RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

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Hagoth
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RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Hagoth » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:31 am

I just listened to RFM's podcast about Pres. Nelson's miracle making:
https://radiofreemormon.org/2019/06/rad ... nt-nelson/
This is a fascinating example of how religious experiences become embellished over time. In just a few years Russell Nelson and his closest confidants embellished the hell out of these stories into something far beyond what really happened. The big question is were they intentionally deceiving others or had they restructured the stories in their own memories so that they were unintentionally deceiving themselves along with everyone else? Or was it a sloppy combination of the two?

This really helps to shed light on how the church's foundational stories probably grew into miracles out of very mundane events and personal emotions/imaginings by providing a modern-day example. The difference is that the speed and interactivity of modern media has made it possible for astute observers like RFM to document the changes soon after the events, or sometimes even as they're happening.

I have mentioned before my friend who was asked to contribute to a book by LDS publisher but amazing missionary stories but when he went back and read his journal he was shocked to discover that the real events bore no resemblance to the unintentionally embellished versions that he had been sharing in talks and conversations. He did the right thing and withdrew himself from co-authorship of the book. I really respect his integrity in admitting what had happened and stepping out of the ring.
“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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Mormorrisey
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Mormorrisey » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:54 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:31 am
I just listened to RFM's podcast about Pres. Nelson's miracle making:
https://radiofreemormon.org/2019/06/rad ... nt-nelson/
This is a fascinating example of how religious experiences become embellished over time. In just a few years Russell Nelson and his closest confidants embellished the hell out of these stories into something far beyond what really happened. The big question is were they intentionally deceiving others or had they restructured the stories in their own memories so that they were unintentionally deceiving themselves along with everyone else? Or was it a sloppy combination of the two?

This really helps to shed light on how the church's foundational stories probably grew into miracles out of very mundane events and personal emotions/imaginings by providing a modern-day example. The difference is that the speed and interactivity of modern media has made it possible for astute observers like RFM to document the changes soon after the events, or sometimes even as they're happening.

I have mentioned before my friend who was asked to contribute to a book by LDS publisher but amazing missionary stories but when he went back and read his journal he was shocked to discover that the real events bore no resemblance to the unintentionally embellished versions that he had been sharing in talks and conversations. He did the right thing and withdrew himself from co-authorship of the book. I really respect his integrity in admitting what had happened and stepping out of the ring.
I listened to RFM's podcast episode too, and I think this phenomenon not only explains the early history narrative elasticity, but as you mention here, it's now really hard to do in real time as social media documents nearly everything that happens AS it happens.

But it also highlights the problems with the writing of history in the modern age, period. Historical memory is a really interesting field, because of what you document here. I don't know if anyone listens to the sunstone history podcasts, but they had a fascinating one recently on the problems of the priesthood restoration narrative. Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan had both Dan Vogel and Christopher C Smith on to explain this, and near the end of the podcast Smith dove into the challenges of historical memory and how unreliable it is. Not as an apologist mind you, but as a never-mo historian trying to see WHY Oliver changed his story over time in regards to the priesthood being restored. It wasn't lying, it wasn't "pious fraudery," it was simply the tale of someone re-calibrating his memories to fit with the new trying-to-be-established narrative of the priesthood restoration.

And to me, that's what's going on with RMN and his stories. As the reigning prophet, every story told about him HAS to be supernatural and miraculous, he's a prophet for crying out loud. And that's what historical memory does.

It's worth a listen, what Smith is saying. Here's the link:

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/episod ... arratives/

Again, near the end of the podcast.
"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."

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1smartdodog
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by 1smartdodog » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:23 am

I think it is human nature to embellish stories. I catch myself doing it. I however don’t use my stories to control or manipulate people. I just like to brag sometimes.


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wtfluff
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by wtfluff » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:38 am

1smartdodog wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:23 am
I think it is human nature to embellish stories. I catch myself doing it. I however don’t use my stories to control or manipulate people. I just like to brag sometimes.
Yep, embellishment is a very human thing. I also believe we all (humans) do it. (Likely without even knowing it.)

If only there were an all-powerful, omnipotent, toga-wearing being living near kolob who could direct these "mouthpieces" to not be like every other human. Doesn't said toga-wearing being direct Rusell's magic, lighted pen when revelation is given? Human fallibility should't be an issue if some all-powerful being is driving "the boat" (or the pen.)
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:12 pm

1smartdodog wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:23 am
I think it is human nature to embellish stories. I catch myself doing it. I however don’t use my stories to control or manipulate people. I just like to brag sometimes.
+2

I think it's a mix of embellishing for the Lord and some outright lying for the Lord. Either way, I'm sure it becomes pretty fluid over time when you are at the top of the corporation with a belief you have divine providence. Lying to the members for their own good, because they are just little children that don't know better than you. Lying to the world/media because they are not special, are deceived by Satan or work for him and they don't understand the ways of your kingdom.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
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moksha
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by moksha » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:40 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:54 am
It's worth a listen, what Smith is saying. Here's the link:

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/episod ... arratives/

Again, near the end of the podcast.
Chris Smith's talk at the end has relevant details in a concise and pleasant manner.
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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Culper Jr.
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Culper Jr. » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:16 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:31 am
This really helps to shed light on how the church's foundational stories probably grew into miracles out of very mundane events and personal emotions/imaginings by providing a modern-day example. The difference is that the speed and interactivity of modern media has made it possible for astute observers like RFM to document the changes soon after the events, or sometimes even as they're happening.
Oh yeah, most of the foundational visions and miracles were not talked about until years after the fact. No one knew about the first vision or the miraculous restoration of the priesthood until years after the fact. By the time they were widely known, many of those who were around during the time these things supposedly happened had left the church or were no longer as prominent. David Whitmer called BS on Joseph Smith's account of the PH restoration.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Mormorrisey » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:30 am

Culper Jr. wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:16 am
Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:31 am
This really helps to shed light on how the church's foundational stories probably grew into miracles out of very mundane events and personal emotions/imaginings by providing a modern-day example. The difference is that the speed and interactivity of modern media has made it possible for astute observers like RFM to document the changes soon after the events, or sometimes even as they're happening.
Oh yeah, most of the foundational visions and miracles were not talked about until years after the fact. No one knew about the first vision or the miraculous restoration of the priesthood until years after the fact. By the time they were widely known, many of those who were around during the time these things supposedly happened had left the church or were no longer as prominent. David Whitmer called BS on Joseph Smith's account of the PH restoration.
Just as an aside, what absolutely kills me is how FairMormon treats David Whitmer. He's an absolutely reliable witness when it comes to his testimony of the BOM, but has an "agenda" when it comes to his dismissal of the PH restoration. Uh, you can't have it both ways, boys.
"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."

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Hagoth
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:17 am

Mormorrisey wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:30 am
Just as an aside, what absolutely kills me is how FairMormon treats David Whitmer. He's an absolutely reliable witness when it comes to his testimony of the BOM, but has an "agenda" when it comes to his dismissal of the PH restoration. Uh, you can't have it both ways, boys.
As a further aside, it gets even more complicated with Martin Harris who had all kinds of crazy spiritual "witnesses," including for other prophetic religions, and yet was not able to see the angel along with David and Oliver. It took intense one-one-one pressure from Joseph until he finally proclaimed it "enough." Have you ever heard his story about how the devil animated a blackberry bush that tried to kill him so he wouldn't be able to make the trip to Utah? He was clearly a man who exaggerated unremarkable events into miracles, like the time he saw Jesus in the form of a deer.
“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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Emower
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Emower » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:38 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:12 pm
1smartdodog wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:23 am
I think it is human nature to embellish stories. I catch myself doing it. I however don’t use my stories to control or manipulate people. I just like to brag sometimes.
+2

I think it's a mix of embellishing for the Lord and some outright lying for the Lord. Either way, I'm sure it becomes pretty fluid over time when you are at the top of the corporation with a belief you have divine providence. Lying to the members for their own good, because they are just little children that don't know better than you. Lying to the world/media because they are not special, are deceived by Satan or work for him and they don't understand the ways of your kingdom.
+3

I feel like church stories are especially easy to embellish, especially because we all only have a finite pool of experience to draw from, yet we are required to use those experiences to teach multiple gospel principles. A constant re-jiggering of the application of those experiences is always going to lead to innacuracies and embellishments.

Anon70
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Anon70 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:35 pm

I’m not sure if this is on topic but I have to give a talk in a few weeks due to my calling. We’re always given a GC talk as topic. I always hate mine. Without fail.

So I’m reading it and then reading all of the scripture references to see if I can find some tiny thing of value to talk about. Multiple times he will quote a scripture as a reference/proof/defense of his topic. And multiple times the scripture doesn’t even relate.

I can’t decide if it’s the typical Mormon cherry picking of scriptures without regard to context or hubris that we will take their word for its relevance. These men not only fabricate or exaggerate experiences they also use the scriptures to support these stories. Shame on us I guess if we don’t go and verify they’re telling the truth/making sense.

Mankhoj
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Re: RFM and RMN's telling of whoppers

Post by Mankhoj » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:25 pm

Anon70 wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:35 pm
I can’t decide if it’s the typical Mormon cherry picking of scriptures without regard to context or hubris that we will take their word for its relevance. These men not only fabricate or exaggerate experiences they also use the scriptures to support these stories. Shame on us I guess if we don’t go and verify they’re telling the truth/making sense.
I don't think this is solely a mormon thing. I see this with others who cite the bible as their source yet are clearly cherry picking.

I also see it in my professional work. I read a lot of standard of practice books and academic papers and invaribly I push back when a claim is made without a source when the claim sounds dubious.

I think many times we accept statements without question from others when we view them as authorities. It's kind of what makes arguing on the internet so much fun!

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