Three Brief Allusions to BYU’s Past, Followed by a Very Concise Implicit Admonition

 

 

President Joseph F. Smith at the laying of the cornerstone for the Karl G. Maeser Memorial Building at BYU (16 October 1909)

 

 

(1) 

 

My mission president’s wife was raised in the family of a professor at Ohio State University.  When the time came for her to attend college, her father traveled westward to check the Utah schools out.  After speaking with some of the professors at Brigham Young University, he decided that he couldn’t possibly send her to Provo lest she lose her testimony.  Instead, she went to Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, where she graduated with honors in 1939.

 

(She went on, among other things, to serve a mission in France and Canada; to assist her husband as he presided over the Switzerland Zürich Mission and what would later be known for a time as the International Mission; to stand by him, later, as he presided for an interim year or so over the Germany Hamburg Mission; to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; to help her husband open missionary work in West Africa; to serve as matron of the Frankfurt Germany Temple; to assist in directing the Nauvoo Visitors Center; and etc.)

 

(2)

 

Back in the early 1980s, while I was still at UCLA, I visited a friend who was studying for a graduate degree at BYU.  He was, it turned out, living in an old Provo home that had once belonged to a rather famous member of the BYU faculty from an earlier generation.  That professor, deceased for several years by the time I visited the home, had been fairly well known as a teacher and writer, but there was very little if anything in his writing (and perhaps in his thought) to suggest that he was a believing Latter-day Saint.  I recall saying to my friend that it was fascinating that he was living in So-and-So’s former home, and he replied “Yes it is.  And at night, when everything is very quiet, you can hear his voice whispering ‘There is no God!’”

 

(3)

 

When I arrived at Brigham Young University as a seventeen-year-old freshman, one of the requirements was to sign up for the required two-semester religion course on the Book of Mormon.  I had a very stimulating experience; my honors Book of Mormon class was taught by Professor Noel B. Reynolds, newly arrived from Harvard.

 

I assumed that this year-long Book of Mormon requirement had been in place forever.  But, in fact, that wasn’t true.  As recent research (notably by Professor Reynolds) has shown, the Book of Mormon was long neglected in the Church and at BYU, and it hadn’t been all that long before my arrival in Provo that teachers at BYU were arguing that there simply wasn’t enough content in the Book of Mormon to keep a class going for even a semester, let alone a year.

 

Implicit Admonition

 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has famously observed that “this Church is always only one generation away from extinction,”  and Brigham Young University is, or should be, an important bulwark against that horrifying, if for the Church as a whole (though, sadly, not for individuals and specific families) perhaps only theoretical, possibility.

 

 

 

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  • http://plainandpreciousthing.blogspot.com/ Rozann

    We have heard from friends in Provo (the ward and stake we lived in while hubby was going to BYU) that we wouldn’t recognize the place now, that too many of the professors are liberal leftists just like any other college or university. Perhaps it’s just a perception problem, perhaps it looks that way relative to what “used to be.” I don’t know, but from blogs I read there are many, too many, members who are the same, always questioning when this or that favorite sin is going to changed to a virtue so that the church is more modern and with-it and up to date on social issues. Makes my head spin–especially as I read the Book of Mormon, which I call the handbook for our times. I don’t believe the church will ever go extinct, but plenty of the members will.

  • http://bethandherspinrad.blogspot.com Beth

    Hmm. “Liberal Leftist professors?” That wasn’t really my experience at all, but then, 75% of my classes were given by the same 6 or 7 professors. I’m trying to imagine James Toronto and Chad Emmett as Liberal Leftists.

    • danpeterson

      Jim Toronto and Chad Emmett. Two of the most devious conspirators I’ve ever met.

      • Bob Folkman

        Having made that quizzical statement about Toronto and Emmett, perhaps you should enlighten us a little further. I don’t know of them, and I’ve only recently begun reading your blog, so I’m not an insider on these things.

        • danpeterson

          They’re a couple of friends and colleagues of mine. I like them both.

          Sorry. I should have made that clear.

  • JL

    Re: “teachers at BYU were arguing that there simply wasn’t enough content in the Book of Mormon to keep a class going for even a semester, let alone a year.” I had heard this but didn’t have any corroborating evidence. All I can say is “really?”

    My feeling is too many members read the same stories over and over and never go any further in the scriptures. As some of us have discovered (as for me, with the help of a number of master teachers), the scriptures are packed with layers of messaging. The question is “how much are we willing to search, ponder, and pray?” Most recently, I’ve been attending an Adult Institute class for two years that began with Genesis and last week we made it to Chapter 20. What a feast it has been!

    Once we have the story line down, we need to move on to deeper learning.

    • danpeterson

      Absolutely. I’ve only taught Book of Mormon at BYU a couple of times, one semester each, but I found — not to my surprise — that there was far, far more in the chapters than I could begin to cover in the class.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    My son attended BYU for a couple of semesters, and had a T-shirt that quoted Brigham Young’s words to a brother who was reluctant to participate in in the Brigham Young Academy: “Go to Provo or go to hell!” It sounds like it has always been possible to do both at once.

    The emphasis on the Book of Mormon as a real object of study for all Latter-day Saints is very much a phenomenon of the modern Church, something that happened largely in the 1980s under the leadership of Ezra Taft Benson. I remember there were individual Church members who were acting under the same spiritual promptings. Around 1982 in Japan, a member of our district council initiated a program to encourage us to read the Book of Mormon with our families, and it led to many experiences of deep spiritual significance. And the greater familiarity with the Book of Mormon and its teachings led us to a greater devotion to the Savior and a stronger focus on the Atonement and the gift of Grace.

    Occasionally you can find old LDS-oriented books published before that time, down in the dusty stacks at your local Deseret Industries store, that really seem to assume that we earn our way into the Celestial Kingdom, and that we can perfect ourselves through sheer will, and that adopt the poem Invictus as scripture. A greater understanding of God’s word through the Book of Mormon, combined with the desire to explain our beliefs more coherently to our Christian neighbors, has helped us to improve our understanding of the Gospel. And I think a third element has been the integration of the LDS scriptures through the unified cross referencing system in the LDS edition of the KJV and then the rest of the scriptures. Rather than simply rely on a set of a few dozen proof texts, we were freed to chase down the meaning of passages through all of the Standard Works.

    Not all of the Saints are quite taking advantage of the feast that is available to us. I am still frustrated by the lack of awareness of most of my fellow ward members of the work of FARMS and the extensive library that is now available online of scholarship about the LDS scriptures. My LDS neighbors here in Washington include attorneys and doctors and dentists and opticians, engineers and scientists. Even a few college professors. One would think they would have the habit of studying, but when I mention FAIRLDS.org, and FARMS, etc., most of them show no awareness of the extensive literature out there. Only one of my three adult children seems to be interested.

    I wonder if the Church or BYU has ever done a survey to measure the degree of awareness of these resources by Church members, at least in the English speaking part of the world?

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    The thought crosses my mind that perhaps the requirement that Book of Mormon classes be taught by faculty outside the religious studies department was directed at converting the faculty as much as the students.

  • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=inflated+ego Bob Jones

    Watch your back steadying the Ark, Dan. It’s heavy.

    • danpeterson

      Don’t strain yourself too much feigning sincere concern for me, Bob.

  • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=inflated+ego Bob Jones

    I simply find it sad that you have taken it upon yourself to counsel BYU leadership on how they choose to run the University. You are disrespecting the BoT — which includes the Q12 and the FP. And you say John Dehlin is the apostate.

    • danpeterson

      Where, exactly, have I done this?

  • http://www.bycommonconsent.com John C.

    Dan,
    I don’t really know you at all and I certainly can’t read your thoughts. Based on what you’ve written here, my guess is that you are about as implicit in your meaning as Daymon Smith or Jon McNaughton are in their works, but perhaps I’m being uncharitable. Would you mind being explicit for those of us without ears to hear (or who wonder if our ears are a bit tin)?

    • danpeterson

      I should think that my basic intent is absolutely obvious: Human institutions can go off the rails if those responsible for them aren’t careful.

      Is that controversial? Do you seriously imagine that BYU or any other human organization is immune to this?

      • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=inflated+ego Bob Jones

        I believe BYU is led by men called of God. These men run the University with the Priesthood and keys bestowed upon them. I God wanted your advice, he would have called you to a position of authority.

        I choose to follow the Q12 and FP — right or wrong. I will be blessed even if they take BYU “off the rails” as you imply they are doing in your post.

        • danpeterson

          First of all, Bob, I suspect, though I can’t (of course) be absolutely sure of it, that you’re a fake, a poseur.

          Second, administrative positions at BYU aren’t priesthood callings, they don’t involve priesthood keys, and people holding them aren’t set apart or ordained to them. (For that matter, some of them are held by women; some of them are held by non-members of the Church.) Nobody at BYU is told simply to “obey” section heads, department chairs, deans, associate vice presidents, or any other administrators at BYU without question. My dean and department chair would laugh at the suggestion, to say nothing of the head of my department’s Arabic section, who’s been one of my closest friends for well over half of my life.

          Third, I’ve not suggested, anywhere, that the leadership of the University are taking it “off the rails,” let alone that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are doing so.

          I believe, Bob, that you’re playing games. But you’re not fooling me.

          • John

            Add “University” to the given name & I think we get some insight as to the role he’s trying to play (or impute). Too bad he has no understanding of LDS doctrine on priesthood line authority and how it works. But I suppose that’s precisely the ploy.

          • danpeterson

            I agree.

            And, a while ago, he was commenting here as “BYU Alum,” making similar allegations and using identical idiosyncratic acronyms (e.g., “BoT” for “Board of Trustees”).

  • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=inflated+ego Bob Jones

    Whatever you say, Dan. The fact is you are undermining the BoT — the Q12 and FP. You can’t get around that. They hold the keys for everything in the Church — including BYU.

    Don’t play dumb, either. Te subtext of your post couldn’t be more obvious. You make accusations but give yourself enough room for plausible deniability. Shameful.

    • danpeterson

      I’ve said not a single word in criticism of the First Presidency and the Twelve, Bob. Not a single word. You know that, and so do the other readers here.

      And nobody can sincerely maintain — your solicitude for the leaders of the Church and the University in the face of my mythical “attacks” is, of course, mere transparent pretense — that the Brethren would object to any suggestion that BYU faculty and administrators need to take their stewardship at the University with the utmost seriousness.

      Your game was an obvious sham from the first, Bob.

      You need to get back to posting crank letters to your local paper.

      • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=inflated+ego Bob Jones

        You can try and minimize the truth of what I’m saying by dismissing me as a “sham.” That is how the old MI used to deal with critics so I shouldn’t be surprised. But, it does show why BYU chose to distance themselves from your work. When you criticize BYU, you criticize the Bretheren. Why? Because they called — by revelation — BYU’s president and leadership. For you to suggest that they are allowing BYU to regress into an unsafe zone for LDS students is appalling.

        I am Bob Jones. I am a BYU Alum. We are legion.

        • danpeterson

          Bobby, don’t try to blame the minimal truth content of your poseur posts on me.

          Nobody’s buying your silly, over-the-top suggestion that, having been called by inspiration, BYU administrators are inerrant. They don’t claim it, and nobody at the University believes any such thing.

          Your pretense of hyper-Mormonism — plainly intended to criticize me and, simultaneously, to satirize believers — was a failure from the start. It only serves to broadcast your disingenuousness.

          This dog don’t hunt, Bobby.

          But what a revealingly appropriate closing line you wrote: “We are legion.”

          Yes indeed.

  • http://bit.ly/sDh4Qj BYU Alum

    Danny Boy,

    Who said anything about inerrant BYU leaders? Of course they are imperfect and make mistakes. One of which was hiring you.

    Yet, you made covenants in the most holy of places to never speak evil of the Lord’s anointed and yet, for the past several months that is all you have done. You speak evil of Gerald Bradford and those who have appointed him to his position: The BoT.

    You can believe what you wish about my personal beliefs or “hyper-Mormonism” as you call it. Nothing changes the fact that your apostasy is on full display.

    Perhaps you should follow Eugene England’s lead and go to UVU.

    Sincerely,

    Bobby/BYU Alum/Legion/Malevolent Stalker

    • danpeterson

      No comment from me is required for this one, I think.

  • http://bit.ly/sDh4Qj BYU Alum

    You are a coward for moderating my comments. You don’t like criticism, do you? I suppose not. Especially when your hypocrisy is on full display.

    I have instructed my children to avoid taking classes from you at BYU at all costs. I worry for their testimonies.

    Legion

    • danpeterson

      LOL. I haven’t moderated your comments. And, plainly, neither have you.

      I’m quite comfortable posting such outbursts as this. They don’t make me look bad.

  • Erich Zann

    Dear Mr. Jones/BYU Alum/Legion/whoever you are,
    Given the way you talk, I worry about your children’s testimonies too. Whether or not they attend one of Dr. Peterson’s classes has nothing to do with it.

    • clau

      Well said, thats the core of the question: christianlike behavior in words and works will determine discipleship, not only to be a “policy follower”

    • http://bit.ly/sDh4Qj BYU Alum

      Thank you for your concern. My children are doing just fine, thank you. One is in a Bishopric precisely because he knows how to obey and honor his priesthood leaders. My younger son and daughter? Doing great too. However, I am appalled that a BYU professor is speaking ill of the Lord’s anointed and has done so for months on end and would not want them exposed to this type of apostasy.

      Legion

      • danpeterson

        You seem slightly obsessed with me, Bob Jones BYU Alum Legion. You’ve made your point — that even a whiff of potential disagreement with any BYU administrator constitutes apostasy and an assault on the First Presidency — about a dozen times now.

        It seems both silly and insincere to me, and evidently not only to me. But you’ve made it. We understand.

  • http://nathanrichardson.com Nathan

    I had a mix of both experiences with my BYU professors. Thrilling class sessions where the gospel was applied in unique, fascinating, eye- and heart-opening ways to such disparate fields as acoustics, linguistics, and geology. Then a few experiences that left me disturbed at how the gospel view was not only absent where it should be present, but contra-gospel views were implied. For example, in a semester class where the Church’s teachings on homosexuality should have been preeminent, the Brethren’s counsel was never invoked, and several philosophical assumptions that ran directly counter to that counsel were taught several times.

    After reading Noah Reynold’s fantastic article, I would guess that BYU is doing better than before in many areas, but I think the battle is never over (as your Elder Holland quote explains). I can’t help but think that the Brethren must sometimes weary from fighting the inertia inherent in any large institution. It’s got to be like turning around a cruise ship, trying to get standards and expectations to filter down through layers and layers until they actually take effect in an everyday lecture. I think there’s a constant need for these kinds of warnings. Thanks for posting them.

  • Malevolent Stalker

    Danny Boy,

    You have made your point over and over about Bradford and BYU. See how it gets old listening to the same complaint over and over again?

    And I am obsessed with you. You are just adorable when you are whining.

    Stalker

  • http://byu.edu Bob Jones

    Danny,

    You have made your point over and over about Bradford and BYU. See how it gets old listening to the same complaint over and over again?

    And I am obsessed with you. You are just adorable when you are whining.

    Stalker

  • Markk

    Hey Daniel,
    The word “implode” comes to mind. This is bitter sweet in that it is a good thing for me as critic of the Church to watch you self destruct, but a sad thing personally because…well, it is sad. I have several persons at anytime working under me, and it is always a tough thing to let someone go, especially if they have worked with you for years, but the one thing that makes it easier, and relieves the guilt of having to let someone gos is when the person acts like a ass after the fact…your unprofessional behavior has supported and confirmed every decision that those that let go must have struggled with, and more importantly the same for those that chose not to save your position…the GA.

    Take care
    Mark

    • danpeterson

      Markk, meet Bob Jones BYU Alum Legion.

      Bob Jones BYU Alum Legion, meet Markk.

      Kindred spirits.

  • Markk

    Hi Dan,

    You know Dan, pride and bitterness has brought down more brilliant, industrious, or powerful men than anything else I can think of. “Pride before the fall” seems to be the best description of your current situation, even as little of it I know. I would suggest a healthy dose of Philippines 2:5-9.

    Mark

    • danpeterson

      Markk:

      You might want to consider the beam in your own eye (that’s biblical, by the way) before setting yourself up as the judge of the moral/spiritual state of someone you’ve never met, with regard to a situation of which you know essentially nothing, on the basis of a blog post that you’ve spectacularly misunderstood and misapplied.

      From now on, feel free to address your posts on this thread to Bob Jones BYU Alum Legion. I won’t be responding to you any more here.

  • AJaime

    Dr. Peterson,
    I have read your blog since almost the beginning even before you were part of Patheos. I rarely comment on any internet site but I have to say I have no idea where these comments accusing you of being bitter and blasphemous are coming from. I don’t see it. I’m not an academic nor am I lifelong member of the Church but nothing you have written on this blog has ever lead me to believe that your loyalty to the Brethren was ever in question. All I know is that more than anyone I’ve come across on the internet you have been able to suffer fools so well. Mind you you are not perfect but I like that at times you lose your patience. You don’t allow these people to run all over you. I hope the opposition you feel only serves to fuel the fire to continue your work in defending the Church. You inspire me to do so.

    • danpeterson

      Thanks.

      I have — so far as I’m aware — an excellent relationship with the Brethren. We’re not intimate pals in most cases, but they know me, and I’ve heard from and/or spoken with several of them over the past few months. They know that I fully sustain them. To have the likes of Markk and Legion Bob Jones BYU Alum declaring me bitter and disloyal is, in its bizarre way, a bit amusing.

    • Markk

      LOL… are you kidding me!.. did Daniel write that post for you or are you Daniel writing it for yourself. A little hint, the next time you do this, do not start your post out with a defense of why you are posting, it is the classic signature of a troll.

      Bob Jones…the reason you may have been fired is because of your lack of humility and pride, and with folks like ajamie stroking your id, I suppose it is understandable that one’s head can get rather inflated. Bob, I will use a sports example of the way I see it…you, a big time aging star of a team you help build, and were let go because the team for whatever reasons chose to go in another direction, so the coach let you go, however instead of being a professional and moving forward and going elsewhere with your talents, you have chosen to whine, play the victim, and bloody the nose of the team you were once faithful to. Anyways Bob, that is the way I see it.

      Thanks
      Mark

  • Bob Jones

    Dan,

    Thank you for the introduction. I agree that your actions are nothing but a confirmation of the wisdom of the Brethren in letting you go.

    Legion

    • danpeterson

      As you (the very model of a disingenuous anonymous internet poseur) know full well, the Brethren had absolutely nothing to do with the Maxwell Institute purge.

      I repeat that just for the sake of the record, in case anybody stumbling in on this thread isn’t aware of the reality of the situation that you’re attempting to obfuscate.

      Your false accusation above notwithstanding, I’ve never “moderated” you. But I think, at this point, that I will. You’ve repeated your false accusations and insults for quite a while now, and I’ve been extremely indulgent with you. From now on, though, as soon as I see them I’ll delete them.

  • David Kent

    Dan, thanks for deleting any further postings from Bob Jones BYU Alum Stalker Markk and so on and so forth. I was amused with their remarks. But, I loved your patient retorts. But even their insipid blatherings grew old. I can only take so much of whining. Thanks for brightening my day.

  • http://bit.ly/sDh4Qj BYU Alum

    “Malevolent Bob Jones BYU Alum Stalker Legion” is finding a new hobby, or (more likely) coming up with a new pseudonym.

  • http://bit.ly/sDh4Qj BYU Alum

    An insulting and redundant post from “Malevolent Bob Jones Stalker Legion BYU Alum” once appeared here. It’s been deleted.

  • David Kent

    Oh, thank you soooooo much Bob for your applause to BYU for eliminating Mormon apologetics. You’re so bright and insightful in your observations. I’m sure the brethren were appalled at Dr. Peterson’s work. That must’ve been one of the reasons why Pres. Hinckley invited them to be part of BYU. You’re so brave. I just can’t wait for the time when everyone espouses your (and the Brethren’s) view. They’re a monolithic bunch and shutting Dr. Evil, aka Dr. Peterson, down will certainly lift LDS scholarship to a celestial plane.

    • Markk

      Hi David,

      I think there is a sublime truth in your post…Hinckley did indeed invite “them” to BYU, and now they, the current GA, are cleaning up GBH’s “I don’t know if we teach that God was once a man” “teaching”, (current GP 47) and then cleaning house for him appointing “honorary GA’s” at the NMI who, in turn, defined and expounded on more doctrine than all the GA’s combined since BRM passed away. The out croping of all this…silence will again be the answer to critics, in that the internet Mormons have leaked the teachings of the “honorary GA’s” to the chapel folks, and the fruits of this have been a silent and steady fracture of the collective testimony of the saints.

      Thanks
      Mark

      • danpeterson

        Has it ever occurred to you, Markk, that your posts ought to make sense?

        Who in the world do you imagine you’re addressing?

      • danpeterson

        Markk, please don’t post when you’re high.

  • Markk

    Not posting to me on this thread did not last very long?

    • danpeterson

      That was a response to your friend Malevolent Bob Jones BYU Alum Legion Stalker, not to you. Your clock began running after his did, so you still have a bit more time to stop posting insulting, false, and idiotic comments. Then the bell will toll for you, too.

  • Markk

    Okay…fair enough.

    Do you think that it is a possibility that your behavior, and maybe even your caviler style of wit, on the http://WWW…played a roll in your dismissal? As a leader and a representative of the conservitive “think tank,” do you think there may have been even the slightest of possibilities that you were thought to be lowering yourself, and therefore the standard of the NMI and in line your peers, and quite frankly embarrassing yourself?
    Personally I believe it is more or less because LDS scholarship on the WWW ran amuk…see my post to david below…

    Hi David,

    I think there is a sublime truth in your post…Hinckley did indeed invite “them” to BYU, and now they, the current GA, are cleaning up GBH’s “I don’t know if we teach that God was once a man” “teaching”, (current GP 47) and then cleaning house for him appointing “honorary GA’s” at the NMI who, in turn, defined and expounded on more doctrine than all the GA’s combined since BRM passed away. The out croping of all this…silence will again be the answer to critics, in that the internet Mormons have leaked the teachings of the “honorary GA’s” to the chapel folks, and the fruits of this have been a silent and steady fracture of the collective testimony of the saints.

    Thanks
    Mark

    • danpeterson

      I think it absolutely clear that the director of the Maxwell Institute, and two or three others now involved in the Maxwell Institute, engineered a coup because they didn’t like my approach. (I was, essentially, the last of the early leaders of FARMS, the forerunner of the Maxwell Institute, to be purged. The plan was deftly executed over a lengthy period of time.)

      The General Authorities had nothing to do with it. Nor, so far as I can tell, did the Internet or message boards.

      I think that the plotters didn’t expect me to resign as director of advancement (fundraising). They simply wanted me out as editor of the Review. I concluded, however, that I could not — as either a practical or an ethical matter — raise money for a redefined Maxwell Institute.

      Treat me civilly, Markk, and you get a civil answer (and don’t get the boot from my blog). I know, however, that you’ve been scurrying over to MDB and calling me a liar, etc., etc. So I don’t expect you to be able to maintain this re-found civility for very long. And, to be honest, I don’t know why, since you consider me a liar, you bother to ask me questions.

  • Markk

    Hi Dan,

    I ask you these questions Dan because my underlying theory, right or wrong, is that you were let go out necessity because that under the GBH presidency, and more importantly because the explosion of the WWW, negative information of the Church, both from theological and and historical view points, was abundant. Then the FARMS and FAIRS emerged to defend against the scores of critics appearing on the net. Under GBH’s watch, the GA were for what ever reasons silent on expounding a defense of these critics…so after years of LDS scholarship defining the teachings of the likes of JFS, BRM, or tackling Adam God or MMM, and then theories like LGT and the DNA thing …”the church” lost control of who was actually defining LDS thought.

    After GBH passed away…Monson had to get out the dust pan and clean up the mess…no more LDS scholarship speaking and defining LDS thought, at least by those they can control. And they went back with the basics and brought back the Gospel Principles series.

    From what I have read you were a proponent to ‘educate’ the folks, and Bradford wants to keep it at the postgraduate level…? You by necessity would have to go according to this scenario, your a loose cannon Dan and whether the GA like you, respect you, or personally value you, the big picture to them is they had to re-gain control of what the folks are ‘thinking’ in regards to LDS historical and theological thought.

    Why are more testimonies bending and breaking than ever before, at least in my life time? Why did the GA bring back the GP series? Why was FAIR reeled in? Why were you canned? All questions that support my theory.

    • danpeterson

      I don’t think that there’s a single point of contact between your theory and reality. But I’ve told you that before.

      And, incidentally, how was FAIR “reeled in”? I’m on their board, and that’s news to me.

      • Markk

        When I say FAIR, I mean FAIR boards before it was changed ( the beginning of being reeled in)to MADB, but I have told you that before.

        Why do you believe the Monson presidency chose to return to the basics with bringing back the GP series, or was it someone else’s call? Do you believe that chapter 47 (quote below) of the GP settled the GBH statement that he was not sure the church teaches that god was once a man.

        Joseph Smith taught: “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God. … He was once a man like us; … God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 345–46).

        You do not believe that LDS scholarship (NMI, FARMS,), and so called scholarship (the skirts and fields) have helped shape current LDS thought, in which some of is counter to official thought? LGT is a prime example.
        Has the church, officially or unofficially, ever given advice, suggestions, or recommendations of any kind to FAIR over the years? Including the FAIR boards before they became MADB.
        Years ago we had a discussion on whether the GA monitor, or are updated on the whole LDS apologetic movement on the web, and the arguments and “theories” of the critics…i.e. Tanners? You believed it was a big “no”. Has this changed over the years, or are the GA ignorant of what their members are discussing, debating, teaching, and most importantly, at least it would seem to me, how they are feeling about their church and faith. Do they know of sites like NoM, or Ex Mor.org? Or is this just handled on the stake or ward levels, or is this just not on anyones radar?

        Thanks Daniel

        Mark

        • danpeterson

          “When I say FAIR, I mean FAIR boards before it was changed ( the beginning of being reeled in)to MADB, but I have told you that before.”

          And I’ve told you that it’s nonsense. FAIR divested itself of that message board years ago. FAIR never had much to do with it in the first place, and has nothing whatsoever to do with it now. Are you aware that FAIR is an actual organization that runs an extensive website, puts on conferences, etc.? It makes no sense to call that message board “FAIR.” It isn’t FAIR.

          “Why do you believe the Monson presidency chose to return to the basics with bringing back the GP series, or was it someone else’s call? Do you believe that chapter 47 (quote below) of the GP settled the GBH statement that he was not sure the church teaches that god was once a man.”

          None of this has the slightest connection with me or the Maxwell Institute.

          “You do not believe that LDS scholarship (NMI, FARMS,), and so called scholarship (the skirts and fields)”

          What does any of that mean?

          “have helped shape current LDS thought, in which some of is counter to official thought?”

          I deny this.

          “LGT is a prime example.”

          Of what?

          “Has the church, officially or unofficially, ever given advice, suggestions, or recommendations of any kind to FAIR over the years?”

          No.

          “Including the FAIR boards before they became MADB.”

          FAIR never ran the FAIR board. How often do I have to tell you this? Why do you keep asking me questions if you intend to ignore my answers?

          “Years ago we had a discussion on whether the GA monitor, or are updated on the whole LDS apologetic movement on the web, and the arguments and ‘theories’ of the critics…i.e. Tanners? You believed it was a big ‘no’. Has this changed over the years,”

          No. It hasn’t.

          “or are the GA ignorant of what their members are discussing, debating, teaching, and most importantly, at least it would seem to me, how they are feeling about their church and faith.”

          False dilemma. As if the choice is either that the General Authorities spend their lives surfing the web or they’re completely unaware of what’s going on in the Church. There is, Markk, life beyond the internet.

          “Do they know of sites like NoM, or Ex Mor.org?”

          I have no reason to believe that they pay the slightest attention to such places.

          “Or is this just handled on the stake or ward levels, or is this just not on anyones radar?”

          It’s on virtually nobody’s radar. It certainly isn’t a stake or ward matter.

          You know, Markk? I’ve read some of the nasty and unjust things you’ve written about me recently on the Shades board. There’s no real reason why I should waste any more time on you at all.

          • Markk

            What did I write that was mean and nasty?

            From reading the above if what you say is true then the LDS church should look at the different websites, they can then see how those born and raised in the church are hurting and what their folks are up to? Many are high office holders, and simply post their disbelief and vent under internet names that can not be traced. So if they don’t know they certainly should know. I personal do not believe for one minute that the leadership are that ignorant of how many ‘TBM’s” are just going though the motions, I know they know that internet pron is a issue with the men folks, my brother who is a bishop tells me this all the time, I just can’t see them stopping there.

            If FAIR had nothing to do with the FAIR boards, why was it called FAIR boards?

          • danpeterson

            “What did I write that was mean and nasty?”

            Oh, come on, Markk. You called me a liar and a number of other unflattering things. I don’t care enough about what you say about me to bother to go back and compile a list.

            “From reading the above if what you say is true then the LDS church should look at the different websites, they can then see how those born and raised in the church are hurting and what their folks are up to? Many are high office holders, and simply post their disbelief and vent under internet names that can not be traced. So if they don’t know they certainly should know. I personal do not believe for one minute that the leadership are that ignorant of how many ‘TBM’s” are just going though the motions, I know they know that internet pron is a issue with the men folks, my brother who is a bishop tells me this all the time, I just can’t see them stopping there.”

            I think you exaggerate the problem, which is hardly surprising since you don’t go to church and you do frequent message boards. Thus, you get a skewed sample.

            Anyhow, the Brethren could easily be aware of the general problem of internet anti-Mormonism without knowing the details or monitoring the specific sites, just as — to borrow your analogy — they can be acutely aware of the problem of internet porn without surfing XXX websites.

            “If FAIR had nothing to do with the FAIR boards, why was it called FAIR boards?”

            You’ll have to pose that question to somebody who knows. All I can say is that, by the time I became active on it, only two members of the FAIR board ever paid attention to the place and it was never discussed during FAIR board meetings (except when the decision was made to formally and finally divest FAIR of any connection to it).

          • Markk

            Hi Dan,

            I never said the GA surf the net, now did I Daniel, I said… do they monitor or receive reports from those that do. How many GA’s are there…I would even wager at least one has actually seen what those they are charged to Shepard are up to, at least I would hope so…and it is not the same as looking at porn Daniel, that is a very poor example. Looking at people having sex, compared to seeing how the people you are responsible for spiritually is hardly the same. You wrote knowing and receiving reports of LDS members hurting on the web was not on anyone’s radar, now you change your story when you realize that it is not very responsible for leadership to be ignorant of how certain members of the flock are hurting.

            I think I Really understand why you were canned, in that any leader needs to be above reproach…you are hardly that, you were/are a liability and I would wager they are sorry they didn’t let you go sooner.

            If the church is not having issues and problems with the younger Internet generations falling inactive and stagnant, they how bad is it…do you know the numbers? My Extended LDS family in Utah, mainly in Springville and Orem seem to tell me different, and that is just what I hear through those that talk to me of such things, so if I hear it is bad, it must even be worst. I know your going to play it down, but just the fact that the church had to make the statement to compromise on caffeine is a evidence in it own right, however subtle.

            Mark

          • danpeterson

            Markk, you’ve grown wearisome. You don’t seem to be able to follow an argument. And now you’ve gone back to insults.

            You don’t advance any kind of serious conversation. I think I’ll just delete future posts from you. Fair warning.

  • Erich Zann

    Ahh, the conspiracy theory, the internet’s bread and butter… There’s at least one thing in Markk’s account of things that I find genuinely bizarre: so Dr. Peterson was let go from the Maxwell Institute at the insistence of the General Authorities, who are trying to get the Church back to its core teachings. The stated goal of the new gang at the Maxwell Institute, however, is to be more scholarly, more in line with what is being done in the field of Mormon Studies at other universities and, obviously, by non-Mormons. Is it at all likely that such a direction will yield writings that are actually CLOSER to what is found in official Church publications? I have my doubts.

    • Markk

      Hi Eric,

      You missed my point; because the new direction will focus at a scholarly level..I believe the plan is that it will stay at that level? I don’t know about you but I generally don’t read papers, articles and journals of “scholarly” thought…but I will go to a blog or forum and do what we are doing now. Because of this the average saint will again be left to getting their answers from “the church,” which will most likely be the silence of the brethren on the difficult questions that the WWW has made common knowledge to anyone with a keyboard.

      Is this a “conspiracy” theory…hardly, just “my” theory of what I have seen happen over the 20 plus years I have been discussing LDS/Evangelical thought on the web, and with DCP. And personally, I think if my theory, is true or only partially true, is not only a good move by the church, but a very necessary move for “the survival of the church” (another theory that I would love to expound on someday here).

      And, I really don’t know if DCP was let go by “at the insistence of the General Authorities,” I did not say that, and if I implied that I am sorry, but I do believe a order came from the top to clean things up and stop the “scholarly ” train that was leading the way in current LDS thought to the folks, and DCP being one of the engineers of this train had to go. The one true fact that we can all know for sure is that the GA could of stopped his termination, and for whatever reasons they chose not to, at least for now, and if they did not know it was coming, they certainly know it now? No matter how much I disagree with Daniel, I like him and it was obvious a dirty move by someone, especially the way I have read it happend… while he was out of the country.

  • Markk

    Markk, who apparently can’t tell the difference between comments on a public comment and public judgments about the life and character of someone he doesn’t know and hasn’t met, is enjoying his newfound leisure time.

    • Markk

      Some people really don’t know how to relax. They actually fight the idea of leisure. Markk may be one of those, but Dr. Peterson is here to help.

  • http://bit.ly/sDh4Qj Rodney Meldrum

    How FIRM a foundation!!

    I am so thankful that BYU has purged apostate theories from the MI!

    http://www.firmlds.org/feature.php?id=24

    • danpeterson

      Rodney:

      It’s fascinating to see you forthrightly condemning as apostates active and believing members of the Church for the simple fact that they don’t buy your geographical model. I’ve long suspected that your approach to Book of Mormon geography contains the seeds of schism and that it risks dividing the Church — and all on the basis of your theories rather than prophetic authority.

      But I’ve also tended to think — I’ve hoped, at least — that those schismatic tendencies came from your more intemperate disciples rather than directly from you.

      It seems, though, that the disciples reflect the master in their attitudes, after all.

      And, by the way, you’re wrong. The Maxwell Institute will shortly publish the magnum opus of John Sorenson, far and away the foremost exponent of the limited Mesoamerican geographical model of the Book of Mormon.

      The recent purge at the Maxwell Institute had to do with petty politics and personal issues, and with a disagreement over the nature and/or desirability of apologetics. It had nothing whatever to do with theories of Book of Mormon geography.

      Your desire to transform recent events into a vindication of your theory has no support in the actual facts.

  • Markk

    Markk is having a very difficult time, it seems. Please beam good vibrations his way.

    • Markk

      Poor Markk’s condition seems to be getting rapidly worse. He’s becoming more and more forthrightly insulting and personal. Let’s hope that it’s just the crisis before the fever breaks.

  • http://www.mormoninformation.com Dr. Shades

    Hi Daniel,

    Considering the focus of this blog entry, I’m guessing that you believe your dismissal as editor of the Mormon Interpreter was the brainchild of Gerald Bradford alone, that no General Authorities were behind it, right? (Not that I know enough to dispute your opinion either way, I’m just trying to nail down your opinion of the ultimate “source” of the directive.)

    • danpeterson

      I think it was largely, if not entirely, the brainchild of Gerald Bradford. I know for a fact that it wasn’t done at the behest of the Brethren.

      But I think you’re reading more into the post than is actually there.


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