I was perusing over at the FAIR-affiliated FARMS recently, and came across this article. I may perhaps add it to the blog eventually, if I can ever determine how it fits. But in any case, I thought it was an interesting demonstration of FARMS-style rhetoric, or what DCP has recently describes as "just more ad hominems." Anyways, a few choice quotes (you can count the ad hominems and straw men, if you'd like):
The Anti-Mormon Attackers
A further self-recommendation is found in the author's introduction, which is titled, "Aggressive Apologetics: The Growing Mormon Mission." "Holding"1 takes up the theme introduced by Mosser and Owen's essay on the need for better quality evangelical apologetics2 and promises to deliver the goods in the form of "top-notch Biblical scholarship" (p. 10). This level of self-certification makes no concessions to false modesty. Whatever the actual quality of the scholarship here, the author certainly thinks it is formidable.
(bold emphasis added)
The book has a distinct apologetic handbook feel, with the key points being reiterated in summary form at the end of each chapter. This provides the reader with a useful way to survey quickly what Holding thinks he has proven in those chapters.
In contrast to this approach, Holding becomes a staunch and loyal enthusiast for majority opinion or scholarship as soon as it suits his purposes.
Holding cannot claim to be ignorant of the relevant literature since he refers to it,4 yet he fails entirely to interact with it. Is this his idea of "top-notch scholarship"?
A detailed critique of his arguments would run to many pages and would be tedious.
(Isn't this called "Begging the Question"? I.e., "The argument is flawed because it is flawed."?)Holding has at least made an effort to justify this assumption with something resembling a structured argument, but that argument turns out, upon inspection, to be fatally flawed by its tendentiousness.
I thought this was hilarious:
(emphasis added)Where this book really does improve on some of those of its predecessors is in its tone. It neither bristles with hostility, as most earlier productions do, nor drips with insincere, condescending friendliness, as some of the more recent efforts do.
(emphasis added)I saw none of the usual accusations of "dishonesty" that conservative Protestant anti-Mormons tend to fling at Latter-day Saints for failing to describe our own faith in terms amenable to the hostile caricatures our opponents have fashioned and prefer. His approach is businesslike and his tone scholarly.
Does this remind anyone of FAIR?
He shifts his ground from chapter to chapter and from topic to topic as he keeps his focus on whatever angle of attack seems most profitable at the time.
All in all, I thought this was a very interesting article, which is easily accessible via google. It seems a good example of the smear tactics of which FAIR and FARMS are so fond.