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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:06 pm 
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beastie wrote:
I haven't read all the replies, but have been meaning to add a comment since this thread started. Mormon apologists are a classic example of what Shermer discusses in his book, Why People Believe Weird Things. In particular, smart people believe weird things for nonsmart reasons, but then apply their "smart skills" to defending the weird thing. Men in particular are more prone to this than woman, according to Shermer.



Your prejudiced (highly biased, stereotyped, sexist) analysis of Mormon apologists is a classic example of what George Fuechsel coined as "garbage in, garbage out". ;-)


Well, let's see. On the one hand we have Michael Shermer, and on the other hand we have Wade.

I beg to differ in regards to which source could rightly be labeled "garbage".

Aside from that bit of wadism, tell me: do intelligent people believe in completely erroneous belief systems, wade? And are they inclined to defend their completely erroneous belief systems?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:44 pm 
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And thus Talmage once again reveals his seeming incapacity for three-dimensional thinking. He would have us believe that if we appeal to the existence and reliability of occult knowledge – the metaphysical, then we cannot simultaneously appeal to the empirical.


---Your comment contains a subtle and misleading twist on my view.

That view is this: Mormon belief (like many other types) relies on an appeal to occult sources of knowledge; and occult sources of knowledge (or "knowledge") by definition deny the constraints of empiricism and logic. Therefore, Mormon belief at its core relies on a denial of the constraints imposed by empiricism and logic.

Now, it is perfectly possible to ground a faith in an occult source ("I heard voices speaking to me", etc.), AND then, after that initial occult-driven commitment to a certain proposition has been made, employ (albeit in necessarily ad hoc fashion) empirically-derived arguments in defense of that faith. And in fact that is a very common occurrence. The FARMS folks do just that everyday. You seem to, too. We all did it.

To me it seems that all you're doing is agreeing with me, while imagining that you're disagreeing with me.

Quote:
This, of course, is quite predictable – for once one makes the jump to absolute naturalism, then there can be no further accommodation of the metaphysical in the equations that seek to explain our existence. Needless to say, those who have experienced, firsthand, the concrete clarity of such occult transmissions, have come to recognize that everything in this world is, at its most fundamental level, transitory and therefore inherently unreliable – whereas the communications from beyond the veil speak of things as they really are and as they really will be.


---I guess where we differ, William, is in how we weight the reliability of occult versus empirical sources of "knowledge", even where occult experiences seem blazingly real, perhaps even more real than anything we normally experience.

For example, there are many thousands of people on the earth who claim that Jesus, or Allah, or Mary, or their dead grandpa, or aliens, have clearly spoken to them, or appeared to them. They claim that these "people" have told them to do everything from joining a particular church, to marrying a certain person, to killing their children or others, to immolating themselves so as to kill Israeli Jews or Americans...Sometimes the voices tell people that they are Jesus, or the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, or a servant girl in the court of Elizabeth the First. I know one woman who sincerely believes she channels an aboriginal medicine woman who died 550 years ago. This departed woman, it is claimed, speaks through this lady to others seeking guidance - and charges a lot of money per hour.

So I would say this. Because occult experiences can convince someone to overcome their most ferocious instincts - like avoiding violent death - we KNOW they seem blazingly, undeniably REAL to those having them. We know that. We even know it because of our own experiences. What would we NOT do for "the one true gospel", if we were convinced that God had told us to do it?

And yet, you and I would both agree that in almost all the cases I mentioned above, that it is far more likely that the voice telling someone to, I don't know, kill someone, or start taking heroin, isn't coming from a dead person, or Mary, or Jesus, at all. We would say it is far more likely, given all we know empirically about the human brain, that many, if not all, of these experiences, have a less than supernatural explanation. The truth, once again, is that you and I would probably agree that most occult sources of "knowledge" are not what their recipients claim; the only difference is that I look with similar skepticism on all occult experiences, while evidently you grant exemptions to those who believe just like you do. Understandable enough...but not exactly convincing given everything else mentioned here, and given what we would expect to find if Mormon occult experiences really conferred the kind of knowledge they are claimed to.

Quote:
You see, I was quite clear in my descriptions of the nature of the metaphysical communications to which I referred – and to which many others have referred over the years. I’m talking about articulated intelligence.


---That's fine; all my points still stand. They await your reply.

Quote:
Although I will give you credit for a measure of unique eloquence, you’re following a very typical pattern here; one which I have observed several times over the course of my life. In a way, I feel a sense of sorrow for you.


---Thanks!
Quote:
By all indications, you might have excelled in righteousness.


---That's funny - a team of amateur goons from your church have spent the last four years announcing online that they "know me personally", and that I "never had a calling", that I was always a "floater", that I loved the music biz more than the gospel (in fact I've always hated the music biz, and always loved the church), etc. However could you have gotten the impression I was anything other than a lout?

Quote:
On the other hand, your apparent inability to resist the urge to cover your sins, gratify your pride, and aspire to the honors of men has rendered you defenseless against the malady which has now consumed you.


---You mean, the "sin" of acknowledging that Joseph Smith didn't tell the truth about his experiences?

But even you acknowledge that to an extent, William; even you know that Smith was a talented and prolific liar in the case of his sexual life. Even you know that he got up and bore false witness against Law and company, calling them "perjurers", and announced that he only had "one wife", when in fact he had several dozen at the time. Even you know that he lied repeatedly to his mother, to his brother, to his wife, to his children, to his friends, to various officials and newspaper editors, and to the whole church, about his "polygamy"/sexual experiences. By that you know that he was comfortable lying; and you also know just how convincing he was, by the sheer number of his followers who believed him, when we know now that he was lying.

And remember, William - Mr. Smith was lying about a supposedly important religious doctrine, and supposedly important religious experiences. So, the truth is that you acknowledge just what I acknowledge, only to a lesser degree at present. It is a difference of degree only.

Quote:
In any event, I will simply reiterate, for the benefit of our readers, that revelation, as it is understood and has been experienced by many, is much, much more than a feeling. Subjective “feelings” might attract and even convince a considerable number of people to pursue a life path, but the level of communication to which I refer goes far beyond any fleeting sensation of well-being. Rather, as stated previously, it consists of articulated intelligence – although its “articulation” often challenges and sometimes defies the capacity of human language to convey second-hand.


---Is that where you found out about all the sins I'm trying to hide?
Quote:
So, I welcome you to continue “to kick against the pricks,” but, in time, you’ll see – like all those who have preceded you in this venture – that it was all an exercise in futility.


---I think I would like it if in fact there were any pricks for anyone to kick against. I would like to believe that there is a "one true way" on the planet that I could follow.

But the sad truth, as far as I can see, is that there are no "pricks". Here, there is only a religion, unique in many ways, but identical in the most important respect to all the others.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:39 am 
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I guess where we differ, William, is in how we weight the reliability of occult versus empirical sources of "knowledge", even where occult experiences seem blazingly real, perhaps even more real than anything we normally experience.

I’m quite confident you have no capacity to “weight the reliability” of something you have never experienced.

Quote:
For example, there are many thousands of people on the earth who claim that Jesus, or Allah, or Mary, or their dead grandpa, or aliens, have clearly spoken to them, or appeared to them.

… and charges a lot of money per hour.

Yes, no doubt.

Again, you have no capacity to “weight the reliability” of something you have never experienced. All you can do is attempt to apply, by analogy, both ineptly and inaptly, something you do understand to something you do not.

Of course, this is quite predictable, and demonstrates remarkable consistency with those who have followed, beforehand, the course you are currently pursuing.

Quote:
… even you know that Smith was a talented and prolific liar in the case of his sexual life. Even you know that he got up and bore false witness against Law and company, calling them "perjurers", and announced that he only had "one wife", when in fact he had several dozen at the time. Even you know that he lied repeatedly to his mother, to his brother, to his wife, to his children, to his friends, to various officials and newspaper editors, and to the whole church, about his "polygamy"/sexual experiences. By that you know that he was comfortable lying; and you also know just how convincing he was, by the sheer number of his followers who believed him, when we know now that he was lying.

Believe me when I tell you I am well-versed in all the original sources. Unlike your recently-prosecuted dalliance in LDS history, many of us have made the study of these things a life-long pursuit. Strangely enough, our conclusions – based on the totality of the historical evidence – differ greatly from your own. No doubt you will explain this seeming inconsistency on the fact that your eyes are “fresher” – having arrived so late to the game.

I suspect a better explanation is to be found here:

Quote:
… those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.

What I do know is that, of those who knew Joseph Smith the best, the longest, the most intimately – having occasion for many years to observe him in public and in private – none shared in the views of the Laws, Higbees, Fosters, et al.

Perhaps they were all anxious to preserve their privileges of bacchanalian pleasure along with their revered prophet?

Or perhaps the tales of libidinous excess are not to be believed?

We know your judgment in the matter. And we gladly grant unto you your privilege of an opinion.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure what your fevered indictment of Joseph Smith has to do with the clearly-stated claims to personal revelation made by those who know. You see, we do not rely on our faith in others and what they claim to have seen, heard, or learned.

Neither do those who have “grown into the principle of revelation” depend on the inarticulate confirmation of some vague, fleeting “feelings”. What we know, we know with spiritual and intellectual certainty. It is as empirical as anything could ever be, this knowledge that has been verified by repeated experiments.

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… I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, … by this shall you know all things whatsoever you desire of me …

Quote:
And I … did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.


The combined power of those who know is something against which their impotent enemies strike in futility. Though a charismatic and persuasive few, like you and McCue, might claim a handful of strays – the caravan rolls on. And it will continue long after the names McCue and Bachman have been added to the forgotten rolls of those who have drowned in the Lethe before you.

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... every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol ...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:03 pm 
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Quote:
William Schryver wrote:
I’m quite confident you have no capacity to “weight the reliability” of something you have never experienced.


---How silly you sound...

Quote:
Believe me when I tell you I am well-versed in all the original sources. Unlike your recently-prosecuted dalliance in LDS history, many of us have made the study of these things a life-long pursuit. Strangely enough, our conclusions – based on the totality of the historical evidence – differ greatly from your own. No doubt you will explain this seeming inconsistency on the fact that your eyes are “fresher” – having arrived so late to the game.


---Judging from your comments, I feel pretty certain I've read a lot more Mormon history, for a lot longer, than you have (I blew a lot of my royalty check money on LDS history for years). But I'm not so sure that even matters, because the truth is that assembling and reading through a mammoth LDS historical library isn't really necessary for determining the audacity and ease with which Smith lied about his sexcapades. All we really need to do is check the church's own genealogical site to confirm that by 1844, Smith had a lot more than "one wife", and then read his denials of that very fact in his sermon of May 26, 1844, which you can read in the church's own official history (in Volume 6).

In that sermon, those who had made public Smith's polygamous/extra-marital relationships were labeled by the Mormon founder as "false swearers". This was not true, and Smith knew it. In effect, he bore false witness against them. He then announced: "What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."

The truth is, as you will have gleaned from all the evidence as presented in treatments as diverse as those of Danel Bachman, Compton, Van Wagoner, and Avery and Newell, is that at the time that Smith denied having more than one wife, he had upwards of three dozen. His comments were at best indicative of a spectacularly selective amnesia; at worst, they constituted conscious, comfortable, very aggressive lying about what was supposedly one of Smith's private, sacred religious experiences, and a sacred principle of marriage. But either way, William...you and I must agree that Smith, on at least one point, was a very unreliable source of information about his religious experiences. Mustn't we?

So our views of Joseph Smith's reliability as a source of information about himself differ, at present, only in degree, don't they?

Your extensive reading in Mormon history will also have let you know that Emma Smith herself, upon finding out years after Smith's assassination just how deeply her late husband had deceived her, commented that that being the case, that he deserved to die as he did. (That was Emma Smith talking, not me).

Quote:
I suspect a better explanation is to be found here:

Quote:
… those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.

What I do know is that, of those who knew Joseph Smith the best, the longest, the most intimately – having occasion for many years to observe him in public and in private – none shared in the views of the Laws, Higbees, Fosters, et al.


---But William...before you fall for that one, consider: even if I myself were a pathological liar, an egomaniac, and a rampaging adulterous savage instead of a committed husband and father of eight...how would that affect what Joseph Smith and LDS church records themselves all tell you about Smith's credibility on at least one of his supposedly sacred experiences?

Don't you see? Don't you see how the old "those who cry transgression" quote is just a rah-rah slogan to shut down our critical faculties, a distraction, a totally irrelevant point? Joseph Smith lied to thousands and thousands of people about his experiences vis-à-vis polygamy, William. And one need not be guilty of similar "transgressions" to notice that. Take you, for example: I bet you are an honest person, entirely innocent of such transgressions. Yet you yourself must acknowledge that at least in this one case, Smith lied about his religious experiences. Mustn't you?

Does that mean you are a "child of disobedience"? Of course not.

So if we are interested in the question of whether Smith was a reliable source of information about his experiences, why don't we do the right thing, and stop regarding the noticing of evidence of unreliability as "proof" that the noticer is a "child of disobedience"? Why don't we just approach it the same way we would, if we were investigating whether L. Ron Hubbard was a reliable source of information about himself? I want to suggest to you that there's no good reason to lash out at others, or accuse them of all sorts of sins, simply because they noticed from church records themselves, that Joseph Smith was not always a reliable source of information about his experiences.
Quote:
Nevertheless, I’m not sure what your fevered indictment of Joseph Smith has to do with the clearly-stated claims to personal revelation made by those who know. You see, we do not rely on our faith in others and what they claim to have seen, heard, or learned.


---I understand where you are coming from. So let me ask you a question I once asked my mom:

If Joseph Smith never really visited with God and Jesus, never really had any golden plates, and never really visited with Peter, James, and John, would you still say that Mormonism is all it claims to be?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:03 pm 
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Tal Bachman wrote:
---I understand where you are coming from. So let me ask you a question I once asked my mom:

If Joseph Smith never really visited with God and Jesus, never really had any golden plates, and never really visited with Peter, James, and John, would you still say that Mormonism is all it claims to be?


That depends. Would there be any founding events that take their place? Take away Joseph's visions, the Book of Mormon, the authority bestowed, and you wouldn't really be talking about Mormonism anymore. It would be something else.

_________________
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:58 pm 
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Talmage:
Quote:
---How silly you sound...

Eye of the beholder . . .

Quote:
--Judging from your comments, I feel pretty certain I've read a lot more Mormon history, for a lot longer, than you have . . .

How silly you sound . . .

Quote:
(... long litany of Joseph Smith’s alleged lies …)

Yawn.

Quote:
"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."

I love this quote, by the way. Note that he, quite carefully, didn’t specify which of his wives he was able to find at the time.

I love Joseph Smith, and I love the raw materialism of the kingdom of God he revealed.

Yes, Joseph Smith had more than one wife. And of the wives he had, I believe he had sexual relationships with most, if not all. And I don’t find cause for condemnation in anything he ever did! Why? Because I know the nature and character of God. And the God I know sanctioned all that Joseph Smith did – with probably a few exceptions. And if there were a few things Joseph did that didn’t meet with God’s full approbation – oh, well. He shot a good enough percentage to meet my standards. I’m sorry he didn’t live up to yours.

Again:
Quote:
Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them. But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.

I’m sure I will find it quite gratifying and even mildly amusing when all the over-righteous, self-congratulating “moralists” who have condemned Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others end up quite surprised when they find out what God is really like.

Quote:
Your extensive reading in Mormon history will also have let you know that Emma Smith herself, upon finding out years after Smith's assassination just how deeply her late husband had deceived her, commented that that being the case, that he deserved to die as he did. (That was Emma Smith talking, not me).

Actually, my “extensive reading in Mormon history” has already led me to believe that dear Sister Emma more than likely believed Joseph deserved to die in June of 1844, let alone “years after.” Emma had the same apparent visceral “moral outrage” towards Joseph that you do.

Quote:
---But William...before you fall for that one, consider: even if I myself were a pathological liar, an egomaniac, and a rampaging adulterous savage instead of a committed husband and father of eight...how would that affect of what Joseph Smith and LDS church records themselves all tell you (sic) about Smith's credibility on at least one point of supposedly sacred experience and doctrine?

My opinion of your personal moral rectitude (or lack thereof) is, obviously, irrelevant to the topic at hand. As for Joseph Smith’s credibility, I have no reason to doubt it in any material respect. But you’re more than welcome to see if you can dredge up something that will surprise me.

Quote:
Don't you see? Don't you see how the old "those who cry transgression" quote is just a rah-rah slogan to shut down our critical faculties, a distraction, a totally irrelevant point?

Quite to the contrary, it is precisely my “critical faculties” that have informed my judgment regarding those who accuse Joseph Smith (and Brigham Young, Porter Rockwell, etc.) of wrongdoing. It is my long-considered and often-confirmed observation that those who cry “transgression” the loudest when it comes to Joseph Smith, turn out to have a predilection for precisely the kind of debauchery they imagine him guilty of – hence the later polyamorous forays of so many of the piously-outraged contemporary condemners of Joseph Smith.

I never cease to be amused by the spirited denials of the apostate who never passes up an opportunity to assure us that his/her loss of faith had nothing to do with “sin.” You see, I’ve lost count of how many times in the last several decades I have scraped away the patina of their “intellectual integrity” and found a tawdry buggerer (or somesuch) lurking in the shadows. It’s just like John-Charles Duffy (see the most recent Dialogue) and his coming to the conclusion, within days of discovering what he considered the joys of buggering, that the Book of Mormon is not an authentic ancient history.

Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Now I don’t give a damn how Duffy or Quinn or anyone else chooses to get his rocks off. I am simply not impressed by the pious finger-wagging with which the average apostate (many of whom participate frequently here in Shadyville) so often heaps condemnation upon Joseph Smith and his alleged licentiousness.

Quote:
… you yourself must acknowledge that at least in this one case, Smith lied about his religious experiences.

I do not perceive any relationship whatsoever between Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo-era public references to plural marriage and “his religious experiences” – whatever exactly you mean by that ambiguous phrase. If you intend to imply that, if Joseph Smith “lied” about his participation in plural marriage in 1844, that it brings into question the reality of his first vision in 1820, or the visit of Moroni in 1823 – well, as I said, I discern no perceptible relationship between these things.

Quote:
So if we are interested in the question of whether Smith was a reliable source of information about his experiences, why don't we do the right thing …

“The Right Thing?” ??? What might that be?

Certainly a careful examination of the available material evidence is an indispensable aspect of such an investigation. But, in my estimation, there is no way to divorce any sophic examination of the history of Joseph Smith from its mantic counterpart. Hence the necessity of developing one’s acuity of spiritual sight, or, in other words, “growing into the principle of revelation.”

I am convinced that those who limit their examination of Joseph Smith to exclusively sophic approaches will always, in the end, conclude him to be a fraud – pious or otherwise. Only those who have mastered the ways by which mantic knowledge is acquired and interpreted can ever hope to understand God and his dealings with mankind, whether through prophets or through the personal ministrations of the Spirit of God.
Quote:
If Joseph Smith never really visited with God and Jesus, never really had any golden plates, and never really visited with Peter, James, and John, would you still say that Mormonism is all it claims to be?

I’m not convinced that you and I mean the same thing when we speak, respectively, of what Mormonism “claims to be.”

Nonetheless, if the things you list were fantasy instead of reality, Mormonism could not be what it claims to be – according to my understanding of the phrase. Simply put, if there were no Moroni, no actual plates, no Nephites – there is nothing else, either. It’s a lie, and any other descriptor of fraud you might suggest.

On the other hand, if there were really no Moroni, no actual plates, no Nephites, etc., I am convinced that the “church” Joseph Smith founded would have never survived after his death, let alone grow steadily to the present day – not that its continued existence and growth are evidences of its truth, but simply because I consider the nature of its foundational claims such that, if not true, it would have failed long before now.

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... every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol ...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:28 pm 
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Will,

You are a pretentious, verbally flamboyant, melodramatic smoked mirror. Among your laughable statements is this one, for example:

Quote:
On the other hand, if there were really no Moroni, no actual plates, no Nephites, etc., I am convinced that the “church” Joseph Smith founded would have never survived after his death, let alone grow steadily to the present day – not that its continued existence and growth are evidences of its truth, but simply because I consider the nature of its foundational claims such that, if not true, it would have failed long before now.


You must be kidding me. Mormons believe that all other religions are based on foundational claims that are, in the most crucial aspects (aside from generic jesusisms), "false". And yet they survived and thrived long past the deaths of their founders, too. Yet mormonism, for some bizarre reason, is in a category of its own in that if its foundational claims were "no true", it would have failed long ago? What a hoot.

I also enjoyed this tidbit:



Quote:
Yes, Joseph Smith had more than one wife. And of the wives he had, I believe he had sexual relationships with most, if not all. And I don’t find cause for condemnation in anything he ever did! Why? Because I know the nature and character of God. And the God I know sanctioned all that Joseph Smith did – with probably a few exceptions.


My, you are pretentious.

You also proclaim:



Quote:
I’m sure I will find it quite gratifying and even mildly amusing when all the over-righteous, self-congratulating “moralists” who have condemned Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others end up quite surprised when they find out what God is really like.


and then state:

Quote:
It is my long-considered and often-confirmed observation that those who cry “transgression” the loudest when it comes to Joseph Smith, turn out to have a predilection for precisely the kind of debauchery they imagine him guilty of – hence the later polyamorous forays of so many of the piously-outraged contemporary condemners of Joseph Smith.

I never cease to be amused by the spirited denials of the apostate who never passes up an opportunity to assure us that his/her loss of faith had nothing to do with “sin.” You see, I’ve lost count of how many times in the last several decades I have scraped away the patina of their “intellectual integrity” and found a tawdry buggerer (or somesuch) lurking in the shadows. It’s just like John-Charles Duffy (see the most recent Dialogue) and his coming to the conclusion, within days of discovering what he considered the joys of buggering, that the Book of Mormon is not an authentic ancient history.


Wow, thanks for the enlightenment regarding the nature of God! He's not a "moralist" and we'll be "surprised" to find out what he's really like (we must now add Uber Knowledge of the Character of God to Will's many spiritual gifts, along with the Super Spiritual Detector), but it's still moral sins that, in the Mind and Eye of Will, condemn them.

So straighten us out. God is fine with Joseph Smith marrying multiple women, including some women with pre-existent husbands, without taking care of them in any material way, while lying to Emma and church members about this practice, but don't ask him to tolerate "buggery" or "some-such". Even GOD has "standards."!

IOW, sexual libertinism is only ok when God sanctions it first. Like all mob leaders, God bestows many "privileges" among his alpha males.

LOL! It's a good thing most chapel Mormons have no idea of this garbage being pedaled on internet boards. Mormonism devolves into a pathetic exercise of self-indulgent, often repulsive, mental gymnastics at the hands of gifted dramatists such as Will. I imagine it would disgust even them.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:55 pm 
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Image[/list]

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One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:13 pm 
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Hey, LOAP, maybe one of the "surprising" things we lesser lights will learn about God one day is that he will sanction you having sex with that fish.

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We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:57 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."

I love this quote, by the way. Note that he, quite carefully, didn’t specify which of his wives he was able to find at the time.


[size=14]---Well, that is quite the telling statement. Perhaps it's my turn to feel sorry for you.

Quote:
I love Joseph Smith


---Yes, it sounds like it. Your comments almost remind me of the comments made even now by men who adored the Reverend Jones. He (they say) brought heaven to earth; he preached the truth like no one before him; when he spoke, the heavens opened and light shone, etc. But whether he was all he claimed to be...whether he was a reliable source of information about his experiences...well that is really the question, isn't it? And with Joseph Smith, in at least the case of polygamy, the answer is no, isn't it?

Quote:
Yes, Joseph Smith had more than one wife. And of the wives he had, I believe he had sexual relationships with most, if not all. And I don’t find cause for condemnation in anything he ever did! Why? Because I know the nature and character of God. And the God I know sanctioned all that Joseph Smith did – with probably a few exceptions.


---But once again you subtly twist the point into something less threatening to faith.

In my view, the important point here is that with regards to at least one important "personal religious experience", Joseph Smith (as you tacitly concede) deliberately, convincingly, and aggressively, misled others (or as it is known in Clintonian depositions and common parlance, "lied to others"). So whether Smith's deception met with God's approval (as you insist) or not, is entirely beside the point, isn't it? The point is only that you and I already have one excellent example of Smith (with God's approval or not) as an unreliable source of his supposedly sacred experiences.

Quote:
I’m sure I will find it quite gratifying and even mildly amusing when all the over-righteous, self-congratulating “moralists” who have condemned Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others end up quite surprised when they find out what God is really like.


---You are twisting the point here again. The thrust of my comments in my discussion with you (if you re-read them, you'll see) isn't to pass definitive moral judgment on early Mormon leaders. It is to acknowledge what you yourself tacitly acknowledged above: that Smith's lying about polygamy constitutes an undeniable example of Smith's unreliability as a source of information on one of his supposedly important religious experiences. To what extent Smith - or Mother Teresa or Pol Pot, for that matter - will be rewarded or punished in a future life is really irrelevant to me.

Quote:
Quote:
Your extensive reading in Mormon history will also have let you know that Emma Smith herself, upon finding out years after Smith's assassination just how deeply her late husband had deceived her, commented that that being the case, that he deserved to die as he did. (That was Emma Smith talking, not me).


[color=black]Actually, my “extensive reading in Mormon history” has already led me to believe that dear Sister Emma more than likely believed Joseph deserved to die in June of 1844, let alone “years after.” Emma had the same apparent visceral “moral outrage” towards Joseph that you do.


---So, let's see: Emma (like you and I) finds out that Joseph Smith is an unreliable source of information about his experiences. According to Smith, she then tries to murder him, twice. Later, she vicariously assents to his death. And "therefore", I too carry an Emma Smithian (that is, murderous) "visceral moral outrage"?

To me, that's very much a non sequitir. It is especially surprising given that while you yourself know that Smith misled others in his comments about polygamy, that you still "love" him. That ought to tell you that it is entirely possible - for Mormons, former Mormons, and never Mormons - to acknowledge that Smith (like everyone else who's ever lived) was not always a reliable source of information about his experiences, without consenting (like his wife) to his murder. How free you are with your own moral accusations - perhaps it is an expression of just that rejection of contraints on what we may justifiably believe which we began with.

Quote:
As for Joseph Smith’s credibility, I have no reason to doubt it in any material respect.


---Yet you yourself, above, conceded that Smith indulged in some seriously misleading "private word redefinition", a la Bill Clinton, in announcing that he could "only find one" wife.

Quote:
Quite to the contrary, it is precisely my “critical faculties” that have informed my judgment regarding those who accuse Joseph Smith (and Brigham Young, Porter Rockwell, etc.) of wrongdoing. It is my long-considered and often-confirmed observation that those who cry “transgression” the loudest when it comes to Joseph Smith, turn out to have a predilection for precisely the kind of debauchery they imagine him guilty of – hence the later polyamorous forays of so many of the piously-outraged contemporary condemners of Joseph Smith.


---Once again, the point here isn't possible "wrongdoing", but rather a question of unreliability as a source of information about a supposedly sacred experience.

After all, William, as believing Mormons, we could find out that Joseph Smith roasted and ate small children, or was a serial rapist, and still find a way to make that okay, couldn't we? The argument would go like this:

"The Prophet may have roasted and eaten small children; but that doesn't mean he didn't see God, or translate golden plates. I am content to leave the judging in the Lord's hands. No one ever said the prophets were perfect".

No problem, is it?

Quote:
I never cease to be amused by the spirited denials of the apostate who never passes up an opportunity to assure us that his/her loss of faith had nothing to do with “sin.”


---I'm curious: which sin do you think I committed, which inexorably induced me to conclude that Joseph Smith didn't tell the truth about his sacred experiences?

Quote:
Funny how that works, isn’t it?


---I'm not sure that being so in the throes of delusion, and what sorts of things that inspires us to think and say of others, is all that "funny". I think it's actually more sad.

Still, one day you may be happy to know that, for what it's worth, I regard every single comment like yours as nothing less than I deserve, not because what you say is true, but because I myself, as a member, thought and said just those same things about others, as you do now of me. And if the day ever comes when you acknowledge that, whatever else it may be, Mormonism simply cannot be what it claims, you will also begin to hear just those same things about yourself. You will encounter insinuations - or outright accusations - by people who "know", just by virtue of your conclusions, that you are guilty of serious sins: perjury, adultery, intemperance, greed, lust for status, anything and everything. It won't matter to them whether it's true or not, because they'll already "know".

Why do we instinctively character assassinate those who end up concluding that Mormonism cannot be what it claims? I think, because when we are in such a pleasing psychological state, being convinced that we are right and so many others are wrong, with the institution facilitating the meeting of so many of our most basic needs, we have no greater desire than to stay in just that state, forever. And we will tell ourselves anything - anything - to keep us in that state, and to avoid the sorrow (and fear and horror) of having it burst. The image of those who leave must be destroyed; they cannot be permitted to exist as embodiments of possibly valid conclusions having nothing to do with nefarious motives. That cannot be contemplated. These people must be vicariously destroyed. And we do it just like you're doing it to me here, by sly smears.

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Quote:
… you yourself must acknowledge that at least in this one case, Smith lied about his religious experiences.


I do not perceive any relationship whatsoever between Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo-era public references to plural marriage and “his religious experiences” – whatever exactly you mean by that ambiguous phrase.


---What I mean is this: Smith claimed to have received a revelation from God - supposedly to be enforced, as you may know, by a sword-wielding, homicidal angel - that polygamy should be lived by certain folks, most importantly, himself. He then repeatedly denied - to his wife, to his ma, to his brothers, to the church at large - having received any such relevation. He denied ever acting on that revelation. He "married" his teenaged foster daughters, the wives and daughters of his friends, etc., slept with them in obedience to his revelation, and then lied about it.

So if we only stick to orthodox sources, we must conclude (regardless of whether God approved) that:

Joseph Smith aggressively, repeatedly, and convincingly lied about a supposedly important religious experience involving an angel and revelations from God.


And that, to me, is a conclusion which must be in mind when we are considering Smith's other supposedly important religious experiences involving angels and revelations from God. For, is it not entirely possible that the aggressive, repeated, convincing lying employed by someone in denying an actual experience, could also be employed by that person in affirming a non-existent one?

I think so, but that's just me.

Quote:
So if we are interested in the question of whether Smith was a reliable source of information about his experiences, why don't we do the right thing …

“The Right Thing?” ??? What might that be?

---I would say, stop announcing, in lieu of rational discourse, that you "know" that those who disagree with you are guilty of heinous sins.

Quote:
I am convinced that those who limit their examination of Joseph Smith to exclusively sophic approaches will always, in the end, conclude him to be a fraud – pious or otherwise. Only those who have mastered the ways by which mantic knowledge is acquired and interpreted can ever hope to understand God and his dealings with mankind, whether through prophets or through the personal ministrations of the Spirit of God.


---But William, we started out here with you taking issue with my claim that Mormon belief relies on a denial of the constraints imposed on what we may justifiably believe by empiricism and logic. Yet you continue to affirm just that point, just using different language.

So we agree - believing in Mormonism requires the same denial of those constraints that believing in astrology, tarot reading, or the reliability of Bill Clinton does. That does not itself mean that Mormonism is a fraud. It does mean that, ultimately, belief in Mormonism relies on the same denials required for believing in other things which we would both agree are frauds.

Quote:
Nonetheless, if the things you list were fantasy instead of reality, Mormonism could not be what it claims to be – according to my understanding of the phrase. Simply put, if there were no Moroni, no actual plates, no Nephites – there is nothing else, either. It’s a lie, and any other descriptor of fraud you might suggest.


---I think that makes perfect sense, and I'm glad that we agree on that.

Quote:
On the other hand, if there were really no Moroni, no actual plates, no Nephites, etc., I am convinced that the “church” Joseph Smith founded would have never survived after his death, let alone grow steadily to the present day – not that its continued existence and growth are evidences of its truth, but simply because I consider the nature of its foundational claims such that, if not true, it would have failed long before now.
[/quote]

---I am curious to know, then, given that premise, how you would explain the continued existence of the Shakers, the Quakers, the Christian Scientists, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Moonies....?
[/size]


Last edited by Tal Bachman on Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:23 pm 
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beastie wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
beastie wrote:
I haven't read all the replies, but have been meaning to add a comment since this thread started. Mormon apologists are a classic example of what Shermer discusses in his book, Why People Believe Weird Things. In particular, smart people believe weird things for nonsmart reasons, but then apply their "smart skills" to defending the weird thing. Men in particular are more prone to this than woman, according to Shermer.


Your prejudiced (highly biased, stereotyped, sexist) analysis of Mormon apologists is a classic example of what George Fuechsel coined as "garbage in, garbage out". ;-)


Well, let's see. On the one hand we have Michael Shermer, and on the other hand we have Wade.

I beg to differ in regards to which source could rightly be labeled "garbage".


What you just said would make sinse if: 1) you are Michael Shermer, and 2) your book on "Why People Believe Weird Things" was in specific reference to LDS apologists. Otherwise, you are entirely confused (a common Beastie-ism, which is made all the more amazing by your alleging to teach comprehension skills to children) regarding the "source" I was clearly referring to--hint: it was you. (Bold included so as to prevent further confusion)

Quote:
Aside from that bit of wadism, tell me: do intelligent people believe in completely erroneous belief systems, wade? And are they inclined to defend their completely erroneous belief systems?


Not that I am aware.

However, I do believe intellegent people have differing beliefs from my own, and in that sense I may respectfully consider their belief systems, or at least portions thereof, to be in error (though certainly not "completely erroneous"). And, those same people are, at times and in some cases (though certainly not all), inclined to defend their belief systems.

I hope that helps.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Wade,

LOL! You said "garbage in, garbage out". I assumed you were talking about my statement with "garbage out", but what in the heck was the "garbage in", if not Shermer??? Could you at least TRY to make sense?

And your next response made as little sense. I asked if intelligent people believe erroneous things and are inclined to defend those beliefs...and you replied "not that I'm aware of" and then proceeded to assert that yes, intelligent people believe erroneous things and are inclined to defend those beliefs.

Now, after much pain and gnashing of teeth, we've established that yes, intelligent people do believe erroneous things and are inclined to defend those erroneous things, can you bring yourself to admit the validity of Michael Shermer's statement that I paraphrased?

Smart people can, and do, have erroneous beliefs. Let's use scientology as an easy example. Let's focus on one belief that I assume you will agree is erroneous: that thetans interfere with human thoughts and beliefs and cause human beings pain, and that specific training can eliminate the influence of Thetans.

Intelligent people believe this. Intelligent people defend it. Do you concede that they believe this idea for what Shermer calls "nonsmart" reasons, but then use their smart skills to defend those beliefs?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:46 pm 
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beastie wrote:
Hey, LOAP, maybe one of the "surprising" things we lesser lights will learn about God one day is that he will sanction you having sex with that fish.


I can always count on Shady Acres when I need some low brow jabs from some old lady.

PS- Tal: I like the whole "teaching by repetition" thing you have going on.

_________________
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:51 pm 
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Quote:
I can always count on Shady Acres when I need some low brow jabs from some old lady.


Old Lady??

I'll have you know I'm a youthful 50 years old. That is hardly "old".

Besides, it wasn't a low brow jab. I was just speculating. After all, the Spiritually Gifted Will assures us that we will be SURPRISED by God's true character. Given how God sent an angel with a flaming sword to force Joseph Smith to marry other women, including women who already had husbands and very young teenagers, sanctioned Joseph Smith lying about it all to Emma and church members, it wouldn't be surprising to find out that fishy sex is A-Ok with the Big Guy.

_________________
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:57 pm 
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beastie wrote:
Quote:
I can always count on Shady Acres when I need some low brow jabs from some old lady.


Old Lady??

I'll have you know I'm a youthful 50 years old. That is hardly "old".


I'm afraid that is quite old. Old enough to be my mother. In a non-Mormon family, at that.

_________________
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:15 pm 
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LifeOnaPlate wrote:
beastie wrote:
Quote:
I can always count on Shady Acres when I need some low brow jabs from some old lady.


Old Lady??

I'll have you know I'm a youthful 50 years old. That is hardly "old".


I'm afraid that is quite old. Old enough to be my mother. In a non-Mormon family, at that.


LOAP, you can get some brow jabs from me too. I'll gladly be an "old lady" like beastie. Matter of fact, I'd rather be that than a Mormon.... any day. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:41 pm 
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Moniker wrote:
LifeOnaPlate wrote:
beastie wrote:
Quote:
I can always count on Shady Acres when I need some low brow jabs from some old lady.


Old Lady??

I'll have you know I'm a youthful 50 years old. That is hardly "old".


I'm afraid that is quite old. Old enough to be my mother. In a non-Mormon family, at that.


LOAP, you can get some brow jabs from me too. I'll gladly be an "old lady" like beastie. Matter of fact, I'd rather be that than a Mormon.... any day. :)


What is a brow jab?

_________________
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:43 pm 
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I wondered the same thing......... ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:44 pm 
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LifeOnaPlate wrote:

What is a brow jab?


It's where you poke someone with your eyebrow. Deadly.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:45 pm 
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I have the necessary tools...

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:04 am 
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Moniker wrote:
I wondered the same thing......... ;)


Did you mean low brow?

_________________
One moment in annihilation's waste,
one moment, of the well of life to taste-
The stars are setting and the caravan
starts for the dawn of nothing; Oh, make haste!

-Omar Khayaam

*Be on the lookout for the forthcoming album from Jiminy Finn and the Moneydiggers.*


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