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:
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.)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.
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:
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.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.
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!