Criticism

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Post by beastie »

1) The intent behind the criticisms are evidently progressive, edifying, and enriching. Since most of us are striving to become the very best people we can be, and we desire to be successful in a broad range of relationships and things, it would be logical to conclude that we would value the types of criticisms that will lend themselves to achieving those objectives. However, if the criticisms seems intent on tearing us down and/or limiting our progression, or if it strikes us as just whining and complaining about who and what we are, believe, or have done, then it is likely that we would be disinclined to accept them, and we may even be repelled by such criticism.


This is an inherently subjective evaluation. For an individual who is completely convinced of his/her own rightness in believing God told him/her that the church is true, no criticism that could lead others to seriously doubt that truthfulness is going to be viewed as “progressive, edifying, and enriching.” This is directly connected to my earlier comments about why dialogue between the true believer and the critic is inevitably going to be plagued with accusations of bad behavior on the part of the critic, even when the critic is doing his/her best to remain on topic and civil. If someone truly, truly believes the church is “true”, no matter what information may be uncovered, then it is going to be deemed anti-progressive, anti-edifying, anti-enriching, for example, to talk about Joseph Smith” polyandry when it clearly causes people to doubt – even if the information is factual. And we see this sensitivity time and again on the part of believers.

I was going to respond to each of your points, but really, each one is plagued by the same problem I just explained above.
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Post by beastie »

Wade,

Here is an excellent example of my point from the mirror thread you started on MAD. Charity's reply:

Anytime someone personally attacks Joseph Smith or any of the other prophets I have to go away for a while before I can decide if I want to respond or if I can keep my temper enough to respond. For instance, in the PBS thread running right now, the report calls Joseph Smith a "shaman." I think that is disgusting.
Those who charge that plural marriage was lust-driven are particulalry offensive. It is the personal attack factor that is so disturbing.

I try to remember that mocking is a serious offense before God and the person doing the mocking is in big trouble. That way I can temper the anger with pity.


Someone who finds it "disgusting" that the report called Joseph Smith a "shaman" is just too sensitive to take part in any conversations with a critic. Yet she can't stay away from doing so.

She reveals a lot about her character with her last statement: she finds comfort in remembering that the critic is going to be in big, big, trouble with God. I see this type of thinking in EVs I live around quite a bit. The way they seem to revel in talking about the suffering of the damned in hell is - well, creepy is the first word that comes to my mind. Disturbing. Sad.
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

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Post by wenglund »

Coggins7 wrote:The primary problem I see here is that, in some seven years debating critics of the Church on the Internet, except for a few exceptions, the critics come to the table in one of two affective states:

1. Flaming anger and bitterness toward the Church and, as an extension of this, toward anyone to dares defend it, even in the most circumspect and innocuous manner.

2. A much calmer and more rational demenor, but with a psychological pose of intellectual superioroty to anyone witless or gullible enought to have fallen for the Church's vacuous lies and transparantly idiotic doctrines. This most often manifests itself as the repeated claim about the psychological dynamics of a majority of LDS and LDS apologists that they, as a class, cannot take criticism, cannot stand up under the heat of serious debate, are, in general, intellectually weak and or/poorly educated as a percentage of the general population, and have thin skins related to their general insecurity they feel internally toward their beliefs.

It is as if few of these critics have ever heard of FARMS, or Hugh Nibley, or Truman Madson, or any other number of the competent and brilliant LDS thinkers that have been coming up to the plate for generations.

This has led me, for quite some time, to the conclusion that, in fact, most active critics of the church have an agenda that is, not to put too fine a point on it, to delegitimate the church in the eyes and others and destroy the committment of active menbers in it. There is a payoff here in a psychological and emotional sense, but the purpose is not so much to seriously debate differences of principle as it is to vent displaced psychological turmoil and unresolved life issues in a forum that very effectively transferrs ownershop of those life issues to an entity that, at least in fantasy, can absorb and stand as a scapgoat for all the displaced and reframed internal conflicts and negative self perceptions and feelings such as guilt, anger, self pity, shame, hopelesness, or negative self worth that can create a overarching, free floating need to lash out at the world, especially aspects of that world that seem to impinge upon the defenses we have created to insulate us from the painful processes of growth necessary to work through those very developmental tasks and challenges of life.

this is not true of all those who are critical of the church, of course. This is an overview of what I've encountered on the Web for almost a decade, and is meant to indicate the active, committed, vigorous anti-Mormons within whatever media, and espeicaily the exmos who are among the most intensely hostile to the Church.

I have for a very long, long time, percieved that much of what we see in this world is a manifestation of the diverting of psychological and emotional energy away from the productive negotiating of serious life issues and challenges into intensive amateur or professional criticism of an entity that, for whatever reason, stands in as a vicarious symbol for the real issues with which the person is struggling. I do not think this is a unique feature of anti-Mormonism either. Much of what we see in the modern political arena, as to cause movements, especially the more extreme, is at least in part, a manifestation of the same principle, as is what we many times see in our modern pop culture (for example, Marilyn Manson parading his own personal demons upon a public stages when he would more productively (at least from a non-economic point of view) be in therapy or in Church working through them in an intellectually and psycholgically meaningful way.

What think ye Wade?


Hi Loran,

You may very well be on to something there. However, as I intimated to Beastie, at least in terms of this thread, I prefer to keep it focused on the behavior (i.e. criticism), and whether the behavior as practiced here and on other LDS related discussion boards is functional and efficacious or not, rather than on whatever psychology may or may not be driving the behavior here and elsewhere.

From my own lengthy experience on the web, I have come to realize that very little that has transpires between critics and apologists that has ever amounted to much of anything of mutual value. More often than not, the exchanges end up being a colossal waste of time and effort, and too often they end up with either or both parties feeling hurt, misunderstood, frustrated, and so forth. In short, the way things have been approached over the years doesn't work.

I think that once we all begin to recognize that the prevailing approach doesn't work, the enterprise will either be abandoned for more productive endevours, or there may be an attempt to find a workable approach, and this in spite of whatever psychology my have driven the prevailing approach.

At least, that is my hope.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

beastie wrote:
1) The intent behind the criticisms are evidently progressive, edifying, and enriching. Since most of us are striving to become the very best people we can be, and we desire to be successful in a broad range of relationships and things, it would be logical to conclude that we would value the types of criticisms that will lend themselves to achieving those objectives. However, if the criticisms seems intent on tearing us down and/or limiting our progression, or if it strikes us as just whining and complaining about who and what we are, believe, or have done, then it is likely that we would be disinclined to accept them, and we may even be repelled by such criticism.


This is an inherently subjective evaluation. For an individual who is completely convinced of his/her own rightness in believing God told him/her that the church is true, no criticism that could lead others to seriously doubt that truthfulness is going to be viewed as “progressive, edifying, and enriching.” This is directly connected to my earlier comments about why dialogue between the true believer and the critic is inevitably going to be plagued with accusations of bad behavior on the part of the critic, even when the critic is doing his/her best to remain on topic and civil. If someone truly, truly believes the church is “true”, no matter what information may be uncovered, then it is going to be deemed anti-progressive, anti-edifying, anti-enriching, for example, to talk about Joseph Smith” polyandry when it clearly causes people to doubt – even if the information is factual. And we see this sensitivity time and again on the part of believers.

I was going to respond to each of your points, but really, each one is plagued by the same problem I just explained above.


To a point I agree. However, that subjectivity unavoidably exists regardless of who may be on the receiving end of the criticism. I don't see that as problematic, though. It just is...and we are better served to find functional ways of living with it.

But, I am not a cynical as you about the dialogue between critic and believers invariably being plagued with accusations of bad behavior. If the accusations are leveled by either side, I would submit that it was because one or more of the characteristics of constructive criticism I have listed were absent or violated to one degree or another.

Unless one's intent behind one's criticism is to cast doubt on what some may be convinced is true, I don't see strong conviction as necessarily a complete impediment to criticism of any or all sorts. Even people, such as yourself, with great conviction in certain things, can be open to constructive criticism regarding those conviction. Can't they? Aren't you?

Granted, if one's intent is solely to cast doubt on someone else's conviction of truth in that which they value and prefer as a means of progression, there may be limited, if any, success in realizing that intent. But, that is as it should be, and I would submit that such intents are ill-advised, and one would do well to avoid that kind of counterproductively motivated criticisms--if for no other reason than it just doesn't work to well. This, I believe to be the case regardless of whatever the conviction and chosen path of progression may be.

This is not to suggest that one is thereby prevented in any way from pursuading others, through criticism, from changing their convictions (either by way of strengthening their conviction or shifting it to another conviction). If the intent behind the criticism is to enhance the human condition and better enable people to progress, and as long as one is successful in conveying that intent (which is more likely to happen where the characteristics I listed are employed) and convince others that these things would be better realized through acceptance of the criticism, then I believe the criticism has at least some chance of being accepted, if not a good chance.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

beastie wrote:Wade,

Here is an excellent example of my point from the mirror thread you started on MAD. Charity's reply:

Anytime someone personally attacks Joseph Smith or any of the other prophets I have to go away for a while before I can decide if I want to respond or if I can keep my temper enough to respond. For instance, in the PBS thread running right now, the report calls Joseph Smith a "shaman." I think that is disgusting.
Those who charge that plural marriage was lust-driven are particulalry offensive. It is the personal attack factor that is so disturbing.

I try to remember that mocking is a serious offense before God and the person doing the mocking is in big trouble. That way I can temper the anger with pity.


Someone who finds it "disgusting" that the report called Joseph Smith a "shaman" is just too sensitive to take part in any conversations with a critic. Yet she can't stay away from doing so.

She reveals a lot about her character with her last statement: she finds comfort in remembering that the critic is going to be in big, big, trouble with God. I see this type of thinking in EVs I live around quite a bit. The way they seem to revel in talking about the suffering of the damned in hell is - well, creepy is the first word that comes to my mind. Disturbing. Sad.


I looked carefully through all of your criticism here of Charity, and I was unable find even a hint of the characteristics of constructive and effective criticism that I had listed earlier.

Could such wide-spread omissions ironically be suggestive of your own "sensitivity", and perhaps raise questions about whether you should take part in discussions with believers?

Could such omissions ironically reveal a lot about your character?

Could your harsh judgementalism be rightfuly considered as "creepy", "disturbing", and "sad"?

I will let you answer those questions for yourself. For my part, I am just posing those questions as something for you to think about. I greatly admire your sharp intellect and insightfulness, and I am somewhat aware of the tremendous good that you have long done for your family and friends and the children you have educated over the years. I believe you have a lot to offer even to believers--certianly things far more efficacious than your scathing rebuke of Charity. For what it is worth, I think you are a much better person than how you came across above. And, I yearn for you to assist all of us, and Charity in particular (if not also Juliann), in your own way, to bettering our lives.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by beastie »

Wade,

You have inadvertently demonstrated my entire point, as did Charity. Charity reacts to a nonbeliever calling Joseph Smith a shaman by labeling it "disgusting" and taking comfort in reminding herself that God will punish such mockers. You find nothing problematic in her behavior, and instead, fault the critic.

This is, in and of itself, an excellent demonstration of why conversations between true believers and critics are doomed in the manner I have already outlined. I am fully confident that you will never understand or appreciate my point, and that is also a demonstration of my point.
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

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Re: Criticism

Post by Analytics »

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-

Well, the type of criticism I like best is criticism that is hateful and baseless. For example, if I were to express my sincere thoughts on some aspect of the Mormon religion and Pahoran were to respond to me, his post would primarily be personal criticisms of me with perhaps an indirect reference to the actual issue, with the focus on how he thinks I’m a liar, deceiver, traitor, and overall despicable human being. Reading Pahoran is like reading certain genres of pornography: it’s disgusting and over-the-top and makes you feel dirty, but it’s somehow entertaining and addicting.

The criticism that is the hardest to take is by people who actually know me and who I know, trust, and respect. It is hard to take because I actually value their opinions and know that what they are telling me is probably true.

rcrocket

Post by rcrocket »

Criticism is only in the eye of the beholder.

I am the target of mocking vulgarity on this board, but should I attribute that vulgarity to all anti- and disaffected Mormons? I think that not reasonable or fair.

To make sweeping generalizations about persons willing to defend the Church, and to base such generalizations on Pahoran or others, is just too easy, but it is wrong.

For faithful members to make sweeping generalizations of critics of the Church is also simply wrong.

My observation is that the more educated a poster (either in literature or history), the less willing he or she is willing to engage in vitriol and vehemence. But, there are exceptional posters in that regard, and there are occasional exceptions within a poster's experience. Even the most levelheaded sometimes flare up.

But, the internet attracts morons on both sides of the fence. I define a moron as one who lacks a foundational background to post on the subject matter. For the life of me, I could not understand why Dr. Peterson spent so much time on the Boards interacting with people who really lacked a clue -- both faithful members and critics. [I don't see Vogel spending much time with the morons on my side of the fence.]

I have the greatest respect for posters who never let us see them sweat. Who can cite chapter and verse. Who can be witty and turn a phrase occasionally. Who can land an occasional jab calculated to bring out the moronity of an opponent. And, yes, who are literate. But, that is just me.

In His Name,
rcrocket

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Post by Rollo Tomasi »

rcrocket wrote:Criticism is only in the eye of the beholder.

I am the target of mocking vulgarity on this board, but should I attribute that vulgarity to all anti- and disaffected Mormons? I think that not reasonable or fair.

To make sweeping generalizations about persons willing to defend the Church, and to base such generalizations on Pahoran or others, is just too easy, but it is wrong.

For faithful members to make sweeping generalizations of critics of the Church is also simply wrong.

My observation is that the more educated a poster (either in literature or history), the less willing he or she is willing to engage in vitriol and vehemence. But, there are exceptional posters in that regard, and there are occasional exceptions within a poster's experience. Even the most levelheaded sometimes flare up.

But, the internet attracts morons on both sides of the fence. I define a moron as one who lacks a foundational background to post on the subject matter. For the life of me, I could not understand why Dr. Peterson spent so much time on the Boards interacting with people who really lacked a clue -- both faithful members and critics. [I don't see Vogel spending much time with the morons on my side of the fence.]

I have the greatest respect for posters who never let us see them sweat. Who can cite chapter and verse. Who can be witty and turn a phrase occasionally. Who can land an occasional jab calculated to bring out the moronity of an opponent. And, yes, who are literate. But, that is just me.

In His Name,
rcrocket

Bob, a very thoughtful post ... and one with which I agree.
"Moving beyond apologist persuasion, LDS polemicists furiously (and often fraudulently) attack any non-traditional view of Mormonism. They don't mince words -- they mince the truth."

-- Mike Quinn, writing of the FARMSboys, in "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," p. x (Rev. ed. 1998)

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Post by Trinity »

wenglund wrote:[
I looked carefully through all of your criticism here of Charity, and I was unable find even a hint of the characteristics of constructive and effective criticism that I had listed earlier.

Could such wide-spread omissions ironically be suggestive of your own "sensitivity", and perhaps raise questions about whether you should take part in discussions with believers?

Could such omissions ironically reveal a lot about your character?

Could your harsh judgementalism be rightfuly considered as "creepy", "disturbing", and "sad"?

I will let you answer those questions for yourself. For my part, I am just posing those questions as something for you to think about. I greatly admire your sharp intellect and insightfulness, and I am somewhat aware of the tremendous good that you have long done for your family and friends and the children you have educated over the years. I believe you have a lot to offer even to believers--certianly things far more efficacious than your scathing rebuke of Charity. For what it is worth, I think you are a much better person than how you came across above. And, I yearn for you to assist all of us, and Charity in particular (if not also Juliann), in your own way, to bettering our lives.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Charity appears to be an interesting case. She reminds me of literally hundreds of women I have met in the church. They are typically sheltered, function best with well defined and narrow life paths, are quite passionate, and sensitive. I think Charity is unique in that she is more educated than the women I just mentioned, so she can't stay away from the boards because it lights up the neurons in her brain; she literally craves the intellectual conversation but has difficulty emotionally handling the hits taken on her point of view. It is both logical and understanding that she defaults to the stance Beastie just mentioned. From what I have read of her, she has many traits that I can admire. But because of her level of education, I confess to cringing when she pops out of the intellectual portion of the discussion to go to her default position because I feel she is being intellectually dishonest in pushing her knowlege to its bursting seams and then dumping it all onto a shelf where she doesn't have to address or look at it. She does it to protect her testimony which houses her life, her life's ambitions, her life's motivations and experiences. That's a lot of investment.

I'll bet you $100 bucks that she is bored out of her mind in her Sunday meetings.

That's my .02 armchair psychology for the day, and I'm sure it is worth its value. ;)

There are a few apologists I have observed on the MAD board who clearly are there for a love of sparring. It has nothing to do with belief, but more of the desire to dance in the rings and pull off as many punches as they can, regardless of the subject matter at hand. They play by their own rules and are quite scrappy. Pahoran comes to mind. I am highly entertained when I read them.
"I think one of the great mysteries of the gospel is that anyone still believes it." Sethbag, MADB, Feb 22 2008

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Post by wenglund »

beastie wrote:Wade,

You have inadvertently demonstrated my entire point, as did Charity. Charity reacts to a nonbeliever calling Joseph Smith a shaman by labeling it "disgusting" and taking comfort in reminding herself that God will punish such mockers. You find nothing problematic in her behavior, and instead, fault the critic.

This is, in and of itself, an excellent demonstration of why conversations between true believers and critics are doomed in the manner I have already outlined. I am fully confident that you will never understand or appreciate my point, and that is also a demonstration of my point.


It appears that your mind is closed on the matter, so I don't see that there would be much value in discussing it with you further.

However, if your cemented position leads you to break off conversing with believers on boards such as this, then I, for one, will regret that (because I truly believe you do have a lot to offer), but I will also understand (given your current perception), and I will wish you all the best whereever your choices take you.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
Last edited by wenglund on Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Criticism

Post by wenglund »

Analytics 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-


Well, the type of criticism I like best is criticism that is hateful and baseless. For example, if I were to express my sincere thoughts on some aspect of the Mormon religion and Pahoran were to respond to me, his post would primarily be personal criticisms of me with perhaps an indirect reference to the actual issue, with the focus on how he thinks I’m a liar, deceiver, traitor, and overall despicable human being. Reading Pahoran is like reading certain genres of pornography: it’s disgusting and over-the-top and makes you feel dirty, but it’s somehow entertaining and addicting.

The criticism that is the hardest to take is by people who actually know me and who I know, trust, and respect. It is hard to take because I actually value their opinions and know that what they are telling me is probably true.


I note the irony of your turning this general discussion about criticism into an overly harsh personalized criticism of Pahoran. Very entertaining. ;-)

However, what you said helps draw an interesting distinction between what we may like (by way of entertainment), and what works and is valued.

I don't know about you, but I am inclinded to favor promoting the later rather than the former.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Re: Criticism

Post by Analytics »

wenglund wrote:
Analytics wrote:
wenglund wrote:...The criticism that is the hardest to take is by people who actually know me and who I know, trust, and respect. It is hard to take because I actually value their opinions and know that what they are telling me is probably true.


I note the irony of your turning this general discussion about criticism into an overly harsh personalized criticism of Pahoran. Very entertaining. ;-)

However, what you said helps draw an interesting distinction between what we may like (by way of entertainment), and what works and is valued.

I don't know about you, but I am inclinded to favor promoting the later rather than the former.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Just to be clear, I don’t know Pahoran IRL and I haven’t criticized Pahoran. What I have done is described his posting style, perhaps with a little hyperbole. The reason I used him as an example is because he usually makes gratuitous “criticisms” of the person he’s responding to.

The more subtle point I was making was that for a criticism to be effective and valued, it has to be from somebody who you know and trust. When the criticism comes from a bona fide trusted advisor, then in carries a lot more weight, will be a lot more effective, and will probably sting.

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Post by wenglund »

rcrocket wrote:Criticism is only in the eye of the beholder.

I am the target of mocking vulgarity on this board, but should I attribute that vulgarity to all anti- and disaffected Mormons? I think that not reasonable or fair.

To make sweeping generalizations about persons willing to defend the Church, and to base such generalizations on Pahoran or others, is just too easy, but it is wrong.

For faithful members to make sweeping generalizations of critics of the Church is also simply wrong.

My observation is that the more educated a poster (either in literature or history), the less willing he or she is willing to engage in vitriol and vehemence. But, there are exceptional posters in that regard, and there are occasional exceptions within a poster's experience. Even the most levelheaded sometimes flare up.

But, the internet attracts morons on both sides of the fence. I define a moron as one who lacks a foundational background to post on the subject matter. For the life of me, I could not understand why Dr. Peterson spent so much time on the Boards interacting with people who really lacked a clue -- both faithful members and critics. [I don't see Vogel spending much time with the morons on my side of the fence.]

I have the greatest respect for posters who never let us see them sweat. Who can cite chapter and verse. Who can be witty and turn a phrase occasionally. Who can land an occasional jab calculated to bring out the moronity of an opponent. And, yes, who are literate. But, that is just me.

In His Name, rcrocket


In short, to you, valued and effective criticsim consists of avoiding stereotyping (judging either side by the actions of a few) rising above vitriol and vehemence, a sufficient foundational background on the subjectmatter, wit and literatacy, and jabs that expose the moronity of one's opponent.

With the exception of your last point, I tend to agree.

I hesitate to agree with your last point, not just because of the pejorative connotation of the term "moron", or even the fact that "moronic" is in the eye of the beholder (from my own experience, people tend not to view themselves as "moronic", and too often those who go about calling others "moronic", may be the last people that others would figure to be in a position to rightly judge, and may well be ironically projecting), but because I view it as potentially more destructive than constructive for all parties concerned. Jabs are, by nature, intended to hurt and tear down, and I think such actions, while at times necessary, diminish the one throwing the jab, the one being jabbed, and those gathered around the fight who relish seeing the jabs. Granted, playful banter and jabs among friends and respected colleges can enhance relationships at times. But, I am not sure that is what we are talking about here. To me, I think it wise to assess criticisms by the realized and potential outcomes. If it is calculated to genuinely better one or all parties, then great. If it mearly hurts and entertains, then I wonder if it is really worth it. Certainly, if I would not appreciate being on the receiving end of such jabs, then I ought not be intentionally throwing them or relishing in them.

But, as you say, that just may be me.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Mister Scratch »

wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:I am totally inclined to accept the criticism! I am happy to hear it out, and listen. However, the "criticism" is not true. I sincerely doubt that you will be able to produce any evidence that I have "been dishonest about [my] past."


What I mean by "accept the criticism" is: the criticism is deeming valid, inculcated, and then whatever changes may be inferred in the criticism are thereafter implemented. So, while you may be open to listening to the criticism as stated, you evidently don't accept it, but at the very least you would react, understandably, by emphatically denying the truth of the criticism, and seriously questioning whether there is any evidence that can be produced in support of the criticism. In other words, the criticism, as stated, was not valued or workable with you.


Incorrect. It is "workable"---meaning that it is up to *you* to do the word of supplying evidence.

The same, then, would be true for the example you presented to me--at least in the minds of faithful members who don't believe the Church has lied about its past. Simply leveling the charge as you did, would not be valued or workable with them. Can you now see and understand that?


No, since in our prior discussions on this topic I presented you with a panoply of evidence which simply frustrated you, and caused you to try and re-write the dictionary.

Anyways, I think there are still two big holes in your argument, Wade, and I for one would be very interested in seeing them addressed.

1. You are still conflating "personal criticism" with "institutional criticism," and you have not yet explained why this is valid. I.e., why do you and other hardcore TBMs consider criticism of Joseph Smith or the Church to be "personal"? Why are you incapable of separating yourself from the institution? Further, is this tacit admission on your part that virtually your entire identity is determined by the Church?

2. I doubt that you can provide a single example of TBMs or apologists who have taken your schematic to heart. You want to pin all of this on critics, but does this work both ways? Do the folks on your side lead by example?

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Re: Criticism

Post by wenglund »

Analytics wrote: The more subtle point I was making was that for a criticism to be effective and valued, it has to be from somebody who you know and trust. When the criticism comes from a bona fide trusted advisor, then in carries a lot more weight, will be a lot more effective, and will probably sting.


I agree in part.

However, I have, at times, learned and grown through constructive criticisms from relative strangers with whom I had yet to develop much in the way of trust, though I tend to be somewhat trusting of people from the outset.

Perhaps like you, I count the "sting" as a good thing--like a cattle prod to get my bull head to move in the right direction. ;-)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Mister Scratch »

Rollo Tomasi wrote:
rcrocket wrote:Criticism is only in the eye of the beholder.

I am the target of mocking vulgarity on this board, but should I attribute that vulgarity to all anti- and disaffected Mormons? I think that not reasonable or fair.

To make sweeping generalizations about persons willing to defend the Church, and to base such generalizations on Pahoran or others, is just too easy, but it is wrong.

For faithful members to make sweeping generalizations of critics of the Church is also simply wrong.

My observation is that the more educated a poster (either in literature or history), the less willing he or she is willing to engage in vitriol and vehemence. But, there are exceptional posters in that regard, and there are occasional exceptions within a poster's experience. Even the most levelheaded sometimes flare up.

But, the internet attracts morons on both sides of the fence. I define a moron as one who lacks a foundational background to post on the subject matter. For the life of me, I could not understand why Dr. Peterson spent so much time on the Boards interacting with people who really lacked a clue -- both faithful members and critics. [I don't see Vogel spending much time with the morons on my side of the fence.]

I have the greatest respect for posters who never let us see them sweat. Who can cite chapter and verse. Who can be witty and turn a phrase occasionally. Who can land an occasional jab calculated to bring out the moronity of an opponent. And, yes, who are literate. But, that is just me.

In His Name,
rcrocket

Bob, a very thoughtful post ... and one with which I agree.


I agree. This might be your all-time greatest post, Bob!

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wenglund
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Post by wenglund »

Mister Scratch wrote:
wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:I am totally inclined to accept the criticism! I am happy to hear it out, and listen. However, the "criticism" is not true. I sincerely doubt that you will be able to produce any evidence that I have "been dishonest about [my] past."


What I mean by "accept the criticism" is: the criticism is deeming valid, inculcated, and then whatever changes may be inferred in the criticism are thereafter implemented. So, while you may be open to listening to the criticism as stated, you evidently don't accept it, but at the very least you would react, understandably, by emphatically denying the truth of the criticism, and seriously questioning whether there is any evidence that can be produced in support of the criticism. In other words, the criticism, as stated, was not valued or workable with you.


Incorrect. It is "workable"---meaning that it is up to *you* to do the word of supplying evidence.


Perhaps in your case I should have bolded the critical qualifying phrase: "as stated", so that you wouldn't have incorrectly assumed that I was incorrect. Had I done so, then you may have correctly understood my statement to mean that the criticism, as is, didn't work, precisely because, at the very least, it lacked the requisite evidence needed to work for you. My apologies.

The same, then, would be true for the example you presented to me--at least in the minds of faithful members who don't believe the Church has lied about its past. Simply leveling the charge as you did, would not be valued or workable with them. Can you now see and understand that?


No, since in our prior discussions on this topic I presented you with a panoply of evidence which simply frustrated you, and caused you to try and re-write the dictionary.


But, my comment didn't have in mind our prior discussion (however you may wish to characterize it in your own mind). It had only to do with the brief and unsubstantiated statement you made on this thread.

Now, if you wish to add our prior discussion to the mix (at least the relevant portions), then I am fine with that. I will then take a look at the nature of your "evidence", and attempt to relate that in similar ways to your personal past, with the intent of testing whether such criticism is valued or effective or not. (I bolded this last statement so that you don't somehow forget what is the subject of this thread.)

Anyways, I think there are still two big holes in your argument, Wade, and I for one would be very interested in seeing them addressed.

1. You are still conflating "personal criticism" with "institutional criticism," and you have not yet explained why this is valid. I.e., why do you and other hardcore TBMs consider criticism of Joseph Smith or the Church to be "personal"? Why are you incapable of separating yourself from the institution? Further, is this tacit admission on your part that virtually your entire identity is determined by the Church?


Again, as per this thread, and the "argument" of this thread, I am not conflating "personal criticism" with "institutional criticism." Rather, I have been suggesting that there are general characteristics of valued and effectual criticism that apply in either case, and as such, one may understand what may work in terms of the one case (i,e, "institutional criticism"), by understanding what works in the other case (i.e. "personal criticism"). (I bolded this last statement so that you wouldn't mis it twice and go on re-asserting this irrelevant straw man). Did you get it that time?

2. I doubt that you can provide a single example of TBMs or apologists who have taken your schematic to heart. You want to pin all of this on critics, but does this work both ways? Do the folks on your side lead by example?


As a TBM and former apologist, myself, I stand as a single example that negates your doubt. And, I have gone one step further, and openned a thread at MA&D regarding this matter, and there have already been statements made by TBM's and apologist that echo, if not directly confirm, various points of my so-called schematic. Accounts from both TBM's and critics are beginning to amass regarding instances of where people from both sides have lead by example.

Clearly, nothing I have said on this thread could reasonably be interpreted to suggest that I am pinning this all on the critics. In fact, I have made explicit statements to the contrary here (do I need to go back and bold them as well for your benefit?). But, the thread I started at MA&D, and some of my comments there, should soon put the your concern entirely to rest (assuming that is possible).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Mister Scratch »

wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:I am totally inclined to accept the criticism! I am happy to hear it out, and listen. However, the "criticism" is not true. I sincerely doubt that you will be able to produce any evidence that I have "been dishonest about [my] past."


What I mean by "accept the criticism" is: the criticism is deeming valid, inculcated, and then whatever changes may be inferred in the criticism are thereafter implemented. So, while you may be open to listening to the criticism as stated, you evidently don't accept it, but at the very least you would react, understandably, by emphatically denying the truth of the criticism, and seriously questioning whether there is any evidence that can be produced in support of the criticism. In other words, the criticism, as stated, was not valued or workable with you.


Incorrect. It is "workable"---meaning that it is up to *you* to do the word of supplying evidence.


Perhaps in your case I should have bolded the critical qualifying phrase: "as stated", so that you wouldn't have incorrectly assumed that I was incorrect. Had I done so, then you may have correctly understood my statement to mean that the criticism, as is, didn't work, precisely because, at the very least, it lacked the requisite evidence needed to work for you. My apologies.


Lol... Wade, come on now. It is very silly indeed to think that mere one-sentence phrases constitute legitimate and serious criticism. I seriously doubt that *any* one-liner critiques are going to be "workable" as per your schematics. More over, I doubt any criticism "lacking the requisite evidence" is going to work very well either!

The same, then, would be true for the example you presented to me--at least in the minds of faithful members who don't believe the Church has lied about its past. Simply leveling the charge as you did, would not be valued or workable with them. Can you now see and understand that?


No, since in our prior discussions on this topic I presented you with a panoply of evidence which simply frustrated you, and caused you to try and re-write the dictionary.


But, my comment didn't have in mind our prior discussion (however you may wish to characterize it in your own mind). It had only to do with the brief and unsubstantiated statement you made on this thread.


Very well. Now that we have that cleared up, we can proceed.

Now, if you wish to add our prior discussion to the mix (at least the relevant portions), then I am fine with that.



Excellent.

I will then take a look at the nature of your "evidence", and attempt to relate that in similar ways to your personal past, with the intent of testing whether such criticism is valued or effective or not. (I bolded this last statement so that you don't somehow forget what is the subject of this thread.)


Good. Bring it on.

Anyways, I think there are still two big holes in your argument, Wade, and I for one would be very interested in seeing them addressed.

1. You are still conflating "personal criticism" with "institutional criticism," and you have not yet explained why this is valid. I.e., why do you and other hardcore TBMs consider criticism of Joseph Smith or the Church to be "personal"? Why are you incapable of separating yourself from the institution? Further, is this tacit admission on your part that virtually your entire identity is determined by the Church?


Again, as per this thread, and the "argument" of this thread, I am not conflating "personal criticism" with "institutional criticism." Rather, I have been suggesting that there are general characteristics of valued and effectual criticism that apply in either case, and as such, one may understand what may work in terms of the one case (i,e, "institutional criticism"), by understanding what works in the other case (i.e. "personal criticism"). (I bolded this last statement so that you wouldn't mis it twice and go on re-asserting this irrelevant straw man). Did you get it that time?


Yes, I get it: you are conflating the two. Your claim that there are "general characteristics of valued and effectual criticism" assumes that critiques of institutions and persons can be the same (more or less). What ground do you think you will lose by admitting this? I don't know why you think I am crafting a straw man, Wade. Do you not want people to say that "virtually your entire identity is determined by the Church"?

2. I doubt that you can provide a single example of TBMs or apologists who have taken your schematic to heart. You want to pin all of this on critics, but does this work both ways? Do the folks on your side lead by example?


As a TBM and former apologist, myself, I stand as a single example that negates your doubt.


Where, Wade? Where have you ever acknowledged and accepted a single criticism of the Church?

And, I have gone one step further, and openned a thread at MA&D regarding this matter, and there have already been statements made by TBM's and apologist that echo, if not directly confirm, various points of my so-called schematic. Accounts from both TBM's and critics are beginning to amass regarding instances of where people from both sides have lead by example.


No, I am asking for a very specific kind of example: When has a hardcored TBM such as yourself ever acknowledged and accepted a single criticism of the Church?

Clearly, nothing I have said on this thread could reasonably be interpreted to suggest that I am pinning this all on the critics. In fact, I have made explicit statements to the contrary here (do I need to go back and bold them as well for your benefit?).


No, but you do need to provide specific examples. You often seem hesitant to do that, which always makes me think you are trying to pull a fast one.... ; )

But, the thread I started at MA&D, and some of my comments there, should soon put the your concern entirely to rest (assuming that is possible).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


I haven't seen any comments over there that supply the sort of evidence I am asking for.

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wenglund
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Post by wenglund »

Mister Scratch wrote: Lol... Wade, come on now. It is very silly indeed to think that mere one-sentence phrases constitute legitimate and serious criticism. I seriously doubt that *any* one-liner critiques are going to be "workable" as per your schematics. More over, I doubt any criticism "lacking the requisite evidence" is going to work very well either!


Yet, a "mere one-sentence phrase" is all you offered by way of an example of criticism on this thread. Silly, indeed!

I will then take a look at the nature of your "evidence", and attempt to relate that in similar ways to your personal past, with the intent of testing whether such criticism is valued or effective or not. (I bolded this last statement so that you don't somehow forget what is the subject of this thread.)


Good. Bring it on.


Umm...first things first. You need to first bring on your evidence. If you wish to research our past discussions and post the relevant items here, I am fine with that.

Please keep in mind, though, that the purpose in doing this on this thread, is not to actually argue the points of whether you or the Church have lied about your respective pasts, but by way of providing specific examples to illustrate whether these kinds of criticisms are valued and effective or not.

Again, as per this thread, and the "argument" of this thread, I am not conflating "personal criticism" with "institutional criticism." Rather, I have been suggesting that there are general characteristics of valued and effectual criticism that apply in either case, and as such, one may understand what may work in terms of the one case (i,e, "institutional criticism"), by understanding what works in the other case (i.e. "personal criticism"). (I bolded this last statement so that you wouldn't mis it twice and go on re-asserting this irrelevant straw man). Did you get it that time?


Yes, I get it: you are conflating the two. Your claim that there are "general characteristics of valued and effectual criticism" assumes that critiques of institutions and persons can be the same (more or less). What ground do you think you will lose by admitting this? I don't know why you think I am crafting a straw man, Wade. Do you not want people to say that "virtually your entire identity is determined by the Church"?


I have no interest in pursuing this "yes it is....no it isn't...yes it is" discussion, and so I will just leave it at that.

2. I doubt that you can provide a single example of TBMs or apologists who have taken your schematic to heart. You want to pin all of this on critics, but does this work both ways? Do the folks on your side lead by example?


As a TBM and former apologist, myself, I stand as a single example that negates your doubt.


Where, Wade? Where have you ever acknowledged and accepted a single criticism of the Church?

And, I have gone one step further, and openned a thread at MA&D regarding this matter, and there have already been statements made by TBM's and apologist that echo, if not directly confirm, various points of my so-called schematic. Accounts from both TBM's and critics are beginning to amass regarding instances of where people from both sides have lead by example.


No, I am asking for a very specific kind of example: When has a hardcored TBM such as yourself ever acknowledged and accepted a single criticism of the Church?

Clearly, nothing I have said on this thread could reasonably be interpreted to suggest that I am pinning this all on the critics. In fact, I have made explicit statements to the contrary here (do I need to go back and bold them as well for your benefit?).


No, but you do need to provide specific examples. You often seem hesitant to do that, which always makes me think you are trying to pull a fast one.... ; )

But, the thread I started at MA&D, and some of my comments there, should soon put the your concern entirely to rest (assuming that is possible).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


I haven't seen any comments over there that supply the sort of evidence I am asking for.


I also see no value in pursuing a discussion where clear evidence to me is no evidence to you, and I will just leave it at that as well.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Lucretia MacEvil
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Post by Lucretia MacEvil »

Wade, maybe we can take a little shortcut ... is there any conceivable criticism of the church that would be acceptable to you, and which you wouldn't take personally? Please be specific. Thanks.

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