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Bill Hamblin

Greg Smith'S Review Of Dehlin'S "Mormon Stories" Is Now Available

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I have said before there are two people in the online community that have helped me stay LDS more than any others. One is John Dehlin and the other is Dan Peterson.

That's very kind. Really.

And please do believe me when I say that all of us would be delighted were John Dehlin to return to full activity and full belief in the claims of the Gospel, and that we're happy at even small steps in that direction. We do not hate him, nor anything even close to that.

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*finishes reading paper*

Great googly moogly. The Board Wars are reaching very towering dramatic heights. I'd offer a plague on both our houses, but those never seem to accomplish much.

Meanwhile, in the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I think it's important to emphasize the one thing I think we all can agree on: namely, that among the many, many cliche "stock in trade" sayings that are bandied about by partisans of every stripe as if they are clever ["Fellow Travelers"; "Fifth Columnists"], the phrase "Poisoning The Well" has especially been worked to absolute death by both sides of this interminable debate, and we all really need to stop using this kind of silly rhetoric if we don't want to keep sounding like ... well ...

[media=]

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith

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Now I've got to go find another computer to read this thread on because Jeremy's vid requires a newer plug-in than this dinosaur has....and this is the most comfortable seat in the house too. sigh...

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I tend to put more weight on unscripted behaviour than i do scripted, his appearances and behavour here on the board and on Facebook have influenced me much more than his podcasts or Greg's paper. I also don't expect my opinion of him to have the slightest influence on anyone and don't particularly want to be in that position anyway.

As far as quote mining, I am curious as to how you interpret them only...I am not trying to persuade you or anyone else how to judge the man. I am curious about how others view and react to him, that is all.

add-on: what interests me in Greg's paper is not Dehlin's comments, but the reactions to them, the social dynamic. "You can take the student out of the psychology class, but not the....."

I have to say that John's public behavior is all over the map. He seems to have multiple personalities and goes backs and deletes things he thinks make him look bad. That said, I owe a lot to mormon stories podcasts. John's interviews with faithful members have been very helpful to me in reconstructing my childish faith into something more substantial. Interviews with the Hardy's, Dan Peterson, Bushman, Givens, Gardner etc. I think the format worked because John was coming from a place of doubt and asking really tough questions. John's interviews with people like Coe were much less appealing to me because of John's obvious lack of knowledge of the apologetic side of any arguement. On the whole I have been really helped by John's podcast and his site (that he has now separated himself from) staylds - mainly the forums.

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Now I've got to go find another computer to read this thread on because Jeremy's vid requires a newer plug-in than this dinosaur has....and this is the most comfortable seat in the house too. sigh...

My lame throw-away gags are really probably not worth getting up for. :)

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And then you al felt the need to publish something else on the whole debacle? Really?

The problem is that some people have been dragged through the mud because of this paper, Dan in particular. It was not nice of John to attack dan as editor and label the paper a hit piece for maximum publicity. It brought a lot of attention to John and much negativity to Dan. What should have been done? Also, John was still talking about the paper rather recently.

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SeekingUnderstanding, I don't want to misunderstand you so am seeking clarification...when you say:

I think the format worked because John was coming from a place of doubt and asking really tough questions. John's interviews with people like Coe were much less appealing to me because of John's obvious lack of knowledge of the apologetic side of any arguement.

are you saying that you see/saw Dehlin as educated on the critical side and thus able to ask the really tough questions of the believers, but he was not educated on the believing side of things so he was not able to ask tough questions of the critics?

And since you have listened to many of his podcasts, did you feel like he should have known some of the tough questions for the critics based on responses from believers to his tough questions in their podcasts? Or do you feel he picked up knowledge as he went along and used that knowledge on the critics as well as on the believers?

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I am suggesting he does not have to own up to you Wade. Owning up to his past is between him and his leaders and God. That's it. I know that may be tough for you to understand.

I noticed you didn't answer any of my questions. Even still, I wasn't suggesting he own up specifically to me. But, if you are even the least bit familiar with the notion of recompense as it relates to repentance, you just might grasp the gist of what I was asking and saying in my previous post in relation to Dehlin's very public actions. True repentance isn't about others attempting to get him to take ownership, but rather him striving to take ownership on his own and doing something about it--i.e. making recompense.

Besides, Smith's piece was evidently written months ago and isn't about what may be occurring with Dehlin now, but what has occurred in the past. Think of it as not dissimilar to how in the history of the Church it chronicles Cowdery's public disaffection from the Church even though he eventually returned.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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My lame throw-away gags are really probably not worth getting up for. :)

I'll wait until I have to move anyway then, thank you for the reprieve. ;)

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In my judgment, this 9-word sentence encapsulates virtually everything that John Dehlin has done in the course of his "career." It also accurately describes virtually everything that takes place at RfM, MDB, newordermormon.org, etc.

As I have described in some detail elsewhere*, I am convinced that there has been a deliberate effort, on the part of many disaffected and apostate Latter-day Saints, to silence the voice of Mormon apologetics.

* = The Calculated Suppression of Mormon Apologetics

And they do this in attack mode on a constant basis. And they have been rather successful in getting people to believe that lds apologetics is nothing but shallow articles leading people out of the church.

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If one errs in private,then the confession should be in private. If one errs in public,then recompense should be made in public.

In hindsight, the paper should have been published at the beginning. Look at how much bandwidth and paper it would have saved !

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Or do you feel he picked up knowledge as he went along and used that knowledge on the critics as well as on the believers?

Judging by his interview with Spencer W. Kimball's son, he mainly focused on the critic questions, hoping that Spencer W. Kimball's son would confirm the belief of the critics.

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If one errs in private,then the confession should be in private. If one errs in public,then recompense should be made in public.

In hindsight, the paper should have been published at the beginning. Look at how much bandwidth and paper it would have saved !

But John would not have been able to make hay of it. Some much hay was made that it would be enough to feed many cows now.

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If one errs in private,then the confession should be in private. If one errs in public,then recompense should be made in public.

In hindsight, the paper should have been published at the beginning. Look at how much bandwidth and paper it would have saved !

And considering the dry nature of it, I doubt very many would have lasted until the end but rather given up rather soon into it, :)

It is not like it is full of any juicy details for anyone who has been halfway paying attention. What is interesting is it pulling together an examination of a developing social narrative....but not everyone is interested in that kind of stuff.

Edited by calmoriah

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He made this public. He chose to take it public.

Though he doesn't publish books (and, for that matter, says that he doesn't read many), his various products are still essentially publications.

They're in the public domain.

There have been (and will be) no articles on people who've tried to work issues through privately with God and their ecclesiastical leaders. And nobody (that I know of) is trying to intervene in his personal spiritual life or to interfere with the actions of his bishop or stake president.

I am also convinced that this whole line of attack (exemplified by Teancum's repeated suggestions that you and your colleagues are "out of order" if and when you review the public words and deeds of ostensibly active LDS) is simply another tactic in the larger strategic effort to silence Mormon apologetics.

Edited by William Schryver

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Judging by his interview with Spencer W. Kimball's son, he mainly focused on the critic questions, hoping that Spencer W. Kimball's son would confirm the belief of the critics.

Did he express that hope or are you guessing at his motivation?

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John's interviews with people like Coe were much less appealing to me because of John's obvious lack of knowledge of the apologetic side of any arguement.

Which makes it that much more ironic when Dehlin publicly denigrates Mormon apologetics.

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I think that John didn't always do things well and what drove many of the questionable things he did, is his disillusionment with the church. And many on Staylds, NOM, and especially ex mormon boards (whom are people that aren't willing to ride it all out to the very end) are/were the same way. John has a spark of a testimony not unlike many others who struggle, myself included but I agree he took some things too far when he should know of the influence he had/has. But until you've been through it you'll never quite understand. I believe people like Bushman and Givens do understand and have come out on the other side. I have to give credit to both sides for sustaining me in my search for truth. Like I've mentioned before the apologist is not the bad guy. They strive to give facts and not brush things under the rug but their goal is to let the struggler see the other possibilities and not quit the faith.

Edited by Tacenda

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This is an unusual circumstance. Speculation and accusations about this paper have filled cyberspace for months. This has been a public event from start to finish and those involved have participated so be respectful. Posters who show no interest in discussing the content of the paper will be removed. We expect this to be a very active thread and request that posters remain on topic. Do not derail with jokes, videos, or large graphics. Most important: do not give other grown ups sermons about the right way to think or behave.

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I am also convinced that this whole line of attack (exemplified by Teancum's repeated suggestions that you and your colleagues are "out of order" if and when you review the public words and deeds of ostensibly active LDS) is simply another tactic in the larger strategic effort to silence Mormon apologetics.

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Well regarding my intent and me specifically you would be wrong. I am not part of some cadre that seeks to silence apologists. I have read plenty of apologetics. I plan to read more but also have needed to take a break from delving into all the pro and cons of it. And Will, did you miss my comment to Dan when he commented on the public nature of what Dehlin does makes a public response appropriate. I am more or less agreeing. John has been public so public comments to what he does should not be off limits.

That said one can question the motives and tone of a 100 page paper. 35 pages into it and I am just not impressed. A charecture of Dehlin is being painted that is just not balanced. In fact it is about as balanced as Dehlin's portrayal of all these boogie man apologists. And I will confess here that in general I have not found LDS apologetics to be what the critics want to paint it as. Sure there are some bad apologetics. But I do not see Dan Peterson as the leader of some cabal of over the top meanies. On the other hand some of the online message board antics of some self proclaimed defenders is certainly in poor taste and nasty at times. So yea John's anti FARMS /FAIR has puzzled me.

So no Will. I know you don't like NOM types. I know you would like to weed many such as me out. But in spite of your paranoia I am not part of some organized effort. Oh and Will, you and other apologists can ignore Dehlin's survey all you want. No worries to me. You can pick it apart, call it flawed, call it propaganda. But I think you ignore it at the peril of jeopardizing what I think most defenders want to do. And that is keep people in the church. It has good info and if you use it your success rate may increase. But like I said I have no skin in the defend the church game. I just do the best I can to navigate being a member in spire of the problems I have with some things LDS. Because believe it or not I do love the Church. I have invested a substantial part of my life into it. It permeates who and what I am.

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Did he express that hope or are you guessing at his motivation?

I thought that it was how he phrased the questions.

You can check it from 36:15. I think that he could have phrased his questions differently. And perhaps this is also what Greg's piece is about too.

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Edited by why me

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I am not part of some cadre that seeks to silence apologists.

Your comments on message boards for lo these many years suggests otherwise. You have manifest a pronounced antipathy towards Mormon apologetics and its practitioners.

A charecture of Dehlin is being painted that is just not balanced.

Considering how unbalanced Dehlin's public words have been in terms of his hostility towards the Church and its defenders, I think Greg achieved an almost super-human feat in keeping it as balanced as he possibly could.

So no Will. I know you don't like NOM types. I know you would like to weed many such as me out.

I have no such desire, nor have I ever expressed any such desire. Nor could anyone produce any evidence that I have ever expressed any such desire. This is an example of the mythical narrative that has been built up by Dehlin and his acolytes about Mormon apologetics.

But in spite of your paranoia I am not part of some organized effort.

An effort doesn't necessarily have to be formally organized to be effectively coordinated.

Oh and Will, you and other apologists can ignore Dehlin's survey all you want. No worries to me. You can pick it apart, call it flawed, call it propaganda. But I think you ignore it at the peril of jeopardizing what I think most defenders want to do. And that is keep people in the church.

I disagree.

It has good info and if you use it your success rate may increase.

I disagree.

As Lou has so economically described it above, Dehlin's survey was simply an intelligently conceived and well-crafted piece of propaganda in an ideological war.

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I have disagreed with John Dehlin's handling of this so called "hit piece" and public statements concerning LDS apologetics, however; the podcasts and interviews themselves produced by Mormon Stories have never been aimed attacking LDS apologetics. Mormon Stories itself has not done any kind of public attack or attempt to silence or discredit Mormon apologetics. John himself has publicly stated his objection to certain styles of LDS apologetics in some of the podcasts, but that is completely different then what Mormon Stories has officially produced, and certainly different than what official LDS apologetics has attempted to publish, like with "Dubious Mormon Stories." I think debating John publicly over his own statements is perfectly reasonable and appropriate in order to set the record is straight (like in discussion forms), but that is different than attacking not only the entire mission of Mormon Stories, but anyone who affiliates or associates with the organization or any other "uncorrelated" fringe group, as discussed in "Dubious Mormon Stories." Mormon Stories has always had an open invitation for both apologists and apostates to come and discuss all sorts of Mormon issues. Some of the best have been Teryl Givens, Brant Gardner, John Lynch, etc. It has not been perfect, but in my mind it complements a lot of various LDS publications that exist, including FAIR and FARMS.

So Dan Peterson, Hamblin, Greg, etc. tell me the benefits / purpose of publishing "Dubious Mormon Stories"? The article has a lot of informative pieces concerning MS but yet is also full of polemic character attacks on John Dehlin in an attempt to equate his character or personal beliefs with the soundness of the overall mission and work of Mormon Stories (and any other fringe groups in genera)l. How is this helpful? Can you point to an equivalent Mormon Stories publication dedicated to not only deconstructing the mission of FAIR / FARMS, but in analyzing and discrediting the individuals in charge based on their beliefs and character flaws? There have been plenty of MS podcasts that have not been accurate, so why not focus on responding the arguments made on those as opposed to just publishing lengthy attempt to discredit someone's work in general by deconstructing one's character and motives? Again, this not a defense of John, or even a defense on all the work done by MS, but more of just a call for more constructive dialogue and critical scholarship.

It is very disappointing.

Edited by Verum

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The article has a lot of informative pieces concerning MS but yet is also full of polemic character attacks on John Dehlin in an attempt to equate his character with the soundness of the mission and work of Mormon Stories or any other fringe groups in general.

Examples, please?

General and vague accusations have been thrown around long enough. With the paper in full view, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect anyone making accusations about its contents to provide specific examples of what the accusation is. It seems especially important for you to provide specific examples for your charges since you are demanding others to "point to" specific examples of their own.

Moderators will enforce the requirement of specific examples since this is about a paper that is available to all.

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