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TOmNossor

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  1. (small print quoted just for fun, largely unrelated to my post). Hello Bede, I hope Bill Reel, @DBMormon, will respond, but I don't see what I have missed in the following narrative. Bill Reel once viewed his podcast as a means to "strengthen the feeble knees." He was informed about MANY issues with the CoJCoLDS. If he was unaware of the contents of all in the CES letter, I would be surprised. And yet he believed. He said in his podcast, “No, I agree with, I agree with you. If the BOM is not historical then what Joseph pulled of was a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have every seen.” This seems to align well with his position from just a few years ago. A position that asserted the CoJCoLDS was God's church and the issues needed to be explored so we can "strengthen the feeble knees." Only now as a non-believer who seeks to expose believers progressively to the problems (progressively because he doesn't want them to tune out and remain blissfully LDS) he still admits the above. When I called that out and said it was what you said above (a much more powerful position than the piles of problems he dwells upon), he responds by explaining the key part of the above is: Now he would have us believe, he said this because he has not been exposed to the great works of genius present in this world and thus the BOM is only great relative to what he has seen. This is a remarkable position. It relies upon his profession of ignorance and naivete that I consider extraordinary. I just don't get it. I submit that if he makes the above claim because he is so unexposed to genius in the world, we can confidently conclude that he is not much of a witness against the CoJCoLDS either. I further submit that he made the claim for a few reasons and being ignorant and naive are not among them. 1. He truly recognizes it to be true (and being unfamiliar with genius has nothing to do with recognition). 2. He has emotionally rejected the CoJCoLDS because of the harm it does in his opinion to LGBT folks and he expects this to carry the day regardless of how powerful the existence of the BOM is. 3. He wanted to lure in those believers by conceding things that in his mind do not contain the weight (again EMOTIONAL weight) other things contain. 4. He didn't expect cold heartless people (like me) or wonderful compassionate people like you and Jim Bennett, to find in his admission (and in the strength of the BOM) a reason to weather the storm that is the BOA or LGBT issues or ... I don't know how he walks it back. I think it was his pre-disbelief view and is no weaker because the church put out a policy in 2015 with which he compassionately (and passionately/emotionally) disagrees. I think it is unlikely that he has encounter so little of the genius in the world that we should view this like a statement from an 8 year old or something. Before I had a testimony, I believed that "Joseph couldn't do it and the devil wouldn't do it." I still do. My conviction that Joseph couldn't do it has only grown stronger over the last almost 20 years. Charity, TOm
  2. I am a fan of what you wrote here! I am a fan of Catholicism in general. However, it is the inability to explain the BOM from a Catholic perspective that means I am today and probably will forever be a LDS. Before I ask what subjective experiences I have had (testimony), I ask what does reason indicate. For me it is clear that I cannot explain the BOM without involving the supernatural. There is no atheistic explanation that exists that satisfies the objective data. I do not know what brings you here (I know you have been here a long time and are more active than I am). But, if you do not feel the need to investigate the CoJCoLDS because you KNOW the Catholic Eucharist is transubstantiated, I do not think a proper understanding of LDS teachings means I should upbraid you for your non-investigation or even your unwillingness to pray to know if the BOM is true. I commend you for your faith and if God ever told me that He was not part of the CoJCoLDS, I expect I would be at confession in less than 24 hours. I am confident that sincere seekers find what God needs them to find. Charity, TOm
  3. I don't know about Bede, but I do not buy into the whole "'Joseph never lived polygamy' stuff." But, if you believe that Joseph had sexual relations with ALL of those to whom he was sealed it is you who are on a historical limb without any warrant. It is clear that Joseph did not have sexual relations with ALL of those to whom he was sealed. I like to remind those scandalized by polygamy of a few things. 1. Don Bradley has probably done more research on LDS polygamy than anyone. He began his research as a non-believer and ended his research as a believer (I am not suggesting that researching polygamy leads to conversion only that researching polygamy does not preclude conversion or return in this case). 2. Of the two positions, "Joseph never had sex with anyone but Emma," and "Joseph Smith was a sexual predator pursuing sexual relationships with as many and varied partners as he could reasonably get away with;" the MOST likely based on the data is that Joseph never had sex with anyone but Emma. I think that less likely than that some of the polygamous marriages involved consummation and perhaps rare sexual relations beyond this. No matter how much one despises Joseph Smith or polygamy or both, nobody can know what God did or didn't communicate with him. What we can know is that a very small number of folks and not Joseph's closest acquaintances considered his activities regarding polygamy libido driven (maybe). The vast majority of the conservative Christian folks who knew Joseph considered Joseph Smith's activities regarding polygamy to be a product of his reception of divine communications to practice polygamy. This is because while we cannot know if any specific sexual acts occurred, we can be reasonably certain, Joseph was not "sleeping around." And I think a powerful question becomes, if Joseph did not teach polygamy so he could sleep around, why did he teach it? I submit it was because he received it from God. 3. I do not suggest that the living of polygamy was a sinless endeavor, only that the historical record does not support the idea that it was a libido driven endeavor. At the very least, it appears that Joseph Smith was not honest with Emma ALL of the time (though Emma's presentation evidences that she was not always relaying truth in her telling of what happened either). One can question the consequences of complete honesty and the situation Joseph was placed in, but I think acknowledging sinful deception is a more solid position that claiming there was nothing of the sort. Anyway, I am thankful to not live Polygamy. I would be a zero woman man in all likelihood. I am not a fan for this reason and others. But when I try to remove my prejudice, my presentism, and other biases; I just cannot crow from the rooftop how evil Joseph must have been. I do not think there is evidence for that. Oh, and the BOM is ... extraordinary and .... Charity, TOm
  4. @ALarson, After listening, do you still think Bill Reel's rejection of the church didn't turn on his emotional connection to LGBT issues? Charity, TOm
  5. So your position is that you are so sheltered your concession does not mean that much. You have not read C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. You are not aware of Einstein's theory of relativity. I am unlikely to believe it is true that your concession is a product of your extraordinary ignorance associated with acts of intelligence throughout history and modernly too. I think you admitted something that WAS a profound link to your faith that you have now rejected BECAUSE of the compassion you feel for LGBT folks. You IMO are cloaking your emotional rejection of the truth in intellectual reasons, but the powerful reasons you gave for rejecting the CoJCoLDS boil down to emotional things linked to some intellectual argument. The PROBLEMS are real and in some cases (the BOA) there are no really good solutions, but it is easier today (and was easier for you 3 years ago) to believe that the Book of Mormon sourced from God than to believe it came from ANY OTHER place. What has changed is not the difficulty in explaining away the Book of Mormon or the intellectual issues associated with the BOA. What has changed is your belief that you are right about the LGBT issues and the church SHOULD be faster at recognizing such social truths. This as you framed it is associated with your compassion for those who identify as LGBT. So yes, your statement is IMO a VERY big deal. It illuminates were you were 3 years ago. I also find if VERY DIFFICULT to believe that the Book of Mormon is only, " a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness" that you have ever seen is a product of your ignorance of other genius acts. However, let me tell you as one who once studied genius daily, the production of the Book of Mormon is IMO BEYOND what any of the geniuses I have studied could have produced." I am talking about folks like William James Sidas, Rick Rosner (who went to my high school and was in math class with me my senior year), and Chris Langdon (folks whose genius you probably don't know about, but I do). I am talking about folks like Goeth, Gauss, and Tesla (folks whose genius you might know about). I am talking about Einstein, DaVinci, and Newton (folks you surely must know about). I JOINED the church without what anyone would call a testimony because, "Joseph couldn't do it and the devil wouldn't do it." I gained a testimony many years latter (which is part of how I stopped obsessing over IQ and started paying attention to the big anti- vs. pro CoJCoLDS arguments), but I still believe "Joseph couldn't do it and the devil wouldn't do it." Charity, TOm
  6. Faith EVOLVING is not what the quote was about. “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” What this means is that having gathered the data (including answers to prayers and miracles experiences) one should not let the vicissitudes of life cause you abandon that which was KNOWN. Faith as C.S. Lewis is using the term here is refusing to abandon things previously believed for emotional reasons. Bill Reel once said he hoped to "strengthening feeble knees." But, as he claims, it was the hurt he thinks the church causes LGBT members that lead him to disbelieve the whole thing. Compassion for LGBTQ folks is admirable, but it is an emotional motivation. Jim Bennett has the same compassion for the plight of LGBTQ folks, but does not allow this to cause him to abandon what he knows. Charity, TOm
  7. "3 or younger" is when 1 in 10000 level genius is regularly noticed. The level Bill Reel is attributing to Joseph Smith is MUCH higher than this. Those who knew him found him to be simple. His family explained that he struggled with reading and writing. The type of genius Bill Reel claims Joseph Smith must have had means that either all the folks (critics and believers both witnessing to what I claim is there) are lying about what they witnessed or Joseph Smith began at age 3 to HIDE his intelligence so later in life he could produce the BOM and claim it was not from him, but from God. The genius necessary to form a plan at such a young age, carry it out, and then produce the Book of Mormon is even more rarified than the genius necessary to produce the BOM. I might note that if I was dialoguing with a member in my ward troubled by the Church's views on LGBT issues, I would not highlight the profound intellectual error I think Bill Reel evidences. I would also be unlikely to point to the emotional and not rational genesis I see evident in these things. I would make this change because my intellect tells me that real people are not logic machines and while I regularly make incorrect allowances for humans with emotions, I try. I am presenting these things here in a JARRING way because I think that most folks trapped in their personal perceptions of these issues have built walls around their departure from the faith. They tell themselves it is the "intellectually honest" choice. They tell themselves that they are the brave who are willing to walk through the horrors of a faith crisis. And they speak of those who do not agree with them as emotional and clinging to their testimony despite the evidence. They walk into the arms of Bill Reel and his fans who echo these thoughts. This is a huge deception IMO. The post-debate (which was billed as discussion) framing was a huge deception too. I was a member of the church for a long time almost without a testimony and the idea that the evidence indicated the church was unlikely to be from God had nothing to do with my "faith crisis." Perhaps I am the one whose faculties do not weigh these issues correctly, but it is very unlikely that I am the one ruled by emotion. IRL, my intellect seems up to the task, it is my emotions that those around me regularly puzzle over. Charity, TOm
  8. It is Bill Reel who said, "If the BOM is not historical then what Joseph pulled of was a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have every seen.” If Joseph Smith was capable of a top 3 or 4 act of intelligence and cohesiveness at 21, he would have been PRETENDING to be something he was not from age 3 or younger when such precocious intelligence begins to manifest itself. AND if he began his delusion at that age, he was brilliant and conniving at far higher than "universal genius" level. This is why Bill Reel gave away the whole debate. No one who had a testimony should abandon it (probably period) because they have intellectual problems with something they think is part of the CoJCoLDS (even the BOA) when they recognize how impossible a non-supernatural explanation for the BOM is. No One! Bill Reel claims to recognize this and then primarily because he thinks the church hurts those who identify as LGBTQ (a nebulous and debatable position less clear than many others) , he works to tear down testimony and the church. It is emotion by his admission. “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” Bill Reel has missed this lessen. Charity, TOm
  9. "If" being the operative word here. I am glad we agree here. I think this is where most of the points of discussion will come down to. I just started listening to these podcasts, so I'll wait to say more....but my impression from what I've seen posted is that they both concede some points and it remains a respectful discussion. I am looking forward to a printed version of the discussions as I'm not sure I'll find time to listen to all 12 hours. Once again, the operative word there is "if" and I don't see Bill conceding anything (since as far as I know, he does not believe the BofM is historical). He also believe that Joseph was very intelligent, so I'm not sure what that statement proves. 1 "Very intelligent" is different from "3 to 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have ever seen." This is the place Jim Bennett is coming from. It is the place I am coming from. It is more likely that EVERY difficult subject for the truth claims of the CoJCoLDS is exactly as the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th most likely pro-LDS apologetic claims them to be and the church's truth claims are thus not damaged by ANY anti-Mormon argument ever composed than that Joseph Smith was capable of producing a top 3 or 4 act of intelligence and cohesiveness. As I said in my previous post: Problems with the Book of Abraham though real are no reason to believe that Joseph Smith could have produced the Book of Mormon so, I must embrace something that involves the facts associated with the Book of Mormon existing and facts associated with BOA/BOB issues. The most rational IMO by a long shot is that the BOM came from God and that the BOA did too. For me to embrace the Bill Reel thesis, I would have to believe that Joseph Smith was perhaps the top universal genius ever to walk the earth and for some reason, at 3 years old, he decided to hide his intelligence in preparation for the production of the BOM some 17-18 years later. He would also need to choose this path while seeing many other paths that would produce way more worldly success. And then he would stick to this path through all the average farm boy things present until his moment to strike. Then having struck, he would continue to hide his brilliance, he wouldn't speak much of the content of the BOM as if he was not familiar with it, he would shoot in the dark with this or that potential connection to BOM some making sense and other not, he would never explain virtually any of the volumes of hidden easter eggs found by those who have studied the BOM, and .... I do not consider that to be a reasoned position. Not a position I would embrace when I discover polygamy and thought it was hidden from me; not a position I would embrace when I discover rocks in hats and thought it was hidden from me, not a position I would embrace when I decided that LGBTQ folks were being mistreated. Bill Reel's story according to Bill Reel is built upon his concern for the hurt caused to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Jim Bennett and I can feel this hurt too, but we cannot deny the EVIDENCE that the BOM is not some natural production and this must be part of our worldview. Having embraced the weight of the EVIDENCE, we also choose to not deny our spiritual testimony for emotional reasons. Charity, TOm
  10. And that is all well and good, but if the BOM comes from God, Bill Reel's position is untenable. You may think Jim Bennett was “bearing his testimony,” but that is not correct. The reason Jim Bennett went back to the BOM is the same reason I do. If you take ALL the best LDS explanations for big problems like the Book of Abraham and smaller problems like horses in the BOM and multiply this pile of explanations by 3, you still do not arrive a position that is more evidentiarily unlikely than that Joseph Smith was capable of producing, “a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness.” I am increasingly convinced that critics are driven by emotion in ways that I refuse to be. I love folks who are married to the same sex (and have one in my family), but that does not change the fact that the BOM came from God. I believe some critics who claim they never knew Joseph Smith was a polygamist speak the truth; and it was difficult when they heard about it; and they thought the church had deceived them; but that does not change the fact that the BOM came from God. It seems clear to me that while I often hear that the believer is ruled by emotion and testimony, it is the critic that has let his emotion destroy his faith. If the BOM comes from God and SOMETHING that does not align with your understanding of the CoJCoLDS is discovered, then figure out how to align the two using your intellect. Perhaps your Bishop is a jerk. Maybe you shouldn’t have believed in infallible prophets. Maybe the church hadn’t in the past figured out how to treat LGBT folks (maybe they haven’t yet). But none of that changes the fact that the BOM came from God. C.S. Lewis knew that Christians would falter due to their over-reliance upon emotion. He said: “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” I am sure this is horribly offensive to the critic, but I have listened to 8+ hours of Bill Reel’s appeals to recognize the problems with the church. Except for the BOA, most of them were emotional IMO. And the most important thing that was said: Start at about 32:30. Bill says at 33:20 .. “No, I agree with, I agree with you. If the BOM is not historical then what Joseph pulled of was a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have every seen.” Strip out all the emotion and focus on this. Oh and also get a testimony from God, but if you have had a confirmation from God already you don’t need that, you just need to reject the emotional pull to and fro and focus on the Book of Mormon. Charity, TOm
  11. I have now listened to half of the 1st discussion, all of the 4th and 5th and half of the 6th. The proper IMO (by a LARGE MARGIN IMO) understanding of the discussion is that the church is true, Bill Reel has made a profound error in his judgement and departure, and Jim Bennett is good guy. I will get to Bill’s error shortly and I hope he reads this after I try to offer a SMALL criticism of his endeavor (I am sure Bill is unfairly attacked -just like the CoJCoLDS is unfairly attacked. As a member of the Church I occasional see minor criticism and probably fail to see the rest of a point because I feel the unfair attack so much). Jim Bennett is a good guy who thinks similarly to how I do with respect to many issues. I am a jerk and he is not. Bill Reel and Jim Bennett IMO did not enter this discussion with identical purposes and thus pursued it with different underlying motives. I suspect it would be appropriate to say that Bill Reel is not a jerk like me also. That being said, based on the way Bill Reel PUSHED for admissions on the part of Jim, his regular profession to not be “trying to win” while pushing for this or that concession, and his pushing on issues like LGBT things that were not part of the CES letter ANYWAY; evidence that Bill’s motive guided the discussion very strongly. And then afterward Bill and RFM and … celebrated their “WIN.” I do not think Jim would have done that (note this was composed before Jim provided his clarifications which I would argue was a product of Bill’s celebration of proving the church is not true). On to why “jerk TOm” claims Jim Bennett won by a large margin. In the post discussion framing where Bill and RFM and others declare how they won they speak of regular “concessions” on Jim’s part that REALLY mattered and small concessions on Bill’s part that were less important. If Joseph Smith was a sexual predator, which seems to be Bill’s position and he celebrated Jim’s reluctance to have his daughter work in the Smith house, that does not change the content and existence of the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith tried to deceive Emma at every turn and lied about Polygamy and other things to her and others, that does not change the content and existence of the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Abraham is in no way a translation of the BOB and Joseph Smith set out to deceive in this area (and I reject the latter), that does not change the content of the Book of Mormon. If the Church is profoundly wrong in virtually every aspect of the LGBT issues (Jim is closer to Bill here than I am, but I doubt anyone here, MADB, or there, MD or RFM or … embraces my view on LGBT issues), that does nothing to change the content of the Book of Mormon. In podcast #1 Bill admits this: Start at about 32:30. Bill says at 33:20 .. “No, I agree with, I agree with you. If the BOM is not historical then what Joseph pulled of was a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have every seen.” Before I became excited about weighing and measuring all things Mormon, I took IQ tests, studied psychometrics, and spent time thinking about brilliance and intelligence and … I left brilliant successful folks yesterday (many at the 1 in 10000 level). I used to interact with brilliant unsuccessful folks who made their living by being bouncers, being strippers, writing sitcoms, and doing other odd things (folks above the 1 in a million level). Joseph Smith before he became a prophet by ALL accounts from friend or foe was nothing like the successful or the unsuccessful folks. He was nothing like them after he became a prophet either. Bill is correct, the BOM if not divine is an act of astronomical genius. I personally believe it was not 1 in 2-3 billion genius as Bill Reel claims, but rather more rarefied than that such that no act of human genius could have produced it. BUT, Joseph Smith is quite unlikely to be a 1 in 10000 level genius. Those folks pick up reading quickly as their family reads the Bible and they just look over their shoulders. Those folks think about things that make their neighbors think they are ODD and strange and probably intelligent. Joseph was ordinary and didn’t pick up reading or writing or …. I am not sure there are any apologetic explanations for ANY problem Bill Reel focuses on that are as unlikely as Joseph Smith being a secret “universal genius” (not just this as there are many more than 3 universal geniuses) and yet he appeared as he appeared before the BOM (and after the BOM too). If one confines oneself to “good apologetics” then you could build a stack of explanations for EVERY problem and then triple the size of this stack and would still not be to a place where it is more improbable than Joseph Smith the extraordinary universal genius who began his deception at 3 years old and/or …. I conclude as I have in the past, the positives for the Book of Mormon SUPPORT the huge problem that is the Book of Abraham. The positives support the smaller problems that are horses, kinderhook plates, …. I have thought about the position that the BOM is divine and the BOA is not, but I find that less likely than that the BOM is divine and the BOA is divine despite the PROBLEMS with the BOA. Thus, before I had and before I look too my testimony, I am a believer because of the DATA. AND … I do not claim that the DATA should make everyone a believer BECAUSE the Church doesn’t claim this. I merely claim that the DATA means everyone should pray for a spiritual witness AND the DATA means that everyone who has a semblance of a spiritual confirmation should not discard this spiritual confirmation because of the DATA. This is the PROPER way of looking at the discussion IMO. Charity, TOm
  12. Hamba Tuhan hello!, Thank you for the kind response and I think it is wonderful for folks to care nothing about Nahom; the consistency of the witness statements; cement in conjunction with many waters, few trees, and...; the return to divine embodiment as true of God the Father; and .... Likewise thinking nothing about the things that Bill Reel, RFM, and other find essential to the study of the church is also something one might care nothing about. I suspect you know, but I want to make it clear for others that that was not MERELY my point. My point is and was that if one focuses upon "problems" (and not just any old problems, but problems that are still unsettled unlike Alma the male name), one should not expect a pretty picture to develop. If one focuses on the problems, one should not expect the picture to be pretty. This is true when my fellow engineers and I discuss problems inherent in printing 7 nanometer lines (especially when we discussed this 10 years ago, talk about UGLY). It is true when progressives frame what it means to be a conservative and when conservatives frame what it is to be a progressive. One should not expect the PROBLEMS in a paradigm to vanish because a good man like Bennett is willing to discuss them. Atheists would not debate Cornelius Van Til because he framed questions they could not answer and pointed to problems in their worldview that were not solvable. If instead the question was about the horrors of suffering and how a good God could exist; the theistic position would be the one on the defensive. A good defense is important, but no game has ever been won because the defense allowed very few or even zero points to be scored! It is my position that the CoJCoLDS before we take into account our testimony or lack of testimony makes a compelling case. But you cannot see that if all you discuss is the BOA/BOB controversy. And we shouldn’t expect possible resolutions to real problems to be so compelling the critic join the church. No, critics abandon formerly real problems when the solutions are compelling. John Clark gave a talk about the archeological problems highlighted for the Book of Mormon 150+ years ago and how many of those problems are no longer problems because the progress of archeology has eliminated them. This is a complex positive for the Book of Mormon, but it does not change the fact that we still don’t see horses. If your only question is, “Does the BOM speak of horses AND do we think horses were present from 600BC-400AD in the Americas?” You should not believe the BOM is historical. Tapirs are cool, but hardly a reason to get baptized. I love these questions and did long before I had a testimony of the restored gospel. I believe today as I believed then that the answers to problems in the presence of evidence should compel those who pursue these question to pray to know if God is at the head of the CoJCoLDS. After that one should follow the answer they receive and if they like these questions for some reason, they can keep exploring them. If they don't like them or get tired of them, get busy being a better person than you were yesterday (which you should do even if you like the questions). Charity, TOm
  13. Podcasts! Argh! I cannot even get through Blake Ostler’s podcasts, but I hope to try to listen on my upcoming plane ride (even though one can read on a plane). Hopefully when we have self-driving cars the market for podcasts will vanish! I am not a LDS because of two papyri or catalyst theories for the coming forth of the Book of Abraham. I am not even a LDS because Joseph Smith lived in a conservative religions time and environment and MOST (by a large margin) of his co-religionist didn’t believe he taught polygamy in order to have sex. I consider the first problem to be large and the second to be not so large, but neither of them are reasons for me to be a LDS nor for Bill Real to recognize his errors and return to the faith. Am I correct that for 12 hours this podcast discusses things like BOM anachronism, Polygamy/Polyandry, BOB/BOA, and other problems? Did they dig deeply into the witnesses statements without just glossing over with a rare comment about “spiritual eyes?” Did they talk about Lehi’s journey and Nahom and …? Did they weight the strengths of the Joseph Smith the genius author of the BOM to see if this idea is solid? I guess I think that it would be possible for two informed folks guided by topics chosen by Daniel Petersen to produce a multi-hour podcast where the believer forced the critic to say, well perhaps I cannot explain how that happened over and over again. Ultimately, this might devolve into something about what is evidence and what is not evidence, but if this is where each topic ended with the believer saying isn’t the faithful explanation for this better than any offered by any critic and the critic saying, well as we said before any non-supernatural explanation is to be preferred because of basic scientific methodology or … Ultimately, I am a LDS because I have a testimony; but I was a convert before I had what anyone here would celebrate as a testimony because there is something to the CoJCoLDS that I could not explain. I still believe there is. I do not believe that the FAIRLDS answers win the day with the origins of the Book of Abraham. I do not believe that when big piles of ugliness are laid upon the table, the FAIRLDS answers make the ugliness appear attractive. Occasionally the critic says that it is ridiculous to believe God is embodied and at the end of the day it seems clear this was the prevalent position in the Early Church. The critic might speak of divine embodiment as a reason to reject the CoJCoLDS and at the end of a 3-4 hour of podcast, it turns out divine embodiment is actually a reason Christians should seriously consider becoming LDS. But most difficult issues 200 years after the BOM came out are difficult issues because they have not been solved. Alma is simply not a male name, only it is (so we don’t hear about this anymore). When the pros and cons are laid out, I am a LDS; not because FAIRLDS makes the cons non-existent. Logically after this (as in I have already let the data tell me what direction I SHOULD lean), I have met God in my quiet place. He has come to rescue me from the demons I invited to dwell with me. He is real in ways that I cannot make you know because they are only known to me and God. So I must worship Him. I could put down all the problems with the CoJCoLDS but I would then need to pick up Catholic problems or Protestant problems because the Atheists cannot explain what I have experienced (and it would be tough to explain without Christ as my savior). Ten thousand problems do not a disbeliever make. I have doubts concerning every narrative for the coming forth of the Book of Abraham, but I BELIEVE it is from God. The alternative denies too much evidence unrelated to the coming forth of the BOA before I even take into account my testimony. If the critics could not win the battle on at least some subject such as the coming forth of the Book of Abraham, there would be no room for disbelief. The ONLY remotely rational choice would be to be a LDS. But, the believer should not be overly dismayed that in a discussion about topics chosen specifically because they are difficult, the believing position does not emerge clearly winning the day. Now, I admit I have yet to listen to this podcast. Could I start at the 4th one as the plane ride will only be about 6 hours? Charity, TOm
  14. I have read most of this thread. The first thing I want to say is that I suspect that the dichotomy offered by Stemelbow (as he channeled an 80’s rap star) should be met with an internal “yes” and a rejection of the invitation to disagree. To the extent one was saddened by changes in 2012 and heartened by Elder Holland, yes! Now get back to work. To the extent one felt 2012 was blown out of proportion and Elder Holland was saying “do better, pray more, keep going!!!,” yes! Now get back to work. On to another topic… I have two questions for folks that might think like the stereotype of Dr. Bradford (I don’t know him at all) AND for those who might think like the real Dr. Peterson (I know him a tiny bit and I suspect folks here know him well). 1. Is there not room for calling a critic a critic in the world of perfect, Elder Holland inspired, gospel work.? I have never seen a critic say, “Now I will misrepresent the faith of the CoJCoLDS.” Or “Now I will misrepresent my former faith.” I often see critics of the CoJCoLDS who refuse to say, “Now I will explain why you shouldn’t continue being or shouldn’t become a LDS.” Instead, one must search through past comments to find that “Bishop interviews of youth” was once number 6 or 7 on the list of why one should not sustain the leaders of the CoJCoLDS and only today is the broomstick upon which one “innocently” rides while claiming to be trying to make the church they love better. It seems to me that many who in their heart of hearts desire to weaken or destroy faith in the CoJCoLDS spend a great deal of time largely misrepresenting themselves to try to get past some “I will ignore anti-Mormons filter” that they believe exists (rightly so in some individuals) throughout the church. When believing members offer apologetics, I do not think there is often such deception (of course I am probably biased here). 2. What is the proper context for the statement, “If the origins of the Book of Abraham was the only piece of data I evaluated, I would reject the CoJCoLDS?” I have never thought the “two papyri theory is great.” I think the catalyst theory is largely an adhoc creation to explain something that is not explained by data (of course it cannot be disproven, but that is hardly a source of great positive evidence). I say similar things to this on the Catholic board I contribute to when I think it is appropriate. It seems clear to me that the CoJCoLDS does not win all the skirmishes in the battle concerning what is mostly likely true based on data and reason only. On VERY rare occasions, I have seen some Catholic apologists claim that the Catholic understanding of this or that point is not the most clear read of the Bible, but such is rare. To me credibility is enhanced if you can call losing points a losing point. I do not share with my ministering companion the least well answered questions in LDS apologetics (the origins of the BOA, IMO) so when should this be done? I believe “10000 problems do not a doubt make.” I suspect I could say this based on spiritual testimony, but I can also say it based on the fact that I simply cannot explain the origins of the Book of Mormon without appealing to God and this more than adequately supports difficulties with the origins of the BOA, IMO. Charity, TOm
  15. I do not know Bill Reel IRL. I could be wrong. I have a vague memory of him starting by trying to explain difficult issues in way that preserves faith. I then have a vague memory of him seeming almost upset that many folks didn't believe the difficult issues were as difficult as he thought they were. I didn't intend to claim that Bill dropped bombs in his ward. I was suggesting that his podcast and postings became about presenting the bombs. And I would also suggest that his podcast and postings ceased to be about presenting the bombs in a way that encouraged faithful members to continue to be faithful members. This suggest to me that for Bill caring for others does not involve caring if they have a faith crisis and/or cease to be members. It is a free country and I am very happy that we have freedom of speech. I am also happy that we have freedom of association. I guess I would say that the "act of excommunication" AND the "label of 'apostate'" are not IMO medieval tools. The label "apostate" means one who no longer believes what the community believes and excommunication is the exercise of "freedom of association." I do not believe that LDS have a well defined set of beliefs, but it seems to me that one of the basics is that somehow life as a LDS is beneficial to many/most/all in this life and probably in the life to come. Bill Reel does not IMO believe this. I am not sure if Bill's ecclesiastic leaders offered him the chance to disassociated himself, but I do believe he used his membership (his former callings even) to lend credence to his positions and OPINIONS. He CERTAINLY used his excommunication. The association has a right to remove its association from those who use that association for purposes antithetical to the purpose (purported purpose if you will) of the organization. If I joined Former Mormon for Christ and offered an exit narrative that was really not an exit narrative at all and then continued to explain why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's Church on earth, I doubt I would be long for that organization. I suspect that some of the problems folks have with the CoJCoLDS calling itself God's Church is that they really think that God has no preferred belief structure on earth or elsewhere. As such when a Church, that claims to be God's Church, communicates that there is a preferred belief structure and a member cannot openly rejecting it (and inviting others to do so) and remain a member, this is wrong. Well, if there is zero importance to which communion we humans associate, then the CoJCoLDS has at least this as an error. Why is it surprising that this error (or truth) has consequences. Anyway, I do hope doubting members continue to fellowship with the Saints. I would gladly have a soda with Bill Reel and his family and he can sit next to me during sacrament meeting too. But, I do not think he should say the things he says and use his membership as something to give credence to his words. You can come by for a soda and or sit next to my family at sacrament meeting too. Charity, TOm
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