William Schryver wrote:I saw Don's post. I doubt Don read my post in which it is asserted I questioned his faithfulness. If he did, and discerned therein what is imputed to me by others, then I am disappointed that he would permit the biases of others to infect his own views. In any event, I don't question Don's newly-restored faith. Indeed, I think I have a fairly good feel for its basis, and I am conscious of nothing within my own understanding of "acceptable" that is offended by what I apprehend as Don's walk of faith at this juncture of his life. In personal conversation, I found Don to be sincere, thoughtful, and amenable to questioning his assumptions and predisposed perspectives.
Thank you, Will, for these personal observations and this affirmation of my renewed faith and return to the church.
My comments earlier were in response to this statement:
That Don (I'm assuming here, of course) has now apparently concluded that my case for dependency is unsupportable is a disturbing development, from my perspective. Because, to date, the only people who have attempted to contest the arguments/evidence I have presented in that respect are those with an underlying agenda to discredit Joseph Smith and the church he founded.
I didn't take this as an accusation of lost or distorted faith on my part but did interpret it as a kind of wondering, as if you were thinking outloud, whether my thoughts on direction of dependence between the texts indicated that I was headed in the direction of persons "with an underlying agenda to discredit Joseph Smith" who had taken superficially similar approaches. I may have been mistaken in this reading. Perhaps you were saying my thoughts were distrubing for other reasons (e.g., they would reflect poorly on your theory ;-) ).
In any case, I wasn't and am not offended by what you said; but I was concerned that the line of thought I perceived there could lead to rejecting me as a Latter-day Saint on non-essential and even spiritually trivial grounds. This would be a source of great disappointment to me. I have been so warmly welcomed back to the church. No one
has treated me as less of a Latter-day Saint now because of my former years of not being one, and even of criticizing LDS faith claims. To the contrary, many of my again-fellow saints have killed the metaphorical fatted calf to celebrate my return. I had feared being kept at a distance or looked askance at because of my unbelieving past. The actual, welcoming response has been one of the most profoundly moving experiences of my life.
Imagining some taking a contrary approach and not accepting my sincere, if possibly in some ways idiosyncratic, journey as a Latter-day Saint plays on my fears and, as it think it would anyone in my place, saddens me. It wouldn’t be the end of the world: I would know where I stand even if others didn’t. But, of course, I’m going to have strong preferences. If someone (unlike you, as expressed above) did have questions about my faith, I'd prefer they really think through whether their doubts were based on my rejecting anything fundamental to LDS belief and life and that, if they feel they need, they talk with me about these concerns directly, rather than express them, even offhandedly, in public.
You’ve stated that you didn’t intend to call this into question, and I see no point in arguing with someone about the meaning of their own words. You surely know your views better than anyone else. And I appreciate your fellowship and affirmation of my faith and journey to where I’m at.
"I’ve known Don a long time and have critiqued his previous work and have to say that he does much better as a believer than a critic."
- Dan Vogel, August 8, 2011