Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
Post Reply
User avatar
Mormorrisey
Posts: 891
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:54 pm

Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:36 pm

Since the Brian Hauglid RFM interview, I've been reading Dan Peterson's resurrected FARMS journal Intepreter waaaay more that I have ever intended to. Not only did I re-read Gee's hit piece on Hauglid/Jensen volume, but the responses that the editors of the JS papers project made to said hit piece, as well as Jeff Lindsay's contributions and another Gee rebuttal. I particularly enjoyed Dan Vogel's responses in the comments to Lindsay's article, it was clear that Lindsay just didn't want to get what Vogel was saying; it was priceless.

In any event, in the course of my reading, I came across this gem of a review, written by Susan Easton Black just a few days ago about Benjamin Park's new book The Kingdom of Nauvoo:

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.o ... more-35972

Now, to be fair, I haven't read Park's book yet. I'm going to buy it for my birthday, but discretionary spending during a pandemic dictates that I need to wait, or Sis M will retaliatory spend on something I find useless! :lol: So I haven't read it, but I will. But because I still have library privileges when I was teaching a few years ago (and I'll be very sad when they decide to take it away) I have read some of his articles, including his great piece called "Joseph Smith's Kingdom of God" that he wrote for Church History. Which probably was an introduction to the longer book. So I can't wait to buy and read the larger book.

I have worked in academe for nearly two decades, and I have never seen such an unprofessional, more unengaged with the source material review of a very important book than what Black did. It was embarrassing, that a scholar would put into print such a lazy, petty, uninformed review. Even the John Gee piece on the Hauglid book at least engaged with the material, and showed that he actually read the book under review, and so it was better than this drivel. Not much, but a little. Black should be ashamed to have that part of her CV. I'll just give ya'll a taste of what she wrote in her last paragraph. It's ridiculous.

"No matter the talent of the author, historians know their writing is only as good as the facts presented. Like the works of all historians, this author’s work will be surpassed. But in the end will the reader view Benjamin Park as a scholar? Truth edifies the writer and the reader. On which page should I have been edified in Kingdom of Nauvoo? Where is the author’s knowledge that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Lord revealed his words to him? To take out faith, a belief that God speaks to his prophet, and the sacrifice of thousands of early Latter-day Saints to build up Nauvoo (and their reason why) is to miss the mark. May this author present truth in his next work. Anything less will not serve him or his readers well."

Unbelievable. That a "scholar" would write these things about a scholarly book is just crazy - how can you allow Black to review any Mormon book by a non-Mormon author if she feels this way? That anybody writing about frontier America in the 19th century has to believe that Joseph was a prophet before they can write about it? Absolute nonsense. I feel much better about humanity, that apart from Brian Hales, who also slammed Park's book (probably another thing in its favour), about 80% of the comments ripped Black for her review. Maybe the day of the unanswered apologist is over, and we all need to celebrate that fact.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 4570
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by Hagoth » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:12 pm

It's like having your geography book reviewed by a flat-earther.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

Apologeticsislying
Posts: 320
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by Apologeticsislying » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:56 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:12 pm
It's like having your geography book reviewed by a flat-earther.
Oh, Mormon apologists are not that informed..... :lol:
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 3203
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by moksha » Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:58 am

Susan Easton-Black wrote:I was pleased The Interpreter Foundation invited me to review Kingdom of Nauvoo. The promise of writing a short review gave me reason to pause from my life’s ventures to read yet another book on my favorite travel destination.
Hope she still has time to catch a rerun of Anthony Bourdain.

For further analysis on this hit piece article published in the Interpreter:
http://www.mormondiscussions.com/viewto ... =1&t=53639
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
Mormorrisey
Posts: 891
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:54 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by Mormorrisey » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:51 am

moksha wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:58 am
Susan Easton-Black wrote:I was pleased The Interpreter Foundation invited me to review Kingdom of Nauvoo. The promise of writing a short review gave me reason to pause from my life’s ventures to read yet another book on my favorite travel destination.
Hope she still has time to catch a rerun of Anthony Bourdain.

For further analysis on this hit piece article published in the Interpreter:
http://www.mormondiscussions.com/viewto ... =1&t=53639
That's an interesting thread, and one of the more illuminating articles about this review (thanks to this thread) is found here:

http://faithpromotingrumor.com/2020/07/ ... YWobAefbMo

Once you realize that Susan Easton Black doesn't even have a degree in history, and is teaching early church history at BYU, that's when you understand what's going on. It's like asking an expert in Canadian history to review a book on the French Revolution. While that person may have a PhD in the degree of history, they are certainly not an expert in the French Revolution, and will make critical errors about something they know little about.

Or absolutely nothing about, as the case may be.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

User avatar
blazerb
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by blazerb » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:48 am

I cannot imagine higher praise for a book and author than to be dismissed by The Interpreter. I will have to get this book.

When I was young, I attended a youth conference at BYU. We had our choice of breakout sessions for one period. I went to one by Susan Easton Black. On the bus home, one of our leaders asked me which class I went to, when I told her that I was at Black's, she responded, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" Just an ad hominem to pile on, I guess.

Reuben
Posts: 1257
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by Reuben » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:18 am

Mormorrisey wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:36 pm
Where is the author’s knowledge that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Lord revealed his words to him? To take out faith, a belief that God speaks to his prophet, and the sacrifice of thousands of early Latter-day Saints to build up Nauvoo (and their reason why) is to miss the mark. May this author present truth in his next work. Anything less will not serve him or his readers well.
I wonder why she thinks God won't inspire Park's readers anyway, making up for the faithless presentation to lead them to The Truth. Is God not able to do his own work?

I have the same question about reading the CES Letter or listening to heretics or apostates, so I'm probably just expressing my disdain for belief in a god who claims to be omnipotent but is functionally equivalent to a fantasy.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 4570
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by Hagoth » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:12 am

blazerb wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:48 am
I cannot imagine higher praise for a book and author than to be dismissed by The Interpreter.
Please excuse me for stepping over the line into politics, but I think the analogy is appropriate. Church apologetics works kind of like the Trump administration. If you want to know who's telling the truth, and what Trump is really insecure about you just have to look at who he belittles and what he calls lies in the loudest voice possible. If deserves the title of WITCH HUNT you know you're getting hot. The nastier and more slanted the criticism the more you can be certain there's something to it. A witch hunt is only a bad thing when there are no witches.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1506
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by jfro18 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:32 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:12 am
Please excuse me for stepping over the line into politics, but I think the analogy is appropriate. Church apologetics works kind of like the Trump administration. If you want to know who's telling the truth, and what Trump is really insecure about you just have to look at who he belittles and what he calls lies in the loudest voice possible. If deserves the title of WITCH HUNT you know you're getting hot. The nastier and more slanted the criticism the more you can be certain there's something to it. A witch hunt is only a bad thing when there are no witches.
Much like the women who stood up to Joseph Smith's polygamy as he got them branded as whores while denying any such practice was going on...

User avatar
blazerb
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by blazerb » Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:11 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:12 am
Please excuse me for stepping over the line into politics, but I think the analogy is appropriate. Church apologetics works kind of like the Trump administration. If you want to know who's telling the truth, and what Trump is really insecure about you just have to look at who he belittles and what he calls lies in the loudest voice possible. If deserves the title of WITCH HUNT you know you're getting hot. The nastier and more slanted the criticism the more you can be certain there's something to it. A witch hunt is only a bad thing when there are no witches.
I think the analogy is appropriate. Trump has turned things a little backwards. Normally, the president keeps their hands clean by avoiding personal attacks. The VP and other surrogates are more vicious. Clearly, Trump likes being the attacker. Church leaders like to keep to the old model. They won't directly say anything, but they let The Interpreter and FAIR and others be the mean ones. Sometimes they have to rein in their surrogates, much like a politician will, and that helps them maintain the appearance of being above the fray.

User avatar
John Hamer
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:23 pm
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by John Hamer » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:54 pm

Wow. I can confirm that Benjamin Park is a thoughtful scholar, and SEB is neither of those things. Her multi-volume works on early church membership records are widely regarded as an unfortunate, non-scholarly joke.

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 3203
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by moksha » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:25 am

John Hamer wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:54 pm
Her multi-volume works on early church membership records are widely regarded as an unfortunate, non-scholarly joke.
Makes you wonder if Dr. Easton-Black was the Interpreter's first choice to write this hit piece?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
FiveFingerMnemonic
Posts: 1457
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Susan Easton Black Rips Benjamin Park a New One

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:00 pm

moksha wrote:
John Hamer wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:54 pm
Her multi-volume works on early church membership records are widely regarded as an unfortunate, non-scholarly joke.
Makes you wonder if Dr. Easton-Black was the Interpreter's first choice to write this hit piece?
I'm trying to picture Susan dictating a hit piece in that sing songy primary pentameter voice she uses and it just doesn't compute for me.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests