In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

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Hagoth
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In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:06 am

I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that LDS apologetics as we know it is in a state of gradual collapse. They pretty much fired Peterson, and shut down FARMS. Gee isn't getting much respect. They actually disavowed Hugh Nibley, regarding his BoA apologetics:
https://www.docdroid.net/ySraZVB/first- ... ey1975-pdf
David Bukowski was fired a decade ago for even mentioning the catalyst theory for the BoA , but now it is the go-to answer. Terryl Givens has taken that to the next degree with his bricolage hypothesis which says that Josephs Smith's translations don't have to be ancient or even original, just that he felt inspires when he stitched his borrowed ideas together.

So, assuming this trend continues, does it mean the church will become less stiff and dogmatic, or does it portend the opposite, that the focus will be taken even further away from scripture and onto living prophetsseersandrevelators?
“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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Red Ryder
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Jan 05, 2022 2:47 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:06 am
So, assuming this trend continues, does it mean the church will become less stiff and dogmatic, or does it portend the opposite, that the focus will be taken even further away from scripture and onto living prophetsseersandrevelators?
The latter.

The focus will be to de-intellectualize the church, reduce the apologetic noise (and infighting), and prop up the brethren and their apostolic mantle.

Nelson pivoted this direction when he started to rebrand everything under the guise of policy adjustments. Oaks will probably become the next prophet in 2022 and will continue his fight against homosexuality in the church.

Small chance Holland survives long enough and becomes prophet. Bednar will ironically need to be the prophet of a more open and loving universal church focused on Christ. However due to his personality, he will rule with an iron fist and enforce the first great commandment of Mormonism, which is unquestionable obedience.

Mormonism will see a large decrease in membership due to boomers passing away, leaving a smaller base having less children.

They will continue to hoot and holler about staying in the boat while slowly diminishing away.

In 50 years, the church will be an extremely wealthy version of the Jehovah Witnesses led by President Bednar’s clone currently frozen in a cryotherapy vault near temple square.

Edited to add:

I think apologetics is dead due the vast amount of information available on the internet. FAIR and FARMs really made them look stupid when comparing your own research with their carefully scripted nothing burger responses.

The apologists became caricatures themselves competing for hero worship normally allocated to the brethren. Can’t have competition.
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Palerider
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Palerider » Wed Jan 05, 2022 3:27 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:06 am
does it mean the church will become less stiff and dogmatic, or does it portend the opposite, that the focus will be taken even further away from scripture and onto living prophetsseersandrevelators?
Speculating on a personality driven agenda that changes every so often with the death of each leader.....🤔

Isn't that similar to watching sausage being made?
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"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

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Hagoth
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jan 05, 2022 4:27 pm

Palerider wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 3:27 pm
Isn't that similar to watching sausage being made?
Sausage being the operative word in a priesthood hierarchy.

I think Terryl and Fiona Givens are an interesting case study. If they had come along a decade earlier they would have been burned at the stake (house). I mean, bricolage? Give me a break. Can you imagine how Nibley would have slapped them down?

Without Terryl, I'm convinced, Fiona wouldn't be tolerated at all: 1) woman, 2) not as worshipful of the GAs as her husband, 3) too invested in She Who Cannot Be Named. In the fireside I attended Terryl said a bunch of unsatisfying, mushy stuff about BoM historicity but proudly saluted he Authorities. Fiona said she prefers Harry Potter, made a joke about the Authorities, and talked about the importance of the feminine. No wonder she gets pressure from above. But they do represent the direction LDS apologetics MUST go, or at least Terryl does. Maybe Fiona represents more of the direction it should go. But the general direction seems to be to everything fuzzy and feel-goody and wall-jello-y, to the degree that empirical evidence doesn't really matter. Are the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham historical? Let's say they're just historical enough. Find your own definition of "true" without letting facts bog you down. Above all, seek pleasant emotional connections with the teachings and obey obey obey...
“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."

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Palerider
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Palerider » Wed Jan 05, 2022 5:13 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 4:27 pm
Palerider wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 3:27 pm
Isn't that similar to watching sausage being made?
Sausage being the operative word in a priesthood hierarchy.

I think Terryl and Fiona Givens are an interesting case study. If they had come along a decade earlier they would have been burned at the stake (house). I mean, bricolage? Give me a break. Can you imagine how Nibley would have slapped them down?
I'm looking at the current presidency, Nelson, Oaks and Eyrying. Then the four top apostles, Ballard, Holland, Uchtdorf and Bednar. Five of these guys will be dead in the next eight to ten years. That leaves Uchtdorf and Bednar.

After Uchtdorf and Bednar, no one looks like old time, semi-charismatic, strong personalities. There's just no "There" there. I figure the church is done after Bednar. (Which should be fun to watch because Bednar will be devisive.) After him everyone looks like mealy-mouthed, milk toast, namby-pamby, pablum stirring babysitter's. And that includes Anderson and Raspberry.

Doctrine and historicity may not even matter. The church may die a slow death of boredom and banality.

Givens and the rest of the apologists are just fairly intelligent sycophantic harlequins who should be able to make the logical leap out of the Corp but can't find the intestinal fortitude. They are irrelevant.
"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."

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moksha
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by moksha » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:12 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:06 am
So, assuming this trend continues, does it mean the church will become less stiff and dogmatic, or does it portend the opposite, that the focus will be taken even further away from scripture and onto living prophetsseersandrevelators?
1. The Church could double down and become far more dogmatic, giving the boot to all but the most fanatical believers.

2. The Church could go the way of the Community of Christ, making more outrageous claims optional to believe and focusing their efforts on more common concerns.

3. They could take the money and run, setting up business in Tonga.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Just This Guy » Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:45 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 2:47 pm
I think apologetics is dead due the vast amount of information available on the internet. FAIR and FARMs really made them look stupid when comparing your own research with their carefully scripted nothing burger responses.
I think it goes a bit deeper. I would factor in the podcaster movement as a contributing factor.

Before main stream science has basically ignored Mormonism because is isn't worth their time to engage. They know is is all BS, but they have better things to do with their time. In the big picture of things, Mormonism is a very small church. As a result, is give the Mormon "scientists" the opportunity to push their faith promoting versions of things to support the apologetic line. They can get away with it because they don't really have any organized resistance from their community of experts.

In the last few years, various internet forces including a lot of podcasters have gotten scientists to take the Mormon claims seriously and to give authoritative responses to the claims. Not only do they come in and say that the Mormon claim is wrong, they are able to give detailed dissections of the arguments and to pinpoint exactly how the claims are false. They have the evidence to back it up. And these are not just run of the mill peopel in a field, but world known experts.

Apologetic have traditionally acted like they have the science to prove their case. Various podcasters like John Dehlin's interview with Micheal Coe on Meso-American archeology, Radio Free Mormon's interview with Simon Southerton on BoM DNA, and John Dehlin & RFM's interviews with Robert Ritner on the BoA. These have been devastating to the long held theories that apologists have pushed for decades. In a matter of hours, these long held defenses to the church have been destroyed.

So far it looks like the apologetic community has not figured out how to respond in a way convincing to members. They have decided to lay low for the time being.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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Hagoth
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:04 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:45 am
Various podcasters like John Dehlin's interview with Micheal Coe on Meso-American archeology, Radio Free Mormon's interview with Simon Southerton on BoM DNA, and John Dehlin & RFM's interviews with Robert Ritner on the BoA. These have been devastating to the long held theories that apologists have pushed for decades. In a matter of hours, these long held defenses to the church have been destroyed.
You're right, their arguments are so much stronger than the apologists'. Too bad they are mostly preaching to the choir, but eventually this information will diffuse out to a broader audience. Between Ritner and Vogel any hope for BoA authenticity is completely dead, but you have to do some serious reading and listening to get that information. The more info there is out there the more likely people are to accidently stumble across it while preparing to teach lessons, which seems to be the common scenario. I wonder if the mandate will come down at some point from the COB that it is forbidden to use use Satan's internet to research church lessons.
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Just This Guy » Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:21 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:04 am
You're right, their arguments are so much stronger than the apologists'. Too bad they are mostly preaching to the choir, but eventually this information will diffuse out to a broader audience. Between Ritner and Vogel any hope for BoA authenticity is completely dead, but you have to do some serious reading and listening to get that information. The more info there is out there the more likely people are to accidently stumble across it while preparing to teach lessons, which seems to be the common scenario. I wonder if the mandate will come down at some point from the COB that it is forbidden to use use Satan's internet to research church lessons.

Yes, they are preaching to the choir, but even that has it effects. John Gee put out a statement after the Rittner Interviews. FARMS (or whatever it is called these days) has also put out statements addressing various podcasts. So they are not going unnoticed.

Additionally, they have had to adjust their tactics. For example on the BoA, Apologists have basically dropped the direct translation and missing scroll theories from their lineups. They have settled on the Catalyst theory as their go-to explanation as it's about the only thing they have left that holds any water.

So while the target audience for these expert interviews is not TBMs, they are having an effect on the tactics of apologtics, as much as they may try to downplay it.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jan 06, 2022 11:40 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:21 am
Yes, they are preaching to the choir, but even that has it effects. John Gee put out a statement after the Rittner Interviews. FARMS (or whatever it is called these days) has also put out statements addressing various podcasts. So they are not going unnoticed.
Excellent observations, JTG. The CES letter probably wouldn't get discovered by nearly as many people if they didn't see apologetic sources freaking and taking it so seriously.
Just This Guy wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:21 am
They have settled on the Catalyst theory as their go-to explanation as it's about the only thing they have left that holds any water.
And some, like Givens, are even moving to more wishy-washy ideas like "inspired imagination," because they realize that they can't honestly support any of the hypotheses that have been so devastatingly dismantled. Although, I think it's useless as apologetics, I respect Givens for at least trying to move on, while people like Gee and Muhlestein continue in attempts to navigate people around the "hand-grenades" via distraction and convoluted logic.
“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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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:09 pm

I like the “inspired imagination” theory. :lol:

Makes complete sense now.

Joseph made it all up through his inspired imagination. Now to determine the source of his inspiration. Survey says the source originated somewhere between his belt and knees.
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by 2bizE » Mon Jan 17, 2022 10:43 am

I think apologetics will continue to evolve rather than go away. It feels like it is going in circles with little direction. I think this confusion trend will continue for a while, though. There seems to be less direction from church leaders….maybe that is on purpose. It tried to change to be cool to the Gen z and millennials. That was with Quaku and the Pretenders and it flopped big time. It was reported that few young people watched the TITS videos and more older folks did. What does this tell us? A few things. 1) the younger generations are not interested in arguing about religion. They don’t feel any ownership or need for religion, 2) It is the older generations that likes to argue over religion.
Apologetics needs to figure out its audience. I think apologetics will try to evolve for a while before mostly fading away. If apologetics doesn’t work on millennials or younger groups, then it will eventually die or somehow try to get younger folks interested in arguing religion.
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:40 am

I think there will always be "defenders of the faith". So I think apologetics will continue but hopefully in a less partisan and ad hominem attacking format.

I do need to say that they sacked Fiona for her positions on the Holy Spirit and Heavenly Mother. She denies it and I imagine it is because she wanted the explosion of her separation from The Maxwell institute to die down and for her to preserve her LDS capital and cred. So it's a choppy process. But I do think the Givens' are probably the best approach for the LDS church. It's more a matter of pace.

The LDS church has always evolved and it will continue. My hope is that it will become less fundamentalist. That will be healthier for everyone. But they worry about schism and losing members. I don't think they care about the liberal members of the church as much as the conservative orthodox. If they evolve too quickly they could lose more conservative members.
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Gatorbait » Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:42 pm

Did they fire Daniel Peterson? Is that old news? I don't check this very often.
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by blazerb » Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:59 am

Here is an analogy I've been thinking about. Neil Maxwell told apologists not to allow any more "uncontested slam dunks." Contesting a slam dunk in basketball, though, almost always involves committing a foul. The strategy of contesting a slam dunk has two weaknesses. First, it does not prevent the opponent from scoring points, necessarily. They can still score points from the foul line. Second, eventually you foul out.

In the apologetic world, I think they have taken Maxwell's counsel to heart. They want to fight damaging information using any means necessary. However, the points are still scored when the apologetic response is found to be weak. After so many crappy answers, as far as I'm concerned, they've fouled out. They don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore. I think this has happened to a lot of former believers.

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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by deacon blues » Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:19 am

blazerb wrote:
Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:59 am
Here is an analogy I've been thinking about. Neil Maxwell told apologists not to allow any more "uncontested slam dunks." Contesting a slam dunk in basketball, though, almost always involves committing a foul. The strategy of contesting a slam dunk has two weaknesses. First, it does not prevent the opponent from scoring points, necessarily. They can still score points from the foul line. Second, eventually you foul out.

In the apologetic world, I think they have taken Maxwell's counsel to heart. They want to fight damaging information using any means necessary. However, the points are still scored when the apologetic response is found to be weak. After so many crappy answers, as far as I'm concerned, they've fouled out. They don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore. I think this has happened to a lot of former believers.
This is an excellent analogy. Eventually the apologist fouls out, in other words loses credibility. ;)
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Hagoth
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:29 pm

Gatorbait wrote:
Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:42 pm
Did they fire Daniel Peterson? Is that old news? I don't check this very often.
Yeah, when FARMS became the Maxwell Institute. And they did it while he was out of the country, I believe by email. He didn't get fired from BYU.
“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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Hagoth
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:34 pm

blazerb wrote:
Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:59 am
They want to fight damaging information using any means necessary.
I believe there's a quote from Oaks to support this. He said something about how there must be a response, even if it's not a good one, just so no critical statement is left uncontested.
“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."

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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Palerider » Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:32 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:34 pm
I believe there's a quote from Oaks to support this. He said something about how there must be a response, even if it's not a good one, just so no critical statement is left uncontested.
This possibly?

"My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS Church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Saviour. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its author."
Dallin Oaks

Pretty sad.

Nothing about an obligation to the truth even if it might reveal those so called "facts" to be not so factual. Who was it that said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" ???
"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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Hagoth
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Re: In the rubble of collapsed apologetics

Post by Hagoth » Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:30 am

Palerider wrote:
Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:32 pm
This possibly?

"My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS Church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Saviour. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its author."
Dallin Oaks
That's not the one I had in mind, but it's a good one, and certainly in the same spirit. I was thinking of something along the lines of "any response is better than no response," which pretty well describes the quality of much of the apologetics.
“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."

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