The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

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Philo Sofee
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Philo Sofee »

I think between Gadianton and Grindael, operating as the Gates of the Symplegades, they will forever thwart the apologists to get to the "truth." As is well known the gates of the Symplegades are the clashing rocks or clashing mountains that keep unworthy people out of the Isle of the Blessed, and when unworthies try to squeeze through them, they are crushed and sent to the underworld instead. One must have the truth and be able to tell it in order to pass that barrier. Gad and Grindael are the gates through which apologists cannot pass as they are always caught with problems. (See Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, "Symplegades," in Traditional Art and Symbolism, Bollingen Series LXXXIX, Princeton University Press, 1977: 521-544) for delightful description and why this metaphor so perfectly fits the guardians to historical truth, against ribaldly bad assumptions of Mormon scholars our very own Gad and Grindael. I cannot possibly give you two a higher compliment.
Is Midgely serious? Peterson's blog is a patty-cake, surface only, all too frequently plagiarized bit of ephemeral nonsense. Why would anyone suppose avatars must be real? Midgley has lost his tiny little mind. Maybe he can go over to never-neverland and harass Peter Pan for not really knowing how to fly. -Lemmie-

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Lemmie wrote:This thread deserves a bump, given Gadianton’s quite prescient explanation, over a year ago, of the options most likely to be taken by apologists when considering the both the alleged historicity and the alleged miraculous nature of the Book of Mormon.

Recall first Skousen’s most recent comment:

....What this means is that the Book of Mormon is a creative and cultural translation of what was on the plates, not a literal one.

Based on the linguistic evidence, the translation must have involved serious intervention from the English-language translator, who was not Joseph Smith.

Nonetheless, the text was revealed to Joseph Smith by means of his translation instrument, and he read it off word for word to his scribe. To our modern-day, skeptical minds, this is indeed “a marvelous work and a wonder”.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... ion-1.html

And now, some excerpts from the OP of this thread:

[SNIP!]

Gadianton anticipated the current position quite well, didn’t he? Well done.


Of course--he's the Dean!
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Gadianton »

ha, thanks guys. Well, I have to say, I didn't at all predict the obvious angle Skousen is taking here, mine was just a general observation. I feel like there was enough information though to predict what Skousen is saying now years ago. He's said many times it's a "fifteenth century text", meaning not just 15th century wording. You really can't say that without it meaning exactly what he's saying here.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Kishkumen »

It may be true that others might have seen the ancient fictional Book of Mormon theory coming down the pike, but only our dear Dean outlined the mechanisms by which it would come about with such perspicacity.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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What's sad is that our Dean will probably never be recognized by the wider Mormon community for the contributions he has made to the study of mopologetics and the correct prediction he made regarding why EmodE is a thing among the mopologists. There had to be a reason why money was invested in such a crazy theory and our Dean was first to see the forest among the ghost committee trees.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Lemmie »

Peter Pan in never never land has weighed in on why Skousen’s comment is nothing new, and, in point of fact, ‘we’ve always taught that’:

In any event, what Neville seemingly fails to comprehend is that there is no such thing as a literal translation of a text—any text.

Every translation is a “creative and cultural translation” (Skousen’s phrase), to a greater or lesser extent. There’s no way to translate any text without injecting meaning into it that the original speaker or writer did not intend.

A “literal translation” is not only impossible, it would be gibberish to the intended audience.

https://www.nevillenevilleland.com/2020 ... ousen.html


:rolleyes:

Also, from the same link, Pan argues that one cannot simply disagree with a hypothesis. If the person presenting the hypothesis has done much work (notice that no reference to quality of work is mentioned), then one is REQUIRED to come up with an alternative hypothesis:

Now, Professor Skousen’s credentials and achievements do not automatically guarantee that his hypotheses on the origins of the Book of Mormon text are correct. He could be the world’s most educated and experienced scholar and still come to incorrect conclusions.

But the length and breadth of his scholarly work on the text of the Book of Mormon simply require one to take him seriously, engage his arguments in good faith, and—if one disagrees with his conclusions—come up with alternative hypotheses that fit the mountain of evidence that Skousen has assembled.


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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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I respect Dr. Skousen's faith experiences, and would not wish to attack those in any way. His religious belief is an internal evidence to him.

To assert that evidence toward a scholarly establishment of factual history, however, doesn't work. Internal evidence doesn't allow for academic interrogation. Neither does it leave room for a test of falsifiability.

Would Skousen answer, speaking of his work on the BofM and belief in it as an actual history of actual things that happened, the same question that Jenkins asked Hamblin?

Jenkins wrote:If you reply that no piece of external evidence could shake your belief, however overwhelming it might seem, then you are stating explicitly that your view is a matter of faith, and not of science, scholarship or history. If that is so, then there is no point in trying to argue the issue in such terms. It is purely internal to you. Just don’t pretend that you have any claim in the realm of science, scholarship or history.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Lemmie »

Jenkins:

...It is purely internal to you. Just don’t pretend that you have any claim in the realm of science, scholarship or history.



everything Jenkins wrote during the Jenkins-Hamblin debate was a pleasure to read, but that quote reminded me of one of his related posts, particularly in light of Pan’s expectation that all studies should be taken seriously, regardless of content. Every so often, Jenkins notes in one of his most entertaining posts, taking the fringe theories seriously can be enlightening:
Jenkins:

Here is the story. American Antiquity is a flagship publication of the Society for American Archaeology. Dating back to 1935, it is the sacred text of American archaeology, and is highly prestigious and authoritative. Naturally, it disdains fringe or crank pseudo-scholarship. However, this recent issue devotes its whole review section to reviewing and analyzing such works. A thoughtful introduction is supplied by Donald Holly’s “Talking to the Guy on the Airplane,” which recommends that scholars treat pseudo-archaeology seriously. Or at least, seriously enough to present reasons why it is wrong, rather than merely ignoring it....

I suspect there were some intriguing interactions when leading scholars received Holly’s approaches, with a “You want me to review WHAT?!”

The whole blog entry is great, with some fascinating links, and includes an extremely relevant part:

I’m not saying that pseudo-archaeology is always based on crackpot racial theories and notions of White supremacy, and other races have their claims. Most of the time, though, the fringe claims are pointing us to various Lost Masters of the Great White Race....

From “Flying Pigs and Abominable Beasts”

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbe ... le-beasts/


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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Gadianton »

great find, Lemmie.


In any event, what Neville seemingly fails to comprehend is that there is no such thing as a literal translation of a text—any text.

Every translation is a “creative and cultural translation” (Skousen’s phrase), to a greater or lesser extent. There’s no way to translate any text without injecting meaning into it that the original speaker or writer did not intend.

A “literal translation” is not only impossible, it would be gibberish to the intended audience.


This is totally dumb. I welcome Mr. Pan to register on this forum for a chat on semiotics and post-structuralism, but it's irrelevant since it has nothing to do with Skousen's point. And Skousen, like DCP, most certainly reject the premises of Pan's apologetics, but DCP at least would never openly disagree with somebody defending the Fund.

Skousen clearly believes there is a such thing as a literal translation that stands in clear contrast to his cultural translation idea.

by the way, it's worth mentioning that long ago, Dr. Shades established the reclusive nature of Skousen's work; that he marches to the beat of his own drum. The motives of the apologists and he were totally different going into this joint venture. Whether that is changing is an interesting question, but this is a perfect example of where the apologists and Skousen are at odds.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Lemmie »

The flip side of fiction is historicity. Being so long out of the church, I am a little curious how current LDS church members continue to make the argument for historicity, but the argument below is one I haven’t heard stated quite like this:
Smac97:

In contrast, The Book of Mormon is differently situated from the Bible. There is a built-in gap in its historical transmission, consisting of some 1,400 years from when Moroni buried the plates to 1823, when the plates were re-discovered by Joseph Smith, Jr. This “transmission gap” effectively precludes a naturalistic explanation of the text’s antiquity.

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/725 ... 1209953299



What?!!! There is so much layered into this. Is he arguing for or against the antiquity of the text? Is he saying there HAS to be a non-literal, supernatural explanation? Is he admitting that the text did NOT exist on this planet, buried away for 1400 years? I thought the angel just told Smith where to dig up the plates, but he seems to be arguing they weren’t really there at all, naturalistically.

He goes on:
Consequently, if we someday discover persuasive archaeological or other evidence for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon, such evidence would have a more persuasive impact on the veracity of the book's truth claims than would archaeological evidence for the Bible impact that book's truth claims.

Put another way, the antiquity and truth claims of The Book of Mormon are intertwined, such that evidence of the former may simultaneously be evidence of the latter.


Hm. I seem to recall Symmachus explaining the error of conflating ancient and true, in another thread.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Kishkumen »

Gadianton wrote:great find, Lemmie.


In any event, what Neville seemingly fails to comprehend is that there is no such thing as a literal translation of a text—any text.

Every translation is a “creative and cultural translation” (Skousen’s phrase), to a greater or lesser extent. There’s no way to translate any text without injecting meaning into it that the original speaker or writer did not intend.

A “literal translation” is not only impossible, it would be gibberish to the intended audience.


This is totally dumb.


Translation is interpretation, and there is nothing particularly dumb about that.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

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Lemmie wrote:The flip side of fiction is historicity.


Of course, what they argued in the case of the Book of Abraham is for ancient pseudepigrapha. The categories of fiction and history may not really work to describe what the Book of Mormon is or is not. How we choose to describe a book held sacred by a fairly sizable religious tradition makes a difference to them and reflects on us.

On the one hand, we may think of the issue as being as simple as "happened or did not happen," but it must be noted that the literature that most inspired the creation of the Book of Mormon, namely the Bible, is full of works that have dubious historical information. Some of it is clearly in the "did not happen" category. Is the stark choice between insisting on a wrongheaded historicity or embracing the idea that scripture is little different from the historical fiction of Robert Graves? I don't think so.

I believe it is necessary to engage in the difficult discussion of what scripture is when considering how this literature ought to be treated by interested outsiders. To apply questionably applicable categories in an arbitrary way for the purposes of polemicizing what is happening in the community of believers is unproductive.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Lemmie »

Kishkumen wrote:
Lemmie wrote:The flip side of fiction is historicity.


Of course, what they argued in the case of the Book of Abraham is for ancient pseudepigrapha. The categories of fiction and history may not really work to describe what the Book of Mormon is or is not. How we choose to describe a book held sacred by a fairly sizable religious tradition makes a difference to them and reflects on us.

Since you quoted me, I’m not sure if the we and us you speak of includes me or if you mean it more from a research perspective. It is not my field of research, so I am not undertaking to categorize or describe, but, as I put it, just understand, and for a very specific reason:
Being so long out of the church, I am a little curious how current LDS church members continue to make the argument for historicity...




On the one hand, we may think of the issue as being as simple as "happened or did not happen," but it must be noted that the literature that most inspired the creation of the Book of Mormon, namely the Bible, is full of works that have dubious historical information. Some of it is clearly in the "did not happen" category. Is the stark choice between insisting on a wrongheaded historicity or embracing the idea that scripture is little different from the historical fiction of Robert Graves? I don't think so.

No argument there, but the person I quoted doesn’t agree. Is his position typical within believers?

I believe it is necessary to engage in the difficult discussion of what scripture is when considering how this literature ought to be treated by interested outsiders. To apply questionably applicable categories in an arbitrary way for the purposes of polemicizing what is happening in the community of believers is unproductive.


Again, no argument there, assuming you mean smac’s arguments are polemicizing? That’s certainly obvious from the thread I quoted. My intent is to learn what the typical member thinks about this.

Maybe I am asking the wrong question. Is there a difference in how apologists treat this question, as compared to the beliefs and assumptions of the typical LDS believer? I was getting ready to ask this question in another thread, but under the circumstances, maybe it is just as applicable to expand on my point here:

I’m curious what the typical LDS believer really thinks about Book of Mormon historicity. I’ve been out for a long time, and during any contact with LDS family members, no one, and I mean NO ONE, broaches the subject, or anything anywhere near it, with me. EVER. (I wonder why? :rolleyes: )

I know reading comments at more faithful sites and forums is not really a typical cross-section, but it’s what I’ve got at the moment, so I’m curious what people think of this summary by Smac97, at MDD:



Daniel Peterson and others (such as Bill Hamblin and Ryan Dahle) are addressing the evidence (which you somehow continue to insist does not exist).

They are addressing the ramifications of divergent opinions about the origins of The Book of Mormon. The LDS Church[‘s position] [sic] is that Joseph Smith was telling the truth. That explanation, while audacious, is nevertheless "simple and elegant."

In contrast, alternative naturalistic explanations "just don't work and they get more and more complex," to the point of implausibility (and operating well beyond any notions of supporting evidence).

Dr. Peterson, noting this implausibility to a critic, got a response of "I don’t have to lower myself to your simplistic little dichotomies.”

Here's we're getting a response ("I'm not sure we're even speaking the same language") that is saying pretty much the same thing.

It's a refusal to address the evidence. A refusal to explore and acknowledge the ramifications (and, frankly, the flaws) in the alternative naturalistic explanations for The Book of Mormon.

Of course, the critics/opponents of the Church are not obligated to provide a coherent counter-explanation for The Book of Mormon. But the point is, they have not been able to.

We're coming up on nearly 200 years since the original publication of the text, and yet when the chips are down, and when a well-informed person like Daniel Peterson (or Ryan Dahle) argues for the plausibility of the LDS position, we don't get reasoned responses and rebuttals. We get glib sarcasm. We get curt dismissals. We get anything but an engagement of the evidence.

This is part of why Daniel Peterson "can't manage to disbelieve," and why he suggests to critics (correctly, in my view) that "it’s intellectually incumbent upon people like that to, come on, give us an answer to this. Otherwise it’s like guerrilla warfare. You attack and attack and attack, you always withdraw, you never defend territory. You never have to stake out your own explanation, which then will be subject to criticism and attack."

This is likely why Ryan Dahle seems to be suggesting, in the absence of a coherent counter-explanation re: historicity, "the evidences in favor of faith are collectively better than the current competing arguments."

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/725 ... 1209953460

[bolding and breaks added for clarity and emphasis]

As kishkumen pointed out, a more reasoned assessment of scripture is called for than the polemical position above. Is historicity simply not something the average LDS believer worries about the way apologists do?

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

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I think the average member simply assumes historicity. It is in the discussion between different scholars, and the fight between apologist and critic, that the issue becomes more interesting. Honestly I look at what a person like smac has to say and I just don't care all that much. It will take scholars coming up with better ways to think about scripture and then those ideas filtering down into LDS discourse before any healthy change comes about.

Right now there are a lot of arguments founded on irrelevant questions. Indeed, I would say that irrelevant questions dominate the discussion.

Anyone who seriously studies the history of the world is going to see, fairly quickly, that Biblical literature and Mormon scripture are not reliable guides to the events of antiquity. To assume the historicity of these texts is perilous if not simply ignorant. Unfortunately, the LDS Church seems to be devoted to a naïve historicist view of holy writ. Sure, some LDS writers and speakers cautiously deal with the scriptures in more interesting ways, but their work is virtually invisible to the majority of Mormons, if not by design, then certainly as a result of structural marginality.

The assumption of the antiquity of Mormon scripture is methodologically irresponsible. There are no solid grounds for believing that a 19th century English text is ancient that derive from the claims of an uneducated New York farm boy. He would not be qualified to verify the antiquity of the text, and he would have every reason to pass off a fraudulent claim for his own benefit.

If we cannot examine plates, there is no way to verify their age, origins, or the correspondence between the alleged characters engraved upon them and Joseph Smith's "translation."

In short, there is no good way to deal with the Book of Mormon as an ancient phenomenon. I would say the best way to deal with it in terms of the scholarly study of antiquity is as a case of the RECEPTION of antiquity. What does the Book of Mormon say about the interactions of 19th century Americans with the ancient world (i.e., their reception of it)?
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

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I think the average member simply assumes historicity. It is in the discussion between different scholars, and the fight between apologist and critic, that the issue becomes more interesting.


Academically, yes. Sadly, it’s the average member whose assumptions lead to shunning those who believe and/or live differently that have the larger impact on individual lives. It’s beyond frustrating to me to be reminded, through various interactions, that I have relatives who literally will not participate in the lives of my children, my spouse and myself because of the value they place on such “irrelevant” questions. Anyway. Moving on.

Thanks for your comment, it is a fascinating topic.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Gadianton »

Translation is interpretation, and there is nothing particularly dumb about that.


Yes Reverend, this is a case of people using the same words in different ways; thus, proving your point eh?

But it would be nonsense for Skousen to mean what Mr. Pan means. Skousen isn't making the point that all translations are creative and cultural translations. If you feel otherwise, then I suppose I must prepare myself for a spirited debate.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Kishkumen »

Lemmie wrote:Academically, yes. Sadly, it’s the average member whose assumptions lead to shunning those who believe and/or live differently that have the larger impact on individual lives. It’s beyond frustrating to me to be reminded, through various interactions, that I have relatives who literally will not participate in the lives of my children, my spouse and myself because of the value they place on such “irrelevant” questions. Anyway. Moving on.

Thanks for your comment, it is a fascinating topic.


Of course, the blunt-force approach to the problem is to prove to believers that the book is not really ancient. Right? Why I say irrelevant is partly because we know how poorly this often works. If problems like the travesty of a familial situation you are suffering are going to be addressed, then attacking Mormonism straight on will lead to a retrenchment of both sides. What everyone needs is room to deal with each other in a respectful way.

This is where the understanding of scripture can play an important role. If Mormons believe it is absolutely necessary that they and others accept that the Book of Mormon is a literal history of ancient American civilizations, then it will be impossible to talk to them about this issue. If, on the other hand, there is plenty of room for thinking about the text and its spiritual significance in other ways, that creates a lot more opportunities for mutual understanding. Agreement will be a much harder thing.

Of course, historicity of Mormon scripture is just one small area. There are many fundamental problems that divide believers from their formerly-believing family and friends. The LDS Church does an inadequate job of helping to preserve relationships in the context of a change in faith. Its need to attract and retain members outweighs its motivation to recapture hardened ex-believers. At some point, Mormons do not want to talk to us, because we are too far away from them.

Despite the fact that I think a lot of blame resides with the LDS Church, I do think that ex-believers could do more to help family and friends feel less threatened by their choice to leave the Church. One of the big initiatives of John Dehlin is to help families work through just the problem. The generational divide also ends up being a problem. Older members are less open than younger members to working through the problems in a therapeutic-style setting.

I also want to say, Lemmie, I am really sorry that your family is going through this. It is really heartbreaking to read about.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Lemmie »

Thanks for your comments, Kish. I was writing up a response when I noticed Midgley’s contribution to the conversation.

I will leave it here without comment.
Louis Midgley:

The one posting as Moksha, without intending to do so, actually does us a bit favor by demonstrating that those who intentionally turn against the gospel of Jesus Christ thereby become "carnal, selfish and devilish."

See Mosiah 3.

Hugh Nibley also liked to point out that they also become stupid.

This is also follows what is known as Novak's Rule.

I should also point out, for those who never knew or who have forgotten, Mosiah is a book found in the Book of Mormon.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... 4768345921


Sigh.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Kishkumen »

Hey, Lemmie:

LM is an extremist. It is his way to promote those kind of harsh, unkind views. I think in those outbursts he is best ignored. He does not represent the LDS Church or Christianity in saying such things. Instead, he is lashing out from his long, belligerent history of polemics and apologetics, which really have no place in the kind of conversation that would promote the nobler ideal of keeping the family together. Since the family is, according to LDS theology, a divine institution and the bedrock of civilization, we can justifiably privilege keeping the family together as opposed to nursing the venomous and divisive spirit of the self-appointed faith warriors like LM.
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“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Philo Sofee »

I think Lou Midgley is correct. Once I quit being an apologist, I immediately went and had my IQ checked. It dropped a swift 29 points. 6 months later I have slid yet another 8, and within 2 years, it went down, down, down, another 55 points! Good gracious, the Lord is stupidfying me! And just yesterday I put on the ole IQ helmet, plugged it in, and after the engine warmed up and whirred smoothly, the digital readout was all the way down to 83.... so, the prophecy is fulfilled! I have been stupidfied almost 100 whole solid IQ points! An......an.......an I wents out on Sunday and boughts me an ice cream cone. My tongue has become carnal, sensual and ice-creamish! Whoa.........this is gittin serious man! I wonder if can pray the IQ up a bit so I isnts so dumbly these days....... But then punishment is as punishment does. Perhaps I better go back to the good ole reliable seer stone I found in a creek while hunting and let it educate me in Reformed Egyptian again to sort of like give me a boost of intelligence......... Or else just quit pluggin in that stupid IQ machine. If there is no test, there is no evidence, and then I wouldn't being going down the slippery slope of stupidfy forever!!!

And I'm willing to bet that since all the testimony totin Mormans are at leasts 133 IQ points above the average of the world, since the Lord intends to keeps us stupids until we repents of our sinnses........ it's the just and loving gracious way......
Is Midgely serious? Peterson's blog is a patty-cake, surface only, all too frequently plagiarized bit of ephemeral nonsense. Why would anyone suppose avatars must be real? Midgley has lost his tiny little mind. Maybe he can go over to never-neverland and harass Peter Pan for not really knowing how to fly. -Lemmie-

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Dr Moore »

Novak's Rule is a cult tactic. It serves no other aim.

If any leader tried to impose Novak's rule on one of my kids, that leader and his file leader would both hear all hell from me.

I'm surprised Dr. Peterson would allow such a reference to stay on his blog. Have we really not moved beyond such emotionally abusive fear indulgence yet?

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