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Greg Smith, Dan Peterson, John Dehlin, & Lou


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I now regret reading all the book reviews I've read over the years, particularly the critical ones. I didn't realize I was reading "hit pieces." Let's hear it for a new standard: No more criticism of published material, or at least, give bloggers a pass because their published material is on a website instead of a book. I will close my eyes and refuse to read critical reviews of blogger material and I encourage you all to do the same!

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very much a disappointing post.

I don't think that you understand just what the apologists are up against. The church is being attacked and its members are being attacked. And its leaders are being attacked both past and present by people who may not have any standards at all in attacking the leaders of the lds church and its members. The point is: the critics get a free pass and because of this they can cast doubt in members minds. These critics must be reigned in by the apologists. Do you really believe that apologists must be mellow and mild when responding to such attacks? How about this:

Dear lds critic,

Please refrain from such attacks against Joseph Smith. We, apologists are gentlemen and gentlewomen and we will not resort to such behavior. Our wonderful Joseph was a man of dignity but he wasn't perfect. And although you called him a louse, a cheat, a fraud, a liar, a child molester, a lowlife, we will not attack you. For us, Joseph was a wonderful human being who brought the gospel to the world....

Should we respond this way?

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I'm glad MI actually suppressed an article. It's nice to get some external, peer-reviewed, controls. I think this will be good for MI's long-run health.

MI's articles are very much peer-reviewed, always have been, I believe.

And since no one actually read the article outside of MI yet so far as can be told, the action taken was not based on a review.

Edited by calmoriah
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I personally know one young man who had his faith strengthened when I introduced him to FARMS publications.

I know that my faith had been strengthens too after I stumbled upon FAIR and FARMS. It helped me along my path from Atheist to LDS Member. BTW, I find Daniel Peterson a breath of fresh air and I always look forward to reading anything he writes.

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It's possible to express good and strong divergent opinions without being a jerk.

I don't know. When the church is viciously attacked and its leaders are dragged through the mud, I don't think that being mellow, kind, and respectful is the answer to such posts. But I do think that being logical is. The hatred against the lds church is strong. How to respond to such hatred? How should the early saints responded to the hatred directed against them? Should they be held accountable for striking back?

Members need to realize that the internet is a 'war zone' directed against the lds church. And this war is for the souls of the members. And members need to understand this and not get bent out of shape if the 'war' gets ugly. Do you think that it is any different on other apologetic sites that represent the catholics and protestants. Hardly. In fact, on the catholic apologetic site, they have pamphlets against the lds church and no one holds them accountable for doing so, and certainly not the catholics who know about it.

It is time to wake up and see what the lds apologists are up against. We can't be ninny's

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I know that my faith had been strengthens too after I stumbled upon FAIR and FARMS. It helped me along my path from Atheist to LDS Member. BTW, I find Daniel Peterson a breath of fresh air and I always look forward to reading anything he writes.

:acute:

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This sets up one group for a different standard while one gets free reign.

I dont' think DavidT was calling for a different standard for either critics or LDS, but rather a higher standard of civility for both....not necessarily imposed from without by a mod, but more likely motivated from within from desire for quality discussion. He can correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation.

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This is not an apologetic board. This is not a board to help anyone in or out of the church. This is not a FAIR board. It is a board where people of different opinions can meet and talk--not throw bombs-- which means that we have to make it a place where that is actually possible. We have had multitudes of posters who do just that so it isn't that much to ask.

To be blunt, the more that leave the more that come so you might take a moment to consider that mods aren't going to spend their free time placating every petulant poster. We have too many reasonable contributors that we enjoy taking care of.

So get back on topic if you want this thread to stay open. Bad attitude posters who are using the board to whale on other posters are going to be thread banned and it doesn't matter how important anyone thinks they are. Complaining won't stop that, never has, but it might get the derailers thread banned as well.

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I know that my faith had been strengthens too after I stumbled upon FAIR and FARMS. It helped me along my path from Atheist to LDS Member.

Longtime board member who doesn't say much....this is good to hear. :)

I love reading and listening to Dan as well; perhaps it is because I know him in real life, but I find his humour gentle for the most part and where it is sharp, it is appropriately so in my view and he's very good at pointing out the absurdities of life...though I can also by now pick out where some others are going to read him in a more negative way, lol.

Edited by calmoriah
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I don't know. When the church is viciously attacked and its leaders are dragged through the mud, I don't think that being mellow, kind, and respectful is the answer to such posts. But I do think that being logical is. The hatred against the lds church is strong. How to respond to such hatred? How should the early saints responded to the hatred directed against them? Should they be held accountable for striking back?

Interesting that you raised the issue of "striking" in this discussion. Jesus defined one of the signs of true Christian discipleship using a "striking" metaphor:

"But I am saying to you, you shall not rise up against an evil person, but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other" (Matt. 5:39).

Do you honestly believe that Church leaders endorse the efforts of Mormon apologists who strike back at critics and other members who espouse a different view of orthodoxy than the beliefs espoused by apologists? Because apparently from the actions taken against the article in question, the answer is no.

Edited by Cushan Rishathaim
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Since when has decrying the censorship... I mean, moderation... around here gotten anyone anywhere?

This is all a totally uninteresting issue except for the fact that it is a logical culmination of all of the horrible ways in which Mormon apologetics has been handled by a select few people.

If the article exists and if a GA was called to look into it, who cares? If Daniel Peterson is mad because a GA wanted to censor him, who cares? He wants a lot of people to be censored. FAIR is fair, right?

Ultimately, the problem here is why this board had to be changed from what it was. People are leaving the church because they come here, become informed on some issues, and the seething underbelly of apologetics lays bare, for them, how ridiculous a lot of you participants can be. The board then changed, people were purged, and the image and tone are being controlled so that civil discussion can be attempted.

It is a failure, though. It isn't because LDS issues are hard to understand or because the apologetic arguments are stupid. A lot of the work done is very, very good. Everyone who has been here over the years has learned a great deal. The well is poisoned, though, because there are people who are still running around acting like children.who invalidate every decent argument ever made for the Mormon church.

I want all of you to think about this really hard. Every time you insult someone on this board, you are pushing away at least one person from the church. Probably more. Every time you get off point of civil discussion, you are hurting your cause, no matter which side you are on.

If you want this community to continue to be useful, you have to take it upon yourselves to conduct yourselves like civilized people in civilized society. Whether you like it or not, whatever knowledge you have to share will be ignored or attacked if you continue to be jerks.

The sad part is, that even the moderators can often be found playing in the mud. If you want this place to be different than the Great and Spacious Trailer Park, then don't act like them.

tl;dr Stop being jerks. It hurts you, it hurts this community and it ruins and invalidates the hard work and contributions of people who are sincere and know how to act like adults. Do what Jesus would do and transcend the negativity. Otherwise, you are all wasting your time. This goes for hit pieces, ad hominem attacks and useless sarcasm.

It was good of you to raise the discussion bar with your contrasting example to everything you herein condemned. :good:

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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"Assumes facts not in evidence" is the correct phrase, I believe.

Oh, I don't know. I believe that there is quite a bit of evidence beyond mere heresay that there are some significant players in Mormonism who are tired of cleaning up the mess created by the self-proclaimed guardians of orthodoxy at BYU. Is it any wonder that following the Randy Bott experience that the power's that be would want to avoid any more negative publicity from BYU affiliated religious venues/ personnel? Let us not forget that although technically separate entities, BYU's Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship works hand and hand with BYU's department of religious ed.

Edited by Cushan Rishathaim
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You can't really go to Jesus for justification. He wasn't the sentimental, limp-wristed, tree-hugging, free-love hippie that some folk want to imagine. He was pretty quick to call things as he saw them and with blistering language to boot. [snipped examples see original post]

CASteinman,

I agree that the Lord uttered very harsh rebukes when necessary however let's look at the target of those words. He never decried others as heretics. He treated those outside the tribe with dignity and compassion. He ate with publicans and sinners, touched lepers and harlots, and wept over the dead. The most oft adjective or description attributed to the Lord in the Gospels is compassion, a sentiment we see pour forth in rich abundance again in the rubble of Bountiful.

The Savior's rebukes were for those who ought to have known better, those who had covenanted to live by a law which He explicitly summarized as love God and love your neighbor as yourself. He condemned spiritual and ecclesiastical leaders who held others to a standard that they, themselves, did not keep. This is why the word He chose was hypocrite. This standard was again explicitly referred to in parables where rich men refused to care for beggars (a spiritual metaphor if ever there were), in accounts where sinful men were inclined to judge with stones, and in measured words about devouring widow's houses and denying the right of non-members to approach God. These are just a few examples but His condemnation, when expressed, was uniformly aimed in the direction of those who acted as if they spoke for God while pushing others out of the kingdom with unrighteous judgments and unnecessary burdens.

To imply that verbal bombs lobbed on this board are even remotely similar to His knowledgeable, inspired, and measured rebukes is, in my opinion, folly.

The warring rhetoric used by some members who, as acknowledged earlier in the thread, relish contention (causing distress, seeking a reaction through offense) for its sake alone reminds me of the words of a favorite author:

"They'll say about people like me 'Ah Pete's just a Cappuccino drinking, polo knit wearing kind of guy, the only sin is using the wrong dessert spoon over dinner. We're in the real tough fight, let's be militant.' You know what my response is? You're not too violent. You're not violent enough. Your violence is like the man who beats up his wife. It's an impotent violence. It's a violence against flesh and blood. The violence of Christianity is a violence against principalities and powers. Christianity is fundamentally violent. Look at Mother Teresa. Her pacifism is violent because it completely ruptured the caste system that she was working within. The whole system of power that placed people in different castes, she came in a she looked after everybody equally and she ruptured the system. You look at Gandhi who, in his pacifism, ruptured the system of colonialism. You look at Martin Luther King. In his pacifism, he ruptured and traumatized and broke the system of racism that was not so much what you saw but the lens through which you saw everything. That's what a system is, a system or an ideology is not that which you see but that which you see through. Each of these people were truly doing something powerful. So all of this posturing which just ends up being violence against people and violent against individuals but not challenging systems... it's just not violent enough."

It's easy to attack individuals. It's easy to call names, make inferences, but those acts are impotent. Don't misunderstand, I do feel strongly that there is a war to be waged, it's a war against the contentious, divisive, misery loving and unseen system that comes so easily to the natural man.

On this board alone I've been pejoratively named a "wide eyed ingenue" and a "progressive", and my loyalty to the church has been called into question. Hardly violent in the defense of their faith, these impotent shadow boxers don't even bruise.

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I now regret reading all the book reviews I've read over the years, particularly the critical ones. I didn't realize I was reading "hit pieces." Let's hear it for a new standard: No more criticism of published material, or at least, give bloggers a pass because their published material is on a website instead of a book. I will close my eyes and refuse to read critical reviews of blogger material and I encourage you all to do the same!

Your post raises an interesting question. Is The Article about Dehlin reviewing his publications and interviews? Or is The Article more biographical in nature?

I may be wrong, but I don't see how anyone could object to an article that reviews Dehlin's writings and podcasts. Such an article would probably be eminently helpful to lots of people, including those of wavering faith. We've even had a lengthy discussion on this board critiquing his podcast with Michael Coe (the general consensus was a feeling of underwhelmment, if I recall), and the world didn't end.

Obviously we don't yet know the tone and focus of The Article, but it sounds like it wasn't simply "criticism of published material".

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Oh, I don't know. I believe that there is quite a bit of evidence beyond mere heresay that there are some significant players in Mormonism who are tired of cleaning up the mess created by the self-proclaimed guardians of orthodoxy at BYU.

Can you provide that evidence?

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Those seeking to defend a religious view should be held to a higher standard than critics.

It is refreshing to not only see someone admit to a double standard, but advocate for it as well.

As double standards go, in my experience, those most inclined to give criticism are the least inclined to recieve criticism.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Let us not forget that although technically separate entities, BYU's Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship works hand and hand with BYU's department of religious ed.

More details on what you mean by this, if you please. And some documentation as well.
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Can you provide that evidence?

Yes. But I won't. At least not all of it. Certainly not in terms of GA concerns.

"Significant players in Mormonism" would also include serious academic scholars respected by the academic community, including such individuals as Hardy, Givens, Bushman, and Walker (just to name a few), all of whom have expressed publicly a desire to see less BYU style apologetics and more serious academic rigor in Mormon studies.

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More details on what you mean by this, if you please. And some documentation as well.

What I mean by this is simply that both entities are devoted to religious scholarship, and that many (but not all) of the scholars who both write for and provide the peer review process for Maxwell publications are professors in Religious Education at BYU (Randy Bott's department). But even the editor for the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies or whatever it's called now is BYU Religion Professor Paul Hoskisson and according to the website, BYU Religion Professor Brian Hauglid is the editor of the Maxwell journal Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, etc., etc.

They're separate entities, of course, but as BYU based religious venues, they work hand in hand.

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bigoted apologists like DCP, Hamblin, Midgley, Smith, Pahoran, Loran.

This is the kind of thing that made me decide, years ago, to have no interactions with Xander/Kevin.

they know they cannot handle debate on these issues

Having neither patience for nor interest in exchanges with Xander/Kevin is rather different than being incapable of debate.

Dan's attack blog

Again, I invite all and sundry to read a representative sample of the posts on my "attack blog" from the past three months or so, and to decide for themselves whether Xander/Kevin's characterization of it is even remotely just:

http://dcpsicetnon.blogspot.com/

What we have learned beyond all doubt from this event is that Dan and his FARMS apologists can no longer deceive people into thinking FARMS doesn't do attack pieces. Of course they do. That's essentially what they do.

Go to the Maxwell Institute webpage:

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/

Read through a representative sampling of the materials there. Look through a number of articles in the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, and Occasional Papers. Read a broad sampling of articles from the Mormon Studies Review. Browse through a reasonable number of our published books. Watch our two Journey of Faith films and our Messiah series. Then form your own judgment as to whether Xander/Kevin is being even remotely fair when he claims that all of these materials are "essentially" "attack pieces."

We know now that Dan's scholarly standards are far below a level of civility acceptable by Church leaders

I haven't the slightest idea how we now "know" this. So far as I'm aware, no Church leader has said anything of the kind.

he ignores me because he says I'm too unpleasant to be around.

That's true.

OK, so what is his excuse for ignoring virtually every other person on the planet (like Dehlin) who has done nothing whatsoever that could be considered uncivil?

I'm confused. I thought that all the recent complaints and howls of outrage were premised on the notion that I and my ilk weren't ignoring Dehlin.

JP Holding

The epic saga of my vile mistreatment of J. P. Holding ("Sing, Muse, the wrath of Xander/Kevin!") has been around for years now. We've been over this ground many times.

Mr. Holding and I have actually corresponded since the horrific incident that still plainly fills Xander/Kevin with righteous indignation. Mr. Holding doesn't seem to remember it very clearly (I asked), and plainly isn't upset by it.

So it is funny to see Hamblin and Peterson complain about defamation from a guy who was simply trying to preempt against an attack piece.

I've had very, very little to say about John Dehlin during this current frenzy. Where am I complaining about his "defamation" of me? I mean, sure, he's called me all sorts of names over the past forty-eight hours, including "pathological deceiver," but I haven't actually complained about it, and I certainly haven't responded in kind.

Dan is the same guy who threw a tantrum when he found out that Robert Ritner was considering a libel suit against him

Yes, I'm the same guy. No issues of personal-identity ambiguity here.

I don't recall throwing a tantrum, but it's true that I didn't precisely celebrate. Maybe being sued is Xander/Kevin's idea of a good time, but it's not mine.

for spreading false rumors about why he considered John Gee's scholarship sub-par, claiming falsely that he was thrown off the dissertation committee at Gee's request, insinuating, as always, that his anti-Mormonism prevented him from being objective. After gleefully misinforming his flock over the matter for several years, Dan suddenly shut his trap about the incident.

Xander/Kevin is right, in a sense. I went silent when it appeared that somebody was considering a lawsuit against me. (I believe that my silence is what Xander/Kevin is referring to when he mentions my supposed "tantrum.") I value my home, care about my wife and family, and don't want to lose my retirement savings.

And my silence allows Xander/Kevin to misrepresent what I said and to claim victory, since he knows that I'm disinclined to speak out on this topic any more for fear of litigation that would, at a minimum, cost scores of thousands of dollars even if I ultimately prevailed (which, in the American court system, is never assured, however just your cause may be).

Now it appears it was shut again, but this time by an LDS leader. That's very telling.

One little detail: However "telling" Xander/Kevin may imagine this incident to be, that leader hasn't "told" me anything at all. And he certainly hasn't told Xander/Kevin anything.

all of the horrible ways in which Mormon apologetics has been handled by a select few people.

Such charges are repeated a lot, but there's a real reluctance, it seems to me, to be specific about them.

If Daniel Peterson is mad because a GA wanted to censor him, who cares?

Who says I'm angry?

He wants a lot of people to be censored.

Precisely who are these many people that I want "censored"? Names, please. With specific references and quotations from me calling for them to be silenced.

I'm a libertarian, for heaven's sake. Now, even libertarians don't believe in permitting Justice Holmes's famous example of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, but our strong prejudice is in favor of freedom and free speech. I can't recall having ever called for anybody to be "censored."

CFR, Caudicus. I call for specific references. Put up or shut up.

.

Edited by Daniel Peterson
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including such individuals as Hardy, Givens, Bushman, and Walker (just to name a few), all of whom have expressed publicly a desire to see less BYU style apologetics

CFR for specific wording that identifies the problem as the "BYU style" or thereabouts.
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