Who are the apologists?

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
blazerb
Posts: 1167
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Who are the apologists?

Post by blazerb » Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:33 am

I watched the last couple of Backyard Professor videos about the history presented by the Joseph Smith Foundation. I know you're around, apologeticsislying, but I thought I'd give some thoughts. I found enough information about the JS Foundation when I went to their website and found an article about how Noah's flood affected carbon dating. This group has some anti-scientific and anti-intellectual foundational beliefs.

That said, I think the role that people like the JS Foundation fill a role in the church. There are plenty of members who believe like them and need someone to create the narrative they need. There are similar persons asserting that JS never had sex with anyone but Emma. I would put the Heartland Theory group in this same category. For those who find out just a little more and realize that this must be false, they can go to FAIR and the Interpreter Foundation. When this fails, members can turn to the Maxwell Institute and those who publish in BYU Studies. When faith is starting to completely collapse, there's always the pastoral apologists like the Givens and Patrick Mason.

I'm trying to decide if this is a brilliant move by the church or is it's a disaster. On the one hand, nearly anyone who wants to stay in the church at any level of belief can find someone who will defend the positions that they need to be true, However, when people think that groups like the JS Foundation are reliably explaining the church's position could be pretty disillusioned when they realize how wrong these positions are. In any case, I'm sure that the church is purposefully letting folks defend whatever position they like as long as they are loyal to the leadership. My question is whether this is wise or foolish.

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by jfro18 » Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:46 am

I think it's smart... once people hit non-church sources that show the church isn't what it claims to be the church has already lost at least some degree of their loyalty.

They can't officially back apologetics because they can't be tied to any of them when they know those apologetics are constantly changing and they need that small degree of separation.

So if you're already at a very high risk that the member is going to ultimately leave once they discover the church isn't what they thought it was, you would much rather have these apologetic outlets to throw at people in the hope that something works... and the apologetics for Mormonism have so many levels of... how do I put this... honesty.

To me it's not so much if it's smart or not, but just that it's the only thing they can do. The only backfire they could encounter from FAIR is that members realize there are so many other problems beyond the one they went to FAIR's site from, which has happened to people as well.

Lumping apologetics together as one unit certainly isn't great because as you said there are so many approaches, but I think the church is more than happy to have them working in the background.

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 4022
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by moksha » Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:54 pm

blazerb wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:33 am
For those who find out just a little more and realize that this must be false, they can go to FAIR and the Interpreter Foundation. When this fails, members can turn to the Maxwell Institute and those who publish in BYU Studies. When faith is starting to completely collapse, there's always the pastoral apologists like the Givens and Patrick Mason.
When all this fails, they can turn to truly uplifting apologetics at the NOM website: Creative Mormon Mythology
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=633
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
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Sep 13, 2021 6:29 am

blazerb wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:33 am
I'm trying to decide if this is a brilliant move by the church or is it's a disaster.
I think it can work brilliantly for people looking for reassurance. It's a disaster for people sincerely looking for truth at all costs.
“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
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Sep 13, 2021 6:58 am

blazerb wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:33 am
I found enough information about the JS Foundation when I went to their website and found an article about how Noah's flood affected carbon dating.
I took a quick look and went immediately to the section of "science" papers. There are two papers. One is the carbon dating article you mention and the other is called Breaking Satan's Great Chain of Darkness, which is a silly anti-evolution diatribe that uses the ages of Old Testament characters before and after the flood as proof that humans can't be evolving because their DNA is actually degenerating.

Basically, bronze age rumors are more reliable sources of scientific evidence than 21st century science, because Satan.

Based on the overall tone, I'm surprised not to see a tirade about evil vaccination agendas on the front page.
“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
blazerb
Posts: 1167
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by blazerb » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:03 am

jfro18 wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:46 am
To me it's not so much if it's smart or not, but just that it's the only thing they can do. The only backfire they could encounter from FAIR is that members realize there are so many other problems beyond the one they went to FAIR's site from, which has happened to people as well.
You're right. The church has to do it this way. When the truth is not on your side, you have to take whatever support you can find. However, as Brother Holland taught us, truth will prevail. That's not good news for the Q15.

I lived a little of the FAIR scenario you mention. Certainly their website showed me how weak the support for church doctrine is.

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:07 am

blazerb wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:03 am
I lived a little of the FAIR scenario you mention. Certainly their website showed me how weak the support for church doctrine is.
Me too. FAIR is great for skimming and saying, "Hey, looks like some smart guys have figured all of this out," without actually reading carefully. If you're actually going to read and think about what they're saying, and try to integrate it with other sources, hang onto your hat.
“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
Not Buying It
Posts: 1233
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:29 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by Not Buying It » Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:15 am

blazerb wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:03 am
jfro18 wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:46 am
To me it's not so much if it's smart or not, but just that it's the only thing they can do. The only backfire they could encounter from FAIR is that members realize there are so many other problems beyond the one they went to FAIR's site from, which has happened to people as well.
You're right. The church has to do it this way. When the truth is not on your side, you have to take whatever support you can find. However, as Brother Holland taught us, truth will prevail. That's not good news for the Q15.

I lived a little of the FAIR scenario you mention. Certainly their website showed me how weak the support for church doctrine is.
Long ago when I thought there might be faith-affirming answers to the questions I was having, FAIR only made things worse. FAIR is the greatest deconversion tool ever for anyone who wants real answers, they have more nonsensical pretzel-twist non-logic than anyplace. And I didn't really think I needed apologists, because what I honestly thought would happen at first is that the Brethren would begin addressing in Conference the things I had found on the internet - surely they knew what mental suffering these things were causing us and as God's messengers would give us the answers to resolve them faithfully, right? It only took a couple of Conference sessions waiting for that to realize they don't have answers, they're just hoping no one discovers the questions.

As for the apologists, I think most of them have strong reasons for wanting the Church to be true, and they are probably more about keeping themselves convinced than trying to convince anyone else. If you can't leave without losing your spouse/family/friends/social group, but you know all the stuff that makes it pretty obvious the Church isn't what it claims to be, sometimes you fight hard to defend the Church as a desperate attempt to justify sticking with it more than anything. For a lot of them, I don't think convincing other people is really what motivates them so much as reassuring themselves.
"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

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:08 am

Not Buying It wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:15 am
FAIR is the greatest deconversion tool ever for anyone who wants real answers, they have more nonsensical pretzel-twist non-logic than anyplace...

...For a lot of them, I don't think convincing other people is really what motivates them so much as reassuring themselves.
Being the authors of that pretzel logic you would think they could only sustain it for so long before they would finally come to a point where they realize that they need to stop rolling the boulder up that hill. But that seems to be a rare epiphany.

I think the essential personality trait of a true apologist is an inordinate sense of intellectual superiority and the inability to imagine themselves ever being wrong. Special-casing and contorting the facts is fair game as long as you feel like you're winning the argument and imagining yourself as a valiant defender of Good. If you're not winning you accuse your opponent of cheating or lying and walk away believing that you are still triumphant. A great example is the way Gee and Muhlestein played hide-and-seek with Ritner. They probably threw a victory party when he passed away.
“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."

hmb
Posts: 326
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:43 am

Re: Who are the apologists?

Post by hmb » Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:11 am

Not Buying It wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:15 am
FAIR is the greatest deconversion tool ever for anyone who wants real answers,...
The small percentage of truly believing LDS already think they have the real answers. They have no need to look beyond what they already know or what the apologists say. They have prophets who say to doubt your doubts, stay in the boat, etc. Prophets are called of God. They would never lead you astray. Those looking for answers to hard truths either end up where we are, keep a heavy shelf, or fake it for the family/friends.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests