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Bill Hamblin

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

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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 ...

CFR

I would be very interested in seeing what, in your opinion, constitutes a "polemic character attack." I look forward to citations from the article in question.

... in an attempt to equate his character with the soundness of the mission and work of Mormon Stories ...

I think it is indisputable that the character of John Dehlin is directly related to the "soundness of the mission and work of Mormon Stories."

Can you point to an equivalent Mormon Stories publication dedicated to not only deconstructing the motives of all FAIR and FARMS, but in analyzing and discrediting the individuals in charge based on their beliefs and character flaws?

Were it possible to discredit FAIR and/or FARMS by focusing on the "character flaws" of those "in charge," I have no doubt that it would be done.

... a call ... for more constructive dialogue ...

Code language for "I want to see more defense of the ideology I prefer, and less defense of the ideology you prefer."

Well, who knows, it's altogether possible that the "new and improved" Mormon Studies Review might satisfy your preferences.

Edited by William Schryver

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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.

We need to remember that the Gregg's piece was written before John returned to church. If one follows John during the last few years we see a man who was in and out of the lds church and his podcasts, conferences, and chapters reflected this. I don't think that john's podcasts were faith promoting when he left the church. And I don't think that the MS conferences were faith promoting either when he was out of the church. However, some of his podcasts were very good. But when one looks at the forest for the trees, one can see some negatives toward the lds church. And that would be the case when John was doubting and inactive.

And the whole idea of sending questioning members to a site that is not exactly faith promoting did more harm than good. He did the same thing in his recent podcast about where members can go for more information about the church.

Edited by why me

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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.

The probem comes with ego. I think that John's ego had gotten the best of him and he more or less has admitted this. It must be difficult to suddenly realize that one has a following and some influence. Difficult to keep the head on straight. John is a human being and he more or less gave everyone his struggles and waverings through his podcasts. Unfortunately, he lost his objectivity at some point...as chapters and conferences were formed. And his podcasts reflected this too.

I think that gregg's article is about keeping John honest about his intent during these last years by providing facts from his statements and broadcasts. Now the ball is in john's court.

Do not discuss what other people might be thinking or feeling. Stick to what has been published.

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Responding on a mobile device so quoting is difficult.

In regards to the examples of character flaws in the article, the article discusses John's personal beliefs about the atonement and the existence of Christ, the claim that he is not well-read (prefers not to read), it analyzes his various stages of activity and temple worthiness, it discusses his motives for having support communities and speculates whether he hoped to start a new church, etc. My point is none of this should be relevant when analyzing what Mormon Stories has officially produced. This is all an attempt to discredit the overall work of Mormon Stories by equating Johns character and beliefs to type of work MS has produced. I do dispute that Johns beliefs and character are directly related to the overall soundness of the mission of MS. If John personally doubts the historicity of Jesus Christ, that does not mean that his podcast are going to be dedicated to convincing people of that. His personal beliefs are irrelevant when doing a scholarly analyses of the work he has produced. If there are flaws in the information and objectivity of the work produced by Mormon Stories, one can easily point those out by discussing and analyzing the facts without intensively diving into the intents and personal belief of the creator involved. The most recent podcast with Brian Hales did a much more appropriate response when he used the facts to discredit the research discussed by Grant Palmer in a previous podcast concerning sexual allegations against Joseph Smith, and it was done without diving into the personal beliefs, biases, and flaws of Grant Palmer himself. if Mormon Stories has not produced anything to discredit FAIR or FARMS that way, then why should something like Dubious Mormon Stories be published?

If you remove moderator comments again you will be banned. You have been asked to provide specific examples. Everyone has quick access to the same paper so there is no excuse for vague accusations about its contents. Provide quotes or leave the discussion. Last warning.

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The probem comes with ego. I think that John's ego had gotten the best of him and he more or less has admitted this. It must be difficult to suddenly realize that one has a following and some influence. Difficult to keep the head on straight. John is a human being and he more or less gave everyone his struggles and waverings through his podcasts. Unfortunately, he lost his objectivity at some point...as chapters and conferences were formed. And his podcasts reflected this too.

I think that gregg's article is about keeping John honest about his intent during these last years by providing facts from his statements and broadcasts. Now the ball is in john's court.

Do not discuss what other people might be thinking or feeling. Stick to what has been published.

I have tried to quote from the piece but cannot do so. When I past it and post it, the format was terrible and had to erase it from my post. So I need to say think or feel to make up for it. I have no idea if others are finding it difficult to quote from Greg's piece. I see no quotations from the piece on this thread so far.

For example, from the piece:

The Internet

provides an unprecedented means to

unite like

-

minded individuals in virtual

communities, no matter how esoteric their interests. Even

the

Church

of Jesus Christ has felt

the effects of

this social realignment.

How can I quote from the article when It does this? I must be doing something wrong. :sorry:

Edited by why me

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References:

The article discusses John's personal beliefs about the atonement and the existence of Christ - pg. 13

For example, he expresses his disbelief in atonement and sin by complaining that “the idea that God

makes us imperfect and then we’re supposed to beat ourselves up over our imperfections just seems

screwed up to me. It is shocking that Dehlin thinks this says anything at all about the normative Latterday Saint views of sin and atonement.

Pg. 14

Despite there being almost universal consensus on this point even among a notoriously fractious group of scholars, Dehlin

promotes an absurdity that hasn’t been taken seriously by informed readers for decades. He asks us to be no less trusting when he turns to academic Mormon matters.

The claim that He is not well-read: (pg. 12)

In fact, Dehlin’s grasp of the relevant literature and issues can be shallow; he is often inadequately informed. “I don’t think of myself as intellectual,” he says, “because I’m not a reader by nature, . . . but

that’s certainly the area that I play in.” This disinclination to read seriously and widely is often evident.

Delin's stages of activity / temple worthiness. There are many but here are a few examples:

The counterpoint to Dehlin’s crises of faith has been his repeated accounts of what his bishop and

stake president reportedly think of all this. From 2009 through 2010, his website announced:

I remain an active, temple recommend-holding member of the LDS church. My wife and I

currently teach in the Primary and really, really enjoy it. I love both the church and its members

deeply—and sincerely hope to see the church strengthen and prosper in the coming years. . . .This description remained unchanged throughout 2010. Dehlin uses his temple recommend–holding status as implied reassurance: neither Dehlin nor his bishop or stake president consider him ineligible

pg. 36
In his own case, Dehlin’s advocacy of “middle way”or “Open Mormonism,” ultimately proved

untenable. This model suggest that one attend Church for its good social effects even without a belief in

its founding narratives, in the Book of Mormon as genuine divine scripture, the divinity of Christ, the

existence of God, or the reality of priesthood keys. Dehlin announced in April 2011 (before the Cultural

Hall interview) that “I’m no longer active in the church” because of “a gradual feeling that full church

activity wasn’t really worth the time/effort any more,” in part due to “feeling really uncomfortable from an integrity/honesty perspective about ‘looking’ like active, believing members when we didn’t feel that

way inside.

pg. 43-44

Again, why not discuss the arguments and material produced by Mormon Stories instead of what John believes or what his motives are.

Edited by Verum

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Again, why not discuss the arguments and material produced by Mormon Stories instead of what John believes or what his motives are.

Because it creates a more holistic picture of him and his podcasts and gives a point of reference.

Edited by why me

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I would have liked to see more examples of censorship engaged in by Dehlin. I and people I know have had their posts on his website censored when he deleted them to leave more of the more critical posts up and take down those that answered the critical posts. Someone I know sent me a few screenshots showing that Dehlin indeed was doing that. I still have them.

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Because it makes a more holistic picture of him and his podcasts and gives a point of reference.

No it doesn't.

You can effectively criticize whether one's work shows bias or lacks objectivity or is sloppy with facts with out diving into or understanding all the biases about the author.

Anti-mormons often do the same thing. Instead of criticizing the specific arguments in apologetics, they discredit their work by pointing out the faithful bias of it's authors. The fact is, that is irrelevant.

Edited by Verum

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The strengths of Greg Smith's review are the ease in which it reads (even if a bit lengthy), and the footnotes and sources cited. He clearly did his research and backed up his statements. His approach was academically sound and was as non-confrontational as could possibly be. But when you're challenging or evaluating another person's public work, it is somewhat unavoidable to come across as confrontational to some.

Some areas that stuck with me:

From a sociological perspective, NOM or secular ex-Mormons may play any and all of the roles occupied by members at the religious borders and beyond. They may be “leavetakers,” but need not be. Such individuals have been classified by sociologists of religion into five categories. There is some variation in the terminology between authors, but they provide a useful framework for discussing the degree of alienation experienced by those who were formerly believing and fully-active members. The categories also highlight the difference responses to that alienation:

  • 1) peripheral members—those who retain some nominal membership. Such members still consider themselves part of the faith and are so regarded by their co-religionists, but they are not full participants in the life of their faith community (e.g., “less-active” members);
  • 2) marginal members—those with profound disagreements with or alienation from at least part of their religion, though “they are also likely to believe that their movement—its beliefs, practices, or members—still has something to offer”;
  • 3) defectors—those who leave their faith relatively quietly, often in cooperation with religious authorities;
  • 4) whistleblowers—those who, motivated by personal conscience, denounce specific wrongs in their former religion; and
  • 5) apostates—those who associate with an “oppositional coalition” arrayed against their former faith.

---

Leavetaking, then, need not be all-or-nothing. One might reject such foundational elements as the historicity of the Book of Mormon, the reality of Joseph Smith’s visions, or even the existence of God, and still remain affiliated in some way with the Church. One leavetaker might ask for her name to be removed from the records, another might abandon the Church’s moral code and find his membership in jeopardy, while a third might simply drift into inactivity. Each leavetaker, like each believer, walks his own path. Generalizing about such matters will almost certainly lead us astray in some ways.

I had never heard the term "leave-taking" before, but I think it's a good descriptor.

Dehlin’s on-line endeavors endorse skepticism about LDS truth claims, oppose the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on some matters of sexual morality, and seek to form a network of “uncorrelated Mormons.” These are current or former members whom he wants to help form their own communities, adopt a “commonsense” ethics and morality (which differs from that advocated by the Church), and support each other in a transition to a different concept and practice of “Mormonism.” This agenda thus blends of elements from the sociological model’s marginal member, whistleblower, and apostate.

Hard to argue with that.

This perceptive observation highlights one of the many differences between podcasts and text-based discussions of LDS history, doctrine, or theology. For example, podcasts are not easily amenable to computer-based searches. The speed at which they can be consumed is relatively fixed. At best one can speed the audio playback somewhat. Even having listened to a podcast, one cannot easily cite its contents. One cannot cut and paste text from digital audio or even transcribe the exact argument for further analysis, discussion, comparison, or refutation without laboriously replaying the recording, typing, and double-checking.

Also, podcasts do not provide a mechanism for source checking and citation. One does not even expect such tools, and their absence will excite no remark whatever. There are no footnotes in podcasts. Listeners must simply trust that a speaker is being accurate and honest with them.

Like the written op-ed pieces they resemble, podcasts are entertaining and easily accessible. They can be wonderful tools for producing sympathy, for humanizing people, and for creating a type of emotional resonance. These are not defects, and Dehlin is exceptionally gifted in how he uses the strengths of his chosen medium.

I agree with Smith's observation about podcasts, and I always saw that as one of the drawbacks about Mormon Stories. Who has the time to sit through and listen to an hours-long, sometimes rambling podcasts? I would prefer to at least have the option of reading text.

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My point is none of this should be relevant when analyzing what Mormon Stories has officially produced.

But that is not what the paper was intended to analyze, it was intended to analyze the development of the exit narrative in the extended community it created (intentionally and unintentionally) as well as address the techniques, ideology and impact of Mormon Stories experience which centered around Dehlin.

Understanding what Dehlin says and does is necessary if one wishes to appreciate the present-day NOM/leavetaker approach that the Internet has facilitated....

An analysis of Mormon Stories will be more thorough and accurate if the data about its claims and approach can be maximized. A broader context may alter how we understand these efforts. We can contextualize Mormon Stories’ teachings, claims, and techniques—and perhaps predict their consequences—best by examining the publicly accessible substance of its statements and claims....

Dehlin’s leave-taking may, however, be something of a novelty within Mormonism, for two reasons. First, he and his non-profit have set out to reinforce and construct their collective exit narrative using the tools or style of modern social science. Second, and more significantly, he may be the first successful secular “exit counselor” for Mormons.

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I have tried to quote from the piece but cannot do so. When I past it and post it, the format was terrible and had to erase it from my post.

I think the part of the papers that are still in draft format have this problem, I have only experienced it in parts of the paper, other parts were just fine.

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

We had it ready for the Review. Professor Peterson immediately pulled it when he saw a memo from Cecil Samuelsen indicating that he had essentially no use for Dehlin, and that he thought that the Brethren might prefer to deal with him in their own time and way.

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References:

The article discusses John's personal beliefs about the atonement and the existence of Christ - pg. 13

Pg. 14

The claim that He is not well-read: (pg. 12)

Delin's stages of activity / temple worthiness. There are many but here are a few examples:

pg. 36

pg. 43-44

Again, why not discuss the arguments and material produced by Mormon Stories instead of what John believes or what his motives are.

Once again we are confronted with what a professor of logic would characterize as a "text book example" of misunderstanding the meaning of the ad hominem logical fallacy. Fortunately we have available to us an extraordinarily apropos counter-argument to "Verum's" assertions:Smith's follow-up article, Return of the Unread Review: A Mormon Story, wherein Smith addresses the many and varied allegations of the prevalence of ad hominem attacks in LDS apologia.

As for (to take a specific example) the cited references to Dehlin's disbelief in God, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, etc., these things are entirely appropriate in that they serve as specific evidence against the image Dehlin has assiduously sought to promulgate as an objective observer of Mormonism whose sole interest is to provide Latter-day Saints an unbiased source of information. As Smith correctly observes:

"Mormon Stories is at pains to avoid casting itself as an enemy to Mormonism—indeed, it wants to be seen as a friendly force in its attempt to redefine Mormonism."

(RUR, linked above, page 8.)

Therefore, an analysis of Dehlin's personal posture of belief in fundamental Mormon doctrines and texts is entirely appropriate in the context of Smith's review of Mormon Stories.

Furthermore, Verum's comments on this thread are classic examples of the "moral panic" that Dehlin and his followers are attempting to foster, and which is at the very root of their strategic undertaking to first label their "enemies," and then to silence them.

Edited by William Schryver

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I think the part of the papers that are still in draft format have this problem, I have only experienced it in parts of the paper, other parts were just fine.

I think the part of the papers that are still in draft format have this problem, I have only experienced it in parts of the paper, other parts were just fine.

The decision to publish the two essays was made last evening and we were unable to do the normal copy editing. Wait a few days and this matter will be cleaned up.

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Another one of Greg Smith's observations that I agree with, and what I see as one of John Dehlin's main weaknesses, is his tendency to change stories or approaches depending on who his audience is. He doesn't like being criticized, and would rather be seen as the good guy or neutral or objective on both sides, which are really polar opposites from each other. He wants to appeal to both faithful Mormons and hostile critics, and will say whatever he needs to say in order to serve his purposes. He maintains his Mormon identity partly because he wants to have an audience with faithful members, but he can't do that if he is perceived as a hostile ex-Mormon critic, or no longer a member. He laments that FAIR/FARMS will go down as destroying more testimonies than any other single Mormon influence, yet later admits that Mormon Stories has probably helped more people leave the Church than stay in it. He also poisons the well against those who fully support and try to defend the Church:

John Dehlin's own words:

There’s a website called mormonthink.com that does a really good job of showing the tough historical issues. There’s another one called fairlds.org that also talks about all the tough issues. So I say that those are two places. . . . [fairlds.org] is created by devout, active members of the church, and every difficult issue you can ever want to find there is there. It talks about racism, homosexuality, gender issues, science and religion, magic and the occult, Joseph’s use of peep stones—all that stuff is right there in fairlds.org. If you want another very scholarly, credible place to go, go to mormonthink.com. And they’re less of a faithful site, but they’re every much as accurate as fairlds. Those two places you can go to read stuff.

and later:

When told that “MormonThink does not give an honest representation of the church, its history, or beliefs,” Dehlin replies that it is better than anything else: “I can’t think of a more honest one . . . warts and all. Can you? Certainly not FAIR or FARMS. Certainly not LDS.org. . . . Both (all) sites are biased—I think that the FAIR site is 50x more biased than Mormon Think. Just my opinion.

Greg Smith:

Dehlin’s expressed views are thus sometimes far more partisan, and he spends considerable effort poisoning the well against those who support the Church. He doesn’t shy away from blanket condemnation and ridicule. For example, upon the death of well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens, Dehlin observed, “I respect the new atheists more than traditional LDS apologists mostly because I find them to be orders of magnitude more: 1) honest, 2) intelligent, and 3) funny.” This does not match Dehlin’s portrait of himself as respectful and fair-minded all across the Mormon spectrum. One reader noted how the mention of Hitchens led Dehlin to a knee-jerk “criticism of LDS apologists, and that’s what settles the debate.” Dehlin replied with a smiley face.

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Two splendid articles. And the assiduously promoted claim that the original was a "hit piece" is well and truly exploded.

And, as much as Jeremy disdains the expression, I point out that the loud, interminable "hit piece" mantra was never anything but a conscious, deliberate attempt to poison the well.

Regards,

Pahoran

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1) I thought the part about the temple recommend worthiness was a bit over the top. It was President McKay who said that the Gospel tent is a large one. Even if I thought it my right to assess another's worthiness, which I would think most would reject out of hand, surely it is easy to see that Bro. Smith's view of what is or isn't faithful behavior need not be the view of all faithful church members or, more importantly, church leaders. (Of course this is a "where IS the line drawn?" matter.)

2) If you want transcripts of audio material, try here: http://www.foxtranscribe.com/

3) I suspect that what Dehlin has the most to fear about the article is the amount of money he was taking out of the non-profit. It sounds like from the online feedback that his supporters may not have known they were funding his private life.

4) I do not see it as a hit piece. I do wonder what its overall value is. On one hand it purports to be a review of the methodology of leavetakers and exit counseling. On the other hand it uses Bro Devlin's name a lot for not being personal.

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1) I thought the part about the temple recommend worthiness was a bit over the top. It was President McKay who said that the Gospel tent is a large one. Even if I thought it my right to assess another's worthiness, which I would think most would reject out of hand, surely it is easy to see that Bro. Smith's view of what is or isn't faithful behavior need not be the view of all faithful church members or, more importantly, church leaders. (Of course this is a "where IS the line drawn?" matter.)

Here is some of the transcript of what he wrote regarding the Temple Recommend:

The counterpoint to Dehlin’s crises of faith has been his repeated accounts of what his bishop and stake president reportedly think of all this. From 2009 through 2010, his website announced:

I remain an active, temple recommend-holding member of the LDS church. My wife and I currently teach in the Primary and really, really enjoy it. I love both the church and its members deeply—and sincerely hope to see the church strengthen and prosper in the coming years. . . .

This description remained unchanged throughout 2010. Dehlin uses his temple recommend–holding status as implied reassurance: neither Dehlin nor his bishop or stake president consider him ineligible. In mid-2010, Dehlin elsewhere characterized himself as “active in the church” and “currently hold[ing] a temple recommend. I consider myself to be a believer in God, and in Jesus. I also view the church and the Book of Mormon as inspired—although I struggle sometimes with how literal vs. symbolic/metaphorical these beliefs are. In the end . . . I choose to follow/believe. . . . I continually have doubts/concerns . . . but I plan to remain an active, committed member until the day I die.”

More recently, Dehlin described himself as “a semi-active, somewhat Universalistic member of the LDS church.” He rejects the Church’s claim to be the only true Church, though he still believes in God (“though I don’t quite know what that means”). “My goal in life,” we are told, “is to help struggling Mormons find peace during tough transitions.” He reassures readers that “you should know that my bishop and stake president know all of the above about me, have reviewed what I do with Mormon Stories, and continue to encourage me to remain active, and to feel welcome at church.” Gone is the claim about a temple recommend, but the implied ecclesiastical endorsement of his activities is still there.

In early 2012, when asked about his status, Dehlin reported, “I don’t have a temple recommend right now. I’m temple worthy, but I don’t pay tithing.” Dehlin claims that he would pay his tithing if his stake president would spend it and disclose “where it is going,” but the stake president reportedly refused. Among other things, Dehlin has expressed his disagreement with the Church’s support of Proposition 8 and the construction of Salt Lake City’s City Creek Center mall; he clearly doesn’t wish to support these ventures. Yet the mall has nothing to do with tithing, and the only Church contributions to Proposition 8 were in-kind donations for travel.

Dehlin thus confuses the matter when he claims to be “temple worthy” except for tithing. In the same interview, he outlines additional convictions which would likely disqualify him:

1. God: “I’m at the point where I realize that God, the probability that God exists is quite low. . . As I look at the probability that everything that we have here is just random, and there’s no purpose or meaning to it, that actually seems almost as absurd as the idea that there is some type of God. Those seem almost equally absurd to me. . . . there has been enough support for what I’ve tried to do that I just call that God. I slap the ‘God’ label on that, fully aware that there is a low probability that there actually is anything. . . I’m aware that might be completely a product of my imagination.”

2. Jesus Christ: “I have no idea whether Jesus existed or not. Anyone who says they know, it’s just a matter of faith. I think the probability that Jesus actually really lived and was resurrected is actually really low. And I’m actually not invested in that.”

3. Atonement: “The atonement: I just don’t understand the atonement. This idea that we have to punish someone else for a bunch of other people’s mistakes, that just bothers me, the fact that it is even necessary bothers me. . . Punishing that guy over there for what I did doesn’t make sense at all, and so none of that makes sense.”

---

The first two questions are: “1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost? 2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?” If one cannot accurately paraphrase the questions, either accuracy is not a priority, or one has not given them much thought.

---

Members are not asked if they understand the atonement, only if they have a testimony of it. The Articles of Faith are clear: “We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ....We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved...We believe that the first principle...of the gospel [is]...faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Articles of Faith 1,3,4).

It strains credulity to claim that Church leaders meant to communicate that one could doubt the divine Sonship of Christ and likewise deny the reality or efficacy of the resurrection and atonement and still answer affirmatively to the first two temple recommend questions. There is nothing more foundational to LDS doctrine than Jesus’s divinity and ongoing redemptive power.

---

If Dehlin or others are not, at present, in harmony with the temple requirements, that is no obstacle to continued membership in the Church or the faithful fulfillment of many Church callings. What is more significant, however, is Dehlin’s distortion of the interview’s purpose and intent. Believing members regard these issues and concerns as sacred. The leaders conducting the interviews feel a solemn duty to protect members from making promises they will break. But, Dehlin urges his audience to hide the truth, and gives them the intellectual tools to justify dishonesty.

Edited by Sky

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1) I thought the part about the temple recommend worthiness was a bit over the top.

As a member of the bishopric, I am deeply interested in the temple-recommend status of my ward members. The temple-recommend status of anyone else is absolutely none of my business ... right up to the point where that person starts telling members of my ward, 'Come on, you can trust me; after all, I have a temple recommend...'

Edited by Hamba Tuhan

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I am glad to see Greg Smith's article finally published. It's a thoughtful and fair critique of Dehlin's Mormon Stories project in my view (at least as things stood when the paper was written). I also appreciated his follow-up essay with its brilliant analysis of the furor surrounding his (unread) paper in terms of moral panics, folk devils, and atrocity stories. Again, I think he's right on the money. I look forward to reading more of his work.

By the way, does anyone know if there are any plans to republish Greg's FARMS Review articles that were recently deleted from the MI website? I thought his review of George D. Smith's Nauvoo Polygamy was particularly valuable and I'm sorry to see it's currently unavailable.

Is this what you are looking for?

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=20&num=2&id=721

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John is a deeply flawed human being. He suffers from self deception. He likes to be liked. He likes to protray himself as neutral and helpful to everyone. He wants to serve God without offending the devil. He is not sure what he believes. He is a bit of an emotional exhibitionist. He has made lots of mistakes. He has said lots of things he wishes he could take back. He doesn't like criticism, or having his motives criticized. He sometimes has a bit of a grandiosity complex, thinking more highly of himself than others do. But he also has directly opposite feelings, and doubts about self worth. He has many critics in the exMormon community, and many critics in the apologetics communities. He gets things wrong, sometimes very wrong. He is indecisive. He changes his mind frequently. He can be uncharitable to others. He bites off more than he can chew. A little ADHD.

But I like John. For all of those reasons, I like him. He is human, and that means flawed. I believe he is trying to be the best person he can. Failing at it many times. I believe he is trying to be honest and authentic and transparent. He is trying to help people. Maybe doing it wrong. Doing it differently from the way I would. But he is striving. For me, Mormonism means striving for goodness and truth. In that sense, I believe John is a great and magnificent Mormon.

I could write similar psychological profiles of John's critics. But by and large, I think they too (both exMormon and apologists) are honestly striving for goodness and truth--perhaps in the wrong way, but they are trying. In my book, that is what counts. Blessings to all.

Namaste.

But does that mean his work should not be criticized when it is in error?

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Is any of this any of your business? How about we leave it between him, his stake president,bishop and God? Who appointed you judge, jury and executioner?

To the extent he makes himself a public figure and to the extent he publicizes these views it becomes the business of others. His reparation efforts with his stake president should have been confidential but to a certain extent he (John) has made them public. When one seeks public attention then one should have no expectation of privacy for what they have revealed publicly.

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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.

But when his past has been so public shouldn't his "owning up" also be public?

Edited by ERayR

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The only reason the temple recommend issue is relevant is that Dehlin has been publicly teaching people that they should equivocate and dissimulate when answering temple recommend questions.

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