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 Post subject: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:03 am 
God

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A couple of days ago when I was out doing my run I was thinking about some of the things I read on this forum and most recently some of the stuff that grindael has written about his perceptions/recollections in regards to church history and Joseph Smith in particular. It got me thinking about some generalizations as it relates to the "strawman argument", or a variation thereof. In Mormonism the critics and apologists will both engage in cherry picking of source material and then build their arguments and resultant conclusions on top of of that material. On another thread grindael has a lot to say, even in particulars, about the fraudulent nature of Joseph Smith's "calling" based upon books and other source material (online, etc.) that he has become "expert" on over the years. That's all fine and good. The problem, as I see it, is that as we use various sources to build our arguments and resultant conclusions we are in a sense building a strawman of sorts because there are usually, if not always, going to be other resources that are not going to be brought to the fore or used in their entirety...complete context, etc.

For example when we look at Joseph Smith's polygamy the critics will almost always rely on sources that will put Joseph in a bad light. They will rarely use resources, for example personal journals of women that believed polygamy to be the right thing to do or given by God, etc. They will set up a strawman based upon their restrictive use of sources, opinions, and such, to create an argument that they then bring to its natural conclusion.

The same idea can hold true to multiple issues and controversies. If we set up a strawman argument based upon sources to our liking and/or leave out other resource material, is our argument valid in its entirety? Can it be trusted to be "gospel truth"?

1. a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed.
2. a typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition.

So when reading the comments and conclusions that critics contribute in a forum such as this one I think that it is incumbent on those that are seeking to be truly open minded about the mission of Joseph Smith and all of the possible "issues" that can be thrown out there, even in particular detail, to keep in mind that a caricature of so called history is being set up or built in order to promote a certain point of view or agenda.

And again, critics and apologists both engage in building their own strawmen or caricatures. As individuals it is good to keep that in mind and try to remain OPEN minded as we look at the arguments that folks build up and then set in place as being "the truth".

Regards,
MG


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:34 am 
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Do you have examples of personal journals not used by critics regarding Joseph Smith polygamous practices or are you just setting up an unverifiable strawman?
Ironic that you would use lack of journal references by the critics for Joseph Smith polygamous activities as an example of misrepresentation by the critics because of the total lack of representation by the official church on the subject.

Recently I asked my TBM lifelong member mother how many wives she thought Joseph Smith had married.

"4?. Maybe 6?

It isn't a great example to use.

Not all arguments are of equal value.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:44 am 
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mentalgymnast wrote:

For example when we look at Joseph Smith's polygamy the critics will almost always rely on sources that will put Joseph in a bad light. They will rarely use resources, for example personal journals of women that believed polygamy to be the right thing to do or given by God, etc. They will set up a strawman based upon their restrictive use of sources, opinions, and such, to create an argument that they then bring to its natural conclusion.


MG -

Let us be serious for a moment, even using a 'straw man' argument.

In a situation where a woman who is used to being in an abusive relationship seeks to explain the actions of a man who is her abuser as being correct or deserved, does this absolve the man from acting in that manner?

I'm sure that you'll cry 'foul' at the comparison, but it isn't meant to be a straight-across equivalent example to Smith. What I'd like for you to do is explain the rationality of exonerating the man in this scenario based upon the claims of the woman, regardless of her state of mind.

Moving on to Smith - in the case of Helen Mar Kimball, if she was 'offered' to Smith at the age of 14, should Smith have accepted the offer? And after the fact of the arrangement, can you confirm that Helen's mindset was completely correct, stable and sensible resgarding the contents of her memoirs much later, as opposed to the possibility of her self-justifying for understandable reason of emotional survivability?


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:38 pm 
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Huh. All this time I thought a strawman had to do with what one represented as an opposing argument, not how one selected or presented evidence.

Oh...hah! I see. How meta.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:29 pm 
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MG wrote:
The problem, as I see it, is that as we use various sources to build our arguments and resultant conclusions we are in a sense building a strawman of sorts because there are usually, if not always, going to be other resources that are not going to be brought to the fore or used in their entirety...complete context, etc.


So because no position is built on the perfect abstraction of data from every and all source on any subject, every argument is a "strawman"? That would be good for someone who has a huge investment in the truth not being discovered. Consider this though. Since many sources will be left out in a biography of Hitler, every biography of Hitler in print is a strawman, and it is incumbent on those that are seeking to be truly open minded about the mission of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, to remember that every history of World War II and Hitler is a caricature of so-called history, set up, or built, in order to promote an agenda.

MG wrote:
For example when we look at Joseph Smith's polygamy the critics will almost always rely on sources that will put Joseph in a bad light. They will rarely use resources, for example personal journals of women that believed polygamy to be the right thing to do or given by God, etc. They will set up a strawman based upon their restrictive use of sources, opinions, and such, to create an argument that they then bring to its natural conclusion.


That's a bold and backward claim. Start with Compton's In Sacred Loneliness. Please point out the specific personal journals of women "that believed polygamy to be the right thing to do" that Compton failed to mention.

But the backwardness of your objection far exceeds its ignorant boldness. It's unthinkable that you could believe the lines of division on the topic of polygamy or any human rights issue are drawn between those who "didn't like it" and those who "liked it". If you ever watch a documentary critical of North Korea, do you think the critics make their case by only interviewing citizens of North Korea who find it oppressive, while leaving out those fully loyal to their country?

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:43 pm 
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I am also curious how the journals of the women whom Joseph Smith married justify his behavior?

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:48 pm 
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mentalgymnast wrote:
A couple of days ago when I was out doing my run I was thinking about some of the things I read on this forum and most recently some of the stuff that grindael has written about his perceptions/recollections in regards to church history and Joseph Smith in particular. It got me thinking about some generalizations as it relates to the "strawman argument", or a variation thereof. In Mormonism the critics and apologists will both engage in cherry picking of source material and then build their arguments and resultant conclusions on top of of that material. On another thread grindael has a lot to say, even in particulars, about the fraudulent nature of Joseph Smith's "calling" based upon books and other source material (online, etc.) that he has become "expert" on over the years. That's all fine and good. The problem, as I see it, is that as we use various sources to build our arguments and resultant conclusions we are in a sense building a strawman of sorts because there are usually, if not always, going to be other resources that are not going to be brought to the fore or used in their entirety...complete context, etc.

For example when we look at Joseph Smith's polygamy the critics will almost always rely on sources that will put Joseph in a bad light. They will rarely use resources, for example personal journals of women that believed polygamy to be the right thing to do or given by God, etc. They will set up a strawman based upon their restrictive use of sources, opinions, and such, to create an argument that they then bring to its natural conclusion.

The same idea can hold true to multiple issues and controversies. If we set up a strawman argument based upon sources to our liking and/or leave out other resource material, is our argument valid in its entirety? Can it be trusted to be "gospel truth"?

1. a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed.
2. a typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition.

So when reading the comments and conclusions that critics contribute in a forum such as this one I think that it is incumbent on those that are seeking to be truly open minded about the mission of Joseph Smith and all of the possible "issues" that can be thrown out there, even in particular detail, to keep in mind that a caricature of so called history is being set up or built in order to promote a certain point of view or agenda.

And again, critics and apologists both engage in building their own strawmen or caricatures. As individuals it is good to keep that in mind and try to remain OPEN minded as we look at the arguments that folks build up and then set in place as being "the truth".

Regards,
MG


You obviously did not read my entire post and so you are guilty of doing here, what you claim that I'm doing. In that post you mention, first, I did not call myself an "expert" on Mormonism, (I said I wasn't a "novice") and I mentioned people like Dean Jessee, etc as experts. Secondly, I said that it was crucial to my research to buy the book "Exploring the First Vision," edited by Alonzo Dodge which is a compilation of FAITHFUL Mormon essays, so your claim that I simply "cherry pick" is ridiculous, and anyone that reads my comments in this forum knows that you are simply making that up.

Your analogy about polygamy is also flawed, because there are plenty of critics who do use the testimony of believing Mormon women (I among them). I have examples of where I do, if you really want to see them. But that issue goes deeper then that they just accepted it. Why did they? Why did they see it as not being simply another "spiritual wife system" like Bennett's was labeled by the Smiths? I even took the time once to analyze a comment by Brian Hales about Eliza R. Snow's comparison of this very thing, where he claims that Alex Beam was "defaming" Joseph Smith. See Note #16 here... http://mormonitemusings.com/2014/08/17/ ... ar-part-i/ Please read that entire article and tell me that I'm using any of the quotes "out of context". See also the Comment section where one of those I wrote the article to rebut compliments me on knowing the source material.

So what is the purpose of this thread? Something is really bothering you MG, perhaps it is the fact that you have no real answers for the evidence that I present? Attacking the messenger is exactly what people do who have no answers to it.

Let's quote from my First Vision essay (as yet unpublished) that I mentioned, so we can see what I'm talking about,

Quote:
Quinn states that “Joseph was the son who had the theophany”, but Lucy Smith never mentions this in her narrative. This would make Alvin’s death even more traumatic for Lucy and would frustrate Joseph’s plans to retrieve the plates (discussed below). The death of her son Alvin drove a wedge between Lucy and the gold plates, and Lucy did not turn to her son Joseph who at this time was obsessed (along with his father) with money digging and despised the local church authorities. Instead, Lucy found solace in Presbyterianism. She writes,

About this time their was a great revival in religion and the whole neighborhood was very much aroused to the subject and we among the rest flocked to the meeting house to see if their was a word of comfort for us that might releive our overcharged feelings but as there was <at this time> a man then laboring in that place to effect a union of all the churches that all denomination<s> might be agreed to with one mind and one heart worship God.

This I thought looked right and tried to persuade my Husband to join with them as I wished to do so myself and it was the inclination of them all except Joseph he refused from the first to attend the meeting with us[.] He would say Mother, I do not wish to prevent you from going to meeting or joining any church you like or any of the Family who desire the like only do not ask me to go <do so> for I do not wish to go[.] But I will take my Bible and go out into the woods and learn more in two hours than you could if you were to go to meeting two years time."

My husband also declined attending the meetings after the first but did not object to myself and such of the children as chose to go or to become <going or becoming> church members <if we wished>

Joseph also said but <it will do you no hurt to join them but> you will not stay with them long for long, and you are mistaken in them you do not know the wickedness of their hearts[.] [..]Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, p. 307.

Dr. Richard Lloyd Anderson, in his contribution to the First Vision anthology “Joseph Smith’s Accuracy on the First Vision Setting: The Pivotal 1818 Palmyra Camp Meeting”, tries to give Lucy’s joining the Presbyterian Church an 1820 date:

Early in her marriage, Lucy had received believer’s baptism without commitment to a specific church, later commenting that she retained this status “until my oldest son attained his 22nd year.” She refers to the oldest living son, Alvin, who died of a doctor’s folk remedy in late 1823 but had started his twenty-second year on February 11, 1820. Here she agrees with Joseph’s 1838 history that she made a Presbyterian commitment by early 1820. [..]

It is hard to believe that Anderson isn’t aware that Lucy in her preliminary manuscript misdated the year of Alvin’s birth to 1799, so this makes Anderson’s claim untenable. Dan Vogel explains that,

Alvin became twenty-two on 11 February 1820. However, Lucy mis-dates Alvin's birth to 1799, rather than 1798, and his death to 1824, instead of 1823 (L. Smith 1853, 40). Later she states that she joined the Presbyterian church after Alvin's death. This is complicated by the Presbyterian committee's mention in March 1830 that she had been a member for one year (see MS:49-50, 110). Richard L. Anderson has suggested that "[t]here may be various degrees of 'joining' a church" (R. L. Anderson 1969a, 391, n. 55). [..] Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, p. 243, note 33.

Since Lucy recalled Alvin’s birth in the year 1799 that would make Alvin 22 in 1821 and so using this argument is disingenuous. Even in Joseph Smith’s own history written in 1838 he wrote that Alvin died in 1824, and this date was published in Mormon scriptures until 1981. [..] In 1970, Russell Rich wrote,

Lucy Mack Smith lists the date [of Alvin’s birth]as February 11, 1799, in her first edition of her history of the Prophet. There has been much more controversy over Alvin’s death than over his birth. A footnote in the DHC 1:16 includes a genealogy of the Prophet’s family, giving the date of Alvin’s death as November 19, 1825. On the same page (and also on page 2) in the body of the text the Prophet is quoted as specifying the date as 1824. In Mother Smith’s original edition she also gave 1824 as the year of Alvin’s death. In Joseph Smith 2:4-6, in the Pearl of Great Price, the present edition also gives 1824 as the year of Alvin’s death. [..] BYU Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3, p.255.

Anderson surely should have known this since an article of his own on the first vision appears in the same issue as that of Russell Rich. Marvin Hill, as far back as 1982 understood that Lucy joined the Presbyterians after Alvin’s death:

Indicating that the angel had told Joseph of the plates prior to the revival, Lucy added that for a long time after Alvin's death the family could not bear any talk about the golden plates, for the subject had been one of great interest to him and any reference to the plates stirred sorrowful memories. She said she attended the revival with hope of gaining solace for Alvin's loss. That kind of detail is just the sort that gives validity to Lucy's chronology. She would not have been likely to make up such a reaction for herself or the family nor mistake the time when it happened. I am persuaded that it was 1824 when Lucy joined the Presbyterians. Dialogue, Vol.15, No.2, p.39 - p.40

Anderson continues to misconstrue the facts by claiming that,

Joseph recalled at Nauvoo that he came from the 1820 vision in the grove and told Mother Lucy that he had learned for himself that “Presbyterianism is not true” (v. 20). Thus the older Smiths were investigating Palmyra churches on a parallel track to Joseph prior to the First Vision. The Neibaur journal, discussed above, has Joseph recalling a Methodist “Revival meeting,” likely the June 1818 camp meeting in the Seagar journal, where “his mother & Br & Sist got religion.” As Joseph says in the 1838 history, he was fourteen at the end of 1819, the period when his mother and three siblings chose Presbyterianism, and afterward Alvin received a Presbyterian funeral in 1823.

Why is Anderson misconstruing the facts? Because he is linking an event that took place in 1823 with one that took place in 1818. Much has been made lately of Aurora Seagar and another Methodist, Benajah Williams by the Mormon experts since these accounts were resurrected by D. Michael Quinn in 2006 (to be discussed below) who tries to push the date of Joseph’s claimed 1820 vision to early summer of that year. [..] Alexander Neibaur, a German convert who tutored Joseph in that language and Hebrew, heard Smith describe the claimed 1820 vision in 1844 and he wrote,

Br Joseph tolt us the first call he had a Revival meeting his mother & Br & Sist got Religion, he wanted to get Religion too wanted to feel & sho shout like the Rest but could feel nothing, opened his Bible the first Passage that struck him was if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberallity & upbraidat[h] not went into the Wood to pray [..]

This could not possibly be in 1820 because Joseph himself stated that,

My Fathers family w<ere> proselyted to the Presbyterian faith and four of them joined that Church, Namely, My Mother Lucy, My Brothers Hyrum, Samuel Harrison, and my Sister Soph[r]onia. [..]

Joseph claimed that they actually joined the Presbyterian Church before his claimed vision. This is an important distinction from just being converted, or uniting with that faith. Anderson himself defines this distinction,

On which level were Lucy and three children Presbyterians? This could be Presbyterian attendance, attendance on formal probation, or full membership, with right of the Lord’s Supper. Yet historians following Walters have tried to merge revivals dated around 1820 with those after Alvin’s death by claiming (without direct evidence) that Lucy became a Presbyterian member in her grief about 1824. Mother Smith does describe a Palmyra awakening then, when her hopes were raised by a minister who sought cooperation from local denominations, though she could not influence her husband or son Joseph to attend these meetings. However, Lucy’s history does not say she joined a church in the surge of religion at Palmyra after Alvin’s late 1823 death. A later religious conflict throws light on the intervening years. In March 1830, Lucy and sons Hyrum and Samuel were served notice of a church hearing for nonattendance and were then visited by officials of the Palmyra Presbyterian Church. Lucy’s history gives her version of the conversation with visiting Presbyterian elders, when the Smiths defended the Book of Mormon vigorously, which was significant, since the Smith men were two of the Eight Witnesses, who had seen and handled the plates. The hearing minutes still exist, indicating that the Smiths “did not wish to unite with us anymore.” The defendants avoided the hearing, which charged them with “neglect of public worship and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for the last eighteen months.” Instead of being cut off, the three were disfellowshipped, “suspended from the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.”

The answer is right in front of Anderson, but he refuses to see it. He writes, “full membership with right of the Lord’s Supper.” And Lucy does say that she joined the Presbyterians after Alvin’s death for she writes,

My husband also declined attending the meetings after the first but did not object to myself and such of the children as chose to go or to become <going or becoming> church members <if we wished>[..]

The Smiths in question were members of the Presbyterian Church because they were charged with “neglect of public worship and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for the last eighteen months.” Stanley Kimball explains,

On March 3, 1830 the session "met pursuant to notice," and, among other things, "Resolved that the Reverend A. E. Campbell and H. Jessup be a committee to visit Hiram Smith, Lucy Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith and report at the next meeting of session."

[March 10] "The committee appointed to visit Hiram Smith, Lucy Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith reported that they had visited them and received no satisfaction. They acknowledged that they had entirely neglected the ordinances of the church for the last eighteenth months and that they did not wish to unite with us anymore. Whereupon Resolved that they be cited to appear before the session on the 24th day of March inst., at 2 o'clock P.M. at this Meeting House to answer to the following charge to wit:
Neglect of public worship and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for the last eighteen months."

This action was taken by the Rev. Alfred E. Campbell and Elders George Beckwith, Henry Jessup, Pelatiah West, and Newton Foster and witnessed by Harvey ____, Levi Dagget, James Robinson, Robert W. Smith, and Frederick Sheffield.

[March 24] "Hiram Smith, Lucy Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith not appearing pursuant to the citation served upon them by P. West--Resolved that they be again cited to appear before his session on Monday the 29th inst. At this place at 2 o'clock P.M.-- and that P. West serve said citation." On March 29, 1830 "The persons before cited to wit--Hiram Smith, Lucy Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith not appearing and the session having satisfactory evidence that the citation was duly served. Resolved that they be censured for their contumacy. Resolved that George Beckwith manage their defense. The charge in the above case being fully sustained by the testimony of Henry Jessup, Harvey ____, Robert W. Smith, and Frederick U. Sheffield. (In minutes of . . . [?] on file with the clerk.) The session after duly considering the matter were unanimously of opinion Hiram Smith, Lucy Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith ought to be suspended-- Resolved that Hiram Smith, Lucy Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith be and they hereby are suspended from the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper."

Such was the ecclesiastical trial of members of the Prophet's family. From this we can conclude, in addition to the fact that Lucy, Hiram, and Samuel Harrison were indeed members of the Palmyra congregation, that sometime during the translation of the Book of Mormon they had become inactive and that by early March of 1830 they were being charged with "Neglect of public worship and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper...." We also know that they ignored two personally served citations and that on March 29 they were "suspended from the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper."

Lucy, Hiram, and Samuel's inactivity in the Presbyterian Church was no doubt directly related to Joseph's opinions. When they were contemplating joining with the Presbyterians, Joseph told his mother that "it would do us no injury to join them, that if we did, we should not continue with them long, for we were mistaken in them, and did not know the wickedness of their hearts." [..]Dialogue, Vol.5, No.4, p.122-123.

If Lucy was already a member of the Presbyterian Church before 1823, then why is it she expressly states that her husband and her son Joseph did not object to them joining after Alvin’s death? Anderson adds, (inexplicably) that “the charge of church inactivity probably indicates that the Presbyterian Smiths had fairly regularly attended preaching and communion meetings during the early 1820s, or the nonattendance charge would have been filed earlier.” This makes no sense. It would only have been filed earlier if the Smith’s had actually been members of that Church in 1820 as Joseph said they were. The evidence shows that Joseph was wrong as well as Anderson.

Allen and Welch then address more specifically their reasons why Joseph’s claimed 1820 vision does not appear in any publications before 1835. They begin by saying,

In the hostile environment during the fledgling years of the Restoration, even after the Church was first organized, Joseph apparently did not relate the account of his First Vision very widely, for neither the earliest Latter-day Saint nor regional publications of the 1830s carried accounts of it.

This shows that there is no evidence that Joseph ever spoke of the claimed vision, except for his own word that he did. Saying that there is no evidence that he shared the claimed vision in any publications, and then coupling that with “very widely” is simply wishful thinking. Then we come to the “allusions” of the claimed vision


If you want to make "out of context" claims against me MG, or that I don't understand and utilize both sides of the issues in my analysis, you will have to do better than vague accusations and pontificating about "strawman caricatures".

I have a great task for you MG. How about you read my latest blog article on Wilford Woodruff that I linked to above, and show me how all of your claims about me are true. Take your time. Be thorough. But if you don't, we'll know that you are simply full of BS.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:57 pm 
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How's this for an example of a straw man? If you want to learn about Naziism, you should only talk to Nazis. Only Nazis know the real truth about Naziism. Non-Nazis should be avoided because they don't know the whole truth and are heavily biased against Naziism.

I think that qualifies as a darn good straw man.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:04 pm 
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The Erotic Apologist wrote:
How's this for a straw man? If you want to learn about Naziism, you should only talk to Nazis. Only Nazis know the real truth about Naziism. Non-Nazis should be avoided because they don't the whole truth and are heavily biased against Naziism.

I think that qualifies as a darn good straw man.


Yes EAllusion, the Jews would be the WORST people to go to, to understand what the Nazi's did. They are obviously so BIASED, like Ex-Mormons, who obviously know nothing about Mormonism and have to use all kinds of tricks and subterfuge to make it look bad.

I'm sure all those diaries, films, and books by Hitler and his henchmen are simply taken out of context by his victims.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:09 pm 
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Oh, and I have Brian Hales three volume set on Joseph Smith's polygamy and have read them. Have you? I have even had lengthy conversations with Brian Hales. Before you jump to conclusions, you really, really should do some research on the people that you are trying to smear.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:44 pm 
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Fence Sitter wrote:
I am also curious how the journals of the women whom Joseph Smith married justify his behavior?


Agreed, seeing as using this excuse puts the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Just where (i.e., who) did the revelation for polygamy come from in the first place?


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:02 pm 
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grindael wrote:

If you want to make "out of context" claims against me MG, or that I don't understand and utilize both sides of the issues in my analysis, you will have to do better than vague accusations and pontificating about "strawman caricatures".

I have a great task for you MG. How about you read my latest blog article on Wilford Woodruff that I linked to above, and show me how all of your claims about me are true. Take your time. Be thorough. But if you don't, we'll know that you are simply full of BS.


I'm sorry if I've offended you and made light of the work that you've obviously put into arriving where you're at. To be honest, the stuff that I've read that you have posted is somewhat troubling in as far as it represents a part/segment of the available research into the history of the church and Joseph Smith in particular. I am of the opinion that, as I said, critic and apologist are both going to cherry pick their sources and put forward that which supports their particular POV and conclusions. That's pretty much all I'm saying when I propose that "strawmen" (or a variation on the theme) are created in order to create a caricature that tells and/or creates a narrative by which one person's beliefs/conclusions/worldview can be supported. Dan Vogel and Richard Bushman's writings on Joseph Smith have been mentioned. They have both created caricatures that in their minds explain the man and his doings. But they both rely on a certain amount of cherry picking at resources and support (positive and/or negative) that they give to various biographies, journals, records, people, etc. I'm simply saying the it seems to be human nature for folks to do this and would hazard a guess that you do the same thing.

I bookmarked your blog link and will spend some time reading it.

Regards,
MG


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:19 pm 
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canpakes wrote:
Moving on to Smith - in the case of Helen Mar Kimball, if she was 'offered' to Smith at the age of 14, should Smith have accepted the offer? And after the fact of the arrangement, can you confirm that Helen's mindset was completely correct, stable and sensible resgarding the contents of her memoirs much later, as opposed to the possibility of her self-justifying for understandable reason of emotional survivability?


I am in no way condoning anything that MAY have occurred in which Joseph Smith MAY have been in any way, shape, or form, abusive to the women and/or men that he worked through or with to accomplish the purposes which he felt justified in carrying out. What I am saying is that in regards to polygamy or any other hot topic within Mormonism we ought to simply accept the fact or possibility that both critic and apologist are going to create a caricature by building a strawman, of sorts, that stands up and promotes their own agenda and/or conclusions.

In regards to Nauvoo polygamy it's going to make a difference according to the sources used as one builds their narrative of what happened in that time and place. Using John C. Bennett's, "History of the Saints" along with Martha Brotherton's add ons to his narrative, EXCLUSIVELY, are going to lead one to a different place than also looking at other journals, etc., that dealt with issues related to polygamous life, etc., in a more positive light.

So when we are in a forum such as this I am simply saying that, on the whole, we're going to be exposed to caricatures that depict certain individuals and/or events from a different perspective than that which can be found by those that have researched the same issues but come to different results/conclusions as a result of applying both knowledge AND faith to their research. Both side will build a strawman, of sorts, to support their own worldview, etc.

At the outset, I modified my "strawman" application to be a bit broader than the logistical fallacy application/definition usually given to it. I knew I might get some flack on that. :smile:

Regards,
MG


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:30 pm 
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mentalgymnast wrote:
grindael wrote:

If you want to make "out of context" claims against me MG, or that I don't understand and utilize both sides of the issues in my analysis, you will have to do better than vague accusations and pontificating about "strawman caricatures".

I have a great task for you MG. How about you read my latest blog article on Wilford Woodruff that I linked to above, and show me how all of your claims about me are true. Take your time. Be thorough. But if you don't, we'll know that you are simply full of BS.


I'm sorry if I've offended you and made light of the work that you've obviously put into arriving where you're at. To be honest, the stuff that I've read that you have posted is somewhat troubling in as far as it represents a part/segment of the available research into the history of the church and Joseph Smith in particular. I am of the opinion that, as I said, critic and apologist are both going to cherry pick their sources and put forward that which supports their particular POV and conclusions. That's pretty much all I'm saying when I propose that "strawmen" (or a variation on the theme) are created in order to create a caricature that tells and/or creates a narrative by which one person's beliefs/conclusions/worldview can be supported. Dan Vogel and Richard Bushman's writings on Joseph Smith have been mentioned. They have both created caricatures that in their minds explain the man and his doings. But they both rely on a certain amount of cherry picking at resources and support (positive and/or negative) that they give to various biographies, journals, records, people, etc. I'm simply saying the it seems to be human nature for folks to do this and would hazard a guess that you do the same thing.

I bookmarked your blog link and will spend some time reading it.

Regards,
MG


Actually, this is just trite BS. If you were only concerned about this in general, you would not have singled me out like you did. I don't care a bit if you make light of my work, opinions, etc. Go ahead, lots of people do. But what you are doing is smearing my methods of arriving at conclusions, and saying that I am using a tactic that I absolutely am not.

And how exactly, do what I post represent a part/segment of the available research? You do know that this is a discussion forum, and not a blog, or Historical Journal? These are comments, with examples. That is what DISCUSSION is. You give and take and provide pros and cons. You are speaking here of my using ONLY one sided evidence. I've proven you wrong. I don't. And in a discussion the other side of the evidence should come from YOU. What have YOU provided that I haven't adequately rebutted? Your comments about Josiah Quincy show that you were doing what you claim everyone else does and I spanked you on it. I also used Wilford Woodruff as evidence to support my claim, and I'm dying to know how that would be considered "cherry picking".

In my retort about Eliza R. Snow, I used her own testimony, and showed by way of dictionary what she obviously meant. How is that creating a strawman? Your logic here is so flawed that it is baffling that you can even come up with it. I don't think you understand the first thing about historical writing. What does "cherry picking" mean to you? It is certainly not what I've done in this forum or on my blog.

In the sense that you are presenting evidence to answer someone's question, you go to the AVAILABLE evidence. Then someone else might chime in with, well, there is this evidence that seems to rebut your evidence and you go from there. What you fail to do is provide the evidence to rebut my claims, you simply complain and make accusations that you haven't (so far) been able to back up with facts.

And you immediately go to the WORST possible word to describe someone's work. Caricature. I don't consider either of them caricatures. They are thoughtful studies of the man with different points of view determined by the evidence. The Godmakers was a caricature (A very amusing one at that). E. D. Howe uses caricature within his narrative to describe Smith. (A monkey enshrined). Yet, to view the entire work as simply caricature is naïve and hyperbolic. Have you even read Dan Vogel's book? I bet you haven't. Many defenders of Mormonism love to pontificate about things they haven't even read.

I find your whole exercise here simply a means to try and persuade people with ad hominem, because you cannot do so with evidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:52 pm 
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Quote:
"I suggest Smith believed he was called of God to preach repentance to a sinful world and felt justified in using whatever means were at his disposal to accomplish this mission." -Dan Vogel, "Making of A Prophet", page. xxi

This is hardly the view of a caricaturist. As I've explained elsewhere, Vogel believed that Smith actually had an "epiphany" or religious experience that set him on his path in 1820. Again, not the work of someone with the intent to caricature someone.

I know Dan Vogel. He was instrumental in helping me work out the details of my "Caractors" photo discovery. He is a serious historian, who analyzes all the components of the evidence to draw conclusions. He is also very kind and helpful to anyone seriously interested in Mormon History.

I had an argument with him about David Whitmer where I was much more harsh to him than Dan was in my analysis of why he continued to lie about having the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon and his claims that the "Caractors" document was the original Anthon Transcript. I know his objective is NOT simply to broadbrush Smith with malice (that is what Caricature implies). Look it up,

a picture, description, or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

This is hardly what Bushman or Vogel do. I respect them both as Historians and individuals. They are among the best and brightest out there and THEY ARE THE EXPERTS. They have forgotten more than I know. I truly am offended at your petty conjectures about them and their research.

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Stuck in an elevator between floors.
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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:03 pm 
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grindael wrote:
Actually, this is just trite BS. If you were only concerned about this in general, you would not have singled me out like you did. I don't care a bit if you make light of my work, opinions, etc. Go ahead, lots of people do. But what you are doing is smearing my methods of arriving at conclusions, and saying that I am using a tactic that I absolutely am not.


OK. I get it. You're a bit upset that I brought your name up within the context of making the argument that both apologists and critics tend towards constructing/building an argument or position based upon collected evidence that is often not impartial. You're saying that you are impartial with the evidence. OK. I'll settle with that. Sorry to bring you into the "not impartial" camp.

by the way, are you still connected with the Mormon Research Ministry? If so, I take it that you are a Christian? Evangelical?

Regards,
MG


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:56 pm 
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mentalgymnast wrote:

OK. I get it. You're a bit upset that I brought your name up within the context of making the argument that both apologists and critics tend towards constructing/building an argument or position based upon collected evidence that is often not impartial. You're saying that you are impartial with the evidence. OK. I'll settle with that. Sorry to bring you into the "not impartial" camp.

by the way, are you still connected with the Mormon Research Ministry? If so, I take it that you are a Christian? Evangelical?

Regards,
MG


Actually, that was not what you originally said. You brought my name up with using deceptive tactics. You used derogatory terms like "caricature", and accused those who are critical of Smith of manipulation of sources. You put words in my mouth that I didn't say, and broadbrushed just about everyone as being dishonest. Then, you want to label me with something I never said I was. Since when is history ever "impartial"? There were those that adored Smith and those that hated him. You trying to say that you can only use "impartial" sources is simply ridiculous. I use all kinds of sources, those pro Smith, those con Smith and those that didn't give a ____ about Smith. They all weave a picture of who he was. I've SHOWN that I do. You are either too blind to see it, or just don't want to.

Google my handle "grindael". I've made no bones about being a critic of Smith. (My avatar is my remake of a drawing from Mormonism Unvailed). That should answer your questions about who I am. What does being or not being a Christian have to do with any of this? The evidence speaks for itself. But go ahead and continue the ad hominems. It will tell everyone more about you than it will about me.

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Stuck in an elevator between floors.
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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:14 am 
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canpakes wrote:
Moving on to Smith - in the case of Helen Mar Kimball, if she was 'offered' to Smith at the age of 14, should Smith have accepted the offer? And after the fact of the arrangement, can you confirm that Helen's mindset was completely correct, stable and sensible resgarding the contents of her memoirs much later, as opposed to the possibility of her self-justifying for understandable reason of emotional survivability?

mentalgymnast wrote:
I am in no way condoning anything that MAY have occurred in which Joseph Smith MAY have been in any way, shape, or form, abusive to the women and/or men that he worked through or with to accomplish the purposes which he felt justified in carrying out. What I am saying is that in regards to polygamy or any other hot topic within Mormonism we ought to simply accept the fact or possibility that both critic and apologist are going to create a caricature by building a strawman, of sorts, that stands up and promotes their own agenda and/or conclusions.

In regards to Nauvoo polygamy it's going to make a difference according to the sources used as one builds their narrative of what happened in that time and place. Using John C. Bennett's, "History of the Saints" along with Martha Brotherton's add ons to his narrative, EXCLUSIVELY, are going to lead one to a different place than also looking at other journals, etc., that dealt with issues related to polygamous life, etc., in a more positive light.

MG -

I appreciate this response, that you are "in no way condoning anything that MAY have occurred in which Joseph Smith MAY have been in any way, shape, or form, abusive to the women and/or men that he worked through or with to accomplish the purposes which he felt justified in carrying out".

But, this doesn't exactly answer either of the two questions that I posed above. For simplicity's sake I'll eliminate the second question but will ask you to consider and give your opinion regarding the first:

"(I)n the case of Helen Mar Kimball, if she was 'offered' to Smith at the age of 14, should Smith have accepted the offer?"


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:23 am 
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canpakes wrote:
"(I)n the case of Helen Mar Kimball, if she was 'offered' to Smith at the age of 14, should Smith have accepted the offer?"


As you probably know the case with Helen Mar Kimball is a rather convoluted one, with dynasty building right in the middle of it. Heber C. Kimball believed that his family's place in the eternities would be more secure if he attached his onto Joseph's. Helen was in the middle of all that. After the "marriage" (sealing) Helen stayed with her family. She later married civilly and had many children with Horace Whitney. She was only sixteen and he twenty-two at the time she married him. She had a good life, remained steadfast in her testimony,if I'm not mistaken, and died in Salt Lake City in 1868. Any adjustments that will/would be made in the afterlife in her situation are obviously in the hands of God. How the dynasty building plays out, I don't know. Where it was later curtailed, I'm of the opinion that there may be some flexibility in the afterlife in how things actually turn out as far as the sealings,etc. But that's just conjecture on my part. There are those that say that the sealings performed in this life basically provide the conditions by which a 'sealed' person can then enter the eternities in that status, but then chose from among other 'sealed' folks in their eternal association commitments.

So should Joseph have gone through with the sealing to Helen Mar Kimball? I'm not seeing that there would be any reason why at that time and in that place it was not a viable option for all those concerned.

Regards,
MG


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:26 am 
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grindael wrote:
What does being or not being a Christian have to do with any of this?


I'm simply interested in whether you are a Christian where you seem to be connected with the MRM. At least if I'm remembering correctly.

If you are Christian, then as far as I'm concerned we're brothers, in a sense, as we both look to Christ as being the Savior/Redeemer of mankind.

Regards,
MG


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 Post subject: Re: Strawman.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:44 pm 
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grindael wrote:
You brought my name up with using deceptive tactics.


If you are one of the few researchers that doesn't pick and choose or amplify the importance of one source or another, then more power to you! Many folks tend towards cherry picking to some extent or another. If you're not guilty in this respect then I apologize. You are a better man than most! :smile:

And by the way, I mentioned multiple times that I was defining "strawman" with a bit of latitude and being somewhat flexible on the meaning.

Regards,
MG


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