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readstoomuch last won the day on July 20 2014

readstoomuch had the most liked content!

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About readstoomuch

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  1. I am shocked!

    It can be a challenge to look at Mormon Doctrine and separate the wheat and the chaff. There is way more wheat. I used to struggle with him as someone who studied evolution in detail. The age of the earth and evolution were sticking points with me in his writings. He could be dogmatic. It all basically went away in mind with his final testimony of Christ. I know that he spent his time and energy trying to bring Christ to as many people as he could. I can give him some charity on some sticking points.
  2. Apologetics - the new derogatory term

    FAIRMORMON handled the seerstone topic very well as they do most issues. I do think it is a wonderful site for people with questions to go and get information. I think Bushman would say that this is the type of information that needs to be added to the curriculum. It is interesting that the urim and thummimm was a type of spectacle or device that had stones in it. Right there in the bible it is spoken about. Of course now the secular world doesn't see the need for the bible or religion in general. The anti-mormon secular antagonists have definitely grown much faster than the evangelical countercult ministries. They might use the same arguments. The secular antagonist would turn the arguments against the LDS Church back onto the evangelical beliefs. The LDS and the evangelicals have way more in common than the secular antagonists. We need to join together with the evangelicals and other Christians to prepare the earth for the coming of Jesus. Physics Guy, I guess there is not a way of explaining seerstones that will work all of the time with a generation of people that grew of with smartphones. Much of our technology is more advanced than the Star Trek episodes I watched in the 60s. I think we should still try to explain the translation process. If I understand correctly, we don`t always know all of the details. For example, looking into the hat with a seerstone isn`t described by every witness. It does come across that the LDS are damned if they do and damned if they don`t. In this instance if we do talk about the seerstones, but not in a way to meet the tastes of the modern millennium, then we still risk being criticized. I start understanding why it is a struggle knowing how much detail has to be added. I think the most interesting face is that however and what he used, Joseph Smith produced quite a book for the world to see.
  3. Apologetics - the new derogatory term

    Coming late to the party. When I have listened to Richard Bushman and Terryl Givens talk, I think you have to define what it is that they are saying as far as a different narrative. Without the definition, I am not sure that it is the same narrative that Bill Reel would espouse. Bill Reel is really another complicated and sometimes confusing topic unto himself. What I have thought that Bushman and Givens were saying, at least to me, is that more accurate and complete history needs to be added to the curriculum. The curriculum is incomplete and sadly sometimes substandard. I think the quote from Givens is that many of our manuals are just "awful." I don't think he is trying to say that he disagrees with the big conclusions about the restored gospel in the manuals, just it could be a better presentation. I think they would argue for the time we spend in class on Sundays and seminary be spent introducing things more openly. An example would be teaching 11 year olds about seer stones and the possibility of translation being done through a seer stone with his head in a hate to exclude the light. If it is somehow brought up after someone is 19 or 20, sometimes they feel lied to. I think the gospel topic essays and other manuals are making inroads into the goal that say is needed for a different narrative. So, is that (Bushman) narrative the narrative that I believe should happen? Yes, to some degree. If I understand Bill Reel, the narrative that he is trying/implying is the one that he presents in his podcasts. If his narrative isn`t adopted then the Church will fail. I think his statement of including Bushman with his narrative is to make the assumption that he and Bushman have the same narrative and to add weight to his position. This of course is my opinion, but I have read a bunch of Bushman and Givens works. After all, I am readstoomuch.
  4. The Remnant or Snuffers or whatever you call them are editing section 132. I don`t think it is being entirely deleted. Just the parts taken out that they don`t like. Namely any implication that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. Let me talk about the Snufferite in my ward. He has always been the most obnoxious, hard to get along with person in my ward. Testimony meeting is interesting. He says God still want him to go to Church. That seems to be so that he can try to recruit and indoctrinate people about his beliefs. I had to have some interactions with him. Long story, but he talks about us Mormons not praising God enough or keeping the commandments well enough. We are talking about keeping the commandments to the point of perfectionism. He doesn`t agree on my opinion about history, because Denver is thorough and understands it better than any one. Our leaders are fallen and wandering without any insight from God. I have heard him say that he is going to give up every thing he owns to see the Savior. Long fasts and hours of praying daily with his wife. Looking for the appearance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit of Promise to confirm their marriage sealing. I wish I didn`t have to say the things I have, but they are true. One month he gave his testimony, so the next month a member of the stake presidency was there. His testimony was much simpler with the counselor there. I know these people want to draw closer to God and think we don`t do enough in our Church to do that. Interestingly, he and his wife aren`t the people out there trying to do service. He really complained when I asked him to take the missionaries to the food bank. It was something I was doing one morning a week. It was a great experience. We have taught people just from our service at the food bank. Nothing wrong with praising God or praying for hours. Isn`t the best way to come to Christ by looking for his face in our fellow man and serving them?
  5. How an Ahistorical Book of Mormon Can Still Be Scripture

    Kevin. Whoa, I just started looking at your Hutchinson article. It is awesome. The Hutchinson article deserves to be read with it, though. This brings up an issue. Hutchinson left the Church, at least in part as much as I could tell from my internet search, from not feeling like there was a place for him with his nonliteral, non historical take on Lds scriptures and the Bible. It is obvious that he still has some belief in God as he is serving as a priest. Evangelicals have trouble with liberal Protestants who don`t take the scriptures literally. This creates a divide or tension between the groups. Within the Mormon community there is a similar tension between those who are literal and those who are open to ahistorical explanations of the Book of Mormon. Maybe the same tension exists between how much one group thinks Church history should be taught in much greater detail and those who don`t. I would hope that we could still make room for those who are ahistorical about the BoM. I don`t think it is nearly as difficult of an issue as the social issues that seem to come up all the time.
  6. How an Ahistorical Book of Mormon Can Still Be Scripture

    It was worth quite a bit. I have read your articles before. You are prolific, so I can`t say that I am an expert on them and sometimes they just go over my head. The article that you wrote that quoted from Ostler was really quite good. Vogel and Metcalf have been big players in the past about naturalistic explanations in the Book of Mormon. I think people read the CES Letter or a blog and think that no one has thought or known about alternative explanations for the Book of Mormon. I think your article with the Expansion Theory are quite useful. I think these articles (yours and Ostler`s) and others are so informative to the Book of Mormon discussion. Every one gets so hung up on finding artifacts and archeological evidence that they miss these ideas. Not that there aren't some artifacts and archeological evidence that are interesting. Just nothings that "proves" the Book of Mormon in the way some want. So thanks for chiming in Kevin.
  7. How an Ahistorical Book of Mormon Can Still Be Scripture

    I usually have my standard reply or input about this topic. It got me thinking to the very first article I ever read about similar issues. Anthony A Hutchinson`s A Mormon Midrash: Lds Creation Narratives. An Lds scholar who went to the Catholic University to get a doctorate in bible studies. Wrote one of the chapters in A New Approaches to the Book of Mormon. In searching for him I found out he knew Greg Prince well and is now an Episcopal Priest. I first learned words like Hermeneutics and Apologetics by reading his first paper. I didn't know why to do with what I read and it was troubling. Articles in Dialogue can be that way though. Speaking of Dialogue articles, Blake Ostler: The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Document.
  8. I hear people saying that, including the Snufferites (the few of them) that I know. Then I read about economics, projects sponsored by the Church and bureaucracy put forward in the Doctrine and Covenants. It seems pretty clear that the extensive records and organization started because of Joseph Smith`s teachings. I also remember that despite his great teachings, he wasn't always good at economics and handing administrative matters. Brigham Young was and put his mark on the Church. A great thread might be, what exactly should Christs church look like and still function in the modern day. The Snufferites seem to talk about personally seeing Christ and all of their ordinances being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. If the Holy Spirit doesn`t seal your marriage before this life is over, you won`t be with your spouse in the hereafter. With the secular anti-mormons predominating, an ultraconservative reach back into the past (preNauvoo) is a less prominent reason I hear of people leaving the Church.
  9. Iron Rod Saints and Liahona Saints

    The article is a classic and describes a natural tension that exists. No one is a Liahona or an Iron Rod saint in every measure. Just as I am fiscally ultraconservative, I am also moderate in most other measures. There is an occasional item I might consider myself liberal about. Am I conservative or liberal? Am I Liahona or Iron Rod in my beliefs? Depends on what the item is that we are talking about. I wish all Lds would read the original article.
  10. I am so glad you found a home as a believer in a tradition centered in Christ. I would LOVE it if my two oldest children would make a choice like this instead of the secular agnostic streak they seem to be on now.
  11. Is Talmage's Jesus the Christ outdated?

    Most life changing book of my life, other than the Book of Mormon itself. It is very dependent on 19th century protestant biblical commentaries, but a great place to see the gospel in perspective and gain testimony of the gospel. If it gets people asking questions about biblical scholarship, at least they are asking questions about the Bible.
  12. Mormon's behaving badly

    its sad whether either story is true or not. to think that any member or leader would do these things is horrendous. i think if the allegations are serious enough someone probably has to be released from their calling. It would be up to the presiding authority and would be something done with care and prayer.
  13. Are cynical critics driving away Mormons?

    It is very hard to find a faith promoting discussion board that also strives for intellectual honesty. I started a thread about it last year. In the end you have to put up with people that are pro to the point of not seeing any warts and moles or those who can only see warts or moles. If I could have a positive faith discussion with attention to scholarship and exclude the extreme for and against opinions, I would love that.
  14. Missionary numbers drop more

    May or early June might not be the best time to measure what the missionary number is. Most missionaries leave between graduation/end of school year and early September. There will be a large number leaving this summer. The end of the summer might be a more true measure. It might still be the same, but the flux of missionaries during the summer raises questions for me.
  15. I'll give you a few examples. The last time I taught about Thomas B Marsh and the milk stripping, I did some extra research. I found the manual too simplistic and I thought wrong in many ways. This was an adult Sunday School class. The full details were quite a story of redemption and forgiveness. For example, the whole congregation raised their hand accepted him back to full fellowship, even though he had sworn out affidavits in Missouri that added to their suffering. I don't have time to go into it now, but it is quite a story when taken as a whole. A few months ago I was teaching the eleven year olds about the translation of the Book of Mormon. It was a time to add some other illustrations about how it may have been translated, including his head being put in a hat to block out the light. No big deal to eleven year when they are told, but the important thing is that they were told. My wife taught a lesson about Joseph F Smith in RS. During the lesson it brought up trials. One of his big ones was that he was divorced. My wife brought it up and told the story. Joseph F really tried, but his wife was not going to live the Mormon way. There were six young sisters who had been through some horrible divorces right after their missions or education. They were all crying. One told my wife that she felt like a complete loser because she got divorced so young. We didn't change the underlying message that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon or that Thomas Marsh left the Church at least partly due to some actions of his wife. My wife didn't say that Joseph F Smith was not a prophet because his first wife went to San Francisco for months at a time and had an affair. Those are some examples that I see not so much about hiding our history, but not telling it as accurately or completely as we could. We are richer for the effort of teaching it more accurately. That is my opinion. I have honestly talked to all of the seven people who had doubts and five of them left or quit coming to Church. The sad part is that their spouses all continue to try and make their way within the Church. A few of the marriages ended over the doubts and inactivity of their spouse. We talked so much about history. I like history and I try to tell it accurately, honestly and sympathetically. In most of the cases the bishop asked me to speak to the people. I usually have one of the members of the bishopric when I teach a lesson. I have yet to have one of them come up and criticize me. On the contrary, I often get asked for references so people can read more. This is interesting and inspiring when taught well IMO.