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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Doctor Scratch wrote:
John,
Do you think that the General Authorities are aware of what gets said on the message boards?


I don't think so. I think they have bigger fish to fry. That's just how I feel. Seems like they barely know that there's a strengthening the membership committee, or that we used to swear death oaths. ;)

(That was a BBC reference....) :)


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:17 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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Juggler Vain wrote:
Kishkumen wrote:
I am glad John showed up to set the record straight. It seems as though Greg Smith is really out to earn his stripes: gushing in risible hyperbole over Schryver's paper, attacking Rodney Meldrum, and now taking aim at John Dehlin. Here are the notches on the belt of an aspiring top-tier Mopologist. Shameless ambition, if you ask me.

Greg Smith has been at this "attack the critics" thing for a while, apparently on many different topical fronts. In early 2008, a fairly prominent religious art blogger, Menachem Wecker published an article about Images of the Restoration. His article noted that IOTR criticizes the Church for being dishonest about the Book of Mormon translation process, and his attempt to get a direct response from the Church resulted in a direct "no comment" from the Church spokesperson and a referral to FAIR for more information.


That's incredible. Church PR--which, as we've come to learn in the wake of the Randy Bott fiasco, is one of the main channels for establishing "Official Doctrine"--and they referred you to FAIR??? This suggests rather clearly that FAIR--at least in some cases--has even more authority than the Church Newsroom. This is astonishing.

Quote:
Almost immediately after publication of Menachem's article, Greg posted a FAIRwiki article that, according to the FAIR Blog, was a response to Wecker's reporting. Menachem mentioned the FAIRwiki article in a blog post, and my comments sparked a bizarre debate with Greg, in which Greg (1) openly acknowledged and attempted to defend his use of ad hominem attacks and (2) denied that the content of his FAIRwiki entry is a reflection of the opinions or views of FAIR (see his comment HERE).

Given Greg's belief in the validity of ad hominem attacks, and his willingness to take personal responsibility for those attacks without implicating the organization/publication he is writing for, he may be the perfect hired gun for a smear piece on Dehlin.

-JV


Thank you very much for posting this, JV. What a fascinating piece of Mopologetic history. Greg Smith was really very hostile in his comments--something that he tends to refrain from doing on the MDD messageboard. Very revealing. I guess he is following in Midgley's footsteps, eh? Louis "Woody" Midgley seemed to realize that he could never hack it in open, online debate, so he opted instead to do this sort of thing: to carefully choose his battles in the "Comments" sections of blogs, or else to have goons like Stan Barker post his invectives for him.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:27 pm 
I have a couple questions here:

1. Did the GA/s who stepped in to help John read the "hit piece"?

2. Who are these GAs? I think that's most important to know, considering the case made for "factions".

Personally, I think very highly of John, and Mormon Stories, but isn't this an irony, that some seem to essentially be supporting the very thing they have decried for years - censorship? Must we assume a priori, that this "hit piece" will be totally ad hominem and useless, simply because it comes from "apologists"?

I'd like to read it and judge for myself, even if privately, and then make suitable criticisms if necessary. Those criticisms might even go in favour of John. If it's nothing but a smear, and character assassination, or poor argumentation, then wouldn't that logically make FARMS/FAIR look even worse in the eyes of many who already don't have a very high opinion of them?


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:38 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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RayAgostini wrote:
I have a couple questions here:

1. Did the GA/s who stepped in to help John read the "hit piece"?

2. Who are these GAs? I think that's most important to know, considering the case made for "factions".

Personally, I think very highly of John, and Mormon Stories, but isn't this an irony, that some seem to essentially be supporting the very thing they have decried for years - censorship? Must we assume a priori, that this "hit piece" will be totally ad hominem and useless, simply because it comes from "apologists"?

I'd like to read it and judge for myself, even if privately, and then make suitable criticisms if necessary. Those criticisms might even go in favour of John. If it's nothing but a smear, and character assassination, or poor argumentation, then wouldn't that logically make FARMS/FAIR look even worse in the eyes of many who already don't have a very high opinion of them?


Those are great questions, Ray, and I agree: I'd be interested to read the original article, too.

Incidentally, I just moments ago received a fascinating PM in my Inbox. It said that, in fact, we *may* very well eventually see this article, albeit in a heavily bowdlerized form. I was even told the original title: "Dubious "Mormon" Stories That John Dehlin Tells to Me." I guess that's a play on the lyrics from "Book of Mormon Stories"? Apparently, the article was set up to portray John as a conniving "wolf in sheep's clothing" whose sold purpose is to lead the Saints out of the Church.

Also: I've been assured that the GA who intervened here was definitely *not* Elder Packer, since Packer is very close friends with Greg Smith's father-in-law.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:39 pm 
Quote:
Louis "Woody" Midgley


Image


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:41 pm 
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mormonstories wrote:
I am. Sort of. But not too much.


Well, not too much, I hope. I am thinking along the lines of more open criticism from the apologists.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Doctor Scratch wrote:
That's incredible. Church PR--which, as we've come to learn in the wake of the Randy Bott fiasco, is one of the main channels for establishing "Official Doctrine"--and they referred you to FAIR??? This suggests rather clearly that FAIR--at least in some cases--has even more authority than the Church Newsroom. This is astonishing.

That was very surprising to me too. Menachem Wecker thought he could get the Church's side of the story from the Church, but the Church introduced him to FAIR instead. He had to settle for an interview with David Keller, and David refused to speak for anybody but himself (not the Church, and not FAIR) in the interview. What was the point of the Church referral, then? Beats me.

Also, one point of clarification in my original post, above. I just looked at Greg's Iconia comments again, and I see that he didn't acknowledge that he was engaging in ad hominem attacks, at least not in any "fallacious sense." But he did seem to be saying, based on the historian's quote he provided and his agreement with it, that ad hominem attacks can be a perfectly legitimate tactic, outside of discussions relying purely on formal logic or "replicable experiments" in the scientific process.

-JV


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:48 pm 
Doctor Scratch wrote:
Apparently, the article was set up to portray John as a conniving "wolf in sheep's clothing" whose sold purpose is to lead the Saints out of the Church.


Nothing original about that, for me. One can see that coming like a bullet train. But I'd like to see the arguments in detail.


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Juggler Vain wrote:
Given Greg's belief in the validity of ad hominem attacks, and his willingness to take personal responsibility for those attacks without implicating the organization/publication he is writing for, he may be the perfect hired gun for a smear piece on Dehlin.

-JV


Then he and DCP are a match made in heaven, since DCP argued at length in favor of the ad hominem argument in the FROB. I am pretty sure that to this day he is a firm believer in the usefulness of such arguments.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Doctor Scratch wrote:
Also: I've been assured that the GA who intervened here was definitely *not* Elder Packer, since Packer is very close friends with Greg Smith's father-in-law.


The assumption seems to be that a member of the FP or Q12 intervened. Do we know this for a fact or could John's "savior" have been a lesser GA? Maybe John could address this.


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:21 pm 
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Yong Xi wrote:
The assumption seems to be that a member of the FP or Q12 intervened. Do we know this for a fact or could John's "savior" have been a lesser GA? Maybe John could address this.


It is doubtful that he will address it.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:38 pm 
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RayAgostini wrote:
I have a couple questions here:

1. Did the GA/s who stepped in to help John read the "hit piece"?


I doubt it. I don't know.

RayAgostini wrote:
I'd like to read it and judge for myself, even if privately, and then make suitable criticisms if necessary.


Me too.


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:50 pm 
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RayAgostini wrote:
Personally, I think very highly of John, and Mormon Stories, but isn't this an irony, that some seem to essentially be supporting the very thing they have decried for years - censorship? Must we assume a priori, that this "hit piece" will be totally ad hominem and useless, simply because it comes from "apologists"?

I'd like to read it and judge for myself, even if privately, and then make suitable criticisms if necessary. Those criticisms might even go in favour of John. If it's nothing but a smear, and character assassination, or poor argumentation, then wouldn't that logically make FARMS/FAIR look even worse in the eyes of many who already don't have a very high opinion of them?


I'd love to read it too. Here's the thing. Anyone who buys the "aw shucks we're just a bunch of guys sayin' stuff because we want to" schtick of these apologists is sorely mistaken. If the Church will refer people to FAIR for comment, and will intervene in the publication of apologetic articles, then what we have in LDS apologetics are agents, more or less directly, of the LDS Church who are taken as having enough 'wink-wink' authority to paint a large target on the back of anyone that they go after. These are the politics of exclusion in a society that does not have anything like the free speech ideal that many of us hold dear. Since John does not get equal time and space for a rebuttal, why should we lament when the attack has been silenced? If it saves John from getting excommunicated, then I am happy it never saw the light of day. Why should we rejoice in John being a martyr for the cause of free speech in an ecclesiastical society that has none to begin with?

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 9:17 pm 
Kishkumen wrote:
These are the politics of exclusion in a society that does not have anything like the free speech ideal that many of us hold dear. Since John does not get equal time and space for a rebuttal, why should we lament when the attack has been silenced? If it saves John from getting excommunicated, then I am happy it never saw the light of day. Why should we rejoice in John being a martyr for the cause of free speech in an ecclesiastical society that has none to begin with?


I see no reason why John, and others, will not be able to reply, even on the FAIR blog. I know it's not exactly the most friendly place for people like John (nor MDDB), but MDB isn't exactly the most friendly place for apologists, either. They have all the free speech they want here, but they're always vastly out-numbered, and consequently most of them have given up. So it works both ways. To say, or think, that John will be denied an opportunity to reply, doesn't wash with me. What are they going to do? Say "sorry but you're not allowed to reply here?" So how will his free speech be denied?

I think it would be a very serious mistake to excommunicate John, and if he must be excommunicated because of a FAIR/FARMS "hit piece", it's only going to open a greater flood of members leaving, IMO. Maybe that's what they want, to sort the "wheat from the tares"? If so, then so be it. It'll probably a good thing both ways, and instead of waiting for the Lord and his angels to do the sorting of the wheat and tares, the Church authorities can do it for him, with a "little" help from FAIR.

In my opinion John is one of the fairest and most balanced observers commenting on Mormonism today, and has given both apologists and critics a fair go on Mormon Stories. His own "journey" has been inspiring to many who've struggled with the controversies, and while some may have left the Church because of that (one reason he earlier stopped doing MS), I believe many others have actually had their faith boosted.

So I say bring on the "hit piece" and let's scrutinise it. I'm sure it won't go unnoticed here on Mormon Discussions!


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Quote:
In my opinion John is one of the fairest and most balanced observers commenting on Mormonism today, and has given both apologists and critics a fair go on Mormon Stories. His own "journey" has been inspiring to many who've struggled with the controversies


I agree with this, and I think few rational, informed people would disagree.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Yong Xi wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:
Also: I've been assured that the GA who intervened here was definitely *not* Elder Packer, since Packer is very close friends with Greg Smith's father-in-law.


The assumption seems to be that a member of the FP or Q12 intervened. Do we know this for a fact or could John's "savior" have been a lesser GA? Maybe John could address this.


Kishkumen is right that Dehlin probably won't address it, but I was told by more than one person that the "savior" was an Apostle.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:14 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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Ray,

I think you're misunderstanding what Kishkumen was saying. These latest revelations provide evidence for what many of us have suspected: that the MI apologists are paid "hitmen" for the Church. They basically have been given carte blanche by the Brethren to destroy people's reputations. Sure: they toss in all the usual baloney about their comments not being "official" and what have you, but that's all clearly bogus. The Brethren have sanctioned these 30+ years of smear campaigns. And the apologists have lapped up hte opportunities, because they get to have it both ways. The Church enjoys plausible deniability ("It's only the one guy's opinion!") and the "struggling members" get to think that the Church is formally endorsing all this tarring of critics.

So, in a scenario like this, there can never be "free speech" within the context of the community. Of course, as you realize, there is overlap between the World of Mormonism, the World of Mopologetics, and the Actual World--hence why we are having this conversation.

It's easy for you, Ray, to sit there and say, "Let's just have 'free speech'!" But that just isn't how things work in the LDS Church. Connections, influence, and hierarchy matter.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:24 pm 
Doctor Scratch wrote:
It's easy for you, Ray, to sit there and say, "Let's just have 'free speech'!" But that just isn't how things work in the LDS Church. Connections, influence, and hierarchy matter.


I'll have to come back to this tomorrow, but in brief, it's inconsistent to favour censorship in this case (if that's what you do), regardless of how either you or Kish view "the Church" or Mormon apologetics. I think the average person/reader will be smart and discerning enough to make up their own minds. We don't need "reverse censorship". I have no time left today.


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:25 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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RayAgostini wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:
It's easy for you, Ray, to sit there and say, "Let's just have 'free speech'!" But that just isn't how things work in the LDS Church. Connections, influence, and hierarchy matter.


I'll have to come back to this tomorrow, but in brief, it's inconsistent to favour censorship in this case (if that's what you do), regardless of how either you or Kish view "the Church" or Mormon apologetics. I think the average person/reader will be smart and discerning enough to make up their own minds. We don't need "reverse censorship". I have no time left today.


I'm not advocating censorship, Ray--quite the opposite. I'm simply pointing out how things work in Mormon culture. You ought to know that--don't you remember what happened the last time you tried to participate on FAIR/MAD/MDD?

And on a sidenote, I noticed that today set a record for the number of visitors to the site at one time. I'm guessing that this thread is a major reason why.

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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:43 pm 
RayAgostini wrote:
I'd like to read it and judge for myself, even if privately, and then make suitable criticisms if necessary. Those criticisms might even go in favour of John. If it's nothing but a smear, and character assassination, or poor argumentation, then wouldn't that logically make FARMS/FAIR look even worse in the eyes of many who already don't have a very high opinion of them?


I agree. Let's have it out. I think the contrast in style between FAIR and John Dehlin will make FAIR look terrible. That and I'm honestly curious to see what they think is wrong with what John Dehlin has done. He seems to have only promoted open dialogue. It's not his fault if a byproduct of open dialogue is that some lose their faith.


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 Post subject: Re: Allen Wyatt, Mike Parker & FAIR: A Growing Fear of Dehli
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Infymus wrote:
I WANT Wyatt, Peterson and his apologetic tripe to attack John. I want more people to know John. I want more focus on him. That will cause more people to question the Cult of Mormonism. And when they do excommunicate him, it will cause a huge exodus.


The Church would not be willing to portray itself as repressive and Scientology-like in dealing with polite dissenting views when a Mormon is running for President. They know how to get things done.

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