: Hugh is corresponding with Baer about the JSP and the fact that the Met has them.
Nov. 1962: Martha is born.
1965: Hugh has a "good" photograph of the JSP and is studying it.
1966: Hugh shows his photograph of the JSP to Baer.
1966: A U of Utah professor "discovers" the JSP at the Met and this is publicly announced as if no one had been aware of their location until then. The Met has been aware of the JSP existence since 1918 (at least) and bought them in 1947 knowing what they were.
Nov. 1967: The Mormon Church acquires the JSP.
1967 - 68: Alleged sexual abuse commences.
1968 - 1981: Hugh publishes and speaks extensively about the JSP, Abraham in Egypt, etc.
Late 1970: Alleged sexual abuse stops, just before Martha is baptized.
Hugh's biography says that Phyllis (his wife) knew before Zina (their last child - Martha was second last) was born that she was to be their last.
Hugh told Martha just before she married that sex is only for procreation and counselled her to live in this fashion.
Did Hugh and his wife Phyllis stop having sex after Zina? If so, by the time the alleged abuse started Hugh and his wife had not had sex for over a year. The only other person I have ever personally heard state a strong belief that sex is only for procreation was my Institute instructor in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was later convicted of sexually molesting some of the foster children for whom he and his wife cared. And we know about the track record of "celibate" catholic priests when it comes to living a life of sexual abstinence. This life style seems to be dysfunctional in the sense that it makes deviant sexual behaviour more likely.
Martha, at least two of her cousins, and apparently her mother, allege that Hugh was sexually abused as a child by his mother. This is known to cause post traumatic stress disorder, and to make it more likely that the abused child will become an abuser himself.
Hugh suffered more than the usual atrocities of war, certainly sufficient to cause post traumatic stress disorder. Those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder are known to be more likely to experience dissociative episodes during which they do things that they cannot subsequently remember and sometimes engage in uncharacteristic, anti-social behaviours.
Hugh had at least one incident of extreme dissociative behaviour while Martha was a child in which he went into a daze, did not know who he was, and took a long time to return to "normal". Martha was told this was a stroke. She spoke with Hugh's doctors who said there was no evidence of the kind of brain damage that strokes cause. Martha's mother attributes this to God's healing power. Martha attributes it to an episode of post traumatic stress dissociation.
Hugh was physically violent with Martha. She says that her brothers and sisters told her that she falsely remembers Hugh's sexual abuse because he hit her so often. She cannot remember Hugh ever striking her.
Hugh had regular "5 o'clocks" (his families code term for this behaviour) during which we would awaken early (5 am roughly) and have a kind of panic attack, and would take days to return to normal.
When did Hugh get into the sexual aspect of the Joseph Smith papyri? He published "Abraham in Egypt" in 1981. Given how basic the identity of Min (fertility god who committed incest with mother and other family members) is to Egyptian mythology, I would think he had that worked out well before he received a photograph of the real papyri no later than 1965. And there is, of course, the same image (more or less) in the BofA version of the JSP. There are other sexual overtones in Facsimile No. 1 as well.
In Facsimile No. 7, JS interpreted Min to be God the Father, the same god who required of Abraham his sacrifice. Could Hugh have from that derived the form of sacrifice to which he is alleged to have subjected Martha? If Hugh was abused by his mother, as Martha and others allege, we should expect the incestuous "Bull of his mother" Min to be a particularly compelling and disburbing figure for him.
Martha described her reaction (she ran panicked from the room for reasons she did not understand at the time) to a Hugh lecture she attended in which he equated sex with death. If to Hugh sex was a form of death, then sexual intercourse would be a candidate for the kind of sacrifice Martha alleges he committed her to. Many aspects of Martha's behaviour during childhood and later in life are consistent with that of a person who was abused in a ritualistic context that involved sex and Egypt.
Hugh revered Abraham. I am not sure if the word "obsessed" is fair here, but it must be close. Not surprisingly for a person fixated on Abraham, the idea of sacrifice was central to Hugh's mindset. He was trying to live the United Order, to the extent possible. He turned down jobs that sacrificed both academic prestige and money for what he perceived to be the best interest of the Mormon Church. He spoke and wrote about the concept of sacrifice in many contexts.
Hugh was in a literalist phase of his belief at the time of the alleged abuse (see 1967 letter to McMurrin, intended for publication and so presumably prepared with care), and so believed that God would ask for extreme sacrifices to be made, such as that related to Abraham and Isaac, and that this request was more likely to be made of his special servants (as Hugh perceived himself to be) than of average people.
Hugh was immersed in Egyptology at the time of the alleged abuse. This was during what was likely one of the most intense phases of his apologetic effort re the Book of Abraham. The Church has just acquired the JSP, and the Mormon world was awaiting Hugh's response to the criticism that had been levelled against the BofA which the Church had deflected up to that point by saying that the documents did not exist so there was nothing to analyze.
It is fair to presume that the intellectual and psychological stress Hugh was under was at the high end of the scale during the period of alleged abuse. The convoluted nature of his response as it came out over the years regarding the BofA speaks eloquently of this. Non-Mormon academics who admire Hugh's abilities speak of his defence of the BofA as a black mark on an otherwise remarkable academic record.
Hugh believed that he was one of God's special, chosen servants who was singled our for special attention from Satan as well as from God. These two go hand in hand.
Hugh was intimately familiar with JS's God-mandated rule breaking in terms of widely accepted social and moral values. Therefore, he believed that moral laws were not absolutes, but for God to make and reshape as suited His purposes. The classic example of this was God's commandment to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. JS's sexual activities and lying about same are another.
As noted above, Hugh was also a literalist. If he believed God commanded it, it did not matter what it was, he would do it. Interestingly, this is precisely the mentality that led to the fundamentalist Mormon murders in the Lafferty case. A woman was not sufficiently faithful to the FLDS cause, and God "revealed" to her FLDS brothers-in-law that she should be killed. Interestingly, one of Hugh's daughters dated Alan Lafferty, the man to whom the murdered woman was married at the time she was killed. This same literalist mentality is responsible for 9/11, much of the horror in the Middle East and countless other atrocities. Hugh's letter to McMurrin, which was intended for publication, clearly puts him in this camp at the relevant time.
As Hugh got into the study of Egyptian mythology, he would have been working with the idea that JS (who he revered as God's prophet) equated literally or metaphorically Egyptian fertility Gods (such as Min) and what they did and stood for with Mormon authority sources such as God the Father and Abraham. If this were combined with the biological pressure of not having sex and his literalist bent, it would be easy to imagine Hugh having a dream or other strong impression in which he felt that God commanded him to sacrifice his child, Martha, in a manner that evoked the traditional Abrahamic sacrifice with the Egyptian lore he had absorbed, and integrated them in the manner that JS's "translation" of the JSP indicated had occurred in JS' mind. That does not mean JS knew who Min was. It means that God (who knew who Min was) used Min to inspire JS.
Remember Hugh's best defence of JS re. the BofA - that the images in the JSP had triggered the flow of inspiration regarding Abraham, even though the BofA is in no way a "translation" of the JSP. This suggests a deep connection between the Egyptian symbolism and the Abrahamic story. A literalist mind with the power of Hugh's should be expected to have wrestled mightily with something like this.
Given the nature of Hugh's likely post traumatic stress disorder, it would not be surprising that if an idea of the bizarre type just described (commit incest with his daughter Martha a God's command) took root in his mind, that he would go into a dissociative state.
Hugh, whether in a dissociative state or not, may have gone to Martha with the very kind of trepidation he believed Abraham had in similar circumstances. Except in Abraham's case, the metaphor included a ram in thicket. In Hugh's reality, no such out was existed because he was in a real room with a real, terrified little girl instead of in a story or dream where things are malleable. And so Martha may well have been literally sacrificed to Hugh's perception of God, which arose from a combination of his harsh prior experiences (maybe sexual abuse at his mother's hand, and certainly the terror of war) and his feverish attempt to defend what cannot be credibly defended - that JS was acting on inspiration from God when he used the JSP to concoct the BofA.
| || FARMS Makes The Keystone Kops Look Organized |
Thursday, Feb 24, 2005, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Perhaps this is just me but I think FARMS likes to interchange their logic depending upon their need. I believe the technical term for this is being "wishy-washy." Have they heard anything about getting their stories straight? Perhaps some Correlation is in order.
I recently read two separate arguments at FARMS. I would guess they were written by different people. One was about the lack of evidence of Elephants in the new world even though they are mentioned in the BOM. This is answered by saying there is evidence of mammoths and mastodons but Joseph used the word "elephant" because he wasn't familiar with the words "mammoth" and "mastodon."
The second argument was about Jaredite barge windows being "dashed in pieces" which would be anachronistic since glass was not invented until the Middle Ages. This argument is answered saying the origin of the word window means an opening through which wind could enter. So apparently Joseph wouldn't have used the word window as he was familiar in this case. I hope the Smith farm homes didn't have too many openings through which wind could enter during any cold times of the year. By the way, the argument goes on to say Ether 2:23 means the barges would be dashed in pieces if there were openings. DUH! The same chapter describes how there are openings at the top and the bottom of the boat for air and to see. I re-read that whole chapter today and came to the conclusion that the Lord is a horrible marine architect. The brother of Jared came back with many issues that the Lord should have included in his original design plan to the brother of Jared.
Okay. I'm ready for the lightning to strike me now.
Credits: Argar Largar
| || Apologetics Response To Kolob In The Book Of Abraham |
Friday, Mar 18, 2005, at 07:52 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| From FARMS:
"Of course none of the Kolob stuff can be made much sense of, since it's completely out of whack vis-a-vis modern cosmology. Nevertheless, there is an apologetic solution, which is roughly as follows: Abraham was about to go into Egypt, and since the Egyptians all worshipped the sun (i.e., the sun was the highest principle, highest god, whatever) Abraham needed to be able to teach them the true gospel. So, as the apologetic story goes, God revealed to Abraham this "Kolobian" astronomy so that Abraham could teach it to the Egyptians who, for their part, would come to understand that there is indeed a higher principle (god) than the sun and would, as result of this new understanding, be open to hearing the real and true gospel of Jesus. -- I regard this as a somewhat ingenious solution to the nasty Book of Abraham problem, but only to part of it. And of course it raises all kinds of interesting questions. But it is ingenious is some way, no?--not to say convincing. It's main problem is that, like all such arguments, it supposes that the real truth of the "restoration" was not understood by the founder himself. That is, just like JS didn't really understand that the BOM wasn't about North American Indians, he also didn't understand that the Kolobian cosmology was one among a number of cosmological paradigms; right alongside Kepler, Copernicus and Newton stands none other than the patriarch Abraham."
Thank you Daniel Petersen of Farms.
| I spent a lot of time reading over FARMS writings in the past few weeks. Something obvious came to me and I can't believe I didn't realize it before.
The purpose of FARMS is not to provide scholarly research or information. Their purpose is to drawn attention away from the real scholarly research.
It usually begins with some ad hominem against the author and planting biased doubts either directly or by association. This begins the implication that they don't have to address everything because they have discredited the source. This is ususally follows with a statement to that effect and why they are only going to address a few points against the author. Then comes the easy rhetoric about failed assumptions, faulty logic(in the eyes of believers), and a few apologetic arguments. Then comes the conclusion again with the character implications, perceived weaknesses, and generalizing that the rest of the arguements would be dismissed as easily.
This works well enough to keep the typical TBM confident that there are answers to the issues.
Let's compare F.A.R.M.S. arguments with the arguments of a Lawyer stuck defending a guilty client.
(1) Attack the credibility and character of witnesses against the client. Try to give the jury reason to find the prosecution witnesses unlikable. Try to play up any possible bias against the defendent on the part of the witnesses.
(2) Try to create a theoretically-possible, though highly improbable, scenario to explain away the evidence. This goes to creating "reasonable doubt." Where there is no room even for "reasonable doubt" try to elevate "unreasonable doubt" to the status of "reasonable" in the minds of the jurors.
(3) Avoid spending time actually dealing with the solid evidence against your client but find some weak piece of evidence that has been presented and pound against with the hidden implication that this is representative of the prosecution's case.
There's an old saying among lawyers: "When the law is against you pound the facts; when the facts are against you pound the law; when both the law and the facts are against you pound the table."
FARMS pounds the table.
| || Adventures In Ex-mormonism: How Should We Regard FARMS Writers Now? |
Friday, Apr 1, 2005, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Many of us on here went through a period where we struggled to make sense of what appeared to be barely sensible, or fantastically nonsensical, or even disingenuous, defense arguments drawn up by FARMS and others. This has left many of us with strong feelings of disdain toward apologetic writers (I know all about this firsthand!).
I'm wondering, though, if the wisest approach is to relinquish disdain for the writers themselves, and view them and their motives as charitably as possible, merely being content to recognize how apologetic arguments (in nearly every case of which I am aware) simply fail.
It seems that to fail to make a distinction between recognizing an argument to be defective or even unwittingly corroborative of the very point it is trying to argue against, and concluding that the writer is innately stupid or consciously dishonest, is to place ourselves in much the same kind of mental state that apologetic writers themselves seem to exist in. If there is any doubt about this, I suggest that readers go on to an apologetic bulletin board and begin raising questions about certain apologetic arguments. S/he will then be exposed to all sorts of insinuations about personal misdeeds, wicked motives, or accusations that pointing out defects in an argument is tantamount to judging its writer to be a "liar" or an imbecile, etc.
What I mean is, in the world of rational discourse, which has as its goal the apprehension of truth, we operate under this rule: "'we' are not necessarily our 'arguments'". If we think we see that an argument contains a logical misstep, we don't respond by calling the arguer an idiot or evil. We merely point out the misstep, fully conscious that we are all fallible, that we make mistakes sometimes, and that a mental error is not necessarily an indication of moral depravity, imbecility, or insanity. This is one reason why irrelevant ad hominem responses are considered unconvincing: they don't actually address the argument itself.
This is a pitfall in our search for truth, because as even Brigham Young acknowledged, truth may be found in the oddest of places, and be advanced by even the most disgusting of sources. To reject Heidegger's existentialism merely because he joined the Nazi party would be a mistake (though it wouldn't be a mistake to try to recognize how his thought allowed or even led to that affiliation).
But ideological fervour makes us blind to all this. We can no longer distinguish between an argument which raises questions about what we believe, and AN ENEMY, a MORTAL FOE which must be neutralized personally, motives impugned, silenced, etc. We become incapable of rational discourse. This means that we have largely insulated ourselves from gaining more truth than we currently have. We may not be innately unintelligent, but we are putting ourselves in a position in which the faculties of our intelligence cannot work as they might.
An example of this blindness to the distinction between the worth of an argument and the worth of the person making it was displayed on this board a couple of months ago. I wrote a little note noting the apologetic instinct to attack messengers because they don't like their messages. Someone, Wade Englund I think, then posted what to him no doubt was an unanswerable slam-dunk of a retort: "can you explain how your criticism of apologetic ad hominem attacks isn't itself an ad hominem attack?" This really was the perfect example of the blindness I was trying to pin down and explain: a man who sees the statements
"Apolgetic writers make ad hominem attacks; ad hominem attacks strike me as ineffective counter-arguments; therefore, I find the apologists in this respect ineffective defenders of the church"
"John Doe Apologist is evil and stupid"
as pretty much the same statement. I in effect made the first statement - but what Wade, or not Wade, heard was the second. But I didn't mean the second. I meant the first. These statements in reality are not the same. But the lens through which we view reality while in the throes of ideological obsession (me up to last year, at least) prohibits us from seeing this.
I've shot my mouth off a lot on here about how defective apologetic arguments tend to be, but I'm not sure that that means those making them are overall as human beings, irrational. Certain things in defense arguments tend to be left out that demand to be included, but I'm not sure that that means the writers are "liars", i.e., consciously deceptive, or "bad". (While I ended up feeling forced to think that Hugh Nibley had in some cases been consciously deceptive, I am not certain that he was...).
Arthur Conan Doyle believed devoutly in fairies - was he innately stupid? Sartre was an apologist for communism - was he stupid? We all used to believe the same ideas defended by apologists - were we innately stupid? I always knew more of the "controversial" stuff than most other members did, but didn't include that in lessons I taught. Was I a liar?
My own experience suggests to me that the human mind possesses a high degree of plasticity. It suggests to me that our unconscious minds take their cues for what to include in the conceptual model of reality we are conscious of, from our previous emotional commitments, or on how much pain a particular inclusion might cause us, etc.
I sometimes would apprehend something that seemed disturbing, and then just as quickly chase it back across the dividing line into the realms of forgetfulness. I could just vaguely know a little something, and then manage to sort of put it in my mental delete file, and then (for all practical purposes) kind of forget I'd "known" it (for a while I could, anyway). I could take the most absurd of possible solutions to a "problem", and then, if I thought about it long enough, make it seem almost plausible, then probable, then a slam-dunk answer to all the church's "enemies". And yet, in reality, it was just as absurd as when I had begun.
There are even greater levels of mental chicanery, or to be more charitable, creativity, we can experience, in order to keep ourselves going.
Imagine that we are employed by the church as defenders. We are 45 or 50. We have solid academic credentials, but we have spent the last 20 years publishing articles in church-run mags which others in the academic community find "problematic", "laughable", or even worse, beneath even the dignity of either criticism or notice. We haven't published actively in scholarly journals for ages. It seems, in other words, doubtful that we could ever be hired at another university at this point. Defending the church is not only our job, but maybe, the best job we could ever hope for now.
All our friends are members. Our wives and children look up to us. Eager young men idolize us. We belong to an elite group, one which enjoys a privileged view of all important things. We have answers to questions that perplex others. We have status, almost a kind of fame. Living inside of the very antithesis of an "open society" (since there is by definition no room for debate on the ultimate conclusion of our research: "the church is true!") we are spared having to deal with the hurt or embarrassment of seeing a theory which we have nursed to fruition dismantled by logic or facts.
Some criticize us, but smart non-Mormons have cast doubt even on the whole prospect of ascertaining reality. And when push comes to shove (we might think), don't we have as much right to OUR "paradigm", as anyone else does to theirs?
Whether converts or BIC, we at this point in our lives might have no ability to conceive ourselves - our own existence - without reference to "the church". We have no ability to conceive even of reality without reference to it. It's impossible. This isn't because we are evil or mental defectives - it is simply that we, like so many others, have become so used to our conceptual models of reality being generated by and through "the ideology" that the two things have become fused: there no longer IS any difference between our consciousness and the ideology. We once observed the church; but now, it is the means by which we observe everything else. We sense at some level that it is indispensable for our cognitive functioning.
We have literally lost the ability to imagine that things could ever be anything other than how we perceive them to be (the historicist fallacy). We could very sincerely say, "without the church, NOTHING would make sense". (And the reality is - that would be absolutely the truth. Nothing would make sense for us right then, if in one fell swoop the ideology were ripped from us). Reality would be nothing but a terrifying, bewildering void.
Our defense of the church, then, is a defense of our lives, all our thoughts and feelings and the validity of our spiritual experiences (the validity really of ourselves), our families, our feelings, our self-image, our status, our friendships, our answers...even if we are not conscious of it as such in the slightest. But to "lose our testimony" would be, literally, beyond cataclysmic. The safest psychological state to be in, we know intuitively, is one in which doubt no longer is capable of entering.
Now, imagine this...despite all that, in quiet moments, sometimes when all are asleep, and we're lying in bed, we wonder...even though we can't really imagine any way we could perceive reality without "the church", we perhaps wonder to ourselves if somehow, somewhere, we might have missed something...we wonder how our lives might have turned out if we didn't have the church...we imagine that we might be drunks, or divorced, miserable, without a family that has loads of fun together...who knows? But maybe, for a split second or two, we think this:
"All around me I see creation, and so I infer a creator - a God. And from what I can tell, the church I have devoted my life to is his only true church. But...in the crazy chance it isn't, I think I would still have to believe in God, and believe that he is just. And if he is just, after my death he can only reward me for fighting as hard as I could for my whole life to defend what I thought was his one, true way - supposing the nearly unfathomable chance that it isn't. So, I have no reason to relent. Indeed, I never will have such reason. I have made my decision - and it is irrevocable. I could find a signed confession from Joseph, and I would still defend him with all my might..."
"Besides, no one can PROVE that Joseph didn't see God. Not even a signed confession, which might have been forced, can prove that. Until someone proves he didn't see God, which is impossible, there is no reason not to stick with the church. And look at all the good things I have in my life because of it. How could it be a fraud anyway?"
"If nothing else, from what I can tell I am as happy as I could be, as is my family, so this is a great way to live...what really is the downside to being a Mormon, even if there were no plates?"
"No....in the end, there is really no way to show that the church is not what it claims; therefore, anything which seems to, I already know, doesn't. It obviously is 'irrelevant' to what is really the 'core of the gospel', which is: the church is true. The real burden of proof is on the critics - and they thus are losing this battle. I will continue to fight and endure to the end".
It might be easy for us to see all sorts of problems with this distorted version of Pascal's wager; but at the same time, it should be pretty easy to see it making a kind of sense to us at certain moments of our lives. I don't see these thoughts as the thoughts of a "liar" or someone wholly irrational.
All I mean to suggest is that it seems to be going too far to say that apologetic writers should be definitively judged "liars", or constitutionally incapable of reason (even if their church defense arguments fall down even on their own terms). Who knows how conscious they are of certain things? Who knows what (unconscious) pressures affect what they see? And if we were once as muddled or unaware, why shouldn't they be still? And who is to say that we are not missing important things even now, with regards to our families, or politics, or religion, or anything else?
No man can be judge in his own case; all the more reason it seems to me for us to try to maintain some ability to converse, by maintaining charity towards church apologetic writers personally (as difficult as that might be in light of their own often uncharitable pronouncements about others' motives), and to not allow the bleak history of defective apologetic arguments to lead us to mentally eliminate the possibility that some day, someone over there might really have some great insights which we could all benefit from.
As far as I know, the boys over at BYU/FARMS (or out in cyberspace) are great dads, great husbands, funny guys, even smart guys in many ways; the aspersions they cast on others personally I think strike them as fair play. I think they judge what to others seem like insults, to be very much justified, like Christ's designation of certain folks as "vipers". When Jesus - supposedly the first Mormon (no comment) - uses this kind of language, why shouldn't the defenders of his only true church? Jesus is the one who sat down and methodically fashioned a whip, and then (I suppose) beat the hell out of the money changers and smashed all their stuff up. And if someone who raises a question about a church claim can be seen now as as much a "profaner of the sacred" as a money changer, why wouldn't you go nuts, if you were a defender? In war - holy war (even merely verbal) - we would find sanctification, wouldn't we?
But more probably, they view the ad hominemn remarks as solid, very relevant arguments. That means their motives aren't consciously "bad". It also means that many will find their "arguments" ineffective. And somehow, at this point in my life, I feel content to just leave it at that - they might all be great guys doing what they think is right, but their arguments fail even on their own terms; and the church, however much we might wish it to be, cannot possibly be what it claims - the end. Fortunately, there is much more to be excited about and inspired by outside than in, and for me, I feel a kind of peace about the whole thing that I never could feel while I was a devout TBM. Who knew?
I know this sounds like I'm preaching, but let's call it an exmo editorial! ;-)
If I'm wrong about this, please post.
Credits: Tal Bachman Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
| || F.A.R.M.S. LDS Apologetic Group Funded By First Presidency - Can FARMS Be Trusted? |
Saturday, Jan 1, 2005, at 09:59 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| FARMS is an apologetic arm of the Church Of Jesus-Christ Of Latter Day Saints. FARMS is on the Church payroll. It's sole purpose is to keep LDS members who question their faith in the Church. They do this by answering all of the questions the LDS members may have even if the answers are not correct or fabricated.
For instance, a member may ask why there is no archeological evidence of horses in northern or southern America, or Meso-America even though horses are mentioned fully in the Book of Mormon. FARMS returned and pacified the member by stating that horses were not "horses" as we would think, that Nephi stated "Horses" although the meaning to Nephi may have been something completely different and that the horses were actually something like a large breed of deer or even as Daniel Peterson (on the board of directors for FARMS) has stated, that horses were actually "tapirs". FARMS states that Joseph Smith did not know an appropriate word to translate the reformed egyptian into therefore he used "Horses". At the same time, FARMS does not have a conclusion to apply to why Joseph used the words "Cumon" and "Curelom" to describe animals used by Book of Mormon peoples.
Can you imagine the armies of the Lamanites riding on the backs of tapirs? Do you know what a tapir is and what it looks like? Search the Internet for tapirs and see for yourself.
FARMS sole purpose is to answer questions in this manner. To pacify the Member to keep them from loosing their faith and ultimately stop paying their tithing - which is very important to the LDS Corporation.
FARMS is an organization that has no outside peer review in the scientific, academic or religious arenas or organizations. The members who are on the FARMS board are people whose salaries are paid directly by the LDS Church. They are paid to pacify the member and not to tell the truth.
FARMS members write articles intended not to be scholarly, but to reassure the believers. It does not use any kind of peer review process. This is the overwhelmingly accepted academic practice of having anonymous peer academics review your articles and reviews of books before they are accepted for publication. This ensures that scholarship is adequate with painstaking and repeatable research, sound sources, and logical conclusions.
Second, with some exceptions, the scholarship of FARMS articles is substandard and not acceptable by other non-LDS academics. Most FARMS articles and reviews employ extensive personal attacks (ad hominem, one of the most pernicious logical fallacies); out-of-context quotations; illogical, unsupportable, and circular conclusions; and judge scholarly conclusions on the basis of conformity to LDS doctrine rather than as supported by the evidence and logic.
Also, with regard to support of the BoM, FARMS articles jump to egregiously unwarranted conclusions. For example, the BoM says Lehi's group passed through a valley with a river and trees on its way through the middle-eastern deserts to the ocean. Researchers have found several valleys with rivers and trees in the Arabian Peninsula so, concludes FARMS, this proves the BoM beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Some of the FARMS scholars have published scholarly works in peer-reviewed publications, but not one of them as been in defense of the LDS faith.
Those who write to FARMS with questions concerning problems and issues with the Gospel of Jesus-Christ as written by the LDS Church are often left more confused than when they started out.
Here is an example of someone who subscribed to FARMS and asked several questions:
When I had questions about Book of Mormon archaeology, I settled my questions by going to Barnes and Noble bookstore. I went to the section that had information on South American archeology and stuff and started opening books to find out what sorts of things existed during the supposed Book of Mormon times. I realized that it wasn't the same picture I got in the Book of Mormon. I deliberately chose books that had NOTHING to do with Mormonism, so I could be sure it wasn't "anti-Mormon" or pro-Mormon stuff. It was just scholarly stuff.
The FARMS team has mastered the ability to write academic-sounding nonsense. Most people don't understand the nonsense therefore think that FARMS must know what they are writing about, however, when you boil it all down, there is very little substance there.
I don't think it's a matter of who to trust. That puts you under a lot of pressure to guess who's honest. Go with the evidence. If the majority of unbiased evidence is against the Book of Mormon, then your best bet is that it's fiction (yeah, I know I'm biased now . . . so don't trust me either).
I subscribed to FARMS for at least a year, hoping that they would come up with some convincing evidence. Actually, they brought up more questions, and they just kind of danced around the issues, said a few things that showed they knew a few things about ancient languages and customs, and then they'd come to some vague conclusion like "it seems likely that . . . [mormon beliefs] fit nicely into this historical setting". Many times it was more like, "so, you see that blah blah blah isn't really as ridiculous as it sounds".
I think it might be useful for you, because when you see it in print, it's easier to go back, reread, and see how they dance around the issues and never prove anything. It's all conjecture, and they expect the reader to stretch their imagination to believe that there is strong evidence to back up the church.
I remember one issue, when they were trying to prove that the word "synagogue" in the Book of Mormon was NOT an anachronism (as the term wasn't in general use when Nephi supposedly left Jerusalem). So they started talking about very old pottery fragments that were found in old sites in Judea that refer to a place of prayer or something, and you see, a synagogue is a place of worship, too, so THERE YOU HAVE IT. (Yeah, but I thought the whole argument was about the specific word "synagogue).
I finally got so disgusted that I just stopped subscribing.
FARMS has NO authority to speak definitively on any church matter. They are just guessing on everything and the Brethren can always ignore/refute anything they say. In addition the academians don't do real peer reviews on their material. Ever seen FARMS or any apologist give much thought to real critical thinking reviews of their publications? That's why I think for anyone who gives it much thought that is not too deeply invested, FARMS is an academic joke.
However we must never ever underestimate the power that money/loyalty can buy. If the Morgbots keep popping out babies en masse and carefully raise them in the carefully correlated programs then many of them can be molded into lifelong fiercely loyal hardworking cash cows trapped in the mire of Mormonism. Many church sheep will continue to invest resources towards helping groups like FARMS do their research and they'll find plenty of information to muddy the waters for those seeking truth with the purpose of keeping the sheep loyal. A lot of money/resources/commitment can put together hundreds of thousands of pages of writings full of all sorts of trivia information and hypotheticals.
Such writings can certainly overwhelm almost any member going through a crisis of faith with deceiving thoughts of "hmmm I'm just not smart enough to understand all these things" when the truths are pretty simple. (1) Nobody has EVER found any trace of anyone or anything in the New World that is accepted as being part of the Nephite, Lamanite, Jaredite, Mulekite, Zoramite, etc. civilizations and nobody knows anything about the whereabouts of any of their descendants. (2) Explanations for the Book of Abraham facsimiles and papyri translation are bogus for anyone who takes the time to honestly look at the vignettes and all of JS's materials on this. (3) The PR spin on polygamy history is still bogus. (4) The plagiarism of Masonic ceremonies and ever-changing temple ordinances is still a big problem. (5) 19th century teachings about Adam/God, blood atonement, blacks/priesthood, Second coming and Jackson county, etc. Thinking of Zion and Jackson county - what does hundreds of millions of dollars investment in downtown SLC have to do with building the New Jerusalem?
When FARMS was emailed asking them to explain their peer-review process, the following email was returned:
From: Alison Coutts
For an example of how FARMS works, read the following.
To: (name removed)
Sent: 3/4/2004 11:49 AM
Subject: Peer Reviewers
Dear Leroy (name changed),
Thanks for your enquiry about peer reviewers. Obviously this depends on the
material being reviewed. If there is a strong LDS viewpoint, then we usually approach LDS scholars both in and outside BYU campuses. If there is a general bias, we go outside of LDS sources to scholars with whom the author/editors work in the field being treated. Since our peer reviews are almost always conducted blind, I would be reluctant to make any lists available . However, if you have a specific work you are considering, we could perhaps make some suggestions for you.
Thanks for writing.
The Smithsonian releases a statement rejecting the Book of Mormon as having any meaningful scientific value. (This letter has been provided over the decades by the Smithsonian, in response to various inquiries):
FARMS complains and--through its designated juggler, John Sorenson--attempts to discredit the Smithsonian's analysis:
Mormon apologist Kerry Shirts likewise offers his own spin in support of FARMS' attempted, but failed, rescue:
The Smithsonian stands by its original statement:
FARMS claims that it peer-reviews and details this on their website:
Since it was established in 1979, the name FARMS has become synonymous with encouraging and supporting "faithful scholarship" on the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, the Bible, other ancient scriptures and on related subjects. The reputation of these undertakings rests on supporting scholars whose work reflects a characteristic approach to the study of scriptures and on producing solid, reliable studies which not only support the Book of Mormon and other ancient LDS scriptures but upon which interested members of the church and others can rely in their individual study of the scriptures. . . .
Work done in the name of FARMS rests on the conviction that the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other ancient scripture such as the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses are all the word of God, written by prophets of God, and that they are authentic, historical texts. Other than this, the Institute takes no official position on these ancient scriptures. It defines its task as supporting "faithful scholarship," meaning that in the research projects it undertakes and supports and in its publication and distribution efforts, the Institute deals, for the most part, with scholars who not only approach their study of the scriptures from an LDS perspective but, more importantly, insure that their work is informed by and is done in terms of adherence to and reliance upon the distinctive teachings of the Restoration.
The insights of studies such as those produced in the name of FARMS are of secondary importance when compared with the eternal truths that can be learned by a careful reading and study of these revealed texts, guided by the Spirit. Still, solid research and a faithful academic perspective on the scriptures can supply certain kinds of useful information and can answer questions, even if only tentatively, concerning many significant and interesting issues dealing with the ancient backgrounds, origins, composition, and meanings of scripture.
Our hope is that this material will be of help to interested members of the church, particularly to a growing number of new members and others, and that it will be an added means of better understanding and appreciating these ancient witnesses of the mission and teachings of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Finally, reflecting its long established association with the academic community, first FARMS and now the Institute has built its reputation on supporting and publishing high quality, peer-reviewed work, according to established standards of scholarship. . . . (emphasis added)
Unfortunately, FARMS uses only LDS sources to review its publications. The way FARMS handles its "peer reviewing" is as follows:
Here is a letter From: Mojo Jojo (Name obviously withheld)
- FARMS does not submit its papers and research to academic journals for peer review. The publications to which FARMS does submit its work are not highly regarded in mainstream academic and scientific circles.
- FARMS does not submit its papers and research to non-Mormon scholars for peer review. FARMS would not dare do so, out of fear of what the non-Mormon reviewers would conclude about its work.
- FARMS submits its papers and research to a so-called "in-group" for peer review.
- This "in-group" consists of people who FARMS trusts and who are chosen by FARMS to do its peer reviewing.
- FARMS submits its research and papers to only those it is confident will not challenge the basic assumptions that underlie FARMS papers and research.
- These "in-group" reviewers either belong to FARMS, are professionally related to FARMS or are sympathetic to FARMS.
- FARMS idea of a "peer" review is to submit its works for review to like-minded peers.
- While these reviewers can be academically critical in their own right, they do not review FARMS materials outside the FARMS framework of mission and belief. FARMS submits its papers and research to only those whose basic conclusions it knows beforehand will be in line with the goals and beliefs of FARMS.
- In the end, FARMS is a pseudo-academic outfit that is isolated from mainstream academia. It serves as a propaganda arm of the Mormon Church, with its mission and purpose being to produce faith-promoting material for Mormon believers. Outside Mormonism, neither FARMS--nor its peer-reviewing process--are taken seriously.
Daniel Peterson claims that the FARMS review process is as rigorous as that of mainline academic journals.
In his very sarcastic and condescending response to the original RfM thread on this topic, Peterson attempts to buttress his arguments by stating his bonifides. So in the same spirit, please allow me to state my bonifides, so that you might make appropriate comparisons between his observations and mine. I worked for several years in academics. I have published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, I have reviewed dozens of articles on behalf of several peer-reviewed journals, and I was editor of a peer-reviewed journal for several years. (One might not ever guess I was an editor judging by the sloppy spelling and grammar in my posts; however, when I write posts, I write very fast, and I never proof read-I don't have the time. As an academic, I was an obsessive proofreader, typically taking my manuscripts through well over 15 drafts before submitting them for publication.)
So, with this in mind, here's my response to Peterson.
What Peterson describes is not "peer" review, it is "editor" review. The peer review process is anonymous. An editor sends out a manuscript to, typically, 1-3 "blind" reviewers. The reviewers do not know whose manuscript they are reviewing, and the author does not know the identity of the reviewers. This is done expressly for the purpose of ensuring objectivity in the review, reflecting the very reasonable concern that knowledge of the identity of the author might compromise the objectivity of the review, plus it protects the reviewer from retaliation by the author, again helping to ensure greater objectivity. The system is not perfect. Frequently reviewers can guess who the author is (particularly if it is a narrow field or subfield) and the author can guess the reviewers. There is also a good ol' boy system that ensures that established scholars get easier treatment than Assistant Professors who lack reputations. (This is similar to the NBA, in which, say, Greg Ostertag gets called for traveling while Shaquille O'Neal almost never does, regardless of how blatantly he actually travels.) But, all in all, the system works reasonably well.
The above is distinguished from "editor" review, in which the manuscript is reviewed by the editorial board. In an editor review, there is no pretence of anonymity, and the standards in editor reviewed journals tend to be significantly lower than peer reviewed journals. In a top tier research university, editor reviewed publications count almost zip, and in some cases less than zip, towards tenure and promotion, precisely because they are known to have lower standards, generally speaking, than peer reviewed publications. In my case, I might have had 20 editor reviewed publications when I came up for tenure, and I still would have been denied tenure. (As it was, I had several publications, many in top rated journals, so I earned tenure.) So, as rigorous as Peterson claims his review process is, if the same rigorous process were used by other editor reviewed journals, it still wouldn't matter worth shit to a top tier research university. Why? Because what matters is that manuscripts be OBJECTIVELY reviewed according to rigorous standards, but also rigorous standards applied by PEERS, who are presumed to be the foremost experts on the "state of the art" in the discipline.
Peterson also proudly points to the rigorous proofing of texts and checking of citations. What Peterson describes is "copy editing" and "source editing." These are editorial functions, not review functions. Few reviewers take the time to nitpick over spelling and grammar (unless really poor) but focus more on issues such as the soundness of theoretical constructs, methodology, interpretation, and conclusions. It is the editor's job to do the copy and source editing. Yet in my opinion these functions, while important, are subsidiary to the peer review, which focuses on substantive issues. Peterson can rightly be proud about the rigor of his copy and source editing, but this is a Red Herring, it has little to do with whether the conclusions, methodology, or theoretical framework, of the manuscript is any good.
In a post on the topic, Brian B. quoted something from an online source of the peer review process. If I remember correctly, the gist of the quote was the peer review is inherently conservative and stifles innovative thinking or challenges to orthodoxy. In my experience, this is a gross overstatement. True, there is at times a tendency for reviewers to be resistant to new arguments and evidence that challenge received wisdom, but this fails to explain the often-radical evolution in theory that one finds over time in virtually every academic field. Take economics for example. Decades ago, Keynesian economics dominated academics; today Keynesianism is an anachronism having been succeeded by monetarism and several other "isms" in their time. There has been significant change in organization and behavioral theory over time. In the social sciences and humanities, Post Modernism, Feminist Critique, and several other challenges to the orthodoxy have arisen, gained substantial credibility and followings, and are now being challenged by other theories. In international development it seems there is a new theory of underdeveloped that gains precedence every few years only to fade out after awhile to be replaced by another theory. In my case, I wrote an article that challenged a predominant theoretical framework in my own field-the framework made famous at the school where I earned my Ph.D.-and my article was published by the #1 journal in the field. In sum, I see little evidence that the peer review process has stymied innovation and new ideas in academics. The competitive marketplace of ideas is alive and well in academics.
What Peterson avoids mentioning, and this is in my opinion the central point, is how FARMS publications would be evaluated in a true peer review, that is anonymous, objective reviewers who are experts in their fields, and who do not have a vested interest in proving Mormonism to be true. He fails to answer the most fundamental criticism of FARMS research-that it is not truly peer reviewed. I think we all know the answer why it is not. Any article submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal that posited a civilization numbered in the millions that live in MesoAmerica, worshiped Jesus Christ, wrote in Reformed Egyptian, drove in Chariots, wielding steel swords, rode horses, domesticated oxen, etc. would be summarily rejected by any competent, knowledgeable peer. Any article arguing that an ordinary funerary text contains writings by an ancient prophet of God (whom scholars doubt existed anyway) would be summarily rejected by any competent, knowledgeable peer. Few FARMS publications would survive a true peer review process, regardless of how carefully and well argued, because they reside within a totally invalid theoretical or empirical framework. One can craft the most tightly reasoned defense of the Book of Mormon, with every single conclusion following logically from the underlying assumptions, impeccably copy and source edited, and it would still be rejected summarily by a true peer, because the foundational assumptions have no basis in known reality. FARMS, and those who write in its employ, would quickly become a laughing stock in the field. No wonder they do not risk the rigors of true peer review.
One final comment. The nature of the FARMS review process guarantees no real innovations in learning, because it holds as inviolable the foundational assumptions underlying the research-that the Mormon church is, ex ante and prima facie, and therefore so are the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, etc., etc. There can be innovations within this framework, (e.g., limited geography theory), but the framework itself cannot successfully be challenged, as happens all the time in academic research submitted through a true peer review process. FARMS engages in counterfeit scholarship; counterfeit in that the conclusions are predetermined. It is one massive exercise in circular reasoning, where every argument, every bit of evidence circles back around to support the foundational assumptions. If there were such thing as a truth in labeling law for research, FARMS, and by extension Peterson, would be guilty of breaking the law. They label their work as scholarly, and claim to use a peer review process, but their work is neither scholarly nor is it subject to true peer review in any legitimately understood sense of the word.
The FARMS peer review process goes like this:
"It simply won't do, in the case of most FARMS publications, to hand a treatment of, say, archaeological data relevant to 1 Nephi to somebody who knows nothing about the Book of Mormon."
- "each review is read carefully by the editor" (a FARMS member)
- "[each review is read by] my two associate editors (Louis Midgley and George Mitton), our production editor (Shirley Ricks), and the FARMS/Institute director of publications (Alison V. P. Coutts). (all FARMS members)
- "we may decide to send it out for expert external advice (e.g., in the case of the recent DNA articles, to a statistician, a geneticist, a philosopher, and a biochemist) - undoubtedly all BYU TBM FARMS flunkies
- "Each piece is then worked over by at least one in-house editor, and source-checked by a member of our staff to make sure that quotations and citations are both accurate and taken in proper context. (all FARMS members)
- "Each piece is also made available to all members of the FARMS board and administration, should they wish to have input. (all FARMS members)
A potential peer-reviewer need not be an expert on the BOM to be able to adequately peer-review FARMS' publications concerning the BOM. The BOM claims to be an authentic record of people and events somewhere in ancient America. Thus, any scholar who is schooled in ancient American archaelogy or anthropology would be able to peer-review articles concerning the BOM, if those articles regard archaelogical or anthropological claims.
For instance, such non-Mormon scholars as the Smithsonian Institute and the late Michael Coe have examined the BOM and declared that it has no relation to any real places or events in ancient America. And even some LDS scholars have admitted as much, one example being LDS anthropologist Dee Green's statement "The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaelogy exists."
The Mopologists' position is damaged even more by the fact that so many of the items they once proclaimed to be "Book of Mormon evidence" over the years have been refuted, such as the "Lehi Stone," the Bat Creek Stone, etc.
I also chuckled at Peterson's statement:
"What Daniel Peterson knows about peer review can be summed up in one word ................... NOTHING." Which, if true, worries me a great deal, since I'm the editor-in-chief of four translation series distributed by the University of Chicago Press. If they find out, I'm toast.)"
When I read that, I thought of U. of Chicago chief Egyptologist Robert Ritner's recent scathing review of modern Mopologists' defenses of Joseph Smith's "translations" of his papyrus. In his paper, Ritner remarked:
"With the regard to the articles by my former student John Gee, I am constrained to note than unlike the interaction between Baer and Nibley, and the practice of all my other Egyptology students, Gee never chose to share drafts of his publications with me to elicit scholarly criticism, so that I have encountered these only recently. It must be understood that in these apologetic writings, Gee's opinions do not necessarily reflect my own, nor the standards of Egyptological proof that I required at Yale or Chicago."---p. 167.
I find it amusingly ironic that while Peterson boasts of being an editor of U. of Chicago publications concerning "translations," the chief Egyptologist of the U. of Chicago relates how Peterson's fellow Mopologist John Gee circumvented the scholarly peer-review process by declining to submit his assertions regarding the papyrus to his own professor of Egyptology before publishing them in guess where---FARMS journals.
Ritner makes it clear that the efforts of such FARMites as Gee, Hugh Nibley, and Michael Rhodes to salvage Joseph Smith's "translations" were published only "in tracts circulated among the faithful", and reached "desperate levels" in trying to reconcile Smith's fanciful interpretations. I wonder if Ritner knows that Peterson and Gee are fellow travelers in their belief in the BOM and BOA.
Of course, Peterson and other LDS scholars are capable of publishing legitimate work in their fields; but it's obvious that some LDS scholars attempt to parlay their credentials in legitimate scholarship into giving credence to their assertions regarding exclusive Mormon claims. But that's not legitimate, especially when their assertions regarding the authenticity of exclusive Mormon claims are utterly refuted by the legitimate scientific data.
Contrary to their intentions, the Petersons, Nibleys, Gees, and Rhodes of Mormondumb actually damage their scholarly reputations when they use their credentials and positions to defend obviously bogus Mormon artifacts.
| || Has Anyone Died From Reading FARMS? |
Monday, Aug 8, 2005, at 07:27 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Surely, the source of death as noted in granite for some poor soul must be FARMS. its 2.30 am. i am sleepless and considering the same shit that has consumed me for weeks. because someone put a zelph link on here i ended up on FARMS. i reread a review of grant palmers book by Davis Bitton - The Charge of a Man with a Broken Lance (But Look What He Doesn't Tell Us). What a hateful jackass. This guy should sign up for cirque du soleil for the mental gymnastics he displays. or perhaps, he is just acting as a pitchman for all the blown smoke books he mentions to show how wonderful the BOM really is.
A recurring charge in several chapters is that Joseph Smith made up stories in the 1830s, especially in 1835 and then again in 1838, to strengthen his hand during times of opposition and crisis. Explaining something more fully is apparently not allowed. If you don't write it down at the time it occurred-remember this when you are working on your personal history-it didn't happen. Palmer wants us to picture a nervous Joseph Smith desperately trying to come up with stories that will make his position secure. But Joseph did not live in isolation and had not abandoned his old friends and family. How many of these-his own parents and siblings, his strong-willed wife Emma, his friends, other devoted followers from earlier days-would have to "go along" with changes in his narrative? How many of these good people, whose sincerity I hope we are not required to reject, stood up and complained, pointing out what Palmer seems sure of? How large was this conspiracy? Palmer doesn't tell us.
here is an example of his great insight and logic. hey dude, yo bitton buddy, correct me if i'm wrong here, but didn't emma (aka wife #1) pursue plan B? along with a lot of "his friends, other devoted followers from earlier days"?
His biggest issue however, seems to be that the cover says "insider".
The present book is not just a view of Mormon origins but "an insider's view" of those origins. We are supposed to be really impressed. An "insider" must certainly know the facts. An "insider" surely wouldn't be so ill-bred as to write against his own religion. So thinks the general reader who comes across the advertising or examines the cover and opening pages of Palmer's book.
Am I in a position to give an "insider" perspective on America just because I live in America and am an American citizen? I shop at a certain store. Does that entitle me to claim "insider" status if I choose to write about that store? Perhaps if our author had been a secretary to the First Presidency, he could then write an insider's exposé of those things to which he was privy. Perhaps if he had served as church historian and thus had access to the full range of archival materials, he could claim to draw back the curtain. We see how inaccurate, how deliberately misleading, this word insider is in describing Palmer's point of view.
Since he brings it up, can we go over that one more time? Palmer was employed by CES. He was paid from tithing funds. He knew going in what he was supposed to teach and accomplish. No one forced him kicking and screaming to teach the church's young people. If someone agrees to do something, shouldn't he do it? If someone can no longer honestly do what he has obligated himself to do, shouldn't he, in the name of decency, simply resign and seek other employment?
he did seek other employment, he published a book. bitton, what have you done?
Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
| || At The Request Of Daniel Peterson, Comments I Sent To Dr. Michael Whiting About Book Of Mormon DNA |
Saturday, Sep 17, 2005, at 07:33 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Below is an email I sent to Dr. Whiting and cc'd Dr. Peterson. I just sent it so I probably won't have a response for a while. I'll let you guys know when and if I get a response.
Some of you will note that I've added things to my argument said on this board that I had either forgotten to mention or didn't know about before.
Recently, Dr. Peterson and I exchanged comments on a blog dealing with Mormonism and in particular the Book of Mormon, Lamanite DNA issue. I myself am a molecular biologist and a BYU graduate. In our discussion Daniel asked for my thoughts on any one of the articles that FARMS had published on the issue. I chose yours. It's the article from "Journal of Book of Mormon Studies," Volume 12, Number 1, 2003
Frankly, my review of your article is quite negative and Dr. Peterson felt it would be interesting to get your comments on the issues I point out.
Before I begin, it's important that I recognize to you that I've left the Church recently. My primary reason for doing so is that if the "Traditional Hemispheric" model regarding the Book of Mormon is incorrect, than I do not believe there is any likelihood for the Book to be anything but a literary creation.
This is of course my belief, naturally FARMS and yourself have professed to disagree.
My criticisms of your article are as follows:
1. It misleads your target audience into believing there is less at issue with the historicity of the Book of Mormon than there really is. I believe you use your position as a BYU professor, a person trusted by the vast majority of Mormons to be an expert in his field, to mislead the general populace of the Church into believing there is no issue.
2. Based on your writings, I think you misrepresent your expertise in the field of Phylogenetics and therefore the title of your article is wholly inappropriate.
3. I believe the article to be disingenuous in that it withholds a great deal of knowledge about the tools of phylogenetics and what they would tell us about the issues involved in this debate.
Here is my reasoning:
The ten questions you raise as "Complicating Factors" overlook obvious answers and in a couple of instances are completely redundant. It appears as if you had your heart set on the number "ten" and were determined to raise that many questions.
For example you ask in question #4 about the affects of genetic drift and then ask in question #10 about natural selection. The techniques used such as mtDNA and non-recombinant Y chromosome DNA work because only point mutations accumulate. Either through genetic drift or naturally selection, two completely interrelated phenomenon, the affect would be the same. Your audience wouldn't catch that in all probability however, so to me this looks like superfluous padding.
In questions #1, #2, and #9 you bring into question the ability to measure the genetic profile of Lehi and his party. You express doubt that unambiguous markers exist to identify the group. Are you not aware of the Lemba tribe in South Africa and their Hebrew connection? Are you not aware that multiple markers found predominantly in cohanim (priestly) populations show a coalescence time anywhere from 2,650 years ago to 3,180 years? This study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics back in 1996.
This timeframe is at a minimum within range of Lehi's departure, if not even farther in the past. I can not think of a single reason why the Lemba study wouldn't have complete relevance with a study about Lehi's descendants.
In my discussion with Dr. Peterson, he brought up the improbability of there being a single ancestor for what we'd term "Middle Eastern" people. However, according to our Church canon, Noah was a singular ancestor of all those presently alive. The flood predated Lehi by only 2000 years roughly. Phylogenetics, using corroborating Archaeological evidence, can date back into the tens of thousands of years.
The issue here is that you make the argument that the question isn't measurable, when in fact it is. There are many precedents for it, and I believe your article grossly neglects to address them.
With question #3 you describe the founder affect and state that it might confound one's measurements. You also mention how it is responsible often times for speciation, a profound change. I can't overstate how misleading this would be to your audience. The founder, and/or bottleneck affect are not alone enough to cause speciation. Even with geographical and/or de facto isolation the time required dwarfs the timescales of the Book of Mormon. There has been little to no phenotypical change in humans in the last 2600 years since Lehi. So I don't see how using the term "new species" shoud have had any place in your article.
Never mind that cladistics measures exactly that, cross-species relationships. That's how we know how closely related we are to Chimpanzees for example. Even if there was enough genetic variation to create a "New Species" in the "New World," it would most certainly be measurable.
Question #5 and #6 deals with gene flow and mixing of indigenous populations with those of the Lehite colonizers. You call it the "swamping out effect." Again, the issue deals with measurement and in this case the sensitivity of our tools. Again, I'd point out that previous to your article being published there are many precedents documented that show that mtDNA/Y chromosome analysis can indeed detect a contribution from one such as the Lamanites/Nephites. Are we really saying here that they remained a group of 40-50 people indefinitely? The book of Mormon describes battles involving tens of thousands and even millions. Are we saying that the "White" Nephites mixed with the darker Mongoloids, when the Lord putatively told them that dark skin was a sign of being cursed?
At a minimum you only can raise a new hypothesis, that is even less testable than the original in this case.
The actual state of the question is that all known American Indian tribes have been sampled and small contributions such as from the Europeans are detectable. The really issue here is that there is no other "Marker" out there left undescribed. The "X" marker has been thoroughly dealt with at this point.
The idea that the Hebrew signature would get drowned out completely in such a short time is ridiculous. The only way that could happen is if all of Lehi's descendants were killed. The book of Mormon clearly makes prophesies about them in the latter days so that scenario doesn't fit either.
Question #7 implies that "pure genetic descendants of the Lamanite lineage" would be required to measure the presence of Lamanites ever existing. This is not accurate. This also assumes there was never any mixing with the indigenous people of the Americas, another highly unlikely scenario. This again leads to one of two conclusions, either the Lamanites all died out, or their descendants still reside hidden in Meso-America somewhere. Neither of these options make any kind of sense.
Question #8 asks "Who are the extant genetic descendants of the Lamanite lineage?" Who are they indeed? If we can't find them today to measure them, then did they die out? If they mixed whatsoever with the Mongoloid populations then why can' t we detect them? Just asking the question doesn't mean it's a likely hypothesis.
This gets at the crux of my dissatisfaction, your audience doesn't know any better. Because you're from BYU they accept what you say with little scrutiny. As a responsible scientist you are tasked with showing all the aspects of the argument and why yours is correct. It's not enough to raise a question when there is nothing to back it up with. Especially when it directly contradicts the body of data collected so far.
To illustrate my point let me remind you of a BYU Newsnet article titled, "BYU professor refutes DNA Book of Mormon Claims." This was put out January 29th, 2003. Now I recognize that you don't have control over the article's title. But can you see the power you wield? This article came during, or before the same time your article that I've discussed came out. If you have any concern for the perceptions, or misperceptions, of your audience, why not address them in your FARMS article? Why not put out a statement explaining the tone of the Newsnet article was overstated? If you agree with the Newsnet article than you are not being frank indeed. If you disagree, why not do something about it?
In my own work, do a lot of DNA sequencing and analysis. Much of it is full gene analysis for a variety of genetic diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis and Huntingtons. The sample size in these assays dwarfs that of mtDNA for example. mtDNA as I'm sure you know is generally taken from an amplicon only 440 bases or so. My point is that mtDNA analysis is not an overly complicated methodology if you sequence. It's even easier if you RFLP. So I'm at a loss as to were all this ambiguity is being introduced. Is coalescence theory flawed? Are Maximum likelihood/parsimony unreliable methods to calculate clades? Are the limitations of "Molecular Clock" analysis that pronounced? The fact that there is such little variation over time in mtDNA an that our sample populations are NOT infinite leaves little room for "dark horse" theories in my opinion. There just isn't much room for there to be the kind of ambiguity you describe.
I want to point out to you that your article was one of the first I read when I learned about the DNA discussion shortly after my graduation. I had no previous conception of FARMS before that. I admittedly never read anything they published before then. That issue of Book of Mormon Studies, including your article of course, showed me just how weak the Church's position was. With my own personal experience in Molecular Biology I knew the articles were not forthcoming.
FARMS, and specifically there responses to the these issues, has played a significant role in my decision to leave the Church. I recognize that others with my education would not, and will not come to the same conclusion, but I want to put forth to you the Apologetic style of the FARMS literature, with it's lack of real peer review and incomplete description of the issues, will drive more people out of the Church than otherwise would leave.
I would have left regardless I'm convinced at this point. But FARMS has made me question that decision even less.
I don't know what your response will be to this article, but if you do take the time to read it, I thank you for doing so.
| || FARMS Quote Part 2 - I Couldn't Help Myself |
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005, at 07:14 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Italics are Daniel Peterson, regular text is myself. If you guys are getting sick of this let me know and I'll let up... :) |
Again if you want to follow the discussion you can here:
I think that you probably intend to refer to Elder McConkie's 1989 introduction to the Book of Mormon, and not to the Title Page, which Joseph Smith identified as having been translated from the ancient plates
Dear Daniel, you need to take time to breath before you post. Elder McConkie died April 19th, 1985. Get your facts right.
Besides, was McConkie able to make such a change without First Presidency approval? You know that he wasn't.
I love how you guys(posters on the blog) argue somehow that an idea that began with an apostle and got put into our Standard Works isn't relevant.
I also love how you guys argue that the heritage of the Lamanites doesn't matter. Elder McConkie obviously thought it was an important issue, enough to add it to the Book of Mormon.
But you haven't addressed my point, which was that we're talking here about arguments within a paradigm, not about arguments regarding the fundamental legitimacy of a paradigm.
Shouldn't the legitamacy of your paradigm not matter to the rest of the world? Tell that to the missionaries handing out Books of Mormon.
Shouldn't your paradigm withstand the rigors of a cross cultural analysis?
You call it a paradigm, I call it your own little imaginary world.
It is only applying consensus science to the specific case of the Book of Mormon.
You've so missed the boat here. Consensus science leaves no room for the Book of Mormon. Or were you just talking about the Mormon consensus?
The argument concerns, rather, the proper identification of peoples and ruins almost certainly already known -- and, thus, it involves linguistics, anthropology, and archaeology far more than biology (which may, frankly, have little relevance at all)
So the self proclaimed non-biologist doesn't think biology has any relevance in the case huh?
You may well think so, but I ask: Where is the evidence of this interest? Latter-day Saints do indisputably hold to the existence of Nephites, Lamanites, and the like, yet general interest in this proposition is, well, not exactly intense. As someone proclaiming his devotion to "science," doesn't it bother you a bit that your claim here seems to be supported by no data at all?
Daniel, Daniel, the whole point is that if there were ANY validity to what you guys say, there WOULD be interest. The "data" I use is that I've never read in any Genetic or Anthropological oriented journals anyone taking an interest in any of the Mormon theories.
I guess being so busy reading real journals does indeed leave little time for FARMS publications... :)
If you really understood what FARMS is doing, you would realize that we do -- and you would stop invoking "science." What we do is, overwhelmingly, history, linguistics, literary analysis, anthropology, archaeology, and the like. It only very, very, very rarely involves what people typically have in mind when they mention "science."
Are you uncomfortable then with the word "Science?" Do you believe you shouldn't be held to it's standards?
Also, last I checked most Anthropologists and Archeologists considered themselves scientists.
Last I checked you have 13 articles on DNA alone linked on your website. That doesn't sound rare to me.
| || FARMS And The Book Of Mormon Word, "Adieu" |
Thursday, Nov 17, 2005, at 08:38 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| FARMS has an article up on its site to pacify Mormons who want to know about the word Adieu.
"The French term adieu, meaning "good-bye" (literally, "to God"), was borrowed by English, the language into which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Though we no longer use it in our language, it is included in Webster's 1828 dictionary, which reflects American English of Joseph Smith's day. "
Farms goes on say;
"Many more could be listed, but this should suffice to demonstrate that it is no more wrong for the Book of Mormon to include the French word adieu than it is for the KJV Bible to use French terms that became part of the English language."
This is fluff from FARMS to further put the matter to rest for non-critical thinking Mormons. Just because a word existed at the time that Joseph was writing the Book Of Mormon does not mean it was appropriate for a man using reformed Egyptian in around 500 BC to use the term.
This is very typical of how FARMS works. Bullshit the Mormon with a few quotes and a little verbage and the topic should be put to rest. Besides, if you are having trouble with he word “adieu”, then you need to pray harder because obviously you are loosing your faith. Stop trying to figure it out and start being obedient.
Let us look at the translation of the Book of Mormon.
The Mormon Corporation claims that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by using "two stones fastened to a silver bow" called the Urim and Thummin. The Mormon Corporation today paints a picture of Joseph Smith sitting behind a thin veil (a bed sheet) that separated him from his scribe. Joseph held the plates in his hands and read from them, translating each word from reformed egyptian into english. The scribe would then write down the words that Joseph Smith spoke.
Joseph Smith didn't "Translate" the Book of Mormon. He put his peepstone in the bottom of a hat, buried his face in the hat and a WORD appeard. He spoke the word and then it was written down. He didn't do the translating, the peep stone did. Joseph did not have to know either language. Joseph did not have to worry about how a word would be translated - the peepstone did it for him.
Let me say that again. Joseph Smith READ, not TRANSLATED the Book Of Mormon. He had a medium stovepipe hat in which he placed a stone (the peep-stone). He then placed his head IN THE HAT and read the words.
The word adieu does mean (from Dieu God) or "farewell", however, why did a prophet in the 3rd century AD use the French word "adieu"? The word Adieu makes it's first appearance in 1374 from O.Fr. adieu, from phrase a dieu (vous) commant "I commend (you) to God," from a "to" (from L. ad) + dieu "God," from L. deum, acc. of deus "god," from PIE *deiwos . Originally said to the party left; farewell was to the party setting forth. (From Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?t...)
Interesting that a word that first appeared somewhere in the 12th to 13th century was spoken by a Mormon Prophet in around 500 BC (or whatever century Mormonism claims it was in). Perhaps while Lehi and his people were wandering in the wilderness, they wandered right over into France, and then back down again, picking up some good French words.
Why was it appropriate for Joseph to use the word adieu? Did the peep stone pop the word up?
From the accounts of translation, Joseph Smith would "read a verse" and then the scribe would write it down. If the scribe wrote it down correctly, the verse would disappear before Joseph and a new verse would appear. This means that Joseph did not "translate" the BOM, he merely READ it and someone else WROTE it. It is not a matter of Joseph not understanding the word and how to translate it into English - he did not have to know, he did not have to figure it out. By all accounts given in the journals of the people who lived and worked with Joseph, Joseph merely READ the words that flashed in front of his eyes. What I mean by this is that Joseph did not have to read a "word" he saw on the end of the sentence and try to figure out what was best in English, thus he choose the word "adieu" for clarity rather than "farewell".
From "An Address To All Believers In Christ" by David Whitmer, one of the original three witnesses, David Writes:
"I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear."
FARMS will blow this off because the official version of the translation is that Joseph wore special translating glasses (urim thummin), which helped him read the text. In the official version there is NO hat, there is NO peep stone and Joseph himself translated it and used an appropriate word, that word being adieu, which corresponded to what the prophet in the BOM was actually saying. It was appropriate because it existed in a dictionary that Joseph would have had access to and it was an appropriate translation of the word "Farewell", or whatever the word was in reformed Egyptian. This assumes of course that Joseph Smith actually translated the Book of Mormon, reading words in reformed Egyptian and figuring out how to best use those words in English.
Let us reiterate the facts. Joseph Smith did not “Translate” the Book of Mormon. By David Whitmer's account, Joseph was presented text, he spoke it, and the scribe wrote it down. If the text was right, new words would appear.
FARMS will run to the Webster dictionary and hold it high above their heads and scream that Translate literally means “change from one place, state, form or appearance to another”. When someone translates from one language to another they must take one word and figure out how to present that word in the new language. “Beating around the bush” in english does not translate well into Japanese.
Now Daniel C. Peterson will puff up his chest and state that he is an expert on the whole topic and that everyone else is wrong. Joseph literally translated the Book of Mormon from reformed Egyptian into English and used the word “adieu” appropriately. He will satisfy Mormons with his little tirade and he will flash his professor badge and his PHd's in front of their faces. If they continue to question he will then attack them personally by stating they do not have enough faith. He will grind them down into the ground with his lengthy sentances and accuse them of having the spirit of the devil. (you may now roll your eyes if you haven't already.)
Joseph did not translate anything. Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon himself with help from Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris and others around him. He was careful to hide this fact and that is the prime reason that nobody ever saw the plates except Joseph. Nobody touched the plates. Those who saw the plates only saw them with their “spiritual” eyes and not their “real” eyes. Those who hefted the plates didn't actually even see them; they were covered in cloth and placed in a wooden box. They hefted "something" that weighed something like "gold plates" without ever actually seeing what was in the box.
Adieu should never have been in the Book of Mormon, should never have been spoken by a Prophet in 500 BC. The words should have been “farewell”, and not a 12th century French word Adieu. Mormon Apologists entire argument is based on the fact that because the word "Adieu" existed in the dictionary at the time of Joseph Smith validates that it was OK to be put into the Book of Mormon in substitution for "Fare Well". Mormon Apologists hang on the fact that Joseph was a real "Translator" when in fact he was NOT a translator. Let us again point out the fact that Joseph was SHOWN words, he SPOKE the words, and the words were WRITTEN down. By real accounts, the peep stone showed Joseph the words. By the current Mormon Corporation account, the Urim and Thummin SHOWED Joseph the word, he SPOKE the words, and the words were WRITTEN down.
Joseph translated nothing. Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdrey and Sidney Ridgon wrote the Book of Mormon from their own ideas, from the Bible, from "The Golden Pot", from "American Apocrypha" and from the "Spaulding Manuscript". It is a work of fiction created by a group of men in order to trick people into a religion that would ultimately extort money from them. No translation was ever done.
Grant Palmer said,
"My conclusion is that a large body of evidence demonstrates that Joseph mistranslated a number of documents. I know of no subtantial evidence to support his claim to have ever literally translate any document, leaving me to appreciate his writing at face value rather than because of their antiquity." (Grant Palmer, An Insiders View of Mormon Origins, p. 36)
| || FARMS' Gee Caught In Deceptions In Review Of Larson's Papyrus |
Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005, at 01:05 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I used to think the anti-Mormons were the liars and the Mormons spoke the truth. As I was studying the POGP issues I caught this. John Gee is tearing apart Charles Larson's By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus.
you will find Gee’s review. He states that:
"But whereas Larson's philological errors are hidden, his errors in restorations of ancient texts are quite manifest. Not only is his restoration of Joseph Smith Papyrus I obscene, it is impossible (pp. 64-65, 102). Larson provides what he claims to be a "professional reconstruction" (pp. 62-65), contrasting it with Joseph Smith's reconstruction of missing portions of the papyri, of which he is extremely critical. To restore a lacuna without the aid of revelation, however, careful comparison to parallel texts must be done in order to show that the restorations are even possible. Can Larson produce another papyrus (as opposed to a temple wall) where the figure on the lion couch is ithyphallic?24 Can he show any authentic Egyptian drawing where anyone wearing breeches is ithyphallic? While Larson has noted that there are some characters above the figures, he has misunderstood the implications. The characters are in vertical columns marked by vertical lines to either side of the text, a practice reserved for cases where there is more than one column of text. Given at least two columns of text, there is no room for the bird hovering over the figure. A hand is the only reasonable restoration. Besides, the artist has already demonstrated how he draws the end of a bird's wing, and it is not in separate strokes.25 Thus the restoration Larson mocks (pp. 155-56) is possible, whereas his own is not."
Contrast the statement above with this statement from Dialogue in which an Egyptologist states what Larson provided.
This is a well-known scene from the Osiris mysteries, with Anubis, the jackal-headed god, on the left ministering to the dead Osiris on the bier. The penciled(?) restoration is incorrect. Anubis should be jackal-headed. The left arm of Osiris is in reality lying at his side under him. The apparent upper hand is part of the wing of a second bird which is hovering over the erect phallus of Osiris (now broken away). The second bird is Isis and she is magically impregnated by the dead Osiris and then later gives birth to Horus who avenges his father and takes over his inheritance.
I am starting to feel like nothing these FARMS folks have written can be trusted. Quinn catches John Welch in similar deceptions regarding when Joseph Smith could have seen Chiasmus. Quinn shows pretty clearly that John Welch is intentionally deceptive for many years. Boy am I ticked off.
| || John Gee Is In No Position To Criticize Larson Or Anybody Else Regarding The Papyrus |
Wednesday, Nov 23, 2005, at 11:11 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Seeing as how Robert Ritner, who was Gee's professor of Egyptology at Yale, in so many words stated that Gee committed academic fraud in his "interpretations" of the vignettes. As for Gee's blather about the bier scene depicting a human sacrifice, Ritner stated in his recent paper titled "The Breathing Permit of Hor":
"Human sacrifice in Egypt was rare and more properly political execution, never depicted as on the altered Book of Abraham rendition of P JS I.....The early assessments of this material by Egyptologists Breasted, Petrie, Mercer, et al. solicited by Spalding in 1912 remain valid in 2003, despite ad hominem attacks by Nibley, cited by Gee....."
Ritner reiterated (say that three times real fast) the same interpretation of the bier scene which has been given by non-Mopologist scholars for more than 100 years:
"The Breathing Document opens with a vignette depicting the resurrection of the Osiris Hor on the customary lion-headed funerary couch, atended by the jackal-headed Anubis and (probably) the winged Isis, while the human-headed ba-spirit of Hor hovers above his head. The image has been grotesquely misrepresented as a human sacrifice in the labels and text of the Book of Abraham."
Ritner further demolished Gee's entire analysis of the interpretations of the vignettes:
[Referring to the article by LDS Egyptologist] "Stephen E. Thompson, 'Egyptology and the Book of Abraham,' Dialogue 28/1 (1995): 145-48. Gee's brief rebuttal (A Guide to the
Joseph Smith Papyri, pp. 40 and 67, n. 17) is unacceptable. Reference to a costumed private individual in the Roman procession of Isis is not evidence that the figure of Isis here (no. 2) is 'King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head,' as published by Joseph Smith.
"Smith misunderstood 'Pharaoh' as a personal name (cf. Abraham 1:25), and the name above fig. 2 is unquestionably that of the female Isis. Osiris (fig. 1) is certainly not 'Abraham,' nor is it possible that the altar of Osiris (fig. 3) 'signifies Abraham.' Maat (fig. 4) is not a male 'prince,' Hor (fig. 5) is not a 'waiter,' nor is Anubis (fig. 6) a 'slave' (because of his dark skin).
Such interpretations are uninspired fantasies and are defended only with the forfeiture of scholarly judgement and credibility."
Ritner's entire paper is on-line at:
It should be obvious to rational readers that John Gee has no credibility whatsoever to comment on the papyrus, since he has sacrificed his academic integrity in order to defend Joseph Smith's fanciful and utterly clueless "interpretations."
| || Chiasmus And A History Of The Ministry Of Sophistry [aka FARMS] |
Monday, Jan 16, 2006, at 04:25 AM
Original Author(s): Iconoclast
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Chiasmus and a History of the Ministry of Sophistry [aka FARMS]
The history of Chiasmus is so much a part of the history of the FARMS movement that I think that an argument can be made that Chiasmus is in fact the founding principle of FARMS.
FARMS was started as a private apologetic venture by John Welch, an attorney who is now a BYU professor. While on his mission Welch happened upon a lecture by a Hebrew scholar speaking to a German audience about Chiasmus being a form of ancient Hebrew literary parallelism.
The ever enthusiastic missionary was struck with an epiphany (revelation if you prefer) that if Chiasmus were in fact a part of ancient Hebrew literary form then certainly they could be found in that other source of ancient literary Hebrew scripture, the Book of Mormon.
Welch returned home and pursued an education which allowed him to follow-up on his newfound proof of the BoM. Eventually he wrote a paper (thesis?) on the subject. IIRC this was written in the language of his mission, German.
Welch found what he was looking for and Chiamus launched the current Mormon apologetic movement capturing the imagination of dozens of BYU intellectuals, hundreds of CES employees, and thousands of everyday members.
What happened is that all the closet doubters (especially those unable to express burning bosom testimonies) who had been a little suspicious or at least apprehensive about endorsing a literal interpretation of the BoM now had a new bone to chew on.
Egyptology as well as Old and New World history, archeology, anthropology, geography, geology, linguistics etc had lost traction and become dead ends as proof of the BoM. Nibley’s ramblings were becoming thread-bare to the point of embarrassment. But here was proof within the text itself that it was true. No illiterate 14 year old farm boy from New York in 1820 could have possibly known of such things or incorporated them into the BoM.
CES seminars, symposia, and lectures were held on the subject of Chiasmus. Institute Directors, Seminary teachers and ordinary sheep from around the world flocked to hear the anointed proclaim that their long-suffering faith was now vindicated by proof that the BoyProphet could not possibly have known about.
Books were written, speeches were delivered, and pamphlets were published. The membership soaked it up like a sponge. Through Seminary, an entire generation of youth became familiar with the ancient Hebrew literary device known as Chiasmus. Seminary students from the early nineties till today are as familiar with Chiasmus as they are with gold plates.
For probably 15 years the FARMS/FAIR types and their adherents have proclaimed this idea that gained currency as the most definitive proof of Joseph’s prophetic calling as a translator. Profits, Seers, Revelators and lesser mortals have stated in church published materials and elsewhere that such was the case.
Eventually someone discovered that Chaismus were indeed a hot topic in the early 1800’s not only in Joseph Smith’s time but also in his immediate local as evidenced in contemporary publications. So hot and so close that Joseph or whoever wrote the BoM could not have remained uninformed by it.
And what was the response from FARMS when they were caught?
[Quietly] Well of course. This was known all along. John Welch said as much back in 19?? when he published his original findings. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to point this out. You lesser mortals have just been too lazy to do your research on the subject.
For years they allowed this notion to influence the minds of the unsuspecting without doing anything to correct it. They are liars by omission as well as commission.
So, what we have is an organization founded by a con-man. It is then perpetuated by co-conspirators who are con-men. Supported by legions of dupes who carry its message to a massive flock of hungry, willing and mindless sheep. And when anyone calls them on their lies their response is “We have nothing to hide, The information was there all along. You should have made the effort to find it.”
Do we understand parallelisms now?
In the words of the sage Stray Mutt: “This represents a con-man’s contempt for his mark.”
The best thing that has ever been said about Chiasmus was indeed written by Dr. Shades and found on the link provided by ink. Be sure to read enough of the thread that you get Daniel Peterson’s reply. (and ink is right, Shades is no mere mortal, given his ability to continue to play in that sandbox on behalf of the rest of us)
Welch was rewarded with a position at the BYU Law School and FARMS was rewarded by being adopted by the church through BYU to become the Ministry of Sophistry. They answer the Big Questions now so that the leaders can continue to hide behind plausible deniability.
After being a devoted and enthusiastic FARMS supporter/subscriber and hopeful gospel scholar for more than 6 years I finally had to admit the obvious.
Providing hope for the desperate, FARMS is nothing more than the Mormon equivalent seeing the Virgin Mary in a 20-year-old grilled-cheese sandwich.
Note: I wrote this w/o referring to notes. If I (as is likely) have made any mistakes regarding facts, please feel free to correct.
| || FARMS: "We Can't Isolate Celtic DNA" - Wrong Again! |
Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006, at 11:28 AM
Original Author(s): Swish
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I've been researching the most recent findings related to Celtic DNA. At this point, major sampling has occurred throughout the British Isles and most of Europe to determine genographic migration patterns. For example, Y chromosome sampling indicates that most of the Northeast of England was conquered by anglo-saxon and later viking invaders while Southern England and Wales contain Y chromosomes that suggest that the original Romano-Celts survived the invasions in large numbers in these areas. Interestingly, DNA testing has also shown that the Basque population in Spain is of Celtic origin. See http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/0006....
So it was with amusement that I recently read Brian D. Stubbs article "Elusive Israel and the Numerical Dynamics of Population Mixing". http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?tabl...
At the time of its writing in 2003, Stubbs was bothered by the film, DNA vs. The Book of Mormon, produced by Living Hope Ministries. He made the following arguments (my responses in ALL CAPS):
"Even the film's claim that 99 percent of Amerindian DNA is of Asian origin, with no sign of Jewish DNA, raised many questions in my mind: (1) First, in the European gene pool, have microbiologists been able to identify Celtic DNA as opposed to Germanic or Roman?" YES. CELTIC Y CHROMOSOMES HAVE DISTINCT GENETIC MARKERS FROM GERMANIC AND ROMAN Y CHROMSOMES.
"Even if Celtic DNA could be isolated, to say that 99 percent of Europeans have Celtic DNA would be misleading, since similarly high percentages would also have Germanic, Roman, Greek, Basque, Jewish, and several other kinds of DNA–that is, most individuals in Europe would have those several kinds of DNA–if the science were advanced enough to identify the DNA supplied by all the varied people who filled an individual's billion ancestral slots eight hundred years ago." HE CONFUSES GENE DISPERSAL WITH THE FACT THAT CERTAIN GENETIC MARKERS CAN BE TRACED ALONG DIRECT PATRILINEAL AND MATRILINEAL LINES. HIS SCHOLARSHIP IS QUESTIONABLE BECAUSE CELTIC Y CHROMOSOME MARKERS HAD BEEN ISOLATED AT THE TIME THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED.
(2) Bering Strait DNA will, of course, exist throughout the Americas, just like Celtic DNA exists throughout Europe. So if Celtic DNA cannot be isolated, given the well-documented history of Europe, what can definitively be said of the varieties of DNA (besides East Asian) that may exist in the Americas? HE ASSUMPTION IS INCORRECT. CELTIC Y CHROMOSOME MARKERS HAVE BEEN ISOLATED. NO JEWISH Y CHROMOSOME MARKERS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED TO DATE IN ANY NATIVE AMERICAN (PRE-COLOMBIAN) POPULATION.
This is the kind of off-the-cuff pseudo-scholarship that FARMS is famous for.
| || S. Kent Brown, FARMS Scholar, And Mentor To Daniel Peterson, Just Spoke At My University |
Thursday, Apr 20, 2006, at 09:03 AM
Original Author(s): The Walrus
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Kinda weird, too; they don't usually come out this far (I'm studying in Missouri).
He was giving this whole schpiel about how there's this one place in Saudi Arabia that happens to have the same name as one of Lehi's pit stops in the BoM.
Then he opened it up for questions. Big mistake. I brought up the whole DNA controversy, and he proceeded to respond with the theory that the Hebrew DNA was swamped by all those foreign people somehow not mentioned in the BoM. I shot it down by mentioning the DandC reference where Jesus specifically refers to the Native Americans in Missouri as "Lamanites".
I also brought up the archeological problems, from horses to metallurgy. His defense for basically everything was that Central America is so wet, DNA samples, iron swords, and horse skeletons alike just don't survive this long. Fair enough, I guess.
But my probing led my secular never-mo colleagues to go on the offensive, asking if Mormons are allowed to take the Bible non-literally, like Catholics. They also got him to admit that his approach to archeology doesn't qualify as true scientific inquiry, seeing as his approach is to selectively choose the evidence that supports his faith.
At any rate, this affair wasn't really as hostile as you would think from my description; I had a nice chat with him where he described a young Danny Peterson on his archeological excursions in the 70's.
Afterwards, I was swarmed by missionaries and members alike with wide smiles and firm handshakes, although I couldn't quite read if they were being just a little passive-aggressive about it or not.
Still, this was by far the best and most satisfying example of me "sticking it to the man" that I've yet had in my post-Mormon years.
Actually, I asked him about the Doctrine and Covenants thing in the same breath that I asked about the complete lack of the BoM mentioning any other people.
He had some long winded explanation about how the Lamanite's sudden increase in number indicated mixing with the surrounding people. He also claimed that a reference to a "Lamanite-ish" people could be refering to the "Real Native Americans" that the lamanites enslaved. A lot of extrapolation, basically, based on precious few words.
He never did actually answer me about Joseph Smith/Jesus and the DandC refuting him. Sneaky Bastard.
- Mentionable Replies -
Too wet my arse. He needs to tell that to an Irish archaeologist. They open up bronze age tombs in soggy wet Ireland and they still find bones and fabric and metal.
I'm not pissed at you. You're not pretending to be an expert, but that scumbag is.
No horse skeletons; hell we've got skeletons from other animals, we've got skeletons from people. Even if we didn't have skeletons we'd still have the animals. Just were does he think all the ox and sheep and horses and elephants went? Did they get raptured along with all the paintings and carvings of all the stuff that's in the BOM but no one can find?
We all know that herds of wild horses formed very quickly when a few horses escaped from Spanish explorers. Horses breed fast. The plains Indians knew that. You don't need to maintain a captive breeding stock. Just let the wild herd do its thing. You can ride out there on your domestic horses and round up the colts when you need them.
There should have been wild horses all over the Americas when Columbus and his boys floated over here.
Does he think that fully formed iron swords just show up in the armory all by themselves?
Where are the ore mines? Where are the tailings. Where are the smelters? Where is the slag? Where are the forges, the hammers, the files, the anvils?
OK, I'm going to stop ranting now...
No, really I am.
| || How FARMS Helped Me Lose My Testimony |
Thursday, Jun 15, 2006, at 12:31 PM
Original Author(s): Az Losing Faith
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Tal Bachmann had commented earlier that FARMS seems to be doing more harm than good. I couldn't agree more.
When I was a young teenager I was TBM all the way, up to and including doubting science in favor of scriptural literalism. But I was too much of a scientist in my mind and heart to keep going that way, and by my early 20s I firmly believed in the scientific explanations of things whenever they were in conflict with scripture. The decision to side with science and evidence was to have a more profound impact on my faith in the church than I could have anticipated. But it would take a while.
Eventually I began to take seriously the conflicts between the scientific worldview and the scriptural literalism taught in the church. I'm talking about things like the Flood of Noah, creation of the earth ~7000 years ago, and such. I began to realize and accept that the church was simply dead wrong in these areas.
Still, I accepted the explanations that these things weren't important to our eternal salvation, and twisted my logic into believing that the church was still true, and eventually a resolution between the church and the scientists would be found.
While I was in this mode of accepting that the church could be, and indeed was and still is dead wrong on some issues like this, I ran into the book "By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus". Reading that book was a very powerful experience for me. Not only was the evidence and argumentation for the explanation of Joseph Smith having invented the Book of Abraham very strong, but I was exposed to the apologists of the church, including Hugh Nibley and FARMS.
I had always, as I grew up, learned that Hugh Nibley was brilliant, a real genius who had forgotten more than most of put together had ever learned. If a question was worth asking about ancient records and the church, Hugh Nibley would know the answer.
Then I was exposed to Hugh Nibley's attempts to defuse the criticism of the Book of Abraham. "The scribes did it, it's their fault." "Joseph was only playing around and experimenting in the Egyptian Grammar pages, and they don't mean anything." "The Egyptian writings had hidden meanings that Joseph was able to see." "The Papyri themselves weren't even important, they were merely to prod Joseph into inquiring of the Lord, and the Lord revealed the Book of Abraham." "Since we can't possibly know every last detail about the papyri as they were originally written, we couldn't reach any conclusions at all." Etc. All of these arguments and more were made by Hugh Nibley, and they all fell flat as a pancake. They were intellectually bankrupt. The FARMS reviewers weren't any better. All of their criticisms sounded like they were reading a different book than I had.
Then I read the lengthy FARMS review of "In Sacred Loneliness". This book documents what we know of the women Todd Compton thought could reasonably be documented to have been "married" by Joseph Smith as plural wives. Compton listed a particular number of wives, and of those, a particular number of these wives who were in fact already married to another man at the time Joseph "married" the woman. Compton's opinion was that Joseph probably had sex with most if not all of his plural wives.
The FARMS reviewers weren't happy with the high numbers of wives Compton was documenting. They explained a particular burden of proof that they would hold Compton to, and then started reducing the number of plural wives Joseph can reasonably be documented to have had from what Compton claimed. They got the number down from like the high 30s to the high 20s or so, I forget now. Whew, what a relief!
Compton explained in the book that some of the women Joseph Smith "married" were in fact already married to other men who were still alive at the time. The FARMS reviewers started whittling down the list again, demanding a particular standard of historical proof that resulted, in their review, in some of the claimed marriages to already-married women not being accepted. They got the number down from I think eight, to I think four. Whew, what a relief!
Finally, they attacked the underpinnings of Compton's belief that Joseph Smith had sex with most of his plural wives, including those whose marriages to JS were polyandrous. After some discussion, they were able to whittle the number of "provable" polyandrous wives with whom Joseph Smith had sex to just one. Whew, what a relief to know that Joseph Smith only boinked *one* man's wife!
The FARMS reviewers seemed to think it of paramount importance to narrow the scope of Joseph's marriages and sexual encounters as much as possible, as if doing so would make him look not so bad. Their efforts were transparent IMHO, and didn't even help at all. If they could have proven that all of the marriages never happened, that would be one thing. Tastelessly pulling in the "brownie/dog poo" parable, in my view the FARMS reviewers succeeded in showing that Joseph Smith possibly ate brownies with only half a log of dog poo in them, rather than the whole log Compton reported in his book.
I have said for some time now that one of the most hurtfull things to the church's reputation is lame arguments in support of it. If an intelligent and intellectually honest person encounters claimed facts about Joseph Smith and the church with which they are not familiar, they can always claim to give the benefit of the doubt to the church until they learn more. But that same intellectually honest person will see right through very lame argumentation and logic.
I've looked at the FARMS reviwers' and Hugh Nibley's writings on enough of these topics now to be completely underwhelmed, and even a bit depressed about the church. That's really, *really* the best answer the church's best and brightest can come up with? It has served to show me the church's soft underbelly, and to prove to my mind that the history I've read really is true, and really does have catastrophic consequences for my view of Joseph Smith as a divinely-called prophet of God.
The FARMS and Nibley apologies to these issues have shown me living examples of the walls we build up around our minds, of the mental contortions and compromises and extent to which logic and facts can be twisted with the aim of defending the church. They will put out vague possibilities and then treat them as probabilities. If someone cannot absolutely, to their satisfaction, prove that the FARMS response is impossible, they'll take it as given and run with it, and act as if the whole problem has been satisfactorily dealt with. And they'll redefine terms as necessary to ensure that the critics' "proof" is never considered conclusive. One of my favorite redefinitions is the apologists' redefinition of the word "translate", which in their parlance means anything it has to mean in order for the BoA and BoM to still have been properly "translated" by Joseph Smith.
I see through this, as do I'm sure most of you. It's probably been the straw that broke the camel's back for me.
| || Inside Dope On The Inside Dopes: Without F.A.R.M.S., They Simply Can't Do It--Mormon Apostle Privately Admits Dependency On Water-Carrying Apologists |
Thursday, Oct 19, 2006, at 07:16 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
The question was asked in a previous thread why the Mormon Church needs apologists:
"Why does the LDS Church need apologists? Isn't that a sign that they have no real claims that will hold up to scrutiny when a group of intellectuals have to explain it away?
"I mean, really, if there was any truth to Mormonism there would be no need for faith and prayer to support it! Right?"
The answer to the above questions is clear enough: The Mormon Church needs apologists because its highest leaders privately admit that, without these diligent water-carrying functionaries, they cannot muster convincing evidence to verify Mormonism's scriptural claims.
TRUE CONFESSIONS BY TWO MORMON APOSTLES THAT THEY CANNOT PROVE MORMON SCRIPTURES TO BE TRUE
In a private, closed-door, off-the-record Church Administration office building conversation with Steve Benson in October 1993, LDS Apostles Neal Maxwell and Dallin Oaks offered weak and self-admitted tenuous defenses of Mormon scripture--specifically of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham.
Unable to provide convincing empirical evidence for the alleged truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, Maxwell, according to Benson, said "external authentication of the Book of Mormon would be left 'until the last . . .'"
On evidence of obvious plagiarisms in the Book of Mormon, "Oaks and Maxwell said that the jury was still out. Maxwell asserted that the Lord will leave the Book of Mormon to the very last, before providing definitive proof of its truthfulness. In the meantime, he said, 'we will have opposition in this externally.'"
Oaks could muster no more compelling evidence for the supposed authenticity of the Book of Mormon than to acknowledge, as Benson wrote, that "there was no evidence proving or disproving the Book of Mormon. He [Oaks] placed his right hand over his heart and said, 'I get this knot, this warm feeling right here, and that is what I go on.'
Oaks said "that he had a conviction that the Book of Mormon was 'true.' He said that feeling of truthfulness came from a 'personal witness.'
Benson further reported that Oaks and Maxwell, "in their final assessment of evidentiary proof concerning the Book of Mormon, admitted . . . that the arguments for and against the book were 'equal,' with neither side being able to prove whether the Book of Mormon was true or untrue." Benson said that "[i]n the ultimate analysis," Oaks and Maxwell admitted that "the Book of Mormon had to be accepted on faith."
DESPERATELY LOOKING FOR BACK-UP: MORMON APOSTLE FALLS BACK ON F.A.R.M.S. IN ORDER TO BAIL HIM OUT
In a clear example of Mormon Church dependency at the highest levels on lower-level apologists to make their case for them, Maxwell told Benson "that the Egyptian funerary texts [used by Joseph Smith to concoct a supposed "translation" of the Book of Abraham] were not the actual parchments used by . . .Smith in his translation . . . or that Joseph Smith was even the author of the four extant manuscripts of the Book of Abraham.
"In support of that position, Maxwell handed [Benson] a F.A.R.M.S. review, written by Michael D. Rhodes, of Charles M. Larson's book, . . . By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri (Grand Rapids: Institute for Religious Research, 1992, p. 240 pp., illustrated).
"On closer examination of the paper on which Rhodes review was photocopied, [Benson] determined the review originated with F.A.R.M.S. It was printed on fax paper bearing the acronym 'F.A.R.M.S,' along with the "FAX" date of "09/09/93." It also bore a dispatch time of '1:55' and a B.Y.U.-area phone number of '378 3724.' It appears that Maxwell had solicited the assistance of F.A.R.M.S. in preparing for our discussions)."
CONCLUSION: WITHOUT THE HELPING HAND OF F.A.R.M.S. APOLOGISTS, THE L.D.S. HIGH COMMAND CONSIDERS ITSELF VULNERABLE AND INADEQUATE IN DEFENDING THE MORMON CHURCH
Maxwell summed up the child-like reliance of LDS apostles on back-up from the Mormon Church's designated apologists to make their case for the supposedly "one and only true Church," with the following confession to Benson:
"'We're grateful for F.A.R.M.S. . . . because they protect us on the flank.'" Maxwell told [Benson] that F.A.R.M.S., in fact, had been given the express mission of not letting the Church become outflanked."
http://twincentral.com/site/pages/art... , Parts 9 and 18
| David Bokovoy just pulled another one of his stunts that, for obvious reasons, have apologists excited over what they admittedly don’t understand. I guess in their state of confusion they find a sense of comfort knowing that someone studying to be a Bible scholar claims to understand the issues and feels confident enough to keep reasserting that the "evidence"supports Smith's prophethood.
Bokovoy essentially informed the audience that the Book of Abraham mentions some stuff that is already found in the Bible; particularly the divine council
Parallelomania here we come.
Of course, this comes as an obvious no-brainer to most critics, but the amateurs at MAD who are still riding with their apologetic training wheels, are eating it up as if this is some kind of stroke of genius on his part. How did David manage to make this lemon look like a brand new Porsche? Simple. He does it with smoke and mirrors, by spending over 1200 words to make a simple point seem out of this world. The point itself is obvious, yet by obfuscating its simplicity with a bunch of irrelevant citations from Bible scholars who affirm the importance of the divine council in the Bible, people who don’t have the mental stamina to keep up with his mundane diatribes, simply abandon critical thought and recoil into gratuitous ovation.
This is what Bokovoy doesn’t do. He doesn’t demonstrate how these parallels couldn’t have come from non-revelatory means. Means that seem more probable and palpable – at least to those who aren’t operating from a testimony based perspective.
He throws in a rhetorical device to make readers think that a belief in a divine council was completely anachronistic in the early 19th century. He reinforces this by saying that Smith “shocked” Christians with this theology. He then cites modern scholars who refer to the divine council as a common theme in the Bible, as if that were some amazing discovery of the 21st century and as if no 19th century Bible scholar would have even acknowledged its existence. Revelation, it must be!
Good grief, the Bible refers to the divine council on numerous occasions. Smith was obviously familiar with all of these relevant verses since he frequently employed them to make his point. So why is this evidence that the Book of Abraham was produced by divine revelatory means?
It should also be noted that Smith was probably familiar with Kabbalism which readily accepted the concept of the divine council; Smith cited some Kabbalistic works in a Times and Seasons issue in 1843.
But no. None of this matters for those desperate to find something, anything that could be described as a “parallel.” These amount to superficial parallels and its collection is just an attempt to stack the deck - with flimsy cards.
His other thread attacked Ritner.
Hey, if you can't beat his arguments, then whine about bias. Isn't that what all scholars do? Of course LDS apologists do not recognize any critic to be objective, so this complaint is really ridiculous. And somehow I think the scholars in charge of the JNES publication are more in tuned with what passes for true scholarship, than David is. I mean if snarkiness and bias is what precludes true scholarship, then FARMS is doomed as an organization trying to appear scholarly.
| || Here's How To Determine The Value Of Robert D. Crockett's "Review" |
Tuesday, Apr 24, 2007, at 07:52 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Easy: It was published on the FARMS website, rather than in a secular, legitimate scholarly medium. Those who know the facts about the MMM know that Crockett's crock wouldn't pass muster in a secular outlet.
I first encountered Crockett on the "Free-Saints" e-mail group about ten years ago. He didn't impress me then, and this article doesn't help his stature in my eyes either. It's kinda funny how he thinks that his stature as a lawyer is supposed to trump the status of degreed historians.
I don't know if Will Bagley has written a rebuttal of Crockett's article. It would take me many hours to compile a rebuttal myself, and I don't have that kind of time, nor the inclination to do so. However, for, those readers who aren't schooled on the facts, here are a few points I want to make, so youse can judge Crockett's scholarship, credibility, and honesty. (Any TBM lurkers here are welcome to forward this to Crockett.)
Crockett comments that Bagley's book contains "troubling new evidence" to implicate Brigham Young. Actually, the Dimick Huntington diary entry, and its meaning, was thoroughly addressed in Utah historian David Bigler's "Forgotten Kingdom," which preceded Bagley's book by four years. See
Years before that, in her book, Juanita Brooks had also commented that the wording of Young's letter to Isaac Haight hinted that "he might not condemn an Indian massacre" (referring to Young's comment that "the Indians, I suspect, will do as they please.") Brooks apparently didn't have access to the Huntington diary when she wrote her book; if she had, she would have undoubtedly had treated that as the smoking gun to show Young's involvement.
For an alleged attorney, Crockett demonstrates astonishing ignorance when he justifies Brigham Young's actions, using terms like "act of war" and "wartime conditions." There was no "war" at that time; there was an insurrection. Brigham Young was the federally-appointed governor of the territory. He had no authority, nor any cause, to declare any "war" against federal army troops. His actions were treasonous, and he and 50 of his subordinates were tried for treason because of their illegal acts.
Re: the Huntington diary entries relating details of the September 1 war council, Crockett asserts: "Brigham Young, if it was truly he who spoke, did not refer to a specific emigrant train." It's *obvious* that Huntington was quoting Young, because the meeting was also documented in the "Journal History of the Church." Juanita Brooks wrote:
"Recently I was given access to an electrostatic copy of the daily journal of
Brigham Young. Under date of September 1, 1857, the entry reads: 'Kanosh the
Pavaunt chief with several of his band visited me gave me some council and
presents. A spirit seems to be takeing possession of the Indians to assist
Israel. I can hardly restrain them from exterminating the Americans.'
"This seems very significant. The 'Journal History of the Church' under this
same date tells of the visit of Jacob Hamblin and twelve Indian chiefs from the
south. President Young talked with them all, but it seems that Kanosh was
given private audience. He was the chief who had killed Captain John W.
Gunnison and several of his men as they were camped on the Sevier River on
October 28, 1853. Whether or not Kanosh and his band were at the Mountain
Meadows we do not know, but we can now be certain that the Mormon war strategy
was to use the natives as 'the battle-ax of the Lord,' as some of the early
missionaries had stated." ("Mountain Meadows Massacre," Juanita Brooks, p.xiii.)
(I hope all readers noted Young's comment to the Indians: "I can hardly restrain them from exterminating the Americans." This shows that Young controlled the Indians, and that they would attack Americans upon his order.)
Note that Huntington wrote that Young gifted the Indians
"all the cattle that had gone to Cal[.] the southa rout[.]" Crockett demonstrates either abject ignorance or outright disingenuousness by asserting that the "south route" referred to the route through Wyoming and Utah, upon which Johnston's army was of course traveling at the time. Crockett wants readers to believe that the cattle Young spoke of was Army cattle, which was in Wyoming at the time.
But anybody who is familiar with the history of the time knows that the term "south route" referred to the trail to southern California, through SLC, southwest through Las Vegas, and across the desert. The "north route" was the trail westward across northern Utah, into northern Nevada, following the Humboldt River, over Donner Pass, and into the Bay area. In fact, Crockett quotes Huntington's diary entry of the previous day (August 30), which relates how Huntington gifted another band of Indians *north* of SLC, near Ogden, with stolen emigrant cattle:
"I gave them all the Beef cattle and horses that was on the Road to CalAfornia[,] the North Rout[,]..."
Clearly, the "north route" referred to the trail heading west to California near Ogden---and *not* the trail in Wyoming, which the army troops were traveling on at the time, as Crockett dishonestly asserts. And of course, the very fact that Huntington specified that the cattle to be stolen were being herded to California---rather than army cattle, which were at that time, hundreds of miles to the northeast in Wyoming---makes Crockett's assertion even more disingenuous. Johnston's army never had any intention of marching to California. So the cattle Huntington referred to *had* to belong to emigrant citizens---not to the army.
Re: Crockett's remarks: >"I have substantial doubt that Brigham Young's reference to the "south rout[e]" on 1 September meant anything more than the entire route south of present-day Wyoming upon which the army was advancing. >With contemporaneous descriptions of the south route referring to the entire road south of Lander Pass in Wyoming, it is unreasonable to conclude that Brigham Young had some other meaning for "south rout[e]."
Crockett's assertion is dashed by Huntington's diary entries on consecutive days---the first noting the approval of the theft of cattle by Indians on the "north route" near Ogden, and the second which had "gone to Cal. [via] the southa route." Hilariously, Crockett manages to refute HIS OWN ASSERTION by documenting (in his note 17) that the "southern route [w]as the route from 'St. Louis to Salt Lake City, as above; thence by way of Vegas de Santa Clara and Los Angeles.'"---which was the exact route taken by the Baker-Fancher train.
Crockett's arguments that those particular Indians whom Young met with on September 1 either a) didn't live in the area through which the Baker-Fancher train was traveling at the time or b) it would have been impossible for those Indians to make it back to the area from SLC in time to take part in the initial attack are rendered moot by the fact of the attack itself. Crockett alleges that the Indians made their journey home "without horses" in an effort to show the logistical impossibility. I assume that he's ignorant of the fact that the Indians were taken to SLC to meet with Young by Southern Indian mission president Jacob Hamblin:
"Jacob Hamblin, faced with his new responsibility for the Indians and concerned
about making them understand their part in the approaching war, decided to take
a group of the chiefs to Great Salt Lake City for an interview with the great
Mormon chief, Brigham Young. His handwritten diary, as yet unpublished, says:
'I started for Great Salt Lake City in company with Thales Haskell and
Tutsegabit [the Yannawant chief.] He had felt anxious for a long time to visit
Brigham Young. We fell in company with George A. Smith. Conosh [the Puavant
chief] joined us. Other Indian chiefs also joined our company. When we
arrived in the City there were ten of them went up to see Brigham Young, the
Great Mormon chief. We encamped on Corn Creek on our way up; near a company of
Emigrants from Arkansas, on the-----'
"Here the account stops abruptly, for the next leaf is torn out." ("Mountain
Meadows Massacre," Juanita Brooks, pp. 40-41.)
Like typical Mopologists, Crockett cites James Haslem's three-day return trip from SLC to the MM area at supposed breakneck speed to argue that the Indians who met with Young on September 1 couldn't have made it back to MM on September 7. However, as Bagley provides evidence for, Haslem actually took his sweet time getting back to the area. And as Juanita Brooks wrote, "The Indians must have started back immediately, for in seven days they were harassing the emigrants at Mountain Meadows, and in ten days they participated in the massacre of the company" p. 42.) So, in light of Young's orders in that council, the Mormons may have driven the Indians back to the MM area, rather than having to make their way back "without horses" as Crockett alleges.
Note that Hamblin lists at least three southern Indian chiefs from the area of the MMM, whom he took to SLC to meet with Young. At that moment, Johnston's army was in Wyoming---hundreds of miles away from those Indians' lands---and posed no threat whatsoever to those tribes. Thus, Crockett's assertion that the cattle Young allowed those Indians to steal were army cattle is disingenuous. It would have been pointless for Young to give those southwestern Utah Indians cattle that was presently some four hundred northeast of their homeland, and expect those Indians to travel to Wyoming, steal the army cattle, and drive them four hundred miles back to southwestern Utah---especially "without horses," as Crockett stupidly alleges.
Crockett complains that Bagley omits evidence which is exculpatory to Young. As an example, he cites Army Captain Stewart van Vliet's meeting and correspondence with Young regarding securing provisions for the army. However, Crockett himself doesn't mention one of the most damning bits of information, from the pen of Brigham Young himself, in a letter to van Vliet written on Septemver 7---THE VERY DAY OF THE INITIAL ATTACK ON THE EMIGRANT TRAIN:
"If the government dare to force the issue, I shall not hold the Indians by the wrist any longer. If the issue comes, you may tell the government to stop all emigration across the continent, FOR THE INDIANS WILL KILL ALL WHO ATTEMPT IT." (As quoted in Brooks, p. 139.)
This statement, from Young himself, combines with Huntington's diary entries and Young's other remark that he could "hardly restrain the Indians from killing the Americans" to clearly show that he approved of the attack on the emigrant train and the theft of their cattle.
This is enough for one post. I hope that you readers who are new to this subject were not fooled by Crockett's seemingly good scholarship. This is why it's important that we study these issues intensely for ourselves, so that none of these FARMSbots can pull anything over on us.
| || FARMS Invents New Title For Mopologist : The Disciple-Scholar |
Monday, Apr 30, 2007, at 07:33 AM
Original Author(s): Polygamy Porter
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| The first annual Maxwell Institute Lecture (ala FARMS) on the topic, “On Becoming A Disciple-Scholar.”
The opening remarks about what a “Disciple-Scholar” really is:
“to be both a deep thinker and a believer.."
In other words, "Learning to live with Cognitive Dissonance."
| || They Changed The Name Of Farms To The Maxwell Institute |
Saturday, Nov 3, 2007, at 06:30 AM
Original Author(s): Ecstatic-Xmo
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| What do y'all think of the new and improved FARMS, now called Maxwell Institute, mission statement (this is from their website):
"The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship exists to describe and defend the Restoration through highest quality scholarship, provide critically edited, primary resources (ancient religious texts) to scholars and lay persons around the world, build bridges of understanding and goodwill to Muslim scholars by providing superior editions of primary texts, and provide an anchor of faith in a sea of LDS Studies"
I'm personally intrigued by their plans to provide goodwill to Muslim scholars (do Muslim scholars even care about them?) and also, how about their stated objective to provide edited ancient religious texts to scholars worldwide (and not just any edited texts but also "superior editions" of primary texts)?
Neal A. Maxwell was so wordy that he could speak for hours and at the end of it the listener was left totally confused as to what had been said. I read in his biography that when he proposed to his wife, he took so long and used so many words that when he finished she wasn't sure she'd been proposed to. I remember this phrase: "sunbursts of serendipity" from one of his GC addresses.
So renaming FARMS after Neal A. Maxwell is utterly fitting, because they use the same tactics he did. Use a lot of big words and never come to the point--your supporters will think you're brilliant, and your detractors will have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decifer what you said before they can refute it.
| || Worth Repeating FARMS Apologetics: Hamblin's Review Of "Metcalf Is Butthead" |
Sunday, Nov 11, 2007, at 08:56 AM
Original Author(s): Brian-The-Christ
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology
From: http://www.douknow.net/mormon_apologe... and http://www.inplainsite.org/html/farms...
Hamblin personifies the FARMS attitude, especially as it relates to challenges presented by scholars such as Metcalfe. In what is probably the most infamous mock in the history of FARMS, Hamblin included a hidden message in his review of Metcalfe’s work in the 1994 Review of Books on the Book of Mormon. When the first letters of each paragraph of Hamblin’s review before publication are put together, they spell, "METCALFE IS BUTTHEAD." Hamblin has insisted that it was just a joke for the sake of Daniel Peterson, the editor,15 but the fact is that the acrostic message was kept in the article all the way into the printing process. At that time cooler heads prevailed, and the project had to be called back from the presses and redone to eliminate this childish name-calling.(15) - Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, "A Disgusting Joke?" in The Salt Lake City Messenger, June 1994, 9-10.
Link to original article on UTLM: http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no86....
Brent Metcalfe wrote the following concerning Professor Hamblin's attempt to belittle him:
"When I heard rumors that William J. Hamblin, FARMS board member and BYU historian, had a caustic encryption in his review... I summarily dismissed them. Surely no legitimate scholar would stoop to such an inane level. However, it seems that I underestimated Hamblin's 'scholarly' prowess. In the latest 'Review of Books on the Book of Mormon' Hamblin had the first letter of succeeding paragraphs spell out the message:
It's always fun when the apologists try to claim the high ground.
'METCALFE IS BUTTHEAD'
"I say 'Hamblin HAD' because the 'Review' has gone back to press to rectify Hamblin's demeaning remark. I have been told that Daniel C. Peterson, FARMS board member and 'Review' editor, approved its inclusion – I am unaware of other FARMS board members who may have known. Frankly, I'm stunned. Hamblin and Peterson's behavior is contrary to all Mormon ethics I was taught.
"Do Hamblin and Peterson's methods typify the brand of 'scholarship' FARMS, BYU Department of History, and BYU Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages cultivates and endorses? Evidently some have shifted from apologist to misologist." (Computer message by Brent Metcalfe, dated March 8,1994)
| || With Friends Like FARMS, The Church Doesn't Need Enemies
Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Everybody Wang Chung
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| After recently spending some time reading their articles, I will never steer a questioning member of my Ward to any materials published by FARMS or FAIR. I’m thoroughly convinced that the activities and published materials of FARMS/FAIR are directly related to the erosion in membership growth and, as Elder Jenson recently revealed, the current mass exodus of members.
In the last several weeks, I have also seen first-hand how truly damaging FARMS and FAIR are to struggling members who have sincere questions and doubts.
Most of what FARMS/FAIR writes directly contradicts published statements by past and present LDS Prophets and LDS leaders. They spin a twisted, convoluted, outlandish, complex version of Mormonism (the result of having to explain so many inconsistencies and other troubling evidences away) that it’s completely unrecognizable to the average Mormon.
The arguments of FARMS/FAIR are trivially weak to me, resolving disputes by definition, by simple appeal to authority, or by pure ad hominem attack. Furthermore, the doctrinal positions invoked included a willingness to unconditionally reject all uncanonized statements by Church leaders when advantageous, or accept all uncanonized statements if advantageous for the sake of argument. This inconsistency for the sake of argument is disingenuous and totally insane.
Most important, the manner in which FARMS/FAIR addresses critics is completely inappropriate and unchristlike. In The Book of Mormon, the critics and anti-Christs are never convincingly defeated by argument. Time and again it is the Prophets’ personal revelatory experiences that fortify them as individuals and end up convincing the entire community.
Finally, FARMS/FAIR writers are not “scholars,” they are apologists. They do not use scholarly (scientific) methods, but instead pervert the scientific method by beginning with the conclusion and working backward to the premises, and they scrupulously avoid submitting their work to true peer review by the scientific/scholarly community. To self -label themselves as “scholars” is an act of overt, but misapplied, generosity.
With friends like FARMS/FAIR, the Church doesn’t need any enemies.
| || Apologist Bill Hamblin: John Dehlin Does Not Believe In God, Rejects Jesus And The Atonement, Believes Joseph Smith Was A Fraud - But He Isn't A Bad Person |
Thursday, May 10, 2012, at 08:39 AM
Original Author(s): Buffalo
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| From Bill Hamblin:
Everyone needs to realize that Dehlin, by his own public admission, does not believe in God. He rejects Jesus and the Atonement, he believes Joseph Smith was a fraud and the Book of Mormon a forgery. He is, quite clearly, a MINO (Mormon in Name Only). This, of course, does not necessarily make him a bad person.
Daniel C. Peterson chimes in:
What is problematic are his claims that he is objective, unbiased, and simply wants to tell the truth. (Anyone who makes such claims should be immediately inherently suspect.) Dehlin's pretense to be a thoughtful Mormon who is simply searching for the truth and asking questions is simply preposterous. Undoubtedly it was true at one point years ago, but it is clearly no longer the case. He can, of course, believe whatever he wants to believe, and say what he wants to say. That's fine with me. But why the pretense? Why not just forthrightly and clearly say what he really believes?
But what is most disquieting is his recent attempt to suppress and censor the publication of an article that is critical of his activities. His behavior in this regard is absolutely shocking. This is, quite simply, reprehensible and utter hypocritical. I object in the strongest way possible to this type of censorship. And anti-Mormons do it all the time. Signature Books tried to sue FARMS. They did it to Schryver, and Dehlin doing it again. Why does he object to the publication of an article, even if it is fundamentally flawed or completely wrong-headed. Let it be published and respond to it. If Dehlin has any intellectual integrity, he would not engage in this type of censorship. It is both immoral, pointless, and counter-productive. After all, its going to come out on the web eventually, no doubt with a lengthy appendix explaining how Dehlin tried to censor it.
(He is also woefully ignorant on very basic issues regarding Church history and the Book of Mormon as many of his podcasts amply demonstrate--but that is a different matter.)
At any rate, I'm off to Ireland for a month. I simply want to make a strong public stand against such behavior before I go.
It remains my policy not to publicly discuss the background of editorial and personnel decisions. But I think I should say that Bill Hamblin's brief account of the immediate background of l'affaire Smith-Dehlin, above, is correct.
NOTE: In light of recent attacks on Dehlin, this piece on MDD may be censored by now. You can see all of the remarks here:
| || "Tonal" Problems From Ryan Parr's Review Of Losing A Lost Tribe In The FARMs Review |
Monday, May 14, 2012, at 07:48 AM
Original Author(s): Simon Southerton
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Here are some examples of 'tonal' problems from Ryan Parr’s review of Losing a Lost Tribe in the FARMS Review.
Louis Midgley wrote this at the beginning of the issue containing Parr's Rreview
“The growth of an obviously faithful and sophisticated literature on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, much of it published in this Review or elsewhere under the FARMS imprint, has led to considerable dissonance among dissidents, cultural Mormons, and anti-Mormon zealots. Critics respond to this scholarly literature with vilification, animosity, and acrimony, with slurs, name-calling, and unseemly personal attacks.”
Missing the Boat to Ancient America . . . Just Plain Missing the Boat
FARMS Review: Volume - 17, Issue - 1, Pages: 83–106
In his review, Parr describes at length what he regards as the high likelihood that Lehi’s DNA will have disappeared through “coalescence”. Parr felt it necessary to attack me personally where I wrote that “whether or not Jews . . . found their way to the New World is susceptible to examination using DNA technology,” a concept Parr considered to be outrageous and an indication of “ignorance” on my part of “the complexities of population dynamics.”
But in the process of throwing mud at me he revealed his own misunderstanding of population genetics. In population genetics, the term “coalescence” refers to the fact that DNA lineages in living populations “trace back, or coalesce, to common ancestors at various depths of times in the past.” Lineages do not coalesce forward in time, through extinctions, to a smaller number of living lineages. This is quite an embarrassing and poorly timed error.
Further on in his review Parr claims that I lack “practical wisdom” and the “ability to reason, think, and ponder,” which drives my misunderstanding of the Book of Mormon and my “unwillingness” to see the limitations of the science. In LLT I note that the Book of Mormon people “were practicing Christians centuries before the birth of Christ.” Parr is “astonished” that a former member of the church could exhibit such “myopia”.
Here's what the Book of Mormon say about Christian worship 5 centuries before Christ.
… we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (2 Ne. 25:26).
… if ye shall follow the Son … repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism–yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, … then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost … (2 Ne. 31:13).
How does stuff like this get past a FARMS editor? When the review process is essentially a back patting exercise.
You can find my full response on my blog.
| || What The Heck Is Going On With The Maxwell Institute? A Timeline |
Sunday, Jun 24, 2012, at 09:08 AM
Original Author(s): Msjack
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| You've probably heard by now that something just changed within the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (hereon MI). This post is intended to provide readers who may be unfamiliar with this topic with something of a timeline of events, for people who may not trust what they are hearing from other sources. Its purpose is to inform, not analyze. |
Here are the events, provided with links and minimal commentary.
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 12:57 AM CST -andnbsp;A member of MormonDiscussions.com (hereon MDB) known as "Doctor Scratch" mentionsandnbsp;that he was just "alerted to a potential 'changing of the guard' at the MI in the coming months."
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 10:43 AM (MST?) -andnbsp;M. Gerald andnbsp;Bradford, Executive Director of the MI, e-mails Daniel C. Peterson and notifies him that he will be appointing a new editor to oversee the Mormon Studies Review (formerly the FARMS Review of Books, hereon MSR), in order to take the publication in "a different direction."
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 3:18 PM (MST?) - Peterson responds to Bradford, mentioning that the MI "leaks like a sieve" and that he has already read "on an apostate message board" about his impending termination. This was probably a reference to Doctor Scratch's 6/14 post at MDB. His response added 18 other unknown recipients.
Friday, June 15, 2012, 11:42 PM CST - Former Mormon and former Mormon apologist Kevin Graham starts a thread at MDB wherein he says, "I have it on good authority that there is an influential movement of scholars who are unhappy with the current direction of polemics led by Peterson and his editorial team. Expect major changes in the near future."
Friday, June 15, 2012, Time Uncertain - Dan Peterson says in a post at his blog, "[ I]n order for us to grow, says the Bible, we had to leave the Garden of Eden and work and learn in a fallen, resistant, and often mournfully unpleasant world.andnbsp;There’s no reason for us to like diseases, financial setbacks, wars, betrayals by friends, interpersonal hostilities, misunderstandings, physical injuries, injustice, unmerited humiliations, and the like. andnbsp;It must needs be that offenses come, but woe unto him by whom those offenses come." Many speculate that this is a veiled reference to what had just happened to him with the MI.
Saturday, June 16, 2012, 3:52 PM CST - Doctor Scratch creates a threadandnbsp;at MDB wherein he posts Bradford's 6/14 e-mail to Peterson.
Saturday, June 16, 2012, 7:30 PM CST - Doctor Scratch creates another thread wherein he posts Peterson's 6/14 response to Bradford.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 9:24 PM (MST?) - William J. Hamblin confirms via a post on his blog (cross-posted at the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Forum, hereon MDDB) that the leaked e-mails are authentic and Peterson will be replaced as editor of the MSR.
Thursday, June 21, 2012, 5:06 AM (MST?) - Peterson comments directly on the affair for the first time, in a post at MDDB, offering further confirmation of what has happened.
Friday, June 22, 2012, Time Uncertain - The MI posts an announcement about changing the editorial staff of the MSR, making Peterson's release official.
Friday, June 22, 2012, Time Uncertain - Peterson responds to the MI's formal announcement on his blog.
Friday, June 22, 2012, 4:15 PM MST - Peggy Fletcher Stack publishes about the "shake-up" in the Salt Lake Tribute.
I hope this is helpful to those who are unfamiliar with the message boards and blogs in question, yet trying to make sense of what has gone down.
Originally posted at ClobberBlog.
| || Desnews: Maxwell Institute Will Still Do Apologetics |
Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Interesting quote from a Maxwell Institute representative:
Peterson has been critical of the changes, which he says includes a significantly reduced emphasis on apologetic research. That is problematic, he says, because the Institute has been specifically charged with "describing and defending the Restoration."
Maxwell Institute officials disagree, indicating that widespread assumptions that "the change of editorship we have recently announced for the Mormon Studies Review signals some kind of fundamental rejection of apologetics is incorrect."
Interesting. So, why is Dr. Peterson going out of his way to contradict representatives from the Lord's University? There was further relevant commentary on this at the ironically named Mormon Dialogue board:
I'm at a loss to know where Maxwell Institute apologetics will appear. The flow of Maxwell Institute books has slowed to a trickle. The Institute's Journal has done some apologetics, but not much. It appears twice a year, with fairly short articles. Studies in the Bible and Antiquity appears once annually and does little or no apologetics. The Review was far and away the main venue for apologetics, and I was informed that it will be down for at least eighteen months; there's not even a new editorial team in place. Frankly, I'll be slightly surprised if it actually ever appears again, but would be pleased to see it do so.
Scott Lloyd wrote:
And then what will count as apologetics under the "new course"?
I have reason to believe, though I would be happy to see otherwise, that it won't be anything that most people would recognize as actual apologetics.
Time will tell.
I asked Joe about it.
He said he obtained the quote in connection with an earlier story he did, the one that appeared on Thursday in advance of the FAIR Conference, headlined "Apologists gather, but they are not apologizing."
The Maxwell Institute was very reluctant to talk to him in connection with that article but eventually gave him the comment, not from Jerry Bradford and not for individual attribution to anyone in particular.
He did not find a place for it in his Thursday story, but when it came time to write the wrap-up on the FAIR Conference, there seemed to be a crying need for some sort of input from the MI folks. That was the only thing he had, so he went with it.
Only that much for an expenditure of how much money. Please somebody do a cost - benefit analysis.
It seems to me that the "classic-FARMS" sympathizers are really working hard to make the Maxwell Institute look bad: they are claiming that Bradford and Co. have thrown in the towel and have forfeited their calling to "defend the Restoration"; and here is ERayR insisting that they dig more deeply into the way the money is spent. (Hmmm? Why does this sound familiar?)
Anyhow, I found this interesting in light of the discussion that's been ongoing in response to DCP's FAIR talk. I wonder how long it will be until more people are openly willing to admit that the main difference that everybody is dancing around is one of tone and style of response? Probably the MI *will* do apologetics; it just will be more akin to what you see from people like Quinn, Bushman, Givens, and Bokovoy--in other words, one that isn't based on mean-spiritedness, paranoia, and war tactics.
Based on DCP's quote above, though, it seems like the Mormon Interpreter crew already has its strategy in place: they are going to just dismiss everything apologetic that the MI puts out and say that it's not "real" apologetics.
| || Summing Up The Maxwell Debacle |
Thursday, Feb 14, 2013, at 07:29 AM
Original Author(s): Kishkumen
Topic: FARMS -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I will predict here and now that the events of the past couple of days will spell the permanent end of classic-FARMS, and may even result in the firing of two of the BYU professors who spearheaded it.
Well, for one thing, William Hamblin has falsely accused the Executive Director of the Maxwell Institute, Gerald Bradford, of stealing from BYU.
This was a momentously stupid thing to do. It is probably legally actionable. Doubtless, Bradford will not make an issue out of it, but Hamblin cannot be sure that the university will tolerate this kind of nonsense from one of its employees for much longer.
The second incredible thing that happened is that Bill Hamblin, again, accused a handful of Maxwell Institute employees of lacking a testimony of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.
Big deal, you say? It may be a bigger deal than you think. Since BYU professors rely upon the possession of a current temple recommend to keep their job, such a public accusation can only be interpreted as an attempt to get these men fired. Some zealots may think that a good thing.
I doubt the people in the COB and the university administration are on that list. No, the last thing they want for the reputation of BYU and the Church is to have its employees accusing each other of apostasy or lack of faith on public discussion boards. No one really wants the Hamblins of the Church imposing these extra faith tests.
Not even the mods at MDDB want it. And we're talking MDDB.
And this is why I say that we are observing the death rattle of classic-FARMS. If these gentlemen persist in slandering and smearing their fellow BYU colleagues, they will undoubtedly experience even greater consequences than they have suffered already.
I'm with Bob Crockett. I disagree with Bob on most days about most issues, but I stand with him on this one. It is inappropriate for these men to attack the faith of Kristian Heal, Carl Griffin, Morgan Davis, and Gerald Bradford as they have. They should stop before things get out of hand.
In a nutshell for those not knowing the situation, the Mormon Dialog Discussion Board (MDDB) has been continually bashing Gerald Bradford and the Maxwell Institute (MI) since Gerald Bradford fired Daniel C. Peterson in 2012. Three of the MI's employed "new guard" finally spoke up on MDDB setting their side of the story, thus chastising MDDB for their insubordinate behavior towards MI and hence, BYU.
Bill Hamblin then proceeds to come apart blaming Gerald Bradford of stealing millions of dollars of FARMS funds implying that the fund were misappropriated.
Then through many postings of Bill Hamblin and William Schryver, Will reveals that indeed the goal of "old guard" was to apply the "Dresden Treatment" to critics and sheep in wolf's clothing types (i.e. "New Order Mormons, "Middle Way", etc). The "Dresden Treatment" refers to the fire bombings of the town of Dresden in World War II.
We then move onto Bill Hamblin's epiphany that the "new guard" - including Gerald Bradford - do not have a testimony of the Book of Mormon being a true history. A witch hunt then pursues the written testimonies of these men trying to see if they ever testified in public about this. Conclusion of the witch hunt was they had not - and hence should be fired from the MI because of this.
Bill Hamblin is totally unhinged throughout the entire thread.
| Here is what I find fascinating about the way the old school apologists choose to deal with critics. It is sometimes called the FARMS way, and I've made this observation for quite some time now.
In my initial response, I made very specific arguments against Critchley's insinuation that critics are critics only because they're "misinformed." I did this by pointing out that everything he said in response was also misinformed. If critics are critics because of misinformation, then maybe he "loves Mormonism" because he is misinformed. He certainly has a very shallow understanding of Church doctrine and history, after all.
Critchley first made the laughable assertion that there are "13 million followers and counting," and I debunked that. He also said polygamy was "banned by the church in 1890," which is not really the whole truth. If it were successfully banned there wouldn't have been a second Manifesto years later. I also pointed out that polygamy was practiced after both Manifestos, even by high-ranking Mormons. I pointed out that Joseph Smith practiced it in secret, that he lied about it in public, and that he used his position of authority to get little girls to marry him. I also pointed out that he and Brigham Young had no problem marrying women who were already married to other men. For me, and most people who don't sport bullet proof testimonies, this is more than enough to discredit Joseph Smith as a true prophet, or Mormonism as a truly "family values" kind of religion.
So we're talking about at least eight devastating, irrefutable facts that Mr. Smoot was compelled to ignore. So what does an apologist do when confronted by so many irrefutable facts? Well, the answer has always been very simple for the FARMS crowd. Just spend some time digging to find something, ANYTHING, that that person said which is NOT an irrefutable fact. No matter how trivial or insignificant it is, just make it the centerpiece of your rebuttal so that people reading your response (who most likely never read the critic's post to begin with) will think you've actually refuted everything that was important.
To understand just how desperate and petulant this really is, just consider that Mr. Smoot wrote eight paragraphs and 430 words in an attempt to refute an irrelevant remark which he dug out of a long list of irrefutable facts. This is a phenomenon we've found in a number of FARMS reviews.
But the FARMS tactic doesn't stop there. Smoot has to go on to suggest his opponent is somehow academically or intellectually inferior for not being completely up to date on the "cutting edge of scholarship," as he calls it. Again, the FARMS way is to steer the focus off the argument and onto the person whenever possible. This sums up what FARMS did through the years when it published various "reviews" of books critical of the Church. And no matter how hateful, sloppy, ignorant and disrespectful these reviews were, Dan Peterson stood by them. In fact, one might argue that he encouraged them. After all, he personifies the tactic perfectly. He cannot even speak in the same room as I without constantly informing his audience that I'm about to insult them or by reminding them that, unlike the other "Brothers" in the room, I am just a measly "ex-Brother." After all, it is important that we know who is on our team so we can know who to cheer for. We can't just allow or hope all arguments fall on reasonable ears with a minimal bias. No, he has to rig the game from the start so everyone knows this is just the usual "don't listen to him because he is an ex-Mormon" scenario.
Now back to the subject of Bennett. He obviously believes the Church was just following the Lord in banning polygamy. This is strictly a personal, religious statement. Nothing in his paper proves this or even strongly suggests it to be true. I disagree with Bennett's belief that the temple factor was that important. All he has done though is present a case based on what Woodruff said, which as I said before, could have just as easily been a convenient excuse for him to give the faithful polygamists. And obviously the temple factor didn't seem to carry much weight with many of the members since the practice continued well after he made these remarks.
So did Bennett "refute" my claim? No. He doesn't accept it, and he thinks he has made a good case against it. But it isn't a refutation. This is very much like the way the Church changed the priesthood ban for political/social reasons, and then suddenly coming up with a "revelation" saying that it why it was done. No reasonable, non-Mormon in his right mind would ever say the "cutting edge in historical scholarship" proves the change was made more for religious reasons, just because that was the excuse given by the Church to its membership.
If I were still an apologist using the same FARMS tactics Smoot and other FAIR apologists can't seem to break free of then I would have fought fire with fire and diverted all attention from the actual subject and start a 500 word essay on Smoot's ignorance about the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862 and the agreement the POTUS made with Brigham Young. Notice how Smoot completely ignored that response as well.
But I'm not like that anymore. I actually want to discuss the issues that matter. People like Smoot and Dan are a rare breed of anti-truth propagandists. They're not really interested in what's true or debating what's true, and this is proven by their actions. They're only interested in putting on apologetic shows for their faithful watchers. They can't do this where there is a level playing field. Whenever one of these types steps outside the safety confines, they end up making complete fools of themselves (take for example Scott Gordon's interview last year!). They have to restrict themselves to the sanctuary of apologetic organizations, forums that make it difficult to follow discussions without registering, and internet blogs controlled by people who flaunt their power to ban/block you as a preemptive measure.
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