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Bill Hamblin

My Assessment Of The Situation At The Maxwell Institute

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Some quick facts, in no particular order, addressing things mentioned above:

* I have some specific reasons to believe that those to whom I copied my response to Jerry Bradford were not the source of the leak.

* I have no reason to believe that any General Authority was involved in any way in the decision to terminate my editorship of the Review.

* Nobody at the Institute has been disciplined in any way for the leak.

* My travels were not financed by the Maxwell Institute. I was in Israel because a wealthy family hired me to take them there; they paid my expenses. I'm currently in Switzerland, entirely on my own dime. (And it's breathtakingly expensive.) I'm biding my time -- didn't want to undergo jet lag too many more times this summer -- until I'm scheduled to lecture on a cruise around the United Kingdom. The travel company will be paying for that. I'm trying to use my time here in the Alps (a place that I love, and where I served my mission) to get some work done. Unfortunately, I've been somewhat distracted of late.

* I knew that this would be a melancholy trip here, because the last two times I was in Switzerland and Austria, it was with my brother, to whom I introduced the place and who came to love it as I do. We were last here -- including the very same small chalet-hotel in Lauterbrunnen where I'm now typing -- in 2010, when we came over for the Passion Play in Oberammergau. My only sibling, my very close friend, and the last surviving member (besides me) of my nuclear family, he died suddenly at the end of March. I almost decided not to come here, thinking that the painful associations might be unbearable. They've been tough indeed, but this recent unpleasantness with the Institute has compounded the problem immeasurably.

* I don't intend to "go nuclear." I love the Church, the University, and the Institute.

* I'm not conscious of having done anything wrong.

* There are, as I see it, two main factors at play here: First is a genuine dislike for apologetics on the part of a relatively small group, including, to my very recent surprise, a minority faction within the Institute. Second is a serious misunderstanding, on the part of certain Institute and University administrators, of some of my actions, attitudes, and statements, which is very difficult to clear up from thousands of miles away.

* I'm still hoping for a resolution that will be satisfactory to all concerned. I'm an eternal optimist, though I admit that, in this case, things seem to be stacked against me.

* I really appreciate the expressions of support here. I've been receiving emails from many very kind people, and I know that some have written to or called the Maxwell Institute. I'm grateful for all of this. I hope that the messages to the Institute will have some impact.

With best wishes to everyone,

Dan Peterson

I have read your leaked letter, and you are a very different man in that letter than the man you portray yourself to be in this post.

Brother Pete.

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* I don't intend to "go nuclear." I love the Church, the University, and the Institute.

I understand, and can sympathize.

I, myself, was Navy; salt-water through and through (it still shows forth in my language and idioms in unguarded moments).

Though I and others I care about were treated shabbily on occasion, I could not and cannot bring myself to say anything truly harsh about the service, nor fail to champion it.

* There are, as I see it, two main factors at play here: First is a genuine dislike for apologetics on the part of a relatively small group, including, to my very recent surprise, a minority faction within the Institute. Second is a serious misunderstanding, on the part of certain Institute and University administrators, of some of my actions, attitudes, and statements, which is very difficult to clear up from thousands of miles away.

* I'm still hoping for a resolution that will be satisfactory to all concerned. I'm an eternal optimist, though I admit that, in this case, things seem to be stacked against me.

* I really appreciate the expressions of support here. I've been receiving emails from many very kind people, and I know that some have written to or called the Maxwell Institute. I'm grateful for all of this. I hope that the messages to the Institute will have some impact.

Glad to here from you, Herr Doktor.

I hope your remaining time in Switzerland brings you the peace and clarity you need, and again- my condolences on your loss.

I will keep you and the current situation in my prayers.

If you have need of anything...

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I have read your leaked letter, and you are a very different man in that letter than the man you portray yourself to be in this post.

Brother Pete.

Alleged letter.

Unless and until the Professor takes credit/responsibility for the letter as posted...you simply don't know (and neither do I).

There is, after all, a very good reason that police (and others) are so careful with the chain of custody regarding evidence.

"Integrity" and "restraint" are not virtues which one normally associates with Dan's critics at the Shady Rest- and it's not as though they are above "piling on" to someone they think is vulnerable.

Lastly, even assuming that the purported letter is Peterson's response- I think we can forgive him for being just the teensiest bit outraged at such shabby and unprofessional treatment.

Edited by selek1

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Alleged letter.

Unless and until the Professor takes credit/responsibility for the letter as posted...you simply don't know (and neither do I).

There is, after all, a very good reason that police (and others) are so careful with the chain of custody regarding evidence.

"Integrity" and "restraint" are not virtues which one normally associates with Dan's critics at the Shady Rest- and it's not as though they are above "piling on" to someone they think is vulnerable.

Lastly, even assuming that the purported letter is Peterson's response- I think we can forgive him for being just the teensiest bit outraged at such shabby and unprofessional treatment.

I don't know what Shady Rest is - I was fowarded the letter by a trusted colleague. It seems that Bill Hamblin has validated the authenticity of this alleged letter. But if it is not a real letter (and given the source I have no doubt of it's authenticity), then it's only alleged 'shabby and unprofessional treatment'.

Brother Pete.

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Let's not forget another player in this whole mess--John Dehlin of Mormon Stories, who I'm sure has well-placed informants all over. He has initiated a campaign to try and force the Church to change from the inside, and has recruitied several highly influential people (such as Joanna Brooks) advocate for him with the media. He says that he no longer believes in the Church and its teachings, yet remains a member so as to retain credibility in his mission of infiltration and mass apostasy from within. Will someone please excommunicate him already?

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It seems that Bill Hamblin has validated the authenticity of this alleged letter.

If so, I do hope you'll show me where this validation occured- because I haven't seen anything in this thread to that effect.

Otherwise- not to put too fine a point on it- I don't know you from Adam, and have no reason to trust your word on the matter.

I do know and respect both Hamblin and Peterson.

But if it is not a real letter (and given the source I have no doubt of it's authenticity), then it's only alleged 'shabby and unprofessional treatment'.

If you can tell me how firing someone by e-mail when they're on company business a half-a-world a way is NOT shabby and unprofessional, I'll make you a batch of either my famous peanut brittle, my butter toffee, or a homemade cheescake.

Others here can attest that it's worth the effort involved.

Edited by selek1

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post removed

When two posters square off, they or their posts-- or both, will be removed. This thread is too active to accommodate personal brawls.

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Bill,

Thanks for the info. If MI wishes to go in a different direction, then perhaps Dan and other scholars should do so, too. The great fundraiser for MI has been Dan. What if Dan were to use his power and influence to send the money to FAIR, and we turn FAIR into the FARMS of yesteryear? With enough funds, FAIR could publish quality scholar journals.

Daniel Peterson is a big personality, is true. But most organizations have a few big personalities that steer the ship, bring attention to it, and make it better. Nibley was a big personality in his time. Brigham Young and Bruce R. McConkie were also. While we may not agree with everything they did or said, they made a big impact on the Church and its members, most of it for good. It is sad when today's members attack Elder McConkie or President Young for the handful of things they did wrong, while ignoring the hundreds of things they did and said that were right.

We have people doing the same thing with Daniel Peterson (and Bill Hamblin). These two have moved the Church forward. I greatly appreciated a few years ago, when they put podcasts of their popular religion course on Ascensions online for free download. Can we say the same thing of others at BYU (Bradford, I'm looking at you!). It isn't all about apologetics, but apologetics must be an important part of the package.

The problem with many LDS, is they don't realize that FARMS' publications did have many apologetic articles, but many that weren't apologetic also. There can be a balance. Sadly, it seems that BYU today seems to be going downhill. First there is a religion professor who tells the media that we believe in the curse of Cain, and now this.

Personally, I think my tithing money could be better spent elsewhere than BYU and MI right now.

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At least Dan now knows who the informant is. On the other board, someone is always posting threads about Dan by using information from a secret informant at MI. At least we now know that this informant had an axe to grind against Dan because of a different vision for the Review.

The bigger question is: has the Review been unended by an informant who was feeding an exmormon board with information about Dan?

This raises an interesting question. Why would the Institute at all condone, in any manner, someone who sympathizes with enemies of the Church, while marginalizing faithful defenders of the Church? That's particularly troubling.

The irony in all this is that someone who has gained control of an organization named after Neil Maxwell is taking it in a direction Maxwell would be (and probably is) disturbed by. I think Dan's recent article about wolves in the flock was particularly appropriate.

Edited by jwhitlock

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Apologetics plays an important role in the discourse about our faith. Apologetics serves primarily as a response to polemics. These issues almost always come at the cracks, at the edges - they show up where we have contradictions and inconsistencies in our doctrine and in our narratives. Apologetics plays an important fundamental role in understanding theology and doctrine.

Much of our scholarship that isn't particularly apologetic in nature or directly polemical is driven by polemics and apologetics. Trying to remove apologetics from the discourse won't help the scholarship, or make it particularly more palatable to non-LDS. Instead, it will have a rather chilling affect on the scholarly publications of the institutions attempting to censor that apologetic agenda.

Perhaps it is this investigation into controversial issues, where things are rarely black and white that bothers some members of the church. It forces us to recognize sometimes unpleasant realities. This conflict doesn't create chaos, it creates growth. And I have seen and communicated with many, many LDS members who came away from their encounter with apologetic material with stronger faith and a better understanding of the gospel. Stability rarely makes for good religion.

I think that if the NAMI decides to forgo apologetics as part of its lineup, they will also lose a great deal of scholarly contributions as well - and it will be to their detriment. Eventually their publications simply won't have the draw and appeal to the Mormon community (let alone any non-Mormon community) to play much of a role. The idea that apologetics needs to go away is simply ludicrous. The critics won't go away. And we sometimes tend to forget that the most remembered texts produced by the early church (apart from the canon) are the texts of the apologists. And, as R. C. Sproul notably said (quoting 1 Peter 3:15):

"The defense of the faith is not a luxury or intellectual vanity. It is a task appointed by God that you should be able to give a reason for the hope that is in you as you bear witness before the world."

Ben McGuire

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This is too bad for Dan. However, I'm excited about the new direction the institute will take.I think fair should do the apologetic stuff and the Maxwell institute should focus more on scholarly pursuits.

I am not so excited. There are plenty of secular places that are doing this already, I myself like academia.edu.

It seems that the MI in pursuing this direction is getting into an area of more competition and at the same time diminishing their donating pool.

Edited by Jeff Holt

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Back in 1974 in Colne, England, a companion and I had just showed a film strip of Meet the Mormons to a hostile audience of Middle School students who were obviously passing around anti-Mormon pamphlets. I soon found that while I had been attending LDS activies all my life, including periods where up to 15 hours a week were spent in LDS sponsored activies, that I had not been fully prepared. The experience did not affect my testimony. I'd acquired that on my own reading of the Book of Mormon. It did cause me to realize that I could not count on the institutional arms of the Church to prepare me for everything I might encounter. The price of quarentine is natural vulnerability. The scriptures do say, "Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." They do not say, "Blessed are they who sit like lumps, for they shall be spoonfed, and never caught off guard, and never, ever disappointed by anyone." Whenever I ran across something I did not expect, I learned to look for motes my own eyes, and to consider, What should I expect?

Around a year later, a church member shared Nibley's An Approach to the Book of Mormon. When I got home, I began tracking all things Nibley that I could find, which was harder in those days. When I started going through the back issues of the Improvement Era and Ensign that we had in the basement, it came as an enlightening shock to see how much good stuff had come into the house that I had never thought about, never given so much as a glance. I could walk through Deseret book and come away with Brooks on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Taylor on post Manifesto Polygamy, and Backman on the First Vision, and many other important texts. This clear evidence of my personal irresponsiblility remains one of the reasons why I've never succumbed to the Victimhood model so popular at Mormon Stories. Good stuff was there for the asking, sitting around waiting to be picked up. Once I got personally interested in the treasures, the hunt was both exciting and continually rewarding. While locating all the issues with the Abraham materials, I noticed Richard L. Anderson's series on the Witnesses, and Allen's 1970 article on the First Vision accounts. While tracking down Nibley's essay's in Dialogue and BYU Studies, I ran across other important materials. While reading such things, I came across references to other authors and articles, in and out of the church that I found helpful. I gathered up Mormon Miscellaneous Materials, and Eugene Seaich's books. I started reading Sunstone. The lesson was that while the institutional materials had limits, the membership, the assembly of Saints who are in my conception, the real Church itself, there were bright scholars who were exploring and wrestling with the difficult questions and were quite eager to share everything they found. I'd just about exhausted all of the library stacks, and used books stores, when FARMS started up. That was heady and exciting, initially dominated by Nibley, but a trickle, then a stream of other contributors started in. With the founding of the Review, and Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, access to the good stuff became easy and wonderful and the range of expertise and insight became thrilling to behold. I'm most grateful to see that both the quality and quantify of the Good stuff has multiplied exponentially over the years. While I had to resort to leg work in the 1970s, it's also true that I could resort to leg work because I lived near Salt Lake City. Now, anyone with a computer and an interest can easily find far more helpful information and enlightening perspectives on thousands of LDS issues. I started exploring by a stream in a desert, and followed it to rivers, and seas.

I've got every issue of the Review, and every issue of the Journal, and many books and articles published by FARMS. Even though I've been published a dozen times, it was never as an organizational insider, but a reader sending offerings from a distance. I've been grateful for the knowledge and light that has come through the institute. I've occasionally read something in an article in the Review that I have disagreed with, but as I have read every article, I've always had the perspective to distinguish the typical from the exception, the individual voice from the range of diverse voices.

But rivers change the landscape that they nurture and are subject to other natural forces as well. All things flow, and the river is never the same river twice, as the Greek says.

I thank Dr. Peterson for changing the landscape, and nurturing faith while doing so. If the river flows differently, I trust it will still flow, and where it flows, as I learned as child, the grass grows greener still.

I don't expect those critical of apologetics will ever realize that freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom from speech. Publishing only that which pleases the critics is a simple matter of deferring to them in all things, and letting them define the methods, problem field, standards of solution, and letting them decide which examples we notice and value and generalize from. Just how well that nurtures faith in a hostile environment is not difficult to imagine. I only have to think back on how well prepared I was to face a bunch of middle school students whose first knowledge of Mormonism was provided not by two missionaries, but by hostile critics. Surrender and assimilation is one road to peace, if it is a price one is willing to pay. We can avoid controversy by trusting our case to the objectivity of the prosecution.

Pure knowledge, we are told, greatly enlarges the soul. If we ever feel our souls contracting towards anyone else, I believe it a sure indication that the knowledge involved is not pure. I hope the Institute can still provide important light and knowledge. I still intend to seek light and knowledge where ever it can be found, to seek the best books, where ever they are.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

PIttsburgh, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen

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I don't know the ins and outs of how FARMS operates or was operated, nor do I much care, but I very much support Dan Petersen's vision for it as seen in his writings and think that FAIR can't replace FARMS, only complement it. If there really is a move away from apologetic content at the Maxwell Institute, which everybody seems to agree right now, its a bad mistake.

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For the record, I did write the response that has been leaked. At least, I assume that what has been leaked accurately represents what I wrote from Jerusalem. I haven't really checked to see.

Another thing I meant to mention: My Malevolent Stalker, who apparently broke this story, has usually been spectacularly wrong in his "intel." Some of it has been outright laughable. I think he has varying sources. One of them, I happen to know (though I don't know who s/he is), has been planting false but delicious stories with the Stalker, of the kind that the Stalker is known to love. He wolfs them down ravenously. This story, though, is more or less accurate -- though the spin that's being put upon it ranges from in the ballpark to completely absurd.

Is this something the BYU Board of Directors might get involved in?

Maybe. I don't know. I don't like being a rabble-rouser and I don't like pestering the Brethren. They have plenty on their plate. It may rise to that level, I suppose, but I'm not lodging an appeal with them.

I have read your leaked letter, and you are a very different man in that letter than the man you portray yourself to be in this post.

I'm the same man in both. Perhaps you don't know me as well as you imagine.

I'm betting, since you lack the context to properly understand what I wrote, that you're misunderstanding the letter. You're not alone in that; others have, as well. It was written to someone who knew the context precisely; it wasn't intended for message boards.

.

Edited by Daniel Peterson

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Being an "apostate", I just wanted to express my dismay at this whole situation. This is a horrible move by the Maxwell Institute, and anyone that sanctioned this firing should have their heads examined.

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Another thing I meant to mention: My Malevolent Stalker, who apparently broke this story, has usually been spectacularly wrong in his "intel." Some of it has been outright laughable. I think he has varying sources. One of them, I happen to know (though I don't know who s/he is), has been planting false but delicious stories with the Stalker, of the kind that the Stalker is known to love. He wolfs them down ravenously.

Which makes it all the more comical to see his cohorts now acting as though he has "always been right". :lol:

I don't like being a rabble-rouser and I don't like pestering the Brethren. They have plenty on their plate. It may rise to that level, I suppose, but I'm not lodging an appeal with them.

This is something that should rise to the level of their consideration. In fact, I feel confident that this issue is being discussed in this morning's weekly meeting, and I hope to hear, sooner or later, that this horrendous decision has been reversed, and that those who are attempting to silence LDS apologetics will be thwarted in their undertaking, and finally recognized for who and what they really are.

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My thoughts:

I think the way some of this has been handled was unfortunate. I do sincerely wish Dan Peterson the best in his life, and in his pursuits.

However, I see Bradford's desires and intents for the MI, as I've seen them expressed, to be a good ones. The inherent problem with much of the MI/FARMS apologetics is that generally a particular view, or interpretation, or ideology is what is being defended, not simply THE CHURCH, or even its core doctrines and principles. This does lead to alienation of those who do have a desire to see the Church defended, but not differing traditional interprative wings thereof.

I think the absolute best thing being done and the example to set is the work being done by the Church Historian's Press - amazing, groundbreaking documentary editing and textual/contextual notes without being defensive, or trying to justify anything. This is how things are, let the cards be laid out.

The same problem with FARM/MI apologetics was very much the same as was presented in CES course materials - one very specific way of understanding Mormonism and its scriptures was being promulgated and defended, while other very valid and allowable-by-the-current-revelations-and-leadership views we, by omission, marginalized.

I've been a subscriber to MI publications, and have let my subscription to most of them lapse, mainly because of frustration with declarations as fact elements that are not necessary aspects of Mormonism guiding and permeating several of the papers, and their conclusions. (The second issue of Studies of the Bible and Antiquity greatly turned me off of this publication for these very reasons, which I was otherwise quite excited to see begin.)

I think by the way the Church has been handling its newest curriculum (such as the latest Gospel Principles revision), we are seeing an attempt to weed out former speculative assumptions and expositions that had become dogmatic. There's a lot of weeds.

What's fascinating is that the latest Gospel Principles did not narrow the breadth of official interpretive possibilities, but rather quite fascinatingly and subtly widened it.

I feel a continued emphases for the MI on pumping out documents, history, and critiquing history on a scholastic (not dogmatic) level will do far more for the Church in the long run. This way, they will presenting what we know, not just theories and defenses that will need to be disavowed or stepped away from when further information comes to light.

The openness of the Church will be far more faith promoting and confidence-building than constant attempts at damage control of things that, it turns out, don't often really need to, or should be, defended.

The Joseph Smith Papers and the current Church History Department is doing it right. It would be great to see the MI publications continue in the future to follow in this example.

Edited by David T

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No I am not! :-P

Mike! I read your news on the other board--I'm really happy for you. I hope all is going well for you in your pursuits.

Thanks Mods for letting Bill fill us in on this--like Scott I've been looking for information on the web for days.

Thanks Dr. P for checking in to tell us what's going on with you. I'm sorry about this but I'm not surprised. All through the church's history faithful members have had differing views on how to 'defend the faith'--so this is not new.

I can see that your style of defense concerns some but I hope they think carefully about their decision. It is clear that the most vocal detractors HATED you and that tells me you were effective in your tactics. I hope those in power at MI will acknowledge this and be careful that they do not totally remove the 'teeth' from their organization.

From what I saw it seems clear there is a person within MI who put exposing you to ridicule over their loyalty to the organization. I hope Bradford will take this leak seriously. While the leaker did it to spite and ridicule you, they also hurt Bradford. I hope he realizes this and pursues the leak until it is found and removed. Someone who would jeopardize the company to pursue their own vendetta is not someone you want around.

Last, Bradford's actions were spinless! I hope he gets called on the carpet by his superiors for EMAILING you while on VACATION to fire you from a position you held for two decades. I would have expected better from the MI and I'm ashamed of their actions. They have the right to change directions but they still should treat people with respect and courtesy and that was not done, in this instance.

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Kevin Christensen, thanks for posting that. I could relate to a lot of what you said. I too found Hugh Nibley when I was first introduced to Anti-mormon materials, He's still my all time favorite apologist. When I had questions about the faith I was lucky enough to have a father who had a huge library of LDS books and in combination with the scriptures, prayer and pondering, I was able to find insights and answers to my questions. I hope the church will recognize that apologetics serves a purpose and apologists like Dr. Peterson serve a purpose as well.

I support the Quorum of the 12 and the Prophet and trust they pray for guidance in how to run the church and it's affilliated organizations such as BYU and MI. I hope they will make sure that decisions at MI are in the best interests in promoting the four fold mission of the church.

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My thoughts:

I think the way some of this has been handled was unfortunate. I do sincerely wish Dan Peterson the best in his life, and in his pursuits.

However, I see Bradford's desires and intents for the MI, as I've seen them expressed, to be a good ones. The inherent problem with much of the MI/FARMS apologetics is that generally a particular view, or interpretation, or ideology is what is being defended, not simply THE CHURCH, or even its core doctrines and principles. This does lead to alienation of those who do have a desire to see the Church defended, but not differing traditional interprative wings thereof.

I think the absolute best thing being done and the example to set is the work being done by the Church Historian's Press - amazing, groundbreaking documentary editing and textual/contextual notes without being defensive, or trying to justify anything. This is how things are, let the cards be laid out.

The same problem with FARM/MI apologetics was very much the same as was presented in CES course materials - one very specific way of understanding Mormonism and its scriptures was being promulgated and defended, while other very valid and allowable-by-the-current-revelations-and-leadership views we, by omission, marginalized.

I've been a subscriber to MI publications, and have let my subscription to most of them lapse, mainly because of frustration with declarations as fact elements that are not necessary aspects of Mormonism guiding and permeating several of the papers, and their conclusions. (The second issue of Studies of the Bible and Antiquity greatly turned me off of this publication for these very reasons, which I was otherwise quite excited to see begin.)

I think by the way the Church has been handling its newest curriculum (such as the latest Gospel Principles revision), we are seeing an attempt to weed out former speculative assumptions and expositions that had become dogmatic. There's a lot of weeds.

What's fascinating is that the latest Gospel Principles did not narrow the breadth of official interpretive possibilities, but rather quite fascinatingly and subtly widened it.

I feel a continued emphases for the MI on pumping out documents, history, and critiquing history on a scholastic (not dogmatic) level will do far more for the Church in the long run. This way, they will presenting what we know, not just theories and defenses that will need to be disavowed or stepped away from when further information comes to light.

The openness of the Church will be far more faith promoting and confidence-building than constant attempts at damage control of things that, it turns out, don't often really need to, or should be, defended.

The Joseph Smith Papers and the current Church History Department is doing it right. It would be great to see the MI publications continue in the future to follow in this example.

David T, that is a very insightful view of the big picture. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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that those who are attempting to silence LDS apologetics will be thwarted in their undertaking, and finally recognized for who and what they really are.

This kind of hyperbole is probably part of the reason the hammer has come down.

And what are they "really?" "They" are just BYU administrators.

"Silence?" Really now.

I can see BYU's point. It isn't going to sponsor a publication where all sorts of non-academic hacks (yours truly, included) can publish venting rants. It wants to limit its imprimatur to scholarly journals.

Now, my personal view is that there is no room for another scholarly journal at BYU of a Mormon Studies variety, given BYU Studies' role, and that FARMS Review will fade away. FAIR will become the outlet for people like you and maybe me to vent hyperbole. But the body of work that is FARMS Review is still there for all to have and read. Hopefully BYU will keep it up on the internet, but I predict that that support will vanish.

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My thoughts:

I think the way some of this has been handled was unfortunate. I do sincerely wish Dan Peterson the best in his life, and in his pursuits.

However, I see Bradford's desires and intents for the MI, as I've seen them expressed, to be a good ones. The inherent problem with much of the MI/FARMS apologetics is that generally a particular view, or interpretation, or ideology is what is being defended, not simply THE CHURCH, or even its core doctrines and principles. This does lead to alienation of those who do have a desire to see the Church defended, but not differing traditional interprative wings thereof.

I think the absolute best thing being done and the example to set is the work being done by the Church Historian's Press - amazing, groundbreaking documentary editing and textual/contextual notes without being defensive, or trying to justify anything. This is how things are, let the cards be laid out.

The same problem with FARM/MI apologetics was very much the same as was presented in CES course materials - one very specific way of understanding Mormonism and its scriptures was being promulgated and defended, while other very valid and allowable-by-the-current-revelations-and-leadership views we, by omission, marginalized.

I've been a subscriber to MI publications, and have let my subscription to most of them lapse, mainly because of frustration with declarations as fact elements that are not necessary aspects of Mormonism guiding and permeating several of the papers, and their conclusions. (The second issue of Studies of the Bible and Antiquity greatly turned me off of this publication for these very reasons, which I was otherwise quite excited to see begin.)

I think by the way the Church has been handling its newest curriculum (such as the latest Gospel Principles revision), we are seeing an attempt to weed out former speculative assumptions and expositions that had become dogmatic. There's a lot of weeds.

What's fascinating is that the latest Gospel Principles did not narrow the breadth of official interpretive possibilities, but rather quite fascinatingly and subtly widened it.

I feel a continued emphases for the MI on pumping out documents, history, and critiquing history on a scholastic (not dogmatic) level will do far more for the Church in the long run. This way, they will presenting what we know, not just theories and defenses that will need to be disavowed or stepped away from when further information comes to light.

The openness of the Church will be far more faith promoting and confidence-building than constant attempts at damage control of things that, it turns out, don't often really need to, or should be, defended.

The Joseph Smith Papers and the current Church History Department is doing it right. It would be great to see the MI publications continue in the future to follow in this example.

I think its ironic that you would advance an argument for more diversity and less dogmatism as reasons for eliminating FARMS distinctive voice and making it more like BYU Studies, the Church History Department, and hundreds of academic journals elsewhere.

IMHO, suppressing the more rambunctious or combative elements on one's own side of a dialogue or discussion is a form of preemptive surrender. You gain respect, you lose the arguments. That which is not defended will be assumed to be indefensible.

Edited by mrmandias

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With best wishes to everyone,

Dan Peterson

Best wishes to you too. I hope that you will recover from the underhanded blow that you received. I would try to put a positive spin on it all. As I said on this thread, you will have more time with your family or more time to enjoy the other things that you enjoy. I have appreciated your presence on this board and I have appreciated all the work that you have done for apologetics. You have done wonderful work defending the church.

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One last thought: if I know how institutions work, Hamblin's and especially Petersen's posting here was probably a mistake. Injustice being what it is, it will be seen as equivalent offenses that excuse or even justify any leaks to anti-Mormons or skeezy email firings and lawsuit threats.

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It is never a mistake to defend something that one loves. It would be a mistake not to.

Edited by why me

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