Mormonism, academics vs. apologetics, some history

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Mormonism, academics vs. apologetics, some history

Post by Lemmie »

I’m sure many here are fully aware of this history, but for me, a discussion on the Mormon subreddit regarding the FPR blog entry (on the JPPS publication reviewed by Gee in the Interpreter) brought to light some fascinating details. Some background comments first: ... r_the_jspp

The Interpreter stumbles over the JSPP

Chino_Blanco • 20h

I did enjoy this exchange, though:

“a You know, FairMormon exists for a reason.

b You mean, beyond reinforcing the opinions of true believers, and providing endless fuel for mockery by exmos? Not so much.

FairMormon gets a lot of respect from those, and only those, who don't really need it. But nobody's pulling their hair out, wondering how to counter FairMormon over in the exmo sub.

To be fair, FairMormon does provide Latter-day Saint apologists a nice place to congregate and share in their mutual hobby. But that's about it. As a fully believing member who is also a former exmo, I know that I personally could not rely on FairMormon to shore up a shaky testimony. Nor would I recommend it to anyone else for that purpose.”

As an exmo with no skin left in this game, I think it’s objectively true that the Maxwell Institute/JSPP/Mormon Studies crews are generally relevant/serious/constructive in ways that FAIRMormon/Interpreter/BOMCentral/FIRM are not.

It’s all over except for the shouting where those latter outfits are concerned. They are not doing the LDS project any favors with their shenanigans.

ImTheMarmotKing• 20h

They're both right. FAIRMormon exists because the challenges are real, even to people who've felt the "Holy Ghost." Otherwise, what is this redditor saying? That they previously never encountered "the spirit?" People leave because the feeling of the "spirit" is not sufficient for many people to simply ignore truth claims that are provably untrue.

On the other hand, does FAIR actually help these people? Probably not, at least not on a meaningful statistical level. There are people who appeal to FAIR and cheerlead it, sure, but these people generally aren't the ones who are struggling to accept Mormonism at face value.
Throwaway__ac • 19h

FAIR made a terrible mistake in adding DCP to their board. He raids their authors and pushes their agenda the same direction as the Interpreter. It's done nothing but decrease any credibility they could have built.

And then some background, same thread, blue are links from the quoted redditors:
JohnH2Member of Even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • 20h

”a growing rift amongst...”

It isn't so much a 'growing' rift but something that has been happening for over a decade; the Maxwell Institute (which used to be FARMs) pushed out almost a decade ago almost all (with the last one pushed out recently irrc) the traditional apologists in its effort to be academic focused as befitting something related to BYU and the old FARMs people created 'The Interpreter'.

And while this is the most recent swing of the pendulum, this interplay regarding Mormonism and academic versions/apologetics of it has been going on for over 110 years now, both in leadership and academics; see Richard Poll's What the Church Means to Me and Harold B. Lee's Response, for example.

Y_chromosomalAdam • 10h

Damn Lee did not hold back. I read Poll's first and thought, "Man if I grew up a Liahonna type this wave of new information might have been much smoother and had a different outcome".

Lee come's in with a full broadside...

”There are many who profess to be religious and speak of themselves as Christians, and, according to one such, “as accepting the scriptures only as sources of inspiration and moral truth,” and then ask in their smugness: “Do the revelations of God give us a handrail to the kingdom of God, as the Lord’s messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?”

One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: “A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony.” “

Do you know what setting Poll's remarks were given? It's too bad something like that isn't found on the church's website.

JohnH2Member of Even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • 9h

Wikipedia says that he gave the talk at his ward and then published it in Dialogue in 1967, which would be how it came to the attention of Elder Lee; here is his 1982 thoughts on the subject and trends of that time

If I am understanding this correctly, it seems like the Iron Rodders vs. the Liahona members was the previous iteration of this divide, similar to the Chapel vs. Internet description?

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Re: Mormonism, academics vs. apologetics, some history

Post by DrW »

“Do the revelations of God give us a handrail (Iron Rod*) to the kingdom of God, as the Lord’s messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?”

Science strikes again. Nice sounding analogy until one realizes that, in the vicinity of a long iron (ferromagnetic) rod, a compass will tend to point toward the rod (and nowhere else) no matter where one is standing or in which direction along the rod one should go.

* clarification mine
David Hume: "---Mistakes in philosophy are merely ridiculous, those in religion are dangerous."

DrW: "Mistakes in science are learning opportunities and are eventually corrected."

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Re: Mormonism, academics vs. apologetics, some history

Post by SteelHead »

There are no academics in apologetics, outside of "Mormon studies". Every other field has nothing to say about Mormonism, as there is 0 evidence to support it.
It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener at war.

Some of us, on the other hand, actually prefer a religion that includes some type of correlation with reality.
~Bill Hamblin

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