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What role have apologetics played in your LDS faith/membership?
I am a satisfied member, and apologetics have played little or no role in my faith.  2%  [ 1 ]
I am a satisfied member, and apologetics have helped me resolve troubling issues.  10%  [ 4 ]
Apologetics saved my membership.  0%  [ 0 ]
Apologetics have not contributed to my dissatisfaction with Mormonism.  5%  [ 2 ]
Apologetics are a contributing factor in my increasing dissatisfaction with Mormonism.  61%  [ 25 ]
Apologetics caused me to leave Mormonism.  22%  [ 9 ]
Total votes : 41
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 Post subject: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:56 pm 
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Although this poll is clearly not scientific, I am asking because I am curious. We all have our own opinions about apologetics, but I want to know how apologetics have impacted you LDS folk and ex-LDS folk out there. How do you feel about it?

Please share any details or personal experiences that will help us understand your response better.
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.
.
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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:07 pm 
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At the very beginning, I fully expected explanations that would refute what I read online about polygamy. But instead, I found they agreed with much of the history but just gave different reasons for why it happened. Then, over time I started to realize that apologetics are sending a message that conflicts with the church authorities - mainly regarding sources of doctrine and the role of prophets. I found that if I align myself with the apologetics I will still be out of touch with the church leader's council. I feel like if you are going to keep asking questions and truly want to know the truth, apologetics are not going to help. If you are willing to stop asking and shelf everything, apologetics will be very useful to get you back to a point where you can make it back to absorbing the leader's council without any dissonance.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:20 am 
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While a bit more strongly worded than I would have put it, I feel that apologetics were the final and most critical factor in my final decision to leave the church.

As I stated in the other thread, and much like zeezrom indicated, prior to reading the apologetics I felt there had to be a good answer for many of the things I found conflicted with my understanding of the church as a historical entity. Until then, though, the "church" as the vehicle to bring one to Christ and back to God was unaffected and overshadowed any potential issue they may (and frankly should have) caused to arise in my mind.

Once I became more familiar with the apologetics- the answers given, the language and tactics used, - etc., I felt forced to confront the matters and, eventually, do so from a perspective that placed it outside of faith.

Dr. Peterson has the privilege of being the one who finally helped me see that this was not a grey line I could straddle. Not his intent, but through PM's that resulted from discussions on another now lost website, he laid out a convincing argument of why a person of integrity has personal responsibility to seek out the truth for themselves and then shoulder the burden of making a choice. Not how he put it, but it was the core message of the post once one disenfranchised any favored view from the concepts.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:53 am 
Apologetics didn't exactly lead to my leaving, since that happened before the internet. Mostly I got very poor 'explanations' from seminary teachers, bishops and the like. I didn't need exposure to internet critics since my autistic 'discrepancy detector' started pinging like crazy when we did the Book of Mormon and PoGP years in seminary.

Had I been exposed to modern apologetics I can see easily that I would have been a girly version of our friend Rommelator: a rabid young apologist, certain that I was smart enough to explain away ANY discrepancy, and find a solution to any problem of doctrine not instantly obvious to those less gifted than myself. In fact I must admit to a couple of months of this sort of thinking - asking a question of my teachers, getting an unsatisfactory answer, then coming up with a better 'possibility' myself. Feeling smugly superior to those who a) never developed questions in the first place, and b) could not find a rational answer, relying instead on 'blind faith'. After all, if they just operated on blind and unexamined faith they were just bloody idiots - at least that much was obvious.

If there had been anything like the online apologetic community we have today, I probably would have remained a member longer than I did, but I am pretty certain I would have seen the exmo light eventually. What is scary to me in retrospect, is that I might have married ridiculously young, started breeding and totally stuffed up not only my own life but a husband and children's as well. Sister missionaries were considered to be unfeminine 'failures' in CCNZ circles back then. I had not won the coveted engagement ring while still at school, as had some highly favored girls. But I would still have a few years till I was 21, admitted defeat and went out tracting. Crickey, thank the FSM I have the feminine wiles and graces of a brick in drag. I discovered the hoax before completely stuffing up my life and had a reasonably interesting career in the army before finally snaring an aged Catholic at the age of 36.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:00 am 
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I chose the last option, though it was too strongly worded. It comes the closest.

I had begun to take seriously some issues, and probably would eventually have given up belief, but reading Mormon apologetics helped that process along by putting right there, in my face, what I considered intellectually dishonest and really bad argumentation defending against facts surrounding the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith's dishonest and manipulative practice of polygamy/spiritual wifery.

The apologetic defenses really turned me off, and really focused my attention on the fact that the church was simply on the wrong side of these issues. The history behind it all is what caused me to lose my testimony, but the apologetics brought the issue into stark focus, and showed me what kinds of things I would have to do and think to keep believing. No thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:30 am 
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Sethbag wrote:
I chose the last option, though it was too strongly worded. It comes the closest.
Me too. The facts are what ultimately lead me out, but the apologists on the then named FAIR board(before they went completely MA&D) were catalysts.

In a nutshell, I went to FARMS to ask about a horse(in the Book of Mormon) and was sent to the FAIR to ride a papyrus gunny sack down the slippery slide of lost testimonies.

One of my many Google searches landed me one late night at the FARMs website.
The few articles I found on the problem with horses in the Book of Mormon confused me and left me wondering why they could just answer the question. A few other searches on the FARMs site lead to my initial curiosity about the Book of Abraham and the papyrus. Befuddled by the wordsmithing and lack of direct answers from the FARMSers I hit Google again.

One of the Google hits on the Book of Abraham was the FAIR site, which lead me to the message board. Another hit lead me to my first realization that the papyrus was in fact NOT lost in a fire, like I had been taught for many years.

One of my first encounters on the FAIR boards was with DCP. I was fresh into the real history and a Google search landed me there at the steps of the FAIR boards. After reading for a few hours, I signed up.

I simply asked why I was not taught about the rediscovery of the papyrus in 1966.

One of the first replies was from DCP. Something along the lines of "oh here we go again!!" and then a condescending followup of how I would have known about that if I were diligent in my Mormon studies..

I said I was a four year seminary student and very active member but found little free time outside of seminary and sunday services to study beyond what was presented there.

"I even knew about Joseph Smith polygamy at a very young age", he boasted, "How can members not know these things?"

"Joseph Smith polygamy???", I asked surprised, "Joseph Smith was a polygamist??"

It was either a apologist dog pile or feeding frenzy that ensued lead by good ol' Daniel. So I went back to the great whore of truth, Google. She is a great listener too.

Days later I had new knowledge about the papyrus and how the translation did not match, Joseph Smith polygamy, the temple ceremony, and many other things.

All of this new knowledge essentially displaced my testimony which fell to the floor with a loud thud.

Like I said above, Daniel was a catalyst to the destruction of my testimony. The condescending attitude he and his posse of wannabees sent me packing back to Google which lead me to answer ALL of my questions.

Even though I was mentally out of the church, for grins I did take many of these answers to FAIR just to see their responses and came to the conclusion that Mormon history was like reading the bible. Everyone has a different "interpretation" of it depending on where they needed to be.

I soon realized the FAIRboard posse of Peterson wannabees was more about defending their own apologetic ego and bumping chests with their idol.

To be fair, I would have eventually found the truth which would have the same outcome of me leaving the church. However, my encounter with the apologists on FAIR accelerated it.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:02 am 
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Good topic Trevor. I remember a thread atthe FAIRboard in early 2006 that was discussing whether or not the message forum was counterproductive and should shut down. This was during the last months I was still an apologist. Here is what I posted:

Quote:
I know a lot of people love to come online and debate stuff; heck I do it all the time. But I cannot escape this overwleming feeling everytime I find out that someone I know in the Church is going to peruse one of these message forums:

I DO NOT WANT THEM TO DO SO.

My wife I tell to stay away. I am reluctant to give my web address to members in my ward because I know most who do will click on the links to the discussion forums, including my own.

Whether we like to admit it or not, these forums do not strengthen testimonies - I don`t care what you say. These forums do not produce baptisms. In 10 years how many people actually stumbled across an LDS forum and decided to get baptized? Now contrast that number with those faithful LDS who stumbled across forums like these and lost their testimony! What these forums do is provide a means for higher criticisms to be advertised. Those with bullet-proof testimonies can pretend these will all be dealt with adequately, but the fact is they aren't dealt with to everyone's satisfaction.

These forums do not serve any purposes for the gospel. Do you know why you don't see a message forum on LDS.org like most other Church forums? These forums are designed to help those who are straddling the fence, but unfortunately most of them fall over on the wrong side. It isn`t that we are failures, it is simply that there are far more criticisms that can be dealt with efficiently and the number of critics and doubters and borderline jack Mormons far outnumber the talented apologists who actually have the time to answer even one concern per week.


Of course, these comments pissed off Zakuska, Schryver, Peterson, Dunamis, Charity and a couple others.:

Quote:
== In defense of the Message Boards. I am one who's testimony was strengthened by participation on the boards, especially with such great Appologists such as yourself, Dr. Petersen, Lord Kerry, Urroner, David Waltz, (I hate naming names becuase I always forget someone)

But Zak, the fact is we are STILL HERE. We still hang around incessantly. We don't ever abandon the forum life - that we all know uses up excessive amounts of valuable time - and dedicate ourselves fully to the LDS life we're supposed to be living. None of us do.

We keep hanging around beacuse there is something missing. We may say we have received enough answers, but the fact is we haven't; as evidenced by the fact that we never go away. We keep hoping that one day some apologist will come along and blow us all away with an apologetic argument to send all critics running for the hills forever. One who would strengthen our testimonies to the point that we would no longer need to keep coming in here to reassure ourselves that we're on the right side.

I am not saying the forum should close. I just think FAIR should reassess what its purpose is, and do some self evaluation as far as the forum's productivity vs. counterproductivity is concerned. From what I have seen over the years, the majority of the participants on forums tend to 1) fall away 2) lean very liberal or 3) become too arrogant to stand being around. All of which would be against any sensible set of objectives.


And:

Quote:
== Really? Apologetics are counterproductive? That's a fact? What is your proof?

Apologetics on open forums like these, yes; I should clarify that point. I am a fan of apologetics in general, particularly websites like FAIR, Lindsay, Shirts, and my own. My "proof" that these forums are counterproductive is in my own observations over the past decade.

== I don't believe the purpose of the board, or FAIR or FARMS as a whole, is to produce conversions and baptisms.

True, but the whole point is to prevent disinclined investigators who would otherwise join the Church, from leaving because of anti-Mormonisms. It is all interconnected.

== Studying the gospel, prayer, and the influence of the Spirit produces conversions - not a scholarly discussion on the Book of Abraham, "Nephite" DNA, or the means of translating the Book of Mormon.

That might sound swell for you, but the fact is most people intellectually challenge themselves a bit more, and would like to know the full scoop on the Book of Abraham before bowing their heads, praying with a couple of stranger missionaries, and then being assured by them that the goosebumps on their kneecap constitute the spirit's confirmation.

== To me, the purpose of the boards is to allow discussion, both pro and con, on matters that are disputed or are of interest surrounding Mormonism.

That is part of its purpose, but its main purpose is to make sure our side wins.

That is what apologetics is about, defending one particular position. That is why so many - and I know people will deny this - threads are arbitrarily censored or closed; because sometimes the critics mop the floors with us. But my point here is that unless we are winning the war, why host the battles at all? Ever since the internet age, baptisms per missionary has dropped dramatically. The existence of open forums... all this does is stimulate this flow of critical information and further the agenda of the enemy. Thus, message forums can be counterproductive.

== I think you'll find this is not the case generally with LDS members who frequent this board. Do you have any evidence that this is, in fact, happening?

Yes. Over the past few months I was unofficially named the struggling Mormon's favorite poster (jokingly because of my spike in popularity among a certain crowd). Why? Beats me. Maybe because I am considered by most to be a TBM, yet I challenge the normal assumptions, even my own. My PM box is slammed full and I have to clean it out every few weeks because of the random messages I get, thanking me for speaking up and addressing certain issues. I am not about to name names of course, but MANY LDS here are doubting.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:30 am 
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In 1996 I knew about FARMS in their little compound just south of BYU campus, but I didn't encounter any printed apologetics until I declared myself an unbeliever the next spring. Then someone gave me John Sorenson's book about a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon, but it was absolutely ineffectual. Laughably so. I wanted evidence that it was true, not a scenario for how it could maybe, possibly, somehow be true. Therefore, I think the usefulness of apologetics to an individual depends on how much work his faith can do. If his faith is weak or gone, like mine was, or if the person has never been a Mormon believer, apologetics has no power to convince. If his faith can still do most of the work but needs help on one specific difficulty, then apologetics may keep the person in a state of suspended disbelief (putting the issue "on the shelf" as we say). Except for a few things that were really bad criticisms to begin with, apologetics doesn't have a solid answer to difficult questions; it's just a different way to see things with lowered expectations, a "better" way to ask the question, a smoke and mirrors show where your will to believe does almost all of the work.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:02 am 
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Polygamy-Porter wrote:
Sethbag wrote:
I chose the last option, though it was too strongly worded. It comes the closest.
Me too. The facts are what ultimately lead me out, but the apologists on the then named FAIR board(before they went completely MA&D) were catalysts.

In a nutshell, I went to FARMS to ask about a horse(in the Book of Mormon) and was sent to the FAIR to ride a papyrus gunny sack down the slippery slide of lost testimonies.

One of my many Google searches landed me one late night at the FARMs website.
The few articles I found on the problem with horses in the Book of Mormon confused me and left me wondering why they could just answer the question. A few other searches on the FARMs site lead to my initial curiosity about the Book of Abraham and the papyrus. Befuddled by the wordsmithing and lack of direct answers from the FARMSers I hit Google again.

One of the Google hits on the Book of Abraham was the FAIR site, which lead me to the message board. Another hit lead me to my first realization that the papyrus was in fact NOT lost in a fire, like I had been taught for many years.

One of my first encounters on the FAIR boards was with DCP. I was fresh into the real history and a Google search landed me there at the steps of the FAIR boards. After reading for a few hours, I signed up.

I simply asked why I was not taught about the rediscovery of the papyrus in 1966.

One of the first replies was from DCP. Something along the lines of "oh here we go again!!" and then a condescending followup of how I would have known about that if I were diligent in my Mormon studies..

I said I was a four year seminary student and very active member but found little free time outside of seminary and sunday services to study beyond what was presented there.

"I even knew about Joseph Smith polygamy at a very young age", he boasted, "How can members not know these things?"

"Joseph Smith polygamy???", I asked surprised, "Joseph Smith was a polygamist??"

It was either a apologist dog pile or feeding frenzy that ensued lead by good ol' Daniel. So I went back to the great whore of truth, Google. She is a great listener too.

Days later I had new knowledge about the papyrus and how the translation did not match, Joseph Smith polygamy, the temple ceremony, and many other things.

All of this new knowledge essentially displaced my testimony which fell to the floor with a loud thud.

Like I said above, Daniel was a catalyst to the destruction of my testimony. The condescending attitude he and his posse of wannabees sent me packing back to Google which lead me to answer ALL of my questions.

Even though I was mentally out of the church, for grins I did take many of these answers to FAIR just to see their responses and came to the conclusion that Mormon history was like reading the bible. Everyone has a different "interpretation" of it depending on where they needed to be.

I soon realized the FAIRboard posse of Peterson wannabees was more about defending their own apologetic ego and bumping chests with their idol.

To be fair, I would have eventually found the truth which would have the same outcome of me leaving the church. However, my encounter with the apologists on FAIR accelerated it.


I well remember when you showed up on the FAIR board. You went from the "holy crap, what is all this" stage to the angry "joe palmeto" stage in short order. You definitely got piled on when you first started, and I hope I didn't participate in that. I'm glad you and I started a running email conversation that got past all the crap from the board. I'm glad I've been able to count you as a good friend for all this time.

I wouldn't say apologetics "caused" me to leave the church, but certainly the information discussed in apologetics helped. That the apologists have nothing but lame answers, obfuscation, and a lot of condescension didn't help. In the end, though, it was my own shame for having rationalized so much that led me to leave.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:11 am 
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Gordon B. Hinckley lying about polygamy and eternal progression got me questioning seriously. Never ran into these jokers from BYU until some time later.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:52 am 
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zzyzx wrote:
Gordon B. Hinckley lying about polygamy and eternal progression got me questioning seriously. Never ran into these jokers from BYU until some time later.

Me too. When I saw Gordon B. Hinckley sidestepping simple questions, and twisting what I had learned and taught, I knew there was something wrong - perhaps with me - and I started looking for answers.

After a short visit at the Bereans (didn't really help - too shrill), I quickly found Richard Packham's site, and it was all downhill from there. Apologetics didn't propel me out the door, but helped to confirm that I was heading in the right direction.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:46 am 
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I voted that it was a determinant, but only in a round about sort of way. I first encountered apologetics when I was at BYU and struggling with organic evolution. I found the apologetic writings on the topic to be amateurish and lacking any unifying theory behind their straw grasping. I put the stuff down for a few years.

I next began to look at it again when I started having real struggles with my testimony. I could never get past their sophomoric tendency to turn everything into ad hominem attacks. It seemed that every book review or reaction piece would do so on the sly such as "The author, a letter carrier, suggested that blah blah blah.." There goal is clear: tear down and attack the credibility of the piece rather than deal with issues head on.

I didn't reengage until after I lost my faith. Then it was just for fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:48 am 
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Apologetics are a contributing factor in my increasing dissatisfaction with Mormonism. 52% [ 9 ] x

I was told that FARMS would help me to wrap my head around the difficult issues that had struck me with such violence. They had answers because they had studied things that would take me a lifetime to review. I could trust their conclusions because they were close to the brethren (BYU professors you know).

If this is who the brethren trust to take the causticity from the meat of the religion they have miserably failed. The poison is still there. All FARMS et al have done is cover it all with a generous portion of their own horribly pungent and poopy house gravy.

Apologetics = Mormonism = brethren


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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:24 am 
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Apologists = Pharisees & Saducees = husbandmen

Here is a simple story that puts this equation into better perspective:

Quote:
33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.


(New Testament | Matthew 21:33 - 46)

If there really is a Jesus, Apologists have no place or purpose in His kingdom. He doesn't need them to mix the plaster to patch the non-existant holes in the very simple message even a child understands. Apologists would be out of a job just as the Pharasees and Saducees were.

Apologetics is not a gift or a talent. It is a craft.

As a simple servant and TBM, I sought to understand. They "spoke nothing of Father" but facilitated the destruction of the faith I had in the only thing worth keeping in Mormonism.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:46 am 
God

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My sentiments:

Quote:
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye.. have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

(New Testament | Matthew 23:23 - 36)


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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:24 pm 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
Good topic Trevor. I remember a thread atthe FAIRboard in early 2006 that was discussing whether or not the message forum was counterproductive and should shut down. This was during the last months I was still an apologist.


Many thanks for sharing this, Kevin. Too bad that the position you took so closely preceded leaving. It would be nice if there had been more tolerance for your openness at the time. I think there is a little bit more now. Of course, you may be thankful that you are out, but I do not want to put words in your mouth. In any case, my sense is that some of these guys have moderated themselves a bit, or maybe I have just become inured to the "dickishness." The few unrepentant extremists like Will and Pahoran still do set me off.

It is interesting that I always thought that my Mormonism had made me a more open and compassionate person. So, I was thrown for a real loop when in the mid 90s I, like John Larson, read some of the FARMS reviews and saw how apologists were interacting with people online. I recall making a heartfelt comment about the problem to Stephen Ricks. He communicated with one of the prominent apologists whose writing I had expressed concern about. This apologist did reply through Stephen that "stupid arguments deserve to be treated with derision." I told Dr. Ricks how I thought this was insufficient, because it failed to account for how bad this review would look to others--something I thought should be of more concern to the Church. I could not reconcile what I was seeing with what I understood about Jesus Christ.

Now I understand things a little better, but my fundamental sense that something is broken about the way doubters are handled remains. I do not blame individual apologists, many of whom are obviously fine people. I think it is a systemic problem, and that it is something that ought to be addressed. I think Richard Bushman is one person who sees that there is a problem, and that this may have been one reason he had that summer seminar on apologetics.

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Last edited by Trevor on Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:24 pm 
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zeezrom wrote:
If you are willing to stop asking and shelf everything, apologetics will be very useful to get you back to a point where you can make it back to absorbing the leader's council without any dissonance.

I understand that an Ambien CR just before bed and Xanax first thing in the morning will help you stop asking and shelf everything.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:23 pm 
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I picked the last option, though I agree an option less strongly worded would have been more correct for me. Apologetics indirectly led to increased "faith problems." As a teenager, I became a huge fan of Cleon Skousen and Duane S. Crowther. Then I discovered Nibley by accident and left those two behind, not because I disbelieved them, but something about the quality of Nibley's information was more fulfilling, even if his topics were less exciting. Then, probably two years after becoming a Nibley fan, I decided to take it to the next level and follow up on a couple of Nibley's footnotes. And it's not that I disbelieved Nibley, but something about the quality of the source material he drew from was more fulfilling for me, even if the topics were less exciting. Further, I had half expected to find mention of the great Hugh Nibley, the smartest professor in the world, in the Bible related books I was perusing at the library. I'm not always the sharpest bear in the woods, but as I read what I suppose were standard studies within the modern Bible scholarship genre, I began to put two and two together. And while I didn't technically disbelieve Nibley at that point, my first encounter with a University library ensured that I'd had my last encounter with Nibley, I never read another one of his book and my "testimony" experienced its greatest one-day setback of all time. I took something like 25 pages worth of notes to follow up on -- I was on mission at the time -- and my returning semester to BYU enrolled in Greek and a bunch of crap like that intending to sort it all out -- no offense meant, Trevor. I didn't get very far, I became acquainted with one of my professors who had outraged a number of the students in the class I was taking from him for declaring the book of Job a bunch of baloney. I figured he might be someone I could trust, so I met with him and he let me go over my notes, he let me vent over this stuff for well over an hour while he graded papers and when I was done he said, "I don't know." We joked around a bit, he mentioned some frustrations with low spirituality marks by students with no interest in the material, and then referred me to one professor Hoskisson. I never did meet with him, I kind of realized at that point where my adventure was headed and took a shortcut by dropping most of my classes (not the one from the professor who lent me guidance) and shelving that line of inquiry indefinitely. A couple years after BYU, I found myself pretty much out of the church, and I had a "last reprise" encounter online with material from a Mormon intellectual of some mention which linked to a hobby I then had of reading postmodernists, my interest was cautiously piqued in the possibilities and I don't think I would have got very far anyway, but in a bizarre coincidence I happened to become acquainted IRL with this dude who happened to have been this particular Mormon intellectual's "understudy." He'd been a Ph.D. candidate at a pomo friendly university when the compartmentalization broke down and he left all that and the Church behind. He probably saved me a few months of exploring the last dead end. After that, I moved out of Utah with the mindset that I was completely out of the Church. It would be another two years or so before I discovered ZLMB and got my official introduction to the reality of apologetics, and by that time, I'd started and finished down all the dead ends already. So I can't say the experience of interacting with senior apologists had any impact since I was completely out at that point, though, coming to understand the desperation and personal vendettas involved was psychologically fascinating. So yes, indirectly, apologetics led me out of the Church, but all that happened long before I'd every really encountered apologetics for what it is.

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"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:34 pm 
midnight rambler

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From a PM from Professor Dan, I understand that he thinks that FARMS work is re-evaluating long-held assumptions about nugget truths. The long-held assumptions have become problematic due to scientific or other scholarly advances. FARMS digs down beyond those assumptions to allow the bare truths to appear. I describe what Professor Dan thinks along these lines is much like the art restorationists who removed the added layers of paint on the Sistine Chapel, so that Michaelangelo's original beauty reappears.

As earnest as I believe Professor Dan is in this belief, it is in my opinion both self-righteous and delusional, and hardly accounts for either the knee-jerk reaction to question the motives of every new poster that asks a question the answer for which might not shed the best light on LDS Inc or his derisive tone.

I think the following quotes from this thread explain much better the reality of FARMS:

The Dude wrote:
apologetics doesn't have a solid answer to difficult questions; it's just a different way to see things with lowered expectations, a "better" way to ask the question, a smoke and mirrors show where your will to believe does almost all of the work.


John Larsen wrote:
I could never get past their sophomoric tendency to turn everything into ad hominem attacks. It seemed that every book review or reaction piece would do so on the sly such as "The author, a letter carrier, suggested that blah blah blah.."


Runtu wrote:
That the apologists have nothing but lame answers, obfuscation, and a lot of condescension didn't help.


For me there was nothing like serving a mission and years at the Bastian (BYU) to kill my testimony and the 'faith of my fathers' in which I was steeped as I grew up. There was more frankness and head-on dealing with Joseph Smith and Book of Mormon problems when I was growing up in my home and in my 'home ward' than I found at LDS Inc's institution of higher learning (BYU). For me, it might as well have been Whitewash U., and the chief whitewasher there was Nibley at the time, with Midgley and Welch in tow.

Fast forward to 1994 and reading Quinn's Mormon Heirarchy. I did so only because of hearing about the September Six excommunications. At once, Quinn's book provided a warm blanket of the Mormon history I had actually been exposed to growing up but from which my family and local Church ward did not shy away from. On the other hand, Quinn's well documented account of early Mormon history also left me with the undeniable truth that LDS Inc and Whitewash U. were ashamed of the actual history and trying to bury it.

Then came the Hinckley Dance. The King Follett Sermon was one of the greatest aspects of Mormonism for me. God was not just the Old Testament fire cracker, or someone that had New Testament sympathies for what we mortals face, but He was an actual empathizer having gone through this very mortal experience Himself. He was a leader by example. If not actually true, the KFS was at least Joseph Smith's greatest stroke of genius. And there it was, Hinckley as Joseph Smith's successor, or so claimed LDS Inc, discarding the KFS so that Larry King's audience and Time magazine's audience would view LDS Inc as mainstream Christians. As by then a former Mormon (yet on their rolls, I suppose), I was nonetheless appalled that LDS Inc was more concerned with what outsiders perceived it to be than remaining true to the teachings of its charismatic founder.

If LDS Inc wants to shave off its differences from other Christian religions, then there was nothing lost that needed to be restored through Joseph Smith. Hinckley struck a blow at Mormon uniqueness and its claimed reason for having the only authority of God on earth.

Fast forward again several years when I began lurking and reading Mormon boards. I discovered that FARMS had now become the Grand Sneer of LDS Inc, and then cloaked with the legitimate sounding Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Studies. More syllables, yes. The befitting 'Maxwell' name attached. But the same mischief at heart that was evident at Whitewash U.

Today, my interest remains because LDS Inc captivated a good portion of my life. I am yet fascinated how I could have been so easily duped, and trying to figure that out. Had FARMS been around and available to me when I was 16, that would have helped me to realize how tenuous the whole charade is and I would have avoided a mission and Whitewash U.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Nimrod wrote:
From a PM from Professor Dan, I understand that he thinks that FARMS work is re-evaluating long-held assumptions about nugget truths.


I think it's a bit more accurate to say FARMS' work is to re-evaluate the long-held blanket of Nibley-speak that hides the nuggets of truth in order to find more modern believing-academic-speak that do a better job of hiding said nuggets of truth. Not that it accomplishes it. Still, valient efforts should be recognized, no matter where one finds them.

My first thought, of course, was that Dan has dug out his cattle prod again (but that was only after receiving my own PM bouquet of roses from him, so perhaps I'm a bit prejudiced).

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 Post subject: Re: Apologetics and You
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:50 pm 
midnight rambler

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 pm
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harmony wrote:
Nimrod wrote:
From a PM from Professor Dan, I understand that he thinks that FARMS work is re-evaluating long-held assumptions about nugget truths.


I think it's a bit more accurate to say FARMS' work is to re-evaluate the long-held blanket of Nibley-speak that hides the nuggets of truth in order to find more modern believing-academic-speak that do a better job of hiding said nuggets of truth. Not that it accomplishes it. Still, valient efforts should be recognized, no matter where one finds them.


Much more accurate, but not what I'd expect Professor Dan to realize or say.

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