Scott Gordon lies, deceives and misdirects his audience while accusing others of lying, deceiving and misdirecting about the church

We’re not the church, but here’s why we’re actually the church. Appeal to authority, appeal to authority…

3:00 – Evils of Google getting answers

3:15 – Evils of exmormons and how FAIR helps

3:16 – tears already there. Wow. Hard questions make him tear up.

4:21 – Families should be first to talk about less-known issues. Why are issues less known? Oh because the church has been hiding them for years. But families, man; they should know this stuff.

4:37 – Inoculation against issues encouraged, maligning internet and friends

polygamy, seerstones, first vision, process of translation, Gender, BoA, race … basically the essays

5:16 – Inoculation repeated as a good concept

5:47 – Maligning those who leave. Ignoring Dehlin’s analysis on why people leave to put “Social” on the top of the list, Mental health next, sinning, and history at the bottom. An exact flip of what the studies show.

6:18 – He admits that everyone wavers despite maligning John Dehlin as a non-believer.

6:45 – “Finding weaknesses in church leaders” perfect excuse to leave. This is the most insulting thing so far. I’d challenge Scott to please publish a list of valid reasons to leave. If he can think of none, then this is the MOST VALID REASON he could think of or mention. Failings in leaders, and it goes beyond “Weakness” in an organization is a perfectly good reason to leave. If the CEO of a company is an abusive child-molesting fraud who abuses funds entrusted to him, leaving is the most logical step. He needs to acknowledge this.

6:45 – “Minor mistakes” he cannot admit there are major mistakes and blatant systemic abuse. So it is a downplay of everything negative.

7:20 – “The church is to make bad men good, and good men better”. Evaluating this claim, do we see bad men become good? Do we see good men become corrupt? Then we can know the church is failing in its mission as stated by Scott. He does not address this.

9:27 – He admits that people can read scriptures and pray and still leave the church! This contradicts past prophets, but hey, it’s reality and I’m glad they admit this (I was reading and praying quite a bit when I left)

10:12 – Strawman about reading and praying having no questions; but this idea that one can be without doubt is in student manuals

and cited by prophets “When Shall These Things Be?” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 60).

Blame the members syndrome!

10:30 – Strawman about reading scholarly articles. Either/or fallacy.

10:44 – Inoculation sold as a positive concept

11:11 – shout out to us being the problem. Not that history is a problem. Not that Joseph’s behavior was a problem. No, modern day Laman and Lemuels.

11:45 – Reverse Alma 32 – nurturing doubt will destroy testimony. I thought it was nurturing a seed that would make a strong enough plant that it couldn’t be uprooted, but it turns out doubt can grow like a tree too, until it is so strong you don’t ever believe.

Note, he just said you can read scriptures and pray and still leave, which means that even if you don’t nurture the doubt, but nurture faith you can still end up doubting. Without realizing it he is implying that doubt is stronger than belief. Maybe because doubt is the actual path to truth?

11:50 – CES Letter is a “List of old criticism, rumors and misrepresentations, repackaged into a single document. Responses have been around for many, many years”. But what he doesn’t say is that those responses are unofficial, rejected, changed over time, and frankly fall short on the most basic issues. Gish Gallop invoked because “big lists” are scary. This from a man who publishes websites of big lists. A man who lists big lists of books. Scary I tell you. SCARRRRRY

12:44 – Researching each item in CES letter is daunting (luckily Jeremy provides links to sources so, ya know, it’s less daunting than reading the FAIR mormon cite with its circular references. But hey. HOURS of your time with SCARY lists!

12:55 – see that 16% FACT. Let’s focus on that Scott. 16% of the CES letter, FAIR admits is fact. How about that 10% falsehoods. Only 10% of the CES letter is false. And yet people who have been in the church for 30+ years read it and are shocked by what they learn. Because 90% of it is legit and troubling, that’s why.

13:25 – Debunking-CESLetter.com gets a fucking mention? That worthless site that is blatantly dishonest and misleading?

13:40 – Wow, does he mis-characterize the letter. It asks questions the church was unwilling to answer. That’s all. It doesn’t twist. It doesn’t lie. It asks.

13:55 – Problem is he believes the Book of Mormon must be a perfect book. Gee, I wonder where Jeremy got that idea

?

14:00 – “Translated in the way the author thinks it should have been” and where did the author get those ideas? Oh yeah, the church taught them. Another way of saying this is that the author expected the church to be honest, and Scott knows that wouldn’t happen and is mocking anyone who thinks similarly.

14:11 – “Find one little thing, anything he considers to be a flaw” yeah that’s how science works. If your hypothesis is that God gave a divine book, and you find a flaw; you should reject that hypothesis. It should be divine. But Jeremy, as Scott pointed out doesn’t find ONE flaw. He finds pages and pages of flaws.

So he produces scary lists, and strains at gnats now.

14:18 – Lists of evidences. er… go ahead. I’d love to see those evidences; but they have to be peer-reviewed, and accepted outside of mormon circles.

14:23 – “The problem with this approach is that the author has no knowledge of how translation actually takes place”. Holy shit. You’re telling me that a guy who served a mission, who is hearing impaired is unaware of translation discrepancies?

No Scott, your church showed images of a translation process that it now admits never happened for decades. Over 100 years by my counting. And now you blame the victim?

Why is steel not steel? Why is a horse not a horse? These are “Translation discrepancies” and Jeremy is hardly a typical dumb American.

Shitty. Just shitty.

As a person who is fluent in Swedish and English; let me unequivocally state the problems in the Book of Mormon are NOT related to this kind of translation issue. I challenge fully Scott to find a single word in the book of Mormon he can show the root word in Reformed Egyptian, explain that language and its context, and then explain the translation error in 1600’s English. Of course first he’d have to find a single sample of reformed egyptian…

15:09 – Strawman… this is not the stated reason Jeremy gives for why he believes the Book of Mormon false.

15:15 – “He doesn’t acknowledge the stacks of research” because he wanted an official answer. He sought out true messengers and not the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. Yeah, shit on him some more there, Scott for doing what the temple instructs.

15:35 – Jeremy still has not received official answers. Jeremy’s claim is factually true. Scott, here is putting FAIR on par with prophets and apostles stating that their answers should be considered as legitimate as the church’s official answer. Pay attention because he started by clearly stating that his organization in NO WAY represents the church.

15:50 – Terrible mischaracterization of an excommunication. “I’m not sure why he wanted to stay, honestly” If you’re not sure, shut up. Don’t go there.

16:00 – Mormon Stories starts here

16:10 – “John Dehlin was Finally excommunicated this past year”. Finally, whew. So glad they got that over with. I mean, jeez, the guy runs a website on mormon stuff. Focuses on social issues.

16:22 – I know him personally, and had many many conversations with him. His sister is a member of FAIRMormon. He has tried to stay socially.

Wow so Jeremy is worth 20 minutes of straw men and scary lists but all of Mormon Stories is dismissed based on John’s personal beliefs. Shit. What about the Mark Hoffman episode where they invited people who covered the story on? No mention that many FAIRMormon individuals were on Mormon Stories? Not worth saying “We felt it worth being with John to talk about issues”. No?

They must really be afraid of John Dehlin.

17:06 – Strawman of comparing Denver Snuffer to High Priest weirdo. Funny, I think of FAIRMormon as far closer to that mindset. In fact, as stated by Scott, they are high priests, and they think Jeremy should have accepted their answers as gospel despite being unofficial so yeah, they are those guys in High Priest Quorum. Pot, this is Kettle, you’re kinda black. Also use of “Speculation” to make people scared.

17:33 – “He was asked to leave” I guess they really believe that excommunication ends peoples ability to speak or influence. Shitty belief that will come back to bite him.

17:38 – Hopewell indians. He says this guy uses known fakes and forgeries to prove his point. But Scott will later use known fakes and forgeries to prove his own point. Hey Pot, still black; sincerely, Kettle

18:35 – The book of Mormon Location is not a revealed subject. Mr. Scott, please address all the revelations Joseph Smith and others have given on the topic then. Go on. Something about Latitude and longitude in Guatemala? or hey, that “Zelph” thing? No?

18:55 – FAIRMormon are in a state of apostasy… well you did just reject hundreds of years of statements of prophets about the location of the Book of Mormon…

19:00 – Abuse of “So-called”!

19:17 – “Even the apostles” are apostate. Hang on now… the apostles were smart enough to take no position. But nudge-nudge wink wink, they agree with you don’t they Scott? Even though they publicly say no position;

 

19:26 – “I am nervous bringing him up because he’s still a member” and again, excommunication is seen as de-legitimizing arguments

.

19:30 – “I’m right and everyone who doesn’t believe as I do bad attitude”. Kettle is calling again Pot, about how black you are!

“Dangerous to himself and others”. Shit, you just can’t help yourself can you. Beliefs are dangerous. False beliefs. Faked data. You should really shut down FAIR if you believe this.

19:40 – “I don’t know what is on the horizon”. Gee, if only you belonged to an organization of prophets…

19:50 – traps Purposeful misrepresentation on the internet. You mean like showing Joseph using the plates while translating, but knowing it was done with a rock in a hat? Like that?

20:22 – “We joke about everything not being true on the internet” Yes at FAIRMormon, that publishes a website, I’m sure you do. Notice there are no laughs at this commercial. The audience is not finding this funny at all. Discrediting the repository of all human public knowledge is pretty shitty as a tactic, and is going to fail in the long run.

21:20 – in an attempt to discredit old arguments, uses fake/hoax Jericho sword

. Link is FAIR article discussing debunking

21:48 – By using a debunked set of evidence and admitting the claim is in the CES Letter; he has just given more credibility to Jeremy for asking the question than he has in answering it.

21:55 – Spaniards brought Horses – Tar Pits (from 10,000 years prior to BoM). Evidence of them dying out is literally a few steps away from Scott where he took that picture. I know, I’ve been there. The wolf skulls are just down the isle, Scott. You remember them? Shit, dude, this is so dishonest. It’s like taking a photograph of the twin towers from 2000 to prove 9/11 didn’t happen. Everyone who has done the slightest research on the subject knows this evidence is bad. You should feel bad.

22:28 – when or if they went extinct. Literally no one outside of Mormonism believes they did not go extinct. “Pretty close to the times”. Funny how you didn’t mention how distant it is. Say THOUSANDS of years?

22:38 – Letters and histories. “Significant contradictory sources are often omitted.” You mean like in the Sunday School manuals… you mean like in conference talks. The accusation that history is biased swings both ways. Please criticize the LDS Apostles for their abuse on this as well, or you are just a shill. Pot… hey this is kettle again. BLACK

22:51 – Ellipses. Seriously one of the biggest issues I have with the church is the abuse of ellipses by FAIR or the actual manuals of the church. Pot, hey pot! Kettle here. Black!

23:00 – “Most church history issues are cleared up by going back and reading the source” then why the fuck don’t the church manuals ever make a citation before 1977? Huh? Because context fucking matters? Why do the exmormon sites have longer and more sources and bibliographies than FAIRMormon papers which often cite other FAIRMormon papers rather than original sources?!

note: Brian Hales published a lengthy claim about Sylvia Lyon’s being a spiritual daughter based on a previously unpublished letter later to be found a fraud. He admitted this in a private setting in a group of historians. However he has not yet retracted his video on the subject. Ponder this for a minute; context can be wrong; but with FAIR Mormon members we see them literally bringing up hoaxes, false claims and forgeries as evidence long after they are disproved and then blaming others for that behavior.

23:30 – First Book of Napolean. This is a bastardization of understanding statistics. That both sets of phrases would exist in the books at that rate and that length is still evidence one is a derivative of another REGARDLESS OF THE ELLIPSES. All Scott proves here is he has no knowledge of N-grams or how statistics, as a field, works.

Jeremy could have been clearer in the CES Letter on what was going on; but I believe Scott does understand statistics and having NO OTHER ARGUMENT has misled people to push the misconception that Jeremy was abusing ellipses rather than admit that it is disconcerting that the two books would be that similar in phrasing.

25:14 – Richard Dawkins. Here is the thing; Richard Dawkins has truly read the bible. His words ARE Derivative from a modern Christian world. This is not counter proving Jeremy’s case at all. However, this may mean Scott is statistically stupid (That is, he refuses to learn statistics) because he didn’t pull out words or phrases that were rare, but uber-common as a comparison.

Think of it this way, if I say the words “Autobots, roll out

” the odds I’ve seen something Transformers related is incredibly high, because the phrase is unique. If I also say “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.” it supports that belief, and that I saw a Michael Bay movie version. The more phrases I quote, the more sure you are, EVEN IF I DON’T QUOTE THEM IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH.

The concept is simple, but appears too difficult for Scott to comprehend.

25:40 – Using strange words. Like “Macuahuitl” a sword not present during Nephite times that FAIR loves, or any number of big words they use when debunking. But I guess they are only strange when exmormons use them.

His complaints:

  • “Extra-terrestial humanoid”… not inaccurate. rest is a strawman.

Oh wait, only one?

  • 26:10 – Changes to the book of Mormon. “Nothing true about that statement”… the 4,000 changes were documented by the Tanners; and so he is looking up old claims and then debunking them. cough. Pots and kettles are now dancing in blacklight.

26:32 – Grammar changes. He plays this down, but remember, this was word-by-word given by God to Joseph; and yet God doesn’t know Grammar? That’s quite the claim.

“Insignificant” except the word “White and Delightsome” changed to “Pure and Delightsome” right? you’ll cover that I’m sure because the implica… no? Okay.

26:56 – “The Secret” – Like say, a temple ceremony? Truths not yet revealed. Fuckin’ hell your entire religion is about newly revealed lost secrets!

27:27 – “The church is not transparent”. Finding the seerstone when I was a kid was as difficult as finding the plans of demolition for Arthur Dent’s house

.

Okay, let’s test this right now. Go to church on Sunday and ask “Tell me about Brigham Young’s Bloodstone amulet!” Demand they talk about it. Ask what it was made of, how much protection it provided, and where you can see it. Then go to the UDOP museum or google and in 5 seconds… oh, there it is

That’s what he means by non-transparent. This thing was around Brigham’s fucking neck every time he went into danger; and yet no one will tell you about it, or how to get one. Despite many mormons going into danger daily!

27:31 – Misdirection. We only got it after long searches and then; facing excommunication, loss of callings, etc. So so so dishonest

27:37 – Joseph Smith Papers. Google “Leonard Arrington” and see the fabrication here. The church has suppressed most of this for over a hundred years. It is in spite of the church these things are coming to light, not because of it.

28:22 – “not one item examined” … experts in their fields. what bullshit is that. Experts in their fields are not associated with the church. They aren’t a legit source, remember? The church, itself must take a position. Members expect the church to take a position.

28:44 – “Sunday school is not a church history class.” Fuckers. whole section is just deceptive and member-blaming.

29:30 – “Top secret places we hide things” – please note that the Liahona, the Swedish people have access to, did not mention the seerstone until 2015. Last year. This is not honest behavior.

29:41 – MHA gave an award to D. Michael Quinn who was excommunicated for doing history research. Think about that.

30:10 – “I’ve never heard students complain, I’ve never heard this before”. Shit, we hear it here all the time. Maybe he needs to remove some wax-build up in his ears, or stop having an Honor Code that not only excommunicates doubters, but removes their academic futures from them if he wants to get honest feedback.

30:40 – “The Negative”. Oh god… a 1950’s stereo-typical date example where the church is the beautiful young women.

Focus on positive… blah blah. Ignore the founder of the church molesting children and removing consent from relationships, focus instead on the way we help during catastrophes.

32:40 – “The Desire to sin”

seriously? I’m glad he doesn’t spend long here.

33:22 – Trust – this is what it’s all about. You, Mr. Scott; have tanked your trust. I trust my friends more than church leaders because they haven’t repeatedly lied to me. They don’t ask me for money promising blessings that never come. They don’t tell me I’ll suffer endlessly unless I obey. I trusted you. My father trusted you. He taught me to work my whole life so that I could contribute to you and your cause. I spent years working to this end. I am sorely disappointed in your frankly dishonest and deceitful attempt to insult the church detractors for their inquiries as well as the Swedish / Nordic people that are my heritage and that I learned to love on my mission.

I bid you adieu at this point. May you never speak publicly without the ridicule you so richly deserve again.

Posted in Apologetics | 3 Comments

Ad-hominem against Statisticians

Recently a blog post claims:

There is no exodus from the Church. In fact, just the opposite.

It then insults people who get their Statistics degree from “The University of Reddit”.

The article fails to cite even a single source for its claims.

The number of folks applying for rebaptism far and away outnumbers the resignation requests.

And where does our blog poster get this fantastic number?

My source told us over family dinner one Sunday that the perception that social media gives about the “exodus” is simply not representative of the Church not just globally but even within the US.

Well who could ever doubt a source you had over for dinner.  The problem is that mathematics isn’t hard and it doesn’t lie like a friend over for dinner might.  Here is one post from Reddit that simply uses the Church’s own published numbers to draw the conclusion of lowered church growth.

If we go back to the previous membership count on Dec 31, 2012 it shows 14,782,473. So 15,000,000-14,782,473= 217,527 increase over a period of 38 weeks. With a little math, we can turn this into an annual growth rate of 1.388%. Compare this to past growth rates on this wiki page. Notice the steady decrease from 8.74% in 1989. (- painted_red)

Notice there are cited sources.  A person can follow the calculations and come to the same conclusion.  No matter how much people want belief to equal truth, truth is independent of your personal wishes and aspirations.

As far as number of people leaving the church, I think that the number of times LDS leaders mention “Do not leave the church” in their talks is a good indication that things have shifted.  From “Stay in the Boat” talks (There have been multiple now) to an increase in youth firesides focused on retention one can do a quick comparison to years prior to 2012 and see that even in the last three years there is an acceleration in “Just stay” rhetoric in talks.

I’d challenge the individual, S. Stevenson, which isn’t his real name, to come forward with a source that can be cited, rather than adding to “Faith promoting rumor”

“If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.” – Carl Sagan

No need to spread false rumors to make people feel better about their beliefs.  Oh and as to my degree, it’s from BYU, included Statistics, and I work with statistics all day every day professionally for at least 6 years.  And I post on Reddit.  Given the lack of sources or even understanding of basic math, I think Mr. S. Stevenson probably doesn’t have a stats degree at all.  Glass houses, throwing stones.

I hope the author at HolyFetch.com adds this one to his pile of faith-promoting rumors from the start.

Posted in Apologetics, Current issues | 8 Comments

Super Heroes

The LDS Organization is not opposed to mentioning superheroes in their talks to infantize their audience.  The frequently use Marvel and DC heroes of examples of how grown people can be embarrassingly naive.

Shazam

  • To Speeches implying that kids are cute for praying ridiculous things like Spiderman beating the Green Goblin as opposed to Jesus blessing donuts to strengthen and nourish us, which totally happens

DonutJesus

I could share with you many amusing stories about them that show how their understanding is just emerging…And Kevin, in every prayer he offered, prayed that Spiderman would demolish the Green Goblin—only to be interrupted each time by Anna, who would respond with a big sigh and say, “Oh, no! Not again!”

“…the small, curly headed Wonder Woman who is resting in her mother’s arms with a bottle of warm milk”

“My class quickly pointed out that in recent movies, even superheroes like Batman and Superman, whom they had wanted to emulate in their childhood, had caved in to current social pressures and had not remained chaste”

This ideology leads to dangerous behavior. We see people who want to hide their problems under the appearance of strength through boasting, aggressiveness, or abusive behaviors.

Gerald Causse in December of 2013 even went so far as to say:

God is not the God of superheroes, nor of people without weaknesses.”

Two things:

  1.   It’s pretty clear that general authorities and BYU speakers only view superheroes as childish things that should be put away.  If you want to make your fictional character or target of your moral tale seem infantile; just throw in a reference to a major comic book character; because people who believe in talking snakes, super-strong men who avoid barbers, magic handkerchiefs, golden plates and pure gold-hilted swords, and talking asses clearly are the mature ones who know how life works; and people who read stories about a radioactive spider are the childish ones.
  2. There are no references to Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Daredevil (even when discussing blindness and superheroes), Hawkeye or Blackwidow of the avengers.  None of Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, or others of the Justice League.  It’s pretty clear that the speakers are trying to “connect” with the “kids” to seem “hip” and “cool” through the most known cultural references of the genre, rather than knowing anything of the comicbook-world.  They latch on to cultural icons not out of respect or understanding the audience, but to immediately use them as a symbol of being naive, immature and frankly, needing “true guidance”

Well, I’d like to propose that superheroes have done more good for the world than the LDS church:

(want to donate to a charity? HopeforHenry.org)

Batman

  • But beyond that Comics are, at their core, stories that let us explore issues.  Now I know they can be a bit misogynistic in nature (like the LDS church) and give kids the ideas that unrealistic things happen all the time (like the scriptures) and even can promote bad ideas and memes (like firesides and seminary teachers) across generations but they also allow us to explore real issues.  Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix is a very deep and serious look at narcistic personality disorder and abusive relationships.  Marvel’s Civil War run, before the movie took on civil liberties vs. security issues we faced as a nation.

No you move

 

Now one might say that the LDS church has done more good in food donations than comics, or in BYU scholarships to GA children, or whatever; but I think I need to point out that Comics never murdered 120 pioneers in cold blood, or broke apart families to give Stan Lee 33 wives; most of which were non-consensual relationships, and comics very rarely have promised they were doing good, while really taking widow’s mites and turning them into fancy office furniture for Bob Kane’s successor.  Oh DC probably has some nice office furniture, but they are honest about being a revenue center, instead of pretending to do good in the world while really sending people out to do marketing.

 

Conclusion:

To demonize or infantize comics and people who enjoy them while ignoring their benefits while simultaneously embracing old fabricated stories of wizards, witches, god’s magic, and so forth is not only hypocritical, it is manipulative and harmful.  Who knows, with Marvel Movies and DC Blockbusters in the theaters maybe in 30-40 years the LDS church will speak respectfully about Black Panther, Ant-Man or Aquaman and those who love them.

Or maybe the religion will seem more the flat, useless comical representation of infantile belief; while Batman, Superman and Spiderman live on

Comic book Tommy

Posted in Current issues, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Tyler Glenn (of the Neon Trees) about Trash

[Update 5/27/2016:  You know what happens if you write someone… they respond; unless they are a General Authority or apologist at FAIRMormon and your point is valid.  Here is Tyler Glenn’s response.  I think it addresses all my concerns nicely, and although not written directly to me, it certainly answers the issues.  I post it first as I think it makes my letter irrelevant.  Well done, Tyler.

In “The Scarlett Letter”, Hester Prynne is branded with a violent red “A” for all to see. At first, there’s no question: it symbolizes the sin of adultery, and Hester wears it as punishment. But from the very beginning, she’s not willing to let it dictate the terms of her punishment.

I feel the most triumphant moment in my video for “Trash” is the moment when I “X” myself with red lipstick.

My thoughts behind this symbolism are as follows:

I am not broken, or challenged. I will not live in fear. I will reclaim what is already inside of me.

The scarlett letter that society places on those that challenge the status quo is violent.

When i released the imagery for “Trash”, I knew exactly what would happen, and it did.

But what’s ultimately empowering is “they” don’t get to brand me with that. I’ve already done it, and I wear that scarlett X proudly.

Some have forgotten that my expression has context. It has a deeply personal journey attached to it.

What’s inspiring is seeing so many of you use the X in your own way. I saw it at my show, I see them on your social media.

It represents more than religious doubt.
It represents more than anger and sadness and frustration and confusion.
To me, the X represents a reclaiming of one’s self.

The conversation that was started from my video has inspired me.
Many of my “friends” aren’t friends anymore. Even family members have put up walls. I’ve seen the true nature of many through this experience, and It has been beautiful and tragic.

What you must understand is ultimately, YOU have the power inside of you to reclaim what is already yours. That’s what this is about. It’s not about altered portraits and handshakes and religious folklore.

I created this app because I saw and heard many of you wanting a way to express your own experience. The “X” can be yours if you need it.

Be fearless. Be open to that further light and knowledge. Its a beautiful and inspiring journey to realize we know nothing at all for sure.

But what we do know is that we are here now, and we have time to become our best selves. We can’t let the masses dictate our self worth and our experience here on this earth. Only you get to do that.

[End Update]

First, this is not going to be popular to put out, and you’re probably not going to like what I have to say.  I get that.

HollandGlenn

I also get where the emotions came from that you used to fuel the video “Trash”.  I mean, not exactly; but we’ve both gone down the road of leaving the same religion.  I didn’t have the added LGBT aspect, but still, there is a lot in that video that spoke to me.

“Water never changes into wine, I’ve been drinking all the time”

Absolutely a brilliant lyric, so deep and impactful on so many levels.  From the water used in the sacrament today vs. Joseph Smith’s wine; to the idea that no matter how much we drink of a false belief system it will never become true, to the comparison with Jesus’ miracles and the lack thereof in the modern church; just pure poetry.  I loved that.

Which why I think it’s sad so few members will hear it.  The shocking nature of the video probably scored you more views and subscribes than anything you’ve done before.  It certainly caused a stir outside the Mormon and Exmormon communities.

This weekend Elder Holland went on a rant.  I’m sure he feels his emotions are every bit as real as you feel yours are.  But his nature and approach, using name-calling and ad hominum to insult those who believe differently than he does, I think besmirches the office he believes he is called to, and actually harms families.

Your production is art, and as such, doesn’t carry the weight to destroy and harm the way an official message from an official representative from an organization does.  I compare the two because both are driven by emotion, both are polarizing, and both are done for shock value.

And in both cases, almost all of the rest of the message was lost while the shocking is focused on.  It’s human nature.

The MormonStories interview got your point across, I think a lot better, but had fewer views.  The Shocking may have gotten views, but probably didn’t persuade anyone that the pain behind it was created by the organization.  At least few current members.

So if the goal was to capture the hurt and pain that exmormons would “Get”, then you achieved it.  But as a dialogue piece, the shock and awe left a lot of the message unheard.

I’d rather we had a dialogue of respect on all sides.  Ballard, and others like him, who show no respect to anyone with a different world view is not who we should emulate, but rather we should distance ourselves by being the calmer heads and warmer hearts.

But as far as the emotion, I get it.  And it is art.  I hope it doesn’t set a precedent.

Mithryn

Posted in Current issues | Leave a comment

Plagiarism and The Globe – a comparative analysis

Let’s say that Joseph Smith Jr. Published the Book of Mormon today, with Google’s search capability, the blogsphere, and plagiarism techniques and standards.  What might have happened?  What might have happened when he published the Book of Commandments or the Book of Moses?

Well, we have a proxy. Margaret Wente is a pretty good approximation.  She attacked the individuals who claimed she borrowed from other texts, she didn’t produce any counter evidence, and when caught a second time, she went silent.

In fact, looking up her name takes you to a wikipedia page on Plagiarism.  And not without reason.

She lifts entire sentences from other people’s works without attribution,she copies formats of writing, including starting with reminiscing about her grandmother, quoting a line or two, and then ending with the same conclusion as a blog post.  She takes key thoughts or phrases unique to other sites and uses them without attribution.  This is not just possibly plagiarism this is to a level that the Globe has had to apologize and pull the articles.

Now review the number of sources that appear in the Book of Mormon, the Articles of Faith, the D&C or the Pearl of Great Price that are using the same techniques that Margaret Wente abused:

Possible sources of plagairism for Joseph Smith

It seems clear that Joseph’s works abuse other sources in a very similar method as Margaret Wente.  It should be easily declared that his works were contemporary and not ancient, or apologists should, perhaps lend their skills to defending Mrs. Wente as Joseph’s mistakes and clear abuse of other people’s works are no different than hers except in scope and impact on the world.

 

 

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Who goes to Outer Darkness, a handy guide

In my last post, I claimed that I might be a candidate for outer darkness.  A lot of people wanted a source on that.  As with anything in Mormon doctrine, there’s a lot of confusion, contradictory information and just all around ignoring a topic that should be as simple as asking a question and getting an answer.  So I thought I’d get it all out there in one simple post.

In Christianity, it is understood that anyone who denies the holy spirit goes to outer darkness, but they see it as a synonym for “Hell”.  There was a movement a few years ago to have people deny the holy spirit on Youtube, where many a youtuber claimed they would now go to Outer Darkness.

In the D&C, the definition of those who go to Outer Darkness is stated as:

the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows; Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof;Nevertheless, I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again; Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation (D&C 76:45-48).

Which means that really, no one knows anything about this.  It’s just “Scary bad”.  But as with anything, that doesn’t stop prophets from talking about it like they knew.

vincini2

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The top 10 lies your Mormon friend is telling you

Social media has enabled communication between friends like never before. It’s also enabled lies to be spread (and debunked more quickly) than ever before.  The lies Mormons tell are typically hold-overs from before Snopes was invented, and most Mormons may not realize they are lying, or simply justify the lie because the church is too good and you, their neighbor, would “make such a good member!”  Next time a member sends you one of these lies, feel free to send them a link to this list.

Also, to you members, before your blood begins to boil on my definition of a lie, I’m using the one given in Gosple Principles lesson 31: Honesty

innocent?

Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying…There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.

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“It’s the members, stupid”

Many of you millennial-types are too young to remember the debates when Bill Clinton was running for office.  People as old as I am can skip the next section, but I provide it for context.

It’s the economy, stupid” is a slight variation of the phrase “The economy, stupid” which James Carville had coined as a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against sitting president George H. W. Bush. (See the Wikipedia article on the topic)

It was the phrase leveraged by Bill Clinton’s campaign to unseat George H.W. Bush and it came down to the idea that the slowing economy was all that mattered.  The plan was simple, state that George H.W. Bush would keep things the same, say “it’s the economy, stupid” and point out that no change would keep hurting the economy, then promise health care.  He used it over and over on any number of topics.

With Jeremy Runnell’s excommunication I see a battery of apologists taking to the field arguing a very similar topic.  I’m going to sum it up as”

“It’s the members, stupid”

They blame the members, including Jeremy for not reading their books, or not researching enough, or not having the drive to do independent research.  Always their tone is condescending, not just to Jeremy, but to any of the foolish members not dropping $80 a book on their personal theories.

And yet they all are missing the point entirely, especially from the faithful perspective.  Remember who said you can buy answers (Well, “anything in this world” but that includes answers) with money?

There will be many willing to answer questions with the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture

There will be many willing to answer questions with the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture

Instead, Jeremy Runnells demanded answers from “True messengers”.  He wanted answers from the Church Education system, or from a Stake President, or from some official source.

As he said to the Stake President:

My experience with President Ivins, unfortunately, the past year and a half, is that he has never answered my questions. Not a single question.

I have asked you 3 questions over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. 20 times. And the specific questions that I asked is

“What error or mistakes in the CES Letter, or on the website, is incorrect so I can publicly correct it?”
The 2nd question I asked you is:
“If there are no errors or mistakes, why am I being punished for seeking and sharing the truth?”
And the 3rd question I asked you is:
“What question am I being punished for?”
And you have not answered a single one of them. Can I ask you why you are not answering them?

Of course that question wasn’t answered at all, either.  But the Apologists, historians and self-proclaimed understanders of the gospel ignore that the handbook actually demands that leaders give answers and correction before excommunicating a member to point out how lost and mistaken poor Jeremy’s questions are.

Let me be perfectly clear.  The Stake President violated the handbook in more ways than one, he ignored his duty, refused to answer a person who was seeking council and guidance, and the various “experts” entirely ignore this to focus on how stupid the members are.

If you want to know why membership is falling and missionary success is dwindling, you need look no further than the idea that a church promises it has the answers to life’s questions, refuses to answer questions and then blames the people for asking them.

Shame.  Shame on everyone who says it is Jeremy’s fault, and doesn’t call out leaders for not leading, prophets for not prophesying, revelators for failing to reveal, and seers for being blind.

I propose a very different answer.  The member, they are not stupid.  they are realizing they are getting a bad deal.  I know Jeremy, he’s a bright fellow.  He put some long hours in on that CES letter and printed corrections on what he was wrong about.  Why is the church shrinking?

It’s the members, they’re not stupid

A list of websites blaming the members:

What We Should Learn from Jeremy Runnells: Some Thoughts on His Departure From the Church

http://theboard.byu.edu/questions/86131/

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2014-fairmormon-conference/reflections-letter-ces-director

And again here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2016/04/ces-letter-author-jeremy-runnells-to-face-disciplinary-action-the-non-scandal.html

http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CES-Reply.pdf

http://blog.fairmormon.org/2014/08/04/there-began-to-be-lyings-sent-forth-among-the-people-the-message-of-jeremy-runnells/

http://www.plonialmonimormon.com/2015/06/how-internet-is-double-edged-sword.html

http://www.plonialmonimormon.com/2014_07_01_archive.html

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A timeline of thought control

You might have once had someone give you a backhanded compliment.  A child once told me I looked great for being so old (This is when I was 18, by the way), and although it’s nice for the compliment, the bad part of the compliment sucks the enjoyable nature from the positive expressly stated.

The LDS church encourages learning like a backhanded compliment.  We’ll call it “Backhanded learning”.  For example it encourages study out of the “Best books” but then gives talks that the “best books” are all about the LDS church and should be read with faith.  It has scripture that the “Glory of God is Intelligence” but then redefines “intelligences” to be the particulate matter used to create spirit in other scriptures.  The school has a University of Higher Learning but the motto is “Enter to learn, go forth to serve“, not lead, not because learning is important in its own regard, but to serve.  Now serving one’s fellow man is good and all, but when I attended, there were a few devotionals that made clear that serving the church was the intended idea.

And so it is difficult to point out thought control in the church because so rarely it comes in the form of a figure saying “Don’t think”, but through the “backhanded learning” style of “Learn only what we want you to learn.  As such here is the timeline of Backhanded learning and direct thought control:

1828 – Martin Harris alters Anthon’s words about translating a sealed book are altered to spin the story to match scripture.  The actual words of the professor are not shared with members.

1828, June – Martin Harris borrows the 116 pages.  Lucy Harris hides the manuscript and challenges Joseph to re-translate them as a simple test, as Martin was going to mortgage their house and farm to pay for the publication and had already given Joseph money.  Through revelation, Lucy Harris is called an evil woman and Joseph claims an entirely separate book is included, written ~1200 years earlier simply to avoid this woman’s simple test D&C 10:9-13.  God clearly is against simple academic tests and is willing to expend enormous amounts of effort of his followers (including lugging extra plates across a continent, writing a story twice, extra gold working, etc.) to get around them.

Apr 12, 1838 – Cowdery competed with Smith for leadership of the new church and “disagreed with the Prophet’s economic and political program and sought a personal financial independence [from the] Zion society that Joseph Smith envisioned.”[19] Then too, in March 1838, Smith and Rigdon moved to Far West, which had been under the presidency of W. W. Phelps and Cowdery’s brothers-in-law, David and John Whitmer. There Smith and Rigdon took charge of the Missouri church and initiated policies that Cowdery, Phelps, and the Whitmers believed violated the separation of church and state. Finally, in January 1838, Cowdery wrote his brother Warren that he and Smith “had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that which I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself.” Alger, a teenage maid living with the Smiths, may have been Smith’s first plural wife, a practice that Cowdery opposed.[20] Excommunication of Oliver Cowdery(Bushman, “Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling,” 124; Dan Vogel, Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2004), 548.  Hymns were sung about “Though Cowdery say it was not so” even though Cowdery did not dissuade anyone from the Book of Mormon.  Preparing against such an attack that never happened is an anti-intellectual approach, known as “Poisoning the Well”

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Utah’s Ban on Porn

I am about to do something I never thought I’d do in my life.  I’m about to defend porn.  Well, not really; but it’s going to come across that way.  I’m going to use this guy to help me:

LDS Jesus

Do to others what you would want them to do to you. Luke 6:31

Oh and this guy:

And

US_Navy-031029-CLOSEUP-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams

The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 challenged the Bill of Rights, but ultimately led to a new American definition of freedom of speech and the press.

And even this girl:

Marge Simpson

So I’m in good company.
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