October 28, 2005
"For decades, we taught that the reason blacks were black and inferior to whites was because they were less valiant
than we were in the war in heaven", commented Pres. Boyd K. Packer. "But one question always bothered us - what about
the Japs and Chinamen? Hence, the Lord has seen fit to give us a new proclamation".
The church's new "Proclamation on the War in Heaven" discusses pre-earth life among members of the planet's three main
races: Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid. It explains for the first time the hitherto mysterious role played before birth
by those born of Mongoloid descent. "As information has accumulated demonstrating that those of Mongoloid descent routinely
outperform both Caucasoids and Negroids in IQ tests, so has the need increased for a theological explanation", said
Packer. "It is kind of like how we had to change the Hemispheric Theory to the Limited Geography Theory once we found
out the Hill Cumorah wasn't jam packed full of bones and swords and things. Well, what with all this oriental stuff we
know now, we finally have an explanation".
The proclamation claims that before human life on earth, there was a gigantic, intra-galactic battle fought near a star
called Kolob between an army captained by Jesus, and an army captained by his evil spirit brother, Lucifer. Those born of
Negroid descent, while cheering for Jesus's side, functioned "little better than the crows on Dumbo", according to the
proclamation, while "our own white and delightsome ancestors proudly fought as lions". "Our Mongoloid allies", continues
the proclamation, "having a special facility for detail and mathematics, bravely coordinated logistics for our various
sorties and expeditions over to Satan's territory. They were also heavily involved in code-breaking efforts. The Spirit
has whispered that Lucifer had his own kind of Enigma machine like the Nazis invented, except it used audio recordings
somehow, and Satan spoke in Navajo like on 'Windtalkers'. Without the Mongoloids, all would have been lost". As a result
of their bravery, Mongoloids have been allowed to keep their superior mathematical and analytical skills during
their "second estate".
The unexpected inclusion of Sasquatch in the proclamation has provoked acclaim by Mormons in southern Utah. "Ever since
my great, great grandaddy Jacob Hamblin saw Bigfoot we wondered 'bout him", said DeFloyd R. Hamblin of Hurricane. "Well,
now we know where he come from. He was Satan's main field general, kind of like Rommel 'cep' dumber, and that's why he got
cursed s' bad".
Barry Gertsen of liberal Mormon magazine "Sunstone" complained that "this is just like the brethren: they focus on
humanity's three great races, but never mention anything about less prominent, but no less important people: midgets,
congenital unidexters, hermaphrodites, conjoined twins like Chang and Eng Bunker, pituitary gland explosions like Andre
the Giant, blind deaf mutes like Helen Keller, and the Heinz 57 types like Tiger Woods or Nicole Ritchie. What about
them? Why are they always left out? What did they do in the battle? This all seems really hierarchical to me".
"There are always critics", smiled Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley at the press conference. "They always have their say. But
the Lord's work will continue. It cannot be stopped. It is his work."
In a related story, sources inside church headquarters confirmed that language holding a "Jewish cabal" responsible for
the war in heaven was dropped after certain draft committee members lobbied for a "Muslim uprising" to be cited as the
cause instead. Both sides compromised by dropping all references to either version of the story. "We all wound up pretty
happy with the story just the way it is", concluded Elder Dallin H. Oaks. "We might have to tweak it here and there
depending on the survival and growth needs of the church, but we think it will do for now. Maybe instead of Muslims
or Jews, we can put something in about the J-Dubs instead. Who knows where it will go? That's the beauty of...'continuing
Outflanking the critics
"For decades, we taught that the reason blacks were black and inferior to whites was because they were less valiant than we were in the war in heaven", commented Pres. Boyd K. Packer. "But one question always bothered us - what about the Japs and Chinamen? Hence, the Lord has seen fit to give us a new proclamation".
The church's new "Proclamation on the War in Heaven" discusses pre-earth life among members of the planet's three main races: Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid. It explains for the first time the hitherto mysterious role played before birth by those born of Mongoloid descent. "As information has accumulated demonstrating that those of Mongoloid descent routinely outperform both Caucasoids and Negroids in IQ tests, so has the need increased for a theological explanation", said Packer. "It is kind of like how we had to change the Hemispheric Theory to the Limited Geography Theory once we found out the Hill Cumorah wasn't jam packed full of bones and swords and things. Well, what with all this oriental stuff we know now, we finally have an explanation".
The proclamation claims that before human life on earth, there was a gigantic, intra-galactic battle fought near a star called Kolob between an army captained by Jesus, and an army captained by his evil spirit brother, Lucifer. Those born of Negroid descent, while cheering for Jesus's side, functioned "little better than the crows on Dumbo", according to the proclamation, while "our own white and delightsome ancestors proudly fought as lions". "Our Mongoloid allies", continues the proclamation, "having a special facility for detail and mathematics, bravely coordinated logistics for our various sorties and expeditions over to Satan's territory. They were also heavily involved in code-breaking efforts. The Spirit has whispered that Lucifer had his own kind of Enigma machine like the Nazis invented, except it used audio recordings somehow, and Satan spoke in Navajo like on 'Windtalkers'. Without the Mongoloids, all would have been lost". As a result of their bravery, Mongoloids have been allowed to keep their superior mathematical and analytical skills during their "second estate".
The unexpected inclusion of Sasquatch in the proclamation has provoked acclaim by Mormons in southern Utah. "Ever since my great, great grandaddy Jacob Hamblin saw Bigfoot we wondered 'bout him", said DeFloyd R. Hamblin of Hurricane. "Well, now we know where he come from. He was Satan's main field general, kind of like Rommel 'cep' dumber, and that's why he got cursed s' bad".
Barry Gertsen of liberal Mormon magazine "Sunstone" complained that "this is just like the brethren: they focus on humanity's three great races, but never mention anything about less prominent, but no less important people: midgets, congenital unidexters, hermaphrodites, conjoined twins like Chang and Eng Bunker, pituitary gland explosions like Andre the Giant, blind deaf mutes like Helen Keller, and the Heinz 57 types like Tiger Woods or Nicole Ritchie. What about them? Why are they always left out? What did they do in the battle? This all seems really hierarchical to me".
"There are always critics", smiled Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley at the press conference. "They always have their say. But the Lord's work will continue. It cannot be stopped. It is his work."
In a related story, sources inside church headquarters confirmed that language holding a "Jewish cabal" responsible for the war in heaven was dropped after certain draft committee members lobbied for a "Muslim uprising" to be cited as the cause instead. Both sides compromised by dropping all references to either version of the story. "We all wound up pretty happy with the story just the way it is", concluded Elder Dallin H. Oaks. "We might have to tweak it here and there depending on the survival and growth needs of the church, but we think it will do for now. Maybe instead of Muslims or Jews, we can put something in about the J-Dubs instead. Who knows where it will go? That's the beauty of...'continuing revelation'".
I believe Elder Maxwell said that to Steve Benson, that FARMS et al. are there
to outflank the critics. Back in 1993, that might have worked, as the critics
and their work weren't widely known, so FARMS could pretty much frame the debate
the way they wanted it. After all, curious Mormons were going to read FARMS but
not the Tanners.
These days, 30 seconds on Google is enough to expose curious Mormons to all sorts of information they have never seen before. FARMS and FAIR no longer control the content of the debate, and their "outflanking" turns out to be pretty weak indeed. So, of course, FARMS and FAIR have already outlived their usefulness. That's why over on the FAIR boards, when we aren't told that we need more faith, we are told that notions of truth are antiquated "fundamentalist" notions that should be discarded along with ideas about God dwelling in your heart.
Certainly, it's only a matter of time before the powers that be see the destruction Dr. Peterson and friends have wrought. I am living proof that FAIR is backfiring in a big way, having started out 2 years ago as a FAIR board apologist. I'm certainly glad I went over to those boards and figured out the truth.
Copyright © 2005 by Johnson, Taylor & Smith. This article may be freely copied, forwarded or posted online, if nothing is changed, added or removed.
Understanding God, An LDS Salvation Requirement: The Prophet Joseph Smith correctly taught that we must understand God as a first principle of salvation. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always taught this true principle. But LDS students of scripture have not employed the most factual approach: empathy with and sympathy for the newly appointed, budding-god struggles of Jehovah (YHWH/Yahweh) of Genesis, Exodus, etc. We LDS have always been taught that Jehovah of the OT, creator of the earth and all life on it, is the same divine individual who was later mortally born as Jesus of Nazareth, and became Jesus Christ of the New Testament (NT), Book of Mormon (BoM) and Doctrine and Covenants (D&C).
Reconciling the Vindictive Jehovah and His Alter Egos: the Gentle Jesus and the Merciful Christ: We LDS, learning that "God is the same yesterday, today and forever" struggle to grasp how the women-and-children-killing Jehovah of the Torah can be the same being as the loving, forgiving Christ of the NT. In this article, we will explore how Jehovah's personal emotional disturbances caused him to lash out violently during his formative period.
Jehovah's Personal Sexual Trauma: To grasp the viciously violent Jehovah, we must empathize with his inexperience in creation, management and sexual matters, described below for the first time based on scripture and on teachings of LDS prophets. Jehovah's personal sexual problems are of course sensitive, but will be discussed here with love and respect.
Born and Raised in a Perfect-God Patriarchy: Jehovah, son of the God Elohim, was also the grandson, great-grandson, etc., of a line of perfect Gods, according to Joseph Smith. Thus Jehovah would have gained even more patriarchal wisdom than has G.W. Bush from his father, G.H.W. Bush, especially since Jehovah was at least the second savior in his father's line (see below).
Peer-Reviewed Creation: Jehovah's creating and world-managing were peer-reviewed by at least his father, Elohim, the creator-manager of worlds of his own. When Jehovah was later mortally born as Jesus, then resurrected, his vital role as Savior was also peer-reviewed; Elohim, too, had been the savior of his own father's world (father's name not available). We know this because Joseph Smith taught that Jesus said he did only what he had seen his father do.
Loving Patience Toward the Neophyte Jehovah: Despite peer review by Elohim et al., we must commiserate with Jehovah's many woes as a first-time world creator and manager. Beginning over six billion years ago, he was intelligent and righteous but was working by trial and error (thus violent earth-crust shifts, ill-distributed fresh water, disruptive ice ages, huge asteroid impacts causing extinctions, useless nipples on males including humans, etc; see below).
Godly Nepotistic Favoritism Owing to Primogeniture? Did Jehovah not earn his stripes before godhood, receiving favored treatment from his VIP father? It is alleged that saviorhood was unfairly handed to Jehovah simply because his birth happened ahead of all of Elohim's billions of other sons slated for this earth. But they who allege this forget that all of us male earthborn souls, not just our eldest brother, had been given the same chance to volunteer, as premortal spirits in an open meeting, to be savior of this earth. Jehovah got the jump on all of us by being the first to shout, "Father, here am I, send me."
God Before Mortality? It is also alleged that Elohim ignored standard council-of-gods protocol in promoting Jehovah to earth-god status in defiance of the universal principle requiring aspiring gods to first pass the mortality test required of all of us LDS who aspire to be gods over our own worlds as we have always been taught. Critics charge that Elohim handed Jehovah a free pass to godship, six billion or so years prior to his mortal probation as Jesus. But these legal nitpickers overlook the savior clause with its excruciating-torture-death-for-everyone's-sins requirement. Jehovah's first-offer savior contract rightfully trumped the mortality-before-godhood clause, vaulting him over the rest of us billions of male spirits who were present at that first earth-planning meeting.
Overly Harsh Punishments? Some have questioned Jehovah's mafiosoish cruelty during his Torah period. These critics charge that Jehovah's exterminating nearly all human and animal life on earth during the universal flood (in similitude of the baptism of the earth by immersion, according to the Prophet Joseph) at the time of Noah might seem a tad unloving and unkind. In response, let us ask two empathy-stimulating questions:
- Did not this earth's design follow long-established eternal astronomical principles of fierce heat and geological convulsions, in themselves quite harsh?
- Did not the eternal mortal-life-must feed-on-itself-in-a-closed-system principle require many carnivore species, feeding on each other and on herbivores?
Thus much of the violence is built into the eternal mortal-test system; Jehovah is not blamable for that violence. The Prophet Joseph taught us that even Gods are bound by natural laws; therefore the creation of so many predator carnivores, being natural-law necessary in a closed-system such as the earth and its atmosphere, may have dulled Jehovah's adolescent-god sensitivities (relative to what LDS today see as celestially acceptable levels of carnage and prolonged suffering) to accept killing of women and children by drowning or sword-hacking as more humane (or "Godane") than fangs ripping through flesh.
But there is another, more fundamental, reason, substantiated by LDS scripture and prophets' discourses:
The Torah's Jehovah Had Not Experienced Mortality; He Had No Personal Experience of Mortal Pain: It wasn't Jehovah's fault that Elohim set him up in his earth-God job before experiencing mortal life (as Jesus). We need to empathize with Jehovah for ordering that so many women and children be sword-hacked to death, because he had no physical body yet, so he had no personal experience with how much it hurt to be stabbed and chopped to death. Not having experienced pain, he could have thought that all the women's and kids' screaming was merely loud complaining, which would only have irritated him further, interpreting their screams as rebellious ingratitude. With no body, Jehovah was like single, childless Catholic priests who advise married couples with children. Jehovah couldn't act from experience; he was over-stressed, doing the best he could until he experienced physicality as Jesus.
Thus Jehovah, focusing on the need for obedience, overreacted in turning Lot's wife into a block of salt simply for glancing over her shoulder, and in sending bears out of the woods to eat boys who were only teasing a prophet for being bald. Jehovah knew that disrespecting prophets was a sin, and he was not intentionally cruel; being physical bodyless, he did not empathize with how painful it would be to be clawed and chewed to death by bears.
Awareness Of and Respect For Jehovah's Future Resurrection-Management Responsibilities: Those who would question Jehovah's treatment of people as recorded in Genesis and Exodus, and the women and children he ordered slaughtered there and in Numbers, need to be aware of enormous pressures on him, which we do not often pause to consider. Joseph the Prophet has explained that all living things will be resurrected. Thus, we need to commiserate with the enormous mental pressure upon the Lord deriving from his looking ahead to when he would need to supervise the resurrection of all animal life including all insects. As just one example, how many critics of the Lord's work have paused to calculate how many bats have lived? In just one species, Mexican Free-Tail bats, each of millions of them eats up to one-half its body weight per night in insects. Even though resurrected bats may not continue to consume insects in resurrected condition, which would eliminate the post-resurrection bat-feeding requirement, this single example, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of species, from the beginning of life on earth until the resurrection, translates to a resurrected-animal-life logistics nightmare for any god. Resurrection of trillions of brine shrimp, jelly fish, sardines, and plankton organisms alone equal an awesome godly responsibility.
Jehovah's Demanding Multi-Tasking Requirements: We LDS have always been taught that God follows natural laws. Brain-physiology science now demonstrates that women's brains are much better equipped for multi-tasking than are males' brains. Since our bodies will be resurrected, and our brains are and will be part of our bodies, it follows logically that resurrected women will possess better multi-tasking brains than men. But the main gods are the husband gods, not the wife gods. Thus, the patriarchal order of gods implies a built-in difficulty for which Jehovah is not to be blamed: female gods are better equipped to be multi-taskers than male gods such as Elohim and Jehovah, but Jehovah, though he lacked body and female brain, was nonetheless burdened with all of the enormously complex, multifaceted, trillions of multi-tasking responsibilities of all aspects of interacting elements of all animal, vegetable and mineral objects and organisms. This alone is cause for frustration and anger, leading the adolescent Jehovah to lash out in punitive behavior similar to that of a disturbed boy who pulls wings off of flies and tortures frogs, cats and his little sister. Jehovah was perhaps crying out for help and love.
Awareness Of and Respect For the Lord's and Heavenly Father's Sexual Workload: The above-described heavy responsibility does not include the Lord's probable anticipatory preoccupation with the massive post-resurrection procreation duties he would later assume in his male-god role in building the population of his future worlds after concluding his primary responsibility for this one. As Brigham Young explained, all gods procreate by the same sexual intercourse with which we mortals are so intimately familiar. Too few of us possess sufficient respect for this awesomely energetic copulatory work-load. Jehovah of the OT was pre-pubescent in the mortal puberty sense. He knew he was male, but he did not yet have sexual performance capability. For that he would have to pass through the Jesus-mortality period, and then rise from the dead with resurrected, celestial, fully omnipotent genitalia.
Let us use our own earth as just one galactic example. Jehovah would have known what we Latter-day Saints now know: Elohim would have to perform billions of acts of copulation with at least hundreds of thousands of his wives simply to father the many billions of people of this earth. Because critics have not appreciated this frenetic copulatory exertion, they may not have taken the trouble to put a pencil to the math. We know that Elohim is the Heavenly Father of each of us six billion alive today, and of at least another six billion who have died since Adam and Eve. Even if each act of resurrected intercourse required only one minute, including Elohim's moving his body from one wife to the next during each of those minutes, even that impressively divine speed of copulation would produce only sixty children per hour, barring occasional multiple births. The logistics of wife-change scheduling alone would have been staggering. That equals twenty-million hours of copulation needed to produce the twelve billion spirit children who have come to earth by now. That is 833,334 earth-time days (2,283 earth years) of continuous, virily omnipotent, non-stop copulation, not including attention needed for his answering of prayers, though we may properly assume that Elohim, good at multi-tasking, would have been capable of continuing sexual intercourse while simultaneously managing much prayer communication. (We may now also appreciate why Elohim sometimes has seemed to delay answering some prayers.) What we may also be certain of is that he would not have performed intercourse with several of his wives simultaneously, because we know that his is a normal resurrected male body that is not equipped with several sets of genitalia. (We are not being disrespectful here; we are merely restating the fact revealed by Joseph Smith: that God is a resurrected man with a body of flesh and bones, as tangible as a mortal man's; that body would necessarily include only one set of divine genitals.)
Divine Sperm Production and Vaginal Transfer: Thousands of years of non-stop copulation, as above, imply a truly inspiring capacity for sperm production, though perhaps as few as one celestial sperm may have been necessary per ejaculation. Note that we are discussing Elohim's ejaculations only in an appropriately tasteful analytical sense, not in a prurient or disrespectful sense, since this is a divinely sacred matter that must be dealt with in respectful reverence. Dealing with this sensitive subject in candor, may we be certain that Elohim's penis functions sexually as do mortal men's penises on earth? Yes, we may be certain. Again, Brigham Young is our authority. Because he taught that Elohim descended from heaven to perform direct physical sexual intercourse with Mary to produce Jesus (Jehovah's first alter ego), this inescapably means that Elohim's penis penetrated Mary's vagina, since that is what sexual intercourse means. And it is also safe to infer that Elohim would not have inserted his penis into Mary unless something was transferred from God's penis into Mary's vagina. And that would necessarily have been at least one divine sperm cell. Elohim's sperm cell, being perfect, would have had no need of the mortal fail-safe back-up system of ejaculating millions of sperm in order to assure that at least one would safely travel the distance to Mary's waiting egg. In Elohim's case, one perfectly potent godly sperm would have been sufficient to guarantee pregnancy.
Pre-Mortal Jehovah's Sexual Angst: For Jehovah in his pre-mortal state during the earth's formative period and until his birth to Mary in the manger, prior to his experiencing puberty, it is likely that his merely looking ahead to all of his post-resurrection, intercourse-frequency workload may have produced such angst as to cause him to lash out in order to reduce stress more than during his mortal experience as Jesus and his later post-resurrection experience as Christ (after his earlier post-resurrection fit of rage, destroying numerous cities in the Americas, as described below). A large part of the dramatic decrease in viciousness between his violently vindictive Jehovah persona and his sweet Jesus and his forgiving Christ personas can be accounted for as he settled into his resurrected body and got his initial post-resurrection psychotic rage out of his system (see below). Jehovah's critics, who sometimes perceive Jehovah/Christ as a provably schizophrenic God, conveniently overlook these core stress-modulatory factors which we introduce here for the first time into scholarly studies.
Jehovah Further Frustrated by Inept Actions of Unintelligent People: We LDS are taught that our Father in Heaven saved his most valiant, righteous and intelligent children for mortal testing in these latter days, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. But even now the average LDS IQ is only about 100. It was not Jehovah's fault that his father's Plan of Salvation sent the least adept and least righteous to earth first. This means that Jehovah was saddled at the outset with running a world populated by many millions of his father's (Elohim's) relatively less righteous, less valiant, less intelligent offspring.
Jehovah Had To Manage the Worst People During His Earliest Pre-Jesus Period: Let us reflect. We LDS are officially taught that the reason Jehovah was more brutal in the Pentateuch period was that the people who lived then were less righteous and more stiff-necked, needing a stronger hand. Thus, Jehovah was given the most difficult, stupidest people during his least-experienced period. No wonder he was so frustrated, angry, vindictive and violently punishing. He was analogous to a pre-pubescent farm boy being given the wildest and dumbest goats and mules to herd. Since this is a recipe for domestic animal abuse; we need not be surprised that it resulted in Jehovah's human abuse, even killing 50,000 men just because a few of them peeked into the Ark of the Covenant.
Low I.Q. Level As an Additional Problem: Since the average IQ even today is 100, this means that, in the aggregate, half of Elohim's 12,000,000,000+ children have IQs under 100. That constitutes an astronomical amount of thick-headed stupidity for a neophyte god to have to manage, especially at the outset. As Jehovah, and later as Jesus Christ, our God has had to manage billions of relative dullards. The scriptural evidence demonstrates that Jehovah's anger control was harder through the OT period, judging by all the slaughter fits he used to throw -- drowning nearly everyone in Noah's time, and commanding the many sword-butchering episodes. We need to love him as God, and lovingly empathize with the slaughter fits he threw during his emotional-overload period.
The More Unruly and Unrighteous the People, the More Rules, Threats and Punishment Needed: Many Christians have wondered why the Law of Moses, especially as expounded in Leviticus, abounds in convolutedly complex, mother-may-I rules that seem demeaning, insulting and even silly by today's standards. Why all the numerological mumbo-jumbo? Why all the incantations, incense and priestly posturing? The answer is two-fold: Not only was Jehovah dealing with emotional issues of his own, he was also, during that Leviticus period, having to herd and wrangle the less intelligent, less righteous, more stubborn and contentious of Elohim's offspring (i.e. Jehovah's siblings). He had to spell out every detail for them. To keep them in line, he had to micro-manage every waking moment of their lives. He had to extract, even extort, their obedience through fear of punishment and punishment itself. He had to use what may seem to us today to be the Saddam Hussein method of control by stark fear, even terror. Managing the unruliest of his billions of brothers and sisters, Jehovah did his best with those whom Elohim had assigned to him. The priests, Jehovah's mid-managers, were given long lists of meddlesome, complex rules designed to keep the people's minds and bodies too exhausted for ad hoc mischief. Jehovah kept his less righteous brothers' and sisters' noses to the obedience-grindstone.
Sibling Rivalry: This vitally important factor is introduced to the scholarly world for the first time in this article. Only a small part of this factor has been previously studied: Joseph Smith correctly taught that Lucifer (Satan) was (and is) Jehovah's brother, and that there was a jealousy-based sibling rivalry between them that continued from the original preexistence planning meeting, through Satan's temptation-offer prior to Jesus's crucifixion, and into the future until the Millenium. But what we introduce for the first time in this article is the central importance of the sibling rivalry between the Torah-era Jehovah and all of the humans on earth at that time. To fully understand the psychological power of this factor, we must remember that most gods mortally create and manage their own offspring. That is precisely what we LDS who qualify to become gods will do with our own worlds: we will populate our earths with our own billions of spirit children. But recall that Jehovah created the mortal bodies not of his own spirit children, but rather the spirit children of Elohim, our Heavenly Father. Thus Jehovah was creating and managing his siblings, his brothers and sisters. While millions of other gods are motivated to help their own progeny, their own descendents, their own flesh and blood if you will, Jehovah as this earth's official Lord God was creating and managing someone else's offspring: those of his father Elohim, in which Jehovah had no parental vested interest, along with little empathy for them while he was in his pre-mortal-body condition.
The sibling rivalry factor becomes crucially important as we consider Jehovah's dark mood swings that resulted in his widespread slaughter of innocent women, children, domestic animals and food-crop plants. Jehovah would likely have been more loving toward the Torah-era humans had they been his and his wives' (had he then had wives) own children. Even though he had volunteered to later act as savior for them (and us), during the Torah period the physical-bodyless Jehovah, not having experienced pain and dealing with his siblings in relation to which a sense of competition is normal behavior, could easily have been subconsciously motivated to reduce or eliminate competition by reducing their numbers, accomplishing this by ending their lives. This helps us understand how Jehovah could have openly and even proudly displayed such callous disregard for the lives of so many women and children, thinking of them as relatively less important because of his knowledge that billions more were to be born during his tenure as this earth's Lord and Savior.
God-Instigated Communication Chaos: We know that love and kindness are necessary to improve empathy and understanding. To improve understanding, clear communication is vital. But the emotionally overwhelmed young Jehovah, with his ultrashort patience-fuse, reacted to the inept action of some of the above-described mental dullards who were building a tower in their foolish attempt to reach heaven (which was believed at that time to be located just above the clouds and the "firmament," perceived to be a firm, clear dome that held up the blue water which we now know to be the sky). Jehovah divinely exacerbated the tower-building problem by causing all the people (except Noah and his family) to speak hundreds of different languages, thus drastically increasing confusion, distrust, family arguments and intersocietal enmity all over the world. Now, thousands of years later in 2005, we still struggle, with puny foreign-language teaching efforts and the United Nations, etc., to make a dent in the huge damage done by Jehovah's adolescent, chaos-causing temper tantrum.
Creation of Bizarre Forms of Life: Those who professionally study life forms on land and sea wonder why God created grotesque levels of strangeness that reflect such poor godly planning:
- Some animals are genetically programmed to eat their own young.
- Female mantis insects are programmed to bite off the male's head after mating with him.
- Millipedes have many dozens of legs where half as many would seem to suffice.
- Male mammals, including humans, are equipped with useless nipples.
- The panda's "thumb" is in reality only a deformed wrist bone.
- The human eye's structure of retina, rods and cones is constructed "backwards."
Jehovah clearly resorted to lots of trial-and-error experimentation owing to his youthful inexperience in creating living things, leading ignorant evolutionists to misperceive Jehovah's meandering creation process.
Importance of the Boredom Factor: Should we not feel loving compassion for our Lord's billions of years of creation, recalling how bored and frustrated we ourselves feel after we have learned all there is to know about a simple task, yet must keep performing it year after year? Those who believe that Jehovah was an all-knowing God cannot have it both ways. If he possessed all knowledge perfectly, let us reflect upon how bored he must have felt at no longer being able to experience the thrill of discovering the new and different. If we had been that bored for billions of years, would we too not have acted out by creating strange, even bizarre life forms to lessen the endless boredom of our godly eternities?
Billions of Years of Jehovah's Patience Required: They who are quick to be overly critical of Jehovah's divine performance should bear in mind the excruciatingly vast number of earth years required to get our earth up and running:
- Jehovah waited billions of years, after creating our planet, for it to cool sufficiently that early life forms could survive,
- He waited hundreds of millions of years more while only microscopic organisms lived in the seas,
- He waited hundreds of millions of years more for plants, reptiles, mammals and hominids that preceded Adam Sapiens, and the later-created Eve Sapiens.
Should we not be grateful for the huge amount of divine patience required before Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden in central Missouri? If we fail to understand why the Lord was so irascible, how would we have felt had we seen the need to hit, so to say, the reboot button during Noah's lifetime?
Jehovah's Frustration with Scriptural Errors: Per Joseph Smith, we know that the Garden of Eden was at Adam Ondi-Ahman in central Missouri. But Genesis in the O.T. mistakenly states that Eden was at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and also near Ethiopia and Assyria. Even Joseph Smith's rendition of the Book of Moses in the PofGP states the same thing. But obviously these scriptures are in error because the true location was in Missouri as revealed by our prophet, and Missouri is obviously located an enormous distance from the Tigris, the Euphrates, Ethiopia and Assyria. Professional LDS apologists in Provo, Utah have strained themselves with absurd speculations, preposterously rationalizing how Missouri could have geographically shifted so far from the above rivers, Ethiopia, etc., in such a relatively short time, thus creating an unnecessary and massive decrease in LDS Church credibility here in Salt Lake City and world-wide. Intelligent and educated LDS need to face the fact that Eden, Adam and Eve were indeed at what is now Independence, Missouri, nowhere near the Tigris or Euphrates rivers, nor Ethiopia, nor Assyria. The books of Genesis and Moses are thus grossly in error on this point. The pile of stones at Adam Ondi-Ahman is Joseph's proof. These glaring scriptural errors simply add to Jehovah's burden of frustrations with the foolishness of men.
Improvement To Look Forward To? We mortals take pleasure in looking forward to the better, the new, the different, even the unexpected. But for the post-mortal-Jesus Christ, since he has for eons been believed to be perfect, surrounded by perfect beings in the Celestial Kingdom, since nothing can be better than perfect he obviously cannot look forward to anything better than perfect or newer or different, and certainly nothing unexpected. If we love him as much as we claim to love our Heavenly Father, we should be able to sympathize with Jehovah's bizarre creations and his occasional psychotic outbursts while he lived in the boredom of eternal sameness, knowing that for trillions of years into the future he can never escape to something new and better. Sinfulness and the R.D.Q. The RDQ is the Righteousness Demographic Quotient. They who are wrongfully inclined to criticize Jehovah's Torah-period attitude and methods would do well to keep in mind that he may have been under competitive pressure, not from false gods on this earth, of course, but rather from legitimate gods of other worlds, some or many of these worlds being under the direct management of his own father, Elohim. Rather than criticizing Jehovah for killing nearly all women and children and other living things during Noah's time, we should understand that he may have been focusing on interdeity competition regarding factors such as which gods' RDQs indicated lower:
- percentages of homosexuality, male and female,
- suicide rates
- homicide rates
- average intelligence levels
- adultery rates
- theft and burglary rates
- use of intoxicants
- amount of indolence, envy and disrespect of authority
- amount of indifference toward complex animal-sacrifice protocol
Though we cannot at present know of these matters in detail because this is not necessary to our salvation, should we not be slow to question Jehovah's judgment in meting out seemingly torturous punishments? After all, he may have known that the best way to improve overall righteousness statistics at Noah's time was to kill everyone, then reboot and start over. And would he not, as the Lord God, the Alpha and Omega, have had the perfect right to do so? -- although we now might speculate that the above statistical rates should be more favorable the nearer each earth is to Kolob.
Relative Distance From Kolob: Is it not reasonable to assume that those Gods whose RDQ statistics are superior would qualify for closer positioning to Kolob, which is Elohim's (and possibly Jehovah's) home? If you were Elohim, our Eternal Heavenly Father, would you not prefer that your more productive resurrected children live in a galaxy nearer to you? We do know that the opposite extreme in distance is to be cast into outer darkness. Are we so blind as not to understand that Jehovah's seeming cruelty on occasion, such as sending bears from the woods to eat children for teasing a balding man, may have been due to his striving to improve RDQ averages in order to qualify for earth's being repositioned closer to Kolob? As Brother Brigham taught, the earth was formed near Kolob and then moved way out here where we currently reside, possibly billions, or trillions or more, light years away from Kolob.
Human Mistakes in His Divine Name: The Lord may still harbor rightful resentment that his latter-day prophets, from Joseph Smith forward, have continued, even in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants, the error of mistakenly calling him Jehovah (an error we have necessarily continued in this article, because it is now so ingrainedly accepted), rather than his correct name, Yahweh. Would he not be entitled to feel some anger from disrespect? It is written that the Lord God is a jealous God and that he experiences great anger and even wrath. By analogy, would not our present prophet be justified in his displeasure if he were regularly called Gordy or Gordo or Prez rather than President Gordon B. Hinckley, in articles in the BYU magazine?
Jehovah Demoted by His Prophet Brigham Young: We need to sympathize with the patience of Jehovah, alias Jesus Christ, when subsequent to all of the above aggravation (and that which follows below), Jehovah was in effect dethroned for decades in his own divinely restored church by Brigham Young, who consistently taught that Adam, not Jehovah, was the God of this earth. What an insult to have to tolerate from your own prophet! The Lord must have been answering Brigham's prayers, telling him how absurd a mistake the Adam-God teaching was, but Brigham insistently kept ignoring the Lord year after year. (Possibly Brigham's role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre dulled his ability to receive revelation from Jehovah/Christ, coming through the Holy Ghost.)
Jehovah Tolerates His Father Having Sex with His Sister: We all know that Mary, just as are you and the authors of this article, was a child of Elohim. Thus, Elohim had sex with his own grown daughter, Mary, who thereby became the God-impregnated mother of Jesus. We know that Jesus was Jehovah, Mary's oldest spirit brother from the pre-existence. Our prophets have thus taught that Jesus was the product of sexual intercourse between Jesus's sister and his father. We know from consistent LDS teachings that our memories of the pre-existence are erased, and thus Jesus didn't remember this relationship during his mortal life. But as soon as Jesus died and recovered his Jehovah-memory as the God of this earth, we can now understand how this shocking new awareness would create severe emotional trauma for him. Evidence of this trauma appears in Third Nephi, chapters eight and nine, as follows.
The Newly-Aware, Shocked and Furious Jesus Christ of Third Nephi Throws a Violent Psychotic Fit: The previously gentle and loving Jesus Christ of the New Testament, now remembering the sexual matter outlined above, suddenly converts, werewolf or Jekyll-to-Hyde-like, to the vicious psycho-God of Third Nephi, analogous to a testosterone-crazed, post-pubescent, WBF boxer on steroids. This psycho Jehovah-Christ lashes out in violent destruction of numerous Nephite cities of the Americas: "And the city of Zarahemla did take fire. And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea." (BofM, III Nephi, 8:8-9) "And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned." (8:14) The newly vicious and psychotic Jesus Christ now brags about this destruction: "And behold, that great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned." (9:5) "And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth." (9:6) "And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof, . . . " (9:10) We need to love and be understanding of this emotionally erratic God, as we would feel sorry for the emotionally challenged Michael Jackson. Elohim had thrown Jehovah, aka Jesus Christ, into God-duty and saviorhood before he was ready for its emotional demands.
Another powerful factor that could have caused his emotional-overload blowout was that the resurrected Christ had to jump back into his managerial catch-up nightmare after thirty-three years away from the helm as CEO of our earth and universe, during his Jesus hiatus. There is no evidence that Jesus, though still Jehovah with memory erased, shouldered any of the earth-management load during his mortal infancy, childhood, years as carpenter, and three years as itinerant miracle worker/preacher. Thirty-three years are a long time for managerial issues to stack up worldwide while Jesus focused on his relatively tiny mortal existence near Nazareth. We can understand how this tremendous thirty-three-year backload contributed to his pent-up frustration loosed in America.
Appreciation for Jehovah's (and Elohim's) Skill in Managing Hundreds of Thousands of Disgruntled Wives: In our current earthly status, we too-complacent Latter-day Saints too glibly overlook the reality of the high godly skill needed to manage eternal disappointment among so many thousands or millions of god-wives who have patiently and lovingly been conscripted to bear so many billions of children for this earth alone. These god-women know they were more righteous on average than men, but male gods in heaven still have the patriarchal upper hand over their more-righteous spouses.
A Major Cause of God-Wife Disgruntlement: One element of god-wife disgruntlement resides in their not being allowed to communicate with even the most righteous of their mortal children, those born under the covenant, because even these millions of super-righteous are not permitted to pray to their Mothers in Heaven, or even know which of thousands of wives is their own Mother in Heaven, a doctrinal issue that was settled by the divinely inspired LDS First Presidency during the ERA struggles and excommunication trial of Sister Sonia Johnson during the early '70s. Additional potential God-wife disgruntlement resides in the fact that on earth LDS women are informed that the reason they are unable to hold the priesthood is that they, being more righteous on average than males, are not in need of it. But after these resurrected women arrive in the Celestial Kingdom, even in its highest degree, even after they have themselves become female Gods, they realize that notwithstanding their having been more righteous on average than their male God-mates, each God-women must accept not only her God-husband's attention being very thinly rationed among his wives owing to their need to continuously procreate for all eternity, but also must accept that she is forbidden to communicate with her own earth-mortal children whom she has lovingly borne and nurtured in the pre-existence. Each God-wife has to ask her husband "How are the kids doing?" This alone must be a cause of major frustration for God-wives during their quadrillions of years of wifely godhood, which is their eternal reward, worlds without end.
Conclusion: As the authors of this article have prayerfully studied the above matters, it is clear to us as professional LDS researchers inspired by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and Hugh Nibley and F.A.R.M.S., that the Lord, earlier known as Jehovah, now as Jesus Christ, has been grievously misunderstood and wrongfully perceived in some of his manifestations of eternal, tough-love for us, and has suffered his own grievances as above delineated. Hopefully we may now begin to appreciate the weight of responsibility upon our Lord's resurrected celestial shoulders, and upon the shoulders of his divine father, Elohim, in their eternal responsibilities of endless procreation, creation and management of quadrillions of resurrected life forms including billions of humans, micro-managing billions of prayer requests in thousands of languages daily, and we should not criticize that which we can only dimly begin to grasp in small part, as Paul the Apostle wisely wrote, through a glass, darkly.
(Though the statements above accurately represent the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the opinions expressed herein are those of James E. Johnson, William A. Taylor and Richard A. Smith, professional full-time researchers at F.I.R.M.S, which is not associated with F.A.R.M.S., and is not a part of, nor endorsed by, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Corporation of the President of same, Intellectual Reserve, nor Brigham Young University.)
Copyright © 2005, by James E. Johnson, Ph.D., William A. Taylor, Ph.D., and Richard A. Smith, Ed.D. This article may be freely copied, forwarded or posted online if nothing is changed, added or removed.
"it's a matter of the secular academic community (of Mesoamericanist archaeologists, for example) paying no really serious attention to Mormonism generally, or to Mormon scholarship in particular. FARMS arguments aren't so much rejected as ignored." - Daniel C Peterson - May 29, 2004
I saw Polygamy Porter's interesting post at the Recovery from Mormonism Bulletin Board on Dan Peterson's comment that FARMS arguments are not so much rejected as ignored. So, I thought I'd drop a few comments.
First of all, I'd like to say for the record (in the small chance that anyone in cyberspace cares) that, for all the silly things he might say, I appreciate Daniel Peterson a lot more than I do Hinckley, Monson, Faust, and the other guys running the church, for two reasons: Dan Peterson actually responds to you, and he is actually doing what Joseph Fielding Smith did for years, which was try to explain this g*%$#@ thing in a way that moves beyond Monsonian/Paul H. Dunnian fictions, Hinckley's disingenuous PR spins, and typical platitudes. That explaining what Mormonism is (without saying the words "loyalty cult") in the end is an impossible task is kind of beside the point - Dan at least is still trying.
The First Presidency issued a statement through The Ensign a couple of years ago telling everyone to stop writing to them asking for doctrinal clarification, and recommended that they go instead to their bishops. Anyone who has ever gone to a Mormon bishop for doctrinal clarification will be able to appreciate the true nature of this recommendation: an attempt at evading all responsibility for precisely what they, in their OWN WORDS, are responsible for: "declaring doctrine". There is not one Mormon bishop on this planet can explain, with ANY degree of authoritativeness, any doctrinal point that anyone would ever ask about (not least because their relatively lowly position precludes authoritative pronouncement, and also because Mormonism defies explanation in the end as anything other than a loyalty cult). I've attended wards all over this planet, and the end of pretty much every conversation has been, "We don't know all the answers, and we have to just put some of this stuff on the shelf. I encourage, though, to pray and receive your own answers...") (i.e., invent your own version of what you'd like Mormonism to be, and then keep your mouth shut). The "ask the bishop" strategy is nothing more than a stonewalling.
But Dan Peterson, while I think he inadvertently has done quite a lot of damage to the very cause he tries so hard to defend, at least acknowledges your existence when you write to him. I don't know if he posts still, but for years you could post on the FAIR board, and he'd actually come back and try to get you, in effect, to stop asking "stupid" questions and stuff, not really focus in on your point and instead try to dazzle you and others with thought-terminating cliches and ten dollar words which, I guess, really impress people from starry-eyed fanatics from Utah County (sorry).
Meager, similarly insulting fare for sure, but in an institution like the LDS church, the corporate culture of which (in fealty to the personality of its founding CEO) requires a disavowal of any responsibility whatsoever for what it stands for, having the biggest bully on the schoolyard actually pay attention to you long enough to stick your head in a toilet and flush it (rather than stare right through you as though you don't exist) might be something worth feeling a tad grateful for. It's like putting out your CD and getting a very unfair review from Spin magazine. It sucks, but in a way it beats being completely ignored.
Not that I'm waxing nostalgic. Not even Dan Peterson, as far as I can tell, can straightforwardly answer many (any?) of the most basic questions people ought to ask about Mormonism.
But anyway, what I'm getting at is this. Daniel complains that FARMS arguments are not so much rejected as ignored. I think that is probably true. It is tempting now to think that FARMS writers are aware of why this might be, but I have come to doubt this is the case.
In fact, I once got an email from a FARMS writer (not Dan) stating very emphatically and sincerely that the reason for the dismissal/ignoring of FARMS arguments by people on the RFM board was that...(get ready for this)...
That those arguments were so convincing, that it threw we who (he thought) wished the church to be fraudulent simply so we could live a life of hedonism, into a state of "cognitive dissonance" (his words); and so ignoring them was a coping strategy for us.
He said that this is what I did.
My response was to ask him which convincing arguments he might be referring to, since I hadn't been able to find any; perhaps tellingly, he never cited any in response. He just repeated his original charge. As a former ideological fanatic myself, I resisted the temptation for scorn and passed over his comment from then on with a kind of (as I thought) charitable silence.
FARMS writers, it almost seems, sometimes are fairly bewildered at how their output is ignored. I might be able to shed some light on this, though, unqualified however as I am. But I think it might be something like this.
"Scholarship" implies participation in an ongoing discussion, not only with people who see the world exactly as we do, but with those who see it in contrary terms. Scholars don't write out their theories in private, compile evidences for their truthfulness in private, and then burn them all without ever mentioning them to anyone. In trying to discern reality, we take turns talking about how we think it is, and then people elaborate on, or take issue with, or agree with, what we've said. In this respect, I don't see scholarship as practiced by formally credentialed scholars as fundamentally different than guys sitting in a bar dissecting every last element of the last Vancouver Canucks game, including line-up, line changes, penalty kill strategies, etc.
But part of being a respected participant in such dialogue/inquiry requires the participant's willingness to operate within certain boundaries which appear to be expressions of an independent reality. For example, in discussing the Canucks, our understanding is not increased if Dave keeps saying things like, "If the Canucks really want to win, they need to put seven men on the ice", since hockey forbids having seven men on the ice at a time. Or, if Dave keeps saying, "But you can't rule out the possiblity that it was Wayne Gretzky, masquerading as Markus Naslund, who really shot that puck. And I think it WAS Gretzky, and that's why it didn't go in - Gretzky's too old to be playing for the Canucks". If we kept explaining to Dave that if he wanted to join in our chats, he'd have to keep such weird flights of fancy out and actually focus on the reality at hand, and he couldn't or wouldn't accept that stipulation, at some point we would start ignoring him. And this is what has happened with FARMS.
FARMS writers, and Mormon apologists in general (really, all ideologues) operate under "Hinckley's Dictum", articulated in so many words in an Ensign article a couple of years ago: "When evidence supports our belief, it counts; when it doesn't support out belief, it does not count".
How can FARMS writers be surprised when they come to be ignored by others, when this is their modus operandi?
My answer is this: What if they don't see that this is their modus operandi at all? What if they are completely unaware that they are downgrading in importance evidence which, to everyone else who is emotionally unattached to Mormon theories, seems crucially important? And what if, when they are confronted with this, they don't really understand what is being said, so that even in the act of responding to criticism, they themselves are totally blind to what it most devastating in that criticism? If this is the case, it doesn't really matter in the end whether ideologues are consciously declaring war on the norms of discourse, or unconsciously flaunting them - the result will be the same: what they say in the end will be ignored.
I think this is particularly tragic because FARMS writers obviously are very creative thinkers (creativity being a requisite for theorizing), who, as far as I can see, might very well have been able to come up with things which really blessed the human race. Instead, they have spend (cumulatively) tens of thousands of hours undertaking "scholarship" which in reality isn't scholarship at all (since by Dan Peterson's own admission FARMS is pretty much completely ignored) but "religious belief reinforcement" (call it "RBR"). To make it worse, if Mormonism is not what it claims, and if it isn't "the best thing out there" as so many of us used to convince ourselves was the case, then all their work seems to be pretty much a total waste of time. All those mental energies, all that sacrifice for grad school...and for what?
For any mature FARMS writer to come to admit that, for whatever else it might be, Mormonism cannot be what it claims, would be an act of such incredible heroism and humility, that it should be lauded by everyone on this planet. It is hard to say, "I have been wrong". It is harder when we must say that to the whole world. It is harder when to say it means we lose many of our best friends, harder when to say it means we must try to become someone new, harder when all those former friends now think we are evil and demented, harder still when it hurts us, or even destroys us, financially. But most of all, to say "I have been wrong" would be to concede that, in a heartbreaking way, our talents and energies and time have been misused, perhaps in some ways totally wasted.
Anyway, I might say that, for the sake of FARMS writers themselves, perhaps more scholars should criticize their output; but this would be completely pointless anyway, since I doubt any of them would ever even want to know if they were wrong (for the reasons I mentioned), and never would concede, no matter what, that terrible first error. And as long as that is the case, they will act so as to ensure that they will continue to be ignored.
Since Dan Peterson seems to lament the lack of criticism (without seeming to understand why no one bothers to criticize, i.e., it's pointless), here is a little starter criticism.
Mormon apologetic arguments seem to proceed on the assumption that those who doubt that Mormonism is what it claims bear the burden of proof.
Here is why Mormons bear the burden of proof, not skeptics.
Foundational Mormon claims require us to believe that the laws of physics, as we know them and have always observed them to work without exception, have been violated. Moreover, the basis on which one is asked to believe those laws were violated is a mixture of personal testimonials and personal feelings. But not only have the laws of physics never before been shown to have been violated, but personal testimonials and feelings are inadequate ways of establishing any such thing. In other words, it is far more likely that physical laws were not violated, but that some people merely thought they were, than that they were in fact violated.
As an example, millions of people now have watched the magician Criss Angel on TV hypnotize people and make them float in mid air. The people standing right next to Criss are amazed; they see no wires, no mirrors, nothing. And we at home are similarly amazed. Many millions of us have "seen" someone levitate. We could all bear testimony that Criss Angel can make someone levitate. We have seen it with our own eyes. Does that make it so?
Which is more likely - that Criss Angel can suspend the workings of gravity, or that he is performing an illusion of some kind? If you're a devout, committed "angelist", Criss Angel has just proven he is a prophet, with access to the power of God, and a million witnesses become irrefutable proof that in fact President Angel can suspend gravity. And all the angelists therefore might start stating that all the skeptics out there bear the burden of proving that Criss Angel did NOT make someone float. But all of them would still be wrong, for the truth is, that it is far more likely that people can not levitate, than that they can, and under close inspection, in fact we would find that Criss Angel would fail every single critical test of his levitational powers.
So as a preliminary criticism, I might say that FARMS and all Mormon apologists ought to stop proceeding as though the world had the burden of proof just because they wish to believe they do, and concede at the outset that any person, including themselves, defending a claim which requires us to believe that the laws of physics have been violated, automatically and unavoidably bears the burden of proof in establishing that claim, for the simple reason that there is no good reason to believe that physical laws ever have been violated, and innumerable good reasons to believe they never have been, and never will be.
Rather than weaken a position which could hardly be weaker (so weak it is ignored by everyone on the planet but Mormons and recovering Mormons), I think this kind of concession would help start to attract some kind of attention to apologetic arguments. It would signal that Daniel Peterson isn't the guy at the conference on the paranormal alleging that even though some university students did make "many" crop circles, that that doesn't mean that aliens didn't make some of them, or one of them, and since the "alien creator" theory can't be ruled out, and he has felt strongly that aliens did make the crop circles, that the burden of proof is on all those who doubt the Alien Creator Theory. Literally, this is what Mormon apologetic arguments kind of boil down, and in the end, people just don't have time to seriously engage with people like this. True believers look askance at all of the most reliable methods of discovering truth, don't really explain why it is justified that they should, and then just start announcing "the truth" without any good arguments supporting it, as though out of charity they were giving all the "alien crop circle" or Mormon doubters a chance to accept the truth here in mortality...
Mormon apologists are defending something which most people believe is untrue. Because of this, Mormon apologists, if they wish to cease being ignored, MUST demonstrate that they would be willing to know if Mormonism weren't what it claims (one way of doing this is for them to propose how Mormonism could be falsified [and it must be falsifiable in that claims about physical reality constitute part of Mormonism]).
It often seems, however, that the FARMS folks have imbibed (without realizing?) Carl Schmitt-like attitudes about "struggle" (kampf) being pretty much the whole story of human society and activity. The story of man, the political animal, is the story of war, and all the story there should be. It is war for war's sake, and victory just because someone has to win and someone has to lose. I think this accounts for the tendency that some of us have noticed - that Mormon apologists just seem to want to argue, argue forever, just to argue...there seems no chance of them ever conceding that anyone else might be on to something about their most cherished beliefs. Life has become simply about fighting to keep on believing what they believe, rather than examining it, and then re-examining it, to see whether they really ought to have believed it in the first place.
The Hobbes-inspired Carl Schmitt/FARMS position is in the end a fundamentally anti-rationalist position. It is not the position of anyone who believes there is a truth independent of human wish, and who wishes to find it no matter how much damage that search may do to his ego and pocketbook. This attitude seems to render the question of the purpose of debate an absurdity, since the debate itself is the point, a contest of wills, life as a believing agent equalling war. But those whose attention FARMS might enjoy, for all their faults, seem to view debate not as an end in itself, but as a necessary means of achieving another goal altogether - namely, the acquisition of truth/discovery of reality. This discrepancy in attitude makes it very easy for non-Mormons to simply ignore Mormon apologetic arguments, rather than dissect them and reject them: the project seems totally pointless. And right now, it IS totally pointless.
I don't think there is anything apostate about conceding upfront that Mormons bear the burden of proof, nor do I think there is anything apostate about saying, "...and if I am wrong about Mormonism, I should like to know about it". Indeed, a number of prominent Mormons have expressed views rather similar to this, from Orson Pratt to J. Reuben Clark to Hugh B. Brown. So why not? Perhaps this might get the train rolling for FARMS.
For all I can tell, Daniel Peterson seems to regard himself as a modern Sisyphus, destined to keep repeating things over and over which he believes totally answer the skeptics of Mormonism. He seems to have no conception of why they don't, or why the same questions keep getting asked. Maybe a few key changes in approach might clear away some of the clouds and help him and other Mormons see how they could better defend the beliefs they are so committed to. Concede where the burden lies, and propose a sensible means of falsifying Mormonism (since even GBH concedes the possibility that it is "either a fraud, or it is not".)
What a monstrous piece of scholarly schmuck! FARMS must Keep the door cracked open somehow and the LGT (Limited Geography Theory) is all they've got left!
FARMS: "There still has to be some kind of possibility if we only..ah...suppose...let's try..."
"This massive civilization for whom God preserved the land, that had all this Hebrew scripture, language and culture, that saw Christ himself, had horses and chariots and steel and that was so massive that in its finally battle (after 25 long years of fighting), still left a QUARTER MILLION DEAD...This great civilization nevertheless lived in a little tiny area, had little interaction with others, and left absolutely NOTHING behind, including any trace of DNA, cities, language, culture...etc."
That's the perfect description of a Last Gasp Theory!
Let's compare F.A.R.M.S. arguments with the arguments of a Lawyer stuck defending a guilty client.
(1) Attack the credibility and character of witnesses against the client. Try to give the jury reason to find the prosecution witnesses unlikable. Try to play up any possible bias against the defendent on the part of the witnesses.
(2) Try to create a theoretically-possible, though highly improbable, scenario to explain away the evidence. This goes to creating "reasonable doubt." Where there is no room even for "reasonable doubt" try to elevate "unreasonable doubt" to the status of "reasonable" in the minds of the jurors.
(3) Avoid spending time actually dealing with the solid evidence against your client but find some weak piece of evidence that has been presented and pound against with the hidden implication that this is representative of the prosecution's case.
There's an old saying among lawyers: "When the law is against you pound the facts; when the facts are against you pound the law; when both the law and the facts are against you pound the table."
FARMS pounds the table.
"The chief theological atrocities are currently committed at the Brigham Young University, where there is a studied irrationalism and a sophistical effort to square the doctrines with ancient and esoteric lore, scriptural and non-scriptural, rather than with the facts of life." Sterling McMurrin, "On Mormon Theology," Dialogue, Vol. 1:2, p.140
Best is: This was published in 1966!!! Long before FARMS appeared on the scene. McMurrin for prophet, seer and revelator. Too bad he wasn't an "active" Mormon and is dead by now. - 06/15/2000 - James
"[Nibley] has been a security blanket for Latter-day Saints to whom dissonance is intolerable.His contribution to dissonance management is not so much what he has written, but that he has written.After knowing Hugh Nibley for forty years, I am of the opinion that he has been playing games with his readers all along.Relatively few Latter-day Saints read the Nibley books that they give to one another, or the copiously annotated articles that he has contributed to church publications. It is enough for most of us that they are there." in "Brigham Young University: A House of Faith," Gary J. Bergera and Ronald Priddis, SLC, 1985, p. 362 - courtesy of James - 06/15/2000
The LDS Corporation doesn't do apologies, only apologetics. - 03/29/2004 -blabber
Farms is their external name, internally they are known as the Cognitive-Dissonance Strategy Development Department - 03/31/2005 - Garment Wedgie
FARMS purpose: To reassure the sheep that the shepherd doesn't eat mutton. - 03/31/2005 - Concrete Zipper
They think that credentials make them right. It's just another way of intimidation. Oversimplified example: "I've got a PhD in So. American literature, and I found something in an Aztec folk story about light coming from the sky. That proves that Christ visited the Americas. I'm a PhD so you have to believe me."
I value the ability to analyze facts much higher than the ability to regurgitate historical facts. If somebody has a PhD in So. American geography or history and is a Mormon, they can find all kinds of ways to spin the BoM. The weak point is that they are using the BoM to prove the BoM. See the irony?
With those of us who are more involved in critical analysis (I'm just starting in this endeavor, so pardon my oversimplifications), we see problems with Mormon logic. We pick apart their arguments piece by piece and hand them back, dismantled. How do we do that? Facts. Logic. Analysis.
The difference between a scientist and a Mormon is that the scientist is conducting an experiment to see if his theory is right or wrong, and he/she will report the findings. The Mormon will start with the conlusion he/she wants to reach, and only look at evidence that supports that conclusion.
1. Write a history of ancient America covering a period of from 2200 B.C.E. to 400 A.D.? Why ancient America? Because that's what the Book of Mormon claims to be about silly.
2. You must start telling tales that resemble this book to your family at least ten years before you write it.
3. You must be primarily self-educated. If you are formally educated, it may or may not make it more difficult to write, that will obviously depend on your individual "education," but don't worry about learning how to spell, since . . .
4. You must include at least 3000 grammatical and spelling errors, even if you use a secretary to transcribe your dictation. Now this is going to be really hard, because where are you going to find such an ignorant secretary. Good luck on that one.
5. Your "history" must be 531 pages long, and must use the phrase "and it came to pass" 3,856 times.
6. You must come up with a good explanation as to why filler such as "and it came to pass" would be so frequently repeated if your history is supposed to have come from gold plates where space was at a premium.
7. Once your book is published you are only allowed to change it 3500 times for grammatical and spelling errors and 500 times for doctrinal, historical or other substantive inconsistencies.
8. Your "history" must replace the actual millions of inhabitants of the ancient Americas during this time period with fictitious nations, including one nation founded by refugees from the mythical tower of Babylon who came to the Americas on a giant barrel-like barge with holes in the top and the bottom (don't ask) of the barge and two other nations founded by "jews" who know next to nothing about Jewish dietary or religious practices.
9. You must describe the inhabitants of America and their religious, economic, political and social and cultural institutions in such way that they don't in any way represent the religious, political, social and cultural institutions of the actual inhabitants of ancient America. Even make up some names of coins that were never used by the actual inhabitants of America. Throw in some animals and crops that are only in the Americas post-Columbus and make up some funny names of non-existent animals too, like cureloms.
10. Make sure you plagiarize from more than one section of the bible, and from various other sources, so that your claim that many ancient authors contributed to the book can be trumpeted by apologists.
11. Make up a story about a dead guy coming to America and killing millions of inhabitants and burying cities in the ocean and under the earth. Call him Nosferatu or Lestat. No just kidding -- you must actually call him Jesus.
12. Claim that your inconsistent and grammatically awkward prose (except for the plagiarized parts which are somewhat better written) is not fiction, but a true and sacred history.
13. Include in your book 54 chapters dealing with wars that bear no resemblance to the actual wars that took place in the ancient Americas. Make sure that at least some of these wars include the nonsensical accounts of million man armies. Ignore the problems associated with the logistical support for such a large army. Also include million men armies fighting to the last man and their bones and steel weapons disappearing from the face of the earth. Include 21 historical chapters which bear no resemblance to actual history, try and include some inconsistencies here too, like people reappearing in the narrative after they have already died.
14. You must include 55 chapters on visions and prophesies. At least one of the "visions" must be an almost verbatim recital of a dream that some member of your family, preferably your father, told to you as a boy. Some of the prophesies must be plagiarized directly from the bible, but others must "prophesy" about things that have already happened between the time of the supposed prophesy and the present, so that you can show how accurate the "prophecies" of your book are. Except for the "prophecies" about events that have already taken place, which must be laden with details, all prophecies should be very vague. Never do anything stupid like prophesy that Christ will come in 1891, the civil war would start in the 1830's or that people live on the moon and dress like Quakers, that would be quite a problem for you.
15. Included in your narrative will be bogus modes of travel that were never used in ancient America, bogus descriptions of clothing and clothing materials that were never used in ancient America, bogus descriptions of crops that never existed in ancient America and bogus types of government as well. As Spiccoli from "Fast Times At Ridgemenot High" might add at this point -- that's a lot of bogosity dude.
16. You must invent 280 names. Well, not really invent, you can take some from the bible, some from the apocrypha, some from maps, etc. Some should be inside jokes (Moron, Ether), some should be silly (anti-nephi-lehite, curelom), some should so forgettable that you refer to them obliquely (brother of jared) and some should come from the occult practices you were taught by your parents (Laman).
17. Every objective scholar who looks at your work and examines its claims to be a history of the ancient Americas must denounce it as a fraud. (OK, this one was easy, but you deserve a break after so many hard ones in a row.)
18. Claim that your book is the word of God. Then start a religion with doctrines contrary to the book. (Don't worry, this is actually much easier than it sounds.)
19. Throw in all kinds of absurd, impossible and contradictory statements. (If you need help with this see Ether 15:31, Mosiah 21:28 and 2 Nephi 19:1 for some examples to get you started.)
20. No one but you or the members of the religion you founded must believe your claims that the book is of divine origin. To cover for the fact that you cannot produce the gold plates, make up a story about the gold plates upon which the record came being "taken up into heaven" and get 11 people who are related to you and/or with a financial interest in your book to say that they saw the plates before they disapperared. Make sure that you refer to the dead guy that takes the plates back "to heaven" by at least two different names.
21. Get four dishonest and shifty characters to claim that they too had an magical dead guy come down from "heaven" to "testify" to them about your book. Each of these witnesses must have a financial stake in the book.
22. Make sure that something in your book fulfills some vague biblical prophesy. (And yes, I know vague and biblical prophesy are redundant and repetitive.)
23. Thousands of men with a vested financial interest in the religion you founded, including many who are criminals and who lie under oath to congress, must accept your book (and your teachings that contradict the book) for over 100 years. In fact, you must make sure that every man who leads your church for the first 100 years must be a criminal. Make sure that you commit every one of the following crimes: treason, sedition, murder, perjury, conspiracy to commit murder, bigamy, statutory rape, fraud, conterfeiting, illegal banking, assault, and bribery. Send some of your followers on missions and have sex with their wives while they are away too. Make sure that every man that leads your church for the next 100 years commits at least 3 of the above crimes.
24. Since your book is filled with inconsistencies which easily demonstrate it as fraudulent, you must include an appeal to magical thinking at the end of the book, or no one will follow you.
25. You've got to then get a bunch of believers in your fraudulent history to, a few of them glady, but most of them under some form of coercion, give up two years of their life to con others into beleiving your bogus history. Have sex with some of their wives while they are away. Call this sex "celestial marriage."
26. Some of these salesmen must even pay their own way. Now some of them will, over the course of these two years, come to the realization that your book is a fraud, but over half of them must stay in your church.
27. You must derive your financial riches from the book and the religion which you found upon its teachings (and no we must not forget about the doctrines that contradict the teachings of the book). Despite making several fortunes over the course of your life by conning the believers of your book out of their hard earned money, you will waste it all and flee at least two states due to your financial improprieties and declare bankruptcy at least once. And along the same financial vein, you must also steal money from your foster daughters. And while you're at it, have sex with some of them too.
28. When your financial cons and sexual scandals cause problems for your family and followers, you must blame everything on religious persecution and leave town. You must ingraine this into your followers so that they carry this false persecution complex with them unto the third and the fourth generations. You must teach all the leaders of your movement to have sex with the wives and the daughters of those with lower callings in your church. You must have sex with 14 year old girls and cause that any follower of yours that does not want to have sex with 14 year old girls to be removed from any leadership position in your church. (Yes David Koresh did this too, but he never wrote a book and he's not about to write one now is he?)
29. Your book must result in a people whose unlawful practices will be referred to as barbaric by both the Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States of America.. (If you live somewhere other than the US, similar organizations of the country where you live will suffice) You must include in your religion covenants that require your people to blindly obey orders to murder non-members of your cult. Your book must result in a people that will kill and steal from any who dare visit territory controlled by your followers. Your people must murder at least 20 children in cold blood.
30. Start right now, and spend a year writing the first draft of this book. Then complete the second draft in three months, BUT YOUR SECOND DRAFT MUST BE WRITTEN WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE FIRST DRAFT. Before starting on the second draft, you must let the only copy of the first draft go to someone who does not believe you saw god, or that you saw any dead guys, or that dead guys gave you any gold plates. Then come up with a good explanation as to why, since the plates were supposedly translated by the power of god, god didn't just help you write the same words over again.
Daniel has violated Temple Recommend Question #7: Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
The Brethren have once again slapped Brother Daniel's hands for "affiliating" with apostates over the Internet. Affiliating thus over the Internet is the "gateway" to Internet Pornography addiction.
This "affiliation" must cease.
As proof of these solemn charges click here: Correspondence between Susie Q. and Dr. Daniel C. Peterson
Behold, by the "mouse" of two or three witNETses shall the truth of all things be established. - Moctrine and Coven Aunts: 136-12
1. And it came to pass that I, TANSTAAFL, having been born of exceedingly Mormon parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; which included the Book of Mormon, and having seen many afflictions and cognitive dissonance in the course of my days because of the fact that I was raised in the Mormon religion and having read the Book of Mormon nigh unto twenty times, nevertheless, yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mischievousness of Loki, therefore I shall make an exceedingly good book review of the Book of Moron.
2. Yea, I make a record of my review in the language of English, and not Reformed Egyptian - the language of the Book of Mormon, because everyone knoweth that no one speaks Reformed Egyptian anyway. Behold, I make an abridgment of the review upon computer which I have made with mine own hands; (the review, not the computer) wherefore, after I have abridged the review then will I make an account of mine own review and if thou findest this sentence difficult for thine understandings to comprehend then thou wilt not enjoy reading the Book of Mormon, for I make the record of my review in the idiom of the book of Mormon author. Yea, verily, it came to pass that more exceedingly confusing than Yoda-speak it is.
3. And it came to pass that thus were written the first two paragraphs of my review. And I know that the review which I write true; and I make it with mine own computer; and I make it according to my knowledge. And thus passeth away even the third paragraph also.
4. And it came to pass that my exceedingly good review having been limited to 1000 words by the amazon.com web-site, I realized that my choice of writing style, that being the style inflicted upon the reader by Joseph Smith Jr., Author and Proprietor of the Book of Mormon, was not a good choice for one limited to a small number of words, or for that matter an odd choice for the inhabitants of the ancient Americas who supposedly had to inscribe the lengthy and frequently rambling and meaningless prose on gold plates where space was at a premium.
5. And it came to pass that this part of the exceedingly good review, yea even the middlest part, I shall shew unto you the parts of the review that review the book of which I revieweth. And it came to pass that I chose not to detail in this review the thousands of revisions which the Mormons made to the book after Joseph Smith wrote it, which was supposedly perfectly "translated" by a gift from god, or the many anachronisms which the author included, yea not even the horses that the ancient Americans supposedly had despite the fact that the horse arrived with Columbus nor the steel weapons. Nor even shall I comment upon 54 chapters dealing with wars that bear no resemblance to the actual wars that took place in the ancient Americas, yea and I especially shall not comment upon the accounts of wars with nonsensical accounts of million man armies fighting to the last man and their bones and steel weapons disappearing from the face of the earth. Yea, and it followeth that I also chose not to comment on the many plagiarisms and yea, even plagiarisms of mistranslations, which were included in the book. Yea, verily I chose not to comment on the writing or the story of the book, which Mark Twain called "chloroform in print," especially since I find that remark highly disparaging to chloroform. For it came to pass in the commencement of my preparation for the writing of the review, I realized that a review of the book which pointed out its flaws would be so long, yea, so long as to be longer than the book itself. Yea, and thus passeth away even the middlest part of my exceedingly good review, the longest paragraph, even though it merely toucheth upon the thousands of give-aways as to the fraudulent nature of the book. For yea, this review cannot contain even a millionth part of what was so poorly written in the Book of Mormon.
6. And it came to pass that I decided that my exceedingly good review of the book should mention, before concluding, a list of some of the main themes of the Book of Mormon, and yea I verily mention them thusly: (1) Killing is exceedingly good, if thou art a teenager and thou hearest voices in thine head telling thee to kill someone, preferably someone exceedingly drunk so they cannot fight back. 1 Nephi 4 (2) If thou disobeyest God, he will curse thee with an exceedingly dark skin, 3 Nephi 5:21, Jacob 3:5, Alma 3:6, but (3) If thou art a personage of dark skin, God will make thee white and delightsome, if thou wilt consent to join his church. 3 Nephi 3:15 4) After Jesus, yea even Christ Our Lord, was killed, he camest to the Americas and killed millions of Native Americans, 3 Nephi 8-9, and (5) Women art exceedingly insignificant except occasionally as breeding stock, passim.
7. And there are many things more which transpired in the Book of Mormon which, in the eyes of some, would be considered great and marvelous, but despite having read the book upwards of twenty times, I cannot remember even one. Yea, many have said of this book "it stinketh not," but I say to me it doth stink . . . exceedingly.
8. Thus, I make an end to my abridgement of mine exceedingly good review, yea, and now I bid unto all, adieu. I soon go to rest in the paradise of mine abode, until my spirit and body shall again recover from the taxing effort of writing in such an exceedingly nauseating style. Amen.
After FARMS gets done refuting the Book of Mormon DNA evidence with theories alleging the Book of Mormon is somehow not fiction after all, these BYU scholars should leverage their considerable creative talents and powers of persuasion to prove the authenticity of other well-known books. Here is a list of books we challenge FARMS to prove as authentic records of actual people and events:
1. The Adventures of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
4. StarTrek: The Next Denigration
5. The Adventures of Superman
6. Gullible's Travels
7. Catcher in a Lie
8. Willy Wanker and his Little Choke-a-lot Factory
9. Santa Claus and his Eight Tiny Reindeer
10. SpongeBob SquarePants
I often here people say, "How could such a young, unschooled man write a book like the Book of Mormon." Well, first of all, you are looking at historical events with modern glasses. Joseph was 21 when he began translating the plates. He didn't have much formal schooling, which by today's standards makes it seem like he was unintelligent. Again, we are looking at historical events with modern glasses.
To put this whole thing in perspective, take the case of Helen Mar Kimball. Helen was 14 when she married Joseph Smith. People today are repulsed at the idea, but this was perfectly normal in the early nineteenth century. A 14 year old girl in the 1840s was about the equivalent of a 24 year old woman today.
We can use this math to determine how Joseph was able to translate at such a young age. If a 14 year old girl then = a 24 year old woman today, then a 21 year old man then = a 31 year old man today. Simple mathematics.
Also, lets say Joseph had a 3rd grade education. Using the same math, that works out to the equivelant of a high school graduate with one year of college. If that one year of college was packed with literature classes, surely that person could write a novel.
So, as you can see, Joseph may have been a young and uneducated man by today's standards, but by the standards of the early nineteenth century he was a college educated man in his early 30s. It puts it in a totally different perspective.
Also, just because my above essay shows Joseph could have written the Book of Mormon, it doesn't mean he did. We must have faith.
Editor's note: In case you didn't catch on, this post is a spoof.
I just got back from a party at Disneyworld. Larry, Moe and Curly were there. Moe walked into Curly. Curly stumbled, and stepped on Larry's toe. Larry slapped Curly, who then bumped into a picture on the wall. The picture fell on Moe's head. Moe's head was cut and began to bleed. The color of Moe's blood was red. The picture that fell on Moe's head depicted a horse. The horse was wearing metal shoes. The artist that drew the picture was said to have received his inspiration from a book he read. The artist read many books. Many of the books he read concerned the ancient America's. It is quite possible that he received his inspiration from one of those books. Thus, FARMS defense of the Book of Mormon is justified.
I graduated from college. I studied, among other things, computer science. I am writing this, using a computer. Remember, I have studied about computers. Anyone that would dispute my findings obviously lacks the intelligence to discern truth.
My wife just walked by. She read this article I am writing. She said it looks good to her. She can both read and write. She has no reason to be biased. Therefore, I will count this as a peer review.
Once again, I am smart. Also, anyone that would disagree with any of my statements must not be smart, and probably has a fixation on goat scat.
If you dispute any of my facts, I suggest you study Larry, Moe, and Curly. Disneyworld has no record of the party, as they do not track all activity within the haunted mansion.
Did I mention that I am educated? Did I mention that if you find fault with any of my facts that you are possibly inbred, and in the very least lack the intelligence and drive to clean your own knee pits? If I did, then I feel I have been honest with myself, and do not care in the least what may be written about me in this lowly conglomeration of miscreants.
I love the lord and my fellow man.
Bowing to extreme pressure from worldly academic institutions, FARMS and FAIR have agreed to a trial period of professional peer review not to exceed seven days and seven nights in length.
Daniel C. Peterson, president of FARMS pleaded for and obtained a temporary dispensation from "being in the world but not of the world" by his boss, prophet, seer and revelator, Gordon B. Hinckley.
Peterson has scheduled marathon meetings this week on the BYU campus with the following academic peer review organizations.
SCAMS - Society of Christian and Mormon Studies
FRAUD - Facts Reserved And Ultimately Destroyed
FBI - Fictitious Brotherhood of Investigation
BOGUS - Books of Gold Under Scrutiny
FARCE - Fame and Riches Create Epiphany
CAPER - Control and Power Equal Religion
SPOOF - Silly Professors of Outlandish Follies
DUNCE - Doctrine Usually Needs Changes
STOOGE - Scripture and Testimony Offer Optimum Gross Errors
SPIN- Special Professors Ink Nonsense
TACKY -Translations and Crazy Kolob Yarns
BITCH - Boyd Is Taking Charge Here
Peterson testified by the Holy Spirit of Promise to deliver a summary of the peer reviews to the Church Correlation Committee by the last day of the month.
Peterson told this reporter off the record, "I hope and pray to turn this project into a Deseret Book best seller by the title, 'A Frivolous Work and a Blunder.'"
Many critics come to the mormon apologetic boards to debate the church. You all seem to make the same silly debate mistakes. To assist you in your future debate endeavors, I have compiled a list of rules that you should follow. If you do not follow these rules, expect on of the following responses, "Go away troll," "ZZZZZZZ," or "Sigh."
Here are the rules:
1) If you are going to make a point, you better have facts to back it up. Your own opinion does not count. Saying "it rings true" does not count.
2) Never quote from prophets, past or present. Prophets are fallable men with opinions. Regarding opinions, see #1.
3) Never quote from scriptures. Scriptures were written by prophets (see #2). Also, mormons believe in continuing revelation, so any scripture can be trumped by revelation.
4) Never quote what you heard someone say from the pulpit, even if it is supposed revelation. Unless it is written down by an official source, it doesn't count. It's simply heresay. If it is written down, whether officially or unofficially, it doesn't count anyway, see #2 and #3.
5) Never quote from non-canonized mormon publications. The Journal of Discourses, History of the church, Ensign, Mormon Doctrine, etc. are all non-canonized opinions written by ordinary men. In other words, they are simply opinion. Besides, even if they were canonized as scripture, see #3.
6) Never quote from non-mormon sources of any kind. No matter how scholarly the non-mormon source claims to be, the writer obviously has an anti-mormon agenda. Why would a non-mormon write something negative about the church if they didn't have an agenda. Besides, if you want to know about the church, why would you check non-church sources. That's like shopping for a Ford at a Chevy dealership. Sheesh.
So those are the rules. In summary, when debating a mormon apologist, your own biased opinion does not count as evidence. When gathering evidence for your case, you CANNOT use canonized church sources, non-canonized church sources, words of prophets (canonized or non-canonized), or non-church sources of any kind.
Right about now you are probably asking youself what that leaves you with. The answer is simple: NOTHING. Ha Ha. Good luck.
Unlike others who either love it (5 stars) or hate it (1 star), I kinda liked it. Even though it was mostly boring, it had some cool violent parts where people get heads chopped off, arms chopped off, and there were some good lessons. Just ignore the boring Jesus stuff and focus on the killing and other fun parts and you might kinda like it. Here are some of the important lessons I found in this book:
If you own brass plates, don't show them off. Keep it low key, especially around the local street preacher guy. If the local street preacher asks you about your brass plates, just lie. Say, "Brass Plates? What brass plates? I don't own brass plates."
If someone orders you to hand over your brass plates, especially the sons of the street preacher guy, and you don't want to give them to them, just say no. You own them. If they insist you give them your brass plates, call the cops.
If after calling the cops, the perpetrators get away, hire bodyguards to watch over you and your plates. Don't get drunk until they are captured.
If you are responsible for guarding your boss's brass plates, and someone shows up claiming to be your boss, wearing your boss's clothes, and asks you to give him the brass plates, check his ID first.
If you are responsible for guarding your boss's brass plates, and someone shows up covered in blood, wearing your boss's clothes, claiming to be your boss, but he doesn't look anything like your boss, and he asks you to hand over the brass plates you should say, "Sure boss, I'll be right back." Then pretend to go into the back room to get the plates, but instead call the cops.
If you are investigating the murder/robbery of a guy who was killed for his brass plates, the first suspects you should interview should be the sons of the street preacher who were last seen ordering the victim to give them his brass plates.
If you are investigating the murder/robbery of a guy who was killed for his brass plates, and the prime suspects are the sons of the street preacher, don't waste time looking for them in town. Most likely they packed up everything and headed for the sea.
If you are writing on gold plates, keep in mind it is really hard and Gold plates are rare. Therefore, to get the most bang for the buck from the limited gold plates you should use a secret language called `Reformed Egyptian' which is more compact than plain english, and avoid repetitive phrases like `And it came to pass' unless those phrases are absolutely necessary to get the point across.
If you wake up one morning and realize someone turned you into an Indian, it means you are one of the bad guys. You must now kill the white guys.
If you want to fix the problem of looking like an Indian, find someone who didn't get turned into an Indian, who is still white and start going to church with him. Meet with the missionaries of his church, take the discussions, and get baptized. If you follow the teachings of the white guy's church, you will turn white again.
It is bad to have multiple wives. (This seems like common sense, however this rule is changed in the Book of Mormon sequel called The Doctrine and Covenants.)
If you are an atheist who asks the local prophet guy to back up his claims with evidence, and the prophet curses you to be deaf and dumb, going from door to door begging for food, and you see a group of people marching down the street, do not walk out into the middle of them, unless you want to get trampled to death.
If Jesus comes to visit you, keep in mind that one of the things you can wish for is immortality. So don't waste your wish on anything less than immortality. You might be able to wish for more wishes, but I wouldn't test Jesus' patience. Stick with the immortality wish. We know that one works.
If someone is lying unconscious for 2 days and 2 nights and you aren't sure if he is dead or not, try smelling him. If he "stinketh not", he might still be alive.
One way to impress a guy is to chop off the arms of his enemies and bring the arms to him.
If you need to escape from a town because everyone's language got mixed up, the best way to escape is by the sea, with a barge.
If you need to build a barge to travel across the sea after escaping from a town where the languages got mixed up, the best way to build it is to put a hole on the top and a hole on the bottom. That way you can get air by opening the top hole and if it tips over, you can still get air by opening the bottom hole which is now on top. If you accidentally open the wrong hole and notice water rushing in, just stop up the hole real quick and open the other hole.
If you are building a barge to travel across the sea do not put windows in your barge. It is unrealistic to expect the windows to survive the crashing waves of the sea. If you want light, use magic, glow rocks instead.
If you are building a barge to travel across the ocean, be sure to bring lots and lots of food and fresh water because the trip will take 344 days. If you need to go to the bathroom, do it over the side of the barge because the holding tank isn't very big.
If you find yourself on the battlefield fighting your arch nemesis and he chops your head off, don't waste your time and energy lifting yourself up and gasping for air. Give it up. You're dead.
If you want to write scriptures, use "verily, verily" a lot and instead of saying someone worked hard, say they "waxed strong." Also, adding "eth" to the end of words helps, such as "he runneth very fast."
When I found out that Joseph Smith lied to his wife about sleeping with her friends, I wondered what LDS apologists had to say. Their excuses for his obvious adultery were ridiculous. I wrote an essay to rebut them at www.geocities.com/exmormon2000/polygamy.doc.
After reading Palmer's book, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, I was curious what Mormon apologists would say to his work. I was not surprised to learn that it was one big ad hominem attack on Palmer. See my essay at www.geocities.com/exmormon2000/Palmer.doc.
I have really wondered about Bro. Peterson lately, not just because of my interaction with him recently on the FAIR board, but because I looked over some apologetic material again...I'd like to share my thoughts (clear throat).
I'd like to begin by saying that I know more than anyone how difficult it would be to feel anything but a kind of nauseous disdain for Bro. Peterson's and FARMS' material; not because it is pro-church at all (that's why I started reading the stuff as a TBM!), but simply because the apologetic writing is so upsetting to those trying to make sense of the gospel, who want the clarity of truth amid a church which is taking on ever greater amounts of incoherence and chaos.
I stayed up late night after night, trying to understand how on earth the apologists' non sequitirs could actually be valid conclusions, how the distorted arguments weren't distorted, how the personal attacks were relevant, how the selective quotations from those they were arguing with didn't raise more questions about FARMS than about the very piece they were trying to refute, etc. I began to think I must be too dumb to understand how any of the stuff really made sense, or maybe that Satan himself was blinding me to the convincing arguments of the whole FARMS gang.
I later came to suspect that that was not the case, and that the actual reason I kept noticing such upsetting features in apologetic discourse, was because they were actually there (this is long before I ever discovered this board, or had any contact with anyone that had gone through a similar experience). This really disturbed me. I wondered why the church, which I was certain was everything I had ever imagined, could support such low, sophistic, stuff.
I even came to wonder eventually if perhaps all the double-talk and "sleights of thought" were deliberate. Some readers may remember that I even satirized DCP on here last month.
But after my interaction with Daniel Peterson, I am not sure that the rhetorical legerdemain and illogic is deliberate. I really think he has no idea how bad the stuff is - and why would he, really, when it's not eliciting criticism from the GA's? When he's surrounded with fellow believers that keep telling him and all the others, how great it all is? How long till the best of us begin to believe our own press? Are guys on the BYU payroll that realize how bad it is, actually going to pipe up? Of course not. (This is why anonymous peer review - EVEN if it was amongst other members in good standing - would do them good).
I think he sincerely believes that the contradictions are not contradictions, that the non sequitirs are perfectly valid, that the contorted stretches of illogic are stunningly simple rebuttals to "anti-Mormon cliches", etc. I don't think he has any idea that for many Mormons, FARMS apologetic material is what actually starts them on the road to piecing together that the church we have all had so much faith in, in fact, is not, and even more, can not possibly be, what it claims.
But whether he is or not, what we do know is: he has bet it all on the church. He is up late at night typing what he no doubt thinks are superb rebuttals to skeptics on the FAIR board, or editing the FARMS material, or preparing talks and essays, etc. This thing is his entire life (as well it should be, if the church is all it claims).
And this is why the specter of DCP kind of being used appears in the backs of our minds...How long would he last, if the church for one nanosecond thought he wasn't useful anymore? Does anyone at headquarters care that Dan Peterson and his whole crew are a laughingstock, that their material is literally beneath the dignity of criticism for those outside (and I think a growing number inside) the insular, parochial world of Mormondom? Does anyone at HQ care that DCP gets all the stick when he takes a bold stand, while the GA's (with a couple of exceptions) keep their mouths shut? Would anyone at HQ think twice about leaving Dan Peterson there holding the bag, once they decide that the position he's been defending just isn't working anymore, and so change it?
It is tempting even to think back on social misfits, the Orrin Porter Rockwells, the Wild Bill Hickmans, the John D. Lees, that find identity and belonging through devotion to the cause, and by their lights make great sacrifices for the church (despite their faults), and then just kinda get left in the dust when the institution doesn't need them anymore. And reading some of their material, it is tempting to think of some of the current FARMS guys as being the sort that desperately need a pack to belong to, that they achieve status and identity because of that affiliation, and that they end up literally considering doing or saying anything to help the institution...and the truth is, my own feelings of certainty were such, that I might have turned out to be one of them. I don't know.
DCP seems to be a man very prone to anger, although I am certain he thinks of it as Christ-at-the-temple-like righteous indignation; so I am sure he would take great offense at this.
But even this begins to reinforce the image it becomes increasingly tempting to construct of him: as actually a sympathetic figure, a man with no identity outside of the institution, a man for whom a question about FARMS is a frontal attack on the whole church, so entirely has he come to emody the ideology, who literally, COULD NOT EVER ADMIT TO HIMSELF IT IS NOT WHAT IT CLAIMS, literally, no matter what he found, if Christ himself came to him at night and told him it wasn't. He could find out that Joseph Smith roasted and ate children or had sex with animals, and it wouldn't matter, I don't think. He is as in as Isaac Haight and John D. Lee and Hosea Stout, in so deep there is no right or wrong outside of what is good or bad for the church. And what really was his big mistake or crime? That he believed that Joseph always told the truth?
And as a further incentive to view him somewhat sympathetically, it is easy to remember how much ideology can distort one's thinking, without one ever realizing it. How much did our total immersion in ideology mess with our own powers of cognition - and we never knew it at the time? (Of course this is not unique to Mormonism...). Why shouldn't it be the same with him?
And if he is totally sincere, I'll give Dan Peterson this: he is more of a True Blue Mormon than Pres. Hinckley ever has been or ever will be, I don't care what ecclestiastical position they have. He is far less caring of what others think of him than GBH. He is Jedediah Grant - and what's GBH? He is the Mormon Leonard Zelig. He is Proteus, everything and nothing all at once. At least DCP's running into the supermarkets and blowing himself up...In a sick kind of way lol, doesn't that count for something?
I don't know - am I wrong?
Once again critics of BYU football have brought out the same old, tired arguments about points scored, scoreboards, time limits, and on and on, ad nauseum. But all of these arguments are easily refuted by off-the-shelf studies from years ago. Nothing on the scoreboard, or in the content of the game itself, proves that USC beat BYU.
Of course, we don't have to depend on the methods and observations of men to know that BYU did not lose the game. We can't prove that they won it either, of course. Only the true witness of the holy spirit can give the sincere seeker the sure and certain knowledge that BYU won the game.
But as Paul urges us to be able to give a reason for the hope within us, we offer the following devastating (to the feeble minded critics!) considerations. 1. If USC is really the number 1 team, then why was a BYU defensive back able to intercept their quarterback? 2. The final score seemed to indicate a USC victory, but how do we know the game is really over?
Just because everyone agrees that the game should be played in such a such a way and according to such and such rules doesn't mean that it should be played that way. The Lord judges by a different standard. He could easily have made it seem like a USC victory as a test of our faith. But more likely he's asking us to take the long view of the matter. It's not merely one little victory that counts, it's how things turn out in the long run. And when we finally behold that grand vista, my brothers and sisters, it will be clear who the winner always was. We can't emphasize enough the importance of perspective.
Finally, anyone who seriously doubts the actual BYU victory is nothing more than a soul who wants to sin, probably a genuine whoremonger, or worse yet, a homosexual. Or worse yet, a (so called) "intellectual," or, god forbid, a feminist.
Rest assured fans, it may not be clear for many, many years, but the day will come when all shall see and understand what they already know in their hearts by the holy spirit: BYU won! BYU really never lost.
I was able to sit down and discuss my fading faith with one BYU professor involved with FAIR & FARMS. I explained that a turning point for me was when I accepted that there is a possibility that the church is not what it claims. I said that for truth to come forth, I had to be open to any possible outcome. This also included the possibility that the church is entirely what it claims. I still believe that both are a possibility. I told him that this has allowed me to be as objective as possible in my review of the evidence pro and con regarding the church. My desire for truth demands that I seek it rather than attempting to prove my current position. I told him that I thought that this was where he, not I, was more vulnerable to being deceived.
His response was that there is absolutely no possibility that the church is anything less than what it claims (i.e., God's only true church, only one with authority, only one with saving ordinances on the earth, etc.). He felt that this being the case, there is no reason that he should ever give any consideration to evidence that does not support this position. All my TBM associates that know my doubts and that I have researched the other side of the issue, claim that I am looking for it to be false and therefore I will find that it is false. I respond by telling them that I spent 30+ years looking for it to be true. However, that doesn't matter in their eyes since I don't give equal time to both sides now. I wonder exactly what it is that I will discover that I missed in those first 30 years of living on church fed skim milk. That apologists in general combat anti material by sowing seeds of doubt, and try to bolster tenuous pro positions using circumstantial evidence. In other words, they simply present the case that the anti material out there isn't as strong as it would initially appear, and provide evidence that might suggest a possibility that Mormon claims are true.
An example of the first is their response to the Kinderhook fiasco. They claim that since J.S. didn't leave a translation of fraudulent ancient plates, any account by his close associates and contemporaries regarding his claim that the plates were a record of antiquity can be simply dismissed. An example of the second is how apologists deal with the Book of Abraham. They claim that there is the possibility that the recovered papyri, although not translated into what we have as the Book of Abraham, contain some sort of code or hidden message. They use references to Abraham in other Egyptian papyri as evidence of the possibility that J.S.'s papyri do contain the record of Abraham.
I for one, have not found much that is very convincing in apologetic works. On the contrary, my review of their works has raised new questions that I was previously unaware of in my 30+ years of watered down church milk. Apologist provide very little concrete evidence regarding the claims of the church. You are required to wade through so much to find solid evidence it’s like being caught in a tidal wave of milk.
The reason that none are ready for meat is that it ain't meat. It's poo. Tastes, smells, feels like poo. Apologists are the ones telling you that it's really meat. So keep eating with gusto!
Mormon apologists ask these questions about Ex-Mormons:
Why are we so obsessed and angry about something we left behind?
Why do we care about their domain, the church, so much that we go to their boards and try to taunt them?
Why don't we just get a life and move on?
Great questions. Here are some more:
Why can't people who were beaten by their parents---the people whom they trusted most on earth---just "get over it"? Why do people need counseling as adults because they were beaten by their parents?
Why can't people whose spouses cheated on them just "get a life and move on?" Why do they ever need to utter a single word about it to anyone? Why do they need counseling or support?
Why do WWII veterans still get together and reminisce about their experiences, and cry over lost comrades?
Why doesn't Fred Goldman stop talking about OJ killing his son, and just "move on" with his life?
Why do the families of 9/11 victims have their support groups? Why can't they just "get a life and move on?"
When your Mopologist understands the answers to these questions, maybe she will understand why ExMormons still talk about Mormonism.
Except that there's a difference between the examples I listed and Mormonism: unlike my examples, Mormonism is still lying, cheating, and abusing its victims every day---whether your Mopologist friend can perceive that or not. Maybe your friend is just one of those people who don't mind going through life being lied to at every turn.
A Mormon apologist is like little boy who finds himself in a room full of horse manure. Instead of leaving the room, the boy starts digging through the manure with all his strength, figuring there MUST be a pony in there somewhere! - 06/21/2004 - Stan
It's important for as many people as possible to be aware of this rising star in the field of Shiz Studies, a little-known academic branch of Book of Mormon Studies, dedicated to fostering deeper understanding of the pivotal role that Shiz played in the Book of Mormon narrative.
H. Farber Jensen is the internationally acclaimed Shiz expert and director of RANCHES (Really Arcane Nugatory Church History and Esoteric Studies).
"H. Farber Jensen really knows his Shiz!" - Lord Fauntleroy, Chairman of the Royal Society of Shizmania
"Who is full of Shiz, uh, you know, who is full of an amazing amount of Shiz knowledge? Horatio Farber Jensen, that's who." - Reginald D. Ruggers, Editor of the World of Archaeology and Deep Shiz Excavation Review.
"You can't step into any Shiz debate without finding H. Farber Jensen right in the middle." - Dirk Demone, Director of FIELDSS (Foundation of Intelligently Enigmatic Latter-Day Saint Scholars)
"I am always amazed at all the little piles of Shiz research papers scattered around Brother Jensen's home. Sometimes when I visit I find myself standing up to my waist in piles of his Shiz research." - G. Hinckley, best-selling author of "Standing in Something"
"If it looks like Shiz, smells like Shiz and tastes like Shiz, H. Farber Jensen is on top of it." - Grant N. Funk, friend of H. Farber Jensen
"When people talk Shiz to me, I talk Shiz right back at them." (from the preface)
"I love seeing the light go on in a young scholar's eyes when I tell them of the tenderness that Coriantumr showed to Shiz in Shiz's last moment of life. While the body of Shiz was struggling to get up, the head of Shiz rolled to a stop at the feet of Coriantumr. As the life force seeped out, Shiz could only think of one thing. He wanted to taste one last biscuit. Looking up at Coriantumr, he weakly pleaded, 'I sure would like to eat a biscuit before I die. Do you have a biscuit?' Suddenly filled with compassion for his fallen foe, Coriantumr pulled his last biscuit out of his fanny pack and gently pressed it to Shiz's lips, softly speaking the unforgettable words, 'Eat, Shiz, and die!' Whereupon Shiz did eat and Shiz did die." (from page 43)
EATSHIZ -- my next vanity plate. - Eddie
"Mommy, why didn't Coriantumr give a priesthood blessing and make Shiz's head all better?"
I just want to publicly thank H. Farber Jensen for his wonderful book, "You Don't Know Shiz!"
I've been reading it to my 11-year old son Roscoe and it has provided many special teaching moments and opportunities to help prepare Roscoe for the priesthood.
Particularly inspiring was the "eat, Shiz, and die" story. We have been learning about priesthood blessings and naturally Roscoe wanted to know why Coriantumr didn't use the awesome power of the priesthood to keep Shiz from dying.
Here are some of the answers I gave my boy:
"Shiz probably passed away before Coriantumr could find his vial of consecrated oil. Sometimes that's how God works when he doesn't want the power of the priesthood to interfere with a different divine plan."
"Most likely God did not want Coriantumr to heal Shiz because he knew that Shiz would just try again to kill Coriantumr because Shiz had a heart full of violence."
"It could be that Coriantumr did not feel worthy. Only worthy men can give effective priesthood blessings and it could be that Jaredites played with their factories just like so many weak priesthood holders do today." (This was a wonderful segue into a healthy discussion of Brother Packer's talk on Onanism and factory abuse.)
My son still seems a little confused by some parts of the Gospel and the Shiz story. But I'm confident that the messages are sinking in. Just after reading our daily chapter of "You Don't Know Shiz" last night, Roscoe looked at me and said, "Thank you Mommy. You really are a Church Lady, just like my friends tell me." What a precious comment.
Thank you again, H. Farber Jensen. Keep up the good work. - - Coriantumr Fan and Mother of Eight
I just want to apologize to everyone for losing my head. It won't happen again. - Shiz
Wait a minute! That's not exactly how it really happened!! ...and I should know!
Actually, I just laughed my head off! - (The real) SHIZ
Will the REAL Shiz please stand up, please stand up... - Mateo
I'm trying! I'm trying! But I feel so light-headed. - (Definitely the real) Shiz
Did you know that Coriantumr placed Shiz's head in an earthenware vessel and buried it?
Later, when the Nephites found it, they put it in one of their museums. It was one of the most popular exhibits and was known far and wide as the Crock of Shiz. - Pottery Collector
Coriantumr was actually a cannibal because after lopping the head of his enemy he displayed a "Shiz eating grin." And for left-overs Coriantumr gobbled up a few "Shizkabobs."
Also, the real name of the Brother of Jared was actually, "Shiz-for-Brains." - cricket
I wanted to give my input on the Daniel Peterson’s claim that the FARMS review process is as rigorous as that of mainline academic journals. (See Peterson's peer review description at the end of this post, in italics.)
In his very sarcastic and condescending response to the original Recovery from Mormonism thread on this topic, Peterson attempts to buttress his arguments by stating his bonifides. So in the same spirit, please allow me to state my bonifides, so that you might make appropriate comparisons between his observations and mine. I worked for several years in academics. I have published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, I have reviewed dozens of articles on behalf of several peer-reviewed journals, and I was editor of a peer-reviewed journal for several years. (One might not ever guess I was an editor judging by the sloppy spelling and grammar in my posts; however, when I write posts, I write very fast, and I never proof read—I don’t have the time. As an academic, I was an obsessive proofreader, typically taking my manuscripts through well over 15 drafts before submitting them for publication.)
So, with this in mind, here’s my response to Peterson.
What Peterson describes is not “peer” review, it is “editor” review. The peer review process is anonymous. An editor sends out a manuscript to, typically, 1-3 “blind” reviewers. The reviewers do not know whose manuscript they are reviewing, and the author does not know the identity of the reviewers. This is done expressly for the purpose of ensuring objectivity in the review, reflecting the very reasonable concern that knowledge of the identity of the author might compromise the objectivity of the review, plus it protects the reviewer from retaliation by the author, again helping to ensure greater objectivity. The system is not perfect. Frequently reviewers can guess who the author is (particularly if it is a narrow field or subfield) and the author can guess the reviewers. There is also a good ol’ boy system that ensures that established scholars get easier treatment than Assistant Professors who lack reputations. (This is similar to the NBA, in which, say, Greg Ostertag gets called for traveling while Shaquille O’Neal almost never does, regardless of how blatantly he actually travels.) But, all in all, the system works reasonably well.
The above is distinguished from “editor” review, in which the manuscript is reviewed by the editorial board. In an editor review, there is no pretence of anonymity, and the standards in editor reviewed journals tend to be significantly lower than peer reviewed journals. In a top tier research university, editor reviewed publications count almost zip, and in some cases less than zip, towards tenure and promotion, precisely because they are known to have lower standards, generally speaking, than peer reviewed publications. In my case, I might have had 20 editor reviewed publications when I came up for tenure, and I still would have been denied tenure. (As it was, I had several publications, many in top rated journals, so I earned tenure.) So, as rigorous as Peterson claims his review process is, if the same rigorous process were used by other editor reviewed journals, it still wouldn’t matter worth shit to a top tier research university. Why? Because what matters is that manuscripts be OBJECTIVELY reviewed according to rigorous standards, but also rigorous standards applied by PEERS, who are presumed to be the foremost experts on the “state of the art” in the discipline.
Peterson also proudly points to the rigorous proofing of texts and checking of citations. What Peterson describes is “copy editing” and “source editing.” These are editorial functions, not review functions. Few reviewers take the time to nitpick over spelling and grammar (unless really poor) but focus more on issues such as the soundness of theoretical constructs, methodology, interpretation, and conclusions. It is the editor’s job to do the copy and source editing. Yet in my opinion these functions, while important, are subsidiary to the peer review, which focuses on substantive issues. Peterson can rightly be proud about the rigor of his copy and source editing, but this is a Red Herring, it has little to do with whether the conclusions, methodology, or theoretical framework, of the manuscript is any good.
In a post on the topic, Brian B. quoted something from an online source of the peer review process. If I remember correctly, the gist of the quote was the peer review is inherently conservative and stifles innovative thinking or challenges to orthodoxy. In my experience, this is a gross overstatement. True, there is at times a tendency for reviewers to be resistant to new arguments and evidence that challenge received wisdom, but this fails to explain the often radical evolution in theory that one finds over time in virtually every academic field. Take economics for example. Decades ago, Keynesian economics dominated academics; today Keynesianism is an anachronism having been succeeded by monetarism and several other “isms” in their time. There has been significant change in organization and behavioral theory over time. In the social sciences and humanities, Post Modernism, Feminist Critique, and several other challenges to the orthodoxy have arisen, gained substantial credibility and followings, and are now being challenged by other theories. In international development it seems there is a new theory of underdeveloped that gains precedence every few years only to fade out after awhile to be replaced by another theory. In my case, I wrote an article that challenged a predominant theoretical framework in my own field—the framework made famous at the school where I earned my Ph.D.—and my article was published by the #1 journal in the field. In sum, I see little evidence that the peer review process has stymied innovation and new ideas in academics. The competitive marketplace of ideas is alive and well in academics.
What Peterson avoids mentioning, and this is in my opinion the central point, is how FARMS publications would be evaluated in a true peer review, that is anonymous, objective reviewers who are experts in their fields, and who do not have a vested interest in proving Mormonism to be true. He fails to answer the most fundamental criticism of FARMS research—that it is not truly peer reviewed. I think we all know the answer why it is not. Any article submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal that posited a civilization numbered in the millions that live in MesoAmerica, worshiped Jesus Christ, wrote in Reformed Egyptian, drove in Chariots, wielding steel swords, rode horses, domesticated oxen, etc. would be summarily rejected by any competent, knowledgeable peer. Any article arguing that an ordinary funerary text contains writings by an ancient prophet of God (whom scholars doubt existed anyway) would be summarily rejected by any competent, knowledgeable peer. Few FARMS publications would survive a true peer review process, regardless of how carefully and well argued, because they reside within a totally invalid theoretical or empirical framework. One can craft the most tightly reasoned defense of the Book of Mormon, with every single conclusion following logically from the underlying assumptions, impeccably copy and source edited, and it would still be rejected summarily by a true peer, because the foundational assumptions have no basis in known reality. FARMS, and those who write in its employ, would quickly become a laughing stock in the field. No wonder they do not risk the rigors of true peer review.
One final comment. The nature of the FARMS review process guarantees no real innovations in learning, because it holds as inviolable the foundational assumptions underlying the research—that the Mormon church is, ex ante and prima facie, and therefore so are the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, etc., etc. There can be innovations within this framework, (e.g., limited geography theory), but the framework itself cannot successfully be challenged, as happens all the time in academic research submitted through a true peer review process. FARMS engages in counterfeit scholarship; counterfeit in that the conclusions are predetermined. It is one massive exercise in circular reasoning, where every argument, every bit of evidence circles back around to support the foundational assumptions. If there were such thing as a truth in labeling law for research, FARMS, and by extension Peterson, would be guilty of breaking the law. They label their work as scholarly, and claim to use a peer review process, but their work is neither scholarly nor is it subject to true peer review in any legitimately understood sense of the word.
Here is Daniel Peterson's description of the peer review process at FARMS, posted at the FAIR message board here http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?showtopic=313&st=345:
Peer review processes differ across FARMS, depending on the publication. Peer review for the FARMS Review is at least comparable, so far as I can tell, to peer review for academic book reviews elsewhere. In fact, I suspect that it is more rigorous. At a minimum, each review is read carefully by the editor (me), my two associate editors (Louis Midgley and George Mitton), our production editor (Shirley Ricks), and the FARMS/Institute director of publications (Alison V. P. Coutts). (These individuals have varying backgrounds, with graduate degrees in such fields as social science, Near Eastern studies, philosophy and theology, government and politics.) Every reader makes suggestions, demands clarifications, etc. Any one of those readers can object to a piece as a whole, and raise the issue of whether it ought to be rejected. (We have rejected more than a few manuscripts.) Depending on the nature of the piece, we may decide to send it out for expert external advice (e.g., in the case of the recent DNA articles, to a statistician, a geneticist, a philosopher, and a biochemist). Each piece is then worked over by at least one in-house editor, and source-checked by a member of our staff to make sure that quotations and citations are both accurate and taken in proper context. Each piece is also made available to all members of the FARMS board and administration, should they wish to have input. (Most don't; some occasionally do.)
I very much doubt that book reviews at other academic journals are subjected to a process so complex and many-layered. I'm fully confident that the source-checking to which we subject all of our publications is seldom paralleled elsewhere.
Through my super secret spy network, I was able to secure a draft copy of the soon-to-be-published FARMS review of Simon Southerton's forthcoming book on Lamanite DNA. I make it public here for the first time.
Once again, we find the Book of Mormon under attack, this time from a so-called "scientist" using so-called "facts"; and once again, this latest attack, by one Simon Southerton, genetecist and former bishop, falls to pieces once examined. Once again, the Book of Mormon remains unblemished after the nasty snipes of those who would deny its authenticity.
First of all, we find it surprising that Mr. Southerton currently holds down a professional research position. His "scholarship" in this screed, if it can be called scholarship, consists of innuendo, overwhelming anti-church bias, distortions of facts, and taking out of context important Book of Mormon passages.
For example, Mr. Southerton appears to have made the same mistake other church members have made over the years, in assuming that the LDS church has had an official doctrine that Lehites were Israelites, and that Native Americans were primarily or wholly descended from them. He may cite the introduction of the Book of Mormon as "evidence" of this, but we dealt with this long ago - Bruce R. McConkie, an official apostle and official member of the official scripture committee, wrote the official introduction to the official edition of the official founding scripture of our religion, but it requires an unjustified stretch to suppose this had anything to do with the church's position. It is telling that Southerton concerns himself with such unwarranted assumptions. He should stick instead with the "facts" he claims to be so fond of.
Let us be clear: the myth that the church used to claim that the Book of Mormon describes the ancestors of Native Americans, has long since been exploded by conscientious, forthright, internationally respected scholars like John Sorenson and Michael D. Rhodes. (Based on this faulty premise, it is no wonder that Mr. Southerton's arguments go so greatly awry).
Despite this, Mr. Southerton claims to provide "quotes" from the Book of Mormon justifying this outdated position, which (he says) show that Nephi prophesied that the Book of Mormon was written for the express purpose of explaining to Lehi's descendants that they are in fact a lost tribe of Israel. These quotes come from, among other places, verses in II Nephi, chapter 30.
However, Mr. Southerton fails to explain why these prophecies in no way, shape, or form, can be referring to Lehi's descendants. Does he really not know? Or is he being disingenuous? Methinks the latter. It is true that some members of the church over the years have interpreted these passages this way, but this interpretation is an entirely unwarranted one.
Clearly Nephi is referring, by the term "remnant of our seed", not to the remnant of HIS seed, but to the remnant of SOMEONE ELSE'S seed. It is hard to see why this should be confusing. Unfortunately for this latest would-be detractor, his consistent habit of taking out of context Book of Mormon passages such as this, says much about his credibility, or lack thereof. Readers beware.
All this is essentially to say, that Mr. Southerton's book attempts to construct a syllogism, but it is based on completely false premises. He asserts that:
A.) The Book of Mormon claims to be the history of the ancestors of the American Indian; Jesus, in the D&C, as well as Joseph Smith and all other LDS prophets have also identified Native Americans as "Lamanites" for years;
B.) After many thousands of tests, not one single Native American has shown even the merest genetic affinity with any Semitic people, let alone Israelites, rather all showing Asiatic ancestry;
C.) Therefore, the Book of Mormon can not be what it claims.
As I mentioned, premise A is based on Mr. Southerton's total misunderstanding of church doctrine. Now let's take up premise B.
Where is the "scientific" test that proves the metaphysical impossibility of some Native Americans having had at least one Israelite ancestor, whose unique genetic markers might have disappeared? There isn't one. How does Southerton explain this deafening absence of proof? He doesn't.
The fact is, that until scientists can fully eliminate the possibility of microscopic-scale New World Israelite migration (we now know, for example, the entire BOM took place in a little village somewhere on the Yucatan Peninsula), they have not a laid a glove on the central thesis of the Book of Mormon. Does Southerton acknowledge this? Once again, no.
Further, I ask, does the fact that genetic evidence has not been found yet, prove conclusively it never will be found? Once again, no. One begins to see just how precarious Mr. Southerton's argument is; under the merest scrutiny, it begins to implode like a house of cards.
Since his conclusion is based on two faulty premises, it can only be invalid. The critics of the church will have to do better than this.
It is difficult not to wonder, reading a book with such glaring problems, what Mr. Southerton's real motivations might be. Was he offended by some member? Was he frustrated at a lack of ecclesiastical promotion? Is he merely eager for the limelight? It is not for us to speculate.
It is enough for the Latter-day Saints to know that Mr. Southerton's book is a hodgepodge of distortions and misleading assertions, unwarranted inferences and bias. Rest assured, it does not even come close to raising the slightest question about the Book of Mormon's historicity.
(Note to DC Peterson - Dan, I haven't actually gotten Southerton's manuscript yet, but I think this review is going to be pretty close to the mark. When you get a copy send it over, I'll flip through it and then just spruce the review up a bit for publication. Onward and upward. Ivan PS I'll see you at the luncheon with Oaks next Tuesday).
Okay, here it is (like anyone cares ha ha).
I propose that, if TBM friends or family begin asking us exmo's sincere questions about the church, that instead of trying to explain how not-credible the FARMS stuff is (or passing on the Tanners' stuff), we should be handing FARMS material over by the fistful with a smile on our faces, and encouraging them to read to their hearts' content to try to find answers.
The FARMS stuff is so unspeakably sophomoric, so transparently, shamelessly lame to the point of verging on (accidental) knee-slapping comedy, that it alone should be enough to get any intelligent TBM thinking...
(What makes the FARMS stuff so good, too, is the pompous self-seriousness of the whole FARMS gang - it's as if they have no clue how bad it is! Poor guys...)
I recently tried this out with my cousin, who began asking questions about the church he, too, had based his entire life on. I gave him one volume of the History of the Church (the account of the Kinderhook Plates), along with Stanley Kimball's 1981 Ensign article trying to explain it away, John Gee's FARMS book about the Book of Abraham, and another FARMS-style book called (without any irony) "Historicity and Latter-day Saint Scriptures", which, again, is virtual comedy (check out the article on the BoA - it's comedy gold!). I didn't make any negative comments at all. Who needs to?
A local sister heard about my cousin's crisis of faith, and dropped off Joseph Fielding McConkie's "Simple Answers to Tough Gospel Questions" or whatever it's called, to help "restore his faith". This, however, came close to finishing him off. It rivals the FARMS stuff for its totally unChristian attitude, dogmatic bullying, non-answers of questions, its failure to reckon with what needs to be reckoned with, etc. Again, who needs to make any negative comments?
Thanks to official church sources, my cousin and his wife pretty quickly came to entertain serious doubts about the validity of the church's claims about itself. Their curiosity piqued, and their suspicions about the credibility of church sources duly aroused by those sources' own inanity, they began to check out scholarly pieces on church history, some of the Signature Books publications, etc. They've come to see now what they couldn't before - the church, whatever else it might be, is not, and can not possibly be, what it claims. And it started with the gang over at FARMS.
So, way to go, FARMS. You're the best friends those of us devoted to the concept of "truth" (you'll find a definition in the dictionary) could have.
Grateful my tithing dollars have served some positive purpose...
...and...please keep the articles coming about how all the Lamanites might have been killed off centuries ago (even though that would negate all the BOM's own prophecies about them), and about how it was never church doctrine that Native Americans were "Lamanites" (even though "Jesus" refers to them as "Lamanites" throughout the Doctrine and Covenants),
Beaming with pride at the base of the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, a FARMS worker describes "The Curelom." Previously believed extinct until an angel delivered its sacred DNA to molecular biologist Scott Woodward's laboratory at BYU. Brother Woodward was able to resurrect the "useful" beast of burden.
Many FARMS workers believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the curelom's sturdy five legs provided enough strength and support to lug Moroni and the 200 lbs of golden plates the four thousand miles from Zarehemla to Hill Cumorah. The four ears and three eyes of the Curelom kept constant vigil and protection from stampeding tapirs and the ever dangerous "Cumons.
Arnold (I'mmmm baaaacckkk!) Friberg volunteers his weekends at the Hill Cumorah. His experience as a migrant FARMS worker at the California Governor's office helps him train and manage the bulky Book of Mormon brute known as "The Cumon."
This "useful" animal was the diesel semi-truck of the Nephites, running routes up and down the "Narrow Neck of Land Memorial Highway". And it came to pass that the Cumon was always "comin' and goin'" one way or the other. Too bad the Mormon Pioneers did not have access to these handy creatures who also could remember the way to every famous Book of Mormon archaeological site from Adam-Ondi-Ahman to the Waters of Mormon.
Oops forgot the more helpful cumoms. Is that like rhyming with "come-ons"? I think I know how to pronounce asses and elephants (also mentioned in the same breath in the BoM)
Im...ag...in....ary....imaginary... - Imlois
Well, no duh! - Lesley
I know that.....I already know how to pronounce things like Mormon, fake, Joe Smtitty, Jesus and other very important words...it's just those two escape my fluid tongue...neither word is similar to Hungarian or French (the only other languages I'm familiar with)....I don't think old Joe was familiar with any other language, so I'm looking for some sort of Western fling to the pronounciation.
So then it doesn't matter how you pronounce it....no one knows for sure. - Imlois
How do you pronounce cureloms? - tanstaafl
There are several acceptable pronunciations. It s like often, which was originally correctly pronounced ofen, but so many people mispronounced it off-ten, that off-ten is now also correct. SO, here ya' go, with the pronunciations and their proponents:
1) Cure - uh - lums (the liberal mormon)
2) Cur- uh - lums (The southern utah mormon and most nazi mormons)
3) Cur -ee -lums (The REALLY southern utah mormons)
4) Cure-loms (pronounced this was only in Hyrum UT and some parts of Smithfield)
5) Cure-lums (most of Idaho and Cardston)
6) MMMMM, cur-ee-lon (homer fielding simpson)
I looked in my Reformed Egyptian dictionary.... - Bob
...and couldn't find either cureloms or cumons. It was either a misprint in the BOM, or they could have just been imaginary things.
I think if you just say the words as you think they should be pronounced, then pray about it, you will get a burning in your busom if the pronunciations you are using are correct. If the burning doesn't come...try another way of saying the words.
What's the best way to BBQ them? - Cureloms, Mmmmn
I use King Noah's recipe...you know...the one he used on Abinidi... - Alma-the-Traitor
Actually...the spelling is NOT phonetic - Professor Charles Anthon, Columbia University, deceased
The closest pronounciation to the ancient reformed Egyptian is /'g&-l&-b&l/
I beg to differ Professor... (language)- Saucie
... but the correct pronunciation is BULL SHIT .
"I cannot read a sealed book, go ask Dr. Mitchell. He reads tea leaves." - Professor Charles Anthon, Columbia University, deceased
I'll just go stick my head in my hat and ask the peep stones about it. - Saucie
Forget pronouncing it... - Charley
What the hell is a curelom?
Definition from Bill Shunn - Cattle Mutilator
curelom: According to the Book of Mormon, a "more especially useful" beast living, along with cumoms and elephants, in ancient America. No one knows for certain what a curelom or cumom looked like, but apologists have speculated that they may have been mammoths or mastodons, and that Joseph Smith knew no English word to use as translations from the Reformed Egyptian.
And unicorns might fly out of my butt.
According to the Book of Mormon, a "more especially useful" beast living in ancient America. See note for "curelom."
William Shunn - Mormon Speak
Re: Definition from Bill Shunn - Charley
Thanks Mutilator. It's been a very long time since I read the BOM. Cumom? LOL
Re: How do you pronounce cureloms? - wisedup
Don't let it scare you - but did you know that it spells "smoleruc" backwards. When I discovered this, I got on my knees and prayed for forgiveness - for I now know the church is true!
Non-ex-ist-ent ; having no basis in reality - Drinks Coffee on the sly
It's pronounced CurEloms(see back of BoM) - fat louis
Curelom: "cure" is pronounced like "curry" and "lom" rhymes with "yum." - Perry Noid
I know this because just last year I dug up an ancient Nephite billboard that apparently used to be on the Zarahemla highway. The sign, written in Reformed Egyptian of course, advertised a new Indian restaurant in Zarahemla serving spicy curelom meat curry and mushrooms, using the slogan:
"Curelom curry is curry yum!!".
After carefully removing centuries of dust and dirt from the rest of the sign, a faint but still clearly perceptible image of a smiling and buxom Nephite woman with a bowl of curried curelom and a "curry moustache" could be seen. Under the smiling and buxom Nephite woman were two additional phrases, enclosed within Reformed Egyptian quotation marks, reading as follows:
"Got Curelom? Got Curry?" and "It is indeed god's will that Curelom rhymes with curry yum."
(Note that some scholars maintain that a more correct translation of the latter phrase is achieved by substituting "design" for "will" as in, "It is indeed god's design that Curelom rhymes with curry yum.")
The buxom Nephite woman appears to have been some kind of celebrity in Zarahemlan society.
A curelom-related chiasm has also been found in Guatemala in a recently unearthed brass flyer. The chiasm reads as follows:
is yummy meat
is yummy meat that's
Incidentally, there is evidence that curelom meat was considered to promote fertility and potency. One recently discovered brass billboard depicts a smiling Nephite man and woman surrounded by twenty children, with the phrase:
"Eat curelom and have many children who will fight the Nephite fight against the dreaded infidel Lamanites, who eat more curelom than we."
Feel free to use any of this first-hand research material in any scholarly articles or publications that you may be considering in relation to the peoples and cultures of the Book of Mormon.
Perry...you are INCORRECT! - Curry-ologist
...there was no curry in ancient America...only paprika...and some Junior Mints! BUT NO CURRY! LIAR!
It is well known among serious students of ancient American civilization... - Perry Noid
That curry was a prized spice among the Nephites. They ate, it bathed in it, slept in it and sprinkled it in the hair of newlywed couples. When the Nephites were destroyed, however, God caused a curse to come upon all curry plants and destroyed all evidence of their existence.
As stated in 1 Nephi 8:1, "And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grains of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind, and when we write of every kind, we meaneth that every kind doth also include seeds of the curry plant, which is pleasing in the sight of the Lord and meet for meat."
(From the Inspired Version of the Book of Mormon)
BTW, Junior Mints were strictly a confection enjoyed by the Jaredites. The technology for making Junior Mints in ancient times died out with the Jaredites and there is no evidence that Nephites or other subsequent peoples enjoyed Junior Mints until the technology was again revealed in these latter-days by the Holy Spirit.
The Curry of God, Like a Fi-re is Burning - Tim Curry
When I starred in "Annie" as Rooster, I used to quote sections of the Book of Mormon to the staff. It lifted their spirits and made for intersting conversation during the cuts.
One day while we were shooing the scene where I masquerade as Annie's father and come to Daddy Warbuck's mansion to take Annie away, we took a particularly long break so Makeup could polish Albert Finney's dome, I was reading the humorous account of the Savior's visit to the American Continent, when a vision was opened to my eyes and I saw perfectly the scene of his coming among the curry-proud Nephites. I stopped reading and began reciting the actual events as they appeared: (See 3 Nephi 8)
20. And it came to pass that there was thick curry upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could smell the aroma of curry;
21. And there could be no milkshakes, because of the curry, neither ice cream, neither popcorn; neither could there be toy cars whittled with their fine and exceedingly dry curry, so that there could not be any curry-wood derbies at all.
Therefore, I can testify, that the Curry of God is the True Curry and all men must look unto this curry to be saved. And there shall not be any other curry under heaven whereby men shall be saved. Even so. Amen.
I've always pronounced it CURR-eh-loms. - Concrete Zipper
Good thing you're asking us. Most Mormons I know aren't aware enough of their own church to know what one is. - EnochIpsen
I just asked the co-orker whom I though was in the Bishopric and he says he's never heard of such a thing..huh?- Lesley
BoM cite - Cattle Mutilator
Ether 9:19 - And they also had horses, and asseses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms.
Ya see...if we never read the Book of Mormon we would still be in the church. Must be Hinckley's problem. - SaraL
This beast migrated from Curelomiah in the Jeridassic period. - Pzfft
My art class at BYU showed a video about the Book of Mormon illustrator Arnold Friberg; the guy who did the 12-15 illustrations like Sam the Lamanite on the wall, Nephi and his family on the boat; y'know, the really muscular guys.
Anyway, the video interviewed him having trouble with General Authorities telling him what he could and could not paint. One thing they told him NOT to paint at all was HORSES. He said, well they are mentioned right here in the BoM. They said no, we'll get in trouble with scientific groups etc, etc. Friberg says well, I'm painting them anyway. GAs say, ok, but be sure to just paint them as load-bearing types, no people riding on them. Friberg says, but you just said there were no horses!
In the video he just makes a joke about it and they move on, but I took it seriously. The Church can be so weak sometimes- just take a freakin stand one way or another. It surprised me this has been an issue for so long (inaccuracies with the BoM and early America), cause those paintings are from the 50s or 60s.
"A horse is an alpaca, of course, of course." - Brother Ed - 02/13/2004
Argument from the round earth
1. People once thought
the Earth was flat
2. The earth was actually round
3. Therefore all of modern science, including archeology, is wrong.
4. Therefore the Nephites are real.
5. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from Ed Decker
1. Ed Decker is a wicked little imp of a man
2. We hates him, we do. Nasty Deckerses.
3. Therefore, the church is true.
Argument from Nibley.
1. So you see. And then it all comes out. And the definition of
"Woohoo" is actually from a Hittite tablet we find buried in the red sea under a
chariot (which I asked some grad students to explain and they couldn't) and it
said "woohoo boohoo foofoo". Now in ancient mystic Egypt, before they invented
papyrus, "woohoo boohoo foofoo" was the name of the God of the "multi-layered"
heaven, and therefore you see that the ancient pre-literate Egyptians were
actually Mormons at heart!
2. Therefore the church is true.
The argument from the End of Days.
1. If God wanted you to readily believe in the
church, He'd come down here and take over openly.
2. But He's not going to do that until the new millenium you see?
3. And you can see that He hasn't yet come down here and taken over right?
4. Therefore, the church is true.
Argument from The Three Nephites.
1. There are three
immortal white guys who have been walking around North America for 2000
2. Some Native American legends talk about "white ghosts".
3. I bet those stories are about the Three Nephites!
4. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from Cain.
1. Cain was a bad bad man and God cursed
him with a distinguishing mark.
2. Although the Bible says nothing about Cain not dying, I bet he's wandering around the Earth cursed and forlorn.
3. Bigfoot is a wierd and intriguing myth.
4. I bet all those sightings of Bigfoot are really of CAIN!!!!
6. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from arbitrary punishment.
1. I heard my aunt tell
a story about a guy who wanted to wear his earring into the temple.
2. The bishop told him not to.
3. But he did it anyway, and covered it with his long hair.
4. The next week he got indigestion and missed his friend's superbowl party..
5. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from evolution
1. Evolution says life on earth is the result of natural processes
and humans arose in Africa.
2. But we know that God made Adam and Eve in his image and they lived in Missouri (before Zelph did).
3. Therefore the church is true.
The Parental Argument
1. See this car, you'll get it when you
get back from your mission.
2. Therefore the church is true.
The argument from aversion to celibacy
1. In the Kingdoms of Heaven, only those
in the Celestial Kingdom will be married.
2. And they'll be polygamous.
3. The rest of you will be neutered.
4. I would like to live in Heaven forever with a harem of hot immortal women, rather than be neutered.
5. Therefore, the church is true.
The Mormon Ontological argument
1. I can imagine
having a really great wife.
2. If I can imagine a great wife, I can imagine the greatest wife of all time.
3. I can even imagine having two hundred of them and living forever as a God with them.
4. That would be perfect.
5. Since for something to be perfect it must be real, then my imaginings of perfection must be real.
6. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from Kant
1. I bet you can't prove anything is really what you think it
2. See, you can't!
3. Therefore, the reality behind your perception is probably what Joseph Smith said it is.
4. Therefore, the church is true.
Argument from ineffective mass-murder weaponry
1. My brother was
on a mission in a nasty third world country where there are no seatbelts.
2. He was riding a bus to a baptism and it got hit by a mortar killing 42 peasants.
3. But he was unscathed, and got to the baptism on time.
4. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from exposed wiring
friend was on a mission in a place with poor electrical work.
2. While he was taking a shower, the maid knocked over his radio and he was electrocuted.
3. What was the maid doing in his bathroom while he was "showering"?
4. Regardless, it was his time to go minister in Heaven.
5. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from effective blessings
1. I gave a blessing to a
sick person and they got better.
2. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from drunken blessings
1. The bishop of my friend's
ward was drinking secretly.
2. He gave a blessing to a sick person.
3. That person died.
4. Therefore the church is true.
The Mormon Cosmological argument.
1. Something caused the universe to exist.
2. It wasn't God, because he is part of a society of Gods, and his home is here in this galaxy, near Kolob.
3. It wasn't his God, because he is part of a long line of Gods.
4. What was it?
5. It must have been something!
6. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from Leviticus.
Leviticus says that homosexuality is wrong.
2. It also says you should sell your daughter into slavery if she gives you any lip.
3. It also says you should gather your friends and stone your neighbor to death if he sacrifices a bull on the wrong day.
4. Those ideas are all stupid and primitive.
5. Except the one about homosexuality.
6. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from evil
1. God has a plan for everything.
2. He must allow bad things to happen because we learn and grow from them.
3. Yes, even small children who were chopped up by machetes in Rwanda while their mothers watched.
4. Yes, even the kids who were sent to the ovens on the kindertransport in Nazi Germany.
5. You see, horrible things DO happen to innocent people! Just as God planned.
6. Therefore the church is true. - by libertarian
Argument from garments
1. Garments are celestial protection.
2. A family was in a plane crash, but they were wearing their garments.
3. Their bodies were charred beyond recognition, except where the garments were covering them.
4. They were still dead, but that proves the church is true. - by theocean
Argument from anti-Mormonism.
1. Anti-Mormons have all kinds of evidence
that the church is false.
2. This evidence is very destructive to the claims of the church.
3. Satan wants to destroy the true church.
4. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from YOUR testimony
1. You claim to not
have a testimony.
2. But the only reason you say that is so you can sin like Hugh Hefner.
3. The fact that you deny your testimony is proof you really, deep down, have one.
4. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from numbers
1. There are millions of Mormons.
2. Millions of people believe in Mormonism.
3. Millions of people can't be wrong.
4. Therefore the Catholic church is false and the Mormon church is true.
Argument from obvious falseness - actually used by Nibley
1. Joseph Smith's tale is obviously
2. It makes no sense on the face of it.
3. Joseph Smith wasn't a complete idiot.
4. If he was going to make stuff up he wouldn't make it look obviously false.
5. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from Masonry
1. There are absolutely, positively no similarities at all
between Masonic ceremonies and the temple ceremony.
2. None whatsoever.
3. Not even one.
4. The Masonic ceremony was handed down from Solomon's temple.
5. Therefore the church is true. - by Baura
Argument from Roses from my husband
1. my husband and I had a fight Saturday night.
2. he went out late at night to cool off.
3. he came back early Sunday morning with roses (did I mention somebody mysteriously cut the neighbor's roses).
4. The church is true.
Argument from Stealing from the mechanics employer
1. We wanted
to go to the temple.
2. our car broke down on the way.
3. We found a mechanic to help repair the car.
4. he didn't charge us, even though he used his employers shop and tools while the shop should have been closed.
5. We made it to the temple to do work for the dead.
6. The church is true.
Argument from Falsifying work records
1. I needed to get off work to go to a
2. My boss wouldn't let me go.
3. I asked a friend who had worked at my job (but who had quit) to punch in for me, do my job, puch out, and I would pay him for that night's work.
4. My friend agreed, and I went to the church meeting.
5. The church is true.
Argument from Swearing at work
swear alot at the place I work.
2. It's the shits. (yes he really said it in testimony meeting, and there was alot of laughter).
3. The church is true. - from percarita - "I heard all of these in testimony meeting."
Argument from The burning bosom
1. I have a testimony/burning in the bosom/fire in my loins/occasional happy
feeling/warm fuzzy/good mood.
2. Therefore the church is true. - by anonymous
Argument from Lorne Green
1. Battlestar Galactica is about 12 tribes of
humans and a "lost" tribe.
2. This is kind of like the Book of Mormon!
3. The home world of humanity is the planet Kobol.
4. This is a thinly veiled reference to Kolob in the Book of Abraham!
5. Also, the Council of Twelve sounds a lot like the Quorum of Twelve.
6. The cylons are like Gadianton robbers, too
7. Therefore the church is true
Argument from the Force
1. In Star Wars, the Force can make miracles happen.
2. You have to believe in the force for it to work.
3. That's like the priesthood.
4. There is a dark side of the force that tempts you with power.
5. That's nothing like the priesthood at all.
6. Therefore the church is true anyway
Argument from Lord of the Rings
1. Aragorn is the king of
2 Jesus is the king of men.
3. Gandalf comes back from the dead as gandalf the white
4. So did Jesus! Only his name was Jesus.
5. Aragorn could have had two women if he wanted.
6. Same with Joseph Smith, who is better than Jesus! At least he said he has accomplished more than Jesus.
7. Therefore the church is true. - libertarian
Argument from personal incredulity
1. I can't believe Joseph Smith made the
whole thing up
2. He wasn't educated enough to come up with all those names and places.
3. Who could do that? Certainly not me.
4. Therefore, the church is true - by T.J.
Argument of trusting wild claims (Expanded Edition(TM)) aka The argument of increasingly wild stories
1. Joseph Smith claimed to have seen God.
2. He later claimed to have seen God and Jesus, at the same time, no less.
3. He also claimed to have seen an angel.
4. He also claimed to have a gold book.
5. Nobody else EVER saw that gold book.
6. He also claimed to have translated that gold book.
7. He claimed God helped him translate the gold book.
8. He would never make up such things.
9. No really, he was only 14 years old.
10. And 14 year-olds NEVER make things up.
11. For ANY reason.
12. And no 14 year-old could have translated a gold book.
13. And nobody else had ever heard of "Reformed Egyptian" until Joseph Smith invented, er, discovered it.
14. And Joseph Smith, being only 14 years old, wasn't smart enough to make this shit up.
15. And he didn't retranslate the 116 lost pages because God told him not to.
16. And that means God is smarter than man.
17. Therefore the church is true. - by Wag
My brother's personal blessing argument
1. I was sick once as a
2. The bishop gave me a blessing.
3. I felt better right away.
4. Therefore the church is true.
A friend's personal witness argument
1. My bicycle was stolen when I was on my mission in Peru.
2. I prayed to get it back.
3. I was walking in the area later that day and I found my bicycle.
4. Therefore the church is true.
The blessed missionary argument
1. My son went into the missionary training
2. Within four weeks he was bearing his testimony in Swahili.
3. Never mind the fact that I can't understand a word he says.
4. Therefore the church is true.
The patriarical blessing argument.
1. My great
grandfather's blessing said he would have a lot of posterity.
2. He had 16 kids, 63 grand kids and 195 great grandkids.
3. Therefore the church is true.
The divine repayment argument
1. I lost my cell
2. I couldn't find it for several days.
3. I went to the church cannery and worked for five hours.
4. The very next day I found my cell phone.
5. Therefore the church is true.
The windows of heaven argument
1. I needed money for a down-payment on a new house.
2. I went to tithing settlement and gave the bishop the five grand I had saved.
3. The next day my grandmother was hit by a cement truck.
4. She left me five thousand dollars in her will.
4. Therefore the church is true.
The burning bosom argument
1. I get choked up when I think about Jesus dying
2. Therefore the church is true. - by OU812
Argument from Gordon
1. Our ancestors, what a chorus of triumph and
2. Isn't it wondrous.
3. Grandpa got to marry a couple of sisters.
4. Isn't it wondrous.
5. But we don't teach that anymore.
6. Isn't it wondrous.
7. That's more of a coupling, no not coupling-copulating, no that's not it either. What is that word again? Oh yes, couplet.
8. Isn't it wondrous.
9. I got my name on a BYU building just like grandpa.
10. Isn't it wondrous.
11. Who cares if the church is true - it's wondrous. - by tanstaafl
Argument of ancestral sacrifice
1. Your ancestors gave up everything for the
2. One would not give up so much for something false.
3. They obviously had all the data before them to make this decision.
3. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from the signs of the times
1. There are
wars, earthquakes, and other calamities in the news.
2. The Bible and Smith scriptures predict calamities.
3. Such calamities are getting worse. Newspapers from antiquity don't tell of as many things happening back then.
4. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from celebrity and notariety
1. Marie Osmond has her own TV show, the Olympics are in SLC,
Elizabeth Smart has a TV movie, the lady involved in the cougar attack was
2. True religion manifest such true fruits.
3. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from Joe's contribution
1. Joseph Smith
explained so many things.
2. Nobody has given so many clear explanations (save Jesus).
3. Therefore the church is true.
Argument from lack of evidence
1. The church doesn't provide all the answers.
2. God's plan requires that we not have all the answers.
3. False scholarship tries to provide answers.
3. Therefore the church is true and scholarship is crap. - by Bort
Argument from "crabs in a basket*"
1. I am a General Authority pretending to be a special witness for Christ.
2. The other GA's seem convinced they really are special witnesses.
3. Sure as hell! I am not going to be the first to admit I am bluffing.
4. If the other GA's secretly think like me then no one else would even thinkg about "blowing our cover."
5. Whew! The Church will appear to be true well past my demise. But I'm still nervous about making prophet in the year 2030. I hope I'll have a Church left. - by cricket
* In case you have never been to the ocean and captured a basket full of crabs - you don't have to place a cover over the basket because the crabs cling to each other with their pinchers, so not a single one can escape. It's funny to watch. Thus "GA's in a basket."
R vs. PG13 Argument
1. A scene with one F word monologue like Planes,Trains, and Automobiles is a lesser evil than a pg13 rated Anchorman with lots of sexual jokes.
2. Yet, the Profit says that we shouldn't watch R rated movies.
3. The prophet is always right so Anchorman is more spiritually uplifting.
4. Therefore the church is true. - by anonymus
Argument from prevarication
1. I want to know the church is true.
2. I stand every Fast Sunday and say I know it is.
3. I've said it so much I now believe it.
4. Therefore the church is true. - by Fundor The Magnificent
Argument from Sodium Chloride
1. The spirit testifies of truth.
2. Can YOU explain what salt tastes like?
3. Therefore the church is true. - by Fundor The Magnificent
Argument from Socrates
1. "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
2. Jesus told us to "become as little children."
3. I can be like a little child because the church tells me what to think and believe.
4. Therefore the church is true. - by Fundor The Magnificent
Argument from freedom
1. True freedom is having boundaries.
2. The church sets my boundaries and tells me what to do.
3. Therefore the church is true. - by Fundor The Magnificent
Argument from poverty:
1. The Joneses down the street have never been particularly active.
2. The Jones house is tiny and run down.
3. The Jones children wear rags and are often dirty.
4. Obviously God is unhappy with them.
5. Therefore the church is true. - by Fundor The Magnificent
Argument from prosperity
1. I am a faithful Mormon.
2. I own many nice material possessions.
3. And a nice house.
4. Obviously God gave me these things.
5. Therefore the church is true. - by Fundor The Magnificent
Columbine Matrix Argument
1. The people responsible for Columbine wore black trenchcoats like The Matrix.
2. The Matrix is Rated R.
3. Therefore, the church is true. - by anonymous
The head-in-the-sand argument
1. I've spent a lot of time, money and effort on the Church through the years. 2. Heck, I even wear the magic underwear. 3. It would be a shame if I had wasted so much of my life for something that is false. 4. I don't even want to know anything negative about the Church. 5. LaLaLa (covering ears) I'm not listening to you. 6. Therefore, the Church is true. - by maeve
The B.I.C. (BYU Is Celestial) argument
1. Neal A Maxwell really liked us before he died.
2. President Hinckley let us re-name FARMS in his honor: The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.
3. Hugh Nibley liked to hang out here, but not with us.
4. BYU Studies now prints our highly scholastic papers.
5. Over a thousand Mormons subscribe to our newsletter.
6. We like to digitize ancient texts which appear to be scripture. Well, they are ancient so they must be scripture.
7. Neal A Maxwell's biography by Bruce Hafen "A Disciple’s Life—The Biography of Neal A. Maxwell" devotes a whole chapter to his love affair with us.
8. Daniel C Peterson is a really smart fellow and he works for us.
9. Many of us have visited Egypt and Guatemala and even more of us have taken a Church History Tour as Seminary students.
10. We are often requested to speak at Firesides.
11. This argument has more clauses than any other argument found on the entire Internet.
12. Boyd K Packer has not told us to shut up yet.
13. Therefore the Church is not only true, but the Church remains true only because of us here at FARMS. So there! - by cricket
1. The Mormons were persecuted and driven from their homes.
2. Therefore the church is true.
1.Joseph would never have done polygamy if not threatened by an angel with a sword.
1. Therefore the church is true. - by Sage
The Martin-Willey argument
1. Many people came West using handcarts.
2. They suffered great hardships and many of them died.
3. Many LDS Youth Groups have spent time a Youth Conference pulling handcarts.
4. Therefore, the Church is true. - by maeve
1. No one can prove anything.
2. Any criticism is therefore mere speculation.
3. Therefore the church is true (and immune from criticism). - by susbsrate
Argument from post-modernism
1. Some people say the church is true.
2. Other people say it isn't.
3. In a world of uncertainty, people's perceptions cannot be trusted to be "truth."
4. Therefore, the church is true. - by Huckleberry Hinckley
Limited Geography Theory Argument
1. Lehi brought his family and a hostage named Zoram to America.
2. They settled somewhere debatable and grew to be millions of people.
3. The Western Hemisphere is huge and we can't find any trace of them or any indication of their Hebrew origins.
4. They must have lived in a 1-acre compound in the middle of millions of square miles of jungle that has since been paved over by a shopping mall parking lot.
5. Never mind what the prophets told us about the Hill Cumorah and the Golden Plates.
6. Therefore, the church is true. - by brian-the-christ
The Recovery from Mormonism proof/argument
1. Tal Bachman left the church and he is a rock musician and they are bad.
2. Steve Benson left the church and he a liberal media cartoonist and they are bad.
3. [insert name of ExMo RfMer who has left the church and is bad] and they are bad.
4. Therefore, the church is true. - by cats
The Backwards Argument
1. No matter what, for me the church is true
2. Make up any argument, and it will support 1.
3. The fuzzier I make it the more true 1. is. - by alone
Nibley's "obvious falseness" Argument
1. Mormonism is directly contradicted by the evidence.
2. There is no hard evidence supporting Mormonism.
3. God doesn't want us to know; he wants us to have faith.
4. That's why he made it look so obviously false.
5. Therefore the church is true. - by substrate
Look at the last name Sagan. If you remove the 'g' and replace it with a 't', what do you get..........SATAN!!!! To call this a mere coincidence would be quite a reach.
Also, there have been some interesting recent discoveries by archeologists in the Garden of Eden lands of Missouri. One such discovery was a rock with the letters 'KRL' carved in it. There were three people in the Garden of Eden: Adam, Eve, and Satan. KRL cannot be attributed to Adam and Eve. That leaves Satan as the only explanation for these initials. Could Satan have signed his name to that rock? Since there are no vowels in Hebrew, the English translation for KRL is Karl or Carl. It is clear to everyone without an agenda that Satan's first name is Carl.
The Holy Ghost never did confirm to me that the BoM was true and here are the reasons why:
I prayed but they told me I must not have prayed right.
So I prayed again, but then they told me I wasn’t sincere.
So I prayed again, but I had a defective BoM that said the Lamanites would turn WHITE and delightsome instead of PURE and delightsome.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant horses when it said horses.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant steel when it said steel.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant swords when it said swords.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant chariots when it said chariots.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant elephants when it said elephants.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant uninhabited when it said the land was uninhabited.
So I prayed again, but I thought it really meant millions and millions of Nephites when it said “as numerous as the sands of the sea.”
So then I asked someone if they could tell me which parts really mean what they say and which parts don’t.
So they didn’t know.
So then I asked them about the Book of Abraham and Joseph’s Smith Egyptian alphabet and grammar and they told me the alphabet and grammar wasn’t true because it wasn’t in Joseph’s handwriting.
So I said, “Well neither was the Book of Mormon in his handwriting. And neither was the first vision, nor most of the D&C, nor Joseph Smith’s history even though it was changed to look like he wrote it in the first person. So how are we to tell which things he didn’t write are true and which aren’t?”
So they didn’t know.
So then I decided that it was an insult to my intelligence to pray about such impossible things.
So then I got sort of a feeling that God thought that it was an insult to His intelligence that I should pray about such asinine things too.
So then I sent in my resignation letter and they wrote back telling me to pray about it.
So I prayed but I must not have done it right …….
I assume that metals plates produced by hand would be much less tight and that therefore it would not be equivalent to a solid mass of metal. I would estimate that at least one-half of the volume would be unoccupied by metal, so the estimate goes in half, to around 90 lbs. Though pretty heavy, that amount is more reasonable and within the realm of possibility for a strong young man.
If you're going to debunk something, you need to do it with facts, not assumptions and guesses. Your whole argument rests on your "estimate" of one-half unoccupied volume. Is that guess based on anything or did you just make it up?
Gold is very heavy and very malleable stuff. Unless the voids have some sort of structural stability, they will get squished out and lose most of their volume.
If the plates were thick enough to be structurally stable, there would be fewer gaps between them and the density would be closer to that of a solid. If the plates were not that thick, they would flatten out on their own and would still be close to the solid density.
All that is academic unless you go out and build something. Gold is a little pricey to work with, but lead is cheap. Someone has already built a set of lead plates in the proper dimensions just to try this very thing out. They were at the SLC exmo conference two years ago and more recently have been at the Tanner's store. They weigh over 100 pounds and are difficult to lift, let alone run around with. Note that lead is only about 60% the density of gold.
Apologists have tried your density counter-argument before, but even they know that it is not sufficient. Now they are claiming that the plates were not made of pure gold, but of a meso-american alloy of gold and copper known as tumbaga. The problem is that the lighter alloys of tumbaga do not look like gold. I have seen tumbaga in the gold museum in Bogota and it is easy to tell from gold. Note that JS claimed that the plates "had the appearance of pure gold" so this is problematic.
Even worse is the fact that these lighter alloys corrode. That's a real problem if you're going to leave some tumbaga plates in a stone box in the ground for a thousand years.
Plus, if the plates were made of tumbaga, they'd have to redo the words to a favorite primary song:
"The tumbaga plates lay hidden..."
As a retired professional investigator probably nothing was more convincing proof against my faith then LDS Apologists.
The douchbaggery of Dan Peterson alarmed me. I asked questions of FAIR and in response was immediately accused of being an "Anti-Mormon", "a non-member posing as a member", "not having a testimony", "an apostate" and so on. Yes, I had developed some serious questions but a response like that told me there was a HUGE problem.
These same morons I later vented at and in response one said "it would be better if you just went and slit your throat", interestingly enough this same apologist had previously identified himself as "we are somewhat like the Danites". (Danites being those who carried out blood atonement in said manner). It made me so sick to my stomach reading these peoples lies and seeing how they twisted everything that I can't believe I was ever LDS.
Its one thing to believe in something its another to defend it by attacking people like myself who have donated nearly $200K to the church and served my whole life. At the worst point, Dan Peterson himself told me in his intellectual best "why you have never had a testimony to start with now have you, of course the church has never hide that the plates where translated with a stone and hat".
My response was please tell me where? His reply was to cite a single sentence in a 1980ish Ensign Magazine! I'm so glad to have found the truth and so grateful to those who expose Mormonism as I think it makes people arrogant and preys on the ignorant and appeals to a sickening desire to become Gods and has nothing to do with worshipping any God, but only worshipping demented men.
My GG Grandfathers are Heber C Kimball and Orson Pratt, they had lots to gain and everything to lose in their day...I had nothing to lose and have gained everything by leaving Mormonism. - 03/05/2010 - Steve K
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