Hopefully everyone is familiar with the ongoing saga between John Dehlin and some LDS apologists (Including Daniel C. Peterson & Gregory L. Smith), that were challenging the motives of John Dehlin. If you are not, you can Google the topic.
The Controversial paper by Gregory Smith that was prevented from being published by a G.A. a year ago, was apparently related in part, to the firing of the staff at the Maxwell Institute.
That paper that has been described as a “hit piece” against Dehlin has now been published by the Mormon Interpreter
The Student Review did a brief article about the published paper.
I made this comment in a reply to that blog post.
My comment went into review but was later published, to their credit.
I didn’t think it would be published so I submitted it to Faith Promoting Rumor Blog, responding to a post done by a poster called smallaxe . Smallaxe did not publish my comment so I made the same comments on John Dehlin’s blog at MormonStories. Needless to says, Dehlin also didn’t have the gumption to post my comments either.
I take my hat off to the Student Review for publishing my first comment.
A commentor calling himself Busy Busy Busy responded to my comments wherein I challenged anyone to show me something in the controversial article by Greg Smith that was false. He provided a link to a critique of the controversial paper by Smith, posted on “Mormon Discussions”. His comment is here,
The critique was done by a popular exmo called “Rollo Tomasi”. I am assuming Busy and Rollo are the same person but I am not sure.
I responded back to him on the Student review.
That response has currently been blocked by the student review. I don’t know if it will be released so I thought I would post it here so that Busy and Rollo would know that I didn’t just ignore their comment-
[ Editorial update, the second comment has also been approved. I am impressed with the fairness of the Student Review for allowing a diverse population of respondents with different opinions to make controversial comments]
And I thought the length of my comment showed passion! LOL
I visited your post at Mormon Discussions and I am impressed with your lengthy critique of Greg Smith’s critique of how critical John Dehlin has been of the Mormon Church.
I am not going to lie.
I did not read your whole diatribe.
I didn’t even read most of it.
I am clearly not as invested in this issue as you are.
I am not a member of the church. I am not an angry exmo, or an an angry doubting member or a blissfully happy but incensed card carrying member.
In a sense, I just don’t have a horse in the race, in the same sense that you and many others do.
Nevertheless, having been a member of the church, and still being passionate about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, with a firm belief in the divine mission of Joseph Smith and the literal authenticity of the Book of Mormon, I am nevertheless interested in what is taking place in the world of Mormonism and I care deeply about my brothers and sisters in and out of the church.
If I were to invest the time in reading your whole diatribe, I would no doubt feel compelled to write a CRITIQUE of your CRITIQUE of Greg’s CRITIQUE of how CRITICAL John is of the church. LOL..
.. that would take many hours and I don’t have time to invest in such a project. Apparently you have the luxury of sitting in front of your computer reading and pontificating all day long. I am TRULY envious of your situation.
In my next life, I want to be more like you in that regard.
My challenge in the initial comment that I made was to show me one thing Greg’s paper says that is not true about John.
While I appreciate all the work you went to over on the other chat board, I suspect your efforts in creating your diatribe were not inspired by my challenge and in fact was probably written before you saw my challenge.
I would still love to see just one statement from the article that is categorically not true, posted in this forum, if you have the time and inclination to extract it from your thesis.
In the beginning of your critique, you accuse Gregg of making his attacks against Dehlin, the man, rather than Mormon Stories.
I agree with you but fail to see your point.
For all intents and purposes, Dehlin IS Mormon Stories and he controls much of the outcome.
He is the interviewer.
He controls who gets on his program and he usually controls the questions and the voice inflection and empathy he projects as the interviewer and the whole spirit of the interview.
He largely controls the environment and the outcome.
In that respect, the man is orchestrating the outcome of what Mormonstories is accomplishing.
I believe his responses to the comments of the interviewers have a powerful effect on the adoring audience that John has acquired.
John is anything but neutral and unbiased.
I believe he clearly has an agenda and it transcends what he claims that it is
If one wants to understand what MormonStories is all about, one needs to understand who Dehlin is, what his beliefs are, what motives him and what his personal agenda is.
The only way to determine these things is to scrutinize what John does and says.
I believe that is the spirit and intent of what Greg was attempting to do. He did it from his vantage point because that is the only vantage point he has.
Was he guilty of surgically identifying only the comments John made that verify the points he want to make about John?
Of course he was. That was the purpose of the article. So what?
I see things almost exactly the same way Greg does with regard to MormonStories, and I am not even a card carrying member of the church!
Yet, beyond that common view of that particular situation, I have virtually nothing in common with Greg. We do not share the same religious beliefs and I was incredibly offended when he took it upon himself to challenge the folks at the Firm Foundation for their belief that the Book of Mormon people were inhabitants of North America rather than South America. http://www.firmlds.org/feature.php?id=25
I really don’t resonate with anything else Greg has previously written. I mention this only to clarify that I am not defending his Dehlin “hit piece” because I am a personal friend, or for any other reason than the fact that I believe he is sincere and correct in his perception of what John is trying to accomplish with MormonStories.
I can appreciate the fact that you see John through different eyes than Greg and I do.
I don’t discount that your perception is valid to you, and I don’t think you should question that Greg’s perception about John is valid to him and others, like me.
You also accuse Greg of having the motive to “destroy Dehlin’s reputation and whatever influence he has in the Mormon community.”
Again I must agree with you and again I must ask, what is your point beside pointing out the obvious?
It is a long standing tradition in biblical Christianity for shepherds to guard the flock. That involves identifying those who are trying to damage the church and destroying their credibility with the sheeple.
That is all Greg is trying to do.
I realize that it is unusual and politically incorrect to quote from the New Testament when on a forum like this where the precepts of men rule the day, but I am going to do it anyway.
Here is what Paul said to the elders of a church in Acts 20
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.Therefore watch…”
I believe that people like Greg and his associates at the Interpreter are simply trying to be good shepherds of the flock, trying to protect the members of the church from the grievous wolves that have entered the flock.
Interestingly, the LDS apologists spending 99% of their time fending off the wolves on the outside when the most damage is being done by the wolves on the inside.
This shepherd/wolf theology is actually how Utah Mormonism began.
Brigham Young emerged triumphant over Sidney Rigdon and others to lead a large portion of the church during the succession crisis in Nauvoo and he used the above theology to do it.
Years later Brigham used the Shepherds and Wolves theology to justify his actions.
” The brethren testify that brother Brigham Young is brother Joseph’s legal successor.
You never heard me say so. I say that I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock. —” (Brigham Young 1860)
Frankly, I think many of the apologists and members of the church are quite perplexed and distraught about the fact that the brethren, everyone from John Dehlin’s Stake President to the top guy in the Ivory tower, have neglected their sacred duty to act in their stewardship’s as protectors of the flock.
The “hit piece” on Dehlin is one frustrated elder’s attempt to warn the sheep that are not being warned by the primary shepherds of the flock.
Let me attempt to simplify things.
(I can do this because I am a simple minded country boy and largely uneducated person)
There are three public foundational beliefs that members of the church are supposed to have in common along with a fourth unwritten belief.
1- A belief that God lives
2- A belief that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God
3- A belief that the Book of Mormon is a true, literal history of an ancient people that Christ visited.
The fourth, un-canonized belief is as follows:
4- The belief that the current prophet of the Church is infallible in the sense that God will not allow him to lead the saints astray. Therefore don’t question or speak ill of him, just shut up and do what you are told.
Okay… how does John do with his report card and see if you really qualified for membership in the only true church.
I am paraphrasing what I have interpreted John to be saying in many of the podcasts that I have listed to.
1- He has publicly stated that he questions the existence of God and that if God does exist, he is something quite different from what Mormonism teaches.
2- He does not believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he is critical of many of Joseph’s teachings and actions, including the uninspired boinking a14 year old girl.
3- He clearly believes that the Book of Mormon is a myth and that there is no legitimate historicity to it.
As you can see, from my point of view, John does not qualify for membership.
The truly amazing thing is that John values his membership and wants to remain in the church. Why!
Even more astounding than that is the fact that the brethren have allowed John to continue spreading his gospel of doubt while using the credibility of being classified as a member in good standing… go figure!
As I have been pondering this discussion and viewed a few of your posts on the other chat board, I find a fascinating dynamic at play here between people like you and me who have strong opinions about how the church should be governed even though it isn’t any of our damn business.
Let me share with you the convoluted dynamic I am seeing in the positions that you and I have taken on this topic.
I invite you to respond and correct me where you think my perceptions are wrong:
have studied the controversial things about the history and doctrine of church and have concluded that the restored gospel and the restored church is not true.
Hence you want everybody in the church to learn this information and leave the church except John.
John needs to be in the church right now because he is playing an important role in the church.
His role is to educate people with his podcasts and destroy faith and facilitate people in exiting the church.
John should stay in the church until everyone else has left… then he can come out.
Have studied the same controversial things about the history and doctrine of the church that you have, and concluded that the restored gospel is true even though the current corporate church is stumbing a little bit.
I want members of the church to have the agency of staying in the church if that is where they think they should be.
Included in that agency, I think unsuspecting members of the church should have the right to stay in a relatively insulated environment where they are not exposed to information they do not want to hear.
I think people like John should not have the opportunity to “blindside” first timers to his site that naively visit his site and listen to his podcasts under the illusion and delusion that John is a faithful and active member of the church.
I don’t think John qualifies as as a believing and faithful member of the church. If the shepherds don’t have the gonads to extract him from the church he should provide a disclaimer on his websites that says something like this:
“Attention, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter days Saints, Beware, this site contains controversial information that could be damaging to your faith”