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  APOLOGISTS
Total Articles: 53
Mormon Apologetics.
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Squish The Mopologist: Why Mopologetics Is Bad For Mormonism
Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011, at 07:25 AM
Original Author(s): Beavis Christ
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
In my observing of mopologists over the years, it has become apparent to me that they do not believe their own arguments, at least they do not believe them consistently. This lack of consistency is why Mormon apologetics will be fundamentally bad for the church down the road.

This is most apparent when it comes to mopologists treatment of what they believe to be their "trump card," a testimony of the Holy Spirit.

LDS apostle Dallin Oaks provided a good example of this belief in his 1993 speech to FARMS:
"I maintain that the issue of the historicity of the Book of Mormon is basically a difference between those who rely exclusively on scholarship and those who rely on a combination of scholarship, faith, and revelation. Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation and fulfill Nephi's prophecy that in the last days men 'shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance' (2 Ne. 28:4). The practitioners of that approach typically focus on a limited number of issues, like geography 'horses' or angelic delivery or nineteenth century language patterns. They ignore or gloss over the incredible complexity of the Book of Mormon record. Those who rely on scholarship, faith, and revelation are willing to look at the entire spectrum of issues, content as well as vocabulary, revelation as well as excavation."
Thus, according to Oaks, people looking to authenticate the truth claims of the Book of Mormon would do well to combine both scholarship and prayer. Prayer, in the beliefs of the neo-orthodox Mormons, is still the best way to know whether or not something is true.

Oaks's statement of belief is fully consistent with Mormon doctrine. Doctrine and Covenants 8:2 states: "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

But do mopologists actually believe this? It is apparent that they do not, at least not in the case of Rodney Meldrum, a paleo-orthodox mopologist who has rejected the Mesoamerican theories expounded by the likes of John Sorenson and his intellectual heirs. He's also different than the Mesoamerican LGT believers in that he does exactly what Oaks urged people to do: combine faith and scholarship.

This is utterly unacceptable to the FARMS and FAIR Mesoamerican supporters who have starkly ridiculed and condemned Meldrum for "attempt[ing] to assert revelation for those outside of his stewardship."

And yet, Meldrum has actually done nothing of the sort. In fact, he has merely indicated that he has felt spiritual manifestations in support of his "work." In an email sent to his supporters reprinted by FAIR, Meldrum repeatedly speaks of his own "fasting and praying," and how God gave him several "miracles" to encourage him to expand his efforts to prove a North American setting for the Book of Mormon. At no point in the email, however, did Meldrum state that God told him to tell Mormon leaders that they needed to adopt his theories.

Meldrum appears only to believe "the Lord is watching out for this project." That is a far cry from him saying that God is endorsing his theories. Perhaps God wants to encourage a multiplicity of theories about Book of Mormon geography in the hopes of encouraging more people to talk about it--and by extension its precepts and the churches who believe in it.

Assuming limited humans cannot know the mind of God, how can Mesoamerican supporters deny that this might be the case?

They do it by denying the veracity of personal spiritual experiences.

In their arrogant dismissal of Meldrum's spiritual witnesses, mopologists are actually acting very much in character for their own intellectual tradition, but also in the tradition of religionists trying to justify belief in their own minds. This pattern of behavior has repeated itself thousands of times throughout world history and is the reason that we have so many religions and sects today.

Such religions and sects are entirely the product of single individuals who took a look at existing faith traditions and decided that none of them quite made sense in their minds. Religions in a sociological sense are nothing more than groups of people who agree with a particular set of supernatural beliefs.

The one advantage that Mormonism had going for it was its claim that its founder and all of its subsequent leaders have a direct pipeline to God and thus should be listened to. It's a position not operationally different from Catholicism but vastly different from those of other religions such as Islam or Protestantism. It's no coincidence that neither Mormonism nor Catholicism have had repeated episodes of schismaticism aside from the isolated events (Great Schism and the death of Joseph Smith, FLDS is too small to count).

Mopologetics is endangering to this systemic advantage that Mormonism has, though. And that is because it is an intellectualizing of a faith. Unlike the efforts of, say, Thomas Acquinas, however, today's Mormon apologists are tearing down their faith tradition as much as they are building it up.

By continually discounting official statements and books like the History of the Church or the Journal of Discourses as "just his opinion" or "not doctrinal," mopologists are engaging in a demystifying of their own past leaders.

A delightful irony here is that demystification of societal constructs is an obsession among postmodernist writers who are bent on tearing down and destroying belief in traditional religions and their descendant social structures in favor of atheistic socialism. Hugh Nibley and his clueless followers use many of the same tactics to try to build up Mormonism as Runtu and others have written well about.

It won’t work in the long run, however. Demystification is useful in the short run because it helps mopologists preserve a version (however tortured) of Mormon beliefs in the modern world of DNA and anthropology but in the long-term, the removal of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, et al. from their pedestals has bad implications for the successors of Thomas Monson.

That's because there is no good reason that if lay members can discount or dismiss the General Conference pronouncements of Brigham Young as "just his opinion," they can't also do the same with those of Monson. If I can disregard Spence Kimball's statements about Indians turning white why can’t I decide to ignore Gordon Hinckley’s discussion of earrings or Russ Ballard’s bleatings about reading the Book of Mormon?

In the long run, the more this attitude of disregarding the past prophets spreads within the LDS church, the more it will undermine the authority of the current General Authorities.

Dr. Shades has called this split a dichotomy between Internet Mormonism and Chapel Mormonism, a distinction which has a lot of merit and is generally appreciated by ex-Mormons. Mopologists vehemently disputed this characterization, saying that it is overly broad. As proof, several offered the idea that when they took Shades’s survey of orthodoxy, they came out as Chapel Mormons.

Shades has responded to this contention already but I think an additional response is worth adding that, assuming mopologists are accurately stating that their personal beliefs do correspondent to Chapel Mormonism, this may be more of an indicator in a flaw in the comprehensiveness of the survey questions than in their actual beliefs. The reason for this is that Mormon apologetics, like modern religious apologetics in general, is more about constructing ad hoc rationalizations for beliefs that were created prior to the stunning advancements of scientific knowledge of the past 150 years than it is about building a coherent intellectual edifice which integrates well with the theological tradition which spawned it. It is perfectly possible that a Mormon apologist could answer in the Chapel affirmative for even a majority of Shades’s questions, simply because he/she has not had the emotional need to reach for the ad hoc rationalized answer.

The ad hoc nature of neo-orthodox Mormonism makes it inherently unstable. Subconsciously, I believe that the existing hierarchy is aware of this and that many are uneasy with Mormon apologetics. The members certainly are. I've sat in at least 40 different wards' Gospel Doctrine classes and whenever someone started on about how there wasn't a world-wide flood, maybe evolution is true, or how the Book of Mormon did not take place throughout the hemisphere, the general membership reacted strongly in a negative fashion.

Some of the Big 15 are more vocal in their suspicion of mopologists. Boyd Packer is their champion. His infamous “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect” is a clarion call against attempting to justify Mormon beliefs through secular means:

It is an easy thing for a man with extensive academic training to measure the Church using the principles he has been taught in his professional training as his standard. In my mind it ought to be the other way around. […] If we are not careful, very careful, and if we are not wise, very wise, we first leave out of our professional study the things of the Spirit. [Rodney Meldrum, anyone?]

I have walked that road of scholarly research and study and know something of the dangers. If anything, we are more vulnerable than those in some of the other disciplines. […]

One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for "advanced history," is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be accountable. After all of the tomorrows of mortality have been finished, he will not stand where be might have stood.

I recall a conversation with President Henry D. Moyle. We were driving back from Arizona and were talking about a man who destroyed the faith of young people from the vantage point of a teaching position. Someone asked President Moyle why this man was still a member of the Church when he did things like that. "He is not a member of the Church." President Moyle answered firmly. Another replied that he bad not heard of his excommunication. "He has excommunicated himself," President Moyle responded. "He cut himself off from the Spirit of God. Whether or not we get around to holding a court doesn't matter that much; he has cut himself off from he Spirit of the Lord."

The natural progression of things is that Mormonism is headed for schism. Certainly that's what happened with the RLDS church which was in the rationalization business long before the Brighamites were. It will take time, however.

My theory is that mopologists will gradually take over the elite circles of the church. I don’t mean to say that Dan Peterson or Mike Ash is going to be receiving an apostleship any time soon but rather that people who believe in a neo-orthodox form of Mormonism will become ascendant within the church hierarchy.

There are signs of this already, most famously the insertion of “among” in the introduction of the Book of Mormon’s description of Lamanites being the ancestors of the American Indian. The abrupt and little-publicized renaming of the “Lamanite Generation” dance troupe is another. The continual attenuation of revelatory claims from the heady days of Brigham, Joseph, and Orson talking of angelic beings coming over for lunch are never coming back.

Over time, you will see more such subduction of traditional Mormon beliefs (but never apologies for them) and new emphases on metaphorical interpretation of the scriptures, when they are even talked about at all other than to quote Chicken Soup stories from.

In following this route, Mormonism is going right along with its Protestant siblings, seeking to find a way to justify non-rational faith in a world ruled by reason. It will work to some degree but to see where it will ultimately end up, just take a look at the mainline Protestant denominations like Methodists, Unitarians, or Lutherans.

They still have bigger numbers than the Mormons but they are in their death throes, thrusting about wildly, grasping at such silliness as liberation theology or “social justice” which have nothing at all to do with books written by ancient desert people. And their congregations know it, too, which is why they are leaving in droves for secularism. No one wants to worship a metaphor or hear stories about a people that vanished into thin air.

Eventually, far down the road as the church moves further and further into mainstreaming itself, I think you will see a splinter group just like what happened with the FLDS in the 20th century and the Restoration Branches in the 1980s. Tough to say how long all of this will take, especially when it’s difficult to see who will succeed Boyd Packer as the preeminent paleo-orthodox Mormon leader. Regardless of when it happens, I believe it will since people can only take the discarding of important beliefs at the hands of sneering people deriding you as a “fundamentalist.” It’s happening within the Anglican church now over homosexuality, one wonders what the dividing issue will be within Mormonism when that does happen. Luckily for whoever these future rebels are, today's mopologists will have done the work for them in demystifying the prophets.

I’m going to need some popcorn in any case.
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How Apologists Neuter Mormonism
Friday, Feb 18, 2005, at 08:04 AM
Original Author(s): Trixie
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Apologists neuter Mormonism by diluting the strength of the most basic element of Mormonism - continuing revelation. Due to their awareness of problematic past prophetic teachings - some of which occured over the pulpit, some of which occured in conjunction with "revelation" - they have been forced into a position that diminishes revelation. Revelation becomes a somewhat ambigious, flawed process, during which prophets may mistake their own ideas for God's.

A good example of this phenomenon is the Zelph incident. (the white Lamanite, whose bones JS found in, IIRC, Missouri) JS' statements concerning this "white Lamanite" are verified in at least six sources (using strict standards). JS made these statements after receiving a "revelation" on the matter.

Go try to have a conversation with apologists who support LGT (which they all do now-a-days) about Zelph. You will discover that their basic argument is that we don't really know which specific statements JS attributed to revelation. In essence, they are saying JS just shot off at the mouth after receiving a revelation, and added stuff he just made up to what God told him.

This seems to be the pattern for apologists in general. Bring up the priesthood ban, bring up past statements about race, bring up the prophets who taught the hemispheric model of the BoM, etc etc - it all becomes the same rationalization. Revelation, according to those who defend the church the most vociferously, is ambigious, and apparently easy to misinterpret, and prophets can't resist putting in their own two cents along with God's two cents.

Inevitably, the question occurs to me - then how can apologists justify viewing ANY prophetic teaching with authority? Of course, there is no answer to this question. I suspect they know it, I suspect, deep down, they realize the vulnerable position they've been forced to take.

to tell the truth, in a way I feel sorry for these guys. It's like a defense attorney trying to defend someone everyone but the accused's mother knows did the crime. Of course, OJ's team convinced 12 jurors, so we shouldn't be surprised that the apologists do succeed, at times, in convincing Mormons. The desire to BE convinced - both with OJ and Mormons - is a large factor in their success.
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This Description Of Apologist Struck Me Like A Lightening Bolt
Tuesday, Mar 8, 2005, at 10:37 AM
Original Author(s): Argar Largar
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
This is from Will Bagley's Blood of the Prophets (pages 330-331) describing the work of future apostle Charles Penrose and Apostle Franklin D. Richards to vindicate the Church against public sentiment that "the church practiced Blood Atonement and that Brigham Young had ordered the Mountain Meadows massacre."

"As Richard's diary indicates, LDS historians were not overly concerned with the facts of the case. By doctoring problematic evidence and ignoring records from the Utah War that contradicted [Brigham] Young's later sworn statements, they violated even the primitive historical standards of their time, but their success in assembling a credible defense of the dead prophet was a tribute to their skill. As deeply religious men, they felt they were doing the Lord's work. A simple *syllogism dominated the labor of these devout Mormon historians: Brigham Young was a prophet; prophets do not commit mass murder; therefore, Brigham Young was not responsible for the Mountain Meadows massacre. Their beliefs justified defending the great man's beleaguered reputation by any means necessary. Whatever their sins as historians, these men were devoted to defending the LDS church and resolving its most vexing historical problem, the grim legacy of Mountain Meadows."

*syllogism -- 1 : a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion (as in "every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore kindness is laudable") 2 : a subtle, specious, or crafty argument 3 : deductive reasoning

This statement had an immediate impact on me. If I was still TBM I would describe that moment as one of gaining pure intelligence and understanding. It hit me how TBMs and apologists think:

Joseph Smith was a prophet. Prophets do not make up revelations and visions. Therefore, all of Joseph Smith's revelations and visions were true.

Brigham Young was a prophet. Prophets do not have their critics attacked and killed. Therefore, Brigham Young did not have his critics attacked and killed.

Brigham Young was a prophet. Prophets do not obstruct justice by shielding the guilty. Therefore, Brigham Young did not obstruct justice.

Wilford Woodruff was a prophet. When prophets announce a revelation stopping all new polygamous marriages then the leaders and members of the church follow that revelation. Therefore, there was no new polygamous marriages after the Manifesto.

Gordon Hinckley is a prophet. Prophets speak with God. Therefore, Gordon Hinckley speaks with God.
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Inside The Minds Of LDS Apologists
Friday, Jul 22, 2005, at 09:15 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Inside the minds of LDS apologists - An examination of their tactics and thought patterns.

Formerly, the most visible Mormon apologetic efforts were found in FARMS Review Of Books, a print journal whose contributors were, for the most part, highly educated. With the advent of the Internet, however, defenders of the Mormon faith are much, much more common, and the amateurs can post their views just as easily--and as often--as the professionals.

Having interacted quite heavily with all varieties of Mormon apologists over the years, especially on Internet-based discussion boards, I have identified several key assumptions that dominate their thinking. This essay will help you "get inside their heads" so their defenses can be more easily anticipated. Their beliefs and assumptions are these:
  1. All sources which are favorable to the LDS church are true. All sources which are unfavorable to the LDS church are false.

    Author and historian D. Michael Quinn said it best: "Apologists extend the broadest possible latitude to sources they agree with, yet impose the most stringent demands on sources of information the apologists dislike" (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Revised and Expanded Edition. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998. p. 47). Like clockwork, any statement or document which makes the LDS church look good is automatically assumed to be 100% reliable, whereas any statement or document which makes the LDS church look bad is automatically assumed to be "biased" and "anti-Mormon," which in an apologist's mind immediately translates to "false." Amazingly, they never see their own double-standard, namely that pro-LDS sources are usually just as (if not more) "biased," only in the opposite direction.

    This may seem like an over-generalization, and Mormon apologists are sometimes quick to point that out, but it is, amazingly, true: If one asks an LDS apologist which statement hostile to Mormonism is true and reliable, they are unable to come up with a response.

  2. Anyone who disagrees--however slightly--with any aspect of Mormonism is automatically an anti-Mormon whose views can be dismissed out-of-hand.

    Once again, the apologists themselves routinely deny operating this way, but "the proof is in the pudding:" In actual practice, if someone voices his or her disagreement with any part of Mormonism, then his or her views are immediately discounted as being "anti-Mormon," no matter how many facts, sources, and documentation he or she uses to back up his or her statements.

    For example, LDS apologists usually dismiss the horrific accounts of polygamy found in the book Wife Number 19, since the author was a critic of Mormonism. This is in spite of the following three facts:

    1. The author was a former polygamous wife of Brigham Young,
    2. As such, she was often privvy to the goings-on at the highest levels of Mormonism, and
    3. All her formative years took place in early Utah when polygamy was at its height.

    Apologists routinely discount her as "a disgruntled former member with an axe to grind." Unfortunately for them, she wasn't born disgruntled. Pro-LDS people never admit that she had a number of extremely good reasons for becoming disgruntled in the first place.

    Interestingly, this assumption often spills over onto sincere Mormons who are having struggles with some part of their religion and who innocently ask questions in order to resolve their concerns. Apologists often assume that the questioner is a "troll," in this case an ex-Mormon trying to bait the apologists or otherwise set a trap for them. As a result of having been treated this way, more than one member has become convinced that LDS apologetics is intellectually bankrupt--along with the church itself--and left Mormonism entirely.

  3. Apologists are unable to distinguish between possibilities and probabilities.

    When they come up with defenses for their faith, LDS apologists and their sympathizers automatically assume that the scenario they've concocted, however unlikely, is "good enough" to provide Mormonism with an "out," at which point all criticism is dismissed. For example, when it comes to the Book of Abraham controversy, the characters written down the left margins of three of the four manuscripts prove that the recovered papyrii were indeed the source of the Book of Abraham and not any "missing black and red scroll." Yet some apologists say that the scribes went "maverick" and wrote the characters in the margins on their own without any input from Joseph. The fact is that Joseph was broken of his habit of loaning out scriptural manuscripts way back in 1828. The idea that he would let scribes "have their way" with such important documents may be an extremely remote possibility, but is not a probability by any means.

  4. If a scientist or anti-Mormon is wrong about one thing, it is safe to assume that he or she is wrong about everything.

    FARMS Review of Books was the pioneer of this apologetic tactic. Often, after sniping away at one minor quibble in a critical book, they discount everything in the entire volume and advise their readers to do likewise.

    This tactic has since gained great popularity and is used by LDS defenders of all stripes. For example, nowadays, if an article appears showing how some prior scientific assumption has turned out to be incorrect, apologists then "take the ball and run with it," making arguments which boil down to, "You see? Scientists are often wrong anyway. Therefore we can discount anything they say regarding the Lamanite/DNA issue." Yet they fail to recognize that although scientists may be wrong about some aspect of the DNA controversy, it hardly follows that they're entirely wrong on all aspects of it and that the Lamanites are, therefore, the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

  5. Apologists routinely accuse critics of "telling us what we believe." They follow up by saying, "We are the authorities on what we believe, not the critics."

    This line of thinking is more common among the less-educated apologists. This is because their ignorance of their own history has rendered them unable to recognize that their religion has changed and evolved over the years. Such apologists assume that the church they have come to know--three hours of church on Sunday, Boy Scount campouts, home teaching, Relief Society activity night, etc.--is the way Mormonism always was. Unfortunately, Mormonism in its early years had far more in common with the Branch Davidian compound than it does to Mormonism today.

    Defenders of Mormonism put this catch-phrase to good use when they need to deny or discount embarrassing statements from past prophets, especially Brigham Young. They fall into the trap of interpreting all previous prophetic pronouncements through the lenses of modern-day Mormonism as opposed to going by the plain-English meaning. For example, when responding to Brigham Young's teaching that Adam "is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do," apologists assume that it is utterly impossible that he meant exactly what he said.

    (Unknown to them, this sends the apologists on the slippery-slope of believing that their interpretation of the prophets' words--not the prophets' interpretations themselves--are correct. See my webpage on Internet Mormonism vs. Chapel Mormonism for a more in-depth exploration of this subject.)

  6. Apologists often respond to a challenge with the phrase, "that's been debunked countless times already."

    Although it is true that Mormon apologists have been active nearly as long as Mormonism has existed, it does not follow that all their attempts to refute their critics have succeeded. I am unaware of any objection to Mormonism that hasn't been addressed to some degree, but at the same time I am aware of very, very few such objections that have ever been addressed competently or believably. Pro-Mormons almost universally fail to recognize that there is a huge difference between an "adequate refutation" and a "lame excuse"--and pro-Mormons produce far, far more of the latter than they do the former. For example, when an anti-Mormon brings up Joseph Smith's marital infidelities, LDS defenders often claim that Joseph Smith was sealed to his already-married plural wives for eternity only--to provide salvation for them--and not for "time." This excuse hardly counts as a "debunking" and is, of course, much closer to a "lame excuse," since these women could just as easily have been sealed for eternity to their legal husbands as to Smith.

  7. All arguments are made in a vacuum.

    In other words, defenders of the LDS faith are inconsistent and do not apply their logic in one scenario to all scenarios. A good case is the horse/deer debate surrounding The Book of Mormon. Specifically, they sometimes claim that Book of Mormon peoples used the tapir as a pack and riding animal, but since Joseph Smith was unfamiliar with tapirs he used the name of the animal that filled the same role in his own society--the horse. However, apologists conveniently forget their own argument when it comes to the curelom/cummom debate. They say that Joseph used the original Nephite words because he didn't know the equivalent English names of these animals.

    (This methodology also extends outside of Mormonism. Specifically, apologists rarely, if ever, apply their defenses of Mormonism to other religions. For example, they nearly always extoll the "milk before meat" approach to potential LDS converts, but castigate the Scientologists for their pattern of withholding vital information from their own recruits.)
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Why Xtian Apologetics Are Just Like Mormon Apologetics
Tuesday, Aug 9, 2005, at 09:54 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Because they both use their own documents to justify their mythologies.

Farkle wrote a Calculus Crusaderesqe rebuttal to The resurrection has not been "debunked" thread of 5thGenMo--No6thComing with a clever "Sorry, bumpkin, but you are wrong" and a link to one of the lamest, yet cloyingly quoted, xtian apologetics discourse on Tacitus with such amazing rebuttals as "so what?[sic]" and "but it is impossible to know for certain" which is the last lame refuge of xtian (and mormon) apologetics.

In other words, "Because you can't prove our undocumented assertions wrong, they might be right and should receive the same credibilty as facts."

Sorry Farkle although your responses are terse like CC they are just as useless.
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Benjamin Winchester: Ex-Mormon Hero
Monday, Aug 29, 2005, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
A thread on this BB (Ex-Mormon Recovery Group) a couple of weeks ago asked about former LDS apologists who had decided that the church was false, and had left it and gone over to the "anti-Mormon" side. One of the most remarkable examples of that category was Benjamin Winchester, who joined the church in his teens, was an intimate acquaintance of Joseph Smith for many years, and authored apologetic and doctrinal works which were on the same level of those of Parley and Orson Pratt. For details, go to Dale Broadhurst's website at:

http://sidneyrigdon.com/Classics1.htm

Scroll down to Winchester's name to browse his 1840's apologetic productions. Many years after he left the church, Winchester gave two interviews which contain information that is vital to understanding early Mormonism and the true character of Joseph Smith. Winchester's remarks came back to my mind this morning, when I read Van Hale's latest remarks from his radio show, transcribed by Nightingale, wherein he defended polygamy as a holy practice which served a noble social purpose, and defended Joseph Smith's character on the issue. Winchester's recollections of Smith's character are strikingly different from the sanitized, deified image that modern Mormons have been spoon-fed by the church. And of course, apologists like Hale will predictably dismiss Winchester's remarks as the bitter lies of an angry apostate.

Anyhoo, here are a few of Winchester's recollections, for those who don't want to read the entire articles. As I read them, my biggest thought was how similar Winchester's experiences and feelings were upon learning of the fraudulence of the church to those of many of us Ex-Mormons here more than a century later. Enjoy.

From the Winchester interview titled "Primitive Mormonism" at

http://www.lavazone2.com/dbroadhu/UT/...

"When I returned to Kirtland the temple was nearly completed, and during that winter -- 1835 and 1836 -- its dedication occurred. That ceremony ended in a drunken frolic -- one of the worst I ever saw. Joseph Smith BECAME BEASTLY INTOXICATED And his father and brother, Hyrum, begged that the wine should be taken away, so that the carousal might be stopped as soon as possible. I did not know Joseph to be what is termed a 'common sot,' but that was not the last time I saw him intoxicated."

"After that dedication the Mormons organized what they termed 'the school of prophets.' A revelation prior to that time had given Oliver Cowdery the privilege of nominating the twelve apostles of the Church. About the time of this organization there was a good deal of scandal prevalent among a number of the Saints concerning Joseph's licentious conduct, this more especially among the women. Joseph's name was then connected with scandalous relations with two or three families. Apparently to counteract this he came out and made a statement in the Temple, before a general congregation that he was authorized by God Almighty to establish His Kingdom -- that he was God's prophet and God's agent, and that he could do whatever he should choose to do, therefore the Church had NO RIGHT TO CALL INTO QUESTION Anything he did, or to censure him, for the reason that he was responsible to God Almighty only. This promulgation created a great sensation -- a schism occurred and a large portion of the first membership, including the best talent of the Church, at once withdrew from it. This was during the summer of 1836."

"In the winter of 1839 and 1840 Smith, in company with Rigdon and with Porter Rockwell, acting as a sort of body guard, FLED FROM THE OFFICIALS That were after them, acting for the State of Ohio, on the charge of criminal practice at Kirtland, and they came to Philadelphia where I was stationed and where I was stake president. There they remained with me in the best degree of secrecy that could be maintained. Smith and I slept in the same bed and Porter Rockwell occupied a bed near the foot of our couch in the capacity of a body guard for the "prophet." It was there and at that time that I had a good opportunity to study the character of the "prophet." It then began to be apparent to me that he was tyrannical by nature, a libertine, in short a gross, sensual, corrupt man, but I was then still young and hopeful and it remained for events in a few brief years thereafter to fully open my eyes to the gigantic delusion I had been drawn into."

"It was a subject of common talk among many good people in Nauvoo that many of the elders were sent off on missions merely to get them out of the way, and that Joseph Smith, John C. Bennett and other prominent Church lights had illicit intercourse with the wives of a number of the missionaries, and that the revelation on spiritual marriage, i.e. polygamy, was gotten up to protect themselves from scandal."

"Joseph was very bitter in some of his public discourses relative to the talk among people about his lewdness, especially the women gossipers. On one occasion he said these women deserved to be threshed. One of the brethren, Badlam by name, took his suggestion in a literal sense: he went home from the meeting and gave his wife a severe whipping, which circumstance became the talk of the town."

"He was possessed with an inordinate degree of vanity and was quite susceptible to flattery. He was a perfect adept in the use of abusive and obscene language."

From Winchester's "final testimony" at

http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/1...

"What kind of man was Smith?"

"I have entertained him for a month at a time while we lived in Philadelphia, while he was hiding from a mob. There was not a particle of true religion in him. His talk was never about anything pure or elevating. He liked to talk about be[ing] a great general or leader, and commanding people, and getting before the public. He could not reason on anything. He was well versed in Billingsgate vocabulary. Well versed in blackguard language for his evidences. He liked to use slang and cutting remarks on his persecutors. He loved to give orders to the church and to show authority. As a boy he was wild and curious. His mother and father expected great things of him. He carried what he called a 'Peep stone' through which he claimed to see hidden treasure and etc. This is what he afterwards called his 'Urim and Thummem.' Finally he took the notion to get up a book. Then he claimed to have made the discovery of the plates. Then he got Cowdery, Harris and Whitmer into it."

"Why did you join his church knowing all these things?"

"I was just 15 when I joined it, so as I was young, I was led into it, not seeing any more truth any where else. There were not over 150 members when I joined it. I kept educating myself. I often saw Smith's bad conduct but they admonished me to keep on. They pointed out to me just as bad things in other churches. They pointed to the men of the bible, how wicked many of them were, and how oppressive they were; yet that God approved of them -- so I kept on and thought it was all right.

"They showed me how God 'took the weak things to confound the wise' and etc. After Smith died I left them and have had nothing to do with them since, though I had written much in their defense."

"Was Smith prayerful?"

"No. He often stopped at my house and though I have asked him to say grace at the table or to offer family prayers he always refused. There was not a particle of piety in him. He never wanted to talk on piety or any thing religious or on piety, but always on some ideas of greatness, etc."

"Smith was a perfect libertine. Women got to running after him because they believed him to be a prophet. The whole church is a rotten concern."

"A Professor of the Electic college of Cincinnatti got to running around with Smith. His name was John C. Bennet. They ran with other men's wives so much that much trouble arose over it. Then Bennet got up this revelation on polygamy, which was a fraud, to cover their perfidy. He got out of Nauvoo before Smith's assassination, but he and Smith had a "big time" before that."
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When Apologists Use The "He Was Only Speaking As A Man" Excuse, Why Do We Argue With Them?
Friday, Sep 9, 2005, at 07:01 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
When apologists use this excuse they are actually agreeing with us. We also believe prophets only speak as men, and what they say is just their opinion. The difference is we believe EVERYTHING a prophet says is just his opinion, while apologists believe only the embarassing, outdated, and contradictory stuff the prophet says is his opinion. The occasional good advice that comes from the pulpit is the real word of God. (Apparently prophets can't come up with any good ideas on their own) So instead of arguing with apologists when they sputter "But he was only speaking as a man, it doesn't count beccause it was just his opinion," we need to reinforce this belief because it is where apologists and critics find common ground. Our goal should be to move them further along this line of thinking from "Sometimes a prophet speaks as a man" to "The prophet always speaks as a man."

-

It would be interesting to see Bro. Brigham's reaction to the current LDS church's teachings regarding his time as prophet. I think he would have a coronary. Or worse, try to start his own break-off church of LDS.

I think it is an axiom that all men speak from their own opinions and experiences. I don't care who they are.

-

You make a good point. I think the reason I've always rebutted the "speaking as a man" concept is the duplicity - on those few occasions when Joe or his successors got it right, they were definitely "prophets of God", "proving the Church is true", etc. When they get it wrong, the faithful fall back on the "speaking as a man" crutch.

It is intellectually dishonest to try to have it both ways. Oh, yeah. When has intellectual honesty ever been a priority with the morg?

-

Morgbots will agree that prophets "can" speak as men and express their own opinions. When that happens the world is free to disregard their deep and profound comments.

But the problem is that the test for this manly pronouncment is found in Moroni 10:5..."And by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things."

They want everyone to believe that we can know when prophets are speaking as profits and when they're speaking as prophets. So, the bogus thing is the phony promise in Moroni...and yes, they're always speaking as men.
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Something I've Never Understood About Mormon Apologists, Please Explain
Wednesday, Dec 14, 2005, at 11:05 AM
Original Author(s): Skeptical
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I have always wondered why Mormon apologists even exist. Nearly universally, they all seem to follow a general pattern of stretching any evidence beyond recognition to fit the Book of Mormon (or Pearl of Great Price). But they conclude by stating that there is no need for physical proof of the divinity of the Book of Mormon because its divinity can only be confirmed spiritually.

That is where I scratch my head. If the divinity of the Book of Mormon can only be proved spiritually, then why are they wasting such time, effort and brain cells? Why even defend Mormonism from an intellectual stand point? They could and should just post a huge sign that says: "Just Pray". It seems that any approach to justify faith with material evidence is a slap in the face and a severe contradiction to the very religion they are attempting to defend.

I was never a Mormon apologist like some who post here were or are. Would you explain to me why Mormon apologist even exist if all truth is known spiritually.
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The Five Skills Of An LDS Apologist
Friday, Feb 3, 2006, at 08:44 AM
Original Author(s): Stever
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
1) Editorialize and label the criticism as "garbage," point out that it is so foul that it would be undignified to even credit such a rank assault with an answer. Enlarge on how non Christ-like the author is, and thus declare victory in the debate.

2) Explain how nothing can be absolutely "proved" by evidence anyway, and besides the evidence is based on unacceptable assumptions and is therefore tenuous, and ultimately it is all a matter of faith. And remind the critic that the lack of evidence does not prove that something DID NOT exist. Declare the criticism refuted once and for all.

3) Carry-on as if the current criticism is exactly like past criticisms and therefore can be automatically discredited because the past ones are no longer published, presumably because they were all refuted (therefore the current criticism is ultimately invalid because it too will someday be disproved).

4) When confronted with an argument, suggest that if the same category of criticism were used against the critic's religion that it would destroy all his basis for religious faith. Use this tactic to show the critic that his criticism is worthless because he is using a DOUBLE STANDARD.

Start out by insisting that incomplete information is the same as NO information, and with NO information there is no such thing as contradictory information.

Point-out that the critic is relying on "non-comprehensive" bodies of information to support his doctrinal positions and therefore does not have real proof to support his views either. Also insist that non-comprehensive information is not enough to discriminate between consistent and contradictory information.

Lastly behave as if the LDS "no evidence" situation and Christianity's "non-comprehensive evidence" are the same thing because neither provides absolute proof of anything.

Declare the critic a hypocrite and a fool for playing with such dangerous kinds of information, and you have won the argument!

5) Provide a snow job of correct sounding, but distantly related trivia that are really irrelevant to the critical issue.

Declare victory once and forevermore, based on the sheer volume of your regurgitation.
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Recovery From Mormonism Is Satan's List? Not According To Mormon Doctrine
Friday, Feb 10, 2006, at 10:40 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Which states that Satan is the "father of lies."

It is Mormon leaders and apologists who routinely lie about points of doctrine, history, scientific findings, etc. In fact, the tradition of "lying for the Lord" began in Joseph Smith's day. Smith himself lied on a regular basis, and his faithful followers were taught that it was no sin to lie in order to support the church or the prophet.

Church apologists routinely lie and/or misstate/misrepresent facts, or make false naked assertions in their defenses of the church. We here at RFM document those lies of church apologists on almost a daily basis.

The RFM poster "Bull's" TBM father's remarks about radiocarbon dating and evolution are a good example of a false naked assertion.

Another example: A couple of days ago, a poster here provided a link to Mopologist Jeff Lindsay's blog. I went there and read a few posts. I didn't get more than a few sentences until I saw that the TBM posters were still using the same incorrect and outdated arguments which have been refuted long ago. One example was a TBM's defense of no horse evidence in Pre-Columbian America by asserting that there is no evidence of Hun horse remains in Europe, either, so in his mind, that excused the call for horse evidence in the Americas. I responded to that argument on ARM several years ago:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.re...

I assume that the TBM who wrote the argument on Lindsay's blog borrowed it from whatever Mopologist came up with it, rather than researching the issue for himself first before ignorantly repeating the argument. This is one of the most common forms of lying in Mormon apologetics: one apologist concocts a false assertion, and it is ignorantly repeated by many other TBMs who trust in the apologists because he's a "good member of the church" and an alleged scholar/authority on a subject. I've seen TBMs quote similar inanities from apologists such as Hugh Nibley countless times, and ofttimes they are assertions which can be easily refuted with only a few minutes of research or some independent logical thought.

This kind of reliance on "trusted" Mormons is exactly how Mark Hofmann was able to fool the church's highest leaders. They believed in Hofmann's lies because initially, Hofmann was producing items which supported the historicity of the church's miraculous origins, and was thus what the leaders wanted to hear. Although Hofmann's lies were exposed (but not by any "inspired" church leaders,) TBMs are STILL prone to believing in whatever false assertions that "trusted" scholars/apologists make, without bothering to check it out first for themselves.

IMO, this culture is why Mormon apologetics can be accurately described as "the father of lies," and thus Mormon apologetics, according to LDS doctrine, are Satanic in nature.
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The Mopologists' Responses Do Not Contain Any Positive Evidence For The Book Of Mormon's Authenticity In Any Way
Monday, Feb 20, 2006, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
In all of these discussions about the BOM/DNA issues, let's keep in mind that the Mopologists' responses do not contain any positive evidence for the BOM's authenticity in any way. Rather, they are merely excuses for *lack* of evidence. They are futile, juvenile attempts to explain away why we can't find a single physical artifact which would show that a population of hundreds of thousands of Hebrew-descended, horse-domesticating, chariot-riding, metal-tool-and-weaponry-using, Christian-worshipping people existed somewhere in the Americas only 1600 years ago.

Can't find any Hebrew/Semitic DNA amongst Amerinds? Why, it was all washed away by interbreeding with other groups.

So, who are the "Lamanites" today?

Why, they are the Amerinds, who while not being actual blood descendants of the BOM's "Lamanites," are in fact descendants of the Asian-origin Amerinds who were incorporated into the "Lamanite" tribes, so we just call them "Lamanites" too, as a tribal distinction, not as a blood relation affiliation.

Can't find any horse remains? Why, they were actually deer or tapir, so we shouldn't expect to find any horse remains. Alternate excuse: We can't find any remains of Hunnic horses in Europe either. Alternate excuse No. 2: All the BOM horses were killed off at the battle of Cumorah, and since we haven't yet found the location of Cumorah, we shouldn't expect to find the horse remains either.

Can't find any steel swords? Why, "steel swords" could have actually meant "wooden clubs with sharp stones attached which could cut like a sword."

Can't find any "Nephite" cities? Why, they were all built over by the predominant Asian-descended people. Alternate excuse: Archaelogists haven't overturned every square mile of Mesoamerica yet, so Nephite cities could yet be discovered. Just because they haven't been found, doesn't mean they didn't exist.

Can't find ANY EVIDENCE FOR THE BOM'S AUTHENTICITY WHATSOEVER? Why, the Lord expects us to believe in the BOM on faith, not by physical evidence. (Duhhh, so why do the Mopologists continue to push their spurious "evidences", and why does the church continue to finance FARMS?)

The bottom line here being that NOT ONE OF THE MOPOLOGIST'S ARGUMENTS COMPRISE ANY ACTUAL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE BOM'S AUTHENTICITY. They are merely obfuscatory excuses for *lack* of evidence. They are similar in nature to O. J. Simpson's lawyers assertions that some unknown, unidentified "real killers" are out there who committed the crimes---while not providing one iota of evidence to support that naked assertion.

For those of you who debate these issues with TBMs: When they repeat these lame excuses, I suggest that you point it out to them that none of what they are saying amounts to any positive evidence for the BOM's authenticity---and that any advocate of any belief system (or other items such as UFOs, Bigfoot, etc.) can and do respond with the same type excuses that Mopologists use, and are no more credible. Tell them that when they can provide some positive evidence to support their assertions, you will begin giving them some credibility.
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How Did Mormonism's Simple So-Called Truths Get So Difficult To Explain That They Need Apologists And Scholars With Initials After Their Names To Explain It?
Monday, Mar 6, 2006, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
What is wrong with that picture?
Either the claims of Mormonism are true or they are not.

From Gordon B Hinckley
Official statements from General Conference. There are older similar quotes, however,the power of the statement cannot be rejected because he is from the current living prophet/president.

"Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley. "Loyalty
April Conference, 2003.

What is the point of writing 1000 words on how to comb a tapir's eyelash pretending it is what Joseph Smith Jr meant when he said: horses!

Why can't intelligent, educated, scholarly TBM's get down to the simple facts. Why would these TBM's think it is credible to make up such silly nonsense (create possible geography, archeology, etc.) about the BOM and BOA for instance?

Mormonism is supposed to be easily understand, even by a child.

If it takes a PHD to explain it, or defend it, there is something amiss!

Please...more common sense people! Of course, if it was so common more people would have it!

We have easy access to information that easily debunks Mormonism. It is so simple, even a child could do it! :-)

Perhaps some TBM's just won't give up on the idea that they could be incorrect, and don't know they can change their mind and save face.

Or maybe it is more about money, salaries, income, social standing, employment, careers, loosing family, loved ones who don't understand the 11th Article of Faith or the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

Maybe it is too expensive to admit that Mormonism is a hoax, sham, fraud from the get go.

I am sure most of us paid a big price at the hands of TBM's and only TBM's. Hopefully it was worth it. It was for me!

Simple claims are easily debunked with simple information!


It is up to us to teach the TBM's how to treat us and keep teaching them!
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Follow The Living Apologists
Monday, Mar 20, 2006, at 07:09 AM
Original Author(s): Prokrusteez
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I noticed that Mormon apologists make sure to distance themselves from the church by clearly stating that their screeds are not to be taken as the MORG's official positions. So let me see if I get this right, the COB takes a bunch of tithing money and pays people to deliberately produce unofficial church positions that "may" be helpful and informative. If I'm looking for something definitive, how informative and helpful are they really if the MORG won't claim or bless their work as official.

It looks to me like FARMS should really be more like the 4-H club or some other type of narrow interest group that has to hold fundraisers to keep themselves going. How about a Pancake Dinner or Car-Wash or Bake Sale or better yet, how about rounding up all the priesthood holders in the FARM building and heading over to the local sperm bank to see what their DNA is worth?

I grew up believing that I was to follow the living prophets and prophets are the only ones holding the authority to interpret scripture, proclaim doctrine and interpret what past prophets meant and/or what current prophets mean.

What would happen if we eliminated the layer of apologetics and solely focused on the words of the dead and/or living prophets?
  1. You get unsolvable conundrum of "speaking as a prophet" v. "speaking as a man"
  2. You get extraordinary contradictions amongst the Q15 over time. Who needs the LGT when you got JofD (which really aren't contradictions at all if deeply understood and understood in the proper context)
  3. You get a loose cannon like McConkie who makes an utter ass of himself by making ridiculous claims and predictions while writing as half man-half prophet and it's your job to divine which one is speaking. So a talk entitled "The Seven Deadly Heresies" is really nothing but a take it-or-leave it tirade.
  4. You get "the couplet" doctrine and the doctrine of "we don't teach that anymore". Once again you must understand at a more mature and sophisticated level of meaning and nuance, and understand it in the correct context and once done, "JS loves Fanny" is No Problemo!
  5. You get one confusing, impossible to follow doctrinal cluster that makes your head spin. (Kind of like the expression on Austin Power's face when he is introduced to the Italian Bird named Alotta Vagina)
I think the church should save some money by outsourcing its apologetics product line to the lowest bidder. All you need is someone who can type the following in response to just about any criticism levied against the church:
  • You've mischaracterized my position, but that doesn't matter because I was right and you were wrong before you ever mischaracterized my position
  • You simply don't get it and you never will get it because you lack the ability to penetrate the deeper meaning of Godly things and you fail to appreciate the proper context in which seemingly disturbing things were said or done.
  • Don't waste your time because here at FARMS we win them all, and that's before the game is ever played. We Guarantee It!
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The Heart Of An Apologist
Monday, Mar 27, 2006, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I admit it. I've been lurking on FAIR recently, even though I promised myself I wouldn't go back there (at least I haven't posted). And no, this thread is not about the FAIR boards.

Many of you know I used to be an amateur apologist (at one time #3 on the list of all-time posters on that other board). I'm still coming to grips with who and what I was back then. A lot of people accuse apologists of dishonesty and sort a mercenary approach to the church, as they have too much invested to look at things honestly.

This assertion is true to some extent, but I don't believe that for most of them, it's a conscious deception.

Mormon apologists tend to spout some serious absurdities (all with a straight face) and then attack when you point out the absurdity of their statements. The other day, someone was ridiculed for suggesting that the repeated mention of preparing horses and chariots for the king's travel meant that actual horses and chariots were used. Nope, they used an indeterminate animal to pull sledges, obviously.

But they really have to do this, don't they? The text of the Book of Mormon is absurd in itself, full of anachronisms and plagiarisms--obvious ones. Yet Mormons approach the text with one conclusion: it's true. They have had the spiritual witness or whatever that convinces them it's true. And might I add that most people who get such a witness haven't read the text all that carefully. The textual issues come later when they actually read carefully and begin to see what is actually there. I'm reminded of William Barrett's famous statement that he was glad he received a testimony of the Book of Mormon before he was made aware of the "so-called facts."

So, where does one go when faced with a problematic text that is a priori "true"? That's where apologetics comes in. Some people try to find textual or archeological "evidence" for the book, though it's not really evidence in the way most people understand the word. They look for parallels and hints among all the red flags, such as asserting that the description of father-and-son regional kingships places the Book of Mormon in a Mesoamerican setting. Of course, this is the equivalent of saying that the wizard's use of a hot-air balloon places the Wizard of Oz in an early 20th-century context and thus validates it as a historical text.

Others, probably realizing the futility of this approach, go for the "explain it away" method. In this approach, the text isn't really as representative as it seems and instead indicates problems with translation and vocabulary. Thus, we wave away horses by saying they're not really horses; steel isn't steel; silk isn't silk; and Galilee beyond the Red Sea isn't really Galilee.

The extreme form of this kind of apologist is the "postmodernist," who argues for a non-literal reading of the text, as a text is really a series of signs chosen from other signs. Meaning is invested in the reading process, so we don't need to worry about whether there actually were horses or chariots or even Nephites. "Truth," such as it is, is not located in a text, literal or otherwise, and anyone who believes that the Book of Mormon actually represents any form of reality is some kind of hyperliteral "fundamentalist." I used that very argument several times myself.

Of course, a self-proclaimed postmodern Mormon once told me that her approach comes from what I described above: she knows through spiritual experience that the book is true, and the postmodern approach is the only one that is compatible with that spiritual witness.

That's what I think is the heart of apologetics. They start with that premise (it's true) and then find an approach, any approach, that works, no matter how strained. They don't think they are being dishonest at all; they are just making the text work for them. The alternative isn't very pretty in their view.

How does one get through to an apologist, then? For me, the key was understanding that I was trying to force the facts to fit a predetermined reality, and yet the facts simply wouldn't go there. I was forced to choose between subjective "spiritual experience" and verifiable fact. I chose the latter. And others are doing it, too. I read on Saturday of someone I had known on FAIR as an apologist (though he took a lot of grief for calling for financial transparency in the church) has now declared his understanding that the church really isn't based on truth, though he says he believes in it on his own terms. I've met people from a.r.m. and FAIR who have been through the same process.

I don't fault people for being true to their spiritual feelings. That's what we were taught to do. But I understand the costs of doing so.

http://onlyaball.blogspot.com
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Joseph Can Do No Wrong
Thursday, Aug 17, 2006, at 12:25 PM
Original Author(s): Jeff_ricks
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Here's an excerpt from a description of a new biography about Joseph Smith by Dan Vogel. The mental compartmentalization required to think and write such stuff is astounding!

Quote:
"Over time, Joseph became aware that people trusted him and that he could be an influence for good or ill, that even through nefarious means, God worked through him when his heart was right. He realized this when he led groups in search of Spanish treasure in New York and Pennsylvania. Although no treasure was found, the men sincerely believed that Smith had a spiritual gift and could see where casks of gold were hidden in the earth. This training ground in spiritual leadership was invaluable because the prophet learned how to create an environment for belief - one in which people could exercise faith and be converted to Christ through the sensible influence of the Spirit, all prior to the overarching work of restoring primitive Christianity."
The entire description is found at this link:

http://www.signaturebooks.com/JosephS...

Some of the description I agree with: specifically, "nefarious means" and "training ground." Joseph's conning of people in order to get their money through "nefarious means" was dishonest, deceptive and immoral. There is no honest way to twist it into a good thing, and especially as something that "God" gave his nod to. Webster defines nefarious as "flagrantly wicked or impious." I'll buy that. And the training ground Vogel (or whomever wrote the book description) speaks of was essentially a training ground for Joseph to learn the art of conning, which was a stepping stone for the young conman to enter the lucrative business of conning people out of their money in exchange for a ticket to heaven. Maybe Joseph at times actually believed he was a prophet, and maybe David Koresh did too. In my opinion, the answer to both is yes, they did. But self deception, especially when coupled with nefarious means and abuse of power, does not in any way shape or form make what Joseph Smith did right.
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Latest Round From Apologists On Human Genetics -Vs- Lamanites
Friday, Aug 25, 2006, at 07:03 AM
Original Author(s): Alex71va
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I've discovered that the following articles are now being used by apologists on the FAIR boards to defend their faith. In fact one poster wrote: ".... I think Stewart [an apologist who addressed this issue at a FAIR conference] nailed the coffin shut is because the countermos are already about five articles behind in the responses to their pseudo-DNA science." So I decided to go read these articles fully.

http://www.familytreedna.com/pdf/Beha...

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/...9

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/qu...

http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/con...

http://www.familytreedna.com/pdf/Hamm...

I find this assertion made on FAIR about these articles absolutely ridiculous because the theses of these articles clearly don't support the Book of Mormon story as I've understood it. Here's my understanding of what's been taught and if I've erred then please correct me.

Jared and his brother are saved from the confounding of languages near Babel shortly after the great worldwide flood and then led by God to a promised land that's given to them if they'll be good. Eventually they become very bad and almost extinct. The remnants repent and eventually multiply/replenish into millions. Eventually they become bad too and a prophet named Ether warns they'll become extinct if they don't repent. They don't repent and they have a great war that eventually ends in just their leaders Coriantumr and Shiz remaining and Coriantumr wins after he chops off Shiz's head. As Ether prophesied the now empty of people land would be given to another people for their inheritance. This occurs around 2600 years before the present day when 2 groups of Hebrews (Lehi, Mulek) come to the Americas and the promise is made to Lehi that this land will be preserved for his seed if they're righteous. Lehi's son Nephi sees a vision of his future people and their wars/dissentions and good/bad. In this vision heforetells on how the knowledge of this land is kept hidden from all other nations until the time of Christopher Columbus (i.e. 1492). The final Book of Mormon prophet Moroni and others eventually visit Joseph Smith in the 1820s onward and help give him plenty of historical context information.

If I've erred then I'll correct myself. I'm just always going to look at this issue in its full context PERIOD and let the chips fall wherever they may. I honestly don't see that attitude from the apologists. They pick/choose what they'll look at, particularly when it comes to the writings of their own prophets.
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The LDS Church Tracks 6,500 Anti-LDS Websites
Saturday, Dec 23, 2006, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Recently BYU put up an article entitled "Create a Business Plan to Help LDS Church". It was at this location http://ceo.byu.edu/create-a-business-.... After the Ex-Mormon community found it and exposed it, it was immediately replaced with "Repentance" talks given by Neal A. Maxwell.

Some interesting points in this document:
  • The LDS Church tracks about 6,500 anti-LDS Web sites
  • Potential converts are abandoning the missionaries once they consult the Internet for more information.
  • We cannot drive the enemies of the Church off the Internet, but we can displace their prominent positions.
  • millions of people are not Christians, but need Christ introduced to them.
  • The project is to use the Internet to 1) drive down the enemies of the Church off prominent search pages, and 2) use the Internet as a missionary tool.
  • The business plan will be placed in front of major potential donors.
I find it quite interesting that the LDS Church tracks 6,500 Anti-LDS web sites. Where do they find the time? Do they have hundreds of senior missionaries clicking away at websites and printing off thousands of reams of paper?

This whole document stinks of Allen Wyatt. And wherever you find Allen Wyatt, you find Daniel C. Peterson.

Basically what Allen Wyatt is doing is registering thousands of website URLS and re-directing them to his new More Good Foundation.

Here is the document posted on the BYU website before it was quickly taken down:
Create a Business Plan to Help LDS Church

“Our foundation needs help to create a business plan or fundraising. The project is to use the Internet to 1) drive down the enemies of the Church off prominent search pages, and 2) use the Internet as a missionary tool. The business plan will be placed in front of major potential donors. Here is an overview of the project and request. Thanks for your help.”

"...needs help...fundraising...Thanks for your help." This sounds like a scam to blike naive TBMs???

Larry Barkdull, president
Latter-day Foundation for the Arts, Education and Humanity
(801)427-2193
lwb224 AT msn.com Who and what is Larry B. other than Pres of this foundation??

The Latter-day Foundation for the Arts, Education and Humanity was formed in 1990 to help promote LDS arts and artists. Later, its purpose was expanded to assist with educational and humanitarian efforts. Recently, the foundation has become actively involved with Internet missionary initiatives to (1) drive down Church enemies from prominent search engine positions and (2) teach the gospel of Jesus Christ via the Internet. Our initiative is called “Flooding the Internet with Truth.”

How successful was/is this group in their initial endeavor re "arts and artists"?
Introduction

A recent “conservative” advice columnist on MSN.com recommended premarital sex to a young virgin: “If you are sure you are in a long-term relationship, why not?” Must have been a no-news-day?
A missionary in England reported his “golden” contact excitedly consulting the Internet about Mormons after the first discussion. The investigator found a mountain of anti-Mormon material and immediately cancelled all future appointments with the missionaries. Fool's gold?

Need

At present, the Internet has few conservative, moral voices that are willing to combat immorality and anti-Mormon sentiments. The LDS Church tracks about 6,500 anti-LDS Web sites in the English language, whose content dominates search results. Thousands more dominate search engine positions in other languages. Potential converts are abandoning the missionaries once they consult the Internet for more information. (Emphasis added.) Only vast quantities of positive material, correctly optimized, can resolve this problem. We cannot drive the enemies of the Church off the Internet, but we can displace their prominent positions. Moreover, millions of people are not Christians, but need Christ introduced to them. Much of the present information about Christ on the Internet is either embarrassing or inaccurate. Finally, as the world grows increasingly more dangerous, middle- and upper-class people are retreating to gated communities, places that are difficult for missionaries to enter. How can we reach these people? Through their computers.

And make LDSism look more absurd than ever! Might the world be getting smarter? A natural barrier to misinformation, superstition and quackery!

We need a network of conservative information that:
• Points readers to moral, Christian principles There are thousands doing that at the moment!
• Offers clear-cut information on LDS members and their doctrines Is Christianism or Mormonism the focus?
• Scientifically presents material in a way that displaces immoral and anti-LDS material on search engines.

"Scientifically...in a way..." Really? Truth distortion, brain washing, spinning, subliminal flashes??

Solution

During the last three years, we have worked with Church departments and potential content providers to identify the problem and construct a solution strategy. We work closely with the More Good Foundation to gather information about in-danger keyword searches, which tells us where content needs to be placed, and how it should be optimized and published. We have created two initial Web sites, and we are in the process of creating a network of gospel-oriented sites.

What "Church depts andamp; ...content providers"? "...gospel-oriented sites? More sites to frequent for us, eh?
Projected results

We took random samples of mainstay Christian and LDS terms and researched their monthly searches. The resulting audience was enormous–over 4 million. We can apply the same tools and science that professional e-commerce sites incorporate to make money and use them to defend the Church and teach the gospel. We believe we can reach millions of people. Our call to action is (1) ask for a free copy of the Book of Mormon, (2) order free Church materials (DVDs, pamphlets, etc.), and (3) request the missionaries. Busy work? How productive? How profitable for the "Foundation"?

We interviewed former mission presidents about convert-to-missionary contact ratios. The results were these: basically 30,000 companionships will each contact about 100 people per month or 3 million people. Of that number, 25,000 people are baptized each month–less than 1% of the number contacted. Interesting stats. If true they certainly beg many questions and much analysis! Our goal is to publish vast amounts of positive content and place it strategically where millions of monthly searches–“contacts”–can occur. An interesting mathematical exercise (using industry standards for Internet readership “captures” as compared to convert-to-missionary contact ratios) suggests that the Internet can greatly increase positive awareness of the Church and become an incredible missionary tool. And too, it can and will be more negative than positive. Net folks are generally better educated--ask questions, want 'answers' not "testimonies"
Sounds like an "Edsel" to me. To be taken seriously? Hardly!
Allen and Daniel - do whatever you think it will take - to defend your cult. People are easily confused - but not stupid. And in time, your little games will be discovered, exposed and you will hurt your cause far more than you will help it. And the reason is simple: What you are doing is exactly what the LDS Church does. Deceive. Omit. Twist. Hide. Whitewash. Bury. In the words of Robert Millet from BYU, "We aren't obligated to answer everybody's question".

In the end people will see the Mormon Church for what it really is: A Cult of Christianity created by a convicted criminal. And we will be there to answer the questions, to show them the real truth behind Mormonism - the truth that has not been buried or whitewashed or miss-quoted or conveniently omitted.

Allen Wyatt and Daniel C. Peterson's goal is to make sure people don't see the facts. Don't see there are multiple first vision accounts. Don't see the reality behind the Book of Abraham and the “lost papyrus”. Don't see that Joseph Smith married and had sex with teenagers. Don't show the extremely racist and anti-Semitic views of Brigham Young. In this regard I could go on for a very long time on the serious problems that plague the Mormon Church. These problems are exactly what Allen and Daniel do not want people to see because they know the truth hurts and hits the Mormon Church right where it hurts the most - in their pocketbooks.

Also realize this: Daniel C. Peterson is PAID to defend Mormonsim. He has a reason to claim the Cult is "True" : MONEY. Money drives this Corporation and Money drives Daniel C. Peterson.

Like I said before Allen and Daniel. Wherever you go on the Internet, I will be one step behind you watching, archiving and exposing. Keep up this kind of work you are doing - it helps our cause - not yours.
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"Spiritual Eye" Is How The Witnesses Recorded Their Experience. Joseph Smith Had Contrived Some Interesting Objects Though. Account By BH Roberts Is Here
Monday, Jan 22, 2007, at 06:43 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
All the discussion about golden plate,what was seen by whom...this is the record according to B H Roberts, with some of my conclusions abased on the many accounts.

It is my conclusion that it is logical to presume that Joseph Smith Jr could have had a prop of some kind for the golden plates, like the other items: Urim and Thumim and breastplate. Otherwise, it was more "spiritual eye" claims.

Nobody saw a thing in a box, or anywhere else. There is a compilation of all those that claim they saw the golden plates, they all differ in size, weight, etc. Interesting that nobody weighed or measured them!

If these were real ancient records (following on the heals of the Rosetta Stone discovery) it would be expected to see them under lock and key in a museum somewhere for everyone to see!

Of course, there were no golden plates. Joseph Smith was very handy at making up what he needed. There is a wonderful story of the Urim and Thumin also and the breastplate that Lucy, his mother recorded.

Here is some of the story from B H Roberts.

(Prior post)

As a Mormon did you know this is how the "Nephite Record" and "Urim and Thummin" were recorded in the Mormon Church history books?

This is info from a standard history book of the Mormon Church: " "A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts

VOL 1 "How the Book of Mormon was Obtained"

These books are in the LDS Data base on CD, also in their libraries (Ward/Stake/Institute of Religion)in the REFERENCE section.

I own the whole set in paperback which I purchased in the late 70s before they were discontinued.

A few notes: B H Roberts says that they were dressed "for riding" by taking the horse and spring wagon of Mr. Knight (some would call this stealing, as they did not ask permission of Mr. Knight who was a guest in his home) and went to the "hill Cumorah, and in he presence of Moroni obtained the Nephite record, the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim.

pg. 87, "Early the next morning, Mr. Knight discovered both his horse and wagon were gone, suspected some "rogue had stolen them. Lucy Smith volunteered no information as to Joseph having made use of the horse and wagon, but tried to pacify Mr. Knight with the idea that they were but temporarily out of the way."

When Joseph returned home, he took his mother aside and showed her the Urim and Thummim which he had evidently detached from the breast plate and concealed on his own person when depositing the plates...he seemed to have kept the instrument constantly about him after that time as by means of it he could at will be made aware of approaching danger to the record."

The next chapter is entitled: pg. 88 Other Psychics Than the Prophet "The fact was that Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra."

He had previously asked Lucy (his mother) very early in the morning if she had a chest with a lock and key but she could not locate one.

This is the reason Joseph pg. 86 "concealed them temporarily, in the woods some two or three miles distant. He found a fallen birch log that was much decayed .....carefully cutting the bark and removing sufficient of the decayed wood to admit ...the plates, ...they were deposited in the cavity, the bark drawn together again and as far as possible all signs of the log having been disturbed obliterated."

Pg 93 - "The Breastplate of Urim and Thummim

"It has been several times remarked that with the plates on which a brief history of the ancient American peoples was engrave, there was an ancient breast-plate to which, when the Prophet took possession of it, the Urim and Thummim were attached.

This breast-plate it appears the Prophet did not bring home with him when he brought the record. But a few days later, according to a statement by Lucy Smith, he came into the house from the field one afternoon and after remaining a a short time put on his "great coat" and left the house.

On his returning the mother was engaged in an upper room of the house preparing oilcloth for painting - it will be remembered that this was an art she has followed for some years. Joseph called to her and asked her to come down stairs. To this she answered she could not then leave her work, but Joseph insisted and she came downstairs and entered the room where he was whereupon he placed in her hands the Nephite breast plate herein alluded to.

'It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief,' she explains, 'so thin that I could feel it's proportions without any difficulty'. It was concave on one side, convex on the other and extended from the neck downwards as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size.

It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They dwere just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them). and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummin."

I highly recommend reading the B H Roberts books. They are filled with things you have never heard in church. The set comes with an Index, which in invaluable also.

It is no wonder these stories have been sanitized into faith promoting versions over the years. The real history is just too wild and crazy to believe! :-)

This was the kind of information that finally hit home. There was no way Joseph Smith Jr was telling the truth about anything. He made up his stories, visions, religion, and BOM fiction from the get-go and the best that could be said for him is that he created a faith-based hoax/scam that Brigham Young could use! These young men were on a path to create an isolated religion and hold their power close to the chest.

Thanks to the Brighamites, Mormonism is still alive and well today!
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I Just Figured Out Dungeons And Dragons!
Tuesday, Mar 27, 2007, at 09:52 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
When I was young during the 70's and 80's, DandD was very popular. Unfortunately (or 'fortunately' depending on your perspective) I was never invited to play. Nonetheless I was curious and would ask people to explain the game to me. The explanation given was always along the lines of a group getting together, making up stories, and rolling multi-sided dice to determine 'strength' or 'outcome' of certain events in the spun story. Having never understood fantasy or science fiction, this was a very foreign and un-interesting game.

Just now I'm flipping through the channels on the cable box and drop on BYU channel. The title of the program was, 'Doctrine' so I watched for a bit. Here were four, very obviously clean-cut men sitting around a table that appeared to be in a library discussing various text from the Doctrine and Covenants.

What struck me so bizarre was the implied reality that their interpretations depended on. They were spinning a web of explanation around a complete fantasy.

I FINALLY understand how Dungeons and Dragons is played!
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Thank You Maxwell Institute
Tuesday, Jul 31, 2007, at 07:29 AM
Original Author(s): Praydude
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I have read this article posted on the Maxwell Institute (Mormon Apologist Website) about the flood of Noah and some amazing discrepancies have appeared between the position of the author of this article and the position of the Mormon church.

This article has made the following assertions:
  1. The flood of Noah did not cover the whole earth, but rather a small part of it.
  2. The flood did not take place in the year/time frame that the scriptures say it did (ie-2000-3000BC) but rather many thousands of years before those times (ice age)
  3. We need to stop teaching the flood in the literal sense and rather think of the teachings the flood story illustrates.
Here is the link to the article:

http://www.sunstoneonline.com/magazin...

This article was striking to me because it directly contradicts all of the Sunday school and seminary lessons I had on this subject. It also contradicts the teachings of the modern apostle Bruce R. McConkie (Mormon Doctrine), and it contradicts the modern scriptures (Moses 7:38, Ether 13:2). So…what are Mormons supposed to believe – this article by Duane Jeffery (instructor at BYU)that was published on the church-sanctioned website of the Maxwell Institute, or the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets and apostles?

I am truly baffled that any longtime church member could see how the two teachings co-exist. It appears to me that it would require some big stretches of imagination in order to accept that both views are valid. Am I supposed to believe that if Bruce R were alive today he would totally agree with what this scholar posted on the Maxwell Institute website?

I have arrived at a simpler and more plausible answer; the “great flood” is fictional and the Modern prophets and apostles have lied to us.

Thank you, Maxwell Institute, for publishing this truly amazing article that clearly shows the apostles have lied to us.
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Juliann And Scott Gordon's "Blacklds.org" Website
Saturday, Oct 13, 2007, at 07:40 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I don't know how many here have had the opportunity to peruse this utter train wreck, but I highly recommend that you take a look:

http://www.blacklds.org

It contains all sorts of interesting nuggets, such as this statement from "Scotty Dog" Gordon himself:
Some have asked why someone who is obviously white would put together this Web site. Encouragement from Renee Olson and Marvin Perkins, along with a feeling that somebody needed to do it, motivated him in this endeavor. He is careful to pay attention to suggestions given to him by his advisors.
I find this last bit especially mysterious. Just who, I wonder, are his "advisors"? Is he receiving "audibles," as it were, from the Brethren, or other PR flacks in the COB?

In the section entitled "Testimonies," juliann and Scotty Dog were unwise enough to include this classic:
"I had an opportunity to really delve into and learn in-depth what the Church was all about....So, here I am. It hasn't been an easy process, but I've learned a lot about patience and forgiveness. A lot of people I've encountered insist on telling me this is a racist Church, but I say, 'Hey, there's racism everywhere in the world.
Ouch! Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? I would imagine that the owners of this site had to work pretty hard just to dig up enough quotes from Black LDS just to merit having a "Testimonies" section at all. (Of course there is the de rigueur quote from Gladys Knight.) But the above quote, it seems, came delivered in a nice, tidy, pre-fabricated package:
*These three quotes listed above come from the book Why I Believe, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah (2002) as quoted in the brochure The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Harlem.
How interesting! There are so few quotes from Black members, that they have to stoop to recycling them!!! Unbelievable, and actually kind of appalling that they would do this. Why not just adopt the more honest stance, which is that the Church is still a very, very uncomfortable place for Blacks, hence why so few are members?

Further down on the same page, we get this testimonial from a man named Wain Myers. First, he issues a hearty bash against another church:
When I returned from Germany I started attending True Vine Missionary Baptist Church. Where I preached for the next 6 years. During that period of time I learned how dark the priest craft. I didn’t know then it was priest craft. Things had gotten so dark that I went to church one Sunday and prayed for a change or I would never attend church again. Nothing changed and I never returned to that church again.
It is strange, imo, that juliann and S. Gordon allowed the various typos in these testimonials to stand. Don't they know that the ethics of journalism allow for such corrections? Or did they think that these typos and grammatical errors were "sweet" or "quaint"? Anyhow, Mr. Myers's testimony goes on:
In June of 1995 on a Monday night, I met my wife who I am now sealed to on the city bus I was driving. We saw her every Monday night. One night she was reading her Relief Society Manuel and I asked her what it. When she told me, I thought she was in some kind of Masonic group. She told me she was L.D.S., and I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she said we are referred to as Mormons. I said "no way. There are no black Mormons". She smiled and said, "Well now you have met one". I wanted to know more about this religion that I had no idea that black people were apart of. She told me if I wanted to know more about it she had some friends that would give me all the I wanted. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t tell me.
Really, don't juliann and Scott know that they are shooting themselves in the foot with this stuff? A) Boy was he ever insightful in noting the Masonic connection, and B) Yes, why couldn't she tell him? Afraid of "accidentally" spilling the beans about some controversial aspect of Church history? Of course, he continues on in his anecdote to state that he was, in effect, "lured" to a dinner at this woman's house so that the missionaries could delivered a very tightly-controlled spiel about the Church.

Another interesting testimonial comes from Renee Olson, who is one of the founders/operators of the website:
Through lots of love, patience, understanding and non-judgmental friends I came to see the real "truth" behind the LDS Church. I realized I had been brainwashed before and started doing my own thinking.
Wow. (And yes, the word "truth" has the scare quotes around it in the original quote.) Doesn't anyone at this site know how to edit?

Perhaps the most revealing section of the website is devoted to "testimonials" from mostly white members who recount what they were doing when they heard the news regarding the lifting of the priesthood ban. For example, here is Michael Fordham:
From my reading about the church, I knew that the prophets had always said this day would come, so I thought I had better go back to church and see what was happening. I have been active ever since. Also, this revelation did not affect me personally as I am Caucasian.
Here is Kevin Barney:
Over the next few weeks, to my observation, every member of the Church I saw was absolutely thrilled by this development. I personally did not encounter a single negative reaction.
I find it interesting that he felt it was necessary to include this final sentence. A bit further down, Peter Siebach admits that he found the Church's treatment of Blacks "embarrassing":
I remember my father called my sisters and I together and told us that the blacks could now hold the Priesthood. I remember feeling relief that really I had nothing any longer to feel embarrassed about because of my church membership
Next up is Forest Simmons, who actually admits to being a racist prior to the revelation:
Immediately I was filled with a warm feeling throughout my whole body, from head to toes. As I marveled at this experience I felt a life time of racial prejudice being swept out of my heart. Amazingly, I was never aware of being prejudiced until that moment when I felt the prejudice leaving me.
What is intriguing about these testimonials is the various levels of discomfort and uneasiness that they reveal. In virtually every instance, the author expresses either surprise, or embarrassment, or awareness of "prejudice," or else they begin crying. Those who cried almost universally claim that these were "tears of joy," but this seems odd. Consider this quote from Sheri Gordon:
When I got in the car, my mother told me she had just heard on the radio that the church had announced that the blacks would get the priesthood. My mother and I sat in the car and cried. We talked about how the work was going forward. We were really excited for a black man in our ward who was ordained two weeks after the announcement.
So, does this therefore mean that they had secretly been resenting the priesthood ban, and had harbored an anti-doctrinal hope that it would be lifted? Does that explain the crying? Or are the tears really symptomatic of something deeper? After, Scott Gordon notes in his own account that:
There was back slapping and hugs for those members who were affected.
Doesn't this imply that only certain members were "affected"? (Whatever that means.)

In another section of the site, some numbskull apparently thought it would be a good idea to include this:
The Following quotes came from J. Golden Kimball from the book J. Golden Kimball Stories: Mormonism's Colorful Cowboy copyright 1999 White Horse Books. There are two volumes of the book.

J. Golden Kimball comments on the KKK

"The most difficult thing Golden faced on his second mission was harassment by the Ku Klux Klan. In the years following the Civil War, the Klan was a powerful and intimidating force in the Old south. Along with Jews, Catholics, and African Americans, Mormons were targets for tar and feathering, whipping, and murder."

'Waste of a good sheet,' was Golden's opinion." (from page 31)

"He described to his brother Elias how the Klan dressed. 'They cover themselves in a white sheet and there's a hood for the head with two small openings for their eyes. This hood has a point to it, which is more than could be said for their beliefs.' (From page 97)

"Mormon missionaries were accused by the Klan of seducing the wives and daughters of the White South to be taken back to live in polygamous slavery in Utah. Golden said one only had to look at their wives and daughters to know that such a thing couldn't possibly be true. Even polygamists have standards." (From page 97)
??? How is this relevant in any way, shape, or form to the experiences of Black LDS? Are the owners of this website trying to create the impression that the suffering of Blacks at the hands of the KKK is/was the same as it was for J. Golden Kimball? Do they not realize that this quote only serves to cement the impression Kimball was a hardcore sexist and misogynist? (Unless I'm mistaken, this was the same Kimball who said that he compared marrying a polygamous wife to buying a cow.)

The bottom line is that blacklds.org is a colossal embarrassment and a sham. The misguided intentions of juliann and Scott Gordon really just reveal the dire state that LDS race relations are in. Of course, most of us no doubt hope for an actual, genuine confrontation by Church leadership of Mormonism's racist past, but it's hard to see how drivel such as "blacklds.org" is helping. Instead, the entire website seems like a salve for white LDS guilty. It is a place where members such as juliann, "Scotty Dog," and others can glad-hand and pat each other on the backs, exclaiming about how generous and open-minded they are. What it really underscores is how much more this site is actually for Mormon whites than for Blacks. One can only wonder if juliann and co. have begun to feel better about themselves as a result.
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Deseret News Article On Friday Contains Some Whoppers By LDS Anthropologist
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 08:53 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143...
"With questions among LDS scholars about its accuracy, why didn't the change come sooner?

Sorensen said he believes it's simply "the principle of inertia." Such things are "not likely to be changed unless someone thinks there is something to be gained by making the change, or to be lost by not making the change."

"I don't think it means very much for anyone," he said. "The assumptions may have been and may be in the minds of some that the previous phrasing had substance to it. As a matter of fact, it was a sheer accident of someone – probably (Elder) Bruce McConkie – regarding 'principal ancestors.' No one checked it or questioned it, so it was put in the introduction."
An accident?! Notice his phrasing: "probably" McConkie. Like he's not sure who it was! And NO ONE checked it so it just slipped in there?! OMG!!!

LIAR!

Here's something else interesting that I have also wondered about before:
"Another change in the book's introduction may be of interest to those who question whether Latter-day Saints are Christians, but church officials declined comment about when that change was made.

The second sentence of the introduction in many editions says the book is "a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel."

The 2004 edition produced by Doubleday for non-Latter-day Saints omits the phrase, "as does the Bible." A church spokesman declined comment on when the change was first made or an explanation of why.

LDS leaders have long emphasized that the book is a second witness for Christ's gospel beyond what is contained in the Bible alone."
Does anyone know when that phrase was written and by whom because that would reflect Joseph's original belief that the BoM contained the fulness and was just supporting the bible. Unfortunately this proved to be a problem after he "revealed" so many doctrines and ordinances "necessary" for salvation, er exaltation, that were not in the BoM!
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Are Mormon Apologetics A Gateway To Ex- Or Anti-Mormonism?
Sunday, Dec 23, 2007, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): John Dehlin
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Last week I was counseling a friend who had left the LDS church. As he recounted to me his story, it was interesting to note that apologetics (FAIR and FARMS in particular) were a precursor to his leaving the church–and a strong source for his abiding anger/resentment, and resistance to returning.

I probably get at least 2-3 emails a week from folks who have left the church–and I’m surprised at how many of these people not only delved into apologetics before they left–but also look back upon their experience w/ apologetics in almost disgust. Is it possible that the general approach/effect of arch-apologists like Dan Peterson and Louis Midgley–is actually NEGATIVE with respect to helping people retain their faith in the LDS Church? I am sure that they get short-term emails expressing gratitude for what they’ve done–so I’m speaking more in the medium-long term.

Recent postings by Lou Midgley and Dan Peterson in the bloggernacle are benign examples of what I mean. If you want the full banana….check out the FAIR Message Boards. Blech. Yuck. I almost feel dirty linking to that post.

I have had some VERY good experiences with a few apologists (John Lynch and Greg Kearny being 2 very important exceptions–these strike me as really sincere, thoughtful, kind-hearted men), and I know that there are others, but overall, I continue to be saddened by how often, when I engage in, or observe an apologist conversation, I end up feeling sick and disappointed. For me, the reasons include:
  • The tendency to attack, denigrate and even mock the individual who disagrees with their view of the world.
  • The tendency towards anger, hatred, sarcasm, and mean-spiritedness.
  • The general unwillingness to express things like, “That’s a valid concern.” or “Yep…that’s a tough one.”
  • The apparent willingess to defend at all costs…sometimes with little trace of a desire to remain objective.
  • The tactic of avoiding the overall “mosaic” of an issue, by delving into obscure details and justifications.
  • In summation, a lack of credibility in the eyes of many of they honest, open, sincere, thoughtful folk I interact with.
Now. One thing that I will openly acknowledge is that many/most anti-Mormons act the same way–which is also very, very disappointing. I will also acknowledge that I am grossly generalizing to a large degree–which is also very dangerous.

Still–these 2 poles testify to me as to why a forum like Sunstone must be supported. Neither of these sides (apologists or anti-LDS) are considered fair, balanced and credible by most of the sincere, humble, good-natured, intelligent folks that I continually interact with on the Internet–and I know for a fact that Sunstone (under Dan Wotherspoon) is working very, very hard to remain a more neutral, credible source for exploring and resolving LDS issues, in the house of faith. Sunstone may have stepped over a line or two years ago–but I find them (along w/ Dialogue) to be the rare voices of faithful objectivity and reason in an otherwise arena of shrill, hateful, negative voices.
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A Look Back At Two Years
Monday, Apr 7, 2008, at 07:09 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
This Sunday, April 6th, will mark not only the Spring session of General Conference, but will also mark the anniversary of a Mopologetic milestone which has angered, divided, bored, irritated, and just generally stirred up a great many people. This topic has fascinated me for quite some time, and, I believe, there are still a number of unresolved aspects to it. Thus, I am here attempting to collate all the evidence to date in a neat package.

Two Years in Review: Mopologetics and D. Michael Quinn

The Players:
  • D. Michael Quinn, noted LDS historian, ex'ed in 1993 for unclear reasons
  • Daniel Peterson, Chief LDS Apologist, messageboard poster, BYU professor, and editor of FARMS Review
  • Rollo Tomasi, messageboard participant, liberal LDS
  • Don Bradley, LDS scholar
  • Opie Rockwell, LDS sockpuppet and wannabe "Danite"
  • Paul Hanks, Quinn's former Stake President
  • Dr. Shades, founder and operator of MormonDiscussions.com
  • UNKNOWN #1, a gossipy friend of DCP's
  • UNKNOWN #2, a Los Angeles resident who also engaged in gossip
These people lie at the heart of this ongoing controversy. There are still a number of questions that remain concerning this whole affair. These are the basics of the case, as I understand it.

April 6, 2006: A thread is opened on the ironically named FAIRboard by rcrocket entitled, "D. Michael Quinn Can't find work. The thread is devoted to discussing two lines of argument: (1) That Quinn has been unfairly denied suitable jobs due to prejudice against him. I.e., TBM financial backers of chaired professorships have used their monetary muscle to prevent Quinn from being hired. (2) That Quinn does not deserve any of these positions, and that it is his own fault that he was reduced to sleeping on a futon in his mother's apartment.

A couple of important issues arose from this thread. As far as I know, this is the first time that Quinn's sexual orientation was proffered as a reason for his excommunication:

Daniel Peterson wrote:
Mike Quinn's sexual orientation was well known by the time of his excommunication -- everybody in my circles had known about it for a long time (although, vicious thugs that we are, we never mentioned it in print or any other comparable venue) -- and, I have reasonably solid reason to believe, was known to his stake president.
Of course, as we know, this was (rightly) questioned by Rollo Tomasi:
How in the world would you know this? Are you contending that Quinn's sexual orientation had something to do with the outcome of his disciplinary council?
Daniel Peterson wrote:
A good friend and former colleague of mine was a good friend of the then-stake president. They had discussed Quinn once or twice (considerably) prior to the disciplinary council.
(emphasis added)

This has long been the painful thorn in DCP's side. What were these two men talking about? Quinn's historical writings? Or his sexual orientation?

There is a bit more elaboration further on in the original FAIR thread:

Daniel C. Peterson wrote:
Why, given the nature of homosexuality, do you assume that Quinn's homosexuality could have been known only to Quinn unless Quinn spoke of it? And why do you assume that Quinn's public announcement in a magazine was his first utterance on the subject to anybody?

Incidentally, if I recall correctly, Quinn's stake president at first didn't even know that (the totally inactive) Quinn lived within the boundaries of his stake.
The Good Professor's embarrassment over this thread led to the following, now-infamous "Boring Clarification":
A Boring Clarification:

I got moderator permission to add a clarification to this thread (which will then be locked again). On the oddly-named "Recovery" board, a poster has characterized my comments here as describing an unethical "smear campaign" engaged in by, among others, Mike Quinn's former stake president, in which the supposedly private personal fact of his homosexuality was widely insinuated in order to discredit Quinn. This is not at all true, so far as I'm aware (and I find the notion unlikely on its face). But I realize that, in my comments here, I've left what I said open to the kind of mischaracterization that I've described (and that, of course, flourishes like a rank weed on the strangely-named "Recovery" board, where a clarification such as this would never be allowed).

Just to be clear: When I mentioned that Mike Quinn's sexual orientation had come up during a conversation between a friend and former colleague of mine and his friend, Quinn's former stake president, I did so only to indicate, contrary to something implied earlier on this thread, that Quinn's stake president was aware of Quinn's sexual orientation prior to the Church disciplinary council in which Quinn was excommunicated. I did not say, and did not intend to imply, that Quinn's former stake president disclosed Quinn's homosexuality to my friend and former colleague. The latter individual already knew about it, as did, to the best of my knowledge, virtually everybody else, believer or not, who was seriously involved in Mormon studies at the time. I don't even know that it was the former stake president who brought the subject up. And I stress, yet again, that the stake president was not disclosing confidential information from Mike Quinn, with whom he had not discussed the matter. Quinn's orientation was common knowledge in certain circles for many years, and not merely among Latter-day Saints or believers.

I want that to be clear, because I do not wish a possibly ambiguous statement on my part to provide ammunition (as if they really need ammunition!) for certain critics to use as a basis for questioning my ethics, nor the ethics of my friend, nor those of the former stake president, nor those of the Church as a whole. There was, simply, no "smear campaign." There was no organized program of whispers. There was nothing sinister. And those who knew about Mike Quinn's orientation never wrote anything about it. Not even vicious unprincipled thugs such as myself.
To my mind, there are a couple of critical questions worth exploring in this statement:
  1. DCP states, "When I mentioned that Mike Quinn's sexual orientation had come up during a conversation between a friend and former colleague of mine and his friend, Quinn's former stake president, I did so only to indicate, contrary to something implied earlier on this thread, that Quinn's stake president was aware of Quinn's sexual orientation prior to the Church disciplinary council in which Quinn was excommunicated." But why did he say this? Did he want readers to think that Quinn had been excommunicated for "sexual sin," rather than for his historical writings?
  2. Was some sort of systematic smear campaign underway, in which TBMs in the Mopologetic community attempted to undermine Quinn's credibility?
Let's examine Question #1 first.

In late April of 2007, I was contacted by Dr. Shades, who felt that I needed to cut DCP some slack. Shades revealed that he'd been in contact with The Good Professor via email, and that DCP had sought to clear his name of any "gossipmongering" charges. Shades was given permission to post the contents of one of those emails: Daniel C. Peterson wrote:
[SNIP!] I’ve just noticed your attempt to sum up the alleged anti-Quinn gossipmongering campaign in which I and others were supposedly engaged:
Quote: Dr. Shades wrote:

“Judging by what you and Mister Scratch have said, let's see if this is the most likely scenario:

A) Rumors of Quinn's bisexuality swirled among the apologetic intelligentsia for X amount of time. B) It remains unclear who started them or how they began. C) When it was discovered that Quinn had moved back to Utah, one of them jumped at the opportunity to tell Quinn's stake president about it for punitive reasons.

Does that sound about right?
No. It’s crucially wrong at points A and C, though B is accurate.

A. Mike Quinn’s sexual orientation was widely known among people involved in Mormon studies (not merely, or even primarily, among “apologists” or faithful Church members) for many years prior to his official “coming out” in 1996. My impression is that just about everybody seriously involved with Sunstone and the Mormon History Association, for example, seems to have been aware of it. I suspect this to be the case because, when he finally announced his homosexuality, I heard not a single exclamation of surprise. Not one. Precisely how the news got around or how his homosexuality came to be recognized I could not begin to say. As I’ve noted before, I first heard that Quinn was gay when, with Todd Compton, sometime (I believe) between 1982 and 1985, I was visiting in the home of a person in southern California (where I then lived) who would be widely recognized as more sympathetic to Quinn’s theological and historical views than, say, to Bruce McConkie’s. This man was astonished that Todd and I were unaware of something that he thought was universally known. As it turns out, Quinn’s homosexuality truly was just about universally known in (believing and unbelieving) Mormon studies circles, and Todd and I were simply among the last to hear about it. (In my case, the explanation may reside in the fact that I had been living in the Middle East essentially from the end of 1977 to the middle of 1982.) Neither Todd Compton nor the man who told us about Quinn would typically be counted among the “apologist community.”

C. Unless I’m much mistaken, Quinn’s stake president had never met Quinn when my friend spoke with him, but he was already well aware of Quinn’s sexual orientation. (And, frankly, of more than merely his orientation. A sad incident within his stake had brought the matter very painfully to the stake president’s attention.) And I don’t believe that it was my friend who raised the issue of Quinn’s homosexuality, nor even of Quinn in general. As I recall, it was the stake president, an old friend of his, who broached the subject. The visit was not about Quinn, but was simply an encounter between two long-time friends, and the topic of Mike Quinn emerged in passing.

[SNIP!] In the small and close-knit community of people involved in Mormon history or Mormon studies, a community containing both faithful believers and dissidents, there’s a lot of informal conversation. That’s how human communities work. It would have been astonishing had Quinn’s sexual orientation not surfaced in some of those chats. But that’s all there ever was. There was no rumor-mongering crusade, and I certainly wasn’t involved in one. I would guess that the subject of Quinn’s homosexuality came up in conversations in which I was involved on maybe half a dozen occasions between the time I first heard of it and his formal “coming out.” I don’t recall ever, not even once, initiating the discussion, and I don’t believe that any of those instances went much beyond mere mention of the fact.

It’s deeply ironic for me to be accused as the impresario of a conspiracy to besmirch Mike Quinn, because, although I knew about his sexual orientation for 11-14 years before he openly acknowledged it, I consciously chose never to write or publish anything at all referring to it. I sat on it, quietly.

I’ve said this repeatedly. I can’t think of any clearer way than what I’ve already said to state that I was involved in no smear campaign against Mike Quinn and that, in fact, so far as I know, there was no smear campaign against Mike Quinn. [SNIP!]

Best wishes,

Dan Peterson

P.S. On reflection, 1982-1985 seems a bit early to me for my having heard about Quinn’s homosexuality, though I can’t rule it out. Perhaps the conversation occurred during a subsequent visit to California (which I typically visit quite often, because I grew up there and still have family there). So that would mean that I may have known of Quinn’s sexual orientation for as little as, say, only around five years before he came out of the closet. But no less. For various reasons, I think it cannot have been any later than the beginning of the 1990s when I was told of Quinn’s being gay by a very liberal figure in the Mormon studies community, in company with another very liberal member of that community.
(emphases added)

Some important points to note are DCP's mention of this "sad incident" (which he has never ventured to explain, rendering it rather like his insinuations about Prof. Robert Ritner), and also his frank admission that he doesn't know where these "rumors" began. Finally, it seems clear that The Good Professor knew that this information could be used to discredit Quinn: this is evident in his assertion that he "consciously chose never to write or publish anything at all referring to it."

Of course, the question remains: How widely was Quinn's homosexuality "known"? Rcrocket has long claimed that he saw Quinn holding hands with a man in the early 1980s. Perhaps most crucial, though, is the testimony of Don Bradley:

DonBradley wrote:
As I've mentioned in a previous thread, I spoke with Dan Peterson a few times in the BYU Bookstore prior to Quinn's public "coming out," and don't remember Dr. Peterson having ever passed on any rumors about Quinn, even though, as I recall, we spoke somewhat about specific "critics" and controversial figures and about the relationship of apostasy to lifestyle choices.

While I wasn't part of any inner circle of dastardliness (I.e., donut hole) he may have headed up at the time, my experience with him would suggest that he wasn't repeating any of the rumors already in the air about Quinn. This is not to say that I didn't hear any secondhand information from him that might constitute "gossip," but I certainly did not get the least sense that he was orchestrating private campaigns against any scholar, critic, or other individual. And, yes, he's a nice guy.
DonBradley wrote:
BTW, based on Quinn's own accounts, he wasn't excommunicated for any gossip, nor for anything having to do with his personal homosexuality, of which his stake president may not even have known. He was excommunicated for his piece on women and the priesthood, for a statement to the press about the LDS hierarchy wanting "cookie cutter" members, and for 'insubordination' to church government in the form of not appearing at his disciplinary councils.

And if Quinn had been excommunicated for homosexuality, this would hardly have been excommunication on the grounds of false rumor. He is, in fact, by his own public and private acknowledgment, gay. In a two-hour phone conversation in about 1997, Mike told me how he'd discovered and come to terms with his homosexuality. While I wouldn't post the details of that conversation online, and, frankly, don't know what his lifestyle is, I think Mike's homosexuality should now be recognized as fact, rather than mere rumor.
DonBradley wrote:
BTW, I have not followed all the discussion on this topic. What is the evidence that Mike "confessed" his homosexual orientation to a church leader, and that this leader blabbed to someone who blabbed to someone who blabbed to DCP, who blabbed to Mike's Salt Lake stake president? And how did DCP happen to know who Mike's stake president was, given that Mike had never been active in that stake, had lived there only a short while, and didn't even know who his own stake president was?

And, a question for Dan, why was I left out of the loop on this one? Here you went and told Mike's stake president, whom you likely didn't even know, and couldn't have even known the identity of, and you didn't tell me while we gabbed in the bookstore? Did my donut offerings displease you??
This trio of posts were written in July of 2007. Based on these, we should note that Quinn himself did not believe he was ex'ed for homosexuality, and nor does Don Bradley believe that was the reason. Don also seemed struck by the fact that Paul Hanks (Quinn's SP during the time of the ex'ing) even knew who Quinn was. So: we are left with another peculiar question---Who "leaked" the fact of Quinn's homosexuality to Paul Hanks? Don apparently thinks that Hanks's learning of this constitutes "blabbing". Further, given everything Don has said, why would DCP continue to tell people on FAIR and MAD that "Quinn's homosexuality was known to his then Stake President"? Could this have something to do with Don's comment that he'd had a conversation with DCP about "controversial figures and about the relationship of apostasy to lifestyle choices"?

There is more to this, though. In an earlier thread, Don Bradley stated the following: DonBradley wrote:
Quinn's homosexuality was indeed long "an open secret." I first heard tell of it in early 1991, and understand that it was the reason Mike and his wife divorced around 1987, and that this reason was explained to Blake and Craig Ostler, and undoubtedly others, around the time of the divorce. (FWIW, Mike didn't leave his wife to pursue a homosexual lifestyle. As I understand it, she suggested that, as a gay man, he should leave their heterosexual relationship and pursue his deeper inclinations.)

Also, for whatever it's worth, although I knew of Michael Quinn's homosexuality while at BYU, and had conversations with Professor Peterson at that time about various controversial scholars and their motivations, I don't recall him bringing up Mike Quinn's homosexuality, and don't believe he did bring it up. (I don't believe we discussed it at all.) Furthermore, I've never had the impression that Prof. Peterson has anything against Mike Quinn. He disagreed openly, and politely, with Quinn over the definition of "magic"; but hasn't, in my admittedly faulty memory, made Quinn a particular 'target' of his criticism or wit. (Perhaps someone is confusing him with Bill Hamblin!)

Don
So, here we appear to have confirmation about this being an "open secret," as Bradley calls it. It seems likely that DCP was telling the truth so far as his rather mysterious Southern California conversation was concerned. In a January, 2008 post, Don Bradley wrote this:
On Mike Quinn's homosexuality:

1) Contrary to Bob Crocket's claims, Mike Quinn was not openly gay nor living a gay lifestyle anywhere near 1980, nor at all while he worked for BYU. Mike didn't even tell his own parents of his homosexual orientation until shortly before his Same-Sex Dynamics book in the 1990s. And he lived a completely heterosexual, married lifestyle until his divorce in the late 80s.

2) Contrary (again) to Crocket's assertions, there weren't rumors of Mike being gay during his time at BYU. Colleagues of Mike's with whom I've spoken didn't hear about his homosexual orientation until well into the 90s.

3) My information on this subject comes from reliable sources. I've known Mike himself since 1991, and he once recounted to me at some length (and before his homosexuality was publicly known) his "story" with regard to his sexual orientation, from his early life up through the aftermath of his divorce. I also know Mike's former wife Jan and have been at her house, have met two of his children, know longtime friends of his such as Maxine Hanks, and spoke about early rumors of his homosexuality with two close colleagues of his.

4) I don't know anything about what relationships Mike has, or hasn't, had since his divorce. And unless one has much better evidence that Crocket's "recollections" of imaginary events of 1980, there is little or nothing that can be said about this.
(emphasis added)

Now, this seems to contradict what Don had said elsewhere. The question remains: Was Quinn's homosexuality an "open secret" during the 1980s, when DCP claims to have learned of it? As per Don, the only other folks who seemed to have known anything about this were Quinn's wife, Jan, and the Ostlers. So: were the Ostlers the source of the "leak"? Further, why did DCP continue to try and link Quinn's homosexuality with his excommunication? This, of course, brings us back to the first question I posed at the beginning of this post: Did DCP want readers to think that Quinn had been excommunicated for "sexual sin," rather than for his historical writings?

We know that such stuff occurs frequently among TBMs---accuse an ex'ed member of being a sinner, which helps to let the Church off the hook. The Church *never* does anything wrong; of course it is the apostate's fault! The third party weighing in on all of this, of course, is the poster called "Opie Rockwell" (possibly a pseudonym for either Scott Lloyd or Greg Smith):

Opie Rockwell wrote:
Mr. Scratch, you are, without a doubt, one of the most despicable characters I have ever come across in all my years. Your deep-rooted bitterness towards all things LDS, and specifically towards certain members of the apologetic community, is a reflection not on the church or the objects of your constant derision, but rather upon yourself as a very, very small-minded and morally-challenged human being.

You ask about Quinn’s stake president and what he knew and why he knew it. Well, I know a little bit about this whole affair, since my wife and I lived, at the time, in the same neighborhood with them all. The stake president was Paul Hanks, a humble and noble man, and a man full of sincere love and concern for the members of his stake. During this period of time, Mike Quinn was actively engaged in homosexual activity with another member of the stake. That is how President Hanks learned about Quinn’s inclinations – although during this period, Mike wasn’t trying very hard to keep any of this a secret. It was quite apparent to anyone who was paying attention. And President Hanks wasn’t the source of any of this information being disseminated – what was happening with Quinn and the other party was in wide circulation long before it came to the attention of the bishop or stake president.
Does this mean that the "sad incident" DCP kept alluding to was a homosexual "affair" between Quinn and another member of the stake? Given Don Bradley's remarks, I'm inclined to doubt it, though this whole business remains shrouded in mystery.

All the said, the question still remains: did DCP want TBMs to think that Quinn had been ex'ed for homosexuality? You be the judge:

From January 2007:

Daniel C Peterson wrote:
I can't speak for certain, as I wasn't present during the disciplinary council that considered his case. (Nor was he, for that matter.) But I have it from a reliable source that his stake president was aware of his actively homosexual lifestyle.
From March 2008 Daniel C Peterson wrote:
Don't presume that Mike Quinn's excommunication occurred solely or even primarily because of his historical writing. It may have. It may not have. The Church will never make any reason public; disciplinary council proceedings are confidential.
From April 2006 Daniel C Peterson wrote:
Mike Quinn's sexual orientation was well known by the time of his excommunication -- everybody in my circles had known about it for a long time (although, vicious thugs that we are, we never mentioned it in print or any other comparable venue) -- and, I have reasonably solid reason to believe, was known to his stake president.
This is a claim, as you can see, which The Good Professor has been asserting now for over two years. I don't think there can be any doubt that DCP wants people to equate Quinn's excommunication with sexual sin. As to whether this constitutes "smearing" or "gossipmongering," that is another matter.

This brings us to Key Question #2: Was some sort of systematic smear campaign underway, in which TBMs in the Mopologetic community attempted to undermine Quinn's credibility?

This requires us to broaden our scope somewhat. Following Dr. Shades's posting of DCP's email, I realized that many folks who'd followed my investigation of this matter had misinterpreted something: namely, they were under the impression that I felt DCP was the "impressario" of a gossip campaign against Quinn. For the record: I do not, nor have I ever believed that to be the case.

But, back to the question at hand: Were TBMs out to sully Quinn's reputation? Certainly, we've all heard DCP say, many times, that Quinn's history is "untrustworthy." We've also heard various TBMs and apologists state that there are "problems" with Quinn's very thoroughly documented sources. Perhaps the best measurement of this is the treatment of Quinn's work in the pages of FARMS Review. Here are some excerpts from the article called "Quinnspeak":
much of his evidence seems to be a kind of overkill, a sociological pigeonholing of the obvious into rather artificial categories that acquire an aura of scholarly respectability through the magic of "Quinnspeak. To be sure, this is pioneering work in virgin territory, and the author deserves some leeway. It is, after all, amazing that a book on this subject could be written by someone professing a firm testimony of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Quinn is very brave indeed.
The following are from "A Response to D. Michael Quinn's Homosexual Distortion of Latter-day Saint History":
We will not address in any detail Quinn's attempt to morally justify homosexual acts by perpetuating the currently fashionable political mythology of a special homosexual identity. However, readers of his book should be aware of Quinn's trendy new political agenda.

we find Quinn's arguments to be equivocal, conceptually confused, often baseless, and ultimately absurd.

In his role as apologist for homosexual conduct, Quinn has become a mythmaker. In scrutinizing this mythology, we will employ his own standards of what constitutes fraudulent and dishonest history.

We will demonstrate in detail that Quinn, from his own perspective, has been dishonest in advancing his homosexual agenda; what he has produced, instead of being competent, honest history, is an instance of fraud.
These are from Bill Hamblin's "That Old Black Magic":
Quinn's national reputation is not well merited. Re viewers of his books have increasingly recognized the fundamentally tendentious nature of his work

At times Quinn's desperate grasping for arguments becomes absurd.

Quinn cannot be trusted to accurately understand and cite his sources.

I am not saying that Quinn is completely wrong on everything. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. However, errors and misrepresentations of this magnitude simply transcend the usual limits of the mortal condition. Something is seriously amiss. Without careful checking, it is impossible to be sure than Quinn has accurately read and represented any of his sources.

In a very real sense Quinn's book is an academic version of the Hofmann forgeries. It is an attempt to foist a fabrication upon the scholarly community as authentic history. It is a travesty whose labyrinth of misrepresentation will require years of work for scholars to unravel. I can only advise, in the strongest terms, that scholars use Quinn's work with the greatest caution, if at all.
These are from John Gee's "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition":
When Quinn's first edition came out in 1987, the reviewers pointed out fundamental flaws–including a tortured thesis, twisted and forged evidence, and problematic and idiosyncratic use of loaded language–and it became clear that these flaws irreparably marred the entire framework of the book.

But to say that Quinn remains unrepentant and has refused to correct his errors would be an understatement. If anything, the problems with the first edition have only compounded in the second. Only a few of the numerous mistakes in the book can be detailed here. The reader can only wonder what has caused a once-talented author to write utter nonsense.

Quinn has erected an unsightly edifice on Mormon history.

Experience in checking his sources has revealed time and again that Quinn cannot be trusted to quote his sources correctly.

Quinn is where he is because of his choices. I only hope the reader chooses more wisely.
When taken together, these quotes, almost all of which are ad hominem attacks on Quinn's reputation and character, have to been seen as some kind of "systematic" approach to his work. That these comments, by five separate Mopologists (six if you count DCP, who was the editor for all of these articles) would be virtually uniform in their condemnation, nastiness, and overall tenor, really says something. Further, given the well-established facts surrounding Quinn's excommunication and the gossip thereof, it seems pretty clear that many in the Mopologetic community felt pleasure in seeing Quinn suffer.

All things considered, these appear to be the facts:
  • DCP was the origin of the Internet rumor that Quinn was ex'ed for homosexuality. Due to his repeated mentioning of this, it seems clear that he sought to convince TBMs that Quinn was ex'ed for sexual sin, rather than historical writings.
  • Quinn's sexual orientation was an "open secret" among a certain number of people in the Mormon studies community, including Don Bradley and the Ostlers. There's no reason to believe that DCP was responsible for starting the spread of gossip in this respect (although he does appear to be the origin of the claim that homosexuality had to do with the ex'ing).
  • There has been a systematic means of dealing with Quinn's work in FARMS Review. This seems to entail, primarily, attacking the reliability and trustworthiness of Quinn's history.
Does this add up to a "smear campaign"? In the end, it seems, this is something each reader must decide for him or herself.
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The Apologists Are Contradicting Official Church Doctrine
Monday, Sep 1, 2008, at 10:13 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
The apologists are contradicting official church doctrine when they accept the scientific evidence which shows that the Americas have been populated for at least 12,000 years. Here's how:

*The DandC states that the earth's existence, and therefore human life, is only 7,000 or so years.

*The DandC, as well as other statements of Joseph Smith, state that Adam and Eve began human life in the western Missouri area.

*The current official lesson manual "Gospel Principles" states that before the fall of Adam, there was no death of any kind upon the earth.

*LDS doctrine holds that Adam's descendants continued to inhabit the Americas until the Noachian flood, which destroyed all humans except for the ark's passengers circa 4500 years ago. After the flood, the Noachians landed somewhere in the Middle East (Turkey, if you believe the story) and began re-populating the earth from there.

*Shortly thereafter came the Tower of Babel incident, during which God instructed the Jaredites to sail to the "promised land", which is the Americas.

Thus, using church doctrine and logical deduction, the Jaredites had to be the first group of humans to inhabit the Americas after the flood (and Joseph Smith specifically taught that the Jaredites were the "first settlement" in the Americas.) Church doctrine simply doesn't allow for any Asian-descended Bering Strait-crossers to have continuously occupied the Americas for 12,000 years.

THAT IS WHY THE BOOK OF MORMON DOES NOT MENTION ANY OTHER PEOPLE LIVING IN THE "PROMISED LAND." In fact, the BOM states that the promised land was "preserved for a righteous people" that the Lord would send there, and that the land "was kept from the knowledge of other nations."

Therefore, Mormon apologists who accept the evidence of humans occupying the Americas for 12,000 years or more are rejecting church doctrine. And since they don't even believe their own church's teachings, there is no point in them trying to defend it against us critics.
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Another Apologist Crackpot
Monday, Sep 1, 2008, at 10:14 AM
Original Author(s): Simon Southerton
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
The man behind the Yemen discovery is Australian apologist Warren Aston and his wife Michaela. Why is it that when you dig a little deeper into the background of LDS apologists you find crackpots at almost every turn?

Warren Aston runs a travel agency that conducts tours to Arabia. He is also an internationally recognized expert on UFOs!!

The Astons ran a travel agency in Brisbane in the 1990s and published the Yemen discovery in 1994 “In the Footsteps of Lehi: New Evidence for Lehi's Journey across Arabia to Bountiful” Deseret Book Company. Aston has a vested interest in promoting his Yemen myths because he manages a tour company called Bountiful Tours that runs tours to, you guessed it, the Arabian Peninsula.

His next tour in October 2008 has been promoted in Meridium Magazine 2008 Tour - "In Lehi andamp; Sariah's Footsteps" 13 days exploring Israel, Jordan and Oman

http://www.meridianmagazine.com/gospe...

Here are some weblinks to his tour company

http://www.bountifultours.com/tour.ht...

You can read a short bio of Aston here.

http://www.bountifultours.com/about.h...

But this is what FARMS would prefer you did not know about Warren Aston. Aston is an internationally recognized expert on UFOs.

Aston speaking at UFO Symposium

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NikV6Y...

Aston describing a UFO encounter in a DVD sold at International UFO Congress

http://www.ufocongressstore.com/servl...

Aston claiming UFO cover-up at Pine Gap (US military base in Australia)

http://www.ufoinfo.com/ufoicq/auforn4...

Quote: “Aston examines the duality within the UFO phenomenon, exobiology, “contactees”, and question what is really happening in abductions while suggesting new reasons for government cover up.”

Aston lecture to Queensland UFO society

http://www.uforq.asn.au/articles/hard...

Lecture entitled “Finding the hard answers to Earth's greatest mystery within a scientific paradigm” - Warren Aston's interests include travel (he runs his own travel business in Brisbane), photography, music, theology, feminism and quantum-physics.

Quote: “The evidence that something is happening which defies conventional science is abundant, unambiguous, and is readily available in every category imaginable. UFO’s are a long-term, world-wide, multi-cultural reality with much more physical evidence available than most of us realise. The mounting evidence that UFO’s and aliens are real and are part of the future for all of us deserves our most serious attention and best efforts to understand it.”

Aston: UFO researcher hunting for truth

http://www.helenair.com/articles/2007...

Aston: Are Extraterrestrials Already Among Us? A Review of Historical Accounts. Go to page 8 at this link

http://www.theblackvault.com/encyclop...
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Wanting It Both Ways: A Book Of Mormon Apologist's Dilemma
Thursday, Jan 8, 2009, at 08:30 AM
Original Author(s): Odell Campbell
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
If the Book of Mormon is an actual record of an actual people, then it will be supported by evidence. Both Book of Mormon apologists and its doubters (the vast, overwhelming majority of mankind) can agree on this concept.

Originally, the early Book of Mormon apologists were church leaders such as Joseph Smith who claimed that the Book of Mormon contained the answer to the question of where the Native American peoples originated.

Smith’s views were not, at that time, inconsistent with scientific explanations available.

As so for Mormons, and Book of Mormon apologists, the standard thought was that the Book of Mormon contained the history of the principal ancestors of the New World’s native populations, both in South America and North America.

Believers of Smith’s claims and in the Book of Mormon firmly assumed that when scientific exploration and understanding furthered, their faith would be confirmed.

The opposite has happened. New theories emerged that plainly contradicted the Book of Mormon’s Native American origination being Hebrew. The Bering Straits theory that North East Asians migrated to the Americas is now commonly accepted because evidence supports it.

Whereas, emerging evidence has forced even its most ardent believers to redefine their understanding of the Book of Mormon, and even ridicule its “translator” by “explaining away” Smith’s hemisphere opinions as uniformed, misguided and mistaken.

What strikes me is how easily believers can change their past “interpretations” as science, not revelation, riddles away the possibilities. The only thing that appears to matter is that at the end of the day that somehow the Book of Mormon must be interpreted in away that lets Joseph Smith be a revelator and seer and not a liar and con-man. DNA, linguistics, population growth analysis, historical records, ruins, text word analysis constant require apologists to reshape the Book of Mormon in order to allow it be a scientific possibility (I think they have long ago even sacrificed probability).

In my world view, the plausibility of the Book of Mormon being a record of a real people is reaching the point of near impossibility. And it seems to me, that as I read the strained arguments of Book of Mormon apologists that any more stretching will render the book in two.

What will be the last apologist explanation for the Book of Mormon?? That is it the history of five people in Ancient America that lied about everything that happened to them, but god chose a con man to tell the false yet “inspiring” story of ancient con artists? Hey, apologists, could it be that two Mayans living in the Classic Period, found some Etruscan plates washed ashore, concocted an inspired story, called themselves Mormon and Moroni, obvious alias, then drinking well-fermented cactus juice, recorded their story in drunken Classic Mayan, also called reformed Egyptian? Gee, the Lord can work in mysterious ways.

You have to admit, that explanation does have some beautiful symmetry to it?

But seriously, when does it end? When do the defeated raise the white flag and surrender? Are there examples found in other religions which demonstrate when apologia can no longer keep up with scientific explanations and contradictions?

Who will be the last Book of Mormon apologist?
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My Favorites From The Ministry Of Excuses
Monday, Feb 2, 2009, at 08:23 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
What are your favorite Mormon apologetics arguments?

Here are mine, in no particular order (and no, I'm not making any of these up):

10. Steel doesn't mean steel. Never mind that the BofM mentions melting down ore to create steel, which was then used to make swords. The book is really talking about wooden clubs with obsidian edges.

9. Horses and chariots aren't mentioned in the context of conveyance, so even though Lamoni says to ready the horses and chariots for his trip to visit his father, the book is really talking about wheel-less platforms (chariots) used to convey miniature ceremonial animals (horses).

8. Joseph Smith didn't actually have sex with those women. Despite the firsthand testimony of his plural wives, who used such words as "carnal intercourse" to describe their relationships, these were just "loose dynastic ties" formalized by sealing. (Not even Emma bought that one.)

7. The Book of Mormon "explicitly" mentions the presence of others in the Americas before the Jaredites and Nephites arrived, even though the book promises the land as the promised land for the Nephites and Jaredites and says the land would be kept from the knowledge of others. The best evidence for others is that the book distinguishes between "goats" and "wild goats," meaning that the former had to have been domesticated. Since people are required to domesticate animals, clearly there were people living there when the Jaredites arrived.

6. Joseph Smith was only joking when he discovered the skeleton of Zelph the 9-foot-tall white Lamanite and Adam's altar while on Zion's Camp.

5. Joseph was a victim of the Kirtland Bank fiasco, not one of the primary instigators of the bank.

4. It's perfectly normal and respectable to find treasure by looking at a rock. Indian mystics see amazing things in their crystals.

3. Given Occam's Razor, the best explanation for the testimony of the three witnesses is the presence of supernatural beings. Naturalistic explanations require a lot of stretching.

2. There is no correspondence between the text of the Book of Abraham and the Joseph Smith Papyrus. Therefore, the real source of the translation must be missing. The Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, which shows which hieroglyphs correspond to the BofA, was a clumsy attempt by scribes to translate and had nothing whatsoever to do with Joseph Smith.

1. There are only superficial similarities between the temple ceremony and Masonic ritual. Because the exact same signs, tokens, penalties, and phrases are used in both ceremonies but in different contexts, the similarities are coincidental.
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This Is How I Understand The Role Of The Mormon Apologists.
Monday, Feb 16, 2009, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
This is something new in the LDS Church. I never hard of them in my 30 plus years as a believer.

The role of the apologist is to defend the faith by convincing the believers that their testimony by faith (feelings) is valid. This particularly appeals to the average Mormon who can look to someone who has all the answers (often more educated then they are) and knows more than they do. Letters after their name, and/or a PhD is helpful.

They use several methods.

One is to Discount the Credibility of the author so Mormons won't believe anything they say or write.
  1. find fault with the author, personally if possible
  2. use of insults , etc to illicit a response that can be called nasty, or rude, etc.
  3. use of ad hominem - attack the author not the material
This is done by finding fault with their education, their approach, their life style (he is gay), they are not "worthy" Mormons, their expertise is lacking,and on and on.

Another role is Distraction.
  1. keep the focus off of the real problem of no verifiable, reliable, physical evidence of the golden plates, for instance.
  2. use historical accounts as evidence
  3. write very long essays and articles that could be classified as : 1000 words on how to comb a gnats eyebrow.
  4. make claims that are false but difficult to prove (can't prove a negative)
  5. use of spiritual witness as verifiable evidence
The Possibility role:
  1. If, maybe, possible, could have been, small number, not found yet, multiple reasons, looks like,and on and on.
  2. creative use of possibilities to explain or make connections
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Return And Report - Went To A Presentation By "Firm" About "Archealogical Evidences Of The Book Of Mormon"
Friday, Mar 6, 2009, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Nor Cal Law Student
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I doubt many of you have heard of this group, but here is their website:

http://www.thefirmfoundationonline.org/

I arrived right on time, ready to sit and listen to them say their piece, but no one was there, except the presenter. On the table at the entrance were some pamphlets for travel tours and a table full of inane books and films with titles like "Searching for the Great Hopewell Road" (Description: "This one-hour documentary about one of the most fascinating cultures in ancient North America, details the Hopewell mound building people who flourished in this area from 200 BC to 400 AD. It is filled with important information about a people who match very closely to the Nephites of the Book of Mormon.") and "The Eternal Perspective of Zion's Camp."

I don't know why I was surprised that they didn't start until 6:50 pm, 20 minutes late, a.k.a. Mormon standard time. Jesus christ. I started reading the Chronicle on my Kindle but being forced to eavesdrop of their sad Mormon greetings about temple schedules as a few people slowly arrived was getting annoying so I excused myself to go get a Diet Coke.

Anyway, I came back and they finally started and the gentleman started his powerpoint presentation.

I won't bore you at length with the particulars of the man's presentation. It literally was so devoid of any reason or evidence, it bears no merit of repeating.

Oddly, these people know exactly where they stand: backed up to the edge of a cliff, right to the precipice of personal annihilation, backed there by a tsunami of scientific proof that disproves Mormonism. He cited the film "DNA vs the Book of Mormon" (available on youtube) and a forthcoming film on the same topic from the Baptist Church, saying that this tide is "going to put a close on the Book of Mormon."

The presenter claimed he once was on the faculty of BYU and was hired to be a religion teacher and a "researcher" about archeology and language. He expressed feelings of betrayal by his former BYU associates because he claimed that their arguments rest on "discounting or disdaining" explicit statements made by Joseph Smith about the geography about the peoples described in the Book of Mormon. Through tears, he actually named "Tvedtnes," saying that he (Tvedtnes) published just today, that Doctrine and Covenants 28:8 was not actually inspired scripture, but just Joseph Smith talking as a man.

(It reads: 8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them.)

He said that the best scholars the Mormon Church has are all betting the farm on the MesoAmerica theory, and that to do so requires them to admit that Joseph Smith was uninspired. He said that "the whole anthropology department at BYU was built on Guatamala." Of this he (the presenter) said: "They've defended something so long that they can't go back on it."

How ironic. The criticisms we level at others often are the most appropriate for what WE are doing.

He continued: "The best scholars at BYU say that Joseph Smith does not know what he was talking about." No shit, Sherlock.

This presenter actually cited the story of Zelph as some kind of proof that Joseph Smith was inspired. OMG. Really?

He claimed the Hopewell moundbuilders are fascinating, interesting possible proof of Lehite peoples. Really? *(see below for the real story if you don't know it)*

He said there are now about 150 geographical theories for the BoM, ranging from Thailand to the Falkland Islands. He started to make this really stilted analysis of statements of Joseph Smith as to the geography of the BoM. After these mind-numbing contortions for about 20 minutes, one of the guests asked: "So, do you HAVE your own map?"

Answer: "{tuh} {pause} Yes and no."

Not long after this one of the 10 guests asked for a break and I left. Something so banal is unworthy of my time, but I just had to go see the sausage being made. I don't think I'll be going to anything like that again.

Teleological. Vapid. Pathetic. Just sad.

People!!!-- false, mindless religious traditions carry forward and there's nothing we can do about it. That's all.

* From Simon in Oz's excellent book:
"DNA analysis of ancient remains from the Ohio Valley has driven a belated nail into the coffin of the Mound Builder myth and its supposed white inhabitants. The people of the so-called 'enlightened' race that was responsible for the mounds in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys are now known to be Native Americans belonging to the Adena and Hopewell cultures. Maternal DNA lineages have been determined for 97 skeletal samples obtained from two Adena mounds in Kentucky and Hopewell mounds in Ohio and Illinois (Bolnick 2003, Mills 2003). All of the maternal lineages belong to one of the five founding lines common to contemporary Native Americans. The DNA analysis confirms that the idea of a superior race of Mound Builders was pure fantasy."
(Losing a Lost Tribe, p. 99)
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The Miracle Of Apologetics
Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009, at 03:02 PM
Original Author(s): Cinepro
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I was recently giving my children one of my standard lectures about how they live in the greatest time in the history of the world. They have easy access to more books, movies, music and "information" than any other people in the history of the world. They can know more about any subject they wish than anyone who has ever lived in a time before. Truly, it is a wonderful time to be alive for children who have an interest in such things.

As I thought more about it, I began to consider the Miracle of Apologetics.

In the Church, "revelation" gets a lot of lip service. We talk all about God giving knowledge, restoring this or that, and giving us scriptures so we can understand His plans and feelings on certain subjects. And I'm not arguing the importance (and necessity) of having a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Church's core claims.

But for those who have an interest in the Church, the scriptures, and the "details" behind the stories and doctrines, I think it is easy to overlook the miracle of Apologetics and scholars, and Apologetic theories, and their ability to grant us knowledge that eluded even previous prophets and apostles.

Because of apologetic writings, any Church member can do a reading and research and understand more about Book of Mormon geography and peoples than any past prophets had. Twenty minutes on the FARMS website and you could pass up Joseph Fielding Smith without breaking a sweat.

Thanks to apologists, future generations will understand the story of Noah's flood (and the subsequent covenant) with far more accuracy than any LDS Prophet or Apostle of the last 180 years.

Apologists allow us to better understand the story of Adam and Eve, how they were born from mortal, non-human mortal parents who themselves were the result of evolutionary development. Such knowledge eludes even modern LDS church leaders and curriculum writers.

Modern scholars and apologists allow us to understand the true nature and provenance of the Joseph Smith papyri, Kinderhook plates, Zelph skeleton and other "artifacts" to a much greater degree than even Joseph Smith himself.

Modern apologists have made known to us the many cultures and peoples not specifically mentioned in the Book of Mormon, who subtley mixed with and effected the Jaredites and Lehites (people who are still unknown and unmentioned by modern and past LDS prophets and apostles).

And apologists help us to understand Mormon Polygamy and the priesthood ban far better than any statements from the Church leaders (ironically, apologists even help us to ignore statements from Church leaders if necessary, while apologists never encourage us to ignore other apologists and listen to Church leaders if there is a contradiction.)

Critics often complain that the heavens are "silent", and that God has been negligent in His proclivity to reveal knew and interesting things. But if the apologists are correct in their theories and suggestions, then God hasn't been silent, he has just shifted his conduit from the pulpit to the Fair Wiki.
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Three Little Things
Monday, Apr 20, 2009, at 11:16 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
THREE THINGS IN MOPOLOGETICS THAT, ONCE GONE, NEVER COME BACK

1. THE 2ND WATSON LETTER
2. THE MURPHY TRANSCRIPT
3. WILL SCHRYVER'S CREDIBILITY

THREE THINGS IN MOPOLOGETICS THAT CAN DESTROY A PERSON

1. CRITICIZING HUGH NIBLEY
2. CRITICIZING DANIEL C. PETERSON
3. APOLOGIZING (FOR ANYTHING)

THREE THINGS IN MOPOLOGETICS THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER LOSE

1. YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
2. YOUR SENSE OF OUTRAGE OVER HAVING GOTTEN CREAMED ON YOUR MISSION
3. YOUR MARTYR COMPLEX

THREE THINGS IN MOPOLOGETICS THAT ARE MOST VALUABLE

1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION
2. AD HOMINEM ATTACKS
3. SMEAR CAMPAIGNS

THREE THINGS IN MOPOLOGETICS THAT ARE NEVER CERTAIN

1. THE BRETHREN'S APPROVAL
2. WHETHER ONE WILL HAVE TO WORK FOR THE SCMC
3. WHETHER THE PAYCHECK WILL BE $10 OR $20,000

THREE THINGS THAT MAKE A MOPOLOGIST

1. SPITE
2. BITTERNESS
3. GRIM HUMORLESSNESS
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Top Reasons Why Being A Church Apologist Is A Great Gig
Monday, May 25, 2009, at 08:33 AM
Original Author(s): Primus
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Here are the top reasons why it is a great gig to be an Apologist for the LDS Church

10. All those BYU COEDs and Former Sister Missionaries hanging on your every word to keep their weakening testimonies strong.

09. Apologizing as an Apologist means never having to say 'I'm sorry' or 'I apologize'

08. You can use all your creative juices to be just as creative and fictional as the Prophet Joseph Smith, and then label it as non-fiction.

07. You get quoted in all the top scientific peer reviewed journals such as 'BYU Studies' and 'FARMS Review of Books'

06. BYU pay can't be beat.

05. You can speak in Yiddish and TBMs think your are giving them great 'Pearls of Wisdom'

04. All those cool Church paid for trips to South America

03. Did I mention you get the benefits of Celebrity among the faithful?

02. You get praised for calling people who were molested by Church leaders who then leave the Church because of it..weak and easily offended.

01. When YOU speak, The Prophet's THINKING is DONE.
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Apologist Sleight Of Hand
Tuesday, Aug 11, 2009, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Simon Southerton
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
The sleight of hand of all the FAIR DNA apologetics is that it depends on testimony-shattering reinterpretations of the Book of Mormon history and the arrogant dismissal of 180 years of prophetic declarations.

New Book of Mormon history
  • The Lehites met and fully integrated with New World civilizations soon after their arrival
  • American Indian’s handed control of their civilizations with minimal resistance to a band of displaced Hebrews
  • The term Lamanite is largely a cultural term (the baddies)
  • The genetic Lamanites have essentially been wiped out or lost
  • Book of Mormon civilizations were located in Mesoamerica, not North America
  • There are two Hill Cumorah’s where the gold plates were stored. One in Mesoamerica mentioned in Book of Mormon and one in New York, mistakenly thought to be the Book of Mormon Cumorah by every Mormon prophet who has ever lived and virtually all Mormons
  • The narrow (1 1/2 day walk) neck of land is the not so narrow Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico
  • Moroni carried the 60-80lb gold plates from Mexico to New York so that the plates were conveniently located for Joseph Smith.
Dismissing prophetic statements
  • Anything Joseph Smith said that connects North America with the Book of Mormon civilizations (Zelph etc.) is just his opinion
  • When God refers to Indians in the Western United States as Lamanites in the DandC, it is Joseph Smith’s personal opinion influencing scripture
  • Anything any prophet said that implies there are millions of Lamanites across North and South America is just personal opinion and not doctrine
This is all done with the assurance that the Brethren are right behind them and that their employment by the church is secure. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

And faithful Mormons are expected to swallow all this without the slightest thought that they are being sold another lie to cover the original lie.
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Confusing Tradition With Doctrine
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2009, at 12:39 PM
Original Author(s): Joaquin
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Chapter 4 of Michael Ash's "Shaken Faith Syndrome" is based on the original talk by Ronald Poelman of the 1st quorum of the 70 that was censured by "the brethren".

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/...

This is true irony. Chapter 4 is based on a talk that the other church leaders didn't like and made Poelman change it when it was published in the Ensign. Not only that, but they had him re-record his new "talk" for the VHS version of the conference that people could check out from the church library. They even went so far as to add the "coughs" and the "hims and haws" in the background to make it appear as if his censured talk was the original.

However, some members recorded it on their home VHS tape recorders, which is still currently available online and can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcM7ko...

This is coming from a book that is trying to help "cure" people of "their problem" with shaken faith?
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Mormon Times Reporter Michael Degroote
Monday, Oct 19, 2009, at 07:54 AM
Original Author(s): Eric Davis
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I read the post earlier today re:"Hebrew design in Mesoamerica: Temples match" as reported in the Mormon Times.

see the following link: http://mormontimes.com/studies_doctri...

I sent the following message to the author of the article, Mr. deGroote:

Now this is what I call “straining at gnats.” Mr. Hauck’s claim that structures in ancient Mesoamerica were “built on the same model” as those of Solomon and Moses, is absolutely appalling, and an insult to modern science.

It makes sense that humans in different areas of the world would use similar measuring systems and similar proportions for construction. Almost all construction methods and units of measurement in world history are based on human physical proportions. Humans are all roughly the same size, so it goes without saying that they would build structures that are similarly proportioned, even in far-reaching areas of the world. The fact is simply that most buildings, in ancient times were either perfect squares, or rectangles of 2:1 proportion. This evidence can be seen from the pyramids of Egypt to temples in China, and even structures in Mesoamerica. Does that mean that all of these people are culturally connected? Absolutely NOT. What it does mean is that people all over the world have learned to build structures the most effectively and efficiently, based on technology available to them.

What would be good evidence to link Mesoamerica construction to that of the Middle-East, would be use and function of their respective structures. Is there any plausible link between the temple of Solomon and the structures of Mesoamerica? Certainly not. Ancient American religious customs show no similarities to the Abrahamic religions of Palestine. It could be said that the Olmecs and Mayans of Mesoamerica held beliefs that more closely resembled the Egyptians, and their pantheon of deities, than that of Judaism. Temples of Izapa were used primarily for burial tombs and rituals that involved cutting hearts out of living virgins. Where in the Book of Mormon can you read about those practices? Izapa was home to at least two ball courts, a traditional practice associated with the Mayan people, that is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Mormon. Additionally the stelae of Izapa include pictograms of jaguars, feathered serpents, and violence between multiple deities. There is no such reference to anything resembling these in the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, the people of Izapa used the 260 day Mayan calendar, for which there is also no mention in the Book of Mormon; and there is no evidence of seven day weeks, which was the practice of Judaism and the alleged family of Lehi.

Finally, what about the founding of the city of Izapa? Is there any plausible archeological link between the construction of these Mesoamerican cities and the peoples of the Book of Mormon? Again, no. From Wikipedia: “several archaeologists have theorized that Izapa may have been settled as early as 1500 BCE, making it as old as the Olmec sites of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán and La Venta.” Izapa could not possibly be a Nephite city, since there were no Nephite cities in the Promised Land until after 590 BCE. Even then, Nephite cities could not have grown to the size of Izapa for at least a couple hundred years. If the settlers of Izapa founded the city around 1500 BCE, they would have pre-dated both Moses and Solomon. The people of this area would have no knowledge whatsoever of the Middle-Eastern tabernacles and temples, if they existed as the Bible claims. Where did all these Mesoamerican people come from? Certainly not Jerusalem, since they had established their civilizations long before Jerusalem was built.

In closing, making connections between ancient Mesoamerica and Palestine is irresponsible and just plain bad science. To claim that there are “Book of Mormon Lands” is pure nonsense. The Book of Mormon is complete fiction and reads more like 19th century Protestant literature than Ancient American history. Just because you or somebody else believes in it, doesn’t make it true; and attempting to make archeological connections that simply don’t exist only weakens the position of Mormonism. The best bet for Mormons would be to simply acknowledge that the entire Book of Mormon was made up by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, Solomon Spaulding, and Ethan Smith, and leave it alone.

You may as well call the “Book of Mormon Lands Conference” the “Grasping at Straws Conference,” or the “Straining at Gnats Conference.” Don’t ignore the elephant, or in this case, the camel in the room.

Eric Davis

I was surprised tonight when he actually sent a response to me. Any guesses as to how he may have responded? Well here is what he said:

Dear Eric,

You know, we all struggle with spirituality. That is part of the reason we are here on earth. Sometimes God answers our prayers, sometimes he allows us to run into a brick wall. It is messy down here. But somehow, through that mess we can find beauty.

If you look at the fruits of the spirit in the new testament you will recognize the feelings a person has when they are trying to follow God – both in and out of the church. God is ever so much more merciful and loving than we are. He reaches out to us constantly with patience. So often things in life are not either/or. There are multitudes of choices available.

I have found great joy and peace in reading the scriptures. I hope you will again soon. It isn’t that your analysis of Hauck’s claims is necessarily off base, I am just worried that you went to so much effort on this response. I’m just a reporter at a newspaper. Don’t waste so much effort on me.

President Eyring has said something that has helped me lately. I share it with you, because I think it is a good principle regardless of belief. I also share it because it could, if you desire it, help you drink into that pure intelligence from God that matters much more than where or if the Book of Mormon took place.

“I’ve tried to do another thing, both as I read and in prayer: I’ve tried to know what he would do if he had my opportunities. You might try that. If you have had trouble getting answers to your prayers, try asking today, “What is there that you would have me do?” That prayer will be answered if you are sincere and if you listen like a little child, with real intent to act.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Choose to Be Good,” Brigham Young University Speeches, Nov. 12, 1991)

“For instance, you can pray and ask Heavenly Father if there's anything he would have you do. You might ask, "What would the Savior do if he were here? Is there anybody he might wish he could visit?" If you ask questions like that, the Holy Ghost will come and you'll feel nudges about things you can do for other people. When you go and do those things, you're on the Lord's errand, and when you're on the Lord's errand, you qualify for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And when the Holy Ghost is with you, he has a purifying effect that changes your nature.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Surrender to Christ,” Ricks College Devotional, Sept. 21, 1993)

Kindest personal regards, Michael

Interesting, and absolutely nothing regarding my message. Michael seems to be exactly the kind of mindless, duty-bound drone that the morg loves to employ as its spokesmen.
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Self Righteous Peter Priesthood Blogs, "To The Wives And Children Of Men Who Apostatize", Advocating Divorce
Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Warning: Vomit inducing Mormonism.

http://spamlds.ning.com/profiles/blogs/to-the-wives-and-children-of



Another self righteous Mormon counseling divorce for spouses of apostates.

From his blog:
The last step was that he "resigned" his membership in the Church, much to the dismay of a still-believing wife. As his marriage lurched towards divorce, he began to lay the guilt trip on his spouse. "How can you say you're committed to families if you won't stand by me?" This is a common argument that Satan uses to bring down the wife. A woman fears that divorce will leave her without support and leave her children fatherless. She reluctantly leaves the Church she has loved and the Lord she has seved.

If you are a woman who has a husband that is placing you in this situation, for the sake of your own salvation and that of your children, it is better to cut the apostate husband loose. As tragic as it may be, it would be more tragic for him to pull you and your children down to hell with him. If he insisted that you and your children remain inside a house that is burning down, would you stay or would you flee for your life and take your children with you?
His blog? "S.P.A.M. - Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism". He goes on to quote in his comments:
This article has received a fair amount of traffic today, mostly coming from exMo sites. Good! I can't think of a better, more suitable article for apostate former members to read. The discussions on the boards and blogs that have linked to this seem to focus on the opinion that it is better for a believing wife to dump the apostate husband, when he begins to attack her faith and that of her children at home is the point that seems to elicit their most hostile remarks.
Church Handbook of Instruction, page 26, paragraph 12:
No priesthood officer is to counsel a person whom to marry. Nor should he counsel a person to divorce his or her spouse. Those decisions must originate and remain with the individual.
Looks like this guy is going against Church policy.

Discuss this thread at your favorite watering hole:

Ex-Mormon Forums: http://www.exmormonforums.com/viewtop...
Mormon Discussions: http://mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/v...
FLAK: http://www.thefoyer.org/viewtopic.php...
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The Plague Of Moplogetics
Friday, Oct 22, 2010, at 09:28 AM
Original Author(s): Gadianton
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Simon Belmont (an amatuer Mormon Apologist) has been trying to figure out why the critics here, who the apologists consider "trailer trash", have such a problem with the apologists, and how it is they define apologetics anyway. Is apologetics inherently bad? Is it mostly just bad in practice, or what? I hope to answer some of these questions.

Simon may find this surprising, but at one time I sided with the apologists quite extensively, not because I was a TBM, but because I had my own ax to grind -- against EVs. That's right, Simon, I had some anger issues with EVs, not Mormons per se. Unlike Simon, who didn't serve a mission, I served in a dense Evangelical area that was on fire with the Pentecostal movement. Thus, I had innumerable run-ins with ministers, lay ministers (in some of these churches, it seems like everyone and their dog is a lay minister), lone warrior born agains, and the whole thing was just so nuts to me. Indeed, anti-Mormon literature was very common and I was "attacked" with it constantly. Not only was I given pamphlets, lectured, yelled at, threatened, and all that, but on occasion I'd even be set up for an ambush scenario where it would be 20+ born agains against me for a "first discussion". Unlike Louis Midgley who admits that he got his ass handed to him on his mission by ministers, I never lost; primarily because I had read anti-lit substantially before my mission and most of the key attacks from EV antis were idiotic and easy to dismiss.

So while I've always argued against Mormonism online, I tended to side with apologists against EVs because they had irritated me so badly on my mission and their arguments seemed so ridiculous and hypocritical to me, in general. Not to mention the fact that, while the temple is very cultish, some of those meetings I attended with faith healing, singing and laughing in tongues were far worse -- the charismatic movement is just so insane. My default position in the beginning was most certainly, first to promote atheism, but I would defend Mormonism above most other religions, and certainly against other religions attacking Mormonism.

So what happened?

to summarize:
  • over time I was astounded by the poor treatment of those who allied themselves with the apologists, by the apologists. The apologists loved critics to call their fellow critics out when they'd get out of hand, but the key players will never return in kind when their attack dog buddies are out of line. An extreme example of this happened just recently, interestingly.
  • the hubris of Internet Mormonism became too much. The arrogance of the apologists who blew off issue after issue, questioning the education and faithfulness of critics who went to seminary, served missions (Simon), attended BYU, the whole nine yards; apparently none of us ever figured out the most basic tenets of the Church.
  • the poor treatment of thoughtful and respectful members of break-off movements from Mormonism. The apologists never could understand that these folks stand in relation to them as they stand to the rest of Christianity. They scoff the same way at NRM Mormon groups that EV critics scoff at them.
  • general anger and massive efforts to get rid of critics from the board (ZLMB) the way UTLM had rid themselves of the Mopologists.
But does all this imply that apologetics, per say, is bad? Couldn't it be another way?

It is a logical possibility, but little more, and here's why. The church has no formal way of educating its members on issues that could ever really help the to defend the Church. There are no "students of Aquinas" types because there are no Aquinas figures in Mormonism. There is no education about Mormonism worth speaking of in Mormonism. So those who seek to educate themselves may go the Chapel Mormon route: Skousen, Meldrum etc.. They might become super intellectual and technically Internet Mormons, but in a context of their interest in history, philosophy, religious studies; Times and Seasons and related blogs are excellent examples. Finally, there is Mopologetic, the armpit of Mormon educational pursuits. Pay attention here: because there is no formal Mormon study of critical issues in a structured and academic setting, those who begin to thirst for knowledge but can't buy into the mythos of Chapel Mormonism, who aren't interested in the mere intellectualizing of strictly book-worm Mormonism; they get pulled into the fray from encountering criticism, usually on the internet, and a chord is struck not with merely with their intellect, or they'd be on Times and Seasons which is about 100x more intellectual than MAD, but with their anger and thirst for revenge. Alternatively, the chord might be struck with their anti-social desires to inflict pain on other people. These folks are in it for the fight, for the brawl with critics, Chapel Mormons, or anyone they can feel "gets in their face" to give them a reason to lash out bitterly.

Interestingly enough, if you poke around blogs like Times and Seasons, you will find the occasional frustration expressed with apologetics and the antics of the apologists -- the bad name that the luminaries of SHIELDS and FARMS have given to intellectual Mormonism. It says a lot when even someone like Joseph Antley, who is brimming with rage at Doctor Scratch, denies being an apologist because subconsciously, he knows just how horrible the practice of apologetics is. Look at the Narrator, he has no love for Cassius University, but he finds the rage-fueled antics of Mopologetics to be counterproductive and isn't afraid to speak up about it.

My guess is that Doctor Scratch a) just picked up on the problems of Mopologetics faster than many of us b) came late to the game after the fallout and it was easier to see the truth in retrospect.

Take a Mopologist, no matter how accomplished, drain his anger away, and he will gravitate toward Mormon intellectual venues of other kinds. Mopologetics exists because of the human condition known as anger.
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Postmodernism In The Service Of Mormon Apologetics
Tuesday, Nov 2, 2010, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Jon Adams
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
I’ve written a lot about Mormonism, and often from a more academic and detached perspective. You won’t often find those writings here at this blog, but I figure I’d include this one. This paper concerns the role of postmodernism in Mormon apologetics. It should be of interest to some SHAFTers, as postmodernism and Mormonism are cultural competitors against secular humanism.

Over the past twenty-five years, there has been a dramatic rise in the volume and sophistication of Mormon apologetics. This rise has been especially pronounced in just the last decade or so. The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), the foremost Mormon apologetic outfit, became an official entity of Brigham Young University and now enjoys church funding. Websites like FAIRLDS, SHIELDS, Mormon Fortress, and others have also helped to popularize and make accessible LDS apologetics.

John-Charles Duffy, a young religious studies scholar at Chapel Hill in North Carolina, argues in a recent Dialogue article that postmodernism has been incredibly influential in Mormon apologetics and helps account for its ascendancy. To see why, one must know the history of Mormon scholarship.

Duffy identifies two dominant schools of thought in Mormon scholarship today: the “new Mormon history” and “faithful history.” The new Mormon history began in the late 1960s, and purports to be a more objective, less sectarian reporting of the LDS Church’s history. This new approach to church history broke with the traditional approaches in that it neither shied away from sensitive topics nor suppressed controversial conclusions.

The second school of thought in Mormon scholarship is “faithful history.” This “faithful history” was a response to and rejection of “the new Mormon history.” Scholars in this camp are orthodox Mormons, who believe all histories of Mormonism should be sympathetic and faith-promoting. In other words, Mormons should be engaged in apologetics, not academically rigorous histories.

The tensions between postmodern and modern thought exist in many religions. In Christianity, there is a debate between Protestant fundamentalists and liberals over Biblical inerrancy. Protestant fundamentalists are often considered anti-science, but where it concerns the Bible, they are wedded to the modern concepts of “objective knowledge” and “truth.” Liberal Protestants, however, have a more postmodern, metaphorical reading of the Bible. Mormonism is having a similar dialogue about the Book of Mormon historicity and other issues, but the roles are reversed. As Duffy notes, it’s the conservative, orthodox scholars that advance postmodernism against the more liberal scholars of the new Mormon history, who want a dispassionate approach to the LDS Church.

The success of the faithful history came with the demise of the new Mormon history during the 1980s and ‘90s. Louis Midgley and David E. Bohn, retired BYU political science professors and contributors to FARMS, were among the earliest and most dogged detractors of the New Mormon history. Midgley and Bohn employed a postmodern critique against the approach. In particular, they argued that any attempt at an objective Mormon history is futile, because all claims originate in an ideology and are “inescapably mediated by language and culture.” And since there is no objective or a priori means by which determine the truth or falsity of an ideology, all perspectives are valid. This philosophy resembles Nietzsche’s perspectivism, which says that we can only know things from our individual perspectives. Midgley and Bohn therefore urged all Mormon scholars to study from their religious perspectives and give up their pretenses of neutrality.

Bohn accused reputable Mormon scholars like Leonard Arrington and Lawrence Foster of excluding “non-scientific testimony of the role of God” in Mormon history. Midgley was less diplomatic and boldly indicted such historians of treason against the faith for not actively affirming Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims. These attacks proved devastating to the new Mormon history.

So-called “faithful historians” like Midgley and Bohn gained an audience with LDS church leaders. Church leaders were concerned that the new Mormon history scholars were flirting with apostasy by publishing what was at times unflattering research about Mormonism. Apostle Boyd K. Packer conveyed these concerns to BYU educators in an address he gave in 1981 titled “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect.” “There is a temptation,” Packer said, “for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.” He also warned that some scholars’ “posture of detachment” was “giving equal time to the adversary.”

Later, in 1991, the First Presidency released an official statement cautioning members from reading histories or attending research symposia that were not approved by the LDS Church. And throughout the ‘90s, the church was quick to discipline scholars who challenged the traditional LDS narrative. These actions had a chilling effect on all research into Mormonism that wasn’t expressly apologetic. Mormon scholarship is only now beginning to rebound.

So postmodernism was the bludgeon with which Mormon apologists beat down the new Mormon history. And apologists continue to use postmodern perspectivism to deflect criticisms of the LDS Church.

There is another way that Mormon apologists employ postmodernism. Duffy writes that apologists use perspectivist language “as the primary rhetorical resource for those who hope to win credibility for faithful scholarship within the academic mainstream.” They play on academia’s postmodern sympathies in order that their faithful perspective will get offered at or respected by universities other than, say, Brigham Young University. Again, their argument is that all perspectives are valid given postmodernism, so on what grounds can a faithful LDS perspective be excluded? LDS literary critic Michael Austin wants to see Mormonism counted among other minority histories. Austin believes that Mormons are hyphenated Americans, like African-Americans or Italian-Americans. He even coined the term “Mormo-American.”

Such appeals to academia’s tolerance of differing perspectives haven’t been successful. And noted Mormon historian Richard Bushman is somewhat relieved that they haven’t. “Wouldn’t we prefer,” Bushman asked, “to be taken seriously enough to be directly opposed rather than condescended to?”

Postmodernism is a double-edged sword for Mormon apologetics. Many professors at the very conservative BYU do not want to see their school become a bastion of postmodern thought. English professor Richard Cracroft fears that postmodernism will invariably bring with it “the creeds of secularism,” which include “immoralism, atheism, nihilism, negativism, perversity, rebelliousness, doubt, disbelief, and disorder.”

What’s more, it seems that orthodox Mormon apologists have yet to internalize the very postmodern philosophies that they use against their critics. On the one hand, the Mormon apologist dismisses truth as a fiction as per postmodernism. But on the other, they affirm that the LDS Church is “the one and only true Church.” These two sentiments cannot easily be reconciled. If the apologists were to fully adopt the philosophies they exploit, then postmodern Mormon apologetics would be a self-cannibalizing project. The orthodox scholars would have to surrender their claims to knowledge and objective, religious truth.

It will be interesting to see, then, whether postmodernism will keep its privileged role among Mormon intellectuals for much longer. I suspect it won’t. Postmodernism was not a philosophical commitment for apologists, but a novel convenience.

Already, Mormon scholarship seems to be trending back toward a new “new Mormon history.” In Duffy’s words: “…faithful scholars must capitulate to secular ground rules more than they might prefer as the price for participating in the academic mainstream, postmodern challenges to the Enlightenment notwithstanding.”
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Something To Read And Then Questions For Christians And Especially Apologists
Monday, Nov 29, 2010, at 09:40 AM
Original Author(s): Gwylym
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Christianity and Mormonism requires apologists to shore up the believers when difficult questions are posed in regards to their scriptures. These apologists make it their responsibility to provide answers or explanations on difficult or troubling questions. One of these questions for Mormonism is where are the Book of Mormon lands located? For Christianity, a question might be where is the evidence for the Exodus?

All researchers, archaeologists and historians give their interpretation of the facts.

"However impossible absolute "objectivity" may be (and all acknowledge that today), it is still a worthwhile and essential goal for philologists and exegete, specialist in material culture, or historian. Either there are empirical data or there are not; and the historian who opts for the second alternative puts himself out of business, at least as a serious scholar and not a demagogue." (William Dever What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? pp 87-88)

"Simplistic as it may sound, the chief requirements for dialogue may be courage and honesty. By "courage," I mean the individual scholar's willingness to put his or her ego up for stakes; to abandon long-cherished positions when necessary; and to acknowledge how and why one's mind has changed. By "honesty," I mean simply citing other scholars accurately, in context, and crediting one's sources fully; not pretending to an expertise one does not possess; resisting the temptation to indulge in personal polemics that stem from a sense of inadequacy, either in oneself or in the evidence at hand; and refusing on priciple to distort the evidence or another scholar's view." (IBID p 88)

It is my experience that apologists typically select only the evidence that supports their beliefs; and they resort to circular reasoning, taking quotes out of context and when these tactics fail they resort to ad-hominem attacks.

The following list shows some of the tactics that apologists use. The list was found on the internet (unfortunately I do not have a citation). I have amended the list to include some of my thoughts.
  • Apologetics ignores contradictory facts.
  • Apologists have a tendency to ignore facts that do not fit their model or belief. Once a stance is taken, apologists will not revise their theory based on new facts or counter-arguments. They will try and denigrate or ignore those facts and if that cannot be done then they will make ad-hominem attacks on the one presenting the new data. Primarily information on Mormonism will be given but the list also applies to Christian apologetics.
  • Apologetic "research" is incomplete or shoddy.
  • Apologists quote other apologists and do not check facts. Hearsay is used, quotations from other apologists and adherence to myth. Apologists and pseudoscientists generally do not check sources. They will quote each other in a circular fashion.
  • Apologetics begins with a belief-then a hypothesis is written-and then only items which appear to support it are collected.
  • Apologetics is there to help "prove" or make an apology (in the Greek sense) for a belief. "Evidence" is searched for and all conflicting evidence is dismissed or ignored. Apologists do not investigate, they rationalize. They work in possibilities and not probabilities.
  • Apologetics is indifferent to criteria of valid evidence.
  • Apologists do not deal in controlled and repeatable experiments. The emphasis is not on meaningful, controlled, repeatable scientific experiments but on finding tidbits of information that give some sort of credence to their hypothesis.
  • Apologetics relies heavily on subjective validation.
  • The Book of Mormon mentions a river in the Middle East that Lehi and his family crossed in their journeys. Modern apologists find a wadi that does not flow like the river mentioned in the Book of Mormon yet they report they have proof now. Or, a rock is found with the letters NHM inscribed on it and they use it as a proof of the Book of Mormon Nahom. This could also be Naham, Noham, or any other combination of vowels. They may quote DNA studies that mention that American Indians have the X haplotype without mentioning the X1 or X2 subclades and what those mean.They subjectively validate their hypothesis with this type of information. The equivalent is done with "proof" of the Exodus.
  • Apologetics always achieves a reduction to absurdity if pursued far enough.
  • The Mormon Prophets have stated time and again that American Indians are descendants of the Hebrews. Apologists now go to the absurd position that the Book of Mormon setting was a very small area, regardless of the fact that this hypothesis is counter to "prophetic" teachings and the Book of Mormon itself. Another example is the horse from the Book of Mormon. Apologists indicate that it may have been a deer or a tapir and not an actual horse. Absurd. A human cannot ride a deer or tapir. The same for swords. No steel or swords have been found in pre-Columbian America. So apologists say that the swords are actually macuahuitls.
  • Apologetics always avoids putting its claims to a meaningful test.
  • History, archaeology, geology, etc are rarely used except where pseudoscientific claims give credence to their hypothesis.
  • Apologetics often contradicts itself, even in its own terms.
  • I have heard some Mormon apologists claim that the Book of Mormon took place solely in upstate New York while others claim that it took place in one small area in central America.
  • Apologetics does not progress.
  • Once the hypothesis is set that is it. It is final. This despite new facts that may come out that counter the hypothesis.
  • Apologetics attempts to persuade with rhetoric, propaganda, and misrepresentation rather than valid evidence (which presumably does not exist).
  • Apologetic books and writings give possible examples but the examples are not probable or confirmable. There is no way to easily prove against a possibility. Anything is possible. But is it probable? Apologists (and especially Mormon apologists) use non sequiturs, ad hominem attacks and resort to emotion when the argument goes against their hypothesis.
  • Pseudoscience appeals to false authority, to emotion, sentiment, or distrust of established fact.
  • i.e. Non-experts in the field writing as experts. Also they resort to statements such as "scientists are denying the truth. They know we are right but Satan has control of them."
  • Pseudoscience makes extraordinary claims and advances fantastic theories that contradict what is known about nature.
  • Apologists only advance their claims and ignore any evidence that may counter their claims.
  • Apologists appeal to the truth-criteria of scientific methodology while simultaneously denying their validity.
  • Apologists will quote from archaeologists or pseudo-archaeologists when it advances their cause but will denigrate a finding that is counter to their hypothesis.
  • Apologists are there to help the "weak" firm up their testimony. And these apologists rely upon pseudoscience and pseudoscience practices to prove their hypothesis while ignoring good science at the same time.
Many Christians, especially fundamentalists consider the Bible to be literally true. If the Bible is literally true, why then does the historical, geological and archaeological record differ?

As Dever stated, either there is empirical data or there is not. What does it mean if the empirical data does not match the Biblical record?

For everyone... Can the Bible still be useful if it is not empirically true?

What is the difference between spirituality and religion?

Is a church or religious sect necessary for spirituality?

What is spirituality and can the Bible help one be spiritual without the Bible being empirically true?
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Book of Mormon Archaeological News?
Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Sl Cabbie
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
From http://taleof2nations.blogspot.com/:
Book of Mormon Archaeological News. Supplying Book of Mormon photographic archaeological, textual evidences, that testify the truth of the Book of Mormon. Evidences are supplied by Universities of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Tulsa, Calgary CA. Mexico City as well as National Geographic, U.S. Park Service, Smithsonian Inst.,Museum Natural History and many other reputable institutions of science. Joseph Smith told the truth about the Book of Mormon being an ancient record. Benjamin Franklin provides evidence.
That site deserves a huge neon bullchip warning. Seriously...
Palenque Mexico, 690 A.D. Tablet of the Cross
Two hundred years after Moroni? Right...

And more Wayne May/Rodney Meldrum nonsense with the Newark Holy Stones and The Bat Creek Stone...

Both have been irrefutably shown to be forgeries on many separate occasions, and the only time archaeologists discuss them seriously is when they examine the motives of the forgers.

I see the promoter isn't one of the Limited Geography Crowd (and probably thinks "DNA" means "Does Not Apply).

Ha! I won a bet with myself that mention would be made of the Los Lunas stone... Even Hugh Nibley wasn't buying that one...

Oooh! And Frank Hibben to boot! More fun... Wiki is a little too kind to him in saying he was only suspected of fraud... Not that it has any relevance to the Book of Mormon, but...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_C....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandia_P...
Frank C. Hibben, a UNM student who had not been involved in the excavation, later worked in the cave. He reported finding a spearpoint beneath a layer of material dating more than 25,000 years old, along with the bones of camels, mastodons, and prehistoric horses. The 25,000-year age suggested by Hibben was erroneous, as the bones were carbon dated from 14,000–20,000 years ago (16,000–14,000 BCE). The published notes of Bliss and others in reference to the poor layer integrity and cross-layer contamination associated with rodent burrowing proved that Hibben's dating of historical sedimentary layers was consistently inaccurate.

Frank Hibben's claim of a Clovis point dating to more than 25,000 years ago is cited as strong evidence for the existence of a much older pre-Folsom culture in North America (as contended by the authors of the controversial Forbidden Archaeology). However, Hibben's publications misrepresented the initial excavation work of Wesley Bliss, who noted the proper layers, and the poor layer integrity in areas, among other findings that were erroneously misconstrued and reported by Frank Hibben to prop up his theory. Bliss did not find any of the spearpoints in the layers reported later by Hibben. It is now believed that the spearpoints were not as old as was originally reported by Hibben, and Hibben's sloppy work and false testament to man's history in North America has greatly hindered the accuracy of our understanding of prehistoric North America. Frank Hibben was generously rewarded for this falsified work, which assisted him greatly in starting his impressive career, supported by the University of New Mexico. The errors in Hibben's work were covered up for 60 years until being openly acknowledged and reported.
http://lithiccastinglab.com/gallery-p...

Goodness, as I read on further, I see the proprietor is aware of at least some of the controversies...

The question, then, is why bother promoting this tripe?

Connections between the Incas and Ancient Egypt when the South American civilization didn't emerge until the 14th century, 1300 years after Cleopatra, the last Egyptian Pharoah...

Seriously?

Even the "Etruscan Gold Wafers" prove nothing since their "provenance" is not given, and they are erroneously identified as plates when they're hardly larger than postage stamps and contain engraved pictures and not writing...
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Squish The Mopologist: Why Mopologetics Is Bad For Mormonism
Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Beavis Christ
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
In my observing of mopologists over the years, it has become apparent to me that they do not believe their own arguments, at least they do not believe them consistently. This lack of consistency is why Mormon apologetics will be fundamentally bad for the church down the road.

This is most apparent when it comes to mopologists treatment of what they believe to be their "trump card," a testimony of the Holy Spirit.

LDS apostle Dallin Oaks provided a good example of this belief in his 1993 speech to FARMS:
"I maintain that the issue of the historicity of the Book of Mormon is basically a difference between those who rely exclusively on scholarship and those who rely on a combination of scholarship, faith, and revelation. Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation and fulfill Nephi's prophecy that in the last days men 'shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance' (2 Ne. 28:4). The practitioners of that approach typically focus on a limited number of issues, like geography 'horses' or angelic delivery or nineteenth century language patterns. They ignore or gloss over the incredible complexity of the Book of Mormon record. Those who rely on scholarship, faith, and revelation are willing to look at the entire spectrum of issues, content as well as vocabulary, revelation as well as excavation."
Thus, according to Oaks, people looking to authenticate the truth claims of the Book of Mormon would do well to combine both scholarship and prayer. Prayer, in the beliefs of the neo-orthodox Mormons, is still the best way to know whether or not something is true.

Oaks's statement of belief is fully consistent with Mormon doctrine. Doctrine and Covenants 8:2 states: "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

But do mopologists actually believe this? It is apparent that they do not, at least not in the case of Rodney Meldrum, a paleo-orthodox mopologist who has rejected the Mesoamerican theories expounded by the likes of John Sorenson and his intellectual heirs. He's also different than the Mesoamerican LGT believers in that he does exactly what Oaks urged people to do: combine faith and scholarship.

This is utterly unacceptable to the FARMS and FAIR Mesoamerican supporters who have starkly ridiculed and condemned Meldrum for "attempt[ing] to assert revelation for those outside of his stewardship."

And yet, Meldrum has actually done nothing of the sort. In fact, he has merely indicated that he has felt spiritual manifestations in support of his "work." In an email sent to his supporters reprinted by FAIR, Meldrum repeatedly speaks of his own "fasting and praying," and how God gave him several "miracles" to encourage him to expand his efforts to prove a North American setting for the Book of Mormon. At no point in the email, however, did Meldrum state that God told him to tell Mormon leaders that they needed to adopt his theories.

Meldrum appears only to believe "the Lord is watching out for this project." That is a far cry from him saying that God is endorsing his theories. Perhaps God wants to encourage a multiplicity of theories about Book of Mormon geography in the hopes of encouraging more people to talk about it--and by extension its precepts and the churches who believe in it.

Assuming limited humans cannot know the mind of God, how can Mesoamerican supporters deny that this might be the case?

They do it by denying the veracity of personal spiritual experiences.

In their arrogant dismissal of Meldrum's spiritual witnesses, mopologists are actually acting very much in character for their own intellectual tradition, but also in the tradition of religionists trying to justify belief in their own minds. This pattern of behavior has repeated itself thousands of times throughout world history and is the reason that we have so many religions and sects today.

Such religions and sects are entirely the product of single individuals who took a look at existing faith traditions and decided that none of them quite made sense in their minds. Religions in a sociological sense are nothing more than groups of people who agree with a particular set of supernatural beliefs.

The one advantage that Mormonism had going for it was its claim that its founder and all of its subsequent leaders have a direct pipeline to God and thus should be listened to. It's a position not operationally different from Catholicism but vastly different from those of other religions such as Islam or Protestantism. It's no coincidence that neither Mormonism nor Catholicism have had repeated episodes of schismaticism aside from the isolated events (Great Schism and the death of Joseph Smith, FLDS is too small to count).

Mopologetics is endangering to this systemic advantage that Mormonism has, though. And that is because it is an intellectualizing of a faith. Unlike the efforts of, say, Thomas Acquinas, however, today's Mormon apologists are tearing down their faith tradition as much as they are building it up.

By continually discounting official statements and books like the History of the Church or the Journal of Discourses as "just his opinion" or "not doctrinal," mopologists are engaging in a demystifying of their own past leaders.

A delightful irony here is that demystification of societal constructs is an obsession among postmodernist writers who are bent on tearing down and destroying belief in traditional religions and their descendant social structures in favor of atheistic socialism. Hugh Nibley and his clueless followers use many of the same tactics to try to build up Mormonism as Runtu and others have written well about.

It won’t work in the long run, however. Demystification is useful in the short run because it helps mopologists preserve a version (however tortured) of Mormon beliefs in the modern world of DNA and anthropology but in the long-term, the removal of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, et al. from their pedestals has bad implications for the successors of Thomas Monson.

That's because there is no good reason that if lay members can discount or dismiss the General Conference pronouncements of Brigham Young as "just his opinion," they can't also do the same with those of Monson. If I can disregard Spence Kimball's statements about Indians turning white why can’t I decide to ignore Gordon Hinckley’s discussion of earrings or Russ Ballard’s bleatings about reading the Book of Mormon?

In the long run, the more this attitude of disregarding the past prophets spreads within the LDS church, the more it will undermine the authority of the current General Authorities.

Dr. Shades has called this split a dichotomy between Internet Mormonism and Chapel Mormonism, a distinction which has a lot of merit and is generally appreciated by ex-Mormons. Mopologists vehemently disputed this characterization, saying that it is overly broad. As proof, several offered the idea that when they took Shades’s survey of orthodoxy, they came out as Chapel Mormons.

Shades has responded to this contention already but I think an additional response is worth adding that, assuming mopologists are accurately stating that their personal beliefs do correspondent to Chapel Mormonism, this may be more of an indicator in a flaw in the comprehensiveness of the survey questions than in their actual beliefs. The reason for this is that Mormon apologetics, like modern religious apologetics in general, is more about constructing ad hoc rationalizations for beliefs that were created prior to the stunning advancements of scientific knowledge of the past 150 years than it is about building a coherent intellectual edifice which integrates well with the theological tradition which spawned it. It is perfectly possible that a Mormon apologist could answer in the Chapel affirmative for even a majority of Shades’s questions, simply because he/she has not had the emotional need to reach for the ad hoc rationalized answer.

The ad hoc nature of neo-orthodox Mormonism makes it inherently unstable. Subconsciously, I believe that the existing hierarchy is aware of this and that many are uneasy with Mormon apologetics. The members certainly are. I've sat in at least 40 different wards' Gospel Doctrine classes and whenever someone started on about how there wasn't a world-wide flood, maybe evolution is true, or how the Book of Mormon did not take place throughout the hemisphere, the general membership reacted strongly in a negative fashion.

Some of the Big 15 are more vocal in their suspicion of mopologists. Boyd Packer is their champion. His infamous “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect” is a clarion call against attempting to justify Mormon beliefs through secular means:

It is an easy thing for a man with extensive academic training to measure the Church using the principles he has been taught in his professional training as his standard. In my mind it ought to be the other way around. […] If we are not careful, very careful, and if we are not wise, very wise, we first leave out of our professional study the things of the Spirit. [Rodney Meldrum, anyone?]

I have walked that road of scholarly research and study and know something of the dangers. If anything, we are more vulnerable than those in some of the other disciplines. […]

One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for "advanced history," is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be accountable. After all of the tomorrows of mortality have been finished, he will not stand where be might have stood.

I recall a conversation with President Henry D. Moyle. We were driving back from Arizona and were talking about a man who destroyed the faith of young people from the vantage point of a teaching position. Someone asked President Moyle why this man was still a member of the Church when he did things like that. "He is not a member of the Church." President Moyle answered firmly. Another replied that he bad not heard of his excommunication. "He has excommunicated himself," President Moyle responded. "He cut himself off from the Spirit of God. Whether or not we get around to holding a court doesn't matter that much; he has cut himself off from he Spirit of the Lord."

The natural progression of things is that Mormonism is headed for schism. Certainly that's what happened with the RLDS church which was in the rationalization business long before the Brighamites were. It will take time, however.

My theory is that mopologists will gradually take over the elite circles of the church. I don’t mean to say that Dan Peterson or Mike Ash is going to be receiving an apostleship any time soon but rather that people who believe in a neo-orthodox form of Mormonism will become ascendant within the church hierarchy.

There are signs of this already, most famously the insertion of “among” in the introduction of the Book of Mormon’s description of Lamanites being the ancestors of the American Indian. The abrupt and little-publicized renaming of the “Lamanite Generation” dance troupe is another. The continual attenuation of revelatory claims from the heady days of Brigham, Joseph, and Orson talking of angelic beings coming over for lunch are never coming back.

Over time, you will see more such subduction of traditional Mormon beliefs (but never apologies for them) and new emphases on metaphorical interpretation of the scriptures, when they are even talked about at all other than to quote Chicken Soup stories from.

In following this route, Mormonism is going right along with its Protestant siblings, seeking to find a way to justify non-rational faith in a world ruled by reason. It will work to some degree but to see where it will ultimately end up, just take a look at the mainline Protestant denominations like Methodists, Unitarians, or Lutherans.

They still have bigger numbers than the Mormons but they are in their death throes, thrusting about wildly, grasping at such silliness as liberation theology or “social justice” which have nothing at all to do with books written by ancient desert people. And their congregations know it, too, which is why they are leaving in droves for secularism. No one wants to worship a metaphor or hear stories about a people that vanished into thin air.

Eventually, far down the road as the church moves further and further into mainstreaming itself, I think you will see a splinter group just like what happened with the FLDS in the 20th century and the Restoration Branches in the 1980s. Tough to say how long all of this will take, especially when it’s difficult to see who will succeed Boyd Packer as the preeminent paleo-orthodox Mormon leader. Regardless of when it happens, I believe it will since people can only take the discarding of important beliefs at the hands of sneering people deriding you as a “fundamentalist.” It’s happening within the Anglican church now over homosexuality, one wonders what the dividing issue will be within Mormonism when that does happen. Luckily for whoever these future rebels are, today's mopologists will have done the work for them in demystifying the prophets.

I’m going to need some popcorn in any case.
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The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2011
Monday, Dec 5, 2011, at 10:57 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
At a certain point in mid-autumn, the skies begin to dim a little earlier, and a nippiness threads through the air. One can smell a hint of cinnamon and cloves, and perhaps, if one listens hard enough, the tintinnabulation of sleighbells are audible in the distance. Of course, this can mean only one thing: it's time for the annual summary of Everything that Was of Especial Note in the World of Mopologetics. Certainly, 2011 saw its share of epic upheavals and dramas. So, on we go with this year's countdown:

10. The Nehor is Booed Off of MDB. After racking up well over 10 thousand posts, the space-cadet TBM poster dubbed "The Nehor" finally called it quits. His career, as several noted, was marked by a very slow decline: from earnestly naïve perpetual missionary, to increasingly cynical uber-nerd, to fist-shaking lunatic. By the end, The Nehor was probably irredeemable as a poster. In a "farewell" thread launched by Liz, Mr. Stakhanovite perhaps summed up The Nehor's MDB posting career succinctly:

Mr. Stak wrote:
I was holding back, given how much Nehor sucked both as a person and as a poster, I could say a lot more. I'd rather have Nehor waste his brain cells huffing glue than rolling that pallid face across the keyboard to share his version of "the gospel" here.

But hey, don't let me stop you from talking about Nehor like he was some estranged co-worker who hung himself last night in the garage, because God knows, deleting a message board account calls for a wake and a round of anecdotes about the deceased.
9. Kerry Shirts is "Absent" from the FAIR Conference. The 9th most significant "happening" in the world of Mopologetics in 2011 was actually a non-event: Kerry Shirts failed to cinematically document that all-important Mopologetic gathering, and thus we were deprived of all the goofiness, back-slapping, consumption of high-sugar beverages, and general bloviation that we've all come to love so much. Indeed, the absence of a new entry in the Shirts oeuvre led some to wonder if the image-conscious FAIR board had actually barred him from attending, which would make this at least the second time that FAIR has gone out of its way to make an enthusiastic TBM defender feel unwelcome. (The other being jskains.)

8. Droopy Shows Even More Signs of Insanity. Well, there you have it. That and the fact that, per him, he seems to have been "welcomed" into one corner of Mopologetics' "Inner Circle." In a staggering post, he suggested that he has been receiving emails and/or PMs from Will Schryver, which speaks volumes about the state of amateur Mopologetics in 2011.

7. Leonard Arrington is Given the "Frankenstein" Treatment on MST. The Daniel Peterson vanity project known as "Mormon Scholars Testify" reached its nadir position when the Administrator in Chief cobbled together a plagiarized/manipulated version of LDS scholar Leonard Arrington's published works in order to make it seem as if the late, revered and venerable Arrington had given his endorsement to the Website. This signified an important change in policy at MST: whereas earlier deceased "testimonies" featured clear indication that permission to reprint materials had been gotten from the deceased scholars' significant others, there was no such indication for Arrington. Furthermore, given the propagandistic nature of the site, along with the deeply problematic nature of the reputations of the people involved, there is extremely good reason to suspect that Arrington would have had major problems with seeing his name associated with this endeavor. Nonetheless, Daniel Peterson continued to stubbornly insist that he'd done nothing wrong (this despite the fact that he and his editorial team swiftly went in to make edits to the entry). Indeed, his locked-out profile here at MormonDiscussions still contains a pithy dismissal from him that's a direct reference to this incident.

6. SeattleGhostWriter Issues a DMCA Takedown Notice. MormonDiscussions.com--the beacon at the center of online Mormon discussion boards--was briefly shut down in June of 2011 after a TBM called "SeattleGhostWriter" went ballistic. The normally very low-key and congenial Chris Smith posted a thread inquiring about SGW's odd Mopologetic Website, and he (i.e., Chris Smith) wondered how and to what extent the Website/blog constituted a legitimate "academic" endeavor. What ensued in the wake of this OP were a series of astonishing events, the most notable of which, perhaps, was the discovery of SGW's purple-prose-laden erotica. Seething with rage over the notion that anyone would dare mock his epistolary efforts, SGW flew off the handle and began plotting a kind of legal revenge. Rather than contacting Dr. Shades, or calling for level heads, SGW immediately hit the Lawyer Button, and before anyone knew it, MDB had gone dark. Key posters were forced to regroup at The Foyer and The Ex-Mormon Forums while Dr. Shades ascertained what had happened. Before long, the board was restored, but the SGW Incident remains notable as a case where an angry TBM used legal threats to stifle discussion.

5. The Birth and Death of "The Cafeteria". Some time in July, the well-liked MDB moderator Liz3564 launched her own, "private" messageboard dubbed "The Cafeteria." The purpose of the board, as Liz later explained, was to provide New-Order Mormons with a place to discuss Church-related issues "in peace." Her board ran quietly up until The Nehor packed up his things and left, at which time Liz launched her "Nehor Has Left the Building" thread, and the existence of The Cafeteria was revealed on a wider scale. This immediately led to Liz utterly locking down her messageboard so as to prevent the public from seeing what was discussed there. Suspicions swirled about Liz's motives: Did she really support Shades' vision of a free-speech environment? Was her board merely an invite-only means of gossiping about MDB? Was The Cafeteria really for NOMs, and if so, why had DCP and ttribe been invited? In spite of some strong words that were exchanged, every thing was smoothed over, and Liz continued to run her board underthe cover of darkness.

Then, in late October, the board imploded after Dr. Peterson began a series of threads complaining yet again about his various obsessions. This irritated a number of the members of The Cafeteria community, who began "leaking" word of DCP's "Meltdown of Epic Proportions." Unsure of what to do, Liz first re-opened her board for public viewing (after deleting several key threads), and then deleted the board entirely, apparently in order to put out the fires of a "board war" (which are wholeheartedly encouraged per Dr. Shades's Doctrine).

Several posters noted in the wake of all this that Liz's intentions were noble: it's admirable and understandable that one would want a messageboard "safe haven" to discuss Mormon-related issues. On the other hand, near-unanimous opinion indicated that the biggest mistake Liz made was in inviting DCP to the party.

4. DCP is Caught Mis-Using Quotes In a stunning thread entitled, "Questions for Dan Peterson," Mr. Stakhanovite very carefully and clearly demonstrated that Daniel Peterson had totally and completely mis-used a quote from Camus. Mr. Stak posted scans of the Camus text in question, and DCP was shown to have completely warped the quote in order to score a rhetorical point. After he was repeatedly confronted with this gross and unprofessional misrepresentation, DCP shut down his MDB account and skulked off into the shadows. To this day, Dr. Peterson remains effectively "hidden" from the public eye, so shamed was he by Mr. Stak's devastating critique. Further, it remains unclear just why, exactly, DCP made this "error": Was it simple carelessness? Deliberate misappropriation of the quote? Or, perhaps even more disturbingly, did he simply assume that his TBM audience would be too dumb to notice?

3. Gee and Roper Verbally Assault Mike Reed. Over the summer, Mike Reed gave a powerful presentation at the Gold Plates Seminar, which was headed up by Richard Bushman. During his talk, several Maxwell Institute "scholars" showed up with the apparent intention of heckling him. They could be heard whispering and sniggering as he spoke. During the Q and A session, the lobbed a series of increasingly aggressive and mean-spirited questions at him. John Gee, in particular, raised his voice in apparent frustration and anger, while Matt Roper insisted that he had a text that would seriously undermine/challenge/disprove Reed's central argument. When pressed on this, however, Roper went completely silent. Speculation swirled over the motivation behind these MI Senior Mopologists' behavior, with many wondering whether this "attack" had been staged in advanced, behind the drawn curtains of FARMS's inner sanctum.

2. The Rise of Mr. Stakhanovite. No person defined the world of online discussion of Mopologetics better than the irrepressible, brilliant, pipe-smoking, Rat-Pack-loving, Socratic gadfly known as Mr. Stakhanovite. 2011 saw him fully emerge and blossom into a formidable messageboard participant, with his deft philosophical evisceration of everyone from Bill Hamblin to poor, hapless mfbukowski. Mr. Stak, in 2011, demonstrated more than any other poster how vibrant, exciting, illuminating, and entertaining the world of online Mopologetics can be. In some respects, 2011 was The Year of the Stak.

1. Schryvergate. Really, what more can be said about this? The key Mopologetic event of 2011 was the "defeat" of erstwhile Mopologetic here, William Schryver. After the unfortunate failure of his KEP FAIR Presentation, Schryver was continuing to lick his wounds until MsJack delivered a series of hydrogen bombs which blew his credibility to smithereens. In post after withering post, MsJack demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that Schryver is a terrible liability for any publishing venue that wants to maintain a shred of respectability. The thread left no doubt as to Schryver's deep-seated misogyny, vulgarity, and duplicity. So profound and thorough was MsJack's critique that it led two concerned, Melchezidek priesthood-holder MI apologists to voice their issues to the Maxwell Institute "powers-that-be," and as a consequence, Schryver's supposedly upcoming MI publication was "canceled," due to fears of negative publicity.

While Will Schryver continues to try and rescue his tainted reputation, and while he continues to insist that his KEP work (now allegedly in the 500-page range) will one day see publication, the fact remains that MsJack dealt what may very well turn out to be the most devastating blow of the decade. If Schryver does indeed wind up convincing a venue to accept its work, it will spell certain shame and doom for whoever takes the bait.

And with that, another exciting year of Mopologetics comes to a close! Who knows what 2012 will bring...
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Mormon Voices : Mormon Leadership, Putting Their Hand In The Political Pot!
Monday, Jun 11, 2012, at 08:43 AM
Original Author(s): Heyimginger
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
This was posted on the comment board of an article on the Washington Post:

"If you are wondering why there seems to be so many positive comments regarding the Mormons on The Washington Post, the reason is the mormons have been instructed to make these comments by their leaders. Here is the email being distributed to the members "encouraging" them to counter the negative arguments against their church by drowning out the critics with their numbers. Just more proof you can't trust what they are saying because they are told what to say (or not say).
Dear MormonVoices volunteer,

The Washington Post has recently published a slew of articles on Mormons and Mormonism. Some of them are positive and will become more prominent in web searches with more comments, and some need positive comments to counteract the negative comments already made. Please leave a positive comment on each article. As always, avoid debates, show Christlike kindness in your tone and topic, and leave politics out of it as much as possible.

The links to the articles are:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/mitt-romneys-mormon-milestone/2012/05/31/gJQAbavy4U_blog.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/mitt-romney-i-believe-in-heavenly-father-jesus-christ-and-the-holy-ghost/2012/06/01/gJQApeQD7U_blog.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-book-of-mormon-a-biography-by-paul-c-gutjahr/2012/06/01/gJQA8vvs7U_allComments.html?ctab=all_andcomments

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/are-mormons-christian/2012/06/04/gJQAxEzkDV_story.html

If you need any help or advice, please contact us at email@mormonvoices.org.

Thank you for your help! Please recruit your friends, family and ward members to join MormonVoices!

The MormonVoices Management Team

FAIR, PO Box 491677, Redding, CA 96049, USA"
I can't even begin to explain how much this enrages me.
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R. Scott Lloyd Goes To Chik-Fil-A
Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012, at 08:21 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Perhaps others have heard the news, but the head of the fast-food Chik-Fil-A has been the object of criticism after he declared that he opposes same-sex marriage. In response, some people have begun to withdraw their support and/or to distance themselves from the restaurants.

Not Scott Lloyd, though. Now that he knows that Chik-Fil-A's head honcho embraces discriminatory attitudes, Lloyd has pledged to patronize the restaurant even more frequently:

Scott Lloyd wrote:
The head of Chik-fil-A is taking some heatfor his outspoken support of traditional marriage defined as being between a man and a woman.

Some are calling for a boycott of the restaurant chain, persumably as a way to punish the man for speaking his mind on this controversial topic.

Accordingly, I decided today to do my own personal anti-boycott. For the first time in years, I patronized Chik-fil-A today. I noted that the one I visited, in the City Creek shopping center in downtown Salt Lake, was doing a brisk business despite reputed calls for a boycott.

I spent more than is typical with me for lunch.

I was pleased that the experience exceeded my memory. The service was prompt, courteous and friendly. The chicken salad sandwich I ordered was of the highest quality, and the signature waffle fries were hot and tasty. Though I was disappointed they did not offer fry sauce, the Chik-fi-A sauce, a sweet, tangy, barbecue-mustard concotion, was a nice dipping condiment.

I will definitely return.

So why a post here? I think it important in today's marketplace that we support with our business those who share our values. Since its restructuring nearly two years ago, the Deseret News, as it has reached out to a national audience with both its print and on-line products, has made a concerted effort to appeal not just to Latter-day Saints but to "like-minded believers." Just as I hope such folks would reward that effort with their patronage, I would like to do the same for others who are outside my own faith group but who share my values and ideals.
Quite interesting! I suppose Lloyd will make sure to take his next vacation in a foreign country that refuses to allow women to attain leadership positions.
topic image
The Top Ten Happenings In Mopologetics, 2012
Monday, Dec 3, 2012, at 10:06 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
It's Decemeber. We've all begun to notice certain changes all around us: the tree limbs are skeletal and leaveless. Commercials on TV and on the radio have Christmas-music soundtracks. And, of course, the bearded visage of Santa Claus--all rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed--is everywhere. But not every place in the Judeo-Christian / Western world celebrates the holidays in quite the same way. For example, did you know that in certain northern European countries, St. Nicholas has a rather sinister (and arguably racist) companion? The Germans call him "Schwarz Peter," and the Beligians and Dutch call him, "Zwarte Piet"--aka, "Black Peter." Who is Black Peter, you may wonder? From Wikipedia:
[T]he lyrics of older traditional Sinterklaas [i.e., "Santa Claus"] songs warn that while Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten will leave well-behaved children presents, they will punish those who have been very naughty. For example they will take bad children and carry these children off in a burlap sack to their homeland of Spain, where, according to legend, Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten dwell out of season.
(Incidentally: is any of the major Mopologists planning a future all-expenses-paid cruise to Spain?) While being hauled off in a burlap sack might seem bad enough, there are some punishments that are apparently even worse:
These songs and stories also warned that a child who has been only slightly naughty will not get a present, but a "roe", which is a bundle of birch twigs, (as a warning they could have gotten a birching instead)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwarte_Piet

It's worth noting that the good editors of this Wiki entry provided a link to the entry for "birching" (and no, this isn't "John Birching"):
Birching is a corporal punishment with a birch rod, typically applied to the recipient's bare buttocks, although occasionally to the back and/or shoulders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birching

Yeeouch! What a disturbing Christmas myth! And yet, it's hard to think of a better metaphor for what happened in the world of Mopologetics this year. In my long tenure as the B. H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetics Studies at the highly pretigious Cassius University, I don't know that I've ever witnessed such an eventful and tumultuous year. I can't help but feel concern that 2013--and every subsequent year--will fail to measure up to what was, for the Mopologists, anyhow, a cataclysmic 366 days of Mayan-Calendar proportions.

So, with great humility, I present to you this year's annual offering of the Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, Two-Thousand and Twelve.

10. DCP Shares a "Hot Booty Shaking" SocialCam Video on Facebook. The month of June in 2012 was arguably the single most important month in the history of Mopologetics, and it got started in a rather lurid fashion. Thanks to a glitch in the Facebook "SocialCam" app software, Mopologetic "Kingpin" Dan Peterson accidentally shared that he'd watched a video entitled, "Pitbull get a boner dancing with Jennifer Lopez (Hot Booty Shaking)." Dr. Peterson claimed that he watched the film because he'd noticed that one of his Facebook friends (a Melchezidek Priesthood-holder), had also watched it, which seemed peculiar to Dr. Peterson:

DCP wrote:
I've just learned something new. "Socialcam,"of which I'd never before heard, announces on facebook if you've watched something on it. I got a facebook notice earlier today that a friend had watched something that seemed . . . er, questionable. Surprised that he would watch it, but REALLY surprised that he would (as I thought) choose to ANNOUNCE that he had watched it, I watched it, too, to see if there was something funny or significant in it that would lead him to want to announce it to all of his facebook friends. (There wasn't.) And now I find that I'VE seemingly chosen to announce that I watched the same thing -- which, at least, helps me to understand what happened to my friend (but is, otherwise, slightly embarrassing and quite irritating). My apologies. I've got lots of shortcomings, but this kind of stuff isn't among them.For better or worse, his viewing of this material was announced to his hundreds of Facebook friends.


9. Liz3564 Becomes a Mopologist. The once-loved moderator and poster Liz3564 formally resigned as a Mormon Discussions moderator after a slow decline that culminated in her attempting to use private information in an attempt to intimidate and "punish" another poster. Liz began her posting and moderating career in 2006-2007, after a fallout involving the moderating team at the board which was, at the time, called FAIR (later MAD, now MDD). She was celebrated by critics for daring to oppose Juliann, Dan_G, and the rest of the anonymous FAIR/MAD moderators, though of course, her old friends felt that she had betrayed their trust. Sadly, as the time wore on, Liz eventually began to turn on those who had supported her here.

Indeed, Liz's curious and multi-faceted personality unfolded in interesting ways: it emerged that [in real life information deleted on request]. She drinks alcohol (notably White Zinfandel) and coffee. She watches pornography. She writes spanking-themed pornography. She [Telestial-caliber allusion deleted]. She criticizes LDS Church leaders, in spite of insisting that she is a loyal "New Order Mormon."

Perhaps the real slide began last year, following Liz's launch of an invitation-only messageboard called, "The Cafeteria." Whether intentional or not, the board became something of a forum for complaining about this messageboard, and Liz ultimately shut down shop after a "Meltdown of Epic Proportions" involving Mopologetic "Kingpin" Daniel Peterson. Liz's private messageboard concept was revived this year, though, in the form of a Star Wars-themed forum called, "Geeky NOMs," which was a place that was designed to allow for explorations of the members' "Pass Times."

There seem to have been two key events that led to Liz's crossing over into the "Dark Side" of Mopologetics: (1) the banning of her good friend Jersey Girl, and (2) her ongoing friendship with DCP and her newfound alliance with Pahoran. It was this latter development that caused the alienation of some of the last vestiges of her friends: Just Me was banned from "Geeky NOMs," and MsJack and Blixa both left in protest. Meanwhile, Infymus announced that he had relieved Liz of her moderating responsibilities at the ExMormon Forums, due to the fact that he could "no longer trust" her--mainly on account of her support for Dr. Peterson--support which, in the eyes of some critics, including playing "Messenger" for the noted Mopologist.

With this announcement, with Liz's support of Pahoran (and her extension of an invitation to Droopy to join "Geeky NOMs"), she formally crossed over into full-blown Mopologist status. Liz has also become perhaps the only moderator in all of Cyber-Mormonism to have been "fired" as a mod from three separate messageboards. It's impossible to imagine the Mopologetic landscape without her, though one cannot help but wish that things had turned out differently.

8. Trevor Holyoak Raises the Bar on Mopologetic Cyberstalking. The large-pored Mopologist names Trevor Holyoak continued his ascent as the creepiest LDS apologist in cyberspace. Seldom appearing to make actual arguments or to challenge critics in the field of debate, Holyoak has chosen to opperate almost entirely behind the scenes: picking fights with people on their Facebook comments threads; digging up dirt; and accumulating ammunition for FAIR Wiki entries. Indeed, Brother Holyoak seemed to be ubiquitous when it came to various scandals involving various LDS critics and "NOMs." His forays into creepiness and cyberstalking were so extensive that he managed to snag shared honors with Dr. Gerald Bradford for the pretigious Sampson Avard Golden Scepter award. It remains to be seen whether or not Holyoak will begin publishing and/or engaging in more substantive Mopologetics. In the meantime, he continues to function as a kind of Shadow Operative.


7. Pahoran Tries to "Out" Darth J. In early November, Darth J submitted the opening post of what eventually became an epic thread:

http://mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/vie ... =2andamp;t=26769

In it, he revealed a number of surprising and painful details: He had accepted a voluntary suspension from the Utah Bar; he was involved in litigation against the LDS Church for matters pertaining to alleged sexual abuse; Dr. Peterson had sent him an arguably defamatory PM about another poster; perhaps most significantly, Pahoran had been using this information as a means of trying to intimidate Darth J. Most observers agreed that Pahoran failed rather miserably. Instead, the majority of posters were reminded yet again of the largely rotten tactics that are employed by resentful and angry Mopologists.

6. The David Twede Fiasco. The critical Web site "Mormon Think" occupied much of the spotlight in the second half of 2012, most notably because of Mopologetic attempts to subject MT editor David Twede to Church discipline. Twede began to complain about Mopologetic harrassment on various messageboards, and the story eventually received national media attention, where, rather incredibly, it was revealed that FAIR President Scott Gordon had played a major role in contacting Salt Lake City "allies" who then somehow put things in motion ot punish Twede.

But there were multiple, hazy stories: Wiki Wonka surfaced to explain that Twede--or a Twede sockpuppet, or an alleged Twede sockpuppet--had engaged in trolling behavior on PostMo. Scott Gordon announced on MDD that he hadn't contacted Twede's ecclesiastical leaders--that he'd only notified some people in "Salt Lake City" (though he wouldn't elaborate on who this was).

In any case, after Twede complained to the mainstream media, the Church quickly changed course and decided not to discipline him after all. Whether this was done out of a desire to avoid negative media attention, or because of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, is anybody's guess.

And here, as with the Number 2 Happening, Trevor Holyoak played an important role in gather "dirt" to use against Twede. Several here have speculated that some of this material--including the alleged "trolling" bits mentioned by Wiki Wonka--has landed in a Strengthening Church Members Committee dossier in the COB.

5. The Mopologists Lauch Mormon Interpreter. If there is any reason to continue watching Mopologetics in 2013, it's the new MI--named, as some have speculated, as a kind of angry rebuke to the original "MI"--the now much-maligned Maxwell Institute.

In late July / early August, at the conclusion of the FAIR Conference, Dr. Peterson ceremoniously announced the launch of a new, online "scholarly" venture called, Mormon Interpreter--a "journal" which was billed as a "peer reviewed" forum for studying Mormon scripture. Despite some setbacks (notably of the financial variety), there was enthusiasm amongst Mopologists of every stripe that the MI would pick up where the old FARMS Review left off.

But it was not to be. Instead, readers were treated to an almost hilariously inept production that still somehow managed to publish "new" material once a week. The articles were poorly edited; they were besotted with typos; they often seemed cobbled together out of snippets from old, rejected FARMS articles. Rather than fulfilling the promises of a legitimately "scholarly," "peer reviewed journal," the MI has instead become the best place on the Web to observe the buffoonery, toxic rage, and grudge-carrying of classic-FARMS Mopologetics.

Of special note were articles by Cassandra Hedelius (who hurriedly took down her own personal blog in the wake of criticism of her MI article), Louis Midgley, and John Sorenson, who angrily harrangued his old friend/colleague, Michael Coe. Midgley, on the other hand, was met with accusations of "pervy-ness" after he used 7-year-old blog postings about a BYU co-ed having sex in the library bathroom as a means of smearing her.

Of course, in the beginning, there was a great deal of hype surrounding the MI, with editor and tech guru Bryce Hammond waxing orgasmic about his love for Midgley, Peterson, Hamblin, and Nibley, and with Hamblin offering up support and announcements both on his own blog, and on the Mormon Dialogue Board. The Mopologists also attempted a foray into video "Roundtables," which were almost universally a failure--barely managing to garner any audience at all.

Perhaps the best word to describe the editorial mindset at the MI is "delusional." Without fail, Editor-in-Chief Daniel C. Peterson has continued to trumpet the claim that the MI publishes something "new" once a week. What he has failed to tell his readers, though, is that a good portion--perhaps more than 50%--of the "published" articles have been retreads from other sources: articles by Tvedtnes, Midgley, and Skousen were recycled from previously published material; a large chunk of the original articles were "harvested" from the final issue of the Mormon Review, which MI chief M. Gerald Bradford refused to publish.

Meanwhile, in a most remarkable blunder, the Website manager posted the budgetary expenses for the months of August and September, which revealed that the Editor may very well be compensating himself thousands of dollars for his work on the MI, which has once again caused some to wonder whether or not Mopologetics is, on some level, a commercial venture (at least for the guys at the top).

In any case, Mormon Interpreter will be worth watching in 2013.

4. The Apologists Self-Destruct on the TIME Lightbox Comments Section. This technically occurred in 2011, but these lists tend not to account for events in December of the preceding year; thus, it makes this year's list. The photographer Brian Shumway published a photo essay for TIME magazine detailing his experience in Utah's Happy Valley. The photos brimmed with the oftentimes quiet life and somber vitality of Mormon life in this area. Perhaps because "no one was smiling," top Mopologists immediately swarmed to the site, attacking Shumway on the basis of everything ranging from his reading habits, to his photography skills (which the Mopologists dismissed as "pedestrian" and "amateurish," respectively).

Their commentary drummed up a ton of interest, though, with Dan Peterson amassing well over a hundred posts in response to critics who appeared to denounce his condescension and arrogance. Mike "Tuffy" Parker turned up, only to hit the "eject" button after it appeared that he might be formally labeled an "apologist" alongside Peterson and Hamblin. Later, Will Schryver appeared, only to leave after several commenters linked to MsJack's thread on his misogyny (which, incidentally, was the Top Happening in Mopologetics of 2011).

Only DCP persisted, apparently unable to stop his torrent of self-defeating, whiny, condescending, persecution-complex and grudge-carrying replies. Strangely, when critics attempted to revisit the site this past autumn, it was discovered that all the comments have disappeared into the ether. Did the Mopologists contact the people who maintain the site in order to get the embarrassment cleaned up? Did they threaten litigation? As Dr. Midgley has recently observed, "The story of efforts to invoke censorship has yet to be told."

3. The Rise of Mopologist Blogging. Messageboard participation had long been the bread and butter of online Mopologetic interaction dating clear back to the pre-ZLMB/UTLM days, but in 2012, the Mopologists began to shift their activities over to private blogs, where they (presumably) could do a better job of controlling their own rhetoric and of deleting unflattering comments.

Four blogs quickly emerged as the most important:

1. Dan Peterson's Blogger/Patheos "Sic Et Non"
2. Will Schryver's "Imetatron"
3. Bill Hamblin's "Mormon Scripture Explorations"
4. The most recent entry--John Gee's "Forn Spo;ll Fira"

To a certain extent, the blogs represented the same-old same-old: the usual resentments, anger, and juvenile antics, but they also extended and enlarged these tendencies. Perhaps most shocking was "Sic et Non," which revealed an alarmingly extremist political streak, replete with ruminations on the value of having an entire citizenry "packing heat" as a means of curtailing random shootings, and an off-the-wall post about how U.S. Blacks should be "thankful" for slavery because it resulted in them getting the privilege to live in modern-day America (a sentiment that was echoed on "Imetatron.")

Hamblin's blog, meanwhile, has tended to be more narrow in focus, though it was an object of interest after he began to broadcast his dissatisfaction with M. Gerald Bradford, the Maxwell Institute, and the entire budding field of "Mormon Studies," which Hamblin sees as an almost wholly negative and threatening development.

These blogs have become a treasure trove of bizarre commentary and seriously misguided antics, the most recent and noteworthy of which was DCP's attempted "outing" of the posted called, "Chino Blanco." After attempting to tie Chino to the "deranged" and "mentally and emotionally disturbed" straw man that he's spent over half a decade creating, Peterson reversed course and deleted both of his blog postings and all of the commentary. In fact, the deletion was so thorough that even the Google cache entries were blasted from cyberspace. Speculators observed that Peterson will likely never be able to engage in an attempted "unmasking" like this without facing the possibility of a retaliatory "false light" defamation lawsuit.

2. The John Dehlin "Hit Piece." One or two years ago, Mopologetic "Kingpin" Daniel C. Peterson appeared on John Dehlin's popular podcast, "Mormon Stories." DCP wasn't interviewed by Dehlin himself, though; instead, the questions were posed by "Mormon Scholars Testify" contributer Dan Wotherspoon. The interview went extremely well, with posters on both sides of the critic/believer divide praising DCP for his openness and thoroughness. Later, though, he and John Dehlin squared off on the "Comments" section of the "Mormon Stories" Website, and this seemed to be a harbinger of things to come.

Indeed, something was brewing behind the scenes on the secret L-Skinny channels, and in the dark corridors of the Maxwell Institute. It eventually emerged that the Mopologists had long been at work on a kind of "Death Star" designed to attack John Dehlin as a secret, apostate "wolf in sheep's clothing." In April of this year, it was announced that, in fact, a 100+-page "hit piece" was in the works and was set to appear in the already tardy issue of the Mormon Review (nee FARMS Review).

viewtopic.php?f=1andamp;t=23562

But the Mopologists failed to anticipate the extent of Dehlin's power. The "hit piece," which was penned by the goat-like apologist Greg Smith, was circulated quickly throughout the LDS power structure, with the end result being MI Director M. Gerald Bradford ordering the issue of the Review canceled. Dehline indicated that, after his entreaties to Prof. Peterson were ignored, he eventually turned to a General Authority for help, and further, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles stepped in to intervene. (The apologists have steadfastly denied that there was any GA involvement at all--a fact that is belied by the inclusion of a GA on one of the early emails that Dehlin sent out.)

The apologists' main counter to the events was to insist that Dehlin was "invoking" censorship--that he was throwing his weight around in an effort to stifle criticism of his "apostate" activities. Of course, the Mopologists themselves--most notably and recently John Gee--have shifted over to blogging precisely so that they could censor critical commentary at will.

What no one could have realized at the time is that the suppression of the Dehlin Hit Piece was actually a harbinger of things to come. It showed that, in fact, the power structure in Salt Lake City had ceased to feel sympathy for the attack-minded antics of the "classic-FARMS" apologists. It was arguably this event that set in motion the inevitable events that culminated in June of 2012, in the form of this year's Most Significant Happening:


1. The End of FARMS. I doubt that there will ever be a bigger "no brainer" Number 1 event on these lists. I'm referring, of course, to the resignation of Daniel C. Peterson as editor of the FARMS Review, and the dissolution of FARMS as a significant force on the BYU campus. As a consequence of his response to an email sent by MI Director M. Gerald Bradford, the Mopologetic edifice that had resided at Brigham Young University for almost a quarter century, was formally dissolved, and cast out into the Wild West of cyberspace:

viewtopic.php?f=1andamp;t=24378

It had certainly been a long time coming: critics and TBMs alike had been complaining for years about the problematic "tone" of the Review. The MI apologists had been entangled in lawsuits; they faced accusations about ad hominem attacks and smear campaigns; they made dubious claims; the distorted sources; and they cited incredibly controversial authors as legitimate sources. THe apologists responded by claiming that the whole episode amounted to a kind of coup d'etat staged by Bradford and perhaps one or two other Maxwell Institute associates, and had been planned out and executed over the course of a few years. Though it seems obvious that the move was approved of by a General Authority, the Mopologists--as with the Dehlin incident--have sworn up and down that this isn't the case. Later in the summer, the events achieved a special kind of finality when DCP announced on his blog that he was orderd to clean out his office at the MI, reducing his total office count to 1.

This was the Top Happening in Mopologetics for the year because it represents a seismic shift in what the Mopologists are able to do. Prior to June of this year, they could always claim that their works were formally endorsed by BYU and the LDS Church (this in spite of the silly disclaimer they always include about not speaking for the Church). Even their most absurd, bigoted, and sophomoric publications always carried the BYU imprimatur. Now, though, as Dr. Peterson observed in his now-infamous email to Gerald Bradford, virtually the entire output of the Mopologists' run will now be interpreted as wrongheaded, since the dissolution of FARMS must be seen, in Peterson's own words, as:
as an institutional rebuke of me and all my works
Not just his works--but the works of Midgley, Hamblin, Gee, Smith, and all the others that worked to build FARMS into an attack Machine. Now, though, just as DCP realized, the apologists have been cast out, and they enjoy the status of non-scholarly Internet cranks, just like millions of other people. The events of June 2012 were, to paraphrase Greg Smith, a "game-changer."

* * * * *

Thus concludes this year's list. I fear that 2013 cannot possibly as monumental as 2012 was, but who knows what the future will bring? Certainly, 2012 was so jam-packed with events that I feel obliged to break with tradition and list some of the "Honorable Mention" items that didn't quite make the list:

--The McLays Appear on "Mormon Stories"
--Mitt Romney's Presidential Run
--Droopy Launches a Blog Devoted to Attacking Joanna Brooks
--David Bokovoy is Shafted by BYU
--Randy Bott is Canned for Making Comments About the "Curse of Cain" Doctrine
--Jersey Girl is Permanently Banned from MDB
--Mike Parker Attacks Richard Packham and Others on the FAIR Blog
--Jeremy Orbe Smith Gets Entangled in an Online Dispute with Mr. Stakhanovite
--Scott Lloyd Dines at Chik-Fil-A Because He Hates Gay People

Happy Holidays to all!
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Martin Tanner On The Book Of Abraham
Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013, at 12:47 PM
Original Author(s): Tamboruco
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Did anyone catch Martin Tanner last night on his weekly Religion Today broadcast on KSL radio? Oh Heavens this misguided fellow really doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to the Book of Abraham (BofA). I wonder if someone from church correlation is reviewing his scripts because his mumbo jumbo is so far off its almost silly.

He said that someone sent him an email recently questioning the authenticity of JS' translation of the BofA.

Here are some things he said that really caught me by surprise and I have been a student of the problems with the BofA for a decade or so now.

1- We only have 2-3% of the papayri that Joseph Smith purchased. Joseph Smith purchased 5 rolls of papayri that averaged (yes folks this is what he said) approx. 15-18 feet in lenghth for a total (yes again folks this is what he said) 125 feet of papayri. This is according to eye witness accounts. The 97% we don't have was lost or burned in the Chicago fire. The 2-3% we have are the funerary texts and not the BofA.

Tamboruco - 125 feet! Wow! My TBM Father told me once that the papayri were so long that the rolls rolled through the door into an adjacent room. I have never heard the 125 feet figure - please fact checkers on the board please tell me where this is coming from.

There are so many problems with this assertion I don't even want to start.

2- Joseph Smith did not translate the papayri that the church now has in its possession.

Tamboruco - What? Seriously? Then what about the vignettes? The vignettes in the papayri the church has matches what was published in the Times and Seasons except for the cephalus piece which is lost.

Martin didn't mention JS' Grammar and Alphabet.

3- Egyptian history is replete with papayri that mention Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Elohim. So for the writings of Abraham to appear in the sarcophagus of a priest would not be uncommon.

Tamboruco - Calling fact checkers on the board again - really? Elohim shows up in Egyptian history and on papayri?

4- Some Egyptians such as Priests could afford more lavish funerary services and therefore some would have more elaborate papayri in their sarcophagus.

Tamboruco - Ok this may be true but 125 feet of it? Really?

5- The church made every effort to pubish and make known the papayri (Martin made it sound like the church did this right away) that were returned to the church in 1967.

Tamboruco - Oh man! This Martin Tanner is really crazy to assert this. I'd love to hear what Sandra Tanner would say to this. Well, actually I do and this is complete rubish. From what I understand it was intially 'leaked' for four prominent Egytologists who found nothing noteworthy expect that this was a funerary text for a dying Priest. And of course we all know that Hugh Nibley took a crack at it.
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Public Relations - What The Mopologists Can't Understand
Monday, Feb 25, 2013, at 09:59 AM
Original Author(s): Robuchan
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Church has some problems:
  • historical information available on the internet is causing a lot of members to stumble
  • church got overly aggressive on politics and is now looking conservative and old and mean
  • church has a lack of diversity, making non white, republican, nuclear family types feel uncomfortable
What the apologists don't get is that these are real problems that the church actually acknowledges are problems and are trying to correct. The church is backing off the anti-gay propaganda. Per Marlin K Jensen, the church realizes they are bleeding members, especially young adults, and they're looking at how to fix it.

As for apologetics: Terryl Givens is the new role model for church scholars. Acknowledge the "warts", be nice to the enemies, show empathy to apostates, point to the good things the church does, shrug your shoulders, and say "you just go to have faith". Dan Peterson's asshole/bully approach has been flushed down the toilet.

Who's more likely to get an "I'm a Mormon" video? Harley Davidson rider with long hair that wears a blue shirt to church or clean cut, suit wearing guy? A single mom, lawyer and child rights advocate or the Molly Mormon stay at home mom? Brandon Flowers or Dan Peterson?

The church is increasingly intentionally vague in matters of doctrine and politics. They want to encourage a big tent atmosphere. Focus on believing in Jesus and being good to each other, and let's set up a really big tent around everything else.

Dehlin is dangerously close to the edge on the liberal side of things. But frankly, Mopologists are dangerously close the edge on the conservative side of things. And the church suffers from both these. The church wants and needs the Dehlin side of things. That's where they get the I'm a Mormon people. That's where they can point to when the media comes and can say "see we don't hate gays, we're normal, we're young and hip and cool". Yes, they'd like them to tone things down and they'd like a little more control over this group, but they certainly don't want to cut them out or even force them all to shave and vote Republican. On the TBM side, yes they want their obedience and consecration. Those people that live and die for the church is what generates all the service hours the church needs to progress. But they don't want to control them too, they don't want this group starting a war with the NOM's, causing a divide, saying stupid stuff on blogs, and otherwise making the church look old, stale, and out of touch.

Between John Dehlin and Dan Peterson, if the church had to choose to keep one and toss one, DCP would be kicked to the curb. He's not adding any value. In fact, he's hurting things.

I haven't followed all this as closely as many of you, but it's very easy to believe that the church has tried to make DCP and his gang aware of this changing dynamic for quite some time, and they have just been too dense or too rebellious to comply. In the end, the church doesn't care much about the individual when the reputation and image of the entire church is at stake, and DCP has been chewed up and spit out.

What's so fascinating to me is that I think the Mopologists must understand what's going on. You've got two rational decisions. Step in line or fight back. They are choosing a third option. They are fighting, but not fighting back at the Mormon hierarchy that is beating them down, but they are fighting back at the apostates. ?? I just don't get it. And with every shot they fire at the apostates, they are getting themselves in deeper and deeper trouble with the Mormon hierarchy.
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Now That Mopologetics Are Unofficial Only
Thursday, Oct 3, 2013, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Sock Puppet
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
There was Nibley, then FARMS which got gobbled up into NAMIRS, the advent of FAIR and then NAMIRS spit the FARMS-remnants out in 2012.

Those FARMS-remnants (the OMIDs) have taken up refuge in the online hinterlands (Mormon Interpreter and The World Table). FAIR is much lower-profile since the official disenfranchisement of the FARMS-remnants.

It seems what was once sanctioned by the COB, via Maxwell and Hinckley, has now been drummed out of the corp. Mopologetics are now unofficially LDS.

A staple topic at MDB as been the unChristian tactics used by the Mopologists. The FARMS-remnants once posted here in an attempt to defend those unChristian tactics. This is much less interesting now that they have no official LDS sanction. The threads here started to it are much lower in number and frequency than before.

There is a lingering interest in the post-official attempts of the FARMS-remnants to remain relevant, somehow. This is particularly so when we see glimpses of their unvarnished thoughts peek out at times in their writings on blogs. It is also telling that those remnants now only go where they can pontificate unchallenged, or with power to delete comments someone may post.

The remnants only venture into the publicly free fora through surrogates these days. Once the protectors, the sword-wielders for the Brethren to keep their hands 'clean', it is now the FARMS-remnants that themselves stand behind the shielding provided by others. These surrogates today might be considered the 2nd Quorum of Mopologists.

Unfortunately, this second tier of shielders are not doing so out of thought or promise of 'eternal reward', which seems to have motivated the first tier. The first tier (the FARMS-remnants) seemed motivated by religious fervor and zealotry. Their zeal was rarely daunted by taking incoming hits.

The second tier now do protect the first tier (the FARMS-remnants) out of loyalty to them. And the price this once-removed defense exacts from the second tier providers is quite high. Though the first tier (the FARMS-remnants) have never apologized for, nor so much as acknowledged the inappropriateness of, their tactics, these second tier defenders seek to shield those FARMS-remnants from the other side of that same sword of, for example ad hom, attacks.

Yes, the FARMS-remnants are officially disenfranchised, but they continue on their screeds unabated. In fact, they now seem less inhibited than before when officed up at NAMIRS. And now, they hide their arguments and thoughts behind the ability to delete comments that contradict them, and hide themselves behind the cover of their surrogates, the second tier who are paying a heavy price.

The FARMS-remnants have given a new meaning to the politics of personal destruction. They use non-warriors for cover, much like the bodies thrown in front of machine gun fire in WWI. These politics are personally destructive to those that are loyal to the FARMS-remnants.

They began by attacking personally the LDS critics. Then, they moved on to personal destruction against LDS like Meldrum who had different theories than, for example, their LGT for the Book of Mormon. Now the FARMS carnage even includes the bodies of those that have been loyal to the FARMS-remnants.

Seems too bad that these FARMS-remnants have not the decency to reciprocate this loyalty to their second tier that is paying such a high price to defend the FARMS-remnants.
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Mopologists, Hoisted On Their Own Philological Petard?
Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Aristotle Smith
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
As the tenured Egbert Bratt Grandin Chair of Textual Criticism at Cassius University, I'd like to weigh in on a little matter surrounding the hot news around Cassius University, The History of the Late War between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert J. Hunt. (hereafter I will simply call it The History My thesis is simple: Mopologists may have hoisted themselves on their own philological petard.

One way of reading the similarities in vocabulary and literary construction between The History and The Book of Mormon is that the Mopologists have now been rebuffed in a rather large way. Hebraisms, cognate accusative, negative constructions, etc. are all in The History, which means that they in no way prove a semitic origin of The Book of Mormon. This is a logical and sound conclusion, but I think there is another way of looking at this.

Let's take at face value the literary analysis done by the Mopologists on The Book of Mormon. At face value what the Mopologists have shown is that certain literary constructions are rare in English. As a simple example, people don't use the cognate accusative much in English, therefore the use of the cognate accusative in The Book of Mormon says something about the source text of The Book of Mormon. The key here is assuming that the Mopologists are right that this is rare. If so, what the Mopologists have inadvertently done is severely narrow the range of possible sources for the language of The Book of Mormon.

Again, assuming they are correct about the rarity of these constructions, any book showing the same features is now vastly more likely to be the source of those literary constructions. Therefore, on the analysis of the Mopologists, the likelihood that The History is a source for The Book of Mormon is now much higher than it would be without all of those arguments. If Mopologists had not spent so much time trying to convince people that these constructions are rare in English, then The History would not be a problem in the slightest.

The philological word is indeed "quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword" (Dandamp;C 6:2), but unfortunately dual edged swords cut both directions, and the Mopologists may have just found out that second edge is much sharper than the first.
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The Top Ten Happenings In Mopologetics, 2013
Monday, Dec 2, 2013, at 07:33 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
It often seems like Christmas is the Unversal Holiday, since it is so beloved by seemingly everybody: young and old, male and female, Christian and non-Christian. Just about everyone, it appears, loves Christmas. And who can blame them? The joyous sleigh rides through the snow; hot cocoa and marshmallows; Rudolph's inflamed and bulbous nose; Santa and his bowl full of jelly; the Christmas goose with chestnut stuffing--it all adds up to something special. Something that everyone from the General Authorities of the LDS Church, to the local grocery store clerk, to the guy who lives in a tarpaper shack out at the local dump, to the investment banker on Wall Street, can all appreciate.

But there is one group of people for whom the holidays have a very, very special meaning. I'm talking, of course, about TV show producers. What producer hasn't leapt at the opportunity to produce a Christmas-themed show? So many of the elements of interesting television are already in place: atmosphere and context, preset drama and excitement, rich opportunities for character development and plot twists. Plus, there's that special, snowflakes-in-the-air feel to everything. People have loved Christmas specials going clear back to Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Speaking of Christmas episodes, does anyone remember the TV program called ALF?

The title of the show was actually an acronym for "Alien Life Form," and the program, which aired on CBS in the late 1980s, was essentially a situation comedy that centered on a furry, long-nosed puppet-creature from planet Melmac named Gordon Shumway (nicknamed "ALF"), who had an unidentifiable accent and an insatiable hunger for domestic house cats. After crash-landing on Earth, ALF is adopted by the vaguely Mormon-y Tanner family, who live in the San Fernando Valley. As you can imagine, most of the episodes derived their comedy from the various "fish out of water" situations that ALF found himself in.

But most fans of the show know that the most powerful and memorable of all the episodes was (arguably) the holiday-themed program which aired in December of 1987 and was called (somewhat ironically) "ALF's Special Christmas." The plot involves a toy dealer named Mr. Foley, who swings by to visit the Tanner family, who are vacationing up in the mountains. Unsurprisingly, ALF somehow winds up stuck in Foley's truck, which soon makes its way to (of all places) the pediatric cancer ward at the hospital. It's here that ALF is given away as a "toy" to a terminally ill young girl, whom he quickly befriends.

It goes without saying that this is grim stuff. Although ALF later helps a woman successfully give birth in an elevator, it's not long before he finds himself back aboard Mr. Foley's truck, as they head out into the bitterly cold and snowy night. Before long, though, Mr. Foley parks on on a bridge, and ALF briefly wanders off, shuffling hauntingly along through a curtain of falling snowflakes.

"Why did they park on a bridge?" you might ask. If you were thinking, "Because Mr. Foley is depressed and wants to commit suicide," you are exactly right. Three gold stars to you for knowing your 1980s sitcom trivia.

Now, as to whether or not ALF dresses up like Santa in order to talk the man down and save the day--I'm not going to tell you. No spoilers here, my friends! You'll have to hunt the episode down and watch it for yourself.

In any event, I'm sure you can understand why I've taken the time to preface this year's Top Ten list with a recap of this stunningly disheartening and yet oddly absurd Christmas TV special. The parallels with Mopologetics ought to be blindingly obvious. But if not, it's no great matter.

Without further ado, I'm overflowing with emotion this year in my role as the B. H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetics Studies at Cassius University, since it's once again time for the Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics in this year--the Year of Our Lord, 2013.

10. Mike Ash Peddles Shaken Faith Syndrome at Costco. Members of the FAIR e-list received a special announcement in October of this year thanks to a "SPECIAL EDITION" of the e-journal which informed readers that the affable yet oddly mole-like Mopologist Michael Ash would be signing copies of his book, Shaken Faith Syndrome at various Costco locations around Utah. The notice continued:

Quote:
Costco will only schedule book signings when a book is selling well, and will only continue to carry a book so long as it is selling well. It also sells books at a significant discount. This would be the perfect time to buy multiple copies to share with friends and family members as Christmas presents.
This marked a seemingly important transition in the world of Mopologetics. Who ever would have guessed that Costco--the retailer best known for selling discounted big-screen TVs, 5-gallon cans of lima beans, and giant vats of nacho cheez sauce--would become a key venue for spreading the word of Mopologetics? What this demonstrates is an aggressive power-play on FAIR's part as they look to penetrate into previously unexplored marketplaces. It's worth mentioning that, in the same SPECIAL EDITION journal, FAIR President Scott Gordon made a special plea for FAIR members to help vote in the FAIR podcast towards a win for "The People's Choice Podcast Awards," mainly so as to avoid the indignity of being defeated by an "atheist podcast."

9. Old Copies of the FARMS Review Are Shredded. The Mopologists' flagship publication, the FARMS Review, became a collector's item in April of 2013 after it was learned that the entire back supply of old issues was shredded. Some observers pointed out that this was nothing more than standard publishing-industry practice--a "housecleaning," if you will--but it was impossible to avoid seeing this as having something of the same totemic power as burning an effigy. As to whether to old, physical issues will one day command a high price on ebay... Time will tell.

8. Continuing Fallout from the Maxwell Institute 'Purge'. As I noted last year, the events of 2012 were absolutely earth-shattering, and I predicted that we would never again see such a momentous and game-changing Number 1 on these annual lists. So far, that prediction has been 100% true, as evidenced by the fact that we are still seeing echoes and aftershocks from the events that were set in motion in June of 2012. Indeed, 2013 was littered with ongoing potshots from the Mopologists--ranging from DCP's endless barage of complaint aimed at the MI, at Gerald Bradford, and at Mormon Studies more generally, to John Gee's somewhat tasteless Memorial Day postings, to his more recent attacks on Gay/Transgender-themed papers delivered at academic conferences.

Two key "aftershocks" stood out, though:

--Daniel Peterson resignedas Editor in Chief of METI/ISPART
--The Book of Abraham Project, to which John Gee had been attached for over a decade, was terminated.

It seems safe to say that, in 2013, the power and influence of "classic-FARMS" has continued to dwindle, with the very uneven work in Mormon Interpreter representing their primary efforts.

7. Daniel Peterson Publicly Apologizes for Racist Photos. In the same year that saw the decimation of Paula Deen's reputation after news of her racism came to light, Mopologetic "Kingpin" Daniel Peterson also found himself in hot water after he posted images of a lynching on his personal blog, Sic et Non. At first Peterson defended himself, claiming that, due to his upbringing in southern California, he believed that the lynchings were actually of horse thieves, and that he hadn't realized that they carry a powerfully upsetting racial connotation. Of course, some found this rather hard to believe, given his odd tokenism with respect to African American Utah politician Mia Love, or his bizarre blog posting in which he seemed to argue that US Blacks should be "grateful" for slavery since now they're living in America rather than Africa, or his own admission that he's advised interracial couples on the "problems and challenges" of being married, due to the issue of race, or his extraordinarily harsh attacks on Martin Luther King's character on MLK Day. Nonetheless, good sense ultimately prevailed this time around, and he issued an apology:

DCP wrote:
It is never appropriate, and will never be appropriate, to use a graphic image of a racial murder to make a satirical or humorous point. I showed a lapse of judgment in this instance, and I am deeply sorry for any offense that it has caused. I took the image down rather quickly, but I ask forgiveness, nonetheless, of those who have been offended. No offense was intended, nor was any race-related point on my mind. Those who have ever made a remark that they've instantly or soon regretted, or who have ever told a joke that went gravely wrong, or who have ever felt that their basic moral character has been misconstrued (perhaps because of something they themselves have done or said) will, I pray, be willing to pardon my relatively brief posting of that appalling image. I hope they will show the charity that they themselves would hope for and that all of us routinely need.
6. Bill Hamblin Resigns from Mormon Interpreter. In a stunning development, Prof. William Hamblin announced via his blog that he would be "stepping down" from his role on the editorial board of the fledgling Mormon Interpreter. Even more jaw-dropping was the explanation he gave:

Bill Hamblin wrote:
Why I'm Resigning from Interpreter

Effective immediately, I'm resigning as executive editor of Interpreter for the following reasons.

1- My department told me today in essence that both my editorial work with Interpreter, and publications with Interpreter will not be considered serious scholarship. They explicitly advised me to publish in other venues. (This has been, by the way, the consistent policy of both my department and college for a quarter of a century. I have consistently been told essentially the same thing about not publishing with FARMS by every administrator. The fact that I've published with FARMS in the past has directly led to delayed promotion and sub-cost of living pay raises.) I am tired of receiving poor evaluations on my scholarship because publishing with FARMS and now Interpreter is considered unscholarly by BYU.

2- The directors of the Maxwell Institute complained to the administration about my public criticisms of their new policies. The administration, without giving me a chance to see or respond to those complaints, told me to stop criticizing the Maxwell Institute's new direction.

3- I'm tired of the relentless torrent of abuse from anti-Mormons and apostates, including them sending anonymous slanderous email accusations to university administrators.

4- A person I thought was a friend recently decided to describe me (indirectly) as an apologetic hack instead of a real scholar. (This, by the way, has been the fundamental, most insidious, and perpetual slander of apostates-that a believing LDS scholar don't do real scholarship. It is also, a classic example of ad hominem.) It's rather depressing when your friends desert you.

5- I love research and writing. But I literally hate the bureaucratic and editing work required to run Interpreter. I've spent a great deal of my free time for six months trying to get Interpreter up and running. I think it is firmly established and viable now. Someone else can take it from here on out.

It's clearly time to move on. I will have nothing more to say on these matters, and will not be taking phone calls, answering emails, or posting comments on the subject. (Sorry, I need a break.)

I wish Interpreter well, and believe it has a very important role to fulfill in LDS intellectual and spiritual life. The Board of Editors and associates have done a truly miraculous job in producing a journal ex nihilo-the third volume will be published this week. I appreciate all their efforts in creating the journal. I have every confidence that they can move ahead to a great future without me.
This marked a watershed moment in the history of Mopologetics since this was the first time that a high-ranking, upper-tier Mopologist openly admitted that BYU administration not only disapproves of Mopologetics, but that it doesn't even consider it to be "serious scholarship." Doubtless this left a lot of the FAIR/FARMS supporters scratching their heads: if other academics don't consider the material from FARMS, FAIR, and Mormon Interpreter to be scholarly, then why to Peterson, Midgley, Gee, et al. insist otherwise? And who is it at heart that the Powers-That-Be (i.e., the Brethren) are supporting and listening to?

5. A Shakey Launch for 'The World Table'. During the summer's annual FAIR Conference, Daniel Peterson, in his keynote address, announced a new project called, "The World Table," which was touted as an online forum that would "fundamentally change the way we interact online." Users would be required to use their real names and to declare both their religious affiliation and politcal leanings up front. Even more provocatively, users would have the option to rate one another's remarks and behavior on the basis of things like "honest" and "fairness." Peterson promoted the new venture to the FAIR-goers as an opportunity to assembel an "army of apologists." Critics, on the other hand, immediately predicted that the project would fail, and sure enough, after the launch in late September, Mopologists like Wade Englund, Pahoran, and DCP himself all found themselves with "failing" ratings down in the 60s and 50s (out of 100). McGregor, Peterson, and Ray Agostini were all banned for a time, in fact, do to "ratings wars" or other uncivil behavior (though they were all reinstated, apparently).

Meanwhile, speculations swirled about the true intentions of the Web site: Was it being used to collect data on Church critics? Did the leadership consist of a "cabal" of apologists-friendly LDS, who were merely putting on airs as a means of luring critics into the lair? Was this all just a dog-and-pony show, meant to lure critics and non-LDS Christians to the site, where DCP and the apologists would at last show the entire world who the real "villains" actually are?

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions remain unclear, though the CEO of the site, Bryan Hall, did make an appearance in order to tell users that they would need to send scans of their driver's licenses and mortgage statements in order to continue participating.

So "The World Table" has been a mixed bag to this point. The ratings system, it's widely agreed, has been a complete and utter failure--something with more potential for abuse than benefit, though the CEO seems committed to keeping it. Nonetheless, "TWT" will be worth continuing to watch in 2014. Certainly, as the ultimate Mopologetic panopticon, it will be keeping an eye on you as well.

4. FAIR is Funded by The More Good Foundation, Which is Funded by the LDS Church. In spite of decades of denials on the part of apologists that they are in any way "affiliated with" or "connected" to the LDS Church--be it financially or otherwise--a series of absolutely stunning documents surfaced which revealed a fascinating chain of payments being shifted from one apologetic organizaiton to another. The "More Good Foundation," connected to notable FAIR Mopologist Allen Wyatt, was shown to have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars from the "LDS Foundation for the LDS Church," which appears to be one of the many organizations owned by the LDS Church proper. Further, at least one of the documents shows that FAIR was given $2500 one year by The More Good Foundation.

In spite of this, the apologists--notably FAIR President Scott Gordon--continued to deny that they've ever been "paid" to do apologetics, or that the Church has in any way funded them. While these documents *do* seem to show rather definitively that money is changing hands in a very interesting way, it nonetheless feels like we haven't yet come to the conclusion of the strange and secretive shell game that is the Funding of Mopologetics.

3. Mormon Interpreter Publishes the Dehlin "Hit Piece". One of the key developments in 2012 was a rumor that goat-like Mopologist Gregory L. Smith had penned a 100+ page "hit piece" attacking "Mormon Stories" founder John Dehlin. When Dehlin learned that Editor in Chief Daniel Peterson was planning to publish this "hit piece" in the Review, Dehlin panicked and began to email first Peterson, and then a series of influence Mormon scholars and a couple of General Authorities. Though there are conflicting accounts, the "hit piece" was pulled from publication on the orders of some "higher-up" (possibly the BYU president; possibly Apostle Jeffrey Holland), and it was assumed that we would never know what it said. Of course, we do know what happened next: in June of 2012 the edifice of FARMS collapsed after MI Director M. Gerald Bradford told DCP that he wanted to take the Review in a new direction. Observers speculated that the Dehlin "hit piece" played a key role in bringing about the fall of "classic-FARMS," though the apologists rigorously denied it.

Meanwhile, they continued to taunt critics: "It's not a hit piece. You haven't read it, and we have," they said. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary--including close-readings of Smith's other publications--the apologists swore up and down that the "hit piece" was completely fair and objective, and that anyone claiming otherwise didn't know what they were talking about, since they hadn't read it.

Unfortunately for them, copies of the "hit piece" found their way into the hands of an anonymous source, and a review of the Greg Smith "article" was posted in February of 2013. This "forced the hand" of the apologists, and the "hit piece" was subsequently posted on the Web site of Mormon Interpreter, where it was more or less unanimously judged to be a "hit piece," and a long-winded assault on John Dehlin's character. Not only did Smith andamp; Co. publish the actual "hit piece," he also penned a long-winded companion article meant to defend his and his comrades' actions (e.g., harvesting conversations off of Dehlin's Facebook feed, and posting supposedly "damning" things about him on the FAIR Wiki). Still, some apologists continued to insist that the article(s) was nothing more than a "concantenation of Dehlin's public statements." Whatever the case may be, the Mormon Interpreter editorial board refused to put Smith's articles into print--consigning them permanently to the amorphous trash-heap of the Internet.

2. The Late War Obliterates Decades of Mopologetic Theory. One of the longest threads of the year was begun in late October by the Revered Kishkumen, who was alerted to a seemingly new find by a Facebook friend. It turns out that an early nineteenth-century book called, The History of the Late War between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert J. Hunt, has a number of incredibly remarkable parallels to the text of the Book of Mormon. In post after post, readers noted all kinds of similarities: both in terms of phrasing and description, and in overall thems and plot points. Further, historical details emerges showing a strong possibility that Joseph Smith and his associates either owned, or had read or knew about this book. Its influence on the Book of Mormon, in any case, seems practically beyond doubt. Further, the Mopologetic response was stupefyingly bad--little more than a straw man dismissal.

Nonetheless, the discovery of this book has completely destroyed a number of old Mopologetic claims about the ancientness of the Book of Mormon. Since most--if not all--of the "Hebraisms" present in the Book of Mormon are also present in The Late War, decades of claims about the Book of Mormon's authenticity have been pulverized into tiny pieces. To date, the apologetic response to this discovery has been minimal, and it seems unlikely that any real response will ever be forthcoming.

1. DCP Violates Church Policy in an Attempt to Exact Revenge This incident, the most important Happening in 2013, actually takes us back over two years. In November of 2011, the affable and frequently satirical poster Everybody Wang Chung announced to Mormon Discussions that he would be "Traveling to the Holy Land with Daniel C. Peterson." He elaborated:

Everybody Wang Chung wrote:
I mentioned to my Dear Wife a few months ago how much I would like to travel to Israel/Egypt at some point.

This morning, my Dear Wife excitedly informed me of my early Christmas present. She has booked us on a Holy Land Tour escorted by Dr. Daniel Peterson for Apr 25 - May 4, 2012.

I pretended not to act too shocked. I guess I will be posting daily updates of my trip. I will be sure to include photos. Who knows, maybe I can get Dr. Peterson to start posting here again.

Anyone want me to bring back some souvenirs? I will be taking requests soon.
Some readers took him completely at his word, asking him to be sure to take photos. Others figured it was probably a joke, and merely laughed it off. Meanwhile, dark forces were in play that would eventually bring the issue to a head. Of course, as both this list and the list from 2012 indicate, a maelstrom of chaos was roiling beneath the surface calm of the apologists in mid-2012. We all know what happened in June of that year. Thus, it's easy to imagine that Dr. Peterson was under a great deal of stress during this cruise to the Holy Land. Indeed, in May of 2013, DCP revealed that he had been stewing over the question of Everybody Wang Chung for close to a year and a half:

DCP wrote:
Everybody Wang Chung claims to have been surprised by his wife (who seems to be unaware of his attitude toward the Church) with an early Christmas present: She's signed him up for a tour of Israel, late in April 2012, led by Daniel Peterson. He promises to report to the message board on Peterson's ludicrous antics and ridiculous statements while in Israel, and to post photographs. Some amused comments follow for several days, encouraging him in his plans and suggesting needling questions he might ask. Peterson, who checks in on this particular message board from time to time in order to find out what the critics are up to, is not happy at the thought of a contemptuous apostate covertly sneering at him throughout the tour (e.g., when Peterson is speaking, and testimonies are borne by tour participants, at the Mount of Beatitudes, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and at the Garden Tomb).
He continues elsewhere:

DCP wrote:
There's always "Everybody Wang Chung," I suppose. He claims to be a currently serving bishop. He also claimed that his wife surprised him with a tour to Israel this past April/May, led by me. He was, he promised, going to go and to report back to his apostate buddies on all my silly Mopologist antics there. Later, when asked, he claimed to have actually gone, and again, under prodding, promised to provide a chronicle of my ridiculousness while he was with me in the Middle East. So far as I can tell, he's never done so.
All of these doubts and questions ate away at "The Kingpin" of apologetics until, at last, he did the unthinkable:

DCP wrote:
Finally, just the other day, I got out a list of all of the people who accompanied me on that tour, and I had a friend who is a bishop cross check it against the Church's leadership directory. There were no currently serving bishops on that tour. I suppose Everybody Wang Chung's claim could still somehow be true, but I very much doubt it. It seems far and away most likely that he isn't a currently serving bishop, despite his assertions (he doesn't seem to believe much of anything, and is contemptuous of those who do, often in pretty foul language), and that he didn't go to Israel with me. In other words, if I had to bet, I would bet that he's a fraud.
And as Mr. Stakhanovite demonstrated, in a powerful act of investigative reporting, this was indeed a breach of Church protocol:

Quote:
The records of the Church are confidential, whether they exist on paper, in computers, or in other electronic media. These include membership records, financial records, notes of meetings, official forms and documents (including records of disciplinary councils), and notes made from private interviews.

Leaders and clerks are to safeguard Church records by handling, storing, and disposing of them in a way that protects the privacy of individuals. Leaders ensure that information that is gathered from members is (1) limited to what the Church requires and (2) used only for approved Church purposes.

Information from Church records and reports may be given only to those who are authorized to use it.

Information that is stored electronically must be kept secure and protected by a password (citation omitted). Leaders ensure that such data is not used for personal, political, or commercial purposes. Information from Church records, including historical information, may not be given to individuals or agencies conducting research or surveys.
What ensued in the wake of this was an epic-length, 50+ page thread that involved a number of "Danpologists" attempting to explain that, in fact, DCP hadn't actually tried to "out" Everybody Wang Chung's identity, and that, instead, he was merely trying to soothe his freyed nerves--the thought that someone somewhere might possibly have been making fun of him was apparently too much for this hardened apologist to bear.

But this was the most important Happening in Mopologetics in 2013 because it functions as the most accurate temperature gauge for where Mopologetics is today: angry, paranoid, and willing to break the rules of the very institution it's supposedly defending. Just like ALF on that lonesome winter bridge, you can't help but feel like the Mopologists have been in a tough spot this past year.

Still, there's always room for eggnog!

* * * * * *

As always, there are always more noteworthy events than can be covered in a mere 10 slots. Even though 2013 was not as momentous as 2012, it still had its share of memorable happenings. Here are a few of the runners-up:

--Kerry Mulhestein tries to defend the Book of Abraham
--Don Bradley attacks "MormonThink" and "FutureMissionary.com"
--The Narrator is slammed for his "Dear Dan's Diary" blog
--Denver Snuffer is excommunicated
--The "October Surprise" never happens
--The NY Times provides coverage of "The Swedish Rescue"
--Will Schryver is notably absent from the Mopologetics scene

Now, I hope the rest of you will join me at the Cassius Faculty Lounge for our annual Christmas Party! Dean Robbers has purchased several turkeys for our feast, and of course there will be our annual, festive reading-aloud from the theological trash heap of C. S. Lewis (I needed a hanky to wipe away the tears of laughter last year).

Merry Christmas to all!
topic image
Mopologetics 2014: Tackling "The Female Problem"?
Monday, Jan 6, 2014, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Doctor Scratch
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
Happy New Year, everyone! If you are like me, you're no doubt still recovering from all the holiday festivities, what with all those turkeys, desserts, and Dean Robbers's "special" hot toddies. But now it's back to work, particularly since certain segments of the Mopologetics world have been issuing taunts: "I hope you up your game in the new year," said one notable Mopologist.

In any event, a notable posting has come to my attention, and it has to do--in one way or another--with what might be called (for lack of a better term) the "female problem." Of course, all of us know that the Mopologists have historically had something of an "issue" with women: the landscape of Mopologetics is heavily dominated by men, and some have noted that a kind of "good ol' boys" or "locker room" atmosphere prevails. Further, thanks to MsJack's hard work, we have thorough documentation on the misogynistic ways of once-rising-star Mopologist Will Schryver. And given the tight friendships that Schryver has forged with Upper Tier apologists, you can't help but wonder if there are problematic attitudes roiling below the surface. Moreover, all of this is complicated by the status of women within the LDS Church itself, and the seeming increase in "Wear Pants to Church" movements and things of that nature.

Bearing all that in mind, I'm sure you can imagine my bafflement at this New Year's reminiscence from "The Kingpin" of Mopologetics, along with the establishment of a brand-new cash award earmarked specifically for women. On "Sic et Non," Dr. Peterson provded this as a caption: "Thoughtful and insightful scholarship sought." Much more baffling, though, is the actual announcement on the Mormon Interpreter Web site:
The family of the late Ruth M. Stephens has established a prize in her honor to be given for articles submitted by women to Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.

First Prize $500 Second Prize $300
Seems pretty good, right? This certainly would seem like a move in the right direction, until you get to this passage:
The Interpreter Foundation reserves the right of first refusal for publication of all submitted articles, as well as the right, at its discretion, of awarding no prize, or only one. The prize-winning article, assuming that there is one, will be announced on the website of The Interpreter Foundation (MormonInterpreter.com) on the birthday of Ruth M. Stephens, 23 September 2014.
(emphasis added)

Wow! You can practically hear them grinding their teeth together, mashing out the words through clenched jaws: "Fine, girls--we'll give you your stinking money, provided that you can actually hack it." Look, Mopologists: if it's this painful to offer up an award like this, then why do it? Making empty gestures towards being more female-friendly isn't really accomplishing anything useful.

Of course, there are other ways of reading this, even allowing for the problematic gender-issues history I sketched out above. Consider this:
Submissions are due on or before 18 June 2014. They should meet the standards of Interpreter and focus on some aspect of Latter-day Saint scripture (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) or some reasonably related topic (e.g., the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, specific Latter-day Saint doctrines, early Christian thought, etc.). Those who wish to participate in this competition should see previously published Interpreter articles in order to gain an idea of the topics in which the journal is interested.
Quite interesting. Does this mean, given MI's penchant for recycling old material, that articles previously published elsewhere can be re-submitted here for a shot at the prize money? And re: the "standards," given that the Dehlin "hit piece" appeared in Mormon Interpreter, could something like that qualify as well? Or, instead, does this phrase: "focus on some aspect of Latter-day Saint scripture" mean that apologetic articles won't be considered? In any case, it will be worthwhile to see how this evolves. We'll have to keep an eye out this summer to see what--if any--entry they wind up choosing.
topic image
Mormon Defender Bill Reel Erased By Mormon Apologist
Friday, Nov 20, 2015, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Randyj
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
See: http://brucefey.blogspot.com/2015/11/...

Looks like Bill Reel's participation in the 2013 FairMormon conference was just whitewashed since he came out publicly against the recent Church policy change.

For those who don't know Bill, he is an active temple recommend holding Mormon who runs his own apologist podcast.

"But let me be clear, Bill still is an active member of the Church. Still supports the prophet of the Church. Still believes in the Book of Mormon. Still ardently defends the LDS Church against criticisms of it, but with great respect for those who question.

"Yet, this great Mormon defender has been whitewashed by the most well known Mormon apologists in an apparent rebuke of his opposition to the recent policy change of the Church regarding children whose parents are in a same sex marriage."

It's pretty remarkable that FAIR deleted his presentation, seeing as how he's apparently still an active TBM. Sounds like he's good enough for the Lord, but not good enough for FAIR.

"For a group that defends the LDS Church against claims that it has hidden its history, it has just engaged in some history hiding itself."

Indeed. This reminds me of how leaders in the old Soviet Union used to edit out images of disavowed former leaders from photographs. Some examples:

http://iliketowastemytime.com/2012/06...

Another instance of this regarding Mormonism: A 1980 "Ensign" magazine featured articles and photos detailing Mark Hofmann's amazing historical finds, which of course turned out to be forgeries. One article which related how the documents were found in an old Smith family Bible was authored by Hofmann himself, whom church leaders believed was a faithful member at the time. When the church put all of the church magazines on their website, they omitted the article written by Hofmann.
 
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  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (7)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MELCHIZEDEK/AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)
  · MERRILL J. BATEMAN (3)
  · MICHAEL D. WILLIAMS (1)
  · MICHAEL OTTERSON (1)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
  · MORMON CHURCH HISTORY (8)
  · MORMON CHURCH PR (13)
  · MORMON CHURCH PROPAGANDA (5)
  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
  · MORMON DOCTRINE (35)
  · MORMON FUNERALS (12)
  · MORMON GARMENTS (20)
  · MORMON HANDCARTS (12)
  · MORMON INTERPRETER (4)
  · MORMON MARRIAGE EXCLUSIONS (1)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP (38)
  · MORMON MISSIONARIES (142)
  · MORMON MONEY (73)
  · MORMON NEWSROOM (5)
  · MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES (5)
  · MORMON RACISM (18)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONIES (38)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES (116)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
  · PRIESTHOOD EXECUTIVE MEETING (0)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROCLAMATIONS (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (31)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (7)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
  · ROBERT L. MILLET (7)
  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
  · ROYAL SKOUSEN (2)
  · RUNTU'S RINCON (78)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (1)
  · SCOTT D. WHITING (1)
  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · SHIELDS RESEARCH - MORMON APOLOGETICS (4)
  · SIDNEY RIGDON (7)
  · SIMON SOUTHERTON (34)
  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 9 (19)
  · STORIES (1)
  · SUNSTONE FOUNDATION (2)
  · SURVEILLANCE (SCMC) (12)
  · TAD R. CALLISTER (3)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 3 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 4 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 5 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 6 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7 (9)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TEMPLE WEDDINGS (6)
  · TEMPLES - NAMES (1)
  · TERRYL GIVENS (1)
  · THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE (1)
  · THE SINGLE WARDS (5)
  · THE WORLD TABLE (3)
  · THOMAS PHILLIPS (18)
  · THOMAS S. MONSON (33)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING (63)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · UNNANOUNCED, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME (36)
  · UTAH LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY (3)
  · VALERIE HUDSON (3)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VAUGHN J. FEATHERSTONE (1)
  · VIDEOS (30)
  · WARD CLEANING (4)
  · WARREN SNOW (1)
  · WELFARE (0)
  · WENDY L. WATSON (7)
  · WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME (11)
  · WILFORD WOODRUFF (6)
  · WILLIAM HAMBLIN (11)
  · WILLIAM LAW (1)
  · WILLIAM SCHRYVER (5)
  · WILLIAM WINES PHELPS (3)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM (86)
  · WORD OF WISDOM (7)
  · WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES (1)
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