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 Post subject: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:17 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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Happy holidays, friends and colleagues! Once again, we join together to celebrate the changing seasons: to reflect on a year gone by, to exchange gifts, make merry, and huddle below the mistletoe. I wish you all "happy holidays" because, of course, traditions are different and diverse across the globe, and also because the Mopologists grow ever enraged at anyone who would dare challenge the centrality of Christmas. But isn't there still cause for celebration? Last year, we noted in passing that Mopologetics had effectively died, and yet here we find ourselves yet again--stringing lights around the Christmas tree, opening presents, and sipping rum-spiked eggnog.

What else can one do, after all? It has been a very strange year indeed, on virtually all accounts--in the political realm, in entertainment, and globally. I'm sure that you all read about the attempt by Catalonia to secede from Spain, no? Quite an oddball turn of events, to be sure. I mention this because there is a very special holiday tradition that comes from Catalonia, and which--this year--provides us with, quite possibly, the best metaphor for this year's happenings in Mopologetics. Friends, have you heard of the Caganer?

As Wikipedia explains:

Quote:
A Caganer (Catalan pronunciation: [kəɣəˈne], Western Catalan: [kaɣaˈne]) is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia, and Northern Catalonia (in southern France). It is most popular and widespread in these areas, but can also be found in other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal, and southern Italy (Naples).

The name "El Caganer” literally means "the crapper" or "the ____". Traditionally, the figurine is depicted as a peasant, wearing the traditional Catalan red cap (the barretina) and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating.

Huh! How about that? A figurine of somebody taking a dump? Quite vulgar--just like Mopologetics, even in its current necrotic state! It turns out that, in this Internet era, one can find Caganer figurines of all sorts of people, including famous people. For example, there is a Lady Gaga caganer:

Image

A Mr. Spock Caganer:

Image

There is even (believe it or not!) a Caganer of popular Mopologist Greg Smith:

Image

Ho, ho, ho! Did the latest John Dehlin escapade have a laxative effect, I wonder? Whatever the case may be, the imagery here is illustrative in terms of its message about Mopologetics. One feels, first and foremost, a sense of revulsion: this is gross! But it's natural, too--a matter of course. And really, what better metaphor is there for the present state of Mopologetics? Every Friday (as the Editor in Chief reminds us), a very small corner of the Internet squats down and squeezes out a steaming loaf called Interpreter, and it has been doing this regularly for many weeks in a row--as if it has been on a steady diet of prunes.

Speaking of prunes, has anyone seen my fruitcake? Friends, colleagues, elves and reindeer--please join me, the B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetics Studies at Cassius University, as we raise our voices in a chorus and celebrate the year that was. I hereby offer, for your consideration, the Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017:

10. Interpreter's Expenditures Continue to Swell

The ever-vigilant poster Tom reported in late November that the online blog/"venture" known as Mormon Interpreter (or "MI" for short, in an apparent dig at the *other* MI--the Maxwell Institute) eclipsed its previous maximum expenditures by a whopping $17,000. Perhaps even more interestingly, the Interpreter Foundation has thrown well over $100,000 into Royal "Ghost Committee" Skousen's work on the Book of Mormon. And vagueness continues to hamper the financial disclosures. While the Chairman continues to claim that no one is actually compensated for their work with Interpreter, the information on the expenditures remains disturbingly unclear.

9. More Attacks on Jeremy Runnells

Jeremy Runnells, author of the "Letter to a CES Director," continued to be in the Mopologists' crosshairs during 2017, with noteworthy attacks coming from both Steve Smoot and Dr. Peterson. Smoot's attack was posted to the blog "Word and Object", where Smoot dismissively asserted that Runnells "has accomplished little more than to uncritically rearrange a pastiche of Internet memes and damning but simplistic soundbites." (Does that sound at all like the approach to blogging that Smoot's mentor employs?) Smoot went on to attack Runnells's handling of the Book of Abraham on the grounds that it overlooks "complexity," thus regurgitating the old Mopologist tactic of crapping on the "unwashed masses" who couldn't possibly understand the deep, complicated issues at the center of Mormon history and theology. (It may be telling that one of the folks in the Comments section mistakenly refers to Bro. Steve as "Dr. Smoot"--a mistake which Smoot apparently saw no point in correcting.)

Meanwhile, in another corner of cyberspace, Dr. Peterson attacked Runnells's "anti-Mormon Bravado," or, rather, he used his blog as a venue to showcase someone else attacking Runnells's "anti-Mormon Bravado." In an effort to dismiss claims that he (i.e., DCP) is "obsessed" with Runnells, Peterson writes:

Quote:
It’s also not true, despite his claims, that I’m obsessed with him. Not even slightly. He points, as evidence, to three short blog entries that I’ve written about his work. I don’t know whether his count is precisely accurate, but it’s almost certainly in the ballpark and I’ll accept it. I post several hundred blog entries annually; that I’ve posted three referring to him since 2014 argues for a strikingly low level of interest in his work on my part — which is precisely accurate. If anything, I’ve thought that I ought to devote some time to his magnum opus since it’s had a negative impact on too many people, but I just haven’t been able to muster the interest.

Yet another case, in other words, of Mopologists proving to the whole world that they are unconcerned with some-one/thing by announcing to the entire world that they are unconcerned/uninterested in that very thing.

8. Ralph "The Doink" Hancock Attacks "Progressivism"

In early May, the militant and politically retrograde Mopologist Ralph Hancock (affectionately known as "The Doink") published an article in the Deseret News in which he slams Spencer Fluhman (who had just been named Director of the "New" Maxwell Institute) his "progressivism":

Quote:
By Fluhman’s moralistic rhetoric (Islamophobia! Racism!) it would seem that a “progressive” immigration policy might mean moving the nation toward a more cosmopolitan society with less restrictive borders or a more global system in which considerations of national concerns regarding immigration are viewed as repugnant.

And:

Quote:
The two poles of a religiously based progressive morality are not hard to put together — borderless globalism and free “sexual expression.” They are part of the same ethic that seeks to emancipate the individual from the needs and norms of all real, concrete national and religious communities. It’s a stretch, therefore, to imply that such a political perspective can be genuinely grounded in LDS belief.

Thus Hancock continues to carry the hard-core, militantly conservative torch for the Mopologist "Old Guard." His article neatly summarizes that Mopologists' entrenched, old-school political beliefs while simultaneously acting as a battering ram to attack the New-and-Improved Maxwell Institute.

7. The LDS Church plugs FAIR, Interpreter, etc.

One of the Mopologists' favorite claims--that they are not "officially" connected to the LDS Church in any kind of "official" capacity--suffered yet another blow in July when the Church's actual, official website listed FAIRMormon, Book of Mormon Central, and Interpreter as "resources [that] can enhance gospel learning and help provide answers to doctrinal, historical, and social questions." The standard disclaimer was issued, of course: "By linking to this content The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not endorse the content of these sites," but a question is nonetheless raised about the meaning of the linking. If not an "endorsement," then what is it? This event provides yet more evidence of (1) the Church farming out some of its pastoral and apologetic mission to the apologists, and (2) the increasingly cozy and tight-knitted relationship between the institutional Church and organizations like FAIR and Interpreter. Coupled with the revelation a year or two ago that the Church pays for some of its CES employees to attend the FAIR Conference, this new tidbit only goes to show that the true nature of the relationship is more intertwined than any apologists is willing to admit.

6. The Continuing Adventures of Steve Smoot

Bro. Steven Smoot, the heir-apparent of John Gee and the recipient of this year's coveted Sampson Avard Golden Scepter Award, deserves mention yet again for his attacks on Chapel Mormons (the activity which, incidentally, earned him the Golden Scepter). To refresh your memories: on his blog, Smoot dismissively chastised rank-and-file Latter-day Saints for slavishly and unthinkingly buying into "shibboleths," which, according to him (i.e., Smoot) include things like hairstyles and "what sort of jewellery to wear (only one pair of earrings for women)." It's hard to disagree with the notion that some of these LDS practices seem silly, and perhaps even childish; then again, one wonders if Smoot is advocating for a kind of "progressivism" that would send Ralph "The Doink" Hancock into fits of rage: if we allow two earrings, what's next? Bestiality?

In any event, Dr. Shades offered up a powerful critique:

Dr. Shades wrote:
I remember well that the "one pair of earrings for women" came from an actual prophet. Can a prophet's directive be merely a shibboleth, non-adherence to which having nothing to do with one's worthiness? Someone on Facebook drew attention to Smoot's article, and a commenter said that the "give the presiding priesthood officer the sacrament first" comes from the Church Handbook of Instructions itself. The commenter followed up with an observation that went something like, "Is the Handbook itself nothing more than a collection of Shibboleths?"

Indeed, the title of Dr. Shades's thread was, "Has Steven Smoot taken the first step toward apostasy?" The answer is, "Of course he has." Mopologetics, to no small extent, has been a series of steps into apostasy while simultaneously attempting to redefine the term altogether. But in this case, apostasy from LDS beliefs is small potatoes next to apostasy from Mopologetic doctrine. As long as Smoot is willing to toe the line on issues such as Book of Mormon Geography, we will probably be in the clear.

5. Allen Wyatt Admits that Interpreter is Not "Scholarly"

Sometimes, simple affirmation is enough to qualify as "Top Ten" material, and that's certainly true of this year's 5th most significant happening. Of course all of us have known all along that Mormon Interpreter is not "scholarly" by any stretch of the imagination. It is an online blogging venture, and from the outset, as it replicated and rehashed material that had been previously published elsewhere (plus all the shedding copyediting and other problems), it was clear to everyone but the Mopologists themselves that this was little more than Classic Farms 2.0, albeit completely stripped of the veneer of respectability that had been supplied by the Maxwell Institute. Nevertheless, Interpreter sought to establish itself on the grounds that (A) at least one of the people doing the editing has a Ph.D., and (B) they promise to publish at least one thing per week, every week, without fail. There is an old saying that "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," which would seem to reinforce the thinking behind this particular project.

Whatever the case may be, the old-school Mopologist and longtime putz known as Allen "The Slug" Wyatt turned up on the ironically named Mormon Dialogue board in order to finally lay to rest any question as to Interpreter's scholarly legitimacy. Over the course of the thread, the apologists made a series of devastating admissions, such as the fact that they dispensed with double-blind peer review with little more than a flick of the wrist, and also they they define "expertise" primarily on the basis of who belongs to their clique. (For example, would Spencer Fluhman be asked to review work from Ralph "The Doink" Hancock?)

While not quite a watershed moment in the history of Mopologetics, Wyatt's admission (and the subsequent comments) did go a long ways towards reaffirming what we already knew.

4. DCP is Accused of Plagiarism...Again. And Again and Again and Again.

The problematic use of sources in Mopologetic writings is something that has plagued them since the days of Hugh Nibley. It may be that this tendency has at last reached its apogee (or nadir?) in the person of Dr. Peterson, who was accused of plagiarism by a series of posters in a detailed thread back in October. Example after example was cited, adding onto the already-problematic case of the misused Albert Camus quote that Mr. Stakhanovite subjected to such careful exegesis. In his defense, Dr. Peterson indicated that at least some of the alleged cases were drawn from "notes" that he'd made a long time ago.

Whatever the case may be, arguably the most trenchant insight into the affair came from Symmachus:

Symmachus wrote:
A Daniel Peterson thread surely is a very tiresome thing, but so is Sic et Non (well, not the actual Sic et Non): de gustibus etc. In any case, it's a potent metaphor for what's happened to classical Mormon Apologetics; plagiarism is the recourse for those who have nothing to say. No ideas happen over there at Sic et Non (which can at least be entertaining) or at the Interpreter (which never is). No ideas, I say, just "irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."*

*adapted from Lionel Trilling on conservatism in the preface to The Liberal Imagination (1950), p. xv. (<------That's how to cite your sources, ____).

Maybe, this holiday season, someone can gift the apologists a new idea or two, in the spirit of generosity and Christmas giving.

3. Mopologetic Peer Review is Revealed to be a Sham

Sometimes the gifts come in twos, and that was certainly the case this year, with not just one but two devastating blows to the scholarly credibility of the Mopologetic enterprise. (And to be fair, this Happening technically came at the tail end of 2016, adding to the long tradition of interesting things occurring after the annual Top Ten list has been posted.) Allen Wyatt et al.'s admissions concerning the review process (and other things) at Interpreter were curious on their own, but in December of last year, former FARMS Review author Kerry Shirts dropped a bombshell:

Philo Sophee wrote:
An excellent challenge, however, an apologist would simply note that it is peer reviewed, by its own inside peers. That was how FARMS materials were done. It was all inside job when I published the two articles I did with the review. John Gee was the one who peer reviewed my stuff on Egyptology, and we ended up corresponding about it. They change the meaning of peer review in the same manner they change the term "translation" to insure Joseph Smith comes out of the dog fight of the Book of Abraham unscathed. Once you change the concept, wala! You can then claim it works just like in academia. It's their modus operandi.

When I asked for clarification, wondering if it really was true that John Gee--the "reviewer"--was actually and openly "coaching" Shirts as he wrote the review, Kerry responded:

Philo wrote:
That is exactly what happened. I was coached and told which sources were valid and what was wrong with others. He disagreed with some of my stuff but I insisted on putting it in, it was after all, MY review - Lol! Yeah there was no double blind review of any kind with my stuff I did with Russell McGregor. Some of the stuff he didn't like and I said I had researched so it's part of my ideas. And so on. He really disliked the mystical stuff I was going to include. So I didn't.

This has always been a sore spot for the Mopologists: i.e., the notion that they are not legitimate scholars because they don't use a standard form of peer review. They have responded to this criticism in a variety of ways--first with ad hominem attacks and smear campaigns, and then via attacks on the process itself: claiming that peer review is fallible, so nobody need be very concerned about it. This revelation, though, gets at the truth of the matter: which is that the apologists' peer review process is a complete sham.

2. Interpreter Smears Mason, Hardy, and Givens

The second most significant happening in Mopologetics this year occurred during the busy July season, and it came in the form of a series of articles published in the Interpreter and authored by Duane Boyce and aimed at prominent Mormon scholars Grant Hardy, Teryl Givens, and Patrick Mason. The thrust of the articles is that "mistakes" in the work of these three scholars is cause for suspicion:

Boyce wrote:
Many mistakes that occur in scholarly endeavors are understandable. The truth is often difficult to discover, and this makes errors inevitable and expected. And, of course, some mistakes are so insignificant that to complain of them would be mere pedantry. But this is not true of all errors. Some are both obvious and of such significance to their topics that they are egregious. With respect to the gospel, there is reason to be concerned that this is occurring to some degree on the topic of prophets and the Lord’s revelations to them. Erroneous claims and arguments are not difficult to find, including some published under the auspices of reputable and mainstream entities. Is it possible that such errors are becoming common, and commonly accepted, in Latter-day Saint scholarly discourse? To help answer this question, it is useful to consider, among others, works by Terryl Givens, Patrick Mason, and Grant Hardy. This paper will do so in three Parts.

As the Hon. Rev. Kishkumen pointed out, the articles seemed to be an attempt to police and judge other LDS--perhaps even to yank Mormon culture and belief backwards in the direction of Chapel Mormonism. Dean Robbers summed it up well:

Dean Robbers wrote:
Yeah, it looks like whatever is left of Mopologetics is scrambling to repent and accept at least some of the restored gospel they were taught in the Chapel.

Funny enough, I think that Boyce just might be the most important figure of the resistance. I was deeply impacted with a sense of importance for his work when I first learned of it via this article:

https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/a-vit ... es-on-war/

In the post-Mopologetic world, I seriously believe the "paradigm" has shifted from the Limited Geography Theory, which is dead, to the sacred doctrine of the preemptive strike. I kid you not, the divine-mandated "sneak attack" as a gospel principle is good as a one-question Bishop's interview to determine, in the minds of the remaining mopologists, whether or not an LDS person is friend or foe.

Is it really just a matter of time before Interpreter's crosshairs shift over to somebody like Steve Smoot? We will have to wait and see, I suppose. The Boyce articles were striking, though, in that they seemed to represent something of a return to the classic-FARMS bread-and-butter: smear-attacks, viciousness, and a militant attempt to redefine Mormonism according to Mopologetic whim. Then again, as if to reaffirm that Mopologetics really is dead, the Editor in Chief of Interpreter refused to own the article in any way, providing only this cryptic comment:

Daniel Peterson wrote:
We hope that you’ll enjoy it and that you’ll find it stimulating.

"We"? "Stimulating"? Perhaps. One wonders if this is the beginning of a kind of "cycle," with a series of boring and practically unreadable articles followed by the old-fashioned nastiness. Well, I guess we have a reason to keep paying attention in 2018.

Without further ado, I give you the most important happening in Mopologetics in 2017:

1. DCP Exploits an "Apostate"'s Suicide to Score Mopologetic Points

There are a lot of negative things about Mopologetics, and the apologists have stooped pretty low on countless occasions: speaking ill of the dead; lying about "transcripts" and "2nd Watson Letters"; interfering with people's family relationships; making empty threats; and so on. It may very well be, though, that a new low was reached at this year's annual FAIR Conference. As usual, Prof. Daniel Peterson gave the keynote address to close out the conference, and (also as usual) his talk was Mopologetic in nature. This time, though, he relied on a rather troubling anecdote:

DCP wrote:
Many years ago, I received an angry note from a young returned missionary, husband, and father, a graduate student in a distant state, denouncing the Church for lying about its history and denouncing me for my alleged role in defending those lies.

An exchange ensued. I tried to persuade him that he was wrong. He remained hostile, and it was easy to see that he was deeply troubled.

Abruptly, his messages stopped.

After a while, oddly uneasy about the silence and following several unanswered notes inquiring whether he was all right, I called the Institute director at the school where he’d been studying.

My worries were confirmed in the worst possible way. The young man, I was told, had killed himself with a shotgun a month or two before, just about the time our correspondence had ended.

Is it wrong to wonder who the "young returned missionary" was? Or to cast a skeptical eye towards Peterson's recounting of the events? To wonder if the detail about the "shotgun" was necessary, or whether it was added for rather grisly dramatic effect? Whatever the case, after expressing some desultory "horror" about what happened, Dr. Peterson clarified his reasons for relaying this anecdote:

DCP wrote:
Now, I don’t know exactly what went into this young man’s decision to end his life, and to do it in such a horrible way. There may have been—there probably were—many factors involved. But I’m reasonably confident that his loss of faith and his bitter alienation from the Church contributed.

The insinuation here, of course, is that if you leave the Church, you run the risk of falling into such a state of despair that you will kill yourself. This was quite an exploitative cheap shot on Peterson's part, and he was roundly criticized for his remarks:

Quote:
What I don't get, is why he would choose to sell that narrative using the suicide of an individual who reached out to him seemingly in the midst of a faith crisis, who he failed to help and who he doesn't know the circumstances of the individuals tragic death. It's reckless, a breach of trust, and not convincingly demonstrative of the point Peterson is trying to make.

Peterson must have had 100 less sensitive, more demonstrative anecdotes he could have used.

But he didn't.

Conclusion? He wanted a reaction so he used an example that would be a lightning rod?

Quote:
So, Mr. Peterson is standing on the corpse of a dead man to get attention. Nice.

Quote:
This from Peterson including discussing the comments on this board over on his blog makes me sick to my stomach.

For his part, Dr. Peterson responded with one of his patented "joke-posts," where he tries to put out the fires by making it seem is if everything is sheer silliness:

Quote:
Now, if you care, you can inspect my exploitative viciousness and shameless self-promotion for yourself. Be sure that you’re sitting down, though. And keep your smelling salts handy.

The incident is the Number 1 Most Significant Happening in Mopologetics for 2017 because it so clearly illuminates the tainted soul of the enterprise: this is a movement that has always relished causing pain; it is rife with schadenfreude and with making light of others' tragedies; it is cluelessly insensitive to matters of decorum, and disrespectful of the dead; and, in the end, none of your criticisms matter, because, hey: it's all just a joke and if you don't like it you can go get your "smelling salts." In a very real sense, then, Dr. Peterson and the Mopologists are like a living Caganer, crapping ceaselessly all over their enemies, smiling while they're at it.

So hold your nose, folks!

* * * * * *

Well, that will do it for this year. I am curious, as always, about what stocking-stuffers I've been given this year. I recall with a great deal of mirth the time that Professor Puppet left a poorly capped inkwell in my stocking, and it dyed the toe a baleful shade of blackish-blue. I am afraid that I must skip this year's screening of It's a Wonderful Life, though you can guarantee that I will be present for Dean Robbers's Christmas tree lighting party! Professor Darth J and I promise to behave ourselves this time: eggnog, we've learned, has no place in the faculty lounge.

With that being said, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! Here's to a happy holiday season, with wishes for a 2018 that surpasses 2017 in every way imaginable! Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la la!

_________________
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:36 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:40 pm 
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Dr. Scratch,

It appears as though I get to be the first to congratulate you on yet another insightful and well presented annual review of Mopologetic Happenings of the year as it draws to a close.

These annual reviews help focus on how much the LDS Church is being affected by the continuing exodus of its membership and the embarrassing impotence of the Mopologists when to comes to stemming the tide.

And for this I, for one, am grateful to the good Doctor.

_____________________________

ETA: Well - I was first when I started this post. Looks as though that is no longer the case. Well done anyway, Dr. Scratch.

Mr. Stak - an evocative GIF for sure - care to explain yourself?

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DrW: "Mistakes in science are learning opportunities and are eventually corrected."


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:48 pm 
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MrStakhanovite wrote:
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LOL!

Stak! Good to see you, buddy! :biggrin:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Well done Dr. Scratch. It is quite amusing to be kept in the loop concerning how the course of Mopologetic goes year by year.

I have noted before, and will do so yet again on this holiday occassion that Mormon apologetics have a good parallel with the early Christian apologetics, both of which rose because the prophets ceased being the significant mouthpieces of disseminating information from Father above. God, in both cases, became far too feeble, uninterested, and incapable of defending hisself, therefore the enthusiasm of his ardent followers and believers took it upon their puny selves to do the cleaning up after him, and both utterly failing. God is as amusing as his apologists are for not worrying about the shoddy job being done for his imaginary good deeds and for his name. Apologists, of course, will not cease their endeavors to please their God since it gives them their reward in heaven for being "valiant" in their testimonies. And thus we see the demise of Christianity's "sister" also as it wilts away under the mere human knowledge it can or ever has had to disseminate to the masses.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:17 pm 
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These summary posts by Dr. Scratch are gems. I've gone back more than a few times and reaquainted myself with the history of Mopologetics in order to witness its transformation from, I dare say, the 'intellectual juggernaut' the Church needed (protecting one's flanks and all), to its current iteration of snarling cur abandoned by its owner, cast aside for the more amenable looking 'persian cat' resting on its owner's lap as a harmless, yet aloof, alternative to the attack dog mentality they now eschew.

Excuse me. I'm a bit overcome with nostalgia at the moment. *dabs at eyes with an embroidered hankerchief* If only the ziggurat had been built...

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What is the significance of "The Doink" as a nickname for one of the apologists listed above? On Google, the word doink was associated with a wrestling clown, a large marijuana joint, and the act of sexual intercourse.

---------------

I thought Steve Smoot trying to add a degree of religious sanity by separating a judgmental ear accessories fetish from meaningful Church doctrine was a good thing and as such should be encouraged. What he said could only be deemed apostasy in some anal-retentive version of the gospel.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:37 pm 
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Doctor Scratch wrote:
3. Mopologetic Peer Review is Revealed to be a Sham

Sometimes the gifts come in twos, and that was certainly the case this year, with not just one but two devastating blows to the scholarly credibility of the Mopologetic enterprise. (And to be fair, this Happening technically came at the tail end of 2016, adding to the long tradition of interesting things occurring after the annual Top Ten list has been posted.) Allen Wyatt et al.'s admissions concerning the review process (and other things) at Interpreter were curious on their own, but in December of last year, former FARMS Review author Kerry Shirts dropped a bombshell:

Philo Sophee wrote:
An excellent challenge, however, an apologist would simply note that it is peer reviewed, by its own inside peers. That was how FARMS materials were done. It was all inside job when I published the two articles I did with the review. John Gee was the one who peer reviewed my stuff on Egyptology, and we ended up corresponding about it. They change the meaning of peer review in the same manner they change the term "translation" to insure Joseph Smith comes out of the dog fight of the Book of Abraham unscathed. Once you change the concept, wala! You can then claim it works just like in academia. It's their modus operandi.

When I asked for clarification, wondering if it really was true that John Gee--the "reviewer"--was actually and openly "coaching" Shirts as he wrote the review, Kerry responded:

Philo wrote:
That is exactly what happened. I was coached and told which sources were valid and what was wrong with others. He disagreed with some of my stuff but I insisted on putting it in, it was after all, MY review - Lol! Yeah there was no double blind review of any kind with my stuff I did with Russell McGregor. Some of the stuff he didn't like and I said I had researched so it's part of my ideas. And so on. He really disliked the mystical stuff I was going to include. So I didn't.

Relying on Kerry Shirts for this. Hah hah.

You're not an academic. I have peer reviewed legal academic journals and have been forced to "coach" the authors into better product. On occasion, I drive them away as they don't want to change. Sometimes the peer review remains masked; sometimes not.

And it often is an "inside" job with peer reviewers, especially in such a narrow field as Mormon history and sociology.

When my two FARMS articles were reviewed, I noticed the same kind of deep review from masked and unmasked scholars as I saw on my legal journals, but the peer reviewers were friendly to the Church.

And for Kerry to maintain the peer reviewing must be a double blind is ludicrous. I've only seen that in initial paper selection, not in the editing process. Peer reviewing, in my experience, takes up to a year. What a dorkus post. Further, I think Kerry and you don't understand the difference between peer reviewing and working with a paper's editor. He actually complains that his editor had him change his paper and throw stuff out? Wow. What an affront.

Having said that, Mormon apologia peer reviewing is really a fantastic waste of time. It's like comparing an article on the genetics of the tomato with an article on the proper use of the tomato in Italian cooking. The first is peer-review worthy; the second is too subjective and non-academic to be peer-reviewed.


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:50 pm 
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Yahoo Bot wrote:
Having said that, Mormon apologia peer reviewing is really a fantastic waste of time. It's like comparing an article on the genetics of the tomato with an article on the proper use of the tomato in Italian cooking. The first is peer-review worthy; the second is too subjective and non-academic to be peer-reviewed.

I would guess that most here agree with your attitude toward peer review in Mormon apologia, as would likely be the case with most who considered the issue.

The question, then, is why do the Mopologists insist on continuing in the charade?

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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:14 pm 
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Stak! Good to see you, buddy! :biggrin:


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:34 pm 
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Good to see the annual endcap of the study of Mopologetics living up to its expected high standards. I recently finished reading through the Top Ten Happenings threads of all the past years it's been done, and they're always a hoot. I toast Doctor Scratch for his commitment to increasing our understanding of this fascinating yet baffling field!


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:39 pm 
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Quote:
Yahoo Bot slathers
Relying on Kerry Shirts for this. Hah hah.

You're not an academic.

I was asked about what happened and I simply responded to what went on. I was not upset, alarmed, or disturbed as your highness appears to be.

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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:46 pm 
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Back on December 02 I was asking myself, "It's about time for the Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics for 2017; why hasn't Doctor Scratch posted them yet?" I'm happy to see that I had only one more day to wait, as the wait (such that it was) was well worth it, as always!

If anyone would like to peruse the Top Ten Happenings lists from previous years, here they are:


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:47 pm 
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Having said that, Mormon apologia peer reviewing is really a fantastic waste of time.

Excellent point. When a journal editor asks a group of reviewers to write hatchet pieces on some book that has rankled the editor's feathers, the most expedient thing is not to review them but instead publish all five of them. That way the book which was given the subtitle "An Insider's Story" can receive the entire shotgun effect of criticism.

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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:18 pm 
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moksha wrote:
What is the significance of "The Doink" as a nickname for one of the apologists listed above? On Google, the word doink was associated with a wrestling clown, a large marijuana joint, and the act of sexual intercourse.


Moksha:

I can't say for sure what the "significance" is of Hancock's nickname, but I do know that it originated with the Hon. Rev. Kishkumen. Perhaps he'll be along to clarify at some point. Based on what you've listed here, I would guess that "wrestling clown" is probably the best analog, but I can't be sure about that.


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I thought Steve Smoot trying to add a degree of religious sanity by separating a judgmental ear accessories fetish from meaningful Church doctrine was a good thing and as such should be encouraged. What he said could only be deemed apostasy in some anal-retentive version of the gospel.


Perhaps, though bear in mind that Smoot is also using his Mopologist pulpit to basically slam the "Sister in Parowan," as it were: his argument is that rank-and-file Latter-day Saints are stupid / foolish / "lemmings" / "sheeple" for following the General Authorities' rules. It's yet another case of the Mopologists' trying to re-write LDS doctrine as it is delivered to us by the Prophets. Are the prohibitions against things like long hair, two earrings, and colored shirts stupid? Of course they are. But the criticism needs to be directed at the origin of those "rules," and not at the Saints who believe they are doing good by following them.

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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:13 pm 
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Very good stuff. Went back and read the whole collection again. Very entertaining.

Not to complain, but I was hoping that at least one of these events would have gotten at least an honorable mention.

1. Successful trolling of one Mentalgymnastics, that caused the departure of several valuable Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board posters.

2. Shulem getting reinstated into Terrestial Kingdom with all the keys, signs and tokens to post.

3 ldsfaqs final judgment to be permanently stuck in Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board Spirit Prison

:smile:

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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:39 am 
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Hey Scratch! :smile:

As I have mentioned to you before, your ability to write is a very special and artistic gift. I sincerely enjoy reading the music that you share among us here at MormonDiscussions.com. It's beautiful!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. :smile:

Peace,
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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:53 am 
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Doctor Scratch wrote:
moksha wrote:
What is the significance of "The Doink" as a nickname for one of the apologists listed above? On Google, the word doink was associated with a wrestling clown, a large marijuana joint, and the act of sexual intercourse.

Moksha:

I can't say for sure what the "significance" is of Hancock's nickname, but I do know that it originated with the Hon. Rev. Kishkumen. Perhaps he'll be along to clarify at some point. Based on what you've listed here, I would guess that "wrestling clown" is probably the best analog, but I can't be sure about that.

yourdictionary wrote:
Doink
Noun
(plural doinks)
(slang) A fool; a jerk; a worthless person.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/doink


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:58 am 
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Ralph Hancock wrote:
The two poles of a religiously based progressive morality are not hard to put together — borderless globalism and free “sexual expression.” They are part of the same ethic that seeks to emancipate the individual from the needs and norms of all real, concrete national and religious communities. It’s a stretch, therefore, to imply that such a political perspective can be genuinely grounded in LDS belief.


Every time I read this, I can't help but detect an implicit white nationalism. Now, I don't think Prof. Hancock is consciously a white nationalist. But his vision tends so clearly in that direction that one wonders how many white nationalists take heart when they read these words.


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 Post subject: Re: The Top Ten Happenings in Mopologetics, 2017
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:10 am 
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Another triumph by our own Doctor Scratch! How does he do it? A keen eye, a sharp pen, a rapier wit!

A new term of art comes to mind in connection with the defecating figurines from Catalonia. Might it be appropriate to refer to our doughty adventurers in the world of Mopologetics as . . .

Caganeers?

Trailing clouds of fecal matter as they fly around the cybersphere?

Someone run out and make some Caganer figurines depicting the great Mopologists! Then place one in every great scene of Mormon history!

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Nothing could better illustrate the effect of Mopologetics on Mormonism.


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