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Midgley'S "Defending The King And His Kingdom"

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http://www.mormonint...nd-his-kingdom/

There was a discussion elsewhere about thoughts regarding this article. I enjoyed reading it but realized I could not agree with every thought he had. While I note where I disagree below, know that in general I liked the article and found it a smooth read.

My first disagreement with this article comes when he says referring to the goals of these podcast in casting dispersions on Mormonism’s foundational claims and it's effect on it's listeners and readers

thereby offering reasons for their not remaining faithful to their covenants with God.

He seems to be assuming the struggler first wants to sin and then looks for a reason to justify the sinning. For many that is true. But that is a broad brush to paint with when another group is the other way around and taking offense at this.

recent exemplars of such a stance, have identified himself as such. With some now boasting that they see no reason for faith in God or little reason for believing that there even was a Jesus of Nazareth, it seems odd to me that one so clearly against the doctrine of Christ would not be proud to carry the label anti-Mormon as the badge of their new aggressive unfaith. By the same token, why would an inveterate critic of the Church of Jesus Christ not insist on being known as anti-Mormon, unless he is covertly trying to spread his ideology among the community of Saints?

I agree with him here. That essentially there are folks who want to remain LDS while trying to disparage the foundational claims of the church. ex: No plates, no first vision, no historical Book of Mormon, no prophets as we define them. You can't have one foot in each part of this dichotomy. I agree that we teach a very simple approach to the church's history within the Church and that we could do a better job, but that does not give permission to destroy the whole foundation. It is one thing to be a voice for appropriate subtle changes, another thing to turn the faith upside down. If one wants to claim membership in the LDS church one must find a way to reconcile with the foundational claims and also not work to cause others to disbelieve them as well. On the other hand when one finds themselves in a stage of doubt one must be permitted time to reconcile this, and must not be cast aside as they do so.

Suffice it to say I agree with him throughout the article when he says to be a member and to proclaim that Christ was not divine or did not exist is troublesome. It is to me as well. Where we seem to differ is on approach, he seems focused on protecting the believers wher I am more focused on trying to encourage the doubter to return.

He seems to misuse the word cultural Mormon throughout the article as I have come to understand the use.

his paper is directed at New Order Mormons but he uses the phrase cultural Mormon incorrectly in their place. The way I see the definition for these two groups is as follows

New Order Mormon = someone whose discoveries of Church history, theology, or the conflict between one's own and the church's stance on social issues dramatically change their framework and expectations. They found the church to not meet what they expected and thereby change their framework to better suit their new reality.

Cultural Mormon = one who does not care and simply participates in the church because it is socially beneficial to them. This group is not interested in the doctrine or history per say

One is trying to make the church fit their faith/intellect, while the other could care less about the details

later on in stating that this dissenters have no right in defining the mystery religions he says

the whole point of mystery religions is that they’re secret! So I think it’s crazy to build on ignorance in order to make a claim like this. I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it’s silly to talk about him not existing.

but apologists also go beyond the facts and evidence in surmising exactly what was going on with polyandry or treasure digging. I have no problem with them formulating those conclusions and agree on many of them but then don't disparage others for doing the same thing. I don't see the difference.

His biggest mistake in my perception is in saying

since most of the Saints who go missing do so for other than genuinely intellectual reasons. Their stereotyped exit-stories indicate that they look for intellectual support for their rejection of their faith only after they have made the decision not to be faithful to their covenants. However, those who, for whatever reason, have turned Joseph Smith into a liar and/or lunatic, and the Book of Mormon into a tale fabricated from ideas floating around his immediate environment, also seem to be tempted to see the accounts of Jesus in a somewhat similar light.

Again he seems to have it backward. Now to be honest, the majority of LDS who leave activity likely do leave the church because they simply are not interested in it nor care to practice it. But that is not, who this article is geared to. This intended group does not fit his statement. I do not believe, as most of you have stated, that this group decides first they want to sin (not keep covenants), then looks for the justifying reasons. It is an atrocity to say as much and is not in the spirit of what I have heard from the top down.

ex: Marlin Jensen stating "So, if that environment can be created, and it should be, but often in the church, when someone comes with a bit of a prickly question, he'll be met with a bishop who number one, doesn't know the answer. Number two, he snaps and says, 'Get in line and don't question the prophet, and get back and do your home teaching.' And that isn't helpful in most cases. So, we need to educate our leaders better, I think, to be sympathetic and empathetic and to draw out of these people where they are coming from and what's brought them to the point they are at. What they have read, what they are thinking is, and try to understand them. Sometimes that alone is enough to help someone through a hard time. But beyond that, I think we really need to figure out a way to live a little bit with people who may never get completely settled."

these two quotes above seem to me as opposites.

Bro. Midgley states as his reason for engaging in apologetics such as this article

Had I not, I reasoned, made a covenant to consecrate my efforts to sustain the Kingdom and hence also defend the King?

but that alone is not justification, if one does not use a method approved by Christ, is not one then overzealous? Just because one motives are from scripture does not make ones methods sanctioned. KKK also feel their motives are the same "to defend the king and kingdom", yet their methods are appalling.

he states -

Something like this can be seen among cultural Mormons on various blogs, boards, and lists, or set out in podcasts in which disdain is expressed for embarrassing parochial concerns like testifying to or defending the faith of the Saints.

Again, I agree. I was once told that the evidence or likelihood for the church being what it claims is similar to the evidence or likelihood of a "flying spaghetti monster". apples and oranges. This comparison is far from fair and does an injustice the actual claims of the faith. I truly believe the evidence is strong enough to come to either conclusion where there is no, absolutely none of the flying spaghetti monster and so LDS apologist have a right to present their argument and evidence and I think it is a relatively strong argument acknowledging all arguments within the realm of faith are lacking.

One of the most beautiful things in this article is this

this was profound

The Saints face doubts along their faith journey. The reason is that the choice to put our full trust in God and become His loving, faithfully obedient servants, and thereby enter into a world in which divine things are present in what otherwise is a world barren of ultimate meaning, necessarily comes before we have much understanding of either the natural world or solid grasp of the history of human things. So we all can expect to face a crisis of faith. A crisis is, of course, a turning point when a decision is made for better or worse–that is, the point at which one affirms whether they will go onward or turn away. The fact is that we all face many such choices. It is often, however, such a crisis that brings people to genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Be that as it may, such decisions are essentially moral and not merely intellectual. They are never fully informed choices. God is not testing our intellect, and He is not on trial, which is our lot in life. The Lord does not force us to enter His Kingdom, but he invites us to come willingly to feast at his table and thereby nurture the seed of faith. We are here on probation and hence are both being tested and, if we are willing, taught line upon line.

Midgley follows by saying

We must remain true and faithful to be cleansed, purified, purged and eventually sanctified through what our scriptures call the baptism of fire (or of the Holy Spirit). For this to happen we must be genuine Saints and not merely cultural Mormons.

This quote is true if he intended the meaning cultural Mormon I defined above and is using saint to describe anyone who is trying to live as God has asked them. If he is using it in describing new order mormons versus faithful LDS, I would part ways. I think God is working on sanctifying all of his children, and many of the NOM's have had to deal with difficult trials and adversity. To assume that they are not being sanctified, or purified, or cleansed on their path whatsoever places good Mormons above the rest of the world and God will resuce more then .1% of his children.

I conclude by saying that all anyone can do is hope in the gospel and seek out truth. If one's honest pursuit of truth leaves them unable to fully hold onto the restored gospel then let's find ways to help, lift, and encourage. Not disparage. That said, I also think there is merit in asking those who deny Christ and disparage his Church to quit and repent but we must do so in love and not with any other purpose.

Other then the couple red flags I pointed out I agreed with the majority of the article and could feel Bro. Midgley's passion for the topic

Edited by DBMormon

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Again he seems to have it backward. Now to be honest, the majority of LDS who leave activity likely do leave the church because they simply are not interested in it nor care to practice it. But that is not, who this article is geared to. This intended group does not fit his statement. I do not believe, as most of you have stated, that this group decides first they want to sin (not keep covenants), then looks for the justifying reasons. It is an atrocity to say as much and is not in the spirit of what I have heard from the top down.

Belief is a choice, and you cannot and will not be forced to believe in something against your will. Those who choose to believe the Church is in error do so of their own free will, and find support for their choice. Those who choose to believe the Church is correct do so of their own free will, and find support for their choice.

There has never been nor ever will there be someone who cannot believe in the Church, there are simply those who do and do not choose to believe. Although I would probably not phrase it exactly as you or Louis Midgley have, I believe in essence he is correct. Those who choose not to believe in the Church do so of their own free will (for whatever reasons they may have), and believe their reasons are justified or continue to search for reasons until they do. But they could have made a different choice....

-guerreiro9

Edited by guerreiro9

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Hmmmm....which of these things is not like the others?

Such a venue eventually came on the scene in 1989 when Professor Daniel C. Peterson launched a publication dedicated to, among other things, defending the Book of Mormon. Beginning twenty-three years ago, I found an enchanted means of spending whatever intellectual gifts I might have defending the faith of the Saints. Be that as it may, Professor Peterson’s earlier seemingly offbeat publishing adventure15  immediately became the primary venue for solid Latter-day Saint scholarship defending the Book of Mormon, and it soon morphed into a venue for those willing and able to defend the Church of Jesus Christ.

Latter-day Saints have, of course, responded to attacks on the faith and the Saints. The following are some examples of this literature:

  • seriously flawed accounts of the crucial generative events upon which the faith of the Saints must necessarily rest,16
  • some very bad science used to defend the Book of Mormon,17
  • two recent efforts to revive versions of long-moribund explanations of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.18
  • flawed science to attack the Book of Mormon,19
  • [Page 139]other efforts to explain away the Book of Mormon,20
  • a noxious and bizarre claim from one presumably an “insider” that Joseph Smith was a fraud.21

Answer: footnote 17 refers to Ron Meldrum, a faithful LDS who promotes a North-American based geography for the Book of Mormon that is popular among many members of the Church.

"Bad science" or not, including Meldrum on a list of "attacks on the faith and the Saints" is absurd, and the editors of "The Interpreter" should be embarrassed to have such a charge appear on their site.

Edited by cinepro

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Cinepro, that true.

If I found myself as one of the subjects to their responses to attacks on the church when I simply disagree with an assumption that is not doctrine and in an area where I am allowed to have a different opinion and not be apostate in any way, yeah I would be ticked and I think most would agree that iss not a good call.

not sure why they chose to include that.... certainly gives the impression like anyone who disagrees is the enemy.

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Cinepro, that true.

If I found myself as one of the subjects to their responses to attacks on the church when I simply disagree with an assumption that is not doctrine and in an area where I am allowed to have a different opinion and not be apostate in any way, yeah I would be ticked and I think most would agree that iss not a good call.

not sure why they chose to include that.... certainly gives the impression like anyone who disagrees is the enemy.

The problem with such bad science is that it gives aid and comfort to the enemy by providing him with a further means to attack the faith of individuals who may have been taken in by the bad science.

The fact that the career and perennial anti-Mormons gleefully seized upon Meldrum as a favorite poster child in their campaign of vilification against prominent defenders of the faith should give any believer pause.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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Do you feel comfortable, working within the religious perspective and not the sciences, writing papers on criticizing members for holding a personal view that they are permitted to hold that is outside the bounds of what the church dictates?

seems iffy at best

So at least when you do it, do so not in a way that implies this member is a problem or feels criticized for a view he is allowed to hold.

Will NAMI be addressing my view on grace next

Edited by DBMormon

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The problem with such bad science is that it gives aid and comfort to the enemy by providing him with a further means to attack the faith of individuals who may have been taken in by the bad science.

The fact that the career and perennial anti-Mormons gleefully seized upon Meldrum as a favorite poster child in their campaign of vilification against prominent defenders of the faith should give any believer pause.

And yet we still have at least one apostle who mocked the Big Bank Theory in conference, and subcribes to the idea that Adam and Eve were created without blood in their veins. And this is the apostles that's a heart surgeon!

So while I admire your devotion to "good science", I'm not sure an LDS leader or member teaching something that is viewed as "bad science" by the anti-Mormons is viewed as a bad thing by LDS leaders and members in general. Some might even think it's a good thing.

Edited by cinepro

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Hmmmm....which of these things is not like the others?

Answer: footnote 17 refers to Ron Meldrum, a faithful LDS who promotes a North-American based geography for the Book of Mormon that is popular among many members of the Church.

Are Meldrum and his presentations/DVDs still "popular among many members of the Church?" My sense is that it was a flash in the pan, and the fuel is spent.

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And yet we still have at least one apostle who mocked the Big Bank Theory in conference, ...

As I understand it, a theory is, by definition, unproven. Which makes it open to question. And who better qualified to do that than a heart surgeon, who by his very profession, must be better educated than the average person in science.

... and subcribes to the idea that Adam and Eve were created without blood in their veins. And this is the apostles that's a heart surgeon!

That is a matter of theology. As are a host of other things pertaining to faith, such as the parting of the Red Sea, the resurrection of the dead, among others. Are you asserting that a person of faith cannot be a scientist or educated in science?

So while I admire your devotion to "good science", I'm not sure an LDS leader or member teaching something that is viewed as "bad science" by the anti-Mormons is viewed as a bad thing by LDS leaders and members in general. Some might even think it's a good thing.

The problem with Meldrum's theories is that they would make the Book of Mormon internally inconsistent. Which makes it vulnerable to the attacks from detractors and adversaries.

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Are Meldrum and his presentations/DVDs still "popular among many members of the Church?" My sense is that it was a flash in the pan, and the fuel is spent.

An interesting development if that's the case. Can you elaborate?

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An interesting development if that's the case. Can you elaborate?

Just my own finger on the pulse, and my own ear to the rail. Within my circles and my sphere, I have seen Meldrum-mania completely die down. Does he still do tours and presentations? I don't think it's a sustainable way for him to make a living any more.

Can anyone here provide anecdotal evidence that Meldrum's books and DVDs are still being talked about and traded/gifted among members in their stakes? I would be surprised to hear that there are still pockets of interest.

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Just my own finger on the pulse, and my own ear to the rail. Within my circles and my sphere, I have seen Meldrum-mania completely die down. Does he still do tours and presentations? I don't think it's a sustainable way for him to make a living any more.

Can anyone here provide anecdotal evidence that Meldrum's books and DVDs are still being talked about and traded/gifted among members in their stakes? I would be surprised to hear that there are still pockets of interest.

Well, the website (FIRM Foundation) is still up, but the "Events" page is blank. You may be right.

Edited to add:

Here's a tiny url link to Meldrum's newsletter (I'm not on his list; I got it from a friend).

I don't know how much of it is marketing hype, but he appears to be doing well in terms of book sales, event attendance, upcoming conference, etc.

Be advised that the September date is in error; it was actually sent out this month.

Edited again to add:

Meldrum makes this parenthetical point in the newsletter: "Peterson and his editorial team were fired."

What he doesn't state is that "Peterson and his editorial team" are now more active and prolific than ever with the inauguration in late July of Interpreter, a Journal of Mormon Scripture. Released from the constraints of the new academic regime at the Maxwell Institute, they have emerged triumphant from the events of last summer with a product of the highest quality and accessibility, better suited to the new age of online publication than the Mormon Studies Review could have been.

The Interpreter is a phoenix of triumph arising from the ashes of defeat.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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What he doesn't state is that "Peterson and his editorial team" are now more active and prolific than ever with the inauguration in late July of Interpreter, a Journal of Mormon Scripture. Released from the restraint of the new academic regime at the Maxwell Institute, they have emerged triumphant from the events of last summer with a product of the highest quality and accessibility, better suited to the new age of online publication than the Mormon Studies Review could have been.

The Interpreter is a phoenix of triumph arising from the ashes of defeat.

Whereas I enjoy the articles and read them, the Interpreter is not connected with an academic institution so it is now more like FAIR rather than like MI, with all that entails.

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Whereas I enjoy the articles and read them, the Interpreter is not connected with an academic institution so it is now more like FAIR rather than like MI, with all that entails.

Which thus far has detracted from it not in the least.

Here, incidentally, are some ruminations on it from Dan's blog. There has been some sniping from some quarters, perhaps from those who are disappointed there would be such success so soon.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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Which thus far has detracted from it not in the least.

Let's just say that academic rags are far different than blogs.

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Let's just say that academic rags are far different than blogs.

It's a new day. As the old-timers die off the perceived difference in stature between a printed vs. an online publication will be less and less pronounced until it virtually disappears entirely.

Edited to add:

And Interpreter can be a print publication for anyone who wants to pay the nominal cost to produce a hard-copy version.

As for the institutional connection with BYU, I repeat I don't see that it has suffered in the least from that lack so far. If anything, it has benefited, given the current climate, sad to say.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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As for the institutional connection with BYU, I repeat I don't see that it has suffered in the least from that lack so far. If anything, it has benefited, given the current climate, sad to say.

I don't dispute that. I look forward to more pieces.

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Interpreter is, if anything, more rigorously peer-reviewed than the Review ever was. The Review was peer-reviewed by readers who acted at the invitation of its editors, but Interpreter has an absolutely independent article-review committee.

Our copy-editing is, I admit, still something of a work-in-progress -- we have had, after all, absolutely no budget and absolutely no paid staff, in stark distinction to the Maxwell Institute -- and some errors have gotten by us, but we're doing amazingly well for a journal that was only conceived at the end of July and was only launched at the beginning of August and that has, without fail, published a new article every week since.

As for the implicit description of Rod Meldrum, above: I probably would have insisted on a reformulation, but I think that I was out of the loop for that one. However, Meldrum himself doesn't hesitate to suggest (and even, on occasion, to say) that those who hold to a limited Mesoamerican geography for the Book of Mormon (myself included) are "apostates" -- something I have flatly never done in the opposite direction and would not permit.

I agree with Scott Lloyd that Interpreter is far more nimble, technologically and in other ways, than it was ever likely to be under the current regime at the Maxwell Institute. I know, too, that I speak for the Interpreter board when I say that we wouldn't bring Interpreter under the auspices of the Maxwell Institute or BYU even if we were invited to do so -- which seems, in any event, something that is extremely unlikely to happen.

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Except that he didn't mock the Big Bang theory. That wasn't his point and isn't what he said.

For the record, what was he saying?

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I have just joined this board. This is therefore the first time I have posted here. So let me introduce myself. I am Louis Midgley, and among many other things I am the author of the entitled “Defending the King and His Kingdom” that was recently posted as part of the second volume of the new LDS academic journal entitled Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. Though Interpreter was both intended to and does in fact replace the now cancelled FARMS Review (a.k.a. for one issue Mormon Studies Review), it is not affiliated with the Maxwell Institute. Given certain personal and ideological distance between those now running the Institute, I see independence from BYU as a good thing for those involved in this new venture.

To get some idea of who I am, and I suspect that there are some posting to or reading this thread, who do not know, please have a look at my contribution to Professor Peterson’s “Mormon Scholars Testify,” which can be accessed at http://mormonscholarstestify.org/432/louis-midgley. And, if anyone cares to have a look at some of the essays I have published, they can access a partial list at the Maxwell Institute website.

When it became clear to me that the Institute that now carries Elder Maxwell’s name (rather than the now retired name Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies), I wrote what has correctly been called a sermon in an effort to set out my reasons for disagreeing with those currently in charge of the Maxwell Institute, who I believe have indicated that they intend to take the Institute in a different direction. Put bluntly, I drafted “Defending the King and His Kingdom” in an effort to have my say on whether defending the faith is a proper academic endeavor for Latter-day Saint scholars.

I have a response to one complaint set out on this thread to my essay. My critics have noticed that I use the label cultural Mormon to describe the most radical of the new critics who more of less retain at least a nominal membership in the Church of Jesus Christ. Please notice that I use the label in the “Abstract” (p. 127), and again on p. 140 to describe some critics of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I indicate that some of these now also self-identify as New Order Mormons or use other similar or related labels. And on p. 142 I indicate that cultural Mormons (understood my way) are not genuine Saints. If one finds no good reason to believe in God, or that there was even a Jesus of Nazareth, and hence finds the atonement silly, one can hardly qualify as a Saint. And there is at least one person who has boasted of holding just such an opinion while also giving advice to others about dealing with doubts.

Have I somehow misused the expression cultural Mormon? I don’t think so. Why? One rather good reason is that I was the one who fashioned that label. See my essay entitled “Secular Relevance of the Gospel,” Dialogue 4/4 (Winter 1969): 76-85. It seems that without knowing the history of that convenient label, someone insists that I misuse “the word cultural Mormon throughout the article”–that I use “the phrase cultural Mormon incorrectly.” My critic, who I must admit I do not know, defines a “cultural Mormon” as “one who does not care and simply participates in the church because it is socially beneficial to them. This group is not interested in the doctrine or history per say.” From my point of view, this is rubbish.

I fashioned the expression cultural Mormon from the German word sometimes used after WW II for the liberal Protestantism against those who were busy advancing what was called Protestant Neo-Orthodox (or crises or dialectical theology)–that is, the dogma then being set out by Karl Barth and his followers. My LDS models for such a one were folks like Sterling McMurrin and his followers. If those folks were not interested in “doctrine or history,” then exactly what interested them about Mormon things? The Mutual Improvement Association and Ward dances?

This is enough for now. I have enjoyed this thread and I am looking forward to more discussion of my essay/sermon. It is true that I called attention to the criticisms of the jingo geography being peddled by Rodney Meldrum. I doubt that the Brethren are interested in weeding the garden of Book of Mormon studies. Instead, I am confident that they want those I describe as disciple-scholars to tend the garden of Book of Mormon studies. Please see my essay entitled “A Tidy Garden,” FARMS Review 22/1 (2010): xi-xxvi.

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Welcome to the board, Professor Midgley.

I enjoyed your Interpreter piece immensely, and have appreciated your writings over the years.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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For the record, what was he saying?

The speaker, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, testified that the marvelous physical and spiritual attributes of humankind are a gift from the Creator, God, and not the random result of a Big Bang somewhere.

It's hardly surprising that an apostle of Jesus Christ would say such a thing, heart surgeon or not.

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I have just joined this board. This is therefore the first time I have posted here. So let me introduce myself. I am Louis Midgley, and among many other things I am the author of the entitled “Defending the King and His Kingdom” that was recently posted as part of the second volume of the new LDS academic journal entitled Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. Though Interpreter was both intended to and does in fact replace the now cancelled FARMS Review (a.k.a. for one issue Mormon Studies Review), it is not affiliated with the Maxwell Institute. Given certain personal and ideological distance between those now running the Institute, I see independence from BYU as a good thing for those involved in this new venture.

To get some idea of who I am, and I suspect that there are some posting to or reading this thread, who do not know, please have a look at my contribution to Professor Peterson’s “Mormon Scholars Testify,” which can be accessed at http://mormonscholar...2/louis-midgley. And, if anyone cares to have a look at some of the essays I have published, they can access a partial list at the Maxwell Institute website.

When it became clear to me that the Institute that now carries Elder Maxwell’s name (rather than the now retired name Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies), I wrote what has correctly been called a sermon in an effort to set out my reasons for disagreeing with those currently in charge of the Maxwell Institute, who I believe have indicated that they intend to take the Institute in a different direction. Put bluntly, I drafted “Defending the King and His Kingdom” in an effort to have my say on whether defending the faith is a proper academic endeavor for Latter-day Saint scholars.

I have a response to one complaint set out on this thread to my essay. My critics have noticed that I use the label cultural Mormon to describe the most radical of the new critics who more of less retain at least a nominal membership in the Church of Jesus Christ. Please notice that I use the label in the “Abstract” (p. 127), and again on p. 140 to describe some critics of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I indicate that some of these now also self-identify as New Order Mormons or use other similar or related labels. And on p. 142 I indicate that cultural Mormons (understood my way) are not genuine Saints. If one finds no good reason to believe in God, or that there was even a Jesus of Nazareth, and hence finds the atonement silly, one can hardly qualify as a Saint. And there is at least one person who has boasted of holding just such an opinion while also giving advice to others about dealing with doubts.

Have I somehow misused the expression cultural Mormon? I don’t think so. Why? One rather good reason is that I was the one who fashioned that label. See my essay entitled “Secular Relevance of the Gospel,” Dialogue 4/4 (Winter 1969): 76-85. It seems that without knowing the history of that convenient label, someone insists that I misuse “the word cultural Mormon throughout the article”–that I use “the phrase cultural Mormon incorrectly.” My critic, who I must admit I do not know, defines a “cultural Mormon” as “one who does not care and simply participates in the church because it is socially beneficial to them. This group is not interested in the doctrine or history per say.” From my point of view, this is rubbish.

I fashioned the expression cultural Mormon from the German word sometimes used after WW II for the liberal Protestantism against those who were busy advancing what was called Protestant Neo-Orthodox (or crises or dialectical theology)–that is, the dogma then being set out by Karl Barth and his followers. My LDS models for such a one were folks like Sterling McMurrin and his followers. If those folks were not interested in “doctrine or history,” then exactly what interested them about Mormon things? The Mutual Improvement Association and Ward dances?

This is enough for now. I have enjoyed this thread and I am looking forward to more discussion of my essay/sermon. It is true that I called attention to the criticisms of the jingo geography being peddled by Rodney Meldrum. I doubt that the Brethren are interested in weeding the garden of Book of Mormon studies. Instead, I am confident that they want those I describe as disciple-scholars to tend the garden of Book of Mormon studies. Please see my essay entitled “A Tidy Garden,” FARMS Review 22/1 (2010): xi-xxvi.

Thank you for joining us, Professor. It's wonderful that a nobody like me can play in the same sandbox with such luminaries as yourself, Professors Peterson and Hamblin and others and get a chance to get intelligent answers to our questions.

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