Critics frequently argue that—unlike believing Mormons who supposedly grasp at straws and rely on irrational feelings to support their beliefs—they (the critics) are rational, logical, and rely on the findings of science and empirical evidence for their beliefs. On an on-line discussion board populated by ex-Mormons who gather to vent about their former faith, one poster—using the screen name “Baffeled [sic] and Bewildered”—recently asked, “Why do intelligent people still buy into the [Mormon]…lies?” [Read more…] about Rational belief and rationalization
Over at the blog Dave’s Mormon Inquiry, the eponymous Dave Banack examines the “Stages of Faith” that has become something of a fad among those who reject the literal nature of the Restoration.
According to developmental psychologist James Fowler, individuals develop in their religious faith from a basic understanding centered on safety of one’s environment (Stage 0) to a universal enlightenment (Stage 6). Conformity to an organized religion is rooted in Stages 2 and 3, where myth, cosmic justice, and conformity lay (along with notions of an anthropomorphic god). According to Fowler, those on their way to enlightenment will leave these simplistic beliefs behind on the way to “universalizing” faith.
Recently, much has been made of FAIR taking issue with a DVD and fireside presentation of a theory which claims that the Book of Mormon events were based in the upper Great Lakes region. While that theory may be right, the proponents of the Great Lakes theory bear the burden of showing that it is so.
While I shan’t go deeply into the that theory, let me briefly state why I am unconvinced by the evidence thus far presented, in spite of the fact that an emeritus General Authority is convinced: [Read more…] about Using and misusing scholarship and revelation….
Upon the loss of the 116 pages containing the Book of Lehi, Joseph Smith turned to the small plates of Nephi for this period of history. This translation concludes with the Book of Omni and his brief description of Mosiah’s move to the land of Zarahemla.
This is followed by the Words of Mormon. This section was apparently written in preparation for his transfer of the plates to Moroni.
for PART I
Brigham Young’s Indian Policy
The Massacre at Mountain Meadows very clearly portrays the massacre as a locally planned and executed affair. While Brigham Young was not responsible for providing a proximal cause, I think it is fair to analyze how some of his actions and policies may have had unintended and indirect consequences for setting the stage. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing Brigham did was to threaten to shirk in his role as a peacemaker between obnoxious wagon trains and the Native Americans who suffered from such contact.
[Read more…] about Massacre at Mountain Meadows pt. II
Recently FAIR (via Ask the Apologist feature) was queried about whether the Church’s website was knowingly misusing the popular 6% divorce from temple marriage statistic. Its main promoter has been Daniel K. Judd. He gave a BYU devotional in 2006 and defended the 6% figure. A partial transcript of Judd’s comments about his prior (2000) LA Times newspaper interview can be found here. Judd explains that divorce statistics are very dependent on how one collects and calculates the data. My co-blogger, Steven Danderson, pointed out that the high divorce rates that people are most familiar with are calculated (for example by the government) on a yearly basis by dividing the number of recorded divorces by the number of recorded marriages. As will be shown, the research that Judd refers to uses a different counting scheme, which is nevertheless well within the norms of academic journals. I think Judd and the LDS Church can continue to use the figure in good faith.
[Read more…] about Temple Mariage and Civil Divorce
In another thread, one poster wrote:
If you don’t agree with me on Cumorah being our best strating point, I would be very open to hearing what you consider to be the best piece of evidence or the best witness to call upon as the most solid to date.
To which I responded:
In my opinion, it is a huge problem to start with ANY physical location. You’re already making assumptions, no matter how hard we try. [Read more…] about Book of Mormon geography
Editor’s Note: Michael Keller is the brother of FAIR blog regular David Keller. Michael recently completed a Master’s degree in History at Memphis University. He wrote the following review of an article that helps document some of the tensions that contributed to the atmosphere for the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Thomas G. Alexander. “Carpetbaggers, Reprobates, and Liars: Federal Judges and the Utah War (1857-58).” The Historian 70 (Summer 2008): 209-38.
[Read more…] about Article Review: Alexander on Buchanan’s Blunder
I’ve been a volunteer member of FAIR for years. It has been interesting to watch the reaction of many people—especially the critics—to the work done by apologists in general and FAIR in particular. Some of the reaction is quite comical and, I believe, shows that some people “just don’t have a clue” (as one of my friends used to say).