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Scott Gordon, President of FAIR - a Mormon apologetic organization. Scott was directly responsible for trying to get David Twede of MormonThink excommunicated for apostacy.
Examining Scott Gordon's Claims Of The Church Hiding Information Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012, at 07:07 AM Original Author(s): 3sheets2thewind Topic:SCOTT GORDON-Link To MC Article-
Another common tactic [of anti-mormons] is to claim that the Church is hiding the information 2 quick examples. Many are upset when they learn that Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage. Everybody knows Brigham Young practiced plural marriage, but if Joseph Smith did it that’s bad and the Church must be hiding it. Or they learn that Joseph Smith “may” have used a hat and a seer stone when translating the Book of Mormon. The typical claim is that the Church has been this or has been dishonest about it.
Here is a short list of where you can read about Joseph Smith’s marriages.
2007 “teachings of Presidents, Joseph Smith vii-xiii
Ensign, Aug 92 page 30,
Dec 78 page 42,
feb 77 page 48,
New Era dec 73 page 7,
DC section 132 1843 that talks about plural marriage.
As far as translation with a stone in a hat:
Jan 97, page 36
Jul 93, page 61
Jan 88, page 6-13
Sep 77. page 79
Friend, Sep 74, page 7, that talks about that.
So you’ll also note the childrens magazine entry. That fact that you may not have heard about something in a Sunday school lesson does not mean it is hidden. Too many members believe the Church teaches history in Sunday School lessons, that is not what “we” do. We use examples from history to teach Gospel Principles.
Here is a short analysis:
2007 “teachings of Presidents, Joseph Smith vii-xiii “This book also does not discuss plural marriage. The doctrines and principles relating to plural marriage were revealed to Joseph Smith as early as 1831. The Prophet taught the doctrine of plural marriage, and a number of such marriages were performed during his lifetime.”
This source does not indicate to the reader that Joseph Smith, himself, entered into, plural/polygamist marriages. This source only lets the reader know that "a number" of plural marriages were performed during Joseph Smith lifetime, but the source does not indicate who entered into those marriages
Ensign, Aug 92 page 30, “Her great trial came when the prophet revealed to Emma that they would be required to live the ancient law of Abraham–plural marriage. Emma suffered deeply hurt feelings because of it. While she agreed with this doctrine at times, at other times she opposed it. Years later, Emma is purported to have denied that any such doctrine was ever introduced by her husband. In later years, Emma apparently never spoke of the sacred ordinances they had received. She would have been under covenant not to do so.”
This source is does better at indicating Joseph Smith may have entered into plural/polygmaist marriages, but the author flatly rejects Emma Smith's claim it never happened, thus it becomes who to believe; it is interesting that the author does not provide any evidence that Emma Smith "would have been under covenant" not to admit that Joseph Smith entered into plural/polygamist marriages.
Ensign jan 89 page 30, In Nauvoo, the Knight group faced and passed another great test of faith. The Prophet introduced several doctrines relating to the temple including the temple ceremonies and plural marriage, which some could not accept. 20 But the Knights received the teachings. They helped to finish the temple and then performed baptisms for the dead. By early 1846, more than twenty adults in the Knight families had received their temple endowments and sealings. Four of Father and Polly Knight’s children entered into plural marriage.
This source does not inform the reader that Joseph Smith, himself, entered into plural/polygamist marriages.
Ensign Dec 78 page 42, ” In obedience to the command of the living prophet, Newel and Elizabeth Ann gave their daughter Sarah Ann in marriage to Joseph Smith.”
A direct and straightforward acknowledgment.
Ensign feb 77 page 48, “Then, along with economic privation and an absent father, was for some the institution of plural marriage. Starting during Joseph Smith’s own lifetime but limited to a few dozen families until its official announcement in 1852, plural marriage brought a powerful new challenge to the equanimity of Latter-day Saint family life.”
Once again, another source which does not inform the reader that Joseph Smith, himself, entered into plural/polygamist marriages. However, if based on this vague and nonspecific text, the reader is suppose to realize that Joseph Smith entered into plural/polygamist marriages, then, based on the following is the reader suppose to know and understand that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with his plural/polygamist wives
… “In the words of Professor Eugene Campbell of Brigham Young University, “Many of the normal problems of marriage, such as finance, personality adjustment, sexual relationships, jealousies, child-rearing and discipline were all magnified in plural marriages.”
New Era dec 73 page 7, “The great prophet Elias, whom Joseph Fielding Smith says is Noah (See Answers to Gospel Questions [Deseret Book Co.: 1957], vol. 3, p. 138), appeared and bestowed upon their heads the keys of the dispensation of Abraham, or in other words, as Elder Bruce R. McConkie says in Mormon Doctrine (2nd ed. [Bookcraft: 1966], p. 219.), the keys of celestial and plural marriage.
Again, not indication that Joseph Smith entered into plural/polygamist marriages.
DC section 132 1843 that talks about plural marriage.
Apparently the position is, that it is self evident in Section 132 that Joseph Smith was a polygamist or had entered into plural marriages.
Granted Gordon may have been limited by time, but only one of the citations he lists specifically addresses Joseph Smith entering in plural marriages. As for the rest, they are dubious at best, they do not provide the read with the knowledge that Joseph Smith entered in to plural marriages.
Concerning the stone in hat translation method:
Ensign Jan 97, page 36
Presumbably the article is "By the Gift and Power of God". First the term "hat" does not appear in this issue of the Ensign. As for the article the terms "seer stone", "divine insturmentalities" and "Urim and Thummim" are mentioned, but there is no indication of Joseph Smith placing his face in a hat.
Ensign Jul 93, page 61: The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known. Yet we do have a few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote: “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 on that appeared the writing. One character at a time 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. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)
Ensign Jan 88, page 6-13
presumed article "A New Prophet and a New Scripture: The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon" hat is not mentioned, but Urim and Thummim is. But no face in hat method.
Sep 77. page 79 presumed article "“By the Gift and Power of God” "“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 on that appeared the writing. One character at a time 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. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God and not by any power of man. The characters I speak of are the engravings on the golden plates from which the book was translated.” 11
Friend, Sep 74, page 7
Presumed article "A Peaceful Heart" No mention of a hat. Seer Stone and Urim and Thummim mentioned.
So only 2 out of 5 claimed sources indicate Jospeh Smith placed his face in a hat. Once again, Gordon may have been limited by time, but clearly he provides references which do not support his claim.
Unsubstantiated Claims Of Scott Gordon - "Mormons Who Donated To Prop 8 Lost Their Jobs" Monday, Sep 24, 2012, at 07:22 AM Original Author(s): 3sheets2thewind Topic:SCOTT GORDON-Link To MC Article-
Scott Gordon was less than truthful during his presentation late last year, this was discussed here and on mddb. Those unsubstantiated claims included his wrong claims about documentation of Joseph Smith's polygamy and Joseph Smith using a stone in a hat to translate to the Plates which became known as the Book of Mormon.
Scott Gordon, president of the Redding-based Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, which defends Mormon theology.
"Some (Mormons who donated to Proposition 8) lost their jobs," Gordon says,...
Earlier this year the president of FAIR, Scott Gordon, gave a presentation at Utah Valley University about Mormon Apologetics, the evil and unfair tactics of the anti-mormons, and claimed that the church was being open and honest about its history. To support this claim, he constructed a list of published articles that covered the topics of the translation method of the BofM, and Joseph Smith's polygamy.
To say that the examples he used were flimsy is generous. It has been bugging me since he gave the presentation, so I made a video that takes his talk apart and exposes Scott as the supporting instrument of dishonesty that he is.
I thought I would share with those who might be interested.
I have had several opportunities this past month to talk with people who have either left the Church, or who have had family members leave the Church. I am always amazed at the different worldview. Having served a mission in two countries that were not my native country, I understand how difficult it sometimes is to understand different cultures. Being an active, believing member seems to be a different culture and worldview than being a disaffected member. It seems to be difficult to live with each other.
I certainly know I have said stupid and insensitive things. I work hard not to do that, but from time to time I have slipped.
Like when? Specifics would be nice. Perhaps "my account about Elder Oaks's visit" is amongst those things?
Out of my several discussions this month, I have made an internal list of the issues they brought up that they felt gave them reason to leave the Church. They were gracious to tell me their issues. There was nothing new.
"New" for whom? The disaffected? Or the FAIR Mopologists?
A few things occurred to me during these discussions.
Every one of these things is addressed on our Website. I am fairly certain that there is an article that covers each and every topic, and has been for some time.
Some of the people I talked with were very aware of the FairMormon Website.
Even if the articles completely refuted every point they had, I doubt they would now be satisfied. One person explicitly stated that to me. One simply said he didn't care.
There are not only facts involved. Often they are suffering from a feeling of betrayal.
This is really frustrating to me. If we write out the answers, but people don't read them or say they don't help, maybe we should close down and give up.
Doubtless that's true, but Scott is overlooking the obvious: FAIR is not the Church. That's why the one person he talked to said that "he didn't care," because who cares what these Mopologists say? It needs to be coming from the institutional Church--otherwise it just doesn't have the same rhetorical punch.
But, then I think back on all of the many wonderful thank-you emails I have received from people we have helped.
I was trying to imagine the experience of the disaffected member reading an attack against the Church, and then later reading the FairMormon Website. I suppose it would be like finding evidence your spouse is being unfaithful, and then later you find evidence that your spouse has actually been faithful. Even though you found evidence to support your spouse, you may still wonder which evidence to believe. Or at least you may be more cautious.
Interesting that he cuts the analogy off right at that point.
In my experience, simply refuting evidence against the Church usually isn't enough. One must also find positive reasons to believe. That may come as direct evidences, such as reading about the Witnesses, Lehi's trail, NHM, or the seal of Mulek, or it may come as a simple spiritual confirmation that it is true. I find the spiritual confirmation is much more compelling and fulfilling, but, both are available. Whichever it is, one must be motivated enough to seek it.
I hope and pray that each of us study these things out. As we do that, I hope we share our findings with our children. This year they are studying the Book of Mormon in Seminary, so it is a good time to talk about this. Just like other areas in our children's development, they are trying to figure things out. If you don't help them, they will seek their own answers on the Internet and from friends. You may not like the answers they find. Please make use of our Wiki at en.fairmormon.org to help.
So, this is really just another plug for the works of the Mopologists, then? The thing is: they've still got "confessions" about their cyber-stalking of Church critics on that Web site, along with their rather ridiculous and nitpicky critique of Big Love. Who, apart from those already inclined to support the Mopologists, are going to regard the FAIR Wiki as credible--particularly given the fact that they have to constantly issue the disclaimer that they ARE NOT the Church, and they DON'T speak for the Church. Plus, FAIR lacks the imprimatur of authority that FARMS used to have back when they were associated with BYU, so now they don't even have the appearance of scholarly credibility to help them out.
This just reaffirms how misguided they all are. I don't doubt that Gordon wants to be helpful, but the reality is that he and his comrades should be petitioning the Church itself to address these issues. The Mopologists have got too much of an image problem, and they will never, ever be able to achieve enough authority to deal with the Church's problems.
But, as I said in a thread not long ago, Mopologetics ceased long ago to actually care about Mormonism and/or the "problem" of people leaving the Church. At this point, it's a self-sustaining organism.