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Bishop's letter 2003


Questing Beast

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Bob McCue was a bishop. He resigned from the Church and sent this letter to Elder Holland. Which I find ironic, as Holland is the most outspoken "champion" for adhering to literal belief in "faithful history". It was Holland who said (words to the effect): "If the story of the First Vision and restoration of the priesthood are not literally true as Joseph Smith told them, then this church ought to be consigned to hell with its founder!" I thought at the time that this sounded a lot like the dogmatic assertions of c. the 1880's, wherein it was preached that without "the principle" (polygamy) we would no longer be a church. I fully expect a revision of the priesthood "restoration" stories to go along with the known facts (which are abundant on the Net); which will go far toward making Holland's emphatic declaration a bitter pill to swallow.

I have not read McCue's letter before. I am curious if this has come up on Mormon Dialogue before and if so, what was the gist of the exchange regarding it?

Thank you....

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Bob McCue was a bishop. He resigned from the Church and sent this letter to Elder Holland. Which I find ironic, as Holland is the most outspoken "champion" for adhering to literal belief in "faithful history". It was Holland who said (words to the effect): "If the story of the First Vision and restoration of the priesthood are not literally true as Joseph Smith told them, then this church ought to be consigned to hell with its founder!" I thought at the time that this sounded a lot like the dogmatic assertions of c. the 1880's, wherein it was preached that without "the principle" (polygamy) we would no longer be a church. I fully expect a revision of the priesthood "restoration" stories to go along with the known facts (which are abundant on the Net); which will go far toward making Holland's emphatic declaration a bitter pill to swallow.

I have not read McCue's letter before. I am curious if this has come up on Mormon Dialogue before and if so, what was the gist of the exchange regarding it?

Thank you....

Yes, Bob McCue was thoroughly discussed when he first appeared in the public eye. Several board members knew him or his family (my husband worked with him in the Tanner Society for awhile IIRC). His story departed from theirs in some crucial ways IIRC. As to the 'gist', what 'gist' are you interested in? The personal aspects, the supposedly logical arguments, or what?

I don't know how much of the conversations survived the updates, but if any did a search on McCue should bring up those conversations.

add-on: doesn't look like a lot survived, only one thread where McCue posted himself.

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It was Holland who said (words to the effect): "If the story of the First Vision and restoration of the priesthood are not literally true as Joseph Smith told them, then this church ought to be consigned to hell with its founder!"

If this is actually what Elder Holland said, or even close to it, then he was right.

The great thing is that we don't have to quibble over the contestable past (not your supposed 'known facts') when it comes to the priesthood, for example. It exists amongst it. It either is what it claims to be, or it isn't. If it really is the power and authority of man to act for God, then it was literally restored. Problem solved.

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Whoa. It says is second letter to him was 80 pages long?! I think he posted on the board years ago and he ended up with the nickname "McSpew" because of his extremely lengthy posts.

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Yeah, 80 pages. Holland sent McCue a reply, and Bob sent him a more detailed letter of his position, the 80-pager. I am sort of plowing through it as I do other things; up to page 18 or so just now. This is interesting:

It is my observation that the Church is at a significant crossroads, created by the Internet.
Truer words were never spoken. This can only be even more true today, going on eight years later....
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Yeah, 80 pages. Holland sent McCue a reply, and Bob sent him a more detailed letter of his position, the 80-pager. I am sort of plowing through it as I do other things; up to page 18 or so just now. This is interesting: Truer words were never spoken. This can only be even more true today, going on eight years later....

I have been posting on here going on 8 years and my testimony is stronger now then it was way back when, for that matter it was because of some anti that I came across personally, without the internet's help, that I came on here!

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Yeah, 80 pages. Holland sent McCue a reply, and Bob sent him a more detailed letter of his position, the 80-pager. I am sort of plowing through it as I do other things; up to page 18 or so just now. This is interesting: Truer words were never spoken. This can only be even more true today, going on eight years later....

I would say the internet has made me stronger in some ways, weaker in others, somewhat more aware, but sometimes more cynical. It's been a good and a bad thing. It hasn't been bad in terms of doubts... if it's been bad, it's bad because sometimes I don't act like God expects me to. Again, attribute of cynicality XD. Avoid cynicality at all costs.

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No. The LDS Church is at a significant crossroads, created by the Internet. Truer words were never spoken....

My observation is that technology in and of itself has no bearing on the Church at all, and the Church is using technology of all kinds to its advantage and to further its aims. Others may use it to try to thwart the Church's aims, but this won't change its truthfulness, message or covenants.

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I would say the internet has made me stronger in some ways, weaker in others, somewhat more aware, but sometimes more cynical. It's been a good and a bad thing.

I think this is the case for anyone on just about any subject who takes advantage of the age of information. See, for example, Matt Ridley, "A Key Lesson of Adulthood: The Need to Unlearn," The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 5, 2011).

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My observation is that technology in and of itself has no bearing on the Church at all, and the Church is using technology of all kinds to its advantage and to further its aims. Others may use it to try to thwart the Church's aims, but this won't change its truthfulness, message or covenants.

The "information highway" is not de facto a "thwarting" device. It is a dispenser of information. My own experience is as McCue's: the Internet is a facile tool to get information about the Church. ALL information. And as that includes dispassionate, even disinterested factual commentary and the research that makes commentary possible, it follows that anyone conducting a personal examination into the Church's history is going to run across the dichotomy as noted: the "faithful history" vs. the factual evidence, or full history. It is that dichotomy which has been created BY the Church. For if it taught the fulsome history, negative in addition to the positive-only, there would be no dichotomy to discredit the "faithful history" with....

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It is that dichotomy which has been created BY the Church.

Sort of. There have been GAs that stand behind a supposed "faith-promoting" telling of Church history (I'm thinking more of Elder Packer, not Holland). However, critics of the Church have often focused only on the negative aspects of Church history.

It reminds me of the way Catholic history has been portrayed. The Catholic Church would ignore its missteps, its critics would exaggerate them, and now a more balanced history has been coming forth by various scholars.

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Bob McCue was a bishop. He resigned from the Church and sent this letter to Elder Holland. Which I find ironic, as Holland is the most outspoken "champion" for adhering to literal belief in "faithful history". It was Holland who said (words to the effect): "If the story of the First Vision and restoration of the priesthood are not literally true as Joseph Smith told them, then this church ought to be consigned to hell with its founder!" I thought at the time that this sounded a lot like the dogmatic assertions of c. the 1880's, wherein it was preached that without "the principle" (polygamy) we would no longer be a church. I fully expect a revision of the priesthood "restoration" stories to go along with the known facts (which are abundant on the Net); which will go far toward making Holland's emphatic declaration a bitter pill to swallow.

I have not read McCue's letter before. I am curious if this has come up on Mormon Dialogue before and if so, what was the gist of the exchange regarding it?

Thank you....

Did you link the letter so you could give a lot of anti-points of view? If so just tell us where you stand.

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It is a dispenser of information.

So are many other things. I don't see the Internet being the only or overriding dispenser of information for everyone. The Church gets the word out through many vehicles, including of all things, the relationships, examples, and service of its people. Its more effective detractors are not dependent on the Internet to get their point across, either. I don't think multiple versions of its history from multiple sources are meaningful ("lo here, lo there") compared to the personal experience people are having with the Church or its people.

And don't forget, once the correct information is disseminated and argued against, "the testimony of earthquakes... And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds (D&C 88: 89, 90)." This has a tendency to get people to attend to what really matters more than than histories posted on the Internet.

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And as that includes dispassionate, even disinterested factual commentary and the research that makes commentary possible...

I don't believe I have ever seen dispassionate or disinterested factual commentary concerning the Church on the internet.
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The printing press was also a "dispenser of information", but that doesn't change the truth of the gospel, only the method and speed by which it is "dispensed". Nor did the printing press "only" help the church (as Expositor shows). So the change in technology is simply another aspect of society upon which the gospel flows. Its direction hasn't changed and the currents and waves come and go for both advancement and detriment. In the end people still need to make their own decisions as to the course they follow.

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Did you link the letter so you could give a lot of anti-points of view? If so just tell us where you stand.

Bob McCue is not an "anti". His letters do not attack the Church. His position is critical vis-a-vis the leaders are defending their position of control above all else. The "faithful history" taught is part and parcel to that agenda above all else. The doctrines per se are not a problem, either with McCue or myself. The history as presented is the problem.

The history in full cannot positively say "this or that happened", etc. But the best interpretation of the evidence (facts) does not suit the "faithful history" version. That much is undeniable. The same original sources the Church appeals to said much, much more than the Church cherry picks to quote; and it is disingenuous to cherry pick a few quotations and dismiss the bulk of recorded statements as "uninspired" or inaccurate. Then we have the wealth of non Mormon contemporary sources that can be resorted to in obtaining a clearer picture of the times and actions of the principle characters of Mormon foundational history. Apologists will fight these "anti-Mormon" sources to the death. But most of them are simply evidence of a different picture than the "faithful history" version. For instance: how many know that the 1820 date for the "first vision" is impossible? It could not have occurred any earlier than 1824, because according to all extant church records of the area, there were no revivals and increases in memberships resulting therefrom before that year; in fact, churches LOST membership prior to 1824. The recollections of Mother Smith and other Smith family members back this up, e.g. the death of Alvin Smith in 1823 corresponds to the later date and not the asserted 1820 date of the JS History. The Protestant denominational church membership records are not "anti-Mormon"; they simply exist and prove the fallacious 1820 date and purpose of the first vision in the official LDS history. Numerous examples of such tweaking (denial, manipulation) of the facts can be multiplied....

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I don't believe I have ever seen dispassionate or disinterested factual commentary concerning the Church on the internet.

Good call. I mean in the sense that the researcher is not out to prove or disprove anything. They are after truth. History is their passion, not the defense of the Church or its critics, etc. So if the passion and interest is in "painting" as accurate a picture of what happened as humanly possible, THAT is the agenda; not attacking or defending the Church....

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Bob McCue is not an "anti". His letters do not attack the Church.

Yes he is, and yes they do. Accusing the leaders of the Church of willfully hiding the truth is attacking the Church.
For instance: how many know that the 1820 date for the "first vision" is impossible? It could not have occurred any earlier than 1824, because according to all extant church records of the area, there were no revivals and increases in memberships resulting therefrom before that year; in fact, churches LOST membership prior to 1824.
And of course, if all the surviving records don't show it, then it couldn't have happened, right?
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The printing press was also a "dispenser of information", but that doesn't change the truth of the gospel, only the method and speed by which it is "dispensed". Nor did the printing press "only" help the church (as Expositor shows). So the change in technology is simply another aspect of society upon which the gospel flows. Its direction hasn't changed and the currents and waves come and go for both advancement and detriment. In the end people still need to make their own decisions as to the course they follow.

McCue's point about the Internet being a "crossroads" is that this technology has made information so available that something like an exponential growth in knowledge is resulting. The printing press caused the same thing to occur at the end of the middle ages, which dismantled the RCC's control base in a matter of a few generations. Today the process vis-a-vis the LDS Church's control of its "official" version of history will happen much faster....

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