Why are we even having this conversation?

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Not Buying It
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Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Not Buying It » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:18 pm

The Fanny Alger essay got me thinking - why would I listen to someone trying to defend Joseph Smith’s polygamy? Shouldn’t sexual predation of teenage girls, foster daughters, housemaids, and married women be a deal breaker? Why would I listen to you if you are trying to convince me these kinds of behaviors are somehow OK?

I ask the Church and its merry band of apologists - why are we even having this conversation? This should all be seen as unacceptable - why are you trying to convince me it isn’t? All the “yeah buts” in the world cannot obscure what we know about Joseph Smith and his predation of vulnerable, subordinate women.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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jfro18
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:37 pm

Not Buying It wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:18 pm
I ask the Church and its merry band of apologists - why are we even having this conversation? This should all be seen as unacceptable - why are you trying to convince me it isn’t? All the “yeah buts” in the world cannot obscure what we know about Joseph Smith and his predation of vulnerable, subordinate women.
The apologists don't want this conversation - for a long time they told people that the Fanny Alger thing was a lie from anti-Mormons until you just couldnt ignore it anymore.

So apologists now realize they need to have the conversation, and the only way they can keep Joseph as the perfect, righteous farm boy is to make it all seem normal.

Have a problem that Joseph married a 14 year old? You're suffering from presentism - this was all normal back then (it wasn't, but that doesn't stop them).

Think it's weird that Joseph was sexing up Fanny Alger? It was a marriage that was never recorded due to a revelation that Joseph didn't mention for another decade... but they're going to pretend he was talking about it before he cheated on Emma because they have to.

This just is not a conversation they want to have, but it's a conversation they're being forced to have kicking and screaming.

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alas
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by alas » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:38 am

They want women to stay acceptable victims. It is like with Judge Kavacrap. 99% of Republicans were pretty sure that he tried to rape a girl while they were in high school. But they didn’t care. To them women are acceptable victims. Our unpresidential president. He was on tape saying he make it a habit to sexually assault women. But because republicans think women are acceptable people...well they aren’t really people now are they? But women are acceptable things to mistreat. What they are really saying is that Joseph is so important to them that they just don’t give a crap that he went around manipulating teen aged girls into sex. Their personal moral compass gets stuck on a false north. Like republicans are so fixated on ending abortion, that they WANT a rapist on the SCOTUS because *all* they care about is ending abortion. Well, Mormon apologists only care about defending JS because his reputation is key to the whole truth claims of the church. Their moral compass is stuck on one idea, that is a false north. It is like taking a strong magnet to a compass, and stroking the needle the wrong way. You demagnetized the needle. Without a working moral compass, they just don’t care. Joseph could have ordered the murder of Gov Boggs, and they just wouldn’t ....oh, wait. Joseph could have started a bank and printed worthless cash...oh, wait. They don’t care what crimes or sins he committed because their moral compass broke the first time they overlooked sin as no big deal if the prophet does it.

And because to them, it just doesn’t matter, they expect it to be unimportant to everyone. They probably can’t understand why anyone would make a big deal out of statutory rape, opps, a little sex with his wives. They want to make it unimportant. the Partridge sisters? He was their foster father, that makes it incest. But apologists don’t care and they want you to not care, so they try to minimize it. With each minimization, they reinforce their own stuck moral compass. Why are we even having this conversation? Because some people are so corrupt and misguided by focusing all their energy on one thing they think is true north, but their compass no longer works and they are taking a strong magnet to your compass to see if they can’t break it too.

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Hagoth
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Hagoth » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:29 am

alas wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:38 am
Their moral compass is stuck on one idea, that is a false north.
What an excellent metaphor.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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deacon blues
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by deacon blues » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:40 pm

An excellent metaphor for someone who assumes that the Church is true, just as True North is true- or would it be magnetic North?
God is Love. God is Truth

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JustHangingOn@57
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by JustHangingOn@57 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:51 pm

DW would respond that the "lord works with imperfect people. Like Joseph smith". I've given up trying to rebut that view because it has become the go to answer when there is no answer.

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Not Buying It
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Not Buying It » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:37 pm

alas wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:38 am
They don’t care what crimes or sins he committed because their moral compass broke the first time they overlooked sin as no big deal if the prophet does it...Why are we even having this conversation? Because some people are so corrupt and misguided by focusing all their energy on one thing they think is true north, but their compass no longer works and they are taking a strong magnet to your compass to see if they can’t break it too.
So very well said - an extremely apt description.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

Reuben
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Reuben » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:58 pm

alas wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:38 am
They want women to stay acceptable victims. [...] What they are really saying is that Joseph is so important to them that they just don’t give a crap that he went around manipulating teen aged girls into sex. Their personal moral compass gets stuck on a false north.
I wonder how much of this is due to Joseph Smith being an unacceptable victimizer, too.
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Culper Jr.
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Culper Jr. » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:14 pm

JustHangingOn@57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:51 pm
DW would respond that the "lord works with imperfect people. Like Joseph smith". I've given up trying to rebut that view because it has become the go to answer when there is no answer.
My go to response for this (because it is used so often) is that I don't expect JS to be be perfect, but I do expect him to be good. Is it too much to ask that the prophet of the restoration NOT have sex with teenagers and married women behind his wife's back?

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Not Buying It
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Not Buying It » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:32 pm

Culper Jr. wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:14 pm
JustHangingOn@57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:51 pm
DW would respond that the "lord works with imperfect people. Like Joseph smith". I've given up trying to rebut that view because it has become the go to answer when there is no answer.
My go to response for this (because it is used so often) is that I don't expect JS to be be perfect, but I do expect him to be good. Is it too much to ask that the prophet of the restoration NOT have sex with teenagers and married women behind his wife's back?
That is an excellent response. Apologists try to get you so focused on the trees you’ll miss the forest. “We don’t know that he had sex with Helen Mar Kimball”, “Emma approved of some of these relationships”, “If he was having sex with all of these women, where are the children?”, “Sarah Ann Whitney’s parents knew about and approved of her marriage to him”, “It wasn’t unusual for teenage girls to be married in those days”, etc. and etc. are all completely useless defenses for the question “why the hell was the married founder of a religious organization using his power to form all of these romantic relationships with young girls, orphans, his foster daughters, his housemaids, his friends’ daughters, and married women who were all his followers?” You shouldn’t have to come up with all of these excuses for the guy who started your church, and it should be recognized as a really big red flag when members do, especially since these excuses involve inexcusable sexual predations.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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jfro18
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by jfro18 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:32 pm

Culper Jr. wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:14 pm
JustHangingOn@57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:51 pm
DW would respond that the "lord works with imperfect people. Like Joseph smith". I've given up trying to rebut that view because it has become the go to answer when there is no answer.
My go to response for this (because it is used so often) is that I don't expect JS to be be perfect, but I do expect him to be good. Is it too much to ask that the prophet of the restoration NOT have sex with teenagers and married women behind his wife's back?
When I talked with my wife about this... she is insistent that there is no proof he sexed up the 14 year olds, and even if he did it was because God told him to. So the idea of Joseph Smith being "good" doesn't really register because he was an unwilling participant forced into it from an angel with a sword and of course God.

I mean it's just like talking to a brick wall on it, which is scary when you're on the other side of it.

While I get that we don't have proof that he had sex with the two 14 year olds, we know he had sex with at least a dozen of the wives... so to me the burden is on the church to prove he didn't because they themselves admit he had the right to and clearly was doing so with many of them.

Such a disgusting abuse of power.

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Phil Lurkerman
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Phil Lurkerman » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:40 pm

Not Buying It wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:18 pm

I ask the Church and its merry band of apologists - why are we even having this conversation? This should all be seen as unacceptable - why are you trying to convince me it isn’t? All the “yeah buts” in the world cannot obscure what we know about Joseph Smith and his predation of vulnerable, subordinate women.
On the one hand, I agree. But when you look at all that one must accept to maintain literal belief in nearly any religious tradition, it really isn't all that surprising that many folks are able to rationalize and accept Joseph's behavior.

For example, god apparently commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on an alter - and Abraham went along with the whole thing. This conspiracy to commit murder seems generally acceptable within all the resultant Abrahamic faiths. This same fellow is also reported to have had multiple wives at god's command, or at least with his approval.

For a BoM example, Nephi kills Laban while the poor guy is drunk and defenseless - all good since god commanded it.

David and Solomon seem to have had free reign (mostly) when it came to the subject of wives and concubines. But hey, everything was a bit wacky in Old Testament times.

None of this excuses Joseph's behavior, but it is not at all surprising that he gave in to the temptation to abuse his growing power - and also not at all surprising that true believers are willing accept that behavior as approved or excused by god.

Same as it ever was.
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Hagoth
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Hagoth » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:09 pm

When in doubt, cover all of your bases so you always have an authoritative position to fall back to:
1829: Jacob 2:24 - Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
1843: D&C 132: 38 - David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. 39- David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me…
The interesting thing about these two scriptures is the stuff that went on between them.
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wtfluff
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by wtfluff » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:32 pm

Phil Lurkerman wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:40 pm
Same as it ever was.
Brilliant! Rusty needs to get a revelation to have this added to the hymnal.

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Brilliant.

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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Charlotte » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:36 pm

Not Buying It wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:18 pm
The Fanny Alger essay got me thinking - why would I listen to someone trying to defend Joseph Smith’s polygamy? Shouldn’t sexual predation of teenage girls, foster daughters, housemaids, and married women be a deal breaker? Why would I listen to you if you are trying to convince me these kinds of behaviors are somehow OK?

I ask the Church and its merry band of apologists - why are we even having this conversation? This should all be seen as unacceptable - why are you trying to convince me it isn’t? All the “yeah buts” in the world cannot obscure what we know about Joseph Smith and his predation of vulnerable, subordinate women.
In what scenario does the church disavow polygamy? Am I foolish to hope?

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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Charlotte » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:57 pm

And why don’t they get it? Excusing it then excuses it now. And the take-home for women is unacceptable.

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Palerider
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Palerider » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:40 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:09 pm
1829: Jacob 2:24 - Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
The interesting thing about these two scriptures is the stuff that went on between them.
Yep. I would say that a little bit of power corrupted poor Joseph when he wasn't looking.

The BofM verse above is actually closest to the truth.

Mormon leadership tells the members that numerous O.testament patriarchs were commanded by God to take multiple wives which is an out and out lie.

But none of the members take the time to actually read those scriptures carefully to see what really happened.

In the case of Abraham and Jacob their multiple wives were foisted upon them and the end result was always family turmoil and jealousy. If anything God disapproved of Sarah giving Hagar to Abraham (and only as a concubine, not a wife) because it was a sign of her lack of faith in God's promise. Coincidentally we are still paying the price today of that poor decision.

If read in context, David was being castigated by God for his adultery when God told him he had "given" (should be read more as permitted or allowed) Saul's wives to David. What is not realized is that because David had risen to the throne, he had a moral obligation to care for Saul's wives. It wasn't that God necessarily wanted or ordered David to take them as a part of God's eternal plan....

Mormon leadership are either very stupid (which I doubt) or extremely deceptive on the understanding of O.T. plural marriage.

And there is absolutely zero Biblical support for polyandry. None....zip...

Therefore in the case of Joseph's polyandry the only proper label is "adultery".

Joseph Smith was an adulterer. Period.

But God works with imperfect, nasty, sinful, power-hungry, narcissistic people....right?
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Just This Guy
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:02 am

Palerider wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:40 am
But none of the members take the time to actually read those scriptures carefully to see what really happened. [.....]

Mormon leadership are either very stupid (which I doubt) or extremely deceptive on the understanding of O.T. plural marriage.

I think it is more that Mormons have always been very poor about reading scriptures in context. Mormons read them with blinders on. They will take a scripture and read just that. They do not examine what is before of after it. That takes too much time away from the rest of their study. This also has the effect to help prevent any cognitive dissonance. If they knew the context, they may have to rethink their message.

To be fair, this sort of scriptural tunnel vision is not unique to Mormonism. I see it all the time in other Christian sects.

I would say that it is more likely that they are not stupid and they are not intentionally misrepresenting anything, they are just lazy.
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Mormorrisey
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:06 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:02 am
Palerider wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:40 am
But none of the members take the time to actually read those scriptures carefully to see what really happened. [.....]

Mormon leadership are either very stupid (which I doubt) or extremely deceptive on the understanding of O.T. plural marriage.

I think it is more that Mormons have always been very poor about reading scriptures in context. Mormons read them with blinders on. They will take a scripture and read just that. They do not examine what is before of after it. That takes too much time away from the rest of their study. This also has the effect to help prevent any cognitive dissonance. If they knew the context, they may have to rethink their message.

To be fair, this sort of scriptural tunnel vision is not unique to Mormonism. I see it all the time in other Christian sects.

I would say that it is more likely that they are not stupid and they are not intentionally misrepresenting anything, they are just lazy.
I agree, and I also agree with Gina Colvin that it's also a product of poor theology. Given that the church only has a lay leadership, and that even it's full time clergy had jobs before, none of them ever went to to theological seminary - they have never performed real scriptural exegesis (other than looking for Mormony events in the Bible) or even looked at theology, philosophy or deep doctrinal musings. And it has produced very lazy theology in its members.

As to the original question posed by NBI, I don't think that 99% of the members of this board NEED the conversation at all - the vast majority of us have done the research, looked at the history from all angles, and have come up with our own conclusions that are vastly different for the corporation. No, the essays aren't for us. They are to be used for plausible deniability, inoculation, and for apologetics. And none of us are buying it.

However, I want to look at them from another angle, as one with family on the inside, and as one who still has to play the game. Can I personally use the essays to help my family, help others who have concerns, to critically think of some of the problems? They are church approved, they are on the church website, so why couldn't I bring them up in conversations with TBMs? Or in a church class? Why couldn't I use them as part of my home study? Granted, it will be leadership roulette and Sis. M's patience level as to how far I can do this, but if I'm smart, I can use them wisely to mitigate some of the damage the church can cause in my own circle of people I truly care about. If they can think why Oliver, the primary witness of all things of the early restoration, can leave the church because of Fanny Alger, just maybe, despite the church's attempt to demonize him, I can get people around me thinking that me having problems isn't so bad. IF I USE THE ESSAYS TO MY ADVANTAGE. That's why I like them, even though their content is still rather pathetic, but it does introduce the problems, so that I can say, "See? If Joseph Smith did these questionable things, and prophets are imperfect men, doesn't it give me cause to say that building malls are a problem? Or how the church treats LGBTQ individuals? Or women? Maybe they're also imperfect on these issues?"

Now, I'm not stupid to think that this strategy might actually succeed in the short run, but I can tell you, that my immediate circle knows more of the problems of church history, church culture and the practices of the modern corporate church than they ever had before. And it leads to conversations with my extremely TBM spouse that I thought never would happen, that I will report on in the relationship section. So while I get the angst of the essays, they have been a godsend to me. Truly.
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Just This Guy
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Re: Why are we even having this conversation?

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:33 am

Mormorrisey wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:06 am
I agree, and I also agree with Gina Colvin that it's also a product of poor theology. Given that the church only has a lay leadership, and that even it's full time clergy had jobs before, none of them ever went to to theological seminary - they have never performed real scriptural exegesis (other than looking for Mormony events in the Bible) or even looked at theology, philosophy or deep doctrinal musings. And it has produced very lazy theology in its members.
I made a new thread to keep from derailing this topic too much.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3947
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