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By Five Solas
On another thread an LDS poster alleged critics of the LDS Church endlessly repeat “same old claims” and disregard evidence. He cited Jeremy Runnells as an example to demonstrate critics lack originality and any thoughtfulness. He went on to liken critics of the LDS Church to “zombies.”
In the face of my challenge, he enjoyed significant support from fellow LDS and many likes/rep points were given. So I thought it would be worth a poll to the broader audience here. How do you feel about critics? Are they like zombies and the only surefire way to neutralize them by complete physical destruction of their brains? Or might they serve an occasional useful purpose (besides kindling)? Have a go & don’t hold back. We critics know how some of you feel already.
She appears composed, so she is, I suppose
Who can really tell?
She shows no emotion at all
Stares into space like a dead china doll
--Elliott Smith, "Waltz #2"
Pretty good article on how to handle critics and protesters:
"The Internet is an easy target for pajama-clad critics trolling the sour waters of discontent to hook the curious. While faithful members of the LDS Church sometimes feel like punching bags, punching back only leads to black eyes. What we need is not more doctrinal ammunition in the war of words, but more kindness from the wellspring of wisdom. When sharing our beliefs, civility should not depend on winning or losing an argument. We ensure civility when our character is one of a “meek and lowly...heart” (Doctrine and Covenants 32:1). We should share our beliefs in faith with respect for opposing viewpoints, including the faith to keep silent when emotion says otherwise. Honest discussion over differences in faith can be healthy, but when civility bleeds away, raised voices are an anemic substitute for substance. Engaging in angry debate over matters of faith often leaves the combatants spiritually bruised and more deeply entrenched in the rightness of their cause." http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865638627/Friday-Minute-What-to-do-when-critics-howl-around-general-conference.html
I found a comic I was looking for earlier today when someone was using the old line "I was only being honest" to justify some pointed comments. That line, when used to justify a lack of civility has always bothered me. I'm not feigning innocence. Goodness knows I've shared my quota of snarkyness...
I share it here without further comment.
Thought some of you would be interested in this site. It has been claimed to be run by Dennis Packard, professor of Philosophy at BYU. Watched one video and it all seems to be geared towards helping LDS deal will difficult questions. Several vids on the BoA issue which I have not watched yet.
It is starting to cause a stir on the usual antiMormon sites. Note that it does not have the usual disclaimer about not being an affiliated with the Church etc. nor does it have the official stamp of the Church. There seems to have been a lot of work put into making the videos; the narratives, etc.
It's actually perhaps not so new as the copyright date is 2010.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. The battle for hearts and minds on the subject of the restored gospel is being stoked up by the Romney thing - and I believe that it is being increasingly played out in the comments sections of articles posted in online media.
I was horrified when I read the comments section on a recent CNN article about the new Temple In Kansas. The article itself was positive and quite fair. However I had never before seen anything quite like the comments section. There were over 3000 comments (50 pages), and these consisted almost entirely of an unmitigated flood and tirade of pure abuse and hatred against the church and the teachings of the restored gospel.
At least with Romney based articles, fair minded readers can be persuaded that bashing candidates for not being “true” Christians is unacceptable and rather bigoted. (Goodness knows what will happen if we ever get a muslim presidential candidate – but thats not the point Im making here). But because the subject CNN article was about Temples (and thus church doctrine), CNN had no option but to publish the comments . . on the basis that “everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
The Mormon Voices site invites members to help defend the church online in public forums by contributing to the comments sections. But it is SO SO important to do it in the correct, controlled, and effective way – which I would suggest is best done as follows
I believe that the very best method is to completely avoid all the esoteric, cerebral and even doctrinal stuff (very interesting though it may be) . . and just say something very simple, very short, completely factual and very personal. When I do that, I find our “enemies” are entirely unable to dispute or argue with what I have said.
On the subject of “enemies” - “We encourage all our members to resolutely refuse to become anti-anti-Mormon,” Marvin J Ashton (Ensign, Nov. 1992, p. 63). We need to speak the truth in love, and not fall into the trap of participating in contention or feeling that we need to respond to every challenge.
For example - here is a general purpose "template" response that I often use - of course edited and adapted as necessary . . .
"I have been a member of the "Mormon" church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in the UK for about 40years now. I honestly don't know of any other church that encourages and promotes among its members such a serious and detailed study of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ FROM THE BIBLE. Or of any other church that so strongly emphasizes His divinity. The vast majority of Mormons simply would not be able to recognize themselves at all in some of the previous comments that have been made. The real fact is that at the core of Mormonism is a rather plain, low church Christianity, with decaffeinated adherents who go about their lives paying their taxes, loving their families, serving in their communities, helping the poor, and making mistakes along the way."
(That last sentence BTW has been "borrowed" from a response to an unfavourable TV program by Mike Otterson in the public affairs dept.)
My point is that a response of this type disarms them leaves them absolutely no wriggle room to challenge or dispute anything that you have said. They simply cant argue with what you have experienced personally. (And Im not talking here about our formal testimonies) It also closes the door on the spirit of contention, which they thrive on. Sadly some will then just revert to name calling - but any reasonable person then reading a such a comments section will then easily see them for what they are.
As another example, you might post something like “I have been an actively involved member of the LDS church for x years. In all of that time I have never seen any black or gay visitor or member (and yes we do have them) treated or even talked about with anything less than full respect and consideration”
Some excellent guidelines and helps on responding in an effective way can be found at the Mormon Voices site. I believe that dignified, respectful, factual, personal, short and simple (for simple people to understand) is definitely the best way to go. Like the old sales guideline K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) And it goes without saying that name calling has to be a no-no
In fact – I now rather cringe when I see members engaging in debate about church doctrines and practices in comments sections. There is surely a more excellent way.