You should really try to be more expressive, Kish. No need to be so mild, timid and tactful. Come to think of it, if DCP had you on his side in the early '90s, the "apologetic machine" would have been even stronger, and more offensive to oh-so-sensitive souls. You would not have missed a beat being in tuned with the FARMS Esprit de Corps. So it really all depends on "which side". But I'm sure that on message boards you don't write as an academic. It's just "banter".
Tell me, Ray: do you approve of Greg Smith calling Laura Compton a Satanically deceived deceiver in a book review publication published on the campus of a major American university? Does such conduct redound to BYU's good reputation for Christian behavior and academic integrity? If so, why? If not, why not?
When The Review
began, then known as Review of Books on the Book of Mormon
(1989), I wouldn't say it was claiming to be a "serious" academic reviewer which followed all the "standard" rules of academic reviews (not always adhered to by "non-Mormons, either). It was primarily to be a defense of the Book of Mormon, but not only that, as mentioned in DCP's first editorial
You do understand, I would hope, that incorporation into the university system does have an impact on both the university and the journal itself. Ideally, you don't want theological accusations and spiritual judgments attached to your reputation as an academic institution. As a journal operating through a university, it is of little use to call yourself "academic" and "scholary" if your activities include smoldering witch hunts.
Remember, this is the modern, not the medieval university.
It doesn't exactly sound like an announcement to be "fair and balanced" as if one is impartially and independently reviewing film or literature, does it?
I would settle for Christian, scholarly, and focused on books rather than the personalities and speculative spiritual biographies of the people who wrote them. But I guess that is too much to ask, in your view. Especially on the campus of an avowedly Christian university.
I have no qualms in stating that, IMO, some of the reviews have been way overboard, and Eugene England thought the same. He didn't think very highly of Signature, either.
Bravo for you, Ray. You just have a problem with me advocating the cessation of spurious book reviews written by unqualified people that speculate about the spiritual health or illness of the author. That really sets you off. How dare I? Right?
Have you ever criticised Signature Books, Kish? Do you find anything "despicable" (your word) or "uncivil" about the "side" you are on? Or is it just The Review that needs to be "crushed", criticised and tamed? Do you think there is "balance" towards any of these issues here, Kish?
Gee, Ray. Do I hold two degrees from Signature Books? When I go out looking for a job, and they see Brigham Young University on my CV, will it be my relationship with Signature Books that counts for something, or the reputation of BYU?
Oh, but you don't have to concern yourself with such things, do you, Ray? For you this is all an abstract issue about fairness, or perhaps something to do with your longtime friendship with the editor of the journal I am criticizing?
So, you can take your balance issue, and shove it up your rear end.
Are you an impartial observer of all this, Kish?
Since the suffering of members of the LDS Church at the hands of Daniel Peterson, Louis Midgley, Greg Smith, and others is not really a matter for the courts of the USA, I really don't see what your point is. Does the court have any role in determining the ecclesiastical appropriateness of what these guys are doing? Does it really have a role in measuring the impact of theological accusations on the academic reputation of a journal and the university that hosts it?
So, why in the hell should I have anything to say about this? What is there to be impartial about? The fact that a court doesn't care how nasty an apologetic rag is?
Am I missing something here? Has my criticism ever focused on legal issues?
What IS your point?
Is the legality of the practice all you are concerned about Ray? Is that your gold standard and Christian ideal?
Would Elder Maxwell and President Hinckley have agreed with you in your criticism of the ironically named Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship?
Since when has an appeal to authority ever carried weight with me? If President Hinckley or Elder Maxwell were to tell me I had married the wrong woman, but that their granddaughter was an acceptable substitute, I would tell him to go to hell.
What is your point?
I'm not pointing all of this out to defend, promote or support FARMS, but sometimes we need a reality check before we engage in serious "ark steadying". Here's a wild suggestion: Change the Church culture and beliefs, and then you may be able to change FARMS.
What do you care about ark steadying, Ray? It is odd of you to speak in these terms, since you are an ex-Mormon, as you claim.
And, by the way, you may not have noticed, but I would like to draw to your attention the fact that the apologetic organizations of the Church repeatedly tell us that they do not operate as agents of the Brethren. So, either the problem is one of BYU's reputation, and the basic demands of Christian humanity, or the Brethren really do run the show, and I should shut up. In that case, the apologists can no longer claim that they are not agents of the Brethren, and we have to assume that they approve of the spurious reviews of Laura Compton and others.
Have I put the cart before the horse? You claim to be "fighting bad apologetics", "for the good of the Church and its members", and to "defend your friends" from attack. That's all fine and noble. But what would happen if you were a true believer? Like Schryver, like Peterson, like Maxwell, like Hinckley, and all the "old guard" who now happen to occupy all the positions in the first fifteen, while GAs like Jensen are "put out to pasture".
What you may need to do now is begin attacking and criticising the very Church culture that "breeds" organisations like FARMS (I'm suggesting this tongue-in-cheek), but I suspect you may feel a little uncomfortable doing that because you feel "they" are really on your side in this crusade to "tame" "bad apologetics".
Go ahead, Kish, make that next step, because it's only logical. Bad fruit doesn't come out of good trees, so maybe it's the tree itself that's just rotten and decaying to the core? Tell the world, and the board, how really silly you think Mormonism and Mormon beliefs are, all those "silly things" that the NAMI defends.
I think it most unfortunate that the phrase "true believer" has any purchase. Anyone can claim to believe something, Ray. I want to see how they behave. They can claim to believe whatever they want, but God will be the judge of their hearts and their actions. So, wow, these guys will assent to all propositions that they believe the LDS Church authorities demand of them as good members. All of that, in my view, is worth spit in my hand.
What makes a difference, Ray, is God's judgment of the human heart. You don't get that by counting how many angels fit on the head of a pin, by sniffing out wrong-thinking people, or by showing up on time to raise your hand in assent. So I don't really give a tinker's damn what any of your fine brethren think. I care about what is right. The Review will still be published, and the sun will still rise on Provo, if they stop the devilish practice of sliming members in good standing in its pages.
Your reaction to all of this is bizarre and really beneath you. Where did you lose it?