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 Post subject: Criticism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:36 pm 
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I get the impression from various critics that LDS apologist can't handle much if any criticism against the Church. The critics point to various things (numerous bannings from websites like FAIR/MA&D, the lack of participation here by certain apologists, etc.) as evidence in support of this alleged aversion to criticism.

Previously, I have pointed out that there have long been, and still are, critics who are permitted to post on FAIR/MA&D, which then would suggest to the reasonably minded that there is at least some tolerance of criticism on the part of apologists.

I have also pointed out that LDS apologist have view the critics as not being able to handle much if any counter-criticism and/or personal criticism. They have their evidence to support this view, and those who may think otherwise, have their evidence as well.

Unfortunately, discussions on such matters have tended to devolve into counterproductive finger-pointing and airy self-congratulation on both sides.

I have given this matter considerable thought over the last week or so, and I hae come up with an hypothesis that I wish to test. I submit that it isn't that either party has a complete aversion to criticism, but rather their aversion is understandably towards certain types of criticism. Each party's aversion is to destructive criticism, not constructive criticism. By this I mean that is makes little sense for anyone to subject themselves to criticism which they believe will limit, if not counter, their ability to achieve healthy needs and desires.

Granted, many of those doing the criticizing on both sides may charitably view the criticisms they give as having a constructive intent of sorts. But, for a variety of reasons, the party on the receiving end of the criticisms don't typically feel the love or see the constructiveness of the criticisms.

I believe there may be a valid reason for this, which I think deserves further exploration.

So, rather than finger-pointing and self-aggrandizing about whether the other party can handle criticism or not, I think it may be more useful for each of us self-evaluate how we personally criticize, and what our criticism may be about, and test this against the Golden Rule (how we personally may wish to be criticized, ourselves, and what we may wish to be criticized about), to see if there may be room for improvement.

I would be interested in learning from each of you what types of criticism you may value as opposed to those criticisms to which you may have an aversion. Through your contribution, perhaps a list of principles for effective and productive criticism may emmerge, which we then may employ when appropriate with those we may wish to criticize.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Last edited by wenglund on Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:43 pm 
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I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.

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 Post subject: Re: Criticism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:49 pm 
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wenglund wrote:
I would be interested in learning from each of you what types of criticism you may value as opposed to those criticisms to which you may have an aversion. Through your contribution, perhaps a list of principles for effective and productive criticism may emmerge, which we then may employ when appropriate with those we may wish to criticize.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Excellent post, Wade. (And I have missed your presence on the board very much, by the way.) The type of criticism I value most is criticism which is aimed at identifying problems, errors, and flaws within the doctrine, history, practices, or culture of the LDS Church.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:53 pm 
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moksha wrote:
I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.


I have a good idea of what mean-sprited and slanderous criticism may look like, but I wonder if you could give an example or two of the welcomed criticisms you have received that refined your understanding and helped keep you honest.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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 Post subject: Re: Criticism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:06 pm 
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Mister Scratch wrote:
wenglund wrote:
I would be interested in learning from each of you what types of criticism you may value as opposed to those criticisms to which you may have an aversion. Through your contribution, perhaps a list of principles for effective and productive criticism may emmerge, which we then may employ when appropriate with those we may wish to criticize.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Excellent post, Wade. (And I have missed your presence on the board very much, by the way.) The type of criticism I value most is criticism which is aimed at identifying problems, errors, and flaws within the doctrine, history, practices, or culture of the LDS Church.


I appreciate the compliment.

However, it appears that I wasn't clear enough in what I was specifically looking for in my last paragraph (I had mistakenly supposed that the previous paragraph about the Golden Rule would have sufficed). My request is for the types of criticism you may value regarding yourself, personally, and not regarding other entities such as the Church. (I think we all are already quite aware of how much you value criticism of the Church--at least I know that I am quite aware of that).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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 Post subject: Re: Criticism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:12 pm 
Master Mahan

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wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
wenglund wrote:
I would be interested in learning from each of you what types of criticism you may value as opposed to those criticisms to which you may have an aversion. Through your contribution, perhaps a list of principles for effective and productive criticism may emmerge, which we then may employ when appropriate with those we may wish to criticize.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Excellent post, Wade. (And I have missed your presence on the board very much, by the way.) The type of criticism I value most is criticism which is aimed at identifying problems, errors, and flaws within the doctrine, history, practices, or culture of the LDS Church.


I appreciate the compliment.

However, it appears that I wasn't clear enough in what I was specifically looking for in my last paragraph (I had mistakenly supposed that the previous paragraph about the Golden Rule would have sufficed). My request is for the types of criticism you may value regarding yourself, personally, and not regarding other entities such as the Church. (I think we all are already quite aware of how much you value criticism of the Church--at least I know that I am quite aware of that).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Huh. Well, in that case, I am going to have to agree with you that you were not clear enough. I am not sure why you think any "personal" criticism would be a good idea either here, or on boards such as the fittingly named MADboard.... These things are usually called "personal attacks." Further, I would say that most people probably do not like being "personally criticized."

That is why it is best, imo, to focus the constructive criticism on "entities," as you put it, or figureheads for those entities, rather than on individual posters. Or the "constructive criticism" may be directed towards arguments and ideas. When you get into dealing with individual people, the effect often seems a bit too similar to an ad hominem attack.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:51 pm 
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moksha wrote:
I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.


I agree.
I also do not like to see apologists/TBMs accuse critics of using disturbing behavior of Joseph, or church hisotry as an excuse or justification for losing their testimony. It's the reason they lost their testimony. This accusation is character slander and offensive. I have seen Why Me and Wade post comments like this here, and it's the general attitude of TBMs at MAD toward critics.

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That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another." Joseph Smith


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 Post subject: Re: Criticism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:41 pm 
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Mister Scratch wrote:
I would say that most people probably do not like being "personally criticized."

That is why it is best, imo, to focus the constructive criticism on "entities," as you put it, or figureheads for those entities, rather than on individual posters. Or the "constructive criticism" may be directed towards arguments and ideas. When you get into dealing with individual people, the effect often seems a bit too similar to an ad hominem attack.


I don't think you are getting my point (perhaps I am still not being clear enough for your sake). I am not suggesting that we necessarily get into personal criticisms here. I am just asking what kinds of personal criticisms (which would include, among other things, criticism of personal ideas, beliefs, and arguments) of you that you may value, and to use that as a gauge for what types of criticism may be valued by others.

If, as you suggest, people do not like being personally criticized, chances are they don't like criticism of entities they may be associated with (particularly significant associations), and thus given the Golden Rule, it may behove those who feel this way, not to criticize at all.

I, personally, don't happen to think that way. There have been criticisms of me, personally, that I have and do value, and thus, according to the Golden Rule, it may behove me to restrict my criticism of others to those kinds of criticism that I value.

Does that make sense to you now?

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:47 pm 
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Seven wrote:
moksha wrote:
I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.


I agree.
I also do not like to see apologists/TBMs accuse critics of using disturbing behavior of Joseph, or church hisotry as an excuse or justification for losing their testimony. It's the reason they lost their testimony. This accusation is character slander and offensive. I have seen Why Me and Wade post comments like this here, and it's the general attitude of TBMs at MAD toward critics.


Can you understand how, in similar ways, the criticism of Joseph Smith and Church history by former members may be viewed as "character slander and offensive" by those who retain their testimony?

Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:54 pm 
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Wade, the problem is that the criticism of the LDS church and of Joseph Smith that is most straight to the point, is that the LDS church isn't true and that Joseph Smith was a guy who amassed a lot of power and influence with his body of followers, and took advantage of that with his sexual practices, and that he literally made up things like the Book of Abraham.

We're not all on this and other boards to say that the Relief Socity program is a little misguided, or to complain about Home Teaching. It's Joseph Smith and the veracity of the LDS church and the LDS scriptures.

I agree that personal attacks against other posters is harmful and not conducive to meaningful conversation. But criticism of the truth claims of the church, of the LDS scriptures, and of Joseph Smith's character and claims of prophethood is part and parcel, and if someone gest offended by such criticism, then the best suggestion would be for them to stick to "fellowship" boards.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:56 pm 
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wenglund wrote:
Seven wrote:
moksha wrote:
I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.


I agree.
I also do not like to see apologists/TBMs accuse critics of using disturbing behavior of Joseph, or church hisotry as an excuse or justification for losing their testimony. It's the reason they lost their testimony. This accusation is character slander and offensive. I have seen Why Me and Wade post comments like this here, and it's the general attitude of TBMs at MAD toward critics.


Can you understand how, in similar ways, the criticism of Joseph Smith and Church history by former members may be viewed as "character slander and offensive" by those who retain their testimony?

Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
Sure, just like the public criticism of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS by outsiders may viewed as "character slander and offensive" by FLDS who retain their testimony.

The difference between members of the Salt Lake City LDS cult and non/ex members is the Salt Lake City LDS only see Jeffs as the piece of filth he is. The rest of us see one in the same. IMO, members of both cults are duped on the same level.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:59 pm 
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Sethbag wrote:
Wade, the problem is that the criticism of the LDS church and of Joseph Smith that is most straight to the point, is that the LDS church isn't true and that Joseph Smith was a guy who amassed a lot of power and influence with his body of followers, and took advantage of that with his sexual practices, and that he literally made up things like the Book of Abraham.

We're not all on this and other boards to say that the Relief Socity program is a little misguided, or to complain about Home Teaching. It's Joseph Smith and the veracity of the LDS church and the LDS scriptures.

I agree that personal attacks against other posters is harmful and not conducive to meaningful conversation. But criticism of the truth claims of the church, of the LDS scriptures, and of Joseph Smith's character and claims of prophethood is part and parcel, and if someone gets offended by such criticism, then the best suggestion would be for them to stick to "fellowship" boards.
http://nauvoo.com is home sweet home for Wade.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:06 pm 
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Sethbag wrote:
Wade, the problem is that the criticism of the LDS church and of Joseph Smith that is most straight to the point, is that the LDS church isn't true and that Joseph Smith was a guy who amassed a lot of power and influence with his body of followers, and took advantage of that with his sexual practices, and that he literally made up things like the Book of Abraham.

We're not all on this and other boards to say that the Relief Socity program is a little misguided, or to complain about Home Teaching. It's Joseph Smith and the veracity of the LDS church and the LDS scriptures.

I agree that personal attacks against other posters is harmful and not conducive to meaningful conversation. But criticism of the truth claims of the church, of the LDS scriptures, and of Joseph Smith's character and claims of prophethood is part and parcel, and if someone gest offended by such criticism, then the best suggestion would be for them to stick to "fellowship" boards.


I seem to have failed to successfully convey my point to you as well. So, let me try it this way. Do you value any and all forms of criticism (particularly the kind that is "straight to the point) of your personal beliefs and character?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:12 pm 
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Polygamy Porter wrote:
wenglund wrote:
Seven wrote:
moksha wrote:
I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.


I agree.
I also do not like to see apologists/TBMs accuse critics of using disturbing behavior of Joseph, or church hisotry as an excuse or justification for losing their testimony. It's the reason they lost their testimony. This accusation is character slander and offensive. I have seen Why Me and Wade post comments like this here, and it's the general attitude of TBMs at MAD toward critics.


Can you understand how, in similar ways, the criticism of Joseph Smith and Church history by former members may be viewed as "character slander and offensive" by those who retain their testimony?

Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Sure, just like the public criticism of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS by outsiders may viewed as "character slander and offensive" by FLDS who retain their testimony.

The difference between members of the Salt Lake City LDS cult and non/ex members is the Salt Lake City LDS only see Jeffs as the piece of filth he is. The rest of us see one in the same. IMO, members of both cults are duped on the same level.


Evidently, I didn't succeed in getting my point across to you either. But, let me ask if you would value you, yourself, being described as a "piece of filth" and criticized as being "duped" and categorized with a pejorative label like "cult"?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:20 pm 
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wenglund wrote:
Polygamy Porter wrote:
Sure, just like the public criticism of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS by outsiders may viewed as "character slander and offensive" by FLDS who retain their testimony.

The difference between members of the Salt Lake City LDS cult and non/ex members is the Salt Lake City LDS only see Jeffs as the piece of filth he is. The rest of us see one in the same. IMO, members of both cults are duped on the same level.


Evidently, I didn't succeed in getting my point across to you either. But, let me ask if you would value you, yourself, being described as a "piece of filth" and criticized as being "duped" and categorized with a pejorative label like "cult"?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
We are talking about Joe Smith who is dead. Say what ever you like about me when I am dead I don't give a flying ratts arse.

However, while I am still alive, if I am a f'ck-up and do something stupid or irrational like believe that the ghost of a white indian appeared to a man, then by all means tell me straight up, "Hey Porter! You are a F'CK UP!"

Yes Wade, from the information I have gathered about both Joe Smith, I think he was a piece of filth and I believe you are a fool for believing in his tripe.

Mormons are comprised of the deceived and the deceivers. In my view, you appear to be more of a deceiver.


Last edited by Polygamy Porter on Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:21 pm 
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Wade, the problem is that on forums like MAD, critics are banned without warning, en masse, even if they haven't been active for two weeks or more. They aren't simply banned for destructive criticism, they are banned because MAD doesn't want too many critics on the board. They have said as much. They want to ensure that the critics are significantly outnumbered by the LDS members, and that the critics do not have the same opportunity to articulate their criticism as the LDS members have to articulate their apologetics.

Not only that, but on forums like MAD the LDS posters exhibit a standard of behavior which is invariably more destructive, more aggressive, more offensive, and decidedly less Christlike than the critics. Vicious personal attacks and hateful comments are made, and yet the moderators do not ban the LDS members. What happens is that if the critic objects to being treated in such a way they are ignored, or told that they deserve it, or told that LDS members feel under pressure from critics and need an outlet, or that the behaviour exhibited isn't that bad after all. If the critic continues to object to being treated like dirt, they are eventually banned themselves.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:33 pm 
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Polygamy Porter wrote:
We are talking about Joe Smith who is dead. Say what ever you like about me when I am dead I don't give a flying ratts arse.

However, while I am still alive, if I am a f'ck-up and do something stupid or irrational like believe that the ghost of a white indian appeared to a man, then by all means tell me straight up, "Hey Porter! You are a F'CK UP!"

Yes Wade, from the information I have gathered about both Joe Smith, I think he was a piece of filth and I believe you are a fool for believing in his tripe.


Actually, I am talking about you and what kinds of criticisms of you that you may value. Now, you say that you would like to be told straight up when you are being stupid and irrational and other such things. But, I am not sure you value such criticism since you have been given that kind of criticism by various Church members and others, but to no avail?

Why is that?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Last edited by wenglund on Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:39 pm 
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Fortigurn wrote:
Wade, the problem is that on forums like MAD, critics are banned without warning, en masse, even if they haven't been active for two weeks or more. They aren't simply banned for destructive criticism, they are banned because MAD doesn't want too many critics on the board. They have said as much. They want to ensure that the critics are significantly outnumbered by the LDS members, and that the critics do not have the same opportunity to articulate their criticism as the LDS members have to articulate their apologetics.

Not only that, but on forums like MAD the LDS posters exhibit a standard of behavior which is invariably more destructive, more aggressive, more offensive, and decidedly less Christlike than the critics. Vicious personal attacks and hateful comments are made, and yet the moderators do not ban the LDS members. What happens is that if the critic objects to being treated in such a way they are ignored, or told that they deserve it, or told that LDS members feel under pressure from critics and need an outlet, or that the behaviour exhibited isn't that bad after all. If the critic continues to object to being treated like dirt, they are eventually banned themselves.


Hi Fortigurn,

This isn't a discussion of why people have been banned, or what may or may not have happened at MA&D. Instead, it is a discussion of criticism--specifically, what kinds of criticisms are valued and workable with each of us, individually, and what kinds aren't, and how that compares and contrast with the kinds of criticism we each employ towards others.

If you have something to say on topic, it would be appreciated.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:52 pm 
Master Mahan

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wenglund wrote:
Polygamy Porter wrote:
wenglund wrote:
Seven wrote:
moksha wrote:
I have an aversion to mean-spirited personal criticism. I also do not like to see others slandered as well. Criticism that helps refine our understanding is welcomed, as is criticism that keeps us honest.


I agree.
I also do not like to see apologists/TBMs accuse critics of using disturbing behavior of Joseph, or church hisotry as an excuse or justification for losing their testimony. It's the reason they lost their testimony. This accusation is character slander and offensive. I have seen Why Me and Wade post comments like this here, and it's the general attitude of TBMs at MAD toward critics.


Can you understand how, in similar ways, the criticism of Joseph Smith and Church history by former members may be viewed as "character slander and offensive" by those who retain their testimony?

Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Sure, just like the public criticism of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS by outsiders may viewed as "character slander and offensive" by FLDS who retain their testimony.

The difference between members of the Salt Lake City LDS cult and non/ex members is the Salt Lake City LDS only see Jeffs as the piece of filth he is. The rest of us see one in the same. IMO, members of both cults are duped on the same level.


Evidently, I didn't succeed in getting my point across to you either. But, let me ask if you would value you, yourself, being described as a "piece of filth" and criticized as being "duped" and categorized with a pejorative label like "cult"?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


The reason your point is not coming across, Wade, is because you are conflating "the personal" with "entities." Nobody is calling YOU as "piece of filth" or "a cult." People sometimes say that about Joseph Smith or The Church, but YOU are not the Church, and thus criticism of the Church cannot and should not be misconstrued by you or anyone else as being "personal criticism." Once more: nobody is criticizing you personally. Unless you want to somehow claim that YOU are actually the Church, then your argument doesn't really make much sense.... Know what I mean?

Edited to add: Wade, I think you are going to have to explain how a criticism such as "The Church has been dishonest about itself in the past" can somehow be transformed into a personal criticism of Wade Englund.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:59 pm 
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wenglund wrote:
Polygamy Porter wrote:
We are talking about Joe Smith who is dead. Say what ever you like about me when I am dead I don't give a flying ratts arse.

However, while I am still alive, if I am a f'ck-up and do something stupid or irrational like believe that the ghost of a white indian appeared to a man, then by all means tell me straight up, "Hey Porter! You are a F'CK UP!"

Yes Wade, from the information I have gathered about both Joe Smith, I think he was a piece of filth and I believe you are a fool for believing in his tripe.


Actually, I am talking about you and what kinds of criticisms of you that you may value. Now, you say that you would like to be told straight up when you are being stupid and irrational and other such things. But, I am not sure you value such criticism since you have been given that kind of criticism by various Church members and others, but to no avail?

Why is that?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
Good hell Wade, you are babbling. I counted eight "you"s.

I fully understand that many members of the LDS Inc cult will never see the truth. That does not bother me, because those that I care about and love are now out, including my wife and all of my kids!

While I would like to get my inlaws out, it is not a priority.

by the way, last Friday at work I had an opportunity to share the truth with two non Mormon coworkers.

Both guys are black and I overheard them talking about Mitt. I told them that I am a former Mormon and could clear up ANY question they had.

One asked if it was true that blacks were looked down on and were told they would not get to see god, up until 1980 or something.

I spent a good 20 minutes going down every racist teaching from briggie to peterson to mckonkie right up to the 1978 date. I ended by showing them the sure sign of the nail handshake to give to the next set of pesky missionaries that bothered them.. "What is that?" "Has it a name?" ahh hahh ha hah good times!

Each night that you goto sleep, remember one thing Wade, Polygamy Porter and tens of thousands of other former Mormons are spreading the truth to the un garmented masses!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:18 pm 
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wenglund wrote:
This isn't a discussion of why people have been banned, or what may or may not have happened at MA&D.


Wade, I am addressing directly your comments here:

Quote:
I get the impression from various critics that LDS apologist can't handle much if any criticism against the Church. The critics point to various things (numerous bannings from websites like FAIR/MA&D, the lack of participation here by certain apologists, etc.) as evidence in support of this alleged aversion to criticism.

Previously, I have pointed out that there have long been, and still are, critics who are permitted to post on FAIR/MA&D, which then would suggest to the reasonably minded that there is at least some tolerance of criticism on the part of apologists.

[...]

I submit that it isn't that either party has a complete aversion to criticism, but rather their aversion is understandably towards certain types of criticism. Each party's aversion is to destructive criticism, not constructive criticism.


I have given evidence that the LDS apologists on MAD cannot handle much, if any, criticism against the church. I have given evidence that they are averse to all kinds of criticism, not merely 'destructive criticism', and that the very presence of critics on MAD disturbs them.

I do not believe that your case (that both parties only object to destructive criticism), can possibly be sustained in the face of the evidence.


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