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It Is Not Personal


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http://en.wikipedia....ki/Nauvoo_House

If that's accurate, (it's wiki afterall) how much use did Joseph Smith get from it? And was it his personal residence or a place for people in general to "rest"?

I *think* it was both.

And for the record, I see no problem with it. He was working full time as Prophet/MayorGeneral. The city of NY gives Bloomberg a mansion. Nauvoo gave one to JS. Plus I think the mansion served as a source of income for the Church.

(I don't think that Gracie mansion was mandated by revelation, though. :) )

Edited by sethpayne
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It is very easy to give pithy advice when others are faced with moral dilemmas; this I agree with. Concerning the outcome of a hard moral decision, morally right and morally wrong are not always clearcut, or even useful, categories.

Especially when self-interest narrow understood stands at the helm. But in the case of a seminary or institute teacher who has last their faith, but those he will be using tithing money and his position to influence children and young adults. Those who have to direct those educational programs also have a moral duty to those who pray and pay, and to those they teach and reach. And this duty would seem to demand that the one who has lost faith must find some other way of feeding himself and his family, would it not? Is there some overriding moral principle that requires the community of Saints to financially support those whose beliefs are in radical opposition to the faith of the Saints?

Edited by Louis Midgley
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Is there some overriding moral principle that requires the community of Saints to financially support those whose beliefs are in radical opposition to the faith of the Saints?

A interesting thought, and one which makes me wonder how generous donors to the Maxwell Institute must feel in light of recent revelations concerning the ideological motivations of those now directing its course.

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Especially when self-interest narrow understood stands at the helm. But in the case of a seminary or institute teacher who has last their faith, but those he will be using tithing money and his position to influence children and young adults. Those who have to direct those educational programs also have a moral duty to those who pray and pay, and to those they teach and reach. And this duty would seem to demand that the one who has lost faith must find some other way of feeding himself and his family, would it not? Is there some overriding moral principle that requires the community of Saints to financially support those whose beliefs are in radical opposition to the faith of the Saints?

I think the difficulty with the seminary/institute teacher example is the complexities of faith. It's not always like the flip of switch... now I have faith, now I don't. It can be a gradual loss or even just a partial loss. While, I'm not disagreeing with you (I think that a CES instructor does have a moral responsibility to step down if they cannot teach with integrity), I just think that it might be tough to figure out exactly when one must leave such a profession -- especially if they are hoping to regain whatever piece(s) of their faith they have lost.

Just a thought.

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A interesting thought, and one which makes me wonder how generous donors to the Maxwell Institute must feel in light of recent revelations concerning the ideological motivations of those now directing its course.

I suspect that we may not have heard the last about this matter.

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$40K per year? I would not call that a good living.

I would agree it is not a good living, but I would have loved that income as a grad student...or rather loved my husband to have that as a grad student. Edited by calmoriah
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I think the difficulty with the seminary/institute teacher example is the complexities of faith. It's not always like the flip of switch... now I have faith, now I don't. It can be a gradual loss or even just a partial loss. While, I'm not disagreeing with you (I think that a CES instructor does have a moral responsibility to step down if they cannot teach with integrity), I just think that it might be tough to figure out exactly when one must leave such a profession -- especially if they are hoping to regain whatever piece(s) of their faith they have lost.

The core narrative is the crucial issue, and giving up on this is not likely to be a gradual lost of faith. Those charged with responsibility to protect the integrity of the institution can rather easily tell when some presumed threshold has been reached. If some kid reports that some seminary teacher a fascist, then the teacher gets a stern scolding and warning about common sense and decency. If they tell their students that they don't believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God, or, to use a recent example, that it does make sense that some person must die because of the mistakes of another, that is a fundamentally different matter. Or if they suddenly start spouting the Protestant penal substitution theory of the atonement, or telling faith-destroying lies, that is also a crucial issue that simply must be addressed.

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Sure, we know what Shakespeare would do. But what would YOU do? Would you quit a job with a good pension and salary because you lost your faith in the LDS church? Would you deprive your family of an income and old age support for this one thing?

If we are talking about specifics...my memory says that Grant Palmer had his doubts not towards the end of his working career, but right in the middle of it. There is a significant difference in my view in wanting to endure 5 years until retirement and having 20 years of working under such conditions to look forward to.

He also did not wait until his retirement to work on his book, but published the book on retirement or shortly thereafter which means he was working in his free time on an attack of his employer...not illegal certainly, but unethical to my view.

Edited by calmoriah
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The core narrative is the crucial issue, and giving up on this is not likely to be a gradual lost of faith. Those charged with responsibility to protect the integrity of the institution can rather easily tell when some presumed threshold has been reached. If some kid reports that some seminary teacher a fascist, then the teacher gets a stern scolding and warning about common sense and decency. If they tell their students that they don't believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God, or, to use a recent example, that it does make sense that some person must die because of the mistakes of another, that is a fundamentally different matter. Or if they suddenly start spouting the Protestant penal substitution theory of the atonement, or telling faith-destroying lies, that is also a crucial issue that simply must be addressed.

I agree that a CES Teacher would need to firmly believe in the Book of Mormon as the word of God and believe in the Atonement.

I am curious, however, you indicate that the "core narrative" is the crucial issue. I'm not really familiar with that term in this context. Obviously I understand the words but I'm wondering how you would define the core LDS narrative. I wouldn't know where to begin or end such a definition but I imagine you have some thoughts on it.

I know this is a little off topic. If you feel inclined to respond via PM I'm okay with that. Thanks.

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I agree that a CES Teacher would need to firmly believe in the Book of Mormon as the word of God and believe in the Atonement.

I am curious, however, you indicate that the "core narrative" is the crucial issue. I'm not really familiar with that term in this context. Obviously I understand the words but I'm wondering how you would define the core LDS narrative. I wouldn't know where to begin or end such a definition but I imagine you have some thoughts on it.

I know this is a little off topic. If you feel inclined to respond via PM I'm okay with that. Thanks.

I am wondering if rockpond may be trying to ask something along the lines of: would it be going to far were a seminary instructor to publicly express his or her desire that temple marriage one day be extended to same-sex couples?

But, as he or she notes, this is off-topic and probably best handled via PM. I only mention it as a way of cutting to the chase.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
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I suspect that we may not have heard the last about this matter.

Will Greg Smith (or someone else) be writing a long article picking analyziing the writings and ideas of those now leading the Maxwell Institute? And will it be balanced and not personal? I am asking sincerely.

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If we are talking about specifics...my memory says that Grant Palmer had his doubts not towards the end of his working career, but right in the middle of it. There is a significant difference in my view in wanting to endure 5 years until retirement and having 20 years of working under such conditions to look forward to.

He also did not wait until his retirement to work on his book, but published the book on retirement or shortly thereafter which means he was working in his free time on an attack of his employer...not illegal certainly, but unethical to my view.

Sorry to quibble, but when he failed miserably trying to teach British Empire History the first year he was at CCNZ--the now closed LDS high school in New Zealand--he was shifted to teaching seminary. The one in charge of the seminary and institute program (a former student of mine) told me that Palmer declined to teach the founding narrative because he did not believe it. He was then allowed to teach about integrity, honesty and other such things. My essay entitled "Prying into Palmer" (available on the Maxwell Institute website) deals only with the problems he had when he was shifted from Chico, California, to Salt Lake. But the fact is that he was in big trouble in Chico. That is why he was shifted to Salt Lake so that he would no longer be Seminary Coordinator whose job was to supervise early morning seminary, but a teacher in large released-time seminaries. He was soon put on probation and immediately started "New York Mormonism," which was the initial draft of his book that John Dehlin likes so much. Remember "Bushman is worth a Palmer." That is exactly what Dehlin has said about the one he calls "the incomparable Grant Palmer." There is a certain ironic truth in that statement. I would have mentioned the mess Palmer got into in Chico, but I only had interviews with people who were not anxious to have their names brought into a messy situation. If I could not cite a source, I did not mention something. Well, I did mentions things in the first draft, and Shirley Ricks, our technical editor demanded citations to sources, as did the folks who read the essay for CES, which I was told included among other lawyers. So both Palmer and Tom Kimball helped me out by providing sources I could cite to support what I already knew.

If people who don't want to hear the truth don't like my way of doing some intellectual history, then they can have a look at what Davis Bitton, Jim Allen, Steve Harper and Mark Ashurst-McGee wrote about Palmer's book . An Insider's View is flawed in about every way one can imagine except in the smooth way it was edited and redacted and fashioned. The effort to make that book as attractive as possible was done well.

End of lecture.

Edited by Louis Midgley
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Will Greg Smith (or someone else) be writing a long article picking analyziing the writings and ideas of those now leading the Maxwell Institute? And will it be balanced and not personal? I am asking sincerely.

Sounds like sniping to me.

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Will Greg Smith (or someone else) be writing a long article picking analyziing the writings and ideas of those now leading the Maxwell Institute? And will it be balanced and not personal? I am asking sincerely.

What articles? Is MI publishing articles these days? Seriously.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I am wondering if rockpond may be trying to ask something along the lines of: would it be going to far were a seminary instructor to publicly express his or her desire that temple marriage one day be extended to same-sex couples?

But, as he or she notes, this is off-topic and probably best handled via PM. I only mention it as a way of cutting to the chase.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Wow. No, not at all, Wade. I am actually interested in how Dr. Midgely defines the core narrative. I value his opinion on that.

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It simply does not matter what you believe about Dehlin or Professor Peterson. You have your own view of them. What matters is that Dehlin has operated, while not even believing in God, except in the sense that the support he has gotten for his undertakings he has chosen to call god, and he has admitted that probably more people who he has encountered through his various ventures have ended up leaving the Church. Not liking these well documented fact about someone who helped you is understandable and an indication of your own debt to him, but your quarrel with Greg Smith is not exactly laudable. Why? He has shown in detail some things about Dehlin that you had not noticed. If you had encounter Greg Smith like you have Dan Peterson, then you would have been anxious to defend a dear friend. Those many who have been helped by the FAIR wiki, without being aware of it, have been helped by Greg Smith. And those he has written to directly who have been helped by him, have a very high regard for his information and kindness. But he has no groupies often violently hostile to the Church of Jesus Christ who see him as a liberator from the darkness of a false and controlling Church.

Perhaps, he should have some people following him who are hostile to the church. Who is this paper written to, anyway? Who is the audience? Like John Dehlin, most people have probably never heard of Greg Smith.

Frankly, I just don't like the back biting and sniping back and forth. I didn't like it when John Dehlin was doing it to Daniel Peterson and other apologists (including you...although, I don't believe I had read any of your papers, at the time), but at least John didn't write a hundred page thesis about it.

As someone whom everybody claims to want to "help", it would have been nice for both Dehlin and Peterson and you and whomever else was involved, get together and discuss these issues face to face. Has anyone ever thought of that? It would be very refreshing to see everyone playing nice and just have some friendly discussions about these issues, rather than attacking each other in print.

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Will Greg Smith (or someone else) be writing a long article picking analyziing the writings and ideas of those now leading the Maxwell Institute? And will it be balanced and not personal? I am asking sincerely.

The answer is an emphatic no. And the idea that "balance" is somehow the opposite of "personal" is incoherent. I have shown on this thread, I believe, that every essay that deals with any person is in at least one or more ways personal. And if you will consult Peter Novick's remarkable The Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge University Press, 1988), you will discover that talk about balance in writing history is merely an empty surrogate for he word objectivity and other words like neutrality, detachment, and even the word disinterestedness, and so forth. They merely serve as part of an arsenal of labels in ideological warfare and they constitute a mythology in the worst sense of that word. That is exactly the way the word "balance" has been used on this thread. I am not finding fault with those who did this, except to say that they are, as we all are in various different ways, captives of slogan thinking which is not real thinking at all. So we often see combined with the misunderstood Greek word apologia and hence the English words apologetic and apologists linked with the words objective and objectivity to form an empty slogan used to bash those with whom one disagrees. All of this is merely a way for those trying to defend their own ideology by attacking others with an empty but still powerful heavily emotionally laden word. So one can use these words to beat up ideas and the persons who hold them without engaging arguments and evidence at all.

My associates often have, as I have, devoted much of their adult like to the Maxwell Institute. Though some of us are sad, we have no desire to say or do anything that would call into question the single most impressive collection of scholarship explicating and defending our faith and its history currently available. Now the History Department has, I much also point out, done a masterful job of assembling, editing and making available the huge collection of documents that for the textual record of the LDS past. But the Maxwell Institute has also sponsored some very important word in that regard. 1. Royal Skousen critical text of the Book of Mormon is remarkable and very important. 2. Matt Roper took over and actually did something with an idea I had in 1997. Francis Kirkham had collected and published, among other things, about 45 important items attacking the Book of Mormon published during the lifetime of Joseph Smith. Matt Roper expanded this to something like 600 items. All of this is now available to anyone with a computer and mouse. So much for hiding our history. Of course not one of you has exhausted any of these remarkable resources. I know this because I sense how nice I am. I mean nice in the original and most primitive sense--that is, when the word meant ignorant, uninformed. Everyone knows some things, or thinks that they do. But no one knows very much except about a few things they have more or less mastered. This can be put in an ancient and very ironic way. Socrates is reported to have argued that we end up knowing nothing. Some end up knowing why. So they actually no something important. Extending this idea I have come to realize that we live by faith and not by sight. And we really don't know until we have grown the little seed into the the Tree of Life, and only then will be really know because we can then taste he fruit of that tree. In this disconsolate world this gives me a hope. But this hope can only be sustained in a community where other help provide the spiritual/intellectual nourishment and encouragment that keeps alive love and faith.

Edited by Louis Midgley
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Wow. No, not at all, Wade. I am actually interested in how Dr. Midgely defines the core narrative. I value his opinion on that.

Are you assuming that the new and everlasting covenant of marriage may "not at all" be a part of the core narrative?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Are you assuming that the new and everlasting covenant of marriage may "not at all" be a part of the core narrative?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I'm not assuming anything. It was a just a question with no agenda.

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Did anyone else happen to notice that the testimonials from fans of John Dehlin's non-response to Greg Smith's essays seem to have disappeared from his Mormon studies website? When I got to that website I was the only one "listening." Then I could see the last of what I think were 22 comments disappear. I have posted the comments that I saved on "Greg Smith's Review" on this board for those who would like to have a look at them.

Edited by Louis Midgley
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As someone whom everybody claims to want to "help", it would have been nice for both Dehlin and Peterson and you and whomever else was involved, get together and discuss these issues face to face. Has anyone ever thought of that? It would be very refreshing to see everyone playing nice and just have some friendly discussions about these issues, rather than attacking each other in print.

Libs, FAIR has repeatedly over the years asked Bro. Dehlin when he criticizes FAIR to provide examples of where he thinks we need improvement so that we can correct where we are going wrong. My memory says he was even a member of FAIR for a short time several years ago (my email history doesn't go back that long unfortunately) in an effort to include his point of view in our work (though I may be confusing him with someone else, I don't think so). I am not sure if this is what you had in mind though. Edited by calmoriah
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Thanks, Calmoriah.....it's not exactly what I had in mind. I agree that John didn't give very much in the way of examples of what it was he was talking about....but, I think this article (and any other similar articles, where a person's motives and character are questioned) is probably exactly what he was talking about. I'm not sure how common that was, as I didn't read "everything" from FAIR and MI. It sounds like the poster Wiki(something) agreed that there were areas where they could do better and he was very open to correcting some of those areas.

I'm not defending John's actions regarding those accusations. I really believe that could have all been handled much better (and perhaps John believes so, now, as well). But, it probably could have been handled better from both ends.

I just wonder if all of these parties are still open to the possibility of civil discussion about all of this? That would be (or could be) very productive, I would think...

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I just wonder if all of these parties are still open to the possibility of civil discussion about all of this? That would be (or could be) very productive, I would think...

I think that we need to get back to basics. Greg wrote an article that was perhaps going to be published by MI. An informer at MI notified a exmormon board about it and that board began to give it publicity by calling it a hit piece and attacking Dan by name. And these attacks were personal even though Dan did not write the article. John then eventually took action against the piece. The whole article was then blown out of proportion even though only a couple people actually read it.

The article, if one reads it, is a critique of Mormon Stories which John is founder and creator. And he continues to be so.

But if the article was left alone and just published, it would not have caused such a stir. Mormon Stories can be critiqued and since its founder is basically its voice and soul, he can also be critiqued for the direction of Mormon Stories. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. So, it was very personal toward Dan and MI.

And if you think about it Libs, the exmormon side were extremely hostile to Dan, MI and the article, even though the excrowd did not read the article. But Greg (more or less) got a free pass on it all.

Edited by why me
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