John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

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Doctor Scratch
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John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Hello, everyone.

Did you know that John Gee has a new book that is coming out? Or that's just been released? Or something like that? Whatever the case may be, Gee himself has come out of his hidden-hole in order to make the announcement on "Forn Spoll Fira." The book is apparently available for purchase at Amazon, though, sadly, it has yet to receive any reviews. I imagine that will be remedied shortly--at least, I hope it will! (You are very welcome for the free publicity, Dr. Gee.)

There are a number of reasons why Gee's announcement is interesting. For starters, his latest book, which bears the ridiculous title, Saving Faith: How Families Protect, Sustain, and Encourage Faith, is frankly Mopologetic in nature. The whole point of it seems to be to disprove research dealing with the so-called "nones," and also with an apparent mass-exit of Millennials and other youth from the LDS Church. Just take a look at the description of the book:
In recent years, a number of stories have been circulating claiming that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is losing youth in droves. This notion contradicts a 2005 study, cited by President Gordon B. Hinckley in a general conference address, that showed that Latter-day Saint youth know more about their faith and show greater commitment to its teachings, particularly when it comes to social behavior, than do their peers.

These dismal accounts of the youth fleeing the Church are usually based on anecdotes rather than on data. Large-scale, well-structured studies give more reason for hope.
So the title of the book is actually slightly deceptive. No: Dr. Gee will not be handing out any advice on how to "Protect, Sustain, and Encourage Faith" (and if he *were*, would anyone in their right mind listen to him??). Instead, the whole thing looks to be a 320 page "hit piece" on anyone who dares point to evidence that young people are leaving Mormonism. (Hopefully, someone will read the book ASAP and let us know whether Gee goes after Marlin Jensen.)

You may also remember that there was a bit of advanced advertising for the book thanks to Mormon Interpreter, which gave Gee a stage from which to launch his attacks. The article was published in the middle of December of 2019, meaning that it just narrowly missed the cut-off for my yearly Top Ten list, though it certainly would have been a strong contender. The article was discussed in some detail in this thread. The sort of old-school, attack-minded Mopologetics featured in the article felt like they were blowing in from some long-abandoned desert ghost town, but nonetheless, this particular relic still seemed to be breathing. And now we've got a book-length version of this crap? Students of Mopologetics can feel hopeful after all!

Still, I fear I am wandering off topic. Gee's announcement of this book would normally be news all by itself, but he announcement contains an incredible bombshell:
John Gee wrote:Almost three and a half years ago, my book An Introduction to the Book of Abraham was announced by Deseret Book. When it was announced a certain individual or group of individuals launched a campaign to have the book suppressed. This delayed the release of the book a number of months (it was over a year from the announcement of the book to its actual release). To forestall something similar happening I have waited to announce my new book, Saving Faith, until it has actually come off the press.
Hmm. Now this is interesting. Gee is alleging here that "a certain individual or group of individuals" somehow conspired to have the book's release delayed, and they succeeded in doing this? Well, this is all very intriguing! Gee is being coy here. Why not simply say what he thinks, or what he suspects? I'm sure that this is very old, grudge-level sour grapes over the Maxwell Institute fallout. What do you want to be that the "individual" being alluded to is Brian Hauglid? Are Kristian Heal and Morgan Davis the "group of individuals" that Gee has in mind? I'm sure you likely remember the kerfuffle that was raised due to Hauglid's work with the Joseph Smith papers, and how the Mopologists alleged that he was "unqualified" to do the work.

The whole thing is just so tribalistic. Why can't Gee be happy about this publication? Why the rancor, and the whining? I think you likely already know the answer, but for trivia's sake, I think it's worth checking out some of the other stuff Gee says. In his announcement, he links to an old "Sporn Foll Spira" post from 2016, in which he claims that (1) the book "has been announced" and (2) it "has been getting some publicity." Want to guess what he means by that? Well, as to item (1), he's talking about the page for the book on the Deseret Book website. Sure enough, Gee's blog post is dated 2016, and the publication date listed is 2017! LOL! At least the book's lone rating is a 5-star rating. And my, look who wrote the review! Why, it's our old pal, Trevor Holyoak--perhaps best known for his role as Greg Smith's "gopher-boy" thanks to his cyber-stalking of John Dehlin. As for the "publicity," are you guessing that he means "Sic et Non"? If so, you're right! And, it would seem, Dr. Peterson was also "duped" into thinking that the book was on the brink of publication in late 2016.

So, that would seem to prove that Gee is at least partially right: the book's release was delayed. But was it really thanks to a "campaign," as he alleges? There could certainly be other reasons. What if there were critical errors in the book? What if Gee was making arguments that had the potential to be damaging to members' faith? If there truly *was* a "campaign," then it would seem that the campaigners succeeded, which looks very bad for the Mopologists. Because in order to succeed, they would have had to convince the Powers that Be at Deseret Book to force Gee to do revisions. (And weren't there rumors along these lines a couple of years ago? i.e., that Gee had to go back to the drawing board after major-league goof-ups were discovered in his work? Or am I thinking instead about some "Interpreter" article?) That means, in effect, that one or more of the Brethren were likely involved in forcing Gee to defend whatever was allegedly "flawed" in his book.

I don't know about you, but I'm very curious to learn what all this means. Was there a conspiracy? And if so, what were the conspirators' motivations? Perhaps most importantly, what was it that convinced the folks at Deseret Book to delay publication by (according to Gee) "over a year from the announcement of the book." You have to admit that it's stunning that Deseret would announce it, only to then hold it back for an entire year. Perhaps this had something to do with the conflicts between the Joseph Smith Papers project, and the Mopologists? Maybe someone pointed out to DesBook or the Brethren that Gee's book would crowd the marketplace for Book of Abraham material? Who knows; one can only speculate.

But this *is* one of the more intriguing developments of the year so far--that's for sure!

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Gadianton »

Wow! Thanks for the surprise, scholarly review, Dr. Scratch. There so much to speculate on here, but I'll keep to just one observation, for now. I'm trying to follow Gee's logic here. He claims that a certain individual and his buddies "launched a campaign" to suppress his book on Abraham. Let's assume that Dr. Scratch has correctly called out the individuals so accused. If that were true, he's claiming to worry that the same would happen with this new book, on youth falling away from the Church, which means he's accusing rival Abraham scholars of seriously trying to delay a book on church activity? I call BS. Or maybe Dr. Scratch is wrong, and it's somebody else entirely, but somebody who could stop publication of books in entirely different genres would have to be well-connected to church leadership, thereby implying that he doesn't have full support of the Brethren.

This is a really problematic claim. My guess is that there was some other kinds of uncertainty on whether he would get the book published, and he didn't want to risk looking bad by announcing it and then it falls through -- think of a certain film that has been trumpeted, which may never see the light of day. Now that it's published, such a claim is a sales pitch to make the book sound controversial in order to get people interested.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by I have a question »

Is Gee an idiot, or does he think everyone else is? (And that’s a genuine question)
In recent years, a number of stories have been circulating claiming that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is losing youth in droves. This notion contradicts a 2005 study, cited by President Gordon B. Hinckley in a general conference address, that showed that Latter-day Saint youth know more about their faith and show greater commitment to its teachings, particularly when it comes to social behavior, than do their peers.

These dismal accounts of the youth fleeing the Church are usually based on anecdotes rather than on data. Large-scale, well-structured studies give more reason for hope.
http://fornspollfira.blogspot.com/2020/ ... h.html?m=1

So what we need is actual Church data...hmmm....
Research that comes out of the Church’s social science division is proprietary, meaning that it’s for internal use and is not available to researchers. However, Mormon Leaks published a video of a November 2008 meeting of top LDS leaders in which they discussed the problem of retention among young adults.
https://religionnews.com/2019/03/27/how ... ds-church/

That’s handy, presumably it supports Gee’s assertion that the “narrative” is wrong...let’s check...
On Sunday morning, the YouTube channel “Mormon Leaks” posted more than a dozen videos taken behind closed doors between 2007 and 2012, showing the LDS Church’s top leadership in discussion on issues ranging from cybersecurity to homosexuality to the 2008 economic crisis.
https://religionnews.com/2016/10/05/lea ... ds-church/
Remember, this is the Church providing data, not critics providing “narrative”
The November 12, 2008 briefing titled, “In Which They Fret over the Young Single Adults,” intersects directly with the issues I’m addressing in my research on Mormon Millennials, so naturally I was keenly interested. Note that this information is now seven years out of date, and if we have learned anything from previous surveys about Mormon retention, it’s that things have only gotten worse over the last decade, so understand that these figures may in fact present a too-rosy picture of the present situation, at least in the United States.

The information presented at this meeting was straightforward and well-researched. I encourage you to watch the whole briefing if you are interested in the question of the next generation of Latter-day Saints and whether/why they are leaving the Church, but here are some key facts as presented to the Brethren by Alan Wilkins, a BYU professor and former mission president:
The current activity rate for Young Single Adults is 30% in North America and 20% internationally, with an overall worldwide activity rate of about 25%.
Of those who are inactive, many are people the local bishops have never heard of and have no way of contacting.
The Church’s internal research shows that most young members who leave do so before age 20.
Mormons are a little older now when they get married; according to Wilkins, “the average age for members of the church who marry outside of the temple is 27 for men and 25 for women. When they marry in the temple, it’s 24 for men and 23 for women. Those are numbers, averages, that have been increasing over the last couple of decades, and so they cause significant concern. The principle concern is that delaying marriage in an era of high immorality—more, increasing access to pornography—constitutes significant, very high risk for our YSAs. What we’ve noticed is that church activity begins to decline in the teenage years and continues to decline into the twenties.”
So Gee’s book is is aiming to refute a narrative that is supported by official Church data and which is currently deeply troubling to the Church.

I ask again, is Gee an idiot, or does he think everyone else is?

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Shulem »

Psychology 101 may suggest that Gee's passion in producing this book is a reflection of his own internal world as he sorts out all the external happenings concerning his ever changing religion. Or, in other words, Gee is trying to save his own faith and what better way to do it than to write a book about saving faith. It's very telling. He's obviously a tortured man having a faith crisis. I feel sorry for him. This book no doubt is a last gasp.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Dr Exiled »

Shulem wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 6:13 am
Psychology 101 may suggest that Gee's passion in producing this book is a reflection of his own internal world as he sorts out all the external happenings concerning his ever changing religion. Or, in other words, Gee is trying to save his own faith and what better way to do it than to write a book about saving faith. It's very telling. He's obviously a tortured man having a faith crisis. I feel sorry for him. This book no doubt is a last gasp.
You may be on to something here. Denial of reality is one of the stages of grief and this book is clearly denying what is happening throughout the world. The youth are progressively rejecting religion. Perhaps not as fast with Mormon youth but they too are moving away from it. IHAQ points us to some of the data above. Perhaps Gee is having some sort of questioning moment? Maybe someone close has left?

However, it isn't surprising that an apologist denies reality. That's what they do. That's what they have to do in their mind to keep the lid on things. Embracing reality leads to more disaffection and their self-appointed job is to stop that at all costs. So, they will say whatever. The problem is that people can easily see that this is what they are doing and leave just the same or leave because of the misleading tactics. How many have been disappointed when they have looked at fairmormon to find answers and have discovered that the answer ultimately has to be that the church isn't what it claims to be? This book looks like it's more of the same nonsense, taking advantage of how group dynamics work to try and trick the youth into staying.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Dr Moore »

Does the book even pretend to use data less than 10 years old? LOL

10 years ago, Yellow Pages was still a viable business, embarking on an exciting digital transformation.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by I have a question »

Dr Moore wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 7:07 am
Does the book even pretend to use data less than 10 years old? LOL

10 years ago, Yellow Pages was still a viable business, embarking on an exciting digital transformation.
It’s worse than that. The study he references, that Gordon B. Hinckley commented on during Conference April 2005, is a study of a very small sample of 13 -17 year olds in America across the period 2001 - 2005.
The four-year study included interviews with 3,370 randomly selected teenagers, ages 13 to 17, in 45 states, and follow-up face-to-face, in-depth, interviews with 267 of them. There were questions about church attendance, scripture reading, the importance of faith in making daily decisions, as well as questions about "risky" behaviors such as pot smoking, lying and drinking.

The survey relied on self-reporting...
https://www.deseret.com/2005/3/15/19882 ... ng-faith#0
That same study also concluded...
“Oddly, one of the few areas where LDS youth didn't outrank their peers was "belief in God" — 84 percent said they believe, compared with 97 percent black Protestants, 94 percent conservative Protestants and 86 percent mainline Protestants.”

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by I have a question »

I wonder if this book played a part in Gee’s recent troubles and forced campus relocation?

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

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I thought Jana Riess' book "Next Mormons" showed how the Mormon youth are also leaving. I thought it is pretty much common knowledge now.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by I have a question »

Dr Exiled wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 8:13 am
I thought Jana Riess' book "Next Mormons" showed how the Mormon youth are also leaving. I thought it is pretty much common knowledge now.
It does, and it is!

https://thenextmormons.org/survey-results/
PEER REVIEWED ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS
Jana Riess. 2019. The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church. Oxford University Press.
3. Mormon retention is down.
There’s an abundance of good news if you’re a Mormon leader. Mormons still have the highest rates of marriage in the United States, extremely high self-reported findings about belief in God and religious practices such as daily prayer, and low incidence of high-risk behavior.

The bad news is that retention is slipping, and younger generations appear to be leading the way.

Let’s get some context for this. Millennials are the most religiously unaffiliated of any generation in recorded US history. More than a third of them have dropped out of organized religion altogether.

Young adult Mormons show some signs of following the national trend. When Pew surveyed this in 2014, 64% of all Latter-day Saints who were raised Mormon still self-identified as Mormon as adults.

That 64% rate is very decent, actually. It’s smack dab in the middle of the stats on religious retention in America, as you can see from the Pew table below.
https://religionnews.com/2016/04/14/mor ... ds-church/
Note: As I understand it “self-identified as Mormon” doesn’t mean they attended Church.

It will be interesting to see if Gee’s book is as well researched, as current, as balanced and as peer-reviewed as Jana’s “Next Mormons” is.
I hope someone gets their hands on a copy of Gee’s book and does a “review” on it. Maybe one of the Joseph Smith Papers crowd will feel inclined to return the “solid” Gee did them.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

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Dr Exiled wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 8:13 am
I thought Jana Riess' book "Next Mormons" showed how the Mormon youth are also leaving. I thought it is pretty much common knowledge now.
Wasn't there a Mormon leaks video a while back of a high level GA meeting (Boyd K. Packer was present) where this exact problem was discussed?

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Shulem »

Really though, when you think about it, why the heck is an Egyptologist writing a book about faith? It really doesn't make sense that he's drifted that far from his discipline. He should leave the FAITH CRISES alone and allow the experts in sociology who have a better handle on statistics and reporting to write books on this subject. Gee (no pun intended) wizz.

Hey, John, what's the king's name in Facsimile No. 3?

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

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Doctor Scratch wrote:Hmm. Now this is interesting. Gee is alleging here that "a certain individual or group of individuals" somehow conspired to have the book's release delayed, and they succeeded in doing this?
How ironic, given that the rumor mill has it that Gee was trying (maybe successfully because it has once again been delayed) to suppress the publication of Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity.

https://www.amazon.com/Producing-Ancien ... 974&sr=8-1

Rumor has it he was even going so far as to organize support to get one of the BYU authors fired.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by I have a question »

Fence Sitter wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 8:44 am
Dr Exiled wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 8:13 am
I thought Jana Riess' book "Next Mormons" showed how the Mormon youth are also leaving. I thought it is pretty much common knowledge now.
Wasn't there a Mormon leaks video a while back of a high level GA meeting (Boyd K. Packer was present) where this exact problem was discussed?
Yes, I’ve referenced it above in an earlier post.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Kishkumen »

This is big news, Doctor! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I think we have at least a couple of entries in the Master Timeline of Mopologetics here. I am also dying with curiosity to know what is in this book!

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

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I have a question wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 5:50 am
Is Gee an idiot, or does he think everyone else is? (And that’s a genuine question)
From everything I have heard about Gee, relying mostly on LDS sources, the latter is closer to the truth. Gee has a very paternalistic attitude when it comes to vetting data and drawing conclusions. His faith commitment is of paramount importance. Whatever it takes to protect testimonies is what he will do. That is what I have heard, and I have not seen anything that would lead me to believe that these reports are substantially incorrect.

I don't hold Gee to be a bad person, by any means. Once you know his agenda and what his commitments are, you can begin to understand him. I think he is probably a neuro-atypical fellow who is doing his best to operate according to his own sense of what the greater good is. I just disagree with him deeply.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Dr Moore »

Gee is on a tear with this subject, considering his very recent and truly horrendous review of Jana's book.

Seems like, although no advance press release was offered, Gee couldn't resist tipping his 15-years late evidence-driven analysis to the public.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by moksha »

This publication should help shore up Dr. Gee's credentials in the BYU Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

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Dr Moore wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 1:57 pm
Gee is on a tear with this subject, considering his very recent and truly horrendous review of Jana's book.

Seems like, although no advance press release was offered, Gee couldn't resist tipping his 15-years late evidence-driven analysis to the public.
Yes, I would not go to Gee for an even-keeled or dispassionate review of Riess's work. This is not to say that Riess's work is perfect or even close, but Gee makes no bones about being a partisan who is aggrieved about anyone appearing to criticize his dear Church and its leaders. In short, Gee behaves like a real prick in these kinds of things, and he fully merits criticism for doing so. At the same time, I think it is possible to glean some worthwhile criticisms from what he writes.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Dr Exiled »

Does anyone know if any of the brethren are behind Gee's new book? It might be too early to tell since it is due to come out on Amazon on May 11, 2020. It's not surprising that it is listed on the Fair site, but I wonder if some of the brethren are recommending this. When "Planted" came out, Patrick Q. Mason, my father said one of his Q15 buddies recommended that he have me read the book. My brother who knows some of the brethren as well gave the same recommendation. These recommendations came at around the same time so I assume there was some coordination.

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Re: John Gee Alleges His Book of Abraham Book Was "Suppressed"

Post by Shulem »

I wonder if John Gee's book was suppressed because it will put the Book of Abraham controversy back in full view of everyone and shine even more light on an impossible mess which can never be cleaned up.

I wonder if John Gee was instructed to write a book about "faith" because that is the only thing that will save anyone's testimony of the Book of Abraham and its FALSE Facsimile Explanations.

That's probably what really happened.

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