Joseph Smith and Presentism: Another Lame Defense Argument

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Tal Bachman
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Joseph Smith and Presentism: Another Lame Defense Argument

Post by Tal Bachman »

I was invited over here by the illustrious Dr. Shades to discuss Joseph Smith and (gag) "presentism". Here goes.

Leave it to Mormon apologists to pervert, in trying to defend the indefensible, what is a perfectly fair criticism of modern critics of past figures, namely, presentism. The truth is that the modern mind is FAR more forgiving of all sorts of sexual behaviour than was the mind of frontier America; and for Mormon apologists to claim that in 1844, it was MORE acceptable for a religious pastor to lie to his wife, lie to his brother, lie to his friends, lie to his church members, lie to his mother, so that he could secretly have sex with his housemaids, two sets of his trusting foster daughters, the anxious-to-do-right wives of his friends, a frightened fourteen year old girl, and with a variety of prostitutes (according to Orson Pratt's wife Sarah), is only for them to reveal to all the world just how nuts we can make ourselves in trying to defend something which cannot be defended, but which we are so desperate to maintain belief in. The FACT is, that there has NEVER been a time in American history when such behaviour as Joseph's was regarded as anything other than TOTALLY DISGUSTING. And I invite all the deluded loons who keep chanting "presentism" to present any evidence to the contrary, which, of course, they never will be able to present, since it does not exist.

One thing I noticed on the other thread - the original point of the discussion was almost immediately forgotten in the midst of all sorts of digressions. I hope that posters on this thread will not allow that to happen. These sorts of digressions in my experience occur nearly everytime a hit is scored on Mormonism, in the presence of church defenders - immediately, any and every tangent becomes "just as important" as the original point, and pretty soon you're talking about whether Joseph Smith shot and killed one guy or two guys during his "martyrdom". It reminds me of scriptural discussions I had with Jehovah's Witnesses while I was on my mission - as soon as you corner them, they just move on to the next point, and so on, forever. I never could figure out whether this was an unconsciously-generated defense response, or a deliberate debate strategy, and I guess I am still not sure whether it is or not.

The question is: Are modern critics of Joseph Smith's sexcapades committing the sin of presentism?

The answer is no, because this "minister of the gospel"'s sexcapades were no less contrary to the mores of 1844 America, as they are to the mores of 2006, and frankly, were a good deal more so. That's why this dumb apologist argument fails - it is totally incorrect. It is contradicted by absolutely everything we know about the culture of Jacksonian/pre-Civil War-America, and is "supported" by nothing more than the wish of the deluded, that the founder of their religion not turn out to be a nearly sociopathic charlatan. Can't say that I blame them, really - I tried the same thing myself for a long time. But...it turns out, we made a mistake, as people do sometimes.

Here is a link to the original thread on RFM: http://www.exmormon.org/Mormon/mormon451.htm
[/color]

harmony
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Re: Joseph Smith and Presentism: Another Lame Defense Argume

Post by harmony »

Tal Bachman wrote:I was invited over here by the illustrious Dr. Shades to discuss Joseph Smith and (gag) "presentism". Here goes.

Leave it to Mormon apologists to pervert, in trying to defend the indefensible, what is a perfectly fair criticism of modern critics of past figures, namely, presentism. The truth is that the modern mind is FAR more forgiving of all sorts of sexual behaviour than was the mind of frontier America; and for Mormon apologists to claim that in 1844, it was MORE acceptable for a religious pastor to lie to his wife, lie to his brother, lie to his friends, lie to his church members, lie to his mother, so that he could secretly have sex with his housemaids, two sets of his trusting foster daughters, the anxious-to-do-right wives of his friends, a frightened fourteen year old girl, and with a variety of prostitutes (according to Orson Pratt's wife Sarah), is only for them to reveal to all the world just how nuts we can make ourselves in trying to defend something which cannot be defended, but which we are so desperate to maintain belief in. The FACT is, that there has NEVER been a time in American history when such behaviour as Joseph's was regarded as anything other than TOTALLY DISGUSTING. And I invite all the deluded loons who keep chanting "presentism" to present any evidence to the contrary, which, of course, they never will be able to present, since it does not exist.

One thing I noticed on the other thread - the original point of the discussion was almost immediately forgotten in the midst of all sorts of digressions. I hope that posters on this thread will not allow that to happen. These sorts of digressions in my experience occur nearly everytime a hit is scored on Mormonism, in the presence of church defenders - immediately, any and every tangent becomes "just as important" as the original point, and pretty soon you're talking about whether Joseph Smith shot and killed one guy or two guys during his "martyrdom". It reminds me of scriptural discussions I had with Jehovah's Witnesses while I was on my mission - as soon as you corner them, they just move on to the next point, and so on, forever. I never could figure out whether this was an unconsciously-generated defense response, or a deliberate debate strategy, and I guess I am still not sure whether it is or not.

The question is: Are modern critics of Joseph Smith's sexcapades committing the sin of presentism?

The answer is no, because this "minister of the gospel"'s sexcapades were no less contrary to the mores of 1844 America, as they are to the mores of 2006, and frankly, were a good deal more so. That's why this dumb apologist argument fails - it is totally incorrect. It is contradicted by absolutely everything we know about the culture of Jacksonian/pre-Civil War-America, and is "supported" by nothing more than the wish of the deluded, that the founder of their religion not turn out to be a nearly sociopathic charlatan. Can't say that I blame them, really - I tried the same thing myself for a long time. But...it turns out, we made a mistake, as people do sometimes.

Here is a link to the original thread on RFM: http://www.exmormon.org/Mormon/mormon451.htm
[/color]


Welcome aboard, Tal. I can't smilie at you, because Shades disabled the smilies, but I can still smile at you :-)

While this is the Terrestial discussion forum, you might find a higher quality discussion if you refrain from "sexcapades". "Sociopathic charlatan" works though.

As I see it, the problem isn't presentism. The problem is ancestor worship. LDS church members cannot allow their ancestors to be actual people, with warts and foibles and sins. They have to have perfect ancestors, and of course, perfect dead prophets. We can't talk about Joseph S. Smith's temper or his beating his first wife; we can't talk about Brigham's delusions of grandeur; and we sure as heck can't talk about Joseph's adultery, because we can't allow them to have been human. It's sad, really. I'd much rather a prophet who was as human as me than I would a cardboard cutout with no character and no depth. If a prophet that lies from the pulpit, sleeps around on his wife, and destroys other people's property can make it, so can I. I could thank God for a prophet like that, instead of what passes for prophets, seers, and revelators today.

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Tal Bachman
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Harmony

Post by Tal Bachman »

Hi Harmony

Who is "Joseph S Smith"?

Also, I'm not sure it's accurate to say that Mormons won't allow their prophets to be human. They are in fact totally schizophrenic on this issue. On the one hand, they sing praises to them as though they were gods, in church; give talks honouring them; write hagiographies of them; etc. On the other hand, in the very moment someone says, "hey, you know, this guy perjured himself in front of Congress" or "ordered a guy killed", they immediately start saying, "no one ever said prophets were perfect! We all make mistakes! Joseph Smith could have had a sow as a mistress, but that wouldn't mean he wasn't 'the man who communed with Jehovah'!".

The only consistence in anything seems to be, "I want to keep believing". You could contradict yourself ten times in as many words, and it wouldn't matter. The only goal is "keep believing", which is kind of the same as "keep myself in this particular state of mind".

harmony
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Re: Harmony

Post by harmony »

Tal Bachman wrote:Hi Harmony

Who is "Joseph S Smith"?


Sorry, I even lisp in writing. Joseph F. Smith.

Also, I'm not sure it's accurate to say that Mormons won't allow their prophets to be human. They are in fact totally schizophrenic on this issue. On the one hand, they sing praises to them as though they were gods, in church; give talks honouring them; write hagiographies of them; etc. On the other hand, in the very moment someone says, "hey, you know, this guy perjured himself in front of Congress" or "ordered a guy killed", they immediately start saying, "no one ever said prophets were perfect! We all make mistakes! Joseph Smith could have had a sow as a mistress, but that wouldn't mean he wasn't 'the man who communed with Jehovah'!".


It's called compartmentalization and Mormons do it exceptionally well. We are all cafeteria Mormons; some of us can actually admit it. Take what you want and leave the rest. (and there's a lot to leave).

We hear, "follow the prophet" in conference. And in Primary. And in Sacrament meeting. And especially when it's time for tithing settlement. But does anyone ever say, "Let's talk about the $2 billion we just spent on a lousy piece of real estate in the middle of a mediocre city in the middle of a desert"? No, they say "follow the prophet".

ARGH!

The only consistence in anything seems to be, "I want to keep believing". You could contradict yourself ten times in as many words, and it wouldn't matter. The only goal is "keep believing", which is kind of the same as "keep myself in this particular state of mind".


Keep believing, keep paying, keep attending, keep sustaining, and whatever you do, keep your mouth shut.

Ray A

Re: Joseph Smith and Presentism: Another Lame Defense Argume

Post by Ray A »

Tal Bachman wrote:[color=darkblue]

Leave it to Mormon apologists to pervert, in trying to defend the indefensible, what is a perfectly fair criticism of modern critics of past figures, namely, presentism. The truth is that the modern mind is FAR more forgiving of all sorts of sexual behaviour than was the mind of frontier America; and for Mormon apologists to claim that in 1844, it was MORE acceptable for a religious pastor to lie to his wife, lie to his brother, lie to his friends, lie to his church members, lie to his mother, so that he could secretly have sex with his housemaids, two sets of his trusting foster daughters, the anxious-to-do-right wives of his friends, a frightened fourteen year old girl, and with a variety of prostitutes (according to Orson Pratt's wife Sarah), is only for them to reveal to all the world just how nuts we can make ourselves in trying to defend something which cannot be defended, but which we are so desperate to maintain belief in. The FACT is, that there has NEVER been a time in American history when such behaviour as Joseph's was regarded as anything other than TOTALLY DISGUSTING. And I invite all the deluded loons who keep chanting "presentism" to present any evidence to the contrary, which, of course, they never will be able to present, since it does not exist.



It might be useful to go to a Wiki definition here for clarity:

Presentism is a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or interpretations of the past. Most modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter.

Historian David Hackett Fischer identifies presentism as a logical fallacy also known as the "fallacy of nunc pro tunc". He has written that the "classic example" of presentism was the so-called "Whig history", in which certain eighteenth and nineteenth century British historians wrote history in a way that used the past to validate their own political beliefs. This interpretation was presentist because it did not depict the past in objective historical context, but instead viewed history only through the lens of contemporary Whig beliefs. In this kind of approach, which emphasizes the relevance of history to the present, things which do not seem relevant receive little attention, resulting in a misleading portrayal of the past. "Whig history" or "whiggishness" is often used as a synonym for presentism, particularly when the historical depiction in question is teleological or triumphalist.

Other examples of presentism:

* Alexander the Great was gay or bisexual. (Potentially creates a misleading understanding of Alexander's era by projecting modern perspectives of sexual orientation into his time.)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentism ... nalysis%29

I agree that sexual mores in 19th century America were perhaps more rigid than today in some respects, for example a woman in a bikini (wouldn't be possible anyway since the bikini is modern) would be arrested, even in the early 1900s, but the age of consent for vaginal sex in America until 1890 was twelve, when it was raised to 14. According to my source it was not until 1985 that it was raised to 18. The age of consent in Canada today is 14, but conservatives want to raise it to 16. I think this is where presentism comes in. It also has application to judging 19th century racial ideas with today's racial ideas. Very different.

So the idea of a man marrying a 14 year old in the 1830s or 1840s was not disgusting to people, it was within the law at the time. This is the fallacy of presentism.

Polygamy was illegal in Illinois, enacted in 1833, so Joseph Smith would have been transgressing the law. But I don't recall apologists ever claiming otherwise or trying to justify it on the grounds that it was a different era. In 1852 the church officially announced, through Apostle Orson Pratt, that it was practising polygamy. That's when the clamp down began, leading to the Morill Act in 1862, and the Edmunds Act in 1882. Some Mormon leaders were imprisoned. You could hardly say they were being secretive about it then.
Last edited by Ray A on Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Joseph Smith and Presentism: Another Lame Defense Argume

Post by Jason Bourne »

Tal Bachman wrote:I was invited over here by the illustrious Dr. Shades to discuss Joseph Smith and (gag) "presentism". Here goes.

Leave it to Mormon apologists to pervert, in trying to defend the indefensible, what is a perfectly fair criticism of modern critics of past figures, namely, presentism. The truth is that the modern mind is FAR more forgiving of all sorts of sexual behaviour than was the mind of frontier America; and for Mormon apologists to claim that in 1844, it was MORE acceptable for a religious pastor to lie to his wife, lie to his brother, lie to his friends, lie to his church members, lie to his mother, so that he could secretly have sex with his housemaids, two sets of his trusting foster daughters, the anxious-to-do-right wives of his friends, a frightened fourteen year old girl, and with a variety of prostitutes (according to Orson Pratt's wife Sarah), is only for them to reveal to all the world just how nuts we can make ourselves in trying to defend something which cannot be defended, but which we are so desperate to maintain belief in. The FACT is, that there has NEVER been a time in American history when such behaviour as Joseph's was regarded as anything other than TOTALLY DISGUSTING. And I invite all the deluded loons who keep chanting "presentism" to present any evidence to the contrary, which, of course, they never will be able to present, since it does not exist.

One thing I noticed on the other thread - the original point of the discussion was almost immediately forgotten in the midst of all sorts of digressions. I hope that posters on this thread will not allow that to happen. These sorts of digressions in my experience occur nearly everytime a hit is scored on Mormonism, in the presence of church defenders - immediately, any and every tangent becomes "just as important" as the original point, and pretty soon you're talking about whether Joseph Smith shot and killed one guy or two guys during his "martyrdom". It reminds me of scriptural discussions I had with Jehovah's Witnesses while I was on my mission - as soon as you corner them, they just move on to the next point, and so on, forever. I never could figure out whether this was an unconsciously-generated defense response, or a deliberate debate strategy, and I guess I am still not sure whether it is or not.

The question is: Are modern critics of Joseph Smith's sexcapades committing the sin of presentism?

The answer is no, because this "minister of the gospel"'s sexcapades were no less contrary to the mores of 1844 America, as they are to the mores of 2006, and frankly, were a good deal more so. That's why this dumb apologist argument fails - it is totally incorrect. It is contradicted by absolutely everything we know about the culture of Jacksonian/pre-Civil War-America, and is "supported" by nothing more than the wish of the deluded, that the founder of their religion not turn out to be a nearly sociopathic charlatan. Can't say that I blame them, really - I tried the same thing myself for a long time. But...it turns out, we made a mistake, as people do sometimes.

Here is a link to the original thread on RFM: http://www.exmormon.org/Mormon/mormon451.htm
[/color]




I have yet to see apologists argue that the the culure of Joseph Smith was more accepting of abhorent sexual behavior then we are today. The point the apologists make is that in general, one must judge Joseph Smith by the age in which he lived. Things that we may find odd and strange were not necessarily viewed as strange in the 19th century. Mostly I have seen this argument made regarding Smith's treasure digging and peep stone stuff as well as other frontier occultism. If this is the case your argument fails because it has not been made on the item you hone in on.

Can you provide an example of apologists arguing that in the 1840's " ..... it was MORE acceptable for a religious pastor to lie to his wife, lie to his brother, lie to his friends, lie to his church members, lie to his mother, so that he could secretly have sex with his housemaids, two sets of his trusting foster daughters, the anxious-to-do-right wives of his friends, a frightened fourteen year old girl, and with a variety of prostitutes (according to Orson Pratt's wife Sarah), is only for them to reveal to all the world just how nuts we can make ourselves in trying to defend something which cannot be defended, but which we are so desperate to maintain belief in."???

If not this is a straw man plain and simple.

Jason

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Re: Harmony

Post by Jason Bourne »

Tal Bachman wrote:Hi Harmony

Who is "Joseph S Smith"?

Also, I'm not sure it's accurate to say that Mormons won't allow their prophets to be human. They are in fact totally schizophrenic on this issue. On the one hand, they sing praises to them as though they were gods, in church; give talks honouring them; write hagiographies of them; etc. On the other hand, in the very moment someone says, "hey, you know, this guy perjured himself in front of Congress" or "ordered a guy killed", they immediately start saying, "no one ever said prophets were perfect! We all make mistakes! Joseph Smith could have had a sow as a mistress, but that wouldn't mean he wasn't 'the man who communed with Jehovah'!".

The only consistence in anything seems to be, "I want to keep believing". You could contradict yourself ten times in as many words, and it wouldn't matter. The only goal is "keep believing", which is kind of the same as "keep myself in this particular state of mind".


With this I can agree. Follow the prophet and you will not go astray, but when he said something we are not happy with it was his own opinion.

Jason

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Post by Tal Bachman »

Hey Jason

I think what you're missing here is that apologists make that exact claim by unavoidable implication every single time they accuse people of "presentism", who regard Smith's sexual behaviour as abominable (this comes up all the time). Without that necessary implication, that is, they obviously would not even issue a charge of presentism in the first place.

Have you read my original piece? Why not take a minute and go do that? I posted a link to it on my post above. Go ahead...I'll wait (fingers tapping, humming...).

Hi again

More to the point - EVEN IF it was "normal" for a 39 year old (edit: 37 year old) man to marry a 14 year old girl in 1843, which it absolutely was not, as any source on marital stats of the time will confirm for you (why not do some research yourself?), the more relevant point is that it was considered completely disgusting for, as I said, an already married "minister of the gospel" to lie to his wife and start secretly "marrying"/having sex with a bunch of other females, many of whom were ALREADY MARRIED to, and living with, their legal husbands, and end up nailing a bunch of the teenagers in his congregations. You do realize that Smith's plural "marriages" were totally illegal, and as well, totally against the-then policy and commandments of Smith's own church, don't you? I mean, you literally have to be either insane or totally ignorant to think that that behaviour was considered anything other than totally abhorrent to almost all Americans in 1844. Why do you think he almost got castrated at the Johnson farm house? Why else do you think he would have lied about it to everyone? Why do you think John Bennett's book made such a splash?

The truth is, Jason, there is no way around the fact that Joseph Smith's non-Mormon contemporaries, like Brigham Young's non-Mormon contemporaries, thought their behaviour was totally disgusting. Or have you never heard of that little political organization called the Republican Party? It's better known now as the original anti-slavery party. Guess what was the other half of its original pair of raisons d'etre? The abolition of that "relic of barbarism", Mormon POLYGAMY. "Presentism"....what a joke. How ignorant!

Come on, bro. Open your eyes.
Last edited by Tal Bachman on Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:57 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by Nortinski »

Tal Bachman, you're my hero. (Please read that last line like Ferris Bueller's best friend, what's-his-face.)

On an unrelated note, "You're So High" came on the radio at work the other day and my boss, one of the few Mormons in my office, said loudly, "I love this song" and started singing along.

*sigh*

I had no choice. I had to do it. I said, "Yeah? That's Tal Bachman. He's a friend of sorts. Check out my podcast to listen to an interview a friend and I did with Tal a little while back."

She said, "It's online? What's the URL?"

I smiled and said, slowly, "the church is not true dot com". Tal's an Ex-Mormon."

Heh heh...I'm a bastard. ;-)

Nort
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Post by Polygamy Porter »

Nortinski wrote:Tal Bachman, you're my hero. (Please read that last line like Ferris Bueller's best friend, what's-his-face.)

On an unrelated note, "You're So High" came on the radio at work the other day and my boss, one of the few Mormons in my office, said loudly, "I love this song" and started singing along.

*sigh*

I had no choice. I had to do it. I said, "Yeah? That's Tal Bachman. He's a friend of sorts. Check out my podcast to listen to an interview a friend and I did with Tal a little while back."

She said, "It's online? What's the URL?"

I smiled and said, slowly, "the church is not true dot com". Tal's an Ex-Mormon."

Heh heh...I'm a bastard. ;-)

Nort


Oh sweet Jebus! Mike, when you popped his bubble, what did it sound like when all of the air came out? Was it a bang, a slow hissy leak, or like an unrestrained balloon let go to buzz around the room to finally fall to the floor in a shrinking lifeless lump?

I just love it when opportunities like that come up! I pray for 'em ya know :)
Last edited by Polygamy Porter on Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Presentism

Post by Runtu »

Sheesh, as if the people in the 1840s found Joseph's behavior any less repellent. Duhhhhh

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Nortinski
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Post by Nortinski »

Polygamy Porter wrote:
Nortinski wrote:Tal Bachman, you're my hero. (Please read that last line like Ferris Bueller's best friend, what's-his-face.)

On an unrelated note, "You're So High" came on the radio at work the other day and my boss, one of the few Mormons in my office, said loudly, "I love this song" and started singing along.

*sigh*

I had no choice. I had to do it. I said, "Yeah? That's Tal Bachman. He's a friend of sorts. Check out my podcast to listen to an interview a friend and I did with Tal a little while back."

She said, "It's online? What's the URL?"

I smiled and said, slowly, "the church is not true dot com". Tal's an Ex-Mormon."

Heh heh...I'm a bastard. ;-)

Nort


Oh sweet Jebus! Mike, when you popped his bubble, what did it sound like when all of the air came out? Was it a bang, a slow hissy leak, or like an unrestrained balloon let go to buzz around the room to finally fall to the floor in a shrinking lifeless lump?

I just love it when opportunities like that come up! I pray for 'em ya know :)



Eh, it wasn't as good as I would've liked. My boss is a chick and she had no clue that Tal was a Mormon so it wasn't as good as it could have been.

Nort
The truth is a lot easier to see when you stop assuming you already have it. - Me

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Post by Brackite »

Hi Tal Bachman,

You wrote:

More to the point - EVEN IF it was "normal" for a 39 year old man to marry a 14 year old girl in 1843, which it absolutely was not, as any source on marital stats of the time will confirm for you (why not do some research yourself?), the more relevant point is that it was considered completely disgusting for, as I said, an already married "minister of the gospel" to lie to his wife and start secretly "marrying"/having sex with a bunch of other females, many of whom were ALREADY MARRIED to, and living with, their legal husbands, and end up nailing a bunch of the teenagers in his congregations.


I want to make just a minor correction here; Joseph Smith was 37 years old when he got married to 14 year-old Helen Mar Kimball, however it is still pretty disgusting. Joseph Smith of course was already a married man. The most disgusting Plural marriage of Joseph Smith IMO was that of himself to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs. Joseph Smith married Zina when she was a newly wed, 15 years younger than Joseph Smith was, and she was about six months pregnant with her newly and legally husband’s baby Henry Jacobs. Then after Joseph Smith got killed, Zina ended up getting married to Brigham Young, who was 19 years older than she was. This is what really got me to start to lose my testimony of Joseph Smith and BY as holy Prophets of God. Anyway Tal, I do very much agree with the main Point of your Thread here. Have a good-day!

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Post by Tal Bachman »

Thanks for the correction, Brackite.

Talk to you soon,

Tal

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Post by Jason Bourne »

Tal Bachman wrote:Hey Jason

I think what you're missing here is that apologists make that exact claim by unavoidable implication every single time they accuse people of "presentism", who regard Smith's sexual behaviour as abominable (this comes up all the time). Without that necessary implication, that is, they obviously would not even issue a charge of presentism in the first place.

Have you read my original piece? Why not take a minute and go do that? I posted a link to it on my post above. Go ahead...I'll wait (fingers tapping, humming...).

Hi again

More to the point - EVEN IF it was "normal" for a 39 year old (edit: 37 year old) man to marry a 14 year old girl in 1843, which it absolutely was not, as any source on marital stats of the time will confirm for you (why not do some research yourself?), the more relevant point is that it was considered completely disgusting for, as I said, an already married "minister of the gospel" to lie to his wife and start secretly "marrying"/having sex with a bunch of other females, many of whom were ALREADY MARRIED to, and living with, their legal husbands, and end up nailing a bunch of the teenagers in his congregations. You do realize that Smith's plural "marriages" were totally illegal, and as well, totally against the-then policy and commandments of Smith's own church, don't you? I mean, you literally have to be either insane or totally ignorant to think that that behaviour was considered anything other than totally abhorrent to almost all Americans in 1844. Why do you think he almost got castrated at the Johnson farm house? Why else do you think he would have lied about it to everyone? Why do you think John Bennett's book made such a splash?

The truth is, Jason, there is no way around the fact that Joseph Smith's non-Mormon contemporaries, like Brigham Young's non-Mormon contemporaries, thought their behaviour was totally disgusting. Or have you never heard of that little political organization called the Republican Party? It's better known now as the original anti-slavery party. Guess what was the other half of its original pair of raisons d'etre? The abolition of that "relic of barbarism", Mormon POLYGAMY. "Presentism"....what a joke. How ignorant!

Come on, bro. Open your eyes.


I will read your the link when I get a chance. But let me get one thing clear. I do not think every think Joseph Smith did was ok. And in regards to plural marriage I believe it was wrong, that it was man made, that it was what brought about Joseph's death. I believe polygamy and polyandry are and were disgusting and I believe the way Smith went about his plural marriage activity horrendous. I make no cultural excuses for him there. I believe he regretted it and as William Marks claimed was all set to abandon it. To late though and Brigham seized controll to quickly and Marks and others were not able to put a stop to it.

So, when I argue that we must judge Smith based on the times in which he lived I do not make that pleading for plural marriage at all. I do however think it must be considered in other aspects of the man's career.

Jason

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Post by Jason Bourne »

Brackite wrote:Hi Tal Bachman,

You wrote:

More to the point - EVEN IF it was "normal" for a 39 year old man to marry a 14 year old girl in 1843, which it absolutely was not, as any source on marital stats of the time will confirm for you (why not do some research yourself?), the more relevant point is that it was considered completely disgusting for, as I said, an already married "minister of the gospel" to lie to his wife and start secretly "marrying"/having sex with a bunch of other females, many of whom were ALREADY MARRIED to, and living with, their legal husbands, and end up nailing a bunch of the teenagers in his congregations.


I want to make just a minor correction here; Joseph Smith was 37 years old when he got married to 14 year-old Helen Mar Kimball, however it is still pretty disgusting. Joseph Smith of course was already a married man. The most disgusting Plural marriage of Joseph Smith IMO was that of himself to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs. Joseph Smith married Zina when she was a newly wed, 15 years younger than Joseph Smith was, and she was about six months pregnant with her newly and legally husband’s baby Henry Jacobs. Then after Joseph Smith got killed, Zina ended up getting married to Brigham Young, who was 19 years older than she was. This is what really got me to start to lose my testimony of Joseph Smith and BY as holy Prophets of God. Anyway Tal, I do very much agree with the main Point of your Thread here. Have a good-day!


This story is one of the saddest tales of the pural marriage saga.

Jason

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Tal Bachman
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Post by Tal Bachman »

Jason

Something else I think you might be missing here: no one - no one - is arguing that we should not judge Joseph Smith according to "the standards of his day". No one. I have never heard anyone argue this, nor do I know of one single criticism of Joseph Smith made by any of his modern critics that would even qualify for this ridiculous charge, for the simple reason that so many of Joseph Smith's own contemporaries made the same criticisms of him while he was alive, and often, did so with even more fervour. If this is true, then you have gotten yourself concerned over yet another nothing of an apologetic argument.

Take treasure-hunting, for example, since I believe you mentioned it in a previous post. Smith's treasure-hunting, for modern skeptics, isn't relevant to them because "treasure-hunting sounds so weird to modern ears", which is one straw man version put out there by church defenders, and which you seem to have accepted uncritically. It is, rather, relevant because treasure-hunting, in those times, was one method employed by confidence men (and the fact that neither Joseph, nor his brothers, nor his father, ever did recover any treasure supposedly seen by Joseph in his magical stone, is all the evidence you should need to conclude that it is very unlikely that Smith really believed he was locating buried treasures in his rock). That is, his treasure-hunting, precisely IN its context not out of it, constitutes powerful evidence that Joseph Smith was an untrustworthy person. Church defenders then have exactly backwards - it is THEY who judge Joseph Smith by modern standards, standards by which "treasure-hunting" sounds as innocuous as searching for lost coins on the beach with a metal detector, when in fact, it was a 19th century equivalent of a con man crying in a parking lot, telling someone he was just robbed, and that he just needs a hundred bucks to get the bus back to Idaho. As such, in its context, it is therefore as indicative of its practitioner's untrustworthy character as would modern scams be of their practitioners' untrustworthy character

And that is why, my friend, that some of Smith's contemporaries pressed charges against him for "disorderly conduct". Do you see? Modern skeptics ARE "judging Joseph Smith by the standards of his time", and it is his DEFENDERS who don't. They almost inevitably (if perhaps unconsciously) remove his actions from their contexts. That is one reason why apologetic arguments are often so pathetic - they require the isolation of a single act or fact from all other facts surrounding it. It is just like if you, as a defense attorney, kept saying, "just because a man holds a gun in his hand, doesn't mean he's a murderer", while ignoring the fact that your client was not just "holding a gun" (or "looking for treasure"), but was actually "holding a gun" immediately after it had been fired at a man who fell dead as a result, and that there is videotape of him pulling the trigger and the man falling dead, and that there is a documented motive for the murder. In light of all that, your glib assertion will sound completely pathetic and be completely inadequate - just like, I suggest, attempted thought-terminating-cliches like charges of "presentism" do. You know?

rcrocket

Post by rcrocket »

Tal:

You bore us all here.

Come back when you have something new and interesting to say.

P

harmony
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Post by harmony »

Plutarch wrote:Tal:

You bore us all here.

Come back when you have something new and interesting to say.

P


At least he contributes something, P. Gives his opinion. Shows his logic model. Maybe you should show him where he's wrong. You know... actually contribute to the discussion. Unless that's an insurmountable task for you?

rcrocket

Post by rcrocket »

I don't think the woman of mere anecdotal substance has a leg upon which to stand.

Polygamy Porter
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:04 am

Post by Polygamy Porter »

Jason Bourne wrote:
Brackite wrote:Hi Tal Bachman,

You wrote:

More to the point - EVEN IF it was "normal" for a 39 year old man to marry a 14 year old girl in 1843, which it absolutely was not, as any source on marital stats of the time will confirm for you (why not do some research yourself?), the more relevant point is that it was considered completely disgusting for, as I said, an already married "minister of the gospel" to lie to his wife and start secretly "marrying"/having sex with a bunch of other females, many of whom were ALREADY MARRIED to, and living with, their legal husbands, and end up nailing a bunch of the teenagers in his congregations.


I want to make just a minor correction here; Joseph Smith was 37 years old when he got married to 14 year-old Helen Mar Kimball, however it is still pretty disgusting. Joseph Smith of course was already a married man. The most disgusting Plural marriage of Joseph Smith IMO was that of himself to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs. Joseph Smith married Zina when she was a newly wed, 15 years younger than Joseph Smith was, and she was about six months pregnant with her newly and legally husband’s baby Henry Jacobs. Then after Joseph Smith got killed, Zina ended up getting married to Brigham Young, who was 19 years older than she was. This is what really got me to start to lose my testimony of Joseph Smith and BY as holy Prophets of God. Anyway Tal, I do very much agree with the main Point of your Thread here. Have a good-day!


This story is one of the saddest tales of the pural marriage saga.

Jason
Jason,

Are you impling that you BELIEVE this?

If so, how do you feel about it and how has it affected your belief in Mormonism as a divine church and Joseph Smith as a divine prophet?

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