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lostindc

The State of Mormon Apologetics

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I think apologetics has changed somewhat. This was an apologetic site but no longer. It is more a discussion board. Apologetics seems to be more about social issues and causes these days. Not much hard hitting from the critics about history and authenticity. What more can be said about such topics relating to history and book of mormon authenticity? Also, the church is much more open these days. The critics used to be critical of the lds church for 'hiding' its history etc. Much more difficult to hit the church on such issues now.

Time moves on. And so does apologetics.

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Hasn't really been anything new to defend. Why relitigate past issues that were answered decades ago with little acknowledgement?

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6 hours ago, Daniel Peterson said:

FairMormon, Book of Mormon Central, and the Interpreter Foundation are all doing quite well.

As of last Friday, Interpreter has published at least one article every Friday for 315 weeks in a row.

We've started up a weekly radio program.  We're working on a major film project.  In September, we'll cosponsor a major lecture on the BYU campus to mark the newest volume in Royal Skousen's Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, with which we've helped.  And, last week, we issued our latest book:

https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/name-as-key-word/

We're neither dead nor invisible.

Hi, Dan. Nice to see you. 

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8 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

My personal preference is for defense of the faith and the saints, not some altered form thereof.

 

I think there are a lot of different approaches that could be considered faithful to the church.  I see many people dedicated to telling the truth who tell the uncomfortable historical warts and believe that this is an act of faithfulness. 

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10 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The Essays have been specifically explained as deliberately formulated to "inoculate" members against the depredations of the anti-Mormons.  So their composition was deliberately apologetic via telling the whole truth up front  Likewise, the Joseph Smith Papers Project includes extensive introductions which place the them in context -- leaving nothing out.  This again is a massive apologetic enterprise.  The anti-Mormons have, after all, always claimed that the Mormons were hiding their real history, which could include the details of polygamy, or of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. They can no longer make that false claim so easily as in the past.

I don't remember any discussion of the evils of anti-Mormons when the church released the essays.  Could you provide a reference to that, I've been following the events around the essays pretty closely. 

Also, I wouldn't characterize this at all the way you have here.  The Essays don't represent "telling the whole truth up front", that sounds like marketing hype.  The Essays and the JSP are all steps towards greater transparency, but there are many things still redacted by the church and the essays aren't even close to the whole picture on those topics.  There is a book being worked on that I've heard will be published later this year by the UoU press on the church Essays, I think it will be an interesting read and I'm looking forward to it. 

 

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15 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I think there are a lot of different approaches that could be considered faithful to the church.  I see many people dedicated to telling the truth who tell the uncomfortable historical warts and believe that this is an act of faithfulness. 

I get the feeling that some apologists feel that acknowledging the warts or approaching things nonliterally is a capitulation to the anti-Mormons and would constitute a denial of the faith. Sounds like you and I agree that things are not that black and white.

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8 hours ago, Exiled said:

How can the voice be independent if the voice is in alignment with the doctrine and position of the Church? Also, of course the church like any organization loves voices that agree with it. So, it doesn't seem remarkable that the church would "tolerate" an agreeable voice. "Tolerance" seems more along the lines of acceptance of a different or even opposing view.

Yep, exactly.  Independent means not being aligned with church hierarchy, great point. 

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5 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I get the feeling that some apologists feel that acknowledging the warts or approaching things nonliterally is a capitulation to the anti-Mormons and would constitute a denial of the faith. Sounds like you and I agree that things are not that black and white.

Exactly, I see people on both sides (pro and anti) that operate in a binary world view.  I often wonder if this binary thinking is part of the legacy of Mormonism, or if it exists just as acutely in other religious traditions.  I don't know...

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50 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I think there are a lot of different approaches that could be considered faithful to the church.  I see many people dedicated to telling the truth who tell the uncomfortable historical warts and believe that this is an act of faithfulness. 

Denying the authenticity of scripture is expressing an opinion, not telling “warts-and-all” truth. And I don’t concede that it amounts to being faithful. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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3 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Exactly, I see people on both sides (pro and anti) that operate in a binary world view.  I often wonder if this binary thinking is part of the legacy of Mormonism, or if it exists just as acutely in other religious traditions.  I don't know...

That's a common criticism of us apostates, that we're "black and white thinkers" who can't handle flaws in our church and its leaders. It's certainly not limited to Mormonism, let alone religion in general. We see it in politics all the time, that "our side" is practically perfect in every way, and the other side is evil and depraved. A couple of days after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, I caught a panel discussion on NPR about Obama's known smoking habit, hardly a newsworthy item, but whatever. It was surreal that they prefaced the discussion with a statement along the lines of "It's hard to imagine someone as great as Barack Obama having a flaw, but ..." Even if I were a Democrat, I would have cringed at that kind of thinking. These are people (some of whom smoke), not demigods. In the same way, my father considers every negative opinion about Donald Trump to be an attack on our country. It's bizarre, but it's very much human.

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3 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Denying the authenticity of scripture is not expressing an opinion, not telling “warts-and-all” truth. And I don’t concede that it amounts to being faithful. 

Depends on what you mean by "authenticity." That some people view the revealed word of God differently than others does not make them unfaithful.

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3 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Denying the authenticity of scripture is not expressing an opinion, not telling “warts-and-all” truth. And I don’t concede that it amounts to being faithful. 

How do you define authenticity?   Historicity and authenticity are not synonyms. 

I exist and I have a different approach to what it means to be faithful, therefore my point that there are different approaches is proven true in our message exchange. 

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4 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Depends on what you mean by "authenticity." That some people view the revealed word of God differently than others does not make them unfaithful.

Jinx!   :lol:  Great minds think alike. 

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20 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Yep, exactly.  Independent means not being aligned with church hierarchy, great point. 

It’s a lousy point. As I said, it amounts to rank prejudice. 

Independent merely means it’s not affiliated with the Church. 

If, on my own, I end up agreeing with you, does that mean I’m dependent on you? That’s absurd. 

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8 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

That's a common criticism of us apostates, that we're "black and white thinkers" who can't handle flaws in our church and its leaders. It's certainly not limited to Mormonism, let alone religion in general. We see it in politics all the time, that "our side" is practically perfect in every way, and the other side is evil and depraved. A couple of days after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, I caught a panel discussion on NPR about Obama's known smoking habit, hardly a newsworthy item, but whatever. It was surreal that they prefaced the discussion with a statement along the lines of "It's hard to imagine someone as great as Barack Obama having a flaw, but ..." Even if I were a Democrat, I would have cringed at that kind of thinking. These are people (some of whom smoke), not demigods. In the same way, my father considers every negative opinion about Donald Trump to be an attack on our country. It's bizarre, but it's very much human.

I agree, and honestly its somewhat unfair to call people binary thinkers because everyone is a little more nuanced than they are often given credit for.  I really appreciate people that are trying to critique both sides in thoughtful ways.  I think tribalism is a huge problem in our public discourse.  There are some very thoughtful people that don't fall along normal party lines with respect to the traditional right and left paradigms. 

I just recently read Amy Chua's book, Political Tribes, and it was excellent on this subject.  Also Jonathan Haight's The Righteous Mind is a must read on this topic as well.  I like listening to some of Sam Harris's content as well. 

https://www.amazon.com/Political-Tribes-Group-Instinct-Nations/dp/0399562850/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533824762&sr=8-1&keywords=amy+chua+political+tribes

https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533824866&sr=1-1&keywords=a+righteous+mind

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7 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

How do you define authenticity?   Historicity and authenticity are not synonyms. 

I exist and I have a different approach to what it means to be faithful, therefore my point that there are different approaches is proven true in our message exchange. 

Aaurhenticity means that what the book of scripture purports is true. If it’s a work of fiction purporting to be an actual ancient record, it is not authentic. 

If you deny what the Church teaches, you are, by definition, not faithful to it. 

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4 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

It’s a lousy point. As I said, it amounts to rank prejudice. 

Independent merely means it’s not affiliated with the Church. 

If, on my own, I end up agreeing with you, does that mean I’m dependent on you? That’s absurd. 

Aren't you a member of the press by profession?  Surely you understand the important role an independent press plays in the history of our country as a check and balance against political abuses. 

By definition independence means that the interests aren't always aligned.  Of course there will be some times where the independent voice's interests do align, and times when it doesn't.  That's what makes it independent.  Seems pretty clear to me. 

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15 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Jinx!   :lol:  Great minds think alike. 

No, apostates think alike.  :lol:

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9 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Aaurhenticity means that what the book of scripture purports is true. If it’s a work of fiction purporting to be an actual ancient record, it is not authentic. 

If you deny what the Church teaches, you are, by definition, not faithful to it. 

Are you saying then if one, say, denies the flood story as an authentic event that occurred in history yet holds those parts of the OT as scripture that one is not being faithful?  It's unfaithful to read the creation story as metaphor?  It's unfaithful to think Job wasn't swallowed by a big fish?  

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5 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Aaurhenticity means that what the book of scripture purports is true. If it’s a work of fiction purporting to be an actual ancient record, it is not authentic. 

If you deny what the Church teaches, you are, by definition, not faithful to it. 

Is the internet authentic.  Is the collection of writings at your local library branch authentic.  What about the Deseret News over the years, is it authentic.   The scriptures are a collection of the writings of multiple authors over more than a thousand years containing multiple different genre's of writing coming from multiple cultures and languages.  Its an amalgamation. 

As for denying "what the Church teaches".  Is the church a monolith?  There isn't even a temple recommend question to address your perspective and that's the closest thing we can get to a litmus test of sorts in the church, maybe the articles of faith, but they don't address historicity either. 

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7 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t accept your implicit assumption that an entity must conflict with or be hostile to the Church to be regarded as independent of it. That strikes me as rank prejudice, in fact. 

Really? Prejudice? How so? I'm merely pointing out a misuse of a word. Tolerance is being willing to allow opinions or behavior that one doesn't necessarily agree with. So, the church doesn't have to "tolerate" those that align themselves with the doctrine or position of the church.

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2 hours ago, Avatar4321 said:

Hasn't really been anything new to defend. Why relitigate past issues that were answered decades ago with little acknowledgement?

Really? What do you mean by "with little acknowledgement?" 

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47 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Exactly, I see people on both sides (pro and anti) that operate in a binary world view.  I often wonder if this binary thinking is part of the legacy of Mormonism, or if it exists just as acutely in other religious traditions.  I don't know...

Gordon B. Hinckley famously said, "Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."

I don't think very many churches force the issue that way. With most churches, I think, you are with a group of people with similar beliefs where you find community and inspiration. Of course some preachers will make C.S. Lewis's argument that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. But even if a religion wants you to look at Jesus' claims in a black-and-white way, most don't ask for the loyalty to the institution and to the hierarchy in the way that Mormonism does.

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

I get the feeling that some apologists feel that acknowledging the warts or approaching things nonliterally is a capitulation to the anti-Mormons and would constitute a denial of the faith. Sounds like you and I agree that things are not that black and white.

Regarding the Book of Mormon as a work of fiction cooked up by Joseph Smith is indeed a capitulation to unbelievers. I can scarcely think of a more apt example. 

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