Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

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Doctor Scratch
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Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Doctor Scratch »

I realized today that it's been a really, really long time since the Maxwell Institute has dropped out another "steaming pile" for us to peruse. Now, I realize that they have probably been forced to change things drastically after a General Authority put a halt to their attempts to smear John Dehlin. Still, it's been something like 9 months since we last had an issue of the Review, and it really wasn't all that long about (two years or so?) that yet *another* issue had to be put on hold due to "issues with the cover" (whatever that meant). I wonder: are they planning to only publish one per year from here on out--perhaps due to admonitions from the GAs? Regardless, I can't help but think that the Review has been encountering a lot of devastating setbacks.
"[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: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Yoda »

Does it come out at a certain time each quarter?

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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by harmony »

Doctor Scratch wrote: Regardless, I can't help but think that the Review has been encountering a lot of devastating setbacks.


One person's devastating setback is another person's mild annoyance.
(Nevo, Jan 23) And the Melchizedek Priesthood may not have been restored until the summer of 1830, several months after the organization of the Church.

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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by RayAgostini »

Is that all you have to say, Scratch? Very unlike you.

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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

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Doctor Scratch wrote:I realized today that it's been a really, really long time since the Maxwell Institute has dropped out another "steaming pile" for us to peruse. Now, I realize that they have probably been forced to change things drastically after a General Authority put a halt to their attempts to smear John Dehlin.


It may be a good time to stop and take stock a bit. Since there is an established tradition of thoughtful criticisms of books on the Book of Mormon and other LDS topics of interest, one wonders what purpose these hit pieces on members in good standing really serve except perhaps to embitter the target and give others license to marginalize members who think differently. I can't see the benefit in that.

Perhaps we will see a "kinder, gentler" review that gets back to its founding principles. Everyone would be better off, if such were to happen.
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Gadianton
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

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Everyone knows it but just isn't talking about it: The page counts of the Review have been decreasing steadily over the years and the MTBP (mean time between polemics) have been increasing.

This, of course, it not surprising given the death of the limited geography theory.

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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

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Gadianton wrote:Everyone knows it but just isn't talking about it: The page counts of the Review have been decreasing steadily over the years and the MTBP (mean time between polemics) have been increasing.

This, of course, it not surprising given the death of the limited geography theory.


Do you think polemical reviews stimulate more Liahona-level contributions?
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Gadianton
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Gadianton »

Do you think polemical reviews stimulate more Liahona-level contributions?


That's a fantastic question, Reverend. The answer is probably "yes". We've had some discussions with J Green and parallel to this FAIR is all pretending they're invested in a scholarly tone, but I really don't think the nitch of apologetics in general is scholarship -- well, there ARE some obvious reasons why. I think the readership of the Review generally speaking, likes seeing the scholars, the intellectual giants of FARMS -- as they so bill themselves -- crush critics, questioning members, and "folk" members, as many apologists hatefully refer to them.

Of course, as the declining page counts and diminishing readership indicates, the market for polemics is contracting. The game is changing.

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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

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Gadianton wrote:Of course, as the declining page counts and diminishing readership indicates, the market for polemics is contracting. The game is changing.


So your guess would be that this polemical path will only hasten the decline of the Review?
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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: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by kairos »

Maybe the FARNERS took seriously the criticism that their peer review was just a sham and have sought to bolster the non-lds scholars who would review and approve the papers sent to them.

Perhaps to date they have found non-lds scholars willing to be peer review panel members.


Thus no FARMS review has made it to the presses- What should FARMS do?

Punt or close down seem to be 2 viable options -Punting says forget non-lds reviewers and call up the usual suspects and get that damn journal to print.

Closing down has no downsides IMHO!

What say thou ye FARMERS?

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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Gadianton »

that's a good question. that's like asking if the church continues supporting the missionary effort if that will hasten its demise given the contracting market.

kind of depends on how you look at it.

RayAgostini

Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by RayAgostini »

What's Scratch's *opinion* (I can do that too) on all this? Apart from the OP?

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Doctor Scratch
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Gadianton wrote:
Do you think polemical reviews stimulate more Liahona-level contributions?


That's a fantastic question, Reverend. The answer is probably "yes". We've had some discussions with J Green and parallel to this FAIR is all pretending they're invested in a scholarly tone, but I really don't think the nitch of apologetics in general is scholarship -- well, there ARE some obvious reasons why. I think the readership of the Review generally speaking, likes seeing the scholars, the intellectual giants of FARMS -- as they so bill themselves -- crush critics, questioning members, and "folk" members, as many apologists hatefully refer to them.


I agree. Remember how that one wealthy LDS called D. Michael Quinn a "nothing person"? What do you want to bet that he's a Liahona-level contributor?

I think that one of the key historical puzzle piece in all of this--as was suggested to me by Dean Robbers--is SHIELDS. You have to remember that, orignally, SHIELDS was pretty much the only game in town, and this was before the apologists learned to conduct themselves online (so to speak).

Of course, as the declining page counts and diminishing readership indicates, the market for polemics is contracting. The game is changing.


Yes... Though it's tough to read the crystal ball at this point, imo. for what it's worth, I was alerted to a potential "changing of the guard" at the MI in the coming months. Of course, I have no idea if it's true or not. I may post on this later.
"[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: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by lostindc »

Excellent observations by many participating in this thread. My personal theory is the people composing FARMS Review have received extensive heat from leadership. I have a credible source telling me that leaders are not pleased with the direction of FARMS. Do I think they should close up shop? Not necessarily, but I do believe the time is now to begin conducting actual scholarship. What FARMS has put forth, to this point, has been little more than sourced blog posts. Sourced blog posts are not necessarily a bad phenomenon if these sourced blog posts are billed as sourced blog posts and not something much higher such as scholarship.

When I think of FARMS, I am quickly reminded of the esteemed author: Mike Ash and his groundbreaking book Shaking Faith Syndrome. Ash's book is very much like an edition of FARMS Review in that it is regurgitation of ideas thrown at a wall (likely first seen on a forum such as a message board) in hopes these ideas will stick. If these ideas receive acceptance then publication begins. In no way do these ideas pass any sort of traditional peer review.
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Kishkumen »

Gadianton wrote:that's a good question. that's like asking if the church continues supporting the missionary effort if that will hasten its demise given the contracting market.

kind of depends on how you look at it.


Here's how I see it: the polemics will attract a small core of real fanatical devotees (some wealthy), who are happy to see liberals and anti's get what is coming to them, but a larger number of people will be turned off by the negativity and contradiction of a Christian organization engaging in character assassination, as in the Laura Compton "review."

These ironically named "Liahona" level donors will form an important source of contributions going forward, but smaller contributions will decline as people follow the advice of apostles to be kind online and represent the Church well as a Christ-centered organization.

Just a thought.
“God came to me in a dream last night and showed me the future. He took me to heaven and I saw Donald Trump seated at the right hand of our Lord.” ~ Pat Robertson
“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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Rollo Tomasi
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Rollo Tomasi »

Doctor Scratch wrote:I realized today that it's been a really, really long time since the Maxwell Institute has dropped out another "steaming pile" for us to peruse. Now, I realize that they have probably been forced to change things drastically after a General Authority put a halt to their attempts to smear John Dehlin. Still, it's been something like 9 months since we last had an issue of the Review, and it really wasn't all that long about (two years or so?) that yet *another* issue had to be put on hold due to "issues with the cover" (whatever that meant). I wonder: are they planning to only publish one per year from here on out--perhaps due to admonitions from the GAs? Regardless, I can't help but think that the Review has been encountering a lot of devastating setbacks.

You make an excellent point. For a period of 17 years (1994 -- 2010) the Review was published twice a year; then, in 2011, there was only one volume; so far, through nearly half of 2012, nothing.
"Moving beyond apologist persuasion, LDS polemicists furiously (and often fraudulently) attack any non-traditional view of Mormonism. They don't mince words -- they mince the truth."

-- Mike Quinn, writing of the FARMSboys, in "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," p. x (Rev. ed. 1998)

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Doctor Scratch
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Rollo Tomasi wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:I realized today that it's been a really, really long time since the Maxwell Institute has dropped out another "steaming pile" for us to peruse. Now, I realize that they have probably been forced to change things drastically after a General Authority put a halt to their attempts to smear John Dehlin. Still, it's been something like 9 months since we last had an issue of the Review, and it really wasn't all that long about (two years or so?) that yet *another* issue had to be put on hold due to "issues with the cover" (whatever that meant). I wonder: are they planning to only publish one per year from here on out--perhaps due to admonitions from the GAs? Regardless, I can't help but think that the Review has been encountering a lot of devastating setbacks.

You make an excellent point. For a period of 17 years (1994 -- 2010) the Review was published twice a year; then, in 2011, there was only one volume; so far, through nearly half of 2012, nothing.


Yeah, it really is strange, Rollo. It makes me wonder yet again whether all my old speculations about Brethren "interference" with the process were on the money after all. Plus, as Gadianton pointed out, the page count seems to be diminishing.
"[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: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Rufus »

I think it has a lot to do with a certain someone running for political office and not wanting to rock the boat, or submarine, (tight, like unto a dish)
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by moksha »

Maybe they intend to save the forests and go entirely digital once the current reviews have been correlated and approved.
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Doctor Scratch
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Rufus wrote:I think it has a lot to do with a certain someone running for political office and not wanting to rock the boat, or submarine, (tight, like unto a dish)


That may have something to do with it, though I believe that there are other things brewing. Hopefully I'll be able to comment more extensively in the coming days.
"[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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Doctor Scratch
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Re: Major Setbacks for the FARMS Review?

Post by Doctor Scratch »

I'd like to point out that, every single last time that I have posted about a delay in the publication of the Review, DCP has started a thread on the FAIR/MAD/MDD board in response. Every. Single. Time. Without fail. What, I have to wonder aloud, is causing him to fall totally stone-silent this time around?

C'mon, Dr. Peterson: I know you're reading. I'm sure that there are a lot of people from MDD reading here as well, wondering what's going on. You shouldn't leave them in the dark.
"[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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