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Can Apostates Produce Valuable LDS Scholarship?


Joseph Antley

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On another, now-closed thread, Lightbearer made the following comment:

Who cares what Mike Quinn is, he is an apostate, that is enough for me to not value anything "scholarly" he produces

I have no idea whether this was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I thought it might warrant a thread of its own: can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

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On another, now-closed thread, Lightbearer made the following comment:

I have no idea whether this was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I thought it might warrant a thread of its own: can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

If they are reasonably good at controlling their bias, why not?

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On another, now-closed thread, Lightbearer made the following comment:

I have no idea whether this was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I thought it might warrant a thread of its own: can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

Lucy's Book is sold at the BYU bookstore and at Deseret Books.

Seems odd that such a volume, from an apostate, would be carried

on the shelves by those august institutions, if it did not

contain at least a little useful "truth and light."

UD

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can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

Cleary NOT!!!!

Their ability to produce "good" and "valuable" scholarship completely vanishes the second they leave the LDS Church!

Period!

Peace,

Ceeboo

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I have no idea whether this was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I thought it might warrant a thread of its own: can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

There were some other LDS scholars who had problems with Quinn's methodology before he was excommunicated. He was seen by some as having an agenda driven bias in some of his conclusions. However I do not think that automatically negates all of his work. I would be cautious in coming to any conclusions based upon his work because I myself do not know which parts are reliable and which are not.

That is the problem I would have with scholarship by an apostate who produces work with a jaundiced eye towards the church. I would have to be shown that such a scholar is trustworthy. I think that is the problem that Lightbearer has with Quinn. He is dismissive of Quinn en toto because Quinn has been shown in some cases to not produce reliable scholarship and just does not trust anything that Quinn might have to say.

I think it is up to the individual scholar to prove that there work is of such a quality that their work can be quoted with confidence. For many, Quinn has not met that standard. There are some however, who have no qualms in citing Quinn as an authority on many aspects of LDS history.

Glenn

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Ceeboo:

I don't know if you were being tongue in cheek here or not. I certainly hope so.

But IMNTBHO apostates can produce good and valuable insight into Mormonism. The trouble comes in in determining what is of value and what is not.

Virtually everything Ceeboo says is tongue-in-cheek.

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Lucy's Book is sold at the BYU bookstore and at Deseret Books.

Seems odd that such a volume, from an apostate, would be carried

on the shelves by those august institutions, if it did not

contain at least a little useful "truth and light."

I don't think we sell Lucy's Book at Deseret Book, but I'll check tomorrow. Of course, I wouldn't exactly call Deseret Book an "august institution" either. It's a bookstore. It carries all sorts of questionable stuff . . . like anything of a non-fiction genre penned by Glenn Beck.

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Cleary NOT!!!!

Their ability to produce "good" and "valuable" scholarship completely vanishes the second they leave the LDS Church!

Period!

I'm with Ceeboo.

Just look at Galileo; what did he ever accomplish after his heresy?

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I think a happy medium (if such is even possible) is better. Something along the lines of acknowledging and allowing your bias to fill the sails, but trying not to let it ultimately take control of the rudder. Eye-patch optional.

I would say that's a type of "control" and consistent with my comment. Notice, I didn't say hold the bias in check (which is actually impossible).

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I would say that's a type of "control" and consistent with my comment. Notice, I didn't say hold the bias in check (which is actually impossible).

Well, as it appears that I don't disagree with what you said after all, I hereby disagree with your, ummmmm... face.

Without bias, of course.

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I would say that's a type of "control" and consistent with my comment. Notice, I didn't say hold the bias in check (which is actually impossible).

I agree that it is much better when the author admits their bias up front. Then they set that heavy baggage down and more easily slide into the role of a true historian, critic, advocate, etc. It is when they attempt to hide their bias or claim neutrality that peoblems develop.

Me thinks Ceeboo is naughty; where is that ruler-toting nun when she is needed. Stick your hands out now.

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On another, now-closed thread, Lightbearer made the following comment:

I have no idea whether this was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I thought it might warrant a thread of its own: can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

I think for most members, the concept of "good and valuable" needs definition. Can it mean anything other than "supporting of faith promotion"?

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IMO, a fair comparison would be the Early Church Father Origen. Many scholars found his work insightful in understanding the early church. Later on in life he went a bit extreme and castrated himself and individuals wondered if that negated his previous work. IMO, it shouldn't.

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On another, now-closed thread, Lightbearer made the following comment:

I have no idea whether this was tongue-in-cheek or not, but I thought it might warrant a thread of its own: can apostates, those who have either left the Church or have been excommunicated, produce good and valuable scholarship relevant to Mormonism?

Undoubtedly they can. Fawn Brodie raised the bar for studies of Joseph Smith from a non-practicing-LDS perspective. The Tanner's got some cool prints of documents on the underground (although some of their activities were pretty obviously unethical and also did some damage in other ways. And their own scholarship, ie analysis, was pretty crappy). Mike Reed has done interesting stuff on the cross in Mormon thought. etc.

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Lucy's Book is sold at the BYU bookstore and at Deseret Books.

Seems odd that such a volume, from an apostate, would be carried

on the shelves by those august institutions, if it did not

contain at least a little useful "truth and light."

UD

Lavina may not be a member of record, but she remains active from what I understand. And yes, much of her work has been great.

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I don't think we sell Lucy's Book at Deseret Book, but I'll check tomorrow. Of course, I wouldn't exactly call Deseret Book an "august institution" either. It's a bookstore. It carries all sorts of questionable stuff . . . like anything of a non-fiction genre penned by Glenn Beck.

I was walking thru the BYU Bookstore today and saw all sorts of books there. Dan Vogel, Will Bagley, Todd Compton, Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, Jan Shipps, many Signature imprints, etc. Didn't see Lucy's Book, but I think it's out of print. I doubt it is at DB for the same reason, if not because they have a crappy selection generally anyway from the standpoint of scholarly studies.

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Lavina may not be a member of record, but she remains active from what I understand. And yes, much of her work has been great.

Lavina is an incredible writer. I may be biased, but her documentations found in the Mormon Alliance's Case Reports with Janice Merrill Allred appear to be quite accurate. I have heard very little negative criticism on its behalf.

Janice Allred did a great deal of work in compiling her book "God the Mother and Other Theological Essays".

Val Avery (ex'd and now deceased) and Linda King Newell did a fantastic job with "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith".

Avraham Gileadi did an amazing job with his works on the book of Isaiah. BTW, does anyone know exactly why he was excommunicated?

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I may be biased, but her documentations found in the Mormon Alliance's Case Reports with Janice Merrill Allred appear to be quite accurate.

Ummmmm. Not so sure.

I recall a former BYU colleague who was quite shocked to find himself a victim of Church tyranny in her "case reports," in an account that, he told me, bore only very tenuous relationship to what had actually happened. He didn't feel victimized at all. And, from the way he himself told his story, he shouldn't have felt any victimization.

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