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 Post subject: Bushman and Givens Interview
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:59 am 
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I came across a recent interview with Givens and Bushman at the link below. The interview is concerned generally with their work together at “The Summer Seminars” in “Mormon Studies,” hosted each summer on the BYU campus. I recommend the entire interview (in two parts).

Some of the things that stuck out after a cursory one-time reading, I have posted here with just a few comments of my own.

First, Bushman was clear to point out that the seminars are not funded by the BYU.

Quote:
Rosebud: The Summer Seminars are funded by outside money. BYU provides space, use of the library, and many valuable amenities but does not pay any of the direct expenses. Right now we are going from year to year, with sufficient funds for 2007. Beyond that it is impossible to predict.


Second, Bushman unabashedly admitted that BYU and its Maxwell Institute, specifically, is limited in the role it can play in Mormon Studies. He further expresses his hope for a division of labor to rectify the limitations placed on the Institute. Through these admitted limitations, FARMS and FAIR are not as effective as they could be.

Quote:
Rosebud: Ambitious though the Maxwell Institute may be, it will be constrained by the BYU’s situation. It is after all a branch of the official church. A division of labor may develop where BYU scholars prepare materials for Church audiences, and LDS scholars in the diaspora engage in dialogue with the larger world.



Quote:
Rosebud: The work of the great apologetic organizations, FARMS and FAIR, is less effective because they only give one side of the picture. Looking through their eyes, you don’t see the debates as a fair-minded outsider would coming to the subject.



Third, Givens acknowledges that work coming out of the BYU on Mormon Studies is viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism by many of those outside the University.

Quote:
TG: The disadvantage is that anything coming out of BYU on the subject of Mormonism will continue to be viewed with suspicion by large numbers in the academy who think that “faithful scholarship” is an oxymoron. So I think BYU will continue to play a tremendously important role through individual efforts of devoted scholars, and institutionally through the Maxwell Institute and through organizations like the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities that straddle both realms.


Fourth, they are unhappy with the dissension within the Mormon Studies community, itself, that tends to non-productively label various historians.

Quote:
TG: As for BYU and BYU Studies, I think in an environment where dissident and alternate voices proliferate in very formal settings, there has been a tendency for many participants in the dialogue to define themselves against the “other,” and this has resulted in more polarization than I would like to see. Recent efforts of some to organize Mormon Studies around facile categories like “faithful scholars” and “New Mormon Historians” and the like aggravate rather than ameliorate this problem. Mormon intellectual culture is not a two party system.


Fifth, the Church archives are open to Mormon and “anti-Mormon” scholars alike, as long as they are serious scholars.

Quote:
Rosebud: The Archives are now quite open to serious scholars. Even the historians that we label as anti-Mormon work there. There is probably a realization that little is gained by hiding historical materials.


Sixth, Bushman has taken lots of “hits” questioning his objectivity in authoring Rough Stone Rolling.

Quote:
Rosebud: My confession that I am a Mormon does, I think, raise doubts about my objectivity among some readers. The same book written by a non-Mormon would not evoke the same degree of criticism. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off not to show my colors, but that is what I do. The criticism is not really a detriment. I think it is better for me to face people’s actual objections to a Mormon writing on his own culture than to skirt the issues. Actually other scholars are fascinated by my situation. They love to hear me explain myself and are usually sympathetic. My aim when criticized is not to lose my composure. Rule one: never cry in public.


Quote:
Rosebud: Serious scholarship in the sense of being taken seriously in the larger world of historians is very much a matter of style. You have to be rigorous, of course, and know the sources, but mainly you must know the intellectual world well enough to speak to it. If you are totally immersed in the Mormon world, it is difficult to hear how you sound when you talk about Mormonism. (The reverse is true too.) That is why so much of our serious scholarship comes from the diaspora. Scholars working in Utah are at a serious disadvantage, although terrific work does come from some of them.


Finally, seventh and last, there seems to be a tacit admission that the Church has not provided an objective accounting of its history and that books are now coming out to rectify that problem.

Quote:
TG: For those weaned on church manuals, there will be the inevitable surprises. Joseph used a peep stone and a hat to translate most of the Book of Mormon. Mormons counterattacked the settlers in Missouri. Joseph Smith got in fist fight with his brother, and plurally married other men’s wives. Its important to remember that all history is selective, and that our construction of people like Joseph Smith into infallible prophets and purer-than-driven-snow Saints was something he expressly repudiated. We need to be a little more like the Catholics, who elevate this principle into a doctrine: the truth of a church, the legitimacy of its authority, and the efficacy of its ordinances, do not rise or fall with the personal perfection of any individual.


Quote:
Rosebud: One purpose of Rough Stone Rolling is to make information about Joseph Smith that is not generally known common knowledge. Church classes cannot deal with all the issues arising from the historical record. People have to seek out these things on their own.


For the full interview, go here:
[url]
http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/03/ ... n-part-ii/[/url]

_________________
I detest my loose style and my libertine sentiments. I thank God, who has removed from my eyes the veil...
Adrian Beverland


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 Post subject: Re: Bushman and Givens Interview
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:41 am 
God

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:35 pm
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Well. What a surprise: human apologists.

gramps wrote:
I came across a recent interview with Givens and Bushman at the link below. The interview is concerned generally with their work together at “The Summer Seminars” in “Mormon Studies,” hosted each summer on the BYU campus. I recommend the entire interview (in two parts).


Thanks, Gramps.

Quote:
First, Bushman was clear to point out that the seminars are not funded by the BYU.

Quote:
Rosebud: The Summer Seminars are funded by outside money. BYU provides space, use of the library, and many valuable amenities but does not pay any of the direct expenses. Right now we are going from year to year, with sufficient funds for 2007. Beyond that it is impossible to predict.


Why is this a big deal? And what is the source of the outside money?

Quote:
Second, Bushman unabashedly admitted that BYU and its Maxwell Institute, specifically, is limited in the role it can play in Mormon Studies. He further expresses his hope for a division of labor to rectify the limitations placed on the Institute. Through these admitted limitations, FARMS and FAIR are not as effective as they could be.

Quote:
Rosebud: Ambitious though the Maxwell Institute may be, it will be constrained by the BYU’s situation. It is after all a branch of the official church. A division of labor may develop where BYU scholars prepare materials for Church audiences, and LDS scholars in the diaspora engage in dialogue with the larger world.


the Maxwell Institute is really FARMS, right? So he's saying that the official church/FARMS isn't the best source of information on church history? (his use of the word, diaspora, throws me. How and why is he connecting the LDS church to the diaspora {the dispersal of the Jews throughout the world after the destruction of the temple}?)

Quote:
Quote:
Rosebud: The work of the great apologetic organizations, FARMS and FAIR, is less effective because they only give one side of the picture. Looking through their eyes, you don’t see the debates as a fair-minded outsider would coming to the subject.


Somebody put this up in lights! Stitch this in a sampler! Write it on the sky! Because I'm not sure the FARMS/FAIR folk get it.

Quote:
Third, Givens acknowledges that work coming out of the BYU on Mormon Studies is viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism by many of those outside the University.

Quote:
TG: The disadvantage is that anything coming out of BYU on the subject of Mormonism will continue to be viewed with suspicion by large numbers in the academy who think that “faithful scholarship” is an oxymoron. So I think BYU will continue to play a tremendously important role through individual efforts of devoted scholars, and institutionally through the Maxwell Institute and through organizations like the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities that straddle both realms.


I like him already. Except that his last sentence is incorrect. BYU will continue to play a minor role as long as church leaders require faithful history only.

Quote:
Fourth, they are unhappy with the dissension within the Mormon Studies community, itself, that tends to non-productively label various historians.

Quote:
TG: As for BYU and BYU Studies, I think in an environment where dissident and alternate voices proliferate in very formal settings, there has been a tendency for many participants in the dialogue to define themselves against the “other,” and this has resulted in more polarization than I would like to see. Recent efforts of some to organize Mormon Studies around facile categories like “faithful scholars” and “New Mormon Historians” and the like aggravate rather than ameliorate this problem. Mormon intellectual culture is not a two party system.


Since when is BYU an environment where dissident and alternate voices proliferate? He's definitely right about his last sentence, unfortunately.

Quote:
Fifth, the Church archives are open to Mormon and “anti-Mormon” scholars alike, as long as they are serious scholars.

Quote:
Rosebud: The Archives are now quite open to serious scholars. Even the historians that we label as anti-Mormon work there. There is probably a realization that little is gained by hiding historical materials.


And "serious" scholars are defined as those with temple recommends? If Runtu is correct, this statement is misleading.

Quote:
Sixth, Bushman has taken lots of “hits” questioning his objectivity in authoring Rough Stone Rolling.

Quote:
Rosebud: My confession that I am a Mormon does, I think, raise doubts about my objectivity among some readers. The same book written by a non-Mormon would not evoke the same degree of criticism. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off not to show my colors, but that is what I do. The criticism is not really a detriment. I think it is better for me to face people’s actual objections to a Mormon writing on his own culture than to skirt the issues. Actually other scholars are fascinated by my situation. They love to hear me explain myself and are usually sympathetic. My aim when criticized is not to lose my composure. Rule one: never cry in public.


Unless he declared his allegiance, the church would not have been happy.

Quote:
Quote:
Rosebud: Serious scholarship in the sense of being taken seriously in the larger world of historians is very much a matter of style. You have to be rigorous, of course, and know the sources, but mainly you must know the intellectual world well enough to speak to it. If you are totally immersed in the Mormon world, it is difficult to hear how you sound when you talk about Mormonism. (The reverse is true too.) That is why so much of our serious scholarship comes from the diaspora. Scholars working in Utah are at a serious disadvantage, although terrific work does come from some of them.


There's that word again. To what is he referring? I thought the disapora was when the Jews were dispersed throughout the world following the destruction of the temple. What does this have to do with the Jews?

Quote:
Finally, seventh and last, there seems to be a tacit admission that the Church has not provided an objective accounting of its history and that books are now coming out to rectify that problem.

Quote:
TG: For those weaned on church manuals, there will be the inevitable surprises. Joseph used a peep stone and a hat to translate most of the Book of Mormon. Mormons counterattacked the settlers in Missouri. Joseph Smith got in fist fight with his brother, and plurally married other men’s wives. Its important to remember that all history is selective, and that our construction of people like Joseph Smith into infallible prophets and purer-than-driven-snow Saints was something he expressly repudiated. We need to be a little more like the Catholics, who elevate this principle into a doctrine: the truth of a church, the legitimacy of its authority, and the efficacy of its ordinances, do not rise or fall with the personal perfection of any individual.


Quote:
Rosebud: One purpose of Rough Stone Rolling is to make information about Joseph Smith that is not generally known common knowledge. Church classes cannot deal with all the issues arising from the historical record. People have to seek out these things on their own.


Church classes can deal with these issues, and they should deal with them starting with the missionary discussions (it takes a year of study to be allowed to join the Catholic church. Why should God's own true church take only a few weeks, if that?) and throughout Primary, Seminary, Sunday School, etc. The church should not shy away from reality, and certainly should kick the "faithful history" garbage to the curb.

Quote:
For the full interview, go here:
[url]
http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/03/ ... n-part-ii/[/url]


Thanks again, gramps.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushman and Givens Interview
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:00 pm 
God
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:43 am
Posts: 2485
Location: In an Utrecht coffeehouse with my lady friend
harmony wrote:
Well. What a surprise: human apologists.

gramps wrote:
I came across a recent interview with Givens and Bushman at the link below. The interview is concerned generally with their work together at “The Summer Seminars” in “Mormon Studies,” hosted each summer on the BYU campus. I recommend the entire interview (in two parts).


Thanks, Gramps. Gramps: You are very welcome, my friend. I hope you enjoyed it.

Quote:
First, Bushman was clear to point out that the seminars are not funded by the BYU.

Quote:
Rosebud: The Summer Seminars are funded by outside money. BYU provides space, use of the library, and many valuable amenities but does not pay any of the direct expenses. Right now we are going from year to year, with sufficient funds for 2007. Beyond that it is impossible to predict.


Why is this a big deal? And what is the source of the outside money? Gramps: Good questions. What is the source? I would love to know who puts up the money for these summer seminars. And why on earth wouldn't it be part of the BYU curriculum, unless they (BYU) have to distance themselves from this kind of objective delving into the history books?

Quote:
Second, Bushman unabashedly admitted that BYU and its Maxwell Institute, specifically, is limited in the role it can play in Mormon Studies. He further expresses his hope for a division of labor to rectify the limitations placed on the Institute. Through these admitted limitations, FARMS and FAIR are not as effective as they could be.

Quote:
Rosebud: Ambitious though the Maxwell Institute may be, it will be constrained by the BYU’s situation. It is after all a branch of the official church. A division of labor may develop where BYU scholars prepare materials for Church audiences, and LDS scholars in the diaspora engage in dialogue with the larger world.


the Maxwell Institute is really FARMS, right? Gramps: I thought so. So he's saying that the official church/FARMS isn't the best source of information on church history? Gramps: Exactly! (his use of the word, diaspora, throws me. How and why is he connecting the LDS church to the diaspora {the dispersal of the Jews throughout the world after the destruction of the temple}?) Gramps: Yeah, I think he is talking about the scholars (Mormon) who are outside the control of the BYU, i.e. the Church.

Quote:
Quote:
Rosebud: The work of the great apologetic organizations, FARMS and FAIR, is less effective because they only give one side of the picture. Looking through their eyes, you don’t see the debates as a fair-minded outsider would coming to the subject.


Somebody put this up in lights! Stitch this in a sampler! Write it on the sky! Because I'm not sure the FARMS/FAIR folk get it. Gramps: I can't imagine DCP, et. al. are going to like that statement. Did he really say that? It cracks me up. No, really. FARMS one-sided. It can't be for real.

Quote:
Third, Givens acknowledges that work coming out of the BYU on Mormon Studies is viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism by many of those outside the University.

Quote:
TG: The disadvantage is that anything coming out of BYU on the subject of Mormonism will continue to be viewed with suspicion by large numbers in the academy who think that “faithful scholarship” is an oxymoron. So I think BYU will continue to play a tremendously important role through individual efforts of devoted scholars, and institutionally through the Maxwell Institute and through organizations like the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities that straddle both realms.


I like him already. Except that his last sentence is incorrect. BYU will continue to play a minor role as long as church leaders require faithful history only. Gramps: You are right. BYU will play an important role because they have all the documents, and a few, but hampered, scholars worth their salt.

Quote:
Fourth, they are unhappy with the dissension within the Mormon Studies community, itself, that tends to non-productively label various historians.

Quote:
TG: As for BYU and BYU Studies, I think in an environment where dissident and alternate voices proliferate in very formal settings, there has been a tendency for many participants in the dialogue to define themselves against the “other,” and this has resulted in more polarization than I would like to see. Recent efforts of some to organize Mormon Studies around facile categories like “faithful scholars” and “New Mormon Historians” and the like aggravate rather than ameliorate this problem. Mormon intellectual culture is not a two party system.


Since when is BYU an environment where dissident and alternate voices proliferate? He's definitely right about his last sentence, unfortunately. Gramps: They must be talking about the "diaspora, no?

Quote:
Fifth, the Church archives are open to Mormon and “anti-Mormon” scholars alike, as long as they are serious scholars.

Quote:
Rosebud: The Archives are now quite open to serious scholars. Even the historians that we label as anti-Mormon work there. There is probably a realization that little is gained by hiding historical materials.


And "serious" scholars are defined as those with temple recommends? If Runtu is correct, this statement is misleading. Gramps: Yeah. I'm wondering about this. Is he saying that all scholars are treated alike, whether Mormon or not? I have a hard time believing that, really.

Quote:
Sixth, Bushman has taken lots of “hits” questioning his objectivity in authoring Rough Stone Rolling.

Quote:
Rosebud: My confession that I am a Mormon does, I think, raise doubts about my objectivity among some readers. The same book written by a non-Mormon would not evoke the same degree of criticism. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off not to show my colors, but that is what I do. The criticism is not really a detriment. I think it is better for me to face people’s actual objections to a Mormon writing on his own culture than to skirt the issues. Actually other scholars are fascinated by my situation. They love to hear me explain myself and are usually sympathetic. My aim when criticized is not to lose my composure. Rule one: never cry in public.


Unless he declared his allegiance, the church would not have been happy.Gramps: It sounds like he didn't really want to do it, either. He had to be "invited" to do it. I thought that was very interesting.

Quote:
Quote:
Rosebud: Serious scholarship in the sense of being taken seriously in the larger world of historians is very much a matter of style. You have to be rigorous, of course, and know the sources, but mainly you must know the intellectual world well enough to speak to it. If you are totally immersed in the Mormon world, it is difficult to hear how you sound when you talk about Mormonism. (The reverse is true too.) That is why so much of our serious scholarship comes from the diaspora. Scholars working in Utah are at a serious disadvantage, although terrific work does come from some of them.


There's that word again. To what is he referring? I thought the disapora was when the Jews were dispersed throughout the world following the destruction of the temple. What does this have to do with the Jews? Gramps: See my above. but, wasn't that kind of a slam on the scholars at BYU, and also indirectly at the Church for handcuffing those they have control over. Interesting, indeed.

Quote:
Finally, seventh and last, there seems to be a tacit admission that the Church has not provided an objective accounting of its history and that books are now coming out to rectify that problem.

Quote:
TG: For those weaned on church manuals, there will be the inevitable surprises. Joseph used a peep stone and a hat to translate most of the Book of Mormon. Mormons counterattacked the settlers in Missouri. Joseph Smith got in fist fight with his brother, and plurally married other men’s wives. Its important to remember that all history is selective, and that our construction of people like Joseph Smith into infallible prophets and purer-than-driven-snow Saints was something he expressly repudiated. We need to be a little more like the Catholics, who elevate this principle into a doctrine: the truth of a church, the legitimacy of its authority, and the efficacy of its ordinances, do not rise or fall with the personal perfection of any individual.


Quote:
Rosebud: One purpose of Rough Stone Rolling is to make information about Joseph Smith that is not generally known common knowledge. Church classes cannot deal with all the issues arising from the historical record. People have to seek out these things on their own.


Church classes can deal with these issues, and they should deal with them starting with the missionary discussions (it takes a year of study to be allowed to join the Catholic church. Why should God's own true church take only a few weeks, if that?) and throughout Primary, Seminary, Sunday School, etc. The church should not shy away from reality, and certainly should kick the "faithful history" garbage to the curb. Gramps: Yes, the Church could deal with it, but wouldn't the conversions drop off if they instituted such a study program before baptism? Of course, they would and I thnk they know that. The milk before the meat thingy is just a way of getting numbers, me thinks. but, then, I am a very cynical person when it comes to hearing their excuses now for two decades and seeing no changes.

Quote:
For the full interview, go here:
[url]
http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/03/ ... n-part-ii/[/url]


Thanks again, gramps.
Gramps: Again, you are very welcome.

_________________
I detest my loose style and my libertine sentiments. I thank God, who has removed from my eyes the veil...
Adrian Beverland


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:39 pm 
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Nice article, thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:30 am 
God
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Gazelam wrote:
Nice article, thanks for sharing.


You are welcome. What did you find interesting about it?

_________________
I detest my loose style and my libertine sentiments. I thank God, who has removed from my eyes the veil...
Adrian Beverland


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