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?
No, this is something I don't understand. Can't you retain a testimony and still be honest about ethical behavior? If you believe leaders in the church are fallible, then why would this be offensive? Joseph Smith is not Jesus Christ. I think some have elevated him to such a level, that it's like taking the Lord's name in vain if you utter one criticism of the man.
I think you unintentionally illustrate why certain criticism are ineffectual. If either side is only capable of seeing and respecting one point of view, there is little chance that the criticism in either direction will be valued by those towards whom the criticism is directed. Instead, each party may at times view the other party's criticism as "character slander and offensive", and not be able to understand why the other party would view their criticism in that way.
Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?
I don't understand why you equate personal criticism of critics to criticisms of the church. How are they the same?
Are you Joseph Smith?
I am not equating the two. I am simply suggesting that there are efficacious and effectual ways to criticize in general, just as there un-efficacious and ineffectual ways of doing the same. And, by looking at what works for each of us when we are personally criticized, that may help vet what may work when criticizing other people and/or entities that those people may belong to.
Can we talk about Joseph and Fanny Alger without a critic being accused of trying to slander the Prophet to justify their loss of faith?
That depends on a number of factors that have yet to be explicated and considered (which is precisely what my questions are intentionally designed to do).
This is the type of criticism that I see frequently from apologists instead of dealing with the topic.
I would value an apologist pointing out flaws in the critical interpretation of history. Correcting statements that may have been taken out of context by a critic is something I value. I see no value in making personal attacks on another poster's character.
Since each person's posts are a matter of historical record, would you object to poster's being subjected to the same rules of criticism as other historical accounts and historical figures, and vice versa? Would you object to "personal attacks" on anyone's character via historical records? In other words, if you don't wish to have your personal character criticized, then wouldn't consistency suggest that you not criticize the character of others (including historical figures)?
I would value examining the reasons why critics feel bothered by * and why apologists are not.
That may be a topic for another thread. But, I suspect that the answer is simply: the apologist have a different point of view than that of the critics.
Thanks, -Wade Englund-