MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

Trevor wrote:
harmony wrote:Daniel doesn't. At least not all of them. Didn't you see that post?


And this is pertinent how? I talked about the reviewers reading the books, not Daniel reading every book that is reviewed by the FROB.


It's pertinent because Daniel complains that participants in this discussion haven't read the book yet. How will reading the book in any way impact the concept of the problems with the process? It won't. The process is independent of the content. Thus Daniel's complaint has no connection with your observation.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

Trevor wrote:I was not attacking beastie. I was stating a simple fact. Look at how the thread began. Then tell me why any faithful Mormon would expect it to inspire a fair reading of the book from people around here. I am not saying Daniel is right. I am not saying beastie is wrong. I am saying, "let's look beyond that and try to understand each other as more than sparring partners in an interminable pissing contest."


Daniel does more than his fair share of "pissing". I'm not saying Trixie doesn't goad him a bit too. And we all know Scratch would go miles out of his way to get Daniel's goat.

We need to remember that the thread isn't about just those that post on it; it's about those that read it, on both sides of the aisle, and the few of us who straddle it. What one side would call "fair", the other side would immediately look at suspiciously. I'm not saying they'd dismiss it out of hand (although we all know some on both sides would act that foolishly); I'm saying bridging the gap must come from both sides because neither side is going to build a bridge only to be met with a brick wall. We need to post to the middle, and leave the fanatic edges to their own devices.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

Trevor wrote:
harmony wrote:The discussion is valuable, even if the participants haven't all read the book yet, because the problems aren't related to the content, but to the process of writing it. And Daniel's continual wailing that some of the thread participants haven't yet read the book isn't going to change those problems.


And I am not completely disagreeing with you. I am pointing out that it might be understandable why others would be frustrated by this. I mean, it could be perceived as poisoning the well, no? Can we get beyond the technical right and wrong of this to appreciate how others might perceive things? I get frustrated when LDS fail to do the very same thing. As clearly they have many times on this very issue: the Mountain Meadows Massacre.


I see the content and the process as two entirely different discussions. They've been conflated somewhat on this thread, but that doesn't detract from either.

Trixie is carrying the process ball very well, so I feel no need to do more than agree with her on all points (not that anyone is surprised by that). I'm disappointed in Daniel's response to your and James's posts that dealt with the content. To me, his avoidance of that discussion shows that possibly he hasn't read it yet either, which would be really... well... bad.

And you know what? It bothered me not one bit that he did not engage me on it. I never expected him to. He has admitted that this is not the reason he comes here. He is fascinated with the collective obsession with Mormonism. He enjoys going the rounds with people the more irrational and obsessive they seem to him. Why then would he do more than acknowledge that I was not being unreasonable and then move on?


Daniel doesn't bother me. He enjoys being a lightweight. To that I say: whatever floats your boat. But Trixie had substance in her posts; Daniel ignored it, denigrated it, and refused to address it. For an LDS apologist to do that soft shoe shows fear, not strength, imo.

Finally, let me ask, is Daniel an apologist? Or is he something else?


Daniel is Daniel. A unique personality who is mellowing. Who knows? Maybe he's seeing the humanity in nonLDS. Stranger things have happened.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by LifeOnaPlate »

harmony wrote:It's pertinent because Daniel complains that participants in this discussion haven't read the book yet. How will reading the book in any way impact the concept of the problems with the process? It won't. The process is independent of the content. Thus Daniel's complaint has no connection with your observation.


Dan's point is that the best way to test the theory about the process is to begin by reading the book. It's really quite that simple.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

LifeOnaPlate wrote:
harmony wrote:It's pertinent because Daniel complains that participants in this discussion haven't read the book yet. How will reading the book in any way impact the concept of the problems with the process? It won't. The process is independent of the content. Thus Daniel's complaint has no connection with your observation.


Dan's point is that the best way to test the theory about the process is to begin by reading the book. It's really quite that simple.


How will reading the book change the conflict of interest problem? How will reading the book change the church's historical way of dealing with church history or historians? How will reading the book change the lack of open access for nonLDS historians to the sources for the footnotes?

Reading the book won't change any of those problems.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by LifeOnaPlate »

harmony wrote:
How will reading the book change the conflict of interest problem? How will reading the book change the church's historical way of dealing with church history or historians? How will reading the book change the lack of open access for nonLDS historians to the sources for the footnotes?

Reading the book won't change any of those problems.



Are you saying the book must automatically be crippled based on your assertions here? If so, I would recommend reading the book to see how right you are. If not, I would advise reading the book to see if playing it safe was a good idea.

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The stars are setting and the caravan
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

LifeOnaPlate wrote:
harmony wrote:
How will reading the book change the conflict of interest problem? How will reading the book change the church's historical way of dealing with church history or historians? How will reading the book change the lack of open access for nonLDS historians to the sources for the footnotes?

Reading the book won't change any of those problems.



Are you saying the book must automatically be crippled based on your assertions here? If so, I would recommend reading the book to see how right you are. If not, I would advise reading the book to see if playing it safe was a good idea.

'night!


Don't put words in my mouth. I said nothing about the content at all. Now address what I said, instead of what you wish I'd said.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by LifeOnaPlate »

harmony wrote:
Don't put words in my mouth. I said nothing about the content at all. Now address what I said, instead of what you wish I'd said.


I didn't put words in your mouth. I asked if you were saying such and such, and if not, I said you ought to read the book anyway. Unless you already have read the book. Have you?

'night!
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*

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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by Ray A »

LifeOnaPlate wrote:Are you saying the book must automatically be crippled based on your assertions here?


I didn't think she was, for a minute. There are two levels of discussion going on, one about the book, the other about historiography, specifically approaches to "faithful history", and in particular how comments from Elders Oaks and Packer have, or have not influenced this, and what interests me, where the Church is going in the future with this. I've learned a lot more about Dallin Oaks' views, which has been helpful, including a lot I haven't posted.

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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

LifeOnaPlate wrote:I didn't put words in your mouth. I asked if you were saying such and such, and if not, I said you ought to read the book anyway. Unless you already have read the book. Have you?

'night!


There is no "if not". You know what I said; you didn't address what I said at all.

Like Daniel, you won't see me discussing the book's content here. Or anywhere. I have no interest in the content. What I have an interest in is the process, especially if being a part of the discussion about the process in any way furthers the cause of openness in the church. Who knows? If the vault is really opened to qualified non-LDS historians, maybe the financials will be opened soon after that! A change that radical would be an excellent thing.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by Daniel Peterson »

For harmony, who doesn't entirely get what's happened here: I'll probably finish the book tonight.

For Ray: I could quibble with Elder Oaks here and there, but, on the whole, I'm sympathetic to his concerns and to his position. And I see nothing in what you've quoted from him above that would legitimate (let alone call for) destroying historical evidence or falsifying history.

beastie wrote:I'll let you have the last word, DCP, since it's bound to be as insipid as the vast majority of all your words on this thread, and somehow that seems to bring it full circle.

LOL. If you had really intended to let me have the last word, you could simply have . . . let me have the last word.

beastie wrote:So go right on and rant some more about how crude and simplistic I am, while neglecting to mention pesky little details like exactly where you disagree with my points.

No. Sorry. I draw the line at six repetitions

Trevor wrote:I suddenly regret having posted my actual reactions to the book, as one of its readers, on this thread. Evidently it was a waste of time. Too bad, because I thought the book was worth reading, and I thought I had made some reasonable observations about it.

You should have no regrets. Substantive conversation about the book would have created a much, much better thread. You did your part.

Trevor wrote:Now, as to what Daniel is doing... You don't imagine that it might be frustrating that the first discussion of the Mountain Meadows Massacre book here would be about why we shouldn't expect anything valuable out of it? I mean, say what you will of the FARMS Review (Heaven knows I have), but at least they do read the books they write about.

Bingo!

Once again, I thank you for a serious post. Such rarities on this thread, as I've observed before, represent a draught of cold, clear water in a parched desert land.

harmony wrote:Of course there is value in the book; heck, there's value in Beep, Beep, Sheep in a Jeep and Lord of the Rings!

Now that's a reassuringly generous sentiment!

harmony wrote:And Daniel's continual wailing that some of the thread participants haven't yet read the book isn't going to change those problems.

"Some"??? If the posts of those who haven't even touched a copy of the book were deleted from this thread, it would be a fraction of its current impressive length.

harmony wrote:
I mean, say what you will of the FARMS Review (Heaven knows I have), but at least they do read the books they write about.

Daniel doesn't. At least not all of them. Didn't you see that post?

I'll wager that the book review editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies reads very few of the books that IJMES reviews -- and that's pretty much standard across the world of academic journals.

If you think that you've leveled a legitimate criticism against me that somehow neutralizes or counters Trevor's entirely true statement, you're mistaken.

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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

Daniel Peterson wrote:For harmony, who doesn't entirely get what's happened here: I'll probably finish the book tonight.


I get it, Daniel. I have from the very first post. Are you going to start pounding your chest, advertising your CV, and telling us you have inside knowledge, as you usually do at this point in a discussion? You're right on schedule, so don't disappoint us now.

Once again, I thank you for a serious post. Such rarities on this thread, as I've observed before, represent a draught of cold, clear water in a parched desert land.


You're the one with the highest count of inane posts on this thread, Daniel. We'd all thank you, were you to actually put up something serious.

"Some"??? If the posts of those who haven't even touched a copy of the book were deleted from this thread, it would be a fraction of its current impressive length.


And you think your posts have contributed... what?

If you think that you've leveled a legitimate criticism against me that somehow neutralizes or counters Trevor's entirely true statement, you're mistaken.


I wasn't being critical, Daniel. I was stating a fact: you don't read all the books that show up in FROB.

You know what my criticism feels like and what it addresses.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by Daniel Peterson »

harmony wrote: you going to start pounding your chest, advertising your CV, and telling us you have inside knowledge, as you usually do at this point in a discussion? You're right on schedule, so don't disappoint us now.

You're wrong, as usual.

harmony wrote:We'd all thank you, were you to actually put up something serious.

My point was entirely serious: To go on and on and on and interminably on about the background of a book one hasn't so much as set eyes upon is simply fatuous. And prolonged fatuousness is mockworthy.

It's one thing to raise concerns about the authors of the book and/or about its institutional backers. But then enough already: Read the book or have done with discussing it.

harmony wrote:I wasn't being critical, Daniel. I was stating a fact: you don't read all the books that show up in FROB.

An irrelevancy.

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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by harmony »

Daniel Peterson wrote:You're wrong, as usual.


Oh, wow. That was clever. I'm sure that will put me in my place. Right. Good grief.

Where's that world-famous wit? That subtle sarcasm?

I was right: you are mellowing.

My point was entirely serious: To go on and on and on and interminably on about the background of a book one hasn't so much as set eyes upon is simply fatuous.


No, it's not. See? I can do it too.

And prolonged fatuousness is mockworthy.


Nobody died and made you King, Daniel. You don't get to be the arbitrator of what is or isn't discussed here, how long the discussion goes on, who takes part in it, or what is said. This isn't MAD. Try to remember where you are.

It's one thing to raise concerns about the authors of the book and/or about its institutional backers. But then enough already: Read the book or have done with discussing it.


And you think you are the One who decides what is enough?! Get a grip, Daniel; you aren't. No one here is. If you don't want to participate in the discussion, then don't, but you don't get to decide what is enough for anyone else.

The process is a separate subject from the content. I don't see why that is so difficult to understand.

harmony wrote:I wasn't being critical, Daniel. I was stating a fact: you don't read all the books that show up in FROB.

An irrelevancy.


What? that I wasn't being critical, or that you don't read all the books that show up in FROB? You brought up the former, and the latter is simply a fact relevant to a throwaway comment from Trevor.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by beastie »

And you know what? It bothered me not one bit that he did not engage me on it. I never expected him to. He has admitted that this is not the reason he comes here. He is fascinated with the collective obsession with Mormonism. He enjoys going the rounds with people the more irrational and obsessive they seem to him. Why then would he do more than acknowledge that I was not being unreasonable and then move on?


I think it does help to understand people’s intents in interaction. DCP has frequently affirmed he’s not interested in serious discussion, but rather in observing what he seems to think of as the collective hatred, irrationality, and obsessiveness of internet exmormons. Of course, he gives out mixed messages, because he does, on occasion, actually address serious discussion. He’ll offer a seemingly serious response to the actual content of the discussion, but when challenged, turn around and retreat back into the “I’m not interested in serious discussion” mode.

But let’s ignore the mixed messages, and just focus on the “going the rounds” with obsessive and irrational people. I admit that these discussions tend to take on an obsessive loop once Daniel gets involved, but a large part of that is in reaction to what he’s doing. If he were really just interested in observing the obsessive, irrational, hate-filled behavior of internet exmormons, he shouldn’t be inserting himself in the middle of the loop, because what the subsequent discussion evolves into has as much to do with him as with the nature of internet exmormons. In other words, had Daniel not started his schtick on this thread, posters would have stated their points and rested their cases long ago. I know I would have. So what he’s observing isn’t really just about the obsessiveness of internet exmormons at all. It’s also about DCP’s obsessiveness.


I was not attacking beastie. I was stating a simple fact. Look at how the thread began. Then tell me why any faithful Mormon would expect it to inspire a fair reading of the book from people around here. I am not saying Daniel is right. I am not saying beastie is wrong. I am saying, "let's look beyond that and try to understand each other as more than sparring partners in an interminable pissing contest."


First, the vast majority of Daniel’s posts on this thread have not been about the OP – they’ve been about my posts. Second, I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect understanding to take place in interactions with DCP when he’s stated his interest lies elsewhere (see the first part of this post).

As in real life, people do have different objectives in these sort of interactions. Personally, I am too jaded by years of past interactions with internet defenders of the faith to have much hope in trying to understand each other, or bridging any gap. Yes, when I first discovered this odd little world, I did have that hope or objective. But I was still treated harshly and with suspicion by a core, influential group, which pretty much disabled that objective. I personally concluded that unless and until the LDS church changes its basic teachings about apostates, the goal of understanding and bridging the gap is doomed and will only result in frustration. There are a few folks on both sides who do a good job enduring the insults and jabs and, with good humor, make their points and let it go. They may make a dent. But, to me, that feels like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. So my interest has shifted, and not unlike DCP, I am more interested in the way internet defenders of the faith act. This is the part that interests me:

So tenaciously should we cling to the world revealed by the Gospel, that were I to see all the Angels of Heaven coming down to me to tell me something different, not only would I not be tempted to doubt a single syllable, but I would shut my eyes and stop my ears, for they would not deserve to be either seen or heard.” (Luther) To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs. The fanatical Japanese in Brazil refused to believe for four years the evidence of Japan’s defeat. The fanatical communist refuses to believe any unfavorable report or evidence about Russia, nor will he be disillusioned by seeing with his own eyes that the cruel misery inside the Soviet promise land.

It is the true believers ability to “shut his eyes and stop his ears” to facts that do not deserve to be either seen or heard which is the source of his unequaled fortitude and constancy. He cannot be frightened by danger nor disheartened by obstacles nor baffled by contradictions because he denies their existence. Strength of faith, as Bergson pointed out, manifests itself not in moving mountains but in not seeing mountains to move. And it is the certitude of his infallible doctrine that renders the true believer impervious to the uncertainties, surprises and the unpleasant realities of the world around him.

(Eric Hoffer)

So what entertains me, in particular, is laying out simple, obvious facts in a more and more stark fashion to see just how far defenders of the faith will go in their attempts to avoid or deny those facts. I realize that may be irritating to people who do not share that particular interest, and would like to see more understanding between the two sides. (They can try to get that going on other threads and see the results.) I also realize it must be doubly frustrating to those who still believe understanding is attainable when defenders of the faith aren’t particularly interested in understanding, either, and prefer goading what they see as obsessiveness, hatred, irrationality. Of course, I could be “polluting” the observation field as much as DCP does. Perhaps believers like DCP are repeatedly “shutting their eyes and stopping their ears” in a deliberate manner to provoke repeated (and hence “obsessive”) commentary by exmormon critics. Funny, eh? Good thing this is just a diversion in my life, and nothing serious. ;)

So, Trevor, what would you have liked to have seen as response to your comments about the content of the book?
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by Trevor »

beastie wrote:So what he’s observing isn’t really just about the obsessiveness of internet exmormons at all. It’s also about DCP’s obsessiveness.


I thought he had admitted as much, but maybe I am mistaken.

beastie wrote:First, the vast majority of Daniel’s posts on this thread have not been about the OP – they’ve been about my posts. Second, I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect understanding to take place in interactions with DCP when he’s stated his interest lies elsewhere (see the first part of this post).


Well, the steady message I have been getting here is that it would be a decent idea to read the book, which, I think, is a fair point. I have also appreciated your point about the LDS Church's difficult relationship with history, and Ray A's quotes. I really need to read that Arrington book about his experience as a Church historian. From my point of view it looks like the Church has consistently had difficulty with some of its more aggressively conservative (I know how odd that sounds) apostles. Guys like McConkie and Packer have had their fair share of run-ins with BYU faculty, and the results have been mixed at best (imho).

beastie wrote:Personally, I am too jaded by years of past interactions with internet defenders of the faith to have much hope in trying to understand each other, or bridging any gap. Yes, when I first discovered this odd little world, I did have that hope or objective. But I was still treated harshly and with suspicion by a core, influential group, which pretty much disabled that objective. I personally concluded that unless and until the LDS church changes its basic teachings about apostates, the goal of understanding and bridging the gap is doomed and will only result in frustration. There are a few folks on both sides who do a good job enduring the insults and jabs and, with good humor, make their points and let it go. They may make a dent. But, to me, that feels like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. So my interest has shifted, and not unlike DCP, I am more interested in the way internet defenders of the faith act.


I would guess that I have a similarly long experience discussing Mormonism online. Like you, I was treated rather harshly by apologists at ZLMB, FAIR, and MA&D. I don't demand that you act differently. My fascination is with the human aspect. I like to sympathize with others and their perspectives once in a while. I get tired of being disagreeable. That is my hang-up.

beastie wrote:So what entertains me, in particular, is laying out simple, obvious facts in a more and more stark fashion to see just how far defenders of the faith will go in their attempts to avoid or deny those facts. I realize that may be irritating to people who do not share that particular interest, and would like to see more understanding between the two sides. (They can try to get that going on other threads and see the results.) I also realize it must be doubly frustrating to those who still believe understanding is attainable when defenders of the faith aren’t particularly interested in understanding, either, and prefer goading what they see as obsessiveness, hatred, irrationality. Of course, I could be “polluting” the observation field as much as DCP does. Perhaps believers like DCP are repeatedly “shutting their eyes and stopping their ears” in a deliberate manner to provoke repeated (and hence “obsessive”) commentary by exmormon critics. Funny, eh? Good thing this is just a diversion in my life, and nothing serious. ;)


I am not all that irritated, beastie. You seem (to me) to think there is little more than evasion in what Daniel is doing. I am willing to explore other options, like taking him seriously when he mentions things like nuance and precision. I do not exclude evasion. I do think he does not hand his opponents explanations all that often. He frequently does not elucidate why someone is incorrect from his point of view. I happen to think this is more than evasion, however annoying it may be. On the other hand, he is an apologist. I don't expect him to act contrary to his overall commitment to defending Mormonism.

beastie wrote:So, Trevor, what would you have liked to have seen as response to your comments about the content of the book?


Thanks for the question. I would like to see a more thorough discussion of the issues of chronology in the first week of September. And it would be interesting to explore Brigham's leadership and rhetoric in this period more closely. These would be two interesting approaches to testing some aspects of the M@MM book. At the end of the day, I think it is not possible, given the current evidence, to prove that Brigham ordered the massacre. I am not even sure it is consistent with his usual M.O. as a leader. I could be wrong. I want to know more.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by beastie »

I appreciate the response, Trevor. Just two quick points before I have to go to work:

I am not all that irritated, beastie. You seem (to me) to think there is little more than evasion in what Daniel is doing. I am willing to explore other options, like taking him seriously when he mentions things like nuance and precision. I do not exclude evasion. I do think he does not hand his opponents explanations all that often. He frequently does not elucidate why someone is incorrect from his point of view. I happen to think this is more than evasion, however annoying it may be. On the other hand, he is an apologist. I don't expect him to act contrary to his overall commitment to defending Mormonism.


You bolded the portion that makes interaction about DCP's points impossible. I have no idea if it's evasion, or what, but it certainly does not allow for interaction or correction.


Thanks for the question. I would like to see a more thorough discussion of the issues of chronology in the first week of September. And it would be interesting to explore Brigham's leadership and rhetoric in this period more closely. These would be two interesting approaches to testing some aspects of the M@MM book. At the end of the day, I think it is not possible, given the current evidence, to prove that Brigham ordered the massacre. I am not even sure it is consistent with his usual M.O. as a leader. I could be wrong. I want to know more.


I suspected that you did want to see more discussion regarding the book's actual content. The problem is that most of us haven't read the book yet, so can't engage in that discussion with you. My book isn't due for delivery till August 29, and then it will take some time to complete it. Since these authors had access to material previous authors did not, I don't want to engage in that sort of detailed conversation until I have read the book. Trust me, once I complete the book, I will start a thread discussing details of content.

by the way, I also have deep reservations about whether or not BY directly ordered the massacre, and believe it is not possible to prove as well. But that's based on my previous readings.
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by LifeOnaPlate »

harmony wrote:There is no "if not". You know what I said; you didn't address what I said at all.


Actually, there quite literally was an "if not." My quote, "if not" in bold:

Are you saying the book must automatically be crippled based on your assertions here? If so, I would recommend reading the book to see how right you are. If not, I would advise reading the book to see if playing it safe was a good idea.




Like Daniel, you won't see me discussing the book's content here. Or anywhere. I have no interest in the content.


Then to me the conversation with you has become meaningless. I appreciate your forthrightness in saying the content is unimportant to you.
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*

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LifeOnaPlate
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by LifeOnaPlate »

harmony wrote:I wasn't being critical, Daniel. I was stating a fact: you don't read all the books that show up in FROB.


Why state the obvious, though?

Here's what I'm getting from you. You seem to make implications and when someone follows the implications through you throw up your arms and say someone is putting words in your mouth. It immediately becomes personal.

Again, if you weren't being critical, and all you were doing was stating the simple and obvious fact that DCP doesn't read all the books that are reviewed in FR, why did you say it at all?
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*

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LifeOnaPlate
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by LifeOnaPlate »

beastie wrote:
So tenaciously should we cling to the world revealed by the Gospel, that were I to see all the Angels of Heaven coming down to me to tell me something different, not only would I not be tempted to doubt a single syllable, but I would shut my eyes and stop my ears, for they would not deserve to be either seen or heard.” (Luther) To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs. The fanatical Japanese in Brazil refused to believe for four years the evidence of Japan’s defeat. The fanatical communist refuses to believe any unfavorable report or evidence about Russia, nor will he be disillusioned by seeing with his own eyes that the cruel misery inside the Soviet promise land.

It is the true believers ability to “shut his eyes and stop his ears” to facts that do not deserve to be either seen or heard which is the source of his unequaled fortitude and constancy. He cannot be frightened by danger nor disheartened by obstacles nor baffled by contradictions because he denies their existence. Strength of faith, as Bergson pointed out, manifests itself not in moving mountains but in not seeing mountains to move. And it is the certitude of his infallible doctrine that renders the true believer impervious to the uncertainties, surprises and the unpleasant realities of the world around him.

(Eric Hoffer)

So what entertains me, in particular, is laying out simple, obvious facts in a more and more stark fashion to see just how far defenders of the faith will go in their attempts to avoid or deny those facts. I realize that may be irritating to people who do not share that particular interest, and would like to see more understanding between the two sides. (They can try to get that going on other threads and see the results.) I also realize it must be doubly frustrating to those who still believe understanding is attainable when defenders of the faith aren’t particularly interested in understanding, either, and prefer goading what they see as obsessiveness, hatred, irrationality. Of course, I could be “polluting” the observation field as much as DCP does. Perhaps believers like DCP are repeatedly “shutting their eyes and stopping their ears” in a deliberate manner to provoke repeated (and hence “obsessive”) commentary by exmormon critics. Funny, eh? Good thing this is just a diversion in my life, and nothing serious. ;)

So, Trevor, what would you have liked to have seen as response to your comments about the content of the book?


What struck me most when reading Hoffer's book is how much it applies to the religiously irreligious as much as the irreligious religious.

"But we always look for allies when we hate...Whence come these unreasonable hatreds, and why their unifying effect? They are an expression of a desperate effort to suppress an awareness of our inadequacy, worthlessness, guilt and other shortcomings of the self. Self-contempt is here transmuted into hatred of others -- and there is a most determined and persistent effort to mask this switch. Obviously, the most effective way of doing this is to find others, as many as possible, who hate as we do. Here more than anywhere else we need general consent, and much of our proselytizing consists perhaps in infecting others not with our brand of faith but with our particular brand of unreasonable hatred."


(Eric Hoffer)
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*

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Daniel Peterson
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Re: MILLIONS spent by LDS Inc on new Mountain Meadows Massacre book

Post by Daniel Peterson »

beastie wrote:DCP has frequently affirmed he’s not interested in serious discussion,

I'm not interested in attempting serious discussion on message boards with the typical message board anti-Mormon -- both because I would rather do my serious writing elsewhere and because, frankly, considerable experience has convinced me that success in such an effort is not a realistic goal.

beastie wrote:He’ll offer a seemingly serious response to the actual content of the discussion, but when challenged, turn around and retreat back into the “I’m not interested in serious discussion” mode.

I'll state a serious position, but, when it's still ungrasped after perhaps half a dozen reiterations and attempted restatements, I lose interest. Particularly when the repeated iterations simply offer a combative polemicist more material with which to level accusations of self-contradiction, to brand attempts at precision and nuance as "tap dancing" and "evasion," and the like. This grows tiresome.

A serious interlocutor will attempt to understand and, where s/he feels it necessary, will ask for clarification. A serious interlocutor won't start with the assumption that his or her conversation partner is operating in bad faith. By contrast, a hypercombative polemicist seeking to score points rather than to have a serious conversation will be constantly looking for mistakes, for "deception," for "evasions," and the like. It's impossible to have a serious conversation with such a person.

Trevor is correct when he suggests that I view this entire thread as, to a certain extent, an exercise in effectively poisoning the well -- conscious on the part of some, reflexively unconscious on the part of some others.

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