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soren

Why ONUG Is Poor

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Was the Wall Street Journal also irresponsible in their article?

Perhaps. The WSJ is not above reproach and sensationalism makes its way into all aspects of journalism.

Is the Church similarly irresponsible when it retells the story of Joseph Smith's childhood leg operation, since we don't have the surgeons' account of it?

Apples and oranges (hint: where's the controversy?)

Given the context of the other disciplinary actions being taken against Mormon intellectuals at the same time, Quinn's account of the excommunication is entirely plausible, and reporting the event using his account is by no stretch irresponsible. If there are any distortions in that account, the Church or its agents can provide their side of the story any time they choose.

Which you know the Church won't do since the Church will continue to protect the privacy of all individuals involved in disciplinary councils without regard to said disciplinary action being "high profile" or not.

Reporting the event as if there is no other side to the story using only his account is irresponsible, especially given the number of second and third hand accounts included in the article and cited by Abanes.

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.I don't think enough people read these posts to give his book sales that big of a boost.

After reading some of Richard posts, I would not be foolish enough to expect a well balance treatment of Mormonism and I've already heard all the negatives and find them sadly lacking. No sales here.

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I would say that Abanes' approach is the antithesis of antithetical to what we tend to find in Church curriculum. As Abanes tends to focus on the negative aspects of Mormonism at the exclusion of context that would make those aspects appear less sensational. The Church curriculum does just the same but opposite, generally focusing on positive aspects at the exclusion of context that would make those aspects appear less sensational. Both are agenda driven, and both are effective at achieving those agendas. Church curriculum seeks to win converts and affirm the faith. Abanes' book discourages potential converts and undermines the Mormon faith.

Edit for clarity.

Well, there is a big problem with your statement here.... Can you guess what that problem is?

It's the fact that while true the Church in it's "Church" program doesn't really focus on any supposed "negative" in Church history, and anti's focus on a negative version, the Church is in fact telling things accurately and truthfully in their summary of the essential issues. The anti side however uses some truths and facts to tell great big lies in basically every issue. The Church doesn't LIE about anything..... anti's do.

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I don't agree with this analogy. Everybody is always complaining about how whitewashed LDS literature is. While I agree with that criticism in part, I must admit that I have taught sunday school at my own Catholic Church as well as history classes at a junior high, where I used extremely oversimplified, white-washed texts. Is that a bad thing in itself? No, because the innocence of children is a factor in the way you choose your content. Also, when your are teaching something at a church, you are trying to focus on things that incline the imagination towards worship rather than give a full exposition.Abanes's book, however, has a totally different context, purpose, and audience. When you write a polemic against another position you have far more responsibility to represent the other side favorably than at any other time.

EXACTLY..... Man it's nice when other's get it. Appreciate that.

Now if only anti's could start have the same kind of objective reasoning skills. hee hee

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Well, there is a big problem with your statement here.... Can you guess what that problem is?

It's the fact that while true the Church in it's "Church" program doesn't really focus on any supposed "negative" in Church history, and anti's focus on a negative version, the Church is in fact telling things accurately and truthfully in their summary of the essential issues. The anti side however uses some truths and facts to tell great big lies in basically every issue. The Church doesn't LIE about anything..... anti's do.

I don't look at the situation through the dualistic-lens that you are apparently looking through. Just as there are several types of Mormons in the world, there are also several types of non-Mormons--and several types of Mormon-critics for that matter. Your simplistic categorizations may make it easier for you to grasp, but I am affraid that it is far from reality. Mormons, like many of their critics, have not always been forthright about their own history, or about the history of others. Some may say that Mormon critics have been less truthful, but the fact remains that both parties have not been perfectly honest. Now I am not pointing this out to be critical of the LDS Church... no, not at all. I am simply stating a fact that anyone half-informed about the matter already knows. Yes, critics tend to exaggerate the negative, while the Saints have had the tendency to exaggerate the positive about their own faith. This is expected, as this is generally the case for all religions and their critics. The point I am making is that many critics are turned off by their over-sterilization of Mormon history, and as such, become motivated to publish the dirt that so often ignored. This observation is what I was alluding to when I said that Abanes' book is antithetical. You know what antithetical means right?

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EXACTLY..... Man it's nice when other's get it. Appreciate that.

Now if only anti's could start have the same kind of objective reasoning skills. hee hee

Should I read the above as an insinuation that I am an anti-Mormon? If so... you'd probably be surprised to find out that several (more informed) believing Mormons here would disagree with your assessment.

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I don't look at the situation through the dualistic-lens that you are apparently looking through. Just as there are several types of Mormons in the world, there are also several types of non-Mormons--and several types of Mormon-critics for that matter. Your simplistic categorizations may make it easier for you to grasp, but I am affraid that it is far from reality. Mormons, like many of their critics, have not always been forthright about their own history, or about the history of others. Some may say that Mormon critics have been less truthful, but the fact remains that both parties have not been perfectly honest. Now I am not pointing this out to be critical of the LDS Church... no, not at all. I am simply stating a fact that anyone half-informed about the matter already knows. Yes, critics tend to exaggerate the negative, while the Saints have had the tendency to exaggerate the positive about their own faith. This is expected, as this is generally the case for all religions and their critics. The point I am making is that many critics are turned off by their over-sterilization of Mormon history, and as such, become motivated to publish the dirt that so often ignored. This observation is what I was alluding to when I said that Abanes' book is antithetical. You know what antithetical means right?

Hey Mike.... Let me give you an example of why look at it as one telling a false history, and the other telling a truthful one.

Anti's spaz when in the Church telling of the "Translation" of the Book of Mormon, the Church shows Joseph sitting with the plates in front of him, rather than his head in a hat, as they claim is the "True" version of it. Yes, as pure "fact" both statements are actually true. Joseph did translate the plates while looking at them on a table, while looking in a hat, and also having nothing at all. The churches use of the Table as the primary demonstration of what was taking place is simply to show, that there is the plates, and Joseph is translating them. It's not to ignore or "hide" the fact that other methods were used as claimed by anti's, it's simply a visual device to demonstrate clearly Joseph Translating the PLATES.

A good example from not only an LDS perspective is the Christmas Nativity Story of Christ's birth, Wise men, etc.

Most scholars agree that the "events" of the Christmas story likely took place over a couple of years at least, that when the Wise men came, Christ was likely older, no longer a "baby" in a crib, etc. etc. Now, are Christians around the world LYING about these events when they show everything occurring at once in a Manager story, and not telling the "truth" about those events fully accurate? No.... They are condensing events into a nice story, for the purpose of teaching the significance of the event, etc. of Christ's birth. You see, a militant Atheist would take that story and say Christians are "lying" not telling the whole truth.

Further, this idea that mormons somehow "hide" it's history, is junk, because it's history has always been there for mormons to read as anyone. After all, where do the anti's get most of their claims? From OUR materials.... Further, our scholars go through everything themselves, write books etc. so nothing is hidden. And even more, we go through it again when debunking the anti's "misuse" and LYING about our history, doctrines, leaders words, etc.

And yes, I'm aware of your point about "antithetical"..... My point however is that your wrong in saying that both sides are just sharing "opposite" positions that the other doesn't deal with. It's not at all that simple or true.... Mormon's don't lie about anything, even if something is not addressed or emphasized, anti's however DO LIE not simply in their usage of facts, but in their conclusions because they omit important facts which if actually addressed would indeed create a different conclusion in the minds of most objective people. It's just like with the translating the plates issue.... Mormons are just telling the story in a reasonable visual way, not trying to hide history, whereas the anti is trying to over-emphasis one aspect of the translation process and ignoring all others to make the process seem "sensational" "cultish", etc. It's not about the truth, it's about their destructive agenda.

And no, I'm not claiming your an anti, that was a general statement in relation to my point at the time as to anti's, and since I was talking to Soren in relation to his analysis of ONUG, it should have been clear "who" I was talking about. I and other's disagreeing with your simplistic analysis, giving some sort of reasonableness and equity to the anti-mormon side, as if it's simply one side of the same coin is a different subject and point from which that statement was addressing. Of course you would know that if you actually payed attention to what I was talking about. Anyway, the fact is, is that mormonisms dealing with issues is not simply antithetical to the anti-mormon side, mormonism deals with itself fully, though yes in Church it's about the Gospel, not every nuance of history and factoid. And even if those things were more emphasized in "Church", we certainly would not be taking the anti-mormon position on those issues, so in the end, the anti's are still the liars, and we are the truth tellers concerning this Church. Trying to make them out to be simply another side of the same thing is an affront to reason, truth and right. That's all I'm saying..... Of course, morally and intellectually speaking, indeed they are on the other/opposite side, but the other side of the iron rod, not the other side of the same thing. The Dark side of the force is not along and together with the Force, it's contrary to it. So, giving them any sort of "validity" as if we don't mention anything different or anything seeming negative about us from our history, is simply ridiculous. We simply don't take their intellectually insufficient view on most of those seeming "negative" things, and so for us it's a non issue. Our version whether the simple one in Church or the full one like on this message board, is still us telling the Truth, and the whole Truth, and anti's being the ones lying. So, that's it.....

In conclusion, you make the clear statement that "mormons" have been "less than honest" about our history.... I consider this absolutely FALSE.... And why we are so inflammed by your comment. Trying to equate us with what anti's do is simply beyond the pale.... Sorry, but, I live in truth and right, not in everythings relative and everyone is the same in falibility and flaws. Everyone is not the same, everyone is not "right". So, this "dualism" you critisize me for, is simply me standing for Truth and right, not a relative fantasy land. And yes, I'm also well away that everyone on all sides are on various levels of pro/con towards things. Not something I'm addressing at this moment however, so irrelevant.

Let me give you an example of why what you said is wrong..... It's just like those who try to claim that Fanatical Islam is simply responding to us, that we are "just as bad". This is absolute CRAP.... Trying to make a moral equivalency to what America and American soldiers etc. does and tries to do comparing it with Fanatical Islam is simply malarky. This is what you just did with mormons and mormonism compared to anti-mormons. You said we both emphasis our sides, and we both are "less than honest". The Falsehoods fanatical Islam believes about the Koran or America or whatever is not who America is. Likewise, the falsehoods that anti-mormons believe about us, is not who we are.... So, trying to equate what anti-mormon do compared to what we do, as if it's simply two sides of the same coin, is malarky. It's not the same coin, it's an entirely new virtual fantasy coin anti-mormons have created of us. We aren't and never have been their claims.

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Mormon's don't lie about anything

Is that an absolute statement? No Mormons have ever lied? Come on.

In conclusion, you make the clear statement that "mormons" have been "less than honest" about our history.... I consider this absolutely FALSE.... And why we are so inflammed by your comment.

Who is "We"? Who do you think you are speaking in behalf of? So far, it seems that you are the only one objecting to this particular assertion on this thread. Soren has conceded that the LDS Church has had the tendency to whitewash their history. Smac had taken issue with my use of the word "sensational," however, he has not denied that the Church has at times been less than honest. Calmoriah says that I overstated my case, when I claimed that the Church has generally emphasized the positive, and he makes a good point that the Church has sometimes chosen to stress negative things in order to teach the importance of obeying God's commands, repentance, etc... but Cal said nothing about no Mormon ever lying. Neither did Urroner, who made the point that "balance" is relative. So again, Obiwan, who is the "We" that you are (apparently) trying to speak in behalf of?

Let me give you an example of why what you said is wrong..... It's just like those who try to claim that Fanatical Islam is simply responding to us, that we are "just as bad". This is absolute CRAP....

I don't follow you. Maybe this is because you are arguing out of context. Please reread all of my posts on this thread and try explaining again.

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Let me give you an example of why look at it as one telling a false history, and the other telling a truthful one.
There are a lot of other people (coincidentally mostly non-Mormon), including a good many ex-Mo peeps (and even some actual Mormons, I would imagine), who say the same thing you're say -- except in their eyes it is the LDS Church and Mormons who are the ones not being so upfront with the facts of history. And that is an opinion I share.

In ONUG -- "Author's Preface: About Mormon History" -- I noted in two pages the basic problem that exists with how Mormons tell history and I stand by that preface: "It is beyond dispute that the mormon Church has for decades been painting a decidely biased picture of the LDS faith, especially with regard to the origins of the Book of Mormon" (p. x).

As for the so-called "anti" crowd, there are some of them who are more reliable and thoughtful than others. And a select few do a very good job, IMHO. Some of them are former LDS who feel that such truth needs to be brought to light so they seek to do so.

For a long time now the issues that so-called "Anti's" have kept bringing up again and again are the very ones that Mormons have kept trying to hide/spin again and again. Sorry, there's no other way to put it. In fact, a significant amount of LDS history now exposed to the world would still be under lock and key if it were not for "Anti's" like the Tanners, Wesley Walters, and others who had to dig, dig, dig to find the truth and not accept the whitewashed version of LDS history being offered by the church.

Anti's spaz when in the Church telling of the "Translation" of the Book of Mormon, the Church shows Joseph sitting with the plates in front of him, rather than his head in a hat, as they claim is the "True" version of it. Yes, as pure "fact" both statements are actually true. Joseph did translate the plates while looking at them on a table, while looking in a hat, and also having nothing at all. The churches use of the Table as the primary demonstration of what was taking place is simply to show, that there is the plates, and Joseph is translating them. It's not to ignore or "hide" the fact that other methods were used as claimed by anti's, it's simply a visual device to demonstrate clearly Joseph Translating the PLATES.
A perfect example. You spin it beautifully. But your explanation, as I see it, is utterly flawed.

First, your explanation is actually moot, IMHO, since Joseph translated by use of that peep stone. That's how he did it. Even B.H. Roberts admitted this. Smith buried his face in the hat and read off the text as they appeared in the peep stone. It was a deeply occult transaction through and through that fit well within the folk magick practices of the early 19th century. The "plates" (so-called), or whatever they might have actually been, lay covered on that table under a cloth -- and they stayed under that cloth. That's how he did it.

A Treasured Testament

By Elder Russell M. Nelson

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Russell M. Nelson, "A Treasured Testament," Ensign, July 1993, 61

Adapted from an address given 25 June 1992 at a seminar for new mission presidents, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah

The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known. Yet we do have a few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote: "Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man." (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)

And the following:

"Now the way he translated was he put the urim and thummim into his hat and Darkned his Eyes than he would take a sentance and it would apper in Brite Roman Letters. Then he would tell the writer and he would write it. Then that would go away the next sentance would Come and so on. But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous. Thus was the hol [whole] translated."

---Joseph Knight's journal.

"In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us."

-- History of the RLDS Church, 8 vols. (Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1951), "Last Testimony of Sister Emma [smith Bidamon]," 3:356.

"I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation."

-- David Whitmer, as published in the "Kansas City Journal," June 5, 1881, and reprinted in the RLDS "Journal of History", vol. 8, (1910), pp. 299-300.

In an 1885 interview, Zenas H. Gurley, then the editor of the RLDS Saints Herald, asked Whitmer if Joseph had used his "Peep stone" to do the translation. Whitmer replied: "... he used a stone called a "Seers stone," the "Interpreters" having been taken away from him because of transgression. The "Interpreters" were taken from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript] of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on and translate by use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original character appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in English."

"Martin Harris related an incident that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin and when finished he would say 'Written,' and if correctly written that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."

-- Edward Stevenson, "One of the Three Witnesses," reprinted from Deseret News, 30 Nov. 1881 in Millennial Star, 44 (6 Feb. 1882): 86-87.

In 1879, Michael Morse, Emma Smith's brother-in-law, stated: "When Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon (I) had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation. The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating word after word, while the scribes Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other wrote it down."

-- W.W. Blair interview with Michael Morse, Saints Herald, vol. 26, no. 12 (June 15, 1879), pp. 190-91.

"The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by the power of God"

-- Per William Smith, cited in "A New Witness for Christ in America," Francis W. Kirkham, 2:417.

"The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret was the same manner as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, while the book of plates were at the same time hid in the woods."

---Isaac Hale (Emma Smith's father's) affidavit, 1834.

"According to most accounts, the seer stone was used during all stages of the translation of the Book of Mormon, both before and after the loss of the first 116 manuscript pages. Edward Stevenson reported that Martin Harris (who served as Joseph's scribe between April and June of 1828) testified to him that "the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he used the seer stone."

-- LDS scholar Stephen Ricks, "The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon"

So, let us not go on and on about " Joseph did translate the plates while looking at them on a table, while looking in a hat, and also having nothing at all."

Second, even if it were true that Joseph translated the BOM "while looking at them on a table, while looking in a hat, and also having nothing at all," that still would make this oft-produced LDS picture of Smith reading the plates a misleading image. Why? Because we are not dealing here with just some isolated picture of Joseph sitting at a table with the plates; a picture that no one is paying much attention to. In reality, what we are dealing with is a concerted and sustained effort by the church to give Mormons (and non-Mormons) the definitive impression that Smith "TRANSLATED" (as commonly understood) the plates like any other document might be translated.

That picture of Smith sitting at a table reading the plates is a visual reinforcement of what is stated repeatedly in LDS literature and in LDS lectures/sermons. In other words, generally speaking, non-Mormons and Mormons alike are given the story that there was no peep-stone involved. That's something you have to know about -- or be told about (or pay very close attention to detail when it come sto sporadic articles here or there). There is no explanation such as the one you offer that is regularly given -- all nice and balanced to everyone.

But as I stated, this is all moot anyway since Joseph translated with his face buried in that hat.

Further, this idea that mormons somehow "hide" it's history, is junk, because it's history has always been there for mormons to read as anyone.
This is like a big tobacco company saying, "Hey, all the studies are there about the addictive and destructive properties of tobacco. All people have to do is track them down in an avalanche of documents. Sure, those documents aren't easily accessible and sure there's some of those documents we try really hard to suppress, and even some material we simply lie about, but that's there problem to still get the information."
After all, where do the anti's get most of their claims? From OUR materials.... Further, our scholars go through everything themselves, write books etc. so nothing is hidden. And even more, we go through it again when debunking the anti's "misuse" and LYING about our history, doctrines, leaders words, etc.
Plenty has been hidden, suppressed, denied, etc. etc. etc. What do you think the Hofmann documents were all about. But it ended up being a scam. Hofmann did what he did because he knew the church (or rather, let us say, certain church members acting without the official knowledge at all of the official church - nudge-nudge, wink-wink) would try to conceal that stuff (which they thought as real). Hofmann tried to exploit what everyone knows. As Richard Ostling noted, that unfortunate turn of events resulted from "the curious mixture of paranoia and obsessiveness with which Mormons approach church history." Go read Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case by Richard Turley, current assistant Church Historian and Recorder.
Mormon's don't lie about anything,
You can't be serious. There are all kinds of lies. The LDS Church is most adept at lying by omission (and often deletion). Go study up on the word "Rod" and Oliver Cowdery. One example of countless more. This one just popped into my head.
. . . anti's however DO LIE not simply in their usage of facts, but in their conclusions because they omit important facts which if actually addressed would indeed create a different conclusion in the minds of most objective people.
Omission of facts? This is the most extreme case of "Pot-Kettle-Black" I think I've ever read.

As I see it, what you consider the "facts" omitted by the "anti" crowd is actually more often just irrelevant information that is expertly spun in order to make some rather bizarre excuses for what is the obvious. That is not lying on the part of the so-called "anti" crowd. Now, on the other hand, do SOME "anti" people deliberately lie? Sure. Undoubtedly. Do some say stuff out of ignorance? Sure. Okay. That happens. But as for your simplistic "Mormons-are-always-the-innocent-truthtellers-about-history" victims -- excuse me, but :P Hardly.

It's just like with the translating the plates issue.... Mormons are just telling the story in a reasonable visual way, not trying to hide history, whereas the anti is trying to over-emphasis one aspect of the translation process and ignoring all others to make the process seem "sensational" "cultish", etc. It's not about the truth, it's about their destructive agenda.
Wrong. See above. That issue is about telling Mormons and non-Mormons the way Smith actually "translated" the book, which is a process that stands in direct conflict with the popular picture the LDS church presents to trusting non-Mormons who are being evangelized and faithful Mormons who don't know any better (and deserve to know).
... mormonism deals with itself fully
I'm sorry, my friend, this is simply not true. "Faith promoting" history does not allow for this. I can't tell you how many Mormons (now former) who have told me that in all their years in the church they NEVER heard about any of the stuff I mentioned in ONUG (all typos aside, which FAIR seems to be rather fixated on).
. . . . the anti-mormon position on those issues, so in the end, the anti's are still the liars, and we are the truth tellers concerning this Church.
I beg to differ. And I have demonstrated the validity of my position in print for the general public.
Trying to make them out to be simply another side of the same thing is an affront to reason, truth and right.
What is an affront is the way so much is hidden from the public -- both doctrinally and historically -- by LDS leadership and Mormons in general (this, too, I believe, has been adequately shown). It's misleading. It's deceptive. And it's cult-ish. Hence, the common charge that Mormonism is a cult. From a psychological perspective, that label arises in part from the very issue we are discussing.
. . . . you make the clear statement that "mormons" have been "less than honest" about our history.... I consider this absolutely FALSE.... And why we are so inflammed by your comment.
Well, you can deny it all you want, but that won't stop it from being demonstratably true. And if anyone has a right to be inflamed, that would be former Mormons who, after leaving the church, look back and see where they were misled and deceived (their words to me). And THAT is why so many of them feel the need to speak out about it.

RA

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I would be much more interested in Richard's response to Soren's well-reasoned analysis of ONUG than in his response to Obiwan.

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I would be much more interested in Richard's response to Soren's well-reasoned analysis of ONUG than in his response to Obiwan.
Your wish.....
While Abanes has defended the reputability of his book on the basis of its high sales...
Must we start with an inaccuracy? This remark immediately sets you in a category of someone who SEEMS to have an agenda. You appear to be more interested in presenting a case against my book (and me) than the actual facts as they exist.

1. I never "defended the reputability" of my book by pointing to any high sales. As book selling goes, in fact, the volume has sold only moderately well. But "high"? Hardly. Mormon studies is a niche market.

2. To point to high sales as proof of the reputability of my book goes against everything I believe. High sales can bee seen for a perfectly wretched book, while low sales might be the ultimate end of an absolutely fabulous book. And, TBH, that's actualy how things often work out. So for me to point to "high sales," as you assert, would be absurd.

As far as I can recall, I did indeed mention sales -- but NOT as proof of my book being reputable. In one thread I stated: "Only the paperback has been in print since 2003, and THAT is the bulk of sales. But few of those "errors" (so-called) that are listed by FAIR exist in the paperback." POST #62

In another thread, I responded to Helorum, who spit out the following nail: "Yes, it is rather exciting to see your version of Mormon history fall apart at a much faster pace." Then, in order to illustrate how my "version of Mormon history" hadn't fallen apart at all, I replied, "Yes. And that's why it keeps selling at a nice brisk pace after 7 years and is now with one of the most respected, largest, and influential publishing houses in New York." POST #39

Do you see me saying high sales prove how reputable my book is. No. Please, try to avoid this kind of misrepresentation. I am making a CFR on this one for a statement wherein I "defended the reputability" of my book "on the basis of its high sales."

Many crummy books get sold in just this way: by superior distribution and marketing, while many excellent texts collect dust.
Agreed.
I read ONUG with no particular expectations, but could quickly tell from the internal evidence of the text that it was a piece of sensationalism.
An opinion NOT shared by many people -- but thank you for your input. A slew of Christians, secularists, and former Mormons disagree with you, as evidenced by the various comments, reviews, blog posts, and observations made by such persons. But once more -- thanks for your input.
The reddest flag to indicate this was the absense of any interaction with alternative viewpoints. (Even The God Delusion is a more balanced polemic.)
The book, as it ended up, came in weighing a hefty 651 pages, with nearly 150 pages of endnotes. I wanted to cover a great deal of material, and bring to the surface information the official LDS church histories tend to forget, avoid, or gloss over, or simply delete from the whitewashed version of history they give the public (and often Mormons). To produce the book you describe woudl have been impossible, not to mention, outside the parameters of what I wantedto accomplish.

But when you want to pay me to write a 1,300 page book that gives more sides of the historical event I covered, then I'll take you up on that offer and together we can sell three copies -- that is, if any publisher would be stupid enough to publish a book that big. Or, if you want to go it alone, be my guest. You can cover all that material I covered from the LDS viewpoint, and then include how ever much "interaction with alternative viewpoints" you think should have been in my book. Let me know what your final word count is.

A second obvious evidence of ONUG's sensationalism is its expository structure, which is determined mainly by rhetorical considerations.
I assume here that you are referring to issues such as grammar, logic, voice, tone, style, form, etc. Im certainly not going to try to communicate to you all of that, nor defend it. It is what it is. I sought to make the prose as understandable, balanced, revealing, and historically accurate as possible, yet at the same time makae the material exciting in its pace, use of language, and points of interest. It's a popular book. Not a scholarly tome.

You have your opinion. I'll simply thank you again for sharing, and add as an observation, the words of a book review (see Bookslut), which goes so far as to say that certain portions of the my text are heavy-handed and at times my bias gets in the way. And yes, I would agree with that to a certain degree. But this review also states:

Drawing from a wealth of primary sources, Abanes presents what might be the most well-researched criticism of LDS this country has ever seen. But it is criticism, and not, I think, history. This book was apparently conceived as a counterpoint to books by Mormon apologists, it does the reader well to remember that Abanes might be more interested in "witnessing to" (read: converting) Mormons than writing a purely objective history of an admittedly odd church. . . . It's also hard to find fault with Abanes' prose style, which is understated, level-headed, and enviably clear. It doesn't exactly read like a novel, as some breathless Amazon.com readers claim, but it's as absorbing as a nonfiction book on religious history can be.

So, there you go. I have no problem accepting any of that.

One of the strangest things I noticed in the book is that although its title alludes to polytheism, the subject of plurality of gods does not crop up until late in the book after Abanes has primed his reader to be shocked by it.
Excuse me, but would you mind allowing me to explain my own book, instead of you? The fact is that I was not trying to get anyone "primed" for anything.

ONUG was a massive project that needed to make some kind of chronological sense, while at the same time weaving into the story the important teachings of the LDS Church. One of my primary goals was to show HOW the LDS Church became the LDS Church -- starting back at the beginning. One of my secondary goals was showing HOW the LDS Chruch came to believe what it believes today.

Now, as for your remark, "the subject of plurality of gods does not crop up until late in the book," this is rather confusing -- if not misleading to those who have not read the book. The very first time I mention "the subject of plurality of gods" is on page xviii (paperback) in the INTRODUCTION. That's 12 pages into a 651 page book. You call that "late in the book"? I'm not sure who could be "primed" that fast. I tie the book together on p. xviii (paperback), discussing the LDS belief in their deification to become gods, as "all Gods have done before."

I then mention in passing the "multiplicity of gods" on p. 192, when discussing the various additional revelations Smith began receiving that he added to his teachings (c. 1835-ish).

Then, on page 285 I finally get into a detailed explanation of how/why LDS believe in multiple gods. HERE. READ CLOSELY:

I waited until page 285 because that is where I began talking about polygamy, which ties in closely to the celestial kingdom, heavenly mother, eternal progression, and related issues. A full/detailed explanation of that issue of all these issues fell naturally together at that point.

So, there's your explanation. It had nothing to do with the nefarious scheme you invented in your own head and put on my motives. (I accept your apology.)

Abanes gives the history of polygamy right from the start with his account of Joseph Smith, but he refrains from explaining the relationship between polygamy, celestial marriage, and exhaltation until he has chronicled all kinds of bad things about polygamy in Utah. Why this delay?
Because that is where it was easiest to tackle the issue, and where it fell naturally together in the chronology with other topics. Any earlier would have side-tracked readers from the very complex history that had to be written up to that point.

When you write a 651 page book, then you can choose to write it your way. Good luck. To attribute such impure motives to me simply because you persnoally would have written it another way is, tbh, rather paranoid and cynical.

If I were writing a history that involved the weird and disturbing practices of a given group of people, I would begin with the explanation first, becasue that is what makes it possible for a writer to maintain a sympathietic stance towards his subject.
Exactly. If YOU were writing.... Well, awesome. Then go get a book deal. I wish you the best. Truly. Now, in my opinion, it'd be polite of you to let others write their books in a certain order without inventing fantasies or accusations about them.
It would increase the reader's sympathy for Mormon polygamists to know that they were trying to obey a divine commandment, which made sense within a particular worldview.
That's in your opinion. Good for you. Again, I wish you the best of luck in your publishing goals. If that's how you wish to write your book, then awesome.
Yet for a reader to learn first about their actions with little of the deeper explanation makes the Mormons seem instantly odious.
Your opinion. Not mine. So don't transfer YOUR thoughts and YOUR perceptions as a writer on to me.
I don't remember if it was Abanes who compared early Mormons taking wives to children let loose in a candy shop, but that analogy certainly coincides with the depiction he gives.
ROFL. That was Jan Shipps, who is is loved and adored by Mormons because she is apparently a true NON-Anti-Mormon!!!

SCOTT LLOYD
: OK. Jan Shipps, the oft-quoted, Mormon-watching academic, is an example of one who is not LDS and frequently comments on Mormonism who is decidedly not anti-Mormon. (see
)

JULIANN
: It would never occur that people like Jan Shipps are "anti-Mormon" (
)

RYANELWOOD
: Simply not believing and publishing work that challenges church claims are crtics but not anti-Mormon, such as Dan Vogel, Michael Marquardt, Brent Metcalfe, Newell Bringhurst, Jan Shipps, etc. (
)

But it was Shipps, who after examining a number of historical documents relating to the Nauvoo practice of polygamy, observed that quite soon after the practice was initiated, many of the men "came to resemble children suddenly told that eating candy was good for them" (Shipps, cited in B. Carmen Hardy, Solemn Covenant, p. 9)

So, please tell me now. Is Shipps anti-Mormon or not? If she isn't, then please tell me why she isn't if she can make such odious observation, which "certainly coincides with the depiction" I give. Come on, guys. Let's get our stories straight. Is Shipps anti-Mormon or not? She certailny sounds anti-Mormon to me.

Only after painting polygamy in the worst colors does he pull out the big guns by revealing its startling theological underpinnings. At this late point in the narrative, the explanation does not make them sympathetic, but drives the wedge deeper in.
You make this too complex a tale. I've explained this placement of the material. Now, either believe me, or call me a liar.
Apart from dramatic impact, what does the book gain by following such a structure?
Clarity. Call me when you've written twenty books, including a complex history that is 651 pages long. Every author organizes his material in different ways. I've explained my actions.
It certainly does not gain in factual or analytical content, because withholding the explanation for the behavior of the Mormons actually makes the story less intelligible.
Apparently not. In my opinion, it makes it more easy to understand and shows how it all fell together.
It seems that the author sacrifices expository order in favor of shock value.
Wrong. The ordering is just fine -- better than fine, I would say. And many others agree. So, if you don't like the order. That's cool. But don't run with that as some kind of "Gotcha" discovery of my allegedly true motives.

TY,

RA

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It certainly does not gain in factual or analytical content, because withholding the explanation for the behavior of the Mormons actually makes the story less intelligible.
Thanks, S

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I agree he doesn't, they see through his drivel as so nicely illustrated by Soren. Thanks Soren.
:crazy::P It's tragic. Thanks Soren? LoL. I just got done telling you EXACTLY WHY I placed the material where it was placed in direct refutation of Soren -- and I am the author himself and you say, "Thanks Soren."? ROFL. You've got to be kidding! ;)

If someone is going to ask me a question, is there really any reason for me to even bother answering or is it just a waste of my time? Because I am NOT going to waste my time answering a question like precisely WHY I chose to do something, only to have my answer thrown back in my face. Do you realize you've actually had the author himself tell you why a certain segment of text appears where it does in his own book, and you've ignored that? My goodness, this has just gotten insane.

RA

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An observation:

In my (considerable) experience, the overwhelming majority of those who charge the Church with suppressing and falsifying its history have only the most shallow acquaintance, at best, with the vast historiographical outpouring on Mormonism. They're typically unaware of even a tiny fraction of the materials listed in the nearly-twelve-hundred-page volume compiled by James B. Allen, Ronald W. Walker, and David J. Whittaker, Studies in Mormon History, 1830-1997: An Indexed Bibliography (Chicago and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), which is still being updated on line.

Nor do they generally know much, if anything, about Mormon reflections on Mormon historiography and its history (e.g., Davis Bitton and Leonard J. Arrington, Mormons and Their Historians [salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988]; Leonard J. Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian [Chicago and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998]; Ronald W. Walker, David J. Whittaker, and James B. Allen [with Armand Mauss], Mormon History [Chicago and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001]; or the pieces now helpfully gathered in Richard Bushman's Believing History: Latter-day Saint Essays [New York: Columbia University Press, 2006]).

It can really be somewhat irritating to watch ignorant people pronounce on this subject.

On another board, one deeply alienated nominal Mormon has been denouncing the Church's alleged suppression of its history and of documents by and about Joseph Smith for several years. It turns out that she was totally unaware of the massive Joseph Smith Papers project, which has been underway for a long while and has scarcely been hidden in a corner and which has just published its first actual volume to considerable fanfare, until a month or two ago. When told about it, though, she scarcely missed a beat; she went right on with her denunciations. My entirely serious expectation is that she will never read a single one of the projected Papers volumes.

I've had exactly the same experience with people who claim that the Church has attempted to cover up the changes that have been made in the Book of Mormon text. When I mention the several very large volumes already published in Royal Skousen's landmark Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, such folks typically have never heard of it, show little or no interest in it, and aren't even slightly fazed by it. They simply proceed with their accusations of suppression. It's very much like a fellow I spoke with some years back who angrily denounced the Church for hiding from him the fact that there are multiple accounts of the First Vision. I reminded him that an entire issue of BYU Studies had been devoted to the topic, that at least one entire book -- sneakily entitled The First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts -- had been published on the subject (and had gone through two editions), that several other scholarly discussions of the subject had appeared in various locations, and that the Church's official magazine had actually published the accounts along with articles about them. Well, he responded, the Church has tried to hide the fact that there are multiple accounts of the First Vision.

I don't have much patience for such nonsense.

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I don't have much patience for such nonsense.
What would you say prompted all of these projects, Dan? The way I look at the flow of such work and how it all got started, it seems that a great deal of it was in reaction to what the anti's like the Tanners started doing. It basically put the church between a rock and a hard place.

A. Don't deal with this stuff and let the so-called anti's--like the Tanners--do all the research and publish material that had no response from the church.
Very bad.

B. Start trying to get some of this stuff out that was essentially already being published by anti's, and with that material give it an LDS spin so at least it could have a "faith promoting" twist."
Better, but not pleasant.

Are seriously telling us that the LDS Church would have done ANY of this if the "anti's" (Tanners, Martin, Walters, et all) wouldn't have started making a stink about all of this historical stuff that had been either directly suppressed or glossed over for so many years? Sorry, I doubt that. There is a documented history of the Church and church officials seeking to suppress historical documentation from being released to the public when this issue first started coming up in the 1960s/1970s. You want me to post supporting evidence of that? Here's one of many.

Go back to when Wilford Wood released his first editions of Joseph Smith Begins His Work, volumes 1 & 2, that included the original 1830 BOM and the 1833 Book of Commandments and the 1835 D&C. "The Wilford Wood reprints were initially made available by the LDS Church-owned Deseret Book Stores and by the then independent Bookcraft stores." Suddenly, by October 1964, the books were no longer available.

Sandra Tanner went was told by a deseret bookstore representative that "President David O. McKay won't let us sell that anymore...We've had several people leave the Church because of those books." The Tanner's then approached Wood. In a letter written on March 22, 1967, Wood blamed Joseph Fielding Smith for stopping the sales of his reprints:

Without mentioning any names or talking about the General Authorities personally, this is what happened. The man who is supposed to answer all of the questions about the Church in the Improvement Era [Joseph Fielding Smith] is the man who stopped Deseret Book from selling the book. President McKay has told me more than once that he would see to it that the Deseret Book sold Volumes one and two of
Joseph Smith Begins His Work
. So far he has been unable to do so. I love President McKay with all of my heart. (Wilford C. Wood, letter to Edmond C. Gruss - March 22, 1967).

The Tanners kept making that material available. And not until 16 years later, did the church allow that stuff to be sold again in its stores -- by then people were talking about it and something had to be done. (Thank you, Jerald and Sandra.)

This same type of stuff went on with the First Vision accounts that the Tanners started getting out to the public. C'mon, Dan. The numerous First Vision accounts story broke in the modern era thanks to the Tanners. And that all started when the Tanners started trying to find evidence of the First Vision (as we know it today) in the early days (c. 1830-ish). NO WAS FOUND. And that's because the First Vision as it exosted in 1830 had no father & Son. That was a later embellishment. This material they began publishing started the long/arduous road toward eventually admission of all these First Vision versions.

This is the tippy, tip, tip, tip of a very large iceberg.

RA

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This same type of stuff went on with the First Vision accounts that the Tanners started getting out to the public. C'mon, Dan. The numerous First Vision accounts story broke in the modern era thanks to the Tanners. And that all started when the Tanners started trying to find evidence of the First Vision (as we know it today) in the early days (c. 1830-ish). NO WAS FOUND. And that's because the First Vision as it exosted in 1830 had no father & Son. That was a later embellishment. This material they began publishing started the long/arduous road toward eventually admission of all these First Vision versions.

This is the tippy, tip, tip, tip of a very large iceberg.

RA

You know better than that Richard...

http://en.fairmormon.org/Only_one_Personag...he_1832_account

The theophany portion of the 1832 account does not specifically indicate that the Father appeared to Joseph Smith together with Jesus Christ. The relevant text (in its original form) reads as follows:

"a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day c[a]me down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the <Lord> opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph <my son> thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy <way> walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life <behold> the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not <my> commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them acording to th[e]ir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which <hath> been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles behold and lo I come quickly as it [is] written of me in the cloud <clothed> in the glory of my Father."[1]

Even though the Savior makes a direct reference to the Father there is no indication in this portion of the 1832 document that God appeared to Joseph Smith alongside His Son.

The critics have, however, failed to notice a very significant phrase located in the introductory paragraph of the Prophet's historical narrative. There he indicates that the 1832 document is . . .

"A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Ch[r]ist the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brough<t> [it] forth and established [it] by his hand <firstly> he receiving the testamony from on high secondly the ministering of Angels thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Aangels to adminster the letter of the Gospel—<—the Law and commandments as they were given unto him—>and the ordinencs, forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God."

...

Conclusion

The Father is not explicitly mentioned as making an appearance in the theophany portion of the 1832 First Vision account because Joseph Smith patterned that part of his narrative after the vision of Jesus Christ experienced by the apostle Paul. The words spoken by the Father during His First Vision appearance are, however, referred to in the introductory paragraph of the 1832 text.

The critics have not been careful in their analysis of this early Mormon historical document.

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Zak, if you want to cling to that. Go for it. It doesn't fit, though -- not with everything else going on at the time, and other evidences.

"The truth is out there" (The X-Files).

ra

You deny that JS himself makes reference to the father baring testimony of his beloved son in the prolog to the 1832 account?

Go for it Richard. No wonders ONUG was so poor. :P

Lets take a look at the evidence shall we...

(1832 ACCOUNT)

“firstly . . . receiving the testimony from on high”

(1835 ACCOUNT)

“He [God the Father] testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”

(1838 ACCOUNT)

"[He] said...This is my beloved Son”

The Father's identification of Jesus Christ as His Son was His "testimony" of Him.

Critics have objected that -- in their minds -- the phrase "from on high" cannot be so easily equated with God the Father. But there is a sizable amount of corroborating evidence for this idea. Consider the following points of connection.

3 Ne. 11:3, 5-7 - between April and June 1828

The Father's "voice . . . came out of heaven" [i.e., 'from on high'] and testified of His "Beloved Son."

D&C 20:16 - April 1830

Joseph Smith stated, "the Lord God has spoken it; and we . . . have heard . . . the words of the glorious Majesty on high."

Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 Peter - between 8 March 1831 and 24 March 1832

There are five New Testament scriptures (which Joseph Smith would have been familiar with from his work on the JST) that have distinct parallels to the First Vision story. Jesus Christ's Old World disciples heard the Father's voice come "from heaven" (Mt. 3:17; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22; 2 Pt. 1:17-18) [i.e, 'from on high'] or "out of the cloud" (Mt. 17:5) [i.e., 'from on high'] and in each of these instances the Father testified of His Son and employed the same phraseology that Joseph Smith said He utilized during the First Vision.

JST John 1:18/19 - between 20 November 1831 and 16 February 1832

"And no man hath seen God at any time, except he [i.e., God the Father] hath borne record of the Son."

1832 First Vision account - between 22 September 1832 and 27 November 1832

"receiving the testimony from on high"

D&C 93:15 - 6 May 1833

Mention is made of the Father's voice being heard "out of heaven."

Patriarchal Blessing - 9 December 1834

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:fool::P It's tragic. Thanks Soren? LoL. I just got done telling you EXACTLY WHY I placed the material where it was placed in direct refutation of Soren -- and I am the author himself and you say, "Thanks Soren."? ROFL. You've got to be kidding! ;)

If someone is going to ask me a question, is there really any reason for me to even bother answering or is it just a waste of my time? Because I am NOT going to waste my time answering a question like precisely WHY I chose to do something, only to have my answer thrown back in my face. Do you realize you've actually had the author himself tell you why a certain segment of text appears where it does in his own book, and you've ignored that? My goodness, this has just gotten insane.

RA

O noble journalist,

Two things, (1) notice that the 2 posts I quoted were way up at the beginning of the thread, I had not yet reached your post when I made mine. (2) I have observed, like Soren, how you have written and placed things and responded to some things and conveniently left other things out. I don't need your explanation/spin to see what's going on. I have learned to observe over many years. You can use the :crazy: icon on me if you wish, I take it from where it comes....

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What would you say prompted all of these projects, Dan? The way I look at the flow of such work and how it all got started, it seems that a great deal of it was in reaction to what the anti's like the Tanners started doing. It basically put the church between a rock and a hard place.

That's nonsense, Richard.

I know Jim Allen very well. I knew Davis Bitton extremely well. I knew Leonard Arrington somewhat. I can promise you that none of them -- and they were, for years, the three official Church historians -- ever waited for marching orders from Jerald and Sandra Tanner.

This is the tippy, tip, tip, tip of a very large iceberg.

I won't say, and would never say, that the relationship between the Brethren and academic historians has been without bumps and tensions. Everybody knows that. It's pretty typical for situations of this type.

But the notion that Mormon history has been falsified or suppressed on a large scale, with any degree of consistency, is a defamatory myth. In fact, Mormons have been quite unusually good about preserving their historical documents and sponsoring the compilation of histories.

Have you read Mormons and Their Historians? Have you read Believing History? Have you read Adventures of a Church Historian? Have you read Mormon History?

What percentage of the materials listed in Allen, Walker, and Whittaker, eds., Studies in Mormon History, 1830-1997: An Indexed Bibliography, would you estimate that you've read?

Have you read Milton Backman's The First Vision? Have you read Jack Welch's Opening the Heavens?

I genuinely want to know.

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The way I look at the flow of such work and how it all got started, it seems that a great deal of it was in reaction to what the anti's like the Tanners started doing.

Is that why Joseph Smith started the Church's history in 1838 or B. H. Roberts worked feverishly to get it published in the early 1900's?

I find the "The Church is Playing Catch-Up" argument totally unconvincing.

This is the tippy, tip, tip, tip of a very large iceberg.

Only in your paranoid, myopic worldview.

Better get your tin hat handy, Richard. I think the FBI is spying on you.

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You deny that JS himself makes reference to the father baring testimony of his beloved son in the prolog to the 1832 account? Go for it Richard. No wonders ONUG was so poor. :P
Oh, is that what it says? I don't think so. It's a classic FAIR spin. I love how FAIR does this stuff.

The introduction states "firstly . . . receiving the testimony from on high." FAIR is telling you that this means Smith saw the father in the account that he goes on to give. But the truth is that "from on high" simply means from God, from the Lord above...etc etc etc.

Where do we have Joseph explaining that this REALLY means "firstly . . . receiving the testimony from on high; from the father who actually appeared in this vision with the Son." ANSWER: Nowhere.

The only thing FAIR says is: "When this phrase is placed in conjunction with the Prophet's 1835 and 1838 accounts of the First Vision it becomes obvious that the 1832 phraseology closely corresponds with the words spoken by God the Father when He introduced His Son in the Sacred Grove."

Sorry, this means nothing. It's pure, unadulterated conjecture and pulling together an argument out of assumptions. Smith tells you exactly what was in the vision. And the Father isn't mentioned. Small thing to overlook, no? As FAIR notes: "The theophany portion of the 1832 account does not specifically indicate that the Father appeared to Joseph Smith together with Jesus Christ. . . . The theophany portion of the 1832 account does not specifically indicate that the Father appeared to Joseph Smith together with Jesus Christ."

Thank you. That's the truth. Besides, as for FAIR's observation, according to Richard Bushman, the reason why we don't see the Father at all because in 1832 Joseph didn't see this particular aspect of the vision to be very important (Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, p. 52). What? Oh, yeah, right. Heavenly Father himself appears to someone, but that's not very important. ;)

BTW, care to make comment on the fact that this same version reads: "In the 16th year of my age"?

Or, care to comment on how we see in ths 1832 version that it is Smith himself who decided for himself that all the churches were wrong, instead of it being the Father or Jesus telling him that? That little bit about the other churches (as you read it today) didn't come into the vision account until later versions! It's missing from 1832 and the two 1835 versions (see Nov. 9, 1835 & Nov. 14, 1835). I think this got plugged into tale around 1840 by Orson Pratt. As far as I recall, that aspect of the FV didn't pop up in a version until that year. Someone can check on it.

RA

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Is that why Joseph Smith started the Church's history in 1838 or B. H. Roberts worked feverishly to get it published in the early 1900's?
I am not talking about a basic "faith promoting" history. I thought that was painfully obvious given the context.

RA

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Care to make comment on the fact that this same version reads: "In the 16th year of my age"?
That's straining at gnats, and you know it. The whole thing is one giant argument from silence. Plain and simple. Perhaps Richard would care to explain why the writers of the Gospels aren't in agreement on how many angels/beings were present at the resurrection.(Matt. 28:2, Mark 16:5, Luke 24:4, and John 10:12)http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/The_First_Vision.pdf
I am not talking about a basic "faith promoting" history. I thought that was painfully obvious given the context.RA
A subtle shifting of the goal posts. How is the History of the Church simply "faith promoting"? Have you even read it? Ya know, all those things about Joseph Smith's failures and shortcomings, chastisement of the Saints by the Lord, etc.

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. . .I read ONUG with no particular expectations, but could quickly tell from the internal evidence of the text that it was a piece of sensationalism. The reddest flag to indicate this was the absense of any interaction with alternative viewpoints. (Even The God Delusion is a more balanced polemic.). . .

If I were writing a history that involved the weird and disturbing practices of a given group of people

[not picking a fight here]â??Ifâ? you â??were writingâ?, which you werenâ??t, you just might be critiqued in a way that you wouldnâ??t like as well by someone who would disagree. Richard chose to write it the way he saw fit. Whether or not one agrees with the book, it is their prerogative to not like the way it was done or its content.

Attacking the messenger without answering a valid argument being made seems to be the way some here operate, which is not to say that every objection is not correct or even valid sometimes.

One should be accurate in the way one critiques though. All will give an account for what one does and says in regards to others (Biblically speaking weâ??re obligated speak the truth in love).

The practices of Mormonism that we object to as being â??Christianâ? was not the norm for first century Christianity as expounded on by those whose writings became what is now referred to as the New Testament.

The Mormon claim is that God â??has restored his church in detailâ?:

A falling away from the true religion that Christ preached, from the ordinances he performed, and from the church he organized was foretold in the Bible. Confirming this loss of truth are many of historyâ??s great Christian reformers. Many of them sought to conform with the Holy Scriptures; some looked for the restoration â??of all thingsâ? that Peter had prophesied. The Latter-day Saints not only recognize that this falling away did occur, but also announce that God has made himself known to mortal men in these modern times and has restored his church in detail as it was anciently. . . .Christianity Has Ceased to Exist- I have sought nothing beyond reforming the Church in conformity with the Holy Scriptures. . . .I simply say that Christianity has ceased to exist among those who should have preserved it. . . .MARTIN LUTHER. . .The Gospel of Jesus Christ Restored Through a Modern Prophetâ??Joseph Smith (The Falling Away And Restoration Foretold pamphlet, pp.1, 4, 5, 14, 15)

I donâ??t see at critical points of doctrine that it is Christian, as a Christian, after being an invited investigator for over thirty years now.

The writings of the post first century church â??fathersâ? writings are not authoritative, on par with the writings contained in both the Old/New Testaments (although they can be useful as an indicator of how they responded to the what was being discussed/thought about during the period they were living in).

This is not to say that some of what they wrote (Mormons included) was not correct or not in agreement with certain Biblical teaching.

In the context, for example, of the requirements laid down by the apostle Paul in giving instruction to Timothy, in training to be a bishop, concerning how many wives one should have (which is not to downplay the others).

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 3:1-13)

A Biblical instruction Joseph Smith rather blatantly ignored. The pope as well in that the priests were being required to be celibate. This is perfectly alright if they have the gift to remain that way. History attests that not all of them had the â??giftâ?.

For example, Paulâ??s answer to a question concerning marriage (apparently) in which Paul gives (in part) this statement:

Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:1-9)

In order for the Mormons to be admitted to the union as a state, they had to give up the practice of polygamy (which came by way of the â??Manifestoâ?) because it was against the laws of the land (besides the fact that it was not God that gave permission for Joseph to start practicing after a so-called revelation as early as 1831).

Almost one-hundred years later they caved again to the pressure associated with the civil rights movement and supposedly received another word (in the form of a â??Declarationâ? (to cease and desist from keeping the blacks from the priesthood) Also they had built a temple which would not be able to be used by many in the area because of having a blood line that would keep them from participating in the temple.

The reaction to the negative pressure being stirred by the civil rights movement was coming to a head when President Kimble supposedly received a â??revelationâ? saying God approved of the priesthood being open as of that time (1978) to everyone.

Previous Church leadership, including past so-called â??Prophetsâ? of the Church stated what had to take place before the priesthood would be open to the blacks (those who preserved the seed of Cain being the flat nose and the black skin).

I love the Mormon people but their doctrine that is different, when it comes to the Bible, is not Christian but heretical.

A point Richard makes concerning Owen and Mosser, who basically comes to the same conclusion as those who are not â??Mormonâ? but â??Christianâ? do. Richard Abanes provided their own comments concerning Mormonism (from rabanes thread, Nov 28 2008, 09:19 AM, Owen & Mosser- Their Words/their views, argue with Owen/Mosser:

"More than any other new religious movement, Mormonism presents a challenge to the health and growth of authentic Christianity. It is also the most insistent of these groups in its claims to be Christian [various LDS claims listed, including devotion to 'Christ']. . . .This devotion to Christ, they insist, is more than sufficient for Mormonism to be considered an authentic Christian faith [Owen & Mosser then note the LDS claims that Mormonism only differs from mainstream Christianity by the fullness of Gospel it holds]. . . . This gives the impression that Mormonism is basically Christian, differentiated from other forms of Christianity primarily by additions and modifications" (emphases added).

To Everyone an Answer (pp. 324-325, "Mormonism," Carl Mosser and Paul Owen)

Editors: Francis J. Beckwith, Norman L. Geisler, William Lane Craig, James Porter Moreland

InterVarsity Press, 2004

After these opening pages, Owen and Mosser proceed to deconstruct, criticize, and refute several core LDS doctrines (pp. 326-335). The conclusion of Paul Owen and Carl Mosser is as follows:

"By now it should be very clear that Mormonism represents a world far removed from that of the earliest Christians and the orthodox tradition. We cannot accept its claim to restore earliest Christianity. To be sure, at the doctrinal level Mormonism has a structure similar to Christianity's, and its devotion to Jesus is sincere. Both, however, are nested in a worldview that undermines true knowledge of God and salvation. Like those of the Gnostics, many Mormon teachings are antithetical to a Christian vision of reality. . . . The 'restored Gospel' of Mormonism must be clearly distinguished from the biblical gospel. For these reasons Mormonism cannot be meaningfully or properly classified as a Christian faith"

To Everyone an Answer (pp. 336-337 "Mormonism," Carl Mosser and Paul Owen)

Editors: Francis J. Beckwith, Norman L. Geisler, William Lane Craig, James Porter Moreland

InterVarsity Press, 2004

According to Bruce R. McConkie, in his book, â??Mormon Doctrineâ? he says the following:

Heresy, See APOSTASY, DOCTRINE, ORTHODOXY, TRUTH. In the true gospel sense, any opinion or doctrine in opposition to the revealed word of the Lord as recorded in the standard works of the Church as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an heresy. The issue is not how many people believe a teaching; it is whether the doctrine is true or false (2 Peter 2:1). . .There is no salvation in a false doctrine. ( p.352)

The apostle Paul predates Brigham in both years and authority of being a true apostle (Brigham Young, a false prophet/apostle, a non-Mormons perspective):

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)

Mormons here often say that â??we never say anything negative about what others believeâ?:

Erroneous Teachings of Christian Churches

One erroneous teaching of many Christian churches is: By faith alone we are saved. This false doctrine would relieve man from the responsibility of his acts other than to confess a belief in God, and would teach man that no matter how great the sin, a confession would bring him complete forgiveness and salvation. What the world needs is more preaching of the necessity of abstaining from sin and of living useful and righteous lives, and less preaching of forgiveness of sin. . . .

One Heaven and One Hell

There is also the false teaching of one heaven and one hell, with the thought that all who reach heaven will share alike, and the same will be true of those who are assigned to hell. The truth, as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, emphasizes the fact that every man will receive according to his works; that there is a glory like the glory of the sun, another like that of the moon, and still another like that of the stars, and that the glory to which one shall be assigned will be determined by the things he does and the kind of life he lives. (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, LeGrand Richards, p.24-26)

â??By faith alone we are savedâ? is to be understood in the context of the verse Luther found while reading in the book of Romans, â??The just shall live by faith.â? This became the â??Battle Cry,â? so to speak, of the Protestant Reformation. It came to be known in the following three Solas (Latin for only)- Sola Gracia (only Grace), Sola Fide (only Faith), Sola Scriptura (only Scripture).

This differs from Roman Catholicism in which we are in agreement with more than we are with Mormonism which is not Christian while for the most part Roman Catholicism is.

Other points of conflict where others are falsely judged from our perspective:

I wonder how many of us are aware of one of the great religious phenomenon of the ages, one that is now sweeping through Protestant Christianity, as only one other thing has ever done in the whole Christian Era. . . .let me first identify the original heresy that did more than anything else to destroy primitive Christianity.

This first and chief heresy of a now fallen and decadent Christianity- and truly it is the father of all heresies-. . .pertains now to the nature and kind of being that God is. . . .a spirit essence called the Trinity. . . .The adoption of this false doctrine about God effectively destroyed true worship among men and ushered in the age of universal apostasy. . . .

This second heresy-and it is the prevailing delusion and mania that prevails to this day in the great evangelical body of Protestantism-is the doctrine that we are justified by faith alone, without the works of the law. . . .It is the doctrine that we may be born again simply by confessing the Lord Jesus with our lips while we continue to live in our sins. (Bruce R. McConkie, 1984, BYU Devotional)

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. For how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know, for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passage of scripture so differently so as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible, . . .I at length came to the determination to â??ask of Godâ? (POGP, JOSEPH SMITH-HISTORY 1:11-13)

I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. (POGP, JOSEPH SMITHâ??HISTORY, 1:19)

At about the age of twelve years my mind became Seriously imprest with regard to the all important concerns for the wellfare [sic] of my immortal soul which led me to Searching the Scriptures believing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God. . .thus from the age twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things. . .and by Searching the Scriptures I found that. . .there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament. . . (An Analysis of the Accounts Relating Joseph Smithâ??s Early Visions, by Paul R. Cheesman, Masterâ??s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1965, pp.127-28)

Following the death of the apostles, revelation ceased. The authority of God was no longer among men. Christianity sickened and died. In time, a new religion grew up in its placeâ??a religion that professed to be Jesus Christâ??s Church, but which in reality was a conglomerate of pagan worship and Greek philosophy, â??having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.â?. . .that eventually led to the complete apostasy of the true church and the eventual creation of an apostate religion that has been responsible for the extermination of the Messiahâ??s true followers and the persecution of his chosen people, the Jews. . . . (APOSTASY AND RESTORATION pamphlet, p.9)

3. There was a complete apostasy affecting both Catholic and Protestant churches. . . .2. There was a total apostasy affecting the Catholic and Protestant churches. . . . (A UNIFORM SYSTEM FOR TEACHING INVESTIGATORS, Aug. 1961, pp.32, 58).

Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. In him and in him alone is there redemption. But he works in his own way. Godâ??s way is not manâ??s way. The Lord provided that salvation should come through his gospel functioning through his church, wherein are prophets and apostles â??for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.â? (Ephesians 4:12). . .Is there such a church upon the earth? Until 1830 there was not. It had been lost through the falling away we have described in this pamphlet. (Which Church is Right pamphlet, p.17)

A falling away from the true religion that Christ preached, from the ordinances he performed, and from the church he organized was foretold in the Bible. Confirming this loss of truth are many of historyâ??s great Christian reformers. Many of them sought to conform with the Holy Scriptures; some looked for the restoration â??of all thingsâ? that Peter had prophesied. The Latter-day Saints not only recognize that this falling away did occur, but also announce that God has made himself known to mortal men in these modern times and has restored his church in detail as it was anciently. . . .Christianity Has Ceased to Exist- I have sought nothing beyond reforming the Church in conformity with the Holy Scriptures. . . .I simply say that Christianity has ceased to exist among those who should have preserved it. . . .MARTIN LUTHER. . .The Gospel of Jesus Christ Restored Through a Modern Prophetâ??Joseph Smith (The Falling Away And Restoration Foretold pamphlet, pp.1, 4, 5, 14, 15)

The following are the text of the documents sent to someone I used to know (he allowed me to make a copy of them- was no longer â??Mormonâ? but Christian). They were sent to him when he was called to be a missionary as a Latter-day Saint:

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

OFFICE OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84111

March 23, ****

Elder ******* ******** ******

***** Ward, ********** **** Stake

**** *******

**** ******* ********** *****

Dear Elder ******:

You are hereby called to be a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to labor in the ******* Mission.

You are scheduled to enter the Mission Home in Salt Lake City at 119 North

Main Street on ********, ***** **, ****.

Your presiding officers have recommended you as one worthy to represent

the Church of our Lord as a Minister of the Gospel. It will be your duty to

live righteously, to keep the commandments of the Lord, to honor the holy

Priesthood which you bear, to increase your testimony of the divinity of

the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be an exemplar in your life of all

the Christian virtues, and so to conduct yourself as a devoted servant of the

Lord that you may be an effective advocate and messenger of the Truth.

We repose in you our confidence and extend to you our prayers that the Lord

Will help you thus to meet your responsibilities.

The Lord will reward the goodness of your life, and greater blessings and

More happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you serve Him

Humbly and prayerfully in this labor of love among His children.

We ask that you please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed

By your presiding officer in the ward or branch where you live.

Sincerely yours,

[signed] Joseph Fielding Smith

President

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 E. SOUTH TEMPLE ST. SALT LAKE CITY. UTAH 84111

Dear Missionary:

I am directed by the Missionary Executive Committee to send you the enclosed copy of the standard missionary teaching plan, â??A UNIFORM SYSTEM FOR TEACHING INVESTIGATORSâ? which is published by the Church and used by missionaries throughout the world.

The Committee is sending you this material now with the request that you begin studying

and learning it immediately so that when you report to the Missionary Home in Salt Lake City you already will have memorized some or all the lessons.

Please bring this copy with you as it will form the basis for a number of discussions while in the missionary Home. When you report in, you will be advised where you may obtain an inexpensive cover for your copy of the plan.

Praying the Lord to bless you as you prepare for your missionary labors, we are

Sincerely your brethren,

THE MISSIONARY COMMITTEE

By Ned Winder, Secretary (signed)

A UNIFORM SYSTEM FOR TEACHING INVESTIGATORS (August 1961)

TEACHING THE INVESTIGATOR- Our hope in teaching the Gospel is to convert people and baptize them. . . . (p.3)

FIRST DISCUSSION

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST

I. OUTLINE

B. Joseph Smith story [*]

A. Create need for prophet [*]

1. Nature of Godhead

2. Importance of Joseph Smith

C. Apostasy

1. Set up church (Eph. 2:19-20.)

2. Collapse church on flannel board

3. Compare churches

D. Baptismal date

E. Restoration

1. Divine messengers (Matt. 17:11-13.)

2. Total restoration

F. Secure commitments

1. Baptism

2. Study, pray, attend church

BASIC CONCLUSIONS*

1. We need a prophet today.

2. The Father and the Son have bodies.

3. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

4. The church must be the same as it

was at the time of the Savior.

5. Apostles and prophets are necessary in the

Church today.

6. The priesthood is necessary to act for God.

7. There is no priesthood today without

apostles.

8. I agree the Church must be like this today.

9. There was a complete apostasy and my church

is false.

10. I will be baptized as I come to believe the

restoration.

11. There was a complete restoration of the priesthood

and the true church.

12. I will study, pray, and attend church to

meet a specific baptismal date.

* Conclusions given in bold face at end of each section (p.9) [the bold/underline above is mine]

The following excerpts are from the Feb. 2006 Ensign in an article concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls (Latter-day Saints have sided with the wrong group):

There was great excitement when, in 1947, Bedouin shepherds discovered the first Dead Sea Scrolls preserved in large clay jars in Cave 1 at Qumran. Ten jars were ultimately found, but only two yielded documents. One contained three scrolls, . . .These three were later identified as a copy of the biblical book of Isaiah; a copy of the Rule of the Community, sometimes called the Manual of Discipline. . . and a commentary on the biblical book of Habakkuk.

Four additional scrolls were later found in the cave; . . .Hymn Scroll; a partially preserved copy of Isaiah; the War Scroll. . .and a collection of Genesis-type narratives called the Genisis Apocryphon. . . .

The idea of Restoration

Another reason for Latter-day Saint interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls community is the theme of apostasy and restoration found among both groups. The scrolls indicate that the Qumran sectarians regarded themselves as the true Israel surrounded by spiritual traitors and false brethren in a corrupt world. They possessed the true covenant that God had restored or renewed with them. They went off by themselves to establish the â??Community of the Renewed Covenantâ?. . . and to await the advent of two messiahs [*](a priestly Anointed One and a Davidic or political Anointed One) in desert country right next to a vast salt lake fed by a freshwater stream called the Jordan River. No wonder Latter-day Saints are interested in the documents of a people whose circumstances and geographical habitation parallel their own history. . . .

They continue to provide insights into the nature of the extinct community at Qumran. . . .However, with the exception of the copies of biblical books, there is no evidence to suggest the scrolls ought to be regarded in the same category as the standard works. . . .The scrolls have given to the world the oldest biblical manuscripts yet discovered, and they help us to understand the history of our modern version of the Bible.

Just a few of the objections we have with Mormonism in response to what objections they have with us. There is nothing unfair about that unless one distorts what the other side actually believes/teaches as compared to others.

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