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FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS - SECTION 3
FAIR (recently renamed to FAIRMORMON) is a Mormon Apologetic website run by Allen Wyatt, Scott Gordon, Daniel Peterson and other Mormon Apologists.
| I did some reading on their site reguarding the Greek Psalter incident. However I noticed something... According to most accounts, there is no way that JS could have made up the BOM and BOA since he was un-educated.
"Joseph Smith was quite an uneducated man. He was uneducated when he was a boy. He was brought up in the Green Mountains of Vermont, and he did not have any of the advantages of what we call an education. The Lord took him into His school, and He taught him things that I have seen puzzle many of the wisest scientists, profoundest thinkers, and the most learned men that I have met with in this world. Why? Because he was taught of God."
Well, look at this...
"On 20 November 1835, Oliver Cowdery returned from New York and brought Joseph a Hebrew and Greek lexicon. On 23 December 1835, Joseph wrote that he was "at home studying the greek Language..." "
So if JS was taught by the lord, then he should have been able to translate Greek by revelation and not by studying. Now I am sure there is a slew of arguements on how the lord probably gave him some gifts and he had to progress on his own, but I call BULLSHIT.
Thanks for playing.
| On the main page of the FAIR Wiki (http://en.fairmormon.org/Main_Page), we are greeted with FAIR's noble epitaph:
FAIR: Defending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1997
But we must ask ourselves, is FAIR really defending the Church, or are they defending apologetic theories? This is somewhat like asking ourselves if the sky is blue, but let's look more deeply, anyway.
Note: the Mopologist answer about whether the sky is blue would of course be an irrelevant post-modern exposition about what is color, anyway, and how some people are color blind and the sky changes color sometimes and so the sky isn't really blue (the sky will be blue, however, when a given Mopologist theory depends on the sky being blue).
Anyway, let's start with a random example: animal sacrifice. Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach that as part of the "restoration of all things," at some point God will command animal sacrifice to be reinstated?
First, look up "official doctrine" on the FAIR Wiki, and you will be directed here (http://en.fairmormon.org/Official_doc...), where FAIR uses selected statements by church leaders that are not official doctrine to explain what official doctrine is alleged by FAIR to be. This FAIR Wiki article begins, however, with what apologists believe is their ultimate trump card to things they wish church leaders had not taught: the famous Anonymous Press Release about "Approaching Mormon Doctrine." This press release, which FAIR quotes and uses in part to define vicariously for the Church what the Church's teachings are, reads in part:
With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four "standard works" of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith.
You'll soon see why I underlined "official church publications" as a place we find official doctrine.
Now, then: restoring animal sacrifice. According to a FAIR Wiki entry on this issue (http://en.fairmormon.org/Bible/Old_Te...), "Critics claim that Joseph Smith favored 'Old Testament practices' including 'teaching animal sacrifice.'" Apparently, Joseph Fielding Smith was a critic of the Church, since he taught:
Now in the nature of things, the law of sacrifice will have to be restored, or all things which were decreed by the Lord would not be restored. It will be necessary, therefore, for the sons of Levi, who offered the blood sacrifices anciently in Israel, to offer such a sacrifice again to round out and complete this ordinance in this dispensation. Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was instituted in the days of Adam and of necessity will have to be restored.
The FAIR Wiki, however, is summarily dismissive of President Smith's teaching.
The sacrifice of animals will be done to complete the restoration when the temple spoken of is built; at the beginning of the millennium, or in the restoration, blood sacrifices will be performed long enough to complete the fulness of the restoration in this dispensation. Afterwards sacrifice will be of some other character.
Joseph Fielding Smith had a personal opinion about this subject; that animal sacrifice would happen again to fulfill a symbolic role[.]
Hmm. It sure is a blessing that struggling members of the Church can turn to apologists to remove these roadblocks to faith. Let us now turn to an official Church publication concerning the restoration of Old Testament-style animal sacrifice:
Doctrine and Covenants Institute Student Manual
Section 13 - The Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood (http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doct...)
DandC 13:1 . What Is Meant by the Sons of Levi Offering an Offering of Righteousness unto the Lord?
Notice that the exact same quote from Joseph Fielding Smith that FAIR dismisses as "personal opinion" is considered to be official doctrine by the Church. So what we are left with is FAIR blithely disregarding the teachings of the Church because they appear to be embarrassing or weird.
The Prophet Joseph Smith commented as follows on this scripture:
"It is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice [i.e.,] the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in the future; but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the Priesthood, or with the Prophets.
"The offering of sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ, from generation to generation. . . .
"These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings. This ever did and ever will exist when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the Holy Prophets be brought to pass. It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all its rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses' day, namely, sacrifice, will be continued." ( Teachings, pp. 172-73.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith further explained that "we are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times into which all things are to be gathered, and all things are to be restored since the beginning. Even this earth is to be restored to the condition which prevailed before Adam's transgression. Now in the nature of things, the law of sacrifice will have to be restored, or all things which were decreed by the Lord would not be restored. It will be necessary, therefore, for the sons of Levi, who offered the blood sacrifices anciently in Israel, to offer such a sacrifice again to round out and complete this ordinance in this dispensation. Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was instituted in the days of Adam and of necessity will have to be restored.
"The sacrifice of animals will be done to complete the restoration when the temple spoken of is built; at the beginning of the millennium, or in the restoration, blood sacrifices will be performed long enough to complete the fulness of the restoration in this dispensation. Afterwards sacrifice will be of some other character." ( Doctrines of Salvation, 3:94.)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/rom/1)
Unlike Paul, however, FAIR clearly is ashamed of the gospel, or they defend what the Church teaches instead of disregarding official doctrine as "personal opinion."
The above is but one simple example, but it illustrates how Moplogists do not remove roadblocks at all. Instead, they evangelize the bastardized pseudo-Mormonism that they have invented. This is why Mormon apologetics kills faith in the Church. First, it leads the struggling member to wonder why this priestcraft is being used to "defend" the Church instead of inspired answers from the purported prophets, seers and revelators who lead the Church. Second, by contradicting the Church to "defend" it, apologists create cognitive dissonance. The struggling member is invited to believe that the Church is true and simultaneously disregard the Church's teachings in favor of heretical theories that are either pulled out of thin air or contrary to LDS doctrine (or both). As Jesus taught,
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/6)
| From Chron.com:
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research has announced it is launching the Mormon Defense League to help journalists "get it right," said Scott Gordon, FAIR's president, who will direct the new project.
If the MDL notices a misstatement or mischaracterization, the group will first contact the journalist, Gordon said. But if a pattern of misrepresentation emerges, the defense league will "go after the writer" by posting the piece or pieces on its website (mdl.org) and pointing out the errors.
I do hope being a "Defense League" they get to wear tights!
Wait, this is opposite of past tactics. Usually it is "go after the writer" first and ignore the truth.
I say fine Gordon. I highly doubt anyone is really going to go find the side mdl.org to make sure a cult isn't a cult.
I guarantee you in their search they'll hit the MC a whole hell of a lot faster than mdl.org.
But you guys go ahead because it makes you feel good. Shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness and all that lovely feelgoodness.
| It's been quite a while since I received a "communique" akin to the one that arrived in my InBox this afternoon. Of course, I was delighted to read it, and after a bit of consideration, I do believe that it may very well shed some light on the bizarre behavior we've been observing from the apologists as of late.
According to my informant's "intel," Elder Dallin Oaks is *extremely* angry over several recent events in the apologetics world, and he's now hell-bent on affecting change. Here are a few of the key titbits:
So, some interesting material here. Prior to receiving this message, I had been under the impression that Oaks was sympathetic to the apologists and to FAIR. (Hence his meeting with Scott Gordon.) My informant hasn't yet clarified, but I can't help but wonder if Elder Oaks has perhaps taken over the "mantle" that was formerly carried by the increasingly aged and frail Boyd K. Packer. Or, provided that the intel is accurate, it could simply be that Oaks is finally fed up with the apologists' antics. Who knows? This sort of material is virtually impossible to verify, but nonetheless I proffer it to the board for the sake of interest. As usual, all my warnings re: skepticism, etc. apply. And yes: it's possible that my informant is simply making it all up. The best means of evaluating this, I suppose, is to wait and see whether or not links start disappearing from FAIR, MDL, MST, etc.
- Per my informant, Oaks is attempting to oversee a "systematic “cutting loose” of any perceived links between FAIR and the Church," though it was unclear what this means. My informant speculated that it may involve something like the elimination of hyperlinks that connect sites like FAIR to LDS.org.
- One of the things that allegedly infuriated Oaks was Valerie Hudson's recent FAIR talk on polygamy. More on this later.
- While Oaks was "still steaming" about the Hudson affair, The Mormon Defense League published its "BY Was a Racist" article, and this was brought to the Senior Apostle's attention, angering him further.
- The icing on the cake was the now-familiar hullabaloo surrounding the Bushman/Gold Plates Seminar. According to my informant, Oaks is supposed to have said that the seminar included what he termed "hard core homosexual anti-Mormons."
- Because of this--per the 'intel'--Oaks is now "on a rampage" to "do all he can to distance the church as far as possible from FAIR" unless/until they--and this was apparently a transcription of Oaks himself--"cease trying to chart doctrinal courses" for the Church.
- Sometime this week, Oaks apparently plans to meet with key figures from the Maxwell Institute in order to “chop off a few heads” and “lay down the law”.
- Oaks is alleged to have said something to the effect that "We’ve got to get this thing back under control before it gets entirely out of hand."
All that said, I do wonder if the apologists' behavior towards Mike Reed is related to these allegations in some way. Sure: the MI crew have a history of blowing up and attacking people, but even this seemed a bit extreme for them. It's almost as if they're panicking in an effort to do damage control. If Oaks really is threatening to "chop off a few heads," the apologists' behavior suddenly becomes a lot more understandable. After all, we've got Gee, Roper, DCP, Hamblin, Midgley, and Mitton all tangled up in this somehow, and it does seem odd that Mike Reed's rather innocuous paper would have caused this big of an eruption. (Incidentally, didn't DCP say something about having to attend a meeting in Salt Lake City pretty soon?)
But I'm just speculating here. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.
| "The Mormon Defense League" is out. "MormonVoices" is in:
"As an organization we will continue to publicly stand up for the LDS Church and correct misinformation spread by public figures," Lynch said. But the new name is less confrontational and more outreach-oriented, and "more clearly reflects our approach and fits well with the admonition by our leaders (for church members) to get involved online."
And by "correct them" meaning watered down apologetic material.
The new website was launched as part of an effort to monitor news reports in search of errors and misrepresentation. "If somebody writes something - whether a journalist or even a politician - that is egregiously bad, we will correct them," Gordon said in August.
Dallin Oaks is starting to have an influence...
This is sounding like the Lamanite thing again.
Mormon Defense League, becomes
Mormon Voices, becomes
Mormon Occasional Responses On News Stories, but perhaps they'll abbreviate...
| FAIR is apparently now paying for press releases describing how objective they try to be.
The MDD thread is here:
The SF Chronicle "article" in question is here:
Mariner's post over on MADBoard (for those who do not allow themselves to visit that place) is here:
Come on folks.
First of all, the "article" is marked as a press release. It is on PRWeb, which charged me an arm and a leg for releasing my "news" last time I used them. (Check out ).
Press releases are not exactly considered objective sources of information. They are, in fact, a not-so-subtle form of paid advertisement.
Secondly, the title of the article is: Mormon Apologists Strive for Objectivity Says President of FAIR. The article goes on to admit that FAIR does not actually achieve objectivity (see below).
At least Bro. Gordon is honest enough to admit that FAIR is biased in his following statement quoted in the article.
Gordon said, explaining that FAIR members believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is really the ancient Church of Jesus Christ restored in the latter days through Joseph Smith. However, he further explained that in defending the Church, FAIR members strive for an objective approach to the evidence and answers based in the best scholarship available.
So, all that this "newspaper article" really demonstrates is that the LDS Church can afford the best press money can buy.
| Despite Wiki Wonka's reassurances that the FAIR Wiki is all about "objectivity," it seems that some of the more zealous members of the editing staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Check this out:
I had to laugh at some of the commentary, like this, which could very well be a cut-and-paste of Elder Wonka's own description of the FAIR Wiki itself:
The website mormonthink.com is designed to lead Church members into questioning their beliefs in a non-threatening manner by claiming to be "objective" and "balanced." The site claims to be run by active members of the Church. In reality, however, they are "active" only in the sense that they still attend Church–they do not accept the Church's truth claims, and they have no interest in strengthening belief.
Wow... Have I just entered the Bizarro World, or what? Are they talking about FAIR/FARMS, or something else?
Anyhow, the entry goes on to cite several rather candid passages from RfM--apparently the editorial team is more interested in providing an exposé than an "objective" summary of the MormonThink Web site, but what struck me was their commentary on John Dehlin. Now, if you are like me, you may be wondering: What is discussion of John Dehlin doing in a FAIR Wiki article that is ostensibly about MormonThink? I'll let you decide:
FAIR Wiki, Strangely Quoting John Dehlin wrote:
Can you show me a more honest representation of the church and its history online -- anywhere? I can't think of a more honest one...warts and all. Can you? Certainly not FAIR or FARMS. Certainly not LDS.org....My challenge remains: find me a web site that is more honest/objective/accurate/comprehensive on factual Mormon history than Mormon Think. I'm all eyes/ears.... Both (all) sites are biased -- I think that the FAIR site is 50x more biased than Mormon Think. Just my opinion....My experience is that the FAIR/FARMS spin ultimately causes much more harm than good. It's just rarely credible to thoughtful, objective people who are trying to uncover the "truth." Consequently, it can be really disco....Part of what I'm trying to say is that while perfect objectivity is impossible, there are shades of objectivity...and then there is the decision to not be objective at all. I'd argue that you/FAIR/FARMS fall closer to the "not even trying to be objective" scale....and something like MormonThink is at least trying to some degree...even though there is a bias.
You'll notice that this excerpt is riddled with ellipses--clearly it was cobbled together out of something else. Well, luckily for us, the editors at the FAIR Wiki have given us the following attribution:
John Dehlin, post on Dehlin’s Facebook wall, 3-4 January 2012, off-site
So, what? They are cyber-stalking Dehlin on Facebook? The FAIR Wiki provides a link, and indeed you can see an ongoing, casual conversation that does indeed contain all of the above quotes. But why is this appropriate material for a FAIR Wiki entry, given what Wiki Wonka has told us about the site's purpose? I noticed that the main person complaining about Dehlin's views on Facebook is one "Trevor Holyoak." Is this person a FAIR volunteer, and/or does he participate on the MDD board?
In any case, it seems clear that Dehlin, despite his having reached out to DCP, is squarely in the apologists' reticle.
| Taken from the homepage of MormonThink.com
Deseret News article written by Daniel Peterson: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/76...
A Deseret News Article by FAIR claims they want to correct the inaccuracies of Mormonism that are appearing in articles which are becoming more prevalent on the web. MormonThink supports this idea but we have different ideas of what this means.
The LDS organization FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) is making an organized effort to ensure that faith-promoting comments about the LDS church will drown out all other comments that are critical of the LDS church, regardless of whether or not they are true.
The article written by Mormon apologist Daniel Peterson, discusses his strategy of keeping people from learning the real hidden truths of Mormonism by trying to dominate the comment sections of Internet articles that discuss Mormonism. He claims they only want to correct misinformation. We at MormonThink totally agree with correcting misinformation and support a similar strategy by the MoreTruthFoundation started last year.
We agree that if someone says that Mormons don’t believe in Christ or are not Christian, we should correct that. Of course Mormons are Christian, although we have beliefs not shared by most other Christian churches such as the belief in the Book of Mormon as scripture.
HOWEVER, the problem is that FAIR wants to sugarcoat the answers and still keep the disturbing details of the church secret from the public. For example, go to their website called MormonVoices mentioned in the article. They discuss some of the issues so you can use information from their one-sided, incomplete, carefully-scripted commentary on selected issues that only support the church, even if they don’t really tell the true, complete story.
For example, look at their section on race. They do accurately provide recent statements that the modern Mormon church denounces racism. However, they don’t really address the concerns of those commenters that want to know why the blacks were denied the priesthood and the opportunity to have black families sealed in the LDS temples all the way up till 1978. Why on earth couldn’t a righteous black family be sealed to each other until 1978? Their site doesn’t even address that question, nor attempt to answer it.
The Mormonvoices site also totally disavows the belief that the ‘skin of blackness’ was a curse. They actually suggest the mark of Cain could have been a ‘tattoo’. This is total nonsense as shown by the Book of Mormon scriptures themselves:
2 Nephi 5: 21
And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.'
And then when the Lamanites repented their cursed black skin became white again:
3 Nephi 2:15
And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites."
So how could a tattoo be the curse? This is sheer nonsense because FAIR doesn’t want nonmembers to know the details of how the Book of Mormon teaches that God cursed people with black skin when they were bad and made their skin white again when they were good.
The current LDS children’s book continues to promote this notion of equating dark-skin with a curse caused by wickedness:
“Laman and Lemuel’s followers called themselves Lamanites. They became a dark-skinned people. God cursed them because of their wickedness.”
How many other christian churches currently teach these racial attitudes to the children in their congregations?
And of course they don’t mention any of the racist quotes made by prophets and apostles of the church that equate dark skin with the curse:
John Taylor, President of the Church
"And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God;..." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 22, page 304
President Brigham Young
"If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain (those with dark skin), the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."
Apostle Mark E. Peterson
"If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the Celestial Kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory.“ sermon to BYU students, 1954
To see the real, full story on Blacks and the Priesthood.
Of course FAIR would have you believe that the church leaders never said any of these things and many, many more. And every other issue they advise members on such as polygamy, Book of Mormon historicity, Book of Abraham, etc. has the same lack of detail which is what they want to promote to the world in an effort to keep the disturbing truths of Mormonism from nonmembers and members.
Another point to make is that FAIR is not endorsed by the LDS church, and everything they say is merely the opinions of average every day members that the church won’t officially support. So why isn’t the church providing answers to these questions that are popping up all over the Internet? Why won’t they officially endorse FAIR’s answers as correct? They won’t stand behind FAIR, however they will hide behind them. It appears they want FAIR to defend the church because if it backfires, they can always say “they weren’t officially speaking for the church”.
We at MormonThink support the MoreTruthFoundation’s plan to spread the real, non-sugarcoated facts about the church. We do not want any critics to ever lie on these comments boards or to make the church’s history seem worse than it is, but we encourage everyone to not be shy in telling the real truth about the church and answering in detail the questions commenters really have about the church and its past. Since the church and FAIR won't tell the people what they really want to know about the church, it's up to us to speak the absolute truth. More information can be found at How To Help. http://www.moretruthfoundation.com/ho...
Again we will state that FAIR will only give a one-sided argument of the church. They never link to any critic’s site so you can’t see the full arguments that the critics make, which are much, much stronger than what FAIR purports them to be. FAIR only wants you to look at their point of view. However, MormonThink has over 300 links to FAIR, FARMS and LDS.org, etc so anyone can see exactly what the pro-side of any argument is in their own words as well as links to the best critics' sites so you can see those arguments also. Only by reading each side, from their own sites, can everyone get a complete viewpoint on every issue so then they can decide for themselves what makes the most sense.
| So it must be true. All you who claim BYU did this under the direction of the church are just silly, they did this on their own, independent of the church of course, just like they do almost all of their studies there, right???
1978, when I spilled the beans to my bishop about my wild, lustful days when I came out of the closet while in the army, during a mission interview, he said I needed to visit church social services. He sent me to see a counselor at BYU, at which point I endured four sessons of electro shock therapy.
Not until I signed a statement saying I was no longer gay did it stop. I was only 21 years old at the time and felt like this was what the lord would expect of me. Not until some kind men in Salt Lake took me under their wing and showed me how to live life on my own without the church could I get it all out of my system.
SO, BYU did this independantly, but by referral from a ward bishop. Yeah right, no connection at all.
| They're Emulating Brigham Young with that "Plausible Deniability" Tact.
The LDS Church in Utah County is organized with a number of student wards with untrained lay bishops (and that means you, Danny Boy Peterson!) listening to the "issues" of members...
Referrals were offered (with the club of "excommunication" just subtly placed on the table) and participants forced to sign non-disclosure agreements...
Honest folks, nobody chooses to be gay (and I've got a lot of empathy for that one because nobody chooses to be alcoholic either).
Now the reality is I'm friendly with a girl who's probably in her late 30's now (which makes that 1970's claim a baldfaced lie) who was a cab passenger of mine two years ago...
While sitting in my taxi struggling with some hiccups from a few too many beers, in reply to a question from me whether that was her partner she'd just sent inside for my cab fare (all of seven dollars), asked, "Does that bother you?"
I mentioned my (and RFM's) dear friends Kathy Worthington and her partner, Sara, both now gone, and my activities and sharing on this site...
"I'm a Mormon," she volunteered. "They shocked me to try to get me to change."
I'd heard similar stories here from men, but never a woman. "This was at BYU?" I asked.
"Yes. They strapped electrodes to my private parts, showed me pictures of nude women, and shocked me when I responded.
Anyone who thinks a woman would volunteer something like that to a total stranger if it weren't true is nucking futs.
Lie for the Lard and pass the Etch-a-Sketch...
| I watched the presentations, not the QandA.
I was impressed with John Dehlin's uncanny ability to sit smack dab in the middle of the fence, without appearing to mind at all. He is definitely unique. He presented some of the very issues that caused my disaffection. I have talked with him a number of times by phone, and consider him a friend. His story of Marco tugged at my heartstrings as I remembered all too clearly the pain of my own disaffection, many years ago. John considers the church to be a net good influence, which is where I disagree with him, but I do think that he does a good job of discussing current disaffection.
I was not impressed with Scott's presentation. He came across as nervous, bumbling, and yet arrogant and proud. He claimed that FAIR's lawsuit against Lighthouse Ministries actually paved the way for freedom of speech on the internet. It sounded a lot like Al Gore taking credit for inventing the internet. Scott made continual references to anti-Mormons and anti-Mormon literature, and actually referred to John Dehlin as a Secular Anti-Mormon, which I found very interesting. John Dehlin is a far cry from an anti-Mormon. He speaks positively about the church. He sees good in the church. He is being an advocate for openness about church history. To hear Scott discredit John as an anti-Mormon just reinforced my view that TSCC views anyone with contradictory opinions to the official sanitized version, as an enemy to the church. Scott tried to make fun of the Tanners who discovered over 4,000 changes to the Book of Mormon, by saying that FAIR has found over 105,000 changes! Well, then the Tanners were right! And their estimate was conservative! He didn't say why the BoM was still true if there were over 105,000 changes made to the "most perfect book on earth."
He talked about common "anti-Mormon" tactics, as if those with faith issues automatically get some kind of agenda to destroy Mormonism. I don't think that many of us here have an agenda. But Scott sure provided evidence that the church feels like we are a threat. He said a common "anti-Mormons" tactic was to say that the church is hiding information. He gave JS' plural marriages, and the rock in a hat as examples.
He said the church has openly discussed these issues for years, then gave references to isolated church articles which discussed them. For JS' plural marriages he gave Ensign issues from August 1992, January 1989, December 1978, and February 1977, and the New Era December 1973. I don't know about any of you, but I don't remember discussing Joseph Smith's polygamy at church or in Seminary, where the real teaching goes on.
On the rock in the hat he gave references to the Ensign January 1997, July 1993, January 1988, and September 1977, with The Friend of September 1974. Again, how can 4 or 5 vague articles scattered over decades be considered being open, when the golden plates version is still the way it is taught in church, Seminary, and on the church's website? Does he not realize that these translation methods are mutually exclusive? Dan Petersen once asked me on FAIR, "How did JS fit such large plates into a hat?" trying to play dumb about my questions about the rock in a hat. Now they don't have a FAIR discussion board, because they were taking a beating every day, I remember watching it. But back to the point. You don't teach thousands of seminary students the golden plate version of translation, then print a few Ensign articles over 50 years about the rock in a hat version, and then say you've been open about it. Ridiculous.
It is fascinating that Scott talked about Joseph Smith's polyandry and use of a rock in a hat as "anti-Mormon" topics. Really, they are just part of the authentic history of the church, and characterizing these issues as "anti-Mormon" you really throw a spotlight on them. Its funny how apologists categorize tough issues as "Anti-Mormon" because it is such a lame defense to label someone, rather than deal with the root cause of the issue.
Scott also said "Too many members believe that we teach history in Sunday School classes. That is not what we do." OK, well, then stop talking about the Spring of 1820, or April 6, 1830, or June 27, 1844 then. You can't have it both ways. If you are going to discuss church history, then discuss it. But don't tell me you don't talk about history in Sunday School, because its exactly what you do.
Scott's Lawrence Foster quote paints church critics as using "black and white" logic, which I thought was ironically hilarious.
I did learn that Mormon Voices is now FAIR's internet attack dog, and Scott tried to recruit more people to participate. I don't think he has a clue of the blood bath he is inviting.
Rosemary's presentation was scholarly and interesting. She made an observation offhand that the "fear of information is real and ongoing" in the church. I don't think she even realized the gravity of her offhand remark to their truth claims. Of course the Q15 wouldn't describe their mindset as fearful. But Rosemary thinks they are.
She said "The Mormons I analyzed have similar testimonies to the General Authorities, and the General Authorities in turn model their own testimonies after the Joseph Smith experience." This comment floored me as I realized that Joseph Smith effectively cloned himself to future generations forever, as long as the church stays in existence. I had thought this thought before, that the church was a mirror image of the narcissism of JS. But to hear a sociologist from the University of Pennsylvania say it, just floored me.
Rosemary's presentation was a complex logical analysis of the sociology of members who encounter doubt, and I noticed a couple of folks leaving her presentation early at about 1:12 on the video. They probably thought "what the hell language is she speakin' up thar" and just headed out, but I thought that was funny. Most of her research and arguments probably fell on deaf ears.
| We now know, thanks to multiple reliable sources, that a Dan Peterson-led verbal assault on "Mormon Stories" host John Dehlin was successfully averted thanks to the intervention of one of the Apostles. But a lot of questions remain: Was DCP the principal author of this attack? Was it really "100" pages long? And what did it say?
FARMS / The Maxwell Institute has always been the front line for attacks on critics: if a full-blown character assassination takes place in the pages of the Review, you rest assured that this has the status of orthodoxy amongst the lower-tier Mopologists. Bearing that in mind, I cannot help but wonder how the cancellation of this "hit piece" on Dehlin will play out in the Mopologetic "farm system"--i.e., FAIR. On a separate thread, I pointed out that some of the FAIR personnel had cyber-stalked John Dehlin and harvested a comment of his off of Facebook in order to portray him in a negative light on a FAIR Wiki entry. Ultimately, somebody--probably Wiki Wonka, imo--thought better of it and deleted the comment.
Clearly, this demonstrated that there is a great deal of hostility among the FAIR volunteers on the topic of John Dehlin. Perhaps readers here recall a bit of a get-together and UVU, where Dehlin appeared on a panel. Interestingly, it seems that Allen "The Slug" Wyatt set up a kind of "gotcha" situation, where with the camera rolling, he seemed ready to catch Dehlin in all his "evil"
Allen Wyatt wrote:
On March 29, 2012, Utah Valley University hosted a fascinating conference entitled Mormonism and the Internet. Perhaps the most interesting exchanges, for me, were those in session five of the conference, which was a panel discussion among John Dehlin, Scott Gordon, and Rosemary Avance. UVU has just posted this particular conference session online, and I just watched it again.
Dehlin gives a rather lengthy reply, but Wyatt finds his answer unsatisfying, and he immediately assumes that Dehlin is prevaricating:
Rather early in the panel discussion, I asked a question of John Dehlin, as a follow-up to his presentation earlier in the day. You can hear my question beginning at about 13:05 into the video:
"People often study the same facts or issues and come to vastly different conclusions–some have their faith strengthened, while others have their faith destroyed. To what do you attribute this difference in outcome, and why do you feel that the stories of those who have suffered a negative outcome should be privileged over those with a positive outcome?"
Allen Wyatt wrote:
At first I thought that John was being evasive; he didn’t really answer my question which was how people can study the same data and come to differing conclusions.
Does he have a point, though? Dehlin, in his response, lays out a whole set of different reasons why people would approach the "study" (strange word choice, no?) of unpleasant Church history and doctrine in different ways. He explains that people come to different conclusions largely because of their personal situation within the Church: especially the extent to which their life station allows them to fully "question" the Church's truth claims. (For example, Dehlin implies at one point that it is probably impossible for BYU professors to openly and honestly question the Church's claims, because their employment is dependent upon their obedience.)
Wyatt wraps up his inquiry/attack with a series of rhetorical questions:
So I thought I would pose the question here that John raises in the middle of his answer; the one that he seems to obliquely answer by his own faith journey: What happens when a person looks honestly at the facts or issues of Mormonism? Does honesty demand that such questions inevitably lead to a loss of faith, or can one be honest and remain a member of the church?
So, whereas Dehlin's repsose confronts an array of problems and issues, Wyatt has worked to reframe all of this as a kind of black-and-white war, where anyone who stays in the Church is "dishonest." It appears that Wyatt is less interested in actually exploring the issues, and more interested in painting Dehlin as a villain, and in continuing the war with critics. Besides, I think the answer is fairly obvious, and that Wyatt already knows it: the answer is, "Yes." A clear example of this would be Terryl Givens, who appeared on Dehlin's podcast and openly admitted that the Church has basically lied by omission, and that people have every right to feel deceived if they don't learn about, say, polyandry until their forties (or whatever). Someone like Wyatt or DCP would never admit this, though. They may say that there are "problems" with CES, or something benign like that, but they would never, ever acknowledge the sense of betrayal that so many people feel--and this is what Dehlin has been trying to address andcorrect.
In any case, it is interesting to watch these attacks on Dehlin playing out. Perhaps the most telling thing on the thread was the first comment, from none other than Mike "Tuffy" Parker, of SHIELDS fame:
An important side note is that John Dehlin’s study – which he refers to when he speaks of “our data” – was not rigorously done. Instead of polling random former Mormons, he solicited responses from ex-Mormons who follow his podcast and run in the same circles with him. The bias here, from a polling standpoint, is enormous.
Ah. So *that's* it. This is why Dehlin is threatening to them.
in short, his data tell us nothing because his survey sample is homogeneous and voluntary.
The Mopologists have always, always relied on the tactic of insisting that the "sense of betrayal" that I described above is false. We have seen evidence for this again and again: they accuse questioning posters of being trolls. They do what Wyatt did and insist that "smart people can still believe!" (hence "Mormon Scholars Testify"). They paint disaffected members as sinners, lazy, stupid, etc. So Dehlin's study--regardless of its methodological flaws--must be incredibly threatening to them, since it could potentially demonstrate just how real and concrete the problems actually are. If the study's results are true, it takes away one of the Mopologists' main avenues of attack. So of course Wyatt, Parker, Smith and others are freaking out.
And "Tuffy" Parker's criticisms seem somewhat overblown. Yes, it is a problem that the survey was "voluntary" (has there ever been a legit social science survey that wasn't techincally "voluntary"?), but I don't know why Parker is assuming that the sample set is somehow *not* indicative of wider trends in Mormonism. He complains that "[Dehlin] solicited responses from ex-Mormons who follow his podcast and run in the same circles with him," though it's not quite clear why Parker thinks this, or why it amounts to a legitimate criticism. As far as I can tell, Dehlin has an enormous audience that encompasses both believing LDS and ex-Mormons. He attracts people like Richard Bushman, Mike Quinn, and Terryl Givens as guests, so I see no reason to assume that the only respondents were "ex-Mormons ...[who]..run in the same circles." I bet that Parker himself listens to the podcast, so, again: Who is he talking about here?
In any event, it will be very interesting to see if these "farm team" Mopologists will be able to restrain their anger and hatred, or if they will step up their attacks on Dehlin.
| No they do not. Not at all.
The Mormon Church Leadership, CES, FAIR and all the other LDS cult leadership spin off BS organisations are dishonest.
The LDS publication Gospel Principles? It's authors are basically Conmen IMO, Is it CES?. Do they work for the church, paid by the church? Then IMO they are lying for money if thats the case.
On page 29 under the Chapter heading Baptism they quote Matthew 28:19-20 and have left out the latter half of the quote.
I've emphasised in CAPITALS what they left out.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: AND, LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. AMEN."
It seems the promise of Christ that he would always be with his Disciples etc even unto the end of the world doesn't quiet suit the bogus LDS apostasy claim so they purposely miss it out.
As far as I am concerned LDS Prophets and Apostles are just Imposters and a facade and don't deserve my time and money for their crap services.
| For the record, I'm going to lay out the facts (as I know them) regarding the Greg Smith, Daniel Peterson, Lou Midgley happening of the past few weeks and months.
1) A few weeks back someone contacted me to let me know that the Maxwell institute was about to publish a lengthy, footnoted article dedicated to critiquing/attacking me and Mormon Stories authored by Greg Smith.
2) I immediately emailed Daniel Peterson, and cc'd a few people I consider to be friends, to find out if this was true -- telling him that if, indeed, the story was true, that I would appreciate knowing about it, and that I would be contacting my GA friends to ask for their involvement. This was his response:
You're threatening, blackmailing, and defaming, and I don't appreciate it.
3) I replied with the following:
I also don't have time for it, and I'm definitely not in the mood: My older brother, my only sibling and only remaining connection to my parents, died suddenly on Friday. I'm at Harvard to give a lecture tonight and will be in California later in the week for my brother's funeral.
Coincidentally, I had to contact the Orem police yesterday -- and not for the first time -- about threats of violence from an unhinged former Mormon in California.
I don't find what you're attempting here even remotely acceptable.
If you cared at all about my good will, you chose a very bad approach. And your timing couldn't possibly have been worse.
He did not respond.
I am very deeply sorry to hear about your loss.
Also, please know that it is not my intention to do any of those things that you allege. I did not create this situation. Simply, I was very disturbed yesterday to learn that the Maxwell institute might be preparing a hit piece on me, so I responded the best way I knew how to get a response from you.
When things improve for you personally, I hope that you and the Maxwell institute will consider a different approach than you have used in the past. You harm many people, including the church you seek to help, when you attack people publicly for their struggles with legitimate issues. ..... There are I sincerely believe that attacking the messenger harms everyone involved -- you, me, the Maxwell institute and the church included.
My sincere well wishes to you and yours during a hard time. Also, I'm happy to reconsider my approaches, and I hope that you will do the same.
4) When I attended the UVU conference, several people (faithful members of the church) came up to me and told me that they were aware of the article written about me, and were sickened by it -- including people who had read it. I was informed that there was significant disagreement within the Maxwell institute itself about whether or not the article should be published.
5) After my panel discussion at UVU, Lou Midgley came up and verbally assaulted me (that's how it felt to me, anyway) -- threatening me and attempting to tie me to the death of a missionary on my mission (Brian Bartholomew), and trying to tie me to Grant Palmer back in 1992 (one of the most bizarre accusations I've ever heard, since it was another decade before I even learned his name). People took pictures and video of the affair (which I have)....which was pretty funny. The interaction, of course, was not funny. Not at all. It was deeply disturbing to me.
6) I decided to contact a GA friend of mine to let him know about the piece, and to ask him to intervene. Given Midgley's verbal allegations, I was not about to be slandered in that way, and I honestly felt like such an article would sully Neil A. Maxwell's good name, and would be damaging to BYU, the church, and to many members of the church who value what we do with Mormon Stories. The GA told me that he would contact a few people in high places, and that he would do his best to intervene.
7) A few days later I was informed by a very, very reliable source that some very clear communication was given to the Maxwell Institute that publishing this article about me was ill advised, and that an apostle was involved in that communication. I was informed that the decision was made to no longer publish the article via the Maxwell Institute, and that it would be returned to its author, Greg Smith. I was also told to not be surprised if the article ended up being published by FAIR.
8) A few weeks back I wrote Scott Gordon to ask if he intended to publish the article. He declined any knowledge of the article, but did not respond regarding whether or not he intends to publish the article. Still waiting for that response.
A final note: I don't mind being criticized. Not at all. Also, I need to clarify something: I did not respond this way out of a desire to protect or save myself, or out of a spirit of censorship. My guess is that this article, in the end, would have probably given us more credibility and publicity regarding the good things we are trying to do at Mormon Stories
So why did I fight the article? I did it because I believe in my heart that the old school, disingenuous, ad hominem-style apologetics a la Daniel Peterson and Louis Midgley are very, very damaging: to the church, to its members, to its former members, and mostly to its targets. My strategic hope was that fighting this article within the ranks of church leadership could be used to help bring light these damaging tactics, and hopefully drive a death nail or two into them (these tactics). I don't know if I've ultimately succeeded on that front (time will tell, I guess), but based on feedback from several sources, I feel like it may have done some good in this regard. If not, well....at least I tried.
For those who want to know what Mormon Stories is all about, see here: http://mormonstories.org/about/
I'll end by quoting from our shared values statement:
1) We acknowledge the richness of Mormon heritage, teachings, and community in all of its diversity.
2) We believe that one can self-identify as Mormon based on one’s genealogy, upbringing, beliefs, relationships, and other life experiences, regardless of one’s adherence or non-adherence to the teachings or doctrines of any religious organization.
3) We seek spaces where we as Mormons can live lives of intellectual and spiritual integrity, individual conscience, and personal dignity.
4) We acknowledge and honor different spiritual paths and modes of religious or non-religious truth-seeking. We respect the convictions of those who subscribe to ideas and beliefs that differ from our own.
5) We recognize the confusion, distress, emotional trauma, and social ostracism that people on faith journeys often experience. We seek constructive ways of helping and supporting people, regardless of their ultimate decisions regarding church affiliation or activity.
6) We affirm the inherent and equal worth of all human beings. We seek spaces where Mormons (and all people) can interact as equals regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. In this spirit of egalitarianism, we prefer non-authoritarian and non-hierarchical means of organization and affiliation.
7) In addition to explicitly striving to align all operations with the Mormon Stories Shared Values, we endeavor to ensure that the projects we undertake: a) support individuals in Mormon-related faith crises, b) save marriages, c) heal families, and d) celebrate, challenge, and advance Mormon culture in healthy ways.
| I took a look at the FAIR blog, where Wyatt issued the recent challenge under discussion in other threads.
Earlier today a well-known critic of FAIR made the following statement on an Internet message board:
Right away, you see the distortion, which builds up to this:
“MI/FAIR/FARMS has a history of nasty ad hominem attacks (see the -edited- adultery accusations)…”
We at FAIR have been asking, for a long, long time, for concrete examples of where we have engaged in ad hominem fallacies, as we don’t really want to do so. (I know; that may seem incredulous to some. But it really is true.) This statement, by the critic on the message board, was the first concrete example I’ve noticed.
Even so, the fact that he was charged with adultery could be used as an ad hominem fallacy if (and only if) it is presented as a reason to disregard the arguments of a person. Such a usage would be wrong, and definitely a logical fallacy. It plainly should not be done in scholarly discourse.
The critic didn't charge FAIR with committing ad hominem fallacies, but ad hominem attacks. Allen twists the criticism into something easier to handle and argues more or less correctly, that attacking someone isn't necessarily a fallacy. If you call someone a name, is that a logical fallacy? No. I guess then, FAIR is in the clear to call people names since it's not a fallacy. No critic who has ever made the charge of "attacks" is concerned much with the "ad hominem fallacy". Out of the hundreds of fallacies the apologists engage in on a regular basis, why would critics only care about just this one?
If Allen wants an example of the fallacy, there's an easy one glaring right on page 1 of his blog by Mike Parker,
Perennial ex-Mormon gadfly Richard Packham apparently fails to understand...
Is painting Packham as the grossest fly on a horse's butt not a rhetorical flourish intended to undermine Packham's credibility? In the most scholarly double-blind journals, is it common to refer to fellow academics one disagrees with as perennial gadflies? Is it common to point out the person "fails to understand" something, rather than pointing out the argument the person made is incorrect? It's very easy to find ad hominem fallacies from FAIR.
I think Allen my not realize how low the bar is to commit the "fallacy" in question.
Check out this example,
"Your exposition is highly correct and valid, but you don't have enough academic degree" (Credential fallacy, official degree fallacy). 
LOL! Allen, you might have to rescind your challenge or disband FAIR. LOL!
But this is hardly the main issue for critics, it's the actual attacks themselves. And this all a part of a bigger tone problem FAIR has. Look at Stephen Smoot's essay about first vision suppression. The strong implication in his kiddy sarcasm is that a questioning member with concerns about the first vision is an idiot. And his post is riddled with fallacies, by the way.
Also check out the Baptism for the Dead thread, another installment of "Jewish people are too sensitive!" And filled with fallacies, by the way. I recommend FAIR ask its mature members to handle the especially hot topics like these.
The FAIR blog is heavily geared toward polemics, sarcasm, and mockery, and thrives in fallacious argumentation. Interestingly enough, Allen is the only Author I read on page 1 who seems to really be trying to "hold it back", as it were. But on this particular matter his representation of the critic's concern is incorrect, and his piece becomes a strawman and a red herring, even if he manages to avoid ad hominem.
| From the latest FAIR newsletter:
Without your donations, there would be no FAIR. But, with your
donations, we are able to reach more people, participate more in the
public square, and get more involved in refuting the
mischaracterizations of our faith.
Does FAIR publish a financial statement?
If you like our articles and want us to continue to be involved,
please make a donation now.
They don't publish one, but they are required to file financial information with the IRS, and because they are a non-profit, this information is a matter of public record. Based on what I was able to find, it appears that, over the past five years, FAIR has managed to raise close to $400,000 in assets. (The most recent IRS form is from fiscal year 2010.) Interestingly, in 2009, they managed to rake in over $100,000, most of which appears to have come from, among other things, "admissions [and] merchandise sold or services performed." Who, I wonder, is paying them for this? Do they bring this in just on the annual conference alone? There is a separate section on the form for "Gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees," but this is a very small fraction of the money that's coming in from "merchandise sold or services performed" etc. I was told at one point by one of my most reliable "informants" that FAIR was being funded by "backdoor channels." I'm still not sure what this meant, but I assumed at the time that the Brethren had somehow arranged/contrived for FAIR to receive financing so that they could do apologetics.
Another interesting piece of information from the form is that it appears to list the members of the FAIR Board--something that they've been hesitant to announce. Per this form (which, again, comes from fiscal year 2010), the members of the FAIR Board were:
--Scott Gordon (President)
--Dana Repouille (Secretary)
--John Lynch (Director)
--Allen Wyatt (Vice President)
--Juliann Reynolds (Director)
--Kevin Barney (Director)
--Daniel Peterson (Director)
This, to me, is remarkable. Juliann and Allen "The Slug" Wyatt have this much power? Out of this crew, Kevin Barney is the only halfway reasonable person. It should give anyone pause to think that this crew is running the helm at FAIR. How, for example, can someone like Wiki Wonka feel comfortable contributing to this? Does he think that the mere presence of Barney is enough to save the ship? (Also, I'm rather stunned that Allen Wyatt is ranked this high in the FAIR hierarchy.)
In any case, I've always been fascinated by Mopologetic finances. When I first began inquiring into this matter, Dr. Peterson went absolutely ballistic, which of course led me to believe that I was onto something important. The more we have dug into this issue, the more it has turned out that our worst suspicions were correct.
I am guess that, in the wake of the "shake up" at the MI, we can expect either (a) the new IRS forms at FAIR to look very, very different, or (b) which I think is more likely, they will alter their tax-exempt status in such a way that they no longer have to make this information publicly available.
Kevin Graham is absolutely right: there is really no reason why FAIR would need "a million dollars." What do they imagine that they would do differently if they had that kind of money? I'm sure that some of the people on the Board would like to use it to pay themselves to do apologetics full time. But we'll see what happens.
So after discussing church leaders (including prophets) who have differed in their views on both sides of the argument as to whether there was death before the fall, the article admits that.......... wait for it............. 'The church takes no official position on it'. The article also mentions that debate on this topic isn't important to our salvation and is purely an academic exercise.
Now hold on, 1) as this board attests, it was important enough an issue to be the key catalyst for a number of people that have since left the church, including our very own 'Anointed One'. 2) I was always taught that the circumstances of the fall (and subsequently the need for the atonement) was central to salvation, so why such confusion, sitting on the fence and a real lack of clarity?
The article also throws out the following gems:
* a suggestion that 'all things' denoted in 2 Ne 2:22 could be referring just to 'all things in the garden of Eden' and not all things on the entire earth (Limited Fall Theory?!)
* an admission that on some things church theory seems to contradict science - thanks, I think I know which side I'll stick with.
* Even though the bible dictionary states that there was no death before the fall, we should recognise that this 'aid' isn't infallible - Ok, that's good to know, so now we can also disregard everything else that's stated in the BD?
* That even when leaders/prophets have said things on the subject, we have to recognise the fallibility of man - ok, so we go back to the question of when any church leader is 'speaking for God'?
So in conclusion - the scriptures could be interpreted differently, the bible dictionary can't be trusted, church leaders and profits could be wrong, the church lesson manuals are vague, the church has no official position and it isn't even important anyway.
And they wonder why they're losing so many intelligent members? As was stated elsewhere on this board: 'everything makes so much more sense when you realise it's all made up'.
| "Prophets are not scientists: Their views of science tend to reflect the prevailing views of the time."
They certainly are not scientists. IF they REALLY were in discourse with a deity they claim is intelligent enough to have created the entire universe, then how is it that their deity's clock needed a good cleaning before they even got started?
From their very beginnings in the early 19th century (around the same time Joe Smith, Sid Rigdon, and Ollie Cowdery were concocting their Manifest Destiny Meso-American Adventure Fantasy), sociologists (social scientists) recognized that despite racial distinctions, humans are humans and that slavery was, in practice, an unstable and undesirable blight on human development. In the United States this knowledge eventually resulted in the adoption of the XII, XIV, and XV Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (respectively: 1865, 1868, 1870). The United States was among the LAST major Western nations to ban slavery, and it even took a while longer for us to deal with the fallout caused by the institution of slavery: racial discrimination.
In contrast, Mormons (who claim a two-way exclusive to the cellphone of the ruling deity of the universe) apparently didn't get any of those memos until ...1978.
Let's get clear on that: it took Mormon god AT LEAST 108 years to pick up the clue phone that All God's Chillun Got Wings. No, Mormon prophets certainly are not scientists, LOL! They aren't even good bellwethers, BECAUSE THE PREVAILING VIEW IN 1865-1870 IS WHAT GOT THOSE THREE AMENDMENTS ADOPTED INTO OUR CONSTITUTION.
That isn't all of it, either: they're still getting their social science dead wrong. Demonstrating his freakish miscomprehension of sociology and history, in a speech delivered at BYU-Idaho on 13 October 2009 Mormon leader Dallin Oaks likened present-day Mormons to 1950s Black Civil Rights activists, claiming that the LGBT community oppresses Mormons just as white racists oppressed Blacks. The wildly positive acceptance of that speech within the Mormon sphere demonstrates that from top to bottom Mormons still harbor unresolvable race issues. They cannot even keep up with "the prevailing views of the time."
What is taking the Mormons so long? Is there static on the line? Has a Kolobian energy-storm disrupted the connection? Did Mormon god change his service agreement and not tell them?
I propose that from the outset we should accept the premise that Mormon prophets are not scientists, then go many more steps down the road of what they are not: Mormon "prophets" are not prophets.
What, then, are Mormon "prophets"? They are neo-Luddites. They are so terrible at prophesying and bellwethering that their sucky social sciences record places them solidly within the category of "Dumbest Last-place Losers" in the human herd.
Do you remember the children's game called Follow-the-Leader?
Here is how it is played: first, a leader is designated then all the other children line up behind the leader. The leader then moves around and all the children have to mimic everything the leader does. Any players who fail to do so are out of the game. The last child standing other than the leader (the one most able to mimic the leader in everything) is now the new leader.
But the rules of the game are only part of my point: do you also recall that the leader, in order to confuse the followers and impel them to failure, might resort to engaging in actions, gestures, or procedures of a particularly complex, outlandish or bizarre nature?
It is a simple children's game, is it not? Most of us probably played it well before we were even in Kindergarten, because it is a game that helps teach us very basic positive social behaviors.
Yet it also carries a moral with it: if all we do is play Follow-the-Leader then the Leader is free to take us where he will. And it follows that Following, without directing thought or contemplation toward what we are doing and where we are going, might take us where we ought not to be. The implications are no longer merely silly and playful: they have the potential to be foolish, malignant, or dangerous.
Since 1820, Mormon "prophet" after Mormon "prophet" has set himself up to be a Leader based on the hollowest of claims, with the flimsiest of qualifications, without tangible proof of anything. And generations of grown-up Mormons have played Follow-the-Leader, willy-nilly. It is this tendency which has gotten Mormons and Mormonism into some very bad places in their history. It is this tendency which continues to put Mormons and Mormonism into bizarre social positions today.
If Mormon "prophets" can function as neither scientists nor bellwethers, then of what use are they? Their views of science do not reflect the prevailing views of the period - they remain steadfastly stuck in the prevailing views of decades or centuries past! Isn't it time Mormons grew up, stopped playing children's games, and started directing sober thought and contemplation to what they are doing, where they are going, and what kind of Leaders they are Following?
| They hide the truth on this link, http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Morm... saying "At what point in modern times this New York hill was first called Cumorah is difficult to determine." FAIR says that David Whitmer's account was the earliest possible association of Cumorah with the New York hill, written in 1878. FAIR fails to tell us that Oliver Cowdery associated Cumorah with the hill in New York in 1835, in the Messenger and Advocate, written for all of the early church to read.
Messenger and Advocate, Vol. I. No. 10., July, 1835, page 158
"I must now give you some description of the place where, and the manner in which these records were deposited."
"...when one reflects on the fact, that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed."
"By turning to the 529th and 530th pages of the book of Mormon you will read Mormon's account of the last great struggle of his people, as they were encamped round this hill Cumorah."
"From the top of this hill, Mormon, with a few others, after the battle, gazed with horror upon the mangled remains of those who, the day before, were filled with anxiety, hope, or doubt."
It was reprinted again in Nauvoo.
Times and Seasons, Vol. 2 No. 12, April 15, 1841, pages 378-379
It was republished in Liverpool in 1844
It was republished in Salt Lake in 1899
Improvement Era, Vol. II No. 9, July 1899
Joseph Smith wrote a letter to his wife Emma on June 4, 1834:
"wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls and their bones, as proof of its divine authenticity”.
He didn't write "hey honey, I'm seeing a bunch of ruins and bones from the wicked Lamanites that lived on after they killed all the Nephites." The Book of Mormon says the Nephites were all destroyed in the final battle and Joseph said "Nephites". That tells us when he thought the people whose bones he was handling had died.
Ask the Mormons why Nephites were destroyed in Pike County, Illinois if Cumorah was in Mexico or Guatemala?
It was only about a year after that letter to Emma when Oliver Cowdery wrote that the hill Cumorah in New York was the location of the final battle.
The LGT Crowd Will Try to Obfuscate This One...
That one requires "two Hill Cumorahs," which isn't as big of a stretch as a lot of other apologetic shinola, but still...
The First Presidency has spoken on this issue...
You can see a copy of the letter at the bottom, and a photostat is linked as well...
| From: http://ldsmag.com/article/1/13165
It was announced at the 2013 FAIR Conference that FAIR will now be known as FairMormon with the tag line: Critical Questions, Faithful Answers.[ii] As Steven Densley (newly appointed Vice President of FairMormon) explains, "We have changed our name and are updating our websites in order to make them more easily accessible. The name has been simplified. Instead of The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, it is now simply FairMormon. Hopefully this will be easier to remember and will allow us to spend more time doing apologetics rather than spending our time explaining what apologetics is. Our mission has not changed, but hopefully, with the name change and the changes with the websites, our organization will be more effective."
| A native of Southern California, Jeremy was born in the covenant. A 6th generation Mormon of Pioneer heritage, Jeremy reached every Mormon youth milestone. An Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, and BYU alumnus, Jeremy was married in the San Diego Temple with expectations and plans of living Mormonism for the rest of his life.
In February 2012, Jeremy experienced a crisis of faith, which subsequently led to a faith transition in the summer of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a CES Director to share his concerns and questions about the LDS Church's origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as Letter to a CES Director.
Letter to a CES Director very quickly went viral on the internet. The CES Director responded that he read the "very well written" letter and that he would provide Jeremy with a response. No response ever came.
In the fall of 2013, unofficial LDS apologetic group FairMormon publicly released an analysis of Letter to a CES Director. In response, Jeremy wrote Debunking FAIR's Debunking.
"I believe that members and investigators deserve all of the information on the table to be able to make a fully informed and balanced decision as to whether or not they want to commit their hearts, minds, time, talents, income, and lives to Mormonism."
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