Jump to content

Spider-Man Has Left the Church


Recommended Posts

Here:

Quote

RYAN OTTLEY PUT EX-MORMON REFERENCE IN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4

spiderman1_size3.jpg

 

Do you see it?

Quote

spiderman2.jpg

The bottom right logo is CES Letter, which is a book by Jeremy Runnells, described as:

'one Latter-Day Saint's honest quest to get official answers from the LDS Church on its troubling origins, history, and practices. Jeremy Runnells was offered an opportunity to discuss his own doubts with a director of the Church Educational System (CES) and was assured that his doubts could be resolved. After reading Jeremy's letter, the director promised him a response. No response ever came.'

Not sure the CES letter is at all aptly described as an "honest quest."

🤨

-Smac

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
37 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Who is Ryan Ottley and what does he have against the Church? 

According to his comments on Reddit, see the text above the second photo above, he resigned from the church last year.

Link to post
4 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Misleading advertising. 

Donate.

Link to post

I find the part where he says he won't be reading the Book of Mormon any longer because it "isn't very well written" to be rather amusing. 

I don't usually think of comic book artists as being rigorous textual critics, but maybe this guy is the exception. ;) 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post

"Mr. Runnels, I don't feel so good" . . . =@

:lol:

Link to post
2 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Well, we can survey his conduct, evaluate the extant evidence, and then formulate reasoned conclusions.

I agree.  I don't think I have judged his heart, just his conduct.  The letter strikes me as nothing like an "honest quest."  Instead, the letter comes across as Mr. Runnells pretending (yes, I'm suggesting bad faith here) that there are no substantive responses to his laundry list of cut n' paste complaints.  FAIR.  Jeff Lindsay.  Mormon Interpreter.  FARMS.  BookofMormonCentral.  Dozens (hundreds?) of published books.  Virtually everything Runnells presents has been addressed over and over and over.  It is one thing to disagree with those responses, but it is manifestly bad faith to pretend as if they don't exist, and to refuse to meaningfully interact with them at all.  

That is what Runnells has done, IMO.  So my assessment of his "letter" is there is no good faith here.  The "concerns" and "questions" here are not fairly posed, and are instead presented in a "death by a thousand paper cuts"-type of compendium.  Many are short, facile ("appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial") questions/concerns designed to elicit long, complex answers and are presented with the intent to ensnare rather than to elicit information.  They are intellectually dishonest in that they are cobbled-together complaints and criticisms from people hostile to the Restored Gospel being presented under the guise of "questions" or "concerns."  His "questions" are, I think, obviously not the product of meaningful and rigorous study, but are instead just a cobbled-together list of complaints and criticisms he found online.  

There is no evidence of a previous good faith effort to "study it out" and pray and ponder about these "questions" as we are commanded in D&C 9, or of a good faith effort to "seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith."  These "questions" and "concerns" are intellectually dishonest in that they do not engage or address the meaningful information that is already readily available and responsive.  These "questions" instead disregard such resources, or pretend they don't exist, or that they do not provide real and meaningful insights into the "questions" posed.

So for me, the letter is a ploy.  It is not presented it good faith.  Sincerity matters.  Good faith matters.  None of these things is present.  The letter is not a genuine effort by the author to procure information from a "CES director."  He could have done that in any number of ways privately.  His intended audience is . . . struggling Latter-day Saints.  The purpose is to tear down faith.  To sow seeds of doubt and discord.  And to make money while doing it.

Those are my conclusions, anyway.

I guess I just see the CES letter as analogous to, say, Mike Ash's stuff. It's not particularly deep or balanced, but it puts the stuff out there. I find it more productive to deal with the substance instead of trying to divine the author's state of mind. But Jeremy can defend himself. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
1 minute ago, jkwilliams said:

I guess I just see the CES letter as analogous to, say, Mike Ash's stuff. It's not particularly deep or balanced, but it puts the stuff out there.

I see a world of difference, both in content and in motive.

1 minute ago, jkwilliams said:

I find it more productive to deal with the substance instead of trying to divine the author's state of mind. But Jeremy can defend himself. 

A lack of substance is one of the primary problems with the CES letter.  Mr. Runnells is not fairly or reasonably engaging the subject matter.  Again, it is one thing to disagree with meaningful, substantive, well-research and well-reasoned responses to the many issues Runnells claims to be concerned about (virtually all of which pre-date his "letter"), but it is manifestly bad faith to pretend as if those responses don't exist, and to refuse to meaningfully interact with them at all.

Thanks,

-Smac

  • Like 1
Link to post
Just now, smac97 said:

I see a world of difference, both in content and in motive.

A lack of substance is one of the primary problems with the CES letter.  Mr. Runnells is not fairly or reasonably engaging the subject matter.  Again, it is one thing to disagree with meaningful, substantive, well-research and well-reasoned responses to the many issues Runnells claims to be concerned about (virtually all of which pre-date his "letter"), but it is manifestly bad faith to pretend as if those responses don't exist, and to refuse to meaningfully interact with them at all.

Well, it's been a while since I read the CES letter. My impression of it was quite similar to Brian Whitney's response:

Quote

I have been an open critic of Jeremy’s methods, although I understand that he never set out to be a historian or educator. I have sympathy for the questions that he had about church history and doctrine. I do think that there are satisfactory answers for the majority of his questions, and I do not believe that any of the issues he raised are a “smoking gun” that inevitably leads to the conclusion that the church is false. However, I do not blame Jeremy for having or expressing historical questions. I only wish that he would have spend more time studying the available body of scholarly literature rather than ex-Mormon Reddit, followed by a public ***-for-tat with Mormon apologists, which rarely ends in a change of perspective for either party involved.

I would not have written the CES letter the way he did. I understand why he doesn't find apologetic answers "satisfactory" (obviously, I don't), but I don't question his motives. No need. A good friend of mine wrote a long response to the letter, which would have been much more effective had he not resorted to sarcastic sneering (I told him I thought that undermined his efforts, but he felt the letter merited the derision). And that's my issue with the focus on motives and "bad faith": the folks who are going to find the letter persuasive don't care much about Jeremy's motives. 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Well, we can survey his conduct, evaluate the extant evidence, and then formulate reasoned conclusions.

I agree.  I don't think I have judged his heart, just his conduct.  The letter strikes me as nothing like an "honest quest."  Instead, the letter comes across as Mr. Runnells pretending (yes, I'm suggesting bad faith here) that there are no substantive responses to his laundry list of cut n' paste complaints.  FAIR.  Jeff Lindsay.  Mormon Interpreter.  FARMS.  BookofMormonCentral.  Dozens (hundreds?) of published books.  Virtually everything Runnells presents has been addressed over and over and over.  It is one thing to disagree with those responses, but it is manifestly bad faith to pretend as if they don't exist, and to refuse to meaningfully interact with them at all.  

"Addressed" is not answered (at least for many who are searching and have the same doubts and questions that Runnells had).  And where did he "pretend" that those you listed "don't exist"?  He engaged in a long debate with FairMormon, for one.

Did he ever receive a response to his letter?

The CES letter has been extremely effective (IMO) and the reason it has been and continues to be read by many is because it does contain facts and information regarding the church and church history that most members are still unaware of.  It's too bad they read about it in sources like this letter first rather than from church leaders, because they then read Runnells conclusions first.  I know the church leaders are making an effort to get more truth out there, but they could do better, IMO.  Many members have still not even read the essays let alone know they even exist.

Edited by ALarson
  • Like 4
Link to post

Motive and bias certainly play a part in how one views the evidence.  However, at a certain point, one must admit that possibilities do not equal probabilities and that maybe the group is incorrect.

Link to post

Wait a minute!

Spidey used to sing "I'm so Glad When Daddy Gets Home"?

That explains so much.

Link to post

This has morphed into how to characterize the CES Letter. The part that I know well, which is the initial part, indicates that it is a naive study — that is, it shows a lack of experience or judgment. In particular, it merely regurgitates the naive studies of others.

In general, these topics take time and effort to understand. And by time and effort I mean years of accumulating general and specific expertise, and then thousands of hours of research.

Suppose you're going to study King James Bible passages in the Book of Mormon. You need to know some Greek and Hebrew, you need to study many different editions of the King James Bible, from 1611 forward, tracking italics and changing word usage and the variability of such in successive editions. A line by line comparison of the 1829 Book of Mormon (the dictation text) with the King James Bible needs to be done, databases need to be made, etc. Has anyone done that? Besides Skousen, not that I've seen, and he hasn't yet published his careful research on this. What we can read so far are less-than-thorough studies by a number of scholars. As a result, some of the data is bad. For instance, there are more than 800 constituent or text-block differences between the texts, and only 21.5% of those involve italics. Yet we can currently read in the literature that the figure is 33%, which thorough study shows to be inaccurate. So the reality is that there are more than 600 differences that do NOT involve italics, a very large number of instances that must be taken into account by a serious researcher.

It's easy to cherry-pick and achieve a desired result. It's hard to be exhaustive and meticulous. It's easy to be naive, it's hard to gain experience and judgment.

  • Like 4
Link to post
On 8/28/2018 at 8:41 AM, Analytics said:

There is a difference between a question being answered and a question being answered by an official source,

For some very few things, yes.  If authority and revelation are needed, then yes.  But many of the issues raised by Mr. Runnells can be, and have been, extensively addressed through research and substantive data and sound reasoning.

For example, Runnells' questions about apparent anachronisms (question 5 on his list).  He makes no effort to meaningfully interact with substantive scholarship on these matters.  And I don't expect or require an answer from an "official source" on these issues, so the "I refuse to consider any effort to address this issue unless it is issued by the First Presidency"-style attitude comes across as a dodge, as an excuse to not engage substantive and meaningful research and analysis that just might mean that some of these issues are not as problematic as Mr. Runnells wants them to be. 

"Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith."  (D&C 109:7).  

Quote

or at least by the person who promised to answer it.

Meh.  I have no reason to trust Mr. Runnells' say-so.  Moreover, this is just another dodge.  It is either childish or dishonest to refuse to research these issues, and to refuse to meaningfully engage the results of that research.

Quote

Likewise, there is a difference between a good answer, and many of the answers provided in the resources you listed.

Sure.  There are varying degrees of quality, as we have varying degrees of information available.

But there are really quite a few very "good" answers to many of the issues raised by Mr. Runnells.  

Quote

It should really be beyond question that the CES letter strikes a nerve with many Latter-day Saints--with people who read FAIR, FARMS, etc., and in multiple cases even wrote the so-called answers found there.

I concur.  But striking a nerve is relatively easy.  That was the whole point of Runnells' letter.  To tear down faith.  That he has succeeded at it in some quarters doesn't ameliorate the defects in his letter.

Quote

Runnells never claimed that these apologetic organizations don't exist or haven't tried to deal with the obvious issues in Mormonism. Rather, he compiled a list of his concerns.

I think it's fundamentally dishonest to do what he has done.  Again, it is one thing to disagree with meaningful, substantive, well-research and well-reasoned responses to the many issues Runnells claims to be concerned about (virtually all of which pre-date his "letter"), but it is manifestly bad faith to pretend as if those responses don't exist, and to refuse to meaningfully interact with them at all.

Quote

If his concerns were easy to answer, a book that is in desperate need to be written would be titled something like: Answers: A CES Director Responds.

I never said his "concerns were easy to answer."

Meanwhile, there have been extensive responses to Runnells' letter (see, e.g., here, here, here, here).

Quote

Wouldn't it be great if an actual CES letter wrote that? And wouldn't it be great if rather being filled with ad hominin attacks about how Runnells book was written in bad faith by a liar, if it presumed his sincerity and provided the answers?

Criticizing his lack of meaningful interaction with substantive scholarship on the Book of Mormon is not ad hominem.  

Quote

The experience of trying to rationalize your religious convictions is extremely personal,

Meh.  I don't believe Runnells letter was anything like that. 

Quote

and just because things like Joseph Smith secretly marrying other men's wives or pretending to know how to translate Egyptian bother Jeremy doesn't mean they bother you. But that doesn't mean that honest people can't arrive at a conclusion different than your own.

I acknowledge there are difficult issues to address in the Church, particularly as to matters of church history, practice and doctrine.

The CES letter is not a good faith effort to address those concerns.  It is a cobbled-together laundry lest of grievances styled as questions.  It does not have any indicia of systematic, organic, meaningful research and effort, and instead comes across as a massive copy-and-paste culling from websites critical of the Church.  It is lazy.  It is sloppy.  It is superficial.

And yes, it is effective at alarming people.  That's unfortunate.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
  • Like 4
Link to post
10 minutes ago, champatsch said:

This has morphed into how to characterize the CES Letter. The part that I know well, which is the initial part, indicates that it is a naive study — that is, it shows a lack of experience or judgment. In particular, it merely regurgitates the naive studies of others.

In general, these topics take time and effort to understand. And by time and effort I mean years of accumulating general and specific expertise, and then thousands of hours of research.

Suppose you're going to study King James Bible passages in the Book of Mormon. You need to know some Greek and Hebrew, you need to study many different editions of the King James Bible, from 1611 forward, tracking italics and changing word usage and the variability of such in successive editions. A line by line comparison of the 1829 Book of Mormon (the dictation text) with the King James Bible needs to be done, databases need to be made, etc. Has anyone done that? Besides Skousen, not that I've seen, and he hasn't yet published his careful research on this. What we can read so far are less-than-thorough studies by a number of scholars. As a result, some of the data is bad. For instance, there are more than 800 constituent or text-block differences between the texts, and only 21.5% of those involve italics. Yet we can currently read in the literature that the figure is 33%, which thorough study shows to be inaccurate. So the reality is that there are more than 600 differences that do NOT involve italics, a very large number of instances that must be taken into account by a serious researcher.

It's easy to cherry-pick and achieve a desired result. It's hard to be exhaustive and meticulous. It's easy to be naive, it's hard to gain experience and judgment.

I don't disagree with your analysis. If, as we apparently both agree, his approach is "naive," it shouldn't be too difficult for someone with experience and judgment to refute him. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Quote

followed by a public ***-for-tat with Mormon apologists

This was due imo to the criticisms of "well, maybe that one has an answer, but there are all the rest".  It was pretty clear, imo, that due to the shotgun approach of Runnells, a shotgun defense was needed which was dealing with each criticism or at least enough to show any patterns in order to preempt the "all the rest" response.  Given the responses I saw, something was needed to balance Runnell's mass to give people a reason to look at it in more detail and look for answers with some effort.

No apologist I knew wanted to take time from other projects to address it in such detail.  They saw it would be useful though based on the reactions, so they volunteered their time and put in their own resources.

When FM gets questions about the CES letter, we ask the writer to pick out one or two at a time for as long as they want (as long as it is not meant as a debate) to discuss with one or more FM member who address questions while also sending them to one of the comprehensive responses because we recognize both the need to address the feeling that just the volume of questions somehow emotionally proves the Church is false and to address any specific concerns or nuances in the questions of the individual.

  • Like 2
Link to post
2 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I don't disagree with your analysis. If, as we apparently both agree, his approach is "naive," it shouldn't be too difficult for someone with experience and judgment to refute him. 

The volume is what creates difficulty, it can turn a discussion into a whack a mole debate if the questioner isn't willing to invest any significant time into the discussion.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...