FAIR changes Mormon defenders website name

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  • Matthew75 CULPEPER, VA
    Dec. 1, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    So this happens within weeks of Mormon Expression (one of the most popular podcasts about Mormonism) launching its new podcast called Mormon Expression Voices? Looks like deliberate brand confusion to me. It won't work though.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 23, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    Re: Bill in Nebraska said, all you need to do is read Bushman's Book, "Rough Stone Rolling. OK,

    Partly to maintain secrecy, Joseph could not have spent much time with [Louisa] Beaman or any of the women he married. He never gathered his wives into a household--as his Utah followers later did--or accompanied them to public events. Close relationships were further curtailed by business. Joseph had to look after Emma and the children, manage the Church, govern the city, and evade the extradition officers from Missouri. As the marriages increased, there were fewer and fewer opportunities for seeing each wife. Even so, Nothing indicates that sexual relations were left out of plural marriages". Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 438-39.

    Appoint Elders in every town as I directed you if anyone is above reproach, the husband of ONE wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery) or insubordination. (Titus 1:5,6 NIV).

    @Bill, FYI. Fideism which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths and literally means "faith-ism."

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 23, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    To Brahmabull: First off all you need to do is read Bushman's Book, "Rough Stone Rolling" and you will have proof to Eliza R. Snow as a wife to Joseph, that Emma knew about. She was allowed to live in the home for a while after the marriage. As far as anyone knows she never did bear any children from Joseph or anyone. She did however, marry Brigham Young but if you cared to check you will find that the marriage was one of convienence not a marriage. It also was never sealed in the Temple as Eliza's and Joseph's is.

    Further in a article written by a grand-daughter of Emma and Joseph you will be able to see that not only did she know about it but that she agreed and disagreed with it. It is only purported (rumored) that she denied it later as a member of the Reorganized Church. In a documentary produced by the Church it is quite revealing that she is said to have stated to her eldest daughter that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is true and about polgamy. So there is my references.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 23, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska are you sure you don't work for FAIR? You always seem to be trying to explain away everything and justify everything, just like FAIR does..

    If not, you should look into getting a job with them. You really can explain away anything, even when you know you are wrong you will never admit it. Even when the facts contradict what you say you still can't see them. You rarely cite your sources either.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Nov. 23, 2011 5:41 a.m.

    "I'am surprised so many go all the way back to Joseph Smith in effort to validate or invalidate the LDS Church."

    Did you really just write that?

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 22, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    In my opinion, FAIR (or MormonVoices) doesn't do the LDS Church any good. It was after reading countless articles published by FAIR that I decided to resign. Article after article seemed to be nothing but tortured explanations - trying to explain away everything and justify everything. I kept looking for articles with serious, scientific, analytic positive support of the LDS Church . . . or archeological proof that the Church was wiling to stand by.

    I think FAIR / MormonVoices would be better to stick to the faith argument rather than trying to rationalize the science, archeology, written history, etc.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:54 p.m.

    RE: Mormon defenderes please, 'FactCheck' service for writers and others who want to verify the accuracy of information regarding the Church, its doctrines, teachings or history."

    Mormon Encyclopedia: The word Sacrament never occurs in the Bible.

    The term sacrament is derived from the Latin sacramentum, meaning "a consecrated thing or act," i.e. "something holy"; '"to consecrate", which itself was a Latin vulgate(Bible) translation of the Greek ( N.T. Bible) mysterion 3446, meaning "mystery".

    Mormon Encyclopedia: The word "paradise" is not found in the Old Testament.

    (Genesis 2:8 Septuagint O.T.) a garden(paradeisos,3857)in the east of Eden. It occurs three times in the New Testament: Luke 23:43, where the Savior on the cross says to the thief, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise"; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, where Paul alludes to his vision of the third heaven and also to paradise; and Revelation 2:7, which describes the righteous who partake of the tree of life in the midst of God's paradise.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 22, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    I'd like to make one correction. Emma did know that Joseph was practicing polgamy but may not have known which of the women he had taken as a wife. However, she did know about Eliza R Snow from the beginning and even allowed her to live in her house. Some of the others he kept from Emma so as not to cause undo stress upon her. In her later years she did state what I have said.

  • Summer Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 5:13 p.m.

    "They've got a bit harder row to hoe explaining how a large Iron Age civilization of Middle Eastern culture could've existed for a thousand years in the Americas, and then -- unlike every remotely comparable civilization that flourished there -- vanished without leaving any significant technological, linguistic, historic, cultural, biological, or archaeological trace."

    The Mormon scholars do not claim that the Book of Mormon peoples "vanished without a trace". They claim that given that the BOM is a religious book and was not written for archaeologists, it is difficult to recognize BOM people, places and things from a archaeological site given the religious, but vague explanations of them in the book. Not to mention that 99% of mesoamerica remains undiscovered archaeologically.

  • Jeff S Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    I would sure like to know the "truth" about certain things I hear regarding Mormonism and polygamy in particular. On his 6:55 am post Bill in Nebraska says Emma knew most of the other women Joseph married. I have heard otherwise by writers who claim to be LDS. What is the truth? Who is REALLY going to give me an objective accurate answer to controversal questions?

    A friend of mine likes to say, "no matter what the facts reveal they support my position." I sometimes feel that is an accurate perspective.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    I'am surprised so many go all the way back to Joseph Smith in effort to validate or invalidate the LDS Church. No history of a human being is objective. Objectivity with people is impossible. For instance, if I were to write about President Reagan I would use "facts" to show why I believe he was one of the greatest presidents ever. Many of you if writing about Reagan would use "facts" to show why he was one of the worst. Who would be right? Both or neither, depending upon your point of view. And that with a person of recent history. With Joseph Smith or any person of long ago, even the so called "facts" get cloudy. Look at the LDS Church today. Judge it on what is happening now. Make your opinion about Mormons who live today. Going back in Church history to try to find some obscure anacedote is useless. Judge the fruits of today, thats all that really matters. Especially since you might have the opportunity to vote for or against a Mormon for president.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Nov. 22, 2011 1:30 p.m.

    Mormon apologetists do an outstanding job taking apart the tangled webs Protestant enemies of the Church spin trying to make the Church seem less than Christian.

    They've got a bit harder row to hoe explaining how a large Iron Age civilization of Middle Eastern culture could've existed for a thousand years in the Americas, and then -- unlike every remotely comparable civilization that flourished there -- vanished without leaving any significant technological, linguistic, historic, cultural, biological, or archaeological trace.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    I think there is a time and a place for lawyers, but I would agree with you that in current conditions in the United States it is not such.

    The main place where lawyers are needed are in issues of chapel building with excessive regulations by local communities. The Church itself provides lawyers. I do not see much of a need at this time for protecting the right of Church members to live their religion in an academic setting, and that would be a much different goal and require a different strategy than what is being done here.

    On the issue of LDS chapels it might be good to do a public relations campaign on what the chapel is like. Too many people here the size of the chapel and assume it will be one large room, and thus assume a much larger congregation and much more traffic than will actually be the case.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    Being this politically correct is just plain silly.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    Bushman argues that many of Joseph Smith's marriages were about connecting people together. Bushman I think convincingly argues that there is no evidence that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with any wife who was de facto the wife of someone else. There may have been one case with someone who was de jure the wife of someone else, but seperating and remarrying without divorcing was much more common in the 19th century and we need to not judge them by our standards.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    The people at FAIR provide help and work there almost entirely on a volunteer basis. The claim that they are "self serving" just does not stand up to the fact that they are unpaid volunteers.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    To Brahmabull: Midway is right in his answer and conclusions. The reason is that Joseph Smith has stated all along that the practice of polgamy was revealed to him. The critics blast this as not being true that it had to deal with something else. They alse declare that he was no prophet. All of the publications either refute he had direct communications or not with God.

    If Midway's conclusion is that Joseph Smith is and was a prophet of God as he has noted then the conclusion that Joseph Smith did believe that the practice of polgamy did come from God is a valid conclusion. He doesn't need to know the man himself but one comes to know the Prophet Joseph through his writings, the writings of others and the testimonies of those who knew him best, his people. In the end the conclusion to say what he believed was said to Joseph and his own believes gives one the only conclusion at that point that Joseph believed all that he stated.

    The critics disagree with him and that is fine but in the end for those who revere Joseph Smith will come to that conclusion.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    @One of Vai's Cousins 12:10

    Anyone who would say, "...anything and everything said negative about the church was clearly an anti-Mormon lie," is doing a disservice to themselves and those whom they preside over.

    To some degree I understand the mindset. For example, many LDS Church members look at Ed Decker's book and movie, "The Godmakers," along with the sequel (which has been widely attacked for its vulgar distortions, even by other LDS critics such as Gerald and Sandra Tanner) and assume all videos and literature attacking the LDS Church are equally dishonest.

    But it's been my experience that the most effective criticisms of the LDS Church comes from those who are completely honest in what they have to say. They just often omit a lot of facts and at times present their findings using loaded, sensationalized language.

    Some of those who write for FAIR and FARMS can at times fall under the same trap however, which is why, more than anything else, I rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me in my life.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    @Weber State Grad: Doesn't all religion make use of rhetorical patterns to obscure logic and reasoning?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 22, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    Midway - you really can't claim to know what Joseph Smith believed. That would require you being in operation of his mind. All we know is what Joseph wrote, said, did, etc. We can never say what the true motivations were, we can have our guesses, but when you say "Joseph believed" this, or that you do a disservice to him. He could have said one thing, and believed another. We simply don't know. You said that "Joseph smith believed he was commanded to do it"... All we know is that Joseph Smith said he believed he was commanded to do it. Big difference.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Nov. 22, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    I have read 3 biographies of Joseph - one very anti, one very pro, and one in the middle. I acknowledge Joseph was a very flawed individual. But the work the Lord did through him was tuly miraculous, especially considering his warts. All the more miraculous because of his flaws.

    I encourage all LDS to read from various sources, but do so with prayer and fasting, in the open, consulting with others along the way.

    You will come to a stronger testimony of the divinity of the work done buy the Lord through Joseph and his unworthy peers, and feel more hope in your ability to overcome your own weaknesses and trials, for having seen Joseph overcome his.

  • Midway Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 9:00 a.m.

    I have read both the apologists' and critics' accounts of Joseph Smith and his plural marriages. Critics bring out the worst of it and throw in a lot of speculation and assumptions, making the mistake of assuming things when Joseph is not here to answer these questions. Critics claim that Joseph was only interested in a libertine lifestyle. The truth is that Joseph believed he was commanded to do it, and believed that it would lead to the exaltation of himself and those women who agreed to it. Even if you reject that Joseph was commanded by God to do it, at least that is what one must conclude was Joseph's motivation - yet critics refuse to see it that way - they bring all kinds of accusations that simply are not true. Yet the historical records are overwhelming that this is what Joseph believed and did. My own honest analysis has come to the conclusion that a more correct and honest assessment is done by the Mormon apologists and scholars. Too many assumptions that are not rooted in facts are made by critics.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Nov. 22, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    I have looked at Mormon apologetics over the years. It does look like they are moving in a more positive direction than in times past. Personal attacks are not as prevalent and it does look like they are attempting to come to grips with difficult aspects of Mormon history and doctrine rather than trying to deny factual information. I hope this name change signals a more positive approach at this organization.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 7:59 a.m.

    "I offer this advise to LDS members who are desirous (or told they should be desirous) of learning all the "truth" ..."

    Perpetuating a fear of all truth is an effective and dangerous tool used by the unscrupulous who seek unconditional power and control over others. Only a fool would close their eyes and ears to truth, however unpleasant that truth may be. More importantly, those who declare they have the truth and simultaneously fail to acknowledge untruths cannot presume to claim a monopoly on absolute truth.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    "And they explained or justified them in ways that made them even more strange and difficult to accept."

    Unfortunately, this is all too common among LDS apologists. I believe they do a great disservice to the church as they incessantly make clever use of rhetorical patterns that obscure any kind of logical reasoning.

    Thinking LDS folk deserve better intellectual respect and much of the nonsense written by several LDS apologists is nothing more than rhetorical doublethink. Such activity actually hurts the church and it can be very offensive for rational LDS people with legitimate and reasonable questions.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:56 a.m.

    Besides sounding like a team of superheroes... the Mormon Defense League sounds a bit too much like the Jewish Defense League, which the FBI described as a terrorist organization... it also sounds a bit like the Anti-Defamation League which is a very aggressive politically motivated, lawyer heavy organization that makes it common practice to be offended by anything and everything that even moderately impacts the Jewish people... positively or negatively, and tends to support openly liberal political causes.

    It's a good move to distance oneself from both sorts of organizations, as FAIR (students of the Book of Mormon) in no way would advocate violence, nor the excess uses of lawyers (both of which are frowned upon in the Book of Mormon)... :)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:55 a.m.

    They may have been hard to take but you may find more truth in what the apologists say than in what the anti-mormon propaganda says. You will also see that a lot of Joseph Smith wives were known to Emma Smith, though the critics say otherwise. She knew about them and in the beginning was okay with it. In her older years she would tell her daughter that Joseph Smith did right and she was wrong. She should have followed him.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:39 a.m.

    I should add to my previous comment that we don't always have all information available to us at any particular point. That is why we should speak of 'evidence' and not 'proof'. In my aforementioned comment about DNA testing we may have to revise our beliefs about what went on in Nauvoo if the DNA testing came back as being positive. Apologetics therefore should never take the place of regular scripture study, Christian service and prayer. People tend to make sure to select the facts (and only the facts) that support their world view, and ignore others.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    When I first heard about "Mormon Defense League" what first popped into my mind was a comic book style mental image of Dan Peterson in a lycra superhero costume with the letters "CTR" emblazoned on his chest and carrying his "scripture power" hammer. Therefore, I guess the name change was in order.

    As for Vai's cousin, as with everything, there are good examples of things and bad examples of things. Apparently it is relatively easy to put out a book, and astonishingly easy to create a blog where anyone and everyone can read it. Even well-intentioned members of the church can get their facts or analysis wrong. At the same time, ill-intentioned people can distort and manipulate facts to put them in the worst possible light. For example, I am sure that you understand the distinction between "sealing" and "marriage". Or put in other words, Joseph had nine children with Emma. Subsequent DNA tests of the descendants of "suspected Smith progeny" listed by Fawn Brodie (and others) have come up as negative. For a really good biography of Joseph Smith, read "Rough Stone Rolling" by Richard Bushman, Emeritus Professor of History at Columbia University.

  • Beowulf Portland, OR
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    Instead of saying how apologists only confirm the truth of so-called anti-Mormon lies in regard to events in Church history, go look at the FAIR website and see for yourself how believing apologists handle these issues.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    I offer this advise to LDS members who are desirous (or told they should be desirous) of learning all the "truth" about Joseph Smith or early Church history or any hints, from many sources, that there are things you should "know".

    When you have really got your own act together, and can say honestly that you are doing everything you should, and have the Spirit at all times and all needs,THEN is the time you should consider deciding about acting on that advise that there are "true things" about Joseph Smith you should know.

    Until then, you are only asking to have anything you learn, or think you learn, twisted...

    As in LOTR: "But his wisdom failed...and he looked, and was deceived: far too often, I guess. He was too great to be subdued to the will of the Dark Power; he saw nonetheless only those things which the Power permitted him to see...yet the vision that was shown him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind...He can, by his will choose what things shall be seen by weaker minds, or cause them to mistake the meaning of what they see."

  • Eichendorff Olathe, Kansas
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:06 a.m.

    *like JS's polyandry*

    According to my dictionary, polyandry is the practice of having more than one husband. Somehow I don't think Joseph Smith ever participated in that.

  • Fred T PHOENIX, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2011 2:47 a.m.

    instead self-motivated it should read self-serving
    This seems to better apply to apologists in every form.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:10 a.m.

    I have often wondered what LDS leaders really think of the work of apologists. I had an experience with LDS apologetics that I later learned was far from uncommon.

    Years ago, someone told me Joseph Smith married women who were already legally married and many to men who were strong members of the church. This made me literally laugh. I was in that naive stage as a youth where anything and everything said negative about the church was clearly an anti-Mormon lie. And this one took the cake! I laughingly told my Bishop father what I had heard and he confirmed it was hogwash and just more anti-Mormon garbage.

    Fast forward to law school when I started to exercise my critical thinking skills regarding my shelf of anti-Mormon "lies". This time I turned to the LDS apologist who I thought would prop up my shelf but from an intellectual perspective.

    To my surprise, the apolgists only confirmed the truth of almost everything that I previously thought and was told were anti-Mormon lies - like JS's polyandry. And they explained or justified them in ways that made them even more strange and difficult to accept.