Deconstructing Mormon Apologetics
During the very short time I attended college at Ricks, I became addicted to chess. I had been taught how to play in Jr. High by a friend but I was to proud to join the chess club when I got to high school because it seemed like only the nerds were interested in doing it.
That was too threatening for my fragile self esteem. . ( that was before the world was ruled by billionaire nerds)
At Ricks, I would frequently stay up all night playing it. I didn’t have the patience, intelligence or inclination to read books on the game, I pretty much learned from playing others and following my intuition.
One of my memories of my short lived climb to the top of the chess world was the very first time I graced the inner sanctum used by the chess enthusiasts at the college.
Nobody knew who I was nor that I wasn’t much of a threat.
Conversely, I didn’t know who the better players were.
There was a very tall, heavyset fellow that was having difficulty intimidating anyone into playing him so I confidently told him that I would oblige.
I soon found myself playing one of the best and most arrogant players at the college.
The game lasted for hours and abruptly ended at about 2AM.
I somehow managed to get to within one step of checkmating him before he flew into a fit of rage and swiped the board clean, sending the chess pieces across the room to the surprise of all of the other bewildered players who had previously all been absorbed in their own games.
The funny thing is that I had no idea what I was doing.
His downfall is that he didn’t know that I didn’t know what I was doing.
He was meticulously analyzing, scrutinizing, anticipating and fruitlessly trying to make sense out of every absurd move I was making, based on the assumption that I actually had a well thought out, though unconventional stratagem.
The embarrassing truth is that I was just winging it.
Taking me seriously and assuming that I had a sinister reason for the unusual moves I was making resulted in his demise.
When I returned to play some of the other players a day or two later, I was quickly defeated by just about everyone I played. When he saw me loose to everyone else, he realized that I wasn’t a skilled player. From that time forward, he would routinely dispatch me in less than 30 minutes.
Nonetheless, for a day or two after my first victory, I strutted about the campus thinking I was among the elite chess luminaries of the school.
That first game against the guy that slapped the chess pieces across the room gave me first hand knowledge of how passionate and eccentric chess players can be.
A missionary companion once told me about a chess player that became so deep in thought during a game that he simply stared at the board for hours until he finally looked up and asked his opponent “what is my name?”
According to the story, he lost his mind playing chess. I have not been able to document the account and assume it is an apocryphal.
Nevertheless, if one does a keyword search in Google about chess players that went crazy or simply did crazy things, there are countless stories of famous players that displayed bizarre and eccentric behavior.
It was said by a relative of the great Paul Morphy, that he enjoyed arranging women’s shoes in a half-circle in the middle of his bedroom floor because “it looked pretty”.
Although Aaron Nimzowitsch, was not considered to be completely insane, he was a bit “given to bizarre behavior.” One time in the middle of a very complicated position, in a very important game, he went to the corner of the room and stood on his head.
Akiba Rubinstein, one of the best players of all time, was known to have had a mental disorder his entire life. His wife often warned potential visitors, “Do not stay long… for if you do, he will leave by way of the window.”
Mexican grandmaster, Carlos Torre, once stripped naked on a New York bus. He had the habit of walking around nude and was once picked up for running down Fifth Avenue in New York in the raw. He once consumed 15 pineapple sundaes in a single day.
World champion Alexander Alekhine played in chess events completely drunk, and was known to have urinated on the floor during these events more than once.He married four times in his life. Each of the woman was at least 20 to 40 years older than him.
Former world champion Wilhelm Steinitz was convinced he could move pieces through mental telepathy. He finally died in an insane asylum.
US Champion and blindfold great Harry Pillsbury died broke and insane. Interestingly, blindfold chess was outlawed in Russia because they thought it drove people nuts.
Bobby Fisher is considered to be one of greatest chess players of all time but he dropped out of the limelight in the middle of his astonishing career and lived a very strange, introverted life in exile. Eventually he became very paranoid and hateful towards Jews and America.
It is not surprising that there is a significantly higher suicide rate among chess players than the general population.
The great question that is often debated is “Does chess make you mentally ill or are mentally ill people attracted to chess?”
The Backyard Professor
Kerry Shirts who has affectionately become known at the “backyard professor” is a passionate chess player living in my home state of Idaho. He posts countless videos on how to play chess, on youtube. His love for chess is quite contagious.
Although the professor has not been committed yet, to my knowledge, he may be showing signs of eccentricity in some of the recent videos that he has produced.
Do Reason and Logic Breed Insanity?
We will get back to the good professor later in part two of this two part series. First, I want to present the following observations that were made in 07 on the dangerousidea blog:
“Now, if we are to glance at the philosophy of sanity, the first thing to do in the matter is to blot out one big and common mistake. There is a notion adrift everywhere that imagination, especially mystical imagination, is dangerous to man’s mental balance.
Poets are commonly spoken of as psychologically unreliable; and generally there is a vague association between wreathing laurels in your hair and sticking straws in it.
Facts and history utterly contradict this view.
Most of the very great poets have been not only sane, but extremely business-like; and if Shakespeare ever really held horses, it was because he was much the safest man to hold them.
Imagination does not breed insanity.
Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”
I find the musings of the above author/blogger thought provoking.
Is it possible that to much focus on reason and logic breads insanity?
From time to time I check the WordPress analytics to see which websites are referring people to my blog.
On the 29th of March, I noticed the following referrer
Of course that page comes from FAIRlds.org.
It appears to be a restricted site which is designed for members of the FAIR apologetics list of contributors. These are all of the people who have written articles on LDS apologetics for their organization.
It appears that something on my blog has generated some discussion or landed my link on a listing that is contained in their internal site…
I can’t imagine why! LOL
I have also had links pointing to my site from “ thechurchaccordingto.blogspot.com , another password protected site that has been monitoring my posts for a long time and which may possibly be connected to a similar group of people, or at least someone that is monitoring or documenting observations being made about the modern corporate church.
The FAIR Mission
FAIR stands for the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research.
According to their own website their mission is to defend the current doctrines and practices of the modern LDS Church as well as to defend the leaders of the church against any criticism.
Here is what their website says:
“Our mission is to address the charges leveled at the doctrines, practices and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
IMO that mission statement creates a huge conflict of interest and puts them categorically at odds with the scriptures, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Savior himself.
I believe it causes them to commit treachery against Jesus Christ by putting their primary allegiance in favor of the contemporary doctrines and leaders of a church rather than to the fundamental truths revealed by Christ in his scriptures.
Anytime a false doctrine is taught by the contemporary church, these poor souls have the unsavory task of categorically defending it whether it is correct or not.
They are using their skills in debate, persuasion and sophistry to try and validate the contemporary actions and teachings of the modern institution and individual general authorities. They do this even when those actions and teachings contradict the holy word of God in the scriptures.
Of course the assumption of their mission statement is that everything currently taught must be in accordance with the restored gospel. That, of course, smacks of the dastardly doctrine of infallibility.
The FARMS Mission
Another group of apologists that was sponsored by the church until recently is the prior group of people associated with FARMS.
The mission of FARMS is similar to the mission of FAIR although FARMS has a much broader mission and they were a little more prudent in how they crafted their mission statement.
As I recall, many of their FARMS “scholars” participate in FAIR conferences.
Among other things, FARMS claims to provide “scholarly responses to critics of the LDS faith” based on “ancillary disciplines, including language, history, archaeology, literature, culture, ethnohistory, art, geography, law, politics, philosophy, etc.”
In other words, LDS apologists from FAIR and FARMS rely heavily on reason, logic and the worldly learning of men, ie, science and philosophy, in defending the beliefs of the church.
There has been the better part of two hundred years between the time that the light of the everlasting gospel began shining forth from the first vision until today.
Believers in the LDS restoration now find themselves in a fascinating position of being attacked by skeptics regarding the foundational events of the movement.
Why are members of the LDS church so sure that error and apostasy have not crept into the church?
Did God put any protocols in place to prevent leaders of the church from leading it astray?
The Law of Common Consent
I believe this was the original intent of the law of common consent.
The law of common consent was a protocol that enabled every member of the church to act as a steward in an ordained system of checks and balances that would identify and prevent false doctrine and priestcraft from being introduced into the church by the authorities of the church.
The fact that the D&C provides a protocol for excommunicating the president of the church provides rather strong evidence that God did not provide a cloak of infallibility on church leaders.
Unfortunately, the modern church has corrupted the doctrine of common consent and made it into a litmus test for determining whether a person is loyal to the anointed authorities of the church.
It is my opinion that the doctrines and practices of the modern church, along with the teachings, actions, and even the expenditures of the current leaders of the church, frequently contradict the true gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught in the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.
I spend much of my time documenting from the scriptures why the doctrines and teachings of the modern church are contrary to the holy and infallible word of God.
Dedicating My Secret History Series to the LDS Apologists
I have been negligent in resuming my series titled “Exploring the Secret History of the Church” but I hope to resume it in the near future. From time to time I get preoccupied with other interests whilst in the midst of a current series. Hopefully my interest will return in the near future.
I have decided to dedicate that history series to all of the LDS apologists associated with both of these organizations.
My Challenge to LDS Apologists
I am challenging all of the LDS apologists involved with FAIR and FARMS to earnestly read all of the posts on the 20 historical observations that I am going to provide and to sincerely and prayerfully study them out. I invite any questions, observations and critique.
If I am wrong about something, I hope these LDS apologists will please respond in the comments section of my Blog and show me what it is.
I am going to be praying for these apologists. I hope the other readers of this blog will as well.
I believe it is time for the fulness of the gentiles to come in and for the God of Israel to begin lifting the blindness off of latter day Israel (Rom 11:25)
I encourage the readers of this blog to join with me in praying for these well meaning apologists.
If you know any of them personally I hope you will forward the link to this post to them to make sure they are aware of this challenge and the prayers in their behalf.
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man
and maketh flesh his arm”
I am now going to explain why I believe LDS apologetics have failed so miserably to defend both the true origins of Mormonism as well as the contemporary practices and teachings of Modern Mormonism.
I will also explain why I believe many of the apologists have put themselves at great spiritual risk.
I have suggested a few times in several of my posts that I believe Christianity and Mormonism are mystical religions and that true believers in the atonement of Jesus Christ are “mystics”
I realize that the term probably offends some people because it is not found in the scriptures or traditional LDS culture and it sounds kind of funky, but I feel it is really important to understand it in providing context for what I am going to be saying.
A Mystical Religion
According to Websters, the term mystical refers to a “spiritual.. reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence.”
I would say that the truthfulness of the atonement, the ordinances of salvation and many related Christian teachings are not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence.
If the spiritual reality of what is actually going on in this world is not apparent to the senses or the intelligence of the natural man, how useful is his natural logic, reason and intelligence going to be in identifying and comprehending truth?
Things in this World are NOT what they Appear to Be
The truth is that Satan is the god of this physical world where we live.
We are not playing on our home court.
That is why this world is so deceptive.
Things are not as they appear to the natural man.
The true reality of things as they are, were, and are to come, is not comprehensible to the logic, reason, senses and intellect of the natural man.
The natural man lives in a world of illusion and delusion.
The intellect of the natural man is not capable of leading a person into the spiritual rebirth and into the strait gate that is spoken of in the scriptures.
The learning of the natural man which results in “scientific truth” is also incapable of leading a person into the spiritual rebirth and into the strait gate.
The apostle Paul saw this world as a spiritual war zone that was ruled by the powers of darkness through men in high places. He saw the shield of faith as the defensive armor that could quench the fiery darts of the wicked:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel..”
The prophet Jeremiah made this ominous observation thousands of years ago:
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm”
This warning would be reiterated in 2nd Nephi 4 and then later in 2nd Nephi 28:
“Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Here’s the deal folks-
Science is just a modern term for the precepts and learning of the natural man, ie, “arm of flesh” that are formed by human reason, logic and intellect.
When LDS apologists quote from scientists that are trying to make sense out of this world using their intellect and reason, they bring the promised curse upon their own heads.
These worldly scientists have not received of the spiritual rebirth and are functioning solely off of their own intellect and the learning of other natural men, they are also functioning under the same curse.
That is according to Jeremiah and Nephi, not me.
Blame them for those harsh accusations.
That ominous observation is categorical.
Even if an apologist is using science to support a gospel truth, they are cursed in their efforts because science is out of bounds according to the guidelines God has given regarding the comprehension of truth.
Science is derived from seeing things in the natural fallen world that are not as they appear.
In summary, here are a few of the major reasons that I feel that LDS apologists that rely on science and the learning of the world, have been a miserable failure and have put a curse upon themselves when attempting to rely on their intellect and modern science to craft their arguments.
1- Their first and primary allegiance is in defending the actions and teachings of modern church leaders rather than declaring the truthfulness of the inspired and unchanging word of God in the scriptures.
2- When crafting their apologetic responses they rely on their own intellect, the intellect of church authorities and the intellect of those they are trying to persuade. (intellect speaking to intellect instead of spirit speaking to spirit)
3- They attempt to use positive scientific data that appears to support their side of an argument in defending the church. This is done contrary to the counsel of God.
4- Their methods and the fruits thereof indicates that they have not experienced the spiritual rebirth and have built their own “faith” and “testimonies” on their own reason, logic, intellect, and scientific evidence rather than on personal revelation.
To be continued…