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The Dehlin Affair–The Current Uncivil War


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#1 Louis Midgley

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:37 AM

On another thread someone wondered “if all of these parties are still open to the possibility of civil discussion about all of this? That would be (or could be) very productive, I would think..."

I am told that in the movie “Leap of Faith,” Steve Martin said: “I feel a HEALING comin on!” With this in mind, I must report that the answer to the question of whether an attempt to open a civil discussion about differences between John Dehlin and those he habitually denigrates and demonizes have ever been attempted is an emphatic YES.

These civil discussions began after someone directed me to the following item posted by John Dehlin. I have bolded certain key passages, all of which are clearly intended to claim the so-called objective high ground, while demonizing those who seem to imped one’s project, and thereby poisoning the well for his often quite innocent and sometimes confused listeners and readers without citing one word from any of those he demonizes:

John Dehlin - Are Mormon Apologetics a Gateway to Ex- or Anti-Mormonism? Or….Why I Support Sunstone accessed on 7 July 2006 at http://mormonstories...2#comment-18361

July 4, 2006 on 1:38 pm | In Mormon, LDS, Mormon Stories, Mormon Culture, Anti-Mormons, Sunstone, Apologetics |
Last week I was counseling a friend who had left the LDS church. As he recounted to me his story, it was interesting to note that apologetics (FAIR and FARMS in particular) were a precursor to his leaving the church–and a strong source for his abiding anger/resentment, and resistance to returning.
I probably get at least 2-3 emails a week from folks who have left the church–and I’m surprised at how many of these people not only delved into apologetics before they left–but also look back upon their experience w/ apologetics in almost disgust. Is it possible that the general approach/effect of arch-apologists like Dan Peterson and Louis Midgley–is actually NEGATIVE with respect to helping people retain their faith in the LDS Church? I am sure that they get short-term emails expressing gratitude for what they’ve done–so I’m speaking more in the medium-long term.
Recent postings by Lou Midgley and Dan Peterson in the bloggernacle are benign examples of what I mean. If you want the full banana….check out the FAIR Message Boards. Blech. Yuck. I almost feel dirty linking to that post.
I have had some VERY good experiences with a few apologists (John Lynch and Greg Kearny being 2 very important exceptions–these strike me as really sincere, thoughtful, kind-hearted men), and I know that there are others, but overall, I continue to be saddened by how often, when I engage in, or observe an apologist conversation, I end up feeling sick and disappointed. For me, the reasons include:
· The tendency to attack, denigrate and even mock the individual who disagrees with their view of the world.
· The tendency towards anger, hatred, sarcasm, and mean-spiritedness.
· The general unwillingness to express things like, “That’s a valid concern.” or “Yep…that’s a tough one.”
· The apparent willingess to defend at all costs…sometimes with little trace of a desire to remain objective.
· The tactic of avoiding the overall “mosaic” of an issue, by delving into obscure details and justifications.
· In summation, a lack of credibility in the eyes of many of they honest, open, sincere, thoughtful folk I interact with.
Now….one thing that I will openly acknowledge is that many/most anti-Mormons act the same way–which is also very, very disappointing. I will also acknowledge that I am grossly generalizing to a large degree–which is also very dangerous.
Still–these 2 poles testify to me as to why a forum like Sunstone must be supported. Neither of these sides (apologists or anti-LDS) are considered fair, balanced and credible by most of the sincere, humble, good-natured, intelligent folks that I continually interact with on the Internet–and I know for a fact that Sunstone (under Dan Wotherspoon) is working very, very hard to remain a more neutral, credible source for exploring and resolving LDS issues, in the house of faith. Sunstone may have stepped over a line or two years ago–but I find them (along w/ Dialogue) to be the rare voices of faithful objectivity and reason in an otherwise arena of shrill, hateful, negative voices.

[Note: over a 150 often irrational, unseemly and disgusting comments followed Dehlin’s diatribe, many of which were the usual venting of hostility towards the Church of Jesus Christ that flow endlessly from former members of the Church who seem anxious to justify their apostasy and hostility. Some of the same people hiding behind handles turn up every time an opportunity arises to opine, even or especially on threads I have visited durig my very short stay on the board.]

When I read Dehlin’s stange diatribe, I phoned him and we had a nice conversation. I invited him to meet with me at the forthcoming FAIR conference to be held in Sandy, Utah, in the summer of 2006. (I have had the bad habit of referencing this event as having taken place in 2005, which I know is not the case.] This meeting actually happened. I think we talked for well over six hours that day–he estimated it to be five. Later he was able to have conversations with the ever affable Dan Peterson and other FAIR volunteers whom he had just demonized on his blog.

After my long and civil and I thought productive conversation with Dehlin, he immediately posted the following:

Lunch with Lou Midgley, and Musings from the FAIR conference
August 5, 2006 - http://mormonstories...air-conference/
By John Dehlin
I spent 11 hours at the FAIR conference on Friday, and I believe that I spent about 5 of them with Lou Midgley.

The time with Dr. Midgley, and with the folks at FAIR (including Daniel Peterson), reinforced an important lesson that I keep re-learning regarding the Mormon Internet–we are sometimes not ourselves when we engage in Internet conversations, and more importantly, those we converse with are often not exactly who we think they are.

Now before you start thinking that I’m gonna get all slobbery about Dr. Midgley, let me remind you of something a good friend (Gregory Prince) told me in his studies of Mormon History: “There are no black hats, and there are no white hats.” The purpose of this post isn’t to say that Dr. Midgley’s hat is white. But for those of you who have never met him–let me assure you that his hat is not black either. A few reflections…

If you think that Dr. Midgley is a “blind apologist”, not willing to hold those within the church to the same level of scrutiny that he holds his anti-LDS foes, you do not know Lou Midgley.
If you think that Dr. Midgley has not stood up for what he feels is right within the church as he has without (sometimes at a personal cost), you do not know Lou Midgley.
If you think that Dr. Midgley is not sincere, and is not driven by a firm conviction as to the thruthfulness of the church, a deep love for it, and a desire for goodness on this earth, you do not know Dr. Midgley.
Finally, if you think Dr. Midgley beleves that he is without sin, and is not willing to acknowedge his error when he makes it, you don’t know him either.
Now I’ll grant you that I have similar feelings about Grant Palmer, Michael Quinn, and many other people that have suffered collateral damage (sometimes self-inflicted) in the war of words between apologists and the disaffected. I really, really detest when people’s faith or character are called into question, and I still retain a strong loathing for mean spiritedness and ad-hominim (sp?) attacks. But I also now better understand that sometimes, what is meant in jest, is sometimes taken as mean-spiritedness. And what starts out as a desire to defend what is most precious (on either side), far too easily spills over into defensiveness and anger. I’ll always fight against heat…but I also see that I have been the cause of some heat myself.

Truth be told, the stuff I have written is not only applicable to Dr. Midgley, but also to Dan Peterson and pretty much all the rest of the FAIR volunteers. These are sincere, good-natured folk with good intentions–who are honestly trying to do what they believe is right. In fact, I would claim this about many of us in the LDS “borderlands”, and in many instances, those in the DAMU as well.

Something else that crystalized for me was the realization that each one of us has a very clear bias, and strong opinions about HOW we might be able to make a difference in this world. Perhaps these biases and differences in approach are what divide us most.

I used to say that Mormon Stories was all about “open, honest and respectful.” I still desire these things, but those words are so charged, and so subjective–and do not fully encapsulate what I really hope to accomplish on the Mormon Internet (if I am able to accomplish anything at all). What I now am interested in doing, is building bridges. Between apologists and anti’s. Between conservatives and liberals. Between the estranged and their families. Between the believing and the disbelieving. Between all of us.

At FAIR, I watched Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalf sit in presentations where their work was openly discussed (and sometimes criticized), and then witnessed them both clap for, and go up to their “opponents” at the end and shake their hands, and discuss their differences. This was so beautiful to me. We need much, much more if it.

Anti’s force the church to be open, honest, and accurate. Anti’s help inspire change within the church.

Apologists force the anti’s to be credible, accurate, and thoughtful. They keep anti’s on top of their game, so to speak.

In the end, I believe that they are all both fighting for very similar things, and almost united in a common cause. In fact, I believe that they share MUCH more in common with each other, than with the average “asleep” member.

If we can focus on that which we have in common (love for truth, desire to make the world a better place, a passion for more joy and less pain in each of our lives), and less on what divides (historical BOM vs. non-historical BOM, “one true church” vs. really good church, etc.)–I believe that we can create something beautiful out of what we have started.

That is my new hope and mission. More bridges. Thanks to you all (across the ENTIRE spectrum) for helping me see this more clearly. I look forward to doing it with you (or folding up shop).

[Note: there were 37 comments to Dehlin’s remarks]

What did the long and fully cordial conversation between Dehlin and me (and Dan Peterson and others) actually accomplish? To see how all that sentimentality packed into the blog entry above turned out when Dehlin tried to recruit Professor Peterson and me to join him in “building bridges” over the entire “spectrum” of people at war with each other and often especially with the Kingdom of God and hence the community of Saints, stay tuned.

Well you already know how it turned out, but what you do not know are all the steps that have led to the recent renewed and accelerated attacks on Professor Peterson and me (and any others who seem to oppose creating “something beautiful out of what we have started”) and hence also to the demonic ruckus that has hit internet message boards, blogs, and even the newspapers, all of which is confusing and bewildering to the faithful Saints and must also be of considerable concern to those called to preside over the community of Saints.

Edited by Louis Midgley, 01 March 2013 - 11:41 AM.

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#2 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:59 AM

That sounded like a great start to some bridge-building. What happened? Was the MI upset and Greg's article the cause of the collapse? (I can see why - I think that article is awful).

Btw, Dr. Midgley, I am a woman...not a "he". :)
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#3 ERayR

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:06 PM

That sounded like a great start to some bridge-building. What happened? Was the MI upset and Greg's article the cause of the collapse? (I can see why - I think that article is awful).

Btw, Dr. Midgley, I am a woman...not a "he". :)


The truth can sometimes seem to be awful when the picture in the mirror is not pretty.

Edited by ERayR, 01 March 2013 - 12:06 PM.

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#4 awyatt

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:12 PM

That sounded like a great start to some bridge-building. What happened? Was the MI upset and Greg's article the cause of the collapse? (I can see why - I think that article is awful).

Nope. It is important to get the timeline correct. Note that JD's meeting with Lou, Dan, and some FAIR members happened (as Lou recounted) in August 2006, at the annual FAIR Conference. The "awful" article you cite was not even started until the end of 2011, over 5 years later.

-Allen
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#5 Louis Midgley

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:18 PM

That sounded like a great start to some bridge-building. What happened? Was the MI upset and Greg's article the cause of the collapse? (I can see why - I think that article is awful).

Btw, Dr. Midgley, I am a woman...not a "he". :)


Sorry about the "he." I will try to remember.

Those items were posted in 2006. There has been much water under the bridge since then. Dehlin tried to recruit Professor Peterson and me to join him in his endeavors. At that time it was was explained to us that we and he should provide brief responses to the questions those who have concerns, doubts, struggles have, without footnotes. He indicated that we only caused problems for those he tries to help with our long, boring, complex essays filled with jargon and citations and so forth. We were not about to shift from our efforts to write and publish solid scholarship. Ours was not directly a pastoral endeavor, though we certainly would and had tried our best to make what we wrote and publish helpful for pastoral purposes. FAIR was and is much more directly involved in providing something very close to pastoral services to both those genuinely curious about the faith of the Saints, and to those Saints who have questions, doubts and so forth. The FAIR wiki is simply outstanding in this regard, and the AtA activities have also been remarkably successful.

I hope this helps.
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#6 awyatt

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:20 PM

Libs,

I would, by the way, point you to a comment I addressed to you on a different thread. I suspect you may have missed it, so I'll post it here, as well:


Posted ImageLibs, on 28 February 2013 - 12:01 AM, said:



Thanks, Calmoriah.....it's not exactly what I had in mind. I agree that John didn't give very much in the way of examples of what it was he was talking about....but, I think this article (and any other similar articles, where a person's motives and character are questioned) is probably exactly what he was talking about. I'm not sure how common that was, as I didn't read "everything" from FAIR and MI. It sounds like the poster Wiki(something) agreed that there were areas where they could do better and he was very open to correcting some of those areas.


The point is that if it *is* common, then someone should be able to point it out. John was a member of FAIR for a short time. FAIR members appeared on his podcasts from early on. (Including John Lynch, Greg Kearny, Dan Peterson, and Brant Gardner. There may be others.)

The pattern perpetually goes like this:

1. John: "FAIR produces terrible material and drives people out of the Church. FAIR needs to do better and be better."
2. FAIR: "Tell us what we have produced that is incorrect, and we will fix it. Tell us what is presented poorly, and we will change it."
3. John: (No response.)

It happened here, on this very message board, about two weeks ago. Bottom line is that it is impossible to fix something that cannot be identified.

Posted ImageLibs, on 28 February 2013 - 12:01 AM, said:

I just wonder if all of these parties are still open to the possibility of civil discussion about all of this? That would be (or could be) very productive, I would think...


See the pattern, above. The door is always open. And it would be productive, if John would do more than repeat a meme without demonstrable substance. (Interestingly, since John used to be a FAIR member, he could have done TONS to change things, from the inside, but never did. Personally, it makes me feel that he isn't *really* interested in FAIR being better, only in demonizing FAIR. That is a pity.)

Libs, if you have an "in" with John and could encourage him to point out specifically what can be fixed, FAIR would appreciate it if you would do so.

-Allen


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#7 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:22 PM

Nope. It is important to get the timeline correct. Note that JD's meeting with Lou, Dan, and some FAIR members happened (as Lou recounted) in August 2006, at the annual FAIR Conference. The "awful" article you cite was not even started until the end of 2011, over 5 years later.

-Allen


Yes, I understand that. I'm saying, it seems they all got off to a great start. I was asking if the MI affair was the "collapse" of what seemed to have started off, fairly well.
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#8 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:29 PM

Sorry about the "he." I will try to remember.

Those items were posted in 2006. There has been much water under the bridge since then. Dehlin tried to recruit Professor Peterson and me to join him in his endeavors. At that time it was was explained to us that we and he should provide brief responses to the questions those who have concerns, doubts, struggles have, without footnotes. He indicated that we only caused problems for those he tries to help with our long, boring, complex essays filled with jargon and citations and so forth. We were not about to shift from our efforts to write and publish solid scholarship. Ours was not directly a pastoral endeavor, though we certainly would and had tried our best to make what we wrote and publish helpful for pastoral purposes. FAIR was and is much more directly involved in providing something very close to pastoral services to both those genuinely curious about the faith of the Saints, and to those Saints who have questions, doubts and so forth. The FAIR wiki is simply outstanding in this regard, and the AtA activities have also been remarkably successful.

I hope this helps.


No biggy about the "he"....just thought I would mention it. :)

So, this suggestion, from John, was the beginning of the "collapse"? I think a lot of the articles written by apologists are a bit dry and difficult to get through. When someone is in panic mode over church history or whatever problem they are perceiving, they likely want some quick and understandable answers. I know I did. I got very impatient with a lot of what I found on FAIR and FARMS, in the beginning. As I mentioned, it was only after the dust settled, that I was able to get some good from some of it. I actually got the most out of some videos that Dr. Peterson did on the Book of Mormon. I'm a "listener" and prefer that mode to reading, especially if it's going to be long. I know that's not true for everyone. Video does capture the attention of most, I think, more easily than the written word. The antis have made a lot of use of video and have been pretty successful with it.

So, is their any chance of reconciliation with John? It seems such a pity, because both sides really have much to offer, IMO.

Edited by Libs, 01 March 2013 - 12:31 PM.

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#9 why me

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:35 PM

Yes, I understand that. I'm saying, it seems they all got off to a great start. I was asking if the MI affair was the "collapse" of what seemed to have started off, fairly well.


The problems started long before Greg's article. The problem started when John started to attack lds apologetics. And when he began to change direction at Mormon Stories. I believe that the two coincided with each other.
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Joseph Smith Quotes
... I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, and administering to the poor and dividing his substance, than the long smooth faced hypocrites. I don't want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them.
Words of Joseph Smith, p.204 (18 May 1843)


http://www.lds.org/e...tation?lang=eng

#10 why me

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:37 PM

So, is their any chance of reconciliation with John? It seems such a pity, because both sides really have much to offer, IMO.


I think that it is up to John. However, his latest attack against Dan does not help the reconciliation much.
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Joseph Smith Quotes
... I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, and administering to the poor and dividing his substance, than the long smooth faced hypocrites. I don't want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them.
Words of Joseph Smith, p.204 (18 May 1843)


http://www.lds.org/e...tation?lang=eng

#11 Louis Midgley

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:39 PM

Yes, I understand that. I'm saying, it seems they all got off to a great start. I was asking if the MI affair was the "collapse" of what seemed to have started off, fairly well.


The fact is that the encounters of Professor Peterson, the Fair volunteers, and many others, including me, did not start off well at all. Dehlin came to my attention with the item on his blog to which someone called my attention. In that blog, available above he attacking (demonizing) both Professor Peterson and me. We reached out. He then saw an opportunity to neutralize our own scholarly endeavors, and recruit us to join him in his endeavors.It turned out that, since we did not for care to join with him and hence further his cause, we have subsequently been again and again demonized by him, much to the glee of those to whom he seems to be anxious to build bridges. One can get some idea of who those folks are by having a look at what his followers are saying right now in response to the item entitled "Moving Forward" that is posted on the Mormon Stories website. And you can see the wisdom of our not joining him in his endeavors. And the same thing is true of his relationship with FAIR.
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#12 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:39 PM

Libs,

I would, by the way, point you to a comment I addressed to you on a different thread. I suspect you may have missed it, so I'll post it here, as well:



See the pattern, above. The door is always open. And it would be productive, if John would do more than repeat a meme without demonstrable substance. (Interestingly, since John used to be a FAIR member, he could have done TONS to change things, from the inside, but never did. Personally, it makes me feel that he isn't *really* interested in FAIR being better, only in demonizing FAIR. That is a pity.)

Libs, if you have an "in" with John and could encourage him to point out specifically what can be fixed, FAIR would appreciate it if you would do so.

-Allen



Thanks, Allen. I thought I had addressed this? I agreed that John didn't do a very good job at explaining exactly what he meant about the ad homs from FAIR and MI...at least, not that I ever saw. Perhaps, he addressed it somewhere that I didn't see? I don't really know. But, this recent article from Greg Smith is probably a good example of the kind of thing he was talking about. I don't know how often this kind of thing happened, but a couple of names were put out there, as other examples. Things written about Michael Quinn and Grant Palmer.

No, I do not have any special "in" with John Dehlin. I am a member of Mormon Stories and we've had brief exchanges on Facebook. I do not know him, personally.
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#13 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:45 PM

The fact is that the encounters of Professor Peterson, the Fair volunteers, and many others, including me, did not start off well at all. Dehlin came to my attention with the item on his blog to which someone called my attention. In that blog, available above he attacking (demonizing) both Professor Peterson and me. We reached out. He then saw an opportunity to neutralize our own scholarly endeavors, and recruit us to join him in his endeavors.It turned out that, since we did not for care to join with him and hence further his cause, we have subsequently been again and again demonized by him, much to the glee of those to whom he seems to be anxious to build bridges. One can get some idea of who those folks are by having a look at what his followers are saying right now in response to the item entitled "Moving Forward" that is posted on the Mormon Stories website. And you can see the wisdom of our not joining him in his endeavors. And the same thing is true of his relationship with FAIR.


I have never seen this "demonizing". I have seen John state very strongly that he believed LDS apologists were driving people out of the church, by making some of their articles way too personal. That's criticism (and it might even be somewhat valid), but it isn't anymore demonizing than this article written about him. I have seen some "real" demonizing of you and Dr. Peterson and others on the "other board". But, it's a message board and things are said by mostly anonymous people...some obviously very angry. No excuses, of course, but I don't think John should be held responsible for things that other people say.
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#14 Louis Midgley

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:58 PM

No biggy about the "he"....just thought I would mention it. :)

So, this suggestion, from John, was the beginning of the "collapse"? I think a lot of the articles written by apologists are a bit dry and difficult to get through. When someone is in panic mode over church history or whatever problem they are perceiving, they likely want some quick and understandable answers. I know I did. I got very impatient with a lot of what I found on FAIR and FARMS, in the beginning. As I mentioned, it was only after the dust settled, that I was able to get some good from some of it. I actually got the most out of some videos that Dr. Peterson did on the Book of Mormon. I'm a "listener" and prefer that mode to reading, especially if it's going to be long. I know that's not true for everyone. Video does capture the attention of most, I think, more easily than the written word. The antis have made a lot of use of video and have been pretty successful with it.

So, is their any chance of reconciliation with John? It seems such a pity, because both sides really have much to offer, IMO.


Dehlin plays to those who are troubled who do not care to read long, as you say, dry academic stuff. They want snappy answers right now. FAIR provides that with its remarkably good wiki, and with its very productive AtA endeavor. Dehlin has prospered by savaging remarkably good LDS scholarship. He plays to those whose problems flow from--I hope this is not offensive--not interested at all in academic stuff. He actually takes advantage of what might be called an unfortunate anti-intellectual element found here and there in the Mormon culture. It starts with the idea that one is supposed to get one's testimony and then never really probe, examine, ponder, question, pry out of the scripures more than "it is true." This getting a testimony business is something like the confess Jesus and you have your seat locked up in heaven stuff that floats around the conservative Protestant world and that lead those folks into the same malaise that some of the Saints find themselves in. Among evangelical and even fundamentalist the more mature and thoughtful and hence authentic version of that faith tradition struggles to get past the simple but flawed version that is sometimes preached and believed.This has even produced books with titles like Know What You Believe. Well, obviously you simply cannot believe something that you do not know you believe. What the authors of books like that, and there are a great many of them are trying to do is get Protestants to read, think, ponder, puzzle, question and own their own faith. So the kinds of problems that some Saints face are much like what Roman Catholics and Protestants have faced. In addition, the charm of a very, very secular culture draws people away for faith in God in any form. Sociologists describe this as secularization.
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#15 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:01 PM

I'm not really suggesting that you guys need to "join up" and merge as one. I don't think that's possible. I just don't think all of the in fighting is a good thing for anyone....especially those who struggle. I was thinking more in terms of a cease fire.
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#16 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:03 PM

The above was posted before I read your last post, Dr. Midgley.
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#17 why me

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:04 PM

Sociologists describe this as secularization.


They can also call it secular relativism.
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Joseph Smith Quotes
... I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, and administering to the poor and dividing his substance, than the long smooth faced hypocrites. I don't want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them.
Words of Joseph Smith, p.204 (18 May 1843)


http://www.lds.org/e...tation?lang=eng

#18 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

Dehlin plays to those who are troubled who do not care to read long, as you say, dry academic stuff. They want snappy answers right now. FAIR provides that with its remarkably good wiki, and with its very productive AtA endeavor. Dehlin has prospered by savaging remarkably good LDS scholarship. He plays to those whose problems flow from--I hope this is not offensive--not interested at all in academic stuff. He actually takes advantage of what might be called an unfortunate anti-intellectual element found here and there in the Mormon culture. It starts with the idea that one is supposed to get one's testimony and then never really probe, examine, ponder, question, pry out of the scripures more than "it is true." This getting a testimony business is something like the confess Jesus and you have your seat locked up in heaven stuff that floats around the conservative Protestant world and that lead those folks into the same malaise that some of the Saints find themselves in. Among evangelical and even fundamentalist the more mature and thoughtful and hence authentic version of that faith tradition struggles to get past the simple but flawed version that is sometimes preached and believed.This has even produced books with titles like Know What You Believe. Well, obviously you simply cannot believe something that you do not know you believe. What the authors of books like that, and there are a great many of them are trying to do is get Protestants to read, think, ponder, puzzle, question and own their own faith. So the kinds of problems that some Saints face are much like what Roman Catholics and Protestants have faced. In addition, the charm of a very, very secular culture draws people away for faith in God in any form. Sociologists describe this as secularization.


Yes, I understand what you're saying. I am not anti-intellectual, really I am not.

I don't know if you have much exposure to those who struggle, but there seems to be a process (one that I have, experienced, myself)...and because John Dehlin has gone through this, he really, really understands it. That is his strength in helping those who struggle. He has a very deep empathy and understanding of it, through his own experiences.

Often, when a member is confronted with information they have never heard before, the first response is "it must be a lie". That's what I thought, when I first heard some of the things I learned about Joseph's polygamy. We are taught that anti-Mormons just blatantly lie about the church, which is why we shouldn't indulge them. What happens next is that we find out a lot of what they present is actually true. Then, shock and a sense of disorientation begins. Believe me, when you are in that mode, the last thing you want to do is read through some dry article that seems to convolute and talk all around the issue. You just want (and "need") answers, and you want them now. When you feel like you're not getting them, you sometimes go back to the people you "thought" were telling you lies, but now seem to be giving you the real truth. It can become a very confusing labyrinth of thought and reaction. It's depressing and scary...and very confusing. It can take a long time to sort through all of this...emotionally and intellectually.
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#19 cinepro

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:18 PM

I have never seen this "demonizing". I have seen John state very strongly that he believed LDS apologists were driving people out of the church, by making some of their articles way too personal. That's criticism (and it might even be somewhat valid), but it isn't anymore demonizing than this article written about him. I have seen some "real" demonizing of you and Dr. Peterson and others on the "other board". But, it's a message board and things are said by mostly anonymous people...some obviously very angry. No excuses, of course, but I don't think John should be held responsible for things that other people say.


With ten years and 12K+ posts in this forum, I hope I don't have to provide my bona fides when it comes to harping on apologists. I have certainly gone on record with my disenchantment with many, many apologetic arguments and publications.

That being said, I don't understand how it is possible for someone to be "driven out of the Church" by an apologist. Meaning, if that apologist had kept their mouth shut (and pen dry), the person would have otherwise remained "in the Church" (presumably a happy, tithe-paying, temple-going saint).

I can understand a person having concerns with polygamy (I do), The Book of Abraham (I do), or some other aspect of the Church (I do), and I can understand a person reading apologetic responses to those issues and finding them lacking in some way (I do), and then subsequently leaving the Church (I haven't, but I can see why someone would, and I'm not dead yet). But how can this be construed as "being driven out of the Church" by an apologist?

Or is something else being described? Is it not the argument or publication, but instead the manner or personality of the apologist or publication? Again, how is this possible? That would be like someone leaving the Church because they thought The Work and the Glory was a poorly written treacly mess. Would this person stop shopping at their favorite store just because one of the salesclerks was rude to another customer one time (and to take the analogy further, with the understanding that the other customer to which the clerk had been rude had been harshly attacking the store's reputation?)

Forget the apologists, there are actual Church leaders from Bishop to Prophet that have been absolute jerks and morons (no offense intended to any specific leader, living or dead, intended). From what I can tell, apologists are at best BYU employees (with at least one former Bishop in the ranks), but odds are they're not your Bishop. Most are a metaphorical voice in the wilderness, with one being a literal voice in the wilderness (well, was a literal voice in the wilderness. Thanks for ruining my joke Kerry.)

So I'm not even going to jump on the "show us how _______ has been mean!" bandwagon. I'll even give you the point (at least theoretically) that there are a whole bunch of sociopath apologists who defend the Church by bearing false witness and covering up their weak arguments with ad hominem attacks (and in the case of Meldrum, ad hominy attacks). Even with that admission, can someone explain the thought process of how that prevents someone from actively participating in their ward and believing the principles of the gospel?
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In spite of the world's arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of God's prophets.

The Flood and the Tower of Babel, by Donald W. Parry, assistant professor of Hebrew at BYU, Ensign, Jan 1998, 35

#20 Libs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:32 PM

In retrospect, I don't suppose any of that should matter, if we have a real testimony of the gospel, Cinepro.

But, I can kind of understand, if the first place someone looks for an answer, is an article that only seems to denigrate the author of a book written about it, and spends little time on the actual issue. I don't know for certain that has happened, but I think that's an example of what John Dehlin is probably talking about.

Edited by Libs, 01 March 2013 - 01:32 PM.

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