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Elder Oaks Settles The Matter Of The History Presented


mms

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When I first posted here, I was attacked ny several. There were some who commented that I was blaming the Church when I should have been blaming myself for not being familiar with the non-faith-promoting history by which I have recently been blindsided.

I was also attacked for stating that I had accepted the counsel of the Church to avoid non-faith-promoting materials of all kinds, as my mission president had likened them to "spiritual pornography."

I was pleased to see Elder Oaks settle the matter as far as responsibility for Church members not being aware of non-faith-promoting history. He stated, in his PBS interview,

"[W]eâ??re emerging from a period of history writing within the Church [of] adoring history that doesnâ??t deal with anything thatâ??s unfavorable, and weâ??re coming into a period of â??warts and allâ? kind of history. Perhaps our writing of history is lagging behind the times, but I believe that there is purpose in all these things â?? there may have been a time when Church members could not have been as well prepared for that kind of historical writing as they may be now."

(My emphasis.)

Thus, those on this board who continue to attack new doubters on the basis that "you should have known," should think carefully about Elder Oaks' striking admission here. He said it more plainly than ever. he admitted that "within the Church" only "adoring history that doesn't deal with anything that's unfavorable" has been presented. Period.

Additionally, in this month's New Era (July), those who are presented with anti-Mormon materials are advised to say that they would rather read the scriptures than the materials. They are also advised to

"Just tell your friend the truth, that you find that literature disturbing. If he or she is a true friend, he or she will have no problem with it. Stick with your feeling of not wanting to read it. If you do read it, it could open up a window of doubt. There are plenty of good books (like True to the Faith) that have been written through inspiration. Pick up one of those so that you may know how to respond to questions."

(My emphasis.)

So it appears that those who are blindsided by "unfavorable . . . warts and all" history are likely among those who were the most obedient -- having determined to learn Church history from writings within the Church and having accepted counsel of official Church publications regarding doubt-promoting materials.

Please consider Elder Oaks' admission and the Church's continued counsel before attacking the next doubter that comes along having been hit with the "warts and all" history for the first time. Indeed, it may be that he or she was simply more obedient and faithful than you were regarding these matters.

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When I first posted here, I was attacked ny several. There were some who commented that I was blaming the Church when I should have been blaming myself for not being familiar with the non-faith-promoting history by which I have recently been blindsided.

I was also attacked for stating that I had accepted the counsel of the Church to avoid non-faith-promoting materials of all kinds, as my mission president had likened them to "spiritual pornography."

I was pleased to see Elder Oaks settle the matter as far as responsibility for Church members not being aware of non-faith-promoting history. He stated, in his PBS interview,

"[W]eâ??re emerging from a period of history writing within the Church [of] adoring history that doesnâ??t deal with anything thatâ??s unfavorable, and weâ??re coming into a period of â??warts and allâ? kind of history. Perhaps our writing of history is lagging behind the times, but I believe that there is purpose in all these things â?? there may have been a time when Church members could not have been as well prepared for that kind of historical writing as they may be now."

(My emphasis.)

Thus, those on this board who continue to attack new doubters on the basis that "you should have known," should think carefully about Elder Oaks' striking admission here. He said it more plainly than ever. he admitted that "within the Church" only "adoring history that doesn't deal with anything that's unfavorable" has been presented. Period.

Additionally, in this month's New Era (July), those who are presented with anti-Mormon materials are advised to say that they would rather read the scriptures than the materials. They are also advised to

"Just tell your friend the truth, that you find that literature disturbing. If he or she is a true friend, he or she will have no problem with it. Stick with your feeling of not wanting to read it. If you do read it, it could open up a window of doubt. There are plenty of good books (like True to the Faith) that have been written through inspiration. Pick up one of those so that you may know how to respond to questions."

(My emphasis.)

So it appears that those who are blindsided by "unfavorable . . . warts and all" history are likely among those who were the most obedient -- having determined to learn Church history from writings within the Church and having accepted counsel of official Church publications regarding doubt-promoting materials.

Please consider Elder Oaks' admission and the Church's continued counsel before attacking the next doubter that comes along having been hit with the "warts and all" history for the first time. Indeed, it may be that he or she was simply more obedient and faithful than you were regarding these matters.

Frankly, I don't find your spin on the matter convincing. You have taken an isolated comment out of context and read all sorts of extra things into it. You are still attempting to duck reponsibility. It is not the Church's calling or mission to teach history. Your developing your talents is still your responsibility, whether the Church emphasizes faith-promoting history or the warts-and-all variety.

I also think that your assumptions about who is the "most obedient" to be shallow, self-serving and prideful- the kind of pride that leads to a brittle, absolutist, "all-or-nothing" testimony.

That kind of rigid fervor- the stark black-and-white of fanaticism is something I've observed in quite a few former Mormons- including the infamous Tal Bachman.

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I'm not sure what Elder Oaks is referring to as far as historical sources in Mormonism. I know things have adapted over time; I believe Leonard Arrington and Davis Bitton played a role in the newer approaches to history.

I am just beginning to read the Comprehensive History of the Church by B.H. Roberts, who in the introduction itself says the work contains information about people with "like passions as ourselves," thus foibles etc. would not be glossed over, if the writer found any. As I am just beginning it is hard to tell if B.H. stayed true to that or not; I'll keep you posted if I remember.

At any rate, as someone else pointed out, historical work seems to be automatically dubious today if it is not presented from the view of an antagonist. The questioning of authority fluctuates and we seem to be on the end of the puduluum where everyone must be lying or have an ulterior motive. It's an interesting time to investogate history in general, I figure.

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As usual, Selek, most of your comment is an attack on me, personally. I will ignore those and simply address this statement:

You have taken an isolated comment out of context and read all sorts of extra things into it.

First, I think the statement is very straight forward and cannot be "spun" as it makes a clear and conclusive statement that the Church has avoided "anything" that is "unfavorable" and has presented an "adoring" history. What more context is necessary. However, to appease your weak request, here is a little more context.

Elder Oaks stated:

"Itâ??s an old problem, the extent to which official histories, whatever they are, or semi-official histories, get into things that are shadowy or less well-known or whatever. Thatâ??s an old problem in Mormonism â?? a feeling of members that they shouldnâ??t have been surprised by the fact that this or that happened, they shouldâ??ve been alerted to it. I have felt that throughout my life.

There are several different elements of that. One element is that weâ??re emerging from a period of history writing within the Church [of] adoring history that doesnâ??t deal with anything thatâ??s unfavorable, and weâ??re coming into a period of â??warts and allâ? kind of history. Perhaps our writing of history is lagging behind the times, but I believe that there is purpose in all these things â?? there may have been a time when Church members could not have been as well prepared for that kind of historical writing as they may be now.

On the other hand, there are constraints on trying to reveal everything. You donâ??t want to be getting into and creating doubts that didnâ??t exist in the first place. And what is plenty of history for one person is inadequate for another, and we have a large church, and thatâ??s a big problem. And another problem is there are a lot of things that the Church has written about that the members havenâ??t read. And the Sunday School teacher that gives â??Brother Jonesâ? his understanding of Church history may be inadequately informed and may not reveal something which the Church has published. Itâ??s in the history written for college or Institute students, sources written for quite mature students, but not every Sunday School teacher that introduces people to a history is familiar with that. And so there is no way to avoid this criticism. The best I can say is that weâ??re moving with the times, weâ??re getting more and more forthright, but we will never satisfy every complaint along that line and probably shouldnâ??t."

Note his statement that:

"Thatâ??s an old problem in Mormonism â?? a feeling of members that they shouldnâ??t have been surprised by the fact that this or that happened, they shouldâ??ve been alerted to it. I have felt that throughout my life."

Yes, even he has felt that the Church should have alerted members before they were "surprise[d]" by non-faith-promoting materials.

Question for the board: Has Selek ever admitted he was wrong about something? Here, a member of the Twelve clearly disagrees with him and all he can do is use the tired claim that it is "spin" and "out of context."

(He initially admitted that he may have been wrong about labeling me an anti-Mormon troll when I first posted, but then took that back and stated that he was right about me being a "troll" and "anti" blah blah blah.)

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"Thatâ??s an old problem in Mormonism â?? a feeling of members that they shouldnâ??t have been surprised by the fact that this or that happened, they shouldâ??ve been alerted to it. I have felt that throughout my life."

mms, parse the sentence above. Elder Oaks said that the problem was the feeling, not the Church's approach to history. He said the problem was that they felt they should have been alerted, not that they weren't alerted.

No where in the above quotes did he state that he felt the Church should have alerted members- that's your spin and interpretation.

Look further here:

On the other hand, there are constraints on trying to reveal everything. You donâ??t want to be getting into and creating doubts that didnâ??t exist in the first place. And what is plenty of history for one person is inadequate for another, and we have a large church, and thatâ??s a big problem. And another problem is there are a lot of things that the Church has written about that the members havenâ??t read. And the Sunday School teacher that gives â??Brother Jonesâ? his understanding of Church history may be inadequately informed and may not reveal something which the Church has published. Itâ??s in the history written for college or Institute students, sources written for quite mature students, but not every Sunday School teacher that introduces people to a history is familiar with that. And so there is no way to avoid this criticism. The best I can say is that weâ??re moving with the times, weâ??re getting more and more forthright, but we will never satisfy every complaint along that line and probably shouldnâ??t."

Clearly, Oaks is placing a large chunk of the blame on members who failed to adequately inform themselves.

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Look further here:

Clearly, Oaks is placing a large chunk of the blame on members who failed to adequately inform themselves.

I have all of the institute manuals and they also present an "adoring" history. Do you disagree? Can you point, in these manuals, to where the difficult (possibly doubt-promoting) issues are addressed? And if they are not found here, what do you think Elder Oaks was talking about in the quote?

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I have all of the institute manuals and they also present an "adoring" history. Do you disagree? Can you point, in these manuals, to where the difficult (possibly doubt-promoting) issues are addressed? And if they are not found here, what do you think Elder Oaks was talking about in the quote?

So now Elder Oaks disagrees with you and you resort to obtuse questions already answered above. Considering how necessary Oaks' credibility is in supporting your position above, I find it ironic that you wish to abandon him now!

Mote, meet beam.

My position on this is nearly identical to Sometime Saint's:

The writing of "history" has gone through the same cycle over and over again. "warts and all renditions" then back to "rose colored glasses", and back again.

It has nothing at all to do with the truthfulness of the Gospel, or the Restored Church.

Again, despite your attempt to spin Elder Oak's comments into an idictment of the Church, he clearly places a large portion of the blame on lazy, slothful members who expect to be led in all things.

Your attempt to twist his commentary on the difficulty of providing a proper balance between faith-promoting and doubt-inducing interpretations of history, and on the difficulty of accomodating the needs of all Saints with a one-size-fits-all curriculum is what I was referring to earlier as spin and distortion.

For all your hyperbole about being attacked, you have yet to answer the basic charge- Elder Oaks comments do not say what you wish them to. Your interpretation is not supported by the texts you offer.

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Faithful Latter-day Saints clearly began doing "warts and all" history at least with Leonard Arrington's Great Basin Kingdom (1958). Elder Oaks's own Carthage Conspiracy (1979), written with Marvin Hill, is an important example of the more frank and professional approach that has long prevailed among believing Mormon historians like Thomas Alexander, Jill Derr, James Allen, Davis Bitton, Richard Bushman, Milton Backman, Grant Underwood, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Paul Peterson, Richard Bennett, Glen Leonard, Dean Jessee, Richard Lloyd Anderson, and etc., and etc.

There's long been plenty of good historical writing out there, in a host of places. That many people don't read it is the fault of neither the Church nor the historians who've been producing it for decades.

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Faithful Latter-day Saints clearly began doing "warts and all" history at least with Leonard Arrington's Great Basin Kingdom (1958). Elder Oaks's own Carthage Conspiracy (1979), written with Marvin Hill, is an important example of the more frank and professional approach that has long prevailed among believing Mormon historians like Thomas Alexander, Jill Derr, James Allen, Davis Bitton, Richard Bushman, Milton Backman, Grant Underwood, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Paul Peterson, Richard Bennett, Glen Leonard, Dean Jessee, Richard Lloyd Anderson, and etc., and etc.

There's long been plenty of good historical writing out there, in a host of places. That many people don't read it is the fault of neither the Church nor the historians who've been producing it for decades.

So, it seems acknowledged not only by Elder Oaks, but by the "defenders" here that those who did not go outside of the Church's writing of its history are justified in only being familiar with the "adoring" history that does not deal with "anything unfavorable."

Can we agree on this?

Now, if I find statements from official Church publications discouraging one from looking to materials outside of the Church publications for information re the Church, will we then agree that if one simply listened to the counsel of Church leaders, one would not be familiar with the "warts and all"?

Selek, do you have those references to the institute manuals, yet, or are you going to make it appear as if Elder Oaks was not being forthright. I mean, you have suggested that he was stating that the difficult issues were addressed in the institute manuals, right?

Got to work, now, but will be interested in reading responses later.

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Now, if I find statements from official Church publications discouraging one from looking to materials outside of the Church publications for information re the Church, will we then agree that if one simply listened to the counsel of Church leaders, one would not be familiar with the "warts and all"?

I find it very unlikely that Dallin Oaks, co-author of Carthage Conspiracy (University of Illinois Press) and founding member of the editorial board of Dialogue, ever advocated restricting one's reading on Mormon topics to materials officially published by the Church, or that, had the Brethren felt that he was flagrantly violating such an important principle, he would ever have been called to the Twelve.

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So, it seems acknowledged not only by Elder Oaks, but by the "defenders" here that those who did not go outside of the Church's writing of its history are justified in only being familiar with the "adoring" history that does not deal with "anything unfavorable."

I'll acknowledge that Elder Oaks was using hyperbole when he used the word "anything"; otherwise, how come Joseph Fielding Smith talks about plural marriage and Mountain Meadows in his Church-published "Essentials of Church History"? I could go on.

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So, it seems acknowledged not only by Elder Oaks, but by the "defenders" here that those who did not go outside of the Church's writing of its history are justified in only being familiar with the "adoring" history that does not deal with "anything unfavorable."

Can we agree on this?

No, we cannot. We are each responsible for our spiritual and intellectual growth- not the Church. That's the basic flaw holding up the pants of your strawman argument. Nothing that the Church publishes or fails to publish absolves you or me of our responsibility to grow and to learn. We each will answer for what we did with the talents we were given. You cannot blame me, the Church, your mommy, or your highschool drama coach for what you become- you and you alone are responsible.

Now, if I find statements from official Church publications discouraging one from looking to materials outside of the Church publications for information re the Church, will we then agree that if one simply listened to the counsel of Church leaders, one would not be familiar with the "warts and all"?

I'd be very interested in seeing such a blanket restriction- even in suggestion form. The Church has counseled us to avoid anti-Mormon publications and apostate propoganda, but I've never seen (and I beleive you'd be hard-pressed to find) a statement discouraging members from "looking to materials outside of the Church publications".

Selek, do you have those references to the institute manuals, yet, or are you going to make it appear as if Elder Oaks was not being forthright. I mean, you have suggested that he was stating that the difficult issues were addressed in the institute manuals, right?

I quoted him, you quoted him. It's there in black and white.

I don't think any honest reader would assume that Elder Oaks is the one being disingenuous, especially considering that you've yet to answer the basic flaws in your earlier assertions.

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Faithful Latter-day Saints clearly began doing "warts and all" history at least with Leonard Arrington's Great Basin Kingdom (1958). Elder Oaks's own Carthage Conspiracy (1979), written with Marvin Hill, is an important example of the more frank and professional approach that has long prevailed among believing Mormon historians like Thomas Alexander, Jill Derr, James Allen, Davis Bitton, Richard Bushman, Milton Backman, Grant Underwood, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Paul Peterson, Richard Bennett, Glen Leonard, Dean Jessee, Richard Lloyd Anderson, and etc., and etc.

There's long been plenty of good historical writing out there, in a host of places. That many people don't read it is the fault of neither the Church nor the historians who've been producing it for decades.

In theory, and perhaps on a message board such as this one, this response sounds good and is probably very factual. But as I have personally experienced and withnessed within my own family, that there is a huge difference in this statment and the application of both culture and directive within the missionary function of the Lds Church. I had watched, witnessed and even participated in the missionary discussions that were designed around a "six week schedule to baptism" (and sooner was desired)! I experienced the missionaries and watched fellow members avoid or even discourage discussion or investigation into many areas that mms and perhaps Oaks were refering to that cause second thoughts amongst investigators and even members today. And one only needs to go to the official Lds Church website to find little if nothing said with respect to these historical issues of challenge. I am not sure, but I would even question which one of the publications of authors you list above would be considered official by the Lds Church, or even published with an "official" seal of approval or endorsement from the Lds Church. There is clearly a greater emphasis to "baptize quickly" and then deal with these issues later (I believe is was explained to me as a "milk before meat" approach.). But I think reasonable, itelligent, or even spritually cautious people would rather base a decision on knowing all relevant information or history up front so it can manifest within and assist in making a well informed decision from the heart, soul and intellect (IMHO of course).

So while you may be correct that some information relative to these "histories" has been published by members of the Lds Church, I could not conclude that it is endorsed by the Lds Church or if the Church program for missionary work even encourages the "up front" discussion of such issues. Where, what I have experienced, the rush to baptism is more important than a thourough understanding of the history, I think your response, while factual, is not really applicable. However, if the Lds Church approach to baptism were, say, a much more thorough approach of time and education such as the 6-9 month approach of the Catholic church, I think your statement would have much more application.

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I would even question which one of the publications of authors you list above would be considered official by the Lds Church, or even published with an "official" seal of approval or endorsement from the Lds Church.

I don't think any of them were.

The Church isn't, and shouldn't be, a floating graduate seminar in Mormon historiography.

I understand that many people might prefer the 6-9 month process of catechetics followed by the Catholic Church. However they may feel, though, a rather quick process of conversion and commitment is plainly more biblical. Jesus said to the fishermen on the shores of Galilee "Come, follow me!" He didn't say, "Please attend three academic quarters of our course in theology, historiography, and scriptural exegesis." You can criticize the Mormon approach, but you can't say, in this regard, that it's unbiblical.

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When I first posted here, I was attacked ny several. There were some who commented that I was blaming the Church when I should have been blaming myself for not being familiar with the non-faith-promoting history by which I have recently been blindsided.

I was also attacked for stating that I had accepted the counsel of the Church to avoid non-faith-promoting materials of all kinds, as my mission president had likened them to "spiritual pornography."

"[W]eâ??re emerging from a period of history writing within the Church [of] adoring history that doesnâ??t deal with anything thatâ??s unfavorable, and weâ??re coming into a period of â??warts and allâ? kind of history. Perhaps our writing of history is lagging behind the times, but I believe that there is purpose in all these things â?? there may have been a time when Church members could not have been as well prepared for that kind of historical writing as they may be now."

(My emphasis.)

Thus, those on this board who continue to attack new doubters on the basis that "you should have known," should think carefully about Elder Oaks' striking admission here. He said it more plainly than ever. he admitted that "within the Church" only "adoring history that doesn't deal with anything that's unfavorable" has been presented. Period.

who are blindsided by "unfavorable . . . warts and all" history are likely among those who were the most obedient -- having determined to learn Church history from writings within the Church and having accepted counsel of official Church publications regarding doubt-promoting materials.

Please consider Elder Oaks' admission and the Church's continued counsel before attacking the next doubter that comes along having been hit with the "warts and all" history for the first time. Indeed, it may be that he or she was simply more obedient and faithful than you were regarding these matters.

I still disagree with you. I know all about the different reason to doubt that occured in the history of the church, and I still know it is true. You have to accept the fact that whether you feel lied to or not, you are responsible for your own testimony, nobody else is responsible for it. Regardless of whatever happened, if you don't receive revelation from God, it's nobody's doing but your own.

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In theory, and perhaps on a message board such as this one, this response sounds good and is probably very factual. But as I have personally experienced and withnessed within my own family, that there is a huge difference in this statment and the application of both culture and directive within the missionary function of the Lds Church. I had watched, witnessed and even participated in the missionary discussions that were designed around a "six week schedule to baptism" (and sooner was desired)! I experienced the missionaries and watched fellow members avoid or even discourage discussion or investigation into many areas that mms and perhaps Oaks were refering to that cause second thoughts amongst investigators and even members today. And one only needs to go to the official Lds Church website to find little if nothing said with respect to these historical issues of challenge. I am not sure, but I would even question which one of the publications of authors you list above would be considered official by the Lds Church, or even published with an "official" seal of approval or endorsement from the Lds Church. There is clearly a greater emphasis to "baptize quickly" and then deal with these issues later (I believe is was explained to me as a "milk before meat" approach.). But I think reasonable, itelligent, or even spritually cautious people would rather base a decision on knowing all relevant information or history up front so it can manifest within and assist in making a well informed decision from the heart, soul and intellect (IMHO of course).

So while you may be correct that some information relative to these "histories" has been published by members of the Lds Church, I could not conclude that it is endorsed by the Lds Church or if the Church program for missionary work even encourages the "up front" discussion of such issues. Where, what I have experienced, the rush to baptism is more important than a thourough understanding of the history, I think your response, while factual, is not really applicable. However, if the Lds Church approach to baptism were, say, a much more thorough approach of time and education such as the 6-9 month approach of the Catholic church, I think your statement would have much more application.

First, the missionaries are called to preach the gospel of repentance and avoid long wrangling discussions over every point of doctrine. As a missionary, when an investigator had a difficult question arise that couldn't quickly be addressed I would refer said investigator to other sources and encourage them to find answers as well, meanwhile to focus on the basics. Truly, the basics are enough to keep us busy for a long, long time.

If you read the Book of Mormon you won't find many instances of intellectual over spiritual conversion. Learning the gospel takes years and years; the quickest way being to learn it through the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Missionaries have seen, time and time again, good people slip through the cracks on extremely minor doctrinal or historicasls issues, and their hesitation to delve into such issues can be due to fear, lack of knowledge, or many other things.

The fact is, you either feel inspiration from God about the gospel being true or you don't. Focusing on the negative is negative; if you want to sow seeds of doubt into your spiritual garden you are free to do so. Sometimes they are instructive, and end up making us focus on our garden even more than before, strengthening it in the long run.

The cadence of this discussion seems to be that of argument, maybe a sense of betrayal or bitterness. These aren't the frutis of the spirit, and everyone ought to examine themselves to make sure they are cultivating that spirit in their investigations.

DCP- What think ye of B.H. Roberts as historian; namely, in his Comprehensive History of the Church?

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my thoughts:

1)I think that anyone that continues in the church and takes courses after high school and develops critical thinking skills will eventually read things that may bring a little dispair, but just like weight training and tearing down tissue the muscle grows back stronger.

2)There are things about life, justice, philosphy, religion that I would never ask my mom about. The church is real important to her and the LDS church is like a magical kingdom...I don't want to disturb that.

3) a lot of how you get, look at or handle information is also scripted by your family. I'm forty-five and realizing how little I know, likely less than .00000000000000000001 of all the information in languages, physics, math ect. and maybe worse, the zeros could go on for a long time. Maybe the reason the church sugarcoats things is that those things are not even known by most members of the church. If you gave essay tests on each chapter of your institute manuals to active members of the church you would likely be amazed at how little each person knows.

4) When I was in my teenage years, seminary was at 6:00am. We did scripture chase of certain sciptures that reenforced our faith. Personally, an extra hour of sleep would have been better for me since teenagers need their sleep and to be tired in public school is not good. I also look back and don't like the way they taught seminary. It would have been better to learn the good and also issues that cause concern like the book of Joshua.

the scripture - no man taketh this honor unto himself except he that was called of God as was arron. You shouldn't have to wait for a class in a public university to hear another side or other events that took place when the Lord's chosen people went back into Canan and other things reported about aaron...my guess why? maybe fewer missionaries.

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I don't think any of them were.

The Church isn't, and shouldn't be, a floating graduate seminar in Mormon historiography.

I understand that many people might prefer the 6-9 month process of catechetics followed by the Catholic Church. However they may feel, though, a rather quick process of conversion and commitment is plainly more biblical. Jesus said to the fishermen on the shores of Galilee "Come, follow me!" He didn't say, "Please attend three academic quarters of our course in theology, historiography, and scriptural exegesis." You can criticize the Mormon approach, but you can't say, in this regard, that it's unbiblical.

I probably would disagree on the historiograhpy aspect of your statement. The reason would be that the Lds Church makes an incredible claim with respect to the record of history contained in the BOM. A claim for which I, and probably most scholars and or academians, find little to no credible and convincing evdidence for such a claim of history. Furthermore, the Lds Church claims this book to be Christ's restored gospel. ANd finally, Joseph Smith claimed to be the one to find its origins of record and translated it. All this some 2000 years after the facts. All of this with absolutely no provenance of documents nor archaeology to support this claimed history. Accordingly, I think it is not only wise to investigate such claims, but (as you seem to prefer) called for in our biblical instructions (2 Thessolosians: "Prove all things, hold fast that wich is good").

I also believe there is a huge difference in being asked to "follow Christ" than there is to follow Joseph Smith. ANd while you may be right that Christ never required three academic quarters...etc (although you and I don't know for sure!!), I am also not aware that He said a six week missionary discussion was adequate either!!! He did ask us to be aware of false teachings and false prophets. So heeding to His counsel may take a little more than less time.

But I recognize all will have different conclusions. My point just went to your statement addressing the "prior knowledge" aspect of challenging Lds hisorical issues before making a decision. I can find no evidence within the Lds culture to suggest these issues are offered, openly taught, or even encouraged for potential members (or even existing members) to question with any official Church response or direction. I beleive it is very fair to conclude, based on discussions from members on this board, and even from my wife's ward, such lack of knowledge has been troubling for many and not merely isolated incidences.

And without debating the "biblical aspect" of timing, is there anything you would see that would be detrimental to the Lds Church or potential members from taking a longer study period of Lds theology (is there is one) and these historical issues of challenge?? I guess I could only see it as a positive thing for both and probably a very postitive outcome for retention. I would also then conclude with you in that all members should know of these issues as they would have had ample time.

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I probably would disagree on the historiograhpy aspect of your statement.

You want to impose endless detailed discussions of Mormon history on people simply because they come to church in order to hear the good word of God and have it taught to their children, even if they've shown no particular interest in historical study during their schooling or in their post-graduation reading?

I find that bizarre.

I would like to have meatier classes and more informed members, but I realize that I'm in a tiny minority. And I also realize that the time I've spent reading and studying might have better been spent working at the cannery or fixing up a widow's yard.

The reason would be that the Lds Church makes an incredible [sic] claim with respect to the record of history contained in the BOM.

The Church makes historical claims, yes. So does Christianity in general. Do you also call for the suspension of Catholic masses and of Protestant sermons in order to give place for debates about New Testament exegesis and the history of the papacy -- pending the attainment of a broad consensus on all the issues involved?

A claim for which I, and probably most scholars and or academians, find little to no credible and convincing evdidence for such a claim of history.

Most academicians and scholars, I'll wager (based upon a certain amount of experience with the breed), have never given three minutes' sustained thought to any Mormon claim.

All of this with absolutely no provenance of documents nor archaeology to support this claimed history.

You overstate your case.

I think it is not only wise to investigate such claims, but (as you seem to prefer) called for in our biblical instructions (2 Thessolosians: "Prove all things, hold fast that wich is good").

Investigation is a good thing. I favor it. But please note that 2 Thessalonians doesn't say "Prove all things by means of academic seminars, hold fast that which is deemed good by a consensus of disinterested secular scholars."

I am also not aware that He said a six week missionary discussion was adequate either!!!

The apostles followed him immediately.

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You want to impose endless detailed discussions of Mormon history on people simply because they come to church in order to hear the good word of God and have it taught to their children, even if they've shown no particular interest in historical study during their schooling or in their post-graduation reading?

I find that bizarre.

I would like to have meatier classes and more informed members, but I realize that I'm in a tiny minority. And I also realize that the time I've spent reading and studying might have better been spent working at the cannery or fixing up a widow's yard.The Church makes historical claims, yes. So does Christianity in general. Do you also call for the suspension of Catholic masses and of Protestant sermons in order to give place for debates about New Testament exegesis and the history of the papacy -- pending the attainment of a broad consensus on all the issues involved?

Most academicians and scholars, I'll wager (based upon a certain amount of experience with the breed), have never given three minutes' sustained thought to any Mormon claim.

You overstate your case.

Investigation is a good thing. I favor it. But please note that 2 Thessalonians doesn't say "Prove all things by means of academic seminars, hold fast that which is deemed good by a consensus of disinterested secular scholars."

The apostles followed him immediately.

I think I'm adding that to my "interesting quote" folder, if that's alright, Dan.

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I think I'm adding that to my "interesting quote" folder, if that's alright, Dan.

That's perfectly okay by me. If I can't be good, I'd at least like to be "interesting."

I'm an academic, and I value--perhaps overvalue--academic things. But there are other goods, even competing goods, and there are other kinds of people, many of them (a large portion of my critics will happily grant me at least this point) much better people than I am. I resist and resent attempts to turn Christian discipleship into merely some form of theoretical graduate study, and to make of Christianity a movement only for the intellectual elite.

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