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Urloony

Where Have All the Anti's Gone?

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I think this illustrates my point quite neatly. Decker is, to many Saints and others alike, an identifiable buffoon. Dehlin's goal is to destroy faith wherever he may find it whilst pretending he's just there to help struggling members.

As crazy as this might sound to those who know better, I think Ed Decker's approach has been highly "successful" with those in Christian faiths of a particular mindset.  He has demonized "Mormonism" and has sufficiently poisoned the well for a lot of people that might otherwise do their own investigations into the church's claims.  It provides a way for them to label us as a "cult" and dismiss us without consideration.  (And here I am ranting about labels again).  I have seen kind and loving Christians who I have had respectful conversations with in the past (and knowing that I am a Latter-day Saint all the time) turn into hateful frothing-at-the-mouth adversaries within days of being exposed to some of Decker's material.  All my prior kindness and respect to them gets twisted into my long attempt at deception by mimicking Christian behavior and my "lying" about my beliefs.   It's really quite scary.   And it's happened to me multiple times. 

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1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

As crazy as this might sound to those who know better, I think Ed Decker's approach has been highly "successful" with those in Christian faiths of a particular mindset.  He has demonized "Mormonism" and has sufficiently poisoned the well for a lot of people that might otherwise do their own investigations into the church's claims. ...

At least occcasionally, it also works the other way though.  A few years ago, I went to Amazon and looked up one of Mr. Decker's books just to see what folks were saying about it.  Of course, I read all of the sorts of things one might expect: "Thanks, Ed, for saving people from those evil Mermanz," and so on and so forth, ad infinitum and ad nauseam.  Though, by far, these reviews were much, much more the exception than the rule, sprinkled in with praise for Mr. Decker's work because it saved readers from the evil Mermanz, was praise of a different sort, praise that I don't think Mr. Decker was counting on: In essence, one or two reviews said, "I read your work, and I wondered if the Church possibly could be as bad as you make it out to be.  So I looked into it myself and, long story short, I decided to get baptized."

Now, of course, anyone can say anything on the Wild, Wild Webz, so who knows if any accounts of this sort of thing are true.  (We are commanded, however, to not bear false witness, so there is that.)

Just food for thought.  Also, Joseph Smith did say that, "No unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing.  Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and calumny may defame; but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, 'til it has penetrated every continent, swept every country, visited every clime, and sounded in every ear; 'til the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say, 'The work is done!'"

And then there's this, from Isaiah 54:

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17 ¶ No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

And perhaps, eventually, religion in general will become so marginalized (though I hasten to add that I'm not looking forward to this state of affairs if it does come to pass, nor do I wish to hasten, in any way, its arrival) that even some of the groups or people who formerly were among our bitterest enemies will realize that, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," and that people of faith all must "hang together" lest they all "hang separately," as Benjamin Franklin told the Revolutionaries about their act of treason against the British.

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Agreed. Unrighteousness is our worst enemy. This does not, however, mean that we are free of external threats or points of opposition as well. I appreciate that there are people of all stripes who support the right to believe and organize as such, but there are also many who don't, and they represent a genuine threat. 

The acknowledgment of external threats is not "casting endless blame on external sources." Nor is it exclusive or looking inward. 

Well yes, those external threats also fall under unrighteousness, though.  The point being that unrighteousness cannot be represented or encompassed in a person or persons. And neither can righteousness.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I have seen kind and loving Christians who I have had respectful conversations with in the past (and knowing that I am a Latter-day Saint all the time) turn into hateful frothing-at-the-mouth adversaries within days of being exposed to some of Decker's material.  All my prior kindness and respect to them gets twisted into my long attempt at deception by mimicking Christian behavior and my "lying" about my beliefs.   It's really quite scary.   And it's happened to me multiple times. 

I believe that to have been your experience, but it hasn't been mine. As Ken intimated above, I've known far more converts whose curiosity was first piqued by exposure to over-the-top 'anti-Mormonism' than people who have been poisoned by it. No doubt it happens. But I haven't encountered anybody in many years who would even know who Ed Decker or others of his ilk were/are.

Where I live, at least, that conversation has been supplanted by a far more sinister one. In our national election last year, we actually had a shadow minister who swore that, in government, she would oversee the passage of legislation making it illegal for religions to teach that people can change ...

Edited by Hamba Tuhan

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14 hours ago, Urloony said:

Perhaps this is an old topic and I am just late to the party.  Years ago I was active on both CARM and Walter Martin's board, both pretty big anti boards in their day.  Finding myself with more time lately, I thought I'd make a visit.  While both forums still exist they have both been decimated.  Walter Martin no longer accepts new registrations and old accounts such as mine have been deleted.  Perusing the forums briefly shows a smattering of recent posts, but nothing like it was.  CARM seems to have had their forums completely deleted/reset with very little fresh activity.  If there is anyone out there "in the know" as to what has been going on with these guys I'm curious to know.  Perhaps they've given up the good fight?

It simply got too boring and counterproductive.

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Anti mormonism is present on non church specific boards (along now with anti churchism that hamba describes). What I have seen on those boards is that members choose not to contend or even say much at all now.  

As members we felt free to talk about church, but now as soon as we do the anti-mormons (usually former members, whether formally leaving or not) jump on anything. If someone not a member asks something then usually one of us will give a brief answer and then refuse to contend with everyone else piling on.  Often I will private message instead.  It isn't worth the pages of rage that continue.

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18 minutes ago, CV75 said:
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Perhaps this is an old topic and I am just late to the party.  Years ago I was active on both CARM and Walter Martin's board, both pretty big anti boards in their day.  Finding myself with more time lately, I thought I'd make a visit.  While both forums still exist they have both been decimated.  Walter Martin no longer accepts new registrations and old accounts such as mine have been deleted.  Perusing the forums briefly shows a smattering of recent posts, but nothing like it was.  CARM seems to have had their forums completely deleted/reset with very little fresh activity.  If there is anyone out there "in the know" as to what has been going on with these guys I'm curious to know.  Perhaps they've given up the good fight?

It simply got too boring and counterproductive.

I posted this nearly two years ago:

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Years ago, when I joined this site, the field of Mormon apologetics was active.  I remember active engagement from Mormon academics from various backgrounds, consistent publications, debate, amongst other activities.  Nowadays, Mormon apologetics seems close to non-existent relative to ten years ago.  What changed?  Where are the apologists?  

P.S. It's been years since I've posted here, I hope everyone is doing well.

A few thoughts:

1. There really isn't much new to discuss.  We end up re-litigating the same topics over and over again, or else minor variations of the same topics.

2. The topics that are discussed seem to have reached sort of an end-stage.  The data points and talking points are being recycled.

3. FAIR, Mormon Interpreter, BookofMormonCentral, Jeff Lindsay, and a few other resources seem to have addressed pretty much all of the substantive criticisms of the doctrines of the Church.  That is not to say that these explanations and such are undeniably persuasive.  There's still plenty of room to disagree.  But both sides have argued each other into a stalemate.

4. Online debates about the merits of the truth claims of the LDS Church can only get you so far.  Moroni's Promise, prayer, faith, humility, service, patience, endurance, and so on are, I think, the means God intends for us to use when seeking a determination on the Church's truth claims..  Adversarial discussions . . . not so much.

And this from June 2017:

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In my view, this board has become significantly less interesting over the past while.  Here are perhaps some of the contributing factors:

Repetition: Having spent nearly 20 years participating in online adversarial discussions about the LDS Church and its doctrines, practices, leaders, members, culture, etc., I think I've reached a point where many (most?   nearly all?) of the threads here are duplicative of substantive discussions we've had before.  Re-hashing the same topics over and over and over becomes tiresome and boring and not worthwhile.

Marshaled Evidence/Explanations: We now have extensive, readily-accessible resources which provide rich and substantive information about the LDS Church and its history, doctrines, etc.  LDS.org.  FAIRMormon (particularly its "Answers" and "Wiki" sections, and its YouTube channel).  BYU's publications (such as the content on the Maxwell Institute website, the online Encyclopedia of Mormonism, and so on).  Individual LDS websites (Jeff Lindsay's and Dan Peterson's are some of my favorites).  The Interpreter Foundation's website.  And many, many, other online and printed resources (see here for a partial listing).  These resources provide a much better structured, and more coherent and comprehensive, presentation of LDS doctrine and belief then the disjointed, piecemeal, stream-of-consciousness, let's-throw-this-topic-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks approach to the LDS Church which arises naturally from user-selected topics on an LDS-themed message board.  Compared to these other sources of information, participating on a discussion board - particularly one that is apparently in the same downward spiral as we saw with ZLMB - becomes less worthwhile.  That is not to say that we should ignore or gloss over reasoned criticisms of our faith.  My point is that sources like FAIR and Jeff Lindsay and Dan Peterson and many others have done quite a good job of presenting criticisms of the LDS Church and then martialing evidence and explanations in response thereto.  Those resources are, at this point, simply more attractive than this board.

{EDIT TO ADD: Book of Mormon Central and Book of Great Price Central have both made significant contributions to Latter-day Saint apologetics in the last few years.}

Asked and Answered: Back in 1997, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen said this:

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Mormon scholars and apologists (not all apologists are scholars) have, with varying degrees of success, answered most of the usual evangelical criticisms. Often these answers adequately diffuse particular (minor) criticisms. When the criticism has not been diffused the issue has usually been made much more complex.

I think this was true in 1997, and far more so now, 20 years later.  And yet Latter-day Saints still endlessly respond to the these "usual evangelical criticisms" (and secular ones as well).  This gets boring.  Exasperating.  Not worthwhile.  

Critics Getting Nasty/Personal/Profane: I feel there is a marked deterioration on this board in the quality of critical arguments against the LDS Church.  There are some attempts to present dispassionate, reasoned criticisms of the LDS Church and its doctrines and practices and such, and I appreciate those.  But these have become more of the exception than the rule.  These days, the criticisms seem to be predominantly mean-spirited, calculated to offend/enflame, profane, taunting, sarcastic, and so on.  This becomes all the more problematic when we consider that this board was created for Mormons (mostly).  And yet when critics are invited to participate, many of their remarks have become markedly, demonstrably, intentionally offensive and derogatory about many topics which Mormons hold near and dear to their hearts.  Topics which are sacred to the Mormons.  Topics which are treated with casual contempt and ridicule by many of the guests of this board.  If I were participating in an online forum where other participants routinely and openly insulted and denigrated my wife, I would not stay there.  I would leave not because their insults and denigrating remarks are valid, but because I see no value in attempting to interact with persons who could be so incredibly boorish and crass and vulgar as to say such things to my face about a person so important to me.

Entitled Critics (Who Are Members): I think there is a crop of participants here who claim to be members of the LDS Church, and yet also routinely and publicly denigrate and insult and ridicule the LDS Church, its doctrines, practices, leaders, etc.  They appear to feel entitled to say such appalling things about our shared faith because they are nominally members of the Church.  I can see the theoretical value of this board for, say, a church member who is struggling to build or maintain a testimony of the Restored Gospel, or who is seeking to better understand a difficult and thorny topic like the Priesthood Ban or polygamy or Mountain Meadows.  But the crop of participants I have in mind do not fit that description.  Instead, they seem to revel in being a member and yet coming here and - behind the safety of an online pseudonym - publicly denigrating the Church, slandering the leaders of the Church, ridiculing sacred things, taunting fellow members of the Church, and otherwise seeking undermine and tear down the LDS Church.  This is not "constructive criticism."  This is not "loyal opposition."  This is, to me, something approaching apostasy.  There is only such much of such behavior with which I am willing to put up.  Non-member critics span the spectrum of civility, and there are a number who are quite civil and polite in their disagreements with us.  More to the point, these non-member critics are not bound by covenants as members are.  So I guess I'm saying I have substantially less patience for critics who are members of the Church than critics who are not.

There are other boards (two prominent ones come to mind) that really cater to the hostile anti-Mormon crowd.  AFAICS, there is no appreciable Latter-day Saint presence at either one.  T

Thanks,

-Smac

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11 minutes ago, Rain said:

Anti mormonism is present on non church specific boards (along now with anti churchism that hamba describes). What I have seen on those boards is that members choose not to contend or even say much at all now.  

As members we felt free to talk about church, but now as soon as we do the anti-mormons (usually former members, whether formally leaving or not) jump on anything. If someone not a member asks something then usually one of us will give a brief answer and then refuse to contend with everyone else piling on.  Often I will private message instead.  It isn't worth the pages of rage that continue.

I'm curious how everyone's definitions for anti-mormonism differ or align. What's yours?

I've understood it to be use of deception to oppose the church. Some others seem to define it much more broadly.

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Posted (edited)

Much happened when the internet began. Many used the forums to spread anti mormonism. And it all heated up at the turn of the century and lasted a few years. Now I think that the internet has used up its freshness for such anti mormon activity. Many people have moved on from debating and now usually just discuss with like minded people. When this was a Fair board, the debates were hot and full of energy. And now...people are on calm pills. No energy to battle on both sides.

Edited by why me
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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm curious how everyone's definitions for anti-mormonism differ or align. What's yours?

I've understood it to be use of deception to oppose the church. Some others seem to define it much more broadly.

I'm not sure I can give you a clear definition.  I can give you actions I have seen, but it is not just one action that does it, but more of a consistent line of actions.

Things like repeatedly telling lies about church practices when members have shown this is not true. I'm not talking about one person's experience being a lie, but basically saying it is the experience of everyone.  And no, I don't remember specifics.

One woman on a board I am on comes into every church thread and throws in everything negative she can.  There are topics totally non church and she can pull something in.  Say you are asking for a recipe for cheesecake then she will find a way.  Then after that there will be several others come in that now make the thread center on how bad the church is.

It is the accusations of every bishop being bad and anyone who agrees with the church being bad.  

It is the constant portraying of members as stupid and/or deceiving. 

It is the changing of stories about her own experiences to make the church look bad. 

The best I can give you are antimormons are those who actively work to tear down the church without regard to what is honest or true. 

 

Edited by Rain

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57 minutes ago, why me said:

Much happened when the internet began. Many used the forums to spread anti mormonism. And it all heated up at the turn of the century and lasted a few years. Now I think that the internet has used up its freshness for such anti mormon activity. Many people have moved on from debating and now usually just discuss with like minded people. When this was a Fair board, the debates were hot and full of energy. And now...people are on calm pills. No energy to battle on both sides.

It's most likely because the church is transparent more and more, so no need to debate when the transparency is there and the anti's points are addressed by the church.

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Posted (edited)

They see us as political and cultural allies..........for now.

Edited by The Nehor

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Given the recent proscription on the use of the term, aren't we all supposed to be anti-Mormon now?

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm curious how everyone's definitions for anti-mormonism differ or align. What's yours?

I've understood it to be use of deception to oppose the church. Some others seem to define it much more broadly.

From a post I wrote in 2016:

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As I mentioned above, I too would use the term Anti-Mormon for anyone who purposely lies or knowingly distorts LDS doctrines for the purpose of deceiving others from belief in Mormonism. 

Dishonesty is not an inherent part of being "anti-Mormon."  Not in my view, anyway.  I also do not think that latent opposition warrants the descriptor.  But people who publicly / actively / affirmatively oppose the LDS Church and/or its doctrines / leaders / members are reasonably characterized as "anti-mormon."

And here (same thread) :

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I think "anti-Mormon" should be used to describe people who actively oppose the LDS Church and/or its doctrines / leaders / members.

It's not a likeable word.  It's not a likeable thing. (Yes, I'm cribbing from A Man For All Seasons.)
...
"Anti-Mormon" is a perfectly legitimate descriptor.

Thanks,

-Smac

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16 hours ago, Urloony said:

Perhaps this is an old topic and I am just late to the party.  Years ago I was active on both CARM and Walter Martin's board, both pretty big anti boards in their day.  Finding myself with more time lately, I thought I'd make a visit.  While both forums still exist they have both been decimated.  Walter Martin no longer accepts new registrations and old accounts such as mine have been deleted.  Perusing the forums briefly shows a smattering of recent posts, but nothing like it was.  CARM seems to have had their forums completely deleted/reset with very little fresh activity.  If there is anyone out there "in the know" as to what has been going on with these guys I'm curious to know.  Perhaps they've given up the good fight?

The title of your topic is Where have all the antis gone? In your OP you mention two boards. Certainly those two boards are not the only boards where antis have posted, and you should know that social media is very trendy. Remember MySpace? You wouldn't claim that because the number of MySpace users has decreased that people don't participate on social media anymore.

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I don't think the anti's need to do a thing. The church is open now with the Gospel Topic Essays. And it's almost doing the same thing that some anti information has but because it's coming from the source. It's up to the member if they can accept the facts or truths, and stay faithful, or they have to decide if the information verified will lead them away.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I don't think the anti's need to do a thing. The church is open now with the Gospel Topic Essays. And it's almost doing the same thing that some anti information has but because it's coming from the source. It's up to the member if they can accept the facts or truths, and stay faithful, or they have to decide if the information verified will lead them away.

With respect, I disagree with this sentiment.  I think there is a world of difference, in tone, and content, and intent, between anti-Mormon efforts and the Gospel Topics Essays.  I've previously expressed my views here (in a discussion about the CES Letter) where I compared anti-Mormon efforts to the Palantiri from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and also to Shift, the talking ape in C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle:

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Two items from literature come to mind when I think of the CES Letter.

The first is that the CES Letter is like the Palantir from The Lord of the Rings, as explained here:

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Okay, the first time Pippin looks in the Palantir and Sauron sees him. Sauron draws the conclusion from that, he sees a Hobbit in the Palantir. He knows that the Palantir belongs to Saruman. He concludes that the Hobbit is the ring bearer and that Saruman has the ring. What he sees is true, the conclusion he draws from it is wrong. The next thing is of course, that Sauron sees Aragorn in the {Orthanc} stone. He concludes from it, that Saruman had the {Orthanc} stone and the Hobbit and the ring. Aragorn now has the {Orthanc} stone so he must have the Hobbit and the ring. That is why Sauron strikes early, he makes a preemptive strike. Once again, what he says is true, but he draws from it the wrong conclusion.

Every time anyone looks in the Palantir, what they see is true and from it they draw the wrong conclusion. Why did Saruman give up and decide to ally himself with Sauron? Because he saw in the Palantir, the preparations that Sauron was making and he concluded wrongly. That there was no possibility of resistance.  But the most decisive example I think, of looking in the Palantir and getting the wrong answer, is surely Denethor.
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What has he seen? He seen Frodo in the hands apparently of Sauron. Once again then, Denethor has looked in the Palantir, has seen something, which actually is happening on that particular day. But he has drawn from it the wrong conclusion, and he then gives way to despair and to suicide.

And here:

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A consultant for the "Lord of the Rings" movies discussed the differences between the trilogy and the books on which the films are based during a presentation Wednesday night.

T.A. Shippey, who was described as an "inspiration to young medievalist" by Randi Eldevik, associate professor of English, gave a presentation titled "Palantirs and Providence: Tolkien's Books and Jackson's Movies."
...
Shippey said one of the main differences he noticed between the books and the movies dealt with the use of a palantir, a device similar to a crystal ball.

"It seems to be in the book palantirs are used four times," Shippey said.

Shippey said that in the books, when characters look into a palantir, they draw the wrong conclusions.

"The moral of this is don't look in the damn thing," Shippey said.

In the films, the Palantiri showed something "real" to different characters (Sauron, Saruman, Denethor, Aragorn), but then encouraged them to draw the wrong conclusions about what they had seen.

So it is, I think, with the CES Letter.

The second item that comes to mind is a part of C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia series.  A key plot line in the book involves Shift, a talking ape who lived near his friend/servant, Puzzle the donkey.  Here's a character summary:

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Shift's greed served as his primary motivation. His actions to satisfy his greed increased his vileness over time. From lying to his "friend" Puzzle, he moved to manipulating the other talking animals of Narnia. In the end he had no problem murdering them and selling them into slavery to increase his own wealth and power.

As Shift's actions became increasingly evil, he also became increasingly human in his appearance and in the way he presented himself. He donned human clothing and explained that he was not an ape, and that if he appeared as one, it was only because he was "so very old: hundreds and hundreds of years old."

Shift gained the power to pursue these actions by tricking Puzzle into impersonating Aslan, the true ruler of Narnia, using his claimed humanity as 'evidence' of his great wisdom to justify how he was the only one who could speak to Aslan.

Shift's scheme is summed up this way:

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Shift, a Narnian ape, had been conspiring with the Tisroc, planning the overthrow of Narnia, for a long time. One day, as he was walking by Cauldron Pool with his friend Puzzle, they found the skin of a dumb lion who had been killed by a hunter in the Western Wild. Shift, ignoring Puzzle's protests, sewed the skin into a "fine new winter coat" for Puzzle, as he said. Gradually, he persuaded the donkey that Aslan wanted him to dress up in the lion skin so that Shift could use the Lion's authority to "put everything right" in Narnia. Although Puzzle was hesitant, he knew that Shift was far cleverer than himself and thought that the ape must know what Aslan would want, so he agreed.
...
Shift used the animals' firm faith in and longing for Aslan's return to facilitate his rise to power. He allowed Puzzle in the lion's skin to be sighted by several animals to start rumors, and then presented him openly to all the beasts...

The heroes of the story, Jill and King Tirian, encounter Puzzle wearing the lionskin and sort out Shift's scheme.  They intend to expose the scheme, but before they can do so Shift (who by this point is in league with Rishda Tarkaan, a captain of the Calormenes, the enemies of Narnia, and who has discovered Puzzle's absence) takes the scheme even further:

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Rishda Tarkaan dragged the Ape up close to the fire. The pair of them turned to face the crowd, and this of course meant that their backs were towards Tirian and his friends.

"Now, Monkey," said Rishda Tarkaan in a low voice. "Say the words that wiser heads have put into thy mouth. And hold up thy head." As he spoke he gave the Ape a little prod or kick from behind with the point of his toe.

"Do leave me alone," muttered Shift. But he sat up straighter and began, in a louder voice——

"Now listen, all of you. A terrible thing has happened. A wicked thing. The wickedest thing that ever was done in Narnia. And Aslan ... is very angry about it."

There was a terrible silence while the Beasts waited to hear what new trouble was in store for them. The little party by the end-wall of the stable also held their breath. What on earth was coming now?

"Yes," said the Ape. "At this very moment, when the Terrible One himself is among us—there in the stable just behind me—one wicked Beast has chosen to do what you'd think no one would dare to do even if He were a thousand miles away. It has dressed itself up in a lionskin and is wandering about in these very woods pretending to be Aslan."

Jill wondered for a moment if the Ape had gone mad. Was he going to tell the whole truth? A roar of horror and rage went up from the Beasts. "Grrr!" came the growls, "Who is he? Where is he? Just let me get my teeth into him!"

"It was seen last night," screamed the Ape, "but it got away. It's a donkey! A common, miserable a$s! If any of you see that a$s——"

"Grrr!" growled the Beasts. "We will, we will. He'd better keep out of our way."

The heroes of the story respond this way:

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Jill looked at the King: his mouth was open and his face was full of horror. And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger. What was the good, now, of telling the Beasts that an a$s had been dressed up as a lion to deceive them? The Ape would only say, "That's just what I've said." What was the good of showing them Puzzle in his lionskin? They would only tear him in pieces. "That's taken the wind out of our sails," whispered Eustace. "The ground is taken from under our feet," said Tirian.

"By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger."

That, I think, typifies the approach to LDS doctrine and history taken in the CES Letter.  As Robert F. Smith put it (speaking of the authors of the CES Letter (written, or more accurately, compiled, by Jeremy Runnells, and a later derivative copycat, A Letter to My Wife, written by someone named "Zachary"): "Runnells and Zachary both tell the truth sometimes, but they present no fair and balanced statement on the Mormon faith, ... and there are lots of lies -- designed for presentation to the vulnerable and naive."

There have been many, many responses to Runnells' letter:

I recognize that this is a lot of material to cover.  That's sort of the problem that we run into when we get a neophyte like Runnells who presumes to speak broadly about a plethora of issues, but whose writings end up being a lot of "tinkling cymbals and sounding brass."

As you can tell, I don't think much of the CES Letter.  I am open to reasoned and reasonable criticism of our faith.  We have put ourselves out there, in the public sphere.  Our claims can and should be subject to real scrutiny.  As Pres. J. Reuben Clark so aptly put it: "If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

But we don't get much in the way of "investigation" in the CES Letter.  The "concerns" and "questions" in it 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 (or which he received from others whom he solicited online).

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.

In my view, Runnells is pretty much a yellow journalist.  Unfortunately, yellow journalism, unethical journalism, shallow and largely-ignorant-of-the-subject-matter journalism, can nevertheless have a significant impact on the reading public.

The advice about the Palantir (see above) is aptly applied to the CES Letter"The moral of this is don't look in the da{r}n thing."  And if you do, don't just uncritically accept it and the conclusions you are supposed to draw from it.  Give these matters some real time and study and effort.  Seek out input from people other than Jeremy Runnells.  Give the Church and its members an opportunity and fair hearing to respond.

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive..."  (Ephesians 4:14).

"And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart.  For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.  Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven.  These should then be attended to with great earnestness."  (D&C 123:11-14).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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They are losing the battle with secular critics. Enough critics within the LDS church wanting to treat the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham as not literal history.

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2 hours ago, Rain said:

I'm not sure I can give you a clear definition.  I can give you actions I have seen, but it is not just one action that does it, but more of a consistent line of actions.

Things like repeatedly telling lies about church practices when members have shown this is not true. I'm not talking about one person's experience being a lie, but basically saying it is the experience of everyone.  And no, I don't remember specifics.

One woman on a board I am on comes into every church thread and throws in everything negative she can.  There are topics totally non church and she can pull something in.  Say you are asking for a recipe for cheesecake then she will find a way.  Then after that there will be several others come in that now make the thread center on how bad the church is.

It is the accusations of every bishop being bad and anyone who agrees with the church being bad.  

It is the constant portraying of members as stupid and/or deceiving. 

It is the changing of stories about her own experiences to make the church look bad. 

The best I can give you are antimormons are those who actively work to tear down the church without regard to what is honest or true. 

 

Thanks, Rain! That is fairly consistent with my understanding of the term.

 

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

From a post I wrote in 2016:

And here (same thread) :

Thanks,

-Smac

A person can loudly oppose LDS doctrines or leaders or members in specific cases on moral and reasonable grounds. Thus your definition is quite broad, broad enough to render the term morally neutral, also in my opinion almost meaningless.

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9 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

A person can loudly oppose LDS doctrines or leaders or members in specific cases on moral and reasonable grounds. 

Sure.

9 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Thus your definition is quite broad, broad enough to render the term morally neutral, also in my opinion almost meaningless.

"Morally neutral" I think I get.  But "almost meaningless?"  How do you figure?

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Sure.

"Morally neutral" I think I get.  But "almost meaningless?"  How do you figure?

Thanks,

-Smac

Almost meaningless there are so many ways that can happen. Compare people like Ed Decker and a person filing a land dispute against the church. Calling both types anti-Mormon makes it very vague in meaning. The latter type can be very fond of LDS, they can even be faithful LDS.

 

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4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:
Quote

"Morally neutral" I think I get.  But "almost meaningless?"  How do you figure?

Almost meaningless there are so many ways that can happen.

So what?  How does that render "anti-mormon" meaningless?

A secular anti-mormon may have very different reasons for being that way as compared to a sectarian anti-mormon.  However, both are "people who actively oppose the LDS Church and/or its doctrines / leaders / members."  Both are "anti-mormon."

The term has plenty of meaning, even if there are "many ways" people can come to fit within its parameters.

4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Compare people like Ed Decker and a person filing a land dispute against the church.

Okay.  The former is indisputably anti-mormon.  The latter . . . probably not.  The person is not "against the church" as a church, and is instead "against the church" in its capacity as a property owner.  Moreover, the latter is not "actively oppos{ing} the LDS Church and/or its doctrines / leaders / members."

4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Calling both types anti-Mormon makes it very vague in meaning. The latter type can be very fond of LDS, they can even be faithful LDS.

I agree.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

So what?  How does that render "anti-mormon" meaningless?

A secular anti-mormon may have very different reasons for being that way as compared to a sectarian anti-mormon.  However, both are "people who actively oppose the LDS Church and/or its doctrines / leaders / members."  Both are "anti-mormon."

The term has plenty of meaning, even if there are "many ways" people can come to fit within its parameters.

Okay.  The former is indisputably anti-mormon.  The latter . . . probably not.  The person is not "against the church" as a church, and is instead "against the church" in its capacity as a property owner.  Moreover, the latter is not "actively oppos{ing} the LDS Church and/or its doctrines / leaders / members."

I agree.

Thanks,

-Smac

Okay, so you mean then that those who oppose the church, leaders, members, doctrines AS a church or as church leaders, as church members, or as church doctrines are anti-Mormon? So those who loudly oppose church doctrines as bad ideas are not necessarily anti-Mormon, since they're opposition has nothing to do with those ideas being church doctrines?

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