Poser

So, a while back, I decided to post blogs here instead of “spouting vile garbage” against the LDS Church on Facebook. I do post links on FB to my blog here in the slim chance one of my dear family members ever deign to give it a glance. Some claim to read what I write. Admittedly, it’s a very, very slim “some”!

Those who read leave little evidence they’ve been here. Few (if any) comments. Few opinions.

Hit and run, basically.

Those who do comment are those who have experienced similar things, made similar discoveries, as I have. Not family members. Friends in the unfaith. Except for my Uncle George. He would like to see me back, securely in the “fold” so his comments align with current LDS apologia.

It would actually shock the hell out of me if one of my family members (except Uncle George) read something I post here and then thought about it enough to have questions and/or comments!

However, instead of having family pour through my past postings, although they are encouraged and welcome to do so, I have a poser:

Explain how Nephi beheading Laban differs from this sad story. I refer to the core of the matter. The reason action was taken.

15 thoughts on “Poser

  1. “He would like to see me back, securely in the “fold” so his comments align with current LDS apologia.”

    Where did I go wrong on that? I think most of my replies have been to encourage you to keep an open mind. Yes, I’d like to see you consider coming back. But that’s entirely your choice. I’m fully aware of that.

    That being said, I do wonder at times why you seem to be reflecting a resistance to consider viewpoints of LDS apologists. My academic background taught me to consider all sides of an issue before developing opinions or positions. That’s why, as I’ve said before, I’ve explored literature critical of the LDS position as well as those supportive of it. I believe from an intellectual standpoint I can examine just about any material for solid rational development and can sense when illogical, biased information is presented.
    I write, edit, rewrite, evaluate, rewrite again, trying to use integrity and rationality in my development.
    Does that mean I always succeed? No.

    Am I wrong in sensing you’ve given up on exploring sources supportive of the LDS Church in a rational, scholarly fashion? (I’m not trying to be your teacher here–I’m just trying to understand where you’re coming from.)

    Well, that being said, I’m going to divert the subject long enough to express my acceptance of the path you’ve chosen in this regard: my and your ability to pursue the truth in somewhat similar, somewhat different pathways will eventually open doors of understanding neither of us have right now. If we try to hold onto what we have in common, things may gel closer together. Eventually, truth will out!

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    • >> Where did I go wrong on that? I think most of my replies have been to encourage you to keep an open mind. Yes, I’d like to see you consider coming back. But that’s entirely your choice. I’m fully aware of that.

      Hope springs eternal. I concede that. Well, at least as long as the hoper can hope!

      >> That being said, I do wonder at times why you seem to be reflecting a resistance to consider viewpoints of LDS apologists. My academic background taught me to consider all sides of an issue before developing opinions or positions. That’s why, as I’ve said before, I’ve explored literature critical of the LDS position as well as those supportive of it. I believe from an intellectual standpoint I can examine just about any material for solid rational development and can sense when illogical, biased information is presented.
      I write, edit, rewrite, evaluate, rewrite again, trying to use integrity and rationality in my development.
      Does that mean I always succeed? No.

      The *admitted* apologist methodology is the reverse of rational pursuit. Apologists begin with an accepted conclusion and then seek whatever “evidences” that can be found that support it. Rational pursuit is just that; a pursuit that begins with a question/doubt/hypothesis and then follows the evidence to reach a reasonable, repeatably provable conclusion. Aka the scientific method.

      >> Am I wrong in sensing you’ve given up on exploring sources supportive of the LDS Church in a rational, scholarly fashion? (I’m not trying to be your teacher here–I’m just trying to understand where you’re coming from.)

      Yes, you are wrong. Keyword: rational, not apologetic.

      >> Well, that being said, I’m going to divert the subject long enough to express my acceptance of the path you’ve chosen in this regard: my and your ability to pursue the truth in somewhat similar, somewhat different pathways will eventually open doors of understanding neither of us have right now. If we try to hold onto what we have in common, things may gel closer together. Eventually, truth will out!

      If holding on to what we have in common is mistaken, then I am letting go! That which is trustworthy, I will keep.

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  2. Now, back to your “Poser”. You know what the so-called apologist position is going to be: the key to the Nephi storyline is going to be: it all depends on whether or not Nephi was instructed by the Holy Ghost and the probability that the woman in the news release was either insane or demon-possessed.
    Do I see parallels in the two accounts. Some. Do I see broad differences? Yes. We need to be careful not to cherry pick data that support one opinion or the other.
    I’m reminded of the story of Joan of Arc. Why would a series of visions lead her into battle? Or the story of Mohammed. How come his followers can’t agree on peace or Jihad? Were his visions contradictory?
    These types of instances run throughout history. Neither the apologist or the critic can verify academically or empirically the “why.” We can only describe the “what, how, when, where”. So we are left entirely to draw our own conclusions. No individuals or set of groups can in any way come to a unanimous, factual settlement.
    IMO that throws us right back to the question of where we place our trust. Until we can arrive at some type of consensus–which seems impossible–on the existence or non-existence of a supreme being, a universal force, a prime directive, or call it what you will, debates like this will be endless and unsolvable.

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    • >> Now, back to your “Poser”. You know what the so-called apologist position is going to be: the key to the Nephi storyline is going to be: it all depends on whether or not Nephi was instructed by the Holy Ghost and the probability that the woman in the news release was either insane or demon-possessed.

      Proof of the supernatural certainly needs to come first. Current science indicates the supernatural is brain-based. Sure, that may change (that’s actually how science works!) as new data becomes available, but the trend in the data encourages this idea more and more. “Spiritual” experiences are actual experiences, no denying that. It’s how we interpret that experience. Can science “look into” these to see if a source can be found? The answer of “yes” is becoming much more solid as the data comes in and our abilities to investigate become more refined.

      That said, in my opinion at present, the Book of Mormon is a product of Joseph’s imagination. He was an adept storyteller (his mother confirms this). But let’s say the story is true, that it happened. Nephi was told to slay Laban *in his mind*. Voices in the head. Just like the woman in the news release.

      >> Do I see parallels in the two accounts. Some. Do I see broad differences? Yes. We need to be careful not to cherry pick data that support one opinion or the other.

      We must be aware of our own biases. This is why I trust more to the scientific method, rational inquiry, critical thinking methodology than relying on what I was taught (or indoctrinated with) over my lifetime. I was told what spiritual experiences were so any event that fit the teaching I called a spiritual experience. But, was it really? Again, medical science is indicating otherwise.

      >> I’m reminded of the story of Joan of Arc. Why would a series of visions lead her into battle? Or the story of Mohammed. How come his followers can’t agree on peace or Jihad? Were his visions contradictory?

      Delusionary?

      >> These types of instances run throughout history. Neither the apologist or the critic can verify academically or empirically the “why.” We can only describe the “what, how, when, where”. So we are left entirely to draw our own conclusions. No individuals or set of groups can in any way come to a unanimous, factual settlement.

      That they run throughout history is a logical fallacy. It means nothing. In light of current scientific and medical advances we can say, if we must, that the probability these experiences were brain-based, as I mentioned above, is high.

      >> IMO that throws us right back to the question of where we place our trust. Until we can arrive at some type of consensus–which seems impossible–on the existence or non-existence of a supreme being, a universal force, a prime directive, or call it what you will, debates like this will be endless and unsolvable.

      While a supreme being cannot be proven (so far) or disproved does not mean the source of the current classification of the supernatural cannot be found and explained. That is currently underway and making progress.

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  3. We seem to be treading the same water here: do we trust completely in science, completely in faith in the power of an unseen force (speaking academically), or do we hold open the pursuit of truth in both avenues? I prefer the latter. Your arguments clearly show you accept only the first. In order to justify your conclusions, you must have complete trust in science and only science. Just curious: do you not see the potential for confirmation bias in that?

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      • The keyword in that last comment of mine is the word “potential.” I sense in your comments that you’re probably aware that it can creep in, and are being careful. But generally speaking, I see a large contingent of critics that are not so careful.
        Where, in my comments saying that the instance described in your story is typical of those running throughout history, did you see a logical fallacy? I was merely pointing out that we could draw parallels between the instance you mentioned and any other number of historical occurrences–Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper to name a few, and those I mentioned that come at it from an alleged revelation perspective. Perhaps my reference was fuzzy.
        What did you mean by this statement: “While a supreme being cannot be proven (so far) or disproved does not mean the source of the current classification of the supernatural cannot be found and explained. That is currently underway and making progress.”? I see so much diversity between the theories and opinions of various branches of science and so much complexity in the nature of the universe to see little if any progress at all–other than in technological and medical advancement, which have, without argument, benefited us marvelously.
        Particularly, some of the research in the social sciences hasn’t even come close to scratching the surface–and won’t, IMO, until we find the way to prove that spiritual phenomena are non-existent, and hence not impacting our empirical study in unseen ways. We’ve got to control the variables–all of them. When drawing conclusions, a non-provable assumption that they don’t exist or have been precluded from our study is just not good enough.
        That they don’t exist or can’t be proven to exist is a postulate lying outside the realm of empirical study. So I’ll stick to my query. If they are there, beyond objective control, the postulate is wrong–hence the potential for confirmation bias to creep into the scientific community.

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        • >> The keyword in that last comment of mine is the word “potential.” I sense in your comments that you’re probably aware that it can creep in, and are being careful. But generally speaking, I see a large contingent of critics that are not so careful.

          Me: The keyword in my statement is “objective”. Done right, objectivity eliminates bias. Individuals cannot be completely objective so peer review helps. Even this cannot eliminate all biases but it reduces them considerably. In practice, though, “potential” for biases is a reality.

          >> Where, in my comments saying that the instance described in your story is typical of those running throughout history, did you see a logical fallacy? I was merely pointing out that we could draw parallels between the instance you mentioned and any other number of historical occurrences–Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper to name a few, and those I mentioned that come at it from an alleged revelation perspective. Perhaps my reference was fuzzy.

          Me: That something historical happens is not evidence or proof. Man was geocentric historically while we are now heliocentric. New knowledge changes things, does it not? That is the fallacy of your logic to which I referred.

          >> What did you mean by this statement: “While a supreme being cannot be proven (so far) or disproved does not mean the source of the current classification of the supernatural cannot be found and explained. That is currently underway and making progress.”? I see so much diversity between the theories and opinions of various branches of science and so much complexity in the nature of the universe to see little if any progress at all–other than in technological and medical advancement, which have, without argument, benefited us marvelously.
          Particularly, some of the research in the social sciences hasn’t even come close to scratching the surface–and won’t, IMO, until we find the way to prove that spiritual phenomena are non-existent, and hence not impacting our empirical study in unseen ways. We’ve got to control the variables–all of them. When drawing conclusions, a non-provable assumption that they don’t exist or have been precluded from our study is just not good enough.

          Me: It is good enough for me. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The burden of proof is on those claiming the supernatural exists. It would be impossible to prove they don’t exist (too many possibilities) but they should be provable, IF they exist. So far there is no reliable proof/evidence or proof/evidence that cannot be otherwise explained.

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  4. “That something historical happens is not evidence or proof. Man was geocentric historically while we are now heliocentric. New knowledge changes things, does it not?”
    Geocentric/heliocentric: certainly that is an argument that can be made to support the thesis that man has erred intellectually in the past. Same thing with Aristotle and modern physics. But how does that show that history is “not evidence or proof?” Question: if history is not evidence or proof, why do critics rely so heavily on historical “evidence” that Joseph Smith was a fraud?:
    “New knowledge changes things, does it not?”
    Many objective studies of history shows that things are cyclical in nature. The pattern is very clear in the rise and fall of ancient empires, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and so forth. So, we get the old axiom “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” New knowledge only benefits those willing to accept and apply it. Is there evidence in our “modern, progressive society” that we are any different? Or are we on a tribalist collision course–following the patterns of the ancients?
    “That is the fallacy of your logic to which I referred.”
    I think the nature of our discussion has only proven the point that logic can be perceived as faulty from any viewpoint: those who agree with one point of view are “logical”, while those who disagree are “brainwashed,” “superstitious,” “deceived,” “uninformed,” and so forth.
    So we get those who do try to deal rationally and those who stereotype. I’m trying my best to fit into the former camp and I think you are as well. Our brains obviously operate in somewhat different fashions. Is that all that bad?

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    • >> That something historical happens is not evidence or proof. Man was geocentric historically while we are now heliocentric. New knowledge changes things, does it not?”

      Me: My error. “That something historical happens is not *necessarily* evidence or proof.” We can throw examples back and forth without accomplishing anything. We’ll alway posit that which we support. Objectivity makes the difference.

      >> Geocentric/heliocentric: certainly that is an argument that can be made to support the thesis that man has erred intellectually in the past. Same thing with Aristotle and modern physics. But how does that show that history is “not evidence or proof?” Question: if history is not evidence or proof, why do critics rely so heavily on historical “evidence” that Joseph Smith was a fraud?:

      Me: Principles, philosophy, etc. do change historically. New discoveries, new knowledge, change what we thought we knew. Some knowledge persists long enough to become accepted as fact. Gravity is an example. Even so, research, new knowledge, can “refine” this long held principle.

      Deeds do not usually change. That’s the difference. With Joseph Smith, Jr., objective history is not kind. Tribal history is another matter.

      >> “New knowledge changes things, does it not?”
      Many objective studies of history shows that things are cyclical in nature. The pattern is very clear in the rise and fall of ancient empires, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and so forth. So, we get the old axiom “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” New knowledge only benefits those willing to accept and apply it. Is there evidence in our “modern, progressive society” that we are any different? Or are we on a tribalist collision course–following the patterns of the ancients?

      Me: Yeah, man fails to learn from history and we repeat prior errors. I agree with you on your new knowledge statement. As for tribalism, I fear we are. Tribalism develops because we need community and one of the “glues” that holds a community together is tribalism. Myths are created to help enforce that tribalism. This grows into an “us vs them” situation. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” presents this topic well.

      >> “That is the fallacy of your logic to which I referred.”
      I think the nature of our discussion has only proven the point that logic can be perceived as faulty from any viewpoint: those who agree with one point of view are “logical”, while those who disagree are “brainwashed,” “superstitious,” “deceived,” “uninformed,” and so forth.

      Me: Again, objectivity must be applied. Biases must be set aside to the best of our ability.

      >> So we get those who do try to deal rationally and those who stereotype. I’m trying my best to fit into the former camp and I think you are as well. Our brains obviously operate in somewhat different fashions.

      Me: Agreed!

      >> Is that all that bad?

      Me: I wouldn’t classify any of this as good/bad. It just is.

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  5. “With Joseph Smith, Jr., objective history is not kind.” How do you account for Jan Shipps, Harold Bloom, and other non-Mormon historians that have not taken extreme views on him? Isn’t “not kind” a little strong? Or do you question their objectivity?

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    • Uncle George, your comment is kind of ridiculous. This is how apologists work. They pick their topic and find what supports it, rather than following where evidence takes them, objectively. They also divert discussion from the main point. You have done just that.

      For my part, mine is ridiculous too, after a fashion. I obviously have not read all historical accounts regarding JS! Neither have you. So, I’ll grant you this one. We can discuss it later.

      Now, may we return to the root topic at hand?

      Tell me how Nephi’s story differs from the woman’s story in the article. Exactly how does one know if the voice heard internally is from an actual external source? If you’re going to say the spirit dwelling within, you’ll need to prove it exists, first.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

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  6. I am with the Anti Nephi Lehi, all for burying any weapons. I am also your non typical relative that oppose to carrying weapons. I know other people feel differently than I do. Reading about any beheading makes me sick. If I felt I was told to take someones life, I would not be able to act upon it. That is where I stand. I will follow my integrity just as I feel you do sharing your thoughts and insights.

    As far as not replying or liking comments, I choose to stay silent rather than say something I may regret. I get easily agitated if I read posts I feel show little respect, are condescending, have an undertone of mockery or insinuate I am not capable to think or understand. I hate feeling belittled. A bit of temper in this one.

    I do however feel that you share your thoughts out of love for your family. You are one of the firsts in our Circle of love to share your journey of choosing a different path than the faith we have shared. I have learned a lot and probably would have acted differently if I had the knowledge and experience you have facilitated. Also I have to say it is very hard for me to engage in English. If you would post in Norwegian, I would be happy to share more.

    All in all, I hope you always will feel that I love and support you! You have an important place in my heart, being my oldest (and wisest?) cousin. I love your mom so much! Take care!

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    • This reply might be a bit “scattered” but hang in there.

      You always warm my heart, dear cousin! I never wish to offend, belittle, denigrate, or even make someone sick. Sorry about the topic, story and article!

      What I do wish for is thought. And comments after thinking. Else, how can I know what affect I might have? Speaking of my “change”, it was many things. It still is many things. My whole life is different. I think differently. I feel differently. I see things differently.

      But I love my “tribe”, my family, with all my being. Never mistake that! Harming any family member is not in me, not my goal. Here’s the thing though. If you had knowledge (not belief) that a person or people you love are in a harmful situation, of which they are unaware, would you try to warn them?

      So my intent is not to harm but to warn. I wish to instill the desire to see past indoctrination and to engage the beautiful, powerful tool between our ears in finally seeing things as they are. Not as we wish, hope, or expect them to be, based on teachings we’ve received from others who just might be indoctrinated too. But things as they are. Actually. Factually. Objectively.

      No myths. No fairy tales.

      That is, of course, what I propose. What I challenge. Your part, if you engage, is to stop for a moment to hear, then think, then maybe grant that my changes might have placed me not too far off what really is. If, and only if, you will. I force no one.

      I’m glad you mentioned my mom. I love my mom, too! She gifted me the love of books and reading. I love my dad, too. He gifted me the love of science, thinking, reason.

      Oldest cousin? Yes. Wise? Debatable! But I love and support you along with my whole familial tribe. Be aware, there are others in this tribe who have seen the little man behind the curtain (Wizard of Oz reference) and no longer believe the family myth. I am not alone.

      I do wish I wrote Norwegian! The conversations we could have! 😀

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      • Disclaimer: I, in no way, insinuate or declare I have all the answers, that I am right. What I do declare is that I am learning, at age 63, how to think critically. Rationally.

        I am not there yet!

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